Thursday, April 30, 2015

Our newest family member...

This is our new dog.  He regularly sleeps upside down with his head hanging off of couches or beds or my kids.  He is pretty hilarious.  I know I talked about my hours spent researching dogs and trying to figure out the best breed for our family, well like most things this didn't go exactly as I had planned.

My husband and I were planning to wait till mid summer to get a dog and we were not yet in agreement on the kind.  He wanted a Sheltie, and I wanted a hypo-allergenic dog.  (He says there's no such thing) My mother in law on the other hand was searching for a Bichon mix.  Well it just so happened that one showed up in a humane society not to far from where we live, which is very far from my dear mother in law.  She called me late one night and said please go see him tomorrow and get him for me.  I asked my husband if we could keep a dog for his mom for a few days till she could get down and get him.  He agreed.  So I took the kids first thing the next day to the humane society.  They were thrilled to death.  We got a little pager and stood in line with great anticipation.  Finally our pager buzzed and my kids squealed!  We were taken into a private room and met this little white fluff ball.  He had been a stray, was flea bitten, had been neutered and had oral surgery and was now ready for adoption.  He had a big cone on his head.  I called to make sure my mom-in-law was on board with all I found out about this little dog.  So we took home this pup and the kids got to name him Smores. We feel in love with this sweet pup. He loved the kids and the attention.  Then a few days later grandma came and took him home with her.  We cried.  She brought him back for a visit and again when she left we missed our dear little friend.

He ended up getting attacked by a neighbor's American Bull Dog, who plowed through a fence to chew on him.  At that point we started talking about bringing him back here so he'd be safer.  Then around the first of this month we met grandma half way and brought Smores home to be our dog. He wasn't the kind we planned on, but he is great.

Now we have hours of entertainment, the kids are training him to do tricks.  We even got to take him to the local nursing home to show off his tricks.  We get in our exercise through our daily walks and he helps my youngest take naps as he'll sleep by her.  My eldest complains about math way less because he'll sit on her lap while she does math. We can carry him like a baby, he's even been fine with wearing a hat or doll clothes.  While he wasn't what we had planned on, I think we ended up pretty blessed! We finally have that dream dog that I've wanted since I was a kid.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Decadent Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Normally when I make my chocolate cake I top it with whipped cream I make from scratch.  Well on this day I did not have any whipping cream or many of the usual ingredients.  My kitchen aid mixer was missing a piece and so I just threw what I had into a bowl and stirred it up by hand.  It turned out to be one of the BEST gluten free creations I've made.  It was for a birthday of a dear friend and it was of course all eaten, down to the last crumb!

I hope you'll give it a try and let me know how much your family and friends enjoy it.

 Cake Ingredients:
2 c. organic raw sugar
3/4 c. rice flour
1/2 c. oat flour
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1/4 c. potato starch
3/4 c. coco powder
1 ts. zanthan gum
1 1/2 ts. baking powder
1 1/2 ts. baking soda
1 ts. salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. light flavor olive oil (I didn't have coconut on hand)
1 c. boiling water

Cake Directions:
 If you don't have all those flours and starches on hand you can try your own gluten free blend.  I find this combination gives things the best flavor, doesn't taste too starchy or like regular gluten free things. So put all the dry ingredients in a bowl then all the wet ones. Stir....THAT SIMPLE!

Pour it into 2 greased round pans and cook on 350 for 30-35 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clear. Let it cool completely before frosting. 

For the frosting I used my food processor. 

Frosting Ingredients:
4 Tablespoons of organic sweet cream butter (softened)
2 Tablespoons of coco powder
2 cups organic powdered sugar
1-4 TB milk to the right consistency

Throw it all into a food processor or blender. Blend it up and then use it to frost the cake.

As you notice in the picture it is topped with a beautiful berry sauce and little chocolate covered berry balls. My friend made the berry sauce using old frozen berries from her freezer.  She made them into freezer jam following an online recipe, like this. It turned into a wonderful berry topping for things like pancakes, waffles or this decadent gluten free chocolate cake. We drizzled it on the top and plopped on a few organic chocolate covered berries from Costco and voila!  You have a beautiful, pretty simple, but gourmet good gluten free cake.

After you make your please comment and tell us about it.  How did you decide to decorate it.  Did it meet your chocolate desires and satisfy your family or friends gluten allergy needs? Happy eating!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pampered by my Kids

Yesterday was a hard day.  One of those days when everything keeps going wrong.  The little things.  It's always the little things that seem to get me down the fastest.  The big things I hold out hope and pray about.  Maybe God's still teaching me, come to me with the little things!!!

After a bad day with epic fits and tantrums I was exhausted.  I felt worn thin, beat down and the enemy satan kept whispering his lies of I'm not a good enough mom, not a good enough home maker, you know what I mean I'm sure. We all have those days. First thing this morning when I woke up there were those lies striking again, "Your kid's rooms are so messy you can't see the floor, you don't even know what toys they have or don't have."  I shared my struggle with my husband.  He prayed for me once again, as he had the night before.  Then I laid in bed willing myself to get up and face the day.  God sure gave me a good husband!  He went and talked to the kids, apparently told them mommy really needed to feel loved today.  I got up and slogged to get dressed and get breakfast on the table.  Suddenly my kids were bringing me cards that said "I love you Mom." My oldest kept asking how she could help me.  Talk about a 180 degree change from the day before.

Then at dinner time my girls helped cut and peel potatoes and my son helped empty and fill the dishwasher.  When supper was over my eldest said, "Mom, I really want to give you a manicure and pedicure, can I?"  I smiled at her and said sure. She set up a bucket of cool water with epsom salt for me to soak my feet in while she buffered and polished my nails.  We were in the middle of the kitchen floor and I was in an uncomfortable chair.  So she brought me pillows and an eye mask.  My son saw what she was doing and said, "I want to help." So he got the lotion out and started rubbing my arm and my neck.  He started by squeezing the front of my neck, which was not exactly relaxing, but so sweet.  I directed him to the back of my neck or my hand and wrist.

When the youngest saw that her siblings were pampering me she wanted in on it.  I hear her say, "Mom, say EEEE." I said it with my blinder mask still on, as she thrust my tooth brush full of tooth paste into my mouth and started roughly scrubbing my teeth.  One arm is being held by my son as he's rubbing my hand and wrist the other by my eldest as she's painting my nails, I can't see and I'm trying to tell her through clenched teeth to please stop I need to spit. After spitting and gaining my eye sight I look at her. She's standing by me with sloppy pig tails and a big smile holding up my tooth brush, "I can brush them more now for you, Mama. Does your mouth feel clean?"  I burst out laughing.  I told her it felt great, perfectly clean, that I did not need anymore brushing, thank you so much. Instead if she wanted to rub my feet she could.  So I sat back down and was re-blinded while the kids pampered me.  I kept laughing thinking this was unlike any manicure or pedicure I'd ever heard of.

They then informed me that I was tired and now I needed to get on jammies and they were gonna tuck me in and read me a bedtime story.  All three of them took turns and I really did zonk out while one of them was reading.  I then woke up to pray with them and thank them for their sweetness and tuck my precious ones into bed.  My eldest looked at me and said, "Mom, did you feel loved today?"

Yes I did!  Moments like these make the days of mundane tasks, and all the hard days of raising kids and running a home worth it!  I am loved.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Gluten Free Brownines

So I messed up and did not take a picture of the most wonderful brownies.  Instead I set the pan down and they were devoured!  So you don't get a wonderful picture.  Imagine in your mind chewy, rich, chocolate brownies that have the perfect amount of crispy outside and gooey, fudgey inside.  That would be these brownies.  Perfection in the form of chocolate.

Not only are they wonderful, they are quick and easy to make.  I made them while rushing to get ready for church.  So that should tell you that you can make them while getting three kids dressed and taking care of a dog. 

Makes a large 9X13 pan of luscious gluten free brownies! 

1 c. melted organic sweet cream butter (unsalted or omit salt if using salted)
2 c. organic raw sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla (alcohol free is best)
2/3 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. rice or oat flour
1/4 c. potato starch
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Greese your large pan.
In a sauce pan melt 2 sticks of butter, stir in sugar, vanilla, eggs and cocoa powder.  Then mix in flours/starches, baking powder and salt. You'll have a nice sticky brown concoction.  Scrap it into your 9x13 pan.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Don't over cook of it will not be quite as fudgey.  Let it cool for at least 5 minutes. Then devour that gooey gluten-free goodness!

If you make it let me know what you think!  So far I have rave reviews from the potluck people.

Friday, April 24, 2015

A LONG time....

It has been a long time since I've updated anything.

Life has been busy.  Isn't it always.  There is always laundry to be done, kids to teach, food to prepare, houses to clean.  We also got a dog! Hip hip hurray.  So there's been walks to take, training to be done and we've had tons of visitors. I've also been trying to keep up to date on my teacher certificate. So I've been taking classes out of state and traveling back and forth.  Basically, life is busy and finding time for blogging can be difficult.  So today I say,  welcome back, to myself, and to any of you who've been wondering if I dropped off the planet.

Soon I will be moving everything over to my own domain! That's exciting right.  I hope to have a nicer design so it's easier to access my recipes and homeschooling ideas.

I wanted to share some freebies with you today! If you hop on over to All About Reading they are having a curriculum give away till May 1st!! Just click on my links to the side and you will be able to sign up for the giveaway!  I hope you win!