Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jane's 2-year statistics

Jane had her 2-year wellness check this week. She didn't have to get any shots which was nice. Everything checked out well and she seems to be one healthy and happy little girl. Here are her statistics:

Weight: 24.25 lbs (19%)
Height: 32.28 in (19%)
Body Mass Index: 16.4 (48%)

General Conference and Easter Preparations

General Conference and Easter are quickly approaching and I'm finding myself very busy trying to gather things and prepare for the two events. I used my last general conference post from October 2011 as a guide, and thankfully, had posted some links to different websites where I could find conference packets and other activities again. You can find them by clicking on the 'general conference helps' at the top of the page and then going to whatever age group you'd like for your packet. I printed those out today. I'll need to cut out my apostle cards this week. I also need to pick up some butcher paper so I can make a conference wall again, and I read about an idea in the Friend magazine where each child has their own poster sized butcher paper and can cut out pictures from old Friend Magazines while watching conference, and glue them on there to hang in their bedrooms until next conference. We're going to try that this year as well.

I've picked up a couple of snacks that I'm going to use for both Easter and General Conference. So far I have some fruit leather(found at Costco), a healthier version of animal crackers, and a healthier version of yogurt covered pretzels. I like to browse our local health food stores to see what they've got. But that can also be expensive so I don't do too much. I'm planning on making a couple of their favorite healthy desserts(mini pb cookies and maybe some popcorn or peanut butter popcorn) and putting them in Easter cellophane bags as well. I was at the dollar store the other day with Elisabeth and I saw a bunch of things that could easily go in Easter baskets as well: easter egg shaped sidewalk chalk, pack of 4 bubbles, hair ties, chapstick etc. I still need to get some 100% fruit juice capri suns, which were requested by my children, and I want to come up with some fun meal and snack ideas for conference.

Here is a list a friend gave me(which I revised a little) of other non-food ideas to put in Easter baskets.

Easter Basket and Egg filler ideas besides candy

Change (nickels, dimes and quarters)
Dollar Bills (you could save this for a grand prize, the egg that is really hard to find, or a golden egg)
Anything from the dollar store that will fit
The little pills that you put in water and watch grow. Grow Caps. These were my favorite as a kid.
Seeds (plant them together when Easter is over )
Yogurt Covered Raisins or Pretzels from health food store
Hot Wheel Cars
Hair ribbons and bows
Bouncy Balls
100% juice capri sun
Character Band-aids
Fruit Nuggets
Silly Bands
Small containers of bubbles
Coupons (You can make them: "Good for one extra bed time story, etc...")
Sea Shells
Legos (they have smalls sets, you could divide the pieces amongst different eggs)
Army men
Plastic Animals/Bugs
Pony Tail elastics
Mini nail polish
Lip gloss/ Chap Stick

Sidewalk chalk
Easter Stuffed animals
Small home-made treats like mini cookies(can put in clear plastic easter bags)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

34 Weeks, Canon and Bosch

Not much new from the last post at 32 weeks, just heavier which means I'm going to the bathroom even more, walking even slower, and feeling a little more soreness in my back and legs. Luckily, I have an amazing husband who has been giving me back rubs each night for the past couple of months(as a side note, Scott deserves a second shout out for this past weekend. He came home an hour and a half early from work Friday and said, "If you have anything you need to do, go ahead and do it" and he stayed home with the kids. He is such a gem!). And my children have been wonderful helpers, folding laundry, picking up after themselves and their baby sister who is constantly getting into things and making messes. A quick funny story: for Family Home Evening last week we had a lesson on work. Scott asked us all to share a chore we liked to do and a chore we didn't really like to do. When it was my turn to share a chore I didn't like, their was a brief pause and then Elisabeth, our almost 8-year-old, said in all seriousness, "Oh, this is going to be hard for Mom. Right, Mom? You love having a clean house. You love to clean everything, and you do it all the time!"
"Really? You think I love to clean everything?" I said with a chuckle and I'm sure a twinkle in my eye.
"Yeah, well you do don't you?" she asked. Then I realized that what she was saying was a pretty nice compliment. Why? Because that means I've been doing a pretty good job about not complaining or whining. Now that I think about it, when I clean, many times I sing, or hum, or I'll turn on music and dance as I'm putting things away(yes, even at 34 weeks I'm still dancing). So, thank you Elisabeth. I hope I can continue to live up to those standards.

Annabelle snapped a couple of pictures of me recently(she sometimes cuts off the top of the head...understandable since she's 4-years-old). I usually wear some type of cardigan over my humungous belly so it's not quite so astonishing to others. This is the white button up shirt I wore as a cover up today for church.

I took off the button up shirt when we got home and snapped another picture in front of the mirror and Holy Hannah! Look at that! No wonder people can't help but stop and stare or make a remark :). I would too! Ah, but check out my new camera! I'm so excited to have a camera that takes better quality pictures, one I can throw in my purse and take everywhere, and one that takes close-ups that aren't blurry! Wahoo! I'd done some research, with the help of my photographer friend Lindsay, and so I had a couple I was keeping my eye on. I found this one for a great deal on Amazon. It's called the Canon Powershot s90. I got it in 'like-new' condition, so used, for a whole lot less. It came with all it's original stuff, most of it still packaged and all in fantastic condition, plus it came with a carrying bag and a memory card! I'm thrilled and loving it!

And speaking of getting used items, there has been one other thing I've been looking for, used, the past couple of months and that is a Bosch Mixer(they last forever which is why I wanted one with the used price). I've been borrowing my neighbor and good friend Maren's every week for the past while(thank you so much Maren!) so that I could make 4 loaves of wheat bread for my family each week, which is what we go through. I have seen several come and go on our local classified ads, but I'm never quick enough and someone always beats me to the punch, even though I check this website a couple of times a day. Anyway, I finally got lucky(actually, luck had nothing to do with it. I finally got smart and started praying about it every night and morning. And yes, He(the Lord) even cares about the silly things that make us happy...if they're good silly things of course) and I found a Bosch Universal, about 5 years old, that comes with the dough hook, whisk and dough paddle attachments for almost a third of the price. I'm so grateful to have this and will be putting it to good use!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Jane's 2nd Birthday

Happy Birthday Jane! You are two-years-old! Annabelle keeps telling everyone we talk to that "My baby is having a birthday!" It's really cute :).

On the morning of her birthday she woke up and found her new water and sand table from us, a gift from Granny and Grandpa and a couple of letters and pictures from her siblings. I loved the notes from the kids. Elisabeth wrote out what Annabelle wanted to say. Elisabeth and Annabelle wrote things like, 'Jane we love you because.... you play barbies/house/read books with us' etc. They read them all to her that morning before breakfast. We ate waffles for breakfast, took the kids to school(they have been riding bikes because it's been beautiful outside, but this particular morning it was raining and stormy), came home, brought the water table into the kitchen, laid out a bunch of towels on the floor around it and then filled it up with water. Annabelle and Jane played in it for about an hour while I cleaned up after our birthday and breakfast mess. I also changed Jane's clothes three times during that hour because she didn't want to be wet and wanted clothes on. I was able to take off her shirt for awhile but she didn't like that very much. I think next time we'll put them in swimsuits when we play with the water table.

That night we went to a pizza buffet for dinner since Jane loves pizza. I'm pretty sure we went there for her birthday last year as well :). When we got home we sang 'Happy Birthday' and had cupcakes, the same one's we had for Annabelle's birthday last month that I froze and saved for this; which was actually Scott's idea and I loved it! The cupcakes still looked beautiful and tasted the same. Moist and everything!

This is a still shot I grabbed from the video I made. Unfortunately, we're just learning how to use the video camera on our new photo camera and I didn't know that the lighting from the window, just behind Jane, was causing that sandy look all over everything so I just kept videoing and didn't fix anything. Whoops! But she's still cute, even with the sandy/shady look. I'll put the 1 minute video clip at the end of this post. I love her cute voice and laugh!
Here are some things Jane is doing at two years of age:
-talking. She's saying all sorts of words and putting together two word sentences. Here are a few of the things she says often(though she really can say a lot more words): "Help me", "stop", "no", "pizza", "ball", "baby", "mommy", "daddy", "please", "daddy, go?" (meaning where did daddy go), "yeah", "A-belle" (for annabelle), "arey"(charlie), "bebe" (elisabeth)
-working on potty training. She went pee in the toilet the other day for the first time! we were very excited
-loves to dance
-can lead music. This is super cute to watch. when someone starts to play the piano at our house, she'll get up, walk over near the fireplace under the mantle and say, "reary"(ready) while she holds her hand up in the air and then she'll just wave it up and down.
-loves to read books. Her favorite book right now is Alice the Fairy.
-Loves to play with her siblings. This is something that has really developed over the past couple of months. She loves to be with them. She loves to play house, dolls, barbies, roll around in the grass with Charlie, go on swings with them, ride her car with them and just do anything they are doing. Annabelle and Jane play a lot together in the morning when both kids are at school, and when Charles gets home, they like to play a lot together, especially since it's been nice outside: they find bugs, collect rocks and play on the swing set a lot.
-Still loves her blanket(and the two fingers she sucks). And I love that she'll snuggle with us still, especially when she's got that blanket in her arms.
-Great eater and sleeper. She'll eat just about anything we give her(accept not really meat). Her favorites are probably breakfast foods like pancakes, waffles, granola, yogurt, and she also loves pizza, all fruit, salad, green smoothies, cashews, cheese, guacamole and so much more.

Happy Birthday Janey! We love you!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bryce Canyon and Elisabeth's primary talk

*Side note: When I pulled out my camera to take my first picture while at Bryce Canyon, I discovered it was dead, and never to be revived. Luckily, Scott brought his ipod and phone, both of which take pictures so we do have some evidence of our trip, even though half the pictures are pretty blurry.

Scott had this past Friday off from work because they are moving their office upstairs, so we decided to go on a short trip. There are several national parks in Utah and we've seen a couple of them, Zions and Arches, over the past couple of years so we decided to hit another one. We told the kids a week before hand, when we made reservations at our hotel, all about our upcoming trip. To say they were excited would be an understatement. All week long they talked about it. They talked of nothing else. They lost sleep over it. They all packed their own bags(which were huge and bulging, even though we were only going for one night) a week before the trip. I kept them somewhat busy by having them do extra money chores they could spend at Bryce Canyon, once their other chores were completed for the day. This was actually really nice. Elisabeth folded three loads of laundry for me, Charlie cleaned out and organized the shed, they stayed on top of their homework, piano practice and bedrooms without too much reminding/nagging from me.

Even though we stayed in a hotel, I told Scott this should count as our family camping trip for this year. He was okay with that. I mean, we're still going hiking, we have to drive for while, I'm really pregnant, trips cost money and so do visiting national parks, and besides, I'll have a new baby in the summer and I don't want to do any camping for now.

Friday morning, once Charlie was through with school(he get's out at 1030 on Friday), we took off for Bryce Canyon. It's about a 4 hour drive. We checked out several Magic Tree House audio books from the library which they listened to, and they watched a movie on our portable dvd player, each way. I was nervous how I would do having to sit for so long, but it went okay. I brought along a small pillow to put behind my lower back which I used during part of the trip. I also choose to do a lot of the driving so that I didn't have to be constantly picking up things off the floor and turning around handing things to children...twisting, turning and bending in this body right now is just plain difficult.

Once we got to Bryce Canyon City, we checked into our hotel and went swimming at the indoor pool. This was one of the highlights of the trip for the kids. After swimming we went for dinner and then came back to the hotel and watched, 'Luck of the Irish' on the disney channel while laying in bed with our pajamas, eating popcorn and other treats the kids had bought with their own, hard-earned money :). They loved watching a show on TV(we don't have cable), sleeping all together and buying whatever they wanted. Sleeping arrangements were as follows: Charles slept in the chair with the ottoman pushed up to it, Annabelle and Elisabeth shared the queen bed, Scott and I had the other queen bed, and Jane slept in a portable crib....well actually she slept in the crib for half the night and with Scott and I for half the night because she knew we were near and wanted to be with us. Needless to say, Scott and I didn't sleep wonderfully. I'm pretty sure Charles had the best nights sleep :).I didn't realize before hand, just how small the town we were visiting would be. There were no grocery stores, just an extremely over priced, small grocery area in a hotel. There were three places to eat dinner out, within a 30 minute driving radius, and all three were at hotels(though there are a few more to choose from during the touristy months of May through the end of summer). We choose to eat dinner at a hotel that was known and liked by the locals. It's also famous for their homemade pies. We wanted to get a slice of their famous banana cream pies-- they had blueberry and strawberry-- but the waitress informed us they were out of both of those fruits for the night but that the manager would be driving to another town tonight to get some more for tomorrow. So we went with a lemon meringue pie which was amazing! It really was, and I don't even like pie, especially lemon meringue. We actually went back the next afternoon on our way out and picked up a slice of the banana strawberry cream pie. It was fun to eat dinner in such a small town, where everyone knew everyone else and strangers struck up conversations with us because we were new in town. Here is a picture of Jane finishing off dad's side of potato, ham soup. We didn't eat dinner until 7pm which is an hour and a half later than usual and the soup was brought out first so Charlie, Annabelle and I helped Scott out with his soup as well :).

The next day we went into the National Park, went through the museum and watched a short movie at the visitors center, worked with the kids through their junior ranger packets and went on a hike. Here are Charlie and Annabelle in the Museum, and then a couple of pictures of the kids being sworn in or taking the oath of a junior ranger. They said having to raise their right hand while repeating after the ranger was kind of embarrassing; but they liked it :). Jane and I didn't actually hike because it started to lightly snow, so instead we dropped them off at point A, then drove down to point B and waited for them to arrive about 30 minutes later(that way their hike was all down grade as well). While we waited we walked out to the view point to have a look around, but it was cold so we didn't stay out too long.
Elisabeth looks frighteningly/nauseatingly close to the edge in this picture, doesn't she? But Scott assures me she was at least 5 feet away from the edge. We stopped at several view points to have a look(beautiful!) and at one stop, Elisabeth got asked to help an older couple with something. The next day she was supposed to give a talk in church(which we work on together, now that she's getting older) and she asked if we'd be able to work in that story somehow. We did, easily. So here is her talk with the details from her adventure at Bryce Canyon.

"The theme for this month is, 'Living prophets teach me to choose the right'. Twice a year we hear our prophet speak to us at general conference. Our prophet today is President Monson. During one general conference, President Monson said, 'What is most important almost always involves the people around us.'

This weekend our family visited Bryce Canyon. While we were outside looking at one of the viewpoints, an older man asked us if we could help him with something. Him and his wife were locked out of their van. But they had a window open big enough for a child to fit through. The only problem was there were three dogs inside. They said they were nice, but I was scared. But I also knew that people are important and I wanted to choose the right and help them. My dad lifted me into the van through the window and I unlocked there door. The dogs came over to me and I was nervous, but I was happy to have helped someone in need." -Elisabeth Smith

And I'd just like to add that her mom was really scared too! I said a couple of prayers on her behalf as she was lowered into that van with three dogs. We didn't know these people, we didn't know the dogs, many dogs tend to be territorial, Elisabeth is small and if something were to happen to her while she was inside the van, we'd have a hard time getting to her...probably have to break a window. Yeah, I was really nervous. I'm grateful the Lord protected her and that she was able to help out this older couple.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Annabelle the chorister

Every night before bed we sing primary church songs together. The kids like to take turns being the chorister. They all do a good job. I LOVE watching Annabelle. The way she really swings her arm, keeps a smile on my face during the entire song. Here is a short clip I took of her leading our song...I wish I would have thought to record her doing a faster song because then her arm really gets swinging :).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Conversation with a cashier

I made a quick trip to Walmart, with all four kids, to grab a couple of things I needed just before dinner. They did surprisingly well. Anyway, as I was checking out, the cashier, who looked like she was about my age said, "Oh! I just saw your whole stomach move."
I smiled and nodded and continued putting items on the belt.
"Let me guess. Two weeks left?" the cashier asked.
"Ha! Two months, actually." I answered with a smile.
"Really!?" she said, as if this was the most surprising thing she'd ever heard. And then a few seconds later she adds, in a very matter-of-fact tone, "So it's twins then."
"Nope. One baby."
"Really? Wow." She can't seem to wrap her head around what I'm saying. "I never got that big." she adds, really emphasizing the word, 'never'. I just nodded my head again. Then she looks around at all my other children as she hands me my receipt and says, "well, maybe with multiple babies..."
"Nope," I interrupted. "I was this big with all of them. Have a nice day!" I added brightly.

I wasn't mad or distraught by what she said, mostly just amused. I've been in similar situations many times. Of course I had to recount all the details to Scott once he got home to which he wisely answered, "Honey, I think you're beautiful. And they only think that because you're so small everywhere else." Which, I might add, is not really true, but I was happy to hear him say it anyway. Mostly I think it has to do with my body type. Perhaps there's just not a whole lot of room in my torso area or perhaps it's already so crowded with other things that the baby has no where to go but out. I can tell I'm pregnant by looking in a mirror around 8 weeks. Others can tell around 10 weeks. I'm not one who can keep pregnancy a secret for long because people can see for themselves that something is going on. It really does stick out a lot so it's not surprising to me that I get as many comments from strangers as I do. And around this point in time I always wonder, "How in the world is this baby going to be able to get any bigger? There is no room!" You know what else is weird? I've never had stretch marks. With how much I stretch, I would normally think that impossible.

I think it's hilarious when children will come up to me, standing a few inches back from my belly(many of my kids friends are as tall as my belly so it seems like it's right in their face) and they'll just stare. For 30 seconds or so. Sometimes they'll stare without saying anything, and then walk away. And sometimes, after looking at it for awhile, probably trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together, they'll ask, "You have a baby?" It's really cute. Annabelle gives my tummy a kiss every night before she goes to bed and says, "And a kiss for the baby." But that's the extent of her love toward my baby/tummy. Charlie is my one child that is constantly rubbing my tummy and giving it hugs and kisses. This little girl is going to be very loved when she makes her appearance in the world.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

32 Weeks

8 weeks left to go which means I am in the single digits for weeks! Wahoo! And the bumps on my legs are gone! Double wahoo! I didn't think they'd go away until after the baby was born because of all the pressure constricting the blood flow to veins etc, but I guess if I eat good foods, that helps out a lot. When they came and were at their worst was when I was eating a lot more processed foods when I was sick with this pregnancy. I kept things like french fries and tator tots in my freezer to eat fairly regularly because everything else sounded awful, and I needed some quick frozen meals that Scott could handle when he got off of work.

The weather is warming up here and we are absolutely loving it. I've been able to walk to school a few times recently to pick up Elisabeth which both the kids and I enjoy. Though Annabelle and Jane are getting a little more difficult for me to push around in my double stroller. I would let Annabelle ride her tricycle there and back if it weren't for the memory of 6 months ago when she threw the biggest screaming/crying tantrum on our walk home because she was tired and hot and wanted to stop but we couldn't just leave her bike. I know she's older now, and it's not as hot as summer, but I'm just not sure if she could make it that far's only about a mile but I think we'll need to practice doing laps around our neighborhood for awhile first before I allow her to try again. Besides our occasional walks around the neighborhood, I still try and do the tredmill 5 days a week for about 45 minutes to an hour which ends up being about 2.5-3 miles. It's getting harder and I have to slow down sometimes to stop contractions that get uncomfortable when I'm walking quickly. I do want the baby to come early, but not this early. Once I hit May 1st, I plan on walking a lot more and a lot faster :). Maybe I'll try and do some Tae Bo then too. We'll see how it goes. By the way, I've gained 30 lbs now. So 5 lbs in two weeks. I'm pretty sure that's the way it'll be until the end now. Usually the last month my face will really start to widen and look....different. It's interesting all the things that happen to our bodies when we're getting ready to give birth.

Oh, and something not to do with the pregnancy: did you notice Elisabeth's face in the picture above? It healed from her sledding accident last week! The last of her very large scab came off on Sunday, 8 days after her accident. She was super good about leaving it alone and not picking at it(probably because whenever her hand came close to it I'd remind her that if she scratched it and peeled it off it'd most likely leave a scar on her face, so just leave it be and it would fall off on it's own when it was ready). If you look closely at her face, you can still see some whitish marks, but they're not bad at all and I think those will go away soon. Charlie's is looking all better as well.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Disease-Proof Your Child

A month or two ago I finished reading the book, Disease-Proof Your Child by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who is a family physician and specializes in nutrition based treatments(especially for obesity and chronic disease.). Like all the other health/diet/nutrition books I've read in the past, I really liked some things, and some things I just kinda go, "eh, I'm not so sure about that." But I'm glad I do that. I'm glad I don't take everything I read as the 100% truth, even if they are written by doctors and scientists. The only thing I've read and believe to be completely true and base everything else I read off that document is the Word of Wisdom which is found in Doctrine and Covenants section 89 (in the Book of Mormon). Fantastic stuff! And it's from God who knows everything so you know it's true. Anyway, back to this book. I typed up some notes as I read the book and then from that I narrowed it down to my favorites which you can read below. The sentences in bold are key things I really like.

I really liked what he had to say on picky eaters and how you can go about helping your kids and family to eat right, which summed up is basically to only keep healthy foods in your house. If you're going to have a treat, then go out and have a treat but don't bring it home. Okay, here you go:

Reforming the picky eater:

"Children are not responsible for their poor food choices- their parents are. Excluding those children with chronic illnesses or severe emotional disorders, a nutritionally poor diet is predominantly the result of misinformed parents and incorrect dietary choices." pg. 115-116

“When a family first brings their chronically ill child in to see me, I insist that the entire family come-- both parents and all siblings -- so that we can devise a new eating plan for the entire family. The focus is never solely on the ill child. For the ill child to recover, the crucial first step is for the entire family to make a recovery from their less than optimal diet style.” pg 117

“When the Petersons insisted, “josh won't eat fruits or vegetables,” I explained to them that all children would eat healthfully if shipwrecked. True hunger is difficult to deny. If faced with limited options, they will gleefully eat whatever food is available, without intellectual gymnastics to get them to.

It is not necessary to coax them to eat or to eat healthfully. In fact, battling about food with your child is counterproductive. The trick is to adhere to this one most important rule: only permit healthy food in your home. Children will eat whatever is available. They will not starve themselves to death; they adapt easily and learn relatively quickly to like the food that is offered"

Food Preferences Are Formed By One's Food Environment:

"Researchers studying children's food choices have found that the earlier in life the food is introduced, the more likely it will be favored. Parents have been shown to give up too easily when offering healthy food to their children. Keep offering the same food, even if your child rejects it. With persistence, it is likely they will eventually try it and even like it. One study showed that about 75 percent of parents gave up after five tries, while the research showed it took eight to fifteen times for children to accept a new food as familiar. Positive reinforcement, praise, and demonstration of family taste preference (showing your child how much you like it over an over) works better than forcing the child to eat it, and is better than bribing the child. Once the child does give it a shot, tasting the food again and again encourages an eventual favorable taste response.

Taste is a learned phenomenon – both children and adults like the foods they were raised on the best. What is most compelling is that a study shows that even the foods that mothers eat while pregnant and nursing affect what their toddlers will prefer.....Scientific investigations illustrate that children most often take on the eating habits of their parents. Research also indicates that adults who consume lots of fruits and vegetables are those who consumed lots of these foods during childhood.

What has been shown not to work is for parents to eat one way and force their children to eat a different way. In fact, parents who force dietary restraint on their children while they themselves eat unrestrainedly were shown to have an adverse effect that fostered the development of body fat on their children.

...Because toddlers have small stomachs and may choose to eat less at mealtimes, they should have access to snacks. Unfortunately, the most common snacks for toddlers are cookies, crackers, chips, milk and fruit drinks(not juice). A snack can and should be real food like fruit, vegetables, bean and nut dips, wholesome soups, and raw nuts.” pg 119

Don't Coerce Children to Eat:

When there is a true physiologic need for calories and when they are truly hungry, they will eat. You may be able to determine what they eat by what is offered or available in your home environment, but you have almost no ability to force your children to consume more food than their own internal drives them they need. It is especially difficult to get a baby or toddler to overeat. Most young ones will push food away when they are not hungry. By bribing, coaxing, tempting and teaching our little ones to constantly stuff down a few more bites, they are learning to ignore their body's correct hunger and satiation signals. Over time, and with the help of 'fake food' made with artificial flavors and concentrated sweeteners, it's very common for children to become chronic overeaters.

We are designed to consume a diet rich in natural plant fibers and micronutrients. This fiber (bulk) causes stretch receptors in the digestive tract to register that we have consumed enough food. When we eat processed food, which is high in calories and has little fiber, the body's natural satiation mechanism is fooled and we overeat. Appetite can also be driven by taste. The artificially high stimulation of taste with concentrated sweeteners and artificial flavors can make humans eating machines without constraints.” pg 120-121

“...when we are exposed to processed foods, the body's natural signals to stop eating are disturbed.” pg 124

“..the unnaturally high level of sugar, salt and artificially heightened flavors in processed(fake) foods will lessen or deaden he sensitivity of the taste buds to more subtle flavors, making natural foods taste flat.” pg 128

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Random Pictures with Descriptions

1. For quite some time now, we've been allowing the kids to each pick a dinner a week. We also have a rule that it can't be the same dinner two weeks in a row(though it could be every other week). And recently, we've added another element: on their night, they have to help with the dinner preparations. Jane, our almost 2-year-old, isn't involved in this yet, and Annabelle, our barely turned four year old, I only have help for bits and pieces, but both Charles and Elisabeth are with me the whole time and helping. I want them to learn how to cook, and I think learning to cook their favorite meals, is a good start. They both can make scrambled eggs all on their own now, and things like peanut butter sandwiches and quesadillas. Here is a picture of Charles helping me make Mr. Pings Secret Ingredient Noodle Soup. I don't let them use sharp knives yet so I did the cutting of veggies, though he grated the carrots, rinsed the veggies, helped with spices and stirring etc. and now he knows what's involved with Pings soup. They both actually really look forward to helping me make their favorite meals.
2. We put Charles in piano lessons starting a few weeks ago. He really enjoys practicing the piano and being able to play different songs. At the same time, we had to stop Elisabeth's ballet lessons. With her and Charles having piano lessons each week and they also have to practice at least 30 minutes a day, plus with homework and then her soccer team is starting up again in a week and she has two, one hour practices each week plus a game on Saturday, and the baby is due in less than 2 was all just too much. So for now, we're putting ballet on hold. If she decides she wants to do it next year instead of soccer, then we'll try and figure it out, but for now she wants to do soccer again.

3. Elisabeth and Charles both asked if they could have their own recipe binder filled with their favorite recipes(I have two recipe binders I made for myself awhile back. One is from when we were first married and contains recipes up until about a year ago. The other I made about a year ago and has our healthier recipes in it). Here is Elisabeth copying down some of her favorite recipes from my recipe book...I told her I could easily just print them off for her and she could insert them in, but she wanted to write them all down herself.
4. A picture of Jane eating guacamole. I wish all my kids would have had a mom who ate healthy from the beginning of their lives because it is SO much easier to get them to eat good foods when they're babies as opposed to changing things when they're in grade school. The grade schoolers are still not impossible, but they're just a little more challenging. We have a rule that the kids have to try a couple bites of whatever dinner I make each night, even if they've had it many times before and didn't like it. I am a firm believer that one can learn to develop different tastes through many experiences(and if you're starving, you'll eat anything, right? :))....and if you only have good food options in your house, it's so much easier to get them to eat that good food. But if you have things like gold fish crackers, pop tarts or cold boxed cereal, it's SO hard for them to turn those sugary/white flour treats down and eat beans and veggies instead. Why? Because they're addicted to those foods. Those foods are the kinds where you can eat and eat and still your body will be craving for more because they lack the nutrition your body needs. You'll end up eating more calories and quantity, and feeling less satisfied than if you ate nutrient rich foods like nuts, seeds, beans, grains, veggies, etc. And don't worry, my kids don't starve. If they don't like something and they've tried a couple of bites, we allow them to make a sandwich or eat a large salad or something else that is still a good choice. Alright, I'll step off my soap box now :).
And Jane again eating a piece of home-made whole wheat bread(my kids all love this bread now and eat it for lunch with natural peanut butter! Wahoo! It took awhile though. Most store bought breads, even if they're whole wheat, have either sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Don't believe me? Check the ingredients.)
5. Annabelle eating lunch off her new divided food tray. We picked one up for each of the kids at Walmart for $1 a piece. They each have their own color. We have fewer dishes this way because they reuse the plates during the day, and I like the dividers because many times they don't want their salad mixed in with their dinner, or their strawberries touching their sandwich. Annabelle's favorite thing to eat for lunch is apples and peanut butter. They're also all still in love with our granola which sure makes breakfast easy. And sometimes they'll have a little leftover and eat it as a snack or with lunch like Annabelle is in this picture: granola with plain greek yogurt that is sweetened with agave.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cinderella Cake

Little Miss Elizabeth(my good friend Lindsay's daughter. Lindsay is the one I do a family photo/cake swap with) had a birthday last week. While she was over at my house a few weeks ago, I pulled out some cake pictures and asked which one's she liked. She liked the princess ones which is completely understandable...she is the same age as our Annabelle. Anyway, her favorite was a Cinderella cake done in a barbie cake pan, so we did that for her birthday. It's chocolate cake decorated in butter cream frosting.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I mentioned earlier that I taught a class recently for our stake relief society on family traditions. Preparing for this took a lot of time, but it was fun to go back through old blog books and gather lots of information I'd posted on traditions. I didn't realize we had so many! Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly traditions. Some of the one's I talked about were General Conference, Valentine's Day, father's interviews on fast Sundays, and I briefly shared some weekly and daily traditions as well. Above is a picture of the poster I put together with the help of a friend and her Cricut.

Speaking of traditions, after Scott and I watched the Christian movie Courageous(which we both really's about the importance of the role of a father), we discovered another tradition we want to copy...well not copy exactly but do something similar. One of the fathers in this movie has a daughter about dating age and there is a guy who is really interested in her and wants to take her out. The dad is getting nervous, wanting to protect his daughter from men he's not so sure of, and he decides to take his daughter on a date: they dress all fancy, go to a nice restaurant, and while they are there the dad tells his daughter how much she means to him and tells her that he'd like to be involved with who she's dating and be allowed to know about him and ask questions(probably to her and the guy) because he loves her so much that he wants to make sure he's an okay guy. She agrees and he then gives her a ring to wear on her ring finger until it's replaced by her engagement ring. This ring will serve as a reminder of that night and of the promise they made; it will also serve as a reminder that her dad loves her and treats her well and she needs to wait to find someone who will do likewise. I think he got her a diamond ring...with four girls in our family, we won't be doing diamonds, but I like the idea of having something tangible on her ring finger so that she can be reminded of the promise they made at that dinner. So maybe some other type of nice ring. :) Good idea, huh? I think so!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Asparagus with Parmesan-Lemon Vinaigrette

I am starting another blog. I'm keeping this one as our family blog, and the other one will be all about healthy eating and will be full of my recipes with picture tutorials....maybe eventually with some video tutorials as well, but I'd like not to be pregnant in those video tutorials so that won't happen for a few months at least :). I'm really excited about it. I love food, health, and nutrition but I also don't want our family blog to be so full of recipes and my health stuff that it takes the focus of this blog off of the family stuff. So anyway, it's in the works though I won't have it go public until I get a good amount of recipes on there; hopefully in the next month. In the meantime, I'll continue to post a few food recipes here which I'll also transfer over to my new food blog. I hope some of you will follow me over to that website. I'll be sure to post the website information on here once it's public. Now, onto the asparagus recipe.

Asparagus has been on sale around here for the past couple of months. I bought a bunch and then went in search of some yummy asparagus recipes. After a little bit of experimenting and changing things around, we've found a winner! Scott, Charles and I love it and between the three of us, we will eat a bunch in one sitting. The fact that Charles ate so much of it the first time he had it was such a welcome surprise. Now, whenever it's his day during the week to choose dinner, he almost always requests asparagus to go along with whatever else he's picked, so we've made this recipe a lot. Alright, on to the recipe. First, here's how we did it:

Turn your oven onto the broil setting and position the oven rack 6 inches away from the broiler element. Take out a baking sheet, preferably with a rimmed edge. Pull out your olive oil, lemon juice(or fresh lemon), Parmesan cheese, parsley, sea salt, and pepper. In a small bowl we will mix up a vinaigrette to add to the asparagus once it's cooked. Combine your lemon juice, parmesan cheese, olive oil, parsley and a little salt and pepper, mixing them together with a spoon or the tablespoon you used to measure(like I did in the picture below) and then set the bowl aside.
Now you'll want to prep your asparagus. Bend your asparagus at the thicker end until it snaps, removing the tough part. You can do this with each piece or you can line up the broken one with the rest in the bunch, using it as a guide to trim away the rest of the asparagus in one cut with a chefs knife. Once they're all cut, lay them on your ungreased, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle some olive oil over top and shake a little salt and pepper and toss them together with your hands. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer. Place the asparagus pan in the oven and broil for three minutes. Take it out, give it a little shake and put it back in the oven for another three minutes or until tender and lightly browned.

Transfer your asparagus to a platter and crumble the dressing over the top and serve it warm.
Asparagus with Parmesan-Lemon Vinaigrette


2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 Tbsp minced fresh or dried parsley
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

1 bunch asparagus
1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Turn your oven onto the broil setting and position the oven rack 6 inches away from the broiler element. Take out a baking sheet, preferably with a rimmed edge. In a small bowl,combine ingredients for vinaigrette and set aside. Cut off tough asparagus bottoms and then lay them on your ungreased, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and shake over top 1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper and toss together with your hands. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer. Place the asparagus pan in the oven and broil for three minutes. Take it out, give it a little shake and put it back in the oven for another three minutes or until tender and lightly browned.

Transfer your asparagus to a platter, crumble the vinaigrette over the top and serve warm.