Back in Action!


Hope BraceletIt has been simply ages since my last post. So much has happened; some good, some not so great, but it all kept me from blogging my little heart out as I usually like to do. We had some health scares with my son…the initial reason for my absence. After working through that and getting the all-clear (no relapse – phew), I just got busy living life away from the computer.

It really did feel good not checking email and finding ways to fit in a full-blown photo-shoot each time I cleaned, or made a meal. I loved the lack of pressure…the blogging world continued to thrive, and I was not hurting anyone by checking out for a while.

Of course I missed the daily interactions between my blogging friends. I hope they will forgive me and let me get back into the game. It is strange to just not be there anymore. While I felt it was a much needed break, I did have pangs of guilt and certainly wanted to know what everyone was doing. (To be honest, I did check in on everyone via my phone, I just didn’t actively participate!)

So what, you may be asking, was I doing? I was spending LOTS of time with my kids. I was going out with friends, I was mentally recharging, I was being a Healthy, Working Mom….just not blogging about it. I really felt the blog was taking up what little time I had after work and at the weekends.

You may now have the question, what are you doing back? I understand this fully. I am not going to be back as much as I used to be. I am not going to spend every mealtime checking ingredients, or rushing back and forth to a kiddie event, trying to carve out more time to get my thoughts and ideas on paper. I don’t want to “blog my way through life” as I was doing. I literally blogged in my head as things were happening, rather than enjoying what was going on! Crazy huh? I will be relaying my discoveries related to organic and eco-friendly living, sharing the fun crafts I do with my kids, and letting you know what I made for meals…just not as often.

Superman SammyI have also been drawn back into the world of cancer. While this is a dark subject, it is also something I am looking at proactively. Sammy is cancer-free (thankfully the scare was just that…a scare and not relapse), and I do have more time to give back to others. Sadly, Sammy’s buddy “G” has relapsed (he’s only eight) and awaits a transplant.

My approach to all of this is to do something. I used to blog over at Superman Sammy just to get my angst and woes out. I still check in occasionally to update people. This blog was meant to be my “life after cancer” blog. It still is, but the two will be tied forever by an unseen but painfully real need for me to move forward but never forget. Anyway, I decided to create jewelry to sell in order to raise money to beat cancer to a pulp! We support The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and proceeds will go to them, and also to help me start up a project that I’ve been mulling over in my mind for a while. Sammy had t.shirts made with his name in the superman logo. He has been known as Superman Sammy since diagnosis, and the shirts can be seen all over the town where he goes to school. They were sold to raise money for The Danny Fund, a charity helping families with children suffering catastrophic illnesses. The orange Superman Sammy shirts are famous in our part of the world! The link above takes you to the side-show of Sammy’s infamous day-release from hospital to attend the fundraiser!

Recently, a little girl was diagnosed with a brain tumor and the mom who helped create the Superman Sammy shirts, had one made up for “S”. She sports her wonderful shirt all over the hospital where she also waits for surgeries and a transplant. The shirts seem to bring hope and courage to these young heroes. (I had one made for “G” and his family a while back for the Walk for the Cure.)

So I want to have a shirt made up for the children of CHAM, then Children’s Hospital at Montefiore where Sammy was treated. I want them to see their name in the Superman logo and feel special and recognized for their strength too. So, I’m making jewelry!

Running an Etsy shop is quite hilarious at this point. First of all I have to make the jewelry. I’m fairly good at that aspect of things, and Sammy has also designed the “Chunky Monkey” bracelet set that I wear almost everyday with pride. The funny part comes when I have to take the photographs. I am NOT a photographer and I stink at it. So I am now learning, via the Etsy tutorials no less, how to make my pictures look more “Come and buy me” than “Gosh, what is that?” I kid you not, I really need to work on this. So my newest challenge is born.

I like to learn new things. In fact, I do well when pushed to do something I am not entirely comfortable doing. Once I do get it right, watch out for many shameless plugs for my Etsy Shop, We Were But Stones. It is for a VERY good cause ūüôā Just don’t laugh at the awful photography…it will get better!

Healthy Furniture


Image via Kids and Baby Design Ideas

Nothing is more fun than making your home look stylish and chic with a touch of you thrown in. Your design ideas come together in an amalgam of creativity and spend-ability; trading designer this, for Ikea that to be able to afford the overall ‘look’ you want. Well feel glad you opted for the Ikea piece instead of one that broke the bank…unless your designer piece was antique or ‘green‘.

Safety has taken priority in the manufacturing of household furniture for many years. Unfortunately, this has meant that, in order to fireproof all that surrounds us in our homes, toxic flame retardants have been used with abandon, lulling us into false security. I agree that fire safety is important, but the plastic and foams used in furniture have been treated with fire-retardant polybrominated diphenylethers or PBDEs which are exceedingly hazardous to your health. These PBDEs can be found in furniture, mattresses and your car too. Continue reading

HopeFULL Cooking Fun


This is not a paid review, merely the observations of a mom trying out a new idea in her kitchen.  I am a blogging friend of the HopeFULL Company girls, but all opinions and comments are Buttons or my own.  

Many of you will be aware of the new BellyFULL whole food pops that are the brainchild of two wonderful sisters, Jessica and Stephanie.    The initial idea behind this ingenious, foodalicious fun was to provide people who are going through chemotherapy or other treatments/illnesses with easy to eat, nutrition-packed meals in the form of ice-pops.  Having experienced the difficulties of getting a six-year-old with an ulcerated gastrointestinal tract to eat, I can vouch for the relief such a meal can bring to a parent watching their child waste away to nothing.

The BellyFULL packs are a move into helping parents cope with picky eaters. ¬† They are not just for cancer patients, but for children who turn their noses up at nutritious fruit and veggies but love treats such as ice-pops. ¬†Button, being several months off treatment, has no need for the pops to help his GI tract; instead he needs to rebuild his body, ravaged by chemo, and consume as much ‘goodness’ as possible. ¬†His brother, Peanut, is less picky, but the price of vitamins, not to mention the added sugar they always seem to come with, would drive anyone to think of a better way to get the much needed nutrients into a growing ten year old!

So our BellyFULL pack arrived and Button was immediately determined to don the chef’s hat and get started. ¬†We began with a special trip to the grocery store to purchase the ingredients for Button’s chosen recipe: Apricot Rocket. We pottered around Mrs. Greens gathering a very small supply of food (admittedly I already had everything except the apricots but wanted Button to experience the whole enchilada! ¬†Three ingredients, the obvious star being the apricots, and we were done…easy, organic and cheep!

The packs come with a wonderful ring-bound menu list. ¬†Most of the pops are three key ingredients, and the page also includes very easy to follow directions and some fun ideas for kids to do while helping. ¬†We could guess how many apricot halves were in the jar, or discuss how the apricots felt as we rinsed them. ¬†Button said that was for younger kids as he, being a big seven year old, preferred to be in charge of reading and ¬†following the directions. ¬†Apart from chopping, I really wasn’t needed.

Peeling

Mix Thoroughly

Adding More Ingredients

Chef Button Mixing

Pouring Mixture into Silicone Mold

Add Wooden Spoons

Kid Sloppy But Yummy!

Into the Freezer

Freeze for Three Hours

The wait was almost too much for Button.  He had loved every minute of being in charge of the kitchen.  Finally the waiting was over:

Apricot Rocket Pops

 

The First Try

 

What a great success!  Button immediately announced the pop was delicious and ate the whole thing in  a matter of minutes.  I enjoyed one also and have to admit, it tasted great.  Button was eating ingredients he usually balked at.  I also saw the immense sense of gratification he had in creating something himself.

I feel the pops are especially wonderful for the warmer days…I was cold when I tucked into mine, having just come in from an errand. ¬†I really wanted hot tea, but the pop was so delicious and satisfying I ended up forgetting about the tea. ¬†I ¬†held a mini-interview with Button to see what he thought:

Me: What was your favorite part of the activity?

Button: Making it myself and getting to eat it as soon as I wanted to. ¬†You said I could eat these whenever I feel like and that’s awesome!

Me: What do you think about your Apricot Rocket?

Button: I think it’s really good. ¬†I didn’t know what to expect and it is much better than it looked in the mixer!

Me: Would you have liked this when you were in the hospital?

Button: ¬†Oh yes! ¬†But it wouldn’t have been so much fun because I wouldn’t have made them myself. ¬†

Slight pause….But I would have loved them because they are cold and that would have helped the pain in my throat and mouth. ¬†

Okay, so at this point I was ready to cry, I admit…but I left Button to enjoy his treat and wanted to share with you a little something I created with the leftover mixture:

Mommy's Version

 

I added ice to the pre-frozen mixture and made a smoothie. ¬†It was delicious. ¬†I’m thinking of adding the same pre-frozen mixture (when I make more) to sauces…perhaps sans the dairy component. ¬†It will be a great way to sneak in more fruit and veggies to foods we already eat!

Thoughtful Thursday: Does Everything Happen For A Reason?


 

Oh boy!¬† This is a really loaded topic for me.¬† Yes, I do believe things happen for a reason, but not in the ‘God decided it should be so’ sense.¬† Not that I don’t believe in God…I’m a little on the fence about organized religion, but I believe in the ‘force’ of God and the power of good, love, compassion, and forgiveness.¬† (Hmm…seems most wars start because the different religions argue about how to best show goodness, love, compassion, and forgiveness…but I digress!)

So, do things happen for a reason?¬† Yes…sometimes.¬† For every reaction¬† there is an equal and opposite reaction….or, there is a knock on effect, or the ‘what goes around, comes around’ yadda¬†yadda yadda.¬† Whichever way you look at it, one just needs to think about examples in our own lives to realize, sometimes, things lead to other things and, therefore, there was a reason for it.¬† Am I making sense?¬† Let me give you an example.

I know a young boy who¬†developed cancer.¬† He was in middle school and he fought tooth and nail to beat it.¬† He celebrated five years clear of cancer this winter.¬† I also know a six-year-old who¬†was diagnosed with¬†cancer…the same type as the brave middle schooler.¬† This little boy was terrified, his parents were terrified, but there was an amazing presence; the older boy, who was now a strapping senior, provided so much hope and was such an amazing role model, the six-year-old¬†was able to face each battle with strength and courage.

Was it fair that either child got cancer?¬† No, of course not!¬† What is amazing, however, is the absolute belief both mothers share…it happened for a reason.¬† The senior became the rock that supported the six-year-old; the youngster will go on to inspire and encourage others faced with the terrible disease.¬†¬†You may think¬†I am being too “pragmatic or naive¬†in the face of great anguish and potential tragedy”.¬† I don’t think so as I know both these mothers.¬† In fact…one of them is me!

Quote

Feeding a family is difficult. Everyone is so fussy: they like things this way or that way, but never the way you have actually made it.  Imagine your taste-buds are totally changed, your stomach and gastrointestinal tract is raw and blistered, you throw up regularly, and your hair has fallen out!  You have cancer and now nothing you are presented with looks appetizing.

Now a company, cofounded by Jessica Welsch called The HopeFULL Company is creating meals that will provide essential nutrients to chemo-ravaged bodies as well as those suffering other illnesses, through meals that are actually appealing and easy to eat. ¬†Please consider supporting their Kickstart drive to get this wonderful business funded. ¬†If I had this resource two years ago, I am sure Button would not be facing the post-treament issues he has now. ¬†Please click on the button to make a pledge ASAP….there are only four days left!

Kickstarter – Helping Kids