Preventing My Migraines


I’ve had migraines for as long as I can remember.  When I was a child I called it being “dizzy” or motion sickness.  As I grew into adulthood I started noticing my triggers, strong smells, bright lights, not eating regularly and not enough sleep. When my migraines became chronic and started seriously impacting my work and family life, I sought medical treatment. The medication worked for a while but in the end I needed more and more medication to get help & the side effects ultimately cost me my job.  Lifestyle change  has helped me cut the number of migraines I get and helped me stop many of them before they take hold.

I avoid strong smells.  I don’t wear perfume, use air freshener or us strong-smelling cleansers.  I can feel certain smells in my head and it hurts.  I can avoid these smells at home, but outside the home I am careful.  Many people wear perfume or cologne, and use air fresheners.  I’ve gotten migraines by riding in a car with someone wearing perfume, or being in a meeting room with air freshener.

I’m sensitive to bright lights, flashing lights and direct sunlight.  Particularly at night when driving.  The lights on other vehicles are so bright I often wear my sunglasses.  Flashing lights from emergency vehicles, turn signals, Christmas lights and signs are a problem.  I need to turn my head and close my eyes.  Hard to do while driving.  I avoid spending much time in the direct sunlight.  I am fair-skinned and burn easily, but the sun also triggers my migraines.

Not eating regularly is also a trigger.  I get irritable, nauseous, and light-headed if I go very long without food. I try to make sure I have food available when I travel, even if it’s just around town.  I don’t have many food triggers, but drinking too much caffeine or eating too much junk food will trigger a migraine.

I need to sleep. I’m not someone who gets by on 4-5 hours of sleep a night.  I need a good 8 hours or more.  During some of my worst migraine episodes, I felt like I could sleep for a couple of years before I felt rested.  When I have migraines I’m absolutely exhausted afterwards.  Sleep is healing for me.  I need it.

I’ve made some serious lifestyle changes to help prevent my migraines.  I no longer work outside the home like I did for so many years.  Being able to stay at home with my kids and limit my obligations outside the home has helped cut the stress in my life.  I’m just not always dependable.  When I have a migraine, I don’t think clearly and I’m totally preoccupied by the pain.

I struggle to exercise and meditate regularly.  When I am able to exercise and meditate daily, I notice a positive change.  It relieves stress, helps me sleep, makes me want to eat better and just plain feels good. It need to find more ways to motivate myself to get on the elliptical.

When a migraine starts, I’ve had success taking an over the counter pain reliever, putting an ice pack on my neck and upper shoulders, and lying down in a dark, cool, quite room.  It doesn’t’ always stop the migraine, but sometimes it does.  I don’t want to ever be on all the medication I was in the past.  I’m sticking with my prevention methods.


Learning to Clean Again

I work at home now after spending most of my life working outside the home.  I made the change after suffering a debilitating illness that left me struggling to do many things.  Staying on top of the cleaning was one of those things. While  I’m able to do the day-to-day cleaning like dishes, garbage and dirty clothes, I find it hard to keep up with bigger cleaning chores like vacuuming. watering the plants, cleaning baseboard and windows.  I’m determined to get back on track without spending a lot of time fussing over a schedule.

I love schedules.  They help me stay on track and be more efficient.  I don’t like how I feel when I miss something I’ve scheduled to do.  My plan for learning to clean again must flexible. I need  to miss a day here and there and not fall behind.  I need time for the rest of life to happen. The day-to-day cleaning that I already to do takes me to almost every room of the house.  I pick up each room, one at a time.  I want to approach weekly, monthly and annual cleaning the same way, a room at a time.

My proposed weekly schedule:  Monday Living Room ; Tuesday Kitchen; Wednesday Miscellaneous; Thursday Bathroom; Friday Bedroom; Saturday Office.  Each room needs the floors and countertops cleaned and surfaces dusted and wiped down.  In the Living Room, the bookshelves need  straightening and furniture polished.  The Kitchen needs countertops sanitized and small appliances cleaned.  Wednesday is a day for Miscellaneous cleaning but I can also use it as a day to catch up if I get behind.  I’d like to water the indoor plants this day and do the bulk of my laundry.  Thursday is Bathroom day for cleaning sinks, toilets and showers.  Friday in the Bedroom to change sheets and straighten the closet. Saturday cleaning in the Office filing papers and paying bills.

Once a month I’ll clean the baseboard, vacuüm the furniture, clean out the refrigerator, and wash the shower curtain.  I think the easiest way to do this is cleaning baseboard during my weekly cleaning during the first week of the month.  I’ll vacuüm furniture during the second week.  Clean out the refrigerators during the third week and washing the shower curtain the fourth week.

To help me remember quarterly cleaning I plan to do it during the change of the seasons.  Spring, Summer, Winter, Autumn I will rotate seasonal decor and clothing, purge paperwork and check batteries in the smoke detectors. I think something similar will help me with annual chores.  At the start of Spring I’ll wash curtains and clean windows. Summer will remind me to  clean behind the furniture.  When Autumn starts I’ll clean the oven and behind appliances. The beginning of Winter I’ll archive my files and collect tax information.

I believe this is a plan I can follow.  Its simple and easy to remember but covers the areas I’ve struggled with.  Once I master this plan I want to do something similar for outdoor cleaning and chores.  I definitely need to play catch up out there too.

Bacon Spaghetti

I had a great idea for dinner tonight.  We usually have pasta on Wednesday’s so I was thinking along those lines when bacon entered my mind.  I don’t think I’ve ever had bacon I didn’t like.  Someday I’m going to try chocolate covered bacon – but that is another story.  Tonight we try Bacon Spaghetti for the first time.

I searched for Bacon Spaghetti recipes and found most were for Spaghetti Carbonara. Basically, its bacon, spaghetti, parmesan and egg.  I wanted something a little lighter and more kid-proof.  I have an 8-year old who is very picky about what goes on her pasta. I wanted her to enjoy this meal too.

Usually, I need a recipe to feel confident about cooking, but lately I’ve been a little more creative.  I realized the meals we all enjoy, and that I cook consistently are those I learned to make years ago with no recipe. I’ve been making tacos, spaghetti, chili, and krautburgers since I was a teen. My mom taught me how to cook these & I’ve made some changes along the way. I think Bacon Spaghetti could another favorite.

This recipe is very simple.  Chop 6 pieces of bacon and fry in a skillet until crisp. Reserve at least 2 T of bacon grease in the skillet.  Meanwhile, cook 1 package of spaghetti noodles.  Add 1 clove chopped garlic to the bacon and stir for about 1 minute. Drain spaghetti and add to the bacon mixture. Stir. Serve warm.

The kids loved this & I loved how simple it was. We will definitely be trying this again.

bacon spaghetti

Simple Family Meal Plan

Meal planning is new to me.  When I worked outside the home we often ate out or had fast food which was convenient but not healthy for us and expensive.  Now that I work at home, I feel like I have more time to focus on our meals.  We seem to look forward to meals now that we are eating at home almost exclusively.  On top of that, we just don’t have the extra money to spend on eating out.  I made a simple meal plan that could easily be modified to have several variations.

First, I made a list of our favorite meals.  There are three children in my home, so these are very kid friendly.  Eggs, cereal, soup, sandwiches, tacos, pasta, roast, pizza and spaghetti are among the favorites. They are also meals that are easy to add variation to.  Boil, poached or bake the eggs. Cereal from a box, homemade granola or cooked oatmeal are other options.  Think of all the different soups and sandwiches you like.  Tacos, pasta, roast, need I say more?

Breakfast are very simple.  Eggs or cereal for breakfast. Scrambled eggs are most popular in our house, but sometimes we have hard-boiled too.  Boxed cereal is the favorite, most expensive and least nutritious.  I balance it out by offering hot cereal and homemade granola too. I like to have a few options for those mornings when we need to run out the door.  Granola bars, muffins and breakfast burritos made ahead, packaged and or frozen for use when needed.

Soup or sandwich for lunch. So many different options here.  I keep canned chicken noodle and tomato soup on hand, but I’d like to experiment more with making my own soups too.  I make a mean potato soup but I find most recipes make so much soup we just don’t eat it all.  I enjoy a good peanut butter sandwich, egg salad, tuna salad, turkey sandwich. Easy to make and paired with a salad, lunch is ready.  These can also be easily packed for lunch on the go.

Dinner is a little more varied but is basically the same each week.  On Monday, we have breakfast for dinner.  Sausage & pancakes or bacon and waffles fit the bill.  Tuesdays are for tacos.  Ground beef is the family favorite, but I’ve also made chicken, fish and shredded beef. Wednesday is for pasta.  Because its in the middle of the week I try to go for something lighter. Although, macaroni and cheese is the all time favorite, we enjoy bacon pasta, Asian-style peanut butter noodles butter noodles with hamburger gravy too.  Thursday is for roast beast, chicken, pork or beef.  Whatever is on sale.  Friday is pizza.  Sometimes we have a frozen one, but the best is home-made.  Our cheese burger pizza is just as good as the hamburger and onion.  We like to grill on Saturday.  Hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, or chicken.  We always have spaghetti with marinara sauce on Sunday.  A family tradition.

This is my first meal plan.  I’m sure it will go thru some changes, but I’d like to keep it generally the same.  The kids and I both like to know what is for dinner, and now they generally do.  Everyone loves taco Tuesday. Spaghetti Sunday is a favorite too.  I plan on making a detailed grocery list and a meal prep day where I can save time by prepping as much food as possible.  When we don’t have a plan we gravitate towards eating out.  I want to keep us at home.  Its better for all of us.

meal plan