MishMosh Post

Wherein I have a bunch of junk clunking around in my brain and I want to get stuff out. Forgive if it’s not a cohesive, beautifully edited and written post ๐Ÿ™‚

First off, bisphenol-A, or BPA. I have concerns about this stuff, and I’ve done some smart(er) things to lessen my family’s exposure. Here’s an article about this monomer and canned food linings. I use glass for most of my storage and reheating. We use stainless steel water bottles. Now, I’m trying to consider ways of lowering our canned food consumption. We use a lot of canned tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, tomato paste, coconut milk…..BUT–here’s where I have to slow myself down: While I want my family to be as healthy and toxin-free as possible, I feel like we’re doing a pretty good job with our current routine. It seems like every time you turn around, there’s something bad out there. I refuse to A)live in fear of every contaminant I may or may not be consuming, and B) drive myself crazy trying to attain this idea of a perfectly toxin-free home. That said, I will still try to get around these canned items whenever I can. What do you think? Do you think my thinking is reasonable? Or do you think I need my head checked? ( I probably do need my head checked, but enough about that…..)

While this is not a blog about my mental health, it does creep in due to the fact that this is more of a lifestyle type of blog and I write about my day to day life. Well, our day to day life has been…..how do you say…..erratic. I recently started having some scary symptoms due to some meds I’m taking. Not to go into it, but Mr. Dawn is even concerned about my driving with the boys in the car. I’ve been talking to my Nurse Practitioner and we’re tweaking here and there. And while I’m getting better as far as the symptoms go (gradually), I’m riding the roller coaster of med adjustments. Lower this, I get extremely irritable, raise this, I get hungover in the morning and can’t get off the couch. The interesting thing is that I have a few things going on that can affect body chemistry. I’ve been sober for almost 4 months (go me!) and I’ve recently lost about 7 pounds. From what I’m reading and hearing from some friends, is that your weight and the fat you carry can affect how the meds work, as well as not having alcohol in your system regularly. Interesting stuff. I am working it out, trying to be gentle on myself and my family (not always accomplished). I am a work in progress. I will always say that!

Okay, on the “being gentle and kind to myself” front: I am using the last 18 days that the boys are in school (actual school days, not weekends) to get back to my self-care routine. I’m going to get back to doing the things that are good and nourishing to my soul and bod. My tapping, exercise, geocaching, getting creative, eating well, dressing nicely, and doing my makeup most days are things that make me feel so good, but are the first thing to go when I get stressed. Which is strange, because my brain KNOWS these things are good for me and make me happier, but when you’re stressed and feel like you don’t have time or energy to do these things, they are the first to go. And that’s unfortunate. That’s precisely the time you need to do it the most!!!

Okay, on to the week’s menus:

Tuesday–Burgers! Yum!

Wednesday–Pork chops (haven’t decided on the recipe yet)

Thursday–Meatballs (haven’t decided, would like something different)

Friday–Pizza Night!!!

This week is shorter due to Monday being Memorial Day!

Have a lovely day and take care of yourself and your loved ones! I know I will!

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Oh Shit. It’s Mono.

Yep. J was diagnosed formally yesterday with mono. Sucks. However, he is looking better today. Less like he got into a schoolyard scrap, and more like he’s just….tired. We are also waiting for the Lyme’s disease results, as the first part of that test came back positive. He may have a double whammy. The doc said that sometimes mono will show a positive Lyme’s test at first. He’s just basically on orders to rest and have lots of fluids. He can go back to school after the holiday weekend, but he can’t play any sports or do any rough-housing. His liver and spleen are apparently enlarged. Dangerous!

And in other news, T-Lo picked out his very first pair of specs today! I have to say, he made every single pair he tried on look amazingly adorable. Yes, I’m biased. But seriously, he rocked every pair! We picked out black plastic frames with a cool tiger or leopard print in the inside of the frame. I couldn’t really tell what animal it was, but it’s that orange-y and black and tan print. Let’s call it tig-ard. They should be ready in a week or so. I will most definitely be posting cute pics!

So, I’m just hanging here at Primal Dawn Headquarters. Playing nurse-maid. Wait…what exactly is a nurse-maid? Is it a nurse? Is it a maid? Cuz I’m pretty sure I’m doing both those jobs. And the pay sucks. But the benefits package is excellent.

I don’t really have much else to say. Just wanted to touch base and give a status report. I haven’t even thought about next week’s meals.

Oh, I’m still feeling really really creative. I have this urge to just “make shit”. I have been making sugar skull masks, sewing, and I picked up some glitter and oil pastels today. The oil pastels are sooooo awesome. Where have they been my whole life??? I like the way they hit the paper and I love blending them with my fingers. I find it so strange that I never thought of myself as an artist or even very creative, but all of the sudden I have this weird feeling of wanting to make things with my hands. I guess I’m not unique, aren’t there plenty of artists who didn’t start until later in life? Well, count me as one of them.

*tap tap tap*

Is this thing on?

Well, hello there! Long time no see! Oh, no I wasn’t avoiding you. I was playing nursemaid here at Primal Dawn General Hospital. We have had a lot going on here. First T-Lo hit us with a double ear infection and tonsillitis. Yay. Antibiotics. have I told you this boy has no symptoms at all??? I thought he was a little sick, had some boogies and stuff, but nothing major. Nope, it was pretty bad. So, he goes on antibiotics for 10 days. Then Mr. Dawn comes down with something, we still don’t know what, but he was tired and had mildly swollen lymph nodes. Then…J has been sick going on 10 days today!!! We’ve been to the doc 3 times as of today, and he starts antibiotics today. I don’t usually go for meds right away, but J is getting worse. They don’t know if it’s mono or some sort of tick-borne illness like Lyme disease. His lymph nodes are really really swollen. J will get blood drawn tomorrow and then we’ll know what it is, hopefully.

I tried to stop myself from scouring the interwebs to diagnose J, but since the doc didn’t seem to know anything, I figured I’d do a little research. Funny enough, J and I took the pups to the vet today for some vaccines and a check up, and it was the vet who turned me towards the possibility of tick-borne disease. He said he didn’t understand why doctors didn’t test for them sooner. We live in an area with a lot of ticks, yet the doctors go through everything else before they test for those diseases! I don’t understand. AND….did you know that you can get a vaccine for Lyme disease for your dog, but not your kid or yourself??? How fucked up is that? Apparently, Mr. Dawn’s research shows that there was a vaccine for us bipeds, but there wasn’t enough demand for it so the company discontinued it. I live on Long Island, people!! There are tons of deer and deer ticks here!!!

So, I apologize for my absence and I’ll keep you posted.

Here’s the menus for the week:

Monday–Shrimp fritters and spicy chipotle coleslaw

Tuesday–Roasted chicken and maybe turnip fries?

Wednesday–Peach chicken salad (from the Primal Blueprint Cookbook)

Thursday–Chili

Friday–Tacos!! Ole!

I also need to confess to eating a few days’ worth of fast food. J and I both. I’m calling it stress eating. Being so busy and running from doc to doc and J being sick and wanting comfort food. I occasionally get them those kids’ meals from fast food after a traumatic doc visit (blood or shots). Don’t lecture me on using food as a reward, please. I know the deal and my kids know that fast food or any kind of treat is a sometimes food, not an everyday thing. And I will say I don’t like that we ate so much of it these past weeks. But we did, so let’s move forward!! None of us are perfect.

Which gets me to thinking about the ways we think of food in this house. How we deal with snacks, meals, and desserts in this home that has 2 small kids. I will do another entire post on this next. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but I think I may have a little something to add to the conversation.

Wow, Look! I’m Posting Menus Before The Week Begins! Go Me!

I sat with the family yesterday for a bit and everyone had some input in the menus this week. J’s request? What else, tuna patties. T-Lo? He wants spaghetti and meatballs. Mr. Dawn? He wants meatloaf. I accommodated everyone. I picked up Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals about a week ago. We are trying 2 recipes from it this week. So here goes:

Monday–Meatloaf and some sort of cauliflower

Tuesday–Tuna patties and a green salad

Wednesday–Chicken w/ Almond Coconut Dipping Sauce (from the book!)

Thursday–Spaghetti and Meatballs….ah yes, the dreaded pasta for my cavebabies, but the cave-adults are having zucchini instead. Yum. Don’t miss pasta at all.

Friday–Fish Tacos w/ Citrus Dressing (from the cookbook again! this one looks really good)

We’ve had a nice time today here at PD Headquarters. We headed out to do some shopping. Together. As in, Mr. Dawn actually asked if he could tag along. I know, right?! I asked him (only half joking) if something was up, or did he think I was gonna do something? So after we all got over that weirdness, we piled into my car (an awesome little Scion xB, btw) and headed to the thrift store and then to Target. I had a 30% off coupon that was expiring today for the thrift store, so we browsed. I finally found a butter dish!!! Every time I go there, I look, and I’ve been disappointed every time. I was starting to think it was a conspiracy. Who the hell has all the butter dishes!?! The tag on my cute little retro butter dish was 3.99. Awesome! Then I picked over my usual haunts, the men’s tees and the dresses. I found a black tee that says, “Frack Me” on it.ย  1.99!!! It had to be mine! I’m going to do some surgery on it and see what I can make. The dresses were “meh”, nothing jumped out. Then I gauzy little black skirt. 2.99. Good for summer. T-Lo found a plushy Animal (from The Muppet Show). It was love at first sight.

Off to Target for some groceries for both humans and doggies. One impulse buy (iron on DIY monster decals for a little tee for T-Lo), but I pretty much stuck to the list. I did see Mr. Dawn eyeballing a new vacuum. I had to play it super cool. I was really excited about the prospect, but I didn’t want to freak him out. He asked me if I liked this one on the end cap, and I casually looked at the box to see the features. Hmmm…..good horsepower, bagless, continuous suction….yeah, that looks pretty good. We didn’t bring it home, but Mr. Dawn said he’d “do some research.” I hate my current vacuum. The running joke is that our vacuum “doesn’t suck.” Ha freakin’ ha. However I may have blown it since I just realized: Mr. Dawn reads this blog!!! Okay, honey, pretty pretty please can we get a new vacuum? Pleeeeeeeze? So much for keeping my cool, huh.

Well, we are back home now and everyone is doing their own thing. I’m working on entertaining and informing the masses of Primal Dawn fans, pondering my next craft (paper mache sugar skull, anyone??), and listening to a show about the universe in the background. T-Lo is watching Muppet Show Season 3 with Animal, J is clubbing seals on his pc (I know, I know, please don’t comment about how sick that is…..it’s called a sense of humor!), Mr. Dawn is working in the backyard…..life is good. I’m planning on getting us all together for a game or something later. Maybe art time together? I don’t know. I’m feeling really creative and I want to explore that with my family. And by “explore” I mean drag them kicking and screaming.

Tuesday is my last day of class. I am so excited. I got plans, people, big plans. I need to start working out again. It’s gotten so bad that I said to Mr. Dawn the other day that I was going to start boxing again after school ends, and he actually stifled a giggle and made a face. NOT GOOD. So I called him a jerkface and told him to never make that face at me again. Cuz that’s how I roll. It was spoken with love, okay? But there was truth in that face and stifled giggle. I’m all talk when it comes to getting this bod moving lately. I think that I’ve been doing so much inner work recently. I feel like I’m nervous to take too much on at once. I always burn out when I do that. So I’m trying to take it slow. But there’s slow, and then there’s stopped. I think I can cop to being stopped.

Okay, confession over. Get back to work, nothin’ to see here!!!

Oh, and big congrats to Ag and her Hubby A for taking the plunge and getting married!!! Wow! What a pleasant surprise! I wish them nothing but the best!

Updates and Such….

So my DIY laundry soap is not the raging success I expected. First, I think I used the wrong bar soap. AND, remember I told you I put the soap in by weight, not volume, which was more bar soap than I needed. The soap congealed, which I thought was okay, I just mixed it. Then I recruited Mr. Dawn to bring in the power tools in the form of some sort of paint-mixing attachment on a drill thingy….so he whirled it all up. I put it in the soap dispenser in my washer, but when I took the load out, I saw that the soap had not made it into the load due to the jello-like texture. So I added more water, and it’s better, but I’m definitely rethinking my method and recipe for next time!!

We are at crunch time over here and Primal Dawn Headquarters. At least I am. I have my last class of the semester next Tuesday and I’m so ready to be done!!! I didn’t really enjoy this semester. I didn’t get to take a cool chemistry or bio class, I just had stupid precalculus 2 and American history. So it’s been lackluster for me. I love science and art and english and I didn’t get any of that this semester! I’m fixing that for the fall semester though!

I have been a slacker with exercise….AGAIN. Now my excuse is that I just need to get through school next week and it’s on!! I am lacking motivation, and I’m not sure what that’s from. I may need to play. Yeah……some serious play may be in order!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Dinners this week:

Monday–lamb gyro burgers with tzatziki sauce

Tuesday–Cabbage Roll Casserole

Wednesday–Chicken fajitas (these were soooo good!)…no tortillas, of course, just tossed it in a bowl!

Thursday–Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry (from the Primal Blueprint Cookbook)

Friday–Waldorf salad and a little something else (meatless, I’m thinking)…I’ve never had Waldorf salad, I’ll let you guys know what I think.

DIY Laundry Soap

I made laundry soap yesterday. A few minutes ago I plopped a gelatinous 1/4 cup of the stuff into the dispenser of my front loader. The soap was easy to make, but my right arm got quite a workout because the bar of soap that I diced (instead of grating) took FOREVER to melt. I had to sit over the stove and stir and stir. This was the image I had in my head as I stirred:

Except some of those women are smiling. This is what I looked like:

So on to the method. The ingredients are washing soda, bar soap, Borax, and water. This is the pic of the stuff I used. The soap I used was Octagon. It was weird stuff. It was almost like modeling clay texture, and a sagey grey color.

I ran into a dilemma though. It says to use 2 cups of the bar soap, grated. I chopped mine up, and I didn’t know whether to use volume or weight. So here’s the bowl with the 2 cups by volume, and the chunk of soap next to it is what I added to go by weight, which I regretfully decided to do:

I say regretfully because I just opened the bucket to stir it and it’s like a big blob of jello. So again, I had to stir like crazy. I will report back as to how it worked! I’m excited. The bars of soap were 79 cents each, the Borax I’ve had forever, the washing soda was 2.99 (I think)….it makes over 2 gallons and you only need a 1/4 cup per load!!! That’s……2 gallons + 1 quart….so 9ย  quarts…..36 cups…..144 loads!!!! I’m not going to quote you grocery store or warehouse club liquid laundry soap prices, but I’m guessing I’m saving some money.

Changes: I think next time I’ll use the volume measurement of the bar soap or add more water to compensate and attempt to avoid the blob.

Oh, so back to my right arm and how tired/sore it is. J and I made coconut vanilla ice cream (coconut milk, vanilla, egg yolks, some dark chocolate bits…). Well, I had to do a double boiler setup and whisk like crazy til it set up. I swear to God this is what I look like now:

(except, you know, it’s my right arm, not my left)

Here’s some pics of the ice cream making process:

J really enjoyed taking the meat pounder to those dark chocolate chips. Maybe a little too much.

Why So Much Hate?

Mr. Dawn: “I’m going to Home Depot again. I’ll be right back.”

Me: “Again? Why do you need to go again?” (Mr. Dawn had just gotten back from getting materials for a homemade swingset for J and T-Lo!!)

Mr. Dawn: “I need to pick up some dandelion killer.”

Me: “Why?”

Mr. Dawn: “For the dandelions in the front yard.”

Me: “Why do we need to spray some poison all over the yard for a few little yellow flowers?”

Mr. Dawn: “Because they are ugly and I hate them.”

Me: “But me and the kids spend at least a few minutes every day in that yard. Do we really need to poison them?”

Mr. Dawn: “Well, I guess not…..”

So I ask, why the hate? Why so much hate you need to bring pesticides into our home?? Yikes. So we discussed a little. He saw my side and agreed to not spray stuff all over the yard.

It’s all about choices. Seemingly inconsequential things, like going to get weed killer. If we pause just for a moment and consider, we might choose differently. I’m glad we’re not using the pesticide. I will do a little research to see if I can’t come up with some sort of solution, even if it’s just me and the kids out there yanking them out of the yard.

In other news, school’s out in 11 days!!! For me, not the kids. Sucks to be them. I’m planning on playing every single day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. This is my plan. At least til the kids get out, then it’s a free for all….nah, I’ll play then too. Just with them!! Good stuff!!

Weight Loss, PTO Love, and Menus

Hell effin’ yeah!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ I hopped on the scale a few days ago and I’m down another 1 1/2-2 pounds. I have been trying to chill about the numbers. I feel good. I don’t even get on the scale but a few times a month now. I think it’s the Vibrams. I get to burn extra calories by explaining about them to everyone, it’s bound to translate to a few pounds lost. I volunteered at J’s PTO flower sale Monday and Tuesday and I must have explained 4 or 5 times to various people. The reactions range from laughter to real interest, wanting to know where I got them and stuff.

Speaking of which, the PTO thing was so. much. fun. I was sort of wary, because I only know about PTO/PTA members from what I’ve seen on television and from some of my friends. Well, I was expecting some Stepfordwife-type crap, and I ended up making a few new friends! The first day, I saw a woman who had been in my modern bio 2 class last semester and we were chatting away about lots of stuff. She’s a nurse, so we of course talked about T-Lo and his saga. Then the next day, I met this woman who was so bubbly and cheery it was contagious. At first, I was like, “Is she for real?!” By the time I was heading home, she was walking me out (with my 5 plants!!), and we discovered that we are the same age, with me being only 5 days older!! How weird is that? She squealed, “Oooh, we were in the womb at the same time!” I really enjoyed helping the PTO and it was not Stepfordwivish in any way. I will be more involved now.

Menus for the week. I know it’s Wednesday, but I just now realized I hadn’t posted them. Here ya go!

Monday–Ham and cheddar crustless quiche (from leftover ham)

Tuesday–Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps (so easy and yummy!)

Wednesday–Burgers (Mr. Dawn’s favorite dinner)

Thursday–Colcannon (our weekly potato allotment)

Friday–Chicken and Fennel Stew (from the Primal Blueprint Cookbook, first try, we’ll see how it goes)

Weekend is wide open!!!

I have some artichokes that I snagged the other day, but now I’m looking at them and I have to admit, I’m a little intimidated. They have stabbed me a few times with their stupid barbed leaf-edges. Who knew veggies could be painful? I mean, I remember eating them steamed and dunked in butter with my grandmother. So, anyway, I have them, I’ll figure something out. I think I’ll stick to the jars of artichoke hearts from now on. They are too labor-intensive and mean for me to deal with.

Did I tell you all about theย  fudge pops? Wow. So easy. I followed a recipe from TipNut.com, but it’s super easy. Heavy cream, milk, and some cocoa. Heat that up. Pour over semi-sweet chocolate (chopped up) in a bowl. Stir to melt chocolate. Add vanilla. Pour into molds and freeze. We added cinnamon to half and O.M.G. they are sooooo good!! The only sugar you are getting is from the relatively small amount already in the chocolate. That’s it!! We all love them and they are not too sweet, but rich and creamy and yum.

I’ve also been making my own chocolate syrup for the boys to have chocolate milk. I’m concerned with T-Lo’s calcium. He has stopped eating yogurt, doesn’t drink much milk, and just a little cheese. So I’ve been toying with custards, which have been an epic fail every time (for them, not for the grown-ups, we like them!). Now I have made some syrup to add to the organic whole milk. I know it’s a desperate attempt, but what can I say, I’m a mom and I’m trying to take care of my cavebabies!!! You can look up any number of recipes for this. This is the second time I’ve made it and it’s better than the last recipe. It’s basically sugar whisked in with unsweetened cocoa, then you add water, boil it up a little, toss in some salt, let it cool a little, add vanilla, and put it in a jar in the fridge! Easy. Stir a little into your whole milk and voila, a drink that even T-Lo can’t resist!

Well, I’m off to do various boring domestic activities. Hope your day is more thrilling than mine! And healthy!!

Geocaching Adventures…..Again!

I expect I’ll have to come up with some other titles for posts related to geocaching. You know, the coolest freaking hobby in the history of hobbies???

We headed out and had such a wonderful time. The kids love being outside, climbing trees, bushwhacking. We have great discussions about history, nature, ecology, biology. J wanted to know about moths, so I was explaining about the lepidoptera family (which includes butterflies!). We saw a group (herd??) of about 15 deer leaping through a field. We came around a bend and J was standing there pointing. It was amazing. Then we saw a rafter of wild turkeys. As we were walking back along the trail, we heard rustling to our right, not even 3 feet from us! Freaked me out for a hot second, then out from the brush runs another turkey!! He took semi-flight (?) and was off. Again, amazing. We saw 2 very old cemeteries, so we discussed being respectful of sacred ground. T-Lo had fun just tagging along, hiking around. J really got his grok on, hiding in bushes, climbing trees, picking flowers (for me, of course!).

I am also experimenting with various homemade bug repellents. We have deer ticks here, which carry Lyme disease. We don’t want that anywhere near us! I did some reading, and I see that tea tree oil, lavender, sage, and various other essential oils can work. I didn’t have a carrier for these oils. I already have tea tree and lavender oil. Then it hit me! I doused some unscented, gentle baby wipes with these oils and put them in a ziploc. We rubbed them all over our neck and arms and ankles. I think it worked, but I’ll be trying other things too. I just picked up some witch hazel, which I plan on making a bug-spray with. We’ll see how that works and I will report my findings! We also dress in lighter colors to show any hitchikers, and we do a “bug check” before we get into the car. Then after we come home I check the boys’ armpits and groin areas, as they like to settle there.

Well, I’m off. I have homework to do, food to make…..have a loverly Sunday!!!

Oh, yeah, here’s some pics of our adventures: