Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I mean I REALLY love turkey! The skin is a delicacy in my family and you will usually see most of us fighting to get a big hunk of fattening flesh!
That being said, I am hosting turkey day here tomorrow. I really haven't gone overboard at all with the house cleaning madness. How can I? I have three kids who follow me around and deliberately throw everything I have just cleaned up. I also have great family members who are bring most of the food. My only responsibilities for the day are to make sure the turkey gets put in at 10:00, make a few mashed potatoes for the hubby, open a few cans of cranberry sauce, and set the table. I think I can do it!
On another note...JOCELYN IS HAVING HER BABY TODAY! And if you know Jocelyn, you know she is very overdue and very very very ready to have this baby. This baby is being a bit stubborn at the moment and taking his/her sweet time to get here! I will keep you posted on the outcomes...
hmmmmm what else. Well I took my kids to Target today or "the popcorn store" as they like to call it. BIG mistake. It was getting close to nap and lunch time but I couldn't justify making another trip out later today when I was just around the corner from my favorite store. I really needed a few items and MISTAKENLY walked near the toys. Kylie was a good big girl and just pointed at everything and said, "I'll let Santa know I want that...and that...and that". While Cooper just screamed. He wanted "handy manny" and everything else that looked boyish. You know it's really bad when most people stop you and say, "you really have your hands full". WELL YES I DO. REALLY I DO. I am carrying not one but two children and pushing a cart which holds another child who is jumping up and down. Now not only do I literally have my hands full, I deserve an award for the best cart driver in the world. Hello people...really!
Another random comment! I made some really good gluten free apple cookies today. They really are pretty good. I got the recipe online and made some revisions. I will post it later when I find it on the
Lesson of the day: Don't ever ever try and take turkey skin from me and never ever ever tell me I have my hands full! Really.
Happy Turkey Day!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
LOTS of toys.
But it seems as though most of my baby toys have disappeared or have lost parts over the years.
I guess this is to be expected after being played with for over 4 years.
Anyways, I have been planning on getting Addy just a few toys for Christmas this year. You know, teethers and such. Etsy is an awesome place to shop. Remember my post on Christmas shopping this year. Well yeah, I had to abide by my own rules so I found another stay at home mama who makes wood teethers and such. Yes I said, "and such" again because I got some "and such".
This wood working mama had some great prices so I figured I would share them with you all. So go here and look.
Monday, November 16, 2009
I MADE MY OWN GLUTEN FREE BREAD RECIPE...AND IT'S GOOD!
I couldn't believe it. I really really really do not like GF bread. It tastes like baked beans and yucky rice. Gross! So I was on a mission to create a great GF bread recipe. Here it is...feel free to make it even if you aren't gluten intolerant because it has lots and lots of good things in it and it tastes very yummy.
1 c milk
1 c vegetable oil
1/4 c honey (plus some for drizzling)
2 teaspoons Xanthan Gum
1 1/2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 C buckwheat Flour
3/4 c Gluten free flour mix ( I used Bob's Red Mill all purpose baking flour)
1 c gf oats
1/4 c flaxseed meal
In a large bowl, combine Xanthan Gum, baking powder, salt, flours, and flaxseed meal. Set aside for later use.
In mixing bowl, add milk, oil, eggs and honey, mix. Add dry ingredients and mix. Pour bread batter into greased loaf pan. Spray top of bread with cooking spray and drizzle with honey (optional).
Place in 350° preheated oven and cook for one hour. Remove from oven. Transfer bread to wire rack and allow to cool.
I think this would be yummy with some apple butter on top too!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
By tradition, I mean way of doing things. We decided that this year we are not going to spend much money on Christmas. Each and every person that we usually shop for will get a homemade gift from us. Now these aren't your everyday homemade gifts. These are gifts we have been working on for a loooonnnngggg time. I would love me some of these homemade gifts if I were on the receiving end.
Why you ask?
Well, for one, who needs another shirt or candle? Not me! I despise giving gifts that will not be used. Don't get me wrong, we all need a candle sometimes, but those last minute candle purchases for auntie so and so will not be made this year. I want people to value their gifts, to know that I was thinking of THEM when I made them. Personally, I love homemade gifts. To know that someone put their time and energy into making some special for me is touching.
Another reason is to save money! Not that we don't have any but really, is to worth spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on Christmas when we could be sticking in our savings accounts? Hmmmm? And again, who needs that darn candle?
Our church is participating in the Advent Conspiracy. Why not have a lighter Christmas and give some of that money away instead? I think it is a great way to teach our children to be thankful for what they have because there are some people who have much less than them. Including your children in missions of this type is so rewarding and a great learning experience for them. If you want to do something check out the link above or this one.
Not only will be giving handmade items, but for those who require a purchased item, I will be buying from local businesses and/or etsy! Of course the kids in your life may need a toy or two and this is the perfect place to buy from. I am not saying target is evil (because I LOVE target) and I may buy a few gifts from there, but my main gifts will be local! Keep your local businesses thriving. I love our town and it would be super sad to see it go under because target had a better deal. There are so many unique items in the shops in town so you all may be finding one of these under your tree this holiday season!
Anyways, I am looking forward to Christmas. The tree should be up (in our room) by this weekend, if not sooner! I need to get back to making some more gifts for you all!!!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
by Peggy O’Mara, Editor and Publisher
While grocery shopping at our local food co-op last Saturday, I ran into an old friend. He told me that he’d been walking the aisles in a daze of fear, wondering how much hydrogen peroxide to stock up on for the coming pandemic. Our conversation seemed to calm him down, but later I wondered how many other parents were so terrified.
In response to the recent hysteria about the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, we have created a new online resource section, www.mothering.com/health/swine-flu. Swine flu, however, is just one of many terrifying possibilities. Our challenge as parents is not only worry over swine flu in particular, but rampant fear in general.
The deceptive thing about fear is that, because of the biochemical response that initiates it, at first it feels exciting. In our stressful society, we become accustomed to the high of this adrenaline rush and think it normal. But it’s not. In fact, when our experiences regularly trigger the release of adrenaline, fear can kill us.
When we are fearful or anxious, our muscles need more oxygen and glucose, which means that our heart pumps faster and our blood pressure rises. Cortisol is one of the hormones involved in this process; prolonged high levels of it in the bloodstream can damage the heart, contribute to obesity (especially of the gut), and weaken the immune system.
High cortisol production also leads to increased amounts of fatty deposits in the liver, which in turn can create a range of metabolic disorders.1 In 2008, a team from the University of California–Los Angeles showed that increased levels of cortisol prematurely age immune cells and thus make people more susceptible to illness.2 Cortisol suppresses the action of telomerase, the enzyme that keeps cells young.
Not only is fear bad for our health, it colors our perception of reality. While we like to think that reality is an objective fact, we actually see the world not as it is, but as we are. That’s why everything looks bad when we’re depressed, and wonderful when we’re happy. Beliefs come from information we have learned and experiences we have had. Conscious or unconscious, our beliefs determine our biology and our behavior. We might even have unconscious fears from something we learned as toddlers—childhood programming becomes adult habits of perception and belief.
So our experiences shape our perceptions, which in turn create our beliefs. Our beliefs then reinforce our perceptions, because we now see the world through the filter of these beliefs. Unfortunately, even erroneous beliefs can be self-reinforcing. If we believe the world is a fearful place, for example, we may see other people as distrustful. If, on the other hand, we see the world as benevolent, we may expect people to be friendly and helpful. Some would say that we even create our experiences by our perceptions and beliefs.
How can we change our relationship to fear? How do we respond to the rampant fear stimulated by our sensationalistic mass media? Do news sources exist that will not trigger a release of adrenaline? Do we simply shut out some or all media? Are we as careful about the types of media we allow to affect us as we are about what media we expose our children to? And, perhaps more important, do we recognize when we have experienced a stressful situation or have been in a prolonged state of fear, and then give ourselves time to calm down, rest, and recover? Or are we, along with so many others, simply addicted to fear?
We can become addicted to fear because there is a certain romantic appeal to the tragic side of life. One need only look at the proliferation of vampire fiction to see the appeal of the victim mentality. And yet, with all we now know about the long-term effects of prolonged fear and anxiety, as well as about how we can lay down new, more healthy neural pathways in the brain, playing the victim is not only unhealthy, it has become passé.
We can become victims even when we think ourselves immune to such a thing. When we fall prey to the fear and anxiety stimulated by the media, we, too, have allowed ourselves to be victimized. In my own attempt to stay clear of fear, I have taken more notice recently of the effects that stressful experiences have on me. I often recriminate myself because of my sensitivity, but I just can’t get disturbing images from the media out of my head, sometimes for days or weeks. I have come to appreciate this sensitivity, and am less and less willing to be traumatized in the name of entertainment, or even in the name of being “informed.”
I’m also more willing to give myself extra time to recover from stressful experiences, rather than just press on in the face of feeling overwhelmed. It’s probably my age that has given me permission to indulge my idiosyncrasies—by this time in life, I have finally come to accept myself. Self-acceptance is an antidote to fear. In times of strife, it helps if we refuse to abandon our authentic selves. It also helps if we simply tell the truth, and choose to place ourselves only in harmonious and balanced situations.
Often, when we’re afraid, we feel intimidated and act before we’re ready. But during such hard times, it’s more important than ever to act only when mind and heart are in alignment. And when we feel gripped by fear, one way out is to communicate directly and act immediately to alleviate the fear.
Fear is often accompanied by worry, but worry is absent when we’re lost in the moment—so it’s helpful to cultivate practices and thinking that help us maintain a moment-by-moment focus. Meditation, yoga, biofeedback, and visualization are such practices.
Because we often worry when life feels out of control, setting comfortable limits and boundaries is essential, as is refusing to overextend ourselves to make things happen—even when others create an unnecessary emergency.
If we take the time to observe ourselves and our states of mind, we will find other antidotes to fear and worry. They are but the storms and low points of our emotional life; they are not who we are. We are more complex than our emotions.
Whether it’s fear of something imagined—the possibility of swine flu, avian flu, smallpox, terrorist attack, financial ruin, falling meteors—or of an emergency actually taking place in the present moment, there are things we can do to escape the grip of fear and therefore bring more oxygen to our brains so that we can think more clearly and make better decisions. Here are some things to do:
Name that emotion. The next time you feel out of control, practice naming your emotions: This is anger. This is envy. This is disappointment. When you feel strong emotions, they may seem stronger because you are experiencing several at once. Differentiating them helps you to have a better relationship with them, and to understand what they’re trying to tell you.
Change your thinking. Even when you’re in a foul mood, resist the temptation to let your thoughts wander in negative directions: to what’s wrong with you, to old problems, to things that make you angry. Think in ways that you know will bring out your positive emotions. For example: Rather than a problem or a bad experience, focus on plans and actions for the current day.
Focus outside of yourself. Try to direct your thinking away from problematic thoughts and emotions. Think of a lovely fantasy vacation, something you want to make, something you’re looking forward to, someone you love. Make a special place in your imagination where you can go when you’re experiencing prolonged stress.
Practice positive thinking. Positive thinking is a skill that must be practiced. People talk about having “a spiritual practice”—it’s called that because you have to practice being spiritual. The practice is about working with what is, whether we like it or not.
Stand by yourself. Often, when we’re afraid, we lose perspective on our good qualities. When you’ve experienced something stressful, treat yourself the way you treat your child when she’s had a bad day. Have a nice meal. Drink a cup of hot tea. Cover up with a blanket. Sit by the fire. Listen to relaxing music. Don’t turn against yourself in hard times—take care of yourself.
Use a mantra. A mantra is a word or phrase that can be repeated over and over again. It can drown out negative thoughts and help you keep your focus in the present. Music can be a mantra. Prayer is a mantra. The sacred syllable Om is used as a mantra in eastern religions. My adult children have offered me helpful, secular mantras such as “It’s all good” and “No worries.” I recently saw a wonderful Israeli film, Ushpizin, in which the mantra was “All is God.” The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh offers up the mantra “Breathing in I calm myself. Breathing out I smile.”
The “Litany against Fear,” from Frank Herbert’s novel Dune, has served me as a mantra of sorts for 40 years, and was especially helpful during pregnancy and birth. I’ve memorized the words, so I’m ready with them at a moment’s notice. I even act them out:
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Keep your sense of humor. Humor is the universal antidote to fear, anxiety, and worry. Sit yourself down in front of a funny or uplifting movie. Listen to Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Play some games. Cultivate your inner prankster. When we’re thinking funny or silly thoughts, fear and anger vaporize.
There’s always something to worry about. If things aren’t going to work out, worry does no good. And if things are going to work out regardless, worrying about them will not help. Either way, worry is useless. It’s a sign of being off balance, over-
extended, overtired, or out of control.
As parents, we can’t afford it. It robs our energy, ruins our health, and sets a bad example. Therefore, we must somehow find the courage to fight fear in hand-to-hand combat, cut off its head, and claim our birthright: Paradise is a state of mind.
Taken from here
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Jasmine had a beloved dog named Coop Dog. Coop Dog was a crazy dog who liked to eat cheese, peanuts, and anything that didn't contain gluten. He was in the process of house training and had recently learned how to lick people.
Jasmine had another friend she met while stranded on the beach one day. She was a mermaid who longed to have feet so she could walk. Jasmine took the "little mermaid" under her wing and introduced her to her Coop dog.
The three little people decided they should probably love each other because they were family now. They enjoyed playing and playing and playing (and not fighting).
As they were playing and playing and (not fighting), Coop Dog decided to explore a little further than usual. He ran into a big man he later named, "daddy". Daddy and Coop Dog loved to wrestle and play rough. Coop Dog found him a life long daddy friend.
Coop Dog introduced his daddy friend to the other little people. They instantly fell in love with the daddy friend. The daddy friend even taught them about trick or treating (an event where people are given candy for free!). Jasmine and Coop dog were taken "out on the town" while a sleepy little mermaid stayed with grandma one evening. They met up with some other little people who all search the town for this free candy. They came home with lots and lots and lots of candy!!
I found this online and I totally had to share it. It doesn't even taste GF! It wasn't flat like most GF breads and the whole family ate it.
*The original recipe called for pecans but I didn't have any. Feel free to add them if you want!
1 stick margarine or butter, softened
2 cups rice flour (or prepared GF baking mix)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large bowl, cream butter with sugar. Beat in eggs, vanilla and bananas. In another bowl, mix together flour and baking powder. Combine and beat until dry ingredients are moist. Turn batter into 5 x 9-inch loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour and 20 minutes or until toothpick comes clean out of center. Do not under bake. Yields one loaf of 10 large slices.