December 13, 2013

7QT: The "I got lotsa questions" Edition

1 - Now Sara Groves has been one of my favorite musicians for many years. I've seen her live several times and she's so great. Like you just sit there in the audience feeling like she's invited you over for dinner and any minutes she's gonna bring out the pie and ask if you want it with a scoop of ice cream.

This song is one of my favorites of hers. The bridge of the song is the absolute best. On the album it builds in such a way that when I'm singing along my voice usually breaks from fighting back tears by the time I get to "the man of sorrow" part.

As an aside, the man playing his, um, thighs is her husband.

2 - In an effort to lose some belly weight so people will stop asking me when I am due I decided to give up gluten and greatly reduce sugar from my diet for the month of December. I'm 10lbs down from the post Thanksgiving top already so it's working and I'd like to stick with it for awhile. Unfortunately I have also noticed that after not eating it for a several days and then having a treat (like on St. Nick's feast day) I got a tummy ache, which makes me think I may actually have an intolerance to it and may need to make it a lifestyle change.

This is very bad, sad news in my book mostly because I love to bake. Now I priced gluten free all purpose flour at my local grocery store and for twice the price I could get half the flour I'm used to buying. We're on a pretty tight budget and I can't just start making all our cookies, breads, pancakes, biscuits, and so on out of this pricey stuff. So what do you, people who love to bake but don't eat gluten, do?

Also, we're starting to think that we may need to take gluten out of JF's diet. So any ideas on what to feed a 3 year old boy who is allergic to dairy, nuts, eggs, and possibly gluten?

3 - How do you pick a color for your living room? I think I've been so afraid of committing to anything that I have created a room of browns with some muted gold and navy for accent. But what I really want is color that will pop. I'm thinking of repainting our living room a soft white color and then maybe painting our bookcases, or possibly the insides of the bookcases some bright color that will really pop. But I just don't know.

I like this green for the bookshelves. What do you think? I'm so indecisive. And we don't even have money to buy a bunch of new paint.

4 - FYI - our house hasn't sold, the contingency offer we had on the house we wanted to buy expired, and we've taken our house off the market for the time being. With the tornado going through Washington I'm not sure what will happen with property taxes and the housing market so we may be here for a little while longer.

5 - I need help with make-up. We don't have a lot of money but I'd still like to invest in some nice foundation. I hate feeling like I've got stuff gobbed on my face but at the same time I know I need something to even out my skin and cover up some spots and the occasional blemish. (I was gonna say zit but that sounded too "Saved by the Bell" for some reason.) Also, my skin is on the dry side of normal, if that means anything. Got any recommendations?

6 - Honestly I could probably use some help with skin care in general. I wash my face with bar soap and the only moisturizer I use is hand lotion, if I even do that. All of a sudden my skin is starting to look really old so I'd like to *fight the wrinkles* and all that jazz. An eye cream and a good, but not too greasy/heavy moisturizer for my face and neck would be great.

7 - Finally, what blogs do you read? I'm trying to branch out a little bit from my little bubble of mostly Catholic women blogs and I'd love your suggestions. Thanks!

And as always, many thanks to Jen for hosting!


  1. I wish we could go out for coffee and have a nice chat! There are so many little things I'd love to hear about from you and this post has some wonderful questions that I'd love to give a few tips about, esp the dietary stuff and face stuff. It's 2:13 am and baby just finished eating, so now's not the time to respond, but I will asap (which will likely not be before Sunday). God bless you!

  2. I can't help with gluten issues or choosing a color (though if you are bold enough to pull off that green I super love it but also super drag my feet when it comes to painting!) but I can help otherwise! I love my bare minerals foundation. It is expensive, no hiding that, at almost $30 a pop BUT it definite lasts me about a year (I ask for it for Christmas each year). Also I love oil of olay face moisturizer because it's not oily and has an SPF and also lasts a long time...probably close to 8 months? Last week I was told by some friends, though, that moisturizer is extremely cheap and easy to make but I've never tried it myself. What I have heard is that bar soap can do something awful to your face, so a facial cleanser of some sort might be just the trick you need. :)

  3. Mason vitamins collagen cream is a miracle of a night cream. It's cheap too! You can find it on amazon.

  4. Bonnie, I've been g-free for 3 years, be patient with yourself at first and it gets easier. For baking, if you use g-free flour, invest in xantham gum--it's about $12 for a bag, and you typically use like 1/4 teaspoon per recipe, but if you freeze it, it will last forever and makes ALL the difference in the world. Depending on your intolerance (they can range from low to high intolerance). Oatmeal is a great substitute for a lot of things--in fact, I'm still able to make your fabulous monster cookies--which makes me HAPPY :) For sweet little James, I'm sure you've already thought of these (and probably do this)---veggies, hummus, fruit, raisins, dates, rice crackers, tortillas, tortilla chips and salsa, kale chips, roasted chickpeas, and popcorn might be good choices (there's also a lot of recipes for popcorn toppings that you can dust over to change up the taste). LOVE the green paint!!! A great way to find cheap-high quality paint, is to look in the 'oops' section of stores like Menards and Home Depot--you can find all types of 'colors' that were mess-ups from someone else's order and it's typically a fraction of the price :) Happy Painting!!

  5. Diet, decor, and beauty regimen! You are changing all the things! The bar soap you're using is a bar soap for faces, right? Like, Neutrogena? Not Dial or Dove or Ivory, I hope. I like Neutrogena stuff bc it's reasonable and odorless. That being said, I'm using daytime (with spf) and nighttime moisturizers from Mary Kay because my mom sells it. My teen daughters get Aveeno or Neutrogena moisturizers from WalMart. They use both day and night too. Have to in this climate. I really like the Loreal BB cream from WalMart too. Grace Patton reviewed it once, and now that's what me and my girls wear.

  6. BB cream changed my life! I got a lot of compliments on my complexion once I started using it:) It's very easy to apply compared to more traditional foundations--it goes on just like moisturizer--and it looks very natural. I use physician's formula brand.

  7. I hardly ever comment on blogs, but we are leading duel lives here. I have a gluten intolerance and major nut allergy, and one of my kids is no dairy, no gluten, and major egg allergy. Taking her off gluten and dairy has made a huge difference - she sleeps through the night, no more chronic diarrhea and vomiting, happier, etc. The dueling food allergies are such a challenge though!! I put our little one in early intervention and she was set up with a registered pediatric dietician to help me figure out things for her to eat (I mean, what do you feed a toddler with three teeth who can't eat dairy, gluten, or eggs and whose mother can't be around nuts??). It was a free program through our county, the dietician came out every two weeks armed with a scale and tons of recipes for me, and our daughter qualified based on her symptoms (she had trouble gaining weight as a young baby due to all that throwing up, UGH). Not sure how old your little man is, but it might be worth exploring - it's tough enough to cook for a large family already, right? I was losing my mind trying to adapt everything for her. Our dietician was totally on board with the idea that intolerances can cause serious issues for kids (our pediatrician was not on board and thought if it didn't cause a "normal" allergic reaction of hives or show up on traditional allergy testing, then she should be able to tolerate it).

    Just a few tips: 1) Most of the bob's red mill flours in my area are processed on shared equipment with nuts, so I can't use any of them. I use King Arthur GF all purpose- flour.

    The GF can be pricey. We've found it easier to eat more rice, potatoes, and corn tortillas than buy GF products. Trader Joe's has CHEAP gluten free pasta that is really good (and it doesn't contain eggs, yay!).

    We eat more Mexican and Asian food now - it's just easier to feed everyone the same dinner and not drive myself crazy. I don't put cheese on DD's burrito, and that's the only modification I really need to make. Once you buy a bottle of GF soy sauce, you are good to go with any stir fry or rice-noodle dish! Also, I make my own chicken broth, and any homemade soup with a chicken broth base is fine - just cook two pots of noodles separately (GF and not) and dump the broth over it in the kids' bowls.
    I buy "Lucy's" brand cookies for her (they are expensive, but they don't contain any dairy or eggs or gluten). They make a dairy-free butter-type spread called "Earth's Balance" that lasts us quite a while (it's four dollars for a container).

    I do buy GF waffles in the freezer section (those are worth it and they're also pretty inexpensive- trying to clean my waffle maker and griddle is tough, and we have to worry about cross contaminating with the eggs from the rest of the kids!).

    They make an egg substitute that does not contain eggs called "Ener-C" or something (you probably already know about that one) and it does work in baking. Also, I make cranberry-apple muffins that are gluten free, egg free, and dairy free and the kids all LOVE them.

    Rice chex and corn chex cereals are both GF. We buy the generic Aldi brand, and it's still GF :)

    As for you going GF: any flourless chocolate cake recipe is usually good for when you're craving sweets! Martha Stewart makes a good one. I also buy GF pretzels and dip them in chocolate. It's tough, but I get so sick when I eat gluten that it's usually not worth it.

    Good Luck!

  8. Stopping by via Conversion Diary for the first time and I have to say, I was particularly drawn to your post because of the photo of the green bookcases. I love, love, love them!

    Not sure I'd be brave enough to do that in my family room, but I could really see myself going for it in our living room.

    Perhaps because the family room already has so much going on what with the TV, kid's toys, books, laptop, kid's toys, openess to the kitchen, and did I mention the kid's toys?! But the living room is a little oasis and I personally, don't mind a nice pop of colour in my oasis.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Hey Bonnie, We painted our "Water Closet" pretty much that exact green color. It makes a lot of people say wow (good and bad), but it's a 2'x4' room and we like it. I think it would be awesome as bookshelves. In general I pick colors with gray undertones (look up Sherwin Williams Sea Salt) I really want to do a neutral tangerine color for our family room.

    I looove Clean and Clear daily Moisturizer. It gives my face little tingle and feels fresh for half the day.

    Way to go on 10 pounds and so fast! Good work!

    I bet your family is going to have a really fun Gaudete Sunday. Enjoy your weekend!

  10. For makeup - try Alima Pure instead of Bare Minerals (or sheer cover brand). The BM makes a lot of people break out. Alima Pure will send samples for a fraction of the cost so you can match your skin tone. The full size (primer, base, cover - so 3 jars) last me a year, only wear it a few times a week. I still wear the B/M eye shadows and liners, and get mascara from the drug store.

    Paint neutral and go crazy with bookshelves if they aren't fixed/stationary. We thought it would be fun to paint our house green, and it looks bad. Green is such a hard color to find the right one. Especially if you could try selling again in 6-12 months!

    praying for your journey with food intolerances. I agree with the previous comment that it's cheaper and easier to feed potatoes, rice, squash, beans than to bake GF. We have a big family so I understand the whole 'bread is cheap' thing. I sometimes modify a meal for my girl who is allergic to everything, like the special tortilla, or rice for her and me and tortillas for everyone else.

  11. Bonnie, I have felt like I have developed food intolerance's the older I have gotten. I have not quite pin pointed what affects me, but I think gluten is one of them. I was having a really hard time loosing weight and tried the whole 30 program. It is basically a 30 day diet of eating only meat, nuts, eggs, fruits, veggies, and butter/oils. It really seems hard, but I like that you don't have to deprive yourself you can eat all day long. It is kinda like Atkins, but no cheese :( I lost a ton of weight and felt awesome! Just something to keep in the back of your mind.

    As far as gluten free food Walmart has fabulous frozen gluten free chicken nuggets. They are a bit more expensive, but you can also make your own pretty easy. Walmart also has a pretty good selection of inexpensive gluten free foods. They will give you a list if you ask. As far as flour if you make your own mix you can substitute cup for cup in most recipes. My sister in law has a fabulous recipe. She gets most of her ingredients in bulk in the Asian food isle and it is way cheaper. I will try to find it.

    As far as makeup goes I am a big Mary Kay fan especially since they give awesome free consultations!

    Here is the flour blend recipe
    4.5 cups white rice flour
    1.5 cups sweet (glutinous is another name for it) rice flour
    2 cups potato starch
    1 cup tapioca starch (sometimes referred to as tapioca flour)
    4 tsp xanthan gum
    blend, store, use :-)
    *for both the white rice flour and sweet rice flour, we buy the bags from the Asian aisle at's not only the texture/grind i prefer in my's the price we prefer for how much i bake, lol...

  12. I finally decided to paint my living room a neutral color and use color in my pillows and curtains to save money. I keep all my furniture wood one color (cherry) that coordinates with the walls, and then I can change out my accent colors as often as I want without breaking the bank. Right now, the walls are a really pale gray-almost silver- (Wal-Mart flat paint- scrub-able!), and curtains/accent pillows are from TJMaxx in a dark plum. Couch is getting ready to be replaced, but will be a dark gray. I also have a cherry stain marker for scratches and dings.

    I live by the St. Ive's Timeless Moisturizer. It's in a big container that lasts for months- around $6.50 at Wal-Mart. I started investing in my makeup, using BareMinerals foundation to keep my face as clear as possible. However, it's extremely pricey- $28. But, I buy the value eyeshadow kits from $6-10 to get lots of colors and save some $$. I also REALLY like the E.L.F. brand from Target- they are inexpensive and good quality- like all under $10! (My fave blush/bronzer duo is $3. THREE DOLLARS!)

  13. Thanks for sharing that Sara Groves song-- that was awesome!

  14. LOVE the song--totally revitalized Friday afternoon around here. Thank you! My seven-year-old loves listening for references she knows and the little ones are happy to dance and mama almost cries as she thinks about how blessed she is and how many people there are out there who need so much love and how I can love them and teach my children to do so.

    On the paint--I second the go neutral and use pops of color you can change out. Can you sew? I seem to think you can cover the basics from past blog posts. My latest success has been buying shirts at thrift stores in patterns I like when they're under $1.50 and then turning them into pillow covers. I can get trendier fabrics for much cheaper that way and it's really simple to sew a removable pillowcase like this:

    I don't worry too much about the fabric type--I've found that most things come together pretty well and I'm not worried about them lasting for years, so it's okay!

  15. I absolutely love that green bookcase idea. I think it's a great way to add some color while still staying neutral for your home sale. (We sold our home last year and did everything we could to make the place appealing to the generic masses. It worked.) I'd just be sure to pick up the color elsewhere in the room too, so it looks tied in. Maybe make or buy a couple of throw pillows and then choose your paint color from what's on the pillows? (My decorator mother says to ALWAYS choose paint after fabric.) Anyway, we have a similar green in our dining room. If you'd like to see it in a bigger space, click on over. It's the header on my blog's homepage.

    Also, I have very dry, sensitive skin and I use Neutrogena oil-free acne wash (or rather, the generic, store-brand versions of it.) I use Oil of Olay Total Effects 7 for moisturizer. I've been using both for years and obviously love them enough to not switch it up!

  16. BB Cream to the rescue!!!!! I love my Maybelline one (the cheapest). Its super light, keeps your skin looking dewy, and doesn't look like you're wearing makeup!

  17. Just a quick gluten free suggestion, as we have had to do the same thing in my house and I also love to bake. I order my gluten free flours from Swanson vitamins and they are much less expensive than the grocery store and shipping is a flat rate of 4.99. There also some really great gluten free baking blogs that I always check for recipes like gluten free girl and the chef. Have you ever tried using flax in place of eggs? It works pretty well, you just mix it with water and let it sit for a few minutes then replace the egg with that. Also, some people, like my little girl, also get belly aches from xanthan gum, but you can replace that with a pinch of flax too! Don't worry, once you get over the initial shock it is kind of fun to experiment and you can really bake some yummy stuff!
    Congrats on the ten lbs lost so far! That's wonderful!

  18. Ok, you scratch my back, I scratch yours ;)

    Foundation: Currently I am using Mary Kay minerals foundation, and I really like it. But, I have also used Almay tinted moisturizer (I think that's what it's called), and I love that too!

    3 things for mom
    Advanced Style
    Cool Mom Tech
    Hooked on Houses
    Modern Mrs. Darcy
    Suburban Turmoil

    Tell me what you end up reading! I love new blogs too :)

  19. Just a quick heads-up (I'm sure you know your child's allergies, but I wasn't aware of this until another mom clued me in...) Red Mill's GF flour contains garbanzo bean (aka chickpea) flour. This is in the pea/peanut/lentil family. If your child has a peanut allergy, they may be sensitive to garbanzo beans and peas as well. My kiddos are :( as well as sesame seeds. Makes me sad 'cause Hummus would be *awesome* if they could eat it! ...and Earth Balance contains pea protein (again, some can eat it, but mine can't).

  20. BB cream or a tinted moisturizer. Along with an eye cream. It is enough moisture for me and I live in a dry climate. Also, I use bar soap too but always Dove as it isn't drying like other ones are. I like Physicians Formula tinted moisturizer but there are other good ones as well. Eye cream makes a huge difference.
    As far as GF goes - I buy a multi-purpose GF flour along with xantham gum and have good results. I know you can order Gf products in bulk and save a lot of $$

  21. Thank you for sharing the Sara Groves song, Bonnie. It really touched my heart!

  22. I SHOULD read all the comments before I comment but I have chaos all up in here…so…GF…Bob's Red Mill I have a small allegiance to because it was the first stuff that was readily available. (AND, I've been to the place and met Bob…) BUT BUT BUT, in my opinion, it's not the best option. The garbanzo flour leaves a slight aftertaste. I really like the King Arthur GF blend. I'm not too picky, so I usually do 1-for-1 replacement for baking (I don't really do much bread, so not an expert here) and don't have much problem. Around the time I was diagnosed (college) a large family at our church had several kids diagnosed (Celiac). They got around the affordability issue but making their own blend. I have to dig for the ratio, but it was really simple with rice and tapioca flours and potato starch, I think? You can get these in bulk and mix up your own blend readily. That's my best advice! I love to bake. I've been GF for so long that it has worked it's way into our budget fairly well (although we just took a major pay cut, so we will see how things go as we buckle down to a more serious budget). ANYHOO…long comment…I love talking this stuff, and have internalized it because it's been almost a decade (um, hello, I haven't thought about it that way…getting old…)…email me if you want a less comment box invasive reply!

  23. I saw this mini facial giveaway here and thought of you:

  24. Looking into the cook Cybele Pascal... she has three cookbooks out and they are great. I dont do gluten, dairy, nut and sometimes eggs for my godson. She cooks without the top 8 allergies. As far as flour I am finding it easier to buy flour that does not have xanthan gum in it and than add it. You will need xanthan gum or your baking good will not rise.

  25. I feel the same way about makeup and face care. I met a beauty consultant through the local bloggers group and she does consultations where you bring in all your makeup and she looks at it and your face and gives you tips. I'm going next weekend so I'm interested to see what she says. I have no idea how to find one of these people though. My sister always says to go to the mall makeup counters but I `feel like all they want to do is sell you there stuff and not really help you.

    I really love baking but don't do much because I know we really don't need to be eating the stuff :( and I hate to waste food.

    Blogs I REALLY love I know you don't work outside the home but some of the stories she post are just funny like last week
    she posted about the 10 worst office gifts and I couldn't stop laughing.

  26. The best thing to do in terms of keeping GF baking costs down is to change your way of eating: drastically cut down on your bread consumption. But when you do want to bake, it's helpful to look for recipes that include only a little (GF) flour. For example, brownies often use cocoa powder as a "flour" and as little as 1/4 cup of actual flour. Also, as long as no one is allergic, don't forget (GF) cornmeal! Cornbread can even be made in a loaf and used for sandwiches, and it uses 1/2 flour and 1/2 cornmeal. You can also substitute cornmeal for up to half of the flour in certain other recipes: biscuits, pancakes, etc. Still delicious, and quite a bit cheaper! Sometimes a mashed banana can subsitute for an egg, especially in cookies or quick breads, and light-tasting olive oil and non-dairy (almond, rice, coconut, etc.) milk work well in quick bread recipes.

  27. My sister-in-law-type-person (wife of my brother in law, so not technically a sister in law, but whatever) is GF/DF and we used to live in the same house, so thanks to her I learned some good recipes. Here is my favorite:

    Also, here's a friend's blog (she hasn't written much lately but check out her past posts) who has done the Paleo thing with her family. I LOVE her recipe for avocado chocolate pudding!!!
    I made this pie for T-giving and it was delish:
    Also, here's a yummy cupcake one from the same website (although it does feature coconut):
    Happy baking! I guess I'm lucky, I live about 15 minutes away from THE Bob's Red Mill so I have easy access to it all.
    Thanks for linking to my bloggy, by the way, and thanks for your prayers!

    1. Oops, totally did that thing where you scroll down while you're writing and then you realize you didn't finish a sentence. the blank after "Here is my favorite" is referring to the cupcake recipe.

  28. Benefit Hello Flawless foundation is great for oily skin and it's very lightweight. The Naked Skin foundation from Urban Decay is very light as well. They're sort of pricey, but worth the money. You can find them at Sephora or Ulta, and Sephora will give you little samples of them so you can decide if you like them and what color is best before committing.

    1. And when I say oily skin, I totally meant dry skin, haha.

  29. Trader Joe's has a cheaper than most GF flour blend. Cornbread with 100% cornmeal is cheap too--1 T soy flour plus 1 T water is a substitute for eggs in baking (you probably already know that though!). Check out the website Gluten Free on a Shoestring!

    My favorite moisturizer is Egyptian Magic. Costco sells it in a double pack. It's made from olive oil, honey, and beeswax--awesome!

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  31. Hi Bonnie, first, I am just in awe of your life and your stories. Like many people before me I sat and read all your links on James Fulton and cried. God bless your sweet family.

    Second, I just wrote a little review of Almay CC cream. Day two of using it, and I love it. I'm going to start hunting for Almay newspaper coupons to try and knock a buck or two off the price of my next bottle.

    Third. The easiest and cheapest (no question) gluten free baking comes from using just rice flour - $1.50 or less a pound in the bulk section of any grocery store. You can't use it to replace regular flour one-for-one in recipes, but if you look for rice-flour-only recipes, some can be really great.

    That's my fave gfree cookbook which contains many great rice flour recipes.

  32. I can't offer much help since I pretty much have all the same problems. :( I am looking forward to reading over all the comments. You can read my blog if you like, but I must admit I don't post as often as I like.