Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Student of the month, yogurt parfait and a fractured nose

Annabelle was named Student of the Month last month! Congratulations Annabelle! She's a good girl who works hard and is kind to everyone.

Just before nap time, Nora, Jane and I were reading some Fancy Nancy books from the library and after reading about Nancy's yogurt parfaits, we decided to make some for lunch.
And I have to say, we did feel fancier eating our yogurt parfaits with granola, bananas and blueberries.

This is an unrelated picture I snapped of Nora after her nap because I loved her crazy hair which made it look like she had a nest on top of her head.
And the last bit of news is that Friday, at recess, Annabelle tripped and fell onto her nose and broke it. We didn't know it was broken at first; she just came home and told me she fell on her nose, that it was bleeding a lot at school, and that it still was hurting. I told her to just rest and that it'd probably be feeling much better in the morning. Well, morning came she said it was still hurting, she had a little bruise on the side of her nose and it looked a little swollen, and now her nose sounded stuffy, like it was blocked up, but she wasn't sick in any way. When we went to clean the church that morning, we asked our friend Ryan B. to take a look at it since he's an ear, nose and throat doctor. After feeling around a bit he said it was probably a small fracture, that the swelling was causing the nose to feel stuffed up, but that in a week or two it should be feeling better and that there's really nothing a doctor would do so we didn't need to bring her in. She has iced it a couple of times, and she sleeps with a couple of pillows under her head now to help with the swelling, but besides that she's doing okay, we're just having her take it easy and not run around so much because we don't want her to fall and hurt it more, and it hurts more when she's running around. This girl seems to be our accident prone child. She's our only child that has had a broken bone and she's had three now: broken nose, foot and collarbone, plus a dislocated elbow and all before she turned 7.  She's a tough girl though and doesn't complain much, even when she is hurt. Love this little lady.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Scott's birthday celebrations

 Scott's birthday was Saturday, but we kicked off his celebration a day early with the family since we knew we were going to be going on a birthday date Saturday and since we were going to be gone a lot, cleaning the church and going to Charles' basketball game.
And no, it's not Nora's birthday too. Having a 2 year-old, for the fifth time, we've gotten relaxed and easy-going in some areas of life. After we sung Happy Birthday to Scott and he blew out his candle, Nora felt it would be a good idea if she had a turn, so we lit the candle again, sang Happy Birthday again, and she blew out the candle, again :). 

Scott got a new wallet, shirt, a blender bottle, vegan chocolate protein powder, a fleece sleeping bag insert, a Cracker Barrel gift card from my parents, and a couple of homemade gifts. I made him aftershave, with three ingredients: fractionated coconut oil, lavendar and melaleuca(tea tree) essential oils. The kids made Scott cinnamon toothpicks using a cinnamon essential oil and fractionated coconut oil. 

Saturday morning, after cleaning the church, we went over to Charles' basketball game.
 He enjoys it and exercise is always good.
 Once the game was through, we used Scott's gift card and went for lunch at Cracker Barrel. He's wearing his new shirt, which I love :).

 We came home for a couple of hours, put Nora down for a nap while we did our Saturday chores and rested up a bit, and then I picked up our sitter Jenna, and Scott and I went rock climbing at the rec center and then ate dinner at Old Chicago. This was a night of first-time experiences for us.
 We loved rock climbing. It was hard, but we did it and we made it to the top of 2 out of our 3 times climbing. What a workout! Seriously! I was grateful we were connected to ropes and a harness in case we dropped :).
 Scott was amazing and did a harder wall than I did, and the one I did with difficulty, he did with ease.
Eating our dinner afterward was hard too because we could barely move our hands because our forearms were SO tired and sore. We had so much fun, we're looking forward to doing it again sometime, and the kids would like to join us. In fact, while we were there, one of Annabelle's 6 year-old best friends was there, climbing, and I was nervous she was going to out do me...she almost did. She did great! And then a three-year-old came and climbed too! I was impressed. I'm glad that both Scott and I enjoy being physically active; it sure makes for some really fun date nights!

We got home just after 8pm, put the older kids to bed (the younger ones were in bed), and watched a really lame x-men movie (wolverine) and fast forwarded probably half of it because of all the fighting and violence. But, it was fun to snuggle up with Scott so it wasn't all bad :).

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Man of My Dreams...

...turns 34 tomorrow!! I am SO glad that he was born!

I have a hard time adequately expressing in words the way I feel for Scott. They always seem to fall short. But I will continue to try because Scott means the world to me and I want to make sure that our children and grandchildren and great, great, great grand children know.

12 years ago, Scott and I were dating. It was on his 22nd birthday, all those years ago, that he first told me he loved me.
11 1/2 years ago, in London airport; newlyweds

We had only known each other a few months, but I loved him too. How could I not? He was so kind, so giving, always looking for an opportunity to serve someone around him.
11 1/2 years ago, in Rome

I remember being surprised at how often he offered to give people rides who didn't have a car...and we were poor college students from out of state(at BYU) living near campus, so most of us didn't have cars.

I lived in an apartment, at that time, with 5 other girls and I remember being impressed that he would notice our kitchen garbage and take it out without saying a word.

I remember feeling a sense of closeness to him when I saw the way he interacted with his parents and sisters when they came to visit him at BYU, always kind, always loving. I knew that any girl would be lucky to have him. I'm grateful that I was that lucky girl.
Scott has lived up to and far surpassed any expectations I may have had during those early years. He is continually learning, growing and bettering himself...I hope I can keep up with him!

Our kids love and adore him. He helps with homework, plays football with Charles, soccer with the girls, gives snuggles when they're needed and is always there for everything, even the sometimes early indoor soccer games. He teaches the children by word and example to follow Christ by being honest, hard-working, and loving and caring for those around him.  I'm grateful to have him by my side as we raise our five children together.
He's never been afraid to change a diaper or help in the kitchen which is such a blessing and a help to me. I have gotten really sick with each of our five pregnancies and each time he stepped up, took care of me and took over my duties of cooking and cleaning and caring for the children on top of his 8-5 job. I'm sure it was exhausting, because my daily tasks are not easy, and then adding on a full-time job, must be nearly impossible. But, he always came through and he did so cheerfully and without complaint. Our relationship was strengthened each time, which I believe is the direct consequence of serving and enduring well. 
I'm grateful we get to climb the mountains of life together, hand in hand.  

I'm grateful for his sense of humor. It's not sarcastic or mean, or inappropriate in any way, but he's fun, and fun-loving and we always have a good time together. One of my favorite times of day is at night, just before bed, when it's just him and me and we get to talk and enjoy one another's company and conversation.

I cherish every minute we have together, he truly is my best friend, and I'm so grateful our time together does not end after this life, but will continue on for eternity...a minute short of eternity would not be enough. Happy Birthday, Dear!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Diet and Exercise

'Diet and Exercise' may not be the best title for this post. 'Diets' are seen by many as a short-term restrictive way of eating, something to help them get to a certain weight or goal and then they stop and go back to eating the way they did before (and not surprisingly, gain back the weight :)). Perhaps a better name for this post would be, "Good Food Choices and Exercise" or, "A Healthy Lifestyle", since this post will be about healthy habits our family has established over the years, having to do with food and exercise.
Our family is a bit different than your typical American family. We don't eat at McDonalds, we don't feed our children goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, or cereals and we really try to stay away from processed foods, which are usually the boxed and packaged goods. We don't eat a lot of meat, and because we don't eat it often, I'm totally okay with spending a little more on our meat so that I know it's not coming from an animal that was pumped full of hormones and that it was raised humanely. We also don't eat as much as your typical American, but rather have three meals, with usually one late afternoon snack. We didn't always eat this way.  I remember five years ago when we were eating at McDonalds, snacking on goldfish crackers, amongst many other processed snacks, all throughout the day, and Mac and Cheese and Dino Buddies (chicken nuggets) were frequently seen on the dinner table. We were also sick a lot more then, regulars in our doctors office, getting antibiotics and such.  This never happens anymore! Now, the only time we see the doctor is for our annual wellness checks(and we've missed several of those, whoops! It's hard to remember when you're feeling so good!), vaccines for the littles, and when we need a broken bone set :), which has happened twice in the past several years. Just like Hippocrates said, "Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food."Something else happened five years ago that changed our poor eating habits: my mom was diagnosed with 4th stage cancer. She had a tumor on her pancreas and cancer in her liver. She was told she didn't have long. She didn't do chemo, but instead made some significant changes to her diet and started to heal herself naturally. She's still with us today and doing well. In the beginning, she would send me articles on food and how it directly related to our health. I couldn't believe what I read and decided to experiment on our family. When our health turned around, and my baby weight came off naturally even after baby number 5, we kept going and never turned back. And so our whole food journey began.
We're also different from your typical American family in that we are not regular TV watchers and we don't own any video game systems. When the kids get home from school, once they've finished homework and piano, we encourage them to go outside and play ball or ride bikes. After dinner, we have reading time. When we get a lot of snow, we still encourage them to be outdoors but instead we'll do things like sledding or shoveling the walkways which are still very active. On Saturdays, once chores are done, we'll usually play a sport together like soccer, baseball, kickball or flag football.  Now, that's not to say we never watch TV or movies, because we do, but usually it's a show or two on the weekends, after everything is done. Also, our kids can earn 15 minutes of Kindle Fire or computer time at the end of each day, if they've stayed on top of all their  chores/homework etc.  When the kids were really young, we'd take our toddlers out back and pass the ball with them while the baby sat in her saucer, or bouncer, on the patio, watching us, still enjoying the outdoors.

Scott and I exercise every day. We schedule it in so that it gets done. We mostly follow videos or worksheets so we can exercise in our home, and sometimes we'll go for a jog. We like a lot of Bob Harper's videos, he's the personal trainer from Biggest Loser, and recently we've been doing a program called Inferno, on The Daily Burn, which is a channel we have on our Roku device (internet on TV). It's a lot of weight and interval training, and a good amount of cardio. Exercising together has brought us even closer as a couple. When we exercise together, we're encouraging one another, and we're working toward a goal of good health together which not only blesses our lives now with increased strength and endurance to do all we need to do, but it will also bless our future, so that we can live long and happy, healthy lives together.
As for food, we eat a lot of fresh, whole foods. Foods that have been around for hundreds of years before they started adding chemicals, dyes and preservatives, turning them into food-like substances. Here's a look into our fridge...maybe another day we'll look in my freezer and pantry.
Pictured: Cage free eggs, almond milk, whole milk, plain yogurt, grapes, leftover indian food(sauce made from scratch and I use brown rice), spaghetti sauce (with only a couple of ingredients and no added sugar), spinach, salsa, ground flax, sliced strawberries and homemade, agave sweetened whipped cream, mozarella and cheddar cheese, hummus, variety of fruits and veggies and greens in the bottom two drawers. 
On the door we have: parmesan cheese, homemade and store bought salad dressings(Newmans' Own makes some good dressings with minimal ingredients, which is always good), butter, cream cheese, all fruit jelly, banana peppers, lemon and lime juice, pine nuts and better than bouillon. 
I make green smoothies for breakfast every morning, and that's my breakfast. I drink about 24 oz. The family will each have a small glass, and then different family members prefer different things: homemade granola  with milk, oatmeal, whole wheat toast with butter or peanut butter, and about once a week we'll cook scrambled eggs(no hormones, cage free). Sundays we have a bigger breakfast with whole wheat waffles,  pancakesFrench ToastGerman pancakes or the like.
Lunch varies, sometimes the kids take PB and J on whole wheat bread, or sometimes they'll take leftovers from dinner. Some favorite leftovers for lunches are black beans, oatmeal, pasta, or soup, all of which are great in a thermos, or pizza, waffles, quesadillas, granola with yogurt etc. With their sandwich or leftovers they'll take some fruit, usually grapes, oranges or apple slices, and some carrots or celery. Scott and I have a lot of the same thing for lunch. Below is leftover pizza with grapes and a whole wheat, honey sweetened peanut butter cookie.
This was a lunch I packed for my 2 young girls and I when we went on a picnic: hard boiled eggs, pasta salad, homemade trail mix, half a pb and j sandwich, leftover whole wheat dinner roll, and grapes.
For snacks, we mostly do fresh produce. We love blueberries, strawberries, celery(I love ants on a log; pb, raisins on celery) and carrots, bananas, apples, many times we'll combine this with some peanut butter, nuts, hummus or cheese. Sometimes I make muffins.  If they're really starving and we have a couple of hours before dinner, I'll let them have something a little more like whole wheat bread, crackers with hummus or cheese, or granola with yogurt or milk. I don't let them eat within an hour of dinner because I want them to be hungry so they'll eat better
For dinner we make a variety of things. Homemade pizza is a Friday night tradition. We usually have Mexican and another Italian dish some time during the week, and many times we'll have a soup or chili, and some sort of Asian/ Indian dish. Pretty much everything is made from scratch, minus the pasta noodles...I've done those from scratch a few times and probably will do it more in the future when life is a little less busy, but for now, the stores make pretty inexpensive whole wheat pasta noodles. I make a large crock pot full of black beans each week, and we usually make a batch of brown rice each week which we use for Indian/Asian and Mexican dinners. I also cook quinoa fairly regularly and keep it on-hand in the fridge to throw into salads or to mix with brown rice etc. I like to keep a lot of produce on hand, and a good variety, because they will snack on it more when it's there and out in plain sight. When they come home from school I always pull out produce like grapes and carrots, apple slices and other fun fruits we have like blueberries and strawberries. Before we put the dinner entree on the table, we bring the salad out and dish that up for everyone. They are much more likely to eat it, and a good amount, when they're feeling really hungry, right before dinner, and it's the only thing out on the table right in front of them. Once most of them have finished their salad, we bring out the main dish.

Dessert, most days, is fruit after dinner. Once or twice a week we'll have something with sugar in it or something that qualifies more as a dessert even though there is no refined sugar, like our honey-sweetened peanut butter cookies, or maple syrup sweetened home-made ice cream. Scott likes to keep dark chocolate bars on hand and once or twice a week, him and the kids will each have a square. I wish I had that kind of will power :). I don't eat chocolate, I haven't for years, but I do enjoy treats and I have a weak spot for strawberry Aussie licorice. Because I'm aware of my weakness, I buy them from the bulk section at Sprouts, and I only buy five at a time, usually on Friday for my weekend date-night treat :). I don't buy them every Friday, but if I know we're not going to make something else that weekend, than it gives me something to look forward too. 
Eating whole foods and being active is part of who we are now. We enjoy the food we eat. Fresh tastes SO much better than processed, but you've got to get rid of the processed that's loaded with sugars and salts and all sorts of preservatives and additives, before you can really taste and appreciate the fresh, because it changes the flavor. We enjoy being active together, playing sports, going for walks and hikes. We want to take care of the bodies our Heavenly Father has given us, that house our spirits. We are grateful for good health, we work for it, and we look forward to living long, healthy and happy lives.
*visit my other blog to get more whole foods recipes and for more info on healthy eating 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kids Science Projects: organic vs non-organic produce and essential oils vs cortisone cream

The kids are getting ready for their school science fair. Elisabeth is going to do a science experiment on organic vs non-organic potatoes. We are curious to see if one will produce more sprouts than the other. 

Annabelle is doing hers on essential oils. We are curious to see if cortisone 10 or essential oils works better to clear up the eczema on the inside of Nora's elbows. Charles is still undecided on his project and might possibly be working with a partner, so we'll see what he comes up with. Stay tuned for results in a few weeks!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Visit from Grandma Smith

 Grandma Smith came for a long weekend visit last week! It was her first trip out to Colorado. We loved having her here with us. We went to the Butterfly Pavilion, ate dinner at Cinzetti's (our favorite Italian buffet), went to Elisabeth's indoor soccer game, played lots of games, watched Harry Potter, and spent a good amount of time visiting. I also got two crowns taken care of (hate dental work), since Scott and Angela were home to watch the girls.

I love Nora's unhappy/scared face in this picture below. She did not like the moving net bridge the first time she walked on it.

Upon arrival, we were told there would be a 'butterfly release' at 330, which was only an hour out, so we decided to stay for that. We imagined a large number of butterflies being dropped or thrown out all at once; we were a little nervous about being swarmed with butterflies, having them in our hair and clothes. So we were a little disappointed when no such thing happened. Instead, the butterfly lady brought in a little cage that had maybe 5-10 butterflies inside, and she would pick one up with her gloved hand, holding it by it's wings, tell us a little bit about the butterfly, and then let it fly away. Oh well.
 This is the Owl butterfly...looks like an owl eye on it's wing. You can clearly see it's very long tongue in this picture; it almost looks like another leg except that it's coming out of it's mouth. They had these fruit trays set up throughout the pavilion for the butterflies to eat.

 Inside the butterfly area, the climate was warm and humid. Nora did not like it.

 They had several insects/creatures to touch, like the starfish, horseshoe crab,
 and Rosie the tarantula.

 Even grandma held Rosie!
The girls touched the roaches.

 Sunday, the girls did a surprise musical number during church...well, surprise for Grandma. They had put together a musical number several weeks before, all on their own: Elisabeth played "I'm trying to be like Jesus", while Annabelle sang the first verse, Elisabeth sang the second and they sang the chorus together. It was beautiful.

Thanks for coming Grandma! We loved having you here!

 *Grandma took this one of Nora after Nora tried to put her underwear on herself.