Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This Is How I Wrap Gifts

I really don't like it when someone picks up a wrapped gift and knows exactly what it is. I like surprises. I never put the gifts under the tree ahead of time. One year I even numbered the gifts instead of putting the kids names on.......Jessica said she hated that idea. 
The grands are getting older and harder to buy gifts gift cards or cash is looking better and better. I still wanted to give them something to open. My 14 year old grandson likes salsa so I got him 2 different kinds to try. I wanted to try something different with the cash so I taped it all together, starting with singles and taped it to one of the jars.

Cole is tall, 6' or darn near that tall.
Hope he enjoys the cash and got all the tape off.

Aluminum cans are another great way to throw the recipient off the track. 
*first you need one with a pop top.....they don't all work though, make sure it does not have a rounded bottom (at least they didn't work for me)
*open the can on the bottom, but do NOT take the bottom totally off and don't bend it too much
*wash can (self evident, but???)
*put gift in can (I had cash and a memory card in the ones I did)
*hot glue the bottom back on (much easier if it not bent too much)
*make sure the recipient opens it from the pop top

What do you think in in these???
The smaller one had 2 bills and a card in it. It was so light and didn't rattle so it felt empty.

Our 11 year old granddaughter is growing up....she wanted mascara for Christmas, mom isn't quite ready for that. She did find some clear mascara for her. did give me an idea.....a sample size mascara.... she was unable to get one. I, on the other hand, was able to get a sample for Ava. How to wrap it? Cut about 3" off the end of an empty wrapping paper roll and wrap like a popper. I had to wrap the mascara with tissue so it didn't rattle around inside the tube. She was really pleased to find the mascara.

 We did have one near mishap when opening gifts. I forget that young children rip open or just grab things out of the bag and we did have to dig through the garbage to find an envelope with gift cards for one little girl. Thank goodness mom spoke up.

Do you have any unique wrapping ideas?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Photos

Let's see if I can do this right tonight.....last night I had my posted almost completed and somehow I deleted it....nothing was saved at all. (insert sad face)
Christmas eve my 10 year old grandson attended church with me, 9 year old Jalen sang with the choir. The last song we always sing is Silent Night by candlelight. As you can see below it's a beautiful way to end the service.

Our Christmas celebrations consisted of several small family gatherings. 
As tradition indicates we spent that evening at my BFF's (with Kev's first wife's family).  Grandson J was delighted to receive a scrapbook and some embellishments to go with it.

Here we are with the story he wrote about me "My Grandmas Is Very Generous". It was an assignment (not that particular title) for school and his teacher let him print a 2nd copy to give to me. He also made an ornament for his mom and me. 
 Jalen's older and younger brothers.

On Christmas Day we had Kevin's 2 children and the grandchildren over. A couple other friends/family stopped over for a bit also.
 The pic is rather dark, but our youngest granddaughter is adorable in her new Elsa baseball cap.

Jalen made his dad a 'name poem' for Christmas. His older brother made dad a coupon book. What parent doesn't like a homemade, personalized gift??? 

Grandpa helping the boys with the Nerf guns.

The boys pose for a photo before continuing their Nerf war. The boy in the red shirt is not our grandson, the other 3 are brothers.

Playing Legos before they open gifts. MOST of the kids like Legos.

Jalen and his 4 year old brother have crushes on our 11 year old granddaughter. Ava is precious!!! ....motivated....trustworthy....hardworking....
She and her younger sister always donate their long, blond locks to worthy causes when they get it cut.

Another blond haired beauty.
She got new pjs and put them on before they left.

On Friday we had very mild weather and Kevin went golfing with his buddies.
Saturday I met my DIL and granddaughter at Texas Roadhouse in Appleton. My grandson was unable to come along because he was sick. I did a teeny bit of shopping, nothing from the Christmas sale aisles though.
My daughter and her family came over on Sunday. Eastin and his 3 boys were here also. Both days we had only a few people here and had a simple lunch, but it was very nice. My daughter even made low sodium chowder and rolls for me.... not bad!
I really hope that next year I can get EVERYONE together.
Monday I had to have my weekly blood test for the warafin that I take and I decided it was a good day to make some returns. I also stopped at 3 thrift stores.....didn't find much.....I don't think I've been in much of a shopping mood lately. I'm fine with that. 
My plan for today was to stay home and clean up. Well.....I slept in (can't fall asleep at a decent hour), then I talked on the phone for a long time, after that another friend stopped over to visit. It was about 2:30 when I started to pick up a few things in the living room. There's always tomorrow, right???

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday Musings

It's almost Christmas and it doesn't seem like it to me.....probably b/c I didn't do much decorating or many other preparations. We do have a small tree up and I put up the Christmas cards. The floor under the tree is not covered with gifts, nor will it be. I did buy 1 or 2 small gifts for the grandchildren but nothing for the adults. Everybody is cutting back so I will too.....that and the fact that I didn't feel good most of the fall and stayed home.
Friday I went to one of my granddaughter's Christmas concert, the last one for me this season. Love seeing the children sing! I met my daughter and the other grandma for lunch. We had a nice visit, I seldom get to visit with Bev.
I was about 1/2 to my destination and I realized that I had not changed the battery in my life-vest (it is supposed to be changed once a day at the same time, I chose mornings) and I was not sure how long the battery would last. I knew it would be good for a while.....but until I got home? I figured that I went several months w/o one so a few hours would be OK.....hopefully. It was after 6pm when I got home and it was still going strong-32 hours later.

Claire is the girl in the red dress with the 'furry' headband and toothless smile. She was sure to smile every time we aimed the camera at her. I wish I would have taken a photo when they all were waving their snow flakes in the air, all the classes from kindergarten to grade 4. The gym floor was filled with chairs and the one side of the bleachers (reserved for guests) was filled too. They have a morning performance and afternoon.....good turn outs every time.

On the way home I stopped in Appleton at Target and hoped to finish my shopping...didn't happen. I did learn that if I am going to be gone during meal time that I should bring some kind of low sodium snack.....I can't just stop at a fast food place and get a bite. Monday I have a doctor appointment and will finish shopping then.
When I got home I found grandson J watching TV, he's staying all weekend. It's nice to have a 9 year old, he got up by himself and came downstairs.....and came up later to wake me up....but he forgot it was saturday I could have slept in big deal. We had a very lazy morning and didn't get dressed until about noon. After lunch we went downstairs so he could make a Christmas card. I should have continued cleaning up down there (I did a little earlier in the week) but I just sat and visited with him.I don't think I will get much done this weekend, what else is new???
Jon (my life vest) has been quiet, not  a peep out of him. I'm happy! I am surviving carrying it around  all day and sleeping with it on.
Can you believe Christmas is next week? Jalen let out a "WHOOPEE" when he learned today was the 20th. I'll do a little shopping and a little cleaning and what happens happens. Christmas Eve I will go to church and then to my bffs, Christmas day Kevin's kids and the grands will be here. Either Saturday or Sunday my daughter and her family are coming. The week will go fast.
Have a great one!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Personal EMT - Jon

I never do 2 posts in one day but I had the early one scheduled and it went out before I could change it. I wanted to get this one out so bear with me....OK?
Today I am going to introduce you to Jon, he's my very own, personal EMT who could save my life. Scary, eh??? If I stop to think about it it is.
I heard about Jon on Wednesday and he came over that evening.....and we've been together ever since. We are very close, I keep him next to my heart, he's a cuddler and hugged me all night long. He's not allowed to shower with me though!!! Kevin is very understanding and doesn't even mind. Jon's been very quiet and I hope he stays that way! Wanna see a picture of us? Sorry, I can't show you one of us, but I can show you what he looks like:
front view

Below is the back. There are 3, cell phone size, pieces in it. Two are in the back (the silver parts) and one horizontally in the front. It goes on under my you know why you don't WANT to see a photo of us!!!! I can wear the 'brains' (square battery pack) clipped onto my pants or around my neck like a small purse. 
Guess I won't be wearing my body hugging, sexy, little black dress tonight.......especially since I don't own one. 
This is a life vest. It's a wearable defibrillator is a treatment option for sudden cardiac arrest. Yup, it's what the doctor recommended I wear for at least a month, the Holter monitor showed that I had 'quite a few irregular heartbeats'. 
I slept OK with it on last night and it's not too cumbersome, although I'm glad not to be wearing it during the hot, sticky summer. You do what you gotta do, right???
I actually feel quite good and have been told I look how can I be in such bad shape?
Now I have to find out how this affects my surgery....... oy vey.

Thoughts On Thursday

Don't send your husband to the grocery store with a list written specifically for YOURSELF.....especially if you use 'shorthand' because you know what you want or he may bring home:
*the heaviest olive oil on the market
*shredded Swiss cheese instead of sliced. How is that going to work on a sandwich?
*margarine instead of butter
*low fat sour cream.....although you need low sodium foods
*fruit roll ups instead of fruit snacks (which is what was clearly written down, roll ups have more sodium)

If he does bring those items home just say "That's fine, it'll work.".....that is if you want to save your marriage and will ever ask him to go to the grocery store again. Just rewrite your list and save it for the next time YOU go shopping!!!

I wanted to share this advice from something that might have happened to me this past week.
Do you have any advice to share?

Remember that I said I wore a Holter heart monitor last week? Well, they called me yesterday and said I have "quite a few irregular heartbeats" that is what causes me to be dizzy/light headed sometimes. So......I need to see that specialist soon!
It's always something. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

School Concert

Yesterday I attended my grandsons concert......finally got to one. Two of the other grands have theirs at night and I don't care to drive for 1-1/2 hours in the evening....probably I missed those. 
I love these concerts!
The pics below of are the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade choir. 

Choir is an extracurricular activity so these children WANT to sing. Grandson J is in the front row - Santa hat and red striped tie. He LOVES to sing and is so serious about it, and does constantly, drives me nuts.....but I can take it b/c he is only here on the weekend. He was heartbroken when he didn't get a solo part. He is not into sports so I really encourage his singing.
His brother is on the left in the blue shirt and b/w striped tie.

Our surprise, at the end of the concert, was the teachers and staff singing "the 12 days of school".
It was sooooo cute.........
"on the 1st day of school a student said to me 'I lost my mittens', on the 2nd day of school a student said to me 'I'm gonna tell', ......'is the test today?', 'we did that last year', 'he was talking too'."..... and so forth.  We all loved it. 

Friday I have to get up EARLY to get to my granddaughter's concert......nearly a 2 hour drive....oh, why did I say I'd attend the morning program???? Afterward I'm having lunch with my daughter and the other grandma. I can't wait and I think the weather will cooperate too.

Last night was our book club's Christmas party at one of the gal's home. Everyone brings something. Oooooh, such good (and salty) appetizers. Yes, I had a little of everything. (There were no veggies or fruit and woman can not live on sweets alone.) We talked about a lot of stuff, even the book. Before we left our hostess pulled out a paper grocery bag and started filling it up.....with boxes of cookies....everyone who was there baked cookies for me.
Thanks so much ladies!!!!!
Merry Christmas!
God Bless!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Test Results And My Dilema

It was brought to my attention that some of you are waiting to hear the results of my MRIs. I wasn't worried and didn't hear for 2 days so didn't even think about it. Thankfully I was right this time, both were negative :-). All is good. No more explanation will be given.
On the way home from the cardiologist last week my surgeon called me and he had 3 options (for surgery) for me.
1. Wait 3 months to see what another ECHO says about my heart. Will the tumor grow? spread?
2. Have the tumor and one lymph node removed under a local anesthetic with light sedation, at the hospital 40 minutes away. It's a good hospital, just not as big and specialized as St Luke's. If the node is positive I will have to have surgery later (under general anesthesia) to remove more lymph nodes.
3. Have the whole surgery done under general anesthesia, at St Lukes. Because of my heart I am at a higher risk and that hospital has specialists there and I'd be in good hands.
The oncologist and surgeon don't want to wait. 
Hubby says "It's your body."
My friends have given me their opinions. A blogger friend, Lois, has given me hers (from past experience).

Pray I make the right decision.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Doctors, Tests, Food, and Friends

It seems like I can't get through a week without a doctor appointment or a test. ***sigh*** 
I'm thankful that medicine has advanced so much that I am able to take advantage of the many tests available to help figure out my condition and therefore get me back on the road to recovery. Sometimes it's something as simple as a finger stick to check my blood for clotting time and then just 'visiting' with my oncologist. We've become friends.
Earlier this week I had 2 MRIs, one on my lower back and one on my brain. I am not claustrophobic but I still don't care for it. I was able to listen to music while the test was in progress and that helped GREATLY. Every now and then the techs talked to me and I like that. 
Yesterday I had an appointment with my cardiologist in Milwaukee (roughly 2 hours away). My good friend drove......I would NEVER go alone and with my drop foot I don't trust myself to drive in traffic. We left early, therefore arrived big deal. I had blood drawn (used to that) and then saw the NP and doctor. I am loosing water weight and can walk further than I did the last time I was there. We discussed my surgery........I am at a higher risk so it's something to think about. He adjusted my meds and also prescribed a Holter heart monitor for me. I have to wear it for 48 hours and then return it to the hospital. Ahhhh....  I need an hour appointment to get it......I said it has to be now b/c I can not just come back any ol' day. They got me right in. ***smile*** 
The nurse explained it to me and proceeded to stick the wires on. I'm not quite sure how/why the conversation started but I told her I had congestive heart failure from chemo. Lo and behold, so does Jill. She is a breast cancer survivor! Jill explained how her dog found it..,.,sniffed it out and pawed the exact location (it hurt like heck). She scolded the dog for hurting her and just let it go. But finally a good friend found out and made sure she got a mammogram and ultrasound. She told me her story and we exchanged our side effect stories, I cried, we hugged, and she gave me her #. We knew exactly what the other was talking about. I am so glad God put her in that hospital yesterday! I was still crying when she returned me to Carolee in the waiting room. She ALWAYS brings a project or 2 along to work on so is happy to get something accomplished.
Finally, after spending an extra hour at the hospital, we were ready to do some shopping. I think it was about 2 and we were hungry. We stopped at a restaurant that Carolee had eaten at before, it's nice and on the expensive side.....but hey, I live in a very small town so most places seem expensive to me. I found something with relatively low sodium (sauce on the side is my new catch phrase) and a high price.....but I haven't been out in a while so....... After that we stopped at Trader Joe's, I've never been there and didn't know what to expect. I guess I thought it would be more like a World Market, but it is a grocery store. The employee who helped us find low sodium foods was so sweet and helpful. Next we went to a coop and found a few things there. I was looking for low sodium snacks for myself and for food that I can cook for dinner. I have a start now. I'll try some things and if Kev likes it - great! If not he may have to add salt or I'll just eat it myself. I could have spend more time looking at everything (there is not a specific section for low sodium) and reading labels but we wanted to get back so Carolee could make it to the event she had on her calender that evening. She's a busy lady.
I was hungry when I got home so I had to try some of my new snacks.....yummy!
So today is a new day and I have things to do.
Thanks for stopping by!
Happy Weekend!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Chemo Side Effect - Bad, Ugly, MIssing Fingernails

While I was on chemo this summer my fingers grew really long because I wasn't doing much. I polished them and took advantage. Then I was supposed to have surgery so I took off the nail polish. Now what do I see?
The nails are separating from the nail that the right terminology? 
The top, white part is starting to come off and I will be left with a teeny, tiny fingernail.
That thumb nail came off yesterday.

See the tiny nail on my pinky?
No, it didn't hurt.....I was afraid of that.
I also just lost the nail on my middle finger.

Did you notice the V shape on the nail below? The one next to it has a weird shape too. Oh, I can't wait to have 10 teensy, weeny little nails. NOT! Will they grow back and look normal?

BTW my toenails are the same.

No fancy nails for me this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I love to decorate for Christmas and have tons of decorations packed away in boxes in our basement. I have enough ornaments to decorate at least 3 trees, and alternate trees every year. I have movable figures, I have Santas (I collect them), I have about a dozen Nativity sets, you'll find 2 or 3 boxes of items for a village scene and more decorations. This year is going to be very low key for us.......Kev does not get into any holidays or decorating....I do it all. I just don't have the energy this's hard enough to dig out my boxes when I am healthy.....but now.....not going to happen.
On Sunday grandson J and I decorated this little 3' tree. Today I added some finishing touches.

Here's our little tree.
I'm happy, I still have a tree and it didn't take much effort on my part. 
the only Nativity I could easily get at is grandson J's that he received for Christmas when he was very little. He was so excited when he opened his very own "activity set" that year. He was always able to play with it it if he wanted to.
My letters keep falling it says ACE.....soon I will take it all down. 

Christmas cards weren't even on my to do list but since I found so many leftover from last year I had plenty to mail out and did that yesterday. I think that is the earliest I have ever mailed my cards. 
My grands are generally getting gift cards or cash. I do need to buy a few small gifts for some of the children. Shopping is hard work so I won't be doing a lot of it. I am not exchanging gifts with my friends like I usually do. I doubt if any of my adult family members will be getting gifts from me either. I hope they will understand. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

No, I Didn't Need Another Bag.....

......but it's a white leather bag by Stone Mountain and was $1.50. So how could I pass it up? It's a perfect size for me (8.5" H X 11" L).....I have a lot of important stuff I need   want to tote around. I found like it on ebay, one for $19.99 and one for $24.95, no bids on either yet. It's in good condition and I just cleaned the outside a bit. I'm ready to be stylish next summer!!!

Yesterday I had a lot of errands to run: 2 doctor appointments and an oil change, plus the thrift store and a couple of other stops. When I got home late in the afternoon I was tired, getting in and out of the car and walking tires me out. I actually used my temporary disabled parking pass once.
Today I slept in, yesterday I had to rush to get out of the house on time.....I hate that even more now that I move in slower motion than usual. I did some housework and laundry. I enjoy being a homemaker. I was even planning to make dinner..,but...Kev made ham for himself last night and has enough left for his dinner he can take care of himself. I am so thankful he doesn't mind. What will I dig up for myself??? Certainly not the dill pickles I crave.

Hope you're having a great week.
I am having a doctor/test filled week.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Their Diabolical Plan......

.......but is it the same one my body has in mind?
Have my doctors been paying attention to me? It seems like I have gotten every UNUSUAL chemo side effect. Dear Lord, when you made me did you take the parts from the seconds/extra pile????
My oncologist had the bright idea to remove my tumor with only a local anesthetic, maxidation - similar to what you get for a colonoscopy. And he even got my surgeon to agree to it. It does scare me. I am 'only' having a lumpectomy, but still.......... Even my cardiologist seems to think it might work. I will see him next week and discuss it with him. Oh dear, what did I get myself into when I agreed to take on breast cancer????? one ever asked me :-(
Wednesday I had a lot of errands to run and was gone for most of the day. I did feel kinda 'foggy' and weird and just tickled a car in a parking lot (should never have told Kev). Shopko was my last stop and I walked around quite a bit, very slowly, I was quite tired by the time I got home. 
Thursday I had a bad cramp in my leg so I called the nurse and she said to take an extra potassium pill. I figured that was it but it's best to talk to the experts. I also noticed more numbness on my right foot/leg and that when sitting on a kitchen chair, with my feet flat on the floor, I can not lift my right toes off the floor.....scary. I finally got a hold of my regular dr (per the cardiology nurse) and they wanted me in that afternoon (it was already 3:30pm) or to go to ER. REALLY??? Kev took me to the dr and they ruled out a stroke but said I have drop foot......which my oncologist says happens with chemo patients. Not again....... So now Kev won't let me drive :-(
Today I have to go in for an MRI on my head and lumbar spine....oh joy, I hate those darn things....but at least this time I won't have to hold my breath (like I did when they did my heart last month-that was hard for me).
Just when I thought I understood the plan it changed on me....again. 
I have to get in the shower and get dressed b/c I haven't any idea of when I need to get my MRI. Thanks Carla for the ride....
and all my other friends for chauffeuring me around.