Saturday, April 17, 2010

10 months young....

April 12th little Squirt hit the 10 month mark and I thought he deserved some updates.

He is a snuggler, lover, cuddler, sleep on my chest 1/2 the night and knead my hair like a cat, happy little fellow.

The biggest news is he is now officially walking everywhere about 98% of the time.  (That percentage was calculated with great accuracy...... ya... right huh).  Anyhow, he hardly ever crawls anymore. 

My goal was to hold off on foods as long as possible.  As of 10 months old his only food besides milk was recently introduced rice cereal and also now oatmeal cereal.  No reaction to either thankfully.  I am also smart enough to be getting the "organic" kind that doesn't also include wheat or soy in it, like the name brand baby cereals do.  Couldn't believe it when I found that out!

Not much going on in the talking department yet.  Will sometimes say Da,Da and when he is tired or hungry says Ma,Ma.  Tries to say Bye and does wave. 

He has been napping a little better this past week and has been taking one nap about midday that lasts normally 1 hour but sometimes it will go to 2 hours!!!  Nights are still not so good.  A good night he will wake maybe 5 times and a bad night maybe every 20 minutes.  I don't know what is going on with that, but several bad nights makes for a cranky mom is the word on the street. 

And I don't know why, but last night was the absolute best night ever in his life.  He woke one time and went back to sleep with a pacifier and then woke another and I fed him and he went back to sleep and then he woke a 3rd time and I fed him and he went to sleep on my chest; that was it!   We tried to figure out what was different and the only thing we could come up with was that husband and I fell asleep on the couch with him with all the lights on in the house until 5 a.m.  Hate to admit it, but we often do that, but normally we wake up by 1 or at the latest 2.  So maybe the lights on was the key.  Think I will try it again tonight.

Crazy what you will do for a little sleep, isn't it!!  But look at the little bugger..... he is SO worth it!!

Doesn't he look like a big boy now.  He also got a hair trimming.
Well, speaking of Squirt he is mad now, so guess that is all I get to say about him.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Streusel Coffee Cake -- Gluten, Soy & Cow dairy free

Tasty Tuesdays......

A gluten free coffee cake that really tastes good!

 It is so good in fact that it deserves a really special name, but ....alas... I cannot come up with anything great.  It is delicious, simple, pretty and sooo moist (remember I have a soft spot for moist desserts).  And it is ohhhh sooo gooood!  Definitely going to become a favorite at our house.  Trust me it does taste as good as it looks.  Very hard to believe this one is gluten-free --- really, it is gluten free!

It is so exciting to see how far we have come with our recipes.  It was really like learning how to cook all over again.  It was so overwhelming in the beginning that just finding safe foods was pretty much all I could handle.  I didn't experiment a whole lot in the recipe department because I didn't really have the 'guts'.  Lots of allergen free recipe books out there, but none that really fit what we are allergic to in our house.  And so many of them called for special ingredients that I didn't have and so many of them were so long and complicated looking.  And I am not a recipe person to begin with... I am the add a little of this and a little of that and see what happens sort of person.  And I just didn't know how that would go over with our new restrictions.  So we stayed in a food rut for a while... until a special friend gave me the encouragement and desire to "broaden my horizons".  And I thank her for that, because now I am back to the "add a little of this and a little of that and lets see what happens"... and... just look at what we have been missing out on.....

doesn't that look yummy!

1  Pamela's white cake mix
1 5.9 oz. Jello Instant Pudding mix- vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of prepared vanilla pudding
(make according to directions a little ahead of time so it can set up
we used goat milk. 2nd choice would be almond or coconut milk, or cow if you can have it)
1/2 cup of canola oil
3/4 cups of dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon

oil/shortening for greasing the pan

preheat oven to 375
mix cake mix and dry pudding mix together
add eggs, prepared pudding and oil and mix together

grease tube pan
pour 3/4 of cake mix into tube pan
sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon into tube pan
with fork gently swirl sugar mixture into the cake mix about 1/2 inch
pour remaining cake mixture into tube pan

bake cake until golden brown
about 45-55 mintues
invert onto plate and drizzle with glaze
and let cool before serving so it firms well


powdered sugar
small amount of oil

But you know what this coffee cake isn't ?

It isn't .........

fat free! 

But I think you can tell that by looking at it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wind... wind... and ....more .....wind!

Well, the title pretty much sums things up.  After snow, mud, snow, mud ect... now we are starting the third week up of wind... wind and more wind!  And when I say wind, I really mean wind.  You know the kind that actually can knock you over?  Yes that is the kind we have been getting.  One and a half weeks of it straight day after day. 

Then last Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were Beautiful with NO wind (and you better believe we were enjoying every single minute of each of those days).  But now it is Monday and it is howling outside.  So the routine goes, run out and do your chores while squinting so the dirt doesn't blow in your eyes and run back to some sort of shelter.  Well that is the routine for the crew and I... rancher husband, neighbor rancher, Grandpa rancher and uncle rancher just have to grin and bare it.  Maybe I should kindly remind rancher husband what he seems to always remind me when the going gets tough:  "that's just the life of a cowboy"... wonder if he would smile... or throw some small object at me? 

The good news is, for once the kids would rather be in doing their schoolwork then outside playing.

Too bad I can't get a good picture of wind.  Guess I could take one of the dirt blowing down the road, couldn't I.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes!

Gluten/Wheat, Cow dairy, Soy free!  Can you taste them?

Come on and bake some... you know you want to... they will blow you away because they are that good!

I know, I know... another sweets recipe.  Honestly, we do live on more than just cupcakes, cookies and pancakes.  I really can cook.  But cooking (allergen free) seems easier to me then baking.  I find it a lot more challenging to bake good tasting treats.  So I am always looking to improve my recipes and cook/bake something that doesn't actually taste allergen free. 

I cannot believe how far we have come in the cooking and baking department.  I can remember not very many years ago when we first found out about all these food allergies our kids had.  When it came time to make a birthday cake for our little son, I was at a loss.  I was so overwhelmed by it all.  Pick one allergy and it seems fairly simple.  But when you start combining them you hit a lot of dead ends.  A lot of dairy free foods rely on soy and vice versa.  Gluten free is pretty popular, but most gluten free foods are not also soy and dairy free.  And learning all the hidden ingredients.  Well, shall we just say I was so overwhelmed that we did not even have a birthday cake.  We had a watermelon cake (with an actual watermelon with candles stuck in it)... yes, I know... funny right.  Anyhow, I cannot believe how far we have come.  From watermelon to cupcakes that are just as good or maybe better than any I made pre-allergy baking!  Puts a big smile on my face!

Ok, so truthfully I have never been a big chocolate fan, but you know... these are just super delicious!  I am all for moist and with pudding and chocolate chips in them, these couldn't get any more moist!

Ok, so lets get on with it:

1 Pamela's Chocolate Cake Mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 1/2 cups of prepared pudding
1 cup of chocolate chips (we use Enjoy Life brand)

For these we used Jello instant pudding prepared according to package direction using goat milk. 
We used 1 1/4 cups of Butterscotch and 1 1/4 cups of coconut cream flavor

Mix all ingredients together, fill baking cups 3/4 full and bake in 350 degree oven for about 15 minuntes.  Lightly touch the cupcakes in the middle and they should feel very soft but yet firm.  Don't overbake or they will not be moist.

1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup of hershey's cocoa
3 cups of powdered sugar
1/3 cup of milk

well, that is what the recipe on the back of the Hershey cocoa says anyhow.
Honestly I mixed the oil and the cocoa together and then I alternated back and forth with adding the powdered sugar and adding about a cup full of coconut pudding (left over from the cupcake batter) and just kept mixing a little of each in until it was good and thick and I had the amount I needed.  Maybe with just straight milk you would only need 1/3 a cup though.  I thought it turned out well with the pudding.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

the old dirt road of life....

This morning Pistol got to witness the long anticipated arrival of his goats' kids. 
The first one out was a little buck kid.  I watched the excitement spread over Pistol's face as he talked about the little white kid.  I gently reminded him that we would be selling the little kid, as we couldn't keep him.  Pistol has such a tough outer shell.  Not everybody gets to see underneath that shell and discover what a gentle little guy he really is.  As my words stung his ears, he turned away from me and I could see the tears streaming down his face.  I kindly reminded him how we had no use for this little buck kid and couldn't afford to keep him.  The quiet tears turned into loud sobs.

 "Maybe she will have a doe kid next", I offered.  Personally I had no intention of keeping doe or buck kids from this doe this year.  But I didn't have the heart to say that outloud.  " Maybe when Cowboy's doe kids --due date yesterday-- she will have two doe kids and you can have one of those to keep" I gently offered.  My offer fell on deaf ears. 

The doe began pushing another kid out.  I prayed for a doe.  The kid fell on the ground and Pistol asked what it was... I was scared to check, but lifted the leg and then looked up to see the hope on Pistol's face.  "A doe" I proudly reported.  A huge grin returned to Pistol's face as he bent down talking to the little wet kid.  He asked if we would be keeping it and without pause I smiled and heard myself saying," yes we will buddy".  Pistol patted his mama goat and ran to the house to share the good news.


I guess my morning got me to thinking about our life a bit....

Ranching is a wonderful way of life.  But it isn't just all sweet and romantic like, as many believe it is.

 I love raising our kids the way we do.  I love for them to learn hands on and experience things and understand things that some people never get to.  I love for them to see their grandpa and dad and uncle work so hard on the ranch and learn from them and grow knowing that personal pride of "sun up to sun down".  I love for them to see the pride in their own work and for them to set and achieve their own goals. 

But I also know how much they learn when they see that things can go wrong and that they will go wrong.  Ranch kids learn tragedy at a very early age.  They see dissapointment and loss and their hearts feel sadness and grief.  There is no place for sheltering.  Things happen and we must move on, that is what we teach our kids.  Bad things happen to everybody.  Sometimes things happen... unfortunate things.... horrible things... and we must deal with those things to the best of our abilities.  This is all part of life and there is no option of avoiding it.

But you know they also learn how to pick up the pieces and move on.  And that right there is a priceless bit of knowledge.  They know in this business there are no guarentees, no maunual to follow.  Our kids are learning the ropes from the wisdom being passed from their Dad, Uncle and Grandpa, who in turn learned the ropes from their fathers/grandfathers.   With heart and determination, we can move on and maybe even end up at a better point. 

We also try to be optimistic and focus on the positives and not the negatives.   And you know is pretty easy to do, as we have so, so many positives, that it is impossible not to be downright overwhelmed by them! 

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