Monday, February 28, 2011
A Cautionary Tale...
Thank you for the birthday wishes for Tony! He had a great birthday. Funny how as you get older, the definition of a good birthday is relaxing and cooking. We cooked dinner together and he played games with the boys all night. He really deserved the down time.

I have a little update on my health that I wanted to talk about. I feel like what I am going through is important so I want to share, however, I am a little worried that I will get judged for it, so please, be kind. This is why I blog in the first place. We all learn from others personal accounts wether it be food, fitness, health or life. As you all know, my family eats meat. I, however, do not. This is a choice I made years ago (actually the first time was in high school -my parents did not approve- and then 3 years ago as an adult). My site is not about meat free eating, so I never made it a huge deal (besides, it's not a big deal). I have always been saddened by the killing of animals for food, but I have a complete understanding for those that do chose to eat meat. I understand that there are basic nutritional needs that we get from eating animal products. Tony and I talk a lot about food, where it comes from, what it does for us, why we eat it...these are subjects that interest both of us, so it is a great topic around here. Anyway, I am a food person, so the history of food is of huge interest to me.

Over the past year, we have evolved into a mostly vegetarian family with meat being served (to all three boys in the house) for only a few meals during the week. We eat a good amount of eggs here and the boys do eat cheese and drink milk. I have been diligent at making sure I get the proper amount of proteins and carbohydrates everyday to fuel me. I am an avid exerciser and I love feeling healthy due to my diet and exercise. I have a family history of colon cancer and heart disease, so a meat free lifestyle that is high in fiber is supposed to be healthier, right? However, one thing that I lost track of is my vitamin intake. I do take multi vitamins along with calcium (since I can't have dairy), oil of primrose (which makes me feel great) and acidophilus for a healthy gut. Do you see what I am missing? My B12 vitamin. Yep, it's low and now I have some mild anemia. I knew when I went vegetarian that I needed to make sure I got them from other sources than meat, so I took a B supplement. Well, they were making me nauseous (I'm guessing because I had enough stored up already) and I had a bad experience with nutritional yeast (which I have recently discovered a love for), so I steered clear of both of these. I used to be a hoarder of cereal (in fact I was always munching on some cereal everywhere I went), but in my attempt to get away from processed foods, I stopped eating it as much. Most cereals are fortified with B vitamins. So, here I am sick from a lack of vitamins. My symptoms are dead on with it too...dizziness, balance issues (I've had these my whole life, so I don't know that I would blame this completely on the lack of B12), headaches, nausea, fatigue, tingling in the appendages (my fingers have started to lose some circulation and turn white when I am cold), I'm sure there are more, but I think you get the point. I'm guessing that I was low to begin with and then the stomach bug I got a month ago sent me over the top. I have taken 10 days worth of antibiotics to clean things up and I am now working on my diet. I have some major moral dilemmas going on in my head right now that I need to work on and I am horribly frustrated to say the least.

The bright side is that I have learned something important before it got bad. This is manageable and not the worst thing that could happen to me, I have had worse. I feel like, a lot of times, we don't talk about the things that can be embarrassing or that we can get judged for, but I think it's important to share the good, the bad and the ugly so we can learn from each other. I hope, if nothing else, this has helped someone else that doesn't eat meat or animal products be more aware that these vitamins are important for everyday health.

I have started including A LOT of B12 in my diet the past few days and today, I actually feel better!

One thing that I discovered is that the B12 is in the yolks of the eggs...which I have laid off of for awhile because I prefer egg white omelets. This was two over easy eggs served on my veggie based pasta sauce...

served with two nutritional yeast savory waffles for dipping!

I could eat this everyday!

So, I want to know, do you think about all of the nutrients when you eat? I am an everything in moderation person. I eat sweets, I eat savory, but I do focus on making sure I get the good stuff. Those of you out there that don't eat meat or dairy, how do you get your B12?


posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 12:20 PM   44 comments
Friday, February 25, 2011

Today is my best friend's birthday! Tony (the illustrator) and I have been together for almost 17 years. We have definitely watched each other grow up.  He is the most kind, generous and loving person I have ever met. Trust me, all these years, I have put this to the test! I am lucky to spend every day with him. Happy Birthday Tony!


Today we are celebrating with gluten free fried chicken, mashed potatoes, fried okra and gluten free angel food cake with seven minute icing...I am so looking forward to dessert!

(sorry for the recycled photos, I don't know that I will have time to get more tonight)

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:37 AM   37 comments
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Loving Potatoes!
Sounds like most of us were awkward growing up. Luckily, all of us were so we all fit in just fine! Speaking of awkward, I took Max to the talent show rehearsal last night (he is performing with the chorus on Friday) and I was blown away by the guts these kids have. Dang, they got up there and sang, danced or played the piano like you would not believe. I won't lie, there were some comical moments, but even with those, I was impressed with them being able to get out in front of a group of people like that!

Since things are kind of crazy around here with rehearsals and the illustrator getting ready for a convention in Seattle in a week, our eats have been pretty simple. I threw some baked potatoes in the oven last night and loaded it up with hummus and sauteed mushrooms.


Tonight, I made a huge crockpot of my veggie sauce (the the boys say tastes like it has meat in's because of the mushrooms) that I loaded up another baked potato.

This one was loaded with pasta sauce and humnut sauce that I saw forever ago on Heather's site. Seriously, why have I waited so long?  I thought about licking the bowl...

I have to go now...the kids are asking the illustrator when the first time he kissed a girl was! I gotta here this!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 7:36 PM   16 comments
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Cheesy Rolls!
I keep forgetting to mention this, but I added an email subscription to the site. I had a few people ask for it, so I added it for you. I am trying to figure out an easy way to respond to people when they have questions, but my template is custom (my husband did it) and it's through blogger, so I can't add any other commenting services that I know of at this time. So, I am trying to respond to people personally. 

Ok, so Max had picture day yesterday. I am one of those parents that really HATES posed pictures. I love snap shots so much more...they are just more real and natural. Don't worry, I buy the obligatory pictures for him to have later on. So, spring picture day was yesterday. Max's hair is out of control, but he is doing the whole...being himself thing right now and I am letting him do it's only hair. He left for school in his red flannel shirt (he calls it his lumber jack shirt and I am a 90's girl...I love a man in flannel) anyway, when I picked him up he was wearing a metal spiked bracellet (it's a keep sake, it was his father's)...

and his shirt was opened up to an under armor t-shirt. The photographer had the kids in a laying pose with there heads resting on their hands...this is going to be an interesting picture for me to remember him at this age. I wish I had his courage to be my own person at that age. I was too busy trying to be perfect to really be me. I actually enjoy watching my kids be different. Oddly, I see a little bit of me in both of them...they are just allowed to be themselves.

Anyway, you all crack me up. So you want cheesy rolls. Well, I have to say, the illustrator and the boys ate the entire batch in one night. They are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Like I said before, I did not try them dairy free, but I plan to very soon. I saw yesterday that Whole Foods is having a sale on Daiya so I have to get there to get some.

If anyone tries them with a cheese alternative, please let me know how they turn out.

Cheesy Tapioca Rolls
(makes 19 small rolls)

1/4 cup EarthBalance
1/4 cup dairy free milk (I used almond)
1/4 cup water
1 cup tapioca flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup dairy free mozzarella cheese
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Like a baking sheet with parchment paper

Melt the earth balance in the water and milk until it just starts to simmer. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and garlic powder. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. This is extremely thick. I did it by hand, but I suggest a heavy duty mixer if you have it. Add the cheese to the dough and mix well to cool. Next add the egg and mix until well combined. Scoop out about 2 TBSP for each roll and bake for 20-25 minutes or until slightly browned.

The illustrator thinks these would be great for hamburger buns if they were a little bigger. You could use two of them instead of cutting them in half. I think he is on to something.

Max had the last two from the last batch I made in an omelette this morning! Who needs toast when you can have bread in your eggs?

So, my sister-in-law says I have a streak of freak in me. If I had to describe myself, I would definitely say I am more like Juno (minus the high school pregnancy, but definitely with the snarky attitude - yes, at my age, I still love my Chuck Taylors) If you had to describe yourself, what movie character would you be most like?

I am sharing the rolls on The Gluten Free Homemaker's Wednesday Carnival.

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:29 AM   34 comments
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Rutabaga Vegetable Soup...makes me happy!
Turns out, the meds I am on make me super grouchy. I was a bear yesterday. Knowing this, I am going to force myself to be in a much better mood today. I CAN do this! I think the illustrator and I need to start walking again. So since the sun is up, I am going to try to get him moving with me this morning!

Like I mentioned yesterday, I have been slightly obsessed with vegetable soup lately. When the illustrator mentioned doing his country ham black eyed pea soup, all I could think about was making another vegetable soup! I think finding a method for the type of soup you like makes it easier for you to change things up for what you have on hand. I think I found my mix!

This one has the right balance of liquid to vegetables for me. I loosely based in this one. I don't like too much liquid in my soups since I am a texture gal. I also like them chunky...what can I say, I like to chew. Really, anything that's loaded with vegetables is high on my list and this year I have totally been loving on seasonal produce! I have also discovered a love for rutabagas. I like them more than potatoes in my soup. The illustrator thought they were cut a little large for the soup, but I liked them. I have to meet him in the middle on this one though since I have finally gotten to the point where he will eat vegetables on the crisp side. I HATE mushy vegetables.

Oh and all of you that know me, would be impressed to know that I have not bought one head of lettuce since January 1st. I have traded in my salads for vegetable soups. I have been eating spinach, but more as a mix in for the soups than as a salad. 

So, here is my method...

Rutabaga Vegetable Soup

1 TBSP olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
5 medium carrots, chopped
1 large rutabaga, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 cups water with 2 not chick'n broth cubes (or 4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth)
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 2/3 cup green beans (I used frozen)
3 cups chickpeas

Heat the olive oil up in a large pot. Sautee the the onion, carrots, rutabaga, and garlic until the onions are translucent. Next add the tomatoes, water (or broth), bouillon cubes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes or when the vegetables are tender. Then add the green beans and chickpeas. Simmer for another 15 minutes.

Now, in all fairness, this is a dairy free blog, but I made these gluten free cheese rolls for the boys and they loved them. I will share them for my gluten free friends, but I have not tried them with Daiya, though I am sure it will work. I am happy to share, but only if people are interested. They are really easy to throw together for a quickie side to a soup. I plan to try them soon (dairy free), I just have to get my hands on some cheesy substitute.

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:02 AM   24 comments
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday Eats!
Sadly, the weekend is over for us. The boys are in school today for a snow make up day. After cleaning all day Saturday and just generally enjoying the day, the illustrator and I decided on fried rice for dinner. It was the perfect end to the day (we actually cooked the rice earlier in the day and let is get cold in the fridge...makes perfect fried rice). We cooked together with the windows open and the music on. That is how you spend a perfect Saturday!

Sunday, was a good one too, but unfortunately, the illustrator worked all day. I decided to bake bread...and a lot of it.

I made a loaf of my gluten free bread for the illustrator to enjoy with some country ham that his parents sent back with him last weekend.

I also baked rolls for the boys lunches this week. They prefer sandwiches on buns or rolls for lunch and since I did not have any, I decided to make some. The bright side is that these rolls are a perfect texture (super chewy on the inside with a slight sweetness) and I love the flavor (oh, and the boys love them), but the down side is that we ate quite a few of them tonight...OOPS!

No worries, they are really easy to make and pretty quick to bake off.

The illustrator made a crockpot blackeyed pea and country ham soup for the boys yesterday. He loves to cook and he wanted to play around with the country ham. So, I made myself a vegetable soup. I have to be honest, I am kind of obsessed with vegetable soups lately. Really, if you have a good base (I will share mine tomorrow), you can put anything you have on hand in there. It's more of a method thing where the ingredients can change to accommodate what you have on hand. Literally, this was a pot of random stuff in the fridge and it totally hit the spot.

Easy Wheat Rolls

1 cup warm carbinated water (I used seltzer)***
3 cups white wheat flour
3 TBSP raw sugar
2 1/2 tsp rapid rise yeast (bread machine yeast)
1/4 tsp baking powder***
1/4 tsp salt (you could add a little more, but I am cutting back on salt)
1 TBSP Flax meal mixed with 3 TBSP hot water
1/4 cup Smart Balance Light, melted (coconut oil would be good here too)
3 drops vanilla NuNatural's Stevia

Preheat your oven to warm and then turn off. ( I do 200 degrees)

Combine the flour though salt in a mixer (or a bowl) and mix to combine. Add the water, smart balance, flax egg and stevia to the flour mixture. Mix in the mixer for 5 minutes, the dough will come together and then eventually get softer. Spray the top with a little oil and set aside to rest for 15 minutes. Grease a 13 x 9 baking dish and form into 10 rolls (you can make smaller rolls for dinner rolls if you like - I did this for a little sandwich size for the boys) - also, I wet my hands when I make bread, so the dough does not stick to my hands. Spray the tops with oil, cover and allow to rise in the warmed oven for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Then turn the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes or until browned on top.

***The carbonated water and baking powder help give home baked yeast breads an extra lift and chewiness in my opinion. I highly recommend it.

Do you bake yeast breads or are you afraid of them? I used to be afraid, but once I got the hang of it and found a method I like, I am addicted! 

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 10:03 AM   22 comments
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Thank Goodness For Sunshine!
I have given in, but not given up. I decided to take the antibiotics I was prescribed since things are still kinda crazy in my belly. However, I do believe the best medicine I have gotten today was the sunshine and the hanging out time with my family. It has been absolutely beautiful here! We were supposed to go out to dinner with friends, but unfortunately our friends' baby had some stomach issues last night, so we postponed it until next week. Hopefully everyone will be 100% next week! When we got the call, we threw open the windows and started scrubbing the house. Our house is not so messy that it takes all day to clean, I have just taken my time and cleaned a little all day. It feels great to be sitting here with a clean house and fresh air! I am still in my pjs...I plan to shower in a minute and then go make fried rice. Ginger and sesame oil are supposed to be great for the belly! I plan to eat a ton of it!

The illustrator made me an incredible omelet for lunch today. I think this may be my favorite combination...bean sprouts and hummus (I used oven roasted garlic in it this time). The creamy garlicky hummus goes so well with the crispy sprouts...perfection! Also, have you noticed that things just taste better when someone that loves you makes them? I don't know why, but this omelet just tasted so much better than when I make them. 

Since the smells were so springy today, I decided to throw a little lemony cake in the oven. 

The recipe is not quite there, but it went perfectly with our tea time outside. 

I kind of just threw a few things together I had around so we could have a treat this afternoon. 

The illustrator called this cobbler cake. If you like texture (which I do) this had all three for a treat...the bottom was cakey, the middle was gooey and the top was crispy. I'm just not sure most people would be in to all three in the same cake. So, I will work on it.

We sat on the patio with our treat and tea this afternoon...this was really the kind of day I needed. 

I hope everyone got to enjoy today too!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:39 PM   21 comments
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Shrimp Corn Chowder
I know a lot of people out there look down on blogging or just don't get it, but I feel so fortunate to have found all of you. Seriously, when you are having a rotten day, being surrounded (even if it is virtually) by all of you kind and considerate people definitely puts a smile on my face! Thank you all for being there for me. It means so much to know that you care!

The doctor's visit went fine yesterday. I have no news, but honestly, I didn't plan to. I know how these things go. I have tests that are being run and some I have chosen to hold off on until we get some other answers. My insurance company should love me since I don't want to spend tons of money on tests that may not be necessary. Oh and one rant on tests and then I am done with the Debby Downer can take over a month to get results back to some of these tests. Really? Don't you think that is a little long? So, they gave me antibiotics for something not knowing if it is that or about over medicating. Ok, rant over...

Anyway, let's talk about something a little more fun. I promised you the chowder recipe made with the leftovers from the low country boil. This was the second part to Max's birthday dinner request. The boys absolutely LOVE this soup and it is always nice to change up leftovers by making them in to something better!

Remember, we made this with leftovers, so use what you have. Wether you use leftovers or make it from scratch, this is really easy and super fast. We based it on our corn chowder recipe (Um, yeah, it is embarrassing even linking to that picture...good grief it's bad!). This is so creamy and the coconut milk takes it to a whole other level. We have used almond milk in the past too and it works really well, but this combination was just made for each other!

Shrimp Corn Chowder

tablespoons Smart Balance Light 
cup chopped onion (left over from the boil)
tablespoons Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free all-purpose flour 
cups dairy free milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk)
cups cooked potatoes (diced small)
cups corn cut off the cob (or frozen corn works too)
3 cups shrimp (or more corn and potatoes if you don't want meat)
salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper

Melt the Smart Balance in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until slightly browned. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk slowly while whisking. Next add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook until thick (about 5 minutes).

*Make sure you bring it to a boil so it will thicken.

I really think making foods that you can turn in to soups later is a great way to cook in general. We normally cook a huge batch of things just so we can make them in to something else. No, I don't LOVE leftovers, but I like reinventing them so I like having the already cooked ingredients on hand. 

Do you like cooking big batches of things to change up or do you go for the smaller portions so you don't have to deal with leftovers? What is your favorite dish to use leftovers in? Feel free to link to stuff too!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:30 PM   23 comments
Bob's Red Mill Give Away Winners!


Congratulations! I need you two to email me your addresses and phone numbers!
posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 2:29 PM   3 comments
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Wednesday...where did you come from?
How is it Wednesday already? This week is flying by and really with nothing great accomplished. The illustrator is finally feeling better, which is always good since this machine does not work well without him. I am sucking it up and heading to the doctor today because my husband thinks it is time. Yes, I have had tummy trouble for 16 days now and it is time to go get it checked out. I know that seems like a long time to most people, but when you have IBS and other digestive issues, there are always things that trigger problems and well, I am over it now, so I am going to make sure things are ok. I don't hate going to the doctor, but I kind of hate going to the doctor. I have been so much in my lifetime (some good, some not so good) that I am just kind of over it. It has been a couple of years since I have been so I guess it is now that time. I am also looking forward to going and exposing myself to all the other funk people have right now. Good times this afternoon! I actually hate mentioning it, but I feel like this is about my journey with food intolerances and allergies and I need to be honest. So, while I am not whining about the problems I am having, I feel like I need to mention it. It could be a bug of some sort, so hopefully this afternoon we will know something more.

Honestly, with all the tummy trouble I have had lately, I haven't really been in the mood to cook. I have cooked and I have an appetite, I am just not in the mood to cook or eat. I made an easy meal way more complicated on Monday, so last night I roasted everything. I threw everything in the oven and walked away. The boys had oven roasted pork and so I decided to make some easy sides. I ate sides...oven roasted sweet potatoes, yukon gold potatoes and oven roasted apples! YUM! I also had some left over green beans with hemp seeds sprinkled on top.

This meal completely hit the spot! Really simple and great for my tummy!

Let's talk about the apples though...have you ever done this? Caitlin has done them before and well, I had to try them. I changed up quite a few things to cut out the sugar and the fat (not good for my stomach issues...coconut oil would be heavenly on this). I LOVED these and they are definitely going on my usual rotation. 

Oven Roasted Apples

2 Large Apples (about 4 cups sliced and I used organic Fujis)
pumpkin pie spice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.

Place sliced apples on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice. Toss them around to coat. Bake them for 20 minutes and then turn them over and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes depending on how thick you cut them.

These are sweet apples, so the sugar from the apples caramelized and they were incredible. I loved that they were still slightly firm on the inside, while being soft and sweet on the outside. These are definitely going on some pancakes or waffles soon!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 11:07 AM   28 comments
Monday, February 14, 2011
Birthday Celebration!
Thank you all for the birthday wishes for my little man! This weekend was a whirlwind and unfortunately did not turn out exactly like we had hoped. The illustrator started suffering last week from some strange sinus stuff, that he hoped would go away quickly, but unfortunately, he woke up on Saturday morning feeling worse. I still have stomach trouble which does not make for a great car ride, but we had already promised everyone that we were coming and Max was pumped, so we went to Tennessee for the weekend.

Max had his pick of we were making a low country boil and having a cookie cake. The illustrator and I were responsible for the dinner and the illustrator's mom and sister were doing the desserts (which was super helpful and nice of them). Unfortunately, I ended up doing dinner since the illustrator got even worse.

Luckily, we were surrounded by family because Max had a blast playing with his cousins and really that is all that mattered. He got loads of money and the hat that he has been looking all over for. He has a think for hats.

He wore that hat and sweated to death. It was hilarious how many times he said he loved the hat. He is dedicated to style, that's for sure!

He had a great birthday! Hopefully he did not get an extra special birthday gift from his father...the nasty cold!

This is the view of the sunset from the illustrator's parents' house. They have the most unbelievable lake view. This is what it looked like as we were eating dinner...incredible ending to the day!

Low Country Boil:
As far as the low country boil goes, this is another one of those unrecipes that there are a million and one version of it. We put potatoes, onion, corn on the cob, sausage (we used local Georgia smoked sausage), shrimp (again, we went local with Georgia wild shrimp), and sometimes we use crawfish. I started boiling the potatoes and onion in water with old bay seasoning until they were almost done. Then I added the sausage and corn. When the potatoes were done, I added the shrimp and cooked until they were done, which only takes a few minutes. I leave extra old bay on the table to season individually 'cause I love the stuff.

It's a fun meal and it makes the best leftover chowder...that comes tomorrow. I love interactive meals! The kids love grabbing at what they makes eating so much more fun!

So, my valentine is sick (even though we don't celebrate it, it would be nice if he felt well). My gift to him was my early morning run to the store to grab medicine, green juice and Epsom salts for him to take a detox bath. I hope everyone else enjoys the day!

Don't forget about the Bob's Red Mill Give Away!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 3:06 PM   23 comments
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Max turns 10!
This little man was born 10 years ago today (well, he was much smaller at that time)...

I have a weakness for baby feet. He still has the same corn niblet toes.

 That is my little man's face.

 I chased them around taking pictures when they were little...this is my all time favorite one.

This is from this past summer, I chose it because this is his true look that he loves. We just don't let him do the mohawk during the school year. I love it on him though.

Honestly, I don't know where the time has gone. I feel like it is going way too fast! I love who my boys are now, but I do miss my little guys. Thankfully, they still cuddle and we are a close group. Happy Birthday Boogaboo...I love you!


posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:00 AM   29 comments

Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen
Home: Atlanta, GA, United States
About Me: Lactose Challenged
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