Thanksgiving! Migraine and gluten free, round 2

Three years ago, I wrote a post about celebrating Thanksgiving with my brother, who has Celiac Disease. Welp, we get to do it again!! We’re loading up the mini and making the nine hour drive to his place! I thought I’d help out my fellow migraineurs by sharing what we’re having on the menu. 

Note: I’ve been on the migraine-free diet for nearly five years now. I know that these foods will not trigger a migraine for me. If they are your trigger, just avoid them. 

We’ll start with the star of the show, the turkey. I love using a brine on the turkey. Once again, we’ll be using the brine kit from World Market. The only questionable ingredient in the mix is orange peel. I’ve never had any issues with it. There are probably a ton of homemade brine recipes out there on the interwebs. You can always adapt one to eliminate your triggers, and voila! A delicious, gluten and migraine free turkey. Gobble gobble!

Last time I also made a cranberry chutney that was delish. I used peach juice instead of orange juice, and left out the orange zest. It worked well! 

 I don’t know if we’ve officially decided on appetizers, but I’m going to stick with my old favorite, veggies and hummus. Since my last post, I have actually figured out how to make awesome homemade hummus. This is the recipe I use.  You can make it a day ahead of time so it’s ready to go. I don’t know if I’ll have time to make some before I go, so I’ll probably just stick with Sabra. 

My mom is making Syracuse potatoes in the instant pot. I’ve never had them before, but she says they’re pretty amazing. I’ll probably make a couple baked sweet potatoes for my girls because they looove them. And they’re super easy. Wash potatoes. Poke potatoes. Wrap them in foil. Pop them in the oven at 400 for 45-60 minutes. 

I bought some Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Biscuit Mix, so I’ll make some biscuits with that. 

My mom and I love a good squash dish, so I’d like to make roasted butternut squash again. It’s so good! We did it last time we had Thanksgiving together. Here’s the recipe I’ll be following. 

Some French cut green beans would be a great complement to the meal. Nothing fancy, just cook them, add butter and salt, and I’ll be a happy camper. 

My brother’s girlfriend is in charge of the pumpkin pie. She found a gluten free crust. Other than that, there really aren’t any migraine triggers in the pumpkin pie. 

So there you go! Gobble til you wobble, and may you remain migraine free throughout the Thanksgiving weekend! 


Worry: it’s not worth it

Have you ever been really worried about something, almost consumed with the “what if?” I know I have, and I’m guessing you have too. Have you ever noticed that the things you really worry about, generally never happen? And that sometimes, the things you think you won’t have an issue with, actually become issues?

I’ll give an example: my five-year-old started kindergarten this year. She is a picky eater as well as a very slow eater. I’m talking 30 minutes to eat a little bowl of rice. I was concerned about her eating lunch every day at school. Luckily I know her teachers pretty well. I asked one teacher how much time they get to eat. About 20 minutes. Yikes. I pretty much thought about this all summer long. 

Well, she has been in school for about three months now, and she has only taken her lunch twice. And it’s not because she doesn’t like the food. It’s because some of her friends take their lunch, and she wants to be like them. Which leads me to my next point: the things you thought would be fine, can actually become issues.

Playground politics, man. I didn’t think it would happen in kindergarten. One morning, I woke Norah up and she asked if it was a school day. I told her it was, and she said she didn’t want to go to school. I asked her why, but she wouldn’t say. Over the course of getting ready and eating breakfast, she told me it was because of the game the girls were playing at recess. All of the girls were horses, and they made Norah be the baby horse because she’s the smallest girl. Norah didn’t want to be the baby horse. After more talking, we decided she wanted to be a dinosaur 🙂 We did some roleplaying and she was feeling much better. 

Never would I have thought she would have issues playing with her friends at recess. These are the same girls she’s gone to daycare and preschool with for the last two years. Somedays she comes home and says she’s still a dinosaur, or maybe she wanted to be a horse, and somedays she’s a tiger. Whatever she decides to be, I hope she will remember that she always has an option and that they will still be her friend if she stands up for herself. I hope she’s always a dinosaur in a world of horses. 

I found this quote when I was in college, and it has always stuck with me. It hasn’t stopped me from worrying. But it does make me feel better.

The other thing that makes me feel better when I’m worried about something is a trick my sister-in-law taught me several years ago. Her tip was to go through the worst-case scenario. Go back to my worrying about Norah’s school lunch. Worst-case scenario? She doesn’t like anything on her plate. She just drinks milk for lunch. You know what? They still have two snack times in kindergarten! She’ll make it through the day. 

In the end, worry is rarely worth it. And it gives me a stomachache. And sucks all the joy and fun out of my day. “Don’t worry about it,” is always easier said than done. But if you really think about it, if you can while in the midst of that worry, worry won’t change the outcome. It won’t make the thing you’re obsessing over stop from happening. It does nothing but steal your happiness. 

Also, thinking about worry made me think of the Fraggle Rock Theme Song.  

Are you a worrier? Do you have any tips or tricks for dealing with it? Have you found that the things you worry about never actually come to fruition? Or do you feel sometimes that it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy? Let me know in the comments!


I hate naps

“But I don’t want to take a nap!”

No, this isn’t my three-year-old talking. I mean, it is sometimes. But this was me, in the doctor’s office. While he was telling me that I am allowed, and probably should take naps.

I don’t like taking naps. I love when my children take naps. Just don’t tell me to do it. Even though, in this phase of life, I desperately, desperately need to take them. Almost daily. 

I hate them because I have a million other things I should be doing. Unload the dishwasher. Fold laundry. Vacuum. Mop. Get dinner ready. Play with my children. Weed and water the garden. Read one of the million books on my bookshelf. Clean off my desk. Finally finish the second daughter’s baby book. She’s three now. Sorry middle child. 

I hate them because I feel selfish taking time for myself when my kids are home. I hate taking naps when the kids are out of the house because that’s my free time to do all the things I can’t do when they are home. 

I hate them because it takes me an hour to fully wake up from the nap. Usually an hour spent playing on my phone or watching Netflix. Damn Netflix and your addictive shows. And damn the autoplay feature. 

But in this season of life, I get three things: my family, my work, and apparently, naps. 

“You’re a caregiver. You’re taking care of more things than you realize.” Thanks, doctor who I’ve never met before. Don’t make me cry in the exam room! 

I’ve been having some very annoying health issues the past few months. I’m exhausted. I have three children, ages 5, 3, and 1. I know I should be tired. But not THIS tired. Not “if I don’t get a nap right now I’m going to pass out” tired. I’m lightheaded. Not dizzy; just woozy. My vision has changed. I haven’t worn glasses since I worked in an office four years ago. I now need my glasses daily. I went to the optometrist in January. He told me I don’t need to go back for three years because my eyes haven’t changed. Except now they have. I’m going back next week. 

“Do I have a brain tumor?” I asked the doctor this morning. 

“Well, I don’t have x-ray vision, but I doubt it.” 


Besides permission to take naps, he gave me a few other tips: No phones or reading in bed. Also no TV in bed, but we don’t have a TV in our room, so no problemo. No eating two hours before bed (I’m not excited about this one).  Sleep with earplugs in and make my husband deal with any nighttime wakings (this one I love). Go for a walk, if I feel like it. Drink more water. Naps cannot be longer than 40 minutes.

So, I still don’t like taking naps, but for this season, I’ll suck it up, put on my eye mask, and nap when I can. Thanks, doc. 


FARMHOUSE // August renovation update

It’s been two months since the last update! Eek! Things slowed down on the reno once we got home and Shane had less free time. And then we had a baby, so even less free time now! 

But never fear! There has been definite progress. 

The upstairs is completely gutted. 

Farmhouse upstairs

The chimney has come down since I took this picture. 

Shane and his parents took the windows off the porch in preparation for taking off the porch!

Windows out

And then the porch came off.

Porch gone

One of those big branches on that giant cottonwood tree is going to come down this week. We really, REALLY don’t want to take the tree down. But if one of those branches fell, it would crush the house 🙁 Don’t worry. I’ll be planting more trees in the future. 

Today Shane took down the ceiling tiles in the living and dining room. It revealed the awesome 9 foot ceiling! 

Ceiling tiles down

So there you go! Our contractor will start working on the upstairs mid-September. We’ll get the slab poured for the new porch done soon as well. Things are moving along nicely 🙂 


Remember that one time…

Remember how I used to actually blog things?! What happened there? Oh, life. Right! 

Well here’s the latest:

In 2014 we decided to move to the ranch.

In 2015 we actually moved to the ranch.

It’s now 2016, and we’ve figured out our forever home. We’re renovating Shane’s grandparents’ 1923 farmhouse. It’s a four bedroom, one bathroom house.

While my parents, my girls and I took a six day vacation to Montana, Shane and his parents ripped into the house. Literally. Good thing I had already taken the “before” pictures! They moved all of the furniture and boxes and other things from the upstairs to the main level. They took down plaster and lath from a few of the rooms. And cleaned that mess up. They took out a couple windows (which we now need to get covered since there’s actual rain in the forecast).


The smallest of the upstairs bedrooms, with all of the plaster off the walls and on the floor.
The smallest of the upstairs bedrooms, with all of the plaster off the walls and on the floor.

It is currently 86 degrees outside. Shane and my parents are in the house taking out more plaster and lath. Luckily I’m not allowed in the house during demolition. Only five more weeks of using that excuse! Then I get to use the “I just had a baby!” excuse 🙂

While Shane would like to do the work himself, he just doesn’t have the time. It’d be 10 years before we could move in! So most of the work will be hired out. I’m planning to keep everyone updated with the progress of the reno.

Also, I’m fairly clueless about this whole renovation project. And yes, I do watch Fixer Upper. Chip and Joanna, feel free to come do it for us!


Learning and Growing

Well my blog has been quiet lately, but that’s about it. It’s rarely quiet in my home! While my girls are at daycare this morning, I wanted to take a minute to talk about a couple things going on in my life.

First off, I started using essential oils about a year ago. Oh man, I’m a bit obsessed now. I just got back from my company’s annual convention. I didn’t know it was possible to love this company any more, but after seeing the amazing things they do throughout the world, I have so much respect for the company and its founders. So, be prepared to see me back to blogging, and incorporating essential oils into that!

If you’re interested in essential oils, you can contact me here. I’m always up for talking about oils and how they can enhance your life. 

Second, I have been working on getting my certification as a nutritionist. My goal is to have it done by Christmas, and that’s definitely within reach. It’ll probably happen sooner than that. 

THEN my goal is to write a cookbook!! All of the recipes will be migraine free! I am so excited to start it, but I really want to focus on my certification first. I have a list of a bunch of recipes to write. Let me know if you’d like to be a recipe tester 😉 

That’s all for now. I’m off to Do The Work! 


PODCASTS // My Latest Obsession

I’ve been absent from the blog lately, in case someone out there has been waiting for a new post. No excuses. It’s been busy here and I let it slide. 

I just needed to get on here and write this out:

PODCASTS ARE THE BOMB. For real. Back when Cece was born – A YEAR AGO!! – I asked my brother for podcast recommendations to listen to during those middle of the night feedings. He suggested a couple. One of them stuck: Stuff You Should Know.

These guys make me happy. They pick a topic, research it, and then just talk about it. I can’t tell you how much cool stuff I’ve learned from Josh and Chuck over the past year. From things like earwax – way more interesting than I thought it would be – to the Lewis and Clark expedition. (That Lewis and Clark episode is one of my favorites.) You can listen to their podcasts on their website or on iTunes. 

A few weeks ago we went back to Iowa. It’s an eight hour drive. I don’t think I turned on the radio once. I plugged my phone into the auxiliary outlet in my car and listened to Stuff You Should Know. For eight hours. Both ways. 

Then just the other day my sister-in-law told me about another podcast called Being Boss. It’s two women who talk about being creative entrepreneurs. I don’t even have a business, but these women have me all jacked up and motivated! It’s been three days since Sheila (my sister-in-law) discovered them, and I’ve listened to eight of their podcasts. EIGHT!! 

They are inspiring women and I love what they are doing. If you feel like getting some motivation, you can listen to their podcasts on their website or iTunes, also. I listen to them while I fold laundry, clean up, wash dishes, rock the baby to sleep, and generally putz around the house. 

This is how jacked up these ladies have made me: I got up at 5:45 this morning, showered, ate breakfast, watered the garden, and finished a project before 8 a.m. Then my three-year-old woke up. I fed her breakfast, we let the chickens out, put clothes on the line, and then headed out of town by 9:30. I may not run a business, but I do run my house. They gave me my new mantra: Do the work. I also managed to wash all of our dishes by hand (no dishwasher in this house), clean the master bathroom – including mopping! – and start dinner before Shane got home around 5:30. 

I did the work. 


Norah’s bum knee debacle

Well, today was interesting. It all started yesterday afternoon.

Norah was sitting at the table eating a snack. She told me she had to go potty and got off the chair. Then she grabbed her knee, said it was “frowny,” and asked if I could carry her to the bathroom. I did, and didn’t think much of it. 

Then she did it again. 

I sat her on the couch and took a look at her knee. It looked fine to me! She relaxed and watched a show. She spent the evening saying her knee was still frowny, and refusing to walk. 

At bedtime she even asked for medicine.

When she woke up, she still wouldn’t walk, or even stand up. I got ahold of a friend who is a retired physical therapist (isn’t it great to know people?!) and she came over right away. I’m talking 7 a.m.! She talked to Norah and checked out her knee. Then she recommended we take her to an orthopedist. 


We called, and they were booked. So we headed to urgent care. If it was bad enough, they would be able to get us into ortho. 

She got another examination, plus some x-rays. All they saw was some minor swelling around her knee. The doctor said to basically just follow her lead. If she doesn’t want to stand and put pressure on it, then don’t. If she wants to get up and run, then do that. 

They did get us an appointment with ortho for next week. If she’s up and running then we can cancel. But so far, she’s still not standing on her right leg. 

The doctor said that kids love to run and jump. So if she’s sitting and refusing to run around, then something hurts. And if you know Norah, jumping is her thing. We don’t call her Norah Jean Jumping Bean for no reason!

She did so great at the doctor’s office! In the past, she screamed and cried the entire time. No tears, no crying this time! I’m impressed. 

Hopefully we’ll get some good news next week! In the meantime, I’ll be home, hanging out with my two girls – neither of which can walk 😉 


Orlando Family Vacation!

The last week in February, Shane, myself, the kids, my parents and my brother took a family vacation to Orlando! We had been planning the trip for nearly a year. It was a celebration of both my parents’ 60th birthdays and their 40th anniversary. 

We had a great time, hitting up Universal Studios (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!), soaking up some sunshine, and getting to relax while spending time with family. 

When my brother and I met outside of our hotel rooms one morning, we just happened to both be wearing our Raygun shirts, proclaiming the awesomeness of Iowa. Seriously – it was a coincidence. 

Proud Iowans
Proud Iowans

I was so excited to go to Harry Potter World. I’m basically like a 12-year-old when it comes to Harry Potter. It did not disappoint! The first day we went to Islands of Adventure which has Hogsmeade. It was so cool to see the little shops with snow covered roofs. Unfortunately, a lot of the store fronts are fake, and the real stores are very narrow! But it was cool nonetheless. Butterbeer is delicious. As are chocolate frogs 🙂 

We stopped in Honeydukes and got some candies. We bought lots of overpriced merchandise! One of my favorite stores was Weaselys Wizard Wheezes. If you’re a HP fan, visiting Universal Studios is a MUST!! 

At Islands of Adventure, there is a Dr. Seuss World too. It was a great stop for Norah to burn off some energy and see some of her favorite characters. She’s still too small for most rides, but she did get to go on the carousel! 

Riding the carousel at Dr. Seuss World
Riding the carousel at Dr. Seuss World
Norah playing in the stream at Dr. Seuss World.
Norah playing in the stream at Dr. Seuss World.

We also spent a day at Universal Studios, hitting up Diagon Alley. I liked this park more than the other. It was bigger and there was more to see. I even liked Diagon Alley more than Hogsmeade! Shane is not a Harry Potter fan, so he took Norah to the Curious George Playground and Fivel Goes West Playground while the rest of us explored Diagon Alley. 

I knew staying on my diet would be tricky. I managed pretty well though! I ate a lot of rice and steamed broccoli – luckily most restaurants have this. One of my favorite meals was the half rotisserie chicken from Wolfgang Pucks at Downtown Disney. It was a plateful of awesome, soaked in butter. Mmmmm, butter. 

I ended up getting two migraines on the trip. The first one was on the first day. My guess is because we flew over lunchtime and I basically skipped a meal. Big no-no! The second was on the fourth day. I don’t know why. It just happened. I took my meds, and dealt with it.

Also you may remember from my Thanksgiving post that my brother has Celiac Disease aka he can’t eat gluten or he will be a hurtin’ unit. 

My dad turned 61 while we were there. We celebrated with a great lunch at Lombard’s in Universal Studios. 

Happy Birthday Dad!
Happy Birthday Dad!

The girls were AMAZING on the trip. Seriously! Based on Cece’s last hotel stay, we assumed we would be getting zero sleep. But she slept all night, almost every night! I may have had to feed her during the night twice. Norah was also awesome, as usual 🙂 She just rolls with whatever we were doing. 

We also did some non-theme park stuff. Our hotel had a waterpark attached to it, so we spent the first day (the warmest day) doing that. It was Cece’s first time swimming, and she seemed to like it! Norah loves swimming. She’s basically a fish. 

Enjoying the Florida sunshine!
Enjoying the Florida sunshine!

There was a billboard right outside of our hotel advertising M&M World. After seeing it several times a day, the ad worked and we all ventured to said M&M World. It was awesome! Expensive, but awesome.

M&M World, aka Norah's idea of heaven.
M&M World, aka Norah’s idea of heaven.

 My favorite picture of the trip? Cece threatening my brother with a five-finger death punch:

Cece fist


My second favorite picture? My parent’s getting photobombed in front of the Universal Studios Globe:


That was our vacation in a big nutshell. It was unbelievably helpful to outnumber the kids 5-2. I could not – and would not – have done it without all those extra hands! 


Hives are the work of the devil

Seriously. I had hives once, when I was 5 years old. I don’t remember it, thankfully. It was when we discovered I was allergic to penicillin. 

This recent medical mystery started on a Sunday morning. I woke up with a little stomach ache. I ate my usual oatmeal, then started getting nauseated. 

By 10 a.m., I thought I was going to pass out. Tunnel vision, sweaty and cold. My husband took me to the ER and they diagnosed me with gastritis, where the lining of the stomach is inflamed. I thought I was having a gallbladder attack. I’m still not convinced on the gastritis.

They gave me some meds and sent me home. A few hours later, I started having stabbing pains in my upper back. Definitely gallbladder, right? A heating pad stopped the pains, but then the hives came. Those terrible, awful, miserable hives!!

They started on the back of my neck. By morning they were all over my chest, shoulders, neck and forehead. Soon they were on my arms. I saw my doctor that afternoon and he prescribed me a steroid. 

But the itching didn’t stop. I was back in the ER Tuesday evening because the hives kept spreading and the itching was unbearable! This time I got Zantac to stop the itching, a shot of epinephrine, and another pill for itching. I was feeling gooood by the time we left! Epinephrine is something else! I’m pretty sure I could have lifted a truck. 

In the morning, the hives were back. 

I googled hives remedies. What worked best for me was to make a baking soda paste and slather it on. Really. I looked ridiculous, but I didn’t care. I dumped some baking soda in a bowl, added water, mixed it with my fingers and put it on every hive I could see. I’ll forewarn you – it makes a mess. Everywhere you go, you leave a dusty, white trail. There will be drops of white on the counter and floor where you apply it. But if you’re suffering with hives, you won’t care.

Tepid baths are also great. They are not enjoyable. I was shivering the whole time. But they make the itching stop! I never did the oatmeal bath, even though many people said it helps. 

And ice packs. Or just a bag of frozen veggies wrapped in a thin cloth. Anything that’s cold helps! Heat makes hives worse.

By Thursday evening, they seemed to have gone away. I woke up hive-free Friday morning! If I never have hives again, it will be too soon. 

We still don’t really know what caused my hives. At first we thought an allergic reaction to a medicine from the ER. Then we thought stress, or maybe it was just a virus that had to run its course. 

As my two-year-old said, “Mommy, I’m so glad you don’t have owwies on your face anymore.” Me too, kiddo, me too.