First Communion Prep

Image 1Little Miss Kelsey Anne will be celebrating her First Communion on May 4th.  Mama is a little bummed that we can’t have the big party I had envisioned. . . turns out, most of the family on both sides won’t be able to attend due to a wedding on one side and an 80th Birthday on the other.  So, we will be attending First Communion Mass, doing quick group photos, maybe having a bite of cake in the church hall and then driving 3 hours to the 80th Birthday celebration (which we will be at least a couple hours late for).  It’s going to be insane and I’m worried that Kelsey won’t feel the importance of this day. . . which is a once in a lifetime event and sadly, is taking a backseat to everything else.

Anyway. . . we took beautiful photographs at the church last week and I used one of them for her invitations (I will post that later).  I figure we will play up all the details we can in order to make this day special. . . so I bought fancy invites from TinyPrints.com  and had them mailed out to lots of family and friends (even those we know cannot attend).  Having a photography session in advance also provided another opportunity for Kelsey to wear her gown and veil and feel special.

Since we are Celiac and therefore, gluten free, Kelsey will receive special “low gluten” communion made by the Benedictine Sisters.

Many people in our parish use this host without problems.  My other girls have been consuming it for years without any reaction and I myself also recently made the switch.  I was consuming regular communion without ANY ISSUES whatsoever, however with the ups and downs of this pregnancy I decided to opt out of any risk and start receiving the low gluten host.  I fully believe that since the bread becomes the body of Christ, we are not at risk when consuming it. And I’ve never had an issue, maybe that’s because of my faith as the tiniest bit of contamination at a restaurant sends me into a painful whirl.

Anyway, we place the wafers into a pyx (small container) and then the pyx is placed in the ciborium at the back of the church prior to Mass.  The host is then consecrated during the Mass with all the regular hosts and the Priest distributes the low gluten host to us directly from the pyx.

As we posed Miss Kelsey for various photographs, I joked that we’d have to repeat the poses for her wedding (or her vows, if I get my nun after all!).

I will either create a gluten free cake or cupcakes to take to the church hall for the post communion celebration so that Kelsey and her sisters can partake of a sweet treat with the rest of the class.

As for the dress and accessories, we got really lucky.  There is only one store in our town that carries First Communion gowns.  We had planned to drive two hours to Portland and shop at the larger stores.  If we’d gone to Portland, I knew I could purchase a gown for around $75.  However, we ended up not going to Portland so I decided I could justify the $179 price tag of the traditional (and beautiful) gown here. . . since I wasn’t paying for round trip gas (which would have been close to $100).  As we were shopping, we stumbled on the gown she chose and because she is a petite thing it fit (size 6x!).  It was on clearance for $53, SCORE!  I still was going to cough up the $$ to buy the Us Angels gown but Kelsey really wanted this one so I put my traditional self away and let her have her say.  Even with over jacket, shoes, socks, tiara, veil, gloves, and purse, we only spent about $150.

(The picture in this post is not one of our pro-quality shots, I actually took it on my iPhone but I like it because it shows the crucifix).

In the coming weeks we will make her First Communion Banner (since our church isn’t making them and her sisters have theirs displayed in our hallway).  I’m sure we will find a few more ways to make her day special, suggestions are welcome!

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Baby Ready

Image 5I’ve decided the trouble with not learning the gender of our little one is the shopping. . . I really want to shop.  Probably because retail therapy seems to help me and I’m still struggling with depression over losing two of our babes in utero.

I’m loving this Oregon onesie. . . it was made by a local lady who is part of my local Mama’s group.  We are a bit hippy around here. . . if you can’t tell by the items pictured.

On the diaper front- I’m using Bummi’s when baby is tiny (until the Flip fits well).  I have 12 tiny organic cotton prefolds and 4 covers.  I’m thinking we can get by with that amount, but I may get another dozen of the prefolds because we can use them as doublers later.  I have 5 Flips w/ 14 inserts at this point.  I also ordered three super cute snap one size diapers on Zulily last week.  I have a feeling I’m going to develop a diaper obsession. . . Realistically 5 or 6 Flip covers are plenty with maybe 20-24 inserts for an every other day wash cycle. . . the three I bought on Zulily are pocket diapers, so those will be more for outings/travel.

On the bottle front- I don’t plan to use bottles, I will be fully breastfeeding like I did with my other children.  But, it never hurts to have one on hand in the event I need to pump.  Plus Daddy really thinks he wants to help with feedings, so I may need to try to pump at times.  I received a pointer from a local mom, she said to pump one side while baby nurses the other. . . that makes absolute sense time wise and all my kiddos only nursed one side at each feed, so it could be the perfect solution. There are always moms looking for donated milk so if I end up with a surplus I can pass it on. Anyway, so I picked up a Klean Kanteen 5 ounce bottle (otherwise known as a Kid Kanteen).  When not used as a bottle, I can change the cap out and use it as a food travel jar.

Pacifiers/Binkys- I’m hoping our baby isn’t really into a binky, but just in case I have an all natural rubber pacifier on hand.

The Snappi is a life saver with diapers and helps contain poo leaks. . . it’s a nifty device to secure the prefold before you put a cover on.

The owl hat is another local find. . . it is super soft.  I found it adorable so I coughed up a ridiculous amount of green to bring it home.  I can already see our adorable newborn in the hat. . .

We have a couple of Eric Carle books as well. . . the nursery is going to be designed around Eric Carle’s art.  I have a beautiful handmade wool Hungry Caterpillar mobile on it’s way to me, I can’t wait to see it!

Now. . . I just keep getting fatter. . . and wait another, oh. . . 25 weeks for the baby to arrive!

 

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Spring is in the Air!

It is a beautiful, sunshiny day today!  I can’t wait for Spring!

Our yard is a MESS.  I’m sure that’s the case for just about everyone. . . but living in wet Oregon means MOSS.  Ugh.  We don’t have grass, we have mud and moss.  Our plan for Spring break is to till, kill, and re-seed the lawn.  We also have other projects to work on like removing sand from the sandbox then re-filling with clean sand, and adding wood chips to the play area.

Amidst all of that. . . I’m dreaming about my garden.  I want to head over to find some untreated wood and build 5- 4x4x12in raised garden beds.  I may only have room for four, guess I better go measure the area they need to be installed. 🙂

I’m dreaming of fresh peaches and berries. . . of canning jars and jelly making. And I’m hoping I won’t be so miserably pregnant that nothing gets done.

I also want to get a compost system set up. . . I’ve decided off to the side of the house near where I’m going to do the garden beds is a good plan. . . oh, and at least one rain collection barrel.

On the baby front- next week I get to visit the MFM (perinatologist). Wahoo!  I’m “advanced maternal age” at my ripe old age of 35, so it’s standard.  I will sit through an hour “chat” with the genetics counselor (ie, all the million things that can possibly go wrong and all the tests we could do), but then I get to see the baby again, so it’s worth it! We won’t proceed with any testing regardless of what they say could be wrong.  Life is life. . . and it’s precious no matter what.

In family news- I took little Kelsey Anne shopping for her First Communion dress today. We had success and it was affordable (amazing!).  Since our plans to travel to Portland for dress shopping fizzled, I was prepared to spend $179 on a local dress (no store choices here). . . I even convinced myself that since I was saving $100 in gas, it all evened out in the end.  Well, Kelsey found a dress on clearance for $53! Even with the requisite jacket to cover her shoulders, lacy socks, gloves, tiara, and purse, we came in under $100 today.  I still have to find a veil and shoes. . . but we have about 7 weeks so that’s manageable. We got lucky with the dress because Kelsey is tiny and this dress is a size 6, if she was a typical sized 8 year old we would have had to cough up $179 for one of the Us Angels gowns.

In sad news- we lost another chicken last weekend.  We aren’t sure why. . . she got droopy sick and just couldn’t rebound.  So, now we have 13 chickens.  To remind us Spring is close, we got 12 eggs from those chickens the other day!

*Just realized all of this garden dreaming has left me so distracted I haven’t begun next weeks meal plan.  Oops.*

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Wowsa

Where have I been?  Sheesh.

I’ve been posting some over at GroksBigFamily.  If you want to see what we are eating these days and our weekly menu plan, take a peek at An Overdue Paleo Food Post.  For a pregnancy update, check out Grief, Loss, & Pregnancy.

The reality is, I’m tired.  This pregnancy thing at 35 is not for wimps. (In cute news though, baby is now the size of a lime.)

My kids are keeping me oh so busy. . . maybe that’s more the reason for the exhaustion than just being pregnant.

On the project front- I’m working on baby blankets.  Soon, I will start sewing nursery linens.  And my newest project desire is to whip up a couple of oh so cute hospital delivery gowns.  I will be a scheduled c-section, so I will likely be there 3 or 4 days after delivery. . . I don’t remember how often you change hospital gowns (I really don’t want to sew 3 or 4. . . nor do I want to spend the $ to buy them on Etsy).  I also want more breastfeeding coverage than the gowns I’m seeing afford.

On being Catholic.  We are well into Lent now.  My older two girls were able to be Altar Servers at Ash Wednesday Mass, they really enjoy serving at special Masses. My youngest child was a heathen at Mass, but thankfully everyone just nods and smiles and says, “we’ve all had one”. Just one of the many reasons I love being Catholic.  No one expects you to keep kids out of the service. The children have become a bit too reliant on Netflix and videos, especially on weekends.  So, that’s what our family gave up for Lent.  These means that maybe (if they are lucky) there will be time for a movie between church services on Sundays, but nothing in between.  We are dealing with more acting out and wild child behavior. . . but I’m confident they will adapt and find other creative outlets for their energy.  Our meatless meal last night wasn’t paleo. . . we had GF clam chowder & GF grilled cheese sandwiches.  Yummy, but obviously a deviation from our paleo norm.  I’m finding it really hard to come up with grain free and meat free meals. .  .I mean, what’s left?  If I just hand the kids a plate of salad they will look at me like I’ve lost it. . . Our favorite Priest has offered several blessings for our in-utero trio and we haven’t had the opportunity to update him yet on the status that our trio is now a singleton. Thinking on that conversation makes me sad.

Well, I’ve done my long overdue duty and posted. . . now, I’m off to piece together a pattern for a hospital gown and see if I can come up with something acceptable.  Thankfully I have several yards of purple cotton (purchased for a Lent project a few years back that was never completed) to use for a practice gown. 🙂

 

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All Things Paleo

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know we’ve evolved into a grain free/Paleo lifestyle.

I truly feel we’ve landed about the best way of eating for us.  Our children appear to be thriving. . . our TTC journey appears to be over (sticky baby on the way September 2013).  All in all- it’s been a great thing for us.

Is it perfect?  Nope.  Are we perfect?  Nope.  We even eat soaked brown rice 1-2x a week still and I made 24 hour soaked beans for the kids the other day.  I don’t really see myself ever hitting that all or nothing place.

I’ve started writing more about our Paleo lifestyle at my new blog – GroksBigFamily.  I’m still writing here, but wanted a site that was more food centric since this one is definitely a modge podge of everything.   Right now, we are on day 12 of the 21 Day Sugar Detox, to follow us hop on over to GroksBigFamily.

 

**Baby news- we are waiting on our first ultrasound which will be at 6wk3days on January 22nd.  That will tell us how many little beans are growing!

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Primal Dinner Winner on a Budget

Last night’s dinner (otherwise known as, “eek, it’s 4:20pm and I have nothing defrosted!” Keepers of all things Paleo- don’t bash me, it was this or gluten free pizza).

1 pkg (2.5lbs) boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders*  $5.99

1 pkg (2lbs) organic veggie medley- broccoli, cauliflower, carrots  $3.49

1 quart organic chicken stock $1.99 (I know I should use homemade but it’s frozen and I was out of time, hence the better planning goal for 2013.)

Seasonings- salt, pepper, garlic

Smattering of grated, aged cheddar

Dump the chicken into my giant 11×17 Pyrex baking dish, top with the veggies, and pour the broth on top.  Sprinkle with garlic, salt, & pepper.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 75-90 minutes (until chicken registers 180F).  Toward the end, sprinkle some grated cheese on top if you like.

We will add a giant salad and the kiddos will get mashed potatoes (I know. . . but it’s last minute and our New Years Eve meal).  All said, this is a dinner for 7 that cost about $15.

*In a perfect world, that would be pieces of whole, organic, free range chicken. . . but we are a family of 7 on a budget, so the chicken is conventional.

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Welcome 2013

#1- MENU PLANNING

Reasoning: save money, stick to a healthy plan to minimize cheats, and reduce stress.

I started off with a bang. . . last night I mapped out a full two weeks of GAPs/Grain Free meal plans (breakfast, lunch, dinner).  I also went through my cookbooks and used sticky notes to mark the recipes used during those weeks so that I’m not running around trying to remember where the recipe is.  My goal is to continue this throughout the year.

#2- RAW MILK or NO MILK

Reasoning: to improve health and support local farmers.

I contacted a local farm about a cow share (or shares) for real milk, butter, cream, and raw yogurt.  Yum. Hopefully this will be in place within a week or so.  I will continue to buy USDA DEAD milk for the daycare because I don’t have a choice.

#3- MEAT

Reasoning: Improved health benefits, cost savings, & support of local farmers.

We will get a second freezer so that we can actually buy the half cow I’ve been planning forever.  I will move 100% of our beef purchases to local &  grass fed.  I will be more lenient with chicken (for now).  The little pork we do buy is organic and uncured, so that will stay the same (unless I find a local source).

#4- Baby, Maybe?

Reasoning: We are crazy. 🙂

Getting pregnant or adopting a baby is still a goal, however, we have no control over that outcome so we will continue to leave it in God’s hands.

#5- Books, Oh How I Love Thee!

Reasoning: As if I need a reason!  Expand knowledge. Feel empowered.  Help educate others.

I’ve nearly finished reading The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.

I have lots of reading “plans” for the year-

Sugar Nation

Omnivore’s Dilemma

Wheat Belly

Eat Fat Lose Fat

The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Childcare

Read Again- Nourishing Traditions & Taking Charge of Your Fertility

#6- Exercise

Reasoning: Um, duh.  We want to be healthy.  The healthiest we can possibly be.  We want to raise healthy children who know how to take care of themselves.

Today we took the kids on a “Grok Walk”. . . a time of walking (moderate activity) spaced with intermittent sprints (bear!) and ending with the play ground (monkey bars, jumping benches, etc. . . ).  This was fun!  We will continue these a minimum of 2 times each week.

#7- Spend Less

Reasoning: Save money.  Practice self control.  Teach valuable money management skills to our children.

This is simple in concept.  Not so simple in implementation.  I plan to budget every penny.  We will likely spend more on nutritious foods (cow share, raw milk) but we have a lot of “fluff” in our expenses that we need to get away from. If it’s not in the plan- it doesn’t get spent.  ‘Nuff said.

#8- Give More

Reasoning: We want to be generous people and to raise generous people.  Helping those less fortunate is a duty of every human being.

This may seem counter productive to #7- spend less, but really, I think it’s a valuable piece of that.  We need to spend less on the crap that fills our lives and give more to those who don’t have.  Mother Teresa said it best- Live simply so that others may simply live.  What a wonderful family motto for this and every year!

#9- ULTIMATE GARDEN

Reasoning: Save $ (hopefully) and enjoy better quality food. It’s also good to teach children where their food comes from and how to grow it!

I always have BIG garden plans that fizzle out because of lack of planning (it’s expensive to do it all at once right at the beginning of planting time) or lack of time.

This year I WILL-

Put in garden boxes by the end of February and have filled with quality soil by end of March.  Then I can focus on plants.   I will grow a lot of tomatoes and can my own sauces.  I will save squash for the winter (grated and frozen).  We will enjoy bountiful veggie centric meals from our own hard work!  I will also can a whole bunch of fruits, including lots of jams to give away at Christmas (the last two years we haven’t gotten nearly enough canned!).  This is a minimal cost since we already have a plethora of canning jars and supplies in the garage.

#10- Make soap and candles

Reasoning: to teach my children old skills, to create something unique, possibly for resale.

I want to spend the summer focusing on candle and soap making.  If all goes well, we will sell our products at the holiday bazaars and craft sales.

I would love to come up with more goals for the year. . . but, honestly, I love my life.  There are things I’d like to see change but that at this point are not possible to change, so I will learn to let go.

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