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Sometimes life can get a bit chaotic. Today I'm inviting you into my (blessed) mess. Come see what life has been like lately.

Inviting You Into My (Blessed) Mess

Sometimes life can get a bit chaotic. Today I’m inviting you into my (blessed) mess.

Sometimes life can get a bit chaotic. Today I'm inviting you into my (blessed) mess. Come see what life has been like lately.

Let’s get REAL.

I don’t mean real as in real food. I don’t mean real as in natural health. I mean real and as in honest, real life with all of it’s mess and chaos.

Like my sweet, little girl that has turned into a threenager over night. Or my son that has returned to daily stomach aches. Reality.

If you follow my blog you may have noticed that it’s been pretty quiet around here lately. No fun, kid-friendly recipes. No meal plans. Silence.

Well, life has been messy. Literally one big mess. Let me show you what I mean.

My house.

This is the current status of our school room. As you can imagine, not much schooling is happening here. Don’t worry, we’re still doing plenty of school work. It has just moved to the living room and dining room.

Sometimes life can get a bit chaotic. Today I'm inviting you into my (blessed) mess. Come see what life has been like lately.

And this…this is my kitchen floor. My children have decided it’s a place to throw whatever they like. I can barely walk through without tripping on shoes (even though the kitchen is right next to the mud room…where shoes belong).

Sometimes life can get a bit chaotic. Today I'm inviting you into my (blessed) mess. Come see what life has been like lately.

This is my daughter’s craft area – that has been very unsupervised for a while now apparently. I keep telling myself I’m letting her be creative.

Sometimes life can get a bit chaotic. Today I'm inviting you into my (blessed) mess. Come see what life has been like lately.

The Living Room…

Now we come to the living room. A messy coffee table is not that abnormal, right? This one is unique in that it’s been my table, my desk, my everything for the last two months. I’ve been parked on the couch with severe “morning” sickness.

Sometimes life can get a bit chaotic. Today I'm inviting you into my (blessed) mess. Come see what life has been like lately.

Yes, all of this mess has been for one very good reason. God has blessed us with another miracle!! Next April we will welcome baby four into our family.

I am so grateful for all of the people that brought meals and helped take care of my kids. I am thankful for my family giving me grace in the midst of this chaos.

Sometimes life can get a bit chaotic. Today I'm inviting you into my (blessed) mess. Come see what life has been like lately.

True humility.

Sometimes it’s in this chaos that God has to humble us too. You know I’m a big fan of real food and nourishing your body. I’m the lady that eats stir fry, roasted veggies and avocado for breakfast (normally). I’ve been gluten free for years. I avoid all things processed. And yet for the last two months I’ve lived on cereal, frozen pizza and canned ravioli. It’s hard to even say that out loud.

I’ve had to give myself grace and just eat whatever I could keep down. Any attempt of fruit and vegetables was met with a trip to the bathroom (or if that was too far I always had a bucket by my side). I couldn’t even think about meat without gagging. I tried every natural remedy out there. None of them made any impact. I have even been on anti-nausea medication. But I still was barely functional. Carbs and cheese. That’s about all I’ve been eating for months.

I managed to only lose one pound during the first trimester. So I call that a win. And I am rejoicing that I am finally starting to feel a little better and able to eat some real food again. I can keep squash, beef and Brussels sprouts down! What a blessing.

As much as I love a natural lifestyle, there are times when life gets messy and you have to just let go. Real food is great. But so is being real. This is our reality right now.

My time on the couch has taught me a few lessons.

Sometimes life can get a bit chaotic. Today I'm inviting you into my (blessed) mess. Come see what life has been like lately.

Being sick is lonely!

I was still with my kids every day. I still talked with my husband every day. But it was different. Until a few days ago I couldn’t sit at the table to eat a meal. I felt like an outsider to my own family meal times. Most of the time my husband had to put the kids to bed (something I usually do). I missed out on those precious bedtime chats. I even missed taking care of my house. I just had to sit back and watch life happen. And watch the mess pile higher and higher.

Mess = Stress

I’ve realized just how much the mess in our house is the source of a lot of stress. For the whole family. Just a few days ago my oldest asked me, “Why am I so angry all the time lately?” I told her we all are..because our house is so chaotic.

The first item on my to-do list when I’ve regained my strength and energy is organizing and de-cluttering. I recently read an article about highly sensitive people. And it really resonated with me. I feel so much more peaceful when my house is simple. I honestly don’t even like many decorations on the walls. Having kids with sensory processing disorder I know it will help them as well.

I’m ready to do away with the nightly meltdowns about picking up toys because my kids don’t even know where to put anything. I’m ready for a clean, clear space to do our school work so my kids can truly focus. I’m ready for a play area that encourages my kids to read and explore without overwhelming them with options.

I’ll have to take it one room at a time. But I’ll get there. Simplify is the plan. More peace in our house is the goal.

I know life will be messy again when the new baby arrives. In the mean time I’m hoping to eliminate a lot of the mess in the house.

Sometimes life can get a bit chaotic. Today I'm inviting you into my (blessed) mess. Come see what life has been like lately.

Kids are capable.

I’ve also learned how much my kids are capable of doing. How much they can work together and learn from each other. My oldest has been my backup teacher and mother lately. And she’s so good at it!! I think the kids listen to her better than they listen to me. She even took care of me when I was at my worst, making me food and helping around the house.

It’s a mess.

Real life is messy and chaotic at times. But it’s also full of joy and lessons learned. I’m thankful for our mess. I’m thankful for a little more energy to deal with the mess.

And most of all I’m thankful for my whole family, including our newest member on the way!!

All glory and honor go to God for this miracle. He is the author and creator of life. And we praise Him for his goodness to our family.

Sometimes life can get a bit chaotic. Today I'm inviting you into my (blessed) mess. Come see what life has been like lately.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

My Goals of the Year – 2014

Now that March is underway it is time to think about my 2014 goals!  It only took 2 1/2 months.  This year I’m focusing on simplifying life and getting back to the basics.  I want to make room and time for people and relationships.

One thing that stood out as I was making my goals was that I didn’t even really think about food or diet in terms of my own health.  That is a big sign of healing.  I don’t have a special diet.  I eat nutrient-rich food.  I eat what my body likes/what makes me feel good.  I eat enough to support my body and my baby.  It’s nice to not have a laundry list of diet do’s and don’ts as part of my goals this year.

~~~~~~~~~~~2014 GOALS~~~~~~~~~~~

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1. Get back to the basics with nutrition.

I first learned about real food about four years ago.  I took the time to really understand what nutrition meant and how to feed my family.  Over the years with my own health struggles, dietary restrictions for my kids (for allergies) and times of doing what you can just to get by (during things like miscarriage and early pregnancy) I have lost sight of that a little bit.

Sometimes I’m even amazed when I look back through my old posts.  I posted a lot of good information!  So it’s time to get back to the basics of nutrition.  I never strayed too far.  But I know I can do better with getting some of the junk out of our house.  As I get my energy back I also hope to get my passion and drive back for making real, homemade food that is nourishing for my family.

This will include simple steps like adding egg yolks, coconut oil, gelatin and bone broth to foods whenever I can.  I may also re-post some old articles to help myself get back on track.

I’m not going to be extreme.  I know there has to be balance.  I also know I’m human and can only do so much.  But I’m also ready to put in the effort to make sure my family is nourished.

As part of this I may start re-reading Nourishing Traditions.  It has such a wealth of knowledge.

Once I am feeling better I will also do a one week challenge with my kids to see how they do with absolutely no packaged food.  They don’t eat much as it is.  But over the last few months we’ve had to go with convenience sometimes because it was all I could manage.  We need to break the habit and get back to real food.

This is not about restriction.  This is not about a special diet.  This does not mean we can’t enjoy other food when we are out or with friends.  This is about sticking to real, nourishing foods the majority of the time and especially at home.  It’s easy to lose sight of that in our culture.  I want to be sure my kids know what true health means.

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2. Simplify and de-clutter my house and my life.

One of the biggest sources of stress for our whole family is the clutter and mess in the house.  With me being only able to do the minimum around the house for the last three months it has gotten even worse.  It’s time to finally do something about it.

When I used to think about cleaning what came to mind was organizing and making things look neat.   I didn’t care about dust bunnies in the corner or mold spots on the ceiling as long as things were in order.

But now that my daughter has been diagnosed with severe dust and mold allergies, cleaning has a whole new meaning.  I’m starting to notice every little spec of dirt in our house.  I’m realizing just how dirty it is!

So my cleaning goal is two-fold.  I want to get things organized and get rid of things we don’t use/don’t need.  I also want to do a thorough cleaning of the whole house.  I want my daughter and my husband to be able to breathe better and feel better at home.

The cleaning will be better for our health.  The neatness will make everyone happier.  It will create more peace.  There will also be a place for everything…which means clean up will be much easier.

This will also free up a lot of time (especially mine!).  Instead of spending half of my day just trying to stay on top of the mess, I’ll have more time for my family and for doing other things.  By bed time everyone will be much happier and calmer.

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3. Make relationships a priority.

I probably want this or even write it as a goal every year.  It is one of my biggest struggles.  I am an introvert by nature (extreme introvert and painfully shy).  So making friends is very difficult.  Add to that severe OCD, feelings of isolation from infertility,  anxiety…you get the picture.  For most of my life I’ve just gone the easy route.  I avoid deep friendships.  I keep everything surface level.  I don’t let anyone in.  I try to hide all the things I don’t like about myself.  But it’t not a good way to live.  It’s also not a good example for my children.

I did have some very close friends when I was younger.  But life changes as you get older.  I’ve also had deep friendships that have caused a lot of hurt.  After that it was hard to open up to anyone again.

Over the years I have realized that having close friends is one of the biggest things missing in my life.  I have a wonderful husband and a great family (both my family and my in-laws).  I am thankful for a couple friends that I keep in touch with regularly via email.

But this year I want to build lasting friendships.  I want to put in the effort, let others into my life and drop my guard.  It will not be easy.  But I think it’s worth the effort.

In addition to making friends, I wan to make sure that my relationship with my husband is a priority.  This is especially critical before baby #3 arrives.  Since our children are almost six and three, now is a good time to go on dates and spend time together.

I also want to make sure my kids get plenty of attention before the baby comes.  I will try to continue our monthly mommy/daughter dates.  I will also try to do special things for my son.  Finally we will make the most of our summer and do lots of fun things, like going to the beach, playgrounds, etc.

Life will be very different in September with a new baby and my big girl in school all day.  So we are going to enjoy our family of four for the summer.

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4. Work on myself.

This year I want to really think about how my actions impact my children (and others around me).  I want to be a good example to my kids.  This includes things like facing my fears, making friends and trusting God.

My daughter already struggles with anxiety, just like I did when I was little.  I need to teach her how to handle anxiety and how to let it go.  I have to do this through the way I handle my own anxiety.

I will have two big adjustments later this year.  I will be adjusting to life with three children.  I will also be adjusting to my daughter being in school all day.  I plan to prepare myself mentally for these changes.

My yearly goals would not be complete without talking about my health.  Thankfully this year there isn’t too much to think about.  My main focus is to keep my thyroid levels and medication well-monitored, both during and after pregnancy.

I need to focus on eating enough quality food, getting moderate exercise and getting plenty of sleep.  Yes, good health really is that simple.

Finally, I want to take more time to read.  I don’t do it very often these days.  But I have a lot of books that have been sitting on my desk for a long time.  I also have a lot of Kindle books.  So I am going to read more and watch TV less.  I just got a few new books last week as an early birthday present.  I’ve already finished one of them!

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5. Focus on my writing.

My writing has taken a back seat for the last few months.  After my miscarriage I lost my focus and energy. I had to really concentrate on my health.  Then when I had bad morning sickness I simply could not sit at the computer to write.

Now that I’m starting to feel better I’m finally getting my desire to write back!  It feels great.  Although my kids don’t like to give me time to do it.

I switched my site from Blogger to WordPress earlier this year.  But being so sick I didn’t have time to do anything else with it.  I want to learn more about WP and update the look of my site.

I want to write about a variety of topics.  I will still post recipes.  I will also be writing about health issues.

I will continue to learn about photography and work on my skills.

I am also hoping to start doing some giveaways this year!

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6. Word for the year – LOVE.

Last year I started focusing on a word for the year.  It was acceptance.  Last year was definitely a year of acceptance.  It took a while to figure out a word for this year.  But it turns out I didn’t really have to figure it out.  During the first two months of this year God has bombarded me with the word LOVE.

My daily email devotions started in January with “40 Days of Love.”  At church we did a series called “How’s It Growing” where we talked about spiritual disciplines…the final and most important being love.

For Valentine’s Day this year my daughter made all of her cards.  We found a pack of cheap bracelets for her to use for the girls in her class.  They each got two.  At the end there were two bracelets left that I told her she could keep for herself.  Instead she kept one and gave one to me in my card.  Like a good mother I put it on…and it’s been on ever since!  It’s just a little, plastic red bracelet.  But it reminds me daily to love.

There have been plenty of other signs of love as well.

So this year I am focusing on love.  I want to give love.  I want to be loved.

I have been reminded constantly this year already about how much God loves me.  It’s incomprehensible.  But it is so comforting.  Even when I’m worried or anxious or not so happy with myself…God still loves me unconditionally.

I want to show this same love to others.  I want to show my husband and my kids unconditional love.

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This year I hope to work hard to make life simpler and make room for building relationships and setting a good example to my children.  It all comes down to simplify and love.  I’m excited to see what God has in store for us this year.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Yearly Goals – 2013

Happy New Year!  Are you ready for the start of a new year?  I am 🙂  I’m looking ahead to 2013 and trusting God will do great things and bring positive changes in my life.  God is able to do more than we ask or imagine.  So I’m excited to see what He has planned 🙂

In the past I’ve started the year with a LONG list of goals.  I had so many things I wanted to change about my health and my life.  This year is a little different.  I’m starting at a much better spot.

Do I want change?  Of course.  But I’m not at a low spot just trying to catch my breath and completely turn my life around.

Do I want to lose weight?  No.  Do I want to try some new diet?  No.  Do I want to make tons of money?  No.  Do I want to start a new hobby?  No.

So what do I want this year?  I want to focus on a few things and let God lead the way.  I want to live life.  I want to let go.  I want to be the person God created me to be.

Here is my Top 10 list for 2013.

1. Writing – I will pursue making my writing and my blog into my career/a business.  I’m not sure exactly how it will evolve.  Here are some thoughts: giveaways, newsletter, update the look, new platform, monthly link roundup.  I will likely be sharing a little less about my kids.  And I’m still debating about keeping up with the monthly goals.

2. Photography – Along with my writing I want to get better at food photography.  I just got a book on food photography for Christmas.  I’m very excited.  My hope is to update pictures of some of my recipes.  At the least the more popular posts.  And continue to experiment and learn.

3. Healing – I will continue to pursue improvement in my health.  I’m very anxious for my test results in a couple weeks and figuring out where to go from there.  I hope to start getting more sleep this year (I need to make it a priority).  I want to continue to improve my mental health/decrease my OCD.  Ultimately I’d like to not have any special “diet”…no restrictions.  I will focus on being healthy.

4. Homemade Food – I want to make it a priority to feed my family less processed food.  I make a lot of things from scratch.  But I still reach for a box of organic crackers or fruit snacks sometimes for my kids.  I’d like to get away from that.  It’s so much fun to make homemade versions of our favorite snacks.  Maybe I’ll go one by one through the boxes in the cupboard and recreate them.

5. Relationships – I need to focus on building relationships this year.  I want deeper friendships.  But I also want to make my whole family a priority (husband, kids, siblings, parents).  I need to be intentional about making time for this and putting in effort.

6. Rebecca – I want to focus on Rebecca’s needs and make any necessary changes for her.  We’ll be seeing a speech pathologist and a psychologist this month.  Hopefully then we will have better direction.  It’s still TBD if/when I’ll try any dietary changes.

7.  Crafts – I love making crafts, but I don’t often have time.  I’d like to find a few fun crafts to make at some point this year.  It would be nice to start working on Christmas presents now so that I’m not scrambling at the end of the year.  I always love giving homemade gifts, but I don’t think of it early enough.  This could be sewing projects, but other types of crafts as well.

8.  Cakes – I will continue to experiment with cake baking and decorating.  I just got some drawing books for Christmas.  So my hope is to work on my artistic abilities and then translate that into cake decorating.  At this point I’m still not trying to make this into a true business.  It’s a hobby that I enjoy.  But I don’t have time to do it often with small children.

9. Declutter – After another generous Christmas I feel like our house is overflowing.  We are so blessed.  But all of our blessings sometimes give me stress when I see messes and “stuff” everywhere.  So I’d really like to simplify and declutter.  We need to purge some toys and plenty of other stuff.  I’m hoping to get started right away in January working on organizing toys and getting rid of old ones.

10. Acceptance – I had a friend once that decided on a word for the year for her family.  They focused on that one attribute the whole year.  I thought it was a neat idea.   Over the last few months one word has continually come to mind – ACCEPTANCE.  God has been speaking to me about this.  And I’m trying to listen 🙂  This is something I have a hard time with.  But something I’m slowly learning.  I need to accept myself the way I am and not compare myself to others or even myself (in the past).  I need to accept my family members.  I am such a perfectionist I tend to be very judgemental and critical of others.  It’s not something I’m proud of.  But it’s hard to control when it’s part of my personality.  This year I want to truly accept others.  Every quirk.  Every habit.  Whether they make choices or do things I agree with or not.  I need to love and accept all the members of my family.  And I need to accept all people.  We are all so different.  But we are all God’s creation.  We all have different strengths and weaknesses.  We all make mistakes.  But we are all beautiful images of God.  This will be my year of acceptance in all areas of my life.  Instead of always wishing something was different, I will accept.

May God bless you in 2013.  I’m excited for a year of moving forward and acceptance.

What are your goals for this year?  Do you have a lot of changes you’d like to make?  Or are you just looking forward to a year of loving the life you have?

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

More Than Just a Stay At Home Mom – Finding Purpose

Over the last year I’ve been struggling with finding purpose.  It’s something I pray about daily.  I have a variety of passions, gifts and experiences.  But I also have many hindrances.

I have an electrical engineering degree.  I love math.  I love playing soccer and being active.  I’m passionate about food and health.  I love to cook, bake and decorate cakes.  I like to make things from scratch, sew and be creative.  I’m blessed to be a mother and wife.  I’m interested in mental health and how the brain and body work.

I’ve dealt with anxiety, OCD, infertility, IVF, digestive problems, tests, treatments, surgeries.

My day is largely dictated by my anxiety, OCD and digestive problems.  Which makes it hard to do all the things I want to do.  I’m very introverted and have a hard time meeting people and making friends.  I tend to just stay home and stick to my daily routine instead of pushing myself and getting out.

I have two small children that keep me busier than I sometimes think is possible.  And they leave me with little time to do much besides just take care of them.

What do I do with all of that?

I give it to God and let him lead the way.  In fact I think He answered my question before I ever asked it.

I’ve been blogging for four years now (me, the person that NEVER dreamed of writing).  My blog is called Homemade Dutch Apple Pie.  If you look just below the title, though, you’ll see a few key words that sum it up – Faith, Family, Food.  I’ve had direction all along.  I just didn’t have the details.

No matter what issues I write about or deal with my faith is first.  The purpose of any Christian is to spread God’s Word and share his love.

Next is my family.  My kids are little.  They take up most of my time.  And that’s fine.  They are my priority.  If I have to put other things on hold for a bit (like delaying a post because of an early riser or waiting a few years before seriously thinking about cake decorating) that’s ok.  There is a time for everything.  Right now I need to enjoy my kids while they are young and while they are still home with me all the time.  I also need to give my husband plenty of my attention and energy.

Finally we get to the food.  God has given me a passion for Real food and health.  After years of struggling with my physical and mental health and my own hang ups about food, I now love to tell others about true health and nourishment.  Sometimes I think God has to use a megaphone to get through to me/for me to listen.  This year I was contacted by the editor of Real Food and Health magazine about becoming a contributor.  Hello, Mary…are you there?  Do I have to spell it out for you? 😛  I was also asked to contribute to Grand Rapids Natural Living.  Then I was invited to join the West Michigan Bloggers.  And I was accepted as a member of the Village Green Network (a social media network of real food bloggers).

The funny thing about VGN is that I applied for it.  Then I didn’t hear anything for a while and assumed I hadn’t been accepted.  A few months later I got an email asking where I was.  They were wondering what happened and why I hadn’t responded to them.  I think an email got lost somewhere.  But regardless they were seeking me out and hoping I would join.

So this whole year while I was wondering what on earth I’m supposed to be doing God was opening doors and providing more and more opportunities for me to share my passion for food and health.  More ways to share my story and my experiences.

God was giving me a purpose and making it clear…even if I didn’t see it at the time.  It’s amazing how we can be so blind to the things God is showing us.  Reminds me that I need to take more time to listen and watch when I ask God for things.

So, here it is.  I have a purpose.

I am a writer.

My plan (God’s plan) for now is to pursue writing opportunities.  To use my blog and other media to share my story.  To share my experiences.  To hopefully help others and keep them from making some of the mistakes I’ve made.

I want to share my passions.  I want to make my blog and my writing my business.  I want to share my faith and God’s love with others.

I have made a lot of progress in my healing journey over the last 10 years.  But I still have a lot of challenges.  I still have a lot to learn.  I still have a lot to share.  I still have a purpose.

In the coming year…and hopefully years to come…I want to continue to share my journey through personal healing, through marriage, through motherhood.

I’m not sure about all of the details, but I know God will work it out.  I might update the look of my blog (in time).  I have a feeling I’ll be sharing some of our journey of treatment with Rebecca when the time is right/when we have more answers.  I will hopefully have more to share about my own health and struggles with anxiety and OCD.  Mental health is such a mystery.

I might do giveaways.  I might start a newsletter.  I might get more involved with social media.

For now all I know is that God has given me a purpose and a plan.  I don’t know how all of my passions will play a part in this.  And maybe some of them won’t.  I do know that God has a reason for all of them and a reason for making me the way I am.

I’m not JUST a stay at home mom.  I’m not defined by my health problems.  I’m not just getting by.

I am Mary.  I am a child of God.  I am a wife.  I am a mother.  I am a writer.  I have purpose.

This post is linked to Fresh Bites Friday.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Come Join Me On Facebook!

I finally did it…I made a facebook page for my blog.  I’ve toyed with the idea for many months.  I actually did it yesterday.  Come on over and Like me 🙂

Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Update – 4-9-12

I wanted to give a little update after yesterday’s weekly post.  I mentioned in there that I was praying for some clarity and direction.  Well, God listens.  A few things came to mind yesterday evening.

When I first went off GAPS in January I was only adding things in gradually.  I was still eating mostly GAPS.  So I was eating well but adding some extra carbs in (small amounts of wheat here and there).  And I felt really good.  I gradually got more daring and started eating whatever I wanted.  That in itself isn’t so bad.  But one thing I did that was not so good is that I stopped eating a lot of the good stuff.  I stopped taking my probiotic to see how it would go (since I heard some people feel worse taking a probiotic).  In addition I stopped making sure I ate cultured and fermented food daily.  So I was eating more sugar/starch/carb than I had in a long time plus cutting out almost all probiotic foods.  Not a good combination.  At this time I also had to do a round of antibiotics for an infection.  That just sped up the process of getting things out of balance.  I was able to maintain my gut flora for a little while like this…which is when I felt really good.  But then it started to get worse.  What did I expect? 😛  I started to feel like there was some kind of yeast/bacteria issue going on (I felt it in various ways).  My sugar cravings came back.  I started getting moodier again.  My anxiety increased.  But I didn’t do anything about it.  Then a few weeks ago I started making sure I was eating sour cream or yogurt daily.  Then I started my probiotic again.  Back to one pill a day.  Then I wondered if that wasn’t enough.  So for about a little over a week now I’ve been taking 2 a day.  Well, surprise, surprise…I have all of the symptoms of die off…headaches, slower digestion, etc.  I should have thought of it sooner.  On top of my body trying to kill off the bad bacteria and get it out I was eating way too much sweet food.  I was living on bread and ice cream 😛  Not inherently bad foods, but not what I needed at the moment.  I was eating them because I need a diet of all soft food right now.  And that was what was easiest.  So now I’m trying to really limit any sweet food (even fruit) and focus on getting through this round of die off.  I’m using a little extra help to try to speed up the process if that’s what it takes.  I’m hoping that once I get past this I can be smarter about maintaining good gut flora and stick to plenty of probiotic foods.  I also need to be very careful with sweets since my system is not well balanced yet.  I’m trying to focus on plenty of carbs/veggies, fat and salt with moderate protein.  When I came off GAPS I kind of went a little crazy with food after being so restricted for so long.  It was good for my mind at the time, but not so good for my body.  I need to find the right balance of not being obsessive/restrictive about food but also being smart about what my body needs and what it can’t handle yet.  I still have a lot of healing to do.  I’m getting there…I think.  It’s painful at times, but I’m learning.

I also wanted to mention that our week of sleep training with Abram went very well!!  He can now put himself to sleep.  If he cries it’s only for a minute or two.  And he’s sleeping much better overall.  Usually only up once in the night (goes from 8 pm until about 2 am when he needs to eat, then goes back to sleep).  He’s still an early riser overall.  But at least he’s not up all night.

I also forgot to mention yesterday that we tried our fennel.  I just roasted it.  It was pretty good, but not a big hit with Justin or Rebecca.  It probably won’t be on our table that often 😛

Also, we went out for dinner for Justin’s birthday…and I got pizza!!!  And I didn’t stress about it.  Even if I wasn’t feeling all that great it was nice to be relaxed about my food and just enjoy it.

I think there was another update I forgot, but I can’t think of it now.  When Abram is in the office with me I tend to be a bit scattered 😛  And I was too frazzled/anxious yesterday to remember much.

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More Cakes…and My Blog!

I made 2 bridal shower cakes this week for my SIL (for her good friend’s shower). This was only my second attempt at fondant. I’ve realized I really don’t like fondant…it doesn’t taste that great, it’s a pain to work with and it’s expensive. But it does look nice…if you can get it to do what you want. I’ll have to keep experimenting with it. The cakes turned out quite well. Hopefully Sara (and Sara:) likes them! The larger cake is 3 layers (white, chocolate, white) with white frosting between the layers. The smaller cake is 3 layers (chocolate, white, chocolate) with chocolate frosting between the layers. I’m anxious to see what they look like when Sara cuts into them.
I’m working at saving enough money (from making a few cakes here and there) to buy a stand mixer. It will be such a big help in making cakes!! Right now I do everything by hand. Very time consuming.

I have also started a cake blog! It’s very basic right now. I’ll add to it as time goes on/as I get more experience. But at least it’s something for now. Check it out. Let me know if you have any ideas/suggestions for it.

I have enjoyed multiple opportunities lately to make cakes. It is a lot of fun. But it is also a lot of work, especially with a very busy little girl to take care of. So at this point I’m not looking to make this into a full business. It’s just a hobby. But if you have a request for a cake, feel free to ask. If I have the time/skills for it I’d be happy to make it.

I made an ice cream cake last night (for my birthday today:) with some cake scraps from a previous cake. We’ll see how that turns out. And I’ll be making another cake this coming week. After that I think I need a cake break 🙂

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New Year, New Stuff

I know we haven’t even gotten to Christmas yet, but the planner in me is already thinking ahead to the new year 🙂 Now that I’ve gotten used to planning weekly meals and trying some new recipes I want to try more new stuff. So next year I am going to have a “What’s New” for each month. I might try new ingredients, new cuisines, new cooking methods, new tools/appliances (new to me, that is:). I’ll have a category each month and try to do at least one new thing from that category. I already have a long list of things to try 🙂 So be on the lookout for that in January.

I also want to add some non-food stuff to my blog. I know it started as a food blog, but I feel like I have more to share than just recipes. After hearing several speakers recently at MOPS meetings and being inspired by how they have shared their journeys in order to help others, I feel like I can share some of my experiences. So I will be adding some personal info/struggles/challenges/celebrations. And some of my other interests/passions besides just cooking.

I hope you enjoy the new additions. I’d love to get feedback on them. I’m just thankful to be able to share my life with others. God has brought me through many challenges and is continually working to refine me.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.