Friday, December 16, 2011

Our Visit to see Santa and Getting Ready for Christmas!

Wednesday night, my sister Amy and her family joined us for a trip to see Santa!  I actually wasn't going to take the Munchkin to see Santa this year at first.  I figured she was too young to even care.  We talk about Santa and everything coming up, but it's not like she really is that interested in him yet.  Plus I absolutely hate the mall at christmas time.  I try not to step foot in it at all any time after Thanksgiving.  But then, Joe's brother told us about their trip to see Santa at Bass Pro and how nice it was.  Alot less people and much more low key.  Plus it was totally free, picture and all and they let you take pictures with your own camera!  Yay!!

As soon as we walked into the store and over to the North Pole area, the girls were in awe. We all kinda were actually.  Everything was so pretty.  There were tons of decorations everywhere and they even had blue lights all over the ceiling to make it feel like we were at the North Pole (well sorta).  As cool as all the lighting was, it made things a bit tricky for taking pictures.

Jeremy, Q, The Munchkin and Joe waiting in line to see Santa!
They had all sorts of games and things for the kids to do.  There was a skee ball game, a shooting range game and big train set up.  They also had lots of picnic tables set up through out the store with craft projects for the kids to do.

Me and the Munchkin getting ready to see Santa.

This was the top of the little house Santa was sitting infront of.

A kind stranger offered to take a pic of all of us.

The ceiling was really cool looking.
We had no idea how the girls were going to react to us putting them on Santa's lap.  We kinda anticipated them freaking out a little bit.  The loved him though!  As we got closer to him in line they kept reaching out to him and calling his name.  It was pretty funny.

The Munchkin sitting with Santa.

The Munchkin and Q with Santa

Here she must be telling Santa what she wants for Christmas.
 They had a really nice carousel there too.  The girls loved it!

Joe and the Munchkin

Amy and Q

I'm so glad we ended up taking her this year after all.  She had so much fun.  I am glad we had another option other then the mall as well.

Amy, Jeremy and Q came by my house right before we left to see Santa.  We had been trying for a couple of weeks to get a decent family photo of us for our Christmas card and we weren't having any luck.  So I set up the camera on the tripod and asked her to snap a few shots for us.  She kept telling us that our feet were getting cut off... we thought she meant from the sides so we kept bringing our legs in closer.  Really she meant from the bottom, and I guess she didn't realize all she had to do was tilt the camera down.  We were in a huge hurry, so we just needed to get through it.  Anyway, we ended up with a decent one, but Joe's positioning is super awkward.  I also wish we had been more infront of the tree with less of my desk in the background. 

I know I am being way too picky and no one gives a crap but me.  

We took the pic Wednesday night.  I needed the Christmas cards done and printed on Thursday so I could stuff the envelopes and address them all Thursday night, then mail them out today.  I tried ordering them from an online place that I could pick them up in an hour, but I didn't like any of the templates.  I wanted to crop off Joe's leg and the desk somehow in the background but leave the tree.... so I ended up having to design something for that, even though I had absolutely zero time to do it.  I am not inlove with it, but under the circumstances, I am at peace with it.   I printed them off at my work and they went in the mail today.  Finally done with that... Yay!!

And the real ones do not say "the Munchkin", by the way.

This weekend, I hope to wrap all of the presents and finish up any last minute shopping.  I still have so much to do.  I have to make cookies, figure out what dishes I am making for Christmas Eve at my uncle's and Christmas day at my parents and then get all of the supplies for that, plus all of the other things I don't want to bore you with.  I can't believe christmas is only 9 days away!  So excited!!

Does anyone else get so silly about their Christmas cards or am I just a wierdo?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Homemade Pizza with Almond Flour Pizza Crust (sugar free • gluten free • low carb • GAPS)

Who doesn't love pizza?  Pizza definitely used to be one of the foods I ate the most.  Plus, there isn't too many things you can order and have it delivered to your door in about an hour to eat for dinner.  Talk about convenient.  Once I did an overhaul on my diet though, commercial pizza had to go.  I was so sad about it.  For a long time, I just figured pizza was one of those things I just wouldn't be eating any more (Aside from that rare once in a while if I was not at home and gave in, but I would inevitably regret it, as my stomach wasn't used to it). Then I started to experiment a little with different types of crusts.  You can find my flax seed version HERE from about a year and a half ago.  It's pretty good (I actually loved it at the time, having not had pizza in forever), but it definitely wasn't anywhere close to the pizza I missed and my husband really wanted nothing to do with it.  So for a long time, I had given up and just considered pizza to be something I would just have to miss.  Boo.

I've learned a few tricks since then though.  I decided to give it another go and started experimenting with it again.  I looked up a few recipes for pizza crust and found some that I liked.  I tried out a couple of them and with some minor alterations I came up with a crust that I love. What was even more shocking was that my husband likes it too.  Infact, when I told him I was making it again tonight, he was pretty pumped about it.  When I added that I would be making it with pepperoni and homemade sausage, he got even more excited!

In a bowl, I whisked together some almond flour, parmesan cheese, salt, baking soda, parsley and garlic powder.

In another bowl, I whisked together an egg with a cup of sour cream (you would use yogurt here to make it gaps friendly).

Then I poured my wet ingredients into my bowl with my dry ingredients and mixed them together.

I mixed them together until it formed a dough (kinda).  This is some sticky stuff.

Divide your dough in half and spread it out onto parchment paper on two cookie sheets.  I'm gonna be honest here, this "dough" is not really all that fun to work with.  With the advice of the original recipe, I used a spatula to spread it around.  If you try to use your fingers or anything else, it just gets all globby and sticky and if you try to use wax paper or anything else on the top of it so you can roll it out, then it just clings to it when you try to pull it off.  With a little patience though, you can use the spatula to spread it around. It won't be perfect. I popped it into the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Then I whipped up some pizza sauce.  You can make your sauce however you want or use some pre-made sauce.  To make mine, I used Eden Organic Crushed Tomatoes, and added some garlic, minced onion, salt, pepper, oregano and parsley.  I just dumped it all in until I liked how it tasted.

I then chopped up all my veggies. I used black olives, white onions, green peppers and mushrooms.

I sauteed my mushrooms in some butter and then set them aside to cool.

I found some uncured pepperoni at the grocery store the other day.  I was pretty excited. We have been eating Applegate's lunch meats for quite some time now, but I never even knew they made pepperoni.  No preservatives or nitrates added, no antibiotics used and the animals are raised humanely.  I really like this company.  The pepperoni circles are really big though, so I cut them up into fourths.

Once my pizza crusts were nice and toasty, I pulled them out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes.

Then I added the sauce.

Then I added some cheese. I used a mix of parmesan, romano, fontina and provolone cheeses.

Then I piled on my ingredients.  One pizza was half veggie and half pepperoni and sausage.  The other pizza was a supreme with meats and veggies.

I had made sausage earlier that day.  I made about 4 lbs worth and put most of it in the freezer to use as needed.  I cooked up a few patties to crumble and use on top of our pizza.  If you have ever considered making your own sausage, you should try this recipe.  It's honestly some of the best sausage I have ever tried and it's so much cheaper (and healthier) then buying the pre-made stuff. Plus it's pretty awesome to have it on hand.  You just pull out a few and can throw them on the stove top while still frozen and cook them in about ten minutes.

Another look at the pile of yummy ingredients...

Then I added another layer of cheese.

I put them back in the oven for about 10 minutes until everything was all hot and melty.


I am just so excited to have figured out a pizza recipe that I really like AND that the munchkin and my super picky husband enjoys.

Here's a close up so you can see how the crust turned out.  The thinner you spread it, the better.  It has kind of a mealy texture, like a chef boyardee pizza (if you ever made one of those).  My mom used to make them all the time when we were kids.   The crust holds together fantastically and crisps up really nice.

(sugar free • gluten free • low carb • GAPS)

Pizza Crust Ingredients:
  • 3 C Almond Flour
  • 1/2 C Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (omit for GAPS)
  • 1 C Sour Cream (or 1 C yogurt for GAPS friendly version)
  • 1 Egg

Toppings (Ideas)
  • Pizza Sauce (tomato sauce, garlic powder, minced onion, salt, pepper, oregano, parsley)
  • Shredded Cheese of your choice
  • Sausage
  • Pepperoni
  • Onions
  • Black olives
  • Green peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Oregano
  • Parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together Dry Ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream (or yogurt) with an egg.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix together with a hand mixer until well combined.
  5. Spread two pieces of parchment paper out onto two cookie sheets.
  6. Divide dough in half and put one half on each cookie sheet.
  7. Spread dough carefully with spatula.  Its very sticky and more like a batter, so just take your time and spread a thin, even layer out over the cookie sheet.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until it has turned very light brown all over and the edges are nice and crispy.
  9. Spread tomato sauce over crusts.
  10. Add thin layer of cheese.
  11. Layer desired toppings over cheese.
  12. Add another layer of cheese.
  13. Sprinkle with any additional seasonings you may like, I like to add more oregano and parsley.
  14. Return to oven and cook for another 10 minutes or so until everything is melted and hot.
  15. Enjoy!

If you do make this pizza, please let me know how it turned out and what you think!  

I would LOVE to hear some of your favorite topping combinations??

This is a part of Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday and the Healthy Home Economist's Monday Mania Carnival and Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bring on the Pregnancy Symptoms and Let the Bitching Commence

I am going to start right off the bat with a little bitching today.... just to get it out of the way.  Besides, I haven't bitched enough in a while on here, so I am probably long overdue anyway.

How can my boobs be so much bigger already?!  I am only 10 wks along and have already gained 5 lbs and I swear, I think it's all in my boobs.  They are sore and heavy and much much fuller.  I wasn't quite ready for that yet.

With the munchkin, my boobs became insanely out of control.  When I was about 6 or 7 months pregnant, they started leaking already.  When I was nursing, they were so full of milk that they were constantly leaking all over everything.  My husband called them machine guns because they would spray my poor baby all over her face whenever she would pull away.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't ever get them to calm down either.  I didn't want to complain too much, because I think that having an under supply would be even worse. Maybe not though. But seriously, I was changing my nursing pads every couple of hours on some days.  And this was the entire time I was nursing. So I guess it shouldn't have been too much of a surprise, that as soon as I became pregnant again, my boobies immediately sprang into action!

I think the exhaustion is my least favorite part.  I will sit at my desk and stare at my computer screen, then waves will wash over me, where I actually think I fall asleep for a second.  It takes everything I can to stay awake and aware of what is going on.  All I want to do when I get home from work is take a nap.  Ofcourse, I have to make dinner before Joe leaves for school and then once he's gone, it probably wouldn't be the best idea to pass out and leave a two year old to wander the house oh her own.

I do know people that, while pregnant, have closed off a room, baby proofed it, then fallen asleep while their toddler plays around them.  Not that I agree or disagree with this practice, but no way would the munchkin let me get away with that anyway.  If I even close my eyes for a second, just to "rest" them, she is literally in my face yelling "wake up"! Even if she's in another room, she knows instantly, and it's her mission to make sure that I don't catch any sleep while on the job.

And ofcourse, there is the famous "Preggo Brain".  That has kicked in full force.  We actually had our Parents as Teachers lady come to our house on Wednesday evening and I had completely forgotten we had an appointment with her, even though I had just seen it on the calendar a few days prior.  Thank goodness we just so happened to be just sitting around doing absolutely nothing. I heard the knock on the door and opened it up.  We had only actually met with this lady one time before, so when I first opened the door I had no idea who she was.  I just said "Hi" and stood there (looking confused I'm sure).  She said, "Oh no, did you forget that I am coming?".  Suddenly it hit me and I responded, "No ofcourse not, we are all ready for you".  I am not sure if she was buying it or not, I gave Joe the "Holy effing oops" look as she walked into the kitchen.

Other then my boob situation and feeling like I am sleep walking all day, I actually feel pretty amazing really.  I think it has alot to do with my diet and my pregnancy supplements. Getting the right nutrients and everything you need will help alot with general nausea and how you feel while pregnant, or so I've read.  It makes sense, so I have a pretty good feeling that that is the difference between this time and the last time. Or maybe its pure coincidence.

If anyone is curious, here are the pills I am currently popping...

Prenatal Vitamins - I like that these are organic and from whole foods and have no wierd additives like some other prenatals (artificial flavors, colors or preservatives).
Wholemega Prenatal - For DHA, EPA and AA and other helpful omegas.
Probiotics - To keep that digestive system running smoothly, which benefits your whole system. This also really helps with that pesky constipation situation that pregnancy can cause for many woman.

And I also found this stuff, which I love!
Ginger Honey Tonic - I've been adding this to my water here and there for a quick pick me up.  I also like to lick it right off the spoon.  It's yum!

So that is what I have been taking and it seems to be keeping the general feelings of crappiness at bay.  And as much as I complain about being tired, I think I was actually more tired when pregnant with the munchkin, but who knows for sure, that was a while ago.  I do recall almost falling asleep at the wheel driving home from work in my first pregnancy. And more then once. It was scary!  I would also get car sick all the time.  I have none of that yet.  Knock on wood.

Tonight, Joe is taking the munchkin to his mom's house for dinner.  I am going straight home from work and taking a LONG nap.  Then after the munchkin gets home, we hang out for a while and then after she goes to bed, I am going to see Breaking Dawn with my girl Michele.  I am so excited about it too and I don't care how dorky that may or may not be!

And for fun, I went back and read some blogs from when I was about this far along with the munchkin.  This HERE is the second post I ever wrote on this blog!  I am pretty much bitching about the same stuff as far as how I felt.  Funny how so many other things have changed since then.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Almond Flour Tortillas / Crepes (processed sugar free • gluten free • low carb • dairy free • GAPS)

Last night for dinner, I made chicken enchiladas.  I had pre-made a bunch of filling ahead of time and taken out a bag to thaw in the morning.  When I got home from work, I started making the tortillas.  They are actually more like crepes, but they work just fine for either purpose.  After I finished assembling all of the enchiladas, I had two tortillas/crepes left.  I hate wasting anything, so this morning for breakfast, I made these.  Please excuse the crappy cell phone pics...

I whipped up some heavy cream with vanilla extract and stevia and sliced some strawberries for the filling and for the top. Oh ma gosh. They were delicious. Maybe a little too sweet for breakfast, as I am more of a savory type in the morning. I think they would have been even better with bacon in them or crumbled over the type. Or maybe if I had only eaten one as a companion to something else, like sausage or something. I do not have much experience with crepes for breakfast, plus I had to work with what I had. Any suggestions for fillings so I could have made these even better?  As is, they were yum and made me feel a little naughty this morning like I was having dessert for my breakfast.

Almond Flour Tortillas / Crepes
processed sugar free • gluten free • low carb • dairy free • GAPS


  • 5 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 C Almond Flour
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp Raw Honey for sweeter crepes (optional)
  • Herbs and Seasonings for a more savory tortilla (optional)
  • Butter or Coconut oil for pan


  1. In a medium bowl, scramble eggs, then add almond flour, and additional ingredients of choice.
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium low heat.  Butter skillet (or use coconut oil).
  3. Pour 1/4 Cup of the batter into the center of the skillet and immediately tilt and swirl the skillet around to spread a thin, even layer.
  4. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly browned.

Makes 6-7 crepes

You can find the original recipe that I used here.  I changed it up a little bit, and the original measurements have to be off, cuz if you used 1/3 cup of the batter, no way are you gonna get 6-8 crepes.  Or maybe I am crazy.  Also, I think switching it to 1/4 cup of the batter works better for tortillas as they taste less eggy and are thinner so your enchiladas don’t taste like tex mex omelettes (Joe’s description of an earlier batch).  Also, add the honey for crepes, or they can be more savory and you can add in some herbs and spices for tortillas.

And while we are sharing crappy cell phone pics, here’s a pic of my lunch. I found this on my phone from a couple of weeks ago while I was pulling off the pics I took this morning of the crepes. Half eaten, leftover chicken enchiladas heated up in my toaster oven at work.  YUM.

Here’s the recipe I usually start with and use for the filling. I leave out the corn though and use precooked, shredded chicken (they say you can use it from a can, I don’t think that is so much a good idea). The recipe is pretty versatile and you can add or remove whatever you want. I also like to atleast double it and freeze some for later.  Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A More In Depth View of the Little Munchkin and Why We Eat the Way We Do.

This post is going to be long.  I haven't talked much about any of this on my blog before, and am getting ready to try something new out, so I'd like to have it chronicled a little more here.  For myself, but also for anyone else that it might in some way help.  Or even maybe it will sound familiar to someone else and they could offer me some insight too.

Since the munchkin was born, I have always noticed that there were things that she did that were a little out of the ordinary.  There was the obvious acid reflux issues that my poor baby suffered from since she was an infant up until I started making all of her food from scratch and being super picky about every single thing that went into her mouth.

The first 6 months after the munchkin was born was very isolating.  I didn't feel like anyone else could understand or relate to what we were going through.  If she was awake, she was usually screaming.  I was sleep deprived and so was she and my husband.  We also had lost our home and were living in a tiny, claustrophobic condo, farther away from our friends and family then we were used to.  We never wanted to go anywhere, because we knew we would have to turn around and leave anyway.  Everyone always asked why we didn't want to come, why we couldn't miss her nap, why we couldn't keep her up later past her bed time.  It was frustrating to say the least.  Even when we tried to explain, no one ever really understood. Our marriage definitely took a beating and even a couple of my friends turned their back on me.

If only I knew then what I know now.  I truly believe that all over her reflux issues were directly related to my diet while I was pregnant and while I was nursing.  Clearly the same diet might not cause issues for other people's babies.  But it did for mine.  I knew nothing about health or nutrition and it wasn't anything I was concerned about.  It wasn't until I was forced to learn more, that I realized how important it really was.  She had already been eating solids for a while now, when I really started to get a grasp on how important of a role diet could be playing with her reflux and mood issues.  I started making all of her food from scratch.  Nothing from boxes or cans, nothing with preservatives.  Mostly everything was organic and all of our beef was now from pastured, grassfed cows.  I cut out all sugar completely, with the exception of raw honey.  The only foods she ate for the most part, either came from an animal or grew out of the ground.

Immediately, her reflux issues got better.  Then quickly, they were completely gone.  We could finally take her off of her medicine.  She was sleeping better through the night.  She was napping better.  She was calmer in general and happier.  It was such a huge relief.  I was feeling better too.  The weight I had worked really hard to finally lose was staying off easily (for the first time in my life), my joint and back problems started to go away and my digestive system was working alot better too.

I could go on and on, but since making such a huge transformation in my family's eating habits and having it go on for almost two years now, it is by far the best decision I have ever made for us.  It's frustrating sometimes, in today's society, and having to explain to people all of the time why we eat the way we do.  It also requires more work and preparation, but the pros (for us) clearly outweigh the cons.

Then we started noticing other things, like the munchkin's sensitivity towards other peoples feelings (even people on tv).  We had to be careful how we would inform her that she was doing something wrong.  If we were too harsh she would get so upset.  Big crocodile tears would start rolling down her face and you could really tell that her feelings were deeply hurt.  If she saw other people upset, she would immediately become upset herself.  I remember once we were watching fantasia together and once Mickey was put into jail and started crying, she just about lost her mind.  She turned to me, huge tears rolling down her face, and said, "Mickey is crying, why is he sad?"

She can also become overstimulated very easily.  After her 2nd birthday party, we decided that we were no longer going to have large parties to celebrate her birthday.  We invited all of our close friends, family and everyone's children.  She was such a nervous wreck the entire time.  She wanted either Joe or I to hold her constantly or else she would be crying.  I think it was more having all of the other kids over and playing with her toys and touching all of her stuff.  Especially the boys.  They were pretty aggressive with her things, throwing them on the floor and pulling things apart.  I think this really stressed her out and made her pretty upset.

She is really particular about her stuff.  She likes certain things in their place and when they are moved, she notices write away.  And until they are returned, she is not a happy camper.  When she saw her new kitchen set that we had gotten her for her birthday for the first time, Joe had placed a spatula, a spoon and an oven mitt from the little hooks above the stove.  When she walked into her play room the next day, she immediately noticed they were in a different spot and had to put them back right away.

She also likes her routine and things to stay in the same order.  Each night, we put on our PJ's, brush her teeth, read a book then go to bed.  If we even attempt to do any of these things out of order, she will let you know.  And not very calmly.  Probably alot of kids like to keep things in order at their bed time routines, but this is with every thing else too.  If we are heading out the door and Joe grabs our diaper bag instead of me, she will notice immediately and say, "No! Mommy do it!", because I am the one who usually carries it.  She needs to know that things change and we sometimes do things differently, so we will say something along the lines of,  "Daddy is helping mommy and is going to carry it for me this time".

Usually Joe takes her to the sitter in the mornings, but every rare once in a while (like today), I will take her.  I have to prep her ahead of time, so there are no surprises and she doesn't get upset about the break in the routine.  As soon as I walked into her room this morning to get her out of bed, I told her good morning, and then started talking about how daddy was out of town still and that I would be taking her to Stacy's house today.  If we talk to her about everything and let her know what's going on and what is changing ahead of time, then she is adjusts a little easier.  It's the surprises she doesn't like at all.

When I pick her up from the sitter, she is usually in their family room and waves to me through the window as I walk up to the front door.  If she is in the living room, and doesn't see me coming, and I walk into the front door, then she will get really upset and start crying and pointing to the window because she didn't see me coming and wave to me first.

The munchkin is an amazing child.  I would hate to make her out like she has all of these issues or want to sound like I am complaining about her.  She is amazingly smart.  Her speech, along with many other things, are actually advanced for her age.  She is loving and sweet and so much fun.  She melts my heart and makes me feel like the luckiest person alive every single day. I also realize that in the grand scheme of things, none of this is awful.

But still, there are some things that give me pause.  You might remember our bathing routine situation a while back when she suddenly became deathly afraid of taking baths.  Thank goodness that has gotten better, but it definitely took some time and some convincing.  She will still look at the drain occasionally and start to say the word "scared" and tremble a little.

I found a website called The Highly Sensitive Person.  It had some really interesting information.  The author actually wrote a book, called the Highly Sensitive Child.  I ordered it.  Alot of it sounded like the munchkin actually, but alot of it didn't.  Still some of the advice given in the book I have actually implemented with some success.  Alot of it, I think could be implemented though for any child with some success.  Although I do consider the munchkin to be very sensitive, I am not quite sure that she is "highly sensitive" according to their definition.

Of course some days are better then others.  Some days you would never even know she has any of these reactions on other days.  Something will happen, I will wait for it, then nothing.... she will brush it right off, like its no big deal at all.  Then there are days like yesterday.  When I picked her up from the sitter she was still sleeping.  I went in to wake her up and she became immediately upset.  I scooped her up and gave her extra hugs and kisses.  She just kept sobbing and looking at me with big tears in her eyes.  She was so sad, but she had no idea why.  She was like that all the way home.

Once we got home I asked her if she wanted to make some cupcakes and she started to lighten up a little.  She would give me some heavy sighs here and there, but she was distracted enough by making the cupcakes to be able to move on eventually.  By the time we got them into the oven she was feeling a little better.  Once they were out and cooling, I packed her into the car so we could go pick up some dinner from Moe's Southwest Grill.

On a side note, this place is awesome!  Their steak is from grassfed cows.  I get the steak fajita (hold the tortilla), then an extra side of steak.  The munchkin and I will split up the steak and veggies and put some cheese and sour cream on the top and its a fantastic easy meal for us when we are in a pinch.

So while we were at Moe's, we ordered our food and as we were leaving, she had another pretty bad melt down because she wanted to stay and eat her food there.  I really don't think it was so much that she would rather eat there, but that she thought we were, and didn't like not knowing what was going on.  I told her we had to go home and eat because they didn't have any milk there.  She thought about that for a minute and then decided to let it go.  Whew.

It was one thing after another the entire evening.  Anything and everything was setting her off.  And in a big way.

After I put her to bed, I started thinking about it alot.  Over Thanksgiving weekend she was a madwoman as well.  Lots of breaks in her routine, missing a nap on Saturday and all of the foods she wasn't used to eating could have all been contributing culprits.  But I have been noticing more and more lately, that when she does eat certain meals out of the ordinary, she can have some pretty crazy behavior issues result from it.  Yesterday for lunch, I had sent spaghetti with whole wheat pasta.  We rarely ever have any wheat.  We usually stick to proteins, veggies, fruits and healthy fats.  But it's not something that I was cutting out all the time.  I didn't feel that it had any health benefit and I knew it caused me to gain weight, so it just wasn't something I usually incorporated.

I realize that kids are not going to behave perfectly all of the time, nor do I expect the munchkin too.  But when she is looking at me with confusion and panic and is crying and sobbing and can not even talk to me about what is going on, because she has no idea herself, then something is wrong.  When she can't seem to control her reactions to things or calm herself down, this just doesn't seem right to me.

I have been doing alot more research lately on gluten and the problems it can cause, with a focus on children.  I am going to try to cut out all gluten and processed sugar from her diet completely and strictly for 6 months and see what effect, if any, it will have on her.  This also means, I will be cutting it completely out of mine as well.  If she does have a sensitivity to gluten, it might be really hard to tell with her since we so rarely give it to her.  But they say even small amounts can cause problems in many kids (studies show 40% or more of the population is suffering from gluten problems and some say much more then that) It will be interesting to see if it plays any role in the things we have been having trouble with.  It will also be interesting to see if makes any difference for me as well (I have a pretty strong feeling that I have some acne related issues for sure).

Luckily this isn't going to affect our daily routine in an extreme way.  I already bake gluten free, using mostly almond or coconut flour, and use only raw honey and stevia as a sweetener, but we do have exceptions here and there. And, I am usually more lenient when we are at a friend or family members house. I do make spaghetti every few weeks or so with whole wheat pasta.  These are the things we will be eliminating completely.  I am also going to really miss my Trader Joe's sprouted whole wheat bread in the morning with breakfast.

It will be an interesting experiment though and at least I will know either way if it is having any effects on us.

Wish me luck!

Does anyone else have any other thoughts or stories to share that might relate?

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Long Overdue Update and Some Exciting News!!

I've been completely MIA from my blog.  Alot has happened in the past few months and unfortunately, my blog always ends up taking the back seat when the rest of my life is crazy.  Which is really unfortunate, because that is when I have the most to talk about.  Then, by the time I have a chance to even think about posting an update, so much has happened, that I have no idea where to begin.

Before my disappearance, you may have noticed I was posting more pictures that I had taken for friends and family members.  So many people were passing my name along and asking me to take their pictures, I decided to go ahead and officially start up a photography business.  The plan was already in place to start up one eventually, but I hadn't planned on starting one quite yet.  It all happened really fast, and was keeping my extremely busy. Especially for the month of October, when I was offering a special that was pretty much half of what I would normally charge.  It was great for building up my portfolio, getting more experience and getting my name out there, but it sure was alot of work!  It was really great to make some extra money too, even if it was all going towards paying for my equipment.  You gotta start somewhere though!  Not only was I super busy with the sessions, but I was also working really hard to get my website up and running, all of my forms and documents complete, along with all of my paperwork for starting a new business and getting your taxes set up.  That was quite a project in itself.

Joe and I have also been working on baby number #2.  I have referenced here and there that we were hoping to add another member to our family some time in the near future.  We actually started "trying" during the summer. We were very lucky when we decided we wanted to get pregnant with the munchkin.  It only took us the first month and even though I knew that wasn't typical, I was really hoping the same thing would happen for us again this time. I was even naive enough to plan out exactly when I wanted the baby's birthday to be and start the process exactly 10 mos before that.  As if all of the stars were going to align and fall into place perfectly not only once, but twice.

Things didn't go exactly as we had hoped.  After the first month, I decided to try to pay attention to when I might be ovulating.  I was using Baby Center's Ovulation Calculater.  You know, super scientific stuff. That didn't seem to be doing much good either, but I wasn't quite ready to start with the ovulation test kits and all that stuff.  We decided that we would wait till we had been trying for atleast 6 months before we started going there.

Then in October, we had a little bump in the road when I somehow ended up getting.... wait for it...  Toxic Shock Syndrome!  I am not quite sure how it happened.  I have a theory and it does involve a tampon, but if I knew for sure how it had happened then most likely it wouldn't have happened in the first place.  I won't go into all of the details, but luckily, I was aware of it and was already concerned about the possibility, so when the symptoms came on, I took them seriously.

I woke up that morning with an achy feeling all over my body.  Almost like I was getting the flu.  My muscles were really sore and my whole body was exhausted and tender.  I went to work, hoping things would get better.  Around lunch time, I started getting all itchy and then realized I was breaking out in hives or some kind of rash on my stomach and my arms.  I started to get a headache.  As I was leaving work to pick up the munchkin, I started feeling even worse.  I called my sister and told her to look up the symptoms of toxic shock syndrome.  She googled it while I was on the phone.  Sure enough, they were very similar to what was going on with me.  I hadn't developed a fever yet, which was one of the big ones, so I decided to not get too freaked out yet.  Of course, that was easier said then done.

After we got home, I headed straight for the couch.  Luckily Joe didn't have class that night, so he took over with dinner and everything else while I laid around.  I was so exhausted and couldn't do anything.  Then I started to feel really hot and I had Joe take my temperature.  Sure enough I was developing a fever.  I officially started freaking out.  We called my dad and he came up to hang out while the munchkin was sleeping so that Joe could take me to the ER. Anyway, long story short, it was too early for any of the tests to prove that I did, in fact, have TSS, but they did show that it wasn't anything else that they tested for, including the flu.  I was showing all of the developing signs and luckily it was so early that if I did in fact have it, it hadn't spread to my organs and started causing them to fail yet.  The ER doc gave me a prescription for some really strong antibiotics specifically for TSS and sent me home. I started on them right away and for the next few days I was pretty much a zombie.  It was awful!

I started feeling much better after a couple of days.  I hate taking antibiotics though, and for good reason.  They always seem to cause another problem somewhere else, and if your not careful, they can almost start a domino effect, causing you to have to take meds for something else, and so on.  As much as I hate taking them though, there are instances where they are necessary.  I would consider TSS to be one of those times. Instead of heading back to a doctor for more meds for another problem, I just doubled up on my probiotics and yogurt and crossed my fingers.  After about a week, everything seemed to be back to normal.  Whew.

Ofcourse, all of this took place while I was ovulating, so we had no hopes for getting pregnant that month either. As we were nearing the end of October, and the halloween parties that would take place that weekend, I woke up on a Friday morning and something told me to take a test.  I wasn't sure why.  I wasn't late yet, but for some reason I had a really strong feeling that I should take one.  So I headed into the bathroom, unwrapped a test and took it.  Within a few seconds, a second line appeared.

I was pregnant!

I ran over to wake up Joe.  I shook him around and said, "Joe!  Joe, we're pregnant!"  His eyes flew open.  "What?! Are you sure?  How??"  He was pretty surprised too.  And I am still not quite sure how it happened.  Obviously I was ovulating much earlier then the Baby Center predicted.

November has been kind of a fog.  Just like when I was pregnant with the munchkin, my first trimester is proving to be just as exhausting.  I am very fortunate to not have any morning sickness or nausea, but the simple task of keeping my eyes open is proving to be extremely difficult.  Atleast when I was pregnant with the munchkin, I could come home and take a nap whenever I wanted.  You just can't do this when you are pregnant with a toddler.  And with Joe going to school in the evenings, it makes it even more impossible to catch some zzzz's.  Hopefully in a couple of weeks, I will get some energy back, as I enter my second trimester.

I will be 10 weeks along this Thursday and my due date is July 5th!  I realize that many people choose to wait atleast 12 or 13 weeks before they announce their pregnancy.  I have already told my closest friends and family and these people read my blog.  And for everyone else that reads my blog, well if anything were to happen, I'd be talking about that here too.   If you have been reading my blog for a long time, then you may know that my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.  It was a very dark and sad time for me, and having the love and support of those around me was what I needed the most.  Its a very personal decision, but for me, it doesn't make sense to keep everything top secret until after the first trimester.

We had our first ultrasound last Wednesday.  Our little nugget had a heart rate of 182 and everything looked wonderful.

I originally started this blog (even though it has gone in many different directions as well) to journal my life as a mother.  So that my children could one day look back and see, from their mother's point of view, how much they were loved and how life unfolded for them and our family in the beginning.  I am so excited to start the next chapter!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chili (sugar free • gluten free • low carb)

Winter is almost here.  Fall seems to barely be hanging in there.  Sigh.  One of my favorite meals when the weather turns cold is chili.  I made up my first batch of the season when I did my freezer cooking for the month a couple of months ago and now I am going to share the recipe with you.

Please make this chili!  I promise you won't regret it.  I found a chili recipe online a while back that I had started from.  I swapped out all of the canned items for fresh and changed around a few other things to suit our tastes.

I am in love.  My husband and the munchkin both give it a BIG thumbs up.  I really hope you do too!

( sugar free • gluten free • low carb • dairy free)


  • 1 lb Grassfed Ground Beef
  • 2 White Onions, diced
  • 1 Green Pepper, diced
  • 1 Aneheim Pepper, diced
  • 1/2 Jalapeno Pepper, finely chopped
  • 14 oz Chopped Tomatoes, I use 1/2 of a carton of Pomi chopped tomatoes
  • 16 oz Tomato Sauce, I use Eden Crushed Tomatoes in a Jar
  • 2 Tb Cumin
  • 2 Tb Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 C Water
  • 14 oz Kidney Beans (you can use canned, but preferably dry beans soaked overnight)
  • 14 oz Black Beans (you can use canned, but preferably dry beans soaked overnight)


  1. In a medium stock pot, brown beef with onions and peppers.
  2. Once cooked, strain the juices.
  3. Return to pot, add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, seasonings and water.
  4. Add the beans and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours.

Topping Ideas: 

  • Shredded Cheese
  • Avocado
  • Diced Red or White Onions
  • Green Onions
  • Sour Cream

You can serve immediately with toppings or save in a freezer proof ziploc bag or container in the freezer.  It's perfect for reheating later and serving.  I like to get out the giant stock pot and make lots of extra so we can eat some right away and freeze the rest for more meals later.

If you try it, please let me know what you think!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Monica and Shaun's Maternity Shoot

This weekend I had the honor of shooting some maternity photos for Monica and Shaun and their little mister.  When I met my husband, Shaun was actually one of his roommates.  After I moved in, the three of us all lived together for a while, before Joe sold the house so that we could buy a new one together.  A couple years after I met Joe, Shaun met Monica and I loved her instantly.  She's a very sweet and beautiful woman and I think you can really see that in the pictures.

It was an amazing fall day.  We headed to a local park where there were plenty of great spots to shoot.  I had such a great time taking these pictures!  Here are some of my favorites.