4.26.2015

A photo diary of our first few weeks after #osteosarcoma diagnosis.

While we are months from those first few weeks of treatment, I thought I would share some photos from our first few weeks after surgery. I was going to share some of the photos from the first few days  before surgery - but they are too painful for me to look at right now - when I think about how close we were to some severe permanent physical changes like vision loss and eye loss and cognitive function loss I am overcome with humility for God's goodness and faithfulness to us.

Post biopsy/tumor resection.

Christmas Day in the hospital...this was a really tough day.

Get well cards from his classmates.

Shaving his head with the whole family there to support him.

Luke is so full of light. I am humbled daily by his ability to laugh and smile. 

 Still smiling.

 Post surgery scans. He calls it the "donut scan". 

To me, he is the bravest boy in the whole world.

4.23.2015

My 10 Year Old Son Has Cancer

A lot has been going on behind the scenes of this blog in the last several months. I have started and stopped this blog post so many times, but I know I need to share.




In mid December of last year,  my son was diagnosed with cancer in an extremely rare part of his body. He has Osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer in the boney area near his sinus, nasal cavity and skull base and he has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment since Christmas Eve. It is very rare to have this kind of cancer in this area in a pediatric patient. We've been on this journey now for somewhere around 4 months with a few months left to go. I am writing this to share with you where we are right now, how things might change on the blog and how I want them to stay somewhat the same.

I feel compelled to share our journey through this very difficult time. So, I am bringing back more personal posts. I will write about cancer again. Some of you know I had cancer when I was 29. I haven't written about it in a long long time. I think I didn't want cancer to define me. I just wanted to be me. Now cancer is an even bigger part of my story and I am not afraid to have it be a significant part of my life. My son is walking this incredibly hard path and I would gladly wave a cancer banner high above my head if it brought more awareness to a pediatric disease that only receives 4% of all federal cancer funding.

With the diagnosis of my son, also came the diagnosis of Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. Li-Fraumeni is a genetic pre-disposition to get cancer at an early age as well as additional primary cancers through out your life. There is a 1 in 20,000 chance of getting Li-Fraumeni. A child without Li-Fraumeni has a 1% chance of getting cancer before the age of 30. A child with Li-Fraumeni has a 50% chance. Luke is confirmed to have it. I most likely have it, given that I also had sarcoma before 30. Even with this new diagnosis, we are fully surrendered to God's plan for Luke's life. God has been so faithful to our family to not only comfort us, but to also bring along side of us some incredible family and friends.


Even with all that is going on, I am still a creative person and creativity and writing are therapeutic for me. So, don't be surprised if you see recipes or artsy, crafts posts and think "How does she have time for that when her child is going through treatment?" The truth is I don't know how I will have time, but I do know I want to share our journey and how God is weaving a tapestry of surrender, trust and humility through the fabric of our days.


If you want to follow along on our daily osteosarcoma cancer journey, you can through Luke's Facebook page Luke The Brave.


12.11.2014

Netflix's New Original Series For Kids All Hail King Julian

We are always looking for new shows to watch on Netflix Streaming. Did you know Netflix is releasing yet another We love Dreamworks' Madagascar movies and all the crazy fun spin-offs like The Penguins of Madagascar and of course that hilarious "Lord of The Lemurs" King Julian. Get a sneak peek at the all-new Netflix original series All Hail King Julian. 
King Julien 003 S1E2
***

Can't wait for Dec. 19? Me Either.

Get ready for the holidays with King Julien's friends from Madagascar...Merry Madagascar is one of our favorites! King Julian and his "Merry Julian-uary" antics make us laugh every time!
Madagascar
...or cuddle up with a few other holiday favorites for younger kiddos:
Curious George
mumfie
in search of santa
veggie
***

New Year's Eve Mocktails

mocktails
Celebrate the New Year with these two "mocktail" recipes. Make your own chocolate chip cookie stick (hello!) for a cookies and milk toast, or keep it traditional with sparkling cider (My kids love sparkling cider!). Click here to learn how to make your own.
*Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix "Stream Team". I was selected to share what's new and what's awesome for kids on Netflix Streaming each month. We've had Netflix since 2002, long before I was a stream team member. 

12.10.2014

Easy Cupcake Liner Snowman Craft For Kids



This Snowman Craft for kids is easy to make. All you need is mini cupcake liners, construction paper, markers, glue, a smudge of paint and glitter (Oh, and a few small buttons).


Directions:
  • Start with a piece of blue construction paper.
  • Tear a piece of white construction paper in half to create the snowy landscape. Glue it to the piece of blue construction paper.
  • Flatten out 3 mini cupcake liners. Glue them top to bottom onto the construction paper.
  • With a black marker draw eyes and  mouth.
  • With an orange marker, draw the nose.
  • With the black marker, draw arms out from the middle cupcake liner.
  • Glue three small buttons to the middle cupcake liner.
  • Optional Using the eraser top of a pencil, dab in white paint and stamp white snow dots all over the blue part of the paper.
  • Add glue around the rims of the mini cupcake liners and sprinkle with translucent or fine white glitter.








There you have it! A cute cupcake liner snowman craft for kids to make.


11.27.2014

All New Netflix Original Veggie Tales in the House




My kids love Veggie Tales.

They've been watching Bob and Larry since they were very little. We love that you can watch so many Veggie Tale classics on Netflix streaming. As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I just learned that Netflix has teamed up with the folks at Veggie Tales to bring you an all new Netflix original series called "Veggie  Tales in The House." Bob, Larry and the whole gang show up for fun. Each episode has two 11 minute stories centered around an important life lesson. In the very first episode, Larry the Cucumber and Laura the Carrot learn about responsibility when they want to earn money to get a puppy and become PFF's (Puppy Friends Forver). Even though my kids are a little bit older, they still loved this first episode.


Here's a little more about what to expect from Veggies Tales in The House on Netflix Streaming:

What's new:
  • The opening song is different, but still catchy and fun.
  • The graphics are colorful and bright, and awesome. The kids noticed that right away.
  • Instead of Bob and Larry telling a story, all they veggies interact in a community set in the kitchen itself complete with houses and shops. 
What's the same:
  • All your favorite Veggie Tale friends are there.
  • There's still the same silly musical interlude.
  • There is still a bible verse at the end and a great wrap up of the "moral of the story". 
  • The veggies all still mysteriously have no arms and legs. ;-)
And look at this cute veggie tales themed craft!


Want to make your own Veggie Tales prints? Click here to find out how.

If you like Veggie Tales, or haven't yet introduced your kids to the world's most famous cucumber and tomato, we are pretty sure you will fall in love with Veggie Tales in the House on Netflix Streaming.

To find out more about Netflix and all the services they offer visit Netflix.com

Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam sponsored monthly campaign, as such I share a little bit about what's going on with Netflix Streaming including upcoming new shows, news, and more. My opinions are 100% my own.


11.20.2014

Muffin Tin Lunch For Kids


In this kids lunch served in a muffin tin: Peanut butter and banana sandwiches, green apples, persimmon slices, vanilla yogurt with pearl sprinkles, banana slices.

Banana and peanut butter is my daughter's new favorite sandwich. She's not a PB & J kind of kid - so I am pleasantly surprised that she like's this combo.  And persimmons were a first - for both her and me. I loved them! Her, not so much. She said they tasted to much like squash. ;-)

What new foods have your kids tried lately?

11.19.2014

Cute Paper Turkey Craft For Kids


It's almost Thanksgiving. There's still time to create a few turkey themed craft projects like this paper turkey craft for kids. It's simple to constuct, you just need the right supplies and you'll be on your way!

Supplies:

12 strips of 6in. by 1in. brown card stock paper
6 strips of 2in. by 12in. colorful cardstock paper
Small pieces of white, black and orange cards rock for the eyes and beak
1 hole punch (preferable heavy duty)
2 brads
Scissors
Glue stick
Small circle punch (optional)



To begin making the cute paper turkey craft:

  • Line up the pieces of brown card stock and punch a holes at each end. Secure the brown strips together at one end with one brad as shown.
  • Line up the colorful card stock strips and punch holes at each end. Line up the holes to match the other end of the brown strips. Secure all together with the second brad.

It should now look like this...


Begin separating the brown strips out, one by one until it forms a ball or circle shape. The brown circle will be the turkey body/head.


Your paper turkey craft should now start to look like this...


Fan out the folded multi-colored strips of card stock paper to make the turkey feathers.





  • Using a small circle punch, punch circles out of white card stock.
  • Using the hole punch, punch out 2 tiny black circles.
  • Glue the black circles to the white ones to make the turkey eyes. Glue the eyes onto to the brown turkey face, above the brad.
  • Cut a small rounded triangle out of orange car stock and glue it just above the brad.



Your cute turkey craft will be a little back heavy and will have trouble standing up on it's own. You can prop it up like I did or hang it with a piece of string or ribbon.


10.22.2014

What's it like at Knott's Berry Farm At Christmas #MerryFarm @Knotts



We are so excited to visit Knott's Berry Farm at Christmastime this year! Knott's is so fun at Christmas! Our kids are at the perfect age to enjoy almost everything the park has to offer - Thrilling rides, good food, and seasonal fun. Every year, Knott's transforms into "Merry Farm" and gets decked with Christmas garland, ornaments, lights and more! There are also a bunch of Christmas-y things to do and see. You won't want to miss it. 

Here are are a few of the things you won't want to miss:

  • There is an all new 2014 Snoopy ice show titled Merry Christmas, Snoopy! at the Charles M. Schulz Theater. The ice show is so magical! Last year, aside from the rides, this was my little guy's favorite part of Knott's Merry Farm. The ice dancers were so talented.


  • Pictures with Santa and Cookies and Milk at Santa's Christmas Cabin (The Wildreness Dance Hall). This was another fun part of our trip last year. We brought along mini-snoopy to join in all the fun. He loved the cookies and milk. ;-) Some of the activities in Santa's Christmas Cabin are available as an extra purchase.

More fun at the Christmas Cabin:
Santa's Homemade Cookies
Hot Fudge Sundae Bar
Decadent Hot Chocolate with chocolate shavings
Winter wine and craft beer tastings with fresh fruit, cheese and more.

  • In 2013, Knott's decked out the vintage railcar, Engine 41 that leaves the station in ghost town and travels around the park. It's back this year and we can't wait to ride the train again!


More fun you won't want to miss at Knott's Merry Farm:
  • Snoopy's Merriest Tree Lighting - a fun production with songs and dancing. 
  • The Christmas show at Campy Snoopy Theatre featuring Charlie Brown, Linus and Lucy. This show is great for toddlers and preschoolers.
  • Christmas Crafts Village - Dozens of artisans display and sell their handmade one-of-a-kind items. -Last year my kids really enjoyed the glass blower. It was really neat to hear him talk about the process and see the finished product.
You will want to visit Knotts.com before your trip to get the low down on holiday hours, where to park and more.  

You can also read
my Knott's post from last year 
all about the Knott's Season Pass with Meal Pass Upgrade

We are thinking about making a countdown chain to help pass the time before out trip to Knott's Merry Farm. How do you get your kids excited about an upcoming trip to a theme park?

Disclosure: Gigasavvy has provided me with 4 tickets to Knott's Merry Farm to experience what's new at Knott's during Christmas time. You can follow along with the fun on Twitter, Instagram, and anywhere hashtags are used. Follow the  hashtag #Merry Farm on your favorite social media platform to see what others are saying about Knott's Merry Farm.