Monday, March 26, 2012

The Monday Rant: Insomnia Yet Again

I haven't posted for a week, maybe two. I can't remember because insomnia affects a person's memory. Today is the 26th. Starting around the Friday before Daylight Savings Time, I began having trouble sleeping at night. And I don't mean laying in bed for 3-4 hours thinking, "Oh sweet cherries, when will I ever fall asleep?" and then falling asleep for the next 4-5 hours. I mean laying in bed all night, dozing perhaps for 1 hour of the night and hearing my alarm at 7:00 and thinking, "Why can't I sleep at all ever?"

This went on until the 18th. I let it go more than a week because I've done this before but for only a few nights. Then I'm worn out and sleep easily. But on the 18th, I took melatonin. I slept 4 hours, then spent the next 4 hours tossing, turning, and not sleeping. On the 19th, same thing. On Wednesday, my parents gave me an all-natural, non-addictive, non-prescription sleep aid. They've given them to me twice before and both times the following things happened: the drug knocks me out, if I wake up in the night it knocks me out again, I wake feeling super groggy, I feel super groggy all day, and then the next night I sleep normally, and insomnia is gone. I don't like the super-groggy-day part, but it had been a week and a half! I needed sleep.

Nothing happened. I did not sleep at all Wednesday night.

Thursday I went to the doctor. She asked me everything WebMD suggested and that I had already done or ruled out. I'm not bored. I'm getting exercise. I'm not watching TV in bed. I'm not on electronics right before bed. Nothing has changed in the furniture. I'm not too hot or too cold. There are no major life events. My job is not stressful. In short, there is no good reason why I should not be sleeping. She prescribed me something to help me sleep.

I went to drop my prescription off at the pharmacy, and they told me that it wasn't covered by my insurance, it was super expensive, and they'd call the doctor to get them to change it to something that would still help me sleep but be covered by insurance. So guess who didn't get the prescription for Thursday night? Yeah.

Friday I went and got my blood drawn because they're going to do some tests to see if there's anything there that would help explain this.

Caleb told me to call the doctor's to try to expedite the prescription process. I explained my situation and the nurse said, "Oh, we haven't heard anything about that." At this point, I'm so tired and my patience is so thin. I don't know whether to be mad at the pharmacy for not calling, or the doctor for not writing anything down. Regardless of my anger, the nurse said they'd look into it. I called again a few hours later and they said they took care of it with the pharmacy. I called the pharmacy and they said it was in filling.


Caleb was taking the van that night and my car was still dead, so I borrowed a car from a fellow camp family (Thank you, Hulets!) and picked up my prescription!

Friday night, I slept 6 hours! Normally, I would be quite discontent with so little sleep, but it felt wonderful. Saturday night was the same thing. And last night I slept 7.5 hours! At this point, my only fear is what will happen when I stop taking the medicine, because I'm only supposed to take it for a few days. (Else it could be habit forming and ineffective.)

All this said, don't take your sleep for granted.

Love and Zolpidem,
Leah Joy

P.S. On the bright side, I guess this is practice for when we have kids?

Monday, March 19, 2012

You Are Not An Activist

This video pretty much sums up any rant I could write today.

Love and T-Shirts,
Leah Joy

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hats Off!

What a cheesy title. But I couldn't resist. I wanted to show you some pictures of all the hats I've made recently.

You've already seen my rainbow hat.

I made this one for my friend Grace. It's navy blue with a light blue favorite flower.

This one was for Chloe. It's purple with a little blue flower. I used some yellow yarn to stitch a "center".

This one was for my mom. I made her a hat a couple years ago that was about this blue with a green stripe and it was super cute (and made from some really nice yarn) but then she lost it. :( So I made her this one for Christmas.

This one was so much fun to make! I made it for Claire, one of the girls I used to nanny. (Her sister, Sarah, got those blue wristwarmers I made.) She loves pink and anything crazy she can put on her head. She has a giant pink flower clip (about 6 in diameter and it's pretty much a big flower ball) and instead of clipping it to her ponytail or something, she puts it on the side of her head where you'd put a smaller clip. So I let myself go crazy here. Hot pink hat with a bright purple flower (again, a yellow "center"). Then I added a pom-pom made with the same pink, the blue from my mom's hat, and the purple (from her flower and Chloe's hat!). Finally, I trimmed with some "Bling yarn" that I bought a while ago because ... it was shiny.... But it's really annoying to work with unless you're doing something simple like trimming a hat. :) I didn't follow any specific stitch around, just kind of slip-stitching just to attach the yarn all the way around. Anyway, Claire absolutely loves this hat. :)

I made these all with this basic pattern, which can be knit flat and then stitched up the side. (I'm terrified of knitting in the round.)

If you've only knit squares and rectangles before, a hat may sound really intimidating (at least it did for me) but this pattern is really easy. You'll have to know how to knit and purl - and also how to decrease by knitting two stitches together. I like the small size for most people, but if you have big hair, maybe medium would be better. :) But the small size fits everyone from my dad and husband to Claire and Chloe. (It also squishes my hair, which is probably why I still wear that one medium one I made.)

Love and Pineapple,
Leah Joy

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

These are worth your time. Make them.

As usual, I used butter and cow milk (not soy milk). I also used melted chocolate chips and a bit of oil for my coating. As it turns out, however, the Meijer brand candy coating (Candi-Quik) is only a few cents more expensive per ounce than chocolate chips, and that difference is probably made up in the oil I use. Therefore, the only reason to use chocolate chips instead of candy coating is because you're more likely to have chocolate chips in the house and you need to make these now.

They are addicting and delicious. Finally! - chocolate chip cookie dough I can eat without fear of salmonella! And it's coated in chocolate!

Decorate them however you want. I coated them in melted milk chocolate chips because that's all we had left and the milk chocolate turns a slightly sickly-looking brown when it cools/hardens so I drizzled just a little melted vanilla chips over the top to distract from the brown. And it worked. But you could use sprinkles or just leave them plain. They're going to be gone in 5 minutes anyway.

Oh yeah, and she says the baking soda is only for taste (since you don't actually bake these) and I might leave it out next time. When I was eating the dough before I coated it (I had to taste test - one can't bring a treat to a SuperBowl party that one has never tasted*!) it tasted a bit too salty. Not a crazy amount, just a titch. But then when it was coated in chocolate, you couldn't tell so much anymore. So it's up to you.

Make them.

Love and Chocolate,
Leah Joy

*Or eaten 1/4 cup of?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Grumpy Wednesday: Idioms and Annoying Puns

I don't really have anything nice about which to ramble. I thought about several topics, but I woke up on the very wrong side of the bed this morning, and fear this may be more of a rant than a ramble.

Making fun of idioms is, well, fun.

Husband: Oh I'm late! I gotta run!
Me: It might be quicker to drive. *yuk yuk yuk*

Dad: I have a meeting in Wyoming (city, not state). Gotta fly!
Mom: It might be more cost-efficient to drive. *har har har*

Mom: And then I'll toss the kids in the bathtub...
Grandma: Won't that hurt them? You should set them gently. *tee hee*

(Mostly, I see that making fun of people runs in the Prins woman blood.)

When someone says he's going to jump in the shower, we don't actually believe that he'll jump; more likely he'll step. Popping the pan in the oven might be too quick of a movement, and our yummy baked chicken might just end up all over the bottom of the oven, but we don't mean literally popping, do we? We've colored our language with idioms that make it much more delightful and interesting than just setting things in ovens and stepping into the shower. We get to pop, jump, toss, fly, and run!

Which brings me to my next point. When a person's bed is against a wall, technically said person can only get up on one side of the bed. (Which means some people need to turn their bed.) But when someone says, "I got up on the wrong side of the bed," we all know this person means that they are feeling wrong and grumpy today. So can we just make it a rule not to make fun of this idiom? I mean, really, I just told you I'm grumpy and angry, do you really want to mess with me?

In a similar vein, our apartment is getting deep-cleaned today.

Love and Russian Novels,
Leah Joy

P.S. In case you didn't get my last full sentence, I clean when I'm grumpy and angry.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I Woke Up To This Song

I slept wonderfully last night, which is great, since I haven't for the last two nights on top of being sick. So I needed those 8 hours and I feel great! Plus, one of my all-time favorite songs was playing on the radio when my alarm went off. I've never watched the video before, and it's pretty cute.

Happy Tuesday!

Love and Good Dreams,
Leah Joy

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Monday Rant: Being Sick and Ladybugs

Caleb and I spent the weekend being sick. It started on our date on Friday night. He took me to see The Vow (which I loved) and then we were going to go to this little Mexican place for dinner, but the wait was 30 minutes, and we were really hungry. Instead, we went to Subway (also, cheaper). I don't know if it was something I ate there, or if I would have been sick anyway, but I felt sick to my stomach for the rest of the night. Because we saved money by eating Subway, we went to Meijer and got some Hudsonville ice cream (also, it was on sale) (and cheese, because there was a super great sale and we got 8oz bags of cheese for $0.93 each).

By the time we got home, I felt horrible, so I got in my PJs and went to bed. I don't remember much of the next several hours, except that I was alternately burning up and freezing cold, so I definitely had a fever. It doesn't help that we don't have a thermometer.

In the morning, I felt much better so I went to watch my little brother get yet another perfect score at KBC. When I got home, Caleb was feeling poorly and by mid-afternoon, when we wanted to go to his parents' for dinner, we were both sick. Fevers, exhaustion, headaches, and sore throats. We decided not to share with his family.

And then we skipped church, on a Sunday we were both in the band, because we were so sick. (Don't worry, we called the night before to warn of our potentially lingering illnesses.) (Is it bad that I was relieved to miss church? I'm afraid I was starting to get burned out on getting up at 6 every Sunday [when it's cold and dark, not fair!] and it was nice to have a week off, even if I had to have a fever, headache, and insomnia to pay for it.)

I'm all better now, but Caleb is still a little under the weather (technically, aren't we all?). I think he used an entire box of tissues today.

And we watched 9 episodes of Eureka over the course of 2 days.

So today, because I haven't cleaned up the house in a while, and it was really bad because we were sick, I dusted and vacuumed. My two least favorite household chores. I make myself dust at least twice a year (yes, I hate it that much), but vacuuming needs to be done far more often. At least every other week, or whenever company is coming over. Well, we haven't had company in a while... and I hate it... so it had been longer than I care to admit.

And there were ladybugs everywhere! I hate ladybugs! You all think they're so cute and you dress your children in them for Halloween costumes and you paint your toenails like them. You have clearly never lived in an apartment infested with the accursed creatures. My children will dress up like spiders before they dress up like ladybugs. Believe me, ladybugs are far less cute when they are crawling over your dinner table and drowning in your dishwater.

And as all my rants end abruptly, this one does, too.

Love and Vitamin C,
Leah Joy

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Baby Pies!

I'd seen several pictures of mini-pies made in muffin tins and I wanted to try the same thing. But, what if it doesn't turn out? My greatest cooking fear is wasting perfectly good pie filling. It just so happened that one of my husband's previous roommates had purchased a can of blueberry pie filling and then not used it. And then had left it. And so I totally had dibs.

Normally, I'd donate it or find some other way to get rid of it. Store-bought pie filling? Why? It's not even that tasty, and I can make way better pie filling myself for less. And mine is healthier. So there.

But, to make these pies, I was willing to try it. Besides, I made it for the high school group that meets with Caleb twice a month, so they could be my guinea pigs.

I used a homemade pie crust (find the recipe in this post) and my favorite big mug worked great as a cookie cutter. I cut out big circles and then kind of hammock'd them in to each spot. Then I shaped them a little bit in place. I lined all 12 spots, but I wasn't sure how many the filling would, well, fill. It did all 12, but they were kind of scant. I can't decide if it was better this way (because it didn't spill over when heated and because it's kind of a gross filling), or if I should have made fewer, fuller ones.

Finally, I made another crust and topped them. This was harder than I thought, and I didn't want to work too hard, so I did a lattice top on two of them, but since it didn't turn out cute I gave up and just cut little shapes out. If you have mini cookie cutters, this is the place to use them!

There are 11 of them. I guess the lattice top didn't look too horrible, but it was a lot of work! (For the second to last one, I was tired of making tops, so I just put on all the cut-out shapes.)

They're so cute! (Stupid camera spot.)

You may think mini-pies is a great name for them, but I think baby pies is so much cuter!

These are great for ... well anything! They're tidier than pie (if served cold, they're very messy warm) and they still taste like pie!

But make your own filling! Because these were gross except for the crust.

Love and Pie,
Leah Joy