Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bob and Jillian would be so proud

Fall and soup seem to go hand-in-hand... and I love both.  Friday night I made one of my favorite stews.  Ben is pretty picky and would only eat a few bites, even though we've had it a handful of times in the past.  He loves Biggest Loser and often tells me how he could be like Bob and Jillian and be my trainer.  So I told him Bob and Jillian would love this meal because it doesn't have anything bad in it, it looks colorful, and it's good for you.  I could tell the wheels were spinning a little, but even saying that didn't persuade him to finish his bowl.  Josh took cues from his older brother, and decided he wouldn't eat it either.  Nice.  Don't take my boys' word for it, though.  This stew is yummy, and so easy to make.  I got the recipe from my friend, Bev, probably 5 years ago and it's one of my favorites.  The best part: it's only about 200 calories per serving.

Makes 5-6 servings

Fall Stew

4 tsp. olive oil 
1 medium onion, chopped 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
2 tsp. ground cumin 
1 (15 oz.) can Bush's black beans, drained and rinsed 
2 (14.5 oz) cans Hunt's diced garlic tomatoes, undrained 
2 C. water
3/4 tsp. salt
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded 
6 oz. frozen corn 

1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until softened, 5-6 minutes.
2. Add garlic and cumin, cook 2 minutes, stirring often 
3. To the pan, add beans, tomatoes, water, and salt.  Bring mixture to boil, then reduce heat to med-low and simmer, partially covered (20 minutes).
4. Mash up 2 cups of the stew in a blender or by hand, and add back to the pan.
5.  Add frozen corn and chicken, simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.
6.  (Optional) Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, diced red onion, or chopped chives.  Serve with heated tortilla chips. (Obviously, though, if you serve it with sour cream, cheese, and/or chips, calories go up and it's not as healthy.  I think it's great without all that stuff anyway!)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hogle Zoo with the Boys & Christmas came a little early

I was a chaperone for Ben's Hogle Zoo field trip on Thursday.  I love volunteering at the kids' school and just wish I could do it more often.  Once all three are in school full-time, that will be a lot easier to do.  I was in-charge of the "yellow group."  Houzten, my Ben, the other Ben, and Luke were my boys and they all behaved really well and followed my directions the entire trip.  I tried to make it a little more educational, asking them which animals were mammals, if they were invertebrates, etc.  We took a few pics and the first one made them all laugh, seeing the giraffe licking the pole.  
I think I have a picture of me doing this exact same thing in the exact same place, measuring myself to the gorilla when I was maybe 7 or 8.  I'll have to have my parents dig it up for me.

Yesterday a package came in the mail from our cousin Leila (Justin's daughter) and her mom, Jane.  They live in Washington and we got to see them twice last year, which was nice.  Leila blends right in with my kids, with her platinum blonde hair and cute button nose.  Anyway, the package felt like Christmas came a little early.  Jane and Leila sent Emma a pink petticoat skirt and pink dance shirt.  She is in heaven and would wear it all day if I let her.
 Josh got a traffic mat that folds into a storage box and a set of wooden cars and traffic signs.  He told me yesterday he "loves it so much!"
Ben got a remote controlled car and two pair of Super Mario pjs.  He LOVES Mario (it's really borderline obsession) so these pjs are perfect.
Along with all this they gave me some bath salts and foot scrub, and a gift certificate to Olive Garden for Jake and I.  Thank you Jane and cousin Leila!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Come So Far

 My parents were here last week, visiting our family, seeing my sister's comedy show at BYU, and picking up a "Baby-Shower-in-a-Box" I put together for my other sister to take back to her in Washington.  While we were on our way to get lunch on Saturday, my mom pulled out her new Staff ID badge she got from the high school she works at.  We were commenting about her picture and how good she looked in it.  Then my dad pulled out his driver's license and we all laughed a little at his picture.  Then I pulled out mine.  My dad said it looks like a different person.  Ben said it doesn't look like me.  Emma asked why my neck and cheeks were so fat.  Nice.  My dad showed Jake (who was driving, so not exactly safe) and Jake said at the time when the picture was taken all he saw was "Jamie", and didn't think anything of my weight issues.  (What a sweetie.  That's real love right there.)  I have to laugh when I look at my driver's license.  I love the looks I get when I have to show my ID.  I get double-takes every single time.  Yep, that was me.  (Granted, I was pregnant in this picture so that adds to my bloated-ness... but still.)  Hard to believe that was me 3 years ago.  I was about 205 lbs. and I remember asking the guy at the desk if I should put my current pregnant weight on my license, or put my "regular" weight on there.  He said my regular weight, so that's what I put.  It's amazing to me that I weigh less than my "regular" weight, and that girl in the picture is long gone.  I still exercise 4-5 times a week.  My running is still slow coming, but I'm working on it.  When I get in a rut I just have to remind myself how far I've come, because really... I've come so far.  And I have to thank many of you for loving me and supporting me, to help me get this far.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Family Pics

 My sweet friend, Elle, took our family pictures on Monday night at Memory Grove.  (Thanks so much!)  I was worried all day, wondering if we were going to cancel because of the weather.  We texted back and forth all afternoon, trying to decide if it was a go, or not.  Finally, at 5:10pm (we were supposed to pick Elle up at 5:30pm) the rain stopped, the wind died down a little and I decided we would go for it.  I had the kids throw on their clothes, curled the ends of Emma's hair, did a rush make-up job, and we were out the door.  Jake wasn't as optimistic about the weather holding out, but he was a trooper and went along with his wife's plan anyway.  As we left our house, dark clouds surrounded us, but by the time we pulled into Memory Grove, those dark clouds were moving away and we could actually see patches of blue sky.  Blessings for sure!  Also, because of the recent wind/rain storm, we didn't have to wait in line for our spot, or beat other photographers off with a stick.  We had the entire park to ourselves (which is very rare, since this park is quite the photography hot spot.)  Nice!

 The kids getting cuddly.  Emma wasn't too sure about being in a "brother-sandwich."
 Elle asked the boys to give their sister a kiss.  This was the outcome. 

 Elle asked the boys to give mom a kiss and Emma to give dad a kiss.  The boys jumped right to it, and Emma would NOT do it, not even once.  (Here Jake is trying to convince her he needs a kiss, but she still wouldn't give it to him.)
 Emma still not giving dad a kiss, the boys still attacking me with kisses.
 The boys laughing because they just attacked me with big slobbery kisses.  Emma... still not giving in.  She's a stubborn little thing.  Hmm... wonder where she gets that from?!  ;)  Yep, we're in trouble with this one, I can feel it!
 Jake loves pictures, especially romantic ones.  OK, not really.  To be honest, we are not a very romantic couple, as you can tell.  We were supposed to be gazing lovingly into each other's eyes but we honestly cannot do that without laughing.  It's OK.  My crazy eyes are much better than a romantic pic, right?!

Jake told the kids to put their hands in their pockets.  Poor Josh was sad he couldn't get his hands into his tiny pockets by himself.  Mom had to go up and help him, and once he got them in, he was a happy camper.  What can I say?  We have adorable kids!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Twins

I love how they are both giving me that forced mom-just-take-the-picture-already smile.  Ben's is a little more forced than Josh's, though... comes with age, I guess.  Bright blonde hair.  Same ears.  Same nose.  Yep, twins, born 4 1/2 years apart.  

Tonight I took the kids to Memory Grove, where we are getting our family pics taken on Monday.  I had to test the lighting and scope out a couple spots... yes, I know I have a problem.  The kids love that park and tonight it seemed every wedding, bridal, and engagement pictures were being taken there.  The kids still had fun, though, and I caught this cute picture of them below.
Jake and I really lucked out, to be given such 3 amazing children.  They are all such good kids, so smart and cute, and talented.  Yes, I know we are a tad biased... but still, it's all true.  Ben, Emma, and Josh, we love you!