I Love You

It has been a long journey for us with our boys. We have learned so many new things having boys and twins. One thing we have learned more about and experienced is a speech delay. It has been something I have mentioned on here off and on at times. They are quickly approaching 3.5 years old and on a good day I can tell what they say now 75% of the time, but that is still me dissecting their own language a little and partial sentences. Most days it is generally 50/50 for what we understand. There is still a lot of frustration on both sides, we find that happens more if moods are not 100% or when they are feeling unwell, which is understandable. I still find myself asking them to show me what it is because I don’t understand the word one of them may use. 

But finally a bright spot in our struggles. For so long I have dreamed of hearing those 3 sweet words. I never wanted prompt them just say it to them and finally one day have it said back to me. It seemed to be lost of them. While I cannot tell you the exact day they were finally spoken, I still can remember it clearly. I was on the phone with my mother in early December having one of our general chats. The kids always love to talk to her and tell her their stories too. David was on the phone with her and saying good bye, I could hear my mom saying Bye David, I love you. I told him to say Bye and I love you Grandma, and he said Bye I Lu ou Ganma. My mom and I both were quiet and I told her that was the first time either boy had said those words. She cried and I cried and we were both very glad it was to her they were said. My parents miss a lot of our everyday life living half way across the country from us, so for a special moment to come up like that was amazing.

At just over 3 we finally heard those words we treasure so much. Now I prompt him all the time, I’m a little greedy now having waiting to hear those words. Mark is still really shy about sharing those words, but he is no stranger to hugs and kisses which are just as nice. 

Heather

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Book Review – The Joy of Less

I love going back over my old posts and reading things. To me it is like finding a missed Easter treat and enjoying it (ah yes I eat old candy, especially chocolate, not weird gross stuff, and hey for all we know they made those eggs 3 years ago as it is), it is a reminder to me that I had organized moments in my life. I love being organized and the things we put stuff in to be organized. I’m a nerd what can I say, I get more excited about buying paper and pens at Staples then clothing. I am always sorting and purging this house. With 4 kids it seems like it makes it’s way in faster than I can send it out. Some days I just want to cancel all holidays and birthdays to keep the breeding of clutter at bay. 

Back in the fall I was lamenting again to a friend about the amount of stuff we had. She mentioned a book she read called “The Joy of Less, by Francine Jay”, so as I gazed around her immaculate house I figured I couldn’t go wrong! The book is an introduction to becoming a minimalist. It took a few months for the library to get it in for me so it was around November when I did get a chance to read it. 

The book really opened my eyes. While I had always cleaned out old broken toys, clothes that didn’t fit anymore and books we didn’t read, I didn’t look much further into the house. All of a sudden I found myself looking at each possession in my house asking myself and the object if it brought me joy, did it have a purpose and was it worthy of my home. Right away I wanted to fill the house will boxes to pack stuff up and get rid of it. But I stopped myself and worked at finishing the book. It was also a crazy time for our family, the holidays were fast approaching, we were still working out the details to our Disneyland trip and my parents were due to come. So I decided to really absorb what I could of the book and wait until January to begin an all mighty purge. I found her methods so easy to grasp and follow. She really made me think about what I was keeping in my life. So much of what we own is for someone else’s enjoyment and not our own. That and all the things we thought we would be so great to own when we got married. More and more I think I am going to convince my kids to elope. Because honestly who really does have time for martini parties, with fancy dishes we spent hours preparing for the fancy glassware we have and the awesome fondue set we own. If you’re like me you will find as you read this book it feels like she secretly knows you and all the things you have hiding in your cupboards. 

So  now it is January and we have settled back in from our holiday to Disneyland and I am slowly (and I mean slowly, so don’t expect an immaculate house when you visit), chipping away at the things in our home. Anything I can sell and get a couple dollars for (to help fund my Vitamix I want) the better. It can be overwhelming to take on a house full of stuff, but even just starting with one small drawer, or shelf can make a difference. I am working at the approach of trying to tackle one bedroom over a week or two and a small area of the house like a set of drawers, or a bookshelf. 

This past week I managed to tackle my cookbooks and the girls room. I weeded out a few toys (ones I knew they wouldn’t notice) and a bag full of clothes. I was also able to organize their items, give everything a good wipe down and give things a nice home that wasn’t overloaded. It can be hard with kids because they do notice certain things and collect a lot of things they play with. At least with items in homes I am able to suggest pulling out one activity at a time and easily put it back away.The other plus is we didn’t buy our kids lots for Christmas so they didn’t collect a lot. They each got one gift from Santa, a stocking (mostly full of items for Disneyland) and a Disney T-Shirt from Dave and I. 

Bottom line if you feel like you want to burn your house down and start over this book is a great read to avoid that. Checked it out from your local library as a clutter free and environmentally responsible method as well.

Happy Organizing

Heather

 

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Loving Sourdough

If you may recall we found out last winter that the boys were intolerant to gluten. We completely removed it from their diets and they have been much better off. I eventually removed gluten from my diet too, figuring it may be causing some difficulties I was having as well, thankfully it has cleared up the problems for me as well and recently I did get confirmation like the boys that my body is intolerant to it as well. So nearly a year living with gluten free bread. It has been as exciting as it sounds. I briefly attempted to make my own and quickly stopped as it didn’t work for me and I already had so many other things I was trying to change for us. 

Anyways this fall I had been doing some reading more into living gluten free and touched on an subject where sour dough can be tolerated by some who couldn’t eat gluten and even those who were celiac. So I did further reserach and even found this tidbit on a celiac website. So even people who had long suffered with gluten could eat this. I talked with my friend Joanna about this thought, as she is also living gluten free and we set out to give it a try. She worked on making the starter and when it was ready gave some to me. One day I will try my hand at that but I haven’t had luck in the past with things like this when it comes to those amish friendship breads and the like so I left it to her, my expert in that area. We both played with a few different recipes for our starters and were both pleasantly surprised to find we could tolerate it. It was such a happy change for us both. I think I ate toast and grilled cheese all weekend when I first made my bread. I hope that by sharing this information though that I’m able to help others like myself and my sons reclaim a little food pleasure. You ask any gluten free person the food they miss the most and either bread or pizza is mentioned (furture post you can use your sour dough starter for pizza dough). 

Sourdough is actually really tasty. It is just as soft and nice as white bread and has a nice crusty outside. My dad recently came to stay and was amazed with it, he really enjoyed how the peanut butter soaked into the nooks and crannies. I find it so flavorful and am so glad to have a nice bread back into my diet. Now please understand I’m not an expert, but based on my research and experience I found this to work for our family. Some people may still have difficulty with it. I am just looking to share what I have learned in hopes it can help others who are in situations like mine. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. 

Here is the link to the sourdough bread I enjoy making. It does require you to start it the night before and let it sit and rise all night then off and on attendance the next day, so be warned it isn’t as easy as putting items in a bread maker, but it is so yummy and worth it. 

Enjoy and look forward to more ideas for using your sourdough starter.

Heather

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My worst day of 2013 – only slightly getting funny now.

Yes I’m back again (maybe, hopefully!). I was having a chat with a friend yesterday, suggesting we should try something together then blog about it each. I started to think wow when was the last time I blogged. I have thought of it here and there at times, usually just deciding not to or getting distracted and forgetting. I am hoping with 2014 on the horizon I can make a fresh start again and get going. I do enjoy this and have had some things I wanted to share. Fate must be on my side though because this morning I woke up to an email from my blog summarizing my year, and despite the fact I only posted 7 new posts I still had over 1900 reads in the year!!!! People are still finding me and enjoying it. So here I go again.

My worst day is not a tragic story, full of heartache or despair. It is more or less the story of the events that happened one day that I really just wanted to back and do over or hit delete on. Hind sight is make the day a little funny, and it does make for a good, yes well one day this happened to me story.

It all started on the day we decided to have a small celebration at Galaxyland for David and Mark’s third birthday. We had simply wanted to take them their so they could ride the rides for free for a little, buy our friends who came and ice cream, take some pictures and then go home. It sounds easy in theory. However we had been potty training David and being that it was new we didn’t want to “confuse him” with pull ups and decided to carry on with underpants. Now being the twin mamma I was I did bring a back pack with 2 changes of undies, a clean pair of pants, and two pull ups for Mark (who had no interest in training). David had been doing really good too, using the potty for pee all the time so long as we took him. 2-3 hours at the mall what could go wrong.

We met up with my two friends and their kids and started with lunch in the food court. All was going well, the kids and adults ate and then after we finished we did a potty break. David was good, he went. Mark I changed because he looked like he needed something a little fresher after school and now having eating lunch. We then trudged onto to the rides. We did a little motorcycle ride first, then headed over to the train ride. We had been on the train and I could smell something. But I also heard some other kids dad asking him if he was tooting. So I just figured it was the other kid. We got off the ride and I started to suspect else where. We headed over the carousel and as we got on I could still smell something and checked David, I couldn’t quite see anything and was just hoping for the best. We hit one more ride, the balloon ride, and it started to get worse. Now some people might be sitting there thinking why don’t you just take him to the potty. We were on a bit of a roll and I didn’t want to stop everyone one 20 minutes into our fun with a potty break, and anyone who knows this place knows the bathrooms are not close to anything. One is back in the food court, the other around the back near the bumper cars. They have a nursing area, but it doesn’t have toilets. Plus most parents know that it is best to wait a few minutes to be sure your kid is done, since I only had a few (what I hoped enough) supplies I waited. We finish our Balloon ride and it turns out it is Mark and David.. I had lucked out and borrowed a diaper off my friend (she only had the one to spare). We head over to the nursing area and this is where I find out I can’t deal with David in here. So I clean up Mark and give him the diaper. Then I take David, we go all the way back through the food court and I deal with what I hoped was finished. This is my first experience having to flush out the undies in the toilet experience and I’m less than thrilled, slightly thankful for the power in the flush. I grumble my way through this and decide that for my sanity I was going to put the last pull up I had on him over his undies to protect his pants. I was surprised they didn’t get anything on them. We get back to our friends, we just get set back up to hit more rides and I start to smell it again! I turn and David has that look in his eyes I check him and sure enough he has filled his drawers again! We race back and I get him cleaned back up. Thankfully the pull up is usable and we keep that on. We head back as everyone is waiting in line for rides.  By now my happiness is starting to turn to anxiety. I can still smell something when we get back so I tell Dave to take him. He rolls his eyes and does as he is told. I’m tired from running back and forth already. He goes off with David. They come back and yep sure enough David went! Dave said he had to use TP since he didn’t take anything with him, tossed the pull up and our son was going commando. Now I’m really not happy. So I pull David over the little nursing area, clean him up better and get him the last pair of undies.

Recap, Both my pull ups are gone, and 2 pairs of undies, with the last on David.

I join everyone again and where they are still waiting to get on the plane ride. I still catch the smell. So we go back to the bathroom to try, nothing. I’m really weary and not having any fun. We go back, our friends are still in line (apparently they waited the whole 30 minutes we had been running around, the ride was really slow and not run well), I look at David he has that funny look, I keep asking him if he has to pee (like I had been for the last 45 minutes), he says pee potty. So off we go again. I’m just worn out. I decide to take him all the way around the carousel, back by the bumper cars so the people in the food court don’t keep getting ideas about this crazy mom running back and forth. We get in there and I sit with him, we wait he pees. So we go back. He looks funny and then says potty. So we race back to that same bathroom. By now I’m nearly in tears, I beg him please just go cause he is still tooting. Nothing so we go back. By now I’m so angry, frustrated and on the edge of losing it. We never have this kind of trouble. Things had been going really well. We were usually a once a day deal and it was good. Today felt like a circus. I get back and Dave says something to me (now I cannot recall), but the tone in his voice sets me off. I go up and down him how I have been cleaning undies out in the toilets, missed out on all the fun. I am so upset. I look over and sure enough David has that look and I check yep he pooped again!!!! I am in tears and my friends console me. This is when they tell me I only missed one ride it took that long for them to get on and now their own kids were getting tired for naps and also needing to get home to meet older kids at bus stops. I apologize for the lack of fun. They assure me they did have fun. One day I will laugh at this memory and we could get together for ice cream later. Dave and I part ways with them we head back to the food court, I clean David up, he is now commando and feel a little more relaxed. I tell Dave I still want an ice cream so we get two sundaes to share with the boys. We eat quick and then as we walk past Pandora I say 5 minutes I really wanted to get a charm with the boys birthstones and I had some birthday money of my own left over. I start to look at the charms with the lady and narrow it down, when suddenly I smell it again and pray not my kid, please not my kid. I turn and see David squatting next to me, filling his pant leg. I get Dave to remove him and I proceed to pay the fastest I ever could. The lady wouldn’t stop talking. I race out and he has the boys sitting on the floor beside the store. He asks me if he thinks what happened did and I say yes. He says we can’t go back into the food court only closer to the van. He picks up David and cradles him in his arms, poop side down. I grab Mark and we bust a move to the bathroom near the Ice Palace. I wait by the family toilets, that say they are busy. Dave takes Mark to get the van and pick us up at the doors there. I wait a little, and it seems to be rush hour in the men’s as they just keep coming by. I hope they don’t smell my son or notice what is now sitting on top his shoe.

I hear the light on the bathroom click off and think maybe it is free, I press the open button (The family bathrooms in WEM are locked and you need to buzz into them), and the door unlocks we go into an empty bathroom. I madly do what I can washing shoes, pants and socks in the toilet. I am so thankful that I still have that one last pair of pants. Surprisingly through all of that the pair he came in held up. I shove everything into my already full plastic bag. Grab my shoeless child and we run as fast as we can to the van. The sooner we get home the better.

We make it to the van and David passes out on the drive. I am thankful to be on the way home. Why all of this happened that day I will never know. Normally I never have to deal with that much poop unless it is both boys. But for one that was strange, we hadn’t eaten anything with Gluten, no illness, he must have just been saving it up.

I would like to say that potty training has gotten better, it hasn’t David still won’t poop on the potty. We try and try and try and nothing. We offer rewards, nothing. He will pee and stays dry all night now too. But my potty training adventures are for another post.

Thankfully we have had no other days like that.

I hope you enjoyed, had a good laugh or even found this story something to relate to.

Happy New Year

Heather

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Success or Failure

This morning the kids and I made our way to church. It was the Sunday School Picnic and I thought it may be the last chance for Sunday School before summer was out and well after that ends it gets even harder to go when I have to wrestle the 4 of them through the service. Turns out Sunday School was over already, sigh. We forged on but alas as much as I tried to set an example of a put together parent trying to keep 4 kids in one location, from having melt downs and even just sitting still, I failed. All I wanted after I saw my morning taking a back slide was to make it through worship. My BFF Sarah leads them and I always find respite in the music on Sundays. Music has always been a moving thing for me. I lost my way with it over the kid years lost in the itsy bisty spiders, water buffalos, and ninjas in vegetable town. I’m working on making it a part of regular life again, and music that moves me. Anyways my plan was sadly going there way and not mine but I prevailed and after the songs were sung we made a bee line for the playroom to wait it out until the picnic began. 4 to 1 I cannot take back a picnic, and if I did I was still going to be stuck with these 4 shorter people for the rest of the day, better to spend as much of it as possible outside of the house with others. Alas I get in the room and in comes Sarah kicking me out, a saving grace to enjoy the service.

So I sit in peace. Listening to the message, about Success or Failure. Everyone has felt one of these feelings or another. Many mothers feel these and more often the latter. I’ve been wrestling with many of this over my time as a mother. I don’t know if more so it is because of my anxiety or if I just over analyze it more and think about it. At least I learned recently that I’m not the only on in the family who does it. So I sat and listened as our pastor talked about Elijah and how when God finally spoke he ran off in fear. I read a book recently where two of the main characters were talking about when you talk to God how do you know you have heard him. Sometimes it can be as loud as a church bell and sometimes it can be as soft as a whisper. I was tying some of these thoughts together during the service. I have more than once asked God why me? I was ready to be done after 2 kids and yet whammo 2 more in one shot. When I found out about the boys I always told myself God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, I have carried that as a mantra. But I also have asked God why me? Why do you think I can handle this? Look at me, look at my anxiety, this cannot be good. In small whispers he gives me a push or small successes along the way to help me, but I still really would like that solid answer. The whole deal,  the well Heather this is why you, you are blah blah blah and so on. So I keep waiting and hoping to hear more little whispers on the way.

Lately I feel a little more in the failure area, not a complete failure but that the odds are severely stacked against me. Like Elijah, where I just want to curl up and wake up refreshed and ready. I even came home from church today and put my PJs on and put a movie on for the kids and just hide. Through the service I related myself to a Disney movie, the part in UP where Russell is tired and Mr. Fredrickson and the house are dragging him along. I feel like Russell, “I’m tired, my knee hurts, my elbow hurts, I have to pee!” Just that I really don’t want to walk any further.

As parents know we don’t get that option to just give up, and well I choose to not give up. Today wasn’t a great day and well in truth it had been a long busy weekend for us. It isn’t like this every day. We all have good days and bad days. I do have to laugh though because in preparation for this picnic I was going to make these great black bean brownies that were Gluten Free so the boys had a treat since it was a dessert or salad pot luck. But due to a long late day yesterday it just wasn’t possible so I came home and rummaged my formally stocked with great easy baking cupboards in hope for something like a few boxes of Jello, alas I had nothing. So I decide to pack a few ready made snacks for the boys and I to have should there be nothing they can have that is Gluten Free and make the last box of brownie mix I had hiding in the cupboard. I do pride myself on being a good baking and making great treats and well these turned out good. But wouldn’t you know it the one time I really cheat and not pull out the stops, I get asked by several members today for my recipe for the brownies and I had to give the credit to Duncan Hines. I guess that was my small success today that at least my box brownies were a hit.

For those like me having a lower day. Keep faith (no matter what it is in), and know that the kids will go to bed and tomorrow is a new day. All 2 year old’s are a challenge, and two can be doubly hard. But they won’t be two forever and it is also important to cherish the small things.

Heather

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I need a win!

This week I have been feeling rather defeated in  the cooking areas. I normally am cooking and baking all kinds of wonderful treats and earning my praise. This week has sucked. Let’s face it since we went Gluten Free over 2 months ago I’ve really put baking on hold. I only do what I need, muffins for Dave and Diana’s lunch, granola bars that are GF for everyone (and better than store bought!) and rice krispie squares. Baking GF is an art and something I’ve not really touched only the few things we wanted to try to keep in our monthly meal rotation, pancakes and pizza dough. Pancakes are not too hard, we’ve had a few drier recipes and a few great ones. We loved the Pumpkin Pancakes in Easy Gluten Free Baking Cook book. Pizza dough is another story. I’ve tried bulk barn mixes and using my recipe and just replacing the flour with and All Purpose GF one. Both sucked.

This week I wanted to try a few new ideas. Gluten Free living isn’t hard, we love meat and potatoes in this house and rice pasta is great (a little pricier though). I just wanted a few easy ideas for when the kids and I are just at home and Dave is working. So the first experiment was taking my homemade Mac n Cheese and making the sauce GF. I figured it wouldn’t be too hard because for gravy I just used cornstarch. Some people might already be feeling that this meal is beyond and easy meal, but I’ve been making this since I was about 12 and have it perfected just a quick as Kraft Dinner. Anyways so I started my water  and then went to work on my sauce. As I said I would simply replace the flour for corn starch. That worked well at the start but then as I was adding milk to the  rue it started to go south. I was getting a really watery sauce. OK so to thicken it back up I was going to try to add a little GF All purpose flour. The problem with this is, the GF Flour has a particular taste to it. So I thought I could remedy that with more cheese. Again this didn’t help either. I was getting a thick awful mess going on. The more I tried to add milk as I heated it and it went super thick and lumpy. You know the science experiment with corn starch and water,  when you leave it you have a runny substance, if you hit it or move it you get a solid. Anyways picture that in a cheese mess. To top it off the boys were going crazy because I was cooking and they wanted food now, and the girls were fighting over silly things. Needless to say it was an awful night. We finally sat down to eat this stuff and the kids ate a few bites but then slowly stopped and the complaining started. Usually I try to keep the left overs of the meals and I’ll tough it out myself so that I don’t see food go to waste. I just threw out the sauce and bowl left overs. Luckily I didn’t mix all the noodles and sauce so I just put the noodles in the fridge.

The next night I had hoped for a better turnout. I was simply taking a favorite of mine, Mandu and instead of wanton wrappers I was using rice paper. Then I figured I’d just bake it rather than boil it. Mandu is simply ground pork, cabbage, carrot, a little green onion, soya sauce and sesame oil. It is wanton soup without the soup. This all seemed simple enough to me and it was even quicker to put together than Mandu. I figured I would bake it slowly to make sure the meat cooked and the wrapper didn’t over cook. After a bit I turned the heat up. When I figured it was all done I pulled it out hoping to get a spring roll type treat. Yah not to much. They had oozed soya sauce I’m guessing and the wrappers were either hard or too chewy. The kids didn’t like them, and usually like Mandu. I found I couldn’t eat that many or I was going to end up with a jaw cramp. Sigh another failure! The boys ate cereal and the cucumbers I put out with dinner. The girls just ate cucumbers and yogurt.

I was feeling pretty beat at this point. I haven’t tried much yet and I understand why you just go slow with this food lifestyle. It is hard when the kids are turning their noses up at my hard work and even Dave isn’t too helpful in that area. He usually either avoids what I have made and then eats a PB sandwich when the kids are in bed or he can complain as much as the little ones. I know this stuff isn’t as good as their gluten filled counter parts but I am really trying to make it feel like a new yummy normal. The boys are the only ones who I have removed it completely. The others are allowed things every now and then. White bread is still in the house and cereal. I have a few baked goodies in the freezer for them also. Ugh it is really hard right now baking was the one thing I loved and also loved all the yummy praise I got.

I made waffles last night with a GF mix and they were great! Better that way then as pancakes which you can do too with the mix. But today for lunch I made a GF pizza for the kids with the dough I had in the freezer. I got bad reviews on it again too, just hoping to use up what I had around before making new stuff. I’m sensing that I’m better off just pitching any and all leftovers that don’t get good reviews. I’m tired of eating the cardboard tasting leftovers on my own.  I guess this blog is more of a what not to do. At least others will see that it isn’t easy and may avoid the mistakes I’ve already made, as I try to do the same and avoid recipes others have had trouble with.

Well as I’m typing this I am bringing some butter to room temperature to make up a chocolate chip cookie mix my mom picked up for me to try. I’m really glad that my mom never does stuff from scratch and so when she was here she bought me a few mixes to try. She’d rather spend the extra money and just add a thing or two and have it done and over with. Actually she would buy the mix and wait until I got to her house to make it for her. She doesn’t like cooking or baking at all.

The only plus side to this is that until Easter hit I was actually losing weight again from not baking anymore, without even trying. Then Easter came and I could have chocolate again since I gave it up for lent and my kids had gotten quite a bit from various bunny visits.

I’m hoping to have a positive baking experience soon. It is snowing again today also and that is bumming everyone out too. We have had a terrible winter here, we get a snow storm and then have several inches of snow again, it melts and we start to think spring is here and another snow storm comes through again.

Heather

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Going Gluten Free

Well it has been about a month. I am hoping to get back to a little quicker at putting up a post. I wanted to do a quick post on the progress the boys have made since going Gluten Free. I also wanted to give a few tips on how to go Gluten Free. I am still in the baby steps myself but these are things that I found worked.

First off news about the boys. So it has been a month since we found out they were Gluten Sensitive. From there we removed gluten about 90% from their diets. It is hard to get all the way as we still have the odd thing lingering or we end up in a pickle where we just let them have it (example – they know they get cookies from the bakery when grocery shopping, I already have to shop with 2 year old twins I’m not rocking that boat!). I have figured a few things out and prepared ahead a little in times when I know they will be faced with it and I don’t want a melt down from refusing. The other parts are well the girls get it and if Amy was to have a sandwich for lunch and walk away from it, one or both boys may try to eat it. Rarely do we offer things in our home that isn’t fair, and the few times we have it was an experiment to see who wanted it after all and who ate it. Like when I make buns for stew and they won’t take no for an answer, Mark ate his 1/4 of a bun, David simply wanted it to have it and didn’t eat any. I have noticed changes in the boys since we have removed it more in the last month. Their bowel movements have changed and do get effected if they have gluten again (colour, smell, consistency), they are not as whiny and prone to tantrums anymore but that could be the fact that they are communicating in leaps and bounds now. Around the time we made the switch we had removed it about 50% – 75% from their diet and I was noticing changes. David more or less trying to say words to you and repeat the odd thing (he is our most verbal of the two). After we really made the efforts to have it out of their diet at the start of March within two weeks I noticed huge changes. David was now repeating just about every thing you said or showed him (in his own garbled way) but he was acknowledging a word. He was also pointing more things out to me with his own words. Mark exploded his use of signs. In one night I tried 3 new ones with him and right away he copied them and knew how to use them. He had since learned more signs and started putting two or three signs together (more banana please) or (banana please). Now with Mark in the two weeks since we saw this happening we have also started to hear him say the word he signs. Mark only until this point really said things like Mama, Uh Oh, and various sound effects. Now he is coming to me after dinner and signing and saying Bath, or Book. Things like this further my drive to keep their diet strict.

That being said this has not been an easy journey. I am always facing challenges and having to find ways to overcome them. Dave doesn’t see a physical change in the boys (like upset stomachs etc) when they eat gluten so he doesn’t feel as firmly as I do. He doesn’t deny they aren’t developing language quickly but he doesn’t want to give all the credit to their diet. He is supportive so long as I still find ways to let him have gluten and fresh buns. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. With that though here are some of my top tips when going gluten free and I’m sure I’ll find more to add or have other people have suggestions too.

1. Pace yourself, unless it is an urgent thing to change like someone who has Celiacs don’t push yourself. This is a very overwhelming change if you don’t take a deep breath and work on small tasks at a time.

2. Stock up on Fruits and Veggies they are unlimited! This did not clue for me right away. I was so hung up at start on what I couldn’t bake anymore or how a bag that fit in the palm of my hand full of Animal crackers was going to cost me $5.00 that I didn’t realize fruit and veggies was the easiest and duh healthiest snack I could feed the boys. A large bag of apples sure to last a week costs $5.00 too rather than a silly bag of cookies that would last 15 minutes.

3. Put away the cook books and get back to dinner basics. Meat, Potatoes, Rice, Veggies, etc. Forget trying new recipes right now and start creating a new rhythm cooking basic Gluten Free meals. I love cooking and trying new things but the more complex ingredients you try to use the quicker you will feel overwhelmed. Meat – Gluten Free, Potatoes (real ones not the boxed flakes) – Gluten Free.

4. Think ahead and prepare yourself for when you walk out your home which as you work at it becomes more Gluten Free. Playdate, go prepared. Dried fruits, Rice Crackers (no the no name brand, they are surprisingly not gluten free), Carrot sticks, Apple slices. You get the idea. Doing some shopping? Worried you may hit critical meal times and cave to fast food, either make yourself aware of places that have Gluten Free options, or go prepared, with Cheese & Rice Crackers. I tried this once only to find out McDonalds fries have Gluten, so read menus before hand. Birthday Party, some moms ask, and some don’t. So if you are sticking around don’t be afraid to ask to read the contents on the snacks they provide (I was once one of those moms who didn’t think about that stuff), and bring either home made cupcakes from a mix that is Gluten free or whip up a batch of rice krispie squares, you want to have something equally exciting as cake.

5. Experiment in small quantities. Don’t go crazy on how much Gluten Free products you buy at the start until you know you like it. I’ve tried Pizza Dough a few ways now and still am not impressed. But thankfully I only bought what I figured I needed to try it out and don’t have lots left over. Gluten Free stuff is expensive and the flours do not last as long as your regular AP flour does.

6. Come up with a few ideas for lunch or breakfast. My boys are thankfully happy with Oatmeal so I don’t have a breakfast challenge. But at least if you have a few ideas then you won’t quickly hit the we are bored with this food wall. Again stick to basics. Rice Pasta and Tomato sauce, Cheese and Rice Crackers.

7. Start slowly with trying new things. Don’t rush in to find the perfect cookie recipe. Waiting isn’t a bad thing until you get some of the basics down. Pancakes is where I started. We have them as a breakfast and dinner meal and I didn’t want to lose that option. But I could live without cookies and muffins for a bit. I was also surprised to see the scale go down too when I wasn’t baking often anymore.

8. While expensive sometimes it is OK to buy the Gluten Free baked goods. Sometimes you do need that cookie and well stores don’t often sell bad cookies. Also watched for those items to hit the 50% off baked goods rack, then you can freeze them and ration as needed. Or buying bread, let the pros handle that one for now until you get a few things under your belt.

9. Like your list of thought out lunches, what you take out the door to be prepared, have a stash of treats you can offer and enjoy yourself. I am trying to go gluten free too so I can be an example to the boys. Knowing what treats or desserts I can prepare if we want them helps me feel a little calmer. Jello, Pudding, Popsicles. Having a little sweet stash helps. Like with any diet change focusing on the can haves will keep you from feeling trapped.

10. It is OK if you slip up. It takes time to learn new habits and make changes. Go easy on yourself. Have a network of friends, blogs, family who are already Gluten Free to use as support.

Good Luck to anyone going gluten free who is reading this. Please understand I’m not an expert, nor am I overly worried about cross contamination as the boys are not Celiacs where it is more imperative to watch things like that.

Heather

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