Tuesday, January 31, 2012

MDs, DOs, OB/GYNs, NPs, PAs and DVMs

I'm come to the conclusion this week that I'm going to start referring to myself as Andrea Archambault, G.D. "What does G.D. stand for?" you might ask. Graphic designer. No, I don't have some Master's degree or anything that would make me acronym worthy, but I feel like if I have to Google every other profession's initials, hey, why not.

I've been in the process of looking for a new doctor over the last couple weeks. I really like my current doctor (the front office being a different story), but Muskegon is too far of a drive... especially when they have such screwy office hours. My goal is to find a doctor that understands pituitary adenomas, understands the effects of my tumor medication on my SOMEDAY pregnancy (not any time soon mom and dad), deliver my children and serve as their doctor too. Yes, I know, a rather long list of requirements for so very distant needs... but I only want ONE doctor to deal with. I'm so tired of having multiple doctors try to diagnose my condition, having their own medication suggestions, etc. etc.

Unfortunately, Holland has very few to no female MDs in my Priority Health plan that do deliveries, have pituitary adenoma experience/knowhow and that are accepting new patients. Soooo frustrating!

In other medical news, Miss Zora had to go to the vet tonight. [Insert BIG sad face here.] Last Sunday, she cut up her foot pretty bad. How? No clue. Somewhere outside. It took almost 6 hours for me to get the bleeding under control. Part of her pad was ripped off and the entire side of one of her nails is exposed. It's a meaty mess. A week later, it just keeps getting ripped open when she walks and I can't stop her from licking it. The vet made me feel like a bad mom tonight. She started to wig out a bit on how it's so infected that if the antibiotics don't help, she'll have to get her toe amputated. I feel like the worse person ever. I've been cleaning it daily, TRYING to keep gauze and Neosporin on it, but apparently it wasn't enough.

The vet gave me two options to keep the licking under control: (A) cone, or (B) dog boots. So I went and bought both. The cone made me feel even worse. She was completely paralyzed with it around her neck. Just stood there and shook. Plus I am scared she'll hurt herself with it on when she's in the crate all day tomorrow. So we tried the dog boot. I was skeptical since I couldn't keep a sock or bandage on it at all last week. Surprisingly, she hasn't tried to take it off yet. However, she's mentally exhausted right now from the vet and cone, so who knows.

So yeah, it's been medical madness the last few weeks. Times like these make me miss being a kid. This adult crap sucks. :/

Monday, January 30, 2012

DIY: Hutch improvements

So there's this little hutch that resides in my dining room. Initially, I thought it was going to be the death of me. I had to repaint and touch that $%&#@! thing up so many times after we painted it black... I was ready to rip it out of the wall. For a while, I called it good enough. However, where the hutch meets the wall, the edges are pretty rough. It especially stands out against a white wall. So I came up with a quick, easy and cheap fix to make this hutch-of-death a little more refined looking.

I purchased two 8' pieces of this decorative corner round at Lowes for roughly $3-4 each. Painted them all black, couple quick zips on the miter saw, ta da! It's not much but definitely cleaned up the edges.

Lower part of the hutch - BEFORE

Lower part of the hutch - BEFORE

Lower part of the hutch - AFTER

Upper part of the hutch - AFTER

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Ring recipe

This is a quick, easy and yummy dinner idea for anyone who loves spicy buffalo chicken. If you're familiar at all with the buffalo chicken dip... tastes just like it... except wrapped in a crescent roll. I highly recommend using big chunks of real chicken breast instead of the canned chicken. The canned chicken breaks down too much during mixing and baking; it lacks girth. Regardless, it's yummy. Serve with a side of ranch dressing.

Zora decided to start sampling it... 

  • 2 pkgs. crescent rolls
  • Celery (optional)
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese
  • 1/2 packet ranch dressing mix
  • 2 cans of canned chicken or fresh chicken breast
  • 1/2 C. hot sauce

Blend cream cheese and ranch  dressing mix together. Stir in  all other ingredients. Place mixture towards center of  crescent roll ring. Wrap  remaining dough around mixture. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Green Goo Smoothie recipe

Disclaimer: I do NOT like vegetables and I do NOT like healthy shakes/smoothies regardless of what you put in them. Unless a smoothie has ice cream and chocolate sauce swirling around in my blender, no thanks. Hoooooooowever.... I was feeling a bit ambitious and decided to try this spinach, peanut butter, banana and yogurt smoothie recipe I found online.


No joke! It tastes like bananas and peanut butter... that's it! Definitely my new lunch replacement drink. (Sorry Slim Fast.) I just couldn't get over how good it was! I only eat spinach occasionally on my salad, so the thought of liquid spinach grossed me out.

>Insert rant about spinach health benefits here:<

  • One cup has 20% of the daily recommended fiber, which aids in digestion, keeps you nice and regular, maintains low blood sugar and curbs overeating 
  • Contains flavonoids which have been shown to significantly protect against the occurance of certain types of aggressive cancers
  • The vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium present in spinach all serve as powerful antioxidants that combat the onset of osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and high blood pressure
  • Contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that protects the eyes from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration
  • The high amount of vitamin A in spinach also promotes healthy skin by allowing for proper moisture retention in the epidermis, thus fighting psoriasis, keratinization, acne and even wrinkles
...among other things.

Go ahead, give it a try. Even you picky eaters out there....

  • 1 frozen sliced banana
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1/2 C. 0% Vanilla Chobani Greek yogurt
  • 1 C. unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze 
  • (or other kind of milk)
  • 4 C. baby spinach (more or less)

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend/liquify until smooth.

Nutritional stats (approx): 350 calories, 10g fiber, 21g protein

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Theresa Berg: Pet Photographer

I wrote an entry awhile ago after seeing a news story about Theresa Berg, a photographer who works pro-bono for dachshund rescue taking all their adoption photos. This story really stood out in my mind. Finding homes for animals requires almost the same marketing as any other product or service. Descriptions, publicity and great photos. Sadly, most animal rescues fall short in all three areas.

Really? This is the best you can do for that poor dog?

I understand not everyone is a great photographer, but if you know how to turn a camera on and press the shutter button.... there's no excuse for the appalling mug shots some of these dogs have. I decided to check out Theresa's photography site and take a look at some of the dog photo shoots. I'm pretty sure I sat there making kissy faces and baby talk at my computer. These dogs are freakin' adorable! Take note animal shelters everywhere! Good photos = good results!

Photo credits: Theresa Berg Photography

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Domestic Dimwit

There are days I thank God I'm not Martha Stewart's child... she would disown my ass. Yes Mom, I know you tried to teach my how to be domestic those many years before I moved away, but I was a resistant little turd and didn't listen. I've attempted to do better at this whole freak show that comes with being a housewife/homeowner, but some days.......... well shit. I flat out fail. Especially with the following areas:

FITTED SHEETS: The one and only time I ever adopt the Clay folding method... roll roll roll rolllllll. Who the hell knows how to fold these linens of doom?! My sheets just may suffer the same fate as my sweatpants. One snip of the elastic and all my problems are solved.

LAUNDRY TREASURES: Ever since my husband took up hoarding pens from work and one decided to explode in my dryer full of clean laundry, I'm VERY careful to empty each and every pocket on laundry day. BUT... no matter how hard I try, a key FOB is in the bottom of the dryer, chapstick melted to the inside of a pocket or tissue pieces stuck to everything. I'm pretty convinced there's a hamper gnome that keeps sticking random crap back in the pockets I just checked.

GARBAGE BAGS: After I empty the garbages, putting a new bag back in rarely gets done. So the real question is, am I really that lazy or is it....... um....... I've got nothin'. Guess it's just laziness.

NOODLE OVERLOAD: Does anyone else fail miserably at measuring out noodles?! Yeah, thanks recipes that call for "one box" of noodles... works great when I have a hodge podge of canisters full of unknown noodle quantities. In fear of never having enough, I always cook up like 3X more noodles than necessary. Is there a secret trick that Home Ec failed to teach me those many years ago?

TUPPERWARE MAYHEM: Why is it that I can't ever pick out the right tupperware for the appropriate amount of leftovers? It's either waaaaay to big for the dab I have left or I try to cram it all in a teeny tiny dish and it ends up spilling out the top. Good Lord Andrea.

COLD IN THE MIDDLE: Confession: I eat Ravioli straight from the can. Yes, grab the can opener, stick a fork in it, instant meal. Yes, it looks and smells like dog food, but it just goes to show you that I don't really care if things are heated up all the way (or at all). Clay, on the other hand, does not like food that it nuked only half-assed. Unfortunately, I'm notorious for bringing food to the table that is lava-hot on the outsides and still a block of ice in the middle. Even when I taste test the middle, I fail.

Monday, January 16, 2012

No-Bake Energy Bites recipe

These tasty lil morsels came from Pinterest (of course). I've been forgetting to buy flaxseed for weeks now, but I finally remembered tonight. For those of you who are still sticking to your New Year's resolution to eat healthier, I definitely recommend these as a delicious snack! They have some healthy ingredients in them and great flavor!

Before today, I had never eaten flaxseed (knowingly). So out of curiosity, I googled the health benefits to find out why this was a necessary ingredient. Turns out flaxseed is pretty good for you... who'da thunk?!

  • Great source of fiber and works as a natural laxative
  • Contains concentrated amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Great source of magnesium
  • Contains high-levels of lignans, which protect against estrogen-dependent cancers (breast cancer)
  • An ounce of ground flaxseed per day regulates estrogen levels in post-menopausal women
  • Protects post-menopausal women from heart disease
  • Decreases insulin resistance and may protect against diabetes
  • May prevent or slow the spread of prostate cancer
  • May prevent or slow the spread of melanoma

Eat up everyone! They're nummy!

Healthy AND delicious? High five!

  • 1 C. oatmeal
  • 1/2 C. peanut butter (or some other nut butter)
  • 1/3 C. honey
  • 1 C. coconut flakes
  • 1/2 C. ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 C. mini chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Mix everything together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy.

Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to one week.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Peanut Butter Dog Bones recipe

Training a hyper lil pup requires having lots of treats in the house. Zora's particular favorite are these homemade peanut butter dog bone treats. You can make these with large or small cookie cutters and make them anywhere from a 1/4" thick to super thin wafer cookie-like. I also substituted the all-natural peanut butter with generic "baking" peanut butter. Sorry pup, Great Value will do just fine.

  • 2 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 C. natural peanut butter (or regular)
  • 1 C. skim milk
  • Cookie cutters

Preheat oven to 375°. In one bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk. Combine mixtures and stir well. 

Drop dough on lightly floured surface and knead. Roll out dough anywhere from 1/8” to 1/4” thick. Cut into desired shapes. Bake on greased baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Want more homemade dog treat recipes? Check out my latest post on treats with health benefits!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Coconut Oil: The new baking soda

Thanks to a fellow co-worker, I've been pretty hooked on coconut oil lately. I wasn't aware that coconut oil was like the new baking soda... you can use it anywhere and everywhere! Never heard of this lil secret? Well, let me fill you in...

HAIR CARE: Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrients for hair. Massaging it into the scalp on a regular basis can ensure that your scape is free of dandruff, lice and lice eggs. It makes your locks shiny and is an excellent conditioner to help re-growth of damaged hair. Apply like a hot oil treatment.

SKIN CARE: Using coconut oil as a massage oil for your skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. However, unlike mineral oil, there's no chance of having any adverse side effects to the skin. It is a safe solution for skin dryness and flaking. It also delays wrinkles and sagging skin as well as treats skin conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, etc.

I apply generously to my face almost every night before bed. Yes, for a few minutes, your face will be a bit greasy, but it actually soaked it WAAAAY better than anticipated. I have several large scars of my face from having moles removed years and years ago and the oil is actually making them less noticeable!

HEART DISEASE: Coconut oil is not good for the heart... MYTH! It does indeed contain a large quantity of saturated fats, but it also contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful (like in vegetable oils) and does not lead to increase in LDL levels.

WEIGHT LOSS: Containing short and medium-chain fatty acids, coconut oil aids in taking off excessive weight. It's delicious and easy to digest which helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. The oil also increases the body's metabolism by removing stress on the pancreases.

INFECTIONS: It is very effective against a variety of infections by killing bacteria that causes ulcers, throat infections, UTIs, pneumonia, etc. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that causes candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc.

TEETH: Calcium is an important element present in teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in getting strong teeth. Coconut oil also stops tooth decay.

PETS: Yes, Fido can also benefit from coconut oil!

  • Clears up skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis,and itchy skin
  • Reduces allergic reactions and improves skin health
  • Makes coats become sleek and glossy, and deodorizes doggy odor
  • Prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections, including candida
  • Disinfects cuts and promotes wound healing
  • Applied topically, promotes the healing of cuts, wounds, hot spots, dry skin and hair, bites and stings
  • Improves digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Aids healing of digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis
  • Reduces or eliminates bad breath in dogs
  • Aids in elimination of hairballs and coughing
  • Contains powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal agents that prevent infection and disease
  • Regulates and balance insulin and promotes normal thyroid function
  • Helps prevent or control diabetes
  • Helps reduce weight, increases energy
  • Aids in arthritis or ligament problems

I've also read, from just one user's experience, that she saw phenomenal changes such as the decrease of cellulite, stretch marks and it evened out her skin tone. She also claimed it increases lymph movement when used as a deodorant. Hmm... take it for what it's worth I guess. So yeah, however you use it, it probably is beneficial.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

DIY: Map art

Since Clay and I have lived in all the same cities, I decided to recreate this Pinterest find. The one I found had the headings "met, married & lived" but I changed it up a bit. Clay and I both grew up in Muskegon and that's where we met and spent most of our time dating. After high school, I moved to Big Rapids in order to attend Ferris where Clay joined me a few years later. We got married back in Muskegon, so I thought it was redundant to include it twice. We currently live and work in the Holland/Zeeland area.

We lived (Muskegon) | We learned (Big Rapids) | We love (Holland)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

5 Minute Mug Cake recipe

Tonight I posted my daily picture of my much needed, post-workout 5 Minute Mug Cake. I was a little shocked at how many people have never heard of this life-saving lil recipe. Fear not kids, Andrea will clue you in. No, this is not a gourmet dessert by any stretch of the imagination, but when you check out the pantry and there's not a cookie or chocolate morsel to be found, this will do in a pinch.

  • 4 Tbsp. flour
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 3 Tbsp. oil
  • 3 Tbsp. chocolate chips (or just dump)
  • Small splash vanilla extract
  • 1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add egg and mix thoroughly. Add milk and oil and mix again. Add chocolate chips, vanilla extract and mix one last time.

Nuke in microwave for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. Allow to cool before eating.

Monday, January 2, 2012

DIY: Photo coloring book

Prepare yourself folks, but I just did my first video tutorial. I've been wanting to attempt one for awhile now and I figured these photo coloring books I made for my nieces and nephews would be a good first attempt. I know I sound like a dude and the video is pretty rough, but let's all just roll with it and pretend it's helpful, ok? Good.  :)

If you don't have Photoshop or any other image editing software and would like to have your own custom coloring book created, please don't hesitate to give me a shout! Email me at andrea.archambault10@gmail.com or find me on Facebook!

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