"Enjoy the LITTLE THINGS in life for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sierra & Lyme's Disease: Part 1

This past Summer (2015) Sieera had a weird chin rash.  It looked like broken capillaries under her skin.  It lasted about 3 days and faded away.  It showed up again in the early Fall... And, again in November.  After a discussion with a friend who is a pediatric nurse about the rash we decided to take her into the doctor and request Lyme's Disease testing.  The rash had faded and was barely showing, so the doctor refused the testing stating that it was unnecessary for our area (South Texas).  In the last days of December the rash showed up, again.  It seems the rash was always making it's appearance over the weekend and was mostly faded away by Monday morning each time.  Knowing the doctor would not take it serious if it could not be seen I did not take her in.  Two weeks later another breakout showed up.  I took Sierra to the doctor that Monday (yes, another weekend breakout).  I was ready to completely put up a fight to get the testing done.  Fortunately, the doctor was perplexed and ready to get answers, also.  She ordered the Lyme's testing, a CBC, and decided to also do a blood coagulation test.   

I got a call stating that we needed to come back into the office on Friday for discussion of test results. Sierra's Lyme's Disease test came back positive for three of the markers for Lyme's and negative for twelve of the markers.  It was immediately decided that she needed to start a special antibiotic right away. The antibiotic would be taken twice a day for two full weeks.  We did this and brought her back in for follow up testing this past Friday, February 5th.  The hope is that the antibiotic will cure the Lyme's.  So, now we wait it out.  

Monday, February 8, 2016

THM, Me, and Greek Yogurt

So, going back in time a year ago I had this little list of new foods and products to try.  One of the items on that list was Greek yogurt.  I made my purchase and came home fully prepared to convince my taste buds to like it.  I tried... Really, I did... and then, I gave that container to a friend that likes Greek yogurt.  I tried it with sweetener and fruit.  I tried it as a substitute for sour cream.  I was just not feeling it.  It had to go.  I gave up.

I bought Oikos Triple Zero yogurts and those were hard for me to like.  If I squirted a bit of whipping cream in them I could tolerate them but I was far from being in love.  It was more of a back up plan item for me.  I kept a few on hand for moments when I needed something on the go.  

Time passed and I started to realize my taste buds were changing quite a bit.  I slowly stopped adding the whipped cream to my Triple Zero.  I still was not a super big fan of the Triple Zero but it was tolerable.  Before long I decided I was ready to make my own version of Triple Zero that way I could get rid of the chalky taste and possibly tinker with the stevia because I have a minor allergy after eating them.  By this time I had discovered that I like Truvia better than the other sweetener choices available.  I began to make parfaits out of Plain Greek Yogurt, Smuckers Simply Fruit jam or Polaner's All Fruit jam, and fresh strawberries and blueberries, and a Truvia packet.  I began to really like this and not only did it become one of my breakfast options it also became my dessert of choice especially when I added 1/3 of a diced up banana.  Often I top it with unsweetened toasted oats that I make.  As the blueberry and strawberry seasons ended I started dicing up 5 to 7 grapes in place of those and no longer adding the jams.  My summer and fall yogurts are different than my spring season yogurts.  The thing is... I like the Greek yogurt now.  Honestly, I don't always need the sweetener anymore. 

The point here is that it is a journey.  My taste buds had to adjust and my body had to detox.  If you try something that you don't like, give it a little while and try it , again. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Recipes for My Generations, 1, Ranch Style Beans & Rice, Variations

So, I was looking through my drafts folder and I found this unfinished, unpublished post from SIX YEARS AGO.  I am going to leave it alone mostly and make current day comments in purple. 

My nine year old daughter (Savannah... she is now FIFTEEN) told me the other day that I was going to have to write down my recipes, so she would know how to cook when she is grown! I am so thrilled that even at such a young age she asked me to do that! Thrilled really! And I know I have plenty of time, but I know how fast time is going to fly by (the years a truly flying by) and if I do not commit to this now she will leave home one day as I did barely knowing how to boil water.... well, I was able to do some baking, but I don't think it is wise to try to live off cakes and pies. ;)

I am going to begin using this blog to journal those recipes and hopefully my children and their children will use them and maybe they can find their way to the table in some of your homes, also. I grew up on homestyle southern cooking. You might see some of that here, but mostly I try to make it healthier in some ways. My own mother would faint at the thought! LOL!! Where she would cook green beans with slices of bacon in them, I will cook green beans with a drizzle of olive oil instead.... but I do confess that I love hers.  (Oh my word!  I am so happy to report that I have learned a lot since this and now know her bacon in the green beans is just as healthy as mine with olive oil.  Hallelujah!)  I cook beyond what I grew up on. I love Italian food and have a decent knowledge of cooking Mexican food from past job experience in a Mexican restaurant. I like simple quick cooking and I love to cook, but I do not want to spend my day in the kitchen when I have my hands full of children. What I don't cook are those little pretty meals... mine may be pretty sometimes, but I am talking about those gourmet meals that look like they are only for looking at. REAL food that real people eat is what I cook and I would love to say it is all healthy and all natural and perfect with no preservatives, etc.... one day it may be, but for now I am "just cooking" and little by little I try to find better ways or healthier ways and I implement them. (My cooking has really changed quite a bit.  I follow a very strict diet now.  I try to use only whole foods and focus on healthy.)  So, without further ado I am going to post the first recipe of this ongoing series.

I have picky children with "texture" and "visual" issues.... I have "texture" issues, too. They do grow out of this some, but not soon enough. This is one that my kids all like, BUT my five year old (Sierra) has to be blind-folded to eat.  (Not anymore... this is her favorite food!  Amazing how they change!  She is also ELEVEN now!!!) I am sharing this one/two recipe because it is SIMPLE and versatile. You can make it into one meal of a totally different with a simple change. WE do not eat this enough because of the "issues" some in the home have, but once you get them to taste it they love it. (We eat this ALL.THE.TIME now.)  I will include the first way and then below that the variation and some other ideas to make this meal morph into many others.

Ranch-Style Beans and Rice

1 lb. hamburger meat
1 can (FOUR cans now... gotta stretch the budget and beans have plenty of protein) of Ranch Style Beans (I actually by the Great Value Southern Ranch Beans now because they do not have all the high fructose corn syrup)
2 cups of rice (white of brown... we only eat brown rice now)

Put hamburger meat in a skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook hamburger meat and drain off excess fat. For added health you can rinse the meat to make it leaner.  Add Ranch Style Beans and 1/2 cup of water (1 cup of water or more if you are using 4 cans of beans). Cover and cook on a fast simmer until you see the bean in the mixture change to a darker color (5-10 minutes). (Seriously, I look at the color to know, but if you cook it for a while it is not necessary that you be aware of the color change.) Simply serve this over rice. 

Variations:   (taco seasoning.. I actually make my own now)
1- Add a packet of taco seasoning and you have the meat mixture for Taco Salad.
2- Add a packet of taco seasoning and you can pour this and refried beans over tortilla chips for Nachos.  Add lots of cheeses and stuff you like to change it up.  Cook in the oven on 350 degrees for several minutes.  Top with veggies and anything else you like.
3- Add a packet of taco seasoning and stuff it in tortillas and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for Burritos.  Add various types of cheeses inside and outside the burritos.  Drizzled some of the juiciness of the bean mixture over the burritos before baking sort of like a gravy. 
4- Add a packet of taco seasoning, a large can of diced tomatoes, half a bag or more of frozen corn (frozen just has a better flavor quality), more water and this becomes Taco Soup.  Serve with sour cream, cheeses, or whatever you like. 
5- Take the Taco Soup one above and pour it over tortilla chips and it is kind of like Frito Pie on Tortilla Chips.  This is one of Sahara's favorite things. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Jumping into Trim Healthy Mama

While I waited on my book to arrive I change my mind about twice a day.  One minute I was just going to read it and see what it had to say.  The next minute I was all in... And, then I would be saying there was no way.  This went on for two weeks as I waited on my shipment.  A couple of days before the book arrived I finally decided I HAD to stop the excuses and just do it.  I jumped in full force and clueless really.  I just started doing my best and making plenty of mistakes along the way.  I joined a local support group through FaceBook and I was totally on board.  I read that 600 page book in two weeks!  I was all in.  I did not do too many weird foods but I found a few tricks that worked for me and stayed focused on that.  My new motto became: Focus on what you CAN have and not what you CAN'T.  I scheduled my rare cheats and allowed that.  On days I felt deprived I let myself have something I thought I wanted and quickly realized it really was not that wonderful.  I got my sweet fix while detoxing by having an occasional squirt of whipped cream in my mouth or on a THM pancake.  Unless it was scheduled I mostly went off sweets for the first four months.  I had a hard time adjusting to stevia and other sweeteners so just avoiding sweets of all sorts worked best for me.  I dropped 4 pants sizes and 30 pounds in those first four months.  I went from a size 14 down to and 8... I am only 5'3" tall so honestly I am not done, yet.  After that point I began to struggle more.  I still stayed on plan most of the time and during the Summer I lost another 5-8 pounds or something like that, but I kept yo-yoing and just cold not get lower than that.  I was claiming a 35 pound loss.  This past Christmas I went on vacation and for the first time ate freely of any and everything.  I gained 10 pounds which was a bummer as I approached my one year Trimaversary.  That is no good but I have learned to fix the mistakes I make.  As soon as I was back from that vacation I jumped right back in and as I type this right now I have officially lost that vacation weight that I gained.  I am claiming a 32 pound weight loss at this time.  So, this summarizes my story.  Over time I will try to share some things that worked for me and some pictures. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Miscarriages, MTHFR, Food Changes, and Health

Sierra when first trying beans & rice many years ago.
She would only eat them blindfolded.
I forced her to try it and she said she could not
stand the way the beans looked.
Now, at eleven years old this is her favorite food.
~This is kind of how I felt at first about the food changes I needed to make.~

Through my journey of four miscarriages I was told I should have genetic testing after the third miscarriage.  I did and it turns out I have MTHFR... It's a gene.  I have TWO copies of the gene which means that I got the gene from EACH of my parents.  It is really complicated to explain but the short story is if you have MTHFR your body does not rid itself of toxins like it should.  Instead it stores up the toxins.  This becomes a problem with SYNTHETIC vitamins.  Synthetic vitamins are made in a lab are not the same as NATURAL vitamins.  The MTHFR person can not process these properly.  These synthetic vitamins are almost all food products.  If it says it is "enriched", that means it has these synthetic vitamins in it. 

Enriched... Now, there is an interesting word:

    Enriched        ENRICH'ED, pp. Made rich or wealthy; fertilized; supplied with that which is desirable, useful or ornamental.

That all sounds good... unless you are talking about the enriched flour, enriched pasta, enriched cereals, enriched crackers, enriched cookies, enriched puddings, enriched cake mix, enriched everything...   The problem is that most everything you buy has something enriched in it.  For the MTHFR person that means TOXINS.  This means the only safe thing to do is eliminate everything enriched. 

I started health journey with eliminating the "enriched" foods.  I seriously cried over wanting pretzels in the chip aisle.  I was giving up so much.  I really just wanted some pretzels to eat with a healthy dip.  It was hard to adjust to.  After the fourth miscarriage I felt like all I was doing to fix my body was in vain because I still lost another  baby.  I quickly started letting my health diminish.  That went on for a few months and then, I finally realized I had to make a change if I wanted to be around for my children.  I had gained 30 pounds from January 2014 through January 2015 (exactly one year).  This was not a pattern I could continue and expect to have good health.  I decided to order the Trim Healthy Mama book that I had heard so much about.  So, in mid-January 2015 I started Trim Healthy Mama.  I also continued my MTHFR dietary restrictions.  This was truly the beginning of my new health journey.  I will stop here for now... but I will not end there... I will update what I have done over the last year.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Life is Like a Dance

My oldest daughter says I should blog, again.  I really did not mean to stop but life is busy and things happen.  Not all things are good, so not all things inspire us to keep writing.  I guess in the midst of some rough times I just really did not feel like "talking".  It's time to talk, I suppose.  I know at one point I shared about my third miscarriage (this month is the two year anniversary of that miscarriage).  I started blogging again some time after that and after we had made the decision to move.  I shared some of the beginnings of our new life on our our SIX acres (so, I really need to update my blog cover page).  It was shortly after that I had my fourth miscarriage.  I really closed up in many ways... the blog was one of those.  That has been well over a year now.  I can hardly believe the time has passed.  In many ways I have healed emotionally but in many ways I am very broken.  It's like a dance of two steps forward, one step back.  I have realized that each miscarriage in my life has escalated panic attacks for me.  I can wake up like today thinking I am going to do big things... and then, the sense that "I can't" creeps in and I sit frozen in a panic attack.  I guess I no longer feel "capable".  I used to feel like I could do anything I set my mind to.  Now, I just don't feel like I can.  I have never really felt that way so I don't know how to fix it.  It is a day to day walk for me.  In many ways I have learned to move forward, but again it is like that dance... two steps forward and one back.  I have come so far but I have so far to go. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Muddin' Introduction

Long ago in a time far away in the most distant recesses of my mind there was a time when Cody and I used to get muddy on four wheelers.  It could be warm or cold. It simply did not matter.  If we had a chance, we would go muddin'.  That stopped when I was pregnant the first time and the doctor told me I should not be on a four wheeler while pregnant. Somehow with a baby we never got back into it since the four wheelers were my parents.  

Now that we live in the country my parents decided to give us one of their four wheelers since they don't use them much anymore.  Cody's parents had another that they gave us that has been sitting up unused for three years.  It would need a new battery and some tinkering with but it is working now, also!!! What a gift to receive!!! Of course, there have to be tight rules for safety for the kids on the four wheelers.  The first couple of weeks we really reinforced the importance of safety and taking it slow.  They are only allowed to ride in 2nd gear and take the curves extra slow, etc.. But those rules are for the kids.  You can imagine their surprised faces when we got behind the wheel!!! We showed them what it is all about!  

They were just starting to get a little mud in them in this picture, so they were smearing a little in each others faces.  

Sahara soon found out what mud was all about!  That WAS a white shirt!  

She really liked it afterall. 

Savannah and Sierra were all about to trying to "share" their mud with each other.  

Caden decided to just get IN the mud hole.  Yuk!  

That's pretty nasty really.  

Having fun! 

And. Then.... Daddy got a little bit of payback!!!