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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (gluten and lactose free)

When I was gluten free years ago, I mixed tapioca, brown and white rice flours and made my own baking flour. I do not know if it would work for all cookie recipes, but these cookies look, feel and taste the exact same as they do with normal flour.

1/2 cup oil (I use EV olive- use whatever baking oil you normally use)
3/4 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups (gf mix or all purpose) flour
2 tsp baking powder

Mix oil, chocolate and sugar and blend one egg at a time until well mixed
add vanilla
stir in salt, flour and baking powder
chill
drop tsp full of dough into confectioners sugar
shape into balls (roll in sugar)
Bake 2 inches apart on greased sheet at 350 for 10-12 minutes

I will post other recipes I find are good or as good as normal that are dairy, gluten or other allergy free.

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Our cat has been through a lot in her short 3 years.

Her birthday is next month so we celebrate her birthday with mine. She’ll be 3 years old.

We adopted her at 6 months, she had been through 3 fosters and we were her 4th family. She is a sweet, loving and playful cat but has a painful autoimmune disorder called “feline oral stomatitis.” It’s where her gums swell up and can be caused by stress (like when we moved and she could see and smell new stray cats). We keep her inside 100% of the time.

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It all started when she turned a year old. She stopped eating so we took her to the vet. The vet checked her out and told us she had a condition called Stomatitis. They said she would need steroid injections. At that time, I was working and my husband had just lost his job. We switched her from dry food to wet and she continued eating wet food. Then we switched her to pate food then eventually to baby food meat. After she quit eating the meat, we were despatately looking for options. Since she had been through so many homes we didn’t want to give her up for what we knew would be a temporary situation. Someone told us about the Care credit card so I applied and was approved. The day I was approved, we were able to get her in and got her her first injection. It took effect after just a day and within 2 days we had her eating dry food again. A little over a month later, she quit eating so we took her again. There was one time we went five months without an injection but the minute we first heard her hiss at her food, we would be on the phone setting up a visit with the vet, unfortunately most of the times the injections wore off, it would be on the weekend (typically right after the vet closed on Friday) so we woyld have to go until Monday or Tuesday for the injections. We were able to get the injections monthly for close to two years, but eventually she started going less and less time between injections until they said we needed to have her teeth removed.  Last Summer, we didn’t have the money up front to have the surgery we needed and couldn’t find any charities that would help, so we went to a local financial institution and took out a small loan to pay for the surgery. She had the surgery last July and since then, we have had to take her back one time where they gave her a pain killer and injection just for precaution but overall, she is like a kitten again. They were able to keep her front teeth both on top and bottom but the rest were removed.

After the surgery, they told us that not only did she have stomatitis, she also had severe peridontal disease and TMJ and that cats who are prone to Peridontal disease tend to start around 1 year (which she did). Her quality of life is back up to high and she acts more like a kitten than she did when we first adopted her (not to mention how big she is)

We still don’t give her dry food- her diet is 100% wet food and her food budget is almost as much as our family of four per week but it is 100% worth it to see her play and eat like a healthy kitten.

 

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What is Stomatitis?

Stomatitis is a very painful (people think Autoimmune) disorder where the gums swell up over the teeth. It is said to be an attack on the teeth and the only way to rid a cat of the painful chronic condition is to remove all the teeth. If they leave teeth, or even bone, the condition can come back. Treatment tends to be antibiotics, steroids to reduce the inflammation and pain killers.

“What are signs or symptoms of stomatitis in cats?

Feline stomatitis is a common, painful and life threatening problem in many cats.  It occurs in cats of all breeds and of all ages.  Some breeds such as Himalayans, Persians, and Somalis more commonly develop stomatitis although we also see this condition in many domesticated short and long haired cats as well as in the oriental breeds.

Cats having stomatitis often have bad breath (halitosis).  They also have red and inflammed gums (gingiva).  In time the inflammation spreads from areas adjacent to teeth to areas more distant (back of the throat  or the oropharynx).  In some areas, the gums (gingiva) enlarge and block off areas of the oropharynx.  Eating and  swallowing become difficult and painful for many of these cats.

Many cats with stomatitis also have tooth resorption.  The inflammed gingiva may appear to be growing into a tooth or the tooth may appear to have a hole.  These are painful teeth.” (as per http://www.mypetsdentist.com/feline-stomatitis.pml)

The easiest way for me to type the symptoms, was to copy/paste from one of the many sources I went to to read about the condition when she was first diagnosed. There are tons of websites about Feline Stomatitis.

(http://www.vetstreet.com/care/feline-stomatitis
http://www.vetdentistry.com/feline.html

What is Feline Stomatitis in Cats?

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/FHC/health_information/Gingivostomatitis.cfm)

Those are just a few sites that have information on the condition, a quick search will show many others if you know your cat has stomatitis or suspect them of having it. It is one of the most painful chronic conditions a cat can have and treatment is needed no matter the cost. With the right treatment, they will have a great quality of life but don’t forget, cats don’t show pain as easily as humans do so your cat could be in pain without showing.

 

 

 

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One week left in 2017

I do resolutions yearly. It’s more of a list of things I’m wanting to do as a challenge to see if I can do them. I love trying to challenge myself on a daily basis. At work, I give myself private challenges, same with home. At times I’ll secretly compete with coworkers or at home I’ll even secretly compete with my husband. It all depends on what I am doing and how hard it seems to be- if it’s hard, a fun challenge makes it easier to do. I figure if I make larger lists, I’ll be more likely to find a way to succeed with some instead of failing at all. This list is what I’m hoping or needing to change over the course of the next year or so. I do know from experience that making things public does help me stick to it- more accountability.

Most of the time, I do fail to complete the resolutions but it’s still fun sitting down at the end of the year and making a list. I have a few I’m determined to actually do this year.

1. Reprogram my mind to think more positive. I am a realist so at times I come across as pessimistic but I also come across as highly optimistic at other times. I have been working through the past year on trying to distance myself from people in my life (in all areas) who complain a lot or just have a more negative vibe and it’s been working a bit.

2. Think less about the diagnosis’s and medical issues. I’m still in the coming to terms with not being fully healthy stage so it plagues my mind constantly but I found that pushing the thoughts about OCD to the back of my mind gives me longer times of not obsessing over something (I have been having issues with the OCD being an OCD obsession lately so not researching it and trying to think of other things has been helping me a tiny bit)

It may or may not work with the other medical conditions, since they’re all physical but it does help with the OCD. I have conditioned my body to function with the fatigue that comes with Hashimotos and I found the gluten free diet clears all my digestive issues up and makes the Osteo pain a tiny bit easier. My Osteo acts up but not always horrible, I found that really cold and warm weather both have no effect, it’s mostly moderately cold and wet weather. I am determined to find a way to slow it down. I know it’s progressive, but I’m still able bodied so I should be able to slow the progression down.

3. Find more easy for lunch and good dinner recipes to stick with the gluten free diet. I have been studying it for years, learning about it, following pages and blogs and saving recipes for a long time but for some reason, rice pasta became my go to for work lunches. I could toss it on the stove and forget about it for a bit but certain brands turn to mush no matter low low I set the heat or how long I cooked it.

4. Quit eating out at work. It ends up costing way more than I’d like to spend. I could take the money I waste on lunch and save for something different- something for the family or even treat myself to something. You also consume manmore calories with store bought or restaurant cooked meals than you do with making things from scratch.

5. Cooking and baking more often. When my 6 year old was younger, I stayed home. I was on Pintrest for new craft and recipe ideas constantly. I’m planning on returning to that since I have been working with 2 kids for 2 years now and am finally getting to the point of having a set routine that works. I’m able to spend quality time with my kids, work, eat, sleep, shower and do my hair and makeup and we don’t have a dirty house (it is a bit messy at times, but we do keep it clean). From the time my younger daughter and I wake up until I go to work, I have a schedule I just fell into- it’s not set in stone but it works and I get errands, doctor appointments and readings done in a decent time and since the holidays are over, everything is slowing down so I can focus more on the home making skills I developed from staying home for four years.

Those are five and along with those 5, staying gluten free without cheating or going back to a normal diet and quitting smoking are both listed.

I read that if a smoker quits by 30, they go almost to nonsmoker risk of dying from smoking related diseases but where I have OCD it turns into an extreme- “I have to quit by the minute I turn 30 or I’ll be doomed to die” and it will start to feel like I HAVE to do it, put tons of unnecessary pressure on me that I do not need and I know isn’t necessary and I’ll freeze and fail. Every time I quit, the OCD puts undue pressure by making me think in extremes. I know the problem, I know the cause and I have been working on trying to “rewire” my brain. I can think logically now, even when the OCD is kicking in, so now I’m working on easing the anxiety by facing whatever causes the anxiety in the first place. It’s always going to be there, it will always act up but the more I work on controlling it, the easier it is to differentiate between reality and the OCD.

I do have to wonder if other people with OCD have serious problems quitting smoking due to the OCD. How it affects me, it almost seems like it would be normal.

 

There is my list- put up publicly because, accountability. Do you do resolutions? If you have that tradition, do you fail or succeed typically?” Is it for fun or serious attempts at improving your life?

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Is there a perfect number of gifts to buy your young kids?

As the holiday season is starting to wrap up, I have been noticing every thing other people have been buying their kids. I have seen some people spending as much as several hundred on one child with a cart full of big and small items. I have also seen some people buy just one or two items. It’s just one store, but when it’s a full buggy you can get a pretty good feel for how they shop. I do not compare myself to others, but I do try to make sure my kids fit into the area as best I can.

We didn’t have a budget, per se, but did have a rule this year that we would get several small but no big toys. We just don’t have the room in our small house right now for another huge toy and still have one or two play sets boxed up that haven’t been opened yet due to lack of space. We also knew, more than likely, we would get something big from a family member. Last year, we came home from his family’s house (alone) with our full size truck loaded with toys the girls were given so we decided then that we wouldn’t get much since the family gets them so much.

On the other hand, I read the 4 gift “rule”

“Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.” I think it’s a good principal, but always felt the need to get them more toys than just one.

We both are more materialistic by nature and we do own too much stuff. Since they see it from us, they are also becoming little consumers. I’d like to think we have hit that perfect balance. They opened gifts this evening after I got off work and loved everything they opened. We got them several small items that they will play with and we didn’t max out a single credit card nor did we break our bank. I would still love to know what that perfect balance is- between the year we maxed out two credit cards and the year we didn’t. Did we give them enough? Too much? I know it differs with everyone and I’m trying to remember from my childhood (I was an only child and would typically burn out by a certain number). My two year old seemed to get bored with opening by the fourth gift and we had to coax her to open the rest, my six year old loves the act of opening gifts so she finished the two year old’s for her.

It’s also making me think back a bit- how funny it seems now. Back when I was a child, I loved toys- and I loved having tons of toys at the end of the day. Today, I’m perfectly happy with the Starbucks gift card I got and the two tiny gifts from my kids. As you get older, priorities change. You go from wanting everything you see and giving a huge list to not being able to think of anything until after the holiday ends. My youngest’s birthday is in December and mine is in January- both of us within 3 weeks of Christmas, so that six week period wipes us out- both emotionally and financially. Luckily, since I’m the mom, the birthday isn’t as big a celebration as the child’s is so it’s not as draining.

 

What do you consider to be the right number of gifts to buy? I don’t necessarily mean a physical number. What is that perfect amount? Do they always have to be big or can they all be smaller? Is there a perfect amount or is it only based on the parents and the kids?

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Christmas shopping for 2

We recently finished our Christmas shopping for 2 kids.

We shopped for 2 girls- age 2 and 6. It is bittersweet. On the one hand, Christmas is a magical time- the kids love seeing the lights, decorations and love the cookies and gifts but it’s really hard knowing you should be shopping for a 2, 4 and 6 year old instead of just the 2 and 6.

I look at the toys and wonder what miss Cassie would have wanted, what she would have been into and what she would have had as her security toy. Would she be a huge doll fan? Would she have wanted to play with Barbies or cars? Would she have been interested in sports? Art? Music? All of the above?

What would her personality have been? Would she have been more laid back like the 6 year old or more hyper like the 2 year old?

Where I work in retail, I meet people with kids my kids’ ages all the time. I’m normally fine, but I met a woman with 2 daughters- 4 and 2 and nearly lost it. I went into work a few days ago crying- had been all afternoon that day and finally calmed myself down enough to do my job.

It hurts, it really reminds you what you’re missing out on. The two living kids we have wear us out but we know we would have been able to handle having 2, 4 and 6. Even if we never rested, we know we’d be doing it.

It’s getting easier to handle these holidays and all that without her but milestones still hit me hard. She would have started school this year (preschool) so we would have had 2 out of 3 in school.

One thing i hate hearing is people using loss as an excuse for people acting like assholes during this season. If someone is an ass during the Christmas season, the only excuse is that they’re assholes the rest of the year as well. Losing someone (grandparent, parent, child- it doesn’t matter) is not an excuse to treat people like crap. The holiday season is stressful for most people- being nice, sweet, charitable and kind is the best way to act during this season (and year round). I’ll never understand why people make excuses for bad behavior but then again, it’s not in my nature. I tried to ship something out for my Etsy and the post office worker was an asshole to me. Instead of causing a scene or acting out, I finished paying and just turned around and walked out. It’s likely going to be my absolute last time using that post office, but it’s not my first bad experience with him and there are literally 4 other post offices to choose from in close vicinity.

I think we’re finally done with our shopping. This weekend, we need to go over everything and make sure we have all bases covered. That’s what I like about working in retail, easy shopping all the way up to the day.

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I’m turning 30 in just under a month

I try to always set New Years Resolutions. I do it mostly for fun but this January is a milestone for me. I’ll be turning 30.

I know 30 doesn’t seem old to many people, but I thought I’d be further along than I am. I feel like I’m right back at 19. I’m working back in retail (not by choice- I went in to skin care but the highest paying job I found was retail)

All my early adulthood, I wanted to be married, 2 kids, own a home and have my dream career. I’ve been married 7 years, have the two kids (technically 3) but we rent and I work a job- not a career.

At 19, I dropped out of college, got into an abusive relationship and was stuck until I finally got away from him at 21 and ended up homeless. I bounced around from couch to couch and ended up on harder drugs. I finally woke up and cleaned up, moved back with my mom and dad and got a stable job.

At 22, I met my husband. We fell in love fast and were married in 3 months. Our oldest daughter came along a month after we eloped. (we celebrated our 7th anniversary last August, so I definitely do not regret marrying that fast nor that young- he was 10 days past 20 when we eloped and he also has no regrets). At 23, I lost the job I had and went to school- the plan was to take the six month course, graduate then the baby was due shortly after graduation, then I was going to take 6 weeks to recover and start searching for a job. Instead, she came half way through the course and I had to take maternity leave. I went back and graduated almost on time (stacked up hours before and after she was born- it was a 600 hour course) while she was still in the NICU. She had to transfer to a different NICU in a different state right after I graduated so I went on to live in the NICU room (and Ronald McDonald House) with her while my husband and parents visited occasionally but all three worked. During that time, I started loom knitting and making earrings to deal with boredom from being alone while she slept and with the hats, Bethcessories was born but not well thought out. It was just put on Etsy and forgotten. After she came home, we took her out grocery shopping one time, she got sick and ended up in the PICU and on the vent. It was that moment (along with some bad experiences with a few home care nurses) that made me realize I’d be unable to work and put her in daycare and at that time, we were unable to find jobs that would allow us to work around each other’s schedules.

During that time, I found I was unable to get into the local colleges but was able to get the financial aid restriction lifted at the college I left but I’ve had the major issue of- do I want to go into debt for a job that doesn’t pay well but I am passionate about or do I want something I don’t really like much but makes more money?

The logic vs emotion disagreement has had me torn apart and is why I’ve successfully been re accepted 4 times, had almost everything planned out perfectly but then one tiny thing always falls through.

The very last New Year’s Resolution I kept was back on January 2, 2010- I promised myself I’d stay away from all drugs and as of right now, I’m going on 8 years clean. It’s something I’d be proud of- if it was a challenge, but it was my way of dealing with the trauma of what happened to me in those two years and lasted such a short time, it was very much against everything I have ever stood for and due to my nature, I know I’ll never be tempted to go back. It feels like it threw off my life path and since then, I’ve lived in regret and even shame that it happened. I know it’s me holding myself back from my goals but it feels like that one year threw me off so bad.

 

Most of what I have wanted to do ended up being dead end or low paying.

My cousin got a Bachelors in what I was originally wanting to get into (interior design), spent a year out of college (my senior year of high school) and couldn’t find a single job- back when the economy was better so I changed my mind.

I started off in communications (journalism) then switched to marketing before I dropped out.

My first job was writing for the local newspaper in a teen section they had weekly. I loved going to the meetings, doing the interviews and writing the articles. I had a friend who did it professionally (a huge dream) but it was lower paying. I went to beauty school to get into make up artistry (it’s always been a dream to either write for a fashion magazine or work behind the scenes at a runway show, now I’m too old to get into that. I’d be in my mid 30s by the time I graduated and I’m sure most places want an early 20 something fresh out of school to intern and I only studied skin, most make up artists need to be able to do hair as well, I believe)

I’ve read so many blogs and articles on so many different websites that seem to reinforce the fact that women are pretty much useless both career or otherwise after they hit the mid 20s, that what you make in your 20s is the highest you’ll make and if you’re not lined up to move up in your career by the time you’re 30, you’re screwed so it does kind of give me the mind set of “why bother?” I wouldn’t say I wasted my 20s. I loved staying at home with my oldest, I wanted kids young and the biological clock is a real thing but now I’m out of that stage (I very happily signed to be sterilized after my third c section) and as my youngest gets older, I’m thinking more seriously about career (the plan- first kids and focus on education then focus on building career while kids are older and in school. I didn’t want to have to freeze a career for 6 weeks to go on maternity leave- it happened when I was in a salon and it killed the career I was starting to build but I also wasn’t a proper fit in that particular salon)

People always tell me to not plan so rigidly- that life always throws curves into plans, but trying to have a plan is one of the best ways my ADHD mind is able to focus.

I had another plan to have my main work ready to send to try to get traditionally published by the time I was 30. Thanks to my OCD perfectionist personality, I literally spent 4 years editing the same 3 pages and am no closer to finishing it than I was when I finished the rough draft (the story is fully written from front to back- but I want this one traditionally published so I want it perfect). Once again, I had friends who have been published telling me I needed to stop being so hard on my work, stop overthinking and to not have such high standards for myself. My new goal is to have it ready by 35. I actually have several others started (thanks to Nanowrimo- a fun challenge I do every November)

I’m not sure why I’m writing this, I have severe anxiety over turning 30 and I guess I need to just get it out.

 

 

 

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I spent 6 years searching for a diagnosis

For my 6 year old. As of today, I officially have one. It was given first back when she was a tiny baby in the NICU but I went into denial.

She went through hell for over a year. She was in NICU for 8 months, had 4 surgeries (2 heart caths to close 2 an ASD and PDA, feeding tube placement and laser eye for ROP)

She came home on oxygen, heart monitor and with a feeding tube. She was born with 5 holes in her heart, unable to breathe without help, under 2lbs and 13 inches long.

She didn’t walk until shortly after her third birthday, didn’t talk for years and now only says a few words at once (has a speech impediment but is able to copy what we say, can read, and understands everything we say)

She still can’t jump off the ground, can’t walk unassisted down steps and is finally slightly able to step off the curb. She still can’t write but is starting to be able to give it a great effort and is in therapies multiple times a week both at school and outside of school.

She looks normal, when you hear her talk, she sounds special.

She’s sweet, kind, loving but has tantrums that can rival anyone else. She’s tiny, we have trouble getting her eating enough to gain.

We finally have a diagnosis. We finally know what’s wrong.

We don’t know how severe the outcome will be, but we do have a name. It’s a name I’ve been studying trying frantically to convince myself is not right. It is. Blood tests have proven it. I am, in a way, in a shock but really- I knew it and we were getting all the symptoms treated (it’s not a treatable condition) but I wish it was something she would just outgrow.

 

The name is 1P36 Deletion Syndrome. She has a lesser severe form. She has no seizures, no issues with her brain, her lifespan is normal, she has none of the facial features, but she has it. She’ll likely always be tiny, skinny and we have to have her heart monitored despite all holes closing up but I wish I never had a reason to have heard of this condition. I am still unsure how to feel.