Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Not much news at 30 weeks except that I'm so hungry. All the time. This started happening about a week ago. I've been pretty good about controlling my cravings for the majority of this pregnancy, but when you're always hungry, it sure gets a lot harder. Yeah, for example, like last night I took out an expired strawberry cake box mix, divided the mix in half and made one, six inch round cake and one 8x8 pan of strawberry squares drizzled with powdered sugar and milk, and all because I was hungry, craving sweets and couldn't make up my mind...so why not both! Ugh! Why?! And then of course I paid for it that night. I did not sleep well, at all. I kept waking up to the littlest noises, even though my noise maker was on and I had nightmares! I haven't had nightmares in forever. Good thing I have Scott in bed with me; as long as I can reach out and touch him, I feel like everything will be alright. I think I slept with his hand in mine for several hours. At least I had the sense enough to throw away a good part of the leftovers today. I think I just need to be sure I'm getting enough high protein foods throughout the day that I don't get to that point where I feel like I'm starving. Though I really am eating a lot already. I love apples and peanut butter, raw almonds, granola with yogurt or kefir, hummus with flax crackers and veggies, all of which are very satisfying. I've also gained 25 lbs so far which we all know is not just baby who weighs approximately 3 lbs right now, so if I eat more, I'm pretty sure I'll be up to my typical 45-50lbs that I usually seem to gain.
Annabelle took these 30 week shots. When people ask when I'm due and I say May, they're generally really surprised. I've had people say things like, "Wow, you look like you're going to explode." or, "Man. You already look really uncomfortable." I usually just smile and think to myself, 'thanks man(it's usually a comment made by a man). Appreciate it.' I like to wear longer sleeves to cover up my not-so-toned triceps and to help play down the size of my belly. So here are two pictures, one with the long sleeved cover up piece, and one without.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Annabelle sat right next to me and a couple of times got really close to me but overall she seemed okay. Unfortunately, that night, Elisabeth came upstairs out of bed in tears because she couldn't stop thinking about Jumanji and how scary it was. Scott and I talked with her for awhile. We let her watch, "The Coat" on daddy's ipod touch, which is a nice, short(probably 3 minutes) video about a sweet little boy who does something kind for someone else. We reminded her to say a prayer asking Heavenly Father to protect her and to help her be comforted so she could fall asleep and then we told her to think about happy things, like the short clip she just watched. She went back to bed and seemed to be fine. But the next night was the same. And then Annabelle started saying she couldn't go to sleep because she always thought about Jumanji. Whoops! I felt bad for letting them watch it. Ever since then, the girls have slept together in Elisabeth's twin bed, on the top bunk. This was something they came up with on their own and I didn't know about it until after they were asleep and I went in to check on them. They've been sleeping together every night for the past couple of weeks and we haven't had any problems so we're letting them.
Friday, February 24, 2012
One of the four is small so we can wait on that one and see if it'll go away with good brushing and flossing. But the other three needed to be taken care of. This shouldn't have come as a surprise because even though he spends five plus minutes in the bathroom each night with the door shut supposedly brushing his teeth, he has admitted before that he doesn't really brush his teeth. I think he just plays with the water. So now Scott or I will need to be sure to monitor and help out with brushing and flossing for our 6-year-old.
Charles went into the dentist again a few days later to have his three cavities taken care of. He got right in the chair and lay down, but when the dentist asked him to open his mouth so they could put the numbing gel on his gums, Charles refused. He would not open his mouth for anything. Next we tried to get him to wear the laughing gas mask, but he refused to do that as well. The dentist talked with me and told me that maybe we should reschedule in the near future and at that time, for me to give Charles valium an hour before the appointment so they can put the mask on him and do their work. Drugs for my 6 year old to work on his teeth? Uh...that didn't sound very fantastic to me. So I asked them to give me a few minutes to talk with Char, and then I decided, if this didn't work, I'd wait a year or so until he was a little older and we'd try again. I know the dentist says they need to be taken care of soon, but unless Charlie gets to the point where he is in severe pain(which I think would be a good motivator for him to listen to the dentist anyway), I think I'd rather wait it out a bit until he's older. So I talked with Char.
First I explained that the thing that goes over his nose is just like one of his other play masks, that he can breathe perfectly well with it on. Then I told him that he needed to have this done and that if he wouldn't let them put the mask on and work on his teeth today, we'd have to come back again and he'd have to do it then and if we waited too long to come back, his teeth would get bigger holes and they might have to pull them out. Then I told Charles that if he would do this and listen and follow what the dentist asked him to do, we could do something really fun afterward and then I asked him what he would like to do more than anything. His answer, "Go to McDonalds". I cringed inside but then smiled and said, "okay, we'll go to McDonalds today". He knows I mean what I say and so he smiled big and said, 'okay'. He knows I hate McDonalds, so this was big. Charlie allowed the dentist to come in and do his thing. Once he was numb, it probably only took the dentist about 10 minutes to fix all three cavities which was nice. The dentist was really good and talked to him the whole time and would tell him about all his different tools and allow him to feel them on his finger etc which I think helped relax Charles a bit. Let's hope we can teach Charles better dental hygiene over the next little while so that he won't have to get that last cavity filled, but rather, help it to go away on it's own. Oh, and on our way out the door, I told Charles we could go to McDonalds for lunch, or we could go to a movie or do something else, and that it was totally up to him. He got excited and said, "jumping jacks!", which is a bounce house place for kids, so we ended up going to a place with lots of bounce houses(though not actually 'jumping jacks') that afternoon which was even better! They had a blast and both Elisabeth and Charles asked if we could celebrate their next birthdays there.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Monday, February 20, 2012
Jane just trying to look pretty. 'Pretty' is a new word in her vocabulary and she likes using it especially when it's directed toward herself.
While we were having our Family Home Evening lesson, Jane wandered off. Scott found her downstairs, on top of the guest bed watching Hello Kitty on our portable DVD player(her older sisters had watched it earlier that day and apparently left the dvd player on the bed; though they had turned it off and it was closed before Jane got to it. How she manages to figure out all our electronics on her own is a puzzle)
Jane saw her brother do this one day: pull out all the kitchen drawers and hide behind them. So of course, a day later, she had to try it herself. She just hung out back there for awhile, while sucking her fingers.
When Jane is doing something she knows she's not supposed to be doing(like dumping the water out of her cup, throwing food on the floor etc), she'll keep her head down but with her eyes, peek up to see if me or Scott will catch her in the act. It's pretty hilarious and she does it multiple times a day. Here she is taking a bite of her ice cream cone during Annabelle's birthday dinner. I guess she wasn't sure if we thought that was okay. And one of my favorites is when she gets mad at someone, she'll bow her head down slightly, glare and point her finger at you and sometimes she'll add in a "No!"
One of Elisabeth's best friends just had a birthday and I offered to decorate the cake; her mom is a good friend of mine and brought the baked cakes over to my house so that I wouldn't have to do that step. I cut and stacked them and decorated them with a dolphin theme as per request.
Cake decorating details: I covered the cakes in blue butter cream frosting. I had a cookie cutter in the shape of a star fish that I used to gently press in the side of the cakes and trace over with the circle tip 3 and then filled in with star tip 16. For the dolphins, I free-handed a big and small dolphin in pencil on a piece of paper(or you could just print one out and cut it), cut out the paper and then gently pressed those into the cake where I wanted my dolphins and then traced those outlines with tip 3 and 5 and filled them in with frosting. The plants were done with leaf tip 352, the rock border on the bottom tier with circle tip 10 and the shell borders on the top tier in tips 21(base of top tier)and 18(top of top tier). The 'sand' around the base of the cake is brown sugar.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Swirl top cupcakes can look really beautiful, even when done by a person with little or no cake decorating experience. And they are fast which is nice. Children love to see them with sprinkles on top, just be sure to put the sprinkles on soon after you've added your frosting swirl so that they will stick...if you wait to long, the sprinkles will just bounce right off.
As long as you have the right tip, a decorating bag and a good decorating frosting recipe, you're set. I learned how to make these in a Wilton cake decorating course, so I thought I'd do a google search and see if they had instructions online. And they do! I will post that here with my own tidbits of advice in italics, that I've found helpful. And just remember, the first one may not look perfect, or the second one, so plan on practicing on a few. The nice thing about frosting cupcakes is that if you hate the way it turns out, you can easily scrap off the frosting and try again. So even if it takes you ten tries to get this down, you can always redo your cupcakes. Here are the instructions (and I've included my butter cream recipe as well):
Buttercream icing (light to medium consistency)
My butter cream recipe:
1 c vegetable shortening(not the kinds with added butter flavors)
4 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp clear vanilla flavor
1/4 tsp almond flavor
1/4 tsp butter flavor(you can buy this at a craft store in the cake decorating section...our Walmart also carries this with their birthday/cake decorations)
1lb or 4 c powdered sugar
1 Tbsp Meringue Powder(also find this at craft store; this is a very important ingredient in decorators frosting b/c it really helps with the consistency and allows the frosting to keep it's shape...it stiffens just slightly though the frosting is still super soft and yummy, but this also allows you to stack frosted sugar cookies on top of each other without having them stick together, as long as you've let the frosting set for about 20 minutes)
Tip: 1M (this tip is bigger in size than most which means you won't use a coupler with this tip, but just stick it straight in the decorating bag; you can buy this at a craft store in the cake decorating section...our Walmart also carries this with their birthday/cake decorations)
Decorating Bag (I personally like the white kind you reuse, but the disposable, clear ones work just as well)
Hold Open Star Decorating Tip 1M approximately 1/4" above cupcake top at a 90° angle to cupcake surface. Pipe a spiral of icing, beginning at the outer edge and working inward.
Stop pressure; pull tip away. (note: you stop pressure once you've filled out the outer edge and done your swirl in the middle; basically once the entire cupcakes is covered; and I skip the last step and once the cupcake is completely covered and your tip is in the middle of the cupcake, I stop pressure and pull the tip up and then around in a circular movement so the middle doesn't stick straight up )
Pipe a second spiral, smaller (not as wide) on top. End spiral at center. Stop pressure; pull tip straight up and away.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Annabelle has been counting down the days to her birthday for quite some time. Being the third child, she has always felt like she should be older. Even now she's already talking about how in a year she'll be five and then six like Charles. I love the picture above of Annabelle with her cupcakes! Isn't she a doll? She is so full of life and joy and energy. We all love to be with Annabelle.
Annabelle requested pink rose cupcakes for her birthday this year. The day before her birthday I baked half the batter and tossed the rest. Annabelle helped make the batter, and the frosting and she helped put the sprinkles on a few of the cupcakes. As a side note, when we had the cupcakes tonight after dinner she only ate one really small bite and then said she was done. She's not a huge sweet eater. I think we're going to freeze the leftover four cupcakes and let the kids have them on Jane's birthday next month. Our day went as follows:
Wake up, open presents, eat German pancakes with whipped cream, play with new gifts(art kit and watched her new barbie movie),
Elisabeth made Annabelle a book with different barbie princesses on each page with some descriptions on that particular princess. Charlie made her some nice pictures and as well.
We made Elisabeth a pillow out of a t-shirt last year that she loves so we decided to do the same thing for Annabelle this year. Now Charlie wants one, too.
go to the park, play at home some more, eat at Sweet Tomatoes for dinner, go shopping at Target with Mom after dinner with the gift card she got from grandparents, and then cupcakes back at home with the family. I think she had a really nice day. Happy Birthday Annabelle!
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
We had a Valentine's Day Menu that we had decided on a couple of days before hand. We pretty much always do pink, heart shaped pancakes for breakfast and a heart pizza for dinner, and this year we also added in a pink smoothie at breakfast, heart shaped sandwiches for lunch(which we packed up and shared with dad at work), strawberry spinach salad for dinner and a smore pizza for dessert. Yes, you heard that right. Smore pizza. Not my choice but I'm going along with it. I made the mistake of telling Scott about the papa murphys e-coupon I received, where you get a heart pizza and a smore pizza for $7 and he was sold. But we compromised a little and agreed to either give the leftovers away or toss them. We ended up tossing them. We wanted to do a homemade heart pizza, but I wasn't sure how we'd manage keeping it in a heart shape while transferring it to the pizza stone. Though last night my mom shared the brilliant idea of still making a circle pizza but arranging the toppings so they make the shape of a heart, so I think we'll do that next year. We also had fresh strawberries and strawberries dipped in almond bark. Elisabeth helped dip the strawberries and we brought a plate over to a lady in our neighborhood and ward who played the piano for Elisabeth and I this past Sunday at church when Elisabeth and I sang a duet. As a side note, Elisabeth did a great job and even sang one verse solo. Singing in a microphone in front of lots of people can be really scary and we were very proud of her.
And of course, we all got to read our love letters at breakfast. This is the 5th or 6th year we've done this and it truly is my favorite part about Valentine's Day. I love getting love letters from the kids and especially Scott :)! I've kept all of them in a box and my plan is to put each child's together into a notebook as a gift to them when they turn 18 or before they leave home.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Since the kids are off track I let Elisabeth come with me to my last doctors appointment so she could hear the baby's heart beat and get a general feel for how my appointments go. This was also the appointment where they do the gestational diabetes testing. I was able to get my glucose drink at my prior appointment and drink it at home so I wouldn't have to wait quite so long before they drew my blood, which was nice. When drawing my blood, the nurse missed my vein on the first prick and almost did the same on the second, but then wiggled it around and got the blood flowing. Elisabeth didn't really like that part :). She said seeing them fill the three tubes with blood was gross. The nurse said they'd call if something was wrong so hopefully I won't hear any news.
A few days ago I told Scott that I felt ready to have this baby. I'm feeling uncomfortable already and would like to be done soon :). He tried to offer comfort by reminding me that this could likely be my last pregnancy and that I should enjoy it. It was a good attempt on his part, but not very comforting. My breath is always short, baby seems to be getting in weird positions fairly frequently that make my lower right side of the back hurt, and I can't breathe whenever I bend over, which happens more often than I'd like. On the upside, the bumps on my legs have improved quite a bit. They don't bother me anymore and they've significantly shrunk in size. Also, as in previous pregnancies, strangers feel comfortable around me when I'm so obviously pregnant and will strike up conversations with me or just smile which is nice. Right now when I go out shopping, I'll either go alone or I'll take one of the kids with me because having all of them right now, in my size, is not only stressful but I can't keep up with them physically, they're too fast and they're much lower to the ground than I am so I just don't do it if I can possibly help it. Anyway, several times while out alone, people have asked if this is my first. It sounds a little strange to hear myself saying, "No, this will actually be the fifth."
Another upside is that I'm now in my last trimester! Hallelujah! I get so antsy and excited during this last trimester which almost makes the time seem to slow down, unfortunately. I like to sit and daydream about when and how everything will happen. What will I be doing when the contractions come on? Will it be during the day or night(though so far, our track record is that they always come at night...accept for Annabelle who I had induced). I like to think about what she'll look like, how big she'll be, what her name will be. We have a list of several first and middle names we like but we both have different first choices, as usual. So we probably won't decide for sure until we see her. Some names just seem more blonde and others more brunette to me :). Maybe that seems strange, but it's true. And since we have both combinations in our family....you just never know. Alright, well, I think that's it for now.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
The water is naturally soft where we come from. So we came to this house knowing nothing about water softeners. Apparently they need to be replaced(expensive) or maintenanced (also expensive) about every 12 years or so. Ours is probably that old, and in fact, we think it's as old as the house which is more like 18 years, and since we knew nothing about water softeners, we didn't know much about how to care for it besides what the previous owners mentioned in passing which was to put salt in every 2-3 months. So, every two to three months we'd add one bag of salt and call it good. I think we were running what was left of this water softener, into the ground.
Our softener started leaking over the past month. I talked to some people around here about who they liked and trusted when it came to water softeners and got a couple of recommendations. I've gotten kind of scared of having workers come into my home because of a recent bad experience when we had some air duct cleaning guys over. They were worse than car salesmen. And to me, that means they're really, really bad. Anyway, that's another story.
The first place I called came out to our house and tested our water, which was really, really hard(not good), and checked the pressure which was really, really high(also not good) and then upon peering into the tank where we put our salt, besides seeing that the water level was way too high, he also announced that it was empty. Empty, I thought? Really? But look at all that water. Apparently the water doesn't count. And it's not supposed to be that high. The salt should have been that high. Then I took some time to ask him a few questions and I learned a lot during our appointment. He said we needed a new water pressure regulator and either a new water softener or we needed to put all new stuff on the softener tank we already had. Both options were really expensive. He left and a couple of days later I called the other company I'd heard about. They said we needed the same stuff, but the price they quoted us was several hundred dollars less! Happy day! It was still expensive, but this way we wouldn't be using all of our tax return on this repair, just part of it. So they came in and within a few hours the old, leaky one was out and the new one was in, and the water pressure regulator thing was also put in. Scott just had to make a new, bigger wall panel covering to cover the hole in the wall where they put in the pressure regulator. Yay for tax returns!
Here's the new softener. I should have taken a picture of our old one. It looked pretty terrible compared to this one.
Now onto our second repair. My treadmill got a hole on the belt. When the belt rotates while I'm walking, it makes a really loud noise and shakes a little because the piece on the belt that's torn, sticks out and is catching on something else underneath that I can't see. Anyway, we thought we'd have to dump it and be without a treadmill for awhile which made me really sad because I use it everyday, but we knew since we were getting a new water softener system we really shouldn't do both and the water softener takes precedence. Now, remember how I just got stitches? One day this week I was on my elliptical thinking about how much I'm already missing my treadmill(the elliptical is sure getting hard with my continual weight gain) and then I got distracted and started thinking about my stitches and the thought came to me, 'I wonder if I could stitch up my belt?' I got one of my more heavy duty needles, and some plain old thread(though I might buy a stronger kind in the future if this doesn't hold) and I sat down and stitched it back together. Even though the hole wasn't huge, it took me a long time to stitch it back up because it was hard trying to get my needle through the material on the belt. But I finished and I've used it a couple of times since without any noise or shaking! Wahoo! Let's hope this holds up for awhile.
Friday, February 10, 2012
I've mentioned before that another family and ours swap babysitting each month: they go on a date one month and then Scott and I go the next. We decided for February, since it's Valentine's, that we'd swap twice and each get a turn to go on a date. Scott and I are going out this weekend! It's always something the whole family looks forward too. Annabelle and their Elizabeth are best friends and play barbies or house most of the time. Our 4 oldest kids(there 2 and our 2) get along really well and our babies like to walk around together with their strollers and babies :). Last weekend we watched their kids. Scott played sports with the big kids outside, we ate pasta, veggies and fruit for dinner, we played 'Pin the Heart on Cupids Arrow' (I had to make a game for Charlie's kindergarten class so I already had this all ready) and then played some more and watched part of A Dolphin Tale.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Backing up, Elisabeth(our 7-year-old) does not like store bought whole wheat tortillas. She always said she didn't like quesadillas, but I know now that it was just quesadillas made from store bought whole wheat tortillas. Sometimes she'll have a burrito if it has enough fillings inside so she can't really taste the tortilla, but then she'll always leave the ends where there isn't much of anything else on it.
About a month ago, we went to Costa Vida for the first time and she ate a quesadilla and loved it. I asked her why she didn't like my quesadillas and she said it was the tortilla. Now, back to the present. I made these whole wheat tortillas this week and had her try a bite. She loved it and in fact said, "Mom, these taste just like the ones from Costa Vida!" A HUGE compliment coming from her. And then she ate two quesadillas! And in fact, the whole family loved them which is also HUGE for us. We don't have very many dinner meals we ALL enjoy. Now, these tortillas are not really just like the one's from Costa Vida, which I told her, because mine are whole wheat and the one she had there was made from white flour. Either way, I'm so happy to have found this recipe because I am a Mexican food lover and this will be very useful for my family.
I filled my burrito with cooked beans, lettuce, mexican rice, guacamole and salsa! So yummy!
This recipe made 12. When I made it again I doubled it, though I only used 3/4 c oil rather than the full 1cup. They were pretty easy and probably took about 30 minutes to make, the longest part being the rolling out of the dough and cooking. The first time I made these I cooked them on my stove in a cast iron pan. Then I got smart and pulled out my large pancake griddle so I could roll out and cook four at a time which went much quicker. I cooked all of them at one time and then you can refrigerate or freeze leftovers, though I just left mine on our counter in a tupperware because I figured they'd get eaten up the next day, which they did. Here's the recipe:
Whole-Wheat Flour Tortillas- Lightly adapted from 100 days of whole foods
Yield: 12 tortillas
2 1/2-3 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup oil(I used olive oil...if you double this recipe, you only need 3/4 c oil)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (heated in the microwave for 30 seconds)
In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer set with a dough hook, pour in the 2 1/2 cups flour, oil, water and salt. Beat with the paddle about 3 minutes until smooth. Scrape the sides as needed. If your hand-held mixer comes with dough hooks those can be used as well(and that's what I personally used to make these). Add more flour if needed; you don't want it so sticky that you can't work with it.
Take out the dough and divide it into 12 equal sized pieces. I do this by rolling out a log shape that is about 8 – 10 inches long. Then I cut it in the middle. Then I cut each of those pieces into 3 so you have 12 pieces.
Heat a cast iron skillet, griddle or 12-inch skillet over med to medium-high heat. I had my griddle on about 375 degrees. The pan should be fairly hot before you begin cooking the tortillas.
On a lightly floured board or countertop, roll each ball into a 8 to 10 inch circle. Be careful not to use more than a teaspoon or two of flour when rolling out each ball of dough because too much excess flour will burn in the pan.
Grease the pan with a touch of oil if needed(I didn't do this on my cast iron or my griddle) and then carefully transfer each tortilla, one at a time, to the pan and cook until puffy and slightly brown, about 30 to 40 seconds per side. Set aside on a plate to cool slightly. Eat within an hour, refrigerate or freeze.