Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas with food allergies

Wow, I'm just going to say that Christmas time (or any holiday in general) is really hard on us mamas with kids with food allergies.  The gluten free part has become second nature since Hadley has been GF for several years now.  This is our first year having eliminated gluten, yeast, dairy, egg yolks and limited sugar.  I decided before all the parties and madness started, I wasn't going to allow all the candy and junk that turns my daughter into a different person.  But I also wasn't going to allow her to be sad about it and feel left out.  Our days of making cookies this year were totally different than years past.  Before, I would've stocked up on butter, flour, sugar, more butter, more sugar, and lots of milk chocolate.  This year, it was nuts, dates, dried fruit, GF flour and agave.  I doubted how this day of baking would turn out, but I've got to say...not bad.  And the best part?  We have all been snacking on the healthier desserts instead of wolfing down a whole pan of fudge in an evening.  I feel so much better than I usually do this time of year, and can actually button my jeans.  So here are some of the treats we made this year.

We made these grain free sugar cookies today.  We put red and green sprinkles on them and left some out for Santa.  Mama loved these...we'll see if santa likes healthy sugar cookies ;)

These were my favorite.  I grew up making pecan sandies with my mom.  She always made them in a ball and rolled them in powdered sugar after they cooled a little.  I didn't miss it a bit.  In fact, I liked this version better!  Shhhh...don't tell my mama.  Oh, and Alex even liked these, and he usually turns his nose up at my GF treats.

The kids absolutely loved this version of gingerbread people.  I actually didn't have tiny gingerbread cookie cutters, so I just rolled them into balls and served them in little mini-muffin paper cups.  These have such a wonderful ginger flavor, and they were fabulous!  I packed these in a sandwich baggie for the park, and they are a great little snack.  We have also made many of the other larabar recipes on this site, and are quite in love with them.

These blondies were da bomb dot com.  For reals.  One problem.  They had brown sugar in them, and made my daughter cra cra.  I really wanted to try to substitute the sugar for agave, but they were already so gooey, that I don't think it will work.  I loved these so much, and they were Eli's fav.  And I promise, you can't taste the chick peas...pinky promise.

These pillow cookies were a hit with the kids, but not my favorite.  I substituted the whole wheat flour for my GF flour mix I keep mixed up in my pantry.  I also didn't roll the cookies in the sugar/cinnamon mixture since I was avoiding sugar.  Instead, I added cinnamon to the dough, and it turned out tasting like a snickerdoodle.  If you haven't noticed, I'm a bit smitten by Chocolate Covered Katie.  She doesn't know it, but she's my new bestie, and has made my daughter very happy.

By the way, I had the nerve to serve all of these healthy cookies for dessert at bunko last Tuesday night.   Unless my friends are great liars, they loved them!  If anyone is interested at all in recipes, I'll share with you all what I served for dinner that night too.  Ya'll just let me know.

And last, but certainly not least, I made these lemon cranberry coconut muffins for breakfast on Christmas morning.  Hadley thought these were so pretty that she had to have one for dessert tonight.  She chose that over a cookie.  Eli had one too, and both of them gobbled them up.  So I guess they are good.  We usually cook a really big brunch on Christmas morning, and I thought it might be nice to mix it up for my girl as she is probably getting tired of egg whites and sausage.

Merry Christmas ya'll!  Enjoy celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ with your loved ones!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Immaculate Conception

I had intentions of posting this on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  But it's still advent, and very appropriate for during the time of waiting for our Savior.  Enjoy.

Fetal Cells and Mary

By  - Posted on 

Sherry BoasI’m not a theologian. I’m just a mom who has thoughts in the middle of the night. I can’t be the only mom who had the thought I had after reading a LifeSiteNews article about a recent finding that a baby in utero leaves healing cells in the mother’s body that can benefit the health of her liver, heart and brain for the rest of her life. Apparently, they’ve all been right about embryonic stem cells. They’ve just been wrong about the effective mode of delivering those cells: it requires an openness to life to really do the body good.
But the health benefits of pregnancy, although beautiful and fascinating to explore, were not the thoughts that kept me up in the middle of the night pondering the greatness of our God. The thought was this: “Wow! That means Jesus’ cells remained inside of Mary for the rest of her life! Jesus’ sacred body was hidden inside her immaculate one, not only for nine months. It remains so for all eternity.”
According to a recently-published book Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?  by science writer Jena Pincott, during pregnancy, the baby’s cells enter the mother and the mother’s cells enter the baby’s. Could this help explain the beauty and validity of the doctrines about Mary held so dear by Catholics?
If this study is true, and if it applies to the miraculous birth of God incarnate, the cells of God were not just contained within the womb of Mary, destined to emerge entirely intact from her body on that first Christmas. They were distributed and embedded throughout her body for the rest of her life. Would that explain why God could not leave Mary’s body to decay within the earth? The Assumption of Mary teaches that Mary was taken up to Heaven, body and soul, immediately after her earthly life was complete. Could the fact that Mary’s body had the incarnate God still within in it at least partly account for God’s decision to move Mary’s body straight from its pure existence on Earth into the glory of Heaven?
Another Doctrine we Catholics hold dear about our Blessed Mother is that she was conceived without sin. The Immaculate Conception takes on a whole new relevance when we consider that Jesus’ cells were going to intermingle with hers for eternity and her cells were going to intermingle with His. God is all-holy. He cannot be intermingled with sin. If God is going to leave his very cells inside a human being forever, would it not need to be an all-holy place? An immaculate place?
The reverse is also true. With cells sneaking across the placenta in both directions, you can see why Mary would have had to be conceived without sin. Jesus could not have been born with a single sinful cell in His body. He is, after all, God.
There are moments in history when science and faith intersect in such a stirring way, insomniacs don’t stand a chance once they begin to ponder it all — even it if is one o-clock in the morning and there is a  house full of kids who are going to wear you out the next day. If Mary could have known the science behind what was about to take place in her body on a cellular level, sleep might have eluded her as well.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Took Me Awhile to Get Here

It was Wednesday night and I had remembered a bath recipe my sister had sent me a few months back, and I knew I needed it.  So as I ran my bath, I collapsed on my bed.  Could I even make it to the bath tub again?  I felt my fever coming back...third day in a row.  I had just gotten the little kids to bed after we returned from the dreaded pediatrician.  I had no other choice but to take them there, as we were on days 4 and 5 of fevers with them.  No strep, doctor said, and ears looked fine.  He said we are all coming off of the flu.  I'm exhausted and wondering why this happens during Christmas basket week at Church.  They week that I get a hands on way of showing the children about giving to those less fortunate than us.  We had missed all of the activities except Thursday night (and I knew by the way I was feeling at that time, I wasn't going that night either).

I looked over on my bedside table and found a book that my friend gave me a few weeks ago.  Then it hit me.  I have wasted three days of my life in front of the television.  I watched everything I ever recorded on my DVR, and then started new shows I'd never watched before.  I hadn't read a single book.  I had done my normal devotionals, but I had ignored the down time given to me during a normally busy time of year.  I always long for more time to read, and never have it.  Here it was, and I wasted it.

So I took 1,000 Gifts into my long soak and read.  Wow, was it what I needed.  This is totally paraphrased, and not at all poetic and beautiful like the author explains it...consider this a warning.  She says that if life is a canvas with a painting, the tragedies we go through are rips in the canvas.  She has a realization that the rip may just be an opening through which we can see God.  Absolutely a beautiful way to look at suffering.

Now, I'm not comparing my family having the flu to the loss and suffering of those who lose loved ones, or have terrible illnesses.  What I'm saying is, it was not in "my plans."  And I believe it was God's attempt at getting my attention and maybe giving me the break I would not give myself so that I would cling to him.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Catching up on Thankfulness

Well, the idea of posting daily in November was a grand idea, and one I totally planned on completing. Not so much, but I think doing over half is pretty darn good.  Here are a few more things I didn't post about that I'm thankful for:

Red Wine
Good Music
A fire in the Fireplace
Hot Chocolate
Christmas Lights
My Church
My friends who love me despite my many flaws
My 3 beautiful Children
Our Health
Fall in Tennessee
Carefree Timelessness with my family
Homeschooling (love having my ducklings under my wing)
Our homeschooling community at our Church
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Being back in Franklin

And last, but certainly not least...This guy.

My best friend, and husband, and father of my children.  He works so hard for our family so that I can stay at home and educate these youngins.  He hates to leave home every time he has to go out of town, but does so with joy because he knows it's necessary.  When he is home, he just wants to be with us.  He prays with us, and helps with baths and bedtime.  He cooks for us and is an amazing cook.  Very much a hands-on dad.  He makes up crazy fun games that the kids love like "Roar" (like hide and seek but you "roar" when you find someone), and "I saw" (he talks to the kids every night and they ask him if he saw any animals that day.  He asks them the same.  We document with pictures and share them with each other).  Here are some pics of our favorite spottings (I saw 3 peacocks on the side of the interstate on the way back from Orlando a few weeks ago, but couldn't get a picture...not kidding.  Nobody believes me except my dad).

 Black bear in FL
 Dear in Franklin
 Fox on the lawn of the library
 25 turkey in the neighbors yard
And the funniest animal of all.  Daddy.  After all these years, he still makes me laugh.  I love him and am thankful for him everyday!