Posted in Gluten Free Life

Eating Gluten Free: Disney 2021

We are annual Disney trip people. We love our time together.  This was our 9th park trip, my 3rd trip gluten free and I think maybe the best.

Many people love to eat and drink at Disney. I totally get that, especially when we were living in the age of the dining plan. Eating yummy meals and the fun Disney specialty treats is part of the magic. Who doesn’t love a Mickey pretzel?! I personally loved them before I had to go gluten free. My people still enjoy, I grabbed a bag of cotton candy. Not complaining!

My first trip when I was a newbie to the gf life was a tiny but stressful and I was still missing all the good gluten favorites. The last trip was easier and I felt more comfortable with the modifications and speaking with a chef if I had concerns. This trip I was smart and made sure I added the allergy notification to our reservations. This was great because they knew before I sat down that I would need a different menu.

Flourless Chocolate Cake. Shared this with my hubs. No one was sad here!!

The staff was fantastic. I found that more were better versed with the allergy friendly choices. I also love how they label and serve for people with allergies. Quick service restuarants put my meal on a completely seperate tray. At our resort they even use a different color tray. Makes it very easy to see the order and if I were to get a meal like someone in the family we can obviously see which is mine.

GF Pizza Quick Service. This also came with a side salad. Disney uses Ken’s dressing…which if gf. Win. Had blue cheese dressing.

I find travel with Celiac is getting better. I have to obviously be aware and not just assume staff is knowledgeable, but overall I find that if I am mentally prepped that I might only be able to eat a salad, then I can enjoy myself.

Cesar Salad….only difference was the croutons.

Eating in Italy was a tiny bit sad. My people ordered this amazing pizza at Via Di Napoli. I ordered the gf pasta and chef salad. Both were good. The sadness comes in because I miss being easy and part of the group. Ordering pizza used to be a fun group experience.

I mean come on!!!!!

Many of the restaurants had great gf options or meals that were naturally safe to order. I always say if I stick to eating cave woman style…I should be safe. Fruits, veg and meat are typically safe.

Beef and Vegetables

I didn’t photograph every meal. I think in the future I might and do a day by day post, but for now these are some of my highlight meals!

Bread basket if gluten filled, they brought me sliced white bread in Italy.
Gluten free fish fry at Raglan Road. It was super crispy! The garlic parmasan fries were yummy!

Another magical trip spent with my favorite people. I didn’t take photos, but I had another family favorite…Dole Whip, which is automatically gf! This was a great summer vacation and being able to eat safely and calmly is something I am very grateful for. Looking forward to our 10th trip.

Posted in Family Life, Gluten Free Life, Positive Life

Spreading Holiday Cheer

As we all know 2020 has been a very interesting year.  I say interesting because so many things have happened in my bubble and in the global bubble. There have been positive and not so positive things that have occurred and I feel like I want to make sure I try to tip the scale at the end of this rollercoaster year in a positive direction.

My mini me and I made a fun and festive holiday treat for our neighbors. Being at home alot more these days has its ups and downs. We have seen and done more driveway chats with our neighbors than we have done in years! With this being said we have plenty of time on our hands, on the weekends, to be creative and productive, so we thought making treats for our neighbors would be a  nice way to spend our Sunday afternoon.

We didn’t want to bake, because we assumed people will do that for themselves.  Instagram and Facebook have surely displayed all of the banana bread, cookies and soups people have been whipping up over the last several months, so we decided on something sweet, salty and crunchy.

Gluten free ingredients!

I think this has many names if you look up recipes on Pinterest.

  • Grinch mix
  • White trash
  • White Christmas Mix
  • White Out Mix

We did not follow a specific recipe.  We used what we saw for a gluten free inspiration.  Everything but the pretzels were normally gluten free. I personally like the gluten free pretzle sticks, but and shape will work.

This is about 8 cups of cereal. 1 cup of nuts and 2 cups of pretzels.

We loaded our ingredients in the bowl. No real measuring. We sort of eyeballed the dry ingredients. This is very simple and fun for kids.

This is about 1.5 cups of white chocolate melting wafers.

I melted the white chocolate.  My mini me still isn’t ready for the stove, so while she scooped I melted the white chocolate wafers down to creamy deliciousness. I use a glass bowl that fits perfectly over a sauce pan, creating a double boiler.

We used MM’s, but you could use a candy you like better. We didn’t measure, we added what looked good.

I didn’t take a picture of the mixing process, but once the chocolate was ready I poured it onto the crunchy mixture and gently folded everything together. My goal was to evenly coat the dry ingredients. This is was an easy step and where our treat making story has two results.

With the first batch we added the candy and sprinkles on top…after we spread it out onto a pan lined with parchment paper.

This version looked prettier, but when packaging it up….the candy didn’t stick completely. I had to collect the mm’s and add them to the containers.

Totally coated!

With this batch we added the candies into the mix and coated them at the same time.  We added the sprinkles on after we spread it out .  This way the sprinkles didn’t melt and turn the chocolate pink.

Next, we allowed the batches to cool and harden. This took about an hour.  While this was happening we gathered what we needed to get things ready to package and send to the neighbors.

Gluten Free Merry Munch Mix

We put our tasty treat into disposable tin pans. I already had them and they are something that can be recycled when the treat is gone. No need to return a dish or container. In the past I have used cute, printed metal tins. I don’t know about you, but I can only store so many of my own, so I don’t want to burned someone else with storing a seasonal tin.

Festive and disposable containers.

We added tags and bows. Nothing crazy or fancy. I wrote a holiday message on the back side and a quick note of ingredients.  I have no idea about allergies, but I know that if we received this I probably wouldn’t eat it because I would be scared of gluten.

My mini popped on her elf hat and hit the sidewalk delivering our delectable delight with a dash of holiday cheer. Mission accomplished!

Gluten Free Merry Munch Mix

  • Sprinkles
  • Gluten Free Pretzles
  • Kix cereal
  • Crispix cereal
  • MM’s
  • Mini MM’s
  • Peanuts
  • White chocolate melting wafers or white chocolate chips

This is what we used, but you can honestly add whatever you want…coat it in chocolate and it will be delicious! I am hoping to create a another medley next week. I will post and share.

Wishing you a fun and festive holiday season-whatever you celebrate. I hope you can take time to enjoy, rest, and spread some holiday cheer!

Posted in Family Life

Falling Into The Past

I don’t know about you, but I have been looking forward to this long weekend.  The start of school has had so many mixed emotions.  I am so glad to be back, but I have needed some family time and fall foliage.  Fall is my favorite season and we definitely enjoyed what nature had to offer.

Normally we take the October weekend and go somewhere, but with things being less than normal we decided a short car trip was manageable. The drive was a cornucopia of colors.  We took a drive out to a museum and Colonial/Victorian  village.  We are a bit nerdy, so we like a little bit of history and since my mini me has never been we thought- why not!

It was incredibly therapeutic to be out and about enjoying some beautiful fall finds. We still had to be masked at points, but in moderation. It is sort of strange to think about how much has changed in a year. 

I was looking back at pics in my phone this week and I almost gave into the covid crankies. It started with looking for a cute fall pic for my work desktop.  I wanted to fire up my computer and see something uplifting.  I found many great pics and it got me thinking how this Columbus Day weekend was doing to be lack luster if I or we didn’t think of something to do. Something relaxing, new and manageable.

Luckily we settled on visiting the museum and had a very blessed day. Blessed with good weather. Blessed with low crowds.  Blessed with beautiful scenery.

We loved walking the lanes of the village. I think in better times there is more to be seen and more to do, but it was satisfying to explore something new as a family. We didn’t look at everything because we want to go back and we didn’t feel the pressure to see it all…like we do when we explore farther from home.

The gardens were so picturesque.  I can see why this is a popular wedding destination. It was very peaceful and there are multiple vignettes for a beautiful background. 

The staff was incredibly friendly. My hope is when we visit again there will be more staff to learn from and watch “living life” in the past.

The man inside was making real leather shoes.

Being out in the sunshine, no schedule, with my favorite people…perfect way to spend a October Saturday. We stopped in a house and in the kitchen was a woman dressed in period clothing  baking.  We found out that they make the bake good in the confectionery.  Of course we had to get something. I am not going to be able to sample it, but the maple bread looked delicious. I think it is cool that they aren’t just acting the part, the staff that is dressed in garb circa 1800 something, they are really doing functional jobs that sustain the museum.

Trying to be normal is some days harder than others. I am very thankful for this simple day. Being in nature with my favorite people checked the box for a fun holiday weekend.

This village visit also inspired a family movie night.  We watched M. Night Shymalan’s The Village. It’s October, gotta get a spooky movie or two in!

Posted in Book Life, Family Life

How We Have Raised A Reader

Today while I was at Barnes and Noble, enjoying a Sunday browse with my mini me, I saw a book that caught my eye and really inspired this post. I am sure this book could be incredibly helpful for some parents, but I honestly didn’t crack the cover. I sort of said to myself “thank God I don’t need this, but it has been hours since I was in the store and I am coming back to this title.

We have always been very thankful our daughter has always loved books. We have never forced her or even had to mildly encourage her to turn some pages. As a teacher I am aware that many children do not love to read.  Maybe they have legitimate difficulties.  Maybe they just don’t find joy on the page.

As a reader myself I can not relate to people, children or students that do not enjoy reading for pleasure.  I myself was a rabid reader.  The kid with a flashlight under the covers. I now have that child.  I lovingly kid that if we allowed her to get every book she wanted we would live in a shack. She tells us it would be a shack made of books. Maybe we could be the fourth Little Pig house…do you think a house made of books would withstand the Big Bad Wolf???

I started to think what did we do to foster her love of reading?

We started reading to her when she was a baby. We started with cute little board books.  She enjoyed books that were interactive and tactile.

We had books in the bathroom, in the car and in her tote bag. We made books more accessible than toys at times. This was not intentional. We are readers and we find value in books. We now share our fabulous finds. She manages our lending library.

We made trips to the book store and library very common. She must have showed everyone in our family her library card. For her birthday she is always pumped to get a Barnes and Noble gift card. She is also very blessed to have a great aunt, a former librarian, send her books.

Reading is a family affair.

We read to her at night. This seems like something most parents do. However we also made up stories and she in turn made up her own stories. They could have been totally original or variations on stories we had read.

We have always been positive and sort of braggy that she is a reader. Maybe that makes us annoying or obnoxious, but I’ll take a bit of criticism, because we don’t have to nag her to get summer reading completed.

We have made being a reader part of her identity. She is confident and proud that she is a reader. This confidence with reading has naturally helped school work and she has become confident with public speaking. Being able to confidently read aloud built up her self esteem and when asked to read to a crowd at an assembly or church, she has done a spectacular job.

We have allowed her to explore genres. Fairytales and books about families were popular when she was three. Then she moved on to popular characters like Pig and Pete the cat. Once she started school and grabbed on to simple chapter books she really took off as an independent reader.

We now encourage her to explore new authors and titles. She loves fantasy and mystery, but I also like her to dabble in stories about feelings, growing up, and classics. Getting her to branch out is getting easier….thankfully. We have a solid selection of magic and mystery.

We also watch “the movie”. We will watch popular titles that have gone from the page to the big screen. I love how she will comment and critique the two mediums. She loves to find the differences and share her opinions. She is finding the book is usually better than the movie.

She recently was out of her own books and was desperate, so she tried to read off my shelves. If you follow me, you know there aren’t many titles on my shelves a tween could read, so it was a stretch. She dipped her toe into the Twilight pond. Well, she was hooked. She read the entire series. She has asked for Midnight Sun to be put on her Christmas list.

We are incredibly lucky to have a child that finds joy from all sorts of books. I am sure that the book I saw today is well written and helpful. I am just very thankful that we are readers and have parented a reader. I hope she never loses her love of reading. I know when I was in college I did for a bit. When something becomes a chore or just an overwhelming necessity it is hard to find the joy, but thankfully once I was done reading textbooks and required readings, I found happiness in characters and plots again.

Here’s to a lifetime of reading for pleasure and entertainment. May our bank account always be able to support her healthy habit!

Posted in Uncategorized

Harry Potter Marathons

Not sure how you and yours are getting through these days at home, but we are living the magical life. Our love for everything Potter has kept us entertained and grown over the past months. Harry Potter marathons have kept us grounded, connected to eachother.

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” ― Albus Dumbledore

We can start at the beginning or turn one on midway through and just settle in for mischief and magic. I love that these films are something we all enjoy. Finding family fun can be a challenge at times. We started out positive and were great at keeping busy, but as time has gone on, we have settled into a new normal and thankfully that includes Harry and friends.

“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” ― Albus Dumbledore

Seems only right to post and share how much these stories are getting us through, on Harry Potter’s birthday.

Friday night family fun…boarding the Hogwarts Express! Not sure which film we will choose, but the popcorn with be popped and house colors will be on. If you are a Potter fan, I hope you take a few minutes today and spend some time with the Gryffindor trio.

“And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.” — Albus Dumbledore

Happy Birthday Harry!