Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy 6th Birthday Elisabeth!



Our first born is now six years old! She's had several accomplishments/milestones this year: She finished her first year of school(kindergarten), she's reading chapter books and writing full sentences, she can read her scriptures on her own, she can do jump rope, she lost four teeth, she can ride a big two wheeler now(though she's been riding her smaller two wheeler bike since she was 4), and she's getting to be so responsible. She will help Annabelle get all dressed and ready and she not only bathes herself, but she washes Annabelle too, hair and all, when they take baths together.

We sure love our sweet Elisabeth and are so blessed to have her as a member of our family.

Some pictures from this weekend and today:
Ballet slippers and a dress with a matching baby dress from Granny.


Here she is opening Mom and Dad's gifts before breakfast. Gifts from family before breakfast has become a tradition in our household. Another tradition is that the birthday boy/girl gets to choose the menu for the day. We had german pancakes for breakfast, Dino buddies for lunch, and Burger King for dinner(nice combo after my health food post. But we don't eat like this all the time). Her gifts from mom and dad were clothes I bought at an end of the season sale some time ago, and rollerblades(we were lucky enough to have found these at a garage sale). She also got birthday cards from both sets of grandparents with some money. She's going to try really hard to save it so that she can buy a two wheeled scooter. We're hoping to find one at a garage sale this summer. If any of you Utahn's see one while you're out "garage sale-ing," give me a call.
Happy Birthday Lis!

Sharing the love

1. For all of you bloggers who like to turn your blogs into books, go to this blog to get a coupon code to use on blurb.com (the blog/book making website) for $39.95 off. Yes, that's right $39.95 off. The catch is that you can only use the coupon code once and you have to use it by August, so get crackin! Thanks Mary for sharing this info on your blog. I already printed my blog book for this year but have been wanting extra copies that I can give the kids when they're older. So I ordered an extra copy earlier this week with the coupon. Awesome!

2. I was able to attend a class last week by the Green Smoothie Girl. I checked out one of her books from the library before I went and read up on her blog so that I didn't come completely ignorant to the things she was talking about and I've learned quite a bit about green smoothies and her lifestyle. I think it would be safe to call her an extremist when it comes to healthy living. She is very opinionated. I don't agree with everything she does, but the green smoothies, in my opinion, are spot on. I've been drinking them for three weeks now and I still think they're the coolest thing ever. She suggests adults drink a quart a day, though a pint is great too. I drink a quart because I love it and I feel so good when I do. I could probably drink even more than that but fresh and frozen fruit isn't cheap, so I just fill up my Nalgene bottle in the morning and drink half of it for breakfast and finish the rest by lunch. A quart has 15 servings of fruit and vegetables(combined). Scott drinks a glass in the morning with breakfast and our kids don't drink a lot, but they do have some every day, by choice. I will usually drink mine with a straw and when they see me, they come over and ask me to share. And I do. And sometimes they ask for a glass of their own. If you haven't tried this, you should. I've been learning more about food and nutrition and it really is so important for us to put good things(whole foods, fresh fruit and veggies) in our bodies. It helps prevent and cure so many diseases which makes sense since God made this earth and all the plants and animals and tells us what we should eat to keep our bodies healthy and strong. In order to do these smoothies, you do need to use a high powered blender or a food processor in order to get your spinach and kale chopped up nice and smooth.

One more thing I wanted to share about health and nutrition is a video Scott and I just watched from my friend April's website. There are 4 parts to the video, each segment about 10 minutes long, but sit down with your hubby and watch. That way you can both be on the same page. The guy being interviewed, Michael Pollan, is entertaining. Scott and I chuckled several times. You can find the videos here. They're titled, In Defense of Food. One highlight from the video that I'll share: he said to pretend that you have your 100 year old great grandmother with you while you're shopping at the grocery store. You're not allowed to buy things she wouldn't recognize, and example he gave was 'go-gurt' tubes. You could also include things like Dino buddies, Trix, cheetos, twinkies etc. And he also said, while shopping, to shop the perimeter because that's generally where the whole foods are: fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy.

I hope you enjoy these links.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cinderella Cake

A few months ago, Elisabeth and I were grocery shopping and she saw a cake in the bakery that she really liked. She asked if I'd make it for her birthday. So, later on that month, I went back to the grocery store --alone and armed with my camera-- and discreetly snapped a photo.

This is my version of the bakery cake:

We got these figurines at the Disney store some time ago which was perfect. It's all butter cream frosting on a double layer, 9x13, white cake. The decorating was actually pretty simple and quick in comparison to some cakes I've made in the past. I probably only spent about an hour decorating. Though of course there is also time for mixing the cake batter, baking, mixing frosting, coloring frosting etc. so the whole project probably took around 4 hours or so. But the time spent was all broken up over two days so it was fine.

It doesn't get much better than this....

To feel the softness of my baby girls sweet cheeks pressed against mine.
Coaxing her to smile(please excuse the pajamas and no make up):If I could have it my way, I would have a sweet baby in my arms forever and always.
But this is pretty good, too:
*By the way, Jane is now three months old! She LOVES to smile and we LOVE to see her smile. Seriously, she smiles all day long if someone will come and talk to her and smile with her. We sure love this chubby cheeked little girl. She is amazingly sweet and we love her dearly and are grateful for her calming, patient and easy going temperament. And I'm continually grateful for her awesome sleeping habits.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Elisabeth's birthday party

Elisabeth will be six this week and she requested a princess party, again. I wanted to change things up a little from previous years: add a few games instead of doing a splash party, and this is what we came up with:

The birthday invitations we sent out were in the shape of tiara's and we cordially invited each princess to attend 'Princess Elisabeth's birthday party', wearing their favorite princess gown.


1. The Royal Salon. As the princesses arrived, they were seated and given a little make over by myself and Krissy(we also dressed up as princesses which was fun). We applied a mini lip gloss to their lips, which they got to add to their party favors, and sparkly gel to their cheeks and eye lids(I just mixed some sparkles with aloe vera gel).
Elisabeth and Sadi showing off their pretty faces.2. Next we lined up inside and played, 'pin the slipper on Cinderella'. I told the girls at this time that there were no prizes, but that everyone was a winner and we'd all get party favors at the end. (I wanted to make this clear in the beginning to avoid any confusion and perhaps tears. Princesses are prone to have tears :)).



3. Pizza, cheetos, cake, ice cream and strawberry lemonade. Healthy choices, no? I meant to serve fruit wands as well, but I ran out of time and couldn't put them together. I guess all that extra fruit can go into my green smoothies this week :). But at least there was no other candy given...besides the fruit snacks in the party favors.

Elisabeth with her beautiful princess cake made by, yours truly :). And because it's me and my blog and I love to do cakes, of course there will be another post dedicated entirely to the cake. Coming soon.





My beautiful helpers: Krissy (Scott's sister) on my left and my cousin Rachel on my right.

As we cleaned up after one activity and before we started the next, the girls were always drawn to the swing set which worked out wonderfully.

4. Ariel's relay. In this game we divided into two teams and each team had a bag of things to put on: cape, tiara, dress up shoes, sunglasses and bracelets. Once that was on, they had to run across the grass, pull a fish (water balloon) out of Ursula's bucket, and run back to the line and drop the fish in Ariel's bucket and then the next one would go and so on until all the fish were free from Ursula.



Charlie 'helping' me watch the girls and the water balloons. He wanted to throw those water balloons so badly. But he minded himself pretty well and waited until the game was done before he smashed them onto the patio.

5. Craft time: foam slap bracelets. I went to a craft store intending to get foam tiara's and stickers for the girls to decorate, but they only had two left. Which was actually lucky because it caused me to browse the other foam items and I found these cool foam slap bracelets that ended up being much cheaper to do than the tiara's. Here are the girls, and Char, putting foam stickers on their bracelets. We'll call Char's a wristband for Scott's sake :).

6. Present opening.


In review:
* I was glad we had so many activities planned. It kept the girls busy and happy. I, in fact, had one more game to play, Snow White's Poisoned Apple(aka Hot Potato with a 'poisoned' apple), but we didn't have enough time.

*After the party, I asked Elisabeth if she had fun and she said, "Yes! My favorite things were doing the sparkly cheeks and the slap bracelets." Good to know for next time.

*The balloons were fun and made everything look pretty. It was also fun to dress up, and I think the girls liked that too.

*The cake is always the highlight for little children so I'm glad I took the time to make one and that it turned out well.

*We ordered four, Little Caesar's pizzas but only finished 2 and 1/2. And that's with 16 little children and four adults. I guess with the cheetos and cake and ice cream, they didn't want to fill up on too much pizza.

*I normally don't do party favors, but it was really important to Elisabeth to have them this year. I just don't like handing out sweets when they've already been eating cake and ice cream. So we decided to put other things in them this year: sparkly pencil, princess note pad, jewel ring, lip gloss, hair ties and a princess fruit snack. It worked out pretty well. I got most everything in packages at the dollar store, though next year I might make some sort of craft (a bow or something) to give out instead. But only if I have enough time. We'll see.

*Overall, a great birthday party! Thanks Scott, Krissy and Rachel for all your help. And thanks Maren for letting me borrow your 'princess' clothes :).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Playing

Annabelle loves to play barbies and is so kind to include her 3 month old baby sister. Jane looks a little worried in these pictures. It's not an unusual expression for her to have on when her siblings are near.We've had some neighbors move in next door that have three children. The oldest is a boy and is 6, and there are two daughters ages 4 and 18 months. Elisabeth and Charles LOVE having neighbors right next door that are their age. They play every day, sometimes several times a day. They love being able to go over by themselves and knock on the door to see if they can play.

We have lots of little friends in the neighborhood besides these next door neighbors, but I don't let my kids cross the street alone or play somewhere that I can see them well, so they're sort of limited to playing at the houses right next to us if Mom is busy and can't come outside. When they're a little older they'll have more freedom, but for now, this will have to do. And it does. And it's so nice that they can still play with their friends outside when I'm in nursing or cleaning or cooking while a baby is sleeping. Here are a couple of pictures of the kids playing together in the backyard.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father-son campout







This weekend, Charlie and Scott went on a Father and son camp out with a friend of ours, Ben, and his son, with their ward. Scott and Char missed our ward father-son camp out because Scott was in North Carolina, but he promised to take Char later. If I had known before hand they would be near a river, I might not have let Char go, but I didn't know, and they went and had a great time and came home alive. I am a bit of a worrier when it comes to water. Actually, that's a huge understatement. I fear things like lakes and rivers and oceans for a couple of reasons. One, I'm afraid of sea creatures(I got stung by a sting ray on my foot on our honeymoon so I know they're real and out there and can really hurt people), and two, and most importantly, I'm afraid of little, innocent children drowning. And even worse, children under my care, on my watch. I've had a couple experiences when I've almost drowned. Once as a child in a small bit of water that I really can't remember, but my dad remembers and tells me about it often. Apparently, as a two or three year old, I was laying face down in the water and my dad yanked me out. Thanks dad. And Happy Father's Day, by the way, to all the wonderful daddies out there.

As a teenager, I went on a boating outing with some other youth and leaders from church. I was on an innertube being pulled at the back of the boat by a rope. I motioned with the 'thumb down' sign, which they told us to use, for this leader and driver of the boat to slow down, but instead he thought it'd be funny to speed up and do a little turn. I could see him smiling, so that's why I knew he thought it'd be funny. Some how I flew off the innertube toward the boat, the rope caught some slack in the air and caught me around the neck and pulled me under. I thought I was going to die and said a quick prayer. I was blessed with my life and with a nice rope burn around my neck, just before school pictures. I wore a high collared vest for the pictures to cover it up. Anyhow, you hear every summer of so many new drowning incidents and since I am a mother of a 5, 4, 2 and 2 month old, all of which cannot swim on their own just yet, of course I'm a bit nervous and paranoid. I'm hoping as they get older and become great swimmers I won't be quite so worried. But I'll still worry some.

This post was not supposed to be about my fear of water. So back to the father and son camp out. The boys had a wonderful time and one of the highlights during this trip for Char was throwing rocks into the river, which they did a lot. Scott said that several times throughout their trip Char would say, "I want to stay here forever." :) They got to stay up until 11pm and sleep until 7am. Everything was nice. Except the drive was an hour and a half and Scott wanted to bring his truck which doesn't have working A/C, so that was a little miserable(He didn't know the drive was going to be that long).

The girls and I went to a BBQ at a neighbors house that evening and stayed until ten which was WAY past our usual bed time, but we were having so much fun that we just didn't want to leave. The next morning we slept in and then went to a couple of garage sales. It was fun having some 'girls only' time.

And the weather has finely begun to feel like Spring/Summer! I even have a burn along the right side of my face, arm and collar bone area to prove it(we were at a park too long). The kids, who were exposed to the same sun, and who also didn't have any sunscreen on them, came away with nothing more than a little tan. Next time I'll remember my sunscreen. My fair skin does not fare well without some protection from the sun.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Home-made snacks and clips


We have several snacks that we love and keep on hand most of the time. One of those snacks is home-made granola. I love granola. Charles loves granola and Annabelle loves granola. We eat it every day, sometimes a couple of times a day. We don't eat it with anything else. Just granola, in a bowl. And I love, love the recipe we use and have used for the past couple of years. It's chewy and yummy and healthy(no added sugars; honey is the sole sweetener) and filling; I always put in a cup of almonds and a cup of pecans chopped. I buy the big raw bags of those nuts from Costco and they will make several batches of granola. Though we go through almonds pretty fast in our house because, besides Elisabeth, we all love to snack on raw almonds, too. If you want the granola recipe, you can find it on an older post of mine, here.

Moving onto another topic; Elisabeth likes the big elaborate bows that many girls wear these days. I personally think many of them look a little ridiculous, especially when in comparison with the size of the heads of these little girls. But, like I said, Elisabeth loves them and this past week she spent $5.50 of her own hard-earned money, for one hair bow which I thought was too expensive. So this afternoon I went hunting through my sewing tupperware container--which took about 5 seconds since I don't sew much which means I don't have much-- and I found several different types of ribbon, many of which were scrap pieces I'd saved from various projects over the years. I used her new hair clip as a guide, and made her another one with what we had. I even had a really old and ugly metal clip with an even uglier dragon fly on it that no one ever wears, so I ripped off the metal dragon fly and attached our completed bow to the clip to finish the product. Elisabeth was so excited to have another large bow clip. Though, I purposely made this bow a little smaller than the one she has on her head in the previous post.
It doesn't look half bad. I think they're starting to grow on me. An acquired taste I suppose.