Saturday, December 29, 2012

Here comes another BOY!

Christmas was fabulous.
Scott's parents, sister, and sister with her family came to visit.
We hung out, made gingerbread houses, toured the Science Center, drove around Forest Park, ate food, talked, saw the train exhibit at the Botanical Gardens, shopped, opened presents, and enjoyed each others company.
Of course, right before everyone came, Bubs got sick along with his cousins who live here. The day after everyone arrived, I got sick too. So it was lots of going and playing and trying to act like I was feeling alright, which I was, sometimes.
Then the day after everyone left, I started feeling much better. At least it didn't last long! (I attribute it to chiropractic care, downing vitamin C, taking calcium, sipping apple cider vinegar, eating 4 grapefruit, not eating treats, chugging water, and trying to rest)

The most exciting part about this past week? We found out we're having another BOY!!!

I'm 20 weeks along now. I've been feeling great for about 5 weeks. The first 15 weeks I was more tired than I've ever been in my life and nauseous all the time. I only threw up 2-3 times, which isn't bad, so I consider myself lucky. Now I'm feeling wonderful, as I did in the 2nd Tri with Bubs, but I'm still fighting the mental battle. I started feeling the baby around 15 weeks and now I feel him all the freakin' time! I don't think he ever stops moving.

I'm really excited to have another boy. Although there are some things I'm a little distraught about, it's nothing to worry about right now. I love having a boy and I have had so much fun with Bubs! He will absolutely love having a brother to play with (and so will I!). I'm also grateful it's a boy because it will be so much easier financially: we already have tons of boy clothes, along with all of our other baby stuff, and toys. Plus, I don't know that Scott could restrain himself from spoiling a baby girl, so it's better to start with boys when we have no money!

I also feel confident that I can raise boys well. I feel like we've done an amazing job with Bubs, though we still have a long way to go, and although every child is different it'll be easier raising two boys than switching to girl mode. Though I will admit, I really want a girl for our third, whenever that happens!!!

It's taken me quite awhile to be really excited about this pregnancy, but now I can honestly say that I'm thrilled and SO excited to have another baby!

I found this little gem while searching through pictures to put on our walls. I just love both of their faces!
Yes, Bubs was about 7 months old and yes, they are going down a water slide.
Another reason I love my BOYS!!!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

But it's just violence...

How many times have you heard the phrase "but it's just violence..." in regards to a movie, tv show, or video game rating?
Perhaps more commonly, "well, it's only rated that for the violence. Violence doesn't bother me. It's the sexual content I avoid." 

I hear it all the time.
In fact, I've said it in one form or another.

Is that statement really true, though? "It's just violence. Violence doesn't bother or affect me."
I argue that it is completely false. Nobody is immune to the violence in movies, tv shows, and video games, especially video games. Our Spirits and brains are not immune to violence. Not one bit. The "immunity" that may occur for one is actually a numbing of the brain's response and reaction to repeated stimulus.

As a member of the LDS church, I believe in the Holy Ghost. I believe that I was given the gift of the Holy Ghost as a means of protection and guide when I am need. Anything that is not virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy, can drive away the Spirit. Violence is part of that category. I believe the more violence we watch and participate in, the quicker the Spirit leaves until it eventually completely withdraws.

I, like so many others, cannot stop thinking about the horrific tragedy that occurred last week at Sandy Hook Elementary. Nobody will forget it. Our children will read about it in their History books. It was a terrible, horrible, absolutely heart wrenching tragedy. The more I've read on the matter and the more I think about it, I can't help but think "what could have been done to prevent this? How can we prevent it from happening again?"

I've come up with some of my own conclusions.

1. The Government could take away guns from everyone and/or make tighter gun control laws. This isn't possible, or a good idea, because it won't do a dang thing. Crazy people will still get their hands on guns, and the good guys will be left unarmed. And yet another gun control law will not stop someone who is intent on getting a weapon and using it for the wrong reasons.

2. The Government could give everyone guns. Obviously this wouldn't work because it would make it even easier for the crazy people to have access to guns and there would be a whole slew of problems that would come as a result. Not a solution.

3. The Government could eradicate any and all violence from the media. This is completely impossible because there is just so much. There would be no way to remove every violent thing from every house, movie theater, production, stage set, video game, youtube, etc. It's impossible. Not only that, it also completely takes away our agency. Which, by the way, is Satan's plan.

4. Teach in the homes. Educate your children. Educate your family. Teach your children good morals and the difference between right and wrong. Parent. Discipline. Monitor the things your children participate in and are involved with. This was the best solution I could come up with. However, the people who are not likely to go on a shooting rampage are already doing this. The people who might, may already be doing this. The people who should be doing this may be uneducated, in poverty, and unable to teach in the home. And of course, no matter how much a parent teaches their child, they are still free to make their own decisions and choices. Which means, that even from the best of homes with the best of families with obedient children, someone could still be persuaded by Satan to do something unthinkable. Which brings me to my final conclusion:

This type of tragedy cannot be 100% prevented. 

Of course, there are many things that can be done to improve on safety, including allowing teachers to conceal and carry, providing schools with an armed officer, practicing more lock down drills, and the list goes on.

The point I want to make, and the overwhelming feelings I have experienced on the matter are such:

-I have a huge responsibility to educate my children on what is right and wrong.
-I have a huge responsibility of making our home a safe haven from outside influences.
-I have a huge responsibility of making sure the media that enters our home is appropriate and does not drive away the Spirit.
-I need to make a resolve to better screen the media we consume. I need to be more careful about things we watch, rent, and buy. I need to scrutinize the video games we play.

Satan has taken hold of the media in our world with an iron fist. He has twisted and turned every good thing into something inappropriate. It has not happened in one, big, lightning bolt occurrence, but little by little. He has made it seem popular, cool, and fun, to watch shows and movies that glorify killing innocent and non innocent characters. He has made it appear popular, cool, and fun, to play video games that celebrate "110 kills! Congratulations!" 

I believe our society has been so dumbed down by violent tv shows, movies, games, and more, that the line of difference between virtually killing and killing in reality has become very thin and grey.

This is devastating. And scary.

In closing, my husband said something to me that I had never considered. He said that no sane person in their right mind would go into a school and kill 20, innocent, six and seven year old children. The person who did this was possessed by an evil spirit. Just like Christ cast the evil spirits out of the person and into the pigs that jumped off the cliff. This person was possessed and taken over by an evil spirit of Satan and he proceeded to do the work of the Devil. When that work was finished, Satan abandoned him and caused him to turn the gun on himself and take his own life.

God will never abandon you.

I hope that I can be a better wife, mother, and individual, and make a better effort at examining the media that I consume and bring into our home. It's not "just violence" and it's not okay. I can't change the world or the people in it, but I can do my best to make my home a haven safe from the outside influences.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cinnamon Ornaments

Ah, Cinnamon Ornaments.
I remember making these as a kid and hanging them on our tree. I always loved unpacking them every Christmas because they still smelled yummy. 
So, here we are, several years later, and I enlisted the help of my cutie pie to make these heavenly smelling decorations. 

Mixing and making a mess.

The recipe said to roll out between plastic wrap. I thought "what the heck, I'll use wax paper." 
Note to self: follow the recipe. 
The dough stuck to the wax paper pretty bad and that caused a rough texture. 

Almost ready to be cooked.
I'm not patient enough to wait for them to dry overnight or for 2 days, but I've heard there is less cracking and better results when left to air dry instead of bake. 

Make sure to poke some holes in the top if you're going to string ribbon through!
Also, remove any excess dough that doesn't belong. See the clump by the snowman's hand? I removed it.

While the ornaments were baking, we dipped pretzels.
Bubs loved eating the pretzels plain!

Then he realized they had chocolate on them.
From that point on he dipped a pretzel, sucked off the chocolate, and put the pretzel on the paper. 
Smart kid.

Finished product!!

So pretty and delicious smelling.

I'm actually really proud of how these turned out! I may make it a yearly tradition. It was really fun and Bubs enjoyed helping press the cookie cutters in the dough. 
The recipe doesn't call for glitter, but I love a little glitz, so I added a tablespoon or so of Martha Stewart glitter. I think it looks fabulous!! Also, some recipes called for glue. I made one batch with some Modge Podge and one without. I couldn't tell the difference except the smell when I was mixing dough.
One last note, the recipe says to roll the dough pretty thick and I wish I would've followed that closer. I rolled mine a little thin and they don't feel as sturdy as I'd like them to. But, for my first time, I'll take it!! These ornaments are really inexpensive too! For about 25-30:

Cinnamon: $0.50 at Walmart (used 4)
Applesauce: $3 at Walmart (used less than half)
Ribbon: $1 at Walmart (needed more than what I bought)
Glitter: $5 a bottle at Michaels (still have tons left, this stuff lasts a long time)
Cookie Cutters: $2.88 for 3 (since I didn't have any)

Cinnamon Ornaments 
adapted from McCormick Recipes

3/4 C. applesauce
1 C. cinnamon, plus extra if the dough is too sticky
1 TBL. glitter

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Mix the cinnamon, applesauce, and glitter in a small bowl. Use your hands to knead the dough into a ball. It should not be too sticky and not crumbly. Place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap (waxed paper will stick badly and cause a rough texture on top). You may need to sprinkle the plastic and the top of the dough with cinnamon if your dough is too sticky. Roll to about 1/3-1/4 inch thickness. Cut shapes with a cookie cutter. Place shapes on a cookie sheet and poke holes in the top with a drinking straw or dowel if you want to hang with ribbon. Bake for 2 1/2 hours or allow to air dry for 1-2 days. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Menu Monday: Holiday Goodies!

I've been thinking of ways to vamp up my blog lately, so I'm going to try a couple new things out. The first thing is "Menu Monday." Hopefully, every Monday I'll post a recipe or two and talk about food! I'm still working on remembering to take pictures, so bear with me.

For my first Menu Monday post, I'm thinking about Holiday Goodies! One of my most favorite things to do at Christmastime is make an insane amount of treats and deliver them to friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else I feel like needs some holiday cheer. My brain usually out thinks the other side of my brain and I go a little overboard.  I'm thinking that will be the case this year...especially since our friends seem to keep multiplying. Oy. What a unfortunate disaster.

I'm kidding.

So here's what I'm planning on making this week! Hopefully one day I'll get some pictures so you can see the deliciousness for yourself. In the meantime, just trust me. Have I ever led you astray with a recipe that was awful? I don't think so. If you need some visualization, here are some pictures I found that look very, very similar (if not identical), with very similar (or identical) recipes that I use. Click on "source" to see their version.

White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn


White Chocolate Chex Mix

Spread over wax paper

Magical Mint Kiss Cookies


Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cake Bites


Sugar Cookies


In addition to all these treats, I'm going to attempt to make Cinnamon Ornaments! I remember making them as a kid and that they smelled delicious for several years. I have an ornament exchange this week and thought it would be perfect. Plus, my house will smell amazing.

Merry Christmas and happy baking!!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Refined Taste Buds

Our lunch conversation today went something like this:

me: "Do you think it's super weird that I eat grapefruit with salt?"
hubs: "Yeah. Grapefruit is gross."
me: "No it's not, it requires adult taste."
hubs: *grin* "Bubs, mommy is saying I'm still a kid."

As I cleaned up the dishes I thought about Refined Adult Taste Buds and reflected on things I hated as a kid but love now that I'm an adult.

Grapefruit. I Hated this with a capital H when I was young. No matter how much sugar I dumped on it, it would always taste bitter and disgusting. Then one day I decided to try what my mom suggested, sprinkle salt on top of the cut fruit. Now I love it. The salt cuts the bitterness and highlights the sweet.  Every time I eat grapefruit I think about my mom. Win-win right there!

Avocado. I used to think avocados were terrible. I don't know why, but I did. Now as an adult I'm obsessed with avocados. Ask my husband. I could eat an entire avocado with a spoon if I wanted. When they're in season and cheap, avocados go on anything and everything I can think of. Especially on my Teriyaki Chicken & Quinoa stir fry. Mmmm.

Salmon. I had a horrible experience with Salmon as a child. I was completely paranoid about bones and would chew the fish to mush before choking it down. I despised everything about it. Then I grew up, got brave, and fixed it my own way. Now I love Salmon! Especially if it is not overcooked.

Blueberries. Actually, I've always loved blueberries. As a child we would make trips to the blueberry patch every summer. We would pick until our buckets and tummies were full and our hands and lips were blue. Then we would buy blueberry flavored honey sticks, drive home, and make blueberry muffins for breakfast. Our fridge and freezer were packed with pounds and pounds of blueberries that lasted most of the year. I loved those days. Even now, blueberries are my favorite fruit. Bubs and I can eat a pint a meal (or more!) if we had them! In my mind, nothing can beat a big, plump, juicy blueberry, freshly picked from the bush.

So tell me, what are some foods you hated as a kid but love as an adult? I'll try and think of some more, but now we're going to set up Christmas at our apartment! Yay!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

We're Still Alive, Promise!

I'm still alive, I promise.

We've been busy having some fun in Utah and I sent my laptop back with Scott so I don't have much of a way to update.

So far in the past two weeks we've:
-gone on lots of "tractor" rides
-ate Maxie's pizza
-attending the Boise temple re-dedication
-toured Twin Falls as a future resident
-played with cousins at Aspen Grove
-did a little Black Friday shopping
-had an amazing Thanksgiving meal
-ate at Costa Vida
-saw the new outlets in Lehi
-visited the BYU bookstore
-had lunch with a very dear friend and visited my old school
-had too many nights of waking up every hour and waking up a 6 am
-buuuuut, had lots of mornings snuggling with my baby
-made homemade Kneaders french toast breakfast
-ate cake bites at Sweet Tooth Fairy
-had a huge party for my grandpa, his 90th, and saw lots of family

And the list goes on. We're sure missing  Daddy and can't wait to see him! But we're also having some fun.

Don't be fooled by the face, Bubs wanted to be on this tractor all day long. I finally had to tell him the tractor was taking a nap. To which he walked around saying "Tractor, nap?" the rest of the day, and the next, and the next.