Monday, 14 April 2014

Why We Don't Have 5pm Meltdowns Anymore! (Build A Menu Review)

It's 5pm, your toddler wants your attention, your newborn is crying, and you have no plans for dinner - sound familiar?  It was an all too frequent occurrence in our house!  At this point you can blow the grocery budget by eating out, or deal with the stress of coming up with something to eat, making it, eating late and by that time everyone's really cranky (or at least all of us who aren't Andrew - he is cool as a cucumber no matter what!). We all know the BEST way to really deal with the 5pm meltdown is to PREVENT it!


This past January, two things changed in our house: first, we gave birth to our darling Elisabeth, and second we subscribed to Build A Menu.  And let me tell you - the latter has made a world of a difference in dealing with the former!  I can honestly say that since having Elisabeth we have had WAY less 5pm meltdowns than before she was born!  My dinnertime prep with two children has been easier than when I had one!

How does this work, you may ask?  I'll tell you!  Each Wednesday I log into my Build A Menu account and select my grocery store.  This is an awesome feature for those of you who live in the USA, because they update their meals and prices for that week based on the sales at whichever store you shop at. (There is also a generic option if you don't use any of the stores listed - for us Canadians I think the only specific option is Wal-Mart).

After that is when the fun begins!  You can choose from a number of different categories: Dinner (the one I use most), Desserts (our second most used one), Breakfast, Snacks, etc.  And then for each of those you have a whole BUNCH of different options for meals!  The ones I choose from most are Dine-on-a-Dime, Slow Cooker Meals, Family Friendly, and Manly Meals.  There are also options for Gluten-Free, Clean Eating, Vegetarian, Trim Healthy Mama and many more.  You're welcome to mix and match as much as you'd like, and can save which meals are your favourite.

My favourite thing about Build A Menu is how easy the meals are.  Most dinners consist of two or three lines of instructions and are made up of basic ingredients.  We're on a pretty tight budget these days, and I really appreciate being able to make delicious, tasty meals without having to go out and buy special ingredients every week.  As well, with two little ones underfoot, part of what is keeping things sane around here is making simple meals.

So each week, I sit down in front of my computer for probably 30 minutes to plan my meals for the week - and it saves us from hours of insanity prior to dinnertime!  I first take a look at what we've got going that week, and plan my meals around that. I always pick one or two slow cooker meals and make those on days when we have plans to go out during the day, leaving the meals that take a bit more prep for days when I know we'll be home in the afternoon.

Build A Menu puts together your grocery list for you, and also combines all your recipes into one document which can be printed off, and which you can always access retroactively.   Meals we've tried and love so far include: Coconut Beef Stew, Salmon Quiche, Mexican Squash Ground Beef Casserole, and Slow Cooker Thai Chicken - and they taste as good as they sound!  I know that with the Build-A-Menu meals I don't have to stress about special prep, and I can rest assured we'll be eating a tasty meal come five-thirty!

Now that I've got your mouth watering - head on over to Build A Menu and check things out for yourself!  You can sign up for one month for $8, or jump in for a year which is just over $6 a month. And they have a 30 day money back guarantee - so you really have nothing to lose by giving it a try....except maybe those 5pm meltdowns :)

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(Linked up at Growing HomeThe Modest MomRaising HomemakersWalking RedeemedRaising ArrowsRaising Mighty Arrows, and Graced SimplicityThrive @ HomeServing Joyfully)

Thursday, 10 April 2014

So You Think You're a Good Wife?

I think I'm a pretty good wife.  It's easy enough for me to look around and find people who are cheating on their spouse, constantly bickering with one another, show no affection, and so on, to make me feel good about how I'm doing.    And it seems like a really popular message these days for women is "don't be too hard on yourself" and maybe this IS a message lots of women, mothers especially, need to hear.  But I think often as wives, we could use a little shove in the other direction.  A little more tough love.


See, when we compare ourselves to the world, we may come out looking pretty good.  But if you're a Christian, there is a higher standard. This is where maybe you're worried I'm going to start talking about submission, but I don't even have to go there.  Let's instead look at a passage everyone loves: 1 Corinthians 13.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor 13: 4-7)

This is not the mushy, feel good verse it's often made out to be.  This is hard stuff.  There is no clause in this verse that says "Love is patient and kind ... when you are being loved in return".  And sure, you can say "But my husband is supposed to love me like this too!", and you'd be right.  But see, you aren't responsible for him - you are responsible for you.

Read the rest at Growing Home, where I am very honoured to be guest posting for one of my dearest real-life friends!

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Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Rise of the New "More Equal" Class

In Orwell's book, Animal Farm, the pigs launched a campaign to rid the animals of the existing order of the farm (which in the book, was pretty bad at the time), and started a system where every animal was equal.  They were successful.  However, over time we see that the pigs had a plan to take all authority and enjoy all the benefits from the work the other animals contributed.  Everyone was equal, but the pigs were "more equal."
It seems there is a new "more equal" class that will not allow someone who thinks differently then themselves take a place of leadership.  It is strange, yet predictable, that an agenda supposedly supporting "inclusiveness" makes its aim the exclusion of everyone except those who support their cause.  Because Brendan Eich, an eminently qualified individual for leading Mozilla, has supported traditional marriage, he has been forced to "resign" (WikipediaWorld).
The march of the communist agenda continues.
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Add a Little Ladylike Style to Your Wardrobe {Pinspiration Post}

I'm going to try something new around where every once in a while I'll write a post on a specific topic with some inspiration from Pinterest, as well as some tips from yours truly!

To kick things off, and with the hope of warmer weather in mind, here's some ways you can imbue your outfits with a touch of femininity this spring, while still remaining modest and comfortable as the weather changes!  Even if it's raining and you've thrown on jeans and a t-shirt, it's as easy as this to still achieve that ladylike style!



Add a little sparkle

It's as simple as putting on a bit of jewelry, a sparkly headband, or finding basic items that already have some bling on them.







Add a little pink

I'm biased because its always been my favourite colour, and I know it's the stereotypical girly colour, but for that very reason it will give you a look of youthful femininity!









Add a bow

Bows are great because they can transform an outfit - and depending on the size, fabric, location, etc can be either whimsical or stately.









Add flowers (to your hair!)

What a better sign of spring than putting a colourful bit of nature on.  Though they won't last long (if they're real), they are sure to make those around you smile.








Add a smile

You'll look better and feel better!







But remember
Flesh and blood examples of outward beauty like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn may inspire us to carry ourselves with a little more dignity, but what should really raise our chins and straighten our backs is to know that we are perfectly, matchlessly loved by Christ (Jasmine Bauchum)

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Link up to your Pinterest style boards in the comments!


Follow Stephanie @ Who Can Stand's board Ladylike Style on Pinterest.

(Linked up at Growing HomeThe Modest MomRaising HomemakersWalking RedeemedRaising ArrowsRaising Mighty Arrows, and Graced SimplicityThrive @ HomeServing Joyfully)

Monday, 31 March 2014

NOAH: "The least biblical film ever made" -Aronovsky. "ANTI-biblical" - WhoCanStand. (A Christian Review)

Here at WHO CAN STAND, we stand on the truth of Scripture. And so when it comes to Hollywood depictions, we understand that they will always fall short of the beauty of the biblical story.  There will be areas where directors and screenwriters will have to make decisions about what to depict where Scripture is silent, and we knew this had to be the case with the Noah movie.  However, we can hope the filmmakers remain faithful to the context of the whole Bible, which the Noah movie most certainly failed to do.  The movie is not only unbiblical (including extra-biblical information and getting certain information wrong) but more importantly it is anti-biblical.  It goes against what we know to be true about God, men, and their relationship with one another.

(We have seen the movie and are going to be free with sharing any part of the plot relevant to our points throughout this review, just so you know!)

The worst thing about the Noah movie was how it depicted God - referred to as "The Creator" throughout the film.  The God in the movie gives Noah limited information about what will happen and leaves him in confusion about how to fulfill His plans.  By the resolution of the movie, it's been "made clear" that "God" did this on purpose, so as to allow Noah himself to make the decision about what would be the outcome of mankind.  The movie puts mercy strictly in the hand of Noah - stripping "God" of it almost completely.  Noah's wife reiterates that their family is "good" because they have "love in their hearts", and "Isn't that all you need to be good?", she asks.  Noah - who rightly sees the wickedness within all of them - understands that it would be just if God chose for them to die.  What the movie fails to show is it was God's mercy that saved Noah, his family, and mankind.  In the film, in not murdering his grandchildren, it is Noah who is shown to be merciful, not God, and Noah's mercy is made out as potentially disobedient to God.

In truth, God's mercy towards mankind is completed in the work of bringing Jesus Christ through the lineage of Noah.  When you read the biblical text, you get a sense of the hope within the story - hope which points to and is realized in the death and resurrection of Jesus - who was foreshadowed even at the fall of Adam and Eve.  There is little hope in the resolution of the Noah movie, and there is no allusion to a coming savior.  (As a Jewish atheist, one wouldn't expect this from Aronofsky, but even he would know that God was preserving the line of Noah in order to bring the Messiah.)

Many have spoken of the environmental slant of the film, and the truth is that we get a glimpse of what radical environmentalism does look like in the lunacy of Noah in the second half of the film.   His desire is only to see the animals and creation saved and preserved in a state untouched by humans.  Noah values animal life over human life - like some of the proponents of the environmental movement today. Aronofsky paints an accurate picture of the logical outworking of radical environmentalism.  The scene of Noah climbing the ladder and walking along the top of the ark with the look of a crazed madman with a knife in hand to kill his grand-daughters is an insight into the dark thoughts of some radical environmentalists.



Noah's apparent 180 with regards to the preservation of mankind is not only unbiblical, but it doesn't even make sense within the context of the film.  Noah sees the wickedness of man and recognizes it in both himself and each of his individual family members and without much explanation this leads him to decide God wants the human race to end with them, and it is Noah's duty to kill anyone who may foil "God's plan" - even if they are his own grandchildren.

This creates the major theological issue discussed earlier - that God, as depicted in the movie, has apparently left judgement and mercy both in the hands of Noah and is taking a "hands off" approach to the whole ordeal.  When Noah spares his grand-daughters, he believes he is going against God's will.  This problem is apparently resolved when his daughter-in-law explains to him that when God chose Noah to build the ark, He was also choosing him to decide whether or not to destroy mankind or to let it continue.  In Scripture we see something quite to the contrary.  God chose Noah because he was a just and righteous man.  God instructed Noah to bring his sons and their wives onto the ark, and the first instruction He gives them when they leave the ark is to "be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth." (Genesis 9:1 and similarly in Genesis 9:7).   So we see that it was God's plan from the start for Noah and his family to be saved and to continue to procreate.  Nowhere in Scripture do we see the idea that God created the earth to be free of mankind.  Though a popular idea in some circles, it is strictly anti-biblical.

When we exchange the truth of God's plan for mankind with the lie of population control we get ugly things like "gendercide".  It is only too common in India, China and becoming more common here in North America and was depicted in the film when Noah planned to kill his grandchildren only if they were girls.   Having recently known the joy of birthing a baby girl, we cannot imagine the pain which endures in cultures where the knowledge that one is carrying a girl may be the worst thing you could hear - because it means your daughter will be murdered before she's born (or shortly after).  Anyone who was disturbed by the film Noah's decision to murder his grandchildren because they are girls, but supports abortion, should question why they support a form of execution which has been the tool of choice in the capital punishment of well over 100 million (The Economist, March 2010) baby girls whose only crime was to be a girl. The term capital punishment is used intentionally, though loosely, because in almost all cases, the state condones the execution.  (This also applies to feminists who support abortion - you can't support the abortion of babies but not support the abortion of girl babies - it just doesn't make sense.  If you think otherwise, please try to make a coherent argument for it in the comments.)

While we're on the topic of women, just note that throughout the film it is the women who consistently are the most compassionate, wise, and insightful characters.  We believe, of course, that women can be all these things - but so can men.  Could this be another subtle attempt within the feminist agenda to discredit men as foolish, crazy or unfeeling?  (Read this.)

You've probably already heard about the rock watchers... Some are saying they are inspired by the "sons of God" or the "giants" from Genesis 6, but really we don't see angels encased in rock anywhere in Scripture. More so, the whole idea that God would use disobedient angels to save mankind (and then forgive and redeem them) is contradictory to what we know of God's dealing with men and angels.

We could spend all night listing inaccuracies but here are a few more:
1. There was no need for numerous animals of the same kind to be on the ark, because natural selection gives us all the different species in a specific kind. Can a reasonable engineer, mathematician, or zoologist believe that all the animals we see in the world today could have come from ancestors that together fit in the ark?  Yes!
2. There were 8 people who entered the ark - Noah and his wife and his three sons and their wives - and Noah was clearly instructed to bring them.
3. Though it is true that men did not eat meat before the flood, the movie failed to show that God allowed them to eat meat after the flood - he did not expect them to be perpetual vegetarians.

The one major thing we feel was done well is that the depravity of mankind was clearly displayed.  Man sinned in the garden, choosing his own ways over God's ways.  This led to toil, pain, death and murder, to the point where "every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."  (Genesis 6:5) In the movie girls are sold for food.  This is the kind of world that God in His justice chose to destroy.  We also see that even after the flood, sin was still in the world - as it is today.  You only have to read a few verses after the flood has ended to see Noah's drunkenness and Ham's wrongdoing.  Again, what the movie fails to show is God's redemptive power in the face of such wickedness.

Two BAD Reasons to See the Noah Movie 

"A secular studio has spent hundreds of millions of dollars telling a Bible story - we should support them!" But if they butcher the plot, twist the characters, and make a heresy of God, the hundreds of millions of dollars were spent in deceiving millions of people.  Support studios that make Christian films which are true to the Bible.

"You need to see it so you'll have a conversation starter with unsaved friends."  Here's a better way you can start a conversation with unsaved friends: like Noah, live a life of radical righteousness.  Show Christlike love to your wife.  Respect and honour your husband.  Raise your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  Take care of the poor and needy in your community.  Love your enemies.  These sort of counter-cultural actions, done in obedience and out of love for Christ, will give you ample opportunities to explain why you do what you do.

In Conclusion

The sad thing is that this movie had great potential.  A talented cast and team coupled with a truly great, moving, and awesome true story can make for a potent combination.  It was sad to leave the theater knowing that such an opportunity had been missed.

We don't recommend the film.  But we pray that God will raise up men and women who will take dominion even over the film industry - using it as a tool to bring glory to God and shine forth the truth of Scripture and the gospel to many.

1 out of 4 stars from the Who Can Stand movie critics.  Don't waste your money on this.


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We also recommend reading The Bigger Problem with the Noah Movie by Growing Home.

(Linked up at Growing HomeThe Modest Mom, Raising Homemakers, Walking RedeemedRaising Arrows, Raising Mighty Arrows, and Graced Simplicity, Thrive @ Home, Serving Joyfully)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Anniversary Memory Date!

Andrew and I are celebrating 3 years since our wedding day!  I know many of you have probably been married much longer than that (Maybe even 25 years? Shout it out in the comments!).

This is an activity which will be a blessing no matter how long its been since your wedding day.  It really doesn't need an explanation, and is just a wonderful excuse to take a trip down memory lane.  You can change it up - adding in the number of years you've been married, and even edit the memories you come up with.



I had included two printouts of it in the March envelope for Andrew's Year of Dates Christmas present, and we took them out the week before our anniversary.  We are filling them in separately, and then tomorrow when we go out for dessert, we'll share our own with each other and I'm sure it will be a great way to remember all the ways that God has blessed us and shown himself faithful over the past three years.

May it be a blessing to you and your spouse as well - download and edit yours here!

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(Linked up at Growing Home)

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

We Need More People To Say "We Just Can't Afford That!"

We love budgeting. Weird as it may be, it's true. I wish everyone had a budget just so that they could have as much fun as I do at the end of the month!  But I know as well as you that it's fun to be on a budget as long as it's not really affecting you too much.  Once you start having to give up things you really enjoy - dinner out with your spouse, coffee with friends, new clothes for your kids, expensive groceries - it sorta takes the fun out of it, doesn't it?

On top of that, it's not very cool to be frugal.  It's not even trendy to save money.  What's trendy is to get the things you want...right away!  To not worry about money!  To live like there's no tomorrow!  To just loosen up a little and have some fun - YOLO! :)

And its because of a cultural mentality like that, that we end up with images like this:  

The US national debt in 1791 was 75 million, now it goes up by that much ever hour (source). Total student loan debt has exceeded 1 trillion dollars (source). For houses that have credit card debt, the average credit card debt is $15,779. Mortgage lenders in America have more equity in homes than the American people do (source).  We can't afford our homes, cars, school or stuff. 

(original photo source)

So what's the solution?  For starters, we need more people to be honest and say "We just can't afford that". Imagine the freedom!?  Instead of all the worry and excuses about what to say to people, we'd just tell them to truth!  And then maybe they'd feel better about doing the same, and everyone will start making wiser financial choices.  

To inspire you, here's a list of a few of the things we "just can't afford" right now:
  • a vacation
  • restaurant date nights
  • a second car (or a minivan)
  • organic free-range meat
  • a house (we rent)
  • cute new baby clothes
So the next time someone asks you to do/go/buy something that you shouldn't, instead of beating around the bush, take a deep breath and tell them the truth - we just can't afford that right now!

Are you with me?!  What's on your list?


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