Try-It Tuesday: Brown Rice Flour

August 25, 2009 at 8:31 am | Posted in Homemaking, Natural Living, Parenting, Recipes, Try-It Tuesday, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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brown rice flourMy son Judah is 8 months old and has a wheat allergy. This hasn’t been confirmed by an allergist, but I kept track of the foods I’d introduced and noticed a pattern of rash forming after eating foods containing wheat flour. Since removing all wheat products from his diet, he’s been rash free.

Judah is at the age where he notices everything his big sisters are eating and desperately wants to eat it too. Pasta, bread, pancakes…we are definitely a family that enjoys it’s carbs. My intention is to gradually remove wheat from all of our diets and replace it with an alternative grain. 

Brown rice flour is the first alternative I will be trying. I chose it rather blindly when I happened to run into the health foods market, but I figured that I love brown rice and so does Judah, so it can’t be that bad, right? I purchased a package of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Brown Rice Flour ($5.48 for a 24 oz. package. It’s cheaper online!)

When we got home I went online and started doing some research on how to use it as a wheat flour substitute. Here are some things that I discovered:


  • Brown Rice Flour is milled from unpolished brown rice and has a higher nutrient value than white rice flour
  • this flour contains bran and has a shorter shelf life than other flours; it should be refrigerated
  • it is best to combine brown rice flour with several other flours to avoid a grainy texture
  • excellent source of protein, fiber, and minerals such as magnesium and selenium


  • replace up to 1/4 of any wheat flour with brown rice flour
  • baked goods made with rice flour tend to be crumbly, so consider substituting a mixture of one part arrowroot or other thickener plus four parts rice flour
  • adding more eggs is another way to reduce crumbliness
  • since rice flour absorbs more moisture, you may need to add more liquid to recipe
  • FOR YEAST BREADS: replace up to 1/5 of the wheat flour in a bread recipe, and try increasing the yeast so that the bread rises more

Try-It Recipe: Brown Rice Pancakes


  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp honey, fruit juice concentrate or sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda


1. Beat egg until frothy.

2. Add buttermilk, oil, and honey and beat until well blended.

3. In another bowl mix brown rice flour and the remaining dry ingredients.

4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquids. Stir until well blended. Do not over stir. Batter will be stightly lumpy.

5. Lightly grease a frying pan and fry pancakes.

cooking pancakesFrying on the griddle

cooked pancakeBrowns nicely!

judah eatingJudah loved them!

Momma’s Verdict:

The pancakes turned out very nicely. They were quite crumbly, so I will be sure to add additional liquid next time–I’m thinking plain yogurt would be a good thing to add. I also may try to add a thickener such as cornstarch or arrowroot. My two girls didn’t notice the difference between these and their regular pancakes…and that’s saying something! I froze the leftovers so I am curious to see how they will thaw and reheat for another quick breakfast.




The Trials of Teething

August 24, 2009 at 3:34 pm | Posted in Natural Living, Parenting | 2 Comments
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Teething is no fun.

Any mom will tell you that!

My own three kids have handled teething in very different ways.

Emma was grumpy but responded well to frozen washcloths and ice cubes in mesh feeder.

Gracie was as happy as a baby could be…no fussing, just EXCESSIVE drooling.

Judah is miserable.


When it first began about 2 months ago I was shocked at how Judah went from a happy, content, peaceful baby to a screaming, crying, didn’t-want-to-nurse-or-sleep baby. I was flabbergasted! We had four solid days of utter fussiness. No sleep. Engorged momma. Hungry baby. I tried Orajel, but it did nothing to soothe him. In fact, the first time I put it on his mouth he swallowed some and started to gag as if he were choking! The only thing it did was numb his gums enough to allow him to latch on without pain, but a few minutes into the nursing it would wear off, leaving me with a screaming, starving baby. 

Strangely enough, after four days it stopped. The tooth was just at the surface, and I guess it was enough to lessen the pain he had been experiencing. At the time, a friend of mine recommended a homeopathic product made by Hylands, but I was unable to find it anywhere in Honolulu. And since the pain had passed, I forgot all about it.

This past week it began again.




And luckily, while on a shopping romp at Walgreens, I found the product that she suggested.

ttabs-newI used them last night for the first time…3 tabs under his tongue. They dissolve immediately and are tasteless. And they seemed to work right away! Judah was much calmer, he nursed better at bedtime with less pulling off and crying. I am so relieved to have found them!

Read more about Hyland’s Teething Tablets here.


August 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Homemaking, Parenting | 4 Comments
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I am a big believer in attachment parenting. I nurse on demand, co-sleep, and wear my babies in carriers from the time they’re born till the time they refuse to go into one! I’ve used many different carriers in the 8+ years I’ve spent having babies, and this time around I’ve been using a New Native carrier.carrier It’s by far the best carrier I’ve had so far. It was a little tricky when Judah was a newborn, but I’ve loved it ever since. He responds very well to being in the sling. It’s comforting, warm and smells just like his momma!

What are the benefits of babywearing?

Dr. Sears website offers some great info:

1. Sling babies cry less. Parents in my practice commonly report, “As long as I wear her, she’s content!” Parents of fussy babies who try babywearing relate that their babies seem to forget to fuss. This is more than just my own impression. In 1986, a team of pediatricians in Montreal reported on a study of ninety-nine mother-infant pairs. The first group of parents were provided with a baby carrier and assigned to carry their babies for at least three extra hours a day. They were encouraged to carry their infants throughout the day, regardless of the state of the infant, not just in response to crying or fussing. In the control, or noncarried group, parents were not given any specific instructions about carrying. After six weeks, the infants who received supplemental carrying cried and fussed 43 percent less than the noncarried group.

Anthropologists who travel throughout the world studying infant-care practices in other cultures agree that infants in babywearing cultures cry much less. In Western culture we measure a baby’s crying in hours, but in other cultures, crying is measured in minutes. We have been led to believe that it is “normal” for babies to cry a lot, but in other cultures this is not accepted as the norm. In these cultures, babies are normally “up” in arms and are put down only to sleep – next to the mother. When the parent must attend to her own needs, the baby is in someone else’s arms.

2. Sling babies learn more. If infants spend less time crying and fussing, what do they do with the free time? They learn! Sling babies spend more time in the state of quiet alertness . This is the behavioral state in which an infant is most content and best able to interact with his environment. It may be called the optimal state of learning for a baby. Researchers have also reported that carried babies show enhanced visual and auditory alertness.

The behavioral state of quiet alertness also gives parents a better opportunity to interact with their baby. Notice how mother and baby position their faces in order to achieve this optimal visually interactive plane. The human face, especially in this position, is a potent stimulator for interpersonal bonding. In the kangaroo carry, baby has a 180-degree view of her environment and is able to scan her world. She learns to choose, picking out what she wishes to look at and shutting out what she doesn’t. This ability to make choices enhances learning. A sling baby learns a lot in the arms of a busy caregiver.

3. Sling babies are more organized. It’s easier to understand babywearing when you think of a baby’s gestation as lasting eighteen months – nine months inside the womb and at least nine more months outside. The womb environment automatically regulates baby’s systems. Birth temporarily disrupts this organization. The more quickly, however, baby gets outside help with organizing these systems, the more easily he adapts to the puzzle of life outside the womb. By extending the womb experience, the babywearing mother (and father) provides an external regulating system that balances the irregular and disorganized tendencies of the baby. Picture how these regulating systems work. Mother’s rhythmic walk, for example, (which baby has been feeling for nine months) reminds baby of the womb experience. This familiar rhythm, imprinted on baby’s mind in the womb, now reappears in the “outside womb” and calms baby. As baby places her ear against her mother’s chest, mother’s heartbeat, beautifully regular and familiar, reminds baby of the sounds of the womb. As another biological regulator, baby senses mother’s rhythmic breathing while worn tummy- to-tummy, chest-to-chest. Simply stated, regular parental rhythms have a balancing effect on the infant’s irregular rhythms. Babywearing “reminds” the baby of and continues the motion and balance he enjoyed in the womb.

4. Sling babies get “humanized” earlier. Another reason that babywearing enhances learning is that baby is intimately involved in the caregiver’s world. Baby sees what mother or father sees, hears what they hear, and in some ways feels what they feel. Carried babies become more aware of their parents’ faces, walking rhythms, and scents. Baby becomes aware of, and learns from, all the subtle facial expressions, body language, voice inflections and tones, breathing patterns, and emotions of the caregiver. A parent will relate to the baby a lot more often, because baby is sitting right under her nose. Proximity increases interaction, and baby can constantly be learning how to be human. Carried babies are intimately involved in their parents’ world because they participate in what mother and father are doing. A baby worn while a parent washes dishes, for example, hears, smells, sees, and experiences in depth the adult world. He is more exposed to and involved in what is going on around him. Baby learns much in the arms of a busy person.

5. Sling babies are smarter. Environmental experiences stimulate nerves to branch out and connect with other nerves, which helps the brain grow and develop. Babywearing helps the infant’s developing brain make the right connections. Because baby is intimately involved in the mother and father’s world, she is exposed to, and participates in, the environmental stimuli that mother selects and is protected from those stimuli that bombard or overload her developing nervous system. She so intimately participates in what mother is doing that her developing brain stores a myriad of experiences, called patterns of behavior. These experiences can be thought of as thousands of tiny short-run movies that are filed in the infant’s neurological library to be rerun when baby is exposed to a similar situation that reminds her of the making of the original “movie.” For example, mothers often tell me, “As soon as I pick up the sling and put it on, my baby lights up and raises his arms as if in anticipation that he will soon be in my arms and in my world.”

Normal ambient sounds, such as the noises of daily activities, may either have learning value for the infant or disturb him. If baby is alone, sounds may frighten him. If baby is worn, these sounds have learning value. The mother filters out what she perceives as unsuitable for the baby and gives the infant an “It’s okay” feeling when he is exposed to unfamiliar sounds and experiences.



The Power of a Praying Wife: Week 1

August 7, 2009 at 11:43 am | Posted in devotional, Homemaking, Marriage, Parenting | 1 Comment
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the-power-of-a-praying-wife This week I read about praying for the following areas of my husband’s life:

1. His Wife: This chapter talks about the importance of having a pure heart when praying for your husband. The author introduced a wonderful, “why didn’t I think of that?”, notion in suggesting that the wife prays, “Lord, change me,” rather than, “Lord, change him.” Something that was particularly affirming to me was the section on creating a home: 

Part of making a house a home is allowing your husband to be the head so you can be the heart. Trying to be both is too much. God placed the husband as the head over the family whether he deserves it or not and whether he rises up to take his position or not. It’s God’s order of things.

Other important points: let go of your expectations and respect, praise, and encourage your husband.For a biblical list of the characteristics of a godly wife, read Proverbs 31.

2. His Work: A man often finds that his identity is tied to his work. If he feels like a failure at work, he’ll feel like a failure at home. If he feels fulfilled in their work, he’ll feel more fulfilled in general. The author writes how people who have had actively praying parents seem to find their life’s work early–they have a sense of purpose and destiny that propels them in the right direction. My husband has been actively seeking the Lord’s will for his career, and finds peace in knowing that ultimately the Lord wants him to be a teacher and a coach.

As a parent, I was convicted in my neglecting to pray for my children in this area. I am glad to have been made aware of this missing link in my prayer for them.

3. His Finances: Again, much of who a man is and what he experiences in life is wrapped up in how he relates to his work and finances. It is important to commit your finances to the Lord and be wise stewards of the provision He gives to you. It’s also important to realize that it’s okay to pray that the storehouses of blessing will be opened upon him, but pray that all riches come from the hand of God.

Malama Mondays: 5 Ways to De-stress at Home

August 3, 2009 at 4:35 pm | Posted in Homemaking, Parenting | Leave a comment
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  1. Do something you enjoyed as a child. I love to color with my kids. My favorite coloring book is Gracie’s Care Bears book. There is something therapeutic about coloring with crayons–the smell of the wax, the sound of the crayon moving across the paper, the way you concentrate on staying in the lines. It’s mindless, thoughtless, effortless fun.
  2. Watch a funny movie. Research has shown health benefits of laughter ranging from strengthening the immune system to reducing food cravings to increasing one’s threshold for pain. There’s even an emerging therapeutic field known as humor therapy to help people heal more quickly, among other things. Humor also has several important stress relieving benefits–it reduces levels of stress hormones and is a cathartic process.
  3. Make yourself a cup of tea. Our friends across the pond have the right idea! Daily cups of tea can help you recover more quickly from the stresses of everyday life, according to a new study by UCL (University College London) researchers. New scientific evidence shows that black tea has an effect on stress hormone levels in the body. Not to mention that it tastes great, is inexpensive, and even the most frazzled momma can do it with a baby on one hip and a preschooler crying on the other!
  4. Sleep. Perhaps the most effective, yet most elusive remedy for stress. Scientists have documented that when we are sleep-deprived our immune system suffers; our thinking and judgments are impaired; and our fuse becomes very, very short. Sleep deprivation impairs our reflexes, judgment and thinking — not unlike what happens with a blood alcohol level approaching intoxication. Not that we need a scientific study to explain this to us… we live it everyday! So, instead of washing the dishes or scrubbing the bathtub when your kids are napping, lay down and nap too! Establishing a regular nighttime routine with a set bedtime is also important. We need to schedule sleep into our lives just as we schedule playdates and dental checkups!
  5. Give yourself a time-out. The baby is screaming. The kids are running wildly through your kitchen. The washing machine is overloaded and suds are leaking onto your not-so-clean floor. Instead of having a meltdown (which is surely just a few seconds away) put the baby in a safe place (exersaucer, crib, big sibling’s lap), pop in a DVD for the kids and isolate yourself for a few minutes. Sometimes the bathroom is the only place to find sanctuary, so go ahead! Lock that door. You deserve a few minutes of peace. Take deep breaths…stretch a little…read a short article from that magazine you’ve been meaning to go through. The kids will survive. And more importantly…you will survive!


Chicken Soup

March 17, 2009 at 9:19 pm | Posted in Parenting | Leave a comment

Today my big girl Emma had the stomach flu. She stayed home from school, spending the better part of the day in bed. She had all of the symptoms, and let’s just say it made for a very busy day. Thank goodness I was able to find a can of Lysol to disinfect every hour or so! Between nursing the baby and changing diapers, making sure Gracie was fed and supervised, and taking care of a very sick kid, I really felt like I might lose it. By the time my husband came home, dinner groceries in hand, I was ready to call it a day. Which, by the way, you can never do when you have three kids.

The ingredients for chicken soup were in the bag, and I got to work straight away, peeling carrots, chopping onions, celery and parsley. While I was sauteing the onions, Gracie came in and spilled a container of chocolate cookie crumbs on the floor. Stop cooking, clean up mess. Then Emma came wandering in claiming she just might faint if she couldn’t have something to eat that very second. Stop cooking, search for soda crackers. Then my husband came in for something… stop cooking again. It took twice as long as usual to cook the soup.
When it was finally time to sit down and eat, I looked over at my two girls in their High School Musical pajamas. They were so sweet, sitting with perfect manners at the dinner table. Gracie said the dinner prayer, the same prayer as always: Dear God, Thank you for today. Thank you for my family. Thank you for our food. Please help me to be healthy. Please help me to be big and strong. Amen. Simple words spoken with such faith. Here I was, grumpy, grouchy mom, upset about things that really did not matter like a messy floor and a late dinner. I asked the Lord to help me be truly thankful for the things Gracie mentions in her prayer: thank you for today, Lord, even though it was full of Lysol and dirty diapers. Thank you for my husband, who is always patient and kind, and for my three healthy, wonderful kids. Thank you for always providing what we need, for simple things like chicken soup (and ice cream for dessert!). Help me to be a better wife and momma, especially on days when I feel like throwing in the towel.

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