Thursday, July 2, 2015

Summer Safety and Why It Is So Important

It's summer and actually June was National Safety Month and rightly so since summer is the time of year when so many people are vacationing and participating in outdoor activities.  It would make sense then that many more accidents occur due to the type of activities individuals participate in the hot months.  I was asked to read a story that made national attention a few years ago about the danger of these outdoor activities and then remind individuals what they can do to possibly prevent them from happening to you and your loved ones.

Tyler Madoff was a 15 year old in 2012 when he went on a trip to Hawaii where he participated in an adventure tour.   Some of the activities offered were kayaking, canoeing, hiking, sailing and surfing.  He, and the group he was with, hired a company to take them on this adventure tour.  However, one of the individuals in charge did not use caution and Tyler lost his life. (Click HERE to read the entire story.)  This event was tragic for everyone involved and that's the reason I am writing this post; to share some summertime safety tips that could possibly save lives.

1.  Remember to take nature seriously.
     Since most summertime activities take place outdoors and more specifically in the water, it is
     important to remember that people cannot predict or control what nature is going to do.  It is
     best to always err on the side of caution.
2.  Trust your instinct.
     We all tend to trust those in charge of a tour but keep in mind that they are just human.  And
     humans make mistakes.  Trust that gut feeling of yours and if things just feel wrong to you,
     DON'T participate.  It's much better to be safe than sorry later.
3.  Ask questions regarding safety when taking a guided excursion.
     Most people who participate in adventure tours are risk takers at heart.  That being said, one
     should always ask the "What If" questions.  Be prepared for what could possibly happen and
     have safety equipment available and a plan in place in the event something does go awry.
4.  Know your guides expertise.
     The Internet is readily available for research so do just that; research the individuals who will be
     taking you on your excursion.  See what their credentials and experience is.  Ask around the area
     when you arrive to confirm what you have learned and if things don't match up, cancel the
     tour.  There is no shame in that.  Find another one.  Taking this precaution may save your life.
5.  Set limitations.
     "Adventure" is one of those words that gives the mental image of no limits.  One must have
     limits, even on an adventure tour.  Not setting limitations sets up an environment for possible

Let's face it summer is fun.  We all love to get out in the sun and water and enjoy ourselves. And yes, some like to seek adventures in the process. However, that enjoyment can turn tragic in a split second if individuals don't exercise safety.  Remember, safety does not means not having fun, it just means that you are cautious because you want to continue to participate in that fun for years to come.

                             WISHING YOU ALL A VERY SAFE AND FUN SUMMER
                                                    FILLED WITH ADVENTURES!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Dreaded Colonoscopy

I've finally come to terms with the fact that I am over 50.  It has taken three years for me to get there but I find myself realizing that I AM 53 and over due for "The Dreaded Colonoscopy".

Oh, I have thought about it for these three years and each time, although I know the importance of the screening process, have totally been freaked out by the possibility of having the procedure done.  There's really nothing about the entire thing that doesn't give me serious anxiety:

1.  Someone putting a tube up your butt.
2.  Walking into the surgery center.  For a procedure.  Of ANY kind.
3.  Needles.  Specifically having an IV put in.  Yes, I gave birth to four children AND had epidurals
     with all 4.  Don't judge me.  I was young.  I had no fear.  And I got a baby out of the deal.
4.  The "cleanse".  OH CRAP (literally).  Have you read the danger literature included in that stuff?!
     Possibility of dehydration, seizures and even death.  WHY do I read that literature?!
5.  Not getting to have my coffee with creamer.  Two mornings in a row.  Pure insanity.
6.  Sitting on the toilet for...EVER apparently (ugh!).
7.  Did I mention getting a TUBE STUCK UP YOUR BUTT?!?!

I have thoroughly researched "The Colonoscopy" for the past couple of weeks leading up to mine,   both online and talking to people who have already experienced theirs.  Here is some of the advice I have gotten:

1.  Just go ahead and mark 2 days off of your calendar.  One for the "cleanse" because you won't
     be able to leave the house (lovely mental picture there.)  And one for the procedure day because
     you will have anesthesia AND will be tired from sitting on the toilet all night long (again...lovely
     mental picture.)
2.  You won't be able to leave the bathroom so set up a little table in there for your drinks (ewww...),
      grab a good book and a pillow (for sleeping on the floor between bout of crapping I suppose.)
3.  Don't worry, it's not like a stomach virus, you won't have cramping you will just "go".  WHAT?!
     That sounds a bit dangerous to me.  Should I invest in a package of adult diapers?!


The next thing I did in an attempt to ease my mind was to search the Internet not only about the procedure but also about the prep I had chosen, Prepopik.  Let me share with you something about this idea:  DON'T DO IT!  Just DON'T.  Nothing good can come out of searching the Internet or knowing what others' experiences have been because if you are like me, a "dreader", it does absolutely nothing to ease your mind.  However, saying that, "dreaders" cannot help themselves.  They must continue to search until the moment is upon them.  Which at that point...THEY FREAK OUT!

And so, I made my appointment, scheduled my procedure day, researched until my computer keyboard was worn out and then Sunday, the day of my prep,  was finally upon me...(sigh).


I chose Sunday as my prep day because I wanted to get this thing over with at the beginning of the week.  For me, there would be no good time.  Ever.  Sunday consisted of going on a liquid diet.  My fear of dehydration was real so I began to consume jello (I had forgotten why I don't eat jello.  I hate it.  BUT...when you're starving you will eat anything.), chicken bouillion, Gatorade, Sprite, water, coffee and white grape juice.  Nothing could be red or purple.  Of course, since those are the only good tasting flavors in the "Liquid Diet World" (hmph!).  I had so many liquids beforehand that I actually started "going" before I took the prep.

And then, the dreaded hour was upon me:  6 pm.  That was to be the first dosage of the Prepopik.  I wasn't dreadful at first, however, as the night progressed I mentioned to Hubby that I thought I was most likely getting a hemorrhoid from all the activity.  My second dosage was at 1:30 am.  Yep...there was pretty much no sleeping going on for me that night.  I think finally around 3-ish I fell asleep and then awoke around 5:30 to take a bath and dress for my appointed time to arrive at the surgery center, 6:30 am Monday.


I knew that Monday was not going to go easy for me.  Remember, I said the entire process freaked me out.  And by that I mean it caused real anxiety.  When having the consult with my doctor I told him that anxiety would play a big role in this entire process for me and he assured me that I could have something put in my IV that would calm me down a bit before I went back for my procedure.

I signed all of the consent forms and then was taken to the back pretty quickly to get my IV and vitals taken.  And, of course, put on that lovely gown that splits up the back.  I didn't like the fact that I had to go back there to do all that stuff alone.  They told the Hubs that they would call for him to come back soon.  I watched as the nurse laid all of the equipment out to put my IV in.  And, yes, I have had not only IV's before but the epidural before mentioned.  This was somehow different and suddenly things were getting real in that room.  And that's when I started to panic.  I looked away, tried to take deep breaths, basically attempted to self soothe myself; I was like a crying child searching for his pacifier.  Unfortunately it wasn't working very well for me.

Hubby came back finally and found me wide-eyed and about to bolt from the room.  He knew an anxiety attack was eminent as tried to talk me down off of the ledge.  And let me interject here that, yes, I do realize that my behavior was over-the-top, however, one cannot control anxiety.  It just doesn't happen that way.  And as I lay there counting the tiles on the ceiling with tears in my eyes, I said, "I just don't want to be here; I don't want to do this."  That was when he took my hand, prayed over me and then as soon as the doctor walked in asked them to give me something to calm my nerves (I told ya he was a "keeper").

Once I was given medication to ease my anxiety and something for nausea, the surgery nurse came and rolled me down the hall.  I wasn't freaking out but I really didn't want to see the inside of that surgery suite or the equipment it held.  The nurse anesthetist told me she was about to administer the medication that would put me out and I remember talking to her and then the next thing I remember was someone tapping me on my shoulder saying, "It's time to wake up."  I was in recovery.

I heard Hubby's voice saying, "If you wake up we can get outta here."  I managed to get my eyes open and he informed me that all went well and I wouldn't need another colonoscopy for quite some time (Whew!).  I had survived the entire process from cleanse to procedure.  I felt such relief now that it was over and all I wanted to do was go home and sleep.

I realize that some of you may be thinking..."Wow, this whole post is a little melodramatic."  Well, it may be,  but that is just how I roll.  For me, this "You're now 50 so it's time for your first colonoscopy thing" was a black cloud hanging over my head that grew bigger and bigger with each year that passed.  And the bigger that black cloud grew, the more dread and anxiety built up inside of me.  After reading the statistics of those who either put off having this procedure or forgo it entirely, I don't believe that I am the only one with this problem.  I have  checked it off of my list and now the sun is out again!

***If you are 50 and have not had your colonoscopy yet, just get it over with...quickly.  Make that
      appointment, meet with a doctor and schedule it.  How important is this matter?  Click HERE
      to find out.***

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Stop the Slip With Handi-Treads!

We all know individuals who have slipped and fallen.  Some accidents are minor, however, many can cause serious or even life-threatening injuries.  As a matter of fact, injuries from falls are the most common cause of emergency room visits (Source:  National Safety Council) and slips and falls account for over 20,000 deaths per year (Source:  Center for Disease Control).  WHY TAKE THAT CHANCE?!

When I was approached by Handi-Treads to create a post about their product I wasn't even aware of the company or their product.  After receiving a sample of Handi-Treads and doing a bit of research I must admit that I was not only impressed with the product but decided EVERYONE needed to know more about it.

                                             WHAT ARE HANDI-TREADS?
Handi-Treads have a raised button surface grip used for traction to prevent slippage and ultimately falling accidents.

                                        WHERE CAN HANDI-TREADS BE USED?
                                                   Handi-Treads can be used on:
                                                      WOOD OR CEMENT RAMPS
                                                      INTERIOR WOOD AND CEMENT STEPS
                                                      DOCKS AND PIERS

                                                         They can be used inside or out.

                                                          They are gentle on the feet.
                                                  (And even come in a variety of colors)

HandiRamp has been manufacturing ramps for accessibilities since 1958.  In 2010 they designed and patented a non-slip stair tread that provides a long term solution to slip and fall hazards on stairs, ramps and other problem areas.

                                       Handi-Treads is more durable than other products.

                                         *Will not need replacement like other options
                                         *More durable than non-slip tape and paint
                                         * Won't rust or corrode

Now that you know what Handi-Treads are how they prevent potential accidents let me challenge you to enter the STOP THE SLIP CONTEST.

Have you slipped, tripped or fallen in a public area and not known what do to? “Stop the slip” is a contest where HandiRamp will fix a problematic public access area for free. Out of a pool of contestants we will pick a problem location 4 times a year and fix it for free. Simply click on the above link to add your video and STOP THE SLIP!
Now that you are aware of this simple, low-cost attractive solution to slipping and potential injuries WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Order yours today!
Use BLOG2015 for a 10% Discount on your order!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sunday Traditions With My BIG, FAT SOUTHERN FAMILY

I realize that I have been MIA for a couple of weeks.  But it was for a very good reason; I have had kids and grand kids here for the past two weeks.  It has been utter chaos, with toys strewn from one end of the house to the other, wet diapers  balled up and peeking from whatever corner they were changed in, not to mention the croup! time has been VERY occupied but now that I finally find myself caught up with the dirty clothes and dishes and my house is clean and quiet it's time to post on the blog again.  And today's post is one about traditions.

I LOVE traditions; holidays, birthdays and family vacations.  Recently I decided to start what I like to refer to as our "Sunday Tradition".  Now this BIG, FAT SOUTHERN FAMILY of mine continues to grow and as kids and grand kids continue to move back closer to us, we like to spend our Sundays together and I decided to create a new tradition that will hopefully be carried on for many years throughout the generations of our family.

This is what our family does on Sundays:  First, we get up and go to Sunday School and church service.  This is where I refuel for the week.  We start the day out by worshipping together.  And yes...we all attend the same church where we all sit together.  When everyone is in town (12 adults), we take up an entire row by ourselves!  After church, everyone comes back to our house for Sunday lunch.  And that is precisely what I want to talk about today.  THAT is our new "Sunday Tradition".

In order to be able to have my BIG, FAT FAMILY over for lunch on Sundays some advance preparation is necessary.  Hubby and I usually start the food prep on Saturday; cooking the meat and dessert.  Some times, Ryan and Allison have shown up with a dessert and it has even been suggested that if we continue to do this everyone should bring a dish...HEY, I like that idea!  Anyway, I've decided to start posting our Sunday lunches on here with recipes included (in case they look so yummy you just MUST try them yourself).

The first thing I do is to set the table in the dining room. heard right.  I have decided, "What use is it to have a dining room and china if you only ever use them on special occasions or holidays?"  So I decided that we will eat in the dining room every Sunday on the china...with pretty napkins!

                                                    This week's Sunday menu was...
   Pork shoulder that had been brined, seasoned and cooked on the Green Egg for 6 hours Saturday.
                                This corn was a side dish; picked fresh and taken off the cob.
These green beans were also fresh.  They were blanched for 1 minute, put in cold water and then returned to a skillet that had sauteed bacon in it and cooked with a lid covering them until done.
This Rice Consomme is a favorite of everyone...even the people who are not big rice eaters!  I'm including this recipe for you because it is SO YUMMY and I'm certain your family will like it as much as mine does.


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
Place 1 stick of butter in baking dish in heated oven until melted.
Add 1 10 1/2 oz. can Beef Broth and 1 10 1/2 oz. can Beef Consomme, along with 1 cup uncooked rice.  Cover the dish with foil and put back in the oven until all the liquid is cooked out (approximately 30-40 mins.).  ENJOY!

I also always prepare some sort of bread to go along with the meal (What would a BIG, FAT SOUTHERN MEAL be without bread?!).  This week it was Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits.  I wasn't planning on making them but when Hubby heard me say that I needed buttermilk to make dessert, he started saying he wanted Buttermilk Biscuits.  And it WAS Father's Day, so...
I not only made those Buttermilk Biscuits but I served them on one of my favorite serving dishes...The Wooden Pig!
Last, but certainly NOT least was this WONDERFUL Kentucky Butter Cake!  I had seen the recipe on Pinterest and immediately knew that I had to make it.  I'm including the link to the recipe I used...Just in case it also looks too yummy for you not to try:  (Kentucky Butter Cake Recipe).

And then it's time for conversation at the table, followed by children playing while either a football game or NASCAR can be heard on the television in the background.  Some are reading, the babies are napping and it is as a Sunday should be.  A day of rest.  Spent worshipping God and then fellowshipping with family.  It's the simple things that make the best traditions and I love our new "Sunday Tradition" with my ever expanding crew!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"Number 6"...Prince or Princess?

As you know, Grand "Number 6" is on the way.  And they will be called "Number 6" until a name is decided upon.  Of course, we have to know what the sex is before a name can be decided on and that actually happened just this week!  Caitlin went in for her 3-D Ultrasound and here's what we found out...(Since Holli is the Big Sis, SHE wanted to share the news!)
                                                      Did you understand all of that?!
                                                                        IT'S A BOY!!!
                                                 And as Caitlin said, "There's the Goods"!

This little rascal has been moving around for quite some time now and Caitlin said that during the ultrasound he was moving around so much they had a hard time getting pictures.  At one point he was holding onto the umbilical cord and kicking!

Well, we are all excited to add another male to our growing brood and Beckett for sure is probably running around high-fiving everyone because he will finally have another BOY to play with!  And so the count is as follows:  GIRLS 4...BOYS 2!

Friday, May 29, 2015

From Chasing Frogs to Pink Casts

When I woke up yesterday you could say I was a Little Miss Cranky Pants.  That's what I call the Grands when they are out of sorts.  Because of the holiday on Monday, in order to get my three days at the gym in,  I had to go to an 8:30 a.m. workout and I'm just not an 8:30 workout girl; I prefer noon much more.  BUT...dedicated to this cause I drug myself to the gym...cranky or not.

After working out I received a message from Sarah asking if she could bring Parker Ann to swim.  I said, "Sure!"  She had been dying to get into the pool since WAY before the water was warm enough to swim and every time we tried to go for a swim lately the rain had stopped us.  FINALLY there was a break in the weather and school was out and it was SUMMER and WE WERE GOING TO SWIM!!!

By the afternoon I wasn't quite as cranky any more but I was still sorta tired from getting up at 6 a.m. but Parker and I hit the pool anyway.  OK...SHE hit the pool as I eased in because kids and adults body thermometers are not equal. I thought the water was still pretty cool and she kept saying, "Just get in and move's not too cold, YaYa."  And so we pretended like we were mermaids.  She was the pink mermaid and I was the purple one.  And then she found the first frog!

I knew we would have LOTS of frogs this summer because I could hear a symphony of frogs each evening throughout the spring.  Each night I would mention to Hubby how loud they were and actually got to where I enjoyed listening to them as they were a comforting sound after a busy day.  Although I like to HEAR those frogs singing, I am not really that girl who likes to pick them up.  As a matter of fact I think the last frog I touched was the one I was required to dissect in my college biology class.  And I didn't touch that one because I wanted to, I touched it because no one else in my group wanted to and I needed that class to get my degree.  BUT...I digress.  Parker Ann caught the first frog and decided that she loved it so much that she was never going to let it go.  She swam around in the pool with it and eventually Sarah found a big bucket for her to put it in.  Before we knew it though, she had caught two more and also placed them in the bucket.  We were shocked that she would even touch a frog but it was so much fun watching her and she called herself a "Frog Catcher".

Soon, Poppi came through the back gate and Parker, excited to see him, asked if he would get into the pool and swim with her.  Of course he said YES!  As he was pulling his shirt off, Parker started to walk around the pool to the steps when she suddenly slipped in some water.  She didn't fall particularly hard but jumped up crying and holding her hand.  Since she didn't quit crying and because of my experience with my own kids and accidents we decided to take her to get an x-ray on it.

By the time we arrived at the doctor's office, both Parker Ann and Lila Kate were asleep.  We went inside and Parker was not even crying any more but she was still holding her arm in to her body.  Even if this little accident wasn't a break, I was glad we were having it checked.

Sarah took Parker to the back to have her x-ray and I stayed in the outside waiting room with Lila Kate.  In just a few minutes Sarah stuck her head out and said Parker wanted me to come to the interior waiting room with her.  By that time Justin had arrived and just in time for the doctor to call them back where I heard him say, "It's broken."

The next thing I heard was someone telling them to come to a back room.  Then I got a text from Sarah letting me know that Parker had broken one bone in her wrist and fractured the other one.  They were getting a cast.
                                                                  A PINK CAST!
After getting a sucker from the doctor's office, a peach slush on the way home, pizza for dinner and...
                 Baking chocolate chip cookies with Poppi, things were MUCH BETTER!
                                                 We all took turns signing that pink cast.
And Parker Ann let us know that breaking a wrist was no reason NOT to spend the night with Poppi and YaYa!

                                       Well...Welcome to SUMMER!  What a beginning.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Jet Lagged Or Not...Here We Come! (sigh...)

After that whirlwind of a trip to Vegas BOY WAS I TIRED (yawn...).  But jet lagged or not, the end of the school year was pushing ahead full force!  The morning after arriving home I was at Parker Ann's school at 8 a.m. for her end of the year program.

  Each child had a letter of the alphabet to present by singing a solo.  Parker Ann's was the letter "D".
                                I LOVE this and think she did FANTASTIC for her first solo!
After the program I took a few snapshots.  This is Parker with her teacher.  I actually taught at Parker's school with her teacher once.  We love Mrs. Neal and had a wonderful year with her.
Of course, I had to get a photo of Little Miss Priss and me.  Just look at that smile...What a doll she is!

This program was just so precious and I would not have missed it for anything in the world...including jet lag!  Sleep could wait a few more hours.  Or days as things would eventually turn out (yawn...).

The rest of the week and the following one continued to be just as busy with Parker Ann's Field Day and dance recital.
When I arrived for Field Day, the kids were out on the tennis court playing in the bouncer and on the water slides.
                             They moved from there to get tattoos and have some ice cream!

The action then turned to the gym, where they played with balls, nets and hula hoops while some pretty hopping music played on the loud speakers...

Go forward a few more days and it was dance recital time.  I love dance recital because it just brings back so many memories of when Caitlin was younger and took dance lessons.  Parker Ann is taking from the same studio that Aunt CaCa did!
                                 She did two dances this year; in the first dance she was a ladybug!
                                            In the second one she was a beautiful butterfly.

Parker Ann did a great job at her dance recital and I enjoyed being in the audience once more, watching the magical world of dance.  After the recital we went back to Justin and Sarah's house, where we ate an early dinner...and took a few more photographs!

As I reflected on the day later, I wondered where the time had gone.  We all know that time waits for no one, but WOW, it seemed as though Parker Ann was just a baby yesterday and next year she will be entering Kindergarten.  I'm so glad that I live close to her and get to see her often.  How lucky I am to be this little girl's YaYa...