Dairy-free personal sized PIZZA

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I have dabbled with being  dairy-free for quite some time now.

My first experience was back eight years ago when Haddie was a baby.  Me being dairy-free meant she was a happier baby. That lasted for a year.

And then again, when Abigail was a baby, I gave up milk and yogurt and ice cream. My nursing babies just weren’t content when I ate dairy!

After Abigail was weaned, I began to connect inflammation with dairy and have been mostly off dairy ever since. That has been over 4 years now.

Of all the lovely foods that dairy gives us, the one that I miss the most has been pizza. Yes, even more than ice cream–which I hardly miss at all because of this shake.

I mentioned being mostly dairy-free because once every couple of weeks over the last few years I would “cheat” and have pizza. Until recently…

I finally discovered a way to make pizza that requires no cheese and still hits that pizza craving. Thanks to the following dairy-free pizza,  I have been completely dairy free for several months now! Continue reading

The crying cure

damMost of my life I have been like a poorly dammed river–tears leaking through the cracks  incessantly. And in imminent danger of the whole construct collapsing in one gigantic emotional episode.

It’s a weakness. Not being able to control the dam of your emotions–or your tear ducts. At least that is what I have been told and have observed and have keenly felt.

Crying on the job. Definitely not a good idea.

And in friendships and intimate relationships. Frequent tears can cause problems there as well.

At the movies and concerts and parties. Yeah, not so cool.

But, regardless of how HARD I tried, there they Continue reading

Moms and spiritual moms, Happy Mother’s Day!


When I think back to the women who have profoundly influenced my life, my own mother is at the top. I have been blessed with the most incredible, loving mother.

She really, truly is one of the most sacrificial and caring people I know. Her love for others shines out in all she does–from her encouraging words, to her generosity, to her love and kindness offered to “the least of these”. You can be sure that any good attribute you may observe in me can be traced back to her.

I want to be like my mother. I want my girls to grow up knowing the unconditional love I have known 33 years and counting. She embodies what it means to be a mother and why we celebrate our mothers on this special day of the year.

After my mother, I think of another lovely woman who greatly influenced my life and help set me in a positive direction. She has no physical children of her own. Yet she was a spiritual mother to many women (and men).

Her desire was to have children and raise a family, but that never happened. And yet, in spite of her own pain and suffering, she offered motherly love and guidance to those who needed it. She poured out her time and prayers and enouragment–her life.

The world needs women who are willing to pour out their lives for the good of others, be they physical or spiritual moms.  Women who are willing to lovingly and fearlessly guide the next generation.

So in honor of all moms and spiritual moms out there: Happy Mother’s Day! What you do matters.

Sandal-ready feet

sandaled_feetHaddie and I wandered through the sandal isle of a department store downtown Boston this afternoon. Abigail was “working” with Brance at our new house and it was just the two of us. We had fun looking at the different styles together.

It seemed a little ironic. Although there are beautiful pink and white blossoms on our trees, it was a shady 55 degrees outside. Not exactly sandal weather, right?

But it’s coming. And we are eagerly awaiting sun and sand and sandals.

So, in anticipation and preparation of warmer days to come, I thought I would share my tried-and-true foot softening trick.

It really, truly can help with even the worst of callouses. We all know that callouses are just one of the “lovely” things that come with the territory of getting older. And by older, in this instance, I mean anything over 20!

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Foot softening trick

To do this, you’ll need Continue reading

Weekend Reads

lighthouse 2The girls and I have been around town more than usual this past week. Wednesday was Haddie’s Birthday and one of her favorite things is to explore our city… especially bookstores. I think we trained her well ;).

I already posted pics from our time at the USS Constitution, the North End, and Sweets where we celebrated 8 wonderful years with our sweet oldest.

Today the girls and I met up with some friends and afterwards ended up wandering around downtown. We had fun visiting the graveyard where the first Massachusetts governor was buried and Brattle Street Bookstore (Haddie’s favorite).

We definitely need to get out and do this more often!

What do you have planned this weekend? I hope to play catch up around the house. We’d also like to get in a hike weather permitting!!!

Here are some interesting articles from around the web (and a video)!

Continue reading

Haddie’s Birthday and the USS Constitution

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How cool that we have the oldest American ship in our backyard! And it is completely free to tour. I can’t believe it has taken us this long to go see “Old Ironsides” (back in the day cannon balls literally ricocheted off the sides of this boat because of the “live oak” used to make the ship!).  We had the best time walking through this amazing piece of American history yesterday.
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The girls just LOVED the museum too. It was very interactive and kid friendly. It isn’t free (they have a suggested donation). Unless you live in Boston and then you can get a free library pass. Here the girls were practicing tieing up the sails. The museum workers were incredibly nice and informative. The girls hung on every Continue reading

Do the next thing

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I am not a good multi-tasker.

Our little family was taking a day-trip out of the city recently. I was driving because I am also not a good navigator. I get extremely nauseous reading anything in the car.

Brance had given me directions for the next turn. We were getting onto a different interstate and it required that I take the exit with an A and NOT a B. Okay, no problem.

Only, Brance and I were deep in conversation like we usually are when we travel and I took exit B. We ended up on the correct interstate going the wrong direction.

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Multi-tasking is supposed to be a feminine gift, but somehow I missed out on this one. I get extremely flustered when I am required to multi-task.

And recently we’ve had a lot of kettles on the fire. Lots going on and I have been feeling a little flustered if I dwell on everything that needs to be done. Okay,  a lot flustered.

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I have a friend who manages her large family beautifully. Like a well-oiled machine. She’s modest and laughs and disagrees when I say so. But it’s true. I sometimes wonder Continue reading

Taking care of yourself to better care for others

image Self-care seems to be all the rage these days. And I can see why.

If you want to make it the long-haul as a loving, supportive, and helpful wife, mom, husband, dad, family member, or friend you have to take care of yourself along the way. You have to take moments from your hectic and demanding schedule to recharge yourself.

We have all seen or heard about those people who selfishly neglect the people in their life. Who only spend time doing the things they love to do. I think that can make self-care seem a little scary to some of us.

But self-care is the furthest thing from selfishness and neglect. It is wisely spending moments during your day to refresh yourself, making you better able to care for those you love. Self-care will make you less tired and grumpy and impatient. It can help make you less selfish.

Recently I haven’t engaged in self-care as often as I usually do ;). We are waiting for my new niece to arrive any moment and we have been busy, busy baking freezer meals and washing dishes and chasing kids and analyzing contractions (dang that false labor).

And staying up a little too late talking about old times. But I am loving every moment with my sister, brother-in-law, and sweet little niece. And I know that I will jump back into it once I am back home.

Since I kind of miss self-care when I am unable to engage in it because of travel, or some other circumstance, I thought I would share some of my favorites.

Here are some self-care rituals I believe provide a big return for their investment. Most of them require only a couple of minutes of my time here and there, yet help me feel and be my best during the day. Continue reading

Things I am learning

wildflowerBrance and I have experienced lots of transition and life-stressors over the last 6 years. You know, those hard things in life that throw you into turmoil—death, a move, joblessness, a new baby, disease etc.

In fact, one year we tallied up 6 of them in a couple month span. Any one life-stressor being capable of throwing a person headlong into depression, we’ve been told. So, no surprise at times we found it hard to come up for air.

This little blog was birthed as a result of some life changes I made that helped me find my feet early on during this time.

And even now as I dig through a large plastic tote for a pot to boil eggs in, I am reminded of the transitional nature of this time as well. Still. No “permanent” dwelling, no place to make my “own”… yet.  (Though,  Brance is working awfully hard on those renovations!!)

But, do you know what?

These have been some of the most beautiful and growth-producing years as well.

Isn’t it a shame that it often takes the chisel to make us into the people God wants us to be? To make us fully reliant on him. To see ourselves as travelers on planet earth, only passing through. To help us release our puny expectations and embrace his gloriously, bigger plan (even if it doesn’t look so glorious or big to the world around us).

Life is transition–transition from our temporary, broken home, to our home eternal.

So, for a Christian, transition is a good thing. And life-stressors are a good thing too, if they make us into the image of Christ.

With love,

Lauren

Saying you’re sorry to your kids

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Haddie with her Papa G Spring of 2010

Saying I am sorry has been one of the most beautiful things I have experienced as a parent. And if you have never once apologized to your children you are missing out. Really.

I am not advocating doing things on purpose that require an apology. Yikes. But humbly admitting to your kids when you’ve messed up is hugely important to their spirit and your spirit and the relationship as a whole.

Hands down some of the sweetest bonding moments between myself and my girls have involved me saying I am sorry—admitting when I was wrong.

It happened just yesterday.

I was on the phone with my mom and out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw Haddie give Abigail a shove. Distracted and annoyed I covered the phone and gruffly sent Haddie away to time-out, to be dealt with later, unwilling to hear what she was trying to say.

It wasn’t until after I got off of the phone that it became apparent from both girls that Haddie was helping Abigail. That she was keeping her from stepping on some glass items that were on the floor.

I had messed up. That happens more often than not when I am distracted and impatient. You too?

Haddie was crying and dejected on her bed. I scooped her up in my arms and told her that I had made a big mistake and asked her to forgive me.

Oh my! The hug and kiss I received made my heart just melt. My apology meant the world to her.

If only I could forgive others as readily, completely, and joyfully as this little girl—what a lesson for mommy. And that is a lesson I would have missed out on, if I had brushed my offense under the rug.

Yes, apologizing is humbling and it means admitting we have faults and make mistakes—sometimes big ones.

But as Brance’s deceased father (Papa G to Haddie) was famous for saying, Our children need repentant parents not perfect ones.

How very wise he was.

Love,

Lauren