Friday, November 11, 2011

Thankful for Health

Many of you may not know this, and that is the way we wanted it until we knew what was going on.  We told a core group of people so we could be praying together about what was going on.  Let me rewind and tell you a bit about what happened.

Over MEA break (fall break to those who don't live in MN), I had taken the kiddos to Sioux Falls with Grandma and Uncle B.  We were having a great time.  We stayed in a hotel, swam and did some shopping.  We were finishing up shopping and decided to let the kids play in the play area at the mall for a bit.  Shortly after getting there Butterfly came up to me crying.  She said she fell on her stomach and it hurt.  With that I did what every mom in the world would do, I took her in my arms and comforted her.  A few seconds later I noticed that she stopped crying.  I laid her in my arms and looked at her.  She was pale, her lips were blue and her eyes were rolling in the back of her head.  She was trembling.  *insert freaked out mom here!*  I kept calling her name and rubbing her chest to get her to wake up.  Eventually she came to but was VERY lethargic.  As we thought about it, we realized that this was the third time in six months that we had an episode like this.  It was time to bring her in to the doctor.

The following week we saw our doctor.  She was concerned and recommended that we see a neurologist.  But before he would see us he would require some further testing.  The week after that I took Butterfly to get and MRI and some blood work done.  And then the following day I took her in for an EEG.  After that we had to wait a week to see the neurologist.

During that wait we had made another trip to the doctor's office for an unrelated appointment (not even for Butterfly).  Our doctor told us that they did in deed find something abnormal on her EEG scan.  *insert panicked mom moment*  That is all they could tell me.  Great.   I had a week to really worry about things.  Not something I was looking forward to.

That weekend was the Hearts at Home conference in Rochester, MN that I was attending.  What a blessing that weekend was.  I got to experience the fellowship of other moms who worry and struggle and have similar lives as I do.  It was a fabulous weekend.  During one of the sessions there was a picture of the cross up on the big screen.   I kept envisioning Jesus taking my little girl's hand and holding her close.  That was the best thing I could have experienced.  I knew that He was taking care of her no matter what.  It was then I had a sense of peace.

Fast forward to this week.  We finally had our neurologist appointment yesterday (Thursday).  He looked at her tests and did an exam to evaluate her status quo.  When he was finished he discussed what was going on.  During Butterfly's sleep cycle and during the period where they had her hyperventilate there were abnormal waves.   After discussing the events and after the exam we concluded that we are going to wait on doing anything further.

So for my thankful post for today I am thankful for health.  My kids and hubby, for the most part, are healthy.

What are you thankful for today?
<3 Alison

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today, let's see, what am I thankful for.  Today, I am thankful for my children.  As challenging as they can be at times, I am so thankful that God gave them to me for a time.  God has given me the greatest gift with each of my kiddos.  Butterfly is a whiz at anything you put in front of her, Bee has a fantastic energy, Bubby is our comedian and Dragonfly is just sweet and developing her personality.  God truly has blessed me with these kids.

Who are you thankful for today?
<3 Alison

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wednesday's Thankfulness Post

Today I am thankful for opportunity.  Recently a friend of mine, Amy, told me to open up a crochet shop.  I really enjoy crocheting so I thought, why not.  After some discussion, we came up with a name and I have been crocheting ever since.  So, not only am I thankful for opportunity, I am also thankful for Amy, for giving me the kick in the rear.  :)

If you would like to you can check out my FB page and Etsy site.  :)  The shop is called Sweet Knottings.
<3 Alison

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thankful Tuesday!

On this day, exactly one year ago, my hubby started his new job.  So, today I am thankful for his job.  It at times can be hard for me to handle (aka when he travels) but I know that he has a wonderful job and we have a wonderful community of people around us.  I am so thankful that God brought us here to this town so Hubby could have this job so that we could have the community that we have always dreamed of.

Hubby has returned to the states on Friday and we are enjoying every moment with him.  There is a period of adjustment to having him back, I am learning, again, that I don't have to do it all myself.  That he is capable and willing to help me with getting the kids up and fed and dressed.  It is really nice not to have to do it all myself.  :)

What are YOU thankful for today?
<3 Alison

Monday, November 7, 2011

I am really going to catch up with being thankful.  It isn't that I wasn't thankful during that time, I was just  away from my computer.  And MAN!  Am I glad that I was.  I got to experience the Hearts at Home conference.  IT WAS AMAZING!!!  
I took three classes.  The first one was Ten Stress Strategies Every Mom Needs.  FABULOUS class.  I can't wait to put some of those things in effect in my life.  :)
The second class I took was Strong Willed Children.  I am SO glad I took that.  It was so helpful and made me feel normal about my kids!  I now have more tools to use to help work with my children to teach and instruct them in the ways they should go and how to do that with FIRST TIME COMPLIANCE!  I can't wait!  :D
The third class was about Multiple Intelligences.  FABULOUS class.  This was taught by the same lady that taught the strong willed children class.  I learned what kinds of smart I am and am starting to understand what kind of smart my kids are.  I will go more into that after I read the book that I bought.  :)

I am so thankful that I got to go to this event.  It was so worth every penny.  :)

So the things I am thankful for for Saturday, Sunday and Monday are as follows...

I am thankful that I was able to attend such a wonderful conference with a host of supportive moms who all knew where each other were coming from.

I am thankful that my husband came home safely from his travels for work.

I am thankful that a new week has begun.

Here are a couple of quick pics of the ladies I went to the conference with and the new things that my hubby brought home for my kiddos.  :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Today is the DAY!

The day that my hubby comes home!  He has been gone for exactly one day in the last month.  He has been traveling for work.  I AM SO GLAD THAT HE IS COMING HOME!  So, today, I am thankful for the airlines for getting my hubby home today and for the cars that we have to get him from the airport to here.  I am thankful that we survived the month without him!  I am thankful for the family and friends that helped me get through the month.

Today I am heading out to a women's conference and I am super excited that I am getting a much deserved break from everything.  Then I will come home to see my hubby on Saturday and pick up the kiddos from the grandparents' house on Sunday.  This is going to be a fabulous weekend.  :)

What do you all have planned for the weekend?
<3 Alison

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Poodle Skirt and Pinterest

I am sooo excited.  I pulled out the good ol' sewing machine tonight and whipped up a poodle skirt for Butterfly for kindy.  You see, tomorrow is the 50th day of school.  So, they are having a 50's style party.  I thought to myself, "What 50's party is complete without a poodle skirt?!".  Thus ensuing Project Make a Poodle Skirt.

I knew I was short on time and energy so I had to think quick.  There was only one place I could think of that would have the answer for me and is the place.  So, I searched around and found this FABULOUS circle skirt, and let's be honest...a poodle skirt is nothing more than a big circle with a hole in the middle for you.  :)  I was sooo relieved to find that it was really that simple!  Since I was heading to the "City" this last week I knew I could get what I needed no problem.  I picked up some pink felt, some 2" wide elastic (in white), and an iron-on poodle.  Yep, that is it.

Here is the link to the pattern so you too can make your very own poodle skirt (or any circle style skirt really!).

And here is a pic of the skirt.  I will add a pic of the girl in the skirt tomorrow.

Today I am thankful for doctors

I know that we call get frustrated with them at times.  But today I am thankful for them.  I am thankful that we have a doctor that is comfortable letting us adjust our vax schedule as we need to and also comfortable with helping us figure out why my children react they way they do to different foods.  I am thankful that they are helping us figure everything out from insurance to which kid needs what.  They will take a call from me and help me get the info that I need.  Our doctor is also very good about getting us in as soon as they can when we need to.

I am so thankful that we have healthcare readily available to us.

What are you thankful for?
<3 Alison

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Today I am thankful...

...for time alone with my oldest daughter.  In the last month, things have been crazy in our house.  Two of our kiddos have needed to be seen by specialists in neighboring towns (and one not so neighboring town).  So I feel very blessed that today, during one of those trips, I got to spend some serious quality time with Butterfly.  She is growing up so fast, and today, I felt like I had missed some of it.  She is 6 now.  After her appointment, we went to the mall.  She has ALWAYS loved the mall.  She loves the new things, she loves people, so the mall is just the place for her...and me, but that is another story.  :)  Today I brought her to Claire's and bought her new earrings.  She has had the same ones for two years, the studs that she got when she first had her ears pierced.  But since she has had to do so much in the last couple of days I thought it would be nice to get her something special.  It was amazing to see how much she had changed and to see how her personality is emerging.

I am VERY thankful for my friends and family.  I know I said that yesterday but I cannot emphasize it enough.  Since Hubby has been out of the country my friends and family have rallied around me to help make things a bit easier on me.  If I needed something or needed someone to watch a kiddo or two someone was always there to help me out.  I hope that as things return to normal around here that I will be able to repay my friends and family some how.  I hope that you all know how much it has meant to me that you have been there through this difficult time for me.

I am thankful for my church.  Tonight is AWANA and my girls are so excited to go.  They get to sing songs, play games, listen to Bible stories and recite Bible verses.  They have a great time and I have a great time teaching!  I LOVE MY SPARKIES!  They all ROCK!

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This month's goal...

This month my goal is to be thankful.  So in honor of that today's post is going to be what I am thankful for today.

Today I am thankful that I have friends who are willing to help me out.  I am thankful for family close by who help me out, as well.  I am thankful for insurance who is willing to do their job and pay for what they are supposed to, without much of an ordeal.  I am thankful that my husband will be coming home in four day and I will get to see him in five.  I am thankful that, for the most part, my children are healthy.  I am thankful that I have a warm house to live in.  I am thankful that I have a church family who cares about us and they act upon that care.

I have so much to be thankful for so while we are going through some stuff with the kids I am going to keep on focusing on what is good in our lives right now.

Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is the future, today is a gift.  That is why it is called the present.

<3 Alison

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes (GF, DF, SoyF, EF)

Butterfly had her birthday this weekend!  She is now a fabulous six year old (but that is another blog post!).  We had her party today and I knew that myself and a couple of the guests had food allergies/sensitivies so I needed to work with those as I prepared the cakes.

I found a very easy gluten free cake recipe that could EASILY be adapted to dairy, soy and egg free as well!  So I did it...and they taste fabulous!  :)  So I thought I would share the recipe with you all.  :)

I found the original recipe here.

One Bowl Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour 

  • 1/2 cup cocoa

  • cup sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • teaspoons baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon guar gum or 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum*

  • tablespoons cooking oil

  • tablespoon vinegar

  • teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • egg*

  • cup water

    1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
    2. Add all liquid ingredients and mix well.
    3. Bake in greased and floured 9" square pan (or lined with waxed paper), at 350 F, for 30 - 35, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
    *My Notes:  I used a premixed gluten free flour that already had the xanthum gum in it so I omitted this in my recipe.  I also used 1/4 c applesauce instead of the egg to make it egg free.  :)

    <3 Alison

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Check out this giveaway!

    With me now dabbling in photography and selling crocheted things this giveaway REALLY peaked my interest.  I thought you all might like it too.  So go check it out!  It is a FABULOUS giveaway, really nice products and lots of them.  :)

    Here is her website!

    Hope you all are having a GREAT day!
    <3 Alison

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    What is God trying to teach me?

    This last week has been, well, stressful to say the least.  Hubby left for Detroit on Tuesday morning.  We made it through Wednesday night without him just fine. Thursday hit and I was not expecting it.  Butterfly woke up for school with a temperature of 103.  Sigh.  She had been coughing and said the inside of her nose hurt.  So I knew it was time to take her in.  Dragonfly had also not been feeling well so I thought since we were there I would have them check her out too.

    Grandma was here so we loaded up all four kids (just in case it was something serious going around, I wanted to have all kids on hand) and headed to the doctor's office.  Butterfly and Dragonfly were diagnosed with upper respiratory infections and prescribed antibiotics.  We got those filled and headed home.

    Enter, Thursday night.  Both Bee and Bubby had low grade fevers.  Sigh.  I checked them again the next morning (Friday) and decided I did not want to go into the weekend with the possiblity of 2 more sick kids.  So I pile everyone back in the car (this time sans Grandma) and head BACK to the doctor's office. Yep, two more with upper respiratory infections.  But Bubby was worse than any of the girls.  We were told to do a nebulizer treatment 3x's a day with him as well as the antibiotics.  Poor guy!

    I was so glad to see Hubby come home on Friday (ok it was really close to Saturday morning)!  I knew he would only be home for a day but I needed his support.  So we spent yesterday just hanging out.  I LOVED IT.  Hubby and I decided to have an in date before he left for China (he will be leaving in 2 1/2hrs).  We rented Thor (pretty good movie!) and were up late.  It was then we heard Bubby in his room turning on his light.  Ok, silly boy, I thought...back to bed!  Hubby picked him up and said, "Um, he is HOT!"  So I search for the thermometer.  Yep, 101.5.  Sigh.  Guess there will be no church for us today.

    I sure hope these sick kids get better soon.  We have plans this weekend to celebrate the long weekend (MEA break)!  Pray that my kids get well soon.  All week I have been thinking about the saying, God won't give you more than you can bear.  Right now I am hoping he knows my limits well.  I am pretty stressed out.  But I came across this verse and it reminds me of what I need to do.

    "Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all undertstanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

    Philippians 4:6-7

    So this is what I am going to try and do this week and for the two following weeks while Hubby is out of town.

    Enjoy your Sunday everyone!
    <3 Alison

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011


    Yesterday, I called the insurance company to find out if Dragonfly's formula would be covered.  Well, they FINALLY approved it!  I am sooo excited!  I gave her the first bottle last night before bed and she slept from 7pm until 6am!!!!  WOOHOOO!  I cannot tell you how happy I was when I realized that it was 6am and I didn't have to get up and feed her 4 times at night and change at LEAST 4 nasty diapers.  YAY!

    She seems to like the Neocate better.  She doesn't have a scrunched up face while she is eating, she is actually relaxed.  I can't wait until I can see more changes in her diapers and to get rid of that NASTY diaper rash she has.

    Today is a day full of "homemaking".  I am working on hairbows, crocheted items and making applesauce.  Tomorrow will be much of the same along with making salsa and salsa verde.  I am so excited!

    Hubby left today for a month.  He will be home exactly one day in that month...and that is Saturday.  He will be home long enough for me to do his laundry and get him re-packed for his trip to China.  I knew when he took this job that travel was expected.  What I didn't expect was that all the travel would happen at once.  But, that is Hubby's job and we are blessed to have this job and I will accept that this will happen.  God will provide me with the support that I need while he is away.  God won't leave me hanging.  :)

    OK, off to craft some more! :)
    <3 Alison

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    UGH Insurance!

    What a mess.  I am not a huge fan of insurance companies right now.  I mean I am glad that we have good insurance but I am not glad that I have to fight to get what I need for my daughter.

    Let me start at the beginning.  All of my kids have dairy sensitivities.  With each kid it has gotten progressively worse.  Butterfly I nursed for 6 wks and then she was on soy formula (don't judge me, I didn't know much about soy then).  Bee I successfully nursed for a full year limiting dairy and soy in my diet (see, learned more about soy by then!).  Bubby was failure to thrive at 3 months and was immediately put on Neocate because limiting dairy and soy did not do ANYTHING for him.  So with Dragonfly we knew we needed to start dairy/soy free right away.  When that seemed to do most of it but she was still really gassy we knew I had to eliminate gluten.  So I did.  And I would do it again in a heartbeat.  However, at the beginning of this month my supply dropped, drastically.  She would nurse and nurse and nurse and still scream because she was so hungry.

    Enter, formula.  I knew we needed Neocate.  I knew that with the allergies/sensitivities that Bubby had we would be facing an uphill battle if we didn't.

    Enter, insurance company.  In the state of MN, there is a law that states that if a formula like this is prescribed/deemed necessary by the doctor the insurance company should cover it.

    Enter, frustration.  Since Dragonfly didn't meet any of the diagnosis' that are covered right away we had to jump through hoops.  We had to trial her on 3 or 4 different formulas.  Yep, so everything that I was so careful about avoiding in my diet I had to shove back in my daughters body.  The first formula we tried was Alumentium.  Fail.  I will spare you all the nasty details, let's just say the diapers were not pleasant.  Second formula was Nutramigen.  Fail, but not as bad as Alumentium.  Diapers were still pretty bad.  Third formula (and just because we had to try at LEAST three), soy formula.  EPIC fail.  I don't even want to go into how those diapers were.  One thing that I should mention is that before we started formulas, Dragonfly had not had ONE diaper rash.  Not ONE!  As soon as we started trialing these we got a MAJOR diaper rash.  Not just a red spot or bumps, I am talking open sores on her bottom.  I tried Triple Paste, Bourdreaux's Butt Paste, coconut oil, and Aquaphor.   I then tried what the doctor prescribed, Bryan's Butt Paste (made by a local pharmacist).  At this point, I couldn't get the stuff to stick. Her bum is so raw that the paste won't stick.  I took her to the doctor today and they prescribed another cream.  It is a cream they give to severe burn patients to help heal their burns.  That is how bad it is.  Even just writing this makes me want to cry.

    I have had two weeks of sleepless nights because my baby can't sleep through the night because she hurts.  The crying in the middle of the night, she balls up because her stomach hurts so badly, and the gassiness is enough.  I am done with it.  If her bottom looks this bad what do her insides look like at this point???

    On Thursday of last week we started this process of getting the right information to the insurance company.  By Monday we thought we had it figured out.  The insurance company faxed a form to the doctor and the doctor faxed the form back.  And we were told it would take up to 72 hours to get an answer.  Ok, 72 hours was Thursday.  By Friday morning when we hadn't heard anything I decided it was time to call.

    I called as I was on my way to Fairmont.  I had to pull the car over when I heard this: "We never received a fax."  So you mean to tell me that I waited THREE DAYS for NOTHING?!  I was bawling.  I talked to an RN at the insurance company who was less than helpful.  You need to send in the form.  Right, did that.  I called my sister (who works with medical insurance companies and doctors) and had her point me in the right direction (that is of course after she calmed me down).  First step was to go back into my doctors office.  And since I was headed that way anyways, it worked out fine.  I walked in, still visibly upset but not crying anymore, and talked to someone about insurance, I don't remember who it was but she was so kind!  She helped me find the answers as quickly as she could.  I then got to see our provider and she helped us figure things out as well as one of the ladies who works with insurance.  We made a plan to re-fax the information and call the company right after to make sure they got it.  It was time for lunch so we decided that I would stick around Fairmont for a while to make sure that I could get EVERYTHING done that I needed to if there were more steps.

    I was in the parking lot when I received a call from our doctor's office.  It was then that I found out that the insurance company lied to me.  They told me that they had not received the fax on Monday.  That information, ladies and gents, was FALSE.  They HAD received it.  They had denied the claim because not all the paperwork was filed.  Ummm, all you told us was that we needed this ONE form.  Well apparently, we needed more forms and from different people.  We needed one from our physician AND one from a durable medical supplier.

    I got pretty upset at that point.  Why on EARTH would they lie to me?!  So after I calmed myself down I called the insurance company back.  I finally got a hold of a person who actually cared about what was going on.  His name is Joe.  Joe helped me figure out who needed to do what and he even called the pharmacy we will be purchasing the formula from to set things up on that end.  So now we FINALLY have all (I hope!) the paperwork in the right places and we wait.  Yes, we still have to wait the 72 hours for an answer.  So for another three days my daughter has to be on formula that eats up her insides.

    The formula will come in to the pharmacy on Monday and regardless if the insurance company covers it or not I will be picking it up.  I have to.  I cannot do this to my baby any longer.  I am praying that the insurance company will approve it quickly so that we can get this dealt with on Monday.  I think the thing that makes me the most upset is that I didn't find out there was a problem until Friday.  The day that no one wants to do anything, much less deal with a crying mess of a Mom.

    So, that is my story.  I hate insurance companies.  So much red tape to do the right thing for you kid.  I will say this.  If the insurance company chooses NOT to cover this, this will not be the last they have heard from me.  I will fight that tooth and nail.  According to our policy, this should be covered.

    Sigh.  Time for some hot tea and time for bed.
    If you made it this far, you are a saint!  I guess I really needed to get all of those details out.  I feel some better now!

    I hope you all have a great weekend!
    <3 Alison

    Monday, October 3, 2011


    Mondays seem to come all too quickly as of late.  I have to get up at 6am to get Butterfly up by 6:15.  She needs to have breakfast eaten by 6:45 in order to get dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed and to have used the bathroom by 7:10.  At 7:10 we begin the daunting task of putting shoes on.  Yes, you heard me right...putting shoes on.  Butterfly is FULLY capable of putting her shoes on AND of tying her shoes.  However, she does not like to do it.  She convinced me that she would tie her shoes if I let her get them for school.  So, I did.  And here we are a month and a half into school and we are tying her shoes for her just to get her out the door to catch the bus by 7:25.  Now if my other kiddos were still tucked snuggly in their beds while this process was going on, it would be no big deal, but, you know my kids!

    Bee is usually up BEFORE the alarm waiting for it to go off.  Bubby is waiting in his room (sometimes with the light ON) as I bleery eyed stumble into the kitchen.  He will knock on his door til we open it.  Sigh.  Then it is a scramble to get everyone the cereal they want or if they want oatmeal that particular morning.  And of course somewhere in the middle of all of this the baby wakes up and is hungry.

    On Monday, Wednesday and Friday we have preK for B so we ALL have to get out the door by 8:50 to make it to school on time.  Then Bubby and Dragonfly and I will head out to do errands and hit up story time on Mondays.

    Today was no exception to the busy pace of life here in our house.  But I look at our family and I look at what we have and I see what so many others don't.  I see God's blessing.  I see a, for the most part, healthy family.  I see an active family.  I see a very intelligent 5 (almost 6) year old, I see a very active 4 year old, I see an inquisitive 2 year old and a very cheerful 3 month old.  I see a husband who is doing his best to make our lives the way we have always dreamed of it.  We have a wonderful home, the ability to grow some of our own food, the ability to cook/bake what we need, and the ability to keep it up.

    Even though things get rough around the edges at times, I try to remember that God is always there waiting for me to think of Him.  Romans 3:23 has been popping up all over the place as of late, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  I keep thinking on it and keep wondering what God has in mind with that verse.  I will keep pondering it and keep it close at heart.

    I hope you all are having a blessed Monday!
    <3 Alison

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    I got brave! (GF, DF, SoyFree baking!)

    The other day a friend of mine posted a recipe on FB.  I was intrigued because it was all the things free that I am!  :)  So I thought I would try it out.

    Here is the recipe:

    Brownies: of the dairy, soy and gluten free varitey!

    1/3 c coconut oil
    1/2 c cocoa powder
    6 eggs
    1 c sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    1/2 c coconut flour (I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour)
    1 c nuts (optional)

    In a saucepan on low heat, blend together oil and cocoa.  Remove from heat and let cool.  In a bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Stir in cocoa mixture.  Whisk coconut flour into batter until there are no lumps.  Fold in nuts (if using).  Pour into a greased 8x8 inch pan.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

    REVIEW:  Very tasty!  It is so nice to have a treat around that I can have!  :)  YUM!

    Flourless Fudge Cookies

    2 1/4 c confectioners sugar
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 tsp espresso powder (optional) (I didn't use it)
    1 c cocoa powder, Dutch-processed preferred (I used Hershey's)
    3 large egg whites (I used the full egg)
    2 tsp gluten free vanilla extract

    For darker richer-looking cookies, substitute 1/4 cup black cocoa for 1/4 cup of the Dutch-processed cocoa.

    Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease two baking sheets.  Or line with parchment and grease the parchment.

    Stir together all of the ingredients till smooth.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and stir again till smooth.

    Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets in balls about the size of ping pong balls, about 1 1/2"; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.

    Bake the cookies for 8 minutes; they should spread, become somewhat shiny, and develop faintly crackly tops.

    Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool right on the pan.

    CHANGES I MADE:  I used 3 full eggs.  I sprayed one sheet with cooking spray and didn't do the other.  The one I sprayed did NOT set up and just spread.  The one I did not spray worked REALLY well.  I would suggest using parchment paper and not greasing it.  Another thing was that one of the pans was chilled prior to baking and the other was not.  The one that was chilled (without cookies on it) worked the best.

    REVIEW:  VERY chocolate-y!  I LOVE them.  One cookie will do you!  :)

    I am so excited that I finally got brave enough to try some of these things for myself.  So far am 2 for 2. :)

    Enjoy your gluten free eating!
    <3 Alison

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    Picture Post!

    Ok, it is about time that I shared some picture of the kids.  :)  These are some pics I took this last weekend while we were visiting my in-laws.  ENJOY!

    Couldn't get them to walk in a straight!

     Wish the sun wouldn't have done this. This would have been such a cute pic!

    LOVE this one!

    Hope you enjoyed the pics.  I sure loved taking them.  I am hoping that this weekend that I can get some more of Dragonfly.  She just turned 3 months!  EEK!  :)

    <3 Alison

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Update time!

    I think it is about time to update everyone on the goings on of our house.  :)

    Butterfly is in kindy and loves it!  She is in the VERY top of her class with reading.  Her teacher is starting her on an advanced reader program.  I stopped in to chat with the teacher and come to find out that Butterfly is reading at a 3rd grade level!  OH MY!  She is also doing really well with math.  This week is homecoming so she has "spirit days" a school.  Yesterday was PJ day (she was THRILLED to go to school in PJ's) and today is Sport/Jersey day...Only thing we had that fit her was a Vikings Favre t-shirt...and if you know me you know that I am a PACKER fan!  GO PACKERS!  But oh well, she will still have a good day.

    Bee started pre-school and is LOVING it.  She runs into school every day she goes.  She won't stop talking about it either.  She loves getting to hang out with her best friend Cal.  :)  I love it that she is making friends so easily...although, I didn't ever have a doubt that she would.  She is a social butterfly.  Much to social to figure out how to write her name  :)

    Bubby is doing GREAT!  He is starting to make 2 and 3 word sentances.  His new favorite words are Sorry and Why.  YAY!  lol!  He is as boy as boys come...loves to play with his Lego's, cars, and trains.  He LOVES Caillou (and of course..I do NOT!) and the movie Cars.

    Dragonfly is doing ok.  I had been nursing her and had to eliminate dairy, soy and gluten from my diet.  With those limitations my supply declined rapidly.  This week we started to supplement with alumentium and well, that isn't going well.  I am currently waiting on a call back from the doctor to get the prescription for Neocate so that our insurance will cover it.  Her poor belly is NOT tolerating the alumentium well at all.

    Hubby is home for about 2 1/2 weeks and then will be gone for almost a month.  He will first be in Detroit and then will be in China for about 3 weeks.  We are going to miss him a TON!

    I am planning to go to a Hearts at Home conference for Mom's!  I am SO excited!  My in-laws and parents have volunteered to watch all four kiddos for us so that I can go and Dan can sleep since he will JUST be getting back from China...can we say jet-lag???

    Well, that is us.  I am hoping to get some crafting in soon.  I have some quilts to get done and some dresses to get started.

    Hope you all are doing well!
    <3 Alison

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    An Apple Crisp for ME!

    I was so excited to find a dessert recipe that I could actually eat!  I haven't had much in the line of sweets since I went dairy, soy, and gluten free almost 2 months ago.  So when I thought about a dessert that I would like to have I thought of apple crisp.  I found this recipe on the internet and am SO excited about it!  It tastes REALLY good and I can eat it!

    So here is the recipe!

    Gluten Free Apple Crisp
    1. 3-4 Braeburn (or similar) apples, peeled, sliced into 1/4″ thick slices
    2. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    3. 2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice (I didn't use this)
    4. 3 Tablespoons to 1/4 c. white sugar or turbinado sugar (to taste)
    5. 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 c. brown sugar (to taste)
    6. 2 Tablespoons (more or less) GF Flour mix – depending on juiciness of the apples
    1. 6 Tablespoons butter, slightly softened (I used Earth's Balance: Soy, Dairy and Gluten Free margarine)
    2. 1/3 c. GF quick oats, roughly ground almonds & walnuts, or quinoa flakes (I used GF quick oats)
    3. 1/4 c. GF Flour mix (I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF flour)
    4. 2-3 Tablespoons white sugar (to taste)
    5. 1-2 Tablespoons brown sugar (to taste)
    6. optional: ground cinnamon (1 tsp) and freshly ground nutmeg (1 tsp)
    1. Preheat oven to 375*F.
    2. Peel and slice apples into thin slices (1/4″).
    3. Put into a medium bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix.
    4. Add sugars, flour and cinnamon.
    5. Mix together very well.
    6. Pour into medium (for thin) or small (for deep) baking dish.
    7. Put softened butter into the same bowl where you mixed the apples.
    8. Add oats (or other option), flour and sugars and “squish” together well until crumbly.
    9. Pour and crumble over apples in baking dish evenly.
    10. Bake for 23-30 minutes.
    Cool slightly before serving (5-10 minutes).
    Serve over all natural GF vanilla ice cream.

    I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did!  Hope there is still some left for dessert after dinner.  :)
    <3 Alison

    Monday, September 19, 2011


    I went away!  The last month has been CRAZY!  Butterfly started kindy, Hubby went on a business trip (and is consequently gone this week too), I was prepping for a garage sale and much, much more.  I got so busy I forgot to update here!  So sorry!

    Well, we are starting to get into the groove of things.  We get Butterfly off to the bus by 7:15 each morning and then Monday's and Wednesday's we take Bee to pre-school for a couple of hours.  Then Bubby and Dragonfly and I do our errands.  We go to the bank, post office, and the grocery store.  Now that the weather has cooled off we are hoping to be able to go apple picking and put up some apples for the winter. So excited about that! :D

    Hubby and I are once again involved in our church and it feels so good to be involved!  We are teaching middle school Sunday school on Sunday mornings.  We just started but it is so nice.  I am SUPER excited about the study we are going to be doing with them.

    I have also become a Sparks leader at our church's AWANA program.  I have my own little group of Sparkies who play together, sing songs, learn Bible verses and have a good time.  I hope that this year will be a great year for my kiddos.  Butterfly and Bee are both involved in the AWANA program and Bubby and Dragonfly are going to head to the nursery during that time when Hubby is away (like this week).

    I am hoping to get some crafting in this week while Hubby is away.  With any luck I will be able to blog about them too!

    Hope you all have a great week!
    <3 Alison

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    Here we go!

    Today I start being a single parent for a week.  Hubby is off on a couple of business trips and won't be home til Friday.  I told him last night that even though I don't like that he is going I am not feeling as nervous as I normally do when he leaves town.  That is HUGE progress.  It is what it is and there is nothing I can do to change it.  All I can do is take it moment by moment and day by day.

    Today is going well so far.  I got Hubby and Butterfly off this morning and then hit the ground running.  I have 2 of the 3 beds changed that need it and am on my second load of laundry.  I got the house cleaned last night so that is all set to go too.  With any luck I will have a few spare moments to go through some more boxes in the basement to get things ready for our garage sale in a couple of weeks.  It is time to purge things that we are no longer using.

    I am hoping that in the coming weeks I will be able to get a book shelf for the girls' room and get all of their toys in the basement play room.  That way we have a "quiet area" and a "play area".  I think that will help ensure the naps that are still needed by my kids.

    Over the last month I have eliminated dairy, soy and gluten from my diet.  I am very pleased with how I feel and pleased that Dragonfly seems to be doing ok too.  I still wish I could figure out why she is still super gassy and fussy at night..every night.  Since Hubby is gone this week I think that my kids will be eating more like me as well.  I will be cooking much less pasta and using breads less as well.  The kids actually like salads so we might have those for lunches.

    Well, I am off to go fold some laundry!  Hope you all are having a great Monday!
    <3 Alison

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    A moment is too long...

    ...when you have a 2 year old and a blue sharpie pen in the same room.  :(

    I had been marking some clothing to give to a friend when the baby started to fuss.  So I set down what I was doing, apparently not thinking, and went to the baby.  I was calming her down and as I turned around to find out what that "weird sound was" I saw him.

    He had laid his cars down on the couch, picked up my blue Sharpie and started to draw.  ALL OVER MY COUCH!  Sigh.

    My face dropped.  I said his name.  He dropped the marker.  He went to his room.  Sigh.

    My couch cushion may never be the same again.

    After contemplating what to do and after asking my gal pals from one of my FB groups what to do, I realized that I got rid of many of my fabric cleaning products during our move.  Sigh.  But then I remembered.  I have Rockin' Green!  I use Rockin' Green on EVERYTHING why not this.  I created a paste, grabbed a toothbrush from my stash (I *LOVE* couponing!) and went at it.  After much elbow grease and some good ol' RnG I have a pretty good chance at only having minimal damage to my couch cushion.

    So once again it was Rockin' Green to the rescue!!!

    <3 Alison

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Butterfly is off to Kindy!

    How can it be?!  I just put my first baby on the bus and sent  her off to kindy.  Wasn't it just yesterday that Hubby and I brought her home from the hospital?  We were just snuggling with her and admiring how beautiful a baby she was?  And now she is almost 6 and off to kindergarten.  She is a fabulous little girl.  I can't wait to hear how her first day goes.  I am most nervous about her on the bus but we have great neighbors with older kids who are going to make sure that she gets on and off at the right places.  *fingers crossed that she does ok*  I have been praying that she does well today.

    Bee, Bubby, Dragonfly and I are all going to go to the grocery store today.  I need to pick up a few things and I want to try out having 3 kids

    Naptime is going to be so quiet...with three kids that actually nap (or have rest time that turns into naptime) my house will be nice and quiet.  Maybe I can actually get the curtains done for the girls' room!  Wouldn't that be great?!

    Off to go get ready for the grocery!
    <3 Alison

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Dragonfly's Baby Shower

    Last night (Wednesday) the ladies from my church threw a baby shower for Dragonfly and me.  It was so much fun.  Let me tell you that my church family is AMAZING!  I feel so blessed.  They all made me feel so special last night.

    We played a couple of games, heard a great devotional, ate some yummy food (that I was able to eat, which is hard to find right now), and opened presents.  The folks in my church are so generous.  They made me feel like Dragonfly was the first baby all over again.  The shower made me realize just how special EACH of my babies is.

    All week I knew that my baby shower was last night.  But it wasn't until I had parked my car and got out with Dragonfly that I realized that the shower was for me and the baby.  I have been sooo focused on everyone else and getting Butterfly ready for school, that I have forgotten to take time for me since Dragonfly was born.  It was a nice reminder to take time for myself.

    Here are a few pictures of the shower!  :)

    <3 Alison

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Update on us

    I can't believe it, I will be sending my first born to kindergarten in one week.  How did she get to be 5 years old (almost six, if you ask her) and ready to head off to school?  It seems like yesterday that I was holding her in the hospital after a long labor.

    She is so ready to go to school.  She can't wait to meet her teacher and meet new friends.  One of her friends from church is in her class at school so she is REALLY excited about that.  She has her school bag packed with all of her supplies which we will bring to school on Wednesday afternoon at the open house.  She will get to meet her teacher and find her cubby and place in the classroom.

    That same night the ladies from our church will be throwing a baby shower for me and little dragonfly!  I am so excited!  Our church has been fantastic about helping us out after we had the baby.  I am very excited to see everyone and thank them for what they have done to help us out.

    After much deliberation, I decided that I would try nursing Dragonfly so that is what I have been doing.  She was starting to exhibit some hidden reflux and has been a very gassy baby.  With that in mind, the doctor's office recommended trying to eliminate wheat.  I have already been eliminating dairy and soy, so we are also now going gluten free.  So far things have been going pretty well for Dragonfly. Each day she seems to cry less and, from what I can tell, reflux less as well.  I hope that making this change in my diet will help her out.  It is one thing for me to eat poorly and such when it only effects me but when it effects one of my babies it is a completely different story.

    Bee will start pre-k next month and will attend that 2 mornings a week.  She is REALLY excited.  I can't wait to let her experience the same things that Butterfly got to experience when she went to pre-k.  Bee will be doing 2 years of pre-k, unless at the end of this year we see that she is ready for kindergarten.  Then she would go next year.

    I am hoping that once we get into the groove of things I can pick up my sewing and crafting again.  I miss it TONS.  Maybe I will start a wish list of things I want to do!  :D  Wouldn't that be GREAT?!

    Off to go get some housework done.  Enjoy your Monday everyone!
    <3 Alison

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    It's a PARTY!

    Bubby had his 2nd birthday party yesterday.  We all had a TON of fun.   Bubby wanted a Cars birthday party.  It turned out to be the perfect party for him.  We had family over and we had a GREAT time.  Lots of food and lots of fun.

    Here are some pictures of the event.  :)

    Hope you all had a great weekend!
    <3 Alison

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    2 years old

    Where did the time go?!  Bubby is now a big boy and is 2 years old.  I can't believe it.  He has come so far from being that 7lb 11oz baby in the NICU to the 2 year old who is as big as his 4 year old sister.  He is the most loving little boy ever.  Hugs and kisses all the time and when you catch him in the right mood he is good for a snuggle or two.  :)

    His actual birthday was on Wednesday but his party is tomorrow so keep an eye out for lots of pictures!  He is going to have a Cars birthday party with both Hubby's family and mine.  He should have a great time.  His sisters are very excited to give him his presents (and so am I!).


    <3 Alison

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Green Green Garden!

    I am so excited about the harvest I pulled in from the garden today.  There was so much of it!  :D  Add that on top of what I have gotten over the last couple of days and I really need to figure out what to do with some of it.

    I am making my second batch of half sour pickles (which are turning out better than the first batch) and have at LEAST enough to make a third round...but I think I might want to try making some regular dill pickles instead.  I have TONS of zucchini to use.  I think I am going to make some zucchini bread or zucchini chocolate chip muffins.  If I still have extra I will probably shred it and freeze it.

    I have a bunch of bell peppers that are needing to be used too.  I think a batch of stuffed bell peppers are in to eat and one to freeze.

    Now if my tomatoes would just ripen so I could make some spaghetti sauce we would be in business.

    I plan to head to the grocery store and pick up a couple of lugs of peaches so that I can start canning those.  I love this time of year.

    Our butternut squash plants are going WILD!  Soon we will have more squash than we know what to do with.  I can't wait to start freezing that so that Dragonfly will have some yummy squash to try later this winter.

    <3 Alison

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Results: Half Sour Pickles

    The Half Sour Pickles that I gave you the recipe to earlier this week are done!  Over the last 18hrs I have been testing them to see if they were "done".  This morning when I tasted one and it was done to my desired taste.  So I pulled out my jars loaded them with pickles and brine and stuck them in the fridge.  I can't wait to have some for lunch when they are nice and chilled.  Yummmmmm....

    Here is a little pic of what they look like.  :)

    I have 3 more jars this size in my fridge.  :)  I am so excited that they turned out and that they were SO easy to make! I hope you all enjoy them as much as I do!
    <3 Alison