A Glimmer of Hope

What do you notice when you look at this box? Well, if you have Celiac disease you notice that it says GLUTEN FREE!! And, if you happen to read this blog periodically you might remember the post I made when I was pregnant about how much I just love Fruity Pebbles cereal. This is very exciting for me.
You see, I've had to put almost everything extra curricular on hold--including my blog--while I literally spend all my free time researching my new gluten free life. It is so time consuming because there really is a lot to learn. Over the Christmas holiday I have experimented with a lot of GFree recipes. Some have been good and some have not. I have also spent a LOT of money buying different foods to try. Let me just say that unequivocally almost all baked goods SUCK! I mean really, really bad. The one bread that people tolerate most costs $6.50 for 12 slices and I have to drive to Memphis to buy it. I just don't believe that you should have to tolerate what you eat. Eating should be enjoyable. So, until the breads and baked goods improve, I'll be abstaining.
This is my prediction, though. In the next 2 years the quality, quantity and accessibility of Gfree food is going to increase ten fold. Celiac is one of the most common, altough untreated, diseases in America. More and more people will figure out that this diet is not only critical for some but super healthy for everyone. And speaking of healthy, I think I am going to notice a big difference in my family's health. One of the "side effects" of this new diet is my having to study every food label that comes into this house. It's been a real eye opener. I just can't believe how much "stuff" goes into the food we eat. It's horrible. My goal is to shop the outsides of the grocery stores, meaning avoiding all the processed foods in the middle, and buying as much organic foods at possible (well, everything except the Fruity Pebbles). I know its more expensive, but man! I think I really owe it to my family and myself.
That being said, I thank God that he has blessed my husband with a good job that allows us to shop the outsides of the grocery store and that we have had the luxury of trying lots of new foods. I don't take that opportunity for granted and realize that this disease could be much harder for someone with a very limited income. While I get down sometimes when I can't eat pizza or my favorite breakfast breads, I am constantly reminded by other events in my life how truly fortunate I am. This might seem like a mountain to me sometimes, but compared to other issues its just a mole hill.
My new mantra
"It is not a sacrifice to give up gluten. It is a gift to understand the need to give it up."


Christmas 2010- East Tennessee

Christmas in East Tennessee is always a fun time.  With all the cousins, there is never a dull moment.  We play from sun up to sun down.  We make cookies, cakes and more desserts in Grandma's kitchen.  But most of all, we just enjoy being together. 

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TCA Christmas Program

I love our school.  Tipton Christian Academy.  It is a dream of so many parents come to fruition.  I feel so blessed that my children attend there.  One of the things I love about it is that the school is allowed to teach the children about Jesus without fear. My children so much more than, I'm embarrased to admit, I could have taught them on my own. 

The girls had their Christmas program at school and as usual it was so sweet.  They sang their little hearts out and Ella even had a solo.  Her little voice sounded like an angel's and I pridefully sat there with my eyes full of tears. 

This is our headmaster, Mrs. Susan.  She has been a God send for our school.  My girls just love her, too.

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All Dressed Up

At the end of 2009 I got these dresses for the girls on clearance at my favorite children's boutique, The Freckled Frog.  After I found out that Jack was coming I just knew I had to find the matching bubble for him.  Lucky for me, The Freckled Frog still had it!

Here, Jack is really happy about being held so tightly by his big sister...

A few more pictures....

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A Visit with Santa

Every year we go to Memphis to have our visit/obligatory picture with Santa.  I have a collection of 8 years of Santa pictures on my entry table that I display at Christmas.  I hated to break from tradition but this year we avoided Memphis and the mayhem that usually ensues with 3 kids in tow.  I just couldn't do it.  We were also so busy this holiday season, that there really wasn't a lot of time to get up there.  If it hadn't been for the Internet, I'm not quite sure how our Christmas shopping would have gotten done! 

A local bank hosted photos with Santa as a fundraiser for the local child abuse prevention organization, The Carl Perkins Center.  My sister and Maddie came down and we were able to get pics of all the kiddos.  I'm not sure how I got home without a picture of all 4 kiddos on my camera.  I got one from the bank that is framed, but I don't have one for the blog.  Oh, well. 

I'm sure my Dad just asked Santa for a new shot gun or 4-wheeler or something.  The more I look at this picture it becomes a little creepy.  It's all in good fun but Santa sure has a good grip on Dad's leg.  ha!  ha!  We have laughed about this picture for a long time!

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