Thursday, March 31, 2011

what will i remember

i recently read the thoughts of a mother who was imagining it was her last day with her child.
what would i do if this was the last day? she wondered.
i would hold my child and memorize everything about them. she concluded.
as i sat rocking maggie tonight,
on the eve of her birth date,
i found myself wanting to memorize everything about her in this moment in time,
everything about her first year.
i want to memorize the smile that never leaves her face,
her big four teeth you see every time she smiles,
her bright, big, blue eyes,
and happy spirit.
i want to memorize her big round belly and teeny tiny body,
her tiny steps that she is taking,
how wobbly her body but strong in her determination.
i want to memorize her curls in the back of her hair,
how she used to look wearing a bow before she would pull it off all the time.
i want to memorize her love,
love for me,
her dad,
all people that she knows,
sometimes even strangers,
especially babies, mostly when she can touch them,
and her love and interest in her brothers;
no matter what they do to her she almost always laughs.
i want to memorize how she watches them,
observing and practicing all she sees them do.
i want to memorize her ability to play,
her favorite play things... her white phone, a toy piano, butterfly book, fabric flower shaker,
even dumping baskets of toys out and pulling books off the shelf are favorites.
i won't forget how she is content to crawl all around the grass when we are outside without needing anyone to entertain her.
or how she loves for will to swing her in the apple tree swing, even if it is too high.
i will memorize how content she is playing in the bathroom floor with a toothbrush while i shower,
and i will especially remember how you will stand next to the tub hoping to get in, too.
you love taking a shower with me;
you love to open your mouth and let the water flow in.
i have memorized all this girl can eat!
she is a fan of food,
so much so she scavenges the garbage cans and floors for any morsel she can find.
she can even out eat her brothers.
always eating...
bananas, bread, strawberries, cheese, oranges must be the favorites.
never picky unless it's peas, not so much a fan, and that's what gets thrown on the floor.
but she will eat anything else,
even your finger if you are not careful.
i will not forget what a good nurser she has been
or how easily she is weaning.
oh, and i will not forget what a fabulous sleeper she is!
still 2 naps a day and 8-7:30 at night.
she has been the easiest one so far... just lay her down and turn on her ocean sound machine.
i won't forget how quickly she learned to crawl before 6 months
and how she crawls anywhere,
except for down the stairs; she is not even tempted. up is a different story.
i will memorize you laughing and playing in your yellow crib (the one where you chewed off the paint on the inside) when you wake up
and how you are always standing and smiling and waiting for your brothers to get you out.
always smiling even when they drag you out and around.
i think about how small you are,
maybe weighing 16 lbs. and still wearing 3-6 mos. pants and 6-9 mos. shirts & dresses.
oh, and just barely out of size 2 diapers today.
putting diapers and clothes on are kind of a joke.
you flip over 100 times and squirm away 20 times before i can get either one of you.
i will not forget how much you love snuggling up to me,
or how easily you fall asleep in your dad's arms at church.
or how perfectly you still fit laying across my lap
and how you like laying your head in my arm to be rocked before bed.
i have a feeling you won't let us forget that sassy streak you have,
and i won't forget how you make me laugh when you stick out that bottom lip and cry when i tell you 'no' about throwing the food off your high chair.
i will memorize how much you love to play peek-a-boo and patty cake,
especially when you want to get everyones attention.
you are already an entertainer.
there are so many things about you to memorize.
i hope i have studied your face and held your body enough that i will never forget exactly how you have been in these precious moments.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

just a thought...

what you do every day matters more than what you do once in awhile.
(the happiness project by gretchen rubin)

this resonates with me.
so much so that i'm going to remember how important it is to laugh and use kind words and tones every day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

brown bag apple pie

this recipe has been creating a lot of buzz lately.
it all started at christmas with my new pie plate.
i had to make a pie in it for my brother-in-law who gave me the plate.
then it ended up being a birthday cake (or pie, to be exact.)
it was so much the rage it has carried onto be the birthday pie in pete's family since then.
and i must admit that it is pretty tasty.
the secret?
it is cooked in a brown paper bag!
it adds a flavor that tastes like "old days".
i'm not sure how to describe that flavor,
other than really good.
so, for those of you still interested,
the recipe is below.
i wish i could claim it as my own creation.
i can't.
i can just claim that i have a series of delicious cookbooks.
(The Domestic Art gathered by Patricia Wright)
if you are interested in obtaining any of her books,
then please email me.
she is my neighbor,
and i can swing by and pick one up for you for $25.
i'm not sure where you can purchase them.
maybe the basket loft in farmington?
she currently has 3 volumes.

best brown bag apple pie

1 1/2 c. flour 1/2 c. salad oil (i use canola)
1 1/2 tsp. sugar 2 tbsp. cold milk
1 tsp. salt

preheat oven to 325. combine flour, sugar, salt, oil, and milk; mix well. press into bottom and sides of a 9" pie dish. do not roll out.


4 c. apples, peel & slice ( i use 5 c.) 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. sugar 1 tsp. cinnamon, heaping
2 tbsp. flour 2 tbsp. lemon juice

combine sugar, flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon. toss lightly with sliced apples and pour into unbaked pie shell.


1/2 c. flour 1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar

combine flour, sugar, and butter; mix together with fingers until crumbly. sprinkle over top of apples. place in a brown paper grocery bag and fold edge under. cut 4 slits in top of bag and bake for 1 1/2 hours. (i remove the pie from the bag after the time is up and leave it for a few minutes, maybe 5, and let the top brown a little.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

quickly approaching

maggie's 1st birthday is quickly approaching.
this friday,
april 1st,
april fools day to be exact.
where did the time go?
my mind always spins in grandiose ideas,
and i freak out about plans for weeks,
and then i stay up all night for 3 days before the event.
not this time.
this time i want to remember my baby,
how she came into this earth,
and all she has offered this 1st year,
and dream about what is to come.
i'm going to remember people
and not just stress about decorations.
in fact, i'm so ahead of the game that i'm devoting sister craft tomorrow to completing all the decorations that i do have planned,
and then i will be finished,
until the fun begins on friday.
wish me luck!

Friday, March 25, 2011

on some off some

i have so many dreams in my mind about how i want to live,
and so many of these ideals can be wrapped up with my favorite phrase of "in the old days....".
i love talking to my grandma about her life as a child...
the slow pace, the simplicity, the value on things that really matter.
while i don't want to completely live without many of the modern advancements of our time,
i often feel that our life is too busy, too loud, and somewhat unfocused.
i enjoy the world we live in,
but sometimes i feel like there are so many things (many things good, and many things not good) to sort through.
i am spending too much time sorting through "things" that some days go by feeling unlived,
almost wasted.
i am a maximizer,
so it really bothers me when a day goes by that feels wasted on things that don't really matter or that doesn't point my family in the directions we want to be heading.
in an attempt to cut out the extra noise in our lives i have been forced to address my family's screen time habits.
screen time: any time spent in front of a screen of a computer, tv, video game, etc.
i have always been a tv nazi,
limiting the type and amount of tv that we watch.
i have struggled finding a system that works for my family.
i just couldn't the stand the feel of the tv on everyday.
it seemed like all sam & will would do is wait for their beloved screen time.
they were too distracted with the waiting that they couldn't do anything else.
i can assure you this was NOT the way i wanted to teach my children.
i stumbled upon this article from love and logic awhile ago. (full article posted below)
this paragraph really stood out to me:

"At Love and Logic, we believe that children learn to make good decisions about big and important matters by making plenty of poor decisions about small matters, and experiencing empathy and logical consequences from the adults in their lives. As a result, we believe that wise parents allow their children to make plenty of affordable mistakes.
Watching sex and violence on television is not an "affordable mistake."

while i don't let my kids watch sex and violence on tv,
i felt inside of me that allowing my children to become so dependent upon media at such a young age i was pointing them in a direction that would make these battles harder later.
i knew something had to change.
we decided to do on days and off days.
every other day they can each choose a pre-authorized show and 1 extra screen time (pbs kids computer time or star wars wii).
i was really nervous about how this would go.
i was afraid there would be an even bigger battle than what i was already fighting.
i was prepared to fight it though.
what has transpired over the past few weeks has been most unexpected and more welcomed than i ever could have imagined!
there has not been resistance.
it has felt quite the opposite.
i have gotten the sense many times that my boys are almost thanking me for reducing the noise in their lives.
thanking me for allowing them to be more like kids in "the old days" doing simpler things that kids should be doing...
building pillow forts, playing hide and seek, rolling huge snow balls across the yard, playing with their brother, hot wheels, books, legos, talking, working, and slowing down.
it is with gratitude that i say our house feels a little more like "the old days" now.
am i writing this post because i think i'm a perfect mother doing everything right?
absolutely not,
far from it.
i'm writing it as a reminder to myself that i am the mother.
i am responsible for training my children's healthy habits now,
whether that be about how to spend their time, how to clean their room, or how to treat other people.
i am so far from perfect,
and i make many mistakes in my parenting and in my personal life.
however, i just hope to avoid making the "unaffordable" kind of mistakes.
and i always want to remember that i am a mother with a job to do,
and i hope desperately that i get it right.

the love and logic article that i read:

Mom and Dad watched as their one-year-old son crawled around the floor of Marv Mozzarella's House of Fun. They noticed that little Carlton had found some tasty lead paint chips on the floor. Ma and Pa really wanted to do something. The chips were bad for their boy, but the other parents were letting their kids eat them. Could something so widespread and readily available really be that bad?
While most parents aren't sitting around letting their kids eat lead paint, too many of them let poison ooze into their homes via their television sets. This toxic waste, represented by explicit violence and sexual images, is being beamed into millions of homes via satellite and cable.
Just like poison, these images may not cause immediate death, however, the toxic effects do accumulate and cause certain harm to body, mind, and spirit. Study after study has shown the horrific effects of exposure to sex and violence: Kids become desensitized, lose their ability to experience empathy, and fail to develop healthy cause-effect thinking.
At Love and Logic, we believe that children learn to make good decisions about big and important matters by making plenty of poor decisions about small matters, and experiencing empathy and logical consequences from the adults in their lives. As a result, we believe that wise parents allow their children to make plenty of affordable mistakes.
Watching sex and violence on television is not an "affordable mistake."

Watching explicit trash on MTV is akin to dumpster diving.
As adults, we can remember that we have control over whether we make it easy for children to ingest poison within our homes. Smart folks don't leave pesticides within reach of their toddlers. Smart folks also call their cable or satellite providers and cancel the programming that brings sex and violence into their homes. Others decide to password protect the explicit channels.
Best of all, the wisest parents engage in plenty of loving conversations with their youngsters about the fact that the human mind resembles a computer: Garbage in, garbage out.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

very disturbed

do you ever watch something, read something, or learn something that disturbs your soul?
sometimes that happens to me,
and it happened to me tonight.
pete took the kids to his mom's house tonight so i could work on maggie's bday present.
i decided to watch the documentary Hiroshima: The First Weapon of Mass Destruction while hand-stitching away on maggie's blanket.
and now my soul is deeply offended.
this is not a post about politics, war, who started it or who ended it,
so please refrain from jumping down my throat.
it is about humanity.
we cannot continue to have nation against nation, rulers against people, people against people.
if war is the direction that this world wants to take,
then we will continue to obliterate mankind,
and then there will eventually be no one left.
then what will it all have been for?
call me an idealist,
but i believe you will NEVER make peace with war.
peace comes from practicing peace.
it is troubling that it is easier for nations to continue to fight than it is to soften their hearts.
how can they (meaning all countries and people who war) think it's ok to kill, injure, and destroy innocent people just like you and me all in the name of war?
in this documentary there was an account of a mother who survived.
she had 2 young children and husband who did not survive.
in a heart-wrenching scene immediately after the bomb was dropped she could hear her child screaming for her.
the child was trapped.
as hard as the mother tried she could not dislodge the child before the fire overtook her.
she had to listen to her child screaming "i'm burning! where are you mummy! please help me!".
the poor mother was sobbing "i'm not a good mummy to you!" as her child burned alive.
to think this poor mother lived until 2002.
what kind of war do you think she lived for 57 years?
my family is not more important than her family.
i don't love my children more than iraqi mothers, libyan mothers, etc. mothers love their children.
call it "in the name of war" all you want,
it doesn't make the destruction of innocent lives for the good of the people ok.

this world has had enough examples to see that fighting doesn't really solve anything.
sure, it may end a war or stop the fighting,
but a much longer lasting war lives on in the heads of those who experienced it forever.
when will we ever learn?
will the fighting ever stop?
i don't believe in it.
am i grateful for people who defend my country so i don't have to see my children burned to death at my fingertips?
you bet i am,
but i just wish we didn't have to have those people.
while i might be an idealist,
i'm also somewhat of a pessimist.
i don't think this world will ever exist.
but i do believe the fighting must stop,
and the only way to stop it is to stop it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

friday book review: diary of a worm

diary of a worm
by doreen cronin
suggested reading level: 4-8

this is the diary of a worm. this worm lives with his parents, plays with his friend spider, and even goes to school. the life of this worm is very different from the life we live. he never has to take a bath, he gets to eat his homework, never goes to the dentist, and he has to spend his time trying to not get smashed by children playing hopscotch or escaping from people digging for fishing bait. this is a funny picture book that hysterically describes the happenings of a silly, little worm in a big worm world.

this is a pretty cute book.
my boys enjoy reading it for very different reasons.
will loves to read it backwards (like starting with the last page and finishing with the first).
it actually reads well that way, too.
sam loves it because he also loves writing everything down.
since reading the book,
sam has been turning any paper he can get his hands on into a journal.
kind of like the one below.
one page is of us in our van in the parking lot almost getting backed into by another car.
(a true traumatic experience.)
the other page is of our beach house in oregon.
i'm going to love any book that inspires creativity in my children,
ESPECIALLY journal writing.
i must admit, i'm a huge fan of journals.
so much so i even loved reading the journal of a worm.

Friday, March 11, 2011

friday book review: christina katerina and the box

christina katerina and the box
by patrica lee gauch
suggested reading level: ages 3-8

christina katerina loves all types of boxes but especially big boxes, like the one that arrived with her mother's new refrigerator. this box becomes all kinds of wonderful things for her and her friend fats watson, including a castle, a clubhouse, and a car. just when you think this box is heading to the trash christina has another idea for it. christina katerina is a sweet, daring, and scruffy girl who makes her adventures seem real. and who can argue with a girl whose best friend is named fats watson? the illustrations are simple, but they truly capture a child's world.

i don't buy books often,
but this one is in my cart on amazon.
this is a timeless classic that we have all enjoyed.
my boys want to read it over and over.
it's even my 1st choice of books to read to them.
this book has sparked so much creativity in my boys.
after reading it the 1st time they went right to work with the milk and orange boxes that we had.
after days of creating skyscrapers, beds, and trains,
i tracked down 2 washer & dryer boxes at a local appliance store.
let's just say that has been such a treat that i've allowed these boxes to remain in my front room for 2 weeks,
and we still have a whole set of adventures left with these boxes.
we have had many playhouses, pirate ships, secret agent hideouts, race cars, sleeping tents (yes, they really slept in them), spiderman skyscrapers, and on and on.
this story is most definitely my style of book,
and i love the simple message of creativity in children.
love, love.

eggplant parmigiana

eggplant parmigiana for dinner tonight.
i've made this forever,
and we all love it for a quick meal.
the boys even eat it, too and think it's chicken.
i use this recipe with a few alterations.
i use pre-bought bread crumbs, white flour instead of rice, whole wheat noodles, and all dry herbs.
super easy and delish.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

black bean burgers

if my taste buds had a style,
then these burgers would definitely be their style.
this is recipe is definitely my flavor style.
they are somewhat time consuming to make,
but oh so worth it.
i now make them in large batches and freeze the patties.
that makes such an easy, healthy meal on a moment's notice.
i serve them with sweet potato fries from costco,
and i can't exclaim enough how divine this meal is!
if you are interested in trying them,
then follow the recipe exactly and expect about 4-5 patties.
if you are interested in freezing them,
then quadruple the recipe,
and cook your own black beans.
it's far less expensive to do it that way.
oh, and i leave out the jalapeno just so it's not too spicy for my kids.
if interested. the recipe can be found here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

boeuf bourguignon soup

meatless march ended today.
going meatless was fine;
there was no problem.
it just took us only a week to come to the conclusion that we were searching for.
we don't have any problem eating meat.
our problem is with the inhumane way that the meat we eat is processed.
it is not a good thing.
(ever watched food, inc.?)
i just feel too much of a responsibility to the animals that inhabit this earth.
in my mind there is an unspoken trust between humans and animals.
they are providing us with a type of life sustaining nourishment,
and in turn i feel like they trust us to allow them to have a full & meaningful life.
i'm sorry,
but when we support chicken farmers who cram their chickens into a cage on top of 100s of other chickens and inject them with so many growth hormones that they grow so fast that they can't stand just so we can have large chicken breasts for only $1.29/lb.,
then we are violating that trust
and sabotaging that relationship.
so, not eating meat is more of a moral issue to us.
perhaps it's not the absence of meat that we are seeking.
it's the abandonment from a purchase that we don't feel good about that we are going for.
so, we may add meat back to our diet a couple of times of week,
but we are going to put our dollar where our heart is.
we are currently searching for a local farmer who is like-minded.

so, in an attempt to empty our freezer
i made beef stew tonight.
beef stew that kicks "boot-tey"!
it gave me my first experience of having to go to the liquor store.
i used this recipe from martha stewart.
and i will definitely be making it again.
next time it will just be from ribs of cow who grazed happily in an open field all of their days.

Monday, March 7, 2011

a happy place

this is my official announcement:
i am ridding my home of all things that don't make me happy.
it's so full of things,
so many things that have no value, purpose, or meaning.
i'm tired of my life and home being so full of these things.
i'm in process of simplifying everything.
i don't care if i only have 12 things in my house when i'm finished.
because guess why?
all of those things that are left will make me happy.
this is going to be work.
some of you know me very personally and will know the magnitude of this project.
but here goes nothing.

vegetable stir fry

another pretty tasty meal tonight.
it was a vegetable stir fry, brown rice, and homemade egg rolls.
the recipe for the stir-fry can be found here.
it was somewhat time consuming.
now that i know i love the sauce it would be nice to have it made and on hand.
also, chopping the veggies throughout the day before i was ready to cook would've been helpful.
it's a good thing i love being in the kitchen because i spent a lot of time there for this meal.
it must have paid off.
everyone liked it,
except for will.
he told me he likes all my dinners but not this one.
he ate it though.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

breakfast burritos with fresh salsa

we had quite a tasty meal tonight.
i love these breakfast burritos!
i love them because they are healthy yet filling.
we love them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
definitely try them.
just prepare to have the lingering taste of onions and garlic for the rest of the evening.

1 c. chopped tomato 1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. chopped onion 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced jalapeno

1 tbsp. milk 6 egg lightly beaten
1/4 c. green onions

1 c. refried beans (i also use black at times) 2 tsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. cumin 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

tortillas (of course i use the ones from costco that you cook yourself; a MUST for any tortilla recipe!)
sour cream

combine salsa ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. combine bean ingredients together and warm in microwave or stovetop. coat skillet with butter and saute green onions for 1 minute. stir in eggs and milk. scramble and cook until done. to serve: heat tortillas. spread with bean mixture; spoon egg mixture down center, top with salsa, cheese, and sour cream. wrap up and enjoy!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


for whatever reason,
saturdays are not our fancy dining days.
it tends to be pretty simple no matter what our eating goals are.
tonight was evidence of that.
we had whole wheat spaghetti noodles with ragu sauce.
i sauteed some squash in olive oil just so we could count a vegetable.
the real treat was the cheese sticks.
i'm not going to lie.
i LOVE cheese sticks!
pete was telling me about how when he was in the MTC getting ready for his mission the cafeteria would have all you can eat cheese stick day.
i have no shame admitting that my plate would have been piled high.
tonight i practiced restraint.
i only had 4.

Friday, March 4, 2011

eating out again

dinner wasn't great tonight,
but we still stuck to our absence of meat.
we went to the temple cafeteria with a group from our church.
the only menu items were fish and pot roast.
we asked if there were any vegetarian options;
the employee was not impressed,
nor willing to accommodate us in any way.
so... we opted for the salad bar.
this was more of an iceberg lettuce, boiled egg kind of salad bar.
it wasn't great,
but it was meatless.
and it opened our eyes to what vegetarians must feel like.
better luck next time.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

easy night

i worked today.
dinner is normally thrown together on these on these nights.
but thanks to super nice in-laws i didn't have to worry about it.
they took us out to rumbi's.
easy enough...
2 rice bowls with lots of veggies.
so far so good.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


tonight's meatless meal has got to be one of the easiest to make,
and i must add,
it's another one of my favorites.
so simple,
and everyone in my family loves them.

corn tortillas
refried beans (vegetarian variety)
sour cream
guacamole (avocado, lime, garlic, tomato, salt; mash it all together)

all we do is fry the tortilla in hot oil until crisp then load it up with all the toppings.

like i said,
so simple,
yet so fresh and tasty.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

meatless march

our little family has officially declared the month of march to be meatless.
don't ask why.
it's too hard to write in a blog post.
simply stated...
we just want to try it.
quite a few people have asked what we would be eating this month,
and to be honest, i don't have the menu planned.
however, i'm confident that i have plenty of meals that i can prepare,
and there are plenty of new things that i can find if needed.
so, for those of you wondering what we will be eating,
i will share with you every night.
(with pictures depending on how enthusiastic i'm feeling).

our menu tonight...

roasted butternut squash orzo salad (recipe here)
focaccia bread (recipe here)

a few things about this meal...
i could eat that salad for every meal and never tire of it.
it is DELISH!
i use that focaccia bread recipe a lot.
however, i don't use rosemary.
i substitute dried basil.
i also don't make the herb butter.
instead i drizzle the butter and olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder.
and i make sure it DOES NOT overcook!
a minute undercooked is just about perfect.
i also know watermelon is not in season in the USA.
however, my kids LOVE watermelon,
and the first time it becomes available at costco,
we buy it.
oh, and i'm lucky i don't have picky eaters.
that will certainly help make meatless march a breeze.
design by