Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Tuesdays with TLC

It's time for the second installment of (drumroll, please):

TUESDAYS WITH TLC!

Rather than share a few Celiac facts with y'all, this week I wanted to share a favourite recipe. I have been making these biscuits for about two years now. They couldn't be easier (Well, "popping" open a can of biscuits is easier, but they don't currently make a gluten-free variety.) and are always met with rave reviews from my family. This recipe was originally from a (coincidentally!) mother-daughter blog called Hello Gluten Free. Unfortunately, they've retired from blogging but luckily have left their site up. I've made a few very minor adjustments from their recipe to simply suit my baking style a bit more.

Yummy (and flakey!) GF Biscuits

Yields: About a dozen, give or take!

Ingredients:

2 cups GF flour (I prefer Cup4Cup)
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 T. sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 cup milk (I typically use Lactaid 2%)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter (Make sure it's cold!) until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (My arms generally get tired at this point.) Gradually stir in the milk. The dough will be fairly wet and sticky. Don't be alarmed!

3. Turn the dough onto a (GF!) floured surface. Sprinkle additional (GF!) flour on top, to make it easier to handle. Knead the dough. I probably do it about 15ish times. (This creates those flakey layers!) You may need to add more flour throughout the kneading process.

4. Roll out dough to about 1/2 inch thick. (I'm not super precise.) Cut biscuits out with a larger cutter and place on baking sheet (I always use parchment paper on my baking sheets).

5. Bake for 10-13 minutes. (My oven runs hot. Make sure you're keeping a close eye on them.) until the tops and bottoms are a light golden brown.

6. Brush the tops with melted butter. Bon appetite!

I hope y'all will try this recipe. Gluten-free food is DELICIOUS. Pinky promise. And saves my sweet Little Leighton's life. Truly.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tuesdays with TLC

Hi, Friends!

Happy Tuesday!

So, our weekend didn't quite go as planned. Sweet Little Leighton was sick, sick, sick on Saturday night. I still today cannot decide what exactly happened. I honestly believe it has something to do with her Celiac Disease. My "Mom Gut" is telling me it wasn't just a tummy bug. We are so diligent about everything she consumes or even comes in contact with, so, as you can imagine, this has caused me quite a bit of anxiety. Celiac Disease is such a misunderstood and misdiagnosed disease. I have prayed and prayed about what I can do to help advocate and educate. I'm still trying to figure out specifically what that means, but I believe that I can find something to do to help promote awareness, specifically within the schools. It's hard enough as it is to just be a kid, but to be a kid with any kind of difference is extra tough. I want LL to know I will always be her biggest cheerleader!

Y'all. I could go on and on about this. And I might. In fact, I might start a new series here today! Tuesdays with TLC! Within this series, I will share something about Celiac Disease. Today, I'll start by sharing a few "fast facts" from Beyond Celiac (an amazing organization promoting awareness, advocacy and ACTION).

But, first, what exactly is Celiac Disease? Celiac Disease is a serious, genetic autoimmune disease. It is the only autoimmune disease with a known trigger: gluten. Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. When a person with Celiac eats gluten, the protein interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food by damaging a part of the small intestine called villi. Damaged villi make it virtually impossible for the body to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, leading to malnourishment and a host of other problems including some cancers, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, infertility and the onset of other autoimmune diseases.

Did you know...?

1 in 133 people in the United States have Celiac Disease. That's approximately 3 million people.

83% of the people with Celiac Disease are undiagnosed.

A 100% gluten-free diet is the ONLY existing treatment for Celiac Disease today. There are no pharmaceutical treatments or cures.

I know before LL's diagnosis, I knew very, very little about Celiac Disease. It is now my mission to help people understand. We are never looking for pity. This is simply our life. LL's diagnosis, especially at the very young age of two, has been a blessing. I genuinely believe that, and I try every day to help LL feel that way, too.

Stay tuned for the next installment, y'all! And, in the meantime, here is a picture of My Sweet Girls.


Who doesn't love a "tea and pancake party?"

Have a delightful day!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

18!

So I had a FUN idea for TLC and me to do this 2018 year! (Well, I think it’ll be fun. She was mostly enthusiastic when I approached her about it…)

On the 18th of each month, beginning today, we’ll do a LIST! Y’all know how much TLC loves her Lists. I’m not as “listy” as she is—but I don’t mind them. I explained to her that we must, MUST, MUST make sure we do this post on the 18th. Not the 19th. Not the 20th. Not the 28th. THE EIGHTEENTH. PERIOD. I’m doing the first one. She’ll do February. (The Best Laid Plans of ELC…SIGH…)

Preface: It is COLD IN TEXAS. Yes, we Texans understand it is COLD all over America. But we mostly do not do well with frigid, scary weather that also contains wind, sleet, snow and, of course, the HUGELY FRIGHTENING ICE.
Also, let me explain to Y’all my preferences—in terms of vacations. Mostly My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH) and I prefer the mountains. Colorado. New Mexico. Wyoming. South Dakota. Montana. Even the beautiful mountains of Arkansas! I’m not exactly a beachy-type person. Something about sand getting literally everywhere.
HOWEVER, I have been to many SPECTACULAR Beach Places in my almost 64 years on this Earth. Therefore, on this January 18, 2018, I want to share with Y’all where I wish I was right this second—as opposed to where I am right this second (which is in my casa hiding from the UNBELIEVABLY cold air outside our door…SHIVER/SHIVER and YUCK):

Beaches I’ve visited and would travel to tonight—or tomorrow—at the latest:
1. Maui. My number place to Beach It. MSH and I have been lucky enough to have visited Maui four times in our almost 40 years of marriage. Each time we’ve been? We don’t want to come home. If we won a lottery? And I could fly? (Which, I can’t, because of the 100% deafness in my left ear but this is a “Let’s Pretend” thing…) I’d buy a beautiful home right on some exquisite beach in Maui. I’d go there in November and stay until April. Then I’d go back in July and stay until the end of September. Basically I guess I’m saying I’d live there about nine out of twelve months. Yes. Yes, I do think I would.
2. Destin/Seaside, Florida. We’ve only visited Destin/ Seaside once. For our 25th wedding anniversary. With TLC and a friend. We ALL fell in love with the entire area and honestly cannot believe we’ve not been able to go back. It’s truly one of my goals before I don’t know who I am (Due to aging…preferably not to anything else…).
3. St. John’s. TLC twisted my arm into going with her to St. Thomas about 11-ish years ago. It really was a great trip! (I was quite worried about traveling through the Bermuda Triangle. I decided, however, that if our plane disappeared forever? I’d be with my most favourite person on this Earth. And we’d miss MSH.) We took a boat to St. John’s for a few hours and knew, immediately, it the island we should have booked. STILL…St. Thomas was also lovely and we’ll always cherish this trip.
4. Carmel, California. The one time we’ve been (TLC was with us and was about 5 years old.) it was in October and, actually, quite nippy. In fact, we left Texas wearing and packing lots of shorts and went straight from the San Francisco airport to a department store to buy coats. Lordy. Anyway—we loved Carmel. Everything about it. I’d love to be there now. If it’s warm.
5. Anywhere around these charming Texas Beach Towns: Corpus Christi, Port Aransas and, most especially, Rockport. (BTW—I’m actually counting these are three separate places in my 18 because each is worthy of it’s very own visit!) Rockport had considerable damage done to it when the horrific hurricane hit that part of Texas—Houston, etc.—in August. But we’ve heard it’s coming back STRONG. The beaches are not as pretty as some in other states—but they are nice and these towns are full of charm. It’s actually probably too cold down there right now. I still want them to be a part of this 18!
6. Puerto Vallarta. I went there with one of my sisters and two of my best friends from college when TLC was five months old. MSH encouraged us to go. Even helped plan our trip and then cared for TLC. I was the size of a small whale and I missed TLC (and MSH…of course…) terribly. PV (as anyone who is ANYONE calls it) was extremely charming. We had laughs that went on forever. I think we believed we’d make it back someday. Never have.
7. Cozumel. We visited Cozumel with TLC and a friend to celebrate her graduation from high school. It rained the majority of the time we were there. But the resort was beautiful and I always thought I’d get back to see it in the sun!
8. Myrtle Beach. MSH and I went there with three other couples several years ago—before I went deaf in my left ear—and had a wonderful long weekend! The guys played golf for a couple of days and the gals shopped and shopped. Until we dropped. I’m determined to go back. (It may be cold there now. So my next visit would have to wait until Spring or Early Summer, I suppose. Darn.)
9. Amelia Island. Another town in Florida that I’ve visited three times and have loved. Fernandina Beach—in particular—is fabulous! (I do believe I remember it had hurricane damage and it may also be a bit cold at this time.) In my mind? I’m there. Feeling the warmth of the sun and the kindness of the people who live and work there!

Beaches I want to visit—now. Tonight:
I’ve never been to any of these and, honestly, I have a realistic fear I’ll not be able to go to most of them—as I’d more than likely have to fly. (I’m not too keen on a cruise ship or any other kind of boat  to reach some of these destinations. Sniffy. Sniff. I can dream…):
1. Cabo San Lucas. MSH has been twice. He really enjoyed it both times. I’ve had many friends that have been. I may have missed any opportunity I had. I’ll bet it’s warm there right now.
2. Any beach in Australia.
3. Any beach in New Zealand. (And I’m thinkin’ any boat trip from the California Coast to either Australia or New Zealand could take me weeks. Maybe months. Darn.)
4. The South of France. Specifically Monte Carlo. (That is in the South of France, right? TLC and MSH can testify that I am the worst person you’ll ever meet when it comes to geography.)
5. The newest island that has become a tourist’s dream in Hawaii. But I can’t remember the name.


(Now for three places I actually can get to by car/truck/train and do want to visit—tomorrow):
6. Gulf Shores, Mississippi. I’ve got a beaucoup of friends who have been there and absolutely love it. It’d take MSH and me less than an easy day of driving to get there. He’s still recovering from the flu. Tomorrow might be out of the question. And I’d have to check to see if it’s cold there, too, right now.
7. Okracoke, North Carolina. My brother and his family, when they lived near Atlanta, used to go there every summer. Adored it. I’ve always been fascinated by the name. Is it not seriously marvelous?
8. Nantucket. I have no doubt it is truly the fairytale land their Chamber of Commerce alleges it is. I believe them. Totally.
9. And while I’m up there? Martha’s Vineyard. MSH and I were very, very close to Martha’s Vineyard a few years back when we drove to Rhode Island. From Texas. Yes. Interesting trip. Sadly, we couldn’t find a day to visit the Vineyard. I’m ready now. Or maybe I should say I'll be ready in April. Or May?


Because I’m once again thinking 8 and 9 are too cold for me tomorrow. I WANT WARMTH. I NEED WARMTH. Trust me, when it’s 120 degrees in the shade in Texas in August? I will NOT be wishing it was cold like it’s been these past horrid weeks. Nope. That won’t be happening. Will I be complaining? Of course. It’s what we Texans do in August. (Actually, we start in July and sometimes June.) None of us will want to go back to this hideous time of unrelenting winter horror.


The First 18! In the books! Woo Hoo!
Have a FANTASTIC Friday, Friends…wherever in this World Y’all are! (If you’re at one of the above beaches and it’s warm and amazing? Well, count yourself blessed.)
Hugs and No Smooches (It’s too cold for smooches…)
ELC

Saturday, January 13, 2018

accepting reality...

So the FLU has arrived at ELC’s country casa. My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH aka Pa-Pa) began to feel bad Wednesday afternoon. I got home from TLC’s around 5:30. He was in bed. Thought it might be a sinus infection or upper respiratory issue.

Thursday morning? I knew it was the flu. He didn’t want to accept the truth. I had to force him to go back to bed. He promised me he wasn’t feeling as bad as he’d ever felt. I haven’t had flu in years. Maybe 30? Or 35! But I vividly remember the two times in my 63 years that I had it. I knew. Immediately. Both times I had no doubts: I’d never been so sick. And both times I begged God to just go ahead and let me pass on. I meant it. I was ready to be out of the pain.

I have, though, nursed MSH and TLC through many cases of flu. Never have I contracted it. It is quite amazing to me. To all of us. I’m praying my record continues through this current ordeal.

I thought I should call our doctor and get Tamiflu yesterday. MSH begged me not to do it. I realized he was afraid they’d tell me he had to come in and he could not tolerate the idea of sitting in the doctor’s office for maybe two hours. (If he was lucky. Could be three.) A trip to town? With a wait for our doctor? Then another wait on a prescription to be filled? Could end up being four hours. I understood. The whole suggestion was overwhelming.

During the day he actually seemed to be rallying. I decided that the (virtually useless) flu vaccine he’d had in October might keep him from having a truly awful case this time. But early Friday morning—when I went to check on him (I’d been sleeping in TLC’s old room—as I wasn’t interested in taking a chance his germs would attack me when he coughed and whilst I slept inches away from him)—I could immediately see he was in distress. He confessed he'd had high fever all night. When I took his temp? 103.

I called our doctor’s office at 8:30. The receptionist said she’d ask our doctor about a Tamiflu script. I also said I’d like to know what I should look for as we went through the weekend—in terms of deciding if and/or when to take him to our ER. If he didn’t improve.

By 11:00, his fever had gone down to 100.6 and I was headed to town to pick up his script and one for me! I had no idea I could take Tamiflu as a “preventative” measure against the flu. My doctor offered it to me. I happily accepted! Who knew that little detail?

I also had to pick up a $45 “ear” thermometer after MSH complained about my “old school” thermometer dating back, more than likely, to the 90s. When I got home with our prescriptions and the new thermometer? It showed his temp to be exactly what my old one had been measuring. 100.6. Sheesh. Mine doesn’t require batteries.



In the past 75ish hours, I’ve made several cups of hot tea for him—with lemon and honey. Taken many bottles of water to his nightstand. Gatorade. Have fixed him soup and bowls of fruit. Toast. Taken care of Buddy Bear the Dog and Hunter the Cat. He’s been genuinely grateful and has told me many times what a fantastic “nurse” I am! I could actually never repay him for all of the “nursing” he’s done for me—and TLC—over the years. It’s not even possible.



Tonight he’s in still in pretty pitiful shape. Y’all know we always feel worse as the sun goes down. Dangitall. Why is that part of so many illnesses? Why is that necessary?

TLC and I will be praying non-stop that tomorrow he improves significantly. It’s sad to see our strong MSH/Pa-Pa be sick. Extremely sorrowful.

PLEASE DON’T GET THE FLU, Sillies Everywhere! Stay healthy. Rest. Drink lots of water. Eat right. Take your vitamins. Stay far away from people who are coughing and telling you they have a fever. Trust me. You’ll be glad you did. Here's a thought: STAY HOME. Sick people. Non-sick people. Stay home.

Bye for now…

ELC

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

catching up...

Happy New-ish Year!

We have had a whirlwind holiday. I need a nap.

The week before Christmas, we learned our Sweet Baby Elle was fairly far-sighted and needed glasses. This came as quite a surprise, as neither I, nor my Hubby or Little Leighton, wear glasses. We picked out the cutest, little, pale pink pair, and she has ROCKED them. It was pretty hard to tell her "no" before her specs. Now? It's virtually impossible. I had worried she wouldn't "warm up" to them--in fact, the ophthalmologist had told me if she wore them for 10 minutes the first day, to consider that a success. Yikes. But, y'all, she hasn't missed a beat. It's amazing. I think she is genuinely excited and grateful to SEE and that brings me immense joy (and also makes me a bit sad that we don't know how long she hasn't been able to see well). For Christmas, our darling cousins gifted her a Cabbage Patch Doll wearing glasses! TWINS. I cried. Truly the most wonderful and special gift.


Both girls had a magical Christmas! Here we are, cozy on Christmas morning, as we unwrapped our gifts:


The lightsaber LL is holding was a HUGE hit. Girlfriend loves Star Wars, despite having never actually seen it.

Speaking of LL, she LOVED every second of Christmas. She brought extra "fancy" into our home this year. I couldn't adore it, or cherish her, more.


After Christmas, we took LL to the Gaylord in Grapevine to ice skate for the first time. I was BEYOND impressed. She was brave and had a BLAST. I hope this becomes a new family tradition. Sweet Baby Elle truly wanted a turn on the ice. Maybe next year!



Cheers to 2018, y'all! May this year bring lots of grace, fun, adventure, happiness and good health! (I'm so skeered of the flu, guys! EEK. I'm loading us up on probiotics, Vitamin D and praying hedges of protection around every inch of my girls. Every. Inch. Wash your hands! TTFN.)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

beginnings...


So I told TLC I’d post Thursday evening. Then I said I’d post Friday. Now it’s Saturday morning. Close to noon. Not starting off our 2018 blog with flying colors, am I? Sheesh.

 

Here IS what I’ve already done right since January 1st:

 

1.     I learned how to use the “Power” button on our microwave! Y’all. This is BIG. H.U.G.E. We’ve had this dadgum microwave for 17 years. SEVENTEEN. And I could never, ever figure it out. (Yes. I was acting like a man—no offense to men—refusing to find and read the instructions .And, no. I never asked My Sweet Hubby—aka MSH. I don’t know why. No reason.) But I’ve been buying a Jimmy Dean breakfast muffin for 3-4 months that needs to be put in the micro for 90 seconds on 30 Power. I tried just taking one out of the freezer and adjusting the “regular” power and time—it simply did not work. I was persistent on January 2nd and VOILA: GOT. IT. DONE. Now I feel so…well… POWERFUL. Ha.

2.     I’ve begun 2018 forty-four point four (44.4) pounds lighter than this time last year! And I’ve already committed myself to staying on this FABULOUS Weight Watchers’ program hopefully for the rest of my life! This coming Thursday I’ll weigh at the Stephenville meeting for my official title of “Lifetime Member!” I’ll then get the program and MARVELOUS App FREE. I love anything FREE. Saving myself $45 per month. (Which I will soon transfer over to help pay the increase in my health insurance that has gone from $600 per month 4 years ago to $900 per month this year. Not to mention my $7250 deductible. Haven’t met a deductible in said four years. Haven’t even been close. There’s a good thing about that, though, right? It means I haven’t had to go to the ER or had a serious illness. I’m grateful for that. $18,000 grateful? Since that’s what I’d have to pay before this lovely insurance would cover a cent of anything medical in my life. I guess my answer is YES. I’m $18,000 grateful.)

3.     MSH and I have now kept Baby Elle (aka Belle) totally by herself at our country casa! For the very first time. Which has been a bit odd. Considering we always kept Little Leighton (aka LL aka Biscuit) by herself very frequently almost from the time she was around seven months old. It’s been different—with two TLC daughters. (Probably the biggest thing that has kept us from keeping Belle only is the fact that Princess LL has NOT WANTED HER TO COME by herself to our house. Winky. Wink.) With LL’s school schedule, birthdays, family events, holidays, other conflicts, etc., this past week was the first time we could get it all worked out. By the way: Biscuit was given three different opportunities to make the decision to come by herself FIRST this new year. Each time she opted for “Mama Time.” So there you go.  Biscuit then had a slight meltdown Tuesday morning when she realized that was the day we were meeting at a Hobby Lobby parking lot in Weatherford to make the “exchange,” taking Belle home with us ala carte. Teeheehee. (TLC and LL had 48 hours of quiet, peaceful, lovely “Mama and Biscuit Time!”) Everything here went GREAT. Well, Belle slept marvelously—naps and nighttime. She didn’t want to eat everything we fixed—but she ate enough. She certainly didn’t starve. And we couldn’t play outside because of the frigid cold weather we’re experiencing in North Central Texas. Other than those two small issues? MSH and I had a BLAST with Belle and can’t wait to get her again! (LL is next, naturally. If she can work us into her busy life, that is!)

Hope each of Y’all has begun a year of fun and/or important/helpful accomplishments! It feels good to moi to have conquered a few small to big goals.

Have a Sweet Saturday—wherever in this World Y’all are!

HUGS,

ELC

Monday, January 1, 2018

a soft heart...



In honor of this New Year’s Day, 2018, I share a prayer I think is important. For our futures…


From Prayers with Purpose for Women, by Jackie M. Johnson:


Living in the Present


Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.
PSALM 95:6-8


Lord, I have been camping in the past too long. Pull up my tent stakes and help me to move on. There is so much to live for today! The past is over and the future awaits. Today I choose to worship You, my Lord and Maker. When I hear Your voice, may my heart be soft—not hardened or jaded by the past. Today is a gift; I celebrate the present with You, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.


TLC and My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH) would be tickled at me choosing this prayer. Because I am so far from being a “camper” it is not even funny! MSH? Loves camping! Even though he hasn’t been in quite a while. TLC? Ummm…pretty much like her Mom, me suspects—not too interested. Although I do believe she—and I, for that matter—would do anything Little Leighton (aka LL) and Baby Elle (aka Belle) wanted to do as they grow and experience new adventures! Somehow I’m feeling LL is going to want to at least try it someday! I’ll do my best to be up for it. Sigh.


TLC and MSH would also tell you I do have some difficulty with letting go of the past. I’d defend myself by saying that the reason I can’t let go—too often—is because the “past” seems to (sadly) STAY my present. And then seems to become my future.


I’ll continue to do my utmost best to work on this personal issue. I swear. I’m determined to try even harder this year—2018—to learn how to let go of those things that literally crush my soul. Make me stressed. Make me frustrated. (In the interest of time, I won’t specify what those things—or people?—might be. You’re welcome. Winky. Wink.)


Sending each of Y’all my sincere hopes that This New Year is wonderful for you and your families! That you find strength, courage, laughter, success, happiness and love around every corner you turn. And that, on December 31, 2018, you can honestly say:


I did my BEST to live each day with "a soft heart.”


Hugs and SMOOCHES
ELC