Thursday, December 13, 2007

Anterior Placentas are bad for you

At least I think so. I haven't had one before but so far I hate it. I can't feel a thing! Here's the story:

This morning I went into the doctor's office as soon as I dropped Ashlyn off at school. I hadn't felt the baby since yesterday and the little handout "Kick Count" card they gave me said that I should be feeling at least 10 kicks in 2 hours and if it took longer than that then I should give them a call.

This hasn't been an active baby by any stretch but I can usually count on a few good minutes of kicking in the morning if I lay on my back as I'm waking up. Last night - nothing, this morning - nothing. I was incredibly worried! An acquaintance of mine (due 2 weeks before me) had to be induced a few weeks ago to give birth to her baby after the cord strangled him. Had I never heard of this I might have been fine to wait a few more hours but I was so paranoid and emotional I needed to know right away if everthing was ok.

I did all that I could this morning according the KC card: emptied my bladder, drank water, stretched. Ahhh! I cried on the way to school and said a bunch of prayers. I made it to the waiting room and spoke to the receptionist calmly but when the nurse came out I said what I needed to and then there was no more. I just cried while they took me back to the room and brought out the ultrasound.

The nurse was so perfect! She knew I wasn't in a talking mood so she chatted with Nathan and just gave me instructions. First thing I saw was a little heart beating! Then I got to let out a nice big sob. She spent quite a few minutes with me and at the end presented me with some printed pictures to take home. I love her! I'll post them and try to explain so you can see too!
Above we have a front view. Tilt your head to the right. On the right is the cutest face you've ever seen! You can see dark spots for the eyes and you can even see a nose and lips! Chest is in the middle. My placenta (the yucky anterior one) is the light curve along the top.




This one is a great shot of my problem. You can clearly see the foot and leg on the left. I am getting kicked. I feel nothing. I love ultrasounds. See? GE really does bring good things to life! The white blobs on the far right (they kind of look like they are forming the head of an arrow) are the fingertips - this little one was waving up a storm at Nathan, who was just eating it up (and waving right back!). That cocktail weiner looking thing next to the foot is the umbilical cord.
Ok, here is another "waving at Nathan" picture. You can see the leg and foot (again pushing on a nice squishy placenta) and I feel nothing! On the right you can see two arms in the process of waving. You can see the fingers. Below you see some vague vertical white ribs and the bright white body. You also get a nice cross-section of the umbilical cord. You can see the three circle areas outlined in white? That's the 2 veins and the artery, or the 2 arteries and the vein - I can't remember.
And last but not least, another cute face! (On the far right - looking right at you!) It's been sliced diagonally, but you can see the baby's right eye, nose, mouth and chin. SOOOoooooo cute! I love the face pictures the best. The white blob is probably an arm and the other things are appendages too.

Anyway - I had to pay $20, but the peace of mind is so worth it!

Builder's Pride


They were so excited to have built this by themselves! They were making variations on this theme for days. You know we do have building blocks, but I guess they aren't as challenging!

Genetics will tell - or Nathan's new trick

During our dumpling dinner we discovered Nathan can do this:



And Ashlyn....

can't.

Foul Soup

We decided that we would use up some turkey by making Foul Soup (which would be RC's Chicken Dumpling soup to the rest of the world). I always make this after Thanksgiving to use up turkey (hence our multi-meat title) and, of course, at other times during the year. Sick people love to get a new twist on the basic Chicken Soup and always ask for the recipe.



Well, today Rick helped me out while I was finishing up a project and made the soup for me. I pulled out some of our yummy Make-Ahead Crescent rolls that I had frozen from Thanksgiving and let them rise all day in the kitchen. I just asked Rick to pop them in the oven when he put the dumplings in and I thought we had a great game plan going for a fabulous dinner!



The soup recipe is pretty imprecise as far as amounts go - I always add more stock than the recipe calls for and just cut up the veggies until it looks good to me. I told Rick that. Well - this was HILARIOUS! First, Rick is not a fan of veggies so there weren't that many in there. But that was only the first surprise I had and definintely not the biggest one.


Here is the soup in all its glory. What are you looking at you may ask? Well, you are looking at about 3 inches of "dumpling" and about 3 inches of soup underneath (I dug some out for the picture). I literally laughed outloud when I took the lid off of the pot! I asked Rick what he did to the dumplings because I had never seen them form up in one solid mass before. Now I'm not the perfect cook - I've seen them dissolve into the soup b/c I messed up while dropping them or didn't have the soup at enough of a boil. I just had never seen such a huge layer of "dumpling".

Oh my! Rick was going off the C.W. Welch addage which goes something like "If a little does a good job, more does it better!" He figured since we added more stock that he would DOUBLE the dumpling recipe! :) Hee-hee. The dumplings are a pretty generous amount as is but I guess I haven't made this recently enough for him to remember. Wow! It was like eating dumplings with some turkey and an occasional vegetable pressed into them. Not bad - but not what either of us expected!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Nathan's New Pocket

Yup! He is thinking this is the best thing ever.

Of course it's a pocket! What else would a slit in your pants be for?

The wise man built his house upon the rock...


That was Rick's Family Night lesson this past week. Care to venture a guess as to why?

Ward Christmas Party

The day after our crazy pot pie, sewing, cleaning, work party we were at it again with the ward Christmas Party. (This was a bad week - literally something every single night!)

We started in the chapel with a presentation and songs then moved to the cultural hall for a ham dinner. They served us in courses so the dinner pic I have is when we were just munching on rolls. :)

Then we had caroling and (though it wasn't on the agenda) dancing.

And then we heard some loud "HO HO HO"s and who should appear but Santa Claus! BTW - Ashlyn asked for a Jack-in-the-box. HUH? That was not something Santa would have thought of for a Kindergartener! They both gave Santa a big hug before getting their treat (pencil and super cool gum balls in a cylinder with attached toy!)

There's Always Time for Family!

Well, that's what it's going to say on my wall clock as soon as I put the vinyl lettering on! It's almost worth being LDS just for the crafts! (Just kidding - if that's all I wanted I would just move to Utah. :) )

Here is Stage One: a 24" circle cut from particle board and then mudded with a putty knife to simulate plaster.


And here is Stage Two: Sanded, painted a neutral beige, then glazed with a rag. And of course the clock mechanism's in.

November 30 - what a crazy day!

I was a crazy woman! I went shopping, made a homemade Chicken Pot Pie with puff pastry crust (no cream of *** soup here, baby! It even had taragon and nutmeg!) in individual ramekins for the kids hoping presentation would sway them to eat well for the sitter (totally worked), sewed Nathan one of his presents, cleaned the house and got ready for Rick's jacket and tie work dinner! (Which was so incredibly lame - $43 plus gas out of my entertainment budget which is already sadly overbudget! How is that since we've been on maybe 4 dates this year? I think for gifts we should just solicit GCs to go out to dinner. Then I've only got to talk myself into the expense of a $25 babysitter instead of the sitter and dinner!) Here are some pics though!

Little Late - halloween craft


I promised myself I wouldn't throw away the kids' cute crafts without taking a picture first. This helps me with my little problem of keeping every single thing they make and then having nowhere to put them. Now I feel a little better if I toss it since there is a picture for posterity!

At Ashlyn's school they had a Halloween party and I came to help out with Nathan. Since there were crafts left over I got one for him to make at home.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Print out your Super Target coupons!

This week you can get (among other things I am sure) awesome deals on groceries at Target! There is a $1 coupon on their site for fresh veggies which made broccoli $.99 for a big bunch (plenty for our family for dinner). Cauliflower would be $1.49 for a big bunch. Then there was the $.75 off Daisy sour cream (used for enchiladas). The small container was dead cheap with this coupon (no size restriction). There also a Stovetop stuffing Q that makes it $.29 - there have been Buy3Get1 tearpads spotted at grocery stores that make this even better! We topped our enchiladas with tomatoes from the $1 off tomatoes on the vine coupon as well. There's no minimum so I bought 2 tomatoes for $.84 (those puppies were $2.49/lb!!!).

I even used their printers to print off my Qs to save paper. Just use the registry machines/computers. Select target.com - shop online from the options, navigate to the coupons and print them right there in the store!

SOS

http://extension.usu.edu/fsne/files/uploads/Recipes/Soup%20or%20Sauce%20Book.pdf
This is an awesome book that will save you lots of money if you cook for your family! The Utah State University has come up with a recipe book (and accompanying cooking class) for their SOS mix - "Soup or Sauce". It is a mix that I love! You mix it up, store it and then just add water to get instant "Cream of ??" soup. I sub into all my recipes now! It's fat free and you control what goes into it! You can add low sodium ingredients and alter it to your family's tastes. Lovely!

Here's their recipe for the Chicken Enchiladas we had last night!
1 pkg flour tortillas
1 lb cooked, diced or shredded chicken
1 can (4 oz) green chilies, chopped
2/3 cup *SOS
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup “light” sour cream
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Directions:
Make sauce by combining SOS mix, water and green chilies.
Cook and stir on stove top or in microwave until thickened.
Add sour cream to sauce. Cut tortillas in quarters. Line
bottom of casserole with tortillas. Add a layer of chicken
and a layer of sauce. Top with cheese. Repeat. Bake at
350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Yield: 8 servings

The kids SCARFED this! It was unbelievable! We paired this with broccoli from our Super Target deals and this came out to be a very affordable meal!

The Bathroom!

As soon as Rick came home we dug into Chicken Enchiladas and left to go to pick out tile about 20 minutes away in a store that was having a Vet Day sale. We spent an hour there and left with many $$ worth of floor and wall tile for the bathroom downstairs.


Here is the floor tile...



And the wall tile... I know it doesn't look like they match but I promise they do. The floor is similar to the light colored tile. The light colored tile is more beige than yellow. The shower surround will be the darker brown on all three walls with a strip of diagonal tiles running horizontally in the middle. That will be the light tile in the center and then one dark tile above and one below. Sorry if that's hard to picture.


Then we left to go to Lowe's, which was 20 min. away and closing in less than an hour to pick up our tub and as much other stuff that we could buy in $50 increments. I found out just yesterday afternoon that yesterday was the last day of an awesome promo at Lowe's where you got a $10 coupon for every $50 spent. So we bought the following in separate trips:



1. tub

2. grout and pedestal sink

3. backerboard and sand. And then it was after 9 and our kids were dying and so were we and so we went home.


Rick wanted to have a lot for his dad to do when he comes to help out with the basement this weekend. He has even NOT been working on the basement for fear he'll get too much accomplished and his dad will be sitting on his duff. :) I thought that Grandpa might want to visit, see the grandkids, etc. but Rick is sure he will be devastated if we don't have a full array of projects for him to tackle. Well, after last night I'm sure he'll be fine!






Why I have no idea what's for dinner tonight...


Yup, that's twelve loaves of Poppy Seed Bread (before I backspaced that read "poopy" seed - Man my hands are tired!)


For YW tonight we are visiting some elderly ladies to get to know them in preparation for a luncheon we'll be having next month. I think it is kind of an "Adopt-a-grandma" thing - except I thought that was supposed to include something in the interim. You know, like leaving them gifts, chatting with them once a week or so, raking their leaves or something. As far as I know we're just visiting them this once. I guess I'll know more after tonight. Anyway, I was supposed to bring something to place in the baskets we're bringing to them. We only had 6 or so girls sign up out of all three classes so the YW Pres thought that the baskets might look sad with only one girl's stuff in it. I was asked to bring something for the basket that my group would be delivering (since I'm driving tonight) so it would look a bit more full. So I chose this bread! I saw the recipe on Heather's blog a while ago and she raved about it so much that it's been in my brain that I need to make it. I had to go and make a trip to King Soopers (a grocery store that I usually hate b/c of their 3 coupon limit and Nazi-managers) to buy butter extract. I have to say I never even knew that existed! I called Rick and told him what I was doing that morning (and to say sorry I didn't make it to Lowe's to pick up the backerboard and sand I was planning on) and somehow I ended up being persuaded to make 3 batches of the stuff! I asked if there was anyone that would be loaning us stuff for his basement bathroom project this weekend that might appreciate a homebaked "thank you!". I knew that there was a guy bringing in his tile saw tomorrow for us to use but didn't know what else we might be borrowing. At the end of our conversation somehow I was making a big loaf for us, one for his co-workers, one for the YW, and 8 for our home/visiting teachees. Eh? Oh well! I joked with him on the phone that he just wants to keep his wife barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen where she belongs.

Four hours later: my whole house smells yummy, I have a new appreciation for butter extract and its capabilities, I have no more oil, I am almost out of sugar, I went through a jar of poppy seeds (I had to fix it again!) and a jar of almond extract, and I didn't get my nap! I did get a bunch of laundry loads finished though! Man, I'm tired! We stayed up way too late with our bathroom last night.

Here's the recipe if you're interested:

Poppy Seed Bread

3 eggs
1 1/8 C. oil
2 1/4 C. sugar
1 1/2 C. milk
3 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 tsp. butter extract
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 T. poppy seeds

Beat eggs, oil & sugar. Add flour, salt, baking powder & milk. Then, add extracts and poppy seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour in two bread pans or use smaller loaves.

GLAZE:
1/4 C. orange juice
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. butter, almond & vanilla extracts
Prick bread while warm and drizzle glaze over entire bread. (I warmed this up first in the microwave for a minute to melt the sugar).


Friday, November 09, 2007

Hawaii Man and Glitter Girl

We were doing a craft project that came with the following coloring page:

I thought this was just too cute! Ashlyn's Kindergarten teacher emphasizes "lots of details" on their homework and assignments at school. She encourages lots of coloring and embellishments. So Ashlyn colored every inch of this paper we did! There was something I thought was so funny that I had to share. She started coloring in the boy and telling me about how he has dark skin. She said it's just like a "Hawaii Man". :) Because even though he's not from Hawaii he has skin like a Hawaii Person. :) The girl has pink skin because her mom put pink glitter on her before they went to the beach. Wow - what a nice mom, huh?

This is the back of that page.

The basic picture is of 2 people riding a unicorn. Then we started to add "details". In Ashlyn's conference her teacher mentioned that Ashlyn seemed cautious to spell and label her drawings. She encouraged us to work on helping Ashlyn feel comfortable with it so she would do it at school. (So she's a bit of a perfectionist who doesn't like trying new things for fear of looking silly to others.... Hmmm, where did she get that?)
Well, now she is writing all over everthing! I love it! Her teacher said that at this point it would be VERY phonetic and contain a mix of lowercase and caps and that was fine. So I thought I would share. You see the pic above - here are the letters (and then a translation). But first a quick preview so you can see how she thinks...
On the sailboat/ocean craft we made that goes with the picture she wrote this on one of the sails:
ThAcQ
LINUS
z
That is: Thank You Lindsey (cuz you remember Josh and Lindsey are her fave names when she plays). My favorite is the "Q" as in than-Q = thank you. Oh man she's awesome.

So here is what's on her paper:

FRoM Ashlyn Bair wutisit?
Hape Muthrss Dua!
Didygod WeceD?
Hatn A Yss :) gudjuob!
GuDjouB

(heart)LuvAshlyn
UR BUUbFL

Translation:
From Ashlyn Bair What is it?
Happy Mothers' Day!
Did you have a good weekend? ("did you" is on the first line, "have a" is the 2nd, "good weekend" is on the 3rd and then back on the 1st line. Kinda like columns?)
Yes. Good Job!
Good Job.
Love Ashlyn
You are beautiful.

Wow! You may also notice that everyone (cat and unicorn included) are wearing crowns. :) It's the sign of an authentic Ashlyn original piece of art. Beware of forgeries!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Mmmm - dinner

So, tonight's dinner rocked. (Especially considering the last 2 nights of barely any effort sandwiches and scrambled eggs). Since red meat is out and I've been dying for a burger I made our very favorite turkey burgers. I thought we had a couple of potatoes that might be growing things so I decided to make french fries too. (Turns out we only had one potato but I just cut 'em thin!) Then we had smoothies with the frozen tropical fruit mix from Costco with pineapple juice and milk. :) The baby needs colorful fruit!

Here's some recipes that we have tested out and found worthy!

Hamburger Buns (oh yeah, I make my own buns! I started these after nap - around 3pm - to be ready by dinner)
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 (.25 oz) pkgs dry yeast (this is 4.5 tsp if you have a jar like I do)
1 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup veg. or olive oil (extra tasty with butter if you have the extra room in your arteries and around your middle)
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt

Stir together 2 cups of flour and the yeast.
In a separate bowl heat milk, water, oil, sugar and salt to lukewarm (not too hot to kill the yeast) in microwave.
Add all at once to flour mixture and beat until smooth ~3 min. (less in a mixer)
Mix in enough flour to make a soft dough, 2-3 cups. Mix well.
Dust a flat surface with flour, turn dough out onto floured surface and let rest under bowl ~10 min.
Shape dough into 12 slightly flat balls and place on greased baking sheet (cover with plastic wrap so they don't dry out) til doubled.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 12-15 min. or til brown.

(I only used 1/2 the dough and am going to use the rest for the calzone recipe following).

Turkey Burgers
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
1 (1 oz.) pkg onion soup mix
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t garlic powder
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1 egg
(In case you don't already know - t is tsp and T is Tbsp)

Mix (will look soupy but don't fret - they are so moist!) and shape into patties. Broil or grill! MMMmmmmmm!

Baked French Fries
3 russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4" strips
cooking spray
1 t dried basil
1/2 t onion powder
1 t seasoned salt
1/8 - 1/4 c. grated parmesan (depends on what you're in the mood for)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Put foil on baking sheet and spray the foil. Put fries in a ziploc baggie, spray with cooking spray and shake the fries and seasonings together to coat. Arrange fries in a single layer on pan and bake until golden (25-45 min. - depends on how crispy you like 'em).

And the extra bread dough will become...

Spinach Calzones
1 15oz container of ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 T dried Italian seasoning
2 T mayo
1/2 t oinion powder
3 c. shredded mozzarella
1 c. parmesan, grated
3 cloves sauteed garlic
1 10oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
s&p to taste
1 32 oz pkg frozen white bread dough

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix filling (everthing but dough). Divide dough into 8 pieces and roll each into 8" circle. Spoon 1/2 c. filling into each circle, fold over and seal edges. Place on greased cookie sheet. Cut small vent on top and brush with olive oil. Bake 20-30 min. or until brown. If you have leftover filling use it for stuffed shells or spinach pizza.

And here we are at 20 weeks!


Not too huge - in fact just lookin' a little chunky! :) Oh well! Everyone who's important knows that I'm not just in love with doughnuts!

Happy Halloween!

Here's what we had for dinner! We were inspired by those pizzas that Papa Murphy puts out for Halloween. Ours, however, is obviously MUCH cooler! We've even got stuffed crust! (Just put mozarella sticks on the edge and roll the crust over). MMMMMmmmmm. This was night #2 of the red meat death sentence (night #1 being the chili at the Trunk or Treat you read about previously). I didn't figure out until the 3rd time that week we ate red meat that that was what was making me so sick - so the day after Halloween was not good for me. Rick took the kids out to Trick or Treat at a few of our neighbors homes (he took the van since it was FREEZING). They got lots of candy and even a can of soda pop! :) Here is a pic of our Jack-o-Lanterns. Rick didn't do one, so the only addition is mine - in the middle.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Weird...

Sorry that some of these pics aren't "clickable". I have no clue why some aren't allowing you to click to get the big version. I've uploaded them all the same way with the same options. Weird.

Buzz!

I tried to upload this here as a link to our youtube video but blogger is freaking out in a thousand ways today and apparently (I'm guessing since they now host videos) they don't want me connecting to youtube. Ugh. You can find it on youtube under our username (same as the last video) if you'd like. Hope this blogger video thing works! So I lost the original post and here I am trying to remember all my witty comments...

Ok, so this is from this morning! Rick usually puts on his gear in the kitchen. While he was getting dressed Nathan decided to borrow his cool motorcycle stuff. :) He does this frequently - hey, who could resist! After Rick had put on one of his boots Nathan grabbed the other one and after putting both feet in, tried to hop around the kitchen.

Then he crawled up onto the chair and put on the gloves and helmet and said this! :)

video

You should all know that my kids, and especially Nathan are in love with Toy Story. (So if you're thinking of a Christmas or birthday gift - that would go over well!) We don't even have the movie but our friends Aaron and Shelly are sweet hearts and have let us borrow their 2-disc set (1 and 2!) twice so the kids could watch them. They love those flicks and quote them all the time. In fact Buzz is what Nathan wanted to be for Halloween, but I couldn't find any costumes for less than a fortune. So Spidey (who runs a close second for fave hero) was our costume of choice. :)

Tonight's FHE


So tonight we Halloween Family Night. While dinner was baking Rick helped the kids carve their pumpkins. Then we ate and after dinner we told the story from the friend about Pumpkins and Candles. (We lit the Jack-o-lanterns on the hearth while we read). We had flannel board pics to help us tell the story and afterward we turned down the lights and looked at the kids' Jack-o-lanterns. We talked about the light of Christ that's inside each of us and how it burns brightly for all to see when we're living like we should. We discussed the boy in the story and how he was able to repent after "dimming" his light and what kind of choices he made (and could have made). It was great!
Next we went to the kitchen and brought out our laminated pumpkins to decorate. I made these last year by printing pumpkins and various pumpkin parts onto cardstock and then laminating them. We use the sticky tack (you know - like gum kinda but removable?) stuff to arrange eyes, a stem, nose and mouth. My family is so creative! Mine's your standard pumpkin face, but Ashlyn must have used each item on her pumpkin and Rick was so tricky! He used the pointy eyes as ears! Such imagination!

First snow of the year (last Sunday the 21st)


Frankie and his Witch

Spidey's got muscles


Ashlyn's a Princess


Trunk or treat

Fun! We had our church's trunk-or-treat on Saturday and thought we'd share some pics! We started with chili and rollss, then we went through the different rooms to collect goodies! It was a fall carnival with bowling, fishing booth, beanbag toss, spook alley, cake walk, musical chairs, spin for a prize, etc.

Then we all walked around the the parking lot from trunk to trunk for candy.

FHE

So last week we did our 2nd annual "We love Fall" family home evening. We went on a little nature walk and had the kids fill bags with fall leaves of different colors, shapes and sizes - whatever they liked. (Nathan wanted to add berries, sticks and rocks but we had to veto that plan).




Then we drove around and talked about what beautiful fall colors God made for us here, had a little science lesson on why leaves change color in autumn and went back home for a little crafty time.
We took the leaves and had the kids make wax paper collages with them. (You take the leaves and iron them between two pieces of wax paper.) They each have one in the kitchen window, their bedroom windown and they each made a smaller one for daddy's office window. (Yeah - he's that cool - he has a view).



Fun!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pumpkin Party

Our friends up the street had their what I think will become annual party up at their place and invited us and lots of others to their fabulous shindig. They have a lot with quite a bit of acreage including a HUGE garden plot and a barn down back. They planted a bunch of pumpkins and then invite enough families that their is a pumpkin for every kiddo. They provide chili and we all bring side dishes to share. Each kid gets to go up to the "patch" to pick out their own pumpkin to take home. They had candy and glow-in-the-dark bracelets! The kids' good friend Olivia is the other cutie in the pictures.
Such a great fun night!
We had a nice storm that night - complete with lightning and thunder and a bit of hail. That's why all of the pics are in the barn (complete with concrete floor and a woodburning stove - cozy!). We did have a bunch of fun though and appreciate all of the hard work our friends put out for all of us who were lucky enough to be invited!
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