Sunday, October 9, 2011

A New Way of Living

Where have I been?  Working on solving the food allergy problem, working (the paid kind) and being a taxi service for my family.  Whew.  The good news: I love my family and it is well worth it.  The bad news:  looks like I am allergic to not only gluten, but dairy and eggs as well.  I am going to have to find a whole new way of cooking and eating.  I never cheat on gluten, as I know the consequences.  I was wondering if the occasional egg would hurt.  Answer is yes - had a scary reaction to one in some GF banana bread I made for R's birthday.  Had it again with the GF cupcakes I served for her party, as one of her classmates is allergic to wheat.  The dairy seems to kill my stomach, while the eggs cause full on hives, nausea and dizziness.  So, any of you out there who are gluten, dairy and egg free, send in your suggestions and resources!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'd Rather Deliver Pizza

How's this for a way to make money?

CLOO' is a service designed to help city dwellers make some spare cash by renting out their bathrooms to people who are desperate to find a clean place to pee. Hey, times are tough, and, where there's a need, there's a market.
You can see how the service works in the video at the link above. In their own words:
CLOO' is based on one simple truth- we all have to pee. Though in urban cities finding a clean, available restroom is difficult & frustrating. That's where CLOO' comes in.
CLOO' is a community of registered users who choose to share their bathrooms and make city-living easier, while earning a small profit. Using social media connections, CLOO' shows what friends you have in common with the host, turning a stranger's loo into a friend of a friend's loo.
The next time you're desperate to find a bathroom near you, you can use CLOO' and the power of your social networks to find friends of friends who will let you use their bathroom for a buck or two.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

This Makes Me Smile

Found this on a great blog called CMYBacon
Titled "Impatient".

PURE organic bars

Last week I had a fail with the PURE cherry bar (yummy, but not looking good on the allergy front).  Today I tried their chocolate brownie bar.  WOW!  Love it.  I will die if cocoa turns out to be one of my allergies.  Just sayin'.

Next week is when I officially start adding things back.  (yes, the chocolate was a bit of a cheat, but you do what you've gotta do).  I had a reaction a few days ago that seemed to be linked to limes, which were not a banned food.  Hmmmm.  Avoiding them for the next week then trying again to see if it was a fluke.  I figure I'll add back the easy ones first - not too hard to eat a cherry or a lime.  Then on to the complicated stuff like dairy, soy and corn.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finally, An Energy Bar that Tastes Good!

Well, as you could tell from the previous post, Lara bars were not a huge success.  Today I tried the Pure Organic Cherry Cashew bar.  Yum!  This I can live with.  A little itchy now though - maybe cherries are one of my culprits.  Nooooooooooo!  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lara Bars

Ever heard of Lara Bars?  They are everything-free.  As far as I can tell they all have the same ingredients: dates, nuts, and sometimes some unsweetened fruit.  Then they put a different color wrapper on them and tell you they are different flavors.  That said, the lemon was not bad.  However, the banana bread flavor tastes like burned banana bread.  Not the taste I was going for.

On the plus side of this diet, rice milk, frozen strawberry, kale and agave nectar smoothies are really good - no kidding!  The color is not too appealing, but the strawberry sorbet flavor more than makes up for it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lessons Learned for Tuesday

Decaf coffee is not worth it.

Millet rice cereal contains barley malt (man, does my face itch now!)

Back to Nature Sesame Seed GF Rice Thin Crackers are actually very tasty and have none of the things I can't eat  - hooray!  My old GF cracker standbys contained soy.

Rice milk is fine on cereal, but only if it is cold.

So there you have it.  Learn from it, grasshoppers.

A (Hopefully Temporary) New Way of Life

After a visit to my wonderful doctor (not kidding, I really do love her!) I am now on what is technically called an elimination diet.  I call it the "eat nothing that tastes good" diet.  In an effort to get to the root of some of the health problems I have been having, I have to spend 4 weeks NOT eating the following:
Oranges and orange juice, all dairy and eggs, wheat, corn, barley, spelt, kamut (don't even know what that is), rye, pork, beef/veal, sausage, cold cuts, hot dogs, shellfish, any soy products, peanuts and peanut butter, corn, butter, margarine, shortening, any processed oils, salad dressing, spreads, alcohol, coffee, soft drinks, refined sugar, white/brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, high fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, chocolate, ketchup, relish, chutney, soy sauce, bbq sauce, teriyaki sauce, etc.  Bored yet?

Did you know that baking powder usually contains corn starch?  That the vinegar in ketchup, mayo and mustard is usually made from wheat or corn?  Canned tuna often has soy in it?  I know that now.

I'm not going to kid you, this is hard.  Thankful I like grilled chicken and veggies and rice.  I'll be expanding my (non-yogurt based) smoothie menu and reintroducing myself to my juicer, if only for the sake of variety.  Wish me luck!  At the end of the 4 weeks I reintroduce each type of food, about 1 new one every 3 days, to test for reactions.  I've got a bad feeling about dairy.....

Monday, August 22, 2011

Time Lapse

I didn't realize it had been so long since I had posted.  Lots going on work-wise, which is good, but it doesn't leave much time for blogging.  Oh well.  Making this one brief, just stopping in to say hi.  I'll leave you with a fun picture from our trip to Alaska:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Put Your Dream to the Test - Book Review

Put Your Dream to the Test
10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
By John Maxwell 
Published by Thomas Nelson

New York Times and Business Week best-selling author John C. Maxwell states “It’s one thing to have a dream.  It’s another to do the things needed to achieve it.”  In his book Put Your Dream to the Test, Maxwell outlines the critical thinking necessary not only to achieve your dream, but to ascertain if your dream is something you truly want vs. an abstract idea. 

If you are like me, you often have multiple “dreams” percolating in your thoughts.  What struck me most about this book was that it forced me to look at them and decide if they were just ideas or ideas worth pursuing.  Dreams are much more than to-do lists.  The book provides a list of what you must do to quantify, evaluate the stakes, and accomplish your dream, but makes clear it must be something that an “inspiring picture of the future that energizes your mind, will, and emotions, empowering you to do everything you can to achieve it.”

Have a dream?  Read this book.

FTC required notice: Booksneeze has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

Monday, May 30, 2011

What Do You Know About BPA?

More on the Big Cleanse:  looking at other websites and getting ideas for gaining control of my health.  Found this post on fastcompany about how to reduce BPA, which  is a potentially toxic estrogen-mimicking compound used in plastic production that has been linked to breast cancer, early puberty, infertility, and other maladies. It's dangerous enough that it has been banned in baby bottles in Europe, Canada, and even China--but not in the U.S.  So, how important do you think it is to reduce them in your life?  Is this something I should do for the health of my family, or is it over-reacting?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Desks, Offices and Signs

I am by nature a sarcastic person who often wonders about the collective brain power of the human race.  This website confirms my worries.

So, you ask, how else have I been amusing myself in the vast wasteland that is the internet? Well, let's talk office health and desk decor:

I found this desk yoga video helpful - the stretches actually work.

To hold up the books currently in piles all over my office and desk I need this.

Fun uses for alligator clips are found here.  I can't help it - I love office supplies.  Does that make me totally weird?

I also want a stand up desk. I have major back issues and lately sitting seems to make it worse.  I think the Pottery Barn Bedford Desk would be way cool:


Too bad for me it is ridiculously expensive and I am cheap.

I could go for one of these balance ball chairs, but I am notoriously uncoordinated and would probably roll off and hurt myself.

What is your dream office or desk set-up?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Salsa Discovery

Trader Joe's Double Roasted Salsa - YUM!  Perfect combo of smoky/hot peppers and rich tomatoes.  You could even make a dinner out of Trader Joe's corn tortillas and this salsa, not that I would know that from personal experience or anything....

Friday, May 27, 2011

Swimming Season

Come on in, the water is great!  Except maybe for the 420 whale sharks.....


Found at

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wish I Was This Creative...


Found at 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

For Erin, Part 2

There is just no pleasing some people.  The complaint:  the juice recipe was too healthy.  The fix:

Oreo and Ice Cream Pie

  • 24 Oreo cookies (plus extra for eating while you make the pie)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • ice cream (lots)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place Oreos in a large plastic zip top bag and smash the heck out of them.  A flat mallet or rolling pin works great.  You could probably also use a food processor or let your kids smash them to burn extra energy. The filling should resemble moist crumbs (if you do this by hand there will be a few larger pieces in the mix, this is fine).
  3. Empty crumbs into a mixing bowl and stir in melted butter until well combined.
  4. Pat wet crumbs all over and up sides of pie dish, making an even surface.
  5. Bake crust for 8-10 minutes or until hardened.  Cool before filling.
Buy large quantities of your favorite ice cream (my personal favorite for this pie is coffee ice cream), soften it, spoon it into the crust, then freeze the pie.  Make sure to eat a bowl of the left over ice cream while waiting for the pie to set, otherwise you will feel weak from hunger.  If you are making this in the evening, drink a glass of wine (or beer if you are Erin) while you wait.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Coolest Furniture EVER

Just wanted to share some really cool furniture that I found from my search of the blogosphere and from recommendations from friends.  While none of this will work in my house, when I get my dream studio/office maybe I'll have a shot at it (I'll probably need that independent wealth thing going on too though).

From artist Andrea Zittel come the following:

From MisoSoupDesign comes:

For Erin

There have been some complaints (Hi Erin!!) about the (in)frequency of my blog updates.  First, flattered that anyone even noticed.  Second, glad for the kickstart, as I need to get going again.  Amazing how life gets in the way.

So, simply because this is on my mind because I just made it and it isn't bad at all, here is an addition to the recipe portion of my ongoing big cleanse.  This is specifically dedicated to those of us with digestive issues (Hi Erin!) and food allergies.

Veggie Detox Juice:
You will need a juicer to make this, but you wanted an excuse to get one anyway didn't you?  I have a Breville Compact Juice Fountain that cost around $99 on amazon.  Works great.

2 firm Bosc pears, cored and cut into wedges (fine to leave skin on)
1/2 inch piece peeled fresh ginger
5 medium carrots, scrubbed (I cut the ends off too, but some people don't bother)
2 celery stalks, trimmed, cut into 3 inch pieces
1 beet, trimmed and scrubbed and sliced into wedges
1 handful fresh parsley, stems and leaves
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (I use bottled whole foods lemon juice)

Push pears and ginger through juice machine.  Then in batches add carrots, celery, beet and parsley.  Stir in lemon juice.  Makes two glasses.  Tastes better over ice or chilled.

There now, don't you feel healthier already?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

God Loves Me More Than That - Book Review

This book by Dandi Daley Mackall is a sweet reminder to children about how much God loves them.  It uses understandable analogies accompanied by illustrations that bring home the point.

"Just how deep is God's love for me?  Deeper than a treasure chest beneath the sea."

This would be a good book for any church library or for parents interested in conveying the breadth and depth of God's love to their children.

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this unbiased review" 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Portable Spice Kit

Saw this tip on  Use one of the pill-a-day weekly holders and store spices in them to take on vacation.  That way you don't leave your good bottles of spice in the vacation home, or end up using their 20 year old spices you find tucked away in the cabinets of the house.  Not a bad idea.  A little quirky, but I like that in a household tip.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More IPad Dreams

Read on twitter (my new media toy) that Apple will introduce the IPad 2 on March 2.  Of course, if I am going to do the dream right, I have to accessorize properly.  Thinking this case/keyboard combo should do it.  Then again, I just saw this new product on, so maybe I will have to multi-accessorize (is that a new word?).  I think I have an IPad problem....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Art I Need

Just discovered artist Megan Weston via this post on DesignSponge and am in love.  Don't know what her pricing is, but I would totally put her work on my walls.  Maybe I need a field trip to Australia!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

True Confessions

I loathe Oprah and Martha Stewart.  There, I said it.  I just don't get the lovefest around them.  Maybe it is the cynic in me, but I think they are fakes who are brilliant marketers (not that there's anything wrong with that....).

Anyone else out there feel like that, or is it just me?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

IPad dreams

One of my recent musings has been how to justify an IPad.  It looks like so much fun!  The games, the books, the apps...forget work.  I am restraining myself until the next generation comes out, as rumor has it that it will have a camera and maybe a USB port.  It looks like April may be the release date.  Until then, I will have to be content with window shopping for the Ipad and accessories.  Once I have unlimited funds and/or a fairy godmother, this is my shopping list:

This cool stand for the IPad - perfect for using in the kitchen when cooking recipes from the internet

case for the IPad

Shop on, friends!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Assorted Musings

Just some random thoughts for today:

I decided to join twitter today, mainly to make sure I reserved my business name.  I already have two followers, neither of whom I know, and before I posted my first tweet.  Who are these people and why on earth are they following me when they know NOTHING about me?

Just made this smoothie and it passed the taste test from both resident picky eaters, even the seven year old. She is the one who would live off cheese sticks, cheerios and strawberries if allowed.  It is light and refreshing, not heavy on the peach taste.  I am guessing you could up the amount of peaches if you wanted more.

Discovered Kickstarter, a funding incubator for all sorts of things.  So cool.  I "invested" $25 towards a cool stylus.  If the product doesn't make it into production, you don't pay.

It is a beautiful day here - I am working on my porch, watching kids and dogs play in the yard.  It doesn't get much better than this!  Well, maybe if I dumped the work part!


Working the Cleanse:

Still lovin' my smoothies. This creation, which received two thumbs up from the local 11 year old, was blueberry/pear.

1 cup fresh blueberries
2 sliced pears (left the skin on since I now have a vita-mix - yay me!)
1 cup vanilla yogurt
agave nectar to taste

Blend away and drink up!

Another favorite:

Pear/Kale Smoothie

3 pears, peeled and sliced
4 leaves of kale, de-stemmed
4 oz. yoplus vanilla yogurt (gluten free + extra fiber - what more could I ask?)
However much orange juice was left in the container (maybe a cup?)

Blend until a beautiful pear green color that you would want to paint your kitchen walls with, then enjoy!

I created these smoothies myself, so if you want to post them, please do so with a link back to my blog.  Thanks!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Phone Sheep

This just makes me smile - I love art with a sense of humor.

My little one wants to make bottle cap magnets.  I guess that is recycling on a smaller scale than the sheep!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cleansing and God things

Well, someone asked me the other day how the cleanse was going and I realized I had not consciously thought about it in a week or so.  The answer is "pretty well".  I am doing better at not saying yes to things I really don't want or need to do.  I gave up wine, which I thought would be harder.  I really haven't missed it at all.  I decided my body needs a cleanse along with my life, and wine was the low hanging fruit.  Now comes the hard part: conscious eating.  I have been praying about this cleanse because I know I can't do it by myself.  Amazingly, I have seen God in the details.  Just little things, but that's all I need.  I am now seeing that in addition to being gluten free, which I have been for 2+ years, I need to work towards controlling the sugar in my diet.  I have given up artificial sweeteners for several reasons, and definitely feel better, but now I need to reduce the real stuff too.  And that means actively planning what I eat.  I am reading other blogs for ideas, trying to figure out how to fit diet and exercise into my life when I am already exhausted most of the time.  Of course, the diet and exercise might fix the exhaustion!  I'll let you know.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Saw the latest Narnia movie with the family on Saturday and really liked it.  It is not 100% faithful to the book, but it is just as good.  Some parts were a little scary for my 7 year old, but she claims to have loved it anyway - "Mom, I read the book with Daddy, so how can I be scared of the movie?"  So, if you are a Narnia fan, I recommend it!  

Friday, January 21, 2011

Winter Joy

Nothing much to say, just wanted to share some photos that make me happy.  These are from our snow days in Jan. 2011.


(Woo Hoo, whatever this stuff is, it's great!)

(Hmmm, what is this stuff on my nose?)

Repost of Discoveries and Blogs

My apologies if you have read this before - in Cleansing my blog, I was horrified at how many of the posts were just plain old book reviews. How boring. But there were a couple posts I am proud of for the info they contain, so I am going to repost the information to bring it to the front of the new and improved Books, Blogs and Assorted Musings:

Today's Discovery: TAZO white cranberry (white tea with white cranberry juice), found in the refrigerated section of Whole Foods. Can I just say YUM?! I am usually only a hot tea drinker (which almost got me expelled from the Southern Chicks' Association - they believe sweet tea is the only appropriate non-alcoholic drink) but this ROCKS!

Today's Blog/Site: Check out - started by Duke grads, so you know it's good! For example, did you know the following about Sesame Street:

Oscar the Grouch used to be orange! Jim Henson decided to make him green before the second season of Sesame Street. How did Oscar explain the color change? He said he'd gone on vacation to the very damp Swamp Mushy Muddy and he turned green overnight.

I get the magazine and the emails, both of which are incredible sources of information that will amaze and confound your friends as they wonder where you get the time to learn such trivia. Your secret is safe with me!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Carrot Soup

Well, I said I was going to do the Big Cleanse, and as much as I hate to admit it, that had better include what I eat.  Since I don't want to send my body into shock (hah!) I am starting with trying to use more whole foods in my diet.  That translates into cooking more and buying less processed food.  The other night the hubby thanked me for cooking this carrot soup and I realized I had enjoyed making it.  It's those nights when four people need to eat at four different times, there's nothing in the fridge, and no inspiration in the brain, that kill me.  When I have time and can do it mindfully, I love cooking.  So this can count as part of Step Four.  Still not ready to give up the caffeine though!

Anne's Carrot Soup

Combine 10 peeled and sliced carrots, 1 peeled and sliced potato, and 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until veggies are soft.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon of butter or oil in a small saucepan.  Add one medium chopped onion and 11/2 teaspoons salt and saute for 5 minutes.  Add in 2 cloves chopped garlic, and dried herbs to taste (I use oregano, thyme and basil, between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon each, heavier on the basil because I love the flavor). Saute 5 more minutes.

Once carrot mixture is soft, add onion mixture to it, and then use a handheld blender (Best. Kitchen. Tool. Ever.) and puree the whole thing.  Simmer, covered, until ready to eat.  Be careful when you take the top off as it will "bloop" at you like spaghetti sauce does.

If you need to make ahead, it reheats nicely.  

PS: I will start trying to add pictures to the posts soon.  Got to learn my new camera...  Step Three!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Big Cleanse

You may have noticed a long run of book reviews.  Well, it's about to stop.  Why?  The Big Cleanse.

I have been reading other blogs about being true to yourself and treating yourself well.  I have failed at both recently.  I got so caught up in who I thought I might want to be that I forgot who I am.  In my rush to become a "blogger" I signed up for all sorts of review programs, researched ways to make money on my blog and obsessed over it without accomplishing much.  After I finished my last batch of reviews I realized I wasn't having fun.  Yuck.  Plus the blog was getting mighty boring - I wouldn't want to read it either.


Baby Steps.

The Big Cleanse:

Step One: Finish all outstanding book reviews I have been assigned and from now on only review things that I read or did because I wanted to.  I'll still accept requests, as I've found some awesome books that way, but only if the book really interests me in the first place.  STATUS:  DONE!

Step Two: Stop collecting (that's the nice word for hoarding).  I have more junk that I have kept just in case I might need it one day (fabric sample books, anyone?  anyone?).  It's making the house feel heavy, so out go many things that I can't think of a need for in the next month or two.  If nothing else, it will make me use them if I feel that strongly about getting rid of them.  STATUS: in progress, but going well.  The thrift shop and trash can are my friends.

Step Three: Start concentrating on things that are important and/or fun for me.  That includes family, church, Triune Mercy Center, friends, exciting new business ideas and opportunities (more on that in another post), and living in general!  STATUS:  in progress and taking off - already have several fun friend/family trips planned, books I want to read just for the heck of it (BTW Carl Hiaasen's Skin Tight is great brain cheetos), fun creative group with some great gals and some cool business things going on.

Step Four:  Treat the body better - yeah, I have to get off my lazy rear and exercise and eat better.  STATUS: working up the energy.

More later!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Unto the Hills - Book Review

Thomas Nelson, Inc. has brought this book back into print 25 years after it was first published.  It is one of Billy Graham’s devotional books with 365 days worth of meditations, bible verses and prayers to guide and comfort the reader.  This book is a wonderful way to spend quiet time with God.  I found all 3 aspects of it, the scripture, Dr. Graham’s observations and the suggested prayers to be reassuring and calming.  They also provide a starting point for further contemplation of issues facing us today.  I recommend this book for anyone seeking additional ways to learn and worship.

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

If God Is Good - Book Review

If God Is Good
Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil
By Randy Alcorn

This book is Randy Alcorn’s argument that evil and suffering serve a purpose in this world, one that we will one day understand. I confess that I began reading with the idea that I probably wouldn’t like it, as I disagree with many of Alcorn’s stances on Christianity.  However, I found the book to be well-written and, at least for me, true.  As a believer in God, I accept that He is all-powerful, but for reasons I may not understand, chooses not to eliminate evil and suffering from this world.  For those wrestling with the why and how of this, the book provides excellent and thought-provoking arguments for the reasons.  I would recommend this for anyone struggling with these questions, whether or not you agree with Alcorn’s personal politics.

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review"