Monday, July 16, 2012

Muffins for everyone......even for Ellie!

     My daughter, Ellie, has been a mystery to me since the day she was born.  Many of you know that she has struggled with many undiagnosed health issues.  I will go into that more another time but to summarize, we are now on a gluten- free, casein- free diet. 
     This has been a huge learning curve for me.  But we are seeing a drastic change and that is my motivation to press on!  I wanted to pass along a family favorite recipe that I recently was able to make gluten and casein free.  Now we are able to enjoy this treat again without the fear of what it might do to Ellie’s little system. 
     Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are a staple in my house.  I remember a few years ago there was talk of a shortage of canned pumpkin.  My Mom, sister and I raided all the stores in case this happened.  The following month the shelves were stocked full.  I heard the same "shortage" claim last year but didn't fall for it again. 
     I made these with our old family recipe and used a homemade gluten-free flour blend and dairy-free chocolate chips.  This recipe is moist and delicious, which is hard to find with gluten-free bread products.  It also freezes well, which means you can make multiple batches at one time and thaw for tomorrow’s breakfast.  We enjoy mini-muffins at our house because they are the perfect size for little hands. 
     Enjoy!  Let me know if you make them and your impression!  I promise you won’t be disappointed. 
 P.S.  If you aren’t on a gluten and casein free diet you can use your regular flour and chocolate chips!  The same amounts of each can be used!  That is what we did in the good old days! 
                           Gluten-Free, Casein-Free, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 cup pumpkin                                               
1 large egg
1 cup sugar
2 cups dairy free chocolate chips                                                                                                     
½ cup chopped walnuts                                                                                                             
1.5 cups gluten free flour
 ½ cup oil                                                          
½ tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice                            
¼ tsp baking powder

Mix pumpkin, sugar and egg.  Add oil and mix well.  Blend in other ingredients.  Fill lined/greased muffin pans 2/3 full.  Bake in a preheated oven @ 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Once they are cool you can pop them in a freezer bag.   It’s that easy!  I will warn you……..these babies are addictive!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Confessions from a not-so-together Mom

I have your attention now, right?  Often we read blogs and Facebook posts and see happy kids and hear stories about funny things that have happened.  It is easy to think other Moms have it all together.  They are raising happy kids, keeping clean houses, fixing healthy and fancy meals .

Let me tell you about my world for a minute.  We moved a month ago for my husband’s job to Canton, Ohio.  We signed a one year lease on a house that we had seen only in pictures.  After moving in we noticed a strong cat odor that is wreaking havoc on my allergies and there are a number of problems (some are safety concerns) that aren’t being addressed by the landlord so we started the process of getting out of our lease.  Long story short, after wasting time and energy looking at other houses we cannot get out of our lease without incurring tremendous expense.  So we are here until next May and will begin looking at that point for a new place to move again. 

My daughter is going through an extreme independent, identity phase.  She dresses herself in the craziest outfits complete with hats or tiaras—no big deal.  The big deal is the attitude and personality that comes to life with those outfits. 

My son is out of his schedule driven preschool environment and doesn’t really know what to do with his time or energy.  We have a loose structure in our house but he needs more than what I’m giving to him.  He wants my attention at all times. 

I know I will miss this one day but right now it just seems that everyone needs me for something different.  I am trying to do fun things with my kids but also have Mom things that need to get accomplished.  I’m going to be trying a schedule in the next few weeks to see if that helps everyone out a bit. 

On top of this we had the new youth group to our house last night for a hot dog roast.  It was good to get to know new people and open up our home.  I enjoy having people over and my kids enjoyed having playmates.  I guess we upset a skunk though because after letting my dog out around 11:30 she got sprayed by a skunk.  So we de-skunked her with ketchup, baking soda and just about anything else I could think of and find in our cabinet. 

I don’t really know what the point of this post is…..other than to confess to you that I don’t have it all together.  There are so many days right now that I need a do-over.  I’m trying to allow creativity and independence while also teaching respect and boundaries to my head strong daughter.  I’m trying to give attention and also encourage independence from my son.  I’m trying to be a good wife to my husband and not take it out on him when all my energy is gone.  Thank goodness tomorrow is Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A.  Free food and Chick-fil-a……could it get any better? 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Callie

Many of you have asked how we celebrated Callie's birthday this year.  I like to blog about our family celebration because it becomes a timeline to one day show my kids.  Yet I really struggled this year with the entire day.  We had been talking to Corban about Callie's upcoming birthday and tried to involve him in the planning process.  He was really getting excited!  Thursday night we were sitting at the dinner table and our conversation went like this:  C:  "Where is Callie's birthday party going to be?"  Me:  "I don't know.  Where do you think we should have it?"  C:  "I think we should have it at church in the nursery so Callie can see our new church.  She can close her eyes and we'll yell surprise!"  I left the room at this point knowing that this dream would never happen.  It began to occur to me that Corban wasn't understanding things the way I thought he was. 
Friday was a day of confusion and frustration.  Corban didn't understand why Callie wasn't going to be at her birthday party.  He asked a million questions, as most 4 year olds do, and each one was more difficult to answer than the last.  Each one made us verbally acknowledge the pain and void without Callie.  5 years later and yet still so raw. 
We got balloons and sent letters to her that the kids had drawn.  Corban didn't want to release his because he wanted to save it for the birthday party.  This wasn't the party he envisioned and dreamed.  It wasn't like any he could remember.  I agree.  A birthday party without the birthday girl doesn't make much sense in his 4 year old mind. 
It is at times like these that I question our decision.  Should we be so open with our children about Callie?  Should we expose them to death and dying?  Should we have them go through our "celebration" with us?  "Is it just for us?" 
I've come to the conclusion that it isn't just for us.  To not celebrate her life, though as tough as it is, would be to ignore the profound impact Callie has had on our lives.  Everyone has a birthday and we take that day to celebrate who the person is and has become, to celebrate how far she has come and simply to make that person feel special.  Though Callie isn't with us, she deserves a day that is all her own, to be celebrated. 

I can't make the decision for you as to how to remember your child.  I would just urge you that even when it is difficult to continue to press on.