Monday, September 22, 2008

Letter of the week

Preschool is going well. WG now enters the building of her own free will and today, for the first time, she did not have a meltdown when I picked her up. She has friends and seems to be settling into the routine. Her main beef is that they make her use the bathroom. WG has a tremendous bladder capacity which combined with her tremendous pain tollerance makes pottying an annoyance. If she had it her way she would use the bathroom once a week or so.

She has homework. Granted, it's preschool, so it's not hard homework. Last Friday she had to wear something green because green is the school's color. (Their mascot is the dragon.) Today she came home with her sheet about what they were learning this week as well as homework. They are learning all about the letter R this week. Her assignment for tomorrow is to bring something that starts with the letter R for Millie the Letter Muncher to eat.

I have never met Millie, I'm thinking they want WG to bring a picture of something that starts with R. A picture of a rainbow is much easier to send than the real thing. WG spent dinner going through a laundry list of words. "ruh-ruh-refridgerator. Does refridgerator start with R? Ruh-ruh-pisghetti. Does pisghetti start with R? HAHAHAHA!!!" She gets it.

We forgot to find pictures so I was looking for some to cut out for her to choose from in the morning. I found an old Rachel Ray magazine. I cut her out. She is a double R, which in my opinion should mean extra credit. And besides, don't you just want to feed Rachel Ray to Millie the letter muncher? I think I might send her along anyway even if WG chooses the Roadkill Racoon.

A rave and a recipe

We recently had an unexpected windfall in the form of an gift card, so we decided to use the majority of it on gluten-free fare. We got some bread mixes which we had tried before and liked and we also got a three-pack of Pamela's Baking Mix. I had never tried the baking mix and was a little leery because getting it on Amazon meant buying a bulk package of three. It's amazing. Really really good. It's somewhat like bisquick. It's a combo of GF flours, buttermilk powder, almond meal, baking soda and baking powder. Unlike bisquick it does not contain shortening or oil. There are recipes on the package for pancakes, waffles, muffins, banana bread, cookies, corn bread, etc, but you can also sub it into your own recipes with very little tweaking. I made the Baker's One Bowl Brownies and subbed the mix in for the flour. They rose a little on the sides but aside from that (ha!) they were excellent. I've made waffles twice with them and they are hands down the best GF waffles we've had. I also made the banana bread recipe and you can't even tell that it's GF. Great flavor, great texture.

And, here is another really easy really fast GF cookie recipe that uses (mostly) NORMAL ingredients!!! (Note: I use chocolate crisp rice cereal with these because I can find a "normal" brand in the "regular" cereal isle that doesn't contain malt. Malt is made from barley and barley has gluten.)

GF Peanut butter-Chocolate Rice Krispie Bars (adapted from Cooking Light)
2 T butter or margarine
1/4 Cup or so peanut butter (I don't measure)
1/2 a bag of mini marshmallows (so, about 6 oz)
3 cups GF chocolate crispy rice cereal: I *think* cocoa pebbles is the one that is GF (as opposed to cocoa krispies) but read the label for yourself. Malt = gluten. Tonight I used a dedicated GF cereal because that's what we had.)

*Melt the butter and peanut butter together in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds or so. Add the marshmallows and continue to melt and stir until everything has melted into a nice gooey mess. Add the cereal, stir, and dump into an 8 or 9 inch square pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Press down, cool and eat. You can also double this recipe for a 9 by 13 pan.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The pre-K adventure begins

WG started pre-K Tuesday. So far it's going okay. She never wants to go in the morning and, with the exception of her first day, I have had to pry her out of the car and carry her into the building but once she is physically in the building she willingly goes and sits with the other kids in her class. Her teachers say she does well during the day. Yesterday she went on her first field trip. They tromped the kids up the street, caught the trolley and went downtown to hear the governor read stories.

In other news, Knoxville apparently had the distinction of having the highest gas prices in the country this past week. Lucky us. No investigations into price gouging yet but we'll see what develops.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The 5 minute pity party

Welcome to Holland by Emily Kingsley

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

Months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

I first read this shortly after WG was born. I looked it up tonight because I am throwing myself a 5 minute pity party. I'm sad that we are still in Holland. I thought for sure we would have hopped a plane to Italy by now. I'm very excited about pre-school and I think it will be an amazing thing for WG. I'm happy she qualified, but at the same time, I WISH she hadn't. When we were first married and Tim was working at the school, we never dreamed we would have a child enrolled there. No one does, I guess. I think the reason I'm needing my 5 minute pity party is because when I explain the pre-K situation to people, no one expresses disbelief that WG qualified. It's a really stupid thing to be wallowing over: we are very confident that this is the right place for her... I guess it's along the lines of a woman complaining about a dress making her look fat and then getting mad when her husband agrees. Silly? Very. Which is why my pity party was limited to 5 minutes only.

It's not a tragedy. Life goes on, we adjust and adapt. I really like tulips, anyway.

Friday, September 12, 2008


At her four year well check, WG's pediatrician strongly suggested that WG needed to be in some sort of a pre-K program. WG has some developmental hitches that we just aren't sure about. Dr. S. thought it would be a good idea to throw her into an unfamiliar environment to see if it made a difference, good or bad. There were a few problems we were having with finding a suitable program. Cost was one. Private pre-K was out of the question. A Mother's Day Out program would have been doable, but I was having a hard time justifying the cost for the educational value. It seemed to me that the money would be better spent on a dance or art class. Another problem is that we live in the Bible belt and the majority of pre-K educational programs are religiously based, whether they advertise themselves to be or not. This is fine, however, I think it is my job as WG's parent to guide her spiritual development. Different people and churches believe different things and we were not comfortable sending her to a program where we did not know exactly what those beliefs were.

After a particularly difficult day with a lot of tears (her's and mine), Tim made a phone call to a teacher he used to work with when we first got married to get her opinion on what to do next. Our county has a special needs public preschool program that has added a few "regular" classes for children who are at-risk. At risk is defined in many ways: ESL, low income, odd family situation, etc. WG was deemed to be at risk for what she has been through in the past as well as the difficulties we are having now. She will be in a regular classroom with a teacher who also has special ed credentials. She will be assessed for needs as far as PT, OT, and speech therapy are concerned and will be given services through the school if they think she needs them.

She will start on Tuesday. We went and met her teacher and TA today and got the registraton packet. They were both very nice. WG originally was not thrilled at the prospect of going to school but decided it would be okay since they have scissors and glue sticks there.

Monday, September 8, 2008

GF peanut butter cookies

These cookies are my favorite to bake. No strange flour (actually, no flour at all!) and no xanthan gum to mess with!

GF Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg

Mix everything together, shape into balls, press crisscross with a fork (like regular peanut butter cookies), and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

These are also really good with chocolate chips added.