Diapers and Dragons

Friday, December 23, 2011

Great Tidings of ... Change. Maybe Some Joy. It's In There Somewhere.

Yes, yes, I know it has been ages (again) and the few holdouts who ever bother to check whether I even have a post up are wondering what has happened to me. The rest of you are apparently just too lazy to remove me from your blogrolls, and bless you for it. My ego gets somewhat soothed by seeing that my number of followers has miraculously remained the same during this inadvertent sabbatical.

Things have been....complicated. In order to protect certain people's privacy and to not stir up more drama in an already overly dramatic situation, I have been keeping silent here, much as I wanted (and still want) to pour things out for you. It would make fascinating reading, I'm sure, in a National Enquirer sort of way. Or perhaps like the script of a Jerry Springer show.

So let me 'splain...No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

A person of our acquaintance and her husband are each in circumstances that render them currently unable to take care of their five-year-old daughter. She (the five-year-old) has been with us for the last week and a half, and will be with us for an undetermined space of time, although we have plans to enroll her in kindergarten here in our district for the rest of the school year. We have been given a form of power of attorney for her that allows us to act as her parental agents for the next six months.

So we now have a Brady Bunch! Truly so this week, as The Dark One is with us over most of Winter Break. And lord help us, this house suddenly feels much smaller.

Despite all the noise and stress, MTL and I keep getting confirmation that we've made the right decision by taking The Hurricane (as we have nicknamed the wild child) into our home. To keep the story short(er), I'll give you the highlights:
  • We needed $200 in order to pay a lawyer to draw up the Delegation of Parental Powers. We were very short on cash that week, and wouldn't have the money until our payday, one day later than we needed. I was able to contact my parents out in West Africa to ask if we could borrow the money for a day. It turned out that earlier that day my father had become convinced that we were going to need some money for whatever was going on in the situation, and the amount of $200 came into his mind. In addition, they made the decision, before we even Skyped them, to gift us the money rather than loan it. (Have I mentioned that I have wonderful parents?)
  • Two weeks earlier or so, before we even had a clue we would be taking in The Hurricane, my sister was shopping for Christmas gifts for the children. She saw an extra one that she was drawn to, and decided to just go ahead and buy it, even though she wasn't sure why. Turns out it was perfect for our new addition!
  • The Widget had a Santa's Workshop at his daycare (to purchase small gifts for family), and I was supposed to turn in the money and list of names by last Tuesday. Since it wasn't my custody week, I forgot and didn't get it in until Thursday. The Hurricane joined us very suddenly Tuesday night. I was therefore able to include her name on the list and add a bit to the money I turned in, and The Widget was able to buy a gift for her as well!
  • My brother, the wonderful DorkMaster B, was able to rearrange his one morning shift at work so that he could come stay with us last week and be with The Hurricane during the work day. Without his graciousness, we would have struggled to care for her during my last week of work before break.
  • I had been attempting to make an appointment with the kids' elementary school's social worker in order to clue her in on some issues going on with KlutzGirl, and had been frustrated by the lack of response. However, because of the delay, when we did meet we were able to discuss The Hurricane's situation as well. She is now filled in and better prepared should anything come up at school with either girl and she is needed in a support situation.
There are other incidents as well, but those are some of the ones I can share.

It's been an exhausting week. Well, realistically, it's been an exhausting few months. Our stress levels are high, we aren't getting much sleep, and privacy is a rare commodity around here. But I know we're doing the right thing.

And the kids are awfully cute, amidst all the commotion. It's going to be a crazy awesome Christmas.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Solstice, or whatever other holiday you may be celebrating this time of year! May the next year be a wonderful one--and far less dramatic than this one.

Hugs and Kisses,
The Crazy Woman Running This Crazy Household

Friday, December 2, 2011

Adventures in Domestic Divinity: The Widget's Apple-Oatmeal Muffins

One of the most difficult challenges in dealing with The Widget's dietary restrictions is baking breads, muffins, cookies, and the like. While I can at least use yeast, which allows me to actually make real bread (something I was never able to successfully accomplish back when I was doing this for DramaBoy), having to avoid gluten AND rice, soy, corn, and buckwheat makes the task....interesting. There are many fabulous food-sensitivity recipes out there these days, thanks primarily to the other bloggers who have similar issues in their households (check out the links down on the right hand margin), so I don't have to do everything from scratch. However, as I've become more familiar and comfortable with the different Funky Flours I use, I've been able to play around with conventional recipes as well.

I've been wanting to get more fiber into The Widget's diet, because he inherited certain, um, issues from a grandparent that make visits to the toilet another challenge. (Thank God the child likes prune juice. Just sayin'.) I also recently discovered that there IS such a thing as gluten-free oats! Therefore, I am not limited to using quinoa flakes in the place of oats. They generally are a good alternative, but they have a distinctive taste that doesn't work with everything, they are very fine in texture, and I don't like overloading The Widget's system with any one ingredient (which can trigger new sensitivities).

So today I checked some options on the Intarwebz and, praise be to the Google gods, found a simple recipe that I could easily adapt. With no further ado, I present you with:

The Widget's Apple-Oatmeal Muffins*

  • 1 cup dry gluten-free rolled oats (Bob's Red Mill makes some that should be readily available at Whole Foods or the like)
  • 1 cup almond milk mixed with 1 Tbsp white vinegar (replacing sour milk or buttermilk)
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1/2 cup brown or white sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour/meal (Avoid Bob's Red Mill's almond flour, as it seems to be too heavy for baking. I order mine from nutsonline.com)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon safe baking powder (Be careful if you need to avoid corn and gluten! Hain Pure Foods makes a cornstarch- and gluten-free baking powder)
  • 1 cup peeled, finely chopped apples
In a large bowl, combine the oats and almond milk/vinegar and let stand for a few minutes so that the oats absorb some of the liquid. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg and oil together. Add to the oats/milk mixture along with the sugar. Beat well with a wire whisk. Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl, then add to the oat mixture. Mix until all of the dry particles are moistened, using about 20 or 30 strokes by hand--do not over beat! Add the apples and mix in quickly.

Spoon the batter into a dozen lined muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack. Fabulous for a healthy snack or breakfast-on-the-go!

*adapted from Hillbilly Housewife's recipe for Oatmeal Muffins
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