Monday, October 12, 2009

October meteor showers: Orionids


(I'll leave this post on top for awhile, as a reminder.  Scroll down for other posts.)

Orion has been my favorite constellation since I was a kid, but I never knew that it was the radiant for a meteor shower!  (Don'tya just love learning right along with your kids.....gotta love homeschooling!  )

You can view the Orionids between October 15 and October 29, with the peak being the wee hours of October 21.  (The 20th and 22nd may also be good for viewing.)

There are not as many meteors as with our favorite shower, the Perseids, in August.  There are only about 20 an hour at peak for the Orionids.  But hey, we homeschoolers will look for any excuse to get outside to "do school".......even if it is 1 a.m.!!!  Yeah, we're slave drivers....

So look up to the skies the last couple weeks of October.  Find Orion in the southeastern sky and look to the left of his left shoulder (the star Betelgeuse, a fun word pronounced as "beetle jews", which when said fast sounds like "beetle juice" )

Radiant for the Orionids


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Got young girls? A Christmas or birthday idea.........


If you've got young girls, you've got to see these!!!!

Breezy and her sister Emily have teamed up to launch a new home business, Noble Rose Press!  They have created some beautiful historic PAPER DOLLS......with the artistic talent of those two, how could they not help but be beautiful!!!

The dolls are part of a series they've entitled Daughters of His Story....Historical Women in Christ's Kingdom.

Girls and the dolls
Don't they look like fun?!   Won't you consider purchasing some and support these two lovely homeschooled ladies?  The paper dolls would make great Christmas or birthday gifts!   

Shhh...don't tell the girls, but I ordered them for Christmas.  Just think of the hours of creative play that I  they could have!

Visit Noble Rose Press today......they just launched the site today and they are having a Grand Opening sale on their products!   But HURRY......the sale ends Saturday!!!


National Chestnut Week is next week!


OK, so National Chestnut Week is not high on my celebration list!  Didn't even know there was such a thing!

But hey, part of the fun of homeschooling is trying things new....and getting to go on field trips... or, even better, getting to do both in one shot!

Yesterday, the girls and I gathered chestnuts at a local orchard.  We spent three hours there, each of us picking enough to fill a 5 gallon bucket.  The bucket weighed about 35 lbs. when full.    We were paid $10 for each full bucket.

It was a good lesson in economics....maybe they'll be less likely to blow that $10 they earned, knowing it took 3 hours to earn it!

So, what do you think of when you hear the word chestnuts?  I think of the Christmas song......chestnuts roasting on an open fire.....   But what else can you do with chestnuts besides roast them???  Does anyone still even eat roasted chestnuts???  I can't say I ever have!

I decided to find out a few facts about chestnuts.  I was surprised.

First off, we Americans don't eat much of them.  (OK, that was no one I know eats them!)   The U.S. per capita consumption is only 0.04 lbs, compared to 2 lbs. for China and 1 lb. for Europeans.  Big difference!

Next, I thought we were just doing old fashioned labor yesterday and gathering the nuts by hand.  Nope, worldwide this is the norm.  However, there are folks looking to mechanize this step. (My hands say.......please do!!  Even with lined leather gloves on, those burrs still can poke through....OUCH!!!)

And, I learned that most American think that chestnuts are only used for roasting (again that was not really a surprise), but did ya know that chestnuts can used in flours, main dishes, soups, and even desserts.  Taiwan even has chestnut flavored ice cream bars! 

Chestnuts are high in fiber and low in fat....sounds like Americans need to eat more of them!!  Chestnuts are gluten free, so they can be ground into chestnut flour for those sensitive to gluten.  

It takes about 2.5 lbs. of chestnuts in the shell to make one pound of dried chestnuts peeled.   So that means that each bucket that we gathered will be about 14 lbs. once they are peeled and dried.

There are quite a few recipes at Chestnuts Online, including some great sounding Italian ones!    Now I'm hungry!

OK, here are some pictures from our outing.

Here in the Appalachian foothills, the fall colors are just starting.

Looking was a long drive up to the top orchard.

The orchard at the top of the hill.
Orchard #4

The orchard where we decided to gather.  It was the oldest of the 4 orchards.
Orchard #3

We found a tree with burrs all over the ground and started in.
Burrs everywhere

Aren't they pretty!
Chestnuts up close


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thermogram results are in!


As mentioned before, I had a full-body thermogram done earlier this week.  The results, with thumbnails of each scan, came in today's mail.   The thermography report revealed no suspicious (as in cancerous) areas!  \o/ 

That's not to say that I don't have a lot going on, however!   There were several inflamed areas, many likely having to do with my dermatomyositis, interstitial lung disease, or Raynaud's phenomenon.    The only one that is likely not a result of those was some inflammation in the upper abdominal region.....I'm wondering if that's not stress on the liver by the medication I'm on???

I hope to take this information to the doctor and see what he rheumatologist isn't an "alternative option" kinda guy.  But I've tried his way for 6 it's time to explore some other ways.   I did learn of an D.O. within our network that does have alternative leanings......I hope to call him next week.


A P.S. for the thermography post

A couple things I forgot to post about on the previous thermography entry......

When you call about thermography, not only ask about the manufacturer of their equipment but also ask who interprets the scans.  The lady I went to sends the images to be read by doctors at Duke University, but she told us about another local themographer who interprets his own even though he was never trained to!     Your doctor is more likely to appreciate the findings if read by a reputable organization.

The other thing I forgot to write about was that you should have a second scan done about 3 months after the first.  This will provide a baseline for you, tell you what your norm is.  After that, they are recommended to be done yearly to keep an eye out for changes.  

The UBCF that I mentioned in the previous entry has been also paying for the second, follow-up breast screening.  


Friday, October 2, 2009

Themography....instead of or in addition to mammograms

thermography scan

I just had my first thermography earlier this week.  I have been considering it for a year or two.

Thermography is  a non-invasive, thermal imagining scan that does not use radiation.  It can be used for early detection, either in place of a mammogram or in addition to.  

It has been FDA approved for over 25 years and is finally getting some well-deserved recognition.  It can detect cancer up to 10 years sooner than mammography!!!  And the procedure is not painful at all.  It is used in hospitals around the world and has become a popular choice for many hospitals in the Western United States.   Where I live, it seems we still need to educate our doctors!

I recently heard a speaker.  She is a two-time breast cancer survivor.  Both times that she had cancer, she had both mammograms and ultrasounds and neither showed a thing.....she was pronounced "fine" because they couldn't see any cancer. (She knew with her symptoms that she quite obviously was NOT fine!!!)   Thermographies showed the cancer immediately, both times.  The second time she had cancer, it was contained in a sack......until the doctor required a mammogram, which broke the sack  , and then the cancer spread to 8 of her lymphs.

Thermography takes a picture of the "heat" (or lack of) of your body.

Thermography is not just used for the breasts, but the entire body.  Thermography is not overly good at showing uterine/ovarian or prostate cancer due to their location (deep and midst an area that is already usually very warm). It's also not all that great at scanning the brain.   Hopefully, as they improve equipment, these areas will also show up better.

Themography reveals vascular and nerve problems (or potential problems if left alone).   So, thermography is not only used for cancer, but also to detect fibromyalgia, immune dysfunction, diverticulitis, Crohn's, arthritis, sinus problems, carpal tunnel, and more.

As with all equipment, not all thermography machines are the same.  Meditherm units are supposed to be very accurate.   The images are interpreted by doctors at Duke University and you are sent the results within a week or so.  If something suspicious is revealed, you can then take these pictures to the physician of your choice and you can proceed as desired with the information.

Most insurances around my area do not cover the scan for breast screenings.   However, the United Breast Cancer Foundation has been re-imbursing for the breast screenings!   You have to fill out "paperwork" on the website at United Breast Cancer Foundation and once you get approval, you schedule a screening.  After the screening, you complete the process for re-imbursement.

Around  here, a thermogram for just the breast area is $150.  For half of the body, it is $250 and for the whole body, $325.   Each exam takes half an hour to a full hour to complete, depending on which one you have done.  If you can stand and sit on a stool, you can do this.....there is no painful squishing and pulling or anything!!!

Some pictures of scans and more information:

White is very hot/abnormal, reds and oranges are the next, down to the greens and the blues.  Lack of heat in some areas is just as telling as white in others.

I opted to have the full body scan done.  I'm anxiously awaiting my results.  I expect them next week.

Disclaimer:  This post is not meant to give medical advice....just wanted women to know about another possible option and how they might get reimbursed for the breast screenings if their insurance does not cover it.