Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nature's Antibiotic

Although commonly over-prescribed, antibiotics do hold a place in the nature of our well-being. However, a little-known fact is that there is a safer alternative to what you would pick up in a pharmacy. I am so grateful to have discovered the natural, healing benefits of garlic and cranberry.

The first time I was blessed by this homeopathic cocktail was shortly after the birth of Noah, my first homebirth baby. The morning after he was born I was struck with intense and rapidly increasing abdominal pain, accompanied by a sudden-onset low-grade fever. The pain came in waves, similar to that of contractions, and was concentrated in my lower back and abdomen. We called the midwives. My hunch was the beginning of a uterine infection; they didn't know. What they did do was to start me on an immediate regimen of garlic and cranberry, paired with a tincture of echinacea and goldenseal (for immune system support.) By dinner time the fever and pain were gone. I know it was the natural antibiotic properties of the garlic and cranberry that overpowered what may have been the potential start of an infection- and I never had to leave my house or deal with the uncomfortable side effects of mainstream antibiotics. The midwives testified that with this regimen, they had never had to send a woman to the hospital as the result of an infection. I believed their words.

Well, with Noah being as sick as he was on a Sunday, I knew I had to rely on Nature's Antibiotic if I was to provide him any relief before the weekend's end. I called my dear friend Naomi, whom I knew would have some garlic on-hand (the chewable soft-gels that my kids will take as readily as candy.) We were able to pair this with dropper-fulls of cranberry concentrate for Noah, washed down with orange juice. I also took Naomi's advice and massaged behind his ears with eucalyptus oil. He fell asleep for a long nap, and when he awoke the pain in his ears was gone. We continued with the garlic softgels and cranberry concentrate (as it's important to hit it strong in the beginning when using homeopathic remedies) and later in the evening my other dear friend, Brittany, sent her very knowledgeable and experienced chiropractor husband over to give Noah an adjustment on our living room couch. This aids in the opening up of the eustachian tube, allowing for proper drainage. By dinner, Noah was up and around, and by Monday he was back to his usual self. I couldn't believe the complete turnaround he had made in less than 24 hours. But what I felt the most strongly about was the gratitude I have for caring, knowledgeable friends and the gifts God has put on the earth for us to heal ourselves.

Ashlee's Take on Chores

As I sit here and review the day's school work, I come across an old writing prompt from the beginning of the year. It reads:

"At home, I have a lot of chores to do. I have to do all my chores while everyone else does theirs. In big families, everyone needs to pitch in to get the job done quickly. Some of the good things about doing chores are: you feel good inside, you can impress your company, and the house smells clean. There are also a few negative things about doing chores, such as people getting tired and grumpy, the chores getting to be too hard, and whining. If you don't want to clean, I've learned that if you hum, or do it quickly enough, you can actually enjoy your hardest chores."

-Ashlee, 5th grade

Thanks for the reminder Ashlee. She never ceases to amaze me with her insight.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Sister's New Sock Monkey Hats

Are these not the cutest?

My sister just received an order on her Etsy store from a lady who owns an upscale boutique on Broadway in New York. She'll have her own little display there for her hats!

I think I am partial to the one for little girls- love the look of baby pink and gray together.

Very inspiring Roxanne!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Home Sick

Poor Noah- today is a sick day for him. He came in my bed at 2:00a.m. and whimpered throughout the night that his ear hurt. The last time he did this it turned out to be a ruptured ear drum, so I'm worried about him. He even threw up a couple of times (although my hunch is that this is more related to the inner ear opposed to a flu bug.) He's been crying all morning from the pressure in his head, but now he is resting (phew.) It's so hard not being able to do anything for them when they are like this.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Good Run

Distance: 4 miles
Time: 42 minutes

It's always nice when a combination of factors work in your favor. I don't know if it was the early morning, the pay-off from a week's training, or the carbs from Katie's yummy pasta last night, but today's run felt good (and I passed my friend Kristen out there, that was fun!) It also helps that my sweet Rachel decided to sleep 8 hours last night- makes 6:00a.m. feel a little less painful. My recovery drink: a peanut butter-banana smoothie with Trader Joe's Organic Chocolate Hemp Protein Powder... mmm!

Friday, September 24, 2010

7 Months- She's a pacifier girl!

Rachel will be seven months on Monday. Here she is on my bed this morning, trying to put her pacifier back in her mouth. This girl has a unique relationship with her paci- at bedtime, it's crib, blanket, pacifier- out like a light. It's nice to have something that will undoubtedly soothe every time (although Noah and Kaitlyn seemed to manage fine and still fall asleep on their own without it.) What's also nice is that she now has the hand coordination to find it and cork herself. I witnessed it the other day- I sneaked into my bedroom during nap time, which startled her awake (guess I wasn't sneaky enough.) She whimpered a little, then, with her eyes still closed, I watched her little hands come up in front of her face. She first checked to see if it was there (it sometimes gets hooked on her thumb) then she began to scan the area around her head. Sure enough, she lifted it up from beside her head and into her mouth. Back to sleep. Precious!
Rachel, you're growing beautifully.

A Runner's Dinner

At the end of the weekend, I will have run a total of 13 miles. Week one training- check.

Knowing how important it is to properly refuel, I have made a concentrated effort to incorporate wholesome, high-energy, regenerating foods into my shopping this week. Here was last night's dinner:

Marinated Salmon (this is in your recipe packet if you attended the last Cooking with JC class- healthy foods.)

Quinoa Salad (compliments of Nikki's blog, only mine didn't hold a flame to hers!)
*Quinoa is a rare grain in that it is a complete plant protein. It is also high in lysine, an amino acid responsible for tissue growth and repair, making this the athlete's perfect food.

Buttermilk Cornbread w/ raw honey (recipe from September's Fine Cooking magazine- I ground the cornmeal in the wheat grinder.)

Farmer's Market salad w/ homemade buttermilk ranch (you can't have too much buttermilk in my book.)

I truly feel that the better I fuel my body, the more efficient my running will be. After all, we get out what we put in, and the results are synergistic. Happy eating!

Thought for the Day

We all have "that" person in our lives; the test is to forgive them.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sibling Rivalry

Do your kids ever make you feel like this?

Poor Lily, she's so patient and exasperated all at the same time. These two have been going at it since birth. Six weeks Lily, I promise. Six weeks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Something to Aspire to

10-Week Half Marathon Training Schedule
103Rest3Walk 2Rest13.1Rest21.1

Monday, September 20, 2010

Be Still- Hilary Weeks

This song came on while I was doing my run tonight. I decided to listen to Hilary Weeks Radio via Pandora instead of the regular Lady Gaga. What I found is that inspirational music gives a much bigger mental and spiritual boost than pop music ever could. And, I don't have to feel guilty for what I allowed myself to listen to during my run (can you say sex, sex, and more sex?) This song is so beautiful, especially when the man begins to sing the part of the Savior. Listen to his words (Moms!) I would've gotten teary-eyed, except that would've totally killed my motivation for the hill I was about to tackle.

"Be still, and know that I am God."
-Psalm 46:10
(It's one of my favorite scriptures.)

Fresh Beet Recipe

Beets. I used to shun them- in a major way. I remember growing up that my mom and sister loved them and would always go for them at the salad bar when we went out to eat. I remember beets as being slimy, tart, and generally unappetizing. Perhaps it's because I was judging the processed, store-bought version. Now I've had them fresh (i.e. the way a beet should taste) and boy was I wrong in my judgment.
We've been frequenting the local Farmer's Market all summer long (only a few weeks left, boo-hoo) and while the $1.50 bunch of beets look tempting, I am never sure what to do with them so I usually pass them up. Well, let me share a recipe that will for sure be going in the recipe book (this was my lunch today):

Roasted Beets with Fresh Herbs and Goat Cheese

4-5 beets, trimmed but not peeled
1/4 c. minced shallot, chives, or green onion
2 Tbs. minced fresh parsley, basil, or any herb of your choice
2 Tbs. olive or canola oil
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
small amount of goat cheese

*Wrap individual whole beets in foil and place on cookie sheet. Bake in 400 degree oven for 45 mins. to 1 hour.
*Once done, remove and cool until they can be handled. Unwrap foil and slip off skins. Cut into 1/4" slices.
*Whisk together shallot or onion, fresh herbs, oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
*Pour whisked dressing over sliced beets and top with crumbled goat cheese (you can also use feta.)

This is so delicious, and I can't get over the natural, beautiful deep magenta color of the beets. To think that something so beautiful grows in nature is astonishing! (Watch out though, the juice will stain your fingers... and other things, as Naomi pointed out.) Enjoy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Thought to Share

I was doing a little research on marathon training (just for fun) and came across this quote:

"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Is this not true in so many facets of life? Be it labor, exercise, diet, cleaning, or any other endeavor one can think of, reaching the end must first start in the mind.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Life

We welcomed new life into our home this morning... very early this morning, 3:45 a.m. to be exact. I awoke to Jacob informing me that Lily had come into his bedroom and had "wet stuff" coming out of her. I knew it was time. Lily politely stood in my bedroom and meowed me out of bed. As soon as I arose, she crept into the closet and I followed. Fifteen minutes later, the first kitten arrived, orange and wet. I was amazed at how the little guy meowed the moment he landed on the carpet.
The second one came about five minutes later, and was black and still. She licked him awake, but it had me concerned. The next one was orange, followed by another black, and about this time I realized it was 6:00 a.m. and I needed to start getting ready for my run. Between the time I left her and the time I got everyone up, she had birthed three more, for a total of seven!
Lily did so good this time. She knew what was coming and handled it with grace. As for us, we now have a grip of kittens to enjoy for the next six weeks. I will definitely be finding homes for them much sooner this time around (which shouldn't be a problem- there seems to be a high demand for orange tabbies,) and bringing Lily in to get "fixed" (there's that funny word again) as soon as she is able. Good job Mama.

Folsom Dream Mile

Today was mine and Ashlee's 2nd mother-daughter 5K run. The morning was perfect: cool, breezy, and just the right amount of fog.
We had some friends from church join us this time. Kristen and I pretty much stayed together, and I told Ashlee and Haley (jokingly) that if they finished ahead of their moms, they would be in trouble. They did anyways. Good job girls!

A couple of my best supporters. Rachel held up so well, despite the fact that I didn't have time to feed her before we left the house.
Thanks again honey!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mormon Clue

Our ward put on THE BEST activity tonight- a real life game of Clue. Bishop Fox went missing (see his picture on the milk carton down there?) and our mission was to find his perpetrator.
Forrest was asked to be the host (with the most, I might add) and here he is in his get-up. We transformed the gym into Brother Brown's Ristorante, and his job was to seat patrons as they arrived.
Kirk played an excellent detective- so authentic with those dark glasses and REAL handcuffs. Here he is arresting our teammate, Jesse.
Questioning one of the suspects. "Do you have a question for mi-ah?" Each suspect (i.e. Professor Prune, Miss Snow, Bubba, etc.) had their own "room" at the stake center, and we were allowed two questions per suspect before moving on. We then had to narrow our accusation down to a suspect, a weapon and a room.
I told you, Kirk was heavy on the handcuffs tonight. Here he is cuffing Jesse to Sister Harris, whom I'm sure turned redder than the shirt she was wearing.
And the suspect: MISS SNOW! Here she is pleading her case to the shackled Bishop, who was brought in from the parking lot. Bishop, we're so glad you're alive and well! See you on Sunday.

Kittens and Kiddies

This is what Forrest walked into today. It is not uncommon for the cats to sleep in Rachel's crib, which makes for the most precious scene. I love to peek in on this and am glad he was able to capture it.
(Can you believe this is one of the kittens? They are getting so big.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Something Crafty

Now that Rachel is 6 months old she no longer qualifies me for the maternal "leave of absence" from my calling. The Relief Society president asked me for these cards over two months ago, and today I finally got around to fulfilling her request. The tricky part came in creating a different look for each card using essentially the same colors and designs. (Not quite sure these were meant to be mass-produced.)


Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I got this sling at a promotional discount (i.e. free) from a new online company. Today it arrived, and we couldn't wait to try it out. It's not made from as nice of material as my other baby carriers, but it is functional nonetheless. I like that it is lightweight and breathable. Rachel doesn't care what it's made of so long as it keeps her close to Mommy.
My favorite thing about slings is how they can double as toddler carriers. Sometimes two-year-olds need a little attachment parenting, too.
Ashlee asked me to try it on as well. She really enjoys playing mini-mom to Rachel.

Write What You Think

As a part of her curriculum, Ashlee has daily writing prompts that she responds to out of a book. I have found that at the end of the day when I am correcting the kids' work, these are what I most look forward to. It is a treat to see what she comes up with, and to get inside her active little mind. Here is a sampling:

Prompt: Who is your best friend? Write a letter to your friend that explains why your friendship is so important.

"Dear Jolena,
Since we've been together for so long, our personalities are very similar. That makes it easier for us to get along. Our friendship is so important to me because I've known you longer than all of my brothers and sisters. I feel like you're part of the family sometimes. We are interested in the same things. We have been very close friends for almost eleven years now. Sometimes I feel like I haven't seen you for months when it's only been one month. I'm glad we're at least still best friends."

Prompt: Describe the very first memory that you have.

"The very first memory that I have is when I was two years old. I was an only child and my mom, dad, and I lived in an apartment in front of a field with many rocks and few trees. To me, it seemed to go on forever. One night, when I was wandering around the house, Mom came in from outside and whispered excitedly, "Ash, come out and look at the moon!" I walked tiredly outside. I looked across the field and found that the moon looked as big as our house. Mom took me and I sat on her knee. We sat there for a long time. That was the biggest, brightest moon I have ever or will ever see."

Prompt: Write a descriptive paragraph about someone or something. Use concrete and abstract nouns.

"Kaitlyn Ann Hart was born at home. When she was a baby, she had blond hair. Now, she has beautiful gold hair. She has always been filled with energy. She's two-and-a-half, and she sure can get real spunky. She has two brothers and two sisters. She has a lot of spirit for her age. She has olive skin and the prettiest big, brown eyes. Kaitlyn loves going to the park and going down slides. She loves small animals and has a heart full of kindness. She's always been very loving to all of her siblings. She is also a great dancer and singer. The only thing is, girls don't stay two forever!"

I love that she chose to write about her sister and best friend. As far as the moon memory goes, it is hers alone (I have no such recollection.) I am glad she has it though.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Something Scrumptious

I first started making homemade saucepan pudding when I was about twelve. Only back then it was vanilla. The recipe came from my mom's Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, which I would pull out every Wednesday night while she and my step-dad were at their weekly line dancing lesson, and I would sit in her big cozy bed and eat it while watching Rescue 911. It was a favorite ritual of mine.

Well, my love of homemade pudding continues, and now I share it with my children. There's something so warm and comforting about silky pudding fresh off the stove. My children would agree (tonight it was chocolate.)

Chocolate Saucepan Pudding

In a heavy medium saucepan, combine 3/4c. sugar, 2 Tbs. cornstarch, 1/3c. cocoa powder, and a dash of salt. In separate bowl, whisk 4 egg yolks and set aside.
Turn heat to medium and whisk in 3c. whole milk.
Cook and stir until mixture thickens and is bubbly. Add 1-2 oz. bitter or semi-sweet chocolate, cut up.
(I like Trader Joe's 72% dark Belgium chocolate.)
After mixture thickens to pudding consistency, temper eggs by removing 1c. of the pudding mixture and adding it to the bowl with the egg yolks. Whisk to combine and return yolk and pudding mixture to pan (you may want to remove pan from heat during this part so you don't burn your pudding.)
Cook and stir for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 Tbs. butter and 2 tsp. vanilla (I used Mexican.)
Immediately transfer to another bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the surface of your pudding so that no film will form. Place in fridge for 2-4 hours to cool.
Serve with fresh whipped cream. Rich and delicious!

Round 2

Look closely. Do you see the round belly on this mama? Yes, she's expecting again. I feel partly to blame. I knew she had started going out at night shortly after she had her kittens, but I hesitated to take her in and get her "fixed" (funny word for something that really means broken, but we'll save that for another time) due to the fact that she was still nursing her babies. I wondered why she had started pushing the kittens away, and then the belly began to grow. We can feel them moving around quite a bit, so they should be coming any day. What I can't get over is the look she gives me that says, "This is all your fault."


Noah started preschool at Miss Cindy's last week. Here he is on his first day, all ready to go. I love this little guy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Natalie Grant- Held

Has the sacred ever been torn from your life?

Lately I have been making it a habit to listen to a Christian music station while driving around in my car. It is so much more uplifting than what is being played on mainstream stations these days, and often times a song will come on that carries the message I really need to hear. Well, today it was this. Not for any particular reason, just for the sake that it is a beautiful message. There are so many things in life that we may never understand, but I do know this message to be true.

(And if you watch this without tearing up, you are a stronger woman than I.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Night to Look Forward to

This is what I'll be making tonight, paired with chocolate caramel popcorn (our favorite.) Forrest is putting in a long day, and with the weather being the way it is, I thought I'd treat the kids and myself to a movie and goodies night. We've been doing really good with our healthy eating lately, but I am craving this.

(Turtle Brownie recipe compliments of Mormon Mommy Blogs)

Something Inspired

My friend Katie wrote this on her blog late last night, and I was so moved by it that I couldn't help but share (Katie, I hope you don't mind.) I truly think she touches on a universal subject and do not doubt that her words were inspired. Take the time to read and enjoy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Beautiful Summer

"Oh beautiful, blessed, summer. Sunny days, cool nights, 3- straight - months - of - a - beautiful - breeze summer. I don't know who you are or where you came from, but I'd like to thank you and invite you to come again!"

My Sister's Etsy Store

My sister Roxanne is amazingly talented. I was just checking out her online Etsy store and couldn't believe the cute stuff she has come out with! This is one of her newest hats, and I think it is absolutely darling. She makes adorable clips and bows as well. On top of all this, she has 100% positive customer feedback!
Her prices are reasonable, and her turn-around is very fast (she ships quickly.) Fall is right around the corner, so it's time to start thinking of keeping those little heads warm! If you feel so inclined, check out her items here. Her hats and bows make great gifts, or you can enjoy them on your own little one! There's nothing like homemade, and if you're looking for something unique you'll find it from my sister. She has a gift for the creative flair.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fanfare in C Major

These are the two pieces Ashlee has been working on. It is an absolute pleasure having her piano music fill the home, and I love listening to her play while I do dishes, sort laundry, etc. We have been very happy with her new piano teacher and the progress she's made (I liked watching this in full-screen mode best.)

Nursing Her Baby

Kaitlyn had a friend over this morning, and when I went out back to check on them Kaitlyn told me she was "nursing her baby." These girls love to play mommies, and nursing is what mommies do!
She actually kept her doll in this position as she walked all around the backyard... nursing on the go, I love it!
Lucy was quick to strike this pose when she saw me with the camera. You've got her trained, Brittany!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


We were at the park tonight when I stuck my finger on Rachel's gums and was surprised to rub across the sharp nub of a tiny tooth! I knew it would be coming soon, as she is just past the six month mark and this is when my babies usually get their teeth. Still, it came as a surprise. It's just another testament to the fact of how quickly she is growing up.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

On a Good Day

Here are my children's bedrooms on a good day. I took pictures because it makes me happy to look at them. There is something so serene and peaceful about a clean room- especially the girls' room with all its pink and softness. I love to put on their Children's Hymns c.d. and just sit- and soak it all in. It is probably one of my favorite rooms in the house- on a good day. The other morning Noah came in and was instantly taken in by the calmness of it. "I want to get dressed in here," he said, as he ran off to retrieve his clothes. There is something alluring about a clean, organized, nicely decorated room. It brings an instant feeling of peace and quiets the mind.

Friday, September 3, 2010

(Another) Clarification

So I got in trouble for telling everyone that after seeing the bear, Forrest slept with the buck knife in his hand. What he was actually doing was, "Waiting for the bear to come back so I could hunt it." The knife was to protect his sleeping wife and babes in the tent.

You could've dropped that bear honey.

Okay, there.

India House

We decided to go out to dinner as a family tonight. Our original plan was to try Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill in Folsom, but as we were walking by the India House (located right next door,) the man you see pictured below opened the door to his restaurant and invited us in. "Are you looking for good food?" he asked. He promised we would not be disappointed upon the condition that anything we tried and did not like we would not be billed for. So we entered.

We were never treated to such hospitable service and delicious food! I couldn't believe the care he took in making us feel welcome, engaging the kids in the ordering process, and sharing with us the history of his culture and business. We ended up getting the family platter (which was meant for two but served all six of us,) and everything was so flavorful. The taste of the fresh herbs and spices in all of the food was amazing. He even treated us to an extra dessert free of charge "in honor of the breastfeeding mother" he said.

Half way through the meal a purple linen-clad belly dancer made her appearance. The kids really got a kick out of this, especially when she summoned each of them to come up and dance with her! Jacob kindly (but sternly) refused.

Before we left the owner posed with the boys for a picture. Noah is wearing the temple "wedding hat." What a fun, fun night. Much more than we bargained for.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A New Craft

Naomi came over and taught Ashlee how to make hair bows today (as if she needed another craft, right?) Here she is modeling her first one:
She is already busy filling orders for friends and preparing for a local craft show in November.
I tell you this girl is a creative genius.

Thanks Naomi! We look forward to more lessons with you...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What They're Not Teaching Your Kids in School

This is an excerpt from Ashlee's 6th grade Health textbook:

"...being healthy means more than physical, mental, and social health. It also includes spiritual health. When you are spiritually healthy, God is the Lord of your life- all areas of your life. God becomes Lord of your body, your feelings and thoughts, your decisions, and your relationships with others. Treating others kindly and respectfully (social health), for example, will be more than something you do in order to get along in the world. You will be treating others the way God wants you to; you will be showing your thanks to God for His love to you...spiritual health must be the starting point."

-Health Inside and Out p.6

The other day I was asked by a woman in line if I homeschool my kids because I am afraid of the public school system. My answer to these types of questions is always that I do not homeschool out of fear, I homeschool to give my kids a better quality of education. As a person who approaches life from a holistic perspective, homeschooling seems like the natural decision. In health, for example, you can't treat the disease without looking at the cause. The reason why alternative medicine is so effective is because it addresses the human being as a whole- mind, body and spirit. I believe the same holds true for education. To fail to acknowledge that children are spiritual beings in need of guidance and inspired teaching deprives them of a necessary part of their development. To paraphrase a quote from one of the church leaders, you can't send your child to a spiritually hostile environment every day and expect them to grow spiritually. I think we are only beginning to see the effects of the separation-of-church-and-state gone too far, and there are days I do keep my kids home out of fear. Back to the woman's question, the look on her face was non-indicative as to whether or not she was an advocate of homeschooling. It wasn't until she told me that she did homeschool all of her kids, all twelve years, because she was afraid, that I knew she understood.

My Favorite Salad

This has been my favorite salad as of late. I start with a spring mix from the Farmer's Market, then add dried cranberries, honeyed goat cheese, and Trader Joe's Cranberry Walnut Gorgonzola dressing. It's sweet and delicious.