Monday, January 30, 2012

I love to eat.

You may remember my commitment to lose 10 pounds in 12 weeks (I don't blame you if you don't remember--it was in July, after all. I barely remember). And you may have noticed that I never posted a follow-up. Why? Because not only did I not lose 10 pounds, I gained 5 pounds. Looks like I dropped the ball a little bit on that one. Anyway, in the spirit of New Year's Resolutions, Ryan and I New Year's Resolved to re-join Weight Watchers and re-lose the weight we lost last year and subsequently re-gained. (I think the cruise was the beginning of the end for us.) It's been about 3 weeks now and, drumroll please, I have lost 5 pounds and Ryan has lost 16. Hooray for us!

I'm not writing this post because I want to be showered in congratulations--but seriously, feel free to congratulate us--but because I want to spread a little eating light love. I have a hard time trying new recipes that haven't been recommended to me by someone. But, as of late, we've been pushed into trying oodles of new recipes in our quest to eat a little lighter. I'm assuming other people have made a goal to lose weight or get in shape this year (anyone?), so I thought it would be friendly to share a few of my favorite light recipes. The best part of each of these recipes is that they don't even taste "light." So, without further ado, here they are (in no particular order):

Avgolemono (Lemony Chicken Soup)
 O.M.Gsh. This soup is fantastic. I may have licked my bowl clean. And, best of all, it was extremely easy to make.

  This soup has a little kick to it, but nothing too crazy. I really enjoyed the coconut undertones. And we made it in the same week as the Avgolemono, so I just made all the chicken at one in the crock pot, which saved a lot of time.


These quesadillas are quick. I substitute feta/mozzarella for the fontina--fontina is a little out of the price range I'm willing to spend on cheese--and spinach for escarole because there is not one store in a 50-mile radius that sells escarole.


This recipe requires kind of a lot of prep work--a lot of chopping of potatoes, mushrooms, and onions is involved. But it is definitely worth the effort. Tip: crumble your sausage into really small chunks, or it doesn't spread throughout the gratin well.


 The ratio of beef to mushroom falls heavily on the side of mushroom--but you don't notice the difference. If you don't have a food processor, though, I don't think you'll be able to grind the mushrooms finely enough.


I was a little skeptical of this one, but it came out fantastically. We had to bake the corn bread far longer than the recipe suggested--just a heads up.


 
Possibly my favorite light recipe of all time. We like to add chopped, cooked chicken to make it a little more substantial.

 It had me at pizza. And then bacon. Yummmmmm.


(All pictures and recipes from Cookinglight.com I really like them. And, if you want more, I post all the recipes we've tried and the recipes we plan to try on my pinterest board.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fort

I've posted before about how I love the rain. While still true, it turns out that I don't love the rain quite as much when it's January, I have a child who still prefers crawling to walking, and we've been enjoying amazingly sunny park weather for weeks. I learned all this about myself just yesterday. Ryan was in Las Vegas for the entire day and I knew the boys and I wouldn't be able to play outside because I didn't think it would be the best idea to let Asher crawl through puddles of water. I knew we had to do something awesome--so we built a fort. Mind you, this was a pretty decent fort, not anything like the sorry attempts for a fort I've created before.

It turns out that everything--and I mean everything--is more exciting when you do it inside of a fort.

Impromptu concert with original songs composed on the spot? More exciting in a fort. Especially when the lyrics to the song are something truly inspired, like, "Talk to ya later! Talk to YA later! Talk to ya LATER!!!"

Making pretend lemonade and drinking it through a straw made out of a stuffed snake? Way more exciting in a fort.

 Banana phone call to Daddy? You guessed it: More exciting in a fort.

 Have I mentioned that every time I lay on the ground (which is probably a surprisingly high number compared to most people) Asher thinks I am inviting him to climb on top of me and use my body as a jungle gym? Well, this climbing is also more exciting in a fort, turns out.

Being 15 months old? More exciting in a fort. Side note: The two blurs in the picture are his hands and the toys he's holding. I don't think he ever really stops moving. Even when he's asleep.

Taking a pretend nap? More exciting in a fort. He didn't believe me when I told him taking a real nap would be more exciting, too.

 Reed decided to sleep in his fort last night (more exciting than his bed, right?), so we pulled his mattress onto the ground. When Ryan and I checked on Reed later, we could not find him and were searching through the pile of blankets Reed had thrown on the ground when we finally found him next to the mattress on the floor, with his head toward the foot of the bed, halfway under the bed, using Elmo as a pillow. I'm assuming he was really comfortable, but we moved him back onto the mattress anyway.

Happy Fort Building!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Monthly Asher: 15

First, the obligatory stats:
Weight: 22 lbs. 4 oz. (20th percentile)
Height: 30.1 in. (that's what's written, seriously--though I swear the nurse said, 31 in.) (20th percentile)
Head: 49 cm. (90th percentile)

With such a winning smile, how can you not go far in life?

This boy has changed so much in the last month. Yes, I do say that every month. But I am serious this month. The biggest change: We have steps! The much-awaited arrival of Asher's first steps has finally come. His high is eleven consecutive steps. Asher still prefers crawling, but if he is standing up when he wants to move toward something, he generally takes a few steps first, then crawls for it.

Asher can identify his belly, his nose, his feet, and his hands. He thinks it is so funny to watch for his hands and feet when we are getting clothes on and he can't see them. As soon as he can see them, he gets super pumped.

The boys love to cuddle on the couch with Daddy and watch Saturday morning cartoons. Don't mind the headlock hug Reed is giving Asher.

Just today Asher decided that he is proficient enough at walking (ha) to start running. He has started most of his walking bouts with a series of quick steps that send him crashing to the floor. I'm not so sure about his technique.

Asher's current favorite word is "yeah." Now that he can say "yeah"  he has stopped shaking his head "no" every two seconds and started saying "yeah" every time you ask him a question. And if he's really excited about something, he says, "Yeah, yeah, YEAH!" The other day we were driving to the park and Asher saw the playground before we turned into the parking lot and stopped. He started saying, "Yeah, yeah, YEAH!" as soon as he saw it and continued saying it until we got to the playground.

Playing with one of his favorite games.

We did a busy bag swap and got the pom-pom activity pictured above. There is a small hole in the tupperware and you have to push the pom poms through it. Asher loves it and is really good at it--and he picked it up so quickly! He also got Connect 4 for Christmas and really enjoys playing that game, too. Any time he sees either game he goes crazy until he gets to play with it.

Asher has started saying a lot more words. He also tries to mimic the words we say. Here is his current vocab list: Uh-uh (uh-oh), Guy, Bluh (Plug...his pacifier)Ball, Yeah, Ba (bath) (or ball), Na (snack), Buh (brother) (or book), Mama, Da (dad).

Action shot.

Asher learned how to point with just one finger (as opposed to his entire hand). Now he points to everything he wants and makes noise until he gets it. This includes items that are within his reach or ability to get. Sometimes I have to tell him, "Just go get it, baby" before he remembers his ability to move and retrieves whatever item he was longing for.

Asher has twelve teeth. I thought we were finally going to have a break from teething after cutting the four molars he just got through, but looked in his mouth a few days ago to find four more teeth coming in. Awesome. 

Kayla fell asleep on Christmas and Asher felt the need to wake her up. At least she got to wake up to a cute boy!

Whenever Asher hears the door to the garage or the front door open, he starts crawling at turbo speed. He loves to go outside and tries to sneak out every chance he gets. The other day we were looking out the front window, watching for Ryan, when Asher started banging on the door and window, looking at me, and making "the noise" that indicates he wants something. He was begging to go outside--and I gave in. We continued our wait for Daddy in the front yard.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thanks!

I spend a lot of time writing thank you cards during the last few months of the year. Between Oct. 2 and Dec. 31, we celebrate Ryan's birthday, Asher's birthday, Thanksgiving, Reed's birthday, my birthday, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. By the time Christmas rolled around this year, I was kind of tired of mailing or hand delivering thank yous. And I was also a little behind on my thank yous. The cards I wrote the day after Reed's birthday? I mailed them a little late. How late? Let's just say that Ryan's parents received theirs in the mail while we were visiting, the week after Christmas. So I thought of a fantastic (tooting my own horn, yes) idea: I was going to write "Thank You" on a sign, have Reed hold it up, and take a picture of the boys. Then I could email the picture with a thank you note. While not entirely original, it would at least save me a little time--I type way faster than I write. And I wouldn't have to remember to take them all the way to the mailbox.

My idea would have been perfect if it didn't depend on a one year old and a three year old. My first attempt was met with a grumpy face from Asher, who was highly offended that I had taken a huge toy off his lap that blocked his face. Oh, and Reed? I said, "Move the sign so Grandma can see your face." He said, "I don't want Grandma to see my face." Nice.

Once I finally got Reed to hold the sign a little higher, Asher decided that it would be the funniest thing, ever, to grab the sign. And Reed's face. So that ended well. Not to mention the fact that Reed looks totally out of it.

 I finally got a decent face out of Reed when Asher decided that he'd had enough. See ya later, photo sesh.

In the end, we went with headless Reed and smiling Asher. 1 out of 2 is better than nothing, right?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Accountability: Emergency Prep

A few months ago, I came across this Emergency Preparedness List from Lovely Little Snippets on Pinterest. The list has 52 items--so you stock up on one item per week, then you are prepared by the end of the year. At the time, I heard about emergency preparedness everywhere I turned--from Parents magazine to the trip to the cannery our ward took to Pinterest, I could not escape emergency preparedness. Because of this bombardment, I decided that maybe I should do something to help our family become more prepared for emergencies.

Thankfully, no emergencies have come our way in the past three months because guess what I did with all the emergency preparedness ideas I found? That's right, nothing.

Three months later, I'm finally doing something about it. Chalk it up to a New Year's Resolution. Yesterday, I collected everything on the list that I already have, copied the list into this blog post, and changed the items I have to red. Hopefully, with the added accountability of an entire blog post (the enormity is striking), I will actually stick to this list and end the year a little more prepared than I am now.

And without further ado, the list (original here):
1.       Container to hold your Kit.
2.       1 Flashlight for each person + extra batteries
3.       Current family picture and photo of each family member 
4.       Can opener
5.       List of important phone numbers (laminated if possible) (cell phones, all 4 parents' cell phones, Family Doctor, the city police, and the city fire dept.)
6.       $5 in one dollar bills + 4 quarters
7.       4 rolls toilet paper
8.       1 bar soap
9.       1 emergency blanket per person
10.   1 roll paper towels
11.   $5 in one dollar bills + 4 quarters
12.   1 box bandaids
13.   1 package wet wipes
14.   100ct multi vitamins
15.   1 pack of gum
16.   2 candles
17.   Package of matches
18.   2 decks of cards
19.   Face Masks 2 per person
20.   1 bottle Ibuprofen (add baby Tylenol if you have a baby)
21.   2 lighters
22.   $5 in one dollar bills + 4 quarters
23.   1 whistle per person
24.   5 dice (to play games)
25.   Rubber gloves 2 pair per person
26.   Sunblock
27.   $5 in one dollar bills + 4 quarters
28.   Gauze and medical tape
29.   3 heat pouches per person
30.   Bugspray
31.   Rope
32.   $5 in one dollar bills + 4 quarters
33.   1 package garbage bags (10)
34.   Package of tums
35.   Pocket knife
36.   Thermometer
37.   $5 in one dollar bills + 4 quarters
38.   Hand sanitizer
39.   2 packs instant hot coco per person
40.   5 packages garden seeds
41.   2 packs instant soup per person (one can soup/person+1 pack ramen/person)
42.   $5 In one dollar bills + 4 quarters
43.   10 hard candies per person (i.e. butterscotch, cinnamon etc.)
44.   4 AA batteries
45.   10 instant crystal lite packages
46.   2 instant oatmeal packs per person
47.   $5 in one dollar bills + 4 quarters
48.   Notebook and pens (for journaling/notes/entertaining kids)
49.    Small pot
50.    Travel size shampoo/conditioner
51.   Bible/Book of Mormon
      52.   $5 in one dollar bills + 4 quarters

Things I added:
1 package tampons
1 package panty liners
1 box toothpaste + toothbrushes
Snacks: 1 box granola bars, 1 box fruit snacks, packages of nuts (need to be rotated Jun. 2012)
Deodorant
Lotion
Contact Solution
1 package tissues
Diapers (3 day supply)
Razors 

*I've found a lot of these supplies at Dollar Tree!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Year's Eve

We rang in the new year in California. Our boys were in bed well before midnight, but lest they feel left out, here are pictures of how they spent their December 31st:
Asher could not keep himself away from this table--every time I turned around he was on top of it.

Reeder got a camera for Christmas and was a little paparazzi. He got some fantastic shots--be excited to see those in the future.

The rest of us spent the night eating amazing food--I'm pretty sure the 6 pounds I gained over the holidays all came on New Year's Eve--watching movies, and being a little bit goofy. The three girls, in particular, were hilarious.
Left: Peyton posing with Zoe's sock monkeys. This year was the year of Paul Frank for Zoe. Center: Zoe throwing a frog slap bracelet at Ryan's wrist. Ryan using ample body protection. Side note: How can you not love slap bracelets? They are so, so cool. Right: A saxophone solo came on and Peyton started playing the air sax with this awesome foot tap and bluesy look on her face. If you haven't seen a six yearold play air sax, you are missing out.
After I pulled my camera went out, the girls went photo crazy. The kept posing with different items, then just standing there until I took a picture. I'm pretty sure I have about ten pictures of Peyton with the same face (top right), but holding different items.

And finally it was midnight! Happy New Year! Sadly, our party crackers were kind of lame. I bought them, so I'm pretty sure I ruined New Year's Eve.

Here's to 2012!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy

This picture just makes my heart melt.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Santa Barbara Zoo

The day after Christmas, we loaded the car and drove to California, one of our favorite places to visit. Unless you live in California or something tropical, be prepared to be jealous: the weather was in the high 70s the entire week. I did not prepare well; I packed long sleeves, long pants, and jackets. Whoops. Anyway, since the weather was so beautiful, we went to the zoo. We were kind of a spectacle, I think: 6 bigish (the "ish" is for Reed) kids, 2 toddlers in strollers, and 6 adults.

At least everyone smiled but my kids. Way to go, boys.

Reed was only two months old the last time we went to the Zoo, so I think it's safe to say he enjoyed this trip more than his first. Asher had a great time, too.
Asher's mouth was open in a smile like this for basically a few hours, straight. He may or may not have swallowed a few bugs.

The kids partnered up with buddies while we were at the zoo. Reeder chose Kamdyn (lucky--or should I say patient--girl), whom he is super attached to. At one point I asked him if he wanted to hold my hand, to which he replied, "No! Kamdyn is my Zoo Buddy!"
They make such cute buddies.

The kids had a fantastic time. Seeing (and somewhat illegally feeding) the giraffes was a big hit.
How can you not love giraffes? They are so weirdly cute.
Zoe was kind enough to ensure Reed didn't fall off the railing he was standing on to see the giraffes.

My favorite animals were the parrots. They didn't do anything particularly exciting, but there's just something about the bright colors that gets me every time.

While we were at the zoo, I discovered that if you take a picture of one kid doing something, you generally have to take a picture of all of them doing it. And then how do you post only one of those pictures on your blog? Only the little guys didn't want a turn; but that could be because neither of them were able to vocalize their request.

The Santa Barbara Zoo has a play area with a gigantic bird's nest, gigantic fake eggs you can play in, and a small hill made out of AstroTurf. Kids slide down the hill on pieces of cardboard. Basically, it's genius. Who knew that cardboard and AstroTurf could be so much fun?

The two littlest Hamblys were quite happy to escape their strollers. They even played nearby each other for a few seconds--long enough to get a picture. One day, though, I think they'll have a great time playing together.

When you have eight cousins together and one gigantic nest they can all fit in, how do you not take a picture? Notice that, once again, my kids are the only children not smiling? Apparently we need to work on that. Side note: Reed saw this picture today and asked, "Who is sitting with Kamdyn?" I told him it was Asher, and Reed yelled, "But I want to sit with Kamdyn!" Never mind that this picture was taken a few weeks ago. He loves her. Another side note: I took approximately twenty of this same shot, attempting to get a good picture. Peyton (Back right, white shirt) looks exactly the same in every picture. That's impressive posing, if you ask me.

All in all, a fantastic day.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Christmas

I think the main reason I was excited for Christmas this year was that Reed was really, really, excited. Last year, he kind of had a vague idea of the whole Santa-comes-and-leaves-you-presents idea. He was pumped on Christmas morning, but there was no buildup. This year? He was pumped. So I was, too.

It turns out Reed was so excited about Christmas that he woke up at 6 a.m., also waking up Aunt Mando, who he was sharing a bed with. He told her he wasn't sure if Santa came yet, so they'd better stay in bed. She heartily agreed. She was able to convince him to stay in bed until about 6:20, when they came to wake us up, too.

Our first stop once everyone was awake was to check on the plate of cookies Reed left for Santa. Cookies: Eaten. Carrots: Gnawed. Milk: Gone. Santa must have come.
 Mainly, Reed was just impatient to get to the presents.

Reed was the only grandchild at Grandma and Grandpa's house on Christmas this year, so he led the way to the present room:

Where we proceeded to go through our stockings. There was a candy can sticking out of the top of Reed's stocking. He was distracted by it for a few minutes until we reminded him that there was more inside.

In my family, we always get an apple, an orange, and a banana in our stockings. Ryan pretended his banana was a phone. Reed cracked up--it was the funniest thing he'd ever seen, basically. After that, everything was a phone. Here is Reed's paper phone and Ryan's game phone:

Not to be outshone by Reed's and Grandpa's candy cane phones:
And then the candy canes became the start of Reed's balancing act:

Then Reed started doing a crazy dance:

 I think he was a little slap-happy from waking up so early. And he was quite enjoying being the only child (Asher was still asleep)--he helped everyone go through their stockings.

After stockings, we pushed pause on the Christmas festivities and got ready for church.
Imagine that. They're all smiling and basically looking at the camera.


We weren't as successful.

Awwwww....sisters.

Asher got kind of bored waiting for all the girls to get ready, so he crept away to the piano.
Caught red-eyed. I should probably fix that.

After we got back from church, we promptly re-jammied, ate a fantastic breakfast, then made our way back to the presents. Asher went down for a nap, so he missed this present-opening session, too.
Reed opened a pillow pet from Grandma and Grandpa, and immediately got cozy. Then he opened a blankie from Grandma and got even cozier--it had minky on the back, by the way. And Minky is basically equivalent to heaven in a blanket.


And then he wanted to be swaddled up.

Kayla's best surprise of the day was a laptop that she had no clue she was getting. I'm pretty sure she knew about every other present she got :)

Once again, Reed helped everyone open their presents. Oh, the joy of being the only grandchild present.

When Asher woke up later, he got to have all eyes on him as he opened his presents solo. He was so excited to see the orange in his stocking he tried to bite right through the peel.

This is not exactly a flattering picture of Asher, but please not the treat in his hand and the treat he is trying to eat, wrapper and all. He clutched a treat in his hand basically all day.

After Asher's stocking, Great-grandpa and -grandma Steel came over for Christmas dinner. Dinner was fantastic. It was followed by--what else? More present unwrapping.

On Asher's birthday, he was really tired and grumpy and teething by the time he opened his presents. So he really, really didn't care and Reed and his friend Tylee opened basically all of Asher's presents. But on Christmas, Asher was so excited about opening presents.
Reed had to be restrained from opening Asher's presents several times. But Asher was pretty obliging and let Reed help out.

Asher was so, so intrigued by Great-grandpa Steel's cane. Great-grandpa, of course, made the most of it, teasing Asher and having a good time. It was so cute.

I attempted to get a picture of the boys with their great-grandparents. It wasn't the worst picture we've ever taken:

And finally, my cuddling boys in their Christmas jammies:

We had a great Christmas and hope you did, too!