Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stats for Jane and Annabelle

Jane and Annabelle had their wellness checks with the doctor today. Here are the results:

Jane- 1 year
Weight: 17.42 lbs, 4%
Height: 27.56 in, 9%
Head Circumference: 17.6 in, 40%

Jane got 4 immunizations in three shots, and she needed to get her blood drawn again to check her iron levels(The doctor says they check iron levels in all breast fed babies once they reach a certain age). She was still a little low on her iron so I'll be giving her a liquid iron supplement daily, until her next appointment. Jane is small, but all our children have been small and turned out fine, so we're not too worried. I looked at the stats of our children at this age, and Annabelle weighed the same. Jane eats well so I think it's only a matter of time before she fattens up a bit more. Though Scott is skinny and always has been so I don't think any of our kids will ever be very large. :) Jane is strong and energetic and doing great.

Annabelle- 3 years
Weight: 28.22 lbs, 20%
Height: 35.79 inches, 16 %
BMI(body mass index): 15.5, 44%

Annabelle received one immunization. She took it like a champ; and I'm sure the sucker they offered her helped. Annabelle has a great BMI and everything looks great.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Diagram:Effects of soda

I found this on my sister-in-law's blog awhile back. I think it's safe to say that you will do your body a big favor by staying away from soda.

Harmful Soda

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tangled coupon

Tangled, the movie, comes out on dvd tomorrow. My family loved this movie. We've seen it twice, once in the expensive movie theater and once at the dollar theater. Elisabeth has asked for it for her birthday so I'm going to get it this week while there are sales.

If you buy it this week at Target, you can get it for a discounted price. The dvd will be on sale for $15.99(normally $29.99) and the 4 disc combo--dvd, blu-ray 3D, 3D--will be on sale for $24.99(normally $49.99). Disney also has a coupon that's good until April 3rd(but use it this week if you want the Target discount, too) for $5 off the blu-ray, 4 disc combo pack, so instead of getting it for $24.99, you'll get it for $19.99. Not bad. I'm going to get mine this week. You can find the Disney coupon here.

Temple and St. Patricks pix

This post is a little late. Generally, I will sit down and write 5 posts and have them published different days throughout the week, so my readers won't have 5 to read all in one day. But because of this, some of the posts aren't quite so timely.

When we got home from church a couple of weeks ago, Elisabeth asked if we could go to the temple and take pictures on the grounds. She was hoping we could either frame the pictures or at the very least, put them on my blog or send them to the grandparents. We told her that would be fine unless it started to rain or snow. It didn't rain or snow, so we went, but it was still windy and chilly. Scott snapped these two pictures before we all ran back to the van. They're not really frame-worthy (Sorry, Honey. You're a great photographer but the wind was just too crazy) but here they are anyway. Our family minus Scott, the photographer, outside of the Oquirrh temple. We'll have to go back another day when the weather cooperates. St. Patricks at our house was pretty laid back this year(aka, I was lazy and unprepared and didn't think of anything cool; but my kids didn't seem to mind). We all dressed up in green, the girls begged me to paint their faces with shamrocks and a pot-of-gold, and we had green smoothies for breakfast. That's it. And we have Green Smoothies with breakfast every morning, anyway. When I handed them their green smoothies in the morning I said, "Happy St. Patricks Day! You get to drink your Green Smoothie.' I made sure to overemphasize the word 'Green'. My kids laughed and thought I was kind of dorky for saying that :).

Here are a couple of cool ideas I'd like to add next year that I stole from my friends blogs:
1. Serve a green dinner and lunch(or an Irish dinner). Have the kids who are home share lunch from a muffin tin with lots of different green foods: salad, kiwi, celery with pb and raisins, perhaps a dyed green cookie(healthier version of a cookie), maybe some homemade green cheez-its and a green 100% apple juice box.
2. For dessert at dinner, make a rainbow with tons of fruits. Strawberries, oranges, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries, grapes, with bananas at the end of the rainbow in a small bowl. Here's a picture I stole from Lindsay's blog. We'll probably skip the marshmallows. My kids LOVE fruit so I think they'll love this. Charlie is obsessed with blueberries but I don't frequently buy them because they can be pretty pricey.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Today it is your birthday and we sing to let you know..."

This song has been playing in my head all day, and I've sung it out loud, many times, for Jane:
"Today it is your birthday and we sing to let you know,
that you will be queen for the day, whatever you say goes."
It's a song from one of my girls favorite movies, Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses. The tune is really quite catchy. Here's a clip of the birthday song for those of you who would like to learn it (just know that I am saying this with a smile and a twinkle in my eye. I know I am one of those 'special' parents that learns all the lyrics and tunes from my kids movies):

It's hard to believe it's already been a year since Jane was born. She is still so little and babyish. We love Jane so much. She brings so much joy to our family.

Since Jane is still so little, and doesn't have an opinion about too many things, she had a relaxed birthday. She had yogurt and granola for breakfast, played around, went shopping with Mom(me), ate wheat bread and saltines throughout the day as snacks, a pink smoothie for lunch, and we went out for pizza for dinner. She loves all of those foods. I didn't want to decorate an elaborate cake on her first birthday, since she wouldn't care, so instead I made her favorite treat: agave peanut butter cookies. They are soft enough we were able to stick a candle in the middle.

Jane got a couple of gifts from us: a new BPA free sippy cup with handles(I've been wanting to replace our old ones that aren't BPA free and are falling apart), and a fresh food feeder- a mesh thing you put an orange or other foods inside, allowing Jane to suck out the juice without choking on the other stuff. I know, really exciting gifts. We're boring like that :), but Jane, having two older sisters, doesn't have a need for many extras. Jane also got some money and a cute new dress from grandparents. Elisabeth wrote Happy Birthday Jane, on a piece of tape(it wasn't very sticky) and stuck it on her forehead. It didn't last very long. Jane thought it felt funny and took it off.

Happy Birthday Jane!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Arugula, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza

I got this recipe, along with some goat cheese and arugula, from my good friend Elisa L. She thought I'd like it and she was right! I made this for Sunday lunch for Scott and myself--the kids had leftover whole wheat pancakes from breakfast. I'm pretty sure they would have rejected this meal on looks alone if I had tried to offer them some. I think it looks great, but my kids wouldn't like to see all those onions and arugula. That's alright. More for me!

Arugula, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza

1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
2 sweet onions, sliced
3 cups arugula, washed, dried and coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
4 whole-wheat tortillas, 6-inches in diameter
2 ounces reduced-fat goat cheese


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the oil and onions in a medium skillet and cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium and add the arugula. Cook until the arugula is wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the tortillas on a baking sheet and top each with some of the arugula/onion mixture. Crumble some goat cheese on top of each, and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes and cut each pizza into 4 triangles.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

In the kitchen

1. Did you know you can make dried bread crumbs really easy and practically free. Well, free if you normally have bread on hand and don't always use the ends. Now you'll have a use for those ends. And you can even freeze those ends until you're ready to use them, if you'd like, and then make up your own bread crumbs. When you're ready to make the crumbs, stick your bread(can use whole pieces) on a pan, put it in your oven warmed to 300 degrees and cook them until they're done, about 10 minutes, turning them over halfway through. Once you've done this, crumble them up(in food processor, by hand, with a rolling pin in a ziploc bag, the sky is the limit) and you've got your own bread crumbs!(this is a picture of the breadcrumbs before I crumbled them...and next time I will bake them in whole pieces to save some time).

2. Until recently, I used my huge roaster pan maybe once a year on Thanksgiving if we hosted Thanksgiving at our house. Now, I use my roaster pan weekly. I mix and bake my granola in it. It is the perfect size. I'm happy to be getting more use out of this pan, unless you call collecting dust useful.

3. Here is my granola which I now keep in a plastic cereal container(used to keep it in a gallon Ziploc, but I like this better because I'm not using all my ziplocs and it has a convenient spout/pouring top). Here it is stored in the cupboard. I also recently bought some nicer looking tupperwares from the dollar store. I store my bulk items in there that I purchase from Winco or health food stores. In these I have Chia seeds, flax seeds, whole and chopped dates, steel oats(more on these later), unsweetened coconut, fruit juice sweetened cranberries and sunflower seeds. I also get wheat germ in bulk(it is SO much cheaper at Winco than at a normal grocery store) but it gets stored in the fridge.

4. A friend of mine has an aloe vera plant that had a bunch of 'pups' and she needed to get rid of some to allow the mother plant to continue to grow and have some room. I was the lucky recipient of one of those plants. I tried putting it into a smoothie a couple of times, but Scott and I really didn't like the coarse texture it brought to the smoothie or the taste. And it's something that probably shouldn't be consumed regularly. So I think we'll just keep this plant as medicine for sunburns or other skin irritations.
5. I've been soaking almonds and flax seeds for awhile now(almonds for our almond milk, flaxseeds to add to green smoothies) but a little while ago I sprouted seeds with tails for the first time. I felt like a little kid, anxiously checking my jar every few hours, to see if any sprouts had come up yet. It took several days to sprout and another day before they turned green, but it was worth it. I only put about a 1/2 a Tbsp in a jar and it made so much! It completely filled my quart jar at the end. I made alfalfa sprouts and soaked them in canning jars that I put a little piece of wire mesh(I got mine at a store like Home Depot) on the top in place of the lid. That made it really easy to wet and rinse each day. And they just sprout right there in the jar. We've put a little in a smoothie and added some to a sandwich. I like these on the Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers which you can find under my recipe tab.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tile crawl and dancing

I feel like most of my pictures are of Jane and Annabelle. Probably because they are at home with me the most. Now that the weather is nice, Charlie is always playing outside and, of course, Elisabeth is in school. Here's another post with some pictures and/or videos of Jane and Annabelle.

Jane crawls funny on the tile floor. Instead of crawling on all fours, she sits with one leg bent underneath her, the other dragging behind and then she pulls with her arms and slides across the floor. Here are a couple of pictures and a short video.

Jane and Annabelle dancing:

And a random picture Annabelle, our cute three-year-old, hanging out in her robe and Elisabeth's sandals, after a bath.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Home-made Cheez-it Crackers

Last week I babysat a little boy who loves cheez-its. He brought some with him. My kids wanted some too, but I don't have any so Elisabeth asked if I could make some. The thought had never occurred to me before, that I could make crackers . I'm glad she asked because we found a pretty healthy and easy recipe that turned out so good! I'm pretty sure Scott and I ate most of them, and within about a day. Next time I'll try and exercise a little more self control. Charles liked them, but the girls wouldn't even try them because they weren't orange(I used the white, extra sharp cheddar cheese)! Even then, they were gone really fast. Here's the recipe:

Home-made Cheez-it Crackers

1 cup wheat flour

4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small squares

1 (8-ounce) bag(or block) grated sharp(or extra sharp, if you like) Cheddar cheese

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in food processor, and pulse until crumbly. Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time(about 2 Tbsp), until dough comes together. Form into ball, wrap in plastic wrap or plastic freezer ziploc, and chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper, and roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. Using pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut into 1 inch squares and put a hole in the middle with a toothpick(or something a little bigger. What I used was more the size of the end of a small, child's paint brush). Place cheez-its on a cookie sheet with parchment paper still underneath. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 20 minutes. Test for crispiness; crackers may take a few minutes more to finish crisping(I remove the edges that turn brown and then put the rest back in the oven). Remove from oven when crisp and just starting to brown. Let cool and serve. (Can break apart with hand or using a spatula. They come apart pretty easy)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Planting peas

We planted peas for our Family Home Evening activity last week.
Jane watched from the sidelines.

My kids eat these off of the vine like candy. I hope we planted enough this year that we can actually bring some into the house to eat with dinner.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I can't get enough

Some of the things our children do I just adore, and I can't get enough of it, or of them. Like watching a movie with Elisabeth and Charlie. They are hilarious! Half of the time, I'm watching them rather than the movie. It is so fun to watch their facial expressions and to hear their roaring laughter.

Another thing is when the big kids do things that seem grown-up. This is more of a bitter-sweet type of moment because at the same time I realize they're growing up and will some day leave me. See, bitter-sweet, because I really hope they will some day leave us and go to college, get married, and have families of their own...that sort of thing. Okay, not just hope. Scott and I are determined that when they graduate from high school they need to start paying rent or move out! We're nice parents like that :). No, but truly, I know it'll be good for them, and for us. Anyway, the other day I had just gotten out of the shower when I heard the front door open and close. I quickly peaked out of my blinds and saw the back of Charlie, as he walked to a neighbors house. He was all dressed, his red baseball cap was on, he had a bag of multigrain chips in one hand, a sword in the other, and he even remembered his shoes--something I'd been having to continuously nag him about. He picked clothes that matched and his hat even matched his clothes. He looked so grown-up, and young, all at the same time. I loved that he was carrying his sword. I smiled and thought to myself, 'I hope I never forget this mental image of our little Charlie.'

A few more things I can't get enough of right now:
1. Listening to Annabelle talk to Jane. She's uses that high-pitched 'motherese' voice and it is so cute. Here is a 5 second video clip of it. Watch it. You'll laugh:

2. Watching the girls dance. They are so sweet, and they try so hard. I think they're amazing already. Here is a one minute video clip of Annabelle dancing to a ballet dvd.

3. And last, Jane. I just can't get enough of her. I know I should say that about each of my kids, and I do think it sometimes, but with Jane, it's always. And I know it's because of her age. I know I felt this way about all of them at this age. They are just absolutely perfect at this age! They don't talk back, they don't throw tantrums, they don't beg incessantly for things, they are completely happy just to be with you, and I could go on and on. I think I love just about everything that comes with this age. I don't mind changing diapers or that she's attached to my hip. And look at her in these pictures. She's so sweet. I absolutely cannot deny her anything when she puts her hands out to me in this way. Ever. Scott and the kids all love and adore her as well. How could you not?
And a couple other pictures I needed to put in a post somewhere:
Annabelle eating peanut butter and apples(one of her favorite snacks)
Annabelle drawing a picture of me.

Families can be together forever

Watch this clip and listen to the beautiful words.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Milk: does a body good?

First off, I would like to say that I don't think drinking milk is bad. I do think too many American adults drink too much of it. I personally don't drink milk. Not because I thought it would be unhealthy, but because I've never liked it. I'm sure when I was very young I drank milk, but I don't remember ever drinking milk by the glass, but rather pouring some in with my cereal. Now I use yogurt or almond milk in my cereal(granola).

Do you remember seeing commercials growing up with celebrities drinking milk and saying, "Milk. It does a body good."? I do. And we learned all growing up that milk is really good for us and will make us big and strong. Strong bones, right?

While reading 'The China Study', I found out that the meat and dairy companies do really, really well in the USA. They have millions of dollars(and not a few million, but more like over a hundred million) a year to spend on advertising. They also give a good amount of money and other products to schools and all sorts of other places to promote their products. They are pretty powerful. In the same study, it was Casein, Cow's milk protein, which was given to the rats in their studies and which, when given as 20% of their diet, was causing tumors and cancer.

I read this quote the other day:

“There is really no requirement for dairy products in the diet,” says Amy Lanou Ph.D., nutrition director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC. “The countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are the ones where people drink the most milk and have the most calcium in their diets. The connection between calcium consumption and bone health is actually very weak, and the connection between dairy consumption and bone health is almost nonexistent.”

Interesting. I'm not sure this is 100% true, but maybe we don't need to drink as much milk as we thought we did.

Babies and young children need milk(and I don't mean soy or rice milk; those are not suitable for babies and they won't thrive on it; adults yes, babies no), which is why, I'm sure, Heavenly Father made our bodies to produce milk during that time of life. Babies and children need to get fat and build their muscle and brain power and milk is a good way to do it. I'm hoping to breastfeed Jane for awhile longer. Once I'm done, I'm hoping to find a local goat farm where I can buy raw goat milk, since it's a closer match to human milk and therefor not mucus forming like cow milk is. Though if that doesn't work out, I'll give her cow's milk. Jane also eats plain yogurt, daily. All of us eat plain yogurt(sweetened with stevia and many times with granola), and we go through about a gallon of cow's milk maybe every 2 weeks...less in the winter time if someone in the family has a runny nose because then we use milk that's not mucus forming to help get rid of it quickly.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I don't think milk is bad. But I also don't think it's really as great as some make it out to be, especially when consumed in really large amounts. Most of what we're drinking should be water. I want to end this post with a short article I read on the green smoothie girls blog recently.

"...we have to stop believing, as a culture, that drinking cow’s milk is some kind of insurance against osteoporosis. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world AND the highest dairy consumption! The other highest rates of osteoporosis in the world are the other highest dairy-consuming nations. (Perhaps this is partly because in North America and Europe, we don’t get enough bone-building Vita D from the sun—but clearly guzzling milk by the gallon isn’t helping us build strong bone.)

Some of the lowest rates of the disease are found in countries that consume NO dairy products, such as in African nations where it’s virtually unheard of.

Dairy products have calcium that is about 32% bioavailable to humans, whereas leafy greens are over 60% bioavailable. (Plus dairy products are mucous-forming, they are pasteurized to kill all the helpful enzymes, and full of bovine pus, antibiotics, and growth hormones.

An exception to all those problems is to buy raw, organic milk and make kefir or yogurt from it. The fermenting process breaks the proteins down and avoids the body’s reaction of producing mucous to flush it out.)

So if we need more useable calcium rather than more calcium, greens are the most bioavailable source. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record here, but greens cover a multitude of sins.

And let’s not forget about our soda-drinking habit. If we’re guzzling pop by the liter, we’re draining the bones of calcium because of the massive amounts of phosphorus the body has to work overtime to neutralize. Check out my sources in Ch. 1 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods: kids who drink sodas have three to four times higher risk of bone fracture than kids who don’t. Kids only gain bone mass for 20 years or so, so it’s a crime to let them drink soda. “You can’t recapture your youth” has another important meaning… get only once chance to build bone mass.

I can’t promise anybody they’ll reverse anything. That wouldn’t be ethical. Prevention is easier than reversal. But I will tell you that I get emails EVERY SINGLE DAY about exciting stories of chronic conditions reversing, using the practices I teach.

I often have readers of my blog say, when I see them in public, “Is it really true you wore glasses when you were 20 and now you have 20/20 vision at 43?” I don’t know if I have 20/20 vision, but I did 4 years ago when I was last checked. And I didn’t have surgery or any other corrective actions.

I don’t know why that happened except that I juiced or blended vegetable and green juices for years and now eat 20+ servings of vegetables, greens, and fruits every day.

You can take MSM, or chondroitin, or whatever, to reverse osteoporosis, but I don’t think the studies show impressive results. What I have much more faith in is food and good lifestyle practices. Don’t drink or smoke. Breathe fresh air, find ways to release stress like yoga, let go of anger and guilt and resolve your emotional issues, and drink lots of water."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Recipe binder and yogurt

About a month ago I started on a new recipe binder. I have one I started back in 2003, but some of the recipes are no longer favorites and many of them are not very good for you. When we tried different recipes, if we liked them, I wrote them down and stuck the cards on a piece of paper and then put that in a clear plastic cover to keep in my recipe binder. I'm making this one the same way I did my other, though most of my recipes are typed up on the computer, so instead of writing them out, I'm just putting several on a sheet of paper and then printing them out. I love our new recipe binder that is full of healthy recipes. I'm lame and couldn't think of a great title, so I copied one of Robyn Openshaws recipe books called 'Robyn's Healthy Family Favorites'...I did omit 'Robyn', even though several of my recipes do come from her. Here is one of her recipes: Yogurt. I added a few things in italics for more accurate/exact directions. I'm so glad I learned how to make yogurt because it's easy, healthy, and inexpensive(all you have to buy is a gallon of whole milk which is pretty cheap, and that makes you a gallon of yogurt. If it's your first time making it, you also need a cup of yogurt. But after that, you can just save a cup from the yogurt you made).

Yogurt- by Robyn Openshaw (green smoothie girl)

Scald slightly less than a gallon of no-hormone-added milk on the stove. Turn off when a light skim forms on the top and tiny bubbles appear around the edges of the milk, about 180 degrees. Let cool until milk is still very warm but no longer hot, about 110 degrees. Stir in a cup of plain yogurt, (save a cup of yogurt to start your next batch). Stir gently but not thoroughly. Pour milk into half-gallon or quart sized jars and cover with lids. Turn your oven on any temperature for 90 seconds, then turn it off. Turn on the light in the oven and place jars in the oven for 8-12 hours until thickened, then remove and refrigerate them. Yogurt will keep for a few weeks.(You can also keep them warm over night by putting them on a hot pad-make sure it's the kind that doesn't shut off automatically).

The picture below shows a few of our bowls in various sizes. The one in the middle is the size I use for eating granola and yogurt. The smallest one we use for ice cream and the biggest one we use for pasta, soup or salads. When we used to eat store bought cereal, I needed the big size bowl because the little one left me feeling hungry still. I remember the kids coming in the kitchen not even an hour after we'd finished having cereal for breakfast claiming that they were starving. And I'm sure they really did feel that way because the store bought stuff has very little nutritional value. But this smaller bowl is perfect for granola and leaves you feeling satisfied. Something I love about eating whole foods is that you can eat less yet you feel fuller and better. Yay for whole foods and the good they do for our bodies!