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Monday, December 17, 2012


It's been one of those days. Nothing tragic, just you know. A bad mommy day.

 I've had to change three times, twice for baby food being flung at me and once for being thrown up on. 

I've felt particularly frumpy and insecure about my post baby body after listening to some pretty tactless remarks about having children and what it does to womens' bodies. 

I've battled for naps and one more bites and cleaned the kitchen with a small child trying to bite my ankles the whole time. Really. 

It's one of those days that I doubt whether or not I'm cut out for this stay at home mom world. I doubt whether or not I'm selfless enough to be a good mom because I'm not enjoying every single minute. Today I'm not enjoying any of it really. 

Then as I lay in the floor (because I'm that tired) and play with him, waiting for the blessed hour when daddy gets home, he looks over and giggles at me and I remember.

I remember how badly we wanted this precious boy and how much we prayed for him. 

I remember how sometimes at night when he snuggles with me at bedtime, I weep because I love him that much. 

I remember that this is the hardest and absolutely most joyous experience I've ever had. 

I remember that this is also the most sanctifying process. As I pour into my son there's hopefully less of me, more of Christ.

 I remember there is no where else I want to be but here because I don't want to miss a single second of the spit ups, the bumped heads, the nap battles, the feeding struggles, the hugs, the milestones, the kisses, the snuggles. And even on days when it's hard and monotonous and overwhelming, God blesses me with little glimpses of the wonderfulness of being a mom. I wouldn't trade a single stretch mark or baby food stain. 

This is definitely the best thing I've ever done.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Udi's Gluten Free Saves Christmas Morning

Last week I got this box of goodies from Udi's Gluten Free in exchange for writing about a favorite holiday recipe made gluten free with the help of their products.

I was pretty excited! I've been using Udi's products since I went gluten free a few months ago and then recommitted my allegiance after realizing that gluten could be contributing to my struggle with Restless Leg Syndrome

Now let's be honest here. There are some gluten free products, which will remain nameless, that kind of fall apart in your mouth. I'm so happy to say I have not had that problem with Udi's. 

Side note: Their Double Chocolate Muffins are A-MA-ZING. Really. You can't tell they're gluten free and they taste kind of like brownies mixed with chocolate cake. Now if you're still on your post baby diet, you may want to limit the intake. They come in at around 300 calories, but pair that with some good protein at breakfast and a long walk and it shouldn't hurt too much. 

Since I've been married, my husband and I have had the tradition of doing french toast on Christmas morning. Well you can imagine the sadness I felt at not being able to have it gluten free, BUT I have good news for you.

You can still have french toast and be gluten free. I know. Crazy, right? But, yes. It's true!

To update our normal Eggnog French Toast, I used Udi's White Sandwich Bread and Vanilla Granola as my gluten free options.

This recipe uses eggnog to soak the bread. I mean. YUM. Now, read very carefully. You can't just use any old sub-par eggnog. I mean you can, but I don't think you'll get the same results. My husband is obsessed with this Organic Valley Eggnog. We really recommend using that. 

First, melt the 1 tbsp of butter and let it cool to room temperature. 

While you're waiting, toast six slices of Udi's Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread in the toaster on low. 

Mix together 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 3/4 cup of eggnog, one egg yolk and a pinch of salt. Pour mixture into a shallow dish that you can dip the bread in.

Put the granola on a plate for coating the bread.

Soak the slices of bread in the liquid mixture for ten seconds on each side of the bread.
Next, dip the soaked bread into the granola. You may want to use your hand to pat in some extra granola because it can fall off pretty easily. 

Melt one tbsp of butter on your griddle or skillet and cook the granola encrusted slices for about three minutes on each side until they're toasty brown. 

At this point your whole house will smell delicious and everyone will be standing, waiting, salivating.

Serve with maple syrup, some bacon and fresh fruit and you are the gluten free hero of Christmas morning!

Granola Encrusted Eggnog French Toast (Gluten Free)

Serves 2

6 slices of Udi's Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread
3/4 cup Udi's Gluten Free Vanilla Granola
2 tbsp butter 
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup of eggnog
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
maple syrup

1. Melt 1 tbsp of butter and let cool to room temperature.
2. Lightly toast bread in toaster on low setting.
3. Mix cinnamon, vanilla, egg yolk, 1 tbsp melted butter, salt and eggnog. Place in shallow dish for dipping. Spread out granola on a plate.
4. Soak bread in liquid mixture for 10 seconds on each side. 
5. Dip soaked bread in granola on both sides. Use hands to pat in more granola than you think you need. 
6. Melt 1 tbsp of butter on griddle or skillet. 
7. Cook each slice for about three minutes on each side until granola is toasty brown. 
8. Serve with maple syrup. 

I have to give major props to my hubby who helped create and test this recipe. He's a culinary genius.

I'm linking this to JoLynne's Gluten Free Recipe Round Up. Be sure to check it out! I'm sure there will be lots of delicious gluten free options! Yum!

Gluten Free Meal Plan via Musings of a Housewife

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wiggly Legs, Sleep Deprivation & Gluten

When I was pregnant with our little Sam, I started having restless leg problems (Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS). I thought it was just a pregnancy complication. Well, unfortunately it came back to haunt me about two months ago. After several nights of sleep deprivation and several days of grouchy sub-par mommying, I asked my doctor about it. He prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug to take at night only when I need it. It's like prescription strength Aleve. I took it for a few nights and it really did help. I was able to go to sleep faster and I was very thankful.

Then I remembered that, in studies, NSAIDs have caused stomach bleeding. So let's just say I wasn't too enthused about having to take this medicine a few times a week for the rest of my life. Not to mention, you can't take it while pregnant and we are hoping to have more kids. 

So one night, while up late because I couldn't keep my legs still, I started researching diet changes to help restless leg syndrome. I came across this website and was really intrigued by what I found. 

The website said that there are several things in our diets that cause inflammation and restless leg syndrome is, in part, caused by inflammation in the nervous system. To me, it makes sense and even confirms this that my anti-inflammatory drug would help. So I set out to see how I could reduce the inflammation in my body.

Then I remembered that a few months ago, I listened to this podcast of the Dr Lo Show. The discussion was largely about how even if you don't have Celiac disease, the gluten we eat today causes inflammation in almost every body. So even if you're not having horrible stomach issues, there is probably inflammation somewhere in your body because of gluten. After listening to that podcast, I tried to go gluten free. It worked for about a month. Then Thanksgiving came, and of course I wasn't giving up dressing. I mean come on. Let's be real. Well, after a couple of weeks of a gluten bomb, the RLS got MUCH worse.

All of this to say, I am back on the gluten free train in hopes of clearing out the inflammation in my body. The diet to reduce inflammation also includes cutting out sugar, artificial sweeteners, MSG and caffeine (I know. Tragic).

And to answer the question, why wouldn't you just take a pill for the rest of your life? 

Well, I'd rather change my diet in a way that's probably better for me anyway and find a natural, long term solution to this problem than have to take a prescription med that could cause stomach bleeding or ulcers when I'm older. 

I used to be super afraid of going gluten free and while it is a challenge, it's not as hard as I thought it would be. There are so many awesome gluten-free products out there now that you really don't have to sacrifice much. Some of my favorites include: Udi's Gluten FreeLara BarsGlutino Crackers and did you know that all of Boar's Head's products are gluten-free? 

Next week I'm planning to write a post on making a holiday favorite gluten-free. I'll be using Udi's Gluten Free bread and granola. 

I've also had a lot of meal planning help from JoLynne's Gluten Free Meal Plan linkup. These have all been delicious meals. 

I can already tell a difference in my legs at night and I'm hoping it continues to improve. 

Recipes to come! Until then, check out my G FREE board on Pinterest!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What I wore..

I actually wore real clothes last night and went somewhere! Let's say that again. I took a shower, put on make up, got dressed and went out into the land of the living. I had sushi with one of my favorite people and felt more like myself than I have in a while.

Here's what I wore:

This chambray shirt has always been faithful to me. I got it at Target last Spring I think, wore it all over Spain and then it actually fit right after I had Sam for our newborn pictures. Miracle of all miracles. Bless my little heart. I was so puffy. 

That's an Old Navy maternity tank top underneath. Why maternity? Because they are blessedly long. I will continue wearing maternity tanks for this reason.

And yes I actually bought a pair of skinny jeans. They are not my pre-baby size. I'm getting there, but the hips, oh the hips, have not made their way back to their original width. These are Old Navy's Rockstar Skinny Jeans. 

I'm so excited to be able to link up with the other What I Wore peeps finally! Now next week, who knows? I may not make it out of pjs, but I really enjoyed feeling cute again last night. 

Excited to check out the other fashionable chicas at The Pleated Poppy and Monday Mingle.

pleated poppy

Monday, July 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 7/30-8/3

Let me be honest. I hate having to sit down weekly and plan out meals. So I started planning monthly after seeing some other smart mamas doing that via the Internet. It's such a relief to have the next four weeks planned out. I'm still going to the grocery store once a week, usually on Mondays to get what we need for the week, but it's usually a quick trip for just a few fresh ingredients.

I have to say all of this meal planning is saving us a LOT of money. It makes a huge difference when I plan what we're eating and just get what we need for those things each week. Usually I don't have to buy every single ingredient. We buy beef in bulk and freeze it and we keep a good supply of frozen chicken breasts around as well. Then there's things like pasta and some frozen veggies that we already have around. This is so. much. better. than shopping willy nilly and hoping we come up with some recipe ideas throughout the week. How did I ever get by without doing this??? Well I guess I didn't. My husband did all the cooking back when I was teaching full time. My feet always hurt too much. Now that I'm venturing into stay-at-home-momdom, I have more time to plan and cook and I'm loving it!

Here's what we're eating this week:

Monday: Chicken with green beans and red potatoes

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Girls Night Out! (First one post baby!)

Thursday: Pasta with mascarpone, chicken, spinach and sun dried tomatoes

Friday: Bunless burgers and sweet potato fries

Saturday: Greek Chicken with pita in crock pot- I used chicken breasts for this and they  turned out great. This could be done over rice for a gluten free option.

Sunday: Moe's or pizza

Thank goodness for Pinterest. Am I right? 

Check out the awesome gluten free meal plans at Musings of a Housewife. I'm linking up my mostly gluten free plan there.

Gluten Free Meal Plan via Musings of a Housewife

Happy Eating and Olympic watching this week!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Curly Hair Post

I so badly want to write a "What I Wore Wedneseday" post, but the truth is, I haven't worn anything but yoga pants and tshirts this week. I promise I haven't given up on style, but I haven't had any reason to dress in real clothes all week and when you get spit up on repeatedly all day long, really. What's the point? So for a fashion related post, and just to make me feel a part of the land of the fashionable, I'll talk about hair.

After I had Sam, I cut my own hair. I know. Take a minute to re-group. I have naturally curly hair, so it's not like you can tell if it's a little uneven and I just couldn't get to a salon with a newborn. So after it did feel a little uneven, I went to one of those walk in places and had them even it up. Now I'm pretty happy with the shape and how easy it is to style. It's a lot less curly than before I was pregnant, but that's ok.

Good products are really helpful with any kind of hair, but you don't have to spend all of your life savings on shampoo. Right now I'm using Garnier Fructis Shampoo and Conditioner. I love these because they are SUPER moisturizing. I've tried expensive salon brands and these actually work better!

For styling, I'm still using some of the principles of the Curly Girl method, but I'm using shampoo again and wrapping my hair in a towel again to dry it. I'm using a combo of styling products. I use Aveda Curl Cream and Garnier Fructis Leave in Conditioner. I scrunch those in and then use a little of Fructis's Moroccan Oil. I really think this helps with shine. I air dry for a few minutes and then use my diffuser to dry my hair. I massage the roots and then just kind of let it do as it pleases. This is how it usually turns out although every time is different. Oh and I only wash every three days. Otherwise, my hair is too dry.

Happy Hair everyone!
pleated poppy

Linking up to the people who actually wear clothes at The Pleated Poppy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hard things

"All noble things are difficult."- Oswald Chambers

I hate doing difficult things. I mean I really hate it. I just want life to be a ride of one fun, easy minute to the next. I know that's kind of an immature way to be, but it's how I am. I really resist difficulty in any area of life. I guess in some ways, that comes from a desire for things to be like they're supposed to be. I don't think God intended for life to be difficult. I think pain and difficulty are a result of falling from what we were intended to be, and I can't wait to see what it's like when we're made into who we really are, perfect in Christ and completely whole.

Growing up when I would protest about doing something difficult, I would often say, "Ugh this is hard," or "This is too hard." My dad would always respond with, "Stephanie, you can do hard things." What a blessing of truth from the Lord straight out of my dad's mouth. I don't think God meant for things to be hard for us, but I think He has equipped us to do difficult things. And I think He teaches me the most through struggles.

C.S. Lewis once said, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." And I really believe that's true. Moments where I have felt Christ the most have been moments of grief, sorrow or serious wrestling. And when you think about it, God spoke the most through the most difficult thing ever: his son dying on a cross to save every single human being from sin. He must have known that would have to happen when he first created humans and yet he did it anyway. The redemption of his creation was worth sacrificing his son! I just can't wrap my brain around that, especially now that I have a son. It really is mind blowing.

Usually when I get through the hard thing and God has taught me something really valuable, I know it was worth it. And I think for the most part, God allows us to go through difficulty because the pain of it will be worth the purpose he wants to accomplish through it. I have found that to mostly be true in my life.

So when I'm facing pain, sorrow, grief, difficulty I try to look for Christ in the midst of it and I pray I don't miss what He's trying to say to me. Sometimes it's, "I love you." Sometimes it's, "I am with you." And sometimes it's, "Stephanie, with my help, you can do hard things."

It's Ok Tuesday

I just found this link to It's Ok Tuesday and I LOVE it. Very grace giving and we all need a little grace.

This Tuesday it's ok...

-to watch The Bachelorette instead of cleaning. Who do you think she'll choose? I'm thinking Ari.

-to not care very much about the Katie and Tom thing. Did anyone really think that was going to last anyway? Really. Who's surprised?

-to take a break from make up and still feel beautiful! Here's the post that inspired me. There's a Facebook group too that's so encouraging!

-to have two cups of coffee as you feed your baby because it's just that important to get it in your body!

-to not do crazy things to lose weight. Anyone seen the 6 Weeks to OMG book? Seriously? I'd have to be pretty freakin desperate to take cold baths and skip breakfast. I am more and more convicted to adopt a lifestyle of health that is sustainable. No one can sustain that plan for very long and actually feel good.

-to look through Gilt every day and dream of buying all the designer stuff even though you can't afford it even on sale. Le sigh...

-to stay home and cancel plans when your sweet little man is sick. :( We're not doing much this week hoping he'll recover from his first ear infection.

Go see what else is ok at Airing My Dirty Laundry. It will make you feel better.