Monday, December 26, 2011

Our 2011 Christmas Story

Merry Christmas!

Well, the kids are all busy playing with their new toys and the kittens are working on taking down my tree. So I'll take a moment and share how our Christmas weekend went.

Thursday we were blessed with a full day of good health for the boys. This is a true blessing for this months as the boys have been sick almost every day of the month. We took the opportunity to go into St. George and finish our shopping. That evening we went to the Tuacahn Center for a wonderful festival of Christmas lights and a Live Nativity in their outdoor theater. They brought in live animals including camels. It was a special night with a very memorable wind chill. We ended up going to the DI to buy warmer clothes for the boys. We were very grateful for the night because it was one of the few evenings we were able to go out and celebrate the season.

Friday was a tough day. The boys relapsed back into a very sickly routine of terrible diapers. I was very grateful that grandma was able to come to the house and watch the boys for a while while Leif and I did the Christmas stocking shopping. It was a much needed out.

Saturday (Christmas Eve) I woke up feeling good. I worked on thinking positive the night before. My sweet husband helped me throughout the day to get the house cleaned up really well. We finally decided to trim some of the branches of our Christmas tree. It looked so much better and it filled the house with a wonderful Christmas smell. Throughout the day our home was filled with the cheerful Christmas carols which worked on healing  my weary mother heart (because of my boys' sickness.)

Towards the middle of the afternoon it was clear that the boys were still sick and I would have to stay home from the family Christmas party to be sure Great Grandma and Grandpa Dixon were not exposed to the very contagious illness the boys have (whatever it might be.) I was surprised at the peace that I felt about missing the important gathering. I missed the family a lot and I felt bad that I wasn't able to enjoy all of their company and join in the festivities (thank you aunt Stacey for coming up to visit me, your visit meant a lot to me.) But I felt a calming peace as I made the salad to send down with Leif and I planned what I would do with the little boys while Leif and Jakob were gone. Added to that peace was the wonderful surprise I got in the mail. My sister sent me a box of her homemade goodies. Anyone who knows my sister knows that she is an excellent cook and baker. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness and  I was not disappointed in her amazing talent! Thank you Heather!!!

That evening I sent Leif to the the video rental store (Netflix and Internet were not reliable enough for this night.) While he was gone I enjoyed a short and sweet moment of quiet creativity with my boys. With Netflix not working we had the TV off and Caleb asked to do an art project. I was surprised to find that Jakob wanted to do one too. I brought out the large paper, cotton balls, and glue. With Jon Schmidt Christmas quietly playing on Pandora my boys proceeded to build their own igloos topped off with a few cowboys and army men to hold the fort. It was such a simple moment. But I was grateful for the calm love that filled our home for that moment.

I spent the rest of the evening  caring for the little boys. Bedtime finally came and I watched a beautiful short clip of the Nativity online with Caleb. That was another special moment. I tucked the boys in bed and waited for Leif and Jakob to come home. When they got home Jakob was wound up tighter then the Energizer Bunny. I forced him to lay under the Christmas tree and watch the lights while he listened to the Christmas music to help him calm down. Eventually he was able to calm down somewhat and Caleb had woken up in the meantime. So we sat with them and read the final page in our Christmas Advent book and let them open their Christmas Eve present (PJ's, of course.) From there it was off to bed so Santa could come! For some reason we didn't really have a hard time getting the kids to bed at that point;)  Just after getting the boys to bed Leif was called out for an EMT call. Someone drunk driving. Luckily she didn't hurt anyone. FINALLY Leif and I were together and we had a great time setting out our gifts and leaving the rest up to Santa:) This year I would say we did a good job staying with our Three Gift goal. The only side tracking was for Jakob's much needed extra pajamas and Caleb's potty training necessities.

(Sunday) Christmas morning didn't come soon enough for any of us. Leif and I always wake up several times throughout the night leading up to Christmas morning:) The boys actually slept in until almost 8:00. This was one of the few years where we didn't have any grandparents with us on Christmas morning. Though it's fun either way, I enjoyed it being just us. Especially since Caleb struggled and whined a lot because he had to be patient.;) Truly, it was a wonderful Christmas morning.:)  We all opened our presents and I was so touched by how grateful the kids were for their presents. Just hearing Caleb's "Oh ntchu (Thank you) Brother!" when he opened a gift from Jakob was enough to melt my heart, but then to hear Jakob repeatedly and randomly say thank you for his gifts has definitely done the trick!

Once we got the living room cleaned up Grandma and Grandpa Baron came up to our house after they came home from church. It was nice to hear how the service went and we felt bad that we didn't make it. But sometimes you just do the best you can. We all had a great time opening more presents and giving a few. We are blessed to live close to grandparents.

Christmas afternoon we experienced another one of those special and quiet moments. The words "all is calm, all is bright" come to mind.  After the gift opening and festivities had settled down I found myself surrounded by my family but it was completely peaceful. No crying, no fighting, no one making requests. Everyone was completely content to play on their own. There wasn't even any music in the background.  Just quiet calmness. This was a special gift in itself!

The rest of the day and into the night was filled with lots of toys, candy, and a good Sunday movie. It was a very Merry Christmas for our little family!

Monday started very early for us! Leif was called to a fire in Kanab with our local fire department. He was there from 3 to 10AM. It was a large fire and Leif's first structure fire. Luckily no one was seriously hurt. Though it is a sad story.  I am very proud of him and so grateful for his willingness to serve his community! The rest of the day will be spent as a Play Day! Leif is playing his new NBA computer game and Jakob is trying to figure out his new Star Wars Legos Wii game. At some point we will help Caleb learn how to play his new Grover Wii game. The boys are happy and cheerful but they are still not healthy. So we look forward to tomorrow when their test results should be in. Gratefully we have A LOT to be thankful for and much to distract us from the frustration of their illness.

I am so very grateful for this precious season of the year that turns our hearts to the goodness in each other and ultimately gives us a whole month to focus on Jesus Christ. For without Him, I would be lost in every sense of the word. Thank you Dear Father for sending us Your Son!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ways to Fight the Flu and Diarrhea

We are finally on the mend after a terrible case of vomiting and diarrhea that wouldn't let my boys go. After three+ weeks of the illness cycling through my family Leif and I were at our wits end. I finally decided to buckle down and figure out how to fight this with the knowledge that I've gained through my holistic health studies. Why I let it go on so long before doing this I have no idea! But I did finally come up with 2 Very Simple remedies and I truly believe they helped my boys finally sleep without vomiting or Diarrhea.

I mixed 2 Tablespoons of Pure Honey with 1 teaspoon high quality Cinnamon. I was thrilled to see that my boys licked this off of a (baby sized) spoon like it was a lolly pop. I just needed to be sure to wipe their little mouths so the cinnamon didn't irritate their skin. But they didn't let that little irritation stop them from sucking this down several times a day. I really believe it helped!
Here's why I used these two ingredients:
Cinnamon is one of the world's most widely used digestive aids, helping to improve most gastrointestinal problems. It is greatly effective in relieving intestinal gas and eases diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. It also contains propanoic acid, which helps to stop the formation of stomach ulcers without interfering in the production of the gastric acid needed for good digestion. Germany's Commission E approves Cinnamon for loss of appetite and indigestion.
Cinnamon is now on the list of antivirals. An Israeli researcher has demonstrated that a Cinnamon extract has been able to quickly and effectively immunize fowl against Newcastle disease virus, and further studies on Avian Flu H9, HIV virus and herpes simplex-1 also achieved positive results. Furthermore, Cinnamon extract may also be useful in combating the deadly Bird Flu H5.
Honey: In treating diarrhea, honey promotes the rehydration of the body and more quickly clears up the diarrhea and any vomiting and stomach upsets. The anti-bacterial properties of honey, both the peroxide and non-peroxide, are effective in the laboratory against MRSA strains of bacteria which are notoriously resistant to antibiotics and are sometimes responsible for the closing of hospital wards.

I monitored and planned their food. My boys were fine during the day so they would eat. But their stomach wasn't breaking the food down fast enough and it would all come up at night when they slept. So this is how we ate:
Breakfast: We had a regular breakfast (cereal, toast, yogurt, etc.)
Snacks: Juices, cinnamon toast, bananas or applesauce (no snacks after 3:00PM)
Lunch: For lunch we ate oatmeal (quick oats) with a lot of cinnamon. We used soy milk to limit dairy. Oatmeal could cause problems for some. You could make hot cereal with brown rice (google it for a recipe or purchase it at the store.)
Dinner: This is the most important meal to monitor! You want it to be light and smooth. No chunks! I made a chicken broth soup with boiled potatoes. I added a Butternut squash pasta sauce as a base. It still wasn't quite thick enough so I drained some of the juice out of a can of southwestern chicken veggie soup and added the contents into the pot. After bringing it to a boil I poured it into my Vitamix and blended it until smooth. It was very tastey but we ended up wanting to drink it.;)  This was the perfect meal to ease the stomachs. It had a touch of garlic and a touch of cayenne both have soothing and healing properties. The next night we had leftover soup, mashed potatoes, and bananas dipped in cool whip.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Have I Ever Told You?

Have I ever told you what my absolute all time favorite thing to see is during this particular season of my life? Well let me tell you...

I LOVE to watch my precious children play! I love to sit back away from their action and watch them play. Whether they be all by themselves with their little toys or side by side each other playing together, the sight is precious to me! Even more precious is when I hear their little voices as they play. To hear my sweet Caleb say to Jakob, "yes sir (sure) Brother, we can play dat (that)..."  Priceless!

From JJ 3 Months

I'm Praying...

I'm Praying that we are at the end of this incredible sickness that has gripped us. I'm hoping and praying!  My JJ needs the chance to rebuild his strength and gain the weight that he's lost.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Going on Three Weeks

If I have to clean up one more puddle of puke or worse, I might just go insane! My kids have had one type of flu or another for the past three weeks. I am So Weary! I won't go into detail. I just needed to vent for a minute. Thanks!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

3rd Annual Country Women's Christmas Candy Making Party

I just returned home from my annual candy making party. It was another great time filled with holiday festivities and spirit and great company.

My sweet friend ended up with a house full of sick kids this year. So we held the party at the church instead of her house. We missed her a lot but the set up at the church went great! I wanted the day to still feel cozy cottage like. So I tried to decorate and bring in the Christmas spirit. My precious mother in law came to the church and helped me set up. We hung a wreath on the door to welcome my guests. Then we wrapped the three large tables in wrapping paper. We used chair back covers to cover the chairs and then wrapped pretty bows around the chairs. This added a special touch. I set up a small fiberoptic Christmas tree. Then to add the final touch I set up a CD player with Christmas music and turned on my candle warmer with a Scentsy Caramel Pecan scent. *Perfect!*

To make things easy and the least divided as possible I brought my microwave to set up in the room with us so that no one had to leave to melt all of the different ingredients. This was really nice as it kept us all visiting and laughing together.

I always love to see who is able to come, both those who I know and then those who I don't. This year we had two ladies come that I was able to meet for the first time. I just Love that this party pulls people out of the woodwork and brings people back year after year.

We made A LOT of wonderful treats this year. Several repeats from years past and a few new treats as well. all of the recipes are things that we can make with a microwave, plenty of chocolate, and several glass bowls. Here are the recipes:
Here are the links to the recipes:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Holiday Truffles
Toffee Peanut Clusters
Oreo Cream Cheese Truffles (AKA: Hosts of Ghosts for Halloween)
Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Rods
Butterscotch Treats

1 C. Butterscotch pieces Nestle Tollhouse
1/2 C. Creamy peanut butter
3 c. Corn flakes
On cookie Sheet with edge, cover bottom w/ wax paper, set aside
Put PB and Butterscotch pieces in a 2 qt pan. Stir and melt on Medium heat, when all melted, remove
fromt heat, add corn flakes stirring until well coated. You can add more cornflakes until they are all
drop by teaspoon on cookie sheet, place in fridge- and they'll set.

It was a wonderful afternoon filled with the treasured sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas. I am so grateful for the chance that I have to give back to my wonderful friends, old and new.
Merry Christmas Dear Friends!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Home School Month in Review November

November was a busy month. But we managed to fit Home School in with my Finals. Jakob also went on his first extremely long road trip with Grandma and Grandpa Baron to New Mexico. It was a 12 hour trip and he loved it (not necessarily the drive;)

Our main focus this month was on Jets/United States Air Force and Thanksgiving/Gratitude. The other subjects came in as Netflix Documentaries. So here's the rundown of some of our favorites.

Jets and the USAF: (I can't remember the books that I already returned to the library:(
Dog Fights Season 1 and 2 (documentary), Supersonic Saints Audio Book, the Aviation Nation 2011 air show. It was spectacular!! Jakob went to White Sands Missile Range Museum and loved that as well!

Thanksgiving/Gratitude: The Untold Story of the Mayflower (Movie/documentary) We watched this as a family and enjoyed the history and the story. I would recommend purchasing this DVD for your Home School curriculum. Standin' Tall by Janeen Brady Audio Book GRATITUDE (they loved this!) BOOKS: Fire Fighters Thanksgiving by Meribeth Boelts, Thank you Sarah the Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Hales Anderson, Squantos Journey by Joseph Bruchac

Creatures That Defy Evolution: Vol. 1 (AWESOME!! There are 3 volumes.)
How Smart are Animals?: Nova scienceNOW
Lizard Kings: On the Trail of the Monitor
Making Stuff: Nova: Making Stuff Cleaner
Making Stuff: Nova: Making Stuff Smaller
Making Stuff: Nova: Making Stuff Stronger
Making Stuff: Nova: Making Stuff Smarter
Animal Planet: Safari: Saba and Rhino's...

Math: I'm still really happy with the BJU Press Math DVD!!

Creative Thinking: Jakob made a photo collage of some of the things he is thankful for.

Gospel Studies: We started something new. We give the boys a piece of paper and a can of crayons as we get ready for scripture study. Then the boys illustrate what we're reading about on their paper. Jakob writes the chapter we read at the top of the paper. We'll compile them in a book as we go. So far, so good! I'm still very happy with the morning devotional book that I purchased The One Year DEVOTIONS for Preschoolers by Crystal Bowman.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Lighting of the Christmas Tree

Written Sunday November 27, 2011:
Tonight we spent the evening putting the Christmas tree up and stringing the lights. The evening was really special. The boys watched a Christmas movie while Leif and I strung the lights. Stringing the lights isn't really the fun part. But it was fun working together and enjoying the moment. Caleb and JJ were especially excited about the beautiful twinkling lights this year. They were both bubbling over with glee. The tree was finished just as the kid's movie ended so we transitioned right into the bedtime routine. Instead of scriptures tonight we gathered next to the tree and I read the boys the Legend of the Candy Cane. This is a story that revolves around Jesus Christ and the True meaning of Christmas. While I read the story Leif passed around cups of Cinnamon Eggnog. We couldn't have felt more CHRISTmas Spirit if we tried.

I am so grateful for my precious family. Life can get so busy and overwhelming at times. I am so grateful for a husband who will take the time with us to invite the Spirit of Christ into our home through these little traditions and special moments. The calm that comes into our life is invaluable.

I am most grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ who brings meaning to all of these traditions and festivities. He truly is The Light of the World!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Healthy Habits Contest!

My sister in Law Heidi has put together a great contest to help us all feel more healthy for the new year. I want to invite anyone else who wants to join us! Let Me Know!!

Here are the Rules (Written by Heidi): 

1. By the end of tomorrow  (Dec 6) everyone will email me (HeidiBoydPotter at back with your BMI (Body Mass Index). If you go HERE  It will ask you a couple questions and calculate it for you. I think it is better to go off of this number, rather than actual pounds lost. As we are all different sizes and have different goals :) I will keep a record, so that you don't have to announce it to the whole group, and I'll keep track of everyones, so that we know who the winner is at the end.

2. By the end of tomorrow (Dec 6) everyone will email me (HeidiBoydPotter at back with your goals. For example, Mine are... I would like to lose 20 pounds, Exercise 6 days a week for a minimum of 30 mins and wake up before 6 am every morning and go and read motivating material with my hubby :) Your goals can be whatever you wish. I'm just simply making you write them down and say them to somebody. Ya' welcome :)

3. EVERY monday, you must respond to the weekly email that I send. You will respond with your updated BMI, and how your goals are going for you, and, if you wish, any recipe ideas, and/or tips you learned the previous week that you would like to share! But, I AT LEAST need a quick check in email with your BMI.

4. As far as what you eat. This is not too strict, However, if you wanna win, you will do whatever it takes. I suggest going off of soda completely. Narrow your sugar intake way down and eat less carbs and more proteins and grains. You can use for healthy recipe ideas. Try to avoid going out to eat as much as possible during this time. Plan ahead. Make lunches for yourself the night before. If you do go out to eat, on the weekend, than CHOOSE WISELY. For example, ask for no mayo or extra sauces on sandwiches. Choose a salad with a light dressing. AVOID YELLOW CHEESE!! It's no good. Just trust me. Think about switching to Almond milk. There is better health benefits than regular milk. Eat Greek yogurt, instead of regular..Eat lots of veggies and fruit.

5. If you miss reporting on 2 emails. You are DISQUALIFIED. So don't do that. If you had a bad week, report anyway. We are all going to have bad weeks, let's be honest, it's the holidays. SO, just report, and keep going. It will be worth it.

6. You will take a picture of yourself every week and hang it up on your bathroom mirror to see each week. (this is the part I dread) 

7. Every morning, you will wake up and say OUT LOUD one of these two options " I am Alive. I am Alert. I feel GREAT! " or "I am Happy. I am Healthy. I am TERRIFIC!" and no... I'm not kidding. You WILL do this. If you feel so inclined, you will also repeat these thoughts to yourself as you go to bed at night. 

GREAT! Now, here is the PRIZE idea I have..

* Everyone, besides the winner, will put $25 towards buying the winner a gift, and if necessary, mailing it to that person if it cannot be delivered by you. Think of how fun it will be to be the winner and receive 8 thoughtful gifts in the mail. I know right ???!! Oh, and PS don't send a restaurant gift card, it needs to be an actual present. Be creative :)

THE Competition Begins NOW and ends March 5. We have 90 days to make this happen!!! If you know of other people that would like to join, please send me their email address and they may participate. 

And remember * This is not a DIET, Diet's have a beginning and an ENDING. We are making a healthy eating HABIT. Habits take 30 days to develop, so be patient with yourself for the first month and keep plugging along. 

Alrighty folks!!!  I figure, if we are going to do this, we are going to keep ourselves accountable and on course. BECAUSE, We are so SUCCESSFUL!! Yay team!! Now, happy healthy shopping for food!!

Email me back with any questions!  We will also set up a blog as soon as we get going to help us stay in touch. 
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