Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Homemade Nutty Bars

Forgive me, I wanted to take pictures of my newest creation, but every time I make them they disappear too fast. Do you like Nutty Bars?
I do.
In fact I'm a little addicted to them.
I stopped buying them because I have no self control.
I'd open the box to eat one bar and wind up eating the entire box in less than 10 minutes.
By myself.
Then I'd be sick to my stomach and grumpy for the rest of the day.
Plus the first two ingredients are dextrose (a form of refined sugar) and shortening.
They have more sugar and shortening than flour or peanut butter.
They also have those nasty artificial flavors in them that keep us addicted and going back for more when we should be satisfied with just one.
So guess what I did? I found a way to make my own healthy-ish homemade version of this classic treat. The simplicity will just kill you. So will the ingredient list.
You take 2 of these crackers.
The ingredients in them are rye flour, water and salt.
That's it, nothing else.
They are really thin and crispy.

You spread both crackers with some of this.
Ingredients: Peanuts.

Then spread some of this on the peanut butter.

Ingredients: Pollen and bee spit
Put the two crackers together like a sandwich with all the gooey peanut butter and honey gushing out of the sides.

This is the naughty part. You melt some of these and cover the top of the sandwich with a layer of melty chocolate. I used semi sweet because I like dark chocolate, but milk would work too.
Be sure you use Ghirardelli brand or another brand that does not list vanillin in the ingredients.
Vanillin is bad.
It's a substitute for vanilla which is natural. Vanillin is artificial and a petroleum by product.
You'd be surprised how much stuff they put vanillin in instead of vanilla.
OK, off my soap box now, back to the cookie!
You can either eat them all melty or you can put them in the fridge until the chocolate hardens, about 5 minutes.
The first time we made these they got put in the fridge, the next time they did not last that long.
The best part about these is after just one I am totally satisfied. They fill me up.
Try them, you'll be glad you did!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Breakfast With a Kick

Do you need the milk in your cereal to turn magical colors?
Try this super tasty meal.
The picture was taken half way through my meal because I could not believe how tasty it was.
I just had to share with my blogging buddies.
This here is all natural, no added colors, flavors or preservatives.
Everything in my bowl is straight from nature.
My taste buds were doing a happy dance this morning.
OK, here it is:
Knock your socks off Oats with blackberries.
Seriously, it tastes like blackberry cobbler.
Ya, it's that good.
1 c steal cut oats
2 c water
Combine these two ingredients in a pot and cover. Leave them to soak overnight. I put them in just after I have finished the dinner dishes to let them soak. Trust me, they cook so much faster in the morning when you soak them first. Plus they are supposed to be better for you if you soak them first.
In the morning, turn the stove on to high and keep the pot covered. Let the liquid reach just a rolling boil then turn the stove off. Leave the pot on the hot, but off burner for 20 minutes. This makes 4 servings. Place about 1/2 cup of oats in each bowl. Add one squirt of honey, a shake of cinnamon, a splash of rice milk and a handful of blackberries. Frozen work fine, but fresh are absolutely killer. And there you have it, the most tasty oats you will ever, ever eat!
Trust me, I know good oats when I taste them.
P.S. I suppose you could do the same thing with just plain old cooked oatmeal, but that stuff is way too slimy for me, but to each his own!
P.S.S. You could also use cow milk instead of rice milk if you really wanted to.
P.S.S.S. Or soy milk, if that's what floats your boat.
P.S.S.S.S. You get the idea right?
Happy Eating!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Oh Happy Day

Easter was last week and it was a year to remember.
After church we had fun in the yard.
As you can see the monkeys climbed the crab apple tree.

Dubs got bubbles from his Primary teacher. He had fun blowing them until he dropped them and they spilled down the driveway.

Then he was sad.

Do you blame him? I hate it when my bubbles get spilled.

Then we had our Easter Egg hunt. We made a lesson out of some of the objects in some of the eggs.

It was such a pretty day, we loved being out in the sunshine.

Just look at that sky.


Mr Bird's boogers are quite attractive too, don't ya think?

For the egg hunt we gave some plastic eggs to the kids and let them fill them up with things they had.

At first they were like, "We don't have anything to put in them!"

I told them they did not HAVE to fill the eggs and that we could just find the few that I had filled.

The next thing I knew they were all coming down stairs with filled Easter eggs.

They put their own coins in, small plastic toys, Doodle put in some little crafts she had made.

They even put in things they had just gotten in their Easter baskets earlier that morning.
And you know what? They had just as much fun during this Easter egg hunt that they have ever had at the ones that were nothing but candy.
They were so excited to see what was in each egg.
Beano was so excited to get Doodle's crafts, he still keeps them safe.

Look at these handsome boys.

I can't believe how grown up Doodle is getting. She is such a help to me and is so kind to her brothers.

And P.S. She is so with me on wanting another baby in our family. If she had it her way, we'd have 10 more! I don't think I'd go that far, but 1 more would be nice.

I had to snap a picture of them before they took off their Easter clothes.

Saturday we died Easter eggs with weird things.

I think they turned out really cool. There are some others I want to try next year, like red onion skins and canned beet juice.

We used turmeric for yellow and it worked really well.

See how yellow that egg is?

Most of the other colors were really soft. We had fun experimenting though, we felt like scientists.

Sunday night we went to Mr Bird's brother Mike's house for an Easter feast. We left the camera in the car the whole time, so we did not get any photos.

With our new no artificial anything diet I was really nervous about going.

I knew there would be lots of sugary, artificial food there. On the way to their house we talked to the kids about it and let them know they would have to chose what they wanted to eat.

I did not want to stand by the food table and be the food Nazi all night long, so I didn't. They went nuts.

They ate about 4 bites of dinner then they ate cup cakes and chips and cake and punch.

They ate and ate and ate.

On the way home they were all complaining about their tummy aches.

Then guess what happened sometime in the middle of the night?

You guessed it, their poor little bodies rejected all that toxic waste. Doodle and Beano puked their little guts out. Just goes to show, it really is toxic. I was so glad they made the connection between getting sick and making poor food choices.

All we can do is hope they make better choices next time!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April Showers

Guess what happened?
Remember the bird house Doodle made for the Ogden Nature Center Bird House Exhibition?
Tonight they had them all on display and they had the awards ceremony.
We did not even know there would be awards before I checked my email this morning.
We got there and were surprised to see Doodle's bird house on the table inside the building and not outside with all the others.
I think it was because they were afraid it might fall apart, it was made from cardboard and hot glue, after all. Not a good combination in this wet weather.
It turns out she won first place in the children's entries.
And she won $15!
That's a lot of money for a 7 year old, in our house anyway.
She got to stand up in front of everyone and tell how she made her bird house and about the name of it.
She named it "April Showers"
Appropriate, don't you think?
It has done nothing but rain the past 3 days straight.
She did very well and she was absolutely beaming all the way home. She had to call her Aunt Lisa (the bird lady) on our way home to tell her about the surprise award.
Well done, Kiddo! We're so proud of you!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Baby, Oh Baby

I am baby hungry.
There, I said it.
It's out there for the whole wide world to see.
What am I thinking?
Yes, I know I already have 4 of them.
I can't help it.
I don't know what's wrong with me.
Lately I see a baby and my ovaries start jumping and screaming,
"In here, we're in here!"
I really am in a pickle though cuz Mr Bird wants no more children.
That's it, he's done folks.
No question about it, he has zero desire to quench my baby thirst.
Sad, huh?
So I have decided to make a list of all the reasons I should be glad there will be no more babies, maybe I'll feel better by remembering all the hard parts of parenthood.
1. I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night 3 times a night to rescue a starving infant.
2. I don't ever want another breast infection.
3. I don't ever want to snuggle close to a little nursing baby with a sweet sweaty head. Ahem, back to business.
4. I don't want to have another 2-3 years of diaper duty.
5. I don't want to be the first to witness the miracle of a first smile, ever again! Never, I tell you!
6. I don't want to be intoxicated by the sweet scent of another ever so soft and subtle baby head.
7. I just can't handle the little baby rolls on their little legs. You know, the ones that touch their little bums.
8. And bums, don't get me started on bums.
9. I never want to see another little naked baby bum racing for the bathroom all ready to get in the tubby, squealing for delight the whole way. I can't handle the squeals, I tell you.
I think I got distracted for a minute, sorry. Seriously.
10. I don't want any more hospital bills.
11. And where would we put another baby anyway?
12. I definitely don't want Doodle to have a sister, cuz that would just be wrong.
13. Plus, it's so hard to have 5 kids cuz someone would always be partner less on the rides at Lagoon or any other theme park (me, me, pick me! I'll sit alone, or on a bench while you all go nuts on those crazy rides).
14. I never want to see a little baby finger pointing and "ooo"ing in amazement at the mysterious rain drops hitting the windshield as we drive down the road.
15. I never want to be engorged again. If there were any guys reading this, I'm sure they're gone by now. TeeHee.
16. I really am OK with my size almost A bra.
17. I never want to gain 30 pounds in 9 months ever again, thank you very much.
18. I never want to be in labor. OK, really, this might be working. Labor might not be worth having another baby.
19. I never want to see the wobbly legs and outreached hands of a baby taking its first steps.
20. I definitely don't want the potty training part.
21. I don't want to see any more amazingly big blue eyes smile up at me in delight as they deliberately dump their whole dinner on the floor.
22. No more baby curls, they're banned!
23. Oh and no more sitting through church with another squirmy wormy baby who's almost old enough for nursery, but not quite.
24. And I defiantly don't want to teach another child about Christ and His gospel and watch with sheer wonder as their own little testimony starts to sprout.
25. I don't want another set of hugs and kisses every night before bed time, cuz really I have enough already.
Who am I kidding? This is not working. If you have a baby, watch out. I may just have to come over and steal it for a while. Or forever, no big deal. Don't worry I'll give it back when it becomes a teenager, I promise!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The True Meaning of Easter

I just found an idea for the PERFECT Easter Egg hunt. I am going to try to put it all together tonight when the kids go to sleep. If I can get it done, this will be what we do for our hunt tomorrow!

Click here to check it out and to create your our very special Easter Egg hunt!

All Natural Easter

Easter 2003
For Easter we have always done big Easter baskets on Easter morning packed with Jelly Beans, pastel M&M's, chocolate shaped bunnies, Marshmallow Peeps and Robin Eggs.

What was I thinking putting that much candy in my 1 year old's Easter Basket?
This charming photo of my first born was taken when we would not let her eat all the candy in less than 5 minutes.
Do you see the drip of snot that goes all the way down to the floor?
I still laugh when I see this photo.
I know, I'm such a mean mom, I take photos when I should be comforting them.
She wanted ALL of it and was not happy that we put some up for later.
That was one drama scene we could have avoided by making better choices as parents.
Easter 2004
Each year we have gotten those egg dying kits from Wal-Mart that cost about 50 cents.
We dye eggs to our hearts content.

One of my sisters even tried to dye a worm once. The color did not stick very well.
And as I recall, the worm did not like it too much.
See, I'm not the only weird one in my family.

Beano Easter 2004
Then we bask in all the prettiness of our eggs.
Then we eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next 3 days.
Artificial food dye that leaches into the eggs and all!

Easter 2004
Here is Doodle the next year enjoying her toxic waste, Ahem, I mean her yummy candy. I was getting wiser though, I filled the basket with other things, like a feather boa and stuffed animals and only a little candy, still way too much for a 2 year old.
Easter 2005
Every year we have been seen at community Easter Egg hunts. It's quite amazing to see all the brightly colored eggs lying on the grass, just waiting to be snatched up by some eager child.

Easter 2005
Each egg is filled with candy, candy and more candy.
You would almost begin to think Easter is about how much candy we can get our greedy little hands on.
Sure, they teach you about Jesus in church, but I am ashamed about what I was showing them in real life.
"Hurry, snatch up as many eggs as you can, because we all know it's really about YOU!"

Easter 2006
This year will be different, but the same.
Here are some of my favorite Easter memories.
Flying kites with cousins.

Playing at the park with cousins.

Dubs Easter 2006
Grandma holding babies.

Beano and Doodle 2006
Grandpa teaching my kids to stomp in water puddles.
By the way, they have not forgotten that little trick.

Any time they see a puddle they think it's for stomping in.
Why else would God put it there?
This year we will dye eggs, with all natural dyes like turmeric for yellow, berries and red onions for pinks and purples, spinach for green and carrots for orange. We will use leaves to make prints on the eggs.
We will have Easter baskets filled with books, markers, games to be played together, scripture stories and maybe one or two treats that are all natural.
The pretty plastic eggs will be filled with coins and little plastic farm animals and toys instead of jelly beans and M&M's.
We will have pretty strawberries with whole grain pancakes for breakfast.
We will go to church.
We will have a different kind of Easter egg hunt. We will do it at home and the kids will get to pick things they want to put in the eggs for hiding. They will fill them with things like Lego's, their own coins, homemade crafts, etc and enjoy the thrill of the hunt and of sharing their things with each other.
We will spend the evening with cousins, making new memories and eating good food.

We will show them, not just tell them how to be thankful this Easter season for the gift of God's Son and what it means that He is Risen.

We will teach them that because of His Son we can all be with our dear Grandma again, forever.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Toilet Talk

Hello toilet!
How are you toady?
Can you come and play with me?
I swear these are the first thoughts my baby has every morning.
He gets out of bed and makes a bee line for the pot.
Disgusting, hug?
Anytime anyone leaves the bathroom door open and the lid up there is a baby in the pot.
He loves nothing more than to dip his ever so small fingers in the refreshingly cold water and to slurp the excess drippy water in a noisy slobbery gulp.
I guess he's thirsty.
It's a miracle he has not died from some sort of nasty bacterial infection.
See the toys in there?
Actually one is a sock (not poop, thank goodness) and the other is a toy.
He has also dunked books, Lego's, hot wheels, a Barbie, cups, the list goes on and on.
If he has it in his hand when he finds the throne, in it goes.
I think he's doing a life long experiment on things that float and things that sink and things that make mommy's head explode.
It's his second favorite thing, to throw strange things in there and watch mommy come running freaking out.
He looks at me like it's the best show he's had in a long time.
Lucky for me I have a knight in shining armour.
Beano will usually fish out whatever is in and dump it directly in the garbage for me.
Isn't he the best?
I have not even gotten to worst part yet.
He has been corrupting other innocent children. We were at my sister's house the other day and he showed her 2 year old how much fun it is to play in the toilet water.
She had never done such a thing in her life, up that point.
Leave it to my baby to corrupt the sweet mind of his little blond delicate cousin.
There is nothing worse than finding your baby teaching another kid naughty things, and then having to clean up nasty toilet water and two toilet water babies.
I know the best answer would be to just keep the bathroom door shut.
Done, problem solved.
But what about the other heathens that go potty and can hardly remember to wash their hands and flush the pot, let alone shut the door on their way out.
I could stand guard on the potty all day long to make sure it gets shut, but alas, we have 3 bathrooms. I really wish I could be 3 places at once but I have not figured that one out yet.
So if any of you have any advise on how to end the madness I'd be forever grateful.
Cause honestly, I'm at my whits end.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Do you ever look around your house and think, "Where on earth did all this stuff come from?"
"I can't keep track of all my stuff"
"Why can't the kids keep all their stuff out of my nice clean living room?"
I have these thoughts all the time. We are bombarded with stuff.
Sometimes it makes me crazy.
Sometimes it makes me want to just throw it all away and just be content in my space with my family and my good food.
As you all remember our camera was involved in a fatal accident a few months ago.
We still have not replaced it.
Our alarm clock broke about 2 months ago.
Still no new alarm clock.
My bread mixer choked a month ago too.
I may never buy a new one.
Now our projector we use for watching T.V.s and movies has died and the warranty has expired.
We have decided to wait at least a year before we consider buying a new one.
We will be T.V. and movie-less for a year, at least.
And you know what, we are OK with that.
We just don't NEED all that stuff we have convinced our selves that we can't live without.
Cause guess what, we really can.
People have been around and happy for thousands of years without cameras or mixers or alarm clocks.
The sun will continue to rise and we will continue to breath without them.
I know, I get weirder by the second, don't remind me.
Watch this video, it may change the way you think about stuff too.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Eat Your Veggies!

That's every mother's famous last words, right?
"Eat your veggies, dearest."
I have to say, my kids are all so different when it comes to eating their veggies.
Doodle only likes fresh carrots, steamed broccoli and sliced cucumbers, without the skins.
She will eat salad on very rare occasions and only if she's in a good mood.
Beano hates all things veggie.
He eats broccoli when he is forced and he'll eat a carrot, maybe, only if there is absolutely nothing else to eat and he's starving and he has to be in a good mood already. If I offer him one when he's grumpy, heaven help us all.
Dubs will eat any veggie under the sun. He loves fresh bell peppers, onions (weird for a 4 year old, huh), green beans, steamed spinach, cucumbers, salad, sweet potatoes, potatoes, tomatoes, asparagus. Honestly, I have not found a veggie he will not eat.
Baby cakes is becoming more like Dubs every day. He eats fresh bell peppers and his broccoli is the first thing he eats at dinner time. In fact the other day I was eating a salad for lunch and he came over to me begging and I ended up feeding him lots of my salad.
Here are some tips I have found that makes eating veggies a little easier on kids.
* Start them young. Don't wait until they are 4 or 5 until you start feeding them veggies. The younger, the better. This is the mistake I made with Beano and Doodle, I waited too late to start eating lots of veggies.
* You eat them in front of them. Make sounds like they are so good and they are the best thing you've ever eaten. When they ask for some, share. It's the concept of
monkey see, monkey do.
*If your child does not like a certain veggie the first time, don't be daunted. It may take up to 10 tries before he takes a liking to it. It took baby cakes about that long to like bell peppers. Every day he would see Dubs and me eating one, so he would beg. Then he'd take a bite and spit it out and ditch the rest of the pepper. Now he loves them. He ate nearly half a pepper all by himself yesterday.
* Leave a veggie try on the counter for snacking on throughout the day. This is how Doodle found out she loves the middles of cucumbers. Plus this way they see you eating them all day too. This also cuts down on pre-packaged snacks and is heart healthy and full of fiber.
* Serve salad as the first course to dinner. Do your kids ever bombard you while you are cooking dinner? Do they ever stand in the kitchen and whine and complain because they are starved and dinner can't be done soon enough? Oh good, mine either. Who am I kidding? Most days it's all I can do from locking them in their bedrooms until dinner is done. Instead, why not give them a plate of veggies to start the meal. They may be more willing to try them when they are starving. If they reject them the first time, don't worry, just try again the next day, and the next, and the next.
* Try new ways of preparing veggies. Don't just steam them all the time. Try roasting them. My favorite new way of eating veggies is to drizzle them with a little olive oil and sea salt and roast them until they are tender. Recently we have done this with broccoli, sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots, asparagus and potatoes. It brings out more of the natural flavors. Last night I did this with asparagus and for the first time ever ALL my kids ate them, and liked them! I was used to being one of the only ones that likes asparagus and eating most of it myself. After everyone ate some there was not nearly enough left for me! Next time I'll have to make a bigger batch.
* Make homemade salad dressings for dipping fresh veggies in. If you think you like bottled ranch, think again. There are about a gazillion recipes for homemade salad dressings on the Internet. I have only tried a few, but the ones I have tried put bottled anything to shame. Shame I tell you, shame on you Kraft! The homemade varieties have no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, which most of your bottled varieties are chuck full of, plus the flavors will knock you socks off. My knees went weak when I tried the one I'm about to share, it was so good. The kids even like it!

Creamy Cucumber Salad Dressing with Cucumber Tomato Salad
3 cucumbers, sliced
3-4 large tomatoes, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1/4 c rice vinegar
3 T Dijon mustard, make sure to real the labels for preservatives
1 t sea salt
1 t dry mustard
1/2 t agave nectar or honey
1/4 t pepper
1/2 c olive oil
1. Place cucumber, tomato and red onion slices in a serving dish, reserving 1/3 of one of the cucumbers and 1/4 of the onion for the dressing.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender, including the 1/3 cucumber and the 1/4 of the onion. Blend until smooth.
3. Pour dressing over the veggies. Toss to coat.
4. Chill for several hours.
I like to put this salad on top of a green salad and mix the dressing all up with the lettuce. It is so good. You could just make the dressing and use it for dipping any kid of veggie in. I really can not believe how tasty real food is. I think most Americans are so used to pre-packaged, pre-made, pre-frozen food, that we have forgotten how good the real stuff tastes, and how much better for us it really is. It does not have to be difficult to eat better, it just takes a little effort and changing our habits.
Happy Eating!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

T Minus 365

Dear Doodle,
I can't believe how big you are getting. Could it really have been 7 years ago that we welcomed you into the world? You were our whole world. The sun rose and set in you. And you know what, it still does. I remember the sleepless nights when you were just a tiny baby like it was yesterday. I remember being too afraid to sleep for fear I might miss something or that something might be wrong with you if I shut my eyes, even for a moment. I just needed to hear you breath to make sure you were still alive. You seemed so small. It seemed so daunting to know that I was in charge of another little living thing. I think I did not sleep for 3 days straight. I remember the all encompassing love I felt for you then. Somehow I love you even more now. I never knew that would be possible. I am so proud of the young lady you are becoming. I love your bright smiles and how well you play with your brothers. I love how caring and giving you are. I love how you always want to give to others. Whenever a friend comes to play you are not happy unless you give them something before they leave. I love to see you making such good choices. You are so good. I love you kiddo, don't ever forget that. I look forward to seeing you grow and change even more.
Love, Mom

We had a fun day for Doodles' birthday today. The count down has begun. Less than a year until she's 8 and takes the big plunge.
After school this morning we put the finishing touches on a bird house we made for the annual Ogden Nature Center's bird house exhibition.
Doodle was so excited to make one. She loves seeing all the cool bird houses they have on display every time we go.
I had to get her cake ready before we left because I knew I would not have time when we got back.
I saw one like this on the Internet about 6 weeks ago. I have been slowly brainwashing her into thinking she needed this one for her birthday. Isn't it cute?
Once again it is 100% natural. Doodle chose carrot cake. Luckily Mr Bird was here the night before to shred all those carrots for me. Why use candy sprinkles when you can use fun things like coconut and chocolate chips and nuts and berries instead.
I used 100% cocoa for the brown and spinach for the green and blackberries for the pinkish purplish color. I love how they turned out!

Here is the bird house she made. We used an old Oatmeal canister and some sticks and a plastic lid to a missing storage container. Doodle and Beano painted almost the whole thing by them selves. It is a nature scene, in case you missed that. There is grass and flowers on the bottom and a sun and clouds and birds on the top. I think it turned out really cute. She was so proud of her work of art!

This is one of my favorite part of the nature center. It is a tiny little owl named Gidget.
Isn't she cute? I think she likes me.
Look at those eyes.
I swear she's smiling at me.

These wild turkey were a hoot. They just waddled around gobbling the whole time. The kids got a kick out of them. Baby Cakes squealed with delight. He would have been on the hunt for them if he were not in the baby back pack.

Today was Wild Wednesday at the Nature Center and the theme was amphibians.
They got to see and touch a real turtle.

And a snake.
We learned how to tell by looking at a snake if it is poisonous or not.
That's good information to have.
Thanks, Nature Center!

This big pelican was outside in one of the cages. The kids were so afraid he might bite their fingers so they would not go near his cage. Where they come up with these ideas, I'll never know.
We had such a fun day and Doodle loved her Birthday.
The celebration does not end there. Tomorrow night a friend of ours got us tickets to Ballet West in Salt Lake. Then on Friday she gets to come on date night with us. That is a little tradition we have in our family. The week of the kid's birthday they get to join mom and dad on date night all by themselves. We love the one on one time with each of the kids. The kids look forward to their date night for weeks ahead of time. It will be fun.
The party has just begun.
Happy Birthday Doodle, we love you!