Gluten-Free For Fall

Andrew & I have decided to go "gluten-free for fall". Actually, just for October but I like alliteration.

Between digestive issues & chronic migraines we figured going g-free might help. Also, we've done it before & it really wasn't all that hard plus one month isn't a lifetime commitment. If we decide it helps it will make an easier transition to already have one month under our belts. 

What we need to know is: 

What are some surprising items that contain gluten that we may not be aware of? {I know some ice creams contain wheat.}

What are some easy grab-n-go snack options? {We've gone gluten-free for 2 weeks before & snacks is where we really struggled.}

How do you eat out? Is it mostly salad options? Are there any restaurants that have g-free menus? {I know Taziki's does!}

Any encouragement or general tips you may have for us? Want to join in on the gluten-free fun? 

Follow along on my pinterest board!


Cooking School: A Toddler's Tale

Anderson & I love going to the library. There are so many wonderful books for me to comb through and he enjoys the ipads, puppets & puzzles. We went on Sunday afternoon but this time Andrew went with us! It was great because he and Anderman played together while I literally sat on the floor for an hour going through books.

I discovered some new, fun authors one of whom is Anne Rockwell. I had never heard of her but maybe you have. She's been around for a while & has written so many books!

We borrowed Apples and Pumpkins in honor of the first day of fall & Pots and Pans.

We have both enjoyed them so much that I've added them to Anderson's Amazon Wish List so that I can remember them when I'm purchasing his Christmas & birthday gifts this year. Our library has several of Rockwell's books and I can't wait to borrow more!

This morning we read a whole stack of different books, including Rockwell's and then we went to the kitchen, which I think is Anderson's favorite room. He can usually see the cats through the window, it's the "food room" and we just naturally spend a lot of time in there. He has another book that talks about the different rooms in a house & the kitchen is always his favorite one to look at.

Rockwell's Pots and Pans is a simple but beautiful picture book. It has short sentences and goes through the different items found in a kitchen. Items like a rolling pin, measuring spoons and even a wok! 

I pulled out as many of the items mentioned that we have {we don't have a butter warmer or a wok!} & let him see them & pointed to them as I re-read him the book. 

It was fun to watch him make the connections & say "Oooh!" over & over again. His favorite items were the wire whisk & the rolling pin. He took a turn "mixing" with the wire whisk in each of the different pots.

This was such an easy activity to do and my favorite part is that it is centered around a book. This makes me so excited to start Before Five in a Row with him before too long! 

Another fun activity to do would be to lay out all of the items & ask him  to show me "the wire whisk" while I point to it in the book! We might just do that when he wakes up from nap!

What are some of your favorite book-centered activities to do with pre-schoolers?


Wild Van Vacay

This summer was everything I hoped it would be!

With Anderson being old enough to play independently I was really looking forward to all of the outdoor activities he would enjoy. We won a 3-month membership to the YMCA at the beginning of June & it was wonderful!

We kicked off the summer with a family wedding! Congrats, Harkins'!

We did a lot of swimming!

We also went to the zoo alot!

We played with friends...

Met a new friend, Henry!

Went to our first Barons' game at their beautiful new park!
Played outside A LOT!
Plus we went blueberry picking, gave Anderman his 1st haircut, went to Florence and went to the lake! And to finish off the summer we went on a road trip!

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, Andrew, Anderson & I went to Chattanooga.

We stayed in a great camping cabin complete with a fridge, our own very clean & updated bathroom, wifi & cable TV. Yeah, we were roughing it. But it was wonderful because we had a grill and cooked out for lunch & dinner & Anderson could be outside as much as he wanted!


Also, we had stunning views of the mountains all around us! If you look at the top of the mountain you can see Covenant College!

 We actually visited Covenant that Sunday afternoon and while I did not enjoy the seemingly-treacherous drive up the mountain, I did enjoy all of the beautiful views and the beautiful campus!

That night we had dinner at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. If you ever get the opportunity to go, don't. It was over priced and really sub-par food. Just go & walk around the gardens and see the big train. Even though we did not enjoy the food we did enjoy the sights.

Monday morning we went to the Tennessee Aquarium! I was most excited about this part of our Chattanooga trip! It was awesome! It was amazing to see all of those animals but I must say Anderson didn't love it like I thought he would. It is dark inside and all of the displays are really large & I think he felt a little overwhelmed at times. We put him in the Ergo & he enjoyed it much more than when he was in the stroller.

Here are just a very few of the animal pictures I took (you're welcome for not showing you all of them!):

That evening we went to Coolidge Park which is a really great park. It reminded me of Railroad Park here in Birmingham. It was on the river and had beautiful views, was very clean plus it had a carousel and a splash pad {which Anderson enjoyed watching others splash in more than actually splashing himself}.

Tuesday we went to Rock City and major shout-out to the Ergo because this little adventure wouldn't have been possible without it. Rock City is absolutely not stroller-friendly but we didn't expect it to be. After all it's called ROCK City.

The last time I remember being there was in the 5th grade & while it does have some beautiful views for the most part I was underwhelmed but we had fun nonetheless.

Except for in the Fairytale Caverns. That part was just freaky. If you've never been it's an underground area where they have scenes from a lot of different fairytales set up and the little gnomes are all painted with this neon/glow-in-the-dark paint and this totally creepy music is playing. I ended up running out because I couldn't stand one more second in there although it looks very inviting at the beginning {which makes the whole experience even creepier}...

We had packed a picnic lunch but AW got a migraine so we just headed back for the cabin. I took Anderson to the Creative Discovery Museum that afternoon and it was really neat! They had so much fun, hands-on things for kids to do!

My favorite part was The Little Yellow House! It was absolutely adorable!

Anderson's favorite parts were the train table & the percussion room!

The staff is wonderful; so friendly & eager to play with the children!
Thankfully Andrew was feeling better when we returned and we went back to Coolidge Park that evening!

Wednesday morning we left Chattanooga bright & early and headed for our lunch destination in Asheville, North Carolina! The drive through the Pisgah National Forest was gorgeous!

 I found a groupon for a local pizza place, Eddie Spaghetti, and it was really great! We parked in downtown Asheville & walked around for a bit and saw some fun, little shops and even made a stop at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge where I enjoyed a yummy chocolate mousse!

After a couple of hours we got back in the Wild Van and headed for Raleigh! At some point Anderson protested being in the car one second longer so we pulled over to a rest stop where some girl was strumming a guitar and holding a cardboard sign asking for a ride. We were at the rest stop for about 45 minutes & she actually ended up getting a ride. It was all very strange but the toddler was happy and really that's what was most important.

We loaded back up and finished the drive to Raleigh where we stayed for the night. The next day we took our time getting ready since we were exhausted from all of the driving the day before. We enjoyed the hotel breakfast, watched lots of Disney Jr. & then headed out to see what Raleigh had to offer.

We visited the North Carolina Museum of Art & it was awesome! They have some truly amazing pieces of art & if you ever get the chance to go you absolutely MUST!

We then headed off to have lunch before getting back in the Wild Van for a few more hours to reach our final destination: Kill Devil Hills, NC!

I was so pumped about arriving in KDH because we were getting to see my brother, David, who we had not seen since Christmas!!! We arrived at the bright pink house & we were all 3 excited to be free from the Wild Van but mostly excited to see David!

My parents arrived later that night and David's girlfriend, Aimee arrived the next night. We all enjoyed a few days of togetherness and the beach! Also, it was Anderson's first beach experience and he absolutely HATED the sand. It stressed him out to have even the tiniest bit on his hands or feet so he hung out on Towel Island while we were beaching it up.

He did enjoy watching Andrew fly the kite...

And even wanted to get in on the action as long as he didn't have to stand in the sand...

He also really loved being pulled in the wagon! I'm pretty sure he thought he was King of The Beach while we pulled him along & he waved to all of his spectators...

And he definitely enjoyed hanging in the wagon under the big umbrella playing Peek-A-Boo Fridge on my phone...

He did warm up the last day & enjoyed when we went in the water & held him while the waves splashed our legs but he was most content when we were at the pool!

All in all it was a wonderful vacation. We enjoyed all of the sites, family time & we were very happy to be home after our time away! It was a wonderful ending to a wonderful summer!