Friday, June 26, 2015

We Don't Have to Agree to be Kind

I am a person with strong convictions.
I am friends with people who have their own strong convictions.
Sometimes we agree...
and sometimes we don't.

I always find it interesting that when people don't agree,
they feel it necessary to try to convince others to see their viewpoint.
Often with angry words and accusations.
I wonder if anyone has ever been convinced in this manner.
I suspect not.

I have watched with sadness as people on both sides of an issue 
feel it necessary to bash each other and belittle their opinions.
It's a waste of time and only creates more communities of hate rather than unify us in love.

"Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."
Dr. Martin Luther King

As the political and social views fluctuate please remember:

1. Be Kind.
2. Be Respectful
3. Be Loving

We don't have to agree on be KIND to one another.

Please share the below images if you believe we can be kind even when we don't agree.
I love you my friends...
no matter what you believe.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

It Never Ends... Mastectomy and Chemo Take 3

The last few months have been a blur of chemo, 
doctor appointments, scans and surgery!

My breast lumps responded well to the chemo cocktail of Taxol, Herceptin and Perjeta
 and shrunk so fast that I was ready for surgery in no time!

Surgery was scheduled for 4 weeks after chemo ended.
The decision was made to do a unilateral mastectomy and reconstruction,
which means they would only remove one breast, the right one.
The left breast could be done later, since it didn't have cancer.
Every surgery carries risk, and since my body was immunocompromised from a year of chemo,
they thought it would be too risky to do both.
If I got an infection, the implant would have to be removed and could not be replaced.

I don't remember going to sleep before surgery and before I knew it, 
I was waking up in a completely different hospital gown in the recovery room!

I had a 2 inch incision in my armpit from the lymph node biopsy
and 3 drains coming out of incisions on the side of my breast.
There was also the breast incision that spanned the bottom of my breast.

The drains had to be emptied 3 times a day 
and the fluids measured to make sure there wasn't too much leakage. 
As soon as the draining became minimal, the drains could be removed.
It took over a week and was miserable.
The drains would get tugged on and hurt as they were sewn into my skin.
The biopsy incision itchy and uncomfortable.
No deodorant was allowed for several weeks as everything healed and it smelled weird.
The recovery was longer than I expected and tested my patience and good humor.

At last I was able to go without pain pills and was able to return to work!
I was so happy to be back in the wonderful environment of my school,
surrounded by the love and support of the kids, parents and teachers!

And then I saw my oncologist.
Although my scans showed no cancer, they can't detect everything.
She was starting me on chemo again.

I was so sad.
I was ready to be strong and healthy and have an amazing summer 
and another surgery so my breasts would match!
I was not ready to lose my hair and break out in chemo acne and ache and be tired!
I came home from that appointment and sat down and cried.
And cried.
My husband found me sitting on the toilet bawling.
Pretty pathetic.

And then that night as I lay awake, I received a message from my Heavenly Father.
He told me that this was an answer to my prayers.
I wanted a summer to have fun with my kids and this chemo would give it to me.
This chemo would prevent me from having surgery and having more recovery time!
This was the mild chemo that I worked through in the spring, and I could drive!
This chemo would allow me to have a summer so different from the last one.
I began to feel better about the whole thing.

But as I write this, I feel awful.
I'm nauseous and tired.
And I still resent the chemo.
I forget just how lucky I really am!
My chemo is working!
Not everyone's cancer responds well to their treatment 
and they have to undergo so much more than I do.
Although never ending, my treatments are always effective.
I am alive.
And that's all that matters.

Be brave.
Be kind.
Life is beautiful.
And we are blessed.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Knott's Summer Fun!

No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks!

We are so ready for summer at our house!
This summer we are excited to hang out at Knott's Berry Farm
and check out all the fun things they have planned!

The first thing on our list is Voyage to the Iron Reef!
This 4-D interactive adventure is great for the whole family!
Check out the video below for a sneak peek!


Voyage to the Iron Reef takes you on a journey below the Boardwalk
to battle the Kraken Queen and her fleet of aquatic creatures!
This ride features 10 interactive screens where 4 guests together will compete for the highest score 
as they shoot their freeze blasters in this underwater journey!

My family is going to love this new attraction, 
and I love that Knott's has given us another ride that we can all enjoy together!

After you conquer the Kraken Queen, don't forget a Voyage souvenir 
from the Nautilus gift shop right next door!

The Boardwalk Arcade is also reopening under the Voyage 
with a brand new assortment of games!
Duck into the arcade when the sun gets hot 
and enjoy the laser tag compound coming in late summer!

You'll find us on all our favorite rides too of course, 
like the Timber Mountain Log Ride!
Nothing feels better than a little, or a lot of splash on a summer day!

And the best part for me, the food!!
Especially anything with Knott's signature boysenberries!
These boysenberry filled churros are my favorite treat!

But that's just the beginning!
Knott's has so many amazing things lined up for summer, it will blow your mind!
Check it out and see what your family's favorites will be!

Blockbuster Beagle!...on ice  - Charles M. Schulz Theatre
  • Snoopy and his Peanuts buddies "go Hollywood" bringing Walk of Fame glamour, dazzling movie lot escapades and California excitement to a brand new ice show adventure.
  • Join Snoopy and our World-class ice skating stars at the Charles M. Schulz Theatre for this amazing new production!
  • June 13 - August 23 No shows on Wednesdays

Vertical Impact & Vertical Impact Geared Up Show
  • Vertical Impact presents the ultimate blend of extreme stunts with high flying acrobats performing a one of a kind performance perfect for the entire family!
  • The fun continues after dark with Vertical Impact, Geared Up!
  • This high energy show is set to the most popular songs of today, combining everything from trampoline stunts, bmx bikes, skaters, dancers, and aerialists.
  • Every show ends with an informal meet & greet for the guests with the entire cast on stage.
  • The cast pumps up the volume with the latest hits, the biggest tricks and awesome special effects.
  • The pace is intensified, the stunts are electrified, and the cast is breaking down the walls, defying gravity, and taking it all to the next level.  
  • Watch the show for the amazing aerial acrobatics, and crazy trampoline & vertical wall stunts, then stay for the after party and be a part of the show!  
  • Our own "DJ Nytemadness” will keep the party going mixing all the best of current EDM, dance & pop hits after each show while the cast joins the guests of all ages to dance, party, take selfies, and just be a part of it all.
  • June 13 - August 23 No shows on Mondays & Tuesdays

Charlie Brown’s Happy Campers – Camp Snoopy Theatre
  • Join Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and the world’s most popular beagle, Snoopy in a show that’s sure to make an outdoorsman out of anybody!
  • Daily, June 14 through September 1

Big Band Swingin’ Sundays
  • Jump, Jive & Swing to the sounds of Orange County’s best local Big Bands.
  • Sunday evenings, June14 – August 30

Boardwalk Dance Party – Boardwalk Circle Stage
  • Dance ‘til you drop and wave your hands in the air until you just don’t care with DJ Howly, one of Orange County’s most requested “mixers & spinners”.
  • Monday & Tuesday evenings, June 15 – August 25     Plus September 7

Ghost Town Streetmosphere
  • Ghost Town is alive with townsfolk who will put you smack dab in the middle of the Wild West.
  • New residents have put down stakes recently… Clem Culpepper, the ever hopeful gold miner, Ma & Pa Shine, our resident moonshiners & Nathan Quickly, the Pony Express Agent.
  • And as you mosey on through Ghost Town, say “Howdy” to returning favorites, Dusty Trail, who’s never without her six-shooter, Miss Ruby, the purtiest Saloon Gal in town, Miss Apple the School Teacher, and the rest of the Calico townsfolk.
  • Daily June 13 – September 7

Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies – Birdcage Theatre
  • Things get krazy when Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies perform their toe tappin’, knee-slappin’, side splittin’ country comedy show that has Knott’s audiences clamoring for more!
  • It’s the perfectly krazy way to spend some time at Knott’s Berry Farm!
  • Fridays through Mondays, June 13 – August 23 except 6/19 and 8/6 & 29.

Salsa  Bands -  Fiesta Plaza Stage
  • Nothing says a party at the Fiesta Plaza stage better than the energy created by some of Orange County’s most popular salsa bands.
  • Friday, Saturday & Sunday evenings, June 13 through August 23, Plus August 29, 30 and September 5, 6, & 7

The Ghost Town Miners – Spurs Stage
  • For a “Yeehaw” of a good time you won’t want to miss the Ghost Town Miners sing and play some of the best bluegrass this side of the Rio Grande!
  • Tuesday through Thursday, June 16 – August 20

The Marshal Purdy Show – Birdcage Theatre
  • Come on in for some old fashioned, homespun fun that’s sure to tickle your fancy and bust your gut.
  • Tuesday & Wednesday, June 17 – August 21

The Big Fat Steve Band – Boardwalk Circle Stage

  • Back by popular demand, The Big Fat Steve Band-The Kings of Kool is a fun, exciting dance band with a swingin’ beat.
  • Enjoy the live musicality of rockabilly, swing and classic sounds. The only thing missing is your dance moves.
  • Wednesday through Saturday, June 13 – August 29     Plus September 5 & 6 KBF Marketing 2

The Peanuts Gang – Camp Snoopy
  • A chance to meet and hug one of your favorite Peanuts characters!
  • Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Sally, Schroeder, Franklin, Woodstock, or Peppermint Patty
  • Year round - Characters vary daily

Calico Saloon Cancan Show – Calico Saloon
  • What’s a Saloon without a show? Don’t miss the Calico Saloon Show for some good old’ fashioned bar room fun. We heard that the dancin’ girls even perform that new fandangled dance from Paree, France, the Cancan! You might even want to cool off with a tall cool bottle of the hard stuff…Sarsaparilla!
  • Daily, June 13 – September 30, Plus September 5 - 7

Fool’s Gold Stunt Show – Wagon Camp
  • Will the bad guys manage to re route and steal the gold? Find out in this rowdy, comical, western stunt show presented on Knott’s legendary Wagon Camp stage.
  • Year round

Indian Trails
  • You won’t want to miss the beautiful music, authentic costumes and historically rich traditions presented at the Indian Trails Stage.
  • Thursday through Monday - Year round

Mystery Lodge
  • Sit back and let this award winning, one of a kind attraction mesmerize you as our Native

American Storyteller shares stories of his rich history and culture.
  • The special effects will amaze you.
  • Daily Year Round

It's always more fun with friends, so grab your Knott's season passes
for only four payments of $24.50 and join us at Knott's!
Or upgrade to the gold pass for only 4 payments of $28 and add Soak City to your summer!
With 17 slides, a wave pool, lazy river and children's area,
Soak City is what summer dreams are made of!

Keep up with what's new at Knott's on social media!


“The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them. 
 I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.”

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Breast Cancer Round Two

Sometimes I wish I could see into the future,
to know what waits for me around every corner.
But God in His infinite wisdom knows I have to learn to live by faith,
trusting that come what may, He will care for me and my family.

One year ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer metastatic to my liver.
The chemo treatments were harsh and there was a lot of pain and narcotics and bed rest.

But I beat it!!!

The cancer miraculously shrunk and disappeared.
I continued medications that were supposed to keep the cancer at bay,
since stage 4 cancer is never cured, only controlled.

And then in December I began to feel that the cancer in my breast was growing again.
The oncologist had me scanned and said it was smaller than the year before.
But I wondered, is it smaller than after I finished chemo?

Another scan 2 months later confirmed my suspicions,
the cancer had returned to my breast.
I started chemo again 5 days later.

This time the chemo would be milder she said.
But I was afraid.
I have a job now that I love.
Would I be able to do it every day?
Would my hair fall out again?
Would I have to go on narcotics for the pain 
and go through the terrible process of weaning myself off?

This chemo was every week, instead of every 3 weeks.
My husband had a hard time taking that much work off so I got friends to go.
I had a great time getting to know more about these wonderful women 
as they were stuck beside me for several hours in the chemo chair!

The weeks went by and the pain was minimal.
I didn't need the narcotics!
I could drive!
I could go to my job at my kids' school every day!
It has been such a blessing to be there,
to have somewhere to go to get my mind off cancer
and be surrounded by the love of those wonderful children, staff and parents!

I found the hardest part this time was my physical appearance.
Last year I shaved off my hair with no problem, but I was so sad to lose it again.
My face has broken out into a hundred pimples from the treatments,
and I feel like wearing a bag over my head and hiding in bed.
Again my job has saved me from staying home and feeling sorry for myself
and I am so grateful.

The chemo has done its job and the cancer has shrunk again!
I was so blessed that it did not return to my liver.
And this time we are taking it out!
Surgery is scheduled in a few weeks.
Single mastectomy with reconstruction, with the other breast to follow soon.
The surgeon feels that my body has been through so much this past year.
She doesn't want to risk infection by doing a double mastectomy.
I respect her cautious decision, but don't look forward to being lopsided for swimsuit season!

I can't say yet that I am grateful for cancer.
But my world is so much bigger than it was before!
My faith has grown.
My perspective has broadened.
And I have come to know so many amazing people 
that would not have been in my path without this cancer journey.

I had the opportunity to speak in church on Easter.
I spoke about hope and faith and trusting in the path God has for each one of us.
Faith is a choice.
Happiness is a choice.
They become habits as we choose them over and over again.
The hard things in our life can overtake us or be just a small part depending on what we choose.

My life is bigger than cancer.
I am grateful for the beautiful life I lead.
I am still the luckiest girl ever!


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Farrell's Tater Creator!

So I was super excited about The Great Tater Creator at Farrell's!

Everyone got their own Tater Creator sheet to pick their favorite fries and toppings!
There's even a cheat sheet on the other side with some recommended combos.

It was great for the kids too, who definitely don't have the same tastes in food 
as their parents, or even each other!

These plates of fries disappeared quickly!
We had so much fun passing them all around to try each other's picks.

My favorite turned out to be the Don't Fry For Me Argentina plate
from the cheat sheet on the back!
Look at all those delicious toppings!

Here's a list of all the taters and toppings!

    - Fries
    - Potato Tots
    - Sweet Potato Fries
    - Waffle Fries

    - Brown Gravy
    - Buffalo Sauce
    - Cheese Sauce
    - Farrell’s Chili
    - Farrell’s Sauce
    - Tangy Balsamic
Regular Toppers:
    - American Cheese
    - Anaheim Chilis
    - Bacon Crumbles
    - Black Olives
    - Bleu Cheese
    - Cheddar Cheese
    - Chopped Onions
    - Crushed Garlic
    - Fresh Basil
    - Grilled Onions
    - Jalapeños
    - Parmesan Cheese
    - Pico de Gallo
    - Scallions
    - Sour Cream

    - Fried Egg
    - Ground Beef
    - Guacamole
    - Sautéed Mushrooms with Truffle Oil

    - BBQ Sauce
    - Bleu Cheese Dressing
    - Chipotle Sauce
    - Farrell’s Sauce
    - Honey Mustard
    - Ranch

The Tater Creator is great alongside your favorite Farrell's burger
or on its own as a tasty appetizer option!

Come try it before it's gone!

For your local Farrell's info, go to!


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