Thankfulness Thursday

Halloween flew by and I can’t believe it is already almost Thanksgiving and then Christmas! I was a little late getting up and taking down our Halloween decor and I am already excited about Christmas decor ideas. When I say “decor” I mean dragging out my more than needed craft boxes and talking my boys into making something crafty with me. Being the only girl in the house doesn’t get me a lot of craft time.

That being said I am not a fan of forgetting Thanksgiving and the boys and I will be working on our Thanksgiving banners this week to go along with our fall pumpkins and gourds around the house. I have started on a garland of fall leaves and plan to make a banner of notes we can each make with something we are thankful for. We have so many things to be grateful for and I want to take time with our boys to remember the big things and the little everyday things too.

Right now our house smells festive and amazing because of our dehydrated cinnamon apple chip fundraiser – I need to post about it soon, the project is going amazing!

What do you do at your house to remember the good stuff and show thankfulness?

Read More

Gluten Free Pizza

I love pizza, don’t you?

Pizza is part of the typical American diet and something I did not want to give up once we went gluten free and started cleaning up our diet. There are a few good ready made pizza’s out there, but if you are a gluten free family of four going to Domino’s for gluten free pizza is almost as expensive as steak since The Bear can eat a whole pizza himself. Domino’s pizzas are a treat we indulge in when they have their 50% off deals though, they are really tasty! The Mellow Mushroom has pretty good gluten free pizza too. On my list of need to try is Little Aussie Bakery and BJ’s Brewhouse.

At home we have been experimenting with different crusts and I thought I would share the one we tried last week. Mama’s Pizza Crust Mix from Gluten Free Mama was a hit at our house. We bought ours through Azure Standard which does monthly drops around town (check them out here). The taste is good, but what I really like about it is the texture. The crust is soft and is similar to “real” pizza crust once it is cooked. The dough is really sticky when you first make it and at first I wasn’t sure if it would turn out.

Gluten Free Pizza 2

The Muskrat is an expert crust maker so he put together the crusts and after it set and baked for 12 minutes I added my homemade pasta sauce, cheese and toppings, baked it for another 14 minutes and it was done. I need to remember to take photos of the process next time but here is the big boys pizza – it has organic hamburger meat added to the homemade sauce, cheese and pepperoni (I forgot to buy olives at the store, sorry Handsome!). The Bear and I eat plain cheese.

Gluten Free Pizza 1

I also cut it before I took a photo so I don’t think I will win any food photography awards anytime soon. Something I have begun doing is making my own sauce for spaghetti, I make a huge batch and then freeze 2 or 3 pint mason jars of the sauce for pizza the next week. Fast and healthy because my sauce is filled with yellow squash, zucchini, organic spices, etc.

Have you tried any gluten free pizza crusts? If so which ones did you like or dislike?

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own, all ingredients were purchased by me. No one from any company mentioned above knows who I am!

Read More

Thoughts on Being Gluten Free

When I became gluten free, it was a long and bumpy process. It isn’t hard especially now to find gluten free food for the most part. My struggles were centered about being diagnosed later in life and giving up foods that were comfortable and familiar. As I became more consistent being gluten free my reactions when “cheating” became more severe. After having my youngest son (The Bear) who is also gluten intolerant, I became very strict because I was nursing and he would get sores that would bleed when he was exposed. Talk about a way to stay on track!

I  think of gluten free people in the following two groups:

1. Diagnosed early in life
2. Diagnosed in late teens/adult

*There is also a difference between people who have been gluten free for two years vs. twenty years when it comes to taste in food. It is much harder to please taste/texture of some one who has had gluten more recently but we will save that for another day.

I think that both categories have challenges. I am in the second category, raising a child in the first. One of my main challenges is traditions attached with food. Figuring out how to make my favorite meals gluten free and learning to deal with replacement foods not tasting as good as the originals (oh bagels how I miss you) is more of a struggle than I would have imagined.

While The Bear doesn’t have anything to compare gluten free food to, he has to navigate events such as birthday parties where he can’t eat what everyone else has and he is not old enough to fully understand why. I am very blessed that he is sweet about it when I say it is not gluten free.

Both groups deal with people’s lack of knowledge about being gluten free and also the indifference some people have because gluten free eating is very trendy right now. We have run in to multiple situations when people think it is a choice rather than a serious health issue including my brother being “glutened” a few weeks ago at a local restaurant.

If you sit and think about the things you normally do – grab donuts, go for ice cream cones, eat cookies your great grandma made, those are all things that involve gluten. It is not just the actual food itself but the memories made while doing those things. Memories my husband I have from growing up that we want to pass on to our children. We have chosen to create new traditions for The Muskrat and The Bear centered around things we can have. It is not a bad thing, just different.

Read More

I think I have a produce problem…..

I have been teaching a few classes lately, “Going Gluten Free” and “Clean Eating 101”. It is a good excuse for me to indulge in one of my favorite pastimes, buying ridiculous amounts of produce. Topic research, right? I don’t mean filing up my cart at the grocery store – I mean going down to River City Produce and buying 100lbs of fruits and vegetables.

Yes, you heard right and no I did not magically have 20 more children to eat it all. On my last visit an employee suggested I start my own coop which I might eventually have to do. Awesome and amazing hubs eyes about popped out of his head this last time when he peeked into the back of my Tahoe but he didn’t say a word. He was overheard telling someone later that most women like to shop and spend money on things, I just happened to like produce over jewelry. Isn’t he patient? Plus he got me bling for Valentine’s Day.

Back to the produce, I share with my parents and sister and the rest I cook, freeze and now dehydrate! Using the Excalibur dehydrator Rob and my parent’s got me for Christmas I am trying new things and this week it was celery. I forgot to take a before photo of the celery on the tray but they were full with the pieces partially touching each other and cut in 1/4 in strips. Here is the after photo.

dehydrated celery

My dehydrator can hold a lot, it has 9 trays and I was able to cut up 4 bags of celery which dehydrated down to four mason jars worth in one load.


Four bags down, 24 to go! I may have over done it with the organic celery this time. Hopefully I can make plenty of soups and casseroles to use it up.

I might start a series because I have organic squash, organic zucchini, bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe and apples next. Do you buy fruits or veggies in large quantities?

Read More

Valentine’s Day & Reason 11,438 My Hubs Is Awesome

I have always struggled with Valentine’s Day for many reasons, but that is not the reason for my post. My husband is wonderful and understands me so this year he got me my favorite flowers (Gerber Daisies) and a diamond…..for my nose. He pretty much always knows just the right thing to do. They boys both received some of their favorite snacks from Whole Foods so he did good all around.


He gets me, supports me and thinks my quirks are cute. Love him!





Read More

Fashionable Friday – Langford Market

A few weeks back I was able to slip away kid free for a Girls Night Out shopping at Langford Market. It was fun getting to hang out with some of my fabulous blogging friends, I am blessed to have met many neat women through social media. Langford Market is downtown at River Center Mall and has a cool vibe. They have packed a lot of fashion in a small space without it being cluttered.

photo 3[1]



Food from Bird Bakery, yum!

Here are some photos from the evening at Langford Market, including an amazing rusted box springs turned into a chandelier I wanted to take home. Something old and rusted being used for a completely different purpose + twinkle lights = a Jen must have. I am brainstorming ways I can make a smaller version for somewhere in my house!



Jewelry & Clothes

Jewelry & Clothes

More jewlery

More jewelry

The night we were there they were having a 40% off sale, talk about great timing! I hear they have great sales often so you can grab pretty fashions at a good price and who doesn’t love looking good on a budget? I bought a versatile long black tank that I now wear over legging to layer under a top when it is just not quite long enough to cover my bum. I also bought a print dress that I am enjoying, pictured below. So far I have created four different looks for it. Here is an outfit I was able to have Bub snap a photo of last week.

Dress - Langford Market, Shoes - Tory Burch, Necklace - Coop purchase, Sunglasses - Mia's Mirror

Dress – Langford Market, Shoes – Tory Burch, Necklace – Coop purchase, Sunglasses – Mia’s Mirror

One more photo to end this post, a beautiful GLUTEN FREE cupcake from Bird Bakery. My fashionable friend Christina of Coker’s Champagne Taste was so kind to remember my gluten allergy and make sure I had treats I could enjoy with everyone.

Disclaimer: I was invited to come to shop at Langford Market for a bloggers night and they provided snacks. No compensation was received for this post and all opinions are my own :-)

Read More

Happiness Is…

Mom sending me the perfect photo for “Throwback Thursday” and a trip down memory lane of my first pony, I love you Halfpint!

photo 3

Read More