Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Extra cuteness

Sometimes I just can't get enough of these cuties!  Ok grandparents... I know you can't either!  Here's some cute pics of our little stinkers.

 Play dough pizza

 Best part of the grocery store.... penny rides on the horsey!

 Birthday party next door.  Little Ashlyn turned 5.

Funny faces!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

New Vision

As you may have noticed from the previous nutrition posts I have been somewhat consumed with health and wellness lately. I would say it has quickly become a passion of mine. I am excited to announce I have a new blog. Don't worry, I will not forget to post on this current one! After all, I am making a book out of this family blog.
My vision is described in the first post on the new blog, Sports Bras and Aprons. Feel free to take a look and pass it on to anyone who might enjoy reading it!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Snow Angels

I can't believe I never put this up!  Several weeks back the kids enjoyed some outdoors snow fun.  And for the first time, my little angels learned how to make snow angles.  They were so adorable.

H4 and H5

We have a ways to go to get to 30 hikes this year.  March is almost over - one quarter of the year.  Crazy.  Our last two hikes were eventful in their own ways.  On the Red Rocks hike we got trapped in the rain.  The kids thought it was very adventurous to wait under a rock while daddy ran to get the car.  More recently we went to Lair o' the Bear and ate our dinner trail side complete with our backpacking stoves and fresh hot chocolate!

 H 5 - Lair o' the Bear

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Going to Work

 "So Aaron, what was your favorite part of the day today?" I asked as I usually do at bed time.  "Going to work," he told me.  Today while trying to figure out how to keep the kids busy while I folded laundry in the basement, we came up with the idea of making a play hospital.  The kids set up mats with mini pillows and blankets and used some chairs as beds too.  Then one by one they saw their "patients" as I brought them stuffed animals with ailments.  They used their play stethoscopes  clip boards, thermometers (which Aaron was certain looked more like a needle to administer shots with), and phones to call the doctor for advice.  They both wanted to pretend to be Daddy... or Papa... or Grandma... or Nanny...  It was so cute that I even got a little teary eyed when I heard Aaron say, with his little play phone up to his ear, "Oh hi doctor, my animals are really sick.  What should we do?"

It turns out hugs and kisses are the cure all!  I watched as they listened to heart beats, took their temperatures, gave them shots, gave them pretend band-aids from an empty band-aid tin and cover them up with a blanket and lots of love.  Then when the animals were "all better" it was their turn to pretend.  First Ethan was the patient, then Aaron.  At bed time, Aaron even informed me that when Ethan was taking care of him, he even made him dinner on the grill.  SOOOOOOO adorable!  As I was tucking him in he said he couldn't wait to wake up and go back to work.  I love these boys so much!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Captains Crew

Last month when mom and dad were in town we purchased Captains Crew membership at the Aquarium.  So since the other day was absolutely GORGEOUS yet extremely muddy we decided <sadly> against hiking and opted for a visit downtown.  It was the perfect day for an outing.  Our Aquarium passes not only include admission for a year but also tickets to the 4D ride, sting ray food, face painting, and more - all of which are separate charges otherwise.  And since our favorite store is right next door, we actually parked at REI and walked by the river front to the Aquarium so our parking was free too.  Add in a packed picnic lunch and you have a wonderfully FREE morning of family fun.

 The boys opted for "arm paint" instead of face paint.
 The squirrels were not shy and carried away pieces of lunch that the boys dropped.

Throwing rocks in the river.  Little Eman decided to try walking on water.  He walked out ankle deep and just stood and looked at us with a grin.  We thought surely he would turn around right away but he must have wanted to go for a swim - until he realized how cold it was!

Unfortunately Ethan was 4 inches too short for the 4D ride so he wasn't able to go.  BUT since we had 4 tickets - Aaron got to ride twice!  Once with mommy and once with daddy.  It is one of those simulated roller coaster rides where the chairs move and you wear 3D glasses.  It was pretty fun but Aaron got a little scared the first time around.  We fought hard to keep the boys awake on the way home and nap time went without a hitch.  Success!

Thursday, March 14, 2013


A few weeks ago we finally started getting some snow!  It only took until March to finally feel like winter a little bit!  It seems to snow now at least once a week anywhere from a few inches to a foot or more.  The thing is, it melts soooo fast!  I heard a guy say we get more sun than Florida here.  It's usually cleared up and gone in a day or two - even the heavy dumps.  Plus, the road crews are so prepared here that roads are plowed, salted, and melted in mere hours so if it snows all night, chances are everything is going to be open the next day.  No Zumba cancellations to worry about!

One day we decided to take the kids sledding.  Some place that wasn't an hour and a half away would be great!  Enter Ruby Hill.  It's a popular sledding hill in Denver, about 20 minutes from our house.  Christy Sports actually sponsors part of the hill offering snow board rentals for a miniature terrain park they have set up.  The other side of the hill is devoted to sledders.

So we packed the kids up with their classic wooden sleds and the inner tubes that Ethan got for his birthday and headed downtown.  It was beautiful!  We went down several times and each time John and I would pull the kids back up to the top of the hill.  Whew!  It was a great calf workout!  Everyone had a great time.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Family of Change

So what are the changes we've made you ask?  Quite a few actually.  It hasn't happened over night.  As I mentioned in the previous post, I have been thinking about this for a while but just recently got really passionate about it.  So we have changed little things one small step at a time.  We have a long way to go in my opinion but it's the little things that make the difference.  I would love to have a more environmentally responsible car to drive but right now that is more like a pole vault and I am not equipped for it just yet.  So here is what we have done recently. 

Environmental Changes
  • More diligent on recycling and avoiding buying non recyclable material such as paper plates and paper towels
  • Use of canvas grocery bags.  I keep them in my car at all times.
  • Less use of harmful chemical cleaners
  • Future plans for a rain collection system for our next home
  • more appreciation for our planet and what my part in taking care of it is
  • Plans for a garden and compost

Nutritional Changes
~Daily quality multivitamins for the whole family.  We went with Shaklee which so far have been great.
~Drinking plenty of water - limited milk for the boys to one glass a day and no juice (unless we juice it) to make them drink more water.  I have been using a band system to make sure I drink enough.  Ok so it's just a hair band but I start with 5 on my wrist and for each bottle I finish I put one on the bottle.  The idea is to get all of them off my wrist and onto the bottle each day before I go to bed.
~More fruits and vegetables - even some vegetarian meals

This is pre-juicer.  The magic bullet is one of our favorite kitchen items but it simply could not handle the job.
~Tried out juicing/bought a juicer.  John and I usually replace one meal with juice when he is off work.  I was nervous when I saw the ugly Hulk looking drink but it actually tasted OK.  I wouldn't say it was the best tasting thing I've ever had but it was certainly not bad.  And look at all the nutrients we packed into it!  Juicing is pricey so while we would love to do it daily or even try a juice fast, we just can't justify the cost right now.  (Love the juicer though and well worth the $35)

~Switched to Greek yogurt - Chobani even makes one in a tube and it is waaaaaaaay healthier than the Yoplait GoGurt brand
~Staying away from processed foods as best we can - anything I can make myself I would prefer to so I KNOW what is in it.

~Hired a milk man!  Yes!  Dan the milk man delivers fresh, organic milk, eggs, cheese, and butter from one of their 3 local farms here in the Denver area.  And the best part - it's affordable and the kids think it is the coolest thing ever to wake up to a box of goods from the milk man.

~Joined a fresh fruit/vegetable service called Door to Door Organics that delivers a fresh box of local produce either once a week or biweekly.  Unfortunatly we probably won't continue this service as it is a little pricey.

~Making plans to grow our own food

~Gave up pop - John has not had a single one since January 1st.  I have had two in moments of weakness since January 1st! :)  This is in stark comparison to my almost daily intake of Diet Coke.

~I'm trying new foods - and even eating rice!!!  Yes you just read that... RICE. And I liked it.
~Going out to eat WAY less.  Like almost not at all.  In the month of February we spent less than $50 total on eating out. (This is without counting Ethan's Birthday)

~Got creative with dinners.  The other night we had a fondue night and it was a great success!  Bonus: Aaron is now eating broccoli - even asking for seconds.

Our fondue was made entirely of organic fresh-from-the-farm products.  Butter, Milk, and Sharp cheddar.  Yum!

~Have been drinking herbal tea and honey a lot recently.  So many great health benefits - plus it's great after dinner, before bed.  Helps curb the evening munchies!

Things I've avoided buying processed and made myself instead in the last week or so:
  • Bread - the bread machine has recently become a friend of mine.  I have made some loaves by hand but this baby is a set and forget, great for pb&j, made with whole wheat, perfect loaf that we have fallen in love with.
  • Pita Bread
  • Graham crackers
  • corn tortillas
  • corn chips
  • spinach and artichoke dip
  • hummus - about 5 times!
  • pasta sauce
  • teriaki sauce
  • peanut sauce
  • pizza crusts - and extra to freeze
  • vanilla syrup
  • vanilla creamer
  • potato chips
  • lemon juice (from juicing lemons)
  • started seeds for tomatoes, green beans, strawberries, rosemary, basil, parsley, oregano, and spearmint
  • started regrowing my groceries...  onions, romaine lettuce, celery, lemon seeds
  • started a compost
  • dried out some leftover cilantro to keep for later
  • thought about making a cheap greenhouse for the backyard but may wait until next year

 This is our compost box for outside.  John drilled holes in a simple plastic tote from Walmart.  It can be shaken to stir it up.  We bought two so that while one is waiting to decompose for use, we can fill another one.
Now we can recycle food too!  (As Aaron likes to point out.)

Well, I have become a little more passionate about this kind of stuff every day.  In fact, I feel there is more to my passion than meets the eye - like maybe there is a purpose to all of this.  In fact it makes me very excited to think about how I can use my new found love and knowledge to help others.  My passion is really aimed at overall health and wellness which includes taking care of our bodies inside and out as well as our environments.  John is 100% on board with this and very encouraging and excited about it himself.  The kids are doing great - they are having fun with it and to them, it's just a way of life.  Can't wait for growing season to begin... only 10 weeks to go... ugh!