Thursday, October 31, 2013

Drink more water!

Just because it isn't hot out anymore doesn't mean you don't need as much water now as you did in the summer time. (By you, I mean me.)

I stopped using my Drink More Water app some time ago and got out of the habit of drinking enough water. A few weeks ago I discovered that ALL of us were dehydrated. From a lower milk supply (me), to headaches (Lost Boy), cracked lips (2Flowers), ammonia scented diapers (Oreo),  Lost Boy and I realized that we needed to get on top of hydrating our family!

I've been keeping a pitcher of water on the dining table and forcing myself to gulp down a whole 12 ounce cup of water every few hours. I can already tell the difference for me - nursing sessions result in Oreo getting fire-hosed. And that  means he is getting more liquid in him. Though I have also been letting him have a sippy cup at dinner too (it keeps him busy!). Lost Boy takes care of himself most of the time. Sometimes I fill a 16 ounce cup and put it near him, or check in and ask if he is drinking enough water.

2Flowers is harder. I don't know how much she is drinking. She isn't eating Otter Pops very much anymore because it isn't hot (I justified letting her have several a day by figuring she was getting water into her). She has been asking for juice lately, and we dilute our juice with water (about 50/50) so I know she is getting some water. But while juice is good, it isn't the best option for a long term strategy. I think what I need to do is leave a little pitcher of water and a cup on her Activity Table. Maybe then I could tell how much she was drinking each day?

How do you keep your toddler or preschooler hydrated during the cooler months?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Under the oak tree

Thunk! Clunk clunk clunk.

We've been hearing this daily for a few weeks now. Each thunk reminds me that it is fall. They are acorns dropping onto the roof from an oak tree that spreads its branches over the west side of the house. The tree has been dropping acorns more frequently every week, and the thunks are getting louder so I suppose the acorns are getting plumper.

I never realized how frequently acorns fall off trees in the fall until Lost Boy and I went on a date to a park in late September. I set our picnic blanket up under an oak tree so we could look up into its branches. We like to do this in the summer. But this time we eventually had to move because the acorns falling and hitting us became ridiculous.

Between that park date and living here at Grandpa's house with its exposed beam roof I've learned that acorns fall fast and furious in the fall, especially on windy days.

Whenever one hits our roof I'm momentarily distracted. Then I smile as it rolls down the roof.

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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

My ambitious goal + Conference Activity Packets

General Conference is this weekend!

I had goal to re-listen to the April Conference talks six times each. I knew it was kind of ambitious. Lost Boy pointed out that I would have to listen to, like, two talks a day to meet my goal. And since I'm not in the habit of listening to any sort of audio on a regular basis (including music) it isn't surprising that I didn't meet my goal.

I still think re-listening to each of the conference talks is a good goal to pursue, but I'm going to change some things. This time my goal is to listen to or read each talk two times (not six).

Obstacles I need to plan for are: how and when to listen to or read the talks. Conference is available everywhere! It is on the web in both audio and text, and therefore available on every computer in our house; it is available through the Gospel Library on our iPad and smartphones; it is printed in the Ensign magazine (which I could buy for less than $2.00 if I don't want to print every talk I think I want to read). The thing is, I still can't hear very well, so if I'm not close to the speakers of whatever device I'm listening to I can't hear it. And if I'm doing anything besides sitting still and listening I don't absorb the content of what I'm listening to very well. Except dishes. I can do dishes and listen, but the distance from the speakers is an issue when I'm washing dishes. But I can't pick up the living room or sort kids clothes.

While I ponder how to make my goal achievable, here are some links to a few great conference activities to help you your kids pay attention during conference:

The Ultimate General Conference Activity Packet by Food Storage and Beyond Free Downloadable Conference Booklet from Deseret Book General Conference Activity Packet by Mormon Cartoonist Conference Packet from Sugardoodle Image Map


Friday, September 27, 2013

5 Fall Changes

  1. Sunset is creeping up on us every day. Have you noticed? It is dark by 8:00 pm now, which helps me convince 2Flowers that it is time to get ready for bed. But while I'm enjoying the cooler night air, I am not looking forward to Daylight Savings! Do we really need Daylight Savings anymore? We suddenly lose more light at night (when I could really use it) and gain more in the morning (when I could be sleeping!). Even when I was in college and working I didn't like the change (getting out of class at 4:00 and walking across a dark campus? Um, no thanks!) Hey! Let's ditch Daylight Savings... how do we go about doing that? [Edit: The time change is so confusing! I had it backwards.We are actually going to get more light at night and less in the morning. But it is still going to mess up my schedule, so I still want to ditch it.]
  2. It is getting crispy and cool in the mornings and evenings! We are wrapping up in blankets more often and dipping into our collection of jackets and sweaters. We sometimes still run the air conditioner in the afternoon, but we are doing that less and less often.
  3. There is more pollen and dust in the air as the wind kicks up and the growing season changes. I can tell because I'm having trouble breathing. It is time to ramp up my asthma control plan and take more meds more often. My asthma reaches its peak during the winter, but autumn is my chance to get my plan in action before things get really bad.
  4. The leaves are starting to fall! Most of them haven't changed color, but we are getting some light yellow leaves falling from the trees around the house. This is crunchy leaf season here because it is still hot enough that the fallen leaves dry out and crunch when you step on them. In a month or so, when the rain starts, we'll have tons of leaves on the ground, but they'll be soggy and not crunchy at all.
  5. I don't think about finding a pool every day anymore. We still keep our swimsuits handy because GiGi-J has a hot tub, but they aren't sitting in a bag by the door ready to go at a moment's notice anymore. It's a little bit funny, but the less I think about finding a pool, the more I think about swim suits! Where am I going to keep them over the winter so I can find them easily? When are they on sale so I can be ready for next summer? And where can I buy the suits I really want for the kids?
What is changing in your life now that it is fall?

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Looking forward to fall

What do you say when someone asks you what your favorite season is? Do you know without hesitation what your favorite time of year is? Or do you hem and haw because you don't love any one part of the year more than the others?

We were playing a game at a Relief Society activity a few weeks ago that made me think about this question. I can't say without hesitation what season is my "favorite," but I also don't not have a favorite part of the year.

My favorite part of the year is the time when the seasons change.

I like spring.

And fall.

I think my favorite time is spring because the days are lengthening and with the depression I get a bit desperate for the sunlight. But this year I am really looking forward to fall. I'm so excited for Halloween to come! Which is strange because I don't like the skeletons, ghosts, witches, vampires, and zombies. I do like dressing up in something fun and cute. And now that I have 2Flowers, dressing up is even more fun! I also look forward to Trunk or Treat.

But what I'm looking forward to more than Halloween is the cool and crisp air, the crunchy leaves, the pumpkins, and maybe actually getting to wear a jacket (I love jackets!), the wind and the first few rains, the pumpkins, and the corn maze! We did a corn maze last year (my first one ever), and I am REALLY excited to do that again. I'm also looking forward to the fall decorations... even though I hardly decorate at all. I've noticed that seasonal decorating is a skill I definitely don't have. But it isn't for lack of craftiness... it is because I'm terrible at planning and taking action ahead of time! I'm hoping to improve those skills a little this year.

So right now my favorite season is fall. And guess what! This Sunday (September 22nd) is the Fall Equinox, so next week it is officially fall!

What are you looking forward to this fall?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pinned It. Did It! Mini Mexican Pizzas

Once upon a time I read a post over at Simple Mom in which Tsh mentioned that she used Pinterest as a meal planning tool. I don't remember how she described it, but I thought it sounded neat... and like it might actually help me visualize the meals I was trying to plan! I signed up for Pinterest on the spot.

As you probably know, you can lose hours and hours to Pinterest without realizing it. There are some who feel that Pinterest is a complete waste of time, but I have found that for me, it is not. My struggles to effectively plan (and make) meals for my family did not evaporate back in 2011 when I started my What's for dinner? Pinterest board, but over the years I have collected a variety of pins that I can browse, looking for something that looks appealing to my mood. Some of the recipes in my dinner pins are beyond my skill right now, but with every recipe I try I find I am more able to manage the process of collecting ingredients, following the recipe, and making meals for my family.

This week I tried three (THREE!) new recipes! And I only called my mentor a few times ("!! We don't have any breadcrumbs!... What do I do?") AND I actually comprehended what he said and wasn't intimidated by his suggestions.

Here is one of the recipes that I tried this week: Mini Mexican Pizzas from Dashing Dish. Ground beef, re-fried beans, salsa, and taco seasoning in tortillas sprinkled with cheese. Six ingredients (plus optional toppings). I'm growing! My limit is usually about five ingredients and then I start to feel intimidated. I even experimented a little, too!

The original recipe called for whole wheat tortillas, cut into smaller circles to make "mini" tortillas. Well, we didn't have whole wheat tortillas, so I used flour tortillas. But it seemed like extra work to cut them smaller (even though they came out deliciously crispy) so when I made the recipe again (I made it twice this week! I feel impressed.) I used white corn tortillas, which is what nearly all of the Spanish hermanas on my mission used. The white corn tortillas are smaller than flour tortillas but bigger than mini tortillas, and are nearly always in our fridge. The corn tortillas were faster to use and made bigger servings, so I think they're a keeper.

The ground beef was a bit of a problem because I am not very comfortable shopping for or cooking meat. But Lost Boy helped me by buying the ground beef for me. We had salsa (phew!), but no refried beans. But that wasn't as big a hangup for me as it could have been, because ever since the mission I have preferred black beans and watched the hermanas from my mission mash them like refried beans. I added some frozen corn (because I like corn and black beans together, and because Katie said she likes to put corn in the recipe).

And then there was taco seasoning. We don't have taco seasoning. I don't like taco seasoning. It doesn't taste like the Spanish food I ate on the mission (and I ate Spanish food from a lot of different Hispanic cultures). And it is always too salty. So I looked up a recipe for homemade taco seasoning online and made my own! I felt so accomplished that I just pulled it all together in a few minutes. But I have to attribute my success to a friend who gave me all her spices when she moved out of state and couldn't take very much, and to Grandpa Freddy, because we inherited all of his spices when we moved into his house. Between Robin and Grandpa, I actually had all the spices I needed on hand. I still don't really like taco seasoning, but I like feeling that I have control over the flavor. Next time I make it I'll put in less chili powder and more cocoa powder (I don't know what hermanas really use, but cocoa powder strikes me as potentially authentically Mexican - just think mole!).

Then there is the grated cheese (I can do that!). And bake it for not very long (less than 20 minutes, good deal.) And viola!

We didn't have any sour cream, so we used kefir (which I'm trying to incorporate into our daily diet). And I chopped some tomato to put on it. The first night I made it I ate a whole half of the mini tostadas and 2Flowers ate two halves of two mini tostadas. I think this recipe might be a keeper.

I Pinned it. And I did it!

 Pinned it Did it Red 200x200

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Family Blessings

We are so lucky.

I went looking for 2Flowers after an aborted bedtime routine and found this scene; 2Flowers snuggling her great-aunt, who was singing Primary songs. How many kids know their great-aunts well enough snuggle with them?

This particular great-aunt lives with us part time because she manages Grandpa's business now that he is gone. She is easy to talk to and fun to be around. She tells me stories about the family from before I married into it. She relates to my struggles as a young mom and is encouraging and uplifting to talk to.

She does the dishes. She holds my babies. She talks to me. She recommends books to me. She has a bajillion other things to do, but she spends time with me... and with my kids.

I love when she comes to stay.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Cookies and Milk

You know Lost Boy loves you if he shares his Oreos with you.

He is a bit of a purist; he will eat Mint or Double Stuffed Oreos and other "abominations," as he calls them, but he much prefers the plain Original Oreos. I was deeply disappointed by the Orange Creme ones, but I love Double Stuffed and Mint!

What kind of Oreo do you like?


Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Wedding Day Kit

My brother-in-law got married last Saturday. I volunteered to be his fiance's Personal Assistant / Event Coordinator and I like to be prepared, so I looked around on Pinterest for some ideas for Wedding Day Emergency Kits and I put one together. Here is what I put in my kit (and whether it was useful):

  • safety pins (We used them all! We had to pin most of the bridesmaids' shrugs to their dresses.)
  • a mini sewing kit
  • painters tape / masking tape (We used this the night before the wedding while we were setting up the decorations.)
  • extra make up utensils
  • feminine products
  • hair spray
  • white shoe liquid (polish type stuff - the bridesmaids all had white shoes or sandals)
  • eye drops
  • my own makeup kit (the bride had a makeup artist, but I didn't have time to do my makeup until we were in the car on our way there)
  • drinking straws (I didn't have bottled water, so I didn't use these as much as I wanted to, but I did manage to get some water into the bride and groom while their reception line was winding down.)
  • white chalk
  • a Tide-to-Go instant stain remover pen
  • snacks: raw almonds, granola bars, mini raisin boxes, fruit snacks (the raisin boxes helped two cranky toddlers while we were taking family photos, and later I gave a granola bar to one of the bridesmaids to hold her over until she could go to lunch)
  • zip ties (we used these for decorating, but we didn't need them on the actual wedding day)
  • extra hair elastics and mini hair rubber bands (the mini rubber bands got used on 2Flowers, whose hair was hanging in her face during family photos)
  • spare deodorant (trial size)
  • phone charger (my phone died by the end of the night, but I knew it would, so I was prepared!)
  • baby powder
  • hand lotion
  • toothpaste
  • double stick tape (we tried to use the tape on the bridesmaids' shrugs before we decided safety pins were better. The tape didn't stick to the fabric, so maybe next time I need fabric tape?)
  • extra favors to tuck into the wedding night picnic we sent with them when they "slipped away"
  • scissors (these got used by a few different people. Definitely useful.)
  • tums and ibuprofen
  • band-aids
  • clear nail polish
  • lip balm
  • nail files
  • tweezers
  • extra pens (the best man needed one at some point)
  • a sharpie marker (I used this to label a box with my name so no one would throw out my supplies)
  • rubber bands

There were a few things that I didn't pack that we needed:
  • socks for the bride to slip on when she was tired of wearing her heels
  • ... I can't remember what this one was. But I remember thinking "I need to remember this for next time!"

the beautiful bride

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm a Milk Snob

Most people agree that 1% milk and skim milk don't taste as good as 2%. Some people prefer (or don't prefer) the taste of whole milk. But have you ever noticed that the milk from some  grocery stores tastes better than the milk from other  grocery stores?

Winco and Costco milk taste the best to me. But we hardly ever go there. Savemart milk tastes okay, which is good because that is the closest store. And Safeway milk is my least favorite, which is a bummer because that is where I like to pick up my prescriptions and if we're in dire need of milk (which is at least once a week) when we pick up my prescriptions then I have to put up with being slightly put off the taste of milk for a few days (and then I don't drink it as fast and it lasts longer).

Lost Boy thinks it is all in my head. But I know it isn't. Because I've figured out that each store uses different dairies to supply their milk (and other dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese, and ice cream). There is a super-neat website called Where Is My Milk From? that shows you where your cows live.

It is really easy. You find the dairy code printed on your milk bottle, enter it at the website (the search box is prominent on every page hosted by the site), and viola! find out what dairy makes your milk and where it is located.

I found this site a few years ago and thought it was neat. But when I realized that milk tastes different depending on where it is from, I decided to find out which dairy I like.

So far the verdict is that I like milk from Berkeley Farms in Hayward (they make milk for both the Berkeley Farms and Hy-Top labels). And I don't much like the milk from Super Store Industry in Fairfield (Bayview and Sunnyside labels).

I wish I could drive out to Winco everytime I need more milk. I wonder if Savemart would change dairies? Probably not. I think the dairy I like is over 40 miles away.

Where is your milk from?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Trying out Bloglovin

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I think I am addicted to trying out new websites, new apps, and new software. I already have two new rss readers (since Google Reader retired earlier this month). But of course, I have to try out this other one, too.

I am trying Feedly (a web reader) and RSSOwl (a desktop reader). I like how Feedly syncs across all my devices and can share to Pinterest. RSSOwl is just fun to explore, but I'm not often on the computer that it is downloaded to. Now I'm trying out Bloglovin, because someone said they really liked it. I just have to see for myself.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Fourth of July Pinterest Roundup

One thing I love about Pinterest is how easy it is to be inspired when you least expect it. I'm not very good at making holidays special, but I'm learning. And I'm finding ideas that help me along. Here are some of my favorite pins for the Fourth of July this year.

For the front door

a Patriotic wreath from Simply Designing with Ashley

I never start decorating soon enough, so I don't know if I'll be able to make this by Thursday (especially as I don't have the supplies and spent my spending money already...), but maybe I'll make it next year! I never thought I was a wreath person, but I'm starting to think I like them.

For the Lost Boy

an Oreo Flag from the Pink Flour

Because he loves Oreos.

For the kids

a printable Fourth of July coloring sheet

I don't know if any kids feel like sitting still and coloring when there are parades and fireworks going on. But maybe in the middle of the day when it is too hot to do anything I'll sit down with 2Flowers and we'll have some quiet time together. (Note: I discovered that you don't have to sign up for their newsletter in order to download the printable. At first I thought you did.)

and a few more kid activities

from Chocolate Cake Moments

This is someone else's Fourth of July roundup, but some of these activities look really fun. Like the Flag Hunt, the Confetti Popper Rockets, and decorating your bikes. If I don't squeeze some of these in this year, I definitely want to be do them next year!

And last, but not least

I think 2Flowers will really like getting a special mani-pedi from (and with) Mommy. I just can't decide which ones I can a) actually do and b) manage on a wiggly nearly three year old.

Note: It is hard to know how to do a Pinterest roundup right because of copyright issues. I've included links to either the Pin that inspired me or the original post that inspired the pin. If you want to share or repin these ideas, please click through to the links I included and share from there (i.e. don't pin from this page) so that the original author gets the credit and the traffic.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Super Smoothies!

Today I almost felt like I had a healthy, productive routine. Part of it is probably due to the my body healing from the cesarean section. My mom often reminds me that I will feel so much better six months after the surgery that I'll be amazed.

I'm wondering if another part of it is the oatmeal chia seed breakfast smoothies that I found on Pinterest last week. We started making the smoothies with just oatmeal because we didn't have chia seeds (and couldn't find them at the grocery store). I was impressed with how long the smoothie kept me satisfied, so I decided it was worth it to try the chia seeds.

I found the chia seeds at Elliott's Natural Foods* and was VERY impressed with how much energy I had each morning (and afternoon!) after I drank my smoothies. From what I've heard (i.e. I don't have solid sources) Chia seeds are known as Aztec super food. They are supposed be really good at sustaining energy. The package says they have lots of Omega 3s, fiber, protein, and antioxidants. That all sounds pretty good.

My mom also said that the oatmeal has lots of B vitamins, which are contributing to me feeling better and having more energy. I think this smoothie recipe is a keeper!

*The Chia Co. ( $7.55 for 5.3 oz. That is $1.42 per oz. Do you buy chia seeds? How much do yours cost? Where do you get them?

Pinned it Did it Red 200x200

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Pinned it. Did it! Maiden Link-up

Once upon a time, I saw a Pinterest board called Pinned it, did it. I had seen a lot of pins about how Pinterest was just a huge time waster and I thought the board was a brilliant way of recording the creativity and growth that pinner got out of her pins.

So I made a Pinned it. Did it! board for myself. But sometimes I forget to go back and repin the pins I did to that special board. And what I really want to do is show off that I did something fun and neat that I found on Pinterest.

Then I got this great idea to do a Pinned it. Did it! link-up. I've never hosted a link-up, but I've participated in a few. I think link-ups are a great way to share ideas and experiences around a common topic, and they make it easy to find all those ideas in one place!

I'm a little nervous about this, and really excited. Please don't give up on me if my linky tool doesn't work right (I'm so worried I'll break it!). Just let me know so I can figure it out.

Here we go!

P.S. I haven't even written my own Pinned it. Did it! post, but I had to get this up so I wouldn't put it off for another year. Now I have incentive to write up one of my pins asap!

Grab the code for my link-up button:

 Loading InLinkz ...

Monday, June 03, 2013

Backyard Blanket Fort

Lost Boy and 2Flowers went camping last night. It was long overdue. There was a special Daddy-Daughter trip planned five months ago that got canceled because of snow. Snow wouldn't have stopped Lost Boy from camping, but he didn't want 2Flowers to have to endure instead of enjoy the experience.

She's been asking to go camping for months. Last night she asked for a tent again. Lost Boy observed that we have a backyard now, so he went hunting for the tent.

We found the tent, no problem. But we couldn't find the tent poles anywhere (there are boxes everywhere and nothing has a home). So Lost Boy made a blanket fort with an old sheet and they went to bed outside after 2Flowers brushed her teeth camping style (spitting in the dirt, not the sink!).

I got to snuggle Baby O and blog to my heart's content.

2FLowers made it until 2:00 am before she woke up and wanted to get into bed with me.


Sunday, June 02, 2013

50% Less Stuff

We finished moving all of my stuff to the house this weekend. I have a lot of stuff. And paper. I have a lot of paper.

I've been working on sorting and getting rid of my stuff and paper. I thought I was doing pretty good. And I am! I can throw away (recycle) at least 1/2 of my paper when I go through it.

But Lost Boy, Papa and the brothers had to move way too many boxes this weekend. WAY TOO MANY! I thought I had gone through and gotten rid of more stuff. I think they're breeding. I need to have less stuff!!

So I have a new goal.

50% less stuff by next June 1st.

One year. Less stuff.

I'm not sure I can do it. But I've been making progress on letting go of stuff, so I just have to push it further faster. I need a plan and a schedule.

The plan so far is this:

1. Designate a space for give-away stuff. I've had a DI Box for years, but I am going to need a much bigger one now.

2. Toss half of each box while I'm unpacking. I know I won't always do this, especially with the kitchen and office boxes, but it is still the plan.

The weak part of my plan is the schedule... when have I ever done a project on time?

I don't remember, either.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Have some watermelon, baby!

Today at lunch Lost Boy pointed out to Baby O that since he, The Daddy, does not make milk like The Mommy does, he has to resort to other methods of being interesting. Therefore, he occasionally offers tastes of foods that The Mommy does not consider eligible for Baby O's consumption.

Baby O seemed to enjoy gnawing on the watermelon.


Bugs are a fact of life. No matter where you live, bugs are going to get into your house somehow or another. At the apartment we had spiders, fruit flies, flies, and miniature little beetle-like bugs that didn't seem to do anything. But here at the house we have an abundance of biodiversity!

brown beetle
We have spiders (at least three different kinds, one in two sizes), mosquitoes (in two sizes), flies (of course), moths (at least three different types), ants (super big and super small), daddy-long-legs, beetles, and various tiny flying bugs that I haven't identified yet. The windows in the bathroom don't have screens, but since I absolutely must have the windows open to keep the bathroom aired out, we get lots of everything in the bathroom.

Tonight I found this ginormous super ugly big black fly on the mirror. Yuck!

This is how I felt about having him in the bathroom with me:

We are planning to have pest control come out one of these days. But I think I need to plant some of the pest repellent plants I've been seeing in garden pins on Pinterest. And I need to mix up a bug repellent essential oil spray (or lotion!) ...has anyone tried doTerra's TerraShield?