Full Blown Spring

Hey folks.  There's no question about it, we're in full blown spring down here in Georgia.

By the way, spring is NOT my favorite season.  It is, in fact, runner up for last place (eff you summer...I hate you).

Spring for most of the rest of the country means the last little bit of snow melting away (or maybe even the last snow storm of the season), daily high temperatures finally raising into the 60's, trees beginning to get their green leaves, grass beginning to come out of it's dormancy, and the first sprouting of new flowers (followed by bees...so many bees).

But here in the south, spring looks a little different.  It didn't snow at all this year, so there's no snow to melt.  The temperature has already been fluctuating for a month and this week we're "blessed" with temperatures up in the 80's (though it's still 45 in the morning).  The trees have not only gotten their green leaves, but have already nearly finished blooming.  The flowers have been growing since February (because southern flowers are dumb and think winter is the best time for blooming).  I've already missed my window for spring planting because now it's too damn hot to start new flowers.  The grass has been growing like crazy for a few weeks already.  The bees and wasps are out in full strength and are starting to make their homes in such horrible places as our bird house that is MEANT FOR THE DAMN BIRDS (not you, you stupid paper wasp)! The rain...so much rain (the number 2 reason why I hate spring so much...I'm not meant for the rain...I melt). And, to top it all off, there is a generous coating of yellow dust covering the whole city (probably the whole state....the whole regional maybe) like a blanket of death.  Pine pollen...blech!

With all the above "springtime niceties" comes my damn allergies.  Thank you, Georgia, for making me allergic to pretty much everything in the environment.  Lived in Wisconsin, no allergies.  Moved to GA, allergies every season of the year (just one more reason to add to the WHY I WANT TO MOVE BACK HOME list).

I can't breathe because my lungs are full of dust that turns into a nasty gooey mess.  I can't breathe because my nose is full of pollen boogers (grossed out yet?).  My face hurts because my sinuses are full of pollen.  My throat is in a perpetual state of scratchy because it's coated with pollen.  My eyes are extra itchy and watering like crazy because all the pollen in them feels like grains of sand floating around every time my eyes move.  The piece de resistance:  2...TWO...cold sores at the same time.

Some people get cold sores when they have a cold. Not me, no, that would be silly.  I get cold sores for one of three reasons:  1-I'm under a lot stress, 2-I'm coming out from being under a lot of stress, 3-PINE POLLEN.  One day outside with bare lips (because I accidentally left my chapstick at home when we went to the mud bog) and I woke up this morning with two cold sores.  Yesterday they were chapped and I was lathering on my favorite sweet mint EOS lip balm like it was going out of style, and sadly it was all for naught.

I made it through 5 months of cancer hell with the most stress I've ever had in my entire life and never once got a cold sore.  One week into pollen season, and I've got two.

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!  We're going to Florida this weekend for Passover.  Oh, a vacation?  Time for cold sores!

(On a side note, after having spent a little over a week reducing my gluten intake, I can now see the veins in my feet again, see my ankles, and I can move my feet without them being in excruciating pain.  It would appear that gluten was, in fact, the cause of my extreme swelling.  I intend to maintain a reduced-gluten lifestyle from here on out.  I can't cut it completely out, that's just ludicrous!)

This, my friends, is why I hate spring nearly as much as I hate summer.

*Sneezes* Ach, I feel it... Damn the south and all of this pollen crap.


Fab Friday FUNNY Five

I'm not gonna lie...I was laying in bed last night looking at Pinterest and Dave asked what I was doing..."Looking at Pinterest because I have no idea what to use as a theme for tomorrow's FFF post."

So there you have it: today's post was spur of the moment and not premeditated at all 
(shut up, I don't care that you think I'm lazy).

First, an itty bitty update on Dave:  He mentioned the other day that it was almost time for a haircut.  And FYI, it's been 14 weeks since the end of his last chemo treatment and his skin still smells like nasty nasty chemo.  According to a cancer caregiver support group I belong to on Facebook, his skin might smell like chemo for another 3 months.  Gross.

So today's FFF is five of the things that I've pinned to my "Just Awesome" board on Pinterest that made me laugh today (well I thought they were funny anyway) .  Enjoy :) 

>> SPOILER ALERT:  It's actually more than five...I couldn't pick just five! <<

((I apologize in advance if anybody get's offended by the language...there's something for you at the end))

Hungry hungry hippo! HAHA!

Whoever invented marriage was creepy as hell. Like, hey you, I love you so much, I'm gonna get the government involved so you can't leave.


Can you handle the hotness?


I never thought about this... LMAO!


And if you got offended...this one is just for you!  I won't censor myself to please others.
Fact. ;)

 I hope you smiled at least once!

Have a great weekend, folks! 
Maybe it'll rain so much that all the pine pollen will be magically washed away and won't get all up in my sinuses!


Convos with my Kid

It's been about a month since I last shared with you the wisdom that falls out of my child's mouth, so it must be time to have another installment of CONVOS WITH MY KID!

A Lesson on Anatomy
A:  I didn't like that meatball.
M:  Which one?
A:  The one I already ate.
M:  Oh.
A:  You can't see it, it's in my body.

A Lesson on Sugar
A:  Grandma, what are you doing?
G:  I'm checking my blood.
A:  Checking your blood?  For what?
G:  To see how much sugar I have in my blood.
A:  Sugar?  Are you checking to see how fat you are?
**The Bearenstain Bears taught us in "Too Much Junk Food" that too many sugary sweets are unhealthy and make us gain weight like the cubs and Papa Bear...so it's only fair that if we have sugar in our blood, we are unhealthy and gaining weight.**

A Lesson on Singing
G:  Let's all sing "Happy Birthday" to Papa!
A:  OK!
*everybody starts singing*
A:  No!  I'm not gonna sing!!

A Lesson on Swimming
M:  Aria, grandma signed you up for swimming lessons!
A:  She did?!!! YAY!  I can't wait!
M:  So you're going to brave, right?
A:  Oh yes mommy.  But do they have a kiddie pool?
M:  Well no, you can't learn how to swim in water that only comes to your knees.
A:  But mommy, who's going to hold me hand?
M:  You'll be holding onto the wall, not somebody's hand.  You're going to be alright.
A:  OK.  We have to bring my towel and my swimsuit and my floaties and my turtle and my water shoes and we have to buy a face mask and some flippers so I can swim VERY fast.

A Lesson on Cars
A:  Mommy, do you know what kind of car I want when I'm older?  I want a really really really really really really really really really big car and a really really really really really really really really fast car.
M:  OK honey, we'll see.
A:  Mommy, I like this car.  Can this be my car when I'm older?
M:  Well dear, probably not.  It's going to be at least 12 years before you're driving and I don't think I'm going to still have this car in 12 years.
A:  Well mommy, you can get a new car and then you can save this one for me and then I can have it when I'm older.
A:  *under her breath* This is going to be MY car!

A Lesson on Shows
A:  Mommy, what are you doing?
M:  I'm going through the DVR and deleting the shows we don't watch anymore.
A:  But mommy, don't delete that show I watched yesterday!!
M:  Um....which show honey?
A:  The doctor one!
M:  Oh!  You liked that show?
A:  Oh yes, I did!
A:  But mommy, do you know what's better than people doctor shows?
M:  What?
A:  ANIMAL doctor shows!
**Aria has taken a strong liking to medical shows.  She LOVES to watch Grey's Anatomy with us and has a million and one questions about the medical procedures they're doing.  In fact, she points out that we can't watch the next episode without her because she wants to see what's going to happen.  She also loves to watch Night Shift, but hasn't asked any questions yet.  She also watches The Incredible Dr. Pol with my mom and loves that, too.  Maybe she'll be a doctor one day :) **

Yes. I absolutely did know that. Actually, I'm surprised that number is not higher.



This book was fabulous and I totally recommend it!

At first, I wasn't quite sure...in fact, I even took a break a couple chapters in.  BUT...so glad I stuck with it!  It was suspenseful and the whole time you're listening to the story trying to figure out who exactly did what...which memories are real and which are imagined...where was this character and when?

To sum it up (without spoiling it):  A woman takes the same train every day in and out of London.  She is, by the way, a flat out drunk.  A woman goes missing and the woman on the train realizes that she has seen this woman before.  A long string events ensues that is clouded and blurred by drunken memories of "THAT Saturday night" and it all comes to a head by the end.  It's brilliant and I loved it!

The ONLY thing I didn't like was that two of the characters were left with their stories unfinished, at least in my opinion.  When I finish a book, I like to see all my loose ends tied in a nice lovely bow...and these two loose ends are still floating out there, leaving me to wonder whatever became of them.  Oh well...I've got a pretty good imagination!

If you read Gone Girl and loved it, give this one a try!  It's in a similar category!

Happy reading!

**The next book I'll be listening to is DON'T LET ME GO by Catherine Ryan Hyde**


Fab Friday Five - DIY edition

Alright folks...it's been an interesting week around these parts!  The weather has made me want to do things outside (like the days when it was 84°) and also things inside (like yesterday when it was rainy and only 50°).  So it's really got me thinking about some projects I'd like to attempt...or see others attempt anyway.  Here are some fun DIY projects that have caught my eye lately (and can all be done in a weekend).

DIY Pressed Flower iPhone case >> directions here
So many times I'm looking at cases for my phone and I'm never quite satisfied.  I can find some that I like, but none that really scream "LOOK AT ME!"  But look at this lovely case...it's so fresh (even though the flowers are definitely dead) and light looking.  And you could do it with any other kind of phone that has a purchasable white case.  It uses dried flowers (either store bought or press your own), glue, and epoxy.  The directions are straightforward and easy to follow, making this project totally doable!.

directions >> here
This is one of those super easy things that is entirely functional and will look great!  Aria has a TON of artwork  I could put up somewhere, but I have no where to hang them.  BUT...if we made this gallery wall with these picture frames + clothespins, we could hang everything up and she could change out the pictures when she's ready.  Buy frames (any size, any color, any shape), dismantle the hardware included and remove glass, prime and paint (if you want), add eye hooks to the back, thread mini clothespins onto string (of any kind), and attach to wall.  Because the clothespins are threaded onto the string, they can move freely to accommodate any size art.  This is such a great idea!

Don't mind storage above the toilet but prefer something like this than one of those cabinets.
Chunky shelves >> directions here
Our downstairs bathroom is TINY and the layout only allows for decoration to be placed on one wall:  the wall behind the toilet.  I don't just want to hang a picture there, but I don't want one of those over-the-toilet cabinets, either.  These shelves, though...they'd be wonderful!  I could paint them the same white as the wood trim in our house and put some things on them, like a vase of flowers, a painting, and some other things that I could change out whenever I wanted.  I think these would be great...and it only uses wood, screws, a drill, and wood glue.  And of course the standard wood-working rule:  measure twice, cut once!

Address Number Wall Planter DIY
Address Number Wall Planter >> directions here
As a new homeowner (yes, I've been in my house for 2 years, but I still feel like I'm new at it), this one is WAAAY out of my comfort zone for DIY.  It involves such things as a miter saw and something called "pocket holes" which look like a great way to drill a hole diagonally through your just-cut board and have to start all over because, as it turns out, you weren't supposed to go all the way through.  Also, I don't think I have anywhere on my house to put this (not to mention, how the hell do you attach this, or anything for that matter, to a brick wall?!)  BUT....I love this, (though I might paint the wood a nice bright color and then seal it so it won't fade so much...just to look a little more artsy).  Anyway...if you attempt this one, good luck!! 

Wooden Headboard, complete with shelves >> directions here
I HATE our current headboard.  I mean, absolutely HATE it.  First of all, it wasn't the one we picked out.  The people at the store ordered us the wrong one.  Even though it was wrong, we decided it wasn't worth the hassle to try to return, so we just stuck with it.  Second of all, it has cutouts, so you can't lean up against it without propping 3 pillows behind you, and even then it feels goofy because the pillows start to fall through the cutouts.  It's ridiculous.  I've always dreamed of a nice, comfy, padded headboard that I can rest on without being uncomfortable, and I know there are plenty of DIY instructions for those, too...but I just love this one, with the attached lights and built in shelves.  I would, however, do it a little differently and have it going all the way to the floor with more shelves.  And of course whatever frame we found for the bed would need to be good and high, that's a must! If I had my plans laid out and measured, I could have Home Depot cut all the wood for me in the sizes that I need and then I would just have to worry about staining and assembling.  I'd have to use a drill...but that's OK, I'm sure I can figure it out! (Or...my darling husband could get on the ball with this and help me out!)

I hope you have a productive (yet relaxing) weekend!


Gluten---to Eat, or Not to Eat

**I blame Aria for this entire post, by the way.**

Four years ago, when I was nearing the end of my second trimester in my pregnancy, my feet and ankles started to swell.  And I don't just mean swell...I mean big fat puffy loaves of bread kind of swelling.  I could squeeze my foot and leave finger indentations that would stay for several minutes.  It was that bad.  Everybody kept telling me that it was a perfectly normal thing to have swollen feet during pregnancy and that they would go back to normal shortly after Aria was born.  I believed them.  Oops!

My feet, ankles, and lower legs have been swollen ever since.  It does not matter what the weather is doing.  It does not matter what kind of shoes I wear.  It does not matter if I've been at work all day or if I've been lounging on the couch all day.  They swell.  Sometimes they're not swollen...but only about one day a week (two if I'm lucky).

I've gotten several suggestions over the years as to what could be causing my swelling:
1.  Need different shoes >> tried that, didn't work
2.  You're not drinking enough water >> water is pretty much all that I drink (except for milk)
3.  Your blood pressure is too high >> I regular donate and my blood pressure is damn near perfect every time (so is my pulse)
4.  Your cholesterol is high >> I had a fasting lipid profile done last year and my levels were all WELL within the normal range
5.  You eat too much salt >> first I drink enough water to flush out all my salt.  Second, I don't eat NEARLY as much salt as I used to when I was living on fast food and ramen noodles.
6.  You're overweight >> What?!!  I had no idea!!!
7.  You've sprained your foot >> perhaps for a little maybe, but both feet...for four years straight?
8.  You have gout >> this is a possibility as it runs (rampant) in the family, though uncommon in women
9.  I have no idea why

So numbers 1-7 aren't really a possibility (aside from #6).  I've looked into #8 (not with a doctor yet).  My grandpa, dad, and brother have gout.  Gout is characterized by an excess level of uric acid built up around the toe joints, specifically the big toe.  Swelling is normally localized to toe joint areas and should only spread a little way up the foot.  Gout outbreaks are normally brought on by eating certain kinds of foods that are high in purines (such as seafood and animal organs).  Gout is most common in men and is quite rare in women, though not impossible.
---MY swelling, however, is from the tips of my toes all the way to my mid-calf (on both feet).  It is not more or less in any one area.  It doesn't matter if I eat salad all day or fast food, I'm still swollen.  In fact, I can wake up in the morning already swollen and it hurts to even put my feet on the floor upon getting out of bed.  Aria has a doctor appointment in April and I will check with the doctor (we have the same doctor) if she recommends testing for gout, just to be sure.

Something else I've been thinking of lately, however, is gluten.  Now, I'm not at all one of those people to buy into the whole "Gluten = poison" mentality.  I do not believe that all of these people are all of a sudden allergic to gluten.  I think it's a crock.  BUT...I've been reading up on gluten and it's effects on the body, and I've learned a few things.

First, what is gluten?  Simply put, gluten is the protein found in wheat and other wheat-like grains, such as barley, rye, and oats.  Gluten is probably in about 3/4 of the things you regularly eat (I can estimate this because I spent my entire grocery shopping trip reading the ingredients list of everything I picked up yesterday).  If it has wheat in it, it's got gluten.  So most cereals, bread, pasta, oatmeal, sauces with a thickening agent, anything with flour such as cookies and cakes, and a million other things.

not my image
Most people don't have a problem with gluten.  The body does what it's supposed to and nobody even cares about the gluten factor as they're eating.  But for some others, it can be quite a challenge.

There a few different things than can go on in your body with gluten.  First is a gluten allergy.  This is when you're actually allergic to the gluten.  Your body responds much in the same way as if you were allergic to any other kind of food...you have an allergic reaction (ranging from moderate to severe).  Next is Celiac disease.  This is when your body absolutely cannot process gluten and it makes you super sick when you eat it.  Lastly is gluten sensitivity.  This is when your body can handle gluten, but not in large amounts.  It can process it, but struggles a little.  Lets talk a little more about this one!

Gluten sensitivity...still sounds like a load of crap.  But, in reading about it, it's quite a common thing.  It's kind of like being lactose intolerant.  People who are lactose intolerant can drink milk and eat ice cream, but it's going to make them have tummy troubles later that day and into the next day.  They know it's going to give them tummy troubles, but they eat the ice cream anyway.  Gluten sensitivity is the same thing, but with a different outcome.  Gluten sensitivity tends to cause...drumroll please...extreme swelling in the extremities (along with other things such as bloating, feeling of fullness, and fatigue).  There's a lot of research all over online about the swelling involved with gluten sensitivity.

Why am I 30 and just now starting to have this problem?  Duh, because you're getting old!! Just kidding!  Actually, a gluten sensitivity is triggered by a life event:  stress, injury, viral illness, and.....pregnancy.  (Now do you understand why I blame Aria for this?!)

So...as I start to look back at everything I eat...I eat a lot of gluten.  No, scratch that...I eat a TON of gluten!  I buy whole wheat bread, eat lots of bagels, eat lots and lots and lots of pasta, I enjoy a pastry in the morning from the bread store next to  work, and eat a bunch of cereal and oatmeal.  All of those things are made of nothing but wheat.  So much wheat.

So this weekend, when I make my menu for next week, I'm going to make it as gluten-free as I can.  I want to see if my swelling will decrease if I decrease the amount of gluten I eat.

If I try this and it really does reduce my swelling, then I'll know that I should strive for less gluten.  I'm never going to cut out all gluten...mostly because I can't afford it.  I found gluten-free pasta at Kroger (for only $1 more than regular pasta). I've seen gluten-free bread and bagels, but they're like $6 for a half loaf (yikes).  And I did find a box of gluten-free all purpose "flour" for about $5 if I really feel like baking something.  My current grocery bill for my 3-person family is about $120/week.  If I had to switch to buying only the organic, gluten free options, my bill would double or triple...especially if I had to start doing all my shopping at Whole Foods.  There's no way I can afford that!

So maybe it'll just be that I should expect to swell if I decide to bake a cake.  And that's OK.  At this point, I really just want to find out WHY I'm always swollen.  It hurts and I'm done with it!

In the meantime, I really need one of these leg support cushions!  Putting my feet up at home hurts my knees (because they're ridiculous and hyper-extended) ... but this is contoured to the shape of a leg and wouldn't aggravate my knees at all!
The Pain Relieving Contoured Leg Support - Hammacher Schlemmer    I would seriously use this all of the time.
Hammacher Schlemmer Contoured Leg Support >> buy it here

(FYI:  Dinner tonight is a scrumptious skillet sausage pasta alfredo...made with turkey sausage, GF pasta, whipping cream, and tons of parmesan cheese...mmm )
Smoked Sausage Alfredo The robust taste of Smoked Sausage is perfectly blended into a pasta of heavy cream, Cajun seasoning, and Parmesan cheese in this hearty 15-minute twist on a classic dish. Start...



I'm sorry that I haven't posted anything all week.  I meant to, really...but, oh well!

Who doesn't LOVE breakfast?!  I just love breakfast...especially cereal and bagels!  I even have an entire Pinterest board devoted to nothing but breakfast.  I'm not a big fan of heavy breakfasts that have been cooked in a lot of grease that leave you feeling like you need a nap afterwards...so no Waffle House for me, please!  But I do love a nice small stack of pancakes with some eggs... or something of the hash or breakfast sausage variety.  And of course, I could eat cereal all day, every day.  It has two of my favorite things:  milk + cereal.  What a great pair!  So here's some items for you to whip up for breakfast this weekend!  Enjoy :)

Kielbasa, Pepper, Onion and Potato Hash - sub sweet potatoes and it's paleo!
Kielbasa, pepper, and onion potato hash >> recipe here

Look at those beautiful colors!  I've read a lot of places (and heard on NUMEROUS cooking shows) that we eat with our eyes first.  I fully believe that.  I just love food that looks like it's going to be delicious.  And for me, in order to look delicious, it's got to be beautiful in nature...the color, the cuts, the garnish...just stunning.  This pan, for sure, meets those standards!  It's sausage (you could use turkey sausage or chicken sausage for a healthier option), potatoes (or sweet potatoes if you prefer), bell peppers, and onions all cut up into little bite-sized pieces.  Then it's all sauteed up in some oil (coconut oil if you're looking for a healthy, non-greasy feel) and then devour.  MMM!
**Fun fact:  coconut oil is a solid--not a liquid like most other oils, has no flavor, and has no smell.  So cooking with it will NOT make your food taste like coconut**

Apple-Pomegranate Breakfast Crisp (Grain and Gluten-Free!) -- www.PerrysPlate.com
Apple Pomegranate Breakfast Bake >> recipe here
Another colorful one!  I know it's not pomegranate season anymore, so you might need to save this one for next winter, but look at this!  It's like apple strudel with pomegranate!  I've fallen in love with the pomegranate flavor, and actually bought one, but then I got too chicken to try to open it and ended up throwing it out when it got soft.  But oh man, this looks super tasty!

Cheese blintzes with blueberry sauce
recipe >> here
So I just know that Dave is scrolling through this post and is probably spitting milk out of his mouth from his cereal right this second as he's seeing this bad boy.  Here's the thing:  I don't like change, and I especially don't like change when it is involving a plan that I've made and I have no control over the change.  I make a Christmas morning breakfast (of course I've only done it twice now, but that's besides the point).  For the first time, Dave's family was able to come up for Christmas this year for the first time to celebrate with us...and that was very exciting for us, especially Aria.  Dave really (REAAAAALLY) wanted his mom to bring blintzes (basically, it's a filled crepe).  At first, I was excited to try them...he kept talking about cheese filled ones, and blueberry and cheese filled ones, and I thought they sounded tasty.  But as Christmas got closer, I got overwhelmed and decided that I didn't want these blintzes at my house for Christmas breakfast.  It was really stupid, in fact...I was upset, first, that my menu was changing, but I was most upset that it was Christmas and blintzes were Jewish food and had no place on Christmas morning.  Like I said...stupid.  I'm not even religious, yet I was pitching a fit over what was and was not acceptable cuisine to be served on baby Jesus' birthday! Anywho....Dave's mom brought a TON of these things (not enough blueberry and cheese, I might add) and they were DELISH!  Of course, her's were a little different from this picture in that the blueberries were mixed in with the cheese inside the blintz as opposed to be being a sauce served on top.  And naturally, when I decide to muster the courage to make these, I'll use his mom's recipe (a family recipe) instead of the one listed here....but, it's true, these little suckers taste PHENOMENAL and I secretly can't wait until I get in the mood to fry up the few packages she left in the freezer for us!

Strawberry Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes - Creme de la Crumb
Strawberry Lemon Poppyseed pancakes >> recipe here
Another beauty.  I don't like lemon, but I do like lemon poppy seed muffins...and I feel like these pancakes are going to be that, but in pancake form.  They look so light and fresh, not like a regular heavy pancake.  And I do LOVE strawberry syrup on my pancakes.  The only thing I would do differently, I think I would leave the strawberries out of the batter and just put them on top.  And I wouldn't use strawberry syrup...I would just use the juice from the strawberries that have been covered in sugar (and I mean COVERED).  This looks like a lovely spring breakfast!

Raspberry Jam Overnight Oats >> recipe here
A couple of years ago my dear friend Cherie (check her out over at Waiting on Wildflowers) posted a recipe for overnight oats to her blog.  I don't remember what her exact ingredients were, but it made me take a moment to look up some other overnight oats recipes and to really learn more about them.  Let me tell you:  if you love oatmeal, you'll love overnight oats!  There are a TON of recipes out there for all different kinds of flavor combinations.  The one above I have not tried yet, but it does look scrumptious!  Here's what you do:  In a sealable container (mason jar, tupperware, fancy bowl with lid, whatever), combine your ingredients before you go to bed and stick them in the fridge.  In the morning, pull them out, open the lid, and eat.  This is a cold oatmeal...so no need to heat it up!  All you need is oats (I like to use Quaker old fashion rolled oats...steel cut oats have a weird texture to me that I don't care for), a lot or a little of milk...whichever your preference (I like about 1/2 C. whole milk because I'm from the dairyland, but you can use almond milk or soy or goat or whatever), some tasty things to mix in (my favorite is a generous helping of peanut butter, a whole sliced banana, and chocolate chips), some extra healthy things if you want (like chia seeds and ground flax seeds for an added boost of iron or a scoop of protein powder), and possibly sweetener like honey or agave if you used an unsweetened milk.  You don't have to stir them up in the container before refrigerating (but you can if you want).  It's super easy to whip up at night and EXTRA easy to snatch out of the fridge in the morning and take with you to work.  Just get a spoon, pop the top, and enjoy :)

Enjoy your breakfast and have a great weekend y'all!


Fab Friday Five - ORGANIZATION edition

Sorry this is a few days late...but guess what?  I don't care :)

First, an update on Dave!  He came home from work on Tuesday feeling like absolute poop.  He was tired, had body aches, and had tummy troubles.  He was miserable and went to bed early.  He took Wednesday off work to recuperate and spent most of the day on the couch.  When I got home from work, he was looking pretty pitiful.  He hadn't eaten much of anything all day.  His temperature was up to 100.2.  Now, during chemo, a fever over 100.4 (or so) meant that his white counts were too low and he was at risk for being neutropenic and needed to go to the ER right away.  BUT, neither of us bothered to ask how long AFTER chemo did we need to worry about that.  So when his fever got up to 101.2 in less than an hour, we decided to head down to the ER at the VA just to be on the safe side. We arrived around 830 PM...had a few tubes of blood drawn, chest xray, and blood cultures drawn.  He was given a hefty dose of tylenol which made his fever break and, subsequently, made him pour buckets and buckets of sweat.  We left the ER around 230 AM with a diagnosis of viral syndrome and slight pneumonia and a prescription for a Z-pack.  He's feeling much better now and has returned to work.


It has become painfully obvious that what I need in my house is organization.  And with organization comes the tools necessary to organize.  I need bins and hooks and drawers and containers and boxes and shelves and ... oh my ... I want to spend all my money on organization items!

34 Insanely Smart DIY Kitchen Storage Ideas | Daily source for inspiration and fresh ideas on Architecture, Art and Design
Glideware website >> here
This is genius!  I've always wanted drawers inside my cabinets that could hold all my pots and pans and I could slide them out when I needed to get into them, but this hanging rack is much nicer!  Even with drawers, you've still got to pile things inside of others.  But with this, there's no need for it.  Everything has a hook and you can take the pan off from the back without having to move all the ones in the front first.  This is genius and I need it in my life.  Right now.  Seriously...Dave, if you're reading this, buy me this (and install it)! **please**

good idea to add a shelf (that has cut out for pipes) for storage under a bathroom sink
The blog this is from >> here
I've always struggled with under-the-sink organization, especially in the bathroom.  There are so many small things in the cabinets and never any shelves.  But look at this!  A shelf that goes AROUND the drain pipe.  That's smart!  Then I could pair it with containers and such underneath the shelf.  What a grand idea!

Attic Storage great idea!
originating blog >> here
The attic!  Oh man.  First off, I love having an attic, but I hate the ladder that leads up to it (is there a way to change my ladder into something with wider steps so it's more stable?)...it just feels so unstable most of the time and I prefer to not go up there.  So because of this, everything in our attic is just merely shoved around up there where the opening is.  BUT...if I had some organization items like these shelves and containers, maybe I could be persuaded to actually get up there.  The flooring in our attic is actually a pretty large space and it is being incredibly underutilized right now.  They've even got the bins color coded for holiday decorations.  That's brilliant!

see other Dollar Tree DIY organization tips >> here
This blog (link in caption above) has a bunch of organization tips using only things found at the Dollar Tree (you know, the dollar store where everything actually is $1).  This is exactly what I need!  I never actually thought to look at the Dollar Tree for bins and things.  Now...picture this....and add that shelf wrapping around the pipes from 2 pictures up.  That would be ideal!

Originating blog >> here
Again, with the under-the-sink thing.  I'm pretty guilty of just throwing things under the kitchen sink.  There's just so much stuff under there and, again, not a shelf in site.  But this lady got smart about it and got containers (filled with smaller containers) and hanging receptacles.  Everything has it's home...though I wouldn't label...I think that's a bit much.  She even took the top off of one of the containers to fit the bigger items.  Also , she too those ugly containers and bags of dishwasher pods and put them all together in one nice container.  That's a good idea!

I see a trip to the Dollar Tree in my near future to see what kind of containers they have :)

Have a great week, y'all!



This book...it wasn't for me.  Maybe it'll be better for you, but it just wasn't my thing.

Maybe it was that the narrator's voice (I listened to the audiobook in my car) was not emotional enough for me and a little too breathy and I feel that she would be better suited reading a romance novel ("she pulled the crossword across the table" should not cause my husband to say "Honey! What are you listening to?!").

Maybe it was because the story was told in third person and not first person (I really prefer books to be written in first person...I find it easier to insert myself without all the "he said, she said" nonsense).

Maybe it was the fact that it was difficult for me to decipher if we were in the past, present, or future (could also, again, have been the narrator's fault for not properly pausing if the pauses were built into the transcript).

Maybe it was because the book was more of a character development novel than something plot-driven (cue to that horrible mess of a book Catcher in the Rye...blech).

What Amazon says:
"Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio.  A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another."

"Gripping page turner" .... No, not quite.  In fact, I struggled with the urge to contact Audible to get a refund on this purchase. 

"Sensitive family portrait" ... yes, I'd agree with that.  It was beautifully written and you really do get a sense of the feelings each character is feeling (despite the narrator's ridiculous monotone voice that showed no sort of excitement or sorrow).

I'm not sure what exactly I was supposed to take away from this novel, but this is what I got:

Parents, stop pressuring your kids to do everything you wanted to do in life without noticing that your kids really have no interest at all.  Pay attention to your kids.  If something happens to your kid and you find out all kinds of things you never knew about said kid, then you weren't paying enough attention to THEM...you weren't really seeing or hearing them.  There has to be full transparency between a child and their parents.  At least one parent should be able to really listen to that child and understand what they're saying and asking for.  When you pressure your kids like that, that's when that kid gets to college and ends failing out and pregnant by the end of the first semester....or worse. And then you're left wondering "How did this happen?" only to find out that she had no friends, was hanging out with an older boy you didn't even know, and was secretly hoarding cigarettes and condoms.

Kids, stop trying to please your parents in every thing you do....it's OK to disappoint your parents in order to follow your own dreams and aspirations.  It's OK to tell them that you're not enjoying a subject or a sport that they're pushing on you.  It's OK to ask for help, even if you're afraid you'll disappoint.  Kids need to be made that they can feel comfortable when coming to their parents.  And if they don't, that's a problem.

A quote from the book (I actually wrote it down) that, to me, sums up the whole basis of the story:
"Attention came with expectations...that, like snow, drifted and settled and crushed you with their weight"

One thing that drove me nuts during the entire story was that we never find out WHY Lydia was the favorite child.  She was the middle child...nothing extraordinary about her circumstances...but for some reason, her parents fawned over her and ignored the other two children.  Little did they know that the oldest was counting down the days until he could get out of the house and out of the family and the youngest (the quiet little girl who sneaked around and pilfered things) knew and understood more than the others.

I also hated that nobody spoke up for themselves.  None of the characters explained themselves to the others...they all kept everything inside, buried down deep.  That kills me!  It wasn't until the very end when the youngest decided she would be the first to take an active role in making everyone else see the big picture.

Next, I'll be listening to The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  It's supposedly enjoyed by those who liked Gone Girl (which, I might add, I LOVED).

Have a good day, folks!