paleo pumpkin pancakes

I just completed my second month of going grain-free. I've written about this eating plan here. And the truth is, for my body and energy levels, this is just how I have to eat. Everything stabilizes for me when I eat grain-free. I'm a nicer mom, a more even-keel wife and a better person!

I checked out a book at the library called Practical Paleo that I love so, so much. It explained a lot of what my body was experiencing with sugar crashes, but was easy to read and came with incredible recipes.

This one is for Pumpkin Pancakes. It is basically eggs, canned pumpkin and a tablespoon of Coconut flour (found right by the regular flour...) with a lot of spices too. I love this recipe. I had tried the 2-ingredient pancakes that are everywhere (mashed banana and eggs) but as Rory pointed out to me, "it's basically a banana omelet, right?" And I could never get past that thought. These pancakes are also eggy, but the pumpkin seems to mellow the egg a lot and with the other spices it seemed more like a legit pancake. (Also, I doubled the recipe and next time will triple it. My kids loved these.)

And at the end of the day, they are basically a great vehicle to enjoy our fresh maple syrup.

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes, original recipe found here
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1-2 T. coconut flour
2 T. melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or check linked recipe for spice breakdown)
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

Mix wet ingredients together. Sift in dry. (Or just dump slowly, my way of sifting!)
Grease your skillet and make your pancakes. It took me a while to figure out when to flip them...I waited too long on the first few. Finally got it by the end.


our fourth child

Here's our baby! All bundled up in a ball, with a fist right by it's face. We don't know the gender and will wait to be surprised. When I told the ultrasound tech that we didn't want to know the gender said, "Oh, I haven't had one of you in a long, long time..." But we are excited to be surprised. :) And everything looked great at the ultrasound. We are already in love.

To be pregnant with your 4th child is a bit surreal. This pregnancy, on the whole, has had very mild symptoms and between that fact and the fact that I am chasing my other three, I often forget that I am pregnant at all. There are so many days that I wonder, "why am I so exhausted?!!" And then I remember I am growing a life. And chasing a one year old. And homeschooling two others. And feeding a family. And then I remember to go take a nap.

But I am definitely carrying our fourth child, so here are some highlights that I want to remember from this pregnancy:
1) My number one craving for the past 24 weeks has been vitamin D milk. That's right. The milk with the red cap. Labeled whole milk. We have it for Hattie's bottles, but I cannot get enough. It is my go-to all day long. My stomach must be really acidic this pregnancy because it is my tall glass of cold whole milk that calms things down for me. I drink a glass first thing in the morning and any other time I feel a little unsettled. Rory has been known to say, "honey, please, save some for Hattie." (Also, I always have a hankerin' for Culver's chicken strips. I could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner it seems.)

2) Along those same lines, I have not been able to stomach a sip of coffee since I got pregnant. And believe me, I need my coffee these days! But it just does not appeal at all. It makes my stomach feel sour, even thinking about it. So I've gone to tea, which is better anyway, but not quite the same little caffeine happiness that a cup of coffee brings.

3) My gag reflex is strong. I've never been quite this sensitive, but once offended, there is only one ending (and it's not a pretty one.) Rory has seen this many times in action, sometimes relating to changing a Hattie diaper, sometimes when having to put dirty dishes (with ketchup!) in the dishwasher, sometimes when it's time to empty the kitchen sink drain. All of those can be offensive to the point of no return. Thankfully, if caught early enough, a good glass of milk and some fresh air can usually get the train back on track. Again, that milk! We need a cow.

4) Elsie never forgets that I am pregnant. She prays for the baby, talks to it, kisses it, tells me that she will give a teeny piece of cake to the baby on her birthday because the baby will be so teeny at her party! And Ivar will say out of the blue, "I just can't believe we are having our fourth baby. That it's really going to happen and it will be so fun." 

5) My joy for this baby is enormous. I may have wondered if it would feel routine by now, but not at all. In fact, when I think of this baby I always hear the words, "pure gift." I believe all of my kids have been a gift from God, so this shouldn't be a new thought. But I think this baby is just going to be a sweet addition, a sweet gift, a cherry on top. We are nearly 24 weeks along. Time is flying and this baby is coming. We cannot wait to meet you! 

prayer for joy

Last Sunday morning Rory and I were getting ready for church and I could see the weight of the world on his shoulders. He has a huge work deadline on March 1 and it is a big deal. Coupled with the goats, maple trees, farm chores and family life, we feel near the brink around here. But I saw him carrying this heavy load and knew it wasn't right.

Our family has spent a lot of time talking about Habakkuk 3:17-18 and what it means to rejoice in all things. Those verses say, "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen, and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, and I will be joyful in God my Savior." We don't put our trust in what we have or our abilities. Our trust is in God alone. We love those verses and want our kids to know the relief that comes in trusting God as our Provider and fully trusting in His hand for our daily manna.

So I told Rory that I think even with the overwhelm in our family, it is nearing disobedience to be stressed and burdened. We know better. We know where our hope comes from. We have chosen to trust in One God, One Lord and Savior of us all. And we have seen the evidence of our Loving God's hand over and over and over in our lives.

I told him that we needed joy added back into our days. Even during this crazy month. The thing about joy, though, is that you cannot muster it up. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. You may be able to put on a happy face, but joy isn't something we create. It's a good gift from the Spirit.

We went to worship and had a wonderful morning. We love our church so much and come home each week overflowing with Living Water. Sunday night we prayed together for joy to fill our home. To fill our family, to fill our individual hearts. Our Sunday and Monday were good, but by Tuesday I was spent. As Rory has been working at full throttle, I have been holding the rest of our life together. And when he came home Tuesday for dinner I was exhausted and just wanted to get through dinner.

He had Hattie in his arms and came over to me by the oven and said, "I wish I could make you laugh as easily as I can make Hattie laugh. All I have to do for her is blow raspberries on her cheek." He demonstrated and Hattie erupted in laughter. Then he grabbed me and blew raspberries on my cheek. Which was humorous. But then Hattie got excited about this game and lunged her whole body at my other cheek and suddenly I had a drippy nose and an open and wet baby mouth slobbering on my cheek. She sat back and clapped for herself, pleased to be a raspberry blower like her daddy. And something broke in me and laughter overtook my body.

It was over the top. I started laughing and it was instant hysterics. Ivar and Elsie sat at the kitchen table waiting for their tuna melts and Ivar said, "Dad, is mom laughing or crying?" And Rory replied that he did not know, probably both with pregnancy mixed in. And then it was contagious. The whole meal we shared hard, belly laughs about different things. Elsie told about how she could smile with her mouth but still have sad eyes and this led to some hilarious faces made by each member of our family. Every topic that came up made us laugh.

A holy laughter filled our kitchen the whole meal. And something lifted off of our house and our hearts. Rory has had a swing in his step ever since. I have felt a gratitude for so many things, but particularly this power that we have been given to pray for joy, and then to receive such a good gift from the Holy Spirit.

Today at church we shared testimony's of what the Lord has done and I thought about sharing this story, but there were so many people stepping up to share the goodness of God that I decided just to listen. But I wanted to share this testimony here. Trust and obedience, prayer and belief all yield incredible fruit. The ability to ask for Joy might just be my favorite.

the snowy day

Two days ago we were outside running around in t-shirts. We all got a winter getaway for about five days which was wonderful. We knew it wouldn't last and my kids and I were outside every moment we could savor. Yesterday was chilly so we spent the day getting ready for today...we checked out 32 books from the library and went to Aldi to stock up on groceries. Now we're all hunkered down and it feels great. We woke up to this scenery this morning and more is falling as I type.

I have started using Instagram again, but this time I am posting @thegrovestead. I really enjoy that quick way of documenting a moment and hope you'll bounce over there to see our pictures. Instagram always takes away from the blog a bit...I feel like, "well, that story was shared already..." But it is just so easy to share parts of our day that way. That said, I am FAR TOO WORDY to turn fully to instagram. You all know I need my space to write.

So click on over to the grovesteads instagram page. Rory tried for a long time to connect this blog to our instagram account, but Blogger hasn't made any updates to their site in a long, long time. We'll keep working to make it easy as possible, so keep an eye on the right side of this blog for easy links and slideshows. Until then, just click here. And then click on any picture to read the caption. :)

Hattie's babies

Elsie has never played with dolls. She doesn't trust them. Well, she doesn't like their eyes. Since she was two, she has bunched up her baby blanket and called it "Baby Pinky." And she treats it just like a baby, feeding it a bottle, rocking it when it cries...but there is in fact no baby in there. Just the blanket. She got a doll last Christmas at the Harrington Christmas and the eyes would open and close and she got one look out of the wrapping paper and cried right in the middle of gift opening. Dolls are just not her thing.

So I have been so surprised and delighted by Hattie's love of dolls. We had three dolls that she would hold every so often, but then a few weeks ago our neighbor girls invited us over to see if we wanted any of their playroom toys that they were going to give away. We came home with an incredible amount of toys, and mostly dolls (5!) and doll gear: a double stroller, high chair, carrier, and rocking cradle. Honestly, I was most excited for myself. I love everything that we got to bring home!

When we got home it was Hattie who started putting the babies in the stroller and walking it around. She shoved one baby in the high chair and gave it the play bottle. She calls her bottle her Na, and she kept saying, "Na! Mama! Na!"

As it turns out, she calls all of her babies Mama. And she plays so hard. She moves them all around and now that her babies are up in her room, she gets them situated and then reads a book in her chair.

I'm so delighted by her playtime. And in a surprise twist, Elsie has joined in, following Hattie's lead.