My New Favorite Snack, the Toothfairy and These Small Hours

My New Favorite Snack – Helping meet my 3 dairy a day goal!

About a month or so ago my mom introduced me to The Laughing Cow Swiss

L-O-V-E I-T-!!!!! Be sure to eat your 3 servings of dairy a day! Please excuse the quality of this picture..I used my phone.

Cheese wedges.  Being the Swiss Cheese lover that I am, I had to give it a try.  I’ve been on a bit of a “Made In the USA,” kick which means looking at every label…well, due to Willis’ nut allergies I do that anyway but I’m now also checking for where the product was made.  So as I read the label I noticed that the cheese is imported.  It didn’t come as much of a surprise considering the true, original Swiss Cheese is only produced in Switzerland and actually is not called Swiss Cheese but Emmental.  (from reading The Laughing Cow’s website I believe this particular cheese comes from France)  Imported or not, I was in LOVE!


Your tidbit for the day: In modern-day, the words ‘Swiss Cheese’ describe cheeses with have holes.  There are various types.  The holes are caused by carbon dioxide which is trapped during the fermentation process. One of which is Lorraine cheese, a household favorite around the farm.

Back to my wedges…so I have gotten hooked on these wedges.  Yesterday we made a trip to town for groceries and I spent more time looking into the wedges.  I left the store with the plain Swiss Cheese wedges and their close cousin, The Laughing Cow swiss cheese wedges in French Onion flavor.  Yummo!  I actually had a wedge with a serving of Wheat Thins for breakfast.  And, for my morning snack.  And, probably for my afternoon snack.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I’ll have to make another run for town for more.  Side note: The French Onion flavor is not imported.  :o)  So I’ve had one of my 3 -a day! Have you had your 3 dairy a day?

In other news….

The ToothFairy

The tooth fairy is going to go broke around here.  Pickle lost another tooth; number eight if you’re wondering.  His left eye tooth.  Willis is close to losing another…I know, at his age most kids haven’t even lost one.  He’s lost three.  The each receive a $2 dollar bill for their teeth.  So that’s, uh, 1+5, minus 2, plus 5, add another then times 2…that’s $16 bucks.  Yes, you are correct I missed two.  That is because the first tooth is a doozy.  We were conned on Pickle’s first tooth.  He told us his best friend got $5 for his first tooth.  After the fact, I learned his best friend hadn’t even lost his first tooth yet.  Suckers!  So that would be a total of $26 so far.

Anyway, the $2 are special and its money they will save because of the uniqueness as well as potential for being worth much more in the future.  Most importantly, no worries about adding extra sweets to their diet.  I can be so smart sometimes! The only hiccup is that I’m running out of $2 bills.  Better add that to my ‘to-do’ list….which is a great way to transition to These Small Hours….

These Small Hours

Speaking of to-do lists…go check out Laci Tatum at Tatum Tales.  She has been making some awesome mini-scrapbooks for a long time and I’ve admired her work since the beginning.  Overall, she’s an inspiring mom making small moments with her girls a high priority.  She is one of those bloggers who I wait (not-so-patiently) to see her name in my email box.  So, I about fell off my seat when I read she was making her mini-books and more for US! She has now decided to open her own store on!!  So exciting!

Her latest item is a home-made clipboard covered in black chalkboard to be used as a To-Do list.  On the clip board she has listed the numbers 1-4 to help you keep the day’s goals in sight.  It’s a great idea for those like me, who need to be kept in check…I never feel like I accomplish much in a day.  I overwhelm myself with 20 million to-do’s.  Anyway, go check out her new store….These Small Hours on Etsy. I just ordered two of her mini-books and can not wait for them to arrive!

Don’t forget (because I will! Ha!) to spring ahead an hour!!!  Or, you might just miss church tomorrow morning…it’s never happened to me.  REALLY!  Ok, maybe once.  Ssshhh!

Have a fantastic weekend!!

***I have not been paid by The Laughing Cow, Wheat Thins (I’m sure these companies have NEVER heard of me) or These Small Hours.  These are my own opinions about items I wanted to share with you, my readership.***

Flying in Seat 9C

A Pioneer Woman inspired peaceful.

During the last leg of my most recent trip I experienced something new.  It may have been the egg roll which was devoured as my plane flew down the runway prior to take off.  Perhaps it was the terrified gentleman who sat to my right – who later told me it was the lack of control of his destiny that triggered his fear.  Or, was it his buddy who sat to my left and stabbed at the poor man’s dignity until we were 15 min. into the air? Maybe the reason stemmed from the fact there were only 12 rows of seats and at 5 ft. 2 1/4 inches tall, I could touch both hands to the ceiling of the plane.


What ever the reason, I was sick.  At first I thought, “Really? This is how my wonderful, rejuvenating and inspirational trip is going to end.”  Then I began analyzing.  What in the world would make me feel so dizzy and nauseated? Keep in mind that this was my fourth flight in less than 36 hours.  Until this point I might have been a little nervous during the landings but I certainly was not physically ill.  The plane was spinning and my stomach was churning.  The oder of a nearby passenger made me want to let the cookies fly right there and then.  Another scent flowed into my nostrils as the stewardess floated by…vanilla perfume or lotion or something, yuck!  Get me a bag woman!

Then we began to approach my destination.  We were ordered (seriously) to stow all belongings which left me with nothing to do the last 25 min.  As the aircraft tipped forward my nerves were very much on edge.  Then the woman walked by and demanded, “turn that thing off!!”  She didn’t catch on to the fact that I had nervously been flinging the end of my ear buds in the air…they weren’t attached to anything.  When the landing gear, located directly beneath me, came out I nearly jumped out of my seat. That put the icing on the cake…I really wanted off  that plane and PRONTO!

I was then questioning the angle at which the DC 9 was sitting.  Desperately, I looked back and forth between the windows trying to see lights on the ground.  I’m not sure what the poor guy next to me was thinking but I was trying my best to disguise my concern.  All I could see was clouds, or was it fog? Were we about to dive right into earth?  Where were we?  Someone please come over the intercom and say it’s all ok.  I don’t dare get up and head towards the bathroom.  The airplane nazi would surely get me! LOL!

Finally, I saw lights on the ground.  The more we left the clouds, the better I felt.  I’ll grant an egg roll just before flight probably wasn’t the smartest move.  However, I’ve eaten on flights prior to this occurrence without problem.  The second flight we were told the landing approach would be a bit bumpy as visibility was very low and there was rain.  I’ll admit I was nervous…is it ever a good thing for the pilot to warn you of possible problems and doing so while stuttering?  But I remained calm the whole time.

Egg roll aside, the only common thread is the darkness and inability to see the ground.  Is there a word for being scared of night flying?  Well, if there isn’t we need to come up with one to help described my experience while in seat 9C!

Happy Thursday! Oh, and watch out for seat 9C.

Manic Monday News

Where can you be under a Winter Weather Advisory, a Flash Flood Warning AND a Severe Thunderstorm warning…all at the same time?  And, in the middle of that there was a special weather statement to be alert for tornado sirens.  So there was ice, hail, lightening, thunder, thunder snow, rain and high winds at the same time or within a few minutes.  The only thing missing was a rainbow.

Where can you find such wonderful weather you ask?

Central Illinois, of course!

Sick of being Sick

I’m sure there are others who feel the same way.  I’m so sick of all the illnesses we’ve had in our household.  I believe there has been at least one illness infecting our home since before Christmas.  We are on our second strep incident in less than a month.  I have some kind of virus…feeling much better than I have in the last 5 or so days but still have a hoarse voice, cough and extremely tired.  On top of the day-to-day illnesses, I’m fairly certain that I’m pretty anemic now too.  I had an abnormally heavy cycle over the weekend and a Crohn’s/UC flare-up began on Sat. And, it’s not a minor flare-up.  A good amount of blood loss in outputs.

I know my doctor will again push daily shots of Humira.  I’m very much against the treatment.  I think he was using a scare tactic by telling me I had to take the shots to prolong my life so I can see my kids grow-up. Hmmm, not exactly the best thing to say to a person who is dealing with Post-tramatic stress and severe anxiety due to her step-father being killed in a horrible construction accident on Christmas day ’09; which was in a string of deaths affecting our family.  I was literally scared to death of death.  It was all I could think about. I didn’t want my hubby going to work.  I didn’t want my kids going to school.  With that aside, I’m still shocked my doc used this approach.  At the time I thought ‘ok, this is really serious.  I’m going to have to take the shots.’ I’ve been through numerous docs in the last 15 years and he is one of the ones one I’ve trusted the most so that does weigh-in on my decision.   On the other hand, I’ve been in much worse shape…like in the hospital without food for several days.  I wasn’t bleeding, not throwing up, not in sever pain…was the Humira really necessary??

Over the course of the last 18 months and a few unfortunate situations, the trust I had in my doc has been trickling.  In the past, I’ve respond well to antibiotics and he refuses to use them in treatment.  We used to have a relationship where he presented the options and then together we choose what to do…not anymore.

When this Humira issue began budding its ugly face, he even presented me with paperwork to apply for charity assistance due to the drug’s cost. To me, the cost doesn’t even qualify as a reason to consider not taking the shots. Giving my self the shot would be a compliance issue. However, the largest reason is their own pamphlet/brochure!  Every single page addressed the side affects of the a rather large font size for a brochure.  Then you begin considering why each page is designed around these warnings.  Did the government require the warnings?  Is the company that unsure about their product?  It is a product after all, not just a treatment.

No matter the reason, after a flex-sigmoidoscopy, I was able to get around the shots.  However, I continued and still have this pain in my upper abdomen off and on.  I should have been scheduled for a colonoscopy not a flex-sig.  I questioned it twice and the nurses insisted the flex-sig is what I needed.  When I was on the table and the doctor walked in he was prepared for a colonoscopy.  Ugh!  Duh! He claimed that he had changed his mind after my appointment and someone forgot to call and tell me.  Accidents do happen and I settled with that.  We proceeded with a flex-sig just to get an idea of the amount of inflammation in the lower portion of my colon.  Turned out, it wasn’t bad enough for the shots.

I went back for another check-up and again complained of the pain.  I had noticed by then the pain did correlate with how many outputs I was having.  If I was backed up, the pain was there.  If my outputs were fairly normal, there’s no pain.  He said his guess is that the lining of my colon is thickening causing some discomfort when I’m constipated.  He once again began his debate for Humira.  I insisted on first having a colonoscopy (my preferred choice), or even in the least a CAT scan.  He chose the scan.  I thought about it and called back saying I really thought a colonoscopy was warranted.  Nope, he wanted the scan….which ended up showing ZERO, zip, nothing…expect for a $5,000 bill.  Still no answer to my pain but it got me off the hook where Humira was concerned.  He said that over the last 5 years, I have had ‘smoldering inflammation’ that will end up with the need for surgery if I choose not to take the shots later down the road.  Generally, the main area of inflammation is in the last 32 cm of my colon.  Therefore, I will likely end up with a colostomy.  Again, a scare tactic??  I truly believe a lot of this has to do with the endometriosis which surrounds my colon in the same spot, just on the outside of the colon.  My GYN tends to agree.  My GI disagrees.  But she’s a she and he’s a he.

I missed my last GI appointment because he had to reschedule – I’ve yet to reschedule.  I’m almost out of my meds and now with the bleeding as it is, I’ve got to buck up, stop avoiding the problem and do something. Recently, I saw a friend of mine who also has Crohn’s and the same doc. He’s been pushing the Humira on her, too.  All I said was that I was having some issues with him.  She said she was too.  Then I brought up the Humira.  We both have the same reason for our issues.  Why is he pushing so hard?  I’m just not convinced that the pro’s out-equal the con’s in this instance.  Especially since he pushed her to take Remicade and high levels of prednisone.  Neither treatment helped.  She ended up having surgery and as a result of those meds she’s now been diagnosed with has Lupus and osteoarthritis…she has two biological children and two step-daughters.

Should I even bother going back to him though?  I’ve been seriously considering just changing docs, yet again.  It’s exhausting just thinking about it.  I don’t even feel like I can go to our local support group for suggestions because he is an intricate part of the group.  And, then I begin asking myself, why is he practicing like he is…I don’t want to think about the possibilities…..

Thanks for listening!!

Soda Stream: How much soda pop do you drink a day?

In the last year or so my hubby’s soda pop consumption has increased dramatically.  At first I didn’t realize just how much he was drinking.  When I found out he was going to our small town gas station every morning, and drinking at least 52 oz. just while he was there,  I became concerned.  Especially for his health but when you start adding up the money he spends it’s an item you actually have to budget for each month.  I tried buying can soda as well as the 2 liter bottles but he rather prefers the fountain soda.

So when I found a giveaway at The Freebie, I was pretty excited.  The contest loot includes:

Winner’s choice of black/silver, white or red/silver Fountain Jet
CO2 which makes over 100 liters of soda
2 reusable carbonating bottles
A sample pack of flavors
and 3 full-sized flavors of the winner’s choice

How does SodaStream nutrition stack up against national brands?
Check out the full list here

Calories Carbs   Sugar Sodium Caffeine

Pepsi®          100      27g       27g    25mg     25mg
Coca-Cola®    100      27g        27g    35mg    23mg
SodaStream Cola    34        9g         9g       2mg    15mg

All SodaStream regular sodamix uses a mixture of Splenda® and sugar. Diet flavors are sugar-free, sweetened with Splenda® brand sweetener. Comparison is based on 8 fl. oz. serving size (0.34 fl. oz. of SodaStream sodamix per 8 fl. oz. of water). Info provided from The Freebie

My general practitioner once told me that 80% of people in the U.S. are either dehydrated or borderline dehydrated.  Primarily from drinking so much soda pop and coffee.  We become tired with fatigue and begin consuming more soda pop and coffee.  Which in turn de-hydrates us.  It’s a vicious circle.  Even though one of my New Year’s goals is to drink at least 70 oz. of water a day, I know I’m guilty of my coffee addiction (and sometimes Mt. Dew).  Whether we win the SodaStream or not I truly hope it becomes the new trend in our country saving people both money and bone structure.

I’m crossing my fingers, toes, legs, eyes and all in hopes that by some chance win the contest.  I would love to give this a try to help my husband cut down his gas station soda pop addiction!!

Stop by The Freebie Junkie to read more and enter her contest!  While you are there check out all of the other awesome freebies or nearly freebies.

Thank you to Angie of The Freebie Junkie for providing us all with great offers and freebies!!

Tuesday’s Top Ten: What is Redneckishness?

This past weekend my hubby & I went out to our old hangout, just outside his hometown.  It was a benefit to honor a friend of ours who was killed in a car accident in Dec. ’09.  Naturally, many people attended. We had a blast catching up with old friends…some of whom cracked me up due to their ‘Redneckishness’.  (By the way, that’s my new word of the week.)

So this week’s Top Ten was inspired by all of you rednecks out there.  Here is this week’s Top Ten…What is Redneckishness?, complete with bonus material at the end. :0)

1. Someone says “Give me a Beast (Milwaukee’s Best) immediately, with a capital E!” True story from years ago.  The guy who coined the phrase, was present at the gathering Saturday night. We use the phrase quite often around here.

2.  You hear that some guys are going ‘Bank pullin’ – this means they are taking their jon boat down our river, putting poles into the ground every so often.  The goal is to catch the biggest catfish possible.

3.  If you see a man and three boys competing to see how far they can water the grass while emptying their bladders.  Never seen that around here, honest.

4. If you find your kids duck taping the garden hose to the top of their slide and calling it the world’s best water slide.

5. You notice your neighbor’s security cam is behind his house, pointed towards his deer food plot.

6. The neighbor’s family room has two TV’s…one for the Direct TV and one to watch what’s in the food plot.

7. When the song “Family Tradition” by Hank, is played at the local bar most of the crowd starts singing.  Not just because they love the song but because 1/2 of the bar is truly related.

8. Your wife would rather hunt while you fix supper and take care of the kids.

9. When your son asks to go potty #2, you find him squatting outside in the front yard.

10.  You use mineral spirits to light the charcoal fire.

Bonus #1: The highlight of your summer is floating down the river in inner tubes…complete with a highly sophisticated refrigerator – the cooler tube.

Bonus #2: When you spend more time wiping a cow’s butt than changing your kids’ diapers.

Bonus #3: When you are able to differentiate between the smells of cow poop, horse poop, pig poop, goat poop and of course, chicken poop.

And, finally….you hunt from within your home!

Hope I’ve provided some laughs to brighten your Tuesday!  If you have anymore, by all means share!

I’m a Mac Daddy Girl!

Through most of college I had two choices for working on papers and projects.  Using the library computer lab, the computer lab in my dorm or on a Macintosh at home or on loan from my mom.  Back then, no one and I mean no one used Mac’s.  It was such a hassle to convert files back and forth between Windows and the Mac.  Losing data, reformatting, etc… Ugh!  It frustrates me just thinking about it.

In recent years, Apple has cleaned up its image and products…first it was the iPod, iPhone and now the buzz is the new MacBook Pro and iPad.  My Dell is almost 7 years old.  Which is almost unheard of considering the software that’s used on it. There was a period of time when I had hardly used it because my PC was the only machine with my Adobe software.  A little over a year ago I was able to put the Adobe CS 3 onto the Dell.  It decreased my productivity and it slowly began having numerous problems.  Last week it stop working.  I’m not an impulse buyer…I’ve done it twice with big buck items and both times I’ve been bit in the butt.  For the last 6 months or so I’ve been doing my homework.  Not all designers use the Mac but a high percentage do.  After the Dell decided to get an attitude I was forced to make a decision.  And, thus….

I’m now a Mac Daddy Girl!!

I’ve had a few problems with my Verizon USB stick working and have yet to put on the Adobe CS?.  That’s my project for this weekend.  Unfortunately, with my current workload, I do not have the luxury of waiting months to decide which version I should purchase.  I am excited about checking out the App Store.  I’ve heard about some very nice inexpensive apps that will make life easier.

With these new tools, I hope to be closer to finishing my new blog layout.  Cross your fingers!

Super Bowl Sunday: The Cheeseheads vs. The Thieves

Which side are you on?  Or, are you riding the fence.   What side am I on?  Well, since you asked…

Disclosure: I have been a St. Louis Rams fan for years and intend to keep it that way – check out pictures below from their last home game this past season.  This is only a do or die answer, if I had to choose…

It’s really an obvious answer.  The Packers are “cheeseheads” from the cheese state of Wisconsin.  How do you make cheese?  From milk.  What do I love? Milk, the dairy industry and dairy farmers.  I’m also not a thief so there’s no chance of cheering on the “Stealers.”  LOL!

I know this probably sounds like I know NOTHING about football and I’m one of those chics who call touch-downs, home runs.  You couldn’t be more incorrect.  I’ve always loved football however, baseball is my absolute favorite.  After tomorrow there will be a void…no football, baseball or hunting.  Don’t worry it won’t last long.  Pre-season baseball games and turkey hunting will be here before we know it.

In honor of tomorrow’s festivities, I’ve collected a special Top Ten list for you.  These should be great conversation starters during those awkward parties when you don’t know many people – if they aren’t, please let me know.  Or, shock the pants off your family and friends as a know-it-all.

Top Ten Super Bowl Factoids: Get the Super Bowl Party Started (or, make people think you know what you are talking about)

1. The Pittsburg Steelers have played in seven Super Bowl games.

2. The Steelers have won six out of seven SB games

3.  Four of their wins were within six years.

4. This will be the Packers fifth time playing in a Super Bowl game.

5. The Super Bowl is being played in the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington, TX.

6. One of the highlights in the stadium is the largest plasma screen ever used in a game.

7. The screen alone, cost $40 million.

8. There will be seven officials and two alternates which has been appointed by the Commissioner’s office.

9. The winning players will each receive $83,000.  The losers will receive $42,000 per player.

10. The winning team will receive the Vince Lombardi Trophy.  The trophy is named after the late coach, Vince Lombardi, of the two-time Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers before the 1971 Super Bowl.

BONUS FACT: As of Tuesday morning the average price for a ticket to this year’s Super Bowl was $3,000 each.

Enjoy and most importantly have fun!!


We had fabulous seats!!

Decisions, decisions...RAMS WIN!!

It was a great Mama & Pickle time! After the game we visited the Arch which I'm completely obsessed with photographing. I'll have to do a post dedicated to this mind-blowing structure.



Robins in a Blizzard??? Changing Seasons Give-away!!

The first report came in last week…my girlfriend who lives about 2 miles away – as the crow flys – said that she saw some robins in her back yard.  This was just before the blizzard hit.  I thought “No way, she must be mistaken.”

Yesterday we were driving through a nearby town and turned a corner to find 10-20 Robins!!!!  I was shocked.  Each year one of my absolute favorite spring time activities is watching for the Robins to arrive.  In my mind, the arrival of a Robin has always been correlated with spring.  I was so pumped!!

As I was ready a post on Facebook a friend said she had seen 50 that morning.  Well, this prompted an extensive conversation from numerous people who had also been seeing robins.  The earliest was around Christmas!  With all of the talk about climate change and the planet growing warmer every year, the Robin sightings have prompted me to be a bit concerned.

So what gives?  Has the cold streak in the south chased them back up north?  I’ll be very interested to hear more about these sightings and the reasoning behind a spring event that’s occurring during winter.  It just doesn’t make sense…I must research, research and research even more as I get to the bottom of this unusual behavior.

Speaking of spring…Don’t miss out on a fantastic Changing of Seasons give-away over at The Beginner Farmer’s Wife.  While you are there read about their journey which involves naturally raised heritage meats and true free-range poultry.

Watch soon for a post on my blog which will discuss true free-range poultry.

Welcome to the week-end!!

Adventures in our *Magical* Blizzardland 2011: Before and After Pics

The Groundhog Blizzard, as it’s being dubbed, has passed.  The mess is still being cleaned up.   School was still out today, as there are many roads in our rural district which haven’t been cleared.  I’m hoping the kids are able to return tomorrow…although we’ve heard there are people who are still unable to leave.  I’m sure all of the kids are enjoying the snow.  Due to the temperatures I resisted allowing the boys to play outdoors.  I know it’s hard to believe, living in the Midwest and all, but we now have  ‘Mount Snownomore’ in the middle of our circle drive.  Yesterday, as the kids were enjoying the fun and the parents were trying to figure out how to get running water.

If you currently live or have lived in the country, you know that if you lose power, you also lose water.  Oddly enough, we had no water but the lights continued to glow.  I’m not complaining, there are many without power now, two days later.  Instead of losing power completely, we had a few brown outs….which just happened to burn the well pump.  Or, at least that was the theory.  Without pulling the pump up the 140 ft., it was hard to make an accurate decision as to the cause.  In the 10 years we’ve lived here we’ve had to pull it other two times.  On the previous occasions we’ve had 6-7 men pulling the pump up.  Instead there were three men, two kids and myself.

Thankfully, it turned out that part of the wire which runs the pump, had burnt completely through.  In turn, we saved $350! Yay!  And, after two days I was able to take a bath again, the livestock had their heated water restored which was relief since the water we would carry to them was freezing quickly and although egg production was down, today the girls were back to normal.

Here are some photos of our adventures…

Water for the livestock and toilets rapidly became a necessity. I began gathering snow in water jugs (cut open at the top) and then melted it in pots. This process took forEVER!

Once it was melted we would store it in two 5 gallon was used quickly.

Just before the worst hit we decided we may need extra gas on hand to run the BobCat. I needed a break and chocolate so my hubby granted me a run in the snow...I resisted hard, kind of...I actually LOVE to play in the snow with my trusted 4x4. Don't most girls?! Here is a pic from my trip. When I took this picture my skepticism had cracked and I decided that we might just receive the 16-20 inches of snow which was in the forecast.

On my way back I found this poor guy...unfortunately my chains had *magically* disappeared from the truck and I couldn't pull him out. I did offer blankets and he assured me that someone was on their way to get him.

The truck, front yard and drive before the blizzard...

Truck after...

Our porch stairs before The Groundhog Storm...

After...there really are stairs under there!

This how Mt. Snownomore looked on the first evening...long before the worst was to hit.

Mt. Snownomore after an hour of digging to the end of our lane.

Today it is no longer called a mountain but a **MAGICAL** Castle.

Complete with secret tunnels. This is behind the scenes of the *Magical Snow Fort's* secret tunnels...

Finally, a little guy who is ready to drive around the moat in his boat. Hope everyone is safe and sound after this historical storm!