Monday, July 30, 2012

Soaking, making broth, fermenting..and a menu plan

This new "regime" of ours has taken up pretty much all my "spare" time.  I am constantly making or straining broth (or trying to get the kids to drink it!), finding appropriate recipes, cooking up recipes that take more time than normal or trying to desperately find yet another snack to feed my voracious almost 5 year old daughter (who apparently has a whole in her leg...I think she is out-eating her father now!).  This morning I counted 4 times that she asked to eat between breakfast and lunch...that was after a breakfast of a cup and a half kefir/green smoothie, 1 1/2 zucchini/coconut "muffins" (GAPS friendly), and a fried egg.  After that I wasn't able to find enough GAPS friendly food for all the time she was hungry, so on her snack plate went some olives and cucumbers along with bananas for one of the snacks.  Oye.  I've been making alternative pancakes or muffins each day for a couple days and we eat all of them in less than a day (alternative means a little coconut flake/flour, zucchini/bananas, lots of eggs, cinnamon, etc....usually no sweetener and definitely no grains).  I decided the raw milk was coming back in as well as almonds and raisins, just to save my sanity.  Grains and sugar are still gone and lots of broth will continue.  I have my first jar of "fermented" veggies on the counter right now...excited to try it! is our meal plan for this week, GAPS "full diet" style (we have leftovers for lunch):

B:  eggs, smoothies, gaps coconut zucchini muffins
D:  Creamy mexican chicken soup (creamy comes from the pureed cauliflower!) topped with tomatoes, avocados

B:  oatmeal (one thing I've decided to add back in, for better or for worse to save sanity!)
D:  Beef and green bean stir fry, chicken broth, applesauce for dessert

B:  scrambled eggs, leftover applesauce
D:  Sprouted lentil burgers, homemade ketchup, broccoli

B: Soaked sourdough riceflour pancakes, leftover scrambled eggs
D:  Hamburger vegetable stew, rice flour crackers

B: Oatmeal
D:  Mexican Egg Fried topped with beans, avocado, salsa, etc. (forget what this is called)

Saturday I will go to the farmers' market so I won't go that far right now.  I might get all wild and crazy and buy some new veggies to try!  :) 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Enjoying special summer events in Chambery

Special picnic with our thailandese friends to the nearby park. We speak a lot of Franglish.

Deep conversation in Franglish.

Louis and the horse.  He was very interested in this large animal, but a bit nervous.

There was a latino concert right down in the park below our apartment.  The girls danced until they dropped.  Louis explored until he dropped.  No the kids did not sleep in the next morning!

Thank you world!  You have been a good audience!
Louis the explorer.  He is almost fearless...especially when climbing or checking things out.  Animals might be an exception to that, but only at first. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

(gaps) Menu Plan and super boring explanation:)

Well, we are embarking on an adventure, or at least that's what I hope to think of it as, this next month and beyond.  In January, some of you may remember, I committed to one month of grain-free/refined sugar free  for myself.  Some benefits of that were a more even appetite (not as much feeling desperately hungry before meals) and my heartburn/some digestion issues almost disappeared.  However, it seemed to be a lot of work not worth it enough for just those benefits for the long run and didn't address what I'd hoped, which were my "nerve issues" specifically but not limited to tingling and numbness in my hands and feet.  So...back to normal life.  Not much processed food but some.  Not as much grain and bread as a normal person, but some.  Not as much sugar as the rest of the world, but definitely some! 

A few months later though we started noticing M, who has had some issues with digestion all her life including as a colicky baby, started have tummy aches and having trouble going to the bathroom.  I really felt like it seemed to be related to her favorite foods...bread and bready type things and dessert!  So for several months I hemmed and hawed because I felt like it would be beyond torture to change her diet.  Finally it got so bad and all the normal stuff wasn't helping much at all (prunes, juices, tons of fruits and veggies) that I got fed up and cut out the gluten.  For the most part I am doing the same thing.  And it really hasn't been that bad.  Daniel has had some withdrawls and bought a loaf of bread last week for himself but he's been a trooper with the meals we've been eating lately.  We've cooked a lot with brown rice flour which is more expensive than whole wheat organic, but not outrageous.  However. 

For quite some time I've known of the GAPS diet and have thought it sounded intriguing for those people who it could help, but way too much work and not what we needed.  Well, that has changed in the past few months. I've been noticing more and more things that the GAPS diet can help with that are problems with the kids and I feel almost like I can't NOT try it.  I don't want to.  It is going to be extremely hard and I imagine the kids are going to be super cranky the first few days (as well as myself) and its going to be a lot of work!  One of the reasons I was resistant at first was that I thought I couldn't do it here in France but the more I read I realized that I could, I'd just need to be more creative with things acquiring certain things and the probiotics they recommend would have to wait a bit.   So we're going to take it slow and the downtown market is going to be my new best friend.  Our grocery budget is probably going to be crazy for a month or two or three with having to buy more meat and starting out with organic pastured eggs.  But produce here is relatively cheap and easy to obtain, so that won't be a problem.  

So tonight  I will be making a beef broth with some bones in my freezer and heading to the market in the morning if I can.  So for a brief explanation of what this "diet" is supposed to help with is "healing" your "gut" and your digestion system.  I am sure this isn't the proper terminology and someone can correct me if I am wrong but various things include diet and medication and illness can disrupt the normal healthy bacterias etc. in one's gut which leads to a number of issues in many people...all the way to behavior/emotional/mental problems not to mention physical results of course.  One of the main ways this diet is used is for people with autism spectrum disorders.  None of my kids are struggling with that in particular, but we have a definite family history of other issues such a attention issues, sleep disorders, etc.  All of these things and treatments must be balanced with the knowledge that ultimately it is God who gives and takes all things of course.  But keeping all that in mind if my family (and my functioning as a wife and mother) have a good change to significantly benefit from this, I think its time to try it.  So, there you have it.  Here's my hat tip to you if you read all that:). 

Here are some meal ideas for this upcoming very bizarre week, on the intro of GAPS:

Hamburger Soup
Broccoli Beef Soup (leeks, ground beef made into meatballs, broccoli)
Ginger Garlic Butternut Squash soup (pureed)
Creamed Cauliflower with meatballs (put cilantro on top)
Hamburger patties cooked in broth, carrot sticks cooked in broth
Chicken "noodle" soup

Those are my ideas for the first couple of days.  My goal is to do 2 days with just the  intro for me and the girls and add the eggs and some cooked apples on day three (maybe just one day on the super strict...I don't want any starving children!:)

We'll see ...wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

We are family!

A couple of pictures of the three monkeys playing together. I wish I could say that they always play contentedly together, but alas, it is not the case. Since Louis has taken to climbing.on.everything. and since the girls don't necessarily always like their tea parties and princess jewelry eaten and destroyed, things are not always roses and buttercups when they play together. But...there are happy moments in between and more often than not when there are only 2 playing together (usually one girl and Louis!) it goes well. I wouldn't trade my job for anything though!
In other Crosby news: We've started "homeschool light" a week ago. We do about 45 minutes of various homeschool type activities in the morning right after morning chores and when Louis is napping. It goes like this:
Childrens' Bible time Reading lesson (Phonics lesson and then some "BOB easy reader books" which we are reading over and over (from Daniel's mom...thanks mom!)
Worksheet time at the table (my mom sent us a bunch...thanks mom!)
Flashcards (counting and shapes)
French (books in french, youtube educational videos in french, flashcards)
Read aloud time (we are reading some American girls books my mom brought us...the first books without lots of pictures the girls will actually sit and listen to for 10 minutes or more!
 C'est toute! It's been a really good thing for all of us I think. The girls are getting more attention and have more of a routine(and not to mention learning something!) which seems to be affecting their behavior positively the rest of the morning.

We've also cut my studies back to 2 days a week at school, 1 day of tutoring (in our home while Louis is asleep and the girls play/watch a video/eat snacks in our bedroom) and 1 day (sometimes when the lady is available) of conversation group. That gives me a little time to do things like homeschooling a few days a week. Louis is no longer nursing at night as of a week ago (we just decided to go for it!) but he still cries from nightmares or something at least every other night, and Livvie does some nights, but certainly not like she was a couple months ago. So far we haven't gotten much more sleep as a result, but maybe next week (we've been super busy this week and have been staying up late with homework, deskwork almost every night lately).

 Lastly, we hosted a Bible study in our home lead by a French gentleman who goes to our church last week. It is a mix of french people and people learning french. It is cool to start to be able to do stuff like that and actually understand a lot of what is being said...exciting! But we both still have a long way to go. And we both talk like preschoolers:)

Chattin' with his sweet peeps in the Etas-Unis

Monday, July 16, 2012

In which I am constantly having heart-attacks

Yes, I knew Louis could now climb. But I wasn't expecting it to be a constant contest of how high and how fast and how dangerous he could be! He is super fast at walking now if I turn for a minute and find that its quiet..I can guarantee that he'll be halfway up a ladder or on furniture somewhere. Like I was bored and needed something else to do!

This bunkbed is REALLY high. And now he is REALLY quick at getting almost halfway up before we notice. The floors here are super hard so it scary!

This is the new favorite of today...climbing on our coffee table. This jungle monkey truly needs the African jungle to climb in!

Hope this boy has at least 9 lives like the cats!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Menu Plan

Our "grocery shopping" today was all fresh yummy foods...produce from the Saturday market and 2 liters of raw milk.
As I write this I am hungry but our little guy is sleeping in the living room near the kitchen...good diet strategy I guess! We are eating 95% gluten free right now for Miss Marianna's sake. Seems to be helping her digestion issues a bit. Since gluten free substitute foods are often quite pricey, we are just trying to move toward other whole foods like extra veggies and fruits and more raw milk. I can't believe how much that child can eat and she is always telling me she is hungry.
Sunday: Taco Salad
Monday: Cabage sausage stir fry
Tuesday: Whole chicken in the crockpot, potatoes, cooked carrots
Wednesday: Chicken Rice Soup, fruit or salad
Thursday: Zucchini Parmigiana
Friday: Pizza (using rice flour or cauliflower crust (we had it yesterday....not the same as a regular crust but pretty good in a very different way!)
Saturday: misc. veggie stirfry (I've been experimenting with different veg stirfries lately like today's was zucchini, tomatoes, a little ground meat, sea salt and herbs de provence. Very yummy!

 What's on your menu?

Ballet with grandma

Calling grandpa

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tour de France!

Daniel and Marianna had the opportunity to go to see the Tour de France today! The best part was the super fast parade beforehand...the actually part where the bikes passed was like less than a minute! Here are some pictures:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Goofy boys dancing in the streets of Chambery

Warning: Motion sickness alert if you watch this. Sorry about that:)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fete de musique, grandbaby love

Louis fell asleep on the floor next to the vaccuum for the first time ever. He loves that vaccuum;)
fete de musique...almost a date, with the exception of one very small cute person:)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Marianna's end of school party

Marianna made it through 6 months of full-immersion french school. She understands a LOT of french now, and speaks some. She learned a lot of basic academics to write her name, count to 30, draw better, do some basic math and letter recognition along with other things. Very cool, and the girl is on her way to being bi-lingual to boot! It wasn't perfect by any means, but worth it. The right decision for her and for our family. Olivia will join her in the fall and I am sure it will be a very different experience for her, with different challenges and successes. The end of the year party was a lot of fun and grandma Kathy was here for it which was extra special. We hung out with our french parent friends and tried to communicate as well as we could:)
Marianna and her very first teacher

Menu Plan

My mom, Daniel and Marianna just left to take my mom to the sad! Its hard to believe how fast the 3 weeks flew really did. Although it is always a challenge to fit so many people into a tiny place (at least by our standards...not so much in other countries I imagine) I love having people around me. Its really lonely with just me and the two little ones right now! Anyway, I have lots to get done so instead of feeling sad I will try to tick a few silly things off my list like menu planning! I got SO out of the habit of following a plan while mom was here, time to get back to it especially because we've been following a gluten free diet for Marianna for two weeks, minus a couple of slip ups for not being prepared on my part. She has digestive issues and it seems to be exacerbated by gluten, but I am not sure so I am very heavily leaning toward trying GAPS (have you heard of it?). Really my only reservation is the lack of availability of a lot of the products needed to carry it out here. I can do the bone broth, get lots of veggies, eggs. But things like lacto-fermentation all would have to be done by me and the time and equipment are lacking. Probiotics can be partially accomplished by heavy doses of kefir, but not entirely. So...I think we'll just start moving more that direction especially until I have 100% by in from the hubby. Well see! Saturday: Lentil and Rice Patties, dip, fries Sunday: Zucchini, Tomatoes and Beef stir-fry Monday: Chicken in the crockpot, baked potatoes, carrots Tuesday: Cauliflower pizza Wednesday: Taco Soup, cornbread Thursday: Chef Salad Friday: Burgers, Fries, raw veggies Saturday: ?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"Transpirent" family at the park

I'm not sure if that is even a correct use of the word for sweat in french, but I don't have the time to check so there you go:) We were tired and drenched by the time we took this after our picnic at the park, but I am so behind in posting I thought I would share a quick photo or two with ya'll:)