pickles and fairies

30 Days Until Halloween…with a Pre-teen!

I love October. I love fall. I especially like October in Georgia.  They pool will be closing in our community today.  Yes, on October first.  Last week, the weather was unusually warm.  So they decided to keep the pool open.  It works out well actually.  The weather will finally be in the 70s.  Hello fall!

This is one of my favorite times of year.  I love fall and I always have.  Living in the south now for four years has changed the way I look at fall and the cold that comes with it.  It was so nice when we had our first Halloween here.  No winter coats to wear over the cute costume like we had in Chicago.  A long sleeve costume, maybe with some layers, was in order.  Down here in Georgia, everyone tends to dress up for Halloween. It is almost the law.  We are let out of work early because it is considered one of the worse traffic Holidays. Halloween.

But my heart is heavy this year.  We will not be dressing up as a family for the first time since Natalee was 3 years old.  She has crossed over into Halloween independence.  She wants to trick or treat this year with her friends from school and the neighborhood.  She doesn’t want mom and dad lurking around.  She doesn’t want to dress up in a group with us anymore.  Where did the time go?

 

Watching her grow up in the past 4 years has been amazing.  I can’t wait to see what her and her friends are going to do this year.  There were some talks about the group being forms of social media.  There was a super hero theme at some point.  And being mom…I am going to have to make and or assist with the costume.

But if you are one of the lucky families that still can dress up together, here is a link for some ideas.  And of course, I did find it on Pinterest! https://www.pinterest.com/pin/125186064619826897/  There are some great ideas on there.

Enjoy your next 30 days! And Stay Crazy!

 

 

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Learning to Live a Year Later

I can’t believe it has been a year since my diagnosis. I thought for sure I would have all of it under control. As you can see, my life changed drastically. I am not as active on this blog as I wanted to be. I was sure that once I announced my diagnosis that I could fight the battle by getting my thoughts and feelings under control.
I am far from giving up. Actually, I am more empowered than ever. I have fought battles with friends and family. I have fought battles with my job. I have found means to make my symptoms less. I have accepted the fact that I will always be in pain. And that it is always going to be there.
I am learning self-care. I am learning to say no. I learning who my true friends are.
Actually if I am completely honest, I am learning to live again. And that has to be the best part of it all. You never know what you have until it can be taken away from you.

I still love my life. I still love my Crazy.

 

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Newly Diagnosed and Figuring it Out

So I have put a hold on my blogging…again! I feel like each time I begin a new adventure that it comes to a screeching halt. I started this blog almost a year ago and can say I haven’t given it my all. I started out strong but I am not going out this way!

I have had such a rough couple of months. Everything has been hurting. I can’t describe the pain I am feeling. I just know that I hurt. It isn’t orthopedic and it isn’t muscular. It is just pain. Pain that is ranges from annoying to excruciating. It is pain that exhausts me. It gives me such fatigue that I can sleep for days and still be tired. But I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep because it hurts too much. There isn’t any relief.

So, I start at my doctor. Her diagnosis was that I am overweight (I know this), I need to exercise, an order for physical therapy and here are some antidepressants. More I might add. I am not ashamed to say that I have what I call a Sanity Cocktail every morning. That alone took years to figure out. But that is neither here nor there. No answers and no relief.

I took the new antidepressants and it made me sleepy and outside of myself. I hated the “hangover” I felt the next morning. It wasn’t me. I waited for the referral for the physical therapy to come in. In the meantime, I began forcing myself to walk. Forcing myself to stay awake. Forcing myself to push through the pain that I was feeling. Finally, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had my husband take me to the ER to get me some relief. And guess what….nothing!! I was in tears again! I can’t believe that no one could find anything wrong with me. I am not imagining this pain. It is very real to me.

I left the ER feeling lost and just down right beaten. I called my doctor and I couldn’t get in to see her. So I saw a different doctor. I had nothing to lose at this point. She saw me that afternoon. I sat and told her the whole story. From beginning to the time I walked in her door. And she said to me “I believe that you are in pain. And that it is very real.” She rattled off tests I would need to do. Wrote orders for blood work. And then she said, “You should probably see a rheumatologist for your fibromyalgia.”
My what? Someone said that to me and I thought that fibromyalgia is so painful and so intolerable. I couldn’t have that. That makes no sense. But I did have it.

I have fibromyalgia.

I finally know what is wrong with me and what is going on with my body. I have a diagnosis. And honestly, 50% of the issue is resolved. The other 50% is now treating the symptoms and preventing flares.

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I am still trying to figure it all out. Exercise, food, sleep, and everything in between. I will eventually get a grasp on what I can and can’t do. I will need to learn to say no and be ok with that. I will need to accept that my family and friends are not going to understand what is going on with me and my body. Some of the things that people have said have been quite hurtful. But I am giving them grace. They don’t understand and I can’t make them.
Everyday has to be well planned out. I need to sleep better and I need to be able to do the things I enjoy. So I will need to be on a schedule. And that may be difficult, but very necessary.

I am just going to have to add this to My Crazy.

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Closing of the Summer

We are in full swing with back to school here in Georgia! And let me tell you…I like the routines and the planning.  It is like a “Happy New Year”. One big fresh start.  I do have to come to terms with having a 5th grade daughter now and all that is going to come with it!

I have the worst time doing lunches for my kid.  My husband even took it over. But when it is my job to make lunch…I turn to Pinterest! I know you are not shocked by this! But I actually have conquered some lunches.  It isn’t like I can’t cook. School lunches just difficult for me for some weird reason.

I decided to share what I have found on Pinterst that may help you out as well. So take a peek and let me know if it was helpful for you as well.

This one is especially great in the winter.  She loves soup. Homemade or from the can! We also use it for scrambled eggs, spaghetti Os, and we have even sent her with leftovers for lunch which included taco meat.

These are very easy and very good.  Just make them the night before.  They keep very well in the fridge. Also, you can send them for lunch one day and use them as an after school snack.

I sent a mini jar with her a few times…and she loved it. I don’t recommend it if you have little ones.  She can bring glass to school due to her school’s commitment to the environment. I recommend this especially to get the kids to eat more veggies.

And Finally,

I do this once in a while for her even though it can be “kiddish” as she likes to put it.  But since I don’t do it all the time, she really does like it!

Well, I am off to bed. I am exhausted after this weekend..and the first full week of school too. It has been a great ride this week. I hope your kids are ready for school and that your transition from summer to school is smooth!

Stay Crazy!

 

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Seasoned is the New Old

I returned from Nashville on Tuesday. I am officially 40 and I feel like I am still 39.  I can’t help but think about how 22 years ago, I met my bestie and have remained close.  So close that there isn’t a thing that I wouldn’t tell her!  And she the same.  She is definitely  Thelma to my Louise. We even commemorated the anniversary of the movie with a selfie of ourselves. I am on the left, she is on the right…it isn’t exactly how we wanted it to turn out, but the sentiment is there!!

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I don’t plan on boring you with detailed pictures but  I had to share this one.

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This, my friends, is an adult beverage that I enjoyed on Music Row.  We had this bad boy at a Moonshine Bar!  Yes a Moonshine Bar! Bootleggers Inn to be exact!  It was a Watermelon Moonshine Margarita. And it went down smooth. Too smooth.  Music Row was awesome. But I easily felt too “old” for the scene.  40 is such an odd age for finding nightlife.

One of the best things that happened on my trip was that I learned a little something about myself.

  1. I have become too old to worry about somethings.  It is more of a state of maturity.  It is  almost like a right of passage.
  2. Life is going to constantly be crazy.  My kind of crazy. No two lives are the same crazy.  There will always be crisis.  Now I don’t mean life threatening, chaotic turmoil type of crisis.  But a crisis of forgetting to pay a bill, or the electrical in the car has gone out, the dog has a yeast infection in his ears, again.  Things will always come up that will add to the crazy in my life.
  3. This refers back to the first one.  I am not about to chase anyone down and beg for friendship.  Sometimes you need to accept that no matter what you say or do, people are just going to walk out of your life.  I have learned that not everyone is going to stick around for every season in my life.
  4. I refuse to apologize for being me.  I curse like trucker. I am loud.  My house is far from being uncluttered.  I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.  I am the mom that lets her 10-year-old dye the crown of her hair pink because it is summer.  I love dressing in loud, bright colors.  My office at work looks like a butterfly garden with wind chimes and wall art that is about loving one another.  It is who I am.  Take it or leave it.
  5. And finally,  I need to share my experiences with others; to the ones not so seasoned yet.  That is how I have gained wisdom. I learned from the previous generation and learning from my mistakes.  I learned to leave the past but kept the lessons.  We should never keep our wisdom that we have gained for ourselves.  When we share, we also continue to grow.

I am a well seasoned person.  40 has opened my eyes and my heart to so much more than I thought possible!  And while this is just the beginning of the next decade of life, it is absolutely one of the happiest and fulfilling starts. I love my life, with the chaos, with the crisis, with the love and with the laughter.  I love my seasoned crazy.

Stay Crazy!

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The Crazy Kicks in and it Stays, and then Turns 40

Sometimes when my Crazy kicks in…it stays…and lingers….for a long time.  I have been out of blogging lately because I had gotten really busy (pretty typical for me, start one thing and then life gets in the way).

I decide to take a full time-position at a social services agency that serves persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The position was a blessing because the hours are your typical office hours! Score!  This was in March.

Oh and there was this thing that my daughter was doing…dance.  May is recital month. And it was rough!! Rehearsal just about everyday for 2 weeks…then recital week.  It was exhausting, but worth every minute.  And May is almost in the books!

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Acro

 

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Jazz

Oh wait this also happened….In February…. Meet Albert! He is a Beagle Basset mix. We rescued him from the humane society on February 29th. He is so handsome.

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Let’s see…this is the last week of school so things are weird in the house. Routine went out the window.

I turn 40 in 12 minutes…not that I am counting down or anything.  Or would that be counting up?  I am looking forward to what 40 has in store for me.  It has been really neat to watch everyone from high school turn 40 on Facebook. And we all seem to be taking it very well.  I look at it like a new chapter in my life; which can use a fresh sheet of paper and new pen.

I am celebrating my milestone with my dear friend from college, Sara.  She started it all off in January.  And she is making 40 seem phenomenal!  We are headed to Nashville for the weekend.  So excited. Wine, music, laughing, wine, swimming, talking, wine. When we first started planning this trip we didn’t care if it was a weekend in a  run down shack with a working (clean) pool drinking cheap wine and eating pizza all weekend. We were going to make it happen.  We have raised our standards significantly.

As I have grown older, I have realized that most of the things that were important to me; aren’t anymore.  I am learning that joy comes in my life through experience and community and most important love.  I am finding so much joy in seeing, experiencing , giving  love.   Joy is seeing my daughter realize we were bringing Albert home.  Or watching her be so surprised when we show her her bedroom for the first time after redecorating it.  Or standing in the conference room down stairs with my co-workers praying together.  Oh hearing my husband’s voice over the phone as he tells me about how his mom was so shocked to see him on his surprise visit home.

My hope is to continue to see the joy in my world through love. And that 40 will knock my socks off so hard, I will have to relax at the age of 49 in order to take on 50.

Stay Crazy.

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Soups On!!

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Oh the weather here in Georgia has been a bit on the crazy side!  I remember vividly moving to the south so I didn’t have this type of cold.  Now don’t get me wrong, my friends and family in the north are laughing at my “cold”.  But my blood has thinned!

So to beat of the cold I decided to make a recipe that I found on Pinterest! Soup. I have a whole board dedicated to the delicious, comforting stuff! This recipe is so yummy, it has become a “go to” in my house!  And it is vegetarian and vegan! Yes, healthy!  Loaded with beans, baby spinach, baby kale, pasta…yum.

My family and I fast during the Lenten season.  We aren’t practicing Catholics but we do believe in a prayerful fast.  It is the first Friday in Lent and that means no meat and simple meals.  This is the perfect soup! Serve it with some crusty bread….part of me doesn’t think this IS fasting…I enjoy it to much!

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic (I used the jarred kind…don’t judge)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup uncooked pasta (the original recipe called for orzo, I didn’t have it on hand so I used elbow. you can use whatever you want.)
  • 2 cups baby spinach (I love baby kale! So I used a kale, spinach mix)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 cups of water (if you are using orzo, no need for water. But I noticed that you will need water if you plan on using larger types of pasta, here I used 2 cups.)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Instructions:

I am a big fan of “dump it in the pot” and cook! But there is something about this soup that requires a little more TLC.

Start by cooking down your onion and garlic with the olive oil. (I am quite annoyed the the time stamp!)

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Once this is done add your thyme, basil, salt and pepper.  Let the flavors come out and get happy!  Once this is done add your vegetable stock, lemon, bay leaves and water. Let all of this come to a boil so that your onions are just about cooked.

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Next add your beans and pasta.

Once it comes back to a boil, the rich looking brown broth changes to a creamy white broth.

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By now your house should smell amazing and your family should be begging for the soup to be done! Suddenly, everyone in the house wants to help you finish preparing the meal! Bowls suddenly end up on the table, spoons and napkins are in place. Your picky 10 year old is excited even though there are beans and green things in the soup!

Once your pasta is just about done, add your spinach (and kale).  The leafy greens will wilt down and keep their color if you don’t over cook them.

Once that is complete, turn off heat and add parsley. Serve immediately!

I haven’t doubled the recipe but I think I may try it.  This only serves 4…we are a family of 3!  I wonder how long the last serving will sit there…on the stove…waiting…

Enjoy and Stay Crazy!

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Georgia Snow

It is January. And like most of the country we are experiencing warmer weather for the winter.  Here in Georgia, we will get the occasional ice storm, a day of snow, freezing rain, etc. We are lucky down here because it goes away in a day..sometimes two.  It didn’t take us long for our blood to thin and enjoy the no hassle winter.

Our first winter here in Georgia was in 2013.  It has been labeled Snowmegedon or SnowJam.  We made national news.  Not because of the snow, but because how we (and the state) handled it. Here is a great description in one picture….

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(Check out the Article for more great pics from this life event.)

We have learned a lot since then.  When they say stay home, we do. The state pre-treats the roads.

But there is something magical that happens to a 10 year old that I admire when it snows. Natalee is a January baby. She has always loved snow.  Since we moved here when she was seven, she has had a good chunk of years playing in the the snow in Chicago.  She even experienced a blizzard!

Last night, we got some snow. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to make 10 year old girl squeal with excitement.

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This was taken at about 11:30 pm.

“Mom, can I play in the snow tomorrow?”…. asked in the tune of “Do you want to build a snowman?”  Of course!!!

Up she jumps out if bed at 9:30 am. “There is still snow on the ground…can I go out?”.  I sigh, cause of course I am still in bed (fighting another round of bronchitis). So I get up, get her dressed and out she goes.

And the magic begins.

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It doesn’t seem to phase her that the snow is on the cars only.  She makes snow balls anyway off the car.

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There is her snow ball!! So proud she was! I wished I would have caught a picture of here with her tongue out trying to catch snowflakes.

For a brief moment…I felt the magic that my daughter felt.  It was like a wave of complete joy that came over me.  Nothing but the lightest dusting of snow made her happy! So simple. Snow.

Now the wind has picked up since the morning.  She is gonna want hot chocolate with marshmallows.  She will want to be under a blanket on the couch with her phone or the remote control.  She will probably doze off.

I want to hold on to that simple feeling that she made me have of joy.  As I get older, I need to remember to search for those moments more often.  To hold them so close. To llet the smallest simplest things bring me Joy!

Stay Crazy!

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Oh the Joys of Crazy

So I have been playing nurse to my dear Natalee. Right after her birthday she spiked a fever.  This went on for a few days. The cough that accompanied the fever sounded like it was coming from her feet.  Poor kid was sick.  She missed the first day of school after break because I wanted to make sure that she didn’t have a fever for 24 hours.

While she still had the cough, she had been fever free! Yay!! Off to school! At 10 pm that night she is on fire! Back to bed, no school.  She stayed in doors and her fever began to drop and stay down.  I am not run to to the doctor with every cough and sniffle and the doctor knows this.  A dear Nurse Practitioner friend suggested a nice soothing bath of lavender essential oil and Epsom salt.  She was on the money.  I am glad I have her in my life!

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Natalee recuperated and was back to her normal self Sunday. I made her stay home from church just to make sure!! Whew! Back to school on Monday!! No fever for 72 hours!! Yay! You have to understand my kid. Missing school for her is tragic. She loves school! I lucked out!  I am hoping this stays with us!!

My dear daughter returns from school Monday, and she says she feels great! She has a lingering cough but that is normal with respiratory infections. Sometimes it can take up to 6 weeks for the cough to disappear. About an hour after she gets home she is complaining that her legs itch.  Now she has eczema. It has been very dry and cold.  I am thinking flair up…”MOOOOOOOM!!! MOOOOOM!!! Come here!! MOOOOM!!”.

She is sitting on her bed with lounge shorts on. HIVES!!! Like red streaks of paint! Hives on her thighs and calves. I quickly check her over from head to toe. Hives are everywhere all over her body.  Really? REALLY!?!?! Benedryl, hydrocortisone cream, oatmeal bath (homemade recipe included)  and ice packs. This routine went on until 11 pm. Guess who didn’t go to school today? The cream wasn’t working. We even used her prescription strength ointment. Nothing was happening.  We ended up at the doctor’s office this morning.

Remember that cough that dwindled and that fever that has been gone for about a week? Well the reason why that happened was because the virus settled in her left lung and decided to take up residence as pneumonia. Really pneumonia?  The hives were caused by her body reacting to some foreign thing living in her.  Thank God she isn’t contagious!  We got a prescription for a steroid medication and mild antibiotic.  She advised us to keep her skin moist and cool as well as the oatmeal baths.

I am a money saving mamma! I am not one to spend a ton of money on things I can make at home.  Here is the recipe I use for an oatmeal bath.  I honestly have been using this for years because of her eczema.

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Oatmeal

1 Cup of Baking Soda

15 drops of Lavender Essential Oil (you don’t need this, essential oils are a staple in my house)

  1. In a food processor, process the oatmeal until it is a fine powder, almost flour like.
  2. In a bowl, combine oatmeal and baking soda
  3. Add the Essential Oil and mix well.
  4. Split the batch into 2 separate baggies.

And Viola! You have 2 baths ready to go.

I also make my own eczema lotion. So I decided to make my own lotion for relief for her hives. Again, essential oils are a staple in my house.  Use them at your own discretion.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of good quality coconut oil

1 T of good quality olive oil

15 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil (cools the skin)

15 drops of Lavender Essential Oil (calms the skin)

  1. In a stand mixer, whip the coconut oil until it resembles vanilla frosting. Usually 5 minutes.
  2. Add the olive oil and continue whipping.
  3. Add both Essential Oils and whip again for about a minute.
  4. Place in a jar and cover.

I would love to tell you how long it lasts, but we use up any form of this lotion weekly!! And the only change I made to the original eczema lotion was the Essential Oils.  I use 15 drops of Tea Tree oil instead of the peppermint and lavender.

I think I am going to have a cocktail now!

Stay Crazy!

The information on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be substituted for the advice provided by your doctor or other health care professional. If you rely upon any use  of the suggestions on this blog for decision making, without obtaining the advice of a physician or other health care professional, you do so at your own risk. The  information on this blog is not intended to be, and does not constitute health care or medical advice.

 

 

 

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Cheese? Yes Please!

I made cheese! Yes..me! This is part of my Crazy from now on! It is completely in expensive too.  If you can afford a 1/2 gallon of whole milk, then you can do this.  I got my original recipe off of Pinterest.  I know you are not surprised..but this is a great recipe.  If you want to make your own ricotta or paneer cheese, I suggest that you do this.

Ingredients:

1/2 gallon of whole milk.  Not Ultra Pasteurized. It will say it on the label. Just use regular ol’ pasteurized milk that you can get at Aldi or whatever other store you shop at.

1/4 cup of lemon juice or vinegar.  I used lemon juice, from the bottle.

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt. 

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Simmer your milk till it reaches about 200 degrees F.  I suggest that you use a thermometer.  I stirred it occasionally to make sure that the milk wasn’t scalding.

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Once the temperature of the milk reaches about 200, remove from heat and add lemon juice. It will begin to curdle almost immediately.

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If it doesn’t, add a bit more of lemon juice or vinegar.  If it still doesn’t, you most likely have ultra pasteurized milk.

This is where I went a little different. I don’t like cheese cloth.  I find it difficult to work with.  So I googled what can I use to replace cheesecloth. Suggestions included: fine mesh bag, coffee filters, tea towels.  I use coffee filter and a fine mesh reusable coffee filter. Worked perfectly!!

Anyway, I scooped the curds into my mesh coffee filter.  I just clipped it to my pitcher. And once I was done scooping, I took a spoon and pressed the cheese on the sides to release more of the water. Add salt and stir.

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After that,  I put the cheese on a plate lined with paper coffee filters. I also placed some on top of the cheese as well.

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Next, take an additional plate and press it on the cheese.  I weighed it down with a large can of tomatoes.  Let it sit for 15 minutes to a full hour.  I let mine sit for 30 minutes.

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And then…….30 minutes later.

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It is amazing! This is the best cheese.  Right now I am just snacking on it with my family.  I would imagine that it would be great fried since there is really no melting to it.  But I can’t wait to try it with some curry dishes!!

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Try it out yourself! Let me know if you how it turned out and what you used it for!

Stay Crazy!!

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