Sunday, November 25, 2012


I found this recipe on Pinterest and finally tried it this weekend. It was SUPER yummy - seriously one of the best soups i have ever made!!  I thought is was share worthy, so here it is! (Oh and it is gluten free!) 

  • 2 cups red split lentils
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 fresh jalapeno or serrano chili, finely chopped, including seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh peeled and minced ginger 
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste 
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 can unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • fresh cilantro and lime wedges for serving (optional)
Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven or large soup pan and add the onions, bell pepper and jalapeno and cook for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables have softened and start to take on some color.  Add the garlic, ginger, spices and tomato paste and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes until the mixture is toasty and fragrant.  Add the water, coconut milk, lentils and chickpeas and cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes adding the lime juice at the end of cooking.  Taste and adjust with more salt or more lime juice if desired.  Serve the soup topped with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and some extra limes on the side.
(recipe from scaling back blog)

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Ellis got her "party hat" last Friday and has adjusted just fine.  Me on the other hand... well, it might take me a tad bit longer.  Even though I know the helmet is HELPING her, not hurting her, it makes me a little sad.  She just looks so different and I cannot cuddle her the way I used to.  I used to give her little head kisses and snuggle her under my chin and now it is just hard plastic. lol  We get to take it off for one hour a day and during that one hour I try and get my snuggles in and of course a bath. :)  Overall, we are THANKFUL for the helmet and the health of our family.

Here are a few pictures of Ellis in her party hat.  It is no longer white though.  It is now blue with sparkle clouds and a kite!  Yup, her head is in the clouds! ;)  I will post pictures of that along with her 7 month bunny pictures soon.

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!!!

"Just hanging out watching TV with dad and sucking my fingers.  This is the life."

Friday, November 9, 2012


Many of you know what has been going on with Ellis' poor little noggin, but for those of you who don't, (and have no idea what plagiocephaly is) I will quick explain...

Plagiocephaly, know as "flat head syndrome" is a condition that causes a baby's head to have a flat spot or be misshapen.  The most common form is positional plagiocephaly. It occurs when a baby's head develops a flat spot due to pressure on that area. Babies are vulnerable because their skull is soft and pliable when they're born.  Since 1992, when the rule of thumb was changed from putting baby on their tummy to sleep to putting them on their back, plagiocephaly has become rather common.

Ellis' head isn't as much flat as it is misshapen.  Very early on, Ellis started favoring her right side, always sucking on the fingers on her right hand, and sleeping with her head to the right. We started to notice that her head was a bit asymmetrical and looking like (but not nearly as bad as) the image below.
We bought her a Noggin Nest for her car seat and crib - which I DO think actually helped a little. We avoided lying her on her back as much as possible by putting her on her tummy or in her bouncer when we weren't holding her. We tried swaddling her right arm down so she would, hopefully, suck on her left hand instead of her right. We tried putting a sock over her right hand when she slept - she would just suck on her hand through the sock and it would just be wet and cold in the morning.  We tried putting a light up sound toy on the side of her crib to get her to look left... basically, WE TRIED EVERYTHING.  The thing is, when you are a baby, you do what you want.

We talked to our pediatrician about our concerns with her head at both her four and six month appointments and she said she didn't think it was anything to worry about.  She said she didn't see any asymmetry in her face, so she thought she was fine.  After debating it for a while, we finally decided we just wanted to get another opinion from a specialist, just to make sure.

Last Friday, we went to the Dean Head Shaping Clinic.  We were fully expecting them to say they thought she was fine and she would grow out of it.  Unfortunately, that is not what we were told.  The physical therapist took a bunch of measurements of her face and her head and did some tests looking at her range of motion with her neck.  Because she always favors her right, the muscle on the right side of her neck is shorter than her left, a condition called Torticollis.  To correct this, we are doing special exercises with her to strengthen and stretch her right neck muscle.

After taking the measurements, the PT told us that Ellis was at the top of the "grey area" of needing a DOC band (a helmet) to correct the shape of her head.  Now you might be wondering...

Why do we care so much about the shape of her head? She will have hair and no one will even notice!  

This is why - The shape of her head can affect the symmetry of her face.  The opening of her left eye is a tiny bit smaller than her right, her cheeks are a little asymmetrical, and her right ear is a little further back and lower than the left.  It is not extremely noticeable, but you can tell if you really look for it.  We are also talking about a situation where both mom and dad have a bit of OCD - ok, a lot of OCD.  The last thing we want is for Ellis to grow up and have a lopsided face!  :(  I had adult braces (second time having them) b/c I had such a complex about my teeth not being perfect.  We do not want her growing up having a complex about her face - something that could never be fixed!  That is why we are catching it now.  It can be corrected up until 18 months b/c the head is still growing.

The negatives:
• It costs $3,300 ($2,600 if we pay it in full)
• Our health insurance doesn't cover a penny of it.
• She has to wear it for 23 hours a day for 3-4 months
• We have to bring her in every two weeks for adjustments to the helmet.

The positives:
• The problem CAN be corrected
• It isn't a very severe case
• She is a perfectly healthy baby besides
• I can paint and decorate her DOC band!  WOO HOO!
• She will be wearing it in the winter months - it would be so hot in the summer!
• She will be wearing it while she is learning to crawl and maybe even walk so she we be protected from bumps and falls. (ok, this is stretching it a bit, but still a bright spot! ;)

So after talking it over, Logan and I decided we wanted to go through with the DOC band.  On Wednesday we both took Ellis back to the head shaping clinic to have her mold created for her cast.  The mold will be sent into the DOC band company and we will have her band in about 2 weeks.  Here are some pictures of the procedure:

I was pretty upset about the news at first, but I have come to realize there are much worse situations we could be in.  Even though her head is a little misshapen, she is still a healthy and happy baby.  There are children all over the world dying from starvation and I am boo hooing over my child needing a helmet! !? C'mon Katie!  Pull it together!! It is ALWAYS good to keep life in perspective.  My mom told me to get used to it and this is just a bump along the way.  We will probably need to get her braces some day and of course, send her to college.  This is just one tiny expense in the grand scheme of things. I will say one thing though... SHE BETTER HAVE THE MOST PERFECTLY ROUND LITTLE MELON AFTER THIS! :)

This is what the DOC band "helmet" will look like:

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Super yummy.  Super easy. Super healthy. :)
Sweet Potato & Avocado Salsa

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together 1 large sweet potato (1 pound), peeled and diced small, 1 red onion, diced small, and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Roast until sweet potato is tender and browned in spots, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool completely.

2. Add 1 medium tomato, diced small, 1 avocado, diced small, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes). Season with coarse salt and toss to combine.

Quick ways to enjoy:
- service with crackers or a toasted baguette for a snack
- scatter over chopped lettuce for a simple salad
- stir into couscous to create an easy side dish
- use as a topping for chicken tacos or nachos
- fold into scrambled eggs at breakfast

(original recipe - multiple delicious)