Showing posts from December, 2008

GFCF shopping in Louisville KY

Well, after Eric's doctor visit a couple of weeks ago, we've slowly been switching the whole family's diet to GFCF (Gluten Free/Casein Free). Fortunately I have already familiarized myself with what this takes, since Bethany has herself been on the diet for some time.

If it's any encouragement, the expensive parts of GFCF come if one buys lots of prepackaged convenience foods. Cooking from scratch, on the other hand, saves money but takes time and energy.

Since I have kitchen helpers (teenaged daughters!) it's worth it to do things from scratch.

I'm very proud of Bethany. Yesterday she made GFCF graham crackers. We are getting much better at this. The thinner we roll them, the crispier they are! I think we'll be whipping out at least on batch or one double batch of these per week, as graham crackers have always been a favorite around here.

She also used some (icky to me) vegan cheez to make some cheez crackers, and now the icky vegan cheez is gone…

Wise Guys - Denglisch

This is what happens to a native language when you try to take over Europe/the world and then loose to the U.S. of A.

Wise Guys - Alle meine Entchen - Tekkno Remix

This just makes me really really happy!

If you don't know why, don't ask.

Techno Schlager - Dschinghis Khan

Weird German music from the seventies (yes, I loved Dschingis Khan when I was a kid) done up in Techno style....
I am a

What Flower
Are You?

My First Sock!

Yesterday, I completed knitting my first sock! For many years, knitting socks seemed like an unattainable knitting goal, as turning the heel held all the mysteries of the unknown. Turns out it's simple, and a you tube tutorial gave me the confidence I needed.

This sock (and yes, I've started on its mate,) is knit in lovely 100% wool (Patons brand). My youngest daughter helped to pick out the bubblegum pink. And the pattern is from one of the links at

Thinking about the New Year

For the past several years, I've sort of been against forming any New Year's resolutions. I've managed to accomplish quite a bit without them, for one thing.

I think last year, I resolved to read the Bible, and while I did not complete that goal, I can definitely say that I read the Bible more often than I did the year I'm still building that habit.

So I've been thinking of goals and habits and what I want 2009 to include, and here's my list:

I want to build my already exisiting exdercise habit to include not just walking, but also some weight lifting again.

I do NOT want to diet, but I do want to continue working on merely eating healthfully when I am hungry. But officially, it's my new year's resolution to NOT go on any weight reduction diets in 2009. I'm scared, it's like taking the training wheels off.

I want to work on more creative ways of doing works of charity. My current project is learning to knit socks. www.warmwoo…

Just to Clarify...

I'm Alana and this is my blog. The person in the sidebar with the blue frame that I am praying for is Michelle's mom. Michelle is a friend of mine and her blog is at I put it up there, not to confuse my readers, but because Michelle's mom is very ill and can use all the prayers on her behalf that she can get.

If anyone want's to pray for my own mother, that's fine, too. ;-) I'm sure she would appreciate it as well.

Merry Christmas!

Christ is born, glorify Him, Alleluia!


The Sheldahl Family

Lovely, Lovely Thift Store Haul

1 big tote basket perfect for my new hobby: Knitting.
Green blouse
Blue blouse
maroon mock turtle neck shirt
Lanz of Salzberg flannel nightgown for my daughter (pink!)
Flannel nightgown for me (green!)
Coldwater creek skirt in gorgeous green and blue colors that perfectly matched the green and blue blouses I found.
VHS tapes of original Star Wars Trilogy
DVD of Star Wars phantom menace
DVD of Spy Kids 2 (the kids begged)

Perfect, perfect, perfect!

Perhaps the local Goodwill isn't so terrible after all.

Could I please have a break??????--Updated

So, someone rings the doorbell at aproximately 4:30 this morning. WT?. Fifteen minutes later the doorbell rings again and I wake up enough to wonder if someone is really ringing the doorbell. I get up, but by the time I get my robe on, etc. and go to the door, no one is there. Must have imagined it, because who would be out pranking at 4:30 am on a very very rainy Christmas Eve, right?

Well, a bit later: Doorbell again. This time I send Wes.

It's our neighbor from upstairs.

He has a hole in his roof. It collapsed. (I'm thinking.....WHAAAAT????) Yup. Apparently, here in late December, Apartment management thought it would be a great time to schedule a roof replacement. Perhaps they had no choice as it was a big necessity. This I can understand and appreciate.

So I did hear the hammering and what not going on yesterday, come to think of it.

Well, long story short, where the roof was off has collapsed. I can only feel very very sorry for our upstairs neighbors. …

Today is Christmas Adam

And tomorrow is Christams Eve. Get it? Bwahahaha. I heard that joke more than several times today. My kids made it up. They think they are clever.

So, all the good places in town to get a kid evaluated for Asperger's Syndrome/Autism spectrum issues are inaccessible because they are not in our insurance network.

Could we pay out of pocket? No, we could not. And out of network means out of pocket for the first $8000.00 dollars, and then they only pay fifty percent. I looked on line for this one really great place who doesn't take insurance at all, and they charge $150.00 for intake, $175.00 per hour for evaluation (three hour minimum for that) and $150.00 for the post-eval consult. That's $825.00 minimum and possibly more. That's just for the evaluation, not for therapy or anything like that.

I tried once to get the fee schedule from Weisskopf Child Evaluation Center, and they would not even give it out. They are not in our new network, either.

Surely we …


I'm just really struggling with depression right now/lately. Adjusting to living in a new town, even though we love it, doesn't help. Any change is hard and joy is counterbalanced by loss and grief. And it's the holidays.

Do I need medication? I don't know. I don't want to need it. There are always unpleasant side effects, and the cost. I'd rather spend the health savings account money on the kids. Depression is an on-going problem in my life and I'm rather ashamed of it. I ask God for help. More tears this morning. I'm horrible about staying on my meds when I am on meds, because of the side effects. They make me dizzy...horribly dizzy. At least Welbutrin does. Other meds have other effects. Blech.

For one thing, I hate winter. Maybe I have Seasonal Affective Disorder because I always get like this at this time of year. Long term readers of my blogs know this. Forgive me.

I'd love to go walking but when it's eight degrees outside, those walks would…


I slept in too late to go to Divine Liturgy.
I had breakfast with coffee, bread and chinese food, instead.
When I walked over to my friend's house to pick up a pot I'd loaned her and to return a bowl she'd left at my house (it had Koliva in it that we ate up), I ended up chatting for a long time and eating my first ever bowl of Borsht (beet soup). It was good, which is saying something considering I heretofore have not liked beets very much.

Then it was home to cook lunch, sort some laundry (we call it wolf-packing the laundry because we pile it all on the bed and everyone grabs a basket and we sort it out and each of us folds or hangs up our own stuff).

Then I took the kids to the library, where I was hoping to settle in with a good book. Instead I spent the whole time helping kids find things to read.

Home again, and time to do some cooking: A big pot of chili with black beans and sweet potato, and some gluten free graham crackers. Those are very nice, and apprecia…

If a Doctor says it, it must be true!

Well, I took E to a pediatrician today. He's been losing weight and not eating. Pediatrician said yes, he's definitely got Asperger's but he can't give that as an official diagnosis. For that we need to go to a psychiatrist. He recommended a few options.

And he told E that he needs the Gluten Free Casein Free diet. B is already doing it, so I decided to switch all our foods over to GFCF at home after the holidays are over. We can live with GFCF. Seriously.

Milk will be the most difficult for E to give up, but at lunch and dinner today he voluntarily stayed away from the gluten. That about knocked me over.

We are on the right track, and it's going to be interesting how it will all pan out.

Jesus says: "Do not worry." So, worry I shall not!

From the Little Mountain - Large Trailer

I finally got to see (and own) the video "From the Little Mountain" that the monks at Hermitage of the Holy Cross have published. It is a very good introduction to Orthodox monasticism, how it's done, what it's all about, etc. It takes the viewer through the year in a stunningly beautiful video. My only disappointment is that it is merely 30 minutes long. Perhpas all was said that needed to be said, and I'm simply used to films being longer.

I wonder what a non-Orthodox would think of this video, as the glimpses into the liturgical life of the Church would be a glimpse of the strange and unfamiliar.

Some Clarity

I was walking between the education/fellowship wing of our Church building and the part of the building that contains the nave this morning. It's a breezeway, and off to one side there's a little garden, with a cross shaped footpath, a bench and an outdoor icon of the Theotokos holding the child Christ.

The weather was mild, and I decided to stop for a moment there at that little shrine, and say a prayer.

A moment turned into many moments, and I stood there in the wind for a very long time, praying the Jesus Prayer. I did not get cold, even though it is December.

Soon tears were streaming down my cheeks and drenching my coat, and I had the keenest sense of my own sins. I could see them very clearly. Chiefly I am grieved over my carnality. My worldliness. I waste so much time on things that are not real and on things which do not pull me or push me towards heaven. I am a slave to my body and a slave to my carnal self and this carnal world in so very many ways.

And something inside …

How to have an Invisibility Cloak

1. Be a new person in a large group of people who don't know you.

2. Make sure those people know each other.

3. Act sort of like you might be on the autistic spectrum or sit near someone who does.

4. Wear a head scarf that covers your whole head and neck in a room full of protestants.

5. Enjoy not having to talk to anyone!

(We went to Bethany's band recital this evening. I'm glad she's in home school band. Really, I am.)

I've become one of THEM of those evil people who impose their music onto their blog readers. Hate it? Scroll down to the bottom to turn it off.

Don't worry, it's most likely temporary.

I Don't have to Pay for It, neener, neener, neener!

So, there was no hot water. It had been going on for a couple of weeks before we moved in, and it just got fixed TODAY. A month and eleven days later.

I'm not complaining. Those poor apartment manager people, they are the one's who've had all the stress.

Let's see:

Hot water not working in Building C. (C is for Cold in this example). So, they replace the hot water heater. This is a $5000 purchase. But the residents still don't have hot water. So they do a bunch of investigating and discover it's a slab leak. Yes, that's right. The water pipes run under a concrete slab. (We live downstairs in Buliding "C", and I like the concrete slab, by the way. It gives me warm fuzzies and makes me feel secure. There's just something about a house upon a rock...)

So the maintenance guys come to measure the temperature of the floor to try and locate the leak. I thought for sure it would be under our floor. It's so nice and warm on our bath…


-Stockings hung on the fireplace mantel,
-A Christmas tree with white lights,
-Early morning liturgy in the dark
-Candle light and incense
-Homespun choir with ancient melodies
-Catfish-n-onions, unexpected pastries,
-Phone calls from new friends and old
-Surprise visits
-Yarn that looks like pop-tart frosting with sprinkles when it's knitted
-Learning names and being welcomed
-A grumpy old priest with twinkly eyes and a smile (not so grumpy after all),
-"St. Nicholas" showing up looking remarkably like an ordinary bishop
on an ordinary day.
-Baking cookies on St. Herman's feast day (because he baked cookies, too, for his orphans.)
-Simple meals
-Baking bread
-Shopping trips
-Kozy knitting project
-Hiding out in the bedroom wrapping gifts
-Helping kids make homemade gifts for their siblings
-Shorter days and longer nights
-Beginning of winter and hope for sping
-Preparing for the Nativity
-Midnight Liturgy: Christ's Mass

Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

This morning we went to liturgy. St. George's Chapel was packed out, and the choir was in rare form. Such a soprano section! (I want to join.) I cried whenever we sang any of the old familiar tunes that I know from St. Athanasius Church. I get homesick at those times, but a good homesick. The type that knows we are really all united.

We are getting our first sticking snow today, which was happening as we exited the Chapel. This thrilled the kids and they hopped around in glee on our way over to the fellowship hall for a small St. Nicholas Day celebration.

After a light lunch, all the usual goodies were proffered: Chocolate gold coins, an "appearance" of the saint himself, and a story about St. Nicholas' life. Then each child also received a small St. Nicholas Icon and a few kids got pretty light catchers with St. Nicholas on them.

The older girls got to stay for a bit longer and help out with the food pantry work that's done once a month, and I was gl…

Geeks Without Torture

After my last post, I owe it to you all to post the good things about home schooling my kids:

I like the fact that I get to be with my kids all day.

I believe they are getting a superior education at home than they were at the particular local public school where we lived.

Home schooling cuts down on bullying.

It enables me to find their weak points and work harder on those.

It's not one size fits all.

There is less pressure about grades, and more emphasis on actual learning.

I like seeing their natural curiosity get aroused and then helping them find answers to questions such as: How does nuclear energy work? What's a cold war?

...and then the ensuing interesting discussion about 20th century history, the environmental movement and whether it might be feasible to shoot nuclear waste straight into the sun.

I like their innocence and keeping them that way for as long as possible.

I like being able to impart my values, such as modesty, social conscientiousness and that girl…

The Hardest Job Ever

Oh. My. Goodness!

I don't often blog about home schooling for some reason. Perhaps because I don't blog much about my kids in general, but also perhaps because it's rather mundane.

We are not the type of family to be galavanting all over the country doing exciting trips to the beach or the mountains or the Smithsonian and calling it all a big long field trip. Sounds like fun, though.

We are not the types to have our kids in a thousand different sports activities or music lessons. Quite frankly, we can't really afford that stuff. So I hang my head in a bit of shame over it all, and wonder if I am doing right by my kids. I teach them to play the recorder so they can at least read music, though.

But you know what? Home schooling my children is the most difficult thing I have ever done. Or probably will ever do. It's just hard.

One of the things that's hard about it is the detractors: The public school teacher lady at Church who gets that look on her …