Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Note: I typed this before Christmas, but then forgot about it with all of the holiday hussle.  The gingerbread was delicious and the key lime pie was a hit with all at Christmas dinner.  Sorry this is so late in getting to you!
During the holidays we have been trying one new (or not used in a long time) dessert each day.  The first day we made a GF cinnamon bun cake from Kim at Cook it Allergy Free.   It turned out great!  Then we made a GF vinegar chocolate cake, combining recipes from here and here.  It turned out okay; I like the chocolate sheet cake from Gluten Free Mommy better (though I find the xanthum gum unnecessary).  Tomorrow we are making the key lime pie from Cook's Illustrated (a favorite).  But today we are making gingerbread houses!  This is always so much fun.
The recipe I use for the kids is one handed down from my stepmother.
2/3 C butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C molasses
2 t ground ginger
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3T water
3C flour

Cream butter and brown sugar.  Add molasses and spices, mixing well.  Mix salt and baking soda in the water and dissolve it; then add it to the butter/sugar mixture.  Add the flour and let the dough rest in the refrigerator at least an hour.  Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness, a bit at a time on parchment paper and cut out shapes.  It helps if you have cut out the wall and roof shapes from paper before hand, so that you can be sure you get your dimensions right.  For big cookies like the walls, I usually just take away the extra dough from around the walls and just put the parchment directly on the baking sheet.
Bake 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.

(To make it gluten free for myself, I used 1 C sweet rice flour, 1C buckwheat flour, 1 C almond flour, and 1/4 C flax meal instead of the wheat flour.  I also added an egg.  I rolled them out between two pieces of parchment paper and then used cookie cutters.  It worked just fine!)

I love this holiday tradition.  I hope you do too!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A break that is actually good!

We have now completed one full week of no exercises: and everything is still going well!
The therapist suggested giving H a break from exercises for the holidays.  At first I was a bit wary, since in the past if we have skipped massages for just 3 days H would have a meltdown.  But this time everything stayed the same.  I am so thrilled.  I think it is another sign that she is closer to normal.   I plan to continue the break for another 3 days, then start up the exercises again.  That way she will be back in the routine well before school starts again.
As a side note, I have also been letting H have a bit more sugar than usual.  And it is not leading to the wild, out-of-control behaviour that has been usual in the past.  I am still leary about letting her have lots of sugar though.
Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Celebration (and the outcome)

H continues to do well.  Her grades for this quarter are 3 As and 3 Bs.  This is a HUGE improvement over the first quarter's grades.  Even better, she is still behaving well at school.
In celebration of a whole week of good behaviour at school we went out for a donut on Friday.  We went late at night, right before bedtime with the hope that the sugar would work its way out of their system while they slept.  It seemed to be working in that they all had a good night's sleep.  However the next day H had three minor meltdowns over trival events.  She did not have good control over her emotions.  I am willing to bet it was the donut.  Next celebration will be pizza.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

better and better

Today H's teacher told me that her behaviour has been very good at school.  She is getting all of her work done on time and is sitting in her seat and following directions.  She is also writing down her assignments like she is supposed to (and which she couldn't seem to do at the beginning of school).  Of course I was thrilled to hear this.  And it was a nice bit of encouragement since I have felt like we had hit another plateau.  We do the exercises from the therapist (neuroplasticity) every day and it is a bit tiring.  And for the past month I had not seen any changes in her behaviour (though I am thankful there are no changes for the worst).  Apparently all of the changes were happening at school.  It has given me the boost I need to keep doing this every day, even when I am worn out.
It is definately worth it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Almost done with the first semester

I can't believe how well things are going.  We got a progress report and H has all Cs and Bs.  One of the Bs is an 89, too!  She has been getting her work done at school most days, which leaves very little homework to do.  She has been pretty calm and has been good about remembering instructions and obeying.  Her behaviour is what I would expect for a 9yr-old.  I feel like she has (for the most part) caught up with her classmates socially.  I find myself more scolding her younger siblings for being wild than H anymore.  I can't tell you how thrilling this is!  Here is a recent example of what would have been unheard of behaviour for her just a year ago:
We went to the beach and saw some jellyfish on the shore during our long walk. At the end of the walk H announced that she had counted 36 dead jellyfish. This amazed me that she would (1)keep the number in her head the whole while and (2)would stay focused on a task that is not her favorite for an extended period of time.  A year ago this would not have happened.
Two things I forgot to mention in the last blog:First, her teacher told us that H is very good at math and has an intuitive understanding of it.  Remember that 18 months ago her school was talking about holding her back a year because she was failing math so badly.  Second, her teacher looked back over some competency tests H had taken at the end of 3rd grade.  Her reading competency score jumped from 46 to 60 (or close to that; I don't remember exactly).  The teacher said that was unprecedented.  At the time of the first test H had been in therapy for about 1-2 months.  At the time of the second test she had been in therapy for 3-6 months.  I was surprised because if anything I expected H would do worse on the second test, since she had figured out by then that most other kids didn't have to take these and was a bit resentful.
We are continuing the therapy.  H's organizational skills are still very poor.  But I feel like we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Yea! Good news

It is wonderful to have good news to share.  We had the therapy meeting 1.5 weeks ago, and the teacher meeting 1 week ago.  The therapist was impressed by how well H is doing.  She can look at and repeat 9 numbers at a time (how did that happen?  We have never practiced more than 8 at a time).  Her responses to physical stimuli are good.  Her crawling and walking is good.  We are still to work on the juggling more as well as the visual and auditory stimuli.  She still needs to work on her eye muscles as well.

When we met with the teacher she said H had been behaving well the past few days.  At the time I thought it was probably just a few good days for H.  However for the entire past week she has behaved well at school.  This is huge.  She has also been finishing most of her work at school so that we don't have as much homework.  And her last few spelling tests have been Cs instead of Fs.  It is the only subject she is failing, so I feel encouraged by the trend.  Her other grades were Bs, with one high C in science due to two tests that she didn't study and failed.  Her teacher said that now that she is doing the quantity of work expected, we need to work on the quality of work.  Her sentence structures are at a 3rd grade level at best (hmmm....and I was always thrilled for her to simply have a whole sentence rather than a fragment).  I think she can come up with the complexity that a 4th grade student would, she just hates to write and therefore writes as little as possible.  We have given her some extra-large paper with the hope that this will give her more room to write more detailed sentences.

Overall her maturity seems so much better, and yet she has not lost her fun-loving nature or her goofiness.  I am so glad, since that is what makes her unique and was one of the things we lost when she was on ADHD medicine.  I know there are still challenges ahead.  She still requires more teacher attention than most children, and still tends to be distracted easily.  Her organizational skills are still non-existant.  But I feel like we are now on the tail end of normal, rather than being out in the land of disadvantaged or disability.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

First quarter of school

So much has happened this past month.  It has been a series of ups and downs (what else is new about that?).  It is one step forward, one step back.  Or is it one-and-a-half steps forward and only one step back?  Sometimes it is hard to tell.  But at least I can say we aren't getting worse.

On the good side of things, H is still doing great with math.  She still has to do some of her math schoolwork at home, but she does it quickly and rarely has more than 10 problems to do anyway.
H has also done really well on her book reports.  She tells me what she wants to say in it, I write it down, and then she copies what I wrote to hand in.  This gets around the problem of her thoughts being faster (and fleeting) than her writing.

Spelling is still a problem; she has been getting 40s and 50s on her tests.  However, after trying many things, her teacher recommended we use a chalk board and flashcards to study the words.  That has seemed to help.  At the very least she doesn't mind writing with the multicolored chalk we bought.  And I think writing the large letters, using her arm more than her fingers, is easier than regular writing for her.  So this makes studying less of a chore, and therefore we study more.  On her last spelling test (the first one after we started using this method) she made a 73% on her test.  So I feel like we are making progress there.

Her creativity has been enormous lately.  She is designing and sewing outfits for her stuffed animals.  She is making clay sculptures (we love sculpty clay) of her favorite animals.  She is making small books.  She is drawing all the time.  And she is happy.  And she is loving.  I do realize how blessed we are.

So what are the steps backward?  Her teacher said she still moves constantly, and has to be brought back on task alot.  Even worse, she mentioned that if her grades don't improve, she will have to repeat 4th grade (I am a bit confused over that; I think spelling is the only thing she is failing.  She has gotten some really low grades in science and english, but that is balanced by some really good grades too).  And as another low, the scouting troop leaders said H can come back only if I or another adult specifically assigned to H were to come, for those times she has behavioural issues.  This really took me by surprise, as last year things seemed so good there.  But I do know she is a problem at times.  Since I have the other kids and can't leave them by themselves, H is not is scouting this year.  Instead she is taking flag football and loving it.  I think God's providence was in that little move.

And onward we go: we will be meeting with the therapist again this week.  It is the first time since school started.   The therapist and I will also be meeting with H's teacher later in the week to see what we can do to help H's teacher.  I think she is beginning to be overwhelmed by H.  She has been a huge help.  She has started to give H a sheet telling her every day what books she needs to bring home and what assignments she needs to do.  She is also assigning H stars for good behaviour each day: and if she misses a star, I am told why, which lets me have some good talks about what is socially acceptable and what is not.  Things that I think of as obvious, like not looking toward bathroom stalls because you can see through those cracks in the door, never occur to H.

So I will try to post again soon, to let you know how all the meetings went.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Third week of school

Things are both up and down at school.  On the plus side, H has discovered she can do math, and do it quickly.  It began as a competition (I was desperate; it was taking her an hour to do 5 problems).  I bet her she couldn't do 5 problems before I finished unloading the dishwasher.  Then it was 10 problems while I folded the clothes.  She was delighted to beat me, especially if I acted chagrined.  On my part I was amazed at how she was whizzing through the problems.  After a week of that, she is now doing all of her math at school at a normal pace, and not having to bring any of it home.  She even got a 95% on a recent math test.  Thank God!  On the down side, she is now dragging at spelling.  She is fairly decent at it, but has gotten it into her mind that she is horrible and it is taking forever to go over her words, the whole time she is moaning about it.  I think I may try making a competition out of that too, since it worked so well with the math (bribery doesn't work for her).  I'll let you know how it goes.  She is also having trouble (again) bringing home the right books for her homework.

Pear juice

We love pears in this family.  So while the pear season is here, we are having pear muffins or pancakes in the morning, pear slices during lunch and dinner, and an occasionaly pear crumble.  In addition I have frozen away alot of pear slices to make pear/applesauce in the winter.  All of this has led to LOTS of pear cores around the house.  I hated to see them go to waste, so I tried dumping them in a crockpot, half full of water.  Then we let it cook all day, after which we collected the juice.  It has been a huge hit.  It is not as sweet as the juice from the grocery store, but since we rarely buy juice at all the kids think this home made stuff is a big treat.
Anyway, just wanted to pass on this tibit.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The beginning of school

We have been on a new set of exercises for about a month now, and are two weeks into a new school year.  Good news first: Usually when we start a new set of exercises there is a major fuss/tantrum at some point, probably because her brain is rewiring a part that was formed at an earlier age (see previous posts to explain this).  However this time we only had part of one day that was a little fussy; really nothing worse than what you would expect from a tired child.  I am hoping that means that we have fixed most of the early age problems and are now working on some of the older age problems.
More good news: H's teacher says she is sitting in her desk, not popping up; and though she occassionally makes noise, it is not often.  Apparently she is quite popular amoung the kids. (I am so thankful for this new school; the teacher is great and really working with us and they placed her in a class with other calm children which helps alot)
Bad news: H is not copying things from the whiteboard very well, including homework assignments.  And she is very slow in doing her schoolwork, which results in more of it coming home.  And getting homework done is still close to hell. We will often be working on it until after 6pm.  It is not that she has alot of work; her younger brother could probably do an equivalent amount of work in 45 min, as compared to her 2-3 hrs.  She still spends alot of time daydreaming.  Only one thing has seemed to help so far.  When she has math problems, we break the problems into 5 or 10 problem groups.  We then "race" to see if she can get the problems in a group done before I finish a chore such as dishes or folding laundry, etc.  It is amazing how this strategy will transform a 1 hr math set into a 10 min math set for her.  It shows she can do it, if only she could concentrate better.  I wish I could wave a wand and put that concentration in her.
Be praying for me:it is sometimes hard to have patience and to remember that H is really quite bright.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Another progress report

The summer is almost over.  It has been a good one for H.  Her behaviour has been consistantly calm and much more mature attitudes/choices than I have ever seen in her before.  Throughout the summer we have tried to do the majority of the exercises every day.  I think there were only a few days that we did every one, and a few days that we didn't do any at all.  Overall I think we did pretty good.  And we didn't stress about how much we got done from day to day.
We had another therapy evaluation last week, and the therapist was surprised at the progress H has made.  She has taken away the crawling (yea!) and put in running instead.  We are also learning somersaults, headstands, and juggling.  And to help get ready for school we are doing a special type of math flash card.  So far H has done the exercises with a good attitude.  And even better, she is excited about starting a new school (wonder of wonders) and has volunteered to get in front of a crowd and say things a few times (she had developed horrible stage fright two years ago).
I'll let you all know how school goes in a few weeks.  I am still concerned about her having control for 8 hrs straight and being able to do the homework afterward.  If you read this, please pray for us!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A month of summer

It has been about a month since my last report.  The summer has been incredibly busy, mostly for me and not so much for the kids.  We have been doing the new exercises, though it is not unusual for us to miss a couple of them on any given day.  Overall I do not feel like we have made any progress.  It is like we have reached a plateau.  It is all very frustrating.  If anything, I think we have lost some of the progress we had made.  I think most of that is due to the change of schedule that is "summer break".  ADHD kids do best in a uniform, consistant environment.  For instance, I gave H a sheet of math to do the other day.  It took her over an hour to do 8 simple multiplication problems, and then she got at least half of them wrong.  When we went over the ones she missed, she almost went into a "crying, I can't" fit.  We have done some math each day since, and she has done better, though still not as well as I would like or as well as 4th grade is going to expect.  But I will give her this: she managed to control her emotions enough not to go into a fit, and she has been reading alot of books this summer (Ramona books).  It is a huge deal that she is voluntarily reading books when she is bored.  And she is still creating lots of projects/things all during summer.  When she was on medication, her creative side completely disappeared.  So let me brag about what she has made all on her own, without any suggestions or help from anyone: an adorable giraffe finger puppet, a small stuffed pillow in the shape of a pokemon (don't ask me which one), tons of drawings of both known pokemon and ones she has made up, and cards for father's day.
I need to keep focusing on the positive, and praying that God will see her/us through another year (and that we get a good teacher this time)!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Still going well

It's been several days since H's last meltdown, and everything has been normal since.  Thank God!  Her moods have been good, she has been as focused as she normally is, and she has been sleeping well.  And this even after I let her have one cookie Sunday night.  She has even gotten interested in the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary.  I think these are a step up from the Rainbow magic books.  She has been reading about a chapter a day.  This is pretty good!
As soon as summer starts I am going to try to do more of the therapy; some in the morning and some at night.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Life after another (therapy) change

About 2 weeks ago we had another therapy evaluation, and another change of exercises.  The new therapy is going pretty well, though I keep misplacing either the Blink game or the Bop it game.  H's least favorite is still the crawling.  But she has kept a good attitude about it all.
However, today was as close to a disaster as we have seen for a while.  She woke up emotional, and stayed that way.  Anything that went wrong got a response way beyond what it deserved.  It all cumulated at Sunday School, where she was not allowed to eat a cookie right away but had to take it home to save for a non-school night (which is my standard procedure).  She was unhappy, but okay with it (I thought).  Then when my back was turned, she took a bite.  For that I told her she had permanently lost the cookie.  We then had a 30 minute cry fest, at which point she cried herself to sleep for a two hour nap.  After she woke up she was better, but still unable to sit still and still liable to over-react.
I realized later tonight that she does tend to have one melt down at some point after every therapy change.  I hope that is the reason for all this.  And I hope that means we won't have another one anytime soon.
So is there a silver lining in this cloud?  I suppose it could be that the crying fest was only 30 minutes, instead of hours.  And that it only happened once today.  And that she seems normal tonight.  It certainly has been worse in the past.  But that is a pretty thin lining.  It is the only one I can find tonight though.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Still here:update after 5 months

Wow, it is hard to believe it has only been 5 months.  We went for another evaluation by the therapist.  Though I hadn't thought H had made as much progress this time, she thought H had done more.  I think that is because she is picking up on things I think of as small, such as H's balance being much better and her crawling being as it should.  So we got alot of new things to do.  We are now doing a type of gentle "shaking", a rhythmic rocking motion, and tongue twisters amoung others.  I have been so impressed at H's good attitude regarding all of this.  She has become a much calmer child.  Now I need to calm down some more:I got more frustrated than I should when I realized she had not turned in an assignment due today that I reminded her about when she got out of the car at school.  I hope her organizational skills improve at some point.  But really, having a happy, loving, energetic, and obedient child is more important than having one who is organized.  Overall I am thrilled we have chosen this route rather than covering up the symptoms with medication.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spring Fever

It has been a rough week and a half.  H has had more trouble concentrating than usual, has been more touchy, and has had more trouble falling to sleep.  Her teacher sent home a note saying it has been a problem at school.  I had figured it was a combination of sugar sneaking into her diet at Easter and just being tired of a whole year of school.  However I found out it could also be due to allergies, that kids with ADHD can have more problems if their allergies are acting up.  And H has had a horrible time with allergies this year, having some sneezing fits that last for 5-10 minutes during which she does nothing but sneezing.  I have had to given her an antihistimine several times just so she could get through the day.  I have not seen a connection between the antihistimine and her behaviour, but I am sure it has not helped.
I hope all this pollen disappears soon.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Keep on keeping on

I should start by saying that overall we are still doing well.  H has been especially good about remembering her school work and bringing home the right books lately.  She is less wild than she used to be.  this was especially noticable after two recent parties when she had cake; the old H would have been an uncontrollable bundle of energy.  This time her energy level did go up, but not to the level I would call "wild".  However we have entered a new challenge in school:long division.  And this is causing some of the inattention-to-math-homework problems to reappear.  The other night it took her 3 hrs to do 20 problems.  And they were not that hard.  Also we have seen a few occasions of her reacting inappropriately to stress:crying, getting overly emotional.  I don't know if that is tied to the math stress at school or not.
All we can do is keep on keeping on, and hope that we continue to make progress.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Making Progress

As I look back at where we were just six months ago, I am so thankful we have been doing this therapy.  H. has changed so much over such a short period of time.  She is much less volatile, is getting to sleep easier, has a better attitude toward things she doesn't like, and is doing much better with her reading.  Tonight she read Matthew 4 to me.  Six months ago I would have been happy with one paragraph, while tonight she did the whole chapter without complaining and stumbling over only one word.  Also, the other day she forgot to bring any of her homework home (her organizational skills are still nil) and I told her she wouldn't be able to go to her science club the next day.  She did start crying and begging, but it was not the hysterics it would have been 6 months ago.  And she was able to stop herself after about ten minutes.  And even better, she was not in a foul or baby-ish mood the rest of the day.  That amazed me.
Another break through: we have been saying the nonsense words to her and asking her to repeat them back since the last session with the therapist (about 1.5 months).  Up to this point she stumbled over 4 words on a regular basis.  Tonight she whizzed through the 4 word combinations, though she still stumbled over the 5 word combinations.  But it is progress!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sweet and Sour veggies

I have never been a pickle lover.  I never even liked coleslaw, because of all the vinegar in it.  But as I have gotten older, my tastes have changed, and now I love homemade vinegar-based veggies (I still can't stand the canned ones).  The recipe below I have used for red cabbage, cucumbers, and carrots (not all at the same time).  It not only gives the veggies a delicious taste, but it makes them last forever in the refrigerator.   Though I sometimes eat these veggies just by themselves as a side dish, my favorite way to eat them is in a Korean beef pot (recipe coming soon) or heaped onto stir-fry.  The sweet flavor contrasts nicely with the salty stir-fry.

Sweet and Sour Veggies
1 Cup water
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup vinegar
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
Chopped or shredded cabbage, cucumbers, or carrots

Boil the water, sugar, vinegar and salt in a saucepan until everything is dissolved.  Let it cool.  Pack the veggies in a jar and pour the vinegar/sugar solution over the veggies.  Keep in the refrigerator.

Hint:if you are using cucumbers, slice them as spears and cut away most of the seeds. 


Big (and good) news

H. brought home her report card today.  Her reading grade has gone from all Ps (passing) to all Ss (the highest grade).  I am so thankful and so excited!
Better go do some more exercises....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good and Bad...again

I think we are now at the eleventh or twelveth week.  Overall things are going smoothly.  I am getting better at doing her exercises every day.  H. continues to be fairly calm at home and have a decent attitude toward homework (though we haven't had much this week due to standardized testing).  She still continues to forget things at school.
The good news: H has found a series of books that she loves (Rainbow Fairy Magic) and is devouring them.  They aren't complicated books, but neither are they "Biscuit".  Sometimes she reads two a day.  This is huge for a girl who up to this point never voluntarily picked up a book.  She has probably read about 20 of the books so far, and it has piqued her interest in reading enough that the other day she picked up a very big fantasy book about dragons.  I was amazed.  And then she proceeded to read the first chapter.  That is all she has done so far, but again it is huge for her.  She would have never even looked at a book that big before.
The therapist had told us that H is not storing information in the same side of her brain where most of the processing of information occurs.  She told us this is part of the reason H has trouble with reading.  Some of the exercises we do are supposed to correct that.  In light of this recent interest in reading, I have to wonder if her brain is now working a little better?
The bad news: Though H has made huge strides at home and in school in self control, apparently that is not carrying over much to situations where I (or a teacher) am not present.  From her scout leader I have found out that she tends to act out alot, like she is trying to gain attention all the time.  I don't know what to do, other than keep at the exercises and hope that eventually it will spread to more areas of her life.  I must say, we have the best, most loving, supportive and patient scout leaders ever!
Keep praying for us!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Melissa's Power Bars

I have been eyeing this recipe for a while, and finally decided to make them.  Can you say yum!?  These are better than Lara Bars.  Even the kids loved them.  I got the recipe from Melissa at Gluten Free For Good.  I love her blog, especially the interesting science/nutritional information she gives on occasion. 

Melissa used pecans, almonds, and apricots in her recipe.  I only had pecans at home, so I just doubled the amount of pecans called for and subsituted 1cup of dried cranberries for the apricots.  Instead of a gluten free flour mix I used 2 tablespoons each of rice flour and buckwheat flour.  And instead of maple syrup I used agave nectar.  So the final version was:

2 cups pecans
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup GF oats
2 tablespoons rice flour
2 tablespoons buckwheat flour
4 tablespoons ground flax
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

I will let you check out Melissa's site for the directions.  They were so good they were gone within hours.  I don't think you can go wrong with these bars, no matter what you substitute.

The tenth week

This week has been spring break for us, which means it has been an unusual schedule.  Therefore it is hard to say if we have made any progress.  At least I can report that H. has not reverted to earlier behavior!  A positive sign was H.'s grandmother commenting on how she seems to be more mature now. 
However I must confess we missed two day of therapy exercises.  One day couldn't be helped, but the other day we completely forgot about it until bedtime, and I was too tired from a cold at that point to start an hour's worth of exercises.
Hopefully I will have more positive news next week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Seasonal Soups

Mmmmm...soup.   I love soup.  It is a great comfort food.  So where to start?  Do I make chili, or chicken vegetable, or carribean soup, or coconut chicken soup, or thai chicken soup?  All of these are favorites here.  However the Go Ahead Honey its Gluten Free challenge this month is SEASONAL soup, meaning something that is in season in your area.  Right now we are getting sweet potatoes and spinach in our farming co-op box (btw, if you live in Alabama, check out GrowAlabama; it is a great co-op).  So that brought to mind two other soups I love: Korean spinach soup and West African sweet potato soup.  I was unable to decide which one to make, so I made both.  Which is a good thing because I think I am coming down with a cold, and there is nothing better than soup when you are sick.
So enjoy (without the colds)!

West African Sweet Potato Soup (adapted from one of the Cook's Illustrated Books)
1 Tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups chicken broth (I make mine without salt; if yours has salt you may not want to add extra)
2 cups water
2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons peanut butter

Saute onion in butter until soft.  Add sugar through cayenne and stir for about 1 minute.  Add rest of ingredients and bring to boil.  Simmer 30 minutes until sweet potato is soft.  Use a hand blender to puree the soup.  Serve with fresh cilantro.

Korean Soup with Spinach (adapted from Faye Levy's International Chicken Cookbook)

1/2 lb ground beef 95% lean
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 cups chicken broth (if your chicken broth is without salt, make sure you taste the soup as it is cooking to see if you need more salt)
2 cups water
8 cups packed fresh spinach leaves (or more, if you can't get enough spinach like me!)
1 green onion, chopped

Saute beef in a large saucepan until almost done.  Add garlic, salt, and pepper.  Once beef is done, add soy sauce, broth, and water.  Bring to boil and add spinach.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve with green onions sprinkled on top.

The ninth week

At least I think it is the ninth week.  To be honest I have lost track.  I am having a much harder time consistently doing the exercises with H. this time around.  Yesterday we skipped everything!  Of course we were out of the house most of the day until bedtime, but still.  If I was planning properly, we would have done at least some of them in the morning.
And due to my lack of consistency H is not progressing this time around.  We are still stuck on repeating back 4 nonsense words.  We have not made any progress.  And she is more often talking in a little girl voice than she used to.
Let's see if I can use this blog to help myself be more consistent.  I don't know if anyone is reading this, but if you are, I will report back this Saturday whether I have missed any more exercises.  Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


First, I should explain I am a type-A, organizing, list-generating person.  So maybe I am overreacting.  But I found out tonight that H. had (1) lost her math notebook, (2) lost her blue take-home-test folder, (3) didn't turn in a fund-raiser because it had been sitting under her stuff in the car for a week, and (4) got a note that is a week old from her teacher saying she is constantly getting in trouble for acting silly.  These are the times when I feel she has no future and will end up living in a slum somewhere. 
Okay, so I am definately over-reacting.  Thank God, I don't express these thoughts AT ALL to her.  Unfortunately I was a little harsh and over-emphasized all she had missed.  This is not good for a sensitive child.  I will need to ask her forgiveness and pray for more patience.  After all, her notebook and her folder are probably at school in her messy and unorganized desk and she just didn't see them.  And the worst that can happen with the fund raiser is we will owe the school $20.  And we didn't get a note from the teacher this week.  And the note from last week is when we were having trouble at home as well, having just started a new therapy routine.
Speaking of which, it is bed time and we still have a few exercises to do!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Vegetable Lasagna

This is one of our favorite lasagnas.  A friend gave us the recipe ages ago; I think she got it from Southern Living.  Speaking of which, what is the etiquette of posting recipes from books or magazines?  Should you not do it, or is it okay as long as you site the source?
Anyway, I digress.  This lasagna is relatively low fat and the vitamin C in the sweet potato allows your body to absorb the iron in the greens to a larger extent.  The flavors are fantastic.  You can make it with gluten-free lasagna noodles.  However the only GF lasagna noodles I have found are rice noodles, and I really don't like the taste of rice noodles.  In many lasagna recipes I use polenta instead, but that does not work in this recipe because it turns out too runny.  Instead I get some corkscrew or elbow corn GF noodles and just put them on the bottom of the dish.  You don't get the traditional lasagna layers, but you have all the same ingredients and tastes there.

Vegetable Lasagna

6 oz gluten free corn or quinoa noodles
1 1/2 obs fresh mustard greens or spinach
1 C minced sweet potato (use a food processor or grate it)
1/2 C finely chopped onion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 C tomato sauce (canned works better than fresh in this recipe)
6 oz tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 C small curd cottage cheese, drained
1/2 lb mozzarella, grated (you may want to use more; but with no layers in this recipe you can get away with this amount)
1/4 C parmesan or asiago cheese, grated

Saute onion in oil until almost tender; add the sweet potato and continue cooking until all is tender, not brown.  Stir in greens and tomatos and oregano.
Cook the noodles according to instruction.
Put the noodles in the bottom of a 9x9 pan.  Then add tomato mix, then cottage cheese, followed by the other cheeses.  Bake 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Encouraging Signs

It seems like the last few times I have posted have been difficult times, with me just searching for the silver lining to the dark clouds.  And though the first few days after we started the new therapy exercises were days of childish behavior, H seems to have settled down and is acting pretty normal.  Now the good news: as we were doing homework tonight I had her correct the spelling of several geographical names in her social studies notebook.  She had the correct spelling on the map on one page, so she only had to copy it correctly onto the next page.  Several months ago when she had to do something similar, it was torture.  Horrible attitudes and only being able to keep two letters in her head at a time.  This would make spelling something like "Washington" take at least 5 steps, as she kept glancing from map to page.  Tonight she was able to keep 5 letters in her head at once, making "Washington" a two step process and "Arkansas" a one step process since she already had the first three letters correct.  She was also able to find one letter errors in words that I told her to check, something she could not have done two months ago.  I know this may not sound like much to you, but it really is huge.  And best of all, we are moving in the right direction!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cincinnati Chili

For February's Go Ahead Honey It's Gluten Free challenge I decided to make Cincinnati Chili.  It has chocolate in it, a must this month, but is a wonderful savory dish instead of sweet.  Cincinnati Chili has long been a favorite of my husband's.  (he says one of the reasons he married me was that he knew that even if the marriage was a bust, he would be well-fed.  ;-)  Thankfully we have a great marriage as well).  It is traditionally served over spagetti, with beans, cheese, and diced onions (if you want to get romantic, you might want to leave off the onions).  Though you can use gluten-free noodles I like to make a batch of polenta and eat it over that instead.  Add a good salad and you have a great meal!
ps-sorry for the lack of photos; as I am sure you have noticed, I am not very good with getting photos taken much less loaded onto the computer.

Cincinnati Chili
1 lb ground beef
2Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 bay leaf
3 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 ounce unsweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces tomato paste
1-2 cups water

Brown the meat and drain any fat.  Add all of the other ingredients and let simmer for a couple of hours.  Serve over pasta or polenta, with beans, cheese and chopped onions.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The sixth week-an update from the therapist

We saw H's therapist today.  I am completely exhausted, mostly from constantly telling H "sit down", "pay attention", "obey", or "use a big girl voice."  I have no idea why, but she was more out-of-control there than at home.  In spite of this, the therapist was also able to see some of the progress H has made and confirm some of the things H's teacher and myself have seen.  It was not as much progress as I had hoped we had made, but at least it was progress.  It was actually more progress than the therapist expected to see, I think.  She said it has helped that we have done the therapy every day.  As a consequence she gave us several new exercises to do at home.  One, which would be challenging to me, is to walk heal-to-toe while tossing a ball from hand to hand.  I can't wait to try this with H.  We also get to try a new game called "Blink".  I don't think she will like that as much.  Anything dealing with speed or timing tends to get her frustrated.  I will have to make sure she doesn't play against brother until she is good at it.  And unfortunately, we still have to practice the crawling, H's least favorite activity because it is so boring.  But I had an idea, that maybe we could give her headphones to listen to her favorite CD while she crawls.  That may make it more fun.
Good luck if you are dealing with this as well.  I am sure you are as exhausted as I am!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lawn Chemicals and Pressure-Treated Wood: the fifth week

It has now been almost 5 weeks since we started the therapy.  I decided to blog today rather than wait because something happened today that was both frustrating and encouraging.

The frustrating part was that we had a bad end to the day.  H. was having trouble focusing, sitting still, and kept coming back to a negative attitude of "I can't do this".  This was very surprising because she has been doing so well all week.  Now by "well" I mean that she did her homework without complaining, and I didn't have to sit right beside her all the time to keep her on task.  I still had to help her stay organized, I still had to help her study for her tests, I still had to chastise her about not writing down all her assignments, and I still had to send her back into school a couple of times when she didn't bring the right book home for her assignments.  The teacher still sent home notes saying H was acting silly or not following directions on tests very well.  But she did fairly well in her tests, did her homework, and had a good attitude at home.  Today when I picked her up from school she seemed to be reacting like normal.  But then I let her go play for an hour at a friend's yard.  After she came back and we tried to do homework, it was not fun.  Negative attitudes, constant distractions, constant moving.  She promises she didn't eat any treats or juices or food over there.  But she did eat some of the snow that had fallen last night and some of the icicles from their porch.  Groan.  I know the neighbors get their lawn treated monthly (we don't) and I know their porch is made with pressure treated wood.  You do know that pressure-treated wood has arsenic in it, right?  And that it is not allowed to be used for surfaces where eating will take place.  Of course the chemicals they put on lawns to kill all insect life and prevent seeds from sprouting are a whole other subject.  I can't prove that her behavioral change is due to an ingestion of these chemicals, but it seems suspicious to me.

So, that was the frustrating part.  The encouraging part?  That this regression in behavior has made me realize the huge difference between the way she has been this week and the way she was two months ago.  Again, I can't say for certain that these changes are due to the therapy.  It could be that she just matured and would have shown these positive changes anyway.  After all, her teacher and I have been working with her all year.  But again, it seems suspicious to me that we are seeing such a huge change now.  Now that we are doing therapy.  Even her teacher commented that "now that you are involved in her homework she is doing much better at school."  Huh?  I have been VERY involved in helping her at home since school began.  And considering how many times I have emailed the teacher or met with her in person I would think she would have realized that.  However it is only recently that her teacher noticed a difference.  By the next article on this subject I should have seen the therapist again.  It will be good to see what she says!

If you are coping with similar problems, my sympathies are with you!

Easy Crumb Pie Crust

This is the pie crust we use for almost anything but chicken pot pie.  The surprise ingredient is chex cereal.  Either rice or corn is good.  I like to use the chex cereal for crumbs for three reasons: it gives the crust a yummy taste, it is less expensive than buying GF cookies, and we almost always have some chex cereal around (I can't say the same thing for cookies).  It is so simple to just pour some chex cereal in a blender and make crumbs with it.  It also gives me something to do with the few tablespoons of left-over cereal crumbs in each box.  The most common pie I make with it is pumpkin pie; I use the Libby's recipe but with fresh (or frozen) pumpkin from my co-op box and with 1/3 the sugar.  I don't feel guilty with that pie since it is giving the kids some milk, eggs, and squash.  Another pie we like is a yogurt custard pie; again, fairly healthy.  For a real indulgence we make key lime pie.  It is my kids' absolute favorite, but it is loaded with sugar.  I use the Cook's Illustrated recipe.  It is better than any store-bought pie.

Speaking of which, can someone tell me the etiquette for posting recipes from cookbooks online?  I don't see it done very often, so I suspect it is not allowed.


Crumb Pie Crust
1 1/4 Cup chex cereal crumbs
5 Tablespoons butter, melted

Mix the cereal and butter.  Press it into the bottom and sides of the pie pan.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Allow it to cool before gently pouring in the pie filling.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Citrus Stir fry with Chicken

I rarely get to watch any TV shows these days, between watching 3 kids, working part time, and keeping a house in order.  So it was a treat to catch even the last 10 minutes of a cooking show on PBS last week.  I don't know which chef it was, but at the end of the show he quickly showed some of the things you can do with citrus fruit.  One in particular struck me as sounding yummy, which led to the following recipe.  I happened to have leftover chicken which I used in it, but you could use any meat you like.  My husband and I both loved the flavors in this dish.

Citrus Stir Fry
vegetable oil for stir fry
1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
1 large or two small bell peppers, seeded and sliced
2 small oranges, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
1/2 cup sugar snap peas
2 cups cooked chicken
2 Tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon water
1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch

Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, water, and cornstarch.  Set aside.
Heat oil in a wok or skillet.  When it starts to shimmer add in the onions and peppers.  Stir constantly, until onions begin to become translucent.  Add the oranges, peas, and chicken.  Stir for 1-2 minutes until everything is heated.  Add the soy sauce solution and remove from heat.  Serve with brown rice.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The fourth week

This week was similar to the second one in that there was a dramatic change half way through the week.  Thankfully, the change was for the better this time. 

Earlier in the week H. seemed to react to any type of discipline or stress in a particularly immature way.  She would start crying or shrink into herself when faced with any negative comment, and she actually bit someone at school to get their attention.  I called the therapist in a state of despair.  She told me that as the brain starts to re-work itself that the child will sometimes regress for a short time to earlier behaviors.  In other words, they react to things in a manner appropriate for a child whose age is the same as the age of a child who would normally be developing some of the brain connections that are being re-worked in your child right now.  I hope that makes sense.  In any case, by the end of the week H. was acting more normally, and was actually approaching the great behavior we were seeing at the end of the first week.  I doubt it is permanent, but I hope that it is!

Gluten Free bread

I am not a big bread eater.  So going gluten free four years ago was not a tramatic experience.  The things I missed the most were pizza and pancakes, for which I fairly quickly found recipes.  I didn't, and mostly still don't, miss bread.  I find savory pancakes or corn tortillas are great substitutes for bread when making sandwiches.  However my daughter loves toast and though I let her have wheat, I try to keep it to a minimum.  So I have occassionally played with gluten-free bread recipes (my favorite is from Gluten-Free Mommy).  The problem with all these recipes is that they contain xanthum gum.  I have never enjoyed xanthum gum.  I know it is supposed to be fine to eat, but there is something about bacterial slime that is not appealing to me.  I keep waiting to hear that large quantities of it are dangerous, similar to the history of aspartame.  So a while back when I was changing around Shauna's biscuit recipe and turned out a biscuit that held together really well, I thought it might work for a small loaf of bread.  And it does!  This bread uses the congealing ability of buckwheat, flax, and oats to hold it together.  Because it uses so many whole-grains/seeds, the resulting product has alot of flavor.  And it is so easy to make!  The main thing you have to be careful about when making this bread is letting it rise too much; you want it to only increase in size by about half, instead of the usual double.  If it rises too much you end up with a crack running horizontally through your bread.

Guten Free Brown bread

1/4 C warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 C ground flax seed
1/2 C oat flour
1/2 C buckwheat flour
1/2 C tapioca flour
1/2 C white rice flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 C buttermilk or yogurt (milk will work as well)
2 Tablespoons butter

Mix water, yeast and sugar.  Let it sit until it is bubbly; when that happens, mix in the flax seed and continue to stir it for about 2 minutes.  It will be like a slurry. 
In the meantime mix together the oat, buckwheat, tapioca and white rice flour along with the baking powder and salt.  Mix in the egg and buttermilk/yogurt.  Mix in the yeast slurry.  Lastly, melt the butter and mix it into the bread dough.  It should have the consistency of thick cake batter.
Pour it into a greased loaf pan.  Cover and let it sit until its size has increased by half.  Then bake it in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  Let it cool before you take it out of the pan.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Third week

We have now finished three complete weeks of the therapy for H.  Her attitude toward homework has gone back to what it was before we ever started the therapy.  She does not like it and I have to force her to do each subject.  I do not need to sit right by her for every math problem, but she does need to say each out loud in order to stay focused.  The one area in which I have seen a definate improvement is her short term recall.  We do an exercise where I say a series of numbers and she says them back, or I show her a series of numbers and then she must say them back.  She started out only being able to do 5 or 6 numbers in a series accurately, and she is now up to 6 or 7.

We are continuing to do the hour worth of exercises each day.  The therapist would ideally like us to do all the exercises twice a day, but I don't see how I can do that and still let her play with her friends or do extracurricular activities like scouts or science club.  We see the therapist in two and a half weeks, and it will be interesting to hear how much H. has improved at that time.

Protein Muffins

Okay, here is our favorite muffin recipe.  We use this for breakfast, snacks, and desserts.  From all of the eggs it has alot of protein.  From the pureed fruit or squash it has some nutrients.  You can change around the fruit/squash you use, and try adding various spices like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  We haven't had a bad batch yet!  And if you want to save dirty dishes, you can mix it all up in a blender (if you do this blend the liquids, then add the dry ingredients and blend them as well).

3 eggs
2 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons molasses
1/4 Cup applesauce or some fruit/squash puree
1/3 Cup buckwheat flour
1/3 Cup white rice flour (this is found in the mexican isle in my grocery store; if you use Bob's Red Mill flours you want the sweet white rice flour)
1/4 Cup nut flour (optional) (this can be almond flour, hazelnut flour, or pecan flour)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend the eggs, milk, and molasses in a bowl.  In other bowl mix the dry ingredients and add them to the egg mixture.  Lastly melt the butter and mix it in.  Pour into mini muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees Farenheit for 15 minutes (we found the muffins tended to stick to the tin if we used regular sized muffin tins).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gluten Free nutritious brownies

This is my first time attempting the Go-Ahead-Honey-Its-Gluten-Free Challenge started by Naomi at Straight into bed cake free and dried.  This month it is being hosted by Lauren at Celiac Teen and she chose the theme of a January Calendar Holiday.  This was a hard challenge, mostly because of the multitude of choices!  January is national oatmeal month, soup month, slow cooking month, and has several chocolate days.  My favorite comfort foods fall into these catagories.  But after much debating, chocolate won (again).  These brownies are my take on the Sneaky Chef brownies by Missy Lapine.  They have never failed, and I don't feel guilty letting my kids eat them.  One note though: since we don't eat much sugar we enjoy these brownies with less sugar than alot of people.  If you like things sweet, you may want to double the sugar in the recipe.

Gluten Free nutritious brownies
6 Tablespoons butter
3/4 Cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup purple puree (we call it chocolate enhancer to keep the kids from getting suspicious)
1/4 Cup oat flour
1/4 Cup sorghum flour (note: you can also use ground up rice chex here)
2 Tablespoons ground flax
1Tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler.  Let it cool.  In the meantime mix the eggs, vanilla, sugar, puree.  Fold the chocolate into the egg mixture.  In a separate bowl mix the flours, flax, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Mix this into the wet ingredients.  Pour all of this into a greased 9x9 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 min.

Purple puree:
3Cups spinach, cooked 10 minutes
1 1/2 Cups blueberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3-4 Tablespoons water
Blend all of this together.  Freeze it in 1/4 Cup portions in muffin tins, then for convenience place all the portions in one big ziplock bag.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The second week

We are now slightly past two full weeks.  The second week started well and ended in disaster.  Just like the first week, throughout the first six days of the second week we noticed H. focusing better and copying words down correctly.  Homework was not the struggle it usually was.  However on Saturday a well meaning relative let H. have a lemonade.  A large lemonade.  From Chick-Fil-A.  One glass of Chick-Fil-A lemonade has 23 grams of sugar.  That's about 5-6 teaspoons of sugar.  Needless to say, she was bouncing off the walls the rest of that day, couldn't sit still at Sunday school the next day, and forgot things at school on Monday.  However the worst part happened Monday night at homework time.  She constantly said she "couldn't do it" or lied and said it was all done when it wasn't.  When I wouldn't give in to what she wanted (and no, I wasn't forcing her to do homework constantly) she worked herself into hysteria.  We had 2 solid hours of her sobbing.  It was awful.

Today is now Wednesday.  Tuesday night was a bit more normal.  She was able to get through most of her work, though she had to move constantly.  I am hoping tonight will be even better.  This is why we avoid sugar!

Before I finish with this post, I want to explain our sugar policy with H.  We allow her to have some foods sweetened with molasses or honey during the week (as you will see in some of my recipes soon).  But if she is given any candy or cupcakes at school, she is supposed to bring it home in a ziplock bag and save it for Friday night.  For the most part, she obeys the rule.  We have come up with several "desserts" that she enjoys that take the place of sweets.  She loves toast with cinnamon on top, she loves pizza slices, and she loves the protein muffins I make (more about that later).  She has developed tastebuds that now consider alot of foods "too sweet".  But tempt her with a lemonade or ice cream and all bets are off :-(

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The first week

A note: we have actually already been on the therapy program for slightly over two weeks.  But I am going to write this first entry from the prespective that I had at the end of the first week.
We have finished the first week.  It has gone much better than I expected.  We saw the therapist for an initial four hour session.  During that time she discovered that H. has a problem with her balance, she does not crawl normally (I never would have noticed either of these until she pointed them out), her short term memory is not functioning at as high of a level as a normal 8 yr old, and she does not stay focused (that I could have told her).  I had previously determined that 1 hr of exercises per day were all that I thought I could do and still give H. some free unstructured play time each day (since she also has school and homework).  So the therapist gave us a bunch of exercises to do, most lasting only 5 minutes. Listening to a book on tape for 15 min in her right ear only and listening to Mozart for 15 minutes are the two longer lasting exercises we have to do.  Another exercise is giving H. a deep pressure massage every day-my hands have begun to ache from the unaccustomed exercise.  Probably her least favorite exercise is the 5 minutes of crawling; she finds it boring.  However she has been doing them with at least reasonable good will.  There have been several days that we did not get to one or another of the exercises.  I have decided not to stress over it and to just do the best I can.

What has surprised me is that I can see a change in H. already.  She is doing better at copying down words  correctly at school and is doing better at focusing on her homework.  Normally I have to sit right beside her and practically keep my finger on whatever math problem she is doing in order to keep her even semi on track.  But the last few days she has been sitting down and doing them with little help from me.  Now I know this therapy is not supposed to show any affects for months at best.  So I doubt this change in behavior is due to the therapy directly.  Being a scientist, I am inclined to call it a placebo effect.  Being an engineer, my husband calls it the change in management effect (make any change and production will go up simply because the employees know you are watching).  Whatever the cause, it is a welcome change!  I hope it lasts.


A beginning

Let me start this blog by mentioning that I am not a writer.  In school my least favorite activity was writing essays.  I have unsuccessfully started a journal probably twenty to thirty times.  I am also a private person who does not like to talk about my life to people I do not intimately know.  So why am I writing a blog?  There are two main reasons.

The primary reason is my daughter, H.  She has ADHD, with occassionaly hallucinations thrown in.  She is a bright, loving, delightful person.  But she does not fit into the model that works well in schools.  We noticed a problem in kindergarten, but it wasn't until the first grade that the teachers said anything.  Second grade was when they wanted us to put her on medication.  We did, against our better judgement, for 6 months because we were desperate.  The medication "worked" for about a month, then her body adapted and the side effects remained while the positive effects disappeared.  The thing we hated most about the medicine was how  much it depressed her personality.  So we stopped the medicine and started searching for something else.  A while later, and desperate to the point of considering medicine again, we providentially found a therapist specializing in neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity?  What is that?  According to what I have learned, it diagnoses (by watching the child) areas in the brain that did not develop normally.  Then the parents are given exercises to do at home that will help the brain rework those faulty connections so that everything works more normally.  Honestly, it sounded a bit unusual and risky.  But a friend whom I trust had been through the program and it worked wonders for her son.  So we decided to give it a try.

So this blog is mostly to let you walk through the process with us.  If it works, I am hoping this blog will help more people discover this option.  I am sure there are other parents out there who would like to help their child either to use less medicine or to use none at all.

I mentioned there are two reasons that I am starting this blog.  The second one deals with my love of cooking.  I have celiac sprue, and H. is very sensitive to sugar so we try to keep her away from it without feeling deprived.  These two issues make cooking a fun challenge in our house.  I will occasionally post recipes that work for us.  You might also find an occasional book suggestion since I am an avid reader as well.

I hope you find this blog interesting, entertaining, and helpful!