Gluten Free Product Review Round-up

Earlier this month we spent our anniversary family-style at our country house upstate, and unlike the last trip (Easter weekend began with sun AND ended with snow!) this was summery without a spec of precipitation. It was filled with fun outdoor activities like lake swimming, sand castle building, marshmallow roasting, salamander catching (and releasing), and of course eating.

kids at lake

Red salamanders at the house and lots of green ones at the lake.

Red salamanders at the house and lots of green ones at the lake.

The eating part is surprisingly easy since the gluten free section at the local Peck’s grocery store is AWESOME! Seriously, it’s better than our grocery in Brooklyn. This makes our trips a lot easier knowing we can pick up a complete stash of Udi’s products, plus cookies, crackers, cake mixes, and more instead of packing our usual fridge/freezer/pantry arsenal.

I found a couple of new items that my family loved and I want to share here. I rarely do product reviews, but I should do more because there’s nothing worse than spending a zillion dollars on a dry meh GF cookie or a weird rubbery wrap.

scary face

Am I right?! (Gotta love Photo Booth.)

Have I mentioned how sad I am about gluten free bread lately? [sidebar alert] As much as I love Udi’s and am eternally grateful for their brand, I can’t handle how crumbly and hole-y the bread can be. It’s gotten to the point where I feel bad about giving it to my kids, especially Little Guy who is particularly sensitive to stale tasting bread. Maybe poor Bunky is used to it after all these years. Sigh.

Recently we tried Glutino White Bread, and it is SOFT, seriously insanely soft. You don’t even have to toast it! Less healthy than the whole grain Udi’s, sure, but you know, sometimes you need to be able to chew your sandwich without gagging.

Glutino_Bread_White_Sandwich-250x250

So, that was sort of an unofficial review, and now for the rest from our upstate stash…

Udi’s Gluten Free Flour Tortilla Wraps 

After years of eating quesadillas (practically a food group around here) on stiff yellow circles also known as store bought corn tortillas, I discovered these beauties.

The bread might not always be awesome, but these wraps totally are!

They are enormous and soft GF flour tortillas (they also sell smaller ones). Oh, Udi’s, I know I just bad talked your bread, but you nailed these. I used them for our regular shredded cheddar quesadillas, but also for a sweet breakfast tortilla (!) which tasted like a thick crepe, using our new favorite White Chocolate Peanut Butter and sliced banana. OMG! Unfortunately, I haven’t found these in Brooklyn yet (!) but the next time we go upstate, I’m stocking up.

Even a paper plate can't cheapen the experience.

Even a paper plate can’t cheapen the experience.

Next up…

Maple Grove Farms Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix

maple grove farms gf mix

Speaking of breakfast, have you tried this mix? If not, you should give it a try because it’s awesome. Plus, there’s NO added sugar, which is not necessarily true for other mixes (Bisquick, I’m talking to you). It’s super easy to make either pancakes or waffles and both have been successful for us. I used to like making my own homemade pancakes, and still do on occasion, but it’s also nice to have the convenience of a mix, especially when your kids wake you up before dawn.

Now, no trip to the country would be complete without copious amounts of Haagen Dazs ice cream. A moment of props to HD – want to know how many ingredients are in their traditional vanilla? FIVE. Cream, sugar, skim milk, egg yolks, and vanilla extract. Nothing fake, no “natural flavor” scams, nothing. Just real food.

Normally we eat it in a bowl because GF cones are not always easy to come by… except upstate where they sell these awesome ones:

Joy Gluten Free Sugar Cones

Isn't my cone model adorable?!

Isn’t my cone model adorable?!

These GF sugar cones are really tasty! They also make gluten free cake cones, by the way. One day we’ll give those a try. In the meantime, the sugar cones are rad. We all really enjoyed eating them all filled up with drippy vanilla and chocolate ice cream. The only caveat is that they leak at the bottom, but you can use your finger as a stopper, ha, or better yet melt some chocolate down there. Oh, yeah.

bunky and cone

Eating outside makes ice cream taste even better, don’t you think?

Everything outside is better in the summer. Salamander catching included.

kids and salamander

Have you had any fantastic gluten free finds lately? If so, bring it on in comments. I can always use some new ideas. And let me know if you try any of my suggestions. We GFers have to stick together, you know?

 

Gluten Free Overnight Oats

You know you have no life when the first thing you say to people – as in, any person, your friends, babysitter, your dad’s girlfriend, strangers on the street: “Do you like oatmeal?” And when they stare at your sort of blankly and nod or shake their heads, you blurt out the entire recipe for overnight oats with an excitement that is not infectious.

At least I don’t show them a picture.

overnight oats w spoon

But this is my platform, ha, in which to spout my love and devotion to whatever I want, and right now that thing is OVERNIGHT OATS because seriously, they are that good.

Now, don’t judge this fab breakfast by my feeble photography. The best thing about this is that you don’t have to cook it. Seriously! This is especially convenient on school mornings when I’m rushing to make Bunky lunch and Little Guy breakfast, while chugging my coffee so my eyeballs don’t fall out of my head. All I have to do is take it out of the fridge and warm it up in the microwave for 30 seconds (optional step), and then bam, breakfast is served.

Despite the rawness of this recipe, the oats are soft and chewy, not raw-tasting at all (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I used whole milk the first few times because that’s what we had and they were SUPER creamy and delightful. Then I tried them with a lower fat and the difference was obvious. Still good, though.

I was inspired by these fantastic recipes, my absolute favorite being the almond butter one, sans cocoa powder (I know, weird) and I’ve since made my own version. It’s a mouthful (no pun intended) but I couldn’t figure out how to shorten it, so…

Gluten Free Vanilla Maple Almond Butter Oats

*Adapted from My Whole Food Life’s, Almond Butter Chocolate Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats (I use regular but you can use steel cut for more texture)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsps maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I use 2% cow’s milk)*
  • 1 tsp flax meal (optional)
Isn't the lighting just lovely?

Isn’t the lighting just lovely?

Instructions:

1. Throw everything in a jar or thermos. Shake and put in fridge overnight.

2. Take out in morning and warm up if you want, and enjoy!

* add more milk or a splash of water for a slightly thinner oatmeal

A lovely pic taken alongside a dying bonsai tree.

Overnight oats beside an odd looking bonsai tree from Ikea.

This breakfast has really saved me because I haven’t been eating much of anything in the mornings, besides scraps from Bunky’s lunch. It’s sad because I used to love breakfast, and well, I still do, but I have no time or energy to make myself something healthy and filling. I used to be a hearty cereal girl, but I feel like the gluten free cereal options are super lame. Sure, there are organic circles and flakes, and a bunch of great mainstream sugary kinds (hello, Cinnamon Chex, which is like crack to my kids), but where is my hearty crunchy, granola-y, clustery cereal?! No where that I can find. Sigh. I don’t mind making regular oatmeal, but it takes time and messes up a pot.

But this overnight business? Genius! I don’t have to cook, it takes about 2 minutes at night which is key during crazy chaotic pre-bedtime lunacy, and it’s ready to go in the morning. It fills me up, it’s healthy, and YUM.

All I need is for these two to get a bit older and they can make it and serve it to me. Score.

kid waiter and chef

P.S. This is my 101st post! I didn’t do any fancy shenanigans for the 100th because, um, I forgot, but I’m pretty pleased with myself to have hit this milestone even though most bloggers seem to do it in one year (or less) rather than three, but whatev. I have two kids and half a brain. So, I consider this quite a feat.

Thank you to all my readers, new and old, sporadic and regular, for tuning in to my rantings, ravings, and recipes.

Shared on the fabulous Vegetarian Mamma’s Gluten Free Friday link up. Click the badge below for more awesome GF recipes and tidbits.

gf friday badge

Happy Chinese Gluten New Year

I have about a million things to tell you, but no time to do it. Between getting back on my play date game (which I was never on, apparently) and researching play schools for Little Guy (which he says have to be “blue”), I have had about zero time to update.

Fancy play date picnic.

What snacks look like when I’m on my play date A game. Of course this only happened once.

In my spare time (i.e. LG’s naps) I’m attempting to edit my novel AND take an online real estate course. By the time LG passes out at 10pm (yes, because of the long and vitally important naps) my brain is completely zapped. I’m lucky if I can stay up long enough to watch the last season of Breaking Bad, which I’m woefully behind on (no spoilers please) and gives me nightmares. I kind of wish I never started the show. It’s like a train wreck, and I can’t look away even though I really want to. At least there’s Jesse.

One of the many stretches of the show's imagination.

One of the show’s many far fetched concepts.

Anyway… another thing that kept me and my brain busy recently was Bunky’s first class trip of the year, which happened to be a celebration of Chinese New Year… at a Chinese restaurant. UGH. Sure, they have rice noodles. But most are doused in GLUTEN. I kind of freaked about this for a while. Why do class trips have to be food related? And not just food related, but completely food focused. What about kids with food restrictions, life threatening allergies, celiac? Why not take the kids to a museum or an indoor play space? But no. It had to be Chinese food.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to Lilli and Loo, the only GF chinese I've heard of.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to Lilli and Loo, which apparently has great GF options.

I had planned on making Bunky a similar menu including lo mein, but ended up giving her leftover baked ziti (always better the second day, B says and it’s true), chicken noodle soup, and GF fried rice similar to this recipe. Dessert was Turkey Hill Vanilla (GF – I called ahead and checked online), so at least I didn’t have to worry about that. Or so I thought. More on that in a bit. Here’s a clue:

Ours was not GF, obvs.

Ours was not gluten free, obvs.

Backtracking a bit, when my husband and I first heard about this trip, we were both angry and deflated. Angry about the concept, deflated that our kid might feel left out – again. We debated about not sending her to school that day. We considered giving her a choice. But neither felt right. She’d definitely feel left out if she didn’t go, right? And I don’t want her to think opting out is the automatic response

Food related activities and celebrations will be part of her life forever, and she has to learn how to navigate them, not hide from them. But I realize now how important it is that I don’t hide from them. That I teach her how she can enjoy these events. That they may be challenging at times, but that doesn’t mean we should avoid them.

Homemade brown fried rice is way healthier anyhow.

Homemade fried rice is way healthier anyhow.

And so I worked my butt off to make the trip a success, to help her feel included, amid all the oohs and ahhs over the fragrant egg rolls, fried wontons, shrimp dumplings, lo mein, and fried rice.

Sometimes being GF can feel a little lonesome.

Sometimes being GF can feel a little lonesome.

I used my best British accent when serving her our food, grabbed a soup bowl and spoon before they could gluten-ize it, and kept an eye out for flying crumbs and roving gluten-y fingers. The kids are her table were sweet, and I kept an eye out for their needs as well, but mostly my attention was on Bunky. It paid off. She had fun, I think.

She ate everything I brought, and we donated some extra soup to a friend.

She ate everything I brought, and then we donated some extra soup to a grateful friend.

I feel like I was pretty chill during the whole thing, except for one teensy weensy moment at the very end when the waiters brought out trays of gluten free vanilla ice cream in plastic cups… with gluten fortune cookies on top. I might have said, “Oh shit” but I’m not sure. I leapt out of my seat and asked for a plain ice cream. One waiter tried to pry the cookie off and hand the cup to me, but I said no.

Luckily, I had packed some Lucy’s allergy free cookies in my bag, just in case. So while Bunky waited for her uncontaminated ice cream, she happily munched on a cookie. Then I used the rest of the cookies to make her a gluten free ice cream sandwich. Score.

Lucys-Cookies1

Loving the new Snack and Go combo packs!

She was also thrilled with my stop at the local Hello Kitty store. (Oh holy moly, the store was AWESOME.)

I easily could have bought way, way more.

I easily could have bought way, way more cute stuff.

All in all, it was a success. Not every event will go so seamlessly, but it’s nice that this first one did.

Up next (as in tomorrow) – first sleepover. Say WHAT?!

(Luckily my sweet little homebody will be coming home in the evening. At least that gets me out of figuring out breakfast. Geez.)

Hopefully soon I’ll be able to work on the recipe posts currently simmering in my brain. There’s GF gnocchi (not homemade), one pot dinners, and Risi Bisi, a rice cooker dream.

How do you handle non GF friendly events and outings? Do you bring your own food, eat beforehand, or skip it all together? If your kid has celiac or a gluten intolerance, how do you help him or her feel included?

(How to) Come Together

It’s not easy being us. The G free. Let’s face it, we are living in a G filled world. A friend of mine sent me this hilarious (only to us!) photo of a list of ingredients for hot dog buns. Okay, I know, 99.99999 % of hot dog buns are gluten, but look how many gluten ingredients are in here. (Sorry you’ll have to squint a bit, it was a quick phone photo.)

gluten tastic edited

Count them. Nine. NINE! It’s funny, it really is, especially when you are losing your mind like my friend and I often are. We are moms to kids who HAVE to be gluten free. Because they have celiac disease and gluten makes them sick and destroys the insides of their little bodies.

I have talked, and I will talk more (possibly ad nauseum), about how hard this can be. Birthday parties, anybody? Family outings? But today I want to acknowledge something else. Someone else.

The G eaters. The people who hang out with us. Who host us. Who love us. Who invite us on play dates. People who want to be sensitive to our (many) needs, but perhaps aren’t sure how.

But first a side bar. (You know I can’t help myself.)

The other night we were having a very sweet picnic in the park, and my husband and I watched as people gathered with several sets of friends and children, sharing food on blankets, playing ball, laughing. We were doing all those things, too, just without the friends part. It was fine, don’t get me wrong. We had a blast. Leo dug in the dirt, Emma picked flowers from trees, but there was a moment where I felt a sense of loss… I looked at my husband and said, out of earshot of my kids, who could we invite? [Full disclosure: our friends pool has shrunk since we’ve had kids, but still. Gluten is a factor.]

When we asked Bunky how she’d feel about inviting friends the next time, she got a very serious look on her face and immediately said, “But what if they bring gluten food?” It always comes back to THAT. To gluten. Freaking A. My husband handled it well, explaining that we’d just keep our GF food on our blanket and they’d eat the G on theirs. This seemed to satisfy her and we moved on.

But. But. This awful little rhyme popped into my head:

Separate blankets keep crumbs at bay, separate blankets keep friends away. 

Now I know that isn’t true. Obvs it takes more than one picnic blanket to have a party. But the crumb thing IS an issue.

Bunky chose to sit apart at a birthday party because she was afraid of gluten crumbs.

Bunky chose to sit apart at a birthday party because she was afraid of gluten crumbs.

And frankly, it’s a little SAD not to be able to share food. To watch friends eat things we cannot enjoy, and vice versa. Separate is not necessarily equal, as my friend whose son has celiac often says.

So, in order to help bridge the gap that is sometimes US versus the G eaters, i.e. almost everyone in our life, I wanted to compile a short list of helpful tips that I HOPE puts people at ease. The last thing we want to do is alienate the people who love us, who want to help us, but perhaps are afraid or unsure how to do so. It doesn’t have to be intimidating. It doesn’t have to be sad (well, not always). We can overcome! Let’s share a blanket, maybe.

Some Helpful (I Hope) Tips to Pass Along to the G eaters You Know and Love

1. G Free food can be good, no, GREAT – seriously!

Want to have a picnic with us, but you’re secretly worried about the taste factor of our GF stash? Or maybe you know how much our tiny slices of bread cost and you don’t want to make us go broke. Well, worry no longer! First of all, forget the freaking bread. I barely share that with my dad, let alone anyone else. Besides, you’d still be hungry cause the slices are so small. No sandwiches. BUT we can still eat together.

How’s this for a spread: platters of yummy cheese and salty meat (lots of fancy fatty meat is gluten free, yay!), GF crackers, briny olives and miniature pickles (for Bunky), hummus and veggies, guacamole and corn tortilla chips. Not feeling the finger food thing? No prob. I can whip up a G free pasta salad with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. Yum. And for dessert, we could go healthy and eat delicious, sweet, drippy red watermelon (or any other fruit). But don’t forget to partake in the home baked goodies I will surely bring.

2. But if eating the same stuff doesn’t work out, it IS okay to eat G in front of us. 

It’s cool. Really. I mean, Bunky does it EVERY DAY at school. We do it when we go out to eat (on the rare occasion) with relatives. Sometimes my dad asks if he should order a G free pizza, and well, he can if he wants, and sometimes he does, but he doesn’t have to. We know how to be careful with crumbs and cross contamination. It’s, like, our job.

One caveat – please PLEASE do not indulge in a gorgeous looking G treat in front of a kid who can’t have any. That’s just cruel. I mean, duh.

3. No need to apologize about NOT having food for us.

Say we’re on a play date or just hanging out and you suddenly realize all your snacks are full of G? It’s okay, really. We ALWAYS know to BOOF (Bring Our Own Food).

I don’t know any mom of a celiac or allergy kid who doesn’t carry an arsenal of safe snacks in their bag. Everywhere. We don’t expect other people to feed us. It’s our responsibility to keep our kid’s stomachs safe and full, not yours.

Yet, check out this safe spread at a birthday party. The mom knew to put some aside for Bunky to avoid cross contamination. I nearly cried and totally hugged her.

Yet, check out this “Gluten Free Goodies” tray at a birthday party. The mom did this to avoid cross contamination. I totally teared up and hugged her.

If you chat with us ahead of time we can fill you in on what to offer, but that is never expected. No need to apologize either, especially since drawing attention to what a kid CAN’T eat usually makes them feel more uncomfortable. Speaking of which…

4. Please don’t make a fuss about any “special snacks” we bring along.

Our snacks aren’t special, just different. And the only difference is they don’t have G. There’s no need to draw extra attention (see above) to the food we bring, unless of course I baked you something AWESOME. Then compliment away, don’t be shy!

Seriously though, I only mention this because I can’t tell you the amount of times people have ooh-ed and ahh-ed over our mundane snacks. It’s totally a benign overcompensation thing, and I know it’s coming from a good place, but kids are super perceptive to difference, so the more you can NOT point it out, the better.

5. Cooking for us – it IS possible!

It is, it really is. But we will need to have a rather big chat first. And after our big chat, where I go on and on about truly fascinating topics such as cutting board etiquette, cross contamination, and BYO-ing our colander, you may decide it’s too much of a challenge. And that is OK. We know it can seem like a lot, cause frankly, it is. Especially if your kitchen isn’t G free like ours. But either way we don’t judge. Seriously. We’d much rather you opt out gracefully instead of plunging forward and making an unintentional mistake.

That said, right of refusal must go both ways… we also reserve the right to politely, and with the upmost sensitivity, turn down your offer to cook for us if we feel like it may not be safe enough. Ultimately, it’s our daughter’s health that is most important. No hard feelings, please.

If you do end up cooking for our girl, here’s a preemptive thank you. Most likely after heeding all our advice, all will come out just fine. And, if worse comes to worse, and G crashes our party somehow, it will be okay. Bunky will recover, and so will we. We’ve had practice, as unfortunate as that sounds, and know the deal. I’ve even done it. Yup. True horrific story. Maybe I’ll share it here sometime.

……………………………………………………..

Bottom line, there’s no need to be anxious about hanging out with us, G free folk. We’re just like you, minus the G. Chances are everything will go just fine. And if not, you can read about it later on my blog.

Ha, just kidding!!

Seriously. I’m kidding. Read this post if you’re concerned.

I’d love to hear from all you celiacs, parents of celiacs, and allergy people out there: Do you get an anxious vibe from friends and family because of your dietary restrictions? Does it ever hamper your social life? 

Finding Balance

Lately I’ve been doing some thinking.

Crazy, I know.

Not about another healthy and delicious raw ball, though you know how I love a good ball (or better yet, a good ball pun). Not even about gluten free baking, since I’ve been kind of lax on that front ever since Bunky’s birthday. Baking burn out, anyone?

What I’ve been thinking about is this blog, what it’s about, who it’s for, why it’s here. Yeah, that kind of thinking. I believe they call it existential.

My first existentialist experience.

Read this in high school.
My existential introduction.

It didn’t come out of nowhere, this sudden burst of brain function. It came out of necessity. Have you ever lost a friend or upset a relative from something you wrote and published on your blog? It’s possible I’ve done both, though I’ve only got documented proof on one count. So far.

Out of respect to my friend, I’m not going to talk about the specific post, but it got me thinking (see above) about what it is to blog. In a way, blogging is like journaling. Long before blogging, I was a journal-monger. I loved, loved, loved, buying gorgeous journals and writing the crap out of them. My first journal ever was red velvet and had dates on each page. I wrote a handful of entries in kindergarden. Bunky is nearly in kindergarden. (Yes, that’s still blowing my mind.)

Some of my first journals, or diaries, had locks. Keys, combination locks, you name it. Of course those never really worked, but it was symbolic, like a proverbial Do Not Enter sign, though it’s possible my brother did anyway. The point is they were supposed to be for the writer. And maybe her kids, someday.

pink diary

But online journaling, or blogging, is public. Duh. I mean, that’s not a news flash to me or anything, but when I started this blog no one was actually reading it. You build readers over time. You make connections, friends even. It’s kind of awesome. Over the two years since I began, more people than I realized were reading. Including some friends and family. It’s certainly not a secret that I blog, but I also don’t tell every single person I know about it. Perhaps because sometimes I write personal stuff; and sometimes that personal stuff happens to also be about other people.

When I started this blog in June of 2011 it was by sheer instinct. It’s in my nature to write in order to understand, and I did NOT understand celiac or what it meant to be a parent of a celiac kid. There was a vague fuzzy idea that maybe what I wrote would resonate with other people dealing with celiac. Maybe I would find help and offer some at the same time.

I was pretty sporadic at first, not finding my rhythm (or time to have one) until Bunky’s first anniversary of her celiac diagnosis. That is really just one year of regular blogging, which doesn’t sound so long now that I’m thinking about it. During this year I’ve written about the challenges my family faces, but also about our successes. I’ve documented my struggles with birthday parties, holidays that focus on food (which ones don’t?), and what to eat while out in the world. Sometimes I just like posting pictures of my rapidly growing children. I also post recipes, more regularly than I ever imagined.

I recently read this awesome post called, How To Blog, by Jenny who runs Dinner, A Love Story (great recipes + great writing). Among other things, she is very into mission statements and well thought out posts, as she spent years writing for magazines. Maybe that’s my problem. I don’t always think so much (ha). I still write on instinct. Partly because I have such minimal time, but also, perhaps, out of habit.

Do I need more focus or a mission statement? Am I trying to find and offer solidarity, or am I trying to educate and illuminate – or all of the above?

I may work on a mission statement, but for now it’s got me thinking about this space. Here’s what I DON’T want – for people in my life to be afraid to hang out with us for fear that I will write about them (in a less than flattering light) on my blog. Here’s what I DO want – to write honestly about living with a child who has celiac.

Any writing comes with risk. I know that from being, well, a writer. But my writing before blogging was fiction. I could (usually) hide behind made up names and made up stories. I could change incriminating details if I wrote from experience. Even then there was risk. We all know how easy it is to try to read between the lines of our favorite fiction writers. Did that really happen to them? Is that character based on their spouse/parent/child/friend/lover? But in the end, a fiction writer can always find safety behind their chosen genre. It’s just a story, they can say. Blogging about your life is a different kind of story. It’s your story, and sometimes, other people’s, too.

True story: I always try to be respectful when I write, especially about people in my life. I know that the things I write might be read by well, anyone. This is not a totally negative space – I don’t think so, anyhow. It is not my intention to just rant and rave my upsets and frustrations about celiac indiscriminately. But when writing about my experiences with my daughter’s celiac, I often end up writing about community and family, because that’s where food is, people. And food is what divides us from everyone else.

Gluten Fest flickr USDAgov

Can’t eat any of that.
flickr USDAgov

Does this sound dramatic? Maybe, but it’s still true. Here’s a quote that taunts me on a daily basis: Food is such a small part of life (an actual quote from an actual book for kids who have celiac). Food is HUGE in our life. I should know since I think about it 24/7.

So, how do I honor those closest to us and also write about our challenges, that occasionally involve some of those same people? How do I write honestly and with respect? Do I stop writing about certain things, certain people? If so, am I doing that out of necessity (um, so poor Bunky doesn’t get blackballed to every birthday party and so we don’t get disowned by relatives) or fear?

shhh poster

If friends and family are reading this, I hope they will understand my appreciation for ALL their efforts, even the ones that happen to fall short through no fault of their own. No one is perfect on this gluten free road, certainly not me. I still make mistakes regarding Bunky’s diet and I suspect I always will, so perfection is not what I am seeking from my loved ones. We carry no expectations that others should cater to our dietary needs. That’s our job as Bunky’s parents. We BOOF (Bring Our Own Food), it’s cool. What we’d like is compassion, support, but mostly acceptance. Acceptance that this is our family’s journey. For the rest of our lives.

The word I chose to work on this year was nurture, but maybe it should have been balance because that’s what I think this is all about. That’s what I need to work on. But balance isn’t a one-shot thing, it’s ever changing, elusive, shifty. It’s something I will probably always struggle with, on the blog and out in the world. But I’ll give it my best shot.

flickr D Sharon Pruitt

flickr D Sharon Pruitt

I’d love to hear how all you fellow bloggers deal with the inevitable collision of real world feelings and the words you write. Have you ever alienated friends or family? Are there topics or people you just don’t write about? What keeps you in balance? Any thoughts and advice are welcome, just keep it constructive. I’m a sensitive gal, if you couldn’t already tell.