Transfusion with a Side of Lyme, Please

I was going to share with you this amazing recipe for Root Beer Float Rice Krispy Treats but I miscounted the tablespoons of butter and you have to use a spoon to eat them! Oops! Who knew that 1 extra tablespoon of butter could create such a mess! So I will save that recipe for another time when I can actually get a picture of an amazingly thick and sticky treat that doesn’t fall apart like this:

Looks perfect until you try to pick one up!
Looks perfect until you try to pick one up!

So I want to share a little bit more about my appointment on Tuesday~If you remember I said I was fearful that the Lyme’s wouldn’t be the cause of all my blood pressure issues since I was a small child. Well, sadly I found out that it might not be the cause of it all these years. My heart sank and I didn’t want to believe it or think about it but the more thinking I have done these last few days the more I think it hasn’t been that causing the blood pressure issues or at least not when I was younger. When Dr Moore mentioned how anemic I was I told him I had been since my blood transfusion the day Emma was born and it was almost like a light bulb went off. There is no way to know but he is now wondering if I got the Lyme from the transfusion. All my questions about why I hadn’t become sicker before now if I’ve had Lyme my body for 30+ years now make sense but then there is that fear of why my blood pressure has always been high. However, looking back over my last 15 years all signs point me to thinking that is how I contracted it. When Emma was 7 months old I had gained 20 pounds in 1 month, my hair started falling out like crazy again and I had many symptoms that pointed me towards thyroid issues. After getting tested and everything coming back normal I just chalked it up to stress of a baby that wasn’t sleeping well, me finishing up nursing school and then learning we were pregnant with Elle. Odd but different issues would pop up every now and again for the next 14 years and my blood pressure slowly climbing from normal the second I gave birth to Emma to it being out of control and so high I should be having a stroke since last summer. Who knows, the Lyme could be the reason for all my blood pressure issues these last couple of years and I pray that they are, so for the time being I’m thinking positive that once the Lyme is under control my blood pressure will also go back to normal.

I was curious and researched what the American Red Cross all checks for with donated blood~according to their website they check every donation for Chagas disease, also known as T. cruzi, Hepatitis B and C, HIV types 1 and 2, Human T-Lymphotropic virus (HTLV-I/II), syphilis and West Nile Virus. Lyme isn’t mentioned and most likely wouldn’t have been tested back in January of 2001 when I received my transfusion. I can’t stress enough that I am so very thankful for that transfusion, without it I wouldn’t have probably made it another 24 hours but part of me wonders what it would take to get them to start testing for Lyme in the donated blood? Most insurance companies won’t pay for treating Lyme so I can only imagine the hardship and stress that this could one day put on a family. I am very thankful to have found Dr Moore and I am hopeful that I will be healed one day but I am saddened just thinking that we could be facing a wide spread epidemic of Lyme in the coming years. Between so many people not realizing they have it, either from a misdiagnosis, ignoring their symptoms or from donated blood, I’m wondering what part in fixing this I could be a part of? I will keep you all updated on it if I am able to figure anything out, but for today I feel like my brain is scrambled so I better sign off for now and sorry if this post has made no sense. Real quick though, it is day 3 of my detox supplements and so far other then an upset stomach last night I have felt great! I haven’t even craved any gluten or dairy which is a miracle in itself from God! Tomorrow I do have to increase one of them so we shall see how that goes.

Much Love,

Amy

 

Perfect Banana Muffins

Who doesn’t love banana muffins, well besides my Elle??? I’ve been making these for over 20 years and even though I’ve tried other recipes for them I keep coming back to this one recipe. I submitted it for the church cookbook when I was only 14 or 15 and for as long as I have been making them should have the recipe memorized, but I still love pulling out this book that reminds me of my growing up years!

The beloved church cookbook!
The beloved church cookbook!

I make these at least twice a month or more depending on our ripe banana inventory. Did you know if you peel and freeze rip bananas in a zip lock type of bag that when they thaw they are perfectly mashed and you just have to squeeze them out into your batter! If you’re like me and like change you can add in some crushed pineapple or shredded coconut to give it a tropical beach taste! I also always double the recipe because just 12 muffins that taste this good won’t last long at all!

Whipping up a batch of these is so easy to do early in the morning!
 Whipping up a batch of these is so easy to do early in the morning!

All you need are 9 ingredients and about 45 minutes to whip them up, bake them and then let them cool before you can gracefully devour them!

Heavenly yumminess, done to perfection in just  22 minutes!
Heavenly yumminess, done to perfection in just 22 minutes!

My daycare littles, oldest and youngest children love these! I always double the recipe and the 24 muffins never last long! They also make your home smell amazing which I absolutely love!

Look at those muffin tops!
Look at those muffin tops!

Banana Muffins~makes 12

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup mashed banana

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 3 tablespoons warm water

1 splash vanilla, 1 tsp if you are a measurer

several good shakes of nutmeg

pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar together then add the remaining ingredients. Mixing after each one or every few if you’d like! Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-22 minutes or until done to your likeness. Let cool in muffin tin for 15 minutes then enjoy!

Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Much Love,

Amy

The Treatment Room

So yesterday brought a lot of changes for me~some I can handle perfectly well and others not so well. I headed off to my appointment and realized I am so thankful to work from home! Before I left town I was stuck multiple times in school traffic then heading into the city we were bumper to bumper before I was even 2 miles outside of my town! Let alone the accidents that slowed us down, but I finally made it to my destination with a few minutes to spare.

After checking in I was taken back to a small lab room where they would prick my finger and with the smallest drop of blood they were able to tell so much about what was all going on inside me. I wish I would have thought to take pictures of my cells on the TV but you will have to settle for the picture of the poster instead…maybe the next time they do this I will remember!

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We could see just a few deformed red blood cells, some white ones and then a whole lot of bacteria and sugar floating around in my blood. Some how he could tell that my immune system is pretty much gone~which honestly surprised me because I rarely get sick but I haven’t been able to kick this cough that I’ve had since Christmas! Before I stayed at home with my babies I was a lab tech, so getting to see this was a lot of fun for me! I’m still amazed at everything he could tell from just that one pinpoint drop of blood.

Next we went into the “treatment” room. In there we went over how I’ve been feeling and a few areas that were bothering me. My lower back and neck have really been hurting so he checked those out and discovered that I tweaked my left hip forward and that I have a lot of inflammation build up in my neck. He was able to adjust my hip and did something that hurt horribly on my neck and amazingly today it is only hurting a fraction of what it has been!

Then came the fun stuff~what my treatment plan would start off looking like. From all the lab work my family doctor had sent to him from the past 3 years my new doctor was able to tell that my anemia is from the Lyme, that I have almost no vitamin D, so guess I will be soaking up some rays this summer, my sugar and inflammation levels have steadily inclined over these years and that I HAVE to be 100% dairy and gluten free with the foods I eat. I have went dairy and gluten free in the past and would have always went back to that when feeling horrible but for now I have no choice if I want to get better but to be off of it 100%…he’s hopeful that over time I won’t have to be so strict with this so for that I am happy. Maybe by December I can enjoy a Christmas cookie? He started me on 3 supplements/detox items and then when I go back in 2 weeks will start me on the neck stimulator that will send waves to the Lyme to kill them off. He said with just the supplements he’s had an 80% success rate with healing someone from Lyme but with the stimulator it has bumped that success rate up to 95%…so it is worth making a little drive to his main office at this time!

My Supplements for time being
My Supplements for time being

These 3 bottles cost just under $150 and other then the large bottle of pills smell HORRIBLE!!!! I also have a very easy gag reflex with smells, in fact toothpaste makes me throw up just about everyday. I was able to handle the brown bottle if I mixed the liquid in with a splash of hot tea and then followed that by chugging a kid size cup of warm water. The smaller plastic bottle just smells when I open the lid so at lunch I opened it with my arms stretched out and the smell didn’t get to me. At $150 cost I can’t be throwing this stuff up! So far today I haven’t felt sick, I’m praying that I won’t start as these get built up in my system.

The hardest part of this journey is honestly going to be going 100% gluten and dairy free. I love my sweets, breads and cheese. I was slightly at a loss for what to eat when I woke up but so far I’ve done great and I’m not craving anything…yet. For breakfast I had a wonderful bowl full of bright orange carrot sticks! I am allergic to eggs if they aren’t baked into something so I have a feeling breakfast time might always be a little interesting. For a mid morning snack I had a handful of walnuts and then for lunch I had this colorful plate of yumminess!

IMG_0188I realized I must have thought I was really hungry because I could only eat about half of this and then felt stuffed.

So, that’s been the last 24 hours of my life~anything new with yours?

Much Love,

Amy

The Day I Didn’t Know I Was Waiting For

I’ve always wanted to write a book~When I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease I decided I was going to keep a journal, writing in it every few days and then maybe one day have a publisher interested in it. I thought I would share with you today’s entry…maybe one day you will read it again in my book and maybe this will be the only format it will ever be in. While this isn’t the story I dreamed I would be living it is my life and I want to be grateful for every adventure that God sends me on. If I can be an encouragement to one person then that has made it all worth it.

Much Love,

Amy

Chose JOY~even when your best friend is a heating pad!
Chose JOY~even when your best friend is a heating pad!

Tuesday April 26th, 2016…The 1st day of treatment is finally here! I didn’t realize how much anticipation for this afternoon I would have when I woke up. Excited, nervous, relief and if I’m totally honest somewhat scared. I don’t know much about my treatment except the parts that my friend has shared with me about hers. Four o’clock can’t here fast enough for me to make the first of an unknown number of drives to his office.

The part of me that is excited can’t wait to start to feel better, the funny thing is up until the last couple weeks I didn’t realize that how I felt really wasn’t normal. Heck, I might not even really know what feeling normal really is at this point but it’s gotta be better then this…right??? The nervous part of me keeps thinking about the “what ifs” with treatment, work, finances to pay for this treatment and so on. What if it makes me horribly sick and I can’t work, or what if treatment doesn’t help and I become sicker with time? These are the thoughts that I have to push aside and remind myself that God is in control and not to worry but to chose joy and gratefulness at all times. The part of me that feels relief is excited not to wake up in the middle of the night not able to move my legs without using all of my body strength or not to drop my bottle of shampoo more mornings then not because my hands just don’t get a tight grip on it like they use to. I am relieved to know that I have an answer for these odd things that my body seems to be randomly doing in the early morning hours. Then there’s the part of me that’s scared…what if none of the treatments work, what if I’ve passed this on to my family and one day this disease will rear its ugly head inside their bodies and then for selfish reasons what if I’m not able to live until I’m 100 or even be here long enough to play with grandchildren and enjoyed retired life with Adam? Once again these are thoughts that while they push to the front of my mind on a daily basis I have to learn to find the joy in today, celebrate the small things in life and cherish the time I do have here with my family and friends~if it’s 65 more years, months, weeks or even days.

So today I am choosing JOY and GRATEFULNESS and celebrating that today, Tuesday April 26th is the day that I get to start treatment. None of us are guaranteed to live past this second so we might as well live happily with the story God has given each of us.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I love to bake~it relaxes me and puts a smile on my face when I can create something in our kitchen that my family or daycare littles will love! Anyone else feel this way? I know for some baking can be scary or intimidating but I want to encourage you to give it a try and maybe you will find out it really isn’t that bad! Those are also words that I need to tell myself for my dentist appointment that I was suppose to have today but moved to next Monday! But, that’s a post for another day!

Last week I made this cinnamon bread for breakfast and it was delicious, simple and made 2 large loafs. The best part of this bread is you don’t have to knead or wait hours to let it rise!  I will post the recipe below but wanted to share some pictures of the cinnamon goodness first!

Doughy, yummy batter coming up!
Doughy, yummy batter coming up!
All ready to bake and make your home smell amazing!
All ready to bake and make your home smell amazing!
Look at that cinnamon and sugar top!
Look at that cinnamon and sugar top!
Looks at all that cinnamon swirled around!
Looks at all that cinnamon swirled around!

I wish I could transfer the amazing smell that this bread left in my home when it was finished baking! The kids were going crazy waiting for it to cool off so they could dig into their very own piece! Hope you enjoy making this for your family!

Much Love,

Amy

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Batter:

1 cup softened butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk~if you don’t have any buttermilk put 2 Tablespoons of vinegar in a liquid measuring cup and fill to the 2 cup mark with milk.

4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

Cinnamon mixure:

2/3 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Cream together the first 3 ingredients then add the milk, flour, baking soda and mix well. Divide among 2 bread pans and place 1/4 of the cinnamon mix on top of each loaf. Using a knife swirl the cinnamon mixture into the dough and then top with the remaining cinnamon mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan then remove and enjoy!

 

 

When You Just Want To Run Away

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Ever have those days when you just want to pack up and run far, far away from wherever you are? And while I would never actually run away, these days come to haunt me when I least expect them to.  Today I think the weight and worry of the last few months have just caught up with me and I just about lost it while making brownies! The fear and worry of wondering how we will pay for this or that while still attacking our debt, the fear and worry of not knowing what treatment for my Lymes Disease will be or how it will react with my body, the fear and worry that something besides the Lyme is wrong with me when the pain gets almost unbearable at times, the fear and worry that I’m somehow in someway messing up my kids or my marriage. It’s days like these that I need to take a step back and take a big deep breath and remind myself that God is in control and fearing or worrying about the “what ifs” or the “wish I would haves” will change nothing except my happiness for today.  So for today, while I might cried over a dropped bowl of brownie batter, I will rise up over my fears and worry’s and embrace the beautiful day that God has graced me with.

Much Love,

Amy

5 Ways to Go Green and Save Some Green

Hi Friends~Since today is Earth Day I thought I would share some of what we do to go green but also things that will help you save some green! And who doesn’t want to save some green??? I’ve at least never met anyone who didn’t want to do that!

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To help save energy and some dollars off our utility bill we open the blinds during the day instead of using the lights all day. I love the natural sunlight and it puts everyone in a better mood, plus for the majority of the day we don’t have to turn the light switch on which helps us save some each month on that lovely utility bill! Since we started doing this our bill has dropped about $30 a we haven’t changed anything else.

Instead of buying disposable water bottles or going to Sonic EVERYTIME we are out we have slowly invested in reusable water bottles. The kids take one to school and I use one here at home during the day or in the van. It not only saves us the cost of drinks when we are out but it also cuts back on us grabbing a new cup every hour or so and filling up the sink with cups to wash at the end of our day. To help store them I bought a $5 shoe holder that clips over the pantry door. One water bottle fits perfectly in each shoe pocket!

Best $5 ever spent on organizing something!
Best $5 ever spent on organizing something!

We take our own reusable grocery bags with us to Aldi and Sam’s Club. While this doesn’t save a fortune compared to buying paper bags at Aldi we aren’t having to throw away plastic bags each week or hoarding them “just because” we might need them one day…as if we won’t be able to ever find them again! We do 90% of our weekly and monthly shopping at these 2 stores which saves us almost half compared to only shopping at Walmart. The few items we do need each week from Walmart gives us the perfect amount of plastic bags for bathroom trash cans or sending clothes home with my daycare kiddos.

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When packing up leftovers or lunches we try and use mason jars or reusable containers instead of zip bags. This way we aren’t throwing multiple bags away each day but we are able to purchase 12 mason jars for around $5 and use them for years. For baked goods or large amounts of leftovers I have some of the larger plastic bowls with lids or the knockoff Tupperware containers with lids. These can be purchased at Walmart for about $3 for a pack of 2. They stack well and can be frozen.

1/2 pint jars are perfect for lunches!
1/2 pint jars are perfect for lunches!

We very rarely buy paper plates and disposable utensils. I was spending about $25 a month on these items for my daycare kiddos and I ended up at Target one day and found these perfect plates for their lunches. They were on sale for 60 cents each so I bought enough of them plus bowls and cups for the same cost as one month of disposable products. In the 2 years I’ve had these we have saved roughly $600, using 1 trash bag a day instead of 2 and I haven’t had to run my dishwasher anymore then I was before.

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Utensils shown are from IKEA

Hope you guys have had a fantastic Friday and can find something to do today to help our Mother Earth out for a better tomorrow plus put some extra green into your wallet!

Much Love,

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

Walking Water

Hi Friends! I wanted to share with you this fun experiment my daycare littles and I started on Monday! I saw a video on this floating around on Facebook the last week or so and thought we would give it a try. It was simple for me to set up and yet fun for them to watch.

Walking Water Jars
Walking Water Jars

To start you will need 7 clear cups or jars. I used 7 half pint mason style jars so the cats couldn’t tip them over! Yes, that happens in my house on a regular basis~Winkie has even mastered tipping the cup over just enough to get a drink then setting it upright again! We filled every other jar/cup with water, I filled them up about half way. Then use food coloring to color the water in the 4 jars/cups that have the water, we put 3 drops of color in each jar/cup of water. You can use any color you want but I’m thinking the liquid food coloring is your best bet compared to the gel food coloring.

Our color choices!
Our color choices!

Next we took paper towels and folded them in half and cut them and then folded them in half 2 more times the long way and then folded them in half to make a V shape. We then measured the height of the jars and cut the paper towels down so they would touch the bottom of the jar but so the point of the paper towel wouldn’t be sticking up to much. We put one end in the jar with water and the other end in the empty jar and repeated until the last jar. Each jar will have 2 ends of paper towel in them except the end jars that will just have one paper towel.

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Now it’s time for the fun! Every hour or so the kids would come back to the table to see what our jars were doing. The water will start walking up the paper towels and will go to the jars that are empty. About 24 hours later our empty jars had water in the them that were colored with a mixture of the 2 jars on each side! This was a fun experiment and they were able to do some guessing on what the colors would be when 2 colors mixed together. It was also pretty mess free which is an added bonus for me when I’m taking care of 10 kids plus dealing with the cats wanting to drink from the jars!

View from the top!
View from the top!

Let me know if you try this experiment with your kids or grandkids!

Much Love,

Amy

 

Dear Mrs. H

~When it takes someone getting hurt to meet your neighbors it might be time to take a step back and take a good look at yourself~

This is what I woke up thinking about at 5am this morning…why did I not even know her name, we’ve lived here for almost 8 years and so has she. I would say I am a people person and yet if I’m honest I couldn’t tell you the names of the majority of my neighbors. Yesterday afternoon one of my daycare mama’s told me that my neighbor 2 doors down was laying in her yard, in the light drizzle fighting with 2 men who were trying to help her. I went out to be a noisy neighbor only to see the lady gone and the guys getting in their trucks and pulling away. I told myself I would go check on her when all the kiddos left but I doubted she would even let me in since I’ve never even said “hi” to her in the almost 8 years we’ve lived here. About 15 minutes later I left for the barn to pick up Elle and saw her walking towards the community mail box. I remember thinking ‘she must be okay, she’s out walking’ and figured I wouldn’t have to stop by later. Within 10 minutes we were back on our road and has I turned the corner could see someone out in her yard trying to help her up…AGAIN!!! The poor lady had fallen twice in the slippery wet grass within 30 minutes of the first fall. I pulled over to help and it was then that I was able to meet Dear Mrs. H. After helping her get inside and situated I was able to introduce myself and talk with her for a few minutes with the promise of me coming back to check on her within 30 minutes. When I went back down I was able to talk to her some more and I realized that in all the years I’ve lived here I’ve missed out getting to know and love on Mrs. H. Turns out she is one of sweetest little ladies that has no one but a nephew almost an hour away. This saddens me that I’ve possibly lost out on almost 8 years of being blessed by this dear lady and that I haven’t been able to show her God’s love in all these years. This morning I decided that it was time for a change…I will make a true effort to get out and talk with my neighbors, many who I will really be meeting for the 1st time. I want to be a ray of sunshine and a person that puts a smile on their face each day. I want to know their names, their family, pets, and stories that they want to share with me. I want to shower them with God’s love and let them know that they aren’t alone but most importantly I want them to know they are loved and cared for, not only today but always.

So, while I’m so glad that Mrs. H is alright I’m thankful for this lesson she taught me in the drizzly, rainy day of Monday. I want to encourage you that if you don’t know your neighbors to make an effort to introduce yourself to them…you don’t know what you could be missing out of until you open the doors and simply say “Hi”.

Much Love,

Amy

 

Rainy Day Memory Project

Hope you guys had a great weekend! It was so nice to get some projects done around the house and meet up with my Aunt, Uncle and cousins that were in Kansas City for the weekend! I started working on a little memory gift for them and because I  am a perfectionist   wait till the last possible second to finish a project had to get it completed Saturday morning! I took a recipe that was our great grandma’s and that was written in my moms handwriting to create this board for all of us!

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My friend Holly passed away this past summer and she LOVED to bake, a friend of hers posted on Facebook how she took one of Holly’s recipes and framed it then hung it with a burlap bow in her kitchen. I loved that idea and wanted to create something similar for my moms side of the family. This was the perfect recipe because it was in my moms writing, it was our great grandma’s recipe plus the recipe gets amazing reviews when I’ve made it for friends and family! I couldn’t find enough large chunky frames at the thrift store and since I was planning on painting them didn’t really want to spend $10-$15 per frame when we had barn wood left from a bed Adam made. You could use a frame or any wood you have laying around your home!

To get started cut your boards to the size you want. My recipe card ended up being about 7″ and my boards are about 9″ tall and just over 5″ wide.

All the cut boards thanks to my hubby!
All the cut boards thanks to my hubby!

Next, I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased some burlap ribbon, cream colored cardstock and clips to hold the recipe. They had everything on sale so my total spent was under $10 for six of these boards!

Love the colored lace with the burlap!
Love the colored lace with the burlap!

One roll was enough to complete 5 boards. My Hobby Lobby had several different colors of this lace burlap to pick from or you could use a favorite ribbon!

For me the hardest part was making a decent copy of the 3×5 recipe card that was written on both sides! It took me several tries but I finally mastered it! Now, just don’t ask me to quickly figure it out again!

This took some patience on my part!
This took some patience on my part!

Thankfully our scanner has measurement marks inside so once I figured that out it started to line up easier and then my only issue was figuring out which way to flip the paper before putting it back in the printer to have the second side of the recipe copied!

Finally! The finished recipe!
Finally! The finished recipe!

Thankfully I was smart when I started and hadn’t tried all these copies on my precious cardstock! Regular printer paper is so much cheaper if you make a mistake at first and have to trash it! After I had all the copies I cut them to size and placed them all under something heavy so they wouldn’t try to curl on me.

Next I took my ribbon and measured around the front, sides and part of the back of my board. Then I cut the ribbon and used a hot glue gun. This worked perfect and thankfully I didn’t even burn myself one single time on this project! I think that is a new record for me!

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This is the back...I didn't wrap it all the way around but you could if you wanted.
This is the back…I didn’t wrap it all the way around but you could if you wanted.

After I let the glue dry for about an hour it was time to pull out my cute little clips! This is when I realized I made a mistake in buying the cute LITTLE clips! They were so little it looked horrible! So AJ and I made a quick trip to Walmart since Hobby Lobby is 25 minutes away and it is then I realized Walmart doesn’t sell any cute clips no matter what size you need!!! Thankfully I found thumb tacks and so we purchased those and headed home to complete our memory recipe board!

The finished project!
The finished project!

I absolutely love the way it turned out! Using four thumb tacks worked out perfectly so the recipe card wouldn’t try to curl up and I love the rustic look of the barn wood! My mom grew up on a farm so I think the barn wood adds an extra memory into it! My cousins and aunt loved theirs and I’m excited to have mine displayed next to the barn wood silverware tray Adam made me several years ago!

What did you guys do this weekend?

Much Love,

Amy