Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bye-Bye to Blogging

My dear friend Katie has been after me to write this post.  I've been drafting it in my head for well over a week, yet I'm still struggling to figure out what to type.  Perhaps I should start with where my heart was when I initially started this blog.

A few months ago when I first started blogging about my family's allergy experience(s), I was optimistic.  I immediately saw an opportunity to not only keep my information, recipes, and struggles documented and organized, but I had hoped to inform others in the process.  I think I've been successful as I've reached what I would consider a rather large audience, particularly through Pinterest.  That got me excited.  I was fired up about all the pins and hits I was getting on Pinterest, comments on Facebook, and emails through my blog.  My daily traffic stats amazed me, and I think that's what kept me going, knowing I was accomplishing what I set out to do...and then some.

But then I got a little carried away.  Well, in my opinion, anyway.  I think I lost sight of the most important thing, my purpose, the reason this all existed in the first place.  You see, as soon as my husband would get home from work, I would run off to update my blog, post on Pinterest, check my activity, etc.  Throughout the day I was getting sidetracked by answering emails, typing up recipes, and even baking far more (sweets) than our family really needed (incidentally I've cut out refined sugar from my diet and feel better than I ever have....what on earth would I post now?!).  This mommy was entirely too distracted.  I was going overboard, and my dear family was paying the price.

And then reality hit me.  You see, I had somehow drifted off to this fantasy world where I somehow scrounged up enough money to open my own allergy-friendly bakery, and we all lived happily ever after.  But that's not my real dream, it never has been.  And just as quickly as that vision came, it went.  It turns out my call to teaching is what really drives me in the professional world, and I suddenly had an amazing opportunity for not only myself, but my family as a whole.  I decided to take it, and I'm excited to say I am returning to teaching in the fall after a four year break with my babies.

As soon as I started considering the job, I stopped blogging.  I realized it was a time-suck, and it wasn't serving much purpose in the long run for my family, at least not in the way I initially had hoped.  In hindsight, I think I would have continued if I were going to carry on as a stay at home mom, but again, this was never my goal in life.  I need to put my master's degree to use and get back in the classroom.  And my dream of teaching where my children attend school is no longer a dram, it's a reality.  My husband and I feel that's the safest and best thing for our girls.

Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to do this.  While I make it sound like a negative experience, it wasn't entirely.  I learned some new things about myself, and I had a lot of fun (and success) trying out new recipes.  I also stepped outside of my comfort level and tried something I didn't think I would be very good at.  I may still occasionally post recipes on here, but, it will be sporadic to say the least.  You never know what lies ahead, I may pick it back up in time, who knows.  All I know is, I have a few short months left to be home with my girls, and I don't want to spend that time in front of a computer.  So, farewell for now, but perhaps we'll meet again.  :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gluten-free Berry Crisp and the Amazing Cross Family

I feel like shouting from the rooftops....yesterday was the first Costco trip I didn't buy diapers or pull-ups in.....years!!  Day 5 of "nowears" and we are going strong.  And that's all I'll say about that, because I know you're not here to read about potty training, just had to share.  :)

Other than the run of the mill, deciding which half marathon to run next, dealing with a certain preschooler crashing face-first off her bike into the curb, making dessert for MOPS, and getting a little substitute teaching time in last week, I haven't been up to too much.  So, in the meantime I'll share with you what is on my heart.

I have been attending MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) since Grace was a baby.  I have met some amazing women and have watched faith in action through this program.  Some of the speakers we have had have been so motivating and inspiring, I have been left feeling in complete awe and in appreciation of their work, dedication to their passion, and above all commitment to being a good mom and caring for their family.  One such speaker, who also happened to be another MOPS mom in my group, was Amie Cross, who spoke last year about her family and their upcoming missions trip to South Sudan.  At the time of her presentation I remember thinking, "Wow, this woman is amazing.  Her husband is going to be building water purification systems and teaching water purification techniques to the Sudanese people in their area while she cooks, cleans, home schools and cares for her four young children, all the while 'dealing with' the elements and realities of living in an extremely different environment." Wow, right?  I remember thinking I don't think I would have the courage to do what she is doing.  I mean, what if something happened?

Well, something has happened, and I would like to ask you to pray for this dear family.  For days, Amie and the children have, one by one, been affected by a severe intestinal illness.  After several days of sickness, the family was fortunately able to get from their small village to Nairobi and has begun receiving medical help (no easy task, nor an inexpensive one...think about riding in the bed of a pickup on dirt roads, waiting for the airport to open in order to get to a plane which was out of fuel and needed to get to another airport to refuel....yes, these things really did happen, all the while with puke and fevers and all around miserable achey bodies).  As I type, they are awaiting test results so that a correct course of treatment can be determined.

The Cross Family has been blessed by both a physical and prayerful support system.  Please join me in making that support system stronger.  Here is a link to their facebook page, where the family is able to periodically post updates, as well as to their blog,, which will no doubt leave you feeling inspired and uplifted by the work that they are doing (and will give you a good laugh at some of their experiences!).

I am so reminded of the fear and stress I felt just a couple of short months ago when Emma had spent days vomiting and become so severely dehydrated that she had to be hospitalized for three days.  It was a scary time, and we were only minutes from the help that we needed.  I simply cannot imagine the emotional roller coaster this family has been on for the past few days.  Thank you for keeping them in your thoughts.

Now, about that dessert I mentioned for MOPS.  I'm on week 2 of no refined sugar, so was slightly disappointed when I realized I was to provide a dessert for this morning's meeting.  But, I came up with something that must have been good, because there was just enough for Grace and Emma to finish off a couple bites each when we got home.

Gluten-Free Berry Crisp
3 cups berries (I used my Costco mix of blueberries, rasberries, and blackberries)
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup Sucanat or brown sugar
1/2 cup gluten free oats
1/4 cup Spectrum shortening

1.  Preheat oven to 350.
2.  Toss the berries with the honey.  Sprinkle with the cornstarch and gently incorporate.
3.  Grease an 8 by 8 baking dish.  Transfer the berries to the dish.
4.  Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Melt the shortening and add it to the dry mix.  Mix until you have a large crumb.  Sprinkle over the berries.
5.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling up.  

I did steps 1-4 last night then put it in the oven this morning.  Again, it was delicious!