Archive | September 2013

The Big Girl Bed Upgrade

Everyone has to graduate to a big kid bed. Today was that day.

Funny, I was going to write todays blog about something totally different but, real time parenting took effect like five minutes ago and re-routed the course of the story.

My daughter is going two going on seventeen. Really three years old on October 15, and she has done the stages of the bed; Crib to day bed. Now, today she has moved to the full size bed. Like, a double, a bed to big for her room. It’s almost comical. Then you slap her in the middle of it and it’s like Goldilocks in Papa Bears bed hilarious. We didn’t expect her to look so damn cute and funny as hell at the same time.

My wife and I built up getting the new bed. Get her excited about the transition. We never worried ourselves about anything negative, we anticipated the fact that it was a new thing and bed time would be disrupted a bit. Currently, it is being disrupted, she says she’s scared.

It’s the kind of scared you’re not usually prepared for. She’s not scared of monsters or shadows, she’s scared of change. It’s an interesting thing to witness. My daughter usually does what she can to stay awake. Talking to her stuffed animals or getting out of bed and wandering around her room, regular toddler stuff. Tonight, the first night in her big girl bed she is saying that the letters on her wall  that spell her name are bugging her. The slippers at the side of her bed are bugging her.

She said to me that she wanted her old bed back.

Vocalizing her fears instead of crying is an amazing cognitive thing for our girl, any child.

My parenting was being back seated by this blog writing, my wife was actually dealing with my kid and her new bed antics while I sat here in the bedroom and listened over the monitor. My wife reminded my daughter of times past when she was brave, like the Lion King bed on our vacation and then my kid started rhyming off times when she was brave herself. Connecting the emotional dots and relating them to the present. Amazing.

Change is scary, specially for a three year old. Sometimes you have to take away the baby steps and just take that leap. We did it with her bed upgrade, and so far, through great Momming we’ve almost got it nipped in the bud… probably not. You know as well as I do, parenting is a never ending battle.

We expect her first night to be a little rough, but we know, in the end, it will work out.

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Celiac Woes: The Mandarin

I could go on and on and on about every restaurant that I loved before I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2008. You’ve been here for at least two of them. But why has no one ever asked me about the Mandarin? The all you can eat Chinese food buffet in Canada? I think no one asks me is because A) I’ll go off on a tangent about how much I actually do miss it, and B) they know I have Celiac Disease and can’t just haphazardly eat at a Chinese food place.

Ah Mandarin. What a great place, rows and rows of food, even french fries. A chinese food joint that has french fries?!! Yes! It was like Disney World for my stomach. Egg Foo Yung with Fries and Frozen Yogurt. Why not? That shouldn’t even be the question. The question should be, why hasn’t anyone just made all Soya Sauce gluten free? Change up all the batter and use rice flour. I don’t care, I just miss my Mandarin. Lining up behind the masses and piling my plate high with what I can only call awesome. AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME. Typing about it is making my mouth water, it’s actually 5:30pm while I type this, dinner time. So it makes this article that much better because you know it comes from the heart, er, stomach.

I have a few memories about going to the Mandarin; Grandpa’s birthday, Joey’s going away (was it Joey’s going away? I know it had something to do with him) and there was the time that my sister and I went by ourselves for a lunch date. Ah good times. Now she is gluten-free by choice and won’t go and eat there either.

photo 1This picture is of me from 2006 eating at a chinese food buffet.  Apparently it wasn’t The Mandarin, but really, they’re all the same.

I miss Chinese food buffets. There are food buffets out there that do have gluten-free items like fruit and salad and veggies. But I’m not paying a huge price to eat like a rabbit. I want to eat my weight in fried rice and egg rolls.

So, I asked my sister to call Mandarin (she was a good sport that day)and ask about gluten-free food. Maybe there was the off chance that yes I could eat there. The short answer; NO. Sushi was gluten free, but there was worry of cross contamination, the head chef even said that there might be cross contamination with the fruit. What kind of organization they running there?

Celiac can suck it.

Vegetarian Food festival 2013

Ever wanted to go to a vegetarian food festival and wanted to ask people all about but were scared to ask? I never was, but i was curious about my sister Katrina taking one for the team and snooping around a festival I wouldn’t go near with a ten foot pole (I of course say this in jest, because vegetarians are a fun people). Here is my first ever guest post from my little sister, Katrina Middlebrook.

Every Year in September the Toronto Vegetarian Association holds a Vegetarian Food Festival.

This festival is held downtown in Toronto, Ontario on The Harbourfront.

My First time attending this huge festival was in 2010.  I was not a vegetarian.

I was hesitant on attending because I loved my chicken, but my best friend has been a vegetarian for 12+ years and I thought I should go to support her.

Walking in to the Festival I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

SpineAssesment

Hi, Jordan here. Since I’m not writing the blog, I will comment on the photos. Here is Katrina getting her spine assessed. What does that have to do with vegetarians?

It was huge.  All sorts of people wearing shirts “Club soda, not seals” “Lettuce Turnip the Beet” I got a kick out of these.  People feel so strongly about not eating animals that they promote it!

Walking through the fair was eye opening. Animals really go through this? I won’t get into it.  At all.

The whole point of me writing this review about the Food festival is to get it out there that there are SO many business, restaurants & people that understand each and every one of our diets.

Dairy Free, nut free, Soy free, GLUTEN FREE.

I never really looked at the different options of food when I went to the food fair.  Everything was either vegan or vegetarian so I was safe to eat all.

This year was a whole different story.  I have been a “Flexatarian” (I eat seafood still) for 3 years now, Gluten Free for 1 month.  I have changed my diet because I am always sick.  Bloated, diareha, nauseas.  I made the change because for the last 5 years my doctor has suggested it.  “You have celiac Katrina, the tests are coming back negative because they sometimes do” “They may have not got a piece of the intestine that was bloated at the time”

I get it, took 5 years to click in.  SMARTEN UP!

I was nervous going in to this festival. Will they have food catered to me?  Should I just eat before I go?  I did, to be on the safe side.

My best friend, who is now a vegan, made me so confident going.  Of course she would know, she is the book of knowledge!

There was a ton of options for me here. I would have to say 75% of food served was Gluten Free.  Upon arriving, the only thing going through my head was getting me some vegan “Jerky” SO DELICIOUS (and gluten free).

My Friend walked around with me to see what my options were for food.  She kept saying she wanted Indian.  My mouth drooled right away.  BUT was it Gluten Free?  Of course we asked, and the answer we got “Everything is except the samosas” UH, YES PLEASE!

GFFoodMinusSamosa

Hey, Jordan here. I’ve never been a fan of indian food. So, here is some indian food that Katrina ate.

I devoured that Indian food like I hadn’t ate in days!

I was so shocked with the options out there.  I was in heaven! If only I brought more money with me. They had so many treats.  I was upset, of course, to see that the “Sausages” they were serving were not Gluten Free as I would have loved to eat one.

As we wound down and parked our butts on the astro turf to enjoy some interactive dancing, live music and to take in the view, I reflected on my day with my best friend.  She supports me in so many decisions.  She helps me along in my dietary change, gives me advice.  She’s a Holistic Nutrionist with a ton of knowledge.  I was thankful that there are people around me with the same issues as me. People asking the same questions as me “Is this Gluten Free?”

Next time you’re out and you think you’re alone.  You’re not.  Look into groups you could join.  Facebook, Twitter & of course kingglutenfree.com for any advice, problems, emotional support on this disease.

I’m here, you can even email me!  Katrina.middlebrook@gmail.com

I’ll try to help you.

Keep Calm, eat healthy, keep a smile on your face.  You’re not the only one out there that suffers.

Pictures Provided by Janine at The Vital Vegan

Conquer Potty Training

I tricked you, I don’t know the ultimate secret to potty training. I’m not even sure I ever had a handle on the whole situation. They say the heart wants what it wants, and I guess in the case of my daughter’s potty training, the body wants what it wants. Her training was close enough to be recent, but far enough away that i don’t really remember it happening. It just happened.

I don’t remember it as much, so in my mind, my kid just took off her diaper and tossed in the air like the opening of the Mary Tyler Moore show and was done with the baby stage and finished using protective undies. At least that’s how I remember it.

My daughter has been trained for a long time. Wears underwear and no longer wears night time diapers, she’s only ever had one or two night time accidents. Just soaking the bed with pee. And this is something that s to be expected from a child just learning to control her bladder. Twelve hours of holding, I get it. It’s probably tough. Especially when you can’t just wake up and walk to the toilet, let ‘er rip and go back to bed. I mean, she can’t even get on to the toilet unassisted.

So, here we are, no accidents, living the dream of a dry night. We (my wife and I) finally discovered a little secret.

First off, limit the drinks after dinner. Nothing crazy. And remember I said limit them, not stop them. We’re not tyrants. As a part of her bedtime routine we include a small glass of water. Just a quarter of a Mickey Mouse cup. Noting fancy. Every night before we toss her into her bed we ask if she has to pee. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It’s never a big deal, because we have the secret at our side.

Okay, so she is off to bed.

My wife and I unwind after our days. Watch a little Big Bang Theory or if I ever win the battle we will watch Robocop. Before we go to bed, we haul our little girl out of her bed, she sleeps in our arms as we carry her to the toilet, pull her pants down for her and ask her to pee. Still sleeping in our arms and her head nodding back and forth, she pees. Then she stays dry the whole night, no accidents, not wet bed. It’s our secret weapon against the bladder overload.

Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night to say she has to go pee, and that’s just fine. That’s what we have taught her to do, and what normal people should do. The moral of the story is really that my wife and I have conquered potty training with an iron fist. All because our almost three year old daughter is as smart as a whip.

She really is smart as a whip.

Celiac Pros: Maddington Farms Gluten Free Pancakes

Any Celiac Pro is when you can eat a delicious Gluten Free meal without problems. That’s why Maddington Farms Gluten Free Pancake Mix is a solid gold winner. A straight up Celiac Pro, across the board.

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If there is one thing I know, it’s pancakes. Pancakes and being gluten free, so of course I’m gonna let you in on a little secret about Maddington Farms gluten free pancake mix. If you ever wondered if a gluten free pancake could ever have the same texture as a regular wheat based pancake, this is it. It is the closest to flavour to a regular wheat flour pancake than any before it. Thats what makes Maddington Farms gluten free pancake mix number two on my list of best ever pancakes.

When the instructions call for tablespoons of butter you know it’s  gonna be a boss pancake.

It’s a great flavour, but its not a grand flavour. the flavour is so close to wheat flour you’d swear you were eating at the Waffle House. Before you think they pulled a sneaky trick and used wheat flour, they didn’t. It’s a great mix of: Rice and Tapioca Flour, Buttermilk and baking powder, Baking soda, potato starch, salt, sugar and Xanthan Gum. Direct from the company I acquired the list of ingredients because this product won’t be available in store until the start of next year and I’m super awesome getting the inside track on what you need and what makes a good Celiac Pro.

Maddington Farms is Canadian and local and friendly. I had the privilege of meeting the owner and it was a good experience. They make some great syrup too, so don’t count that out. But we need to focus on their Gluten Free Pancake Mix being the second best to my taste buds. You know what’s missing? Coconut flour. While you can use 2% milk in the mix, you could easily substitute cow milk with coconut milk. But for this review, I will stick with the real good, fresh wholesome filtered milk.

Trust me, Maddington Farms Gluten Free Pancake Mix is a Celiac Pro.

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When my daughter and I decided to make the pancakes, we needed two eggs. Guess what, we had one egg and it was already in the batter. Since it was so early on that fateful Sunday Morning, we resorted to go the corner store to buy eggs (this was scary since I’ve never bought eggs at a corner store). So, a dozen over priced eggs were bought. Mental note, be prepared next time.

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I was going to whisk the Maddington Farms Gluten Pancake Batter, but I was like, why would I do that when I have this perfectly good blender from the 70’s sitting right here. It sounds like a jet engine taking off when you mix. It’s pretty awesome. You get a great consistency.

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Never let a three year old decide if a pancake is good. Because really, it’s a pancake and they like pancakes, and they just use syrup, and everything tastes better with syrup (also, I never used syrup when I taste tested my pancakes).

If you really want to get your hands on some of the pancake mix before it gets to stores, they will be selling some at the Cranberry Festival in Bala this weekend

Maddington Farms is a winner in my book. Don’t count them out as a competitor. They might surprise you, I will buy this product when it’s available in stores and promote it as a great food to share with my family and all my Gluten Free friends.

Just make sure you have eggs available. Corner Stores at 7am on a Sunday are kind of creepy.

Celiac. The Funniest Disease.

The whole point is that if you have a disease, deadly or not, and someone makes fun of it, you’re not amused. Why can’t we be? Is it because all the Celiac’s want to be taken seriously? There are those Doctors that think Celiac Disease is a joke, made up and all in our heads?  Then tell me asshole, how can they diagnose us with it.

Maybe Celiac Disease isn’t an actual disease but a matter of opinion?

With that statement, have I blown your mind-hole?

So, being gluten-free is all the rage, and there for a new target for humour and ridicule. Is there a problem with that? I don’t think so. Dance like nobody’s watching right? As long as you have your supporters: family, friends, community then who really gives a shit? Who cares about the Hallmark greeting card ordeal? Who cares about the Gluten Kid on that Disney show?

Oh now I get it. It’s a matter of tolerance.

Not just adults have Celiac Disease so we can take it all and let it roll of our backs. Okay random guy, make fun of the fact that I can’t have a Twix bar. For me, a diagnosed Celiac it doesn’t bother me. Ribbing me because I can’t eat wheat, rye or barley is just fine. Sometimes you get a good zinger, and with the spectrum of gluten being small, gluten free jokes are usually pretty good. But what about the three year old who has been told they can’t have gluten? The tolerance is for them and the children around them that don’t get it nor understand.

junior-1994I’m not about to say which is more tolerable, but you can eat all kinds of other stuff if you have a peanut allergy. Hell, most companies make peanut free stuff and throw it on the label. Cheap and easy going peanuts free it is. Say gluten free to someone and they think it’s the end of the world. Educating people about Celiac is important, but bully Celiacs isn’t cool. We’re just normal people, well, not really, we usually look like a pregnant Arnold Schwarzenegger from Junior when we eat gluten, and while it sucks when it happens to us, the visual is hilarious, especially on a bearded 32 year old.

Picture it.

One of my Parenting Fears

As a parent do you ever go through those HOLY SHIT moments when your heart just sinks because you think, THINK something bad has happened to your kid?

Example? Just the other day, the kid and I were in the supermarket and I was letting her wander about by herself, something I know that isn’t the smartest thing to do on a good day. She was one step behind me down the whole aisle to the cash. I stood in line, heard he laughing and then I turned around; She was gone.

My heart sank. Where are you?! Where are you?! is what I was calling out and I could feel the beads of sweat just start to form on my head as this unfolded in like three seconds. Little bugger was hiding behind a little sign. Boy oh boy what a few seconds that was.

That’s not even what this is about today. A little while ago the kid was rummaging in my truck. We were getting ready to go out for the day, IKEA I think. The keys where out of the ignition, but sitting on the driver’s side floor so that she could accidentally start it. I buckled her up in her seat and then as I always do but the through the passenger side door, which is what i never do. That little difference in my routine made the my worst fear come true.

She had locked the door. If I had left the keys in the ignition the locks wouldn’t have engaged and in her rummaging in the truck she locked the doors. My heart sank.

real-peterbilt-optimus-prime

One of my fears is being locked up. Being unable to escape, and here it was, my darling little girl was stuck in her car seat in the driveway locked in the truck. I cried, I couldn’t help it, I was watching her trapped. My wife and I tried to get her to unbuckle herself, but she isn’t strong enough to do that. It was a fear unfolding in front of me. Luckily there was a spare key, my Step-Dad has one and he was only ten minutes away. When my little three year old daughter was unlocked out of that truck, I grabbed her and didn’t want to let her go. God what a nightmare. It was less than 15 minutes, but is was terrible.

I used to hide on my Mom at Zellers in the clothing racks and I can only imagine the pain that she endured when she felt this way.

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I try to learn my lesson. Sometimes I forget, I’m not perfect. I take the keys out of the truck and into my hand whenever the little girl is in the truck. Parenting is about learning, Boy what a shitty lesson.

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