Monthly Archives: December 2010

Super heroes

I think most people would agree that parenting is a difficult endeavor. Long sleepless nights when they are infants only result in long sleepless nights when they are teenagers. Or at least until you hear their car pull into the driveway seconds before curfew. 

I have discovered that the love between a mother and a child is distinctly different from anything I have ever experienced. When my babies hurt, I hurt.

Having children has helped me to understand my Father’s love so much more intimately. I am only beginning to understand God’s love for me.

I can see mere glimpses of His love when I stare into the eyes of one of my babies. I love them and would give my life for them, but He loves me immensely more than I could ever love them…I know, it is hard to grasp. I will never fully understand His love for me. But, that won’t stop me from trying.

In His love, God gives me gracious gifts along the parenting journey. Tonight as we were preparing for bed, I was cutting Callie and Sean’s fingernails. Sean, my energetic two-year-old, does not like for me to perform this necessary task and we have to get a little creative in order to accomplish the goal. As I cut each fingernail, I would tell him that I found a certain superhero under his fingernail. First there was Superman, then Spiderman, then the Hulk, and then Ironman. I then asked Sean who was under his next fingernail…he looked at me, smiled and said Supermomma…I melted on the spot.

That one sentence from my son was better for my soul than any Christmas gift I could ever get. God, in His love for me, knows what I need and when I need it.

 

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Well, I waited until the last minute…

I love getting Christmas cards in the mail. And, I usually love sending them. However, this year I waited until the last minute to capture some Christmas photos of my kids.  So instead of a card in the mail with a photo of my sweet Christmas elves, I decided to go green and post our Christmas card/photos online. Hope you enjoy our Christmas card picture adventure:

Sean is done before we even get started:

Callie is always ready for the camera:

Sean, on the other hand, is more than resistant. “Mom, do I HAVE to??”

Only if you bring out the bubbles…

Now we’re talking…

We have warmed up to the idea!!

And, I think we got one that would have been in your Christmas card this year. Merry Christmas to you and yours.  May your Christmas be filled with the most important things, which are not things at all! Love and best wishes for a bountiful new year in 2011!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE BRANCH FAMILY! !

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Thank you!!

Wow! We (Amy and I) have been blown away by your support and interest in Completely Different, But Totally Normal. We have signed the books and are ready to ship. Total cost with shipping is $7.38. If you live nearby and we can deliver to you, then you only pay $5.99.  If you want guaranteed delivery for Christmas, I need to have your order by Friday, December 17th. Bulk purchases of 10 or more books qualify for a 10% discount. Email me at Branch626@aol.com with your address and how many books you want.

Thank you again!! We are filled with gratitude!

Lizzie and Amy

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Dreaming of the Beach (and Granola!)

I really love cold weather and I don’ t have a sarcastic bone in my body…notice the new header picture of the beach umbrella. I am protesting the cold!

But as with the other things in life that I can’t change, the weather will be what the weather will be. I, however, can adjust my attitude and dream about the warm sand beneath my toes and the wind tussling my beach umbrella.

With my new attitude, I tried a new recipe for Gluten Free granola. I have missed granola since converting to a GF diet 2 years ago. After trying the end product of this recipe, I feel like I have been acquainted with an old friend! Here is the recipe:

Good, Gluten-Free Granola
Adapted from Molly at Orangette, who adapted this from The Rancho La Puerta Cookbook

3 cups McCann’s oats
½ cup chopped cashews
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup rice flour
¼ cup sorghum flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon (if you can find Saigon cinnamon, use a touch less)
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ginger
¾ cup best honey you can find (I used a chestnut honey from Tuscany)
½ cup cranberry juice, unsweetened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (make sure it’s gluten-free)
2 teaspoons canola oil

Preheat the oven to 250°, at least half an hour before you will put the granola in the oven. Coat a baking sheet with canola oil (or, you can use vegetable oil spray, if you are sure it is gluten-free).

Combine the oats, cashews, sunflower seeds, rice flour, and sorghum flour. Toss them until the flours coat everything else. Then, add the cinnamon, allspice, and ginger. Toss again.

In a large measuring cup (or bowl), combine the honey, cranberry juice, vanilla extract, and canola oil. Whisk them together until they have become a single, coherent entity.

Pour the honey mixture into the dry ingredients. Carefully, stir it all together with a wooden spoon, until the liquids have thoroughly saturated all the oats. Turn the mixture onto the baking sheet and pat it all out into an even layer.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes. Take the sheet out of the oven and turn the entire mixture over with a strong spatula, as though you are tilling dirt. Spread and pat, then put it back in the oven. Check again after fifteen minutes. When the new layer of granola is slightly browned, turn it all over again. Cook for at least an hour and a half, to two hours, checking and turning the granola throughout this process.

When the granola is thoroughly browned, and dry to the touch rather than sticky, take the baking sheet out of the oven. Let it rest for fifteen minutes, to cool. Afterwards, scrape the granola into your favorite, wide-mouthed container with a lid. Store it in the refrigerator, where it will keep for up to a week to ten days. Makes four cups of granola.

I did change a few things. I used pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds, coconut oil instead of canola oil, and organic no sugar added apple cider instead of cranberry juice. And if the recipe seems laborious in regards to the cooking and stirring…it is. But trust me, it is well worth your effort!

Enjoy!!

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Book Release!!

You know how it is when a woman is pregnant and nearing the end of her pregnancy…she begins to wonder if her child is ever going to get here??

Well, I have been working on something that has been almost 9 years in the making, instead of 9 months. And it is finally here…

Completely Different, but Totally Normal was conceived in 2003 when I met a special young boy who had Type 1 diabetes. I wrote the book and ‘shelved’ it in hopes that I would get around to it again one day. Well, that one day happened when I was talking with my sister, Amy Toler. I asked her if she would be interested in illustrating a children’s book one day. She ecstatically said, “Yes!”

We partnered together to create Completely Different, but Totally Normal. I authored it and she illustrated it. I am a bit partial, but Amy’s illustrations are some of the best I have ever seen in regards to children’s literature. She did an excellent job capturing the emotions of the main character, Sophie.

Completely Different, but Totally Normal is a must read for anyone who has ever felt unaccepted as a result of being different from others. When we feel different, we assume others see us in the same way. Sometimes it helps to know that others have things that make them different, too. Our differences are what make us unique! Come journey with Sophie as she learns this valuable lesson!

If you would like to purchase a copy ($5.99 + shipping), please email me at Branch626@aol.com. It would make a great Christmas present for all ages!

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