Monday, July 21, 2014

Lately…

Surprise! Surprise! I finally found me some time to sit down and try this again! My little princesses are enjoying themselves at an art class and so here I am sitting outside Starbucks enjoying a green tea and catching up with you all!

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I think it would be WAY too long of a post, not to mention boring, to share “everything” that has gone on over the last several months. Here are some highlights to catch us up and then we can move on to the fun stuff!

    • We sold our home! The Lord brought us buyers within a month of putting the house on the market and we were moved out within 30 days…talk about a whirlwind!
    • We are now taking on the challenge of apartment living…downsized to about half of what we were used to! The princesses are adjusting fairly well to sharing a room and I am adjusting to a very small kitchen and no pantry…it’s the little things that really make us appreciate what we have!
    • During all the craziness, the hubs decided to take a 10 week class to become a certified trainer! He loves fitness and the gym has become such a ministry field for him, so it couldn’t be a better opportunity. So proud of all that he has accomplished!!
    • I am still on quite the journey to regain my health.  Some days I take two steps forward and three steps back, but I have faith that the Lord has great plans for me at the end of this long road! I may have lost some strength physically, but God and the support of my family have given me the strength to press on even when I think I can’t! So blessed! (more on this later!)
    • The princesses are starting a new school in the Fall! We have been blessed with the opportunity to send them to Ramona Christian Academy, a full-time private school. I am so very thankful that the princesses are just as excited as we are to start this new adventure of learning and personal growth! For this season of our life homeschooling was becoming more challenging for myself and everyday seemed to be harder than the last.  The hubs and I decided that it would be best for our family to take a break from full-time homeschooling and before we knew it the Lord placed this particular school right in our laps! We will still be very involved with our princesses…hubs will be teaching fitness classes every week and once a month I have the pleasure of teaching a nutrition/cooking class.

I think that has brought us up to speed for now!  And in between it all we have been able to enjoy some family time at the beach…

Downtown San Diego…

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Seaport Village 1

Blueberry Picking at Temecula Blueberry Company

Date with my hubs at my favorite little coffee shop, Kettle Coffee and Tea

Kettle Coffee and Tea

and with my princesses…

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Their first Starbucks Frapaccino!

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Lunch at Little Italy farmers market…

Thanks for reading and please stay tuned for more!

Blessings,

J’lene

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

More Tests and an Update…

I’m back!  Life continues to throw a plethora of set-backs my way and blogging continues to take a back seat in the line-up of things!  Unfortunately, the doctor visits and a number of tests are taking the front line in my life right now.  I wish I could share something more exciting with you, like the number of delicious recipes that I’ve been cooking up or all the family fun we’ve been having over the last few months, but not today!  God has different plans for me right now, plans to focus on healing my body and guiding me in the right direction to be the best mom and wife I can be through these trials.  Scripture Quote 2

Although it seems SO VERY long ago, we did have a quiet but wonderful family Thanksgiving dinner!  This was the first year that we decided to stay home and attempt our first Thanksgiving meal together as a family.  We did so in part because of the many food restrictions I have right now and I just didn’t want to ask a million questions as to how the food was prepared or end up sitting without anything on my plate.  This seemed to be the best option for us this year and now I can say I cooked my first turkey!

Christmas was a bit the same, we celebrated Jesus’ birthday in the morning with homemade cinnamon rolls (managed to pull together a grain free, dairy free and egg free version) and finished out the evening with a fiesta…carnitas tacos, cilantro lime sweet potatoes and homemade guacamole!  I made a veggie taco for myself and prepared the rest of the meal to my specifications so I could enjoy with the rest of the family.  Although we didn’t see a lot of extended family this year, it was just what our little family needed!

While we’re talking about food, being on such a restrictive diet we haven’t ventured out too much as it is so difficult for me to find anything to eat and enjoy.  But since the hubs and I haven’t spent much “alone” time together lately, for Christmas I put together a little date for the two of us.  It was nothing big, but just what we needed…a trip to the Headquarters at Seaport Village for lunch at Seasons 52 and then to a matinee showing of The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug.  The Headquarters is fairly new, with several dining options and some higher end shopping venues.  I was very impressed by the service at Seasons 52 as they were so kind to accommodate all my “restrictions”!  .  DSCN7346

The hubs enjoyed some “Red Mole” tacos with a side of “Tamale Tots” and a fresh mint lemonade.DSCN7349

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For me, it was a juicy grilled chicken breast (seasoned with only olive oil and salt and pepper) served over baby roasted carrots and potatoes.  Although there wasn’t much seasoning (how I needed it to be prepared), it was still very delicious and I simply enjoyed the fact that I could eat out with no worries!DSCN7353

We had a couple of hours to kill before the movie and decided to walk around Seaport Village a bit since it was such a beautiful day!DSCN7355

I realized I so need more days like this!  Spending time away from home really helped take my mind off any pain or emotional struggles that most days bring.  And any quality time I get with my hubs brings refreshment and a new perspective to my day.  As I continue to go through tests and diet changes, having a positive perspective and a good prayer life has been essential!  It’s been a struggle to even be in the kitchen these days!  While I love to continue to cook healthy meals for my family, I have become quite discouraged when it comes to cooking for myself.  I think I have eaten the same thing for the last month and a half or so (usually some combination of carrots, artichoke, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms and sometimes some sweet potatoes or butternut squash) and I am so done!!  Give me some variety!!!

Since I am so over food right now, here is a quick update on all my lovely tests happening this month…continued blood tests (amino acids, white blood cell count and platelet levels continue to be low), a colonoscopy and an endoscopy.  Woo! Hoo!  Sounds fun!  My prayer is that when these tests are finished I can start adding some foods back into my diet and begin to get back to some sort of “normalcy!” 

And of course I continue to crave the foods I cannot have…isn’t that how it always works?  Unfortunately I don’t have the energy to spend a lot of time experimenting in the kitchen, but every now and then I get the urge.  This week I came up with this delicious breakfast treat….

Grain Free Blackberry Baked Pancake (dairy free and vegan)

Ingredients:

3 cups almond flour

3/4 cup arrowroot powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. sea salt

3/4 cup non-dairy milk ( I used unsweetened almond milk)

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Add in wet ingredients and mix well.  Fold in blackberries.

4. Spread batter into prepared baking dish.

5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top.

6. Serve warm as is, or with a drizzle of maple syrup!

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Definitely not your traditional pancake, but the flavor is certainly there.  It’s a dense breakfast treat, so a little piece goes a long way which is why I decided to cut it into small squares.DSCN7362

The blackberries add a wonderful surprise to each bite.  I missed a picture, but ended up topping each piece off with some warm blackberry syrup.  The fam thought it was Saturday morning or something, but it was actually a quick meal to pull together.  I love that it freezes well and can be used as a quick breakfast on a busy morning.

One last hoorah before Christmas break was over…finally put our fire pit to use and roasted some marshmallows while telling funny/scary stories!DSCN7372

Inhaling her smores!DSCN7373

While this one savors each bite!DSCN7374

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MY LOVES!!

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Now we are back into the swing of school and regular schedules which makes this mama happy!  However, I am working on being a bit more flexible and open to what God brings my way each day…heaven knows that God’s plans for my day (and life) and far better than mine!  In fact, oftentimes God will use our experiences in life as stepping stones to prepare us for what He has in store next.  Scripture tells us that He will even take the things the enemy tries to bring against us and turn them around and use them for our good! Scripture Quote 4

Blessings,

J’lene