Exciting News For This Blog! Please Read

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Hi everyone!

This blog has been my heart and soul for years. I love it because it helps me to deal with my lupus while helping others on their journey as well. I have tried to incorporate lots of information about lupus so it can help those who are newly diagnosed as well as those in their journey for a long time. I share my own experiences with lupus from the good to the bad, the drug trial I was in, and how I have come off of most of my meds and started using food as medicine.

You may have noticed that the name of the blog has changed. I have changed it to “My Old Kentucky Homestead”, which is my domain name. While this blog is a work in progress,  trust me, it is still the same blog, it is just a name change.

I will still be posting about lupus and all that comes with that. The same posts are here for you. The only difference is that I am upgrading the blog and making it much easier to navigate. I am also making it more professional. I finally made the decision to upgrade so I can receive passive revenue from all my hard work. This decision has been a long time in the making but I finally am pulling the trigger so to speak.

I also plan on going through the existing lupus posts to update them as many of them have changed through the years. For example, many medications are now not being used or the use has changed. I plan on bringing those posts up to date with current information on the subject.

I hope you will remain with me. I am going to be posting lupus related content as well as my homesteading journey, recipes, herbal remedies, and much more now. You will still have the lupus content as before, but you may find a new recipe you want to try, or learn a bit about the herbal medicines I use. It is going to be a true labor of love for me to combine the two things near and dear to my heart.

I originally started this way and then made a new blog just for my homesteading. This was too difficult to keep up with two blogs so instead, I used my domain name on this one and am combining the two back again. As I said, you will still have the same lupus articles but with added content now.

I know most of you may not be interested in homesteading, but I hope you will welcome the new direction and stick with me here. I really am so excited about this whole big change and I hope you are too.

I want to personally thank each and every one of you for being a follower and for enjoying my passion of sharing our lupus journeys together. Stay with me and we can continue to grow together.

I have plans for merchandise as well. I will be working hard to make this site much more easy to navigate, and new graphics and more personal content too. This is going to be a great change for our family and I hope you enjoy it. Please send me feedback as it grows on what topics you would like to see. I am also going to be working on a few instructional courses to help those interested in a variety of subjects.

Again, thank each and every one of you for being on this ride with me. I hope I do not disappoint you.

Molasses Cookie Mix In A Jar

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I love molasses cookies. They have a deep flavor profile and are delicious!

Molasses Cookies In A Jar

Layer these ingredients in a quart sized canning jar, packing each layer before adding the next.

1 1/3 cup sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves
1/8 t allspice
1 t ginger
3 cups all purpose flour

To make the cookies:

1 jar cookie mix
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1/4 cup sweet molasses
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter, eggs and molasses. Add the cookie mix and stir until well blended. Drop by rounded tablespoonsful onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Do You Network?

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Do You Network?

Do you network? By that I mean do you look in your area for folks who do things you are doing? Are they doing what you want to but cannot at this time? Do they have experience you can learn from?

We moved here almost five years ago and knew only folks in our family and our congregation. I thought at the time that it would be hard to meet people interested in the same things I am. I was so wrong! I started to “network”, simply by asking people I do know and even those I do not, if they knew of anyone.

Here in my area, I am doing just that. By accident really, I found a lovely lady who is homesteading. I answered her ad about free jars (canning) and when she came to the house, we discovered we had a lot in common. She raises pigs, has cows, gardens, and chickens. She showed me an herbal site to learn more about my herbs and their uses. I recently purchased 10 pounds of sausage from here from her butchering. It is delicious. So I have now got a pig connection.

Another example is that while I was in the hospital, I had a nurse who said something about living on a farm in the neighboring county. I perked up and asked her questions about her farm. She raises goats and chickens. She showed me a picture of her farm and it was stunning! She also told me of a place where we could buy a “share” of beef for grass fed beef. It is not far from where we live too!

She also told me about the state’s grants for getting fencing and even a high tunnel when we finally purchase our property. Advice like that is pure gold!

I was at our farmers market where I met a lady who raises goats and uses their milk to make soap. I have her card and talked with her at length at the market. She told me about what has to be done to be a goat milk producer and the courses she had to take for the state of Kentucky. Now I have a goat connection.

At my recent doctors appointment, the nurse who checked me in saw on my medical record that despite having lupus, I am using herbal supplements to treat it rather than big pharmaceuticals. She shared that her mother was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and she has been trying to find natural things because her mother will not use medications. I shared the things I use for pain relief from my list of supplements and she told me she has a farm. My point is this, do not be afraid of asking. It is always so surprising where you find people that have similar interests.

I am still actively looking for someone who grows meat birds. I cannot have chickens on our rental property so I need to find a source for that. I do have a couple of sources for fresh eggs in town too. I just look around and speak up to ask. It works.

I am sharing this because as I said, we are in a rental right now and while we can make the whole lawn into a garden, we cannot have our own animals yet. We are not letting that stop us in our quest for wholesome and healthy fresh meat from local providers.

My advice is this…pay attention, ask questions, and look around you. You might be surprised at what you can find. I am so happy to make these connections with people who are doing what we are striving to do. They have wisdom, experience and great advice to share with others. Do not be afraid of asking questions of them. Truth be told, they are willing to share what they know. Every person I have met and have a network with has been kind, caring and willing to share. Reach out and you too can find a network in your area!

Getting Diagnosed for Lupus

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lupsym1When you suspect you might have lupus, or your doctor suspects it, there are 11 things that can lead to a diagnosis. It is called the 11 Criteria For Lupus. What is it?

The criteria was developed by the American College of Rheumatologists (ACR). It is a guide for Rheumatologists to determine if lupus is present. A Rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in diseases of the joints and muscles.

If you have at least four of these criteria, either now or at some time in the past, you could have lupus. It is here I want to state that there is no blood test that either proves or denies if you have lupus. It is a combination of many things that make the diagnosis.

I say this because I hear people tell me all the time that their family doctor did a blood test and they do not have lupus. While I do not want anyone to have this disease, it is important to remember this because as I said above, it is many different things that can make the diagnosis, not just one blood test. Sorry, but it really is a pet peeve of mine.

Here is a list of the 11 Criteria:

  1. Malar Rash: a rash over the cheeks and nose in the shape of a butterfly.
  2. Discoid Rash: a red, raised rash that is disk shaped
  3. Photosensitivity: reaction to the sun or light that causes a skin rash or a rash to get worse.
  4. Oral or nose ulcers: sores in the nose or mouth
  5. Arthritis: joint pain or swelling of two or more joints
  6. Serositis: inflammation of the lining of the lungs (pleuritis) or inflammation of the lining around the heart (pericarditis).
  7. Kidney Disorder: protein or cellular casts present in the urine
  8. Neurological Disorders: can include seizures or psychosis
  9. Blood Disorder: anemia, (low red blood cell counts), leukopenia, (low white blood cell counts), lymphopenia, (low level of specific white blood cells), and thrombocytopenia, (low platelet count).
  10. Immunological Disorder: anti-DNA or anti-Sm or positive antiphospholipids
  11. Abnormal antinuclear antibodies

It is important to see your doctor if you have four or more of these items listed. Only a doctor can determine if you have lupus or not.

Be Wary About Theft From Skimming

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skimYou have probably seen news reports about this way of thieving called skimming. What is it? How can you be safe? What do you do if you get skimmed? Well, I have some answers to these questions since I was “skimmed” a few days ago and learned the hard way what to do.

First, let me explain what skimming is. Skimming is when a thief places a device onto a regular old credit card inserter at places like gas stations, ATM’s and other places similar. Some can be really good and others you can spot if you know what you are looking for. (see picture above).

When a thief places the skimmer, all they do is wait for however long they want, and then retrieve the skimmer. Once they retrieve it, they have access to all the credit/debit card information that was used by the card holder. In other words, they have your card information and can now use it to get money.

How can you stay safe from this type of theft? First, if you use your card, go inside and pay inside. This is true of gas stations especially. I know it is inconvenient, but so is theft. Trust me, it is much easier to walk in than to deal with this.

If you must pay at the pump, then before you put your card in, pull on the piece that you will be putting it into and wiggle it if you can while pulling. If it comes off, it is a skimmer. Be aware of the look of skimmers. They try to make them as close to what the pumps normal card reader looks like so that folks will not notice them. Becoming a little more savvy is required so learn what you can.

Now, if after all this you become a victim of skimming, what do you do? The first thing is to keep an close eye on your banking information. For instance, I discovered a charge for $200 that I did not do. I immediately contacted my bank, but they had already blocked my card for any future attempts at getting any more money. It is at this point I want to give a shout out to Woodforest National Bank for their fraud unit. They absolutely knew before I did that there might be an issue and better being safe than sorry, they blocked my card. (I had my identity stolen a few months ago so they watch my account a little closer anyway).

After notifying the bank by phone, they instructed me to go to the local branch in the morning when it opened. I did this and found that the transaction was used by using my card number. I had to get a new card. The good news is that they cannot access my account anymore. The bad news is they got $200 from me.

My bank had me fill out a couple of forms and they will be giving me my money back in the next few days. Thanks goodness! We live on a tight enough budget without some thief taking money from our budget.

The key to all this is to keep alert and follow the simple and common sense instructions I stated earlier. Be alert to your bank account too. If I had not seen this transaction, they could have gotten away with even more of our money. Thank goodness for my bank catching it when it happened. It could have been far worse for sure!

I hope this post helps you to see that in this world we now live in, it is important to keep on guard and be watchful and wary. Thieves are always refining their methods and get away with it at times too. The good thing is that even if the worse happens, if you are prepared and quick, it can also be resolved quickly and no damage will be done.

Trail Mix Cookie In A Jar

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This is a spin off the trail mix people like. It combines the goodness of a trail mix with a cookie.

Trail Cookie Mix in a Jar

Add these ingredients in the order listed, packing between each layer. Use a quart sized mason jar.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup quick oats
1 cup raisins
1/3 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup flour
1 t baking powder

When ready to make the cookies add the following:

1 jar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 t vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter, eggs and vanilla. Add the cookie mix and stir until well blended. Drop by rounded tablespoonsful onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Foods That Are Bad For Lupus

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There are foods that make lupus worse. It is true when you say that food is medicine. If you eat junk, you will feel like junk. In the interest of compiling a list of foods that make lupus worse I found most of the things are good old common sense items. So, here are  some foods that can contribute to lupus and make autoimmune disease symptoms worse:

  1. Trans fats and some saturated fats: Fast foods, many fried foods and packaged and/or processed foods lead to inflammation and even heart problems. It can be hard to metabolize saturated fats for some lupus folks and those should also limit their intake of cheese, red meats, creamy foods and packaged foods (eg. potato chips).
  2. Added Sugar: Too much sugar will overstimulate your immune system and can increase your pain levels.
  3. Gluten: Many people are gluten intolerant which menas that it is difficult for them to digest gluten properly. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and most flour containing foods. If intolerance is present it can increase the likelihood of leaky gut syndrome, inflammation and can even trigger a lupus flare.
  4. Alcohol and too much Caffeine: When you drink too much of these, it can increase anxiety, worsen your inflammation, damage your liver, cause dehydration, increase pain levels and cause sleep related problems.
  5. Some Legumes: Alfalfa seeds and sprouts, snow peas, soybeans, peanuts anda green beans have been known to trigger flares in some people with lupus. It is because of a substance that is an amino acid called L-canavanine that is present in these legumes.
  6. High Sodium Foods or Drinks: The kidneys are known to be damaged by lupus in some people so it is best to keep your sodium levels down to prevent fluid retention, worsened swelling and electrolyte imbalances. Many sodas contain high levels of sodium.

Back to me and my take on this information. I have found that foods do trigger my disease and can cause a lot of pain. I no longer eat at McDonalds, Wendys, and when I do eat out, it is a food that does not trigger me. I learned through trial and error which foods upset my body. If you can discern how your body reacts to certain foods, then listen to it. No chocolate bar is worth a lupus flare!

I hope this information helps to learn the triggers food can make in our lupus journey.

I found some of this information from Dr. Axe’s website. I am not a doctor, nor will tell anyone how to treat their lupus. Only you and your doctor can decide your treatment. I am sharing this for educational purposes. You can check out his full article at this link:
https://draxe.com/top-5-lupus-natural-treatment-remedies

How To Make Green Powder

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How to Make Green Powder

My life was drastically changed several years ago when I had a gastric bypass. My eating habits changed as well, since I could not eat some foods like I had in the past. I make more smoothies and use less sugary things. One of the things I use a lot is my green powder that I make from my plants from my garden. It is so simple and yet so nutritious to make and use.

Greens typically supply a big amount of vital nutrients. Dark leafy greens provide even more. So, it is nice to be able to add the nutrition in a way that is easy and simple. Here is what I do to make my green powder.

First, I grow spinach, lettuce, carrots, and beets. The carrots and beets are grown for their produce but did you know their greens are edible too? Well they sure are. I harvest the produce when they are ready, then dehydrate the greens from them. Once dehydrated, I put them in the bullet blender and powder them. I add in dehydrated spinach and lettuce too. Really, most any green you grow can be dehydrated and used in this manner.

Once I powder them, I mix them all together. I add them in smoothies, stews, soups, even grilled sandwiches like grilled cheese. I add them to garlic toast, breads, and seriously, just about anything. I have a husband who will not eat greens hardly at all. However, he does eat them and has no clue. I put this powder in so many things that he does get greens in his diet. He also thinks spinach leaves are a form of lettuce. I have not lied to him, he just assumes so I let him do that. I will get good food in him any way I can.

So, do you have greens growing in your garden? Why not dehydrate them and powder them to use in all sorts of things in your home? If you already do this, what greens are in your green powder? Please share! Thanks!