Monday, September 3, 2012

Staci-ism #4,576

Tonight. Oh tonight. I almost died tonight. Laughing, that is! My wonderful mama (Grandma E) came over to see me on my birthday and brought me an awesome gift (a brand new can opener!!! Don't smirk. If you had seen our old can opener in action, you'd be just as excited as I was about this new contraption--and some bucks to buy a new top!). She stayed for a while after dinner and played with Staci. Staci is in a book phase, happy to sit while you read her story after story after story after... you get the picture. They sat down to read 'Let's Go All Around the Neighborhood'. It's a cute little book from my childhood which I have fond memories of also reading with my mom. In this book, Susie and her mom spend the day running errands. Susie gets a new pair of red shoes, they go play at the park, and even get to have a special lunch at a restaurant. 

Grandma E is doing a great job of stopping every few words and letting Staci fill in the blanks. She has most of her books memorized and loves to help read. They get to a point where Susie and her mom go out to eat. I hear this exchange: 
Grandma E: Susie has a...
Staci: Hamburger!
Grandma E: with a....
Staci: pickle!!!
Grandma E: and a glass of...
Staci: WINE!!

And for the record, no. I do not let me 3 year old have wine at lunch time. Dinner time would be more appropriate for that! I kid, I kid. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One of my favorite things...

I L.O.V.E it when my girls play  nicely together, and even more so when they crack each other up. Something about little girl giggles echoing in my house gives me an almost indescribable feeling! The closest description I have is joy. This is a video of them playing a game they made up tonight after dinner. Love love love this SO much!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Olivia, 16 months old

Dear Olivia,
  You are 16 (and a half!) months old. You blow my mind with your vocabulary of words you understand, and the words you speak are becoming more and more clear every day. It's so much fun for us to watch you learn new things, and the recognition, pride and joy on your face when you realize what you've accomplished is priceless!
--You can sign more, please, milk, thank you, drink, and all done.
--You can say more, Daddy, Mama, door, book, ball, this, help, yeah, and no (no no no no nooooo! along with shaking your head and waving arms frantically). I am sure there are more that I am not
thinking of right now, but those are the ones you use the most frequently.

 --You rarely sit down for more than a minute or two. I tried to take you and your sister to see Brave, but you wore me out running up and down the movie theater aisles and I finally had to take outside the theater. Luckily, both Grandmas were also in attendance so Staci could still watch the end of the movie.

--One of my favorite sounds is when you and Staci are laughing together.
--You love to dance and twirl. You will turn your own music on and just dance around the living room. Or 'ask' for a dance party by going to the keyboard in our room and letting us know. I love it!

--You have started to like playing dressup. You will bring me the purple fairy costume or a tutu and say, "this! this!" and then happily step into it and run back to whatever you were playing with before.

--Your favorite foods are sausage and squeezy applesauce

--You still wake frequently at night but are finally beginning to let your mama sleep a little longer. Last night you were only up twice which was heavenly.

--You are still nursing between 6-8 times a day. Sometimes more, but probably never less than 6.

I just wanted to take a moment and write this all down before you changed again! Here is a mega-cute video of you and Staci twirling to music. Most of the time, when I ask you to give Staci a hug you grin and take off and tackle her, but this time you decided I was the one who needed a hug. It made Staci a little sad, but then she came in for a group hug so everyone was happy :) I love you miss Livi, and so your Daddy and sister!

Last night at bedtime...

Olivia went over to the guitar case and said, "Hep! Hep!" (help) while trying to get it down herself. It was her way of asking for music before bed, so this is what we did!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Best GF pizza dough ever

Posting here so I can remember my changes! I followed this recipe from Gluten Free Goddess. I changed a few things:

1) I only used 1/2 C tapioca flour, replaced the rest of the starch with 1 C arrowroot powder and 1/2 C potato starch.
2) I used egg replacer instead of eggs
3) I had to add more warm water to get the dough the correct consistency.
4) I don't have pizza pans so I used cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
5) After baking for 10 minutes, I brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic salt and baked a few more minutes.
6) spread 1 tsp of minced garlic (jarred) over each crust, then topped with BBQ sauce, BBQ chicken, onions and spices.
7) spices I used were: parsley, oregano, and chives. Finished with another sprinkle of garlic salt and baked another 10 minutes. A few minutes under the broiler crisped the top very nicely. And voila! Gluten free dairy free egg free BBQ chicken pizza that was to die for!!

Hide and Seek Staci

my little performer
Dear Anastasia,

So, I'm late with your Happy Birthday letter, and I want to apologize. I just want you to know I love you. So much it hurts sometimes. It brings tears to my eyes when you tell me you love me, or that Olivia is your best friend. I scolded you yesterday out of frustration and immediately felt bad. I apologized and said, "I'm sorry Staci. I shouldn't have said that to you." Effortlessly, you said, "it's okay, Mommy." You are hands down one of the most beautiful people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

We played a real game of hide and seek yesterday for the first time. We've hid from each other before but this was a REAL game. You covered your eyes and counted to ten, and then would exclaim, "ready or not, here I come!" and look around for me. Then, it would be my turn to cover my eyes and count and for you to hide. It was some of the most fun I've had playing a game with you so far, and I can't wait to do it again!

--You are wearing size 4T clothes
Staci and Mommy during ONT (Olivia Nap-Time)
--You give the best hugs in the history of ever
--You are passionate
--You excel at puzzles
--If you had things your way, you would only wear your 'swirly whirly dress'. You don't care if it's dirty.
--Favorite food: Sponge Bob squeezable applesauce
--Favorite show: Sponge Bob; I'm mean though and don't let you watch too much of it. It is seriously the most annoying TV show ever created.
--I love taking you to our neighborhood park. You have no fear and are so self-confident. You will walk right up to any kid and introduce yourself and play with them. It's one of my favorite things about you, your lack of 'shyness'.

cutie patootie

silly girl!
--You have been in swim lessons for 2 summers now, and have mastered floating on your back. You can sing the whole alphabet while you do it! You can also swim under the water and are *this* close to being able to roll over onto your back into a back float all by yourself. This mama is PROUD!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Staci's First Day of Preschool!

Today was Staci's first day of preschool. She did SO well and was such a big girl! There were a few tears at first but she quickly acclimated and started playing.  She made a new friend and held her hand all the way out of school to the parking lot--so cute! Her teacher said she did "remarkably well" but warned there probably will be some separation issues next week when we come back. She also noted how well she used her words. See, I told you she was a genius ;)

We started out the day with her 3 year well visit. She is 36 lbs (90%) and 38" (75%) and our doctor said she's doing great.

Thanks to her teacher Miss Teresa for taking pictures of the kids!

I can't believe she's big enough for preschool, but SO PROUD of my big girl.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas with Lime Cilantro Rice

I made dinner tonight and just kind of flew by the seat of my pants, using some recipes as a 'base' and changing a few things up to suit our tastes. It turned out GREAT! Good enough to share and, bonus, it is very food allergy friendly.

Game plan: Get the crockpot part going around noon to get it out of the way. Around 4:30 shred chicken, return it to the crockpot and then get the rice in the rice cooker (or in a pan on the stove). Then, mix up the tortillas and roll them out. I like to divide the dough into 8 parts all at once, then roll out the next tortilla while the first one is cooking in the pan, and so on. Making the tortillas only takes about 35 minutes and it's SO WORTH IT!

Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas (adapted from Skinny Crock Pot)
1 lb frozen chicken breasts
1 each yellow, red, and orange bell peppers, sliced into bite sized pieces (or whatever you have on hand. I only used 2 b/c that's what I had and it still turned out great)
1 yellow onion, sliced
3 Tbsp's taco seasoning mix (adapted from

My version of the taco seasoning mix: 
2 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp (rounded) garlic powder
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt

you will have a little seasoning left over, but not much.

***Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker. Cover with onion and peppers, then sprinkle the seasoning over the top. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8. I started mine on high for about 2 hours and then flipped over the chicken breasts and switched it to low. When the chicken breasts are cooked through and ready to be shredded, go ahead and shred them and return them to the crockpot. Continue to cook everything together for about an hour to allow the shredded chicken to re-absorb some of the juices. When ready to serve, sprinkle with a little leftover lime juice from the lime cilantro rice below.

Lime Cilantro Rice (adapted from Our Best Bites)
1 C white rice, cooked per package directions (I used my rice cooker)
2 Tbsp Earth Balance Coconut Spread
Lime juice, to taste
Large handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
sea salt

***Cook the rice. When it's done, stir in the coconut spread, lime juice and cilantro. Salt to taste.

I made these Homemade gluten free tortillas using the bob's red mill gf flour mix, and find that I do need to add a few extra teaspoons of flour to get the dough the right consistency to roll out. I divide the dough into 8 equal(ish) sections, roll into balls and place, one at a time, between two pieces of plastic wrap and roll out. I lightly coat the bottom piece of plastic wrap with a little flour. This method has worked well to get the tortillas as thin as possible without them sticking to the rolling pin and tearing.

I served this with  my favorite salsa and sliced avocado. It was seriously so good. You have to try it!!

I apologize that there are no pictures. It was all gone before I could take any!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Olivia's first birthday party!

We had a small low-key family gathering to celebrate Olivia's birthday today. I made cupcakes and we just hung out with family, ate a few snacks, sang happy birthday and opened presents. Olivia was a little skeptical when I first brought her downstairs from her nap, but warmed up after a little while and very much enjoyed hanging out with her cousins!


Gluten free/vegan cupcakes!

Big sister Staci

Pretty girl in her special birthday outfit!

mmmm cupcakes!  
Thanks to all the family who came and made today a memorable one!!

Happy Birthday Olivia


I can't believe you are one year old today! Looking back at the past year, it has been a mix of elation, sleep deprivation, and joy.  You need to know that your big sister loves you with every fiber of her being, and so do your parents. You should know your big sister helped Mommy pick out decorations for your party. As soon as I finish writing this I am going to bake your birthday cupcakes and finish putting up those decorations Staci chose.

3/3/12--with your birthday balloons!
Right at this moment, you are sitting by me 'reading' some board books and making a mess of the Curious George matching cards. You are extremely good at entertaining yourself, and that's lucky because your big sister can take all of my attention from time to time.

--you are in 12-18mo and 18mo clothing
--you are walking everywhere
--you have 7 teeth, soon to be 8
--when Staci turns music on to dance to, you will rock and dance, too. You also love it when I pick you up and dance with you.
--You take two naps a day, and wake up frequently at night.
--You're a champion eater. You are doing great with eating table foods and still nursing 10ish times a day.
--You love books and toys that play music
--Your favorite food, besides momma milk, is applesauce and bananas. I think sweet potato fries are pretty high on the 'like' list as well.
--You can sign 'milk', 'please', and 'more'. I am mostly sure you are also doing your own version of 'all done' while also saying it a la "ahhhDAH! ahhhhDAH!"
--You will hold up a book and say, " bbbbuuh! bbbbuuhhh!" but then you did the same thing for the balloons. So, no clear first words yet, but I'm keeping my ears open.

You are so much fun. I love you with all my heart. I love watching you grow and every new stage is always my 'favorite stage'. Your big sister says you are her best friend.  I hope you call each other your best friends for the rest of your lives.

Friday, March 2, 2012

allergy update

This blog has been neglected! Since the last time I updated, we received Max's IgG food panel as well as Staci's IgE food panels. For Max, he is also highly intolerant to gluten, sesame seeds and cranberries. My test results only showed sesame seeds and cranberries.

Staci's IgE food panel showed a level V reaction to peanuts on a scale of I-VI, 0 being the least reaction and VI the highest. When I spoke with the allergist she said Staci was so allergic to peanuts she should not even sit next to someone eating them. I am so thankful Staci's reaction when exposed, up to this point, has been immediate puking. I didn't realize the severity of her reaction. IgE means that we just don't know what her reaction to peanuts would be next time, and it's very possible it could be anaphylactic shock, which can quickly lead to... I can't even type it out. But let's just say my world would end and I would never get out of bed. Ever. So, we carry an epi-pen with us everywhere and have one in the medicine cabinet as well.

Her IgE food panel also came back at a level I for soy, wheat, and whole eggs. Very similar to what the IgG panel showed which I thought was really interesting. Because they showed a minor reaction, I was told to add soy to our elimination diet and to try reintroducing it once we are done and see how she does. I have never been so nervous about anything, ever. And I used to be a musical theatre major and have to get up and sing in front of LOTS of people. And my peers. By myself. So, that's saying a lot.

Olivia crawling through the 'cave'
We have been gluten free/egg free/dairy free/soy free/peanut free for almost 3 months now! It has been a learning experience for me but also very fun. Maybe that sounds crazy but I HAVE to look at it that way to survive. Honestly, I do.

I'll be sharing a list of my favorite blogs and recipes when I find the time! When I'm not cooking, I'm generally playing with my kids. Olivia loves crawling through the cave and then clapping for herself when she gets to the end! ;)

Olivia Walks!

Here, if you watch Olivia's right hand as she walks over to the Duplo's you can see her do her version of the sign for 'milk'. After she picks up a block, she pats her tummy with both hands. This is her version of the sign for 'please'. Staci finds this all really, super, amazingly hilarious!