Monday, May 25, 2015

aww, NUTS!

hard to believe it, but summer has started here! Last week was a whirlwind. All the end of school activities combined with starting a new DIY project - planking the ceiling in the mudroom - well, despite my best intentions, I woke up the last day of school and realized I hadn't done any teacher gifts! I managed to pull it off, but remind me next year not to wait til the last minute ;)

I had planned to make candied nuts anyways, and had all the supplies I needed, so I got busy in the kitchen while the kids got dressed for school. I tried out a crock pot recipe the weekend before, and while they tasted good, they weren't very yummy looking. There are several ways to make sugared nuts. Some involve boiling a sugar syrup, some use egg whites, and the crock pot recipe I tried used butter and powdered sugar.

The recipe I ended up using is very simple, and I made two double batches with great success! Click here for the original recipe. I love! Here's the adjustments I made. I made a double batch, subbing vanilla for the water and using a mixture of pecans, almonds and walnuts. One thing about the recipe - it calls for a pound of nuts (2 if you're doubling). I should have measured that out for you in cups, but like I said - I was in a hurry! I used my scale to weigh it out. I also cut the sugar to 2/3 c. and 1.5 tsp. of salt for my first batch - which meant the nuts were very lightly sweet and salty. My 2nd batch, I used a whole cup of sugar and 1 tsp. of salt, because I wanted them to be less salty and more sweet.

For the teacher gifts, I filled mason jars with nuts and tied a tag to them with baker's twine.

Here's the tag I made - or make your own! We debated some different sayings - how about "from your favorite nuts!" or "hope we didn't drive you nuts this year!" (I was going to do that one for our bus drivers) Oh - when I printed this at home, it came out fuchsia instead of red. Didn't have time to figure that one out :)

So more on that DIY project soon, I promise! We're going to try to finish the planks today and then I need to caulk and paint, hang trim - ugh, it might take us all summer! Why is it that when you start a new project it keeps growing? You think, hmm, I really should put a fresh coat of paint on that, too, and that needs redone and before you know it you've bit off more than you can chew! wish us luck!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

April, in a nutshell

April kind of flew by, didn't it? All four kids were playing rec soccer. I love to watch their games. When they're little, it's just funny. There's always someone doing cartwheels on the field, or kicking the ball the wrong direction. But as they get older, and start actually making plays - so cool!

Zach did a good job of moving the ball this year, and made several goals. But I think he kicked his shoe off every game, lol! He almost scored a goal with his shoe once. :)

Emma and AJ's team hadn't had a win until the last few games of the season, but improved with each game, and ended up taking 1st in the tournament! So much fun to see them grow as a team. Even Troy, who ranks soccer pretty low on the sports totem pole, said it was fun to watch.

oh, side note? I heard recently (don't remember where) that the saying "low on the totem pole" doesn't actually mean what I thought it did, because the most honored carvings were the ones at the bottom. But you know what I mean, right?

Sawyer loved playing soccer, the little cutie had a couple of good kicks in his last game! He's been wearing his medal everywhere to show people. :)

Our son AJ plays on a tournament baseball team called Rage, and practices 2-3 times a week, with tournaments every other weekend or so. They played their first one in KC a couple weeks back and took 2nd place! Pretty exciting for those 10 & under boys! Rain meant we didn't play at all on Saturday and got a late start on Sunday, playing 4 games back to back and finishing up around 10pm. Late night for everyone, especially in the chilly, misty weather.

The kids' school put on the Music man Jr. for their spring concert, and it was really cute. They had fun with their costumes and had a set and everything! Emma has a pretty strong singing voice, and I wish I had a way to get her some voice training. We recently got a piano so the kids can start lessons this summer. And I heard a little something about a choir group, so I need to get some information about that. They are practicing for the talent show tryouts later this week, Emma's going to sing and Zach wants to tell jokes :)

I haven't had much time (or energy) to make anything. I just sit back and watch the little people I made do their cool stuff  :) Summer is almost here, and I can't wait. Ball games and lots of books, sounds great to me!

Monday, May 4, 2015

May is...

May is a lot of things to me. Field trips and school assemblies, baseball practices, planting flowers in my garden. But this year, May is also something new to me.

May is Lupus Awareness month.

I was diagnosed earlier this year with Lupus, as well as Connective Tissue Disease. Strangely, it was a huge relief to have a name to the mysterious aches and pains. That relief lasted for several weeks, while I tried to learn about these diseases. Then a bit of melancholy crept in, because there is no cure, only treatment. And when my daughter asked me one afternoon "Can I catch Lupus?" it about broke my heart.

I consider myself very fortunate. My rheumatologist is optimistic that with medication we can prevent this from affecting my organs. All drugs have side effects, so I hate the thought of swallowing pills for the rest of my life. I'm taking them, though, because I want to be around for the rest of my life. I've also been taking steps to reduce stress, making sure I get enough sleep, eating better -  and that has helped too. I am learning to say No (mostly to myself, lol)

It's estimated that 5 million people world wide have Lupus. But lots of us don't even know what it is. No two people have the same exact symptoms. That makes it very difficult to diagnose. There's no "test" that says yes or no. That being said, it was a simple blood test that showed I had elevated markers for auto immune. My doctor called it an arthritis panel, and I truly believe he didn't expect anything to come from it. I'm pretty sure he believed I was a hypochondriac lol. I know that's what my husband thought. It's been kind of a lonely road, actually.

Lupus is an auto-immune disease that primarily affects women. It has a whole range of symptoms, and there is a checklist of criteria that must be met to be diagnosed. It can range from mild to severe, and I definitely fall on the mild side, for which I'm thankful.

I'm still figuring a lot of things out, and adjusting. I was felling pretty sorry for myself one day, and my husband reminded me that nothing has changed. I'm still the same as I was before I had a diagnosis. And on the plus side, I can take naps and say "doctor's orders!" haha! :)

Well, I hope you've learned a little something about this crazy disease. If you have any questions or advice for me, I'd be happy to chat in an email! craftytammieATyahooDOTcom


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