Monday, June 30, 2008

deceptively delicious vs. sneaky chef

Recently two cookbooks have been brought to my attention - "Deceptively Delicious" and "The Sneaky Chef."

Both books purport to help you "hide" veggies and healthy stuff in your kids' food so they will get better nutrition. I am intrigued by the idea, as my kids are getting pickier, though they still eat pretty well. (I'm a little worried about Sam, who yells "Fries!" every time we pass a McDonald's.) It is getting easier now that they have more teeth and can actually eat salad if it's chopped up. Still, I'm always open to new ideas that can help us get our 3-5 servings a day of fruits and veggies.

The ratings are a little higher for the Sneaky Chef on Amazon. Has anyone used either of these books or made any of the recipes? I'm wondering if they are very time-consuming, and also if they are really "healthy" or if it's just hype.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ah, summer

We enjoyed a beautiful summer evening last night with Mom, Dad, Buzz, Cameo, Bean, Ava, Lena, Alex, Sam, and Tres. The kids played for a long time with the rocket-sprinkler and ended up wet and naked and very happy. We decided the girls should at least put their panties back on when the neighborhood boys started hanging around the fence watching the fun. Sam experienced his first pee into the grass, at least I think it was his first, and his expression was priceless as he watched this process sans diapers...and maybe next summer he will be out of diapers altogether - a nice thought!

The adults enjoyed chicken carbonara, green beans, Waldorf salad made with yogurt, and 2 kinds of was perfect weather to sit outside. This summer is much easier than last in terms of the kids, with Sam being able to play more independently, and Alex and Ava playing TOGETHER and not fighting. :-) Alex did accidentally sock Ava below her left cheekbone (while they were both spinning in circles with their arms outstretched under the sprinkler), but they managed to remain friends. During dinner someone (Lena?) started crying and Alex said, "It's too loud. And if it's too loud, I won't eat!" She DID eat but it's true, she is sensitive to noise. Last time we were at Buzz's house, Ava got hit by a ball and cried, which caused Alex to say, "It's too loud," and then Alex cried and screamed (much louder and longer than Ava). Do they make earplugs for 3-year-olds?

Last night Sam pretended he was a dog, crawling on hands and feet and "arf-arf-arf"-ing all over the deck. It's the first I've seen him really get into "pretend" play for that long, and it was cute. He also has learned to ask "Why?" whenever we ask him to do or not do something...kind of funny coming from a kid who can barely put two words together let alone understand the reasoning of "why" we're telling him things...between him and Alex asking "Why?" every 5 seconds, though, I'm tempted to resort to that famous "Because I said so" even though I swore I would never do that.

The pictures are of the kids on the train - we rode it to the Gateway a couple days ago. I NEVER thought Sam would fall asleep on the train, but I guess he was just too tired.

Monday, June 23, 2008

fun times

We're having fun this week with family in town. My sisters Mary and Robin, my parents, and Bryan's mom are all here AND I'm working the hospital every day, so it's feeling fun and slightly out of control. :-) Between us we have kids ages 5 months, 1,2,3, and 4 so there's plenty of action. Last night we drove up Big Cottonwood canyon to the nature trail around Silver Lake. As we entered the canyon Alex said, "Wow, this world is so pretty, I need to take some pictures," and she proceeded to snap several "photos" with her play cell phone. :-) She is wearing dresses more as the summer heats up, but they are a bit awkward with the 5-point booster seatbelt, and when I put her in the car yesterday I guess her panties were pulling the wrong way and she said, "Stop it! You're pulling my bottom off!" and she was not pleased at all the giggles from me and Nana.

Just as we tried to enter the parking lot at Silver Lake, a car in the lot erupted in flames and we watched an exciting firefighting show as they squirted foam on it and hacked open the hood with a crowbar. Strangely enough, Bryan and I had witnessed another car fire in this same parking lot about a year ago. We didn't learn what caused it but no one was injured.

It was quite cool at the lake (upper 50's, compared to 90's in Salt Lake) but pleasant. We didn't see any moose as we have in the past, but did see fish, birds, beaver, and - the kids' favorite - a pair of mallard ducks that were nibbling at this really mucky, slimy stuff at the edge of some standing water...Sam said "yuck" and "duck" a lot. Sam pushed Alex in the stroller for a good 100 yards and even managed to stay on the trail.

Unrelated: We tried a couple new recipes from the Thai cookbook this week: Thai peanut patties with ground turkey, which fell apart on the grill but tasted good, and a Thai peanut salad with cold noodles, cilantro, peanut butter, honey, salsa, and ham. Sounds weird but it turned out pretty good.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

silly kids

I'm just recording these here because I want to remember the silly things our kids say - these made us laugh.

We were at the park with Ava and saw a goose with one of those lumps on the top of its beak. Ava laughed and said, "That duck has a crazy nose on top of its head!" :-)

Alex was in the dressing room with Nana (B's mom) at the swimming pool and said to her while she was getting dressed, "You have big muscles!" :0)

Bryan and Nana were swimming with Alex. Alex did something brave and Bryan said, "That's my girl!" Nana said, "That's MY girl!" and Alex said, "No, I'm HIS."


cooking good food

I've enjoyed cooking some new dinners from my new "Thai cooking and more" cookbook (a Borders $4 special). So far, I've made Pad Thai, Buddha's delight, and baked fish with Thai pesto. They were all good but I think the Thai pesto has been the best so far. It has lemon juice and grated/zested lemon peel, fresh basil, cilantro, and mint leaves, garlic, green onions, jalapeno, and peanut oil. (Maybe something else but that's all I can remember.) I may try cutting the peanut oil in half and substitute broth or something less fattening next time. You chop it all up in a food processor and spread it on salmon fillets (or fish of your choice) and bake. Mmmmm. It was really good!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

women's weekend getaway, books

This weekend was fabulous. The women's group at our church took a little time out for pampering at a Park City condo. Nothing was scheduled. We just hung out together and relaxed. Luxurious for moms of small kids, which we all were. I think the idea of time away is most appealing when you are used to working hard at home. I did not miss cooking or cleaning up after every meal. Thanks to the good husbands for taking care of things so we could feel human again. :-)

Books I'm reading these days (I like to read several at once) -

The New Testament and the People of God - NT Wright - a scholar's history of the first century environment, Jewish and other, surrounding Jesus and the early Christian movement.

If Jesus Were Mayor by Bob Moffitt - about the role of the local church in the community. We may tackle this one next in women's group. I like his emphasis on living your faith through action.

Bagels, Dim Sum, and Grits - about living as a multicultural family. This was part of my inspiration to buy the Thai cookbook. My first attempt at Pad Thai was delicious, even though I used too many noodles. :-)

Dave Ramsey's money management audiobook - I've only listened to the first 2 chapter or so, and so far haven't learned anything new, but he's entertaining (though occasionally annoying) to listen to.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Phoenix trip

Haven't posted in a while. We've been busy! Here are pics from our trip to Phoenix. (I got to go present a paper for a conference, and we decided the whole family should come.)

Phoenix was GREAT. The hotel we stayed in was quite the resort - complete with water park, palm trees and fountains. It was perfect weather to enjoy the swimming pools, the wave pool and the "lazy river" (. Alex surprised me with her boldness in the wave pool. She has learned that with a life vest and her little toucan inner tube, she is invincible in the water. Even after one wave smacked her in the face, she still wanted to go back for more. In the evenings they showed a kid movie over the pool. This will be perfect in a few years; as it was, I couldn't really watch the movie because I was trying to focus on keeping the kids from drowning unnoticed. They sure had fun - they thought it was pretty cool to be in the pool at sunset. The kids slept well in the hotel except for one day when Sam learned he could climb out of the pack and play (see picture). We moved it away from the bed and that seemed to foil him again. Whew.

I had a nice mix of attending conference meetings, shopping the outlet mall, and playing in the water with the kids. I haven't traveled much for work in the past couple of years, trying to stay closer to home and the kids, but it was nice to get out of my usual work environment and meet people who are tackling the same problems from different angles. I felt happy with my presentation, and it generated so much discussion among the audience that the moderator had to cut it off so the next person could speak. At least they didn't fall asleep, as the department chair did while I defended my master's thesis. Anyway - I'm happy that part is over and look forward to presenting the same material to another audience in July.

We visited a train park too - this was really up Sam's alley. He looks so serious in the pictures but he really did have a good time. Really!

Alex insisted I include this picture of her showing off her bandaids. She skinned her knees at the train park. She stood up for an entire bath trying to keep the bandaids from coming off. :-)

Even though we returned to a cool and wet Salt Lake City, it felt like we got a good start on summer vacation. Hooray for summer!