Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Indiana, Markleville - Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - Lifestyle Changes and a Pacemaker

We are still in Indiana but we have moved from Timberline Valley RV Resort.  We are staying in the second driveway at daughter Amanda and son-in-law Mike’s home in Markleville, IN.
Since my last post we found out that Greg needs to have a pacemaker/defibrillator put in.  That will be done tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. at St. Vincent’s Hospital on 86th Street in Indianapolis.  We don’t anticipate any problems, but prayers would be appreciated.

He mentioned to his cardiologist that he was noticing he tired more easily and was short of breath when we were walking up hills or stairs.  A few tests later we found out that the bottom chambers of his heart don’t beat together as they should to pump a nice supply of blood and oxygen out to his body, they pump independently instead.  A pacemaker is supposed to put his heart into the right rhythm. 
We decided that it would be better to be close to family.  Two of our daughters and their families are here in Markleville in case we need help with anything for a couple of weeks after the surgery.  We’ve loaded up the motorcycle and it won’t be coming off the lift again until we reach Mesa at the beginning of November.  Greg won’t be able to drive for a week and we go back for a two week checkup.  Then our plan is to be able to head for Kansas to visit with son David and his family for at least a little while before we have to head to Mesa for the winter.

Before we knew about the incorrect heart rhythm we knew that his heart muscle wasn’t as strong as it was last year.  On the advice of our daughter Robyn and her husband Jason who both work in cardiology at the VA Hospital in Washington, DC we decided to implement some life style changes – reducing sodium and losing weight.  Both of these improvements should help reduce the workload on his heart.  We started our new eating habits three weeks ago, Greg is down 12 pounds and I am down 9.  We can already get into some clothes we couldn’t a few weeks ago J.

Low sodium cooking is a challenge, there is no “quick” meal option to fall back on, everything has to be cooked from scratch (with no salt).  We were already following a “reduced sodium” lifestyle, but that wasn’t nearly enough.  Our goal is to take in no more than 1500 mg. of sodium per day, we are usually hitting less than 1,000.  We took all of the high sodium products out of our pantry, refrigerator and freezer, daughters Desira and Amanda were happy with that since all the food went to them and there was quite a bit.  I didn’t want anything in the house that could sabotage our goals.   We have been measuring and weighing every bite we eat.  We have read nearly every food label in Meijer, Payless and Marsh grocery stores.  Greg takes one side of the aisle and I take the other looking for low sodium options.  We’ve found several very good ones.  Thank goodness for Mrs. Dash products, we have a pot roast cooking now using her pot roast seasoning packet – smells really good.
We’ve been studying nutritional charts from some of our favorite places to eat out and have found a few that have items we can still enjoy in moderation.  I still like to look at recipes on Pinterest but I look at them in a different light now.  I think about how I might be able to still make it taste good with no or little salt.

After three weeks we have restocked our pantry, fridge and freezer and are getting used to what an actual serving of food is supposed to look like.  Setting out measuring spoons along with the regular silverware is becoming second nature.  And, our fridge is becoming stocked with lots of washed vegetables, homemade spaghetti sauce, bar-b-q sauce, refried beans and other leftovers that make for that quick meal if we need it.  We’ve gotten used to writing down every bite we eat and thinking about how to plan for the day.  It takes time but it’s getting less time consuming each day as we get more comfortable with the plan.

This experience has shown me how hard it is to find recipes for things low calorie/low sodium that also taste good.  As I find some “keepers” I thought I would share them in case anyone else finds the need for them in the future.  We took this recipe to a pitch in and it was almost all gone, seems no one missed the salt.  This is good as is or the rice without the toppings can be used in tacos and fried rice.  Yes, we had some pretty decent fried rice today for lunch, I’ll post it after I tweak it a little more.  Remember, I’m not a nutritionist but I do try to check my figures several times to make sure they are as right as I can make them, if anyone spots a problem, please let me know.

Pineapple Rice

1 ½ c. Uncle Ben’s Long Grain Rice
1 (20 oz. can) pineapple chunks or crushed pineapple, in juice (I like chunks best)
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. ground ginger

Drain pineapple and measure juice, add water to make 3 cups.  Bring juice/water to a gentle simmer.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low, simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat, place a clean kitchen towel over the pan and then replace the lid.  Let rice rest for 5 minutes.  Remove lid and towel and fluff the rice with a fork.  My calculations show that this makes 7 one-cup servings at 191 calories per serving and zero sodium.  When ready to serve, add toppings.

Lime juice, to taste
Chopped cashews – 1 T. equals 90 calories and 48 mg. sodium

Chopped cilantro

I’ve frozen some of the rice to see how it works out in future recipes.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Indiana, Markleville - Sunday, September 13, 2015 - Shoot for a Cure




We have moved to Timberline Valley RV Resort between Anderson and Chesterfield, Indiana.  We’ve haven’t gotten out to take pictures, the weather has been chilly and we’ve been pretty busy.  That’s part of the reason I was late in wishing Desira a Happy Birthday – too tired to be able to think about writing a blog J.  We’ll be here until September 24 when we plan to head to Branson, MO for a week and then on to Kansas.

We’ve spent time catching up with Indiana family and friends.  We still haven’t been able to get with our friends from Rolling Thunder Chapter One yet, hopefully we will be at the September meeting and spend a little time with them.

A lot of our time the last few days has been spent helping daughter Desira and son-in-law Dan with the “5th Annual Shoot for a Cure”.  They run the trap shooting program at the Fall Creek Valley Conservation Club.  Five years ago they decided to do a fundraiser for breast cancer.  Desira’s grandmothers and some friends had struggled with breast cancer and she felt strongly about being able to contribute to help find a cure.  She convinced the mostly male membership to “go pink” for a weekend to contribute to the cause and to have a fun weekend of trap shooting.  Prior to this year’s shoot they have contributed over $20,000 to the cause.

A baked goods auction is part of the fun.  We spent a day getting our contributions ready.
This was the Friday night set up getting ready for early Saturday morning.


Saturday brought a big crowd.
Lots of good things were donated for the baked goods auction.

The donations of silent auction items added up quickly.
Desira and Dan work so hard to make this weekend a success.  I know they couldn’t pull it all together without the help of the kids who keep scores and set up the trap houses, the volunteers and the special people who contribute trophies, silent auction items and baked goods, but darn I’m proud of what they do.

The proceeds from the weekend will be going to the Pink Ribbon Connection this year.  Desira is excited about being able to work them in the future, hope it works out well for all concerned.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Indiana, Markleville, Wednesday - September 2, 2015 - Our Motor Coach is Home


We got our motor coach back on Friday after getting accident damage repaired – seven weeks and two days in the shop!!  But, we are happy with the way it looks.  Even the paint that had to be repaired matches perfectly.  The folks at Charger Enterprises in Elkhart did a good job.
We are currently staying in the driveway of our daughter Amanda and son-in-law Michael’s second garage.  They were good enough to have 50 amp service put in for us a couple of years ago.  We’ll be staying here until after the Labor Day weekend when we will be moving to Timberline Campground just outside of Chesterfield, IN.  Greg had some things he wanted to do to the inside of the coach while he could take advantage of some of Michael’s tools.

While we are here we can watch grandkids Mackenzie and Kyle get in some target practice.
After seven weeks in the shop without any TLC inside I had quite a bit of cleaning to do to get it back up to our standards again.  We aren’t doing any in-depth cleaning (drawers and inside cabinets) yet because we are heading to Kansas for the month of October.  We’ll have dust and wind – lots of it – every day we are there so we’ll wait for heavy duty cleaning until after that J

I am going through all of the cabinets, the closet and the totes in the basement while we are here so I can get rid of things we have discovered we no longer need.  Some things will go to the kids, some goes to storage and the rest will go to Goodwill.  So, if I see any major dust I will go ahead and take care of it before Kansas.  Our storage unit is here in Indiana so while we are here we can put things in and discard what is not going to be needed.  We’ve reduced down to a 5x8 unit, there is always going to be the need to have someplace to store a few memories and some things we might want to use if we ever decide to come off the road.

We’ve still been helping out at Fall Creek Valley Conservation Club at the trap shooting events that daughter Desira and son-in-law Dan run.  Coming up on September 12 and 13 will be the Shoot for the Cure that they put together annually.  This is the fifth year for this fundraising event for breast cancer awareness.  One of the things they do that weekend is a silent auction.  Desira and I saw some gun shell wreaths on Pintrest and decided one might be appropriate for the auction.  So, I’m back at the apartment for some arts and crafts time.
This is the finished product incorporating shotgun shells, a clay target and breast cancer awareness items – lots of pink.