Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Kid's Just Gotta Have Fun...

It's been a bit rainy here, and since we don't have our car, and I can't easily walk the mile uphill to the park with four kids....

.... This happens:

(p.s... Eliana participated in the insanity, but since she was only in a diaper, I'm not going to post her groovy moves online :-)

Friday, July 15, 2011


While Eliana may be small, she has got BIG personality. She is energetic, athletic, fearless, outgoing, opinionated, and nurturing. 

Eliana loves to have fun.

She loves to be given big girl duties.

She is so full of life.

 Her smile brightens my day.

Her energy exhausts me :-)

She is very sensitive.

She is often intense.

And she LOVES her daddy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More Vegetable Soup...

More family faces are sure to come, but since I had these pictures, I thought I'd share with you another delicious, easy, healthy veggie soup.

I started with raw pumpkin, red peppers, zucchini, garlic, and onion (what I happened to have in my fridge)

 And after cooking it till it was mushy in veggie broth, I pureed it and added salt and pepper before setting it to simmer.

What I'm not mentioning was the large dallop of cream cheese I threw in there :-)  This was called "healthy" vegetable soup, after all! This soup was equally as yummy and probably more warmly received than the green one last week. I usually give it to the kids in a mug with a straw, and they have it drank down before I can even sit down.

Before pureeing it, I pulled out some of the ultrasoft veggies to give to Lucas. He still won't eat off of a spoon, but he was quite delighted to try the red pepper and pumpkin.

As a side dish, I thought I'd cook the corn on the cob Nathan had found.

Is it normal for corn to have so few kernels? I felt like each ear had only half the kernels it should have had. But, Levi had fun helping me shuck, all the same.

And I discovered that already-eaten corn cobs make great teethers!

For desert, Lucas ate a lego. Lucas pretty much likes to eat everything.
We have entered the "danger zone."

So, to end, I issue you a challenge. I dare you to pull out your crock pot, throw in whatever fresh or frozen veggies you have. Cook them in broth (veggie or chicken), and then puree them. Part two of the challenge is to take pictures and tell me about it :-)

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Family with Many Faces

As I take pictures, I realize how expressive my kids are. I'm sure everyone is expressive, but I love how you can see their hearts, emotions, and thoughts written on their faces.

Just for fun, here are some of the many faces I see on Levi.
Levi tends to be moody.

Little things make him go inside of himself.

But, thankfully, if you talk with him...

He comes back around.

And returns to his joyful self.

Levi is my artist. I think his moodiness and this art-propensity go hand in hand. He loves to build with legos, and he could color all day long. Those are all of his pictures in the background minus the dog in the grass.

I love this little face.

Levi has one of the most expressive noses I know. He can contort it more than the average person.

Tomorrow, I'll post some of the many faces of Eliana.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Meal Time Revelations...

In the life of a family with four small children, there are many battles each day. I'm sure many of you can relate to the wars that are waged each meal time.

"Take another bite!"
         "Keep your hands to yourself!"
                      "Your food is NOT a toy!"
                                  "Eat your vegetables!"

 .... well, to say the least, meal time training is a long suffering endeavor with that shows little fruit. For me anyway. Until this week. I'm not going to get into the details of our discipline methods at the table, but I will tell you a couple little things that have revolutionized the way we eat.

1). I started playing classical music softly in the background during meals, and it is amazing how the kids calmly eat without bickering! I can even leave the room for a few minutes and return, and they are just sitting there... eating!  (we have a great set of CD's called, "Classical Music for People who Hate Classical Music.")

(note the ipod on the table and the full mouths of food!)

2). Regarding vegetables. My kids eat them. Somewhat begrudgingly, but they eat them. But, it remains a challenge to get in the daily recommended amount. I've started making vegetable soup (or "potaje" as it's called here.)

I start by dumping an assortment of frozen veggies in my crock pot.

(This particular time, I added garlic, onion, broccoli, carrots, spinach and garbanzo beans.)

Then, I add veggie broth.

After it's heated through, I use my nifty Braun hand mixer (which I love WAY more than a blender- yet another thing people here on the island do right :-) to puree all of the ingredients.

Then, I fiddle with it, adding more water, pepper, bay leaf, and/or cheese, till it tastes just right.

The kids, miraculously, LOVE it. They would (and may) eat it every day.

(Oliver...err... Levi, even asked for a second serving.)

3). After 4 kids and three high chairs, I've decided that the BEST high chair one can buy is the $19.99 one at Ikea. You can find it here. I like it because, (a) it is super easy to wipe off. Who needs all that frilly, fluffy, pain-to-clean fabric anyway? Your kid's going to eat in the chair, not sleep in it. (b) you can put your baby in it without having to use the strap, and they can't fall out. (c) it's just the right height -the table doesn't come to the baby's chin like a lot of seats. (d) Eliana, my gymnastic Houdini, cannot escape it, hence, I can put her in it during movies and she has to stay right there, safe and sound. (e) it's small and lightweight, and hey, it's $20!

(on a side note, see my baby-food-hating, toothless baby LOVING to eat food through his mesh food thingy. It was worth the money as well.)

4). Fun, educational place mats have lent to fun, educational conversations during the meals. (Thanks Grandma!)

And now, just for fun, here are some random pictures of the kids, so that Nana (etc) can get her fix.

(The kids love being read to)

(In fact, they rope anyone they can into reading to them. Here is Joe Grewe - participating in a short-term team, taking precious time to read to my kids.)

(They wanted Alcides to read to them, but then they realized he only speaks Spanish...)

(Being carless, the kids are getting to spend a lot of time monkeying around the yard.)

(They climb...)

(They jump)

(They hang...)

(And they have a general good time...)

(Since Lucas isn't much of a climber yet, he just stands around outside.)

(But inside, he's beginning to roll himself into precarious positions!)

(Well, I just think Eliana's beautiful, so I'm adding this picture :-)

P.S... If you've read this far, I have to share something that I found humorous. I'm putting it here as the person it involves only speaks Spanish, so I'm hoping to they don't see it. The other day the team that's here went on a little trip and packed a picnic lunch. One of the fellows from a different country offered to pack my sandwhiches. When we got there, I was pleased to partake of my first ever peanut butter, jelly, ham, cheese, and lettuce sandwhich. Yes, all on one sandwhich. Yum.... Try it. I dare you.