Friday, December 30, 2011

Organized Busy Boxes

I love pinterest. Love it! Thank-you Megan for showing it to me and bugging me until I figured it out.

Pinterest has lots of fun things to pin on your wall. . . recipes, photos, links to blogs, craft ideas for the home. I am having so much fun pinning great ideas on my wall from blogs I visit and from other walls.

I found a blog that I enjoy reading called Play at Home Mom. This mom has lots of fun ideas for your kids.

I read this post on her blog and loved the idea of making busy boxes for my girls. I had a large wicker basket full of craft supplies for my children. I liked having everything in one spot, but it was really hard to keep it organized. I like organized everything. So I decided to take the idea of busy boxes and run with it.

This mom made a bunch of boxes for her little one to play with while she was nursing her baby. They had simple things in each one so that a child could take the box and do the activity. One box had paper, water colors, a paint brush and a water container. Another had colored corn with little animals to play with. A third had paper, crayons and rubbing plates. I loved her ideas but I really wanted to have boxes that would help me get organized and make craft time easier. So I bought 6 boxes and started to fill them up. I ended up liking how organized and easy they would be to use that I went back and got 6 more bins the same size, plus one big one.

Here are the boxes that I made. This whole project (besides the driving to the store part) took me only an hour to do.

This was my "I don't know quite where to put this stuff so I'll throw it in here" box. There are supplies to make bubbles, some glitter, clothes pins, silly pudy extra glue. Stuff like that.

This is my cutting stuff up box. It has ribbons and scissors plus glue for doing something with the cut up things

This is the glueing box. I added feathers, pom poms, wooden peices, googly eyes, Christmas tree cut outs (on clearance) and popsicle sticks. Then I put in glue, glue sticks and glitter glue.

Here is the sticker box. I bought a bunch of foam stickers for the girls to use. They love them.

This is the bead box. I dumped all the beads in here for easy access. The girls love to sort the beads so there is an ice cube tray. Plus I added plastic string for making necklaces and bracelets.

Hannah got a present of pretend cookies for Christmas. It has lots of peices and is really fun to play with. However, we all know what happens when you take a toy with lots of peices and put it on the toy shelf-they all get lost and then you have only a part of the toy to play with. Now all the peices are in one box and it is super easy to play and put away.

We now keep all our puzzles in this box. When they are in a puzzle making mode, we get down the box and play.

I put all the toys for our Little People doll house in this box. The other little toys like dinosaurs, mice family and McDonalds toys got added to the box too. They are little and get lost in the toy basket, but will get played with in the doll house and put away if they are all together.

This is our play-doh box. I try to make all our own play-doh. It is super easy to make and saves for a long time. I added the slime we made the other day to our play-doh box too.

Bekah received the Emma and Abigail magnetic wooden dolls for Christmas. Again, a lot of little peices that can easily get lost. Hopefully this will let us have lots of fun and then put it away without loosing all the peices.

I really love having the craft supplies and all the toys with lots of little peices organized. This really only took an hour or so. I would love to hear your ideas for keeping a tidy house.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Journey to a Healthy Life Continues

Five months ago I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Overnight I gave up eating pasta, bread, cookies and most of the food that was currently in my cupboard. This really was the start of a new life. My body began to heal slowly as it was not constantly under the attack of gluten. Shortly after this, I discovered my body was not healthy enough to process most dairy, so this was cut out of my diet as well.

I am still on a quest to be healthy and to feel good. It didn’t just stop with a gluten free diet. I thought that it would, but it didn’t. This is my story.

On a gluten free diet I had to say no to so many yummy things, I thought that I should be able to enjoy all the other gluten free things that I wanted to. I was making cookies and treats and buying lots of gluten free candy so that I didn't feel deprived. I had some good GF (gluten free) bread, rice chips, GF crackers and other high carb, processed food. Life was good.

This fruit platter was for my kids. I now leave off the chocolate on my bowl.

I spend a lot of time on the intranet reading blogs and finding recipes. I found a bunch of great blogs written by others who have stopped eating all the highly processed, high-carb foods and have started eating healthy food. Most of these people did it for the health of them or their children. So many of their stories are similar to mine.

One site I was on was really interesting to me. It is called Lexie's Kitchen. This is about a mom who made some radical changes to her families meals in order to help her toddler live a healthier life due to medical challenges he was having. I started reading stories that were shared on her site by others that had made the switch from processed to whole foods. Since I had made major changes to my diet in order to become healthy, I submitted my story. A bit ago I was hosted on her site as a guest blogger. Here is a link to my story and her website.

I was feeling good most of the time, but still not all of the time. I had tasted what it feels like to be healthy and I wanted it all of the time. I have been on a path to change my life style so that I can be as healthy as I can. I want to feel good and to have energy to do what ever I want.

My diet had changed in some radical ways, but I could tell that I was still eating things that made me feel sick and sluggish. It wasn’t until after Halloween that I finally figured out what it was. We had made delicious home made caramel apples and caramel popcorn. I was loving the great tasting gluten free food that was supposed to make me feel good, yet I was still feeling so ill. After the second night at work (I work night shift in the NICU) I finally decided I had had enough. I wanted to get healthy. I wanted to feel good.

As I said before, I really liked Lexie’s Kitchen blog and enjoyed reading other people’s stories about how they made the switch from processed to whole foods. About this time I read a story of a lady who had made a radical switch to her diet three years ago. She talked about how and why she tossed out all the processed food and started buying things that she could recognize. Her energy level increased and she started feeling so much better. Her story and the others on this website truely inspired me.

So much so that I began a new phase of getting healthy. I finally decided to stop eating most processed foods and I have now cut out almost all sugar. My diet is mostly veggies (though I do need to work on eating more of them), fruit, meat, safe grains and some dairy.

This was really, really hard to do at first. I love sugar and chocolate and anything sweet. I ate something sweet every day. My body craved it. I couldn’t say no. But I finally got to the point that I wanted to feel good more than I wanted the sweets. So I stopped buying candy and cookies that were safe for me to eat and were tempting me. That night I decided to make the switch so I took my two little girls and my sweet sister in law, Shonna, to Trader Joes. I loaded up the basket with veggies, fruit, nuts, dried fruit, eggs and salad. I started eating these good things instead of the processed food I used to eat.

For those of you who are interested here is a glimpse of my current diet.
Breakfast: GF Oatmeal with raisons or craisins and a touch of honey. Corn tortillas with eggs and cheese. Fresh or frozen fruit smoothies. Occasional GF cereal (mostly GF Chex). And of course hot cocoa (Lactaid milk) with a bit of sugar and cocoa powder.
Lunch: Left over dinner. Chicken tacos. Salad. Fruit. Smoothies.
Dinner: Home made dinner every night. Mostly lots of different chicken recipes. GF pizza crust with my toppings (super yummy), Beef-any way you can make it, Rice, veggies, fruit, salad. Occasionally we have GF pasta with pesto, alfredo or spagetti sauce (all home made).
Snack: Fruit leather, nuts/seeds, fruit, chips and hummus, carrots, celery with peanut butter, dried fruit, mozzarella cheese stick.

It has been four weeks since I changed my diet to a truely healthy one. The cravings are gone. I don’t want or need sugar every day. My body has more energy and the sugar highs and lows are gone. I love feeling like this. It is amazing! I truely wish I could go back and do it all again.

I would really love to hear your story. What changes have you made to get healthy? How have they impacted your life? Your families life? Feel free to share it in the comments or with a link to your own blog.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Sit a Spell: Weepy, Wonderful Saturday: Ross King: God Undefeatable

Sit a Spell: Weepy, Wonderful Saturday: Ross King: God Undefeatable

Thank-you for sharing. I have never heard of him. I listened on itunes, then bought every album they were selling of his. Love his music and love the lyrics. Awesome!

Happy Birthday Hannah!!

Dear Hannah,
Oh my sweet lovable, cuddly little girl. I am so, so glad that you came into our hearts and our home. I was so thrilled when I found out your little life had been placed within me. It was an Easter morning. Bekah, your big sister was 1 1/2 years old. We had just gotten back from church and all our family was here. I took the pregnancy test and immediately told your daddy that you were coming. He was speachless for a minute and then was so happy. When everyone was gathered in our living room I picked up Bekah and told her she was going to be a big sister. Little by little all around the room our family realized that mommy was pregnant. It was a fun day, filled with such joy because of you.

You grew in mommy's tummy and I loved every minute of it. Ok, I didn't love the morning sickness. I did love feeling you kick and flip inside of me. Around 22 weeks, I was working in the NICU at night time and I started having 8-9 contractions an hour. It stopped when I rested and so I thought nothing more of it. Right after that our family went to Colorado to visit Taeya, Aunt Megan and Uncle Phil. You got to go white water rafting with mommy and enjoy doing lots of fun things. Aunt Megan and Taeya came here to visit after we visited them. We went to the beach and got to go camping. All was well until my first night back to work. Mommy started having a bunch of contractions. I was taking care of a very sick baby and couldn't leave him. I really thought all was fine even though a contraction came every time I moved. After sleeping, I was still having contractions. Daddy took me to the hospital to make sure you were ok and were not coming early. I was 26 weeks pregnant with you.

That night you tried very hard to come. I lay in bed feeling the contractions tighten my abdomen. I prayed and prayed that God would keep you safe inside until you were much bigger. I was scared. Scared that you would come and need a lot of help to stay alive. That night and every night after I gave you to God. I told Him that I really wanted to have you safe in my arms and have you healthy. I know that you are and always have been completely in His hands. I surrendered your life to Him. If He wanted me to take you home and raise you to honor Him, then He would spare your life. If He wanted you to be in heaven with Him, then He could take you and I wouldn't fight. God gave me such peace after I gave you to Him 100%. I still prayed every day, every hour, sometimes every minute, that you would be ok. But I knew that I didn't have to worry. We had so many people in the church praying for your little life. Your tiny body was covered in prayer for many, many weeks. What a blessing.

Mommy spent the next 10 weeks in the hospital or at home on bed rest. That was hard for mommy to sit still. I never have liked to be still. God allowed me the patience to rest my body so that you could grow and get stronger. He worked in my heart as well and showed me so many blessings that He was giving me. Everyone from the church was wonderful. Since I wasn't allowed to get off the couch, I couldn't take care of Bekah or the house. One to two people came every single day to take care of us. God blessed me with their love and their encouragement. I was given so many blessings. I would never have chosen to go through what I did, but God showed me that He had a purpose and was working in my heart to make me what He wanted me to be.

Then you decided it was time to be born. You were a little early at 35 weeks, but much better than 26 weeks. After 20 hours of labor, you were born. Since you were little they took you to the warmer to check you out. My heart was so overflowing with joy when you started crying. The sound of your sweet, little cry was music to my ears. I was able to hold you for a minute before you went to the NICU to get a bit of help. That was one of the best moments of my life. You were born and were so darling.

You had to spend 12 days in the NICU as your lungs healed and you got stronger. I loved every minute that I spent with you. Hannah darling, you loved being held and cuddled. Then we finally got to bring you home. What a great day that was. You fit into our family like you had always been there. I don't know how we made it until you in our lives. You bring us such joy.

I have loved every moment that you have been in my life. I love the way you love to snuggle and cuddle. You are never as happy as when you are able to sit in our laps. It doesn't matter what we do with you, you just like being with us. We read to you, tell you stories, sing to you and tickle you. You love it and so do we.

It has been a fun three years seeing you grow into a beautiful, sweet little girl. You learned to talk quite early and you keep us laughing with all the things you say. I love seeing how you see the world. Hannah, you love talking and singing (quite off key) but we love it. You can't say your s's very well. I love it when you sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. You sing sweetly, "Twinkle, twinkle, little Tar. . . Like a diamond in the Ky." Daddy and I just sit and giggle while we listen.

You just started Cubbies and you love getting to memorize and say your verses. The first time you were going to say your verse to your teacher, you were just a little shy. She could see that you knew it but just did not want to say it. Papa Karl came into the room. You ran right over to him and said all your verses perfectly. That made me laugh. The next week, you were braver and said them right away.

One of the things you say that I love is, "If I don't want to eat my food, then I don't have to. If I want to I can. But if I don't want to then I won't". You often say, "If I am disobedient, you still love me." Oh how true that it, sweet one.

You have such a compassionate heart for the things of God. The other day we were talking about a lady that lives in Africa and takes care of a lot of orphans and people that need God's love. I showed you the picture of the lady surrounded by some of the kids that she took care of. One of the little boys didn't have a shirt and you asked why. I explained that many of those kids only have one set of clothes. Maybe the little boy didn't even have a shirt. Hannah, you looked at me with such serious eyes and said, "Mommy, we need to pray right now that God would give that boy clothes. He needs to have clothes." So you did. I love seeing how you are so touched by the needs of others, even as a two year old. Every day, you pray when we eat. You always say, "Dear Jesus, Mommy-I don't know the words. What do I say? (then you pray for our missionaries) Bless this food to our bodies. Amen!!" You care about those we pray for and ask about them often.

Sweet little one, I Iove you so much. My favorite time of the day is your bedtime. Every evening I put you to bed. You get your jammies on and ask to be rocked. I love how you snuggle with me. I always ask you what was the best part of your day. Things you have said: "I didn't go anywhere today." "Going to the Park." "Cubbies!" "Giving you hugs and kisses when you got home in the morning was the best part of my day." Sometimes you sing to me. Then you climb into your bed-all by yourself. I cover your up with at least three blankies, then put your music and crickets on. You have to give me a hug and a kiss or you won't go to sleep. Often, you tell me that I can wipe off the just the slobbery parts. After you give me a kiss, you blow on it three times so that I can't actually wipe of the real kiss. I love it when you do that.

You are such a sweet girl and I love you so much. I absolutely love it when I come home from work and you are at the window jumping up and down screaming my name. I walk in the door and you run over to me and jump into my arms and cover me with kisses. That is the best part of my day. I love you and am so glad that I get to watch you grow up into the amazing girl that God is making you into.

Your Mommy

Monday, October 03, 2011

More funny stories about the girls

I love when Hannah looks up at me with loving eyes and says, "Even if I'm grumpy or disobedient, you still love me."

Sometimes I just don't follow. My little Hannah was just speading bark all over the sidewalk. I asked her not to do that. With all seriousness she told me that it was for the ducks. " Oh", I said, "the ducks?" "Yes", said Hannah. "The ducks like raspberries. The bark is the raspberries." I said, "Well, can you put the raspberries in the bark where they belong." Hannah was certain that she could not since the ducks had to swim in the water and there was no water over there. I just left it at that. What else could I say?

Hannah keeps telling everyone that she is going to the pumpkin patch to get her birthday. We are celebrating at the pumpkin patch but I think she is slightly confused about how it all happens.
Today I had a Mommy/Daughter date with the girls at a local donut shop. I can't eat anything there, but the girls enjoyed it. Bekah ate her donut all up and loved it. Hannah, not so much. She picked off a sprinkle and asked what was inside. I said sugar. From that moment on, she would pick up a sprinkle, crush it and shout, "It is SUGAR!!" She only took two bites of donut but she had lots of sprinkles with sugar.

Kids are not stupid. Bekah just was playing doctor/sick baby with Hannah. Bekah was the doctor and made Hannah lay on the couch because she was sick. After instructing Hannah not to move, Bekah ran over to get the little people's house. I heard her say, "I can play with this all by myself because Hannah is stuck on the couch."

Hannah gets so excited when she sees peekadots. (Her term for polkadots) I love it.
Everytime the girls aske to be dismissed from the table, Hannah says, "May I be accused." Bekah says, "May I be remissed." Well, close enough I guess.

Last night I was putting Hannah to bed. She started asking questions about where the sun went when she went to bed. I said that it was on the other side of the world, where Romel (our compassion child from the Philippines) and where India is. We pray all the time that the people of India would learn about God and love Him. She piped up, "Is the sun learning to love God?" Precious.

The other day I asked Bekah if she wanted presents or money for her birthday (she is really into buying things all by herself at the store). She said clearly and loudly, "I want presents AND money!!!!" What a smart girl.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Happy Birthday Darling Bekah

Five years ago my life changed in a moment. In one moment I went from a wife and soon to be mommy, to a real mommy. I had been dreaming of that moment for years. All I ever wanted to be as a child (besides a nurse) was a mommy. I dreamed about holding my precious child in my arms and kissing her little nose. I dreamed about rocking her and cuddling her while the CD played soft, beautiful lullabys. I couldn't wait to bath and dress and snuggle my darling baby.

And then my first little girl was born. My darling Bekah. You were everything I had ever wanted. You were everything I dreamed you would be. I adored you (and still do!). Each moment spent with you was so precious. I remember the first time I held you. You were so little and precious and my eyes lite up with the joy of you. That was one of the best moments of my entire life. I loved you so much I thought my heart would explode. Every moment was special because you were there to share it with us.

Darling Bekah, you are almost five years old. You have grown up so much! I love spending time with you. I truely wish every day could be filled with our special Mommy/daughter dates, playing in the park, cooking in the kitchen together, eating ice cream at every place in town that sells it and snuggling on the couch with you reading a whole stack of books. I know that life flys by so quickly. Too soon you will grow up and not want to spend time doing all the little things we do. I try to make every moment with you count. I try hard to give you tons of hugs and kisses and make sure I tell you all the time that I love you. I am having the best time of my life with you here by my side. I want you to know that no matter what you do or where you are, I love you. I always have and I always will.

I absolutely love seeing you become the girl that God wants you to be. You are learning to take care of your sister and to be gentle with her. Lately you have been playing so nicely with her while you dig in the dirt together, play mommy/baby or doggy together, or just have her sit next to you at dinner. The other day you and Hannah were throwing toys down the stairs. By the time I stopped you, one of Hannah's dolls was broken. I repremanded you and then went back to the kitchen. As I turned to go I heard you tell Hannah, "I'm so sorry, Hannah. I didn't mean to break your dolly. Will you forgive me? I'm so sorry." It made my heart so glad to hear you say that so gently and lovingly. I can see God working in your life and in your heart. I pray all the time that you would let God change your heart when it is hard and sinnful. That He would help you to repent and make it right with those you have wronged. Not because I want you to, but because He wants you to. That way you can be close to God and close to your family and friends. Everytime you see the wrong you have done and truely are sorry and ask for forgiveness, I am so happy. Happy to see you do the right thing and to have you close to my heart again.

We pray every day for missionaries and their needs. You love praying for them and you are so sweet as you pray. God has given you a heart for those that need Him. I absolutely love seeing God touch your heart with compassion for those that are hurting, sick or sad or for those that don't know Him. We are praying often for the kids in India to be able to go to the Bible clubs. We also pray for the literacy program for woman and for new churches to be started. We got a special box to save up our money to give to Mission India so that they can help the natives share God's love and His message of salvation. As soon as we got the piggy bank for India, you ran over to your piggy bank and emptied it all into the one for India. You have such a generous heart.

Bekah, you love life and all that God has given you. I love how you get so excited over all the little things: reading books on the couch, reading our Bible books, going to the library, going on walks or to the park, getting to use your umbrella in the rain, sipping hot cocoa in front of a warm fire, getting to watch a movie or take a bath, going to the beach or out for icecream or just getting pushed on the swings. You embrace all that God has given you and you make me smile. I look forward to all the days ahead that I get to spend with you. I can't wait to see what you do for God as you grow into the daughter that He wants you to be.

I love you, my darling Bekah

Love Mommy

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Little Girls - Funny Stories

Last night I was putting Hannah to bed. She started asking questions about where the sun went when she went to bed. I said that it was on the other side of the world, where Romel (our compassion child from the Philippines) and where India is. We pray all the time that the people of India would learn about God and love Him. She piped up, "Is the sun learning to love God?" Precious.

The other day I asked Bekah if she wanted presents or money for her birthday (she is really into buying things all by herself at the store). She said clearly and loudly, "I want presents AND money!!!!" What a smart girl.

Conversation with Hannah before bed tonight: " When it is dark, Auntie Shonna Kuhner can't leave her house." Me-why not? "She has to say inside but she can leave if she wants to." Me-Ok. "She can't be by herself. She has to have somebody with her." Me-Well, Bodie is with her. Do cats count? "No, Bodie isn't Hannah or Bekah" Me-Hannah, you are so silly. "I'm not silly, I'm goofy. I already told you that."

Bekah just told me there was a dead swap under the chair. Actually, it was just a wasp, with a slightly different name.

During our Bible time this morning we were talking about Abraham's servant choosing a wife for Isaac. I asked the girls how the servant knew who was the right girl to choose for Isaac. Hannah said,"He said to the girl, "I'm going to choose you girl!" " Not quite, but close.

Hannah told me today, "When I was your age I used to work all the time." Oh really, and what life was that in.

I love how Hannah always protects me. She is constantly asking if the food I am eating gluten free. Is it safe or will it make you sick, mamma? Last night she was eating a brownie and asked if it was poison or ok. LOVE my girl!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lemon Chicken

I love this chicken recipe. It is great when you make it and for leftovers. The chicken is so tender and juicy and just falls off the bone.

Lemon Chicken

2 tbsp. lemon zest
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2-4 lbs. of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks
2-3 tbsp. melted butter
Thinly sliced lemons, for garnished

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper in a large zipper-lock plastic bag. Seal the bag and shake well to blend. Place the chicken pieces in the bag with the marinade, pressing out excess air and sealing once more. Refrigerate and let marinate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and transfer to a baking dish, skin-side up, reserving the leftover marinade. Brush the top of each piece of chicken with melted butter.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, until the skins are crispy and well-browned. Halfway through baking, pour the remaining marinade over the chicken pieces in the baking dish. Once fully baked, cover loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes before serving. Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with lemon slices and serve.

Source: adapted from Simply Recipes

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Gluten Free Journey

I am so thankful to God for letting me be diagnosed with Celiac disease. My diagnosis has changed my life so completely. My body feels so different, so free and so healthy for the first time since I can remember. This has not been an easy journey to say the least. But God has used it to draw me closer to Him. I share my story with you to encourage you to find the right answer when you don't think you have the right diagnosis.

Let me start at the beginning. I have always had digestive issues since I was a little girl. When I was at home eating home made healthy meals, normally I was fine. But ever time I was away from home on a missions trip or vacation I would always get sick. I dealt with constipation, diarrhea, fatigue and I felt aweful. I never knew why, I just dealt with it and moved on with my life. During nursing school I was diagnosed with migraines that got increasingly worse. When working at Children's Hospital in Oakland I would often barely make it home before throwing up and collapsing in bed with a severe migraine and fatigue. I lost so much weight and was down to barely 100 lbs. I had such fatigue all the time along with anemia that the doctors couldn't figure out. I was hospitalized in 2004 for two weeks with horrible stomach pain and non-stop throwing up. Every thing I ate made me sick. Since the doctors couldn't figure out the problem, they told me I was under too much stress and that was the cause of my sickness. Some implied it was all in my head. I went to doctor after doctor for years for my fatigue. I had to nap for 2-4 hours EVERY single day or I couldn't make it through the day. Most days by 10 or 11 am I was so fatigued I could barely feed the kids and make it to nap time. I was so irritable and snapping at them at times. I knew that food could make me feel better or worse, but couldn't figure out what food made me feel horrible. Little did I know that wheat (which is in everything) was making me feel so aweful. Five years ago I started gong to an amazing chiropractor multiple times a month to help control my migraines.

A year ago he kept encouraging me to get tested for a gluten intolerance. He was convinced that something was wrong with my body. My muscles were back to where they should have been-the spasms were gone. However, anything (2 minutes of working out or lifting something) would send my muscles into horrible spasms. They were not healing right. My chiropractor was concerned that I was not absorbing nutrients and so my body could not heal itself.

I didn't want to go on a gluten free diet-especially if I didnt' really need it. I didn't want to have something like that wrong with me. So I continued to eat the food that was poisoning me.

Two months ago I called my GI doctor and set up an appointment. On June 21st I saw him. He thought I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome and gave me some meds to take to feel better. (So many doctors diagnose Irritable Bowel Syndrome when they don't know what it is. Most Celiacs have had this diagnosis before actually being correctly diagnosed) I had to ask him to test me for Celiac disease. He looked very doubtful but finally ordered the blood test. I also discussed starting the gluten free diet. He said that I could try it to see if it helped at all. He had no info on gluten free diets. He told me if I could find a nutritionist, that he would refer me. He said, "I only deal with organs, not nutrition." Wow! I was kind of taken back that the doctor who dealt with the organs that absorb nutrients has no idea how to help support people that need help with nutrition. I was on my own. I am so thankful that there is sooo much information on the internet to support Celiac disease and starting on a gluten free diet.

Two weeks later, I got a call saying,"You have Celiac disease. Call back in a month and let us know if you feel better." That was it. No further testing to make sure it was Celiac (you should have a small intestine biopsy done). No tests run for nutritional deficiencys. So I got on the internet and started doing my research. I am so thankful that there is so much out there to support those with Celiac disease. I have a 5 page typed list of things that have gluten in them that I have to stay away from. I got a list of tests to run (which I had to ask my doctor to do). I have read lots of articles regarding the research out there and peoples testamonies.

It was a scary world to be thrown into at first. It was daunting trying to fix gluten free meals for the family that weren't just the same thing every night. Trying to come up with snacks that I could have on hand while everyone else had cake or cookies was a challenge too. Little by little I am getting an arsenal of my own. I now have a couple of cookbooks that are gluten free. I have emails from friends and family that have had to go on this diet (Thank-you so much Jaymie, Trish and Christine). I have a few lists from grocery stores and restaurants that have things that are safe for me to eat. Life is getting easier and so much better all the time.

It is amazing the change I feel in my body. My head is clear. I don't feel a "foggy brain" any more. I have tons of energy every day. Even going to work is different. I worked a 12 hour shift with a very, very sick baby. At times there was a doctor plus three nurses working on him to save his life. This normally would have given me a horrible migraine and I would have had difficultly making it through the shift. After 10 hours, I felt like I had just arrived and was still refreshed. My stomach pains, nausea, diarrhea, bloating and loud stomach noises are gone. My muscles feel different now. They are relaxed and healing well. The migaines are gone. A rash I had for seven years is gone. My irritability is gone. I feel so peaceful now. My whole body is different!! I am praising God for letting me be diagnosed and for taking me on this journey.

Once in awhile I eat something that is contaminated with gluten. Normally I can't even tell what I ate that was contaminated since all it takes is one crumb, one molecule, to make me sick. Last night I was enjoying a nice evening around the fire with my family. We were making smore's. I made one for each child using regular graham crackers. Then I made one for Chris. He didn't want a smore, just the marshmallow. So I cooked a marshmallow for me, made a smore with the chocolate and graham cracker set out for Chris and started eating it. Whoops! I took two bites before I realized what I had done. I gave the rest of the smore to Bekah (who was thrilled) and made a gluten free one. With in half an hour I had diarrhea, a splitting headache, tummy ache, and fatigue. I was too sick to even check facebook. It takes just about a full 24 hours to feel normal again. I certainly learned my lesson. i can never be too careful.

I really want to encourage you all to get tested if there is anyone in your family that has been diagnosed with Celiac disease. It runs in families and so you have a high chance of having it too. If you have digestive problems that are not clearly diagnosed you should also get tested. The key is that you have to be tested (blood work and biopsy) before you start a gluten free diet. Any test done after you start the diet will be negative since the tests look for damage caused by gluten. You may not have celiac disease, but a gluten intolerance. This is much more common but the blood test for Celiac disease would be negative. They have new tests out there that are way more specific that tests for intolerances. You must be your own advocate. So many doctors will just tell you it is this or that without doing any tests to make sure it is. Get a diagnosis and don't stop until you do. My whole life is changed and I will be living a much healthier life from now on. I praise my Lord and my God for allowing me to feel good and enjoy my time with my family.

I am so thrilled that I feel better and can really enjoy this time with my girls while they are young.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My New Life

Well, a lot has happened in my life over the past month. My chiropractor had been encouraging me to get tested for Celiac disease/gluten intolerance for quite some time. I finally got tested and found out that I do have Celiac Disease. Exactly one month ago I began a gluten free lifestyle.

At first, it was a bit overwhelming. But I am embracing this as a gift from God. I am so thankful that I was diagnosed. I am also extremely grateful that I am feeling so much better. My whole body is responding to not having gluten in my body. The first thing that I noticed was that my fatigue is gone. I have enough energy to make it through the day with out a nap anymore. My stomach doesn't hurt all day long and I just feel soooo much better.

Little by little I am figuring out this whole thing. I started by finding all the things that I could naturally eat that didn't have gluten in them. We ate a lot of chicken, rice, veggies, fruit and tacos for awhile. Then I found some yummy gluten free bread, bagels and flour. After my sweet husband made a delicious roast using ingredients that contained gluten (by accident), I decided that we needed to make a gluten free kitchen.

I spent an entire afternoon reading every ingredient on every product in my kitchen. I found out that the non-stick spray I used on my gluten free cookies had wheat in it. Whoops! I pulled out the soy sauce, bread crumbs, all soups, crackers, pasta, graham cracker crumbs, some spaghetti sauce, some spices, onion soup mix and a bunch more products. I ended up giving almost all of it away.

I had to wipe down everything in the kitchen that had wheat flour on it (ie, the mixer, all the drawers, all cooking utensils). Then I had to go shopping and get my own butter dish (the other one is contaminated with crumbs), cutting boards, squeeze bottle for mayo. I had to get new baking dishes that will bake gluten free food better. Slowly I am getting gluten free ingredients in my kitchen. I never in a million years thought that I would have agave nectar, xanthan gum, tapioca flour, and a bunch of other stuff like that in my kitchen. Here are some pictures of my newly organinzed kitchen.

A couple of my dear friends gave me some gluten free cook books. I have read through two and a half of them and have gotten a bunch of yummy (I hope) recipes. Yesterday I spend the morning reading through recipes and meal planning for the month of August. As well as planning for some delicious desserts. I am enjoying finding great meals that my children and husband love that look and taste great, but are safe for me as well. Here are two dinners that I made that were great and gluten free. I am loving eating healthier and being healthier.

Rotissery chicken, rice and artichoke. Yummo!

These mozzarella sticks and chicken fried steak and gravy are all gluten free. And they taste good too.

Delicious gluten free bread with home made strawberry jam.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My silly little girls

Bekah was telling Hannah all about worms: Worms make racoons, then they become butterflys and have wings. They fly all over the place.

Every time Hannah gives us a kiss she makes us promise not to wipe it off. Then she'll tell us that we can only wipe off the slobbery parts.