A Wild West Kinda Day

Last week was a humdinger – let me tell you.

The poison ivy went systemic and even with steroids, it continued to spread.

But I made it. It was by the grace of God and lots of help, that we were able to host our all-day VBS here on Saturday.

And I do mean a lot of help.

DSC_0173Somehow backdrops got painted, the building was emptied, props were found, lines were learned and some incredible teens preformed some hilarious skits that both entertained and taught truth.

These kids rock.

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Somehow benches got painted and cement blocks found, a herd of stick horses was created, and a sound system set up in a building that has no electricity.

Snacks were made, hamburgers grilled, watermelon cut, dishes washed and everyone was fed, three times.

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Flubber was made, crafts prepared and rattlesnakes bought. Games were set up, torn down,  and the new ones prepped. Again and again.

It was an intense day.

It took an army of people.

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Servants.

Quietly doing what needed to be done.

Teaching truth.

Living out God’s love.

I was humbled and blessed.

Here We Go Again

poison ivyThis wasn’t the post I had planned to write today…actually yesterday.  But sometimes things just don’t go as planned.

Angel Girl broke her glasses last week and she and I ended up driving the 45 minutes to the eye doctor to get a new pair.

Before we left in the morning I noticed a rash forming on my upper chest and a few spots on my legs.

Since I’m a little sensitive to the prickles on squash plants and I have been spending a lot of time in the patch squishing squash bugs, at first I thought it was just more squash rash. Itches for a few hours, is gone the next morning.

But by 1:00 it started burning.

By 4:00 I knew it was poison ivy.

By 7:00 I knew I was going to the doctor just as soon as the clinic opened.

By 9:00 I knew I wasn’t going to get any sleep.

I was right.

Some steroids and a prescription inch cream (the largest one they sell with 3 refills!) made things more endurable. Slightly.

But how in the world did I end up with poison ivy again? I have been so careful and hardly left the house. I’ve avoided all areas where the noxious weed is present.  And then I’ve faithfully washed with my poison ivy soap every time I’ve been out!

The answer was staring me in the face. The rash on my chest is in almost the exact outline of my work out shirt.

Every morning, I put on my work out clothes, gather the laundry and carry it to the basement, sort it, start it, and then exercise.

The guys have been in and out of poison ivy moving cows and pigs and fixing fence. There must of been some urushiol on their clothes that I unknowingly got all over my upper chest.

Then I worked out and sweated, which only made it worse, causing it to drip to other places, like all the way around my neck. (I knew I shouldn’t have done crunches!)

There must have been some on my shirt that I wiped on my face.

Then I showered, but didn’t use my poison ivy soap because I never knew I had been exposed.

So while I sit here in misery tonight, with the largest band of poison ivy rash I’ve ever had – covering my upper chest and wrapped around my neck like a boa, I’ve decided that the morale of this story is simple –

Don’t do laundry and don’t exercise.

At least not on the same day.

Raspberry Marshmallow Dessert

Berry DessertIt’s a hard time of the year to be allergic to poison ivy.

Every day I go out and walk the trails on the property being very careful to stay in the exact center to avoid the nasty stuff that grows in abundance on both sides.

But the worst part is watching the black raspberries ripen and not be able to pick them! They sit there taunting me  – just out of reach –  surrounded by poison ivy like guards around the crown jewels.

<heavy sigh>

Thankfully I have children who are sensitive to their momma’s plight, take pity on me and pick those luscious berries and then share them.

The first few we traditionally eat on ice cream – but when the harvest picks up – so does our creativity!

Angel Girl tried a new recipe this weekend –  a yummy marshmallow and raspberry concoction that got rave reviews.

We made it with black raspberries – but it’s pretty versatile and can be made with red raspberries, blackberries or even strawberries.

Raspberry Marshmallow Dessert

Crust :

1-1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter (melted)

Filling-

50 large marshmallows
1 cup milk
1 carton (8 ounces Cool Whip

Topping –

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons white corn syrup
1/4 cup raspberry jello
1 quart fresh raspberries, washed and drained

Combine the crumbs and butter, press into the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, stir the marshmallows and milk until the marshmallows are melted. Cool to room temperature. Fold in Cool Whip and spread over crust.

In a medium saucepan combine the water, sugar, corn starch and white syrup for the topping.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly.  Remove from heat and add jello. When cool, add 1 quart of fresh berries and mix carefully. Spread over the top of the marshmallow mixture and chill.

Enjoy!

Poison Ivy – Revisited

I can’t believe it.

Here I am a miserable, red itchy mess again – thanks to my nemesis – the dreaded poison ivy.

After my last horrible episode with the toxic weed I have been extremely careful outside. So how could I possibly get poison ivy when I have barely left the house for a week? I wasn’t even out of the yard since last Monday?!

But the kids were.

They were all over the property – in and out of ravines and up and down the hills.

Then they took their dirty clothes off and put them in the laundry.

Clothes

I’ll give you three guesses as to who helped to sort that laundry and start it through the washer.

I must have gotten some of that nasty urushial oil on my forearms and spread it – everywhere – my arms, legs, back, all over my abdomen and even on my face.

With an outbreak this big, many of the things I’ve tried before just weren’t practical. I did shower twice a day using Dawn soap to stop the oil from spreading.

And I changed our bedding every day and I never wore any article of clothing more than once before washing it.

But the real hero for this nasty bout has become my die hard blow dryer – the one I bought back in college and now  pull out once a year to defrost the freezer.

Dryer

I read online that blowing a blow dryer directly on the rash and holding it there for as long as you can will help with the itching. In my desperation, I tried it and – believe it or not – it worked.

It heats the rash up until it stings and itches so bad you can’t stand it.  But it stops the itching for a good two hours.

It wasn’t a cure all – nor did it stop the rash from spreading – but it did keep me sane until I could get in to the doctor for a round of medication.

Oh – happy pills – how I needed you!

Needless to say – it’s been a painful week thus far.

But there’s always a bright side – with the rash on my forearms I can’t do any laundry or dishes so I won’t spread it to others. 🙂

Poison Ivy Remedies: What Really Works

Yep. It happened again, another outbreak of poison ivy. This exposure was many times worse than my first.

My daughters and I picked wild grapes on Wednesday, August 27th. I was standing on the gravel road the entire time and never even thought about poison ivy.

It wasn’t until Friday night that I felt a burning on my left leg. By Saturday I had little bumps appear and the itching started. I just thought they were bug bites.  Ha, was I wrong.

By Sunday I knew it was poison ivy.  By Monday it was spreading. After that it becomes a itchy painful blur.

I did look online for some help. Here’s what I learned:

  • Once you’ve had a reaction, each time you are exposed, your reaction will be worse. I hope not- but it looks like they might be right!
  • Redness and swelling will appear in about 12 to 48 hours. Blisters and itching will follow. Yep. I was a textbook case.
  • Because they don’t contain urushiol, the oozing blisters are not contagious nor can the fluid cause further spread on the affected person’s body. Whew! That’s a relief to know because my legs oozed everywhere!
  • The rash will only occur where urushiol has touched the skin; it doesn’t spread throughout the body. Now this one I don’t agree with. I continually had new blisters appear even in places where I was not exposed, for weeks after my exposure.
  • The rash, blisters and itch normally disappear in 14 to 20 days without any treatment. That’s a relief, this should be over any day now!

Now for treatments. Believe me, I was given lots of advice, from the medical to the downright strange!

  • Take Benedryl. This one I did only at night because Benedryl wipes me out. I get really loopy on it for at least 12 hours. But it did allow me to sleep through the night despite the itching.
  • Use Calamine lotion. I actually used Caladryl which was calamine lotion with Benedryl. Again, I did this in the evenings while the benedryl kicked in. It might have helped a little.
  • Use hydrocortisone cream. I used this with my first outbreak, but not this one. The area was just too big. It wasn’t practical. Would it have helped? I wonder.
  • Using the hottest water you can stand, rinse the area until the inching stops. Believe it not, this does work. l guess the hot water releases the histimines which causes intense itching while the water is running. Seriously, it itches so bad it hurts! But then I would have several almost itch free hours. I did this every morning. (It also helps to remove the pink dried-on Caladryl.)
  • Soak a towel in milk of magnesia and wrap it around the affected area. Hmm…didn’t try this one.
  • Wash the affected area with bleach. I tried this one. Didn’t do much but take the tan off my legs in weird streaks, like tiger stripes.
  • Scrape the blisters with a popsicle stick and pour gasoline on them. Ouch! I can’t even think about this one! Several people swear by it, but I just told them gasoline was way too expensive to pour it on my extensive rash!
  • Use a grinder on them! Umm, I think he was joking on this one. You were joking weren’t you, Roger?

And some practical things that I discovered:

  • Baby wipes are handy to carry around when you are oozing. They kept my legs clean and kept the ooze from drying in orange blobs around my ankles.
  • Pouring hydrogen peroxide over the affected area several times a day also kept the area clean to avoid a secondary infection.
  • A clean washcloth with soap and water will help the itching for awhile.

So here I am, almost 3 weeks from my initial exposure. I still have a nasty rash on my left leg and smaller ones on my right leg. I can’t wear shoes or socks because the one at my ankle is so painful. I can’t have anything touch the rash, that includes pants, skirts and even sheets.

But the swelling has gone down. I’ve slept 2 days in a row without Benedryl and there are no more weeping sores.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.