Friday, November 1, 2013

Paleo Vegan Pumpkin Spice Drink with a Call for Foster Parents on the Side

We are rounding out a almost a year of being a foster home, and I wanted to take a blog and write about it. I don't write too much about all the different kiddos or stituations that we are involved in, because, obviously, privacy issues. But I wanted to give it the attention that it deserves. The "it", is really just being a foster parent.

Sometimes I want to cheer people into becoming foster parents, but really, that isn't how we came about becoming ones, ourselves. I was most influenced by my family. I have an incredible cousin who showed me what a foster parent looks like. She has been a refuge and her life has been inspiring to me. I also have a beautiful sister in law, who adopted a sibling group of 5, out of the foster care system in California. These two families have influenced our decision to travel down an often scary and uncertain journey.

Let me start out by saying honestly, I am not a great mom. I loose my cool, I yell, am super impatient, and I struggle just talking nice when things don't go the way I think they should. I lean a lot on Jesus, I repent, and ask for forgiveness, throughout my day. I cry. I have often thought that I cannot be a good mother, due to my weaknesses. But the Lord has used these very weaknesses to show me His transforming power. Am I healed from any of my shortcomings? No, I still have them all....but now, now I have new life growing in me...a life that is stronger and more humble than my former self...a life that eats and drinks Christ.

So this is why I am a foster parent. Because my strength is Him. I am compelled to serve. I have rarely said no to a child/children coming into our home (I try to maintain a no kids older than my youngest biological, for everyone's safety), the reason is, because I feel like each situation comes to us from God.

Nothing has changed and challenged me more, than serving others.....serving little ones. I am amazed by this amazing gift that Toby and I have been given to have these kids in our home. It has made my kids more aware that they are not the center of the world. That some kids don't have what they take for granted (even though their mom yells, sometimes). I am blessed to see my kids step up and be kind and accept the kids that have been in our home.

Grant it, I would like to adopt. This is not the way I would have chosen to go about it (and yes, we're still going to adopt from Romania), but it is a better way  than I could have ever imagined. I am convinced that I have gotten more from the kids, than they have gotten from us. How humbled I am that they would be in our home.

We will have a full house starting Sunday.....for us, that means 6 kids total. It's the amount that I can have in my car, and a huge mental jump for me, is going to a passenger van. I have no clue how long we will have the 3....but I trust that God will work out the details. It continues to amaze me, how situations come about in our life, simply because we said and continue to say yes.

On to the Pumpkin spice ....I don't know what to call it!! It's not a latte, or smoothie, or a hot chocolate.....anyways, it's a warm fall drink, except it is finally winter in alaska...so for all my intensive purposes, it's a winter sip

Pumpkin Spice Sipping Goodness

2c of cashews
8 pitted dates
7c of water
1/2c of nutmeg, allspice, cloves
2t of cinnamon


first soak your nuts and dates about 2 hours

while your nuts are soaking (I know, I know, giggling just never gets old on the matter)

get a nice pumpkin and cut and scoop the seeds, place the two halves facing up on a cookie sheet and bake for a half hour at 350......

cut up about 2 cups (however think you want your goodness) worth of cubes from the pumpkin and place all ingredients in vitamix...or
blender...enjoy!! and really think about the impact of being a foster parent.
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kale chips, and Staying Current

I officially have a valid greencard (whew!!). I am waiting for the shiny new card, but in the meantime, I have my current card with an extended expiration date. This is a tiny step in the right direction, when it comes to adopting from Romania.

Speaking of which, we are emergency foster parenting these days. This has caused some confusion about our intent to adopt. Yes, we are planning on adopting from Romania....and, would love to be able to adopt out of the foster care system in Alaska. It is a mess. But I really feel like God will bring us the situations and kids and we'll just take them as they come. We have had a little guy with us for over a month. He's 3 and a doll. We're all smitten and watching to see what happens. It was supposed to be a temporary placement, but nothing is certain, is kinda the rule, with OCS. I have just started researching where his heritage is from and am completely fascinated with it! What a rich thing, to have a culture and a history that has a visible root (Americans kinda loose theirs). I want to learn everything, so I can teach him. So that he can be proud of how unique he is. He has adapted in our home well, but I know that the more comfortable he gets, the more he'll act like a 3 year old (Oiy!). So for now, we have 4 kids, running and playing, and squabbling....and laughing...and playing in the mud!

It has been really good for my youngest Zaya, to have a younger sibling. He is rising to the challenge of being a good role model, and adapting to the fact that He is not the youngest. It has been a positive change. Zaya finally has someone who listens to him.

Fall is fading quickly here. We had an incredible summer. The blueberries this years were absolutely incredible! I was able to pick 17 gallons! and though that sounds like a lot. It may last me through the winter. They are very precious to me (said in the Gullom voice). We had a swift fall, full of pretty much non stop rain. We were able to go out 4 wheeling and cranberry picking on Sunday for the first time in over a month. But it's supposed to be in the 20's in the next couple of days. YIKES! So today I harvested all the rest of my garden. I had beautiful potatoes and carrots (there were many bites in my carrots from voles! gggrrrrr) come up, that I will enjoy in the coming months. Grateful!

My adventures in homeschooling are moving along slowly. I cannot believe how behind Isaac is academically, for his grade. It took him 2 hours to attempt to copy a sentence today. And still it was something I had to help him do. On the positive side, he is doing awesome with the math curriculum that I got. It has him grouping and learning on the abacus, which he's a natural at! I can't tell you the elation that I get, seeing him "get it". We played a game of war with fractions....fractions?! and he was able to know that 3/4 beats 6/10..... Toby says I'm geeking out over the whole curriculum, and he may be right. He may be right.

So I am currently doing a 30 day paleo diet experiment. Why? To see if my body does well with it. I am switching out whole grains, for animal protein. As a vegan for 2 years, I have a few things that I have noticed. First, I have had an intense sugar addiction, that either was not there before, or I never noticed. I also struggle a lot with acid reflux. Considering how clean my diet has been, it always bugged me! The only answer I got was that my food combining was off. But seriously? Should there really be something else that I need to follow? Food should not be this land mine field of do's and don'ts. Ultimately, it's gotta be better living than that.

Because my garden is over, I harvested all my kale. I planted many, many kale plants, cause I heart kale. I use the leaves to make this, and the stems to juice. My favorite kale is the dinosaur variety. I am not a fan of the Russian variety. But to each, his own. Before making the sauce, be sure you have taken the stems off and cut the kale into chip sizes.


KALE CHIPS! 

preheat oven to 350 or prepare dehydrator (I have never used the oven, so if someone does, please tell me how it comes out)

in a blender (or vitamix) mix together

1c hemp seeds
2/3c of water
1 red bell pepper
1T of chili powder
1T of lemon juice
1-2 cloves of garlic
something spicy (I put jalapenos, but this is optional!)

mix into a nice sauce, and pour on prepared kale. Mix with hands....it gets messy, and I have to always wash my hands..... now before putting the dehydrating trays away, or cookie sheet... lightly salt the top of the kale with a salt shaker!

I put the chips overnight in my dehydrator...you can check the oven every 5 minutes till they are our of the oven....another tip is to use cashews, if you don't have hemp seeds...just soak for about 20 minutes.... Enjoy!!!! These are way better than any store bought versions.





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Friday, August 9, 2013

Blueberries, Change, and Gluten Free Pancakes!

I think I've written several blog posts....in my head. I came and thought, Wow, it's been a while! Our family structure has changed a few times in the months that have passed. We are currently emergency foster parents, which means that at any moment we get a call and have kids in our home that need placement. I have said that I want only kids younger than our youngest to maintain the birth order, and to protect the set up. But I must admit, it is a stretching thing for me, to have no idea what will happen next. Toby and I both just feel like God will handle the details, and our only responsibility is to say Yes, or No to the call: to house those little people in need. It will only be a season in our life that we will foster. After our family is full, we will stop (Lord willing, I...um, think). I have been praying for the right sibling group that will need a permanent home to come along. I want our family to grow, the constant shifting and changing is not my cup of tea.

Meanwhile, my papers for me to get my green card updated FINALLY came, last week!!!! On September 11th, (I know, weird, right?) I will go to the federal building and get all my finger prints done and sent in for a nice new shiny green card...then I will need to go to Washington DC to get my Romanian passport....I wish there was a way to get that without having to actually go, in person, to apply. I will make a trip of it to see my sweet and wonderful Grandma, and a friend who lives in maryland.

It has been hot. No, I mean, really, really hot!!!! We went to the fair today (an almost painful torture for me, with 3 kids) and got a sun burn. My plants are all trying to hang in there, but the heat is much for them. The water we go through is a lot. The positives are plenty over the heat wave, also. We don't have to pay for heat. We live in Alaska, too much heat is almost a sin to complain about!!!

So School is almost upon my house. We start on the 21st. Zaya will be a first grader and Bella will be in 3rd, they are currently scheduled to be in the same classroom, but I'm going to try my super hardest to change that bad situation, we'll see if I succeed. And Isaac, well, Isaac is being home-schooled......by me, I know, right?! I was one of those women who said I would NEVER home-school my kids, never! I also happened to say that I wanted a small family (two kids...a boy and a girl) and that I wanted a degree and career. God has and continues to use the very things that I am awful at to show me who He is through me. Not what I consider my strengths, but what I know are my weaknesses. There's this thing that some churches do....where they do these personality tests in an attempt to understand what God has made them to do, or be. I find it a touch ironic, that in my life it's the exact opposite...I boast of what I cannot do (be patient, nurturing, most times...kind, and not stress out) because I know when I am weak, He indeed, is strong. I am actually excited to be doing this with Isaac. He has fallen so far behind in academics, it's heartbreaking to see him have little confidence in math. I am hopeful that he will find his love of learning, and I will gain an ability to teach, that I don't have (and have not wanted...lol)

It is blueberry season....This. is. a. big. deal!! I have been obsessed with the little blue nuggets for weeks. They came out early, and look to be fading away. I want more buckets!! I only have 9 gallons, and trust me, that is not enough to last past the winter. My goal is to not rely on the store bought, flavorless knock offs. But I am only one woman. They do taste amazing with my chocolate vegan shakeology!! I am addicted to the combo. But one of the hands down bestest things to do with these precious blue gems, is to put them in your pancake batter. The tart and tangy with the maple syrup is divine!!!

Best Blueberry pancakes!!!
-prepare your pan for batter
 
1c teff flour
1/2c quinoa four
1/2c buckwheat flour
3t baking soda
1t baking powder
1/2c grated zucchine
1/4c ground organic flax (whatch out, non organic is most certainly GMO) or ground chia
2T oil (olive or coconut)
2-4 c of coconut milk (add 1T of apple cider vinegar to each cup, so you get a nice curdle)
1-2 cups of alaskan blueberries!!

pour and serve (I'll post some pics when I get them taken)

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Moist Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Layered Birthday Cake with an Update

It has been an awfully long time since my last post.  I have several drafts that I never finished and never posted. I read them, and think, totally outdated, trash. So I will try yet again. I have high hopes of posting this though.

First off, an update on our adoption process.....drum roll please.....I am exactly at the same place now, that I was several months ago. I am waiting for the US to simply give me a renewed current green card. My mother told me it took her 2 weeks to get one of my brothers lost cards replaced...great.....I am looking at month 8, and still no paperwork moving. I think what makes it difficult, is seeing other families who are at that finish stage. I have met, 2 couples, through our church, whom are doing international adoptions. One is just finishing their dossier and the other couple is watching God topple many great obstacles in Uganda (it should have been easier than it has been). It makes me wonder what our journey is going to be like. That point when we get the green light to go to Romania. It makes me long

I did want to mention that my mother is completely horrified that I would want to adopt from our home country. Why? Well, because most likely I will be adopting a gypsy child/children. Gypsy and Romanian are not the same thing. In fact gypsies are spread all over Europe. They are a very hated people group. As a group of people they tend to place value on material things, and running scams to rip people off. Not many people look favorably on them. In fact, during the Holocaust many of them were slaughtered. I am perfectly fine accepting the child/children that God has for us. So both of us are praying. I warned her that I am kind of a favorite of His. It will make a tremendous testimony for her, I am grateful to be able to be a part. She can see that God is a God who loves orphans (which is what we are) and He can open closed doors when it comes to giving them a home.

I am not going to write about the horrendous weather we have had this May. But I don't believe I'm exaggerating when I say, this has been the most disappointing month of weather, in my entire life. The longing for a place were I can grow food all year round, grows.

Bella and Kenai
Thursday was my little girls' birthday. She turned 8, just like that....in a day. She is such an incredible little girl that I get raise! I have these moments when I stare at her, grateful that I get to watch her grow.  She has blue eyes. Here's some facts about the significance of that: I always wanted blue eyes, and since I couldn't have them, I picked friends who did.  Eventually I married my husband, for the same reason (and a few others, lol). I had a dream about having a little girl with blue eyes, by the time I had Bella, I had given up on that dream (it had been 9 years). Her blue eyes remind me of God's utter faithfulness, they really do.  Bella wants to be an artist when she grows up, it makes me giggle, because it's so different than me. She's truly a farm girl at heart, she has no fear of animals, any of them. She had a choice between a guinea pig, or her own American girl doll. She chose the pet, and since they get awfully lonely, we will have 2 soon. I love her very much


Today Isaac turned 9. That is almost a decade! The days
Isaac and the little chicks
have been slow, but the years have gone sooo fast! I am going to be homeschooling Isaac next year, and I am actually very excited to see how he learns and learn how to teach. I wish I had not waited so long, and had done this earlier, but God certainly had a lot to change in my heart before I was willing. Isaac is the sweetest child to parent, it is hard to believe he was such a challenge as a toddler. That's autism, for you. He has his moments, like with food. But hands down, he's the least challenging to parent. He wants to please, he loves so deeply and with such clear, pure, love. This year for mother's day, he came in our bed in the morning, and proudly brought to me something he'd made at school. He read it to me. I love my mom because she takes good care of me. My mom is a great cook. My mom likes to knit. My mom always takes good care of my family. I couldn't help but weep. Here's my little boy (who isn't so little, anymore) validating all the things I do, day in and day out, that I mostly feel are taken for granted. He knows me....and he loves me. Pretty profound for a 9 year old!

So today we celebrated both their birthdays, inside. My house was full of kids. I think they totally outnumbered the adults. But we all kept our head above waters. No drowning here...lol. A great group of people blessed my kids, and therefor blessed us. Our favorite present was a gift to go on a date night and see a movie! How thoughtful of our friends Dan and Sarah! They are some our favorite people....

But I made a cake. I really like a moist layered cake with frosting. Maybe it's the Romanian in me (they make very elaborate desserts called prăjitură). This cake went first (I had made a raw vanilla/raspberry and a pure chocolate cheesecake). I wanted more. I still want more. I almost ate it all before I could take a picture! oops. 

Moist Gluten Free Chocolate Cake


1/3c buckwheat flour
1/3c quinoa flour
1/3c garbanzo/fava
1/4c brown rice
1/4 c of chia seeds ground 
1/2c oil (coconut or olive oil)
1/4c of coconut yogurt (or applesauce)
1/2c coconut crystals
pinch of salt
1t of baking soda
1t of baking powder
3/4c coconut milk add 1T of apple cider vinegar

Frosting! (very sugary, sorry)

1/2c of vegetable shortening
1/2c of soy free earth balance
4 1/2c of organic powdered sugar
1T of vanilla extract
4T of coconut milk (use as needed
-mix the first 2 ingredients in a mixer, till fluffy, add sugar 1 cup at a time, adding 1 T at a time.  350 for 12-15 minutes (they are very thin in the round tins I use)

I bake the cake in 3 round non stick pans that I have to spray with olive oil (go figure) then add the frosting as I go.   Enjoy!




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