Monday, February 28, 2011

Still Trying....

We are still trying to eat as much raw food as we can. That usually ends up being 2-3 times a week. The other days of the week we eat cooked meals, but try to make them fairly healthy.

Mike makes green smoothies for us everyday. It's a great way to include a large amount of phytochemicals into your diet!

Trying to eat right is truly a science. I have been learning all kinds of things in my research. For instance, cooked tomatoes are actually better for you than raw ones because the chopping and heat help release the lycopene. It has been fun and interesting to come up with the "perfect" diet.
Also, did you know that eating Indian food can be quite beneficial to your health? The Indian people use so many nutrient rich spices in their food, it's hard not to get an astounding dose of antioxidants when eating it.

Here is the chicken marinade I made for our Indian meal last week. So many beautiful, colorful, aromatic spices combined to make the perfect flavor. And did I mention it's SO GOOD for you? Like I said, it's a science. It's awesome to learn the various benefits of each spice (from treating inflammation to indigestion.) I am becoming a huge believer in the healing power of spices and herbs.

Here is the vegetarian shepherd's pie we made last week as well. Full of a dozen types of vegetables, tofu, mashed sweet potatoes, and nuts.

Mike and I signed up with Local Harvest today, which I hope will turn out to be a good decision for us. This not only helps the local farmers, but we also get organic, locally grown fruit, vegetable, meat and eggs. I'm so excited about this!

I am loving this new outlook on food and nutrition!

Pregnant Pepper

Besides seeds in this red bell pepper, I found lots of little baby peppers growing inside. (I even found one more after this picture was taken.)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jacob's First Haircut

A couple of weeks ago I decided Jake needed a haircut. Ever since his birth, his hair has grown really, really long on top (right down the middle) but has stayed short on the sides and in the back. Quite honestly, it was starting to look a bit silly to me. So I had to say good-bye to the locks on the top.

Here in this photo you can kind of see how long it was. I had to comb it to the side because otherwise it sort of looked like he had a widow's peak.

I combed the top into a mohawk and took the scissors to it.
(Jake, 7 months)

On an unrelated note, why does it look like he's got jaundice nose in these pictures?


After the scissors I used the electric clippers to even it out. I think the haircut makes him look older.

Happy, smiley kiddo likes the new 'do!

Callings

I haven't had very many callings in my life. After we were married, Mike and I were called to be nursery workers for a short time. When we moved to Japan I was the Sunday school teacher for the English speakers. Upon returning to the States, I was called to be a teacher in the Young Women's organization. Then when we moved to MT, I was called to be the secretary in the Primary. (Primary is the organization of children age 3-11 years old.)

About a year later I was called to be the Primary President. This last calling has been the most challenging yet. (Not sure what a calling is? Click here.) When the Bishop of our ward extended the calling to me about 2 years ago, I was stunned. Didn't he realize I knew nothing about Primary? As a child, I only went to Primary a handful of times. I never "graduated" from Primary before going into the Young Women group. I had no idea how Primary was supposed to work or what I was supposed to do. And I have never considered myself much of a leader. I am the type of person who would rather not be in charge and make executive decisions. I am the type of person who finds it easier to be given an assignment rather than give an assignment to someone else. (cos then I just feel bossy...) And yet, I knew the calling was from God and that if He called me to that position, I would be able to fulfill my duties with His help.

I realized right away that the calling was going to be more for my benefit than the children's. I thought, "what could I possibly have to offer these young kids?" And so far, I truly do believe it has benefited me in many ways. At times it is difficult or stressful, but most of the time I feel blessed to be where I am. It seems like an overwhelming assignment sometimes. After all, I am responsible for what these kids learn at church. Their little minds soak up everything, and that realization has prompted me live my life the best I can so that I can set the proper example for them. I have been compelled to study the gospel more since I am expected to teach it. It has been a blessing for me in that regard. I have come to love the hymns from the Primary Children's Songbook (and have actually learned many of them which we sing in our home regularly.) Through my calling I have learned to delegate and rely on my counselors (which was very hard at first) and especially rely on the Lord. I have learned to have more faith. I have learned how important it is to have the spirit with me so that I can know the needs of each individual child. I know I'm not perfect, but this calling has definitely aided in my spiritual progress. More than anything, the children have been an influence for good in my life. Their innocence and faith inspire me. Those children say and do some of the funniest/cutest things. Some of the kids test my patience, don't get me wrong. :)

But even those experiences have taught me a lot. And isn't that the point of life? To learn, to grow, to gain experience, to serve others, and to make the lives of others better? I pray all the time that I will be able to touch the lives of those kids and help their testimonies of Jesus Christ grow. Because I know that being around them has certainly increased my own testimony. I feel lucky and blessed that Heavenly Father knew what I needed when this specific calling was extended to me. He knew serving with the children would help me. He knew it was something I wasn't familiar with, but that it would be okay because I would have assistance. Callings are given to us for a reason, I have no doubt about that. And I am thankful everyday for the opportunity to serve in the capacity that I have been asked to.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Knight's Birthday

Vessel was recently invited to a birthday party for some friends and their mom had the cutest theme. All the boys were dressed up as knights and got to bring their swords and all the girls were dressed up as princesses.


A refreshing drink of dragon's blood.

There was face painting, which the kids loved.

Vessel had a hard time with someone putting stuff on his face. It must've felt weird, but he endured.



The finished product! Metal face armor!



Some of the girls got butterfly faces.

My friend painted her husband's face too, to make him a scary dragon. And all the knights had fun fighting off and eventually slaying the dragon to save the princesses.

Cute cake!


Here is a cute video of Vessel slaying the dragon to save the damsel in distress!
video

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Talk About Politics and Religion With a 4 Year Old

Here is my convo with Vessel tonight, practically verbatim.

Vessel: Who is the girl on my quarter?
Me: That's not a girl, that's a boy.
Vessel: Who is he?
Me: He was our first president. That's George Washington.
Vessel: Why does he have a pony tail?
Me: He wore a wig.
Vessel: Why?
Me: Some people just wore wigs back then.
Vessel: Was he bald?
Me: I don't know...So, anyway...do you know who our president is now?
Vessel: Yep, President Monson.
Me: No, er...I mean, who is the President of the United States?
Vessel: Um...I don't know.
Me: Our president is Barack Obama.
Vessel: Barack Obama is our prophet?
Me: No, Barack Obama is just our president. He's not a Mormon. He doesn't go to our church.
Vessel: Why?
Me: I don't know.
Vessel: Why isn't he Mormon? Why doesn't he want to learn about Jesus?
Me: (laughing) Maybe he learns about Jesus at a different church. So...anyway, Barack Obama is the leader of our country and Thomas S. Monson is the leader of our church.
Vessel: So we have 2 leaders? Why do we have 2 leaders?
Me: Well, I'm the Primary President, so I'm a leader. That means I'm in charge of the Primary. Thomas S. Monson is in charge of the entire church. Barack Obama is in charge of the entire United States, which is where we live.
Vessel: No, we live in Montana.
Me: We do, but Montana is a part of the United States.
Vessel: So Barack Obama is in charge of me?
Me: (laughing) Well, in a way, but not really.
Vessel: Does Barack Obama speak for Jesus?
Me: Uh, no, I don't think so.
Vessel: Oh. (then he lost interest in the conversation and went back to coloring.)

Blast From the Past

It's my lucky day folks, cos I stumbled upon a gem of a photo. Two, actually. I just found these because they were never saved on a memory card. They were saved on my camera's internal memory and I didn't even know they existed until now, while I was messing around on my camera. So enjoy these ugly sweater pictures from December 2009.



*I added this 3rd photo for Bryanna. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

What a deal!

I found this coupon in the mail. So...if I'm reading this right, I'm paying $12.00 for pizzas and cheese bread that are only worth $8.00? In that case, count me in!

Happy Valentine's Day!

In honor of V-day I thought I'd share some photos and a great little clip of these love birds.





video

Spring has Sprung

I got Vessel this little ladybug pot with grass seeds at the craft store and we had fun planting some other seedlings today as well. It's nice to have a little bit of Spring in the house. But as you can see, we've been experiencing some high temps lately (50 degrees) and all the snow has melted. So maybe Spring really is on its way.


Well....you never know with the weather here. This was only about a week and a half ago.


The interesting thing about that last photo is that I don't hate it. This year has been surprisingly different for me. Instead of hating winter and the snow and cold, I've actually embraced it. Enjoyed it even. (I know, shocked gasps.) I just figured that winter was going to come regardless, so I might as well make the most of it. And so it hasn't been as dreadfully horrible as previous years.

The Milk Face Off!

Mike blindfolded me and made me guess which milk was which. This is what we do for fun.

As a part of my last post, I have stopped drinking cow's milk. I haven't steered completely away from yogurt, cheese, and ice cream yet.... Baby steps, baby steps. But as for drinking a glass of milk at dinner or on my cereal, I don't do that anymore. These are my 2 favorite substitutes. Mmmmmm.....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Going Raw!

A couple of weeks before January, Mike and I decided to make some changes. I guess you could call them resolutions, which is quite fitting, since the New Year was right around the corner. When the new year approaches, many people resolve to eat better, and we were no exception. But instead of just eating better, we decided to eat completely different. And by different, I mean RAW. Yes, raw foods. Nothing cooked. Okay, you are going to stop reading now, right? You think we're crazy? Tree huggin', peace lovin', hippie freaks? The truth is, we just want to live better. If that makes us freaks, then I guess that's what we are. :)
By my second year of college I knew I wanted to go into dietetics. I loved studying about nutrition and the human body and the chemistry of nutrients and how the body uses them and breaks them down. It was very intriguing to me. However, I was attending BYUI (a two year institution at the time) and there was not a dietary program at that school. So I got an associate degree in general studies with the intent of transferring to another school. When I went back to school a few years later, I started studying nutrition again. I had been married for 2 years and the baby bug was starting to itch. I wanted to start our family and I knew that, for me personally, it wasn't going to work to have babies while pursuing a doctorate degree in dietetics. So, I made the choice to major in Family Studies and graduate faster with the hopes of going back to school one day. What does this have to do with my post? Well, during my college career I had opportunities to take a lot of food and nutrition classes. So, although I'm not an expert, I know a lot about the subject.
Fast forward 4 years. I wouldn't say I practiced what I preached in those 4 years regarding food. I ate what I wanted without really caring. Apathy, not ignorance, my friend. I was busy going to school, working, raising a kid, yada yada yada. But
about 3 or 4 months ago, Mike started to get really interested in the idea of eating better. He started doing research, reading tons of material, watching documentaries and making some serious lifestyle changes. It kind of opened my eyes. This whole time I've wanted to go into nutrition, but never really put into practice my beliefs and my knowledge. Mike was the catalyst that got me motivated to be passionate about nutrition again.
So I decided I wanted to buy a juicer and start juicing fruits and
vegetables. (your body absorbs the nutrients in juice faster than eating a piece of fruit or vegetable whole because of the fiber.) Anyway, after some investigation, Mike decided we should buy a Vitamix, shown below.


This thing has got an insanely powerful motor for a blender. It will blend anything. So we put whole fruits and vegetables in there. Some people put their avocado pits in and blend them. We haven't actually tried that yet.... But we have tried lots of other fun things. Like making our own nut butter and almond milk. And Mike makes a green smoothie every morning using whole fruits, vegetables, and greens.

Here's the chocolate almond milk we made (shown in the nut milk bag to separate the pulp from the milk.)

Raw stuffed peppers (stuffed with chopped nuts, vegetables, spices, and tamari)

Raw "burritos" (lettuce instead of tortillas as wraps, stuffed with a combination of mashed avocados, raw vegetables, seeds, and spices.)
Here is one of the raw "cook"books we have.
We attempted to make this raw raspberry ganache fudge cake from the book:


And this is what ours turned out like:
Bahahahaha!!!!!! I laugh my pants off every time I see this picture. :) It doesn't look ANYTHING like the book. Heck, it doesn't even look appetizing! But it tasted great! The frosting alone was heavenly. And it was made using raw ingredients and without processed sugars!

Here I am making some raw lasagna.

Marinated mushrooms in olive oil and tamari (this is close to a meat-like texture)

Spinach sauce (blended in the Vitamix)

Slices of zucchini (the noodles)

Raw, homemade marinara sauce

We alternated zucchini noodles, mushrooms, avocado slices between the 2 sauces. Okay, so it didn't taste as good as real cooked lasagna with cheese and all that fattening stuff, but it DID taste good, and it was really good for us!
Those are just a few of the things we've made since the beginning of the year. It's been an interesting switch from the things we normally make for dinner. Okay, I don't want to sound misleading here. We have not gone 100% raw. To jump into something like that would be pretty much impossible for us. So we are taking baby steps by incorporating more raw meals into our week, more whole fruits and vegetables, less processed foods, less refined sugars and flours, etc. And I'm not going to lie, it's been difficult. From starting this I've come to realize how addicted I am to junkfood. Sometimes the cravings are intense and I just want to eat a really greasy cheeseburger and fries despite knowing how horrible they are for my body. And sometimes I just want to eat an entire pint of ice cream or eat a handful of chocolate chips. It's been a real challenge for me. But I've also noticed something else. I feel better when I eat better. Mike says the same thing. I have much more clarity and my body seems to feel less tired. I truly want to do better. I want to eat more raw, whole, organic, and local foods. Less meat, less dairy, less salt, less sugar, less fat and definitely no genetically modified foods. It's a huge transition for sure.
But even when we don't eat raw meals, we're trying to eat better.

For instance, we've been making a lot of soups this winter chocked full of vibrant, colorful vegetables, organic stocks, and herbs.

This is called Chicken Not Pie. (uh...like chicken pot pie, without the...pie)

This is called Cassoulet. (notice there's Italian sausage in it...yeah, I'm not perfect!)

Anyway, the point of this post is just that things are changing with our perspectives. Not just on food, but on the environment, the government, food businesses, and so many other things. Food relates to it all. We've been watching several movies that have pushed us towards being better stewards of our bodies and the earth. I've gained a deeper appreciation for local farmers and gardeners. I believe that companies like Monsanto are corrupt and ruining food and farmers. I believe we should be creating less waste and recycling more. I believe we need to be growing our own foods, free from pesticides and hormones. I believe we need to be saving our own seeds from our gardens and storing food for future emergencies. I believe our bodies can heal themselves from all kinds of diseases if they just have the right nutrients. I believe the American diet does not provide the body with those nutrients and our bodies have become susceptible to diseases and ailments that the pharmaceutical companies have taken advantage of. We live in "a pill for every ill" generation. I believe in losing weight the "old fashioned way." I know people who try to take shortcuts all the time by using diet pills or hormones (hcg diet) and I just don't agree with those kinds of methods. I believe in vitamins and minerals. There is no money in health. If we were all healthy then doctors wouldn't get seen as often. If we were all healthy we wouldn't need medications and the pharmaceutical companies would suffer. I could go on and on because it makes sense. It makes sense on so many levels. Eating well makes sense on an environmental level, a political level, a religious level....
Okay, I know, I know. I am getting all hippie on you now. And this post is getting long and if you've read this far you're probably bored to tears. So, I'm gonna wrap it up. But if anyone is interested here are some things we've been learning about, and I'd encourage anyone to check these out:

The China Study

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Be Prepared

I was cleaning my computer room and ran across these in a drawer. They were sent to me some time ago by my friend Kenna. She found them in a convenience store, I believe. In this little package the size of a fifty cent piece and around an inch thick is 2 pairs of disposable panties. These are going in my purse now. So if I, or anyone I know, happens to shart themselves, I'll be prepared.

"If ye are prepared ye shall not fear" (D&C 38:30)