Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
With that said, do you think couples need to be accountable to each other for what they spend? Is there a "magic number" of what you can spend without consulting your spouse? Do you agree that money is one of the biggest issues in a marriage?
Sunday, March 27, 2011
One thing about raw recipes, especially desserts, is that they either require a food processor or dehydrator...both being things I don't own so I pass those recipes over. This one calls for a food dehydrator but you can also just make them and stick them in the freezer on a covered cookie sheet and loosely cover them with tin foil until frozen. That is what I did and it works wonderfully. They are still a bit sticky even once they are frozen but it never bothers me as it is soon gone and I just lick my fingers clean (yeah, I know, that makes me sound a little piggy!). Because of their incredible sweetness my chocolate/sweetness craving is satisfied within the first bite and I never eat more than one. I even make them pretty small. To me they taste a lot like a no bake cookie with coconut in it.
3 cups dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder (I was low on my cocoa powder supply so used just 1 c)
1 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut butter or oil
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
On a side note, we arrived home at 5pm today from the hospital and Jacob is now back in his element. It is SO good to be home.
Friday, March 25, 2011
My experience with the hospital was less than stellar last night. This is the first time that we have had to come in unscheduled. I was supposed to call the hospital operator and be put in touch with the Peds Oncologist on call. They couldn't find the oncologist. The one that was "supposed" to be on call was at home and said it wasn't her night. The one she mentioned is gone on a business trip. No Oncologist was to be found. After waiting on the phone, being transferred several times, and basically waiting for an answer for over an hour and a half they were able to contact a regular Peds doctor who gave us the go ahead to come in.
Jacob and I arrived at the hospital at 3:30am. No Oncologist doctor was here to meet us. We had two Ped interns examine Jacob, one which was a bit rough and annoying and who really bothered Jacob. His fever was a bit over 100 when we arrived. After blood tests they placed him on hydration and gave him Tylenol...which has kept the fever away now.
BUT. A fever requires a minimum of a three day stay. I think that means even if this fever never returns, we will be here all weekend. Right now the blood tests are being run to show us if it is a central port line infection or numerous other things it could be. I wonder if it is just something simple since he was gone all day yesterday at his clinic appointments and may have been exhausted and a bit dehydrated. They also woke us up in the middle of the night for a chest/abdomen x-ray. When I asked what it was for there was no real answer "I think it's to check how his abdomen is healing up". Things that make you go HMMMMM. This whole place makes me do that...and it's one of the best rated children's hospitals in America. HMMMMM.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Luck was not with us today. Jacob's Hemoglobin was once again quite low (7.1) so he needed another blood transfusion. We did not arrive home until 6:30 this evening, having left the house at 8:30am.
This is the first time that his counts have not rebounded quickly after hitting the low point after his chemo. I hope that this is not signs of what is to come, but expect that it is as it will wear his body down more and more as we get into the treatment. I count every single treatment down with glee and can say that we have 12 left. "12" doesn't exactly sound like a lot but we've "only" had 8 so far, so we aren't even to the half way point. Plus, some of these treatments are four day ones (12 days left of those) and several overnight ones. So it isn't "just" 12 days of treatment left. It is nice to check another one off the list after today though.
Jacob is now watching Scooby Doo and will soon be taking a bath and heading to bed. He's slept on and off today on the car rides and while receiving his transfusion so he tells me he isn't ready for bed yet. I'm anxiously awaiting it myself!
I wondered how it would be to try to eat healthy on the go and today had my first test. I didn't do horrible but could have done better. I didn't eat breakfast because I was in a hurry (first mistake of the day). For lunch we went to the hospital cafeteria and I got made myself a big healthy salad from the salad bar and drank a V-8 Fusion. Jacob had gotten an order of onion rings and didn't eat much of them and I didn't want them to go to waste so I finished them off for him (those puppies were $3...I wasn't going to throw them out!). On the way home Jacob wanted Wendy's and after the day he had he deserved it so I tried to pick out something healthy for myself...a small chicken wrap. It was yummy, but probably wasn't too healthy. I came home and drank a glass of lemon water and the pita sandwich below.
One recipe I want to share is what I made for lunch yesterday: Quinoa and Black Beans. I like it but won't rave about it. I do think it's something simple enough that if you want to try something different it's worth trying it.
Quinoa and Black Beans
1 t. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 c. uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 c. vegetable broth
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 c. frozen corn
2 15oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oil in skillet. Stir in onion and garlic and cook until browned. Mix quinoa in pan, cover with broth, season with spices. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat, simmer 20 minutes. Stir in corn, simmer 5 more minutes. Mix in beans and cilantro. Serve.
Becca and I were the only ones that would eat it and she made sure to pick out the cilantro. I do like it warm better than served cold. But for leftovers I piled some in a pita pocket, added some alfalfa sprouts and spicy mustard and enjoyed it that way.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I've never been a huge fan of oatmeal. With my new health quest I wanted something healthy and easy for breakfast and one recipe that fits the bill is oatmeal. Not just any oatmeal, but steel cut oatmeal. Steel cut oatmeal is minimally processed and has a much different texture than quick oats. It is chewy, much like brown rice, and tastes a bit nutty. It does take longer to cook (about 30 minutes) but besides stirring a couple times you do not need to hover near the stove top as it cooks.
I made 4 servings (which is 4 cups of water and 1 cup of uncooked oatmeal). Becca and I had a bowl each and there was enough for me to put a bowl of leftovers away for another time.
I added walnuts, real maple syrup (a bit goes a long way), and sliced bananas. It was heaven in a bowl and I was full all morning. There are so many possibilities. You could add honey, raisins, pecans, apples, dried fruit, or whatever your heart desires.
I had the leftovers for lunch yesterday. I added a couple splashes of milk, stirred, and microwaved for about two minutes (stirring once between). I again added the walnuts, maple syrup, and banana. It was even better the second day! I wonder if I could ever tire of this deliciousness?!
What is your favorite oatmeal combination?
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
It was said that these videos do a disservice to farmers. That most of the videos are edited and "staged". Someone went as far as to say that these PETA workers coming in with hidden cameras are a risk to the animals and may spread disease going from farm to farm.
I could say a lot about this but want to hear your comments. Is the government trying to slide another issue under the rug instead of fixing the problem? Is PETA making a mountain out of a molehill?
Sunday, March 20, 2011
I loaded up on healthy food at Super Target and have a stocked fridge and pantry for this coming week.
Saturday night I made BBQ chicken breasts, loaded baby red mashed potatoes, and broccoli salad.
The broccoli salad was a new recipe and delicious! We are big broccoli fans in this house and I had just found a huge bunch of organic broccoli at Target for $2.99 so it was the perfect day to make this dish. I can see myself eating this dish for a light lunch many times a week and it makes a perfect side dish! My husband didn't sound too thrilled when I mentioned having broccoli salad but even he went back for seconds.
1 1/2 c. fresh broccoli
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
3 T. mayo
2T. white vinegar
1 T. sugar
Mix first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk last three ingredients together in small bowl and pour over ingredients in large bowl. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
I've been feeling better this weekend. Not exactly more energetic but less bogged down. I'm hoping I see more of an improvement everyday as I continue my healthier eating.
This morning I had a green smoothie and some Greek yogurt. For lunch I had a lunch date with one of my cousins but we chose the healthiest option in town: Subway. I loaded up on veggies on the sub and had half for lunch and half for supper. I also snacked on fruit, drank lemon water, and had tea. I had the leftovers of the broccoli salad as well (and it tastes better the second day!).
Two days in and I'm feeling better?! Can't wait to see how I feel later this week! :)
Friday, March 18, 2011
First it took two full hours to meet with the doctors, have labs drawn, and finally receive the Vincristine. Just as the nurse was finishing the chemo another nurse arrived to tell us that Jacob's Hemoglobin was down to 6.1 and that he would need a transfusion. Drat!
While they were waiting for the blood to arrive I took the kids down to the cafeteria for some lunch. We arrived at the transfusion room and waited another hour and a half for the pre-meds and blood to arrive. After all was said and done, I spent six hours in a tiny room with three children. Jacob wasn't able to leave the room during his transfusion and he wanted me to stay with him so it was an experience trying to keep everyone entertained. Luckily, there was a television that kept them busy for about five minutes and Child Life did bring in a train set and Barbies to play with. By the time we left the hospital at 4pm (having arrived there at 10am) I was exhausted and still had a two hour drive home ahead of me.
Back home I was blessed by my husband who watched the kids so I could soak in a bubble bath. I am now about ready to head to bed and know I will be asleep soon after my head hits the pillow.
It's not just today that tired me out. I have been exhausted for weeks. If I didn't know any better I would think I am pregnant (which I'm not). I'm just that tired. At my checkup last week I spoke to the doctor about it and he ordered several blood tests, testing for things such as Lupus and other auto-immune disorders. The tests came back fine. The bad thing is that these tests aren't always conclusive, and other disorders (such as Chronic Fatigue) don't even show up on the tests.
I know a lot of it has to do with stress. I've had my fair share of it the past several months. I realized today (actually, I realized it last week at the doctor's office when I stepped on the scale) that my eating habits have become horrible. I've been eating when stressed. Eating too much. Eating the bad stuff. Eating too much fast food and greasy food. Or as I told the doctor: shoving my face full of food.
It has to stop. Or else I need to buy a whole new wardrobe and get an electric scooter just to get around since I am tired. My goal this weekend is to stock up on healthy food and detoxify my system starting tomorrow. Even going full force for a few days should show me if my diet is contributing to my fatigue. I planned a menu and shopping list out this evening and even ran across some delicious looking recipes. If it ends up being a success I shall share the recipes and my story with you all.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Today it reached 60 degrees so I opened the windows and let some fresh air in. I hung clothes on the line for the first time this year and breathed in the scent of freshness I took them down and folded them.
The kids did what they love to do and what they missed out on for many, many months. The swing set is always a big hit for the boys.
Becca keeps busy on her bike and working on masterpieces on the sidewalk.
I worked in the garden beds while the kids played. My raised beds need some repairs as some of the wood is rotting. Once we (rather, my husband) gets that fixed I can get to planting some cold weather vegetables, one of the kids favorites being radishes. Because of having a raised bed the soil thaws much quicker than the ground and stays warmer than ground level soil so I am able to start planting earlier than normally.
We've been enjoying walks, sunshine on our faces, and peaceful days that feel *normal*. What more could one ask for?!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
It's odd how quickly our life has changed. Not just the cancer but the whole system of things. Before Jacob's diagnosis I had never been away from Joe overnight (and only away from Becca overnight when I gave birth to her little brothers). Instantly they had to adjust to their mama and brother being gone for 10 whole days after Jacob's surgery, and now several nights out of the month. They have adjusted but it's still strange. In all our years married Ben and I have only been away overnight from each other once when I babysat our niece one night and then only when I've given birth. Again...it's weird. It does make you appreciate all you have at home when you are away from everyone for days at a time.
Jacob is doing well. He has settled back into his routine. No nausea. He's a bit more tired but I think that is due to the cold that he still has. He (and I) are glad to have several days at home. He will be receiving out-patient chemo the next two Fridays and then we will be admitted again on April 1st. Ahhh...to sleep in our own beds for the next several weeks is delicious!
Saturday, March 12, 2011
4pm. Yep. Really.
It was finished by 7pm. Jacob needed to urinate every two hours afterwards (to empty the bladder as they don't want that toxic stuff sitting in his bladder, damaging it). Which means that ALL night we had to get up every two hours to make him pee. Which means little sleep. So you would have thought that they would have gotten his chemo started earlier so that he wouldn't have had to wake up over and over again at night. Sigh...it's just the way it is here. Just like the fact that I asked the nurse for a report of his last CT scan and she came back saying her printer wasn't working but she would get it to me. She hasn't gotten it to me.
Now we are waiting for the doctor to come by on his rounds so that we can be discharged. More waiting.
We are in isolation since Jacob has had a cold this week. They did a swab to test if he has RSV or the flu (highly doubt it) and I haven't heard the results yet, of course. Which means that anyone coming in the room, or anyone leaving the room, has to suit up in a gown, gloves, and a mask. I understand that it is to protect the other patients from a possible virus but you would think the test results wouldn't take so long to get back. Oh, wait, I forgot where I was for a moment. Of course they would take long!
That has been our last 27 hours. Waiting, and more waiting. I can't "wait" to go home!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
I am awaiting the dryer to finish it's job so that I can finish mine - packing our bags for the hospital tomorrow. Jacob receives his next round of chemo (the sixth round) tomorrow. It is just an overnight stay this time around so much better than the four night stays that he sometimes has. I will be driving ourselves while Ben stays home with the other two kiddos to man the fort. Though the parking fee will be hefty (probably around $20) it will even out in not having to have someone drive us there and pick us up on Saturday...with the gas prices so expensive it would be more to do it that way.
Jacob's Hemoglobin counts were low today so he will also be needing a blood transfusion while we are in the hospital to up those counts. They were wanting us to come in this afternoon to get the transfusion but since he is still active and feeling fine they said it could wait until tomorrow when we are admitted anyhow - which was a relief to me as I did not want to travel there today as well as tomorrow.My brother has started blogging so I hope some of you will welcome him to the world of blogging. You can read his blog here. While you're at it, one of my best friends is also a new(er) blog writer and you can see hers here.
We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Spring, which now seems even further off after we were dumped with even more snow yesterday. Considering the fact that we don't go out often in order to stay away from germs and the awful illnesses that are going around town, we could really use some nice weather so that we can at least play outside and not be stuck indoors ALL. THE. TIME. I should have known that the groundhog was a liar. He's probably made about that time that I called him a guinea pig.
I've been working on spring cleaning this week and have several boxes set aside for my mom's spring garage sale. It feels good to pack things away that we no longer need and clear it out of the house. The kids are getting into the action even and looking through the toy room for things that they no longer play with. They like using the money that they earn at other garage sales for things that they want.
Jacob and I have an early morning tomorrow so I better get back to packing.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
What about children with cellphones? Ceaseless texting and constant phone calls? Is technology "dumbing us down" or are we advancing with the times?
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Jacob is doing extremely well. This boy thrives when he is home and seems almost normal right after arriving home from the hospital where his body is pumped full of toxic drugs.He becomes himself again at home. Making a house with "rooms" on the floor with blankets with his brother and sister. Chasing them around the house. Bouncing around with pent up energy.
He does tire out more easily. He does sit quietly on the couch more often, playing with a toy, coloring, looking through books, or watching television. But he is still Jacob. The boy who can light up a room with his smile. The one who craves tacos and likes to help me make them so that he can eat five of them (though last night he only managed to get three into his tummy). Without his bald head and pale complexion you almost wouldn't know that he was sick.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
A cup of tea in the morning. Especially this cup with tea in it. My husband gave it to me this past Christmas and I just love it!
What are some of your favorite things?
Friday, March 4, 2011
While we have a bubble of money from the benefit to help with Jacob's expenses we keep that separate from our spending. We ONLY use that money for things relating to Jacob's health and hospital stays. By spending that money wisely we should be able to get through all his treatments financially okay.
With our regular expenses we need to get back to saving. Prices are going up every which way. Today the gas was at $3.39 - $3.49 a gallon. I notice the food prices sneaking up. The electric, gas, and city bills are climbing.
One way that I have been saving a little money this week is buying some Amazon deals. I can shop from the comfort of my home and it has been free for me since I had so many Swagbucks Amazon gift cards saved up. If you don't know what Swagbucks are, it is a search engine (much like Google) that awards you "swagbucks" sometimes on searches. You can redeem your swagbucks for gift cards and prizes. With just a few searches a day I am able to earn at least $10 in Amazon gift cards a month. Go here to learn more and sign up.
I was able to get 4 boxes of Raisin Bran Crunch shipped to our door for about $1.60 each box. It's cheaper than sales at the store and it was free for me after the Swagbucks. I would have purchased it for that price even if I didn't have Swagbucks. That deal is over but two more I bought are:
The Pampers Soft Care baby wipes are on sale for $19.14 for a case of 720 wipes. If you subscribe and save it will drop the price lower (you can cancel your subscribe and save at any time after it ships). There is also a 50 cent coupon below the picture that you can click on to use. Enter MOMWIPES at checkout to receive and additional 10% off. You end up spending just $11.01 to have it shipped to your house. That is, if you are signed up under Amazon Prime shipping. You can get a free subscription to that by signing up for Amazon Mom.
4 12 oz. bags of Eight O'Clock Coffee is $18.30. Sign up for Subscribe and Save (and cancel after it ships) and it drastically reduces the price. Enter code SOLOCOP5 at checkout and you end up paying just $10.95 for 4 12oz bags. Remember, you have to have Amazon prime shipping to receive the free shipping...or sign up with the Amazon Mom link above (it's free and nothing to cancel).
This is one way I am bringing the costs down in our household. If you use these items it is better prices to get it on Amazon shipped directly to your door than even sales or coupons. Can't beat that!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
That's not the debate today though. During one part of the program the nurses were chatting amongst themselves and brought up the topic "Just imagine how bad your life could be if you had ended up with the one you dated when you were 18!" They all shuddered and laughed. I'm assuming they meant that the men (boys?) they dated when they were 18 were grossly immature. I can't relate as I did end up with the one I dated at age 18 and have no regrets.
So here's your question "What do you think your life would have ended up like had you married the one you were dating at age 18?" Are you breathing a sigh of relief right now? Laughing at the thought of what could have been? Any regrets?
I also bring this topic up because I just finished reading the book "Time of My Life" by Allison Winn Scotch. It's about a woman who is stuck in the drudgery of a stale marriage and the mundane tasks of motherhood. She always images the what ifs of her past and if she had stayed with her previous boyfriend. She then finds herself waking up one morning 7 years in her past and being able to live life over again. At first I hated her...she didn't want to go back to married life and planned to stay with her previous boyfriend. I about put the book down. She finally realizes that she loves her husband and can't imagine life without him and can not fathom a world without her daughter. So my question above is not do you wish you had done things differently but rather just what do you think your life would have turned out like had you done things differently? (Or not so differently in the case of people like myself who did marry their childhood sweethearts!)