Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving and then some

I don't have loads of wonderful Thanksgiving pictures but I do have this one. This is how our leftovers were packed up. My sister in law is a creative genius. I wish I came up with this idea!

I also don't have any photos of the GF mint chip brownies I made for Mar. Despite a disgusting beginning (yes garbanzo bean flour does taste exactly like garbanzo beans *shiver*) they turned out really well or at least the mint covered up the bean.

I'll also be conceited and say that my mashed yams with praline topping and green beans with bacon and onions were the best side dishes. Perhaps they are just my kind of foods.

Speaking of food I went on a hunt around town for GF flours. It looks like the health food store is really my only option. Like I said a few days ago I bought about 6 cups worth of flours to make the mix Bethany suggested and we've gone through it all. Pancakes are our weekend thing and I knew Mar would really want some so I headed out to our local discount grocery which has a huge range of bulk bins thinking that must have loads of flours. They do have lots of flour choices but only 2 GF options: white rice flour and corn meal. I then thought they might as least have something in the baking aisle. The only thing they had was the aforementioned garbanzo bean flour mix *shiver*.

I then decided to wander down the noodle and Asian foods aisle to look for rice noodles. The only option were Annie's Rice noodles and cheese for nearly $3 and typical stir fry noodles. Not what I wanted.

The breakfast meats were even worse. I walked out with a big bag of white rice flour and a box of Rice Chex.

After that I went to Fred Meyer with similar results. I wanted to cry.

We do have just enough of Bethany's mix and rice flour to make pancakes tomorrow. I hope they turn out.

In more positive news I finished a Christmas present. I love how this looks like a flower when its rolled up.

I started a Noro Striped scarf for someone I like a lot last night.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Grammar and other things

I'm not that particular about grammar which is good because I never remember all the grammatical rules. I often make up works and have to spell check them. I use the wrong word that sounds similar to the correct one. I often skip punctuation and capitalization when texting.

Still there are things that I read online or in texts that get under my skin.

instead of molding. It seems so much dirtier and nasty perhaps because its wetter in England their mold is worse so they need a stronger for it.

cos instead of because. When I read that I hear a teenager who's sentences all sound like questions because they raise the pitch at end.

Misuse of they're, their, and there. Self explanatory. And if its not then I just don't know what to do with you.

Dumb teenager texts like RU in place of are you. I get especially annoyed by the ones that only save 1 letter as in rite instead of right or 2day instead of today.

I'm not a total grouch and am down with LOL and BTW and a few others that make sense in my special world.

I know there are bigger things and more important things to care about and I know its shallow. But I also know many of you, dear readers (all 3 of you), also care and are annoyed. So what annoys you?

Friday, November 28, 2008


this may become boring for some of you. Since the diagnosis I've been pouring over websites looking for information about GF (Gluten-Free). I ordered 2 cookbooks last night that I hope will be helpful.

I decided that today would be the day I would try to make her some bread. She's been unhappy the last few days without "bread foods" for breakfast.

So I used Bethany's recipe for flour (2 parts brown rice flour, 2/3 part potato starch, 1/3 part tapioca flour) and followed my usual bread recipe and put it in my bread machine after a careful cleaning.

While it did produce results

Its not exactly what I was hoping would happen.

It actually is tasty

but it tastes more like biscuits or an unsweetened cake than bread.

The top is very pale in comparison to the sides and bottom which have a nice crust. As you can see its also very cracked.

The bottom did even worse than the top.

Not all the flour was mixed in.

Which is probably because the dough looked more like batter

It never formed that ball in the middle that wheat bread forms.

That does mean that GF might be easier to make though by hand as there won't be any kneading needed.

I think I learned a lot though and will make some changes next time. I'll mix all the dough/batter by hand then pour into a pan to bake. I'll try the oven next time and brush on melted butter to help the top brown up. Then I'll go from there.

Outside of GF there are other things happening in my kitchen.

I got a kefir grain from Stacey last Friday and by Monday it was yielding some nice yogurty smelling kefir. I kept Monday and Tuesdays small batches in the fridge to which I added Wednesdays along with some vanilla extract and Marionberry jam. Shook and served. It was delicious! The kids won't touch it though. I've got weird kids that won't drink smoothies. Mar has texture issues and Grey is just picky. Shawn has hesitantly agreed to give it a try.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gabrielle, have you seen these?

Gumdrop Cookie Shop

These are cookies!

You can draw on!

This one is just fate.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gluten Free

I received Amara's IgG full report and she is allergic to gluten. She also has a low moderate reaction to citrus and cranberries. This is going to change all our lives but especially hers.

Currently I'm doing research and trying to figure things out (like what is the difference between wheat gluten and wheat giladin?). Our current plan is to put her on a completely gluten and citrus free diet for a month and eliminate all foods that tested close to the moderate range. I want to see if her symptoms are improved by the diet changes.

I've talked to one gluten free friend and know a couple of more that I'll drive batty with questions. I purchased a few gluten free items for her today because being 6 she won't be happy just quitting all crackers, breads, tortillas, pasta, cereal, etc. I purchased Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour mixture and enough alternative flours to make 6 cups of a flour mixture that Bethany suggested. I'm going to try both mixes for breads, cookies, pancakes, and crusts to see which we like best.

Bethany's Gluten-Free flour mix

I'm going to read the literature that the lab sent but I don't trust it. Her doctor said to cut out wheat and gluten but the menu the lab suggested still has it included. I might end up speaking with a dietitian that takes allergies seriously and get her recommendations. I don't want to make things worse by following the wrong advice.

I also need to learn about hidden gluten. From a conversation with a woman in Lifesource today it seems that wheat is in all sorts of things like soy sauce and vinegar that one might not consider.

I need to research how to live gluten free frugally. I'm thinking that rice noodles and other rice products from the Asian food stores would be a good place to start but can I trust that they don't have trace gluten? Is it better to buy in bulk and if so from Lifesource, Azure Standard, or Frontier?

Its a lot to take in. For the holidays I'm just focusing on buying only certified gluten free products and using them sparingly while making sure she is not excluded from Christmas cookies and Thanksgiving pies. My girl deserves good memories not "the year I couldn't eat anything at Christmas".

I'm so thankful that her allergies are moderate and I'd like to keep them that way. When she's older she can decide how she wants to include gluten and citrus in her life if at all. For now my job is to protect her which means that she won't be eating it.

Her first official gluten-free breakfast: an egg, slice of cheddar, cantaloupe and blueberries in yogurt sauce.

P.S. I just read in the booklet that hot dogs have gluten in them. Hot dogs? Its like corn syrup! It seems to be everywhere. I'm going to have to become an expert label reader.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I am very right handed

and I remember at some point in middle school learning that generally meant that one was very left brained. "Left brained" apparently means you are more logical than emotional. At that time I was really happy to learn this as I wanted to more masculine and less of an "emotional female". There was a big push then to tell us girls that we were just as good as boys. This sentiment totally back fired on me. If you have to tell me we are just as good then the implication is that someone doesn't agree otherwise it would just be understood. Plus I watched a lot of TV then and well, its brain rot with all the uncreative stereotypical roles (ie Dads are only into sports and somehow trick their wives into sex, Moms are always right and use sex as a tool to get what they want [excellent marriage example, btw], kids are usually smarter than their parents who are completely clueless, girls are only interested in boys and being pretty, etc).

Lately I've come to see myself in a slightly different light than as a logical left brained person. As a mother I've softened a lot. And as B put it, I'm a definitely a girl. I'm emotional and sensitive. I often worry too much. I make decisions from my heart more than my brain.

I am okay with this. Me and my virtually worthless left hand don't mind being girly.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Yeah, I changed it. So what?

I changed my banner again. I'm not really sure what I want up there but I want something and this will do for now.

(btw, this counts for today's post. Doing pretty good with NaBlaPoMo for a busy mama)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I'm having my morning coffee with a squirt of chocolate syrup in it. Its sorta mocha-ish.

I remember a while back reading an article in which Starbucks was whining that people were coming in and make "poor man's" lattes. They'd buy a regular coffee and do it up with cream, sugar, and the toppings they make available at their condiment bar. They said it was costing them money because people were spending $1.50 instead of $4.

What do you think of this? They implied it was unethical to use the cinnamon they put out for free.

I certainly love a nice latte, mocha, and various other coffee shop tasties but I completely admit they are overpriced. $4 for a cup of coffee? I can buy an entire chicken for that price or a whole meal at a fast food joint. And honestly I do still buy 1 or 2 mochas a week. I've been trying to be better though and just order a house coffee with cream and save $2 when I feel the need for a crack... er, um... caffeine boost while out of the house.

This sense of it being unpatriotic to not buy has extended to other areas. I heard on the radio last week about how we should all buy American made cars because we owe it to the American worker. I'm all for buying locally and sustainably when possible but I'm not going to spend money I don't have to help someone else out. It reminds me of post 9-11 when Bush's answer to terrorism was that we should all go shopping.

I, personally, am for Joe-the-normal-guy who finds a way to balance luxury and budgeting.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


at 3 1/2 months!? She has all the symptoms of teething. We've been giving her teething tablets, lots of nursing, loves, and now an amber teething necklace.

Its a little "woo-woo" but I hear it works so we will try it. At worst it will just be a pretty necklace.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Photography by Mar

I should let her play with the camera more often.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The babies at 3 months

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm hungry

I'm not sure if its because I'm coming of a digestive illness or something else but I'm hungry! I want to eat everything mostly things I don't have.

Chocolate milk
zucchini bread
ice cream
fried potatoes and onions
caesar salad
mashed potatoes
bacon (duh)
turkey and havarti sandwich with loads of tomatoes
Asian noodles
chicken pot pie
roasted veggies

These are at the top of my list right now. I'm going to go scrounge in the fridge now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas projects

Christmas is now less than 6 weeks away. I'm working on presents as much as I can, which isn't enough.

We found a neat HABA farm playset at BabySteals for less than half off and bought it.

I wanted the kids to have something to play on so I made a couple of felt playmats. They aren't the coolest thing in the world but they are really cheap materials and took less than an hour to make.

This ones has a little road and pond with a moveable trough of grass. I still want to make some other moveable items but am not sure what to make yet

This one is supposed to be fields.

I also finished a mitten for B's daughter (no photos).

And am working on a braided cable scarf for Mara in a yarn that she picked out. Its easy to memorize and is turning out beautifully.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What's in a name?

Go to flickr put in your name or those of family members. What do you see?


Courtesy of paprikaplains


Courtesy of Batikart


Courtsey of yosigo!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Everyday approximately...

6 shirt changes for me
2 pants for me
6 outfits for Ivy
20 diapers
10 burp cloths
3 pairs of underwear for Grey
2 shirts, 2 pants, 1 pajamas for Grey
2 shirts, 2 pants, 1 pajamas for Amara
clothes for Shawn
4-6 body and dish towels
40 dishes, pots, pans, and flatwear

per day is what I clean. We'll just set aside the things I pick up, put away, and straighten for now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Barack Blog

Just in case you've not seen it yet, our incoming executive branch is keeping a blog.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


So I'm supposed to say something everyday. I have nothing to say today. I was sick but getting better. Living the dichotomy of being starving and nauseated. Hoping for better tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top Ramen

I go through phases with Top Ramen. Everyone once in a while it will sound really good to me and I'll buy some, eat 2 packages and the rest will linger on my shelves until I through them away (which I probably should just keep them as they will survive the Apocalypse like Twinkies).

(this one is for you, Chey)

Well, today was that day. I succumbed to a flat of 24 for $4. Really? 24 meals for $4?! I had a hard time resisting. Both the kids will eat noodles so that's at least $4 in noodles. I'll just through out the seasoning powder as I'm not a fan of diarrhea.

So in preparation I've been looking for recipe ideas online, this one seems to have a lot of suggestions (this is for you too, Chey).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The most bang for the buck

I love recipes that taste and look more complicated than they actually are. Recipes like this

* 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1 3/4 cups (11.5-oz. pkg.)Milk Chocolate Chips
* 1/2 to 1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
* 1 cup sliced almonds, finely chopped, toasted

COMBINE evaporated milk and sugar in small, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

STIR in chocolate. Stir vigorously until mixture is smooth. Stir in almond extract. Refrigerate for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in nuts. Cover; refrigerate until ready to serve.

And that yield this

The fancy packaging certainly helps in this case.

What are your "Wow 'Em!" recipes? If you wanted to make something special to give as a gift or special occasion what would you make?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mushy stuff

I've been mushy and gushy and very soft towards my kids the last few days. There are moments when I see them and my heart feels as if it will burst with love for them.

Certain moments are especially poignant for me like when they are sleeping, laughing with big open mouths, and playing together nicely. These are the moments that make all the whining, tantruming, and crying worth it.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunshine Day!

Its November in Oregon, ya'll!

I personally love it (most of the time)!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A new day

Yesterday was a "feel sorry for myself" kind of day. Today I will move past it and begin this day afresh.

And to help change my tone:

Friday, November 07, 2008


If I had an Etsy shopping spree I think I'd put these in my cart...

I love aprons

What a sweet bookmark

Handmade pottery makes me smile

This diaper bag is too stylish for me and too expensive but I still love it.

I have a thing for sheep

These are just

And this is so we don't forget.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

How sweet is this?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I was tagged

I was tagged by Lennon!

The Rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules.
3. Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself.
4. Tag six other bloggers by linking to them.
5. Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged.

1. I had a cinnamon raisin English muffin with cream cheese and peanut butter this morning. Gooood!
2. If I could pick a job I'd be a book reviewer. Not an editor or anything. I'd just get to read and read.
3. I don't like avocados either
4. I love to sleep near the ocean so I can hear it all night long.
5. I enjoying clipping my (and my kids and probably yours too) fingernails

I tag: B, Chey, Gab, Jacob, Karen, and Tifi

And because what's an entry without a picture?

Sleeping girl while we all watched Obama reach victory!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We watched history tonight

Its a wonderful opportunity to teach our children about many important issues. Race is hard to explain to my innocent daughter but I'm hoping to get through to her. We've also had some discussion about women and the right to vote.

Its historical no matter how you look at it.

Let's all give thanks tonight whether Mr. Obama was your candidate or not. This evening we had yet another peaceful transfer of power in our country which is an amazing thing as it is not even an option is so many places in this world.

Monday, November 03, 2008

You know its laundry time

when you have to wear that pair of underwear. You know, the ones that ride up, shift and generally do not fit.

Yes, its the kind of day when you need this kind of friend:

Early morning conversations

Me in plain text
Amara in bold text (because she's LOUD)
Grey in italics

Mommy's awake. Look at this craft I made! Its a monster with 4 arms and it lives on Venus and it eats only chocolate but it doesn't like yogurt and do you know why because it only eats chocolate and it has babies look here at all the babies I made......continues while Grey talks and she jumps around while telling me the rest of her story

Mommy can I have crackers? I'm sooooo hungry. Can I have crackers? Mommy, I'm "tirsty" and can I have crackers?

Yes, just a moment.

I'm hungry too. Can I make toast? Will you get down the toaster? Open this bread. I can't get it open. Can I have toast.

Yes, you can have toast. Just a minute.

I don't want toast. I want 'nilla yogurt. And crackers and fruit leather. And I "tirsty" mama! I want 'nilla yogurt! said while jumping in place and grabbing at my clothes

We don't have vanilla yogurt would you like strawberry

Grey, calm down and I'll find you something to eat

I don't want strawberry yogurt either. I want toast. Can you get down the toaster?

I want 'nilla yogurt! directing me to the door to go to the store and buy him some.

How about some fruit leather instead?

switches mood Yeah! "pruit leddah"!

And that is the first 30 seconds of my morning, every morning.

Et tu, Baby?

My older children like to wake up approximately two hours before I'm ready to wake. Grey generally wakes up with the sun no matter how early that may be (summers are not pleasant!) and very rarely sleeps past Shawn is up and getting ready for work. He lays in bed and tries to talk to me and moves around just enough to keep me awake.

Amara wakes up after Grey and on my lucky days they wake up close enough together and the stars align just right so that they play quietly and nicely till I wake later. Usually, however, they fight and argue till I awake cross eyed and cranky to separate them.

This morning was no different than any other morning. Grey woke up, before the sun this time, and climbed into bed. I threatened him with bodily harm (actually I told him to go back to his own bed) if he didn't stay quiet and still so I could sleep. He eventually told me that he would go back to his room to play. It wasn't more than a few minutes before I could hear him and Amara arguing. So I called the kids in and pleaded with them to keep quiet so I could do that half sleep mom thing for another half hour. Then I looked down at Ivy only to see her cooing and smiling at me. I may be able to bribe/beg/steal sleep where the older kids are concerned there is no convincing the baby.

But aren't they adorable little monsters?

(Please ignore that they have on way too small pajamas and were clearly not in the mood to be photographed)

Sunday, November 02, 2008


I've been exploring several aspects of frugality and have of course been reading The Tightwad Gazette (which has some really amazing ideas).

One area that I really need to work on this year is Christmas. We all know that stuff does not equal love but its hard for this child of the '80s to get that through her head.

We generally plan a thrifty Christmas but it always gets way out of hand. I'm hoping that with some planning we can avoid our common pitfalls.

Our general plan for the kids goes thusly: one set of pajamas to be opened on Christmas Eve (akin to a party dress, I suppose), a book, and a toy plus stocking items.

My hope is that this year I can make these gifts as frugal as possible by finding excellent deals and even buying used. I won't bore you with the details of all of this but I am interested in hearing your holiday ideas.

Do people really like getting handmade items?

If so what items have you received that you really appreciated and loved?

What are good handmade or inexpensive ideas for men (as I find them hardest group for which to come up with ideas)?

What are some ways that you try to keep things under control?

One idea that I am exploring, specifically for extended relatives, are handmade ornaments.
This week I've made these which takes one to one and half hours to complete.

Are these silly? How many should each person get? I was thinking a Christmas card (made by Mara) with a nice note and picture of the kids with the ornament attached. Good? Lame? I appreciate your feedback.


Does posting about NaBloPoMo count as a blog post? Do I want to do this? I'm concerned that I can't come up with enough good ideas. I think I'll give it a try though and challenge myself a bit. Please do comment and give me some encouragement!

Baby Pattern Baldness

I've always thought that babies with heads full of thick hair look so cute (and advertisers apparently agree). So far though my babies have not kept their hair...

When Amara was born she had more hair than her dad. Quickly though she started to go bald.

We aren't sure if she lost hair or if her head outgrew her hair but we think it might be some combination of both.

This left her completely bald just in time for winter.

Greyson wasn't born with no nearly so much hair but still managed to loose the little bit he had.

I think perhaps he lost hair so he could conserve energy for his cheeks.

By winter he too was even balder but he had some stylin' widow's peaks.

Ivy was born with considerably more hair and a faux hawk that just won't stop. She too is managing to develop some baldness though. Whenever she lays down or is sitting against something she will furiously shake her head which has resulted in this lovely baby pattern baldness

At not quite 3 months its still unknown whether she will keep her hair but for now she'll just keep rocking her Reverse Mullet Faux Hawk.