Friday, December 9, 2011

Healthy Snacking

So I'm cooking dinner and I'm in the middle with my hands dirty from meat or veggies and it never fails...."Mom I need a snack, I'm so hungry!!!"  It doesn't matter that I tell them we will be eating soon there is always groans, or tantrums, or "I'm going to die, I'm so hungry." comments.  Does anyone else have this problem?
I started doing a few things different that have seemed to help that I thought I would share and then if anyone else does something they like I love some more ideas!


  • First I decided I wanted to have snacks available for them.  So I got a couple baskets and I try to keep it stocked with different things like fruit, bread, nuts, dried fruit, muffins, etc.  
  • I also like to portion these snacks into little snack size Ziploc baggies so it's easy to grab and go if you are heading out the door.  My mom gave me that idea and I love when I have planned ahead and have these ready.  
  • I also try to dedicate a shelf for snacks in the fridge that need refrigeration.  (boiled eggs, cheese, cut vegetables and fruits, bottled fruit, yogurt)--I couldn't take a picture of my fridge because it's cram full of Leftovers from Thanksgiving that we ate this week. 
  • I started "closing" the kitchen an hour before meals and at least an hour after meals.  I want my kids to eat meals and not just snacks all day.  I put too much work into those meals and they better eat up!  =)  

This is my meager attempts and I hope it continues to help the before meal battles.
If you want more ideas for snacking the Mayo Clinic has a great article called, "Healthy Snacks for Kids, 10 childfriendly tips.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Gifts

The whole Santa thing is so confusing for kids as they see friends, cousins, and others getting way more from Santa then they did.  My mother-in-law was telling us about the kids in Russia who get 1 present from Father Christmas and that is all the presents they open at Christmas.  One thing that I thought was fun is they carry a basket around to family (kind of like our trick or treaters) and get candy from Grandmas, Uncles and Aunts on Christmas.
Christmas is for children.  The magic of Christmas is not in the gifts.  It's the Christmas lights, singing carols together as a family, reading the Christmas Story, making Christmas cookies, delivering treats to neighbors and family, and playing secret Santa.  The magic of Christmas is being with those you love.
Buying gifts just because it's a great sale, can be so tempting.  But is it all that necessary?
I love our sisters idea of giving three gifts like the wise man gave Baby Jesus Three gifts.  She gives one gift for their physical needs, one for spiritual needs, and one for cognitive needs.  This really helps us think outside the box for gift ideas.  Last year for cognitive needs we gave our boys each a fun book of music for their instrument. For spiritual needs we have given church videos, or quiet books they can read during Sacrament, and physical needs, we have given a new outfit, or a new soccer ball.
I've heard of some families doing away with all gifts and giving there Christmas to another family in need or using the money to go on a family vacation.  I think it's great to have an open mind and don't go over board on buying and spending money just because it's "on sale."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

No more thumb?

This is Pumpkin sleeping today without sucking her thumb.  We have been working on this for a long time.  We have tried many things.  To read my last entry about this click here.   There was some great comments from readers about people including them self who sucked their thumb and their thoughts.   It was written Oct 23, 2009 and I thought we were almost done with the thumb and now here we are two years later and I am really hoping we are done.  She is in Kindergarten and we told the kids that when they turn 5 they can have chewing gum.  I just don't think kids are wise enough to keep it in there mouth before then.  Well she turned 5 and I told her she wasn't ready because she still sucked her thumb.  (Oh, I'm so mean!)  Well, this really got her wanting to do it so she could have gum.  She is working for her own pack of pink, gum tape.  For the last 20 days --maybe more, we have had her wear a large shirt that I sewed the openings up.  Then we use masking tape around the wrists so she can't wiggle her hand up through the shirt.  This is all her own choice.  She is the one that keeps reminding us to tape her shirt.  Once she has not sucked her thumb for 30 days in a row we are taking her to the store for her bubble gum.  The worse day was after she didn't suck her thumb for 25 days in October she took a nap on Sunday and we didn't put on the shirt and so she started sucking her thumb.  I told her how sorry we were but she would have to start over on counting un-sucking days.  She was so upset!  But nevertheless we have continued on the quest and today during her nap at day 20 she didn't wear her shirt and she isn't sucking her thumb!!!
Don't worry, after she is all done we will get more experience and start working with her sister Peanut who is three.  Let's hope the process doesn't take so long.  =)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Simple Pleasures of Kindness

Have you ever caught yourself realizing how months have past without you really acknowledging it.  Time is crazy like that.  It feel like my youngest, who is 3 right now, was just barely born.  Time has just flown by.  I feel so extremely blessed to have such a beautiful family.  I really have been spoiled.  Four wonderful children, a loving husband, I couldn't ask for more then that.  I acknowledge that I have had it so good all of my life.  When I see others in the world who aren't sure where there next meal will come from or where they will sleep it makes me sad.  I want to be able to do what I can to help others.  I think that's why I love teaching children so much.  If I can impact a child's life for good, I hope that will effect the world in some way.  I believe every good deed, every smile, and every kind word given by you can and will change the heart of someone that will in turn make this world a better place to live.  I try to remember that with my own children.  If I can instill in them goodness and love, that will in turn bless them and the world around them.  As time blurs by, make time for the simple pleasures of kindness.  I thought of a few that don't require a penny.  If you think of some post them in comments!

  • When your waiting in a long line at the grocery store, a restaurant, show graciousness by not complaining and making the teller feel bad
  • In the car, show patience and self control as others around you are being overly cautious and slow
  • When your child is throwing a fit, show maturity to not let it emotionally effect you and let the moment be it's moment and then let it go
  • When your getting out of your car and someone parked next to you is blocking the way by their car door, be kind by just waiting in your car patiently, you can even pretend you have something to do until they are done loading.  Then as you get out of the car wave and sincerely smile.
  • Open the door for someone else
  • Get to know the children's name of your neighbors and say hi to them by name when you see them playing
  • Offer to babysit someones kids so they can go Christmas Shopping or wrap presents
  • Send a Birthday Card or just a letter to someone you love by snail mail

I just know if you take time everyday to do simple pleasures of kindness it will make your day, week and years more glorious and happy.  Pass it on!  =)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Maturation Clinic-Advise for Parents with Pre-Teens

So it's a little crazy that I have a fifth grader who is old enough to go to the maturation clinic.  What is crazy is it doesn't seem like that long ago that I was a fifth grader going to the clinic with my mom at Woods Cross Elementary School.  I remember going to the library with all the girls and meeting in the well loved "Kiva" for our clinic that we all so embarrassed about.  The clinic at my kids school was very well done.  The Bear River Health Department sent representative to talk to parents before the children joined us.  I really liked the information that was presented to the parents, I wanted share some things I found helpful to me.
Make sure your growing pre-adolesent is getting 9-10 hours of sleep.  Brain cells replenish during sleep.  Brain connections are strengthened.  Some ideas to help:

  • Take time before they lay down to share how their day was.  This will help them relive their day out loud rather then in their brain in bed.  This helps them wind down.
  • Turn in all cell phones to parents room or a central basket on the kitchen counter to charge up.  
  • Set up a bed routine and try to stick with it-going to bed about the same time every night
  • Don't watch TV or movies right before bed.


The rest of the presentation was on drug and alcohol prevention.
In the Sharps Survey taken by Utah Teens in 2011.  Teens are saying that parents have the most influence on their decision making.  More then their friends or other adult role models.
Teens who are using drugs, and alcohol were asked how they perceived their parents felt about them being involved in substance abuse.  Here is an example of the question,  How wrong do your parents feel it would be for you to smoke marijuana?  They choice of answers were:  Very wrong, wrong, a little bit wrong, or not wrong at all.  The results of these questions showed that, if parents have a clear and strong standards against substance abuse and communicate that to their children the chances their children will get involved is very small.  It's time to talk to children about it earlier.  Parents should talk to their children before they are 10 years old about the importance of staying away from drugs and alcohol.
Children are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol if they feel loved and valued by their parents.  Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Talking and Listening to your children is a major key to the psychological, physical and spiritual grown of your child.
  • Comment and recognize your child's positive attributes
  • Spend time with your child
  • Help your child identify healthy ways they can cope with stress or depression such as music, sports, art, or exercise.  
  • Parents need to show the child love no matter what the child has done--unconditional love.
  • Eat Dinner Together.  
  • Teens also said they feel validated when their parents hug them--but not in front of friends.  Do it before bed or before they leave for school.  Let your child initiate the release of hug.  They may need a longer hug.

For more information on Drug and Alcohol Prevention and help go to BRHD.org

Sunday, October 30, 2011

10 Things Parents need to know for Halloween Safety!

Ten Things Parents Can Do to Make Halloween Safer
"The Mentalist" Actor Tim Kang Tells Parents How They Can Build Safety into Halloween This Year
Halloween is one of the most exciting times of the year for children, but sometimes the most hectic for parents. Nearly 94 percent of children between the ages of four and twelve participate in Halloween activities each year. Tim Kang, actor from the hit CBS show The Mentalisthas partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to help educate parents about what they should be telling their children to keep them safe. Parents need to take a moment to consider basic safety precautions that will make Halloween a safer night of fun.
  • CHOOSE bright, flame-retardant costumes or add reflective tape to costumes and candy bags so children are easily seen in the dark. In addition, carry a glow stick or flashlight. 
  • PLAN a trick-or-treating route in familiar neighborhoods with well-lit streets. Avoid unfamiliar neighborhoods, streets that are isolated, or homes that are poorly lit inside or outside.
  • NEVER send young children out alone. They should always be accompanied by a parent or another trusted adult. Older children should always travel in groups.
  • ALWAYS walk younger children to the door to receive treats and don’t let children enter a home unless you are with them.
  • BE SURE children do not approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless you are with them.
  • DISCUSS basic pedestrian safety rules that children should use when walking to and from houses.
  • CONSIDER organizing a home or community party as an alternative to “trick-or-treating.”
  • MAKE sure children know their home phone number and address in case you get separated. Teach children how to call 911 in an emergency.
  • TEACH children to say “NO!” or “this is not my mother/father” in a loud voice if someone tries to get them to go somewhere, accept anything other than a treat, or leave with them. And teach them that they should make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming and resisting.
  • REMIND children to remain alert and report suspicious incidents to parents and/or law enforcement.
“Child safety is vital year round, but Halloween is an especially important time for parents and children to pay extra attention to their surroundings and not let their guard down,” said actor Tim Kang a spokeperson for NCMEC. “Parents need to exercise a few basic safety precautions to help ensure that Halloween is both fun and safe.”

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Recharge with the General R.S. Meeting

I look forward to each year when I can be recharged at the General Relief Society Meeting.  If you were unable to attend last night's meeting you can view it or read it online here.  As a mom I need a spiritual uplift and encouragement, and this did it for me last night.  Pres. Uchtdorf encouraged us to remember that we as individuals are not forgotten by the Lord.  He loves each of us and is aware of our needs.  The other thing I really got out of his talk is to remember to see the beauty of now.  Don't be so focused on getting the "golden ticket" of life and not enjoy the chocolate that is before us.  I'm so grateful for his words of encouragement and love.  I hope you take the time to study these words because they can help you be a better mother, wife, and sister.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Healthy Living--Homemade Bread-updated

Whenever I can make something from scratch that is healthier for my family I try to.  At first the challenge is finding a good recipe and then it's mastering it.  After many years of experimenting with many recipes I have found a winner.
This summer I took advantage of the free cooking class offered in my Cache Valley Savings Guide (have loved the coupons in here!).  The cooking class was at Love to Cook Kitchen Kneads (my favorite store).  The class was a whole wheat bread baking class.  I learned so much from this class plus got a free bread pan and two loaves of bread!  I would highly recommend taking this or other classes at the store.  I was the only person in the class so I was able to really get a lot from the class because I felt like I could ask as many questions as I wanted and have her repeat things.  One of the things I feel you have to experience is the feel of what the dough feels like.  If you put too much flour in you get a crumbly bread and if their is not enough flour the dough is hard to work with because it's so sticky.  Well I thought I would share with you the recipe they use.  I really like it because it uses 100% whole wheat and it tastes delicious even after several days of making.  Its great after freezing.  The texture stays together well for sandwiches and we love it for toast.  I like to make two batches in a day and freeze all but one or two loafs.  Then I only have to make bread every other week or so.
Ingredients:
Whole Wheat Bread Recipe:
5 cups Warm Water (baby bath warm)
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup Dough Conditioner or 3 TB Dough Enhancer
1/4 cup Honey
1/2 Cup Gluten
2 TB SAF Instant Yeast
1 TB Salt

12 Cups Whole Wheat Flour, Divided
Mix water, oil, dough conditioner and honey in your mixer.  In a smaller separate bowl combine a few cups of flour, yeast, gluten, and dough enhancer and mix.  (I just add it one at a time in the mixer)  Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and mix gradually adding a few more cups of flour.  When the mixture looks like a thick paste, add the salt.  Continue adding flour 1/2 cup at a time until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl cleanly.  The dough should be soft and moist but not sticky.  Put the lid on the mixer, turn up the speed one level and knead for 5 minutes.  Portion the dough into 4 (23 oz) loaves.  (These are pretty small loaf pans I have bigger loaf pans that take about 30-35 oz of dough)  Grease, yes grease with shortening your hands and counter.  You should not put any flour down on your counter.  Shape into loaves and put into a greased pan.  Let rise until doubled. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 degree oven.  Internal temperature should be 190 degrees.

Some things I learned or have done differently since the class.
1-I bought a digital scale to weigh my dough.  If your pan has not enough dough in it you may raise your dough too much which will cause your bread to fall and be hard.  The dough fills about 3/4 of the pan from the bottom up.
2-I bought cinnamon chips at the store to make cinnamon bread--great for breakfasts!
3-When I put the dough in the pan, I know press it really good into the pan so their isn't any space at the bottom of the pan not filled with dough.  Before I will keep the rounded shape of the loaf and let it fill it.  That potentially will make your bread raise funny.
4-My temp. of the water is a lot less now.  I use to microwave the water and it was really HOT!
5- I always use both Gluten and Dough Enhancer and it really makes a difference.  This helps the bread raise better and you get a more consistent fluffier bread.
6-  I still raise my bread in a pre-heated oven (lowest temp of the oven) but the bread in and then turn the oven off.  This is what she did for the cooking class and it works so well.  Once the bread is raised, I take out of oven and preheat oven and then cook the bread.
7-I use to coat my counters with flour so it wouldn't stick, now I make sure the dough is not sticky before I put it out on the counter.  To test I stick my finger in the dough to see if it sticks if it does I add a little more flour.  Use Shortening on hands and counters to shape the dough.
8-When doing filled breads like cinnamon bread or pizza twists I now check the temperature before I take it out so it's not doughy.  Internal temp.  should be 190 degrees.
9-I use freshly ground wheat whenever possible.
10-I haven't had luck doubling this recipe because it just makes too much for my bowl.  Next time I'm going to try to 1 1/2 times the recipe.  I'll have to find my trusty calculator!
My next challenge is Homemade Flour Tortillas.  Anyone got experience in that?  I tried one recipe last week that didn't go too bad but I'm still going to search.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quick and Easy Meals-Part 4

Casseroles
German Pancakes. 1/4 cube butter (melt in pan), 12 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 2 cups flour, 2 cups milk, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp salt, Blend from the eggs down and pour in over the melted butter and cook at 400 for 15 minutes.  Serve with powdered sugar, jam or syrup.

One Dish Meal.  4 pork chops, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 can milk, 1/2 medium onion cut finely, 2 cups sliced potatoes, 1 cup baby carrots, Season pork chops with salt and pepper and brown in oil.  Add cream of mushroom soup and one can of milk.  Stir until smooth.  Add onion, potatoes, and carrots.  Simmer ½ hour or until vegetables are tender. 

Chicken and Rice Casserole. 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 soup can milk, 3/4 cup uncooked regular rice,1 pkg dry onion soup mix, 4 chicken breasts, Mix mushroom soup with milk and dry onion soup mix Reserve 1/3 of this mixture.  Mix remaining with rice and pour into 9 X 13 pan.  Place chicken breast on top of rice.  Pour reserved soup over top of chicken, cover and bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 min.


Ravioli Casserole. 1 jar spaghetti sauce, 1 pkg frozen cheese ravioli, cooked and drained, 2 cups cottage cheese, 4 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, Mix cottage cheese and sauce together, Layer ravioli, sauce and cheese in dish, Bake uncovered at 350 for 30-40 minutes

Enchilada Casserole. Brown a pound of hamburger. Add a can of old El Paso Enchilada sauce and a can of corn. Layer in a casserole dish with taco shells broken in half and grated cheese. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes (350 degrees) or until bubbly! Yummy and easy!

Chicken Enchiladas.  Cook 2 chicken breast cut up with taco seasoning.  Mix this with 1/2 can cream of chicken soup, 1/2 carton of sour cream and 1 cup cheese, put in tortillas then cover with the other half of soup, sour cream and 1 more cup of cheese. 

Chili Pie. Canned chili and homemade cornbread on top.

Rotini. 12 oz rotini cooked with salt and olive oil in the boiling water then layer noodles, shredded cheese, parmesan, 1 pound ground beef, spaghetti sauce then shredded cheese again Layer all then bake 20 minutes.

Chicken. 6 chicken breasts, 1 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 tsp black pepper cook for 1 hour at 350.  Serve with Rice.

Chicken.  Cream of chicken soup, 1 cup salsa, 1 cup sour cream, 4-6 chicken breasts.  Cook 1 hour at 350.  Serve with Rice

Website Helps
http://www.thefresh20.com/--This website plans 5 meals for you with recipes, shopping lists.  They offer gluten free, basic family, and vegetarian plans.  It costs $5 a month or you can pay annually for $49.  They focus on Fresh Food, non processed foods.



http://allrecipes.com/recipes/everyday-cooking/quick-and-easy/15-minute-meals/main.aspx  -- Type in ingredients you have and it will find a recipe for you.  You can also search by how much time you have. 

http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/recipes-2/main-dishes --I love this blog.  It’s got lots of recipes and meal plans complete with shopping lists.  She gives some great ideas.  She has many gluten free recipes as well.

The most important thing about meals I think is you feed both body and spirit and your gather together and enjoy one another.  It doesn't need to be an elaborate meal to do this.  Happy Harmony at Home.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quick and Easy Meals-Part 3

Sandwiches
Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato Sandwiches, Egg Salad Sandwiches, Tuna Melts, Melted Cheese on Toast, Turkey Avocado.

Frozen Meals
      Take any meal you make and double it.  Label it well and freeze for another day.  Soups freeze well, casseroles, get more tips, ideas, and recipes for frozen meals go to:  http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=762

Salads
Chef Salad lettuce and any of the following:  ham, turkey, cheese, eggs, beets, peas, carrots, spinach…

Mac Salad Cook elbow macaroni, add frozen peas, bacon, cheese, tuna, and salad dressing to taste

Chinese Chicken Salad:  Cabbage, Chicken, Ramen Noodles, Candied almonds and poppy seed dressing (2 TB sugar, 2 TB rice vinegar, 1/3 oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 1/2 TB poppy seeds)

Sticky Chicken Salad.  3 chicken breasts, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 cup bread crumbs, 1-2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped 2-3 tomatoes, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly, Ranch dressing, Sticky Dressing, (2 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup Franks hot Sauce, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar).  Dip chicken breasts in sour cream and then into the bread crumbs.  Bake on a cooking stone or deep fat fry until crispy and cooked through about 20-30 min at 350.  Take chicken out of the oven and slice chicken breasts into long strips.  Combine all sticky dressing ingredients in a sauce pan.  Stirring constantly on medium high heat, boil for only 1 minute.  Arrange salad with chicken strips, chopped lettuce, shredded cheese, red onions, tomatoes, ranch and sticky dressing.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quick and Easy Meals-Part 2

Meal in a Bag-- Michelle and Trent Snow--Over 100 recipes for storable meals—the idea is to organize your food storage by meal.  You put all the ingredients for one meal plus the recipe in a bag.  My mom has really enjoyed having these meals in a bag ready to go.  They make a great gift as well.  

Microwave
Cauliflower Cheese Dish. Cook one head of Cauliflower in microwave with ¼ cup water for 5 ½ minutes, Cover the top lightly with Mayo, sprinkle with paprika, Cover with cheddar cheese, Cook again for 1 minute

Baked Potato-  Use a potato bag so your potatoes are not soggy.  See this website to make a potato bag. http://tipnut.com/make-your-own-potato-baker-bags/

Acorn Squash-Cut in half and take out seeds.  Put butter on top and microwave for 7 min.  Perfect and quick cooked squashed. 

On the stove
Burn Butter over Noodles.  We love to burn butter & pour it over noodles. If I have mazithra cheese on hand we add that too.

Spinach Egg Scramble.  Cook 2 slices of bacon, but up into bite sizes. Scramble eggs (6 eggs beaten, add 1/4 cp whole milk, beat until creamy smooth) mixing in with bacon pieces. Meanwhile, heat up spinach in a pan. Add to the spinach, 1 TBS of butter and few sliced almonds. OR you can cook green beans with bacon slices. OR you can do both. Serve with cornbread with honey butter and hot cocoa to drink.

Scottish Blitter. Water, sliced potatoes, sliced onions, butter, salt. Eat with a side veggie and bread.

Sweet n sour hamburger over rice. 1 lb cooked hamburger, then add 1 c ketchup, 3 tbsp vinegar, 3 tbsp brown sugar, warm then server over rice.

Ham Fried Rice. 1 cup raw rice (2 cups cooked), Ham, 2 eggs scrambled, Onion, Butter, Peas, carrots, broccoli, Soy sauce to taste, Fry ham, eggs and onion in butter till onion is clear. Throw in rice, and vegetables, Add soy sauce to taste.

Taco Soup. 1 Can Red Kidney Beans, Can Whole Corn, 8 oz. Tomato Sauce, Pint Whole Tomatoes, pkg. Taco Seasoning, 1 lb. Hamburger-Browned, drained, 1 onion-diced and sautéed, Cook all these ingredients together, Pour over crumbled tortillas.  Top with cheese, sour cream and green onions. (Great in the crock pot too!)


Stroganoff.  Pound of Hamburger (cooked and drained), Cream of chicken or mushroom soup, 2 cups of sour cream or plain yogurt, 1 TB Worcestershire sauce.  Serve over noodles

Tex - Mex Tacos. Simmer over medium heat, 1/2 - lb. hamburger, browned & drained, 1 (16 oz.) can refried beans, 16 oz. tomato sauce, 1/2 cup salsa, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 2 cups cooked rice, Serve over broken tortilla chips and lettuce. Top with shredded cheese.

Creamed Tuna. 2 TB butter, 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp. Salt, 1 tsp instant minced onion, 2 cups skim milk, 2 6 oz cans tuna, water-packed, Melt butter in pan over medium heat; blend in flour, salt and onion.  Add milk slowly and cook over medium heat, stir constantly till thick and add undrained tuna.  Serve over toast, Serve with peas or favorite veggie


Poor Mans Soup.  Hamburger, 1 quart of stewed tomatoes, 1 cup salad noodles raw, 1/2 pint salsa warm on stove till noodles are soft. 

Best Tomato Soup Ever.  1 can tomato soup, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1/2 block of cream cheese, 1 can milk.  Heat up soup and milk, heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 min.  Whisk in cream cheese and then stir in diced tomatoes.

Eggs Ala Goldenrod. Hard boil 6 eggs, cook and peel. Cut up egg whites and set aside, White Sauce, 4 TBS butter, 4 TBS flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 2 cups milk.  Make up white sauce add egg whites.  Toast Bread serve with sauce and sprinkle mashed up egg yolks.  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Quick and Easy Meals-Part 1

I was asked to give a presentation to my ward Relief Society Sisters.  They wanted me to share ideas to keep meals simple and quick for busy women.  We all know how important eating dinner together.  But it can be hard to do someday's when you are all running to and fro.  I thought I would share with you the information I gathered.  I got a lot of recipes from friends and neighbors and compiled these in sections of:  Crock Pot,  Microwave, On the Stove,  Sandwiches, Frozen Meals, Salads, Casseroles, and Website Helps.  
If you have recipes that you use that are quick and easy please post them in comments.  Hope this helps keep your meals simple gets your family together!  

Part 1:

“Consider 5 fundamental practices that have the power to fortify our youth:  family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, family dinner together, and regular one-on-one interviews with each child.  It takes courage and will power to avoid over scheduling so that your family can be home for dinner.”—Elder Larry R. Lawrence.

Tips in keeping meals simple-
  • Plan ahead—try to make a meal plan for a month or week at a time and then check your plan the night before or morning of, will save headache later on-make a shopping list at the same time so you will have everything on hand when you need it
  • In planning meals I like to alternate meats and this helps me plan.  Example:  Mon-Beef Tues-Chicken Wed-Pork Thur-Veggie  Friday-Fish  Sat.-Leftovers Sunday-Breakfast
  • Food Storage—if you have items on hand that you use a lot; you won’t be running to the store a lot. 
  • Use what you have to avoid waste and don’t be afraid of adapting a recipe to fit with what you have
  • Make mixes of commonly used items
  • Make multiple meals at once and freeze for another day
Crock Pot
Pork roast, 2 apples sliced, 1 onion sliced, 32 oz veggie broth, fresh rosemary chopped and 4 cloves garlic minced. Put everything in Crockpot, cook on low 8 hours high 4-6 hours....

Pulled pork in the Crockpot. One pork roast (have the butcher cut the fat off if you can), on jar of picante salsa, 1-2 cups brown sugar, I do about 1 1/4. Let it sit in crock on high all day, the longer it cooks the better it is. You can pull it apart about half way through. You can eat it on sandwich rolls or in tortillas or in salad.

Ribs in the Crockpot. Smother in bbq sauce, so tender after cooking all day!—Serve with baked potato or cook potatoes onions and carrots with it all day.

Carnitas in the crock pot. 1 pork shoulder roast, 1onion chopped, 4cloves garlic minced, 3/4 c water, 1/4 c brown sugar, 2tsp chili powder, 1 orange quartered, 1 lime quartered, 1/2 tap salt, 1/4 tap pepper. Put everything in the Crockpot for 6-8 hours on low. Shred and serve with tortillas, lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, and limes

Beef Roast-Roast. 2 cans mushroom soup, 1 dry onion mix cook on low.

Pork Roast. 3 pound pork roast in crock pot with an envelope mushroom onion soup mix and a can of whole cranberries. Cook on low 5 to 8 hours. This is the best roast ever!

Chicken soft tacos. Just throw a few chicken breasts into the Crockpot, pour a jar of salsa over the top and let it cook on low all day (or on high if you only have a few hrs). Use it as the base for tacos, adding whatever other ingredients you enjoy. OR pour

BBQ chicken sandwiches.  Pour BBQ sauce over the chicken breasts, after putting them in the slow cooker. Serve on hamburger buns. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Going camping or going to be outdoors with kids?  I just love when it gets so hot to hit the mountains because it is cooler and so beautiful.  This idea is nothing new but every time we do it, we discover new and exiting things.  I made this easy and fun scavenger hunt to do with the family. You can make teams or do it as individuals.  I decided to just have everyone pick 10 things to do on the list and then come back to camp.  It's not a race--everyone who does 10 things wins a prize.  Here is the document I did today. It's not fancy or beautiful just plain and simple Overly Scavenger Hunt and here is one I found that we did two years ago.  Camping Treasure Hunt.  Use it, change it for your family needs.  Go hit the trails.  Here are some of the ideas on the list:

  1. Find 4 pieces of human litter and put it in the trash or bring back to camp
  2. Find a dandelion and bring it to show the group
  3. Watch an animal eat
  4. Listen to a bird sing
  5. Listen to the water from a stream or creek for a few minutes without talking
  6. Find an insect and write what it is called on the back of your paper
  7. Feel the texture of three different kinds of trees
  8. Feel the texture of three different kinds of rocks bring back your favorite to camp
  9. Find an animal hole in the ground
  10. Watch a butterfly or moth fly

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Traveling results

We are now home from our trip to Oceanside, CA.  What a trip.  We were gone 7 days and had a great time.  I thought I would share what worked the best for traveling plus our favorite activities in Oceanside.

What entertained my 3 year old the best in the car
Coloring book from the dollar store.  We were working on coloring the whole picture instead of just one little scribble then turning the page to the next picture.  When I would help direct her she was entertained with this for quite a while.

5 year old--
Winnie the pooh book on tape and car bingo from http://www.momsminivan.com/

8 year old--
He spent over an hour working on Mad Libs on his own.  He really liked this

10 year old--
He loves to read so he spent most of the drive reading Harry Potter.

Group Activities that we enjoyed in the car
We rented a Red Box on the way home and watched Gnomeo and Juliet
We watched two musicals, Joseph and the Technicolored Dream Coat and Fiddler on the Roof.  I'm surprised how much they enjoyed these musicals, and its fun to hear while driving as well.
License Plate Game--The older kids enjoyed this and it helped them with some geography as well  Print off this easy map to play.  http://www.eduplace.com/ss/maps/pdf/uspostal.pdf
pipe cleaner creations--This was a hit.  I brought some colored pipe cleaners and gave each child 3 and they got to make what ever creation they wanted.  My girls wanted to do this game a few times.

Best Snacks in the car
Pretzels, Licorice, Beef Jerky, Travel Yogurts, cookies,

Food for the Trip
Pumpkin bread (frozen before to take)
Sweet Chex Mix
Chocolate Chip Cookies (made ahead and put in ziplocks in freezer)
Homemade bread for Sandwiches (freeze before hand)--we ate lots of PB&J's for lunch
Muffins (wrap in saran wrap and freeze in a ziplock)
Fruit and Veggies (You can take them over the CA border as long as they are store bought)
crackers, summer sausage, and cheese (had the meat department slice for me)
Kershaw Camp Tool-great to take to cut bread, sausage and cheese, melons, and the oranges we brought.  It has a cutting board and multiple tools that can attach to the handles.  A great buy that we will take camping and to picnics.

Oceanside Favorite Activities
Unstructured Time on the beach:  building sand castles,  boogie boarding, Frisbee throwing, burying people in the sand, reading
Mormon Battalion Museum--This was the best attraction in Old Town San Diego.  Recently remodeled and just a beautiful site!  So well done, free, and air conditioned.  The kids loved the interactive tour and then panning for gold.  Definitely a must see!
Balboa Park--We spent a day here and could have spent another day.  Beautiful gardens, free parking, concert in the park, playgrounds with tons of shade, museums galore, water fountains.  We spent the majority of the day at the Natural History Museum and learned about Penguins, polar bears, dinosaurs, gems, and 3D videos.  (We had 2/1 Happening Book coupons which made it much more affordable)
Coaster to Old Town.  This was more expensive then driving and parking but was exciting to see a different view of San Diego.  On the way home we traveled with many commuters and I had a nice visit with a gentleman coming home from work.  Tickets for 5 and up were 10-13 dollars.  The boys also took this home from the Padre Game which worked out well.
Seal Watching in La Jolla at the Children's Pool--This was fun but the parking situation was crazy.  Maybe this would be less busy on the weekday.
Oceanside Farmer's Market and Sunset Market.  This is every Thursday and had tons of vendors.  We didn't make it to the Farmer's Market because this was in the morning.  Live entertainment, food, kids corner and more.
We loved being with our family and enjoyed the nice weather of Oceanside, CA.  We will remember this forever.  But really the most important thing is we were with family and spent time with each other.  This could be done anywhere really.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Traveling with kids

We are going on a long drive soon and I mentioned this to a friend and she gave me a great little booklet with awesome ideas to keep kids happy for the drive.  I go bonkers when the kids are fighting in the car!  I really hope some of these ideas will help.  We did get a DVD player for the van which will help.
Some of the things in our bag of goodies is a:
1.Travel Tray
Magnetic because it's made from a cookie sheet.  Contact paper is on one side so it can be written on with dry erase markers.  Other side has a file folder I taped together with a few games in it like, travel bingo, and tic tac toe and dot game.  I also printed off a blank US map I found on-line for the license plate game.  These travel trays can also double as snack trays as well.  This cost me three dollars because I used what I had at home and bought the trays and markers from All a dollar.
2-Boredom Buster can--Inside there are little games you can do with the family.  Here is a few examples:


Your Monkey’s Mustache-  One person is “It”  The others select a phrase that it must answer to every question.  The answer can be “your monkey’s mustache” or “six smelly sneakers.”  Then each person in the group gets to ask a question such as, “Who is your best friend? Or "What are you going to eat for dinner tonight?  The person who is it has to keep from laughing.  The winner is the biggest grouch.

Alphabet words- Starting with A find words on signs that begins with each alphabet letter.  The first person might spot the word “all” on a road sign and the second might spot the word “brake.”  After you get through the alphabet, find all the numbers from 1 to 100.

Gummy bear contest:  See who can suck on a Gummy Bear and make it last the longest-you can do this with life savers or other candy.

Counting Cows-Play as individuals or teams.  First decide on a destination where you will stop counting.  Then, count the cows on your side of the road.  The goal is to have the highest number when the destination is reached.  Pass a cemetery on your side and you have to start over again.  If there aren’t any cows on your route, you can count yellow cars, mailboxes, etc.

Twenty Questions—one player thins of a famous person, place or thing.  Everyone else gets to ask the player 20 questions, which must be answered “yes” or “no”  Whoever guesses correctly gets a turn to think up something.

Geography-Start with any place in the world—Kansas, for example,  The next person has to think of a place that begins with the last letter of Kansas such as South Africa.  The next person needs a place that starts with A.  You can not use the same place twice in the game and it has to be a real place.

Rock Paper Scissors- Two players each put one hand behind their backs.  Each person turns that hand into scissors, using the index and middle fingers; or paper, by holding the hand flat with the fingers straight; or a rock, by making a fist.  Both players say One two three, and show their hands.  The scissors beats paper because it cuts paper.  Paper winds over rock because it can wrap up the rock.  And rock beats scissors because it makes them blunt.

License plate ID—See how many different states you can identify on license plates.  Use a copy of a US map and color each state as you see the license plate.

License plate lingo-The goal of this game is to come up with a phrase using the letters on another car’s plate.  So if you see the plate LMT 823 the first person to call out a somewhat logical phrase such as Love me Tender or Lost my tooth earns a point.

Thumb wrestling-This is a little more active game but still can be done in the car with non drivers. 
One minute of words—everybody gets a pencil and paper.  Choose someone to be the time keeper.  The timekeeper picks out a letter and tells it to everyone and shouts “Go!”  Players write as many words as possible that start with that letter.  When the minute is up the player who has written the most legitimate words wins


3.  A few activity books we already had like:  Mad Libs, hangman, dot to dot with numbers
4.  A book to read to the whole family (we are reading the Chronicles of Narnia
5.  Three new coloring book/activity book we got at Dollar Tree
6.  Baggies of Crayons
7.  A few pencils
8.  Pipe cleaner for one of the games in the Boredom Buster bottle
Contents spilled out

Filled bag with all our stuff!

This is our bag full of our travel goodies.
Other Items to Bring:
Book on tape to listen to.
I pod with our favorite tunes.
Movies
Individual Reading book for each child
Thermos with ice and water to refill kids water bottles
Snacks that don't make a big mess (licorice, carrot sticks and bell peppers, beef jerky, granola bars, trail mix in individual snack packs, grapes, animal crackers)

Got any other ideas for our long hours in the car?  I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Recipe Blogs and Website Links for Healthy Food

My awesome cousin Beth sent me these great website links for Healthy food.  She also has an awesome blog called Liz Eats Food that I think is fun.  Check it out!  Hope this helps.

"This is one I turn to often: www.heavenlyhomemakers.com  Laura is very good about the quality of food she buys and has a good balance of healthy and practical.  I get lost in her posts often because she is so inspirational.  :)

This one is a bit more "strict" on the kinds of food they eat: www.simplehealthytasty.com  Tammie's family doesn't eat diary or meat.  Everything else is as unprocessed as possible.  She was in my ward in Eagle Mountain.  When we changed our eating habits, I turned to her for guidance.  I learned so much from her and followed much of her advice for about 3 months.  We all felt SO good!!!  Then the holidays hit.

Since then I've had to really look at what will work for our family and feel that I've come to a good place.  Part of my problem was that we had a lot of food storage that didn't work with our new lifestyle.  Like white flour, sugar, white rice, etc.  So now I only buy items that work with our new habits, but to use the stuff in our storage I will mix it.  Like all the rice I made.  When I go to use it, I will use a bag of white and a bag of brown.  Same when I make bread or cook pasta.  So if you look at the recipes on my blog and see that I still use white flour or sugar, etc. that's why.  :)  I actually hate doing it, but I can't just throw it out.

Now when I find recipes, I just adapt them to our lifestyle.  Like this one: http://clawsonlive.blogspot.com  She has a lot of good recipes, I just tweek them.  I really like allrecipes.com as well.  Same idea though.  Adjust them to fit our needs.

I think following Tammie's recipes helped me see what "healthy" really was.  We don't eat a lot of processed food as it is, but cutting out and changing what we did was very cleansing.  Now I have a hard time eating foods that before didn't bother me at all.  And I see effects from food in my kids that I didn't see before either.  I'm glad though, because from what I learned it just helps me be more aware of what I am feeding my family.  So I am a lot more picky about the quality of the food I buy and the quantity in which I consume it.  I eat to live.  Not live to eat.

As I read back over this, it feels very vague.  But I don't want to put my personal beliefs and opinions in here too much and taint or sway your choices.  I am interested in hearing about what you decide to do though!  Oh yeah, go look up Tammie's green smoothies.  Delicious!  There is actually a Green Smoothie Girl, but I haven't found any of her recipes on her website.  So we make up our own."

Monday, July 11, 2011

FREE SLURPEE DAY

It's 7/11 and a great time to take a walk or bike ride down to your local 7-11 store and get a free Slurpee.  My kids had the best time choosing what flavor and drinking down their mini Slurpee.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Healthy Living

I love learning!  Tonight I went to a class on healthy living.  Kristen Bowen gave us some great tips to help us feel healthy and how to pass it on to our family.  She suggested that if you wanted your children and husband to be living healthy you make the change yourself first and be the example and encourage but don't nag.

  • Use Celtic Sea Salt--put in in your salt shakers.  But if you feel stressed during the day you can put 1/2 tsp in a glass of water and drink.  This will mineralize your adrenals.  You can do this up to four times a day.  
  • Drink more water--Drink half your weight of water in ounces plus add 25 oz to that.  Example if you weigh 175 pounds you should drink about 112 oz of water a day.  That's a lot.  If you are eating a lot of water rich foods like fruits and vegetables then this could help. I say you better be close to a toilet during the day!
  • Drink a glass of water right when you wake up and then wait a half hour before you eat breakfast.  This will help with your digestion.  
  • If you have a hard time with digestion and pains regular try to not drink while eating your meals.  Drink your water before and after meals. 
  • Exercise everyday.  She recommends rebounding exercise on a mini trampoline helps with your lymph health
  • Neutralize your diet by cutting out white flours and sugars and adding more green leafy vegetables
  • Add more Magnesium in your life.  It's very hard to get enough magnesium through your diet so she recommends doing trans dermal magnesium (foot baths) --I'm still not sure on this one personally because it's pricey and I couldn't see much research on it.  Let me know if you heard of this.
  • Add Chia Seeds to your diet--only get the dark seeds.  --High in fiber, good for digestion, high in Omega 3
  • She soaks the seeds overnight with 1 part seeds and 8 parts water and puts 1/4 cup/person in smoothies.  
  • Stay away from Caffeine and energy drinks.  Energy drinks actually creates holes in your pancreas.  
  • For UTI's use d-mannose.  An alternative way to treat can use with little girls as well

I was really impressed with Kristen and will try to do a few of the things she has suggested.  Kristen Bowen has a blog and a radio show every Saturday Mornings.  Check out her website.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Half Day Summer Camps

Stokes Nature Center has some fun Summer Camps available.  
Knee High Naturalists for ages 4-7
Thursday, July 7, 9am-12pm
Tuesday, August 2, 1-4 pm
Thursday, August 4, 9 am-12pm

Totally Trees for ages 4-7 and 8-12
Tuesday, July 19, 1-4 pm (ages 4-7)
Thursday, July 21, 9 am-12 pm (ages 8-12)

All classes are $30
Register by calling 435-755-3239 or at www.logannature.org

These look like some fun and educational classes that will get your kids outside.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Five Love Languages

I picked up the audio book at the library last Thursday and finished most of it in one day.  It was my baking day so I listened to it while I cooked in the kitchen.  I loved the concepts in this book.  It's by Gary Chapman.  I have seen others read and talk about this book but had never read it myself.  I'm glad I finally "read" it.
Chapman believes all individuals have a love language they prefer to receive from others.  Here are the 5 languages and a few examples:
1.  Words of Affirmation
Words of encouragement and praise, Complements, Hearing "I love you, I need you"  Hearing Thank you and I appreciate what you do.
2.  Giving Time, and Full Attention
Doing things together, quality conversation, going out to dinner, sitting on the couch together, going for a walk
3.  Receiving Gifts
It doesn't have to be expensive but just receiving something shows them they care.  Flowers, candy bar, a new outfit, card.
4.  Acts of Service
These can be as mundane as making the bed, doing laundry, dishes, dinner on the table when they get home from work, mowing the grass, doing errands for them etc.
5.  Physical Touch
Holding hands, massages, back scratches, and of course sexual intercourse.
Chapman talked about how each of us have a love tank within us.  If our love tank is full then we fill good about our relationship.  Our spouse fills our love tank by speaking to us in our love language.  When we are dating we do all of these things to try to find out what our date likes.  When we get a positive response then we repeat and give more.  Sometimes in marriage we forget to keep giving those things that make our spouse happy.  Or we could be doing tons of service to our spouse and not seeing any results but really all they want is to go on a walk with us every night.  I decided to talk to Devin about what he thought was his love language and see how his love tank was.  I was right when he said his love language is Physical Touch.  My own language is Acts of Service.
The last part of this book focused on our children.  We can apply these same principals with our children. This really made sense to me when he said if our children's love language is words of affirmation that for that child when a parent puts them down verbally it is even more devastating to them.  This gave me some things to think about.  I would highly recommend reading this book if you haven't.  I believe it could really help any relationship.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reading this summer!

Have you been to your Library or Bookmobile lately.  This is when all the Summer Reading Programs are in full sweep.  Every library I have been to does some kind of reading program to encourage children and adults to read.  Our family looks forward to this every summer.  Besides the library program the governor has a challenge as well.  We got copies of this program from our library.  If you read 20 minutes a day then you qualify to get a free kids meal at McDonald's.  This program has such fun ideas on the calendar to encourage more reading and learning.  Here is a link to get the Governor's 2011 Summer Reading Challenge
We do our reading in the afternoon when it's super hot outside.  We take at least an hour break where the younger kids read with mom and then take a nap and then my older kids have quiet time where they read on their own.  It doesn't really matter when or where but challenge yourself and your kids to find the time to read this summer.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Encouraging Culture --Noon Music-2011

Every day but Sundays this summer at Logan High School Auditorium will be Free Concerts at Noon.  Usually the concerts are held in the Logan Tabernacle but because of construction they have been moved to the High school.
The kids and I went to one a couple weeks ago and had a great time.  We were listening to Fry Street Quartet and it was amazing!  The greatest thing is we didn't have to leave half-way through the concert like we have in the past.  Most likely it's because, my kids are getting older.  I'd like to think it was because they are amazing children but really it's hit and miss.  This time we were lucky enough to sit through a whole concert.  It also helped that it was only 45 minutes long.  During a very beautiful peice my 8 year old turned to me and whispered, "How was God Created."  We then had a quiet conversation about God and creation.  What a sweet experience it was for me.  I believe it was the music that created a space for him to contemplate.  It was a priceless moment I will remember for a long time.  I was so grateful for this opportunity to share this with my children.
For a full schedule of concerts please visit:  www.cachecommunityconnections.com
These are not more then an hour and will all be very good.  Every Monday is the Utah Festival Opera Company.  My sons piano teacher will be playing July 8th so we will for sure go to this one.  I always love to hear the Lightwood Duo and they are on Aug 3rd.
Concert Etiquette is very important to show respect to the performers and to the audience members. Here is a few ideas that can help.

  • I always talk to my children about how we need to remain seated and sit quietly.  
  • If they need to talk it needs to be a whisper.  
  • Clapping should be held until all movements of a piece is complete (if you watch the performers and or the conductor, you can really tell when it's time to clap)  
  • I like to point out things during the concert I think might be interesting, (like "watch that guy really get into the music", or "Wow this is a scary part of the song")
  • Bribery is great in these situations.  We always get a little treat to the kids after a concert.  Sometimes we have to remind them during the concert that if they don't stay quiet they won't be able to get a treat with the family.  It usually takes only one reminder and then they are quiet again.  
  • Don't feel bad if you can't stay for the whole concert, if you can see your kids getting restless, don't be afraid to tell them, "You have been doing so great but I think we need to go after this song"  Only you know how much they can handle and you might just want to start with half a concert and then work up from there.
  • If you have small children, sit close to an exit so you can escape quickly when they fuss


Hope you find some culture this summer.  If you hear of a great concert or event please share in comments so more can enjoy it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ice Cream for Dinner!

Tonight we are having Ice Cream for Dinner.  Crazy but it's a tradition for the first day of Summer.
Every family member gets to choose an ice cream topping.  Tonight we have planned
Vanilla Ice Cream
Bananas
Strawberries
Brownies
Candy Bars
Chocolate sauce
Caramel Sauce
Sprinkles
So unhealthy but it brings us some extra excitement to the dinner table and everyone gets to help out with planning and preparing the meal.
Traditions are what make some of the best childhood memories.  I encourage you to make and keep a family tradition and then share it in comments.  Happy Summer!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Family Fitness

We went to a great Pack Night about Family Fitness and Melanie Douglass gave us some fun ideas to do as a family.  Here are these simple fun games you can incorporate in your family night activities, or during the day when your kids don't know what to do.  These would make great birthday party games as well!
Obstacle Course
Create any course you want using garden hoses, wagons, bikes, balls trampolines, swing set, or anything else in your yard.
2.  Let your kids help design the course.
3.  Incorporate at least 3 different movements:  run, walk, crawl, hop, run backwards, plank-walk, drop for 10 pushups..go for it!
4.  Either allow two kids to race against each other, or use a stopwatch to time each participant.

Candy Drop
1.  Group two big spoons and 5-6 pieces of wrapped candy or pennies.
2.  Kids race against each otehr holding the spoonful of candy.  If they drop a piece of candy from the spoon, they have to stop, pick it up, and then continue the race.
3.  First kid to cross the finish line with al the candy/money in the spoon wins.

Sit-up and Toss
1.  Use a hula hoop or garden hose to make a circle for a target.
2.  Kids sit on the ground 4-6 feet away from the target, holding a ball overhead.
3.  With bent knees and feet flat on the ground, have kids roll back, come up to a sit up then toss the ball into the target.
4.  Every target hit equals a point!

Band-aid Tag
1.  Parents should be "it".  Chase kids around and "tag" them on the shoulder, knee, ankle, hand, hair, etc.
2.  Wherever the "it" person touches, become injured and have to hold your shoulder or knee or hop on one foot if it was their leg.
3.  Once a player has 3 injuries, they become it.

Freeze Dance
1.  Play music and encourage kids to dance..any style they want!
2.  Randomly stop the music during the danceing
3.  When the music stops, all freeze, the last person to strike a pose or freeze is out.
4.  The winner is the last one dancing

Crazy Jumps
1.  Use a garden hose to form a jump line.
2.  Kids run to the line and then try to jump the farthest like the long jump track even.
3.  Kids can do any creative form of jump they want-strike a pose, do a carwheel, run backwards

"Physical activity isn't just for weight loss...It saves lives, provides a mental and physical boost, and helps us find our happiest, healthiest self."  Melanie Douglass, R.D., NASM

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Activities

So our summer starts on Wednesday!  I'm excited but also know that I need to be sure to have some constructive, fun, and educational activities planned to keep my older kids happy and thus the whole family happy.  I decided to put together a weekly activity that we can all look forward to and break up the week.  So once a week that we are not on vacation we have planned a fun "field trip" for the kids and I.  Here are  things we have planned:

Wednesday June 1st, Stokes Nature Center invites all ages to Nature Night on Wed, June 1st from 4p.m. to 7p.m. The theme for June is “Bugs”! Participants will play bug games, make bug crafts, learn bug facts, and go on a bug hunt. This program is free. All are welcome to drop-in; activities are ongoing. For more information: (435-755-3239) or visit www.logannature.org
Saturday, June 4th, come join us for music, fun activities, and learn about water conservation, water quality, wildlife, recycling, energy, the environment, and the Bear River Watershed. Teens and children are invited with their parents to participate in the TENTH annual Bear River Celebration and Free Fishing day from 10 am to 2 pm Saturday June 4th at Logan’s Willow Park West pond area. Pack a water bottle and sun block and enjoy free fishing, booths, activities, giveaways and prizes. T-shirts will be given out to the first 200 youth who complete the booth activities
Wednesday June 8th, Fry Street Quartet—Logan Tabernacle Concert at Noon—Think Cub Scout requirements, and amazing musical experience for FREE! (Every weekday they have Free concerts at the tabernacle at noon)

Family Information and Resource Center- 1:00-2:00 Around the World in 80 days-- The Logan Family Center is a small white building on the playground at Wilson Elementary School, 2 doors south of the Island Market, a half block from the bus stop at Center Street and 400 East. 

Providence Splash Pad-- 310 West 250 North in Providence

Logan Fire Department—think Cub Scout requirements!

Water Games in the park and making boats for the river, 

Tour of a local Grocery Store

Logan Aquatic Center

Some other ideas we had were:  
Take a bus ride adventure
Go to the zoo
Daughters of the Utah Pioneer Museum
Tour the post Office
Any others you have done or are planning on doing?  Please share in comments.
If you would like to join us on any of these adventures, please let me know and I'll give you more details.
A great resource to check out is:  The Summer Activity Guide 2011
This guide has lots of fun camps that teach kids a variety of things.  
Happy Planning and Doing!  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Tiger Mother

I really haven't had time to post to this blog for a long time.  Today I really wanted to share some thoughts I had while reading a book I recently finished reading called "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother."  If anyone else has read this book, I would love to have a discussion about it because I found it so interesting and so different from any other books about parenting then I have ever read.  This book is by Amy Chua.  I bought it on Amazon since our library didn't carry it-which they really ought to.
Chinese Parenting vs. Western or American Parenting.  Amy gives lots of examples of stereotypical parenting from both cultures which are not always true but generally pretty close to accurate.
She wanted to raise her children the "Chinese Way" even though she lived in America.  The book tells of her journey of parenting in America and how her perspectives change when one of her daughters didn't quite respond the way she planned.
What makes a Chinese mother?  This is what Amy said are believes of Chinese Mothers: 1)schoolwork always comes first; 2) an A-minus is a bad grade; 3) your children must be two years ahead of their classmates in math; 4)you must never compliment your children in public; 5)if your child ever disagrees with a teacher or coach, you must always take the side of the teacher or coach; 6) the only activities your children should be permitted to do are those in which they can eventually win a medal; and 7) that medal must be gold.
How do they keep this much focus all the time and have such great success.  These are things Amy's daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:  Attend a sleepover, have a play date, be in a school play, complain about not being in a school play, watch TV or play computer games, choose their own extracurricular activities, get any grade less than a A, not be in the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama, play any instrument other than the piano or violin, not play the piano or violin. (She talked a lot about her children's music studies in the book which I found fascinating!)
Reading these lists you may think she is absolutely crazy. I kind of did too.   But, after reading the book, I don't think she was.  She really  loved her children and they knew that, and she wanted to give her children a good childhood where they learned skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence.  I do believe you can instill these very things in your children and not be quite as extreme as Amy was.  Reading the book made me really think about my parenting style.  I am not a Tiger Mother but in somethings I have a few stripes that I could identify with.
Here is a couple quotes from the book I liked, "Chinese parenting is one of the most difficult things I can think of.  You have to be hated sometimes by someone you love and who hopefully loves you, and theirs just no letting up, no point at which it suddenly becomes easy.  Just the opposite, Chinese parenting--at least if you're trying to do it in America, all odds are against you--is a never ending uphill battle, requiring a 24-7 time commitment, resilience, and guile.  You have to be able to swallow pride and change tactics at any moment.  And you have to be creative.  pg 161-162
My thought is---That is why Chinese parents only seem to have 1 or 2 children.  How could you keep of this resilience through 4 or more children.
"That's one difference between a dog and a daughter, I thought to myself later.  A dog can do something every dog can do--dog paddle, for example--and we applaud with pride and joy.  Imagine how much easier it would be if we could do the same with daughters!  But we can't; that would be negligence.  pg 119-120
Birthday for Amy--"At Jed's urging, Lulu handed me her 'surprise,' which turned out to be a card. More accurately, it was a piece of paper folded crookedly in half, with a big happy face on the front.  Inside, "Happy Birthday, Mommy!  Love, Lulu"  was scrawled in crayon about another happy face.  The card couldn't have taken Lulu more than twenty seconds to make.  I gave the card back to Lulu.  "I don't want this," I said. I want a better one--one that you've put some thought and effort into.  I have a special box where I keep all my cards from you and Sophia, and this one can't go in there."  Then Amy explains later that It's too idealistic to expect children to do the right things on their own.  pg 103-104

I really appreciated the things I learned from this book.  The thing I learned for myself is that I can do better as a parent.  I can make the sacrifices of my own time to spend helping them with their homework so they can be better students. I won't begrudge the hours spent at music lessons, and music practicing because I know that time is quality time spent with me.  I think we can expect more from our children.  They are smart, they are capable of so many good things.  By not expecting the best from them is not believing in them.  By letting them just turn on the TV or video games day in and day out is not letting them live up to their potential.  I would highly recommend picking this book up to read, I think you will like it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Keeping Kids Safe-Online and Parenting Ideas

Our friend is a police officer and was featured in this great video about keeping your kids safe online.  He address some great issues that you may find very helpful!  It is five minutes long so when you have some time, it is great!
Detective Bird gave a great talk in church yesterday about parenting.  I really enjoyed it and thought I would share some thoughts he gave that I really liked.  He has quite a perspective being a dad himself and also working in the school and with families with troubled teens.
1. Take care of yourself-if you are not fully functioning then you can't expect to take care of your children.
2.  Take Care of the Team
This team is anyone who helps you with your children.  For example your neighbors, teachers, scout leaders, grandparents, and especially your spouse.
With your spouse be sure to feed your marriage with regular date night.  With teachers and neighbors, counsel together and work together so you can help your children with specific problems they are having.  
3.  Love your Children--be a provider of good times and good things.
Tell them you love them unconditionally.  "I love you if you do awesome things and I love you even when you make mistakes."
4.  Discipline your children--Set appropriate limits.  Teach responsibility by giving them jobs that you know they can handle.  He uses the $5,000 rule to decide if they can handle the job.  If you told them you would pay them $5000 for completing the job without your help then they can handle it.  Make sure you are clear on what their responsibility is.  Then be sure to tell them "If you have any questions Ask".  After they succeed be sure to celebrate with them and share in the joy.  If they blow it-it's OK.  This helps and teaches them.  It's better to blow it when the price is small.  When you need to discipline give a lot of empathy.  I'm so sorry this happened, but his is whats going to happen now.  Stay away from the three R's.  Rant, Rave and Rescue.  Let the consequences teach them and then give them opportunities to try and try again until they get it right.
5.  Keep Smiling-Don't nag

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sitting by my Babe

When we had our first baby there were a few times when I had to crawl back in the back seat to soothe and calm down our screaming infant.  My husband would jokingly say, "I feel like a cab driver."  I see husband cab drivers all the time.  For the sake of their marriage I hope it's only an occasional event and not routine.  I think it's important to sit by my sweetheart.  For all the hours of the day I spend caring, feeding, dressing, bathing, diapering my children, I think I can let them sit on their own in the car so we can sit together.
I feel the same way at church, concerts, or the movies.  Kids can sit on our lap but I want to sit next to my husband and hold his hand, if possible.  I think children find security seeing their parents show affection and care for each other. Sitting by each other may seem like a small thing that would have no consequence and no matter at all, but sometimes the little things turn into big things.  Little things are often the glue that holds a family and marriage together.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Exercising Tips

This is the time of year that it is hard to get a lot of exercise when it's so cold outside.  Even though you as the mom and dad are not directly helping your child by exercising, they are indirectly helping them in so many ways.  Seeing you being healthy will help them follow your example when they are older.  The endorphins that you get from exercising will help your mood and help you be a happier parent.
I've been exercising for a long time and found a few things that help me keep going and see results.
1.  Do it everyday at the same time, if it's scheduled it will happen much easier!
2.  Spice up your routine and don't do the same thing everyday.  But make a plan at the beginning of the week so you don't sit there and think what should I do.   ie.  Monday-I will run for 30 minutes, Tuesday I will do the Wii Fit for 45 minutes, Wed.  I will do the Elliptical for 30, Thursday, I will do weigh training for 45 minutes.  etc.  (If you are looking to lose weight aim for 1 hour of exercise a day, if you are trying to maintain a healthy weight do at least half an hour)
3.  When you exercise, use as many muscle groups as you can.  For example if you are on the treadmill, don't hold on the treadmill unless you have serious balance issues.  Using your arms will increase your heart rate and give you a much better workout.  Use a balance board or ball while you do some of your weighted arm workouts.
4.  When working out with weight machines, maximize your time by rotating through 3-5 machines.  If you sit and rest for 1 minute after every machine, you add so much time to your workout where you are just idle and not keeping your heart rate (not to mention it annoys everyone at the gym who wants to use that machine).  Just be sure to do a totally different set of muscle groups, that way your muscles can rest while using a different muscle group.
5.  Most gyms offer personal training.  Golds Gym gives you three free ones when you sign up.  Planet Fitness offers free group classes.  It's so worth it to meet with a trainer and talk about your goals and how you can best achieve these.
6.  Don't be intimidated to try something new at a gym.  Ask questions, most people find it very flattering if someone asks them how something works.
7.  You don't need a gym membership to get a great workout.  Get some videos from the library, dance in your front room to music, use things in your house to lift.  Using your own body weight by doing sit ups, push ups, and stretching are all great workouts.
8.  Always stretch out after your workouts.  When I don't I can really tell because I'm more sore.
9.  When you do use weight machines, try to do three sets with 8-12 repetitions.  The first set make that your lightest weight, second set heavier, and last set make the heaviest.
10.  Do things you enjoy and if you don't enjoy it do it anyway because your children want you to be around when they are having their children.