Monday, March 24, 2014

Late - Family Friday

Since we went out of town to the in-laws I missed posting on Friday.  I had an idea I was going to get it posted Friday morning.  But then I failed at getting things packed on Thursday night and... no post until today.  Ah well.

So the kids made Leprechaun traps at a craft hour at a friend's toy store.  I was just looking for something fun for them to do but it left them with these expectations of a Leprechaun coming and getting trapped.  Especially my son.  He *REALLY* wanted to trap a Leprechaun and for the two weeks we had the trap before St. Patrick's Day he was obsessed with it, and constantly talking about catching his Leprechaun.  I told my husband "Dang, I just wanted to go do a fun craft, I really didn't intend to start a new holiday with them."

But somehow the Leprechaun used his magic to turn into a Lego after he got trapped.  This is the cutest thing, he even has little Lego "gold" that goes in his pot.

Girly's Leprechaun got away but a lucky 4 leaf clover necklace fell out of his pocket.  We are unsure if it was the same Leprechaun that fell for both traps or two different Leprechauns.  But the kids had a good time, and I was able to fulfill expectations for a reasonable cost ;)

Hubby and I were kind of torn on whether to "do" the holiday "myths".  We don't want to lie to our kids, but we wanted them to have fun and believe in magic.  In the end we wound up saying "Well, what do you believe?" whenever we were asked about things like Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc.  And didn't give definitive answers.  I don't go to great lengths to make my kids believe.

When girl child lost her first tooth she told us "I don't think the Tooth Fairy is real, I think it's just parents sneaking in with money.  That night we did put the two dollar coins under her pillow and when she woke up she was surprised and I asked her "So what do you think now?"  She said "Can we google it?"  And we did and I read her the wikipedia article that said it was a myth and she asked if she would still get money and I said sure and she was okay with that.  I told her she couldn't tell anyone because parents like to play pretend with their kids.  

I kind of expected her to figure out Santa Claus after she figured out the Tooth Fairy but she didn't.  One of the kids at her school told her he wasn't real.  She asked me, I said "Well, what do you think?"  And she said she thought he was real and she wanted to know what to tell him.  I told her to tell him that as long as a child believes in magic great things can happen.  I don't know how long she'll believe in magic, but I love her wide-eyed wonder while she does.

I sewed not one, but TWO projects this week!!  I was thrilled!!  Girl child's teacher is pregnant and will not be coming back to school after Spring Break.  I wanted to send her a baby gift early, in case her maternity leave needed to start sooner.  Girly went with me to pick all the fabrics and I zipped this out for her.

A minky blanket baked with leopard print, 3 burp cloths and three bibs.  Girl child saw that little lamb iron on and *HAD* to get it.  She was too funny.  Each of the bibs is double sided as well.  Minky is a pain in the rear to sew with, but it's so soft I love using it for baby gifts.  Girly just about died when she saw the gift.  I was glad she was so pleased, since she is a 14 year old in a 7 year old's body she can be my toughest customer. ;)

And I whipped out another baby gift.  One of my husband's cousins had a baby eight weeks ago.  And I kept saying, "Oh I've got to make a gift for the baby!!"  And then not doing it.  But since we were going to actually see them this weekend I had a fire under my butt to get it done.  Luckily the baby stuff is fairly easy to do.

Three more burp cloths, these are *THE* best burp cloths, they're so absorbent because they're made out of a cloth diaper and they're super wide, so even for the SPITTIEST of spitters they'll keep your shoulder clean.

And another minky backed blanket.  With robots and rocketships oh my!  This is the first thing I have ever done that even begins to approach "quilting".  I really want to learn how to do real quilting.  My sister-in-law and mother-in-law are both doing amazing quilts and I'm totally in awe of their skills.  If I can find even a fraction of that talent I'm going to be happy!

Up next?  Two more baby gifts!  LOL.  It's a mini-baby boom around me.  I'm so happy for everyone that's having babies.  Even though I have a little twinge of jealousy.  I would love another baby, but it's not at all in the cards for me.  But I do get to go snuggle and love on my friends' babies, which is great because then I still get 8 hours of sleep ;)

This is how I found my kid sleeping on Wednesday night.  Never a dull moment around here.  

Masto Monday - Start of Spring!

It's spring!!  I finally found a store with a decent spring themed table cloth.  Ditched the Valentine's cloth.  Pulled out the Peep's basket and filled it with plastic Easter eggs.  Which are tormenting my son.  He asks me daily if they have candy in them.  They do not. 

This was an easy-peasy dinner we did one night last week, kids had right, noodles, peas.  I ate potato, mushrooms, red pepper, onions, goat cheese (look I totally have complete control over my goat cheese consumption...)

I made these Trader Joe's gluten free brownies, because I made them without egg, they were vegan too.  (The chips are Enjoy Life)  These are show pre-baked.  Post baked they refused to come out and had to basically be chipped out.  Next time I will try lining the pan with parchment paper instead of just greasing the pan.

I had a crazy reaction on Tuesday night.  Which was either to the Brianna's salad dressing or it was to the Trader Joe's gluten free brownies.  I came out and told my husband "I am in anaphylaxis I'm going to go take all the antihistamines in my medicine cabinet.  I need a picture for my blog.  I'll hopefully live to see you in the morning."  Priorities.  Burned like crazy, and it wasn't even like my normal "emotional" flush or even food flush.  Complete GI distress.  Luckily the oral antihistamines ran it off at the pass.  I really, really do not want to run up any ER bills this year.

We went to the In-Laws this weekend, which meant packing up food.  I thought this was a better picture of my packed cooler.  But all you can see is my chocolate bars.  (Hey, a girl has to have chocolate, right?)  I have learned that you cannot just leave food to chance and hope for the best.  I packed my zucchini muffins, roasted red pepper and garlic falafel, rice milk, ranch dressing, tzatziki dressing, corn chex and gluten free vegan rice noodle bowl.  

In addition I have found these great boxed meals called Go Picnic  They are gluten free and soy free.  Instead of hitting fast food while driving I buy these for the whole family.  It's much easier than trying to find somewhere to prepare food, and they don't make me sick.  It wouldn't work for a long term food plan, but for a couple meals it's a great short term option for me.

One nice thing about visiting the in-laws is we get to hit Trader Joe's and stock up.  If you have one I'm jealous.  So tonight I got to make a flat bread "pizza" on Trader Joe's gluten free, vegan flat bread.  They're sold in the refrigerated section two for $1.99.  I used my cauliflower sauce, goat cheese and onion. (I really need to hit the store, so I was limited on topping options.)  So, so good.   

I did blow my diet at grandma's birthday party.  Had the best cupcakes ever.  Holy wow, my aunt can bake.  Chocolate with candied lavender and orange something.  I felt like I had died and gone to heaven.  And the cheat was *WORTH* it. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

So what'd we read this week?

Well I finally finished 12 Years a Slave, as did my husband.  Such an excellent book, I really strongly recommend it.  We are quite looking forward to watching the movie.  There was a scene that made me cry, which it takes a lot for a book to do that.  Really, if you haven't read it, pick up a copy and read it.

Started reading Darkly Dream Dexter by Jeff Lindsay.  It's a quick, easy read.  I started reading it because I have been watching the show.  Unlike with Pretty Little Liars reading the Dexter novel absolutely DOES interfere with watching the show.  I haven't finished the book because I got the chance to read... a novel that my friend wrote!  I will give more details about that, hopefully, next week. =)

Hubs read Dexter as well.  And I think he's taking his spring break off, I see him playing a LOT of World of Warcraft.  LOL.

Girl Child picked out 7 Rainbow Magic books at the library.  And I forced her to get James and the Giant Peach.  As expected, once she started reading it she loves it.  She's a stubborn child, but she has good taste.  ;)

We had parent teacher conferences yesterday.  Her child said that she's exceeding all academic expectations.  She's still having problems focusing, and will sometimes goof off and not do the work.  Which we have been struggling with her over all year.  But, as I said, she's a stubborn child.  There's just no convincing her to do a worksheet of simple spelling when she knows that stuff cold. When she does the work she does amazing work.

I posted about wanting to get her a spot in the STEM school.  Well, we did get the spot.  But last night her teacher told us that they are expanding the talented and gifted program to 1st and 2nd grade, and that she is recommending Girly to be tested for the 2nd grade program.  So we decided to do the testing, but now we don't know what to do.  If we give up our STEM spot then we aren't guaranteed a spot for Boy child for K, but he does have options for doing dual language for 1-5 and/or talented and gifted from 1st grade on.  Decisions are hard!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mast Cell Monday - The Topamax edition

I have no food pictures this week!  My phone memory card is full and I never remembered to make my husband show me how to download it to my computer, and here we are a week later, still full.  I did get my real camera back up and working though, so I should have better quality pictures from here on out! =)

Food wise this week, I didn't do a lot of meal planning or prep so for pretty much every meal I wound up having some combination of sauteed veggies and/or potato with or without goat cheese and maybe some of my vegan ranch.  I had food ennui, I need to find some new food ideas, but this week I was not feeling my best, because of changing my topamax dose, I guess.  We did have a really great salad one day last week, which I found an amazing salad dressing!   Brianna's Buttermilk ranch.  No soy!  It does have egg in it, but I can handle the occasional egg.  It tastes great, even my husband and kids liked it.  It doesn't have any weird texture issues.  It isn't even that expensive, I paid $3.50, and that was at the "upscale" grocery store.  I can fully recommend it!

Another discovery this week  Glee gum!  I quit drinking diet soda in November.  I have been a diet soda addict since I was a child (no, seriously).  And I remember one point in my life when my diet pretty much consisted of Diet Pepsi and Xenadrine (but darn was I skinny!).  But, I am a smart person and could not ignore all the research, aspartame is a neurotoxin!  And I'm super reactive to splenda.  So out the door with the diet soda.  I don't miss it, much.  But I couldn't find a chewing gum without aspartame in it.  Until I picked up Glee gum!  The classic Glee gum has cane sugar, the sugar free xylitol; I have done no research on xylitol and have no interest in getting hooked on another sugar substitute, so cane sugar works for me.)  It tastes great, doesn't get crumbly like a lot of gums does, and it really isn't that much more than "regular" gum if purchased on the website.  Great find!

So we upped my topamax dose.  I've been having more and more migraines, and I had one more bump up the topamax ladder to try before finding a new neurologist.  The first couple of days after bumping I had, what I refer to as, "bee hands".  It's like my hands (or feet, or face, I get it in all of those places) are full of bees and are buzzing non stop.  But it stopped quickly.  In the past when I've upped the dose of topamax the "bee hands" phenomena has lasted at least a week, so I was surprised by how quickly it ended.  But then this past Wednesday it started up again, along with facial numbness and numbness in my feet.  And I was just feeling super tired and run down.  Topamax carries the "use caution when driving or operating heavy machinery" warning so I chose to stay home most of the week and lay low.  I think that was a good choice as a couple of times I had some pretty serious vertigo attacks.  I think I'm finally on the upside of it now, but dang, I hate increasing medicine doses!  And I fear it's not helping much as I've had two migraines since upping it.

So Happy Paddy's Day!  Hope you enjoyed it with whatever you ate, I had grilled onions, peppers and mushrooms with some goat cheese.  (Seriously, I'm addicted to goat cheese, we may need to arrange an intervention with Jeff Van Vonderen

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Late post for Family Friday

By the time I was ready to sit down and blog last night I was so wiped out that all I could do was go to bed.  Such is life.

What were we up to this week?

We did a Build and Grow clinic at Lowe's last Saturday.  Built Hinged Birdhouses.  The kids are loving these clinics, we're lucky that we have Lowe's and Home Depot here so we're able to do clinics at both of the stores.

Boy child's on the left, Girl child's on the right.  We painted at home.

Today the parks and recreation department had a free children's workshop at a local park, which included a Home Depot building clinic.  Which was.... another bird house!  LOL  I'm sure we'll bust out the paints again tomorrow.  My kids love NOTHING better than painting.

The new bird house on the left, and the bank they built a couple weeks ago from Sherman and Peabody.

We have ballet on Tuesdays, daughter's class is first, from 4 to 5.  And then my son's class is from 4:45-5:30.  Usually I bring his tablet for him to play on during the 45 minute wait.  But two weeks ago he had an absolute melt down over having to put the tablet away and go into class.  So now we don't bring the tablet anymore.  Which has caused some grumpiness on his part.  But there's another little boy who is there at the same time waiting for his sister to get out of class.  So they have started playing together.  

I have signed Girl child up for softball, her second year.  And Boy child we signed up for t-ball, first year!  Which between those two sports and ballet I think I'll be living in my minivan until June.  Boy child is crazy excited to play t-ball. We've picked him up a bat, which is orange; since orange is his favorite color he couldn't be happier, I barely got him out of the sporting goods store without him kneecapping someone.  And I found a bat bag on clearance for $7.  Not necessary, but nice for me, I like having all of the stuff contained so I can just grab it and go.

Little guy and I normally go to story time at the library on Wednesday morning.  This week I was sick as a dog.  Fail.  So Thursday afternoon the kids and I headed over to the library to check out books.  I have been using the e-lending program, which is the most incredible invention ever.  But my kids burn through books like nobody's business. Girly is addicted to the Rainbow Magic Fairy books, she can read one in 40 minutes, which is insane.  The downside to this is getting her to try to read anything besides a Rainbow Magic book....  Thursday the library was having a raffle, any book that had been made into a TV show or movie got you a ticket for a raffle drawing for movie tickets.  I wanted Girly to check out James and the Giant Peach she was sure it would be boring, since it didn't have a fairy in it.  Every other book I've convinced her to read (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 101 Dalmations, etc, etc,) she has loved.  But she is still sure that if it isn't Rainbow Magic, it's going to be boring.  At 7 she channels a 14 year old so well.

Thursday night I went over to my mom's house and watched Hell's Kitchen with her.  For years we had a weekly tv night and would watch tv together.  When she was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago we got out of the habit while she was going through the surgery and chemo.  So I was so happy to get to spend an hour and half with her again.  Hell's Kitchen is one of our favorite shows <3 Chef Ramsay.  The new season looks like it's going to be great.

I didn't do anything crafty this week.  I've got baby stuff I've got to get started sewing on.  So many people are having babies!  I'm happy to sew for new little people, but a little overwhelmed by how many people are having babies right now.

So that was this week's non-masto stuff.  It was a busy week, I feel like I hardly had time to stop and breathe.  Next week Girly has all half days, due to conferences.  She's always bored during these types of weeks.  She loves school, so glad that she loves school!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What We Read This Week!

I know a lot of bloggers do "What I Wore" but seriously, no one cares about my nerdy t-shirts ;)  I decided to attempt to read 52 new books this year.  For the simple enjoyment of reading, to encourage my children to read, and to exercise my poor mast cell addled brain.

This week I am *STILL* plugging away on 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup.  I fully admit to picking this up on the kindle so that I could guilt-free watch the movie, and I wanted to watch the movie because it has Benedict Cumberbatch.  And I love him.

I've been reading it for 2 weeks, which is admittedly a pretty slow pace for me.  I haven't had time to sit and read for a long time. Good Reads tells me it's only 363 pages, which has me baffled because I feel like I've been reading forEVER.  But it's VERY good.

The story is told from the view point of Solomon a free black man from the North who is captured and sold into slavery in the South.  Because it was written in the 1900s it is very verbose but the way Solomon words things and the picture he paints of his time as a slave is moving.  I am so glad I chose to pick it up and read it.
The movie for  12 Years a Slave won some Oscars, I don't know all of them.  I loved this acceptance speech by Lupita Nyongo though


"It doesn't escape me for one moment, that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone elses'"  So perfect.  While it is hard to read or watch a movie about what slavery was like, it is important for us to remember.  Because slavery isn't over, but it has become easier for us in the first world to ignore.

Yup, gonna take this moment to talk about slavery.  I know a lot of people think that today's slavery is only child brides and sex trafficking.  It's not.  Obviously, if you have ever been a sex tourist you are contributing to that market and should seriously consider the effects of your actions.  But the reality is there are over 21 million people enslaved in the world.  And you and I buy cheap consumer goods every day that are made with slave labor.  I *LOVE* the Dollar Spot at Target.  But I've recently been very convicted about the fact that all of it is made in China and I have no way of know the sources.

I sat down this week with my husband and looked for fair trade sneakers.  Normally it would have been a quick trip over to Target to buy whatever was on sale.  And I admit I am not going to be able to change everything.  I need kid's cleats for both of my kids for softball and tball, as far as I can tell, they don't exist.  And if they did they would be prohibitively expensive for children's footwear.  I usually buy shoes for the kids secondhand so at least I'm not contributing to the demand for *new* shoes.  But I did see an adorable Hello Kitty bracelet offered on a deal website for $3.00, coming from China and made the choice not to buy it.  Same with an offer for a 4 leaf clover necklace for my daughter for St. Paddy's instead of buying something cheap from China I sought out an artisan on etsy.

For more info

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I meant to blog yesterday... but DST is dumb.

Daylight Savings Time is kicking our butts over here.  The kids aren't getting to bed until 9 pm, and they're convinced they should stay awake even later.  Girl child stayed up until... 10:30? reading by her night light last night.  She's figured out that if she turns on her lamp I catch her, so she sits next to the night light reading.  She's going to ruin her eye sight.

Monday morning Girly did NOT want to get up and go to school.  She begged me to stay home.  Yeah no way kid.  Get up and go to school.  Boy child was also exhausted.  And me and hubs felt like death.  I had insomnia the night before and just could *NOT* sleep.  Partly because Sunday had kicked my rear with a migraine and I had spent most of the day sleeping.  Schedule was messed up.

So I've decided that the new blogging schedule will go something like this.

Mast Cell Monday - This will include what I ate for the week.  Because that is interesting to people.  Also any ups and downs in the disease and medications.  I am in a pretty good holding pattern right now, so I just don't have anything to blog about 2 or 3 times a week.  If there's anything pressing for the rare disease community to get involved in, I will post about it the day it comes up as a separate blog as well as on Mast Cell Monday.

Wednesday - I'm going to post about what we've been reading this week.  Me and the kids.  #52in2014.

Friday - Family Friday.  Posting my mom stuff, as well as any sewing or crafty stuff I've accomplished that week.  If I can actually get in a good groove and start crafting on a regular basis I may move crafty stuff to Saturday.

So without further ado here's my first Mast Cell Monday

I have to fill my prescriptions at either the Walmart pharmacy or through CVS mail order.  Both are horrible.  Walmart did not charge my insurance for 9 months last year to the tune of $170 of extra charges to me. =/  But CVS is so bad my husband's work has assigned a full time HR person to deal with the complaints.  At least at Walmart when they're screwing me over I can go stand there and be a pain in the neck in person.

Walmart can't figure out Cromolyn Sodium.  Ever.  They always want to order me the name brand.  When it comes in I have to argue that yes, all 8 boxes in your stock are really for me.  And I often have to argue that yes, I really do need 8 boxes.  I went to pick up prescriptions on Friday and they did not have my levothyroxine, doxepine or cromolyn.  The doxepine and cromolyn were not surprising, since I'm the only person in the world that take them according to walmart.  The levothyroxine was weird.  The pharmacy tech told me they had never received my new prescription.  Even though it had been sent at the same time as all the other prescriptions they had gotten.  And when she went to order the cromolyn she told me that all of the manufacturers are out of it.  Hm...  I doubt this and suspect when I call around I will find some.  I am seriously considering going back to mail order.  Walmart, your pharmacies are so bad I'm considering going back to mail order!!

What I ate this week?!

Well, because we all got norovirus I blew my low histamine diet and ate chicken soup, sprite, saltines and gatorade for three days. =/  As well as ordering Texas Roadhouse one night.  Ugh.  My stomach is super unhappy that I did that.  But I was doing well before that.

Sorry for picture quality, I have a bad camera on my phone, and never remember to charge my camera battery!  Also, I still have my Valentine table linens on, and they're getting kind of crumby, don't judge me!

The family had homemade pizza while I had gluten free pizza with cauliflower sauce and goat cheese.  This was really good.  It was on an Udi's crust, which aren't that great and I'm going to seek out another crust recipe before attempting pizza again.


Family had grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup with roasted Brussels sprouts.  I had a stuffed bell pepper (Carrots, portobello mushroom, onion, green onion, goat cheese and garlic) and roasted brussels sprouts.  This bell pepper came out SO GOOD!  I was surprised at how tasty it was.  I just remember the other one is still in the fridge, I know what I'm having for lunch tomorrow!

Family had turkey burgers on onion buns with Alexa fries.  I had a faux cheesesteak made with portobello mushrooms, onions, soy-free vegenaise and goat cheese on an Udi's gluten free hamburger bun.  The Udi's gluten free hamburger buns are really the only Udi's products I think are worth buying.  I had Alexa fries with this as well, but took the picture before putting them on the plate.  Alexa fries are great, they're actually made with potato, no soy.  Something in a package I can eat?!  Heck yes!

I missed some pictures. =(  We also had pasta.  Family had cheese tortolini in white sauce, with salad and garlic bread.  I had corn pasta with cauliflower sauce.  Skipped the garlic bread but still had the salad just added some of my own vegan ranch made with the vegenaise.  The dinners where I feel like I'm eating something comprable to what my family is eating and don't feel like I'm getting cheated are the best!

They had gyros.  Lamb, pitas, onions, kalamata olives, feta cheese and tazatziki sauce.  Now, if I would have thought this through and gotten some fresh lamb from the store and found an acceptable pita substitute I would have tried this.  But since we used a precooked and packaged lamb I just didn't dare.  I did eat about 5 kalamata olives with my salad that I made and wound up needing to take an atarax.  But it was pretty worth it.  I love kalamata olives.

I almost always have Corn Chex with rice milk for breakfast.  If I'm feeling particularly ambitious I will make a fruit smoothie.  But I have to have a big day and be super well rested.  I am usually in zombie mode and go for the easiest thing available.

For lunch I will eat left overs (yes, I live dangerously).  Or I often make a batch of zucchini muffins and eat those through the week.  Or I will sautee up a big bowl of veggies or do a baked potato (or a combo of the two).

These zucchini muffins are made with rice cheese, but I made last weeks' with goat cheese and they were even better!

Big bowl of sauteed veggies with some goat cheese.  (Look, I have recently discovered I tolerate goat cheese, it's delicious)

Snack wise I eat fresh fruit, or I keep a box of Enjoy Life cookies on hand.  And if the grocery store has a sale on Enjoy Life chocolate bars I'll stock up.  Yesterday they had a sale, so today I got to have one of those (yum!)
This is how I spend my time at ballet, reading and eating allergen free chocolate. It's a hard life but someone has to do it.