if you pack it, they will eat it…..maybe

School Lunches.

Already difficult in my house – now even more so.  Or so it seems.

I have always relied on PB&J, Hawaiian sweet rolls with ham, bagels with cream cheese, cheez-its, goldfish, granola bars………..and sadly they have all been banned in their original forms.  Even desserts are different.

*moment of silence*

After a little bit of trial and error (ummm…sorry Aldi’s, but your GF sandwich bread is more like a chunk of memory foam mattress), we have landed on a few stellar lunch options:

Main Course:

Krusteaz GF Honey Cornbread Mix-  my son loooooves cornbread with honey, so I can wrap up a piece with a small container of honey, and he goes to town at lunch.


Ham slices rolled up and stuck on toothpicks (with cheese cubes and veggies if your child is willing.  Mine is not.)  It’s like little shish kebabs!

Schar GF Bread- has the consistency and smell of real bread- add Peanut Butter and Fluff, or jelly.  For a treat, you can sprinkle GF chocolate chips inside.  Beware- this lasted about 5 days after I opened it- day 6 and it went fuzzy.


Soup!! – I discovered a GF recipe for Lipton Noodle Soup on Cooking With Dru made with GF seasoning, rice noodles, and GF broth.  Tastes and looks almost EXACTLY like Lipton.  Heavenly!  (She calls for GF vegetable broth, but I used GF chicken broth, or use homemade broth if you can!)

Beans and hot dogs:  oldy but a goody in my book.  Just check your dogs and beans for gluten and/or shared equipment.

GF Chili – pack it in with some corn chips and cheese and even sour cream and you have Petro’s for lunch!  Definitely read the label – most beef chili is GF, but always check.

DIY Lunchables Pizza – most GF pizza crust comes prebaked.  Use a cookie cutter and make mini pizza rounds and pack them with shredded mozzarella, GF sauce, and those Hormel Pepperoni Minis (GF on the label!!)


Sides are a little easier, as the regular suspects- fruit, veggies, potato chips- are all typically GF.

Peaches in fruit juice:  You can’t get them in the little cups, but they do come in the cans in fruit juice rather than heavy syrup.  Check the back of the can……..Del Monte packages their fruit in the USA.

Annie’s Homegrown GF vanilla and chocolate bunnies


Annie’s Organics GF Double Chocolate Chip Granola Bars


Popcorn- easy to make at home too!

Tortilla/ Corn chips- most are GF but double check  (I know that Trader Joe’s corn dippers are GF and tasty!  Tostitos also has a big GF stamp on the front of their bags.)

Cheetos Natural White Cheddar Puffs – I love these, and they are stamped GF right on the bag.

Most Potato chips, but always double check.  Pringles are not GF.

Any kind of fresh fruit or veggie.

Just Desserts:

Pamela’s Chocolate chip cookies – BIG hit – A thought they were mini Chips Ahoy. IMG_9765

Trader Joe’s GF Joe Joe’s-  essentially a GF oreo – the cookie is bit more crumbly but does great dunked in milk!


Pillsbury GF chocolate chip cookie mix – this is very crumbly when you mix it up, and you have to make the balls with your hands.  When you pull them out of the oven, they don’t seem done as they are very soft in the middle, but follow the box and they firm up while cooling.  These were declared “BEST COOKIES EVER!”


Annie’s Organics Fruit Bunny Snacks, in a variety of flavors…………..yes, they ARE gluten free!!  (I double checked!)  Also a bonus that they don’t use artificial coloring (food dyes……….)

Aldi’s GF Brownie mix – makes pretty good brownies (out of chickpeas if memory serves……..good protein bonus!)

So, I hope that helps anyone out there floundering at lunch time.  I will definitely keep looking for ideas, and continue to post about new discoveries.

And my Mom always tells me that my job is to pack the best lunch I can, and their job is to eat it.  If I hold up my end of the deal, then I have done my job.  I can’t force him to eat it.  Don’t beat yourself up if the lunchbox comes home nearly full.  Eventually, your kid will tell some other kid’s mother, “My dad makes better sandwiches than Firehouse Subs!”  (FYI, they will probably never tell you that, but they will tell the other parents, and hopefully it will make its way back to you……….true story.  That’s a direct quote from A’s best friend when I ate lunch with them last week at the school.)

Guess what arrived this week?!?  My brand new deep fryer – because oven baked nuggets aren’t going to cut it with my kid.  And he *neeeeds* donuts in his life.  I will keep you updated on the deep fried adventures awaiting me this weekend……..

mother gumption


i tried it their way….time for my way

According to Facebook, knower of all things, I took sweet boy to his pediatrician one year ago today.  I took a picture of him and shared it via Instagram while we were waiting for the good doctor.  I remember the rest of the day very well, so I am grateful to have this reminder of how things have changed.

One year ago, we went to the Pediatrician because the school demanded that we have a “formal diagnosis from an ‘actual doctor'” because the extensive test results I brought them from two psychologists weren’t enough.

One year ago, I began my fight in earnest for an IEP (Individual Education Plan) against the school system’s wishes — I call it dragon fighting.

One year ago, my son’s psychologist (who is awesome) urged me to accept the fact that medication was a necessity.  He recommended a pediatric psychiatrist to handle the meds, but if the waitlist was too long, maybe start with the pediatrician while we waited.

One year ago, I left the pediatrician’s office with more questions than answers and an Rx for Vyvanse.  My pediatrician is awesome, but the number of meds out there is so vast and so different with each child that she wasn’t sure how to direct all my questions and worries.

One year ago, I went back to work and sat at my desk, crying.  Because I felt so totally powerless as a mother.

When I gave him the Vyvanse, he turned into a lifeless zombie.  After that was Quillivant.  Then Focalin, and even Adderall.  The Focalin was the least of the evils, so we stuck it out, even though it meant he had zero appetite, and when he came off the meds, he was hungry, and that also meant hateful.  I read articles about how parents got their kids off meds, how other parents were okay with the side effects because they were easier to deal with than the symptoms.  I read about medications, discipline methods, diets, exercise, vitamins…………the list of what I researched and read about is endless.  I have always felt, in my gut, that something was missed.

We had one more test, performed by GeneSight, which checks the DNA to see which psychotropic meds might work best.  The meds on the GREAT list were all the ones that turned him into a zombie.

But we did learn that he was folate deficient, which they are starting to link to depression and anxiety.  Apparently some people can’t break down folate, which is a building block of serotonin and dopamine.  This explained his constant cravings for bread………

This discovery came on the verge of the “maybe your son needs something more; have you considered an anti-depressant” conversation.

My response – not just no, but oh he** no.

Enter Deplin, a biologically active folate vitamin which is broken down enough to be useful.  I chose to be a believer in the impossible dream.

So far he is 2 weeks med free, gluten free, and taking a daily vitamin (deplin) with no side effects.  He is more even keeled, happier, and loving than he has been in a long time.

Don’t get discouraged – don’t let them tell you there is only one way.  Educate yourself on all the ways you can tackle this path, and always go with your gut.  Some kids do need medication, as do some adults.  There’s nothing wrong with meds.  But you know your kid better than anybody else – go with your gut and be willing to consider different solutions.

mother gumption



nature is nurture

We have an amazing Nature Center near us.  A-MAZ-ING.  It’s called Ijams Nature Center, and it was started by the Ijams family back in the day.  It was their home where they raised their girls, and all the neighborhood kids, on nature.  I am a firm believer in Nature as Medicine.  I read “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Out Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder”  by Richard Louv.  It truly opened my eyes to how much we’ve lost since we’ve been kids ourselves.  I spent every minute I could outside, and we always went outside for a long recess (sometimes two!)  I think there is a definite link with the decrease in natural play & natural spaces with an increase in ADHD, spectrum disorders, and depression.


Toll Creek, waiting for the Ducks

Last weekend, we went to Quack-Ology, which was a family program all about DUCKS!

Let me back up……since he was 3, sweet boy has loved birds.  He collects the plush songbirds made with songs recorded from National Audubon recordings.  His first was a Black Capped Chickadee that he called Hamburger (because its “teeee-tee-tee” call sounded like Haaaaam-bur-ger to his little ears.)  At some point, he was given a small plush duck, aptly named Quack, that has gone everywhere ever since, and ducks have become his passion above other birds.  He thinks he’d like to be an Ornithologist, or a Duck Farmer.  Maybe both.


Quack hanging out with the Firm’s duck

Back to the Nature Center………I was among the first to sign up for this particular program because we have gone to their programs before and they are stellar.  The guy who leads these programs, Stephen Lyn Bales, is a font of knowledge.  When we got their Sunday, the first thing A does is walk in and proudly tell Lyn that when he retires, A will be taking over his job.  We all laughed, but then the astounding happened.

Sitting in the front row, center, listening intently, A would raise his hand high and either have some tidbit about the duck in question, or………….he would be able to vocally imitate the duck’s call.   I knew he was a natural mimic, but holy smokes………. I had no idea.  He apparently gets up on the weekends and scrolls through Amazon and/or Netflix for Nature documentaries to watch if he isn’t in the mood for Star Wars, or Dragons of Berk.

Lyn, the professional Naturalist, was blown away.  He knows A from summer camps at the center, but he said he had no idea all that was in his head.  And that was just ducks!  He has encouraged me to really foster that fascination.  Afterwards, my Mom told me about an article she read about kids like A who have an obsession of sorts (I prefer fascination) and how traditional methods state ignore it, get them into as many different things as possible.  This article (I wish I had the link) said to allow them to really get into it and learn as much as possible, because it might be what ultimately leads to success.

Now, ducks aren’t his only thing.  He loves legos, Star Wars anything, and Nerf guns.  He does have a natural affinity for the natural sciences though.  And Math.

So…….my thought for any other kids out there, follow your passion, whether it’s dancing, art, hockey, writing, marine biology, or ornithology.  Go for it…..!!

So back to my Nature Center…….starting this spring, we will be going to the Family Nature Club, which will meet once a month for 8 months and study a different topic at each meeting.  The first meeting is Geology, and I am really looking forward to it!


The Finish Line

At the end of the Quack-Ology, we had a Rubber Duck Race, which didn’t go as swimmingly as it could have, but the kids loved it, A was made official finish line keeper, since he had his boots on.  He stood in the creek for almost an hour waiting for those ducks, who kept getting hung up on everything.  Of 24 ducks, only 7 survived.  (They were in fact rescued the next day by Lyn.)

mother gumption


Mama 1, Gluten 0

The transition has been rough, and is still on-going.

There was a very angry boy living in my house over the weekend.  Angry at me because I’ve taken away the gluten.  And by taking away the gluten, I’ve taken away all the good things.

Donuts, cake, pizza, biscuits, fresh bread, saltine crackers, chicken nuggets, HOT. DOG. BUNS.

I know- commence throwing rotten produce at me – I am a horrible mom.  A no-good awful horrible mom.

So, I let him eat gluten after going 3 weeks without.  He had pizza and cake at a birthday party, cookies and crackers at our “Quack-Ology” class at the nature center (more about that in the next post!)  I let him go nuts for gluten over the weekend.  (I did slip some GF Trader Joe’s waffles in there….which were a mild success)

Monday morning, here comes the sun.  We are driving to school, eating GF cheerios and banana slices, jamming to our music.  And then………………

“Mama, my head hurts, and my tummy is poky (code for gassy), and I feel icky all over.”

My inner mother was doing the “I told you so” dance.

My outer mother was very sympathetic, but candid.  “Sorry sweet boy, but that’s the gooey gluten gumming up your innards.”  (Yeah- I really did say that.)

He made it through the day, with his GF lunchbox and his GF dinner before tutoring.  Then we sat down at the computer and I introduced him to Pinterest, that most wonderful visual feast of images and ideas.  (Follow me at Mother Gumption!)  And the day was saved as we scrolled through and pinned all the GF recipes we could find.  Including….

Donuts, cake, pizza, biscuits, fresh bread, chicken nuggets, and mozzarella sticks.

Honestly, this amazing Funfetti style cake from What The Fork is what initially saved the day, because it meant that he could have a REAL birthday cake on his birthday.

Gluten Free Funfetti Cake from What The Fork Food Blog | @WhatTheForkBlog

Source:  What the Fork blog

Maybe, he thought, maybe gluten isn’t the end all and be all.  Maybe there’s something just a little bit healthier out there for me.

Don’t give up, fellow mothers and fathers and such……….keep fighting the good fight, and eventually we might just win a battle or two.

mother gumption

foot loose and gluten free

Parenting Truth:  You can cover up the fact that you swapped out your kid’s favorite regular pasta with rice noodles if you use enough Parmesan cheese.

I wish my son would eat.

And not just eat, but really EAT, as in a varied diet and not the same 5 things over and over again.

Because ADHD and the rest of the alphabet soup can be challenging enough without throwing in the monkey wrench of extreme picky eating.

He loves bread and biscuits and pasta (no sauce, thanks!), and pizza.

I love a challenge, so we’ve decided to try going Gluten Free (GF) after reading article after article about the link between Gluten and frontal lobe craziness and subsequent success stories. Check out the search here.

That leaves hot dogs, bananas, french fries, and Cheerios.  (Shout out to Honey Nut Cheerios for being GF!)  I am trying out different GF substitutes, and some are sticking but just a head’s up —>I have yet to discover a good GF biscuit mix.  They came out like pale hockey pucks, but the chickens enjoyed them.  (I think…..they have  wider diet than the kiddo does.)  We did try the GF pasta made out of corn and quinoa and it was delicious- much more like regular pasta.  (Rice pasta just isn’t the same in my honest opinion.)

And smoothies, when he deigns to drink them.  I pack them full of spinach and protein powder and yogurt………..and sometimes ice cream in order to bribe him to drink them because then it’s technically a milkshake.

I see all these amazing “kid friendly” recipes and my inner cynic just laughs and we move on to make another box of mac and cheese.

I truly believe that someday, he will eat a vegetable in the light of day without it being blended into a secret concoction while he isn’t looking.  Until that day………pass the hot dogs and please don’t tell him I’ve been swapping his plain macaroni noodles for rice noodles when I make Macaroni and Cheese.

-mother gumption-


a disclaimer of sorts

The purpose of this blog is for entertainment value only.  I am not a medical professional of any kind – I am simply a Mom going through the same fight as thousands of other mothers with the Alphabet Soup of diagnoses (ADHD, ODD, LD, Spectrum…….etc, etc.), medication questions, alternatives, “professional opinions,” and frustration.  I am here to let the rest of you know that you are not alone in this fight.  And there is nothing wrong with your so-called “special ed” kid, and that whatever “label” the school and/or society tries to scare you with is just a bunch of Horse Hockey (to quote Colonel Potter).

And honestly, if your friends are trying to tell you how to parent, stop listening right now.  Even if they too know the adventure of having an amazing out of the box kid, they don’t know *your* kid.  You are the parent and you know that kid better than anyone ever will.

I am merely here for moral support, in the search of moral support, and to hopefully lend some humor to the craziness.

Always go with your gut!

-mother gumption-

the beginning

I am, above all things, a mother. 

Welcome to mother gumption, where there is no central theme, but I will undoubtedly discuss food, running, working out, being a female in the 21st Century, ADHD, alternative treatments to ADHD, the challenges of picky eating, especially when combined with special diets, mothering,  and most definitely adventure, because that is what this life is made of; a series of adventures.

…….and coffee………

 -mother gumption-