Saturday, November 21, 2009


Now that it is almost Thanksgiving, I figured I better post our Halloween pics (ha - so, I'm a little behind!). 

We had a wonderful Halloween at the Partridge's house this year.  Jon and CB joined us for the festivities and good times were had.  Linda made a wonderful Taco Salad dinner, CB made some hot chai tea for us to enjoy during the trick-or-treating and she made some yummy Halloween treats.  We brought over guacamole & chips and brownies.  Good eats all around!  Afterwards we all relaxed and enjoyed a movie together.  It was a really fun night with great friends.

Teya was a butterfly, Skyler was Darth Vader and Jordan was Spiderman.  They were too darn cute.  The kids had an awesome time trick or treating and got ALOT of candy. It was the most successful candy night in the past 2 years that we have been trick or treating together!

Our Trick-or-Treaters - aren't they cute!

Snickers anyone?

Yea for candy!

Skyler was a nice nephew and gave Jon his favorite - Almond Joy

CB's Halloween Treats - Yummy!

Getting some of CB's scary treats

Skyler and Jordan having some hot cocoa

Hope everyone had a safe and scary Halloween!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dangers lurking at the Grocery Store

Dr. Oz (love him) recently talked about the bacteria lurking at grocery stores and ways to protect you and your family.  Here what he had to say about the produce section.


Dirty little secret: When you grab an apple for lunch, your hands may be the 20th pair to touch it. That’s right, veggies and fruits are picked, sorted, thrown on a truck, taken off a truck, sorted again, boxed, and unboxed all before they reach the display case where they’re fondled by other customers before they meet you. Experts say, all in all, 20 people will touch a tomato before you slice it up for your salad. And that’s in addition to all the animal waste that can mingle with produce on the long journey from farm to table.

Quick fix: Carefully wash all fruits and vegetables before eating, even if you don’t plan on eating the skin. When you peel or cut vegetables and fruits, the bacteria from the exterior can travel inside. Keep any prepped veggies, such as sliced tomatoes, at 41 degrees or cooler until you eat or cook them.

It has been so long now that I have been washing my produce and not just rinsing with water that I forget that it is not common in most households to wash their fruits and veggies with any type of scrubber or veggie wash. Remember just like washing hands or anything else, simply running water over our produce does not remove bacteria, germs and pesticides.  You can lower your risk with organic produce and locally grown produce, but washing is still recommended.

Here are two ways of washing.  Choose whichever works best for you.

Cool Water:  Wash the produce under a stream of cool water or using the spray nozzle of your faucet and rub the produce with your hands, or scrub with a vegetable brush, to remove potential bacteria in all the grooves and crevices.

Produce Wash: You can buy produce wash at the grocery store or make your own.  I know of two recipes; 1) equal parts water and vinegar or 2) grapefruit seed extract (3 to 4 drops to 4-6 oz of water).  Spray, rub and rinse or for leafy veggies & large quantities, soak for 5 to 10 minutes.

I love my reusable bags and use them whenever I remember to bring them into the stores.  I'm pretty good about the grocery store, but frequently forget at other stores.  Anyway, Dr. Oz had another great tip that I have a hard time remembering to do.

Reuse, recycle, and REWASH! Reusable bags are great for the environment, but can be bad for food safety. Wash them every 10 uses—using an acidic cleaner such as vinegar or running them through the washing machine—to remove any dangerous bacteria from your previous shopping trips.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dirty Dozen - Shopper's Guide To Pesticides

Many of you have asked about what I eat and what products I use and why.  I can always tell you what, but most of the time I can't remember exactly why.  I've done lots of research with books and online information and I do what I believe to be the best for me and my family.  As I come across some of the articles and information that have impacted my decisions I'll post them on my blog.  This will help me organize my information and hopefully they will be useful to you as well.

Here is one of them about fresh produce:

I buy as many of my fruits and veggies organic as I can, but I can't always find them.  Here is a list that I use as my guide.  It is "The Shopper's guide to pesticides" and it lists the top 12 dirtiest and 15 cleanest fruits and vegetables.  For a full list, click on the "full list" tab in yellow to see where your favorites are on the list.  This list really helped me when I began switching over to organic.  I began with the dirty dozen and made my way further down the list.  It felt easier doing it slowly.  I hope it gives you a place to start as well. 

Also, buying organic is not significantly higher in  price.  I buy everything we need with at least 50% of our produce as organic and spend the same amount at the grocery store as I did before when I stayed away from the organic section.  What has helped our bill is reducing the amount of meat that we buy.  I'll get more into that topic in another post.

Happy Shopping!

You can click on the title to get to the page or here is the website address

Monday, November 2, 2009

What soft drinks are doing to your body

I just read this article (What soft drinks are doing to your body) and I found it informing.  I have not drank a soft drink for over a year and I don't plan on having another one ever, but I read it to see if it was worth passing on to my soft drinking friends and family.  I thought it was worth reading and I hope you will too and maybe it will make you think the next time you go for a soda.  (click on title of this post to go to article)

Have a great day!

Here is the web address:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Melanoma Walkathon

In 10 days I will be walking in the Safe from the Sun Walkathon for Melanoma in Tucson, AZ. I created a team - Pale Skin Is In, of course :) - and I am deeply touched that friends have joined and will be walking beside me and my family.

It has been just over a year since my lung surgery and 6 months since my last melanoma. I am happy to be walking in this event as a cancer free survivor and in honor of those that have lost their battle. I have been battling this beast for 3 years now and so much has changed in my life since. I used to love the sun. I would put some 8 SPF (seriously what was the point) on and lay out baking for hours. It never crossed my mind even once that I may be putting my health or more importantly my life at risk. I now do not go out in the sun without sun protection, either lotion or clothing and I now look for the shade. My daughter Teya also does not go out in the sun without protection. Every morning before school I put lotion on her and I have bought her sun protection clothing. I am going to do what I can to educate her how to be safe while having fun in the sun.

This walk means a lot to me for many reasons, but one is that awareness of melanoma is low. I wasn't really sure what it was when I was originally diagnosed and I was quick to learn that others were as naive as me. I was sadden when my cancer returned that friends of mine still did not understand melanoma to be life threatening. I heard too many "I thought you just had skin cancer" statements. I thought I had educated those close to me, but I realized that I had failed in some cases. Everyone should know the importance of sun safety and getting their skin checked regularly by a dermatologist - not your medical doctor. The money raised by this walk will not only go to much needed research for better treatment, but also to spread the word for prevention and early detection. Melanoma is about 90% curable if caught early, however, there is lack of effective treatment for later stages.

Please let me know if you will be in the Tucson, AZ area or would like to travel down with me to this event. If you cannot join the team, but would like to make a donation, you can do so by clicking on the title of this blog entry or the "My Fundraising Page" link on the top right side of my blog.

If you are reading this via my Facebook feed, you can go to and join or donate to my team.

Thanks for your support!

Monday, September 21, 2009

August Events

I know we are late in September, but August was a big month for Teya and I have finally gotten around to writing about it. Not only did she turn 5, she also began Kindergarten. Teya had a double birthday with 2 parties in the same day. It was tiring, but Teya enjoyed herself. Her first party was with 5 of her girlfriends from her pre-school. They played some party games and decorated cupcakes.

Her second party of the day was with our group of friends/AZ Family. We swam, grilled and had a pinata. Fun was had by all!

The Monday following her party, Teya began Kindergarten. Teya was a bit nervous, as was I, but she did great her first day and has loved it ever since.

Teya having breakfast with Kitty

Teya in front of her school
Teya with Daddy
She found her cubby and name tag

Her seat

Me at her seat

Friday, September 18, 2009

In Loving Memory of Mikasa

It is with a sadden heart and teary eyes that I write this today. Our cat, Mikasa, passed away Wednesday evening. It was sudden with no signs. Todd came home from vollyball Wednesday night at 11pm to a cheerful "Meow" (hello in cat) from Mikasa. Todd let Marley outside and heard a strange meow from the kitchen. He went in and found Mikasa laying on the floor. Todd rushed back to the bedroom and woke me up. He was limp and I couldn't fine a pulse at that time. Todd rushed him to the Animal Hospital around the corner from our house. They were unable to revive him. We are not sure what make this happen, but we do know that his bladder was hard and he had fluid on his lungs. The dr.'s think his heart stopped. All I do know is that he wasn't in pain and I try to take comfort in that. In all of the days leading up to this, he was his normal self and gave no signs that anything was wrong. Even just minutes before it happened.

Our pets are like family and each one of them are considered one of our kids. For those of you that also feel this way about your pets, I'm sure you can understand the hole in our hearts and the absence in our home. We deeply miss him and will never forget.

Here are a few more pictures.

He loved sitting in the sink.

Posing with Teya

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Walkathon for Melanoma Awareness

I am excited to participate in this year's Safe from the Sun - Walk for Melanoma in Tucson, AZ. Todd, Teya, I and possibly Marley (yes, dogs are welcome) will be heading down to Tucson on Saturday, October 10th. The event is from 3-6pm. There is a 2 mile walk with a Health & Wellness Expo that includes free skin cancer screenings.

I have created a fundraising page and if you are interested in joining my team or donating to the cause, click on the title of this post.

Thanks for your support!

Friday, September 4, 2009


I got my results for both my CT Scan (organs) and MRI (of brain) and both came back as No evidence of disease - meaning Clean & Clear! Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Last shot of my treatment

On Monday August 24th I gave myself my last shot of my year long treatment. I am so glad to be finished. It was a long, tired, achy & foggy year. Next week I have my every 3 month CT Scan & every 6 month MRI of brain. I'll know the results sometime the week of September 7th. I'm thinking clean and clear.

Sorry, it's been awhile

I realize that it has been since June that I updated. Sorry about that. To be honest, I just haven't had the brain power to sit down and write. It was just hard to concentrate. Not to mention, if I tried , Teya would bug me until I went and played with her. Anyway, we had two great trips this summer to visit our families. July was with Todd's family in Ocean City, MD and August was with mine in MI. We had wonderful weather during both trips and had a wonderful time with family.

Teya posing in her new sun shirt

Teya at the beach

Family on the roof of Courtney and Mike's beach house

All the kids on my parents bottom patio & yes, that is my brother relaxing in the background.

Best Friends (Teya and Kristina) on my parents top patio looking over the lake.

Grandparents and kids
Teya, me and my parents
During our visit we went to Cedar Point. We had a blast. Teya rode her first roller coaster The Woodstock Express and my niece Kaelynn who is 8 rode a big one for the first time, for those of you that know - The Gemini. I hadn't been there since Teya was born, so about 6 years. I am a roller coaster addict, so it was great to get back.

Teya and Kristina on the Frog Hopper - hands up everyone!

View from our hotel window of the Magnum, one of my favorite rides.
I rode the Top Thrill Dragster for the first time and let me just say aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!The ride goes from 0 to over 120 miles per hour in four seconds in order to go straight up the 420 foot tower, up and over the top and straight down the other side. There is no over the shoulder harness and only a lap belt/bar. The ride is exhilarating and only lasts 22 seconds. If you love roller coasters and have never been to Cedar Point, your missing out. You can check out their website for info and videos of their coasters. It gave me chills again to watch the one for Top Thrill Dragster. Can't wait to go back!

2 Photos from Cedar Point's website of Top Thrill Dragster

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Little Dancer

This past year Teya took a tap/ballet class and on June 3rd, she had her dance recital. It was cute!! Her and her friends did fantastic. It was awesome seeing her up on stage and she really enjoyed it. Todd and I were very proud of her. Here are a few pictures from the show. Their song was "Build Me Up Buttercup".

And here is a video of her during rehearsals when they were walking onto the stage. She is next to her very best friend, Lauren, who is on the right.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Clean Scan

I got my results for my CT Scan and bloodwork yesterday and everything came back clean and normal. Those are two words I love to hear. Nothing but healthy organs showed on my CT Scan. Even my lung has healed from surgery. We were keeping an eye on a spot which we thought was scar tissue from the surgery - it is now gone. Every month I get bloodwork to determine the function of my liver and kidneys - my treatment can be hard on both - as well as a LDH, which is a test that looks for tissue damage which could mean cancer. All 3 tests came back normal. I am so happy!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Round 9

I am doing 3 treatments with only 1 week in between versus the normal 2 week break. I am at the tail end of round 9 and I am exhausted. I'm barely functioning mentally. Good thing for me I'm a preschool teacher! Everything else is going well - no flu like symptoms and my blood counts look like they typically did while I was on treatment, so that is good. I'll end this round Sunday night and then begin round 10 on Monday, June 15th. I'll then end round 10 on Sunday, June 28th. It's the Sunday before we leave for vacation - we leave Wednesday, July 1st to visit Todd's family.

My next CT scan is scheduled for Thursday, June 11th. I'll get the results on Tuesday the 16th when I see my doctor. Any clean and clean prayers & positive vibes are greatly appreciated. I love technology and that I am able to have these scans to see if anything is going on inside, but it is hard not to worry about the results. I think about the r word (reoccurence) often, but I am able to push those thoughts aside. When it is time for the scan it is hard to get it out of my mind. I'll be glad when I have the results.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

HAPPY belated MOTHER'S DAY to all you mom's out there. I hope you had a wonderful day. I had a nice day with Teya and Todd making me breakfast and gave me a lovely bouquet of flowers. We grilled out for dinner and ate outside on our patio. It was nice.

Teya had a Mother's Day Party in her class the Friday before and it was great. They sang some songs that made us mom's teary eyed and she made me some wonderful gifts - see below.

Teya Flower

She made me a pin out of puzzle pieces and gems - beautiful!

Here is the picture she drew for me. What an aritist!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Teya's New Bed

I went shopping at Ikea for the first time last weekend. Wow, that was an experience. Anyway, Teya had outgrown her toddler bed, so Todd, Teya and I went looking for a new bed for her. We were successful and found one that we all liked. It has a mattress sort of like a futon, but thicker and the head of her bed comes up into a semi sitting position. It is really cool. She got a new sheet set and of course it is pink. Also, the quilt that my Aunt Shelly made will look great on her new bed (it is still one of Teya's favorite blankets).

Teya in her new bed.
In this photo you can see the curtains that her
Grammy (Penny) made for her room. They are beautiful.

Round 8

I began round 8 this past Tuesday. I've been, of course, tired, dehydrataed, a little nauseous and my legs feel like they weigh a hundred pounds. Other than that I have felt pretty good. I'm hoping that the next week continues this smoothly.

Since this round was delayed by 2 weeks, if I continued on the normal schedule, 14 days on and 14 days off, I would be doing treatments during my summer vacations - NOT GOOD! I'm hoping to be able to alter the treatment schedule to be off this stuff while on my vacations. We'll see what the doctor says.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I'm a little behind, but here are some pictures from Easter. We had some fun at our home and then went over to The Sutton house for brunch and an egg hunt. We had yummy food courtesy of Janie and her mom and then the kids enjoyed an egg hunt. It was a great day!