Monday, May 19, 2008

It's almost that time of year....

Any day now, NASCAR fans will start rolling in to Dover, Delaware in anticipation of the upcoming race. This year, in a addition to the bazillion "Welcome Race Fans" signs, NASCAR fans will also be greeted by Miles the Monster. Miles is the newest--and coolest--addition to the Dover International Speedway. Miles has been built right at the end of our we've gotten to watch the whole process. It's been pretty interesting. We feel a special connection to Miles because Uncle Bobby helped to build the wall which supports him. He's a very large monster! Just look at his specifics (click on the photo to enlarge!)
Here are some photos that I took the other day. We were pretty far away--I'm guessing at least 100 feet...My camera is amazing!

For more information or to see lots of photos of Miles's construction, click here. There is still more cool stuff here.

P.S. My camera is amazing, but apparently animoto is not. The video above failed to include some of the best pics! So, here the are. Remember, I was far away when I took them! They were all taken from the same place!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Allergy Amen

I know that Food Allergy Awareness Week ended yesterday...but I thought this one was too funny not to share. And, hey, it is Sunday!

There actually are Gluten-Free Communion Wafers on the market. However, the Catholic Church does not allow them. They are allowed by Lutheran, Methodist, and Episcopal Churches. You can read more about that by clicking here.
It's a pretty interesting article! Have a great day!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

I finally had my camera with me at one of Jecilyn's games. I was able to get a few shots! Here they are! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I digress....

I know I was aiming to do a post everyday about food allergies...but today I'm just too worn out. So, instead, I'll just share one of my cute Jecilyn stories. The other day Jecilyn and Treavor were playing with superballs. You know, the balls that bouncy really high. She had a ball and she bounced it. Treavor chased it and grabbed it. She snatched it away from him and shouted, "NO! This is berry expensive!" I snickered and said, "Do you even know what expensive means?" "Yes!" came the reply. "What? What does it mean?"...."It means Treavor can't play with it." Hard to argue with that....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wheat Free Wednesday

Wow! How'd it get to be Wednesday already? And why am I not prepared with a recipe? Oh, yeah, because I am never prepared for anything...I could share the pretty yummy recipe that my cousin Josie sent me...but, since I've not tried it yet...I'll hold off on that one. This one will be a simple one...something I whipped up yesterday. I made some Pasta Salad in about 8 minutes while I was trying to get dressed and out the door for work. I just stood and looked in my pantry and made it up as I went along...I hear it was well received by Treavor. However, Treavor is the antithesis of Mikey. He'll eat anything.

Anyway, I used Mrs. Leeper's Organic Just for Kids Rice Pasta. The pasta is in adorable animal shapes! I cooked the pasta a few minutes less than the package directed and immediately rinsed in cool water. Then, I added black olives, garbanza beans, peas and broccoli and tossed in some italian dressing (Mewman's Own Lite Italian Dressing). That's it! Simple, fast, fresh and Allergy Free!!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Top Eight Food Allergens

Peanuts, Eggs, Treenuts, Wheat, Milk, Soy, Fish and Shellfish account for 90% of food allergies. People who do not live with food allergies often do not realize just how much those eight ingredients are present in everyday food. Nearly all processed foods contain soy. Many contain wheat, milk and eggs. Many foods "may contain peanuts." It's just crazy!

When Treavor was first diagnosed with four of the top eight (peanuts, wheat, eggs and milk) plus bananas, I had no idea just how many foods--and even non-food items-- contained these allergens. I was already a food label reader...but I usually just skimmed the label to look for things like artificial colors, artificial flavors, partially hydrogenated oils, and high frutcose corn syrup. But, now I needed to pay attention to every little word. And, I had to make sure that others paid attention as well.

I was surprised to find wheat in my daughter's play doh. I was even more surprised to find it in my shampoo and conditioner. One would think that Cheerios--which is referred to on the box as a Toasted Oat Cereal--would actually be oats. Nope. Wheat in there too. Soy sauce contains wheat. Tomato soup contains wheat. Twizzlers contain wheat. Most rice mixes (Rice-a-roni, etc) contain wheat. Some seasonings contain wheat...Once, my friend brought over rolls for a cookout. He said, "Look, I got Potato Rolls!" Nope, first ingredient still wheat...It's been a challenge...but one I feel good about. I'm pleased that I am learning and am able to help others learn even if it's just in a small way.

To that light, I'd like to share this little story. Jecilyn is pretty aware of Treavor's allergies. She looks out for her little brother and will tell others about his allergies. She once told my friend Diana that she wasn't supposed to have peanut butter in her kitchen because Treavor was allergic. (Seriously, is this kid four?) The other day Treavor, Jecilyn and I were all cuddled up on the couch watching TV. There was a commercial for Beneful Dog Food.
You can watch the commercial by clicking here. As we were watching, Treavor got all excited--probably because of the dog--and pointed at the TV. Jecilyn turned to him and said, "No, buddy, you can't have that. It has eggs and wheat." Now, how totally sweet is that!?!? She didn't get that it was a dog food...but she knew it had wheat and eggs!

While you grocery shop, or even while cooking this week, take a moment to read a few food labels. Notice just how prevalent those top eight are in our everyday foods! Have a great day!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Food Allergy Awareness Week

May 11-17th is Food Allergy Awareness Week. I am going to try to post some information everyday this week. This is a subject about which I knew very little just one short year ago. I've come a long way in just eleven months! And, I feel it's important that others are made aware of the dangers of food allergies. So, I'm trying to do my part!

This is just a quick Public Service Announcement!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

This is a bittersweet day for me. So glad I have my babies...But not having my mom really sucks. This is a picture of my mom, Jecilyn and me. Unfortunately, I don't have one of her with Treavor. It was one of those things I'd get "next time." Who knew there wouldn't be a next time....

Here's a great poem I found. It's as if it was written for me. I don't know how my mom did it..and I wish she was here to tell me how! She made mothering look so easy!

Everything Mom

How did you find the energy, Mom
To do all the things you did,
To be teacher, nurse and counselor
To me, when I was a kid.

How did you do it all, Mom,
Be a chauffeur, cook and friend,
Yet find time to be a playmate,
I just can’t comprehend.

I see now it was love, Mom
That made you come whenever I'd call,
Your inexhaustible love, Mom
And I thank you for it all.

By Joanna Fuchs

Here's a picture of Chris, my dad, my mom, me and Jecilyn:

Friday, May 9, 2008

Dovington Horse Training Farm

A few weeks ago we went on a field trip to Dovington Training Center and Miss Ruth's house. It was a pretty cool place! Here are the photos I took! Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wheat Free Wednesday

Jecilyn had a Grandparent Tea at her school this week. Parents were asked to bring in a dozen cookies for the tea. I remembered that last year there were a lot of grandparents who couldn't eat the cookies because of diabetis. There are also some children at the school with allergies to eggs and milk...and one little boy who can't eat gluten or sugar. Also, Pop Pop Al and Aunt Teffie need to watch their sugan intake. So, I was on a mission. I thought that I would attempt to make a cookie that was safe for everyone...No wheat, gluten, eggs, milk, cholesterol, or sugar. This was going to be a challenge...but I was up for it. (Of course, I also bought some premade cookie dough just in case.)

I decided that Oatmeal Raisin Cookies would probably be the best way to go. I started by scouring the internet for recipes which substitute Agave Nectar in place of sugar. The first recipe I found was Elise at Simply Recipes . At the bottom of this recipe was a link to this one at Altered Plates. This recipe includes instructions for using Agave Nectar in lieu of the sugars. Great! Now, all I had to do was get rid of the wheat, gluten, milk and eggs....No problem! Ha!

So, I used 1/2 cup of Earth Balance Buttery Spread to replace half the butter. I also used Spectrum Naturals Organic All Vegetable shortening to replace the remaining half of butter. .

All right...I'm on a roll. This is easy! The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour. Gluten free flour is SO expensive. So, I made some oat flour (Stuck some oatmeal in a food processor!). I used about 1/2 cup of that. Then, I used a cup of Whole Food's 365 Organic Gluten Free All Purpose Flour.

Ok, now, all I need is an egg replacement. This is an easy one. I've done this before. No problem....Or so I thought. I tried to use Knox Unflavored Gelatin and warm water. I'm disgusted by gelatin since my dear friend Beth educated me on just what that is... GROSS! If you want to know, click here....I'm not going to tell you! But, I've used it, I'll try it again. NOPE! I'm not sure exactly what happened...but I ended up with a great big ole nasty gelatinous blob of disgustingness. OK, no big deal. Plan B. Scoop out the aforementioned nasty blob and move on.

It's funny. At this point, I thought What Would Emily Do? Emily Hendrix is the author of Sophie Safe Cooking. As you may remember, she is my inspiration for trying to cook and invent my own recipes! Anyway, I thought about it. Emily probably would have used Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Powder. As I stood and stared into my pantry...I decided that I'd just use white vinegar. I didn't want the flavor to change too much., I've got all the ingredients mixed and in the bowl. They smelled really yummy...but they looked disgusting. They were VERY sticky and difficult to shape. I felt like there was more dough left on my hands than on the cookie sheet. Hmm. I'll just stick them in the oven and wait it out...

Patience is a virtue. It's just not one I have. I started messing with the batter while the first batch was cooking. I added some more gluten free flour. I just shook it in. And, then some more. Then, I played with the dough and it seemed to be a good consistency. Ok! This is good! So, I took the first batch out of the oven. I tasted one. They were actually REALLY GOOD. The subsequent batches were good too...but not as good as the first. Oh well...

Everyone that tried them said they liked them. Treavor absolutely loved them! I let him eat them for breakfast two days in a row. I figured, they contain only natural and healthy ingredients. Way better than petroleum laced Lucky Charms or Pop Tarts some kids get! Here's the recipe the way I made them:

1 cup gluten free flour (Whole Foods 365 Organic Brand)
1/2 cup oatflour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger,
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/2 cup Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Shortening
1 1/2 cups Agave Nectar (I used Trader Joe's Brand)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 cups rolled oats (I used Quaker Quick or Old Fashioned. Do NOT use instant.)
1 1/2 cups raisins

1 Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or waxed paper. (I didn't do this--I used Pampered Chef Baking Stones!)

2 Either by hand or with electric mixer, beat buttery spread and shortening until creamy. Add agave nectar; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat vinegar and 2 teaspoons of baking powder.

3 Mix flour, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and allspice together in medium bowl. Stir dry ingredients into the "Butter" and "Sugar" mixture. Stir in oats, raisins and optional walnuts.

4 Working with generous 2 tablespoons of dough each time, roll dough into 2-inch balls. Place balls on parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between each ball.

5 Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool on cooling at least 30 minutes before peeling cookie from parchment.

If you try them...let me know. Thanks to Deb at Altered Plates and Elise's Simply Recipes for the recipe!!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Old Dover Days

THe First Weekend in May is Old Dover Days in Dover, Delaware. This year the festival celebrated its 75th year. It's a festival which celebrates Colonial Times. Maypoles are erected on "The Green" (Center of Town), and several school children do maypole dances. When I was about three, I danced with my preschool! Lots of people dress in period costumes...and it's just a fun fun day. Last year Jecilyn's school (St. John's Early Learning Center)was in the parade. They participated again this year. I helped with the float and the costumes for the boys. It was fun. Jecilyn and I needed dresses. Of course, I don't sew. So, I called my mother's best friend and asked her to help. Aunt Cathy did a super job on our dresses. I took a lot of pictures and am working on a slideshow...but I wanted to get these up ASAP so Aunt Cath could see them! THANKS! (And thanks to Mom Mom Ginny for putting the finishing touches on them!)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Fun Food Friday

I know it's been a long time since I've done one of these. My creative juices have no been flowing. Or, perhaps they've been flowing in the wrong direction.... Last night we had Octopus and Seaweed for dinner. Sounds Yummy, huh? Well, it must've been because both kids scarfed it up!

The octopussies (octopi?!?!? What is the plural of anyway?)are hot dogs. I used Trader Joe's all beef hotdogs which contain no preservatives or nasty nitrates. Before dropping them in the pot, I sliced them halfway up to make legs. When you boil them, they curl.

I started by dumping a bunch of parsley in a pot of water. I also added broccoli, carrots, califlower, and a few string beans. I would have liked to use spinach, but I didn't have any--so I made do with what I had. I stuck the veggies in, boiled the water, added the pasta (I used Quinoa which is gluten free!), and the hot dogs and let it boil for a few minutes. Place the veggies and pasta on the plate--top with the hot dog...and VOILA! You've got Octopus and Seaweed! Cute, huh?

(PS: Octopuses is the correct plural!)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy May Day!

It's May First! That's May Day! Now, unless you have gone to Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, that probably doesn't mean much to you. I am a proud graduate of Washington (Often pronounced WAR-SHIN-TIN)College. And, maybe not so proudly, a four year participant in their May Day Festivities. My level of participation increased each year, and by my senior year, I was..well, totally free.
So, what, you ask is May Day at Washington College? Let's see...WIKIPEDIA describes it as such:
It is a Washington College tradition to celebrate May Day (May 1) by liberating oneself from one's restrictive and oppressive clothing and partying desnudo with fellow students mostly by the flagpole

Yeah...Naked. I was naked. Geez.

As a freshman at Washington College...I wasn't quite sure if this was something that was true...or if it was akin to the lies that you hear upper classmen tell freshmen all the time. You know, telling some poor schmuck, "Oh, yes. I'll help you...Go right down that hall. Make a left at the pool and then head up the stair. First room on your left." When the one story school has no pool.... I thought maybe it was like that....

I had an English Paper due on May 2nd. I was assiduously (Pun intended!) working on my paper...and I was irritated because I'd waited too long to do it...and even more irritated that it was for Professor Bennett Lamond--who, legend had it, had started all this May Day nonsense to begin with. I heard some noise in the hallway. Then it came...a knock on my door. "Um...come in?" The door opened. And, there were Five Naked Theta Chis. Steve "Hutty" Huetner and William "Ice" Halagarda were two of them. I cannot seem to remember who else was there though...Gimme a was 19 years ago!

Anyway...I decided to go and explore the activities! And, oh what fun!

I did end up finishing that paper. Well, kind of. I didn't exactly do the assignment. We were supposed to write a paper on this stupid book called Palefire (I think). Professor Lamond was good at giving us completely vague paper topics. And, when you asked him, "How long does the paper have to be?" his response was always the same..."Write until you have exhausted all possibilities and then begin to write." What kind of crazy answer was this?!?!?

Anyway, we had two choices of topics for this paper. We could either write about the homosexuality in the book or the heterosexuality of the book. I decided NOT to write the paper at all. In my defiance, I wrote--maybe eight pages--about how I wasn't writing this stupid paper about this stupid book. That this professor that assigned it was nuts to expect a class of freshmen to turn in a paper the day after this crazy tradition which he had started. And, that the book, really, was all about that stupid tradition anyway. And, I proved it...

Good ole Bennett loved it. I got an A+. In fact, I think I got As on all the papers I wrote for him. Oh, no, once, I got a B+. It was a paper on The Postman Always Rings Twice. The paper began, "I refuse to write a paper about The Postman Always Rings Twice because...."I think it was maybe three pages double spaced in 14 point font with inch and a half margins. Benny wrote, "You could have refused to write even more."

I probably still have those old college papers around here somewhere. If I can find some of them, I'll post them here. They were fun!

Here's a link to an article about May Day.

And here's a picture of Professor Bennett Lamond.
He's the one on the left. Have a great day! Go get naked.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Play Ball!

Today was Jecilyn's first day of Tball...and being the loser mom that I am...I didn't have my camera. The battery was dead. At least I remembered it this time! UGH! At least I had my phone!

I signed her up through Kent County Parks and Recreation. We were really excited about the whole thing...but it was a bit of a disappointment. I had expected to receive a phone call or something telling us what team she was on and what time to arrive. No one called. We showed up at the ball park at 9:00 a.m. I figured perhaps they didn't choose teams until the first day. I was wrong. All the other kids had received calls from their coach. Hmmm. Oh well. Good news, she is on The Phillies. Uncle Chris will be pleased. Bad news...they have no coach. Are you kidding me? How can you have a team without a coach? Apparently, they were hoping for a parent to volunteer...but no one did. Hopefully, some one will...

Anyway, she had a lot of fun. Here is her first at bat! Sorry about the quality...and I don't know what happened to the sound!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mommy, Who is This?

Jecilyn loves to play with money. She's always collecting change from around the house. She puts it in her piggy bank, in her purse, or in her pocket. We are working on the names of the coins and how much each is worth. Today she was playing with her most recent find. Two dimes and a very very dirty penny. She was pushing them around on the coffee table today. She stopped and called me over to her. She said, "Mommy, who is this?" A momentary panic came over me. I thought, "Geez, the kid is FOUR and already she's stumping me." Try as I might, I couldn't figure out who it was...Do you know?

Let me think....Um...Washington--Quarter. Jefferson--Nickel. Lincoln--Penny. Who the hell is on the dime!?!? Roosevelt? Eisenhower? $100 Bill....Ben Franklin. That I can remember...But who is this guy on this dime?

It turns out, it doesn't matter who the guy is (but if you must know, it's FDR)....Because when two dimes and a very very dirty penny are placed in this is, of course Mickey Mouse. Boy, did I feel stupid...

I surveyed several of my friends...Most gave me a presidential answer. Jeff said Mickey Mouse. So did a few others: Uncle Bobby and Tammie. There's gotta be some kind of psychological evaluation for this one! Ha ha!

My thought is this: It sucks when we get old and we loose our imagination. If only we could stay young forever and find a little Mickey Mouse everywhere. Chris always talks about the KISS Method. Keep It Simple, Stupid. This is a good example of that. Take time to notice the little things. Don't get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you miss out on Mickey!!!!

Or perhaps the lesson here is: GROW UP! Who knows! Leave a comment and let me know what your answer was! Have a great day?

Semi Thumbs Up!

For some reason, Jecilyn LOVES Applebees. It's not like she gets some super meal's the same thing EVERY SINGLE TIME....Mac & Cheese. And, not to toot my own horn, but MY Mac & Cheese is WAY better than Applebees. Mine is usually homemade...and usually organic. It is not the stuff that comes in a blue and yellow package and is likely PROCESSED just around the corner at Kraft. Although it claims to be the "cheesist," I'm pretty sure what it really is a whole lot of chemicals colored and flavored with petroleum to taste like cheese. In fact, the label reads as follows:

My mac & cheese consists of organic pasta (made from 100% Durum Semolina), organic milk, and cheese. One would think that Kraft may be accused of false advertising, since, clearly, my Mac & Cheese contains more cheese than theirs. However, I actually looked up the definition of "Cheesiest." According to Merriam-Webster, the definition is as follows:

Main Entry: cheesy
Pronunciation: \ˈchē-zē\
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): chees·i·er; chees·i·est
Date: 14th century
1 a: resembling or suggesting cheese especially in consistency or odor b: containing cheese
2: shabby 3c, cheap < cheesy movie>
— chees·i·ness noun

So, although my homemade Mac & Cheese does contain more cheese, by definition, I suppose Kraft's is the "cheesiest." Or, at least cheesier than mine...but I digress...

The point--and I had one when I started this post--was to tell you about our trip to Applebees yesterday. Nettie suggested I take pictures...but, I couldn't find the camera in the pit that is my, you'll just have to settle for the story. Jecilyn, of course, ordered the aforementioned cheesiest mac & cheese. For Treavor, I ordered two mini hamburgers--no roll, no butter, no cheese, and applesauce not fries. Treavor, being Treavor, decided to throw a tantrum while we waited for our food. The waitress came over and asked if she could bring over some crackers for him. I told her that he couldn't have crackers. She replied, "Oh, yeah, that's said he's allergic to I guess that means no crackers too." I thanked her, and she returned to the kitchen. A few minutes later she returned. Treavor had calmed down by this point (or perhaps I had just tuned him out!). She asked if he could have fruit. Then, she returned with a whole plate of fruit from the bar...pineapple, strawberry, orange slices, apples balls (looked like they used a melon baller--is that what it's called?--to scoop them out), and cherries. How cool!!! Treavor loved it! Jecilyn was jealous!

So, even though I'm pretty sure this incident was situational--a good waitress who wanted to shut up my snot nosed kid so he wouldn't disturb other guests--I'm still giving Applebees a Thumbs Up!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wheat Free Wednesday

My friend Amy gave me this recipe. I believe it is her mother's recipe. It was VERY easy...and VERY Tasty. Here it is:

2 lbs ground meat (Amy says she uses turkey and beef. I just used beef!)
16 oz of Salsa (Amy recommends fresh salsa...I used Archer Farms Organic Medium Salsa from Target)
1 1/2 cups Oatmeal

Mix it together...make a loaf, and bake. I think I baked it at 350 for a little more than an hour. It was fabulous! I recommend serving it with Mashed Potatos and Corn! I also put cheese on mine and Jecilyn's! Yummy! It was a little on the spicy side...but we enjoyed it! Thanks Amy!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Thumbs Up!

Since yesterday I gave Chuck E. Cheese's a big THUMBS DOWN, I thought today I'd give some thumbs up to some restuarants who have been helpful and accomodating.

In January, we were staying in a Holiday Inn by the Philadelphia Airport. The restaurant in which "Kids eat free" was closed. Food was available in the bar--where they were smoking....The only other option was Denny's. I was little--ok a lot--fearful of taking Treavor to a place where eggs were cooked all day long. And, looking at the children's menu---there was NOTHING that he could eat. I mentioned my concern to the waitress. She sent over the manager. He was extremely helpful! He made suggestions, checked all of the labels--and brought them to me for clarification, and made sure the grill was cleaned prior to cooking Treavor's food! Thanks, Denny's!

On our way back from Maine, we made a bit of an emergency stop in Milford Connecticuit (Jecilyn puked in the car!). We stayed in a hotel which had a Friendly's adjoining it. They were great too. They cleaned the grill. They also gave Treavor dessert--strawberry topping--no ice cream. He loved it! We have since been to our local Friendly's. They allowed us to bring our own "Ice Cream" and they kept it in their freezer. They served it with the rest of our ice cream....with Mandarin Oranges on the side. Treavor loved it!!!

I've been to a few Lonestar's too. The first time I went, I wasn't with Treavor...but I was still nursing him. They were great. A manager came over and made suggestions. The waitress was very helpful. So, I returned to another Lonestar with Treavor. They were so great when I went...I forgot about the peanuts. So, when I returned with Treavor...I got a little nervous. We do not know if her has an airborne peanut allergy--and I don't really want to find out. However, we decided to take the chance. We were sat away from others eating peanuts and did not have any at our table. We also made sure Treavor did not leave his chair! When I told him about his allergies, the waiter was great. He said they would cook his food on a seperate grill! How cool is that!?!? Of course, the kitchen screwed up the first round...and brought it out on a bun with butter....Our waiter noticed...and returned it to the kitchen. The manager came to apologize. I'm pretty sure they didn't just throw that same burger on the plate and bring it back out! (And, hopefully they didn't spit on the new one!)

On our last trip to Trader Joe's with Jeseray and Jocelyn, we stopped at Lonestar again. Jocelyn is also allergic to wheat and milk (and corn and apples and walnuts). So, our ordering was a bit of a pain in the took-us. But, the waitress was great. She asked if we needed the manager...but we declined. It was all good!

I'm going to try to keep the thumbs up and thumbs down with restaurants going. Maybe other allergy parents will find my blog and the information will be helpful to them. Have a great day!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Chuck E Cheese's....Where a kid can Press 1

My children were invited to a birthday party at our local "Chuck E. Cheese's...Where a Kid Can Be a Kid." Since there is going to be food served at the party and it's at the dinner hour, it presents a bit of a problem for me with Treavor's allergies. So, today, I decided to call them today to see if they would be willing to let me heat up food for Treavor in their restaurant. And, if they would possible store Ice Cream for him in their freezer. I looked up the number in the phone book. It was a local number. I dialed. I got a recording...and I kid you not....It said "For instructions in English, press one!" Are you kidding me!?!?! I don't get a freakin human being when I call a kid's restaurant!?!?!

After about 5 minutes of pressing buttons, I finally got a human that was no where near Dover, Delaware--and could not even answer my question...and, come to think of it...I don't even think she spoke English all that well!!!! She was however, very helpful. She told me that the Ice Cream would be no problem, but that I'd have to check with the individual store manager about the food. Se gave me the number...and I called....The manager on duty told me "We do not allow any outside food or drinks." Geez. At this point, I'm loosing my mind!!!! "Yes, I understand that. But, you do not have anything on your menu that he can eat. He is allergic to flour. And milk. There's nothing that he can eat...." Finally, she told me that I could contact the general manager and maybe she'd be able to help me. Hopefully, I will meet with better results there.

So, at the moment...Chuck E. Cheese's is receiving a big old THUMBS DOWN from Allergy Boy's Mom.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Where Do Easter Eggs Come From?

So my brother calls me on his way to taking Stella Blu to get her picture taken with the Easter Bunny. He asks, "Do Bunnies lay eggs?" My response..."Uh...Only Easter Bunnies." Apparently he and Rhonda had quite the discussion over this today. Chris concluded that since mammals don't lay eggs...and rabbits are mammals...and bunnies are rabbits...then bunnies mustn't lay eggs. Nice logic, Chris!!!!

Anyway, the discussion went from there to "Thank you Easter Bunny, Bawk Bawk!" We both remember the commercial...but I thought it was foir Cadbury Eggs. Nope....That one went like this!

Hmmm....Maybe this is why Chris got confused...The "Thank you Easter Bunny" Commercial was for another product...It's funny that we remember the tagline but not the product....Do you remember the commercial? The product? Here it is. Fitting that it's one of Jecilyn's favorites!!!

As you can see from the photo at the start of the post, Stella's first encounter with the Easter Bunny did not seem to thrill her. Hey, at least she wasn't crying! But, here's a much better picture...where she's happy! Ain't she sweet!?!?!

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Better late than never!!!! Here are some photos from Jecilyn's Birthday Party which was held at Gold Medal Gymnastics in Smyrna. The girls had a great time. Jecilyn didn't want any boys at her party--she was adamant about that one...Which was tough for me since she has had some "boyfriends" since she was little. So, we just invited the little girls from her class. It was a small party. And, it was last minute. She really wanted to have a Princess Tea at home...but since Daddy wasn't home and the remodel wasn't complete, we couldn't do that. I told her we'd do that later, and she seemed to be OK with that. And, then a week before her birthday she freaked....WHERE ARE WE GOING TO HAVE MY BIRTHDAY!?!?! It was as if she wouldn't ACTUALLY be FOUR until she had a party. (Wow, I wish that worked for me!) Thankfully, Brenda at old Medal was able to work us in! And, of course, the day before her party, she decided that she wanted the boys to come too. Oh well...Too late.

Here's the pictures. Thanks to Hannah's mom for taking them!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Fairy and The Easter Bunny

Ok, yeah, I suck. It's been way way too long. It's been a crazy month. I started the major remodel of my "Game Room" and two days in, Jeff got deployed. Fun stuff. Gone, for 45 days. And, since the carpet was already set for installation, I couldn't push it back. Plus, I'd already torn apart the, I was stuck. Thankfully, I got by with a little (A LOT) help from my friends! Liam, Scott, Rob, Nett, Hank and Derek really came through! (And Steph and Mom Mom and Pop Pop to with their help with the kids.). Pictures will be posted as soon as I remember where the damn battery is to my camera.

I missed Jecilyn's birthday. She turned 4 on March 9th. We had a gymnastics birthday party. I'll try to post pictures from that tomorrow. Her friend Hannah's mom took them...cuz I couldn't find the damn charger for the camera.

So, anyway, here's a cute story from my four year old. It's been a struggle to get her to sleep in her bed all night. So, I've been bribing her with m&m's. A few times, I've snuck into her room and put them in her hands ('cause, you know, they melt in your mouth, not in your hands!). One morning, we had the following discussion:

Me: Was there anything in your bed when you woke up?

Her: Yes. There were m&m's. You put them there.

Me: No. I didn't it wasn't me. It must have been the "Bed Fairy."

Her: No. It was you mommy, I heard your steps.

Me: What? How do you know that it was my steps? Maybe it was the Bed Fairy's steps.

Her: (Rolling her eyes and looking at me as if I am clearly the dumbest fool on the planet) Uh, mommy, Bed Fairies don't step. They fly. Duh.....

Oh, of course, what was I thinking. Silly mommy....

So, then, last week, I took her to an Easter Party. When the Easter Bunny (who's body and head had been riding around in my van unnoticed all day) made his appearance, most of the children were delighted. Some, were scared. My daughter takes one look at him and announces, "That's not the real Easter Bunny. I see socks."


Monday, February 11, 2008

Oh Big Airplane!

I was leaving work the other day and I heard this song on the radio. I was sure I that I was out of my mind...and that I couldn't possibly be hearing it correctly--someone was actually singing about Delaware and Dover and C-5s on the radio?!?! Well, I am out of my mind...but someone WAS singing about Delaware and Dover and C-5s. The artist's name is John Flynn. He apparently wrote this song in response to the US policy of not letting the caskets of fallen American soldiers be photographed as they returned home. That policy has been changed. And, I'm not sure whether or not I agree with it...I think that should be up to the families of the individual fallen sodiers to to decide. I don't want to go into politics or opinions about the war. I just wanted to share a great song. Hope you enjoy!

For more information on the Big Airplane C-5, click here

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wheat Free Wednesday

Wow...It's been forever....So much for my New Year's Resolution to do a better job of blogging....But, where to go but up from this point.

I made this YUMMY dinner a few months back...but I didn't write down the recipe...BUMMER! I tried to replicate it--and this time...I wrote it down...mostly. I'm sure that REAL CHEFs don't scribble with chalk on chalkboards (because that's all they can find to write on in the midst of their creative burst!, but--whatever works.

I took Treavor to his allergist a few weeks ago...and the consensus...He's fat. Woo Hoo! I'm so very proud of myself! The doctor was impressed! He told me I'm a great mom....and that he'd like to send all the other parents to me. I'm not quite sure how I mananaged to get out the door that day...You know, with my head being swelled up and all. I imagine a looked a little like Stewie from The Family Guy.

It was great...but I did not take all of the credit....I did own up to the fact that I had help from my amazing cookbook Sophie Safe Cooking by Emily Hendrix (To see the website, click here. The doctor asked me to take a picture of Treavor and hang it in his office with the front cover of the book. I did better than that...I contacted the author and she sent me some brochures....So cool!

Anyway....I'm no Emily Hendrix...but here's my attempt at a recipe. I had Aunt Net and Uncle Bobby over for dinner...and Uncle Bobby--a very tough critic--said it was good!!!!! If you try it, let me know!!! And, if you make it better (Emily!), please let me know!!!

Coconut Chicken:

6 Boneless Skinless Breasts (Pounded w/ Meat Tenderizer)

About: 3 T flour (I used the gluten free all purpose mix from Whole Foods), 1 c sweetened coconut flakes, 2 c crushed corn flakes, and a few shakes of chili powder mixed together in a ziploc bag

One can of coconut milk

Dip chicken in coconut milk (may need to heat milk first if it is solid!)
Place in bag and shake
Put on cookie sheet
Drizzle with coconut milk, oil or butter
bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Glaze for chicken:

2 red bell peppeers (finely chopped--I used food processor!)
3/4 t crushed red peppers
3/4 t chili powder
1 clove garlic (minced--or chopped w/ pepper!)
2T sugar
3/4 t fresh ginger
"Shake" cumin

Mix all together and heat. Serve over rice!

The sauce may be a little spicy--but Jeff liked it that way. I think it had a bit too much you might want to adjust that a bit.....But it was good this way!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Princess and a Virgin

As I've mentioned previously, Jecilyn loves all things princess--especially Cinderella. She is a little chatter box in the car. The other day, she told me that Cinderella HAD TO marry the Prince because she was going to have a baby.

"OH! NO! NO! NO!" I told her! "That is NOT how it works. Cinderella married the Prince because she loved him and her lived her." I went on to explain that FIRST you get married....and THEN you can have a baby. I told her that that's just the way it is. You have to be married first...

My darling little daughter thought that one over for a moment or two...and then she said,
But Mommy, Mary wasn't married when she had baby Jesus

...Now, what, exactly, was I supposed to say to that? It took me so off guard that I couldn't come up with a better response than
...Hmmm....Well, uh...maybe you need to ask Ms. Mary (her teacher), Ms. Dottie (the director of her preschool and the pastor's wife), or Ms. Ruth (her former teacher and current Sunday School teacher).

She seemed to be okay with that answer. Whew! Another parenting emergency diverted! I'm SO dreading the "Where Do Babies Come From?"Speech. And, at the rate she's going, that's likely to be before Kindergarten. I do ask her every once in a while how babies get in their mommy's bellies. She tells me that God puts them there. That's a good answer. And, she tells me that the way they get out of their mommy's bellies is....

The mommy goes to the doctor. And the lullaby comes on. And, then the baby comes out

Now, that would be PERFECT! Would it not?!?! She got that idea from being in our hospital. They play Brahm's Lullaby whenever a baby is born.