Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Grayson turned 1, Christmas happened twice, and I just had a birthday!

Pallows (pillows), honeys (undies), Eggo (Diego), dinky doo (pinky dinky doo), I think I can, I do it, icky poopoo's, OOOH budder (brother), pretties, rite dare, stwower (stroller), I needsta help, boots, choc-oh-late, helmit (remote)...

I love listening to Lydia talk. I absolutely love her sweet little words and how she says each of them in her own little accent. These are just some of my favorites... some of the ones I hear the most. She's given her own names to so many everyday things that I often forget that it's not what other people normally call them. I'm teaching myself how to not speak her language back to her, though. I know it doesn't benefit her when it comes to teaching her the correct pronunciation of things, but my goodness it's hard not to say silly sentences like "I needs lots is a more of dees ones" when she's usually the only little human I talk to all day... everyday.
That and yes, I want to keep her little a lot of the time. I don't want her to grow up. It's so dear to my heart to hear how she's developed her own language to describe her little world... I feel like I see my world differently just from the way she has described it to me in her words.

Grayson's birthday came and went and with not TOO many tears... We celebrated with family the weekend before Christmas. It couldn't have been better. He loved being sang to so much that we sang him happy birthday twice! He ate more cake than I'd like to admit, but it was so extremely cute and I just wanted him to enjoy it. My mom made him a beautiful little sock monkey cake (hopefully I can find and add pictures!). You could tell he knew EXACTLY what it was and who it was for by his sweet little squeals the moment he saw it! He has loved his sock monkey from the moment he received it and it has been his favorite lovey since. Besides his train... it's by far his favorite thing in this house.
I hope that we get to celebrate his birthday with family like that every year. What a blessing!

Christmas with my family was celebrated that same weekend. I don't think I can remember having a better Christmas! All of the kids did great and had such a wonderful time! It was more relaxed than any other Christmas and I really think that everyone there could agree that we all left with full hearts and truly enjoyed our time with each other. We opened presents Saturday morning (my goodness every child was spoiled!). I was able to cook my favorite meal, breakfast, and then the kids played with all of their toys all day. We got everything prepared and cooked for the 'big dinner' and family all slowly arrived. We visited, opened beautiful stockings (just wait until you see how huge mine was! hahaha), and shared gifts that we had chosen for each other. We draw names every year and it's always fun surprising them with something unique and personal! The dinner was amazing and the deserts were even better! We sang birthday songs to my Uncle, Grayson, and myself, opened more presents, and then everyone went their separate ways. Jacob and I had planned to leave the next morning, but after some discussion... we decided it would be safest to leave that evening.
The kids are still loving all of their gifts from santa and I am too!!

This past weekend we celebrated Christmas with just us as a family. It was such a sweet time! I read a book to the kids regarding the birth of Jesus, which Lydia loved, and we celebrated Christmas as a tribute to Christ's birth. Lydia is STILL singing 'Happy Birthday baby Jesus' around the house!
We opened presents, nothing big, but just a few things special that we had got for each other, and had our friends for dinner. All of the kids played well together and had a great time as did we. It was such a wonderful Christmas this year!

The day after was my birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!! I'm now 24, be amazed, I know. I'm getting so stinkin old! Jacob came home and brought me beautiful flowers and a yummy peppermint starbucks! It was wonderful :)

So here comes the new year! I'm excited to be starting a new year full of new adventures! I haven't fully thought of any new year resolutions, but I'm sure that I will. Probably some new plan to build some muscle on these bones, learn a new craft, play more music, or finally sew Lydia's quilt that I started BEFORE she was born :/. I'm not sure yet, but when I know... you'll know.

Jacob and I hadn't planned on being in this picture, but neither of the kids wanted near Santa! :)

Grayson in his sock monkey little get up with his lovey

Me and my GINORMOUS stocking full of goodies!

My mom had a wool sock monkey dress... of course I had to put it on! haha... (ignore my lack of make up!)

A photo of all of the stockings together.. you can tell Jenna and I are the favorites here! ;)

Grayson seeing his cake with his cousin Autumn (otter pop)

Want some??

So handsome!!!

Lydia concentrating on opening everything in her stocking :)

The adorable cake and cupcakes!

MY beautiful cake my mom made me...  COMPLETELY dairy and gluten free!!! <3

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Oh baby Gray...

Thanksgiving went well! It was so very wonderful to have my house full of family and smelling of yumminess. I already wish I could have them all back again! I'm not sure that I'll be doing it again for a long while though. It is just such a long drive to my house for everyone that came. They all arrived early to be able to spend more time with each other, but that's when I'm in the kitchen the most. It made it hard for me to spend time with them. Then they all needed to make the long trek home early enough to avoid freezing roads, which meant for only about 4 hours spent with them total... most of which I was either in the kitchen or cleaning up. Don't get me wrong, I had a FANTASTIC time! I LOVED doing the cooking and serving my family. I even loved trying to squish that many people into our little kitchen and dining room.
I keep trying to convince them all to move here, but they're just not having it! :)
So next year we'll most likely be spending it at my mom's beautiful home and I'll just have to talk her into letting me come a day ahead and we can cook our little fingers off together again.
That was definitely the part of Thanksgiving that I think I treasured the most, spending time cooking with my mom. We work so well together weaving around the kitchen and never even knocking into each other despite the small space. We are a well oiled machine and once we get started then there's no stopping us!

My sweet little family and I just returned from a trip to Grammy and Grandpa Buddy's house in Grants Pass. We brought Uncle Seth along with us too. The crazy kook volunteered to hold Juneau the entire drive down! June surprisingly did REALLY well, but we had no idea what to expect. Praise God for no puppy accidents in our car! Anywho, back to talking about Grammy's...
Can I just say I love it there?
They have such a wonderful place and we love spending time there with them. The kids and Juneau had the run of the place, which Grammy and Bud so sweetly baby proofed, and they had a blast! Grayson had a ton of fun toting around all of Grammy's potatoes and trying to eat them raw. Lydia entertained all of us, as always, and June... well she's June! She played well with Gray and entertained us too with all of her sweet puppyness. Jacob, Seth, and Bud watched endless hours of football and I even got a chance to read a book! It was wonderful! I'm glad that Grammy and Bud are here for the winter and I hope that we get to go see them again soon. They're so full of love and are a joy to be around and the kids adore being with them too!

Now starts the week of trying to get back on schedule, grocery shop and meal plan for the next two weeks, unpack from our trip, do laundry, and plan for Grayson's birthday!

EEEEEEK!!!!!! I can't believe that his birthday is only a week away!
I had big ideas planned for his birthday. I wanted it to be just as fun and decorated as Lydia's was. I wanted to make him a beautiful cake just as well thought out as Lydia's castle cake was, and have a lot of friends over to celebrate him too. I know that he won't remember it. I know that he probably could care less. He probably wouldn't even notice the decorations much, might even get overwhelmed if there's too many people here, and will probably care less what his cake looks like as long as he gets to eat and his sister doesn't steal any of his ;).
As silly as it is, though, I still want to do it for him. This 1st year mark is huge to me. It's celebrating making it through all of the hard sleepless nights, watching him grow from my sweet little 6 pound 9 oz newborn to my toddler that's trying so hard to keep up with his sister, and remembering every little stage he went through to get here. Every moment of his first year is engraved into my heart and I just want to celebrate it!! Can you blame me??
I know that there won't be a HUGE party, but I'm going to try and put something together for him. I hope that he'll have another little friend or two here to play with, some fun and shiny decorations to look at (and I'm sure tear down), and a cute cake to dig his sweet little fingers into.

I love you so much my sweet baby boy. From the moment you were born we have had such a strong bond. You were such a sweet and snuggly baby. When you were a newborn and I had to sleep with you on my chest you would squirm your way all the way under my chin. You wanted to be snuggled up as close as you could to your momma. Your adorable little fingers would hold a death grip on my shirt so that I wouldn't put you down, I didn't. For four weeks I slept on the couch while you slept on my chest and hardly left my arms. I didn't want to be away from you either! When other moms reveled in their little ones sleeping through the night, I do admit I was a bit jealous at times, but as soon as I would go in to nurse you.. you'd curl up under my chin again. I still wake up with you... not because I know you can't sleep through the night without it if I tried to teach you, but because I simply treasure rocking you when you sleep. I find myself fighting to get back into my own bed as I hold you, but knowing I have to give in or I won't be able to keep up with you during the day too! You have such a beautiful little grin, these super cute little stinky feet, and the best little chubbies on the planet. You're constantly getting into 'trouble'. You climb everything, go through all of my cupboards and drawers, and eat anything in your path.
I really don't want to know some of the things that have made it into your mouth :|
Your sister is always getting you to do her dirty work while knowing full well that you'll get in less trouble than she will- I'm working on that-. How can I punish you when you give me your cute little squinty grin?? I definitely don't want to see your sad face, oh how it instantly breaks my heart!
You are starting to learn what fits are, surely from your mischievous big sister, and I'm learning how to adjust. Your favorite toys are anything you can pull, hit, smash, makes noise, or you can make sound effects to. Either that or my phone, that works too.
You love talking on the phone/skyping with your nana or dada. As soon as I get a call on my phone you're already at my feet tugging on me jabbering to talk.
My boy you can dance! You've got the cute little bounce down and you're learning how to wink... what else do you need?
You're just a joy to be around and I love you. I am already missing my sweet little newborn with those beautiful little eyes looking up at me, but I'm excited to see who you become and to enjoy the adventure along the way. I will forever celebrate this first year that we have spent together. I love you baby bear, Your Momma

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Gluten Free Thanksgiving!

I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year!!! Wahoo!!! 11 Adults and 6 children will be on their way to my humble abode and I can't wait!!! Everyone is traveling at least 2 hours to get here... so I'll be doing all the cooking here. It should be interesting! It'll be a long day, but I'm really excited to do it. Not only do I get to pick out the recipes, but I get to make everything I love gluten and dairy free so I can eat it all too! Woot woot! No more longily staring at yumminess that I can't touch. :) Some of you are asking how I'm making my dinner gluten free, well here you go! Here are my recipes! It's really not too much different than anyone else. Just a few extra steps here and there, and lotsa love ;)
I woke up at 6 this morning and put in a lovely 20 pound turkey.
I cook my turkey in a bag... (I don't want to hear anything from you plastic haters out there, I like it- I do it)
I melted 'earth balance' butter with some fresh minced garlic and poured it all under the skin. I stuffed it with 3 onions, a few sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary, a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, and then stuffed 3 slices of my gluten free bread in the opening so that it stays nice and moist inside and closed it all up. No one eats the stuffing in the turkey in our family, so I don't do it. I then put a bunch of chopped onions and cornstarch into the bag and shook it, dropped the turkey on in, rubbed it with oil, and then rubbed it with a spice blend.
spice blend: a mix of lawrys seasoning salt, powdered garlic, course ground pepper, and freshly chopped rosemary and thyme.
close up the bag, flip it breast side down, you're in! I'll be flipping it in an hour or two before it gets too soft to flip without it falling apart.

For my pumpkin pie crust:
For the pie:

My stuffing:
I toasted 4 slices (diced up) of my favorite Udi's brand cinnamon bread- then set to the side.
I cooked red sweet pepper, minced garlic, chopped onions, and celery until the onions turned clear.
At the same time I made some quinoa cooked in chicken broth ( I like to use 'better than bullion. It does contain trace amounts of Whey protein, but it doens't seem to bother me)
mix it all together and put it in a pie dish... (I'm going to add a bit more toasted bread once I make my rolls!)bake at 350 for 30-35min!

Rolls: I'm using Pamela's gluten free white bread mix

Green bean casserole:
I plan on making it pretty much the same... just with homemade 'cream of mushroom soup' copied a little from this recipe and green beans I picked and blanched this summer- YUM!

Cream corn casserole:
MY FAVORITE!  I bought a ton of fresh corn this summer and made my own cream corn... but I'll be using just one bag of that in replacement of a can--
2 cans of cream corn, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, salt, pepper- mix and pour in a pie dish (feel free to add yummies like chopped onions and things. be creative!)
then top with crushed (gluten free) corn flakes and then put a few pads of earth balance butter here and there on top. Bake 375 35-45min. until it's no longer watery, but a bit firm.

We may make a few other things here and there, but these are the staples. If I do make more, I'll add them to the post!... And maybe I'll add some photos of what I make after it's all done :)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!!

Next I'll be making some

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Little Sea, Seattle

Oh Seattle! I adore you for no apparent reason at all. Maybe it's the glamour of your dreary skies, constant rain, or the city surrounding the sound... or the I-hate-them-but-can't-get-enough-of-them ferries, well dressed folk wrapped in scarves, the green landscape, or the Tullys (or Starbucks) that meets you at every corner. Oh Coffee. oh wonderful coffee.
Maybe it's the chocolate?
I really have no idea. I just know that I love it there and will go any chance that I get!
This last weekend was crazy wonderful. Packed with wedding-y activities for a couple that we love, fun shopping, and time spent with  my beautiful sister, neice, and sister in law. Even the little brother in law was there! It was like a dream come true kind of trip for Lydia... she danced with a 'princess' (the bride at the wedding), went swimming with mom and dad, saw big boats and tiny boats at the expo, went shopping, had cake, and stayed in the same bed with mom ALL NIGHT long. Seriously the only thing that could have made her weekend better was if Jack Jack, O-Oh, and Ava were there too! She's too cute, seriously.

It was hard with two kids, of course, but thoroughly worth it! As strange as it is... I love traveling with my kids. I think 3-4 days is definitely the limit that my kids can handle with their little schedules being thrown to chaos, but those few days are a blast! I think they like it too :)
It's almost like fuel for Lydia when we arrive at a new place. She's all charged up and ready to spring on a new adventure. She can't wait to go shopping, get fun treats (like fro-yo) that we don't normally get, and play in hotel swimming pools. She sleeps well in the car, entertains herself and her brother, and usually sleeps just fine in whatever bed we put her in. Probably because she's simply too worn out from WAY too much excitement to care :)
Grayson, on the other hand, could just care less. He feeds off his sister's reactions and the overall emotions of those present and just goes with whatever. As long as he knows where his mom, dad, and sister are... all is good in the world.
I'm really thankful for this. I know that many kids just aren't travelers. I'm not saying that my kids are perfect, but I do believe that they are pretty good at it and I am very grateful for that.

That being said... I'm also so very thankful for being home. There's nothing like your own bed after a long trip skipping from one bed to another. I'm also thankful for no longer living out of a suitcase
---okay... wait. I'm still living out of that suitcase since I haven't 'fully' unpacked....---
Anyway! I'm glad to be home and being away just made me love my little place in this world even more. We have so much to be thankful for and as thanksgiving preparations will be starting tomorrow, I feel primed for it all.

Thank you Lord for our wonderful trip, for the beauty of Seattle, for the sound of the rain, for my sweet family, for friends that we love, for making new friends, for bringing us all back safely, and for this awesome little place we call home. <3

Grayson taking breakfast into his own hands at the hotel & Lydia getting an italian soda at the wedding :)

We all had a great time at the wedding :)

This was obviously taken at the end of the night ;)

Lydia admiring the little boats at the Pacific Marine Expo

My sweet boy

Holding hands, tickling each other feet, and giggling on the ride home :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm not ready!!!

I just realized that yesterday was the 14th... which means that Grayson's birthday is now less than a month away! How did this happen?! He is my BABY boy! I am almost positive he just came out of my belly a couple days ago right? Wow... now I feel like there's no time to prepare for a party! I know what you're thinking... Oh it's easy... just get some plates, napkins, make a cake, send an invite, and then you're good! The thing is, I'm thinking emotionally here. I am just.not.ready. for this. Maybe this is why parents often say their little ones ages in terms of months. That could be me, I guess? "Hello, my baby is 46 months old." "No, he's not a toddler... I just had him 32 months ago."
What if I start feeding him purees again? I could do that too!
Okay, okay.. I'll stop being ridiculous. It's just going to take me a while to come to terms with this. That and I need to go order some plates and napkins and send those invites out....

FYI if you're reading this and you're planning on coming and you're one of those people that plan ahead (and obviously I haven't thought ahead and sent invitations yet)... It will be an all love, tickles, cake, snuggles, refreshments, and no gifts kind of party. (We currently have so many toys that they should rent their own storage shed.) I'm excited to celebrate my sweet boy with all of you and love on him and watch him, and I'm sure lydia too, eat their own weight in cake too!

Oh Grayson my sweet baby boy, we love you!!!

How could anyone resist those cute ears, beautiful eyes, little button nose, and that amazingly sweet smile?!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dear blogs, I like you much.

..... A few blogs worth mentioning that I visit frequently for recipes! 

Since finding my intolerance to gluten and dairy I've had many people come forward struggling in their own diets. It's hard when you're diagnosed with an allergy or an intolerance all of a sudden. It  like being sent to a foreign country where none of the ingredients in the stores are remotely recognizable or even in the same language! Sorghum flour & xanthum gum????.... I had absolutely NO idea these things existed a year ago. It took me long enough to pronounce them let alone know what the purpose of them were. Not only must you walk into this new territory of endless new ingredients, but you'll also learn that anything that sounds remotely delicious or close to edible and is already made for you comes at a ginormous cost! There's no more dropping by the beautiful cereal aisle and picking out any box you like. In fact there's no more picking up a box at all and just sticking it in the basket. Well, maybe eventually, but first it'll take reading EVERY label. If you don't take the time and just grab a snickers then you may end up paying for it... for days... and days. 
I've never struggled with something as hard as my diet. It's not a choice for me. I can't just cheat for fun. I actually have found that even one bite of  little Miss So&So's amazing homemade cheese this or whole wheat that will leave me in stomach pain or with mouth sores that can last for days. It used to be that I could cheat and have a bowl of ice cream every once and a while and only have mild reactions, but it's just not like that anymore.  

So a question I get a lot is...What is the difference between an allergy and an intolerance?
In simple terms... which is all I feel like doing right now... (if you want a better one, google. you can find anything on the internet!)
allergy: even a tiny bit of said item can cause a VERY bad reaction and can be life threatening. The reaction can happen almost immediately. Intolerance: non-life threatening and reactions can come on gradually. you may even be able to have a tiny bit of the food without a problem at all.

Now I'm not 100% sure I don't have an allergy to dairy or wheat/gluten, but out of my little self diagnosis based on trial and error... well. I'm not dead :) From what I have heard from friends, doctors, and random people I've met with the same diet, trial and error is a much more accurate way of finding out than any blood test anyway. 

A few more questions I hear a lot as well.... How do you live?! What do you eat?! Is your whole family 'forced' into this diet too??

1. I live just fine, just slightly bitter when I see you eat ice cream on a cone from a convenient location bought with pocket change. I'm kidding. Well, kind of. I have found ways to make the things I love and have also opened myself up to trying new things as well and have come to love those things too. It's kind of a give and take. I thought about the things in my diet I REALLY didn't want to let go of... like chocolate and ice cream. I spend a little extra on those things and it make me feel a whole lot less 'deprived'. I've been surprised by how many things I've weeded out of my diet without a care in the world too. :)
2. I eat EVERYTHING. I probably eat a larger variety of things than most people do too. It's not just meat and potatoes for this little lady! I have come to love so many different new dishes and I think I've become more knowledgeable about what is going into every meal I make as well! I'm not afraid of cooking out of my comfort zone as much and my family doesn't get as bored with the same old meal plans rotating every month. It's nice... which brings me to...
3. (nice segue, I know) bahaha... I crack myself up. Wow I'm horrible at this blogging thing! Ah, but I know none of you probably care.
okay... I'm digressing...
so! My family DOES eat what I eat and I eat what they eat too!... most of the time. The thing is I don't want them losing the enzymes in their sweet bellies to break down gluten or dairy though simply because I don't feed it to them. We don't always eat the same breakfast or lunches. I always have yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream, and various cheeses for my hubby or the kids to enjoy with their meals. sometimes I just make a dish dairy and gluten free, set some aside for me, then add some dairy products for the rest of them. It really isn't that big of a deal. I hardly buy anything prepackaged or go to any health food stores and I don't really seem to have a problem cooking things that I like.

I'm not sure if you care about any of this at all, but being that I find myself in conversations with acquaintances or friends regarding my diet at least 3 times a week... it's nice to just release it into some written words.

Can you even say 'written words' when it's been typed?
I wonder if that little phrase will disappear in a few years...
Typed words?
That just sounds lame.

Once again I apologize for the horrible grammatical errors. There once was a time where poor grammar bothered me to no end, but I have 2 children now and talk in grunts, points, and giggles the majority of the time. Poor grammar is the least of my problems. 

If you find that the links up there aren't to your liking and you need help with a recipe, just ask!
I really don't buy too many of the specialty flours and strange ingredients and I do just fine. There's almost always a way to make a recipe you love to taste great and still be gluten or dairy free. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Welcome Juneau

June, Juneau, Junebug, puppydoo (yes I am even surprised when that comes out of my mouth!), JuJube...
These are the names I call my our,  new puppy :)

Here she is!!!

Isn't she adorable??? I love her soft, little, floppy ears and her kind eyes!

She fits perfectly in the double stroller under the kiddos :)

I've always scoffed at people that dress their dogs up in sweaters... until now. Well... kind of. It's so cold outside, but we're crate training her and she's doing WAY better when we take her outside to potty rather than try to get her to use a piddle pad. I couldn't bear watching her shake in the cold... so now I own a dog sweater. bahaha... Interesting fact: I made it out of an old sweater sleeve!

Grayson adores her! She does have the horrible desire to nibble his sweet ears (I mean who doesn't?!) so I often have to separate them for a little while!

Oh Grayson :)

Of course I had to add one of me and my sweet girl. We definitely spend the most time together! We play all of the time and cuddle even more. I'm attached!

Most of you that know me are wondering how I of all people came to a point where  I  would get a dog.
I've been known to have an allergic reaction to almost all dogs and, unfortunately, even this one at times. It hasn't been bad at all though. I feel like it's going really well and I'm hoping that my body acclimates. I've been licked by her and haven't gotten hives, had my face up to her and haven't coughed or sneezed.... the only thing is my eyes get a bit itchy, but I feel like that's absolutely bearable and a small price to pay for the joy of a new puppy! 

Everyone keeps asking me what breed she is... 

Her mommy is a brittany spaniel and her daddy is a boston terrier (not actual picture of them)

Kind of a strange mix, I know, but I've always liked bostons and brittany spaniels are beautiful! I think she looks a lot more like a spaniel right now, but it'll be interesting to see what she ends up looking like when she's an adult. The owners seem to think that she'll be about 20lbs or less... so not too tiny, but not too big! Perfect for our little family! 

There's so much training to go and I have no idea what I am doing, but I'm working with her a lot right now. Any ideas on how to keep her from teething on my children is welcome! :) 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gluten and dairy free, but not free at all.

I spent most of my day at the Doctor's today. I left my house with so much hope and excitement. I really thought that I was going to find answers. I wanted to know what I'm allergic to, why I feel the way that I do, and get a plan of action to take control of my health so I can start living life and eating without fear or pain. I ended the day  feeling defeated and disappointed.
I've been to doctors before for the same reason... always coming back disappointed or with unnecessary (in my opinion since they never work) drugs. It all started in high school when I was misdiagnosed with an ulcer and given medication to 'fix it'. The medication didn't work so they kept trying new things and nothing helped. I gave up on taking the medication and just started taking action on my own. I became my own little google scholar and started trying suggested ideas that others had done. I began by eliminating things from my diet to see if I could find anything that happened to be upsetting me. It didn't take my long to discover that I couldn't have dairy any longer. I still had stomach issues, but nothing that I couldn't live with. As of recently I noticed more and more issues that I couldn't escape. I don't know if my body just changed after kids, but either way I knew I had to figure out what was going on. I had an endoscopy/colonoscopy and expected to find that ulcer that the doctors were STILL blaming all of my discomfort on. It simply didn't exist. In fact, I have very healthy 'guts' without anything wrong! Definitely something most people would like to hear, but I had almost wished that they would have found something obvious that was easily treatable so I could fix it and move on. Not so much. The gastroenterologist just told me "I can't see anything wrong and I dont know why you're feeling the way that you are. We're just going to diagnose it as IBS, but I'm not sure that that is really what it is or not." She then referred me to the allergist. She did tell me that I should try a gluten free diet for a while and see if that helps... so I did and am now gluten free as well as dairy free. Now when I try to eat Gluten I find that my reactions are far worse than even my reactions I used to have if I accidentally had dairy. Go figure.
The doctor I went to see today was the allergist. You could imagine how excited I was to finally make it to her. It made sense that she would have the answers. I had this vision that she would do a blood test, find out what was wrong, and I would adjust my diet and live it out forever more happily ever after.
My appointment started with me arriving early to fill out paperwork. I did so while holding Grayson and trying to keep Lydia in her seat in the lobby. Not so easy!
By the way... I was still excited at this point.
All of the nice old ladies and gentleman were fawning over my sweethearts and I had actually answered every question on the questionaire without Grayson melting down or Lydia destroying anything in the lobby.
An hour goes by and we're now past nap time. Lydia is playing musical chairs and Grayson is having to be moved around constantly in order to keep him from melting down. I'm exhausted
They finally call me in and let me continue by wait in a little room for another half an hour....

***Thank you Miranda for the idea of bringing crayons to draw on the paper on the bed... it helped!****

I promised trick or treat candy to Lydia if she simply was a good girl and colored... that also helped!
there's nothing like bribing your children when you're exhausted. :/
The nurse came in...asked a few questions
another 20 min.
Grayson is now flailing and crashes into sleep.
I'm wiped. Lydia is now watching Go Diego Go on netflix on my phone
I'm praising God my iphone and praying the doctor will just come in before I start crying and leave.
She comes in and asks me some questions and I share with her everything I'm going through.
I explain to her how hard I've been working to avoid all of the stomach pain.
I share with her my recent visit to urgent care for being in such bad abdominal pain for 3 days that I thought I felt like I my stomach was going to explode...etc....
I told her sincerely told her everything.

Her response:
"Unless you're having serious reactions where your throat is swelling up or your lips are swollen, then I don't find a need to test you for allergies. Some people have 'intolerance'. You may have a lactose and gluten intolerance."
I agreed to that, obviously... except not so excited that she wouldn't even test me to check for any allergies?
I explained to her how casein also bothers me and how I randomly get even worse reactions even when I don't have items containing either gluten or dairy... she rolled her eyes.

long story short... she made me feel like a complete idiot and gave me 3 little pamphlets on how to eat healthier and sent me off. She said "I think the gastroenterologist did a good enough job and I don't find it necessary to do any more testing"

Defeated. Not only did she treat me like a hypochondriac, told me I couldn't bring my children (despite the fact that Lydia sat quietly without a noise watching Diego without the sound on in a seat and Grayson was asleep the entire time), but she just waved away all that I am going through like it was nothing.

This isn't what I want for myself. I didn't bring this about. I am most definitely not making up my pain. I HATE going to the doctor and have only gone in the past for emergency reasons. I don't just go for fun and make up ailments. It took me a lot of strength to finally try to figure out what was wrong and go to see her. It also took a LOT of time and will be costing me a LOT of money that will be going to absolutely nothing. Money that could have gone to many other things that our family needs. ugh.

Next is an appointment with a naturopathic doctor... I hope this one goes better.

I needed to let all of this out. Writing it down makes it feel like I'm not going through this alone.
I know that the Lord is within me. I know that He has a plan. I know that He has the answer to all of this. I do, but yet I feel like I'm alone? For some reason my heart isn't taking hold of these truths. I'm not TRULY believing and trusting the Lord with this or I wouldn't feel the way that I do right now. Why? :(...  I feel like there's a disconnection between my heart and my mind right now with all of this.

-Would you join me in prayer this week as I continue to give this all up to the Lord?-

(please forgive me for any misspelling and all of the horrible grammatical errors... I don't plan on editing this post. :/ )

A recent Gluten and dairy free recipe I made and loved for those of you in the same boat:
Spinach Stuffed Pork Roast

1 small pork roast
1/2 c chopped onion
2 cups chopped spinach
2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon italian seasoning (I used rosemary, basil, oregano seasonings)

I caramelized the onions in a saucepan and then added the garlic and spinach and cooked it just until the spinach wilted. I added the seasoning and cooked another minute. I cut the pork into a spiral, laid it flat, and put the spinach mixture on top of it in an even layer. I rolled it up and secured it with a tooth pick. I cover the roast with a light coating of olive oil and sprinkled it with pepper and salt.
In a small roast pan I spread out some onion wedges and set the pork roast in it. I surrounded it with some little purple potatoes, covered it, and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours.

It came out super delicious! It would be good with more of a basil/pesto mixture too. I served it with some yummy home canned pears. Let me know if you make it  :) (please excuse the horrible quality photo that makes it look awful.. promise it was good!)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

It's been awhile!

A lot has happened since my last post! I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep up with a blog very much, but it
seems I decided to 'break' for the entire summer!


Life has changed SO much.This summer, Lydia embraced her second year of life and although I couldn't really call her a 'terrible two', she had many of -those- moments. It stretched me spiritually, emotionally, and physically, and taught me more and more about myself as a wife and a parent. She's learning and changing so much that it's hard to keep up! She's now moving out of as many fits and understanding SO much. I'm continually surprised by what she's able to comprehend and how quickly she learns new things. She's into asking us questions now about the world around her. Fun, but also a new challenge for me! I like this little her. This 'little helper' she's become. I'm really enjoying connecting with her, teaching her about everything, and observing her sweet little heart as she makes sense of her surroundings. She's in this new phase where she calls me 'my mommy' instead of just mom or mama. It's probably the sweetest words I've ever heard! Everything she asks me ends or starts with it. "My mommy, I put the bowl in the sink?" "I stay with my mommy?" "My mommy lay by me?". It makes me feel special. That it's not just a name, but almost as if she's chosen to claim me too :). Oh how I love you sweet Lydia Evelyn! You will always be my baby girl.

Grayson is 10 months old now and growing fast. He is so completely sweet, cuddly, and loving. I enjoy his quiet personality and am filled with joy with each kiss and snuggle he shares with me. I feel like I can't get enough of him. He's breezed through all of the little baby stages so quickly and has moved onto a little toddler that it's been quite the whirlwind.At 5 months he was already standing, crawling, and sitting up. At 8 1/2 months he decided he was ready to take on walking. Now at 10 months he signs 'more' and 'all done' and has quickly moved onto climbing everything and making new discoveries in my cupboards. He laughs and giggles at everything, he's not afraid to go head first (literally off of anything), and is always at my heels if not in my arms. One of my favorite things about this sweet boy is his love for his sister. The moment I snatch him out of his crib he's looking for her. He gives my morning snuggle and a sloppy kiss, of course, but then he's halfway out of my arms with his eyes peeled for her. The moment he sees her it's pure glee on his little face! He does that weird inhale squeel and wiggles out of my arms to follow her. They play, snuggle, give kisses, fight, and they even tattle on each other. I love it. This whole siblings thing is amazing. It makes me want more children!

-- don't worry, not yet! ;)--

Grayson's birthday is coming up soon and I just feel so unprepared for it. Not in the whole napkins, plates, forks kind of way... but just that I'm not ready for him to start into his second year. Having two little ones makes your second's first year go by even faster than the blink of an eye. Lydia's first year went by fast, but not this fast! I think that's one of the main reasons I'm not ready for another child for a few years. I'm afraid it'll only make my babies grow up even faster and I really just want to relish every moment of their littleness that I can! I find myself rocking them more, reading to them more, putting off laundry and chasing them more. I just feel like time is going by way too fast and it's so evident when I look at their sweet little faces. Oh Grayson I'm not ready for you to grow up and Lydia please slow down too!

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

- Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Coconut Cream Pie...Mmm!

So... It's my beautiful mommy's birthday this weekend and I just had to make her her favorite pie! I didn't want to just make a 'jello' pudding pie out of a package... it just wouldn't seem right! So I found a recipe online and tweeked it a bit to my liking to fit what she'd like...If you want to make it... just make sure you have a candy thermometer If you want to make the yummy meringue!

Coconut Cream Pie topped with Italian Meringue 

(serves 12)


1 1/2 cup of dates
1/3 cup of chopped almonds
2 tbsp of warm water
Coconut Cream Filling:
1  cup Coconut milk (skim the cream off the top first and then add up to 1 cup)
2  cups  half-and-half
1 1/2  cups  flaked sweetened coconut
1  vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2/3  cup  sugar
1/3  cup  cornstarch
1/4  teaspoon  salt
4  large egg yolks
2  tablespoons  butter
3  large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2  teaspoon  cream of tartar
1/2  cup  sugar
1/4  cup  water
1/4  cup  flaked sweetened coconut, toasted

You can definitely make this pie with a different crust, but my mom doesn't eat flour so I just made this recipe. Do as you please, but this is the recipe I used... I just put the dates and the almonds into the food processor and chopped them up until they were really fine and added a little warm water here and there until it started to stick together. Lydia loved this part since I let her push the button once! (I guess if you need to get out a little steam, you could smash them by hand too). I spread it into a cute little pie plate. Now if you're baking your crust, make sure to let it cool fully during the next steps.

mmmm... the most important ingredients! Coconut milk, 1/2 n 1/2, coconut, sugar, and vanilla beans. If I could have found some unsweetened coconut or some of the yummy non-dehydrated stuff from the freezer section then I would have used that instead of the sweetened, but unfortunately I couldn't find any this time

So add your coconut milk, half and half, 1 1/2 cups of coconut to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with a spoon and add those along with the whole vanilla pod into the milk mixture. Heat it slowly to a simmer and then quickly cover it and remove it from the heat.

Now look over at my sweet little boy sleeping in the bouncer on the counter with a death grip on his monkey :]

Now in a large bowl... add 2/3 cup of sugar, your cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks and wisk it all together. It'll be one nice, big, gooey clump, but no worries!  (Make sure to set aside 3 of the whites of your eggs for later!) 

Now that 15 minutes have gone by... Strain your milk mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze out the remain liquids into the bowl. Don't burn yourself! It's still pretty hot. Toss the remaining stuff in the cheesecloth into the trash. Now add the milk mixture to the sugar and egg yolk mixture. Wisk it until it's smooooth

Return your mixture to your saucepan and bring it slowly to a boil while wisking it constantly. It'll set up fairly quick, so don't let it burn on the bottom of the pan!

Remove it immediately and put it into a bowl over ice. Mix it to cool it down a bit faster. It'll take about 5-7minutes. Now pour that into your cooled pie crust, smooth it, cover it, and put it in the fridge to set for an hour.

15 minutes before my hour was up for the pie to be done, I started my meringue topping. It takes about 2 hours to set so be aware of that to know you'll be able to serve it on time.
Beat your egg whites (room temp), and cream of tarter with a mixer on high until stiff peaks form. Then combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Cook it without stirring until your candy thermometer registers at 250°. ( I didn't use a saucepan small enough to keep my thermometer from touching the bottom so I had to keep tipping it a bit to get a reading... just a warning. Choose your smallest saucepan!) Pour the hot syrup in a thin stream over the egg whites and beat on high until it gets thick. Spread the meringue over your pie and make it pretty... then cover the pie and stick it in the fridge for 2 hours to set. Top it with some toasted coconut if you'd like... we opted for a few cute sprinkles on top instead!

Now lick the spoon! It's perfectly yummy and totally safe to heat. The eggs are cooked just enough from the sugar syrup and tastes amazing. YUMM!!

It turned out GREAT! The taste was delicate and sweet. Using real vanilla beans really made a big difference. Maybe I've just had too many pudding pies made from a box.... but this was good. I can't really eat dairy, so it left me a bit sick, but it was worth it :) I'll be working on a dairy free option soon! I know I definitely will be using the meringue recipe in place of whipped cream topping on anything I do make dairy free in the future. It was great! So let me know what you think after you make it!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I'm excited to make you your pie every year for your birthday! I love you so much :]

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lydia turned 2!!!!

So it has been a little while since I've posted. We celebrated Lydia's second birthday on the seventh, were struck with the stomach flu for about a week, and just had some of our family visiting this last weekend.
I can't believe that my big girl is already 2 years old! Time has really gone by fast! I feel like we JUST celebrated her first birthday! What's happening?! This year we decided to keep the birthday celebration a bit more low key. My friend, Haley, and I took our girls to paint pottery together. Of course we had to paint something ourselves too! I'll add a photo of our creations.... after I pick them up :\. (hopefully today!)

It was a bit of a mess, but we learned that the paint washes out....and thankfully for little Ava, it's non toxic too if you happen to try and eat it! It's not necessarily the best activity to do in replace of a nap time, but we made it through Lydia's fits and still had a good time. I would've posted photos, but simply forgot my camera on the charger at home!
The evening of Lydia's birthday I came up with the stomach flu. (Thank goodness Haley and Ava didn't catch it!) All birthday celebrations went on hold for that evening, but as soon as we were all well we celebrated a little bit in each day the following week followed by the big bash!

Lydia and I were getting SO tired of being stuck in the house so the moment we were well and the sun came out, we went out. She met loads of little friends her age, I chatted with other parents, we ate a great picnic, and took lots of pictures!

mmm... banana!

I was so proud of her accomplishing the 'Big' slide without a second thought! She just climbed up and went right down over and over again! It's still so sweet how she chooses to go down on her belly welly!

Here she is going through the tunnel! It's something else she was nervous about doing this last summer and now it doesn't seem to phase her one bit.  I loved seeing her sweet little face peeking out at me!

Happy girl on the swing :)

I love her little rosy cheeks! It was SO cold outside, but so worth it!

'Mr. Squirrel'

This weekend we had my parent's up and finally threw a little birthday party for Lydia. She was so excited when she woke up and saw 'Nana and Popsky' and a fully decorated house. She got 'big girl undies', dresses, some clothes, and a tricycle complete with a bell! (She's always so spoiled by them!!). Once again... camera on the charger. I really failed at photos for her birthday this year! Thankfully Nana took a few to save the memory. We had a great time. Lydia had her favorite foods for dinner and played on her trike. That evening I let her decorate her own mini-cake with various colors of frosting and fun toppings. I was very surprised by how much she didn't eat! The rest of us had some marionberry pie...yum :) The next day my dad and I fixed some things around the house. We put up pictures, a mirror, and attempted to put up my little ikea thingamajigger. On a trip to Bimart to find screws, we happened across a little sock monkey for Gray like Lydia's.

He'll smile, coo, and squeal at him in excitement when he sees his face. If you run his yarn hair over Gray's hands or face he squeaks and kicks his little legs everywhere. Nana put the monkey on top of him in his bouncer and he chewed his ear for the longest time last night. It's so much fun watching this little munchkin grow and get excited about the littlest things :)
I'm going to miss my family now that they're gone, but we'll be going to visit them in only a few days time while daddy is gone to Alaska. Hopefully we'll visit the ocean, sample some cranberry sweets, and meet up with friends if the weather is good.
We really have been having fun here in the Balint house. So many fun activities, seeing our family, play dates with friends... awesome. Hopefully we can stay away from sickness/flus for awhile and keep this up! I'll leave you with two of my favorite new recipes of the week!

Baked Chicken Taquitos

Preheat oven to 375
Mix up some shredded chicken (I had some leftover from a whole chicken the night before), a can of *mild green chillies, a couple spoon fulls of salsa, a tablespoon full of minced garlic, some chopped green pepper and onion, and roll then inside of warmed corn tortillas. You can also add some shredded cheese, but I do things dairy free around here...Place on a greased cookie sheet and brush with a very light coating of olive oil. Cook for about 15min and then turn the oven on to broil. Brown one side (about 2min) and then turn and brown the other.
These taquitos rival the best I've had! We topped ours with some homemade guacamole :)

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

Mmmm... definitely the tastiest, moistest, most delicious blueberry muffins that I have ever made! Don't they look yummy?! I'm making another batch today for the freezer!
I got my recipe here.

Okay okay... enough with the numerous photos, I know! Sheeeesh!
Well I can't leave a post without my sweet little boy's cute face :)
Specially with my handsome hunk of a man in it too!