Monday, November 28, 2011

week 47 in pictures

sunday:002 our church was a drop-off location for ‘operation christmas child’ this year. we did 3 boxes, one to correspond with each kid. so micah chose stuff for a boy around his age. layla, for a girl her age, etc. they had fun choosing fun little toys and socks and pencils and toothbrushes, etc.

monday:004 another example of how micah learns. first time I’ve ever seen him write a number, and he covers a page with them, all the way up to 16. once again, no one taught him how to do this or even suggested that he should do so. just sat down and did it.

tuesday:007 my cranberry muffins I made in preparation for the trip to california.

wednesday:004 we were actually in the car all day on wednesday, but this is the pile of laundry I did in preparation to leave.

thursday:004 the post thanksgiving dinner lounge.

friday:012 lunch with grandpa dick in oakland. I think some of micah’s facial expressions were directly handed down from him!

saturday:063 abby’s first birthday party! we were so lucky to be in town and get to be at the party to watch this pretty little girl smear green and blue frosting EVERYWHERE! after that we joined our older 2 kids, who were at the hughes’ house, and we all went down to watch the parade. THEN, dave and I met up with nolan for some drinks and a late dinner.

and the extras:2011-11-25 hanging around at gramma and papa’s over the weekend.

friday’s extras:2011-11-251 a walk around lake merritt with grandpa dick resulted in a tree climbing competition between shane and dave, and a crunch leaf fight.

2011-11-252  eventually, we made our way to the playground where kids swung and dug and spun until they felt sick! oh, and I took a picture of a blimp. that was a first for me!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

how to cook a turkey–by shane, age 12

“you get the turkey from a farm. there are a lot of ways you can get it, but the easiest is with a shot gun. then you skin it and take out the guts. you cook it in a big roasting trailer, starting at 4:30 in the morning. we don’t stuff. you make the stuffing separately. then, you take the turkeys in the kitchen and cut all the meat off the bones to serve.”

so, shane has a little bit of experience with large-scale community thanksgiving dinner operations… they really do use a roasting trailer and start at 4:30… I’ve never seen them use a shot gun, though…

how to cook a turkey–by layla, age 6

“you get the turkey from the wild, where the wild turkeys are. you catch it with a net. to prepare it, you cut off the legs and the bones, and the beak and the eyes, too. you can stuff it with stuffing that is made of chicken. then, you put it in a big pan and stick it in the oven. you cook it at 4 to 5 degrees for 11 minutes. then you serve it by taking it out of the oven, cutting it up a little, and putting some spices on it. then you put it on plates and people can dish up all the other food, too.”

how to cook a turkey–by micah, age 4

“you get the turkey from school. you catch it like this (demonstrates running) and you GRAB IT! then you smash it, and stuff it with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. you cook it with a taco at a restaurant. put it in the oven for 1 minute and you eat it for dinner tomorrow.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

paleo cranberry muffins and other, completely unrelated, ramblings…

so I’ve been busting out my susie homemaker all day today, in preparation for our trip. odd little tidbit about me: I am incapable of leaving on a trip, no matter how short, if every laundry basket in the house is not empty.

so I’ve been doing some laundry. some. just a tad.004 and for the record, this does not include all of my shirts, my jammies, dave’s shirts, or dave’s socks and underwear which all went directly into their respective closet or drawer, nor does it include the shower curtain which got rehung in the shower, the set of sheets that is still in the dryer, or 2 pairs of shane’s ‘skinny jeans’ which are being hung to dry so as to avoid being ‘too skinny’.

I am aware that I have a problem.

not sure there’s a support group for that kind of problem, though…

moving on.

then I peeled and sliced about 10 apples which are now in the dehydrator. so if you notice that my house burns down at some point in the next few days, it’s because I forgot to take the apples out of the dehydrator before we left… ahem! (note to self…)

I also made a quick trip to the store for some things. my dietary restrictions are a bit daunting right now, so I wanted to be prepared while away from home. around here, I have my stashes of go-to meals and snacks if what everyone else is eating is not something I can have. so I wanted to do some baking so I could have some snacks and breakfasts on hand, and not have to be a pain in the butt guest!

in my veggie box this morning, I got a pint of fresh cranberries. (complete side note here: shane and layla came home from school, saw the box of cranberries, and were possessed to try one! I warned them that fresh cranberries are a bit tart, and then I about fell over laughing as I watched their faces contort as they ate them! wish I’d had a video camera handy! here ends the side note.) hmmm… that says ‘cranberry muffins’ to me, so I looked up a recipe, and I declare it to be a success! in fact, I’m trying REALLY hard to not go and eat a second muffin right now. I want to have them for the trip, and I want to be able to share them with my family… clearly, I should have made more. geez. I already doubled the recipe!


I found the recipe I used here, but of course, I messed with it a little. not much. obviously, I doubled it, and I also threw in about a 1/4 cup of almond meal/flour at the end because the batter looked too soupy to me. that was a good call, so I highly recommend adding that. the other thing is that the baking time was for mini muffins, and I did full size muffins, so I had to add a few extra minutes. not sure how many. just keep an eye on them. haha! I know there are specifics-loving people out there just cringing right now!

Monday, November 21, 2011

is it time to go to california yet?

so, we’re planning a trip south to visit dave’s folks down in california. poor micah is having trouble with this concept of planning.

almost every day, for the past week, he’s asked, “are we going to california today?”

layla, on the other hand, has just been pestering me as to when she can start packing. she’s got it written (and illustrated) on the calendar, and has become an expert in counting down the days.

micah, not so much.

it doesn’t occur to him that we would, perhaps, put suitcases in the car before we left. the fact that I’ve told him over and over again, that he has to sleep *      * many more times in his bed before we go… irrelevant.

if we are all in the car at the same time, “are we going to california now?”

nope. sorry.

“aaawwwww.” (pouty face)

yesterday morning, we were in the car, on the way to church, when all of a sudden micah yells out, “we forgot to bring our swimsuits!”

we were all kind of confused as to why we needed to bring our swimsuits to church, but he’s micah, and frequently says random things that don’t make any sense. so we all chuckled a little and went on. and then we got off the freeway at the exit for church, and he pipes up, “hey! this is the way to go to church!” and we were like, yeah, cuz that’s where we’re going.

“oh. (pouty face) I thought we were going to california.”

and that would explain the swimsuits.

(the fact that it’s november, and we won’t be swimming anyway, is also irrelevant…)

week 46 in pictures

sunday:015 when dave went in to wake up layla, this is how he found her. face, essentially, smooshed between the bunk bed rail and the mattress, and the covers pulled up over her head.

monday:022 roscoe, chilling on the pooh couch. dakota figured out how to get it to open up to make a nice little doggy bed. roscoe just took advantage when it was vacated.

tuesday:068 my 2 pages of allergy test results. the red ones have to go!

wednesday:050micah fell asleep during quiet time, snuggling a domino. he had been pretending it was a phone or a video game and insisted on taking it in with him for quiet time.

thursday:003 the missing lug nut.

friday:066 crazy busy day. kids had half days at school because of conferences. I has my workout in the morning, then came home and tidied up because tina was coming over at 11:30 to cut my hair, shane’s hair, and my mom’s hair. I even went to the bus stop w/ part of my hair clipped up because she wasn’t done drying it! then I had to run off to do back-to-back parent-teacher conferences at the school. I was supposed to be taking layla to PT after that, but her therapist has since sent us off to a new therapist in seattle who has more experience with toe-walkers, so her appointment was cancelled. my parents stayed for the afternoon, since it was friday and our turn to host pizza night… which brings me to the picture. since wheat, dairy, and green beans are all on the ‘red list’, pizza and beans were out for me. so I made one of my big fat salads. (I love these SO much!) this is no ordinary salad. mixed greens, spinach, radishes, tomatoes, snap peas, red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, carrots, BACON, and sliced turkey. for dressing, fresh squeezed lemon juice and EVOO, with a sprinkling of paprika, garlic powder, and fresh ground pepper and sea salt. serious yum factor.


no pic, no idea.  guess layla will have to draw something.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

favorites right now

micah, age 4:

  • favorite game: hungry, hungry hippos
  • favorite color: green
  • favorite book: trashy town
  • favorite tv show: phineas and ferb
  • favorite movie: mary poppins
  • favorite food: pancakes
  • favorite dessert: ice cream
  • favorite thing to play: trains
  • favorite friend: ella
  • favorite animal: dolphin
  • favorite sport: table tennis (wii) – except he calls it “tennis table”

layla, age 6:

  • favorite game: hide and seek
  • favorite color: pink, red, and purple
  • favorite book: henry huggins books
  • favorite tv show: martha speaks
  • favorite movie: 101 dalmatians
  • favorite food: baseball game hot dogs
  • favorite dessert: chocolate popsicles
  • favorite thing to play: barbies
  • favorite friend: makenna
  • favorite animal: guinea pig, hamster, bird, dog, cat, kitten
  • favorite sport: soccer
  • favorite subject: music and art

shane, age 12:

  • favorite game: unblock me
  • favorite color: yellow
  • favorite book: I max
  • favorite tv show: america’s funniest home videos
  • favorite movie: transformers
  • favorite food: doughnuts
  • favorite dessert: ice cream
  • favorite thing to play: work
  • favorite friend: kaleb
  • favorite animal: mr. fatpants (AKA toby, his cat)
  • favorite sport: soccer
  • favorite subject: p.e.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

lug nut fail

notice anything odd?003

no, it’s not that my wheel is very dirty. that is not odd…

yup. missing a lug nut. actually, not just the nut. the whole bolt.

last night, dave set out to replace the front brakes which were in dire need of replacing. apparently, in the process of getting the wheel off, the bolt in question BROKE OFF, rather than just releasing the nut. hmmm…

needless to say, I did not drive anywhere today!

paleo muffin fail

so, I finally decided to enter into the baking sphere. paleo, that is. I bought some coconut and almond flour and decided to give it a try. since I have a bunch of blueberries in the freezer, I thought that blueberry muffins would be a good place to start. so I searched some recipes and found one that called for ingredients I had on hand, and was JUST blueberry muffins. found a lot of banana-blueberry muffins and the like, but I wanted straight blueberry. so I went for it. I was a little skeptical as I was mixing it up. even though it called for 3 eggs and a 1/4 cup of honey, it seemed very short of liquid. but the comments on this recipe mentioned how good and moist they were… so I figured maybe it would all ‘bond’ when baking and all would be good.

well, not really…009

as you can see, these are not exactly ‘muffins’. they are more like a ‘crumble’ of sorts and I’m a little bit at a loss as to how we’re going to eat them. maybe put it in a bowl and pour a little coconut milk over them. maybe I invented some new cereal! who knows.

at any rate, I have no idea what happened. maybe they left out an ingredient when they posted the recipe or the measurement of the flour was posted wrong. who knows.


I did try a muffin. my hunch was correct about them being like a crumble. a VERY good crumble, actually. I dumped the muffin over in a small bowl and poured just a tad of coconut milk over it. it was delicious!!!! in fact, after finishing that one, I rinsed my bowl and spoon, and put them in the dishwasher. about 15 minutes later, I walked into the kitchen, grabbed another bowl, another muffin, and did the same thing! YUM! I wouldn’t want it with a LOT of coconut milk on it because I think then it would be soggy, and I ate it pretty fast, to preserve the crunchy, nutty thing that was going on with it. seriously yummy. might even post the recipe, but NOT as a muffin recipe!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

the results are IN!

and not exactly what I expected…

which, I guess, is the point of actually having the test done in the first place.

so, I have been anxiously awaiting the results of my food panel blood test, to find out what, if anything, I’m allergic to or somehow reacting to. I met with my dr. today to go over the results. which look like this:068

basically, the ones in red caused some sort of reaction when tested on my blood sample. each also has a number, showing the degree of reaction. then, based on the number, it is given a class (1-3). those marked 1 caused a lesser reaction, and those marked 3, caused the greatest reaction.

so, for the next 8 weeks, I have to avoid ALL of the things in red, and then, after meeting with my doctor again, plan to add those things back into my diet, one at a time, to see which of them cause a recognizable reaction (stomach, sinus, migraine, etc.), and which seem to pose no problem to me. when they have been absent from my diet, my system will be more sensitive to them, and make a reaction more pronounced and obvious.

so for now, I will be avoiding:

  • green beans
  • pinto beans (2)
  • cantaloupe
  • cottage cheese (2)
  • swiss cheese
  • chicken
  • crab
  • cow’s milk
  • white potatoes
  • shrimp
  • swordfish
  • wheat
  • baker’s yeast
  • brewer’s yeast
  • yogurt
  • amaranth
  • red beans (3)
  • blackberries
  • casein (3)
  • blue cheese
  • cottonseed (2)
  • cranberries
  • dates
  • goat’s milk
  • papaya
  • sugar beets
  • whey (3)

I indicated the ones that rated 2 or 3. everything else is rated a 1. red beans brought the highest number, which is interesting because I had to think really hard to even remember the last time I’ve eaten red beans. not really a part of my diet. but good to know, as I will definitely avoid them in the future. the second highest numbers went to casein and whey. (if you’re unfamiliar with casein, it’s a protein found in milk.) several of the 1’s had very low numbers, so my doctor felt it was okay for me to have them, but maybe only about once a week for now. these include chicken, cranberries, dates, sugar beets, papaya, and blackberries. the only ones I really care about are the chicken (for real?) and the dates (because they are in my favorite grab and go snack – larabars). I could live without blackberries except in the fall, when they’re dripping off the bushes everywhere you walk, I really want to be able to eat them. sugar beets, I never eat; papaya, VERY rarely; and cranberries, well, I’ll have a small helping at thanksgiving and call it good.

interestingly enough, gluten didn’t show up, but wheat did.

somewhat related to that is the 2 types of yeast. the biggest issue for me with those is not the bread issue, as it is the ‘fermenting’ issue. so, for vinegars, I have to stick to distilled or apple cider, and for alcohols, it’s all tequila and rum! no wine. boo hoo! beer, vodka, whiskey, etc. all out as well, but I can live with that pretty easily… (although, now that I think of it, what are the ingredients of a duck fart??? aagghhh!!)

and, it seems pretty obvious that I will need to give up my yogurt, cheese, and other milk products, including the half and half in my coffee. WAAAHHHH!!! but I have some good leads on acceptable alternatives that I will have to try out and report. I’m also glad I have had a couple of eggnog lattes already this year, because those are out too. boo.

but, with all that said, I’m very much excited about all of this. yes, it seems like a pain, and some of you are probably wondering why the heck I even care about this. it’s not like I break out in hives or have to carry a vial of benedryl or an epipen around with me. I don’t have VIOLENT allergies to anything, that I know of. but, if changing my eating habits could mean I get to say goodbye to the migraines, headaches, stomachaches, wheezing, and chronic sinus congestion I deal with WAY more often than I care to, then it will be TOTALLY worth it.

I’ve already seen improvement with the paleo-influenced changes I’ve made. bloating and lower-digestive tract issues are absent, as well as the random fatigue. I have way more energy, it’s easier to wake up in the morning, and I don’t have that slow, sluggish, weighed down feeling, that I used to have so often. if I could get rid of the rest? holy cow! I think I’d be unstoppable!

so… this will be interesting. the part where I have to feed myself, and still feed the rest of my family, and stay within a reasonable budget is intimidating me a little bit, as are the impending feast-focused holidays. I will definitely be updating on how this whole thing goes, and how I feel!

Monday, November 14, 2011

week 45 in pictures

sunday:003 layla’s fancy play-doh pie.

monday:007 the dogs have arrived!

tuesday:015 peanut in the ‘pile’.

wednesday:019 the fascination with the dog kennels continues. layla did her homework in here.

thursday:2011-11-101 layla tossing leaves at the park.

friday:003 no school. so layla and I played a game of battleship. first time she’s been old enough to really understand the grid and guessing system.

saturday (not really):010 from earlier in the week. my first ‘red cup’ of the season.

extras:2011-11-07 a big collage of all things DOG-related.

2011-11-10 and another big collage of some pics I took at the park. love fall colors!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

fall at the park

on thursday, dave took the day off of work and the kids had the day off of school for veteran’s day. it was a gorgeous day, and after some housecleaning, watching a cement truck back down the neighbors’ driveway and pour cement for a greenhouse foundation, we (and the dogs) headed off to the park.

layla, the dogs, and I left first, as micah still wanted to watch the cement truck excitement.

check out that blue sky and those great fall leaves! seriously, gorgeous!022

under those trees was a great assortment of leaves, all nice and dry and crunchy! that really only means one thing…014021018 layla took great care in assembling her leaf pile. like really. sometimes selecting only one or two leaves at a time… sigh…

but finally it was done to her satisfaction and she got to jump in it!024

dave and micah finally showed up… shane much preferred the cement truck action to the park, so he stayed behind.020 after jumping, it was time to toss!025026028 love it!

and then we decided to race over to the playground. 029apparently, this made her hot, all bundled up in winter gear. it really wasn’t that cold, but she insisted. this resulted in me carrying a pile of coats and hats home. of course.

fun trip, and resulted in the need for ice cream (coffee for me!) afterwards. so a trip into town included a stop at starbucks, TCBY, and then over to molbaks (a big local nursery) to browse all their christmas decorations and all that fun stuff that is out now.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

needing a little something

a couple of my friends, who have also converted to a primal or paleo diet/lifestyle, have gotten very excited about the cooking and baking of all things paleo, and are posting constantly about their latest recipes and giving rave reviews to most all of the stuff they’ve made. for some reason, I haven’t really jumped on that bandwagon. I’m not really sure why. maybe it’s because this isn’t really a whole family effort over here (I have hope, but I’m not holding my breath). or maybe because I have a ridiculous apprehension about cooking things I don’t already know how to cook. or maybe it’s because I’ve been perfectly happy just eating things, for the most part, as they are, or modifying stuff, already in my repertoire so as to serve it without any grains or sugar. the baking thing hasn’t really appealed to me. for one thing, it’s rare that I crave sweets, and stuff like cakes or sweet breads have never had  that big of an appeal to me. for snacky stuff, I generally look for something salty, so my big jar of nuts and raisins is what I usually turn to. or sometimes I’ll go for some dried fruit, or even some slices of meat. but, in general I really haven’t had a situation where I’ve been attacked by a case of the munchies.

but today, I got close. I ate a bowl of leftover soup for lunch, and I wasn’t really hungry. but I kept finding myself in the kitchen, opening and closing cupboards. really, what I wanted was something chocolaty. lots of times, in the past, I have solved this problem with a cup of hot chocolate. that is something that, as the weather has gotten colder, I’ve started to miss a bit. so I was poking around on the internet and found a couple of paleo hot chocolate recipes that looked promising. of course, they all called for coconut milk, which I don’t happen to have any of. but the search put an idea into my head. I decided to make an almost paleo version of what my MIL likes to call a ‘ghetto mocha’. I made a cup of coffee, and prepped my mug with a spoonful of cocoa powder and a little shake of cinnamon I added my coffee and stirred really well, then I added a little splash of vanilla extract, about a teaspoon of honey, and some half & half (that’s the ‘almost’ part, since I still eat dairy). it was really quite good, and did satisfy my chocolate craving. it was also a lovely, november day, companion to cuddling up with a book!


I had to chuckle after I set it down on my book, which happens to be ‘the primal blueprint’.

sad day

discovered this in shane’s room today.015

it seems that peanut has joined the ‘pile’. I cannot tell you how sad this makes me. it’s actually quite devastating. I might take him to bed with me.

the ‘pile’ itself has dwindled significantly recently, with only a few very special animals making the cut. over the years, the whole ‘pile’ system has been an interesting dynamic. shane has always been a big fan of stuffed animals. loved them. several have found their way into his collection by way of him ‘rescuing’ them from whatever horrid fate he thought awaited them at the store where they were currently residing. dave and I will always remember the infamous ‘canada bear’ incident that needed to come home with him…

at any rate, there has always been a ‘pile’. and then there were the ‘elect’. the members of this group has varied a bit throughout the years, but the 3 constant members were PB, peanut, and cocoa. (peanut is the blue elephant, PB is the yellowish bear, and cocoa is the reddish-pink bear.) those 3 were ALWAYS in his bed, usually with many others, but peanut was always the favorite.

and then there were just those 3.

and then there was just peanut.

and now…

excuse me. I think I need to go get a tissue.


well, we’re dogsitting again, this time for amy and adam’s two dogs, roscoe and dakota. the kids are beside themselves with excitement. I have to say, I enjoy having 4 legged friends of the canine variety around again… well, until the first time I opened the slider and a bunch of muddy doggy prints appeared on my dining room floor. ah yes, forgot about that part. BUT, really, they’re so fun to have around, and they are definitely making life interesting.

as soon as the crates were in the house and assembled, this happened:003 layla, especially, is beyond excited about this particular aspect of having dogs around! poor guys. they seem really confused about this.007 for those of you who don’t know roscoe and dakota, they are brothers. they are a mix of labrador, basset hound, and corgi. just looking at the two of them is a GREAT example of the genetic lottery system, and it cracks me up constantly. meet roscoe:010 the basset/corgi really shows up. he’s got these short little legs and this awesome barrel shape that’s just fantastic. his lowrider tendencies result in a wet belly every time he goes out in the long grass of the backyard. so shane was drying him off.  dakota, on the other hand, has the body type that is all lab. long legs, sleek, slender body, and his tail is about twice the length of roscoe’s. seriously, it’s hilarious to see them together.

something about this dog, just makes me want to take pictures of him sleeping. 017 dakota seems to like being wherever I am. like, RIGHT there.018 nope, the crates never get old. 019021


micah and I took them for a long walk today. forgot how much I love walking dogs. it was so nice today too. not to cold, no rain. still a lot of beautiful fall leaves out. I have to admit that the dogs listen to me much better than micah does… hmmm. that’s humbling.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

pie face!

for some reason, this afternoon, the kids decided to make pies out of playdough and then chase each other around the house in order to smash the pie in their faces. don’t ask. I know I have weird kids.

at any rate, eventually, layla sat down to make a ‘fancy’ pie, and this is what she came up with:003

I was definitely impressed with her crust. not sure where she picked this up, since we are not generally pie-eating people, and I haven’t MADE a pie since… well, before shane was born, I know that much. it might be hard to tell, but she spelled her name out on the pie as well.


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