Monday, March 28, 2011

Healthier Eating...

I grew up in house where great food was a priority.  My mom was a great cook and dad was a long distance truck drive who often bought an extra halibut or box of king crab legs to the house.  So anything that feels or tastes like a diet is hard for me to swallow (pun intended.)

My mom, grandma and great-grandma all have/had diabetes and Johnny also has diabetes.  So far I've been able to keep my blood sugar in check without making too many lifestyle changes.  But with all the pain and stress of the issues with his leg, Johnny's blood sugar has been running a bit high lately.  So I've been putting a bit more effort into trying to find some new recipes that taste good but are a bit healthier.

A few days ago, Laurie mentioned a recipe website in her blog,  Semi-True Tales of Our Life on the Road.  The website is Gina's Skinny Recipes.  Gina started to blog in 2008 when she couldn't find a website with good recipes that included Weight Watchers points.  As she works out recipes, she says she tries not to sacrifice taste to get the points/calories down.  It's about finding the balance of good tasting food with healthy ingredients and keeping the points low.  She uses the minimal amount of fat needed for the best results and sugar rather than Splenda.  In addition to listing the Weight Watchers Points and Points+, Gina also lists the calories, fat, fiber, carbs and protein.  

I liked the sound of that so started looking through the recipes.  The first recipe I tried was Chicken and Mushrooms with Garlic White Wine Sauce.  That one was winner.  Yesterday I tried Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken.  This one we were a bit disappointed in.  I think I ended up with a can of tomatoes with hot chilies instead of mild -- and in spite of being from Louisiana, Johnny is not a big fan of hot things!  When I was looking at the comments I noticed someone suggested using taco seasoning in place of the individual spices.  We decided that the recipe was worth trying again making sure to use tomatoes with mild chilies and a package of taco seasoning.

Tonight I tried a side dish -- Baked Zucchini Sticks.  These were a definite hit. We didn't even use the marinara sauce.  They were very good just plain.  We had them with some pan sauted tilapia and twice baked potatoes.  It was a quick, easy tasty dinner.

So I'll be spending some time checking out Gina's website for new tasty treats.  She appears to post a new recipe almost every day and you can search by ingredient, category, WW points, etc.  As an added bonus Gina includes nice pics of each recipe.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Surgery is Done!

The big news for the week is that Johnny had surgery to fix his right shin (fibula) on Wednesday.

Tuesday he had all his pre-op tests.  That took the better part of the day.  On the way back to Austin from Temple on Tuesday evening IH35 was closed.  We saw a big plume of smoke up ahead.  Luckily the rest area exit was just north of the problem and the Highway Patrol directed traffic off, through the rest area and back on the interstate south of the problem.  As we went by we learned the problem was a motorhome fully engulfed in flames on the northbound side of the interstate.  It looked like everyone got out safely, but the MH was a goner.  That was pretty scary and got us thinking we need to research those fire extinguishers that go under the refrigerator...

Back to the surgery...

Johnny had to be up at Scott and White hospital in Temple at 7:30am, so I was up at 4am to gather up things and make sure we were to the hospital on time.  They were supposed to start the actual surgery around 9:30 and they expected the procedure to take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Well, the surgery before his took a bit longer than planned so they didn't get started until about 10:30.  The staff at Scott and White did a good job of keeping me posted with news that all was going well, it was just taking longer than planned.  Finally at 3:30 I got a call from the surgeon saying that all had gone great.  Some of the screws holding the old pin in his leg had broken and others had bone grown over the top, so it took longer to get the old rod out of his leg.  But once that was done, they were able to straighten the broken bone and get it all lined up with a new, longer rod put in his leg.  

After recovery and a brief stint in post op they sent him home with me about 7:30 on Wednesday night.  Amazing!  We went from a recommendation that the best thing to do was to amputate his leg in January to an out-patient surgery this week!  He has a splint on his lower leg and the doctor doesn't want him to put any weight on his foot until his after his post op appointment on April 5th.  That's because he had to put an incision the bottom of his heel to take the old rod out and he wants that to heal up well and make sure it doesn't get infected.  Assuming it's healing well on April 5th he should be able to walk on his leg after that!

The resident (we're pretty sure the nursing staff calls him "McDreamy") who assisted with Johnny's surgery came by to check on him before they sent him home and gave us print outs of the before and after x-rays.  We could see his leg was straightened out even through the splint and dressings.  But with the x-rays we can really see that the surgery was successful!

Johnny's doing pretty good.  His leg hurts, but what can you expect after they went rooting around in the bone the other day!  The only glitch was with the nerve block they gave him after surgery.  It was supposed to block the pain in his lower leg for the first 24 hours.  Unfortunately, it seems the anesthesiologist hit the wrong nerve and numbed his thigh and butt (and a few other parts) instead of the lower leg!  So it took a little while for the pain meds to catch up to the pain level.  But he's doing better now and just started backing down the pain meds some.  Will see how that goes.

Thanks to everyone for all your prayers and well wishes.  

Now if we can just get the repairs to the 5th wheel finished we should be good to go!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What to do with that old camera?

Yesterday I wrote about how to get rid of that old, unused cell phone.  Pidge (The Frugal Travelers) commented, asking about what could be done with old, still working cameras.  The funny thing was that I had thought about writing about places to recycle your old digital camera in that same blog, but decided to keep things simple!

So in honor of Pidge, today's topic is how to recycle that old digital camera.

Even if you camera is slightly worse for the wear or outdated, you might still be able to sell it. will buy it to recycle or sell for parts.  It works similar to in that you enter information about your camera and the site gives you a price quote.  It will then send you a prepaid shipping label or box depending on the camera's size and weight.  Payment is by check or PayPal.

If your camera still works and you would rather donate it, go to for shipping information.  The Global Classroom Connection  sends used cameras to schools around the world.  If you include your email address you will get a picture from the class that receives your camera.

I tried to sell my old Canon PowerShot A80, but didn't want it.  And it doesn't work so donating it to the Global Classroom Connection doesn't work either.  I'm still looking for a way to get rid of that one.  Remember, putting old electronics in the trash isn't a good idea.  If anyone has any other ideas on how I can responsibly dispose of my non-working camera, please pass them along!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Getting Rid of Old Cell Phones

In the process of cleaning out closets etc we've found an amazing number of old cell phones.  It's really amazing considering I never even had a cell phone 10 years ago.  Now I have at least that many old ones!

I've known that we could donate old cell phones for the troops to use or for use by organizations that combat domestic violence.  If you have an unused cell phone and are in an area where you're not sure where to donate it I found this organization that makes it very easy.  Log on to and click on "Call to Protect" tab to get a prepaid mailing label or find a local drop off location.  They will refurbish and resell your unneeded cell phone, donating 100% of the proceeds to organizations that combat domestic violence.

If you have fairly new cell phone, I also found a place that will buy your used cell and as an added bonus they plant a tree for each cell phone they buy.  Go to and answer a few questions about your phone, it's quality and list any accessories you have.  They will give you a price quote and you can print a prepaid shipping label.  Box the phone and any accessories up and drop it by the post office.  Then watch for your payment to arrive by check, PayPal or Obopay.  Easy as that.

I know you can always put your phone on ebay but for those who want an easy way to get rid of some excess electronics and don't want to hassle much I thought these were some good options.  We're currently waiting on our $50 for my old PalmPre.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Free Fridays -- NOOKbooks

First, welcome our new readers, Jay and Jill!  I didn't see that you folks have a blog, but if you do please comment and let us know what it is.  We'd love to see what you are up to as well.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned that Johnny got me a color NOOK for Christmas.   I had thought it would be a good thing to have when we hit the road fulltime.  I'm loving it!  Johnny says he thinks I've used it more than any other gift he's gotten me -- except maybe the NDSU golf bag he got me a couple of years ago.

After much research we decided on the color NOOK because of the availability of electronic magazines.  The NOOK lets you either buy individual issues or subscribe to many of your favorite magazines -- a great feature if you're traveling fulltime.  The magazines look just like the paper version -- full color, pictures and yes, advertisements (boo.. hiss...)  Right now I subscribe to a couple of food magazines because I love trying new recipes.  We're anxiously waiting for golf and motorcycle magazines to be available.  The good news is that every day the list of available magazines grows.  The price varies depending on the publisher.  None are more than the paper subscription and some are cheaper.  

One of the other things we liked about the color NOOK is the children's books available.  Great for having something to read to the grandkids when they visit!

I also like that it is backlit and lets me read before going to sleep at night.  It automatically goes to sleep a couple of minutes after I fall asleep and doesn't bother Johnny the way turning on the light to read does.  Besides, I can make the print bigger so I don't need my glasses to read in bed.  I just have to turn the page a lot more often!

I recently learned Barnes and Noble offers a FREE NOOKbook every Friday.  I'm finding it's a great way to try new authors and always make sure I have something new available to read.  B&N has other books available for free everyday, but the Friday Freebie is a book that you normally would pay for, but they are offering for free for one day.  Most of the books seem to be one in a series by that author.  Obviously a strategy to get you hooked and then buying more books, but who cares if it introduces you to an author you enjoy.  Just click on the link above to check out this week's free book.  Some people complain that it's hard to find the actual book to download.  I found that if you just click on the book cover it will take you to the download page.  If you find that link doesn't work for next Friday, just search for "Free Fridays" in NOOKbooks and it will take you to the current Friday's book.

So now when Johnny goes for surgery next Wednesday I'll carry along 15 or so magazines and a dozen books... All in my little NOOK.   So much lighter than the tote bag I used to haul around!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Not Much to Report

Afraid we don't have too much to report these days.  Just working on things around the house and waiting for Johnny to have surgery to fix his leg.  Good news is the surgery is scheduled for March 23rd so there's only a little while more to wait.  Waiting is the worst!  So many things to get stressed about while you are waiting...

Welcome to our new followers.  Sorry we haven't had much to post about lately.  I expect things will pick up after the surgery is done.

Besides waiting for surgery we've been trying to finish up things for taxes.  Since we both do contract work and have associated travel expenses it can get complicated.  It's funny how we categorize expenses differently.  Is it "work meals" or "groceries?"  "Entertainment" because I golfed with a business associate or just plain "Golf" for fun?  I just spent the afternoon trying to reconcile entries so we can avoid any audit triggers!  Hopefully we can wrap things up before the weekend on this stuff.  

Speaking of golf, I was able to play a few rounds last week.  Some rounds were better than others...  Someone said practice will help with consistency.  I'm still skeptical on that one.  Maybe it's because I don't like to practice...

It's starting to feel like spring here in Austin.  That's great for the golf.  Not so great for allergies!  

Johnny has a couple of doctor's appointments this week -- Rhuematologist and ENT.  Just getting some more routine appointments out of the way.  And I figure he'll have a pre-op appointment one of these days...

Other than that, I think we'll try to have a garage sale this Saturday.  Maybe we can unload a bit more stuff while we're here...  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Finally some good news!

Early yesterday morning Johnny got a call from the VA asking if he could be in Temple at Scott and White Hospital that afternoon for an appointment with the head of Orthopedics there for a consult on his leg.  Of course we scrapped all previous plans for the day and headed for Temple.

For those who've been following along, this is appointment is for the second opinion the VA said they didn't do...

After taking X-rays and reviewing them the doctor said he's about 85% sure he can fix Johnny's leg.  Good news number 1!  Then he described how he would go about it and said that barring infection Johnny should be able to go back to work within about 3-4 weeks of surgery.  And he'd be able to walk on it almost immediately.  Good news number 2!  Good news number 3 is that he didn't think it would matter if he had the surgery now or in 6 months or a year.  Chances of success are about the same (of course barring any unforeseen accidents).

So now we just have to get the VA to agree to send him to this doctor for the surgery!

Talk about your highs and lows... We've gone from working out how to deal with the VA recommended amputation to a prognosis that says while it's not an easy case, it should be fixable with a relatively quick recovery!

By the time we got home we were both exhausted.  Even good news can take it out of you...