Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving and ADVENT!!!!!!

This year Thanksgiving really felt like an event. I actually prepped, prepared and shopped for everything on my own. PHEW. It was fun! I must admit though, I NEVER have enough of time to make everything. I think if we ever have a huge gathering I'll be prepping ALL WEEK! Of course the fact that I have been sick for 2 weeks on and off and had 6K I was running Thanksgiving morning during my usual pie-making time...well that didn't help. :)

This year I did something new for my allergic child and it was a delicious success! I made her a gingerbread ice cream pie. I used Vanilla Soy Ice cream and made homemade allergen free gingerbread cookies which I turned into a gingerbread crust.
I sprinkled some of them on the top of it and added some red/green sprinkles to make it festive.
The cookie dough I used for the crust I spread into an 8 inch pan and cooked until it was a bit crisper and then crumbled it up with 2 tablespoons of melted Smart Balance. I pressed the soggy cookie crumbles into a pie pan and then used paper towels to absorb the grease from some of the smart balance. I baked it again until it browned and let it cool. Then I took the softened (but not melted) ice cream and scooped it into the pie crust, spread it out evenly and topped it with crumbled cookie bits and a bit of extra cinnamon. I sprinkled the sprinkles, put it into the freezer for a few hours...and Ta da! Allergen-free ice cream pie with a bit of seasonal flair!

Of course my favorite time of year is also now HERE! Advent! I was affectionately named "Advent Girl" by a friend of mine today...I must say it does fit me well. I do love Advent! I've included more pics than normal so be patient with this "Advent Girl". :)
Here are some of the changes I made to our Advent decor and routine:
We have a lovely purple ribbon and purple tree skirt that we found at SEARS. I couldn't believe it! My MIL and I looked at this stuff thinking...SEARS...neither one of believed that they would have this perfect colored ribbon and skirt. But they did! We have been looking for a while for a good purple one for Advent.

I'm using a ribbon we found there too...the one on my Advent wreath from the past was always leftover from Lent so it was nice to find something a bit more appropriate given the season. This one is velvety with gold trim. I like the way it seems almost regal!


I used this same ribbon for my door wreath and just kept it simple this year. I might try and do different ornaments on the front door with the 4 Advent themes next year (Hope, Peace, Joy, Love).
And (drumroll please) last but not least...
This is the new fun thing for the kiddos! Advent placemats! They are awesome! I love how my 4-year-old is learning about it while he eats. :)

We are doing Advent Adventures again this year through and loving it! They've added a video about the new mass parts and it's nice to have that included with all the other great stuff! I'm a bit sad we don't have to make our Jesse Tree Ornaments anymore...but I love the idea of making them again one year and having more than one so both the kids can hang them instead of taking turns.

We are still doing our hay in Baby Jesus' bed activity so whenever the kids do something kind or extraordinary for the family or one another they get to soften the bed for Jesus. I have started promising them a piece for behaving at Daily Mass. It has helped...or at least it helps me be specific about what I expect from them! :)

I pray your Advent is BLESSED and filled with EXPECTANT LOVE!!!! Jesus is coming! How GOD LOVES US to send us His only Son!

Advent Blessings!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Adventures in Allergy Land

We got our allergy test results back and the doc who was reading the list said, you might need to grab a pen. I just held back a laugh...I know the list. I have it memorized. I've been scanning packages for years for main ingredients and hidden ones too, I'm sort of a pro at that now.


We still have all the allergies. AND we now know they are ALL considered SEVERE and that she is having anaphlyactic reactions and that her reactions could and might get worse each time and that it is POSSIBLE one of these times they could be life threatening. So I am now the proud owner of the Epipenjr. and am carrying it and Benadryl in my purse at all times. No exceptions.

He was kind (this wasn't our allergist, but another doc at the same office), and I am grateful we know and thankful that there is nothing new food-wise (we found out about a cat and dog allergy) but I must admit I fell to the ground after I hung up from talking to him. I thought the best route was to just be thankful. It was a painful, gut-wrenching, why this, kind of thankful. I am sort of numb in the midst of it. I think of it as a not great thing that is in our life, but that is for our betterment spiritually and so it is something God has given me to be thankful for today. I often think of Job. How little I have to complain about...and how even though he suffered and hated every minute of it, yet he loved His God and was thankful for God's Will.

As we move toward Thanksgiving this month I pray I can deepen my thankfulness for the "not-so-pretty" things in my life. Food allergies are definitely on that list. I'm not so lovely as I panic when my son takes off running after lunch or I'm even ugly when I see a strange child run at my daughter and grab her arm with the possibility of a terrible rash or a night of wheezing looming in my daughter's future. I think these not so wonderful moments are when I most experience God's love. I know He loves me in the dirty, dusty, grimy and even ugly parts of my day and I'm assured that it is in these darker moments that He is giving me more grace than I may even realize. I'm certain it is His love and grace that keeps me from spontaneously combusting after being out in public or anywhere that people eat, or go after eating; which is mostly anywhere.