Monday, December 10, 2012

5 Children Later

I can't believe I still get comments on this blog about the "Trusting God With Your Fertility" series I did back in 2007. I guess if you Google the words, "quiverfull" or "God and fertility," you still get sent to my blog. That makes me laugh.

If you are interested in reading the three posts, here they are: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

I have now been married for 10 years and had baby #5 this summer. I guess I can speak on this topic with a little life experience under my belt now (and probably alot more humor!) :) I heard very often in the beginning, "Your quiverfull now, but just wait until baby number whatever comes along." I'm pretty sure I've had baby number whatever by now, and we are still trusting God day by day, hour by hour sometimes :)

The most recent question someone posted after part #3 is, "How do you handle when people you love and who love Jesus are going through this process but still do not heed to scripture? How do you approach the topic with them and not become angry or judgmental?"

I have all sorts of experience with this question, especially right after we became "quiverfull." None of our friends were having babies yet, and most thought we were pretty crazy. Unfortunately, we lost most of those friends because we were at different places in our lives, and we gravitated towards new friends who had kids and other couples who were "quiverfull" in their beliefs. My main answer to your question of how you approach the topic with friends is that you don't. You pray for them and love them and pray that God would open their eyes, and that He would ready your heart to be open and loving to share with them when they are ready. Then you go about the business of your own life. You let your life and light shine before men. They will be drawn to you and start asking questions when they are ready. God could call you to share with someone specific, I'm sure, and you should be obedient, but for the most part, you will be banging your head against at wall talking to people about possibly have 8-10 kids, if the Lord hasn't changed their heart yet. Let God direct you. I bought a stack of "Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortion," and handed them out to friends at the time. I don't think they were very well received, no matter my good intentions.

The problem of being judgmental and angry is a separate issue. The judgmental one I dealt with in a big way. It is a problem of the heart. Humility. Love. Remembering that from which the Lord saved us. Who are we to judge the sanctification journey of other believers? It will stretch you, but you will see much growth over the years in this area if you repent and give it over to the Lord. Breastfeeding, C-sections, toddler temper tantrums, baby sleep methods...... There are so many issues that come up in parenthood that we could get very dogmatic about and judge other people's choices. Don't worry, the Lord will humble you one way or another :P He definitely has in my life. I no longer say, "I would never...."

Cling to the Lord in these early years that are very difficult. Difficult on you, your husband, and your marriage. They are the years to prepare rich soil, applying much compost and fertilizer (organic of course!), so that your life will begin to produce much fruit as your children get older.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gluten Free Basics

Going gluten free is pretty easy these days. There have been many trailblazers that have made it that way for those of us that would come after. For that I am thankful. The problems arise because now there is SO much information and weeding through it is laborious, frustrating, and difficult. There are thousands of recipes and mixes for sandwich bread, for example. Who wants to try a thousand recipes to find one or two good ones? For all the cookbooks out there, I have tried many a "loser" recipe. Chalky, crumbly, desserts that taste, well... gluten free! Our family has the added challenge of also being dairy free and egg free. Egg free baking is, above all the other restrictions, tricky. There are good gluten free flour mixes and rice, almond, and coconut milk all work fine in recipes, but egg replacer is NO replacement for eggs!

Dinner is easy to handle gluten free, but breakfasts and lunches are the more challenging meals of the day. And desserts.....oh, what it the hardest part about going gluten free....DESSERTS!

I have a few suggestions for those of you that have asked me recently for some recipes to help you get started on the journey. You don't need a thousand bread recipes. You need one REALLY GOOD one.

My first suggestion is that if you are just thinking about trying a gluten free diet for 30 days to see if it helps what ails you, double your food budget for the month, go to Fred Meyers or your local health food store, and just buy pre-made gluten free items. It is too much work to build up a gluten free pantry if you are not going to go on a permanent gluten free diet. There is enough out there to get you through a month to see if you start feeling better. My only warning is that the pre-made gluten free products are pretty bad compared to a good homemade cookie or muffin or slice of bread. Don't think that the food you have eaten from the store is representative of how you'll have to live if you decide to stick to the diet.

If you have decided you want to wade in a little deeper and commit to cooking and baking gluten free, go straight to Azure Standard. This is a health food co-op that sells the flours and things you need for your gluten free cooking at a much cheaper price than local stores (unless you have a Trader Joes nearby, and if you do, I am really jealous! I buy $100 of rice noodles there whenever I am near one because they are the cheapest you can find at $2/lb) There is a drop off point in Kennewick if you are interested in purchasing.

If you can have eggs, your journey will be alot easier. Your baked good will have good lift and texture with most recipes out there. We are egg-free, so that is what I am going to focus on in this post. The only book you need for gluten, egg and dairy free baking is The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook. This book CHANGED MY LIFE! Okay, that is a bit melodramatic, but to own a cookbook where EVERY recipe I try is fantastic, could make me tear up a little bit! My only gripe about the cookbook is that you have to follow her directions EXACTLY. I am not much a a recipe follower, but I have tried doing the dump everything together and mix it up, and the results were not very good. Buy her book and follow her every command. It is worth it! The nice thing about her recipes is that the desserts use a rice/potato starch/tapioca mix that is easy to find and keep on hand, and the ingredient list isn't 10 miles long. I can't sing her praises enough!

My next suggestion is subscribe to The Gluten Free Goddess Blog. She is gluten, egg, and dairy free as well, although she does throw in how many eggs you can use if you can use them :) I did not care for her sandwich bread, but I have had good results with many of her muffin and dessert recipes. (I still like my GF Cookbook better though!) Karina, the gluten free goddess, had a killer zucchini bread recipe this summer!

Most of my bread recipes (sandwich bread, french bread, hamburger buns, pizza crust, graham crackers) are adapted from Bette Hagman. She is the pioneer of gluten free cooking, but most of her recipes contain eggs and her desserts I have tried aren't very good. I have my bread recipes saved in a pdf file that I can send you if you are interested. You can leave your email in the comments.

My final tip for those of you that stick with this and turn "hard core" in the pursuit of nutrition and health is the book, Nourishing Traditions. I have many health issues due to years of eating gluten, and this book has helped me to understand how I got to where I am now and what to do about it. Just to let you know, following the suggestions in this book will take alot more time and energy, so if you don't have that, don't bother with it. I now soak my flours in homemade coconut milk yogurt, soak my nuts for easier digestion and make my own bone broths.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, so feel free to ask any questions you might have.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fa La La La La, La La, La, La

Christmas 2010 will go down in the books as a great celebration. We started the advent season by doing a Jesse Tree, which I highly recommend googling if you've never heard of it. They are advent readings each night leading up to Christmas. It really helped my older kids look at the big picture of the Bible. How Noah, Abraham, Rahab, John the Babtist, Mary etc., each played a part in leading to the Christ.

We took Rachel to see the Nutcracker this year. I think we have started a tradition because she LOVED it and is still walking around the house on her tip toes. I think we have to take Bennett and Ellie next year too. They would have enjoyed it as well.

We spent Christmas morning at home, opened Christmas stockings and let the kids play a while and fill up on candy while we were waiting for me to make cinnamon rolls for breakfast. No one was very hungry for them, but they were yummy this morning as leftovers!

We got to my parent's house at 11 and spent the day there, opening presents and eating WAY too much! Having small children and getting to watch their joy at each new gift is so much fun. They make for a great celebration.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010- Xs 3

Thanksgiving is officially over for us. Our tradition is to have dinner at my parent's house on Thursday and then go back for leftovers on Friday night and Sunday night. I did pretty well Thursday and Friday night with not stuffing myself, but I think I knew that last night would be my last plate of yummy food, and I did myself in! I had a really good run this morning though, probably due to the carb loading! Jeromy was in charge of Thanksgiving pictures, but we only have pictures that he could take from the couch because he wasn't feeling very well.

The new traditions is that we come over early and the kids get to decorate my parent's tree. Usually my dad is so excited for Christmas, he has it up WAY before Thanksgiving, but hopefully we can get him to stick to the new plan. (My mom forces his to take it down by Valentine's Day!)

I realize there are no pictures of baby girl. She was napping during the time that any pictures were taken. She LOVED the turkey and cranberry sauce though!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blogging Again?

I have been thinking about blogging again........ No, I don't have the time (I usually would be mopping the floor right now), or really the desire, but it might be the only way to chronicle the lives of my little ones. Time is going by sooooooo fast, and I am not good at journaling. That, and with family that lives far and wide (and a couple of friends bugging me to do it) I think I am going to try blogging again. So without further ado, here are some family pictures that we had taken this summer while my sister and her kids were visiting from Georgia. Yes, I know we don't look alike, we have different moms. Mine is 6'1" and hers is like 5'3". It was so nice to see them. It had been FIVE years! Too long to go without seeing your only sister.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

June Happenings

The summer has started off slowly here in WA, but we are finally seeing a glimpse of it. We set up our pool last weekend, but it turned cool again, so we only got a couple of swimming days in earlier in the week. (I wrote this post over a week ago, and since then we have had day after day of triple digits. The weather turned quickly!) Rachel had a 5th birthday in June. She learned to ride Bennett's bike without anyone helping her, so she got a new bike from Grandma and Grandpa for her birthday. Our other "big" news is that we are expecting another baby! My due date is February 28th, so hopefully he/she will appear before the middle of March :) Enjoy some pictures from the last couple of months.

Little Emma is 15 months old and still everyone's sweetie. She is such a lovable one and gives kisses to everyone all of the time.

She is an adventurous eater and wants whatever we have. She had Thai spiced turkey burgers the other night. She ate a whole hamburger by herself! I was worried about her little tummy with all those spices, but she seemed to do fine. She never liked the baby food thing.

This is what Rachel can be found doing during her "school" time. She and Ellie share a room, and Ellie stays up late. Rachie is quite tired some days because I think she needs more sleep than Ellie does. Does anyone have any suggestions about this? Rachel used to do the same thing to Bennett when they shared a room.

Still best buddies. Rachel plays an important role in our family I have noticed. She is the one that Bennett wants to play with, and she is the one that Ellie wants to play with. Some days the threesome dynamic is hard, but Emma is quickly filling the playmate role for Ellie. If Rachel is gone, they are all lost and don't know what to do with themselves.

Ellie is still as silly as ever. Boy can that girl make us all laugh. She is such a goofy one and has such a great sense of humor. She entertains us with a myriad of faces at the dinner table.

Bennett is learning to mow the lawn with Jeromy. Jeromy is very excited for the day to come when he can pass down that chore to his son!

Bennett loves his daddy and eagerly awaits his arrival home each night. He craves that testosterone and is praying several times a day that God will give us a boy. I told him not to get his hopes up. God is refining with with all these girls!

Rachel's birthday dinner. Steak tacos with beans, rice, chips and even soda! Her favorite is root beer.

Matching girls and Rachel's birthday crown.

Boy it's hard to get a picture of all 4 together!

Rachel's new bike.

Ellie is my bravest kid by far. Rachel, at 5, is just now not too scared of things like Chuck E.

Last year Ellie and Emma were both pretty scared of Chuck E Cheese and all the noise. This year they both LOVED it. Emma caught on very quickly, and when her ride would stop, she held out her hand for another token. The girl is ready for Disneyland!

Rachel had so much fun, and got into the collecting of tickets too. (Unfortunately..... although I talked them into candy instead of a bunch of cheap toys I would have to throw away!)

Bennett went to the dollar store and bought Rachel presents with his own money this year. He was very excited to give her the gift that HE purchased for her.

He bought her a bouquet of flowers and a canvas that had princesses outlined on it that she could color herself.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Surprise 7th Birthday Party!!

Bennett's 7th birthday coincided with finishing his 1st grad curriculum, so we knew we HAD to throw him a party. We usually have a family party, but this year we invited 3 other families with boys that Bennett really likes, and we made it a SURPRISE party. The little guy is pretty nosey, so keeping it under wraps was hard when people are responding to emails that are titled, "Bennett's Surprise Party." More than once I had to cover my screen and tell him to walk away. It remained a secret mostly because I didn't do anything for it until he left to spend the night at my parent's house. His other big surprise was a trampoline. It was quite a wonderful day, although Emma had a fever and wasn't feeling well. My mom was nice enough to hold her most of the time. The kids enjoyed hot dogs, chips, soda, cupcakes and all sorts of unhealthy stuff we don't get very often. Let's just say Bennett is still talking about how much he likes junk food.

We had a birthday lunch for Bennett on his real birthday. His birthday meal was tacos, his favorite, and root beer floats, which he had never had before but wanted to try. I think it was a birthday weekend he won't soon forget.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Pictures

We asked a friend from church (Thanks, Denise!) to take some family pictures after the service. I am never too hopeful of getting a good one because someone is always looking away or doing something weird, or crying (I never blame the photographer. I think it is next to impossible!) Ellie had a pretty sour look on her face for most of the pictures, but there were a couple of good ones!