Friday, August 29

Wednesday, August 27

Dreams At My House

This week, for three mornings in a row, I had dreams that took place at my old house. Is it because we're going to Oregon tomorrow that it's on my brain? Who knows, especially since this is my old house in Pittsburgh, not the house where my family now lives.

First dream, Saturday:
I was told someone in a purple Camaro was going to be coming after me. I'm on my front porch, locking the door, and there the car is, backed up onto the grass of the neighbors across the street. I go to my car, but there is no time to get in and drive away, so I instead run down the street some, across and back behind a house, down the hill and over the road to another house. I'm being chased. I ask for help and the lady takes me in and shows me a secret area in her house, and I go there. I find a bathroom with a high window behind the door. I hear the person coming in the house. Covering the window are curtains sewn together, and the fabric is the kind used in pro basketball shorts. I had to rip open about four colorful layers of "curtains" to get out the window. I get out (jumping up with no problem whatsoever), and see a hidden cubby area on the roof, despite the fact that this lady took me to her basement. Dreams don't care about details, and there I sat. And woke up.

Second dream, Sunday:
Ryan and I were sitting on my front porch. Two of his sisters were staggered on the stairs in front of us, and there were many people out in the cauldisac, "the circle", playing a game with paddles and a bouncy ball. They were hitting it all over the street, trying to keep the ball up. It came up to us a couple times, and each time, Ryan hit the ball over to his sisters. Becoming annoyed, I complained that I didn't like the game and he couldn't understand why. WHY? Because I never get the ball! I woke up annoyed, looked at my husband with chicken pox scabs on his face and remembered that he's more understanding in real life.

Third dream, Monday:
I remember less of this one even though it was most recent. I was hanging out on the porch, and a kid from church was there, eating dirt from a planter. He was just shoving it in his mouth and loving it. His mom and sister came out of the house. Something was going on in the driveway. Sorry, that's all I have there.

Friday, August 22

Old Navy $12 Jeans Sale Saturday Only

A friend alerted me to a sale tomorrow at Old Navy! For one day only, in stores and online, select Old Navy Jeans are $12 for men and women. Kids are $7. Click the picture to go to the sale.

Thursday, August 21

Bean Around

What is your experience with cooking dried beans? Have you done it? Do you dread it? Do you like beans? A friend of mine told me the method she uses to cook black beans on Saturdays for her family of 10. Just today, I came across an informative site showing how to cook dried beans, and it's similar to my friend's method: Cooked Beans Primer

I'd like to give it a try, southwestern style, and need to get some beans from the East End Coop (read: great prices and organic). Dried beans are cheaper than canned beans. Please tell me your experience with beans and give any favorite add-ins to them.

Wednesday, August 20

Food Allergies?

I stumbled on a blog that has a lot of helpful information for those who have babies with food allergies or intolerances. Take a look if you can relate: My Food Allergic Babe

Monday, August 18

Get them as a kid, I say!

Note about the poll: Please let me know if you aren't able to view the results. Mine does nothing when I click "view results".
Ryan's ordeal with chicken pox continues. There are 300-400 spots/blisters on his body, and they are not comfortable. Many have told us that getting them as an adult is pretty bad. They're right - getting it as a child is much less in comparison, though it's still a major event for a kid. In honor of this, I have included a new poll at the bottom of this post.

Some things we've done that we believe have been helpful:
- mega doses of Vitamin C (we're talking 20,000+ mg a day)
- recommended increased temporary doses of Vitamin A for tissue repair and reduced chance of scaring
- increased doses of Vitamin D for immune support
- topical ointments, including Aloe Vera gel, Vitamin E, and coconut oil. All have served to relieve the itching and promote healing in various ways.
- Epsom salt baths and Aveeno oatmeal baths. The Epsom salt bath has helped to progress the blisters to scabs (sorry) and the Aveeno has relieved itching, as it claims.
- once we knew the fever was down on its own, ibuprofen was a help for head pain, and he also started taking Benedryl today for itching. It has helped a little.

I've been glad to have the weekend at home and have the worst days fall on the weekend (at least we hope those were the worst days). We've also been grateful to be able to consult with a doctor at church, which has allowed Ryan to be able to stay in the comfort of our home. Ryan has slept poorly at night since Friday and is desirous of a good night's rest. Last night was a lot of discomfort, especially on his back and on his forehead and scalp. Despite all that, he is a great sport and is willing to swallow a lot of pills and rarely complains. I usually have to ask specific questions to find out how he is feeling :).

We see progress though: fever and sore throat have gone for the most part, breakouts have significantly slowed, some have scabbed over and the baths are a relief. We're on Day 5 and hopefully the worst is behind us. I've talked to a couple people in the last couple days about their experience with adult chicken pox, and it has never been fun or easy.

If you happened upon this post while searching for adult chicken pox treatment, feel free to email me if you have any questions. Not that I'm a pro by anymeans, but I've read a good deal this weekend about adult chicken pox (and chicken pox in general) and have been grateful for the info. So far, Ryan's case, though severe according to the doctor, is not out of line with what I've read or learned about this illness in adulthood.

This is a rare post, that fortunately for you and my husband, does NOT contain any photographs.

POLL: (closes at 5pm EST Tuesday)

Friday, August 15

Of all the things to get....

Guess who's husband never had chicken pox? Guess also whose husband was around someone with shingles in the last couple of weeks?

If you guessed MY husband, then you are right! We were meant to get on a plane tonight to Kansas for a quick weekend trip for Ryan preach in Topeka and us to celebrate Ryan's parents' 40th anniversary. Well, instead of being on a plane right now, I'm at home, having tucked my dear husband, covered in about 70 chicken pox blisters with a fever of 102, into bed. The fever has hovered around 101-102 and indicates an active, contagious case of chicken pox. We're not sure how many more spots will appear but expect more over the next few days. He is taking quite a lot of vitamin C, some vitamin A and has been resting. He "feels" ok. He's not achy or cold like he was yesterday, and his spots don't itch (yet?). We're applying vitamin E for topical soothing and believe the vitamin A capsules will also help with tissue repair.

We trust in God's providence for this. Sometimes we don't clearly see why God's will includes things like this, but we trust Him, not our circumstances or understanding. We anticipate that we can reschedule the trip sometime in the next several weeks. Also, Midwest Airlines will waive the $100 change fee for each ticket if they can call the Dr.'s office next week to verify his diagnosis. That means we need to have him seen for a checkup and hope that will work out.

Ryan's sisters all had their bout of chicken pox as children but Ryan never caught it. We know that it's not shingles because shingles deals with the nerve endings, and Ryan doesn't have pain related to inflammation of the nerves. We know that someone who hasn't had chicken pox can contract it from someone who has shingles. We are thankful he has it now instead of during the seminary year or when we have small babies down the road, or when he is full time in the pastorate. His schedule is pretty low key right now besides missing Kansas this weekend. We hope and pray he'll be non-contagious when we travel to Oregon in two weeks.

Time to clean up some then head to bed myself.

Thursday, August 14


I was hoping to lose 4 inches from my waist on the canoe trip and have more toned arms, but hey, that takes time, right? My arms are stronger though. I ought to canoe 35 miles every weekend. That would sure do it, wouldn't it?

The trip. First of all, God was so gracious and good to give us gorgeous, sunny clear weather. Forget the hazy, heavy air of a many summer days in PA. We had crisp skies, fluffy clouds and a nice breeze. That was a wonderful gift. The sun was blazing though and I missed a few spots with sunscreen! We are also so thankful that no one was injured. There were a few bumps of course, but we were all safe. The Allegheny River was pretty lazy, and we had pockets of faster currents which added momentary thrill and rocking. Fellow Pittsburghers will all be happy to know that it wasn't until we were halfway through the first day's journey that I realized that this was indeed the same Allegheny river that flows through Pittsburgh. The dots just hadn't connected until then. I really am smart though other times.

Sadly, I have no pictures. I wasn't comfortable taking my camera on the canoe or leaving it unattended all day at the vans, and we forgot to take our small point and shoot digital camera that could have been transported more safely in a ziploc bag. So instead, I have included other wildlife pictures, such as a beaver.

We canoed for about three and a half hours the first day and put out for the night around 5:30. We got back in around 1o am Saturday and finished the trip around 3:30. Ryan and I actually got home around 7:30. We had about 9 hours total of canoing, which was a little more than initially expected, and the youth were troopers to keep on paddling without knowledge of how long it would be until they'd have rest. While we wanted them to learn and grow and be stretched, we also wanted them to have a good time.

On Friday evening, setting up camp took a little while, and we barely got the tents up before it was dark because of a couple delays, one of which is way too confusing to explain, but it had to do with car keys. We also had to walk about a mile to [and from] the vehicles holding our equipment. We had some time to kill before we could set up camp, and there was a trail which is part of Rails to Trails running through the area, and we explored a long, old train tunnel. What used to be tracks is now a trail, and we walked this trial to the cars near the face of the tunnel. While exploring the tunnel, it was a very eerie to walk toward complete blackness and have light behind you. Step by step, the darkness slowly increased so much you could almost feel and hear it. It was strange.

The campsite? Rustic. A hole had to be dug for the bathroom.

As far as canoing was concerned, we were generally not far off schedule over the two days, but looking back, I can see how there was nearly constant work all weekend outside of canoing. Between walking to the vans, waiting for keys, taking two trips back with equipment, digging the bathroom hole, preparing dinner, setting up camp and more, it was a lot to do by bedtime. Again, the youth were great sports and helped out with no complaints. I think I would personally prefer a more established campground area with bathrooms and near by parking for the vehicles holding equipment. We had an awesome, loud thunderstorm around 2 am and thankfully, only one tent leaked water (not ours, hehe). Ryan and I each slept better than we anticipated though we were quite achy.

As far as adventuresome situations, Ryan and I had a little rescue mission when two 14 year olds tipped their canoe and couldn't get back in. We'll call them E and T. The canoe was nicely filled with water, and I had the smart idea to have T get back in and try to row. "Just try it" and sure enough, it started sinking when he got in. We quickly tipped it back over as dreadful images of a sunken canoe filled my head, and we ended up rowing them the riverbank. E held on to both canoes and felt quite "stretched" at times to stay connected to bring the water-laden canoe along to the bank.

At the very end of the trip, T was on the other side of the river as he approached the canoe center where we were getting out, and the current was decent enough nearly drag him downstream and keep him from crossing the river. He hurriedly stroked upstream to at least remain somewhat stationary while Ryan and two chaperones canoed out to him to catch and bring him in. They had no choice but to go downstream some, and they hiked their canoes back up through mud and sludge. Ryan and another chaperone ended up doing an army crawl in order to make progress! Needless to say, they were tired.

All in all, the trip was worthwhile. We appreciated having experienced adults along, and I know the youth had fun. I wouldn't really call it "fun" for us, but Ryan and I learned quite a bit about canoing and camping, and we really enjoyed doing that together.

Tuesday, August 12

Don't Get Mashed

My parents sent me this story:

A Girl Potato and Boy Potato had eyes for each other, and finally they got married and had a little sweet potato, which they called 'Yam.'

Of course, they wanted the best for Yam. When it was time, they told her about the facts of life. They warned her about going out and getting half-baked, so she wouldn't get accidentally mashed and get a bad name for herself like 'Hot Potato' and end up with a bunch of Tater Tots.

Yam said not to worry, no Spud would get her into the sack and make a rotten potato out of her! But on the other hand she wouldn't stay home and become a Couch Potato either. She would get plenty of exercise so as not to be skinny like her Shoestring cousins.

When she went off to Europe, Mr. and Mrs. Potato told Yam to watch out for the hard-boiled guys from Ireland. And the greasy guys from France called the French Fries. And when she went out west, to watch out for the Indians so she wouldn't get scalloped. Yam said she would stay on the straight and narrow and wouldn't associate with those high class Yukon Golds or the ones from the other side of the tracks who advertise their trade on all the trucks that say, 'Frito Lay.'

Mr. and Mrs Potato sent Yam to Idaho P.U. (that's Potato University) so that when she graduated she'd really be in the Chips. But in spite of all they did for her, one-day Yam came home and announced she was going to marry Tom Brokaw.

Tom Brokaw!

Mr. and Mrs. Potato were very upset. They told Yam she couldn't possibly marry Tom Brokaw because he's just......

Are you ready for this?

Are you sure?
OK! Here it is!

Monday, August 11

Fruit Quiz Answer

The fruit pictured in the quiz post is a plum! Erin got it right. Nice job, my friend!

Maureen, I've never heard of a pluot but I looked it up, and you were pretty much right too. I wonder if this fruit is really a pluot and not a true plum? From what I read, a pluot is a cross between an apricot and a plum. If so, I wonder how you can really tell the difference.

I promise to post about the canoe trip sometime this week. It was difficult, fun and hard, and Ryan and I learned a lot.

Monday, August 4

Fruit Quiz!

What is this? Leave your answer in the comments.

By the way, with comments, you do not have to have a blogger account to leave a comment. You may choose Anonymous, and you can also choose "Name" and type your name in. I also do not have word verification to make leaving comments more convenient.

Saturday, August 2

Cream of the Crop

I should say so! We had some of the best corn we've ever had before, and it is from the CSA farm. They were absolutely perfect. Take a look. I was amused at the kernel pattern.

Friday, August 1

Hair Poll Results

You may need to enlarge the pic to see the words. I have another poll we can do. Would you like one?

Rustic-ing It

Man, am I in for an adventure today and Saturday. Ryan and I are chaperones on a youth group canoe trip for our church. I'll tell you more about the trip later on in this post. First, the context of Alicia going on a canoe trip.

You may or may not know that I really want to learn more about outdoor excursions such as extended hiking, camping, and so on. I love the mountains. My one-time experience of camping so far? Let me see if I can find a picture for you.

Ah. Yes. Here we go.

So you can imagine my excitement to jump into a "broader" "experience" of a two-day canoe trip with no bathrooms, no showers, 18 teenagers and sleeping in a tent (not all 18 together, mind you) on a campsite that you'd only know is a campsite because someone made a fire pit in the past. It really is exciting, no sarcasm there. I used a precious half day of vacation time and worked through lunch the rest of the week since it's all I have left after what I've scheduled the rest of the year. Friday is the first of the 5 busiest days of the month too. I really wanted to go on the trip. My boss will be there too!! Hahaha! He goes to our church and is bringing two of his kiddos along. I think it will be a good break for both of us from the potent corporate-ness of our jobs.

I can't wait. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous up near Parker, PA on the Allegheny River, and I think it'll be a great time. I'm helping with the food, and I had a planning meeting the other night with two experiences ladies, one of which offered to do all the shopping for us. Melissa and I will take it from there for the trip and order the youth around to be our kitchen slaves. I'm going to learn a lot and have a great time, and we've been praying for safety on the river and while camping. We were kindly encouraged to string up all food at night at least 30ft from the campsite. We have bears 'round these parts. We'll have the vans with our all stuff parked "near" the campsite ahead of time before putting in, and loop back around to the starting point to start canoing. Did I say near? I meant to a MILE away from the "campsite". Yup. That's our only optoin, so we have a hike there and back to bring equipment and food to the campsite once we put out of the river Friday evening. I believe the total distance we're canoing is 30 miles or so.

I keep using quotes on "campsite" because, well, it's not a typical campsite with a parking lot and hot showers. We'll dig a hole for the bathroom, put a tarp up around it as a luxury feature, and go through a bottle of hand sanitizer. We'll heat water to wash dishes and ourselves and clean dirty icky filthy teenager feet.

Oh, on another topic, guess who is making the amay-hay-zing Quinoa dish again sometime soon? Ding Ding ding! I am!! We're getting 12 ears of corn from the farm this week so there ya have it. Speaking of Quinoa, I was flattered to have wonderful comment from the Whole Grains Council on my initial quinoa post. Has anyone tried it yet???? Was anyone's interest in quinoa piqued as a result of my post? Please tell me so. Some of you are "lousy" at leaving comments (and some are awesome...thank you!!) Just sayin'.