Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Strangely enough one of my favorite meals growing up was my Mom's meatloaf. I know most people don't say that, but I love meatloaf. There, I said it!
I remember if I was coming home from college and needed my Mommy Meal fix my request was meatloaf, a big ol' baked potato {with tons of sour cream!}, and cream style corn. Oh yeah, baby!

I think at heart I am just a meat and potatoes kind of girl.

Meatloaf has changed so much throughout the years. I've adapted what I remember my mom doing to what my family likes and my tastes. I add more spices to it, mainly because those are what I am obsessed with.
When I make my meatloaf, I don't really follow a recipe, just add stuff here and there, but the last time I made it, I was sure to note how much I was adding of everything. Well...kind of. I make this recipe for my family of 4 and still have some leftovers for a meatloaf sandwich or meatloaf roll-up {so yummy}.
So without further ado, here is my meatloaf recipe...drum roll...
1.5 pounds ground beef
2 eggs
2 slices whole wheat bread
2-3 T ketchup
2 T brown sugar
1/2 T garlic powder
1/2 T dried basil
dash of salt and pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
2 T brown sugar
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat over to 375. In a food processor chop up the bread to make bread crumbs. I then use my kitchenaid to mix everything together. First add the eggs, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic powder, basil, salt and pepper. Mix this all together. Then add the beef and bread crumbs until well combined. Spread the meat mixture into a greased pan. 

I don't like to use a loaf pan because it takes way too long to bake! I'm a little impatient that way. I use my little mini baking dish. 
Now mix up the topping. I put it all back in my kitchenaid so I don't have to dirty any more dishes. Once that is all mixed together, spread evenly over the beef mixture. 
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. This will all depend on what size of pan you use. Like I said, mine is usually pretty thin, so it doesn't take as long to make. 
Then serve!

Yummy - great comfort food.

But have you noticed all the new, crazy recipes out there for meatloaf?

Awwwwwww, cute little baby meatloaves!

They are stuffing it with Mac-N-Cheese and wrapping it in bacon? What? I'm not saying I wouldn't try this if it were in front of me. I might spend the rest of the night in the bathroom, but I'd be willing to give it a try. What? TMI?

Now this is just gross...they put an egg in the middle?

Spinach Meatloaf? My kids would never eat that, hell, I wouldn't eat that!

This one is interesting...Pancetta and Turkey Meatloaf...I've heard of substituting ground turkey, but never have tried it. I think it still goes back to I'm a beef girl. ;)
Picture of Pancetta and Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches Recipe

I really like this idea. My hubby wouldn't eat it, but the kids and I would L.O.V.E. it!
Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes!

Or how about a cake meatloaf! My birthday is just around the corner, maybe I'll request this! Only Martha would do this!

I would definitely make this meatloaf...Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins!
Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins

And finally, last and certainly the most disgusting, as in so disgusting that if I ever showed this to my hubby he would probably never, ever eat meatloaf again!
The hand meatloaf!
Seriously - makes me want to puke!

I know, I'm so, so sorry. I sincerely apologize for showing you all of those and possibly making you hungry to just end it with that!

Sooooo, on that note...what are your favorite meatloaf recipes? Have you tried any of the unusual recipes? There are a couple up there that I think I might have to try even though I will always go back to my favorite. But not the hand one, please not that one!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Headache Journey......part 2......Could This Be the Answer?

To read about the beginning of my headache journey you can click here.

After I left Dr. Spight's office I was a little in shock. I wasn't quite sure what to think. Did I give myself the chance to have, dare I say it? HOPE? 
As soon as I could, I made an appointment at the Medical Center near my home to have an MRI. I've never had an MRI before. Saying I was nervous was an understatement. I'm claustrophobic. I don't like to be enclosed in anything especially if I don't feel that there is a way out. 

I like big open spaces!

MRI data could soon play a major role in determining whether stroke survivors are candidates for tPA therapy.
So I climbed onto the coffin torture device MRI table thingy. The MRI tech hands me a little squeezy thing. "This is your emergency stop button. It will let us know if you need to stop. But, remember, if we need to stop we start all over." Dear Mother of God, what are you people doing to me that I need a panic button!
I numbly take the white squeezy thing and bravely say, "Oh, I should be fine, no big deal." But what I'm really thinking is, do you happen to have a shot of Jack, tequila, or any other hard alcohol any where? Is that part of the protocol these days, state your name, date of birth and here is your shot before we start the torture!
 SERIOUSLY...Your going to stick me in what?
So I lay down on the hard bed, they strap me in and tell me, now don't move at all! Or we start all over. OK, that calms me so much. Thanks!
Oh so slowly, I slide into the MRI device. It's very white in there. Then they say over the intercom, we're going to start now, you ready? As ready as I'll ever be, giddy-up. 
That's when the loud jack hammer starts. It sounds like I'm in a nuclear attack. 
Nuclear Bomb being tested in the atmosphere.
Photo: Pravda
I've never really had a panic attack before because of being in an enclosed space. I guess I've always said I'm claustrophobic but I really don't believe it until that very moment when the oh-so-white walls of the MRI chamber start to collapse on me. My heart starts beating so hard that I'm sure they'll have to stop because they can see it! Two seconds into it and I'm contemplating squeezing the panic thing! No way, I can do this. I start taking deep, deep breaths. Slow, deep breaths. I close my eyes. Why didn't they tell me to close my eyes? The noise is still loud, but I focus on my breathing rather than the noise. I think I can, I think I can. Hell no I am NOT letting them stop this machine just because I'm a wuss! 
2 hours later..."OK, we're all done! I'll be in to help you out" they say over the speaker. So it wasn't really 2 hours, more like 15 minutes, but it was pure hell! How do people stay in there for longer! I've heard some people have them last a couple hours!!!! I would need some major drugs if I were to do that. I applaud those people for being brave enough to be in those horrible machines that long. Even if I have another 15 minuter I'm asking for drugs, I am not too proud!
Sorry to go on so much about that but it was very traumatic for me, as you can plainly see! :)

We went back up to the Institute for Low Back and Neck Care to bring them my MRI results and to determine the next steps. 
Dr. Spight pulls up the results on his laptop and goes over them with us. Everything in my neck is perfectly fine. No ruptured discs, nothing. So he says that tells him it most likely is Occipital Neuralgia - aka excited nerves in my head! Oh yeah, the jokes haven't stopped with that one!

The point of entry of the occipital nerve is about one inch below and one inch to the side of the bony prominence at the back of your head
So now we need to schedule a test. Because with Occipital Neuralgia we need to stop that nerve from telling everything around it that it hurts. {I know this isn't the correct medical terminology but if I try to tell you all about it that way, I'm going to sound like a dumb ass. So I'm using my own terms and some pics I found on-line to help describe what I went through and what I learned about that.}
The test we are going to do before the BIG shebang is an injection of cortisone and Novocaine. But the kicker is, I have to schedule this out and for the first time in my life hope and pray I have a headache. Because we can only do this test if I'm having pain. Ugh ~ seriously. I can't predict these things and they are almost every day, but not every day! And sometimes they come and go!
So the morning comes and I have to get up and get ready. I wake up with a slight headache on the left side, not a bad one by any means, but I feel pain. And that's all I need. I have always been able to move my head at different angles, or if my arm isn't just right or if I'm shrugging I can induce a headache. These Occipital Nerves of mine are very finicky! Almost anything induces pain. The entire car ride up to the Cities I'm pushing around on my head, moving it in all different angles to see if I can get the pain to be more intense. {who would have thunk?}
We get to the office building, sign in and get back to my little prep room. The nurse comes in to get my IV started. Oh great, here we go. I hate IV's. {I know, I know, am I a whiner or what?} I've had one surgery in my life so, just as I was with the MRI machine, I'm kind of wuss with procedures. But, come on, I've given child birth! Twice! And the end result of this could mean I'm pain free!
I pull my big girl panties on and get the IV like a big girl. Do I get a sticker? No, sucker? Hmmmm....
I put my hair in a pony on top of my head so they can reach my Occipital Nerve for the injections. 
They have me lay face down on the skinny little table. 
Side note: the day before my procedure, klutzy Amy got out of her car and smacked her head on the car door. Right in the middle of my forehead. Right where they are now telling me to lay said forehead! I'm trying to get rid of pain here, not get more!
I lay down and they clean my head with iodine. This of course, they inform me, is turning my blond hair orange. Too funny!
Then Dr. Spight has his Radiology Tech there to take images to make sure he is in the right spot. Thank you Dr. Spight for making sure you know where you are sticking needles into my head before you do it. Would you please talk with that other doctor who blindly did this and then sent me on my lonesome way?
He first numbs the area with Novocain. I feel a small pinch. Then he injects the cortisone in each side. Honestly, this entire scene is kind of sketchy for me, first, because I'm nervous as hell and second, because they were sticking a bunch of big ol' needles in my head. So my account of the whole situation could be a little off. 
After the injections, they ask where my pain level is at. When I arrived that day my pain was probably at a 3, not the worst I've had by any means, but now, after the test procedure? 
I'm at a big fat 0 baby!
3 hours after the procedure I have to call in to tell them my pain. Still a 0! I'm tired, but that's about it. I'm probably more tired because of all the stress than anything. 
I'm to live my life as normal and call them after a week. Sometimes this shot can do it. Sometimes not and the next step is needed.  
So now we are playing a waiting game. Just waiting to see how long this shot lasts and if it is my final step in this journey or if I go to the next step...I'll give you a small hint...this journey is not over after those shots...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Especially to my wonderful mother and my two sisters! 
I love you all!

Not sure what we are all looking at here, but this is our Mom, then Deb, me and Sue. Sue ~ I think you're prego with #1 here! Deb ~ love the facial expression! And don't you just L.O.V.E. my Birkenstock's with socks!

This is a picture of Deb and Sue and cute, adorable, sweet 5 1/2 week old baby Amy! :) Sue ~ not only do you have extremely long legs in this picture, but look how long your toes look!!!! Oh my, it brings tears to my eyes! And Deb - this must be where I got the idea to wear socks with my sandals...always looking up to my big sisters!

Here we are all grown up and now Moms ourselves! I wish we lived closer together and we could enjoy this day together! Miss you!

And of course, to my beautiful mother! I love you so much! I miss you! Thanks for being such a great Mom and friend!


P.S. I'm going to brag about my little chickadee's for a moment...this morning at about 8am, I heard the munchkins in the kitchen. At about 8:30 they bring a tray into my bedroom with a plate of 2 Schwan's pancakes, a piece of cinnamon sugar toast and fresh coffee! Yes COFFEE! My little 7-year-old daughter has learned how to make me coffee...and she's pretty darn good at it! I didn't throw it out, I drank the entire pot! It even had cream in it! My son went and clipped a couple flowers out of the bouquet they got me with Daddy and put them in a little vase for the tray. They did all of this by themselves, Daddy was still sleeping too! They brought me their presents they had made for me at their little community education Mother's Day class! Very cute! My daughter was so hungry that she just needed to share my pancakes and toast with me. What a perfect way to start a Mother's Day! It makes up for all the fighting and screaming and not listening...well, at least for a little while. :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Quick Moment

So last night I stopped at the grocery store for a few things.  Among the items in my cart was an adult beverage!  When I got to the checkout line, the kind of awkward, young man ringing up my groceries said to me "Um, I'm going to need you to get your ID out for me, please."  To which I replied, "ok."  I have never understood why people get so upset and offended when asked for their ID.  Anyway, the young checkout boy took a look at my ID and said in a very loud, surprised voice, "WOW, I wasn't expecting that!"  I kind of paused for a moment, (what was he expecting?) then finally smiled and said "thank you!"  I'm taking it as a compliment!!  Made my night and I walked out of the store with a little more skip in my step!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Headache Journey Part 1

Since way back when I was in high school I have suffered from headaches. That's almost 20 years of headaches! Not migraines, but just plain ol' headaches. They are always in a very specific spot. Right in the back of my head behind my ear, usually on the left side, right where her thumbs are in the picture below.
As a teenager, I remember laying in my water bed and I would put my head at an angle so it would rest just right on the shelf of the headboard.  Laying this way would put pressure on the spot where there was pain. When I would put direct pressure on that spot, I could make the pain miraculously go away. But as soon as I let up on it, bingo, it would come right back. 

I had these headaches all through high school and college. When my husband and I moved up to the Twin Cities we decided to make an appointment with a neurologist to see if I had a tumor or something more serious going on. At that point they seemed to have gotten worse and it was getting harder for me to function.

I got a CT-scan and the doctor said he didn't see anything...well, I mean he saw my brain and all but no tumors, please people!  He said they were definitely not migraines, but probably tension headaches. His treatment? He put me on a pill called Desipramine. Now, from what I understand, it is an old antidepressant that used in small doses can help to reduce headaches. {Remember, I'm not a doctor or in the medical profession and this was a long time ago, but this is what I remember them telling me and it seemed to help.} I wasn't headache/pain free but they weren't as bad as they had been. Plus, a great side effect of this decreases your appetite! Can I get a whoop, whoop for that?!

I was on Desipramine until we decided we wanted to have kids. My OBGYN said that he did not want me on Desipramine while trying to get pregnant, it could cause birth defects or harm babies. {Again, I didn't research this, but took his word for it and I would obviously rather have headaches than take any risk no matter how small.} So I went off it again and the headaches came back in full force...probably 4 to 6 a week. During this time off my medication I went to chiropractors and had massages, and nothing seemed to help. {They would always, however, comment on how tight my shoulders were and could understand why I was in pain.}

While I was pregnant with my daughter I was working at a medical facility {in the HR department}. After talking with some of my 'in-the-medical-field' co-workers, I decided to see a specialist for my headaches. The doctor was an MD that worked in the Rehab and Pain Clinic Department. She put me back on Desipramine and started me in physical therapy 3 times per week. I spent thousands of dollars going through physical therapy and it honestly just wasn't working. Sometimes my headaches would get so bad I would have to go home. Sometimes they would jump from the left side of my head to the right side {never on both sides at the same time}.  Sometimes they would creep up over my ear and behind my eye. And one of the worst parts about it was there wasn't a medication out there that I could take to make the pain go away! I tried Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Excedrin - prescription strength of all of these. The doctor even gave me prescription medications as well and none of them helped.

At one point when I was having an extremely bad headache, I went down to the clinic and she injected me with a shot of something, right in my head, right there in the clinic. I'm not exactly sure what it was, but at that point I honestly didn't give a $@&#, I just wanted the pain to go away. I then went out to my car in the parking lot and slept for about 2 hours because after that, I just couldn't drive and my commute was about 20 minutes. {not sure how safe that whole procedure was} Did the pain go away? Sure, for a few days, but then it came right back.

After that I decided that PT just wasn't working, a doctor that gives me a shot in the head without images to know where she is shooting the drug freaked me out so the next thing I tried was acupuncture.
This worked great! It was a little weird and scary {my doctor doing it was my kids' pediatrician and you get down to your skivvies under a hospital gown...that's just not right}. Plus, stabbing those little needles in my body always completely and utterly freaked me out! But it helped with the pain and I found I wasn't taking 4 Ibuprofen every 8 hours...that's a good thing! I then went every two weeks to every month to every other month. It helped, but it didn't "cure" me and I was still on the Desipramine daily. 

After I left the medical center for a new job I found it harder and harder to go get an acupuncture treatment and my headaches came back again. One day when I was having an extremely bad headache and I took Imitrex {my acupuncturist had prescribed} and that didn't work it just completely knocked me out, my hubby said enough. He scheduled me an appointment at the Institute for Lower Back and Neck Care in the Twin Cities. {side note: my husband has had two, yes two back surgeries before the age of 30...his second surgery was at ILBNC and was very successful...we have a lot of faith and trust in these people, not sure why we didn't go there sooner}

I was extremely nervous for my appointment. It kind of felt like, great here we go again. I'm tired of going to the doctor about my headaches, I figured I've lived with them for so long, I'm sure I'll just live with them forever. There's no way they will ever end! Most of the time they don't incapacitate me, they are just there!
Dr. Spight {can I say I just love him} is my new doctor and was involved in my husband's surgery. He listened to me, asked questions, gave me an exam to see where I hurt. Now, I have always known that my muscles were tight in my neck and upper shoulders, I used a special pillow for God's sake, but I didn't know what caused this. It didn't matter how much stress I was in, if I was at work, if I was sitting at a computer, if I was working outside, eating supper, I would get pain. Every week. Looking back, I probably had more headaches then I originally thought, because I had pain almost constantly. It just depended if I 'labeled' it a headache or just ignored it.

Dr. Spight wanted me to get an MRI of my neck and head before he made any decisions, but pretty much he was thinking that I had Occipital Neuralgia. Basically, my Occipital nerve was always excited {yes, I heard many comments about that little diagnosis}. But because it was always excited it was telling everything around it that it was in pain. Hence my headaches and pain in my neck and shoulders. 

Could this possibly be an answer? Dr. Spight seemed to act like he had heard of this before, that other people have suffered the same way I am suffering. 

Does that mean he can actually, truly, really, positively, absolutely help me? journey to being pain free!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I am going to paint the girl's bathroom and my inspiration is coming from the wonderful Katie Daisy, only an artist could have a name like that.  Actually, I wonder if that is her real name or did she change it once she started selling her work?  Not sure and it doesn't matter because I love her paintings, they're so sweet and just the perfect fit for two little girls... And the prints are so affordable.  I have know idea how much her custom paintings are going for, I would love to get my hands on one though.  (Pay attention sistas - This would be a perfect Christmas gift for Deb.  Custom paintings only, please!)

Enough of the chatter, here are a couple of my favorites pieces:

I was going to show pictures of the girl's bathroom but it's on the messy side so I will post before and after photos at a later date.  Enjoy!