Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Keeping busy

We are in full swing of summer and are generally keeping quite busy in ways that keep me far from the computer.

In the past two weeks, I've made a hat and I've started on a scarf. When I'm not threatening to randomly fall asleep at any moment, I'm craving salty fish and spicy, spicy salsa. And in my spare time, I've been sorting out the house to get ready for a garage sale this weekend.

Dave has sent out dozens of resumes all across the world. We're opening up the job search to the US & Canada shortly. He's been working on tiling the downstairs bathroom and then finished painting the girls room today.

Aevryn continues her monologue about when the baby comes (after Daddy's birthday) she will put on gloves and catch her. And she will hold his hand, but if he doesn't like it she will give it back to him. Also its name is Tata or Pocket. She is starting to act out a bit. Not sure if it's in relation to my hormones, or the declining milk supply, or what, but it's very trying on everyone, especially her. Maybe it's just because she's three. Or a bit of everything.

Lily is struggling through something. She has had a fine white, dot-like rash since we started the enzymes. It's not itchy and it's not irritated, so I think it's just kicking up something. Such a scientific explanation, I know. We're trying to figure out if CLO is helping or hurting. We've had some pretty miserable days of later, but I thought maybe it was the carrots or avocado? I hate second-guessing myself. She spiked a mild fever this afternoon and now her eczema is flared, so I really wonder what's going on. We're just supporting her and trying to move forward.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


As most of you know, we're having an unexpected addition to our family, set to arrive sometime in early March. I had suspected for about a week, and finally tested yesterday (twice) and today. What can I say? I bought a three-pack.

We're surprised, but happy, of course. The girls are thrilled. Lily's reaction to, me, in particular has been transformative. She is very concerned for me, in a good way. She's getting me cups of water, asking if I need a nap, and generally being gentle and sweet. It has sort of snapped her out of her extreme funk of self-preservation-motivated self-centeredness. I am so thankful, for all of our sakes. Aevryn is adorably excited. She has so many plans for "her" new baby. However, my already dwindling milk supply + changing hormones is very frustrating for her. Good thing we were already working on not nursing at night before we found out.

We are also driving up to Boyne City tomorrow morning to get some guinea pigs. Lily has really been wanting a pet lately. Specifically, she really wants a dog. She asked me, "Mom, what can I do about this 'wanting-to-get-a-dog' feeling?" My compromise was to look on craigslist for guinea pigs or hamsters. Lo and behold, there were two guinea pigs, with cage & accessories, for free. The only caveat is we have to drive an hour north to get them. The children have already named their guinea pigs Rosabel & Daisy. Well, actually Aevryn wanted Toe-toe, but Lily talked her into Daisy.

Yes, this is a bit of added insanity into our barely-controlled chaos. At least it's free insanity. We may be crazy but we're not stupid.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heritage Picnic Cherry Pie Bake-off

I got a call today from the Cherry Festival Heritage Picnic coordinator, letting me know that my pie has been formally registered into the Cherry Pie Bake-off! I'm so excited. I will most likely make another practice pie for Fourth of July and then the competition itself is July 6. Wish me luck! (And cross your fingers that the judges don't hate coconut!)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The further adventures of Lily and her emotional outbursts

"I think you're gross!" -- Lily, during a fit of hypoglycemia in the grocery store. She also shrieked for me to put her down, while fiercely holding onto my neck. Luckily it was a short one that ended with her announcing that she just needed to go home. We were actually two feet from the checkout when she burst, so all's well that end's well. Nothing a square of chocolate and a dried date couldn't fix.

A few minutes after she declared she needed to leave, she was standing next to me at the checkout and very seriously asked "Can you stop yourself from having babies?" I told her yes, and then we got interrupted by our turn in the lane. Once we got back in the car, I asked her why she wanted to know that. She explained that she didn't ever want to have "fussy, whiny" kids - presumably how she felt she was being in the store.

Once home, Dave & I had a nice chat with her about how you can't pick what kind of kid you'll get. We reassured her that we wouldn't trade her for any other type of kid. I also tried to help her re-frame her apparent image of herself. Instead of considering her a fussy, whiny kid, I told her that I think she is a helpful, silly, lovey, smart, funny, creative, sensitive kid who sometimes has bad days. We reaffirmed that everyone has bad days, or times when we feel out of sorts, and that's normal. She sat there grinning from ear to ear, so I think she got the message: she's an fabulous person at the core who sometimes makes less than stellar choices. So, she's human.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blanket Fort!

This weather is just not cooperating with all the wonderful visions I held while enduring winter. Today is another indoor sort of day, it looks like; at least for now. I realized that it was high time the kids figured out the fine art forting. With just a bit of help from me, we turned a (huge) playsilk, blanket & sheet into a nifty fort. They're currently busy "moving in".

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A pie a day...

... keeps your blood sugar elevated? Well, just a little. My pies are grain-free and sweetened with just a bit of maple syrup. Not so bad.

We live in the Cherry Capital of the world. Or so our town likes to boast during an enormous Cherry Festival every year, around the fourth of July. It's a week-long festival, each day jam-packed with events for kids & adults. Since Lily is five this year, she's eligible for many more kid events. I was browsing the festival brochure to see what she might like to do when I came across the Old Fashioned Cherry Pie bake-off contest. And I paused, thinking: I could do this. I could submit a grain-free, allergy-friendly pie.The deadline for entry is June 18th.

Test Pie #1: baked coconut crust, with cherry, vanilla, maple, arrowroot filling.

Test Pie #2: baked almond crust, with the same filling, but tweaked proportions. I'm not enthusiastic about the looks of this crust, sadly. Also, I would like to be able to say that the pie is vegan, grain-free & allergy-friendly. I don't know that a nut crust really screams "allergy-friendly".

The baked coconut crust is good, but it's amazing once it's been in the fridge for a few hours. The pies need to be delivered by 1p on the day of the Heritage Picnic, so I wonder if I delivered a super cold pie if it would hold up in the heat for judging? Pondering. I'm even envisioning a way to make a mock-lattice top for it...

I see a Test Pie #3 in my near future. Coconut crust + hopefully perfected filling. And, of course, I will post recipes once I perfect the filling.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Just one of those days...

Today was just one of those early rising, cherry pie contemplating, popsicle stick & pom pom crafting, babywearing, supporting other moms, grocery shopping, filling with joy seeing kid-sized carts, deflating with frustration realizing major items were left out of the big cart, making laundry soap, falling off of swings, weed pulling, seed soaking, amateur chiropracting, deep stretching, sobbing over cutlery, making a second pot of coffee at dinner, soaking in an epsom salt bath, making homemade candy after kids got to bed sort of days.

Lily and her hypoglycemia make the five minutes preceding any meal a veritable adventure.

Chocolate -covered Roasted Sunflower Seeds "candy"

2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp maple syrup
4 tbsp roasted sunflower seeds
drop of vanilla
dash of sea salt

Mix & eat with spoon like "fudge". Or drop by small spoonfuls onto a plate & pop into freezer for a few minutes to harden.

I soaked my seeds in sea salt & water, then rinsed & drained them. I didn't soak them long enough and then roasted them way too fast, but I was impatient. You really should soak them for 7+ hours and then dehydrate them at 150*F for 12-24hrs. I blasted mine at 300*F for 40 minutes. Oops. Next time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Meanwhile in AevrynLand...

Sometimes Aevryn gets a little lost in the chaos of Lily's raging storms. She weathers them well and in good spirits, usually. She will just disappear for a few minutes and come out with a random assortment of things and then quietly go about her business. Today, she needed just a bit of assistance.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Botanical Food family resources

I think many of us in the "food allergy community" are aware of the potential for foods within the same family as a known problem food to cause other issues. It can be helpful to clear entire food families if you are having persistent reactions. For example, peanuts are legumes. If you have a peanut allergy, you just may have issues with soy and/or beans as well.

I have often used the Calgary Allergy Network's listing of botanical food families.

However, the other day, I was reading something that caught my eye that led me to a new resource. It's a page from a ND who specializes in chemical sensitivity. Her Botanical Food Family list is more complete and also includes herbs.

From this site, we also learned that yucca (tapioca/cassava) is in the lily family, which the alium family also belongs. We had already purchased a bag of cassava chips for lily to trial. We gave them to her today just to see. It took roughly 6 hours, but she just started itching herself raw in her sleep. We found the same to be true with asparagus - also in the Lily family. Poor Lily... Allergic to the Lily family.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Raw Chocolate Pudding!

1 banana (yield ~ 1/3 c)
1 avocado (yield ~1/2 c)
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Just mash & mix.

Sounds weird; tastes fabulous. Dave & I split a batch. 15g carb (~9g net) each. I accidentally skipped lunch, so around 4 I was starving. This was just enough fat & sweet to satisfy and tide me over till dinner. Simple, easy, yummy. My favorite kind of recipe.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just Another Rainy Summer Day

It rained all day yesterday, all last night, and now again all day today.

My children are very in tune with the weather, shall we say. When it is breezy and sunny, so are they. When it is gloomy and soggy, well, so are they.

Inspired by our dear friends, we made Ojo de Dios today. We used this page as a starting point.

Popsicle sticks + left over yarn + enthralled 5yo = peaceful early afternoon.

Lily really, really, really enjoyed herself - eventually. Which is her song in life, truly. At first she just wanted to watch me do one. Then she declared that she didn't think she could do it. Then she asked if I'd help her do one. Which turned into her doing it all by herself and declaring "I can do it!" and me replying, "I knew that you could."

This task was a bit over Aevryn's head, and it took just that much too long for us to do one together start to finish. However, she was pleased just to be a part of the activity at the table. She spent her time with scissors and scrap yarn cutting up tiny mounds of tiny bits of yarn. She proudly announced: "they're to you mama!" Aevryn may be my contrarian, but she is also sweet to her core... mostly.

Each of the girls now have one near their beds. Lily also made sure Dave has one in his office and I have one in my bedroom. In fact, she loved this craft so much (hurrah for self sufficiency!) that she wanted to know if anyone had birthdays coming up.

The idea of a token of safety really resonated with Lily. She latched on to the concept of the protective eye of god watching over her and reassuring her in her fear. She also reinforced her understanding of the connected between the concept of god(dess) to parents and love.

All from some popsicle sticks and some yarn. Thanks, Megan.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cauliflower "Potatoes"

I tried this one day on a whim. I pretty much squealed with glee when I tasted it and it was nearly identical to mashed potatoes. At least, my memory of mashed potatoes...

1 head of cauliflower
1/4 C milk/sub/left over cauliflower water
a few tablespoons of oil
sea salt

Cut up the cauliflower and boil it until soft.

Buzz in food processor with milk, oil & salt.

Occasionally I will put cumin and/or onion powder. If you use coconut, it's very curry-like.

I've also heard that cut up boiled cauliflower can be used as a substitute in potato salad. I hope to try it soon. In sum, cauliflower is versatile and delish. A fabulous potato sub.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tasty Adult Beverage Concoction

Coconut-banana-rum Drink

1 tray of ice
1 can of coconut milk
1 banana
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 C vanilla rum

Put ingredients in blender and buzz until smooth.

(Pineapple makes my mouth go numb and start itching, otherwise I'd have included a few chunks of pineapple as well... Classic Pina colada base. Mandarin oranges might make an interesting sub.)

Goes well with Friday night Stargate and cucumbers + avocado-jalapeno dip.

Kale Chips

Kale is in season. We love it and it's super nutritious. However, sometimes you can only eat so much sauteed kale. Tonight with dinner we tried our first batch of kale chips for the season.

1 bunch of kale
a few tablespoons oil
sea salt

Set the oven to 425.

Rinse the kale and remove the leafy part from the stalk.

Cut or rip into "chip" sized pieces.

In a big bowl, rub the oil on the leaves and sprinkle with salt. At this point, you can add any number of spices, if you'd like.

Previously, I'd put the kale directly on an oiled pan, but that requires turning. This time, I put drying racks on the pans and put the kale on the rack (much like how I make jerky).

I have a hot spot in a back corner of my oven, so I rotate my pan. 4 minutes to a side seemed to be the ideal amount of time for crispy but not burnt.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Peace, Love, Joy

What a week!

Aevryn had a beach party at her grandparents' house that included both sets of grandparents, uncles, aunt & cousin. There was cake and presents and bubbles and sandcastles. And lots and lots of giggles.

We've played outside, visited friends and gone on a home-visit for LLL.

Today, both girls had serious Grandma Time™ while I got some group work done and visited with a friend. (I also ran a few errands alone, which is a newly discovered joy. Right up there with going to the bathroom unattended.)

Aside from being busy, busy, we seem to have had a breakthrough with Lily.

We had connected her rage or anger or aggression issues with glutamate overload. Our solution was to go on a low-glutamate diet. That seemed to be working, but we needed to stay super low to keep the peace. In my research, I discovered that theanine helps mitigate glutamate overlaod - by competing with glutamate for the receptors. Dave had been taking it for awhile to help with anxiety. We started supplementing Lily yesterday afternoon and I am thrilled and amazed by the results.

The positivity and love radiating from my child is astounding. Sweetness, love, helpfulness. Smiles, giggles.

I really like it when I figure out the biochemistry food stuff.
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