Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cards Cards and More Cards.....

Do you have a beautiful picture like this...

that you have captured of your children or family? Would you love to be able to make it into your very own Christmas card? Well I have just the answer for you Shutterfly.  You can go on Shutterflies website and make a Christmas card with any picture you want on it. Here is an example of their work.
 Shutterfly doesn’t just allow you to make Christmas cards, they have a large array of cards for any occasion you may have in life.

 Say you just had a baby and need a really cute birth announcement. Shutterfly is your answer

Or you are planning to buy that house you have been saving for or just looking for new scenery Shutterfly has moving announcements.

Or how about that big 50th birthday coming up or any birthday you may be having a party for you could make your very own invitation.
Maybe you’re planning that wedding of your dreams and want to make your own wedding invitations extra special with pictures of your lives together so far. Well Shutterfly is your place.
Shutterfly doesn’t just allow you to make great cards, invitations or announcements. Maybe you need that perfect gift for the grandparents Shutterfly has great personalized gifts such as photo books, calendars, mugs, just about anything you could think of.
I love the ease of Shutterflies website, you just browse their large selection of product, pick what you want and import you image, edit it and order it as easy as 1,2,3.
*And to top it all off as if their site wasn’t easy to us and they didn’t make great products I am receiving a promotion code for 50 free holiday cards just for telling you how much I like them. However all opinions are those of my own.
* All photos of sample cards are property of Shutterfly.




Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Long Time Coming....

So much has changed in our lives since April. We have moved from San Diego to Illinois. Overall we love it here in Illinois. We wanted to move to be closer to my parents who had moved here after my dad retired. Plus there was the bonus of the cost of living is cheaper out here. That being said though it has been a struggle that we never expected. Things have changed so much and everything has not gone as we had planned them to go. We are struggling to get by right now, but holding our heads high and doing lots of praying. Some days it looks like things are going to be better for us others it looks like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

The kids are doing great. They really seem to enjoy being in Illinois. School has been great for them, they love their schools.

Chilly-Dog is a sophomore and could not be happier in school. We had a lot of struggles with school in San Diego but those have all seemed to disappear. Chilly-Dog goes to a very small high school. Actually the town we live in is a very small town just east of St. Louis MO. Chilly-Dogs school only has about 200 students total. Back in San Diego his graduating class consisted of probably at least 500. After the first of the year he will be starting drivers education and he could not be happier. Dad and I on the other hand are scared and in disbelief all at the same time. Chilly-Dog is also starting to think about his long term future. He seems to be showing a real interest in Law. He seems to be leaning towards being a lawyer and anyone who knows Chilly-Dog knows he can argue til the cows come home. It seems to be looking more like he may join the Navy right out of high school. They seem to have a pretty good program for legal aids and that would be a perfect start for him.

Chilly-Fry is also doing well in the fourth grade. She loves being at school and is such a little social butterfly. She has made lots of new friends and seems to really like the closeness of a small town. I do know she loves that she is able to go out and play with her friends and ride her bike. She has a friend that she is always hanging with that she has been best buds with since day one of school. I am so happy that she has found a close friendship and has someone she can have sleepovers with and just do the thing normal nine year old girls love to do.

Chilly-Pie OH my little Chilly-Pie she is such a bright light in our lives.She is 3 going on 30 and she knows it. Every day is an adventure with her and I love it so much. You never know what she is going to say or do next and there are multiple boughts of laughter with her around. She absolutely loves to be outside playing. She is also an extreme animal lover. Chilly-Pie usually isn’t far from some kind of stuffed animal or animal figurine. She has an imagination that blows me away.

We have really enjoyed watching the seasons change. Fall was so beautiful here. We are now into the cold of winter but it has been fun. We are expecting to get our first snow over the weekend. When we were here last year for Christmas we had a little snow and the kids absolutely loved it. The cold and snow has been a bit of a change for Chilly-Pepper he grew up in California so he is use to the beaches and the warm.

That should be about it for now.....
Oh I did want to add that anyone who had been here and seen the story of the Parkers on my blog who were adopting two little girls from the Ukraine. They went and got the girls and their adoption has been finalized and Bethany and Hannah are now officially Parker girls.

Please pray that our struggles will get easier for us and we will see that light at the end of this looong tunnel. Christmas for the kiddos this year will be extinct. But I am happy for their health and happiness. We are working on getting a Christmas tree for them right now since ours seemed to not make the move. I have had a wonderful friend help out and I am just so grateful for the kindness in people’s hearts. I hope anyone reading who need blessings right now get them. God Bless


Wow, It has been a long time since I have posted. So many updates and changes in our lives. I am going to really make an effort at writing more. I really want to and have the desire to write but sometimes I just don't have the words. I am going to really try harder.

I also have another blog I am working on. even though I can't seem to keep mine up. I have decided I need somewhere to keep all the funny/silly things my 3 year old says and does.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Giveaway Gala

I have a friend Amanda who is holding a weeklong Gala of giveaways to celebrate her birthday. If you want a chance to win one of the great items head over to her blog and enter. You can click on her name or on the button to the right.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I am finding myself very frustrated about many things....

1. Chilly-Pepper has a job in Illinois but he his having a terrible time getting all the paperwork finished up. It is like the blind leading the blind. It took about 3 weeks to get all the paperwork signed that needed signed. Last week he finally got the go ahead and he went and did his drug test. The next day we get a call saying that the company used some kind of system that can't verify his employment (he use to work for this company about 10 years ago). They say they need him to send them his W-2 from 2000. I am pretty sure we don't have that anywhere. He is slammed at work so he is playing phone tag with everyone. He is one of two people in the office this week (everyone else is on vacation or FML). He has 8 current cases and 5 pending and just not enough time in the work day to complete all his follow-up work so he is very stressed.

2. That my friend Kate is having such a hard time raising the monies needed to bring Bethany and Rebekah home. I know it will happen I just wish she didn’t have to stress so much about it happening. She has such great fundraisers on her site. I got some popcorn from The Big Popper yesterday and it is such awesome popcorn. If you go on the website and order all you have to do is put in the promotion code "daughters" and The Big Popper will give 25% of your order to Kate adoption. That is a win win situation you get wonderful yummy popcorn and you help Kate. She also had a puzzle fundraiser and 3 of her daughters are making the girls quilts you could buy squares for them.

3. My house is so cluttered and I have so much to do for the move and don't know where to begin and feel like I am the only one who thinks it needs to be done. Now I know Chilly-Pepper is very busy with work right now but nothing is getting done on the weekends. The kids are also of no help and all the laziness of my family is making me lazy also.

4. This next one is really stupid but still has me frustrated. One of the local radio stations is giving away 4 pack tickets to go see Taylor Swift. Chilly-Fry is a huge fan of Taylor. I have been trying for 2 1/2 weeks to win the tickets. You have to be caller 9 and pick the letter she is hiding behind from Kanye. T*A*Y*L*O*R I have gotten through but get this I have as of the last hour been caller 1-8.

Okay now I feel a little bit better I am off to try to win tickets and to get my room cleaned.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Helping Others

I have come across a blog written by Sheri. Sheri is going through some tuff times right now and is using her blog to try and Give Back Please go and check her out and at least keep her family in your thought they sure could use it right now.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Please Continue To Pray For....

Kate and her family, they are having a hard time with their fundraisers. They also have just come across another little girl that they could bring home from the Ukraine with them. Please pray to lead the officials who make all these final choices in the right direction.


We are going to be going through many changes in the next month or so. Chilly-Pepper went back to Illinois for 5 days to look for a job. He was offered two positions while out there. We are just waiting for the final hire date and we will be leaving California. I am under tremendous stress right now trying to get everything in order. I will be doing a lot of purging in the next month to help with the amount of stuff we must move. We are hoping we will be able to move and get a place in St Louis or on the Illinois boarder. One job is in Illinois and the other is in St. Louis.
The kids are very excited to be able to move.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Please Help The Parkers....

Today is all about Bethany Danielle 2 and Rebekah Suzanne 7 months…And anyone else with DS...

Today is such a special day! Why, you ask because today is World Down Syndrome Day. Now you may be saying, what is Down syndrome? Down syndrome is a genetic condition in which a person has 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. It is also called Trisomy 21 because there is an extra copy of chromosome 21. Down syndrome is the most common single cause of human birth defects.
Now why am I blogging about Down syndrome? Because a good friend of mine has opened her heart and family up to adoption and was lead two beautiful little girls in a Ukrainian Orphanage who both have Down syndrome. By age 4, if these children (or any of the special needs children at their orphanage) are not adopted, they are put in a mental institution. They are not welcome in society at all. Kate’s family is in the middle of the adoption process and has set up a BLOG to document the journey they are taking. On the blog there are different fundraisers you can par take in to help support their journey. They have a candle, popcorn and a puzzle fundraiser gong on right now and new ones popping up all the time. Kate still needs to raise about $30,000 before she can bring the girls home and they could be home by July if everything continues to move as fast as it has been. Once they have all the funds needed this should move even faster. I figure if Kate and her friends can get the word out and get 30,000 people to go over to her BLOG and if each person donated $1.00 they would have all the money needed to make this whole thing happen.
The organization Kate is using for her adoption is called Reece’s Rainbow. To read more about Reece’s Rainbow go HERE. When you go to this site the page you go to will have Bethany and Rebekah on it (Vivienne and Laura) their orphanage names. You can also donate via Reece’s Rainbow it will go into a fund for the girls. All donations are tax deductable.

If you have a blog or know someone else who does and would like to also support Kate’s family in their journey please take her button and attach it to your blog.

Thank You for your support and Best of Luck: Kate, Charley, Megan, Adam, Emily, David, Sarah, Isaac and Joshua,

If People With Down Syndrome Ruled The World...

I came across this article on NADS (National Association for Down Syndrome) and I am very touched by it. I feel that individuals with Down syndrome get labeled and discriminated against because they have a “syndrome” a.k.a extra chromosome. There are so many famous people who have someone in their families who have Down syndrome. I don’t know what it is about Down syndrome but whenever I see someone with Down syndrome I just fall in love with them and want to give them hugs and engage in conversation with them.
What would happen if people with DS ruled the world?
If people with Down syndrome ruled the world:
Affection, hugging and caring for others would make a big comeback.
Despite the fact that my family was not terribly affectionate, I have had a crash course in hugging at the Center. I am confident that if people with Down syndrome ran the world, everyone would become very accustomed to the joys of hugging. Fortunately for me, I had a head start. My wife is a native of Argentina, and I got some intense exposure to hugging when I landed in her country and found there were 6000 members of her family waiting to be hugged as we got off the plane.
All people would be encouraged to develop and use their gifts for helping others.
In our world, too often people with Down syndrome are “DONE FOR” by others, when in fact they are great givers. If they ran the world, their ability to minister to others would not be wasted.
People would be refreshingly honest and genuine.
People with Down syndrome are nothing if not straightforward and unpretentious. As the expression goes, “what you see is what you get.” When you say to people with Down syndrome, “You did a good job,” most will answer simply and matter-of-factly, “Yes, I did.”
We believe, too, that a stuffy high society would probably not do well in the world of Down syndrome.
However, we believe that BIG dress up dances would flourish. People with Down syndrome love dressing up and dancing at big shindigs. They have a ball, and ...can they dance! (and by the way, who needs a date... “Just dance”).
Most people we have met with Down syndrome also love weddings. This should not be a big surprise. They love getting dressed up, being with family and friends, having good food, and, of course, dancing until the wee hours of the morning. (Many people love it so much, they will chase the band down at the end of the night, begging them to continue.) Perhaps, too, part of the reason they love weddings so much is not just because of the food and dancing, but because in many cases the rules against hugging are temporarily suspended. This may give people a little piece of what I experienced in Argentina. Whoa! Can you imagine what the world would be like with so much affection unleashed?
People engaged in self talk would be considered thoughtful and creative. Self talk rooms would be reserved in offices and libraries to encourage this practice.
People with Down syndrome have a reputation for “talking to themselves.” When conducted in a private space, self talk serves many adaptive purposes.
It is a wonderful means to ponder ideas and to think out loud. It allows people to review events that occurred in the course of their day. It allows people to solve problems by talking themselves through tasks. It allows them to plan for future situations. It is also helpful in allowing people to express feelings and frustrations, particularly if they have difficulty expressing their feelings to others. There is even evidence that athletes who do not have Down syndrome use self talk to motivate themselves. Certainly people without Down syndrome talk to their computer (particularly when it crashes), and likewise many people talk out loud when driving in Chicago. (Of course they may also make odd gestures as well; not recommended if long life is one of your ambitions.)
Order and Structure would rule
We have heard that many people with Down syndrome are stubborn and compulsive. Now, I know what many of you are thinking...“Did you really have to bring that up?” I’m sorry, but—we do. What we hear is that quite a few people have nonsensical rituals and routines. They can get stuck on behaviors that can drive family members a little crazy.
Despite the irritations, there are also many benefits to these “obsessive compulsive tendencies.” We actually have termed these tendencies “Grooves” because people tend to follow fairly set patterns, or “grooves,” in their daily activities.
What are the benefits of Grooves? Many people with Down syndrome are very careful with their appearance and grooming, which is especially important since they often stand out because of their physical features. Grooves also increase independence because most people are able to complete home and work tasks reliably when these tasks are part of their daily routine. (And while they are not fast ... they are very precise.) For many with Down syndrome, grooves serve as a way to relax. Some people repeat a favorite activity in a quiet space, such as writing, drawing, puzzles, needlepoint, etc. Grooves also serve as a clear and unambiguous statement of choice (very important for people with language limitations). This may even be a way for teens with Down syndrome to define their own independence without getting into the same rancorous conflicts with parents as many other teens.
So given what we know about people with Down syndrome and grooves, how would they use this to run the world? Here is how:
 Schedules and calendars would be followed.
 Trains & planes would run on time.
 Lunch would be at 12:00. Dinner at 6:00.
 Work time would be work time.
 Vacation would be vacation.
At the Center, our receptionist, Shirley, will often have people at her desk pointing to the clock or their watches. Obviously, she hears about it when we don’t take people back at their appointment time, but she also found that some people refuse to go back early: “Nope I am not going at 9:45, my appointment is at 10:00,” nor does going over into the lunch period work. I am sure all of you have similar stories.
But there is much, much more:
 People would be expected to keep their promises.
 Last minute changes would be strongly discouraged (if not considered rude and offensive).
 Places would be neat, clean, and organized (not just bedrooms, but cities, countries, the whole world).
 Lost and founds would go out of business (even chaotic appearing rooms have their own sense of order).
 The “grunge look” would be out, way out.
 “Prep” (but not pretentious) would be very big.
In the world of Down Syndrome, there would be a great deal more tolerance for:
 Repeating the same phrase or question
 Use of the terms “fun” and “cleaning” in the same sentence
 Closing doors or cabinets that are left ajar (even in someone else’s house)
 Arranging things until they are “Just so.”
Despite their compulsions and grooves, people with Down syndrome rarely have the really ‘bad habits’ that so many of us have. In fact, out of approximately 3000 people we have seen at the clinic, we have not seen any drug addicts or gamblers and just two alcoholics and a very small number of smokers. However, we think that pop may be a common addiction in the world of Down syndrome, and of course some people are incurable savers and hoarders of just about everything, but especially paper products and writing utensils. Because of this, I could see maybe a Betty Ford Center for pop addicts and extreme paper hoarding.
The words “hurry” and “fast” would be not be uttered in polite society. “Plenty of time” would take their place.
At the Center, we frequently hear about pace, or how fast or slow people move. Quite often these issues are discussed in disparaging terms by harried and frustrated family members. In this world, people with Down syndrome have a reputation for having two speeds, slow and slower.
Therefore, in the world of Down Syndrome:
 Our current mode of dealing with time, also known as the “Rat race” (or rushing around like our hair is on fire), would not survive.
 Here and now would command a great deal more respect than it currently does.
 Stopping to smell the roses would not be just a cliché.
 Work would be revered, no matter what kind, from doing dishes to rocket science.
We have consistently seen respect and devotion to work by people with Down syndrome. This is such a strong characteristic for many that they don’t want to stay home from work even if feeling ill. Perhaps more importantly, they value any kind of work.
Therefore, if people with Down syndrome ran the world:
 Speed would be far less important than doing the job right.
 Work would be everyone’s right, not a privilege.
However, we think there would probably be no work conducted during the time that “Wheel of Fortune” is on TV.
All instruction would include pictures to aid visual learners.
Many studies have shown that individuals with Down syndrome have deficits in auditory memory. If they cannot remember verbal instruction, they may be considered oppositional or less competent in school, home, or work environments. Despite this, they have exceptional visual memory-they are visual learners. If they see something once, they can usually repeat it. They also have an exceptional memory for facts and figures of interest (favorite celebrities, movies, music, sports teams, etc).
If people with Down syndrome ran the world:
 School and work sites would have picture, written, and verbal instructions to accommodate different learning styles.
 Counselors would be able to use visual mediums to help solve problems.
What About News?
If people with Down syndrome ran the world:
 Weather would be the only essential news item
 News would be more local (“A new McDonalds just opened up,” or “A dance tonight,” etc.). After all, what is more important than that?
What About Bad News?
If people with Down syndrome ran the world, would there be wars or murders? We don’t think so! There may be too many McDonalds but definitely not the wars or murders we have in our “civilized societies.”
What About “Behaviors”...
...and terms such as (the ever popular) “Incident reports,” “Outbursts,” “Unprovoked outbursts” (one of our all time favorites), and of course “Non compliance”?
We believe that in the world of Down Syndrome, anyone writing “incident reports” would have to go through sensitivity training, which would consist of someone following them around writing down everything they did wrong. Brian Chicoine and I both figure that we would have been on major psychotropic medications long ago if we had people writing up incident reports on us.
We have found that most people with Down syndrome are very sensitive to expressions of anger by others. I imagine they would do all they could to help reduce and solve conflicts between people.
Therefore if people with DS ran the world:
 Anger would only be allowed in special sound proof rooms.
 Trained negotiators would be available to everyone to help deal with any conflicts.
 The word “non compliant” would not be used (except as a very rude comment). It would be replaced by assertive,” as in “he or she is being assertive today.”
What About Self Expression?
 Art and music appreciation would be BIG.
 People would have time to work on paintings and other art projects.
 Acting and theatrical arts would be encouraged for all.
 You probably would not hear a great deal about exercise, but you may hear a phrase like, “Dancing tonight ... absolutely.”
 The President’s commission on physical fitness would probably recommend dancing at least 3 times per week.
 People would be encouraged to get married several times to have more weddings for more music and dancing.
 Richard Simmons and John Travolta would be national heroes.
 Elvis, The Beatles, and the Beach Boys would still be number 1 on the hit parade (Music of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s would be BIG)
 Musicals would be very, very, very, big (such as “Grease,” and “The Sound of Music”)
 John Travolta would be the biggest star.
 Classic TV hits would be very BIG and take up at least half the TV schedules.
 “I Love Lucy,” “Happy Days,” “The Three Stooges,” etc. would be very BIG.
 Wrestling would be very Big.
 “Life Goes On” would also be very Big and replayed regularly.
 There would be fewer movies, but they would be replayed over and over.
 Movie theaters would allow people to talk out loud to tell what happens next.
No Secret Agents
 People would not hurt the feelings of others and they would also not lie or keep secrets.
 Therefore there probably would be no secret service agents, spies, or terrorists.
The purpose of this article is to give back some of what we have learned to the families and people with Down syndrome who have come to the Adult Down Syndrome Center and who have been so giving and open with us. If people understand more of the special talents people with Down syndrome have, they may be more able to help them use and develop these talents to improve their lives. We also wanted to reassure families of younger children with Down syndrome who are concerned about their child’s future that there is much to be optimistic about.
I think it really makes you stop and think....
So I am asking that if you can spare a dollar please stop by Room For More and help Kate make her families dreams become a reality.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Room For More

I have friend who is taking the adoption journey. This is a journey that one day I would love to be able to take.
Kate is a wonderful Mother to seven already and has felt the tug in her heart to do more and that tug has led them to two beautiful girls in the Ukraine. The ball was started rolling on making them hers and that ball has moved fast and it is looking like they could be with Kate and her family by the end of summer.
Kate is putting together fundraiser activities to help bring them home. If you or someone you know could help them out please do. You can also just follow the wonderful journey Kate and her family is taking to bring Bethany and Laura home to them.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why O' Why

Why is it everytime we try to make plans to do something fun something else has to ruin it. We have Disneyland annual passes that expire on Monday so we were going to go up Saturday and stay until Sunday night. Well wouldn't you know it that the state who never gets any rain is suppose to get dumped on Saturday. We were up there last year this time of year and it rained also. There was one other time we went and it rained all day long it is just no fun when it is raining up there it is a "not so happiest place on earth". I feel bad for the kids because we were all looking forward to spending the weekend there but I am not looking forward to the kids or myself being sick if we go and we all get wet and cold it is also only suppose to be high 50's UGH the weather sucks. And to top of the nasty weather they reopened the Captain Eo Michael Jackson show yesterday so I am sure it will be a mad house with all the fans going for it. Oh and we also discivered last time we were there that Chilly-Pie can ride the Materhorn ride and it was closed well guess what is still closed. I guess this whole weekend is just not meant to be.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Greek Dinner Night

I was suppose to post this last night but was having technical issues.
Tonight I did a Greek dinner. Chilly-Pepper is of Greek decent and I love the Greek flavors so I try to make different Greek foods. I see lots of people doing food blogs and I really like the ones where they direct you through the making of the dish so I have decided to lead you through the meal via pictures. I made Chicken Spanaki, Yellow Rice and Green Beans.
I also had Pooh-Bear come over for dinner tonight since Ry had duty. Pooh-Bear brought her kitty over also. Mr. Kitty is his name and he is the coolest cat. He has no fear and is so playful. I have never seen a cat that you can take to peoples houses because he is so cool about being in new places he doesn't hide like most cats would.

    Chicken Breast Spanaki
    1/2 cup olive oil
    2 stalks fresh green onions, chopped
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 pound frozen spinach, washed, squeezed to remove excess water
    1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
    2 whole eggs
    1 pound feta cheese, crumbled
    1 tablespoon ground pepper
    8 large chicken breasts
    Olive oil
  Pour olive oil in pot over medium heat and add both types of onion.
 Saute for 1 minute, and then add spinach. Saute for approximately
 10 minutes.
  Preheat the broiler. Pour spinach mixture in a bowl and cool. Add
 dill, eggs, feta and pepper to spinach mixture and mix very well.
 Butterfly chicken breasts and fill with spinach/feta mixture. Close
 the breast and broil for 10 minutes on each side. After 15 minutes,
 douse chicken breasts with olive oil, lemon and oregano, and serve.

The ingredients (only thing missing is the lemon had to wait for hubby to come home)

Chop all ingredients and crumble cheese then sauté the onions add spinach and let cool.

I forgot the picture of me draining the spinach but I put it in paper towels and squeezed all the water out of it.
Add all the cheese, egg and dill. Mix all together.

Butterfly the chicken breast

Stuff the breast with the cheese and spinach mixture

Lay out on a tray after all stuffed

Bake according to recipe

Rice and Beans
For the rice I just used the Mahatma Yellow rice and cooked it according to the directions.
For the beans I used cut green beans, bacon, onion, garlic and butter.
Slice onions and bacon also open and drain the beans

Fry the bacon until crisp, add the onion and saute some next add beans salt and pepper top off with some butter.

When all is said and done here is the wonderful dinner (please excuse my fine china).

Thank You for reading and I hope you try and enjoy the meal.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I have made lots of changes on my blog. I have changed every ones names and changed the name of my blog. I was never really happy with the layout of it all along. I think I am finally happy with it all. I want to thank everyone who gave me ideas for the blog. I am hoping to start blogging on a regular basis now.