Friday, December 14, 2007

The Very Non-Dairy Christmas

I finally managed to pry The Very Non-Dairy Christmas out of my children's hands long enough to write a review. This book has been on heavy rotation in our house since it arrived here several weeks ago. A Christmas book! About dairy allergies! Clearly this was written for us.

After the first two readings (one right after the other), Katherine kept saying, "Santa is just like me! He can't have dairy--just like me!" Eli loved the cartoon-y drawings, especially the ones of "Ho ho ho" (Santa). While we have read books about other allergies, this is our first dairy-only book, which Katherine loves. And the fact that it's about Santa is the icing on the dairy-free cake.

Writing fiction about medical issues--such as food allergies--in a natural way can be a challenge. To Scott's and my ears, some of the explanatory dialogue sounded a bit forced, but our children haven't been bothered by it at all.

I think that any child or sibling of a child with food allergies would enjoy this Christmastime tale. I don't know how it would translate for children who don't have allergies in their families. Their parents might not want to bother with buying special soy milk just for Santa! But The Very Non-Dairy Christmas is destined to be a Christmas classic in our house.

[This review was written for Go Dairy Free.]

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Have you been to a Christmas pageant yet this holiday season? Did it seem more Herdman than holy at first? Maybe it went something like this:

The children's choir sings while the Angel of the Lord climbs up onto her perch. Mary and Joseph arrive with their baby doll Jesus, who has bright blue eyes and looks decidedly feminine. After cradling her baby and placing Him in the manger, Mary chats quietly with the Angel of the Lord while Joseph tries to strangle himself with his shepherd's crook. The (female) shepherds arrive with their stuffed... goat. The children's choir continues singing and playing chimes as if they are handling martial arts weapons. The wisemen arrive; one of them receives a coy little finger wave from Mary. Joseph, still wrestling with his crook, pays no heed. As the choir continues to sing, Mary plays with pieces of hay while Joseph chews on some. A wiseman picks his nose. The shepherds play restlessly with their shepherd's crooks. At last, the entire cast lines up at the front of the stage to sing "Go Tell it on the Mountain," mumbling the verses but belting out the chorus. Then, in a triumph of mixed media, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive with little candies and trinkets for all of the children and their siblings.

Perhaps there is an almost-two-year old keeping you company in the audience, who claps his hands and yells, "Yay!" after every song. Maybe he calls his sister's name in excitement when Mary comes onstage, and says, "Oh wow!" when Santa appears. Maybe you think about Christmas just two years ago, when he was kicking your ribs like this baby girl is now.

Maybe the evening ends with many congratulations and a few cookies left over from the potluck dinner. I hope so.

Double Chocolate Chewies from The Cake Mix Doctor
(adjusted to be dairy free)

1 package plain, dairy-free devil's food cake mix
1/3 cup water
4 tablespoons dairy-free margarine, melted
1 large egg
1 cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets. Place the cake mix, water, melted margarine, and egg in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for one minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the speed to medium and beat for one minute more. The dough will be thick. Fold in the chips and nuts.

Drop heaping teaspoons of the dough two inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake the cookies until they have set but are still a little soft in the center, 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheets for one minute. Remove the cookies with a metal spatula to wire racks to cool completely, 20 minutes.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Holler 'Nuff!

Remember the touching Christmas scene in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Farmer Boy where Almanzo and his snotty cousin Frank were pounding the stuffing out of each other in the snow? And Almanzo wouldn't give up till Frank hollered, "'Nuff?" Well, I'm hollering "'nuff." I am giving in to this pregnancy. I am tired! I take naps when I should be working while I let the children watch crappy cartoons! I sent out some bills without stamps and some bills without checks the other day! I made Scott leave work early for K's Christmas dance recital this past Tuesday, and it's this coming Tuesday! I fed the kids pizza for lunch and dinner yesterday! (Scott, teasing, "Yeah, Mommy doesn't care anymore.")

To keep from becoming a total Mama Scrooge during this Christmas season, here are some of the links to fun and easy Christmas crafts I'm planning to use to entertain the children. While I nap.

Family Fun Christmas Printables
Wondertime Holiday Links
Nativity Paper Dolls (From Beck)
Jan Brett (From Soulemama)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

On Cupcakes and Parties

Jill left some questions for me to answer, and I've decided to answer them in a post. (Hope that's Ok, Jill!)

"I wondered about your daughter taking her dairy-free cupcakes to things. How does she like that? Is she ok with it? Does it go over ok with other kids and stuff? Do you have several in the freezer and pull them out for these occasions? Are they already decorated in the freezer?
Sorry for all the questions, but my daughter is allergic to dairy, eggs and soy. So, I have been letting her take a piece of candy instead of eating the cake (she doesn't normally get candy, so she has been fine with it so far). Just wondering about making cupcakes for her to take to birthday parties and such."

When Katherine was younger (2-3) I was more likely to pack fruit snacks or a granola bar for her dessert if we went somewhere. She didn't really notice what the grownups were eating. But that was before school, friends, birthday parties, etc. Now that she's older, she prefers to match her friends whenever possible, but she understands if what she brings isn't exactly the same. Katherine's friends and classmates are very accepting and understanding as well.

I keep cookies, cupcakes, Tofutti frozen dessert, and Tofutti Cuties in the freezer. The cookies are usually unfrosted sugar cookies and chocolate chip. The cupcakes are usually yellow cake mix with chocolate frosting. After baking the cupcakes and letting them cool, I peel back one side of the cupcake wrapper, slice the cupcake almost in half horizontally (as you would a hamburger bun) , and spread frosting in the middle. I then rewrap the cupcake and place it in a freezer bag with several others. I usually send one Tofutti Cutie sandwich and one cupcake with Katherine when she attends a birthday party. More information on what I send to school and other locations is here.

Since we are dealing with just one allergen, our situation is a bit different than yours, Jill, and I know that not all of the foods I'm writing about are safe for your daughter. (Maybe you could give her sorbet or Italian ice for a frozen treat?) But I hope this helps a little bit!

Monday, December 03, 2007

First Weekend in December

How to spend the first weekend in December:

Begin the Advent calendar.
Go Christmas shopping with Daddy. Buy your brother a stuffed froggie for his Christmas present.
Receive your Christmas ornament kits in the mail.
Go downtown for the annual Christmas parade.
Sit on Santa's lap because you're not scared of him anymore. Ask for a digital camera.
Go to a neighbor's house for an after-parade party. (Bring your own dairy-free cupcake and Tofutti Cutie.)
Come outside to find snow falling. Walk home in the snow.

Go to Sunday School and church.
Watch Mama and Daddy's old Grinch and Charlie Brown Christmas videos.
Light the first candle on your new Advent wreath (beautifully handmade by a member of our congregation) at dinnertime while Mama reads Isaiah 40:3-5.
Dream sweet dreams.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Anecdotal Evidence


Thank you so much for all of your birth stories! I love a good baby story. Here's a new one!

Baby Peanut is weighing in at 4 lbs 10 oz here in week 32/33. We'll be keeping an eye on her size, and I am not allowed to travel during the holidays, as I suspected.

Also, if you are, say, 22 months old and want to freak out your mother, wake up from your nap with your inner ear bleeding. Ear infections are wicked gross, and mommy's facial expressions are so funny! You will have to go to the doctor and get ear drops, though.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Thank you all so much for your awesome cleaning tips. I especially liked Hipwritermama's idea: "Leave out some disinfecting wipes and place them in wastebaskets so the rooms smell clean." Genius!

Thanksgiving went very well and we had a lovely time with both sides of our family. The only glitch was my pie making. I baked them the day before, in the midst of cleaning and organizing, which may have been a mistake. The first pumpkin pie burned because, although I remembered to reset the timer, I forgot to turn the temperature down from 450 to 350 after 15 minutes. I hurried up and made a second one, but in all of the confusion of people coming in and out of the kitchen during dinnertime, the oven got turned off while the second pie was still baking. We turned it back on and it turned out all right. Clearly I didn't learn to stop while I was behind because after everyone left, I tried to make a pecan pie for the first time while Scott brined the turkeys. (Spellcheck suggests I use "brained" or "bribed" instead of "brined.") The recipe practically yells at you not to let the pie overbake and to take it out while the middle is still a little jiggly, which we did. Unfortunately, it was still jiggly the next day at Thanksgiving dinner. I had made the dairy-free pecan pie for Katherine since she can't eat her grandmother's pecan pies, so Scott and I kept the unappealing, oozing pie down at our end of the table. Not surprisingly, K. decided not to try it. At least the pumpkin bars turned out well. (I frosted them with dairy-free frosting.)

Here's the pumpkin pie recipe. It is a lovely pie when you follow the directions. No photo, for obvious reasons.

Pumpkin Pie from A Vegetarian Harvest

1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
2 eggs, beaten
12 ounces of soymilk (I use vanilla.)
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sugar
prebaked graham cracker pie crust

Preheat the oven to 45o degrees. Mix together the ingredients. Pour them into the crust. Bake 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 50 minutes.

There is no school today because it is the first day of antlered deer season for rifle hunters, affectionately known as "the first day of buck." The kids are snacking on the last of the candy corn while coloring snowflakes and snowmen to hang from the dining room chandelier. I'm digging out some of the Christmas decorations and taking advantage of some online sales in between catching up on blogs. Happy first day of buck to you all!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cleaning...or Not

It's time to fess up: what awesome pre-holiday, pre-guest cleaning tips do you have to share with a very pregnant person who inherited the chaos gene? I'm not talking about FlyL@dy shiny sinks or passive-aggressive-Martha-advice. I'm talking dim the lights and light some candles survival.

I'm talking about this:
"I glanced involuntarily at the heap of ashes in the grate, but she saw them as no obstacle at all. From a scratched oak box beside the hearth, she produced three firelighters and a handful of sticks. These went on top of the ashes, which got only a desultory poke. She struck a match, lit the firelighters, and made a wigwam of coal. The new fire flared up good-temperedly on the body of the old while Madge took the hearth brush and swept a few cinders out of sight behind a pile of logs.
Fascinated, I watched her continue with her housework. She drifted across to the dead flowers, opened the window, and threw them out. She emptied the water from the vase after them, then put it back on the windowsill and shut the window.
From behind the sofa... she pulled out a large brown cardboard box.... [O]n the inside it was half filled with the same sort of jumble which was lying around the room. She wafted methodically around in a large circle, taking everything up and throwing it just as it was into the box, a process which took approximately three minutes. She then pushed the box out of sight again behind the sofa and plumped up the seat cushions of two armchairs on her way back to the door. The room, tidy and with the brightly blazing fire, looked staggeringly different. The cobwebs were still there but one felt it might be their turn tomorrow. [Her son] was right. Ma had got the time-and-motion kick completely buttoned up, and what did it matter if the motive was laziness?"
--Dick Francis, Forfeit

Go! Meanwhile, I guess I'll get off the computer and start. *Sigh.*

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Holiday Dinner Tips

In case you are going to someone else's house for Thanksgiving and are not hosting it like a crazy person, and/or if you have other festive events on the horizon, here are some food allergy hints and tips we've come up with over the years.

For any kind of everybody-bring-a-dish event, bring dessert. Kids are less likely to mind if their veggies don't match everyone else's, but if they are eating a stale granola bar from the bottom of your purse while everyone else feasts on pie, things are going to get ugly. I usually bring something in individual servings, like cookies or cupcakes. That way, there is no fear of the server from a cream pie being used to serve the dairy-free pie. As an added precaution, I put a plate of cookies/cupcakes out for everyone but keep a baggie full of them in my bag. No cross contamination, and this prevents the cookies from being eaten by everyone else first. (This really did happen to us one Thanksgiving, even though I told everyone that they were the dairy-free Katherine cookies and the only dessert she could eat. Fool me once....)

We often bring rolls as well because Katherine loves bread and has a hard time watching everyone else eat it in front of her. Cranberry sauce makes an excellent dairy-free spread. If we don't bring rolls for everyone, I pack a few dairy-free ones just for her.

I also pack a potato. If there are facilities for me to cook it in, I pack it raw. If not, I microwave it at our house and throw it into a baggie. By the time we reach our destination, the potato is cool enough to eat. Also, steaming in the baggie makes for easy skin removal. You can then cut it up or mash it up and season it with salt and pepper.

There are usually enough fruits and veggies that are dairy free (get to the relish tray early!), along with the cranberry sauce and jello salads (as long as they don't have cream cheese, of course). Check to make sure the turkey hasn't been basted with butter. Otherwise, it's usually fine. When I don't know much about the foods being served, I will pack some precooked chicken or turkey and canned green beans as well as the bread, potato, and dessert.

If this is an immediate family event, you can usually check with everyone ahead of time about what they're bringing and what the ingredients are. Some people are happy to alter recipes, and some are not. I choose not to push the issue and just bring lots of our own food. This is each parent's personal choice. If someone is interested in substituting dairy-free margarine for butter, I am happy to give them safe brand names. If great-grandma's stuffing has always been made with butter and American cheese and we are by god not changing that for anyone, fine.

As we all know, food can be a very emotional topic for people, especially at holiday time. Also, cooking dairy free (or gluten free, or nut free, or egg free, etc.) can be very intimidating. And, as many of us were taught that asking "What's in this?" is rude, it can be hard for people not to take offense. I really, really try to be understanding. I am so appreciative when people try to make things Katherine can eat, and I try so very hard to remember it is nothing personal when they don't. The flip side of this is that I hope they remember that we are talking about a six-year-old child. So I hope they aren't offended when she doesn't like the dairy-free dishes they so carefully made for her.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Raspberry Salad

Here's my friend Tracy's raspberry salad recipe. Sorry there's no photo, but I wanted to go ahead and post it for those who might be interested. This is going to be a part of our dairy-free Thanksgiving.

Raspberry Salad

approximately 35 ounces of applesauce*
2 small or one large package of raspberry Jello
16-20 ounces of frozen raspberries

Set the raspberries out to thaw a bit while you heat the applesauce until it starts to boil. Stir in the Jello. Stir in the raspberries. Pour into a 9x9 dish or a Jello mold. Refrigerate until set.

*Tracy usually buys a large (50 oz.) jar of applesauce and measures out the amount she needs.

Scott thinks this would be good with other Jello/berry combinations, too. Hey, who am I to disagree?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dairy-Free Thanksgiving Menu

So, who's hosting Thanksgiving? For both sides of your family?

*Nowheymama shakily raises hand.*

Let's plan a menu so I can sleep at night. What do you say? And since my blog becomes less private every day--Family, this is what we're having for dinner.

Dairy-Free Thanksgiving Menu
Two turkeys, deep-fried by Scott and my Dad
Gravy, made by Dad, who substitutes dairy-free margarine for the butter, of course
Mom's stuffing, two batches
Scott's mashed potatoes
My brother-in-law Jarred's sweet potato casserole (Um. Please, Jarred?)
Green bean casserole
Cranberries: cranberry jelly and the awesome cranberry orange relish made by our grocery store
Raspberry jello salad (my neighbor Tracy's recipe, made with frozen raspberries from the farmer's market)
Relish tray
Appetizers, if someone else wants to make them

Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie?

Decaf coffee

I promise to post/link to more recipes ASAP. This is a 100% dairy-free Thanksgiving menu.

Oh-so-exciting family health update: Eli is recovering from the croup and an ear infection. I do not have gestational diabetes (told ya!) and am fine. The baby is growing and growing, which is great, but my dreams of an induction-free birth fade with every ounce she gains. Ah, well. And Katherine and Scott are just dandy. Wake up, I'm finished.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Lemon Sauce

Beck posted a wonderful, dairy-free gingerbread recipe the other day. While she recommends serving it with butter (margarine) or applesauce, my favorite gingerbread topping is lemon sauce. Gingerbread (or another kind of spice cake) with lemon sauce seems to be a perfect way to welcome November. Because unlike my local W@lmart, where the sound system was playing "Monster Mash" while the employees feverishly set up Christmas displays, I am not ready to speed from October 31 to December 25.

Lemon Sauce (adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook)

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons dairy-free margarine
1/2 cup lemon juice
grated rind of one lemon (if all I have is bottled lemon juice, I leave this out.)
dash of salt

Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a small saucepan. Add the boiling water, stirring constantly. Boil for five minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the margarine, lemon juice, lemon rind, and salt. Serve warm.

Friday, October 26, 2007


(Cookie pictured above is from a Sunflour Bakery dairy-free cookie kit and was decorated by Katherine. My review is here.)

Karen from Avoiding Milk Protein has asked me to share some tips for a safe, allergen-free Halloween. Will do.

First of all, there was a fantastic article in our local paper a few days ago, and I cannot find it online to link to it. If someone else finds it, please let me know. It was written by Helen Malani, chief shopping expert for She did a price comparison of treats vs. toys. Her examples were Junior Mints, 16-cent handheld Halloween puzzles, and three-cent vampire teeth. (Malani found the games and teeth online.) "To sum it up: If you get 50 trick-or-treaters at your door this year, you'd have to spend $9.50 to hand out the Junior Mints, $8 for handheld puzzles, and just $3 for enough vampire teeth." See? Safer and budget-friendly. She recommends Century Novelty, Sticker Giant, and US Toy for inexpensive toy handouts.

Then she earned my eternal love and devotion by writing about the dangers of food allergies. "Truthfully speaking, handing out Halloween toys is obviously healthier for kids, but it is also a safer choice. Last year alone, hospital emergency rooms treated nearly 30,000 adults and children for reactions to common foods like peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and milk.....
"It's not enough to assume a candy that looks safe is safe. So if you insist on remaining a traditionalist this Halloween and handing out candy, don't play any guessing games. Scrutinize every package's label. Do it for those little pirates and princesses that will be invading your doorstep this Halloween night."

*Sniff* I love you, Helen Malani! Call me!

Allergy Moms has published a list of 99 Food Allergy Friendly Treats just in time for Halloween.

Alton Brown has some great homemade candy ideas. All of these can be made dairy-free by substituting dairy-free margarine for the butter.

One of my friends said she read an article with a suggestion to let children choose a few pieces of candy to keep and then trade in the rest for a small toy. I think this is a great idea. Does anyone know where this article was published?

At our house, we purchase dairy-free candy to give out, and we reserve a few pieces of it. Katherine trades in her candy with dairy for dairy-free candy at the end of the evening. Other than that, we follow the same basic safety rules everyone should: don't eat anything until Mama and Daddy check it; throw away poorly-wrapped candy, go to the houses of people you know, etc.

We are very fortunate to have thoughtful neighbors who purchase treats that Katherine can have. Our next-door neighbor, who is a grandma raising her grandson, keeps a separate basket of potato chips, pretzels, and raisins for children with dietary issues. Awww....

These are just some of the many ideas that will get you through this candy-centric holiday. I'd love to hear other suggestions!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Week in Review

Weather: Rainy
Roof: Leaking rain down all three floors.
Scott's new nickname for the master bedroom: The Maid of the Mist
Cost of roof repair: TBA
Number of fruit flies in the house: hundreds
Posts written: One long, whiny yet incredibly humorous post written late Tuesday night.
Posts deleted by Google, possibly for being so freaking depressing: see above
Work done: four product reviews and counting for Go Dairy Free
Halloween costumes made: Zero. We're going with store bought this year. Leave me alone.
Size of fetus: Large but still in normal range
My 'concerned' family members think this means I have: gestational diabetes
They will now give me: lots of useless advice
On Sunday, I taught a Children's Church lesson about: Samuel anointing David
When asked to draw a picture of Samuel anointing David, one of my students drew: "Samuel, David, and the annoying guy."
What I've missed this week: You!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Peanut Butter Fudge Frosting

Rational Jenn has the latest Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival up on her site. Go check it out!

If you would like to understand more about children with food allergies or just feel like a good cry, please visit Hipwritermama's site and watch this short video. It makes my heart ache.

We've been taste testing lots of products for Go Dairy Free. It's a tough job, but we're managing. We recently tried Namaste Foods chocolate cupcakes, which are excellent. We frosted them with peanut butter frosting. I looked online for a recipe and ended up making my own based on several I found. I'm sure any nut butter would work well in this recipe. I think the brown icing on the chocolate cupcakes looks very fall-ish.

Peanut Butter Fudge Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup plain soy milk
1/4 cup dairy-free margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Mix with a mixer until smooth and creamy.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I really, really like homemade applesauce. And so do the kids. For years I labored under the delusion that it was hard to make, but now I know the truth! Let me share it with you, so that you may enjoy homemade applesauce goodness of your own. Here's the secret: get thee a food mill. Then you don't have to worry about all of that peeling and coring.


8-10 tart apples, washed (We're looking for middle-of-the-road apples here. Not Delicious, not Granny Smith. Whatever is growing locally right now.)
dark brown sugar (optional)
lemon juice (optional)
cinnamon (optional)

Wash the apples and cut them into chunks. Put them in a pan with enough water to just cover the bottom of the pan. Simmer, covered, for about 15-20 minutes, until the apples are soft. Run the apples through the food mill over a clean bowl. Discard the seeds and peels left in the mill. Taste the applesauce, and add a tiny bit (1-2 teaspoons) of dark brown sugar if desired. If the applesauce isn't tart enough, add a shot of lemon juice. Stir cinnamon into the applesauce or serve with cinnamon on top if desired.

Of course, you can always peel and core the apples before you cook them, then mash them with a potato masher. But I am a food mill convert. Plus, I like the way the apple skins turn the applesauce pink. And don't worry, Gramma, Katherine says your applesauce is still the best.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Allergy Kits, or I Am Not A Doctor; Don't Sue Me

Benadryl with clearly-labeled dispensing cup, EpiPen and hydrocortisone, also labeled with directions, in labeled Tupperware box on Teacher's Desk. Shelf-stable dairy-free snacks in Teacher's closet, just in case. Child is sent to school with a dairy-free snack every day.
Dairy-free cookies and cupcakes (for classroom parties) in school freezer stored in clearly-labeled freezer bags. Label information includes Child's name, Teacher's name, contents, and the adjective "dairy-free."
(Nowheymama tip: After baking cupcakes, peel back one side of the cupcake paper, slice the cupcake two-thirds of the way across, as you would a sandwich roll, and spread icing in the center of the cupcake. Rewrap in cupcake paper and place in freezer bag.)

Mama's Purse:
Benadryl with cup
Fruit snacks
Granola bar

Church Allergy Kit

Church Allergy Kit (good for any extracurricular activity location)*
All of the following items are kept in one large, clearly-labeled plastic container that is stored in a locked office when not in use. It is brought out on Wednesdays and Sundays, when Child is present.
Benadryl with clearly-labeled dispensing cup
Hydrocortisone, also labeled with directions
Various shelf-stable dairy-free snacks
*There is no EpiPen in this allergy kit because the doctor prescribes only two: for home and school. Mama is either in the building or nearby with her cell phone and EpiPen. If Mama is away, her EpiPen is given to someone else.

More Tips:
"Unappealing" adjectives like "dairy-free" and "wheat-free" plastered all over the storage containers seem to keep food thieves away.
We put dye-free liquid Benadryl in all of our kits. We tried the Benadryl quick-dissolve strips, but they taste like mint, which Child doesn't like, and you need scissors to open each individual strip. Not very handy in the heat of the moment. I just saw an ad last night for the Benadryl pre-filled single-use spoons. Those seem like they might be a reasonable alternative to put in Child's backpack or perhaps in the Allergy Kits. I'm interested in seeing them up close.

EDITED TO ADD: The Benadryl Perfect Measure Spoons are excellent and mess free. They would also be great in these kits.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


There comes a time in every pregnancy where "You don't even look pregnant!" changes from complement to insult. I am six months pregnant, and that time is now.

I understand the impulse not to want to inadvertently hurt someone's feelings by guessing she is pregnant when she is not, but, dude. I had my 24/25 week appointment yesterday, and I am measuring at 29 weeks. I look pregnant. (I also have big, nine-to-ten pound babies, so the news that I am measuring large was met with little surprise. Scott: "Shocker.") So, to those of you who want to say that I don't look pregnant, or even, "Did you already have the baby?", please refrain.

At the farmer's market the other day we bought apples, onions, eggs, raspberries, and sweet corn. You heard me. Raspberries and sweet corn. Right there on the table next to the butternut squash and chestnuts. In October. Grown in a community where it is not considered unusual to wade through snow on Halloween. I should be excited to have so much local produce still available, but it feels wrong, somehow. Very "all the seasons shall become one." But we took our purchases home, and the kids enjoyed their apocalyptic berries and corn on the cob with dinner.

Fall is coming, though. Eli and I saw lots of "punkies" on our drive to the OB yesterday. We stopped at a coffee shop on our way home and split a "punkie" scone. Sharing something Katherine can't eat with Eli always gives me a vaguely uncomfortable feeling, like I'm stepping out on her. I'm glad she is the oldest, so we can balance the food unfairness with, "But you can do this!"

The arrival of fall and my hormonal urges are making me feel like doing nest-y things. First on my list: copy Amy Karol's idea for a recipe cheat sheet for the side of the fridge. Genius!

I'm off to listen to the school nutritionist speak at the PTO meeting. This should be interesting.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Fun Links

I did receive Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for my birthday (Thanks, Scott!), and I am really enjoying it. I can't wait to make the pumpkin soup in its own shell. The recipe even suggests using soy milk!

Charlotte Hume visited me for the first time last week. I love her Great Big Veg Challenge site. The mission statement: "To eat our way through as many vegetables as we can find in the A to Z, trying out at least two recipes per veggie, taking ideas from people around the world. Cook, taste, try and Freddie [her son] rates them."

Rational Jenn started a food allergy blog carnival. Some of the bloggers she invited missed the submission deadline (Ahem), but there are several great articles in this issue by punctual bloggers.

If you haven't been to Go Dairy Free in awhile, please visit! Alisa adds great recipes and reviews all the time!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tomato Soup

The kiddies have developed a liking for tomato soup, and I am happy to oblige them. If we're going to be eating it frequently, though, I want it to be homemade sometimes. Here's my first attempt.

Spicy Clear Tomato Soup (from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 1996 edition)

2 1/2 lbs. fresh ripe tomatoes, cut up
1 1/2 cups water
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
5 cloves
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Put the tomatoes, water, celery, carrots, onion, green pepper, and cloves in a soup pot. Bring the soup to the boiling point, and reduce the heat. Add the salt, pepper, and sugar. Simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Strain. Editor Marion Cunningham's note: I drain the soup into a bowl, and put the vegetables through the food processor; then I strain them again, pushing all the juice into a bowl with the back of a spoon. Correct the seasonings if necessary. Serve hot or cold.

Nowheymama notes: I used a sprinkling of ground cloves because I didn't have any whole ones. Also, I added 3-4 teaspoons of sugar instead of two to make it more palatable for the little ones. Finally, I used white pepper instead of black so I don't hear, "What are those little black things in my soup?"

Edited to add: Mama was the only one who really liked the cloves. I looked online at some similar recipes and noticed that people often substituted garlic for the cloves. I think I would try that next time.

Friday, September 28, 2007

It's My Birthday, I Can Brag if I Want To

Hey, have you all been to Revolution Health? Did you know they just launched a section on Child Food Allergies? And they have guest bloggers? And that I'm one of them? Well, it's true! So go on over there, learn about food allergies, and leave some comments about how my post changed your life, or whatever. Consider it a birthday present to me.

In other news, the first classroom birthday party was held at school the other day, and Katherine reminded Teacher that she needed one of her special snacks from the freezer. She was so proud of herself. Go, Katherine!

Later on at lunchtime when she was cutting up her turkey burger, she shared this tidbit, "Remember, old country people used to cut up their meat."

True, that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Last of the Summer Zucchini

I love zucchini. Alas, it is almost gone. So here are a few fun ways to use it up, most of which freeze well.

From Mary Hunt's Everyday Cheapskate column, here are her recipes for zucchini brownies and zucchini curry soup. I've altered them to be dairy free, of course.

Mary Hunt's Zucchini Brownies (dairy and egg free!)

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated zucchini (Finely grated)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup dairy-free margarine
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup plain soy milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until brownies spring back when touched.

To make the frosting, melt the margarine and stir in 6 tablespoons cocoa. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners’ sugar, soy milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares. Yield: 24 brownies.

Nowheymama note: The brownies look a little weird, consistency wise because they have no egg in them. But they turn out just fine.

Mary Hunt's Zucchini Curry Soup

1 tablespoon dairy-free margarine
1 medium onion, chopped, about 1/2 cup
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 small carrot, shredded
2 medium zucchini, sliced or chopped, about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
2 apples, peeled, diced
4 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste
salt, to taste

In a large saucepan, melt the dairy-free margarine over low heat. Sauté the onion, garlic and carrot slowly until onion begins to yellow. Add zucchini, diced apples, chicken broth and curry powder. Boil for 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Purée the hot soup by transferring to the blender in small batches. Return to the saucepan and add salt and pepper to taste. Servings: 4 to 6.

Nowheymama note: I might add more apple next time to make the soup even more kid-friendly. But the kids did eat it. Also, I just blended the soup in the pot with my immersion blender.

Have you been to the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle site? I have, and I cannot wait to get this book. (Perhaps for a birthday present....) Anyway, some of the recipes from the book are online, including one for Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies. Just use dairy-free margarine instead of butter and dairy-free chocolate chips, and you are all set!

Finally, the neighbor who gave me my zucchini bread recipe recommended covering the bread with foil for part of the baking time so that the top doesn't dry out. Hope that helps, Mommy Daisy!

The soup, cookies, and bread all freeze well. I haven't tried freezing the brownies yet. If I did, I would probably freeze them unfrosted and frost them after they thawed.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Poetry Friday

"September has come, it is hers
Whose vitality leaps in the autumn,
Whose nature prefers
Trees without leaves and a fire in the fire-place;
So I give her this month and the next
Though the whole of my year should be hers
who has rendered already
So many of its days intolerable or perplexed
But so many more so happy;
Who has left a scent on my life and left my walls
Dancing over and over with her shadow,
Whose hair is twined in all my waterfalls
And all of London littered with remembered
--Louis MacNeice, from Autumn Journal

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Colds and Cookies

We've been celebrating the change in the weather by coming down with the cold + fever that Katherine brought home from school on Thursday. Daddy ran out to the store for supplies this weekend and came home with *gasp!* sugar cereal (or "dessert cereal" as it's known around here) as a special treat. I felt myself coming down with the cold on Sunday, so I dug out a cereal cookie recipe given to me by a lady from our church. Yesterday I pacified the children with the cookies while I lazed around on the couch. Yes, I know they have no nutritional value, but they got us through the day. Don't judge me.

Confetti Cookies

1 package of dairy-free yellow cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
1 egg
3 cups Fruity Pebbles

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the first four ingredients with a spoon until blended. Stir in the cereal. Drop by the teaspoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

I can envision lots of variations of this recipe with different combinations of cake mixes and cereals.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Potluck Recipes

Thank you all so much for filling my virtual recipe box! I can't wait to start cooking.

Mommy Daisy's Mom's Chili
Alisa's Whole Wheat Bread
Beck's Gypsy Soup (adapted from a Moosewood Cookbook recipe)
Swistle's Soup
My Buddy Mimi's Chicken Pot Pie (adapted from an Alton Brown recipe)
Nowheymama's Aunt Ruth's Stew

If anyone else would like to share a recipe, please let me know and I'll add it to the list.

CAQuincy's "Mock" Roast*
*To make it dairy-free, substitute two packets of Road's End Organics Shiitake Mushroom Gravy Mix, prepared, for the cream of mushroom soup. I think that should work just fine.
Cerebral Palsy Baby's Southwestern Egg Rolls (from AllRecipes)*
* I would either leave out the Monterey Jack cheese or substitute Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese for it. We have trouble finding any other 100% dairy-free cheeses around here, and also Tofutti Cream Cheese is the one kind of dairy-free cheese Scott will eat! Because it is creamier than Monterey Jack, I might cut back the amount from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Internet Potluck

It feels like fall here today, and I don't know about you, but I'm ready for some new recipes to feed my family. So let's have an Internet Potluck! Post a recipe in the comments section, email me one, or put one up on your blog. I'll collect them all later.
Bonus points if it's a dairy-free recipe or one that can be made dairy free. (Hints: if you usually top your casserole with cheese, I can leave it off. If you use butter and milk, I can use dairy-free margarine and soy milk. If your recipe is Pasta Alfredo or Cream of Chicken Sour Cream Potato Casserole, we might have a problem.)

I'll go first. This recipe is from my Aunt Ruth, and I don't know its real name. I made it all the time when I was pregnant with Katherine. In the summer. In Kentucky. Scott is an understanding man.

Aunt Ruth's Stew

Simmer together for two hours:
1/2 head of cabbage, cut in wedges
1 large can plum tomatoes, squished slightly with your fingers
1 large can sauerkraut
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
3-4 peeled and cubed potatoes
4 pork chops*
1 package Polish sausage*
1 package kielbasa*

Serve in bowls. If you really want to carbo pack you can serve it over mashed potatoes, as Ruth does.

* I try to dial down the fat content by using lowfat sausages and boneless pork chops.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Mission and Some News

And so the Monday Missions begin again.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, lazy list format:
Threw bridal showers
Went to a reunion
Was a Matron of Honor
Went on vacation
Threw a Star Wars birthday party
Plotted Katherine's safe entrance into public school

* I had my 20/21 week ultrasound today. Everything is fine, and... it's a GIRL! Now, on to planning room arrangements and looking at tiny pink clothes....

Friday, September 07, 2007


Nowheymama is happy to present Katherine's first week of school, the semi-condensed version.

August 29: Met with Katherine's teacher, the Kindergarten secretary (our school district has a Kindergarten-only center), and the school district nurse (one nurse for five school buildings spread across town). Was less than pleased when the nurse said, "It's so nice to meet you," and I had to remind her that we've met. And spoken on the phone. Several times. Although Nurse had initially been the most helpful (as compared to Principal, who was absent from the meeting, and Superintendent's office), in this meeting she was obstructionist. She was concerned about the medications (Benadryl, TwinJect, and hydrocortisone) being in the classroom. Teacher wanted them in the classroom and was fine with it.
Nurse: "I just don't want to have to create a new policy for first grade, second grade and so on. I think whatever we do this year should be the policy from now on."
Nowheymama: "Yes, that's why the medication needs to be in the classroom as her doctor stated in his letter, the original copy of which you should have in Katherine's file."
(Don't mess with a protective mama and her raging pregnancy hormones, lady.)
Nurse "introduced" me to FAAN and remarked on how helpful their information is. "This document lists all of the stages of reaction you were just talking about, Mrs. Hatfield!" You don't say. I agreed that they are quite helpful, and hopefully did not express inner sarcasm.
Teacher was totally on my wavelength and was suggesting things before I could. I will go on all field trips. I will help with all classroom parties/activities. I will provide foods for K. to have during birthday parties, etc. Teacher will leave a note taped to her desk detailing K's allergy for any substitute teachers, and Secretary knows the treatment procedures, as does the teacher in the next classroom. Teacher encouraged me to call anytime and assured me she will do the same. I leave the meeting feeling hopeful.

August 30: Katherine and I attend Kindergarten orientation, which has been shortened to 45 minutes from its usual 90-minute length. I give Teacher K's box of meds, turn in the FAAN Food Allergy sheet to Nurse, and get clearance forms from Secretary. The chaos of the event worries me a bit, and I decide to speak with Teacher the next morning before school when I drop off K. Today is also K's sixth birthday. Apparently, we are "redshirting." Who knew? But I say this: her birthday is close to the cutoff date, and I wanted her to have another year to learn about her allergy before we sent her to school. Her understanding has increased so much. She sometimes even double-checks if something has dairy when I give it to her. This breaks my heart, but it also makes me so proud. This is what parents want: independent, free-thinking children who know how to care for themselves.

September 4: Scott and I drop off Katherine for her first day of school. After leaving her in the bus hall, I give the dairy-free snacks and my clearance forms to Secretary. I ask to read the labels on the crackers and pretzels Teacher keeps in her room. Secretary can't find them, so we go find Teacher, who tells me the brands. (They are fine.) Teacher asks what she can give Katherine for a reward instead of M&Ms. We agree on Skittles. I express concern about food on the bus that will take K. home. Secretary says she will call the transportation office. I tell Teacher that there are students from K's preschool in her class, and I worry that their parents might say something is safe for K. when it is not.
Teacher: "They think they understand."
Nowheymama: "Yes."
Teacher: "I will only listen to you."
Teacher reiterates that she will be calling me often, and I say call anytime.
I go home and spend Eli's naptime making a wreath (a wreath!) for the front door because I can't concentrate on anything else.
Katherine comes home on the school bus (We're letting her ride home because it's Kindergarten students only on a "van," otherwise known as a "short bus.") I reiterate the information about her allergy to her bus driver, who replies that he doesn't allow any food on his bus. Period.
Katherine loves school, she had a great time, and they had cookies for a special treat. "All the other kids had a different kind, but I had one of the special ones you sent, Mama. And guess what? I didn't feel itchy at all, all day!" Whew.

September 5, 6, 7: School continues to go well with Katherine eating only the snack I send for her each day. She loves school and wants Daddy to take her "as early as we can go" every morning. Eli is not adjusting so well. He can't wait to greet his sister as she gets off the bus, and was very angry with her the first day of school. As they almost never fight, we were surprised to see him haul off and hit her. I explained to a tearful Katherine that this was his way of saying he missed her and was sad that she left to go to school. He's gotten better each day.

So, the first week of school went well. I hope the rest of the year goes as smoothly.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Middle Name Meme

In honor of Beck's birthday, I will finally do the meme she tagged me with. With which she tagged me.

1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.

2. You must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of their middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.
3. When you are tagged, you need to write your own blog post containing your own middle name game facts.
4. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

My middle name is Jane. (Sarah Jane! Bet you never heard that name before.) I am the seventh-generation Jane on my mom's side of the family. Katherine is the eighth.

J - Just. Just went to Katherine's Kindergarten orientation yesterday. On Wednesday, I met with the nurse, the school secretary, and K's teacher to discuss her allergy and the importance of all of the medications being in the classroom. I am working on a longer post about this, but overall, everything went well.

A- Anxious. I am still anxious about her being at school, though. There are just so many variables and accidents that could happen. It is difficult to have faith that everything will be fine.

N- Nose. Eli keeps beeping my nose, complete with sound effects. "Bweep!"

E- Eating. I am eating my breakfast off of Katherine's new tea set, in the company of K and her Felicity doll. Very dainty. Now K. is playing her new Nintendo DS game. She is a woman of many interests.

So, let's see, for J-A-N-E I will tag Janelle, Alisa, A Garden of Nna Moy, and He Can't Eat That. (Cut me some slack, I didn't have enough blogs beginning with the right letters.)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Happy Sixth Birthday

How is it that you are six?

What a perfect birthday. Your first school bus ride, a tour of your new school, and meeting your teachers and classmates. Then, dinner with your family and your grandparents: your favorite pizza (bacon, no cheese) and Daddy's pineapple upside-down cake, followed by water "tea" in your new tea set.

Happy Birthday, Baby.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Low-Cost, Dairy-Free Star Wars Birthday Party

Invitations: Printed on our computer using a picture of R2-D2.

Chicken Light Sabers (Schwan's chicken fries)
Carrot Light Sabers (baby carrots)
Strawberry Grenades (hulled strawberries)
Pretzel Light Sabers (pretzel rods)
Popsicle Light Sabers (freezer pops)
Yoda Cake (Daddy found the cake decoration on Ebay. Mama baked the cake.)

Ice Water, and some Horrible Blue Drink from W@lMart that the birthday girl tried at preschool (in April!) and decided she wanted for her birthday. She remembered, too.

Star Wars coloring pages
Playing outside
Pin the staff on Yoda--The staffs were cut out of a paper grocery bag. The kids were blindfolded and stuck the staffs on with Scotch tape.

Treat Bags:
Lunch bags decorated with Star Wars clip art, containing
88-cent light-up swords from W@lMart
Luke and Leia paper dolls
Glow in the dark bracelets

May the Force be with you.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Worst Nightmare

48,000 pounds of cream spill from truck on I-80

"Workers hurried to clean up 48,000 pounds of cream Wednesday after a truck carrying the liquid tipped on its side on Interstate 80 in Shenango Township. The cream, which isn’t hazardous to humans, can cut off oxygen to fish if not properly cleaned up from a stream, the Department of Environmental Protection said."
Jason Kapusta/The Sharon Herald

(Isn't hazardous to humans? I beg to differ.)

"A stream of milk flows from the accident scene at mile marker 5 on Interstate 80."
Jason Kapusta/The Sharon Herald

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ginger Peach Muffins

"What I am is a person with a love of peaches, a fear of botulism, and a chest freezer in my garage." --Catherine Newman

Ginger Peach Muffins

3 cups flour (white, wheat, or a blend)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup canola oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
3 cups peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease or line 24 muffin cups.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the oil, eggs, and sugar. Stir the oil mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Fold in the peaches and ginger. Spoon into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins in the pans for a few minutes before placing them on wire racks to cool completely. Makes 24 muffins.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ashland, NH Area Travel Guide

Planning a trip to New Hampshire? Here are a few places we like to visit.

My mom grew up spending her summers on Lake Winnipesaukee, between Center Harbor and Meredith. When my sister and I were growing up, we always spent our vacation at the family "camp" on the lake. Sadly, the camp had to be sold about ten years ago. But, my aunt now has a great house on Little Squam Lake, so we are able to bring the kids to the same area where we spent our summers.

Squam Bridge in Ashland, NH
Little Squam Lake is also known as Golden Pond because it's where On Golden Pond was filmed.

Ashland is a great town with a very active Historical Society. We were able to attend their annual lobster dinner fundraiser. They were kind enough to have hot dogs and hamburgers available for children and/or those who can't eat shellfish.

I would also like to give a special mention to the Village Pizza & Grill in Ashland. We went there for lunch one day, and the service was amazingly helpful and friendly. Katherine and Eli split a cheese-free bacon pizza and an order of pasta with sauce. All the staff was very careful and understanding, and there was no cross-contamination of ingredients. Plus, the food was excellent. Katherine ate four pieces of pizza, a personal record.

Just a few miles down the road is the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, NH.
We had never been there before, and it is amazing. They have all kinds of native NH animals that have been injured and are living in natural habitats while they recover. The black bears, bald eagles, and bobcats were our favorites.

The Old Country Store
The Old Country Store in Moultonborough, NH, has always been the rainy-day place to take the kids. Penny candy! Weird old machinery in the museum! More candy! While the price has risen to two cents per piece of candy, it's still fun, and there are plenty of dairy-free candies available to choose from.

Weirs Beach
Usually we spend one evening at Weirs Beach playing games at the arcades on the boardwalk. Our favorites are Whack-a-Mole, Skeeball, and the ancient Dodge City Shooting Gallery. We also stopped at the Hart's Slush stand for some dairy-free frozen goodness.

Rein's Deli
Another family tradition is to stop at Rein's Deli (Warning: the site plays music) in Vernon, CT, on the drives to and from NH. They, too, are excellent about dairy-free orders. Katherine likes their turkey breast on a plain bagel with a side of plain Cape Cod potato chips. I just wish I could get her to try their fantastic dill pickles!

We had a wonderful time. It's a great place to vacation!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Emily and Jarred...

... are married! The wedding is over (as are the two family reunions, the three bridal showers, and the endless visits from out-of-town relatives, etc.), and we survived. A big thank you to Dotty the seamstress who let out the seams in the baby-belly area so effortlessly.

Now, the Hatfields are going on vacation in New Hampshire. I can't wait to sit on the beach by the lake and do NOTHING.

I've missed all of you, and I look forward to catching up when I return. Have a great week!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Non-Post and Baby Names

(Thanks for the idea, Bubandpie!)

It is raining here, Eli has some sort of stomach virus, and every single thing I look at in our house is a nagging reminder of something I should be doing. I doubt that the arrival of my Harry Potter book is going to help.

We've had all summer to read the twenty books for the summer reading program, and now there is just one week left. I don't think that reading eight books to your kindergartner in one sitting so that she can get some prizes is what the librarians had in mind.

The RSVP date for my sister's wedding has come and gone, and approximately half of the invitees haven't responded. What is that?

Sara is entering her office's bake-off with this recipe today. Hope she wins big!

Katherine is sitting at our dining table painting in a paint-with-water book of animals right now, and she just asked. "What's that critter?" You can take the girl out of Kentucky.... (It was a skunk, by the way.)

Let's talk about baby names some more. Swistle took my question and turned it into a post that received 59 comments! She can totally spin blogging gold out of straw.

As I mentioned, we always have an easy time with girl names. We already have a girl name for this baby, which probably guarantees that it's a boy. I am circling back around to a boy name I have loved since before Katherine was born. (We weren't able to find out if she was a girl or boy.) It is a family name, not commonly used, and one of a very small number of names that Scott and I agree upon. However. Here in our small town, it is also the name of the son of a prominent citizen. This boy is well-known and not... well-liked. Granted, there will be about a 10-year age difference between him and our possibly-male, hypothetically-named child, but, will people hear the name and have a negative association? Will they wonder why we chose the same name? What do you think?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Eight Things

Theflyingmum tagged me for the 8 Things Meme forever ago. I lifted the rules from her, and she got them from Beck. And so it goes.

A. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.

B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.

C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
  1. I am left handed.
  2. I have been asked to be a product reviewer for Go Dairy Free by the wonderful Alisa. Unfortunately, no one in my family cares for the first product I am reviewing. I promised myself that I would not put up a new post until I finished the review and published it. Ahem.
  3. I am very, very good at rationalizing and procrastinating.
  4. The air conditioner in our new-to-us minivan quit halfway across Ohio on our trip to Kentucky. We drove for four hours in 90-plus-degree weather with no A/C and the windows rolled down. Scott and I were miserable, but the kids thought it was fun. They rode along with their arms up over their heads like they were on a roller coaster. They are a happy people.
  5. Our souvenir from Kentucky is a new $800 compressor for our van's A/C.
  6. Yesterday, my OB told me I should be finished with morning sickness by now. I am not.
  7. Scott and I always have an easy time selecting girl names and a difficult time with boy names. Why is that?
  8. This is what I look like, about seven weeks pregnant, throwing my sister a bridal shower with my friends and neighbors Heather and Renee. Heather is in the blue shirt, and Renee is taking the photo.

I will tag Alisa, for when she starts a personal blog, and whoever else might be reading this who hasn't already done this meme. Although I am probably the end of the chain.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


If you get married on a national holiday (like, say, The Fourth of July):
  • It is easy to remember your anniversary
  • You will always have the day off from work
  • There will always be fun events, like fireworks, to attend
  • You will spend the day with family
On the other hand:
  • You will never have a romantic evening out on your actual anniversary
  • You will often spend your anniversary on the road
  • Your traditional anniversary dinner will feature hot dogs and marshmallows
  • You will spend the day with family
So, tonight, Scott and I will enjoy a lovely dinner out before the holiday/family reunion madness begins.

The Wild Rose

Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart.

Suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose blooming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,

and once again I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.

--Wendell Berry

Happy Fourth of July!

Edited to add: We are on our way to Scott's family reunion in Salt Lick, KY. See you all here Tuesday when we return.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Peanuts: Cookies and Baby

Here I am! Barely beating the cookie challenge deadline! Whew! I made my favorite four-ingredient cookies, which I wrote about here. But I'll post the recipe again exactly as I made it today.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups dairy-free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix peanut butter, sugar, and eggs in a bowl with a wooden spoon until blended. Add salt if needed. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookie bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

And here's a first photo of Baby Peanut. You know, just because.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Bridal Shower Report

Wanna talk about wedding stuff? Oh, good!

Thank you all so much for all of your bridal shower game suggestions! At the shower I hosted for my sister, we played this Martha Stewart game that Theflyingmum found for me. Each person wrote an abbreviation of their relationship to Emily, the bride, under their name on their nametags. (I opted for MOH - Matron of Honor, instead of SOB - Sister of Bride.) There were no prizes handed out for it; we just used it as a get-to-know-you game since there were so many people who didn't know each other.

The second game we played was given to me by my friend, Heather. Each table had a flower centerpiece with a poem placed next to it. The poem was passed from one woman to another after each line. ("Emily and Jarred, what a wonderful pair/Give this to the woman with the longest hair." Etc.) The last line of the poem was about whose anniversary is closest to the wedding date. That person got to take the centerpiece home for her prize.

In the invitations, we asked everyone to bring a favorite recipe and a spice or seasoning from the recipe for Emily to stock her recipe file and spice rack. We had planned to play a third game where we'd list the spices and people would have to guess what the corresponding recipe was. We ran out of time, though.

The favors were little packets of coffee, cocoa, and tea, since the wedding has a coffee theme. Everything was done in Emily's colors, pink and dark brown. The menu was quick breads, baked oatmeal, fruit trays, ham and egg cups, and tea cakes. We had coffee, iced tea with mint, orange juice, and water for the beverages.

The egg cups recipe is from Scholastic Parent & Child magazine, and the tea cakes recipe is from American Girl Tiny Treats.

That's right, I get all of my cutting-edge culinary ideas from children's resources. While I did bake the ham and egg cups, my friend Renee made all of the tea cakes. Because she is a saint, and also crazy. The cakes are made from Oreos (No dairy! So healthy!), and she used dairy-free frosting and decorations. (No, I didn't let Katherine eat the espresso beans, even though they, too, are dairy free.)

Ham-n-Egg Cups (from Scholastic Parent & Child magazine, April 2007 issue)

nonstick cooking spray
4-inch square slices of deli ham*
1/2-inch thick slices plum tomato
large eggs
[salt and pepper - added by me]

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the cups of a regular-sized muffin tin with cooking spray. For each serving, lay one slice of ham over a muffin cup, place a tomato slice in the center of the ham and gently press down to insert into cup. [Salt and pepper the tomato slice.] Pour contents of one egg on top of each serving. Place pan in oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the egg yolk is cooked to your liking. Remove from oven and allow to cool for one minute. Using a spoon or spatula, lift each egg cup from the muffin tin and serve. [I served them on a bed of chives, to look like flowers and their stems.]

*Be careful about what type of ham you buy, as some varieties have dairy filler. Also, if you have the ham sliced at the deli, make sure they wipe down the slicer so there aren't any traces of dairy left from the last item.