Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tune in Tuesday!

This has been a favorite of mine since Hubs and I got married…he makes my dreams come true…love you, Babe!


To join in for Tune in Tuesdays check out Nicole's original post and link up!

Nic + Bean

Monday, August 27, 2012

Zim’s First Fish!

We’re an outdoorsy family to the core and we’ve been wanting to take the boys fishing for a while now. Yesterday the weather was just about perfect so we decided we’d get the rods ready and head down to the river. This was our first family fishing outing and the boys were pumped! We walked along the muddy shore line searching for the perfect spot. The river wasn’t too high due to the lack of rain and unfortunately there was a lot of seaweed (well, I guess that should be riverweed). Hubs and I figured that we probably wouldn’t catch anything but weeds but the boys were just too excited to pack up and find another spot. We figured if anything this would be a good learning experience.
As expected, Zim didn’t get the whole waiting part. Once the line was cast out he was itchin’ to reel that baby in. Soon he was wandering the shore with Monkey, finding shells (who knew there were clams in the river!), rocks and sticks. He finally got to reel in his line finding there was nothing but his wiggly worm still on the hook. No one was getting any bites…not even a single little nibble. Zim was determined though and stayed by his daddy’s side while the line was cast again and again. Next thing I hear is “I got a fish! I got a fish!” I look over to see Zim with the rod in his hand reeling in the line. I looked to Ed and asked if he really did have a fish or if he was just overly excited about catching more riverweed. Sure enough, he was the lucky one and hooked a fish! Boy was he excited…his very first fish!


It was a really beautiful evening on the river…the way the sun was setting reflected such pretty colors on the water. We were visited by some ducks looking for food and watched as a whole colony of bats came out from under the bridge to feast on the little bugs along the surface of the water. All in all it was such a great night with my boys!

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Simple Saturday

I missed wordless Wednesday so this is my version for this week. ;)

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We’re celebrating Monkey’s 3rd birthday today with family!

Yummy cupcakes for the birthday boy with
orange icing and sprinkles just like he asked!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Count – RIP Jerry Nelson

Count
RIP Jerry Nelson, I will always think of you and hear your voice when I count with my boys and I will share with them the videos of the Count from years gone by. No one else made counting so much fun….

The Dragons Take Flight! {How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular} #DragonsLive

As an adult I still get super excited about things…like butterflies in my stomach and can’t sleep the night before excited! This is how I felt yesterday as we counted down the hours until we were able to go see the DreamWorks How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular at Consol Energy Center!
This was our first time at the new Consol Energy Center and we were all very impressed! The attendants were very helpful, the center was very clean and the seats were amazingly comfortable.
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As we were shown to our seats you could see the excitement in my boys’ eyes. There was so much to look at! Zim was honestly overwhelmed with it all. All the people, the lights, the seats, the sounds…and the show hadn’t even begun!
IMG_1368Zim just loved looking at everything…here he is watching
the dragons fly on the ceiling before the show!
The show itself was unbelievable! As it began I found myself getting chills...between the lights and amazing effects…I don’t know how anyone wouldn’t be impressed! The backdrop, which is as wide as nine movie screens, was an integral part of the action. With the use of ropes and other apparatus, Hiccup traveled up the screen creating an illusion of him walking through his village and the surrounding area. Breathtaking images on the screens also gave you the sense that you were underwater, flying high through the sky with Hiccup and Toothless or escaping from a dark, dangerous mountain with a fiery beast at your heels!
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Hiccups village is projected here on the screen
with Viking villagers shouting from their homes.
The story was creatively retold with live Vikings and 23 fire-breathing, smoke-blowing, high flying dragons! Though most of the show was full of action there were also tender moments and plenty of humor to keep everyone laughing. My boys really enjoyed watching the Vikings dance and fight and were in awe of the amazing pyrotechnic and lighting effects.
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From start to finish the show was truly amazing. I highly recommend that anyone with or with out children find a way to see this show.  It’s great for young and old alike.  You will leave feeling entertained and amazed and you will carry the memories with you for a lifetime!
If you too would love to experience this amazing show there are still tickets available for the Pittsburgh showing…to purchase yours today check out their website. How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular will be on it’s way to many more cities across the US so be sure to check if it’s coming to an event center near you! Shows like this are one of a kind and don’t come around often…don’t miss out on this opportunity to see dragons fly and learn that there is more to them than meets the eye!
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Juvenile Arthritis…What it Means to Us.

Back in January we noticed that Monkey was limping a little. We thought that maybe it was because of how he usually sits on the floor…legs to the side like a M..we thought maybe his leg or foot was falling asleep. We started making him sit in his little chair and watched him carefully to make sure he sat with his feet out to see if it helped. Oddly the limping got worse. Soon he was complaining it hurt and would barely walk. We took him in to our pediatrician on January 24. He sent us right away for x-rays saying that often times kids his age can fracture their leg and not show any signs (bruising/swelling). After getting x-rays we were told they didn’t see any breaks or fracture of any kind. Once I got the confirmation back from the doctor he referred us to the pediatric orthopedist.

On February 2 we met with the orthopedist and they were using words like “rheumatoid arthritis” and “MRI”. This is when I started worrying. An MRI for a two-year-old meant sedation. The word rheumatoid brought images of my poor baby not being able to move at age 5 and never being able to live a ‘normal’ life. Needless to say I was scared and confused. Ed talked me down from the ledge though, he reminded me that we needed to take things one step at a time…not jump to conclusions.

I called to schedule his MRI and they told me it would be almost six weeks until they could get him in. This was not ok. Monkey’s pain had gotten worse and at this point his right knee was visibly swollen. He would sit in the chair and cry, “Momma, my leg hurt. I go to doctor.” It broke my heart. I called and called every morning asking if there were any cancellations. Finally, one morning I just broke down with the poor girl on the phone. She was so sweet and kind and even though they didn’t keep a waiting list she took my name and number. She called me the next morning saying there was an open spot that Sunday. I thanked her over and over for her kindness and thanked God that He made a way.

We were to go in on February 5 for his MRI.  What a scary thing. I know that there are children and parents out there that are dealing with much worse but for us this was new and to me a little terrifying. To watch the nurses put an IV in your 2 year old and see him shake because of the medication and watch his eyes roll back as it finally put him under…not really something I thought I’d have to experience as a parent. I sat in a rocker while they took the images and I prayed. I prayed that he would be ok. I prayed that they would find something that was easily treatable, something fixable. I watched him closely to make sure his chest was moving so I knew that he was ok. They finished the MRI and put us in a waiting room where I cradled him in my arms as he slowly woke up. All things considered he did very well. He was a little groggy and unsteady the rest of the day but we made it through with out any complications.

Later that week, after many tearful calls to the office, I finally got the results of the scan. He had severe inflammation around his knee. We were then referred to a rheumatologist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Again I had to call and call to get an appointment that wouldn’t be two months away. I was so shocked that 1) there were pediatric rheumatologists and 2) that they were so busy! We finally got him in on February 17. Monkey was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. We were told that they would start him on Naproxen and see how he responded to that. I know they told me other things and handed me a bunch of papers but honestly it’s all just a blur.

We started him on the Naproxen and after a few days he still wasn’t doing any better and now he was having severe stomach pain from the Naproxen. I called his doctors and they decided to start him on an oral steroid as well as prevacid to help his stomach. I was starting to feel like a pharmacist giving my 2 year old three different medications every day that he despised. The steroid worked quickly to take down the swelling some but it was so bad that we decided with the direction of his doctors that he needed to have an injection directly into the knee rather than to continue having the steroid course through his whole system. On April 6 (Good Friday) we traveled back to the hospital and he was once again sedated (this time with gas) so he could receive an injection in his right knee and left ankle.

The effects of the injection were immediate. We noticed a huge difference within days and we were very relieved. The doctors told us that the effects could last up to six months or longer…this is of course what I prayed for. Unfortunately, a month or so later his right ankle and left knee started to look swollen. We noticed that after playing for a bit he would get what we call Zombie foot…his right foot would start to turn out to the side and he’d start dragging his leg when he’d walk. We went back to the doctors who said that there was definitely a bit of swelling but to treat it with Motrin and see how he does. In addition to the Motrin we started limiting his amount of play…how sad is that? A two year old should be able to run and jump and play as long as his little heart wants too.

So, here we are, seven months later and now his left knee is still swollen and he is once again limping. We’ve been searching for alternative treatments in an effort to avoid another injection as long as possible. I have thankfully found a group of parents on Facebook who’s children are also dealing with JA. Thru this I’ve realized that it can be worse, much worse, and I’ve found myself counting my blessings and trying to focus more on the good things. I’m also searching for local families in the Pittsburgh area who are dealing with JA in order to learn from their experiences as well and have a local support group.

Many people look at me with a confused face when I tell them that my now 3 year old has arthritis and I often wonder if they truly believe me or think I’m a crazy, over-worried mother. If you want to learn more specifics about JA you can read an awesome blog post here. If you’d like more information on how you can help support the efforts to find new treatments for children with JA you can visit the Arthritis Foundation’s Website or the website for the Arthritis National Research Foundation.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Crockpot Honey Bourbon Chicken

As I’ve mentioned before I LOVE Pinterest and I use it often for recipes. I also love crockpot cooking! Here is a recipe that combines both and one that is a big hit with our family!  Crockpot Honey Bourbon Chicken…YUM!
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You’ll need 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs.  Lightly salt and pepper both sides and place them in the bottom of the crockpot.
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Mince your onion and garlic and add it to the chicken.
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Next combine your soy sauce, honey (I didn’t have enough honey so I used honey and agave nectar), ketchup, oil and pepper flakes.
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Then pour the mix over the chicken…
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Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours.  Easy peasy!
When the chicken is done I like to coarsely chop it into bite size pieces. While I have the chicken out I add my cornstarch/water mix and let the sauce thicken. Add the chicken back in to simmer for a while then serve it over hot rice.  The recipe says that it makes four servings but it easily feeds our family of five.  You could always add more chicken if you have more mouths to feed.

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Honey Bourbon Crock Pot Chicken
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • hot rice
  • sesame seeds, optional
Instructions
  1. Salt and pepper chicken and place in your slow cooker.
  2. Place onion on top of chicken.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, ketchup, oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Pour mixture over the chicken in the crockpot.
  4. Cook on low for 3-4 hours
  5. Remove chicken from crock pot and slice into strips.
  6. In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbsp cornstarch with 1 Tbsp water. Pour into sauce remaining in the crock pot and stir to combine. If sauce is not thick enough repeat with another Tbsp of the cornstarch/water.
  7. Place the chicken back in the sauce and stir around to recoat the chicken in the sauce.
  8. Serve over cooked rice and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top (optional).
(This is not my original recipe. I found this recipe on Pinterest which lead me to the original post and recipe.)

I’m also adding this recipe post to an awesome Tuesday Tips link-up over at Simply Better. Check it out and join the fun!


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Tune in Tuesday–There is Life

This week, my pick is in memory of two amazing people.

Linda, You were taken away from the world so suddenly from a family full of love. You were one of the kindest, most loving people I have ever met and I feel so blessed that I was able to spend even a little bit of time with you.

Lane, You were a miracle baby. Your parents, Shawna and Brad, loved you so much and there wasn’t a single moment that they didn’t trust you into God’s hands. You proved the doctors wrong and you came into this world with breath and were able to spend a few precious moments physically surrounded by their love, hugs and kisses before you went to fly with the angels. I was blessed to spend time with you before you were born, to talk to you and pray for you. I even got to hold you for a few moments and watch you blow sweet little bubbles. Now I can say that I held an angel in my arms.


To join in for Tune in Tuesdays go here and link up!

Nic + Bean

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Motivation

I’m not sure what it is about Monday…some people hate it others are indifferent.  When I was working I definitely hated it…back to the grind of getting up at a set time and rushing around to get everyone ready to go off to wherever they needed to be. Sitting in a tiny cube thinking you’d rather be anywhere but right there and already starting to count down until Friday.

Now that I’m home Mondays are definitely different.  I don’t dread them like I used to, in fact, I’ll admit that I kind of enjoy Mondays.  Mondays for me are usually full of motivation.  It’s like a fresh start. Some Mondays are daunting as I look around at the fun mess we created as a family over the weekend that now needs cleaned up. Now, this motivation doesn’t always lead to accomplishment but we try!

By nature I am not an organized person and I am far from a ‘neat-freak.’ Some might come into our home and think it’s messy and chaotic but to us it home…we LIVE here and we don’t spend our time stressing about everything being ‘perfect.’  I am striving to try to be a little organized. I try to have the kids keep their toys in certain areas…trio blocks in one box, action figures and accessories in another, books in another, puzzles on this shelf, art stuff on another…they are kids though so it doesn’t always stay that way. Sometimes it frustrates me but then I remember they are kids…they are learning while having fun and if I stress about things not always being where they are supposed to be they will no longer want to play with them for fear that they’ll mess up the system. Besides…

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When the Monday motivation bug hits me I’ll sit and make lists for each room and mark a name down by each task. Zim and Monkey are a little young for certain tasks but they definitely still help. They really love to frustrate Bubba when we dump the toys all out and sort. Bubs takes this task very seriously but the other two take it as a chance to discover toys that have been buried at the bottom of the box. It’s like Christmas morning for them!

This Monday is a fresh start for school as well…for myself and for Bubs.  Time to get out of the summer chill routine and back into the school swing.  I’m not going to lie…it’s not going to be easy. This Momma loves her chill time. But, it’s time for us both to buckle back down and get into a routine…we can do it!  Right?

I hope you can find a new outlook to your Monday today. Make it your day and think of it as a fresh start…make this week better than last!

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday Monkey!

Today my little monkey is three….my last baby is officially not a baby anymore. We celebrated this morning since Daddy had to work today. He really enjoyed his balloons, streamers, colored pancakes and presents! It’s so hard to believe that it’s already been three years since he came into our life!  Love you little monkey man, with all my heart, forever and ever, no matter what!

In honor of Monkey’s special day here are some pictures through the years….

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Brand new baby Sean 8-18-09

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Meeting his brothers.

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Trying to get into Nonna’s bag.
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Happy 1st Birthday!
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Halloween 2010

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Christmas 2010

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Love his hair! 4-26-11

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Watching the motorcycles! 7-9-11

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Happy 2nd Birthday! 8-18-11

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Halloween 2011
(Yup, in the freezing cold and snow in NY!)

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January 2012

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Zoo fun! 4-18-12

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Beautiful eyelashes! 7-31-12

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Loving the pool! 7-31-12

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Ready for a walk! Last day as a 2 yr old!
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Happy 3rd Birthday! 8-18-12

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Make a wish!

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“Momma, it’s rainin’ in the house!”

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Blog Hop!

These are always fun so check it out!  You’ll find some awesome blogs to follow and maybe even find a new friend or two! The hop I’m joining in this week can be found over at The Harmon Baby Farm.  You’ll definitely want to follow this one…Angela is a witty momma with an awesome way with words! Her posts will surely make you smile! Check out all the rules to the hop and join in the fun!

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A Day With My Bubs

Wednesday (I know, I know, I’m a little late) I was able to take Bubba to Kennywood.  We were able to spend the entire day there this year and had such a blast! My little man is a coaster lover like me and is gradually working his way up. This year he rode the Thunderbolt and while he looked completely terrified the entire time he claims he liked it. We walked around a lot and watched the rides that neither of us are brave enough to try (Black Widow…NO.WAY!) and enjoyed treats like french fries and dip’n dots. We even chatted with some people while in line and enjoyed sharing stories of the summer and what we liked best about the park. One girl his age in particular caught his eye, he even mentioned her on the way home, “Momma, you remember that girl we were talking to at the car ride?  She was pretty.” Awwwwww! My little man is growing up! 

One of his favorite parts of the day was watching a live show called Steel City Rhythm. (I would post a link to them but it’s actually a new show out of NYC that debuted this summer at Kennywood.) It was a group of eight singers/dancers that played a variety of percussion instruments. There were drums everywhere and lots of fun and recent music for the kids to dance along to. The performers would frequently come out to the audience and sing to them, invite some one to dance with them, and even let the kids play along on an instrument! Bubs enjoyed the show so much that we went back a second time. He was able to dance with one of the girls, bang on a drum and play a tambourine. He LOVED it! When it was getting close to closing time we grabbed a treat and watched the laser show. We climbed back up the hill to the car, both exhausted from a long, fun-filled day. Before he conked out on the drive home he said, “Momma, I had such a great day!” Me too, Bubs, me too.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kick Starting the Giveaways!

I have quite a few awesome giveaways lined up for all my lucky readers! Just wait till you see all the great prizes lined up! Before we start though I’d love to get some more followers to make it a lot more fun!  To do that I’m going to put up something from yours truly as our first prize! For my readers that are new I also run my own little side business called Sew Sassy by Ashley. I make a number of things ranging from jewelry, to hair accessories, to red-neck wine glasses and a lot of other things in between! Up for grabs today is something new! I’ve been making these for a couple months and they are even available in a local shop in Belle Vernon! This weeks giveaway is a set of six duct tape pens!  Yes, I really said duct tape!
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These are a great way to add some pop to your office and to ensure that you will know who exactly stole your pen!  They come in blue or black ink and are available in a number of different colors and patterns! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

First Day of School! First Day of School!

I’ve seen posts all over Facebook the past few days….adorable pictures of kids of all ages dressed in cute outfits with beaming smiles on their very first day of school. Well, today is MY first day of school and I feel like Marlin from Finding Nemo, “I don’t wanna go to school….five more minutes….” 

Yup, that was me this morning, glued to the couch with sleep still in my eyes.  But, here I am, 1.5 cups of coffee later not ready to start my second semester of school at WCCC. For the fall term I’m taking an Intro to Electronic Health Records and another Medical Terminology class, this time more in-depth (A&P).

I have found that while school is a challenge with three kiddos it’s also very rewarding. I strongly encourage you if you’ve considered going back to school to give it a try. You never know, you just may surprise yourself like I did and do very well. You CAN do it! As my father-in-law always said….”Never, never, NEVER give up!”

never give up