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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Friends, Chickens, and a Trial Diet

Where did the weekend go? It just flew a right by me.

Let's see, Friday evening there was a big holiday/birthday party in my department.  We never had a Christmas party so someone decided we needed a make up celebration. It was fun and full of lots of yummy food (and ridiculous decorations for everything from Presidents Day to Christmas to Ground Hog Day).

That night Cassie held a Parents's Night Out so we were kid free from 6-9:30pm. We saw Wanderlust. Whoa, nudity. And not by any of the hot actors watcher beware of you decide to see it.

Eddie was the only kid there when we picked him up. He was watching Charlotte's Web and was 100% not tired. We wanted dessert, so being the good parents we are, took our little 2 year old out to froyo at 10pm. He was in his jammies and didn't have a sweater...we got some looks to say the least. Especially on the two block walk back to the car, when he was smeared with chocolate goop. At least he was happy! And he slept in until nearly 9am the next morning. Score.

Saturday morning was sort of lazy. Eddie and I painted our nails (he chose pink for his fingers and blue for his toes, and he chose green for my toes) and then watched a show while the paint dried.
Later, while the boys were napping I went to the store to get storage totes for Eddie's old clothes. I bought 8 and I don't think that's enough. I sure hope we end up with another boy! We have so. much. clothing. Ouf.

That afternoon Dave was finally able to assemble the stairs for Eddie's bunk bed. There are about a zillion pieces just for the stairs, and we haven't even made the drawers yet. Ha! Maybe next weekend?
During our date on Friday, Dave and I were talking about what changes he could and should make to improve his health. He claims not to have time to exercise (I disagree). After about 3 years of suggesting it, he finally agreed to try avoiding gluten for a few weeks so we can see if he feels better without it. Who knows if it'll help, but it's worth a shot. I've heard claims that it causes weight gain, stuffy sinuses, chronic pain, and fatigue. Dave has issues with alllllll of those. Being a good wife and always up for a challenge, I decided to do it, too. Having done the whole gluten free meal planning and cooking a lot over the last 4 or so years, I don't think it'll be that big of a deal. I rarely eat bread at home anymore and we usually have oatmeal for breakfast anyway. So pasta will be the biggest hurdle for me, personally (okay...and all those Girl Scout cookies I just bought last week). But good alternative pastas are available and I've got a great pasta dough recipe. Dave will have a very hard time giving up wheat bread and breakfast cereal. He eats a sandwich everyday for lunch and has a big bowl of HBO or raisin bran crunch each morning. Even the most healthy-appearing cereal is crap anyway, so giving that boxed stuff up is good sense regardless (just refined carbs and sugar).

To prepare ourselves, I made us each a loaf of bread and a big batch of whole grain granola (chalk full of nuts, seeds, quinoa flakes, oats, and some dried is GOOD). So far, so good. Eddie likes the bread but I don't. I might turn some into crumbs for croquettes later this week. Or heavily toasted/seasoned croutons for soup.
Anyway, so for Saturday lunch we had quinoa pilaf with pesto, chicken, and sundried tomatoes with a side of orange juice braised broccoli/greens.
That evening we went to Josh's first birthday party. He had a boob cake, just like Eddie did! It was awesome. I brought some gluten free focaccia to share, which was delicious topped with Brian and Sarah's winey, tomatoey meatballs. Their parties are always great because we get to hang out with Brian's family (Dave's best friends growing up) and meet new, interesting people. This time I got to hold and feed a 6 month old baby girl named Ruth (Baby Ruth!). Ah, she was spit up scented heaven!

Brian's parents stayed the night with us so they could attend the party. They offered to stay home with sleeping Eddie that night so we could get away. Guess what we did? Grocery shopping.

Sunday morning was a full house, as Brian's family met up here at our house before they headed off to church. It was so nice to have house guests! I love having a full house--of humans and animals.  I also love having all my chickens running around outside, doing their thing.  They are such little weirdos, it just makes my heart melt.  Most of them come running, seriously running full charge at me whenever I come outside.  They are food motivated and I have trained them to know that Mama Julie = worms, snails, slugs, or grain. I adore how ridiculous it is to have a flock of chickens running in excitement toward me.  Haha.Only two of them will allow me to pick them up during the daytime, so I do, often.  The others only let me handle them when it is dark--at night chickens sorta turn "off" and you can handle them, move them, etc. all you want.
I am rapidly becoming a crazy animal lady.  To date, I have: two dogs, 7 chickens, 2 fish, and an aquarium snail.  I say "I  have" because most of these critters Dave could easily live without.  I really want to add a flemish giant rabbit and a cat to our household (and a flock of guinea fowl, and perhaps a pygmy goat or two).  But most of those things will have to wait until we move to Gualala.  Are you ready Davie?!

Last week I looked out my window to see a Rhode Island Red chicken standing outside the chicken pen.  I thought, "Oh, Tikka must not have been inside when I closed the door last night." But I went out there and discovered that we actually had two new chickens in the yard.  I have no idea where they came from.  Normally you don't want random chickens interacting with your own, lest they carry disease.  But these looked and acted perfectly healthy (unlike the one that showed up last year), so I just let them hang out with our lady birds in the yard.  I've asked around the neighborhood and posted a lost ad on Craigslist, but no one is claiming them.  They don't lay eggs and my neighbor suggested that perhaps someone just threw them over our fence to get rid of them since they aren't productive anymore.  Since our house borders the park and I'm outside twice a day saying sweet nothings to my chickie chickens, it is definitely possible that someone overheard me and realized that I'm the kind of animal loving schmuck who'd happily become a chicken rescue.  Who knows.  Both my friend Kelly and a neighbor have offered to take them in if I don't want them.  So either way they'll be taken care of.  The silly girls don't go into the pen at night, so I have to carry them in after dark.  They'll probably be okay roosting on the fence, but I worry about coons getting to them.
Anyway, where was I?  Right.  Sunday morning.  We got to play at the park with Eddie's friend, Isaac.

Those boys, along with Isaac's big sister, had so much fun together, running around, playing "fire rocket," and coloring with chalk. It was definitely nearing nap time when we walked home from the park. I made some pumpkin and mushroom fried rice using leftovers (namely the bacon fat in the skillet from breakfast...yum!). While chopping the pumpkin, I cut off a chunk of my finger tip, which was super annoying because it kept bleeding through the gauze I taped to it.
While the boys napped (why don't I nap on the weekends?), I biked to the store and bought what I hope is a month's supply of gluten free flours. Tapioca, potato starch, coconut flour, quinoa, rice, sorghum, millet, almond flour, xanthan gum, etc. My oh my.

For dinner we had polish sausages, salad, crockpot beans cooked with ham drippings, and sweet potato fries. I usually soak my beans over night in water and change the water before cooking. But recently I read on a blog that soaking them in a baking soda solution prevents the gas issues from eating beans. I tired it and it TOTALLY worked. I mean, completely. For a sandwich baggie of dried beans, I used about 2 quarts of water and 1/4 cup of baking soda over night. Amazing.


Kaitlin said...

Is Eddie wearing soccer shoes in the chicken pic? And good luck with the new eating habits...our new habits have been so rewarding is so, so, so many different ways.

steph.kelley said...

PYGMY GOATS! Random chickens from heaven! Nail polish on little boys! This post makes me so, so happy. Best of luck on your GF quest — I bet you'll have fun experimenting, and hopefully experience some health benefits too. xoxo

Mariah said...

I hope he feels better soon (with the food). Nail polish is AWESOME. You need to do the chickens next. OH man one day I'll start a better for me diet. I've got so many problems. LOL I'm kind of serious though

Kelly said...

You are a crazy animal lady, I love it :D Good luck with the diet, sounds hard - but I hope it works and makes Dave feel better!