Wednesday, March 9, 2016

get your moles checked!

A few years ago, when I was pregnant for Emmett; my body was growing and my skin was stretching. So, I didn't give it much thought when a mole near my hip started to grow and became crusty and itchy. I wrote it off as due to the pregnancy. I saw my doctor many times over the duration of two pregnancies and numerous well child visits. Never once did it cross my mind to ask him about it. Finallly, at my six week well child checkup after I had Tori, I thought what the heck... and I showed it to him. His response when he saw it: "oh yeah, we need to do something about that." So, he scheduled for me to come back two days later to have a biopsy done.

Then, a few days later, at 9pm, his cell phone number showed up on my caller id. That's never good- a doctor calling late at night from his cell phone. I knew right away it wasn't good news. I had melanoma.

Dirty bugger.

Thankfully, it was superficial- not to the deep tissue yet- so easy to treat. I had to have surgery to have more of the area removed and I had to see a dermatologist (as I will for the rest of my life) to make sure there weren't any other questionable spots. Which, there was. He did a biopsy and cauterized it and sent me on my way. A couple days later, I got a call that it was atypical but they got all of it when they did the biopsy. Phew! That was so much easier than letting it go and finding out you need surgery to get it removed!

So now, as I said, I have to go to the dermatologist every year and get looked over and they'll do what they need to do to keep me healthy.

It's so weird for me to say I had cancer. I hear stories daily about people battling cancer and going through chemo and facing major health setbacks due to their cancer. This was not the case with me, thank God. I don't even feel like it's fair for me to say I'm a cancer survivor. But the reality of it is melanoma is the least common of skin cancers but also the deadliest. And it was there, living on my body, leeching off of me!

This picture is of me and the big kids in 2011. In February. In Michigan. DO YOU SEE HOW TAN I WAS?!

Nowadays, I am diligent in making sure my kids and I don't get too much sun. I will never be that tan again, not even in July. Not even if I ever make it somewhere sunny in January. And if any questionable spots arise, I don't hesitate to ask about them. And I want to encourage you to do the same. Imagine if I had let that go just a little bit longer. As it was, they were concerned that it may have been in my lymph nodes- which is a whole different ball game. Very scary stuff and really, quite preventable. Minimize sun exposure and ASK if you have any questions!! It can't hurt (except the numbing shots. and the healing, stitched up incision.) But in all seriousness, IF it does end up being "something," you'll be glad you didn't wait! I'm surprised (and very thankful!) that mine wasn't worse after letting it go for two years! Here is what's left of the culprit:

Pretty big scar for a little mole, eh? That's what happens when you let it go too long. The one on my back that they caught early is just a speck. Notice how WHITE I am. In March. In Michigan :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Gooey Chocolately Goodness

The other day, we had a couple of my oldest boy's friends over for his birthday and he had requested brownies and ice cream for dessert. Oh the yummy goodness of brownies and ice cream with homemade hot fudge!

I had already told myself that I wasn't going to have any because I did the night before when my inlaws were over so it wasn't a big deal when we ran out of brownies. However, the there was plenty of ice cream and plenty of hot fudge and I REALLY wanted some so I had a bright idea: I'd look online for a brownie in a mug recipe. I've never made a cake/brownie/cookie/whathaveyou in a mug before but I was going to give it a shot! I found what looked like an easy, basic recipe from Simply Recipes and while it was truly simple, I simplified it a bit and here's what I did:

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

Place flour, sugar and cocoa in a mug and stir to break up clumps. Add water and oil and mix until smooth. Microwave for 1 minute, 30 seconds. VOILA! Brownie in a mug perfection.

Top that with some ice cream and homemade hot fudge and you have gooey chocolatey goodness!

Here is my homemade hot fudge recipe:

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
2 T flour
1 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, cocoa, and flour in a sauce pan, making sure to break up clumps. Add milk, butter, and vanilla. Stir over medium heat, stirring frequently until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes.

Obviously, hot fudge can go on many things- my 9 year old actually added some to milk the next day to make chocolate milk. But whatever you use it for, it's sure to please!


Now, time for my afternoon workout. I think I need it!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


At the end of a year, do you look back on the last 12 months and reflect on the events of the year? I thought this was something that everyone did but it has recently come to my attention that I was wrong! Two of my favorite people, my husband and my sister, both think there's no point in looking back. And I see their point, looking back can be hurtful and it's easy to get stuck in the past but I also think there is value in reflection.

The way this whole thing came about was I had told them that this past year was the worst year of my life. And yes, I could get stuck in that and wallow in it. But I'm not going to. I'm going to learn from it and look forward to the next year to come! 

For instance, I started to give a recap of the past year and in doing so realized it wasn't all THAT bad. Perhaps because I got a full 7 hours of sleep last night. ha! Things look so different through well rested eyes as opposed to sleep deprived ones. And honestly, I think that's been a lot of the problem. Me and lack of sleep do not get along. I know plenty of people who do it, whose kids are equally as bad of sleepers as mine are, and they seem fine but me, not so much. I'm a wreck, an emotional crazy lady when I don't get a half way decent night's sleep (meaning a solid 4 hour block). And I had a LOT of those last year. We expanded our family which is truly a delight but we also have a two year old who is trying to cope with not being the baby any more. I had melanoma and had to have it removed. Dealing with blended family stuff. Tween. Still newly married but with two little ones, can't seem to find time to connect. All things that aren't terrible but add a severe lack of sleep and everything to me was just miserable. Just being honest. And some people may not like me saying it and some people may not like to hear it but you know what? I say it not to complain but to encourage you.

Whatever it is you are facing, whatever last year brought or this year has in store, hang in there. Keep your head high,

I just started reading the book Glory Days by Max Lucado and also got the study guide and just half way through the first session, I'm learning so much! The past is important, it is a part of who I am and it is part of my story but I am moving forward. The past isn't going to keep me from that! God has promised me victory and abundant joy and I am chasing that, not wallowing in the past!

Picture of my computer screen taken while watching the Glory Days session 1 video.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Monday!

Monday. It's most people's least favorite day of the week. The weekend is over. Back to the grind. Mondays are indeed rough. But for me, it's one of the favorites. SAY WHAT??!! Yes, you heard right. Monday is one of my favorite days of the week. And I thought I should share how in the world that could be so that maybe you, too, can learn to like Mondays a little better in three easy steps.

1. Don't make any plans outside of the home. Start by keeping the day free of commitments. Plan to stay home and chill. Most Mondays, we even stay in our pajamas all day.

2. Catch up on laundry and tidy the main living area. Nothing makes me feel more accomplished in the housekeeping arena than being caught up on laundry and having a tidy living area. I feel like I can breathe and enjoy!

Early morning; one load is folded and the house picked up. Ready to have a great day!

 3. For those with littles, play lots. Play games, do puzzles, read books- whatever floats your boat. Relax and enjoy!

I have to say these magformers are THE BOMB!

Monday is my do nothing (except laundry), recover from the weekend day. The weekends are always so busy, full of commitments and gatherings, and I've heard many people say "I need a weekend to recover from my weekend!" Well, take a day. No plans on Monday, get caught up on laundry, play, and rest when the kids do. I guarantee if you use Monday to recover from the weekend, you'll begin to see it in a whole new light!

Three loads done and ready to be put away by lunchtime. The best part- I don't have to think about it again until Thursday!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Long gone are the days of spending all of Saturday cleaning the house and having it stay that way until the following Saturday. For that reason, years ago, I decided to split my housework up so that I do a little each day. This is not my favorite way but for now, it works.

My current schedule looks like this:
MONDAY                laundry
                                  pick up upstairs
                                  vacuum upstairs
TUESDAY               pick up downstairs
                                  vacuum downstairs
WEDNESDAY         administrative (bills, planning, etc.)
                                  clean fish bowl
THURSDAY            laundry
FRIDAY                   groceries
SATURDAY            deep clean and declutter one space

With two little ones home all day, I basically have two hours in the afternoon when they're (hopefully) napping at the same time to get these things done. Plus, I like to work out 4-5 days a week, nap every day, would like to blog regularly, and really need to spend more time reading my Bible. I'm currently trying to find a solution to this "problem" of how to get everything done. I'm thinking I'm going to have to gather up some energy from somewhere (drink more Rockstar?!) and get up earlier, skip naps, and do some things after the kids go to bed. YAWN!

I am a huge list maker and am driving myself crazy trying to come up with some sort of routine/ schedule/ two week meal plan/ etc.

So I'm wondering... what do you do? Do you split up your housework? Do you nap? Workout? Do daily devotions? Please share with us!!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Recipe or No?

This food was just too good, I had to share! Unfortunately, I don't have a recipe for you. I looked online and got inspiration for the creation here but well, that was too many steps for me and I didn't have ham. So, here is what I did:

*break four eggs into a bowl
*add 1 cup of cooked quinoa, 1 cup of cheese, some broccoli and diced tomato (whatever looks good porportionately and to your liking)
*stir it all together
*pour into muffin cups that have been sprayed with cooking spray
*bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges and firm in the middle

out come these delish little goodies

I used four eggs and it made 12 muffins so 3 muffins (that bake down to really a half a muffin) would equal roughly one egg. That makes a pretty decent meal. Add some salsa and it's even better!

On this particular day, I had taken some more of the diced tomato and sauteed that with some diced zucchini and then threw in some more of the cooked quinoa and had that with two of the muffin cups. A perfect meal. Hearty and lots of protein to keep me fuller longer!

Are you a recipe user or no?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dinner and Dessert

Well, I went to do a new post and realized that this post from May was never published!

This spring, my friend's mom had a heart attack and had to have quadruple bypass surgery. She also has diabetes and my friend (who was staying with them) doesn't like any cheese. So, when I signed up to take them dinner one night, I had my work cut out for me! After a quick google search, I came up with an excellent stuffed pepper recipe.

Stuffed Peppers Before Going in the Oven

Notice there are two pans- I figured as long as I was making it, we might as well eat it, too. I would cook like this every day if I could but my family wouldn't have it. No way.

And, as luck or fate or whatever you want to call it would have it, Dan didn't eat all day that day so he called me on the way home and said "tonight's not the night we're having the healthy dinner is it?" I laughed because I had thought earlier that it was a bad day to feed him a light, healthy dinner. Off to the grocery store I went for fixin's for cheeseburgers and potato salad.

We had the peppers the following night (ours with cheese on top). I loved the peppers and my friend and her parents did, too. Dan didn't hate them and my friend's 2 year old liked them. For those of you who have kids, you know that's always a bonus.

And, as  a bonus recipe for you (not necessarily diabetic friendly because it's chocolate but heart healthy because there's no egg or oil) one of my favorites. And again, the kiddos like it!

Mix one box of chocolate cake mix and one can of pumpkin puree together, add 1`cup of chocolate chips. Drop into muffin tins (sprayed with cooking spray or lined with paper liners) and bake at 375 until done. I don't remember how long I cooked them for, maybe start checking them at 15 minutes. Easy peasy and oh so good!! Eat it like it is or, for a much less healthy alternative, add some vanilla ice cream and hot fudge and/or caramel. YUM!
The post I was going to do for today was also a dinner recipe and a recipe for pumpkin oatmeal bars so I guess I just bought myself a couple days to get that post done. I think I'll go take a nap now.