Friday, April 27, 2012

Teeth and Math

Emma pulled out her own tooth today! 

So much easier when she does that instead of Jared holding her down while I pry open her mouth and pull it out, which is how it normally goes. 

We tried letting them fall out on their own, but the amount of yucky stuff building up underneath was causing concern for the adult teeth. 

But... this latest tooth has been loose for a bit and she actually wriggled it a lot, so today, when she complained that she was having a hard time biting her teeth together and eating, I figure it was about time. I explained why it would need to come out today and she cried. I made sure to ask her what it is about loosing teeth that really upsets her. 

The blood. 

I know where that comes from. Knocking out a baby front tooth when you are 4 and having blood pour down your face and onto your mothers arm can be pretty traumatizing I imagine. So I gave her extra snuggles and we made a deal to watch one more Curious George, then we would pull the tooth, then she could watch some more CG. She cried, but accepted it. 

Then she cried and begged and pleaded to wait till tomorrow to pull it once the moment arrived. I hugged, and soothed best I could, but then I started getting my implements ready (paper towels, ice cold water, ice). I told her this time we would pull the tooth with her sitting up so that way the blood wouldn't drip onto her tongue and that she could close her eyes while I stopped the bleeding so she wouldn't have to look at the blood. 

As my fingers where headed for her mouth, she said "Wait, let me try first!" in a panicked voice. This is one of the stall tactics, but we always let her try. 

On her 4th or 5th try I saw her eyes grow wide as she actually managed to pull the tooth out! I quickly grabbed the tooth (in case there was blood) and stuffed some paper towels in her mouth before the blood could get on her tongue. 

She was so excited she tried to talk to me about it while her mouth was full of paper towels and my fingers. 

All it all, it was the 2nd least dramatic tooth removal we have experienced and I hope she remembers it for next time as we still have 13 teeth to go. 

Look at the adult top teeth coming in! The missing tooth is on the bottom left (right in the picture). 

On our return from Ames for our celebratory gelato (that was Emma's reward for pulling her own tooth out), Emma mentioned that she had math homework to do when she gets home. 

Me- "Ok. Wait, were did you get math homework?
Emma- "Oh, I have to go to school first to get my math homework."
Me- "What school are you going to go to?"
Emma- "The school in our family room."

We do not actually have a school in the family room. That room is basically Emma's domain, so I guess it is possible that there is a school in there.

After we got home, Emma headed for the family room and was quite for a bit. Then she wandered into the living room to show me her math homework. 

(The last equation is 609+9=618)

Apparently we should employ the unicorn teacher on a full time basis because she seems to be a pretty good teacher. 

Oh, and we made a super yummy millet porridge for breakfast this morning!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Collaborative Artistic Decor

Photo Assignment #3 May11 (3)

We still have no idea when we will be moving to Montana, but I already know of one thing I would like to put up in either Emma's room or one of the main rooms when we get there.

Something like this. Feel free to ignore the changing table, we won't need one of those again. But I love the jumbled alphabet. I found this picture on pinterest, and the idea that was typed under it was to have guests at a baby shower each pick a letter to decorate and give as a gift at the baby shower.

As Emma will be our one and only, I thought this might be a fun house warming gift (not that we typically requests gifts) for us when we move.

So family and friends, I would love for volunteers to pick a letter and spend the next... year, 9 months, whatever it ends up being, working on a letter for us. If you happen to want to pick the letter that your name starts with, even cooler.

Decorate it however you would like. Love trains (and your name starts with a T...) put train stickers and other train stuff on it. Name start with an M and love motorcycles?

The letter of your name, and whatever you decorate the letter with don't have to be the same. Heck, if you have a favorite letter go ahead and pick that one. Name start with a Y and love crafting? I think you guys get the idea.

You can purchase letters at various craft stores (Hobby Lobby, Jo Ann's, Michaels, etc) in various sizes or, if you feel inspired, you can make the letter(s) out of whatever you have handy. My only request is that the letter be at least the size of a standard piece of paper (8.5 x 11), and be made of  something sturdier than paper- a cereal box would probably be the thinnest material that would hold up to our moves over the coming years. Bigger and sturdier is just fine. I love in the picture about that all of the letters are different sizes, styles, colors, etc.

If no one volunteers, I guess Emma and I can make them ourselves, but they really won't mean as much.

If you are interested, please let me know (e-mail or comments section is fine) which letter you would like!

B- Memere
Y- Yvonne

If you have any questions, let me know. I will update this post as people choose letters.

Have a great day and I hope to hear from you soon!

p.s. I know not everyone is on the computer, so if you can think of someone who might want to partake, feel free to pass the word on!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Emma's Domain

Emma has effectively taken over the family room. Most days when she is in there, she has a ribbon strung across the doorway, though she is more than happy to allow others to enter. 

What does she do in there?

Plays with Legos, listens to music or audio books, and, as of yesterday, paints.

She had asked a few nights ago (10 minutes before bedtime) if she could paint. I told her that she could the next day. She asked again the next day so I started to get the kitchen table ready for her, but she told me she wanted to paint in the family room.

She had set up an empty box as her easel, a little table to set her paints on, we found a blank canvas for her to use, and she has been happily working on her painting for the last 2 days. 

It's fun to walk through the family room at various times throughout the day to see what new Lego creations she has, and what additions she has made to her painting. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Emma's Trail Mix

Yesterday, Emma asked for something to eat as we were getting ready to walk around town to get some errands done. She had wanted pretzels and homemade peanut butter. When I suggested she put them both in the same container (for ease of traveling), she decided she wanted trail mix instead. I asked what she wanted to put in it, thus, Emma's Trail mix was created.

(I didn't think to take pictures yesterday, so when Emma asked for more today, I made sure to snap a few photos.)

Emma's Trail Mix
1/4c almonds (we use raw almonds)
1/4c raisins
1/4c craisins
1tbsp chocolate chips (we use Enjoy Life mini's- gluten, dairy, soy, nut free)
15 pretzel sticks (Snyder's of Hanover Gluten Free)

Mix ingredients together and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Exceed Photo Capacity

I had no idea I was limited in the number of photos I could upload to add to my blogs. Not only do the pictures that end up in a post count, but so do the ones I upload then decide not to include.

With that being said, I will probably be a little pickier about the pictures I post. In order to free up space, I have to look through each post to see which pictures I used, and which ones I did not. A bit of a process, but one I will work on as I go.

I would appreciate your help! If you notice any pictures that are not working, please let me know so I can fix them.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

updated 1-27-15 Problem solved long ago!

Photo of photographer (1)

Fun Photos

A Break from Food

So, are you sick of the food posts yet? I have a tendancy to obsess over something until I feel like I have a understanding of it, and I think that this whole gluten/dairy free thing might take a while to get to that point. I will do my best to not drown you in all things food related in the mean time, but we warned, I love to share the knowledge that I have, especially if I feel it can improve a persons quality of life.

Enough of that.

We have actually been doing other things lately. With the crazy gorgeous spring weather we had in March, we tried getting outside every day. Some days worked out better than others.

So happy to be on "Fat Black" (the name she gave her pet 'horse')

There was a week were we went for a bike ride 3 days in a row. We thought it would become habit, but life doesn't always cooperate with our ideas. 

Our first day out. We thought it was going to be a beautiful evening...

Going down hill with her feet off the ground- Learning all about balance

Da goofing around doing manuals (its a bike thing)

Uh oh. 

Emma running, Da has gone on ahead to get the car because not only has the sky opened up, it is also thundering and lighting. 

Yes, it did rain on our parade bike ride, but we still had a blast. 

So, the next day we decided to go out again. This time we managed to make it through the entire ride with no rain. 

This is the spot where it had started raining on us the day before. 

And day 3. By this day, Emma was pretty tired from all that exercise. I think I ended up carrying her bike more then she rode it. It was a good arm workout.

I can't remember why we didn't go out the next day. I think Emma was just flat against it. So, now we know to spread the wealth out over the entire week instead of three days in a row. 

Emma has also been learning a lot. She still insists that she can't read, despite the fact that she read "We Are In A Book" by Mo Willems to us last night. All. By. Her. Self. 

I love Elephant and Piggie books and I need to start keeping my eye out for some used copies to add to our library. 

(sorry, got side tracked on Mo Willems blog for a bit there)

One other thing to report is that we have been playing with numbers a bit here and there. One thing we have done only a little of, but I see a huge improvement in, is number place values. 

With the help of these cool cards (that I found via pintrest- maybe I just went to search for them, and they came from this website), Emma has a better grasp of what the numbers look like and how to say them. Like I said, we have only used them a handful of times, but I am amazed at how well she picked it up. We might have to start adding in some bigger numbers, as she keeps asking, "What comes after thousands, etc." She actually asked all the way up to the billions, which after that I really wasn't sure. I love that I get to learn right along with her :)  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Our Basic Green Smoothie

I didn't think to take a picture till about 15 minutes after I had made the smoothie. 
It must have been good :)

In our house, there is a basic green smoothie that all others are made from. Green grapes are a must. After that, the rest is up for grabs.

Ingredients in this mornings smoothie:

1 Banana
2 c green grapes (frozen or fresh or a mix of both)
2 small honeycrisp apples
1/2 pear (freeze the other half to use in a future smoothie)
1 c frozen yellow squash
5-6 large swish chard leaves (no stems)
1/2c dandelion leaves (from our back yard)
1 tbsp chia seeds (it was a heaping tablespoon)
1 tsp Vitamin C powder
5 drops Liquid Vitamin D
Filtered Water as needed.
2 Probiotic capsules per serving (added to the individual glasses)

For the water, I usually just fill a mason jar and keep it close by.  I put 1/2c to 1c in to start, depending on how many frozen items there are in the smoothie. The more frozen items, the more water I tend to use.

Once the smoothies were poured into individual glasses, I added the powder from two probiotic capsules to each glass. This is the only supplement I do that with. For whatever reason, the probiotics are the only ones I feel that I need to know exactly how much we each are getting. The other supplements (the vitamins and minerals) I know we will get in other foods throughout the day.

The straw really makes a difference. Emma is able to sip as she plays, making a smoothie for breakfast very convenient for those mornings when she is lost in her own world.

Emma approved

Jared thought it was ok, but he was a good boy and drank his anyway. I've started giving him a bigger serving because he doesn't eat as well as Emma and I do throughout the day. He needs the extra nutritional boost that a green smoothies gives him.

Some other items that can go into a green smoothie:
avacado (usually just 1/2 unless making a lot a lot, then use the entire avacado-minus the pit and skin)
romaine lettuce

Basically if it's green or yellow, it will work. I have found that adding in foods that are different colors will result in a brown smoothie. Still tasty, but not as visually pleasing.

A great resource for making smoothies. Gives a nice formula for how to actually build a good smoothie.

I promise to actually post something more Emma related soon.

What We Eat

So in my post yesterday, I talked about why we are changing our lifestyle to exclude dairy and gluten. Did you wonder what we eat then? I sure did when I first made the decision. My first instinct was to go out and buy all the gluten free processed items I could find.

But that would defeat all of the work I have been doing lately to reduce the processed foods we eat (see the homemade goodies we made here and here).

So, out went all the gluten filled processed foods. Our pantry started looking pretty slim with a few of Jared's must haves (no bean hormel chili, chicken noodle soup in a can, granola bars, and crackers) and the few gluten free items we already had: tuna, olive oil, coconut oil, and canned tomatoes.

While our pantry is looking pretty slim (had a photo but managed to delete it),

our fridge is jam packed with fresh, whole, (some organic) foods. Yes that is cows milk up front. We try to keep Jared's food easily accessible. The funny looking jar next to it is soon-to-be almond cream cheese. It should be ready around lunch time.

There are tons of veggies: mix of spring greens, spinach, peppers, onions, broccoli, kale, cabbage, and more that I am forgetting about.

There are lots of grapes (they make the smoothies taste awesome), some cut up fresh pineapple, honey crisp apples and dried dates.

We have fresh, homemade: pb, cashew milk, almond milk, and hummus (and the soon-to-be almond cream cheese). All came out ok, but are works in progress.

We have meat thawing for great tasty meals. Last nights was salmon patties made with wild Alaskan salmon, kale, quinoa, and some spices. Very tasty. I also served some brown rice pasta (store bought) that Emma really likes, but I think I over cooked it (which is kinda hard to do).

Lunch yesterday for me and Emma looked like this:

For Mama- A chopped salad with, well, almost every veggie we have in the house, plus some chopped turkey, craisins, and cherub tomatoes. We love those tomatoes. I was only able to eat half of it, so I get to eat the rest today!

For Emma- Tomatoes (she already ate all but one) red pepper, carrots, spinach, craisins, and chopped turkey. Now, Emma doesn't really like spinach, but she loves it when we make a spinach and craisin roll up. Add in some turkey and it's even better!

She really does like it, despite what the face says. 

Is a gluten/dairy free diet easy? Um, not a chance. 

Is a gluten/dairy free diet healthy? Um, depends on how you do it. Just like with any other sort of diet, you can take the easy way, or the healthy way. We could rely on all the processed and prepackaged gluten free stuff and we would be no healthier (except maybe less farty) then we were before. 

We chose the healthy route. If I have to radically change my entire way of eating, might as well make it as healthy as possible. Emma and I eat about 90% (or more) whole, unprocessed foods. With the exception of 3 things I can think of (gf pretzels, Auntie Annies gf bunny cookies, and the rice pasta), all of our other foods we eat on a regular basis are whole (fresh fruits and veggies, fresh meat, nuts, and seeds). 

And we rely heavily on smoothies. We are in the process of figuring out our favorites, but we have a few that we know we like (recipes to come). Almost every smoothie we make has some sort of veggie in it-spinach and kale are the most common. 

We also add chia seeds to every smoothie. It's my secret ingredient. 

I like to sip at my smoothie while I do dishes or get stuff cleaned up in the kitchen. Sometimes Emma gets full, or isn't particularly hungry in the morning and wants to save her smoothie for later. Sometimes Da is on his way home when I am making smoothies and we save some for him. 

Without the chia seeds, the above mentioned smoothies start to separate and get gross looking. With the chia seeds, the smoothies maintain their awesome smoothie texture and mixed-upedness for a long time. 

Not only do I love them for their glue like properties, chia seeds are really healthy for you. 

Per 1 Tbsp serving of chia seeds you get (copied from the nutritional label):

4g      Dietary fFber
2g      Protein
64mg Calcium
1mg   Iron
40mg Magnesium 
2.4g   Omega-3
.8g     Omega-6

I add a heaping tablespoon full to every smoothie I make. As a dietary supplement, I believe the recommendation is 2 tbsp per day, but don't quote me on it. 

I also add in a teaspoon of Vitamin C powder and 5 drops of liquid Vitamin D. We are working on getting other vitamins into our smoothies, but I haven't figure out the best way to do that yet. 

To each individual smoothie (once I pour individual cups) I add 2 capsules of probiotics to help heal our guts and keep them healthy. 

Emma and I like to drink ours with a straw. Jared drinks his so fast that he's sad when it's gone. Maybe he should follow our lead :)

I am working on a resource page for gluten and dairy free related information, but in the mean time, here are three websites I find the most helpful with meal planning and general info on this new way of life for us. 

If you have any good resources for living a gluten and dairy free life, please share them in the comment section.

Thanks and have a great day!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Where We've Been

Still here, only 4 weeks left till graduation. I would love to say that we have been busy packing the house up, but instead, I have been obsessing over food.

As I mentioned (in passing) in this post, Emma and I are eating gluten and dairy free. This is not our first time trying either gluten or dairy free.

We first started our dairy free changes in 2010 after Emma had 2 rectal prolapses within a month. The post I linked too is really long and parts are a bit gross, but I will recap here

- August 2010 (4y, 8m old)- Emma has 1st prolapse. Her doctor prescribes laxatives and "more fruits, veggies, and whole grains." We already ate a bunch of that, but added more. Things seemed o.k.
"Whoola Hooping"
August 2010

-September 2010 - Emma has 2nd (larger) prolapse. Received a referral to a Pediatric GI doctor, the wait is 2 months. I decided to cut dairy from her diet to see if that helps things at all, while also drastically reducing her laxative.
"Fun in the Mud"
Nevada, IA Jeep Show
September 2010

*Did you know that the more a person takes a laxative, the more their body depends on the laxative to poop? Can you imagine someone needing to rely on a laxative from the time they were 4? I couldn't so I only used it when I thought she absolutely needed it. Which wasn't very often.

"Dancing with Cousins"
NH October 2010

"T.V. time"
NH November 2010

-December 2010 (the day after Emma's 5th b-day)- Met with the pediatric GI doctor. Took x-rays and poked her tummy. "Give her a laxative daily and feed her more fruits and veggies. Oh, and she is fine to go back on dairy". Seriously? Again with the fruits and veggies? The x-ray did show that she was full of poop (haha, we already knew that!), so we did laxatives for a few days till she seemed to be empty, but after that I stopped them 

"Happy Birthday Baby!"
Tangled 3D
December 21, 2010

-January 2011- At some point during January, we ran out of soy milk, so we figured might as well see how she does with cows milk. A little milk on her cold oatmeal for breakfast, and by dinner time she had the sniffles. No fever, no other symptoms. So, I started researching dairy issues. Turns out one of the symptoms of dairy intolerance is stuffy nose. 

As Emma was having a hard time falling asleep that night because she couldn't breath, and the fact that she-no lie- went through an ENTIRE box of tissues the next day, we decided that dairy was out. Up until recently, we would be a little lax here and there and let her have a bit of cheese (or mac and cheese once a week), but there was to be no drinking of cow's milk. 

-February 2011- As I was researching dairy intolerance, I came across gluten intolerance. All of Emma's symptoms were on the list. Plus some of the autoimmune markers run in our families. I called up the doc and asked to have Emma tested for celiac disease. It was done but the results came back negative. If only I knew then what I know now... Anyway. I still decided to try the gluten free diet for her. I followed along so she didn't feel left out of anything. 

January, February and March of 2011 ended up being pretty crazy and the gluten free diet fell to the wayside. It wasn't until this past March that our lives seemed to really settle back down. 

I don't remember exactly when I noticed it, possible as far back as when Emma and I were in NH from Sep-Dec of 2010, but Emma started having really grody farts. So bad, I dubbed them "trucker farts" because all I could think of when she let one rip was some fat greasy trucking dude leaning over to let one go. 

Yeah, they were as bad as the image portrays. 

Finally, at the beginning of this year, I couldn't take it any more. I needed to know why she had farts that were worse than any adults I had every  heard. I eventually had enough energy and I started researching again. 
"Sparkling in the New Year at a friends house in AZ"
January 1, 2012

"Tasty homemade gluten filled (i.e. Whole Wheat) tortillas"
February 2012

-March 2012- All my research lead me back to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity/intolerance. I decided to just go for broke and cut both dairy and gluten from her diet (because many people who have problems with gluten, also have problems with dairy and other foods). 

This isn't really the recommended route to go because you need to be eating gluten in order for your body to be reacting to it. All the tests that can be preformed to test for celiac disease or gluten intolerance need to be done while on a gluten filled diet.

Not wanting Emma to have to make such crazy changes on her own, I committed to eating only what she is allowed to eat. 

It took about a week before we noticed that she stopped farting. When she does occasionally fart, she will look at me and say, "That was a normal fart" with a big smile on her face. She's right. Now her farts are what you would expect from a petite 6 year old (not a 50 something fat trucker). 

Turns our she isn't the only one feeling better. I have so much more energy, I've lost 5 or more pounds, I don't feel bloated, and I just feel better. 

I did slip up once in the first 2 weeks without even thinking about it while Jared and I were out to eat. I had some noodles at a sushi place and for the next 3 days, I was so lethargic I would have to lay down after walking about 20 steps. If I was sitting on the floor (trying to play with Emma) my body was too heavy and I had to lay down. Thankfully it passed, and I am now much more vigilant. 

We have been making an effort to get outside more (seeing as we seem to have more energy)

Smoothies every day

Self Portraits 

Homemade gluten free noodles- They were a little thick, but still pretty tasty. 

And our new (to us) work horse to help make every day as healthy as can be. The Vita-mix. So expensive, so worth it. 

We make smoothies everyday, at least once. Just about every day we have smoothies for breakfast. Some days we will also have a smoothie for snack or lunch, depending on what we have in the house. 

One smoothie is always a greenish smoothie, meaning we throw some veggies in it. 

Jared and Emma have started requesting that instead of me serving salad (a beautiful chopped salad that looked awesome and tasted even better), that I should just throw a few hand fulls of the salad into a smoothie and serve it with dinner. 

So I do green smoothies more nights than not. I still eat my salad, because I love to eat my salad, but I am happy that they happily consume some salad, even if its in a smoothie. 

Wow this is a long post. If you made it this far, thanks for hanging in there and letting me vent a bit! I will probably be writing a few more posts about this because I feel everyone needs to know about gluten and the problems it can cause. For now, I will leave you with a book recommendation.

Even if you don't have kids, I highly suggest you read this book. It is a fairly easy read, nothing crazy heavy, but there is some awesomely scary connections between what we eat, and how we feel and act. It really is an eye opener and a great starting point for figuring out if the foods you (or your child) are eating is causing more harm than good.

Check your library. If I had the money, this is one I would buy and hand out to everyone I know and love. 

But, seeing as I am not made of money, I will just urge you to borrow it from the library instead. 

Until next time, have a great day!