Latest Posts

Recognizing That Fish Can’t Climb and Monkeys Can’t Swim

I love animals because their talents and gifts are instinctual. Fish swim, monkeys climb, and cheetahs run. We accept animals for who and what they are. We don’t expect to mold them into something they are not

Yet, we expect all children to conform to the highly “left-brained” educational system we currently provide. Those who can’t conform, can’t succeed. As an educator, I love this video because it reminds us, in no uncertain terms, that kids are unique, and should be valued as such. It is hard to meet the needs of every child in a classroom, and asking students to glean a common knowledge of all subjects helps to provide a rounded society, but at what cost? Do we continue to jam square pegs into round holes or do we seek alternatives for the square pegs to be built into architectural masterpieces? The face of education is slow to change; so for now, simply remembering that each child has a special and unique gift that should be praised and fostered, will help bring forth their value.


Gluten-Free Breakfast Tostada

This has become my son’s favorite “go-to” breakfast. It is SO simple and you can add as many variations as you’d like.




  • 1 preservative-free/gluten-free/natural corn tostada
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese
  • Desired toppings: sausage crumbles, scrambled eggs, salami, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc.
  • Optional: salsa for dipping


Spread cheese evenly onto tostada. Sprinkle toppings. Place in toaster oven on “light toast” setting. Remove when cheese is bubbling. Watch carefully as the edges burn quickly. Serve with a side of salsa if desired.


Gluten Free Beef-N-Bacon Meatballs

For my son’s “Bug &  Reptile” themed birthday party, I wanted to make a batch of “Snake Eggs” (aka Meatballs in Grape Jelly and Chili Sauce). BUT, it seems gluten-free frozen meatballs are hard to come by. I am sure they exist, I just didn’t have time to search the stores. So, I created these tasty “Southern Style” Beef and Bacon meatballs for the event. Of course, we had to taste-test a few of the cooked meatballs immediately (SO TASTY!), but my plan for the rest was to freeze them until the day of the party and then stick them into the crockpot with in the Grape Jelly sauce.

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This recipe creates about 80 golf-ball sized meatballs…perfect for a crowd! You can reduce it as needed.

  • 1 onion
  • 15 slices bacon
  • 3.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1.5 cups gluten-free bread crumbs
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp hot hungarian paprika

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Finely dice or puree the onion and bacon slices. In a large pan, saute on medium-high about 6 minutes, or until the fat becomes liquid and the bacon is lightly cooked.

Strain the fat and put bacon and onion mixture into a large heat-safe bowl. Mix in the bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, chili powder, salt and paprika until bacon is coated with seasonings. Add the ground beef and using your hands, knead together with the bacon mixture until thoroughly mixed. Form the meat into golf-ball sized balls by rolling with your hands or using a medium baller/scoop.

Place meatballs into a 9X13 cake pan or lined baking pan and bake for 18-20 minutes. At this point, you have a batch of delicious meatballs that can be frozen, eaten plain, served over your favorite rice/pasta, or as a main course in your favorite sauce.



The Normal-Kid’s Gluten Free Lunchbox – A Week of Lunches

Unless you live in a trendy school district, you can kiss the days of school lunches goodbye if your child has a gluten intolerance or if you have decided for other reasons to adopt a high protein, Paleo, or otherwise carb-reduced diet. So, pull out the lunch box and sprinkle in some creativity…because you are going to need it!

The first thing I did was search the internet for creative KID-friendly, TIME-friendly, and BUDGET-friendly GF lunchbox ideas. There are some pretty fabulous ones out there, like the 40 Days of Gluten Free Lunches posted by The Paleo Mama or Glutenfreeville’s 100 Gluten Free School Lunches.

While I would love to say we are the uber-healthy, granola-crunching (GF of course!), all-organic types, that would be stretching it. Nope, we are just normal folks who need to pack GF meals that are fairly balanced, as healthy as we can manage, as organic as we can afford, and filling enough to carry him to 3:00!

With inspiration in hand, the week began, and like it or not, our GF lunches were in full swing.  First, let me say that I have 2 boys and I work full-time; SO, by 7:30 in the morning, we need to have water bottles filled, snacks packed, homework together, lunches made, breakfast served, dinner ideas ready (or slow-cooker prepped) and everyone needs to be dressed and ready to go out the door together. So, I don’t have to create over-the-top adorable lunches, nor do I have time to take picture-perfect photos! Nope, sorry folks, but these photos are from the actual lunch that is being thrown together at 6:30 in the morning so we can be out the door in time!

So, here are a few of our first attempts at GF lunches.


Strawberries, grapes, Simply 7’s Quinoa Chips, home-made GF brownie, “Hot Dog Soup” (beef broth with all-natural chicken dog slices….YES…our fridge was a tad bare so creativity had to prevail!), side of quinoa to add to the soup.

Chobani Greek yogurt stick, leftover slowcooker BBQ rib, Shar GF breadsticks, carrots, broccoli, orange, WOW brand Ginger Cookie.

Chobani Greek yogurt stick, leftover slowcooker BBQ rib made with Stubb’s Smokey Mesquite GF BBQ Sauce, Shar GF breadsticks, carrots, broccoli, orange, WOW brand Ginger Cookie.

Chobani Greek yogurt stick, oven-baked Ruffles, orange, carrots, broccoli, snap peas, Open Nature Uncured Hot Italian Salami slices, GF breadsticks.

Chobani Greek yogurt stick, oven-baked Ruffles, orange, carrots, broccoli, snap peas, Open Nature Uncured Hot Italian Salami slices, Shar GF breadsticks (we found them on Amazon and at Sprouts).

Homemade miso soup with leftover chicken shreds and silken tofu chunks packed in a Thermos, rice to put in soup, pineapple, carrots, Fritos, and WOW brand GF Snickerdoodles.

Homemade miso soup with leftover chicken shreds and silken tofu chunks packed in a Thermos, side of rice to put in soup, pineapple, carrots, Fritos, and WOW brand GF Snickerdoodles.

Homemade GF banana muffin, Open Nature Hot Uncured Salami slices, Budda Bowl Himalayan Sweetness popcorn, grapefruit, peas, broccoli, carrots. Dessert: Seedbutter Krispy Scotcheroo

Homemade GF banana muffin, Open Nature Hot Uncured Salami slices, Budda Bowl Himalayan Sweetness popcorn, grapefruit, peas, broccoli, carrots.
Dessert: GF Krispy Nutbutter and Honey Treats


Struggling Learners: Pre-diagnosis – Where Do I Start?

There is nothing worse than watching your child struggle in school and not knowing why he/she struggles. As a Principal of Early Education, and mother of 2 boys, I have seen and felt the agony parents feel when trying to determine what is “challenging” their child. Whether the challenge is physical, academic, developmental, emotional, behavioral, or psychological, seeing a child suffer in school is heart-wrenching. Not knowing why they suffer is even worse. A diagnosis can often lend a sense of relief because even though it doesn’t make life any easier, it helps to ‘define’ the path to intervention a little more clearly. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe a child needs a diagnosis in order to need help. Ultimately, we need to be treating the challenges, not the diagnosis.

But what if there isn’t a diagnosis yet? What if, despite seeing your doctor, your child’s challenges remain undiagnosed? What if there is NEVER a diagnosis? Or what if the diagnosis is one that, in your heart, you know isn’t right?

If there is anything I have learned throughout my years as a parent and educator, it is that getting the right help is critical. But how do you get help, when you can’t define what is wrong? Where does the ‘help’ come from?

Early intervention will be your best bet for helping your child through any delays. Don’t wait to get help if you feel your child needs it. Nowadays, there is therapy for EVERYTHING, from speech and language to potty training (no kidding!). Children who receive intervention at an early age will go to kindergarten better prepared for success. If your child is school-age (often, learning issues pop up around 3rd grade), getting help as soon as the challenges are apparent will bridge the learning gap that may otherwise get larger as the year progresses.

Allow me a quick “Soap Box” before we get into finding the right services and interventions: We are learning now that more and more challenges can be attributed to food and nutrition. For instance, gluten sensitivity can be tied to ADHD-like symptoms, poor attitude, brain fog, anxiety, and more. Those symptoms can then lead to other issues such as reading/writing delays, poor academic performance, and processing disorders (it is hard to learn and perform in school when your brain is being highjacked!). Also, the dye Red 40 (among others) has been linked to hyperactivity, Omega 3 deficiency is prevalent many children with ADHD and autism, casein has been linked to autistic-like behavior, and more. My point is that when searching solutions, don’t forget to research the nutritional aspect of the issue. Removing gluten, casein, sugar or Red 40 from your ADHD child’s diet may be difficult, but it is better than forcing a lifetime of brain-altering, heart-stimulating medication to “cure” symptoms that are actually being caused by a nutrition malfunction.

If you are just on your way to seeking solutions for your child, here is a beginner’s guide to where to start.

  • Talk to your pediatrician about your concerns. They should be able to provide advice and/or local resources to help you.
  • Talk to the school. Teachers are trained to see developmental issues and they have A LOT of knowledge of what ‘typical’ expectations are for your child’s age. They may confirm your concerns and offer resources/help/tips or they may reassure you that this bump in the road is normal…nothing to worry about (phew!). While parents often “know best,” please don’t discredit what the teachers have to say…even if it is hard to hear. Children demonstrate different skill sets at home than they do at school. Generally, the teachers are just trying to help your child with the issues they see at school.
  • Most cities and states have Early Intervention agencies that offer free comprehensive screenings and evaluations to children under the age of 5. These screenings will evaluate speech, language, communication, physical ability, visual/auditory/writing processing, focus & attention, developmental age and ability, behavior, etc.
  • If your child is school age, the school district can be a valuable resource. Most school districts are required BY LAW to offer your child a free comprehensive evaluation if you submit a request in writing…EVEN if you attend a private school.
  • At times it is easier to have your child evaluated privately. Unfortunately, these services can be extremely expensive and they may or may not accept insurance. Seek out resources in your area, looking for key words such as: Developmental Pediatrician, Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Educational Therapy, Educational Psychologist, Neuropsychological Evaluation. Universities are also great resources. Many have evaluation and screening services available for reduced costs.
  • Using caution and common sense, research your child’s challenges online or in books. There are some pretty fabulous websites out there with loads of information that may help guide you in the right direction in terms of ‘defining’ your child’s challenge and in noting ‘red flags’ to discuss with the teacher or doctor. Some challenges are much harder to define than others. These are especially true for processing issues such as visual, auditory, visual-motor, focus and attention, dyslexia and dysgraphia. For instance, if you notice your school-age child writing her letters from the bottom up instead of top-down, or writing his “o” clockwise…that is a red flag for a possible writing disorder).

You are not alone in your search. Many parents struggle to find the right solutions to help their child. The good news is that there are more resources out there than you can imagine. Research, question, seek and find. The fact that you have read through this post is proof enough for me that you are doing your due diligence to help your child. I wish you well in your journey and would love to hear about your struggles and successes.


Gluten-Free Krispy Nutbutter and Honey Treats (or, “Healthier Scotcheroos”)

These yummy bars are a healthier alternative to Scotcheroos, but they are just as delicious and the kids LOVED them. To be honest, I was looking for a recipe to use up our jar of Sunbutter, which my kids did not care for on sandwiches or on its own. Albeit high in fat and calories, keep in mind most of the calories and fat come from heart-healthy nut or seed butter. They are gluten-free and  since they can be made with any type of nut or seed butter, they are a protein-packed school-safe alternative for those schools who have gone peanut-free due to allergies. They are also a fun play-date treat!

To add a few more health benefits, consider adding some ground flax, hemp, nuts, or dried fruit to the dry krispies; or blend some flax oil into the melted butter mixture.

These bars are quite rich, especially when you add the chocolate. To do it again, I would DRIZZLE a much smaller amount of chocolate onto the top using a piping bag instead of coating the entire top of the bars with a layer of chocolate. Or, I would eliminate the chocolate altogether.

Recipe: Gluten-Free Krispy Nutbutter & Honey Treats (“Healthier Scotcharoos”)


  • 4 cups Rice Krispies (or favorite crisped rice cereal)
  • 1 cup of your favorite nut or seed butter (I used Sunbutter’s Organic Sunflower Spread)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 to 2 cups of your favorite chocolate chips (I prefer Ghiradelli semi-sweet)
  • 1 tablespoon nut or seed butter
  • Optional: 1 cup marshmallows


Prepare an 8X8 pan by lining with foil and greasing with butter, oil or non-stick spray.

  1. Pour Rice Krispies into large bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix and melt the nut/seed butter, honey, salt, and vanilla in a saucepan over low heat until smooth and blended. Optional: for a slightly stickier recipe, you may choose to add a cup or so of marshmallows and melt into the nut butter mixture.
  3. Pour the nut/seed butter and honey mixture over Rice Krispies and mix well until all the rice is well coated.
  4. Press and flatten the mixture into the pan using wet hand to form the base of the bars. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Once the bars are cool, make the chocolate mixture. Melt your *desired amount of chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of nut/seed butter over very low heat.
    1. *For richer bars, use 1.5-2 cups chocolate. Once the chocolate mixture is melted and smooth, pour over bars and spread evenly.
    2. *For less sweet bars (and to save on calories!), use 1/2 cups chocolate. Once the chocolate mixture is melted and smooth, pour into a piping bag and drizzle over bars. You could also drizzle the chocolate from a spoon, or create a piping bag using a ziplock bag and snipping a small hole in the corner.
  6. Refrigerate the bars once again for 30 minutes, or until the chocolate is firm.


A lifelong diagnosis … I can do this.

I so appreciated reading Abbie’s blog post A lifelong diagnosis … I can do this on Abbie’s Babble because she lays out the relief and the challenges in being diagnosed with Celiac.

As my son and I forge through this new journey of “going gluten free” it is reassuring to hear from others who are facing the same, well…”ups” and “downs.”

To say this journey is only a struggle would be ungrateful…for lifting gluten from my son’s diet has put him in a truly happier state of mind  (he will say it himself!), and it has made him more focused, less oppositional, and less stressed.  Today, I asked him to do something, and he said yes immediately. Then, he turned to me and said, “You know, mommy, if I had been on gluten, I probably would have said no. That is what I used to do. But now, I am happy to say yes.” He FEELS the difference! These are the wins and the successes. Others experience instant relief of stomach pain, relief of joint pain, a clarity they hadn’t had in a long time, less anxiety, and so much more. But, to face a life of turning down Oreo’s when they are being given out in class, or to know that the menu at a restaurant is 95% out-of-bounds, these are the struggles. 

But, to stay the course means feeling good, feeling “happy” and feeling like saying “yes.”  And that, I have to say, is worth it!