Monday, August 29, 2011


We just returned from Myrtle Beach, and while I'm a saddened that I won't see the ocean every day, I'm happy to get back to our routine at home. We're in operation preparation homeschool mode. I need to get a few more things and order a teaching resource online. I'm still hoping to start September 1st. For now I want to share some of my favorite dairy-free recipes with you that we've recently tried. Our dinners are just not the same with good ol' dairy, but we're making it work. These recipes are tried and true. If you have a dairy sensitivity, give these a shot. Most are also gluten free.

* Lemon curd bars - The original recipe is delicious and easy. I also made just the bars and spiced them up a bit by adding about 3/4 cup of shredded coconut and a little more honey. I make a double batch each time. Matt and I gobbled up most of them while in Myrtle Beach.
* Creamy avocado pasta - This is from a vegan website, so she uses no animal products. It's a great resource if you don't eat any animal products. Her pictures are nice, too! The primary flavor is avocado, so if you're not a fan, skip this one.
* Orange-apricot porkchops - Incredibly easy crockpot meal full of lots of flavor. We serve it over rice. It would make for a lovely fall meal. (I will skip the cloves next time, though.)
* Homemade chewy granola bars - This snack is quick to whip up in a flash. We all like these bars. Be careful not to overdo the peanut butter or the mixture will be too moist and gooey. Measure carefully!
* Tomato basil pasta - Out of all things, the base of this recipe is made from cashews. Sounds strange, but trust me, it's a winner. The cashews give it the creaminess it needs while still being dairy-free.
* Cashew chicken - An easy recipe if you have a hankering for Asian.
* Homemade Larabars - Simple and wholesome, Larabars are one of my favorite snacks. However, they are pricey little guys. My favorite flavor is the cashew cookie. It's simply made of cashews and dates and easy and frugal to make. All you need to do is grind up 1 cup of cashews in the food processor. Take it out and put into a separate bowl. Then grind up 8 oz of dates and add them to the bowl of cashews. The mixture will be sticky. Form into a ball and press down flat with a rolling pin. Roll out onto parchment or wax paper and cut into strips. I actually like these better than the store-bought version.
Chocolate-raspberry coconut flour cupcakes - I made these for house church one night, and everyone who ate them enjoyed them. The honey frosting is tasty but a bit sweet. Next time I make these I will cut back on the honey. I think I might make some for Isaac's birthday.

So, if you or someone you know has food allergy/issues, try some of these recipes. I hope they can be of use to someone out there!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Laughing Baby

Here's a short clip of Malayna laughing. I think she was around 3.5 months. She's such a rascal, and we all love her to pieces. I hope you enjoy her laugh as much as we do!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The last few months

It has been almost 5 months since I've posted anything. I have good reasons - having a baby and trying to keep my head above water as I learn to parent two small children. Thankfully, the Lord is gracious and forgiving and showers me with His unconditional love and provision to get me through this new season. I feel like I have so much to write and to tell you all the things that are going on in our family of four. Tonight, I'll try to recap a few and expand on them more later.

*Malayna is almost 5 months old. She is a gem. I absolutely adore her sweet, charming personality. She lights up the room with her beautiful smile and bright blue eyes. She coos and laughs and loves snuggling. She is pensive, "talkative", and calm-natured all at the same time. I couldn't have imagined a happier baby.
*Isaac keeps me on my toes, that's for sure. He is sweet and defiant all at the same time if that makes any sense. He is my sweet boy who needs lots of guidance right now, just as any almost four-year-old does. He still melts my heart and is growing up too quickly.
* We begin homeschooling September 1st. I've researched and prayed about what we should do for preschool. I want to challenge Isaac yet not push him to do things he is not ready to do. We'll go at his pace. I want this year to be full of excitement for learning and character development. We need to work on specific things to help with his attitude and heart. We're doing Sonlight this year with some additional math and reading elements.
* Isaac will also go to preschool for a couple hours three days a week. I'm excited for him to have fun making new friends, submitting to other authority figures, learning how to work out problems effectively, and many other things in a play-based environment. His teacher is solid in her walk with the Lord. This is a good fit for our family this year.
* Malayna has some dairy and caffeine sensitivities. I've tried lots of new recipes, and surprisingly, I've liked each of them. I will be one happy lady, though, when I can have milk!
* I had a pretty nasty infection from nursing, which led to a pretty nasty abscess that needed drained. Thankfully, I healed nicely and feel much better. Those babies get us one way or another!
* Matt has had some important work to do, so the kids and I have spent a lot of time at my mom's house. It's nice to relax and watch Food Network whenever I want.... the lazy days of summer!
* I got to see my niece and nephew this past week. Ian is 15 and Hannah is almost 10. They are both wonderful kids - wish I could see them more often.
* We bought a 2005 CRV. We had been looking for a while and knew we wanted a smaller SUV or minivan. We found one for a great price with great mileage.
* We're Myrtle Beach bound soon. Matt's grandma and some of his aunts/uncles live there. We're looking forward to rounding out the last of our summer with family.
* Our house church is about to multiply. I have mixed feelings about it. We love everyone and will be sad to not see them every other week.
* Right now Malayna is crying. She is supposed to be asleep but wants her mama to hold her. Poor baby.
* Matt is taking me on a date tomorrow. We're going to the place where he proposed to me. It's a quaint little town with a romantic feel to it. Makes me smile just thinking of it.
* Last night I had a dinner date and evening out with some dear mama friends. Love me some Japanese steakhouse food and time away from the kiddos. It does a mama good to have a break.
* Isaac said the sweetest thing this evening. I was telling him all the people I love. At the end of our conversation I said, "I love all of our family." He then says, "Mom, God is part of our family." We have been stressing that God loves him more than anyone. He put me in my place in a kind way, making sure I knew that God is most important. Love him to pieces.
* My aunt and uncle just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Can you believe it? 60 years of marriage! As I was leaving their celebration, my aunt told me to do the same thing. They've lived life together through the many ups and downs, and she wants the "young" couples in our family to live that way as well. A wise woman she is.
* I also go to spend time with two of my best friends from high school, Mandy and Suzanne. Mandy has three adorable 15-month-old triplets. Her life is lovely chaos and she handles it with such grace and ease. Suzanne has two young ones and is also raising her 9-month-old cutie patootie niece. She's also a wonderful photographer. She blessed me with some mommy/daughter pics for a gift. I can't wait to see them!

Well friends, that's it for tonight - just normal life around here the past few months, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I will be back soon, before five more months pass by!