Menu planning

We hope to have some changes in the Morgan household soon.  These will be awesome changes, but they come with a price.  Literally.  If this works out (I don’t want to say anything yet) we will be tightening our belts for a few months because P will have to take a cut in his hours at work.  We already live pretty well within our means, but we aren’t that good at budgeting.  It’s actually quite sad since I took a class on how to budget and everything.  We don’t have a lot of frivolous things, so there isn’t much room for cutting funds.  I would say that our only “luxury” is Netflix and we’re not quite at the point where it will have to go.  However, we do spend a lot on our grocery bill.

It’s not a good practice, I know, but we tend to hit the store on an “as needed” basis.  That means that we impulse shop and it adds to our gas bill.  I’ve loosely planned weekly menus and made it through one day .  I’ve planned detailed weekly menus and thrown them out the window.  This time, since I have to get in the habit before we feel the crunch, I’ve decided on a different planning approach.  I will plan a menu for one day.  There will be plenty of leftovers.  As for the rest of the week, I will rely on a supply of pre-cooked staples and a freezer full of veggies.  Easy peasy….I hope.  Anyway, I’m going to link dump the recipes I’m going to use and put up my “meal plan” for the sake of convenience.  I know it’s kind of tacky, so I apologize.

The “Big Meal” and meats will be cooked on Monday since that’s when P is home and we’re together as a family.  Also, Monday tends to be a slow day as far as appointments and errands go.

The Big Meal:

Strawberry Pulled Pork from Technically Paleo ( originally from Stuff I Make My Husband)

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese from StellaStyle

and this Red Cabbage Salad. (I will use spring onion in place of a regular onion because I don’t care much for raw onion)

Tha Staples:

Meats: burger patties and crumbles, chicken drumsticks and breasts

I was stoked to find a recipe for a Lawry’s type of seasoning salt.  I love Lawry’s but I can’ eat it.  It’s called Spicy Seasoning Salt.  I will be using this stuff on everything until I start getting complaints.

Roughage: veg and salad stuff

After talking with P, he has requested that I start keeping a quiche in the fridge at all times.  He says that it’s much easier for him to eat something light when he gets home from work and if he knows he’s got something to look forward to in the fridge, he’ll be less tempted to “make a quick run to the store” after work.  I’m cool with that since a quiche is one of the few ways that I can stomach egg these days.

So, for “breakfast” items, I’m going to make a:

Quiche – this week it will be bacon and cheddar

and I’m going to try out a Breakfast Casserole (with added cheddar).  If it goes well, meaning it doesn’t suck, I’ll probably keep one of those in the fridge as well.

And since I promised, the kids will be having ice cream sundaes to celebrate the first day of school.

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Life

Everything is still pretty quiet around here.  I have yet to hear anything about the next phase, which sort of irks me.  I’m a planner.  I feel out of sorts when I don’t know what to expect.  I’ve been trying to make plans, but I’m a bit uneasy with it since I don’t know if/when I’m going to have to make changes.  Until then, I’m planning out the rest of the month.

We start homeschool next week.  We’ve switched homeschool associations and I’ve been having trouble with the new one.  I filled out the enrollment application and paid back in June, but I still have not received my membership packet even though I should have gotten it no later than July 1st.  I’ve sent two emails and left a message on their voicemail, but I have yet to have any contact with a person.  I’m getting worried, but their outgoing message addresses the problem (apparently, many families didn’t get their packet) and says that it should be rectified by the weekend.  I’m antsy about waiting, especially since I want to start next week, but there isn’t much I can do.  I’ll give them until Monday and then I’ll make some sort of contact demanding a refund and I’ll find another homeschool association.

Until then, I’m still wading through the new curriculum and trying to figure out how it works.  It’s free and it’s supposed to be really good, but I’m having a hard time figuring out how it works…the planning and record keeping part, not the lessons.  I’m going to use it as a supplement to the Well Trained Mind method.  It’s what we started using when we first started homeschooling all those years ago, but we left after a year because neither C nor I were ready for that level of schooling.  C and D were both pretty bored last year so I think that it’s time to go back to the trivium.  I want to have the online curriculum included as a supplement so that the grandmother’s will be able to do lessons with the kids if we end up in another hospital situation again.  I certainly don’t plan on it happening, but better safe than sorry.  The kids didn’t get much schooling last December and January with all that was going on so they lost a good deal of their summer break in order to make up the days.  In the interest of avoiding that problem, I hope to have an easy to follow “emergency” lesson plan for just in case.

I’ve had lots of energy since I’ve got a full tank of blood and I’ve been chemo-free for a little while.  That means that I’ve been playing catch-up with laundry and sorting through old clothes.  I’ve finally bitten the consignment bullet and I plan to participate in my first Upstate Kids Consignment sale in September.  That means that I’ve got to organize, clean, iron, label, and tag two rubbermaid containers of kids clothes.  On the plus side, the kids finally have a manageable amount of clothing.  It really helps with laundry.  I’ve been paring down our blankets and I hope to whittle down the sheet count.  I used to think that you couldn’t have too many sheets, but now I’m not so sure.  It seems like sheets are the main component of the laundry piles.  And since I loathe folding and putting sheets/blankets away, they’re the items that get pushed in the back.  Now I just need to force myself to do the same with our books.  The very idea makes me sad.  I luuurve my books and I hate parting with them.  Unfortunately, space is precious in our house and it’s not something that we have an abundance of.  It’s a good thing our pitiful little library participates in a statewide lending program.

The last item on the books is that I plan to attend my first Dragon*Con at the end of the month.  I’m going to tag along with my bestie and her fella.  Fortunately, they don’t mind the third wheel.  I’ve been wanting to attend for years, but I’ve never gone.  I really wanted to cross something off my bucket list so P said it could be my birthday present.  I wish that he was going to be there, but he’s gotta work (or keep the kids in case gran isn’t up to a grand-baby sleepover).  I’m excited to go, but I’m a bit worried about being able to keep my stamina.  I think a big downside to all this chemo is the fact that I feel so old.  I tucker out pretty easily and my body just hurts.  I’ve been trying to stay as active as I can (for a shut-in) in the hopes that my stamina will build up.  I’ve been eyeballing the kettlebell.  I don’t think I’m up for Turkish get-ups, but I can probably handle a farmer’s carry around the house.

Well, I think that’s all for right now.  I’ve been in the kitchen a bit, but I’ve been keeping it all pretty simple.  For tonight’s dinner, all I did was chop up some radishes, celery, and carrots and I served them with some simple baked drumsticks and some fried potatoes and onions.

Quick and easy drumsticks

Rinse and dry however many drumsticks you want to cook.  For seasoning, I mixed up some dried tarragon and dried parsley and pulverized it with a mortar and pestle.  I threw in some salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  (I could have left out the parsley, as it did nothing for the chicken.)  I melted the last bit of the ghee and drizzled it over the drumsticks (these had been placed in a pie dish – since I don’t make pies, it’s an excellent roasting dish) and sprinkled the spices over the meat.  I baked them at 350 for about 45 minutes – rotate around the 20-minute mark.  Pull them out and loosely cover for about 5 minutes so the meat can rest.  Chow down and don’t forget to save your bones for stock!

Fried potatoes and onion

For this one, I diced up two small potatoes (maybe around tennis ball sized) and I sliced and quartered about 1/2 a white onion (because that’s what I had).  I browned a few tablespoons of butter (use real butter, please) and threw the taters ‘n onions in the skillet with my trusty garlic powder and salt.  I may have dashed some pepper in there, but I don’t remember.  Give it a stir and then loosely cover and let it sit for a minute over mid to mid-high heat.  Then give it another stir every few minutes until the potatoes are soft (we want the potatoes to keep their shape, so don’t overcook) .  It’s simple food, but it’s tasty and cheap.  If you add some meat, you’ve got yourself a hash.

Still waiting…

There isn’t much to report.  I had my biopsy last week and now we’re just waiting to hear back.  I’m a nervous wreck, but I always am when I’m waiting for results.  I don’t have any appointments this week other than stopping into the office to get my dressing changed.  As much as I complain about the procedures, I think this is the part that I hate the most.  I’m so scared that I’m going to get another “I’m sorry” phone call.

I’m still not doing much cooking.  I made chicken with 40 cloves of garlic on Friday with parsley potatoes and a salad.  It was tasty but it didn’t agree with me.  I love garlic, but  I tend to forget that I can’t eat copious amounts without repercussion.  We ate our way through leftovers on Saturday and we ordered takeout on Sunday.  P and I cleaned out the fridge last night so I could have a clean slate this week.  We’ll probably be eating pasta most of this week because we had to buy a new car battery yesterday and we really need to get new tires.
I’m sure D won’t mind because she loves pasta and it’s something that she doesn’t get very often.

Well, I guess that’s all there is to report.  I’m really tired today because we stayed up to watch the Curiosity rover last night.  D tried to make it, but she passed out and C eagerly awaited the “big moment”, but he was just happy to stay up late.

Waiting

Things have been pretty quiet since I returned from my stint in the hospital.  One of my dear friends got married last Saturday so P and I went to NC for the wedding.  It was at a place called the Garden Retreat and it was beautiful.  I was so thankful for the transfusions because they gave me the energy I needed to make it through.  I met a few new people.  One thing I can say is that being a cancer patient make a pretty good conversation starter.

I received my last Erwinia shot ever on Monday.  I feel kinda bad because I was testy with the AIC nurses when I should have been saying my goodbyes.  I think I will be seeing them for one more treatment though, so I will hopefully have another chance.

My biopsy was Wednesday.  I was snappy and irritable while I waited for my premeds.  I actually did snap at one assistant when she asked me if I would be willing to forgo my premeds and go ahead with the biopsy.  A little afterwards, I cried to on one of the nurses because I was so scared.  It was all for naught, though, because the ativan and morphine did bupkis.  The biopsy hurt worse than ever.  I screamed and cried like a child.  P said that everyone was worried about me but I’m embarrassed.  They ended up giving me more ativan and morphine after they were finished, so I ended up sleeping most of the day away.  I’ve been having trouble dealing with things though.  I still break out in tears when I think about it and I’m terrified of having another one done.

Now I’m just waiting on my next appointment.  I’m supposed to start two different oral chemo meds and I’m supposed to get vincristine and another spinal tap on Day One of Phase Five, whenever that may be.  I’m nervous, and as a result, I’ve got a pretty short temper.  I’m trying really hard to reign it in, but I’ve got no patience for, well I don’t know what to call it…let’s say carelessness.  I really don’t want to be around anyone right now because nobody understands what I’m going through and what I’m feeling and I know some people that take my irritation and nervousness personally instead of attempting to understand what’s going on beneath the surface.  Unfortunately, I cannot hide myself in my home.  I’ve made commitments to be around people, so I will put on my smile and pretend that everything is okay.

I’m home

I came home from the hospital after getting another two units of blood yesterday.  That makes a total of 6 units of blood and 2 units of platelets for the week.  The good news is that all of the little scrapes and bruises and petichiae on my body are finally healing and my skin is back to a normal color.

I started chemo again today and I’m tired. I’ve been trying to sleep off a headache most of the day and it seems to be finally abating. I hope to be getting back to rights soon.  Until then, I’m trying to keep cool because our AC is wonky and it’s hot out.  I have a serious love/hate relationship with southern summers right now.

Until then,

-e

I must be going for some kind of record

This is my second transfusion this week.

To recap, I finished up a round of Ara-C  this past Friday and 6Tg (thioguanine) this Sunday.  I went in to the office for my weekly CBC and checkup on Monday only to hear that my hemoglobin was really low and I was going into Oconee Memorial for a transfusion on Tuesday.  While I was at OMH getting my two units on Tues, P ended up walking over to the Cancer Center to force someone to listen to him because he thought I needed platelets since I was covered in petechiae.  It was a good thing, too, because my platelets had dropped from 16,000 to 9,000 in a day.  Anyway, I ended up spending the day at the hospital getting two units of blood and one unit of platelets.  Wednesday, I went up to the AIC at Greenville Memorial for my chemo, vincristine and good ‘ole Erwinia.  It was uneventful, I was exhausted and I slept a lot that day.  Mom came over to sit with me until she had to take off for her play.  I ended up having to call P because I felt so awful and because I was having some abdominal pain, indicating another episode of diverticulitis.  On Thursday, P called and got me an afternoon appointment so we could get the pain addressed before it got out of hand again.  They set me up with a liter of fluid, some morphine, and another antibiotic.  All was well.  I went home and slept a lot more.

Sometime around midnight I, um, “passed” a fair amount of blood and I had a fever of 100.2 degrees.  P called whomever was on-call and talked about what to do.  Normally this is a “straight-to-the-ER” type of situation, but my neutrophils (the infection fighters) were depleted and the ER is a hotbox of germs and disease.  The on-call doctor decided that we could wait until today since I would already be at the hospital for chemo.  However, I needed to tell the AIC nurses what had happened  before we got started.  They went back and forth with my doctor’s office and the ultimate decision was to hold off on my chemo and to give me two more units and another unit of platelets.  P and I played the waiting game while I got crossed and typed and then I got the news that I needed to be admitted.  When the on-call NP came to admit me, she laid on the news that I may need to see a GI specialist and that I may need to stay the whole weekend.  Yay.

So here I am.  I just finished my crappy hospital dinner and I’m getting my second unit of blood.  After it finishes, my nurse has to draw blood for labs and I don’t really know what is going to happen next.  P and I are both a bit on edge and we’re grumping at each other.  He took off in the hopes that he would get to see the kids before mom took them for the night.

So there ya go.  That’s what’s going on.  At least it’s not pneumonia this time.

Not much going on

I’ve been feeling pretty horrible since my last dose of Ara-C.  I spent the better part of the day in bed yesterday and I would have been happy to do the same today, but I couldn’t since I had to go to the doctor.

My hemoglobin is low so I’m going in for a transfusion in the morning and chemo got pushed back to Wednesday.  I’m almost finished with this phase!  I got a bit of awesome news, too.  My onc doesn’t see much point in me keeping my hickman since I’ve only got one chemo left that is administered through IV (and I’m only going to be getting it once a month) so they told me that they’re scheduling surgery to have it removed!  Yay!