Saturday, February 27, 2010

In the kitchen: food storage and my cute helpers

Since I've opened a few food storage number ten cans, I thought I'd better use them. So we've been experimenting with different food storage recipes. This week we made navajo fry bread that has dry powdered milk in it which we LOVED. They're good for dinner with beans and different taco makings on top, and they're good for dessert with butter and honey. The kids aren't really helping me make fry bread in this picture, they're 'making chicken', with my flour and some unopened canned food items and measuring cups and things.
We've also been drinking Moo's milk(since the last week or so), which is an alternative milk. The only ones that drink milk from a glass regularly are Elisabeth and Charles, and they haven't said anything about it(I made the powdered milk and put it in our old milk gallon container so no one would know, and Scott didn't know either until I told him after he'd had some). The rest of us generally just have milk with our cereal, and we haven't noticed a change in flavor there either.

I also tried out a cookie recipe that uses white beans as a substitute for butter. My cousins first told me about this and then I found a recipe in my cool food storage recipe book and we made them this weekend (Oh, by the way. My goal of only having 2 sweets a week went well this week. I didn't have any until this weekend! Well, that's if you don't count poppyseed bread as a dessert, which I don't...even though it had an orange glaze on top :). But before this week, I decided to put the goal on hold because of Valentine's Day and Annabelle's birthday. So I've really only done it for a week, but I feel like I'm doing good now. I even threw away a bunch of candy we had from different activities the kids had been involved in and from holidays etc.). And back to my white bean cookies: they turned out pretty good. The kids love them and keep asking for more and both Scott and I ate them as well and thought they were pretty good. Not quite Nestle Tollhouse, but they were pretty good. Scott remarked that they are more the consistency of pumpkin cookies, which seems right....more cakey, I suppose.
And here's a picture of our little mouse. I swear this kid has snuck cheese since he was able to walk. We've caught him on numerous occasions with parmesan cheese all over his face and shirt(like the picture below) or we'll find giant bite sized marks on blocks of cheese. I think it's hilarious. This picture is funny because I was cracking up while taking this picture, and yet Charles had this really sad expression on his face; I guess from being caught, even though I can't see why he'd be that sad when we were laughing about it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"look at your man, now back to me"

Our digital converter box broke a month or so ago, which means we no longer have TV. Not a big deal for our family, but anyway, I didn't see this Old Spice commercial until this past week when a couple of my friends posted it on their blogs. After seeing it a couple of times, we(Scott and I) thought it was pretty funny.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Count down

In the late afternoon on Sunday, Scott prepared a yummy Italian dinner while Charles and Annabelle played Dominos, and Elisabeth and I put together a construction paper chain link to count down the days to baby's due date. It's interesting because the first 7 months kind of flew by and I could never remember how many weeks I was, but now that it's getting closer and I'm huge and so it's just something I notice and am constantly aware of, I know, not only the weeks when asked, but the days. So from today we have 41 days until her due date. She's supposed to arrive the day after Easter, and general conference, which is April 5th.

Local stores are already getting all of their Easter stuff out which makes me even more excited. I just wish these last 40 days could go by as fast as the rest of the pregnancy. I've already taken out all of our baby girl new born clothes and put them away in her closet(and Annabelle's for the time being). I have some newborn diapers and all the other things we need all ready as well. I think the only thing I still need to do is make a list of what to bring to the hospital and pack my bag. I'm sure I'll make the list soon and put it in my bag, but I probably won't actually pack the bag until I'm in labor, counting contractions at home because most of the stuff I bring are things I use on a daily basis.

We set up a toddler bed down in Elisabeth's room(she sleeps in the basement alone and has been excitedly anticipating sharing her room with Annabelle) for Annabelle to sleep in and just this week we started having them share a room at night and so far it's gone fine. Though I still have all of Annabelle's clothes in the baby room closet upstairs and she continues to nap in the crib in the baby room. I'm not sure when I'm going to decide to give the crib up, but not any time soon. I may even wait some months after the baby is born since she'll be in her bassinet for awhile. I'll move her clothes down after this week if the girls continue to do well sleeping together.

Here's a picture of Annabelle on her new-to-her toddler bed. When she was sleeping alone in her crib, she usually slept with a few special blankets and three babies. But since she's moved down with Elisabeth, and I'm not sure which of the girls was the one to add all of these items, but she sleeps with the same several blankets and babies plus 2 barbies, a stuffed butterfly, a stuffed monkey, a stuffed bear, and a stuffed cat. They're all nice and snug in the bed.

My mom is coming out March 25 which gives me something a little sooner to look forward to, and Scott's mom will be coming out as well, hopefully pretty close to that same time, though we don't know of an exact day yet. Until then, I'm just hoping for beautiful weather so that me and the kids can get out of the house every day for a walk to help keep us all sane during this final stage of pregnancy. (Oh and by the way, thanks Kelley for the Christmas gift cards...Scott and I used them this weekend and bought ourselves some nicer, comfy pillows which has been a dream come true!)

Bring on Spring and April and beautiful flowers and warmer weather!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Food storage jello poke cake

This past week I needed to make a food item to share at our relief society meeting, using my food storage. A friend of mine emailed me this 135 page dry pack cookbook with some cool recipes. I went through and picked several that sounded really yummy. I decided on the jello poke cake. I used my dry powdered whole eggs in the cake box mix with oil and water, and then the top has a box of jello with water, pudding also made with water, and whipped cream which I made from the dream whip dry packets and mixed some vanilla and dry powdered milk mix in with it. It turned out wonderfully! I'm glad to know that powdered eggs taste good in regular cake, so if we ever need to take full advantage of our food storage, at least we'll have something yummy to eat since I always have lots of cake box mixes on hand.
Here's the recipe:

Jello poke cake
1 yellow or white cake box mix (can use dry powdered eggs)
1 small jello (any flavor)
1/2 c. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 c water
1 8 oz cool whip (can use dream whip with powdered milk)

Make cake and let it cool. Make Jello using only 3/4 cup of water to dissolve and 3/4 cup
cold water. Poke holes in the cake using a straw or fork (about every 2 inches). Pour Jello
on cake and refrigerate for 2 hours. Mix pudding with water and refrigerate half hour. Mix
Cool Whip into pudding and spread on top of cake. Serve or store in fridge in covered
container until ready to serve.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Swimming lessons and a sunbeam talk

Saturday Charles and Elisabeth started up with swimming lessons again. They'll have 30 minute lessons every Saturday for 6 weeks and they're so excited about it! I put them both in the pre level 2 class so they could have lessons at the same time, even though I'm not too sure if Charlie is quite ready for that one. But it's only the two of them and one other girl in the class with two swim instructors, so I think it'll be okay because he should get lots of one-on-one time.

While Annabelle and I were waiting for Scott and the kids to get out of the shower once they'd finished their lesson, just next to us and outside the door I heard a crash and looked out the window into the hall and saw glass everywhere. A guy had just smashed his shoulder, I think, through the glass wall of the basketball court! Ouch. I had my camera and almost took a picture of it but decided against it. The paramedics came and hauled him away; hopefully he'll be okay. Probably two Saturdays before, another guy got hauled away from the basketball courts from a broken ankle or something. Sheesh, who knew basketball could be such a dangerous sport? So of course when Scott took off to the church last night for his basketball game I felt the need to advise him to please play nice and not get hurt or hurt anyone else...even though Scott really is a good sport and a nice player anyway, I know he really didn't need the reminder.

Today, Charles gave his first talk at church in primary and it was on our Savior, Jesus Christ. He was a bit shy at first, but Daddy was right behind him whispering words of encouragement into his ear and pretty soon Charles was able to speak his talk, fairly clearly, into the microphone. There were two other sunbeams who also were part of the opening exercise program, and they're quite a bit younger than Char; one girl just turned three in December and when it was her turn to give the prayer she went up to the microphone with a helper and then said she was 'too tired' and then sat back down :). It was very cute. They are always so cute and fun to watch. Good job Charlie, you did great!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Two and Four year, well check appointments

Charles and Annabelle had their well check appointments today. Annabelle only needed one shot, but Charlie on the other hand, got two. Both experiences were not pretty, to say the least. It's much harder to hold down a freaked out four-year-old boy than it is a two-year-old girl.

Here are their growth chart stats:
Annabelle: weight-24.03 lbs(16%), height- 32.28inches (19%), BMI 44%
Charles: weight-33.5 lbs (24%), height- 40.16inches (41%), BMI 17%

They're small, but growing. We're all glad to have that appointment over with and Annabelle and Charlie are happy that they won't have to go back for more shots for another year.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Annabelle is two!

Annabelle is 2 years old and is so much fun! We all love to spend time with her and to watch and listen to the new things she's saying and doing. Here are some things about our 2 year old.

Annabelle calls animals by the sounds they make: "Ruff"-dog, "Meow"-cat and "ew, ew, Aw"-monkey

Annabelle is the latest of our children, so far, to develop her language abilities and speak in sentences which makes sense since she has 2 older siblings and a mom and dad who understand what she wants with her just using gestures and so I'm sure she rarely feels the need to use words and sentences. But she is getting a little better and she can say quite a few words. Here are some of the words or phrases she uses most often:Oh, I do!, Yes, Yeah, No, Mine, Daddy, Mommy, Poopy, Pee, Toe, Shoe, Juice, Eye, All done, Uh-oh, Ow!, Um, "Ah Daddy"-where's daddy? "A down"-I want to get down, "My baba"-my water bottle, "A-nonin'"-good morning, "no"-nose

Annabelle is definitely a happy little girl and she spreads cheer wherever she goes. She loves to sing and hum and dance and dress up and do all the other things that most little girls enjoy doing. Over the past month or so, she's gotten into playing make believe games with Charles and Elisabeth. The other day they were playing house and I peeked in on them a few times and heard Annabelle calling Charlie "Daddy" since that was the role he was playing. And then she called Elisabeth "Mommy" to which Elisabeth quickly corrected her: "No Annabelle, I'm not the mom, I'm the sister. We don't have a mom because she died, remember?" Apparently they were reenacting the movie, Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses. "Oh" was Annabelle's reply, and she didn't call Elisabeth, 'mom' again.

Annabelle loves to get in her dress on Sunday and go to church with us, though once sacrament has finished and it's time to go to nursery with the other little children, she begins to cry. She just started doing this probably a month ago when Charlie moved out of her nursery class and up to the Sunbeam class with the other 3 and 4 year olds. Annabelle just loves to be with her siblings and her family which I think was the root of her sudden meltdowns. She doesn't have any problems when we have a babysitter over, so I don't think it's a stranger apprehension, she just wants to have at least one of her family members with her. But she's adjusting. Last Sunday, after very few tears and mom asking to see her 'happy face' several times, to which Annabelle forced a smile through her sad eyes, she stayed in nursery the entire time and the leaders said she did really well. Wahoo! I think we're making progress.

We've started potty training Annabelle, and she's been pretty successful. She's still doing really well and wants to use the potty often. Mostly it's hard for me because when we go or when she takes naps, I stick a diaper on her and then it's so easy that I end up leaving it on for the remainder of the day which doesn't help anything. Hopefully we'll be able to be better about this pretty soon. My goal is to have her day-time potty trained by the end of March before the next baby arrives.

I made an Elmo cake for Annabelle this year because he's one of the few things she recognizes and gets excited about, even though she's never actually seen a show with Elmo. She also loves princesses, even more so than Elmo, but since I do princess cakes for all of Elisabeth's birthdays, and since Annabelle didn't actually tell me she wanted a princess cake, I decided to go with something else she likes. And I had picked up this Elmo cake pan a couple of years ago from a garage sale and had been wanting to try it out.

On the morning of her birthday, after we ate breakfast, Annabelle opened her gifts. She loved them all, though after she opened her princess barbies from Granny, she was done looking at everything else for a little while. Later that morning she put on her tutu and leotard and danced around with her barbies. (By the way, I had to make a run to Roberts Craft store last night for some last minute icing colors for her Elmo cake and since they give out balloons to children, I asked if I could take a few home for my kids. We attached the balloons to her high chair after she was asleep, which she thought was the neatest surprise) :). Later in the evening, once daddy was home and we had eaten dinner, we sang Happy Birthday and ate the Elmo cake.

She loves the tutu I made her which makes me happy :).
Happy Birthday Annabelle! We love you!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's traditions

This year was my year to be in charge of valentine planning and preparations. Generally that means I'm in charge of making some sort of festive breakfast and dinner for the family, and of course I could do something more, but I usually don't do much more. We don't usually do gifts besides love letters because we both don't care for that aspect of the holiday. Receiving gifts isn't the best way for us(Me and Scott) to feel loved. I have the type of personality that feels loved with an act of kindness or service or with a really nice thoughtful letter. Scott feels loved by, well, by the way most men feel loved I suppose :). If you don't know what way that is, well then, just forget about it for now, I'm not going to go into it here. Moving along. My cousin Rachel and her family invited us over for a Valentine's day dinner so all I really needed to do was breakfast. I decided to make pink heart shaped pancakes. I only ended up making 5 of them(one for each person) and then using the rest of the batter to make normal circle pancakes(that were still pink) because it took too long to do them in the heart shapes since I only had two of the heart shaped cooking mold things to work with. We also had our favorite vanilla syrup, strawberries, peaches, whipped cream and blueberries. It was very yummy. Every year we also make heart shaped sugar cookies, so we had those as well and we brought some to decorate and share at Rachel's. (I didn't make them as fancy as last years because I was lazy, but they're on sticks so that's kinda cool, right?). Our other tradition for Valentines is that Scott and I write love letters for each member of the family. This is definitely my favorite tradition because I find myself going back over the years and reading them through(sometimes the letters we wrote to the kids but more often the letters Scott wrote to me). I generally write about things I especially love about that family member during that time in their life. So all the kids and Scott and myself have lots of love letters from over the years that I keep in a safe place and some day(probably when each child turns 18 or so) I'll put them all together in a book so they can have their love letters from Mom and Dad from when they were growing up.For Family Home Evening the Monday before Valentine's, we made Valentine envelopes for each member of the family so we could stick our love notes in them Valetine's Day(they are the colorful looking pieces of construction paper hanging by our window).
Friday night Scott had a surprise for me. Like I mentioned before, it was my year for planning and I really didn't plan much because Valentine's is usually pretty low key for us and I'm 33 weeks pregnant and just finished a couple of birthdays and we have another one this week, so anyway, not much planning done on my part. So back to my story: Friday around 5pm we were in our backyard with some neighbor friends playing when Krissy(Scott's sister) dropped by. Scott wasn't home yet from work at this point. She said that I was to pack an over night bag. I wasn't sure if she was joking at first because I'd never had anything like this happen before; but she reassured me that she was completely serious. I went in and quickly and excitedly packed my bag. Scott got home about 15 minutes later and we all ate dinner together and then went to a Valentine's activity at the church that Scott had helped plan and that we'd been planning on attending. Once we finished that, we took off to a hotel near by and stayed the night there. We stayed up late watching a movie and visiting and got to sleep in until 8am. And I must add here that we slept in the most comfortable bed with the most comfortable and fluffy pillows. We decided, after this trip, that sometime within the next year we're going to need to get new pillows (ones that aren't totally flat so you have to stack several under your head....that's what you get when you buy the $5 Walmart ones I suppose, and use them for over 6 years) and hopefully a new bed, too. We'd really like to get a king sized bed(we have a queen) since all the kids like to snuggle up in bed with us in the morning. It's always a tight squeeze with 5 in there and pretty soon we'll have a sixth body in the bed with us :). Anyway, back to our Valentine weekend. We ate a huge complimentary breakfast: I had an omelet, a waffle and french toast(that sounds kind of gross and like a lot looking back now, but it was SO good, I just couldn't decide on one...or two). Scott had an omelet, a waffle, hashbrowns and a sausage. We exercised together in the fitness center and then packed up and went back home. It was so nice being able to spend time together alone and to sleep in. I tell this to Scott fairly frequently, but it's always true: Scott, you're wonderful and I'm so blessed to have you!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cars lamp

I've been looking for a lamp for Charlie's room for a few months. He's been asking for one for awhile. Elisabeth has a princess lamp in her room that she uses at night to read books in bed before she goes to sleep and he wants to be able to do that as well. I wanted to get a cool 'boyish' looking lamp with either sports balls or cars and trucks or something like that. The best price I could find was for $30 at Target, and that seemed like too much. And it wasn't exactly what I wanted. What I really wanted was a Cars lamp, from Cars the movie since Charlie has Cars bedding and a Cars toy chest and lots of other Cars themed things.

Last week on my friend Lindsays blog, she wrote about how she covered a lamp she had using fabric and fabric adhesive spray on a lamp shade. I knew when I read her post that this was my answer. So today I went to Walmart and bought a lamp and shade on sale for $7, Cars fabric for $1.50(I bought 1/3 of a yard) and a small can of the fabric adhesive spray for $3. And then I went home and put it together. Scott helped me pull the fabric around the lamp shade nice and tight and all in all, it was very easy and it only cost us about $12(and if I do another lamp it'll be less because I still have some spray left). It looks so good and Charlie LOVES it! Tonight when Charlie went to bed with his new lamp, Scott peeked in on him and said that he was just sitting in his bed, staring at his Cars lamp smiling :).

Just in case you're wondering how to do it here are some simple instructions(it probably took about 30 minutes):
lay out your fabric and lamp on a covered area(the spray adhesive is a bit messy and goes on like a mist which means it'll get surrounding areas, so be sure to do this)
spray the fabric and the lamp shade and then carefully wrap the lamp in the fabric.
Once it's on the way you want it, cut the excess fabric off, leaving about 1/2 inch hanging over the edge that you can cut every inch or so and then fold under on both top and bottom of lamp edge. You may need to use some hot glue to help keep the edges folded under, but I found that for the most part, the fabric was still sticky enough that it stuck to the inside pretty well.

Blog book arrived!

Our third blog book arrived today! I'm always so excited to get one in the mail and hold it in my hands! The previous two books I made with a dust cover jacket, but this year I decided to try the image wrap, and I love it. The dust cover jackets look really nice too, but they get a little worn looking around the edges from being handled, and I don't think I'll have to worry about that with this one.

This book was 278 pages and with shipping and tax and everything (and with the image wrap cover which is $5 more), it cost around $80. It has inside, around 780 pictures. Since I've started putting together these blog books or photo journals, I no longer print pictures so I actually save money doing it this way because if I were to print 780 pictures in a year at 13 cents a copy(that's the price at Costco) that would be over $100. And then I'd need photo albums, too. So anyway, I just love this way of journaling! Here are some pictures.

The three photo journals

table of contents
sample pages

Friday, February 12, 2010

Raking leaves

I think most people don't have leaves to rake this time of year. Generally, they rake them in the fall, when they fall, before it snows. But alas, once I finished raking the front yard(in the fall), I was not feeling up to raking the back, and Scott was busy preparing for his engineering exam, and so the leaves stayed put. And then the snow fell, covering up the leaves for a time. Now, a few months later, the snow has melted and our leaves can again be seen. And unfortunately, since we left them in heaps for so long and they've been piled on with snow, the bottom layer of leaves are black and soggy and stick to each other and to the grass. This makes raking leaves even more difficult. But this week, since Elisabeth is still off track and we're working on different projects, one day we decided to go out back and rake the leaves. So while Char and Annabelle played on the swingset, Elisabeth and I got to work and raked up and bagged a lot of leaves. She continues to amaze me at how helpful she can actually be now that she's a bit older. And she enjoys it! While we were raking she said to me, "Raking leaves is fun. Kind of like cleaning." Amazing! I hope her younger siblings will follow her example and someday, too, come to enjoy cleaning and keeping a clean home.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Random thoughts

* I love going to Costco in the afternoon when they have their samples out, even though it's crazy busy at that time. This past Saturday was an especially good day for samples because of the superbowl. I tried one really yummy(okay, I actually had two. I got one for Annabelle even though I knew she wouldn't want it) chicken salad sandwich sample. I ended up making some Sunday.

*All three of our kids love grapefruit. Is that normal? I didn't like grapefruit until college. But I love it now and eat it often.

*The weather hasn't been too terribly cold over the past week and we've been able to go out on walks almost every day! I love going on walks and have missed doing it, so very much, over these past few months. I'm pretty sure my lack of walking over these past few months is related to my groin pains as of late. Which makes me even more excited and motivated to get back into walking regularly. The elliptical machine is great, but they work different muscles.*All family members have stayed surprisingly healthy this season(so far). We haven't had any vomiting, hardly any colds and definitely none that have lasted too long. I think we had one with a fever for one evening, but that's it. Amazing! I attribute our good health to the many blessings from the Lord, and to the obsessive compulsive mother(me), who does not want to be sick and pregnant like I was with Annabelle at one point in time, and so we use hand sanitizer constantly(we have several bottles throughout the house and I keep one handy in my purse) and we've been going out to less public places this season, trying to avoid catching something from someone else.

*I'm still really loving my wheat grinder. I grind about 6 cups a week and put it in different recipes that call for white flour: mostly pizza and pancakes. I substitute half and half with white flour.

*I am 32 weeks pregnant, which means I still have 8 weeks left to go. Generally, women gain quite a bit of weight in these last 8 weeks, which is unfortunate since I learned, at my doctor's appointment Monday, that I've already gained between 35-40 lbs. I'm pretty sure all the sweets I'm baking and eating has a lot to do with those numbers. Speaking of sweets, I made something called, '7 layer bars'(thanks Sharee for that recipe) this past weekend and they are so yummy! The seven layers are: butter, graham crackers crushed, craisins, white chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, coconut and chopped pecans.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My date with Charles

Saturday afternoon Charlie and I went on a date. He requested lunch at Arctic Circle. So that's what we did. I knew that wouldn't take very long, so I stuffed a bag of old bread ends in my purse and once we finished lunch I took him over to feed the ducks. I enjoyed having some one-on-one time with our very rambunctious little boy.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

I read The Scarlet Pimpernel for book club this past month and loved it! It made me wonder why I'd never read it before in my life. It's a historical romance about the French Revolution. The Scarlet Pimpernel is a man of many disguises so that he can help save the aristocrats who are being beheaded. I won't say any more, but read it. It's fun and exciting and there's a little bit of mystery involved as well. Afterward, Scott and I rented the 1980 something adaptation with Jane Seymour, and we both really enjoyed it. And a favorite quote from the book:

They seek him here, they seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven, or is he in hell?
That demmed, elusive Pimpernel.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Annabelle's first experience with nail polish

And maybe the last for awhile. It was really hard to get her to sit still while they dried. She did really good while I painted, though. The only reason I painted them in the first place was because she saw me painting Elisabeth's and was so insistent that I do hers as well. Maybe we'll try again when she's older. It is really cute how much she loves it though. All throughout the day I'll catch her looking at her pretty nails and she'll occasionally ask me to look at them as well, hoping for a compliment. She won't even keep socks on, for the time being, because then she can't see her painted toenails. It's kind of funny, and annoying at the same time. I'd like her to keep her socks on because it's winter and she has a runny nose. I guess we'll just have to put a hold on socks until the novelty of it wears off.