Stage 3 Kidney Disease

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After months of procrastinating, I was finally able to convince Abe to make a doctor’s appointment, just as a regular general check up, as one should generally do from time to time.  He has very mild asthma, and needs to keep an inhaler on hand,  the one he had was nearly empty.

Since we moved, it made sense to choose a doctor that was closer to us and one that offered convenient hours, due to our busy schedules.  A little research, and we found one close and decided to give her a try.

He went to his appointment and got the refill for his inhaler.  They took blood, which is normal, did a general check up, went over a brief history, and all seemed well.  He liked the doctor well enough for how little he would ever see her.

Overall, it was pretty uneventful.

Until about a week later when we got a letter in the mail.  I assumed it was thank you for visiting note that usually comes after visiting a new physician, and it was.  But it also included his blood work results, and a paragraph stating that Abe had stage 3 kidney disease.

Just like that.  A little sentence, hidden in the fluff of “thanks for coming” and the test results.  Not a call, not a suggestion for more tests to confirm this very serious diagnosis, just BOOM.

What do you think I did when I read that?

Did you guess “Google the heck up out of stage 3 kidney disease”?  Because that is exactly what I did.  And then I sobbed.  For hours.  I was a hysterical mess.  And Abe hadn’t even seen this diagnosis yet.

When Abe read the diagnosis, of course, he too was upset.  He was just told he had a serious illness in an informal letter.

Shouldn’t the doctor have called to discuss this major diagnosis?  Shouldn’t she have offered more testing and solutions instead of just dropping this major bomb on our family?

We sat in silence for a good while, and then we started brainstorming.  I had mentioned that in a renal diet plan, (yes, I went so far as to start looking up renal diets and supplements, and anything else I possibly could, I was desperate!  Abe is my world!) protein is greatly restricted.  He thought for a moment and then wondered out loud if the protein powder he had been supplementing with could have raised his creatine levels, giving a false “high” reading on the blood work.

Back to Google I went, and do you know what?  The protein powder he was using had a creatine boost in it!  Further research showed that it was common for these supplements to give false high levels in blood work.

A glimmer of hope!

He stopped using the protein powder immediately and began drinking more water to help flush his kidneys.  He also scheduled a repeat visit and requested a new blood test to recheck his levels.

I am very happy to say that his levels are completely NORMAL!!  The doctor took back her stage 3 kidney disease diagnosis.

But should she have even diagnosed that in the first place?!

There are specific tests that should have been ordered, steps taken to verify her findings before giving out the death sentence.  And perhaps a phone call was in order?

This whole ordeal caused a lot of stress and worry that was 100% avoidable.  It is just another reminder that you cannot blindly accept everything that is said to you, even by doctors.  You have to be an advocate for yourself and for your loved ones.  Do your research, ask questions, and when things don’t add up, demand new tests and see different doctors.

Your doctor works for you, so you should be able to trust them to try and care for you to the best of their ability.

Apparently this doctor never heard the phrase, “do no harm”.

Stay healthy, friends.  And I hope you never have this happen to you or your loved ones. What a terrifying experience, worrying about losing your soul mate!

More Pretty Dollar Tree Candles!

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Guys!  How cute are these candles?!

This is yet another super fun Dollar Tree find!  These are actual candles with wicks, not battery operated, and they smell lovely!  They each have the layered colors and a gorgeous gold lettered saying on the front.

In order from left to right they read:

  • Hello Gorgeous
  • Follow Your Dreams
  • Free Spirit
  • You Are My Sunshine

These would be so cute decorating a teen or tween’s bedroom!  Or a dorm room, or any room that needs a little pop of color and a pretty little saying to make you smile.  I grabbed one of each, they were just too cute to resist!

I am currently upgrading my girls room, and I think these would be lovely as little accent pieces!

TTC Arsenal

fertility meds

Guys, this is just a tiny slice of the mega supply of supplements I have right now, in my desperate attempt to overcome my infertility.  I thought it might be helpful to get an idea of what I am using and the effectiveness of the products I will share as I use them.  This is just what came in a recent Amazon delivery, to be added to my regular routine.

I think it will be easier if I break up my supply into several posts, because it’s a lot of stuff and a lot of info to take in.  I should mention that in addition to the supplements I am using, I am also following a healthy whole foods eating plan, and exercising 5+ days a week.  All of the supplements in the world won’t help you if you aren’t being proactive in all aspects of your life.  I should also mention, for those that don’t know, that I suffer from PCOS which is largely responsible for my secondary infertility.

Secondary infertility is described as the inability to achieve or maintain a healthy pregnancy following the birth of one or more biological children.  What I have come to learn, is that it is typical for PCOS to really take hold and cause infertility in your mid to late 20’s.  This is exactly what happened to me.  I had two children and then came the nightmare roller coaster of miscarriage and infertility.

I had a Clomid/rainbow baby, and then quickly became pregnant with my youngest soon after.  The combination of breastfeeding, weight loss and somewhat normalized hormones coupled with perfect timing helped me with that.  Since then, my PCOS has flared out of control.

So now, I have my battle gear on, and I am fighting to regain what should be rightfully mine.  I have grown tired of being betrayed by my own body and decided to take action.  Sometimes you just have to get mad to get serious, and this year, my friends, I got pissed off.

Pictured:

  • Premama Fertility Supplement:  This is a drink additive that includes 2000 mg of myo-inositol and 200 mcg of folic acid.  I know I have tried inositol supplementation before with zero results.  Call me crazy, but I decided to try this supplement anyway with a daily tea I will talk about soon.
  • NAC 600mg (n-acetyl-cysteine): This is touted as a miracle supplement by so many for PCOS and has been on my mind for years but I never tried it before.  Until now.  Some benefits reported include improving insulin sensitivity, lowering testosterone and free androgens, regulating cycles and improving regularity of ovulation, supporting egg quality, and higher progesterone levels.  This supplement is in the sulfur family, and let me tell you, the capsules smell awful.  But if it can help me, you know I’m willing to give it a try.
  • OPK Test Strips: Wishful thinking, but I would like to be able to use these puppies, and I know you go through a ton of them in a cycle so I stocked up with a 100 count box.  I will go into more detail on OPK’s for cysters, as they are a whole new game, but for now, I am just well stocked and hopeful.

Stay tuned for more arsenal info, and hopefully I will be able to update that the crazy cocktail of supplements offers me some benefits.  PCOS is tough to navigate and there are so many promised miracle cures out there, it’s hard to know what is even worth trying.  I do a lot of research on everything before I decide to try anything, and of course, none of this is meant as medical advice, it’s just me being open and sharing my journey.  As far as dosages, that can vary wildly, depending on what study or article you read.  I tend to follow the research studies for dosage amounts, rather than the label on the bottles.  It’s all trial and error, really.  I try to be tuned into my body and adjust accordingly.

Until next time, friends!

DIY Chalkboard

chalkboard

We made a fun chalkboard for the kids playroom last weekend and it was so simple and easy to make!

Have you been wanting a chalkboard for your kids, but didn’t want to pay the crazy high prices for the dinky pre made ones?  Same here, friends!  This board was so easy and inexpensive, it just doesn’t make sense to even bother with the high priced store bought ones.  Trust me, even a beginner DIYer could tackle this!

Materials needed:

  • Sheet of metal from plumbing department in hardware store (you could also use a board, but we used metal so it would also be magnetic for the kids to use their letter magnets and other fun magnets on)
  • Trim pieces (they can even cut them for you at the hardware store if you don’t have a saw!)
  • Blackboard paint
  • Screws

To start with, you will want to put several coats of blackboard paint on the metal sheet.  Let the coats dry in between.  We ended up doing about 4-5 coats.  If you want, paint the trim.  The trim pieces we grabbed were pre painted, how easy is that?  You can get fancy and do mitered corners and what not, but we went super simple and quick for our assembly.

When the chalkboard paint is dry, lay out the trim and attach.  Abe just used short screws and screwed them on from behind the board.

To attach to the wall, we used anchors and screws directly through the four corners of the chalkboard.

That is it, friends!

Before you throw the chalk at the kids and tell them to have at it, prime the board by taking the side of a piece of chalk and covering the whole board with a thin layer of chalk.  Then erase and let the kids go wild.

Our kiddos love the new addition to the playroom!  Everyday there is a new masterpiece created.  So fun!

Happy crafting, friends!

Dollar Tree Ocean Theme Candles

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Have you seen these super cute LED candles at your local Dollar Tree this summer?  I absolutely fell in love with them when I saw them on the shelf!

The candles are votive sized, and have sand and pretty little shells in the bottom.  The blue “water” is a gel material.  Some of the candles even have tiny little starfish in them, so cute!

These are similar to other LED votives that Dollar Tree sells, with a toggle switch on the bottom and a flickering candle like light when turned on.

I think they are just perfect for summer decorating, and would be adorable in a beach themed bathroom year round.

Grab them fast if you like them, fall merchandise is already rolling out in the stores!

Happy decorating, friends!

Shark Friends

I have been supersizing lots of patterns lately by using fun and fluffy mega yarns.  In the spirit of Shark Week, and because we love the misunderstood fish so much, I couldn’t help but whip up a few shark friends for the kids.

This little, or should I say big, guy grew from ping pong ball size to softball size, simply by changing the yarn.  And the chenille yarn is so fluffy and soft, it makes him extra fun to snuggle!

 

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This fun hammer head shark turned out even bigger than I anticipated!  Noah claimed him right away.  Notice his shark themed pjs!  Hehe!  He is super cuddly and soft, and I think he will go nicely with his shark snuggle sack!

Get the pattern for the Hammerhead Shark by visiting Jillian over at Spin A Yarn Crochet or click HERE.

I hope you have had an awesome Shark Week!

Fish Stick Snack!

goldfish

Guys!  How cute are these “fish sticks”?!

I saw this adorable idea on Pinterest and made them for a recent playdate we had.  They are so incredibly simple to make and they are so impressive looking when they are finished!  And not to mention what a hit they are with the kids!

To make these is pretty self explanatory.  It’s just pretzel rods dipped in melting chocolate and then decorated with Goldfish Crackers and sprinkles.  I used the little mini pearls for the bubbles, and mixed pink and blue colored sugar for the aquarium gravel.

This would be a great Shark Week snack!  Sure, they aren’t Great Whites, but they are awfully cute and it’s an underwater theme, so that counts, right?

Happy snacking, friends!

Happy Yarn Mail July 2017 Review

*sigh*

Guys, this month’s box is a hot mess from start to finish.  So many issues, it’s kind of ridiculous.  Let’s jump right in so I can address them all with you.

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Shipping is never an issue with this box.  You are forced to pay big bucks for Priority Mail, (almost $10!), so when it does finally get shipped at the end of the month, it arrives at your door very quickly.

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The Happy Yarn Mail July project is a Summer Sweet-Sicle Pillow.  Included in this month’s box is the pattern, four balls of yarn, a packet of fiber stuffing, 2 safety eyes, and the water bottle is this month’s extra crochet related goody.

So right off the bat, let me tell you, the blue yarn included in this box is not the yarn pictured on the project booklet.  In the photo, the pillow is made with all pastel colors.  The blue included, while a slightly larger size than the other balls, just does not look quite as nice as the blue in the photos.  It is also a different texture than the other yarn balls included.  It feels rough and splits like crazy!  Yes, you can still make the project, (kind of, but I will get to that), but it looks quite different and is really false advertising.

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The water bottle is teeny tiny, guys!  Like definitely child sized.  It’s not worth the hassle of filling for an adult, it is comically small.  Unless you fill it with tequila to help numb your pain from paying so much for this box….  Yes, it has a cute decal on it.  Yes, it is a crochet related decal.  But, for this I pay $10 more than the yarn only box?  Ugh.  Major buyer’s remorse this month.  And we already received a cute tumbler a couple boxes ago and there was a mug a few boxes back.  How many drink vessels does one need?  Luckily I have an 11 year old crochet enthusiast that I can gift this to.

Okay, so let’s talk about the issue that every single box since the inception of this subscription has encountered.  Hard to access, or in this month’s case, non existent video tutorials.

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They no longer include a YouTube link, they send you directly to their website where you will be greeted with this message.  Yes, they still do super secret passwords, which they now include in the box, but if the link they tell you to go to to access it does not exist, that won’t do you much good now will it?

I will be honest, the video tutorials really aren’t much in the way of a tutorial.  When they actually exist, they are not a true video version of the pattern, but rather a short video with a tip for doing one or two parts of the pattern.  Regardless, I pay nearly $40 a month for this box, you bet your yarn stash I am going to watch that video.  If I can….

This is the 5th month of issues with the videos.  Enough is enough already.

It gets worse though, guys.

So this pattern.  It is majorly jacked.  Like, if you blindly follow it, assuming that for $40, surely they have the time to write and test a working pattern, you will be sorely mistaken this month.

This “pillow” is made in 3 pieces.  there are the two front and back panels, one side gusset, and the stick.  The panels come together fine, but you quickly realize that this “pillow” is super tiny and really, more of a cute little stuffy.

The gusset, or “side panel” is first of all super annoying and a weird way to put this item together.  But most importantly, the pattern for it is COMPLETELY WRONG.

I have been crocheting, creating mostly amigurumis and other small projects like this for as long as I have been stitching.  I know how the patterns work, I know how the pieces should look as it comes together, and I know when something is off.  I have done crochet testing for some of the big, well known crochet designers out there, so my eye is trained for spotting errors.

This project is not possible to complete as it is written.

I had to add almost 30 rows of pink to correctly finish this gusset.  What is helpful, is to have your panels in front of you, so you can measure your progress and get the right counts for your project.  But don’t trust this pattern because it is a hot mess.

Assembly is a sloppy nightmare as well.  All of the long, tangled strands of yarn to keep track of, it’s a strange way to suggest finishing this project.  Not to mention that most of the very similar FREE patterns like this do not have a side gusset, but rather stitch the two sides together in a prettier finish, like a finishing row of single crochet, etc.

The last issue with the pattern is the stick.  This is such an easy piece of the puzzle, it shouldn’t be an issue.  But it is.

In the written pattern, it has you do 8 rounds for the stick.  What I immediately noticed upon finishing the 8th round, is that it was tiny.  In fact, it was too small and looked wrong.  So I referred to the photo on the cover of the booklet.  The stick in the photo is definitely longer than 8 rounds.  In fact, if you count the rows, it looks to be about 12 rounds.  This makes a huge difference in the finished appearance of this project!

It is a real pet peeve of mine to purchase a pattern as advertised in the photo, only to have the actual pattern not match the photo you based your purchase on!  It happens often!  And it sucks!  If the artist fixes something or does something differently to achieve the look in the photo they use to bait you to purchase the directions, the very least they could do is to make the pattern reflect those changes!  Otherwise they are setting you up to fail, and that, my friends, is bad business.

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Sorry for the dark photo, friends, it is a dark and stormy day here today!  But there is my finished project, completed with loads of editing to the written pattern.  I added the blush marks with some leftover pink yarn, just as a finishing touch for my preference.  You can see how much darker the blue yarn included this month is compared to the booklet photo.  It seems better suited for a bomb pop stuffy, than this pastel colored pattern.  And imagine the stick 4 rounds shorter, it would look silly and disproportionate to the entire project.

For $40 dollars, you are getting wrong colored yarn, a completely wrong pattern, and a tiny water bottle.  The video tutorial does not exist as of this moment, and the people who have asked or mentioned it on the Facebook Page have not been answered, though the people asking how to subscribe, aka give her money, are quickly answered with links to purchase.

Hmmmmm…….

Nope.  This stinks, friends.  Save your money.  Do not bother with this box, it is a hot mess.  Go on Pinterest and find some cute patterns, pay a crochet designer $5 or less for a tested pattern, use your coupons and buy pretty yarn in the colors and quality that you love.

This box is too expensive.  There are too many issues every month.  I have run out of supplies or had to adjust patterns, it’s just not worth the hassle.  I wanted to love this box because I am passionate about yarn and fiber arts, but this just is not a good deal or a good box.   I simply can not recommend it with good faith.

These boxes were sent out with substitution yarn.  That should have been addressed.  The video tutorial does not work.  That should have been addressed.  The pattern is all wrong.  That should have been addressed.  The silence is screaming run away, and I am definitely listening!

Meanwhile, enjoy one of many FREE patterns for a very similar design that is written correctly and does not include the messy gusset.

Click HERE to be taken to a FREE pattern, written by Sarah over at Repeat Crafter Me.  Hers is in patriotic colors, but could easily be absolutely any color you desire with any yarn you like.  You can also find loads of very similar patterns all over Pinterest.

 

 

Happy Shark Week!

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Are you huge fans of Shark Week like my family is?  We just love it, even if all the shows make the ocean a wee bit scary!  *cue Jaws theme*

I made this fun snuggle sack for Noah last summer, it was the perfect project for summer time, and it kept him warm all fall and winter.  It is made with Bernat Blanket yarn, so it is super plush and cuddly!

Every night when I tuck him in, I tell him to “Feed the shark!”  He giggles and then climbs right in.

You can find the pattern for the Shark Snuggle Sack from Yarnspirations by clicking HERE.

Enjoy Shark Week, and don’t feed the sharks!  Unless they are made with fluffy yarn!  😉

 

Crochet Ice Cream Pin Cushion

Recently, on a trip to my local Michael’s store, I came across a super adorable ceramic ice cream cone in several, pretty pastel colors.  I knew immediately that I had to have it, and that it would look so sweet as the bottom of a crocheted ice cream scoop, which would serve perfectly as a pin cushion!

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Does an open box of pointy pins scare you as much as it scares me?  I am always so afraid of getting pricked by one, I don’t even reach in the box!  I just dump some out and safely separate them with a pencil or hook or whatever is handy that isn’t my fingers!

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I have wanted to make myself a pin cushion for quite awhile now, I just couldn’t make myself buy the old tomato pin cushion in the stores.  And with my pretty rainbow colored pins, they will make the perfect “sprinkles” for my ice cream scoop!

Let’s get started!

Supplies needed:

*Crochet Hook (I used a 3.5mm hook for mine, but of course any hook will work.  Smaller hooks and tighter stitches make smaller projects, while larger hooks and looser stitches make larger projects.  Stick close to the 3.5mm size if replicating this project exactly.) 

*Worsted Weight Yarn (choose any “flavor” you like!) 

*Ice Cream Cone (Mine is from Michael’s, but you could also use a small cup, a bowl, or even crochet your own cone!) 

*Fiber Fill Stuffing

*Hot Glue or E-6000 (Something nice and strong for attaching the scoop of ice cream to your cone.) 

*Stitch Marker (We will be working in continuous rounds.)

Abbreviations:

Pattern is written using US crochet terms.

sc : single crochet
hdc : half double crochet
dc : double crochet
sl st : slip stitch

ch: chain

 

Instructions:

We will be working in continuous rounds here, so insert your stitch marker at the end of each round.

Round 1: Work 6 sc into a magic circle.  (6)
Round 2: Work 2 sc into each stitch around. (12)
Round 3: Work *1 sc into next stitch, 2 sc into next stitch* 6 times. (18)
Round 4: Work *1 sc into next 2 stitches, 2 sc into next stitch* 6 times. (24)
Round 5: Work *1 sc into next 3 stitches, 2 sc into next stitch* 6 times. (30)
Round 6: Work *1 sc into next 4 stitches, 2 sc into next stitches* 6 times. (36)
Round 7: Work *1 sc into next 5 stitches, 2 sc into next stitches* 6 times.(42)
Round 8: Work *1 sc into next 6 stitches, 2 sc into next stitches* 6 times. (48)

Rounds 9-18: Work 1 sc into each stitch around. (48) Do not fasten off.

1

Ruffle on bottom of scoop:

Round 19: Remove stitch marker, and now, work in front loops only.  Ch 1, in next stitch, in front loop only, 2hdc.  In next stitch, 4hdc.  Alternate 2hdc and 4hdc in front loops only, all the way around the scoop.  When you come to the end, sl st and fasten off.

You should have a super cute scoop of ice cream now, ready for filling!

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Optional Cherry on top: I like to attach my cherry before stuffing, it’s just easier!  This project would look cute with or without the cherry on top.  You can also sew your own sprinkles on top, if you didn’t want to use this as a pin cushion.

To make the cherry, use red worsted weight yarn and either a fancy schmancy pom pom maker, or your handy dandy fingers!  I just use my fingers.  I start by cutting a piece of yarn about 10 inches long.  Set this aside for tying your yarn in just a bit!

Now, wrap the red yarn around three fingers about 36-40 times.  Don’t wrap it too tightly or it will be tougher to get off and tie.

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Once you are done wrapping, very carefully remove the wrapped  yarn from your fingers, being certain not to let the loops move or fall apart.  Take the piece of yarn we set aside and tie it very tightly around the very middle of your loops.  You want to wrap it around twice and really tie it quite tightly.

Now you get your scissors and cut the loop ends, so you have a crazy ball of yarn bits.  Be careful not to cut your tie in the middle.  Trim the yarn all around, making it smaller and neater, eventually making a cute little pom pom, or in this case, cherry.

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To attach, simply stitch into place on top of your ice cream cone.  It’s easier to do this before stuffing.

You could also hot glue a pre made pom pom here, but where’s the fun in that?

Finishing:

Finishing this project is super easy.  First, you want to stuff the bottom of the ice cream cone.  You can use fiber fill, or paper towels, whatever you have.  It won’t be noticeable in the bottom cone part of this project, so I used paper towels and made it very firm so that the stuffing from the scoop would have a firm bottom.

Stuff the scoop with your fiber fill.  You want it nice and full, with a good firmness to it, since we are using this as a pin cushion.

Initially, I planned on gluing my scoop on with E-6000, however, I found that it would have been difficult to keep it held in place for the amount of time it would take to cure.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some E-6000, but in this project, I found hot glue to work best for me.

I put a dot of hot glue on one side of the cone and then placed the scoop in place over it.  I did this with the scoop upside down, and the cone on top.  This allowed me to keep the stuffing pushed in while I glued it in place, and gravity was on my side this way.

Keep doing this, all around the cone.  If you imagine the circle as a clock, I glued in 12 and 6 first, and then 3 and 9.  Then I just kept closing the little gaps by doing dots of glue in between.

Be careful with hot glue!  Martha Stewart always suggests having a bowl of ice water next to you when working with hot glue, and believe me, it comes in handy!

Once your scoop is glued in place, all that’s left is the sprinkles!

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I love how cute this pin cushion turned out!!  It’s cute and functional!  No more stressing about getting stabbed by the mess of pins!  Yay!

I hope you enjoy this pattern as much as I do!  It was super fun to come up with, I can’t wait to make some new flavors!