Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Highlight of My Day

I was changing Spencer's diaper this morning which is very routine. While I was snapping up his buttons, he grabbed the well wrapped, dirty diaper and began shooting me with it, gun noises and all. I've seen a lot of random items used as guns, cannons and swords in my home but a diaper is a first, quite a change to the routine.

Spencer came up to me, wrapped his arms around me and said, "I wuf you." He kept saying it over and over. This is a new phrase and even his dad couldn't tell what he was saying at first. I'm sure its I love you though because he only says it when he gives hugs.

Fun moments that remind me why I wanted to became a mom.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Draper Temple

Sorry I've been slow to update lately. Our internet was acting up. We bought at new wireless card and the internet has stayed up for the last hour! Yay!

Last night we had a family home evening about temples. It was in preparation to go through the Draper Temple open house. The kids were excited that they'd get to go to a temple. We discussed why we have temples and then built a temple out of Legos while cookies baked.

Oliver was the most excited about visiting the temple. He also seemed to be the one that understood the most what was actually going on.

There was a process to get to the temple rather than just drive yourself there. I guess thousands and thousands of people are expected to go through. We first gathered at church buildings where we watched a short video about the temple. I ended up at the back of the room holding a squirming child but it was fun to hear Oliver, from half way across the room, tell Chris who the prophet was when he came on screen. Then we rode buses to the temple. So two new experiences for the kids, riding buses and being in the temple.

There were plenty of people and I hear Saturday it was absolutely packed. We intentionally went on a weekday afternoon to avoid long lines with our children. My only wish was that we could have lingered a bit more than we were able too. It almost seemed people were in a rush to go through. I guess that just gives me more reason to want to go back and that's good.

The children were as good as can be expected over a two hour trip with a lot of waiting in lines. Oliver is so tactile he had a hard time keeping his hands to himself but honestly I was glad nobody tried licking anything. That would have been really embarrassing. Yes my boys do that, at least as toddlers...always curious.

Of course the celestial room was my favorite. It was just gorgeous. I wanted to just sit and soak in the beauty longer. When the kids came in Chris prompted them to look up at the chandelier. Spencer squealed.

Another favorite of mine was the floor in the bride's room. The carpet had garden flowers around the edges, like a border of grass, tulips, daisies, etc. It was unlike anything I've seen in the temples. It wasn't wild or overly bright but it wasn't subdued either.

I love that the temples interiors are not strictly white. Usually when I hear people speak of heaven or things of a sacred nature they only mention white. I understand the reasons, but I hope, like in the temples, we will still be able to enjoy the many colors He's provided for us.

Being in the temple as a family was a lot of fun. It was interesting to see what things impressed the children. I'm glad we went. Sometimes I get intimidated doing things where there are crowds, especially with the kids, must be some odd phobia I have. I could have talked myself out of going but I'm glad I didn't. Upon returning home Oliver asked if we could go again tomorrow. That brought a smile to my face. I wish we could too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yippee for me!

I'm quite pleased at what I've discovered in using my handy little pedometer. My doctor (and others) recommended at least 10,000 steps per day. I've had no problem reaching that goal. In fact I think I'm going to have to up it. With out trying I've reached between 12,000-13,000 steps a day! I had no idea I was that active. I had two days under 10,000 and those were on the weekend after being up through the night with children throwing up. I intentionally plopped myself on the sofa after each of those long nights! The oddest thing is I'm covering about 5-6 miles worth of steps per day mostly within the walls of my home! I guarantee you its not that large!

Actually I don't think this activity level has been normal for me in the past. Its not due to the pedometer but a new medication. My doctor said most people just feel better once they start insulin medication. Well that was three months ago. I wasn't sure what he was talking about because I didn't feel bad when I originally went into his office. I started a new prescription about ten days ago for my insulin levels. Medication trial number three finally works for me. I have been amazed at how well I feel, even with a cold!

This last week has made me wonder how wonderful it really is to have a body and what it will be like to have a perfected body in the next life. I had no idea this is how a "normal" person feels! I wonder what it will be like to have all of these earthly ailments gone and just enjoy a perfect body (if that's the way it will work).

Today I let the kids watch The Princess Bride. I'm rather careful about what they watch because they seem rather sensitive, scary stuff and oh man the stuff they'll repeat. I've held off for a long while with this movie because there were some parts I thought might frighten Oliver. (He's been sensitive to violence on television from as young as 6 months old!) I was surprised at how well the kids enjoyed it. He showed a little concern at the rodents of unusual size, but that seemed appropriate though. I look forward to watching this more often. Its is one of my favorites, Chris's too. In fact, one Christmas we both unknowingly purchased it for each other! Now it'll be a family favorite.

I was getting ready to send Oliver and Evelyn to preschool next door and at the same time was planning out the errands Spencer and I would run while they were gone. I was a bit worried the kids would be disappointed because I was going to the library without them. Their books were due today and we've had the same small stack for three weeks. I cringed when Oliver asked if that's what I was doing as I gathered up books but was surprised when he hugged and thanked me for getting him new books. He can be so sweet sometimes.

Chris went back to school yesterday. That was kind of a quick decision for us. He decided to take some classes at the community college. He was lucky to get into classes the day before the semester started! He's taking art classes to help build a portfolio and to get a little more direction in the field of graphic design/illustration. I was struck by a little bit of jealousy at his being in art class. I didn't expect that and admit I was a bit bitter the first day. Art's always been my thing. I know he's good too, in fact better than me! I think it was just the thought of me being home with the kids while being in a studio painting or drawing seems like it would be heaven sometimes. My memories of being in the studio are before marriage and children. They aren't laced with the demands of providing for a family like Chris's pursuits. I've put that jealousy aside and feel much better today. I actually look forward to seeing what he'll be doing. Maybe we'll do some of it together.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Testing the Salad Spinner

This evening I thought I'd give the new salad spinner a whirl. It worked! I can see that you do get what you pay for and it won't last forever. Its good enough to last a long while though. I was surprised at how well it spun the water off. It sure beats trying to dry each leaf of lettuce.

I had watched a show on television about eating more local produce, farming, etc. (I think I'm longing for spring.) There was a place that was having salad bars in the elementary schools and students really liked it. Enough so that shorter salad bars are being built to make it easier for young children. Parents were surprised at how much produce there children were eating.

I thought I'd give my own home variation a try. For dinner I set out a large bowl of lettuce, two plates of fruits & vegetables and cheese, a plate of grilled chicken, and a few varieties of salad dressing. Usually Chris and I serve the kids but tonight I wanted the kids to build their own. I asked them to put however much lettuce they'd like to eat on their plate then they had to select a minimum of two different items from each plate to build their salad.

Oliver made a large salad and ate the whole thing! Normally we'll give Ollie a couple of bites of salad and he's required to take a taste. There was no encouraging him to eat the salad when he built it the way he wanted.

Evelyn also made a large salad. She didn't eat as much but that's normal. It doesn't really matter what she's served, she just nibbles. I'll give her a cookie and it can take a half hour for her to eat it. Frequently she'll be left the only one at the table just kind of nibbling here and there until she's full.

Spencer liked putting things on his plate but not eating it so much. He was the only one to take bites and declare it to be gross. He still struggles with chewing produce so I'm just pleased he was willing to try new things.

Overall I'd say a success!

Oh and Oliver said the prayer for our dinner. He said rather bluntly, "Thank you for my head." It sounded really funny but I think it was because he fell at the bottom of the stairs yesterday and really has a big goose egg. We woke him up through the night to be sure he was ok and he was. So yes I express thanks for his head too!

Some good buys

Saturday Chris and I made a trip to Target. We took the whole family just so everyone had a chance to get out of the house. Chris chuckled and said we needed to go on a real date soon, meaning without children and not just to pick up something from the store, but still it was fun to go out.

We had gone out in search of a salad spinner. Its something Chris and I have been thinking of picking up a for a while now. I was willing to spend around $15 for one. Since we are trying to eat healthier I thought it would be a fun addition to our kitchen. When we got to Target we were surprised to see that the ones on display were about $25-$30. It seemed like more than I wanted to spend just to remove a little bit of water from my produce. I have never used one though so maybe those expensive little things do some bizarre magic I'd be pleased with. We kept walking around a bit and discovered a very basic, generic brand salad spinner tucked away on a shelf. It seemed like it would do the job and we were shocked to find the price was only $2.99! So we left happier than expected.

Last night was rather cold since our space heater died out on us. This has been the winter of the dying space heaters. We had a bunch of wonderful little space heaters that warm rooms really well but don't run up the energy bill. This year must have been the end of their life span because they have all died one by one. Without the heater last night the basement was so cold I couldn't get bundled up enough to get warm. I was glad the kids fell asleep before the temperature dropped too much. Spencer woke up in the middle of the night so we spent the rest of the night bundled up together on the couch. Eventually we snuggled together enough to get warm and fell asleep.

Today was Evelyn's first day of preschool. She was quite excited and seemed to have fun. We've been doing a co-op preschool with moms in the ward for preschool. Oliver was a little miffed that Evelyn was going with him today. I guess it had been his big kid thing to do.+ By the time he got home he didn't seem to mind anymore so I guess everything went alright.

The first errand of the day was to buy a new space heater. I was excited to see Walmart had some plugged in so I tested them before purchasing. We found one and are much more comfortable living down in the basement again. (As you can see I think everyone was a little extra sleepy today due to the cold or maybe preschool. Its not normal for the older two to nap.)

Since I only had one child with me, which was quite strange and fun, I decided to do laps around the Super Walmart. That can be a dangerous thing. I kept putting things in my cart but decided to keep doing laps and returned items to their places.

One item that didn't get returned to shelf was a pedometer. I'm excited to find out how much I'm walking. The first hour it was on I thought it must not be working correctly because there was no way I'd walked that many steps. So I counted as I went along and it was right! I'm curious to see how much a mother truly is on her feet. I'm not great with regular exercise routines because everyday seems to be different with children. I'm excited to use this little tool to keep track of what I am doing rather than always getting down on myself for what I'm not. I figure I can build from there.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Pancake Cookies

Another attempt towards better health has been reducing the amount of sugar we eat. Before you think I'm some crazy health nut, I've been told by my doctor that I'm at high risk for diabetes. That was a shock since its not prevalent in my family and in general I have a healthy lifestyle. I'm insulin resistant which means I have too much insulin. The concern is that eventually my body might wear out and stop making insulin because it has been overworking. This is can be either a lifestyle problem or a genetic one. The doctor thinks mine is genetic and watching my diet is part of prevention along with medication and exercise. (We all have to play the genetic roulette game and so far I've been very lucky. I'll count my blessings with just needing to prevent major illnesses.) So yeah I'm not crazy, just trying to be careful. Anyway...

One of the changes we've made is how we eat pancakes. We now eat what I tell my children are pancake cookies. I doctor up my basic pancake recipe, make the cakes only 2-3 inches across, and serve without any topping. We eat them with our hands just like cookies. Being the frugal mom that I am, we eat lots of pancakes, usually at least four mornings a week. So this was a worth while change for us.

There are a couple added bonuses to eating pancake cookies, less cook time and less clean up. Some days we don't even hand out plates.

You'll notice a few things different about this recipe. Its a bit higher in sugar than most but that's because we don't use any toppings. Second there are only two measuring utensils needed, a one cup utensil and a tablespoon. This was intentional. It makes this recipe just that much faster and more fool proof when I'm tired in the morning. Last, its a bit thicker than the average pancake so it takes a little more care when cooking.


Here is my basic pancake recipe:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon imitation vanilla
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg
1 cup milk (rice m
ilk works well too for those with lactose concerns)

To this I add various fruits, spices, or extracts. The popular ones so far at my house are:

Almond extract
Cinnamon and a chopped apple
Molasses, ginger, cloves and cinnamon

Coconut extract

Pour batter onto a hot skillet in 2-3 inch circles. These pancakes are a bit thicker than the norm. Unlike most pancakes, don't wait for the bubbles to surface and pop or you'll burn them. I flip these when they lose their gloss around the edges and have browned on the bottom side. These end up cooking almost evenly from both sides. If thinner pancakes are preferred add more liquid to the batter and cook as normal.

Frozen Worms

When Spencer falls asleep sometimes the older two kids and I do something fun that he isn't old enough to do. Yesterday we put together some sand art. It was a project that Uncle Rico (Scott) and Aunt Diane gave the two for Christmas. I don't think Scott and Diane had any idea how great a gift it was. Oliver couldn't stop saying things like this is awesome or totally cool.

The project was really easy. The paper was already color coded and just required lifting one section at a time to reveal a sticky background. We poured on the sand and it sticks! I think I'll have to find out where Scott and Diane found these. Though I think we'll wait until summer so we can do it outside. We have a fine layer of sand left on the floor, worth the fun though!

I asked Evelyn to let Rosco (our dog) come into the house. When she lingered at the door. I asked her to please close it. It is cold enough that we have snow on the ground. I was surprised by her response. She told me there were no worms! Nope, no worms, its just too cold. In the spring we have the biggest worms I've ever seen. We seem to stir them up as we dig in the garden. I'd love to know what brought that back to her memory. All the rest of the day I had images of long frozen worms.

We've been making extra efforts to eat better than we typically do. I had the wonderful idea of making split pea soup about a month ago. I have eaten wonderful split pea soup but this was greatly disappointing and I think the only person to eat a significant amount was Chris, mostly out of kindness. I'll admit the only reason I finished my bowl was because I wanted the kids to know even mommy eats things she doesn't like. Now its the infamous green soup. Oliver reminds me about it frequently. Today he told me green soup is awful but he likes blue soup. I'm not sure what that is buy why not! Anybody have a recipe for blue soup?