Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 12 Months/1 Year

December 20, 2014

Dear Asher:

My delightful boy. Today we had your birthday party. It was magnificent: breakfast casseroles, lots of fruit, and Apple cider. You loved watching your friends run around and play with your toys. Even if you were not very into opening presents, you had a lot of fun. Which is ok, you are still so little in my eyes. Not an hour after everyone left you started walking. By bath time you were taking long stretches upright. You do more of what we have called "the Cupid shuffle": you walk best sideways. It is kind of funny to watch you shimmy to your desired location. We are so proud of you. So smart. So handsome. So independent. So sweet and happy. I love you beyond this earth. I can't wait to watch you grow up and become the little boy you are destined to be. I'll miss you so much at this age of discovery. You are everything.


Mommy Diary Take Two: 52 Weeks

December 19, 2014

Dear Asher:

Oh my sweet honey bear, this is our last weekly photo. It is bittersweet for sure: you are still so tiny to me yet so much bigger than when we started. You have been taking independent steps all week, just a few at a time. We all cheer you on until you invariably stretch your long body to reach whatever it is you were going for. You still talk up a storm; always pointing out 'light' as we enter a room and usually the first thing when you wake up. I just cannot fathom you being a year old. A year ago you were just inside me with your feet swishing around my belly looking like an alien. Where has the time gone? I adore you.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dairy Free Caramel Apple Dip

Update 12/21/2014: I made this tonight with 3 Tbsp arrowroot powder and split 1/2c sugar and 1/2c brown sugar. It was perfect and the color was more caramel-like. So recipe update from the original is below! 

Confession: I'm not a chocolate person. However, before you threaten to have me excommunicated, I could stab a B for good caramel. Those ones in the plastic wrapper you are supposed to use for baking? I could eat the whole bag. My mom couldn't keep them in the house. And making your own often involved recipes with the words "candy thermometer", "soft ball stage", and the like. That is ridiculous. No one has time for that. 

Sooooooo..... I cried inside at parties with that wonderfully chemical laden caramel dip concoction was served alongside crip apples.  

I found a few recipes for dairy free or vegan caramel.  Still with the crazy thermometer. Ok, I gave up. Then I found and started with this recipe on pintrest. But, if you know me, you know I'm completely incapable of leaving well-enough alone. It's against my DNA. Seemed too easy.

And maybe it should be harder because Holy-Baby-Jesus-in-a-manger it's wonderful.  It isn't dark like standard caramel (she added a touch of molasses and I'm sure that would have darkened it up). But the taste is spot-on. I second guessed and added closer to 4 Tbsp of arrowroot powder and it thickened up a lot once cooled, but it's still amazing. So just be aware it won't seem thick enough for dip until it's cooled. But straight out of the pan would be divine on ice cream.

So here you go. 

Dairy Free Caramel Dip

1/2 C Butter
1/2 C White Sugar
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Dairy-Free Creamer*
2-3 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder (or corn starch if not corn-free)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1-2 Tbsp Maple Syrup (I used closer to one)
Juice from one small Lemon (approx. 2 Tbsp)
1 tsp Molasses (optional, mostly for color)

Whisk arrowroot into cream until dissolved. Melt butter and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbly. Add cream mixture and all remaining ingredients, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. 

Continuing to stir, allow mixture to lightly bubble until it thickens and starts to become fragrant.  Mixture will darken slightly.  Remove from heat and pour into your serving bowl. 

Allow to cool and refrigerate if serving as dip for fruit, but can be served hot. Mixture will thicken greatly once it cools.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Cheer

Lloyd is in full holiday love.  He is talking about Santa, excited about Christmas Day, excited for Jesus's birthday, you name it. We read and watched the grinch this weekend and he about plotzed from excitement. 

He is making this season so incredible for us. He noted that our tree doesn't have a topper. He wanted a twinkle star. We have never had a topper so I figured we could trek to Kohls to find something with my coupon and $5 off voucher. As we are strolling around the ornaments section and I'm not seeing ANY toppers, he spots (with sheer, unadulterated, 3-year-old glee) a horrible golden light-up toper. It is, literally, the only topper they have. It's on clearance. With our coupon and free $5 we paid $3.

He carried it proudly around the store. Dancing. Telling all the ladies about his "twinkle star. For my tree. At my house. I decorated it."

Multiple ladies complimented him. Multiple ladies uttered the words "what Christmas spirit". Commented on his joy. 

So I let it go. And smiled. And was proud of my son. Excited with him. Helped him put it on our tree. Let him turn it up. And hugged him back as he hopped around in excitement. This is what Christmas is about. Not that my silver tree has a sparkling, sequined, giant, gold star on it. But that my son is excited beyond words to pick out a yellow twinkle star. For his tree. To celebrate Christmas.

Then he was a robot in the box. I love this age! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 51 Weeks

December 12, 2014

Dear Asher:

This week you got 3 molars! Holy cow kid. You also have pretty much stopped sleeping at night as a result, which has been brutal since you'd been sleeping through the night! There were a couple rough nights you just cried and cried and cried. But you are still happy during the day. All day long: "wiggle-iggle-iggle", it's hilarious. You call out "Ooydt" [Lloyd] a lot, which is fun to see. You say his name more than Momma, but if you want me you let me know. Your favorite thing is removing any toy from its bin or container and making a gigantic mess. You can destroy the Livingroom in minutes. But you play independently really well, so it's ok as long as you are happy. 


Friday, December 5, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 50 Weeks

December 5, 2014

Dear Asher-

This week you have turned into a mimic and a chatterbox. You love pointing at the fixtures in the ceilings in every room or store, you now point and say "light" too when we name them. Your gestures are so clear; if you want something specific at meals you point to it and wave for more.  You cruise around the house to all your favorite spots: dumping out big brothers legos, playing with my spools of bright threads, to your room to play with your wooden pegs and cube pieces. You can stand, squat, and stand again unassisted as long as you don't actually think about it (i.e. to grab a dropped toy). Quit growing up so fast, you are just incredible but I already miss the baby time we had together. You're turning into a toddler big boy! 


Mommy Diary Take Two: 49 Weeks

November 29, 2014
Dear Asher-

Every week you seem so much older now. You point to things all day wanting to know names: fan, light, blue, green, brother, doggie, peg. You are obsessed with ceiling fixtures and point them out the second you enter a new room. You still love peek-a-boo endlessly, covering your own face now to pop back up and laugh. You are built so much like the Crocker/Haidusek clan, very broad and strong. So different from your brother it's almost comical. 


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 11 Months

November 20, 2014

Dear Asher:

Where has the time gone. This month has seen you stand independently, cruise around furniture, and reach out to try and take steps. You sign purposefully "up", "milk", and "more" and occasionally "all done/finished". You say "Daddu", have said "momma", and we swear you have also said "brother" and "Lloyd" a handful of times. You play with you toys now; intentionally moving parts and pieces into their correct places and movements. You love destroying your brothers lego and block creations which has been a bit of a struggle, but such is being a sibling. So much has changed. You are full of joie de vivre, as my Mur used to say. Love it.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 48 Weeks

November 21, 2014

Dear Asher-

This week has not been our best. Big brother came down with a nasty virus then you got it. You had such a high fever for a couple days, totally lethargic and crying. You felt so awful it broke our hearts. You still have a little cough and drippy nose but your mood is getting back to normal slowly. It's so easy to tell when you feel bad little one, your happy personality disappears and is replaced with a clingy little baby wanting to just curl up. I hate seeing you sick but I also know these years where you boys want to crawl in my arms are so fleeting. I'm holding your healing body extra close.


Mommy Diary Take Two: 47 Weeks

November 14, 2014

Dear Asher-

So curious. You are pointing to everything then looking to us for words of explanation. You point to the ceiling fans everywhere and always want us to say the word to you. We had almost forgotten this phase of baby exploration. Naming items, colors, animals, foods, actions. Your development is really taking off and your mind expanding. It's also finally gotten cold and getting you out all bundled up is an adorable challenge. Your skin is so pale and sensitive, you constantly have rosey cheeks. Lots of coconut oil for you my honey bear.



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 46 Weeks

November 7, 2014

Dear Asher:

This week you started pointing. That seems like a small thing but it is actually huge. You pointed at mommy, then signed up with one finger (instead of waving one hand like usual), and then held your arms up to be picked up. Smiling the whole time. You have also signed "more" to daddy on a few occasions. You also talk and babble from the second you wake up to the moment you zonk out. So much communication this week!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 45 Weeks

October 31, 2014

Dear Asher-

You're changing so fast the closer we get to your birthday. Your hair is really filling in and looking just gorgeous. As usual, people stop us everywhere we go to comment on it--although suddenly you're getting taken for a girl despite all the boy clothes you wear. I think it's those luscious long eyelashes you boys inherited from your Grammy (my mommy). Your eyes will definitely be brown like mine though, I had hoped they would stay hazel like you were born with but they're really darkening now. You're also cruising at warp speed on your walker and along furniture. You really do want to walk; soon honey bear. You've let go a few times when occupied with toys and stood all by yourself but the second you realize it you plop down. Amazing. You are amazing.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 10 Months

October 20, 2014

Dear Asher:

Leaps and bounds this month! Oh goodness. You recognize your name, you say Dadda, I swear you have said Momma, and you can holler for your brother and we know exactly what your intent is.  Your crawling is wicked fast and you can crawl over any obstacle.  You also pull up on everything and walk yourself around furniture, will push chairs around the house to walk, and love your (borrowed) walker.  You've started to trim out a little and are starting to look a little like your brother at this age. You also love eating lots at meals now; you want exactly what everyone else is eating. You just are changing so fast!


Mommy Diary Take Two: 44 Weeks

October 24, 2014

Dear Asher-

You are hilarious this week. Your brother went down the street to play and you went hollering "laaaaaa" down the hall and stood up looking through the glass door hollering. Made us laugh.  You always seem kind of lonely when he is gone, you look for him in the car and then the moment we pick him up you're laughing. It's really fun to see. You also think it's funny when we touch forheads you giggle and lean in to do it over and over. You also are just obsessed with any toy that has removable parts (your hammer-pegs, particularly) and love taking them out and trying (so hard!) to put them back in.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I'm sitting in the parking lot of chick-FIL-a with tears streaming down my face. A friend just lost her baby. It was early. But I am heavy in my soul for their loss. For the baby she will never hold. For all the babies who never got to enter this world to their loving parents. 

Time can make it easy to bear. But that loss in your soul, in your heart is always a little fractured. 

So send up some prayers or good thoughts today if you're so inclined for this sweet woman and her family. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 43 Weeks

October 17, 2014

Dear Asher:

You have not been your usual chill self this week; this wonder week has taken its toll on your sleep and mood for sure. You have to be carried or sit in someone's lap almost all day. But you are figuring toys out now suddenly. You are fascinated by a driving toy that has a key, you have been trying to get that key in the slot for days. You work so hard! You hate laying still to get your diaper changed which is fun, to say the least. You scream bloody murder when we have to pin you down to get the fresh one on. Child, it would be so much easier if you just laid still! But you're back to playing the second you can roll away. You're showing major signs of wanting to walk. You have even let go a few times a stood. Briefly, but still! So big. Making my heart break. 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Turning 30: A Whole New Decade People

So I turn 30 today. It's.... Boring. I'm kind of excited and relieved to be out of my 20's.  I feel like I crammed so much dang stuff into the past ten years it's unbelievable. So on to cramming a bunch more into the next 10! I love lists, so I thought I'd wrap up my 20's with a list of the 20 biggest events of that decade and follow it with 30 things I'm looking forward to in the next. Here goes:

  1. Graduating college early. On accident. 
  2. Graduating grad school at USC a semester early, on purpose, to get out of that crazy town.
  3. Ending of my first real relationship and learning sometimes people are weak and will never find strength.
  4. Ending of my second long-term relationship and accepting that people do not change.
  5. My first real job. Emergency Management Coordinator.
  6. Starting. Hating. Quitting. Then restarting my PhD. 
  7. Taking a chance on a "too short" for me guy, having the best first date ever, and almost instantly knowing he was it for me.
  8. Getting engaged 6 weeks later.
  9. Mom being diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer.
  10. Getting to walk down the isle to marry the man that loves me, supports me, and makes me laugh harder than anyone else. 
  11. Losing our first baby and learning just how solid my love for Coach is. And how solid our life will become.
  12. Finding out I was pregnant with Lloyd just days after Mom's cancer was deemed terminal.
  13. Watching my little sister get married.
  14. Losing our Mom to cancer: slowly and awfully. Saying goodbye on Dads birthday.
  15. Giving birth to our first son. Incredible and blissful. 
  16. Motherhood (enough said).
  17. Losing two more precious babies. The 4th misscarriage was awful, gutwrenchingly hard. Just 4 days before Christmas. 
  18. Having enough faith to seek answers, find them (celiac disease!), work hard at getting healthy, and letting Coach convince me to try once more to have a biological child before starting adoption inquiries. 
  19. Having our miracle baby, Asher, almost exactly one year after losing our sweet girl. 
  20. Having two boys. Two beautiful, busy, rambunctious boys. 

30 for 30:
  1. Enjoying our 5 year wedding anniversary.
  2. Having my baby (boohooohooooo) turn 1! 
  3. Taking courses to start nursing school.
  4. Seeing the boys develop a friendship.
  5. Enrolling Lloyd in kindergarten.
  6. Reading real stories with Lloyd at night (harry potter!!!!!!!)
  7. Continuing to learn how to manage our diets and be healthy.
  8. Going back to work at a job I can actually enjoy and still maintain a good connection with my boys and husband (whatever that may be).
  9. Starting nursing school.
  10. Both boys in school. 
  11. Homework.
  12. Peewee hockey!
  13. Cheering at sports games for my own little players! Screaming until I'm hoarse :)
  14. Those silly stickers on the back of our cars for our players.
  15. Watching the boys learn and excell in school. Watching their eyes open to learning.
  16. Watching my husband help with homework. 
  17. Building my spousal relationship past these newborn years. Getting time alone back.
  18. Taking a vacation just Coach and I, for a weekend, without the boys. 
  19. Taking the whole family skiing for the first time.
  20. Disneyland. 
  21. Renovating the kitchen.
  22. Our 10 year anniversary.
  23. Having a teenager (what!!!).
  24. Sewing and learning.
  25. Trips to New Orleans to visit my family. 
  26. Enjoying friendships. Getting to have long-term friendships of my own.
  27. Encouraging my husband to get certified to coach college soccer and get his masters in math. 
  28. Fostering a child in need. 
  29. Enjoying my adulthood with a beautiful family.
  30. Building forever memories at the kitchen table, cuddling in bed, laughing, playing in the yard, and being there
So here is to 30!! 
At gay bingo in Dallas for my birthday with a Coach and our good friends. A HILARIOUS evening. 

Mommy Diary Take Two: 42 Weeks

October 10, 2014

Dear Asher-

You are changing so quickly the closer we get to your birthday. Or so it seems, at least.  This week you've started hating laying still for your diaper changes. Daddy and I fondly refer to it as "wrestling an alligator" and it's not far off. You want to roll away and take off. One day before I could get you pinned down your naked booty was halfway down the hall. You don't want to miss anything, you stand up with minimal assistance and chassé yourself around furniture. Get any taller and you'll be konking your head on the table when you stand up. I can't keep up with you these days honey!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 41 Weeks

October 3, 2014

Dear Asher-

You got sick for the first time this week and it was just terrible seeing you so miserable. You ran a really high fever for a few days and just wanted to camp out on mommy and nurse. Your little face was so sad, we didn't hear your wonderful laugh for days. You're on the mend though and while still a bit drippy from crazy weather we have had, overwhelmingly you're returning to normal fairy quickly which is good to see. I suppose we are pretty lucky this is your first illness of any type, you are such the little soldier even when you feel bad. Lots of cuddles sure made you feel better though and we were happy to provide them.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 40 Weeks

September 26, 2014

Dear Asher-

This week has been quiet. We think you've said Dada but it's so hard to tell with baby babble. You do signal for "up" now, we will sign it then you will wave your hand mimicking it. It's pretty cute. You love playing with your brothers play toy balls, anything round you will chase after. You are also wicked fast little speed demon with the crawling and all we listen for is your thunder-hands, as Daddy calls them. Your face has started to thin out and you have a neck now for the first time ever. Makes me sad! I've also put almost all your one-piece 24 month outfits in the too-small bin because the buttons will pop the second you start moving. So I grudgingly got the 2T bag out and washed a few items. You're making me sad honey bear! 


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gluten Free Scones

I've posted my moms scone recipe before but I thought I would repost it with my gluten free adaptations. If you want to make it vegan you can easily use a chilled butter substitute.

I'm a personal fan of using tart dried cherries and blueberries. My mom loved dried apricots. Coach, of course, likes chocolate chips with cherries. Play with it! It's part of the fun!

Gluten Free (Dairy Free) Scones

1 1/2 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Xanthan gum
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
2/3 cup cold milk substitute (we use coconut milk)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup (chopped) dried fruit(s)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine milk and vinegar and allow to combine into your vegan buttermilk. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with your paddle attachment, combine all the dry ingredients except the fruit. On low, add cold butter cubes and turn speed up to medium.  

 Allow butter to crumble in, but there will still be flakes interspersed. Do NOT over mix, you want those butter flakes! Slowly add milk in and stir to combine, scraping down the bowl.
Mix in dried fruits of your choosing. I'm using mango, golden raisins, and blueberries today.  But get creative!

On a greased piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, form the dough into a ball.  Cut into 8 pieces with a knife and separate. 
sorry, forgot to photograph the cutting.  Then someone stole 2 *sigh*
Chill in fridge if the dough has started to warm, if necessary. Bake on middle rack for 12-15 minutes, until edges are starting to brown.  

Serve with butter and jam, clotted cream (for you people not allergic to dairy), or just by themselves! Yum.

Note: I've also made them using various sized ice cream scoopers. Adjust time as necessary, you don't want them overbooking and drying out! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 9 Months

September 20, 2014

Dear Asher:

Our photo this month is from the beautiful breastfeeding photos I had taken of us. I so desperately wanted to capture this sweet time in our life together. You still have that delicious milk smell when you wake up, and I know that soon that smell is going to disappear and make its way for all kinds of toddler mischief.  You started crawling this past month and it only took you a few hours to start making it quickly around the house once you finally did it. Your hair is also really filling in and starting to curl up in back as it gets longer; all day the comments about your red hair get us stopped by people. It's so you though, so spunky and unique. Your curiosity is really fun to watch. You also know your name and are hearing "No, Asher!!" a lot as you (constantly) manage to be exactly where you shouldn't be. You just look at me with those huge eyes and a beautiful smirky smile. Oh honey bear, so much adventure in your future!


Mommy Diary Take Two: 39 Weeks

September 19, 2014
Dear Asher:

This week you have been hilariously chatty. Constant babble and bouncing around the house as you pull up on every surface you can manage. You tried spaghetti squash this week and couldn't shovel it in fast enough, the same with butternut squash. I love watching your chubby fists get after your veggies. You've got banged up knees from all the quick crawling you've been doing. This includes booking it to the bathroom when daddy or I are showering, ripping open the curtain, and managing to almost completely crawl in to splash the water. Every time we end up pulling your already partially soaked body in with us and letting you splash to your hearts content. You just want to be where the action is. You are always a little lost when big brother is at school; I don't think you know what to do in the quiet, just us!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 38 Weeks

September 12, 2014

Dear Asher-

You are just so big. You are signing milk now purposefully. You will often crawl to me, look at your hand, and sign it a few times--pointing those big puppy eyes at momma. You are also eating more people food. We gave you pasta this week and you could not shovel it in fast enough. Also, you pull up on everything and side step a bit now too. Current favorite: pulling up on the side table where my waters are for nursing, dumping them on the floor, and making your own personal pool and splash pad. You're very quick and sneaky. Not to mention you are completely drenched. One day it happened 4 times!! I also keep forgetting to write down that you find air being blown at you hilarious. Gut-busting, flat-out, hilarious. Daddy squeezing the half empty mustard container onto his sandwiches makes you die laughing, bath toys when not filled with water blown in your face, being waved with the hair dryer, all of it! You've always found air being blown at your ears funny, but lately it's been making us all laugh even more as you enjoy these silly things. We love your easy nature!


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 37 Weeks

September 5, 2014

Dear Asher:

You crawled!!!! Finally! You just decided to take off and went from no movement to being able to book it around the house in no time. As a result, you got a hold of your brothers bath crayons before I could realize they were in your reach and managed to eat both the blue and red ones. You were one sneaky little bugger and happy about it. You love crawling to doors and swinging them, crawling to stalk after the dogs, and finding big brother. You crawl to anything that you can use to pull up and stand up on, sometimes unsteady things that can't hold you and you end up plopping down.  So far, your biggest nemesis is getting stuck under chairs: the kitchen chairs, desk chairs, anything with four legs. It's hilarious how mad and jammed in there you get! Love your cute tush bookin' it around. 


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Bread

Oh. My. Word.

I found (or was sent, by my awesome friend Amanda) this pin on pintrest for apple fritter bread. I converted it one evening and we could barely wait for it to come out of the oven after dinner it smelled SO good. I can't even. It's, honestly, almost a cake. Ridiculous. Coach put a scoop of ice cream on top and, really, I couldn't blame him. Half the loaf was gone that night. 

Cinnamon Apple Bread
(Original recipe adapted from here

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Dash of allspice (optional)
2 apples, peeled and diced

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Xanthan gum
Dash salt
1/2 cup milk (we used original coconut milk)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk (depending on desired thickness)

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a standard loaf pan. Combine first five ingredients in a small mixing bowl and coat the apples well; set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla; scrape the bowl to make sure the eggs are evenly incorporated. On low add flour, baking powder, Xanthan gum, and salt and mix until combined. Turn speed up to medium-low and add the milk, scraping down the bowl to mix well. 

Pour half the batter in the prepared loaf pan and spread to the edges with a spatula. Press half the apple mixture on top, evenly.  Pour remaining batter over the apples, then press the remaing apples into the top of the mixture--make sure you get all the goodness left in the bowl as well.  

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean from center.  Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes, remove from pan carefully.  Pour prepared powdered sugar and milk glaze over the top. Serve warm. (Ice cream optional, haha!)

Y'all there are no words! Yum....

Gluten Free Quinoa and Raisin Cookies

Since my diagnosis there have really been relatively few things I have missed or not been able to replicate. However, because of the way oats are manufactured even the gluten free varieties are not recommended for Celiacs. Guess what my all time favorite cookie is? Problem #1: Whomp-Whomp, sad panda. 

After making some quinoa for nachos (seriously, try it!) I had left overs. Insert crazy cookie craving and a visit from my sister's mother-in-law aka Gigi. Figured it was worth a try for a special visitor! Problem #2: never having made gluten free oatmeal cookies. 

Nailed it on try number one! They're ridiculously chewy, the flavor tastes pretty close, and wow were they good! You definitely want to watch them closely because if they go to far that quinoa takes on an odd texture. So here is the easy recipe, egg free option included. If you used Earth Balance "butter" instead of real butter you could even make them vegan. :)

Gluten Free Quinoa and Raisin Cookies

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup shortening
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs (or equivalent egg replacer)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup Gluten Free AP Flour
1 1/3 cups cooked quinoa
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 375°.  Cream butter, shortening, and sugars in mixer.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Combine baking soda, baking powder, salt, Xanthan gum, cinnamon, and flour in a separate bowl; add to wet ingredients. Add quinoa and raisins.

Using small ice cream scoop or rounded teaspoon, drop cookies approximately 2" apart on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cool dough in freezer for a few minutes, I usually do this while oven in pre-heating. Bake 10-13 minutes, until tops begin to turn light brown and edges turn golden brown. Leave on baking sheet 3-5 minutes then move to cooling rack.

Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Rockin' Green Soap GIVEAWAY! [Winner!]

And the winner is: Courtney!! You will receive and email shortly! Yippie!

What what!??? A giveaway?  YES!  I seriously thought it was some crazy joke when the wonderful people at Rockin' Green asked me if I would like to do a Giveaway on my tiny little spot in the 'verse.  But there was no hoax!  I'm super excited to offer a:

$50 Rockin' Green Soap Online Certificate

(How many times can I say 'giveaway' in one blog post you ask? A lot!)

We have been using Rockin' Green exclusively for our house since Lloyd was about 6 weeks old (remember? I was even briefly on their blog about their pet formula?).  We started using it for our cloth diapers and as I realized just how clean it was making our diapers and bedding, we stopped buying the expensive junk in the stores and going with that green bag exclusively.  It also enables us to keep our reusable paper towels in tip-top cleaning and absorbing shape as well!  It's a little odd coming from "regular" detergent since your clothes smell like nothing.  As in, they have no smell at all after washing.  At first I thought this was odd, but after reading around I realized how backwards the laundry situation is: your clothes should smell like nothing.  It means they are clean; clean of additives, perfumes, dyes, and anything that is added to your 'clean' clothes to make them 'smell' clean. (As a side note, I've been wanting to buy their new Sport Rock Athletic Wear Detergent and Stinky Gear Spray for Coach's gear.  That stuff is rank.)

Rockin' Green was started by a San Antonio mom (yay Texas!) who wanted a green, natural soap for her family (sound familiar around here?).  From the website:
 "Our product line was developed by a mom who was fed up with the mis-labeling of supposed 'green' cleaners and frankly, not happy with the performance of other so-called eco-friendly products. With the mission in mind to create green cleaning products that are hard working to meet the demands of every family, gentle on sensitive skin, AND Earth-friendly, we work everyday to make sure we release only the best formulas to you, our customer."
All the Rockin' Green products are:
  • Biodegradable
  • Recyclable Packaging
  • No Phosphates
  • Gluten and Vegan Friendly
  • No SLS or Parabens
  • No Optical Brighteners
Plus it's pretty cool they offer a military discount and a first responder discount!  That just says a lot to me, as someone who has (long ago, in a time far far away) been a part of both of those groups.  So enough babbling, here's what you came for. The giveaway is open to the entire world (sorry citizens of the 'verse, you must be local to Earth--yes I've been hooked on Firefly this summer) as long as you are at least 18 years old, and here is the Rafflecopter widget for your entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The bottom line: I'm not getting paid or anything for this, they just asked if I would like to do it and so I said yes!  Just passing the awesome along!

The winner will be announced Friday September 12th!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 36 Weeks

August 29, 2014

Dear Asher-

You have obviously been feeling much better now that your tummy is almost 100% back to normal.  The downside is you are catching up on your pooping and yowsahs! I also know you grew again because, in particular, your footie pj's that were a bit long now fit.  Why do you insist on growing up?!  You are getting huge!  You're closer to a year old than a newborn which just breaks my heart. You are so curious and want to see, touch, and put everything in your mouth.  You play so well independently as long as we surround your chunky little body with toys.  In particular, removing toys from baskets and toy containers will keep you busy almost indefinitely.  Quite the mess maker, but at least you don't make everything sticky. Yet.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 35 Weeks

August 22, 2014

Dear Asher:

You are so adorable. You look a bit chunkier and a bit longer this week, I need to measure you again. You also got 2 new teeth. You started nursing like crazy again and just wanting mommy all day and all night.  Your naps, as a result, have gone crazy. You'd been trying to drop one of your tiny naps so they'd been goofy anyway, but now you just are all over the place. Which is fine. Once big brother goes back to school next week and our schedule starts to get set again, I'm sure we will quickly figure out what will work best for you. 


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 8 Months

August 20, 2014

Dear Asher-

This month has been full of ups and downs for you. Several new teeth, tummy troubles, growth spurt, and development frustrations have all happened in such a short period of time. You're up to six teeth now, the four center ones and your right upper incisor and left lower incisor. You've outgrown all 18 month clothes, despite my trying desperately to squeeze a few more weeks out of them. I had to buy 24-month sized clothes because your brother skipped that size entirely but you're so much broader than he was you need them! We got some contaminated food on vacation and it's taken you almost the whole month for your tummy to feel better; we even broke down and brought you to the specialist and he found a corn allergy (yikes!). Tummy plus new teeth meant a lot of nursing again, but you are still really enjoying food--especially the lovely summer watermelon and fresh prunes we have been buying. I still get daily comments on your red hair and honestly honey-bear, I (too) can hardly believe you are such a red head! You are gorgeous.  So much of your daddy in your smiles and sweet faces, but also a little resemblance to your brother (and I) is coming through. If you would just crawl, for goodness sake, this month would have been lots easier. You get so mad! You hold your arms out and grunt and flex--just like The Hulk! It's funny but not, all simultaneously. You're so ready to move! 


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 34 Weeks

August 15, 2014

Dear Asher,

Oh sweetheart! You got your 5th tooth this week and I totally missed it other than a crazy increase in drool. I should have picked up on it after the huge increase in nursing you were wanting to do; you hardly wanted to eat anything but lots of mommy time. Which might also explain why your naps have been all over the place: some days you wanted to take 3-4 short naps, others 2 super long ones. It's been bizarre. You are pulling up on everything! You will maneuver yourself (but not crawl, god forbid you crawl!) over to the fireplace and bounce around once you get yourself all the way up. It's impressive. You also can get yourself to sitting up even from laying down, which (in case you were wondering) usually comes after crawling. 


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 33 Weeks

August 8, 2014

Dear Asher,

You are still getting so frustrated by not crawling. All day you get on all fours, rock, and scream your guts out. We've tried bribing you with food, toys, everything. You'll do it in your own time I guess. I never thought I'd be looking forward to a mobile baby and all the challenges that brings, but the frustration you are experiencing right now is often difficult to watch. You will stretch yourself any which-way to grab something to pull up on now as well; you have pulled a chair down on yourself just trying to stand up. All day you want to stand, wobble, bounce, and take baby steps holding our hands. You want to move so badly but your chunky little body just hasn't caught up. Soon.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 32 Weeks

August 1, 2014

Dear Asher,

Daddy went back to work this week so our summer is officially over. Both you boys miss him during the day I know, and so do I. You started trying to clap this week and it is so cute. You occasionally miss and hit yourself instead of your hand, but you're getting it. You're also signing "milk" we think. Amazing. We ended up breaking down and taking you to your brothers specialist because you are still having some tummy issues and not sleeping like you were.  He found a corn allergy which scares the bejeebus out of me because corn is in everything, but we will get it figured out so your tummy and sleep can get back to normal. Any personal sacrifice is worth it for your health my love. 


Friday, July 25, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 31 Weeks

July 25, 2014

Dear Asher:

Well you have finally started to recover from the teeth as they are now front and center. You are trying to figure them out a bit and keep almost grinding them against your lowers. I ate something in Austin that still has your tummy very upset because you have been extraordinarily constipated--you shake and shake, screaming in pain trying to push it out. I've added prunes to your diet to try and help it clear. I really don't know what it was but I just hate seeing you like this, it's so very uncharacteristic. You really did well in Austin considering the drive and your poor teeth; all mommy's old friends just couldn't get over your cute hair and rolls. Greatmama also got some good time with you. I wish they would all get to watch you grow up more. So many people love you!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 7 Months

July 20, 2014

Dear Asher:

This month has seemed really long for some reason. You started foods and love eating with us, you got two more teeth (bringing the total to 4), you sit up completely unassisted and don't want to lay down at all, took our first road trip, and you talk non-stop trying to communicate. You have no interest in playing on your belly much any more and get incredibly frustrated because you still will not crawl. It's frustrating for all of us actually, you scream and scream and scream on your belly. You and your brother get each other laughing so hard I can barely stop myself from joining in your private jokes. You also got to meet your GreatGrandma (or GreatMama as your brother called her), and it was very special being able to visit her in Austin and introduce you. You did very well on the trip even though you still had a tooth breaking through. 


Mommy Diary Take Two: 30 Weeks

July 18, 2014

Dear Asher:

This week has been ROUGH. Both your top center teeth broke through this week only a couple days apart. You stopped sleeping at night almost entirely, which was brutal for us both. All you wanted was mommy to hold you, nursing non-stop, and lots and lots of fussy, unhappy, cranky baby behavior. Multiple people commented on how you weren't your normal happy, smiley self--they were right. Mommy was completely exhausted without you sleeping at night, you were hurting, and it was probably one of the most difficult weeks since your birth. Hopefully they stop hurting now that they're through so we can all get back to normal. I miss my happy little chunkster.