Monday, March 5, 2018

Food Allergies?

Have you ever noticed that when you have a new limitation put on you, ideas for solutions are harder to come by?  I don't know if this is true for everyone, but it definitely is the case for me.  Lately Scooter has been having tummy troubles.  Quite often soon after eating, or even in the middle of a meal he will say his tummy hurts.  When we talked with the pediatrician he said it was most likely a milk and/or gluten allergy.  We have been watching for a while and haven't been able to rule out one or the other.  I finally decided to take a week and cut out all dairy.  Then if the trouble persists try a gluten free week and see how that goes.  I know there are many meals that don't have to have dairy in them, however I now find myself having a hard time coming up with very many.  Particularly breakfast and lunch (that a 5 year old will eat) meals.
Do any of you have suggestions of meals or tips that could help this path of discovery go better?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Meal Suggestions Anyone?

As we recently purchased our new home we opted to not go with a home warranty.  The home appeared to be in great shape, and the home inspector didn't find any major issues.  I speak now with one from experience, go with the home warranty.

Since we moved in we have had issues with the garbage disposal and plumbing under the kitchen sink, bathroom plumbing, part of the dishwasher broke, and the oven went out on us.  All of those things would have been covered by the home warranty.   However on the plus side, if you will I was able to get a new stove that is what I want in a stove, not just what came with the house.

Yesterday when my stove was to be installed we learned that the way the gas line was plumbed, the installers couldn't install my new stove.  I have got the gas line fixed, but unfortunately they can't come back until Friday to install the new unit.  It is sitting in my garage, we could possibly get it dragged up to the kitchen and install it ourselves, but then we void the warranty and have a non working unit we would have to dispose of.  If I wait until then they will take care of all that for me.  I think I should wait.

Up until yesterday my stove top worked, and so I just worked around no oven.  However with the new gas plumbing it isn't a simple hookup to the old stove any more.  So I am needing ideas for meals that don't require the stove or oven.  I don't really want to resort to sandwiches and cold cereal.

I do have a crock-pot, and a power pressure cooker (similar to an Instant Pot).  I could work with those.  However I find that when I am constrained it is harder to come up with ideas.  So I am asking for suggestions.

What meals/ recipes would you suggest that can be made either without cooking at all, or can be completely cooked with just using a crock-pot and or Instant Pot?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Guide my ship.

I've found that things don't always take the path we think they should in life.  However if we let the Lord be the captain of our ship, they will always take a path that is for our benefit.  We didn't end up buying the house I wrote about last, but we did find our dream home.  This house meets our needs, will allow us to bring in several foster children, and we love it.  We found instant friends upon moving in.  It is our dream home.  We are now well on the path to becoming foster parents.  We've done our part for now.  Now we just need the state to do theirs.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Big Changes, Little Time

We are going through some big changes in our family right now, and as is usually the case for us, when those kinds of things happen, we are so busy living we don't have much time to write about it.

For a long time I have felt like we didn't have all the children we are supposed to have.  However the hubs and I have agreed that I am done with pregnancy.  I wasn't sure how to reconcile these mixed ideas, until I approached the hubs about it shortly before we moved from Texas.

He suggested that maybe we could look into doing foster to adopt.  At the time he had a boss who had just adopted some foster children, and when we lived in Utah before we had some friends who had also adopted foster children.  This being an idea we had both been exposed to, it didn't seem that strange of an idea, and the seed of an idea was planted in our minds.

After we moved, we were feeling lost, and missing Texas.  It took us a while to remember that we had had that idea.  Then it took us a while to act on it.  Finally last fall we spoke to the Utah foster care representative for our area.  He got us hooked up with the information we needed to decide if we really wanted to take this path.  Part of that information was some classes we needed to take.  These classes seemed like a great undertaking.  They were most of the weeknights for 3 weeks.  They ran from 5:30-9:30 PM, and we were told not to bring ANY children with us.  This meant we had to figure out childcare on weeknights.  Not the easiest endeavor, and we let a few months pass.  Finally I decided we just needed to make it happen.  We asked family and some of the teenagers who live near us, and were able to secure sitters for each night.

Another of the requirements we need to meet to do foster care is to have a housing situation that has enough space and is a safe enough environment according to the DCFS.   The space situation is measured in bedroom size and the number of children occupying each room, and their genders.  You can have no more than 4 children per room, and the room has to have at least 40 square feet per child.  You may not have boys and girls share a room together.  However these rules only apply to the foster children.  You can do what you want with your kids.

Well when you have a 4 bedroom house, and you already have 5 kids, your options are limited.  We looked into what it would take to make modifications to our home to make it easier to take in more kids.  Those ideas included finishing our playroom into a bedroom, remodeling the kitchen to give more workspace making it easier for kids to help,and to have enough space to store all that is needed for a larger family, and adding on a dining room to the back of the house.  Our current dining area barely fits our table as it, and is rather uncomfortable.  Having to put another leaf in the table to expand it so that we could fit more kids would be rather tricky.

As we looked into what we would need to do to turn the playroom into a bedroom, we discovered that due to current  building codes we would need to cut through the foundation to make the window larger and lower.  Not an impossible task, but difficult.  A kitchen remodel would take a while and a lot of funds, as would the dinning room addition.  It was something that I wanted, but had trouble feeling at peace with.

We even considered the idea of buying a different house.  We looked around a bit, but nothing felt right.  We were feeling lost.  

Then during our second to last session of class there was a family who came in to talk to the class.  This family is made up of various foster children who have been adopted.  As they talked I got the feeling that our current house might work for us to start with, but eventually we would need a bigger house.  And that maybe the Lord had more children in mind for us to benefit than I had imagined.  

After that class, the hubs and I talked and I got the idea he had similar thoughts to me.  That weekend we were able to get some time alone, and got to talking.  We admitted that moving was an option, but we didn't want to uproot the kids more than necessary.  We prayed for the Lord's guidance, and mentioned that we were considering a few homes that were for sale, or had the potential to be on the market in the near future.  The hubs mentioned a house that I wasn't aware of.  He had noticed it a few months back, as a for sale by owner, and it was still on the market.

Any time he looked at that house, he would see the price tag and look away.  This time we decided to look at the listing together.  It was listed for more than we had ever thought of spending on a house, but we kept looking.  The first few pictures in the listing were a floor plan.  I love looking at floor plans, but it isn't the hubs forte.  He usually prefers pictures and looking in person.  This time though he told me the floor plan really stood out to him.  We really liked the pictures we saw as well.  We decided to see if we could get an appointment to go see the house, and saw it later that day.

For me, just walking through the house, something felt amazingly right about it.  I just knew we should buy that house.  I told  the Hubs so, but I don't think it sank in to him at that point.  He was still accepting the price.  He felt like there was no way we could qualify for it.

Later that day I requested info from a mortgage company, in the Hubs name, because he is the breadwinner.  By Monday he had decided we couldn't afford the house and should just forget about it.  Then the mortgage company called.  Asked a few questions, and told him we could probably qualify.  He was blown away.

We then took the steps to get pre-qualified, and found that our current house was in the way.  We could only qualify if we sold our home, and closed on it first, or if we had renters sign a lease, and give us a deposit.  Plus we had 6 months rent in savings.    To me, it felt impossible.  However I felt like we shouldn't give up.  We both felt like selling our house was impossible.  There are so many flaws we should fix before we put it on the market, it would take forever.  So we considered the renting option.

Meanwhile we decided to look at some more houses on the market.  None of them felt right.  None of them clicked the way the other home had.  I knew I wanted to buy that home, but didn't see a way.  Well we prayed and fasted that the Lord would guide us to whatever His will for us was.  Then I had an idea.  The owners of the home we wanted to buy were looking for a place to rent while they built another house for themselves.  What if they rented our house?

We proposed the idea to the owners on a Friday.  The wife seemed to like the idea,  the husband was more unsure.  On Sunday, I had the feeling I didn't need to worry about it.  I took that to mean that they would rent from us.  I was wrong.

Monday the Hubs got a message from someone in our church group.  They had heard that we might be putting our home on the market and wondered if he and his wife could come look.  They came on Tuesday, and on Wednesday told us they were working on drafting an offer.  On Friday we submitted an offer on the home we want to buy, and now we are in the process of figuring all that out, and buying that house.

It is crazy, but I can also see how it has all fallen into place.  I believe it is because we are trying to do what we feel the Lord wants us to do.  We are willing to do our part, and He is guiding us because of it.

Much of the lost feeling I had after leaving Texas has flown.  I still miss the people and the place, but I know I have a purpose here.  And the Lord will guide me where He needs me if I am teachable and willing to do hard things.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The parable of the salad

Many of you may know that my youngest, Scooter, considers himself quite the chef.  It is quite  often for that almost 4 year old to go in the kitchen, and start piling ingredients into some kind of container with no rhyme or reason.  Rarely does he make something other than a mess, but it is a passion of his, and one that we would like to help feed.

Today when he and I got home from taking the older kids to school, he decided he wanted to be "Chef Scooter" and make a salad.  He proceeded to take some tomatoes and avocados off the counter and placed them in a bowl.  Took the bowl to the table, told me to get some plates, he went and got a spoon, and wanted to devour his salad.

Now tomatoes and avocados can make a great salad.  But usually we cut them up, and peel and pit the avocados.  Maybe add a few more ingredients, etc.  Well I wanted to let him express his creative side, but I also have those tomatoes and avacados for a taco salad I am planning for dinner tonight.

I suggested to him that we could make something else, like popcorn, or toast.  He said "No.  Salad"  He wanted that salad.  NOW!  I told him, I needed those things for tonight's dinner, and he could help me make the salad then.  Nope, not good enough.

Finally I got him to consider other options.  But still they needed to be his creation.  He wanted cupcake marshmallow pie.  What ever that is.  I asked him how we make it.  He looked around the kitchen, and saw some apples.  "It maybe has some apples." He said.  So I took an apple, and asked him if we needed it cut up.  "Yep." he said.  So I cut the apple and put it in a container.  Then he started suggesting the marshmallows.  We don't have any, so then he decided he needed to look in a cookbook.  I suggested we could add some cinnamon, he was ok with that.  Then while he was looking in  his cookbook, I also added some lemon juice.  He found a picture of a fruit salad in the  cookbook and decided to add some oranges.  So after we peeled the oranges and broke them into slices, he added them to our salad.

Then I pulled out the pomegranate.  This is a fruit he has no memory of eating before.  We only have it during the holiday season.  He thought it was an apple at first, but after I cut it open and showed him how to pull out the seeds, and let him try one, he had found a new favorite fruit.  He continued to eat a quarter of the pomegranate, while I put another quarter in his salad.  Then we put it in the fridge to wait for lunch.

While I was going through this experience with him the Spirit spoke to me.  How often am I like Scooter.  I think I know what I want to do, and I want it now.  I don't want to accept suggestions or help from someone who maybe knows more than I do.  I want to do it my way, even if my way doesn't really work as well.  I may look around and what ever catches my eye is what I think I need at the moment.   But if  I will take the time to look at instructions like Scooters cookbook  (in my case scriptures, teachings of prophets and apostles), and ask for help from someone with experience, I can have a much more successful experience.  I can learn a lot more and have a more positive outcome.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Daisies on Pink

I love the daisy fabric.  I have loved it since the first time I saw it in my mom's fabric scraps.  It has been calling out for me to make something of it.  I used a little of it one time when I made a dress for Aurora.
But other than that, it has just felt like too small a piece to use.  Then I started making doll clothes.  You don't need as much fabric for a doll, and it worked wonderfully.  

Friday, October 14, 2016

My Newest Hobby

I'm going to post the pictures of my newest hobby, sewing doll clothes here at the top, but then I am going to explain it below for those who wish to keep reading.

About 25-30 years ago I was introduced to something called American Girl Dolls.  Well not the dolls themselves, but the books about the dolls, and the catalogs of the dolls.  I loved it when those catalogs would arrive.  I would pour over them for hours, dreaming of what it would be like to have one of those dolls.  However, I knew it was just a dream to have one.  Those dolls cost around $100 a piece, and when you are in a family of 9 children, well lets face it, your not likely to get a toy that costs that much.  So for me it was just dreams.

Fast forward 10 years or so, and my younger sisters were at that stage.  However they had an advantage I didn't have.  Someone had a brilliant idea.  Make nice looking dolls the same size as American Girl Dolls, and charge a fraction of the price.  I still remember how excited they were the Christmas that all 4 of my younger sisters each got an Autumn Harvest Doll.  I was a little envious but hey being 20  years old, I was to old to expect such things.

Then I had daughters.  It took a long time to reach this point, but finally about 2 years ago I finally got Aurora an 18" doll.  This one was an Our Generation doll.  I wanted to get one for each of my daughters, Cinderella who was about 10 at the time, thought she may be to old for such toys.  She decided  otherwise after seeing her sisters doll, but even though the dolls were a lot less expensive than American Girl Dolls, they are still big dolls.  Cinderella was dedicated to her Barbies at the time and had a rather large Barbie house, and we were living in a small house.  I had to hold off for a bit.

Then I found the deal.  I found a local listing for someone wanting to clear out their daughters 18" doll collection.  4 dolls, a camper, a jeep, a scooter, 2 salon chairs, a wardrobe, plus a little more for $200. I couldn't pass that up. Some of the dolls were a cheaper brand, and had been well loved, but a couple of them were almost new.  I decided to give my girls the more worn dolls and save the others for later gifts.

Cinderella was blown away.  She was very touched, to get an old worn out doll with frizzy hair. She has told me since that was her most favorite gift she has ever received.  Then came the time when my boys discovered the jeep, scooter, and camper in the garage.  Couldn't keep them a secret for much longer.  So when Aurora received another Our Generation doll for her birthday, I knew it was time to uncover more of the goods.  Then my boys wanted in on the action, and we needed more dolls.  So out came the last two dolls, with the information that these dolls belonged to ME.  They could play with them, but no fighting, and I had to give permission.  I didn't want Aurora to hog all the dolls.

Then I discovered something.  I really liked having my own dolls.  I liked to dress them up, and do their hair.  Later, I decided that I would like to make doll clothes.  My kids don't always appreciate when I sew for them, but I knew the dolls wouldn't complain if I made doll clothes.   I discovered a wonderful website Pixie Faire  There they have doll clothes patterns, and a decent amount of them are free.  And they give away another free pattern each Friday.  I decided this was a good way to start and see how serious I am about this hobby, before investing a lot of money in it.   I have a lot of fabric scraps from my own sewing, and from my mom.  I figured I could start without having to invest too much.

I have made the items pictured above, so far.  My first project was the  purple swim suit modeled by Cinderellas doll.
The next one was the blue swim suit with the skirt.  I used the same pattern for that swim suit, and made up the skirt on my own.
  Then I made the pink dress last week, and today I finished the t-shirt that is under it.

I plan to make posts in the future as I make more clothes.