From time to time I write these posts where I have a little bit to say about a lot of things. “Crumbs” of information, if you will.

You get one of those today.

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Maintaining a gluten free lifestyle isn’t an option for my middle child, M. Gluten makes her very, very sick. In consultation with our pediatrician, we have decided we won’t submit her to the “gold standard” test for celiac disease, the endoscopy. As the doctor says, “If you get a celiac diagnosis, all you would do is keep her off gluten. Which you are doing already.” Plus, in order for her to be tested, she would have to be on gluten for at least one to three months prior to the surgery. When the doctor asked her how she would feel about eating gluten daily for three months, little M shook her head vigorously and said, “I can’t do that. It makes me too sick.”

EveryLastCrumbHence, no diagnostic confirmation. I call her presumptively celiac.

I’ve told her that if the kids at school are ever eating something with gluten that she wants to try, to let me know and I will do what I can to find an equivalent. She knows I’m not going to buy her junk, though, and a lot of the gluten free substitutions are junk. So that leaves me with the option of making treats myself.

(Have I mentioned I am not a baker?)

Enter Brittany Angell and her new cookbook, Every Last Crumb, which you can find in my Marketplace here.

I mean, seriously? My children are going to come home from school today, curl up in a chair together, and inspect it from cover to cover. It represents much hard work on Brittany’s part. It’s creative, inventive, gorgeous and fun.

My only fear is that I won’t be able to execute these amazing yummies.

Parents of food allergic and gluten free kiddos, this book is a must-have.

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Are you a fan of Aligned and Well on Facebook? Katy’s doing a 24-day Walking Advent Calendar with a walking-related challenge each day. She’s also giving stuff away. It’s super fun, so pop over there and check it out. (Besides, you can learn cool things like what ‘horripilation’ is.)

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This isn’t a judgment against anyone who is, but I’ve come to realize I’m not really an “it takes a village” kind of parent. My first impulse isn’t to seek out help from others when I’m in a pickle with my kids. My hunch is that this aspect of my parenting personality is highly correlated with the fact that I largely lack a village. Most of the people to whom I am close are also in the throes of childrearing and have very young children. They need help as much as I do.

But, a few weeks ago, a mom made a very specific offer of help to me, if I ever needed it. And, today, I needed it. So I emailed her yesterday to see if the offer was still good. That was a really difficult email for me to write, but I think because she had been so specific with her offer, I knew it was legitimate. She wasn’t just saying it to be nice or seem helpful.

The offer was still good, and her assistance radically changed the course of my day.

I learned a great lesson here, and it’s probably not what you think. You think I’m going to say, “Learn to accept help.” But, no. What I learned is more about how I offer help. Next time I sense someone could use a hand, I am going to push myself harder to think of something very specific that could lighten their load. And I’ll offer that instead of some vague offer of, “Let me know how what I can do.” Maybe the person won’t need exactly what it is that I am offering, but she will know I am serious.

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I am blessed to have a service that comes to clean my house periodically. I love them. They are bright and cheerful and do good work and use products that I have tested out myself due to all my chemical sensitivities. As they were leaving today, they asked if I could send an email to the office to say I am happy with their work. I asked why and they said there’s a company contest. I told them I would be happy to email, but that I also usually tip them in December and did they want both? They laughed and said they would take both.

As they left, though, it dawned on me how eager I am to complain when a service I receive doesn’t meet expectations, but how reluctant I am to proactively let a business know how much I appreciate them and what they do to make my life better. I’m going to try to change that.

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