9.19.2014

Friday Favorites


Friday, friday!  Can you believe it's the middle of September?!  It's been years since I've had a birthday cake...like maybe 15 years.  I love birthday cake.  I will admit I got a bit teary eyed when Dave and the kids made cake for me.

Here are some of my recent favorites to send you in the weekend.  

DIY photo light box.  I've been using white posterboard from product photos but love the idea of a lightbox to help reflect light on all sides. 

This short video is quite amazing.  See what just a dot can do.

How cool is this idea?  Tree drawings.

This looks like a delicious fall drink.

Great articles on blogging.

Super cute fall printable.

These coconut flour pumpkin and chive biscuits look amazing.  I will be making them soon!

I love hearing about family traditions...do you have a favorite birthday tradition?

9.17.2014

Pumpkin Spice

It feels a lot more like fall and like many others I love fall.  I love pumpkin, cloves, nutmeg, apple cider.   Seems the perfect time for a recipe I've been pondering for quite awhile...what else but pumpkin spice ice cream? Y. U. M.

I added a little homemade whipped cream on mine, because what's pumpkin pie without whipped cream?  My whipped cream was not dairy free but here's a great dairy free whipped cream recipe. 


So break out the ice cream maker and get ready to welcome fall.

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream
(gluten free, dairy free, sugar free)

2 cans coconut milk, NOT reduced fat (I prefer Thai kitchen)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ginger
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup honey
Pinch of salt

1-In a bowl whisk 4 egg yolks and honey together until very well combined. Set this bowl aside.

2-Pour both cans of coconut milk into a medium saucepan whisk in pumpkin and all the spices until well combined. Place saucepan on stove over medium heat and "scald" (bring to just before boiling...do not burn!).

 3-When milk is ready, whisk ladle fulls of milk into eggs until half of the milk is incorporated into the eggs. This process is called tempering and allows the egg and milk to combine without cooking the eggs. Pour egg/milk mix into pot with milk and put back on stove on medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in salt.

4-This mixture will begin to thicken. When it coats the back of the spoon and you can draw a finger through it with the line remaining it's ready.

5-Pour into bowl, cover and refrigerate until fully chilled. Refrigerating over night is best. If you're ice cream maker has a bowl that needs frozen don't forget to put that in the freezer too.

6- Pour into ice cream maker and follow the instructions on your ice cream maker to churn.

7-When ice cream is churned enjoy right away or put in freezer to harden some more and then enjoy.

What's your favorite thing about fall?

9.15.2014

Breakfast


If you know me well or you've been reading this blog for awhile, you would know that breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day.  A slow, enjoyable breakfast to savor and linger over a cup of coffee. In my mind, it's bliss.  The handful of times this happens as a family are some of my favorite memories.

But let's face it those days, while amazing, are few and far between. I'm not sure what breakfast is like at your house, while we aren't rushing out the door in the morning, the kids wake at various times with various forms of cavernous holes in their stomachs waiting to be fed.  Our Paleo-ish eating rules out a quick cereal and toast, which means cooking or more pre-morning prep is usual involved.

To add to our morning, I usually get up early and work, so I'm often trying to finish up when stomachs are growling for breakfast.

Recently though, we've revamped our mornings and it's been a big success.

I've been planning out our breakfast meals and specifically planning some I can make the night before and pop in the oven in the morning.

I've stumbled on some favorite grain free breakfast recipes while trying to mix up our breakfast recipes.  I'll be sharing some of mine in the next few weeks but for today here are some favorites from other blogs.

Cereal-like breakfasts:
I love this, Paleo Chocolate Cereal, for breakfast or for an evening snack.  So delicious!  We use sunflower seeds instead of the almonds.

Smoothies

These Apple Cinnamon Coconut Flour Muffins are a favorite!  Sometimes I double and make some in a loaf pan as well.

I've never made this cold cereal the night before to eat, but it's pretty quick to whip up in the morning.  Again, we use sunflower seeds instead of almonds.

Egg casserole.  I usually make this the night before, or a couple on the weekend to eat throughout the week.  I sautee whatever veg we may have and put in casserole dish.  Then I either crack the eggs right on top and season or I scramble the eggs, season them and pour them in, it just depends if I want to dirty another dish or not. :)  I also through in some breakfast meat if we have any on hand.  Then I just put it in the oven on 350 in the morning until it's cooked.

I'm super excited to share more of our breakfast recipes with you soon.

As far as breakfast foods I enjoy, I don't discriminate, I think they are all lovely: cereal, eggs, waffles, huevos rancheros, muffins...I could go on and on.

What's your favorite non cereal breakfast?

9.12.2014

Mint Chocolate Chip

Last time I made Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream I tried it with mint leaves but in the end needed to add mint extract for extra mint flavor.  This time with the overgrowth of mint in our backyard, I figured I should try it again since I had plenty to go around.

To get a great mint flavor I steeped the mint leaves with the milk when I heated it and didn't strain them out until right before I churned the ice cream.  If you're using regular size chocolate chips I would crush them up first (I just chopped them with a knife) or you could use mini chocolate chips.  The amount of chocolate chips is entirely up to you, I think I used around a cups worth, you may want more.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
        (gluten and dairy free)

Ingredients:
2 cans coconut milk, NOT reduced fat (I prefer Thai kitchen)
20 fresh mint leaves, washed and dried
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup honey Pinch of salt Chocolate chips (check for gluten and dairy: Enjoy Life or Ghiradelli Semi-sweet are both good options)

 1-In a bowl whisk 4 egg yolks and honey together until very well combined. Set this bowl aside.

 2-Pour both cans of coconut milk into a medium saucepan with the mint leaves. Place saucepan on stove over medium heat and "scald" (bring to just before boiling...do not burn!).

 3-When milk is ready, whisk ladle fulls of milk into eggs until half of the milk is incorporated into the eggs. This process is called tempering and allows the egg and milk to combine without cooking the eggs. Pour egg/milk mix into pot with milk and put back on stove on medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in salt.

 4-This mixture will begin to thicken. When it coats the back of the spoon and you can draw a finger through it with the line remaining it's ready.

 5-Pour into bowl, cover and refrigerate until fully chilled. Refrigerating over night is best. If you're ice cream maker has a bowl that needs frozen don't forget to put that in the freezer too.

 6-When fully chilled, pour mixture through a mesh strainer and into the ice cream maker container. This helps the ice cream have a smooth consistency to the ice cream. Follow the instructions for your ice cream maker to churn.

 7-When churned mix in desired amount of chocolate chips. Enjoy right away or put in freezer to harden some more and then enjoy.

9.08.2014

Ebb and Flow


He lays opposite me in the hammock I didn't want to share with him.  I read and we swing.  I glance over, and he's staring off into space, his small body lying against my leg while his cheek presses against the inside of my foot. He stares at the sky.

He's been staring a lot lately.  I wonder what he's thinking. Hearing. Seeing.

I see him walk inside, and I finish the page in my book, then hear another door chime and run in thinking he's in the garage where he shouldn't be.  He's not.  Fear clenches me for a moment, and I start yelling his name. I rush to the front door. It's secured as it should be. I panic because I can't find him and I'm yelling his name, knowing rationally he couldn't have gone anywhere.

David rushes in. And then I see him. Curled up on the couch with his duck reading his milk.

Frustration and relief.  Why didn't you answer me when I called your name?

And...

he finally learned to blow. We worked (unsuccessfully) at this many weeks in OT as well as many times at home.  Now he plays the harmonica.  Closes his eyes and blows in and out to his own tune as if lost in a jazz improv session.   He blows. The noise gets to be a bit much, but for today I can't stop him playing.

It took until he was 4 1/2, but now he can blow. Maybe bubbles now? Straws?  The world's his oyster.

This is the ebb and flow of our days, but I'm smitten.


8.30.2014

Photography


Meg mentioned this book last week.  I put, The Unforgettable Photograph by George Lange on hold at the library right after I read her post. 

I sat down to read it this morning and I knew I'd love it.

Lange says:
"Photography has been a great ride (which isn't over), but for me, the final pictures are never what it is all about.  More important, always, is the process of listening, seeing, touching, holding, moving, being still, pushing hard, easing in gently.  Photography, I've learned, can be an excuse to say things you would edit out of a normal conversation, do things you would hold back from doing.  It taps into my urgent need to live a life that treats every moment like a gift."



If you haven't checked out Meg's blog and you love photography, you are missing out!  She has some great and simple photo tutorials and tips.

8.26.2014

8 months


It's been 8 months since the diagnosis I wasn't expecting.  I can't believe it's been that long.  Autism has become less of a foreign word in our house, but even after 8 months I still can't say that I understand or can explain Autism to you.

We haven't started any therapy for him. All the pieces just haven't come together yet.  Some days I feel panicked by this decision (or lack of decision), and some days I feel completely at peace with it.  Some days his unique development pace is glaring, and I feel as though I'm not doing the right things to help him progress like he is ready to. 


Then there are days I feel like we have the privilege of seeing things through his eyes and experiencing things we would never have noticed before.  His sheer joy and excitement over things I would never have paid attention too makes my heart smile, and I cherish those moments.

Other days, I feel stuck, he feels stuck, and we go around and around until we--hopefully--get the right combination to unlock the cycle he's stuck in.

I get discouraged by what I feel is the lack of rhyme or reason to his reactions and behaviors.  As someone who loves consistency and predictability, being his mama has made me more flexible.  I have learned to function on little sleep, learned to laugh when I feel like crying, and to cry when the tears need to come.

David and I are learning to work as a team. It's not something we were strong at (and it's still not always something we're always good at), but through the refining of middle-of-the-night wakings, we are learning to tag-team, to allow each other to play to our strengths, and to not just work parallel to each other in this parenting journey but to work together.  This lesson God is teaching us...it's been essential to the health of our marriage. 

We've had the opportunity help our other kids understand that different isn't bad: it's just different, and while it may be difficult in some ways, there is great beauty in this.  This is a lesson I am learning to embrace as well.


Perhaps the biggest stride we've made in this last 8 months (and one I wouldn't dare say I've conquered), is a mind-shift from "How can we fix things?" to simply recognizing that this is him.  He may shout random things loudly in public, he may recite a DVD when we are having conversations with new friends, he may not be able to tell me how his day was or how old he is but, BUT I'm learning to embrace all of who he is and not wish away the difficult behaviors.

I'm beyond thankful for grace.  I have messed up a million times a million, but as we tell our kids, "Do you want a redo?" applies to mamas too, and I'm so thankful.  I'm thankful that God faithfully walks beside me. He knew this journey before GH was even a thought in our heart.  This is no surprise to Him.

We are coming out of the fog here. I'm still not sure what life will look like in the future (or day-to-day for that matter). But who does, really?


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