Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WILW and Oh, How Pinteresting

Today I'm linking up with Jamie for What I'm Loving Wednesday 
and with Michelle for Oh, How Pinteresting.

I'm loving that Stacy is coming from London in just 2 weeks from today!!!  We have so many fun things planned and it will be so nice to see her.  The highlight of our vacation will most definately be Crop on the Cape.  The last time we went scrapbooking on the Cape we had so much fun.

I'm loving this picture taken by Ree or as most of us know her, The Pioneer Woman.  Two of my favorite things are cows and basset hounds so you can imagine my excitement when I came across this picture on her blog.

I'm loving that the Boston MS Walk is only 31 days away!  This will be The Bean Team's 4th year participating in the walk.  My fundraising is going well.  I'm so appreciative to all of my donors especially those of you who have donated year after year.  For as long as MS exists I will be fundraising for a cure.  So if you can spare even $5 it will help.  Go here to donate to me.

I'm loving that tomorrow is the first day of March.  March is such a great month. . . the first day of spring is in March. . . my birthday is in March. . . daylight savings spring forward is in March. . . St. Patrick's Day is in March. . . there are 5 pay days in March. . . Social Work Month is in March. . .

I'm loving this recipe for quinoa mac and cheese (which is gluten free) and hoping it tastes as good as it sounds!  I'll be making this as soon as I can get myself to the grocery store to get the ingredients!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gluten Free Food Trial. . . Again!

So I like to think that I'm pretty smart.  I have a college degree and even a master's degree. 

Well during my first gluten free food trial (which last 3 weeks) I ended up eating something pretty often that wasn't actually gluten free. 

French fries.  Yup you got it.  One of my favorite foods. 

I thought going gluten free would be bearable since I could still eat french fries.  Or so I thought. 

Some french fries are safe.  As long as they are not coated in a flour like powder to help make them crispy and as long as they are not cooked in the same oil as other foods that are not gluten free. 

Well I ate french fries at work.  Many times. 

Not sure why I didn't think about the fact that they were cooked in the same oil as the onion rings, chicken fingers and other gluten foods that sat right next to the fries. 

Yup not my smartest moments. 

So maybe the reason I didn't feel any different was b/c I wasn't totally gluten free? 

Maybe not.  But I need to know for sure. 

So on Sunday I began a gluten free food trial. . . again!

This time I will be much more careful.  I will stick to foods that are for sure gluten free. 

Fruit, veggies, salads, chicken, almonds, Luna bars (the gluten free ones), cheese, Chex cereal, white rice and black beans, Skittles, corn chips and salsa, and just to treat myself I'll be sure to treat myself to some "safe" french fries. 

I'm mostly wondering if I will feel less exhausted on a gluten free diet.  Fatigue comes with MS.  And fatigue can come from gluten intolerance.  So who knows.  I know I am tired all.of.the.time.  I'm tired of being tired. 

So it is worth trying again (for real this time) just to be sure.

And the good news is I did manage to lose a few pounds the last time.  So maybe I'll lose a few more which wouldn't be such a bad thing. 

Are you gluten free?  And good recipes to share?

What are your favorite gluten free foods?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend Recap

I had a really nice weekend. Friday after work I picked up my new glasses. I'm still getting use to the way I look in them. I can see much better when driving! What do you think?

I drove to my parent's house and managed to do a few loads of laundry prior to heading to Jenn's house for a Park Lane party.  Have you ever been to one?  I had never even heard of Park Lane prior to this party.  I didn't think I would buy much after browsing online but I was wrong.  The stuff is so much prettier in person.  I ended up buying a few new necklaces and a pair of fun earrings.  If you have read my blog for a while then you know about my addiction to necklaces!  I can't wait for the stuff to come in! {Here's a sneak peak - I got both necklaces on this page!  Don't pay any attention to the prices listed b/c I did not pay anywhere near that}!

I ended up sleeping over my parent's house b/c on Saturday I had a "day date" with Peyton and Ella.  I picked them up and took them to the mall.  We went out to lunch at Bertucci's and the girls loved playing with the pizza dough (even though Peyton kept calling it cookie dough).  After lunch we went into a few stores including Build A Bear and Disney.  Then it was time for the highlight of the year.  We went to Portrait Simple for pictures with a baby bunny.  We did this last year for the first time and it was so much fun.  The girls were so excited to do it again.  They both LOVE the bunnies.  They looked adorable in their new dresses that I found at TJ Maxx for $15 bucks each (love that store).  The pictures came out awesome (as they always do).  Our photographer Meghan does an outstanding job.  She really captures the girls in such a natural way.  I can't wait to share the pics w/ you!  You'll have to wait until I can scan them into my computer though. {But in the meantime here is a sneak peak at the framed collage I bought which was the special}!

By the time I got home on Saturday evening I was exhausted and fell asleep for a 2 hour nap!  I really don't know how people with kids survive with such little sleep.  If I ever have kids I'll have to hire a babysitter so that I can take naps!  Ha!  It is a good thing I love my nieces so much that the exhaustion is worth it!

Sunday was more of a low key date that started out with the usual 4 hours of work.  It was much needed as it seems my wallet was pretty busy this weekend (some new clothes at the outlets, jewelry at Park Lane party, lunch with the girls, pictures. . .)!  After work I went grocery shopping, to church (my thing for lent) and then enjoyed a relaxing evening at home watching the Oscars!

I still have a cold!  So sick of being sick!  By Sunday I didn't have much of a voice.  The funny thing is that I didn't even know until I was at the Dunkin Donuts drive through.  I went to order and could hardly hear myself!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Weekend Recap {Finally}!!!

I love weekends, especially three day weekends.  Last weekend was a good one with a lot of family time!

This little lady turned 1 year old!  Can you believe Laney is already 1?  It feels like just yesterday we were celebrating her birth!  She looked adorable in her birthday outfit!

We celebrated Laney all afternoon.  Meghan made a beautiful video of Laney's first year which we all watch.  There were a lot of laugh and even some tears (Meghan's mom)!  Laney seemed to enjoy her first taste of cake!  Peyton had a lot of fun "playing" with Laney.  Unfortunately Ella got sick and wasn't able to stay at the party.  It was a great afternoon celebrating a special little girl in our family. 

On Sunday I worked for 4 hours which is never fun on a weekend but the cash in pocket puts a smile on my face.  In the afternoon my friend Joana and I went to Chipolte for lunch and then glasses shopping.  She helped me pick out a new pair of glasses.  I pick them up tonight!  

On Monday we went on a private tour and tasting at the Sam Adams Brewery.  My aunt, Cathy, "won" a raffle basket at the MS Fashion Show I was in back in November.  In the basket was a gift certificate for a free private tour/tasting for 20.  Pretty cool right!?  She invited all of my family (but a few people ended up not being able to make it last minute due to being sick) and some friends came along too.  We enjoyed tasting 3 beers - Boston Lager, Spring Alpine and Pumpkin (which isn't in stores/bars).  It was a lot of fun.  It is good to know people who win things!  Haha!  Thanks Cathy for hosting such a fun afternoon.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

Is it really Thursday already?  How is this possible?  A lot of people seem to be sick right now and the hospital has been full all week.  I have had such a busy week at work which leads to exhaustion and collapsing as soon as I get home from work therefore no weekend recap post yet.  But it is coming - I promise! 

I am no longer gluten free.  I was completely gluten free for 3 weeks and after 3 weeks I really didn't feel much different/better.  So I drank some beer and figured it would be a good test. . . well it didn't make me feel different/worse. . . so there ya have it!  Guess I'm not gluten intolerant!  Back to eating all the carbs and junk that is bad for me!

Lent has started and still have not decided what to give up.  I know I know.  I was so distracted by being gluten free and was already giving up so many foods it was hard to imagine giving up anything else to eat.  I was thinking instead of giving something up I would add something like going to church or doing something nice for someone. . . still trying to figure out what I'll do but I'll for sure do something! 

What is with this crazy weather?  Yesterday when I came out of work around 4 PM it was still 55 degrees!  I'll take it.  Does this mean an early spring?  Yes please!  Hopefully we don't get slammed with a March snow storm b/c I already have SPRING FEVER!  Ready for cute spring clothes and flip flops!

In just 20 days Stacy will be here to visit me from London!  To read about my trip to visit her go here.  I'm so excited for her visit b/c we have a lot of girly/crafty things planned including a trip to The Paint Bar and a weekend on the Cape for some scrapbooking!

This weekend I have a date with my nieces and I can't wait.  I haven't had time to see them nearly enough in 2012 so I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with them.  We are also making a trip to the photographer for some pictures with a baby bunny like we did last year.  So excited!!!

Yay for spring training!  I love hearing about the Red Sox every night in the sports news.  So far I have tickets to 3 home games and to one away game in Chicago!  Hoping to plan a trip to Seattle for Labor Day weekend to see a game too.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

I'm linking up with [life of love] today for Thursday Thoughts.  Lately it seems I can only manage to write blog posts filled with several random thoughts so here goes. . .

{Gluten Free Eating Update}
Yesterday I went to see a nutritionist at the same practice where my allergy doctor works.  She was very helpful.  Seeing her was a little like Groundhog Day for me.  Ya know he didn't see his shadow so more winter.  Well I see the nutritionist and it is more gluten free eating for me. . . It has been over two weeks now and I haven't noticed any significant differences so she wants me to do it for two more weeks.  Not only that but turns out I'm not getting nearly enough protein (which isn't actually that shocking to me since I don't eat red meat and hardly eat chicken lately).  So she wants me to increase my protein intake both by eating more foods like yogurt, cheese, peanut butter, nuts, and chicken and using a protein powder supplement.  She thinks that with the elimination of gluten and the addition of more protein that I will feel better.  We shall see.  To be continued. . .

{Glutenus minimus}
So I decided that if I am going to continue with the gluten free eating for another couple of weeks that I really needed to find some sweets that I can eat.  I googled "gluten free bakery, Boston" and what do ya know there is a place right nearby called Glutenus minimus!  Woo hoo!  So after reading excellent reviews I knew I would be making a pit stop on my way home from work.  I picked up 2 cupcakes and 3 cookies.  I can't wait to eat them and I'll be sure to let you know how they taste.  Very exciting stuff.

{The Bachelor}
I know you may find this hard to believe but I'm actually getting tired of The Bachelor!  Shocking I know.  Ben is lame.  Courtney is a biotch.  The rest of them are just so so.  Dates are stupid especially skiing in bikinis!  Really girls?  I've read the spoilers and know the outcome.  I won't say anything here since I know many like to be surprised.  So glad that The Voice is on at the same time so I can watch it live while DVRing The Bachelor which I can then watch and fast forward through the stupid parts most of it. 

So if rumors are true the newest iPad will be out during the first half of March which works out well so that I can treat myself to am amazing birthday present.  The real question is - do I spend the full price on the new one or do I save a lot of money and buy the iPad 2 which will drop in price by a lot I'm sure. . . of course I really want the newest one so I'll probably go with that but something to consider. 

{3 Day Weekend}
I'm so excited for the upcoming long weekend.  It will be nice to be away from work for 3 days and I have some fun things planned including Laney's 1st birthday party and a Sam Adams Brewery Tour!  And there will still be plenty of time for other fun stuff too. 

{My New Blog Design}
My blog is currently "under construction" and I am so looking forward to me new blog design!  I am due to see a 1st draft from the designer the first week of March so hopefully I'll have a final version not long after that! 

That's All Folks!  Happy Thursday!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Miscellany Monday

  • I've been gluten free for almost two weeks now.  I've been disappointed that I don't really feel much different.  But several people have told me it could take another week.  The one thing I have noticed and no stomach aches!  I use to have to take Prilosec and I stopped taking it a few weeks ago.  Usually when I stop taking it my stomach aches comes back within a few days but not this time!  Related?  Not sure but seems to me that it could be!
  • Honey Nut Chex cereal is really good!  I've almost eaten an entire box in 3 days!  So happy that all Chex cereals are gluten free.  It continues to amaze me how many foods have gluten in them that I would never expect.  This can be very annoying.   
  • I'm very excited for my blog friend, Katie, who got engaged this weekend.  Congrats Katie!  I'm so happy for you and Donny! 
  • I am so excited about my 2 new pairs of Jag Jeans that I bought at Ports and Company over the weekend!  Have you heard of them?  I first learned about them during the Fashion Plates MS Fashion Show.  Unfortunately by the time I had my fitting Ports and Company had sold out.  All the women who had them RAVED about them.  Well they finally got a new shipment in and I didn't waste any time in getting down there.  I bought a boot cut pair and a skinny pair.  They are great!  Oprah just endorsed them in her magazine too.  
  •  Monday nights have become awesome TV nights!  Can you say The Bachelor, The Voice and Smash all is the same night?  Thankfully I have DVR so I can record one while watching the other.  I'm really not a big fan of Ben who is the bachelor this season.  I of course will still watch until the end even though I already know who "wins" and I'm not happy about his choice.  I am a big fan of The Voice and so happy it is back.  I get so excited when good singers come on and the co
  • aches start turning their chairs around. 
  • I have THREE doctors appointments schedule this week.  Can you say RIDICULOUS!?  Seeing the eye doctor today (finally - haven't been since 2006), Nutritionist on Wed and ENT on Thur (although I may cancel this one).  
  • I'm so happy that Stacy's flight is booked and she will be here to visit me a month from tomorrow!  We have plenty of girly/crafty things planned including a night at The Paint Bar and a weekend on the Cape for some scrapbooking.  Can't wait!  
  • That is all for today.  I promise I will try to blog more than 1 time this week!  My life has been pretty boring lately so I have nothing to talk about.  But MS Walk season is quickly approaching so I will start posting about that a bit more soon.

      Sunday, February 12, 2012

      Happy Birthday Ella!

      Yesterday was Ella's 3rd Birthday. I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. I can't believe she is already 3 years old. Take a look at her through the years. . .

      Ella started celebrating early in the day by having a spa party with her sister and cousin.  This girls knows how to party (mani/pedi party sounds good to me)!

      Later in the day it was time for a family party with a cupcake theme.  {Ella is just a little bit obsessed with cupcakes}!
      I found the cupcake crown and wall decal and garland in the hospital gift shop.  I bough it all on a day when employees got a discount!  The good thing about them is that they are cloth so after the party Ella can hang them in her bedroom which has a cupcake theme too!

      Ella is party girly/girl and part tomboy.  She loves dancing and immediately changed into her new purple twirling skirt that I gave her. . . but then minutes later was "building" with her new tools from Grammy and Grampy.  She got Dora stuff, Bitty Baby stuff and sports stuff too.  Got to love a girl who likes variety!

      After presents it was time for the cupcake cake and cupcakes too!
      Since I'm still "gluten free" I couldn't eat any cake but Jenn bought me a special gluten free chocolate brownie at a new nearby bakery that is all gluten free.  It was REALLY good.  I was surprised! 

      The day was a lot of fun and ended with a few very tired kids and also an exhausted Auntie Jodi!  I hate having a cold b/c it just sucks all the energy right out of me.  Ella was silly and smiley all day and it was so nice to see her have such a fun birthday!

      To read about Ella's 2nd birthday party go here.

      Monday, February 6, 2012

      Just Some Stuff. . .

      I'm linking up with lowercase letters for miscellany Monday because this post is a bunch of random stuff!

      I'm grumpy.  Probably because I stayed up too late last night.  And maybe because my team lost the Superbowl.  Oh yeah that too.  Seriously I'm not even a big football fan but seeing the Pats lose with less than a minute left just killed me.  Ugh!  Thankfully I have baseball season to look forward to.

      I did go to a Superbowl party at Noelle's house.  Noelle is from NJ and even though she doesn't really care about either team she thought she would spice things up a bit.  Fun fact - she had to make her shirt because you better believe nobody in Mass is going to sell a Giants shirt!  Ha!

      I've been gluten free for 1 week today but may have cheated a little last night.  Superbowl food + gluten free eating = NO FUN!  I didn't drink any beer or eat any bread but I had a piece of chicken that had some sauce that I'm sure had some form of gluten/wheat in it.  Oh well.  I really don't feel any different in terms of my symptoms.  In fact last week I was exhausted all week and went to bed very early two nights.  Hoping I feel some kind of change this week. . . to be continued.

      I love The Voice and stayed up to watch it last night.  Love this show so much!  Christina on the other hand I do not love.  What is wrong with her?  She needs to just keep her mouth shut.  Her fighting with Adam is annoying.  I think she is trying to be like Simon picking on Paula in old Idol shows but it just isn't working for her.  And don't even get me started on her boobs.  The girl needs some clothes that fit!

      I mailed Stacy a birthday gift a week before her birthday.  The last time I mailed her a package it got there in less than a week.  This time it took 3.  Go figure!  I guess you can't predict with sending things overseas.  I was so nervous it had been stolen but she finally got it today and loved it.  I'm so happy!  I ordered it here and it is a silver charm of Kentucky (her home state) with a heart cut out in it.  You may remember that Stacy's mom died last year and Stacy is living in London now.  I thought this would be a great reminder for her of her home state and her mom. 

      In regard to my blog. . . it is broken.  I have no idea why.  For those of you who read my blog in google reader you may not have even noticed.  For those of you have noticed don't worry I'll have a new and improved blog design in the next couple of weeks!  

      I'm linking up with My Life Comes With Fine Print for Made My Day Monday because this truly did make my day. . .
      I hate doing laundry but I love that for $21 I could drop off all this laundry and get it back in the same day all washed, dried and folded (If only they would put it away too)!

      Thursday, February 2, 2012

      It's Ok {Superbowl Style}

      Its Ok Thursdays
      It's ok. . .

       that Tom Brady is going to be a superstar on Sunday. . .

      to dress the ducks up in the spirit of the Superbowl. . .

      to cry if you're a Giants fan. . .

      to think this is the.slowest.week.ever. . .

      to think Wes Welker is cute. . .

      to be really excited that the Patriots are in the Superbowl {again}! 

      Wednesday, February 1, 2012

      Two Week Gluten Free Food Trial Begins. . .

      yup you read that right.  Today is the day it begins.  I'll be removing gluten, wheat, rye and yeast from my diet for the next two weeks.  I will track how I feel and if I feel better then I will likely remain gluten etc free.  Let me back up a little.  I started seeing an allergist - who also just so happens to take a holistic approach.  He is a real MD but he looks at the big picture and tried to connect the dots with everything going on with the person.  For me this is very important.  Whenever I don't feel well or have something new "wrong" with me I wonder "Is this my MS or is it just a "regular" problem?"  (Research has shown a correlation between people with MS and gluten intolerance).  So I like this doctor because he is willing to try to figure out what the heck is going on with me. . . the endless list of symptoms/problems that are a nuisance.  Things that won't keep me out of work for the day but will certainly make me feel lousy.  I'm so use to feeling lousy that I really don't even remember what it feels like to not feel lousy.  So my allergist doctor (Dr. B.) thinks that removing these foods from my diet could make a big difference.  I'm willing to give it a try and see.

      I had allergy testing a few months ago.  It was a blood test known as the IgG test.  The results give a number 1 to 3 (with 3 being the most allergic) to each food.  I got a 1 for each - gluten, wheat, rye and yeast.  So while I'm not super allergic to any of these items on their own, I'm sensitive to them or intolerant.  I also got a 2 for pinto beans but I'm really not worrying about that one since I hardly ever eat pinto beans!  I also just had more blood work done, this time the IgE allergy test to see if I'm allergic to several other common foods.  I'm not really expecting anything earth shattering from those results but I won't get them until I go back in 2 weeks.  

      So I've gone grocery shopping to three different grocery stores to stock up on gluten free foods.  Fortunately now, unlike years ago, there are tons of gluten free foods in the stores making it much easier to find things to eat.  And thanks to the help of a a couple of my fellow MS "models" who are gluten free I got a lot of great advice.  I also found several great blogs. 

      I plan to blog about my journey over the next two weeks (and longer if I decide to stay gluten free).  Maybe I can help others with MS who are considering going gluten free.  I plan to share my "shopping list" and what I'm eating. 

      And just so I remember for myself I'm going to write down all the symptoms/medical issues/complaints I have/had over the last few years.  Not commenting on if they are MS related, could be gluten related or other.  Just putting them out there so in two weeks I can see if anything feels better.

      -stomach aches/bloat/gas/constipation
      -muscle aches/muscle spasms
      -right knee and hip pain
      -stuffy nose/congestion/post nasal drip
      -blocked ears

      So wish we luck!  Hopefully I won't be too tempted by all the munchkins, cookies, and treats that I'm bound to run into throughout the day at the hospital!