Tyler Azalea Trail

We went to Tyler, Texas last weekend to visit family and tour the Tyler Azalea Trail.  My youngest sister was an official greeter, an Azalea Belle.  The girls were so excited to see their Aunt Grace dressed up!  They (at least Audrey) wish that I would dress like this every day.   I just don’t think Target is ready for that yet.


The homes and their yards were exquisite and not even in full bloom yet.



The yards are open to the public weekends until April 1st.  The homeowners were so gracious to open their homes to tourists.

Next, we toured the Tyler Rose Museum.  The dresses featured were worn last year at the Tyler Rose Festival.  I have never seen anything like them in my life.  The girls were mesmerized. I think I was a bit too.


I mean, look at that train.

Thank you Tyler, for a lovely weekend!




Because we are on the cusp of warmer weather, flowers blooming, and parasites, I want to share about Alpha-Gal allergy or Mammalian Meat Allergy in the hopes of possibly helping prevent others from getting it and increasing awareness for those who might be suffering from it unawares.

Alpha-Gal allergy is not well known but has some claim to fame-John Grisham has it.  Put simply, it’s a tick-borne mammal meat allergy that can cause hives, GI upset, asthma-like symptoms, and even anaphylaxis.  It’s an allergy that’s caused by a Lone Star tick bite.  You can read all about its interesting history here.

I was diagnosed with Mammalian Meat Allergy/Alpha-Gal seven years ago.  I went to a holistic physician because I kept getting unexplained facial swelling, asthma, and hives on my eyelids.

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((Those are pictures of my affected eye last Friday just before Daniel and I went out to a fancy restaurant on a rare date night.  That’s after Benadryl.))

So seven years ago, my physician ordered a blood draw for an IgG and IgE food allergy test.

The results were shocking.

Besides learning that I am wheat (gluten and gliadin) intolerant, I also learned that I am very allergic, bordering on anaphylactic, to mammal meats and mammal products.

That meant:  No beef.  No pork.  No lamb.  No milk.  No yogurt.  No dairy cheeses.  No butter.  No beef-derived magnesium stearate.  No casein.  No whey.  No chicken sausage with pork casing.  No Colgate toothpaste because it has gelatin.  No lotion with mammal collagens or proteins.  Etc.

This was a huge, huge shock.  I think mostly because Alpha-Gal is such a hard allergy to cipher.  The onset is delayed and varies on metabolism and reactions differ from person to person.  Also, from my experience, there is a lack of knowledge regarding the allergy in the medical community.

Many people with Alpha-Gal allergies are only allergic to mammal meats, not byproducts.  I have read that people like me who are also allergic to byproducts too might have been bitten by an infected tick more than once.  So gross, right?

I don’t remember being bitten by a Lone Star tick.  But they are numerous in our area and I do like to spend time outdoors.

There is no cure for the Alpha-Gal allergy.  Researchers say that some people’s allergies simply go away with time.  Mine hasn’t yet and it’s been seven years.  The only way to prevent reactions is to avoid the foods you are allergic to.

There is a way to try and prevent getting Alpha-Gal.  Tick protection!  You can do what the experts suggest and wear light colored long sleeves and pants if you plan on being in an area where there might be ticks.  And always do tick checks!  Daniel went to a Hunter’s Ed Safety course and the instructor highly recommended wearing PANTYHOSE if you’re going to be outdoors around ticks.  I have terrible childhood memories of sagging pantyhose under my Sunday best, but maybe the drifting crotch was just something that happened to tall girls.

And I do not like chemicals in my food or on my body but I have only found Deet products to be effective in keeping ticks away.  I have tried all kinds of all-natural oils, lotions, and sprays but have not found one that works.  That is, when I use them according to their instructions, then go outdoors, I still find ticks crawling up my legs getting ready for a snack.

So, if anyone has unexplained hives or anaphylaxis, you might consider having blood drawn for a food allergy test.  And for the nature lovers out there, may the ticks leave you be and may you enjoy your adventures even if you’re wearing saggy-crotched pantyhose!

The Only Closet Door in the House

Over the last two weekends Daniel built me a lovely closet door from some cedar boards we had hanging around.  Cedar is my material of choice for my closet.  I love cedar.  So, in other words, he built my dream door from scratch.

I sent him two inspiration links: One From My Friend Jenni’s Site and One That Had The Cedar Look.

I follow Jenni on Facebook and last summer she shared a link to this (in my opinion) very affordable sliding door hardware on Amazon.   Daniel found a nice modern looking handle at Home Depot.  The cedar is freshly planed and has a reddish/purple coloring.  As it ages, it will fade and lean more towards brown like the cedar planks that line my closet.


Nice work, Liver Boy!  Muah!

Accidental Hobnobbing @ACH

The girls go to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock about four times a year.

And when it’s not foggy as all get out, the drive is lovely.


We love their Dental Clinic.  We were sad to hear that Children’s Northwest would not be getting a Dental Clinic, but we really like our hygienists and dentists.

They give us good care and the girls get the BEST TOOTHBRUSHES ever!  These are so great for parents/caregivers who have to brush all those little teeth in little mouths.

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And at our visit today, the girls did some accidental hobnobbing with senators.


The girls loved, loved, loved it.  Eva had lots of fun with Mr. Bart.


They drew for about an hour and when it was time for us to go, Eva laughed and said, “We drew with those men!”  She was more impressed with their drawing assistance than their status.   We did not talk politics.  We talked hues.  They loved it.