About Me

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I am mom to a 15 year old boy and identical twin 6 year old boys. I am the wife of a wonderful man. I have had celiac disease for 15 years. Those things define me in that order, everything else falls in line! I homeschool because the public school system was just letting my smart child slip through not learning a thing, on the honor roll no less. While I eat a completely gluten free diet I don't keep a gluten free household. No reason to make the kids suffer with me! I am writing a gluten free cookbook (slowly!) because I can't stand all the gluten free recipes out there that use five hundred flours, and I want to eat normal food like non-celiacs do. Just like I used to, I use one all purpose flour that ROCKS, The Gluten Free Pantry's All Purpose Flour. No, I do not get paid to say that ;) Every recipe on my blog can also be made with regular flour, use it just like I use my gf flour!

Dec 20, 2010

A big thank you

We Did It! 100,000 Days of Clean Drinking Water

Thanks to so many of you, my blog has helped generate 100,000 days of clean drinking water through P&G Children's Safe Drinking Water Program (P&G CSDW). We crossed the finish line with hundreds of other bloggers who embedded the P&G Clean Water Blogivation widget on their sites. Every time a reader clicked, P&G committed to make one day (2 liters) of clean drinking water available to someone in need in a developing country.

To help you, our readers, understand the impact you made by pitching in with the Blogivation, check out this video about P&G CSDW's work in Tanzania. It's just one of the many stories about people who P&G CSDW – with the help of partners like World Vision, CARE, Save the Shildren and others – has been able to provide access to clean drinking water.

The PUR packet – developed by P&G in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – is an innovation that quickly turns contaminated water into clean, drinkable water. Every day more than 4,000 children in developing countries die, simply because they don't have clean drinking water, and more than 1 billion people around the world do not have access to clean drinking water

For that reason, I am so excited to have been able to make a positive impact through the P&G Clean Water Blogivation on Changents.com. We hope you will stay involved on the P&G myGIVE Facebook page – for each new "like" and "share" through January 31, P&G will donate an extra day of clean water – and continue supporting extraordinary Change Agents around the world through Changents.com, our partner in helping P&G rally our readers to GIVE a day of water.


Amazing music, have to share!

Ok, I'm usually that mom that only listens to music when the kids are asleep, otherwise in the car we have the dvd player going to keep my sanity. My mother sent me a link to a youtube video of a group called Straight No Chaser, and I'm in love! It's a group of ten men who sing acapella and every time I listen to it I get the goosebumps. I am currently listening to their Christmas music and for the first time this year I am truly in "the spirit"! I even made my labor intensive Christmas sugar cookies and awesome frosting - three hours later I have super yummy cookies and I am humming along with every song :) Hubby put Straight No Chaser holiday into his pandora account and it's been piping into our kitchen all evening! YAY!!

I love this part of the holidays, this is what makes me personally smile. The last few days before the big day - giving that woman in line behind you the five dollar coupon you didn't use just for the heck of it, making holiday cookies with my family, listening to acapella holiday music, and knowing how big my family's smiles will be in a few mornings when we start to open presents!

Dec 19, 2010

Ok, here's my fuss for the month

I know it's December, and I should be happy about everything right now, and for the most part I am! However, I just read a post in a "community" on southern savers website. I use the site all the time for coupons and such, and they started a community I don't really understand yet. It seems to be a place for women to hang out online and talk, but I can't figure out a real navigation system or a reason to waste my time getting lost in useless chatter. Ugh. However, I popped "gluten free" in the search box and there were actually a number of posts about gluten free. The one that really caught my eye was a girl asking if going gluten free was truly a health benefit for the average person, or if it was just a fad diet.

That annoyed the snot out of me, and it wasn't her fault. It's the issue she innocently asked about. Do you know I have been told after getting sick on a "gluten free food" by the company who made it that no one has to test that a food is "completely gluten free" to label it so??? Yep, from what I have been told the gov't is trying to get some parts per million law passed but so far nothing is regulating what is actually sold as gluten free. So thank you fad dieters - while yes, you have shed some light on the plight of all of us who HAVE to eat a gluten free diet, you have now flooded the grocery stores with fakes!!

I am one of those unlucky (or lucky I guess) celiacs, if I eat even a crumb of gluten I'm sick for a few hours (for one crumb). I have gotten sick on Amy's Frozen Pizza, Amy's frozen lasagna (and that is why I don't eat Amy's!), and stupidly I once tried "gluten free oatmeal". Yes, I knew I was going to get sick but I had to prove to myself that oats can't be grown gluten free... they grow and are stored with wheat!!!

So thank you to all the companies trying to capitalize on a gluten free diet fad, for making people like me have to work even harder to find foods to eat!

Homemade Gluten Free Creamy Soups and Chowder Recipe

Over the last few days I have been talking with hubby about soups. I miss soup - New England Clam Chowder, Chicken & Stars, all those soups people eat out of a can without thinking!! So I decided to peruse the web and try to learn how to make a creamy soup. I was amazed at how easy it was, and so far have made an amazing ham and potato chowder, and last night a lovely cream of chicken soup. It's almost like a chowder, the broth is so thick, and omg is it amazing. I am in love!

*as always, if you are making this as a gluten free recipe check your ingredients to ensure gluten free status! I have brands I am very loyal to, but I still check every time I buy a new container to ensure nothing has changed on the ingredient list.

To make a chowder type soup simply get 3 to 5 cups of water boiling, and throw in whatever veggies you want. You'll learn quickly what to throw in first, and what to put in last, so they have the desired consistency. My first try my celery was super crunchy, but everything else was right so for us the celery and carrots boil for five minutes before adding potatoes or onions and such. I threw in a chicken boullion cube for both soups I made, and let that boil in. For ham I just threw in diced ham and was done, for chicken I skillet cooked cubed chicken breast in poultry seasoning, then threw that into our soup. Last step is tricky, so have your three ingredients measured and a whisk ready. Melt 4 to 5 Tbs of butter in a medium sized pot, then stir in the flour. The moment the flour is stirred in start SLOWLY pouring in two cups of milk, stirring nonstop with that whisk. If you get lumps, stop pouring and stir out the lumps. Make sure you get the edges of the bottom of the pot, we don't want dumplings! Keep stirring until all the milk is in, by now you should have a nice smooth whitish liquid. Keep stirring slowly over medium heat until it suddenly starts to thicken, and shut off the heat. Thicken it a tad more in the pot off heat, just stirring, then stir it into your soup!

Yes, it's easy! Next post I'll let you know how we make out trying creamy tomato soup and a beef soup :) WOOHOO!!

Happy Holidays everyone!!!

Today's Funny :)

Our twins' friend turned three a few weeks ago, and we went to his awesome party. Mom served a really yummy homemade chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, which my twins fell in love with. She used paper plates and plastic forks, which my two must have associated with getting birthday cake because the next week when I drove into work to have lunch with my bosses and coworkers my twins got all sorts of excited when they saw the plastic forks come out, and started yelling BIRTHDAY CAKE!! So now plastic forks mean chocolate cake in our family ;)

Dec 8, 2010

Gluten free crab chips

A good friend brought us some UTZ crab chips from up north, and I almost cried when I read "a gluten free food" on the back of the bag!!! I LOVE CRAB CHIPS!!! For the nonfollowers of UTZ chips, crab chips are the greatest potato chips ever made covered in chesapeake bay crab seasonings. Mmmmmmm they are just so DARN GOOD!! She brought hubby some UTZ hot chips, he took a ziploc bag of each kind of chip to work with him today and is in heaven right next to me :)

It's days like this that make me happy to have found a gluten free food that is SO DARN YUMMY, and makes me sad all at once because it makes me realize how many foods I MISS!!!

THANK YOU UTZ!!!

Dec 7, 2010

Studentsfirst.org

Wow, that is what I have to say about this wonderful woman who is trying to change our public school system for the better. Did you know we are #23 out of 30 developed countries in reading and math skills??? That is just unacceptable... and I won't rant, anyone who knows me understands this is the reason I homeschool. The public school system failed my child! If anyone is interested, check out the site - she's going to change our world someday!

Dec 1, 2010

Writer's Block

I have been compiling my own recipes into a book for at least two years now, and it became this pigsty of a book, I could never find the recipe I was looking for, and it frustrated the snot out of me. So I dumped it all onto the table and spent three hours putting it into the order I wanted it, so it was usable for me! Now there are recipes that aren't mine in there (so I can locate them) and recipes that aren't gluten free (ok, one - so I can remember how to make hubby green bean casserole every holiday). I have my recipes typed into a document, well most of them, but I just have no idea what the heck to do with them now! Do I start a new document with only the recipes I want to put into a book? Do I go through "my book" and add the good ones I have added since typing them up six months ago? I have come to hate the idea of even publishing a cookbook - how do you get someone to publish it, how does all of that work? How do you market and sell it? Being gluten free, is that a mark against it? Ugh.

hip2save.com and coupondad.net

So everyone who knows me hears me talk about using southernsavers.com to coupon and ferret out deals. I have found myself using two new sites now, who find even better deals!! Hip2save.com and coupondad.net/blog both are excellent places to find good savings on items. I have saved SO MUCH on Christmas presents alone using these sites! LOVE IT!

Nov 22, 2010

Going to see Santa

I would first like to mention that for the last seven years we have seen the same Santa at the same mall, which was really neat because I have photos of my oldest and my youngest with the same Santa! He was the nicest man, and always made my kids feel comfortable. The photos are awesome - even when the twins were 10 months old they were both babbling his ear off, which made a great picture.

My boys are 2.5 now, and are so scared of Santa! We waited in line for a normal amount of time (we do go early!) and they were all excited, the huge Christmas tree was great, and once they saw Santa they were all about leaving. He was a new Santa, and was not terribly smiley or friendly. When big kid tried to put thing one on the big seat next to him he screamed so loud he set off all of the babies waiting in line! I was so embarrassed, but hey he's a big scary dude in a funny red suit with a huge white beard! Not something you see every day...

I had tried to "prepare" the boys to see Santa, we talked about it and watched Rudolph to introduce them to the idea. They did wave goodbye to him between screams!

Nov 14, 2010

Suprise Suprise!

I have anxiety attacks as pms - it's hormonal, and easily controlled by the pill. I decided when I realized they stopped while on the pill that I was going to actively start trying to be a healthier person. Since I had twins I have been horribly out of shape, everything makes me out of breath. It feels awful the three days I do have anxiety attacks, it feels exactly like what a heart attack is described as. I want to be a healthy person, I am only 31!

About two months ago I started this yoga ball video workout. I'm allergic to actual exercise, this is more along the lines of stretching that happens to work your weakest muscles a bit, on a huge yoga ball. The twins love doing it with me, that should tell you how easy it is. They get it sort of, they mostly laugh and sit on their play balls. It's pretty hilarious.

Much to my surprise my clothes started to get bigger! Yesterday I finally broke down and bought myself a new sweater, jeans, and a few undergarments and was shocked at having to go down one to two sizes (I did, of course, get a huge discount at Kohl's and hit the maidenform outlet, I never pay full price for anything). I have only lost five pounds, but I'm apparently moving my weight around on me. I don't post about weight and such, but this one just surprised the heck out of me!

Having to stick to a gluten free diet is nasty enough without trying to actually go ON a diet to lose weight, that would just make life unbearable for me. I realize I probably am on a "calorie controlled diet" to begin with, because I can't eat most of what I really want to! Ha, god forbid anyone ever told me there was a pill I could take to eat gluten without harm, I would probably gain four hundred pounds the first month of eating real food again!! NICK TAHOE'S GARBAGE PLATE HERE I COME! Only in my dreams ;)

Nov 6, 2010

Generosity

So after hearing about the two shoeboxes that big kid and I are packing for OCC, my husband got into the giving mood as well and asked me to post his immaculate nintendo ds on freecycle. His iPhone has really replaced it for him, so he doesn't use it at all now. He wanted to find a family who had a child who would love a ds but couldn't afford a new one. We got over two hundred responses on our local freecycle list within four hours of me posting it. It was hard to hear so many stories of hardship, but we finally decided to give it to a 9 yr old girl whose family has been going through hard times financially. He loaded his r4 card with games, barbie, bratz, mario and such, and we are giving it to her mom this morning. He still had the original box it came in, the actual game system looks absolutely brand new, he even had the packaging that went in the box and the bag of manuals! It is such a nice feeling to help someone else's family for the holidays, to be able to! I am so proud of hubby for doing this, he really made a little girl's christmas this year. We are well enough off to be able to take care of our three children's christmas presents this year, thankfully! We really can't afford to donate money to anything, but I think hubby's "gift" is that much better!

Cupcakes!



These are the cupcakes that turned out so well for our party, using a box mix and frosting I got for free with coupons! I just used a small star tip with a decorating bag and voila - messy hairy cupcakes! I used m&m's for the eyes, and those crunchy white dot sprinkles that my husband hates. He flicked them off ;)

Nov 3, 2010

Halloween!!


All I can say is my mother should become a professional photographer just to take photos like this! She did this on purpose and knew exactly how to play the lighting into the photo, thanks to taking a million photos at a recent air show. GO MOM!!!

Nov 2, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

So I don't ever post advertising some awesome product and such, but I wanted to post about what we are doing this week. The kids and I decided to make two shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child this year. We first went through all of the free items we have picked up at various stores using coupons over the year, big kid was very surprised at how much we have accumulated! We gave each box some toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, soap, washcloths, and have various toys such as sidewalk chalk, crayons, magnadoodles, puzzles, sticker sets. Keep in mind this is just the stuff I have found free with coupons. We are going to the dollar store to get a few items, and we need to find two shoe boxes! I have already started shopping for christmas so I have used all of ours already!!! I think this is an awesome easy way to give to a child in need, and it's a great lesson for my kids to learn - that christmas is about giving AND receiving!

Oct 24, 2010

Rite Aid Rocks!!

Got 2 pks Pull Ups, 1 Garnier Nutritioniste ultra lift night cream, 1 24roll pk Charmin TP, and 10 king sized snickers/twix/3 musketeers for $15 today! I used a ton of coupons, and I am at the wellness card level to get 10% off everything I buy in the store. Awesome!!! My total was $75 before coupons and my card savings came off... wow. This is what will help us get ahead!!!!

Almost Halloween!!! EEEEE!

Tonight I am learning how to roast a pork loin. Pork loin roast is very different from pork tenderloin, which I cook on a regular basis. We rubbed it with seasoned olive oil, and baked it on a high temp, then low temp, then high temp again. We'll see how it comes out, I am excited! *it was amazing*

Our halloween party is next weekend, I am so excited! This is my favorite holiday, and I always love having parties. I enjoy being the hostess, but most of all I enjoy spending time with our friends! Ok, and I love the halloween decorations, costumes, and freaky foods ;)

The twins are doing well potty training, and thing one spelled his name phonetically for the first time ever!! He spelled it while thing two spelled the word "boy" but spelled it "boi". I was so excited I was jumping up and down, this is so early to be spelling words, even if they are only doing it phonetically!! My husband looked at me like I was nuts, I meanwhile had called my mother to tell her so she could yell and jump up and down with me! Such smart kiddos!

Homeschooling is still going really well for us, we are working on skills as well as academics. Test taking is a joke at public school, the only thing my kid learned was how to ace a multiple choice test without knowing the actual material. Studying was nonexistant, so I am working on studying skills as well as giving him tests that have little to no multiple choice questions. He has to actually know the materials!! It's going well, he seems to be retaining a ton of what I am teaching him. I review months past on a regular basis, to make sure we aren't losing good information.

Next month we'll crunch to pull Christmas together. The twins are easy, they have everything... so we'll most likely put the word out that they need new coloring books and maybe a few prs of jeans. Big kid has a list a mile long, I ask for that so he won't know exactly what he's getting. My mom and hubby are easy, they want a lot! I can only think of four things I want, but once you reach adulthood it's harder to make a long list of wants that aren't super expensive!! We are definitely low on money, this year has been very expensive - but I'm working as much as I can, and we'll make it happen as we always do. It is Christmas after all!

Oct 6, 2010

Happy and Sad Day

Last night the twins started peeing in the pot! YAY! We are so happy!! I have been waiting for this day for months, and am so proud of the twins for taking this step.

Today I found out that a very dear friend and relative has pulmonary hypertension and will need surgery right away to insert catheters to relieve the high blood pressure between her lungs and heart. I am now at that age where so many of my parents' generation are starting to experience health problems. I hate this part of growing up, learning to cope with the fact that bad things happen to good people. It's bad enough to lose grandparents, I was very close to mine, but to even consider losing a parent just feels wrong! You grow up knowing your parents are your world, that they will always be there, and it's just horrible to think that someday they won't be. I have many parental figures, I can't imagine losing even one. I have already been dealing with a number of health scares with my "other mother", now it's one of my very best friends. The hardest part for me is that I can't just drop what I'm doing and go to them - I have too many responsibilities here to be with them. Sucks getting old! My only comfort is that my kiddos will hopefully be old by the time they have to deal with me aging, I started at a young age. Small comfort today.

Oct 4, 2010

Professional Photos

A friend of ours is practicing to become a professional family photographer. Her camera is awesome, she has a great understanding of how to use it, and her photos are awesome! She chose a great outdoor park for us to try first, and we had a good time hanging out and letting the kids play. The pictures she took are really nice, she agreed she needs to work on getting into the kids more, learning what style of composition she likes, and we need to get there earlier to play with lighting. Overall I was very impressed, and can't wait for us to do it again!

We had another "professional" last year take outdoor family photos of the kids and I, and while she took good photos, she played with them too much. They were too bright, our skin looked super white, and she never sent me the log in info to see our gallery on her site. I fussed after five or six months of not hearing from her, emails going unanswered, and she acted like it was my fault that she didn't send me an email. Whatever. I have no clue what her photos looked like, but the four she sent me in the apology email were just about head shots, and if I were to blow them up to hang on the wall anything bigger than 8x10 would make my children look like huge monsters! Not the type of photography I expected from a "pro". We have gone to the picture people before, but didn't like having to spend a fortune for prints. Photography is so overrated!

Photographic memory?

We cleaned out big kid's closet today, and found a pile of puzzles he had put up for the twins. They are 25 piece puzzles, marked 3yr and up. The twins were of course excited and wanted to take them downstairs and do them! Thing one started the cars and truck puzzle, and first try fit most of the pieces in. Thing two had no clue what he was doing, but slowly figured out the shapes and started fitting puzzle pieces together, with my help. Thing one came over and tried to help thing two with his puzzle, but had no luck. I think thing one has a photographic memory and could picture his puzzle while he was building it! Thing one uses letters in the bathtub to make words like cat, dog, and, the, too, but he can't read them. Thing two sits behind him sounding them out slowly! Their speech therapist is convinced thing one remembered the words from the books we read together, that he has a photographic memory. I have to say after today I agree! The twins no longer need speech therapy, they test out of the program. Yay! I am so thankful for the help, they are spouting out sentences left and right now. I love communicating with them! Don't get me wrong, I still want to be anyone but "Ma" when it's said six thousand times in a minute, I just love hearing "my car is under table" instead of crying and pointing! I love hearing "food pease mommy" instead of screaming at the pantry door! SUCCESS!

Big kid is still doing wonderfully at school, we took a five day weekend to take a break and are back on schedule now. He went to the History Museum this weekend with nahnah, and had a great time. Amazingly he remembered a lot about President Lincoln! He is having fun learning about the precolumbian civilizations in South America, watching some movies about them to help visualize what was going on back then. He can't get over the sacrificing of people to please the gods, that one eludes him still. I'm working on it, but maybe that's a good thing?

We ordered a copy of Journey to the Stars, a "free for educators" show about the solar system. We ordered it in June, and have received an email stating apologies and we'll have it in November. Thanks. In the meantime we received a complimentary copy of America: The History of Us, done by the History Channel. Wow is that an amazing series! We watched the first two segments, stopping at the revolutionary war, and even though we just spent two months learning about that I still sat there amazed at how much I learned! The series is captivating, and so well put together even big kid wants to watch the next episode on westward expansion. Now you know it must be amazing if an 11yr old boy is enthused! I wish everyone in America could watch this series, it makes you feel so patriotic. It evokes all sorts of feelings of pride, of amazement, and gives a true understanding of what was going on back then. I am a bit nervous to watch the segments on the world wars, I may watch them first before showing kiddo. He gets emotional about certain things that are scars on humanity's face, like genocide and that whole WW2 Hitler story may be too much for him now. In a few years maybe!

Sep 16, 2010

One of those days...

I really want to make something snacky for myself. Our budget is at a low point and I don't feel like spending nine dollars on a bag of pretzels I will eat but not really enjoy. I don't want fattening snacks all the time, I can make myself peanut butter cookies, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, in a second. I miss snack foods!!! I know, buy rice cakes and peanut butter. I'm sorry, but I didn't even like rice cakes when I could eat all the flavored ones. Fruit - well, I buy that and the kids like it so I don't eat it to save it for them. Cheese and deli meat are gone by day two of being in the house. Ummm, let's see - the one box of cereal I buy for myself (which is always four dollars for a small box while gluteney counterparts are forty nine cents with coupons and sales) I treat like gold, so I don't snack on it dry. I eat one bowl a day and savor my breakfast alone before the kiddos get up. Yes, corn chex are my special treat. Sad, eh?

What's left? I tried making gluten free cheese it type crackers, and after two recipes I found online I realized only cheese its can really taste like cheese its. I want wheat thins, triscuits, ritz crackers, pretzels, something healthy for the love of god!! I know - I can go to any health freak store and spend a million dollars on gluten free food that looks mouth watering and will "suffice" when I open it... but a) we are on a $500 a month food budget right now and b) I don't want to eat food that just barely passes as food! I want the salty buttery goodness of a ritz cracker, the crunch and dry salty wonder of a triscuit. People with celiac disease should be born knowing what they can't eat so they don't taste it, then they won't yearn for real food.

Can you tell I'm having one of those weeks where I'm really food frustrated?

Aug 31, 2010

A month later

And we are still doing wonderfully on the home schooling front! We have already breezed through Real Science 4 Kid's Chemistry, it was pretty below my 6th grader. Maybe it's because I LOVE chemistry, but this seemed better for a fourth grader!!! Big kid is eating up Saxon 76 math, loves it, and we have so far covered Canadian and US history (well, up to the war of 1812). We are heading south in our history/geography studies, to start on the Inca, Aztec, and Maya civilizations. I just ordered a set of Science Explorer texts, we are going to use the Life Science book this year. I wanted a more complete science text, and this seems to be a good fit! I am looking into Easy Grammar for language arts, I was trying to find a used copy of Analytical Grammar to check out, but now that I have seen one I think Easy Grammar is more his speed for this year. Maybe next year we'll try AG!

I just found a great site, A Well Trained Mind, and am perusing the forums. I am still so new to home schooling I have no clue what all the abbreviations are! People list their children as dd and ds, what does that mean??? I can't even begin to guess at all the abbreviations for the curriculum they use, they might as well be nicknaming all the fish in the sea...

I was very frustrated today, had to drive to two stores (across town) to get one box of gluten free bread mix!! ARGH! I have been craving bread for a week now, I want french toast!!! Haven't had that in decades it seems, and the stupid Kroger near us stopped stocking the mix. They actually told me to buy Bob's Red Mill mix. Do they not understand how awful that tastes?! I want REAL white bread when I buy a mix to make white bread... not bread that tastes like hummus!!! Good lord, I hate having to eat gluten free some days.

Jul 16, 2010

Home Schooling

We have finished week two, and wow am I impressed. Big kid was not only a great student, but I was a)shocked at how much he didn't know after being in the public school system for six years and b)amazed at how fast he picked things up from me! At 11 and having been on the honor roll at school the previous year, he didn't understand how to multiply three digits by three digits, or anything larger. He had no clue where Asia was, or what was in it. We made chinese fried chicken for dinner one night and he made the comment "I really love Chinese food, I wonder what Asian food tastes like". My mouth fell open. His vocabulary prevents him from reading books that are written on a sixth grade level, because he doesn't understand what he is reading. He also reads at a sixth grade level according to the school, yet when he reads aloud to me or even his brothers he is motonous and barely recognizes punctuation of any kind. No wonder this kid hates to read - books are just lots of words strung together for him, not STORIES!

To remedy the reading and vocabulary we have been traveling to the library twice a week. Big kid has been checking out small books that are aimed at boys 8+, and seem a bit below his grade level. He finishes them within an hour, but loves the stories! They are about a child spy named Jack Stalwart, and he travels the world protecting this or that while searching for his brother. I will continue to let him check out the rest of the series, because it is sparking an interest in stories!! I will work in some more complex books, this month I am reading aloud The Darkest Ages series, am on book two. Those books are very Tolkeinish, having people with mythical powers and magical swords and such. He is completely into the story, but he could never read it himself. The names alone would kill him! I hope to someday soon get him to the point where he can read the books he is interested in, not just pick it up and think "I'm not smart enough to read that".

Math is going swimmingly, we are using Saxon Math 67 and he is whizzing right through the book. I love that it is so full of review, he really needs that! Science is really fun so far, we have studied the human body for two weeks and have just moved onto space. Science is my forte, hopefully I can continue to find exciting ways to teach it to kiddo!! Geography is fun for me, sort of boring for him. I moved around so much I never really got geography classes, I had one great teacher named Mr. Festa in Pennsylvania who taught us about indians, but that is all I got! I breezed through three years of world history in one year to get regents credit in NYS so I could graduate, but it didn't really stick with me at all. I hope all of this will help kiddo become a more well rounded adult!

I honestly gave the public school more credit - I am a product of the public school system up north, and I got a good education! However, we are down south now and a lot has changed. It's pretty sad when you think about it!

Savings again!

We have house guests coming next week, so I went shopping for seven instead of five. I got so much meat I could barely fit it in my freezer!! Between Kroger and Publix I got everything we need except for milk (darn, forgot the milk!!). We spent:
Publix - spent $159.80 and saved $81.36
Kroger - spent $88.21 and saved $40.43
I use southern savers to make my grocery lists, and add what else is on our list to the sale items on my lists from both stores. I feel this is a great price to pay for enough meat to feed seven people for two weeks, as well as cereals, snacks, 20lbs of rice, etc. We had so much at Publix things were falling out of our cart! Excellent shopping this week.

Jun 21, 2010

Kroger Haul!


I spent $47 and saved $103 on all of this - I was floored. This is what couponing is all about, and I still got a five packs of meat and three gallons of milk! WOOHOO! I'm either getting better at this or I just happened to need everything on sale with corresponding coupons!!!

Jun 20, 2010

Daylilies


I have had daylilies blooming for well over a month now out front, and I just had to post a picture! These were all free from our local freecycle list, and wow are they wonderful!

Free Jo-sef Cookies

I posted awhile ago that I won a contest and got a box full of Jo-sef Cookies free. Not only was I ecstatic that I won something, but now that I have eaten half of the boxes of cookies I have to say they are excellent! I particularly like the chocolate square cookies - they taste just like those "famous wafers" in the yellow box! My dad used to eat those as a special treat with me, and it brought back so many memories!!

The cinnamon oreo like cookies and the squares were amazing dipped in milk, and the chocolate oreo types I ate half of and am saving the other half for a decadent homemade vanilla bean ice cream, so I can make cookies and cream ice cream! YUMM!!! I haven't tasted the vanilla oreo like cookies or square cookies yet. I'm saving them for one of those low budget weeks where I don't spend extra money on anything gluten free ;)

I have mixed reviews of the animal cookies. The vanilla ones tasted nothing like animal cookies, but were good as a cookie on their own. They just aren't an animal cookie like you think of, those good smelling kiddo cookies in the circus box. Nothing similar, except for shape. The chocolate animal cookies were or course good, because they are chocolate!

So in the end I was really surprised at how tasty and good these cookies really are! Too bad they aren't sold anywhere around here, I'll have to order more and pay shipping if I want some... which is why I don't buy much gluten free goodies. I can get a package of cookies for $.34 for my family, yet I have to pay $8+ in shipping for a box half the size of what the store carries and twice the price BEFORE COUPONS for the actual box of cookies! Ugh. I guess my attitude is if I am going to spend $13 on fifteen cookies I can make them at home for a much cheaper price.

Father's Day

Hubby is having a good day so far, our oldest bought him a new game, Blur, and they have been busily killing each other racing all morning. The twins each got him a cookbook, one Alton Brown and one full of iron skillet recipes. I love everything hubby cooks in his skillets, most is even better than what I cook! I don't use his skillets... man stuff.

I have decided to stop buying diapers until I run out! I have a TON of diapers stocked up, from getting them either for free or almost for free. I am focusing on getting the last bit of painting done in the house, the kitchen cabinets are next. I love how dressed up a little paint can make a room!

I also traded plants with my freecycle friend yesterday. Today the new plants are wilted and so sorry looking, hopefully in a few weeks they will have settled in and look better. Transplanting when it's 90 out is not the best idea, but she was getting rid of canna and bee balm and I wanted some! They were free, so if they don't work out I didn't lose any money!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful father's day weekend!!!

Jun 9, 2010

Kohl's

Wow - just wow! Last week I ran into Kohl's with my mom so she could get a new super nice electric toothbrush on sale, and saw some towels I have been admiring on clearance for $2.99. So I bought towels for our kid's/guest bathroom. At the register we each got $10 in Kohl's cash to use the next week, only good for children's and young adult's clothing. I went back the next day to get washcloths, and got another $10 cash! I went back and got hand towels, and in two more transactions I got two more $10 cash! So I had $50 in kohl's cash!

You can only use one per transaction, so I worked it out so I had five transactions, all for around $10 each. I spent $6.41 and bought six shirts for my 11 yr old, 2 for my toddlers, 1 pr shorts and a pr of swim trunks for the 11 yr old. I was floored at how little we spent, and we had bought ten pieces of clothing!!! Can't beat that, I'll so pay attention for the next time they have a sale like that!

Jun 6, 2010

Finally, a good trip to Publix!

We went to Publix this weekend, and saved a bunch! Usually we don't save near as much as we do at places like Rite Aid when we go to Publix, because we are there to buy all of our food for the next two weeks, and there aren't many coupons for things like milk and packages of fresh meat! However, this week I was very proud - while I felt like I was dying from a sinus infection, I still somehow managed to spend $103 and save $56! That is way better than I usually do at Publix or Kroger! I really dislike Kroger compared to Publix, the customer service is miles ahead at Publix, but sometimes Kroger sales are just too good to pass up. Not lately thank goodness!

I had hoped to score some good items for next to nothing at Rite Aid today, but after reading a few posts on various money saving blogs I figured out most of what I wanted was already sold out at the store near us. Sometimes the women who buy the store out of the sale items just get there first! I don't get out of the house early enough to join that race I promise.

Jun 3, 2010

Freecycle.org rocks!

Freecycle has struck again - this time we received a beautiful set of vertical blinds to cover our new sliding glass doors! YAY! The curtains we had on the dilapidated patio doors wouldn't work on a slider, so this fit our need perfectly. They are cream colored, which matches anything, and the kids helped me clean them (who knows why it's so fun to clean when you're two, wish that continued!) and hang them up! We have received and given so much on freecycle.org, it's just a great idea. Their mission is to keep items out of landfills, and it is much like a free craig's list. Some areas don't have a very active group, areas like mine the group is bumpin! I love it - clean out the garage, post what you don't want and it's gone the next day. We have received tons of baby and toddler items, and numerous items for our house! You'll hear me mention freecycle often, as we are very active members :)

Jun 1, 2010

Mmmmmm gluten free banana bread



I love banana bread, and this was made using my great grandmother's recipe with The Gluten Free Pantry's All Purpose Flour. Have I mentioned I'm writing a cookbook using just their flour? I am so sick of trying to find/use/put up with almond flour, white rice flour, zanthan gum, ew!! I wanted to find one flour to use just like good old gluteny flour, and this is it. The book is two thirds done, and I don't expect to become famous, but at this point I want it for my own purposes (to have all my recipes in one place so I can find them) and to give to a few really good friends who need it. If only there were 48 hours in a day instead of 24...

This is a really simple recipe, from my great grandmother.

*as always, if you are making this as a gluten free recipe check your ingredients to ensure gluten free status! I have brands I am very loyal to, but I still check every time I buy a new container to ensure nothing has changed on the ingredient list.

1 C sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 C flour
1/4 C butter, melted
4 ripe bananas
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs. Mash bananas (I just use my hands) and add to mixture, stirring well. Stir in flour and baking soda. Stir until fairly smooth. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for one hour, or until top browns and springs back when pressed.

I Won Something!!!


http://glutenfreegreenie.blogspot.com/

I recently happened across a few gluten free blogs, and this was one I got stuck on for a bit. She is one of the many many gluten free goers that suffer from other autoimmune disorders on top of celiac. My heart goes out to her, I know so many people with "complications" like that! She is also addicted to Diet Coke, and I laughed out loud reading that because I have had to lower my intake of Coke and it makes my entire family laugh out loud when I walk out of a store without a coke, because I will inevitably ask hubby to get me one on his way home! Love Coke, can't stay away from the stuff! And it's even worse now that I have discovered coke rewards, because I get certificates for free coke all the time now! LOL!

She also has some great links to other gluten free sites that I want to check out, as well as some great food ideas. She seems to eat a much healthier diet than I do, I so love my coke and bread... and meat! I love sauce and meat, we had ribs last night and omg hubby had me drooling. I don't even think there were leftovers! I will continue to link to her blog as I have time to read it - just keep in mind I am busy, working from home, learning how to homeschool, speech therapy with the twins, keeping up the house, oh yes but if you are still reading you know just how busy moms are!

SAVINGS!!!

Stopped at Rite Aid yesterday for diapers, and wow what a deal! I bought two packs of jeans Huggies, a coke, a mounds bar, and a bottle of herbal essences shampoo for $6.71 after coupons! Now that's a deal, and to top it off I will make $2 in single check rebates for the diapers! YAY! Great start to June's SCR program. In April I made $40, and in May I made $30 - all in rebates from Rite Aid! Pretty cool!

New Camera

Yep, you'll be seeing many more photos on my blog now that we have a new camera! We were given a fujifilm finepix A920 when the twins were born (two years ago) and it just never really focused properly. It loved focusing on the grass behind my children, or the water they were standing in front of - out of fifteen pictures we might get their faces in focus on three. Not good odds when you are trying to take pictures of your babies!!

We now own a beautiful canon powershot SX120. Hubby has played with this already and loves it, I have yet to touch it. Ah the life of a busy mommy! We found it on sale at target last night, woohoo! I will try to make time to read the manual today while I work from home and try to get some more research in on what science program we want to use for homeschooling the oldest. Moms never get a moment, do we?!

Wow - flowers!


A bunch of my daylilies have started blooming at once, yay! I am so so happy to see them finally doing well and getting established. If you can't tell yet I love gardening but am used to northern climates, all this southern heat gets me confused on what can be planted where! I have covered the front with chinese fringeflower bushes, which I just love, and daylilies. So far the bushes bloomed magenta little fringy flowers in March, and are now a plum purple! LOVE IT!

May 26, 2010

New Blog To Read

http://glutenfreetasteofhome.blogspot.com/2010/05/giveaway-review-goldbaums-natural-foods.html

This is an excellent site for gluten free giveaways, and to just learn about new products available on the celiac front! I will post more about it later, black bean chili calls for dinner... mmmmmmm!

May 13, 2010

Car Seat Nightmares

Well, we thought we were in great shape with our car seats for the boys. In January we bought two Recaro Young Sport car seats, and man are they posh! However five months later the EPS styrofoam is falling off the seats, and the company's response was to send us new foam pieces and have us hot glue them in ourselves. Yeah, prove to me that's safe! So I am getting the seats replaced, then will try to sell the brand new ones. Yesterday I tried out the Evenflo Generations seats, but they tore into the boys' necks so much we returned them. We settled on the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite seats, they were within our price range and seemed to be exactly what we want. So far they don't cut into the kids' necks, and the no re-threading harness adjusting is really a bonus. The seat covers are time consuming to get off to wash and put back on, but seem to be great quality. Best of all we bought them at Babies R Us, where they informed us that if we buy the $12.99 insurance on the seats in fourteen months we can return them for the full price we paid to get store credit for new ones! OMG yes, I would LOVE a new carseat every year and a half! Excellent plan - I'll keep those receipts for SURE! Why wouldn't everyone do this?? Well, I did have to call the store to find out about it and am going back today to actually purchase the plans, the salesman who sold me the seats explained it as protection in case the fabric rips... guess I get the bonus for calling!!


*Update 6/1/10
Well, the alpha omegas went back too - the kiddos fell asleep in them and their heads were almost on their knees, which I didn't think was possible in a harness! We have been using the evenflo titan elite something or other, and they are just AWESOME! We'll gladly use these until it's time to trade in, yay! The boys love the seats, they are a perfect fit for two yr old toddlers. They are however huge and don't fit next to each other, so big bro is stuck in the third row seat and anyone who has been in the back row of a Pilot knows there ain't much room for him... and he's so big already! ARGH! I see a minivan in my future... or maybe a suburban? Haven't owned american in years, course I haven't had a car problem since I stopped buying american... isn't that awful?!

*Update 9/1/10
The evenflo seats, while an excellent seat, are down to one. I took the covers off to wash on delicate, in cold water, and one cover came out with the stuffing so stuck to itself it became useless. I called Evenflo and requested a replacement cover at no charge and they said great, but your seat has been redesigned and your cover is no longer available. They told me they would send me a different cover that would work for the seat, and after a month of waiting (borrowing one carseat mind you) I called them back to ask w.t.h. and they said the cover ordered was backordered. Thanks for telling me!! They said they would send me another one, and that never came. Nice. I called in the meantime to the replacement plan, which will only replace your seat if it has a broken part that "compromises the safety of the seat". What??? I can't use the seat because of a fabric defect and it doesn't affect the "safety" of the car??? What the hell ever. I took the seat and receipt back to Babies R Us and got a refund for the insurance, and credit for the seat. Thank you Babies R Us! I was on day 89 of their 90 day return policy, thank god! I am now the proud owner of a graco nautilus. Kiddo loves it, and we realized we will quickly need another since the evenflo shoulder straps don't raise any higher and kiddo is right at the point where he's almost too tall for the seat. Thanks evenflo! I should become a professional reviewer of car seats at the rate I'm going!!!

*Update 12/6/10
We have been happily using our Graco Nautilus carseats since September, they are just awesome. PERFECT! Finally, a seat that will last!!! I have washed them, moved them, and abused them and they are still going strong! Finally...

Pretty Flower, FINALLY!



Ah yes, the first flower finally opened in my garden! I can't wait to see the gardens in full bloom, we worked so hard on them over the last two years, the payoff is finally here!!!

May 11, 2010

Away time

Yes, I have been away for awhile - allergies whupped my sinuses into a nasty infection, then kittyboo got a UTI. Poor kitty! We have an excellent vet, they were wonderful. Kittyboo is on the mend now, still tripping off the painkillers, but last dose is this morning!

Tried CVS again, usually I can't stand going because every SINGLE item that is on sale where you make extra bucks back is sold out the night BEFORE the sale starts. Yes, they give women sale prices and ECB the evening before the sale starts. That's fair, right? Because everyone can shop at 10pm saturday evening...

Anyway - here's my trip!
bought:
pk jeans huggies diapers
2 right guard deodorants
2 carefree liners
1 schick hydro 3 razor
2 crest pro health toothpastes
1 bumble bee tuna can
bag doritos
2 sodas
pack gum
box U by kotex
12 pk toilet paper

spent: $14.16

I had some great coupons, and this was in five transactions! I flipped extracare bucks for each transaction, so I had some to spend every time I went to the register. Really upset the cashier, but that was not my normal cvs - won't go there again!

I also have been slowly buying deals at Rite Aid, and so far I will be getting $26 in my rebate check the end of the month! Last month I made $41, was a good month in rebates!

Apr 30, 2010

Red Oak Trucks


Red Oak sanitation has painted all of their recycling trucks pink and are now recycling for a cure! All their recycling proceeds will be donated to breast cancer research! We saw a number of the pink trucks out and about today, I just think that is so awesome!

Apr 27, 2010

Savings

Yes, Rite Aid has struck again! I got three packs of huggies diapers for 1.98 plus tax! WOOHOO!

Mar 29, 2010

Gardening


This weekend I moved the last of the Chinese Loropelatum bushes into our new garden, phew that was hard work! I also moved a bunch of grape hyacinth and daffodils, freecycled what I wasn't going to use. Freecycle is amazing, it's craig's list but all free! It keeps so much out of landfills, and has saved us tons and tons of money by reusing what others have outgrown. I'll try to put together a list someday of what we have received, I could never remember what we have given away it has been so much! I like helping others, and we always appreciate what we are "freecycled"! I really like the fact that when I'm done with an old picture frame or table or couch I don't have to take up space in landfills, I can find someone who will use it!

I love to garden, and am now awaiting delivery of my son's butterfly garden. We ordered from michigan bulb co, so it'll all come bare roots but hey it's affordable! We get 17 plants, various butterfly attracting ones, and I can't wait. I am talking it over with hubby about where to put the garden. I'm considering creating a garden out back towards the middle of our yard, so we can see it from the house and so our neighbors can enjoy it too... but that is a lot of hard work and I'm not sure I have it in me. I have been painting the interior of our house on and off, and that is physically trying on it's own without adding gardening to it! Ah well, it's a great payoff when everything's done - the house will be beautiful and the gardens will be so wonderful in bloom!


*Update 6/6/10
The butterfly garden is coming along nicely! I had to reorder two bee balm and two sweet william plants, but the blue butterfly bush is a foot high and already blooming, and the pink is at least a foot and the thicker of the two. The rest of the plants are coming in nicely, even in the nasty clay they are sitting in! WOOHOO! Come on over butterflies :) Michigan bulb co has impressed me!

Savings again!

Rite Aid ROCKS!

spent: $24.75 on my gift card
saved: $38.30

Bought:
two packs huggies overnight diapers
17 bags/pkgs candy for easter baskets
lysol hands free soap dispenser
$11 darth maul figurine
2 - 12 pks coke
2 - 20oz cokes
bag of Lay's chips
two goody brush/comb combos

Mar 22, 2010

Savings

Target -
Spent: $8.67
Saved: $29.33

Bought:
6 pack of socks
20 oz coca cola (my addiction)
3 sobe lifewaters
1 box transformers bandaids
airwick imotion freshener
3 gallons of milk
3 pk 3m scrubbing sponges
crest kids toothpaste

Rite Aid -
spent: $6.60
saved: $31.99

Bought:
2 20oz diet coke
2 frizzease conditioners
1 large jar planters peanuts
1 pkg huggies overnight diapers
1 20oz coca cola
1 always 18ct pads
St Ives body wash
St Ives face wash
I also transferred a script there and spent $15 on copay, got a $25 gift card! Not bad!! I am also owed $7.99 in Single Check Rebates on this, so technically I will make $1.39 plus the gift card. Pretty sweet!


I go to southernsavers.com on a regular basis for help matching coupons, Jenny ROCKS!

The Gluten Free Pantry


The Gluten Free Pantry are my heros. They produce an all purpose flour that I absolutely LOVE!! This is going to be what my cookbook is based on - the principle of using one NORMAL flour. I hate it when I try to find a gluten free cookbook and they try to teach you how to use fifty types of flour. I bought four or five of these books in the beginning (five years ago) and everything I made tasted like hummus, and I very quickly learned I hate rice flour, can't stand flax seeds, and have a severe distaste for anything "flour" that seems like it should be in health food. If I am going to take the time to make a brownie or cookie or cupcake, it had better be sinfully good!!! I have tried and tried using the various flours, gums, etc. out there and I have to say it was just too involved to try to make baked goods that really weren't that great. With the GF pantry's flour I can make anything just like I used to with normal glutenous flour! I just had to preach about them today, they are my favorite people this week. I made peanut butter swirl brownies last week that made my husband drool for more, and this weekend I made double chocolate cookies for my mother that were AMAZING as usual. WAY TO GO GF PANTRY!!!

This recipe I found floating around online and changed it a bit to fit my tastes :)

*as always, if you are making this as a gluten free recipe check your ingredients to ensure gluten free status! I have brands I am very loyal to, but I still check every time I buy a new container to ensure nothing has changed on the ingredient list.

Brownie Layer:
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
12 Tbs butter or margarine
2 C sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 C flour
Peanut Butter Layer:
1 Tbs butter, melted
1 Tbs sugar
2/3 C peanut butter
1 tsp honey (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 13x9 pan with foil, making handles over the edges for easy lifting.

Microwave chocolate and butter on high for two minutes. Carefully stir until chocolate melts. If you need to nuke it another 30 seconds or so this is perfectly fine!

In a medium bowl combine sugar, eggs, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture. Add flour and mix well. Spread into foiled pan.

Mix butter, sugar, peanut butter and honey. I usually throw it in my mixer and beat it until it lightens a tad in color, this seems to make the mixture creamier after baking. Spread it over the chocolate layer in the pan, and use a butter knife or toothpick to marble the top. Feel free to make any fun designs you want!

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out fairly clean (not dripping!). Drool until cool enough not to burn your mouth and try not to eat them all!

Gluten Free Pork Tenderloin

Last night we made pork tenderloin for my mom's birthday dinner. I covered it heavily in the sauce and oh my was it delicious! We ate an entire pork loin just the four of us. Hubby found a great recipe for potatoes with filling made from garlic, mayo, and asiago cheese - that was amazing as well! I have not been cooking pork that often, most chops aren't the best cuts of meat and they toughen as you cook them. I am repeatedly impressed with tenderloin! YAY! I have a great recipe for an asian orange sauce for tenderloin as well, just excellent. I love broadening our food horizons, and last night definitely did. My oldest even loved it, and he claims to not like any form of mustard! WOOHOO!

Orange Pork Tenderloin
*as always, if you are making this as a gluten free recipe check your ingredients to ensure gluten free status! I have brands I am very loyal to, but I still check every time I buy a new container to ensure nothing has changed on the ingredient list.

Seriously, this seems like a lot of work but it's really not, and the end result is so impressive it's well worth the time you take to make it!

1 pork tenderloin
2 Tbs flour
dash of salt and pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
1 C orange juice
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I try to cook this in a 9x13ish glass pan with a silpat under it, just be aware anything with brown sugar in sauces has a good chance of sticking to the bottom of your dish! You can always line your pan with foil to try to prevent that.

Slice pork tenderloin into 1 inch slices or strips, whatever tickles your fancy. Coat pork with flour and place in oiled skillet. Saute pork for maybe five minutes each side at most, lightly browning them. Place pork in your prepared baking dish.

Combine remaining ingredients and pour this over the pork. Bake for 25 minutes or so. The liquid will thicken and the pork will come out oh so tender! It is amazing served over white sticky rice! Course, it would be amazing served over anything in my opinion ;)

Mar 15, 2010

Working late


Well, here I sit listening to my twin two year olds scream at their door for daddy. Hubby had to work late tonight (a rarity) and the kids don't want to go to sleep without him! They are currently knocking on their door to see if that will help. Normally we go upstairs, put on sleep diapers and pj's, and say "it's time for bed" - they magically jump into bed and almost every night pass right out without another peep. Except for nights like this. I know I shouldn't complain, I hear stories from friends about how it takes two hours and rotating shifts to get their toddler to bed. This is just hard for me (them!) because it's not the norm! So my oldest and I will sit here listening, until either daddy gets home or they get so tired they cuddle and pass out.

I made a box of gluten free mac and cheese I found at Kroger a few days ago, and man is it nasty. I took a picture, will post tomorrow - the cheese is as runny as milk, and it tastes almost like noodles with milk poured on them. Ew. I am eating them because I have nothing else handy to eat for dinner... but will never again buy a boxed mix of anything gluten free!! On the same aisle in Kroger I also saw a pouch of gluten free biscuit mix. Now this caught my eye, I haven't had a good ol flaky biscuit in years! I picked it up and the first few lines read something about "put in food processor" and "refridgerate overnight". Really, I have to work for two days to make a biscuit?! And did I mention the pouch was $8?! That will be my next project, to create a good gluten free biscuit recipe. Oh once I do that I can make chicken pot pie, biscuits and gravy, YUMM! I am salivating at the thought!

I know how to make an amazing homemade mac and cheese, but sometimes I just want to pop open a box and whip up something easy and fast like normal people!! Why is it that all gluten free boxed dinners are nasty? I know velveeta isn't the cat's behind, but it wasn't bad, was it? Hey, maybe I can use velveeta cheese with gluten free noodles to make an easy mac and cheese...

Mar 11, 2010

Enjoy Life Cocoa Loco

STAY AWAY!!! Unless you like unsweetened cocoa I guess... I spent $4.50 on a box of these, only to get home and spit out my first bite. Oh my these are nasty! They taste like unsweetened cocoa with rock hard little oatmeal type pieces in it. Gross. Wasted money! I have however had some food items in the past from enjoy life that I did actually enjoy, this was just not one of them. Really not one of them... ew!

Pork Stir Fry


This is a sweet and tangy dish - if you would rather it be more tangy than sweet, cut sugar in half and add a dash of hot sauce :)

*as always, if you are making this as a gluten free recipe check your ingredients to ensure gluten free status! I have brands I am very loyal to, but I still check every time I buy a new container to ensure nothing has changed on the ingredient list.

3 or 4 pork chops, cut into thin strips
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 package of frozen stir fry veggies
1 can pineapple tidbits or chunks, drained
1 Tbs cornstarch
1/4 C water
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C white vinegar
2 Tbs soy sauce (I use La Choy)
2 tsp ginger

Heat oil in wok or skillet and brown strips of pork.

Mix cornstarch, water, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce and pour onto pork. Bring to a simmer, and continue to simmer just until sauce starts to thicken. Add veggies and pineapple, and cover for three minutes. I like my veggies crisp, so check your veggies and cook until they are at your desired texture. Excellent with steamed rice!

Mar 4, 2010

GLUTEN!

Well, I somehow cross contaminated or blew a crumb into my food last night. Within a half an hour of eating my gluten free mac and cheese (I made myself so I know ingredients were gf) I was reliving my nightmare. Ew. I hate being sick! Within an hour it was over, and hubby rubbed my feet so I could fall asleep. That's really the only way to make the pain stop, to fall asleep. I was fine by morning, dizzy but I think that was dehydration. I hate gluten! That hasn't happened in so long, yet every time it does I feel exactly the same way - like I never want to eat again. Food sucks.

Feb 26, 2010

Food

I'm beginning to see why it's hard to stick to a diet for weight loss purposes. I am not necessarily on a "diet" to lose weight, but I have started working out a bit and would like to eat accordingly so I can lose my last ten "baby pounds". The combination of shopping for my family (not me) and being gluten free leaves me with little in the pantry that is satisfying to eat! I want a nutrigrain bar - goldfish - omg one real oreo cookie! However, I can't eat any of those and the gluten free versions that cost a fortune at the store leave a lot to be desired. So I either eat nothing, or I grab a glass of soda which is somewhat satisfying! It's not that I'm eating unhealthy foods, I'm just drinking unhealthy things to make up for the fact that I don't really eat satisfying foods during the day. These are the days I hate having celiac disease - when I can't even eat the healthy foods I want to! It's not about craving fried chicken, chinese food, cookies - I make all of those at home and they are awesome. It's about the healthy grab and go foods like nutrigrain bars! The gluten free versions are at least a dollar a bar and don't even taste like fruit! Ugh! I can make an amazing batch of white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies in less than a half an hour, but I don't want to eat a half a batch of cookies over the course of the next few days - I want something healthy and satisfying - but I can't have that :(

Feb 24, 2010

My Honda Pilot


Yes, I drive a pilot - a big black pilot. I had up to this car always driven small cars that were cheap and comfy. I hated the pilot when I first started driving it, but with twins it was a necessary evil. I now lovingly refer to it as the "short bus", it is one of my favorite cars I have ever owned. I have in the past tried and tried with different carseats to install two carseats next to each other, to no avail. So my middle row had a carseat on either end, and my ten year old has been smooshing himself between them. I had to sit between the seats last weekend, and I couldn't believe how oversized I was for that seat. I am 5'4", and am maybe ten pounds overweight - I should have plenty of room in a honda pilot! So I looked into trading in for an odyssey, but it wasn't a good fit. Past experiences have taught me to call a parts dept manager when you have questions about your car's interior, so I did. This man deserves an award in my opinion! He told me I wasn't doing it right if I couldn't get two carseats next to each other in my car, and he was totally right! I had been trying to put one behind the passenger seat, and one in the middle, putting the end one in first. Nope - put the middle one in first and then put one behind the driver, and they fit perfectly! Talk about feeling stupid... ha! There is enough room now for a grown man to sit next to my carseats in my second row, and I am elated. I can't explain my joy at being able to keep my car! I know it has a third row, but it really isn't accessible easily. With two carseats installed you can't fold down the end seat on the second row, no matter what you do, and even if you could the seat doesn't fold flat so it's mountain climbing to get to the back. The back seats are small by nature, and not very comfortable. If you use the back hatch for entry into the third row you can't close the door from the inside, someone has to stand there with a butt in their face until the back passenger is in and close the door for them! Not my cup of tea. So in the end I am back to loving my pilot - and I plan to drive it until it won't drive anymore!!!

Zenni Optical Eyeglasses



Zenni optical has my vote for glasses! These are my new glasses that I ordered with antireflective coating, scratch coating, high index lenses so I don't look like the bottom of a coke bottle, and clip on polarized sunglasses - for $56. Yep, $56 bucks. I have been wearing them for a week and the only thing I can even find that could possibly be called "lower quality" is the black pieces that slide over the metal over my ears wiggle a teeny weeny bit. Not noticable unless you are really inspecting the glasses, and that does not affect wear at all. I am sold! I love these new glasses!! The only thing that threw me for a loop was when you are ordering you need to know the distance between your pupils - and doctors don't write that on your script. You have to ask them to, so I just asked a friend to measure for me, and my glasses are AWESOME!! I hate glasses, and wear contacts most of the time, but these are really growing on me. Excellent. My last pair of glasses cost me around $700, to get the high index lenses, the coatings, everything I have on the new ones, and after a month they had such a scratch across one lens I couldn't drive with them on anymore, and had to watch tv out of the edge of the lenses. I recommend zenni to anyone wearing glasses!!! Now they don't accept insurance, but if you are like me and your insurance covers glasses OR contacts, I opt for contacts and wait for glasses. Well, no more waiting!

WOOHOO!!

*update 3.22.10 - I ran to target today for some freebies, and the target optical center will adjust any glasses from anywhere at no charge. How nice was that?! Now my glasses that were knocked off kilter by a loving toddler storm are nice and straight again. :)

Feb 23, 2010

Gluten Free Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

Mmmmm - this one was so good, even for lunch the next day it's still amazing! Easy, fast, and yummy - it doesn't get much better than that around here :)

*as always, if you are making this as a gluten free recipe check your ingredients to ensure gluten free status! I have brands I am very loyal to, but I still check every time I buy a new container to ensure nothing has changed on the ingredient list.

1 to 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, cubed
1 bottle la choy sweet and sour sauce
2 Tbs soy sauce (I use La Choy)
one small can pineapple tidbits, undrained
White Rice (I cook white rice with every asian meal, I love rice)

(Start rice in steamer - should pop when chicken is done! If you prefer different types of rice or different cooking methods, the chicken should take around 10 to 15 minutes from start to finish)

In medium skillet cook chicken until done. In medium bowl combine remaining ingredients, mix, and pour over chicken. Once heated through serve over white rice - mmmmmm!

See, that was just silly it's so easy!

*UPDATE - we have started making this using our chinese fried chicken instead of just cooking the chicken in a skillet, and it is absolutely lovely.

Feb 21, 2010

Plumbers

Well, we have yet again supported our local plumbing company, Rooter Plus! Two weeks ago it was the septic tank that needed fixing, and this weekend we fixed the spicket (bibb?) out front so we could wash our cars and water the plants. It feels good to fix things properly, and get it done - it's just hard on the wallet! So many things on that to do list...

Feb 19, 2010

Remember When...

I bought some blistex lip stuff today for my chapped lips, and when I opened it the smell brought me right back to my shiny tinkerbell lip gloss when I was five or six! I remember vividly how it smelled, how it felt on my lips, because I felt like a "big girl" wearing lipstick! It surprises me sometimes how a simple smell can bring on such a surge of strong memories. There is a particular antique car smell that I only find at car shows, or if we are by chance behind a model T or A on the street ... and that smell reminds me of how my grandfather's shirts smelled. He was always working on a model A in the summers, and that specific smell makes me smile every time I am near it. The smell of woodstoves in very cold weather takes me back to NY winters, makes me feel like I'm "home" for some reason! I wonder what connects those specific smells to memories in your mind, there is so much in our heads that we don't realize!!! Ha, or probably use as we should ;)

Feb 14, 2010

General Tso's Chicken

Mmmmm... hubby made chinese food last night, and it was so yummy! Our neighbors came over to enjoy dinner with us, it was a really fun night. I made white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies (gotta find a nickname for those) and choc. chunk cookies, and they couldn't tell that they were gluten free at all! That is the ultimate compliment if you ask me. I like fun nights like that, we need to have more of those! I like entertaining, and I love to laugh.

Feb 12, 2010


Wow, it snows again! This is our second "stick to the ground" snow this season, which is amazing for us southerners. I have seen plenty of snow in my days, but down south this is crazy! Kids are out playing in it, hubby comes home early, I like this! It cracks me up that every grocery store is out of milk, water, and bread - over two inches of snow falling. Maybe they think they won't be able to make it out for a week? And who would really want milk and bread if they were actually to get stuck inside. I promise, when we used to lose power due to snowy/icy weather we didn't use the milk, no one opened the fridge at all! I love snow, when I don't have to drive in it. I have been in many ditches over the years due to white out storms, which is why I love being a southerner now (and a stay at home mom)! Yep, I'm a convert!

Feb 11, 2010

Blogging

So I thought I was going to keep this blog simply for celiac disease info, and start a second blog about other things. I think I'm just going to use this blog as my "for everything" blog. Celiac disease is a lifestyle after all, right?

Cut Out Cookies

I have a great recipe for sugar cookies, that makes delicious pretty cookies. However, it makes a ton so I can share at christmastime! I wanted to try a smaller recipe today, just to have a batch of sugar cookies to ice and have as a treat. I poked around online since it would be very hard to cut my recipe in half, and found one that got lots of good reviews. I substituted my all purpose gf flour as I always do, and while the cookies taste good it was the worst dough I have ever worked with. Too many liquids I guess! I need to get going on my cookbook, get it finished and published, even if it's only for my own use. My recipes are everywhere...

I heard again the other day about a woman who knew she had celiac disease, decided she was gluten free "enough" and went on to have five miscarraiges - so far. She is still trying and refuses to believe it has anything to do with gluten, yet she still eats things I will get sick from, even the lipstick she wears contains gluten! I can't be around people like that, I take celiac disease so seriously it bothers me when I meet someone like her who doesn't. She and her family will suffer until she figures it out on her own I guess, it's just so sad! I wish there was a book about celiac disease that was easy reading that you could just hand the title of to people, it could educate so many people!

I looove icing! I do have quite a sweet tooth, but I love both sweet and savory foods. I guess I'm glad I have a good metabolism, I love all kinds of food! Time to taste a yummy cookie!

If anyone is interested I will post my cookie recipe, but I use two - the one I used to make these is my complicated time consuming recipe that makes show stopping cookies. I sometimes make regular old sugar cookies that don't have the perfect stand up sides, perfect color and amazing butter taste... they are just easier.

Jan 13, 2010

All I have to say for today is I wish companies would stop advertising how tasty their gluten free foods are if they have simply put shiny packaging on cardboard. Ugh I hate health food. Today is one of those days I wish I could just eat a cupcake, or a twinkie, just to have the familiar yummy taste in my mouth. I know, I can eat most anything others can just a gluten free version, but I honestly have forgotten what fruit loops taste like! I have a pantry FULL of food for my family and I can eat a can of tuna... that's it. Oh, and I have some gf noodles with nothing to put on them to make them taste good. This is one of those frustrating days where I wish I didn't have celiac disease! I long for a good seasoned calzone, a "real" pizza! I shouldn't complain, I eat Zpizza's gluten free pizza once in awhile, but even then it's health food pizza! I want oily, fattening, melt in your mouth real pizza. I guess I should get off my butt and try to figure out how to make it for myself, shouldn't I? I just get so tired of having to invent recipes and make things from scratch just to eat things that taste right! God why is it soooo difficult for food producers to make something that HAS A GOOD TASTE that doesn't contain gluten?

That is my rant for today! Maybe someday my prayers will be answered and good food will be readily available in a gluten free version... until then I bake and cook and complain ;)