Friday, January 25, 2013

The Big Reveal

Remember in Tuesday's post when I told you about the cleaning I was doing to get ready for a special guest?

And that I couldn't tell you who the guest was?

Well, the wait is over!

Meet our special guest and the Rush Family's newest adventure:

This is Prada.

She is a 5 1/2 month old female German Shepherd.  

Though we did not choose her name, we think it suits her perfectly.  Why?  Because Prada is a very fancy-schmancy fashion design label.  And our Prada's bloodline is also very fancy-schmancy.  In fact, I'm pretty sure if you put her family tree up next to mine, she would win hands down.  There's quite a bit of redneck in my bloodline.

Now, I'll be honest here.  I really dragged my feet on this.  

First, I have enough to do just taking care of my family that I really didn't think I could add a dog to the mix.

And second, I've always thought dogs are perfectly great - outside.  Not in my house.

But when a sweet family (who breeds and shows German Shepherds) told us how great they thought Prada would be for our Lily Bird, we started thinking about it.  Praying about it.  Reading.  Researching.  Watching I don't know how many youtube videos of German Shepherds.  Seeing how smart they are.  How protective they are.  And how they interact with special needs kids.

So we finally decided to take the leap.

And a leap it is.  

Y'all, this dog is in my house.  And yes, she sheds.  And yes, I am not a fan of dog hair.  And I am hyper-sensitive to smells and I do not want my house to smell like a dog lives here.  

I have been cleaning like a madwoman in anticipation of the dog's arrival.  Can you please tell me what kind of crazy woman cleans frantically before getting an indoor dog?  And can you imagine what it will be like once Prada's here for good?

Lord have mercy.

Ryan bought a crate, a dog bed, food, bowls, collars, leashes, and all that great doggie stuff.

My first dog purchase?

A Roomba.

But I'll tell you what... if Lily Bird and this dog bond and Prada becomes Lily's shadow and loves her and watches out for her and helps us keep her safe, then I'll put up with a little dog hair.

Oh.  OK.  A lot of dog hair.

We just brought Prada home today so I'm sure Tuesday's post will have a mention or two of our first weekend with our new arrival.  And pictures.  So come back and check on us, ok?  

Have an amazing weekend, sweet friends!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

As Promised... Paleo Recipes

This week is going to be an extra busy one around the Rush house.  I've been doing some heavy duty cleaning in preparation for a house guest. 

Now, the identity of the guest is a secret but if you follow me on Instagram, there'll be some hints popping up there in the next few days.

And Friday, here on the blog, you'll get a sneak peek at yet another adventure for the Rush family.

For now, let's talk food.  Paleo recipes, to be specific.

  Since eating Paleo is still new-ish for our family, whenever I try anything new, I take a poll:  "Thumbs up? Thumbs down?  Do you want to eat it again or not?"  Based on the response, the recipe either becomes a part of the menu rotation or gets pitched.

These foods are all dishes that got a thumbs up and I've now prepared several times.  I think you just might like them, too.

I've categorized the recipes by meal to make things just a bit easier for you, but we eat many of the egg dishes for any of the standard three meals.

One more thing - the leftovers heat up beautifully!

So.  Let's get to it, shall we? 

Breakfast & Lunch:

Broiled Grapefruit Recipe

Simply use a little honey and palm sugar to make this Paleo.

*Having wrestled a grapefruit twice now, I highly recommend purchasing a couple of serrated edge grapefruit spoons.  It'll make your breakfast a little less stressful.

We especially love our eggs with tomato and fresh basil or salsa and avocado.

The original recipe calls for butternut squash but I felt like my crew would be more accepting of sweet potato.  Want to add a little perfection to an already perfect recipe?  Top each serving with a nice, slightly runny fried egg.  Oh. My. Stars.

This one is not only yummy, but really pretty on the plate, too.  Salsa is a must.  Adding sliced avocado or guacamole just might make you cry from sheer joy. 

Asparagus and Herb Frittata

There are really no wrong ways to make a frittata so feel free to experiment with all kinds of veggies, meats, and seasonings.  Because Lily is dairy free, I omit any cheese the recipe calls for and my big girls, who really love cheese, melt some over their individual slices once the frittata is cooked.


Paleo Minestrone Soup

This one was a definite winner.  And it just gets better the longer it sits.  So be sure to save some for lunch the next day.  You'll be so happy you did.

This is a good soup to fix on those days when you've just don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  It tastes great and you can still pat yourself on the back for feeding your family well even if all you really did was open a bunch of cans.

Quick and easy to make.  Super tasty to eat.  A winner in every way.

I usually sear my roasts on the stove before I put them in the crock-pot.  I didn't with this one and it was still really good.  But I'll probably try searing it next time, just to see if it makes a difference.  The onions take the place of the big ol' white potatoes that I used to put in there with the carrots. 

One of my favorites didn't make the list so here it is - burger patty, grilled with a little Montreal Steak Seasoning, sitting on a bed of spring mix, topped with guacamole, salsa, and sliced cherry tomatoes, then sprinkled with salt and pepper.

This recipe right here made me give up my status as a cabbage hater.


Quick note here:  Even though these are Paleo and don't contain white flour and refined sugars, they're still treats and should be looked at as such.  I usually bake something once a week, then try to make it last all week long.  While some Paleo purists would probably think that was still too often, I assure you, 1 or 2 cookies every few days is much less sugar than I was consuming pre-Paleo.

The Bird's favorite.

I like these but if you're expecting Toll House, they may take a little getting used to.

Paleo Chocolate Macaroons - from Against All Grain

The combination of chocolate, coconut, and mint will make you very happy.

When you really have a craving for chocolate, these will do the trick.  And then some.  Bake them the shorter amount of time for tiny little bites of fudgy goodness, a bit longer if you want them to be more cake-like.  In case you're curious, the Rush family goes for fudgy.


Perfect for those times when you need something a bit salty.  

 Make Your Own Trail Mix

A great snack idea in which you can create your own "recipe combination" to suit your fancy.  Choose from any of the following unsweetened and unsulfured ingredients:

sunflower seeds
macadmaia nuts
coconut flakes
dried cranberries
banana chips
dried apricots
dried cherries
dried pineapple bits
chopped dried dates
dried apple rings

Don't feel like making a snack?  Try Lara Bars.  There are lots of flavors to choose from but Coconut Cream Pie and Chocolate Coconut Chew are two of my favorites.

Alright my friends, that's it for now.  

If you try any of these, let me know what you think! 

 Got any recipes of your own to share?  Then by all means, leave a comment.  

See you Friday!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Going Paleo

I know what you're thinking.

It's January.  

The start of a fresh new year.  

An opportunity to make some great changes - to become that "ideal person" we all hope to be one day.

And here goes Lana, adding to the masses of people talking about resolutions and transformation.  

To make matters worse?  She's talking about food.  Great.  I think I'll just stop reading now and go get myself a nice piece of cake or a big ol' bag of chips.  That'll show her.

I know that's what you're thinking because I used to think the same thing.  But I'm hoping you'll give me just a few minutes of your time and let me share with you something I've learned. 

Lily has been on specialized diets pretty much her entire six years of life. 

For my sanity, our family pretty much adopted her diets because it made food shopping and preparation so much easier if we were all eating the same thing.  

But we've never really gone 100% all in with Lily.  Meaning even though she's been dairy free a large portion of her life, we still drink milk.  And while she's avoided gluten for several years, we've cheated here and there along the way.

But a few months ago, Lily's doctor suggested our whole family, including Lily, try the Paleo diet.  He stressed that while Lily needed to be on this particular diet, he was convinced all of us would benefit from it.  When I questioned him a little further, he told me that this idea of consuming "healthy whole grains" that we all hear so much about was not only making us fat, but making us sick as well.

Can you guess what I did after that phone call?

You got it - research.

I googled.  I read.  Inquired.  Explored.  Examined.  Had several appointments with that famous duo, Barnes and Noble.

The most eye-opening resource I read was Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis and I highly recommend it.

Two other great and very informative books are Disease Proof Your Child by Dr. Joel Furman and What's Eating Your Child? by Kelly Dorfman.  Though these books address our children, the information is beneficial for everyone.

So a few months ago, our family embarked on our own Paleo experiment.  With no cheating.  And I'm here to tell you, it's been amazing.  I feel better.  I have more energy.  I'm not so draggy in the afternoons.

But ladies - let's get to the good stuff, ok?  And men, I apologize because this is more than you ever wanted to know about me.


I dropped 6 pounds right away.  Not only that, my stomach was flatter.  I don't think I ever realized how swollen I was, how bloated through the middle.  Now are you ready for this?  Good-bye Spanx. I am wearing pants I've never been able to wear without a lovely pair of hot, squeezy tight and uncomfortable Spanx under them.  And I can breathe!  The waistband is no longer cutting me off at the middle when I sit through a movie or church.  

Glory hallelujah. 

I just keep thinking, "if I feel so much better, how much better must Lily feel?"  I think she is sharper and more alert.  She's a bit less "foggy" and more bright-eyed.  She has had a simply amazing two weeks back at school since the Christmas break.  I think the Paleo diet has made a bigger difference for her than any diet we've tried.

And y'all - it's really not that hard.  I promise!  About the only thing that's difficult is fast food, which you won't want to eat after doing a little reading anyway.  Finding a drive-through that fits Paleo is near impossible.

Have I sold you yet?  Interested in checking out the Paleo diet for yourself?

Here's an infographic to give you a quick first glance:

Paleo Diet Infographic

Some wonderful websites with great recipes to get you started:

Do a little digging.  Check out the resources.  Try it for your kid.  Try it for yourself.  Let me know what you think.  

And I'll be back Tuesday with some great Paleo recipes that our family eats and loves and I just bet your family will like them, too.

But before I leave, the Bird's got a little message for you:

"Hey people!  Don't worry - you can still have Sonic ice water with lime on Paleo.  Yum!"

Have a lovely weekend, my sweet readers!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What's in YOUR nose?

Let's play a little word association game.




Lily Bird.

What do these things have in common?

Well, the paper and fabric are items that have recently been removed by an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor.... not once, but twice... from Lily Bird's nose.  

Yes, my daughter has discovered her nose.  

Or rather, the holes in her nose.

And like a little chipmunk filling his cheeks with seeds, she is stuffing her nose with tiny little things.

I can't help but think of those disaster supply kits that we're all supposed to have at the ready in case of an emergency.  While most of us would probably store our materials in a box or tote bag, evidently, the Bird thinks her nose is a handier spot.

I must admit, in the case of emergency, odds are very good I won't be leaving the house without my nose.

But the problem with using your nose for storage?

After a couple of days, one begins to emit a certain... ahem... odor.

Kind of a cross between a sicky-sweet stink.

I like to call it, Eau de Rot.

When I start to catch a whiff of that particular fragrance, I know without a doubt that Lily has something stuck up her nose.

Unfortunately, both times, the objects have been too far up Lily's nose for Ryan or I to remove ourselves.  

But I've watched the ENT pretty dog-gone closely at these past two visits and I'm fairly certain that I could do the procedure now.

So I am hereby issuing fair warning:

Lily Bird, if you stick something up your nose yet again, I'm coming for you, girl.

And there won't be any lollipops when it's over, young lady.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Family Photo Adventure

Because I am a glutton for punishment, every couple of years, I like to get a family picture done.

 I always have visions in my head of those beautiful family portraits you see on Pinterest and professional photographer's websites where everyone is in coordinating colors and looks so happy to be part of their lovely family.

Well.... I got the coordinating colors part down.

The "everyone looking so happy to be there" part?  Not so much....

Can you figure out who looks like they'd rather be doing just about anything except taking pictures?

Here we are interrupting an important phone call, I guess.

I might smile but I won't open my eyes.  You can't have everything, lady.

How about open eyes but a little tongue action?

And now the pouty phone call.

More tongue.

Yet another phone call that just can't wait.

Fine.  You take my phone.  I look at the ground in a daze. Humph.

Taking pictures makes me feel barfy.

Can we PLEASE do something else?  Anything??  PLEASE???

Snuggling with Dad makes me feel a tiny bit better.  But I still won't smile.

Finally.  Walking to the car.

If picture time is done, I just might smile.  A teeny bit.

A little pensive but pleasant.

Oh Dad.  You're such a funny guy.

And now that we are really and truly done with picture time, I will give you one great big belly laugh.  Now let's get out of here.

In the past, with the magic of Photoshop, we can usually achieve one family photo.  I've decided to do something a little different this year and I'm really excited about it.

I saw this idea on Pinterest...

Five 15x30's. I love the look of this.

and I'm totally going to copy it.  Except I'm going to do three photos, one of each girl -  the belly laugh of Lily in the middle and and these two of my big girls on each side:



And my pictures will be hung over the mantel.  I'll be sure and show you the finished product.

Oh yeah.  We got a pretty good pic of mom and dad, too.

Ahhh.  Done for the next two years.

Side note here - We have an amazing photographer who has taken our last three sets of family portraits.  Elle is very patient and somehow manages to get good pictures without ever losing her cool.  I was honestly shocked this time that anything at all came out because Lily was mad from the moment we got out of the car.  If you're in the Austin area, I highly recommend Elle Mendenhall and here's where you can find her:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Learning Goals for the Bird

One of the challenges of having a nonverbal child is never being completely sure when certain skills have been mastered.

This is also particularly challenging when it comes to the Bird because in her mind, when a task is completed once, she considers it mastered and is offended if you ask her to show you multiple times.

For example, she does not care for stacking blocks.  And she gets very put out if you continually ask her to stack them.  But it is a common question on so many of her evaluations.  So when I am asked this, my typical answer is, "Yes, she can stack blocks. But will she stack blocks? No."

To her way of thinking, she has shown you that she can do something.  Once should be enough.  Don't keep asking, thank you very much.

As you might imagine, this does not bode really well in a school setting.  The presentation of a skill, followed by practice of said skill, then demonstrating mastery of that skill is pretty much par for the course.

And being the checklist kind of gal that I am, I would really like to know what Lily Bird can and cannot do.  That information would help me and her teacher know what to work on and what we can skip.

So armed with a Kindergarten Readiness Checklist, I am slowly but surely embarking on a mission to find out exactly what Lily knows since she can't just tell me.

And it's pretty much a guarantee that I will offend her with some of the things I am asking her to demonstrate.  It's a risk I'm willing to take.

Why a Kindergarten Readiness Checklist when she is already in kindergarten?

Well, I am searching for gaps - those skills her peers already know and do.  When I find those gaps, I'll prepare multiple practice activities for Lily and we'll do those until I'm sure she has them down.

Luckily, her teacher is totally on board with this idea and will be doing the bulk of the practice activities at school, along with her regular work.  I'll be reinforcing the lessons at home in the evenings and on weekends.  When the teacher feels Lily has mastered a skill, she'll move on to the next one.  I'll have Lily keep practicing the "mastered" skill as well as reinforcing the latest one she is working on at school.  This will hopefully ensure that Lily is not losing old skills as she learns new ones.

First up on the agenda - Name Recognition: First Name.

We'll be doing lots of stuff like matching her name with velcro letters, bottle caps and clothespins.  She'll be spelling her name with all kinds of letters - letter stickers, wooden letters, foam letters, magnetic letters, and letter tiles.  She'll be tracing her name and filling in the letters of her name with dot stickers, paints, torn paper bits, and do-a-dot markers.  She'll be spelling her name with letter beads on pipe cleaners.  She'll type her name on a keyboard.  She'll look at family photos and label herself in the photos with name stickers.

One fun thing I'd like to point out in case you might like to make one yourself - that super cute large photo in the middle of the above picture is a homemade magnetic puzzle.  It was fairly simple to do, even though the directions were written for a PC and I have a Mac.  Here's the link if you're interested:

When we feel like she knows her name and knows that she is Lily, we'll add the last name to the mix.  Then the family names.

Other skills we'll be working on include patterning, sorting, color and number words, upper and lower case alphabet, shape recognition, and following simple pictorial directions, among other things.

One thing I would love to explore with the Bird is typing.  So if any of you know of a simple and effective kids typing program, I'd love to hear about it.

Do you have some goals to help your kids finish the school year with a bang?  Let me know!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...