Jaime Loves Stuff : May 2010


Latest Doctor's Appointment




Doctors, doctors and more doctors. I guess I really shouldn't complain. Emma is doing great and her follow ups with all her specialists are getting further apart. Still though. I feel whiney. I am allowed to whine, right? Some days I can whine and make it all about me, can't I? Does it mean I am being selfish? Yes. However it helps. It's healing to sit on the pity pot from time to time. I have learned this over the years of trying to heal since Emma's injury.

Alright, so we had Emma's follow up with her neurosurgeon on Friday. It was a good appointment. Ok. Well, Emma wasn't behaving in her typical fashion but she is like that at every doctor's appointment (kid with a brain injury who has been traumatized, it's understandable why she is so high strung). She loves Dr. Shafron, gives him hugs as long as she doesn't see the doctor in the OFFICE. It's quite funny. Understandable but funny. Good news is that her shunt looks good, she has plenty of extra tubing so no need to operate on that part anytime soon. So yay! He doesn't know if she really needs it anymore at this point but it's definitely NOT worth the risk to put her under to remove it to either a) find she still has the hydrocephalus b) risk infection and c.) it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's not infected, it has never malfunctioned (knock on wood), so let's leave it be. It's always a relief when her appointments go off with out a hitch. Yay! He is pleased with how her head looks after her cranioplasty last year! Yay! Emma has a whole head! Hooray! When the doc says everything looks great, he can't be any happier and is impressed with all the progress she is making, I can exhale. Which has me thinking, I am always impressed with how great she is doing. I can only imagine how the doctors react when they see her! I mean, my goodness, when Dr Zimmerman (the ER doc who is now a Forensic pediatrician) saw Emma she was unresponsive and without a good prognosis, she was stabilized and sent to the neurosurgeon, Dr. Shafron, who saw a gravely injured baby, performed emergency brain surgery, saved her life and has had the opportunity to see her grow and accomplish things many of us never expected because of the work each and every doctor she had at Phoenix Children's. From the decisions made in the ER to the choices made in neurosurgery to each and every move made in the PICU to the therapies and the medicine in neuro rehabilitation, every move gave me the child I have today. Albeit a very boisterous, intuitive, high energy, and frustrating child, but she's mine. My daughter. My baby. My heart and soul and she is a great girl.

Wow. That was a tangent. I get like this. Especially this time of the year. Whenever she sees her doctors, I get grounded on the fact that Emma has a brain injury. It's not like I don't know it any other day but I grounded to the fact. I am also looking at the calendar and in one month and 10 days it will be six years since the day Emma's life was taken from her, to the day that she died and was reborn, to the day she was permanently shattered, to the day my heart was broken forever, the day I was torn to pieces as I was helpless to protect my child, the day I learned child abuse doesn't just happen to the people you read about, we became THOSE people, and we have healed.

Also, April 3, my daughter Angelique would have been 9 years old. I think about her and how tiny she was. 14.6 ounces and 13 inches long. Tiny, beautiful and fully formed and born at 23 weeks. She had cysts on her brain and cysts in her kidneys. I had her autopsied and she was found to have diffused renal multicystic dysplasia. We thought Polycystic Kidney disease, like my first born, but polycystic kidneys have a 1 in 4 recurrence rate because it's a recessive gene and the cysts are uniform, meaning the same size, but multicystic dysplasia is much more rare and the cysts are not the same size. My first born was born September 18, 2000, sweet Alanna, and she was born at 32 weeks from polycystic kidney disease and due to the size of her kidneys her lungs and heart were to small and she died from a respiratory arrest. She was 4 lbs 6 ounces and 17 inches long. She had a potter's face, meaning her nose was smashed and her ears were low set and floppy. She didn't have a chance of survival and it was already arranged for when she was born to have no resusitation attempts. Then came my sweet beautiful Emma. She was 8 lbs 6 ounces (I just noticed my girls seem to have a 6 at the end of their weights!) and 19 inches long. Just a beautiful, beautiful baby. And a good one. So quiet and so wonderful. Sigh. I miss the baby smells, the baby snores, and the pathetic but sweet baby whimpers. Now that she's six she likes to yell at me and give me tons of 'tude.

She still lets me kiss her. I hope that lasts a little longer than other kids. She is so sweet. I feel naive when I say, I hope her sweetness and loving nature never goes away.

Wow. Went off on another wordy tangent, huh? I would post photos of myself and my first two girls but I don't want to shock anybody because they are deceased in the photos. :(

Oh yeah! Dr. Shafron is having a meeting with the medical director of AP/IPA insurance. They are denying kids for botox. They want the kids to try other, and costly, medications before approving botox. The problem with the other meds is they are systemic which isn't good for kids who are a hemi (like Emma, one side is affected) and have behavioral problems (once again, Emma). So, we hope that at this meeting AP/IPA can listen to the facts and allow our children the botox. Emma needs it badly in her left arm, well primarily her wrist. It's getting very atrophied and she is so sensitive to touch that we aren't able to get much accomplished. Obviously I can touch her left arm but that doesn't help at school or in therapies. I have a lot of faith that the medical director will listen to fact and reason. It would cost much more to put a child like Emma on baclofen. Th ecost of the meds, more doctors appointments, more costly to the school district, more therapies, etc to help offset the problems it will cause. Doesn't make sense to increase problems, does it?

Review: Hamilton Beach Handheld Mixer from CSN Stores

I was given a fantastic opportunity from CSN Stores to review a product and I chose the Hamilton Beach handheld mixer. I needed a mixer very desperately after my last one broke in the middle of mixing a cake. I was sad because #1 it was garbage and #2 I had mix BY HAND! Yuck!



I thought this one seemed like a good fit for me as it has the snap on case that holds the attachments (the two beaters and I loved the WHISK!) and you can easily tuck away the cord and keep everything all nice and tidy without losing the pieces! The shipping was lightening fast, fast shipping creates a happy customer!

I decided to test this new mixer out with a new recipe, Gluten Free Crepes. I used the whisk attachment and on the lowest speed setting, the speed was there and you can definitely feel the power of the mixer and that tells me, the next time I bake a cake, this bad boy isn't falling apart! Definitely check out the CSN store websites!. Highly recommended! A huge thank you to CSN for the review opportunity!

Now on to the crepes.

What a freaking disaster! Seriously! I used to make the classic version and have never had an issue but now I need to have them gluten free thus attempting to make a gluten free version. I know this is going to take some tweaking and getting used to but wowza! This, I believe, is my worst cooking disaster to date! I planned to make a pomegranate cream cheese sauce with this, but glad I didn't waste making it. Well, I might still as I purchased some of Bob's Red Mill mixes at Sprout's at 25% off and will make gluten free pancakes in the morning.


Here's the recipe and the disastrous photos:

Ingredients:
2/3 cup milk (I used rice milk)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 egg
2 teaspoons olive oil or melted butter (I used Olive oil)
pinch of salt

Directions:

1.Mix all ingredients until very well blended.

2.Spritz a pan (small, nonstick) with olive oil (I used butter). Preheat the pan over medium-high heat.

3.Pour 2 Tablespoons of batter into the pan while swirling the pan.

4.Continue to swirl the pan – OFF the heat! – until the batter begins to bubble and there is no longer excess batter to swirl.

5.Cook for 20-40 seconds (the first crepe takes the longest… this time is for the quicker crepes) or until steam is puffing out the sides.

6.Quickly and with some care, flip the crepe and cook and additional 15-20 seconds.

7.Continue until all the batter is used. (Depending upon your pan, you may not have to spritz it with oil between crepes.)

Bust. Enjoy the photos:

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Photobucket

Ugly #1
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Ugly #2
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And the least ugly of them all:
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Hope you get a kick out of this disaster as much as I did!

disclaimer: CSN provided me with a product to review however they did not pay me. My opinion is mine and mine alone.

Review: Hamilton Beach Handheld Mixer from CSN Stores

I was given a fantastic opportunity from CSN Stores to review a product and I chose the Hamilton Beach handheld mixer. I needed a mixer very desperately after my last one broke in the middle of mixing a cake. I was sad because #1 it was garbage and #2 I had mix BY HAND! Yuck!



I thought this one seemed like a good fit for me as it has the snap on case that holds the attachments (the two beaters and I loved the WHISK!) and you can easily tuck away the cord and keep everything all nice and tidy without losing the pieces! The shipping was lightening fast, fast shipping creates a happy customer!

I decided to test this new mixer out with a new recipe, Gluten Free Crepes. I used the whisk attachment and on the lowest speed setting, the speed was there and you can definitely feel the power of the mixer and that tells me, the next time I bake a cake, this bad boy isn't falling apart! Definitely check out the CSN store websites!. Highly recommended! A huge thank you to CSN for the review opportunity!

Now on to the crepes.

What a freaking disaster! Seriously! I used to make the classic version and have never had an issue but now I need to have them gluten free thus attempting to make a gluten free version. I know this is going to take some tweaking and getting used to but wowza! This, I believe, is my worst cooking disaster to date! I planned to make a pomegranate cream cheese sauce with this, but glad I didn't waste making it. Well, I might still as I purchased some of Bob's Red Mill mixes at Sprout's at 25% off and will make gluten free pancakes in the morning.


Here's the recipe and the disastrous photos:

Ingredients:
2/3 cup milk (I used rice milk)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 egg
2 teaspoons olive oil or melted butter (I used Olive oil)
pinch of salt

Directions:

1.Mix all ingredients until very well blended.

2.Spritz a pan (small, nonstick) with olive oil (I used butter). Preheat the pan over medium-high heat.

3.Pour 2 Tablespoons of batter into the pan while swirling the pan.

4.Continue to swirl the pan – OFF the heat! – until the batter begins to bubble and there is no longer excess batter to swirl.

5.Cook for 20-40 seconds (the first crepe takes the longest… this time is for the quicker crepes) or until steam is puffing out the sides.

6.Quickly and with some care, flip the crepe and cook and additional 15-20 seconds.

7.Continue until all the batter is used. (Depending upon your pan, you may not have to spritz it with oil between crepes.)

Bust. Enjoy the photos:

Photobucket
Photobucket

Ugly #1
Photobucket

Ugly #2
Photobucket

And the least ugly of them all:
Photobucket

Hope you get a kick out of this disaster as much as I did!

disclaimer: CSN provided me with a product to review however they did not pay me. My opinion is mine and mine alone.



Review: Hamilton Beach Handheld Mixer from CSN Stores

I was given a fantastic opportunity from CSN Stores to review a product and I chose the Hamilton Beach handheld mixer. I needed a mixer very desperately after my last one broke in the middle of mixing a cake. I was sad because #1 it was garbage and #2 I had mix BY HAND! Yuck!



I thought this one seemed like a good fit for me as it has the snap on case that holds the attachments (the two beaters and I loved the WHISK!) and you can easily tuck away the cord and keep everything all nice and tidy without losing the pieces! The shipping was lightening fast, fast shipping creates a happy customer!

I decided to test this new mixer out with a new recipe, Gluten Free Crepes. I used the whisk attachment and on the lowest speed setting, the speed was there and you can definitely feel the power of the mixer and that tells me, the next time I bake a cake, this bad boy isn't falling apart! Definitely check out the CSN store websites!. Highly recommended! A huge thank you to CSN for the review opportunity!

Now on to the crepes.

What a freaking disaster! Seriously! I used to make the classic version and have never had an issue but now I need to have them gluten free thus attempting to make a gluten free version. I know this is going to take some tweaking and getting used to but wowza! This, I believe, is my worst cooking disaster to date! I planned to make a pomegranate cream cheese sauce with this, but glad I didn't waste making it. Well, I might still as I purchased some of Bob's Red Mill mixes at Sprout's at 25% off and will make gluten free pancakes in the morning.


Here's the recipe and the disastrous photos:

Ingredients:
2/3 cup milk (I used rice milk)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 egg
2 teaspoons olive oil or melted butter (I used Olive oil)
pinch of salt

Directions:

1.Mix all ingredients until very well blended.

2.Spritz a pan (small, nonstick) with olive oil (I used butter). Preheat the pan over medium-high heat.

3.Pour 2 Tablespoons of batter into the pan while swirling the pan.

4.Continue to swirl the pan – OFF the heat! – until the batter begins to bubble and there is no longer excess batter to swirl.

5.Cook for 20-40 seconds (the first crepe takes the longest… this time is for the quicker crepes) or until steam is puffing out the sides.

6.Quickly and with some care, flip the crepe and cook and additional 15-20 seconds.

7.Continue until all the batter is used. (Depending upon your pan, you may not have to spritz it with oil between crepes.)

Bust. Enjoy the photos:

Photobucket
Photobucket

Ugly #1
Photobucket

Ugly #2
Photobucket

And the least ugly of them all:
Photobucket

Hope you get a kick out of this disaster as much as I did!

disclaimer: CSN provided me with a product to review however they did not pay me. My opinion is mine and mine alone.

So proud!

St Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix Arizona is well known for being a leader in the field of neurological disorders, injuries, etc with thanks to Barrow Neurological Institute. My opinion however, is not as praising. I adore Phoenix Children's Hospital. I will ALWAYS have a huge place in my heart because without the doctors, nurses, and staff, Emma would not be alive today. Now, due to insurance and I am sure, convenience to the Rehab Services clinic, Emma's imaging studies are done at St. Joe's. Not a fan. Frankly, neither is my daughter. Last month she had an ABR test (An Auditory Brain Stem Response test, which came back NORMAL, thank the gods!) under sedation. She was, understandbly upset. She despises the mask, the way she feels afterward and feels like I betrayed her. She is starting to get to where she shakes when she gets to the hospital and starts getting extremely anxious. Her parting words the last time, slurred from the after effects of the sedation, were "I HATE that hospital". Honestly, I can't blame her. I do too.

The last time she had a CT scan there (routine, not when she has come by the ambulance after a surgery), the CT techs were rushed and didn't really want to try. The copped out and she had to go under sedation. I was pissed. I know she can lay still. Well, on Wednesday of this past week, she needed another routine CT Scan and Shunt series (to look at her shunt that is on her brain and goes to her stomach to keep the fluid off of her brain) and I told the nurse and techs that I demand they give her the extra time she needs to feel comfortable and not rush her. If that means SCHEDULING her longer than 20 minutes, SO BE IT. I promised Emma she will not see the doctor with the gas mask. And I held up my promise and I am so so so proud of her! She did need extra time to get on the CT Scanner. The tech was AWESOME and allowed her to play with the buttons and move table. She put her doll through the scanner and even me too! She was such a big girl and laid so still and didn't cry! I wanted to cry just out of seeing her being such a big girl! She was so proud of herself, rightly so! and walked around telling everybody she "Is a Good Job!". Then she got her Xrays and saw her skeleton and was so excited! Heck, I was so excited to see it. I haven't seen her skull since surgery and it's beautiful. I am so beyond proud of my sweet, beautiful daughter.

She is amazing! Each and every day she amazes me with her spunk, spark and happiness! I told the tech, Emma isn't stupid and oblivious, speak to her and explain to HER what we are doing. Do not talk over my daughter. It will make her upset.

Le sigh. She is growing up. I am getting old. She is getting to where she doesn't want to hold my hand anymore. Thankfully she still loves hugs and kisses and saying I love you. I cherish each day. Each hug. Each kiss. Each I Love You. and Each moment.

Batteries not included...

Photo courtesy of FoodNetwork.com


Sigh.

I really, really, REALLY need to pick up batteries for my camera. Why I haven't? Who knows. Maybe just being really lazy. I just wish it had a wall charger just like our cells phone, mp3 players, etc do.

Anywho. I am really sad about now picking up batteries because today we made a trip to the Farmer's Market. We being my sister, Emma and myself. It was so awesome! I found a recipe in the Food Network's Magazine that I really want to make. It's a Watermelon Cucumber Salad. I am in Arizona. The thermostat is rising and a watermelon cucumber salad will be so satisfying! Yum! The thing I really like about hitting the market is that the produce is local and when it's getting close to closing time, the vendors love to clearance their items out. Also, I love finding the unique and interesting items. I bought watermelon, mint, peaches, apples, tarragon, zucchini, cucumbers, pomegranate jam, vanilla almond butter,the most amazing goat cheese... EVER!, some tamales, corn tortillas, apple cider, and can't remember what else. I spent more than this frugal girl realized but that's ok. I really did get everything that I needed for the week. Then went to Costco to buy my usual container of Chamba Chai Latte mix and then didn't have any and I wanted to fall down and cry like a baby. I will have to have them look up which locations are going to carry it. It's $8.99 and makes a ton! My last one lasted my nearly 6 months and saved me tons of money! That's ok because I did pick up wild sock eye salmon (choke! $25.99!!!) and chicken breasts. My freezer is stocked!

I want to share with you the recipe for the Watermelon Salad, courtesy of the Food Network:


Soak 1/2 thinly sliced red onion in cold water. Pat dry 4 cups diced watermelon and 1 seeded and sliced cucumber; toss with a handful of thinly sliced mint. Drain the onion, squeeze dry and add to the salad along with some chopped cashews. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon; season with salt and toss. Top with crumbled goat cheese.

Trailing Tuesdays Friends

I can't wait to get to meet all you bloggers out there. I have been blogging for over a year (see my profile page for my other two blogs!) but this particular blog is a new venture!

Leave a comment with your link so I can come by and say hi!

Delish! Spicy Thai Basil Chicken!

Anybody who knows me, knows I am an Asian food fanatic. I can be extremely snobbish when it comes to Asian food. There are times when I would get a jonesing for Orange Chicken (can't anymore though! Unless I get it unbreaded!) but we all know that is NOT real Asian food. It's Americanized. Well, in junior high I became best friends with a girl from Laos who had come to the United States as refugees and came via Thailand to the United States. She introduced me to the savory, mouth watering and fresh dishes of Laos and Thailand. Both cuisines are very similar but different. I adore Som Thom (Green papaya salad), sticky rice, hot sauce and beef jerky. I could eat until my tongue falls off and my belly is beyond full.

On to my point. Really! I do have one! I ate Spicy Basil Chicken at a Thai restaurant in Scottsdale called Swadee. It was out of this world delicious! Holy cow. The flavors, the spice.. absolutely DIVINE. I have been making REAL Thai and Laos food since junior high and I KNOW I could make this with no problem. I found a recipe on Thaitable.com and ran with it! Once again, my camera still doesn't have batteries but that's ok. I found a picture on rasamalaysia.com that looks similar to my finished product (Please email me if you need me to remove the photo!). I SWEAR this week sometime I will, I repeat, I will buy batteries! LOL.

Here's the recipe from ThaiTable.com:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4-7 Thai chili pepper, minced (I only used three!)
1 tablespoon sugar
1-2 packages holy basil (I used one package of Thai Sweet Basil)
1/2 lb ground chicken
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fish sauce



Mince garlic and chili pepper together. Clean and pick gra-pow leaves from their stem. It may appear like a lot of leaves, but the leaves will shrink when cooked and this dish's flavor comes from the leaves.

Fry the garlic and chili pepper in oil over high heat. When garlic starts to turn brown, drop the ground chicken in. Stir constantly. The juice will start to come out. Keep stirring until all the juice is gone. It might take a couple of minutes. Add sugar and fish sauce. Then add Thai basil. Quickly turn it over a few times to mix the leaves with the meat and then remove from the fire and put the gai pad gra pow in the serving plate or dishes. Serve hot with rice.


If you can find Holy Basil, go for it. We have a large Asian market here called Lee Lee's and I could only find Thai Sweet basil but the dish was ridiculously yummy and tasted, if I must say so myself, better than Swadee's. Sorry Swadee! I will toot my horn without any shame at all!

I served this with Jasmine Rice and passed out from pure bliss!

Not only did this taste BETTER, it cost much less. The dish at the restaurant was $10.95. The package of ground chicken was $3.00 (I only used half!), the package of chiles were $1.34 (I only needed three out of like 70 that were in there!), the Thai Basil was only $1.44. I already had the fish sauce, sugar, garlic and Jasmine Rice.

Gluten Free deliciousness!

So Delicious Coconut Milk Review

Thru June 2nd, 2010, Sprouts Farmer's Markets are having a 25% off sale on all tagged items that are Gluten Free. If you donate $10 or more towards Autism research, you receive their special Autism reusable grocery tote. It's really cute, too! Send $10 to a good cause!

I stopped to see what goodies were on sale, I spotted in the dairy case, So Delicous Coconut Milk. Hmmmm. I love coconut like you would NOT believe. I am also a Thai food fanatic which uses coconut milk in the can for curries. I purchased a container of the Vanilla flavored Coconut Milk for a little under $3.

First things first, no coconutty flavor. At all. It is however, rich and decadent. I used it to make Chai lattes and for Emma's breakfast cereal. It definitely made my Chai lattes heavy. (By the way, I use the Chamba Chai mix from Costco for $8.99 a container. I REFUSE to spend $4 a cup at Starbucks, Dutch Bros, etc). I definitely won't use it for my lattes again. Well, maybe I will try the original? However, the texture and creaminess will be GREAT to use in recipes! It is really tasty! I think for my drinks, back to almond milk!



disclaimer: I bought the milk. Out of my pocket. I was not given this. This is my true honest review. Not paid for by anybody other than myself. I lost money, instead of gaining anything monetarily.

African Pineapple Peanut Stew





In my first post I told you I was going to make the African Pineapple Peanut Stew recipe from a blog I found called The Way The Cookie Crumbles. My camera was dead, so I borrowed the photo from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, I hope the blog owner doesn't mind, if so PLEASE let me know, I will be glad to take it down!

I did make it Monday night and it was YUMMY! Easy and my daughter ate it... ALL! The recipe is vegan, gluten free and delish. I am not vegan but for any vegan friends out there, this is a good recipe. I thought it was a little sweet and "missing" something, so when I ate mine, I added a dash of wheat free soy sauce. Perfect! Here's the recipe:

African Pineapple Peanut Stew (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home)

4 servings

I used natural, chunky peanut butter, coconut oil, swiss chard and spinach I picked up at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market Farmer's Market, and sambal oelek. I suggest to not skip garnishing with green onions, cilantro and peanuts! I served over Jasmine rice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch kale or Swiss chard, large stems discarded, leaves chopped coarse
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
½ cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup peanuts, chopped
1 scallion, sliced

1. Heat the oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until just browned at the edges, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add pineapple to the pot and bring to a simmer; add the greens, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just tender. Stir in the peanut butter and hot sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the flavors are blended. Stir in the cilantro just before serving and add salt if necessary. Serve over rice or couscous, garnishing each serving with the peanuts and scallions.


Since I had left overs and some thawing chicken, I made thai rice stick noodles (found them at Trader Joe's for $1.59 and they are only made with rice flour and water), chicken and added the peanut stew and made a great peanut chicken noodles for lunch at work today.

It's not been finalized..

However, Tribune has dropped from making a third season of Legend of The Seeker. I love that show! I love it the same as I love a few other EXCELLENT cancelled shows... Dead Like Me, Firefly, Jeremiah, Jericho, etc...



There's even a site called www.saveourseeker.com that has raised $10,000 to raise advertising to keep Legend of the Seeker going. If you are a fan, I am sure you may be sad to hear that season 3 has not been given the green light.


Check this out!

Guess what? School is out for the summer. Over the past few months I have been dealing with some health problems which has translated in to other problems for me. I need to go gluten free. My body is at war when I eat gluten products. I am also trying to use more produce and meat from farmer's markets, transitioning to a green living all while being FRUGAL!

If you are interested in reading along, please follow me! I would love your feedback, recipe ideas, green tips, etc!

Click here to visit with me at Frugal, Green and Gluten Free Mom.


Here We Are Again...

I have two other blogs, one which chronicles (sort of) my life raising my beautiful daughter, Emma, who is 6 1/2 years old who lives with long term physical, behavioral, emotional and cognitive effects from being the victim of shaken baby syndrome and my other blog began as a hobby book reviewing blog and has morphed into a giveaway (multiple products) and book reviews and news. However, I have been so busy lately with school and work (I am also a single parent) and raising my daughter, I have sort of slacked on my book blog responsibilities (see my profile and you can see my other blogs! Please?).

I am 32 years old. I was 26 when Emma was injured. I have been noticing some changes in my body, my mental health, my desires and weight (eh, I guess that should be encompassed in my body). I have battled depression over the years but now my body is taking a turn that I am not liking. I have began feeling fatigued, not your regular old fashioned tired, but more like I could fall asleep while walking to the mailbox tired, pressure in my rib cage, burping although my stomach is empty, severe nausea, indigestion, gas and such. I know it's not because of lactose because I have gotten rid of that in our lives (we use almond, soy, rice, hemp and coconut milk). The tipping point was the pain. My body hurt. My lower back. My joints but the scariest pain was in my hips. I started freaking out. I really thought I had Ovarian Cancer (classic symptoms!)and went to an urgent care. My blood test was normal, even negative for h. pylori. Luckily I work for a radiology company, because I went through a ton of imaging studies and all normal. The PA that I saw that day suggested I get rid of gluten, add digestive enzymes and see how I feel. Well, I am already familiar with the GFCF diet which is extremely popular in the Autism community (which is AWESOME!) but extreme for me and my lifestyle. I looked into LIMITING gluten for my daughter. She doesn't have autism but the brain damage and cerebral palsy causes digestive problems. I wasn't strict on it with her but now I need to be! As this will be more strict for both of overall health and wellbeing. Thankfully we love rice! Rice noodles, brown rice, white rice, etc.

However, I am shocked at all the hidden gluten in food! Because of that fact, I need to be more diligent in cooking whole foods and maintaining our health. Besides, we live in tumultous times. Bad economy, our environment is awful and who knows what is in our food! I look around and am in fear. In fear of my daughter's future. I feel that it's important to be as green as possible. I am learning about living green and trying very very hard and at the same time I am frugal. I can't afford a lot so I need to be careful about wastefulness. So, although I would love to not use papertowels, well I have a ton in my cabinet and so I will be PHASING what I have out. I have a few bottles of detergant, when they're gone,... well, on to eco friendly versions! I have fallen in love with Farmer's Markets and buying locally. I am a carnivore, not a big time one, but still one nonetheless but I don't want my daughter and I eating slaughterhouse, feedlot, chicken crammed in to tiny cages meat. Thus, Farmer's Markets! Meat is much more expensive there soooo that means we eat less meat!

As I go through this transition, I want to chronicle and share. I hope you have feedback and ideas for me, too! I would love recipes, product ideas, and so on!

Tonight I am eating left overs but tomorrow, I am making an African Pineapple Peanut Stew that I found the recipe for on a blog called The Way The Cookie Crumbles. Doesn't that look FANTASTIC???

Hope to hear some feedback soon and please, introduce yourselves!

Absolutely, positively beyond...

My daughter is nearing her seventh birthday. Huge!!! However, out of all the years of parenting her, I am at my peak of frustrationg. I never had those sleepless nights or frustration that I have now. Maybe I am expecting too much from her but jeez-Louise, help me help me help whatever deities are out there! She is at the stage of not wanting to listen, she is very vocal and very intuitive, and she is not potty trained. I sat down last night and cried for two hours. I am about ready to start crying again. I feel like maybe this is ME. My inability to parent. Maybe I am not meant to be a mother? Why in the world is my child who is very smart but is nearly 7 still not potty trained? I have been trying for nearly 5 years to get her potty trained! What am I doing wrong? I am wondering if there is something deeper going on with her. Two days in a row she has gone number two and it's all over the place. She either can't feel this or she doesn't care. She is on a potty schedule, she gets praised, rewarded and all the things we are told to do but not working! She RARELY voids on the potty! I know that potty training is one of the hardest things to do but nearly FIVE years and we are doing no better now than it was five years ago.

Blah. I just need to vent. Maybe I need a glass of Chocovine after Emma's asleep tonight. Watch a movie. Bawl. Whatever. Poo.

Oh and off to yell at the Children's Rehab Services Referrals person for scheduling my daughter's CT with SEDATION WITHOUT consulting me. This pisses me off. The nurse knows I don't want her sedated and if I can't make head way with referrals, then I will call the nurse. The nurse who works in the neurosurgeon and physical rehab department is wonderful and will help me. ALSO, I left several messages with radiology and with referrals without a return call as I have been trying to get this scheduled because I need to be able to request time off with enough notice to my supervisor. I work in Radiology myself. I know protocols and so on but honestly, if you are in Phoenix and need medical care for your child, don't use St. Joseph's Hospital. They really really really suck. The last time she had CT imaging there, the techs were just asses and pretty much refused to really TRY taking her images. Then said "Whoops! Already radiated her three times, send her to the ER and let them sedate her!" So every time it turns in to a flipping debacle. EVERY FLIPPING TIME. The issue is that that hospital is not dedicated to children so the techs aren't dedicated to any one department. The last time we had a CT for her, she was willing and ready but they pulled the bed through the gantry while she was answering me when I was explaining that she has to hold still. Three times they did that. However, I guess this boils down to an insurance issue as to why we have to go to that piece of shit hospital. I like the doctors we see at the CRS clinic but St. Joe's flat out SUCKS. Skip the bullshit and take your child to Phoenix Children's Hospital. They rock. Except when we were there the last time for her surgery, I thought General Pediatrics looked ghetto and dirty. Big difference in 5 years time. Medical care was great. Had a nurse though on the General Peds floor that only wanted to talking about becoming a Nurse Practitioner while Emma was vomiting from pain from her vein blowing out. Oh and the secretaries were a little pissy. But much better than St. Joe's. Maybe I am just in a bad mood and just want to complain. Boooo!

It's been a bad week.

My stomach is killing me every day. My hips hurt. My back hurts. I am fatigued. I am depressed. I am irritable. My blood work is coming up normal. No h. pylori. No signs of infection. My imaging studies are all normal. Boo. My doctor. No. Change that. My doctor sucks. The PA that works with my doctor thinks I need to go gluten free. I have been working on limiting the gluten in our diet for Emma and already don't use cow's milk, rather we drink Almond, Rice or Coconut milk (not the kind you cook with!). So, I am ridding my cabinets of all items that contain gluten. I need to get wheat/gluten free soy sauce. I can't imagine life without soy sauce. Good thing I love rice and all kinds of Asian food (I make most of ours! big pat on my own back!) and not a huge Italian food fan, huh?

Ok. I am done bitching.

Safeway and Betty Crocker Sweet Spring Treats Spark and Giveaway!

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I was given the great chance to participate in the Betty Crocker & Safeway's Sweet Spring Treats Spark. With this participation I received a prize pack and a vip coupon for a Betty Crocker Mix. In the prize pack was a metal mixing bowl, a Betty Crocker mixing spoon, a Wilton silicone baking pan, a red oven mitt and a $25 gift card to Safeway. The coupon and prize pack was provided by Safeway and Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark™!

I love to cook but a baker I am not! I love to buy mixes and just add some creativity so it can be a little more than just a "boxed mix". I have always been a fan of Betty Crocker so this Spark was an easy one for me to participate in, bring it on!

For great spring recipe ideas, visit BakeSweetMemories.com today. Bake Sweet Memories has delicious recipes for fun desserts using your Betty Crocker favorites, including Easter Bunny Cakes and even morning brunches, like the Impossibly Easy Breakfast Bake, which are sure to brighten any morning!

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If you would like an opportunity to win one prize pack containing the items mentioned in the first paragraph, please leave your name and email address and winner will be picked May 30th! Please note that US Addresses only! Sorry! This giveaway was provided by Safeway and Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark™!


Thanks and Good luck!



disclaimer: I am a blogger. I do this as a hobby whenever the wind blows, I post reviews of items. Many times free, yes, but I do not get paid for my review regardless of whether it's positive or not.








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