Early July Morning, Cocoa Beach, Florida

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Allergy Testing Results.....

For the past week, I have been out of town. No, it was not for a fun vacation....I had some allergy testing done. The doctor I went to is one of only about six in the nation that does this extensive testing. I was tested for about 150 different things.

I drove about 2 1/2 hrs to this doctor in Louisville, Kentucky. The first day he taped all these spots on me, and I had to leave it on for two days. I felt as if I was in a body cast. I could not bend or twist or take a bath or wash my hair (ewww).  
When I went back he took off all the tape, which did not feel too good (it was very sticky tape). They wrote all over my back, drew lines, etc, so they would be able to read the results when I came back. Again, I had to leave all that alone. No scratching, or getting my back wet. Again no bathing ..it was getting very old. At least I could bend and stretch and twist. I did have someone wash my hair in the sink. I could not stand it anymore. I left this on for another two days.
Results?  Well, when they came in to tell me, the first thing the nurse said, was that I was not going to be too happy with her in a few minutes...she was right.

Here are my results....

1. Nickel. Really?!!! I make jewelry! Most of the metals I use have nickel in them. Did you know that most jewelry that says nickel free really is NOT? Yep, that is right. In most cases, "nickle free" really means low amounts of nickel. There are no government standards for nickel free or hypoallergenic. Most manufacturers define nickel free as free of nickel in the overlay or plating. They use nickel alloy to increase durability. When the plating wears off, then an allergic reaction can occur.  In some cases even 14K WHITE gold has nickel in it.

2. Tea Tree Oil. Also known as melaleucha. Again....REALLY?!! Funny thing is, I've been using tea tree oil on my rash. Hmmm, maybe that is why it won't go away.

3. Lanolin also known as amerchol or hartolan or wool wax alcohol.  This ingredient is in a lot of creams and body care products. Another funny thing, is most of the creams that I have had prescribed by my doctors have had this in it.

4. Fragrance or balsam. This is just about everything on the face of the earth. I am really having a hard time with this one. Do you know how hard it is to find a shampoo without fragrance? VERY!!! I am also going to have to get rid of all my candles and Scentsy smelly stuff.  I love my Scentsy candles. Oh well....

5.  Methyldibromo Glutaronitrile also called phenoxyethanol. This is in a lot of makeup and body care stuff too. As I look at my makeup ingredients, this is really the only thing in some of it that I am allergic to. Too bad I can't call the company and tell them to leave it out. Well, I guess I could, but doubt they would listen.

6. Formaldehyde. Now this is in just about everything in our environment. The following are ingredients that are in some of the things we use that turn to formaldehyde, so in reality is the same thing; dimethylolurea, quaternium-15 (dowicil 200), imidazolidinyl urea (Germall 115), diazolidinyl urea, bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol), DMDM hydantoin.  Did you know that any clothing that is not 100%, such as 100% silk, or 100% cotton, etc, has formaldehyde?  Anything that is flame retardant, soil resistant, etc, also has formaldehyde in it. Yes, we are putting clothes on our children that is made with formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen; which means it causes cancer. I had a friend of mine that said that it takes A LOT of formaldehyde to cause cancer. Well, that may be true, but when you think of all the things that have this chemical in it, it adds up to be A LOT!!!

7. Cigarette smoke and smoke from campfires, burning leaves, etc. This does not include wood burning stove (luckily!). I was not surprised at this. Seems like every year I get a horrible cough that does not go away for months...like six or more months. Last year I had it for over seven months! I usually get this cough after I have been exposed to cigarette smoke.  This is one reason I am so much for people not being allowed to smoke in public. I agree that we should all have our rights, but I also want my right to be able to breath clean air. This cough I get each year has been diagnosed as asthma. If any of you have ever had an asthma attack, you know exactly what I am talking about. It is as if someone has grabbed your lungs and wind pipe and squeezed them so much that you cannot breath in our out. It is just like suffocating! 

Well, now that I know all this, I have a lot to figure out. As I learn, I will share, so stay tuned for more info. Also, if you have any info on this subject, I would be glad to hear from you. I have found that the best way to learn is by learning from others who have already gone this path.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

thank you for helping me!!!!

Yesterday, I told you all about how busy we were putting our new light fixtures up, and how I needed help with a decision. Well, most of you did not post your comment on my blog, but you did facebook me your responses, and.....
By a HUGE majority, the red won!
Light tan came in second.

Now to show you how we went about getting these pendants up. 
For the most part I love my kitchen, that is except there was ZERO light above the sink. It was very hard to see to wash dishes, especially at night. Whoever designed this obviously never did dishes. 
 After a lot of looking at pictures on the internet and looking around at Lowes, we finally figured out what to do. First off we had to take down one of the cabinets.
A hole was drilled into the bottom of the soffit, and in the ceiling where the light was to hang.
Then back the cabinet went,
and wiring was done.
The hard part was trying to decided which light.  Did I want everything to match, or did I want a pop of color? Not sure what I wanted, I asked around, and by far the majority said they liked the pop of color.
I love it!
I would like to thank all of you that helped me in making my decision.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

okay...so now I need some help...

Which do you like best?
 Red with light off
Red with light on (doesn't look as bright in the picture as in real life)


 Square dark brown with light off
Square dark brown with light on.
Again, not as vibrant in the picture as in real life.

 Light tan with light off
Light tan with light on.
Again, not as bright...well you know...
We have granite counters with cherry cabinets. The cabinets are a wee bit darker than they appear in the picture.
This is a picture that hangs in our kitchen.
This fixture hangs over our kitchen table. If you can't tell in the picture it is black.
Decisions, decisions...
Which do you think look best in my kitchen?
Another New Fixture....

Today has been a very busy day. My husband's cousin Ron, who is an electrician, came up for a visit. He also came up to help with a problem I've been having in my kitchen---VERY LITTLE LIGHT, especially over my sink.  We are still in the process of finishing that, so I won't show you yet. One other thing Ron helped us with was changing out our light fixture in the entry.
Remember this very gold fixture? It is a bit on the fancy side for me. At first I had thought about painting it, like I've seen so many have posted on Pinterest, but there was one huge issue. Since it is so high up, my husband had to borrow a very tall ladder. After taking it down, and spending a few days painting the way I wanted and letting it dry, then get back up on the ladder....you see where this is going. I just wanted to take it down and put something else up there in one "ladder" trip.
 My husband was able to borrow a ladder from work
Here's one last look at the old fixture.
 The hardest part was the medallion. At first I wasn't sure I wanted to keep it, but my husband really likes it, so I told them it really didn't matter to me. If they wanted to mess with it, then go ahead.
I tried to help by holding the medallion up with the stick you see in the picture, but I was just too short. I'm glad Ron was able to rig a way that no one had to hold that stick for too long. 
 And here it is!
 I love it!
 We bought this fixture back in July (it was marked WAAAAAAY down) and it has taken us this long to finally get it up.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Sunday, we were blessed to hear a family sing a very nice hymn. They did a beautiful job, and I have been humming that song all week. 
Baton Rouge Chapel 
I grew up going to the Baptist church and attending Catholic school (from third through eighth grade). At the age of 19, I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As a member of the LDS church, music is a very important part of all our meetings. 
LDS Chapel in Rye, Colorado
In Psalms 98:4, it says, "O sing unto the Lord a new song...make a joyful noise unto the Lord."  In Psalms 105:2 "Sing unto him...sing Psalms unto him."  Alma, the prophet in the Book of Mormon encouraged the people to, "sing the song of redeeming love" because of their faith in Jesus Christ (Alma 5:26 and Alma 26:13). In Doctrine and Covenants 133:56, we learn that the saints, "shall stand on the right hand of the Lamb, when he shall stand upon Mount Zion,...and they shall sing the song of the Lamb."
There are TONS of scriptures that talk about singing, so it sounds to me that the Lord wants us to sing...he enjoys music and singing. 
LDS Temple, Rexburg, ID
While attending the Catholic school, I had many opportunities to sing. My friends and I joined the choir. I was a bit hesitant, because I have never been one that can sing very well, and probably mostly because I was VERY shy. But I wanted to be with my friends, and besides, the choir had an end of the school pool party, which meant they got out of school for that. I think that is why just about EVERYONE in our class joined the choir. 

I participated, somewhat. I was there, I listened, I was a good girl--never caused any trouple, and I was quiet...but maybe a little too quiet. I was always one of those kids that was mostly looked over. I was never any trouble, just shy and quiet. One day, while in class, we were practicing this one song and Sister Joan was walking up and down the rows and finally stopped--right next to me. She stood there a second, then cocked her ear my way. Seeing that my lips were moving and no sound was coming out, she leaned her ear closer to me. I was very nervous and scared, and YES!!!! I was caught. Because I was lip synching, I received a D. I feel quite certain that if she would have heard me I would have not only got a D, but kicked out of the choir too. That is just one thing I was not blessed with...a good singing voice.
my younger sister in one of the many plays she has participated in through the years
Many times as I sit in church and listen to people sing, I think how much I wish I could sing. I have a younger sister that has a beautiful voice, so I know the genes are there. 

In one of our classes this past Sunday, our lesson was, Becoming Perfect Before The Lord: "A Little Better Day by Day." I love the quote by Lorenzo Snow..."Do not expect to become perfect at once. If you do, you will be disappointed. Be better today than you were yesterday, and be better tomorrow than you are today." As I sat there and listened to many of the comments, one really stood out to me. We were discussing how we are practicing to be perfect. We will never get to that place here on earth, but we need to keep working at it. 
Ouchaita River, Monroe, LA
As we were discussing our lesson, one lady (the choir director) said something about singing in the choir and how just because you may not be the best singer, the Lord still wants us to rejoice in song to Him. As the week has gone on, and I have the song by the family stuck in my head, I almost feel as if someone is trying to tell me something. Yes, I wish I could sing with a beautiful voice, but for so many years, I have not wanted to embarrass myself, but maybe, just maybe if I start going to choir, I might be able to develop a nice voice...hmmm I don't know. Should I go? She did say we should all sing. I might think about going, maybe. I think the next time she mentions the choir to me, I might say, "Well, ok, but promise me you won't kick me out..." I'll just have to give her a fair warning about my deep ugly singing voice. Hey, maybe she'll put me with the Tenors or even the Bass...lol ;)

Sunday, March 17, 2013


This weekend, my husband and I took a short trip to visit with his mom. His sister was visiting from Dallas and we wanted to visit with her and my husband's little nephew.  While we were there, we put together some flowers for my father in law's grave.
We had flowers left over from my daughter's wedding. We thought they would look nice, especially since Spring is right around the corner; the colors are perfect for this time of year.
I'm not much of a florist. I have a close friend who is and she showed me how to put together my daughter's wedding bouquet and centerpieces for the reception in Louisiana. They turned out pretty, so I decided to try to put these together for my father in law.
They don't look too bad.
The are so nice and bright and cheerful!
I know he likes them.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sleepy Children....

I have a friend that is a young mother and she is having a hard time getting her little one to take a nap. She has asked advice and so I decided to just blog about it.
I wish there was a straight answer but there is not. Seemed none of our kids were nappers. Our oldest had colic until he was six months old, and I know that is why he wouldn't take naps.  At night he would not go down on his own, and my husband and I got into the habit of rocking him to sleep. Once he was out, he didn't wake up 'til  about six in the morning. Miles and Ashley are just 17 months (and three days) apart, so when she was about to make her debut, we knew we needed to get Miles to go down on his own at night. About that same time, there was a segment on 20/20 about how to get your baby down at night. Most of the little ones on this show were younger than Miles, and so we decided to try it. They said it could take about two weeks. Let me tell you that was one of the hardest two weeks! We would get Miles ready for bed, and lovingly put him  into his crib, and quietly shut the door. OH MY! He would cry and cry, and I would stand outside that door and cry and cry. I HATED it! After so long the first few days, you were to go in and reassure him, which we did. Then after a few days, taper that down until you are not doing that anymore, which we did. Eventually he did quiet down, get himself all comfy and fall off to la la land. Miles is now our best sleeper and has been since this time. I can remember when we would go out on a date and leave the children with a babysitter, when we would come back she would always be concerned about Miles. "I'm not sure Miles feels too well. About 7:00 or so, he just went upstairs and went to bed" she would say. We would just laugh, and tell her, that when Miles gets tired, he just goes to bed.
Now for Miss Ashley. OH MY!!!! She has never and still is not a good sleeper. She has a hard time turning her brain off. When she was little (just under a year), we had an extra bed in her room. I can remember putting her to bed and then laying down on that bed. She was in her crib, but I would lay down on that other bed....BIG mistake. Oh well.... But anyway, when I thought she was alseep, I would quietly get out of that bed, and tip toe toward the door. She would all of the sudden jump up and look at me. Ug! This would go on for quite awhile. Eventually, when she was old enough to talk to about this, we told her she was a big girl, and that she needed to lay down and go to sleep. She was ok with that, sorta. I can remember when she was about four, she had a day bed with a trundle. Grandma was visiting and slept in the trundle. Ashley tossed and turned one night, and finally sat up and said to Grandma, "I can't ever get to sleep." My mom has always had the same issue and they talked a bit. Ashley told her she just can't quit thinking. Mom told her she knew how she felt, and that just lay there and eventually she would go to sleep. As an adult, Ashley teaches Yoga, and I think this may have helped her to sleep a bit better.

As far as naps. Ashley quit taking naps at a VERY early age. She would just all of the sudden conk out. I would find her laying down in the middle of the room asleep among her toys. When she got older, about two or three, again old enough to reason with, I made her go to her bed. She could have her dolls in there with her, but she needed to at least go to her bed. Sometimes she would fall asleep. I have the cutest little video of her sitting in bed talking to her dolls. In this video she stands up and starts singing as if she was on Broadway. Sure wish I could post it.
Then there is our handsome little Mr. Scott. He always had a smile on his face. By the time he was born, I was out running around taking Miles and Ashley to school and their other activities. Scott was born when Miles was six, and Ashley was three. He was born just about a month after we moved to Wilmington, NC. Not only was I running the other kids to their places they needed to go, but I was also unpacking, and so, Scott pretty much got his naps in the car. In the afternoons when it was time to get Miles from school, we would pile in the car and before we could got off our very short street, Scott was sawin' logs....zzzzzzzzzzzzz.....By the time we got back home, he was usually awake. Sometimes, I was able to quietly get him out of his car seat, up the stairs and into his bed, but not usually. Today, Scott still doesn't not sleep too well. He is one that seems to be up all night, and then is always tired. He is a college student, so maybe when he gets out of school and has a real job, he will figure it out.
Now for our Baby Ben...Not so much of a baby anymore! Benjamin took his naps like Scott did. Scott and Benjamin are 20 months apart, so again, very close in age. Once Benjamin made his arrival, I was really in the taking kids here and there mode. It was the same thing...In the afternoon when I needed to pick Miles and Ashley up from school, Scott and Benjamin would get their best naps. Sleeping from the time we left our street, in line waiting for the kids to get out of school, and on our way home; usually waking up as we hit the driveway. Sometimes, though, I was able to carry BOTH of them from their car seats, up the stairs and into their beds. Sometimes, I would just grab a book or something to work on and open the car doors and sit on the porch keeping an eye on them as the slept. Usually that was during the Spring or Summer, since it was not too hot or cold.
Well, hope this helps her out, and maybe helps other young mothers. The bottom line is, well, there just is not answer. Some children are good nappers, other's are not. I hear a lot of parents brag about how well their children nap, and that they trained them to nap. I'm not sure how accurate that is. Some people are just good sleepers. Take my mom for instance, to this day she takes a daily "power" nap. For about 15 minutes everyday, she takes a short nap. If she does not get her nap in, she suffers greatly. Me...? Well, I CANNOT nap. Once I lay down, that is it, I am gone 'til the next day. If I am able to take a short nap, then I am tired for the remainder of the day...so no nap for me, and I was an excellent napper as a child (and do sleep very well at night...)

So, to all you mothers of young children, you will figure it out, and remember each child is an individual, no two are alike, so neither are their sleeping habits.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What types of photography do you like?

I have entered several photo contests, and I have learned something. Most of the time it really doesn't matter how well the picture is taken, it is more the content of the photo.
Children an animals seem to do best. 
When I have looked at the entries of a photography contest, I see some beautiful work. I call it technique, maybe because I am a dancer, and when you see a good dancer verses a bad dancer, it is usually their good or bad technique that shows what kind of dancer they are--good or bad.
But anyway, back to photography. In good photography, one will notice the lighting, the position of the subject, the clarity, color, etc. A lot of winners of many photography contest I have observed, are just snap shots. It is not necessarily how the picture was taken but rather the content; which I find very interesting. 
I love taking photography and I don't do it to win any contests, although it would be nice. I take pictures because it is fun. Just before entering a photography contest a few weeks ago, I asked one of my photography buddies what types of photos usually win. One of the photographers told me, that the winner is usually not the one that most people would have picked. He said that many times he has looked at the entries and then looked at the winner and wondered why they picked that photo to win. 
I have often wondered what type of picture to enter into contests. Would they like a sports type, like the one above of my son kicking around a soccer ball on the beach?
Or would they like something like this of my daughter dancing on the beach?
Some might like something a little on the eerie side,
or maybe some colorful sunsets,
or maybe some wildlife.
Maybe they would just like a snapshot of something fun,
or of someplace they would like to be.
In the end, I believe the winner just took that special picture that touched someone. So if you decided to enter your photo into a photography contest, remember, it probably won't win, unless that picture is something they are drawn to. Or who knows, you might have a fun snap shot that would be the wining picture.  Whatever, the outcome is, it really doesn't matter. It was just a fun thing to do to get your photos out there. You might be surprised as to who or how many love your work, whether you won or not.
So....what types of photography do you like? I'd like to hear from you. I think it is quite interesting to hear what other's like. Besides, it might help me next time I decided to enter a photography contest...