Wednesday, February 27, 2008

moving along`

Thank you for the well wishes and inquiries into elizabeth.. she is doing well. Her biopsy was last thrusday and she did great! She was so brave, woke up right away after the procedure and was well enough to go to her art class that afternoon and play with her friend after supper.

The biopsy results are not back yet, but the doctor said she was pretty sure it will be positive from what she saw with just her eye.

Thus, we've been gluten free here since thursday. I've made about 5 loaves of bread that didn't turn out at all (soggy in the middle and not like bread at all), and just today i made one really GOOD loaf!! YAY!! We enjoyed it as french toast for lunch. I also finally figured out how to make cookies that don't look like rice paper with chocolate chips. YAY!! They look and taste like real ones.

I also made banana bread (yummy), pizza dough, 2 kinds of pita bread and flour tortillas.

I basically spend all day in the kitchen, in between changing diapers, wiping bums, doing laundry and vacuming... oh and homeschooling LOL. We're happy though. We're eating healthy, homemade foods, the sun is shining and life couldn't be much better.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

all sorts

many things going on here... not the least of which is the stomach flu that has knocked down daddy and assorted children.
I was mildly sick, but am feelin fine now. Hopefully it will be short, as we are going to see Riverdance this weekend!! FUN!!

I've been busy making a gluten-free recipe each day. I've tried Quinoa-hazlenut cookies, teff raisin bran muffins, banana nut muffins, sunflower multigrain bread, sesamee seed pecan bread, pizza dough, buns. They are all MILES better than some of the stuff that I have bought in the store and some things you can't tell the difference between the normal version. Some things weren't so good, and they are all much more expensive. I think we might have to look into changing some of our eating habits instead of trying to replace everything with a substitute.

Today we are going to the Children's hospital for an orientation for E's biopsy next week (she's scheduled for the 21st of feb). She's excited to go on a tour and meet some other little kids who are having operations too. We're also going to get all her siblings tested while we are there. Grandma is coming to help out(thank you God!!).

Homeschooling is slowing down a bit while we are dealing with learning a new diet, and getting through the stomach flu. I can't WAIT to get off gluten and watch how my little sweetie pie can start growing and gainig weight and feeling!!

Today, I also visited the most amazing blog. It's from a beautiful family that is trying to adopt a special little boy from Liberia. I was touched by their generosity and love for this little soul. They have reminded me that every single person on this eart has dignity and deserves love and joy. I couldn't help them very much financially, but I gave what I could. Go read their story and be inspired to bring love into your own little corner of your world...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

So soon?

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It's a period of 40 days to prepare for easter. I will be blogging very lightly through the season.

It's a custom in the Catholic Church to 'give something up' for Lent. Lots of people choose chocolate, TV, the radio, etc... I haven't decided what I'm going to give up yet, but I will be taking the time tonight at a monthly retreat I go to, to decide.

Self Sacrifice is such a rare thing in today's society, and Lent is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your will and give of yourself. It's certainly easier than a new years resolution (which is supposed to last all year)... Join me if you'd like. It's always a thoughtful and reflective time of the year for me. I"ll be posting weekly updates on sundays. The time that I normally spend blogging and reading blogs will be reserved for praying, playing with the kids more and doing some good spring cleaning before Easter.

I wish you all well.

p.s. E is going for an edoscopy ( biopsy of her small intestine) on feb 21st. Her doctor was very very nice and explained everything in great detail to me. She basically said that she has celiac disease, but the biopsy is the only way to positivly confirm it... which can be helpful to E as she gets older and starts to question her diagnosis... especially when she reaches her adolescence. Say a prayer for her if you can. We'll all be going gluten free in this house on Feb 22nd. hmmmm, that's halfway through lent, now that I think about it. I think maybe I'll be giving up gluten for lent.... the whole family will actually, LOL.

the other kids

I know I write alot about E the 7 year old... artwork, school work, celiac, choir... there is never a shortage of blogging material with my firstborn. You have also heard a bit about the twins because they are quite newsworthy by nature of being suprise twins.

However, you don't often hear of the other 2 kids i have. I've been thinking about my job as a mother recently, and now that I'm not in crisis mode anymore (with newborns, lack of sleep, rsv, etc...) I am trying to be really present to all of my children. Sure, I feed them, bathe them, clean up after them, wash their clothes and wipe their bums... but do I really know them? What makes them special? What makes them them?

It's amazing how different each one is. They are all such beautiful gifts to me, and I really cherish the time I spend individually with them. As a group, they join forces to create havoc with my peace and my sanity... until I can't think.. especially around dinner time or bed time... or anytime after about 3:30 actually... but individually, they are such amazing creations.

I love talking to each one, and finding out what is inside their minds, and their hearts. What their favorite color is and what their favorite book to read is. I love hearing about what the biggest dinosaur in the world is, and hearing songs about Yankee Doodle and his makywoney sung over and over. I am the luckiest mom in the world. You readers of my blog only get a glimpse into one part of my life-- the homeschooling, and if you think that is fun, and darling, then you can't imagine what you don't see.

I have such joy at being given this family of mine.

I'd love to tell you much more, but right now I have to go rescue the flour bin from the twins. They have a knack at getting into trouble... Following after their big sister I guess.

Look forward to some more posts about the simple joys of living among these perfectly wonderful indivdual little children I have. That is, after I clean up the flour and whatever mess is beyond this room that I haven't seen yet.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Learning to bake... all over again

While we are awaiting a definitive diagnosis of Celiac disease for my little 7 year old girl, (praise God! My request for prayers from the unnamed patron saint of waiting lines came through... we got an appointment at the GI clinic on monday), I have busied myself trying to get a grasp on gluten free cooking. From the bit of research that I have done into Celiac disease, it seems that it's almost certain E does have it. I would be surprised if she didn't.
Anyways, you can follow along in my new adventures as they are sure to be fun. Feel free to cook alongside me at home if you'd like :-)
First, I went to the library and checked out a few books on GF (gluten free) cooking. Either they are really popular, or there aren't very many in circulation, because I was on a waiting list for more than a few of them. Right now I have:
I have also been busily adding gluten-free blogs to my google reader. There are oodles of great recipes floating around the internet waiting to be tired :-)
So, I put the knitting needles down, and came out of my craft room and headed for the health food store to stock up on some staple baking supplies for gluten free baking. I wasn't sure what I needed so I bought everything :-) You should have seen Sean shake his head at me when I came home... especially after he saw the cloud of tapioca flour that accidentally spilled all over the front seat of the van...
Here's what I bought:

Amaranth Flour
Buckwheat Flour
Millet Flour
Quinoa Flour
Sorghum Flour
Teff Flour
Garfava Bean Flour
Soy Flour
Corn Flour
Corn Meal
Corn Starch
Almond Meal Flour
Potato Flour
Potato Starch
Brown Rice Flour
White Rice Flour
Sweet Rice Flour
Arrowroot Flour
Tapioca Flour
Xanthum Gum
Guar Gum
Whole Milk Powder
Buttermilk Powder

Hmmm... well after looking over that list myself, I guess I did buy quite a bit. LOL... but I need to experiment. It's our soon to be new life!!

I have decided that I'm going to try and master one food at a time, so last night I started on the most important: Chocolate chip cookies.

I made two recipes. One with rice flour and tapioca flour which made a good cookie, but low in fibre and high in carbs (which isn't bad as far a desserts go, but I'm used to baking with whole wheat flours... you know, "healthy" cookies.) Anyways, I have found that baked goods made mostly with rice flour, potato flour and tapioca flour tend to be quite pasty and starchy. They just don't have the right texture that I like.

kid test: "yum! I like it"

baby test: "argh!!" "argh!!" (transaltion: give me another one)

dad test: "ummm... they're ok"
The second recipe was made with a big mix of everything: sorghum, quinoa, amaranth, garfava, and tapioca flour. This made an excellent cookie. It was full of flavor and texture, and the slightly crunch amaranth flour (must have been stone ground), gave it a bit of crunch. A definate keeper. This did not have the typical gluten free texture to it at all. You wouldn't even be able to tell it was different.
kid test: "I REALLY like these mom... can I have another one?"

baby test: "ARGH!!!" "ARGH!!!" (translation: JP stole my cookie!!)

dad test: "yummy! I like the texture"

This picture shows the cookie number one on the left and cookie number two on the right.
The first cookie came out a bit scary. It spread very thin, burnt on the bottom before the middle was cooked and was rather uneven (thin on edges and thick in the centre). Maybe this has to do with my black baking sheets, and maybe it has to do with my fake butter substitute I use.
Today, I'm off to make trial number three, from a popular GF blogger, Ginger-Lemon Girl. Her recipe is supposed to be amazing. I'll let you know the results. I'm also off to read an article from another famous GF blogger, Book Of Yum, on GF cookie baking.