Saturday, January 11, 2014

Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, Little Ball of Fur

After our sweet little Ping passed we started looking for another kitty.  If you're keeping track at home that would be a replacement kitten for the replacement kitten we adopted when we lost Sophie.

It's getting absurd. 

I saw an ad on Craigslist that had a female black and white kitten only 8 weeks old.  So I called the gal and made arrangements to go get "her."  The lady told me she had two kittens that were sisters and just loved each other and would love it if I would take both.  Jared and I were super hesitant but discussed it and pretty much decided we would make the call when we got there since one was supposedly "skittish."  Not really wanting a forever pet that won't let us pet it.

We Ft. Scott (ok, not really but it felt like it).  I pulled into a dilapidated mobile home where a woman was waiting for me in the cold with two cats (not kittens) where using her as a scratching post.  They were petrified and she was screaming at a neighbor's dog to "GO HOME."  I'm sure that helped the poor terrified cats that were climbing her face. 

She obviously didn't want me in her "home" so she met me at my truck.  I rolled the window down only to be accosted by the smell of the animals.  The whites of their bodies were golden with urine and the stench was overwhelming as she began to tell me the one we came for was actually a male and the skittish one was a female.  The cats that were supposed to be "9 weeks on Tuesday" were at least 5 months old and had swollen bellies from worms. 

Obviously, these poor pitiful creatures are not what we were wanting/hoping for but I couldn't leave them there.  She had told me she had 9 golden retriever puppies and 4 more kittens in that trailer.  These little inbred creatures needed someone to rescue them.  So I handed her the $15 fee and put the kitties in our pet carrier and cried all the way home. 

They had fleas, ear mites, worms, and who knows what else.  So I bathed them, treated them, vaccinated them, and found a sweet family that took them in for barn cats. 

Poor Graham sat on the floor and cried and cried as the family picked them up for their new home. 

It's been an eventful two weeks full of tears (after the loss of our sweet kitten) and stress.  My hands are scratched beyond recognition from forcing de-wormer on those poor cats.  I feel like, if nothing else, rescuing those little helpless creatures was righting the wrong against our poor little Ping. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I went from working at the Y as a Certified Personal Trainer and training for a marathon to being the biggest couch potato...ever...

I suppose it was a revolt, a rebellion against all things physical.  I tend to be an all or nothing type of personality so I went all in for a couple years.  Working out most days of the week and running 6-7 miles at a time.  Burn out was coming and even though it seemed obvious, there didn't seem to be any stopping it.

My weight has been hovering within the same 5-7lbs but areas are getting much softer :)  I keep thinking I'll make use of that awesome workout room downstairs...tomorrow.  The desire for physical fitness has returned but my get up and go is still missing.

Sunday, Ms. Katie R. asked if I would be interested in running a 1/2 marathon with her in Myrtle Beach. 

I FOUND IT.  I found my get up and go!  Apparently it's been vacationing at the beach!  She has a rental car and hotel room all lined up so as long as I can get a plane ticket I'm golden.  I am currently exhausting every possible connection trying to find an affordable way to get down there.  If you know of any tips or tricks to get a cheap plane ticket please share. 

I started training yesterday (I'm working on a 20 week schedule) and my hip flexors are SORE this morning. 

I'm so excited to get back into running shape and to go on a neat trip with my sweet friend.  What an awesome opportunity!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Liesey K Cakes

This past year I decided to take my cakes "public" and created a Facebook page.  At first it was super stressful and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to or want to keep up!

It has been a full year and I've done over 120 orders.  I am gaining skill and speed the more I do.  I'm super thankful that it is becoming less stress and more of a retreat.  I've always been someone who has a one track mind and when there's a lot on my mind it is a blessing to have a cake to zone out to. 

This has been a learning process and I do very little the same as I did when I started.  I have watched countless you tube videos, and scoured cake forums, and chatted with other bakers. 

Here's a couple things I've learned:

1.  Custom cakes cost more because they take hours...and hours...  And if you want something tiered or covered in fondant I have to be fair to myself and to my family and make it worth my time.  No one wants to work for $2 an hour.

2.  You can't rush fondant.  You have to have time to make it, let it rest, and apply it.  You just can't do it last minute.

3.  Sugar cookies are difficult and not my favorite thing to do.  Flood cookies are the hardest sugar cookie and most time consuming.  There are people out there that are cookie artists...I am not one.  If I make sugar cookies I strongly prefer butter cream icing with special little treats like butter pecans and chocolate. 

4.  I have a niche.  It's butter cream art.  I love to "draw" with different colors of icing layering bit by bit and watch a picture come alive.
5.  There's so much to learn and there is a limit to how many cakes/orders I can do in a week.  I could schedule 11 (like I did Labor Day weekend) and be miserable, or I could schedule 3-5 every 7-10 days and be very productive and perfectly content. 

6.  I love love love having my cakes in my nieces and nephews birthday pictures.  I have been blessed with several orders from family and I just love that in those pictures from now until forever Aunt Shannon made them that cake.  All of our family has insisted on compensating me for my time and that support means the world to me.  Love Love Love.
7.  Marshmallow fondant is easy, quick, and cheap to make but homemade/from scratch fondant is so much easier to work with and tastes like heaven.  Being able to roll it out and cover a cake with ease is worth the extra cost and effort. 

8.  Keeping up a Facebook Business page is a part time job in and of itself.  Staging and taking pictures of my cakes once they're finally done is as important as decorating them in the first place.  I am not a photographer, but fortunately my neighbor is :)  She's had a lot of great tips and helps. 

9. Running to Wal-Mart for boxes and boards and color and such is super convenient but ordering from Amazon is SOO much more cost effective.

10.  Um...Not being able to eat my creations is the only thing keeping me under 200lbs...  Sorry, couldn't think of a 10th and it felt weird not rounding it out :)

Overall it's been a great year and I have learned SO much.  I want to thank everyone who has supported my family by ordering from me.  It has been such a blessing.   EAT CAKE!!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Fall Photo Shoot with the Monkeys

I spend so little time on here I didn't realize that I had prepared this blog months ago and it never posted! Here are some pics we took in the front yard when the leaves were at their best. The kids were not very patient and were super goofy. We took about 20 pictures in about 10 minutes. If nothing else I have pics of them at this stage which was the point :) Brennan 13, Tanner 12, Elijah 9, Graham 7, Anneliese 4. Love them.

A Gluten Free Year in Review

This time last year I was in the beginning of a life change.  I was made to go on a strict gluten free diet for life.  You can read about that here.  It took about 3 months or so before I started noticing a significant difference in my health.  I actually got worse before I got better. 

So, what's different?

This blog is a huge reminder to me that I do need to keep going because I am so much better off!  These are not in any particular order.

1.  No more abdominal pain.  I suffered with severe abdominal pain, a searing pain that felt like I had been run through with a hot poker.  There was no getting away from it and I was taking 3 different antacid medications daily just to keep it under control.  While it helped for the most part, I would still have attacks once a month or so.  I have been off the meds for a year and actually had to throw away the liquid script because it expired!  Praise God!

2.  Fingernails!  I have never been able to grow my nails out.  They would fold or peal.  I now have beautiful nails that are strong and healthy.  I would guess that is Jared's favorite change. 

3.  I used to get so sick.  And stay sick.  For days. The kids would have something and I would catch everything and it would take so much longer to recover.  I have been so much healthier (funny typing this right now because I've been sick, but overall this is very true:))

4.  My depression and anxiety are better.  I have been on anti-depressants off and on for years.  I recently went off my meds after 2.5 years.  I feel healthier and more balanced than I have in a long time. 

5.  No more bloat.  I used to call it "evening bloat" and I would drink teas, try and eat differently, drink lots of water, etc.  Anything to get rid of the rounded belly that I would get every evening.  Super uncomfortable and super unattractive.  Misery.  It's completely gone.  The only time I deal with it is if I accidentally consume gluten. 

6.  I have spent years taking Peri-Colace.  I took three a day for years in order to help my tummy trouble.  Even that didn't fix it.  I have been laxative free for a year.  My life long issue...gone...poof... no more.  PARTY!

7.  Hair!  I cut off 12" off my hair because it was getting so thin and brittle.  I was loosing tons of hair and would blame it on my thyroid only to have my docs say my thyroid results were within normal range.  So why was I losing 1/2 my hair?!!! It's grown back in and is thick as ever.

8.  Tonsil stones.  Gross, don't look it up unless you have a strong stomach.  I used to get these little pockets of infection on my tonsils and I haven't had a single one since going gluten free.

9.  All the others were physical but this one is emotional.  I've had issues with food my whole life.  At my heaviest (9 mos pregnant) I weighed 272lbs.  I have always had a very strong emotional attachment to food and losing so much of what I used to eat was a very trying.  I was very angry and weepy about it for the first few months.  However, in the end, my emotional attachment to food has been severed and I'm so thankful.  I eat what I can, what's available, or I go without.  That's it.  No tears, no emotion.  It is what it is.  That has been so freeing.

I had really hoped that going gluten free would help me with my weight but I figured out gluten free baking pretty quickly :)  It's been a huge change and costly one, but I can't deny the health benefits.  I was so angry when I first was diagnosed, but now I see the undeniable benefits and I'm so thankful for my gluten free life. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Kelby James

Kelby is front and center :)
Due to the family not being able to get together for Christmas until today, the Altic's planned a big gathering full of food, fun, and presents up in Platte City this morning.

Unfortunately my children started vomiting last night.  In order to spare you the details, just know not a lot of sleep happened last night.  Just cleaning and shampooing carpets.

I decided to to run up to the in-laws and exchange our gifts so the kids could still have their Christmas. 

Within moments of arriving, Kelby quietly walked up and stood next to me waiting for me to stop chatting.  Patient kid :)

As soon as I took a breath he handed me a small thoroughly wrapped box.  With bright eyes he said, I bought you a Christmas present with my own money.  With a little prompting from Alanna, he explained that he needed to decide to give me the gift for Christmas vs my birthday in March.

I opened the box to reveal a silver cross necklace. 

Kelby explained that he wanted to give it to me now because he knows I've been so sad since we lost our kitty. 

What a sweet, considerate little boy.  I love you Kelby James.