Julia's Guardian Angel Fund

Monday, August 23, 2010

So Delicious

Did you know there is coconut milk yogurt out there now?? Yes there is!!! It's aptly named "So Delicious".  And, the three year old loved it! I have to take his word for it since it has rice in it.  Now, it's $1.89 a container.  He won't be getting it often, but whoo-hoo!  If I could just figure out how to make my own.  I've seen lots of yogurt recipes with regular milk...

Time for a google search!

Trusting in God, Big Family Style

As practicing Catholics, my husband and I have chosen not to use contraceptives. This seems to get me into trouble when I go to my doctors' offices or talk about the subject with non-Catholic friends and family. Six children seems like enough to everyone. What's wrong with me? I'm sure that is what they are wondering.

When my husband and I were first married, we aspired to have two children (one of each, of course) as the cafeteria Catholics that we were. I was a career woman and figured daycare and parochial school were in our future.

Nope. After a couple of miscarriages and inability to get pregnant during times we "SHOULD" have gotten pregnant, I finally convinced my family practice doc to refer me out to a fertility clinic to find the root cause of both problems.  After test after test, we were told we would be best to adopt or do other "assisted fertility procedures" that went against our Catholic beliefs.  The day we were told, we were 4 days pregnant with our first child.  At my son's six month check up, my doctor said, "This is when I usually give moms the birth-control talk, but I don't think I have to with you.  He (meaning my son) is one in a million, so I won't worry about it."  I showed up in his office 3 months later at my first prenatal visit for my second child.  Fast forward to now, when I have six.  I say God is good and He's the doctor of my body, not the medical world.  God has a plan.  Had God's plan been to not give us children, we would have prayerfully considered adoption.  I, in no means, believe God ever punishes anyone by not giving them children.  I just believe His plan is different than someone's wishes.

One thing that I have been thinking about lately, though, are the folks who encourage me to either use birth control OR to get permanently sterilized.  Do they Trust in God?  I hear friends (non-Catholic) who talk about others who should "get fixed" or use birth control.  I just had a garage sale this weekend.  I put all my baby clothes out and a neighbor said to me, "Are you finally done?"  I said, "Only if God thinks I am.  We've always trusted He would provide for us, and He always has."

This leads me to this Bible verse that I've had my kids memorize from Proverbs:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
(Proverbs 3:5-6)

What does it mean to trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding? It means that we completely trust God with all that is in us, that we rely not on anything that we can do on our own strength, and that we give all of the strength we possess, both physically and mentally, to the will of the Holy Spirit. Then God can fulfill His perfect will through us and bring glory to Himself. We do not seek our own gain but desire God to receive all the glory. We get to enjoy what God does for Himself.

So how does this apply to NFP and birth control. Well, NFP (Natural Family Planning) is a method of tracking a woman's fertility by charting her basal body temperature, cervical position and cervical mucus.  Those three beautiful God-given signs tell her about her fertility.  Together, those things change as a woman goes through her cycle.  During ovulation, her temperature drops (albeit slightly), cervical position changes to a lower position and her cervical mucus changes in consistency and amount allowing for conception.  Once you've learned to read these signs, it is possible to improve your chances of conception.  Also, the opposite is true.  It is possible to abstain during this time to avoid pregnancy.  The basal body temperature rises after ovulation, the cervical position raises and the mucus goes away or becomes nominal.  Now, one must prayerfully consider why they are avoiding pregnancy and be sure they have good reason.  The most important part is that a couple remain open to life.  God is the maker of life.  He can decide when a new life will be created in cooperation with the choices of a couple.

If God is truly the center of our lives, we live for Him and Him alone. Do we really believe that He lives? Then we should also believe that we can trust Him with all our hearts. The result is the blessing of God falling on our obedient bodies, the body that was used to fulfill God’s perfect will.  If His will is that a child be conceived, then that is a blessing.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward" (Psalm 127:3)

Children are a reward.

“In all your ways acknowledge Him”  To acknowledge the Lord is to be wise. We should acknowledge God when we get up in the morning, we should acknowledge  God when we start to talk, think, eat, listen, and act (or engage in a marital act). When we are around people we should acknowledge God. This keeps us wise, and most importantly keeps us from sinning (Proverbs 1:7; Exodus 20:20).

Here's the blessing: “HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT.” Why? Because they are no longer our paths but His. Since He is perfect, He can’t have any fault. So the paths must lead to fulfilling His work, His perfect will, in and through the life He has given.  So many have fallen to the god of Money or Health.  They would rather have things than children or they worry their health will suffer (or heaven forbid their body shape) if they have more children.  We go down the wrong path when we fail to trust Him.  Have you ever heard the saying, "The Lord won't give you more than you can handle?"  I believe that stems from this Bible verse.  We've banked on that.  We've got six children.  We've experiences health issues, miscarriage, unemployment and family losses.  That doesn't give us an excuse to stop trusting Him.

A friend, bearing, is writing about St. Francis de Sales book Introduction to the Devout Life.  This particular entry hit me right across the head, and it applies here:
They will watch us carefully; one word of anger and they will say we have an ungovernable temper; if we show prudence in our affairs they will say we are avaricious; if we are gentle they will call us foolish, while as for them, their anger is courage, their avarice economy, their over familiarity honest fun...

In this case, I think the "prudence in our affairs" is our choice to use NFP.  And when they use birth control or get permanently sterilized, they call it economy "economy".

One last thing:

Psalm 127:4-5: "Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate."

Ed. note:  A friend emailed me over a little confusion about the temperatures.  I added more info to make it clearer what happens during ovulation ;-).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 7 - One Week Wheat Free (almost)

First, I apologize for not posting last night.  We have some kind of virus going around our house.  I was first, now my oldest daughter has it...yucky 101+ degree temp, headache, sore joints and malaise.

Even though I haven't felt well, I was able to keep the three year old on a diet free of wheat yesterday and today.  I was really bummed last night, though, when I hosed him off in the tub to see his eczema worse than it has been in a long time.  I was really, really hoping it would go away, not get worse.  What I worry about with allergies is that once you are off the offending food  totally, when you have a "incident", it's much worse than when you were having that food all the time.  Maybe it was the wheat in the rotisserie chicken on Sunday night.  I don't know.  I also know I have not triple verified that EVERYTHING is gluten free by contacting the manufacturers.

I can't honestly remember what he had yesterday, so, sorry about that.  I can tell you what he had today, though:
3 very small pieces cinnamon toast on BRM Wonderful bread (mini-loaves)
2 bowls of Berry Berry Kix with Rice Dream
1/2 a banana
1/2 a glass of apple juice
1 slice of soy based cheese

Rice noodles with Prego spaghetti sauce
1 Coleman's GF/EF/DF chicken nugget
Apple slices

Afternoon Snack:
Rice Crackers
Rice Dream

Quinoa/Corn pasta with tomatoes and sausage
1 slice of tofutti soy cheese


He and I went to a healing Mass tonight.  The priest is a member of the Charismatic Renewal here and I can only say it was nothing short of AMAZING.   We started with a rosary.  The Mass was an hour long because the priest, Fr. Jim Livingstone, prays over whatever needs he feels need to be pray for and he takes as much time as it takes.  We got there at 7pm for rosary, followed by Mass, followed by the priest praying over each person individually and got to the car at 9:35.  The three year old was prayed over.  I was too, and it was indescribable.  It was like I was at one of the TV shows where people are being healed and they fall over.  That was the way it was here.  I was, well, a bit skeptical.  However, when he laid his hands on me and started praying, I got so dizzy I could not stand up.  They thankfully have someone there to catch you.  And, a nice lady walked the three year old around the stain glass windows while I was prayed over.  If you have the chance, I highly recommend seeing this priest, whether it is physical or spiritual healing that you need.  I'll stop gushing now.  Thank you, Fr. Livingstone!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 5 - Wheat Free - almost...

We went to the Minnesota Irish Fair today.  Archbishop Nienstedt said Mass (WOW!) and then we spent the whole morning and afternoon enjoying a FREE day.  The fair is free.  We brought our own lunch to avoid any allergens.  It was lovely.

Unfortunately, we ended up blowing it tonight.  We got rotisserie chicken and I didn't think to check the label.  The seasoning had wheat.  So, we'll have to see how he fares tomorrow.

Here's what he ate:
Cinnamon Chex with Rice Milk

Ham and Soy Cheese sandwich on BRM Wonderful Bread
French fries (had some from a vendor - may have had some wheat...)
Cotton Candy (a little bit)

Chocolate Rice Dream
Carrot Sticks
Rice noodles with spaghetti sauce
Chicken Drum Stick

Pearson Mint patty

Bowl of Mother's Cereal with rice milk

Like I mentioned before, he's a big cereal eater.  I just found a website that costs $4.95 a month that has 30,000 different items with allergen indicators.  I'm considering the expense.  I can do my research before heading to the grocery store.  Trust me.  The last thing I want to do is spend my time reading more labels in the store than I already do.  The big gotcha's with Gluten Free (we're really just trying wheat free) are:
modified food starch
natural flavorings
natural color
caramel color

Those things can contain wheat. I've not been perfect at avoiding those items.  So, perhaps my test isn't really a good test at all.

We'll see how the next week goes.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 4: Wheat Free

Sorry for the continuation of what is probably a boring topic for most.  I'm really using my blog as a place holder so I can keep track of my three year old's progress off of wheat.

I made Cherry Garcia Scones as a treat for breakfast this morning.  I found a GF scone recipe that I added chocolate chips to for the little guy.  He didn't like them, but the twelve year old boy loved them!

Here was his day:
part of a GF scone
Tea with rice milk
Cinnamon Rice Chex with rice milk

Snack -
Kosher dill pickles

baked beans
some hot dog (no bun)
kettle chips

Dinner- (We couldn't pass up KIDS EAT FREE at Ikea)
hot dog (again)
mandarin oranges
apple sauce

Bed time snack
more Cinnamon Rice Chex
cream of rice

This kid loves cereal.  I don't think it's terribly good, but I'm in a place where I need to have both convenience and something he will eat that doesn't have wheat.  My oldest daughter realized that I'm now having to make two sets of meals from scratch and then said, "I'm so sorry, Mom."  She had no reason to apologize.  She just felt bad.  I'm glad I LIKE to cook, or this would be very tedious!

I might try oatmeal again.  I know it is controversial as to whether it has wheat in it.  He loves it, though.  And, I keep reading it is okay/ it is not okay.  Not sure if we'll see a difference.

Observations for today:
  1. Didn't eat as much and was clingy much of the day
  2. Turned down fruit and veggies several times
 I'm also curious if any of my readers have experience with DH Dermatitis Herpetiformis.  It's a skin condition caused by gluten.  Celiac disease is a gluten reaction in the gut.  DH is a gluten reaction on the skin (caused from eating gluten, not touching it).  My three year old isn't verbal enough to tell me if what he has for a rash on his skin burns.  I do know his rash itches.  I've always assumed it is eczema.  I get it cleared up usually just before we go to the doctor, so it's never been bad enough for the doctor to say much.  It is scaly looking, symmetrical, located behind his knees, but mostly on the backs of his thighs.  He also gets it in his elbow creases on occasion.  I usually have to treat it with triamcinalone.  I also have been putting aquafor on it as well.  The doctor told me that it is most likely allergy induced, what ever it is.  Sometimes it is bright red, bloody if he's scratched it too much.  Other times, when it is not bothering him so much, it is just pink and raised.  I'm a little worried he'll have scarring on his legs from it because it doesn't seem to go away completely.

Tomorrow we'll be gone all day, so eating might be an adventure.  I will probably pack him a sandwich and hope for the best!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 3: Wheat Free

Everyone wanted waffles for breakfast this morning.  I opted to get some Van's frozen Gluten Free waffles because not only are they gluten free, but they are also free of eggs and dairy!  Hooray!  One less thing I need to figure out how to make on my own.  I would also worry about cross contamination on the waffle iron.  I will venture into GF waffles, home made, but not right now.

We went to see the replicas of the Nina and Pinta in Hudson, Wisconsin today.  WOW!  That was a day well spent with family.  To boot, we navigated McDonald's gluten free.  The three year old usually eats the bun, pickles and one or two bites of the hamburger, fries and apple juice.  I thought ahead enough to bring two slices of the BRM Wonderful Bread that I had made on Wednesday to replace the bun.  He did his usual.  He at the two slices of bread, the pickles and two bites of hamburger.  He didn't eat many fries, but that's okay.

I made Tandoori Chicken, naan, salad and assorted veggies for dinner.  I opted to make him Coleman's GF chicken nuggets,  GF, DF, EF naan.  The consistency was more like pancake batter, so I just fried it like pancakes.  He loved it, but didn't eat much.  My seven year old daughter, who somehow wishes she got "special food", tasted them for me (they had rice flour).  She said they were great!  They tasted more like "bread" than our naan, which I made from Olive Oil Light Wheat made from the ABI5MAD dough.  I made too much for him, so I will freeze the rest and save it for the next time we have tandoori chicken.

He's been snacking on a leftover Van's waffle all day, too.  He asked me not to throw it away.  He has been back to eat it several times through out the day.

Thanks, bearing, for the comments.  He doesn't like quinoa, but I did buy some quinoa noodles.  He seems to be reacting to sun butter, but I haven't done tahini yet.  He didn't like hummus the last time I made it, but I can keep trying that.  We'll be working through baked beans, Coleman's chicken nuggets and pasta sauce with meat.  I think I will buy quinoa flour, too, so I can add it to the stuff I bake to beef up the protein content.

He also has a new found love for Rice Dream milk.  He's been drinking 2 cups a day.  That is wonderful because it has LESS sugar in it than regular milk.

Observations for today:
  1. The Wonderful Bread is truly that - wonderful for him.
  2. Van's and Coleman both have a big thumbs up since they also don't contain dairy or egg.
  3. He's full of energy, again.  In fact, he's acting very DIFFERENT!  He's full of P&V (I won't spell it out...)
  4. Again, going to the bathroom did not cause crying, needing to be held and reassurance that it would all be over soon...He just went and informed me he needed to be wiped.  Very different than the past few months.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 2: Wheat free

I'm trying serve my three year old the same food (not from the same source) that everyone else is having. 
Here was his intake today:
Cream of Rice cereal and a banana (other kids had choice of bagel and cream cheese or hot cereal)
Tea with Rice Dream and Agave Nectar
2 BRM Gluten Free Pancakes w/ strawberries and syrup
1/2 a glass of Apple Juice
GF Pizza with Veggie Slice of Mozzarella on top
Rice Dream with Nesquick

My biggest challenge is getting enough protein into this kid.  What do you do with a kid who can't eat dairy or eggs, doesn't like most meat and we have a significant enough peanut/tree nut allergy that we can't do nut butters?  Help?  Anyone?

So, it's only day 2, but here are some observations:
1) He didn't act lethargic all day
2) He was cheerful most of the day
3) His BM was solid and he didn't cry about having to go potty
4) His eczema looks exactly the same

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A new chapter in cooking with allergies...

We made the decision this weekend to take our 3 year old off wheat.  The pediatrician has been gently nudging me to give wheat-free a 6 week trial to see how he feels.  He had been "failure to thrive" and we have addressed two other allergies, eggs and dairy, and are now trying this out to see if he feels better.  I've seen a cycle with his eczema.  When he has large doses of wheat, he breaks out badly.  The more wheat, the more eczema.

The big challenge here is the different combination of allergies.  I have a long list of allergies as do 4 of my kids and my husband.  The biggest one is the egg allergy.  I have made most baked goods without eggs since 2009, when I had my first bad reaction to eggs.  I still make scrambled, fried and hard boiled eggs.  I will, occasionally, make other dishes with eggs when I know the 3 year old and I can have something else.  However, because of my rice allergy, cooking gluten free has really intimidated me.  Most recipes that are wheat free use rice flour in combination with some other flour...then Bob's Red Mill saves the day.  I was at the grocery store on Saturday looking through all the gluten free/wheat free items and realized most of the BRM mixes did NOT use rice flour.  Only the brownie mix had rice flour.  The rest were a combination of sorghum, tapioca, potato, garbanzo and fava bean flours.  Those are totally doable for me.  So, today is day one of our new life.  We are now cooking, in some way shape or form, without:
soy protein
We're also adding sunflower seeds to the list of can't haves for the three year old for a few days.  Unlike wheat, we should see results pretty quickly.  The good news is that this leaves about a million other foods we can have.

One other very interesting thing I came across in reading up on other allergy problems was a problem we've had, but hadn't been able to identify until Sunday.  There is something called Oral Allergy Syndrome.   I've been struggling with my 12 year old's face lately. He's broken out in hives around his mouth on and off the last three weeks.  It happens every summer.  Come to find out his horrible Ragweed allergy is to blame and is causing his body to react to watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini and cucumbers (okay, not zucchini-he won't touch that).  He lives on watermelon and cantaloupe in the summer.  Funny, the three year old is reacting similarly, too.  I knew he had allergies, but now I know he's allergic to ragweed, too.

So, I made BRM Gluten Free Wonder Bread today for the 3 year old.  He liked it.  We all tried a little and found it to be pretty good.  I'll still only be serving it to the 3 year old because it's something like $5 a mix.  I divided up the dough into mini loaf pans.  My little guy doesn't eat a very big sandwich.  So, it's just the right size for a small 3 year old.  I"ll keep you posted on the new recipes as we try them.