Monday, December 31, 2012

One Word Goal 2013 {Embrace}

This past year my one word goal was "Cherish." And to my surprise, I have thought about that word and how to apply it to my life almost daily for the entire year. I found something to cherish during the trying times (and believe me--we have had plenty this year!)

I cherished the time with my baby, even when he was fussy, because he was mine and healthy and won't be a baby for long.
I cherished the smile from one student during one of my most challenging classes.
I cherish the fact that we were all alive.
I slowed down. I reflected. I contemplated. I cherished.

And now a new year has come. And I need a new one word goal.

I have listened to General Conference from this past October several times. I love so many of the talks. But there is something about Pres. Uchtdorf's talk from Saturday morning that touches my heart. He was teaching how to live without regrets. And that is definitely my purpose in making a New Year's Resolution. I want to choose one word to focus on throughout the year so I can look back on 2013 without regrets.

Near the end of his talk, he stated:
"...No matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it."


It is perfect because it will help me expand on what I have learned to cherish in 2012.

I am going to embrace those I love.
I am going to embrace my thoughts and ideas and turn them into actions.
I am going to embrace new opportunities.

I am going to embrace the changes that will come, the challenges we will face, the choices we make.
I am going to embrace motherhood: to appreciate the fun parts and to laugh at the hard parts.
I am going to embrace all of the blessings in my life.

I am going to embrace 2013.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Instant Homemade Rolls

Ok so this recipe is not really "instant." But it is as close as I can find for homemade rolls. Seriously start to finish is about 30-40 minutes. Yes. Homemade rolls from scratch in about a 1/2 hour! Yum!

1 + 1/8 c. warm water (1/8 c. = 2 T.)
1/8 c. active dry yeast
1/4 c. sugar 
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
4-5 c. all-purpose flour (possibly more?)
1-2 T. butter (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm water, yeast and sugar; let rest for 5-10 minutes or until frothy and bubbly.  With a dough hook, mix in oil, salt, egg and 3 cups of flour until combined.  (With a KitchenAide, you can only go up to speed 2 once you add flour or you will burn out the motor.) Gradually add remaining flour until barely not sticky; if you add too much flour, the rolls will take a lot longer to rise but not enough will be too sticky to handle

Divide the dough into 12 equal (ish) portions then roll into balls. (Note: you could use this dough and make any shape of rolls you wanted. But we are going for the speedy method!) Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and let rest for 10 minutes.  (I placed my cookie sheet over the burner that is the heat exhaust for the oven. After about 5 minutes, I rotated the pan. This helped them rise better! If you added too much flour, just let them rise longer and they will still turn out!!) Bake for about 10 minutes or until tops are lightly golden.  Brush with melted butter right after taking out of the oven. (This will make the tops of the rolls softer. Sometimes I do this--sometimes I don't. Casey likes it better with the melted butter brushed on the top.)

Yield: 12 good-sized rolls. {Can also divide dough into 24ths for small dinner rolls.} 

This dough would also make great breadsticks, cinnamon rolls, etc.

Through trial and error, I created a 30 MINUTE HEALTHY ROLLS recipe. It is 100% whole wheat, fat-free, sugar-free and only has 100 calories per roll!! Be sure to check them out! :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Best Moments...

1. Listening to music while I use the blender. He *hates* the blender!
2. Taggie--Devin loves slobbering all over this thing.
3. The bird vibrates if you pull it. Devin figured out how to pull it himself.
4. Baby Bunny playing with chewing Baby Jesus.
5. While riding in shopping carts, he figures out how to pull himself up to the front bar. When he is sitting normal in it, he can not even reach the first metal bar.
6. Devin was happily playing with the blocks behind his feet. He heard the heater turn on and turned himself around to check it out. Once the heater turned off, he turned around and continued playing with his blocks.

1. Helping mommy make Christmas cookies.
2. My little cuddle buddy! There are times when he does NOT want to be put down and I'm grateful for the sling I made!
3. I found him in his car seat asleep and cuddling with the blanket. It was just so cute!
4. Playing with Daddy on the floor.
5. Walking around downtown to see all of the Christmas festivities!
6. I'm wearing Devin in our front pack. This is how we stayed warm downtown once it became dark and cold!

1. This picture is kind of old. Notice how he doesn't have much hair. But he was playing with his mashed potatoes and totally enjoyed himself.
2. Stealing Mommy's waffle.
3. Devin also loves to chew on his hands
4. I can feed myself Mommy! (He loves the rolls I made!!)
5. I like using my sippy cup--all by myself!
6. Playing/ eating a biscuit.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Three Gifts of Christmas {tags}

I LOVE Christmas time. There truly is something magical in the air throughout the hustle and bustle. But I want to teach Devin the true meaning of Christmas. I want him to find his own testimony and to truly remember the reason for the season. With that said, I do love the warmth of Santa too and am so excited to have a little one believe. I remembered from some RS activity I went to a while ago how the parents would give their children gold, frankincense and myrrh each year--The Three Gifts of Christmas. I loved the idea and thought it would be the perfect way to remember Christ during presents.

There are a variety of ways to use the tags. You could have each parent and Santa use a tag. You could have them all be from Santa (and a couple could be in the stocking.) You could assign a tag to each sibling (if you had enough kids) and then they have to get a gift that they think would fit in that category for their sibling. I'm not totally sure how we are going to use them--I just know that somehow they will be used on the gifts. (And if you have already bought all of your Christmas gifts, my guess is that you could probably attach one of the tags to a gift because at least in my family growing up, we were getting things like this anyway.)

The gift of Usefulness (myrrh--was used as a medicine)
The gift of Meaning (frankincense--was used as a fragrance)
The gift of Wonder (gold...)

For the usefulness we will give him something he needs. (A few ideas: new clothes, coats, school supplies, hygiene stuff, etc)

For the meaning we will give him something that he will cherish. (Ideas: something homemade, something spiritual, a journal, a book, a blanket)

For the wonder we will give him something he wants or something that he is not expecting. (This really is wide open. Either make it something that he has been asking for. Or make is something he is totally not expecting.)

Simply print off the tag and attach it to the correct gift! :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Easy Clam Chowder

I love cooking. But some nights, I just love having something to eat without much effort on my part. This clam chowder is perfect for one of those nights when you stand in front of the pantry/ fridge hoping something will appear out of no where because you can't figure out what to make and don't have time to do so anyway.

2 cans cream of potato soup
2 cans cream of celery soup
2 can chunky New England clam chowder (pictured is Progresso but you could use any brand)
1 can corn, drained
1 can clams, undrained
1 pint half and half (or 2 c. milk)

Open all of the cans/ half and half and heat over medium heat. Use a *large* dutch oven type of a pan because this makes A LOT!! And if you are not a fan of clams, you can drain the can to make the flavor not as strong or leave it out all together.

I love this soup and I love how easy it is!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

6 Month Checkup

This picture of his hands is a classic. Devin loves chomping on them.
Recently he will stuff both hands all the way in.
Casey tells him its "double or nothin'." Haha!

Hard to believe that my itty bitty baby that was once at 9% for his weight
is now at 48%.
He is growing so much and is healthy and strong.
He has almost tripled his birth weight
and weighs 17 pounds 6 ounces!

Devin is 27.25 inches tall which is 78%.
And his head is 16.9 inches which is 28%.

Our doctor told us he looked healthy and perfect in every way.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"The Nativity" FHE Lesson

I wanted to make an FHE lesson to go with our nativity. My plan was to have something that as we went through the lesson we would set up our nativity. I found these adorable nativity cards at Funky Polka Dot Giraffe and used them as a starting place. I also found a FHE Lesson by Jenny Phillips that was kind of similar and I used part of her lesson as well.

Before FHE: Print off pages 4-6 in the pdf document that Jenny Phillips uploaded. (If you want to participate in the activity later, don't look at page 5&6.) Also, you will need to print off all of the nativity cards at the Funky Polka Dot Giraffe. (Click the links above to go print those things.) Cut out the nativity cards and then hide them in your living room/ entire house--depending on how hard you want to make it. If your nativity is already set up, quickly take it down. If your kids ask why tell them it is a surprise for FHE so they will look forward to it.

Opening Song: Picture a Christmas (Children's Song Book #50)

Opening Prayer:

Opening Activity:  Give each family member a paper and pen. Let them all look at the “Can you tell what picture these are a part of?” sheet included in this packet (don’t let them see the answers), and give them 2 minutes to try to figure out as many of them as they can. They can write them down on the sheet if they think they know or want to guess. (If children are too young to write, you can just do it out loud together as a family.) After the two minutes are up, go over the answers, showing them the “big pictures.”

1) How much easier is it to tell what the picture is when you see the whole thing and not just a tiny portion of it? (Talk about how maybe they could tell a little of what the picture was, like a house, but didn’t realize it was part of a snow globe. You may be able to get glimpses of what something is, but can’t understand all of it without seeing the big picture.)
2) Christmas presents, decorations, and Christmas parties are just a “tiny portion” of the big picture of Christmas. If we are only looking at the candy and the decorations and the gifts, we will miss what the “big picture” really is. What really is the big picture of Christmas?

Transition: Today we are going to set up the Nativity. Everyone needs to go find one card that looks like this (show the one not hidden). Even if you see more cards, just take one and come back.

Lesson: Read the card then let that person take out that piece from the Nativity and set it up. Once all of the cards have been read for the first round, send everyone out to find another one. Continue until all 10 cards are found and the nativity is set up.

Activity: Make a Gingerbread Nativity and ask about each thing as you are making it. Basically reteach/ restate the quote you read about each piece while you make it. (The link is for a gingerbread nativity that I have seen floating around through pinterest.)

Closing Prayer:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Devin's Data: SIX months

Happy HALF Birthday Baby Bunny!!!

Weight: We will find out tomorrow. I guess 17 pounds.

Height: ?

Clothing Size: He wears a mix of 0-3 and 3-6. He would still be wearing only 0-3 except all of his warm clothes are bigger sizes. The 3-6 looks like he is swimming but the 0-3 is becoming a bit short on the length.

Diaper Size: 2

Milestones: Baby Bunny has stranger anxiety. He can sit without support and stand while holding onto something. He takes steps in place when I hold him by his hands. He associates "Mommy" with me. Devin can spin a complete circle in both directions on his tummy and roll from front to back and back to front consistently. He uses his spinning/ rolling to get things he wants and drags them to himself to chew on. Baby Bunny can hold his bottle by himself--but I always still hold it and him anyway. Milk time is our snuggle time! :)

Eating: Devin loves food! He nurses about 5 times during the day. He also eats two meals. Each meal he has about 10-12 ounces. No idea how he eats so much--he is still SO SKINNY!

Sleeping: He goes to bed normally around 9:30 and wakes up about 7 to 7:30. He will take a short nap mid morning, a long nap late afternoon, and a short nap right before bedtime.

Communication: Devin is a little chatterbox! He loves talking to me! He has also figured out how to buzz his lips and does so often. We are working on teaching the signs for "more," "all done," "food" and "milk." I think he recognizes the signs and knows what they mean but he hasn't signed them to us.

Likes: Devin loves cuddling with Mommy! He loves it when I hold him. He smiles the biggest when he sees Daddy come home from work. He enjoys playing with his Taggie and chew toys. He laughs when we play peak-a-boo. He enjoys exploring everything. Recently he became fascinated with his seat belt while in the high chair/ shopping carts and touches it constantly trying to figure how to get it off.

Dislikes: Devin cried while sitting on Santa's lap. He misses Mommy when we are apart. He gets frustrated when he can't reach something. He gets bored easily.

Nicknames: Mr. Devin. Wee One. Baby Bunny.

Most Memorable Moment(s): Devin's two bottom teeth broke the surface and are about half way in. He figured out how to walk while sitting in his walker and loves his independence! While riding in the shopping cart, he tries to figure out how to bust out by pulling himself to the bar I hold to push the cart. Devin and Mommy both had the stomach flu over Thanksgiving.

Hardest Part: Devin gets bored rather quickly and sometimes it is hard to keep him occupied.

Lisa's Favorite Part: Knowing that he misses me while I'm away and listening to him laugh after a bad day.

Casey's Favorite Part: Seeing him grin from ear to ear when I come home from work.