Babies and Blue

I seem to be all "tangled up in blue" lately. There's this shower I'm throwing for an expectant friend (having, you guessed it: a boy). Then my other friend, whose water broke and called me yesterday afternoon to inform me, had her baby boy this morning at 2:30 AM. (We kept her son with us last night which was no trouble at all because he is sweet and obedient. He also woke up at 6:45 AM and declared to the house, "I have to go potty.")

Then I thought about my own baby, born just over 4 months ago, who now lays prone on my lap, laughing at Finn and making gurgling noises with his throat. Where did my newborn go?
I remember so well how lonely I felt in my hospital room the day after Miles was born. My mom wasn't here, nor the family and friends that came to greet Finn and Lucy after their births. All I could think about was how was I going to go home and manage to take care of the three kids I now had? (And my deliberations about whether to order chocolate cake or lemon merengue pie were especially lengthy because I had nothing else to do).
Now I'm somewhat adjusted to my new role as Mother to three and I'm glad I'm here and not sitting in my hospital gown alone. Miles and I have a nursing schedule: I know when he's done eating and can practically predict when he's going to poop (every morning at 6:30 for sure). Things are getting easier. Lucy is no longer the super-jealous middle child, just mildly annoyed when she doesn't get to sit on my lap when I'm feeding Miles.
Adjustment. Change. Growth. Blue cupcakes. Baby boys. 'S wonderful.


A Scalliwag Lunchtime

I like to eat leftovers from the night before for lunch. Do you do that too?

Today's lunch: beans and brown rice, roasted eggplant, red onions, peppers and asparagus.

Little Mr. (or is that Miss) Finniona making Duplo stew while sporting a ballet skirt.

Today Lucy dug right into the ketchup on her plate, face down, like a dog. She didn't even notice it was on her nose.

And Miles continues to try and keep up with older siblings One and Two. Here, he's doing his usual of stretching his neck while trying to sit up straight in his exersaucer.
Always action going on around here. I don't know how single parents do it. I know I would not be able to cope with raising these guys by myself for longer than a couple weeks at a time. (Travis usually comes home from school, eats dinner with us, then goes to the library to study. I think I'm losing my sanity most days. But, I have to tell myself, it's going to get better. This semester is his hardest of all).
Like the Pasco High cheer squad sang: "Action, action, we want action: A-C-T-I-O-N!" Well, you've got all the action you could want around here.


Party Favors

I've been having so much fun lately making party favors (if I could afford to have parties once a week, I would, just so I could make party favors!)

And, yes, I'm still loving these brown kraft labels.

Go here to get 24 of your own personalized.

And, these little green wheat sprouts are cheering me up today. Man they grow so fast!
Kind of like my kids!


Capping Off Another Week
As I'm looking at my calendar, I can't believe another week has flown by. Just last week I was contemplating how I should have my hair cut, in the midst of a mothering meltdown, and ready to fly to some remote island in the Caribbean.
Last night it seemed as though every child needed something every hour on the hour. I must have settled into sleep only to reawaken and rise from my bed, walking across the creaky wood floor in my dark room and into the kids rooms at least ten times. It could be worse though. I have alot to be grateful for.
I had an enlightening conversation with my sister Whitney earlier in the week. We talked about working out and watching what you eat. It came down to motive. If you aren't doing it for the right reasons (to please yourself and not anyone else), then it doesn't really amount to much. It struck me how I could be the kind of mom who passes on huge insecurities about her body, or I could exude confidence and gratitude for such an amazing creation. And I could teach how to nourish that body, or I could teach how to weaken it, both through my example. I want to teach my kids to love and protect their bodies. And I hope to love and protect mine in the process.
Speaking of body love, I feel so much more relaxed after doing Pilates today. It really stretched me out and I needed that. It was like a massage, only I was doing all the work.
I am interested in your thoughts about teaching kids body acceptance. Drop a line and let me know what you think.
And have a great weekend!


Making Preparations
I belong to the largest women's organization in the world: the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This year we're celebrating our 167th year as a Relief Society.

Along with my committee, I am getting ready to host a dinner to celebrate.
These sweet potato-dotted pieces of cardstock have already been cut down and turned into party favor bag toppers.

These pots of wheat berries will become the centerpieces.

Watch in the next few weeks as they grow!
(I love watching time-lapse videos of growing plants).
And, if you want your own cheery ode to Spring, go here.


Change Is Coming

I instigated a new program at our house.

It's very simple and the idea is to teach my kids that work pays.

In this case, it pays in candy and toys. (I'm hoping they'll eventually get the idea that work also has intrinsic benefits too).

The system goes if they do their 3 or 2 jobs for the day, they get a small package of candy or a small toy at the end of the day.
And seemingly effective.
Finn woke me up at 6:45 this morning with an excited, "Mom, I made my bed and cleaned the toilet." I was like, wow, this is great. Let's hope he keeps this up as a teenager.


First of all, thanks for the votes of confidence and the ideas for treating myself! Those hit the spot on Friday. And, sometimes, when I have a downer day, I need a little boost, so I get a haircut. Well, this is what my new 'do looks like. I'm still adjusting to having short hair because it's been a while. I remember when I found out I was prego with Lucy I had my hair cut even shorter than it is now! Gotta change things up every once in a while. (And, no, I'm not pregnant!)


This Is How I Feel
This shirt typifies how I feel today: stretched, wrinkled, stained, not long enough, dirty and just plain sick of wearing. I just want an escape today. Something to unravel the tension of a week of childtending. But what?
What do you do when you need an escape? (And please, don't mention going to Hawaii, because as much as I'd like to go, that is not an option.) Let's be practical!
As a sidenote: I have drawers full of shirts like this. Ones that were on sale at Target or the Gap and I thought, "Must have plain, basic layering options," then flung them in my cart. Part of me wants to just go through my drawers and throw out every piece of clothing remotely like this shirt, but then part of me thinks, "What if I need a painting shirt?"



I'm making chicken pot pie for a friend who gave birth to a baby boy last week. (I'll post the recipe if anyone is interested....it comes from the legendary cook Ashley Haslam).
I love to cook. I love thinking about what to make to fit the occasion. For example, this meal for a friend with a new little baby. Is new baby food the same kind of food you would take to a funeral, the kind of food for mourners? Or is it more celebratory, jazzy? I decided it would be better to bring comfort food, the kind of food you take one bite of before you have to nurse your crying baby and your taste buds are happy to at least enjoy that little moment. After giving birth to three, I know how hard it is at mealtime to actually enjoy what you're eating.
Every Thursday we pick Travis up from school and go to the Institute building for lunch. It costs $1 per person and they are literally paying for us to eat there. The food is always good, the mix of people is good and what I really enjoy is watching the senior missionary couple. The ones we have now are awesome. Every week she makes something different for dessert, usually something on the brownie theme. Today, because of Valentines Day, she made brownies with a soft layer of pink peppermint frosting topped with a thin creamy layer of chocolate. Heavenly. That is what I call baking for the occasion. The brownies were gone almost instantly.


The Price (Was) Right

Who knows where you can get this much food for $200?

Aldi! That's where!



Do you recognize this silly girl?
And does she look at all like this one?
(Guess which one is which).

Today this little guy is going to "help" me organize this house.
There's alot of unfinished business around here from the weekend and I've got to get a handle on organizing this mess or I'm going to go crazy.

Meanwhile, Finn is busy opening "happy mail" from Grandma Scrimsher. What a treat for him!


Bread Revisited
Okay, so apparently I had some errors in my memories of Paula Andelins' bread. It was white, not whole wheat like I mentioned, because her kids only liked white. (Wendi, correct me if I'm wrong). I do know that she had a wheat grinder though!
I was also fortunate enough to get her famous bread recipe, given to me at my bridal shower. Here goes:
Paula Andelin's White Bread

6 cups warm water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil

1 crushed vitamin C tablet

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons yeast

12-14 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in water, oil, salt and 6 to 7 cups flour. Mix in rest of flour. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in oiled bowl. Let rise until double. Form into 4 or 5 loaves. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have. My favorite way to eat is it smothered with butter (or Smart Balance) and homemade raspberry or strawberry jam. So-dee-lish-us!


I've tinkered with the idea of creating a blog to write about my fitness goals, healthy eating, and all the things related to health and wellness (for my own benefit). But, then I decided I couldn't commit as much as I wanted to it, so for now, I think I will just post randomly on how I'm doing with my health and wellness goals here (remember my 2009 resolutions?). You may join in the reading and commenting if you wish, but don't feel any obligation.

Well, at the risk of exposing myself too much (I don't like being vulnerable...but that's what blogs are for, right?), I will say that I have been working so hard to get back into shape apres Miles. I've talked to a R.D. to get the exact amount of calories and types of foods I should be eating (1,800 calories/day, 50/30/20 mix of carbs, protein, fat) and I've been going to the gym 5 if not 6 times a week. (I know I'm obsessing a little bit, but at one point I was sure that I was never going to lose this baby weight!)

Okay, so where is this going? Well, I just want to record what I think about all of this.... I think it's important to feed our bodies good things. I believe what L. Faamausili used to tell the kids at church, "When you do good, you feel good." I think when we feed our bodies good things, they love it and they want more of the same. When we eat crap, we feel crappy. I also don't think we should deprive ourselves of the "crap" every once in a while because let's face it: it can taste good.

"God has created foods that are simple, beautiful and delicious, and nutritious for us. This is not about fasting. This is about feasting. Let us feast on His creation. And, when the spirit takes residence in this clean house, what comes pouring out of our fingertips might be artistically delicious ("The Viability of the Arts," 3 Nov. 1994, Gordon Bowen).

I also think our bodies benefit from hard work, strenuous exercise, and a good hard sweat on a regular basis.

I feel like the changes I've made in the past several weeks are slowly pushing me slightly towards where I want to be physically, spiritually and emotionally. I have a long ways to go. We could each say this about any number of things we're working on. Although I feel like turning 29 this year is a mythical event because I don't feel that old, I'm glad that I have control of some of the tangible aspects of my life, namely what I put into my body and how hard I work it.
(These photos are post-workout, what I look like everyday with slicked back pony-tailed hair and what looks like the hugest receding hairline you've ever seen. Trust me, I can and do clean up sometimes!)
I've lost almost 11 pounds since I started working out after I had Miles. So, now that I know how to lose the weight, I just need to keep at it. Baby steps to getting my workout clothes on, baby steps to getting the kids to the daycare at the gym, babysteps to pushing myself through a rigourous workout. It's all about opening up yourself to new options, new workouts, new foods, new habits.
I just hope I can keep this up!


Bird's Nest Valentines
These valentines have actually been in my "think tank" for several years. I wanted to incorporate a nest into something edible. And, I liked the idea of the foil-wrapped chocolate hearts as the eggs. I was inspired (somehow) by the molded pulp bowls I found at a wholesale paper goods store last week. They reminded me of a nest I guess. And I thought the foil-y silver paper shred was also nest-y. Here's what I came up with.
The nests are just those Chinese haystack noodles covered in melted chocolate and butterscotch chips. (I pressed that into a bowl lined with parchment paper, then froze it until it was hardened). For the eggs I melted Symphony bars, poured it into heart molds, then wrapped in the prettiest color of red foil wrappers I had ever seen. I also made some caramel-filled pretzel rings and then dipped those in chocolate. Wrap the whole thing in cellophane, tie on a red ribbon, and voila! Instant nest valentine.


Los Tortillas y Burritos

For Lucy's birthday, in carrying with the "Dora" theme (okay, we didn't really plan it that way, but it does work), we had burritos, a la Casa Andelin. Growing up, Paula Andelin provided our family with many a delicious homemade meal, if not a hot loaf of bread that one of her kids would run over and deliver, always in a brown lunch sack. The bread was out of this world and made of freshly ground wheat.

And she made homemade tortillas to boot that were equally scrumptious. Her teenage sons and their friends would eat taco upon taco made of these things. Am I right, Wendi?

So, to actually have her recipe is something I consider almost sacred. It's written on an old Post-It note, written during a phone conversation with my sister Emily.

The recipe for Paula's Tortillas
3 cups flour (I used 2 cups whole wheat, 1 cup white)
2 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups water
(I'm making up the directions because my recipe doesn't come with any except: pan- hi temp, don't cook long). With a fork or pastry blender, mix the shortening into the flour, salt and baking powder until it resembles coarse crumbs. Then, mix in the water, starting with 1 cup, then adding tablespoon by tablespoon until the dough sticks together but is not too sticky. Roll into balls and cook in a skillet at a high temperature. (I think Paula uses a tortilla press to make hers).

We served our burritos sans meat with beans and rice, avocado and lettuce.
So tasty.