About Me

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I have two kids - a girl and a boy - and live in north-central Minnesota, land of snow and ice. Well, for 9 months of the year, that is. I work full-time for a local government, and on my "free time" I enjoy cooking, baking, hanging out with my kiddos, and RELAXING.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Polymorphous Light Eruption (PMLE)

What a name, huh?

The past couple vacations we've been on to Hawaii and St. Martin I've gotten this really weird rash. It itches and always appears on the inside of my arms and legs (areas not usually exposed to sunlight) after a couple of days. I thought it was heat rash for about three years. A couple weeks ago I was looking online about heat rash to see if there's any way to prevent it (strange herbs, etc.) since we're going to Grand Cayman soon. I found out I didn't have heat rash, which occurs when sweat gets trapped underneath the surface of the skin (I didn't sweat that much) but had this other weird skin thing called polymorphous light eruption (commonly called sun poisoning).

So pretty much I'm allergic to the sun. Well, not really. PMLE is actually a hyper-sensitivity to the sunlight and it can be developed (I never got it the very first time I went to Hawaii). Fortunately, it does not cause cancer or mean I am more likely to get cancer. In fact, I'd say it helps lower my chances of cancer, since it forces me to stay out of the sun and wear super-intense sunscreen. It's most common in (1) women (2) under the age of 30 who (3) live in northern climates and (4) take oral contraceptives. Check, check, check, check. I'm like the poster child for PMLE.

PMLE is caused by UV rays, so the only way to prevent it is stay out of the sun. Broad-spectrum sunscreen (I'm talking like UVA/UVB 60+...and yes, they make it that high), a floppy hat (which I bought just for this trip), clothing, and the shade is the only way to stop it. It's recommended to stay out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm, when UV rays are the most intense. PMLE is possibly hereditary, though no one knows why some people are more sensitive to UV rays than others. I can certainly say neither my mother nor my sister seem to have this problem...ugh. One thing that can help is phototherapy. Instead of just blasting my skin with UV rays when we go on vacation I could start tanning to decrease sensitivity and prevent flare-ups. But tanning costs money, takes time (the nearest tanning bed is 15 minutes away from where I live!) and gives you cancer. I'll keep my sun disease, thank you very much.

Pretty much the only thing you can do once it starts is wait for it to go away. I usually bring Benedryl with me (antihistamines can help bring down the rash) and cortisone creams for the itching can also be applied. I don't generally do that; if you've ever had to put cortisone cream on a nasty, bumpy, hot rash, you'd understand the disgustingness of it. Being in the A/C helps me, personally, so I usually crank it up at nights. I actually sleep okay with PMLE, what with the Benedryl knocking me out and the nice cool room. It's typically a little better in the mornings, but gets worse as I'm out in the sun during the day. My PMLE clears up within about 2 days of not being in the sun, but for some people it can take up to a week. And I thought I had it bad.

week 6 weight loss

Oh, another Wednesday. The last time I'll blog about losing weight before Grand Cayman. Unfortunately I don't have great news. Just average news. I'm down .3 pounds from last week, which is down 1.1 pounds from when I started...six weeks ago. Lame. Oh well. I didn't do great over the weekend or so far this week, so the fact that I actually weight less than when I started is pretty amazing, really. I would like to lose five to ten more pounds, so I do plan on keeping up with my Wednesday weight loss blogging. We'll see how it goes. I know Grand Cayman won't be good for me. :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

ready for the weekend

What a long and boring week. Work has been pretty slow, although I did have a little bit of a project today. And on Wednesday I did too, I guess. But still it just drug by. I think it's because I haven't worked a five-day week in a while. Last week I missed two days (one I was sick, one I was in the cities) and the week before I missed a day to go to Iowa. I've been spoiled with no five-day weeks. :) At least this one is over. And in 12 days we're going to Grand Cayman! I've been checking the weather and it looks nice and toasty. In the 80s every day for the next 15 days! :)

Darren has drill this weekend but my sister will be home so it will be fun to see her. I'm also planning on doing a lot of organizing. That blog has been getting to me and I've been feeling the need to just get rid of a bunch of stuff. I was reading online yesterday about common excuses for not getting rid of things and decided I'm not going to play games with myself anymore. If I don't LOVE it, it's gone! Also applicable to shopping. A friend and I went last night after work and I got some cute stuff at Target (some of which I should have tried on). I was showing Darren last night and I though, "You know, this is just okay. I don't love it enough to wear it all the time and I really can't justify it." So now I have a pile to return. But I'm really trying to get better about not wasting money. (All that coupon clipping came in handy last night--I saved quite a bit at Target and Cub!)

Speaking of Cub, they tricked me last night--twice! I needed some mustard and saw that if I bought two I'd get a $1 off coupon for my next shopping trip. Well, mustard never goes bad, plus it was on sale so I figured, what the heck. I grabbed two and continued shopping. Then I also had a coupon for Ball Park franks BOGO free. And those suckers are spendy (and delicious!), so I was pretty excited. Grabbed those and kept on shopping. We get up to the checkout and the kid tells me I can't get the Ball Parks because the coupon is for "beef" franks and I got "meat" franks. Okay, like they really have beef in them anyway??!! They're probably the exact same. So annoying! And I wasn't about to go back and grab two more clear on the other side of the store. Ticked me off. And then on the way home I realized I didn't get my $1 off coupon! Ugh. Stinking Cub.

On the plus side, I got some cream at Cub last night so I could make homemade ice cream this weekend. The snow will most likely be gone soon so it's probably about my last chance. I can do it with ice but it's not as easy. Plus Darren's birthday is Monday so we can have homemade ice cream then. Mmmm...so yummy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Recent News

We've been busy this week. Last night we went and picked out our wedding pictures, yay! It was fun, but spendy. I do really like them all. I was planning on ordering my invites through my photographer but we just couldn't afford them so I ordered them through WalMart instead. The only problem with that is that I didn't have a picture I could use. So last night/this morning was a mad rush to try and find one so I could pick them up tonight since I'm going to Brainerd with a friend. (Then later my friend called and rescheduled for tomorrow night, so turns out I didn't need to freak out about it. Oh well.)

Tonight we're going to Darren's parents for dinner and a haircut before drill. Tomorrow night I have Brainerd with my friend and then on Friday I'm going to Brainerd AGAIN because I won't have enough time to get everything I need tomorrow. I have to stop at Target and WalMart (for the pics) which we're doing tomorrow, but then I also need to go to Penny's, Kohl's, Christmas Point, and Maurice's to use up gift cards (I'm sick and tired of having an overflowing wallet!!). Plus I need to hit up Cub before this week's sales expire. So there's no way I could fit all that in! Maybe if we get done at Target fairly early tomorrow we can go to Cub quick and the rest can wait for another time.

This week I booked a little excursion for us in Grand Cayman. We're going to take a jet ski tour to Stingray City where we can pet and feed stingrays. Don't worry, they're tame ones. :) It also includes snorkeling, a tour through a mangrove swamp, and a stop at a a beach bar/restaurant. I'm really excited about it. Apparently kissing a stingray will give you 7 years good luck. Who knew??

week 5 weight loss

Showing promise. I'm down .8 pounds from where I started, which is like a pound from last week. I did weigh another half pound less yesterday morning but then last night we had pizza for supper at about 7:30, so that wasn't too good. I have been trying to be better lately. So stinking hard to lose weight.

I got some arm/hand weights to use with my Turbo Jam and I like them so far. They kind of pinch my hands a little bit but I can tell the difference between working out with them and working out without them. So that's all there is for this week.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

internet tools

There is just a wealth of information on the internet. Here are some of my recent favorite sites:

Organic Grocery Deals. No, I'm not a "go green" person, but they have Target coupons! They also led me to Coupons.com and smartsource.com, two sites totally devoted to saving you money. I've printed about 20 pages of coupons today. Seriously.

Eat Better America. Some coupons, but mostly recipes I'm excited to try. I'm really in to all the "healthified" recipes they have on there, and I'm particularly excited to try this one. I love chocolate chip cookies and if I can save myself 30 calories, 1 gram of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and .5 grams of trans fat in each cookie then dang it, I'm going to.

I saved the best for last. Those who know me well know I'm crazy organized. This woman is my hero. The motivation and know-how to get organized and stay organized. She has tons of great ideas and useful tips. Makes me want to remove, sort, and purge my entire house. Gotta love it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

just another manic monday

Oh Monday, how I loathe thee...

The internet isn't working well today. Not sure what's up with that but I FINALLY got on here. Still haven't been able to check my email, and it took me half the day to get on facebook. I wanted to list some old prom dresses on ebay and haven't been able to get on there either...argg.

Daylight savings is the most ridiculous thing ever. It was SOOO hard to get up this morning because I'm still on "regular" time. Stupid. It doesn't save any daylight, seriously. If people would get off their lazy butts they'd see the sun in the morning. Instead the rest of us have to stumble around in the dark trying to get ready. And it's not like it saves any money. That's just an urban legend. Ahh...just wanted to get that off my chest.

This weekend we spent some time with Darren's fam on Saturday and I had a babyshower for a friend yesterday, so we were pretty busy. It makes me sad how fast the weekends go by. And then Monday is here again. Ugh.

Consolation: the day is almost over...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

it tastes like spring

It's so nice out today! I just love it. I drove with my window half-down the way home for lunch and back up to work. I got my shoes covered in mud behind the shop trying to throw cardboard in the dumpster but it was SO worth it to just hear the mud squish. Then later I had to walk over to the sales office to drop off some mail and I didn't wear my coat. It was amazing. I love it outside, spring is my favorite!!! Brids chirping, flowers blooming...ahhh...it's the best. I changed my blog background in honor of the nicer weather. Think spring! :)

In other news, I've impressed myself in the kitchen lately. Today I made a chicken wrap with a tortilla shell, some cooked chicken, spinach, onions, cheese, and homemade honey-mustard sauce. It was good. If not better than the one I always get at Subway, at least right on par. Then last night I wanted to make spaghetti because I had this tomato sauce just sitting in the fridge going bad, so I figured I'd just kind of toss it together. Betty Crocker told me it had to simmer for 45 minutes but heck, no, that wasn't going to happen. So I just browned up some venison, added onions, garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, S&P, some garlic salt, and a little onion salt. It was mighty tasty. Also, I made a rhubarb pie the other night. Completely from scratch. Crust and everything, which I've never done. BC had a recipe for the double crust which turned out really well, and the insides were easy peasy. Rhubarb, sugar, and flour. I was a little short on the rhubarb so it might be sweeter than normal since the sugar/rhubarb ratio is off, but it's really good. I was surprised at how good it was, actually. It looks a little shady because I didn't do a great job crimping the pie crust, but it tastes yummy.

Tonight I need to work out when I get home because I didn't do it this morning. I woke up at 6 ready to go but I had a sore throat so I went back to bed. Darren and I cleaned all upstairs and about 1/3 of the downstairs yesterday so we're going to finish up quick tonight. Tomorrow we're going to the cities to meet with people at the U about Darren's transfer and hopefully look at an apartment I really like. It looks good online so I want to see it in person. I think we might see if some of our friends want to go out to dinner, since we won't be done at the U until around 3 and it's pretty much pointless to try and head north anytime after that. May as well wait until around 6 when the traffic isn't as bad. Wish us luck! :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

week 4 weight loss

More like week 4 weight gain. Ugh. I'm right where I started. All I've done the past month is watch my weight drop a couple pounds and come back up a couple pounds and drop a couple more pounds and come back up a couple more pounds and I've made ZERO progress. SO ANNOYING. And I haven't been eating really great, but normally I lose weight anyway. It's this new job. I'm so stinking inactive all day long. All I do is sit on my tush. At least at the bank I stood all day and walked around, and at school I was hauling a twenty-pound backpack across campus three times a day. But now I just sit all day at work and go home and sit all night on the couch. Bad habits.

So I really need to kick it in gear. I did manage to get up at 6 and work out this morning, and tonight instead of just sitting on my butt watching Friends I'm going to strength train while watching Friends with my little green band. (I have the Turbo Jam DVD for strength training memorized, so it shouldn't be a problem.) Last night I made a rhubarb pie (homemade crust and everything!) and I'm going to try and let Darren eat most of it. Plus I'm a little afraid of how it will taste. We didn't have any last night because it was still cooling, but it was the first time I've made it and I don't have high expectations. The rhubarb had been frozen since June so who knows how that will taste. And the crust...don't get me started. Darren said, "I'm sure it will taste fine" but I have my doubts.

To recap: Must exercise more. Must eat less.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Here's what happened the past couple of days...

Friday: Worked and tried to stay awake. Thought I was going to fall asleep sitting in my chair. Went home and crashed on the couch all evening and went to bed around 9:30.

Saturday: Woke up feeling a little worse for the wear, but still able to handle life. Went to Brainerd with Darren's parents to pick out our grill (their wedding present to us) and accessories. We got some shish-kabob (sp??) sticks and a nice rotisserie thinger. Darren and I put the grill together when we got home and then we had Pat and Shelly over for supper that night to rotisserie a chicken.

Sunday: Felt like death warmed over. Darren made breakfast. Sat on the couch all day. Darren went ice fishing in the afternoon while I watched two movies. Ate a lot of Twizzlers.

Monday: Stayed home from work. Sat on the couch all day. Read a whole book. Watched several movies. Used a whole box of kleenex and drank my weight in juice.

Tuesday so far: Feeling quite a bit better, but still a little out of it. The coughing phase has begun so hopefully I'm on the mend.