Thursday, January 2, 2014

Garlic Alfredo Sauce

So it all started with this recipe. I was so excited, thinking that I could enjoy chicken alfredo without gluten or dairy, not to mention that the base of the sauce was made from a healthy vegetable, cauliflower! If I could pull this off I would be super mom!

I got it all mixed up I was ready to take that first taste. Would it taste anything like what we were used to?


There was no way any of us were going to be able to eat this super sweet concoction. I don't know if it was the coconut milk or the cauliflower but something was wayyyyy off. There was no way all this food was going to waste,  so the frugalista in me pulled out the spice basket and went to town and what it turned into was something beautiful! When you've grown up with a father whose main ingredient in most dishes was garlic, you quickly learn that this delicious vegetable can do amazing things.

Garlic Alfredo Sauce


6 cups (1 head) cauliflower, chopped
1.5 cups of coconut milk
2 T organic olive oil
1/4 cup onion, finely minced
2 T of minced garlic
4 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 cup of water or chicken broth
1/4 t nutmeg
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
organic olive oil
1 t salt
2 T of garlic powder
2 T of onion flakes

Chop up cauliflower and add to pan with coconut milk. Bring to a boil, them reduce heat, cover, and simmer until soft(about 8-10mins). Move softened cauliflower mixture to blender, add 2T of olive oil, and blend until smooth. Start your pasta cooking. In a large skillet, put in 1T of olive oil, cubed chicken, and chopped bacon, saute until cooked through. Add onion and minced garlic, cook until softened. Pour cauliflower "sauce" into your large skillet and combine. Add 1/2 cup of your pasta water to thin a bit. Let flavors combine on medium heat while stirring. Taste. Add parsley, onion flakes, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Don't be afraid to play with the seasonings. We love garlic at our house so I kept adding until it was garlicious!! ;) You can use this on gluten free pasta or over veggies.

How the Howards Got Healthy

Now that 2013 is behind us, you know the year of seizures, year 7 of body pain and fatigue and new diagnoses of a plethora of food intolerances, we felt it was time to try something new.

I don't know much about the human body, but the one thing I do know is God has blessed me with this one body and has instructed me to be a good steward of His gift. I hope with His help to live the kind of life He would be pleased with.

I've eaten, cleaned, and lived a certain way for 30 years, so the transformation isn't going to happen overnight. By making small meaningful changes, we hope to feel better, be healthier,  and live long lives that bring glory to God! We also hope to teach our children healthy eating and living habits so they can grow up without facing many of the challenges that bad diets, chemicals, toxins and processed foods can cause.

We have really no experience with gluten free, dairy free, wheat free diets, cooking, or living or with natural cleaning, body care, or household items so this adventure is one we are jumping into with both feet and praying that our chamges will drastically change the way we feel.

We are also not tree huggers or hippies(even though I did love that era of music growing up). We love real food, hamburgers and chocolate chip cookies not tree bark or rutabagas,  so we are really excited to see what kind of recipes we will be trying and products we will be using.

I hope you will join us for the fabulous, the failures and the freak outs!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Back to School 2013

The 2013-2014 school year has officially started!!! This year to kick off the festivities, we decided to start a new tradition that our family can look forward to each year. CUPCAKES!!!!

 We had cupcakes for breakfast! I had seen this cute cupcake kit at ALDI the other day and knew with it's university theme, it would be the perfect start to our day.
 (Not to mention that Woogy LOVES Sully and Mike!)

 After icing and decorating our cupcakes, we got all sugared up!!!

Then we moved on to our yearly tradition of front porch pictures with the "principal"!! It was raining like crazy on Monday, but we were able to snap a quick pictures between downpours!

Bitsy joined us in picture day!

 My sweet cuties!!

 Then we headed into the table to start our day!!

 We worked on matching!

Some handwriting!!

 Hand-eye coordination!

Then as a first day treat(mess) we made moonsand!!! We put Kool-aid in it for a yummy smell and to add color! It was tons of fun!!

We had a first great day and we are all really excited about our year! It's such a blessing that daddy will be home to teach school with me most days and that he will be able to have such a positive, manly influence on our boys! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

10 Days of Separation!

Our daddy left 10 days ago to head north to take a load of stuff, to start training and to work 4 shifts at his new job! We've never been separated this long as a couple and the kids have obviously never spent this much time away from daddy. 

Most people aren't aware, but part of my mystery "disease" is memory loss. I'm trying to document more of our daily lives in an effort to remember more in the future. I don't remember most of my wedding, honeymoon, trips we've taken, and even entire years of my life. Someday I probably wont remember being apart, being hugely pregnant, or moving from Sapulpa to Vicksburg, so it will be nice to have some pictures and documentation to show me all the fun and excitement that occurred during this time!

While being apart wasn't our first choice, I've tried to keep us busy doing some fun things and while we've had a blast, I'm not sure how people do this all the time. Our usual schedule entails heading to church, the library, and maybe the pool twice a week and these last 10 days, we've only had ONE day where we didn't leave the house!!


We've completed the summer reading program and gotten our awards!! You know this mama loves free stuff and free food is right up our alley!!

Of course free fun while eating free food is a must!!!!

We've made fun mail for our daddy! Shhhhhhh

 The mall play place is always a nice cool option where a 36 week pregnant mama can sit while the littles burn off some energy!!!

On the FOURTH Papa and Nana came over, grilled out with us, bought us tons of fun poppers to explode, and we sat and watched "AMERICAN CELEBRATES AMERICA" fireworks from our yard!!

We even had a do nothing day, where we played outside, watched movies, ran through the sprinkler, and played in our "new to us" was so NICE!!

I hope we never have to spend this much time apart again, but we've had our fun and I'm sure daddy has had a nice break that he deserves for all his hard work!!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Things Are A-changin'!

  After a 8 year adventure, our medical training journey is finally coming to a close! It's been challenging, exciting, stressful, fun, and totally amazing! God has used this time to grow Tom, our marriage, our family, and our faith in Him. It hasn't been perfect, we've made many mistakes, learned new things, and seen God's grace in everything that we've experienced, but it's now time for a new adventure!

This is Tom's last week of residency! He's had his last call night, last moonlighting shift, last teaching service shift, last clinic day, last elective day, last academics, and presented his last journal club.......whew! And that was all from June 22nd to June 28th!

Come Saturday morning, a medium moving truck, driven by my sweet Bunny, will make it's way from our home in Sapulpa, OK to Vicksburg, MI. Our new rental home, (that we started renting back in May) the "Yellow Farm" will be waiting to house him for the 19 days he will be there training and working his first shifts as an attending at the Bronson Vicksburg Outpatient Center Emergency Room. I'm just so proud of him! Who knew 9 years ago that this would be route our adventure as newly weds would take us.

I'm just giddy about not only getting settled in our new place, but I'm also ECSTATIC about his new schedule. When we first were planning on specializing, an OB/Gyn residency is what we decided four years later, I'm so thankful that God nipped that decision in the bud and allowed us to change to Family Medicine. Because of this detour, it opened a fabulous door to work in an ER setting which allowed our faith, family, and friends to take their rightful priority! The road we picked would have led to long clinic days and late call nights; but God's path has now allowed Tom to work eight 24 hour shifts a month and then have about 22 days home with, it hasn't sunk in fully yet!

The kiddos and I will be hanging out here at the Sapulpa house, missing our daddy terribly for those nineteen days but we already have some really fun things planned, so hopefully the time will fly by! In the last 10 years since we met, the longest we've even been apart was the 7 days I traveled with mom and the kiddos to find a place to rent in Kalamazoo a few months back. Just let me say, I'm not a fan!!

Anyway, I'm just praying that little "Bertrum" stays put and waits for daddy to get home before he makes his appearance! Then once he arrives, we'll all be off to start our new journey in the "frozen tundra"!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Curriculum 2013-2014

My hope this coming year is to use our blog alot more to document our homeschooling adventures. We hope to join a great co-op, go on some fun field trips, and explore our new area once we get settled in Vicksburg and I hope that my posts will make a great journal for us to look back on and remember our new experiences!!

First day of school 2011
I thought I would get the ball rolling by sharing what curriculum we will be using this coming school year that way I will be able to remember what we used and so that I can later blog about what worked well for our family and what didn't.

So without further delay:

Group Lessons:

Who-poo (1st Grade)

Little Contenders of the Faith
Woogy (Pre-k/K)

Princess Pumpernickel (Preschool)

  • Blanket Time
  • Work Boxes - Manipulative Activities

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ballerina Birthday Bash!

Our sweet baby girl turned 2 this past week and we held a ballerina themed party for her!! My monster truck driving gal loved it. She loved being dressed up and even twirled and danced in her tutu!!

 We had a girly brunch with Papa and Nana and enjoyed some delicious pink cupcakes with glitter on them!!! I love glitter!

 Paige loved the ballerina toppers I made for her cupcakes and I love that they were super cheap and really simple to make! I definitely see another ballerina party in our future!

 Of course Daddy loved seeing his little lady all pinkafied!!!

 Paige caught on really quickly, she knew right away to blow out the candle and did it in one breath. She couldn't wait to bite into her cupcakes!

 "Can I eat it now?"

 Cheese anyone?

 She wasn't quite sure about opening presents, but in no time she figured out that you pull the paper off, people cheer, and you get something fun to play with! 

 Thanks for the cool shades Papa and Nana!!

 Our little domestic diva got right to work after she opened everything!

 Ironing, taking care of her baby, cooking a delicious meal!! This little mama is knows how to run her little house!

 Cookies are done!

Paige proves that one can be fashionable even when working around the home! I really should get a tutu to clean in! 

It has been such a blessing to have this pink princess in our lives. We are so thankful that God sent this little girly our way! She softens our family, brings joy to our lives, and always has a sweet thing to say! She always checks on you if your hurt, says thank you and sorry for the cutest things, and loves to go pee-pee on the potty like a big girl! 

Happy 2nd Birthday Princess Pumpernickel!!!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Umizoomi, Umizoomi!!

 Last Friday night, we headed to the Bartlesville Kiddie Park (AKA the Fair) to celebrate our little man turning 4!! We totally surprised  everyone and they had a huge blast!

 Our Woogy didn't know what theme he was having for his birthday either, so when we unveiled his Team Umizoomi cake, he was super excited!!!

 Papa and Nana got our little bug lover his own bug explorer kit!!

 Complete with bug habitat,

 explorer hat, 

 bug vacuum, net, and vest!!!

 Woogy also got a water squirter (which he said was the perfect size just for Paigey!)

 and some "Umi-goggles!

 None of our family had been to this park before, so we weren't quite sure what to expect......but it was perfect for all our littles! They loved ALL the rides and we stayed until the park closed!!

 Paige LOVED the little cars!!

 I was just waiting for someone to fall in!

 The rockets were a favorite and were ridden numerous times!!

 All three kiddos enjoyed the ship, I wasn't sure if Paige and Morgan would like it, but they were all smiles!

 Paige did not like the ferris wheel!


 Paige had to be dragged off the swings multiple times that night! She was adorable saying "more" and signing it. She didn't understand that you had to get back in line to go again and really just wanted to keep going around and around.

 The Train was so much fun! 

 The birthday boy was giddy!!!

 And even Nana and Papa joined in on the fun!!

 Yeah ecstatic!!

 Back to the cars!!

 The big boys really enjoyed the roller coaster, I wasn't for sure if Grant would like it, but they really thought it was so much fun!!

 Since we got home so late the night of the party, Woogy didn't get to play with any of his presents. But first thing Saturday morning, our little explorer was geared up and ready to go first thing!!! 

 After catching numerous bugs, beetles, and butterflies, it was time to cool off and play with his new slip n' slide!!!

 Everyone thought it was such a blast! Not to mention this momma loved that it ran all the energy off the kiddos and they crashed at bedtime!!!


Our sweet Woogy is getting to be such a big guy! He has such a soft, caring heart, always thinks of others first, and has the most creative, imaginative ideas. He is such a tease, can play the best tricks, tells the best jokes and has the most infectious laugh. We are so blessed to have such a fuzzy little sweety that always keeps us on our toes and gives the best cuddles!! We love you Woogy, Happy Birthday!