Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Maid

Whenever I lean the broom up against the wall, she steels it and gets to sweeping (and spreading) my piles. What more could I want in a little willing maid!

Blowing Bubbles

I love blowing bubbles in the summertime. But I guess after blowing a few too many when Hayley was a baby I discovered bubble machines. Now the beginning of each summer is celebrated by me when I purchase a new machine that can blow 1000s of bubbles super-fast! Somehow I lost my enthusiasm for blowing them myself and find myself thrilled with the fact that I can push a button and the kids are entertained and I no longer have to sit and blow.

Earlier this summer I realized that Maya had missed out on the simple joys of blowing her own bubbles...

She got her own little bottle of bubbles from a birthday party and one night when everyone else was busy she and I went out onto the porch to blow her bubbles. She watched me do it the first time then I handed her the wand and expected that she would know how to blow bubbles! Nope! She stuck the wand into her mouth and blowed. Then looked at me with a concerned and confused look and said "yuck!" I guess bubble blowing wasn't all she had imagined it to be. After I stopped laughing and realized that I had missed teaching this poor child the basic skills of blowing, she got a one-on-one tutoring lesson and we had fun blowing bubbles for quite a while.

Just for memories's a picture of Hayley with our first bubble machine. She was 13 months in these pictures (May 2004).


Somehow my role as family nutritionist has been hitting me hard lately. I feel a little overwhelmed when I realize just how much my decisions and plans effect 5 people's health and well being each day. I also realize that what they learn from my choices will influence their choices for the rest of their lives. Ahh! The magnitude of the small parts of motherhood!

Recently I watched the movie "Supersize Me." I'm no fast-food junkie, in fact I know it makes me feel yuck so I'm really not drawn to it. But, that combined with the increasing amount of time that I seem to be spent planning, shopping, making, feeding and cleaning up food has lead me to this new awareness.

It makes me wish I had gotten a degree in health and nutrition or at least taken a class or two. I realize how little I know about carbohydrates, calories and trans fats. So I find myself doing the next best thing...I keep checking out various books relating to nutrition in an effort to glean knowledge that will maybe help me make better choices.

Here's a few books that I feel have taught me some good things:

I was very skeptical about hiding veggies from my kids. But after I read this I realized how much just a addition here and there can make a difference. I still serve veggies seperately because I think they need to learn to try and like things. But my reading lead me to actually pull out my blender and food processor and start freezing pureed veggies. I haven't actually tried any recipes from the book but I've tried to take the concept and add a little here and there when I don't think it will have a negative impact on the recipe. Recipes that use spaggetti sauce are the ones that I've tried altering the most.

My puree-ing craze began at the same time that Alice started eating baby food so now I find myself spending about 1 hour a month throwing stuff into the blender. Then I freeze it in 1/4 cup portions in snack bags. Wahlah! Baby much easier than I ever thought and just think how much cheeper it is!

Here's another one I ran into by accident at the library the other day. I'm really excited to try some of her ideas. I think I'm going to try making "yogurt cheese" to replace stuff like mayo, ranch, sour cream, cream cheese, etc. I like that this book is very geared towards the less knowledgable nutritionists like me! It explains basic stuff like why I should switch my salt to sea salt and ideas for replacing white sugar with a healthy alternative sweetner. She also gives me basic formulas for trying to plan healthier meals...a complex carbohydrate + a lean protein. (Yes, I thought I was already basically doing that but it turns out I could improve).

A couple others that I have leafed through recently have been "Healthy Foods" by Ely and "Lunch Lessons" by Cooper.

I find that in wanting to throw out snacks and food that is "good" and replace it with something that is "better" my hesitation comes in not knowing what to replace it with and how to make that yummy for kids. These books are all giving me great new ideas. Now I just have to put them into practice!

If you have any great tips on how you've become a better nutritionist for your family...speak up! I'd love to hear!

Monday, August 18, 2008

New Bike

Hayley outgrew her bike. We were planning on getting a new one for Christmas but when she found this $7 princess bike at the local thrift store we jumped on it!

She is so excited about it. She wants to be out riding the minute she wakes up in the morning. It's all I can do to get clothes on everyone so we can go say good morning to Princess! The bike's name is "Princess" and Hayley speaks about her as a dear friend. She spends time most days cleaning her. One night I even watched her take a brand new tooth brush and brush her teeth (the front reflecting light) then immeditaely stick it in her own mouth to brush her teeth too (yuck!) I was watching from behind glass so she didn't have to hear my gasps and laughter!

Anyways, welcome to the family Princess.

Pony Rides

Last Saturday we went to a little Farmer's market in our town. I was excited about the yummy fresh fruits and vegetables. But the highlight was definitely the pony rides that were offered. Hayley has a passion for horses and it's been a while since she's been on one so she was really excited. We were surprised and proud of Maya for being brave enough to ride. She's a cautious little one. I think it may have been the first pony ride for that city girl!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fred-a-lina Flinstone

Maya hasn't figured out pedaling yet....and has no need any time soon!

Recently she has chosen this old little bike to be her favorite and can she ever ride...Fred Flinstone style! This picture doesn't show it but often she's even in bare feet like good ol' Fred! She gets her little toes paddling along at an incredible speed. It's so funny to watch her because she makes it look like it takes no effort at all: her head turns casually from side to side as if she's taking in the scenery as she flies past you with her feet gently pitter-pattering. Somehow all that non-effort gets her zooming! Then if you say "stop" she can stop on a dime. I haven't figured out how.

Anyways, as Ryan put it after observing her new skill, "she owns that bike!" So go my little Fred-a-lina Flinstone...I have no reason to make you try to peddle!

Free Ride!

Alice has mastered the art of scooting around the house at an impressive speed in her walker (it helps that we have all wood floors).

Maya has discovered that she can hitch free rides. At first I don't think Alice knew why it was suddenly harder to walk but now she's wiser and knows that there's a certain sister taking advantage of her muscular little legs...and usually complains!

Her revenge (whether intentional or not) is in the smashing and stubbing of toes with her walker as she flies into you. Maya is convinced it is on purpose.... and usually fights back by pushing the walker hard across the room...(which Alice usually enjoys--but don't tell Maya)

...and so the sibling rivalry begins!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Catching up

Getting caught up for the last month. This one was taken July 18th. Alice is 5 1/2 months here. She's really starting to take note and want to be a part of her sisters. Such a cute little threesome they make!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Welcome Cousins!

I'm a couple weeks late posting this...but we want to welcome more cousins to this side of the USA! We're so excited that Ryan's sister Gina and her husband Kirtis decided to move out here. They have 2 kids: Jackson (3 1/2) and Avery (8 months). The best part is they're only about 40 minutes away from us so we get to play! Jackson came for a sleepover and 2 days of fun while his mom and dad tried to make some sense out of all the boxes. He's a fun little guy and we're so excited to know him better. We've already had fun meeting up for a BBQ and Gina and I even tried shopping with 5 kids (we didn't do too bad!) Anyways, Welcome! Welcome!