Monday, November 30, 2009

Behinder and Behinder

Well, I am finally feeling better but it has been a busy week so there is more to come but I am tired and need sleep.

Just so you know, I have stories of broken arms, flying, mice, and recipes - but no flying mice or recipes with mice. Thank goodness.

So more to come. . . .

Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie Montana

Sometimes you are able to find a book that instantly captures your interest and from the first page Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie Montana by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss had my interest.

The story is of Julia Cavanaugh, a young orphaned woman who travels west to Montana on an orphan train with her young charges. At the final stop, she finds out to her horror that the matron of the orphanage thought an arranged marriage to a prospector would be romantic. Stranded in Montana, Julia finds out where home really is.

I loved this book from first page to last and would highly recommend it to anyone. In fact, I am letting my mother read my copy (and I hope I get it back - hint, hint.)

About the Authors

Tricia Goyer is the author of several books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Montana. To find out more visit her website:

Ocieanna Fleiss is a published writer and has edited six of Tricia Goyer's historical novels. She lives with her husband and their four children in the Seattle area. Connect with Ocieanna on Facebook!

The authors, Tricia and Ocieanna, have put together one humdinger of a contest for this blog tour! Enter the Fall in Love With Lonesome Prairie Contest and WIN a perty Montana Gift Basket!  

To enter, simply fill out the entry form ( ), (then tell 5 or more friends about the contest)! The winner will be announced December 14th, just in time for an old-fashioned Montana Christmas. Giddy-up!

The Winner of our ‘Fall in Love with Lonesome Prairie’ giveaway will receive a fantastic Montana Gift Basket, including:
*Winter fleece throw
*Huckleberry chocolate bar
*Paula Dean candle
*Burt’s Bees gift set
*Wild Huckleberry taffy
*Montana stationary notebook
*Montana greeting card set
*Montana ball cap
*Montana apron
*Montana refrigerator magnet
*Charlie Russell 2010 Montana Calendar

This book was provided for review by the Litfuse Publicity Group. These thoughts and opinions are mine. If I hated the book, I would have said so, and certainly not lent it to my mother.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


It has been a very, very long week at our house and I haven't really spent very much time online. So I am sorry about the lack of posting, somethings I was asked not to post about yet (but will), others I just haven't gotten around to yet.

My lump was a lymph node. I don't know why I have a swollen, hard lymph node that has been that way for over a year but that is what it is.

The Dentist office from hell (Here and Here and Here) has responded to my complaint from the BBB with a letter "I will write off the $250 since that is what you requested. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas."

No apology or anything although I didn't really expect one since I know they don't think they have done anything wrong.

I suppose there may also be some legal reason. Like if they had said "I am sorry that we treated your family so badly" then I would have some form of proof if I decided to sue. Whatever. At least it is over.

I went to a new doctor on Thursday, I was feeling ok but I am tired of these headaches and tired of being sick and my current/previous doc didn't want to take the time to figure out what was wrong. So I am going to this new doctor and I tell her that I really think I need to go back on the gluten-free diet - although I didn't really do "gluten-free" more like "low-gluten". Also because of Junior's milk difficulties, might as well make it gluten-free, dairy-free.

I did the low-gluten thing for about 6 months, from last Thanksgiving until June. I felt much better at first but then closer towards June, I wasn't feeling as well and then went on the large family vaca where gluten-free was nearly impossible. While we were gone I didn't have a headache (I also drank like a fish which I normally don't do). So I decided that since I didn't have a headache while I was gone and ate whatever I wanted, it couldn't be the gluten.

But the headaches are back and I have been sick almost constantly since June. If I have to bee of gluten to be healthy then I guess that is what I need to do. I am hoping that I won't become one of those people that get very sick if they accidently ingest a tiny bit of gluten, but maybe it will help me stay gluten free.

Anyway, the Doc agreed with me, and then added some more things to avoid if I want to get rid of the headaches/migraines.
  • Cheeses (but I am doing dairy free so that is included)
  • red wine, beer (well, beer has gluten so that makes sense; red wine has tannins)
  • red dyes
  • red wine vinegar (since it is made from red wine that makes sense)
  • some fermented food (like soy sauce, but most soy sauce is made with wheat anyway)
  • MSG
  • caffeine (this one is a problem)
  • artificial sweeteners (as a family, we avoid the artificial sweeteners. It has caused me problems before but that is another post)
  • chocolate (ack- food of life! I don't know if I can do this)
  • "Natural Flavors" - ok this one was always concerning to me anyway. What are the natural flavors they are so afraid of telling us what it is?
  • Plus the wheat, rye and barley that contain gluten

Almost as bad, I have to keep a food diary. So if I cheat, I either have to write it down or lie.

And all this right before Thanksgiving. blech.

On the other hand, just to reinforce all this, I had one of my worst migraines in years (like over 10) on Saturday. I spent all day in bed until Hubby got home and could take me to the urgent care center.

It might have been viral or bacterial because poor Junior had one too. His head hurt so bad that he cried and then took a 2 hour nap with an ice pack. He couldn't watch tv because the light and sound bothered him. Luckily the ibuprophen and ice pack worked for him.

As for me, I had to do things the hard way. I took an Imitrex at 6 am but the headache only mildly eased off at 10 am (but hurt to bad to get up and take more medicine). At 2 I took some cafergot when I got Junior an ice pack (and me another) and made us both some tea (for the caffeine I am not supposed to have). At 4:30 Hubby got home and took us to the dr - Junior felt mostly better but I was still praying for death.

The Doctor suggested a shot of Imitrex and compazine - I thought she meant 1 shot but I didn't really care too much. It was 2. I have mentioned before that I don't like needles - that is only when I don't have a headache. When I do have a headache, I am all for being a pin cushion if it gets rid of the pain. Which this time I nearly was.

15 minutes later, my head still hadn't improved so she mentioned that I could get Toradol intravenously. I thought about the eww/ouch factor of the IV push and decided to get rid of the headache.

So the nurse looks at my veins and goes for one in my hand. It doesn't work. She tries again in the hand. It doesn't work. Tries near the elbow and it doesn't work. And this doesn't count all the times she thought she was going to try one and then decided that it wouldn't work there. I nearly had a bath in rubbing alcohol.

So she calls someone else in, he says "I am going to get this on the first try." He was wrong. He got it on the second try. In the process though he bumped against sosmething (tendon or nerve) and it was like an electical jolt went from my elbow to my thumb. It was very weird.

The toradol, while not making me loopy, did get rid of the headache. Finally. All of a sudden my stomach reminded me that I hadn't eaten all day.

And after watching that, Junior will never again get another migraine.

Actually the kids found it all very informative:
"Why to you thump the shot like that?"
"What is that red stuff?"
"Why did you put blood in the shot?" - since I can't watch, I didn't know that happened but apparently they draw back on the plunger to be sure it is in the right spot.

And now, gluten-free seems to be the lesser of two evils.

And if you read this whole thing, you deserve an award.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I was giving a ride to a friend's 6 year old son with my own 6 year old in the car (Daisy was with the friend) and I heard this conversation:

E: Do you do Halloween?

Junior very, very puzzled: What?

E: Do you do Halloween?

Junior very, very puzzled: Huh?

Me: Yes E, we do Halloween.

E with a gasp of horror: Oh Halloweens very bad!

Junior still very, very puzzled: Why?!

E still horrified: All that candy can make you sick!


I should explain that our Halloween candy will last for months. We are mean parents who don't allow them to gorge themselves on candy and rarely buy candy bars at the store. They get a peice of candy after lunch and after dinner - which sounds like a lot if you are talking regular bars, but these are the "fun size" candies.

And yes we do Halloween - not the evil or scary stuff though. Daisy was Dorothy from Wizard of Oz and Junior was Darth Vader - ok, I suppose Darth Vader could be classified as evil if you are a Jedi. But I am not a Jedi nor do I know any.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Would you like some whine with that?

Ok, I don't like posting poor-pitiful-me posts but I feel like something the cat wouldn't bother to drag in. I am so tired of being sick.

Three weeks ago, I had a particularly vicious cold which left behind it's dear friends, sinus congestion and chest congestion.

While I was putting on some Mentholatum on my chest, I found a lump. Since I had my yearly appointment in a week, I mentioned it there hoping my Dr would say "It's no big deal, it is just a swollen lymph node." Instead she sent me to have a mammogram "just in case."

So I had to wait a week until I could get an appointment for that, had it done on Thursday and still don't know the results. Just so you know ('cause I didn't) it is much easier for you to stay at the same location for your mammograms. If you don't, they have to send the old films before they will read the new ones. And it takes them awhile. I could have walked from one location to the other several times before my films finally got sent.

Then while all the lump thing was going on, I got sicker. I came home from church last Sunday, curled up on the couch in flannel pajamas under a blanket and shivered. Hubby told me to take some ibuprofen and then an hour later I had soaked the pjs with sweat and was thinking of moving to a nudist colony.

Monday and Tuesday was pretty much a repeat of Sunday, but Tuesday evening I went to the doctor. He said either it was flu with a false negative, some other virus, or an early bacterial infection. He gave me an antibiotic but I think he was really thinking it was unnecessary because he kept telling me I didn't have to fill it right away. Since I was pretty sure a sinus infection was at least part of it (my teeth hurt in the way they only do with a sinus infection) I promptly filled it.

The day after the first 2 pill dose I felt human again. No fever, no chills, no sweats. It was wonderful.

The next day I felt pretty good.

The next day I was tired and had a bit of a head ache. And took a 3 hour nap.

The next day my teeth hurt again, headache all day, and another nap and I took the last antibiotic.

My thinking is, the antibiotic kicked the bacteria pretty badly the first day where it was a 2 pill dose but isn't strong enough in the single pill doses to do anything.  So now I have a call into the doctor office (minor emergency clinic so it is open on Sundays) and hopefully they will call me in something stronger. That doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

And hopefully tomorrow I will find out news about the mammogram.

And that is the end of my whining.

The end.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Food! Glorious Food!

Both of my kids love participating in the 4-H County Food and Nutrition contest. Junior is considered a "Clover Kid" and so he isn't really judged - he gets asked questions but his ability to answer isn't scored.

Daisy has to go into another room with three adult judges and then gets judged and ranked.

Her first year she won first place for applesauce bread, last year I don't remember how she placed with her baked apple.

This year she won first place again! She made Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta which is so perfect in the fall.

She is supposed to know things like how many calories per serving, what are the primary nutrients you get from the dish, how you prepared it, what you could substitute and could it be made healthier. The judges don't taste the food - or they aren't supposed to, there was a food poisoning incident several years ago - but they do look at how it looks and smells.
Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 pounds uncooked chicken breast, cut into 1 inch peices
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
3 1/4 cups chicken broth
12 ounces pasta
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for just a minute. Add the cubed chicken and cook through. Add squash, rosemary and saute for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer until the squash is tender and the liquid is reduced by about half, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often. Drain pasta.
Toss the pasta and squash mixture in a large bowl until the liquid thickens slightly and coats the pasta. Transfer the pasta mixture to a wide shallow bowl and serve.

Junior's dish was Baked Cheese and Pasta - well Macaroni and Cheese but he didn't do macaroni noodles.

His dish has been more challanging for me just because of various problems. The first time he made it, I forgot we were doubleing the recipe when we added the cheese. So it only had half of the neccesary cheese. It was good, just not cheesey.

When we were making it for the contest I planned on us making it the night before and then baking it the day of. So right before bed, we are in the kitchen and trying to make it. I had gotten a block of cheese because I needed sharp cheese and it was cheaper more economical and was going to use the food processor. It broke. So we are scrambling around looking for the cheese grater - Daisy didn't even really know what it was - so that 12 ounces of cheese could be grated. And I had to make the bread crumbs to go on the top because I don't know where bread crumbs are since they rearranged the store (and I was too tired to ask).

Luckily it all turned out well.

Baked pasta and Cheese
1/2 pound pasta in desired shape 3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon paprika 1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper 1 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes.
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My first time

Well, I filed my first complaint ever with the Better Business Bureau.

I don't like doing that. I am not that kind of a person. I am the kind of person who gets mad, complains to family and then carries out a one person boycott.

I didn't complain about the dr who possibly caused my pregnancies to be high risk.

I didn't complain about the anesthesiologist that bullied me into using the type of local that he wanted to use for my surgery (spinal vs epidural). I didn't even complain after the spinal didn't go well.

But I did complain about the dental office that tortured my child and then called me a bad mother.

Oh! And now they are saying that they don't restrain children because they don't want it to be a bad experience. So I should be glad that they didn't make it more traumatic than it was. Hmmm, maybe I should have slapped the office manager and then said "Well, at least I didn't hit you as many times as I could have."

And they are now saying that the wait a year plan is something they would never do because of course insurance wouldn't pay.

And that possibly some of the money owed is because insurance only paid half of what they promised to pay for Junior's work. So I am not sure if they really know what the amount owed is for.

In any case, I have now sent a complaint to the BBB and will hopefully hear something sooner rather than later. I am also going to send a complaint to the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners and I think there is one other place I can complain to. As of right now, I don't want to post a negative review on every dental and local review site.

Really I just want this whole thing to go away and to never have to deal with that office again - on the other hand, the idea of paying them anymore money is repugnant.

Either way, the ball is about to be back in their court.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pots for Snot

Since I have been going through a vicious cold, I thought I would let you know about neti pots.

Never heard of them?

Not surprising, they are a well kept secret. Of course most people don't want to talk about snot and "nasal irrigation" because . . . EWWWWWW.

But that is what I am going to do because it has made me feel so much better.

I have 2 neti pots, both of them purchased by me at Walgreens (just cause I knew they had them). My first neti-pot was made by SinuCleanse and looks kind-of like the ones on their website but mine seems to be an earlier model - mine is a few years old. We call it the gravy boat. Yep, I know that is incredibly gross but it does look like a plastic gravy boat. It came with a little plastic spoon to stir the salt mixture with, but I promptly lost it.

You know the feeling of getting water up your nose as a kid? It is somewhat like that, not quite as bad UNLESS you try to forgo the salt mixture. If you try and skip the salt mixture, the pain will be incredible. With the salt mix, it is somewhat uncomfortable but it does really help.

So why did I get another one? I got the NasaFlo Neti Pot because it said it wouldn't hurt. And it doesn't. Not at all. This one looks more like a little blue teapot but it functions in pretty much the same way and the other one. The part that goes in the nose is also a little more comfortable because it isn't inserted like the SinuCleanse. It does have to be dried open, you can't clean it and then close it up so there is a potential to lose the lid.

I think the difference in solutions is that the NasaFlo uses isotonic instead of hypertonic solutions - basically (if I understand this right) the hypertonic is stronger, saltier while the isotonic is balanced to be painless.

If you are wanting to do the hypertonic solution, I would suggest the SinuCleanse neti pot. Otherwise I would suggest the NasaFlo - which does have a hypertonic salt mixture avalable (or you can use 2 regular packets).

I have read that daily "nasal irrigation" can help prevent the cold and flu - it washes the virus away before it has a chance to get bad - so it is something you may really want to try.

I was not paid for my opinion nor was my opinion requested by either company, I just wanted to give a comparison that I did on my own. I purchased all the items and received no form of compensation.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Brandi Carlile - Giving up the Ghost

One2One Network gave me the opportunity to listen to the new Brandi Carlile Album - Giving Up the Ghost. If you are not familiar with this artist, this is her third album and her music has been categorized as pop, rock, indie, folk, and alternative country (which I have never heard of). Her music has been featured on Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice.

As for this album, I have really been enjoying it. There is a wide variety of songs but they do fit nicely together. Brandi Carlile's voice has an amazing range and the music does seem to showcase it nicely.

The song Caroline features Elton John and seems to have some of his piano playing whimsy. Another song, That Year talks about the suicide of a friend while they were in high school - but isn't maudlin or overly depressing.

The albums tracklist:
Looking Out
Dying Day
Pride And Joy
That Year
Before It Breaks
I Will
If There Was No You
Touching The Ground
Oh Dear

Brandi Carlile is an artist you will want to check out.

I received a download of the album free for review but have received no other form of compensation or gain from this review. I receive no compensation for any purchase or download of the album or any songs. These are all my own opinions and thoughts of the album.