Saturday, May 28, 2016

Lyme Disease and Identifying the Rash.

Remember that fabulous hike we took to the Cascades a few weeks ago? It seems that i brought home more than just memories.  The day after our hike i found a tiny tick attached to the back of my knee and removed it. The next day i found another along my waistband. It was attached just above my hip, then i found one more on my tailbone and while in the shower i removed another.  In just three days time i removed 4 tiny deer ticks that were all attached.  

 So earlier this week when i developed a bright red quarter sized spot around one of the bites i was really concerned that it was the tell-tale Lyme bullseye that you always hear about.  i had my husband take a look, but he assured me it wasn't a bullseye. It just look like a allergic reaction to the bite. It was red and swollen, almost like a hive.  i asked him to draw a circle around the edge of the rash so i could see if it's was expanding.

Later that day i noticed the lymph nodes in my groin area were swollen and tender. i checked the rash and it had doubled in size. i had my husband look again, but he assured me that it looked nothing like a bullseye, it was large, but still just looked like an allergic reaction. So i put hydrocortisone cream on it, and took a Ibuprofen for the pain and swelling.  The next day the spot was 3" in diameter, It was still just red, but also still expanding.  i had tossed and turned all night unable to sleep because of the pain in my lymph nodes and lower back, and made an appointment with the doctor. 

i still did not a have a bullseye rash, so i thought i was just having a bad reaction to the tick bite. The doctor took one look at my rash and said "you have Lyme Disease".  She said there was no reason to test, the test are expensive and unreliable. False positives are very common and the rash was all she needed to diagnose me.   She prescribed a round of Doxycycline and apologized for the cost. The price of Doxycycline has sky rocketed over the past few years because it's the main antibiotic to treat Lyme which is on the rise and becoming epidemic in many areas where it wasn't problem before.  $100+ prescription for a tick bite.  Ouch.

So why didn't i get the classic Lyme Bullseye that everyone is told to watch for?  My rash had now expanded to around 5" in diameter, and had a weird blue tinge to it. Honestly, it looked more like a bruise than a rash. So i did a little googling and looked up blue lyme rash and found out Erthema Migrans (lyme rash) can actually present many different ways, including the Blue-red lesion which is what i have.

i was able to catch Lyme early, so with the antibiotics i have a really good chance of wiping it out completely.  Had i not found the tick (which was the size of a poppyseed) i probably would have dismissed it as a spider bite, although i would have still ended up at the doctor eventually because the rash kept growing and turning weird colors. i apologize for the graphic photo below, but wanted to share it because it doesn't look like a classic bullseye and people need to be aware that Lyme rashes present in many different forms.

It's really hard to capture rashes in a photo, but you get the idea. It actually looks much bluer like a bruise. This was taken 3 days after i started the antibiotics. The rash is now between 5"- 6" in diameter, and its just starting to show a little bit of central clearing.

i was able to catch Lyme before getting the flu symptoms, so i don't know if i'll still get them now that i'm on the antibiotic or not. Typically the flu symptoms don't appear for a few weeks after the initial tick bite.  The first night i started the antibiotic i  fevered and had chills, then woke up drenched in sweat around 4am. This is considered a  Herxheimer Reaction from the antibiotics. Apparently when antibiotics begin to attack the lymes bacterial it releases toxins during the die off, which cause all kids of additional symptoms, but thankfully don't last very long.

So yeah, getting Lyme disease is not how i was expecting to start my summer vacation. i'm on antibiotics for a month, and they make me sensitive to sunlight. So i'm not sure how that's going to work out with all the hiking and gardening i have planned. i still don't have my garden completely in, and i'm not about to let a little Lyme disease keep me from getting things planted. ;)  

Thursday, May 26, 2016

May the 4th Day & Star Wars icecube/candy molds- review

May 4th is known as the unofficial Star wars Holiday to Star Wars fans everywhere ! My post is a little behind, but this year we decided to make Star wars candy in celebrations of May the 4th.  

My family are huge star wars fans so we were very excited to review these Starwars silicone icecube trays/candy molds.    They are made of 100% high quality food grade silicone. They can be used in freezer, fridge, dishwasher and oven. They are heat resistance up to 450 Degrees Fahrenheit.

These can be used for so many things! You can use them to make Starwars shaped ice, chocolate, crayons, soap, jello jigglers and more!

The kids helped me test these out and we made a bunch of really cool chocolates!! The molds are very detailed.  The set comes with 6 molds. You get Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, X­wing fighters, the Millennium Falcon, R2-D2 and even Han Solo in Carbonite.  The R2-D2 mold and the Han Solo have two different sizes on the mold. 

The chocolates pop out of the molds really easily.  i've made candies using regular chocolate molds before and sometimes the chocolates stick and don't release well. The neat thing about the silicone molds and is that you can actually turn them inside out to pop the chocolate out.

After adding your chocolate, you really want to gently tap the trays down a few times.  These should have had much more details, but i forgot to tap them so there some bubbles in them.  Also, when removing the R2-D2 you really want to pay special attention to the feet. The first one i popped right out and the feet broke, so when i removed the second one i did it a little more slowly and it came out perfect!

The Millennium Falcons turned out awesome!!  We filled these with toasted coconut, almonds and added some white chocolate on the backs.  

Just for fun, i used the Hans Solo mold for my fresh homemade butter. :)  i chilled the butter in the mold before attempting to pop it out, but it came out perfect.  

These molds clean up easily and are so much fun!! The Star Wars silicone #icecube tray molds are available here.

We received the molds for free in exchange for our review.  My opinions are my own. We really had fun with these, and i wouldn't recommend them if i didn't truly love them!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Spring Surprises.

So we've had a lot of surprises this spring. Several of my hens disappeared several weeks ago. Some reappeared, and some did not.

My first hen to return showed up with 16 chicks!!!  They are all fully feathered now, and i expect that she'll be starting to hide from them soon.  When mama hen feels the babies are ready to be on their own, she'll start distancing herself from them and hiding. It's always a little sad to see the babies running around crying for mama not sure what to do. 

Our first batch of chicks are about 5 weeks old.   It's still a little early to tell the boys from the girls, but on some of them it is already obvious.  The black chick standing is quite definitely a boy, obvious by the size and color of the comb.  When you see dark pink this early, it is a good indication that it's a boy.  The light colored smaller chick up front is a girl.  She is much smaller than the others, and has a very yellow comb. 

Typically the girls have a yellow or pale pink comb until they reach breeding age. When they are mature enough to breed, the comb will turn bright red.  

With this batch, i already see a few definite boys and a few definite girls, but most it is still too early to tell.  i have two favorites from this batch that i am hoping are girls, and then i plan to find homes for the rest of them. We do not have a coop big enough for this many chickens and they are quickly outgrowing the chicken tractor.

This is my second hen to disappear and then reappear with chicks. They are about 4 weeks old now, and she hatched out 13!  So we've had to move birds around to find a place to keep her and all her peeps safe.  She is very wild, and will not let us get any where near her babies. i'm tempted to find homes for both her and all her babies together (plus a rooster).  

It's really hard for me to give them away, but we just don't have room for 29 more birds!!! 

Just as i was stressing out about what to do with all those chicks...we get another surprise!!  This hen, which i didn't even realize was missing showed up with 9 more chicks!! They are only 2 days old in this picture and super sweet. 

So yeah, that's 38 baby chicks this spring!!! OMG! 

We obviously can not keep them all, i am just hoping they are not to difficult to re-home. i may try offering chicken starter sets (one girl and one boy) from different broods, otherwise i'm going to get stuck with a crap ton of roosters.  Most folks would just eat the extra birds, but as a vegetarian family that's definitely not an option and re-homing 30+ chicks can be a bit difficult...especially when i want to guarantee they won't be killed or eaten. 

So yeah, really starting to hate surprises...but they are soooo cute!!   :) 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Camping, Festival Season and #liveinfinitely

This year the kids get out of school the first week of June. We've already started making plans for our summer vacation.  Kenan is taking part in the Michigan glass project in July, and we have a family reunion in WV...but otherwise our summer is pretty open. 

With the garden and animals i  prefer day trips and overnights, rather than week long vacations.  We typically do quite a bit of day hiking on the New River and Appalachian trail, which are very close by. This year we are thinking about a weekend trip to NC to hike the waterfalls in the Pisgah National forest area. We'd do a little overnight camping and day hiking. 

i was recently given the opportunity to try out a double camping hammock by #liveinfinitely , and knew it would be perfect this summer with all of our hiking and camping. 

Kenan and i took a break from working yesterday to take the dogs hiking on our land and relax down at the creek.

We found the perfect location to set up our hammock. It is incredibly easy to hang up. It comes with Poly-Filament Webbed tree straps with incorporated dual looped stainless steel lashing ring and unique triple running stitch to prevent stretching while still allowing simple setup almost anywhere!

Excuse my weird face, i can't take selfies. :) The double hammock is huge, it fits two adults comfortably. It's guaranteed to hold 450 lbs It measures 9' 10" long by 6' 6" wide.  It is actually big enough for two adults to sleep in it.  It comes in several colors, i picked out the gray and blue. Online the color looks more navy blue with bright blue trim, but it's actually a lovely slate gray color with a teal blue trim.  It also comes in green or purple.

When it's not in use it conveniently folds into the included gear pouch measuring 6"x 8" and only weighs 18 ounces which makes it the perfect portable hiking, festivals or backpacking hammock.  You can truly take this anywhere! 

Getting cozy down by the creek. Man, i could get use to this!  Kenan has been coming down here and setting up the hammock every morning and enjoying a little peace and relaxation before starting work.  

Our view laying down.  i love looking up at the tree tops.

The Double camping hammock by #liveinfinitely is really strong and durable. Set up and take down is really quick, so it is perfect to take hiking, camping and use at festivals. The hammock is made from weather resistant nylon. It is quick drying, mildew resistant and machine washable.  They are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. 

We are still in the process of planning out our summer, but i know we are going to be enjoying our hammock while camping, at the local festivals and even just set up in the back yard!  i am so ready for school to be out, so we can enjoy more family time hiking. It's one of my favorite things to do in the spring/summer time. i'm especially excited to check out some new waterfalls, and set up our hammock in the trees near them and just hang out enjoying the sound and energy of the falls.
 Life is good. :) 


disclaimer:  i received this hammock free in exchange for my review, but all opinions stated in the review are my own and were not influenced by the sponsor.  i was not compensated for my review or opinion and only review products that i would actually use myself and feel good about recommending.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Muriel- the Artist (NFS)

i wanted to share a few pictures of Muriel before i sent her off to her new home.   i posted photos of her before, but she got some new shoes, pigtails (requested by the customer) and some fabulous new jewelry.   The rainbow necklace matched an amber teething necklace worn by the little girl that would be receiving her. i also made her a mandala necklace, just because that's what i do. :) 

smile emoticon

Muriel is wearing rainbow tie dyed dress, with blue and purple batik bloomers. She has rainbow accents in her hair and dragonflies on her bag and shoes.

i really enjoy taking pictures of each doll before i mail them out. At the end of the year, i would like to make a photo book of all the dolls i made and sold that year.  

Muriel holding some forget-me-nots from my garden. 

Hopefully one day i'll figure out this camera and take pictures without that horrible glare. Muriel has peachy skin with blushed cheeks. She is the third to be finished and sold this year.  Madeline is still available, although i haven't really done anything to promote her.  As strange as it may sound, i'm not in a hurry to sell these dolls. i love them and get quite attached and am happy to have them hanging around my craft room for a while.  i feel like everything will happen in it's own time.

i'm currently working on 7 others dolls. A little at a time. Finishing up the basics and then waiting for their personalities to come out. Some take a little longer than others and require several hairstyles and outfits before they are ready to move on.

With garden season i'm spending a bit less time sewing, but i look forward to my rainy days, so that i can put all of my energy into these dolls. i hope to have more dolls for sale and updates soon!