Thursday, October 29, 2009


I think my post yesterday created a few ripples.
I think some of you may think me un-American for not liking trick-or-treating.
Don't worry, I'm no such thing.
I really do love all of our pagan ways, all of them!
I'm here today to show you just how much I love them.

First off, let me assure you, I have not sworn off Halloween altogether.
My house is living proof.
Anything that is standing still is filled with pumpkins, gourds, leaves, corn, and so on and so forth.
We have done many fun traditional Halloween activities with the kids and there are more in store before now and Saturday.
Here are my favorite things about All Hallows Eve (and fall).

I love our annual fall leaf hunt up in the mountains.

I love bringing the leaves home and finding fun crafts and ways to decorate with them.
(Yes, I mod podged pressed leaves onto blocks of wood. It made a great general conference activity)
I love picking apples and making quart after quart of apple sauce and apple cider.
I love chili and rolls.
I love the first homemade pumpkin pie custard of the season made with a fresh pumpkin just picked from the field.
I love the annual trip to the corn maze with fabulous friends who bring home made kettle corn by the 5 gallon bucket.
I love picking our own pumpkins from the pumpkin patch.
I love sliding down the huge slides assembled from humungo stacks of hay bales.
I love the bittersweet goodbye of the falling leaves.
I love seeing my 1 year old try to rake the leaves with a rake that is at least 3 times bigger than he is.
I love the last fall horse ride at Snow Basin, so bitter sweet.
I love all the piles of leaves that are created and destroyed every single day.
I love the warm smell of chunky apple muffins in the chilly mornings.
I love the colors.

I love that as soon as my kids see the first pumpkin or a spider on any neighbors porch they insist that we pull all of our decorations out so we can be ready for Halloween too.
I love it when I pull out the bin of Halloween costumes that my kids must each try on every costume in there.
Beano even tried the Belle gown. Don't worry he was out of it in a flash when he saw the astronaut get up.
I love it that as soon as they see the costumes they know exactly what they want to be.
I love carving pumpkins with the Bennetts.
Seriously, all the good food and good friends, it's one of my favorite traditions.
I love the family gatherings on chilly evenings.
So far that's all we've done this year for Halloween.
Halloween and fall get pretty mixed up around here.
I think we celebrate fall more that Halloween, but we still have tons of fun that day too.
I love our home school Halloween party and seeing all the different costumes everyone comes up with.
I really can't wait this year; I've heard some strange costume rumors.
So really the only thing I don't like is the huge amounts of candy.
And really the biggest reason I don't like it is because my kids do get so sick and I hate cleaning up puke.
Since we've changed our diet my kids are doing so much better, it works for us.
Isn't that what life is about? Finding what works for your family and sticking with it?
What is working for mine may not be what works for yours, and that's OK. In fact, that's as it should be.
So far we have found ways to eliminate most processed foods form Christmas and Easter and you know what? My kids are fine with it.
They still love Christmas and Easter, even without the candy.
They are not deprived of all treats, all the time.
The truth is, we've merely changed the treats we do give them.
They still feel like it's a celebration and that the day is special.
They are thrilled with the idea of a Halloween carnival Halloween night instead of trick or treating.
Truth be told, I don't think they really like it all that much either.
Sure they get candy, but they're usually frozen stiff by the end.
We like the idea of playing Halloween games indoors where our toes can stay nice and toasty and seeing good friends and watching clowns and unicyclers.
Fun will be had by one and all!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ready, Set, Go!

I am really torn about Halloween this year.
I have always hated, hated, hated trick or treating, yet every year we end up doing it.
I hate knocking on strangers' doors begging for candy.
I hate freezing outside in the late Northern Utah October weather and trying to find costumes my children will not freeze in.
I hate trying to force some sort of healthy food in them before the onslaught of junk begins.
I hate that they never want to eat because the anticipation of all that candy is just too exciting.
I hate coming home with obscene amounts of candy for my 4 year old and 2 year old.
I hate feeling no self control as I gorge myself on chocolate after they've gone to bed.
I hate stealing from my children.
I hate sneaking candy when they're not looking, because I know if I got caught they'd all want a piece but I'm not willing to let them eat candy before breakfast.
Somehow it's OK for me, but not them.
I really hate that.
I hate trying to find someone to pawn all the candy off on so I can finally stop eating it.
All these are reasons I hated it before.
Now with our new diet of no toxic waste I am hating the idea even more.
Once again we have been invited to a trunk or treat.
Which, by the way, seems worse to me than regular trick or treating.
Let's see how much candy we can gather in T-Minus 5 minutes! Ready, set, GO!
The greed of it all makes me sick.
These are not characteristics I want honed in my children.
So what to do, what to do?
I don't know, I still have not figured it out yet.
Come to the event after trunk of treating is over? Skip the whole thing? Let them truck or treat, knowing they're not getting any of it?
It all seems so silly to me.
I know, I know, I'm weird.
I am imagining the hate mail already!
As a peace offering here is a 100% Whole Grain, All Natural, No Toxic Waste, 100% Yummy Fall Treat Recipe.
(Now I'm not saying it's healthy, but it is a million times better that what they'd get on the street)

Harvest Granola Apple Bars


1 1/2 C Whole grain flour
1 1/2 C Rolled oats
1/2 t Baking soda
1 C Brown sugar
Pinch of Salt, optional
3/4 C Butter

Apple filling:
5 Medium Apples, cored and sliced ( I left the skins on for more texture)
1 C Water
Honey, to taste (No much at all)
1 t Cinnamon
Cornstarch and water to thicken, optional


Start the apple filling first. Place the sliced apples and water in a sauce pan. Bring to boil then cover and simmer until apples are fork tender.
Meanwhile for the crust, combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix to combine. Soften the butter and add to the dry mixture. Use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter with the dry ingredients. Place 3/4 of the mixture in the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Press to form bottom crust.
When the apples are tender add the cinnamon and honey to taste. Mix with a hand mixer until chunky apple sauce is formed. If this is too runny you can thicken it with corn starch and water.
Pour the apple mixture over the crust. Sprinkle remaining crust over the top. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

I want to share this with my family on Halloween instead of huge mixing bowls full of candy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Open Wide

We had our semi annual dental cleanings last week.
It's quite the ordeal. All 6 of us go in at one time.
We pretty much have the place all to ourselves.
Mr Bird comes home from work early and the Dentist stays late just for us.
Can you imagine 4 little kids in there?
It's utter chaos.
And lucky for us Dubs fell asleep in the waiting room right before it was his turn.
That made him super duper grumpy and scared.
We decided to let him watch me get my teeth cleaned just to break the ice.
I had the cutest set of big blue eyes right in my face the entire time.
It was all I could do to not laugh every time I opened my eyes.
I almost did once, then I choked on my spit and the little spinny brush jammed my gums.
It was not quite so funny after that.
But when it came his turn, again he was reluctant.
I can't say I blame him though.
Our mouths are such a personal part of us.
We use them to kiss those we love.
We use them to say I love you.
We use them to yell at someone when we're mad.
Little babies must put everything they find in the mouth, it's very tactile.
We use them to enjoy food.
And if the food is really good, we just keep putting it our mouths, it can be very pleasurable.
Dubs still sucks his finger sometimes; he uses his mouth for comfort.
So I can see why it would be a little difficult for him to let some strange lady wearing a mask put all these weird things in there.
Heck, I don't even like it and I'm not 4.
He is so brave, he finally let her clean all his shiny little teeth.
And what cute teeth they are.

Guess what, we have good news.
None of us have any cavities!
It must be all that healthy food we've been eating!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Boots and Chaps and Cowboy Hats

Look what we did yesterday.
We had the best fall horse ride ever.
Our dead Aunt Lisa, who's not really dead, called about 1:00 in the afternoon and said, "Meet us on the mountain for a horse ride."
So by jingo, we loaded all 4 of my heathens in the car and headed for the mountains.

By 3:30 we were saddled and ready to ride.
Most of the bright orange and red leaves are already gone. The trees are all ready for winter.
I wish I could hold on to fall just a bit longer,
but the ever greens are always beautiful.
Since Doodle is riding on her own we threw the little boys on horses with the grown ups and we were off.
The canyon was chilly, but as charming as ever.

I treasure these times with my family. We all love dead aunt Lisa and Grandpa. And sweet Jess, too.

It struck me during our ride home how awesome it is that we live so close to all the awesomeness.
We were home in time to make dinner and have the kids in bed before 8:00.
Talk about fun, spontaneous days.
I love these days with my kids, I hope they'll never end.

Speaking of the end, here's mine!
Yup, I just posted a photo of my rear end on my blog.
Is that tacky?

Monday, October 19, 2009

In Which I'm Totally Busted

Mr Bird had a conference in Sacramento, Ca last month.
Since I grew up 30 miles south of there and my mom and other family is still there we used that as a great excuse to have a road trip.
We loaded all the kids in the car and 12 solid hours of driving later we were in my home town.
We had a fabulous visit with my family.
(I use the word fabulous very loosely)
But this post is not about my family. I really just can't even go there.
We left my home town and spent a few days on the beach before we had to be back in Sacramento for Mr Bird's conference. Now that truly was fabulous. Sometimes my soul aches for the coast. I can still feel the salty breeze and see the fog on the horizon. I can hear the crash of the waves on the sand and I long to be back there.
My spectacular cousin, Laurel lives in Monterrey so of course we had to meet up for an amazing dinner with her and her cute hubby right on the pier. It was a truly magical night. My kids loved her. I can't wait until we all go to Disney Land together. What a blast that will be!
When it came time for Mr Bird's conference we high tailed it back to Sacramento.
We stayed in the Hyatt Regency, right behind the California State Capitol Building.
It was very posh.
We felt a little like fish out of water though.
The whole entire hotel was filled with very dignified men and women undoubtedly in town on business for the Governator himself. Then here comes our family with 4 little ones in toe who were so excited to see and touch everything.
*Double Yikes*
Anyway, none of this is the point of my post. Here is the real point.
As a home school mom I am always on the look out for fun and educational activities for the kids, even on vacation.
Being within a block of the California State Capitol the choice was obvious.
So, while Mr Bird was in his boring conference I loaded the stroller and we strolled our way over to the magnificent building for a peek see.
I hoped to get a little California history in them and I secretly wanted to see the Governator.
As we entered the huge doors I saw myself run smack dab into a very hairy situation.
As the huge doors opened for my little clan I found myself staring an armed guard right in the face. My stomach dropped as I looked dumbly at the huge metal detector behind his shoulder, which seemed to be laughing at me. At that moment I wondered what they would do with 4 children if they, for some reason, needed to arrest their mother.
You see, as I met eyes with the taunting metal detector I remembered the huge, claw ended, stainless steel knife in the bottom of the stroller.
I had made home made bread for our trip and earlier in the day we went to the park and had sandwiches. I packed my vicious looking knife to cut the bread and IT WAS STILL THERE.
I knew it was only moments before they would find it.
Should I just drop everything, kids and all and just run away?
I could make it to our hotel, get the car then drive 30 miles to my mom's house and hide there forever. No one would ever know.
Then I heard Beano say at the top of his little lungs in the huge, echo-y marble hall,
"Look mom! He has a real life gun!"
Ya, I was not running anywhere.
I decided to just come clean on my own, maybe they'd give me a reduced sentence.
I said something that I'm sure was utter nonsense. Something to the effect of: I had to feed my kids and I was cutting bread and I really did not bring it here on purpose.
I think they believed me because of the panic in my voice and the huge drops of sweet forming on my brow.
They confiscated my favorite bread knife and made me sign papers.
Papers saying I had brought a 12 inch knife into the capitol building.
They even let us in, after they had my knife of course.
As I was trying my hardest to turn back to a nice shade of pink from the chrimson I had just been, the nice guard says with a sly grin, "If you come back out this door we'll give your machete back to you!"
I think he was trying to be funny.
So NOT funny!
As I pushed the stroller around the corner I was shocked to see nothing less than the Governators office less than 100 yards from the door I had just tried to smuggle my machete through.
Outside his door was yet another armed guard. Just as we were passing, a woman in a suit came out of his office. The door opened just enough for me to see that his office was full of business looking men and women.
I'm sure they were all from out of town and were staying in the Hyatt.
I assume the Governator was in there, although I did not have time to make any sort of visual confirmation.
Ya, I got busted for bringing a machete into the California State Capital, not 100 yard form the Governator himself.
Oh Dear, not my brightest moment!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Birthday Boy

Dear Beano,
Happy Birthday Buddy! You have got to be the cutest 6 year old on the planet. Your intense interest in Leog's lately is absolutely charming. It's as if all other toys could simply cease to exist and you'd be totally fine with that. I love how you can gather any random pieces and turn them into the coolest flying machines imaginable. I see a pile of blocks and you see a masterpiece. Your imagination has just sky rocketed. I want to tell you how special I think you are. You have the biggest blue eyes full of the promise of tomorrow and the sweet memories of yesterday. You are my hero. You are always there to defeat those nasty 8 legged home invaders and save your mommy from them. I love how helpful you are to me. I would do anything to see your smile. I love how random pictures of you mysteriously end up on my memory card when I down load the pictures (example above). I love that smiling face and your sence of adventure. I am so glad Heavely Father sent you to me. I love being your mommy. Have a terrific year my little man!
Love, Mommy

Monday, October 12, 2009

Be Afraid, Be VERY Afraid!

Last week when I pulled out the Halloween decor my kids found a package of glow in the dark vampire teeth in the bottom of the box that must have been in there for like, ever.
I don't remember ever buying them, I think they came with the box.
Despite their origins, the kids found them and were at once thrilled!
I think the dried green smoothie on their cheeks goes really well with their fangs.
They spent the better part of a whole afternoon playing vampire.
Then they discovered they glowed and spent the rest of the afternoon in the bathroom with the lights off.
When they stopped glowing they were very sad.
Then I explained that they need sun light to make them glow again.
They were thrilled that it actually worked.
They would go from the dark, dark bathroom to the windowsill and wait about 30 seconds, then high tail it back to the dark, dark bathroom.
I laughed at them all afternoon long. They were too funny.
Every time I looked at them in the eye they would hiss at me and bare their fangs.
Then I'd bust up in a heap of laughter as they scolded me for not acting scared.
So then I shrieked in mock fear and they were happy.
It's been nearly 2 weeks and the thrill has not worn off. Dubs still sleeps with his right by his head every night, he even tried to smuggle them into primary on Sunday.
He looked up at Mr Bird on his way into the church and smiled his big fang-y grin, just as innocent as could be.
Nice try, buddy! Maybe next week.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My New Look

I did it. After nearly 2 years of blogging I finally changed my layout.
I think it's very me, except I don't walk around in formal wear and I don't have wings.
Although I would really love to have wings.
Especially cute dainty fairy wings.
And my hair would look just like that if I were constantly walking over a 500 horse power fan.
And I definitely find magic in books.
That is a daily occurrence around here.
Mr Bird and I went to our monthly book group this weekend and as usual we had a terrific time.
We discussed the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey.
A great book by the way, life changing.
At the discussion Mr bird made the comment that we really have had all of our dreams come true.
We have each other, 4 terrific kids, lots of love, sweet baby kisses every day, a good job that keeps us very comfortable, plus most of the 'stuff' that makes life enjoyable.
We truly are blessed.
We are living the dream.

That being said, I am excited to apply the principles discussed in that very inspiring book to make our reality even better!
Happily Ever After is a choice.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Angry Baby

This is how Baby Cakes feels about tuna sandwiches.
Ya, he was still in his jammies at lunch time, what of it?

"Why, mom, WHY?"
"Why do you make me eat this nasty stuff?"
" What is it supposed to be anyway?"
"I am NOT touching that thing ever again, EVER, you hear me? EVER!"
"And stop taking pictures of me, I'm trying to have a melt down here!"

That's what he would be saying to me it he could speak. He was truly angry with me for suggesting he eat tuna.
I don't think you get how angry he was. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

He was tears down both cheeks, snot down to the lips, scream until he's all red and puffy, squinty eyed, angry.
Ya, that's how angry he was.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Family Fall Fun

Welcome October!

Yesterday we just could not stand being cooped up in these 4 walls any longer. We just had to go on an adventure.

Mr Bird took us on our favorite family drive.
Every time we have had a new baby we have come here.
When the new baby is about 2 weeks old I get restless.
I know the baby's too small to take in public, yet still I need to get out and see the sky and breath the fresh air.

Mr bird sees the restlessness in my eyes and loads me and the baby and any other children in the car and in a few short minutes we are in wonderland.
Weather it's Spring and the hill is covered in wildflowers or Summer and our toes feel wet and cool in the running stream or Autumn with the beautiful leaves changing and falling or Winter with pristine white and sliver covering the ground and sparkling in the trees, this is one of the most magical places I know.
It is one of my favorite parts of having a new baby.

This time there was no new baby, however, we were all feeling very restless.
We loaded all the kids in the car and in a few short minutes we were enjoying the wondrous colors of the fall trees.
A storm had come through a few day earlier and some of the snow mingled with the fall leaves was breathtaking.

The kids had fun eating the snow and making the first snow man of the year.
I had fun collecting unique leaves and dreaming of the fun fall crafts in my future.
We looked at the beautiful sky and soaked up the sunshine and breathed lots of fresh mountain air. When we were all frozen popsicles we all loaded back in the car and headed home.
It was such a nice distraction from our sickness.

Don't you just love this time of year!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Oink, Oink

Look what one of my visiting teachers brought me.
She may be having too much fun at my expense, what do you think?
Get it, Swine Flu. Swine as in piggy, Oh good, I'm glad we're on the same page.
That's OK, I guess it is pretty funny.
Jay could not stop laughing when he brought it to me (I was half delusional in my bed).

And look what we found inside when we cut into it after lunch!
She really does love me!
Triple layer chocolate cake!
We could not get enough.
I do have to say Mr Bird has been amazing this week.
He took the whole week off to help with sick kids and to take care of me.
Isn't that sweet?
He has been cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, playing with kids, taking people to the pediatrician, running to the store for things we need, reading to the kids, bathing them, putting them to bed, feeding the animals.
Really the list goes on and on
And the best part is I have not had to change one dirty diaper all week!
I really do love that man.
He is my knight in shining armour. I know that everything he has done this week has been out of love for me and the kids.
He hates cooking, yet he has not complained.
I had to laugh this morning though. He made breakfast for everyone and waited patiently while the kids ate.
Then he went up stairs to play with the kids for a while. After a while he went back to the kitchen to clean the breakfast dishes and clean the floors.
When the chore was done he came down to the office to sit and relax a little, it was quarter after 11 by then. Not 2 minutes after he sat down Doodle came in and said,
"I'm hungry! Is it lunch time yet?"
He just looked totally shocked.
What? I have to do this all over again?!?!
I just finished!
But guess what! It's never finished.
There is always another meal around the corner.
He just looked at me with disbelief in his eyes and said,
"How do you do it?!?"
Music to my ears.
It's true, taking care of 4 kids is a lot of work. Feeding them alone is a big job.
But when it's all said and done I love it.
There may be parts I dislike more than others,
like laundry, ahem,
but I really do just love being the mom.
I miss taking care of my family.
I miss school time with my kids and learning something fun and exploring different cultures.
This swine flu may have knocked me around a bit, but it has not won.
By the way, none of my home remedies has helped me to avoid infection, not even my friend the cute little clove of garlic.
Today I found out not only is my ear infected, I also have pneumonia, just like poor sad little Beano. So I finally caved and am taking antibiotics.
I just hope that means I can stop wasting time and get better and get back to doing what I love best.
Being the mom!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Friend or Foe

Hello, my blog!
Hello, my bloggy friends.
Oh, how I've missed each and every one of you.
(yes, even you)
I think I may be back on this side of death, for a few days there it was pretty ifey.
Wanna know what saved my life?
Well, I can tell you it was NOT the doctor.
No offense doctor friends, it's just that swine flu is a virus and can't really be treated, merely tolerated until the magic of the human body cures itself.

Well, this thing we call swine flu has done a number on me and my family.
We've had day after foggy day of high fevers and pain and night after night of no sleep.
Yesterday morning I woke up to clogged ears and pain, a sure sign of ear infection.
So I did what any rational person would do.
I doused my body in garlic oil and popped 2 cloves in my mouth and quickly chewed and swallowed (not too bad when your sense of taste and smell are gone).
During the day I stayed low and tried, to no avail, to pop my ears and get the crud out.
By 7:30 that evening I was exhausted so I fell into bed, after popping 2 more cloves of this stinky stuff.
As I lay in bed unable to sleep yet again I could feel the fever coming back.
The chills, the burning lips, the inability to care or move or do anything about.
As I lay there I wondered how the night would go.
I wondered if the garlic would do its job and take the infection away or if morning would find me in the doctors office begging for his merciful antibiotics.
More than once this remedy has helped my kids skirt ear infections, in fact Doddle had one just a few days earlier that was cured by this stinky substance.
The intensity of the fever had me convinced it had not worked, that I must conform and take their drugs.
But guess what? Sometime in the early night I fell into a sound, regenerating sleep and slept all night long.
When I woke up the fever was gone, the pain in my ear was gone, my throat was no longer sore, even the canker sore I had had in my mouth was gone. I'm not perfect yet, but I am amazed at the difference from just the night before.
Wanna know what else?
My sense of smell was back and boy did I smell...bad.
I guess I'm not the only one that doesn't like the way garlic smells.
Bacteria and viruses hate it, so do vampires.
And so does Jay.

On a Side Note: The little reading I have done on garlic are nothing short of astounding. Civilizations the world over have used this powerful gem for healing for thousands of years. Taken raw it has antibiotic and antiviral properties. Here are a few facts from Wikipedia:

  • Garlic has been found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity.
  • It was used as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene during World War I and World War II.
  • Garlic has been used reasonably successfully in AIDS patients to treat cryptosporidium in an uncontrolled study in China.
  • Garlic cloves are used as a remedy for infections (especially chest problems), digestive disorders, and fungal infections such as thrush.
  • Garlic is also alleged to help regulate blood sugar levels
  • The Cherokee also used it as an expectorant for coughs and croup
  • Garlic is used as a treatment for intestinal worms and other intestinal parasites
Warning: May cause sever halitosis, do not try this if you plan on leaving your house in the next week or so.