Friday, February 29, 2008

Bag Lady Mach 5





My bag is small but also has a Mary Poppinsesque quality. I was amazed to not find a rock or marble, evil doll in progress or matchbox car. I also did not have tampons or extra underwear for Ian, which I should. 

Here's what I did have:

size 6 knitting needles
knitwise superswish yarn in taupe
measuring tape, the book At Knit's End
Meditations for Women who KNIT TOO MUCH by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee the Yarn Harlot
small mirror
phone
calendar
keys 
hand sanitizer 
Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm 
Burt's Bees Hand Salve
Aveda Hand Relief lotion
American Girl lip shine (it belongs to Emma)
mentha lip tint
pack of Kleenex
bag of roasted almonds
Advil
calculator
checkbook 
change purse containing prescription and medical cards
eraser (but curiously NO pencil)
SpongeBob bandaid
various wrappers, receipts, scraps of paper and coupons
watermelon frost throat lozenges (they are Chinese and taste like mold, but they work)
a burnt out light bulb
two pens
Girl Scout cookie money

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My 2 Baby Bag

I got this bag when I had Gwen a year and a half ago and thought I'd have to get something bigger when this 2nd little one came along, but some how it handles the load. 
Here's the list:

Wallet
Planner
2 Phones (the black one is a broken one for Gwen to play with)
Change (mostly just a bunch of pennies)
Drink Cup with a Straw
Bottle
Butt Balm (prescription strength)
Nystain Cream
Watch
Brush
Goldfish Crackers
Keys
Gwen's Glasses
Glass Cleaning Wipes
Diapers (Sizes 5 and 2)
Wipes
First Aid Kit
Happy Face Stickers
Receipts
Car Seat Dangly Toy
Lip Gloss

(the changes of clothes are in a 2nd diaper bag that I keep in my car so I don't have to worry about remembering that every time)

Why does everyone have socks in there bags? is there a secret that I'm missing out on?



Birthday Invitations


My daughter Madison will be turning 7 the end of March, so I have decided to get started on the party planning. She wants an ALL PINK theme. I saw this cute paperdoll invitation idea on marthastewart.com and thought it was so adorable. I saw in a previous post you guys gave some ideas on a green themed party...you got any ideas for an all pink party? Goodie bag ideas? Food? I am really excited about this. I think it will be fun.

My Black Hole

I actually clean my bag out pretty regularly...I hate a dirty diaper bag. It's the OCD in me coming through!




diapers and wipes
extra panties for Callie (we are potty training)
a dirty bib from lunch today
socks
extra clothes for Cole
burp rag
my planner/wallet/life
cell phone
keys
chapstick
lipgloss
hand salve
hand cream
tampon
Madela PureLan 100 (soothes sore nipples)
point and shoot camera, so I don't have to lug around the monster
raisins
animal crackers
fruit puffs
hand sanitizer
butt paste
toys
a book I am borrowing from a friend; "The Friday Night Knitting Club"

"Marry Poppins" bag


Aaron always teases me saying I have way too much stuff in my bag.  He can never find anything in there so he calls it my Marry Poppins bag.  Here's what's inside (very funny by the way Katy):
water bottle
wallet
Sevrie's socks
Coral's hat
pen
gum
coupons
random papers
diapers and wipes (diapees and wipees)
lip gloss/lip sticks (in black make up bag)
sucker
tampons (just in case)
bracelet keychains
mini doll keys
doughnuts from this morning
sun glasses 
flouride (don't ask me why)
mini manicure kit
baby bottle
Sevrie's keychain photo album
Kleenex
Sevrie's clip
two black hairbands
antibacterial soap
3 plastic wrappers

This actually gave me then opportunty to organize my bag and throw the trash away.  I must say though, the majority of my stuff is still in there.


Bag Tag

I came across a friend's blog and for one of her posts she had been "bag tagged." So she had to take a picture of her bag and its contents and list everything in it. It was funny, so I checked out a couple of the girl's blogs that she then bag tagged. I probably saw 3 or 4 bags and it was obvious (because all of their bags were little and super cute with only a few essential items-phone, wallet, lipstick...) that none of those ladies have kids. I thought it would be much more amusing to see what kinds of things we moms fill our bags with. Here's my diaper bag that I've been using for about 3 years now. I was going to remove the items that don't belong before I took the picture, but I decided to give you guys a true idea of what my bag usually looks like, so I included everything that was in my bag at that moment. Luckily, there was nothing too embarrassing.

Contents:
my planner
checkbook
stamps
wallet
coin purse
ipod
cell phone
gym pass
keys
picture book
pen
diapers
wipes
library pamphlet
a pair of Ollie's socks
a rock
a marble
Ollie's toothbrush
pile of gum and candy wrappers and other trash
one of those paper clip things
antibiotics that I never finished


So for anyone who wants to share the secret contents of their bag, I (diaper)bag tag you.

It's a good excuse to clean your bag out too:)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Brownies

I made these brownies the other night and they were soooo yummy. I doubled the recipe (and added some chopped walnuts) and baked in a 9x13" pan. I prefer my brownies without frosting, so I skipped it- although this frosting recipes does sound good.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.
In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

To Make Frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Frost brownies while they are still warm.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Perhaps I need to step up my beauty regamine

We have kind of a hirsute family. 

Aidan was looking at himself in the mirror and said, "Look, I'm growing a moustache." Then he looked really intensely at my face and said, "Hey, you're growing one too, mom!"

I guess it is about time to bust out the wax;)

Angel Food Cake

A few great things about Angel Food Cake: it is low-fat, it is cheap and easy to make from scratch, and it's is delicious!

Call me a angel food cake snob, but I can't stand cake from a mix or from the grocery store bakery. Maybe because my mom had the best recipe ever. So I thought I would share it with you all. It may be a little sloppily put together so let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy!
ANGEL FOOD CAKE

-Separate 12 egg whites and set aside to stand for 1 hour.
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a separate bowl, sift together 4 times : 1 C flour and 3/4 C. sugar and set aside. (cake flour is great if you have it, but not a necessity at all) Add 1/4 C. cocoa to sifted mixture if making chocolate angel food cake (which is -oh my heck- delicious!)
-Add 1/2 tsp. salt to egg whites and beat till frothy (not long)
-Add 1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar and beat on high till egg whites form rounded peaks (almost stiff)
-Add 2 Tbl. sugar at a time until 3/4 C of sugar is beat in.
-Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp. almond extract*
-Remove beaters and use rubber spatula to fold in flour mixture 1/4 C. at a time until all is mixed thoroughly, but be gentle or your cake will be heavy.
-Slide batter into lightly sprayed angel food cake pan and cut through with butter knife to break any air bubbles.
-Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Cool upside-down.

*This secret ingredient is optional, but it is SO much tastier with it in there.
-If you are in a hurry it is okay to skip the 1 hour waiting for the egg whites, but from my experience it has made the eggs fall a little more when the flour is added, so a heavier cake.
-Serve with fresh berries in light syrup and whipped cream or drizzled with chocolate sauce.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Calories-to-consume Formula

Hey guys, per Tara's request, I am posting a portion of my friend Mandys' email that she sends out to ladies in my ward. This particular one gave us the formula for calculating the number of calories that your body needs to maintain your current weight. So if you are looking to lose a couple pounds, or heaven forbid you need to gain a couple, this will help you know how many calories to add or subtract. This seems kind of lengthy, but it is super easy.


First, you figure out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is the number of calories your body uses to sustain itself (i.e. keep kidneys running, your heart beating, etc.). In order to figure it out you have to convert your weight to kilograms. (Go weigh yourself now.) Then take your weight and divide it by 2.2

Example: If I weigh 175 lbs. and divide by 2.2 = 80 kg (I rounded to the nearest whole number)

Then you need to take your height in inches and convert it to centimeters. To do this you take your height and multiply it by 2.54

Example: I am 70 inches tall times 2.54 = 178 cm (I again rounded to the nearest whole number)

The next part varies for males and females because women have higher body fat percentages than men.

BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height incm) – (4.7 x age in Yrs)

Example: 655 + (9.6 * 80) + (1.8 * 178) – (4.7 * 28)

655 + 768 + 320.4 – 131.6 = 1611.8

Now that you have your BMR, you need to figure out your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This is how many calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight. The formula you use varies depending on how active you are. Select from the following 5 categories to figure out your TDEE.

Little or No Exercise, Desk Job TDEE = 1.2 x BMR

Light Exercise, Sports 1 to 3 Times Per Week TDEE = 1.375 x BMR

Moderate Exercise, Sports 3 to 5 Times Per Week TDEE = 1.55 x BMR

Heavy Exercise, Sports 6 to 7 Times Per Week TDEE = 1.725 x BMR

Very heavy exercise, Physical Job, Training 2 Times Per Day TDEE = 1.9 x BMR

Let’s say I consider myself to be in the “Light Exercise” category. My TDEE would be:

1.375 * 1611.8 = 2216 (I again rounded to the nearest whole number)

To maintain my current weight I need to consume 2216 calories everyday.

If I want to lose a pound a week I need to subtract 500 calories everyday. (1 pound = 3500 calories. 3500 divided by 7 days of the week = 500)

2216 – 500 = 1716 daily calories

If I wanted to lose 2 pounds a week I could subtract 1,000 calories each day.

2216 – 1000 = 1216 daily calories

1216 calories per day seems very low for someone who likes to eat. I would probably give myself 1716 daily calories and try to increase the amount of exercise I do every week. Keeping a food journal will help me stay on track and focused on my caloric needs. Now that I have my daily goal (if I wasn’t pregnant!) my journal can be used to help me reach my goal. I am more specific in my goal, so it will be easier for me to reach.

Gooey Bars

This is a recipe that I came up with for a cookie mix contest but forgot to enter it. It's super easy and SOOO yummy. But very rich, definitely needs a big glass of milk to go with it.






Cookie Base:
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® peanut butter cookie mix
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon water
1 egg


Middle:
Bag of mini marshmallows

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup of cocoa
1/4 cup milk
1 box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl, stir all Cookie Base ingredients until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom of pan using floured fingers. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Sprinkle with marshmallows while it's still warm

In a small saucepan bring milk butter and cocoa to a slight boil. Turn down heat and add powdered sugar. Mix with whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Pour frosting over cookie and marshmallow layers while still warm. Let cool for at least one hour or until set. Cut into 36 bars.

The verdict is in...


I have been sentenced to life at the gym...ugh! (by me of course) So, I have FINALLY decided (begrudgingly) that I need to get my LARD-A back to the gym. Lets just say if I put up a picture of me 7 years ago and me today, you would think that you were looking at two very different people. So now that our family is officially complete and my baby has just hit the 6 month mark, I have decided that I have no more excuses. I usually like to work out...when I am in shape of course, hyperventilating after 5 minutes on the treadmill is not fun for me. So I wanted to ask you guys if you have any dieting or working out tips or secrets, healthy snack tips, etc. I know that I have to commit to this 100% or it's never going to work!

Thought You Might Like to Know...

Target has a lot of cute things in their $1 isles right now. Little wooden toys and wooden puzzles that would be great for Easter Baskets.

I don't know if you're like me, but my kids get enough candy as is. I don't want to get them a huge basket of it. This is an alternative idea.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

$$ Key Chain Bracelets $$




I'm selling these key chain bracelets at a Salon my mother works at.  They are perfect for the buys mom who always has her hands full.  April and I both have a similar ones that were bought at a beach store in Santa Cruz.  We both LOVE our key chain bracelets so I thought it would be cool if I could make similar ones and sell them.  

I've never seen anyone with anything like it so it's different.  People like different.  What I'm concerned with is the price I should sell them for.  How much would you be willing to spend on something like this? 

Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I used to make these cookies for school bake sales in England. I always got lots of compliments on these cookies and my family loves them. The butter and shortening  mixture makes the texture chewy and perfect.





Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies
1 c packed brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
1/2 c butter
1/2 c shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 bar white chocolate, chopped
1 bar milk chocolate, chopped
1 bar dark chocolate, chopped
Heat oven to 350 F. Beat sugars, butter, vanilla and egg in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon until creamy. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in all chocolate chunks. Drop dough in rounded tablespoons about 2" apart onto ungreased large cookie sheet; flatten slightly. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

How cute . . . I mean how embarrassing

We had ward conference today and the primary kids were singing "I am a Child of God". Aidan and Ian were standing next each other and Ian couldn't see. Aidan lifted him up onto a stool next to the podium and then was hugging him and stuff. I heard people behind me saying, "Look how cute, etc.," Then Ian decided he was bored and got out a toy to play with. Aidan (trying to make Ian be good) took the toy away and kept singing. Ian stopped singing.

 Angry tears started coursing down his red face as he POUNDED his fist on the podium. So it sounded like this, "I am (thump) a child (thump) of God (thump, thump, thump) and he has (thump) sent me here (thump, thump, thump)." By this time Ian was in complete meltdown mode and just sobbing and thumping. The primary chorister lifted him over the barrier and held him until I could get up there. I was mortified, but laughing at the same time. That one is going to go down in our book of Classic Ian Moments.  

How Sweet is This?

I woke up Sunday morning to the sound of my kids in the kitchen rattling stuff around. I went back to sleep because I assumed they were pouring themselves bowls of cereal. Then I heard our bedroom door creak open and Emma said, "Close you eyes OK?" We closed our eyes and waited and then all three kids came into the room and said, "Surprise, we made you breakfast in bed!" Emma had taped the sign to the left on the inside of our door (she meant 'holy' because it is Sunday). I was presented with a glass of water and some Harvest crisp crackers with peanut butter. Collin had a peanut butter and banana sandwich on thick sliced bread. 

It was Aidan's idea, but Emma and Ian helped. Emma got her Brownie pin this week and her GS leader pinned it on her vest upside down. The GS leaders told the girls they could do three good turns (chores, being kind, helping, etc.,) and then they could wear it right side up. After bringing us breakfast in bed, Emma said, "I think I can give my Brownie pin it's last turn and wear it the right way."

Have your kids done anything sweet for you guys lately? Most of them are probably too young, I think I have the oldest kids on this blog besides April.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Easy Veggie Soup Recipe

You can add or excluse any veggies you want. I ended up halfing the recipe and adding a little more veggies like broccoli and red bell pepper.  I still made a huge pot.  This recipe feeds a ton of people so it makes a good dish for when you're having company over.  


Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

    .  1 bunch of chopped celery

    .  2 dry onion soup mix packages (1 ounce each)

    .  1 chopped zucchini

    .  6 chopped onions

    .  1 large chopped green bell pepper

    .  8 chopped tomatoes

    .  1 medium head of chopped cabbage

    .  8 whole peppercorns

    .  2 minced garlic cloves

    .  1 bay leaf


 

Directions

First, mix all your chopped vegetables: cabbage, onions, bell pepper, celery, zucchini and tomatoes, into a large pot. Then, pour in water to cover all the vegetables by one inch. Now, stir the onion soup mix, peppercorns, garlic and bay leaf. Finally, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approximately 90 mins to 2 hrs, until the vegetables are tender.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Haircut

Since last summer, I have gradually been cutting my hair shorter and shorter. Justin has been wanting me to go really short again, and I think I'm about ready. This is a picture of a picture, so it's bad quality, but you get the idea. What do you think about this style? Should I go for it?

Too quiet

You know that uh-oh feeling you get when you realize your house is too quiet? I had one of those moments today and grabbed the camera before I went to investigate. I found Kendall hiding in my closet and when I saw her she looked at me and says, "Surprise!"




I guess I shouldn't complain though. Last time we had a too quiet moment was when Gage had two spoons in the toilet. Our USED toilet. And his arms were wet. And his face. And he had wet toilet paper on his chin.

It can always be worse right? Any other too quiet moments??

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Time Management

I sometimes wish there was a few extra hours in the day so I could get more done. I came across this article on babycenter.com called "Busy mom's guide: How to do everything faster (and better!)" They listed 50 ways to save time and here are a few that I thought might be worth a try. What are some of your time-saving techniques?

*When you see a great toy on sale, buy several and sock them away for your child to give to friends at birthday parties throughout the year.
*Give your grade-schooler a "homework box" with pencils, an eraser, a stapler, a calculator, and a ruler. Ask her to bring it to the table whenever it's time to do homework.
*Stock your produce drawer or a lower shelf in your refrigerator with snacks like carrot sticks and apple slices that your kids can grab without your help. Set up a similar area in your pantry with baggies full of dried fruit or graham crackers.
*Store sets of sheets and pillowcases inside unfolded pillowcases to make bed changes fast and easy and minimize clutter in your linen closet.
*Start a monthly meal exchange program with friends and neighbors. (Mical, you'll have to let us know how this works out for you)
*Chop all your vegetables, fruits, and herbs for the week's meals at one time so everything will be ready for cooking.
*Keep disinfecting and glass wipes in the bathroom for quick cleanups around toilets, sinks, and mirrors. You could even do a speedy wipe-down while you bathe the kids.
*Choose meats or other proteins that can be used for several meals during a week. A store-bought rotisserie chicken can be shredded and used for several dishes, like chicken enchiladas, homemade chicken soup, and chicken salad. Slow-cooked pork tenderloin can double as barbecued pork sandwiches with just a bottle of barbecue sauce. Cooked beans can go in salad, tacos, and vegetable soup.
*Keep an overnight bag in your car with an extra outfit for each child, including diapers or underwear, nonperishable snacks, and toiletries. In the event of an emergency, messy meal, or whirlwind overnight trip, you're set!
*Keep a pack of thank-you cards in the glove box of your car or in your daily planner so you can write notes while sitting in the car or waiting for a doctor to see you.

There are some other articles that might be useful http://www.babycenter.com/parents-managing-time-housework

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Banana Bread

I've gotten SO many compliments on this recipe.  It's from Martha Stewart.  Good Ol' Martha!
I usually mix all the ingredients together in the same bowl.  Also, instead of mixing the nuts in he batter, I just sprinkle them on top because my daughter doesn't like walnuts or pecans.  It's still yummy!


1/2 cup butter, room temp.
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached flower
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and beat to incorporate.

In a medium bowl, whisk flower, baking soda, and salt.  Add to butter mixture, and mix until combined.  Add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla; mix to combine.  Stir in nuts and poor into pan.

Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of cake come out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Let rest in pan for 10 mintutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.

Enjoy!!!!!

Turkey Meatloaf

Here is a meal that can be frozen. Don't be scared by the word "meatloaf," this is actually one of my favorite recipes. It is yummy and healthy.

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
2 eggs
1 cup salsa
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 pkg. Knorr Vegetable Soup mix
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine everything but ketchup. Press mixture into 9 x 5" loaf pan and spread ketchup over top. Bake in preheated oven until meatloaf is no longer pink and the center and juice is clear, about 60 minutes.

Cooking For Your Freezer

A few days ago Mical asked about recipes that freeze well. I was thinking about that, and I realized that I do not make good use of my freezer. I was looking on The Prepared Pantry web site and thought they had some useful information:

"If your home is like ours, we routinely put leftovers in the refrigerator. Than we forget about them and in a few days, throw them out. How much better to wrap them, freeze them, label them and use them at a later date. And when you're cooking that favorite casserole, why not double the batch, make two, and freeze the second? If we have a selection of favorite family foods in the freezer, we can bail ourselves out on those busy days when we just don't have time to cook.

Your freezer can save you money in a number of ways. On those busy days when there is no time to cook—and for most of us, there are too many of those days—we either reach for a store-bought prepared food, call out to the restaurant for delivery, or jump in the car and go out to eat. All three solutions are expensive. Grabbing a casserole, some frozen rolls, and a dessert form the freezer is quicker, better, and will save money."



Some Commonly Prepared Foods and How to Freeze Them

• Casseroles: Undercook casseroles when practical. To freeze, wrap the casserole tightly in foil to avoid air pockets. Use within four to six months. Reheat in an oven at 400 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.
• Meatloaf: You can freeze your meatloaf baked or unbaked. Use within three or four months. If unbaked, cook the meatloaf for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees or reheat a baked meatloaf for one hour.
• Other cooked meats: Remove as much fat from the meat as possible before freezing. Keep the pieces large and cover with gravy or broth if possible. Use within two to four months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat for 20 minutes in a hot oven.
• Potatoes: Store mashed potatoes in a covered container. Consider cutting baked potatoes lengthwise, mashing the contents, and refilling the shell before freezing. French fries can be frozen. Reheat them on a baking sheet at 400 degrees.
• Quick breads: Wrap the bread in aluminum foil to freeze. Use within two or three months. Thaw it at room temperature or reheat it in a warm oven (325 degrees).
• Yeast breads: Consider slicing the bread before freezing. Place the bread in plastic bags and then wrap the loaves tightly in foil. Thaw the bread at room temperature or reheat it at 300 degrees for fifteen to twenty minutes. Consider toasting individual slices to thaw.
• Cakes: Unfrosted cakes such as fruit cakes and angel food cakes freeze well. Consider slicing them before freezing so that you can get our just what you need. Wrap the entire cake in foil or wrap individual slices to freeze. Cakes with shortening or butter should be used within four months. Many types of icing do not freze well.
• Cookies: Store baked cookies in heavy plastic bags and use within two months. If stored in foil in rigid, airtight containers, the cookies may be stored for up to six months.



For more info: http://www.preparedpantry.com/index.asp?PageAction=Custom&ID=243

Sponge-Ken Scaredy-Pants

This is one of our nicknames for our daughter, Kendall. She's a timid, careful, and sensitive girl. Basically....... she's a total scaredy cat. Back when she talked in third person she'd often say, or sream in terror depending on the situation, "Kendall's SCARED!" Now she says I'm scared but the being afraid part hasn't let up much. She regularly has weird and morbid dreams and talks about them without fear but things like swimming, or loud noises freak her out bad. I just wanted to post a picture of her sledding the other day. I was shocked that she did it at all and was thrilled that she enjoyed herself. Even though she only went down about 10 feet over and over, I was a proud mama.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Evil Dolls for Sale




Hmmm. . . which of these dolls has a little something extra? I'll give you a hint, it is not the Little People Mary, and two wise men from the Nativity play set. 

I think I have given birth to Sid from Toy Story.

While Collin and I were trying to take a Sunday nap, Aidan was up in his room busy at work on what he calls his "evil dolls." This is the first of many. It has a Littlest Pet Shop head, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle arm, one Bic pen cap arm, the body of a Barbie Fairytopia wicked fairy Laverna doll and some bits of cut up Calvin Kline stockings for the hat and skirt. 

He was originally going to sell this to Emma for 8 cents (w/o CK couture). Then he added the skirt and hat and upped the price to 12 cents. Emma was upset about the price change and so I spotted her 4 cents. Aidan saw that I gave her some money and so he raised the price two cents more. So his first evil doll sold for 16 cents (smart kid). He has big plans to sell his creations to girls on the school bus. I think he might be selling himself short because boys would probably be just as interested in his product. He is taking orders now so hurry, Hurry, HURRY and buy your evil dolls while supplies last.

I guess it is never to early to learn about economics or supply and demand.

Decorating Frosting Recipe



This is for Stephanie and anyone else who might want to decorate a cake sometime soon. I know Katy and Kirsten have this recipe because they took the same beginning cake decorating class I did. I totally recommend the class which is available at local area recreation centers or craft stores like Robert's Craft and Michaels. I have decorated lots of different types of cakes including,  but not limited to: Dora, Diego, Danny Phantom, i love egg, VeggieTales, Superman, Yu-Gi-Oh, a giant butterfly, frog, etc., The class makes it really easy to learn how to transfer a picture from a photocopy to your cake and then instructs you on the best way to fill it in. 

Decorator Frosting
1/2 c butter
1/2 c solid vegetable shortening
1 t clear vanilla extract
4 c sifted powdered sugar
2 T milk
Cream butter and shortening with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been added, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. At this point you can add food coloring. Keep icing covered with damp cloth until ready to use. Can be stored up to two weeks in an airtight container in fridge. Rewhip before using. To thin, add a milk 1 t at a time. To thicken, add powdered sugar 1 T at a time.

One of my favorite shows is Ace of Cakes. It would be awesome to have that as a job. I would even do it at the supermarket bakery for a job if it was practical. I love decorating cakes!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mical Henderson


So I was thinking today after I put my first post on here that I should probably introduce myself to you guys who don't know me. My name is Mical and I know Tara (Collin was my husbands trainer on their mission) and I have recently been getting to know Katy. Ollie and my little boy Caden are in the same class at school. So that is how I fit in here. We live in Las Vegas and have for the last 6 1/2 years. We have 4 kids. Madison is 6, Caden is 4, Callie is 2 and Cole is 6 months. My husband is a concrete GF for Marnell Corrao which is a commercial construction company here is Vegas. He is currently over at Caesars Palace as they are putting up a new tower. We love it here, but we have our home up for sale and think that Utah may be calling us back. Never thought I would want to go back, but I have learned to never say never. I am excited to be a part of this blog. Thanks for the invite Katy!

Yummy Homemade Oreos

I tried this recipe today for dessert tomorrow night. They turned out really good, so I thought I would share the recipe. The recipe I had made too many for my family, so I altered it a bit. It makes 16-18 sandwiches.

1 pkg. Devil's Food Cake Mix (not with pudding in the mix)
3/4 c. butter
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix dough. Roll into balls. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 min. (They will almost look under done; thats okay, you want them chewy, not crunchy). Cool and fill with:

4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. butter
1/2 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cream first two ingredients; then add the others. Dab a little in between 2 cookies. Refrigerate.

I also wanted to pose a question. I just joined a make-a-head meal group. I need to find a recipe that I could make, as my contribution, that freezes well and that I could throw right from my freezer to the oven. Any suggestions??

Friday, February 15, 2008

Magnifying mirrors are evil

--So is natural light. I just got done with a long session in front of my 5x mirror with tweezers and some natural light. Gross. Seriously it was gross! I'm a hairy girl, more so than any girl I know, and looking in those things is way hard for me. My whole face stings, I had to pluck everywhere, this is why I prefer waxhing. Real quick, gets it all, and I DON'T HAVE TO LOOK AT IT. Ugh, 10 points off my self esteem score card today. I'd wax my whole body if it was feesible. --

This is from yesterday. I'm feeling less anger toward the mirror. Although I am avoiding it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tara the Grouch


I think this cupcake cake I made for Ian's half-birthday celebration at preschool just about sums up my week. 

We had two snow days in a row, the kids and I drove each other crazy. I tried to shovel 6 inches of snow with 2 inches of ice underneath and had only got about a two foot wide strip done when Aidan accidently hit Emma in the nose with the handle of his shovel. Her nose gushed blood all over our front walk. We all ran inside and forgot all about the shoveling. Overnight it all froze and so there are 8 inch thick chunks of ice all over the driveway. I tried to get out anyway and the car got stuck. I could neither get out onto the street nor get the car back into the garage. As I was typing this Ian decided to lotion himself and got huge globs and smears of cetaphil cream all over his clothes and my bathroom. He yelled, "See! I told you little kids can't lotion their own butts!" I cleaned him up and then went to check on something in the kitchen and he deleted my post and thought he was really funny. 

But . . . my husband came home from work in the middle of the day and managed to get my car back in the garage. He also brought me my favorite chocolates (Lindt Lindor Truffles, Milk Chocolate). 

So I am actually have a great Valentine's Day in spite of being literally trapped in my house. I am looking forward to making dinner with Collin and watching a movie while he tickles my head with a knitting needle.

And my cake turned out pretty good. 

And it has pureed beets baked into it. We'll see if the preschoolers notice. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wheat Biscuits

This recipe is a great way to use up that last little bit of wheat flour that remains after you have ground wheat your own wheat for bread. There is always at least a cup of wheat flour leftover no matter how carefully I measure out wheat to grind to get as close to 7 cups of flour. This is a good compromise of white and wheat flours if you are trying to transition your family over to more whole wheat products because the biscuits still turn out light and fluffy, but with more nutrition and fiber than traditional buttermilk biscuits.

This is a modified recipe from Taste of Home. Their recipe only made 4 biscuits. I changed the measurements a little to make 11. I was going for 12, but oh well. I used them as buns for turkey burgers last night. The biscuits turned out really yummy, my only additional suggestion is to use a rimmed baking sheet because I didn't and the butter ran off the sheet and burned on the bottom of the oven.

All three of my kids really liked them. Even my picky bird-like eater Emma.

Wheat Biscuits

1 c flour
1 c wheat flour
3 T sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
6 T cold butter, cut up
3/4 (or more) c buttermilk

In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in buttermilk until just moistened. Add more buttermilk a little at a time if the dough seems too dry. Turn out onto a floured surface; knead 6-8 times. Put to a 1" thickness; cut with a 2 1/2 " biscuit cutter. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 F for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes about 11 biscuits. Serve hot for best flavor.

RE: the birds and the bees revisited

I have to say when I read the post "the birds and the bees revisited" I thought way to go! What a hard topic to tackle with small children. Luckily, I haven't had to address that with my kids (ages 5, 3, and 2) yet. But I know it will be sooner than I would like. I will definitely look to your example when I do. It is amazing the things you have to address with children these days! I just wanted to tell you I don't think you have lost your reputation, I have a lot of admiration for your ability to address such a difficult topic so well.

Dawdle dawdle dawdle!

Hi guys,
I need help. I have a child (5 years old) who takes FOREVER to eat, get dressed, and pretty much do anything I ask him to do. Meals can last up to 1 hour if I let him go at his own speed (which doesn't usually happen, but just to give you the idea). I am worried that when he starts kindergarten next fall we are going to battle every morning and he is going to walk out the door crying and I will be frustrated... and I can only imagine how he'll do with the 15 minute lunch break they give the kids. I have to ask him 5 times to do everything. Does anyone have any kids like this or good ideas? I am spent and feeling particularly frustrated this morning.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Snow Day Ideas

So we have had at least 8 snow days in two months. For those of you who don't live where it snows a lot, it means that school is cancelled. I need some tv/wii/computer free ideas of fun or productive things the kids can do on these days. I do let them watch a little TV, etc., but I don't want them to think every snow day is a free for all. 

Today I had the idea of having them do some extra chores to earn money to buy raffle tickets for a charity called the Blue Butterfly Fund. This charity helps support the families of children with cancer. The money helps with travel expenses and living expenses and stuff that is not covered by insurance. 

I don't really have any other ideas besides that. Anyone?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Labels for posts

The list of labels was getting pretty long so I did a little editing. I'm just trying to group together posts with similar topics by making some of the labels more general. Right now it's not an issue, but in the future when we have a ton more posts, I want it to be easy for us to look up past posts on a certain topic. I just wanted to let you guys know in case you were wondering why I might have changed some of your labels.

Valentine's Day

So how do you all celebrate Valentine's Day with your hubbies? (I'm talking pre-bedtime). Do you give gifts? Go out on a date? Who is in charge of planning it? How about some ideas for us that are on a budget. I'm thinking a sweet love note would be nice.

The Birds and the Bees Revisited

My LDS friend here told me that her daughter was riding the bus and saw a teenager looking at a baby magazine. The daughter asked the teenager why she was looking at it. The teenager said, "Because I am having a baby." The daughter said, "Oh, are you getting married?" The teenager said, "No, I am having a baby with my boyfriend. We having been trying to make a baby for a while. We want to have a baby so bad." Has it suddenly become cool for teenagers to have babies? (Darn you, Jamie Lynn Spears!)

Aidan told me that he found the "s" word in the dictionary at school. I thought he meant sh--. So I told him that it meant poop and that we didn't use that word for it. Collin explained why swear words are swear words because they disrespect our bodies and bodily functions and how God created our bodies and so when we swear we are disrespecting God as well. 

Emma said, "Sex means poop?" And then she said, "Sex and the City," a couple times. I have no idea where she heard that because we don't watch that show. Anyway, then we had to explain what sex was to all our kids because they had the whole sex is poop idea. So we got out a children's anatomy book and showed them where things go and the book also had a picture of a sperm entering an egg. The kids asked what happens if a man pees inside a woman or vice versa and we explained that it usually doesn't happen. We also told them never to discuss sex with anyone else besides Collin and me. We told them that they can't try it until they are married. We told them that after murder, sex between unmarried people is the next biggest sin because it has to do with creation. 

There was so laughing and embarrassment. Aidan felt so embarrassed that he was covering his face with his hands and turning away from the table. Emma just had a huge goofy smile on her face. Ian announced that when he was a baby he drank milk from my boobs. But the house didn't fall down on top of us and the kids didn't spend the rest of the night talking about sex.

I know some of you don't approve of telling kids about sex at a young age, but our kids were already hearing about it and getting weird ideas that needed to be clarified. For us it felt like the right time to discuss it. I think if we take some of the taboo, mystery, away it won't seem like such a big deal. I guess we just tried to make it part of a normal conversation.

I think this is going to ruin my uptight, business-like reputation:)


Taco Casserole

Collin made Taco Casserole light night and I know probably most of you have had it or think it doesn't sound good, but it was really good. AND . . . my 8 year old boy who is super picky and hates tomatoes, olives and beans ate it. Once at dinner last night and again as lunch today. I think it is kind of funny that all the recipes I have put on this blog have been ones my husband has made. Here is Collin's recipe that he modified from a few recipes given to him by his mom:

Taco Casserole

1 1/2  lbs. ground turkey
1 packet Taco Seasoning (check for msg, most brands have msg in them)
1 1/2 c tomato sauce (Collin made his own) or canned tomatoes
1 c corn, canned or frozen
2 small packets of Fritos, divided
1-1 1/2 c shredded cheddar, divided
1 can white kidney beans (drained)
1 small can black olives, drained
1 small can chopped green chilies, drained

Brown turkey and add packet of Taco seasoning (following directions for adding water). Add everything else (reserve about half of the cheese and chips to put on top) and mix to combine. Spread out in a casserole or 9x13" pan and sprinkle with remaining chips and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with Tostitos Mulitgrain chips.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Snoring Husband


What do I do about my snoring husband?  The only reason I ask this now is because he's gone to sleep before me.  This usually never happens, I'm always asleep before him.  I guess I'm a light sleeper though I've never considered my self to be one. If I go to sleep before him, I'm usually o.k. If  I get woken up by one of my girls, and he's on our bed snoring, I won't be able to go back to sleep. Too many times I'm nudged him, tickled him, or woken him up and asked him to leave and sleep in another room (how sad, huh?).  If you knew our situation, you'd know why I can't be the one to switch beds. To keep it simple, my daughter wouldn't have me sleeping in another bed unless she was with me.  Unfortunately, she sleeps with us for the majority on the night.  We're working on that.  But that's not my problem.  My problem is I can't sleep through my husbands snoring.

Are there any remedies for snoring?

A Good Compliment


My husband doesn't understand my want and need to have a third child so quickly.  Sevrie and Coral are 27 months apart and I think it's the perfect age gap.  They play SO well together and it just keeps getting the better the older Coral gets (though I know this may change as they get hormonal and all). But right know it's working perfectly for us. 

At the gym today, I got a great compliment.  The lady in charge said that Coral really loves her sister.  Every time I pick the girls up, Coral is wherever Sevrie is.  Numerous times I've caught them holding hands while sitting next to eachother, Coral sitting on Sevrie's lap, and playing on the slide together. Oh ya, and don't even think about messing with Coral when Sevrie is around.  She won't let you get away with it.  She'll just simply tell on you.

This is what I try to tell Aaron.  I want our third child have the same age difference, give or take a few months. I want our third child to get along with Coral just as well as Coral gets a long with Sevrie.  Yes, I'm sure it has some to do with personality (and parenting-heheh) but I also think it has alot to do with age.  

I don't know, I guess I just love having babies and I'm using any excuse to convince Aaron to try for another.

Friday, February 8, 2008

He's walking!!

More and more every day! He sure took his time from first steps to walking a lot. Kendall took her first steps and was almost instantly done with crawling. He went down kinda fast during this walk cause he was going too fast.

video

Play room





Awhile ago we set up the small living room in our house into a play room and it's finally turning into the room that I hoped it would be. Kendall's old enough and independant enough that she can go in there and entertain herself and anytime friends or cousins come over they all spend most of the time in there. When Gage is in there I don't worry that he's getting into anything he shouldn't be. Which when he's not in there that's almost certainly what he's doing. I still need a few bins or chests for the dress up clothes and the dolls but otherwise, it's a wonderful room.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Highlight of my day

Lily and I have a little routine when she wakes up in the morning and again after her nap. She sleeps upstairs and after I get her out of her crib, she either sits on my lap or gets on my back holding tight around my neck, and we slide down the stairs on my bum. We count each step and then she slides down my legs when we get to the bottom. Today she was hanging on my back with her soft little arms around my neck and her cheek pressed against mine. I couldn't see her face, but I know she was smiling and I realized how much I love our stair sliding ritual. Maybe it was Tara's post about enjoying and being grateful for what we have, but it made me think about how much joy these small and simple activities can bring us.

How crunchy are you?

Stephanie's nursing post got me thinking about parenting styles and how different all of us choose to parent our children. Not right or wrong, just different. I lean toward attachment parenting styles and only don't do many of the things that other AP moms do out of laziness. Here is a quiz about how ''crunchy'' you are. I'm kinda hippie and would be more so if I was a little more productive by nature and if my husband was AT ALL, which he's not. He whines that I spend 5 dollars a month on a recycling can when I can just throw all that stuff away for free.

So... how crunchy are all of you.I scored 106 so I'm only kind of crunchy.

http://www.themoralesfamily.us/granola.htm

New Tunes

Here are some of my new favorite albums...
I recently worked out to MIKA and it was awesome. All the songs are funky and fresh. 

Ida is one of my favorite groups... hint we named are dog after them. They just released their new album and it's great to chill out with. It makes really good background music. They also make children's music.

I don't know if anyone has listen to Joshua Radin but he's worth taking a listen to.

My husband likes this guy... Corey Crowder I'm just listening to him now so I'll let you know how it goes.

Happy Listening 
If there are any tunes that I'm missing out on let me know!


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

St. Patricks Day Themed Birthday

I'm having a little birthday party for my to-be 4 yr old and the theme is St. Patricks Day, hence her Birthday IS on St. Patricks Day.  Do any of you have some fun and interesting ideas for food and decorations? 

Let's Talk About Sex

My kids' elementary school newsletter had this printed in it:

Talking About Sex With Your Child 

by Jaxi Rothman
Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychotherapist

"There mere title of this article may send waves of panic through many parents. But in light of Jamie Lynn Spears, the 16 year old actress who plays the main character on the popular Nickelodeon program Zoey 101, becoming pregnant, I thought we might try to tackle this one now. 

 . . . Kids who feel they can talk to their parents about sex are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors. Start this discussion when your kids are young; chances are your child has already heard many truths and mostly non-truths about sex, and it can't hurt to initiate the conversation. Know your own values, and know that those values will affect your children; this will help shape what kind of conversation you and your child will have. Depending on the age of the child, you will need to explain no only the mechanics of sex, but also the emotions, responsibilities, and feelings that are so important surrounding sex. Give accurate, age-appropriate information.

For your kindergartners, teach them the correct names for their body parts and answer questions they may have. Their curiosity level may vary greatly at this age. Some kids may ask where babies come from, and some may ask specifically about sex. Continue to answer their questions and follow their lead. 

For your 5th graders, talk about body parts and how their bodies are changing and will continue to change as they grow up. Tell them what their body parts do, and where their body parts go in order to have sex. While you are explaining how people become pregnant, explain what people need to do to prevent pregnancy. This may include abstinence and various forms of birth control. Talk about relationships, trust, being in love and about being respectful of other people's bodies and their wishes. 

 . . . Provide your child with basic information without overwhelming them. Give a brief answer to a question or provide a short sentence and wait and see what your child says next.  . . . The tone you set is important and the more relaxed and open you are, the more your child will come to you for guidance and explanation in the future."

I know that was kind of long to read, but I totally agree with what she wrote. I think people don't talk enough about sex in the home. I think a lot of teen pregnancy happens because kids don't know enough to know that they can get pregnant just from having sex one time. Also, kids hear a lot of weird stuff in school from their peers that isn't necessarily true. It is part of our job as parents to instruct and inform. It makes me a little uncomfortable, but I would much rather have my kids asking me how things work than asking older kids.

So far we have only explained the mechanics of sex to our oldest son. He was a little surprised about how babies are made. We explained to him that he should only make babies with someone if he is married to them because babies need both a mom and a dad. That is all we have covered so far and for now it is probably enough. We also told him that he shouldn't talk about sex with his friends, just his parents. 

I have a friend that actually does work in a youth correctional center and has done research that supports the idea that the more comfortable kids feel talking about sex with their parents, the less likely they are to have sex or unprotected sex. 

How do you all approach this topic with your kids? How soon is too soon? Something taboo (like the word "stupid" for instance) always seems more appealing and fascinating. 

Another reason why it is good to talk about this stuff early on is so that your kids don't get the shock of their lives on their honeymoon. I know way too many people who had uncomfortable or miserable wedding nights resulting from the simple lack of information about something that is an important part of marriage. 


Love Your Situation


I have been kind of bugged lately because my husband is going to the Dominican Republic to do some service (work in hospitals, dig ditches, etc., Peace Corps. type stuff) with some students with the university. The trip is in March and my 30th birthday falls within the time he will be gone. I wanted so badly to go with him. I felt like it would be awesome to do some real good out in the world on my 30th birthday. But we couldn't find anyone to watch the kids. Everyone in the family was booked. We considered paying a friend, but then decided we didn't feel good about that. So I am not going and I was feeling bad about it. I felt like some of the things I want to do with my life are just not going to happen, ever. Sometimes I feel like I have a boring life. It is good and normal, but lacks in excitement. Occasionally I wish things could be different or better. 

BUT NOT TODAY!

Today I am so grateful for my amazing, wonderful, handsome and hardworking spouse. I am so glad my kids are my kids and that they all have the same dad. I am grateful that I get along with my in-laws. I am grateful that my husband feels like our money is ours and not his. I am grateful that we make major decisions together. I am grateful that there is love in our home, that our kids feel safe and don't doubt that their parents are going to stay together. 
Last Sunday we ended up sitting near the front on the chapel because we were a few minutes late. I noticed a new family sitting on the other end of the pew. I am going to call them the the B family. Sister B (who looks about my age) got up and bore her testimony. She was wearing a really stylish outfit, had a cute haircut and a cute (TALL) figure. She sat back down by Brother B and their son Little B. We introduced ourselves to the B family and I offered to show her around town a little bit. We exchanged phone numbers. 

Sunday night all my kids were sick. I was sick. We spent a feverish Monday in my bed napping and watching cartoons with breaks for eating popsicles or barfing. Tuesday my oldest went to school but my middle and littlest were still crabby, feverish and barfy. I was crabby and achy. I really didn't feel up to taking Sister B around this week. I was still sick. Wednesday comes along and my littlest is still pretty sick. But I kept having this feeling that I should take Sister B around. So I pick her up and we go to the Farmer's Market. We walked around and bought our stuff and I decide I am going to take her home, but then this thought pops into my head (take her to the library). While sitting in the library parking lot she starts to tell me her whole depressing life story and we end up back at my house so I can make cookies for the Cub Scout Pack Meeting tonight while she vents.

She ends up telling me how Brother B is having a midlife crisis and wants to buy himself all kinds of unnecessary things that they can't afford (sports car, designer suits, etc.,). Brother B has also been having an affair for a year. Little B has been raised by Brother B, but is not his birth father (he was 10 months old when they met) and now Brother B is acting like he could care less if he has Little B or Sister B in his life at all. He travels a lot and Sister B never knows whether it is truly for work or if he is seeing the other woman. They have separate bank accounts and the Bs each pay for their own stuff. Brother B told Sister B that he likes to flirt because it makes him feel attractive. Sister B doesn't know if her marriage will work out and doesn't know if it is worth saving. I feel so terrible for her. I can't imagine being in a situation that feels so hopeless and out of control.  

Ladies, BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE! Love your life. Realize that what you have is precious. People envy your happy marriages, beautiful children and most of all stability. 
My older sister's marriage didn't work out and she is now back in school so she can get a job and support herself. We were talking on the phone the other night and she was telling me how she still goes to concerts and on spur of the moment trips, etc., and I said something like, "what would that be like?" She said, "I can't believe you just said that when you are living the Mormon dream." She went on and basically counted my blessings for me and they were numerous. 

So read your kids that extra book tonight and later make out with your husband. Your life is good. Live it and love it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

How to stop the "Boobie"

Do any of you have tips on how to wean my daughter?  She is 19 months old and is currently down to two feedings a day.  If it were up to her, it would be two feeding every hour.  She loves the "boobie" and asks for it frequently.  She nurses right before she goes down for her nap and before bed time.  Sometimes Aaron will put her down for bed, thus getting me out of that feeding.  But lately she screams for me when he picks her up to go read/go to bed.  I HATE her crying and wish this was just something I could change over night.  I love nursing her but I know that is has to stop at some point, especially if I want a third child.  If I could get pregnant (not that I'm trying April, I promise) while nursing, I would.  How does that happen anyway?  

I weaned my oldest around 18 months but at least she had a passifier, or "bobble" (it's what she calls the pacifier-don't ask me why) to calm and soothe her.  Coral doesn't take a passifier or bottle.  She is a total boobie girl and only wants her mommy.  Oh what do do?????

Working out

I don't know about all of you, but I find it hard to stay committed to exercising on a regular basis. It's usually the first thing I give up when I'm short on time, or energy. And being sick for the past month hasn't helped. The only working out I've been doing is coughing. It really has worked my abs out, but I have a soft layer covering any muscle that might be developing. So what do you gals do to stick with it? How do you stay motivated? What are your favorite activities to stay in shape?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hello Everyone!

It is so fun to read all of your posts. You guys are what I miss most about living in Provo.
I just spent the day at the doctor with Claire (and Ellie and Anna) validating my suspicions that she has an ear infection (Never mind that we just finished taking medication for strep throat on Sunday). We then went and purchased the mega expensive medicine (since she is allergic to penicillin). I love having sick kids! It has been a long day.

I wanted to let you know of a great blog page that has some pretty great recipes. It is called favfamilyrecipes.blogspot.com
My sister in law loves to cook and several family members contribute to it. There are a lot of great things there if you are looking for something new to make.

Our little family is taking a family photo this week, so I will soon have an updated picture to share with you all.

I love reading the blog, it reminds me that I am not going insane, but rather every mom is going through what I am going through.

Nicea

Biting Dilemma

I hope this isn't too personal for any of you, but I have a bit of a problem. So my little Ellie is 11 months and I am still nursing her. I love nursing and would like to keep it up for a little while longer. The problem is that Ellie has started biting me when she finishes each side. It hurts like crazy and makes me so I tense through out the whole feeding! I have told her no, and gently tapped her cheek, but the biting continues. Any thoughts, ideas, insights?

I'm Invisible

I'm Invisible

-It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids walks into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside, I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The Invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: "Can you fix this?" "Can you tie this?" "Can you open this?" Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. "She's going, she's going, she's gone!"

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. Then, if there is anything to say to his friend, it could be, "You're gonna love it here!"

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.-

-----------------
I got this off my birth board and I thought is was sweet. It gives me perspective which I'm always needing.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The "S" word


I know it is hard to believe, but this adorable girl has a potty mouth. Lily is obsessed with the word "stupid." It started a couple months ago with Ollie. He started saying "stupid" and I immediately told him that it was not a nice word and he should not use it. Well, that just got him saying it even more. After several warnings, I tried time-outs. Didn't help. It got so bad that it was practically involuntary for him. I finally started to ignore it. This worked pretty well after a while. He still says the "S" word on occasion, but usually it is to tell on someone else for saying it. I am very glad that Ollie has learned better, but unfortunately, he taught his little sister the word in the process. Lily probably says "stupid" more times a day than any other word. She uses it in the songs she sings, talking to her toys, and to show her frustration if someone doesn't do what she wants them to. I have tried the ignore method, but since Ollie has become the "S" word police, he brings it to our attention every time she says it. Anyone have a solution for me? I'm sure she'll get bored of it eventually, but I'm wondering how many people she will insult in the mean time.

Tutus and Turtles


You have probably come across this blog, but if not, it's worth checking out. Tutus & Turtles features all sorts of stuff to do with kids from crafts to favorite toys, books, etc. I usually check it once or twice week. tutusandturtles.blogspot.com

Toffee-Top Cheesecake Bars



1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package toffee bits, divided

Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, combine flour, powdered sugar, cocoa and baking soda; cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Press into bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes.
In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk, eggs and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in 1 cup English Toffee Bits. Pour mixture over hot crust.
Bake 25 minutes or until set and edges just begin to brown.
Remove from oven. Cool 15 minutes. Sprinkle remaining toffee bits evenly over top. Cool completely. Refrigerate several hours or until cold. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Crockpot Chicken

I love using my crockpot. I got this recipe from the "101 Things to do With a Slow Cooker" cookbook, but I changed it slightly. This recipe is not super exciting, but it has not failed me yet. It is so easy too. I serve it over mashed potatoes.

Sunday Chicken

4 to 6 chicken breast
2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 cup sour cream

Place chicken in greased slow cooker. Mix remaining ingredients except sour cream and pour over chicken. Cover and cook on high heat 4 hours or on low heat 6-8 hours. One hour before serving, stir in sour cream. Makes 4-6 servings.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Moms can't take sick days

I've been dealing with sick kids all week, fighting it off myself and then BAM, I wake up this morning thinking I seriously would rather die than get out of bed and try to do what I needed to do. Have you ever been too sick to get out of bed? Aside from post labor and delivery, I can't ever remember being like this. My six year old made breakfast for herself and her siblings while I laid in bed crying and wanting my mommy. Pathetic, right? Sadie walked around with a poopy diaper for who knows how long till I could finally bribe her to climb up on my bed and then bribe her brother to bring me wipes and a diaper. Why can't we take sick days? This is one of those days I wouldn't have survived without other good moms. My neighbor took Kenzi to school for me and another friend picked her up and took her to her house all afternoon, all without me asking. They just called, not knowing I was sick, and asked if they could do that for me today. Sadie took a 3 hour nap and my sweet Will played in my bedroom for two hours so I could rest while Sadie did. My husband forgot something for work and came home to get it right as the kids were asking for lunch, so he fixed some for the kids so I didn't have to and then went back to work. All coincidence? I think not. I know the Lord knew I just needed some help today. Would I have preferred a sick day? Yes, but I'll take what I can get gratefully.