Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wedding plans and family drama

Ok, so we are in the final week before the wedding... why is it there is ALWAYS someone who has to create drama?

All we want is to enjoy this week - are we asking for to much?  We just want the Bride and Groom to have smiles on their faces and to actually look forward to the rehearsal, wedding, reception and after party...
PLEASE help me understand...  I need to create a No Drama Zone!

Let me just give some general information....
We sat down and discussed what needed to be done in the next few days... we discussed items that needed to be purchased, who was buying what, who was working on things like the program layout and the slide show...
Sounds good, right?

Within mere hours of this discussion - we found those we had this discussion with buying items I was supposed to purchase (ok, I don't care but TELL ME so I don't buy the item also!!)
Had text message drama about the slide show, where the one who was originally going to do it but said they could not do it is suddenly all upset saying they have spent 6 hours (really??) creating the slide show because those we JUST had the discussion with told them they HAD to do it...  while no mention of this person working on the slide show at all during our discussion.
So, with all that - we had a sit down meeting about COMMUNICATION!  More drama, blaming the Bride, blaming the Groom - REALLY??

So, we have all that squared away - right.... well, so we thought.  Now we start the morning with more tears - people feeling that one family is being slighted, the after party (which is for the wedding party and especially for those who have traveled a great distance for this event) is more focused on the brides family than the grooms family... <sigh> really???

Why is it so difficult?  WHO is this wedding for/about anyway??

All I want is a happy bride and groom....   I may be dreaming.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ok, so here is the story of the CT Angiogram.  Nothing super dramatic, so prepare to be bored!

I was told to arrive 30 minutes early to complete paperwork, I arrived and had to scan a sheet to be sure my name, DOB, etc... was correct.  I had to sign a paper... and, that was it!  That was the paperwork I had to arrive 30 minutes early to complete, crazy!  
Anyway, after completing the extensive paperwork, we were sent to the waiting area - 45 minutes later.... thinking they must have forgotten me, my hubby goes back to the counter to check and, "Oh, she is next!" 

So they walk me back and ask me a million questions that are totally irrelevant, I get to change into a really sweet backless gown with sleeves that snap all the way up to the neck.  I am asked my name, DOB, etc... again - confirming my identity (I could be someone else in disguise)... and my "latex" allergy - I am allergic to the adhesives, but they don't listen!

The technician explains the procedure, "We will be using an intravenous contrast material, you will feel a pin prick when the needle is inserted into your vein. You may have a warm, flushed sensation during the injection of the contrast materials and a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for a few minutes. Some patients experience a sensation like they have wet their pants, you haven't and the sensation will go away."  

The CT Scanner looks kind of like a big donut - no really!  You lie on a narrow examination table that slides into and out of the hole of the donut. The computer workstation that processes the imaging information is located in a separate control room, where the technologist operates the scanner and monitors your examination.

They taped my feet together.  I had to lay on my back for so long, I actually dozed off!  hee hee - I only realized and woke up because I had to have both my arms up over my head and they started to slip down. 

First they did the scan without the contrast material then an automatic injection pump connected to the IV released the contrast material at a controlled rate. I did feel a very warm, ok HOT, sensation as the solution went through my body - and yes I did kinda feel like I had wet my pants!  During the scan I had to hold your breath. Any motion, whether breathing or body movements, can lead to "artifacts" on the images. This is similar to the blurring seen on a photograph taken of a moving object.

Following the exam, they removed the intravenous catheter and bandaged the needle puncture site.  Guess what, I now have a nice rash from the adhesive!

It really didn't take long and the rash will be gone in a day or two.

So, are you still awake?  I told you it was boring!  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Catching up....

Long neglected, not forgotten!  
I am not much of a writer, I guess you can tell!  I *think* about writing, but it is much harder to stop and actually put those thoughts down "on paper".

Many things are and have been happening, the major ones: 
1. My daughter is getting married!
2. I have been diagnosed with erythromelalgia (

I plan, in days to come, to share pictures of preparation for the wedding and then actual wedding pictures!

Today, I am focusing on the second item, not because it is more important - but because I have a medical test TODAY.  My Dr. has requested a CT angiogram, which is scheduled for this afternoon.  The idea is to get a look at the blood vessels in my legs to be sure I don't have any blockage that is contributing to the problem with my feet.  Right now my feet are the effect area, although I have started to have early signs in my hands.

A CT angiogram is a diagnostic test that uses X-rays and an injected dye to produce 3-dimensional images of the blood vessels and surrounding tissues. The test does not require entering the body (it is noninvasive). 

During a CT scan, a beam of X-rays is sent towards your body in a 360-degree circle. Detectors pick up the X-rays after they have passed through your body, creating digital images of thin "slices" of your body. A computer assembles these slices into a complete 3-dimensional picture of the arteries and surrounding tissues. A special iodine-based contrast dye is injected into your bloodstream to highlight the arteries, which do not appear on a normal X-ray.

CT angiogram image

Picture of a CT scanner
I will lie face up on a table. An intravenous (IV) line will be inserted, which is used to inject the contrast dye used during the test. 
The test will begin and the table will move rapidly through the scanner as the machine takes a picture of different "slices" of my body. The technician will probably ask me to hold my breath for 10 to 20 seconds at certain times, since even the motion of breathing can interfere with getting the best images.
This is what I am preparing to go through, I am a little nervous, but nor afraid.  I plan to write about the experience in the near future.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Summer is coming - Grill 101

Grilling 101

What you need to know:

Not all grills are created equal. Always read your owner's manual for specific guidelines and cleaning instructions. Most are available online at the grill manufacturer’s website or check here.

Clean after each use. No matter what type of grill you have, routine post-use cleaning is THE key to maintaining it. A clean grill work better, lasts longer and won't make your food taste bad (from past food particles and/or excess smoke caused by buildup). This is especially true for cooking grates, which, if left dirty, can harbor bacteria that could contaminate food.

Keep it hot. The BEST time to clean a grill is right after food is removed, because the cooler you allow your grill to get, the more time you're giving stuck-on food and grease to harden. Heat makes it easier to remove food particles, so get at it while it’s hot.

Use protection. After each use, place a grill cover over your cleaned, cooled grill, and if possible, store in a sheltered area. This is especially important during the off season to help prevent mechanical failures, rusting and dirt buildup.

Keep up appearances. After each use, remove dirt and grease from the outside of your grill with an all purpose cleaner or degreaser. If unsure about the finish on your grill, spot-test in an inconspicuous area first. If you notice rust spots or areas where the paint is coming off, use grill-safe paint (available at hardware stores) for exterior touch-ups.

Cleaning your grill:

If you start to think of you grill like they do your stove-top, there will be fewer problems and your grill will not wear out as quickly. Think of it this way, after you cook something on the stove you generally have to wipe up the spills. Of course, I could just be a messy cook, but I can't seem to cook without having to at least wipe down the surface. Every now and then I clean more thoroughly. This includes moving everything out of the way and wiping around and under the burners. Well, your grill should be treated the same way! Every time you use it, clean it and give it an occasional deep cleaning.
Ok, now more specifically.

Cooking grates: Clean them after each use and again lightly before using again. 
Here's a quick and easy way:

Step 1: If your grill has cooled, close the top (if you have one) and turn up the heat for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Step 2: Use the back end of a stiff wire brush to scrape off cooked-on remains.
Step 3: Use the brush side to remove all remaining particles and grease.
Step 4: Put out the flame and allow grill to cool slightly.
Step 5: Coat grates with cooking spray or a paper towel dipped in oil to prevent future buildup.

Charcoal grills. 
One of the great things about charcoal grills is that you clean out the ashes after every use. Though generally low maintenance, ashes make charcoal grills more inclined to rust, so always remove them.  Keeping a good wire brush handy to sweep out the cooked on remains will make additional cleaning jobs much easier. And don't think that because you have one of those grills with the ash catchers that you don't have to do any cleaning. Everything you cook on requires cleaning. So every time you use your charcoal grill, clean the grate and brush out the ashes and cooked on foods. This will cut down on excess smoke and bad flavors. Periodically, maybe at the end of season, get in there and really scrape out all that stuff that just seems to develop on the bottom of your grill. A thorough preseason cleaning will extend the life of your grill, get out a bucket of soapy water and give it a really good clean. 
Remove each detachable piece, and clean individual parts with warm, soapy water and a wire brush. Let cooking grates soak for 15 to 30 minutes before scrubbing. Heat grill completely (for 15 minutes or so) to burn off any remaining soap residue before using. If you need to touch up the color get a can of grill safe paint. Just ask someone at the hardware store and they will know exactly what it is. If you do this, your grill will last for many years and produce great results.
Propane or gas grills. These grills sometimes have a misleading “clean” knob or a “self-clean” setting, but these settings will burn off only some stuck-on food. If your grill does have a setting like this, use it to preheat before cleaning grates.

To keep gas grills running through the years, do a complete preseason cleaning and checkup. First d
isconnect the gas, lift out grill parts layer by layer until you reach the burner. Soak cooking grates in warm, soapy water for 15 to 30 minutes. Scrub with a wire brush and rinse clean. If your grill has a metal flame shield above the burner (below grates), scrub with your wire brush and warm, soapy water. But if this barrier is made of lava rocks or ceramic briquettes, brush gently using a soft cloth. Inspect burners carefully and thoroughly, making sure there's nothing blocking the flow of gas. Use a wet sponge to gently clean any blockages. (If damage is too severe, the burners may need to be replaced.) Check gas fittings for leaks, cracks or blockages; consult your manual. Clean the inside of the grill thoroughly with warm, soapy water and a wire brush. Allow to dry thoroughly before reassembling. Before use, heat grill completely to burn off any soap residue.
The Emergency Deep Clean. To remove baked-on food or grease, tightly wrap cooking grates (covering them entirely) with heavy-duty aluminum foil–shiny side out–and place on a heated grill for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on severity. Let the grates cool; then unwrap the foil. If that doesn't do the trick completely, follow up with a wire brush and warm, soapy water. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Stadium Jerky - Kentucky Derby Contest

This is an amazing contest:

FIRST PRIZE: The person who correctly selects the horses to WIN, PLACE and SHOW will win two tickets to an MLB game in their city.  If more than one person correctly guesses the outcome of the race, we will randomly select one winner. 
Jerky Prize Packs will be sent to ten contestants who correctly guess WIN and PLACE.  If more than 10 contestants guess correctly, we will randomly select the 10 winners. (no boxing, horses must finish where you select them).

Click here to jump to the Stadium Jerky FaceBook page.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Soda Stream Give-a-way...

My daughter is engaged!  Even though the wedding isn't until Sept. we have been busy as bees around here.  Last night we were discussing some of the things she and her fiance', David, want to register for as gifts.
Today I run across this great give-a-way and it just happens to be one of the things they would like to have!!
So, I would LOVE to win and give them this wonderful gift - here is the review and info on the give-a-way:

Sodastream Review & Sweepstake!

Best Blogger Tips
It's certainly a smarter way to drink soda! 
We don't drink as much soda because is just not healthy but when we do (once in a while)  it has to be with lots and lots of ice. When I found out about SodaStream earth friendly soda maker, I couldn't wait to try it out! I received a SodaStream Genesis Startet Kit to review it and I LOVED IT! It was very easy to USE with very clear instructions. On a couple of steps and it was all set up and ready to use.
The Genesis Starter Kit includes a 12 flavor sample pack, the soda maker and carbonator. The carbonator has a life of about 150 cans; that is amazing right?! To create your own soda with the sodastream; all you need is fill with tap water, FIZZ it, POUR the flavor on the carbonated water and VIOLA!  At first, when we weren't sure how much pressure to use the carbonator but once you hear a loud BUZZ you stop and you repeat two more times. We tried root beer soda and green tea soda and oh my gosh.. it was delicious!! So bubbly, fizzy and fresh! In a very short time you will have your own fresh, delicious soda! See my love dovey's face? He was amazed, loved the taste and so did I. We can't wait to try out all the flavors we received and we will keep you updated with our thoughts on how they taste and maybe some cocktail recipes using sodastream.

We still have to try the other flavors but I'm SO SURE we are going to love them all and why not add a lil vodka?! The carbonator makes about 150 cans of sodas and to exchange for a new one is about $45. Soda flavors range from $4.99 - $9.99; that is not bad for what you will be saving! SodaStream has more than 50 flavors to chose from YOU MUST TRY OUT! No more bottles to throw away or carry and store heavy cases of can sodas! I just LOVE SodaStream because its very EARTH FRIENDLY! What do you love about SodaStream?
- Earth Friendly
- No Electricity or Batteries needed
- No more plastic bottles to throw away
- Super Light/Slim to store away.
- Tap Water 
- Saves money
- Healthier 
- Hazardous Material (Carbonator)

 The Genesis Soda Maker is $99.95 and are available at thousands of locations in the US. Check to find your nearest location to buy a sodastream!

Sodastream has generously offered my readers a chance to win your own sodastream RTV $99.95. It includes the following:
Fountain Jet – winner’s choice of color (black/silver, red/silver or white)
-  1 carbonating bottle, reusable for up to 3 years
-  Reusable carbonator to fizz up to 60L of soda
-  Variety 6-pack of popular sample-size flavors
-  3 full-sized flavors of the winner’s choice

FOR THOSE THAT EARNED EXTRA ENTRIES on the TEASER POST. Bear with me, I will add your extra entries shortly! Please no cheating, all entries will be verified! Thanks!
Disclosure: This is a “review and sweepstake” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. This is written by me and no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, January 20, 2012

How would you use Chalkboard Paint...

I have had several ideas for using Chalkboard Paint, but due to the cost I have not tried any of them.  So, if it were affordable, how would you use Chalkboard Paint?
Here are a few ideas:
Pantry doors
Old tray into Menu board / Plant pots
Place mats
Chalkboard Scented Candlepot
Candle holders

chalkboard tees 4 wm
So, I found online that you can make your own Chalkboard Paint!!
 I haven’t tried it yet... but I want to try it soon!
Homemade Chalkboard Paint
1 Cup of latex house paint or acrylic craft paint
1 Tbsp. of non-sanded tile grout
Mix paint and grout together making sure all lumps are out. Use a roller (a roller will give you a smoother finish) or brush paint on wall or object where you want a chalkboard.  Paint 2 coats for best coverage. After it’s dry use a fine sandpaper and lightly sand to make smooth.
Please note that you may need to do other prep work, like priming, depending on the object you are painting.
By the way, look in the marked down section at your local hardware store for broken open non-sanded tile grout packages. If will be cheaper than buying a new package. 
Don’t forget, those acrylic craft paints come in thousands of colors so you could make some really cool and colorful chalkboards!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

On Fire for Handmade - Featured Artisan - Zur Designs

This Week's Featured Artisan is Deb Hall - Zur Designs! Deb not only is a dedicated artisan she also is
dedicated to helping promote her fellow artisans  She has a group on Facebook and team on Etsy called
Indie Junction! You can find Zur Designs on:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On Fire for Handmade - Featured Artisan - Curiosity's Piqued

Featured Artisan

This week's Featured Artisan is Lori Guenter - Curiosity's Piqued. Unique crocheted goodies!
You can find Curiosity's Piqued on:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gluten Free - Kinnikinnick

I enjoy entering a few contests, give-a-ways, etc... not all the time, but every now and then...

So recently I found out that Kinnikinnick Foods  was having an "Exclusive Preview" through their Facebook page, so I entered and I was selected!!

Today, my package arrived and I wanted to share it with all of you!

This is what I saw when I opened the box...

Kinnikinnick Soft White Bread
Kinnikinnick Soft Multigrain Bread
Kinnikinnick Soft Hamburger Buns
Kinnikinnick Soft Hot Dog Buns
There is a letter enclosed that explains that these are new products that will be officially launched with newly designed packaging in February & March of 2012.  
These new products: 
* Don't require toasting
* Remain soft after freezing
* Regular thickness slice
*Full size bread loaves
* Can remain unfrozen on counter for 5-7 days

Kinnikinnick Soft Hot Dog Buns

Kinnikinnick Soft Hamburger Buns

Kinnikinnick Soft Multigrain Bread

Kinnikinnick Soft White Bread

They included the following data:
  • Over 5g fiber per serving
  • Zero Cholesterol
  • 1g or less sugar per serving
  • Fortified with 5 essential nutrients
  • Lower in sodium than our existing bread products and many other bread products on the market (even non-gluten free breads)
I will write more after I have the chance to try each of them and let you know how they do - they are all nestled in my freezer right now!

To learn more about Kinnikinnick Foods check the following:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Green Spring Give-a-Way!

Making your own cleaning solutions using just a few basic ingredients is super easy, inexpensive, and much healthier for your home and for the environment. Commercial cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin, burn the eyes, and sting your lungs. Once the scrubbing is done, these toxic products are washed down the drain, poisoning the water, land, and wildlife we cherish. Plus, all of the extra packaging ends up destined for the recycling bin…or the landfill.
These awesome recipes will make that transition from store bought to homemade super easy! I’ve been using them for a few years now and can’t imagine going back. They will replace those conventional cleaning products in your cupboard for good!

Super Surface Spray• 16 oz. spray bottle
• 14 oz. – 1:1 solution of distilled white vinegar and water
• 7 drops of tea tree essential oil• 7 drops of lavender essential oil• 7 drops of lemon essential oil
Use this aromatic and disinfecting solution for cleaning kitchen counters, cabinets, refrigerator shelves, blinds, painted wood surfaces, painted walls, molding, fan blades, and more.

Herby Soft Scrub 
• 12 oz glass jar with lid
• 1/2 cup baking soda
• 1/2 cup castille soap
• 15 drops of antimicrobial essential oils like rosemary and sage
Mix well until you have a nice consistency like cake frosting. If you have leftovers, add 1 tsp vegetable glycerin to keep the blend nice and moist.

Antibacterial Soap Spray 
• 16 oz spray bottle
• 14 oz. water or rosemary hydrosol
• 3 tbsp castille soap• 15 drops of tea tree essential oil• 15 drops of oregano essential oil
Use this cleaning spray to disinfect your bathroom surfaces. You can use the Super Surface Spray to rinse away any residue left behind by the castille soap.

Refreshing Linen Spray
• 16 oz. spray bottle
• 3 oz. unflavored vodka
• 12 drops lavender, ylang ylang, peppermint, orange or your favorite smelling essential oil
• 12 oz. organic hydrosol of your choice
Spray to refresh your mattress, pillows, bed linens, couches, and fabric covered chairs, or spritz clean winter blankets before storing for the year. Also makes a wonderful ironing spray!

Natural Lemon Furniture Polish
• 16 oz spray bottle
• 1 cup olive oil
• 25 drops pure lemon essential oil
• 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
• fill remainder of the bottle with purified water
Shake well before each use. Spray onto your rag or directly onto furniture. Buff dry immediately.

Tropical Carpet Deodorizer
• 1 cup of baking soda
• 10 drops of lemongrass essential oil  per cup
• 10 drops of sweet orange essential oil per cup
• 10 drops of ginger essential oil  per cup
Mix together and sprinkle the aromatic blend onto your carpet, let sit for 30 minutes, and vacuum as normal. Wonderful mattress deodorizer, too!

Lemony Wood Floor Mop Formula
• 20 oz. spray bottle
• 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
• 1 tsp. vegetable glycerin
• 20 drops lemon essential oil
• Water
Spray, mop as usual, and quickly buff dry to protect your floors. They will be glossy and clean with a lovely lemon scent!

Mop-It-Up Formula
• small glass bottle
• 1/4 cup castille soap• 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
• 20 drops of tea tree essential oil• 20 drops of sweet orange essential oil
This is the perfect liquid cleaner for tile floors, vinyl, or linoleum.  Mix the solution with 2 gallons of hot water and mop away the dirt and grime.

This week’s prize will allow you to formulate all of these natural cleansers throughout the spring and well beyond! We’re also throwing in a copy of Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier so you’ll have even more herbal cleaning recipes for everything from the grill, to silver rings, wicker chairs, and your computer keyboard!

Here’s this week’s BIG prize...

Go to the blog to Enter