The Butterflies Flutterby

For Christmas, Jeremy gave one of his sisters and 3 of his cousins, a whole bunch of butterflies.

…Paper Butterflies, to be exact!

This is another inexpensive gift, and once you have the tools… can make this gift for any number of people that you know that might enjoy them….


We had a small butterfly paper punch and I took another 40% off coupon to Michaels (Don’t go shopping there without one. You can google for one and print it out yourself.) and bought a large butterfly punch. I think that it was originally about $23 and with the coupon, I paid about $14. I had Scrap booking paper at home but in the pictures that you see here…..I actually used some paint chips from Home Depot that I got for free.

Angelica hasn’t put up the color co-ordinated butterflies that Jeremy gave her yet. (Disclaimer: I very quickly and with out too much thought threw these butterflies up on Xandra’s wall before Christmas time – this was actually the “idea” behind Jeremy giving the “wall decorating butterflies” as gifts. In the future, I would probably take a bit more time to place them better, but I was rushing and basically just threw them up therel.)


I think that we need a little back story to go along with this post…..

Angelica and Alexandra were sharing the rec room in the basement as their bedroom when Angelica was diagnosed with Leukemia. After spending the month in the hospital with either her mom or her dad, Angelica was feeling the need to be closer to us. Jon and I and the boys have the rooms on the top floor. Xani had been staying up on the top floor with us while Geli and Jon were in the hospital and so it seemed like the right thing to do, to re-arrange the rooms so that Geli and Xani could be upstairs and close to us.

This was a very good move. Geli was SO sick and needed to be close to us and Xani really needed to be close to us as well. We got a bunk bed and moved the girls into the room that we had been using as the TV/office room. The boys stayed in their room and Jon and I stayed in our room with Judah. 7 people in 3 rooms. Hah! It was awesome.

Angelica has been feeling the need for some space recently and has been feeling independent and strong enough to want her own room. We finally moved her down stairs into one third of the rec room. The TV is in the middle third and Xani is behind some bookshelves in the final third. So, the 2 girls have their own spaces and they are loving it. We have placed a monitor down in the hallway close to the bathroom and the girls rooms and so if they need us in the middle of the night, they just have to call and we can come running.

Wouldn’t you know it that since we’ve moved the girls down there, we’ve not needed it…..until a couple of nights ago and for whatever reason, the receiver up in our room was turned off. Angelica was having a bad night coming off of the steroid and was in so much pain and we couldn’t even hear her to go to her to help her. Finally Xandra woke up and came up to get us. Now we make sure that it’s on before we go to sleep at night.


We’ve moved Jeremy into the room that the girls had been in and now he finally has his own space which is HUGE thing for him right now. In the last while, he was getting quite frustrated sharing a room with his 3 year old brother who is struggling with the whole “respect your siblings property” concept. We are working with him on that one….it’s not exactly a quick learn. Not Fun!

We are still unsettled on what exactly we are going to do with Josiah and his big bedroom; and Judah is not quite ready to move into a room with Josiah and so for now…..Josiah has a HUGE room to himself, while Jon, Judah and I share the master bedroom, and……we’re all okay right now.

Okay….back to Xani’s space/room.

There is a horrible wall paper border down in the rec room (see photos above) AND the walls are painted a really nasty putty color AND….it’s kinda dark and icky down there.


I went to Home Depot the other day because I was dreaming about painting different rooms in our house. I have absolutely no energy or time or ability to be painting rooms (at this point in our lives) and yet the fact that I was even dreaming about what I might like to do in the future…..pretty amazing. I picked up a bunch of paint chips to see how the different colors looked in the different rooms and to see which of the colors we all liked.

I sat down at the table one evening and punched a bunch of butterflies from the paint chips. I put a pop dot on the back of each butterfly and then took them down stairs and stuck them on Xani’s wall. I was just hoping to brighten up the drab-ness of her space a little. After I got the few that I had, punched out and stuck on the wall – I ran upstairs to punch butterflies out of the rest of the paint chips. It is just a hodge-podge of color.

Xani was away when I did this and was thrilled when I came back. One day when we do get the rec room done the way that we would like it to be, I’ll probably punch out a bunch more that are color co-ordinated to a color palette that she chooses, but for now….there’s just a little bit more color in an other wise very un-colorful corner.


Depending on whether or not you had paper at home to use or had to buy some…or if you went and picked up some big paint chips….this is a fairly inexpensive gift and one that is easy to make and do, even for younger kids to help with.

To make this craft idea, you would need:

– Paper (card stock or heavy gauge paper works best)
– Pop dots (or some other raised double sided adhesive)
– Paper Punch (we went with butterflies but I saw a really cute elephant and I also think that different size circles as polka dots would be SO CUTE, too.)

Jeremy and I worked together punching out the butterflies and attaching the pop-dots. We put together sets of 120 small and big butterflies and packaged them as gifts. Jeremy even made origami boxes for them to be given in. I wish I had thought to take a picture. They were so cute and so very much, from Jeremy. He LOVES origami. Anyway, I think there are about 70-ish butterflies in those pictures (above) from Xani’s walls.

In all of my dreaming…..I was dreaming about painting my laundry room a bright cheery yellow color and I would LOVE to put a bunch of white butterflies on the wall to brighten up my teeny, tiny dismal little laundry room. It’s one of those things that I am looking forward to for the future, and knowing that I can just punch them out when I want them, is so much fun!

Do you have any craft ideas for decorating your house or place or work space or even just ideas that you are looking forward to using in the future? I’d love to hear some of our favorite ideas.

Siah’s Gifts for the Babies

Josiah received a bit of help with his gifts…

Well, honestly, I wanted to be able to give these to the babies and Jon and I worked on them together and in an effort to make things as easy as possible – we gave them to Siah to give to the babies.

He helped to play with them before hand and also to wrap them up and well……that counts doesn’t it?

This year, it counts! It just does.


I bought a wooden teething toy for Josiah when he was a baby. I loved that it was all natural. These are made from Maple and are finished with Flaxseed Oil.


There are tons of these wooden teethers available for purchase on the internet and I wondered if we would be able to re-create some for ourselves.


We purchased a piece of hardwood and decided which designs that we wanted to create and Jon started cutting.


I love this hippo. I think he’s absolutely adorable. I have been trying to come up with an elephant design as I LOVE elephants and I’d love to be able to design the cutest elephant. I just don’t want it to have too many small pointy or sharp(ish) edges.


I also love these guitar’s.


Which design is your favorite? They were so much fun to make and I will definitely be giving these out as gifts in the future.

I love that the babies get a kick out of sucking and chewing on these, but a bonus surprise has been that Xandra and her cousins have enjoyed playing with the camera & keys; and that Josiah has loved playing with these also. I love the fact that they are using their imaginations to play with these. I also love that they are being used my children from infancy through to 12 years old. I’m wanting to make more wooden toys to encourage them in creative and imaginative play.

This gift was a lot of fun to create and even more fun to give.

Christmas Morning

For all of the ups and downs that this year brought, Christmas was so amazing.

I’m so aware of all that we “have” as a family, in having each other and I’m so thankful that we were all together to share our love between each other.

The baby was the first one to wake up. He started hollering for some attention at 6:40am. I was pleasantly surprised to see that none of the other kids were awake. Last year, none of the kids woke up before 7am and so it wasn’t completely out of the ordinary, but all the memories I have of Christmas morning, involve insanely early hours of waiting and waiting and waiting. I’m thrilled that my kids “sleep in” but think it’s a little abnormal, no?

Anyhow, we managed to get in a diaper change and a nursing session before Xandra came up stairs at 7:20am wondering if she was allowed to wake up the other kids and get their stockings.

Josiah wandered into our room moments after Xani and then she went and woke Jeremy up. The three older kids headed downstairs to get their stockings.

We had decided to let Geli sleep in, if she could, as sleep is a precious, but fleeting commodity for her, these days. The steroid that she’s on has the ability to mess, horribly, with her sleep and so if she can sleep….we let her. Cause another side effect of the steroid is moodiness and if you combine moodiness with sleeplessness….well, it’s just not a pretty picture. Add in 2-3 loud noisy children who make repetitive and often annoying noises and you have an AWESOME recipe for some serious meltdowns….and so the plan was to let her sleep in. Unfortunately, Geli had been awake every half and hour since 3am and was so tired but just couldn’t sleep. It’s so hard when things like this happen, because there is not much we can do. And we’re left to sit beside her, watching her suffer.

Opening Stockings

The kids spread themselves all over the floor and went to work on their stockings. The squeals and giggles indicating that they were fully enjoying themselves.

Finger Trap

This was Judah’s first Christmas and while he’s a little young to understand what’s going on, he totally enjoyed watching the joyous chaos that surrounded him.

Just Watching

Josiah is showing off the onion that he found in his stocking. In my family, we always got a carrot, or potato or onion in our stocking. It was always funny to be searching through your stocking and to come across this totally-out-of-place item.

Traditional Veggie in the Stocking

This year, my dad explained the background behind the veggie in the stocking. Apparently when he was a little boy, finances were tight and his mom used the veggie as a stocking filler and he carried the tradition on with his family. We never knew this growing up. All we knew was that it was hilarious to find a potato in the toe of our stocking on Christmas morning.

After the kids finish with their stockings, we make them freshen up a bit by brushing their teeth, combing hair and putting on clothes but this year I was a little lenient with the “go and put daytime clothes on” rule. Then, we have breakfast together. The kids love and want to eat those little tiny boxes of cereal. We normally set the table up really fancy and have a nice family breakfast. This year we didn’t go quite so fancy. It was a more relaxed, laid back morning and that was nice too.

Eating Breakfast

Jon and Geli were just taking it easy. I’m so proud of this beautiful, young woman. She is walking through a horrific journey with grace and courage and strength.

Geli & Jon

While Jon and the kids had sugar cereal. I ate the most disgusting gluten free cinnamon bun. It wasn’t that it was even that gross tasting, but that it had the consistency of cardboard. Cardboard drenched in sugary icing. BLECH! Judah was LOVING his pears with cocoa powder.

MMMMMmm Breakfast

While we cleaned up from Breakfast, Jeremy had a quiet moment and if you know him at all you’ll understand why this particular event is worth mentioning and posting a photo of.

Quiet Moments

Finally, it was time to “OPEN PRESENTS”. The kids all find themselves a “spot” that the designate as theirs.

Getting Ready

And then Jon passes the gifts out.

Jon passing out Gifts

This year, Jeremy was SOOOOOO excited about the gift that he was giving to Jon and he wanted Jon to open it right away.

Jon's Present

Jon unwrapped and unwrapped and unwrapped and unwrapped and soon there was a HUGE pile of paper at his feet. Finally, that HUGE present turned into….

It's a Book!

While Jon passed out presents and I snapped pictures, we used the BEST hands free device EVER. We put the Baby into a box….

Baby in a Box

Doesn’t everyone do this???? For baby’s that aren’t quite sitting steadily on their own…..He “can” sit, but often wobbles from side to side (and falls over). This Rubbermaid bin keeps him sitting, makes sure he doesn’t tip over, and all his toys are within arms reach inside the box. It’s GENIUS as far as I’m concerned.

We even gave him a present to open…

What's This

He wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it at first, but very quickly he figured out exactly what it was for……

Who Cares. I got Ribbon

And Man….was that ribbon ever delicious!


Thanks to the generosity of some amazing people our children were so SO blessed this year. (more about that to come in an upcoming post)


Josiah was given this sweet baseball cap and he looks so adorable, doesn’t he?

Cool Dude Hat

This was such a fabulous Christmas and we were and are so blessed.


I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. We are so thankful for health and life and the blessings of each other and of all you wonderful people in our lives.

If you don’t mind sharing, what was the best part of your Christmas Day?

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle

I spent a few moments yesterday going through my Christmas Cards and hacking them all up before I got rid of them.

I’m one of those people who don’t keep Christmas Cards, in fact – I will probably start to put all of my Christmas decorations away today. I like to set the decorations up a month before Christmas and then celebrate until Christmas rolls around and then as soon as Christmas is over, I’m ready to pack it all away.

This is not to say that I wasn’t so thankful for your Christmas Cards. This year, more than ever, I needed the cards as a reminder that I wasn’t alone. I have so much more to say on that topic, but not is this post….it deserves a post all on it’s own. I hung the cards through my venetian blinds and looked at them every day. Thank you to everyone who sent me one. It meant so much to me and that made it even more difficult than normal to just get rid of them….which is why I was so happy to put them to good use….

Earlier this year, I used a 40% off coupon from Michaels and bought a gift tag punch. I think this punch normally sells for anywhere from $15 – 20 and with the coupon, it is considerably cheaper. It’s great because you can use it year round for gifts and also for scrap booking. I will never buy gift tags again.

All through the month of December I kept looking at my Christmas Cards and thinking about how beautiful they were and how it’s sad to just look at them and then to get rid of them. I know I could keep them, but I have this thing about storing stuff. I just don’t like to. I’m not a pack rat. I keep a very few, select, sentimental things and the rest -I get rid of.

But, I was so excited when I realized that I could totally re-use those Christmas Cards and be “green” about it all.


1. I was able to reduce the amount of material that I was going to dispose of.

2. I was able re-use the cards to make pretty gift tags for use next Christmas and even some that I can use on regular (not holiday) gifts.

3. I recycled the rest of the cards.

Some of the tags are “good” on both sides and I can use a hole punch and tie a ribbon through those to attach to a gift. There are some that have writing on the back side of them and I think that I’ll just use tape or pop dots to stick those to the gifts so that the “underside” doesn’t show.

Paper punches are a great tool to have. Especially one’s like this that are so functional.

I will just pack the Christmas Gift Tags in an envelope along with the rest of my Christmas Wrapping Paper and Decorations. Then next year – Voila! Christmas Gift tags and I get to remember all your love again.

Speaking of gift tags – I had a moment this Christmas where I was wrapping presents and I had run out of pre-made gift tags. We had a a set of gift tags that had come from the Cancer Society and I figured that I might as well use them up. You know the kind….the little rectangle ones that are about 3/4 inch by 2.5 inches and they have a small picture of some Christmas wreath or candy cane or snowman or snowflake… you know what I’m talking about?

Well, I was sitting there wrapping presents and I picked up one of these tags to use and I had a great memory of my Grandma Kennedy. She ALWAYS used those little tags and my mind flashed back to an image of her living room with her Christmas Tree with the tinsel that was perfectly placed on the tree one strand at a time and all her fragile old Christmas ornaments. I have some of them hanging on my tree now. I remember wrapped presents with tags placed on perfectly in the corners. My grandma was very precise in everything that she did. I’ve been told that I’m a bit like her sometimes. I remember her handwriting and for a brief moment I wondered if I had a tag from one of her presents upstairs in my memory box. Something that I could hold on to and look at and remember. The memory came flooding in so fast and then I was left wanting more. I’ve replayed that memory more than a dozen times over the past 2 weeks. My Grandma died when Jeremy was 6 months old (he’s 10 now) and I often think of her when I’m dealing with my boys and wonder what she would have done. She had 4 boys and raised them all to be amazing, wonderful men. I hope and pray that I raise my boys (and girls) as well. I miss her and think of her often. It’s so nice to have these memories that come and bring such gifts with them.

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.


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.



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.

Two Thumbs Up

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.


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.


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?


Christmas is over and was amazing. We are terribly over tired, but managed to do what we needed to do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and now today is for recuperating……for some of us – quite literally.

Geli woke up this morning barfing. I’m not sure what the deal is, but there is no fever and so we are just hoping that whatever it is passes quickly. She is feeling a bit better than this morning as so……we carry on.

I had these great ideas that I’d post regularly over the past week or two and yet, when it all came down to it – there was JUST. NO. TIME.

I chose to be as wise as possible and to work within my limits and I’ve managed to not only make it through the Christmas chaos, but I’m not completely stressed out (well, not any more than what seems to be “normalish” for right now) and I have a whole ‘nuther week to relax before the kids all head back into the school madness.

So, if I can, I’d like to share what some of our handmade Christmas gifts were this year. I have a few other things to say and I’ll probably throw them in around some of the fun things that we did or are doing and it should be quite a party over here.

Last year we had our first “handmade Christmas”. The kids (my kids) were responsible to make gifts to give to each other. I wasn’t opposed to helping them to buy or get material to make their gifts for each other as long as it was inexpensive and was something that they could mostly do on their own. It was SO MUCH FUN that we’ve decided to carry on with this tradition. This year I made an effort to try to use materials for the projects that we already had on hand. We did end up spending some, but very little for the 30+ gifts (in total) that the kids ended up making for their siblings and their cousins. This year, we started making the gifts earlier than last year, but even then we ended up leaving things to the last minute. I think that I’m gonna try to get the show rolling a little earlier this next year and try to have things finished by the 1st of December. It’s always good to have goals, isn’t it? Anyway………

Xani's Quilt

Xani’s Quilt

Angelica was given a quilt back when she was diagnosed with Leukemia and its the kind of thing that she can have here at home and then take to the hospital and then it’s the same and has the reassuring qualities of “home” and “comfort” regardless of where she is. Xani has ooh’ed and aaaah’ed all over Geli’s quilt and I mentioned that in the new year, we could think about making one for her.

Well, Angelica really wanted to make a quilt for Xandra for Christmas and so she did.

She had a bit of help from her Nana Karen and from her Momma, but she made this quilt for her sister.

The Front

We used bits and pieces of material that we had on hand (oh, except I did buy one piece of fabric on sale for $1.99 per meter), an older blanket for the inside filler and an old sheet for the bottom piece. We had everything to make this gift on hand except for the $1.99 purchase.

The Back

Xani had mentioned that she really wanted a purple and yellow quilt and Angelica made it happen. The biggest frustration with this project was that Geli left it a little too late and we were rushing to get it done before the kids finished school as it would have been difficult to work on it while they were home.

Geli spent ages working on the pattern she wanted to do and trying to make the fabric that we did have to fit within what she envisioned and she did it. It’s really pretty. It’s not a HUGE quilt, but perfect to snuggle up with, on the couch or on your bed and the best thing……Xani LOVES IT!!!

She was so happy on Christmas Day when she opened it.

Truth be told, she did download a bunch of photo’s from my camera and these pictures happened to be on there and she did see it in advance. Regardless, she hadn’t got a really good look and compared to what she thought she’d seen…..the real gift was a lot better.

Geli had so much fun making and giving this gift and Xani got so much pleasure from receiving it and so this handmade gift was a GREAT success.

In fact, Angelica had so much fun making this quilt that she whipped up two more smaller quilted blankets for her two baby cousins. We were in such a hurry to get them finished and wrapped that I never even got any pictures of them, but they were really, REALLY cute. You’ll just have to take my word on it. She used a bunch of the fabrics from the stuff that I used to make Judah’s quilt back in the spring…..

Fabric Pile

They turned out really well, and again….she just used material that we already had on hand.

It was a great distraction for Geli in the middle of some down days. We did have some obstacles to overcome and the whole process would have probably gone a bit quicker, if my machine hadn’t broken in the middle of our sewing frenzy, but a HUGE thanks to Aunty Linda for letting us borrow hers. We are so thankful.

I love that we were able to thin out my fabric stash, to not spend money (well, not very much) and to make AWESOME presents to give away.

I especially loved just how excited Angelica was to be making these gifts and how excited she was to give them away. I want to teach my kids to be thoughtful to others….to give gifts that they’ve given of themselves into and that they believe the other person will appreciate or will have meaning to them. I think that we are on that track.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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


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.


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!


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.


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!


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


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……


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


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.


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


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


Everybody is excited about chocolate….


These two have almost the same hair-do…


I think he approves….


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…..


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


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


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.

Christmas – The Late Edition

So, This year was a bit different than usual.

Normally, we do our Immediate Family celebrations on Christmas morning and then get together with one side of the family in the afternoon and then do the other side of the family on Boxing Day.

This year, we were already in town for the Christmas Eve service at our church and so we just stayed in and celebrated Christmas Eve with Jon’s Parents and the rest of the family from Jon’s side.

We spent Boxing Day with my side of the family and on Christmas Day………

Christmas Day was a day spent quietly and gloriously at home.

I was dreading spending Christmas Day without family, but things have been SO CRAZY BUSY in our lives and I was looking at 4 straight days in a row of going, going, going and I figured that if I kept up the pace that by the 5th day…..I’d be going, going, going, GONE!

And so, we decided to just have a quiet, “down” day with just us for Christmas Day.

All I had running through my head was my own Childhood experiences and memories which led me to believe that Christmas morning was AWESOME with the stockings, and family breakfast and then gift opening and then having a grandparent or two swing past with more presents and then……..

….and then all I can remember is how boring Christmas Afternoon/Evening was…….until I became a teenager and friends would come over and we’d play games or go and see a movie or something…

I had an amazing family and I know that this is not “the truth” this is a young girls memory of how exciting the morning was and how the afternoon/evening paled in comparison… you can guess that the morning was pretty freaking amazing. Let’s just leave it at MOUNTAINS of GIFTS…….and move on from there……

I was feeling a bit stressed that I wouldn’t enjoy Christmas and that I’d feel kinda bummed and a little bit sad and lonely.

The kids slept in on Christmas morning…how’s that for a Christmas miracle.

Everyone was still asleep at 8am…then they all woke up and got their stockings while Jon and I tried to wake up. We’d stayed up late wrapping presents. Stupid, stupid, STUPID!!!!!….We do this every year and then every year we swear to do things differently. GAH!

Around 9am we came down and had our traditional “Sugar Cereal” breakfast (I don’t buy sugar cereal almost ever so it’s a pretty huge deal when we do get some) and when that was done, we started in to the presents.

X-mas Collage

click on the picture to see the set

I don’t remember the “timing” of the rest of the day, but it was the most relaxing, quiet, slow, amazing day that we have had as a family in a long, LONG time!

There was no place to go and nothing to do aside from “just being” together. We started a puzzle, played games, had some food, and even watched a movie together in the early evening.

I felt “recharged” at the end of the day, which is so out of the ordinary. Typically we come home and feel like we’re about to die, knowing that we have another whole day to get through celebrate with the family.

Don’t get me wrong. We love our families, but sometimes the pace of it all feels overwhelmingly insane. I loved the fact that looking back at the “Christmas Holiday’s” – I actually felt like I had a holiday and didn’t feel like I needed a holiday to get over the “holiday’s”.

It was a great Christmas! It was probably the BEST Christmas that I’ve ever had…..but then again I say that every year.

Where to even begin……

I’m a bit overwhelmed at the number of things that I could talk about…the funny stories, the fun times with family and friends, the snow – OH MY GOODNESS, THE SNOW!!!!!!! – slowing down, clearing out and cleaning up…..there is just so much to talk about and so little time.

The baby is sleeping right now which means that I have to choose wisely… I sit here in my pyjamas smelling of 2 day old funk…..blogging is probably not the “wisest” choice….and so I will be quick.

I have pictures to share and will get to them as time allows.

It’s busy having the kids home from school, AND….I want to be able to be there for them and not to be glued to this screen. I have to admit that I’m surprised at how easy it’s been to ignore my computer for the past while. Typically it calls to me like the “cracK” it is…whispering of all the sweet time we could waste together and fortunately….my kids quiet ha ha ha ha ha ha I just about peed myself over here….okay, well they are really not all that quiet, but it would have made a good story to talk about how my kids quiet whispers as they asked for some stories to be read cuddled on the couch and how it warmed my heart.

Reality is a bit more brutal. Some fights, some games, a lot of Wii – thanks Mum and Dad C.- and most of all lots of laughter….well, really…most of all, lots of food. My kids sure eat a lot….I’d like to say that it’s the healthy food I give them…that they just love to fill their “preshus wittle bodies with all that good healty vitamin rich goodnes”, but really…sometimes….I just wonder if they have worms or parasites or something….these kids are machines when it comes to food!

So, with all the thought whizzing around in my brain, I am going to go and take a shower and if I still have time…..I might make a list of all the things that I have to talk about and possibly, hopefully, give a really good shot at whittling it down to the funniest, the saddest, the more exciting….you know…all the really highly charged emotional stuff that makes for really good blogging……or I could just get on here with no thought and blabber on and on and on….cause ya all know I’ve done enough of that recently……

I do hope that your Christmas was full of peace and that you were able to be apart of some really amazing memories.

And so I leave you with my best Arnold voice and say……I’ll be back!