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Mar 5, 2012

What to Do with Chickpea Flour?


Gram Flour
Photo Credit: Robin

A friend of mine had some extra chickpea flour and knowing that I’m into weird (read: “real”) food, she offered it to me.  I’ve never used chickpea flour before!  So I thought I’d ask you all what you do with it and what I can use it in?  I love experiementing with new recipes!

This post is a part of Real Food 101 at Ruth’s Real FoodReal Food Wednesdays at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade.


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Mar 2, 2012
Comments Off on Spring Speculations

Spring Speculations


DSC_0017
 


Photo Credit: John Bointon
In all the excitement caused by the our struggles with our health these past few weeks, I completely forgot about Lent and Easter!  My goodness, is it March already?  Spring is coming quickly.  The warmth is beginning to creep into the soil, and the freshness in the air smells of newness.

I haven’t really touched my knitting this year, but the coming festival certainly seems like a good time to pick it up.  Naomi’s thin little whisps of hair are finally starting to fill in and she’s got a gorgeous little curl on the back of her head.  I’m anxious for the warmer weather so we can get rid of our stuffy knitted hats and instead, don some sweet little knitted bandanas and jersey hairbands.  I also am looking forward to creating a couple of the cute little purses I mentioned a few weeks ago.

 

This is the stocking I’m knitting for Michael. It’s little more than started, but I love the colors!

Growing up, my brother and I used to really enjoy the search for the little chocolate foil-covered Easter eggs that our parents would leave hidden around the house.  We’d get up and find them on our nightstands, on the window sills, under an open book we were reading the night before.  It was great fun to find them all.  I look forward to doing something similar with Naomi, although I may do some plastic Easter eggs with raisins, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and other tiny delicious treats.  Those little chocolate Easter eggs are a bit tiny for one so little.

We’ll be planning a garden this year.  I am so excited.  My poor little herb garden last year didn’t fair so well… probably because I forgot about it.  But now we have a wonderful section of our back yard already set up to be a garden.  I cannot wait to dig my hands into gorgeous soil and grow some tomatoes, spinach, romaine, strawberries, herbs, cucumbers, potatoes and carrots.  Mmmm, fresh vegetables right out of our own soil.  If I can gather up some milk jugs I might even start some seedlings early!

 

2010 Vegetable Garden

Photo Credit: The Forum News

 

Anytime there is a celebration, I like to make a cake of some sort.  I envision Naomi and I enjoying a slice of classic white cake and a cup of cooled peppermint tea.  I used to have a beautiful recipe for a white cake, but I cannot find it for the life of me.  And I am having a terrible time finding one that is made out of real foods.  Perhaps you have one to share?

What are you eagerly anticipating this spring?  What Easter traditions do you enjoy in your family?  I can’t wait to hear about it!

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Feb 24, 2012
Comments Off on Finding Bliss in the Shadows

Finding Bliss in the Shadows

Borrowed from Amy’s Finer Things

Things have been pretty bleak around here recently.  I wrote earlier about how our whole family has been sick for about a month now.  Thankfully that seems to be turning around.  However, poor Naomi’s bout with pneumonia does my heart great pain.  She’d never been seriously sick before when we were home together.  Now that she’s in daycare, interacting with others throughout the day, and passing cough for cough and sneeze for sneeze, I can’t protect her the way I could before from every illness that comes along.

This new season in our lives of my returning to work has been hard.  And while I am so grateful for our wonderful daycare provider, it’s been difficult to see my daughter go behind a closed door every day for someone else to raise.  What was once a joyous occasion of my parents or in-laws taking her for a day now feels like a stab in my heart, as that is just another stretch of time that I don’t get to share with her.  I know she’s safe.  I know she’s in good hands.  I know she’s happy and healthy and cared for.  But she’s not with me, at home.  Which I know in my heart is where we both are supposed to be.  And every day that I put her in the car and drop her off, it feels a little easier and a little guiltier.  And that is what scares me most.

On top of that, we have been dealing with another difficult shadow.  After years of struggling with his health, our doctor sent Michael for a CT scan that revealed something wasn’t right.  When his results came back, our doctor called him to her office immediately and told him that he had to go for a second CT scan.

What followed were weeks of prayer, irritability, frustration, and fear.  What if something was wrong?  What if he couldn’t work?  What if his case was terminal?  Our fears were a constant presence, like an unwelcomed guest you just can’t seem to be rid of.  We’d find consolation in Jesus, trusting that He wouldn’t give us a difficult path unless He also provided us with the necessary equipment for the journey.  However, sometimes knowing this is not comforting, and our conversations, though loving, were of topics rather morbid.

God heard our prayers and answered us as best He could.  This week we received word that Michael’s results from the second scan showed nothing serious at this time.  We thanked Jesus heartily.  We know that we are not out of the woods yet.  Other tests and other roads lay ahead of us.  We are fearful that this is something that will come back to him again at another day.

Seasons change, however.  We know that this is just another winter in our lives, when things are dark and bleak.  But without winter, there would not be a spring.  We know that our plan is for me to return home fulltime with Naomi (and any future children) in the future.  We know that our plan includes Michael doing what we can to improve and maintain his good health.  We know that these struggles are just a bump in the path God has laid out for us.

So today, I am embracing the light that breaks through and shines into those dark corners.  It’s just a spark for the moment.  Naomi is gone to spend the day with Michael’s parents, and I am waiting around for our internet company to come fix things.  I have plans for some sourdough starter, a loaf of bread, an an apple cake (likely two!).  I may hang the laundry on the line today, as it is warm and bright outside.  The washer spins, the house smells of lavender candles, and I am home, where I am supposed to be today.  Monday will come again in a few days, but for now, I am in my bliss.

By the way, entries into our giveaway for Wholesome Comforts eBook are pretty low, so there’s a great chance to win!  Please go to the giveaway and enter!  It’s pretty easy — just pick a recipe you like!

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Feb 22, 2012

The Emergency Room Bag


crayons

Photo Credit: Mehul Hirani

Tackle It Tuesdays at 5 Minutes for Mom

Titus Tuesday at Time Warp Wives

Works For Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family

Homemaking Link Up Wednesdays at Raising Homemakers

Finer Things Friday at Amy’s Finer Things

February had been a rough month for our family.  Cold after cold, flu after flu.  We’ve all three been dealing with various symptoms and fatigue.  But it all came to a head this past weekend.  Naomi woke up with a terrible fever.  Unfortunately, our thermometer went missing in the move, so we were not able to take her temperature.  Normally we like to avoid medication and hospitals, preferring to let our bodies deal with the virus itself.  But as this was after three weeks of persistant runny nose, stuffiness, coughing and crabbiness, we decided that it would be best to take her into the walk-in emergency unit at our local children’s hospital.

And so that’s where we found ourselves, dealing with a sick, unhappy toddler.  For ten. straight. hours.  It just so happened that we went on a day that there were several other emergencies more severe than Naomi.  I don’t really mind waiting, though I felt bad for Naomi.  The biggest problem (other than of course, Naomi being so sick) was boredom.  Since the outbreak of H1N1, most waiting rooms have been emptied of magazines, and of course, there are few to no toys for the kids who are feeling well enough to play.  A random television or two isn’t all that beneficial when another poor little one is screaming in pain from an earache or stomach bug because you can’t hear it.  So as you can imagine, ten hours gave me lots of time to cuddle, snuggle, and think about all the things I wish I’d brought with me.

When we got home, I decided that I would definitely create a small bag of goodies to keep in the trunk of the vehicle so the next time I was stuck somewhere waiting for an extended period of time, be it the doctor’s office, the mechanics, or the DMV.  Simple things that are good for not only myself and/or Michael, but also for Naomi as well.

1.  Snacks.  Oh my goodness, waiting around can make you hungry.  Naomi wasn’t interested in the foods we brought her, but Michael and I were famished!  So keeping on hand things that don’t expire quickly — crackers, dried fruit, peanut butter, juice boxes or bottled water, sippy cups, graham crackers, beef jerky, trail mix — will definitely keep you from plunking too much money into a candy machine or pop dispenser.

2.  Books.  During the ten hours, Naomi’s fever went up and down.  When it was down, she wanted to play quietly, so the couple of books we brought for her were certainly a plus.  But how I wished I could have been reading too.  A couple of magazines, or a book that’s somewhere in the middle or the bottom of your reading list, or an mp3 player with a couple audiobooks would make a wonderful distraction.

3.  A blanket.  Is it just me, or do they keep hospitals uncomfortably cool?  Maybe it’s because the poor nurses are run right off their feet.  Regardless, a warm flannel blanket would have been a welcome comfort while I held a clingy little babe.

4.  A cell phone charger.  God bless Steve Jobs and his glorious iPhone.  But the battery life on an iPhone doesn’t stand a chance against a bored mama in a waiting room.  You can only play Sudoku for so long before your screen goes black… forever.  Granted, you’re not supposed to have them on in some waiting rooms, but to have the charger there so you could turn it on “airplane mode” and still play a few games would have made the time go quicker (for a little while anyway).

5.  A notepad and pen.  When you’re bored, your mind wanders.  I think of blog posts I could write, lists I need to make, topics I wanted to look up online, and so forth.  Having a pen and notepad to jot all this down would have been very handy indeed.

6.  Simple toys.  Nothing too elaborate, no need to bring something with lots of pieces.  But a small box of crayons, a coloring book, a few board books, a small stuffed toy, a few finger puppets, anything that will hold their attention when they don’t really have the space to run around and burn off their energy.  Or in Naomi’s case, that she could do when she had no energy.  Also, try not to spend too much money on these toys, in case they get lost, left behind, stolen or get dirty.

7.  Baby wipes and tissues.  Normally we use cloth wipes and a spray bottle of soap.  But when you are dealing with a runny nose, a bleeding wound, diarrhea or vomit, those disposable baby wipes certainly do come in handy.  Having a package of those to rely on will really take the stress out of any messes that are made.  Keeping a couple plastic bags for garbage collection are always handy too.

All in all, it was worth it.  We discovered that Naomi had developed pneumonia.  But after a round of antibiotics and a good night’s sleep, she’s been back to her old chipper, happy self, slowly regaining her appetite and eager to play and cuddle anytime.

Disclaimer: Yes, I am compensated for some (but not all) of the purchases made via the referral links in this post. You can read my entire disclosure policy here.

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