Sunday, November 11, 2012

Egg Nog Recipe

In leu of the coming holidays I've been craving egg nog.  I found a recipe online and "healthified" it to my liking and it's become my new addiction...not just because it has rum in it, but because I grew up loving egg nog and hate all the white sugar and processed junk in the stuff they sell in the store.


Egg Nog

4 raw pasture raised eggs
2 cups raw milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
1-2 ounces dark rum
1 tsp. nutmeg

First off, as this recipe has RAW eggs you can follow Alton Brown's safety suggestions in his recipe or, as Jordan Rubin suggests, just wash the shells with hot soapy water.  The shells supposedly where any bacteria dwell.  After washing them, separate the egg whites from the yolks.

Whip the egg whites.  I do this with our stand mixer in its smaller bowl.  While it's whipping, beat the yolks in a separate bowl then add the milk, cream, syrup, rum and nutmeg.  Beat until combined.  When the egg whites form stiff peaks add them into the egg/milk mixture with a whisk.  This makes it ubber frothy.  Add more syrup (and rum) to taste.

With just 1 ounce rum this egg nog tastes a lot like the stuff I remember growing up with that my mom bought off the shelf...but it's fresh and not processed!  Not much guilt and a rich, creamy delight I think I make have to make year round.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Unleashed

The Sunday before last we had a guest from the Salem House of Prayer who had a word from the Lord for my dad.  He said that once my dad understands who he really is, he would be a DANGER to Satan's reign once he was UNLEASHED.  He also saw the color purple, royalty, over him.

How encouraging! 

Lord, UNLEASH my dad.  Give him the full understand of who he is in YOU that he might win souls!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hummus with Roasted Veggies

This past weekend Red and I went on a double date with some friends.  Being that we got to the restaurant around 7:30, we were all a little post hungry, so we ordered a veggie appetizer.  Whether the pleasure was due to our growing appetite or not, it was delicious!! 

It was good enough to try recreating it...

 

I blended a bunch of garlic with garbanzo beans, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and lemon juice in the Vitamix and then stir-fried some red and yellow bell pepper, onion, garlic, and kalamata olives with a little salt and pepper in the cast iron skillet.  Spread the hummus on a plate with a spoon, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and paprika and served with toasted pita bread and veggies.  Good enough to serve as a meatless meal for me!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Change of Seasons

We just had the pleasure of spending the last day with our dear friends, Cisco and Mindy, before their move to Iowa.  In fact, Red just got back from taking them to the airport.  They spent last night over here and hung our with us all day, mailing and blessing us with last minute belongings and playing with the kids.  These two have been a pretty big part of our lives as a couple and family and will be EXTREMELY missed.

A little history on our friendship:
  • Cisco is a big part of the beginning of our family.  He was running trips to an orphanage in Mexico, Casa Hogar, with his church and after Red moved down here he started going on the trips with him.  When I went down to the same orphanage with my college I met Cisco and started going down on these bimonthly trips, which is where I met Red.  In fact, both of us would go down with Cisco on food runs, where we'd leave in the evening to drive food down to Casa Hogar and return early in the morning.  On the trips, Cisco would take us separately and ask us what we were looking for in a mate and then would take us down together and ask the same questions, the whole time with our future spouse sitting next to us.
  • We met Mindy when she started going down on the trips.  I immediately warned her about Cisco stating, "the poor woman who marries that man."  Little did I know she had interest in him and would eventually marry him.  We knew her well enough to have her at our wedding.  Cisco helped throw Red a bachelor's party (going to the shooting range), but found some excuse not to attend our wedding.
  • A year after Karrots birthday they ended up getting married and the day after joined us for her big first birthday party, along with their family.
  • They both really want(ed) to have a baby together so I invited her to Rusty's birth.  Mindy got to see him come into the world at her first home birth.  They've both also been a big part of our kids' lives, practicing their parenting skills, attending birthdays and dedications, and spoiling them as often as possible.
  • They've been great go-to friends for last minute fellowship.  They'd come over for dinner and we'd hang around the fire pit.  Outdoor fires were a must with Cisco being a volunteer fireman.  Cisco even went camping last minute with Red and the kids in Big Bear.  Different tents, of course.  ;)  
  • It's been awesome seeing God work in their marriage!  The fact they're both moving is a testimony to God's goodness and faithfulness!  
Lord, thank you for blessing us with Cisco and Mindy as friends for so many years and for giving us their friendship through so many of life's ups and downs.  Bless them as they start this new chapter of their life.  Bless Cisco for his sacrifice in the move.  Bring healing to Mindy: body, mind and spirit.  Prepare a whole new community for them who will encourage them, support them, love them, and point them to You.  Continue to reveal to them what it means to be one and surround them with people who will hold them to their covenant with You.    Bless them, bless them, bless them!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Baby Evie Rag Quilt

A girlfriend of mine FINALLY had her baby shower this past weekend.  I say "finally" because I've had her gift made for a couple months and have been dying to give it to her.  I'm so happy with how it turned out...the colors...the patterns...the fact the quilt has 90 degree angles...

 


 


 

After making this one and this one, I'm getting pretty good at this quilt.  Though this one gave me a lesson on colors.  The instructions said not to wash it until it was sewn, so I didn't...and the bright pink kinda spread through the whole thing.  At least I'm the only one who knew how vibrant the blues were before it was washed...
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Veggie Mocha Smoothie

We recently got a Vitamix.  Red teases because I enjoy it so much.  (Honey, it's ok...it hasn't replaced you...)  I had researched it and had been thinking about it before seeing it demonstrated at Costco again.  I sent an urgent message for Red to text me if he didn't want me to buy it.  He responded, but didn't say no...so I took it as a YES!


The salesman had made nut butter and instead of trying to clean it out, he made a drink he called a Veggie-chino, ("which comes in my special set of recipes and you can only get if you but the Vitamix through me, so buy today!")  I didn't get to try it since it had milk in it, but after getting home and playing with the recipe and healthifying it to my taste, it's become my morning staple.  Here's what I'm throwing in it:



1 cup kefir or yogurt 
1 cup milk/cream combo
One handful coffee beans or some cold coffee
One small handful of nuts or nut butter
1-2 Tbsp. cacao or carob powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp. raw honey
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. flax oil
2 stalks kale or chard
1 Tbsp fresh mint
1-2 raw pastured eggs (optional)
1 banana
2 ½ cups ice
Cinnamon, dash
Nutmeg, dash

 If you don't have cacao/cocoa or carob powder, throw in some mint chocolate instead of cacao.  YUMMY morning pick-me-up!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sewing Project: Blanket for Karrots

I just love homemade stuff!  Especially blankets!  Something to cuddle up with when it's cold that was made especially for us...useful and beautiful!  I made a quilt for Melody before she was born and Grammy K made quilts for both her and Rusty.  (She was dealing with her dad and mom's failing health/death at the time we were pregnant with Karrots.)  With that, all our kids have a homemade quilt...except Karrots.

So, with her birthday coming up I thought I'd make her one!  We had some pink strawberry fabric around, both her favorite color and fruit, so I went in search of some matching fabric.  I'm not over thrilled with the "matching", but it's a quilt...and it's done!!

 
  


I learned so much from when I made the one for Melody.  This time I had the rulers out CONSTANTLY to make sure everything was at a right angle.  I also learned to dread the binding and snipping of all the raggedy parts because of all the fine work with my crazy hands...BUT it wasn't as bad as I'd thought, praise God!  And the binding is practically invisible!


Karrots helped me pick out the colors and approved it all, but still doesn't know it's for her.  I can't wait to surprise her with it at her birthday party!
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Best Kefir Smoothie EVER!!


I could NOT stop cracking up at her going head first into the smoothie cup!!  Hilarious!!

And in case you're wondering, this is made with our homemade goat kefir, hemp protein, chia seeds, frozen bananas, frozen mangos, etc.  Don't knock it 'til you try it!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pozole

For being such a white girl with pale ginger kids, I sure do like me some Mexican food!  The latest favorite around our house is pozole, a hominy stew with beef, onions, tomatoes, and hominy, topped with all kinds of yummy garnishes.


 

Pozole

Prep Time: 15 mins.
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2½ hours
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
1½ - 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut in ½ inch pieces
4 cups beef stock
1 onion, chopped
1½ teaspoon salt
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 29 ounce can hominy, drained
1 10 ounce can tomatoes with green chlies
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup flour
Shredded cabbage for garnish (optional)
Sliced radish for garnish
Avocado for garnish (optional)
Sliced green onion for garnish (optional)
Salsa for garnish (optional, pg. 19)
Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions:
1.       In a 3 quart sauce pan combine beef, beef stock, onion, tomato sauce, and salt and simmer, covered, for 1½ hours. 
2.       Add hominy and undrained tomatoes with chilies and simmer, covered, for another 30 minutes. 
3.       Blend the 1/2 cup water into the flour and add to the pan.  Cook and stir until thick and bubbly.  Serve in individual bowls with garnishes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Breakfast in our house is an important meal.  Not just because it'd the first meal of the day, but because it's one that the kids will actually eat.  Whether it's simple pancakes,the seasonal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Nourishing Traditions' Breakfast Porridge with chia seeds, fresh ground flax seeds, egg, maples syrup, coconut, pecans, cinnamon, and coconut oil, or Yogurt and Blackberry Waffles, it's just about ALWAYS homemade.

Another family favorite breakfast is Banana Oatmeal Pancakes.  I found the recipe in the Azure Standard's Treasured Recipes book and tweaked it and have since added it to our family cookbook.  (Seriously, if you don't have this book, it's worth WAY more than the $5 they charge...get it!)  The kids love helping with this as they get to mash the banana.  I made it this morning with some favorite toppings and YUM-O! 


 

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Prep Time: 10 mins.
Cook Time: 10 mins.
Total Time: 20 mins.
Yields: 8-10 pancakes

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cup goat milk
1 cup rolled oats
1 banana, mashed
4 teaspoons EVCO (extra virgin coconut oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup unbleached flour
1 Tbsp Rapadura
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
 EVCO for cooking

Directions:
1.       Mix milk and oats in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
2.       Mix banana, oil, vanilla, and eggs in another bowl.  Combine the milk mixture and banana mixture then add in the dry ingredients.  Stir until all is moist, but don’t over mix.  Let sit 2-3 minutes.
3.       On a hot griddle add some EVCO and cook your pancakes until bubbles form and edges dry.  Turn once.  

Berry Maple Syrup Topping:
(Great idea from Kitchen Stewardship on how to stretch the dollar!):
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1 1/2 cups frozen unsweetened raspberries
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat until juicy and blend for a finer consistency.  Stores well in the refrigerator.  Serve warm or cold.

Homemade Whipped Cream:

Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Bit of maple syrup

Directions:
Beat cream in mixer or food processor until light and fluffy with soft folds.  Beat in vanilla and honey.  


I also topped mine with some fresh banana, chopped pecans and shredded coconut (which would've been even better toasted).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Healing

This past Sunday, Monday and Tuesday we went to a meeting at a friend's house that her dad, Gabe, was putting on, which he called a Spiritual Home Invasion.  What an amazing few days! 

Each night we began with worship and let me tell you, the kids who attended can REALLY worship.  Talk about unhindered and happy.  Then Pastor Gabe spoke.  As it was in a house it was super casual, with coffee and goodies out.  Our friends also had a special lesson for the kids so the parents could be ministered to.  Melody stayed back with us and rolled around on the floor most of the time.

One night Gabe spoke about Jesus being a Prophet, Priest and King.  He defined a prophet as one hearing from God and telling others what God was saying.  This was helpful for me as I'd always seen prophecy as being something that told of the future and was having a difficult time with what people were using the term for.  Now it makes sense. 

Sunday night Gabe brought up the power we have to speak into our family's lives.  As his kids grew up he would take each of them, look into their eyes, and bless them, speaking things like, "Your mommy and I love you.  The Lord has a good plan for your life.  You are a powerful person in Christ."  He also mentioned that if a husband isn't blessing his wife, he isn't blessing himself.  He had Red and I stand up as the example and had Red look me in the eyes and say, "Honey, you're my best friend.  Whatever life gives us we can handle together.  I love you..."  Wow!  It really touched me!  Especially since I'd been upset earlier because he was taking his time before we left.  In fact, I almost went to the meeting myself, but just rounded the block before he came out.

Monday night, during worship, I was so distracted by Rusty that it was hard to focus on the Lord.  I hadn't made the kids eat their dinner so they (mostly him) were extremely fussy.  At one point Gabe said God was healing arthritis (along with some other issues) in someone in the room.  I, of course, received his words, though my body wasn't agreeing and I didn't feel very spiritual since I was distracted.  My knees continued to bother me the rest of the night.  He spoke that believing + action = faith.  It's not faith if we simply SAY we believe.  There has to be some kind of action.  I'd wondered about this before with my arthritis.  If I stopped taking my supplements and relying on all this worldly wisdom to heal me, would God heal me?  Also, if he DID heal me, was I in a position in my life that I would glorify Him, KNOWING it was Him, not thinking the pain I've been in wasn't real, etc.

That night I went to bed without taking my supplements.  I did this partially because of his word on faith and partially because I was tired.  In the morning, instead of walking around all funny from pain and stiffness, my knees worked perfectly!!  No stiffness or need for stretching.  It took a while for it to sink into my head/heart.  I was even able to kneel.  I called a few people and only Red answered his phone.  When it finally hit me that my knees were healed I started balling like a baby.  Not only has He touched my body, but my heart to receive His goodness.  PRAISE GOD!

The last night Gabe had us practice our gifts by going up to someone in the room we didn't know too well and prophesying into their lives.  Even though it's not a new idea to us, it was still a bit uncomfortable as I don't do it often, especially to someone I don't know well. He also had us take communion together and had the spouses wash each others' feet (in that order).

I got to share my testimony of healing and at the end of the meeting one of the ladies asked for prayer for her daughter.  She was going to go to a specialist soon for a hearing problem.  After having 4 major ear infections in her 4 years of life, she couldn't hear her mommy whisper in her right ear.  After receiving prayer she heard every little whisper her mom spoke in that ear! 

God is still alive and desiring to work in our lives.  I SOOO look forward to more of Him and more wholeness from Him!

Recommendations For Mommies

Being that I'm on my third kid thus far and knowing some up-coming new mommies, I'm thinking it's about time to put a list together of some of the goodies I like to use with our kids.  I'll try to keep this list updated as I get more experience.

Books
One of the best books I've come across is The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer.  Great read for those who love a common sense approach to childbirth.  She reviews interventions doctors use, why they came about, when they're needed, and the pros and cons.

Another book I keep going back to is The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by LLL.  Not only does it talk about all the benefits of breastfeeding, but it's a great reference for any problems you may have.  It talks about breast infections, going back to work, latching properly, etc.  This book has a concordance so it's easy to find what you're looking for.

For our kids health, How to Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor by Robert S. Mendelsohn has been a great reference.  He dispells a lot of myths regarding vaccines and talks about the different fears you may have, along with listing some home remedies.  For example, fevers...why our bodies create them, that they're HELPFUL, and when to worry.

Diapering
If you're interested in our experience with cloth diapers, check out my cloth diaper reviews.  There are also links to a pail, liner, detergent, and minishower that make it all work for us. 

For disposable diapers, I prefer non-chlorine.  We started with Pampers with Karrots, which worked well, but have you ever walked down the diaper isle in a store only to find you have a complete lack of oxygen before you get to the end of the isle?  Just thinking about all those chemicals being placed on our babies' most sensitive areas, left on for hours, made me rethink them.  So we switched to chlorine-free.  Thus far, I'm loving the Earth's Best diapers.  I've also tried Seventh Generation, but they don't hold nearly as much as the Earth's Best. They sell them at Babies R Us, but I've found them cheapest by the case at Diapers.com.  Their training pants are the best I've found also.  Our kids mostly use them for bed time.

For diaper cream I prefer Avalon Organics Zinc Diaper Balm.  It's mostly made up of the active ingredient, zinc, which means it works!!  And no added unnecessary junk. For cloth you're not supposed to use diaper rash creams as it can damage the diapers.  Instead, we use cornstarch.  It keeps them dry and helps avoid any irritation.

Now, even if you don't want a changing table, you'll want some waterproof lap pads for those inevitable blow-out messes.  These are also helpful for containing accidents if baby's in bed with you.

Gear
I wrote up a review on carriers.  My favorite thus far is the Ergo Baby Carrier.  I can put baby on my back, front or side and it's super comfortable.  You can find these used on ebay and craigslist if you're trying to be frugal.  Another favorite for when they're fresh out of the womb is the Maya wrap.  It's super simple, you don't need an added insert, but not as comfortable when baby gets heavier. 

For sleeping, though baby's usually in bed WITH us, I love having the Arm's Reach Co-sleeper. It attaches to the bed so baby can't fall between her bed and yours, which kinda extends the safe sleep space on your bed.  It's where our baby naps.  It's also portable and doubles as a pack-in-play. When our babies got bigger we took off the bassinet portion and detached the sleeper and they continued to sleep in it.  With this, I'd also recommend getting at least two waterproof pad for their bed.  It'll aid for when they're sleeping in it more permanent so you can change it and go back to sleep if they leak at night.  Plus, if you get one that lays flat, you can use it to avoid soiling accidents (potty AND spit up) if they're going to sleep in your bed.

Feeding
As you probably know, I'm a huge advocate for breastfeeding.  Child was born rooing and soon after mama's boobs start spraying...God ordained.  Your milk gives the baby the perfect nourishment, gentle on tummy (less fussiness), and they get the antibodies to all the yuckies you've been exposed to (which I've heard how great it is for clearing up mucus when sprayed up their nose or ear infections when sprayed in their ears).  Plus, I've found it makes life easier.  At night, with baby in bed, I just roll over whenever she wakes up, pop it in her mouth, and go back to sleep.  No need to sterilize bottles or worrying about dropping them.  You don't have to heat anything up as it's the perfect temperature. 

With that, one of the best resources I've found for nursing bras is Breakoutbras.com.  They'll help you find sexy nursing bras, like HotMilk, as well as comfortable.  The woman who operates it gives reviews on them and talks about sizing and how to find the best fit, etc.  My favorite bras has been the Bravado.  Apart from that, I prefer wearing a cami with a build-in bra under my shirts.  They need to have elastic straps so you can get easy access and won't be cutting into your boob.  I got a 3 pack at Costco for around $12.

For those who desire to pump, my Avent Manual Breast Pump works great.  I've also used the Medela Swing Breast Pump, which is a single electric one.  It works well, too...especially when I don't want to deal with pumping manually.

If pumping, you'll also want to get some breastmilk storage bags.  I've only used the Lansinoh ones, which work perfect.

If breastfeeding, you'll also need a ton of breast pads.  I prefer the cloth, reusable ones as they're pretty frugal, especially if used for multiple kids.  I tried some Bamboobies ones, but they didn't lay flat and were rather obvious when worn. Whichever kind you get, make sure they're breathable, i.e. no plastic.

If you pump, you'll need bottles...if your child will take them.  We have Breast Flow ones.  Our babies have used them, but they're kind've awkward as they're build different than most bottles so that they're more like the breast.  We've also use BornFree.  They make glass ones, but I'm one to freak on if they throw it and break it so we simply had the BPA free plastic ones.

Once you start preparing food (consciously), you may want to look at some storage system.  We got the KidCo Feeding System, which comes with the storage and food mills.  We've never used the electric mill, but the storage is great.  You can make a batch, freeze in their trays, and when ready, pop it out and it fits in the feeding dish.

One more thing you'll want is a chair for your little one.  For all kids we've used a travel booster seat, even at home.  It helps support them well if they can't sit up on their own and, unlike the high chair we had, they don't get stuck in it.

Health
Besides squirting breast milk up a baby's nose,  Little Noses Saline Drops have been helpful to have around the house.   We've also found the Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer to work really well...and no sticking anything up their booties or worrying about them breaking the glass.

For teething, we've used Hyland's Teething Tablets.  The kids liked them so much that they'd sneak in our room get into the bottle, which, though can get expensive, wasn't going to harm them as they're homeopathic.  Melody, right now, also has a caramel amber necklace that I got during a deal with mamabargains.  Since we got it she hasn't needed tablets and she's gotten at least two teeth in since them.  (BTW, did you know that teething can cause fevers in babies?)

For lotion, I love using coconut oil.  It smells great, moisturizes, and won't hurt them if they get it in their mouth...in fact, I've heard of mothers feeding their babies coconut oil.  It's made of lauric acid, the same healthy fatty acid in breastmilk.  (Here's an article on why's it's good for you.)

On the go, I like to carry hand santizer.  The brand I like, Clean Well,  is non-alcoholic (as we've all heard of kids tripping out on the alcohol) and has a pleasant aroma.

As far as nail clippers, I prefer biting their nails.  I can better tell that I'm not going too deep that way.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Gerson

In dealing with my health I ran across the book, Healing the Gerson Way: Defeating Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases.  I found videos online of testimonies of people healed through the therapy of cancer and other health problems.  As it's mainly a deep detox program, I'd been hesitant to seriously consider it being that I've been pregnant and/or nursing for the last 5+ years.  That was until I met someone who had experience with the therapy and had told me it could be used while breastfeeding and the book explained how (though I can't seem to find that section).  So I bought it...and I've read it.

Basically the therapy consists of coffee enemas, a strict vegetarian diet (mostly juicing), different supplements, and a completely toxic-free life style.  I nodded my head to most of it, knowing that I've cut out almost all processed foods and chemicals in our house and that we eat mostly organic.  A lot of what they say I've heard before from other venues of my hippie-esque lifestyle.

Regarding the coffee enemas...NOT something I've been raised to accept.  Though, with reading, I understand the use.  They're supposed to help stimulate the liver to release bile and toxins so that the person's liver doesn't get overloaded by the toxins.  With the diet's purpose being to detox the body, I can definitely see the use.  Plus the enemas are supposed to ease any pain you're having.

The therapy goes so far as to require the patient to use only distilled water for cooking and cleaning.  In talking about the thyroid, the books says, "Both (chlorine and fluoride) remove iodine from the thyroid gland, thus reducing its ability to function properly."  I'd already been convicted about our water supply and have a Brita filter (I know...super high tech), but haven't an extra few thousand dollars laying around that we want to put towards a household filter.  Until then, I enjoy hot showers too much to distill water and sponge bathe.


In listing the specifications for the Gerson Household they state that microwave ovens "emit radiation into the kitchen area even when not in use."  They also mention the ban of the ovens in Russia back in 1976.  Besides all that, it alters the make up of the food.  So ours is now unplugged...though, as it is installed right over the stove, so is our surface light and vent fan.


Then I came across this section talking about those the diet has healed, stating, "the chronic disease patient has a weak, damaged liver; the cancer patient has a toxic liver."  Back in 2010 when I had gone to an arthritis center and gotten all kinds of blood tests, etc., they told me my liver was great.  He even joked I could afford to drink some alcohol every once in a while.  Guess that's the not issue.

Even though I'm not about to curl up in fetal position and do regular enemas, the book's encouraged me to started juicing more, using our pathetic centrifugal juicer we own, not the Norwalk Hydraulic Press Juicer they recommend (mostly because it's WAY over our budget at $2,395).  I came across a guy on ebay who makes his own hydraulic juicers in his garage, starting the bid at $74, advertising them specifically for Gerson patients (and Reboot Diet).  With that, Red may attempt to make one as he said he thinks he could engineer it better.

My mom plays tennis with my old pediatrician and mentioned to her the health issues I'm having.  My pediatrician was so concerned that she had my mom call so she could talk to me.  She went over my blood test results, seeing that everything SHE could think of came back normal.  She recommended going to a teaching hospital, like UCLA, as they won't stop until I get an answer...since I haven't gotten a diagnosis from the three (2, 3) other rheumatologist I've seen.

Where's all this leave us?  I'm planning on seeing my naturopath some time in May, when we're a bit closer to him during a camp trip.  Logically, I don't see how a food allergy disappears with pregnancy and my body becomes healed from the swelling and arthritis that was still affecting my body WITHOUT the protein in cow's milk.  Plus, now that my hormones aren't in prego mode, it's all back WITHOUT eating the protein in cow's milk (though after losing faith in this whole milk allergy, I had butter last night (which I'd cut out) and my wrists have been crunchy/more painful today).

If there's no answers I AM thinking of returning to the arthritis center I originally had blood work done with to see the head doctor (since that's the appointment I was allowed next).  They had mentioned being willing to have a blood test for allergies.  I've looked up the ELISA/ACT test and hope they'd be able to do that one for me.

And, of course, there's always prayer...first and foremost, the best and least stressful answer.
Lord, direct me, guide my thoughts, banish all bouts of depression, help me be patient for my healing, give me the gift of faith, let me see all this craziness the way You do...keep me in Your will!

On a side note: Since Wednesday last week we've had a cold in the family.  Rusty started with it and then Friday Melody got a fever and has since gotten tons of snot.  Today Karrots has it and Red isn't feeling well.  Me...I don't seem to be affect.  I'm gonna call that grace...Oh why don't I always see HIM as the first and ultimate answer.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dairy-Free Chocolate Sauce

Back in January I made some cupcakes for Rusty's party with a modified recipe from Nourishing Traditions.  It called for carob sauce and, as I'm definitely NOT against real chocolate, I made it with cocoa powder and coconut ingredients (making it dairy free).  It...was...de-LISH!  I quickly found it made great hot chocolate and has a great mousse consistency once cold that was yummy straight out of the container. 


Dairy-Free Chocolate Sauce

Prep Time: 10 mins.

Ingredients:
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 cup coconut cream

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a bowl and put in pan of simmering water.  Cook gently with wooden spoon, mixing until uniform.

Great on ice cream, as cake frosting, for hot cocoa, or by itself.  Enjoy!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mama's Health Update

Besides all the craziness with the food poisoning/flu, mastitis, holes in my teeth, and major shoulder pain, it's back...the arthritis.  I seriously need to stay pregnant...forever.  I feel so amazing with all that relaxin hormone pulsing through my veins.  They need to bottle that stuff.

My wrists are crunching a bit again.  My knees are super stiff, especially in the morning or if they're bent for any amount of time.  My pointer and middle finger joints are swollen.  The calcium deposits are getting larger.  Carrying our little miss chunk chunk for any amount of time hurts my back.  I hesitate wearing my wedding ring because it gets super tight by morning.  Most mornings I'm so tired I just wait for the older kids to come wake me up and even then lounge around in bed until I absolutely have to get up and make their breakfast.

With all this I think back on Rees Howells Intercessor and am encouraged to use every instant of pain as a reminder to pray for our dear friend who's suffered from arthritis for year, daily.  Yet in asking how to pray I hear nothing.  I'm tired of the aches...I'm tired of the pangs...I'm tired of being tired., but most of all I'm tired of the silence...which just gives me the hunger I need to pursue the Healer, Abba, Creator...and change.

Lord, I don't get it.  I don't understand the why of the arthritis and health issues or even the silence.  But thank you!  Thank you for calling me out of my comfort to seek you.  Thank you for the opportunity to praise You in the midst of pain.  You are GOOD and Your mercy is new every morning, it endures forever.  Thank you for a glimpse at the reality of Your grace.  God, Show me how to obtain ears to hear You...I desire to know what You are saying FOR REAL!...not just nudges in the right direction, but direct instructions.  Get me there...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Gluten-Free (Dairy-Free) Chocolate Pudding

Lately I've had a couple major cravings.  One is spinach.  Seriously, in a smoothie or straight out of the bag.  And Rusty's actually joined me with the open bag.

Another craving has been chocolate.  Ideally, warm chocolate.  Plus the desire to make a dirt cake, which calls for pudding...Trader Joe's no longer sells their packs which are dairy-free.  *insert sad face.  Thus the recipe.

I found a recipe in the Azure recipe book and changed it a bit for my tastes.  Turned out like chocolate pudding!  EASY, gluten-free and possibly dairy-free, AND without the additives you get from store bought packs.  Here it is:



Ingredients:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
pinch of salt
2 cups coconut milk (or almond/soy/cow milk - I used a whole can of full fat coconut milk + goat milk to equal the 2 cups)
2 eggs, whipped
1 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:
Mix sugar, cocoa powder, arrowroot powder and salt in saucepan, gradually stir in milk with flame on medium.  Stir until mixture thickens and boils.  Boil about 1 minute them remove from heat.  Add 1/2 of hot mixture to the whipped eggs and mix thoroughly.  Pour all back in with the rest of the hot mixture and bring back to a boil, stirring for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Stir in coconut oil and vanilla.

Vwala!  Yummy, homemade (dairy-free) chocolate pudding!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Seven Lies About Homeschoolers

As we're getting ready to start the adventure of schooling our children at HOME (yes, home), here's a little video to dispell some of the rumors most believe about homeschoolers...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Character

"...God is more interested in my character than my comfort, and that means a lot of the time He's going to lead me along the hard road."

Lord, thank you for loving me enough to take me out of my comfort zone.  Thank you for pushing to refine my character.  Let your Spirit indwell this body and help me be as a dead man!  I am willing, make me willing!  More of You, God...less of me...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

FILL ME UP!!!



You provide the fire
I'll provide the sacrifice
You provide the Spirit
I will open up inside

Fill me up, God
Fill me up, God
Fill me up, God
Fill me up

Love of God overflow
Permeate all my soul

This song has gone deep in my soul and has become such a powerful place of worship for me.  In reading Rees Howells Intercessor the line, "You provide the Spirit, I will open up inside" has a new meaning!  Lord, more of YOU!!  less of me...  Let Your Spirit indwell in me!  Teach me to die to myself!  Prune me!  Replace me!