I made a knit ridge hat and a subscriber to my YouTube requested a crochet ridge hat. Here it is! You can download the PDF file here and/or watch the video tutorial below. This uses bulky yarn and a 5.5mm crochet hook. Happy crocheting!
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
I made a knit ridge hat and a subscriber to my YouTube requested a crochet ridge hat. Here it is! You can download the PDF file here and/or watch the video tutorial below. This uses bulky yarn and a 5.5mm crochet hook. Happy crocheting!
Sunday, November 22, 2020
I'm being super honest in these posts about my body and Gaps, SO if you don't want to hear about constipation, enemas, food cravings and general complaints about my life, don't read this post.
It's week five! I took a two day break on week five. I was dealing with a lot of stress, so I had some bread (sourdough) and also some fruits. It wasn't that bad. I had a return of my autoimmune symptoms of course, with some stomach pain, but was able to go right back to stage three the next day. And I really needed the break and am not going to guilt myself over a few slices of homemade bread and an orange.
I have cautiously added back in some dairy nearing the end of week five. A few spoonfuls of yogurt, some sour cream and even some homemade kefir cheese!
This week I was tired a lot. Tired of this diet. Tired of soup. Looking forward to eating a normal diet. I'm trying to remain positive and optimistic, but I just feel worn out and I never want to see a bowl of soup again.
Also, beet kvass tastes like beets soaked in water for 8 days. I plug my nose when I drink it.
I know I am being negative Nancy here but everyone else can eat whatever they want, and I'm jealous. Next week is thanksgiving and I think that will be a hard day for me for sure.
Anyway. Enemas are nothing to be scared of. They are not fun, but also not that bad. That is all I will say on the subject.
So, how am I feeling? It seems like a double edged sword. Either I can eat healthy and emotionally feel like crap but feel physically well, or I can eat what I want and emotionally be positive but my body is a wreck of a chronic illness. I am trying to think of Gaps as a one-day at a time thing instead of the big two-year picture, but it's hard not to get overwhelmed. There is so much to remember. Soup to make, stock to prep, veggies to cut, things to ferment. It's a lot! I'm struggling, and that's okay too. I think if I make it to the full gaps diet I might be okay for awhile. The full gaps diet reminds me of a paleo diet, and I did that for four years! Surly I can survive on a full gaps diet. I just have to get there, which means I have to buckle down and stop cheating and go the course so I CAN get there.
The goal is a physically and emotionally healthy me, and hopefully she exists somewhere down the line.
Friday, November 20, 2020
Sunday, November 15, 2020
I finally got the ball rolling on this Gaps machine. I feel like I know what I am doing. I can plan and prep meals and make stock with my eyes closed, I can dream of food but not give in and I am learning more about my body and health every day.
I tried avocado and was fine!!!
So I am on stage 3 gaps now. I am having some constipation issues because of the low fiber and am hopeful to zoom through these phases so I can fix myself. The Gaps book recommends enemas for constipation and I will give myself one next week. Does anyone want to hear how it goes? I have never had an enema before, but I have struggled with chronic constipation since I was eight. With how low fiber I am magnesium isn't even helping!! Apparently this is common with the beginning of the Gaps diet. Also, apparently enemas are super healing and helpful and amazing (I've been told this by my gaps coach, the gaps book, and my naturalistic doctor.) So, I will apparently be doing more of these enemas in my future. I'm not thrilled, but cautiously optimistic.
I also took my first detox bath this week and experienced some herx symptoms. I had anxiety, bloating, runny nose, and ear issues. It was a very intense experience and I don't want to do a detox bath ever again.
I also decided (because of my constipation) to completely cut out dairy. Well, I did for three days and now am having some wey (1 tbsp in a cup of water). I hope to add in kefir in a week or two. I miss my sour cream and homemade creme fraiche and yogurt.
My beet kvass will be done tomorrow! Apparently beets help constipation too! Yay, I should be pooping soon. Sorry. I mean, not sorry. This is my life.
I filmed two "what I eat in a day" videos for Gaps stage 3, so look out for those on my YouTube sometime.
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Sunday, November 8, 2020
I'm now about 1/3rd the way though reading the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome. It is mind blowing. Also, this week I tried raw salmon (pictured below) and it was delicious. I will totally be eating raw fish again!
I went back to a modified stage one this week, cutting out kefir and yogurt and adding in sour cream and creme fraiche, and cutting out eggs again. I made my creme fraiche by adding 1/4 cup yogurt to a quart of raw cream (after heating the cream to 100f) and letting it culture for 24 hours. But, my favorite thing is the naturally soured cream. It's quite delicious.
I added in cultured butter this week and am doing quite well on it. I plan on trying avocado for stage three at the end of next week but am anticipating I will need to do an extended stage two (moving through stages but not eating fruits or nightshades or nuts.) We will see how it goes.
My purchase of a gaps coach is going really well too. She offered invaluable tips and has been corresponding with me 2-3 times a week and answering all my pesky newbie questions. She is helping me stay the course and not give up when I feel overwhelmed and stressed. I feel like I have someone on my side against all the food cravings, hunger issues and detox symptoms I am experiencing. A friend. Even if I pay her. It has been a great resource.
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
I'm designing patterns again and it feels so good! I started off with a hat for my son...or my daughter! This hat fits both my two-and-five-year-olds very well.
This hat uses bulky yarn and 5.5mm and 6.0mm knitting needles, and it is finished with a crochet hook with a tiny bit of single crochet around the edging. You can always pick up stitches and knit if you do not know how to crochet.
Sunday, November 1, 2020
Week two, or the week where I have to start over.
The week started out great! On day 8 I woke up dreaming about food I couldn't eat. It was weird. I laughed it off and told my husband, but by day 9 the cravings were crazy. I decided to have some chocolate which spiraled into me having some muffins (see previous post). The muffins caused all my autoimmune symptoms to return and made me feel guilty and bloated.
Oh, well. The next day I started over and I have not cheated since. You can't cheat on the gaps diet--you actually have to stick to the recommend foods if you want to heal your gut. It is what it is. I will try not to make the same mistake again! I need to make sure I have prepped food so if I am hungry I have something to eat. I need to meal plan and think about healing instead of what kinds of food I may be missing.
We made some changes. The kids are going to eat soup for dinner with me so I don't have to cook them something different. I'll give them a side of toast and it will be an excellent meal. As for my keto husband, I might not be able to make food for him. He might have to fend for himself. I'm going to put feeding myself first. It feels weird but he is an adult and he can feed himself.
I am still on stage two. With the extent of my damage, I plan to stay on stage two of the gaps intro diet for at least another week, probably the rest of the month and maybe longer. In one week I will try avocado and may do an extended stage two depending on how I do with it.
I booked a call with a gaps coach to get some help. I am excited to see if she has any tips. She sent me this hugeeeeeeeee 7 pages of paperwork to fill out and it was a little much with my anxiety and also a little annoying. She asked questions about my makeup use and what kind of filter we have in our water supply, things that baffled me since it isn't about the gaps diet, but oh well. I filled it out. I know the big picture matters but I am already 99% clean in all areas of my life, and honestly just want help with the gaps diet!
My GAPS book came in the mail. I skimmed it. It's heavy reading and I'm an exhausted mom. I will try to form my brain around it, but no promises.
Stage two foods I have found that I can't tolerate: onions (unless cooked in broth and removed) garlic and tomatoes. These are nightshades. I love tomatoes, so hopefully I can try them again in six weeks and digest them better.
My anxiety was quite bad this week. I am hopeful it gets better next week when I stick to the diet and throw out half the things in my house.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
I don't understand how I can have my ducks in a row one day but the next everything falls apart. I don't understand how my kitchen can get so dirty on an hourly basis. How I can clean it cheerfully for weeks but one day I can't, so I cry and eat chocolate and feel wretched.
Today it rained so the children were inside and I desperately needed a break and didn't get one. I tried to get them to watch TV which backfired because television makes them cranky and irritable which also didn't help my (or their) moods. So we made muffins and after almost two weeks of eating soup I really wanted a muffin. I wanted my digestive system to allow me to eat a muffin. I wanted the muffin not to cause me pain and bloating but to nourish me. It sucks that my digestive system is broken.
I ate four muffins and I hate myself.
I know I am not the only mother that struggles.
I know I'm not alone. But I also know a lot of moms who seem to have it all together. I've never heard them yell. The craft pictures they post to Instagram while I'm trying to hold my sanity together are amazing. They make dinner every night. They have great marriages, big houses, and minivans. Like, is everything a lie or am I just a mistake?
Okay, so I know I make crafts with my kids too. But I also have raised my voice at them and been so touched out I have struggled with being present, cooking, cleaning...and feeling good/confident about myself. Don't have children if you are looking for a confidence booster. 0/10 stars.
So many things are wrong with me. For one, I have started responding to the comment "so when are you going to have more babies" or "time for number three?" with the words "I have too many dead babies". I hate saying this. But it just happens. I literally have no other words for inquiries into my procreation plans. And it is true. I would love to have more children, but they keep dying, so I guess it isn't part of my future. I'm okay with it, which basically means I'm not okay with it but don't see how to change it. We have quit trying and now when I think about pregnancy it is with horror and guilt, and with a heart full of trauma.
I want to change. I want to schedule my time wisely so I cook, clean and educate my small charges without anxiety, stress or panic attacks. I want to have the kind of life where I can remember to brush my teeth and hair without rushing. I want to look at my body in the mirror and not see all the babies that didn't make it. I would love for there to be some time for me and my husband to make deep and meaningful connections and I wish I didn't feel like I was sprinting from one task to another and always, always, behind.
I have no idea how to achieve any of the above anymore.
I hate that I live where I work. I wake up at work. I go to sleep at work. If my husband has to work late, I have to work late. I take my work with me when I go to the grocery store. I'm always at work.
I don't know how other women do this.
I've written a lot of positive posts but this isn't one of them. I'm exhausted. And there is no one to help. My husband has been working late daily and we can't afford a babysitter.
I love my children, and I'll never ever regret them. But I do regret that I have all these problems and scheduling issues that get in the way of me being a good parent. I regret all my health problems that take up so much of my time as I try to figure out how to get better. I dream a lot of "one day" when I won't have to worry about what I'll eat or if I'll have energy. I hope that day comes soon.
Saturday, October 24, 2020
Yes, it seems to be that time again: the time that I will try a crazy diet to see if it helps my crazy autoimmune issues. If you have read my blog before, you will know I have tried the paleo diet for around three years and I was keto for eighteen months (these time frames are guesses) and now...I am trying the GAPS diet.
I have read about the GAPS diet a long time ago but thought it way too difficult. But now (a few years later) I watched a video by Bumblebee Apothecary and...decided to give it a try. I saw her on YouTube and I literally decided to go on the diet THAT SECOND as I watched one of her 3 minute videos. I ordered her 30 day GAPS intro meal plan and have been GAPS for one week without even reading the book yet! (It is on the way to me in the mail).
Here are the symptoms I am trying to heal with GAPS: anxiety, bloating, digestive issues, memory issues, skin/hair issues (like dandruff and eczema) and chronic constipation. Mostly I would just like to be able to eat something without being in pain and looking six months pregnant.
Here are my thoughts so far.
[stage 1 intro diet]
Day one: WOAH. this is amazing, and easy. I love not having to think about what I am making for meals. Soup is so easy. This is fun! The kids eat all the soup too.
Day two: I LOVE THIS DIET. (also I am super bloated I wonder if this is normal) Kids say no more soup mom please I hate soup.
Day three: hungry, super bloated. a bit tired of soup. (also anxiety) Making kids separate foods because soup.
[stage 2 intro diet]
Day four: probably in ketosis (soup is low carb). a bit less bloated but still very bloated. I GET TO EAT EGG YOLKS NOW OMG.
Day five-six: best days ever. I feel great. no bloating at all. my stomach is flatter then it has ever been in like eight years since these autoimmune problems started flaring. Also I realized I actually love soup, and yogurt and sauerkraut and keifer....and while I do want some chocolate this diet is amazing
Day seven: a small amount of bloating returns. I added onions to my soup. I wonder if it is the onions? Am I over thinking this? Should keep a food diary? (also anxiety on this day too)
I am hopeful this diet can heal my gut. I'm going to read the book and do the intro diet to the full gaps diet! I will keep you guys updated. So far, I feel really hopeful...
Also, you notice I didn't mention diabetes or insulin resistance...that's because my blood sugar has been PERFECT since I did a (horrible) candida cleanse. WHOO! Like literally I can eat bowls of rice and my blood sugar is normal. Its crazy.
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
I realized the other day that for the nine years I have known my husband, 7 of those years I have been in mourning. Mourning, at first, my inability to stay pregnant after two losses. Wondering if I would ever have a baby.
With the birth of Reuben in 2016, I mourned the loss of my independent life and the changes pregnancy and childbirth inflicted upon my body, even while I rejoiced in the arrival of my beautiful son who I had longed for.
We had Becky in 2018. 2018 is one of the best years of my life. My autoimmune diseases were subdued enough that I was living normally. My husband was helping so much around the house and with the kids. I felt seen and cared for postpartum. I thought maybe I was better. After two kids, maybe I could have more. Maybe my dream for a large family of 5 or 6 children was attainable! Hope blossomed in my heart and my desire for more babies thrilled me. I tried not to think of my years of infertility and miscarriage before I had Reuben.
In November of 2019 I was diagnosed with step throat and took a round of antibiotics, the first round in 6 years. I don't know if this was the trigger or just a side note, but my health has been abominable since. All my autoimmune problems are flaring. I went on to suffer two miscarriages in 2020, one at 8 weeks in January and one at 10 weeks in May, during covid.
For the rest of May, June, and part of July I had a awful flair up of Epstein-Bar virus or ME/CFS causing me to be bedridden. After taking a round of herbs, I am left with on and off chronic fatigue (but only occasionally, thank God) horrible gut bloating whenever I eat anything, stomach pain, headaches, depression and anxiety. I'm seeing a natural doctor to see if they can help, and would appreciate prayers.
And again, 2020 has been the year of mourning. Again infertility haunts me. All the fresh pain of losing babies with the waves of those I have already lost is staggering. And, so many are suffering due to covid...the explosion in beirut...war in artsakh...racial issues in America...I could go on, but I won't. During all of this, I have been in deep morning. Mourning the losses of my little ones. Mourning our choice to stop trying to have more babies, because my body can't, I can't go through this again. Mourning ending of my nursing years, as my debilitating chronic illness made it necessary for me to wean.
I always wanted a big family. I have eight children. But only two are with me right now. I have two beautiful blessings to be thankful for. And even though they were not allowed to stay, I am thankful for the six who wait for me in heaven, so thankful for the little time we had together.
I have a God who loves me and who is good. My trials point me to Jesus and how much I need him in my life. I am his. His will for me is good, even when it doesn't seem that way to me. I have a husband who works hard for me and who loves me, and I am able to home-school. I have a lot of yarn. Yes, I am thankful for yarn. I love knitting and crocheting and the process of making something and sharing it with the world.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for God is with me and his rod and staff will comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
There is more suffering to come, because we are but sojourners on this Earth. God is good and I will trust in him.
I wonder what the next nine years will be like? All I can do is keep going. And rest, and give myself time to grieve and time to mourn and time to pray.
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Monday, October 12, 2020
Becky wanted a "fairy coat" and thus I made her this coat with pink trimming out of wonderfluff bulky yarn and some fingering wool yarn from Knitpicks.
She loves it! I made up the pattern all on my own and crochet it in two days. Oh, those wonderful two days of work. I love the process.
And shes at that age where she will wear anything I make and adore it to pieces which of course goes right to my head.
Friday, October 9, 2020
May, June, July and August "Mother Culture" goals had to be put aside due to a miscarriage and my autoimmune diseases flaring. Also the anxiety of covid and political and racial unrest in my country didn't help. But, this is real life. It happens. In September, I became slightly more functional and was able to start knitting and crocheting and reading again. I made something for Becky! I crochet her a hat and a sweater. Isn't she cute?!
I wasn't able to read any of the books I actually scheduled for this month, but that is okay. I'll celebrate what I was able to do, and that was also make something for Reuben. He was gifted this warm hat in green, which he adores, and I'm making it into a pattern to share with you all! He is in this stage where he doesn't like pictures, too, so I had to bribe him with chocolate chips. And of course Becky wanted some too. But I am glad he loves his hat!
I am reading Redeeming Money now for October and also need to find that stocking I started crocheting for my husband. It feels good to be making and planing again, instead of curled up miserably on the couch.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
No matter how much organic grass fed beef you feed your children, they will still sin.
Homeschooling? Your child is going to sin.
Public school? Sinners.
Eat at the table as a family every night? Sinful children.
No tv in the house? Kid is still going to wallow in sin.
Allow tablets and screen time? Better be ready for some rebellious hearts to surface.
Are you vegan gluten free homesteading off grid with rescue cows? Sin will rear in your child heart.
More and more I realize there is no right way to train up a child. Yes, you want to point your little darling sinner to God and you want to mirror a repentant heart to them. Yes, you want to follow the bible and cling to God's promises. But the little things? I'm beginning to think they are not as as important as I thought.
Take homeschooling, for example.
Homeschooling is great. Your children will have a first person
viewpoint into the mess you call a family. Every day they will
struggle to see you get your shit together, for lack of a better
word, as you strive to mother, teach, clean, manage and cook. They
will see your broken moments. They will see you stressed out and
anxious and upset. Things they wouldn't see if they were in a school
system and you, as a mother, were able to have eight hours of
They will also see you fall on your knees before God. They will see a real human deal with real life, and that is hopefully a good thing? Ask me in 15 years.
I pray I'm being a good example to my children. I love homeschooling, but it is a lot of work and there are definitely cons! My children are just as sinful as public schooled children. We need just as much grace. I desperately need space and time away from my family and sometimes I don't get it, so I throw an adult tantrum and eat chocolate.
God is good.
Homeschooling won't save my kids.
What was the point of this again?
Oh, sinners. I'm starting to realize the real meat of parenting is teaching your children to battle the sin in their own hearts. While striving against your own sin, of course, and maintaining your house, cooking, meeting the emotional needs of your husband and taking pictures of your perfect little toddler's crafts for Instagram so Sally can see what a great mom you are.
Life really has too many plates to keep
spinning. And I don't even know how to juggle.
It's a good thing I serve a God who doesn't care about messy floors, burnt chicken, or the 310th picture of my daughter that I uploaded to Facebook.
All I need to do is trust Christ and
live for him, the rest is chaff in the wind. My kids are going to sin. It's inevitable, and instead of thinking "they will never do that" I need to plan and prepare their own hearts for the disappointments and sin that is to come.
Only God can save sinners.
Trust in him, dear mama. Not organic chicken or teachings at home or how many hours of daniel tiger you watch a day. Just trust in him.
Friday, October 2, 2020
Reuben is officially a kinder-gardener, and has been for weeks now! I wanted to remember all the things we did for preschool, so here is his preschool recap. We started light learning activities when he was two, and I don't regret it at all, though I know play is the most important thing for the preschool years. Here is the post I wrote when I was planning his preschool, oh how it feels like yesterday!
Thursday, September 24, 2020
The lighting isn't great in my *NEW* purple bathroom, but I crochet a plant hanger!! I wanted a plant to jazz up this area. I actually think it would look better with a white pot, but I used what I had.
I plan on making this into a crochet pattern someday. If you remember, the bathroom was on my "omgsh my house is a mess" adulting list and now its done! Maybe I'll post before/after pictures sometime...but that day is not today. It is my happy place, even if it still needs a tiny bit of paint touch up and a curtain on the window! Small steps, small steps...
Friday, September 18, 2020
There is a story behind this cowl. Or at least, I hope there is! I started knitting this in 2014 and...quickly lost interest. I knit a few rows every few years until finishing it up just in time for the two year old to steal it as her own. That is fine, it looks great on her!! It can be her new winter item for 2020.
Anyway, I used acrylic yarn in 2014 and now I use only wool...times sure have changed. This is 100% acrylic yarn and I made the pattern up myself. Whoo! I'm glad to be finished with you, cowl from the past. Now to finish all my other hibernating projects... I have two or three more from that era.
Monday, September 14, 2020
Thursday, September 10, 2020
My health has been normal for about a week. No major bloating. No strange brain fog or serious issues thinking or moving. No debilitating tiredness. (My chronic fatigue has been gone for over a month now!)
I'm still in the thankful phase. Because every day feels like a gift. Normal activities that I used to complain about now feel like treasures, because yes, I can cook dinner and I don't have to lay down all day and yes, I can scrub the floors and spend time with the kids. I can go places! In a car!! I can run around outside and jump on the trampoline and swing my kids in the air! Isn't life amazing? I have arms and they work again. YAY.
I'm still having eye problems, but they are a bit better. I found out by another eye appointment that my astigmatism changed in my right eye. Getting new right eye lenses helps, but words are still blurry? But I can read for longer stretches, and am not having daily headaches. I probably need to update to larger computer where I can increase the text size? My laptop is tiny. Maybe I can afford a new computer next year!
Every day I wake up I have been telling myself that I am free in Jesus.
As I cook breakfast, I am free in Jesus.
As I parent my children, I am free in Jesus.
On a side note, I really want a big wall hanging that says "Free in Jesus" to stare at every day!!! Something blue and with the ocean in it. Someone make it happen and take my money.
Even as I do the dishes and sweep the floor (for the fifteenth time) I am free in Jesus! And yes, I get to sweep five more times tomorrow! With my arms that WORK. Isn't life WONDERFUL?!
I am free in Jesus. My soul sings it. I am free, and it feels good. God is so amazing and spectacular and I can't wait to worship him forever in heaven and sing his praises with my family. I am his.
You are free too. Serve him, and be free.
We are but dust on the wind.
Sorry to get philosophical. I guess I am having a moment. 2020 has been so awful. Two miscarriages, a global virus, political and racial unrest, the complete ruination of my heath, world-wide suffering and job loss, explosions, pain, and...murder hornets. We had a murder hornet stuck in our house a few weeks ago. It was HUGE. And scary. My sister helped me shoo it out.
But today I cling tightly to God. He is Truth and Light and Peace in all times. And its my duty to serve him in the best of times and the worst of times, and to raise up those he has blessed me with for as long as he wishes.
Onwards and Upwards.