Awaiting April

Yes, I honestly can not wait until April! I am craving warm running weather! I’m pretty darn tired of these blizzards whirling into the area every few days! But besides the month of April, Barry’s sister, Katie, is also awaiting a little April. Zak and Katie have decided to name their future baby girl April! I love it!

With the help of her mom, mother-in-law, and best friend, I attended a lovely surprise baby shower at the mother-in-law’s house. Ever since I found out about Katie’s pregnancy, I’ve been shopping for baby things! I have a weakness for baby things!

While her mom and mother-in-law handled the food and snacks, I worked on a few surprises of my own. Katie had been posting all these things that she wanted for the baby. Needless to say, I gave in! The first thing I tracked down was a onsie that said “Lock Up Your Sons, My Daddy Has Guns.” I found it in both long and short sleeved. And, of course, being the Eagle’s fans that we are, I had to get her Eagle’s onsies! Oh, and LOTS of diapers!

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I was really pleased with her reactions to the gifts! One of my favorite reactions of the day was to the cupcake cake I made her. She went me a Pintrest link, knowing I love to bake, and mention how much she would love it with butterflies! Well, there ya go! The cupcakes were a huge hit and I could not have asked for a better reaction from Katie!

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Katie’s mother-in-law, also got a cake! Very cute!

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I was introduced to an odd combination of cream cheese spread. I have never been a particular fan of any type of olive but Barry’s mom combined cream cheese and chopped green olives and wow! I couldn’t get enough of the stuff! In fact, I ran to the store to get fat free cream cheese so I could make my own! For every 1/4 cup of cream cheese, I chopped 10 green olives! Yum!

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Some highlights of April and Katie’s day were the baby bath with jet stream! And the boppie that vibrates!

By far, the best part of the day was Nanny! One of Katie’s aunts drove Nanny down to the party. Nanny is Katie’s most favorite person in the entire world! Katie had a surprise for Nanny, too! One of Katie’s friend’s mother is a knitter/crocheter and made baby April a bunch of owl hats. So that Nanny and April had something to share, Katie had one made for Nanny since she began chemo again.

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Congrats, Zak and Katie! I can’t wait to meet Baby April!

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Patient Birthdays

Saturday

Today, a very dear patient of mine celebrated their birthday with us at the hospital. Unfortunately, I have celebrated many patient birthdays in the hospital. At least, they are surrounded by people who love them!

This evening, my patient had loads of cupcakes that their family had brought in. I couldn’t leave the room without grabbing one. I decided to ask Amy if she would split them with me.

This is always a trouble, when patients and families give you food. You hate to say, “no,” so you take it. Even when you do say, “no,” they continue to insist, and you take it anyway. My eating had been great all day so I felt little,but some, guilt about splitting cupcakes with my one of my girlfriends for a patient who means so much to me.

It was a nice sweet treat that worried me about spiraling into a cupcake frenzy. Both were vanilla cupcakes, one from a bakery around their home, with cream cheese frosting, and the other, a homemade one with cookies n’ cream icing. With my love of oreos, I snagged the cookies n’ cream cupcake and called dibs on the mini oreo topping it! Yum!

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Backing up bit, breakfast was a smoothie bowl. Today is National Strawberry Cream. I feel like its kind of an incompletely titled holiday but nonetheless:

Strawberry Cream Protein Smoothie

  • 1 strawberry yogurt
  • 1/2 to 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • frozen strawberries
  • guar and xnathum
  • water
  • ice

I topped mine with Special K Protein cereal for crunch, at first. But then, I realized that freeze-dried strawberries were an awesome topping, too!

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Dinner was a bowl of soup, topped with salsa, and a side of celery sticks for snacking. The meal was paired with half an oreo cupcake!

I’m usually not a fan of clerking, but tonight was great because we had tons of discharges and I kept busy for majority of the night!

Sunday

With another shift of work ahead of me, I enjoyed  a yummy coffee protein bowl in honor of National Coffee Day! I actually was a coffee fiend, ironically, all day!

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The shake was a blend of Cafe Latte mix, spinach, fresh raspberries, CPB2, and SF raspberry and Kahlua syrups. To top it off, I crumbled a quarter of a Gnu Espresso Chip bar (I’m so bummed this flavor is discontinued). I love having that ability to chew, not just drink my shakes. Plus, it makes the shake so much more filling and is also a combo of chocolate and coffee.

I grabbed a cup of coffee before work, and headed off to my unit. It was another great night on the unit. It was another night of filling (Not So) soup and celery sticks. With this experimentality of mine, I tried adding a little honey mustard and BBQ sauce from the caf. It actually gave the soup a really nice flavor- almost a southwestern inspiration.

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Right before dinner, I was surprised how bad I wanted another cup of coffee. Its amazing how tastes change as you age. I was never a coffee drinker until high school- hot tea was always my thing. The only time I would drink coffee was to feel like my dad. Now, I actually am a coffee addict!

I can still remember my parents ordering a cheesesteak with friend onions, and sitting there trying to pick out all the little slivers with my fingers. Or picking off the onions and peppers off a sausage sandwich. Or Thursday Wing nights, when dad would bring home hot wings, I would wash off the sauce before eating them. Now, it seems like every day is started with a cup of the good stuff, almost every meal had peppers or onions, and hot sauce is always my go-to condiment!

They say our bodies change about every 7 years… maybe thats the reason our taste buds change, too!

WP_004058Speaking of changing tastes, I never thought I’d enjoy Cajun Trail Mix. I mean. everyone loves trail mix, but Deb, one of our nurses, brought this bag of trail mix in. I was getting hungry and gave it a try. Those butter roasted peanuts make it! That salty, sweet and crunchy combination of all the ingredients makes this stuff hard to resist!

Getting home, and having worked on the floor for my shift, I was surprised by how hungry I was. I actually would up eating a whole head of romaine lettuce! (I’m like a rabbit.) Some fabulous Rainbow Goldfish joined the party, too.

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I can feel the wave of exhaustion rushing over me and I am hoping to have a relatively early start tomorrow. With that, I say goodnight!

Pink Pancakes!

As a female, I love pink. The color just makes me smile. As an Italian, Irish, Polish, and German, I love carbs! As a Bundo, I love breakfast. As a health nut, I love fruits and vegetables.

All of that being said, these pancakes are right up my ally.

My skeptical family asked why the the pancakes were red. I told them I pureed some blueberries into the batter. They believed me… (feel free to puree some blueberries into the batter, though). The pink is from pureed beets!

Are you still with me? Okay, good! I thought I may have lost you there.

My dad freaked when I told him there were beets in these! “What would pocess you to do that?” he kept exclamining! Well, guess what! You ate a ton of these silver dollar pancakes and said how berry flavored they were. So “Ha” to you, sir!

Blueberry (and Beet) Pancakes

make 29-30 silver dollar pancakes

Wet Ingredients:

  •  2 md-lg beets (enough to make 3/4 packed cups, pureed)
  • 1/3 cup OIKOS plain yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cup flax milk
  • 1/2 cup water, or milk
  • 1/4  cup liquid egg substitute
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/5 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 packets Splenda
  • 1 cup blueberries, or more

Roast the beets. (This may take a while. I roasted mine the night before). Dice and puree the beets in a food processor until smooth.

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Beat the wet ingredients. Sift the dry ingredients (excluding the blueberries) into the wets ingredients and whisk. Fold in the blueberries. Its pretty, huh?

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Scoop 2 Tbsp, or an 1/8 cup, onto a skillet over medium heat, that has been sprayed with non stick spray. Once the bottoms are firm and the pancakes “pouf,” give them a flip.

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You know how to make pancakes…

To about half the batch, I added white chocolate chips to since the day I made them was National White Chocolate Day. I topped mine with my copycat Panera cream cheese.

Shout Outs: I was trying to figure out what else I could do with beets besides put them in my salads. Turning to Dr. Google, I came across a bunch of posts and adapted one specific recipe to make mine. Thanks, fellowbeet lover!

Happy National Pancake Day!

Night After Night Shifts

Tuesday

I tried to begin today early. Frank and I began chit chatting and spent the morning together. We both had some delicious coffee, but the entire morning was spend in the kitchen! It was very productive and although the recipe I was working on took about a total of three hours, from start to finish, the final result was well worth it. I cannot wait to share it with you, next week. I am also incredibly excited about a Be Well Bundo first! We, Frank and I, filmed the first video tutorial for the website! It turned out great and that, also, will be posted next week!

WP_004025My appetite will minimal today, as was Franks. Neither one of us ate anything until dinner time. I laid down around 2 pm in an attempt to catch some ZZZss before my shift at 11 pm. Unfortunately, two hours of sleep was all that I obtained. My dad started getting on my case about my calories and I hate it! I’ve been trying to listen to my body and eat when I was hungry. I decided to eat a Raspberry Greek Dannon Light & Fit and topped it with Fiber One 80 Chocolate cereal and chia seeds. This wasn’t good enough for dad. I tried to explain to him that I had my entire shift ahead of me to eat! I am already hard on myself about calories, so when others get on my case , I  get even more paranoid.

Before heading to work, I had some roasted red peppers, garlic, and cucmbers on a rice cake. One thing that put me in a good mood was the delicious coffee I brewed before leaving for work. It was a Vanilla Caramel Creme K cup, with SF french vanilla creamer and a splash of SF caramel syrup! Wow! Delicious!

Wednesday

WP_004026My shift went great! I kept busy and got to care for some great little kiddos. I also got to care for one of the most beautiful babies I’ve ever seen! And so well behaved! Dinner was half a Smart One Tuna Noodle Gratin. Honestly, even if I had eaten the whole thing, it would be pretty tasty for 220 calories. Rather I split it up and added a little broccoli. Once at work, I topped it with salsa since it was a little dried out by the time I reheated it, and paired it with celery sticks.

My food paranoia has definitely carried over into today. When I arrived home from work, this morning, I was starving. After all, the last time I ate was 230am, and it was, now, 730. I whipped up an egg, and put it on a slice of wheat toast, spread with my copy-cat Panera cream cheese. Its was tasty and I scarfed it! I was starving!

WP_004027With Frank being awake, we ran a few errands to pick up necessities for my little brother. When we arrived back home about three hours later and I needed to sleep! My manager asked it I could work a 12, tonight, since we had a patient that required a 1:1. I was hungry. At least I thought I was. I need to be okay with eating. I took out the turkey salad I made the other day and combined it with salsa. I placed it on a rice cake and had a side of cucumbers. It was delicious! But as soon as I finished, I went to sick girl mode. Oh my gosh! 200 calories! Really, Sammy? 200 is perfect for a small meal. Its lean meat, with light mayo, on an unsalted rice cake! How much healthier can you get?

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I laid down, took deep breaths and prayed. Sometimes, that all I can do. Thanks to the turkey, my stress, and my previous night shift, I actually slept! Thank, God! I slept for a solid 5 hours, or so! I woke up, knowing that if I didn’t get something in my system to hold me over until 230 break, I’d be tempted to snack all night! I made a mini shake. I wanted to use up my blueberries left over from Sunday’s pancakes, and wanted a flavor to refresh me and put me in a good mood. Just filling enough to do the trick.

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  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar free fat free Lemon pudding mix
  • 1/2 Tbsp SF blueberry flavoring syrup (for an extra pop)
  • 1/2 tsp ground flax
  • water
  • ice
  • 1/4 tsp xanthum

Just double the recipe for a full size. Double-fisting, I brewed some Kahlua flavored coffee. I’m glad I had my shake on the way to work because I was greeted with a box of Philly Pretzel Factory pretzels and the content feeling of satiety made it easier to resist the temptation of the doughy, salty carb.

Thursday

Last night, I ate the other half of my Smart Ones. Rather than topping it with salsa, I drizzled a little Walden Farms Creamy Bacon Ranch dressing on it. Hey, bacon… tuna… sounded good to me! Celery sticks accompanied the meal. I find it is so much easier to just bring the same thing two nights in a row. It saves time and I don’t have to think about food and calories. The Waldens didn’t quite give it enough pizzazz, so I added a bit of spicy brown mustard from the Philly Pretzel Factory to the mix.

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The refrigerator was rocking cold and my food got pushed all the way to the back. My food had gotten iced over. While I ate my warm tuna, I attempted to de-ice my celery sticks. It was rather interesting… frozen celery… I wouldn’t recommend it.

Typically, an Aide doesn’t sit in a 1:1 for 12 hours. It almost never happens. Well, last night was a first. I spent most of the night chatting with my patient, who likes to stay up late, and watching movies with them. By 4am, my tailbone was killing me. Since my patient was asleep, I brain stormed some recipes for my birthday. I think I just about have them down. As 7am rolled around, I was stoked to be able walk around. I mean, I walked around my patient’s room and stretched a bit but its not the same as actually being on the floor. If it weren’t for being so tired, I almost didn’t want to sit in my car to drive home.

You know its been a long night when you try to unlock your car door with the locker key attached to your ID badge, thats clipped to your hip. Its not even in the general area as my car keys… you know, those things in my other hand!

Oh, by the way, today is National Pancake Day! Do you know what that means? That means a new recipe for you all to try! I’ll be posting it soonly!

Dangerous Cream Cheese

I slept. Boy, did I sleep! I fell asleep on the couch, like mid-conversation with my mom. Talk about a food coma.

I never plugged my cell in and it died, and therefore, no alarm for Sammy. I stirred a bit when I heard mom in the living room and asked her what time it was. “Ten of 11,” she said. What? I need to make breakfast! Dad’s coming over! “I called and told him you were sleeping.” Just as I reached for the phone to tell dad to come over, he was calling me! ESP! Yup, I’m up! I making pancakes! Get over here! 

I just have to say it. I was a culinary queen, today!

I prepped part of the pancakes last night before crashing. The pancakes were a hit and no one knew that there was a secret ingredient. This week hosts National Pancake Day, so I’ll share today’s beautiful pancakes with you then! Since today happens to be National White Chocolate Day, I added some white chocolate chips to a little less than half of the pancakes for Frank, my dad, and my little brother, Dom. Everyone enjoyed breakfast, even my picky mother! We all had our own cups of coffee, and since no white chocolate was in my pancakes, I made sure a little SF white chocolate syrup made it into my coffee mug.

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I was inspired, while cooking pancakes, this morning. I kept thinking about that yummy Panera Honey Walnut Cream Cheese! I kept thinking how good it would taste on blueberry pancakes. I had half an 8oz container of fat free cream cheese in the fridge and went from there.

Advisory: This is the most dangerous and ridiculously delicious cream cheese you will ever eat.

Healthy Panera Sweet Walnut Cream Cheese

makes 16 Tablespoons

  • 1 8oz container non fat cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 2 packets Splenda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp diced walnuts

Combine all ingredients together until smooth and enjoy!

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Needless to say, I topped my pancakes with my cream cheese!

I asked my mom to test it, since she loves the original stuff. “If I didn’t know better, I would swear it was directly from Panera.” “That’s damn good,” dad said at the dining room table. “Frank, try this!” Its always a pleasure to here compliments like that!

Following breakfast, my godfather and cousin swung by for a quick visit and then dad and I were off to the park. We decided to take the pup with us for a little fresh air. It was brief but an absolute fun filled morning with my dad, shooting hoops. I love getting Beauty out in the fresh air! She always crashes when we get home, but when shes out, she really enjoys herself. And I got some great pictures of her today! I think dad just liked our trip to the park because he beat me in a game of Horse- only by ONE, though!

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Frank and I ran some errands today, and by the time we got home, we were both chomping on the grapes in the car. Neither of had eaten since brunch, and with the sun dried tomato wraps I just bought, a felt a wrap was the way to go. Frank said he had some chicken breast and then we decided to add some shrimp. Oh man! Frank, mom, Dom, and myself loved these wraps. I through the sliced chicken breast and shrimp, about 4 1/2 oz of each, in to a skillet and then topped it with the following and covered it, only tossing it a few times:

  • WP_0039971 1/2 oz broccoli slaw
  • 3 oz spinach,
  • 1 oz sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp adobo seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp oregano

After dividing the mixture among 3 wraps, I topped each with a little fat free shredded cheddar, 1 oz a roasted red peppers (each wrap), and a leaf of ice berg lettuce. I served them with sliced cucumbers for a side dish. Frank kept saying how much he enjoyed it, and he could have eaten another.

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WP_004002I must also admit that I created a monster, this morning. I went with an after dinner snack of celery and cucumbers. I always heard how celery and cream cheese went so well together. Well, I have never enjoyed this combo, but having made my Healthy Panera copy-cat, I get the combo another try.

THIS STUFF MUST GO ON EVERYTHING!

Its a winner!

Simplicity

Our morning began with a delicious start. I absolutely adore the smell of a toasted cinnamon raising bagel. Breakfast was coffee and bagels with cream cheese, a bagel for Barry and a breakfast thin for me. We sprinkled the top of our cream cheese with a little cinnamon sugar for some added umph.

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WP_003746After a very lazy morning, dad swung by to check out the new paint job in the living room and drop off my nose rings. Yay! My face feels complete, again! To thank him, I provided quite an appetizing lunch of leftovers, I must say!

We finally got motivated after heading to the furniture store and picking up the new furniture! The living room looks like new! I love it! And now, theres 5 recliners! Soooo comfy!

We debated using one of the boxes to ship Becky to China.

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By the end of the day, Barry and I were both hungry, and debated Chinese food. I was really in the mood for veggies! After some thought, we decided enough money was spent the last two days, and we would go with  something simple. Sometimes the simplest of meals are the best, I talked Barry into getting the Buffalo Chicken soup dad and I had, and he ate a bowl of that with a nice sandwich. I simply steamed a bag of California Blend vegetables topped with salsa and Italian dressing. It was jammin! And the broth the steaming created was incredible! For only three types of vegetables, it really hit the spot.

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We took advantage of the new living room and enjoyed our meals with the Great Gatsby!

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Ahhh the simple life…

Name Change

I am no longer Sammy Bundo. I am Sammy Bundo, R.N.!

Wednesday

This morning (Aug. 21, 2013) began with a phone call from Barry.

“I have question for you.”

I have one for you. Why are you up? (He just finished night shift)

“I had to pee, but it this Samantha [Bundo], Registered Nurse, License Number L1…….?”

What?! No!

“Yes!”

No!

My official license had been issued and posted on the State’s registry! I began screaming, smiling ear to ear! I called my parents and whipped up two shakes! For me, a Mixed Berry Colada. I’ve really been digging  my sugar free Coconut Torani. Yesterday was National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day and I was curious to see if I could make a Pecan Pie Shake:

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  • 1/2 md apple, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • water
  • ice

Frank was really into it!

As we sipped our shakes, I called my managers at work to share the news! But, boy, did they have news for me! There is a very strong possibility that he has a job opening up on my unit for me! I am beyond excited! With all this adrenaline running, I could not fall asleep to rest for my 12 hour shift, tonight!

I laid in bed for like 4 hours before giving up and preparing a celebratory dinner! Frank had mentioned earlier in the week that he wanted Chinese food. I talked him out of the temptation and promised to make homemade for him later in the week. What better day to have a quick, and wonderfully indulgent meal, than in honor of a celebration?

Barry arrived at the house around 430pm with a nice little surprise, and my parents quickly followed behind him from work.

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I follow the Hungry Girl recipe to the T except for the egg and flour coating. Since I don’t, typically keep scallions in the house, I substitute them with chopped onion, and I always make sure to include the chopped onion and 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce as it cooks and thickens. As for the coating, I find that 1/4 cup of liquid egg substitute  and 2 1/2 Tbsp whole wheat flour suffices for 1 1/4lb (20oz) of cut chicken breast.

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With the bit of mixed vegetables left over from the Chicken Pot Pie, I made a make-shift fried rice, I cooked 1 cup of brown rice and allowed it to cool. I added the rice to a skillet, along with soy sauce, sesame oil, ground ginger and garlic, left over vegetables, chopped onion and mushrooms. Lastly, I added the remaining egg from the drained chicken breast to the mix. To finish off the meal, I steamed broccoli and garlic.

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We finished socializing at dinner just in time for dad to walk me to my car and see Sammy Bundo, RN, off to work.

When I arrived at work, everyone was congratulating me. It turns out the managers had posted signs around our unit! They did a great job of killing the spelling of my last name, but its the thought that counts!

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I am finishing up my can of beets, finally, with another salad of onion, bacon tempeh, carrots, and Walden Farms Bleu Cheese dressing. A rice pudding came with, as an inevitable emergency end of shift snack. The end of shift snack actually became my 4-hours-in snack, while grahams became the end-of-shift snack.

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Thursday

WP_003614I spent my first 4 hours in my 1:1 from the other night, and the remainder of the night on the floor. The night felt like it was dragging. I was sleepy and cramping, and it felt like my coffees were switched with the decaf stuff! When 7 am came around, I was ready to roll! I stopped for an actual decaf and passed out on the couch. I felt bad because I was going to meet Barry at his house, but apparently my body had other plans.

I woke around 1pm to get something in my stomach. Since today is National Eat a Peach Day, and I didn’t have an actual peach, I had an Activia Greek Peach Orchard yogurt topped with sunflower seeds, and reheated what was left of the mornings decaf. I love the earthy, nuttiness the seeds add to yogurt!

I fell back asleep to wake around 5 pm. I didn’t have much of an appetite but my stomach was tossing from a menstrual migraine. I haven’t had one of these in years and i felt my forehead was bulging. I explained it to Barry like this:

steinYou know how Frankenstein has that big forehead, like with the protruding eyebrow looking things?

Yeah?

Its like that… like my forehead is taking over my head.

Your forehead feels like Frankenstein? Well, I’ve never heard a headache described quite like that before…

I wound up calling out of the shift that I had picked up. I toasted an cinnamon raisin breakfast thin, and spread it with cream cheese and sugar free blueberry preserves. I added chopped celery to one side, for crunch, and a slice of Canadian bacon, for salty protein, on the other. I ate it like a sandwich and it was delicious!

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As the night went on, the headache went awake, and my appetite, and cravings returned. I went with another Lil’ Drum to satisfy the crunchy sweet, and a side of pretzel sticks for the crunchy salty. I spent the remainder of the night watching Four Weddings. (I love this show!)