Sunday, January 30, 2011

Green Smoothie Girl Class


This past week I was able to go to another free class done by the Green Smoothie Girl. I have one word for that class: Amazing! Seriously, so good! The first one I went to was also great, but unfortunately it was a bit far away and there was construction on the road and a couple of car accidents so I didn't get there until close to the end of her class. That was a bummer. But I hung after for all the questions and still ended up being there for awhile.

This time I went, the class was much closer, I arrived early and one of my close friends and former college roommates and her cousin came along so I had someone to sit with that I knew. Though actually, it's not terrible not knowing anyone because most everyone who attends have a common bond--they either like or are curious about green smoothies and being healthy-- so visiting comes pretty easy. Anyway, I loved going and hearing all of her personal stories and the facts and data she gave for different studies. It made me think about my own personal stories as to why we're choosing to eat more healthy foods which I want to make a post about in the future.

When I came home I remember telling Scott, "It just makes sense. And it feels right! Sometimes when I learn about something new it will confuse me and it doesn't seem to make much sense. But this totally does and I love it!" I continuously read through the scripture in the Doctrine in Covenants(D&C 89, on the word of wisdom) to make sure things makes sense and follow along with what the Lord has given us. Something I like about the Green Smoothie Girl(Robyn Openshaw is her name) is that even though she's healthy, she says she's not vegan or vegetarian or any of these 'isms', but rather follows the word of wisdom and will eat meat sparingly and eats mostly grains and fruits and vegetables and things from the earth.

Robyn Openshaw talked about the China Study which is a book I've now got on hold at the library. The China Study was a study first conducted on mice/rats. They took rats and injected them with some sort of cancer causing agent, separated the rats into 2 groups and then fed the groups differently. Group one was fed a diet of 5% animal protein. Group 2 was fed a diet of 20% animal protein. Group 1 all remained healthy and active. Group 2 got fat, sick and many developed cancerous tumors and growths. Group 2 was dying. Then the scientists switched the diets on these groups. They gave the healthy rats the 20% animal protein diet and the fat rats with tumors the 5% animal protein diet. And guess what happened? The healthy ones got fat and developed tumors and the fat ones got small and their tumors either shrunk or vanished completely! After the studies were done, they went into a couple of areas in China where people were eating this way and they found their information to be true. The people living in areas where they got most of their protein from plant sources were much healthier and more disease free than the people who lived in areas where they had 20% or more animal protein in their diet.

Anyway, like I said, I loved the class, it was all very interesting and I am excited to try some of the new recipes I got from one of her cookbooks.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Charlie's 5 year stats

Charlie had a wellness check recently. Here are his 5 year stats:

Height: 43.5 inches- 61%
Weight: 37.92 lbs- 28%
BMI: 14.1- 9%

Charlie is healthy and well and growing beautifully. Charlie also had his eyes tested(he passed fine) and got the last couple of immunizations he needed to start kindergarten this coming year. I don't have my kids get the flu shot because: one, it's not life threatening, two, it's optional and three, Elisabeth got the flu from it when she was a baby. She got it really, really bad. And apparently that happens fairly often from what I've been told and from what I've read. So we stick with the mandatory immunizations, the ones that without such could be life threatening. I'm so thankful that diseases like polio which were prevalent not so long ago, are now nearly non existent. There is even an immunization for chicken pox which I think is pretty amazing! I remember when me and a few of my siblings all got it at the same time. I was very young, but I remember it because it was a nightmare. I'm thankful my kids probably won't ever have to go through that. I don't think I've seen a kid with chicken pox in a long time. And I bet my parents generation is thinking the same thing about polio, whooping cough (pertussis), tetanus and so on. Yes, I am grateful to live now, in a time where modern medicines are advanced, knowledge on plants and herbs as food for medicine is growing and because of this our 4 children are alive and well.

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." Hippocrates, father of modern medicine

Rare are the photos of Charles where he is not making a goofy face. Here he is lifting a horse with his tinkertoy crane:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pictures

Charlie likes to stick his toothbrush in funny spots since it has the suction bottom. I enjoy walking into the bathroom after he's gone to bed and seeing where his toothbrush will be...it always makes me chuckle.
Charlie got a fossil kit thing from a friend for his birthday. Here he is with Elisabeth trying to find the bones.
Elisabeth is getting better at holding Jane but I still won't let her hold her while standing up unless I'm right there spotting her. Elisabeth is one of Jane's favorite people right now. Jane always gets really excited and wants to pat her face when she sees her(Elisabeth).
Charlie and dad have worked together to make a couple of pretty amazing and functional tinkertoy cranes.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The big 3-0!


Jane, Scott and I went out to dinner this weekend in celebration of Scott's birthday. We went to The Mayan. The Mayan serves Mexican food (not the greatest mexican food, I might add), but what keeps people coming back is not the food but the entertainment. When you first walk in the doors the lighting is dim. You can see enough to know that it resembles a mine with dirt walls, picks and axes. The host will lead you through the mine and out into the dining area which is a big, open area with high ceiling. These are needed in order to fit the tall rock cliffs that the Mayans will dive from into the pool of water down below. The rest of the dining area is covered in greenery and hanging vines. Every 30 minutes the Mayan divers will do a 5 minute choreographed show and 15 minutes after the divers have finished, there are other performers who do things with fire or some sort of trapeze or acrobatics. They're pretty amazing. I told Scott next time my dad comes I want to take him and the kids. I know they would all love it, my dad because he is part Indian and grew up in Mexico where they had real cliff divers.

The night before our Mayan adventure, Scott went camping in the snow with the Scouts, which he also considered part of his birthday celebration. There were only 2 boys and 2 leaders in their group, but there were a couple hundred scouts from all around the area. He made foil dinner fajitas for their group for dinner that he was pretty excited about.

Elisabeth is off track from school so she was home on Scott's birthday, even though he was at work. While he was gone, I convinced the kids that the greatest gift they could give to Scott was to have their bedrooms squeaky clean. We all worked together and not only cleaned their rooms but completely reorganized Elisabeth's dresser drawers, taking clothes out that were too small and putting them in labeled bags and then folding all the other clothes so the drawers would actually close, which is something that hasn't happened in awhile. Their bedrooms look fabulous! I hope they stay like that for awhile(yeah right :)). Charlie's doesn't usually get too bad because he doesn't have as many clothes and other items in his room like the girls do. While we cleaned I gave Elisabeth a few pointers on how she could keep it this way...we'll see if she listens :). We cleaned for 2 hours, and even though that seems long, the time flew by and we all had fun. In fact several times during the morning while we cleaned, Elisabeth would say to Charles, "isn't this fun?" and he'd agree. It was fun. I think cleaning is more fun when everyone works together. That way you can visit and work side-by-side with music playing in the background.

We had biscuit sandwiches for breakfast and I made chimichangas for dinner. We had an ice cream pie with a sugar cookie crust for dessert at which time Scott opened his gifts and played guitar using his new music stand. I'll add a video on here once it's done processing.

I wanted to put in a few of our favorite memories with Scott from this year so I did one-on-one interviews with the kids while he was at work. Our favorite memories:
Annabelle: "I always play tinker toys with him. I like to go hiking. I like duck-duck-goose and hide and go seek. I want daddy to come here right now."

Charlie:"Camping. I loved having the fire pit and sleeping in the tent. I also like to go out to eat with him and go hiking with him. I like to build a crane with dad(with the tinker toys). I like doing sword fights with dad before bed. I love you dad."

Elisabeth: "Dates with dad like when we went to target to get Annabelle a birthday present and we went out to eat at the mall. I like playing tinker toys with dad. I like when dad takes me to school and when we go to 'Dad's and donuts' together. I liked cleaning the kitchen with him and reading books with each other. I also like reading scriptures together, watching movies together and playing the guitar together."

Later Elisabeth added, "I like snuggling with him and I like when he makes the strawberry, banana smoothies."

My favorite memories with Scott from this year mostly revolve around our typical evenings together. We always eat dinner together as a family without any interruptions from phone, media etc. We work side by side and clean the kitchen together with the help of the children. We all gather in the living room for our 'song, scripture, prayer' time. Once the kids are in bed (I take the girls one night while Scott takes Char and then we switch the next night), Scott and I have some time to do what we want. Sometimes we'll play a game or clean. Sometimes we'll watch a movie while we fold laundry, sometimes we'll read, check email, blog, play guitar (I love listening to him play; it's so relaxing) and then we always have time together before we go off to sleep. We talk about our day or other things, we read scriptures or the ensign together, and sit/lay side by side while we read our scriptures individually and then we pray together. Throughout the year we go on dates and those are nice, especially when we get to go to the temple together(which doesn't happen very often right now because of Jane...for now we go separately), but what I remember most are our day-to-day evenings together. I love being with Scott and having him home with us. We have a very loving, respectful relationship; we're not sarcastic people and we try and always say and do things that show that love and respect to one another. Scott is a wonderful and amazing man. He's honest and hard working. He's talented and is good with his family and in fulfilling his callings with church. I'm grateful to have this 30-year-old man as my husband.

Thought I should clarify, that's rootbeer in the picture just in case there are some who read this that might not know us very well and get the wrong impression.

I love you Scott. Happy Birthday!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Organizing toys

My dad likes to remind us that when he grew up all he had to play with were rocks and sticks...I think there is a lot of wisdom in that. I do not like having toys everywhere. I bet there are very few adults who do. Having 4 young children in the home makes it really hard not to have toys in every room of the house. They'll play in one room for awhile and then need to bring all their toys on an airplane, or to grandma's or to church or wherever their little brains imagine and so of course they need to physically move them all to a new room. And they like to follow me around the house with their toys. Most of the time, I'm busy doing things and don't really notice the damage that is being done until it's too late: you know, it's 5pm, Scott will be home shortly, I'm cooking something, I leave my cooking dinner to go find the kids and have them help set the table and then I see it. Toys in the living room and the bedrooms and the hallways and the library and the family room and the laundry room and the bathroom! What?! How did this happen so fast?!

A couple of weeks ago I had an idea. I implemented the idea and so far things have gone pretty well. Here's the idea: 1.) dejunk. We do this fairly regularly, so this part wasn't new. I go through toys everywhere and throw broken ones away and put others that are rarely used(or ones I don't particularly like because they're too small or are random, like the ones from McDonalds) in a bag for charity. During the dejunk process we make sure everything is put away in it's proper container or bag. 2.) This is the new piece. After toys are organized in their proper bags/tupperware containers I put them away in a place that is hard to reach, therefore requiring an adult to help or at least a noisy chair being dragged across the tile floor which means I should hear it and be able to intervene before the child can empty the contents of the bag.

After about a week of doing this Scott said he's noticed a good difference. And I have too. Now just so you know, they do have some things that are down low that they can have whenever. There is a toy chest in the living room that has mostly toys for babies. Charlie has a toy chest in his room that has some boy toys (dragons, action figure heros etc), The girls have a dress-up box in their room and books are always available in just about every room in the house. But my rule is if they want the other stuff, they've got to put their toys away first and then I'll pull one or two things down at a time. If they want something else, they need to put the items away first. This way we're not mixing everything and then having to reorganize so often. And it doesn't appear so overwhelming to them(or me) when it's time to clean up. Also, I find that the kids want to play with them more when the toys are organized(and we have all the pieces) and looking all nice and neat and I think the fact that they don't have them out all the time makes them seem more desirable. Annabelle loves that all her barbies and princesses and the shoes, clothes and tiaras are all in one back pack. We also have a bag for cars, another for dishes/food items, house, tinker toys, linkin logs, potato heads and more. Here is a picture of some of the toys I keep upstairs in our coat closet. I also keep some up high in another closet downstairs.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Amazingly flexible



I think it is amazing how flexible babies are. It makes sense, considering how cramped they were in the womb. They needed to be able to completely fold their bodies in half. But still, our 10-month-old baby is still so flexible. I took this short video of her the other day. She's not crawling, but she'll sit and reach really, really far by lying down on her tummy and then spreading her legs out and pushing back up into the splits and then back into a sitting position. I wish I could do that!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Homemade Lara Bars


I found this Lara Bar recipe here. I love it and so does our almost 10-month-old Jane! They are one of her favorite snack foods and it's perfect for when we're on the go because I just grab one out of the fridge and stick it in my diaper bag.

I didn't always love Lara Bars. In fact, when I first tried one of my mom's about a year ago, I'm pretty sure I gave her a look that said, "you seriously like to eat these?" But now that we're eating more whole foods and have cut out a lot of sugar, I've definitely developed a taste for these and other foods like it.

We love Lara Bars and Clif Bars but they're pretty expensive. I'm so happy we have recipes for both types of granola bars that we love. The Clif Bar recipe is recorded on this website under the recipe tab on the home page. I combined several recipes and made a couple of my own changes by following the ingredients listed on the Clif bar when coming up with that recipe. Lara Bars are pretty much the best kind of granola bar to eat because the only ingredients are fruits and nuts, sometimes with a little added cinnamon and there is no baking involved. And so the recipes are healthy, simple, quick and easy.

The first time I made the Lara Bar, it didn't turn out so great. But there are two reasons why: One, I didn't follow the recipe exactly and two, and most importantly, I didn't know that raw peanuts don't taste good(in my opinion, of course. But I love the roasted ones you buy in the shells), and I also used some dried apple rings that didn't go well with the raw peanuts.

Since my first bad experience, I have stayed closer to the recipe and they have turned out great! I've made single and double batches with no problems. A single batch only makes 2 bars so you'd most likely always want to double it. A food processor is very important for this recipe. I tried it in my high powered blender and it did not go well. For some reason the dried cranberries(that are fruit juice sweetened) would not chop. They would get caught under the blade or along side the jar, no matter how many times I would stop and scoop everything out and try again. So use a food processor. And use whole dates. The chopped ones that are covered in powder are harder and too dry. I will copy and paste the recipe below from the Enlightened Cooking website. Also, if you go to her website she has different variations: chocolate chip cookie, PB&J, cashew cookie dough and more.

Very Cherry Bars- from Enlightened Cooking
1/4 cup chopped dates (roughly chopped whole dates, not pre-chopped)
1/4 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
1/3 cup whole pecans, almonds or walnuts
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Set out two pieces of plastic wrap for shaping and wrapping the bars. Do this first; you’ll have sticky fingers when you need it.

Place the dates and cherries in a food processor. Pulse until processed to a paste. Transfer paste to a medium bowl (don’t clean processor).

Add the nuts to the processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the nuts, along with the cinnamon, to the bowl with the fruit paste. Use your fingers to knead the nuts into the paste (just keep squishing, it’s fun; brings back memories of play-dough;).

Divide mixture in half. Place each half on each of one of the sheets of plastic wrap. Wrap the plastic around each bar and start squishing into a bar shape form, 3 and 1/2 inches long, 1 inch wide and 3/4-inch thick); press against countertop to flatten bottom side, flattening top side and ends with flat of hand (photo 5) Tightly wrap the plastic around each bar and store in the refrigerator. Makes 2 bars.
.
Nutrition per Serving (1 bar): Calories 207; Fat 9.4 g (sat .8g, mono 5.2g, poly 3.1g); Protein 3.9g; Cholesterol 0mg; Carbohydrate 24.9g; Sodium 0.4mg. (Note: I did the nutrition analysis using Diet Analysis Plus 7.0.1)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Us over the years

2003
2004
2006

2007
2008
2009
2010

My how we've changed over the past 7 and 1/2 years!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My mormon.org profile

I recently finished creating my account on mormon.org. It has some family stories I'd like to have in my blog book so I thought I'd post it here. And really, it is SUCH a big part of our life, it only seems natural. Scott has an account too. I will soon create buttons on the side of our blog that you can click on to take you to our profiles. Enjoy!
Hi, I'm Elisa


I grew up in Seattle Washington. I am 27, happily married and a mother of 4. I'm a Mormon.

How I live my faith

Our family attends church each Sunday. We read from the scriptures daily(both bible and book of mormon). We read together and we also do personal scripture study. With our daily family scripture study, we also enjoy singing songs about Christ, and praying together. I know this daily tradition has blessed our family because I feel the peace and happiness it brings into our home. In our church I serve as an activities coordinator for the adult women in the church. We meet together one evening each month(in addition to church meetings on Sunday) to learn about something that will strengthen our homes and families: cooking classes, marriage classes, service activities etc. These classes are optional, but they are so much fun and I always learn so much, especially now that I'm involved in the planning and sometimes the teaching.

About Me

I grew up in Seattle and then moved out to Utah to attend BYU. I graduated in Marriage, Family and Human Development. I met and married my husband(from North Carolina) while attending BYU. Our first child attended classes with me at BYU, and our second was born three weeks after we graduated. We lived in Washington for awhile before coming back to Utah which is where my husband and I and our 4 kids currently reside. I love to read, learn, blog, sing, exercise, cook, hike, make and drink green smoothies, decorate cakes and spend time with my family.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised in the Mormon church but didn't really gain a testimony of my own until I went away to college. It was there that I discovered for myself the reality of our Savior Jesus Christ, His love for us and the great blessing it is to have a prophet today who can lead and guide us. Now, as a mother, I am more grateful than ever to be a member of this church. I'm grateful we have a living prophet and apostles who lead us in the right direction amidst a world that is continually growing more and more chaotic and scary. Christ's church is an anchor in our lives, steadfast and constant. Because of Christ's plan, I know true and everlasting happiness. I know that there is life after death and that we can return to our Father in Heaven and be with our families forever. I am incredibly grateful for that knowledge.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it true that Jesus appeared in North America after his crucifixion and resurrection according to the Book of Mormon?

Yes. The main difference between the Bible and the Book of Mormon is that the Bible took place in the Eastern hemisphere whereas the Book of Mormon took place in the Western Hemisphere. Both testify of Christ and talk of His people and the prophets living during that time.

An interesting bit of information: My dad is from Mexico. His father was Aztec and born in the late 1800s(yes I am 27 and have a grandparents born in the 1800s...I was born when my dad was 56 years old and he was the youngest of 14 children). My dad was raised as a Catholic and converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints(Mormon), later on in life. At the time of his conversion, accepting the truths and stories from the Book of Mormon was easy because he'd been raised hearing similar stories. Stories about a great white god who came and who would one day come again. So yes, Jesus did appear in North America after his crucifixion and resurrection.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Years Eve Celebrations

We stayed up for the New Year...something we don't always do. Many New Years I've been pregnant and really had no desire to stay up late. This was the first time the kids stayed up, everyone accept Jane that is. We celebrated at a friends house with a couple other families. There were 17 kids there all together. Needless to say my kids had a grand time playing and eating snacks. Jane fell asleep in one of the bedrooms. Scott and I visited with friends and played several games. We all had a really nice time. We feel blessed to have such good friends and happy we were able to celebrate with both friends and family.

Before the kids went to bed that night, we told them they should try and sleep in, at least until 8am which is an hour after the time they normally wake us. They were in my room at 8 on the dot. So I'm guessing they were up before then. Staying up 4 hours later than normal and sleeping in only 1 hour, if that, was not enough for them. They were all tired the next day with their bloodshot eyes and their blank stares :). We had to run some errands in the afternoon and before we left, Elisabeth complained of being too tired to go. She said, "Mom, let's never stay up until midnight again." Amen. I'm glad she's learned this lesson early on. Wouldn't that be nice if she kept to that as a teenager?

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowgirl








*Thanks Grandma & Grandpa Smith for the boots! They're darling(and they keep her feet/legs warm when her pant leg rides up)!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday Charlie!

Our kids enjoyed taking part in the party preparations/invitations:
making the vikings for 'Pin the Vikings on the Ship'
Charlie turned five during the week. We have a few birthday traditions:
1. Open presents from family during breakfast on the day of your birthday.
We got Charlie this picture of Enos praying on his knees while out hunting. We thought he'd especially like the bow and arrows in the picture. And he does :). I like to subtly implant good messages into our children through things like pictures. Even big, strong men with bows and arrows, humbly get on their knees to pray.
2. Birthday person decides on the menu for the day- We had pancakes and sausage for breakfast, pasta with alfredo sauce for lunch and we went out to Carl's Jr. for dinner. Right now we let them pick one meal for the family to go out to eat, but I think once they get older (and have bigger appetites), we'll probably just take the birthday child out by themselves for a special meal. One-on-one time with Mom or Dad is always good.
3. During one of our family meals during the day, we go around the table and each person tells the birthday person of a fond memory they had with them or something they love about that person.
4. Birthday person decides what we do that day...it has to be free if they're also having a friend birthday party(which they can do once they turn 5), if they don't want to have a friend party they may choose to do something fun with the family. Last year we went to Chuck E. Cheese. Charlie did have a friend birthday party later on in the week so on his birthday we watched How To Train Your Dragon(surprise, surprise!) and besides that he really just wanted to play with his new bow and arrow. He LOVES his bow and arrow! Unfortunately, most of the arrows have already snapped in half. We tapped them back together and that seems to hold up alright. Or sometimes he'll just shoot the end of the arrow if the front is broken off.

And here are some pictures from his birthday party. We had a How To Train Your Dragon themed party with some kids from his church class. We played Hiccup Says (aka Simon Says), Pin The Vikings On The Ship, and we made shields for their party favors and played Dodge the Fireball with the shields, which was basically Scott throwing soft balls at them and they had to use their shields to block him. They really liked that one.
We folded the themed plastic table cover up and hung it on the wall for this game. I thought that was resourceful: a party table cover and a party game!

And a very short clip:

Next year Charlie said he just wants to have a family party. He's a bit more shy than our girls. At one point during his party, we were playing Hiccup Says and he just wandered off by himself. Scott brought him back but he didn't really want to play with everybody. And when it was his turn to be Hiccup and say the commands he only did one or two and then decided he was done. He doesn't love being on the spot or getting attention. He's the one I have to bribe to go sing with the primary children during church meetings. But that's fine. I'm glad we're figuring out their personalities and hopefully we'll know how to cater our parenting to each one. We love our Charlie.

Here are some other things about our 5 year old boy:
He is so sweet and helpful with his sisters. Annabelle always goes to Charlie when she gets hurt or is upset. He'll give her a big hug and then help her out. It's very cute. He is also getting to be a lot more helpful(not all the time of course, but more than he used to). A couple of times this week he made his bed and cleaned his room all on his own without me even asking him to do so! I love when they do that.
Charlie loves to play with cars, dragons, swords, bow and arrow, he loves to read books (he is reading easy books on his own...and they're not memorized; they are books with short words). He is good at writing all his letters and numbers and can spell many words. He also enjoys finding cities and states on our map-table-cover. Charlie enjoys lincoln logs, tinkertoys, playing baseball, sledding and building things in the sand. Charlie will begin school next year. He likes to stay home with mom for the most part so I hope kindergarten goes well. :)

Happy Birthday Charlie!!!