Bringing Down the Wall

Nate and I have living in our home for over six years.  When we first moved in, it was perfect, obviously.  But then, as anyone who's owned a home knows, we quickly found imperfections to change and update (read: ways to spend grown up, boring money)  Living in a split level, we always struggled with two main living spaces to fill and never a good way to do it.  The upstairs always was favored because of the kitchen and proximity too food, but there was this silly little wall separating the living space from the food.

No more!

And in tearing down the wall, we also replaced the disgusting carpeting that had seen better days before kids, dirty feet and even a dog for a time.  I'm still getting used to cleaning a wood floor, but I'll adjust.  Small price to pay!

After several weeks waiting for our flooring to arrive, hundreds of staples pulled, and a constant battle with dust, it's done!  Finally!!  Well mostly - there are a few touch ups to complete and a wall to paint, but I'll take it as 99% for now.

Take a look at these before and afters!

Feel free to lavish compliments at will….

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Gluten-Free: Cravings

So far, I've been "gluten-free" since Sunday.  It's been pretty easy and I haven't gone "without" except for the leftovers of my previous life that exist in my fridge.  Delicious, leftover pizza from Friday night. Now before you correct me, I know I can make gluten-free crust, and even bought a mix today at the store.  But there's something about the convince of it all that I want.  It's just RIGHT THERE.  Waiting to be eaten.  *sniff*

On the plus side of my need for delicious, familiar, comfort foods - I did get to eat Jimmy Johns yesterday for lunch, Unwich style and still down a bag of salt and vinegar chips like I was mad at them.

My stomach is considerably less bloated and I'm wishing that I'd taken a "before picture" though I'd NEVER show you guys!  Yucko no.  It would just be for me, and then I'd delete it after awhile in case my phone spontaneously decided to send out embarrassing pictures.  It could happen.

I'm like an addict in that I'm thinking about all the things I'm going to miss out on - cold beers poolside, Juicy Lucy burgers this summer, and delicious Napoli-style pizza at Punch Pizza, but really, I'm just telling myself one day at a time.  I might be able to "cheat" on occasion and not hate myself too much for doing it.

Or I'll just have to bring my own gluten-free beer and smuggle it into the Kalahari Waterpark.  Certainly would not be the first time we've smuggled contraband in, and I guarantee it won't be the last!!

So being that this "fad" might stick, I want to know your favorite recipes and places to buy things.  The GOOD things, not the I've tried this bread but it really tastes like sawdust crap.

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Gluten-Free: First Days

I have decided to try eating gluten-free.  After doing some reading on the adverse reactions that gluten can have on a body (bloating, joint pain, potty-problems) eliminating gluten seems like an easy way to see if that helps with my issues.  Well, those health issues.  I have other issues that only date-nights and a tall drink can help.

Also, I'm trying this (sadly) as part of the health food fad that gluten-free diets have become.  Considering that most of the unhealthy items that I tend to indulge in (aside from wine and vodka) all contain gluten.  Trying to avoid gluten, I can then avoid those unhealthy things.

I have no idea if this is going to make one lick of difference, but it's worth a shot.  And it gives me something to write about, because I've hit a bit of a dry spell lately.

I started Sunday, and made a little pack with myself to try it for one week.  Easy enough.  If I feel better, great.  If I don't - no harm, no foul.

Sunday went well.  I absent-mindedly ate two vanilla wafers in the church nursery and a bite of Liv's chicken nugget at dinner without even thinking, but I did pretty well.  We had tacos for lunch (Rusty Taco in Minnesota in case you're wondering and they're delicious!), and ate the corn tortillas instead of flour ones.  At dinner, I was able to eat the soup we made with our friends, and avoided the corn muffin.  I again, forgot and grabbed one, started to unwrap it and then quickly slid it on to Nate's plate.

The real question - how did I feel Monday morning?

Not too shabby.  And I even indulged in a bit (OK a lot) of wine with our friends over Cards Against Humanity, and still didn't feel tired, achey or sick to my stomach.

I've had energy, went and did some yoga and felt super strong.  The strength may have been because I was the youngest person in my class by about 25 years.  But who cares, I felt great!  Meals have gone well - I have rice chef for breakfast, quinoa for lunch and scrambled eggs for dinner.  To be fair, I intended on making chicken and risotto tonight, but Nate is this close to finishing our floor - thus giving me my house and husband back!

Tomorrow is another day, but I'll be at work with lots of ladies who are also gluten-free, for legitimate health reasons, so I'll have their love and support there!

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Valentine's Milk & Cookie Snack

Want to make a super-mom snack with very little effort?  Me too!

I'm not a super baker or anything, but there's usually chocolate chip cookies in our house, and they make a perfect after-school snack for Olivia.  Look at me, little Becky Homecky!  I don't even have a post for them on my blog because my secret receipt is Nestle Tollhouse.  Don't mess with a good thing, you know?

But I can make this snack a little sweeter with a silicone mold, milk and some food coloring.  Being that Valentine's Day is right around the corner, pink hearts make perfect sense, but this is a treat that has lots of legs - and needs no holiday to celebrate!

I used 1/2 c of milk and several drops of food coloring, then carefully poured my milk into the mold.  Place in freezer for a few hours, until set (I did this during nap and the cubes were good to go 3 hours later.)

Perfect snacks for these two sweethearts…

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Mama's Having a Day

Time for some hard truths.

Avery is almost 3-years old, which means:  Hooray, she's out of her terrible twos, and Boo, into the even shittier threes.
I am having harder and harder days with her.
She's not the happy baby she once was.
She fusses over every little thing.
She's becoming a horrible eater.
She won't poop, she's back in diapers and refusing the potty (which mind you, she was about 80% trained only a few months ago.)
Olivia is asked to concede a lot of things to appease her crying sister (and graciously she does.)
I can't properly get mad at Avery, so I get mad at everything else.

I've hit a point where through the course of my day, I go one of two ways:

Become screaming, mad mom who can only get anyone to listen by shouting above the noise….


simply shut down.  I sit on the couch and try to block the noise (and if you've heard Avery scream, she's liable to bust an eardrum one of these days) I just let the waves of helplessness wash over me.

I don't know why she's so angry.  Why she's so sensitive.  Why she refuses to poop for days at a time, even in a diaper or pull-ups.  Why she won't eat something unless it's cheese or green peas, oh and cookies.

And if I don't know the cause of the problem, I'm even further from finding out how to fix it.

We were leaving the gym a few days ago, and of course, Avery was losing her mind over having to put socks back on.  Seems reasonable cause for a meltdown.  I'm trying to play it cool and comment "this age is just so fun, isn't it" to the girls working at the child center.  The workers laugh along and one says "You know, the same hormone that makes girls crazy as teenagers is the same thing going through their bodies when they're three."

I almost cried right there in the middle of the Lifetime Fitness Child Center.

I'm smart enough to know that in another seven years or so, Nate and I are going to have our work cut out for us with teenage girls, but please, please, please don't tell me it's going to be more of this.  Of this Avery.  About the only thing that I can say to comfort myself as the sadness crushes my lungs is: this is just her age, it will pass, right?

What if it doesn't?

What if I can't handle this?
Surely I am not a total failure because I've managed to keep her alive, so basic needs are being met.
But I am failing her somehow and it's breaking my heart.
What if she can tell that I'm angry?  What if that's what's making her sad?
I've always said that Avery picked me to be her mom, but what if she was wrong?
What if she ends up hating me because of it.

And I have another child - what if I screw up two for the price of one?
I'm sure I'm doing better than most, but it doesn't feel like it from my cheap seats.
And it sure doesn't meet the expectations I have, and let's be honest, I don't think I'm setting the bar out of reach.

Give me the strength to power through, without drinking myself stupid before she's four.

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Silly Monsters

Olivia's absolutely favorite thing in the whole world right now is, in her own words:  creating.

She loves to draw, paint, color - anything artistic that get this little hands moving.  Works for me!  And while I cannot possibly keep every masterpiece she creates, this one might get to stick around for awhile.

I saw this on Pinterest awhile back, but I went back to find the original to give credit to, but alas, I could not.  So while this was not my own invention, Liv sure thought it was, so I'm a hero to her and that's all that matters!

A very simple, but fun way to let your little one express themselves.

A piece of paper, some googley eyes and markers or crayons…..

…. and them go nuts!!!
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one moment.

A single photo  - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  {inspired by Soule Mama}

Love these little ladies.

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