Monday, April 18, 2011


So many changes this year.  First, our family went "no dairy."  I instigated this on the advice of an acquaintance who said her son's allergies improved when he cut out dairy from his diet.  It works.  We are allergy-free!  It's so nice to be able to make it through spring without resenting the budding trees and the yellow pollen that covers everything here in Dallas.  We just never understood WHY it helps.  We are not lactose intolerant because we can drink raw milk without any issues.  I was reading an article on the best diet for an athlete (Ben plays lacrosse) and came across these two sentences:

Dairy foods, especially commercial dairy (as opposed to raw dairy) are also highly inflammatory. Dairy contains a lot of histamines, which will add to the inflammation already present in the body.

So.  There's a beginning to knowledge.  I hope to eventually find more info on this topic.

We are also now practically gluten-free.  This came about because our son, Jack, was covered in hives.  We had already cut-out dairy, so that couldn't have been the problem.  Jack suggested that it might be wheat causing the problem, so he immediately went cold turkey.  The rest of us are not completely wheat/gluten free, but for logistics sake, we have cut down on wheat quite a bit.  I cannot physically make two different dinners.  Here's another interesting excerpt from the article I mentioned above:

Many athletes are switching to a gluten-free training diet, even if they do not have gluten issues. It has been found that gluten is an inflammatory agent in most people to some degree. Athletes who avoid gluten feel more energetic, less sluggish, lose a little weight, sleep better, have better digestion and generally feel better all around.

We are all carb addicts around here, so it has been hard to go without The Good Gluten.  I found this recipe for Buckwheat Pancakes (buckwheat is not a "wheat"...go figure) that has been heartily approved of by all.  It is quadrupled for my crew, and I added the bananas cause we like some fruit in our pancakes.  The interesting thing is that these taste more like blueberry pancakes than banana pancakes.  I'm guessing it's the flavor of the buckwheat. 

Banana Buckwheat Pancakes

4 c. buckwheat
4 t. baking powder
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. salt
4 eggs
4 c. kefir (or milk)
1/2 c. coconut oil (or butter), melted
6 pureed bananas

We eat our pancakes with maple syrup.  Yum.  But only organic maple syrup.  I recently found out that non-organic maple syrup is processed with formaldehyde.  Bleh.  After a lot of searching for the best price, I finallly subscribed to Amazon's "Subscribe and Save" Coombs Family Farms Organic Maple Syrup.  It's delievered to our house once each month.  I love that I don't have to do anything to get it.  It's automatically shipped (no shipping!) without me having to think about it.

Last big change is cloth diapering.  Not something I ever imagined doing, but diapers have been dramatically increasing in price.  Darin and I did the math, and of course cloth diapering is the cheaper route, so here we go!  Trial run starts tomorrow.  I'm a little nervous.  I don't imagine it's going to be any fun to rinse a "stinky" out in the toilet, but I've got rubber gloves on stand-by. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011


There's not much free time in my daily schedule for me to incorporate hobbies into the routine, but there are some things I hate to do without.  Knitting dishrags is one of those things. 

Dishrags, I know, are a very personal thing.  We all have a rag that we swear by, and I absolutely swear by my knitted rags.  I'm a "tight" knitter.  I pull my stitches tight - most knitters would cringe if they saw me.  I know this because I have had a couple of knitting-mamas cringe when they saw me give my stitch a good yank.  But I'm an all-or-nothing personality...heavy on the "all."  It is the predetermined fate of my dishrags to be pulled tight.  I can't bear to have a loosely knitted rag. 

I know from experience that a tightly-stitched rag lasts longest.  My Mom is the better knitter and gives her creations a little more breathing room than I do, but her rags, although pretty, don't last as long as mine.  Right now the oldest rag I have in my kitchen drawer is about four years old.  Not bad when one considers that our family of 8 just went 1 1/2 years without a dishwasher.  That's a lot of hand-washed dishes!

I love sitting down on the couch with my daughter to knit.  We have a lot of fun just sitting and knitting.  It's been a great activity for her to flex her patience.  She does not enjoy having to work as long as it takes to knit a dishrag, and we have some interesting rags in the drawer because of that.  But with every rag she works on, she gets more patient and careful and interested in what she's doing.

I am a member of a yahoogroup called Monthly Dishcloths.  It's fun!  For the first 10 days of the month, 10 rows of a dishrag pattern are sent to my inbox each day.  At the end of 10 days, voila!  A new rag.  These are called "knitalongs."  In the middle of the month, another pattern is sent which is used to teach a new technique.  One month I had a cable knit dishrag - I sweated over that one!

A few years ago, I knitted my heart out for my neighbors.  I knitted each of them three dishrags for Christmas, and I think they're probably about ready for more.  ;-)  Darin is one of those wonderful Renaissance Men and can do just about anything I challenge him with.  He wrote this poem for me to include with our dishrags those few Christmases ago:
Christmas is a time for giving,
So it must mean the neighbors are coming.
So get the milk ready,
The chances are steady
That cookies are forthcoming.
But what else is this they are giving?
Something made by knitting.
It seems a bit small
For a blanket or shawl.
We just don’t know what we are getting.
So let me explain what you have received.
There is no reason to be grieved.
It’s a rag for dishes,
With soap and swishes.
Your plates will certainly be cleaned.
It was knitted with care and love
And thoughts of you to be sure of.
Too pretty to use,
Oh, but please do!
And Merry Christmas from Heaven above.