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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gluten Free Corn Dogs

Note: I realize this post is long overdue, my recipes with notes on them were "lost" for a while. Thankfully, they have reappeared and I can share them with you.

I planned a fun menu for our Halloween dinner this year. Corn dogs, tator tots and popcorn balls for dinner. Just your basic food groups (well minus a couple, but ketchup makes up for the veggies, at least on Halloween). The tator tots were easy. I bought Cascade Farms Spud Puppies because, not only are they gluten free, they are free of MSG and they're organic. Hot dogs were found at Trader Joe's (gluten free and nitrite and nitrate free). All I needed was a recipe for corn dog coating and popcorn balls that had no gluten or dairy in the ingredients. I found the corn dog coating recipe on a message board (and tweaked it a lot) and the popcorn ball recipe on a gluten free blog somewhere (I will look for that site so I can give them credit).
Both the corn dogs and popcorn balls turned out tasting absolutely fabulous. I will make them again in the future. Sometimes I just crave a little junk food, it's nice to be able to make it a little healthier without sacrificing the flavor.
Click on the recipe name to access the recipe: Gluten Free Corn Dogs

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Exciting Recipes.....To Be Seen in the Future

I know it's been a while since I've been on here. Life in general interrupts and I don't get on here as often as I would like to. That being said, I do have some exciting new gf/cf recipes to share with you very soon.
I don't think I've shared my meatloaf recipe yet and I also have some recipes from Halloween to share. Homemade corn dogs and popcorn balls. Yummy!
Plus, I announced tonight to Ian that we will be looking for new recipes for Christmas cookies this year. So far, I've found some that look easy to adapt and I even found one in Family Circle magazine that doesn't need to be changed (well only the chocolate from bittersweet to semisweet, but that's a minor change). So stayed tuned for some great recipes in the days ahead.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Things you Bring Home from the County Fair....

Back in August our family went to our county fair. We had a great time and while we were there my husband had to get a New York style Italian Sausage sandwich. It was very messy. My sweetie was so excited about this sandwich. He'd had it two years ago when we had attended the fair and was still drooling at the thought of it. So of course he wanted me to watch the vendor make the sandwich and he asked the guy a lot of questions. He also mentioned to the guy that I am capable of recreating things that I've tried. To which the man replied "a lot of people have tried to make this at home, but they don't succeed." Oh, did I hear a challenge?! It certainly sounded like it to me. So I kept all the info that we had gleaned by watching the guy and after we were home I searched the internet and found something that sounded about right. I combined my info. and that recipe and made a very good copy of the sandwich, if I do say so myself!
And then we realized we needed to not eat gluten and dairy. Dairy wasn't a problem for this sandwich, but gluten...hello...the bun! So I tried using Tapioca buns. Yeah, not so good. The filling still tasted great, but the bun? It had the taste and texture of socks and paper. Terribly dry and tasteless. Horrible in fact. Ian's still talking about how bad those buns were and we had them a month ago!
So I had a little discussion with my sweet hubby and told him that I'd like to try turning his favorite sandwich into a very tasty stir-fry. We tried it tonight and I have to say, I like it better than the sandwich. The sandwich was always a messy thing because the vegetables were diced and you put a lot of them on the sandwich. The thing was always dripping veggies in your lap! So here's the recipe and a picture even (I managed to snap one before the food was devoured).
Fair Inspired Italian Sausage Stir-Fry
Happy Eating!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Zesty Oven Fried Chicken and Super Easy Parsley Potatoes

Finally a picture to go with some recipes. I made this last week before I got sick. The chicken was fabulous! Ian loved the crispy skin and even called it "fried chicken" which it isn't, but it is tasty. The Parsley potatoes were a snap to make because I baked my red potatoes in the oven and just cut them up to use them.
Click on their names to look at the recipes.
Super Easy Parsley Potatoes

Zesty Oven Fried Chicken
We added a salad with the chicken and potatoes to round out the meal. It was very tasty and best of all, gluten and dairy free!
Happy Eating!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Momentary Break

In case you were wondering where all the new recipes are... I really do have some, but this cold I've been fighting is still working on me, which means my brain is in slow motion right now. I promise I'll be back to share more recipes. Tonight Ian told me I should put my meatloaf recipe on here because it's really good. I'm with him, it's yummy (and that's not me bragging, that's my taste buds smiling at the thought of that meatloaf). Meatloaf is on the menu for next Wednesday, so I'll try to post it by next weekend. Hopefully, I'll feel better before then and share some other recipes. And yes, I have several pictures of food to share, but again...the brain is foggy and tired, so I'll wait until it's working well again. See you soon!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

There's Gluten in....Tea?

The more I read, the more amazed I am at where gluten is hiding in the American diet. I've read about gluten in some toothpastes and now I have to investigate my tea. One reason that there might be gluten in your tea is the process the factory uses for sealing the bag. Some factories use a wheat paste to "glue" the bag shut. Of course, when you make your tea that is in it and you're drinking gluten!
Right now I'm fighting a head cold, which is exactly when I like to drink tea. I pulled out a box of green tea and even though it didn't say gluten free on the box, I examined the tea bag and thought it looked like it would be okay. Uh, probably not. My throat was starting to feel sore before I finished the cup, so I tossed out the rest and made a new cup of tea using Celestial Seasoning (their boxes are marked gluten free). I did some research online and found that all Stash teas are gluten free (they have no gluten in the factory at all) and Bigelow teas are gluten free except for: Blueberry Harvest Herb Tea, Chamomile Mango Herb Tea and Cinnamon Spice Herb Tea. They also stated on their website that they do not use wheat paste to seal their bags, they use either a heat or crimp seal.
I also found the Republic of Tea products are all gluten free. What a relief to find companies that are making gluten free tea.
I also found a web page that linked to a lot of companies lists of their gluten free products. If you'd like to look at that, just click the link.
Gluten Free Shopping
Happy Sipping!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What to make when you feel under the weather...

A yucky head cold has hit hard at our house. My son got it first, starting with a bark and progressing to a fever and a runny nose. Poor baby, he's been so tired. When I suggested a nap today he agreed with me! No 8 yr. old would ever agree to a nap unless they are sick!
I woke up this morning and started feeling yucky almost right away. I'm coming down with it, too. Usually, when I don't feel good I have a can of chicken noodle soup. That's not happening for me now that we've switched our food and my mom isn't going to fly out to make her homemade chicken noodle soup for me and even if she did, I'd need some kind of gluten free noodle. So what's a girl to do? Get creative and pull out that crockpot!
I decided to make a chicken noodle soup without noodles. I used potato chunks instead. It's still simmering in the crockpot as I type this (I started it a little too late, it happens when you don't feel well). I did sneak a taste and it looks like it might be my new recipe to pull out when sickness strikes our house.

Chicken and No Noodle Soup

Almost Homemade Salsa

I got this recipe a few years ago and it's been one that Ian absolutely loves! He gets very excited when he knows I'm going to make it. The only problem is, it makes a lot of salsa and there are only 2 of us eating it. It would be perfect to take to an event or a tailgate party. Best of all for me, it's gluten free (as long as I'm careful about the stewed tomatoes).
Almost Homemade Salsa
1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
2 cans Mexican stewed tomatoes
Jalapeno pepper (to taste, I use a small fresh jalapeno to keep it mild)
1 t. salt
1 t. cumin
1 t. minced garlic (or one garlic clove pressed)
1 can peaches, drained
Blend in the blender. Serve with Frito-Lay tortilla chips
Salsa may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Product Review: Trader Joe's GF Brownie Mix

I found Trader Joe's Gluten Free Brownie Baking Mix shortly after we switched from gluten and dairy. About the time that my husband had started moaning that his life was over and he'd never eat anything yummy again. Such drama! I assured him that his life was not over and as soon as I bought groceries, he'd start having some yummy things again. I'm not sure he believed me until I whipped up a batch of these brownies. That was the beginning for him. We were having a date weekend (the kiddo was spending the weekend at Grandma's and Grandpa's) and my dear hubby had been moaning about the new food. So I decided it was a good time to make some brownies.
I looked at the ingredients to add (1 egg, 1/2 c. oil, 1/4 c. water) and immediately decided I would need more egg in it (I like my brownies a little cake-y). I mixed in my two eggs plus the other ingredients and decided it looked a little dry, so I added a little more oil and water. It took 30 minutes to bake and when they had cooled down (well ok, they weren't that cool, but I NEEDED brownies) I sprinkled them with powdered sugar and snuck a hot little nibble. Oh. YUM. They were SO good.
That was Friday night and by Sunday night all that was left was the bite we were saving for the kiddo.
I also made these a second time to take to my Bunco night. They went over quite well even though there were 2 desserts and ice cream, too! I took the leftovers with me to my friend's house the next day for our yard sale and my kiddo ate the last brownie on the way home that evening.
These brownies are great! Of course, keep in mind that I did adjust what was added to the mix (I do that to almost everything I make). If the mix looks too dry after you've added everything it calls for, add a little more liquid. They taste like regular brownies, not gluten/dairy free brownies!
These are now on my grocery list permanently. Both Colin and Ian(hubby and kiddo) have asked when we are having them again. That's a big thumbs up in my book!
Happy Eating!

Ghee for me!

Since we have started this new eating "adventure" we have been getting very creative around our house. Since we can't have milk and related products we were trying to figure out what to use instead of butter. We tried Smart Balance and then we realized it had to be Smart Balance light as the regular has whey in it. Ugh!
So I looked around and found that ghee (also known as clarified butter) doesn't contain the milk proteins that we need to avoid, making it the perfect replacement for regular butter. I searched around on the internet to find out about ghee and found a couple of blogs that shared how to make it (and also told me it was expensive to buy, which didn't really matter to me as I haven't seen it in any of the stores around here). One blog said it would take 45 minutes to make while another said it would take 15 to 20 minutes to make. I'm sure you can guess which one I decided to try. The shorter time recipe, of course!
So the recipe told me I could use coffee filters or cheesecloth to strain the milk proteins after they had separated. I had coffee filters, so I decided to use those. DO NOT USE COFFEE FILTERS! Unless you enjoy waiting for something to strain one slow drop at a time and also watch part of your ghee be absorbed by a coffee filter. I ended up calling the local hardware store to see if they had cheesecloth in stock and sending my husband to buy some. It was really cheap, maybe $5 total and you just cut off what you need to use. It's washable, too. I think I'll need to buy some more in 10 or 20 years! Anyway, I'm sure you would love to see this recipe for ghee yourself, right? Well, here it is: Making Ghee At Home
Hope you like it as much as we did!
Happy eating!

Picnics and Potlucks

In the last couple of weeks our family has been to a picnic and a potluck and I have gone to Bunco. These kinds of events can be challenging when you aren't eating gluten or dairy. Most comfort foods have one or both of those items in them. So what can you do? You can be creative!
Actually, I didn't have to be too creative. I found two new recipes and one old favorite that were completely gluten and dairy free and still would be great tasting to share with other people. I'll share them all with you, starting with what I took to our homeschool picnic.
Picnics mean yummy salads and rich desserts. I didn't bring a dessert (next time I will, thankfully some people brought fresh fruit) I took potato salad. I love potato salad! My recipes in the past have had Miracle Whip or sour cream in them. Definitely not on the menu now at our house! I was looking at a little "sampler" cook booklet from Better Homes and Gardens that I had sitting around the house and found a recipe that seemed simple, easy and gluten/dairy free. Of course, I changed it a bit because, well, that's what I do!

Creamy Dill Potato Salad
6 medium red potatoes (about 2 lbs.) 1 1/3 c. mayonnaise (gluten free, I used Best Foods)
1 c. sliced celery
4 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
2/3 c, thinly sliced green onion
1/4 c. sweet pickle relish (this is really to taste, I think I used about 1/2 c.)
2 t. celery seeds
2 t. dried dill weed
1 t. salt
1/2 t. paprika
Hard-boiled eggs wedges (optional)
celery leaves (optional)

Scrub potatoes. In a large saucepan cover potatoes with water. Bring to boil; boil for 10 min; reduce heat and simmer for 25- 30 min. or until tender. Drain; cool. Cut into bite size chunks after cooled.
In a large bowl combine the potatoes, celery, green onion and hard boiled eggs. In a separate bowl combine mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, celery seeds, salt, paprika and dried dill weed; mix together thoroughly. Pour mayonnaise mixture over potatoes and toss gently until mixture completely coats potatoes. Cover and chill for at least 2 hrs. (overnight is better). If desired, garnish with egg wedges and celery leaves. Makes 12 servings.

For our potluck at church I made a couple of favorites, Three bean salad and coleslaw. I didn't have to change the Three bean salad one bit, but I had to find a new recipe for coleslaw as my "go to" recipe has sour cream in it. So, I tried a new recipe and immediately changed it and after it sat overnight, I decided it needed one more change. You are so lucky to be able to make this without all the trial and error.
Since this post is getting long, just click on the recipe name to get the recipe.
Three Bean Salad
BBQ Slaw

All these recipes did really well at the events. The only one that had any leftovers was the Three Bean Salad and that was because there were two of them at our potluck! I didn't mind, I like leftovers, especially Three Bean Salad.
I'll tell you what I took to Bunco in my next post. It will be a product review.
Happy Eating!
P.S. I know I don't have any pictures of the food up yet. I'm working on that. I just have to be quick about it before everyone gobbles the food up!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The First Gluten Free Recipe

Well, here it is, my first gluten free (and dairy free) recipe on this blog. I actually got this recipe from another gluten free blog Click on their name to link to their blog. Before you think "great, she's just passing along someone else's recipe", please note that this recipe has been changed to work in the bread machine. Originally it was to be made by hand, which I don't do, don't really want to do and don't have the time for even if I wanted to, which I've already said 'I don't want to'. So without further ado, here it is:

Gluten Free Sunflower and Millet Bread for the Bread Machine

1 1/2 c. warm water
2 T. honey
4 T. canola oil
2 eggs
1 c. raw sunflower seeds (processed in a food processor until somewhat smooth in texture)
1 1/3 c. millet flour
3/4 c. quinoa flour
1/2 c. potato starch (not potato flour)
1/3 c. flaxseeds (not ground/meal)
2 1/2 t. xanthan gum
1/2 t. salt
2 T. brown sugar
1 1/2 T. yeast (yes, I mean Tablespoons)

Mix together in a separate bowl, processed sunflower seeds, millet flour, quinoa flour, potato starch, xanthan gum and salt. In bread machine pan place water, oil, honey and eggs. Pour in flour mixture then add brown sugar and yeast. Start bread machine. I have a Breadman machine and I set mine to white bread medium setting. It turned out perfectly. I did watch at the beginning and used a spatula to scrape some of the dry ingredients back into the mixture (they tend to fly up and not get mixed in sometimes. Just make sure to only do this at the beginning as it will mess with heat levels if you do this later. Hope you like it! We sure did. It was much softer and moister than store bought gluten free bread. Thanks to GlutenFreeGobsmacked for sharing the original recipe.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Under Construction

This blog is officially under construction! It is about to go through a complete transformation. In the past it has been about my thoughts and my family activities, but soon it will be full of recipes and pictures of food! Our family has stepped into the world of gluten-free and dairy free food and I thought I could share our experiences and good recipes here. However, since today is the first day of homeschool, the blog will wait for a little bit! Check back later to see the transformation!

Friday, July 31, 2009

A New Blog?

In case you're wondering why this blog has been silent for a while, let me explain. July has been busy with Summer Hummer and then a sinus infection for me...ugh! Right now I'm busy exploring a blog site at Shutterfly. So far, I'm liking it because it's much easier to upload my photos (some are already uploaded from when I ordered photos and I must admit, I like the fact that I only need to upload them once). So, if you've been invited, swing on over to my shutterfly share site. There are a lot of updates there!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Don't Fence Me In....

Obviously, it's time for a much needed update! I haven't written for some time, yet I have a few stories to share. We'll start with the story about Dilly.
So, when we got Dilly a year and a half ago, we thought we'd try to teach to be off-leash. We could have saved a lot of time by skipping that idea! A dog who is easily spooked is NOT a good candidate for being off-leash! She decided that rather than play fetch with Colin, she'd rather play "try to catch me", which ended our off-leash training immediately. However, a big, bored pup in your house is just asking for trouble so we hooked up a kind of lead for her with some rope and a leash. It worked quite well until she got a new collar (actually, a new collar and a haircut). After the haircut she was able to slip her head out of the collar if she tried. Colin even bought a choke collar for when she was on the lead. She still managed to get off the lead at least twice without removing the collars...we don't know how! We spent way too much time chasing that dog this past spring. She thought it was great!
So, in June, shortly after my birthday, Colin's parents told us that for part of my birthday and part of Colin's birthday, they would help us put up a fence. Hooray, we thought, our days of chasing Dilly are over!
Over the course of two weekends the fence was put up and we put the dogs in. It was great, they could run, they could play all within the safe area of our yard. It worked for a couple of days and then, Ian came running into the house saying Dilly wasn't in the yard. We looked and sure enough, she wasn't there, but all the gates were closed. So we started searching. Ian was very cute. He came outside and said "The first thing a good detective needs are clues." and he began to search around the yard. Thankfully, my parents were visiting so we were able to send Colin on a bike, my mom and I went in her car and my dad stayed at the house with Ian. We drove toward Dilly's favorite spot to escape to, a field about half a block away. We didn't see her there, but my mom thought that the neighbor said something to us, so we went down the block and turned around. Turns out that he just thought my mom was lost (since she had out of state plates), but it was a blessing because right about that time my dad started waving at us. Dilly had been spotted by none other than my little detective, Ian. So we drove toward the house just in time to see Dilly run across the side road by our house. We turned down that road and called for Dilly. She stopped and looked at us, so I told my mom to stop the car and open her door and call. I got out of the car and crouched down and called Dilly (it's the only position you can be in to get that dog to come to you when shes in runaway mode). Dilly ran toward me and came within arms length, but dodged out of my reach. I hadn't tried to grab her yet, so she was still coming to me. Finally, she came close enough and I grabbed her collar and walked her home.
Once we got home, Ian showed us where Dilly had gotten out. She had discovered a loose spot in the fence and had simply pushed it and crawled under into the woods behind our house. My mom told Colin he should get some stakes for the fence to help keep it from being able to be pushed.
The first thing the next morning Colin went to the hardware store and bought 30 stakes. He put in about 8, I think and then he let the dogs into the yard and we went inside. Wouldn't you know it? That crazy dog pushed and bent some of the fence and managed to get a spot where she could crawl out and escaped! Colin caught her quickly this time and then added many more stakes to keep her in. That seemed to work.
That evening, we were getting Ian ready for bed. We sent him to brush his teeth. The dogs were still outside. Everyone else was sitting at the kitchen table talking. The next thing we knew, the dogs came prancing into the kitchen, pleased to be inside. "Ian!" we hollered, " You left the screen door open!" Ian apologized and we thought nothing of the incident until the next morning. My mom had fixed breakfast and everyone was at the table (except me, I was still snoozing a little bit), suddenly, Dilly and Buster came traipsing into the dining room. Colin blamed Ian, but my mom said that Ian hadn't opened the door. So who opened the screen door to the home school room? It was Dilly. The screen had had a small tear in it, but by now it was much larger. Dilly used her paws to let herself and her buddy, Buster into the house without any human assistance!
Is it any wonder the neighbors have suggested that we might have named her wrong? The name they suggest for her? Houdini!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

As Paul Harvey Would Have Said...and now, The Rest of the Story...

Our story did not end with the second person who claimed to want the piano and it will not end with the third, but I will lead through the rest of our piano giveaway adventure.
The third people in line were a family with seven children whom they wished to instruct in the art of playing the piano. They had emailed us, so I happily emailed them and informed them that it was their lucky day, the piano was now indeed theirs if they chose to come and pick it up. Then I waited for their reply. And waited and waited some more. Then I got the reply. Remember the loose leg on the piano? The one that probably just needed a dowel to be able to use the screw again or a good dose of glue?? The one we had described in our ad? Well, it seems that the father of this family had written to us, but the mother was afraid the piano would fall on one of her precious offspring (keep in mind that it hadn't even wobbled once in the 2 years we had this piano, the leg was only an issue when moving the relocating it to a new house). So this family no longer wanted this piano. I did compose an email to them after piano taker number 4 fell through, although I never sent it. The main idea of the email said something like this, "the piano is very stable once in place in your home, so unless your seven children plan to drag the piano around the house every day, I don't see the leg as being a problem for you." I deleted that email, but it sure felt good to write it, even if they never saw it.
Piano taker # 4. A woman named Tina who lived about 50 minutes away and again was someone who was going to rely on a friend with a pickup to help her get our piano. We set up a time that her friend had agreed to the next day after contacting her. The next day arrived and she said she was coming and then at the last minute she says her friend can't make it that day, could we make it the next day? We said, fine and said to let us know what time would work. The next day we get an email saying she will be coming around 6 in the evening, she confirmed it with her friend, they are getting ready to leave. 6 o'clock comes and she's not here and she hasn't called. Colin checks the email and sure enough, we have an email from her saying she would have called, but she doesn't have long distance and her calling card was all used up, her friend had bailed on at the last second. She was very nice and apologized, telling us we had been very patient and that if we still had the piano on June 12th, she would rent a U-Haul truck and come get the piano. June 12th??? We certainly hoped it would be gone by then!
So we moved on to taker # 5. A man in Puyallup (huh, the spell check hates that say it Pew-Al-lup, it's a town out here). This man promised to call at 4:30 the next day when he got off work and then head out to get the piano. 4:30 the next day, he didn't call, so Colin called him and got nothing. I called and I believe he answered, but then he hung up. I called back and left a voice mail saying you can call us or we're moving on down the list. That wasn't entirely true. We wanted to move on down the list, but didn't have any more names.
When Colin got home that night I asked him to please list the piano on 2 good 2 toss, which is a little more local than Craigslist, which is where we got all but one of the lovely people we had dealt with so far. I had wanted him to list it on there in the first place, but he had listed it on Craigslist and one other local site and figured it was good enough, which it usually is, but it wasn't this time. So Colin posted it to the site and then we went to the table for dinner. That night at dinner, I not only prayed a blessing over the food, I prayed about giving away that silly piano. I prayed that God would send the right people for this piano, someone who had a real need for it. I told him how frustrated we were with the whole process and that we just wanted to be done and know that the piano was somewhere being put to use. We ate our dinner and after dinner, Colin checked our email. We had an email from a woman in our OWN town wanting to know if her family could take a look at it the next night. So we made the arrangements and gave them directions and waited with baited breath to see if this was it. The next evening arrived and so did the dad and grandpa from this family with a boat trailer and lots of straps for tying down a piano. It turned out to be the girls softball coach from the local high school whose daughter was taking piano lessons from one of the music teachers, but only had a tiny keyboard to practice on. And that loose leg?? Not a problem according to the grandpa, he'd just use some gorilla glue and it wouldn't be going anywhere. And so we watched them strap the piano in and then we stood back and watched it drive off into the sunset, knowing that God had just answered prayers for both parties involved with the giving and receiving of this piano.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

To Continue the Story...

So, after a long delay, back to the story. Piano taker #2. We called him right away after the first people didn't come for the piano. He seemed very excited to get the piano and he was coming quite a way to get it. He told us he could pick it up the next day, which was Memorial Day.
Memorial Day came and we didn't hear from Shane (that was his name) so we called him. He said he still wanted the piano, but he had forgotten it was Memorial Day and his buddy was doing some things in honor of the day and wouldn't be able to bring Shane to get the piano (I haven't mentioned this, but Shane didn't drive, so a buddy had a truck and was going to bring him to get the piano). He wondered if it would be okay to come the next day around 10 am. Colin wanted to be home whenever the person came to get the piano so we told Shane that it would be better if he could come in the evening around 6:45pm. He agreed, so we were all set, or so we thought.
The next day 6:45 pm rolls around and no Shane, no phone call, nothing. So we called the number we had for him which was his cellphone. A man answered the cellphone (who sounded a lot like Shane, but claimed to be his brother). He told us Shane had already left, but had forgotten his cellphone. He promised to try to get a hold of his brother and call us back. He didn't call us back and Shane didn't show up. We decided we would call the number again the next day.
The next day I called and got the same man. The "brother". He said "He never arrived? I thought he was staying with some friends in a town near where you live. I know he's kind of crazy, er, uh, not crazy, um different. I guess I'd better start calling around to the jails. I'll call you back and let you know what's going on."
Well, that conversation sure made me feel good about having this strange guy coming to my house! I don't know about you, but when I can't find someone, the jail is NOT the first place I start looking! Of course, the "brother" never called back, not that I really wanted him too!
So...he was either really one person messing with us, a nice split personality person, or one very strange person who went missing on the way to pick up our piano! I didn't know the Bermuda triangle was in Washington state!
Unfortunately, this was not the end of our quest to give away a piano (although probably the strangest experience). I will conclude the story another day soon!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Great Piano Giveaway

I see that I entirely missed the whole month of May with this blog. It makes sense, the calendar at our house for the month of May was, as Colin puts it "covered in blue ink". I think there were only a couple of days where we didn't have something going or somewhere to be, sometimes multiple places in the same day. I am thankful June is here and the schedule isn't quite as booked anymore.
So, the piano. I'm sure you were just starting to wonder when I was going to get around to the topic of this post. The answer is, right now. And our story begins.
Early in May I saw a posting on my email from my homeschool group from one of my friends saying she was giving away her spinet piano. I quickly emailed and called and left a message for her, but I figured it was probably already spoken for since it had been posted to the loop a couple of hours prior to my discovery. It wasn't and she called me and told me it was mine if I wanted it (which we've already established that I did).
Now, we already had a piano that we had gotten free two years ago that was in fair condition, not great, but most of the work it could use was cosmetic and it needed tuning and probably a little work on the keys. I hadn't had it tuned because I was scared the tuner would tell me it needed more repairs than I could afford.
So now we were the owners of two pianos. One needed to go. Our schedule and my friend's schedule weren't matching up for about 3 weeks, so we had plenty of time to post it and give it away, right? Wrong. We put it off until the day we were supposed to pick up the new piano. Colin posted it on Freecycle and Craigslist. He asked responders to call (I prefer email, it's easier to sort). This is when the craziness started.
Our first caller was eager to pick up the piano the next day, so we told them they could have the piano. We forgot to ask what time they planned to arrive but, we figured we'd just call and ask the next day. A good plan, but it didn't work. They had used a neighbor's cell phone so when we called we got the neighbor. We asked him to contact them. We tried twice, but they never called back. So we moved on to the next person on the list who turned out to be an even more interesting experience than the first person on the list.
I will continue our saga tomorrow.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Guinea Pig

Well, it looks like I've been slacking in the blogging department (notice I said "looks like", just wanted to clarify that). I have thought of many different things to blog about, but either didn't sit down and blog or got interrupted when I was trying and by the time I returned, the thoughts were gone. Maybe it's just that my brain is starting to function better now that my thyroid medication has been increased. Even though I'm fighting a sinus infection and I've only had the new dose for two days, I have noticed a little improvement.
Of course, you are probably sitting there, reading this and thinking "what does that have to do with a guinea pig?". Nothing. Absolutely nothing, but it's about me, so I put it in to get you caught up with me. Now on to our topic.
We had a sort of reoccurring mentioning of guinea pigs around here for the past year or two. First, we found these cute books about a classroom guinea pig named Fluffy. Ian adores these books. Fluffy, of course so no ordinary guinea pig, he has wild adventures! Then we recently watched Bedtime Stories, which has a guinea pig in it. I had a guinea pig in high school thanks to a friend who bought one for herself and ended up buying a pregnant female.
Fast forward to present day. I had been thinking it would be fun for our family to have a guinea pig (in addition to two dogs). Then a friend posted on our homeschool group email that she was giving away two guinea pigs. I decided that we should get one. I thought I should hurry and contact her before someone else claimed them. I needn't have worried. I spoke to my friend and after talking to her decided that we would like to have her female guinea pig. As far as I know, she's still trying to give away the male. We got our guinea pig Friday afternoon after we had shopped for a cage and other things for her. I'm not quite sure what her name is...we've had several so far. I think we started with Calliope (Callie for short). We've also called her Snuggles, Jenny, Miss Guinea, Miss Piggy and Bunny Rabbit. I'm sure something will stick at some point!
What cracks me up is how much Colin is enjoying the guinea pig. The idea was to get something that Ian could help with a little more than the dogs. He's still working on being able to pick up the guinea pig carefully. Colin, however, gets the guinea pig out and cuddles with's very cute!
Of course, the guinea pig is already super spoiled! In her out house she lived in a large box. At our house she lives in a very nice cage with an edible "log" (it looks like a log but it's made of stuff she can eat, not that she does). She also has a stack of wooden blocks to chew on with a bell attached and if she's tired of her cage, we have a kiddie pool she can run around in. She seems to like the kiddie pool better than running around on the floor. She's a lot more fun than my first guinea pig. I think that's because I'm not the only one interested in what she's doing and taking care of her. It's more fun because we're taking care of her as a family.
I'll let you know if we finally decide on a name!

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Taste of Spring

Life in my area has been winter-like for quite some time now. Even the arrival of spring did little to change that. Last week on Ian's birthday we had rain mixed with snow.
Today, however, was a taste of something new. Spring! Over the weekend the sun had come out and the temperatures climbed into the 60's. People came out of their homes after what seemed a long hibernation. Today was the climax of the nice days. 70 degrees, sunshine, birds singing and the hummingbirds zipping through my yard. We put out the hummingbird feeder last night and it didn't take long for them to find it. I did research to find the best sugar solution and found that a solution of 60/40 sugar/water will attract them quicker because it has more nutrients for them. Now I need to buy another feeder. I did more research and found that once the male hummingbirds decide they like your feeder and your yard, they will chase off other hummingbirds. They were already doing that today. Ian and I sat on our front porch and watched them. Fascinating.
Appropriately enough, Ian and I are on spring break this week. So Ian enjoyed a day of playing with his Legos, watching some Veggie Tales, playing on his fort and being read to from the book Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary (she's the author, I was the one reading to him).
I didn't know we really needed this break until we were already on spring break, but we needed it. A break paired with a sunny day is pure joy to my soul. I feel renewed, ready to tackle new projects and maybe finish some old ones!
We even cooked out for dinner. I think today was one of those days that if you could bottle it and bring it out again and again, I would. I will take it for what it is...a gift from God. Thanks, God! I needed a day like today!

Monday, March 16, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering...

Just in case you were wondering how my last story gave glory to God or delighted in him, I'll remind you that I did say that I would still share stories. That being said, I find much delight in my last story.
God provided that big goofy dog for our family (she was born on the same day that Ian accepted Jesus as his savior, when we didn't even know we would be looking for a dog). I know that God has a sense of humor or he never would have made Dilly. She is huge, but afraid of things like laundry baskets and big objects being carried through the house. Don't pick up and move a chair in our house unless you want to see a 60 lb. dog run like a chicken! She's also afraid of the vacuum cleaner!
She has provided our family with much laughter and an unconditional love that's so sweet. It's nice to have something love you just because you are you and that's what she does for our whole family. So when I share a funny story about Dilly or Buster or anyone in my family, I am giving glory to God because without him, they wouldn't be here!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Well Buttered Dog

Last night I finally had enough energy to attempt to make dinner. After a few days of the stomach flu it was no wonder that meals hadn't seemed very appealing to me, especially not cooking them. So I made some very easy porcupine meatballs and buttered noodles and broccoli. We ate dinner, which everyone seemed to enjoy very well and then headed off to various pursuits in our home. I sat on the couch to try to find something on TV to watch as Colin helped Ian with the new Lego he had purchased the previous evening (he had earned by finishing his new Awana workbook in two weeks).
After a little work on the Lego project it was time for Ian to go to bed, so we read him his devotion and tucked him in. Colin got his computer and I returned to the couch to rest as I still wasn't feeling very energetic after the flu. As I sat I listened to Dilly drinking water, which seemed to be taking a long time. I realized that the sound of the dog drinking water sounded funny. So I called her. "Here Dilly". To which I received no response, which made me all the more suspicious so I said in a stern voice (the one that says...I know what you are doing and YOU are in trouble) "Dilly!" She came running out of the kitchen and went straight into her crate. Now I knew she had been up to something and went into the kitchen to investigate. At first, nothing seemed out of place. Then I saw it, a butter wrapper with a tiny sliver of butter on it in the corner by the stove and the garage door. The truth was revealed to me and I called to Colin to share this great tragedy with him. He walked into the kitchen and I said "Do you know what that dog did?" He gave me a look which clearly stated that no, he did not have the foggiest idea what had happened. "She ate butter!" I told him. In fact, even without having seen her take the butter with my own eyes, I knew exactly what had happened.
When I made the noodles for dinner they were done before the meatballs and so I had taken a new stick of butter and set it on the counter and used about a third of the stick to butter the noodles and I had left the butter on the counter. Dilly has tried in the past without much success to swipe butter from the table (as long as it's still sitting in the wrapper). She's so tall that she acts like a giraffe and uses her tongue to try to get it. Never mind the fact that if she would stand on her hind legs she would be taller than me, she reaches with her tongue until she can get something or we catch her in the act. She had used her tongue to slide that butter right off the counter and onto the floor for her own butter feast. The sound I had heard was Dilly licking that butter. She licked it all the way across our kitchen until she reached a corner where it couldn't move anymore and that's when I caught her.
Now the whole time I was explaining this to Colin, Ian kept popping up out of bed and we kept sending him back. He would pop up again and open his door and say "Finish the story!" He wanted to hear all the details of Dilly crime.
Well, Dilly and her crate were banished to the garage for the rest of the evening and into the next morning because I wasn't willing to find out what two thirds of a stick of butter do to a dog. Well, at least not in my living room!
And do you know what Colin said when I was muttering about Dilly being a giraffe? He told me "She's your dog. You're the one who wanted her!" He's right, too. She is my dog and she's great, but she certainly makes life interesting around here!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Delight in the Lord

I remember when I was a little girl and my dad would come home from work. I was so excited for him to be home! I would run to the door to see him and give him a hug and see if he had anything special for me. Ian did the same thing to Colin when he was little (he still does once in a while).
My niece on the other hand, always ran and hid when her daddy came home. Not because he was mean or anything...just so he would look for her. I still prefer the running to Daddy.
I think we do the same thing to God. We either run to Him or we run from Him. Adam and Eve did both. When they were right with God they eagerly awaited time with Him. After they sinned, they hid from Him. There's nowhere to hide from an omniscient God, but they tried and so do we at times.
How much more enjoyable is it to be in fellowship with God and have a right relationship where we run to Him out of love and joy instead of desperately running to him to fix what we've messed up.
We are supposed to delight in the Lord. How much more do we delight in other things? Delight in our family, our job, our friends, there is so much that we delight in, but so often we spend our time with the things and not with God and we cheat ourselves of true delight.
You might notice that the name of my blog has changed. There's a reason for that. I feel the need for this blog to be bigger, to focus on more than just me. I have a desire for this blog to be a delight. To give glory and honor to God. So I will still post stories and share, but hopefully, there will also be some devotions and insight along with the stories. I hope you will join me as I seek to delight in the Lord.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Winning Week

Well, life at our house has been interesting this past week. Of course, I already told you about Ian winning for his awesome Valentine box. On Saturday, he had his last basketball game and grandma and grandpa came to watch since they were picking him up for a sleepover anyway. Now Ian's team hasn't been the best. I think before this game they had won one or two games and they'd played five. This was game six. At one point in the game, Ian had the ball passed to him and actually managed to get it and dribble for a few seconds before he stepped out of bounds. That's huge progress for him! This year was his first time to play basketball ever!
The other team was good and they were ahead of us before we had a chance to even get going. I didn't hold out much hope, but our team rallied and they won! How exciting! It was even more exciting when we were told that we just beat the first place team! Hooray!
Then Ian was off to spend a couple of nights with grandma and grandpa and Colin and I had some much needed couple time. We went out to dinner Sat. night and then watched Fireproof. Sunday we made it to church (late again, but at least we realized it wasn't only Ian who has been making us late. We need to get up earlier on Sunday morning). The rest of Sunday was spent relaxing at home.
Monday afternoon we picked up Ian and ran a few errands. We finally found Wii Fit in stock so we bought one, it's been a blast so far!
Tuesday I started trying to reset my internal clock, so I started getting up around 7 or 7:30 which meant everything started earlier which has been a good thing at our house.
Last night (Wed.) I asked Colin to tag along with Ian during AWANA so we could see how he is behaving. Colin didn't want to , he wanted to watch a movie instead, but I said I really wanted him to tag along, so he did. Good thing he did, it turned out to be the night where Ian got clubber of the month. I was misty eyed for my sweet little boy. It might sound silly, but the clubber of the month award caused much heartache and anxiety in our household last year. Ian wanted that award so bad he could taste it and then several of his friends won the award. He wasn't happy for them, he was jealous and angry that he didn't win. We had several serious discussions about it. I finally told him to stop thinking about it so much and just do what he was supposed to do and tell God what was in his heart. So it was a sweet moment Wednesday night for my son to be called up to receive the award that his heart had longed for so long.
What a week for winning moments!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine's and All that Jazz!

Well, what do you know, it's still February and I'm writing again. Must be because a few people have wondered why I haven't blogged much lately. I'll tell you why...mostly no inspiration or the things on my mind weren't things I wanted to share on a blog!
So what's been happening in February? Well, Ian has had some appointments at the dentist to get some fillings. That has been interesting to say the least. First, I took him in for his appointment and the assistant swabbed the left side of Ian's mouth so it would be numb, but when the dentist came in, he put the shots on the right side of Ian's mouth. Ian is such a trooper, all he did was say "ouch, ouch ouch". He didn't wiggle or try to close his mouth or anything. Then, the dentist drilled on one tooth, looked at it and said it would need a baby root canal and filled it in and said we needed to go to a pediatric dentist for that and he didn't do anything else in Ian's completely numbed up mouth (he had 3 other teeth that needed fillings, too). Then when I was dealing with the office staff they told me I would have to take Ian to a pediatric dentist from now on because he wouldn't sit still(and it would be about a hour and a half or two hour drive from our house). I tried to talk to the girl, but it wasn't getting through, so I left, but called the office back within 5 minutes. It was crazy!
I had to take Ian back the next week and found out that you can't (with our insurance) go to a pediatric dentist for 1 procedure (which is what the dentist was trying to have us do). Ian got one filling done and still has appointments to get the other ones done.
I had to get my teeth cleaned this week and when I went in I found out that the dentist who saw Ian (he was pretty new, our other dentist had left to open his own office) wasn't with the group anymore and that a new dentist would be starting at the end of the week! What a crazy thing!
Today Ian had a Valentine party at Homeschool Sports. The teacher had announced the party and told kids to decorate a box for the Valentine's to go in. We were just going to decorate a bag, but Monday night when I was having a hard time sleeping I thought up an idea for a really cool box. A Vale-gator. A box that looks like an alligator with hearts to make the scales. It took a lot of work and running around to get supplies, but we did it. Ian helped put scales on (there were hundreds of them) and I helped with assembly and wrapping the box. He took it to the party today and it won the prize for the best Valentine box. I'll try to get a picture of it up soon. It's really cute.
So that's what's been going on around here...crazy projects and crazy dentists. Hope the new dentist is better.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A New Month

I see that it's been almost a month since my last post! No wonder my mom mentioned that I hadn't blogged lately. Sorry about that. I've been busy dealing with some pain and a new addiction to Facebook...all my comments have been there lately.
January was pretty good except for pain. Ian has been playing basketball games on Saturdays. He has two more to go. The last one is Feb. 14Th. Not sure who thought that Valentine's Day would be a great day for basketball, but that's the way it is.
January also brought some unwelcome van problems that we're still trying to figure out. We replaced the alternator, thinking it was possible that it was the trouble, but it wasn't. Right now we're trying to figure out why our oil light keeps coming on...I'm sure it has nothing to do with going 11,000 miles between oil changes!!!! Ugh! I'm not in charge of that, but I think I'd better mark the calendar so I can remind the person who is in charge of getting the oil changed...he shall remain anonymous!
After all the snow in December, we had flooding in January and then Ian got sick and shared his illness. We're still trying to get back into our normal routine..last week was the first week we resumed activities. It felt good to be doing "normal" things.
Today is Groundhog Day and of course, he saw his shadow! I did see a promising sign today...I saw the first crocus in bloom, a pretty purple one. A nice reminder that winter won't last forever. It's nice to be reminded!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year 2009

Well, I hope you had a Happy New Year! We celebrated twice on New Year's Eve. Once with a kid party with games and free play, a fancy lunch of PBJ sandwiches, carrots, chips and capri sun drinks. We counted down at noon and shouted "Happy New Year". We called it our "Happy Noon Year Party". Ian had a blast and so did I.
In the evening we had munchies and played games on the Wii. We had picked up 2 new games the day before (Carnival games and Mario Kart). We got Mario Kart because Colin really wanted it and I had just received my $50 gift card that I won from Nabisco. Sure didn't take long to spend that!
Ian went to bed around 9 and I woke him up at a quarter to midnight so he could see the fireworks show at the Space Needle. We said "Happy New Year" and headed straight to bed after the fireworks show concluded.
Saturday Ian had his last basketball skill clinic and next week will start playing games. This should be interesting! We'll see if he likes the games as much as he liked the clinics. After basketball on Sat., we headed to the Washington State History Museum to see their model railroad displays. Wow! So many trains to see. Ian's favorite was the train set made of Legos and yes, it was powered, too! It was really cool. Because of that display we discovered that the man who owned the display has a Lego studio near the museum. He's a certified Lego artist (there are only six in the world) and he has the only Lego artist studio that is open to the public in the world. Did you catch that? There's only one in the WORLD and I live less than 2 hours from it! Unfortunately, it was closed when we got over there, but we were able to see some of his work and it was really cool! He had a Space Needle (made of Legos, of course) that was a little taller than me (5 ft.). We also saw a Statue of Liberty and lots of other cool things. Ian is already planning our return trip!
Today we taught Children's church, which went well. We talked about the story of Jacob and Esau and how Jacob tricked Isaac into giving him the blessing instead of his brother. After the story we played Bible Baseball with questions from the story. By the time we got home I was getting tired (I haven't been sleeping well lately) so after a few games with Ian on the Wii, I took a nap. When I woke up from my nap Colin showed me what had happened while I tried to sleep....2 inches of snow!! I am already tired of snow!! Later, it turned to freezing rain. I'm hoping it will get warm enough to just be rain so Colin has a safe trip into work tomorrow and doesn't have to worry about slipping and sliding!!