The Ups and Down of Life

I feel so……so……so caught up inside myself.

There is so much going on and I don’t know where or how to unpack it all. I had a phone chat with our social worker from BC Children’s yesterday and kind of fell apart on her.

I’m tired. I want some help for the kids (and myself if I’m being honest) and “the help” (therapy type help) available, is at BC Children’s….an hour away from here. (We have no extended medical to help cover the expenses for other help and so we’d be paying out of pocket for other help, which we may just have to do…..)

There is a sibling support group that is just about to start, but…’s on Thursday afternoon’s for an hour and a half FOR THE NEXT 8 WEEKS.

That’s not really very helpful. If we missed traffic (which would be a miracle – we’d be in traffic for at least one way), we would be driving for 2 hours to go to a meeting for 1.5 hours. And I’m not sure what Geli, I, Siah and Judah would do while the older 3 were in the session. Then we’d be leaving at dinner time (and sitting in that lovely traffic I mentioned) all the while hoping that the baby wouldn’t fall asleep in the van so that he wouldn’t be up until midnight. There would be dinner to figure out and homework to work around and well….it’s just more of a problem than a help…..

I am already running below empty and I can’t fathom adding 8 weeks of that stress into our lives….so where does that leave us………?

Not in a great place, that’s for sure.

I know that we need to get beyond “this time” and that things will look different in a year from now and hopefully things will be easier but I am so tired and worn out, I’m not sure what shape I’ll be in, in a year from now. We’ve been looking forward to “this season changing” for what feels like a very long time and it’s all seeming so very surreal and even unattainable at very low times. We have to believe that things are not always going to be this tough. We are not looking forward to the future as a “magical time of amazing-ness” but we are trying to hold onto HOPE with what little strength we have left, but sometimes, even that feels so very difficult to do.

Our social worker asked me what things I could take off my plate so that I wasn’t so overwhelmed and to be honest…..I have no idea. I’m already doing the least amount of housekeeping that I can and still have us be functional. And that right there… so tough to deal with. I like a clean, neat and tidy house. I feel like I’m drowning….not even like I’m treading water anymore, but that I’m sinking deeper and deeper under. I have no time or energy to keep on top of all that it takes to keep our family running smoothly and my “coping mechanism” is to “fill another box” with the crap that gets piled up on my counters and then take it down to my bedroom.

It’s definitely not a cool way to deal with things. I think I have 6 boxes downstairs with “crap” that needs to be sorted through. It’s all I can do to stay on top of my laundry and well….besides the fact that I have the worlds smallest laundry room and 7 people’s clothes and towels and linen won’t fit in it…..we just need the clothes to wear. The boys only have about 3 pairs of pants each and depending on how messy they are we could plow through 2 or even all 3 of them in a day. NOT COOL, boys! NOT cool!

Obviously we have to eat and trying to feed a family of 7 economically, while eating a gluten and dairy free diet….well, it’s extremely challenging and sometimes I just wish that we didn’t have to eat.

A significant portion of my time is spent homeschooling Jeremy and breaking up fights and squabbles between the two little boys. A few people have asked me if that’s something that I should off load and just send him back to school. Maybe even a different or new one……to me, this is not even an option. For the first time in his life, Jeremy is EXCELLING in school. He hasn’t gotten a mark that’s been less than an “A” for 2 months now. He feels smarter. He’s ACTUALLY retaining the information that he’s processing. If he doesn’t LOVE school, he at the very least enjoys it, now. As much prep work as it is for me…..and let me tell you, teaching ONE CHILD has a significant amount of prep work and time spent overseeing what he is doing…(I can’t fathom teaching 30+ kids with more than one of them with Learning Differences or other social issues)…..this is something that I believe is CRITICAL right now. I firmly believe with all my heart that Jeremy is learning valuable LIFE SKILLS that will impact him for the rest of his life. To cut this time short, would be devastating, in my opinion. Even moving him to a new school…..he doesn’t “YET” have the skills needed to make a change, and I believe that he would end up in the same position that he was in….behind, feeling stupid and bullied……

So basically, I get up in the morning…….. I sort of teach school. I try to care for my little boys. I attempt to feed and clothe the family. I clean, and it is an extremely loose interpretation of the word, the house and then it’s bedtime…..

For “ME” time….I “try” to work out 3 times a week and while that’s a good thing…I feel like it’s an hour and a half of hellish torture that I enjoy once it’s finished.

Regardless……something has to change, I’m at a breaking point….I’ve been thinking about getting someone in to help out for a few hours a week….maybe twice a week….to help with the little boys and maybe some housework….I dunno….I’m not sure where to find someone, or how exactly to go about it all, but I have been thinking about it….so….that’s a start, right?

Jon and I are missing each other….it’s been so long since we’ve had any time to just “be” together and that’s tough. Even our evenings are crazy. The boys have been particularly needy over the past couple of weeks and haven’t been settling until after 9pm even though we’re starting the bedtime routine at 7:30pm….I dunno if they’ve been feeding off the extra stress……or what the issue is? Whatever it is….it’s not cool!

We did, however, get the chance to get away as a family. Last weekend, we were able to go to a cabin down at Birch Bay for two nights and it was a wonderful time away. It wasn’t so much of a rest….as it was a change. A chance to get away from the house and feeling a need to clean and tidy. The kids played. Nothing “could” or “had” to be done….probably the biggest downfall was that we wanted to pick up a few clothes while we were down there, but again… (or pretty much doing anything) with 5 kids is……..interesting…..and we didn’t get done what we had hoped and that left some of the family feeling like they were disappointed. We should have just gone down and not hoped to pick up a few things….that would have at least not set us up to fail…..


that’s Jeremy in the bottom left of the picture

I have a TON of pics from our time away and I’ll share some of them in the next post. It really was a beautiful place and right on the beach…….like RIGHT ON the beach. The smell of the air, the sound of the waves, the seagulls crying…….it was amazing. Truly, truly amazing. I love the beach. It really is a “Happy” place for me. We are SO THANKFUL to the family that made it possible for us to get away. It was INCREDIBLE! SO, SO INCREDIBLE!

Birthday Crepes…..the Gluten-free Edition

It’s Jon’s Birthday today. He is 38 years old now. Seems like yesterday we were 19 & 21; and getting married….so weird to think that we are getting closer and closer to 40. He was saying, earlier today, that he still feels 20 something. Age really isn’t that important, is it? I think it’s more about how you feel than how big or small your actual number is…

We ran across the line today to pick up some groceries. I feel slightly bad that we are not buying local and yet…..right now, there is NO WAY that we would be able to feed our family for as cheaply as we can if we purchase a few things from the States. And right now….every penny counts. Literally, we are counting every penny and making each one count.


We have enough to cover the basics and that’s good. It’s tight, but we are doing okay!

After we came home, Jon had to renew his driver’s license and he picked up the girls from my sisters place. They had been over for my nieces birthday sleepover… The day was pretty much a “run around” day and I was trying to figure out what we could do to celebrate a little.


Jeremy suggested crepes and seeing as I have a smokin’ easy gluten free crepe recipe that EVERYONE loves….I agreed.

Most people should have these ingredients in their homes and this recipe is great for everyone.

Gluten-Free Crepes

6 Tblsp Cornstarch (or Arrowroot Powder, if you’d prefer to not use cornstarch)
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup of milk (I used coconut milk)
1 Tblsp of oil (I use coconut oil)
2 eggs (beaten well – seriously….beat them in a separate bowl before adding them into the mix)

Add everything together and mix well until all the lumps are broken up and the mix is smooth and runny.

Heat up a small cast iron pan over medium heat and rub a little bit of oil onto the pan.

When the pan is hot, pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and swirl the mixture around until the batter covers the bottom of the pan and looks like this…


Cook it for a few seconds (20-30???) and when it starts to lift away from the edges of the pan…then flip it over carefully and cook it on the other side for about half the time.


After it’s cooked, I flip it out onto a plate…..and it’s ready to be “fixed”…


I put some Strawberries and Cool Whip on mine. We had some left over Cool Whip from a Pavlova that Jon made for Boxing Day! Nothing like chemical whipping cream to really round a meal out.


Here it is….all wrapped up and ready to be eaten. The crepe is even strong enough that you can pick it up with your fingers at eat it…you know…if you are ill-mannered enough to do such a thing…..not that I know anyone who would do that…..


Doesn’t it look AMAZING! It tasted even better than it looked. I used cornstarch for one batch and used arrowroot for another and both batches turned out DELICIOUS, almost identical tasting crepes.


We couldn’t forget to include the only shot of the birthday boy getting his crepe ready to be eaten…..I think that he used Nutella and Cool Whip on this one…..I tasted and that is one heavenly combination.


Everyone ate until they were no longer hungry…….

And now its the best time of the day….BED TIME for the littlest ones….YAH!


See how happy he looks about it…..oh, maybe I hadn’t mentioned it when I took this picture….actually, this one is typically pretty excited for bedtime……naptime, not so much, but bedtime is okay!

ps. These are not “HEALTHY” crepes. There is nothing “whole foods” or even really nutritious to feed your body with these…but they sure do make a good treat for once in a while…and they are gluten-free and use really “normal” ingredients…..

Christmas Eve

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is over, but is it….

The weeks leading up to Christmas were a bit insane with trying to get all the presents made, but we did it. In fact, this year, I was actually ready for Christmas by the morning of the 24th. That’s the earliest that I’ve ever been ready. Now, to be honest, we did have to run out to the store to pick up one thing and trade out some pajamas that we bought for Judah. I’m not sure what I was thinking, but I bought his original pajamas 2 sizes too small…..anyway….other than that, Christmas Eve was a nice relaxing day.


We started having a Christmas Eve Fondue with Jon’s parents a few years ago and it’s become a Tradition. As soon as we start to think about Christmas, decorate for Christmas, or start to think about making presents….the kids start to ask about Christmas Eve fondue.


I love that we have these fun traditions with our family. It just seems to make things more exciting and special.


Judah is especially excited because the entire fondue was Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free. So it was safe for all of us. YAH! What’s even better….it was FREAKING DELICIOUS!


After we finished our meal, we decided to open presents first and then to come back to eat dessert – Chocolate Fondue – after we were finished opening presents.


Siah was SO Excited! He could hardly wait to open his presents. Jeremy was also so VERY excited, but he just wanted to be able to give the presents that he had bought with his own money! It was very sweet.


This is the first time that Judah has really “gotten” into opening presents and he had so much fun. He absolutely LOVED this present that his Nana & Papa bought for him.


He has played with his car non-stop.


After we opened our presents, we headed back for some Chocolate Fondue!


Angelica was loving her some Chocolate Strawberries…


And then her and Nana started to goof around a little….


It was pretty funny!


After the Chocolate Fondue, we sent the kids off to change into their Christmas Pajamas. Isn’t he cute?


Nana and Geli….


Xani….all three, so pretty!


We started a game of Apples to Apples….


I played about 2 rounds and then Judah couldn’t handle it any longer…..


….and so I put him out out his misery.


After the game, we sat down for our traditional Christmas Story. This year we choose to read, Humphrey the Christmas Camel.


After all the kids were put to bed, and the stocking’s were stuffed and the house was closed down for the night……we headed off to bed….this is probably the earliest that we’ve been to bed on a Christmas Eve…only 1:45am. Not bad, eh?


To see all of the pics from Christmas Eve click here….

Gluten-free Waffles

Recently, I’ve been reading about cooking gluten-free by weight and by ratio; and it is making SUCH! A! FREAKING! HUGE! DIFFERENCE!

I’m making more consistently DELICIOUS gluten-free food.

Cooking by weight – by ounces or grams – makes such a big difference because there is such a huge difference in between a cup of twice sifted white flour and a cup of packed whole wheat flour…..throw in all the difference flours that I’ve been using in the gluten-free baking (millet, sorghum, amaranth, rice, almond, teff, quinoa – just to name a few) and if you are cooking by cups then you can have a huge discrepancy in each batch of baking that you make and more often than not you end up with some nasty crap….(I’m not trying to be offensive, I’m sure your gluten free food is delicious). BUT, cooking by weight means that if a recipe calls for 500 grams of flour – on my scale, I’ll always use 500 grams of flour no matter what flour I use or how sifted or packed it is….

Cooking by ratio is about understanding what ratio of flour to liquid to fat is required for different items…

Once you have the basic understanding of what the basic building blocks of bread, or cake or pancakes are….you can start playing by adding different ingredients in.

Now, not all of my attempts have worked out perfectly the first time I’ve tried, but I’d say that more of my “tries” are successes as opposed to failures and that is a big deal to me. I hate whipping something up and “hoping” that it’ll turn out, only to have it be a colossal flop and then having to throw all those ingredients out….not cool!

This morning, Xandra really wanted waffles and I figured that it couldn’t hurt to try. I’ve got a delicious recipe for gluten-free pancakes and figured that it couldn’t be that difficult to do waffles.

The ratio I used for waffles is 1-1-1….1 egg, 1 part flour, 1 part liquid.

If you estimate that one cup of regular wheat flour is about 120 grams – then I used that “120 grams” as my measurement.

And this was the result…..


You can see Judah’s hand in the corner. He didn’t even want to wait for the picture, but he started in on them as soon as I put the plate on the table. He doesn’t know what he can or cannot eat…all he knows is that I make delicious food and he wants to eat it. I love the fact that I can make food for him that will make and keep him healthy.

They turned out PERFECTLY. Yes, I’ve gotten a little crazy with the CAPS, but I’m pretty excited. In fact, Jon turned to me and said that my gluten-free waffles were even better than his waffles….and he’s the king of the pancakes and waffles in our house.

They were light and fluffy on the inside, and crispy on the outside; and with a little “soy-free Earth Balance” and some Maple Syrup, they were heavenly. It was the perfect start to this rainy, grey day.

Even Jeremy (who is incredibly picky) and Angelica (who doesn’t eat waffles) said that they were yummy!

Here is the recipe that I used.

2 eggs
240 grams of Flour (I used a homemade GF Flour Blend)
240 grams of Milk (I used Coconut Milk)
2 tsp of Baking Powder
2 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of Cardamom
1/2 tsp of Cinnamon
1/4 tsp of Almond Extract
2 oz. of melted butter (I used Soy-Free Earth balance)

I poured about half a cup of batter between the two sides of our waffle maker and this made about 8 waffles.


Judah LOVED them…and kept asking for “more, more!”

I can’t wait to have waffles again! Maybe for dinner tonight??? Okay, probably not, but they were really, Really, REALLY yummy!