Booking It.

I have lost my habit of reading. It’s not that I don’t read; I do. But habitually, I don’t anymore. I used to have at least a hundred books on the go (how on earth did I ever remember what was going on in those story lines?!) and now I sit and stare at walls when not running after thems chil’uns or making food.

I try. I miss books. I miss the fun of a good story. I recently (as in yesterday) started reading The Philosopher’s Stone again. I’ve had on my kindle a heavier book that seems to be taking fo-evah to read and which I’d like to write a bit about someday (all about kids and attachment and craziness that freaks me out and will likely freak you out too [if you have kids]. In a good way, though. I hope). But my habit is lost. I’m hoping that at some point I’ll be able to remaster the habit, but for now I just mourn the loss of it and make do with what I can where I’m at right now. And I’m okay with that. As long as I can be a little nostalgic about ‘that time in my life when…’ before getting back to washing dishes and breaking up scuffles.

Motherhood. It never is what you think it will be. But it is enough.

2014-04-22 09.41.09Walking Andy to the bus stop in the beautiful morning sun.
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Pinterest Project – Vol 4

So soon?! Yes. Yes, I’m determined to get my sweets somewhere. This time it was a scone recipe that spoke to me. It said, ‘Eat me, Jane. Bake me and eat me.’ I looked at the ingredients and lo! I had everything. Sold. Messy kitchen? You can just get messier cause I’m makin’ me a scone.

Almond Coconut Tea Biscuits

from: http://discoveringtheextraordinary.blogspot.ca/2012/01/almond-coconut-tea-biscuits.html

2014-04-15 16.30.29Forgot to take pictures before this point – about to be baked
2014-04-15 16.45.22Fresh out of the oven…maybe a little too brown, but not bad.

These turned out pretty darned good. I love the use of lemon zest; the scent is heavenly, but the taste of it is absolutely mild. I might be inclined to find a way to put in some lemon juice to get a bit more flavour into it, or orange. Citrus appeals, apparently. Despite using a tablespoon of agave syrup, there is hardly any sweetness in these puppies, which is disappointing (given my sweet tooth right now).

However, the taste is great, they don’t crumble out of your hands when they are picked up; putting butter on them (as expected) is a little tricky, but it works out all right, and tastes great. Some clotted cream would be even better, if I don’t mind myself saying. Oooh, that is soooo going on my Easter-eats list.

2014-04-15 16.56.31avec beurre
2014-04-15 17.31.13Apparently I couldn’t get an individual shot without a bite taken out of it. Sorry.

I think when I try this recipe again (and I will, cause texture is awesome, it’s easy to make, and tastes rather good), I’ll try to use a stevia sweetener instead of the agave and add in a couple tablespoons of chocolate chips (and eliminate the lemon zest). I just gotta get myself something a little sweeter, I think. The stevia will give me room to use chocolate in the carb department.

These little morsels come in at 5.5g carbs per scone (or tea biscuit, whichever you choose to call them), which means yummy for mummy!

Pinterest for the win!

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Pinterest Project – Vol 3

I think my desire for sweets just increased ten-fold this past week, cause I don’t think I’ve had such motivation to find delicious baking to eat while being low-carb.

This lovely little project involved another muffin recipe, low-carb & gluten-free.

Low-Carb Chocolate Muffins

from: http://low-carb-support.com/low-carb-chocolate-muffins/

IMG_2997Basis: almond meal/flour
IMG_2998Cocoa from our Farmer’s Market (direct from the plantation several times a year – so heavenly!), Truvia sweetener equivalent. IMG_2999She knows the good stuff…

Easy to prepare. I had all the ingredients and didn’t need to make substitutions (for the first time). Ease to prepare is pretty high on my list of things to look for. That and making sure it goes with butter. I love me some butter (if you haven’t been able to tell).

IMG_3000IMG_3001IMG_3003They came out really well from the muffin liners, which is great. More muffin for me!

As you can see, they were still a little crumbly when applying the butter, but I’ll let you know that the more that they cooled (as in, completely cooled), the easier it was to spread butter. This seems to be consistent with using almond flour, so I think I might just have to accept that if I want butter on my muffin (or scone, or whatever), that it will be crumbly if almond flour is the basis. BUT at least butter tasted like awesome with these. Not like the previous muffins. Yeah, those were definitely a fail in my books. These were much more up my taste alley! And they come in at about 4.5g of carbs per muffin (according to my ingredients), which means more than one can be demolished!

Yay! Pinterest for the win this time!

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Nesting

My previous two pregnancies didn’t have much-to-do with nesting tendencies before baby came. Things are mostly the same here with this newbie on the way, except for today. For whatever-forsaken reason, I -needed- to do 6-7 loads of laundry and completely attempt to organise our downstairs landing.

To be clear, I usually shy away from doing house work at the best of times. Laundry piles up. Boxes stay put until by necessity (or insanity) must be moved/organised. Typically this type of stuff is not chosen by yours truly to engage in. Today, there was no way I could not choose to clean that landing. Hence why it seems a bit of an anomaly in my typical routine.

Unfortunately I haven’t any ‘before’ pictures. This was likely an unconscious self-preservative motive, as showing that much of my crazy to the public world might just put me over the edge. But in the process of sorting that landing area, I ventured out of norm and entered into something I don’t normally choose. I attribute this to pregnancy nesting.

IMG_3004This is clean, folks. Get used to the idea.

This landing had boxes piled upon piles and more boxes. The box in the corner is actually empty except for a bag of garbage. This box, folks, had previously hosted a plethora of items from our previous car, which we sold over a year ago. Now that I’ve thrown out the junk, I’m making Andy sort through the ‘keeper’ box while the kids have a bath.

The boots box in the picture will go into storage as soon as we wash those boots and re-apply the ‘keep the water out’ stuff we have somewhere. I might delegate that one too *ahem*.

The white box in the green grocery bag is Andy’s stuff that he’s scared to sort through cause it’s crap he doesn’t use anymore but holds to himself sentimentally (for no good reason, in my books). It’s not even pictures, or nostaligic items, really. It’s computer parts. Ones we don’t use and likely won’t. Everything else in the picture is basically slated to be given away. This nearly truly leaves this landing clear, which it hasn’t been since June 22nd, 2012 (our move-in date to this house). So I’m thrilled that this nesting thing actually did something useful.

Oh, and while I was sorting all the boxes that were there, I came across a box that was filled with winter/fall/spring jackets for Cassia. I was a little overwhelmed when I read they were all 18 month size (what she’s mostly fitting currently) until I realised I could just give the majority of them away. So that’s what I’m doing. Then Cassia saw them and -had- to have one put on. Then she plopped herself down in front of the front door and whined at me cause I wasn’t letting her outside. Yeah, right, babe. Not when I’m in a nesting kick. Sorry. Ain’t gonna happen (apparently). Oh well. After about 30 minutes she allowed me to take the jacket off and hang it on her hanger. I think she was also overheating, which wasn’t helping her mood.

So now I’m all curious if this nesting thing will hit again before the end. Will I make meals for when the baby comes? Will I actually focus on cleaning another room? Will I completely turn the den into my aromatherapy office? Or will I, like usual, sit on my butt and attempt to forget that housework exists in this place? I’m guessing the latter, but I’ll keep you posted if that’s not the case.

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Pinterest Project – Vol 2

I found a recipe for low-carb muffins on pinterest. Truth be told, I found several, but I had to start somewhere.

Double Chocolate Muffins

from: http://dawnsdailychocolate.blogspot.ca/2011/12/celebrating-year-and-double-chocolate.html

IMG_2974These were mine. The recipe is simple, which I love. But the final product just didn’t quite meet my standards. Since this is my first time baking low-carb, gluten-free without a pre-mix, it’s entirely possible that my standards are too high. As I continue baking, I’m sure I’ll figure out if that’s true and whether I need to lower my standards.

I didn’t use Truvia for the sweetener because I didn’t have any, I substituted in 1/4 cup agave instead, which, now that I know what Truvia is (a stevia swetener), seems appropriate. And I used the optional 2 tbsp of chocolate chips.

IMG_2976The first problem was trying to take the muffin out. It stuck really well to the paper. In fact, I had to use a knife to scrape off a good layer of the muffin from the paper. I’m glad I used paper inserts rather than greasing and flouring the pan, cause I don’t think they would have come out. As they cooled more, it got a little easier to remove the paper, but I still felt like I was losing a decent amount of the muffin to the paper.

IMG_2978The second problem was two-fold. First, when I tried to spread butter on it, it crumbled like crazy. I hate that. I don’t like muffins that crumble that much. And the second part of it is that the butter tasted terrible on the muffin! I have never experienced this before, so it was super surprising and extremely disappointing (cause I love me some butter). I’m still rather shocked that butter did not taste good with this muffin. My best guess, at this point, is the yogurt that is in it somehow made it taste off. At any rate, if you find yourself using this recipe, I do not recommend butter on it. Some coconut oil might be good, but save the butter for something better.

Overall, I don’t think I’ll use this recipe again. Spencer ate it and seemed to enjoy it, but his palate isn’t as discerning as mine is yet, and I don’t think I’d enjoy eating this type of muffin again. Pinterest = fail (this time).

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7 Quick Takes Friday #7qt

7_quick_takes_sm11.

We have had an amazingly warm week here. All the snow is now melted from our front yards! And there isn’t really much left in the back yard either. We have been outside much, which is awesome. There is a little girl a couple doors down from us who is about the same age as Cassia, and now that it’s nice out, we get to visit with her and her mom and see them more often! Winter sure shut up our opportunities for meeting people in our neighbourhood.

2014-04-06 15.04.32She shoveled that water for 45 minutes. Completely entertained herself.
2014-04-06 15.15.14He sat and played in this grass pile I raked and entertained himself for 30 minutes. Complete bliss.

2.

We even cleaned off the deck and had a lunch outside this week. 2014-04-08 13.12.32I mean, what’s not to love about this weather? OK, well, truth be told, the wind has driven us indoors the past two days. Just on the other side of the block from us they are developing a new neighbourhood from a farmer’s field. So it’s flat and all dirt, which means that when the wind hits it, all the dust/dirt gets blown into our street (cause the wind almost always comes from that direction). I must say, it ain’t fun when you get attacked by a dirty wind whilst attempting to take a child out of a car seat. Pebbles in the face aren’t exactly what I call fun. I’m too old for that kind of ‘fun’. Now I get my kicks from … baby?

3.

Speaking of baby, I still have one in the tums. 2014-04-10 22.50.17 2014-04-10 22.50.27

Andy started taking too many pictures…

35 weeks now. And baby is sure fond of kicking. Recently started punching too. My right hip bone has never known such violence, and it’s awkward to react to the sudden hits while in public. Nothing like striking a random pose in an attempt to thwart the sudden fist on your hip bone while surrounded by people… “Oh, er – hi…why did I suddenly thrust my right pelvic area in your general direction, you’re wondering? Um, well, it’s not what you think…you see, the baby inside is punching me…”

The other two kids never did this. This kid knows how to make me uncomfortable already.

4.

I meant to mention this last week, but amidst all the hair re-design of my husband’s, it didn’t make it in. We finally have our new blinds up in the den! We’ve only had them parked in their boxes there since January, so that’s a win, right?

IMG_2960The ugly old ones that never opened or closed properly.
IMG_2965New ones! With a creepy-moustache-husband to go with them!

5.

I attempted gluten-free, low carb muffins from a pinterest find this past week. I have to say, I wasn’t terribly impressed. I have a post nearly ready to go describing in detail what happened, but I’m hoping that there’s a better recipe out there. I’d make them again, but as a last resort.

IMG_29746.

Did you know that next week is Holy Week? Am I the only one who is a little astonished that Lent ends in less than a week? It’s Palm Sunday this week, folks!

7.

At the Mom’s Group that I attend, Fr. Colin came to chat with us, and decided he’d try to do lectio divina with us. Actually, it worked out fairly well (God was watching out for us, maybe. The kids aren’t usually so quiet and content). It was on the first reading from Tuesday, which was from Numbers 21: 4-9:

From Mount Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road, to bypass the land of Edom. But with their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph  serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray the LORD to take the serpents away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses, “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent  looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Now, this is a pretty classic read. Maybe this reveals a little more about me than is wise, but as soon as I heard that God sent serpents on them, I started laughing to myself. As I looked around our group I noticed that everyone else had sombre faces, listening intently, and taking it seriously. Perhaps they have more composure, or maybe they’re just in a better place spiritually to read into it with more meaning. I, however, utterly enjoyed the fact that God was not pleased with his children and so he gave them something to complain about. ‘Didn’t like the manna, did you? Think it’s hot and dry out? Well, how about I give you some poisonous serpents to keep you company in your misery, you sorry sods.’ Is this because I relish that God punished his people? No. Au contrair, it fully reminds me of how I feel towards my children several times a day. And yet, when Moses calls God on it, God is all like, ‘Aw, yeah. I love you guys. Here, go make yourselves healthy again.’ But take note – God doesn’t take the serpents away, he just gives the Israelites a way to heal themselves after being bitten. Like a little reminder, ‘Hey, don’t forget to have gratitude peeps.’

If I were to seriously look at this passage, the first thing I’d note is that being in a hot desert with limited water and just manna would be a source of complaint for me. But thankfully, through Jesus, I am not at the receiving end of divine punishment for my fall from grace. I have been offered “living water” and I accept with gratitude this mercy. It gives me the freedom to look back and chuckle on the way things were once, and yet I know that it is only through grace that things have changed in my favour. And it’s a reminder to me that I need to reflect that mercy that God shows to me, especially to my children. Even when they gnash their teeth and complain bitterly about how things are (note to self – do not send poisonous snakes).

But I think Jesus appreciates a chuckle every once in awhile too.

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7 Quick Takes Friday #7qt

7_quick_takes_sm11.

Craziness ensued on Tuesday. Which was pretty much planned. On Tuesday it was April 1st, or more commonly expressed as April Fool’s Day. About a month ago I had a brilliant idea. My dear husband has, for the past 13 years, carried a beard on his face. If you know him, you’ll likely have known him only with a beard. Once, while in Ottawa, he gave himself a goatee. But all his hair was never fully removed. The plan for Fool’s Day wasn’t to remove it all, but rather to shape it in a creepy, unbecoming way. This is what we came up with:

2014-04-01 09.35.16Side profile
IMG_2956Front profile (with cheese).

My thoughts were based on:

dannyocean(Ocean’s 11)

I think we pretty much captured the spirit of creepy. It was fun, and I’m glad Andy was interested and willing to do it. It fooled many. He found there were a lot of people who

a) didn’t know he had a beard to begin with

b) didn’t know his face well enough to notice a change

But he did get some good laughs, too. And some people who were too polite to say anything.

2.

So now, for the first time in 13 years, he has gone baby face. He tried to just shorten the beard, but it still looked kind of creepy, so he shaved it all off so that everything would grow back together evenly. This is what he looked like 13 years ago:

1st year retreat (1997)1997  (he was 20 years old, not 12)
IMG_297136 years old

And that, my friends, is Andy without a beard (and 40+lbs heavier, he told me to let you all know). This will not likely happen again (if he can help it)(the shaving his beard off part).

3.

The kids’ growth spurts continue. Cassia has decided that she actually can eat ground beef, and will most likely devour it when in the form of mini-meatballs. She is still really picky about eating foods, especially veggies; I don’t know if it’s by association, or if it’s timing of day, or what. Sometimes she’ll happily munch on broccoli florets in between meals, but when they show up on her plate at a meal, they won’t be touched. Anyone understand toddler that can translate?

Spencer has taken to doubling his portion sizes for the past week, rivaling what I eat (sometimes he eats more!). He continues to be moody, but not as bad as he was when he was eating wheat, so I have to keep it all in perspective. The worst right now is his listening skills (aren’t they always the worst?); I thought he was bad before this growth spurt. I should have counted my lucky stars. We are managing, though. Two major growth spurts at the same time is exhausting, I am finding. Somehow, we’ll get through it and define a new ‘normal’ and try to recover until the next one hits (or the baby comes; whichever first).

4.

Speaking of eating, as I have mentioned before, I am gestational diabetic (BOO!). A couple days ago I turned to pinterest to ‘research’ low-carb options for muffins, as I’ve been craving craving CRAVING sweets now for three days. Consistently I found that low-carb options are (out of necessity) also basically gluten-free, which means that I now have a vested interest in baking for my sake and Spencer’s. He’s going to get a lot out my vested interest here, I can already tell. Poor boy. The kids hardly have sweets at all. A big part of it has been that I’m intimidated by gluten-free baking, which I need to do in order for both kids to have a treat, so they basically don’t get sweets or treats at home.

Being gestational diabetic will hopefully change that. I have a stack of recipes I want to try now that look reasonable to put together. I found one website (Maria Mind Body and Health) that has gotten me really thinking lots about the way I eat, namely about proportions. She follows an 80% fat, 15% protein, and 5% carb diet and also does nutritional consultations and has written books. Ultimately it’s anti-grain (think Wheat Belly but not as ego-centred as I found that book to be). Each blog post starts with a testimony of someone who has committed to this style of eating, and I have to say, their testimonies are really convincing, especially when it comes to diabetes (for me). The focus on fats, oddly, doesn’t feel foreign to me at all. I feel like I’ve been fighting a philosophy out there that fats are bad, but all I can remember from health classes is that bad fats are bad, but good fats are good. I’m not shy about loving fats (butter, coconut oil, avocados, etc), and I hate it when people give me the double-look or the lecture about how bad fats are for people. Ultimately, I feel a little vindicated with this website! Here is an educated person saying the same thing and getting great results with it! At any rate, I’m looking forward to trying some of her recipes with a couple alterations (she uses a specific sweetener that, as far as I can tell, is not available in Canada).

5.

Spring! It’s possible that it has finally sprung here! 2014-04-02 16.08.33We were out a couple days ago enjoying the splashing and poking and not-freezing we were able to do outside. I have unfortunately noticed that Cassia does have a tendency to fall into puddles. And they are never just small puddles she falls in. They’re the type that fill the gum boots with water. Oh well. All a part of the spring experience, right? I’m itching to get the rake out and start raking the dead grass and leaves off the lawn. Next week promises to be tons warmer than even this, so I’m very excited!

6.

2014-04-02 14.24.01She loves cameras. If the back of the phone is even pointing in her direction, she starts giving it smiles. It is super duper cute.

7.

34 weeks pregnant. It’s sure getting closer. And I look like a deer caught in headlights. I think that applies figuratively as well as physically. IMG_2996

Don’t mind the mess. We try not to. And unfortunately, it’s not due to any real reason for being messy…it just is that way.
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