Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Witches at Gardener Village

 Every year near Halloween, Gardener Village (think lots of shops and boutiques) is decorated with lots of witches and they have different 'witch' activities to do on different days. Annabelle and Elisabeth have witch costumes and asked if we could go sometime during the month, so we took the family this past weekend.
 We walked around and let the kids find the witches and we took pictures with some of our favorites. Here's a witch in a honey-bucket reading her paper; on the outside of the honey-bucket there is a sign that says, "Witchy Poo" :).



Charles wore his ninja costume


Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Nora is 6 months old

Awhile ago I started a pattern to my blog posting: a new post on my blog every Monday and Wednesday morning (and every Wednesday morning for my food blog). I plan to continue posting every  Monday and Wednesday for quite some time, so be sure to check back on those days!

Nora is 6 months old! I can hardly believe it! This is just so, so sad! Time seems to fly by at such a rapid pace right now! Sometimes I wish I could stop time all together. But alas, that is not possible, and so instead, I do my best at capturing moments in time with my camera, and then combine those pictures with words and post them here on my blog. Once January rolls around, I'll have these posts of our family life published in a book for us to keep in our living room on our bookshelf(with the 5 others we've published in the past) where we see it daily, and where the kids frequently enjoy pulling them off the shelves and browsing through them. As some of our children have grown old enough to read, they enjoy going back and finding posts about when they first learned how to do something, when they were born, birthday posts, etc. Keeping up with my blog means I have to spend a good amount of the very little free time I get, blogging, but I'm glad I do; I'm glad that we will always have a record of our family.

Okay, let's get back to Nora since this post is dedicated to her. Nora is such a joy and a blessing in the life of our family. She is so loved.




The kids are still so in love with her and want to hold her and kiss her all the time, but so do mom and dad, so we take turns and she gets passed around whenever she's awake, getting lots of kisses and interaction time from lots of different people; and perhaps this has to do with why she is such a social baby.

Nora loves when people look her in the eyes and talk to her. She loves getting kisses and giving wide, open mouthed, slobbery kisses(which I adore!). She loves spitting raspberries, especially if you'll do it in return.


Nora is sitting up now. Not perfectly, so we either have pillows all around her or a person sitting behind her, but she is doing really, really well.


 Nora is nursing every couple of hours when she's awake during the day, plus she'll have some mashed up sweet potatoes when we eat dinner and many times something else during the day (oatmeal, bananas, squash, applesauce etc).

Even though Nora is not crawling yet, she can roll where she wants to go, and she can get there pretty fast. We can no longer leave her on the middle of our bed unattended. The other day I laid her down on my bedroom carpet while I was in my bathroom fixing my hair and makeup; I had the door open so I could still see her and hear her. While putting on my makeup, I looked into the mirror to the area where I had left her and where I thought she would be, but she was no longer there. I turned around and went out the bathroom into my bedroom and looked around and then saw a movement in the corner of my eye. I looked down to the side and there was Nora's head, poking out from underneath my comforter, under my bed! Silly Nora; we sure love you!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ears, Super Saturday Craft and Baptism-Temple Pictures

 Elisabeth had her ears pierced back in June for her 8th birthday. Unfortunately, she has sensitive skin like her mama. They've been infected almost the whole time even though she cleans them daily and only wears her gold pair of earrings. About a month ago she finally took out the gold pair they gave her (which was much later than she had to wait but because of her infections we thought it wise to wait longer), and when she poked her new earring in, we accidentally poked a second hole through the back! So she had two red and bloody holes on her ear. After that experience, she would occasionally mention that having earrings isn't that great. Then over general conference weekend, I pointed out a woman who was speaking that didn't have earrings and said, "she still looks pretty, doesn't she?" Later I overheard Elisabeth talking with Scott in the kitchen. She said, "Dad, I'm going to take out my earrings today and keep them out. They don't make you look prettier and they're painful." Wise girl. That night we took them out, after we had a discussion about how this would be a decision she would need to stand by for quite some time because I'm not willing to see her go through this again soon. I told her if she wants to get them again several years down the road and wants to pay for them herself then she can do that. That was a couple of weeks ago and they're healing nicely. I still have trouble with mine as well and can only wear gold earrings and even then, not every day. Maybe I should follow her example.

 This is a random picture for this post. We had Super Saturday a couple of weeks ago which is a craft day we do once a year, and this is the craft I made. It's paper mod podged onto tin can lids. I think it turned out really cute...and it sure took me long enough! I think I worked on this thing for an hour and a half, and the letters were pre-cut. Oh well. I'm not super crafty(besides cakes) so it takes me awhile.

 I meant to take some photos of Elisabeth in her baptism dress by our temple back in the end of June when she was baptized, but we got busy and then I forgot. We decided to go out this past weekend before the weather turned cold and before she outgrew her dress :). Here she is out side of the Jordan River temple. (note to self: don't try and do your temple photo shoot on a Sunday in order to avoid crowds because the gates will be locked...not that I did that :))


Monday, October 22, 2012

Baby Food and Dressing-Up

 Nora started eating solid foods a couple of weeks ago. So I picked up a sweet potato (I love sweet potatoes) and baked it for an hour, peeled the skin off once it cooled, ate a few bites and then stuck the rest in the blender with a little water and pureed it. Nora LOVES her sweet potatoes! She ate some fresh that night and then I froze the rest in an ice cube tray and each night she'll have three of the ice cubes warmed up in a bowl. She's also liking pureed bananas, squash, oatmeal, and green smoothies. Here she is with her green smoothie mustache.

And here are Jane and Annabelle, our little ladies that get to stay home with mom every day. We went out grocery shopping last week and Annabelle went in her cowgirl costume, with a cowgirl hat, boots and all; and Jane was sitting in the shopping cart wearing her heart-shaped, dark red sunglasses. They got a lot of smiles!



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

General Conference

 Here are some pictures from our general conference weekend:
Scott folding laundry during a Saturday session:
 Charlie loading up on snacks:
The snacks(apple slices, cheese, cashews, grapes):
 
 The girls working through their conference notebooks (found on lds.org under tab 'resources' and then 'children')
 Saturday between sessions, Elisabeth had a soccer game. And she scored two goals! We missed the first talk from the Saturday afternoon session(L. Tom Perry), but we listened to it on the computer later.
I made three small loaves of whole wheat gingerbread for us to snack on during another session. It makes the house smell so good! And I was able to puree some of the zucchini from our garden and hide it in this bread! (the lighting isn't quite right in these pictures. The bread looked a bit darker because of the molasses.)
During the last session of conference on Sunday, we pulled out all our Friend Magazine's and let the kids cut out pictures and paste them onto a large sheet of poster paper. They've made these collages a few times now and love it, and it's the perfect thing to do during the last session because by that point in time, they're pretty much done listening and this keeps them in the room with us and gives them something to work on that is filled with good, uplifting pictures and messages.



Monday, October 15, 2012

BYU Football Game

 A good friend of ours whose family has season passes to the BYU football games, had four extra tickets this past week and invited Scott and I and another couple we're friends with...and actually, our three families get together fairly regularly to eat/play/visit.  Their invitation also included wrist bands to get into dinner at the stadium in a big white tent, which was a first for us. We all got babysitters for our young children, carpooled down to BYU, ate a fast dinner(because we arrived as the game was starting) and then found our seats. I texted our babysitter a couple of times during the night to make sure everything was okay at home and Nora was still sleeping, which she was. We left a few minutes early and arrived home just before midnight. It was the longest and latest I've ever left Nora so far.
Scott, Aaron and Amanda
 I love this picture below :)! We were not ready for this shot :).
Amanda, Me and Maren


 The guys sat by each other so they could shout together while the ladies watched and visited, mostly about home and family life, and food :). Maren is one of my health food friends who has shared several really yummy recipes with me; it's so nice having a friend in the neighborhood who does whole foods because we can borrow ingredients from each other that most people don't have like different grains or greens etc. And Amanda first introduced me to the 'Our Best Bites' website which is the best food site ever! So grateful for good friends!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lunch Boxes, Trays and Snack Ideas

*this post is also on my Real Foods Mom blog

I don't know about you, but I have a few kids that don't want their food mixed together or touching other foods in any way. So when I found these 3 partitioned lunch trays at Walmart for $1(in the kitchen/utensils area), I picked up 5, one for each of our children. Here is Jane eating some home-made mac and cheese, grapes and carrots. I especially appreciate these trays when we have mexican foods(which we have a couple times a week) with things like salsa and sour cream on the side...those run and get messy if they're not in their own little space, so these are perfect. Also, pasta with a bread stick and some veggies...yeah they definitely don't like when those mix.


 Another thing I LOVE are our Goodbyn lunch boxes. My cousin Rachel had these on her blog about a year ago and so I picked up a couple then. I bought two different sizes, a large and a small. The large has 6 different compartments. The smaller one has three. The smaller one is just the right size for my kids who take school lunches. The big one I mostly use when we go on a family picnic or take lunch to the park for playgroup because it's really big. But it doesn't look like they carry the large size anymore.

When I bought these lunch boxes, they came with a drink bottle. Now they're sold separately but the price of the lunch box has also gone down significantly, about $10(was $20 when I bought it and now it's $9.) You can buy the drink bottle for $5 but I rarely use mine because my kids always take a different water bottle with them anyway since the lids are a little hard to open on these. The nice thing about the bottles is that you can freeze water inside and use it as an ice pack for a cold lunch because it fits perfectly in one of the compartments. So it would have been nice if they'd had this 'sold separate' option back when I bought mine, because I would have just bought one bottle that we could share for when someone needs an icepack in their lunch(like for  hard boiled eggs).


Here's a sampling of some things we put in lunches. This is what we brought for lunch last week at playgroup: pasta salad and a home-made crescent roll for me, half a pb and honey sandwich for Jane, 2 hard boiled eggs for Annabelle and grapes and a home-made trailmix (raisins and peanuts) for everyone to share.
 The edges of each compartment come all the way up to the top so you don't have things leaking into another area. Elisabeth, our third grader, always brings some plain yogurt with a little honey in one of her compartments and throws a spoon in there. The smaller lunch box won't fit an adult sized spoon, so if they need a utensil I usually throw one of the toddler sized spoons or forks inside, or you could just throw one in their back pack and remind them to take it to lunch.

 We took this for lunch at the park another week: 2 pb and honey sandwiches(stacked on top of each other), pistachios, rice crackers, carrots, strawberries and hummus.
 


I bought mine online here. You can also purchase it on amazon.com. Like I mentioned above, I bought mine for $20(small) and $25(large) last year, but now they just sell the smaller ones and they're only $8.99! Since the price is so good, I'm going to buy a couple more of these small lunch boxes for my other kids. Think of all the money you'll save from not buying and using so many sandwich bags and/or juice boxes! And of course they're dishwasher safe, BPA free, recyclable and all that good stuff!

And just for fun, here are a few real food ideas for snacks, many of which you could put in your kids lunch boxes. These are all things we snack on pretty regularly at our house:

  1. string cheese or sliced cheese
  2. cooked black beans (annabelle is a HUGE fan of cooked, whole beans)
  3. cooked Great Northern Beans
  4. banana and natural peanut butter
  5. apples and natural peanut butter
  6. apple
  7. peach
  8. strawberries
  9. blueberries
  10. celery, peanut butter and raisins (ants on a log)
  11. air popped popcorn
  12. whole wheat zucchini bread
  13. whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter
  14. hard boiled egg
  15. carrots and hummus
  16. plain yogurt with fruit and honey
  17. salsa and tortilla chips
  18. rice crackers and hummus
  19. guacamole and rice crackers or tortilla chips
  20. almonds
  21. banana
  22. raisins
  23. cashews
  24. peanuts
  25. pistachios
  26. lara bar 
  27. grapes
  28. frozen grapes (neighbor kids always ask me for these in the summer when they're out playing)
  29. dried apple chips

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mostly Nora


This first picture here is a little random to the post, but I didn't want to give it it's own post either. I guess it shows a little bit of my quirky behavior since I took this picture to show Elisabeth what the back of her hair looked like. She's learning how to do ponytails herself and so she did it up in the morning before school and then sat at the piano to practice.  I asked her if I could smooth it over a bit and she said no. So I took a picture of it, showed her, and then asked, "Are you sure? I mean, If you're fine with it then that's okay, but I just want you to see what everyone else sees." She let me smooth it over again.  I suggested she continue to put it in a ponytail each day and then allow me to give her a few pointers as I help smooth it out. She did a pretty good job but it'll take some practice before she gets it just right. Okay, now onto the other pix, most of which are of Nora!

 Nora is rolling all over the place! I can no longer leave her in the middle of my bed while I am getting ready because she'd roll off in a matter of seconds. So instead, I set her on the bedroom floor :). Here is Charlie playing with Nora, trying to get her to roll to different sides.
 He has such a special relationship with both Jane and Nora. He loves being their protector. He has a good relationship with Annabelle and Elisabeth too but they're much closer in age to Charlie so theirs is more of a mutual friendship than that of a guardian and protector.

And here Nora is looking up, distracted by Dad who is in our bathroom putting in a new faucet!
See! Oh but I forgot to take a before and after picture of the faucet but it looks great in it's brassy new color! Scott is amazing, as always! Such a hard worker.
 Nora is teething. She constantly has her hands jammed in her mouth. She can almost fit the whole thing! Pretty amazing to see.

Nora just started eating solid foods this week(she's almost 5 1/2 months). So far we've tried some butternut squash which I steamed and pureed, mashed avocados, and oatmeal. The avocados and oatmeal were a little too thick. I think I might try a box of the baby boxed oatmeal next time, if that makes sense :). It's thinner and the oats are a lot smaller. I don't even know if it's really oats...they seem too flaky. I guess I'll look into that first.
 I know it looks like she didn't really like the solid food but she actually ate quite a bit of the squash.

 And I tried giving her some water in a sippy cup, which she loved! Other than that, we're still nursing around the clock which I'm happy about. I'd like to nurse to at least 12 months but we'll have to see because my milk supply seems to have dropped some recently. Love our cute Nora!