Monday, September 15, 2014

show me don't tell me

It all started from here

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

show me don't tell me

It all started from here

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back to School Chalk Fun

Poof, Summer is over and we are back to school. This is the last year that all my kids will be in the same school. My two older kids are now about five feet tall. I am guessing I have about 18 months till they both overtake me. tick tock...

My eldest son has feet as big as mine, size 10. You can sorta see the giant blue shoes in the photos above. I had to add a filter to blur the giant shoes out. They were so distracting! Generally, I am okay with my big feet because there are always clearance shoes in size 10. My son's giant feet resulted in me tripping over his shoes by the door and jamming one of my little toes in the worst way. I don't think I spoke for five minutes straight. I now have a black and blue toe for the final days of sandal season.

That black and blue toe also took a ride on a Razor scooter this weekend. My youngest wanted to try his scooter and was having a hard time. So I had to demo a bit. It really is quite fun. But in the end, he decided that he only wanted to try new things like a new macaroni and cheese, not a scooter. This declaration was delivered to me in a loud shrill paired with crocodile tears and clenched fists. I am certain the neighbors caught every bit. I think he was overtired with low blood sugar (see, he was right about trying a new macaroni and cheese). So I carried him home like a koala bear with one arm while using the other hand to guide the scooter next to us.

After arriving home, all coated in shiny sweat I was feeling pretty amped about boots, tights and scarf season to round the corner. The best part will be the first frost that clears the air for my seasonal allergy trio (and hubby too). No worries they are all good buddies with Zyrtec and daily showers to remove pollen. They definitely took showers after the chalk photo and the scooter melt down.

BTW everyone chill out with the pumpkin recipes on Pinterest. It's too soon for the frenzy.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Brain on Fire

This book was an intense read that I didn't want to put down. I just wanted to know what would happen next. In 2009, Susannah (the author) goes through a medical condition that starts with paranoid thoughts,  numbness in her limbs, a bit of manic tendencies, then seizures and all out psychotic breakdown. The doctors run countless tests and cannot figure the cause of her issues until one doctor steps in with a lifesaving diagnosis that nearly saved her life. The total cost of her treatments were over $1 million. Good thing she had insurance at the time. 

From the book...
"By the time I was a patient at NYU, Dr. Dalmau had fine-tuned his approach, designing two tests that could swiftly and accurately diagnose the disease. As soon as he received my samples, he could test the spinal fluid. If he found that I had anti-NMDA-receptor autoimmune encephalitis, it would make me the 217th person worldwide to be diagnosed since 2007. It just begged the question: If it took so long for one of the best hospitals in the world to get to this step, how many other people were going untreated, diagnosed with a mental illness or condemned to a life in a nursing home or a psychiatric ward?"

In May 2014, it was announced that the book is being adapted to a film staring Dakota Fanning as Cahalan with Charlize Theron producing the film. 

This book was a bit of a personal read for me. I was sick back in September of 2001. I had been into urgent care and my regular doctor several times, finding no solution. I had severe pain in my back that was so intense it would take me over forty-five minutes to just get out of my bed. I would be drenched in sweat and tears and shaking by the time I stood up. The pain was so bad, I wanted to die. My final visit to the doctor office ended with me demanding to be sent to the hospital. 

I was in the hospital for over a month. It took nearly two weeks before they knew what was wrong with me. Before the diagnosis, I had multitudes of CATscans, MRI's, X-rays, blood tests and physical therapy sessions. Then from being so still for weeks, the doctors thought they saw a pulmonary embolism in my lung on an X-ray. That is a huge red flag, they rushed me in for an angiogram. I was awake for it all. It was just like the show ER, so intense. 

This was right after 9/11, the only shows available on the hospital TVs were Sesame Street or the news about 9/11. I would lay in the bed looking out the window at the planes flying by wondering when the next one was coming, thinking that I couldn't get up to run from anything. At one point during the whole process I lost it. I was screaming at the doctor, throwing anything I could get my hands on. I was yelling that people with brain tumors go home before me, why can't they figure this out! I am in America not a third world country. That particular doctor dropped me as a patient that day. I got a new doctor the next day.

It all panned out fine. This new doctor ordered a spinal bone biopsy. Think that is scary? Yeah it is. It's terrible. You are awake, laying on your stomach then they run you through the scanner. You come back out, they start drilling into you spine a bit then back into the scanner. This process goes on about forty minutes till they hit the right spot. The area is numbed but you hear the sounds and feel the pressure. 

After all of that the bone biopsy showed nothing. However soon after, I had a blood infection. It was a terrible blood infection with a very high fever. They collected vile after vile of my blood for testing and immediately began running IV antibiotics. It was the weekend, so the tests took longer to come back. Of course, perfect timing as always. 

In the end, I had Spinal Osteomyletis caused by Salmonella in my L5 vertebrae. The bone biopsy has shaken it all lose into my system. It was in the exact spot I had indicated the very first visit at urgent care. The entire staff came in to apologize to me. Many of them had thought the whole thing was in my head, that I had just thrown my back out (at the ripe age of 24). I was placed on a high dose of many painkillers, my blood thinners for the blood clot and a permanent IV was attached to my arm. I was on IV antibiotics for several months. 

The craziest thing about my disease was that I did not have a compromised immune system. I was not very young or old. I did not have a broken bone, diabetes, tuberculosis or sickle cell. I had absolutely none of the risk factors associated with this disease. I didn't even eat meat during this time of my life. So the Salmonella had to of come from dirty vegetables or cross contamination. The particular strain of Salmonella was so strong that it must have just busted through my system and found a home in my spine. 

A year after the whole ordeal, I was pregnant with my first child. Life has a funny way of working out. Luckily, I had insurance just like Susannah. I also had a doctor that went for a crazy idea when no one was listening to me. I am designer, not a writer. I never wrote a compelling story about my month of Ostemyletis. Susannah did, and she did a great job. I am grateful for her passion to bring awareness to a disease that needed to be known. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Minneapolis wanderings

Hello, Hello farmer's market veggies! I love that my work is located near the Minneapolis Farmer's Market. Today I popped over there during lunch time to nab some tomatoes for my daughter. We both agree that tomatoes from the Farmer's Market taste like the earth (in a good way). The tomatoes at the grocery store do not have the same earthy goodness. Soon it will be fall and then winter (boo) when the sun sets at 4pm. Until then we will dash to the farmer's market while we can.

My youngest is a mega fan of the mini donuts you can find at the market on the weekend. He was convinced that the mini donuts were available everyday. "Mom, since the Farmer's Market is so close your work, you could get me hot mini-donuts everyday, RIGHT?" Insert big blinking brown eyes and a wiggly leg hug.

Back to today, my other downtown adventures to included popping tags at the Salvation Army downtown Minneapolis. They sell clothing and home goods by the pound upstairs. Downstairs you can find oodles of Target headquarter sample goodies. Today I found a Nate Berkus platter for only $4. I just saw this same platter at Target stores for $24.99! They frequently have Target dresses for only $4 too. Love it.

Show me, don't tell me


Let's travel back in a time to my college years. The time in my life when teachers chanted "show me, don't tell me". I have carried that theory throughout my design work. Good design hits you in the heart when you see it. There is no need to explain things, your soul already absorbed the goodness. Any additional explanation of the visual only enriches the goodness.

I have three kids that have reached the critical point in life where we are discussing that life is not always fair, that there is a need to be a kind friend and a quality human in this crazy world. I can discuss things at great length but I will often get the semi-blank stare, huff or sneaky eye roll. So I have decided to use my college-days design theory with them. Show me, don't tell me.

I am the keeper of most of my extended families photos, going back to the 1890s. I am going to use a combination of old photos, notes and textures mixed with my current kids art to make visual graphics that convey the advice I want them to hold tight to their souls. Who knows where this will go. I will take it day by day and see the goodness I can craft up.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mint Dark Chocolate Cakepops

Order up! From time to time, I craft up custom cakepops for sweet treat friends and fans. This latest version is a dark chocolate mint version. 

I love a spicy chocolate so recently I experimented with a spicy concoction of chocolate, cayenne pepper and chili powder. I topped those spicy bad boys with sea salt. Almost hot enough, next time I am going to amp the heat up and add some bacon crumbles with the sea salt. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer time fun : cake pop stand

The other day, I was attempting to have a conversation with my husband. I said "profit" during our discussion. All the kids said "What's profit? What does that mean?" So this weekend, we ran a cake pop stand to discuss and learn matters such as cost, profit, supply, demand, salesmanship, teamwork and hard work.

Before the cake pop stand opened, a kind gentleman gave my son $2 for his efforts. We didn't have the cake pops out yet. So sweet, perfect little motivation to get the day going. I love that. Turns out our youngest is a fabulous "waver" but also a great inventor of excuses (reasons) why he needs yet another break. My oldest was a hard worker, keeping a constant look out for potential clients. "We are running a business. Pay attention. Wave!"

Our products were Vanilla and Chocolate cake pops! The chocolate turned out to be the street traffic favorite. We had lots of truckers today due to construction work down the street. The kids jumped when they pulled the big horns. Even after subtracting our costs we had a very profitable four-hour shift. They celebrated with a romp in the sprinklers.

Of course, all that time in the driveway lead to another chalk drawing. Luck would have it, friends stopped by for a quick photo shoot! Summer time fun. . . cake pops, profits, sprinklers and friends!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Summer Chalk Art

We have two giant buckets of chalk, this year we are going to burn through it. This weekend we crafted up two chalk scenes, beach bound and parachutes from the sky. A tall ladder is a must to make this photo happen. I was up at the top of the ladder in my usual attire, a dress (not too short). Soon after a car with teenagers shouting inappropriate remarks. Fortunately they stopped when they realized that my kids were laying on the driveway, hearing every word.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Naan with Cilantro and Garlic

My new favorite food blog is HalfBakedHarvest. Tieghan, posts a new recipe every day with beautiful photography. INSANE and awesome too. I recently made her recipe for Naan. It was perfect topped with garlic and fresh cilantro. I paired it with her Basil Red Curry dish. I went with the chickpeas instead of chicken.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Chai Latte Cakepops

Time for some Chai Latte Cakepops. The mix was from Target's Archer Farms Brand. While baking the cake made the house smell amazing. The mix comes with fancy spiced up frosting too. I only used half of the frosting to make the cakepops. Dipped the cakeballs in white melted chocolate and sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Par for the course, my kids were not total fans but my co-workers were thrilled.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Chalk Art

So my little guy wanted me to draw a rocket. It soon became a giant rocket with a flying astronaut and lots of stars. I had to pull out the ladder to take this shot. The people driving by surely thought I was a crazy mom. But remember, it's my "year of don't care".

Just get out there and do things.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mothers day, everyday

I love a handmade card. My eldest crafted this one for Mothers Day. I'll take one day of adoration! Mom with a cherry on top, arty, caring, creative, sweet, trust worthy, smart, fun, unique, and a good listener. I also love to take naps, watch the news while being able to hear what they are saying and long car rides with no screaming offspring (there appears to be a theme here). 

That brings me to this book. This year I am seeking some sort of clarity, really any sort that makes sense and sticks to my soul. I only got to page 192 of this book before it was due back to the library (long waiting list of 119 other parents dying to read it). Basically, moms today work-work even more  than moms of the 1980s and do even more at home than our moms ever did. Burn that candle on both ends! Sure that will work great, no problem. We will just drink more coffee and then take a Simply Sleep pill to shut off our brains at night. Looks like I might just have to go buy the book.

Laugh it off, just keep moving. My kids are highly entertained by a local Minnesota billboard for Colon Cancer awareness. It's a total giggle fest every time we drive past. Sorry if that is your butt on the billboard, but (butt, ha) I can see the skin pores and butt texture. It is so not cool. I am not cool with it. A paper cut illustration would have been more elegant and I promise it could have been just as giggly. 

Speaking of cut paper, here is the best Mother's day flowers I have seen in a while. I apologize if you are a cooler Mom and already knew about these flowers. This is the first time in my 11 years that I have seen this sort of fanciness. Each flower is a handprint cut out, rolled and shaped into a flower. Add in a sparkly pipe cleaner, some paper leaves and a paper straw stem. CUTE!

My life is insane. A Mother in motion, stays in motion. It's moderately controlled chaos. Do your best each day. My motto "helpful or hurtful". When you know better, you do better.  Assume positive intent and be forever hopeful. Oh and it's okay to take a nap in your car during your work lunch break. (Serious, I really do that. If you see me, don't take a photo and post it to Instagram. That is not cool. Just like giant butt pores aren't cool.).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Blueberry scones

My boys have been begging for scones. The little one wanted "chocolate chip" but none were to be found in the pantry. It seems that someone has been randomly snacking on them or enhancing their syrup drenched waffles. Agh.

So we went the blueberry route. My hands were stained like like Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Speaking of chocolate, these scones would be even more awesome with some white chocolate chunks. Next time!

Blueberry Scone Recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 TBS sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 TBS cold butter
1 egg
1/2 heavy whipping cream (or milk if you would rather)
2/3 cups frozen blueberries
2 TBS of heavy whipping cream to brush on the scones before baking
2 TBS of Turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Prep baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Then cut in butter till the mixture resembles crumbs. Whisk egg and milk together, add to the dry ingredients just until moistened. Turn out on lightly floured surface and gently knead in frozen blueberries.

Shape into a 8 inch circle. Place on baking sheet and cut into 8 wedges. Brush scones with heavy whipping cream (or milk if you are being blah) and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.

Bake 15-20 minutes.

Eat while still warm with coffee. Yum

Sunday, May 4, 2014

turtle bread

My kids love their bake shop apps on their coveted devices but this morning we had a real bake shop in our house. The recipe is a sourdough bread but really any bread dough should work just fine. One big body shape, four little feet and a head. We cut raisins in half for the eyes. Then carve a little hole for the the raisins with a knife-push the raisins in the dough hole. Then cut the lines for the turtle shell.  Lightly oil a baking sheet and place the turtles to rise for a half hour under a light-weight towel.  Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. Check around 15 minutes to see how everything is looking.