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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Matt's Birthday at Union Woodshop

You've got to love good BBQ and that is just what this is!  My husband heard from friends at work that this place was amazing and they were right!  Union Woodshop got BBQ of the Year 2011 Award from Kevin's BBQ Joints.  It also was named Restaurant of the Year 2011 by the Detroit Free Press

Sign in front of Restaurant.

Indoor decor - the decor was much better than it shows up in the picture here.  Very nice atmosphere for families or dating!  

Here is Matt and Jon looking over the menu.  I don't know if you can tell much by the picture, but the seating is SO nice!  It is very classy.  I could be wrong but I think the seat is leather.  Look at that detail!

Little Joshua trying to eat the crayon.  Silly boy!  All the tables are covered in butcher paper which is helpful not only because kids made messes, but it's also fun to color on!

Me and my Lyshie.  I should have picked a better picture.  Oh well. lol

This was a very nice touch and definitely not something you see every day.  Each table had a salt and pepper grinder.  We're big into that!  Beka got us hooked on the freshly ground salt and I honestly can't remember who got Matt hooked on fresh ground pepper.  Anyway...very nice touch!

First Course - Deep Fried Pickles with Memphis Mayo.  I will be the first to say that I do not like pickles.  However, these were pretty tastey.  The batter was perfect and the sauce was so amazing!  Don't skip the sauce!
While waiting for our food I thought I'd get a picture of the sauce crate.  Located in this lovely crate was ketchup as well as 5 other sauces you could use on your bbq.  My favorite was the Tennessee!

Out came my tray - yes a tray just like Matt and I used in food service for baking.  The cool thing about this is there's so much food and this is the perfect way to keep it all contained.  I think if they put it on plates, there would be a huge mess.  Anyway, I got the Pulled Pork and a Side Car of Smoked Chicken with Fries and Green Bean Casserole as the sides.  Lyshie shared some with me but we still had a lot left. There's also more memphis style mayo for the fries (which by the way are hand cut).  

Yes, here's my chicken.  Sorry it's blurry.

Joshua was in baby heaven.  He had grilled cheese, fries and apple slices.  He was one happy guy!  He ate a lot of food!

Next up is Jon's Mac-N-Cheese with carrots.  Lyshie also got Mac-N-Cheese off the kids menu while also sharing with me.

Matt's meal consisted of Ribs, Beef Brisket, Onion Rings and Mac-N-Cheese.  What you don't see is that he got Butterscotch Pudding for dessert. comes my critique.  First of all I need to let you know that the portions sizes were huge!  The reason Matt and I both got a meal (instead of sharing) and got the extra side car of meat was to be able to try as much as we could.  That way, the next time we go back, we'll know what we love.  

Ok here goes.....

Chicken - The chicken was good.  I am not used to a smoked chicken.  With sauce it was pretty tastey but it was just a bit dry by itself.  That said, it is smoked meat and the flavor is still yummy.

Pulled Pork - This was by far my favorite meat.  It was tender, juicy and very flavorful.  I dipped it in the Tennessee sauce and WOW!  AMAZING!

Ribs - I'm one to not like dry ribs very well but these were pretty good. They did have a very good flavor and for being smoked, they were more tender than any dry rib I've had.  These were Matt's favorite meat!

Brisket - This was lovely.  It ended up coming up second on my meat list.  It was tender, moist and very flavorful.  Again, dipped in the Tennessee sauce it was amazing.

Mac-N-Cheese - They are known for their Mac-N-Cheese.  While white noodles is not something I really eat anymore, I thought I'd have just one bite.  The flavor was phenomenal!  If you like Mac-N-Cheese, give this a shot.  It was very rich, creamy, and so many different flavors exploded in my mouth.  I will say, as a meal by itself, I think it'd be too much for me but as a side...mmmm!  Everyone in my family agreed it was top notch.

Green Bean Casserole - For those who know me well, you know I'm a purist with most of my food.  The idea of green bean casserole to me is what you get at Thanksgiving.  Good stuff!  This seemed like it had a parmesan cheese sauce as it's base.  Unfortunately, I did not like this as well.  Next time I'll go for the coleslaw. I've heard that's amazing.  I would like to say's just me and what I was expecting as green bean casserole.  The food wasn't bad - just not what I was expecting.

Fries - the fries are hand cut and served with the Memphis Mayo.  They are very good!

Onion Rings - The onion rings again with the Memphis Mayo were very yummy.  I haven't had battered fried food in a very long time so I could only do part of one.  That said, the flavor of the batter, the texture of the onion ring and the flavor of the sauce was out of this world!

Deep Fried Pickles - I've never liked dill pickles; not even in pregnancy.  The batter they used on the pickles seems like the same that was used on the onion rings.  It was done very well and fried to perfection!  The pickles were nice and crunchy (not soggy) and the breading was lovely!  Dipped in Memphis Style Mayo they were pretty good! The sweetness of the mayo balances out of sourness of the pickles.  If you're a pickle lover, you're in for a treat!  If you're not, give them a try.  I think you might like them anyway.

Last but not least was the Butterscotch Pudding.  My hubby was told this was THE dessert to get.  Because I don't really do sugar anymore I only had a little bite.  Another WOW!  I do not like butterscotch but I LOVED this pudding!  

This restaurant is not only our favorite BBQ, I think it may now be our favorite period.  The prices are pretty good and considering you can share a meal with someone easily, that's a great deal.  As an example, my huge meal was almost $17 but there would have been enough for myself and my husband to share and still leftovers.  The food was also top quality!  The kids meals were around $4 which was amazing again for the size and quantity.  You'd pay that much at McDonalds - ick!  

So, if you want to find out more about Union Woodshop, visit the below link.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Harsh Words - From the Enemy?

The above picture is of a mama bear keeping her cub safe.  Wow, those feelings surged strong with me today.  

Allysha, Jon, Josh and I were all shopping in Target today.  We were in the shoe section because the sandals I just purchased for Jon 2 months ago are now too small.  After just a couple minutes of being there and looking through the shoes, a woman started to walk up to us.  Her presence made me uneasy and felt somewhat evil - I can't explain it but if you've felt it you know what I'm talking about.  Being wiccan for awhile, it's made me very aware of a presence that is not of God.  This woman came up close to my daughter and said, "How old are you?"

My daughter responded with "I'm doing good" thinking this woman wanted to know how she was doing.  

The woman asked again "How old are you?"

At this point everything within me wanted to shoo away this lady for no apparent reason other than me feeling like there was something not good about this at all. 

Allysha answered in her sweet, cheery way, "I'm 12 years old.  I just had my birthday not too long ago."

The woman got within a foot of my daughter and said "are you pregnant?"

Shocked my daughter said, "no I'm not."

The woman started to move closer and said, "well, you look like you have a belly there..."  

At this moment adrenalin surged beyond belief.  I took my daughter, turned her toward me and brought her in close and said "my daughter is not pregnant, please leave".  

To which she still mumbled things of my daughter being pregnant because her little belly sticks out a bit.  The woman then left.  

At this point I was very flustered.  My daughter has made it her goal to be pure. she hasn't even started her period yet, how can a lady be so rude, what evil is afoot here, etc...  I stood there shocked, shaking and almost crying about the incident.  At that moment, the mama bear in me rose up out of it all and went to look for that lady.  I wasn't sure what I would say but also praying the whole time that I would not be rude.  

As I walked just a few feet I decided if she wasn't in clear view I would not say another word to her.  I'd just go and check out.  Low and behold, there she stood in the next aisle right before we got to the checkout area.  I told my daughter to take the boys up by the checkout counter and that I would be back. I went up to that woman and said...

"My daughter has a back problem which she has had surgery for (testing) which makes her tummy stick out a bit.  She chooses to be pure till marriage.  She is a very good girl and you had no right to say that to her."  Before I could get it all out the tears were streaming down my face as standers by watched in shock.  I didn't want this woman to think she was right and that my 12 year old baby was pregnant.  I felt I owed it to my daughter to clear her name and let this woman realize what her life is really like.  After a couple more words, the kids and I went to the checkout only to realize that one of the boys had taken the sandals out of the cart that we were going to purchase - so on to the car we went.  

Deep in thought I think Satan used this as an attack on my daughter.  I don't know this woman's reasoning for doing what she did but I do know how Satan works.  He's very crafty.  I told my daughter he knows he can't get my daughter to do drugs but he can get to her about her looks. We talked for awhile and have prayed together.  I'm just shocked at this whole event but so glad we serve an amazing God who loves us!   

Please pray for my daughter.  This has been a hard experience for her.  Life is never boring is it!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Secure Daughter's, Confident Sons

This book has been a big eye opener for me in a few areas.  Not so much for girls (because I am one) but more so for boys.

One thing I've never heard said (for boys), was to have the dad be the inviter and the mom to be the corrector.  Meaning, mom's correct boys when they are not doing something godly and manly; while dad's are to be the ones to show them by example instead of correcting (for the most part).  This spoke volumes to me.  I'm sure the same should be done vise versa for girls as well.  Just another thing where actions do speak louder than words.  How often do we say "she didn't fall far from the tree".  Our children, especially those who are the same gender as us, need to be shown by our example.  Words alone won't cut it.  I've often said, if you see something in your children that you don't like - more often than not, you need to look in the mirror.  Most of the time it is our children reflecting us.

"For the man, an event is something that gets him to the next thing.  For the woman, the event is the thing".  Again, something I've never heard of or read before.  As I read on to see what the author meant by this, I could see how very true it is for my husband and I in how we approach things.

In this book, the author also speaks of how one girl, is not another, is not another, etc...and he does the same for boys. He uses very intelligent people from the past to movie stars to make his point.  This is something that I think is sometimes hard to remember.  Our children are fearfully and wonderful made!  Each one unique with something special that God gave only to them.  While there are many traits that are unique to girls; each girl is different inside of that as well.

The only downside to this book is how many times it repeats certain things.  I understand repeating a time or two to get the point - but this seems to repeat things more than I'd like.

All in all, the main point I took away from this book is that girls need to feel worth internally - like they matter.  They need to be cared for and loved.  Boys need to know that the tasks they perform are good and have age appropriate challenges through the time we raise them - they need to be pushed.  They also need to learn perseverance through whatever task they face.   Girls need to make a person difference in people's lives while boys need to impact situations themselves.  One thing I think all should take note in is that every woman needs what the little girl needs; and every man needs what little boys need.  If we can not only treat our children, but our spouses and adult friends/family in this way...what an amazing world this would be!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Adrenal Fatigue/Thyroid Walk Part 1

Oh where to start.  I'll start with the birth of my last son.  The birth of my son Joshua was the biggest disappointment in my life to date - at least that I can think of at the moment.  I had worked so hard to prepare for my 2nd Bradley Birth for my 3rd living child.  All to end up letting the hospital put me on pitocin.  My husband said that I did better with this labor than the one with our son Jon.  The thing is...I was doing much worse.  I was in way too much pain the last few hours to even utter a word.  All I knew was I HAD to stay on the birthing ball so this baby could keep progressing down and I could get the labor over with.  I've read all the studies and knew how using an epideral could potentially cause me to have a c-section which is what I did not want.  So...I went on this birthing experience with pitocin and without pain meds.  Hindsight...I would never again not do pain meds with pitocin.  I think it was one of the key factors in my adrenal fatigue from the severe pain to the emotional issues.  Even to this day (almost 2 years later), I still have frustrations for the way the whole birth experience went.  I just recently sent a letter to my midwife explaining my emotional pain/trauma over her using the pitocin and making me feel like I had no way out.  For the record, neither my baby or myself was in any kind of distress.

Fast forward to that fall - it was the time of the H1N1 - the time when everyone said that people would die by the thousands and possibly millions because of this flu.  I had picked up what I thought was a cold that had invaded my lungs/chest area.  I let it go for 2 months because it very slowly got worse and after all, I was tough!  Come to find out, it was a nasty virus that took me months to get rid of.  

My son was born on the 5th of August and we started our homeschool the 2nd week of September.  Again, thinking I was so tough and could handle anything.  With no family around to help me after the birth of my son, and then jumping into chores, school and later a nasty virus, my body had enough.  If only I had listened to the advice of a friend that was already suffering from adrenal problems.  

I remember the first time I had a very bad adrenal crash.  At the time I called them "drop outs" because I wasn't sure if it was my blood sugar, blood pressure or something else.  During this time I was getting ready for my daughter's birthday in June (9 months after my son's birth).  We were all packed up and ready to head to a hotel/indoor waterpark only 45 minutes or so away.  On the way there I was feeling absolutely horrible.  My symptoms were as follows:

shakiness/internal tremors
brain fog and inability on concentrating
impaired vision
feelings of being scared
feelings that i would die any moment and if i feel asleep i would not wake
huge salt cravings!
frequent urination - very frequent
insane fatigue where i could not hardly lift my head off the chair or bed
very irritable
poor memory
heart palpitations
unable to cope with any kind of stress no matter how minor

I remember pulling up to the hotel and waiting in line trying to seem/act normal.  I sat down in the room and a lot I don't remember.  I do remember trying to figure out what was going on. I called my herbalist and asked her what to do.  She wasn't sure what was going on and had me take licorice root extract thinking at first it was my blood sugar (although this is also helpful for adrenal problems).  I missed out on the swimming and all the fun with my 3 children.  I'm not sure to this day what my husband thought about this.  I had one of the older two children stay with me at all times and taught the younger one how to dial 911 if mama went unconscious.  Very scary times!  Thankfully, I lived past that day and slowly over time regained my energy and more normalcy.  Nothing was every the way it used to be before Joshua but it was a bit better.  

I don't remember the date, but a couple months after this it happened again.  I remember going to a friends house to drop something off and started to go into another adrenal crash.   I asked my husband if I could drive down to see my herbalist and he said yes.  It was 2 1/2 hours away and I was scared.  What was wrong with me?  I called a few prayer warriors and asked them to pray protection over my journey and wisdom for my herbalist.  When I arrived she said my adrenals were "very tired" and put me on things for my adrenals as well as other things for other problem areas.  I do remember that she put me on Adrenals Support, Licorice Root Extract and Pantothenic Acid for my adrenals.  Again, back in bed for an extended period of time...I was slowly able to do more.  

My next crash happened 5 months later.  At this time my diet was pretty good for the most part. I still used unbleached flour and honey and other natural sweeteners.  I had already given up caffeine and almost all junk food with the occasional splurge.  

Fast forward to Jan/Feb. 2011 where my family got strep throat - all of us with the exception of Matt.  I took the longest time to recover and ended up having to have a second round of anti-biotics to get rid of the infection.  After that infection, I felt like I never really fully recovered from the fatigue.  In my haste, I chose to go see a D.O. that had been very helpful in helping a friend of mine.  He lived about 4 hours away but anything was worth it to feel somewhat normal again.  When I arrived, he put me on Nature-Throid (just like Armour but with different fillers) and put me on a higher dose of compounded progesterone cream.  Feeling like I was finally going to get somewhere, I felt excited!  After the first dost of Nature-Throid, I had some heart palpitations.  Something I had not experienced in awhile.  I figured it was just my body getting used to it.  My Nature-Throid slowly got upped to 1 1/2 grains.  Something inside of me felt like I should not be taking this but I wasn't sure what to do.  I went back down to 1 grain per day.  After feeling especially low at one point, I upped it again to 1 1/2 grains.  It was at this point I had severe heart palpitations and could not sleep at night.  I thought it was my adrenals but now have a feeling it was the Nature-Throid.  

Out of desperation once again to find some help and find someone local, I settled on The Preventative Medical Center where I am currently seeing Dr. Seth Bernard.  I had been there before in 2005 but not since. Thankfully, a friend prodded me to try them out again.  At first he thought  I had vitamin deficiency which was a very hard pill to swallow because at this point I have been eating a very balanced diet with the exception of cutting out gluten up until my first visit with him.  All the food I eat is real food, using pink himalayan sea salt, fresh herbs, etc... How could I be deficient?  I was told to have Meyer Injections twice per week for 3 weeks.  After my first injection, I did not feel any better and honestly, felt a bit more tired.  Not at all what I was expecting.  I also had several vials of blood drawn to see what was going on.  Sure enough, my vitamin levels were great and a couple were too high (because of my own extra supplementation via the D.O.).  I was also told I was now into a hyperthyroid state made that way from the Nature-Throid I had been put on.  I was asked to get off my b-vitamins (i'm assuming since my B6 was the one that was high - the one i was supplementing extra with) and that I had to get off the Nature-Throid or risk the chance of a stroke which he had just witnessed someone else go through because of someone putting them on too high a dose of thyroid medication.  Scary stuff!  

Right now I'm now finished taking my nature-throid and am having a very low point today.  I suspect it's more adrenal than anything because of not taking vitamin B5 for almost a week which is one of the key things needed in adrenal fatigue.  Oddly enough, I feel very safe and ok with this doctor which I have not felt in years!  I've been told by someone that he is the guy to see and he'll seek out anything in order to make me well.  Here's to hoping and trusting he will. 

In the meantime, I'm still taking my adrenal support, buffered vitamin c and drinking an electrolyte drink mix for this crash moment praying to God it won't get worse and that my doctor will let me get back on b5 asap.  As I write this, I'm in bed with my head laid back.  Today all I've been able to do other than sitting/laying down is go to the restroom and help make a quick lunch.  I'm also reading through the book ADrenal Fatigue - The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James Wilson and possibly getting ready to purchase a vitamin C supplement from him specifically for adrenals. However this time, I'll wait to see what my doctor says.  

Lord willing, my next update won't be as lengthy and instead will have some great news on healing.  What you read above was a couple of my hard crash moments (but not all of them).  During this entire time, I've had to really be careful with how much energy I exert and cutting out as much stress/stuff as possible.  Normal things like going to a Broadway Production, visiting family over a weekend, etc... are things I have to rest up for.  I'm always tired.  I'm posting this in the hopes that soon I will be much better/healed from this and I will be able to help others along the way.

Oh and one last thing, I'm so grateful to my herbalist for all her help and support through this.  I don't know if I'd be here without her.  She is the only one so far that has brought me closer to a place of normalcy.  I love her dearly and am praying God's blessings on her family!  And for the record, I even told my M.D. about her and he said "she will not do you any harm by what she is doing".  

Lentil Soup for Lunch!

I put together this recipe because of being inspired by Jamie Oliver's old show, Oliver's Twist.  I wish I would have taken a picture today because it was so lovely!  Maybe I'll get the chance to with leftovers tomorrow.  Anyway, it's very simple to make and pretty hearty.  Serve with some toasted fresh bread and a salad.  Another yummy idea would be to toast your bread and put a layer of labneh on top (yogurt cheese). Yum!

4 cups chicken broth - i made it with better than bullion
1 cup green entils - rinsed and picked through
2 leaks washed and chopped - i didn't use the upper portion of leaves
2 carrots, washed and chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme - leaves removed and stems discarded
crushed red pepper
fresh ground sea salt
fresh ground pepper
sour cream

1. Saute the leeks and carrots in butter over medium/low heat till carrots are almost tender.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
2. Add in the chicken broth and lentils.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes.  Add in the thyme and crushed red pepper to taste.  SImmer for another 15 minutes or till lentils are tender. Add a bit more water in the end if needed to make soupy.
3. If desired, use an immersion blender to blend up the soup a bit.  It makes the soup much more creamy.
4. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.  
5. Serve with a dollup of sour cream on the top and sprinkle with fresh herbs of choice.

Another option is to grate some fresh parmesan cheese.  About 1/2 cup and add it to the soup.  Stir in until it melts.  

Lentils do not seem to be as widely known here in the states as they are in other countries.  Lentils have an advantage over beans in that they are more easily digestible.  They also contain large amounts of protein, b vitamins and more.  To find out more about the health benefits of lentils, visit the below site.