Saturday, December 31, 2011

A few more Christmas pictures

Here are a few more pictures from Christmas.

Charles and the oldest two girls got new pajamas on Christmas Eve.

Scott made dinner on Christmas day. Ham, potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. He even made the healthy version on cranberry sauce for me so that I could have them...I ate everything minus the ham.

The kids wanted me to take pictures of them with some of their new things, so here they are:

Elisabeth got a lot of dolphin stuff because she loves them right now. She got a dolphin necklace and stuffed animal from mom and dad, a dolphin pillow pet and movie from grandma and grandpa. She also got an art sketch pad, a gratitude journal(that was her spiritual/Sunday gift), some stationary from aunt Krissy, a piggy bank from Charles and a coloring book from Annabelle.

Charles got an art kit, a book of mormon puzzle book, and a crane from mom and dad. He got a pillow pet and mater electronic car from grandma and grandpa. He got a tiger binoculars from his sisters.

Annabelle got black ballet slippers, a Dora umbrella, barbies from mom and dad and grandma and Elisabeth, a Christ puzzle, a piggy bank from Charles, a sketch pad, and pillow pet from grandma and grandpa.

Jane got a new jacket, hat and gloves, a couple of new babies with a stroller, a new sippy cup and a couple of little gifts from her siblings.

This was the first year the kids had their own money and exchanged gifts with one another. It was so fun to see their faces when they watched their siblings open one of their gifts. They were so excited to see how the recipient would like it. And then they always exchanged hugs afterward. It was very sweet.

Scott and I also exchange three gifts (one spiritual) with each other and do stockings for each other which is always fun. Scott got me a new quad(it has the book of mormon, doctrine and covenants, old and new testament) which was such a surprise! He had noticed that I kept the same ones I had when I was baptized twenty years ago and the spines on those books were in really bad shape. We got my new name engraved on them(not really new since we've been married for 8 years but my last set obviously had my maiden name on them). He also got me an mp3 player so that I could listen to books and music while I exercise on my machines which was something I had hoped for. Did you know you can check out ebooks from the library and put them on your mp3 player? And when they're due three weeks later, they're automatically taken off. I think that's pretty awesome. Our library also has a website for music and you can pick 3 songs to keep each week for free. And my third was tickets to the opera. We'll be going at the end of this month. Scott got an ipod touch, I made him some hot bags made from wheat(he has pains in his back and neck when it gets cold), and I got him the audio book of mormon so he can listen to it in his truck which doesn't have a radio, just a cd player.

Here is the wheat hot bag I made. I made it out of an old pair of my jeans and then also made a pillowcase/cover out of some soft flannel so that we can wash the outside. It works great and we both like it better than the store bought hot pad we have to plug in to the wall. This one feels more comfortable.

Monday, December 26, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things

1. Not the pie, but the person who made these pies. Scott made a couple of pies for the families he home teaches. Aren't they so pretty? He is amazing! He is definitely one of my favorite things :).

2. Food. I love food. This here is one of my favorite meals ever and we had it for Christmas Eve dinner this year. It's enchiladas, rice, beans and corn. I made it using my dad's recipes, though I took out the oil part in the enchiladas(you can put the corn tortillas in warm oil to soften them) and I didn't fry the cooked pinto beans in oil either, instead I just mashed them in their own juice/water. And I used brown rice for the mexican rice. It was so good. It makes my mouth water. So yummy!

3. Children. I love children. I love having children, and having them at Christmas time is a bonus. I seriously am going to be so sad when we no longer have little ones around at Christmas. It feels so magical when they're around. And they're excitement and awe is contagious! We've had so much fun doing all sorts of Christmas related activities this month leading up to Christmas(seeing christmas lights, parties, making ornaments, singing carols, making our 'Christmas Angels' with our gifts to Christ written on them, reading LOTS of christmas stories, acting out live nativities etc) and Christmas Eve and morning were so wonderful. Scott and I could barely sleep Christmas Eve because we were so excited. Basically from 3am on, I was stirring and the time seemed to move so slowly. The girls finally came in a few minutes before 6am and we were happy to get up and get going :)....6am was the time we'd predetermined as an acceptable time for gift opening to begin. They were all so excited about everything.

Granny and Grandpa Garnica got the kids matching outfits to wear to church. They got a lot of compliments :).

(This little play mobil nativity set is awesome. Or any nativity set that is kid-friendly, really. This is the third Christmas we've had this. I pack it up with the Christmas things and when I pull it out each Christmas season, the kids play with it for hours, literally. We've lost a couple of small pieces, but none of the major pieces)

I have many, many more favorite things; these are just a few.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

All I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth

Well, just one for now, but Charlie is about to lose the other one any day here which, if you remember having a loose tooth, especially right in the front, makes it difficult to eat many foods. So I think he does want 2 new front teeth :). And luckily, the two teeth he lost on bottom a while ago have come in which helps.

This first picture was taken just before his tooth came out...see how it's barely hanging by a thread?

And a couple more pictures concerning Charlie:
1. Charlie, for a couple of days(until we found out), was putting his school clothes over his pajamas so that he wouldn't have to change into his pjs again at night...they were already on! :) Here he has pulled up his school shirt to reveal his pajama shirt underneath.

2. This is the gingerbread house Charlie made with his kindergarten class this week. He loves doing craft projects.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Candied Ginger Pears

I read Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Diet, a year or two ago and wrote down some recipes I wanted to try. This is one of them. I halved the recipe and used two pears, but I should have quartered the recipe and just made it with one pear since it was just Scott and I and one serving is a half of a pear.

I really liked this dish. The ripe pear and apple juice made it sweet and the roasted ground up almonds mixed with brown rice syrup gave it a nice texture and complimentary taste. It looks beautiful and would be great served as individual servings at a fancy dinner party or something with adults(my kids didn't want it...but maybe that's just my kids).Here is the recipe:

Candied Ginger Pears

serves 4-6

1 c ground almonds

2 Tbsp brown rice syrup

3 large or 4 small pears, halved and cored scooped out

1 ½ c pear or apple juice

1 tsp ginger juice (grate 1'' fresh ginger and use your fingers to squeeze out the juice)

pinch of fine sea salt

1 Tbsp kuzu(can use cornstarch) mixed with 1 Tbsp cold pear juice

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

4 tsp maple syrup (optional)

Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds, and toast for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until fragrant and golden brown. Transfer to a small bowl to cool. When cool, buzz the almonds in a food processor or blender until very finely ground. Heat the rice syrup in a small saucepan. Add the ground almonds, and stir over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens. Set aside.

Arrange the pears in a deep skillet, cut sides up. Add the pear or apple juice to the pan along with the ginger juice and salt. Cover the pan, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 7-10 minutes, or until the pear halves are soft. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a serving platter, reserving the cooking liquid. Fill the hollow of each pear with some of the ground almond mixture.

Stir in the diluted kuzu into the reserved cooking liquid, and heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, and stir in the lemon juice and zest. Pour the sauce over the pears, and serve. For extra sweetness and some color, drizzle each pear with 1 tsp maple syrup.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

20 weeks and Jane's hives

I had my 20 week appointment today. Everything went well. We went over my ultrasound and everything looks good, the due date is about the same, around May 8th so that's good. No belly picture today because you saw one last week :).

I talked with my doctor about my history of bumps today and then showed him the large one I have on my leg. Like the other doctors(physical therapists etc) I've seen in the past, he's not sure what it is, though he said if it hangs around after pregnancy and I'm concerned, I could see a hematologist and see if he could figure it out for us. But I don't think I will. I've found that if I'm eating good foods and not overweight, they usually don't appear. But right now, with the uterus putting pressure on my blood vessels and making circulation to my legs difficult, I think I'm going to see these until the pregnancy is over...I've also had some swollen varicose veins. Oh the joys of pregnancy :).

I took a picture of the area with the bump for you. It's just below my right knee and it's taking over a pretty large area of my leg. See where it's all discolored, purple, red and some white spots in the middle? That whole area is sensitive to touch, hard and very warm. My varicose veins are down further on that leg, just above my ankle.

And as for diet, I know some of you don't believe that stuff, but I can testify that it really works. Just over Thanksgiving I was in so much pain because of my bump that I was in tears. I could barely walk. I had to have my leg up all day. It was awful. And guess what I ate over Thanksgiving? Ice cream, cake, and apple pie, and more ice cream :). Sugar increases pain. I'm not making that up. It also feeds infection. Dairy is another one that seems to bother my bump if I have too much of it. So, since that time, I've been very strict about what I'm eating. Pretty much no refined sugar, very little other sugars too(and when I say sugar I mean from the sugar cane, but not things like fruit. Fruit is amazing!), and very little dairy if any. And since then, my leg has felt fine and the swelling has gone way down. The bump is still there and sensitive if someone bumps into it, and like I said, I think it'll be there until this baby arrives because of circulation issues that come along with pregnancy, but I'm okay with that as long as I'm not in pain all the time.

One other thing I've changed over the past few weeks is my exercise program. With the bad circulation in my legs, Tae Bo was just way too aggressive for me and it was another thing that was causing me pain. I still exercise every day, but three times a week I do a 50 minute maternity yoga video, and the other three days I walk on the tredmill or do the elliptical machine. Walking feels fine as long as I'm not eating sugar and dairy, but if I am, it's too painful to walk for a long period of time. Anyway, enough about that.

Last week Jane woke up one morning with hives. And she had them for at least 4 days. We're not exactly sure what caused it(this was her first time having hives; though Annabelle had them once last year after a mosquito bite), but we think it's from the extreme cold weather conditions that hit Utah recently. It's always the worst in the morning, and she'd wake up with cold hands, legs and feet(she always takes off her socks, silly girl). So we put a warm mattress cover over her plastic crib mattress and we started having her sleep in a sleeper with feet and since then we haven't seen it again. But, it could have been something else too(food, bug bite etc) and it just cleared itself up after awhile. But like I said, it was always worse in the mornings, oh, and when we walked to church the other day(it was freezing outside but the church building is really close), the hives got worse on her hands and face which were both exposed to the cold air. They don't seem to bother her too much. She doesn't try to scratch them, though occasionally, if they were really flared up and I picked her up and was touching that spot, she would squirm in my arms until it felt comfortable. I gave her benadryl a couple of times and put on some cortisone cream, but I don't like giving medicine if it's not necessary, and she wasn't in pain so I stopped. Besides, I wanted to see what was making it worse and when I gave her benadryl, they'd go away temporarily and I couldn't tell. Here are a couple of pictures I took of them.
I cropped this picture so you wouldn't get the full bum shot :).
And to end on a more positive note, look at Annabelle in her cute Christmas dress. Isn't she darling? I did a braided headband in her hair for church which she liked(well, she didn't like it while I was braiding it; there were a few tears. But she loved it when it was all finished)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas neighbor/teacher gifts

It is six days before Christmas and I think I'm pretty much ready. Gifts for the family are in the closet waiting to be wrapped(Scott and I have a wrapping party Christmas's pretty fun. And we can't put anything under the tree early because of the ages of our children. Saying, 'No' to 21-month-old Jane is like inviting her to do that very thing.). Packages to our family, Christmas letters etc have all been sent off, and this morning I finished up gifts for neighbors and teachers. I made sure our gifts to neighbors/teachers this year were all pretty healthy and not too time consuming(life is busy; and being pregnant and standing for long periods of time don't go well least not for me)

I found sparkling cider at Costco in a pack of four and each one ended up being about $1.70 or so which has been the best price I've seen. I added a tag to each one that says, "Have a very merry Christmas and a 'sparkling' new year!" I thought it was pretty clever :), and better than giving people high fructose corn syrup aka soda(and diet soda is probably even worse!)
I also made Italian Party Chex Mix and poppy seed bread, partly because I wanted to have these, and because I wanted something a little more for larger families and the kids school/piano teachers.
I posted the recipe for the poppy seed bread on here about a week ago, but I have tweaked it since then and it is really amazing. So click here and check out that recipe if you'd like to give it a try. Here is the recipe for the party chex mix as well.

Italian Party Mix-from Granny Rojean Garnica

Combine, pour 6 Tbsp olive oil over all and shake gently to coat:

8 c corn chex

8 c rice chex

8 c pretzels(sticks or small twists)

Combine and add to cereal mix and gently shake to coat:

1/2 c parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp dry spaghetti sauce mix

4 tsp garlic powder

Optional: nuts, sunflower seeds, other snack crackers, Bugles etc.

Store in airtight container. Makes 24 cups.

Elisabeth's ballet recital

Elisabeth started taking ballet a few months ago and had her first recital this past weekend. The theme for the ballet recital was an 'enchanted toy shop' and the girls in Elisabeth's class were soldiers....very pretty and dainty soldiers :). Before we took off to the recital, Elisabeth requested that I make a video of her doing her dance, and I'm glad we did because the video at the actual recital is terrible because it was dark and I had a seat that was far away even though I arrived an hour time I'll have to come even earlier I guess. The recital was 2 1/2 hours long, which was a bit long for our time we're leaving the kids with a sitter because poor Scott missed Elisabeth's number because he was out in the hall with Jane who was being disruptive. I thought he was standing in the back(the place was huge, and dark, so there was no way to know for sure) otherwise I would have tried to find him.

Elisabeth did a fabulous job. She remembered all the steps, her timing was perfect and overall she did very well. Elisabeth absolutely loves ballet! A couple of weeks ago her teacher copied their song on cd's for the class so every night since then she's been going through her dance several times before bed. She's a very persistent, diligent and dedicated girl...she chose to do this extra practicing all on her own. And she's determined to take ballet until she's on pointe. We'll see if we can afford it for that long :). Here are the two video clips I took. The first is the one I took at home in our kitchen, and the second is from the actual recital. When watching the one of the recital, when she first walks in she's in the back on the far right. After a minute, they travel and she's in the middle.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Lights

There are a couple of things I'm really loving right now(besides family, friends, the obvious things). I'm loving oranges! I eat them all the time! They're ripe, sweet, juicy and so delicious! I like the big navels and the clementines; though I think for ultimate juiciness and sweetness, the navels win. I'm loving seeing the frost on the trees and covering the grass in the mornings. I'm loving Christmas movies, Christmas music, and Christmas decorations and more particularly, the Christmas lights. I love to see lights on our house when we pull up at night, I love seeing lights on neighbors homes and out in public places.

This past week we got to do two of our annual Christmas traditions, both of which involved Christmas lights:
1. Seeing the lights at temple square
It was beautiful, and I'm sorry these pictures do it absolutely no justice

2. Grazzini Family Christmas Party/white elephant gift exchange and afterward we went to see the lights at an outdoor mall
Here are pictures from the outdoor mall: My cousin had tickets for the carousel so all the kids got to do that as well. They all loved it...except for Jane :). She cried for most of the ride. Charles and Parker enjoyed one another's company and were being goofy on their horses.