January 30, 2012

Good-bye January

     Tonight on the news, the announcer called this month Jun-uary because its been as warm as June in many parts of the U.S. We are part of the 'many places'. Bushes & other flora are beginning to show signs of life. Yikes! Don't they know that Jun-uary is made up? It isn't really spring, go back to sleep for a couple months.

     We have been busy with life but nothing too exciting. The girls are taking cold lunches to school as part of the gluten-free changes. They think this is wonderful because cold lunch kids eat earlier than the poor schmoes who have to wait in line for hot lunch. Eating quicker means you get more time to play.

Panda helping pack lunch in the morning.

     Free time is often spent taking self-portraits. Below are examples of the portraits.

    My free time is spent quilting if I can make it happen. The top is finished for the quilt challenge blocks.

 I'm also making blocks of the Building Block series from the Cotton Club. The fabric is batik - my most favorite kind of fabric. I am powerless against the pull of batiks.

Top row: log cabin blocks, bottom row: Jacob's ladder.

     Panda and Poodaloo are taking a Chinese dance class after school on Wednesdays. The dance troupe is set to perform at the Lunar New Year celebration on February 4. (We wish you all could join us!)  To advertise the event, a local news station broadcast weather segments from the school last Friday morning. The kids were to arrive at 4:30a.m. (yes, A. freaking M.) Panda was raring to go, leaped out of bed and dressed. Poodaloo was not ready or willing to go at this ridiculous time of day.

     In the end, I drove Panda to school and went back home to coax Poodaloo. As I suspected, when she saw the dancers on T.V. Poodaloo was up in a flash. I trundled her off to school and stayed for a respectable few minutes. Then I headed home for a nap and to pack lunches.

     Unfortunately, I'm not able to locate a way to see the segments on the station website. If anyone has better luck, let me know. The station is KTVB.

January 18, 2012

Quilt Block Challenge Revisited

     Perhaps you think I gave up on my personal quilt challenge. Not so, although it didn't evolve as I had imagined. I made quite a few blocks from the patterns I found on websites. Some of them had crummy directions, in my opinion. For example, in spite of following the instructions this one ended up too small. I added sashing (border around the block) to make it 12" x 12" (finished). The more pieces a block contains, the more difficult it is to end up with the proper size.
(Photos by Panda)

     I invited Panda and Poodaloo to design blocks for me to cut and sew. It quickly became apparent that poor directions are considerably better than no directions at all. Copying a design made by a 6 or 8 year old and then cutting the pieces for a 12" quilt block is tricky.

 Panda's design (above) was way out there for me. She asked me to add green fabric triangles at each corner but I haven't done it yet.

     Poodaloo wanted a diamond in her design. Sashing added because it didn't finish the size I thought it would. Those darn diamond seam allowances will  throw you off every time.

      After free design proved less than easy, I sewed a bunch of half square and quarter square triangles. The girls put them together like a puzzle. It was nearly fool-proof in terms of getting what we expected.


 The small parts of this block are half square triangles.
The center of this block is a quarter square triangle.

     Next step is piecing together the blocks and adding sashings to make a quilt top. Not sure when that will happen because I am stumped about what color to make the sashing. Any suggestions? Dark blue to match the blue in the lightest color pieces?

100% Chance of Snow

This is what it looked like on our front sidewalk this morning. Panda and Poodaloo couldn't wait for daylight to play in the snow.

Panda is dressed up because her class is attending a live performance at a high class venue downtown.

Poodaloo is wearing a very warm scarf, hat & glove set she received from Aunt D and Uncle M.

January 14, 2012

No bread, milk or sugar

    In November, I began seeing a new doctor health care provider nurse practitioner (NP) who specializes in functional medicine. Here is explanation about functional medicine. To become a patient with this clinic I completed approximately 20 pages of health history, including a seven day food record. Then I waited two months for a new patient time slot. The first appointment lasted 2.5 hours. NP had already reviewed my information and prepared a timeline of my medical problems. She verified for me that thoughts and concerns were on target. They drew 5 or 6 vials of blood for tests and sent me home with two additional test kits. I was also instructed to begin eliminating gluten from my diet.

     Gluten is a protein found in wheat. It is responsible for the elasticity allowing breads to rise during baking. I am trying specialty gluten-free foods as I slowly remove gluten containing foods from our home. Thus far I have found satisfactory replacements for favorite foods (goldfish crackers, pizza dough, bread). Our city has a gluten-free grocery store within two miles of our house. Albertson's and Fred Meyer also have a selection of GF foods.

     Some of my readers (if there are indeed readers of this blog) know I've been reading voraciously to figure out what kind of dietary intervention I needed to help my gastro-intestinal system. Last summer, I considered the Specific Carbohydrate Diet developed by Elaine Gottschall. It didn't give me enough information about why certain foods are not allowed. Then I bought the GAPS diet book written by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The GAPS book arrived around the time I found the new clinic and I have not read it yet. I still plan to read it as a companion to the information from the NP.

     My next appointment (to discuss test results) resulted in eliminating casein from my diet. Casein is a protein found in milk products. If you don't drink milk (I do not), at first glance this might appear a simple change. It has not been simple! Cheese was my go-to protein source. It contains casein. Bye-bye cheese. I will miss you . . . . But, I've been avoiding milk products and it is helping my G.I. symptoms.

     The third appointment with NP took place the day the girls returned to school after Christmas break (Jan 4). We discussed the poop test results. My intestines have dysbiosis. This means the types and quantities of microscopic bacteria is out of whack. In a nutshell, there are too many of the less-desirable guys and too few of the desirable ones. I'm taking probiotics to help change this back to the correct ratios of good to not-as-good. NP has also recommended an yeast-free, anti-candida food plan for a month. Basically, this means eliminating starchy/sugary foods like most fruits, corn, potatoes, rice.

     I'm not doing it yet. It was simply too much for me to handle, given that I cannot have any dairy products, either. I've decided to wait until I am more comfortable with gluten-free and casein-free eating.

     Needless to say, all of this has rocked my world the past two months. I was somewhat prepared for and expected many of these changes but it's still been difficult. That's why y'all haven't heard much from me lately.