Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009


When Joseph went to Bethlehem I think he took great care to place his tools and close his shop and leave no shavings there...

Baby's first present... It is the book "But No Elephants" by Jerry Smath

Playing in the snow in my new Christmas hat

Christmas morning

A new sled

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sometimes they listen...

We've been reading the sermon on the mount during family scripture study lately. Today little A comes up to me rubbing her eye like crazy and says, "Mom, I have a mote in my eye."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Festival of Trees

We had a great time at the festival of trees and lots of the trees made us think of you...

The "Christmas League", Justice League for Tyler

Have a "Regular" Christmas, for the unamed relative who loves this sort of joke...

This Star Wars Tree was going for $13,000 and we thought that was a deal...
Look at the sparkle in J's eyes

Andrea back in the single days...

I liked this one, reminds me of Mom's snowman trees

REAL soccer: for David, Sarah, DH, and me.
PS. Woohoo, Salt Lake finally wins a national championship go REAL!!!! We were looking for this tree, we knew it had to be there.

This tree reminds me of DH and Liss they both like this movie, "The Nightmare Before Christmas"

Look close, the tree in the above picture is upside down! This gingerbread house is Jack's house from Nightmare Before Christmas, amazing!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good Fats-Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

Trans Fat(bad), Omega 6, and Omega 3

This picture minus the trans fat shows a healthy balance of omega 6 and omega 3 essential fatty acids, the picture below shows the ratio more common in American diets.

This month I learned about "good fats". We used ground flax seeds, flax oil, coconut milk, avocados, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and of course extra virgin olive oil!

I thought of a fun way to explain the big deal about omega 3 fats and trans fats to my kids, so here it is. I said good fats are our bodies building blocks. Squares were omega 3's, Rectangles omega 6's, and homemade silly putty were trans fats. A trans fat is when you take a liquid fat and make it a solid fat. Its fake though and doesn't make a very good building block for our body. For analogoy, I explained the silly putty was home-made and nowhere near as good for building towers as real Legos.

I explained that we need between 1:1 and 4:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids, but most Americans get between 10:1 and 25:1. I gave the kids 25 "Omega 6" Legos, trans fat, and one "Omega 3" Lego and asked them to build as many little buildings that had 2 "Omega 6" blocks as the base and an "Omega 3" as the chimney as they could. "We can only build one! What do we do with the rest of the "Omega 6" and the trans fat ? they asked. Then I explained that our bodies have the same problem. I asked them to try building with some "trans fat".

"You can't build anything with trans fat, its gross, it makes as mess!!!" They said.

"Yes, trans fat makes a mess of our bodies too" I said. "Would you like some more "Omega 3" instead"

"Yeees!" they said, lesson over.

They went around talking about Omega 3 for a week. It was cute.

These foods have omega 3 fatty acids:

These foods have omega 6 fatty acids:

We went on a scavenger hunt to clean out the kitchen of trans fats, usually it had the pillsbury dough boy on the label.

FYI on EFAs:

EFAs support the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems. The human body needs EFAs to manufacture and repair cell membranes, enabling the cells to obtain optimum nutrition and expel harmful waste products. A primary function of EFAs is the production of prostaglandins, which regulate body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood clotting, fertility, conception, and play a role in immune function by regulating inflammation and encouraging the body to fight infection. Essential Fatty Acids are also needed for proper growth in children, particularly for neural development and maturation of sensory systems, with male children having higher needs than females. Fetuses and breast-fed infants also require an adequate supply of EFAs through the mother's dietary intake.

EFA deficiency and Omega 6/3 imbalance is linked with serious health conditions, such as heart attacks, cancer, insulin resistance, asthma, lupus, schizophrenia, depression, postpartum depression, accelerated aging, stroke, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, ADHD, and Alzheimer's Disease, among others.

Essential Fatty Acid imbalance isn't a historical problem because in the olden days we didn't have an over-processed diet and people ate more wild meat and fish. Grain fed rather than grass fed livestock and hens provide omega 6 fatty acids in the meat and eggs instead of omega 3. (Now you know why I always beg my hunting friends for venison, tasty source of omega 3...)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

For Cryin' Out Loud

Yes there were lots of tears involved from mother and daughter with little A's latest venture. While helping me make dinner the other night, she swiped a few of my seasonings and snuck to a far corner of the house where she proceeded to dump half a can of pepper over her head. Ouch!

Other ventures of late include locking herself in the laundry room which has no light or windows (we took the doorknob off to get her out) and hiding big sister's library book in the diaper pail (luckily it was empty at the time...)
She really is such a cheerful kid. She is a morning person and always has a big smile which we really enjoy. She loves singing and knows the words to quite a few songs. She wants to be in the ward choir. She grabbed a hymnbook and jumped into line as the choir rehearsed today. She sung her heart out for awhile and then decided she needed to stand on the organ bench in order to see the director, which wasn't okay. Little D was busy flirting with the young women in the choir. He grinned and giggled at them nonstop. Obviously I wasn't much help to the choir today, but I really enjoy going, so they put up with me.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What I'm Reading To My Kids

The True Gift: A Christmas Story The True Gift: A Christmas Story by Patricia MacLachlan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I thought I wouldn't like this, the cow on the cover didn't interest me much, but I did. It is a short, plain story just like Sarah, Plain and Tall, but it is amazing because MacLachlan uses each and every word on the page purposefully to create a lilting rythm that is a pleasure to read and to listen too. It is like a lullabye or poetry. And of course, my kids loved the sweet story!

View all my reviews >>

Friday, December 4, 2009

D 3 month picture

Thinking Cap

Weird picture right? D has such a "ho-hum" expression! Monday, D volunteered at BYU's infant development lab. They monitored his responses to auditory and visual stimulus for 3 minutes. Each little circle on the cap monitors electrical impulses in the brain. The point of the study is to create a picture of how babies process what they see and hear, or in other words to get an idea how babies see the world. They gave us this picture as a souvenir. D was a good participant although he was mostly interested in eating the cap!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What's cookin?

In the last three months, I've cooked a lot of things for the first time and tried a lot of new foods. Here's a quick list of recipes I've tried:

"Delicious stuff I've made more than once..."
Mackerel chowder
Salmon Burgers
Whole wheat sourdough with olive oil and herbs (I made the snacks, not the bread...)
Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Robyn's Beet Cake (kinda new, we've made Andrea's before and they're about the same)
Cornbread (from scratch, I've always used a mix before)
20-min granola
Toasted pumpkin seeds
No-Knead, Slow-rise, Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread (this recipe is crazy-hard, but I keep making it, hoping to figure it out)

Yum! I'll definitely make this again
Braggs Vinaigrette (me and husband's favorite dressing, we love the raw apple cider vinegar flavor!)
Crockpot Refried Beans
Walnut-Basil Pesto
Mushroom Chicken Thighs
Creamy Caesar Dressing (made this up all by myself)

Just okay, nothing special
Spicy Ranch Dressing
Cool Ranch Dressing
Basic Vinegar and Oil Dressing
"Simple Whole Wheat Bread"
Ice Cream Cake

Not a big fan of this recipe
Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup (We have another pumpkin soup we love, but this soup was too bizarre for me)

Braggs Dressing
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 C raw apple cider vinegar
1/2~1 tsp Braggs liquid Aminos or soy sauce
1~2 tsp honey
1~2 cloves garlic
pinch of an herb blend of your choice or Braggs 24 herbs and spices
Mix it all in your blender.

Mackerel Chowder
I make chowder with canned mackerel and it is delicious--the highest and best use of the product! Place 1 can of fish in a two quart pot, bones, juice and all. Break up the mackerel into fairly small chunks and add 1 can of tomato sauce or diced tomatoes. Dice and add 1 onion, two tablespoons of raw rice or a cubed potato and salt and pepper to season. Add 1-2 cans of water or chicken broth. Boil vigorously uncovered for a couple of minutes and then cover and simmer for a half hour or so. The longer it cooks, the more tender the fish becomes. This is very similar to bluefish chowder. Enjoy! (2 1/2 Tbs rice and 1 can broth makes a nice thick stew, add more liquid if you want it more soupy)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Crysta, Boba Fett, Puppy, and a Frog

Update: To make this Crysta Costume we used two colors of red fabric from JoAnn's. The bottom was just a skirt with elastic waistband. The petal shape of it is what makes it unique. I wasn't willing to let my daughter show as much skin as Crysta does in the movie, I showed her how Disney fairy costumes add a contrasting fabric to the tops where the real fairies are shoulderless and that is what we decided to do with our Crysta costume. So, the top was inspired by a blog post we saw on wrap around t-shirt crafts. The girl had taken two t-shirts, cut them up and sewed them together. We traced some of my daughter's t-shirts for our pattern. We used the two different colors of fabric on the various sides of the wrap. That lets us make a nice Crysta costume with the right feel that was modest enough for a little girl to wear. The wings were tights over wire hangers, school glue and glitter. we tied them on with long strips of the red fabric. I think if I did it again I'd get all-a-dollar wings. They are the best because they are small and light weight. We bought nicer ones that were to big and awkward and the ones we made had that same problem. All a-dollar wings could still be reshaped and glittered after you buy them.

Whew! We made it through Halloween. I love making costumes and planning parties and cringe at the candy over dosage.

I usually make at least one homemade costume a year. This year it was Crysta the rainforest fairy from the 90's movie Fern Gully. I made the pattern, sewed the dress, and made the wings. Needless to say I was very pleased with myself, even if the fit was a bit off, it was good enough for one day!

The school doesn't allow masks, so I made a Boba Fett helmet out of a cracker box and milk carton. Mixing the paint colors was lots of fun. It was a bit small, but that kept if from falling off *grin*

A puppy with a blankie...

No one would ever wear the froggy costume because it was too hard to put on, but I finally put a zipper in it, and what do you know it worked great for a baby costume. AJ said it was a rainforest costume like hers and that was very cool.

Halloween parade and class party

I was in charge of the first grade class party. One of the other moms did a station and then I planned the other three. We made popcorn, noisy, messy, and very fun! (glad I brought a dustbuster)

They made Halloween decorations. AJ and J came up with this one, I told them to think something up for the party and they made a picture frame with popsicle sticks to decorate.

The kids were supposed to make a mummy and then take a picture of the group at this
station. Then they played ring toss.

The class ended the party by going on a halloween treasure hunt. Grandma had made a bunch of bats and ghosts and pumpkins with letters on them, which I hid all around the classroom. The kids had to find the letters to the word "BOO" in order to get their brownies. AJ said this was her favorite game. AJ and I put chocolate eyeballs on all the brownies to make them look creepy. That was fun and they turned out really cool looking.

The Halloween Parade

Crysta the rainforest fairy from the movie "Fern Gully"

"Boba Fett" from Star Wars

Guess what this is

We've had this trivet hanging in our kitchen wherever we have lived since we were married. I like the colors, it makes me happy. Anyway, for years we debated about what fruit or vegetable it was supposed to be. Finally my Dad put the issue to rest when he identified it as a persimmon. This week persimmons were on sale and my kids enjoyed trying out a new fruit.

To be safe, persimmons need to be fully ripe before eating. Leave them on the counter until they are soft. When fully ripe they range from yellow to orange to reddish orange. They have a hard skin and are orange inside with a pudding-like texture. They are very sweet like brown sugar, known in mythology as "the fruit of the Gods". We really enjoyed them in smoothies, they added creaminess like bananas do.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

First Tooth

I can't believe it, he is only three months old, but that tooth is IN and I swear the one next to it is coming in too.

No, you can't see it in the picture, but I liked the picture of him smiling...


Pear Salad

AJ aspires to be a food artist, she looks forward to designing a beautiful salad every night and is disappointed if I don't have enough toppings for her craft...

Preschool Project

Preschool Project

Beauty is...

2009 Reflections Contest

AJ "Beauty is: Fairies, they have gorgeous wings and are magical and stuff..."
First place k-2nd grade. She also won first place in literature. Congrats!

J "Beauty is: Yoda" probably not a legal entry, but all he can think about is Star Wars right now.

These pears are beautiful to me. They were canned just the hour when they reached perfectly ripe, with the peals still on, in a water and stevia syrup. So they are a wholefood with no sugar added and they taste like fresh pears instead of sugar water, yummy!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Our first salad

I told the kids that my goal this month was to serve salad at dinner every night. They said "eew yuck!"

So the first salad had me ready to go to battle, but as it turns out, no one complained. Little AP had seconds and thirds. I gave her a tiny bowl to start with I was so nervous she would hate it. Thankfully, my family likes salad just fine. AJ our picky eater doesn't use dressing, but she eats the salad. Yay! (Yes, that is a blenderful of green smoothie in the background.) I keep the lettuce and veggies separate like restaurants do so everyone gets some.

Fall Hike-Maple Canyon

This is a family tradition of sorts. We fell in love with fall colors when we lived in Logan. Anyway, we've done "the fall drive" the last few years with little kids, but this year we did the real thing and it was a lot of fun. The kids favorite part was picking up acorns, which you can only do in the fall. Dad came too, he is the photographer, nice job Dad.

AJ's birthday photo-journal

I chose a peach and spinach smoothie for breakfast

Since mom is documenting smoothie stuff, we pose with a number 7 candle. Smoothies are good for 7-year olds.

Add this one to your blog mom, please!

The rest of my birthday breakfast is cornbread muffins, Yum!

Then I watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and hold my baby brother.

After church, we add the finishing touches to my ice cream cake. We call it the "Leaning Tower O' Cake"

It is an ice cream cake with oreo ice cream, cookie dough ice cream, ganache, reeses peanut butter cups, and sixlets. I've been planning this cake since June. Mom says its totally not on her diet, but she eats some anyway. I used the leftover ganache on strawberries from the garden. So fancy!