Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Granola Bars

I altered a granola bar recipe (Playgroup Granola Bars on Allrecipes.com) to make it a bit healthier and the results are fantastic!

Here is the recipe if you are interested.  It makes a big cookie sheet full of bars (about 30 total).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously grease cookie sheet.

In your biggest bowl combine:
4 c. rolled oats (whole grain)
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. wheat germ (or 1/2 c. wheat germ and 1/2 c. ground flaxseeds)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. raisins, nuts, sunflower seeds, choc.chips, m&m's, or any combination of these (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Make a well and add the wet ingredients:
1 c. honey
2 eggs beaten
1 c. vegetable oil (or healthier oil)
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. water

Mix with hands until thoroughly combined and pat into cookie sheet and press down evenly.  Bake for 35 minutes (more if you want it real crisp or less if you want it more chewy).  Cool for 5 minutes, then cut bars while still warm.  Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Restoring Courage

Leading up to the Restoring Courage event there were some really neat gatherings of religious leaders who spoke.  The overwhelming message was one of love and working together for God's chosen people of Israel.  I have always been interested in the Jewish people since I read 'The Diary of Anne Frank' as a girl and learned all I could about the holocaust.   Now I am interested in the fate of Israel and the Jewish people because of all the prophecies in the Bible.   It is very interesting to me and it will kill me my whole life that I didn't go to Israel when I had the chance many years ago.  

The actual Restoring Courage event on the 24th was, I thought, very well done even though there were last minute changes since all the Muslims who were supposed to participate had to cancel.  The threats against their lives grew so serious that it was understandable and Glenn knew that might happen.  Sad that they would have to endure this though.  (This because they would support Israel's right to exist.)  

All the music was WONDERFUL.   (Discovered two new wonderful singers Dudu Fisher and Alex Boye.)
Cool story: A man from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (Alex Boye) felt inspired to come and sing the closing song for the event in Jerusalem.  He flew across the world and even brought his own accompanist though he was not involved with the program in any way.  Somehow a couple days before the event in Israel Glenn heard him sing.  He then asked him the morning of the event to do the closing song.  This man though surprised, agreed.  He said the Spirit had told him and he had known for several years he was supposed to sing this particular song at an important event.   (He is from Africa, grew up in England I think, but now lives in Utah since he performs with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.)

The main focus of all of this, was standing with Israel.  As goes Israel, so goes the rest of the world.

 Israel is being set up and the whole world, it seems, is against them.

Are we courageous enough to stand and say "Take me first!" were something like the holocaust to ever happen again?  Will we wait and hope for the media to change their minds on Israel?  (They won't.)  History is repeating itself.

After all Israel has been through...  they are remarkably patient.  Yet today people are making the same mistakes.  It is easier to flow with the majority as they condemn Israel, rather than stand for Israel.  Just like in Hitler's days- people are turning a blind eye.

Israel is a tiny country, surrounded by enemies, enduring bombings daily, and the collective critisicm of the world's leaders, when all they want is to survive.   I believe they have the right to defend their land and to survive.   If you have never read the book by Corrie Ten Boom 'The Hiding Place', please read it.  It makes you think about fear vs. love and courage to do what is right no matter what.  I hope to be like their family one day.  But putting that aside, one of the greatest testaments that the gospel is true, is that Israel, having been hated and persecuted since the beginning of time, still stands. God made a covenant with them, and we would do well to be on their side. I study history with my children, and all those empires who have taken over and destroyed Israel (Babylonians, Assyrians, Romans, etc), failed and now no longer exist... yet Israel stands.

Probably my favorite quote from the event:
"Evil is counting on us to do nothing.  Evil is counting on us to be afraid.   But evil had misjudged us. " - GB


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hiking the W

I carpool with my neighbor and a few months ago he finally got me into geocaching.  This is a game where someone hides some type of container, posts the latitude and longitude and possibly some type of hint and you go and try to find it.  Once you find it you can log your find on geocaching.com.  The boys and I like it because we get to hike and when we get there the boys think it's fun to find some type of hidden treasure.

Mike, my neighbor who was going for his one thousandth find this last weekend, picked a suitably memorable geocache to find and invited me to come along.  Three miles, a little over three thousand feet in elevation gain and lots of fun to be had.  The cache was called "The W" and from its description:

The Knife Edge is aptly named, as it drops off hundreds of feet on either side. Only people who are very confident of their scrambling abilities, with respect for but not a fear of heights, should attempt this. The W is also an appropriate name, as it is two large notches in the Knife Edge, which are clearly visible from below.

Oh...did I mention, I'm pretty scared of heights.  I went on the hike expecting to sit out once we got to the Knife Edge.  There was never any one good place to stop, it got scarier and scarier the further we went on so slowly that I just never stopped.  When we were about 200 feet from our goal I was absolutely terrified but I'd come so far and was not stopping at that point.  I just ignored what my eyes were telling me and kept them looking closely at the rocks in front of me.

The goal from the bottom of the mountain, the "W" is circled in red.

Mike and Matthew on the way down, yikes...can't believe I'd been up there.

Me and Matthew on the way up.

These are two videos that Mike got, one on the way up and the second at our goal.  In the second video you can really see where my fear of heights had kicked in and I had to have two hands and both feet touching something so I didn't completely panic.  Despite that fear it was actually a ton of fun.  As a side note my username on the geocaching website is "paboperfecto", Mike refers to me as that at least once in the videos.


For those who are interested in these types of things here is the hike profile downloaded from one of the GPS units we had along with us:

Monday, August 15, 2011

And so it begins...

Yes.  Today was our first day of school!  I must say my kids crack me up.  Idients and Terps.  These are their made-up names for themselves as barbarians.  (We were learning about the fall of the Roman Empire- Huns, Visigoths, etc, and of course the Idients and Terps).  You had to be there.  But they both impressed me with how much they remembered from where we left off last year and how much they can find on the map still. 

We kind of fizzled out last year since I had to do the food for girls camp right when school was ending, however for their final project the kids "published" their own newsletter and delivered it to all our neighbors.  It was very informative; the kind of must read news you can't live without from a 1st and 2nd grader.  Someday I'll get it up here.

We've been preparing for weeks now and though our schedule will always need tweaking since I have a baby whose nap times vary, and other interruptions to our days like speech therapy and piano, but I feel pretty good.  Okay well, in actuality, there's a lot of stuff I can't figure out how to get to , but I had a strong feeling that I should continue to home school this year, so I am trusting it'll work out.  Pat gave us all blessings last night and now we just do our best.

I noticed that things don't go well if I don't get enough ME time and time with Pat.  So I'm waking up at 5am everyday to study scriptures with him before he leaves for work.  Then I'm hoping I have from 6-7am to exercise ALONE without a baby awake, but that's really hopeful.  There's so much I want to do!

Still trying to figure out how to fit in a few other things into our collective schedule... it's not easy.
And soccer is starting soon.  Sam has decided to try playing again after taking 2 years off, and I really hope he has fun.  He'll have two friends from church on his team!  Evan and Dallas are playing too.   Busy, busy, busy.  Pat is coaching again- Sam's team this time.

So here's a big catch up on some of what we've been up to.

Busy girl.  Update: Just had her 18mo appointment and she is 25% for height which I was shocked about because everyone always says how tall she looks, and she has not really gained any weight since the last visit 6 months ago.  The Doc said he knew why- she was the busiest kid he had ever seen!  She climbed on and off the exam table about 20 times during our visit, opened up all the drawers, etc.  He said she's really smart and not to worry- she'll start talking soon.

This is a home-made Wii remote.  I pulled on the cord and it said something along the lines of If you let us play Wii... 

One of the gorgeous dresses from Aunt Steph.

Ln interrupted the boys puppet show.

Destined for the theater.

I fancied myself a seamstress, able to make these supposedly incredibly easy shorts.  I gave up a year and a half later, and mailed the cut out material to my MIL (before they grew out of them!) and she whipped them out and back to me.  There are more than these but this picture shows you the different fabrics the boys picked.  The love them, and we are so thankful to Bren'mama for saving the day!

Can I call this her first ponytail?

Don't fight a tree.  You'll lose.

A year and a half old and so cute!  She is taking her sweet time talking though and I'm beginning to get worried!  She can say Mama, but refuses to do it.  Other than that, she's not talking.

Sam could never decide what he wanted on his cake, so I did a generic one.  You're cool if you know where the quote is from.  (We have the power, so can you!)

I cannot believe Sam is 7.  Really.    

We're still letting the boys sleep in the tent outside as much as they want since once winter sets in, it's impossible to step outdoors for months and months...

Our little garden.  Better this year than last.  Credit goes all to Pat.  I've spent a total of about 1/2 hour in the garden this year.  Anybody need some zucchini?

I'm trying to get to at least 50% of what I eat being raw.  Pat keeps trying to feed me raw meat, but I MEAN raw vegetables!  The garden has certainly been helpful.     Bye!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tired of the same old dinners?

After reading Stone Soup to the kids, Sam said, "Is that real?"
I said, "Of course!"

FYI- The book is about some hungry travelers who finally arrive at a town, but no one will share any food with them.  They pretend to not be worried as they are planning on making some stone soup to eat.  Stone soup?  This gets the villagers curious.   The stones boil in the pot and the travelers taste it and say how delicious it is.   BUT it would be even better with a little salt.  Then a little bit of herbs.  Then some onion and carrots.   Then meat and potatoes and so forth.   The villagers become so anxious to taste the stone soup that they gladly provide the additional things that go into the soup and in the end it turns out delicious and the travelers and villagers have a great feast together. 

So since the kids were skeptical, I told them to go and get some stones and we'd make stone soup.

We looked at the book and did it exactly how it read.   Water, rocks, bring to a boil.

Then each ingredient in order including throwing in red potatoes WHOLE just like they did in the book. 

After two hours simmering we ate stone soup for dinner.    It was delicious!!    The potatoes and meat were buttery soft.  Sam thought the stones had melted into the soup, but I showed them they were still there.  They were just in there for flavor, I said.

So if you're wondering what to make for dinner tonight...