Thursday, October 20, 2016

Of: Mommy Wars, Book Review, Revised GF baking

We've all heard the term "Mommy Wars" know the drill are you a breastfeed-er or formula feed-er? working mom or stay-at-home mom? vaccinations or non-vaccinations? homeschool or public school or private school?

It goes on and on and on.

We make choices for our families; choices that we believe are best for us and our kids, but somehow these private decisions get thrown into the public arena and available for criticism. This is baffling. And more so because sometimes we left our decisions define us. I understand that it's easier sometimes to label our parenting styles and use those to find like-minded friends, but what should it matter to a friendship if you make your own toothpaste and another mama doesn't? I mean, really.

So enter my newest read, Nourishing Meals. This is a well-written cook book with the best of intentions of educating families of how to eat more home-cooked, nourishing meals. That sounds great, doesn't it? The trouble is that as I was reading these healthy recipes, I felt this pressure mounting...pressure to do more, be more, do better - especially in the area of feeding my family {which isn't to say that we eat out all the time or are necessarily unhealthy, but we aren't doing all that they recommend - which I'll tell you about in a bit}. You know what? Sometimes the best I can manage is frozen chicken nuggets, especially in seasons where other areas of life are chaotic and I don't have the time or mental energy to plan from-scratch meals.

Can we all just agree to do our best, the best we can manage to take care of our families? Let's don't have mommy wars about anything, especially not about whether our oats are soaked. Please and thank you.

So this book advocates for food based on organic real-food choices; bone broth cooked for days, almost all grains soaked and/or sprouted; fermented vegetables and beverages, and all gluten free. It's very similar to Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions in approach, except I haven't seen any reference to Weston A. Price and the authors are quite as aggressive as Sally Fallon {who is constantly challenging the "Politically Correct Diet Dictocrats"}. They also don't harp on eating as much organ meat - for which I am truly thankful.

The other aspect of this cook book is that in order to follow these recipes, I would have to invest in a variety of new ingredients. I've spent the last five years baking gluten free using brown rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch with xanthan gum, but the authors recommend avoiding refined starches (potato starch) and xanthan gum; they prefer raw buckwheat (which is gluten free, though it doesn't sound like it), teff, arrowroot starch, and several others. It just so happens that I'm out of several of my usual baking items, but I'm not sure our budget can handle gathering them all in at once. I'm also not sure that I would like these new tastes. I certainly have never tried teff or buckwheat. But I'm open to change and am considering buying the ingredients needed to try some of the recipes offered.
It's hard to change what you've been doing for years. I understand the ratios I'm using with my current flours, I understand how they behave. I've made a few small changes - using almond flour and coconut flour now and then, but to abandon my old ways altogether, well I'll really have to be brave and step out of my comfort zone.
And I know that's a good thing, however hard.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Love Unending

Book Love.

I've been hankering to pick up reading again...I mean it's not like I'm not reading everyday, but I'm wanting to read things written for adults rather than the ever-loved Curious George or whatever other children's title might come into my hands. And I've forgotten how much I enjoy reading, in fact, I'm a voracious reader, which is perhaps why I don't read as much anymore because y'all, if I'm in - I'm all in.

Love Unending by Becky Thompson was my latest read, and it oh so good! Becky and I are in the same stage of life - the motherhood in the trenches phase - and she offers poignant reminders of how to nourish your marriage when you're already feeling stretched thin by the day-to-day demands of life.
The book is set up to be read as a 21 day devotional/journal, but I confess, I read through it in a couple of days. I'm sure going slower would help each challenge sink in and take root, but remember if I'm in, I'm all in. :)
I've come away refreshed and encouraged to make my marriage my top priority, and to live that out before my children.

I received a pre-release copy of Love Unending for review from Blogging For Books. You can pre-order your copy here. It will be released January 3, 2017

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Sycamore Bakes: Mixed Berry Crisp

 We made something scrumptious tonight. So good, in fact, that Emery asked for this to be served on a semi-regular basis. :) Call it a cobbler. Call it a crisp. Call it Yum!
I found this recipe on pintrest. You can find the original (with pictures) HERE.

Now, fruit cobblers/fruit pies have never been my true-blue love language. With the exception of apple pies or crisps, I haven't made hardly any during the seven years we've been married.  (I can think of one blue berry pie occasion, five plus years ago.) But y'all, this was great.  I did slightly alter the recipe because of what I had on hand, you'll find my changes in bold type.
Also, this recipe calls for beet sugar. I have never used or tried beet sugar, and to be honest, I think beets taste like dirt. I'm not sure if the sugar tastes that way or not. I lean towards a combination of palm sugar and stevia - but having none of that on hand either just used raw sugar. 

Fruit Crisp
Cook time: 
Yields: 12 servings
For the topping:
  • 1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour - I used 2/3 cup rice flour and 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup granulated beet sugar - 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut oil (solid state) - My coconut oil was sort of melted at room temp.
For the crisp:
  • 8 cups fresh or frozen fruit (not thawed) - I had a bag of frozen strawberries and a bag of frozen blueberries. That was around 3 cups.  I think more berries would be all the merrier, but it was fine with that much
  • 2 tablespoons granulated beet sugar - reg. sugar again
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of 13-by-9-inch baking dish.
  2. In large bowl, stir flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, sugar and oats. Use pastry cutter or two forks to cut in coconut oil until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. - Just stirred it all up
  3. In separate large bowl, stir fruit, sugar and cinnamon. Spread evenly into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with crisp topping. - Mixed the fruit, cinnamon and sugar right in the baking dish. I'm all for saving dishes.
  4. Bake 90 minutes until crisp topping is golden and fruit is bubbling. Cool slightly before serving.

6 weeks at home: What I've learned

If you've been a reader here for any length of time, you probably already know that I'm a full time homemaker. A domestic engineer, if you will. We stay home a lot...there have been plenty of weeks when we'd only get out to go grocery shopping and to church, but these last six weeks have been another kind of staying home. They've been quarantine.
Surprisingly, it's hasn't been that bad.

For a short recap, I had shingles and then we waited for the children to get chicken pox. The girls ran fevers, and we thought maybe they'd skip out on the serious business, but Elijah came down with a full blown case and they caught the big stuff from him. To add insult to injury, about half of us have colds too.

We're mostly on the mend.
The slow mend.
The slow paced life.

I've left the house six times in six weeks.

Emery has done the shopping for us.

And frankly, I LIKE BEING HOME.

I don't get behind on my chores (unless a child is really sick) when I'm exclusively home. I don't have to worry about making lunches on the run.
We've done plenty of playing, though not outside for the poor girls have had sores on the bottoms of their feet and couldn't wear shoes. We've done our chores and school work. And enjoyed a considerable amount of PBS Kids. 
 Life is more rested. We've never been ones to over commit ourselves and our schedules - and the play we did this Spring was almost more than I could cope with - but not running hither and yon to stores or play-dates or Anything, has been so restful. And perhaps directly related to this: Elijah sleeps better...I sleep better...AND I've been turning over a new leaf toward making breakfast for the family everyday. {Though I'll tell you right now, I cannot get myself organized and out of bed in time to cook when I've been up most of the night with a child - or children, as the case may be. In this respect, sleeping all night makes me a different person. I could get used to this habit. Lol}

What will I change moving forward?
Well, we've got to wean these children back from TV. Little addicts throw raging fits when I say No. And we do have commitments on the horizon, beside our 3x a week church service. But I am happy to just stay home. We've been working on our budget in order, and knowing our goals and what we're working with makes me all the more ready to stay home rather than go browsing the stores.

I think some may have thought that I was getting depressed when I expressed that once we could go out, I didn't want to. But I really don't think I've got the doldrums, just content with where we are right now.
Mostly, I'm thankful we're getting over this chicken pox episode and that my children aren't miserable with itchiness anymore.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Fashion Foward

Y'all, I'm not trendy. I'm not into haute couture. And that's cool with me.

I do want to look put together, and I do want to be aware of the trends enough to pick ones that I might eventually get used to, and, if they're still hanging around a few seasons later, try to embrace them.

Like skinny jeans. I first started seeing these in high school - class of 07! - and yet how many years did it take me to jump on that bandwagon? FOUR. Lol. And that was largely due to having just had a baby and needing to find a pair of pants that fit...which they did for approx. two weeks.  Another Lol.

But here's the thing. I'm a homeschool mom, and I REALLY don't want to fall into the comfortable and practical rut, ahem, denim jumpers ahem. Or even permanent yoga pants. I do own a pair of yoga pants and they are comfortable, and sometimes that's all I want in the world, but for leaving the house - they don't cut it for me.

So...good old pintrest. I see what's happening (it's good to have college girls around). I like to be informed, you know.
I know that styled/heavier eye brows are popular these days. And bold lips. These are things I can pull off and feel a little more polished. It helps that Emery appreciates these efforts
However, the 90s styles that have made their way back in -- I can't deal. Overalls and high waisted jeans. No, thanks! I'll just wait these out.
People will probably be wearing stirrup pants like I did in elementary school. Yikes. It may have been twenty years ago, but I'm not ready folks. I'll let the whippersnappers that didn't live through these fashions the first time indulge.

It's ironic that I've got this on the brain after a month of quarantine, wherein I have put together exactly two outfits. Maybe that's why, though, maybe I'm getting worn out of my at-home combos. Maybe some day I'll go shopping.
But it won't be soon because a) we're working on our budget and b) my daughters have the chicken pox.

I know. We thought we were over it too. We went to church twice and everything. Or rather exposed everyone. But here they are, all spotty and itchy...and at least they're getting full blown cases while they're young.
This means, however, that our beach trip, for which we've been eagerly anticipating for months has been cancelled. That's worth sighing over. Hopefully it'll be rescheduled fairly soon. I'm overdue for some vitamin-sea!

Friday, August 19, 2016

A pox on your house

When I imagine children catching chicken pox, I imagine them getting it from other kids - like in daycare or elementary school...but yo, my kids got it from me.
I had the shingles (see the last post) which isn't contagious as far as giving other people shingles, but it is contagious to those who haven't had chicken pox {Although it's an ironic fact that my grandmother developed shingles around the same time as I did}. Anywhoo, my children are incapable of not touching me - and it's direct contact with the blisters/puss that spread the virus - so lo and behold, they've been running the gamut of chicken pox symptoms. Of course, this is in spite of my "Don't touch my spots!!" warnings...although I confess that I was more concerned about the children not touching them because they HURT than I was about them getting sick. But sick they are and have been.
And in quarantine we are and have been. The four of us haven't left the house in two weeks. Hopefully, the girls will be able to go to church on Sunday.

Do you ever feel you have no idea what day of the week it is because your week hasn't been punctuated by church services? I sure do.

All in all, I'm glad for them to have it while they're young. I'm glad that these hot hot days of August have been for our staying at home (because missing out on Spring or Fall weather hurts my heart).  I'm especially glad that it looks like everyone will have time to recover fully before our beach trip in a few weeks.

Can I just say, Hallelujah for beach trips! We have been SO excited about going to the Florida panhandle for Months. It's been about two years since we've had any beach time and we're well overdue in my book. And as soon as Elijah starts to round the bend of his sickness, this mama is going to kick into planning mode and getting everything situated.
I'm so stoked.
Just writing about the upcoming trip makes my blood pump a little faster. Hooray!

And one more thing, I'm not ready for fall y'all.
You can keep all your pins about colorful leaves and warm sweaters and pumpkin everything - which, ahem, started showing on Aug 1st - it is STILL summer in this family. And I'm certain fall tones won't begin to drop from my lips till well after we return from the beach. So there.

Just hold my bouquets of sharpened pencils a while longer. {If you can't name that movie reference, shame on you! Hint: it's a Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks}

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Worth every cent

Some stories are hard to know where to start. In fact, this happens to me often, "Let me go back. Wait A little further back" - more detail, more story. To Emery, this is an over abundance of words. He looks at me like, "What on earth does this have to do with the statement you're trying to make??" Well, sometimes the correlation is very slight, but nonetheless it IS a correlation in - in my mind anyway.

Let's just go with right now. Ah nope, a week back should do.
I got a mysterious rash. Like poison ivy. Irritating, but probably no big deal, right? Well, this rash blistered and started giving me some nerve pain - at which point I accept the fact that this is shingles. Ugh. Last night, Emery and I jumped on the interweb looking for natural helps to fight off this virus. And then he makes me up a hot compress and loads me up on appropriate vitamins -- while making a note of other supplements that are helpful.
Now, today. My prince charming went to the vitamin store and comes home with everything I might possibly need or use to conquer this thing.

This is love. This is my sweet man telling me, "I cherish you. I care about your wellness. The cost of these supplements is no matter. You are worth it."

I forget this sometimes.

But today his love rang through beautifully clear. Especially as he made an extra trip home to deliver the goods in the middle of the day.

sweet, sweet husband. Thank you, Lord for my precious husband.


In very unrelated news: we had grilled cheese and tomato soup the other day. I was going to blog about it, but y'all I didn't have time. Listen up. Being gluten and dairy free, I don't know when we've indulged in grilled cheese with tomato soup - oh so good! What a pairing! I can see why Tom+Chee works as a restaurant (though I haven't actually eaten there).
Of course, we had vegan cheese, gluten free bread, and homemade tomato soup. It was such a treat. And how silly does it sound for such a common thing to be so special to us, but it was and it was enjoyable for sure!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Pink tastes better

I've long held the opinion that pink food/beverages taste better. They must!
Pink Cake - perfection.
White cran+strawberry juice - my fav.

{I understand this is a bit of a predicament for myself as I usually eschew artifical colors...but things colored with beet juice become nicely pink, too. On an unrelated note, I've been throwing "eschew" around like everybody uses it often. They - y'all - probably don't, but you might by the time I get off this kick.}

Anyhoo, I've got a nice PINK smoothie recipe for you today.

Watermelon Lemonade Smoothie

I used a lot of leftover watermelon - maybe 3/4 of the blender full of it
Several tablespoons of lemon juice, perhaps a 1/4 cup
a bit of stevia
one banana
ice cubes
{And I throw in probiotics and ecchinacea powder for an added boost)

I saw a watermelon mint lemonade drink at Aldi - which I almost bought, but decided not to - and from thence came the inspiration for this if you've got some mint, I think that would be an added deliciousness factor.
Hattie and Elijah and I enjoyed this, Adele and Emery weren't overly keen. A house divided. Oh well, maybe you'll enjoy it too.

Saturday, June 11, 2016


Listen up, self:

Satan wants to steal your joy. You get to choose whether to let him.

 Real time, y'all. Everything can be rocking along just fine and dandy, and all of the sudden your mind starts to wander and you end up, "Why wasn't {so and so} there for me in that situation?" and "Why did no one teach me these things when I was growing up?" And "He's probably thinking I'm taking too long of a shower."
I WAS taking a shower when thinking all these things. And the baby did wake up, which I why I figured I was being judged and was honestly starting to get defensive over the fact that I was going to finish my shower And get dressed before coming to soothe said baby.
Isn't that absurd?!? To start to get upset because of what your think your spouse is probably thinking -- when you're in a different room, for crying out loud.
You tell me Satan's not at work. He is. And he hates family and marriages, and he wants to destroy them - if you let him.
All of these questioning things coming to my mind were putting little rifts in my heart between my dear, wonderful family member....whom I love tremendously, regardless of what waters went under the bridge 15 years ago. And I am refusing to dwell on past hurts tonight. Satan wants to bring these bygone things to our mind's eye and throw past sin in our face, but KING JESUS has put these sins away as far as the east is from the west. We are NOT condemned. We are washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Satan can't have my joy. I'm going to choose to fight for it. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Where Monday found me

Normally, I don't mind Mondays too much. I don't like that Emery has to be back at work after the weekend, but I kind of like to jump right into the chores and such that at Monday a home requires.

Today wasn't my day. My A-game must have packed up and gone to Bermuda because it certainly wasn't with me today.

The majority of the day was spent trying to clean up messes that happened while I was trying to clean up messes.

So on the one hand I was happy that the girls were playing sweetly and not crying and I was being productive on one side of the house, only to find puddles of water and spice water (read: dig through spice draw and shake spices into a BUCKET of water). Okay, number 1, why don't these people tell me when they've spilled water that is beyond their skill level to clean up? {Yes, you're right, because that would probably make them adults with no need of me whatsoever} And number two, why, just why does the spice water need to be tested in every plastic vessel in our possession? {that might be a slight hyperbole, but never the less}.
Anywho, Clean that up. Clean clean clean...walk to the back of the house to find my room turned into a beach with ten towels spread over the floor. Ok. Might as well organize the linen closet while those are out. Only to then find.............I could go on all day.
I won't.

In between the sweet play there was a lot of crying. {I see you baby number 3!} And said baby busted his lip before the evening was out, and amidst the blood and tears I'm standing there wondering if his new little teeth are loose. I sure hope they aren't, but they did cut into his lip.

Lots of crying.

Frazzled Mama.

I was texting in for prayer support. I needed it!!

End of the day, my house is still struggling but at least the dishes are washed. I don't know about you, but I can't even think with a sink full of dishes - which was the situation all day, and so maybe I can therefore blame my bad attitudes on my kitchen problems. but hey, a heart problem is a heart problem.
And sin is sin.
And Hallelujah, where Sin abounds GRACE does much more abound.
Mama needs some second helpings of grace.

The messes are not the biggest deal. The messes mean my people live here.

I'm thankful HIS mercies are new every morning, and tomorrow I can attempt to model before my children how to work with a joyful heart, and a smile, and an encouraging word. I sure fell flat today.