Monday, June 25, 2007

Probiotics are amazing

I did a lot of research on the probiotics and there looks like there is something to it. I was trying to find the one called Florastor but would have to go online to get it. I was looking for something locally that I could get right away and found Digestive Advantage Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It' s supposed to be in several stores like Safeway and Riteaid. Found it at Riteaid and gave it to my son. Within 24 hours, it was like night and day. He said his pain is totally gone. I was amazed! It reinfects the gut with lactobacillus bacteria, supposedly the good stuff and I just can't believe it's working. We haven't tried to put him on normal food. Want to give it a day or two to work. I have my fingers crossed and I thank everyone for their prayers!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Too much , too soon

I was up half the night with my son. He was having a bad night. I am not going to discount the diet yet but I was introducing many foods to him at once and that might have been part of the problem.
This is the longest he has gone with a flare-up and I'm beginning to feel the stress. I can't even imagine how parents can deal with a seriously ill or chronically sick child. I feel like we are going to have to take him in for more serious testing just to make sure it is the IBS. I am concerned about his nutrition because he's had to cut out everything. I have him on vitamins, trying to get him to take pedialyte. He hates it. I am going to look for the probiotics that another blogger had suggested in a previous post. At this point, I am trying every avenue.

On top of that, things I ordered (decorations) for the wedding shower that I am going to be doing are on back order. I still have a few weeks . I am also doing a scrapbook for the bride's mother. I only have 2 months to get it done and ordinarily it would have been a pleasure to do it but under these circumstances, it's going to be hard to put my heart into it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Out with the old and in with the new

I went and bought the book, Eating for IBS and have begun to make the dietary changes. Bought some soy vanilla milk, chicken breast, fat free mayo, sweet potatoes, dried mangoes and the list goes on. It looks like the recipes may be good. Tried the herb chicken one for my son , but first started him off on rice . He liked it and he is a picky eater. He was having a lot of trouble earlier yesterday with his stomach but after eating the IBS way, he is having a much better morning today. I am hopeful that this is going to help him a lot. He's had the diarrhea for 2 weeks now but it looks like it's getting a little better. He also has been on gas X and hyoscyamine too the last 2 days so they could be part of the reason for the improvement. Hard to tell. The whole family will probably make the switch to this diet because it is a lot healthier way of eating.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Painting the blues away

I do like to paint but what I like most is that when I paint, I really am in the moment and time just flies by because I am not thinking about anything else. It really is therapeutic and it doesn't have to be painting, it can be anything that you enjoy doing. The world is moving way too fast and people have busy lives, always on the go. We need activities like painting to slow things down and just allow ourselves to take time to smell the roses. I know since I took up painting again, several years back, I have a much better outlook on things and I am a happier joyful person. Painting is good for the soul.

Watercolor Dragonfly cards in my etsy store

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

This particular IBS diet - can it work?

Well, my son relapsed today. Is still having lots of IBS like symptoms. I've been doing more research on it and spent a lot of time reading the IBS message boards. It's a horrible chronic problem to have and non sufferers really don't have an inkling to the seriousness of it.

I was quite excited when I came across this site: Help for It was very interesting and very informative. Heather Van Vorous wrote a book called Eating for IBS and she has been an IBS sufferer herself. What was interesting about this site is that she said that all food is either a stomach irritant or not. Also fiber is either soluble on insoluble. It's the insoluble that gives IBS sufferers trouble. I know my doctor told my son that he needed to eat fiber like bran and etc. Well that is the insoluble kind and can aggravate IBS symptoms. She also said the order in which you eat food was very important. Insoluble fiber is necessary in the diet so an IBS person would need to eat the soluble fiber first and then can add some insoluble toward the end of the meal . That will reduce chances for stomach upset. I am definitely going to get her book and give it a try. Seems like people have had great success with her recipes. She says that 90% of symptoms can be controlled by this diet.

Watercolor penguin magnet in my etsy store

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Getting old can be fun

Why is it that when you are young, you can't afford to do a lot of the fun but expensive exhilarating type of activities. As you get older, you can afford it but now your body isn't cooperating like it used to, making it difficult to be able to go out and bungee jump or whatever else you would like to do. Call it a midlife crisis, but I have this urge to skydive. I know you can jump tandem and that is probably the way I'm going to go. I guess I am coming to the realization that life is pretty short and if I don't start doing some of these things, I probably won't be able to physically in a few years.

I am not a very brave person, far from it but I would like to try some new things. My husband and I went kayaking on the ocean at sunset with a guide and that was an awesome experience. We also went whitewater rafting last year in Oregon and that was also a lot of fun.There were some tense moments when my son got thrown out of the raft but it all ended well.

This is just a picture I found to show the rafting company we used- Sun Country Tours. They were very good and came highly recommended.

Something a little tamer that my husband, I and some friends have done was to take ballroom dance class lessons. We took 3 classes last year and we learned the cha-cha, tango, swing, waltz and foxtrot. It's a blast and we are looking for places to go to practice our dancing skills and then signing up for more lessons in the fall.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Should dogs be allowed in restaurants with outdoor patios?

I only asked this question because my parents have a dog that they take everywhere with them. When they come to visit, it is very tough to do things with them because frankly most places are not dog friendly. They even brought the dog to my son's graduation, although they weren't allowed into the stadium and had to sit under a tree a mile away. Luckily we filmed it all so they were able to see close up footage of my son graduating. We took my parents + dog to the park and had a picnic. Took them fishing. Did some outdoor things with them but they are getting elderly and my mom, especially ,is not able to get around very well. It would have been nice to take them out to a trendy nicely air conditioned restaurant to eat.

As an owner myself of an adorable canine, there are times that it would be nice to take her with me. However, she likes to jump and bark and chase so I cannot guarantee that she will be on her best behavior when we do go out in public. It would not be practical to take her out to eat unless she gets some proper training.

There is a big debate on this subject. I'm kind of on the fence with this one because if the dog is well behaved, I think it should be OK. The problem is if they are not. If I were a patron sitting there trying to enjoy my meal and someone's dog was constantly barking or had to relieve himself, I think that would kill the enjoyment right there.

A solution might be to have more restaurants that cater mainly to the pet owner crowd and offer not only meals for people but meals for certain types of pets too.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

To focus or not to focus, that is the question

I want to expand into other areas like jewelry ,handmade notecards and etc. I have a ton of ideas but I know that I could be spreading myself too thin. Also I am still not sure whether I should remain focused on doing one type of art , craft or not. I have a tendency to lose interest if I do the same thing over and over again, so if I can mix things up a bit, I will stay motivated. My social calendar is full this summer , it will definitely be a challenge just to get anything done.

Two goldfish notecards come 8 in a box and were inspired by my two boys' fish, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The pain of a Migraine in more ways than one

I wrote briefly about migraines in the last post and I thought I should elaborate more on my older son's condition. It started back in 7th grade, he began to have massive head pain, blurred vision and numbing in his arm. We ended up in the ER . Of course, we thought my son was having a stroke, it turned out to be his first migraine. Then about twice a month thereafter, he would get one and would literally be vomiting and in such excruciating pain, crying and incapacitated for hours. My kids are the type that don't cry at the drop of a hat so if they were crying, the pain had to be pretty intense. Our doctor wanted him to take a certain drug that stops migraines after they begin. I didn't want to use it. My son is an athlete and I had read some athletes have died while on this stuff because it can cause heart problems and other bad side effects. We took him to a neurologist and he suggested that he go on cyproheptadine, an antihistamine that has been around for years and has been known to help with migraines. Well it didn't work. Then we started watching what my son ate. Eliminated it from his diet, it didn't work either. Finally I read a book called, "Heal Your Headache, by David Buchholz. It was an amazing book and really gave me understanding on how to treat migraines. To make another long story short, migraines can be managed by diet or drugs or both. He gives the example of a cup filling up and when it's full that's when the migraine begins. This explains why some things trigger it one time and then not the next, the cup is not full yet. Keep adding triggers, the cup gets full and then the migraine occurs. My son had to be on the cyproheptadine and have certain foods eliminated from his diet, either alone was not enough. His main triggers were cheese, cooked fresh pizza dough, caffeine in pop, and physical exercise was a big one. We almost had 100% control of his migraines after a year. Now, several years later, my son's migraines are almost non existent and he is off the drugs and diet.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Another Adventure in the ER

It seems that we can't stay out of the ER. One of my boys gets sick or seriously injured at least once a year. My youngest son was having terrible stomach cramps and spending lots of time in the bathroom, actually for over 7 days. It was getting progressively worse , to the point where he was in such pain that he was doubled over. It's tough being a parent and having to watch you kid suffer like that. Anyway, to make a long story short, we spent the typical 2 to 2.5 hours in the ER waiting to be seen and then another 1 .5 hours being examined, tested and etc. Didn't get home til 1 am. Tests came back negative. Diagnosis undetermined. This is nothing new, my son has been having stomach trouble off and on for about 3 years. He started missing a lot of school in the beginning. Took him to the doctor several times, finally went 3 hours away to Children's hospital to see a pediatric gastroenterologist. They told me they see hundreds of kids per week with this same problem and basically it's like irritable bowel syndrome.

I have done a lot of reading on irritable bowel and actually my son's stomach problems were better until now. I'm also looking into food allergies too as a possible cause. It's going to take a lot of detective work and I have to believe that we will be able to manage this. My older son had terrible migraines and I did a lot of research on it and found out how to manage it to the point where he was hardly having any. It's hard to listen to your child when he is in so much pain and he's telling you that he just wants to be normal and he can't imagine living his life like that. It just tears you up inside.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Creativity in Shower Themes

My best friend's daughter is getting married and I wanted to do something special for the shower. I decided to do the decor in a certain theme. Both the daughter and fiance are in the health professions so my idea is to do the color scheme in emergency red and white. I just finished designing their invitations and I have to say that I think they came out really well. It's going to be a couple's shower so I have a paramedic truck on the front along with information about the shower.It's covered with a sheet of vellum tied with a ribbon. Inside, I have a card that says 911 emergency gift ideas and then where the couple is registered. Also for directions to my house, I have another card that says where to dispatch the unit to. I had to think long and hard about table decorations but I am going to use hypo syringes (horse ones) and fill them with mints as well as red and white flowers for centerpieces. I am also going to make little first aid kits as favors for the guests. It's going to be another huge party. I hope I am up for the challenge. My sister-in-law says I should become a professional party planner. I don't know about that, but I do know I have total respect for people who do this kind of work . I still have not recovered from planning and putting on my son's graduation party.

My latest ACEO original "Songbird" is available in my etsy store

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

History of the Art Trading Card

Art Trading Cards were started back in 1997 by a Zurich artist named M. Vanci Stirnemann.
The idea was to make small 2.5 X 3.5 inch minature works (either prints or originals) of most any type of art that could be traded with anyone in the world. It was and is a way to meet other fellow artists.

ACEO which stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals are basically art trading cards that are sold and not traded so that the non artist could also participate in obtaining these cards. The cards can be collected and or framed. They are very affordable and
extremely popular to sell and buy.

"Desert Sunset" and "Until the Last Leaf Drops" are original watercolor ACEOs that come in a cardholder and with a minature certificate of authenticity.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Anatomy of a Painting

I decided to paint a corgi and here are the results of that project.

This painting is for sale in my etsy store. I used a lot of yellows, blues and reds, as well as burnt umber , burnt sienna and quinacridone gold. I love Daniel Smith watercolor paints. They are expensive but well worth the cost.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Survival List for College

My son will be leaving for school in a few weeks and I have been trying to buy things that he will need for dorm living. So here are a few things that I have come up with:

  1. laptop
  2. printer
  3. office supplies and plenty of notebook and printing paper
  4. microwave, microwaveable cookware
  5. small refrigerator
  6. X-long twin sheets with comforter ( I didn't know college beds were not standard)
  7. paper shredder ( kids have to careful about Identity theft happening to them)
  8. portable reading lamp
  9. fan
  10. first aid kit
  11. many prs of underwear and socks
  12. lots of quarters for the washing machine and dryer
  13. shower tote
  14. file crate ( to file essential papers, scholarship forms and etc)
  15. day planner
  16. coffee maker
  17. reliable good alarm clock
  18. sewing kit
  19. ironing board and iron
  20. detergent and softener
  21. laundry bag
  22. trash bags
  23. umbrella
  24. tool set
  25. thesaurus
  26. dictionary

Here is a watercolor tiger cat giclee limited edition print that I have done.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Wouldn't it be nice to be ageless

I saw my parents and in-laws last week and I realized that they are getting to the point where they aren't getting around very well at all. My husband doesn't want to deal with it until it actually happens but I think we need to have a plan in case one or more of them becomes disabled. I know we are not alone being a middle class family with a kid ready to leave for college and having elderly parents that may need care in the not too distant future. I have no doubt it's going to be a tough road financially and emotionally for us. I just read the reviews on How to Care for Aging Parents
by Virginia Morris. That looks like a book that might be worthwhile to read.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Ordinary is Good

I make it a point to reread certain books that I have because I sometimes can learn something new the second or third time around. I just finished Fearless Living by Rhonda Britten. The first time I read it years ago, I didn't walk away with anything I didn't already know.
Several years ago I use to work outside the home, due to lack of funding and a young child that hated going to daycare, I became a stay at home mom. Because my identity was somewhat tied up with my job, it was difficult at times to be at home. Now I can say, I love it and wouldn't have it any other way. Anyway, this book spoke to me that you don't have to be a rocket scientist or astronaut to be extraordinary. No matter what your job is, you can bring to it your own unique gifts and skills. Also Rhonda wrote on how being a waitress taught her everything she needed to know about running her own business. No matter what you do, you can give and gain in extraordinary ways.

Here is a Siberian Husky giclee print that I have done.

Friday, June 8, 2007

What is an artist?

Def. art-ist
  • One, such as a painter, sculptor, or writer, who is able by virtue of imagination and talent or skill to create works of aesthetic value, especially in the fine arts.
  • A person whose work shows exceptional creative ability or skill: You are an artist in the kitchen.
I have not always felt very comfortable with that title but I guess that is what I am. I do believe everyone is an artist in one area or another and also everyone has the ability to create.

"Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," by Betty Edwards has some wonderful exercises that can bring out the artist in you. A friend of mine said she couldn't draw at all but she did one of the exercises which was to turn a photo upside down and then draw it. The results were phenomenal. Try it.

Here is a goldfish giclee print that comes with certificate of authenticity

Thursday, June 7, 2007

My dog has been scalped!

All I wanted was my dog to get a little trim and shampoo. When we went to pick her up, she was unrecognizable. The groomer had accidently cut her hair too short in the back and so to even it out, she had to to clip her short everywhere. Thankfully the hair is starting to grow out some.

On my etsy site, I am selling watercolor cards and magnets as well as prints and handpainted tile that I have done. I can customize note card packs to reflect any 8 designs that you would like.

Here is a card example.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

My carnivore plant

It looks a little sickly. Had it for a few months. We have been feeding this venus fly trap flies about once a month. I read if you feed it too many, you can kill the plant. Got the plant for the boys to enjoy and they have.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Survived !

Well, the graduation is over as well as the graduation party. Over a hundred people came and it was some work to put it on but it all went off without a hitch. Weather was beautiful and received a lot of nice compliments on food and decor which was very nice to hear. I survived!

Here is an original "Tulips in Bloom" painting done in watercolor, gouache and ink.