Sunday, February 24, 2008

Resolutions Update

I've been at it for a month! Time to see how it's going...

1. Keep up my exercise routine.
Grrr. I dislike winter. I was doing pretty well, considering, until I injured my knee. Not sure what happened, but it was really painful. I stayed off of it for a week so it would get better in time for me to brave the airport alone with my boys. Thankfully it did, but that means I haven't been excercising at all for over 2 weeks now (no excercising in UT, brrr). And now I'm sick and don't feel like walking in the cold. I feel like a blob. But on the up side, it's starting to get lighter by 6am so maybe I can start running/walking everyday! Yay for spring!

2. Eat more.
I certainly did that during the UT trip. ;) I couldn't find the books I wanted to read from the library, but I did manage to find some others along the same lines. My favorite was the Bean Bible. Tons of great legume recipes! I'm going to read some more books to see where our menus can be improved. I've started making tortillas from scratch (to avoid all the preservatives in the store bought variety); they are really good! We have also been eating more veggies, though not a lot more. They are hard to come by in winter in NJ. It is definitely easier to eat more fresh food in CA. Oh well, soon it will be spring, and maybe I can start my own garden!!! (assuming I have a house.)

3. Write in my journal once a week.
Not bad, though I did miss two weeks while we were in UT. But I'm not going for perfection here, so I'll just keep going. My boys write in their journals once a week as well. I love to read what they've written (or dictated)!

4. Write in my blog once a month and once a day for one month.
So far, so good. It's really fun! I've decided I'll need to choose a month to write every day before June when we will hopefully be moving into a house. I'm betting I'll be too overwhelmed after that to blog every day. So maybe April (or May) will be my blog every day month.

5. De-clutter one room a month.
I de-cluttered the 3rd bedroom and it looks great! My house feels so much cleaner/more organized, even though the rest of it really isn't. To be totally honest, some of the clutter from that room just moved into other rooms. Oh well, you've got to make a mess to get rid of a mess sometimes. Eventually it will all be organized or gone! For this month, my bedroom. I haven't started on it yet, but it shouldn't pose too much of a challange.

6. Find some service to do.
Why is this so hard for me? In my last ward we had a humanitarian interest group and the leader was great at finding service opportunites for us. There's nothing like that here and I'm not nearly as good at finding service as she was. Sighhh. Also, I just found out one of my friends is expecting, so the baby blanket may go to her instead of a hospital. Sorry! Maybe crocheting leper bandages will be the way to go for me.

7. Say "I love you" to my children and husband every day.
So far so good! I think I'll add 'be more positive' to this one.

8. 'Compact' participation
This is actually proving more difficult. I have stopped reading mailed (and emailed) ads and catalogs. And I have looked at used options for items we want to purchase. But it's really hard to buy something used when it only costs a few dollars less then new! Grrr. I've also stopped looking for used clothes for the boys. None of the stores have them in their sizes. And I can understand why, they wear them out faster then they grow out of them! Oh well. Like I said, participation not perfection. I think the next step I will take in this direction will be to cancel all the catalogs I get in the mail (except seed catalogs!). I don't know how they found me when I moved, but they did.

There it is!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Vegetarian Recipes

A friend of mine recently asked for vegetarian recipies on her blog. Here's my contribution! These are some of my favorites. I've been toying with going vegetarian for Lent for a few years now, but haven't actually done it. Good luck to you!

Spicy Lentil and Bean Chili

Heat In a large pot:
1 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup diced carrots

Cook, stirring frequently, 3 to 5 minutes til softened.

2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. dried oregano

Cook and stir 30 seconds.

2 cups vegetable stock
½ cup brown lentils

Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 25 minutes.

1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes with chiles
1 (14 ½ oz.) can red kidney beans, drained, rinsed.
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

Cook, covered, 10 to 15 minutes or until lentils are tender. Spoon into bowls with sour cream or rice, if desired. Serves 4 (with leftovers).


I found this next recipe in a vegetarian magazine. Yummy! Makes a lot of toppings, so unless you want leftovers, I'd half the recipes. IMHO, the one with tofu isn't quite as good as the other two, though tofu might be a good cottage cheese replacement instead.

Baked Sweet Potato Bar

Cook until tender:
4 medium sweet potatoes

Tofu-Apple Topping
Combine in a bowl:
1 cup silken tofu, drained and crumbled
1 apple, diced
½ cup granola
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
½ tsp. ground cinnamon

Cottage Cheese and Spinach Topping
Combine in a bowl:
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup chopped baby spinach
½ cup golden raisins

Maple Yogurt Topping with Bacon Bits (my favorite!)
Combine in a bowl:
1 cup greek yogurt
2 Tbs. maple syrup
¼ tsp. (or less!) ancho chile powder
1 Tbs. chopped chives
¼ tsp. (or less!) cayenne pepper
⅛ tsp. salt
6 oz. vegetarian bacon, crumbled

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Negativity and family life

I'm stealing the idea for this post from a friend's blog, but I'm sure she won't mind! I found it very interesting....

First some articles:

"Our Brain's Negative Bias" by Hara Marano

Basically, it says our brains pay more attention to negative input, therefore to have a healthy marriage (and other relationships), positive interaction has to outweigh negative by 5 to 1.

This statement really stuck out to me:
"Occasional big positive experiences--say, a birthday bash--are nice. But they don't make the necessary impact on our brain to override the tilt to negativity. It takes frequent small positive experiences to tip the scales toward happiness."

Actually, dh and I don't have much trouble getting enough positive interaction. I guess that's why we're still married after almost 9 years!

"The Positive - Negative Ratio" by Sarah Chana Radcliffe, M.Ed., C.Psych.Assoc.

In summary, parental power to discipline comes from establishing a good relationship with the child and a good relationship (from the child's POV) is created by more positive interactions, at a ratio of 4 to 1.

"If the parent consistently makes predominantly positive actions, the child will perceive the parent as loving.On the other hand, if the parent makes predominantly negative actions, the child will usually perceive the parent as unloving, even hurtful -- despite the fact that the parent might be filled with love for the child!
"The ideal positive-to-negative ratio is 80 to 20.That is, for every four positive actions a parent makes towards his child, he can afford to make one negative one."

I have actually believed this for some time, though I never had any research to back it up. ;) My younger ds had been acting up recently, being belligerent and spending a lot of time in 'time out'. Our usual methods didn't help at all, so I thought "maybe he just wants more attention and if I give him more positive attention, then he won't need to act up to get it." So my dh and I started giving him more hugs and telling him we loved him more often, esp. first thing in the morning and last thing at night. And it really helped! Of course, we're not perfect (who is) but things have definitely improved. I really didn't change any of my other discipline techniques. This says to me that it isn't how you discipline, it's how you treat your child when you are not disciplining them that make discipline effective.

At any rate I will be putting even more effort into creating positive interaction in my family!

Friday, February 01, 2008

ASL at the Super Bowl!

Watch for the commercial during the super bowl pre-game, and perhaps during the game.

Behind the scenes: