Sunday, February 18, 2018

January Recap

Happy Sunday, It has only snowed 3 times here so far this winter. I am not complaining though. Today it is beautiful and suppose to be in the 60's that is all suppose to change tomorrow with more snow forecasted. I am still counting down the days until spring. How is the weather were you are?
January started off pretty well. I met with the functional medicine doctor again to talk about my health. We decided to give LDN another try. For those of you that don't know what that is it's a low dose of Naltrexon which is usually used for people that are addicted to drugs and alcohol but they are finding that giving it in small doses it helps people with chronic pain and autoimmune issues. I tried it once  before a few years ago but the dose was to high and caused me more pain. This time I tried it in a smaller dose but still had problems with it. I am giving it one more try in an even smaller dose because I really want it to work. I hoping this time it will help if not I don't know what else to do. This doctor does think I have Bechet's but not a lot is known about it though. Just trying to do the best I can to manage the pain in the meantime.
The new studio I talked about in my last post was finally finished and open for business. I put a post on our neighborhood website asking for people to come and try out a new chemical peel product for Emilia and got a lot of response. That kept her busy for a few weeks but unfortunately nothing after that. We have tried posting other services there but so far not much response. We have to be very careful what we post there though because for some reason this webpage does not want people promoting their businesses which makes no sense. She has tried other forms of advertising too but so far it is not working and unfortunately she got scammed by Yelp.  They charged her a lot of money for nothing.  Not sure if it is just the time of year or what but the lack of business has become very discouraging for her. I have told her that it just takes time but who wants to hear that? She has also tried applying for jobs outside of the house but the problem with that is most places want you to have a years experience and you can't have your own business too. Just hoping things will pick up for her soon she put a lot work into doing this and I really want it to pay off for her. If you have any ideas for ways to bring in business for her let me know. Here is a photo of the new studio. We love how it came out hope you do too.

January's are usually busy for us in our Etsy shop but this January it was not as busy so I had some extra time to make this Mad Hatter inspired party hat to go with our Alice in Wonderland themed tutu set.

Still working on my modern calligraphy. I got a little overwhelmed by everything and lost my mojo but I finally saw a challenge that got me going again. This challenge was from Lauren Hom and was to write your name and them add things about you. I have seen others do this kind of thing when they travel and have wanted to do something similar for a long time. I had no idea where to start though. I finally found a class on Britt and Co by Lauren herself and that got me started. A few days later I realized that she showed a little about how to do it in the email she sent out with the challenge so I could have saved the money. Oh well. This piece took me a long time to do because I kept changing things but I finally finished it and am pretty happy with it. It can be very inspiring for me to see others amazing work but intimidating at the same time too because it makes me feel like my work is not good enough. I try to keep reminding myself they have been lettering longer than I have and if I just keep practicing hopefully I will get there one day too.
Finally I made these paleo ginger almond biscotti. Love them! I think I may cut down the amount of ginger next time though because they can't get a little spicy.
That's all for now. I hope the rest of your February is a good one and I will be back next month with more to share then.

Monday, January 15, 2018

December Recap

Happy New Year even though it is the middle of January. It had been very mild and dry here. We had one snow storm since I last wrote but it was not very much. The only reason it stuck around was because it was really cold. As I write this it is snowing and cold again today.  Hopefully it won't last long though.  Hope the weather is better where you are.
December started out pretty quite. Things with my health continued to be the about the same. Thankfully I did not have to deal with any doctors or insurance drama.
Emilia got her esthetician's  License on the 12th.  She worked very hard to get it and we were all very proud of her.
 After looking into her options for employment we decided the best thing for her to do was to start her own business here at home using my old nail room. We spent the remainder of the month redoing it. She still wanted to offer nail services to her clients as well so we kept the nails too. My space got a makeover though.  It was a lot of work because it also doubled as my old stamping studio as well. We ended up giving a lot of things away because we didn't have the room but thankfully we found lots of people that wanted them. It is usually hard for me to part with things but knowing these items will be put to good use made me happy. I will share the full revel with you next month so stay tuned for that.
I am not a big fan of the holidays but Emilia loves Christmas and went a little crazy buying new Christmas Decorations this year. Her big gift this year was a light up Christmas Village which made her very happy.  Rich and I were not going to do presents for each other this year but he ended up surprising me and  and went to the art store and had someone help him pick out all the art supplies on the right which was a very sweet thing for him to do. Emilia got me the writing tins.
I ended up buying the ISKN Slate on the left myself. Even though I have an IPad Pro and love it the thing I liked about this is you can draw on paper with a real pen and then it becomes digital. Unfortunately it has not been easy to use though because it works with magnets and is very sensitive to anything around it and customer support is in France so it is hard to get help. I am still trying to get the hang of it. It has been frustrating though.
I made these Calligraphy pieces on my IPad Pro in the meantime.

Things in our Etsy shop continued to be busy and the Winter Onederland theme was still very popular. As promised here are  some of the  new penguin things I made for the buyer last month along with a photo of the birthday girl.  

These paleo ginger cookies are my favorite. I eat them all year round but they are perfect for the holidays too. Here is the recipe if you want to try them. 
That's all for now hope it is warmer were you are and you are enjoying January. I will be back next month with more to share then. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

November Recap

Happy Saturday. Can you believe it is the middle of December? We went 65 days with no measurable snow until yesterday. It wasn't much but at least we got some much needed moisture.

The month started off with me going to the dentist. It was just a 6 month checkup but I saw a new dentist this time. Turns out he was very nice and said the spot on my gum is Lichen Planus. He suggested I see an oral surgeon about it but at this point I am just going to wait for now. There is not much they can do for it anyways but it does prove that something autoimmune is going on. The following week I went to get the viral blood work done the neuro virologist suggested. Of course it came back normal like most of my test do so that was another waste of time and money. A week later I ended up with blood blisters on my tongue again. It just so happened to be the week of Thanksgiving so that made it even worse because it was so painful to eat I did not get to enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner.  I emailed the function med doctor the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to get a new prescription for the magic mouthwash that worked the last time. The one I had was expired and separated. I didn't hear back from her until Friday so I had to suffer through for days.  I know it was a holiday week but I got an email that said they would still be checking emails. I didn't think it would take that long to get a response but thankfully I finally got it and once again it worked. I hate the numbness feeling but at least it helped the pain and started the healing process. I have another appointment with her in Jan. Will see where we go from there then.

The appeal we made to Cigna to cover the visit to the vulvar specialist I saw in June was denied so we took it to the Colorado Board of Insurance and thankfully they were able to get them to cover it. We also found out that our current health insurance premium with Cigna was going up over $700.00 a month. It is already over $1000.00 and barely pays for anything because the deductible is so high. I was besides myself when I saw that. I don't understand how that is even possible. Thankfully Rich was able to get us health insurance through his business with United. It is still more than we are paying now but not as much as Cigna was going to charge us and it is a PPO so no more having to get referrals to see specialists so that is good. I created this modern calligraphy piece during that time. It really helps me to see things like this to keep from being so negative.
Emilia and I hosted Thanksgiving again. Emilia did most of the work I mainly just cooked the turkey. This was the tablescape she set up. She did a great job. 
I watercolored and lettered this that morning. I was inspired by something similar I saw online. I don't remember who made it to give credit though.

Things in our Etsy shop continued to keep us busy. I received a custom order that was the largest I have ever done and am very grateful for it. I wish all my buyers could be like this one. She has 2 kids who's birthdays are both in Jan. This crab nautical theme is for her soon to be 3 year old.
She went with the purple, aqua and pink penguin theme for her soon to be 1 yr old. I am still working on a few new items to go with that theme so will share those next month.

Finally I made this Paleo cranberry coffee cake from Paleo Gluten Free Eats  I was out of vanilla so I substituted almond extract. It was okay but I think I would like it better with the vanilla.

That's all for now I hope your holidays are good ones and I will be back in the new year with more to share then.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

October Recap

Happy Saturday. Hope the weather is nice where you are. We are currently enjoying warm and dry weather here. I even saw some dandelions the other day. Not complaing though.  I am sure snow and cold are right around the corner.
October started out with me having a bad reaction to all the supplements I was taking. I ended up with terrible pain in my hands and arms. I could barely use them which is not good especially when you need your hands to do your work. I emailed the functional med doctor about it and it did not go well. She was not very kind or helpful at all so I ended up stopping all the supplements until our next appointment. I was really suffering in the meantime though. I was about ready to quit seeing her but something I said during that appointment seemed to turn it around and I think she finally got it. I won't boar you with all the details but she seems much more willing to help now and finally got a hold of the neuroviralogist that I have been wanting her to talk to. After telling her about my case she thought it could be something viral or Bechet's. This is not the first time Bechet's has been brought up and I have often thought it could be the cause of my symptoms too but have never been given the diagnosis. She wanted met to have some specific blood work done. If the viral blood work comes back normal then that is probably what we are dealing with. In the meantime we decided to try a few different supplements this time. These are the ones that work on the mitochondria cells. NAD and L Carnitine. I started off very slowly this time and so far am doing okay with them. I am also doing a detox smoothie in the morning too. I am waiting to hear what the blood work shows and then go from there. In the meantime I spent countless hours on the phone trying to get prices for the bloodwork. It was a nightmare. I was going to use a mobile lab but both of the ones I called never followed through so I ended up going to Labcorp and it worked out okay so far. I don't understand why it was so hard to get prices though.
Unfortunately the 2nd visit with the health coach did not go well which was disappointing especially after how much I liked her the first time. She gave me a lot of suggestions for natural things to try like sitting in a sauna, guided meditation, Epsom salt and baking soda baths, dry brushing, tumeric, yoga, many of which I had already tried. She also seemed to feel that I did not give them enough of a chance but once again I know my body and if something is going to work or not. I also do not have unlimited funds to keep doing something especially if I feel it is not working or making things worse. I also got the feeling that she felt what I was going through was more in my head and I could help myself more with my mind then meds. That really upset me. I do believe that there is a mind body connections but I also believe there is something physically wrong too so I will just be dealing with the doctor and the NP for now.

 I am continuing to work on my modern calligraphy. After all this happened I thought this saying was very fitting and created it with some brushes from Ipadlettering and a chalkboard background.
I also made this one for Halloween too.
I am starting to see improvement which makes me happy.

We finally got to see Rich's new office downtown. His business is continuing to grow and do very well. I am very proud of him for all he has accomplished. With any small business it is not always easy. I think he is doing a great job though.

Sales in our Etsy shop returned and we have been busy again, for that I am very thankful. I have been working on my titles and tags with the help of Marmalead and Etsy Rank I think it may be helping some. It can be so hard to know what it takes to get buyers to find us though. This is one of the new items we made.  It was a candyland themed birthday for twins. We are very happy with how it turned out.
Rich brought home some germs the end of the month and shared with Emilia, I think I may have had a milder version of it but they are both still coughing. I made some Jewish Penicillin to help the healing process. I have been making this soup for a long time. It is very simple and delicious and is paleo too.
That's all for now. I hope the rest of your month is a good one and you have enjoy your Thanksgiving with those you love. I will be back next month with more to share then.

Friday, October 20, 2017

September Recap

Happy Friday. Fall has definitely found it's way here. We had our first snow of the season a few weeks ago The next day everything looked like Fall, Last year we didn't have our first snow until the middle of November. The colors are really pretty but now all my beautiful plants are dead. At least I have the photos to look at until next year though.
September was a not a good month. It started when my mother in law came for a visit and my dad ended up in the ER the same day. Talk about bad timing Turns out my dad had a bad reaction to an antibiotic that caused his already bad kidneys to get even worse. He ended up in the hospital for almost a week. They finally got his kidneys back to normal and the catheter out then decided to release him but by they time my mom got there to bring him home they put it back in so she had to take him home with a catheter in. What a mess. They finally got it removed about a week later after going to multiple doctors. Now they say his kidneys are really bad again but he decided to wait to see his kidney doctor in November. He seems to be doing okay in the meantime so who knows how bad they are really are. I guess they will find out then. In the meantime he has fallen twice and is back to eating horribly so it is just a matter of time until things go bad again. It is really hard to deal with parents like this because they won't do anything to change things and and they won't let you help them either.
Things in our Etsy shop were really bad in September too. The worst they have ever been. The only thing I could think of that caused it was all the weather disasters. I ended up hiring someone to help us get our sales back but but she turned out to be a scam. Thankfully I didn't take her advice and was able to get my money back. It is just sad that there are people like that. On a happier note I did have a return buyer who requested a pink and gold pumpkin prop set for her daughter. I really like how it came out. She loved it too.

One of our buyers also sent us this appreciation photo of her daughter Violet wearing our Rainbow Unicorn tutu outfit. Isn't she cute?

I met with the Health Coach from the functional medicine doctors office the end of September. She seemed to be very nice and kind. I thought we were just suppose to talk about my diet but that was not the case. She wanted to know more about me and what else was going on in my life. I told her how overwhelmed I was by the appointment with the Dr and how she made me feel bad by accusing me of arguing with her when I was only trying to tell her that I needed to start  out slowly and work my way up on the supplements. She seemed to understand that and was going to have the nurse practitioner call me to try and explain it better. I also told her about the extra testing being too expensive for me to do at that his time and how hard it was for me to get information about that. I also told her I was very stressed out by what was happening with my dad and lack of business. Most of all we talked about my symptoms and my concern with not being able to find a diagnosis. She kept telling me that I have to trust my body which I really liked.
We talked about my diet some too I told her I was really afraid of eliminating/taking any more out and that I was already eating well. When I filled out the paperwork in the beginning they asked me to list of what I eat each day and I thought she would have seen that and have that in front of her but she didn’t. I have been trying to think of anything I am eating now that could be contributing to my symptoms and was wondering if it could be the soy. I drink soy milk in my tea 3 times a week and use Tamari and a soy based margarine sometimes too so I mentioned it to her. She thought it would be a good idea to try and take that out for a few weeks and see if it would make a difference. She also seemed a bit concerned that I was eating too many almonds and suggested I cut back some and replace them with walnuts or macadamia nuts instead because almonds are good but too much of them is not so I agreed to try that too. She also suggested I add in collagen protein and try a specific kind of almond and coconut combination milk which I also agreed to try.
We also talked about exercise. I told her I walk on my treadmill and do the recumbent bike a couple times of week. She suggested I go outside and walk instead. I told her I don’t do that very often because of my balance issues and I am more comfortable on the treadmill. She kept trying to push it though saying that it can be calming to be outside with all the sounds and things to look at but for someone like me light, sounds, and just struggling to keep my balance can be very hard and does not make it easy for me to enjoy those things. I also think she was pushing this because getting out in the sunlight can help with the vitamin D which I already know so I told her I would think about it.
She also mentioned something about detoxing but didn’t really get specific about that. Detoxing is something I am not really interested in anyways especially if it has anything to do with cleaning out your colon. We are suppose to meet again next week. 

I am still working on my modern calligraphy and made this piece. It was done on my Ipad Pro again with the I pencil and Procreate.  I used more of the digital flowers from Ipad lettering's Show Me Your Floral's Bundle. It is still really hard for me to get the thick and thin strokes so I am still working on that. I can see a little improvement though.

Rich, Emilia and I visited the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. It is a place I have wanted to visit for awhile now.
It is not as nice as the Botanic Gardens here in the city but it was still fun to visit. They also had a corn maze there. None of us had ever done one of those before but decided to try it. Thankfully we had a map to help get us out because I would not have wanted to be in there any longer than I was. At least I can say I have done a corn maze now but don't think I will be doing one again any time soon though.

Finally I wanted to share these fig bars I made using this recipe. They are easy to make and really yummy too.
Thanks all for now. Hope you are enjoying fall where you are. I will be back next month with more to share then.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

August Recap

Happy September. It's hard to believe that summer will be over in a few days but it still feels like summer here right now. That is all suppose to change this weekend though. Rich planted these sunflowers from seeds in June and boy did they grow. I wanted him to plant them along the back fence but he put them in the planters instead.  I was able to watch them grow from my kitchen window and they kept reminding me of Jack and the Beanstalk the taller they grew. It took awhile for the sunflowers to pop but they finally did and were beautiful. Unfortunately they did't last long though. The squirrels got to them so they are a mess now. Thankfully I got this photo before that happened though.
On the other side I planted Zinnias and Gerber Daisies. When I first bought the plants they did not look so good but I kept giving them TLC and as you can see they have really flourished now!

We also planted tomatoes and peppers. They didn't do so great but we did get some tomatoes though.

I found out that my insurance company denied the visit I had with the vulvar/derm specialist in June because the right referral was not done. That is not my fault though. I asked numerous times if we had the right referral and was told we did. I was also told they would not give me the appointment until I had the right one so I don't understand how they even allowed me to see her then. I have filed an appeal with my insurance company to get it resolved but who knows how long that is going to take. I am not paying one penny of it though, They are charging almost $1000.00 for 1 visit which is ridiculous. She did nothing but look at my lady parts and was not of any help to me at all. All she did was cause me more stress and worry. This is the last thing I need now on top of that.

I also went back to see the functional medicine doctor to go over all the test results and come up with a plan. I am still trying to make sense of it. There were a lot of things to go over and was very overwhelming. At least not all the tests were normal which means there is something wrong which was somewhat validating. One of the things that did come up was my parathyroid is low and so is my calcium. Has anyone had problems with these things or know anything about it? All of my regular thyroid tests are normal. She wants me to have further work up of the PTH 24 hr urine calcium, and have my ionized calcium and phosphorus levels checked. I asked her how much that costs and she had no idea. I told her that I wanted a price before I did it though so I am going to have to try and find that out on my own which I find kind of odd since she did all the other labs.  She also wants me to take quite a few supplements and do an elimination diet which I was not very happy about since I have already eliminated many things. I told her my thoughts about that and specifically about not wanting to take so many different supplements at once because if I have a bad reaction to one of them I won't know which one it is and they are expensive. I have also done things like this before without any results. She did not like my thoughts and took it as I was arguing with her which I was not. I was just telling her how I felt. It is my body, I don't think there is anything wrong with telling her how I feel about her plan. She is not the first Dr this has happened with. It seems anytime you question them they are saying it is taken as arguing which is just so wrong! I was already very overwhelmed by everything we discussed and tried really hard to hold back the tears. She finally agreed to let me try a few things first and then add the other things later. Of course the things she wanted me to try the most were almost $150.00 and she just happened to have them there. I felt like I had to buy them at that point. I tried to explain to her that I am a small business person and don't make a lot of money but she didn't seem very understanding about that. I have 2 more appointments scheduled. One with her in October and another one with the health coach/dietitian this week. I am doing both of those virtually though. I have been trying the first 2 supplements. They are both powders you have to mix with liquid. The L-glutimine was making my mouth burn so we cut the amount down to half and am doing better with it now. The other one I am only taking 1/2 as well because it is too much for my stomach to handle at the full dose. At least I can put that one in a smoothie though. I tried calling a Quest Lab to see how much the extra blood work would cost. It took me hours to find one that would answer the phone. Turns out these tests are very expensive almost $500.00 I can't afford that right now on top of everything else so they are just going to have to wait for now unless I can find another lab to do it cheaper. I am meeting with the health coach this week so hopefully she will be more helpful. I don't want to give up on this yet because  she did agree to talk to the neurologist at University Hospital that specializes in BMS and I don't have anyone else to go to but I also don't know how much more of this can afford either especially if this doctor is not willing to work with me. I don't understand why everything I do when it comes to my health has to be so hard. As much as I feel like giving up I know I can't though. 

I have been wanting to participate in Allie Edwards Day in the Life for awhile now and finally had a chance to do it in August.  The theme this time was to use certain ing words to tell your story for the day. This what I came up with.
The first word is Working. On Saturday mornings this is the first step in my hat making process.

Learning. I was trying to learn how to make the digital peonies from ipadletterings video tutorial for the show me your florals online class I was taking. I had to watch it numerous times and take notes to figure it out because there were a lot of steps.
Listening. I love listening to podcasts. I am a big bachelor/bachlorette fan and love Michelle Collins recaps on it. I also love listing to her call her mom to talk about it too.
Wearing this is one of my favorite outfits. It is so comfortable. The shirt, pants and shoes are all from Lands End.
Loving. My Ipad Pro and Pencil. This was my finished digital peony I learned how to make in the previous photo. It was a lot of work but hopefully will get easier with practice.
Feeling. This was the first sunflower that opened and it left me feeling very happy.
Going. We went for a walk with the dogs but didn't get very far because it started to rain so had to turn back.

Eating. My gluten free veggie mac and cheese. I don't eat it very often because it has dairy in it but is is so good. Definitely a comfort food.
Watching. Everything Everything. Emilia and I have been wanting to watch this movie for awhile and it just happened to come out video while Rich was out of town so we watched it. It was pretty good.
I really enjoyed using these words to help document my day so I may trying doing that with my monthly blog posts from now on too.
Things in my Etsy shop continued to be busy in August. I had a custom order for a fall themed party and and matching high chair banner. This is what I came up with.

Emilia also came up with the a new Giraffe themed Tutu set.

Emilia found a new Vegan Bakery here in Denver. It is called Make Believe Bakery. She bought me a coconut gluten free vegan tart and it was delicious.
That's it for now. I hope the rest of your month is a good one and I will be back next month with more to share then.

Friday, August 18, 2017

July Recap

Happy Friday. Hope your August is going well. The first part of the month was cool and rainy here. Not typical. It felt more like May. The only good thing about it was that everything is green again. We finally got out backyard cleaned up and re barked. This is what it looked like before.

This is what it looked like after.
Big difference. Now we can enjoy being out there again. When it's not raining. :) I also snapped this beautiful rainbow after one of storms.

I went to see the functional medicine doctor that I talked about in my last post. The nurse practitioner she works with was there too.  They were both very nice and kind and spent over 90 mins with us. We talked about a lot of things.  I brought her all the records from this year for her to look at which she wanted to see.  She agreed that fibromyalgia is a blanket diagnosis and most people that get that diagnosis don’t really have it and are later diagnosed with something else. She wanted me to do more blood work, stool and urine testing only one of which is covered by insurance and all of which are expensive but I went ahead and did them anyways because traditional medicine is coming up with nothing. She seems pretty confident we will get some answers from this. She also agreed that there is a lot going on and it is going to take time to get it figured out and said is like peeling back the layers of an onion, I  already knew that going in so that was not a surprise to me. I am just grateful that she is willing to take the time to try and figure it out. I am just worried about spending all this money and still not getting answers.  At least I didn’t leave there crying though and left with a little hope so that is a positive. Thankfully the bottom pain has gotten a lot better and I can sit comfortably again. The migraines have returned with a vengeance though. I had one so bad a few weeks ago I lost part of my vision for awhile, that was really scary. At least I can sit without pain now though because that was terrible. Just hope it stays that way now. 

I have been wanting to learn the new modern calligraphy I see a lot now. I use to do pen and ink calligraphy when I was a teen but this is a lot different and a lot harder. I am doing most of mine on my IPad Pro with the IPencil and really like it. I just wish it was easier to do. This is one of the first pieces I came up with that I can live with, I know I have a lot more practicing to do to get better though. The flower wreath is from Ipadlettering. She has a lot of great stuff on her website so check it out.
We went to the Jackalope Art Fair the end of the month. There were a lot of great local artists there. This was one of my favorite booths, Sweet Treats By Melissa.You can paint the cookie before you eat it. What a great idea for a kids birthday party.

Things in our Etsy shop started to pick up again in July. We did not make any new items but did get this adorable photo of a buyers dog wearing my small dog crown and tutu set. Isn't she adorable?

Finally I wanted to leave you another savory gluten free/dairy free food that we like to eat. It is called bibimbap. It is actually Rich's favorite. We use to go to this place here in Denver called Soulfood which was a Koren restaurant and eat it all the time. They are out of business now though so I had to come up with something similar on my own. The main component is gochujang sauce. You just put it on the tofu before you bake it.  It is to spicy for Emilia and I though so we just use Tamari or Coconut Aminos instead.  You could make it Paleo or Whole 30 by leaving out the rice or using cauliflower rice instead.
That's it for now. I hope the rest of your August is a good one and I will be back next month with more to share then.