Monday, January 31, 2011

When Mommy Isn't Watching by: Nicole

This morning while I was reading Harry Potter (which I've been doing for 2 solid weeks) I noticed Ila was doing something particularly cute and I thought you would all like to hear about it.

She has a large tupperware container that brings her hours of fun. She sits in it, she scoots it around, she puts things in it, and takes things out of it...she loves it! Today, she was putting her stuffed animals in it. She kept piling them in there, one on top of the other, very gently. As she placed the last one on top (it was a leopard) she stopped and looked at it. Then
she started to softly pet it. Then she kissed her hand and blew on it (thats how she blows kisses) and smiled at the leopard. Then she ran away giggling.
It was a precious moment that I'm glad I witnessed! I would have loved to get a video or picture of the actual moment, but then it probably wouldn't have happened, since Ila loves smiling for the camera. But here are two cute pictures of our sweet girl anyway!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Maybe you can enjoy this too! by nicole

Is this yogurt? Is this cream cheese? What is this delicious stuff?! It's Yogurt Cheese!

We've really been enjoying yogurt cheese in our house lately. It's cheap, it's low fat, it's delicious and it's very versatile. You may be asking yourself "well, WHAT exactly is yogurt cheese?" It's plain yogurt, with the water drained out of it. You can make dips, spreads, pasta sauces, frosting and more out of it, and it's simple to make.

Step 1:
Buy some plain, low fat yogurt. We buy Nancy's at winco.
Buy some cheese cloth (but we've read that you can also use coffee filters or paper towels as well, but the cheese cloth is reusable)
Buy a sieve (if you don't have one).

Step 2:
Put 4 layers of cheese cloth in the sieve and place the sieve in a bowl (the sieve should have a hook on the opposite side of the handle so it does not hit the bottom of the bowl).

Step 3:
Pour yogurt on the cheesecloth/sieve.

Step 4:
Place in fridge over night (or for 8 hours or so) and let the water drain.

Now you have yogurt cheese!

What should you do with it?
There are lots of recipes on the internet for what to do with it, but I experiments with some the other day. I wanted something sweet (but not frosting) to put onto apple turnovers that I had made. So I stirred some maple syrup into the yogurt cheese and mixed it up. It was AWESOME, and would make a delicious bagel topping, or topping for other desserts as well.

Last night I mixed fresh basil, sea salt & pepper into about 1/2 a cup of it and added it to some hot pasta. Tossed in some spinach, grape tomatoes, shrimp and sauteed onions, and a splash of chicken broth and we had a spectacular dinner.

WE are thrilled with yogurt cheese, and happy to have an alternative to high fat cream cheese. Plus yogurt is full of probiotics, which is a plus for everyone!


Monday, January 10, 2011

3 blogs in one! Ila, Christmas and a new year! by Nicole

Perhaps its Ila's age and overall cuteness that has Trent and me "ohhhing" and "awwwwing" over almost everything little thing she does, but I think that is okay. Only when
we are young do we get praise for making good choices, learning and exploring. I'm so tickled with Ila's latest love, books!

Ila is constantly walking up to us with books. She hands them to us and sits herself down on our laps (or tries to climb up on them) ready for us to read. Since we have about 10 board books (which is all she is aloud to play with now, since we have suffered a few ripped books
already) it gets a little old reading the same thing over and over again. Trent likes to make up new stories that go along with the pictures and he uses all sorts of fun voices. Ila prefers him as a reading buddy, since my voices are not so exciting (even though i try!).

Dancing is also something we find ourselves doing at home, in the car, at church, and even in the grocery store. Ila likes to boogie! She will dance to about anything, but she really likes a good strong beat (although I did snag a video of Trent and Ila dancing to Enya the other

Teething is pretty lame these days. We're going on week 3 it seems of molars and incisors trying to come in. When I feel her gums it almost seems like they all want to come in at the same time! Ila seems to be uncomfortable most of the time, but still happy, so that's nice.

We're also enjoying (and by enjoying I mean NOT enjoying!) Ila's new "game" called "I cry a lot when my parents put me to bed." This new "game" is hard for all of us. Trent and I are currently working out how to go about it, and I'm hoping we'll figure out what is best for our family soon! I'm very interested in how people handle bedtime fits, as it seems everyone does it differently, so if you would like to share what you do, leave it in a comment!

Christmas was great! We had such a wonderful time celebrating the birth of Christ with our families! We didn't get to see everyone we would have liked to, but we loved every moment with those we did see! Ila has practically a new wardrobe of cute winter clothes, and this is a blessing, as we were lacking in the long sleeved tops for her. There is also a pair of converse that are RAD that I'm looking forward to her growing into. She also is enjoying all her new toys!

Trent is now a potato crop manager, and is working hard and learning lots, as he and co-crop manager have a lot to figure out before planting! It's a new challenge, and one he was not expecting so soon, but a huge and exciting blessing!

We also started using the gym together at the farm. We both have been wanting to get into shape, so instead of sitting around wanting it we decided to go and get it. Our first workout was yesterday and I thought I would be miserably sore today but instead I'm sore in that way that makes me feel good. I actually feel my muscles, I still have some muscle! I'm working on dropping some jiggles and getting toned up, while Trent is just getting toned up. Trent helped me figure out a great routine for my upper body and cardio yesterday, and tomorrow its the lower body and cardio.

We are so happy here in our quiet little neck of the ranch. We've had some beautiful snow this week and are continually feeling God's blessings and love!