Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pine Wood Derby, 2014 Style!

Monday night was Jack's Cub Scout Packs annual Pine Wood Derby race!  We had so much fun last year and Eric and Jack started planning this years car a good six months before the race!  This year, the pack added a siblings race, so guess who else entered?!  Molly and a Will!  Three cars for Eric, I mean, the kids, to build!  He's a handy fellow, so he had fun and the kids liked helping too...for most of it!

We had to weigh in the cars Saturday and then the cars were under tight security until Monday nights race!  Everyone passed and the countdown to Monday night was on!

Here are the cars during voting!  Most Cub Scout Spirit, Best Do-it-yourself, and  Best Car were the categories!
From top, Will, Molly and Jacks on the bottom!  No prizes won but I think those are some nice cars!

Front row seat, ready to watch the races!  That's her official pass stating her car, race car number, and name!

Nothing gets better than all your buddies, Sprite, and a super fun night!!

Watching the races, Will loved every second of the night!  Especially besting both of his older siblings in the races!  And his buddy Hunter, on the left, is in Kindergarten but talks and plays with Will, so Will thinks he's the coolest...ever!

What a cute, official helper in the red shirt!  He helps with all the race and transports the track in his truck!  This must have been a great race, since I'm the only one not watching!

We all had such a fun night and we're happy for all of the winners, even though none of us won a prize!  We had some tears and major disappointment, but in so proud of my kids for trying, being great sport and good non winners!  Jack did so much better this year too, which only means next year will be even better! And yes, the car plans for next year are in the works!

How I Succuessfully Gave Up Coffee

Hello, my name is Liz and I had a coffee addiction.  As in, go to bed at night and look forward to the first cup in the morning, drink almost a pot a day, all day, coffee drinker.  I would drink a few cups in the morning, then start up again after lunch when my energy levels started to dip down.  And creamer, I was so addicted to coffee creamer...yum, the delicious flavors that just added to the cup of coffee.  In Texas, I always used HEB vanilla low-fat creamer and went through a huge bottle almost every week.  Then, we moved to Kansas, where, as we know very well, there are no HEB anywhere in the state of Kansas.  So, I tested out several creamers and really liked the coffee mate all natural vanilla, and it was all natural, so it was so healthy.  Right?  Then, I went on a huge caramel kick and started buying the Bailey's caramel coffee creamer it's non-alcoholic, darn and went through two small bottles a week.  So, moral of the story, I drank way too much coffee and creamer everyday!

Then, enter the ole Celiac Disease, and I start rethinking every aspect of my diet and weight gain, or lack of losing any weight in three years.  An easy fix to cut tons of calories was my coffee addiction.  I reasoned with all the health benefits of coffee, because there really are some and the reason I justified that my almost pot a day was ok!

*Antioxidants, right there, fighting the immune system and digestive system!

*Stress decreases, unless you run out of creamer and then you stress out!
*Lessen symptoms of Parkinson's!  I would drink a cup to that!
*Great for the liver, cleans it out, especially if alcohol is consumed!  Obviously, I drink wine, need my liver cleaned out!
*Makes you happier!  Like I said, I looked forward to the next day knowing I had coffee coming.
*Lowers risk for Type 2 Diabetes!  Sign me up!  Hope that includes the coffee creamer lowers the risk!

Facts thanks to Mayo Clinic and Huffinton Post, so use with a grain of salt and realize that I'm not an expert, doctor, or professional!

Health benefits aside, I knew that plain old coffee was good for me, but not the coffee creamer and I tried plain, black coffee, making my own with almond and coconut milk, and no thanks! So, the Monday after the New Year's, because all new life style changes must happen on a Monday, I went cold turkey!  I drank hot water with lemons, out of my standard coffee mug, pretty much all day, and felt great!  No headaches, no longing for that one cup or taste.  By about Thursday of that week though, I was running on empty and caved into the Starbuck's drive-thru so conveniently located down the street from my house!  I used soy milk instead of the standard milk, since I'm limiting my dairy, and it was wonderful, delicious, well worth the almost $5 I paid.  But, it wasn't worth it by the end of the day.  I had a horrible headache and stomach pain, which I linked to that delicious coffee.  I was done, for good!  Never again!!

Until I fell off the wagon a week later!  What?!  I hardly slept the night before, Molly had strep, we went to the doctor in the morning, before I could eat breakfast, and by the time we saw the doctor, I got her medications, and attended a birthday party with Will, I NEEDED that coffee!!  I went to Starbuck's again!  I know!  It's so expensive but I can't have creamer in my house or I'll drink it!!  Again, headache and stomach ache, DONE!

But, I needed a bit of a pick me up, and I didn't want pop something else I'm cutting, except on special occasions...like the Pine Wood Derby when you need a coke because they didn't serve wine!  A friend of mine suggested tea and I don't normally like tea, or so I thought!  She suggested Yerba Mate and they have an orange flavor with energy, all natural, so delicious!  I bought some and LOVE it!  I look forward to my tea now, odd for me to type that!  I still drink my hot water and lemons in the morning, and after lunch have my tea with lemons!  I need to plant a lemon tree with the amount of lemons I consume throughout the week!

Dear Coffee and Creamer,

Hi old friend!  You have been such a great support to me over the years, helping me through the days of three young kids at home, surviving days where I had little sleep, my strength on those rough days!  You have also been with me on good days too!  Christmas, birthdays, everyday really was special, because I knew I would be spending time with you!  But, I have to end our friendship.  I will always hold a special place in my heart for you, but it's time for us both to move on.    I had my last cup ten days ago and I feel better then I have in a long time!  I have more energy!  I sleep better!  No more coffee breath!  No more stressing out and running to the store for creamer!  And, no more coffee from Starbucks!  It's been a fun journey, and no hard feelings, I promise!  Maybe I'll come back someday, but I don't see any reason to, it's time for us to say goodbye!  Thanks coffee and creamer!

Your Friend, 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My First Five for Five in 2014!!

Happy Friday!  These last few weeks have made me feel like I need a vacation ASAP!  Complete with an umbrella in a yummy frozen drink and my feet in the sand!  Unfortunately, that's not in the cards right now!   But here's some five things that are!!

See that cute girl in the bright green leggings and cowgirl boots on the right?!!  I just adore her!!  She had strep last week and she is just the cutest, most precious sick girl one could ask for!  Here she is with her Daisy troop after a field trip to the bank and cupcakes to celebrate learning about money!

I found a new hobby, and fingers crossed, I think I'll actually continue on with it!  My friend introduced me to chalk paint by Annie Sloan, have you heard of it?!  I've been living under a rock until we went shopping at a cute boutique by our house and saw the wonder and beauty of Ms. Sloan!  I'm in love!

Here are the two end tables I painted on MLK Jr. Day, the kids were doing such a wonderful job playing together, I decided to tackle my first project!

The before!  We bought these tables when we moved into our first house, they have survived a dog, three kids, three moves, and I had mentioned to Eric I was thinking about selling them, but my sweet friend suggested painting them instead! 

Tada!  The end product!  I used French Linen with clear wax, it looks on the blue side here, but I promise you it's gray!  I love it!!  Next project!!  I'm so excited to start, wait until you see it!!
Does your kitchen table look like this..everyday?!  This is our dumping ground after school of just about everything, but the past few days this is our Pine Wood Derby table!  Jack's Cub Scout pack has their race next week and all three kids sign up, yes, there is a siblings race!  Eric's been working hard, but this is his element and he loves it!  I'm excited for the races and to see the final cars!

Will made this cute little bird feeder the other day at preschool and it's just the cutest bird feeder ever!  His description, "here's my bird feeder...it's for the birds!"  Does that just not melt your heart?!  And the William, it's just so cute!  I sometimes forget he's actually a William, it's so grown up!  

And just because I want to...can we please go back there?!  Or to somewhere with a beach?!  Or that isn't zero when you wake up like yesterday morning?!  I miss summer! 

Venice, California October 2013
Linking up today with these great ladies!  Have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Delicious Gluten-Free Egg Casserole! Yum!

Our family LOVES breakfast, and one of our family traditions is making a delicious breakfast Christmas morning!  We love our breakfasts around here and this is one tradition we don't mess around with...until someone gets diagnosed with Celiac disease and struggles to find decent food to eat on a normal day!  I searched for days finding a recipe that I can eat and all of us can enjoy!

Enter, our winner!

Yes, it tasted as delicious as it looks!  The bonus, not only does it taste great, but was super easy to make!

I found the recipe here for inspiration and then whipped up my own version!  

4 slices of Udi’s Gluten Free White bread cubed. 
1/4 lb. of bacon slices diced (use ham or sausage too or instead)
8 eggs, beaten to blend
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Red pepper, diced up (or any veggies)
1/2 cup, roughly of milk, whisked in with eggs
1.  Lightly grease 9x13 pan
2.  Arrange gluten free bread that is cubed on the bottom
3.  Top bread with veggies and meat
4.  Whisk together the eggs and milk, pour over all
5.  Top with cheese!
6.  Cover with foil to bake immediately or refrigerate overnight!  I made ours on Christmas Eve and baked our eggs in the morning after all of the presents were opened!  A delicious breakfast for all occasions!
7.  Bake at 350 degrees and until eggs are set. Approximately 35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Serve hot. Top with Salt & Pepper to taste.

Any gluten free breakfasts you enjoy?!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ice Skating Adventures!

One night on our Christmas break, we went ice skating at Crown Center!  One of Eric's coworkers rents the rink out and invites their families, friends and coworkers!  Jack and Eric went last year but we all went this year and had a great time!  
Waiting on Daddy to get his ice skates on!  His laces were about as long as he is tall, for real, took him forever to get the laces under control!

We decided that I wouldn't skate but walk on the ice while Eric skated.  This worked out really well because Will had zero control of his legs on the ice and I walked with him while he held onto the wall.  Eric took turns going around the ice with all three kids, but for several reasons, someone was always with me either walking and hanging to the wall, eating, or calming down from a fall!  Next year I'll get ice skates!  

Jack did great for this being only his second time ever on ice skates!  He had a few falls, but got up and kept on skating like nothing happened!  Jack was on the ice for almost a full hour before he realized there were cookies and hot chocolate!

My buddy on the sidelines!  He like running in his skates on the rubber mats rather than skate on the ice!

Watching the skaters!  Love my silly guy!

Molly and Eric, he is such a sweet daddy!  She is our competitive perfectionist and she struggled with ice skating.  She kept slipping and was watching everyone else that wasn't falling, but with Eric and the walls help, she did great!  Proud of my Molly for not giving up!

The best part of the evening was watching the zamboni!  They were in awe of this machine!

Up close, Will jumped away at the last second and said, "that almost got me!"

What a fun night that our family still talks about!  One Kansas City tradition I'm excited to continue!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Most Wonderful Christmas!

Our Christmas was one of the best ones we've had!  We saw so many family members, relaxed, ate delicious food, and enjoyed all of our friends and family!  Here's a recap and if you follow me in Instagram, sorry for a few repeats!  And I we had our first holiday gathering with my family on the Saturday before Christmas, but we took zero pictures!  We had so much fun too!  Darn!  Next time!

Eric's brother visited his girlfriends family in St. Louis and rode the train home Christmas Eve!  We picked him up at the train station, but only after lunch with my cousin and aunt at Buffalo Wild Wings!  Not the best place for someone with Celiac but the cake was to die for...look at those kids inhaling it!

After we dropped Todd off at his apartment, we came home to write letters to Santa and...

Make him cookies!  I couldn't believe I was out of cookies on the most important night of the year for cookies!

One of our Christmas Eve traditions is Fondue!  Yum!  Here is Mogo, Eric's grandma, Todd, his brother, Molly, Papa, Eric's dad, and Will in the green shirt!

Digging into the chocolate!  Here's one happy guy!

Opening the first presents and, drum roll, they got....

Pajamas!  It was near impossible finding Christmas ones for Jack, so he got sports ones and loved then!  
The next morning, we were up early, so ready to see what Santa brought us!
Here's the aftermath and the only picture I took!  Eric and Jack are looking at one of Jack's presents while Molly and Will were playing with there own presents!  A very successful year for ole Santa!

That night, after lunch at Eric's parents house and dinner at our house, we had a family sleepover in our basement!  We were all cozy and snug together, watched The Grinch, and slept great!  A fun tradition I'm excited to continue!

The next night, we hosted my family for Christmas and I made this delicious pot roast!  My house smelled heavenly all day!  I forgot to add on here, but my family played a really fun and intense game of Apples to Apples Junior, for real, a great time!
Finally, our last celebration was on the Saturday after Christmas at Mogo's house!  She hosted an ugly sweater party!  Lots of cousins were there, pizza or soup and salad here, and Eric shared 1st prize with his sister on ugliest sweater.  Technically, he had a t-shirt that looked like an ugly sweater, so there was some controversy.  
Here's all the second cousins present that night...Mogo has 5 children, 12 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren, the 13th due any day now!  Molly is the ONLY great-granddaughter, until number 13 is born!
From left, Jack, holding Cole, Henry, Will, Molly, and Kaden!

Overall, a wonderful holiday season for us!  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy 2014!

Welcome 2014!  While we counted down to the New Year, I excited was ready to say good-bye to 2013!  It was a very hard year for me on a personal, physical, and mental level!  For our family, it was a wonderful year with many great memories, trips, and family time...but I really struggled with myself last year.  But, 2014 is a fresh start to a new year, new me!  I'm excited to...

*Get my health back!  I have Celiac Disease and Hashimoto's, a form of hypothyroidism get ready to be schooled soon on what both of these mean, do, and why they're changing my life for the better, but that is NOT going to define me or slow me down!  Yes, I can't eat a lot of foods that I used to love, but now I'm finding new foods that I will love!  I will only focus on what I CAN eat, not what I can't eat!  I want to be healthy not just for me but for my husband and children, I plan on sticking around a long time and the only way to do that is kick these diseases in the BUTT!  

*Better eating and exercise habits! No, I'm not going on a diet, but I have to change my eating habits.  Cutting gluten is a no brainer but I've discovered that cutting dairy is really helping me too!  I'm not sure how long I'll be without dairy but this might be a lifestyle change that will last forever.  Gluten wasn't hard, dairy is very hard!  I love my coffee creamer, ice cream, yogurt, milk and gluten-free cereal, and CHEESE!  I love the cheese!  Goat, feta, sharp, extra sharp, mozzarella, you name it, I love it!  Like I said though, this may be temporary or full time, we'll see what my body decides!  These lifestyle changes are leading me to lots of new recipes, foods, and drinks, I'm loving the adventure!  I also HAVE to get on the workout wagon again!  I love walking and enjoyed starting my days with a great walk outside, listening to music, watching the sunrise, and reflecting on God's gifts, but with the high today being 1, I'm not going anywhere near the outside!  I'm looking for Groupon's, workout videos or sites to do SOMETHING!  Joining a gym isn't in the cards right now but I have to get my big butt moving!

*Blog time!  I hope to increase my recipes on here and share the journey of going gluten and maybe dairy free!  I'm trying the Paleo diet soon and would love to document this new chapter in my life!  I also love looking back on old posts about the kids, so I plan on keeping up to date on them too!  I really fell off the blogging wagon last year!  Now, we have a new computer and I have zero excuses to NOT blog except for family, kids, and life might get in the way occasionally!

*Organization!  This is a must for myself and my family!  I have tons of paper clutter in a cabinet in our kitchen, our pictures are a mess, we have an empty "guest room" full of stuff...out!  Get it all out!  Not only clutter, but my time management has to get better, so I can be organized and get what I need to get done in a timely manner!

*Decoration and DIY!  I have stared at my plain, empty walls for almost a year and a half and I'm sick and tired of compiling about how empty our house looks!  I have pinned so many gallery walls, crafts for decorating, and refinishing furniture!  This is the year folks!  I have two rooms on my list to paint, Jack wants to move into our guest room, so there's a fun project on a budget!, and I've been searching for bookshelves or banquets tables for our family room and front entry!  I'm on it and ready to share!  I also plan on recovering our dining room chairs, that's been on my list of DIY for a few years!

*Focus on my family!  I admit, I don't always but my family first and for dumb, not good reasons!  I pick unloading the dishwasher or folding clothes over playing with my kids, I get on Facebook or Pinterest and ignore them, I read a book at night instead of spending time with Eric.  Not good and not how I feel!  My husband and children are my life and I love them more then anything!  I have to show them, be there, be present, be patient, be kind....I'm not always those things, which isn't fair to them!  

*Be more positive!  I'm normally a very happy, look at the brightside type of person...not lately though!  The past, oh, year, like I said was very hard on me but my attitude towards it could have been a tad better!  OK, A LOT better!  I had the poor me, victim, everyone else, FOMO fear of missing out, thanks Urban Dictionary, mentality and that's not a good one to have!  Trust me!  I'm going to focus on what I can do, can eat, count my blessings, Thank GOD for my blessings, pray more, worry less, trust God this is a tough one for me, and talk to God more!  Mainly, I need to but God in control, enjoy the ride, not worry and if I do, talk to Him!  Sounds easy!

I know there is more but I have a messy house, kids running everywhere, and a husband due home from work soon!  Here's to a new year, a new Liz!  

One of my favorite photos of the year!  I love these three!

Love him!  My favorite of us on my favorite trip!

Happy New Year!