Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Getting much closer...

So I bought a new gluten-free bread mix this weekend, Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Wonderful Homemade Bread, really hoping it would put me closer to my search for the best GF bread. I was finally able to make it this morning. And then my breadmaker broke. The one I just got and have used three or four times.

Long story short, I heart Sunbeam now because they are sending me a brand new one free of charge.

But I still had half-mixed dough in the broken one. I wasn't really sure what to do, but I scooped it out and let it rise and bake in the oven. Much to my surprise (because the dough tasted like dirt....not that I know how dirt tastes) it's actually pretty good. The texture is right-on which is what the problem has been with all the other breads. They were hard, dry and crumbly. But this is soft, moist and chewy. It still tastes a bit like dirt, but hey...slap on some cashew butter and jelly and the 2 year old probably won't notice.

And in mac and cheese news...DeBole's Rice Pasta and Cheese tastes just like the processed orange stuff that my kids love. Except it's not orange. It took a little convincing to get them to taste it after the "Penne and Chreese" incident, but once they did, they inhaled it. I've also found a recipe for chicken nuggets using polenta as the breading. I thought it was just okay, but again, the kids inhaled it.

So, fortunately, were not having to eat tofu and sprouts which is what I was mildly afraid when we went on this diet.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Poking a little fun, cause I know she can take it

Here's a funny little story I've been meaning to blog about for a while, to poke a little bit of fun at my mom. It's too funny not to share and she has a great sense of humor.

Mom took me to Whole Foods a few weeks ago to help me get stocked up on gluten-free fare for little Zachary. As we were checking out, the cashier offered a piece of ($4) chocolate that they had on their impulse rack. He told me what was in it, and I politely declined....my mom however said, "Sure! I'll try a piece!" I said, "Really??" And I repeated what it was again. She said "Sure, why not?"

I thought Mom was being awful brave and really was stepping out of that box I'm always telling her to get out of.

So we finished checking out and paying and loading up and I noticed Mom started donning a sour face. She tried to keep her composure, all the while looking like she just ate a bug. As we were walking out, she said, "I need something to drink! That wasn't like any other coconut cream I've had!"

I finally realize, through hysterical laughter, that there's been a bit of a misunderstanding...and I really can't wait to tell her...

"Mom, he said coconut CURRY, not coconut cream!!"

She got a horrified look on her face, "Whoever thought of putting CURRY in CHOCOLATE?!"

I'm still laughing about it....love you, Mom.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Good news, bad news

The bad news: Sweet Hubby is officially unemployed.

The good news: He starts his new job Monday.

The bad news: The older boys have been waking up once or twice a night the last several nights.

The good news: Sweet Hubby has gotten up with them a couple of times.

And even better news: The baby has slept all the way through the last two nights...the first time he's done that since, well...ever. Which means that last night I stayed in bed all night from about 10pm-7am. The first time I've been able to do for over a year!

On a different note, Marc-Adam had his 9 month check up yesterday. He's long and skinny like the other guys...10ish% for weight (17 lbs 6 ounces, I think) and 50% for height and head. The doc seemed slightly concerned that he's not babbling noises like mama or dada, and was kind of puzzled when I told him that he babbled baba and vava. What can I say, my kids don't do things the way they're told.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Got milk for free?

We drink a lot of milk. Just Sweet Hubby and I go through 2-4 gallons of milk a week. The kids had been on rice milk for the longest time, but I've recently switched them over to Horizon Organic milk because I think they can tolerate cow's milk now and they could probably use the extra fat/protein. So imagine my excitement when I found that 5 Minutes for Mom is having a giveaway for $300 worth of Horizon Organic dairy products! Our grocery bill is getting kinda scary these days so this would help beyond belief!

Go check it out...non-bloggers can enter, too. I know there are a few of you who read my little blog that don't have one of your own, but who can't use free food? But hurry...the contest ends tomorrow.

Wordless Wednesday - Captive

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Bullet Point Post

I have several things I've been meaning to blog about for a few days, so today you get the condensed version all of it in one big bullet point post! Please contain your excitement....

  • For those of you that keep up with BooMama, you know how she was raving about Monk & Neagle. Well now I know what she was raving about!! I got one of their CDs that they were giving away! We listened to it last while I made dinner and even the kids were dancing along. I love this CD. I didn't get a real good chance to sit down and listen to the lyrics, but the melodies are just so cool. It's exactly the kind of music I adore and it's an awesome mood-lifter. Their CD is due out in September, so be sure to keep an eye out for it.
  • I'm still unsure if I'm going to participate in Shannon's Dog Days of Summer Giveaway. I have nothing of interest to give away. I have until tomorrow I guess to get my rear in gear. I might come up with something.
  • And in gluten-free news...I'm still on the hunt for the perfect GF bread. I have a few recipes I'm looking at, but the other day when I visited my friendly neighborhood Kroger, they didn't have some of the ingredients that I know they had when I was there the last time....stuff that I've seen in many of the recipes. So I'll see if I can make do with what I have. We tried Bob's Red Mill "Hearty Whole Grain" GF bread mix....let's just say that I'm now calling it the $4 experiment. It was not at all very good (of course, I'll admit, that human error probably didn't help) and the kids couldn't tolerate the texture. Stephen's words, as he was spitting his only bite into the trash, "Mo-om, it has NUTS in it!" After that Zachary wouldn't come anywhere near it. On the bright side, I think he's looking a little bit better. Here's what his knees looked like this morning:

  • And here are some pictures of his feet from the first day and again this morning....we've had some ups and downs (I think his scratching is just a habit now), but there is definitely some improvement. The first picture is the first day, second is today:

  • Given our new "lifestyle", I've been spending much more time in the kitchen. I already make all of Marc-Adam's baby food, which is time consuming all by itself, but now that I'm making almost everything else from scratch, it's alot more opportunity to really screw things up (which I'm prone to do, hence the name of the blog). So in the last 24 hours, I've spilled a mixture of water, oil, cider vinegar and eggs all over the new paint job on the cabinets and all over the new floor, I spilled a pot full of water all over the electric stove (and on the cabinets, rug and floor) and as I typed the beginning of this post, I forgot about the sweet potatoes steaming on the stove....and burned the cr@p out of the bottom of the pan (and probably ruined to potatoes) and made the whole house smell. The smell woke Stephen up...his room is at the far end of the house and the kitchen is at the other end of the house. It really stinks. And the bread I mentioned earlier? It might have been better had I put it on the right setting in the bread maker and NOT forgotten about it overnight.
  • And because Alison asked--the kids and I were working on a little mini-project about rain and clouds the other day. After finishing, Stephen said he wanted to give his to Daddy. Zachary piped up that he wanted to give his to Auntie Alison (my best friend). Since she lives too far for us to give it to her (and since mailing it would destroy the idea) here it is:
  • It's Blustery, The Cloud, in case you can't tell or it just looks a little creepy. Hey, he's 2.
  • Marc-Adam is now crawling totally on hands and knees. And today he learned how to make motor boat noises. He's also starting to pull up in his crib which is going to require that his daddy lower the crib mattress so that mama can actually sleep without worrying that baby is going to take a header out of the crib.
And that concludes the exciting bullet point post.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Before and After

So this is our fifth day of Zachary being gluten free. We've hit a few bumps here and there and yesterday I started feeling really discouraged after I think he ate a little rice/oat puff off of Marc-Adam's tray. I'm going grocery shopping sometime this weekend, and I think I'm only going to buy GF and I'm going to give all our "normal" food to the food pantry that our church assists. I'm just too obsessive and worried about cross-contamination (it seems I'm going to have some trouble finding things for Marc-Adam that are GF, but we may have to compromise there until he's repertoire of food has expanded a bit more). But we've seen some progress. His eczema is actually starting to heal up and his whole personality seems to be more even-keeled (he's always been a little dramatic and his mood swings were terrible for him only being two).

I tried to pass off "Penne and Chreese" (yes, you read that right, it's not a typo: "Chreese") as mac and cheese....the kids were having none of it. It was awful. And it made my house stink. And I'm so not impressed with the selection of bread that we have, so now I'm on a mission for the best GF bread. Preferably store bought and preferably under $5.

I thought I'd post some befores and afters so I could see them side by side and to "journal" our progress. Here's the day we started GF (the backs of his knees):

And here's first thing this morning:

So what do you think? I think his legs actually looked better yesterday and they don't look as pink in person as they do in this picture.

I'll post some more befores and after tomorrow.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A small dose of validation

Tonight at dinner, Stephen was raving about dinner--one I just kind of threw together. He went on and on about how I make the best dinners and how tasty they are. Then he said this:

"Mama, you are the best best BEST mama a child could have."

Ah, be still my heart. Of course, if I had put any thought in to dinner he would have said, "No thank you."

And on a gluten-free note, Zachary hasn't seemed to notice the difference in his diet. He inhaled about 3 bowls of his Gorilla Munch cereal (Stephen had a couple bowls, too, as did I), enjoyed his PB&J on homemade GF bread and slurped up his rice noodles at dinner--which, if you ask me, tastes exactly like rice as we know it only long and skinny and, well, noodley. He didn't seem to notice or care.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Great Gluten-Free Experiment

We're experimenting. Zachary's going gluten-free. Among other issues, we can't seem to get control of his eczema. We've narrowed down a couple of allergies, and since we've cut his allergens out, his eczema still isn't' much better, and I actually think it's spreading. We had the older boys tested for celiac disease 2 years ago, but I've read that the test may be inaccurate for kids under 5. So this is kind of a last ditch effort to get control of his eczema. For right now, it's just Zachary that's going gluten-free, but if we find that this seems to make things better, the whole house will go gluten-free so that home will always be a safe place for Zachary to eat. If this doesn't work, there's only one more thing that might. And, well frankly, I'd rather have the whole house go gluten-free than have to do the one last thing that might work.

So we've gotten together a sort of "gluten-free starter kit" (thanks, Mom!!). Some cereal, cookies, crackers, pasta and bread mix among a few other things (and a bread machine which makes me so very happy). What I really need and I'll be experimenting with is a recipe for gluten-free chicken nuggets. All will be right with Z's world as long as he can have PB&J (although, we use cashew butter for him now) and chicken nuggets with ketchup. And Aunt K, I'll be e-mailing you soon because I have a few questions.

I'll be updating the blog with our progress just to keep a record of how things are going. Wish us luck!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

What a relief!

I posted about this vaguely a while back. Well, after waiting for what seemed like forever, we finally know....

Sweet Hubby's changing jobs!! He's been pretty fed up with his current job at the company he works for (a large corporation and household name), so he applied to another company (another large corporation and household name). We waited and waited and waited and......waited. Finally we heard back from them and they offered him a job! He has to go through 2 months of training, during which I will be playing "single mom" because the training is in San Antonio. And we don't live in San Antonio. But that's a small price to pay. This new job means that he can quit his second job if he chooses to. It means more money AND more time home, even though he'll probably be working hours that he's not used to working.

Now the decision is WHEN he's going to start the new job. They wanted him to start Saturday (tomorrow) but he didn't want to give that short of notice to his current job. Then today he thought that maybe he could just quit (which is soooo not like him). But he's just that fed up. But if he stays through Sept 7, he gets a nice severance package. We're just not sure it's worth him sticking it out for another 2 months, though. And we have to be sure we're going to be covered on the new insurance as soon as he starts, because it's just not smart to have 3 kids and not have medical insurance on them. If we're not going to be covered, then he's going to have to wait for the severance package.

Anyway, I'm so so proud of him for going after this and landing it! This is going to be so good for us.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

He's a genius....but I'm not biased

Marc-Adam has started signing! It's not consistent and I'm not sure if the meaning has clicked yet, but yesterday he signed "more" after I said it. It's really cute in a random, spastic kind of way, but I can totally tell he's trying. He gets this really funny look on his face while he's concentrating on doing it. I'll try to get a picture of it. And I *think* he tried clapping this morning while I sang, "If You're Happy and You Know It".

He's much younger than the other boys were when they started signing, but I've also been more consistent about doing it with him. I didn't get consistent signing with them until they were around 10 months and they picked it up really quickly. They're geniuses too, though.

He's also finally getting himself to sitting from lying down. And he's pulling up. He's so darn wiggly and mobile. He's just *thisclose* to actually crawling instead of the half crawling/half commando crawl that he's doing now.

I'm so in love.

You know you are the mommy of boys when...

  • You have to referee a finger puppet show.
  • You're asked to put a Superman cape over Spiderman jammies.
  • You find yourself saying things like "Get your hands out of your pants" all day long.
  • You not horrified when you have to say, "Guys, get the bag off the baby's head!" (no worries, it was a paper bag.)
  • You're helping with crafts and you're asked to make a Bat-cave (and you do).
  • You learn to give up on stopping scenes like this (those are the cushions off my sofa and loveseat, oh and that's what the carpet used to be):

Friday, July 06, 2007

This is me being optimistic

Steph at Adventures in Babywearing has yet another cool contest for another awesome baby sling/wrap/carrier thingy. It looks so cool. It's an original creation by Jenn at All Natural Mommies. I wish I were that innovative. Anyway, go check them both out!

One of these days, I'm gonna win one of these things. Statistically, I have to some time, right?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Here it is! It's finished...well, almost.

For the last two weeks, we've Sweet Hubby has be been working his tail off (with a little lot of help) on fixing up our living areas in our house. Before, the carpet was hideous and mismatched. The wall color that we I picked when we first moved in was a poor choice because of the minimal natural lighting that our living room has. The drapes in the living room were old, yellowed and "retro" (as one friend pointed out..."retro" is not quite my style). The kitchen was just as bad. The cabinets were ugly and dingy and the floor was the perfect match for the cabinets...ugly and dingy. The playroom was just okay, but cluttered, disorganized and not a whole lot of fun. Here are the befores (minus befores of the playroom because I hadn't intended on fixing it up as soon as we did and didn't get pictures of it, but some of you know what it looked like before):

The living room:

View from dining area:

View from sliding door:

View from near playroom doorway:

The kitchen:

So, after hours and hours of hardwork, here's the end result (cue zingy makeover sound effects):

The living room view of dining area:

View from playroom:

View from the dining area:

Dining area and kitchen:


And our cute new playroom:

View from living room doorway:

View from entryway:

View from corner where the bookshelf used to be:

View from where bookshelf is now:

After looking at these pictures, I realize I neglected to take a picture of one corner of the playroom. I'll update later. Really, it's the same as before...for those of you that have seen it, it's the corner where the toy box is. The toy box is still there, but less full. The lid actually closes now.

We still need some finishing touches in all rooms. The kitchen cabinets and drawers are getting brushed nickel (looking) hardware. The big empty wall in the playroom is getting a large dry erase board and one more shelf from IKEA. And all rooms are getting rugs, eventually. I love our new look. Next project is to paint the outside of the house. It's pretty ugly, too. And then after that, I guess we'll get to the master bedroom. It's been neglected ever since...well, our master bedroom has always been neglected in design. But isn't everyone's?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Mommy's book of definitions

I found this in a newsletter I get from Wholesome Baby Food. It's too good not to share!

AMNESIA: Condition that enables a woman who has gone through labour to make love again.

DUMBWAITER: One who asks if the kids would care to order dessert.

FAMILY PLANNING: The art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to keep you on the edge of financial disaster.

FEEDBACK: The inevitable result when your baby doesn't appreciate the strained carrots.

FULL NAME: What you call your child when you're mad at him/her.

GRANDPARENTS: The people who think your children are wonderful even though they're sure you're not raising them right.

HEARSAY: What toddlers do when anyone mutters a dirty word.

IMPREGNABLE: A woman whose memory of labour is still vivid.

INDEPENDENT: How we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say.

OW: The first word spoken by children with older siblings.

PUDDLE: A small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry shoes into it.

SHOW OFF: A child who is more talented than yours.

STERILIZE: What you do to your first baby's pacifier by boiling it and to your last baby's pacifier by blowing on it.

TOP BUNK: Where you should never put a child wearing Superman pajamas.

TWO MINUTE WARNING: When the baby's face turns red and she begins to make those familiar grunting noises.

VERBAL: Able to whine in words.

WHODUNIT: none of the kids that live in your house...