15 out of 56

Well, we are 15 days (2+ weeks) into Delayed Intensification 2 which is 56 days long (8 weeks). This is the second to last stage before Maintenance. So far, Geli has had a Lumbar Puncture, one dose of Intrathecal Methotrexate (into her spinal fluid), one dose of Peg L-asparaginase divided into two shots (one in each thigh). She has had two doses of Vincristine and 2 doses of Methotrexate (both of those into her port in her chest).

ColoringShe has been doing pretty well. There have been some down times, some barfy feeling moments, and a lot of great moments. Some times the chemo makes food and water taste “off” and that sucks. Sometimes, it’s difficult to sleep and yet regardless of how much sleep Geli does get, she feels overly tired most of the time.

Her body is working overtime to heal and process the poison injected into it and she’s fighting so hard and most definitely winning this race.

Geli has been at school all last week, except for Thursday when she had to go in for her last chemo dose. She has no chemo this week and we are planning for another great week at school.

Sweet BoyAs her parents, we are thrilled to see her attending school, hanging out with her friends, just being as normal as is possible in this crazy situation.

She is working hard on her grade 8 school work and while she’s not done as much work as is required from her school mates, she’s done really well on keeping up to date with the essential assignments that her teachers have given to her.

Angelica and a friend scored a perfect mark on an oral presentation that they have been working on over the past month or so. That was definitely a bright spot over this last week.

We’ve been out walking most days and the exercise and fresh air are wonderful. You don’t realize how much you take your health for granted until you spend a huge portion of a year not feeling well and laying on a couch and then you realize that even a simple walk requires almost more effort than you have to give. BUT….summer’s coming and swimming is important Siah & Gelienough that we are trying to build up strength so that we will be able to swim without needing a life jacket or having to rest after 5 mins.

We are really, REALLY looking forward to summer. Angelica will be on Maintenance and we will be defining a new normal and this summer will be a most welcome break from this past year. I think that we are all looking forward to a bit of a relaxing summer.

I’ve been trying desperately to stay on top of the house and have been running at warp speed from morning till night and unfortunately most of the night too (thank you very much children). I’ve had almost no down time and I’m desperate for summer with no homework, a bit more of a relaxed schedule, once a month visits into the hospital, no deadlines……I can’t wait.

Snow DayWe have managed to turn our house up side down and I think its a good thing, BUT…..it’s not without it’s challenges. We did move our bedroom down to the basement along with the two little boys. Geli and Xani are up in what was the master bedroom. Jeremy is still is his room and we’ve moved the “TV/Rec Room” up to the big room that used to be Siah’s. I will try to get pictures soon, but so far this particular room arrangement is working well.

Xani is still struggling pretty hard and it’s difficult to watch her struggle and hurt.

Jeremy is rocking his Lego Root Camp and just being Jeremy. Recently, we tweaked the meds that he’s taking and it’s made a great difference.

ColoringJosiah is 3 years old and while the whiny voice and testing of behavior is not the most fun….he’s doing really well. I believe that he’s settled greatly from the initial chaos and while there are still things that we can and will work on with him….he’s doing SO much better. We’ve been trying to color a bit and he’s loves to spend one on one time with anyone. He stresses a bit about not knowing “how” to color and wants to have one of us color “with” him by putting our hand over his, but we keep practicing and he’s getting a bit more confident that he “can” color all by himself.

Judah is getting so big and I can hardly believe that 8 months have past us by. While I’m still not eating wheat (he seemed to have some gluten issues), soy or dairy….the intestinal issues that Judah was dealing with seem to have settled and he is doing much better. I have never really had a baby who has eating issues and yet, Judah is giving me a run for my money.

He will eat rice puffs or rice cakes or potato puffs any time any where, but try to give him some thing that might actually have taste or nutritional value in it and he clamps his lips and crosses his arms in front of his face and uses his arms in a windshield wiping motion to knock the spoon out of your hand.
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I’ve tried to see if he will feed himself and it’s very hit and miss and so I’m not stressing about it too much because I don’t want to “create” a HUGE issue. He’ll eat when he eats and seriously…..it’s not like he’s wasting away, eh? He’s quite the chunk!

He has the sweetest personality and is so happy and squish-able and lovable and we are just so thrilled he is ours. (I just wish he’d sleep a little more consistently – he can….it’s just very hit and miss and I think that more sleep would make this whole situation just a little easier to handle.)

All said, we are doing okay! I wouldn’t say that things are the MOST AMAZING EVER, but we are surviving. One day at a time, we are making it through this…….A lot of that is due to you and your prayers, encouragement, love and support……we are so thankful to you all.

Celebrating Late

It was my Momma’s Birthday on January 14th, and I missed it.

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My Mom and Dad

I didn’t completely forget about it, but I never got a hold of her to wish her a happy day and to let her know how much I love her. I thought of her a few times, and each time, i told myself that I’d call her as soon as i finished whatever it was that I was working on at that exact moment.

Then I woke up the next morning and MAN….I felt bad. But, she’s my momma and she loves me and she loves to celebrate life – any day, any time for any reason……and so it was all good!

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We asked my parents to come and have dinner with us this past Monday night.

I knew that we were going to have them over and yet for whatever reason (I’m going with lack of sleep) I totally zoned on the fact that we were having them over “for her birthday”. I can’t even believe this myself. I’ve dropped the ball on a lot of things lately. My brain just doesn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders these days, and that’s not so cool!

And that’s how I found myself at 3:30pm in the afternoon getting ready to think about make dinner (we were gonna eat at 5pm) and realizing that I had done NOTHING about a birthday cake. I didn’t even have a pie or muffin or anything made up that we could even just “pretend” was something “birthday” related.

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I quickly tried to think of a quick alternative. Normally, it might just be easy to pop to the store and pick up a cake or some other dessert, but with the different food issues, that’s not really an option for us.

And then I remembered, Udi’s Double Chocolate Muffins. These little beauties are Dairy, Egg, Soy and Gluten Free and…they are actually delicious. Most importantly, I could pick some up at both of my local grocery stores, IGA and Save On.

I figured that I could make some powdered sugar icing with my soy-free Earth Balance and some almond milk and at the very least, we’d have something to stick a candle in.

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It’s not the most beautiful birthday dessert that I’ve ever thrown together, but I was able to throw it together in less than 10 minutes and for a last minute rush job that takes a dairy, soy, egg and gluten free food issues into consideration, I think it’s pretty good.

We had some great family time and enjoyed celebrating life, and got to eat some yummy chocolate cake as a bonus.

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I sure love you, Momma! You are worth celebrating, EVERYDAY!

An Almost, Not Quite, Sort Of Normal Day

The baby is upstairs sleeping and seeing as he slept for a grand total of 10 minutes this morning as opposed to the hour he has been doing – I’m really REALLY hoping that he sleeps for a while….I’d love 2 hours to make up for the hour that he missed this morning, but even an hour would be AWESOME.

Josiah is quietly watching a movie while he snacks on his lunch.

Geli has actually gone to school. I was really nervous about that this morning, so I’ve done lots of praying for her. Her counts were just above the border of her being allowed to go to school and it’s so important that she believe that she “BELONGS” at school that we told her she needed to go. She is finally feeling better. The effects of the steroid have mostly worn off and aside from being tired because we’ve recently had a few too many late nights in a row…she’s doing pretty good.

My house is tidy and mostly clean, thanks to the help of an AMAZING woman.

I’m eating the MOST delicious oatmeal cookie and needing to write out a list of things that I absolutely MUST get done this week. That sounds all big and important, but really I need to write out a grocery list and a list of things that I can do to clean the house while holding the baby (in the sling)….ya know things like wiping the window sills or washing the windows, folding laundry….just easy stuff!

Okay back to those DELICIOUS cookies that I was talking about.

I had a craving for Oatmeal Cookies a while ago and while most Oats are “contaminated” (I dislike that word, it’s so “evil” sounding) with wheat, you can buy guaranteed gluten-free oats and so I did.

Oatmeal Cookies

I googled Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookie Recipes and read through many MANY links and decided to go with this recipe. (If you read my last few posts, I google quite a bit, if you haven’t noticed. It’s how I come up with the “base” of most of my recipes and get patterns and most of my other useless information. HA!)

I used the All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix from Gluten-free Girl and the Chef and then I started altering the recipe to suit me and my tastes. I only used 2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats and added in 1 cup of unsweetened coconut to make up the 3 cups. In place of the 1 cup of raisins, I substituted 1/2 a cup of cranberries and 1/2 a cup of these chocolate chips. I used Earth Balance Soy free Spread instead of the butter. I did use an egg because I put cranberries in them and that means and NO CHILD in my house will eat these because they have “raisin type food” in them. It was so very clever of me. I made the MOST DELICIOUS COOKIES and they are mine…..ALL MINE!

If my diet weren’t strict enough, I think that I’ve figured out which foods are bothering Judah and I believe……hopefully…..that he is now, actually, on a forward moving, positive trend. We’ve eliminated Gluten, Dairy and Soy….which basically leaves me with nothing left to eat. Okay, so that’s not true at all, but some days it feels like that and so I’ve consoled myself by having little treats like this around the house. I could totally make these cookies dairy, gluten, soy and egg free just by using Ener-G Egg Replacer, but for this batch, it wasn’t necessary – thanks to those pesky little cranberries. But, it’s worth giving up all those foods for my child’s health and if I’m being completely honest….I feel way better eating like this too. The soy is a bit difficult because I use it as flavor in my cooking and I LOVE miso soup, but I don’t believe that it will be gone forever….just until Judah is a bit healthier and his guts become a bit stronger.

Anyway, I made these one evening after the kids had all gone to bed and as soon as they came out of the oven, I tasted one and YUM!!!!! Then I sat down at the kitchen table and ate WAY TOO MANY. I dunked the warm cookies into a cold glass of Almond Milk! These are amazing and I’d serve these to anyone and they’d have no clue they were so altered.

These are not cookie substitutes….these are cookies…real, honest to goodness, chewy and crispy, delicious cookies.

If you have some food “issues”, these could be your next favorite cookie (if you like oatmeal cookies, that is) and if you don’t like raisins or cranberries…just increase the chocolate chips or the oatmeal or the coconut by half a cup.

Alright, I’m off to make my lists….

Christmas Eve

Last year, we had a Christmas Eve Fondue with Jon’s parents and my kids LOVED it.

In fact, this year in November Jeremy started asking about that thing that we do every year….with the sticks and the cheese and the chocolate and the dipping. I finally figured out that he was talking about our Christmas Eve Fondue only…..we had only ever done it with the kids ONCE.

But I would LOVE to start a tradition of a Christmas Eve Fondue.

This year we were unsure how the whole celebrating Christmas with the families was going to look because we had Angelica to think about and her blood counts to take into consideration. Fortunately, everyone on both sides of our family was healthy and there was no issue about that. We did stay at or close to home though and it was only immediate family.

Jon’s parents came to celebrate Christmas Eve with us and it was such a great evening. We were able to have dinner and open presents and there was nothing terribly stressful or horribly rushed about the evening. The biggest challenge was making a dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free fondue……….that tasted DELICIOUS. See, if I had used regular bread then when it was dipped into the cheese, it could have pieces that fell off and I could have eaten then and then bad things would have happened…and so it was necessary to make the entire fondue safe for everyone.

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But…a gluten-free, dairy-free fondue can be done and it can taste so SO YUMMY!

The first thing that I did was to call my friend who is the manager of a Cheese and Bake Shop in White Rock and ask for her suggestions for some cheese that I could use in a fondue that wasn’t from cow’s milk. She suggested I use a mellow Goat Gouda and a crisp tasting Sheep Cheese.

This is the same friend who shaved her head raising money to support our family. She is honestly the most amazing person and such a great, great friend. We’ve known each other our whole lives and I love her like a sister. In fact, when we went by the store to pick up the cheese, we had someone ask if we were sisters. If you saw pictures of her, you’d know that was a great compliment. She has the most gorgeous HUGE blue eyes, the highest cheekbones and the greatest, most amazing smile. She is one of those people who are beautiful, both inside and out.

Anyway, she suggested that we try these two cheeses and the end result was AMAZING! It was a fabulous non-cow dairy cheese fondue and EVERYONE loved it and it was the perfect blend of cheese and had absolutely NONE of that nasty “goaty” taste.

If you are needing some cheese or fresh bread or any treats to go with cheese or fresh bread, I would totally suggest you check them out. Amazing products, Amazing staff and the management is…….AMAZING!!!!

The Roadhouse Bake Shoppe on King George in White Rock, BC

Back to Christmas Eve….the Cheese fondue was so SO Yummy! We had a bit of trouble with the oil fondue not being hot enough and we had even started it heating about an hour earlier, but while we were waiting for it get a bit hotter, everyone was downing the cheese fondue. I had bought some gluten and dairy free bagels and had cut them up into hunks. It was perfect for dipping. I had blanched a bunch of veggies and the kids were plowing through them too. I had cut up some moose meat and some chicken and also had some tempura sauce on hand but that stupid oil just wouldn’t get hot enough.

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We had eaten more than half of the cheese and Jon was turning the burner off so it wouldn’t burn to the bottom of the dish and CRACK….the dish broke….and that was the end of our cheese fondue.

Nana & Papa

It wasn’t exactly funny at the time….more annoying than amusing. The oil still wasn’t boiling and so I just took the meat to the kitchen and cooked in a pan and then we finished off our dinner.

It was just nice to be able to “be together”….that’s one of the important things about Christmas to me….having time to spend with family.

We cleared off the table and got to the “most important part of the meal” – according to Jeremy – the Chocolate Fondue.

There is a (dairy-free) Lindt Dark Chocolate that when mixed with a little soy creamer, makes the most delicious dairy free chocolate fondue. I have taken it to many places and no one ever knows or guesses that it’s not just a normal chocolate fondue.

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Josiah gives it two thumbs up. We had TONS of fruit and also dipped some cookies into it. We ate until there was no more chocolate and everyone was full.

We cleared the table and started opening presents.

There were the “traditional” Christmas Pyjamas from Momma and Daddy.

Posing

For whatever reason, Jeremy needed to model his…both the front and the back…..and we HAD to take a picture…what a funny kid.

Modeling the back

The evening ran WAY PAST the kids “normal” bedtime and Judah was a bit cranky which is never very fun.

Tired and Grouchy

But, He seemed to get a second wind and cruised on for at least another hour.

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It was a great night and we enjoyed ourselves so much. After the kids went to sleep, e tidied up the house, put the presents under the tree and just after 1 am, just as we were getting ready to head to bed – the baby woke up…..and I cried. Okay, i didn’t, but I could have….and he did just nurse and go back to sleep so it wasn’t that bad.

In my mind though, Christmas Eve was a great night. Lack of sleep, food mess-ups and all…..

Do you have any favorite Christmas Eve traditions?

Feeding on Creativity

That post last night comes pretty close to the worst post I’ve written yet. It’s so disjointed, and really has no point, and look….hey…..cookies.

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My coffee table at this exact moment. What does it say to you about me?

In my defense it was late, I had just made way too many fussy cookies, I was watching a show and chatting with Jon about something or other……all the while dreaming about my bed.

See, I probably should have just gone to bed early again, but I’d been in bed and sleeping the previous 3 nights at 9pm and seeing as we “get things done” after the kids go to bed, I’ve been feeling pretty useless and like I’ve accomplished NOTHING. And so I chose to stay up and “get some things done” and posting was on that list.

But, hey, we’ll just go with the fact that I was able to cross one thing off my list. Sometimes, it can be about quantity and not quality, right?

Even I don’t believe that. I’m much more of a quality over quantity type person, myself…..most of the time.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. Not in a bad way, more that I’ve got a lot of thoughts inside my head and I’ve not had enough opportunity to get them all out of me.

I love to be creative. I love to make things. I love to find things to make my life and my family’s lives more healthy and more beautiful, and easier and more enjoyable and if I can do so in a simple manner, then I get even more excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to find the energy or the time to be creative. Recently, I’ve been feeling antsy to be able to make and create and while I think this is a good thing…….. with the chemotherapy, and 5 kids and the back load of stress, it’s a little frustrating and has me wondering if I’m just trying to “escape” from things.

I think that it’s important to do things that “feed” you and over the past 5 months, there’s not been too much time or energy for that, and so I’m trying to make sure that I allow myself some time for things that “feed” me and at the same time I’m trying to make sure that it doesn’t become all consuming.

So far, I’m able to work on some things and then put them aside when I need to focus on the kids and family and then to be able to pick them up again. I feel…..well, as corny as it sounds, I feel more alive. I’m excited to try to accomplish as many of my daily chores and tasks in a decent amount of time, but then to be able to stop and give myself a few moments to be creative. I’m trying to find the balance in all this chaos. Most of the time, it’s easier said than done.

But, with Christmas coming up and gifts to be given…….I’ve chosen to work on gifts to give and I’m pretty excited about some of the ideas that I’ve come up with. Some are old ideas, and some are new, but I get to be creative and so for me……it’s fun!

I love to be able to see what other people make and do. I love to look things that others make because I am always trying to see if I can come up with ideas that I can tweak to be able to make things. I like to be able to use things that I have or that I can obtain easily, so I’m constantly on the lookout for new ideas that are fairly simple. I like simple. I’m not so big into complicated. But I guess that’s all relative, isn’t it? What might be simple for you might be very difficult for me. We are all so individual and each of us have our own unique giftings and skills. That’s what makes this world an amazing place.

Some of the things I’ve made I can share and some I have to keep a secret, but I’m hoping to share a few of my ideas over the next little while and then maybe you can tweak my ideas and use them to create things of your own to give or to keep.

ps. those jam thumbprint cookies in the photo above – gluten, dairy and egg free. I used this recipe and used Vegan Becel instead of butter and Ener-G Egg Replacer instead of eggs. I also added about 3 more Tablespoons of Rice Flour than they called for as the Vegan Becel makes the dough a little oil-ier than normal cookie dough. Try them, they are amazing. Almost like shortbread.

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Things have been busy over here in so many different areas.

I keep thinking that I’ll have a moment to update what going on and instead I’ve ended up with a backlog of things to write about and new things just keep on happening. That’s life isn’t it? It just keeps moving forward at a steady, predictable rate; even if you desperately want it to slow down and especially if you want it to speed up.

Homemade Oreo Cookies

In case things weren’t already crazy enough, I’ve recently needed to remove gluten from my diet. I mentioned a while ago that Judah was having some gastro-intestinal issues. Removing dairy seemed to help a little and yet it really didn’t help like I thought it would. When I went to the doctor, it seems that his issues are dairy, gluten and yeast related and we are trying to figure out if this is a short term deal or a much more serious situation.

It’s been just over a week since I removed the gluten and while things are not great, they do seem to be a little bit better. Judah seems to be in less pain and that’s a huge deal for me.

I found this recipe for gluten-free Oreo cookies and figured that I’d attempt to alter it to make it dairy-free and egg-free. I baked up a batch tonight and it’s amazing.

Jon figures that they are good enough that you’d never know that they were dairy, egg and gluten-free. They are sooooo yummy and I know the kids are going to flip when they wake up in the morning.

Angelica is starting the 4th stage of the chemotherapy tomorrow morning. She went and got blood work done this morning and when her counts came back this afternoon….they were FABULOUS!

We were hoping that they would be high for the start of this round and they are, especially compared to how low they were last week. They are low for normal, but high for Geli.

Xani has been quite sick over the past week. It was almost like the flu but with no barfing or fever…….she’s had a headache, sore muscles, an all over achy feeling, runny nose, cough, and I think that she’s finally, slowly, on the mend.

Jeremy turned 10 years old yesterday and I’ve got a bunch of stuff to update on him.

Siah has not been sleeping very well and as a result, he’s been a bit of a goofball during the day. Lots of tears and whining and fussing and moaning and screaming….it’s a bit wearing. And I’d love to say that I have some great ideas and plans of what to do with him to work through this rough patch, but….ya…..nope! Nothing! I’m not sure if I’m too tired to come up with something or maybe I need to be just a little bit tired before “it” comes to me. I dunno, but I’m sure we’ll figure something out or maybe he’ll grow out of it all before I have to come up with something.

Christmas is coming and I’ve been baking (gluten-free, of course) and we’re trying to get things ready so that things will be peaceful and calm. I can at least hope for peace and calm, right?

I’m hoping to find a few moments to be able to get a few things caught up on here (and in real life). Should we take bets on whether it will actually happen or not????

Ah well. Life keeps moving along and I keep on moving with it, whether I like it or not.

It’s all about the Chocolate, Baby!

Living with food allergies can be difficult at times but it’s not the end of the world. Yes, there are definite challenges, but we manage work within the limitations and still live and eat amazingly.

Any effort that we have to go through is SO worth the vibrant health that we get to experience….ya know, minus that whole cancer thing….ummmmm, yah moving on….

Siah has an egg and dairy allergy and to look at him, you would never know that he has allergies. He doesn’t have dark circles and bags under his eyes or eczema on his skin. He is almost never sick and never seems to have “bowel issues”…trying to be subtle here. He is one healthy little boy.

In this picture, if you look, you can see all the little scratch marks on his face. He would claw himself all day and all night because his skin was bothering him so bad….I had already eliminated dairy from my diet at this point

Making a Funny face when talked to.

In this picture, you can see some of the eczema on his face. I remember when I saw this picture I was so excited, because he looked SO AMAZING. He was starting to heal at this point. At it’s worst, he was an oozing mess all over the top of his head, down his forehead, into his eyes and all over his cheeks and chin. It was horrible.

'Siah and Me

The rest of us, don’t eat dairy because it does not agree with us. It’s not an allergy like Siah, but more of an intolerance. When he eats dairy, he gets sick with vomiting and diarrhea and has eczema and it’s nasty. The rest of us might get bloated, or have tummy aches, headaches, or might just feel “off” or “icky” and most of the time, it’s just not worth it, especially when there are so many amazing tasting substitutes.

One thing that I’ve tried to do ever since we found out about Siah’s allergies is to make life as normal as possible. We eat ice cream, and pizza and have chocolate and pretty much anything that we want to eat…..we eat. I’ve just found dairy and egg free substitutes.

Special days like Valentines and Easter and Christmas can be difficult, but I’ve tried very hard to not have my kids feel like they’ve been denied “normal” while keeping things safe for everyone.

With the Christmas season comes Chocolate Advent Calendar’s and in past years, I’ve done many different things, from creating envelopes with different “things” to do or eat. I’ve put Jelly Beans into an Advent Calendar and that’s worked, but the best thing that I’ve done is to just “alter” the advent calendar’s so that they are dairy free.

First thing to do…..Get your Calendar and slice open the flap at the back, trying not to destroy the flap because you’ll want to seal it up again when you’re all done.

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You’ll need to open it carefully and pull out that tray that’s inside. It might be glued to the cardboard and so you’ll have to carefully pull it apart and away from the box in order to get it out.

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Then you’ll need to dump out all the original chocolates, and dispose of the original’s….I had 2 big girls that were willing to deal with a bit of an upset tummy to be able to eat the chocolates.

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Then you need to get yourself a dairy-free chocolate bar. This particular one is from Super store. You can find dark chocolate that has no dairy in it if you search and read a million labels. This one is great because it doesn’t taste too dark and bitter and *the bonus in my eyes* it has almonds in it. YUM!

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Break it into hunks and melt it down. I used about half the bar and melted it in the microwave for about a minute and a half.

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I used a spoon to drop the melted chocolate into the plastic try.

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You take your completed tray and pop it in the freezer to set the chocolate. It only takes a few minutes to set it enough to continue on with this whole ordeal.

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While you are waiting, you could clean up the dishes that you’ve used, or just use the time to finish up any of the leftover chocolate…..MMMMMMM Chocolate!

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After a few minutes, the chocolate is set enough to carry on. I pulled out my glue gun and heated it up and glued a few strips on the tray…..this will help the tray to stick to the box and then all the chocolates won’t fall out or slide all over the place.

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You have to work quite quickly here because you want to get the tray back into the box before the glue cools and hardens….so slide it back into the box and you’ve got to make sure that it’s facing the right direction….one way it lines up with all the little doors and the other way it doesn’t….I’ve learned the hard way. Not fun!

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You can just press on it gently to make sure that the glue is stuck to the box…

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This picture has nothing to do with anything….I just think he’s very cute and he was sitting watching me with this “What the heck are you doing?” look……

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Flip the box over and run a strip of glue along the back flap

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and then seal that sucker up…..My 2 big girl helpers managed to shred the top of this flap and so it required a little extra lovin’ to get it sealed up properly.

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Here are the calendar’s waiting for the kids to open them.

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Opening the special Dairy-Free Christmas Calendar that is totally safe for him……

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Everybody is excited about chocolate….

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These two have almost the same hair-do…

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I think he approves….

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These pictures would be so much cuter if he didn’t have that giant booger in his nostril…Oh Well…just keeping it real. I wonder if I coulda photo-shopped that sucker outta there….yah probably, oh well…..

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Definately a happy boy with his “daiwy-fwee chawclut”…….

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Even the older ones still get excited about their chocolate calendar’s….

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I love having my kids be able to participate safely in some of the treats and special things in life, and any extra effort that it might take to make this happen is SO worth it, to me.

Maple Taffy

So it’s been snowing ALL DAY and the kids came straight home from school today and I’ve not seen them inside yet….

I was trying to think up a fun snack for them and I wondered if it would be easy to make maple taffy and really….it couldn’t be easier.

You need real maple syrup and snow.

Okay, you need to boil the maple syrup first, but really that’s not difficult. Most of the articles that I read mentioned a need for a candy thermometer but I just winged it and VOILA…….

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You boil the maple syrup for a while. It needs to get over 260 degrees Fahrenheit and it needs to thicken up a little, so I probably boiled it for about 10 mins.

Then I took my pot outside and found some clean snow and using a spoon, drizzled some onto the snow. Then I called Jeremy over and asked him to eat some of my yellow snow – which he emphatically declined….until I mentioned that it was maple candy.

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Here it is in the snow….

And after a few seconds….it comes out more solid, like this…..

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And after you’ve taken a big, chewy bite, it looks more like this…

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It’s chewy like toffee but tastes like maple syrup. So Delicious and so easy.

Have you made this before? Am I just really behind the times?

(part 2 of “Getting away from it all” coming soon)

Start of Another Week

Time just keeps moving forward and I find myself frustrated at all the things that I want to do that I never accomplish.

I’m doing lots, but I still feel like I’m running from behind trying to catch up. I “HATE” that feeling of not ever getting things done, but it seems to be the “norm” around here these days.

A little while ago, (I’d guess at a week ago, but I think it was even further ago than that) Geli’s friend came over to hang out and her Mom had picked up both the girls from school and dropped them off at our house.

When she came, she brought the MOST delicious Vegan Fudge Brownies….

I wish I had gotten a picture of them, but they were so good that we pretty much devoured them before I even thought to snap a photo of them and then I was just to lazy and tired to snap a picture of the remaining few pieces after we had all gorged ourselves on the delicious treat.

Siah was particularly thrilled and kept coming back asking for more and more and more.

The next morning we woke up and came downstairs and this was the sight that greeted us…

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He had come downstairs first thing in the morning and found the tinfoil that had been covering the brownies…

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It was SOOOOO delicious that he had to scrape every last lick from the tin foil…..

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Such a silly little boy, but it really was very delicious and we were so thankful to have been blessed like that.

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Siah Safe

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to cook and bake. Often it’s a challenge to work with Siah’s Allergies and “the way we eat” and come up with food that looks and tastes as delicious as “regular, normal” food. It’s regular and normal for us, but I’d like to be able to serve it to you and have you not notice the difference. I also don’t want to always have to give Siah something different from the rest of us. It’s important to me that he understands that he needs to be careful when he goes out, but that here in our home, he never has to worry or feel “different” or “strange”. It’s a challenge that I’m usually up to, but in the past few months, I’ve not done a ton of baking and I’ve mostly stuck to our regular go-to meals.

But recently, I’ve been thinking about Chicken Lasagna.

My Aunty Lori makes an amazing Chicken Lasagna. Although I’ve never had “her” Chicken Lasagna, my dad had “her” lasagna (when visiting them in the Great White North – they live in the boonies.) and loved it so much that he asked her for the recipe. He’s made it a few times and MMMMmmmmmm – YUMMY! It’s a Tomatoe based Lasagna.

I asked for the recipe a bit ago and my mom even printed it off for me, but the paper got wet and then Siah destroyed it…so I still need to get it, because it’s one of Geli’s favorites and apparently, I “wreck” my lasagnas because I put too many veggies into them.

I’ve also tried a few times to make a White Cheese Sauce based Chicken Lasagna, but according to my kids…..I’ve had some “interesting” but not horrible results and yet nothing that was FABULOUS – until yesterday…….

Hungry

I made a lasagna yesterday “based” on this recipe….with substitutions and additions, of course.

With the dietary restrictions and lifestyle choices that we have/have made, I pretty much “always” alter recipes and mostly, I have pretty great results. In this recipe, I use brown rice lasagna noodles, vegan Becel for the butter, Spelt Flour, Soy Milk, Goat Mozzarella, a hard Sheep Cheese for the Parmesan, Cheuvre for the Ricotta, and just because I know my kids preferences, I used carrots and zucchini instead of spinach. It was sooo YUMMY!

Cheesy Chicken Lasagna

I love it when I find a “traditional meal” that I can alter to fit in with the allergies and intolerances within our family. In fact, It was yummy enough that I bet I could have fed it to you and you’d have never known it was “different” or “altered”.

You can’t very well have a delicious meal like that without dessert, can you?

Well, we don’t hardly EVER have dessert, but we do like snacks. This past week, a wonderful lady brought us a meal and included with the meal were the most amazing double Chocolate Chip Cookies. Like a pig, I devoured We finished what was brought, and then they were so delicious that I we wanted more.

I’m not sure if the cookies we were given were dairy and egg free, BUT…..no worries because they never lasted long enough for Siah to know that they were even in the house I found a recipe and made some unbelievably delicious Double Chocolate Chip Cookies that even Siah can eat.

Again, with the substitutes….I used Spelt Flour, Vegan Becel, Ener-G Egg Replacer, and President’s Choice Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chipits (these chipits have no dairy. MMMmmm). These are AMAZING!

Double Chocolate Cookies

There is no way that these could be considered “healthy”, but at the very least, they won’t upset our tummies, and Siah can eat them without us worrying about his allergies.