Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

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An adventure we have chosen. Hoping to simplify our lives, our time, and save for a house we can one day call OURS! At this rate it may be a “tiny” house, but compared to the 300 square feet we are about to move into even that may seem huge. As of August 1st we will be living in a 34ft fifth wheel camper 100% of the time. The thought of calling this a sacrifice seems a bit dramatic, we’ll have a roof over our heads, a warm bed to sleep in, food in our kitchen, and our loved ones near by. Trust me, we won’t be lacking in “stuff” by any means! I am most concerned about our storage space in the kitchen since almost all of our food is homemade.

What we’ve been up to

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Life has been a little hectic lately. Needless to say, having two kids under two keeps me constantly on my toes! Jude’s almost 7 months old and has so much personality! You would think he’d welcome a little alone time with open arms but he’s a little social butterfly. Daisy is constantly in his ‘bubble’ and he lets her know she’s too close by grabbing a handful of her hair!

Daisy is my little busy-body, constantly wanting to ‘help’ which generally makes everything take longer or results in a bigger mess. I am still trying to embrace her helpfulness when it’s not always helpful though. I love getting to see how her personality is blossoming. She truly is an incredible little girl!

With Christmas approaching I am working on building an inventory for my Etsy shop. I have never sold anything I have made before so I am a little nervous but I look forward to it. I realized the other day most of my favorite piece I have made I’ve given to my mom as gifts so it was time to make myself a little something. I love layered necklaces so I came up with this the other day.

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I’ve also started refinishing another trunk. My great grandmother used to refinish old steamer trunks and I have been given all of her old tools and some of the many trunks she collected. I am refinishing this one for a dear family friend of ours who is one of the most generous women I know.

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20121024-153546.jpg She lives in a homestead in a quaint little mountain home and her house is beautifully decorated with unique antiques. I’ll try to be better about posting and take lots of pictures of my trunk project!

Misdiagnosed?!

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After much irritation with the way I was treated at Jude’s last GI appointment and knowing I would not be going back to that doctor for any of his follow up appointments I got a referral for a new GI. Boy do I wish I had done that a long time ago! We had an appointment with the new GI this past Monday and I felt better the minute we walked into the waiting room! To start off it was less than a quarter the size of the other waiting room and there was only one other patient/family in there. The doctor was a little condescending when he asked me how I knew Jude had a dairy allergy. I explained everything from the symptoms that had us curious from the beginning and ended with the dairy allergy diagnosis and rude doctor. He said based on what I told him he thinks it is very likely that Jude did have acid reflux like we thought in he beginning. Since we didn’t see blood in his stool, only the lab test detected small traces, it is possible his esophagus could have bled a little from irritation to the acid. The doctor said acid reflux is generally outgrown between 2-4 months so he thinks it would be perfectly fine for me to go back on dairy and see how it goes! Obviously If i notice the symptoms coming back I’m supposed to call him. He is going to look over the labor results from the other doctor and run his own in a stool sample and let me know if he thinks it is a dairy allergy according to those results. He said he is constantly having records transferred from that office because patients are switching to him and many of them have been diagnosed with food allergies that they don’t actually have! Crazy!

I have been a little hesitant about trying dairy again but receive quite a bit of comfort in a few articles I read today. They were about the frequency of food allergy misdiagnosis in babies, especially breastfed babies.

There’s something known as lactose overload where in breastfed babies they receive too much foremilk which is the result of either an over abundance of milk or switching breast too quickly. Our bodies produce lactase which helps us digest lactose, when babies receive too much foremilk they receive lactose and a little fat, causing them to become hungrier sooner. The hindmilk contains the same amount of lactose but more fat allowing babies to remain fuller longer giving their bodies enough time to digest the lactose. The symptoms of lactose overload mimic those of food allergies but can be controlled with a few simple changes to the eating/nursing habits and as the babies digestive system improves!

This sounds so much more likely than a dairy allergy to me! The 3,000 some ounces of breast milk I have stored in our deep freezer fully support my conclusion that this was possibly all because of my oversupply of milk! We’re praying that the dairy allergy actually was a misdiagnosis and that Jude’s symptoms don’t come back as I begin eating dairy again.

Blueberry Peach ‘syrup’

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My friend Billie gave me a box of peaches the other night and I’ve been using them throughout the week in smoothies, ice cream, and smoothie pops. This weekend I was in the mood for some homemade waffles that begged to be topped with something equally homemade. After whipping up a batch of the most delicious whole wheat waffles known to man I was going to attempt a strawberry peach syrup. I found a few recipes for inspiration that all went out the window when I opened my produce draw and remembered I had a new pint of blueberries! Let me tell you, waffles will never be the same without this syrupy, spread! In fact Daniel has informed me we need this with waffles ever time.

Blueberry Peach Syrup
1 cup peaches, chunks
1/2 cup blueberries
1 tsp lime juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients, bring to a boil over medium heat. Smash and stir the fruit as it cooks. Boil approx 5 minutes then simmer on low about another 5, continuing to mash and stir. Made approx 1 cup. I think this would be amazing as a yogurt, ice cream, toast topper…oh heck you can just eat it by itself!

As for the Whole Wheat Waffles, just go ahead and head on over and thank Lisa at 100 Days of Real Food for the most filling waffles you’ll ever eat!

Whole Wheat Waffles

2 large eggs
1 ¾ cups milk (I used homemade almond milk)
¼ cup oil (I used olive oil)
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

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It’s taken me longer to post this recipe than I planned but life is busy. It’s not an excuse, simply a fact. I am 3 weeks dairy free and going strong. Jude is very obviously feeling better, hardly any spitting up, normal poopy diapers, and not nearly as fussy as he once was! We had another frustrating appointment with his GI doctor last week and I’m at my wits end! Not only did I wait an hour and 45 minutes (which is like a whole day when stuck with a baby in a stale waiting room) to see the doctor for all of 15 minutes, but I also got nothing from our conversation than the understand that she likes people to do exactly what she says and NOT ask questions! She told me she herself preferred soy milk over cows milk and that’s what she recommended I drink. I told her I don’t like drinking a lot of soy milk because of the plant based estrogen and the fact that studies have proven it can mess with children’s hormones, especially boys. Her response? “Oh, well ok then!” Then I proceed to ask her if I can drink RAW milk because I have heard that it’s the pasteurization process that causes the milk proteins to become an allergen. She asked me what RAW milk was?! (Really?! You’re a doctor, shouldn’t you know that?) I said straight out of the animal….. She said “Well, in my opinion milk proteins are milk proteins and not to mention that would be horrible for your cholesterol!” I know the look I gave her must have said ‘We’re not here about my cholesterol!’ Then she said “but I’m just thinking out loud and I shouldn’t be and not to mention I’m not a dietician so I really shouldn’t be talking to you about this!’ The more we talked the more I got frustrated and did my best to contain it. I told her that I had heard they can grow out of the milk allergy and be retested by their pediatricians, so could I have him retested down the road at his pediatricians (which is 30 min away as opposed to over an hour)? She snapped “Why? Do you not like it here?” I wanted to say ‘Honestly, because of your attitude towards me, no I don’t ever want to come back here!’ Instead I calmly said “I’ve never had a child with a dairy allergy so I don’t even know how often you want to see him” The answer: not again until he’s 6 months old. That would have been nice to know because she was acting like I was going to be back there every 2 weeks! As we were finishing up she said “I see you didn’t do the upper GI.” I told her we preferred to do one thing at a time and since I’ve been dairy free he’s seemed much better we didn’t feel it was necessary to put him through that. She said “Well that’s your choice.” It was obvious she did not approve. Needless to say I left that appointment annoyed and with no more information than I came with! Total waste of 6 hours! Now that I have vented, lets get on to happier things. Like Ice Cream!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream *Dairy Free*

2 cups Coconut Milk

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix everything except the chocolate chips and chill in the fridge for an hour. Then add the mixture to your ice cream maker and mix for 15-20 minutes before dumping in the chocolate chips. Continue mixing until the chips are blended through out. Viola! Yummy Peanut butter, chocolaty goodness!

Homemade Coconut Milk

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I find myself procrastinating when it comes to writing this post about coconut milk. Why you ask? To be honest, I had only ever had coconut milk accompanied by rum and pineapple in the form of a Pina Colada and you won’t catch me eating coconut in any form other than coconut oil. I’m on Day 9 of being completely DAIRY FREE and lets be honest, it has NOT been easy! In fact I found my self crying over dinner the other night as I was 3/4 of the way through my cheese-less, crouton-less, ranch-less salad and found myself still very hungry! So at 8 in the evening my dear husband scrambled up some eggs so I could have an egg sandwich and a full stomach. Lets just say my 8 years as a vegetarian was a breeze compared to this! You never realize how much dairy is in everything! In fact the caramel color you find in things such as soda, bbq sauce, and vanilla coffee syrup, it’s made from dairy. It’s not necessary, it doesn’t effect the taste one bit, it’s just their for looks. In the past week I have made my own vanilla coffee syrup, peanut butter-dairy free chocolate chip-coconut milk ice cream, granola bars, vanilla coconut milk coffee creamer, and homemade mint chocolate chips in mint coconut milk ice cream with such over powering peppermint flavor it made my eyes water! Seriously, it was like eating frozen mouthwash with a spoon. However, my mom liked it, so I will still end up posting the recipe soon. To be honest, I’m up to my eyes in coconut milk and all I’ve gotten from it is a tummy ache. Everything in moderation, so I’ll be passing on the coconut milk for a few days and give my stomach a break. But on to the coconut milk recipe. This recipe makes enough milk for 1 batch of ice cream and 1 batch of coffee creamer. I will share those recipes in the next day or so.

Coconut Milk

5oz bag of dried, shredded, unsweetened, unbleached coconut (approx 3 1/4 cups)

3 2/3 cup very hot (almost boiling) water

Pour coconut into blender and top with the hot water. I like to let mine sit for a few minutes to soak. Then blend 3-5 minutes, scrapping down edged occasionally with a spatula. Then pour through a nut milk bag or 8 layers of cheesecloth and press out as much of the milk as possible. This makes a very thick and rich milk. I like to use this for the creamer.

DO NOT THROW THE PULP AWAY!

Put the pulp back in the blender with another 2 cups of really hot water and blend for a few more minutes. Drain the mixture again in a separate container from the first batch. This is a lighter mixture that i like to use for the ice cream.

I’ll go ahead and give you a heads up, the creamer calls for 14 oz of coconut milk. Set that aside from the first batch and then you can mix the leftovers with the second batch for the ice cream. Once again do not throw the pulp away! This can be used to make coconut flour, which I will also be posting on!

Learning to Appreciate Thoughtfulness

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Ever heard the quote “If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient?” I am reminding myself of this daily. Daisy offers me daily opportunities to show my patience. She is a wonderful big sister and a very eager helper, she’s even beginning to take her dishes to the sink after her meals! However there are times her helpfulness is equally inconvenient. For instance, the other day I asked her if she wanted to help me change Jude’s diaper, she said yes and I headed to his room. A minute later she met me at the door with an arm full of clean, wet diapers covers that I had draped over the backs of the kitchen chairs to dry. As frustrating as it was I had to remind myself to be equally thankful and informative as I expressed that it was very sweet of her to bring me diaper covers but those still had to dry. I often catch myself about to scold her but instead say things like “That’s very sweet of you to give Jude his paci, but it doesn’t go in his eye” or “Thank you for wanting to share your cookie but he is still too little”. I praise her all the times she tries to give him his paci and successfully gets it in his mouth and I know there will be a day when my heart will melt as she offers to share her cookies with him and he’s actually old enough to eat one!