Friday Fave Five #82

Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from this week.

Windows open and birds singing. We have had a weird, weird April weather wise. Last weekend brought a big snowstorm followed by a few spring-like days. The forecast is for more snow this weekend. Sigh. Despite the fickle weather, I am extremely grateful for the days when we can open the windows and air out the house. It’s nice to hear the birds singing, too. And spring can’t really be that far away for us, can it?

Technology Yesterday I had to go to Costco to take care of a problem with my husband’s new glasses and pick up a few things. I was walking down one of the main aisles and saw a display of drones for sale. I find technology fascinating (though my proficiency with it does not match my appreciation for it!) and mentioned seeing the display to my husband. We had to go back today to fix the glasses problem and while there, my hubby wanted to look at the drones. Long story short, we came home with an early anniversary gift for him. It was fun to watch him figuring out how the drone worked. An adopted granddaughter stayed glued to his side mesmerized by the buzzing and flying of the drone.

More technology My daughter-in-law does an amazing job of regularly posting photos and video clips of their life in China so those of us in North America can keep up with their lives. I’m grateful for the technology that makes this possible. Our youngest grandson is recovering from whooping cough and our oldest grandson from a stomach bug. Even though we can’t be there with them to help, we can pray for them during these times and have peace that they remain in God’s care at all times.

I love, love, love this picture of my grandson in a backpack in the change room while his mama is trying on clothes.

Taxes, part one. I finished all the accounting and other necessary information for our Canadian taxes and have turned it all in to our wonderful tax lady. Now I just need to pull together the papers I need for the US taxes. The hard part is done, and because we live out of the US, we have an automatic extension to file each year. Doing taxes is probably my least favorite responsibility and I am always very relieved when that work is behind me for another year.

Beautiful violets My African violets continue to thrive and it looks like I need to transplant them again or maybe prune them. My black thumb has evidently been banished and I am able to keep plants alive. Speaking of which, I am very eager to get my garden planted, but we need the weather to cooperate first. Last week of May is usually the earliest things get planted safely here.

I tried a few different filters on my violets photos. Which one do you like best?

For those of you who are friends on Facebook you have read the two installments about the ‘our’ ducks. Here are a couple of pictures of Drake and Dessa Duck, new neighborhood residents.

Friday Fave Five #81

Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from this week.

Family birthdays We have three family birthdays in March and one in early April. Last Monday night we enjoyed a family dinner to celebrate these birthdays. I made cards for each person based on their favorite colors and a favorite activity of each. I forgot to take pictures of the cards, but each person seemed to enjoy the personalized cards. The non-birthday girl, Anna, made a beautiful and delicious Party Pyramid Pavlova, based on the recipe from Mary Berry of The Great British Bake Off fame.

Community I have been blessed beyond measure to be included in fellowship with my children and their friends. Last week I celebrated my youngest daughter’s birthday by joining with her friends for Saturday brunch at Café Linnea. We enjoyed warm fellowship and delicious food together. My pedagogic training was in secondary education, and much of my counseling experience is with millennials.and post-millennials. I truly enjoy engaging in conversation with teens and young adults so last Saturday’s outing was special.


Renovations Renovations on our main bathroom are almost finished, and it’s looking great!

Weather finally changing We had a surprise dump of snow earlier this week. Thankfully it all melted by mid-afternoon. I guess the farmers are happy for the moisture and I’m glad for the overall warmer days. Right now it’s raining and I’m glad it’s not snow!

Bonus When we upgraded our phones this week at Costco we were given several hundred dollars in Costco gift cards as an unexpected bonus, an unusual deal which really was the best deal of the year!

Here are a few snow shots and hazy sunset photos from this week.



Gluten Free Discoveries in Edmonton

Celiac, gluten allergy, gluten sensitive, or gluten intolerant….

I am not Celiac, at least that is what the tests have shown over the years.  But I am gluten intolerant.  I have been unable to tolerate oats since childhood and blood tests from a year ago showed intolerance to all of the gluten grains.

But my body already told me that.

My mother used to tell me to listen to my body.  Often when you are young and busy you ignore that advice.  I did.

Gluten free to help with fibromyalgia symptoms

I went gluten free in December 2012 in hopes of helping reduce the effects of a very serious flare of fibromyalgia.  To my great surprise I felt remarkably improved in less than a month.  My body had been screaming at me and I couldn’t understand what it was trying to say.

The initial learning curve in going gluten free seemed daunting.  I had to learn what gluten free meant in different contexts.  Certified gluten free means no processing or possible cross contamination with gluten products in a facility.  Some of my Celiac friend are extremely sensitive to even the most minuscule bit of gluten so products like this are safe for them.

I have learned that many processed foods of all sorts contain gluten and the label probably won’t say ‘contains gluten’ but will list ingredients which cause our eyes to glaze over since we have no idea what that ingredient even is. I’ll discuss some of these in future posts. I learned that most candy and some chewing gum contain gluten.  Who knew?

So  no wheat, barley, rye, or oats for me.  Sometimes other words are used for wheat, barley and rye products.  Spelt, tritacale, malt, couscous, bulgur, and farina are a few of them.  I’m continuing to learn about gluten products by reading labels, reading posts, and asking questions. Lots and lots of questions.

I miss writing restaurant reviews

In my pre-gluten free days I used to write restaurant reviews for a website.  It was one of my favorite jobs and I miss it.  My husband loves trying new restaurants. Whenever we go out to eat it is an adventure for me.  Will this place have gluten free options?  Will anything I eat here make me sick because of my food intolerances?  Maybe others in the Edmonton area would like knowing about some of the gf options out there.

So here it is, the first of my observations and experiences with restaurants and gf ingredients.

Cora’s South Edmonton  Cora May 2014

Cora’s on Calgary Trail (near the South Edmonton Common) has a dedicated gluten free toast station.  When you ask, they offer you the option of gluten free toast with your meal.  Very nice and greatly appreciated.

I also learned that their buckwheat pancakes are NOT gluten free because they mix the gluten safe buckwheat flour in with regular flour.  They are open for breakfast and lunch and are known for their fresh fruit sides with many of their breakfast choices.  I had a time limited spring breakfast special with omelet, Granny Smith apple slices and real maple syrup.  It was delicious! And most importantly, it did not make me sick.

Last time I checked the Cora in Leduc and the one in Sherwood Park did not offer a gluten free toast / dedicated toasting station option.

Original Joe’s Sherwood Park

Gluten Free Original Joes 5-31-14The original Joe’s in Sherwood Park had a gluten sensitive menu available.  They offered a gluten free bun with my pulled pork sandwich.  The sweet potato fries and dill dipping sauce were delicious.  Their honey coleslaw was not very flavorful and was unimpressive in my opinion.

Depending on your level of sensitivity to gluten you may or may not be able to have fries or sweet potato fries when you eat out.  Some places dust their fries with a gluten containing coating before frying them. Other places will fry gluten battered food in the same fryer as gluten free food.  Ask, ask, and ask some more.

A few gluten free discoveries

I was in Costco Sherwood Park yesterday and saw these gluten free baking items, Cloud 9 Gluten free baking mix and Sunblest almond flour.  I have not tried either of them but I am grateful that Costco carries gluten free products. Let me know if you have tried either of these and how you liked them.

Sunblest GF flourCloud 9 GF baking mix 6-9-14