Saturday, December 8, 2012

Still Kicking...An Update

Hi All! I am still here, reading others blogs from time to time, and putting my own on the back burner. I guess it has been somewhat of an unofficial unannounced break that I chose to have. I constantly had thoughts swirling through my mind that I wanted to blog about, but didn't have the time to actually sit down and type them out when they were fresh on my mind. It was starting to frustrate me and one day I decided that, although I love to write, it shouldn't feel like a burden - so I needed to take a break.

I keep a journal at my bedside, so I do occasionally hand write an entry when I am in bed, but usually those thoughts don't make their way here...

So, here's an update to some of the happenings that have been going on in my life, such as eating gluten free/my health, moving into my in-laws home temporarily, and my food blog. I will probably take another break after this post, but will update at some point :-)

Eating Gluten Free
Today marks 23 weeks of eating gluten free! I have been with it so long, that I usually have to check a calendar to count the weeks now :-)  I was tempted to test it out yesterday morning (by eating something with gluten) because I decided to make the kids pancakes with regular wheat flour. Part of me is just curious to see what reaction my body would have after all this time (if any)...but, I changed my mind and had a bowl of frozen blueberries and sliced bananas instead. I feel so good most of the time, that I'm scared to test it. Has anyone that has gone gluten free - for reasons other than Celiac Disease - ever tested the effects of gluten after being free from it for a long time? I'd be interested to hear others experiences.

A side note, as far as my health goes... I am still battling my foot injury issue. It could be that I'm a busy momma and can't stay off my feet long enough for it to heal, or maybe the cause is something else. Sometimes I worry that maybe there is another underlying cause that I should be getting checked out - but I just feel so stuck, I don't know what to do. In mid-November I decided to return to the chiropractor that I've worked with many times over the years...hoping there would be something they could do. I went for a couple weeks, and it seemed to help for a short time, but overuse just aggravates it. Then, the last couple of weeks have been so busy with running around (kids to school, my dad to doctor/physical therapy appointments, etc...) that I haven't wanted to add one more thing knowing that it will just undo any help I get with it. I set up a care plan with X number of visits, so I will return - maybe around Christmas break when the kids will be off school for over a week. There are some other nutritional options I am interested in there, but I need to wait for 2013 to come before I pursue them.

Our Temporary Living Situation
It has been about 3 1/2 months since we made our move. Overall, things are going well. My in-laws are nice to be around and helpful with the kids when we need it, and there haven't been any major issues. Every few weeks I get in a rut where I am overly anxious to be back in our own space, but I know we have a ways to go before we can take the next step. We watch the house listings that our awesome realtor set up for us to receive, and we even looked at a place last week. We could possibly afford something right now at the low end of our price range...unfortunately the house we looked at was a mess. We're ok with a fixer upper (my hubby is amazing), but this place was more of a 'bull-doze it down and start over' kind of house. The yard was nice though :-)  Anyways, we'll keep saving until next spring/summer and then we should be able to get into a house higher up in our price range a.k.a. a bit more move in ready, a bit more space, more preferred location, etc.

I have to admit that I think about our old house from time to time... Sometimes I feel like I might regret our decision, but then I think about all the good that has already come out of this whole situation and the feelings of regret disappear. We had a fantastic house 'up north'. It was beautiful; we (ok...really my hubby) made the house our own by finishing the basement, adding a deck, installing a fence, etc... By the time we sold - it was perfect. We had installed new counter tops in the kitchen, cleaned windows, cleared it of all clutter, etc... I often wonder what it looks like now. I've had a few dreams about it (where we decide to go check it out, even though we no longer live there) but it looks different each time.

The couple that lives there now reminds me of when we bought the house back in 2004...young...early-mid 20's...buying their first home...starting a new adventure together. Each year since brought us new excitement and joy. 2004-we got engaged shortly after buying the house. 2005-we got married. 2006-I got pregnant. 2007-our daughter was born and I got pregnant again. 2008-our son was born. 2009-hmm...???. 2010-I quit my job to stay home with the kids, and spent 3 weeks in Finland. 2011-hmm...maybe there were a couple years nothing overly exciting happened. 2012-we decided to sell our house and start a new adventure.

This past Monday the kids and I went up to visit my friend and her two boys (the family I did daycare for in our old town). As we approached our old street I was overcome with a flurry of emotions. It was the first time I had been back to our old town since we moved. It almost felt like I was headed back home after an extended vacation. We drove by the house (at the request of my daughter) and it looked the same, except for they have a different garbage service. It was a very weird feeling.

I miss the house, I miss our neighbors, I miss the feel of an old small town. I wish we could have just picked it up and moved it 30 miles south. I know He has a plan for us.

The good that has come from the move has come in the form of family. We get to see our family so much more, now that there isn't a 45 minute drive each way. The kids get to see their cousins A LOT, and that was one of the major deciding factors in our move. It's so great to spur of the moment meet up with my parents to do some outlet mall window shopping, or come by for dinner on short notice. Sometimes the small things are really the big things.

Food Blog
I started my food blog in October. I wasn't really ready to get it up and running, but there was a food challenge I wanted to participate in so I decided to just go for it. Although I haven't posted since the challenge, I do have quite a few recipes written up as drafts, and a few still handwritten. The photos are ready to go, I just need to find an easy way to watermark them (I don't have Photoshop). I've created a few unwritten recipes lately - and I really should get back to writing everything down and taking photos. With so much going on in the non-technical part of my life, I haven't taken the time for blogging, here or there.

What's To Come?
Eventually I would love to make blogging a regular habit hobby because deep down it does bring me a ton of joy to write out my thoughts, and to share my food creations. For now I will get through the holidays - I'm currently working on the annual home made sewing project for all the kiddos in my life - and we'll see what the new year brings!


In case I don't make an appearance before the year runs out...I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season filled with family and love!


p.s. Remember my 2012 reading challenge?  I met my goal quite a while ago, and have slowly continued my reading. My list (linked at the top of the page) will be updated in the next few days-you'll notice I didn't read much of what was on the original planned-to-read list (and now most are packed away until we move again) mostly because I have a library addiction. I have a few weeks to decide what my reading goal for next year will be!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mommy Time Outs...

Ahh...the mommy time-out.

One night this past week I just couldn't take the constant chatter of my lovely children any longer. I'd spent all day with them (as I do most days) and we had a good day, but I just yearned for a few minutes of peace. I was making dinner and the kids were at the table patiently waiting. It was too close to dinner to get them started on something to occupy their time. Then all of the sudden, out of my mouth came "Uh-Oh, time for mommy to have a little time out! I'm going to set the timer for 5 minutes and there can be no talking or sounds during my time out."

I set the timer...and magically it worked. The kids sat there quietly and waited out my time out. And thankfully when the timer beeped, they were a lot more calm and actually used their quiet voices for quite a while afterwards.

I have to say, it was the most peaceful 5 minutes of my whole day. I felt so much more relaxed after just those 5 minutes of silence that the rest of the evening was also a lot more relaxed. Bedtime went more smoothly (it was my hubby's late day at work, so usually by bedtime I am just maxed out after being solo all day/night and I can get a bit crabby...) and it was a great way to end the day.

The next night at dinner it was the kids and I, and my MIL & FIL. The kids were rambunctious and having a hard time sitting in their seats and using their quiet voices. It was a bit much for the adults, after a long day, so out came the mommy time out again. I figured it would benefit everyone. It was a bit more challenging with more people since the kids wanted to chat with grandma and grandpa, but eventually it worked out. I had to keep myself from laughing; I don't know why it seemed such a funny thing to me that night. Maybe it was thinking about what my in-laws were thinking about the whole thing, that maybe I was going a bit crazy ;-)

This may become a regular thing at mealtime when the kids are loud, because it just makes for a much more peaceful mealtime. I will have to ask my hubby to try it out sometime if I won't be home for dinner, just to see if it works for him too :-)

I highly recommend this for any adult that will be caring for children - you get a few minutes of peace to relax, the kids get a chance to calm down a bit, so it is a win-win situation for everyone!

I haven't had a lot of time to sit and type lately, but we're working on building that time in to the "schedule". Thank you for sticking with me despite the lack of posts! I have some handwritten material that will make it up soon.

I've also worked on a few recipes this past week, so you'll see them popping up soon over at my new baby: Stirring Up The Kitchen. Be sure to check them out! I didn't feel like I was ready to put my food blog up yet (and I still need to post my "welcome"...) but I've been working on recipes, and glad that I have a space to share them with you all! Eventually the design (etc.) will come together, but we're all just there for the food anyways, right?  ;-)

I'm enjoying this beautiful sunny fall day here in the Midwest  typing outside as my family runs around the yard. Time to put the computer back in the house though...

Hope you are all enjoying this lovely Sunday as well! Where are you reading from? What is your weather like today?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Announcing The Arrival Of...

Stirring Up The Kitchen!

I am so excited to share that I have created a food blog! (a.k.a. my new "baby")

And...when I say 'created' I mean that I have accomplished #1 on my list - to come up with a name. #2 (setting up a new place) is in the works. I have a template in place that I have customized a bit, but it is not anywhere close to the sketch I have on the desk in front of me. That will come in time, but for now I just wanted to be able to get started with the fun part - sharing recipes!

I had planned to have a welcoming post up first for my new blog, but instead you'll see a recipe! I have been wanting to participate in the Crazy Cooking Challenge for quite some time - and they post on the 7th of each month, so I decided to make that my first post instead of posting my recipe on this end of the blogging world :-)  You'll find the 'welcome' this week...a little backwards...I know...

Starting out, my goal is to post a recipe once per week, but as I get more settled (and eventually get my own kitchen again) it will be more frequently.

I'd like to keep my new blog as a place for sharing recipes and food related information, so I will continue to post here as well.

I hope you'll hop over to say "hi" as I'm Stirring Up The Kitchen, With A Spoonful Of Love!

P.S. Be sure to check out my recipe for Spiced Apple Pie Muffins (as well as all of the other awesome recipes linked up at the bottom!). They are hubby, mother, father, nephew and niece approved! Thank goodness for family nearby to help with taste-testing. I'm sure our kiddos would've approved too if they would have been willing to try them...eventually they'll be convinced to be my taste testers too ;-)

Monday, September 24, 2012

What's On My Plate...

This past Saturday marked 12 weeks of living my gluten-free lifestyle. I believe this is the longest that I have ever 'stuck' with anything of this nature. Yay!

Overall the experience has been a great one. My tummy is happy and I rarely feel bloated. When I occasionally do, I believe it could possibly be due to cross-contamination. I don't worry too much because it's not an everyday thing, but I do take note and try to figure out what the culprit may be.

My energy levels are up a bit, and my mind is clear...despite living the chaotic life of having young kids in school, taking care of our living space, etc...  :-)

I think my prior experiences with trying to eat healthy and figuring out food sensitivities has really prepared me for going gluten-free. I was already used to cooking and baking from scratch, and focusing on fruits, veggies, and grains...so it has really been a matter of checking into products that are on hand or that I am thinking about buying, to make sure they are free from gluten. I have been able to make simple substitutions to continue enjoying many of the foods I love. Overall I don't really miss anything, except pizza. I love pizza and just haven't attempted making a gluten free crust, YET. I usually substitute brown rice or quinoa for crust. Later this week I plan to add a page link at the top of my blog with various gluten free tips/substitutions/etc.

The more simply I eat, the easier my life is.

Originally I had planned to 'test the gluten waters' at week 12. Well...I'm two days past that mark and am sticking to my gluten free ways. I am working on letting my foot injury from the summer heal - and by 'working on' I mean that I have been icing my foot, using crutches, letting my hubby do the grocery shopping, letting my mother-in-law help out with a few things, and generally trying not to over-do things. (I visited the doctor after our move to get an x-ray; nothing was broken and the doctor said, "I know this is unrealistic with a 4 and 5 year old, but just try to stay off of it as much as you can for a couple weeks." A month later, I am trying to follow his recommendation...) The crutches have been 'interesting', and I have managed to do quite a bit - including cooking/baking, lots of stairs, etc. Yesterday my MIL's walking boot came out (she broke her ankle last year). She had mentioned it before, but I wasn't sure about it. The crutching is creating problems with my 'good' foot, so I decided to give it a shot. It actually wasn't too bad. I even played ping-pong at my niece's 8th birthday party yesterday :-) It's getting better, but taking time.

I still plan to 'test the gluten waters' at some point, but decided that it wasn't worth the risk while my foot is in the healing stage. When the day comes...as much as I'd love to eat a Davanni's Deep Dish Pepperoni Pineapple with Pink Sauce, or any pizza from Papa Murphy's, I will keep it simple. I will make something at home that I've made a few times during the past 12 weeks (pancakes, muffins, etc.), but setting aside my gluten-free flour collection so I have just one variable. I figure this is the safest way vs. eating something processed (pasta, store bought bread, etc) that contains other ingredients out of my control. :-)

Time to move around a bit after resting my feet for a long while! Look for my new page link at the top later this week! It will mainly be a place for me to jot down substitutions I've made, tips on products I've bought, and ideas for people considering going gluten free to realize that it doesn't have to be complicated, expensive, etc. to eat in a way that could possibly change their lives for the better!

Make this a fantastic week!

p.s. I'm slowly making progress on my new 'baby'...aka project!

Friday, September 7, 2012

My New 'Baby'...

My new 'baby' has been brewing for quite a while! Although I still have some prep work to do, I am anxiously awaiting its arrival later this year.

I have many feelings that come with such a big life change...excitement, fear, happiness, wonderment, etc. Some of the common feelings that someone entering a new adventure such as this may endure.

Once I get my prep work done, then I am hopeful that things will be smooth sailing for the duration. I realize that there will surely be hectic days, many challenges along the way, and frustrating times, but overall it will be an enjoyable time filled with successes, learning lessons, fun times, and lots of love - these I pray will overshadow the others.

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

My Prep List*:

1) A Name.
I will continue the process of coming up with a name...this has been a (fun) challenge as I want to come up with a completely unique name which also has meaning to us.

2) Setting Up A New Place
I have some potential colors picked out, and a few design ideas, but I need to see how I can make them fit together. I'd also like to come up with some nice photos to put on the wall. Design is not my strong point, but I have several people who can give me great input.

3) Supplies/Things
I already have a lot of things that I'll be able to use, but it would still be nice to get a few new things to help along the way.

*I have to note that I am not alone in this; my hubby will be by my side to lend a hand in many ways as time goes by.

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

I'm sure there are many other things to add to the list, but these are the big ones. I will  always have my scrap paper/sticky note "To-Do" lists here and there...to help me along the way.

I'll continue to post about any progress along the way and am hoping for an arrival sometime before the new year is upon us!

Make it a great day!

UPDATE to clarify confusion in case my family wonders why I would break this kind of news on my blog:
My new 'baby' is actually a project that I have had on my mind for quite some time, and with my hubby's support and encouragement I am working to make it a reality. This is big for me, especially after floating for a while, not knowing what I want to do with my 'life' - I've considered this, but never thought of it as being what I "do". Praying with some hard work it can be just that...what I "DO". Very excited to share it - but need to tackle #'s 1 and 2 on the above list first. Hopefully sooner than later :-)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Skinny" Struggles...and Shopping in the Girls Section

Jeans. My nemesis, no longer.

I am petite. Struggling to get/stay up to 100 pounds petite. It is due to a genetic condition where one of the (many) less serious characteristics is a high metabolism and difficulty gaining weight. It is a struggle similar to being overweight, although on the opposite side of the spectrum. It comes with labeling, stares, whispers behind my back, and people "hating" me for being skinny. About 10 years ago I found out (from someone other than my mom) that people used to ask my mom if I was anorexic. I don't remember if I ever asked my mom about this; but if it was true, how sad that people would ask her that. Anyone that knows me, knows that I love to eat. I eat a lot, and I eat often. It's actually a challenge sometimes because my high metabolism leaves me feeling hungry nearly all.the.time. Anorexia is a very serious condition, and while I have never been anorexic, I feel sad for those struggling with it because it must be painful not to eat and to view yourself as "fat" when you really are not.

It comes with dirty looks and comments when I am out with my 5 year old daughter and 4 year old son (I'm guessing they think I am a teenager...with two kids, which even if I was-still not ok to be rude); my favorite non-dirty comment was in the grocery store a while back when an older couple whispered to each other after I passed with my two children in the cart, "she must be the babysitter". Nope. I'm their mom. I just laughed to myself as we rounded the next aisle.

The two times that I was actually able to gain weight was during my pregnancies. I had polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid) with both, and gained 55+ pounds with each time around. I was HUGE. And it was mostly baby related. My former co-workers at the college would always tell me that from the back I didn't even look pregnant, and then I'd turn and WHOA! Watch out! :-) Several of the students that I helped there had asked if I was having twins; I was even asked once or twice if there were triplets in there! I loved being pregnant; gaining so much weight didn't bother me at all, and neither did the comments and questions. It was such an awesome experience. I had hoped some of the weight would stick around, but, it didn't. Here are a couple photos...let's just pretend I didn't really share these :-)


(left) Baby #1 - 39 weeks - May 2007   (right) Baby #2 - 39 weeks - July 2008

Being petite also comes with the difficulty of buying clothes that fit. I'd love to buy cutesy, fancy, dressy tops that many people my age wear may give me a more grown up appearance, but I'll just say I'm small all around and they just don't make them for people that can't fill them properly. So, I stick to mostly t-shirts, tank tops, and every once in a while find a "fancy" shirt that looks ok. Pants are similar; I don't have any hips to fill in the gaps. I had been lucky finding jeans at Old Navy the past couple years, but have grown tired of having to always cut off several inches from the bottom to hem them up.

I solved this problem on Sunday as I headed over to the 'girls' section. Yes, girls. Not juniors, not womens... I should note that I didn't feel I even needed new jeans (I have two pairs I bought after Christmas, hemmed up, and rotate) but I was out with my mother-in-law and daughter to do some school shopping, and apparently my hubby had told my MIL to try and get me to buy something for myself :-) I should also note that I enjoy sewing and I do have my sewing machine handy after our move (I know, I know, I was going to write about that...I'm a little 'off topic' here :-) ) but I just wanted to not have to go that route for once. Anyways...I tried on a couple different sizes and ended up buying a size 12 plus. In girls. It's crazy. They even have those buttons on the inside of the waist with the elastic to adjust the size, which comes in so handy for young children, and now, apparently ME. The size 14 was still too long, and the size 12 waist a bit snug, but the size 12 plus was perfect. The waist is similar to the 14 (and yes, I am taking advantage of the elastic in there) and the length is perfect. They feel great and fit great! And the best part is no one will know that I bought them in the girls section...well, except for anyone reading this ;-)

We all judge from time to time, whether it is spoken to another, or in our heads. Just be careful when you judge, you don't know why a person is the way they are, or in the situation they are in.

If you see a 'skinny' girl don't feel envious of her, she may be struggling as well. If you see a 'skinny' girl, don't label her as anorexic, she may actually eat more than you. If you see a 'skinny' girl, don't stare, it may deplete her self-esteem. If you see a 'skinny' girl, say "hi", she could be a good friend if you really got to know her.

We are all different in our own ways; there is no normal, there is no point of 'perfection', we should never assume we are better than someone just because they are different than us.

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." Dr. Seuss

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Past Foodie Links For You While I Continue Unpacking...

Last weekend was the big move, and it has been a busy, busy time in our new home. Hoping to have time to sit down and really "write" this coming week. I've had a bit of time to do some cooking/baking this week after starting to feel withdrawal effects, and honestly I have food on my mind All.The.Time. I love to cook and bake, and I love to eat!

Here's a list of some food related posts (in no order whatsoever) that have appeared on my blog, mostly recipes of others. I have a bundle of my own recipes to blog about in the future...

Enjoy reading, and give some of the recipes a try! Let me know if you do; would love to hear what you think and what kind of changes you may have made.  :-)

Fabulous Banana Chocolate Chip Cake w/Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (also w/Gluten Free modifications) posted 7/14/12

Coffee Craziness posted 12/21/11

My own recipe for a Finnish Chocolate Whipped Porridge. Breakfast or Dessert...you can decide! posted 12/21/11

Struggles of wanting to feed my family well, etc. posted 6/26/11

The Blog that started my addiction love of Food Blogs! posted 6/10/11

Snack or Meal? posted 3/23/11

Announcing going Gluten Free, plus recipe links. p.s. Still GF - 8 weeks in! posted 7/7/12

A Finnish Appetizer/Snack/Meal/Any Time Food...involving Bacon. YUM! posted 4/1/11

Banana, Strawberry, and Chocolate Chip Muffins. Still a Favorite. posted 5/24/11

Food and My Family posted 5/24/11

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. Made these Gluten Free this week, just as good as the original! posted 6/11/11

More Muffins...mmm...Gingerbread! posted 6/11/11

I hope you've been able to check some of these out! Have a wonderful weekend and look for an update about our moving adventure, coming up soon!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Popping Corn In The Bedroom

Saturday begins day one of our big move. We close on Monday morning, so we plan to have everything out by Sunday evening. I want to stay here as long as we can and starting tomorrow will give us 2 days to "leisurely" move. I'll bring the kids down to my parent's house after breakfast,and then they will stay over night there. That will give us a chance to get things moved and set up on the 'receiving' end.

We knew when we decided to sell that we weren't going to come out making money on our house. The housing market was a lot different when we bought our house just over 8 years ago. We were hoping to possibly break even. Had the appraisal come back differently, we could have actually come out a tiny bit ahead. But, the appraisal wasn't based on what the house is actually worth (in our eyes), it was based on comparable sales for our area. An appraisal that takes less than 10 minutes, isn't a true reflection of the condition of the house. I feel we have a beautiful home, and when compared to other listings in the area in a similar price range...it shines - but it was not based on houses for sale, just houses sold. Well, I guess I've already written about this, so I'll carry on :-)

In the end, we are able to make the sale happen (thanks to living like we were poor saving money over the years...not really knowing what we were saving for), but we are financially unable to jump into another house right away. Thankfully our families have been able to help us out immensely. My parent's have extra storage space in their basement for us to 'house' most of our belongings (many of which will be put in a big garage sale next year), and my husband's parent's have extra room for our family to live. I am lucky to have in-laws that I get along with and enjoy spending time with, although it will still be a big adjustment for our whole family. I'm sure we'll come up with many rules and agreements on things (mostly relating to the kids/shared space), but after some time we'll get into a routine.

We are fortunate that they can offer us their lower level (walk out basement). The kids will each have their own bedroom, and they have another level below ground with an additional room/office - which will be our bedroom. There is a living room and bathroom as well, and a door at the bottom of the stairs so we can close it off. We'll share the main level kitchen (although I've warned my mother-in-law that I'll be taking over her kitchen...she was ok with that). We've set-up some extra cabinet space (inexpensive put-together cabinets that we had used for arts/crafts/games/toys/etc) in their rarely used formal dining room so I'll be able to bring a majority of my kitchen stuff with, as well as have my own 'pantry' space. Have I ever mentioned how much I love our current kitchen? Geez, I am sure going to miss it.  I plan to do most of the cooking, cleaning of our areas, laundry, etc, and I plan to buy our own groceries, as well as any other necessities (bathroom/cleaning supplies, etc...). We're adults raising our family, and even though the roof over our heads is no longer our own, we intend to continue being adults raising our family.

Our stay is only temporary, as we save to move onto our next adventure. We are looking at 6-12 months, unless something comes up sooner and we are able to act on it. I feel kind of like we are just floating right now, but it's where He intends for us to be at this time. My husband has a steady job, and I plan to seek out part-time work after the kids are settled into school and in a routine (possibly with the school district) so it shouldn't take us very long to recover.

Oh, and even though I am saddened by the loss of my current kitchen, at least I will no longer have to air pop popcorn in our bedroom :-)  Yes, I am addicted to it (...our kids may be as well (we may or may not have had popcorn for dinner tonight...with smoothies...)) and here the kids bedrooms are on the same level as the kitchen, so if I want to enjoy some post-kid-bedtime popcorn I grab a tray with all the necessary popcorn making things and retreat to our bedroom in the lower level-opposite side from the kids rooms. I've also made smoothies in our bedroom several times. Please tell me there are others out there that have done the same? We enjoy smoothies and popcorn as a family quite often, but sometimes momma needs her own at night but waking the kids is not an option ;-)

I've got some more packing to do, so it's time to ditch the desk and get to it. More to come on our new adventures...maybe even a short tour of my beloved soon-to-be-someone-else's kitchen...and a monthly or bi-monthly post titled "Immil's Kitchen" (yea, more on that later for sure!).

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Overloaded Bundle of Emotions

Wow. We close on our house in 5 days. At 9:30am on Monday. So, by Sunday night we need to have everything moved out, since Monday morning won't allow us time.

It still doesn't feel completely real to me yet. Although when the piano movers came on Saturday morning to move my grandma's piano down to my parent's house (where it will be housed for now), things may have started to feel real. In the afternoon when I helped load up our big red comfy couch so it could be on its way to a  new home (we sold it), it continued to start to feel real.

But, I've been writing this post in my mind for DAYS, maybe WEEKS, and whenever I've sat down to 'write', I just can't do it. I'm feeling so many different emotions and trying to explain them just seems overwhelming. I'm just going to do my best here, not because I feel like I have to, but when I look back I want to remember how I felt going out. I may have to ramble a bit to get out what I really want to say, so please bear with me :-)

Moving is unfamiliar to me, in a way. I physically left my parent's nest when I was 22. In my mind I had already left, as I had been planning and preparing for years...so when my friend T and I moved into an apartment I was all set as far as furniture, bathroom stuff, kitchen stuff, etc... We stayed for a year, and then after a pit stop at my parent's house for a couple weeks (at which time I met my now-husband for the first time) I moved into a townhouse that someone owned and was renting a room at. I found it through a website and the funny part was that she used to come to my mom's daycare when we were young - we had been friends way back then. She also graduated the same year as my older brother. It was perfect! It was a great place to live, and A was an awesome room mate (as was T!). My next move came when S and I bought our current house. I don't know how all this 'history' really relates, but there you go ;-)

I guess the unfamiliar part comes in because growing up we never moved. In fact, my parent's still live in the house where my brothers and I grew up. Now here we are, after 8 years in our house, with 2 kids in tow, and we're moving out. I have to say our kids have been real troopers - preparing to sell/move, selling, and moving, has been a very busy stressful time for us, and I KNOW it has been for them as well. They have been handling things quite well, and I look forward to getting settled once again so they (and we) can experience some "normalcy" once again. Although it won't be the most "normal" situation (we'll be living with my husband's family while we recover from the sale...another post for another day) it will be better than the stresses leading up to our move.

Throughout the past few months I have experienced...

Stress...
Relief...
Sadness...
Happiness...
Feeling Overwhelmed...
Tiredness...
Annoyance...
Gratitude...
Being Blessed...
Anxiety...
Uncertainty...
Certainty...
Frustration...
Anticipation...
Fear...
Trust...
Joy...
Optimism...
Pessimism...
Love...
Acceptance...
Excitement...

It has been quite the roller coaster ride. We're ready to enter this next chapter in our lives, and ready to work towards getting to the next one. All in all we feel that we've made the right decision and that He will continue to guide us and bring us to each new chapter.

This first move is just a stepping stone...

Any tips or advice for the last days before a big move? Please feel free to share in the comments below...I would love to hear about others experiences!

Have a great rest-of-the-week everyone! I will be counting the days...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Two Weeks From Today...

...we will be starting our new chapter in life. We are scheduled to close on our house the 20th of August. It almost doesn't seem real yet. This week I'll be packing up what little remains that we won't need in our temporary housing situation that we'll be in. Hopefully I'll be able to fit it all in the trunk so I can store it away at my parent's house when we come for a visit on Friday (thanks again Mom for letting us use your basement as a storage area!). Then, next week I can start to pack some of the things that we can do without for the week. The move shouldn't be too bad, since I already packed up most of our house back in June. When I posted about this mid-June, I wrote:

"...it's enough to live on, and my hope is that we will find we don't actually NEED all that stuff, and we will eventually figure out what we DO need, and the rest will be put in a garage sale and/or donated. I'm craving living the simple life :-)  And the best part of all this is that when our actual moving day is nearing - I can probably have us packed up in a day, two at the most! Then it's mostly a matter of getting a moving truck to load up furniture."

Well, it HAS been enough to live on. We've found that we don't actually need all that stuff, and I do plan to have a garage sale next spring. Once we are out of our temporary housing situation (more on that in an upcoming post) and into our own home, we may need to bring back a few things - so I'll  make sure I don't sell/donate everything that's stored away :-) The simple life has been WONDERFUL, although I feel it could be even more simple...which it will have to be due to limited space in our temp situation - so it'll be a great time to discover what we really "need" and what we don't. Then, when we move into our new home we will have an idea of how we want to set things up. Simply is how it'll be, and we're definitely learning.

Look for posts later this week about how I am feeling emotionally and physically, due to the upcoming move as well as my food 'adventures' if we can call it that (gluten free, etc...)  :-)

But, for now I am off to dreamland. As of a couple days ago I'm trying to go to bed earlier...last night was before eleven, tonight not quite as early...striving for 10:30pm. I'll get there one of these nights...zzz...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Today WOULD HAVE BEEN My Little Girl's First Day of Kindergarten...

Before we made the big decision to sell our house, we had enrolled our daughter in Kindergarten. In our district we have the option of the traditional school year (starting right after Labor Day), or year round school. We really liked the idea of year round school because of the scheduled 2-week breaks that occurred every 9 or so weeks, with a 6 week break during summer.

Year round school started today.

Of course things have changed since March... When we put the house on the market a few weeks ago, we were then faced with the decision of whether or not to send her. We didn't know how long it would take to sell, and knew that if we didn't send her to the year round school, she would definitely have to start school the day after Labor Day...somewhere. Due to the high interest shown in our house right away...I sent in an Open Enrollment form to the school that I would like her to attend when we move, just two days after listing the house.

The school I'd love for the kids to attend is actually where I attended as a child, except that a new building was built 10 years ago - so same name, new building. The city/neighborhood we will temporarily be living in after the move is different than where this school is located, BUT it is still the school that is in the boundary where my parent's live...where I grew up. SO, if there is space available at that school for her, then I could either drive her to school, OR she would be able to catch the bus from my parent's house. My mom does daycare, and two of my nieces and one of her other daycare kiddos will be riding the bus as well. This would be perfect as I plan to work part-time after we get settled a bit. Luckily the school and my parent's house are only about 15 minutes or so from where we will be living; not too far out of the way. If there is not space available for her to attend that school, then she would still be able to attend the school that is in the boundary for where we will be living.

The current principal at the school (I'd like the kids to attend) was actually my 6th grade teacher! My 6th grade class was the last one to be part of elementary school, the following year 6th grade became part of middle school. I talked with him a few days after mailing in the form. He was just as kind as I had remembered him some 20 years ago (WHAT?!?! Did I really just say 20 years ago? Geesh.). In my early school days I had two favorite teachers, 2nd grade and 6th grade - the one's that I will always hold memories of. Of course I have a couple from high school as well; middle school - not so much. I was lucky to have only had to attend 7th and 8th grade during middle school-hated it!

Back on track here...I briefly explained our situation with moving/schools/etc and he was going to put a note in to the person that would be coordinating the classes and whether or not they could take more students. He couldn't guarantee anything, but thought there was a pretty good chance of her being able to attend. And...yes, I did mention the fact that I used to be a student of his - hey, why not? :-)  I also asked for his advice on whether or not to send her to school here (that started today) or to hold off and see what happens. He said that academically it wouldn't hurt at all to have those extra weeks of school, but emotionally it may present challenges, especially if she were to get attached to her teacher - and then have to start at a new school with a new teacher. He advised to wait. I agreed.

So, now we wait. It will be a couple weeks, or more, before we find out if she will be able to attend my former school. If she is - that is GREAT because then our son will also be able to attend Kindergarten there the following year (unless we are able begin homeschooling...I won't get into that here, another post for another day). If she isn't able to, I do feel better knowing that the principal there knows the principal of the other school she would be able to attend 'automatically' really well, and said it is also a really great school.

Hopefully our closing date on the house will not change so that we can have a couple weeks to get adjusted before school starts. It's crazy how quickly things are happening...before we know it we'll be settled in a new home, school will have started, and all of this worrying decision making will be just a distant memory :-)

---- on a side note ----

I don't think I have mentioned here that our son receives speech services through the school district (he was in a program called Sound Pals throughout this past school year, working on speech articulation). We have an IEP (individualized education program) set up for this coming school year, which we know will transfer between school districts (we discussed possibly moving when we met w/his teacher this past spring), but we also have him enrolled in preschool here. If we weren't moving, then he'd go to preschool Tues/Thurs and his speech teacher would meet with him for a period of time each of those days. But, we are moving, so I need to un-enroll him and work on plan B. We know he will still receive services through our new district, but now we have the dilemma of figuring out preschool for him. He doesn't have to go to preschool to receive speech services, but we still think preschool would be beneficial for him, socially. I have been researching various preschool options for our new area, and tomorrow will start calling to see if there is space available. It would be nice for him to receive speech services where he goes to preschool, if it is through the district, but I have more research to do to find out if he has to receive the speech services at a particular school, based on where we live, etc etc etc.

Maybe I am getting into another post with this...I'll just leave it at: I have some more figuring out to do with what is hopefully the last piece of the puzzle, as far as figuring out school plans for our dear kiddos.

Has anyone else with children moved shortly before the school year started? Any tips/advice/etc?

Was the Appraisal Really Necessary?

A week ago was the unexpected appraisal. I had mentioned in my last post that the appraiser was only here for about 10 minutes total - inside and out. I thought it was quite unusual. We are most certain that he knew before he even came what he would be appraising our house at (based on recent nearby comparable sales). Whatever the case, the house didn't appraise at what we were hoping it would. We tried to contest it, but, were unable to make any changes.

We were bummed, BUT, we knew we were taking a risk by listing it above what the average was for our area (we hoped to break even). We KNEW there was a chance that it wouldn't appraise for that price - so we shouldn't be too disappointed since we were "warned" :-)  The frustrating part is that we had multiple offers at our list price, and the last deal we were presented with before the appraisal was actually above list price because of the multiple offers, and the buyer really wanting the house. People were willing to pay what we asked, but, the appraisal sets the bar when it really comes down to making a deal, because it would be very unlikely for someone to pay MORE, since that would then come out of their pocket.

Hubby and I spent several hours yesterday discussing different options, scenarios, solutions, etc. I could describe them here...but...not today. What it all came down to was that we need to do what we think is best for our family at this time. The future is unknown; if we wait then it may cost us even more to sell - so why risk it any more; the time is now. We need a new adventure! We have made the best deal that we can for the situation at this time.

Our proposed closing date is August 20th, so as long as all the paperwork can be written up by that time - that will be the day. That day also happens to be our 7th wedding anniversary. :-) My hubby's weekend is Sunday-Tuesday, so closing on a Monday seemed ideal - move things out Sunday, close on the house Monday and get situated in our new temporary home, relax on Tuesday, right?!?! ;-)

This has surely been quite the experience for us! There will be more posts to come about it. Just praying that things are set and we don't have any changes and are able to close on the 20th!

Have you sold a home? What was your experience like? I'd love to hear about it...feel free to comment below...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Inspection Status and a - somewhat - Unexpected Visitor Today

The inspection on Monday went pretty well...just a couple small things to take care of, but luckily things my hubby can do :-)  We're thankful there was nothing big that popped up, like needing a new roof or something of that nature. We weren't really that worried, since we've taken good care of things, but-you just never know.

So...CHECK! That is off the list.

The next thing we WERE waiting on was the appraisal. Notice I said "were". Well, I may or may not have had a little freak out moment this morning when I got a call at 10:30am from the realty office stating that the appraiser wanted to schedule...for today...at 11am - yes, eleven, ELEVEN! I hope I sounded calm on the phone, because in my mind I was freaking out a little bit. "WHAT?!?! 11am on THIS DAY?!?! 11am as in 30 minutes from now?!?! TODAY?!?!..."

I mentioned to the woman on the phone that I had just cleaned up breakfast and would have to get the kids set to get out the door (we normally have made sure to leave ~15-20 minutes before the scheduled time of showings and such). I was so relieved when she said that it would just be the appraiser coming, and there was no problem with us being at home. I'm sure she could feel my sense of panic decrease a bit from her end of the line.

When I got up this morning I had decided to make the bed and tidy our room, tidy the basement, tidy the kids rooms, and then wash dishes right after breakfast when my hubby left for work. I just had a feeling for some reason. I knew we'd be getting the call at some point (expecting some notice, maybe even 24 hours), so I just wanted to keep up on things. Little did I know that I would be getting THAT call mentioned above. I think He knew...

Without the burden of the tasks already completed, I was able to get the bathrooms wiped down, dishes put away, floor swept, etc... in a timely manner. Then we waited. The time was 11am-2pm, which I then realized must have been the time 'window'. He came around noon as the kids were eating lunch, checked out things outside, came in and took pictures of all the rooms/areas, had just a short bit of chit-chat (he was nice and friendly) and then he was on his way. Total time outside and inside, about 10 minutes. Is that how a typical appraisal goes? For some reason I was thinking it would have been a bit more in-depth (but not as much so as the inspection). I'm not complaining :-) I was just a little surprised that that was all there was to it...

Now - we wait. And pray. I think this is the last hurdle to overcome before setting a closing date and finalizing the sale.

The kids and I are going to visit the little library in town now (a bit later than planned after our unexpected visit!), then ride bikes/scooters and play outside, paint pictures, make some bars for hubby to snack on for work later this week, etc. Oh, and I'm going to relax; thankful that this step is complete...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Waitin' For Our Report Card: A House Update

Here is the short version of our house update...



Wednesday afternoon, July 11th, our house went on the market. The next day (Thursday) we had three showings. One offer was placed. On Friday we had one showing. Friday night we placed a counteroffer with the buyer that had placed the offer on Thursday. Saturday, thankfully, for my sanity kids sake, we didn't receive any calls for showings. Sunday we had two showings. And, received ANOTHER offer! The other buyer that looked on Sunday also wanted to place an offer, but knowing there were already two offers on the table, they chose not to. We had another showing scheduled for Monday, and a short-notice call that came in for Tuesday, but both were cancelled since we were working on offers. I don't want to disclose too much about the offers that came in, because we are still in the works of the sale - but we decided to continue working with the first offer, and we were able to reach an agreeable deal!

We signed all the papers last Monday, and the sale is contingent upon the inspection and lender appraisal! When the For Sale sign went up in the yard last Thursday, it already had the SOLD sign affixed to the bottom :-)

The inspection took place yesterday...although we haven't heard anything back yet. In  my mind it feels like waiting to receive grades on report card day! Or, more so like waiting for a grade and feedback on a project - anxious to see what changes are needed (if any!) to achieve the perfect grade.

The appraisal hasn't been scheduled yet, but we are hoping that it will take place in the next week or so.

Even though we have a SOLD sign in our yard, it still doesn't feel real to us. We haven't celebrated in a proper way, and we won't, until things are final. Once we have a closing date, and it gets near with no changes, THEN it will be time to celebrate! We are nervously awaiting that day...

We are PRAYING that everything will work out how we see it in our minds...although I know it'll all work out how it should, so it's just a matter of being patient and letting things take their course.

I have so much more to write about, but we are getting ready to take the ol' fishing boat out to the lake today with the kiddos, so it's time to wrap this up. In the near future look for more posts about our home selling experience including: our little girl starting Kindergarten soon, what it's felt like 'showing' our home, paying out to sell a house, my feelings on moving, the inspection results, etc...

Make it a great day everyone!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

T.H.E. Recipe Link - Is Here...


Doesn't this look Fabulous? It comes from Rachel's blog: rachel cooks. I love to bake, and since going gluten-free two weeks ago I haven't done as much baking as I usually do (and, we've been so busy with the house that I just haven't taken the time to bake).

BUT, last weekend I needed something sweet. I had this recipe in my 'favorites' and while it was not written as gluten-free, I decided I HAD to make it because it just sounded soooo good. I made a couple substitutions and then I had gluten free Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting! Please visit Rachel's blog for her recipe...but I will list the substitutions for anyone wanting to try this gluten free (just be sure the other ingredients you use are in fact gluten free; chocolate chips, vanilla, etc...).

The recipe makes a 9x13 cake, but I actually made an 8x8 cake because I was worried I may end up eating the whole thing we weren't expecting any company to help us eat it. Other than changing up the flour (and the size) the only other changes I made were using butter instead of shortening (which I don't keep on hand), and using Almond Milk in place of milk for the frosting. I used buttermilk vs. sour milk for the cake, because I had some hanging around in the fridge. Below are the substitution amounts for 9x13, and 8x8 (and I simply cut measurements for all other ingredients in half for the 8x8).

9x13 Cake
In place of 2 cups of all-purpose flour, use:

1 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1 cup Brown Rice Flour
1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum


8x8 Cake
In place of 1 cup of all-purpose flour, use:

1/2 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum


Please visit Rachel's blog for the complete recipe...and to see the beautiful photos that make it hard to not want to make this...

If you give the recipe a try - please let me know what your thoughts are, and if you made substitutions or not.

Be sure to stop by and check out the rest of Rachel's blog...she has a ton of great recipes, good reads, and is currently having a Pancake Party during the month of July!


Now...it's time to add this to your to-do list for tomorrow ;-)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Back later this week...

Well...I had hoped to post that fabulous recipe that I mentioned in my post yesterday, but the day has gotten away from me and now I am just finishing up my dinner. Yes, it is 9:30pm. Hubby's parents took the kids to spend the night so we've been busy working on the house today, and once I hit the 'publish' button I will be back to work. Reason being...tomorrow we'll be taking pictures of the house so I want everything in tip-top shape, and Tuesday afternoon we'll be meeting with our realtor again! So, THIS WEEK (assuming nothing unexpected comes up) our house will be on the MARKET! FOR SALE! EEK! I almost can't believe it - even though I know it's for real...

I PROMISE I won't forget to post that recipe this week, although reliving it through pictures may prompt me to bake it again ;-)

Maybe after Tuesday I will have a moment to breathe...ahh...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My New Direction... (and a couple blog/recipe links to check out!)

The two weeks following my discontinuance of the Allergy Discovery Challenge were...challenging. I wasn't sure what I should eat. After a couple days of keeping it simple, I slipped back into just eating what I was making for everyone else. Although I try to keep things healthy, I do have a weakness for enjoy baking muffins, and making pancakes, waffles, etc. During these two weeks I had come across a muffin recipe by Rebecca at A Dusting of Sugar that sounded AWESOME. I started making them, but ended up changing the recipe a bit (only because I had some extra ingredients to throw in) to make a new creation. Someday I will post the changed-up recipe, but in the meantime please go to Rebecca's page and make.these.muffins - you will be happy you did! They were very addicting...I won't admit how many I ate myself...

Near the end of my second week, I could definitely tell that bread products were not my friend. They seemed to be making me feel sluggish and have an unsettled tummy, of sorts. I've also still been dealing with pain in my right foot - although, I seriously think there may be some type of injury/damage causing it VS it being food related. And luckily it's not my heel a.k.a. plantar fasciitis - because I've been there-suffered that. It's in front of my heel area, and if I walk with my right heel up (so, on my toes) as if I am wearing a wedge shoe - then the pain is gone. Today it actually feels a lot better; I think it just needs some rest to heal, but I have been on my feet for at least four weeks straight so it just hasn't had a chance to rest. I told Hubby that after we get our house on the market (hopefully next week!) then I will try to take more time off my feet, since I will just be trying to maintain the house and play with the kids. Just. Meaning all the deep cleaning and to-do lists are gone, so JUST the day to day tasks. Ahh...I can't wait!

It was a week ago Friday that I started searching the web one night after my family was all in bed. That night I decided what my new direction would be...because obviously something I was eating was making me not feel top-notch - and I'm no longer one to just "live with it". If there is something I can do to help myself be more energetic, clear minded, healthy, and just overall feel happier about life - then it is worth trying! Different things work for different people, so thank you for bearing with me as I try to figure out what works for me :-)

Well...my new direction is: GLUTEN FREE!

A big thank you to my Hubby for his ever-understanding
nature and support - I feel so blessed to be his wife <3


So far, it has been going pretty well. I've found that many products we already use are gluten free so I haven't been limited too much, which also means I haven't been going hungry! It helps that we don't buy many convenience/processed foods. I tend to mostly use grains, dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, and various fresh meats (pork, beef, chicken, fish, turkey).

I am still in the learning process, but have managed to make gluten-free choices since last Saturday (June 30th)! The other day I started reading a book written by Shauna James Ahern titled: gluten-free girl: HOW I FOUND THE FOOD THAT LOVES ME BACK... & HOW YOU CAN TOO. After finding her blog, I was pleased to find that our local library carried her book! I'm just in the beginning chapters, but so far it has been a good read. You should check out the blog that she now writes with her husband: gluten-free girl and the chef. Read about their story here. They also have a cookbook, but unfortunately our library doesn't carry it. I'll track it down somehow though!

I am excited about my new direction, and praying that my body will appreciate it :-)  So far I haven't been having tummy issues, and my energy levels have been up at times - unfortunately it usually kicks in late afternoon...but I'm hoping to change that. Although, I should note that this morning, with the help of my little kiddos, I was able to get some of the upper level house cleaning done right after breakfast because we were all looking forward to a special treat that I had baked: gluten-free! I LOVE to bake. LOVE. I also love to eat what I bake. I picked up a couple gluten-free flours earlier this week, and finally got a chance to bake last night. Hubby and I sampled it last night...and maybe that's why I was so motivated to get some cleaning done this morning. Because it was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I may need to bribe myself again to get the rest of my cleaning done today. The recipe wasn't written as gluten-free, but it sounded so good - I had to make it!

Look for the recipe and photo tomorrow, as well as a link to the recipe by the creator of this fabulous baked item! Gluten free or not, you will definitely want to bake it...

But, for now I'm off to cuddle with my kids and read books before they take their rest time...then maybe I better get cleaning to earn another piece of gluten-free goodness!



p.s. I can't wait to try making Rebecca's muffins with gluten free flour!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

TODAY IS THE DAY: Still here, but with a new plan...

...and a new "title"...which I haven't come up with yet. With my last post I had made the emotional decision to temporarily discontinue my Allergy Discovery Challenge. I also had decided that Wheat was IN...but now I've decided Wheat is OUT.

I've also decided to take a different route with my "health" and as of right now I don't plan on picking up where I left off with the challenge. Although, I may consider it if I don't see any progress over the next few months with my new plan. WHICH...I am on Day 3 of already, but I want to finish out this week before posting about it. I'm only starting to notice a little change as of yet, and I'd like to give it some time so that I will have more to write about can report back on the progress I am making...assuming there will be progress...praying there will be progress!

Plus, it'll give me some more time to think of a new title for this new "series"  :-)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

TODAY IS THE DAY: Emotional Decision Made Today (Day 12 - Wheat)

I just made a very emotional decision, and I'm doing it in the best interest of myself and my family and what is right for all of us, for right now...

I will be taking a short break from my Allergy Discovery Challenge.

As soon as I said the words "I'm going to jump ship today..." to my hubby just a bit ago, I was flooded with emotion aka: tears. It wasn't a sense relief...it wasn't necessarily like I felt I was giving up... I've put nearly 12 days into my challenge; it has not been an easy ride, but I've done it. I know WHY I was doing it; it was for a good reason and I'm sad to let it go...

Things were a bit easier with the kids gone these past several day while we worked on the house, since I could just make whatever it was I needed to eat that day, whenever I needed to make it. My hubby could make what he wanted for breakfast/lunch, and dinner I tried to make something that we could both eat, while still following the safe list. The kids came home today, and we are so happy to be with them again!

It takes a lot of time to prepare multiple meals, and with everything we have going on right now (with the house and such) I've realized that time spent with my family is more important that following my safe lists. I don't mean this in a way that I shouldn't also be taking care of myself - because I know I need to take care of myself, to take care of my family - BUT - with the knowledge I've gained from this challenge thus far (as well as the many nutrition books I've been reading), I will continue to eat healthy. I don't plan to "splurge" and eat a bunch of junk-that's not my style anyways. I will experience some of the 15 foods that I haven't reintroduced yet; I will have more choices; I will be able to spend more time with my family...

I plan to continue on with the challenge after things with the house settle down a bit. But, in the meantime, I will also continue to track what I am eating and maybe I will discover what else affects my body in positive and negative ways, but without following the safe lists and such.

Thank you all for reading along and following me during my challenge! I will still "check-in" from time to time, and will definitely report any new discoveries I encounter along the way.

Oh, and just because....

Here is what I ate on Day 12-Wheat:

Breakfast: Wheat Farina (Cream of Wheat), Honey Creme, Apple
Snack: Apple
Lunch...To Be Determined...

As of yet, I have not experienced any adverse reactions to wheat, so I'm going to call it as 'Wheat is IN'. So, when I continue, I will begin with Soy...

~A

TODAY IS THE DAY - Day 11 - Eggs & Moving Day, Kinda :-)

(click here to read Day 10)

This morning I woke up with a sore foot, still. The eggs didn't seem to bother me at all otherwise...but I think my possible reaction from the cherries the other day just wasn't able to calm down and clear itself. Yesterday was kind of a pseudo-moving day. My mom came up to help with the yard, and brought their Blazer. And, throughout the day, everything that I packed over the last several days was loaded up, and driven down to my parent's house. I made one trip mid-day with a truck full (and made 24 trips down and up my parent's full set of 12 stairs to put boxes/bags in the storage area) not to mention all the trips up and down at home beforehand to load up everything - no wonder my foot is still sore!! Then in the evening I filled the truck again with some furniture and more packed stuff, as well as my car, and my mom and I each drove one down. It was nice that my parent's could help unload for the second trip!

I know it seems strange to move things out, and then move them again when we get into a new house - but we are down to the bare minimums here now; the kids still have enough toys to play with, and markers/paint/playdoh/etc. because we still need to play, and the kitchen has been stripped, but we still have blenders and pans and popcorn poppers - because we gotta eat!  But, it's enough to live on, and my hope is that we will find we don't actually NEED all that stuff, and we will eventually figure out what we DO need, and the rest will be put in a garage sale and/or donated. I'm craving living the simple life :-)  And the best part of all this is that when our actual moving day is nearing - I can probably have us packed up in a day, two at the most! Then it's mostly a matter of getting a moving truck to load up furniture.

Today I will be working around the house, getting it set for the kids to come home today; we are missing them like crazy! Once they are home, we are done with any work for today... We are still aiming to be ready by the end of June, but most of the big stuff was completed this week, so we are in good shape. I know this has been really hard on the kids, and I wish they could understand that we are doing this for them, and for us: for our family. Someday when they are older they will understand...it's just tough to see them having a hard time with things...

Here is what I ate on Day 11-Egg*s:

Breakfast: Hot Millet Cereal w/Maple Syrup, Fried Egg (w/Olive Oil & Salt)
Lunch: Fried Eggs w/Olive Oil, Salt, Oregano (not a good lunch, I know, but had to leave quick...so had to eat)
Snack: Millet w/Coconut & Maple Syrup
Snack: Crunch Chickpeas
Dinner: Baked Tilapia w/Olive Oil & Oregano, Zucchini, Skillet Potatoes
Snack: Baked Red Potato

*I also drink 2+ quarts of water throughout the day.

I have already begun Day 12...reintroducing Wheat!

Have a fabulous Sunday!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

TODAY IS THE DAY: Day 10 - Oats

(click here to read Day 9)

I'm happy to report that I used my new pillows for the first time last night, and I had just a tiny bit of a stuffed nose when I went to bed...and it was the same when I got up! Maybe I really am allergic/sensitive to the down/feathers that were in my old pillows. I think after I break them in a bit more (I'm used to my pillows being a little less fluffy) they will be perfect! Otherwise my tummy feels better this morning, and my foot is just a bit sore (read about possibly why, below).

Yesterday was a bit of a messed up day, as far as testing for oats (besides the fact that my safe list of foods was very short so I was hungry...). I had oats for breakfast and after a couple hours I didn't see any reactions...so I decided to go off track and have Cherries again (I had had them on Day 6 as an afternoon snack). Things seemed ok, until shortly after I ate lunch; my stomach became rumbly/gassy (which continued into the evening). Later in the afternoon I had oats again for a snack before running into town to collect more boxes - but those didn't seem to affect me. Then, after dinner my feet became sore (similar to Day 7 after eating oranges).

It was a very off day. I had yellow summer squash with my lunch (which I hadn't had before)...so I don't know if it was maybe that that affected my stomach, or maybe a combination of the cherries and squash...not sure. My guess is that my body does not like the cherries. If that is the case, it would make sense because the only times I've had the foot issues that bad, were many hours following me eating cherries. A delayed reaction. So, maybe Citrus is ok afterall? Oats, as well? I will be avoiding cherries and summer squash for the remainder of my allergy discovery challenge. I may add a couple days to the end and re-test citrus and oats; if they give me no reaction, then I will be testing cherries and squash as well - my own little experiment :-)

Here is what I ate on Day 10-Oats*:

Breakfast: Hot Oatmeal; Fresh Pears
Snack: Cherries
Lunch: Summer Squash/Zucchini Saute
Snack: A couple Cherries here and there (won't do that again!)
Snack: Cold Oatmeal w/Fresh Pears
Dinner: Beef Cube Steak w/Olive Oil & Dry Mustard

*I also drink 2+ quarts of water throughout the day.

Now it's time to go reintroduce Eggs! I'm half way through my challenge, and I've really been looking forward to having a fried egg this morning :-) The kids will be home tomorrow (I've missed them!) so we have a lot of work yet to get through today while we don't have little ones underfoot :-)  My mom is also coming up this morning to help clean up gardens and such in the yard (THANK YOU MOM!!!).

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Friday, June 15, 2012

TODAY IS THE DAY: Day 9 - CHICKEN

(click here to read Day 8)

Remember yesterday morning I was wondering if I might have an actual cold? I'm pretty sure it is. I'll just say that my mucous color has changed, which is most often an indicator of a cold. It's not a full blown cold (just more stuffed up than usual) so I will continue on my adventure here. I splurged last night and made myself a strawberry-banana-spinach-coconut milk smoothie, so maybe the vitamin C boost will help a bit. Not mention it was absolutely the most delicious thing I have had in over a week...I even told my hubby that I would maybe.MAYBE even choose it over eating something made out of cookie dough. I just said maybe though ;-)  Bananas and Spinach were on yesterday's list, and Coconut isn't for a couple days (so I'll just skip it then)...so I didn't stray too much. Strawberries aren't on any list but they didn't have an effect on me when I chanced it last week, so it seemed safe to me!

I didn't get around to the pillow/bedding thing last night since I came home from watching our friends kids, ate dinner, and got to packing for the rest of the night. No place to go today, so it will definitely happen on this day.

Back to the matter at hand...Chicken! I got a slight rumbly tummy after eating the soup I made for lunch (I served the kiddos pasta w/tomato sauce...it smelled so good...). But, I'm thinking it was because I may have added a bit too much salt (I didn't want to bring my salt grinder, so I brought the extra that I put into the grinder...a little too much may have slid out of the bag...oops! Lesson learned.) and then I drank extra water because of it, but the water was cold from in the fridge - I'm used to drinking room temp water. Anyways, I diluted my soup and ate it again for dinner - with no effect afterwards, so I think I'm safe.

I better wrap this up so I can eat a quick breakfast and get to work on the house! Today I will be reintroducing oats! Yay!

Here is what I ate on Day 9-Chicken*:

Breakfast: Kasha w/Ginger & a sliced Banana
Lunch: Soup (chicken, celery, kasha, salt, water)
Snack: Banana Ice Cream (frozen bananas simply blended!)
Dinner: Soup (chicken, celery, kasha, salt, water)
Snack: Crunch Chickpeas (chickpeas soaked, cooked, and baked)
Snack: Strawberry-Banana-Spinach-Coconut Milk Smoothie

*I also drink 2+ quarts of water throughout the day.

Ready to tackle Day 10 with some Oats!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

TODAY IS THE DAY: Day 8 - CORN

(click here to read Day 7)

I woke up this morning feeling a little more stuffed up than usual (wondering if I'm getting a bit of an actual cold), but it's not as bad after my hot shower. Foot is feeling fine though, so that makes for a good morning :-)

I am happy to say that I didn't seem to notice any adverse reactions after eating corn yesterday! My stuffy nose seemed to stick around most of the day (some days is clears up after I've been up and moving around for a bit) but it didn't change after eating, so being it stayed consistent I am not too concerned about the corn.

I picked up new pillows yesterday (thank you Kohls for Buy-One-Get-One-Free!) to see if that will make a difference at all with my stuffy nose. I want to completely strip the bed and put on new sheets and pillow cases before I test them out (and I just changed bedding the other day...before I had thought about doing this) but after running all my errands and collecting a car full of boxes I was back to packing until past my bedtime and I ran out of time.

Today I am caring for our friends three children since their daycare is closed, so I will resume packing/cleaning/organizing when I get home late this afternoon. I'll also get the bed switched up so I can start seeing if the non-down feather pillows make a difference. Crossing my fingers that they'll help!

Here is what I ate on Day 8-Corn*:

Breakfast: Hasty Pudding (Cornmeal Mush) with Cinnamon and Maple Syrup (yum!); Pink Lady Apple; Cinnamon Stick Tea
Snack: Hot Air Popped Corn w/Olive Oil & Salt
Snack (Lunchtime): Sweet Potato
Snack (Afternoon): Hasty Pudding; Granny Smith Apple
Dinner: Baked Pork Chop w/Olive Oil & Rosemary; Broccoli; Sweet Potato

*I also drink 2+ quarts of water throughout the day.

Now I am on to Day 9 - reintroducing Chicken!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

TODAY IS THE DAY: Day 7 - CITRUS

(click here to read Day 6)

Good Morning! This will be short and sweet and to the point, because I have lots of packing/cleaning/organizing/etc. to do today and I am ready to have at it!

Yesterday was the reintroduction of citrus. It seems that my body was not a big fan of it...I ate an orange with breakfast and within an hour or two my minor 'setback' had flared up again, my throat became very phlegmy, and my voice was raspy.
(Ok, ok, I'll stop calling it a minor 'setback'; it is the foot pain that I experienced many years ago, and it started to come back and that is why I am trying so hard to figure things out...my fear is that it would come back full force, because I feel like it took 3 years of my life away from me; it was that BAD - I WON'T let that happen again. You can read about it here under Out With It, starting on paragraph 4).
The reactions continued for several hours, and my foot became worse and my left one even became a bit sore in the arch (it has mainly been the right foot since I began this challenge). Needless to say, I did not eat any more citrus during the day. I took that as enough of a sign that my body did not appreciate it.

I went to bed late last night since we were working on the house, and I am happy to wake up this morning with my usual stuffed up nose and just a tiny tinge of a sore foot (just the right one); only enough to let me know that I need to be aware of it. I am SO thankful!

Here is what I ate on Day 7-CITRUS*:

Pre-Bfast Snack: Pear
Breakfast: Honey Millet Cereal; Orange
Snack: Millet
Lunch: Baked Salmon; Roasted Carrots w/Olive Oil & Oregano
Dinner: Soup-Salmon/Carrot/Green Bean/Millet
Snack: Pear

*I also drink 2+ quarts of water throughout the day.

Today is Day 8 and I'll be reintroducing Corn. I'm praying that I find I have no reaction to many of the 15 - and this is a big one. I L.O.V.E. air popped popcorn, and corn tortilla chips with salsa & sour cream...two of my favorite quick snacks. Although I love many things made with the other foods items I have yet to reintroduce...so we will just wait and see! I will work around anything I will need to avoid, because feeling good and having a healthy body is SO much more important to me than eating whatever I want :-)

Have a wonderful day, and we'll see you back tomorrow morning for results of Day 8...

Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Packing it up...

Packing up part of our life today brings a simple sadness, and sheer excitement! Working hard on the next chapter of our lives.

Thank you mom for supporting us and caring for the kids while we put in some hard work to make things happen...we've decided to move things along a bit quicker - our goal is the end of June...so we are B.U.S.Y.!

Back to work packing boxes, while the hubby paints...

TODAY IS THE DAY: Day 6

(click here to read day 5)

I realized this morning that I've been so focused on my persistent stuffy nose, that I have failed to mention my digestive health, or other issues. I can say for certain that my digestive health has improved! I used to feel so bloated after eating, and often times would experience a rumbly (gassy) tummy. After Day 1, I've only experienced this mildly a time or two, which happened to be when I had gone too long in between meals, and then eaten. If I snack in between meals that may be spread apart quite a bit, I am just fine. So, I woke up this morning feeling stuffed up again, but realizing that my tummy feels good - seems like a step in the right direction.

As far as being on my "own plan", I can see a big improvement in my energy level, just by adding a few extra fruits and/or veggies! I have been used to eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, and it seems my body has just been craving more the past few days! Day 5 extras were Carrots, Cucumbers, Pears, and another superly awesome creamy sweet potato. Day 6's extras were Strawberries, a tad bit of Honey, and fresh Cherries.

This small change has made a HUGE difference in my motivation to continue on with this challenge.

I will be honest though...there are many times throughout the day that I am thinking about eating cookie dough*** , peanut butter, bacon, and other various foods that either are - or are made out of - items on the list of 15 commonly problematic foods.  ***(Check out this cookbook by Lindsay Landis, also author of the blog Love & Olive Oil - I CAN NOT wait to own her cookbook...and drool over it...and make every recipe...mmm.)

BUT

I am going to continue on...6 days...6 DAYS! I thought Day 5 may have been the end for me (especially when I started thinking about Papa Murphy's Pizzas for dinner, while hubby and I were out and about with the kiddos grabbing a few groceries...mostly fresh produce) but at this point I am feeling that I have made it this far - how can I just give up? And, now that I've realized how much better my digestive health is, I will have a better indicator (besides my stuffy nose, that I still have) as to whether or not the 15 foods are affecting my body in an adverse way. Hopefully making up some of my own rules doesn't affect any results that I may discover (or NOT discover, because of breaking the rules!).

Here is what I ate on Day 6*:
Breakfast: Cream of Rice with Cinnamon
Snack: Apple
Lunch: Hamburger with Dry Mustard
Snack: Fresh Cherries
Dinner: Ground Beef/Green Bean Casserole; Cucumbers
Snack: Smoothie (Strawberries, Unsweetened Coconut, Honey, Coconut Milk)

*I also drink at least 2+ quarts of water throughout the day.

Ahh...Day 7. The first day of the Reintroduction Phase. Citrus will be up today...

Monday, June 11, 2012

TODAY IS THE DAY: Day 5

(click here to read day 4)

I woke up this morning just the same as ever...stuffed up again. Day 5 brought about changes with the food rotation... I felt so drained of energy (just as I had on Day 4) that I just couldn't take it anymore. This is a big week for us - my hubby has a week off work (although he works Wednesday through Saturday so he has off yesterday through Tuesday, June 19th!!!) Tomorrow is my official last day of licensed daycare, and I just have the daycare kids for a few hours later today and tomorrow morning (after that I will have them once a week during the summer, but not every week). And Tuesday mid-day I will be dropping our kiddos off at Grandma's house where they will spend a couple nights (THANK YOU MOM!!!), before heading to the other Grandma's house to spend another few nights (THANK YOU V!). I will miss them A LOT, but we will have a chance to get a TON of work done this week. So TODAY starts some big projects around the house for us, in preparation for selling....Thus, I will need all the energy I can get to be super productive this week, so I think my new plan will be very beneficial!

 I'm on my own plan now, still avoiding the problematic 15 until their designated days, but I came up with my own lists of Grains/Meats/Beans/Seasonings/Fruits & Vegetables to rotate. I started a bit with lunch and dinner, and today will write up my complete plan with the lists I came up with. I love fruits and vegetables and think that I need more (and more variety) than what was suggested in the book I have been referencing. We'll see how it goes; and it's still quite possible food is not the culprit, but still worth a try.

Last night I had a thought - what if it's my down pillows?!?! I only have THREE of them that run from head to toe each night ;-)  I've had them for about 10 years, they get washed occasionally (just yesterday in fact), and they are soo comfortable. BUT...I always seem more stuffed up when I go to bed and wake up...We also have two huge down pillows upstairs that I covered with fun fabric for the kids, to use in their reading area, but they do end up on the couch some days. Hmm. Has anyone else had allergies/sensitivities to down/duck feathers?

I'm trying to look at other possibilities because I've been dealing with this nose issue for years now, and something is causing it, because it's not 'normal'. I don't take any medications ever, or vitamins on a regular basis. I don't drink caffeinated beverages. I don't wear make-up. I don't work with many chemicals (and mostly use vinegar/water/baking soda for cleaning). I use shampoo/conditioner occasionally (Suave Naturals/Professionals), alternating it with a baking soda/water wash, and apple cider vinegar/water rinse. My body wash is Body Essence-Tea Tree Oil. (I shower every-other-day, so I use those EOD). Our handsoap is generic Milk & Honey. I use face lotion (Olay Complete for Sensitive Skin) and hand lotion (Vaseline Intensive Rescue - Moisture Repair, Fragrance Free). I use a Brita Pitcher/Filter for my water.

Has anyone found themselves to be allergic/sensitive to any of the above - or any other non-food related item, that you wouldn't normally think of as being allergenic?

I just wonder if I'm missing something?! I am on a mission to free myself from this...

Back to my food challenge here...

Here is what I ate on Day 5*:

Breakfast: Tapioca w/Maple Syrup; Cantaloupe/Banana Smoothie
Lunch: Ground Turkey w/Thyme & Dried Mustard; Carrot Chips; Cucumber Slices
Dinner: Ground Turkey w/Thyme & Dried Mustard; Fresh Pears; Sweet Potato
Snack: Cranberry Banana Pudding (cranberries, bananas, tapioca, maple syrup)

*I also drink at least 2+ quarts of water throughout the day.

Time to start Day 6 with some breakfast...and then tackle a few things around the house (including cuddle time/reading/games with my kiddos) before the daycare kids come at lunch time!

Hope everyone is having a great start to their week!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

TODAY IS THE DAY: Day 4

Today I woke up more stuffed up and less energetic, but otherwise feeling pretty good.  :-)

The time of day that I struggle seems to bounce back and forth. Yesterday morning was tough for me. Although I was up early, thus should have had time for a decent breakfast, the grain that I could have cooked up as a hot cereal was no where to be seen at our Co-op or grocer. I could have made chick-pea pancakes, but it involved grinding up dried chick-peas in the food processor to make chick-pea flour. The kids went to bed late the night before, so I guess I didn't want to wake them up to that noise, or I was just too lazy...maybe a little of both. I let the kids sleep in a bit, then we were out of the house a bit after 8 to catch a special showing of Madagascar 3 that was playing in the town north of us ($2 tickets!). It was a cute movie and so much fun to take the kids - wish my hubby could have come with (he works Saturdays)! Their grandparents take them to movies every once in a while...so it's a treat for mom to bring them. :-)  Today I will make maple tapioca, a cantaloupe/banana smoothie, and maybe lima bean pancakes...so I'm looking forward to that.

I'll be honest...last night I was considering if I should continue on or not. Day 4 started off sketchy, but the rest of the day I ate pretty well. But I was still.so.hungry. ALL.THE.TIME. Even 20 minutes after eating. I talked about it with my hubby, and he is wondering if I am experiencing some type of vitamin deficiency which is causing my body to "crave" it, thus displaying itself as hunger (vs. the hunger being a result of my high metabolism). Looking at what I've eaten, and considering my constant hunger, that could be a possibility.

Last December when I was in for my regular check-up, my blood work came back that I was very low in vitamin D.  I did ok taking a supplement for a while, but then I would forget here and there, and while trying to figure out these food 'issues' I haven't been taking it. I took out my bottle of basic vitamin D3 last night, and while it doesn't contain wheat, eggs, milk/milk derivatives, etc.. it does contain soybean oil and corn oil. So, if I am going to take it (and continue on this challenge) I would check the Co-op to see if they have a variety that doesn't contain any of the items in my reintroduction phase. Although my hubby wonders if even taking it at all will skew the results of what I am trying to discover...and according to the book I read, he is right (smart guy he is).

I'm kind of stuck. I am onto Day 5 already. Day 7 starts the reintroduction phase. If I am still experiencing "symptoms" after Day 6, it is advised to continue with the elimination phase since some people can take up to 10 or so days to clear the allergens in their body. My hubby thinks maybe there is something else causing my symptoms, and I think he may be right. Although the week or two previous to starting my challenge I had been eating more homemade bread products (pancakes, muffins, pizza crust) which I had cut out, and I was eating more yogurt than I had been, and then I started feeling worse and my minor 'setback' creeped in on me. Maybe it's several things...food...environmental...etc..??? Maybe it's the house?

I will stick with this for now, but I am going to revise the proposed rotation safe lists and menus to ensure that I have enough easy to make meals, and enough variety throughout the day to (hopefully) stay satisfied. I will begin the reintroduction phase on Day 7 as planned, and if this stuffy nose continues I will just contribute it to something else, and see how my body feels as I carry on.

Here is what I ate on Day 4*:

Breakfast: Pink Lady Apple and Spinach Salad
Snack: Gala Apple
Lunch: Pork Chop w/Olive Oil & Basil; Sauteed Celery, Spinach & Basil/Olive Oil
Snack: Granny Smith Apple
Dinner: Boneless Pork Chops; Baked Sweet Potato
Snack: Baked Chickpeas

*I also drink at least 2+ quarts of water throughout the day.

I discovered another food to add to my favorites list. That golden sweet potato...after baking it the tan skin just kind of fell off (it had pulled away during baking). The rest of the potato was left kind of caramelized in a way. I had nothing on it...and it was D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.

The hubby is having some time with the kids upstairs and it sounds like they are done with breakfast...I better get up there and get my own breakfast going so we can carry on with our day :-)

Enjoy your day!