Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Favorite Things #45

This past summer, when we ate at the top of the Space Needle, I ordered Dry Lavender Soda since it was local to the area and I love lavender.  It was surprisingly good, and I've kept my eye open for it ever since.  Unfortunately, I hadn't been able to find it and shipping costs were too high for me to consider ordering and shipping.  However, since I've been feeding Harris differently, I've also been shopping at new to me places where I made the happy discovery that Dry Soda was recently added to their stock list (it's a health food type store).  Hurrah!  

It's not an everyday type of soda for me (or even once a week), but it is a refreshing drink and would also be fun in cocktails.  It's not very sweet, but I really like the subtle flavor.  I've tried a few of the other flavors but lavender is by far my favorite.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Notes from the Garden

Monday night we had our first frost.  I'd already started the garden clean-up but now everything else will start to come out.

Here are some notes and observations from our first vegetable garden...

Don't plant too many SunGold tomatoes in your tomato enthusiasm.  These little guys were delicious but they literally over ran everything else.  They were prolific to say the least.

Next year, try a trellis for the cucumbers so they don't take up as much room.

Everything needs a little more room than I gave them.  For instance, our pole beans were overtaken by the tomatoes so they didn't produce much.

Only plant what our family likes to eat.  I just put in lots of garlic since it's an almost daily essential in our kitchen.

The carrots and Brandywine tomatoes were our absolute favorite.

Order the Dahlias early so that you get the variety you want early.  The Cafe au Lait is pretty high on my list.

Perhaps I don't need one million zinnias.  Or maybe I do.

The birds and bees that are drawn to the garden make it a happier place to be.

Leave space for asparagus.

I need a bigger garden....


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Halloween Tree and 2013 Ornaments

We've recently put up our beloved Halloween tree!  The tree is really filling up but we get so much joy from studying each ornament and remembering the year that Harris was a frog, Grace was the infamous chicken or when they were both furry, fluffy animals.  The making of the ornaments is truly a labor of love for my Mom and they are priceless to me.

We added last years ornaments that we have just now finished making!  My Mom made the Phillie Phanatic to match the costume she made for Harris last year.  He turned out darling.

I was a bit flummoxed as to how to make Grace's Coke can ornament as she originally used a trash can for her costume.  I decided on using a mini Coke can and added clothespin legs to the bottom and straw to the top.  I think it turned out cute.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Plz Take Pill (or Commence)

Every morning*, Harris has to take a PPI (protein pump inhibitor) pill to help reduce gastric acid that might be contributing to his EE.  He's been incredible about remembering to take the pill as soon as he wakes up.  However, the other morning he forgot, which really isn't the end of the world, and that night while tucking him into bed I found that he had made himself a reminder note and placed in on top of his alarm clock.  For some reason this note delighted me; it completely cracked me up that he included "please" on a note to himself!  (Note to self: work on spelling)

Two nights later, I noticed that the ante had been upped when Grace got into the mix and went all out for his reminder!  Needless to say he loves it!

*He only takes the PPI when a Scope is in the schedule

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Gray Jay?

Over the weekend, I was standing in the kitchen when a bird flew right into our window and dropped straight to the ground.  When I went out to check on the bird it was lying with both of its wings out and looked completely dazed, if not dead!  Grace came to the rescue of the bird, whom she immediately called a Gray Jay.  I've sinced looked the Gray Jay up and it does indeed look like our little visitor, but it's not typical for them to be in our area and it's beak is a little longer than Gray Jays.  So we are not really sure what it was?  The sweet bird let Grace pick her up and hold her for at least five minutes.

She would stare straight at Grace and seemed perfectly content with her.  I think it took Grace all of 30 seconds to fall hard for the little bird, but she was happy when she was able to fly off to a tree branch as that reassured her the little bird would be okay!

Friday, October 10, 2014

EE Update- The Allergist

this is about 3-4 minutes in- by the end of the 10 minutes his arms were a hot mess!

First, I would like to say that Harris is doing great!  He has taken to his new diet with such grace and ease and for that I am entirely thankful and I'm so very proud of him.  I'm also doing so much better than I was when I wrote the last update.  I feel more at peace with this being our path and no longer have so much of that fear that bubbled up and over when we first heard of his numbers and saw the state of his esophagus.  Having a plan and taking action has helped a lot!

Yesterday, we had our appointment with his allergist and we left feeling good about the whole visit (which lasted an entire two hours with no waiting- just with the doctor) and well taken care of.  We had lots of questions which were thoughtfully answered and discussed.

One of our big concerns and questions was about external allergies.  We've never noticed that Harris has struggled with seasonal allergies until this year when he was constantly sniffly for a good solid month (including when he had his scope).  We thought that it must be allergies because he felt fine otherwise, so we sort of ruled out a cold, etc.  Also, we have two cats that I was concerned were contributing to Harris' issues.  The more I read about new EE research the more I realized that environmental allergies can contribute though it should be noted that it's unlikely to do as much damage as Harris has on its own.

They no longer do food scratch testing for EE since it has shown to be absolutely unhelpful but the Dr. did want to do scratch testing for environmental allergens and a peanut/tree nut test to see if he is still anaphylactically allergic to nuts (he is).  It's interesting to me that when the Dr. examined Harris he asked him lots of questions about how he was feeling in general to which Harris answered "great" and "fine" or "no" when asked if he was ever itchy, uncomfortable, etc.  However, that's not how Harris presents.  For example, the Dr. called us over to look at Harris' eyes which were red at the bottom (when you pull down on the skin) and told us that that was not normal- nor was his nose.  He believes that Harris possibly just doesn't know any difference and therefore doesn't ever complain.

It was obvious within the first few minutes of the scratch test that Harris was allergic to basically everything both inside and outside.  In fact, when the nurse came in to take measurements she joked that Harris would need a bubble.  However, I have to stress that as bad as that sounds, Harris is not constantly uncomfortable!  I've seen children who have terrible seasonal allergies or cat/dog/dust allergies and Harris doesn't react like that!  But it could be contributing to his EE so we will start some treatment for those environmental allergies.

In summary, Harris is still off of dairy, wheat, corn, and nuts.  He's continuing to take an acid blocker and will start treatment for environmental allergies.  In two months he will have another scope to see where we are.  And that's it for now.

P.S.  The more I read about our digestive systems, our food (sources), GMO's and organic vs. non organic I feel as if I have had blinders on for years but that's a whole other topic of discussion.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


The Dahlias in the garden are absolutely beautiful!  As it's my first year growing Dahlias they have been a most pleasant surprise.  However, it should come as no surprise that my favorite ones are the big, ruffly ones, and in fact, I've already started a list of ones that I want to grow next year and every one falls into the ruffly, pink and feminine category.  Though I'm also thinking it would be lovely to plant some in shades of fall.

I love how tall this variety got as they are a really wonderful presence towering over the garden fence.

A couple of years ago, I bought this milk glass vase from our church rummage sale and it's one of my favorites.  It has a flower frog attached to the bottom that keeps all the stems standing up.

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