Monday, September 26, 2011

Series: Becoming Debt Free...Late 2009-early 2010

Around October of 2009 my symptoms were starting to flare again.  My skin was broke out in a terrible rash and whenever something somewhat abrasive (like drying off with a towel) touched me I would flare up in hives.  I also started wheezing daily and my stomach was hurting again.

Cincinnati Skyline from our hotel room.
An upper G.I. of my stomach showed elevated eosinophils again.  We assumed that the eosinophils were causing the wheezing and hives as well.  The hives wound up being something called Dermagraphism.  After many months of research I found a hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio that specializes in my disease.  In December of 2009 I sent in paperwork and was accepted into the program.

In January, of 2010 Brian and I boarded a jet for Ohio!  It was an adventure, but one that we were glad to take on.  By the end of this adventure I finally had a name for my disease!  I can't even explain the relief I got by just putting a proper name to the thing that had been messing with me for so many years.  We were in Ohio for a few days.  It was an expensive visit, but with help from my in-laws, friends and family we didn't have to come up with extreme amounts out of pocket.  It did, however, put a dent in our budget.

Here's some journal entries from that visit:


Monday, February 8, 2010

My trip to Cincinnati

Well, where to begin??? WARNING...THIS IS TERRIBLY LONG! Although most of our trip revolved around doctor appointments I really enjoyed spending time ALONE with my hubby. It's been way too long since we've had several days alone together. The last time was when we went to get Emalee and before that it had been several years. I sooo wish that we could do this at least once a year, but it's just hard for us to find a sitter for that long. Anyway, I'm looking forward to those days when the kids are grown and we get to do this every day. Of course, when that happens we'll be missing them and want them back!


We arrived Monday evening and didn't really do anything. We walked up the street to a restaurant named Big Boy's (I've never heard of it but it reminds me of a Shoney's) and we had dinner there. We then went to a little gas station and grabbed some bottles of water, a few snacks and called it a day.


Tuesday was my first doctor appt. This was with theGastroenterologist (Dr. "X"). He's supposedly one of the best Gastro's in the world. We were told by several nurses and hospital staff that people from all over the world come to Cincinnati for eosinophilic issues. He wasn't overly friendly, but I felt that he listened well. He basically asked me all my history and symptoms. He then examined me...the usual eye, ear, nose, mouth check. Then he listened to my breathing and my heart beat. That's when he said that he could hear a heart murmur. I told him that I've never been told that I've had one before, so he listened again to make sure. Yep, I have one. What does this mean? I don't know for sure, but I will have an Echocardiogram and an EKG sometime soon here in Springfield to check it out.
Anyway, he went over some of the scopes that I've had here at home and decided that he wanted to go ahead and do a colonoscopy too so then I got scheduled for that and we were done for the day.
We were back to the hotel by 10 a.m. so we decided that we'd better make a day of it and have some fun! We got a taxi and went to the "Back to Genesis Creation Museum"...oh my was it awesome! I would love to go back. It took us 5 hours to go through it and we still weren't done, but we were tired and I had to get back and rest up for Wednesday. The museum starts out at the beginning of Genesis when God created the world and walks you through the main points of Creation, Adam and Eve, Sin, the flood, tower of babel, Christ and his birth, death, resurrection, salvation, etc. It not only gives the Biblical answer behind questions such as evolution, but it also gives the world view. Very cool for Believers, but also very inviting for unbelievers as well. There were life like figures of several Biblical people and then other people in history, like Martin Luther, that were great historical figures of the early church. There was a garden of eden, a serpent, tree of life,noah's ark....these were all big display rooms that you walk through as the story is being told or read. There were dinorsaurs too! If you guys ever get to Cincinnati (it's actually across the border in Kentucky) I would HIGHLY recommend that you go visit. Here's the website www.creationmuseum.org/
Plaque at the Creation Museum

The Tree of Life

Noah's Ark


We did go to the revolving restaurant in our hotel this night too. It was very cool, very romantic and a bit pricey (that's coming from a coupon lady! LOL!), but worth it just to say we went! I think our dinner was about $65 for both of us which included an appetizer, salad and entree. Here's the website for it.http://www.radisson.com/covingtonky Our room was up on the 13th floor facing the Cincinnati skyline. It was a great view!


Wednesday was an extremely long and tiring day. We arrived at the hospital at 9 a.m. We had a seminar with another family that was all about eosinophilic disorders. I knew almost everything already that was taught, but Brian really didn't know as much so it was really good for him to get educated about it. After the class we were given a tour of the eosinophilic center research lab. There's a whole wing that's strictly devoted to eosinophilic research. One of the leading pathologists in the world heads the department along with 4 other world renowned doctors (2 of them are the Dr's I saw). It looks like a huge science lab. There's tons of freezers, refrigerators, mice and lots and lots of scientist/doctors that are working on different eosinophil assignments. So little is understood, but just in the last 3 years they've made HUGE strides in understanding eosinophilic disorders. In fact, I donated my blood and some extra biopsies to their research center. I figure that whatever I can do to help would be beneficial in the future..if not to me, then to someone else!
After the seminar I had my allergy/immunology visit....First, we met the allergist (Dr. "X"). When he walked in the door I was shocked by how young he was. He's probably 30 years old at the most and already one of the top doctors in his field. I could tell by our conversation that he really knew his eosinophil stuff! He was very friendly, easy to talk to, we could actually joke with him and laughed about things...it was great! We visited for about 60-80 minutes. He took tons of time with us. He asked my whole medical history again, typed it all out himself on his computer too. None of the doctors would say a definite on what they thought was going on because they can't. They all work together as a team, review my information, all my blood work and biopsies and then they have a meeting to discuss what they believe is happening. Just the fact that they all work as a team is so encouraging. My doctors here don't really do that. I have information coming from one doctor that the other doctors aren't even aware of. At this hospital NOTHING is left out. They all get the exact same information. In the rare case that "science" doesn't back anything up they all make an educated guess together. Dr. "X" actually said (his exact words)...."You've been jerked around by other doctors way too long. We'll do our best to get to the bottom of this." Now that, my friends, was encouraging : )
I had a complete skin allergy test that showed NO food allergies. I only reacted to ragweed. This is good because we now know that food is not the culprit. The bad thing is that we don't know what the culprit is.
I also had a lung function test and passed with with flying colors. I'm not really sure how my wheezing plays into all of this? The Dr. wasn't sure either other than my "asthma" must be well controlled now. All I know is that I'm still short of breath, not wheezing though. After that I gave lots and lots of blood. I'm pretty sure that they took 9 vilesand then one more because she forgot one and I had to be re-stuck! Ouch! That was the one for the research lab and I really wanted to do that so I took the extra poke anyway : /
By the time we got back to the hotel it was 6 p.m. and I still had to prep for my colonoscopy. :(


We were at the hospital early on Thursday. I had to be there at 6:30 a.m. I was the first patient to be seen. I don't remember much other than the nurses were exceptionally nice. I was actually looking forward to getting some sleep! I had my upper endoscopy and colonoscopy back to back. I had to stop eating by late Tuesday night. All I could have was clear fluids. Because Wednesday was such a long day w/o many breaks I didn't get as hydrated as I should have, plus I had quite a bit of blood taken too. After I woke up I could tell that I wasn't feeling right. I thought it was just the anesthesia, but I now know that I was dehydrated. Right when we were about to leave I about fainted. They had to put me back in a bed and gave me another bag of fluids. Our driver was already there. I felt so bad because he had to turn around and leave only to come back later. Fortunately, our hotel has a partnership with the hospital for free shuttle transportation or we would have been out a big taxi fee! Still, I felt bad that he had wasted his time. Once we got back to the hotel I just slept. I think I slept until 6p.m.?? Anyway, when I woke up enough Brian walked to Subway down the street and got some dinner for himself. He got me some too, but I just didn't feel like eating. I drank A LOT though and still found myself overly thirsty the next day.
Friday was just travel. We slept in and left around 10:30 for the airport. Our flight was a bit delayed due to a pressure valve issue. Then in Memphis our flight was delayed again for just a bit. We got all the way to our gate in Memphis and then they changed the gate! I hate it when that happens! Our new gate was on the complete opposite side of the airport.  I was really tired by the time we trekked to the other side of the airport!


We were glad to see the kids. Emalee wasn't so sure about us coming home. She doesn't adjust well to change so it took her a bit to adjust, but after that she was fine.
I won't know anything for 2-3 weeks. I'll let you all know as soon as they call me. For those of you that prayed for me I really appreciate it.

Journal entry from the following day:
The phone rang this morning and to my surprise it was Dr. "X" from Cincinnati Hospital. He had the lab results from all my blood work and gave me the results. They tested me for EVERYTHING that one could ever been tested for....all cancers, HIV, leukaemia's, autoimmune disorders, allergies, parasites...everything turned out negative. That was good news. With all of those tests and looking at my past medical history it was concluded that I have Hypereosinophilic Syndrome (HES). This is what I thought I had. I'm not a bit surprised.  It comes with its own problems, but at least we now have a name for what I have.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hypereosinophilic Syndrome Video



It's been a trying few weeks for me as I'm flaring with my disease, Hypereosinophilic Syndrome (HES).  I wish that I could pick and choose when to have flares, but I can't.  For those of you are that don't understand my disease I thought I'd post a YouTube video of a few people that have HES.  It's an extrememly rare disease and none of us seem to have the exact same symptoms, but this video will maybe help you understand some of what I've been dealing with lately.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

True Moment Tuesdays: Thou shalt have no Mums....

Hardy Mums
Photo Credit: Love to Know Garden

The weather is changing and Autumn is knocking on my front door!  I love this time of year!  I love everything that comes with it...cooler temps, bonfires, colorful leaves, harvest moons and of course, MUMS!  Every September I go out to a local farm and purchase mums to put in my front yard.  Yes, I could plant perennials, but that's not the point of this story! ;)

Last year was like no other year...except one small thing.  I didn't have money in my budget to purchase mums.  One day I headed out to buy my mums anyway...I'm a little hard headed sometimes!  I spent several minutes picking out the mums that I wanted and that's when it happened...
I heard that Still, Small, Voice that I've come accustomed to knowing over the years.  The voice of God that speaks so soft, but so strong to your heart.  Do you know what I'm talking about???
We had quite the conversation in the Mum patch that day.  It kind of went like this:

God:  Why are you buying mums?
Me:  Because I like them and buy them every Fall.
God:  But you don't have the money in your budget.
Me:  So...I want them anyway.  There's always ways to come up with money!  (Ha!)
God:  Why do you want them?
Me:  Hmmm...(God made me think)...Hmmm...Because they will make my front yard look pretty!
God:  Pretty for WHO???
Me:  Hmmm...(He's making me think again)...The neighbors!  :)
God:  Why do you care what the neighbors think of your house?
Me:  Hmmm...(I had to think some more)...Because it reflects who I am.
God:  Who are you?
Me:  (more thinking...)  I'm Yours, God.
God:  Do YOU reflect who I am???  

Okay...you can kind of see where our conversation was going.  After thinking A LOT more I put the mums back  and went home empty handed.  I knew that God said "NO" to the mums.  He knew that the motive of my heart wasn't right.  I called one of my friends and told her my "mum story" and asked her to keep me accountable to my decision.

It was really hard to leave my landscaping empty last Fall, but that emptiness was a constant reminder to me of what God had taught me that day.  He taught me that "things" can get in the way of who I am in Him.  "Things" aren't supposed to come before God.  My self-worth and value are wrapped up in Him alone and NOT in what I possess, look like, etc.

I'm glad that I experienced this moment with God.  I'm pretty sure that every time September comes around and I start seeing Mums I'll also be reminded of this conversation with Him.  I love how He speaks to my heart and teaches me in my every day moments!

  “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” – Exodus 20:3.



True Moment Tuesday's (TMT's) are a new feature here on Spot My Eye Savings.  Go here to see what TMT's are all about!





Saturday, September 17, 2011

Series: Becoming Debt Free...2009

It's been awhile since I've written in this series.  I've had to pause and process my thoughts before continuing on. Thanks for hanging in there with me while I've done that!

I had taken a break from coupon shopping after my sister-in-law, Kara, passed away.  I eventually started plugging away at it again and decided to start sharing what I had learned with other people.  In April of 2009 I had my first "big" coupon class.  Up to that point I had just been sharing the information with friends and family.  I never really intended to continue teaching coupon classes...it's just something that kind of happened!  :)  I'm thankful for the opportunity that I've been given to meet so many people...I like meeting new people!

During this time we were also being very convicted about our budget.  Here's an entry that I dug up out of my archives from August, 2009.

Are any of you Dave Ramsey fans? I've heard a lot about him for the last several months. A good friend of mine just finished taking his class, Financial Peace, and is letting me borrow her materials. Brian and I have been listening to one CD every evening after the kids go to bed. We've learned a lot.
Anyway, as I mentioned in my last post, we're starting a new budget. I've always had some sort of budget, but nothing at all that comes close to my new one. We've also started using the "envelope system" as part of this budget. That's where you take cash and put it in an envelope and only use what's in there for that certain category of the budget. This keep the lovely debit card from tempting us from spending more. Not only that, but we actually know how much is allowed to spend on certain items. I really think this will be a good thing.
We have a goal to be DEBT FREE in the next 3 years except for our house. Barring no major catastrophe's I think this is very possible...maybe even sooner than 3 years. As we get closer to the goal I'll keep updating on here. The only thing that will be hard is actually sticking to the plan! If we can keep our eyes on the goal, I think we can do it!
If you'd like to read more on Dave Ramsey just go towww.daveramsey.com



So are you wondering how we're doing with that goal?  Since I had written that post we've had many things happen on this journey called, "Life."  The latter half of 2009 was stressful for us emotionally and financially as my health was taking a turn again...and not for the better.  


Tune in next week for the continuation of this story...I promise it's almost done!  ;)


Did you miss the previous entries in this series?  Just go HERE to view them all! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dillon's, Price Cutter and Aldi Deals for 9/14-9/20






I stated previously that I've decided to scale back quite a bit on what I blog about.  One of the things I'm going to scale back on are the weekly ads and coupon matchups that are done on Wednesdays.  Instead of  posting them here on Spot My Eye, I'm just going to direct you over to another blog that does the exact same stores that I would have done.  There's no reason for me to re-hash the hash!  :)


So, that being said...head on over to Frugal Fritzie every Wednesday.  She does a fabulous job at posting the deals for Dillon's, Price Cutter and Aldi.  I'll still put a reminder on here every Wednesday...I just won't be putting the deals on this blog.  

Thanks for your understanding...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

True Moment Tuesdays: Potty Training


Sometimes a pictures says a thousand words.  This was taken about 2 years ago while potty training my daughter, Emalee.  She wasn't thrilled AT ALL about the idea and resisted as much as she could.  One day I sat her on the potty and when I came back to check on her she had moved the step stool over so that she could rest her arms on it.  I couldn't help but capture the moment!  

True Moment Tuesday's (TMT's) are a new feature here on Spot My Eye Savings.  Go here to see what TMT's are all about!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday




Today I am participating in Menu Planning Monday at orgjunkie.com.  



Last week was a bit hectic at our house.  I'm still learning how to adjust to every one's different schedules so our dinners didn't go as planned.  I was also surprised to discover that I didn't have to cook on 3 separate nights last week, so I'll be using some of last week's menu plan for this week.


Monday: (just me & 2 kids)
Little Smokies (sometimes we have them w/o the sauce)
Mac & Cheese
Carrot sticks
Ice Cream


Tuesday:
Spinach Quiche
Homemade Whole Wheat Pancakes
Tater tots


Wednesday: (David's Birthday~his favorite dinner)
Potato Soup
Some type of homemade bread to go with the soup
Salad
BDay cake and Ice cream

Thursday:
Black-eyed peas w/Ham
Cornbread
Green beans

Friday:
Homemade Chicken Bacon Artichoke Pizza! (one of my favorites!)
Homemade Cheese pizza
Frozen Mixed veggies
Ramon Noodles


Saturday:
Leftovers

Fun projects...

click to enlarge photo

Last week was fun as I started working on a few new projects around the house.  The shelf in the picture above is on one of my kitchen walls.  I couldn't find my "before" photo anywhere!  If I find it I'll post it at another time.  
I got the milk glass dish from my mother-in-law several years ago.  The yellow crocheted piece is something she made as a child that I though added some color.  I bought the blue sugar bowl and both yellow plates at a local flea market for under $3.  I made the stuffed owl for a splash of fun!  It was fun to make too! :)  Next, I printed off a picture that I found on the web and put it in a 5x7 frame that I painted white!  It was a fun project and kind of shows the colors and quirky fun that I'm wanting to add to my kitchen!
You can find directions on how to make the owl right here and you can find the cupcake picture right over here.


BEFORE

Next on my "to-do" list was a bit of a laundry room makeover.  You see, I live in one of those houses where the kitchen and garage are separated by a very tiny laundry room.  My washer is on the right side of the door and my dryer is on the other side.  There's not much room and there's no door to close to block the view either!  By the way, it's not every day that I show the messy parts of my house to the world!
We've been wanting to put cabinets above the washer and dryer, but that isn't in our budgeting plans yet, so I came up with an idea to hide the clutter that's on the shelves above the washing machine.  I got a spring-rod and made myself a curtain!  Not to shabby since it literally has been YEARS since I'd sewn anything!  They're just a little bit uneven.  I could fix it, but don't want to right now!  LOL!  I'm just happy to have everything all covered up!

AFTER


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Turquoise Bar Stool Makeover...love it!

Photobucket

Isn't this picture great?!  I have a small cabinet in my living room that I've been wanting to paint so I was looking around the internet to find some inspiration.  I found it!  This is about the same color that I'm planning on painting the cabinet.  I'm still learning how to use Pinterest...I'm a slow learner!  LOL!  I'm sure that it would be easier to post my new inspirations over there, but for now I'll be right here...
Go HERE to view the above photo and many more creations over on Perfectly Imperfects's blog!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

For my sister...


For my sister...the one that has a rare disease just like me!  ;)  Love you!

Dillon's, Price Cutter and Aldi Deals for 9/7-9/13






I stated last week that I've decided to scale back quite a bit on what I blog about.  One of the things I'm going to scale back on are the weekly ads and coupon matchups that are done on Wednesdays.  Instead of  posting them here on Spot My Eye, I'm just going to direct you over to another blog that does the exact same stores that I would have done.  There's no reason for me to re-hash the hash!  :)

So, that being said...head on over to Frugal Fritzieevery Wednesday.  She does a fabulous job at posting the deals for Dillon's, Price Cutter and Aldi.  I'll still put a reminder on here every Wednesday...I just won't be putting the deals on this blog.  

Thanks for your understanding...

~Heather

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday (on Tuesday!)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket



Today I am participating in Menu Planning Monday at orgjunkie.com.  



Tuesday:
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Salad
Pumpkin Pie


Wednesday:
Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie (this link also contains a pie crust recipe for today and yesterday's dishes)
Salad


Thursday:
Spinach Quiche
Little Smokies
Blueberry Muffins


Friday:
Wedding rehearsal dinner
I'm singing in a wedding on Saturday so we'll have the rehearsal dinner on Friday!


Saturday:
Leftovers!



Sunday, September 4, 2011

RETRO pictures

I've been scouring the internet looking for old kitchen photos like the ones below.  I plan on printing some of them off to hang in my kitchen.  Do any of  you know where I can find more of these?  I've looked everywhere and can't find anymore.  PLEASE leave a comment if you can help!  Here are the ones that I found (and like) so far...
I love this one!  


I'm hoping to find chairs in this color for my kitchen!  
That was some party!

I love that all the ladies are in the kitchen together! I bet they're all wearing heels too!  :)
Add caption


[housewife.jpg]
Hmmm...I wonder what she'll make???  I'm making this one my personal Facebook profile photo!  :)
Vera Pippin

Friday, September 2, 2011

What I've been up to this week...


This week was the first week that ALL 3 kids had school and I had some free time without them.  Emalee is in preschool 4 half-days per week which really gives me some time to get some of those fun projects done w/o her "helping" me.  I don't mind having a helper sometimes, but I get so much more done w/o my little helper if you get my drift!  ; )

The photo above is of a basket that I spray painted glossy white.  It was a horrible, awful, dark brown color, but I really like the shape of the basket.  For the life of me I can't remember where I got it!  Anyway, I spray painted the basket, let it dry, painted it again, let it dry..etc....until I got every nook and cranny covered.  I had some yellow & orange floral fabric that I found on clearance at Walmart that I made a liner with.  Next, I added some yellow ribbon for a bit extra pizazz!  I plan on using this basket as a center-piece on my new kitchen table and maybe fill it with fruit!
The other craft project I completed this week was my "Faith" wall hanging.  It was brown when I received it from a friend a couple years ago.  I painted it red then.  This week I added the colorful polka dots.  I think it spiced it up a little bit and will hopefully coordinate with some of the new changes I'm making to my kitchen.  I feel like it's still missing something, but I don't know what.  Any suggestions?  I'm really not that artistic so I'm impressed with myself this week!
Next week I might paint a cabinet that I have in my living room.  I'd like to distress it, but I don't know how so I need to read up on the "how to's" before I proceed.  I also have plans on sewing a purse!
Are you doing any crafts lately?  What are you making?  Leave me a comment and let me know!



Save-A-Lot Grand Opening Recap




Save-A-Lot Stores opened this past Wednesday here in Springfield, MO.  It was a crazy morning!  I pulled in the parking lot pleasantly surprised to see that there was NO place to park!  I drove around a few minutes and found a spot to park.  As Emalee and I walked in the building we were kindly greeted by the Assistant Manager who was helping people get their shopping carts.  I spoke quickly with him about who I was and that I had a few questions and he pointed me toward the Head Store Manger.
I asked the Manger, Matt Young, the coupon policy for the store, but it was so busy and chaotic that morning I decided to wait a few days for things to calm down and call him again just to reiterate what the policy was.  So, I got on the phone this morning and gave him a call.  By the way, this Manager is EXTREMELY friendly and was more than willing to discuss the policy with me.  So here's what I learned...

1.  They do NOT double coupons
2.  There is NO limit on how many coupon you can use per transaction.
3.  There is NO limit on how many "like" coupons you can use per transaction.  However, he has the authority to override that depending on his stock and could very well limit it so that every customer gets in on the deal.
4.  They do NOT accept expired coupons.

I hope this helps you all in your shopping endeavors!  If you go, let me know what you think!  Tell them you're a couponer and that you're glad to have them in Springfield!

The very packed parking lot!


The front of the store with the Assistant Manager outside greeting people and giving them carts!