Friday, March 28, 2014

Winner Winner Make Ahead Chicken Dinner

Hi everyone! Swinging by real quick to announce the winners of my giveaway :) I've been CRAZY busy this week but I hope to have some fun posts to share with you soon -- in the meantime, thanks for all the support with my book!  I really do appreciate it so much!

Prize #1 Winner

Cong Huang said:

"Hi Cassie - Congrats on the cookbook! It looks amazing. Can I enter the giveaway? I've even been craving ramen lately… It might be winter's last hurrah."

Prize #2 Winner

Kalyani said:

"Shared on Facebook.."

If you won, please shoot me an email at with your mailing address and I'll get your winnings sent out to you soon- yippee!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Our First Hospital Admission

Hi friends! I hope you enjoyed my book release week and I hope you love the book! If you didn't see, I'm hosting a giveaway until next Friday so make sure you check that out.

In other news, I'm about a week overdue for a Charlie update.  Long story short, Charlie was admitted to the hospital on Monday.  I didn't update at the time because I already had my book release posts scheduled and knew I wouldn't have time to post in the hospital anyways, so I just kept the schedule as it was.

Basically Charlie had been feeling "off" for a few weeks.  He had a low grade fever, he was very tired, he wasn't eating, had an ear infection, and in the past 2 weeks developed a nasty cough.  We tried Bactrim which didn't help with any of his symptoms.  After that we brought out the "big guns" in terms of oral antibiotics and tried Levaquine, which didn't help at all either.  After 2 weeks of antibiotics/steroids not helping we were told the best bet was to bring him in for an admission and a course of IV antibiotics.

So on Monday we brought him to CT Children's Medical Center and had him admitted.  They couldn't fit him in to do a PICC line (this is a catheter that runs from a vein in your arm or groin into your heart that can deliver medication) so he had a peripheral IV for the first day.  He was not happy about this, but he did get lots of toys from the wonderful staff so that helped a bit.  All the nurses were shocked there was a 3.5 year old CFer that they hadn't met yet! I guess that's a good thing that he's so healthy, but also pretty sad that so many young kids with CF need such frequent hospitalizations.

(A PICC line on the right and an IV on the left, but he's happy as clam just looking out the window at the buildings with his daddy)

He got his PICC line on Tuesday but couldn't get his peripheral IV out until Wednesday.  He was started on 2 antibiotics that are administered every 8 hours by IV.  He was released home on Wednesday and we all learned how to do home IVs.  This is much easier than I thought it would be- I was very nervous.  Luckily it's totally manageable (although our fridge is bursting with IV bottles at the moment!) and Charlie is being an awesome sport about it.  He's been awesome about everything really-- such a badass kid. 

So since this was our first hospital visit I thought I'd summarize some of the things I learned in list format.  He were go, in  no particular order!

1. You don't need to bring meds/nebulizer pump/ nebulizer parts/ vest compressor as all of this is supplied by the hospital.  The only medical supply we really used was his vest (not the compressor or tubing)

2. The nurses and respiratory therapists bring all his medications pre-measured and do treatments.  It is VERY wierd; after 3.5 years of doing it mostly ourselves it seems lazy to sit there while someone else does all the work lol.

3. Charlie had to pee in a cup (he thought this was great fun) and we had to save poops in the potty so the nurses could track input and output.

(Chilling before getting his IV)

4. I was always  nervous about Charlie being in a hospital on IVs because he's so energetic and boisterous and grabby.  Turns out, he was so tired from being sick, and worn down from being poked and prodded, that  he was perfectly content to sit in bed for a few days and watch TV and play with cars.

5. Bring snacks. I was always starving.  It's like being at an airport, something about being there just makes you want to eat

(IVs, Nebs, Vest, and iPad all at once-- what a multitasker!)

6. Charlie is the toughest dude I know.  I saw him down 6 oral meds like it was nothing and then immediately do a vest physiotherapy treatment, while doing a nebulizer treatment, while getting an IV infusion.  Like a bawse.

(They sent us a LOT of stuff, took up a buttload of space in our house!  This is our little "clean station", the drawer organizer holds saline syringes on the top, heparin in the middle, and alcohol wipes/sterile caps on the bottom. The bottles on top are the actual medication)

7. IVs at home aren't that bad (I mean they suck, don't get me wrong, but they're not un-manageable).  Just clear out your fridge first and set up little clean stations so you have supplies at the ready where you need them.  Buy some gloves, even if they say you don't need them (that's ridiculous IMO).  Charlie hated it when the nurses touched his PICC line, he would scream and cry, but when we do it he's calm and totally doesn't care.

8. Beware of letting your son play with the hospital bed.  Charlie pressed the up button and got the bed up so high that it knocked out the cord and within 20 seconds 6 out of breath nurses sprinted to our doorway to see what the emergency was.  I felt so bad!

9. All 4 physiotherapy treatments need to be 4 hours apart at the hospital, so it goes from 8am to 9pm (they're never on time).  WAY past bedtime, but Charlie did fall asleep really easily both nights.  Typically at home we do them closer to 3 hours apart so he's not up too late.

10. Charlie was segregated because he was showing signs of illness.  This meant no play-room and all the nurses/doctors had to fully gown up to enter our room.  Our garbage was filled to capacity every morning by 10am because of all the gowns/facemasks, it was crazy.

11. They'll let you watch the PICC line insertion if you want.  At first I said no thanks because I thought it would be too hard, but once I saw him knocked out I couldn't just leave him alone so I stayed.  He woke up towards the end and that was hard to see, but they knocked him back out pretty immediately. 

(Charlies favorite toy from this admission was a car transporter and 5 hotwheels-- talk about the toybox jackpot!)

12.  The toys you donate at Christmas time that go to sick kids at the hospital? They're a godsend. Charlie got so many great toys and it made our stay SO much more manageable (and made him quite happy!).  Please donate toys to hospitals, it makes a really shitty situation a lot better for those kids.

13. The people that donate their time and services to children's hospitals are amazing, too.  In the short time we were there we were visited by a movie cart (where we could pick out DVDs), a clown (who brought presents- including a clown nose! She couldn't come in to the room because of the isolation but she had Charlie cracking up from the doorway!), and we were given a homemade Lightning McQueen blanket which Charlie adores.  THANK YOU to these wonderful people, who, again, make a shitty situation a lot better for everyone involved!

(Hungry Hungry Hippos + Tobramycin)

14. Charlie can still play and move around while connected to his IVs (which is good as it takes 6 hours per day).  He just needs to remember to take his "bubba" with him.  We call it a Bubba because the medicine is in a bubble in the bottle, and when the bubble is gone it means he's done.  So bubble = Bubba.  I need to get him a little fanny pack to carry it in, I looked at Target and couldn't find one.

OK so that's my update! Charlie's been home since Wednesday afternoon and his appetite and stamina are both better.  His cough is still there though, and junky as ever!  He will be on IVs for at least 2 weeks, possibly 3 if he doesn't get rid of his cough.  Luckily it's not pneumonia or anything and his lungs still look OK so that's the silver lining!  Thanks to all of our friends and family that have stopped by to visit, called, emailed, and sent us encouraging messages throughout all of this! I means a lot to us :)

I'll leave you with one last Charlie picture that keeps making me smile :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Make Ahead Meals- Giveaways!

Hi everyone! I hope you've been enjoying my "Make Ahead Meals" e-Book Release Week, both learning about the book and trying out some of the sample recipes :)  Today is all about giveaways, and I have 2 great prizes for you!

I'll detail the ways to win below but I wanted to take a second to say a huge THANK YOU for all you awesome readers that purchased my e-Book.  It means so much to me to know that people are interested in my book. I have spent so long working on it that I started to wonder if anyone would even read it- and the response so far has just been amazing.  Thank you, thank you!

Now on to the giveaways.  There is a different way to win each giveaway, and you could even win both if you do each task!  The winner for each prize will be chosen at random from all the entries in exactly ONE WEEK so make sure you check back next Friday.

1. Prize #1: The winner will receive one free hard copy of my cook book (printed in full color) and the link to download the PDF file of the e-Book as well.  In addition, I will include 4 of my favorite spices from Penzey's Spices, which are recommended in the book.

This is a Pin It To Win It challenge!  In order to win this prize you must pin ANY 'Make Ahead Meals' image from the last four blog posts (links to Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, and Post 4).  Return to this post and leave me a comment with the link to your pin to be entered to win!

2. Prize #2: Since I know many of my readers are scrapbookers, like myself, I had to throw in some awesome scrapbooking supplies for this giveaway :) The winner of this prize will receive everything from Prize #1 but ALSO two great scrapbooking kits from Craft Junction.

"Island Breeze" Scrapbooking Kit

 "All Boy" Scrapbooking Kit

In order to win this prize you must post about this book on your blog or Facebook.  Feel free to snag some photographs from any of the previous 4 posts about the book (see links under Prize #1, above).  Your shout-out MUST contain a link to any one of my blog posts from this week.  Return to this post and leave a comment with the link to your shout-out to be entered to win.

That's it for today everyone! I hope you've enjoyed my book giveaway week- and if you didn't, well, I'll get back to the scrapbooking next week ;) Have a great weekend and thanks again for all of your support!

To purchase a PDF file of this e-Book (for $7.99) directly from myself please click the PayPal button below

To Purchase a Full Color, Hard Copy of this Book (for $21.99) please click the Amazon link below:


Thursday, March 20, 2014

'Make Ahead Meals' Recipe: Ginger Tempeh Soup with Ramen and Bok Choy

Hi friends! I'm here today to share an excerpt from my book, 'Make Ahead Meals: Freezer Meal Recipes that Make Dinner Quick and Easy'. This is a vegetarian recipe that is so flavorful you won't even miss the meat! Vegetable stock is taken up a notch with the infusion of fresh ginger, and the ramen adds a great texture to the final dish.

Ginger Tempeh Soup with Ramen and Bok Choy
Recipe excerpt from "Make Ahead Meals: 
Freezer Meal Recipes That Make Dinner Quick and Easy"

Recipe yields 2 meals, 4-5 servings per meal
Calories per Serving 209
Storage: 2x FreezerWare Containers, 64oz each


8 cups (64oz) Vegetable Stock
2 inch piece of ginger, sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tsp Sriracha
2tsp oil
8oz tempeh
1 tbsp ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup scallions, sliced
8oz oyster mushrooms, chopped
1 large bunch bok choy
2 blocks ramen noodles

In a large saucepot simmer the vegetable stock with the ginger slices for 20 minutes, until the broth is infused with ginger flavor.

While the broth is simmering assemble the tempeh marinade. Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, dark brown sugar, and Sriracha together in a medium bowl and set aside.  Cut the tempeh into ½ inch thick slices and heat 1 tsp oil over medium high heat in a large saucepan.   Add the tempeh to the pan and brown on both sides, approximately 2 minutes per side.  Remove tempeh from the heat, cut into bite size pieces and add to the marinade.

Wipe out the pan used for the tempeh and add remaining 1 tsp oil and heat over medium heat.  Add ginger, garlic, and scallions to the pan and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant.  Add bokchoy and  oyster mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes until softened.  Set aside.

Remove the ginger slices from the broth.  Add the entire bowl of tempeh and marinade along with the pan of sautéed bok choy and mushrooms.  Stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes to combine flavors.  Pour half of the soup into each FreezerWare container.  Place a block of ramen into each container, seal and freeze.

Serving Instructions

Thaw in refrigerator overnight.  Pour the soup into a saucepan and heat on medium heat until warmed through.

To download a printable PDF for this recipe you can click this link.  The format for this downloadable recipe is the same format as the book, so you can get an idea of how everything is organized.  I hope you give this recipe a try- it is definitely one of my favorites!

To purchase a PDF file of this e-Book (for $7.99) directly from myself please click the PayPal button below

To Purchase a Full Color, Hard Copy of this Book (for $21.99) please click the Amazon link below:


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

'Make Ahead Meals' Recipe- Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa

Hi everyone! I'm here today to share another sample recipe from my book, 'Make Ahead Meals: Freezer Meal Recipes that Make Dinner Quick and Easy'.  This recipe is Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and is a definite crowd pleaser.  A mixture of ground beef, pork, and veal is combined with sauteed vegetables, mushrooms, sherry, and quinoa before being stuffed into bright red bell peppers.  These peppers are crazy flavorful but still under 400 calories each!

Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa
Recipe from "Make Ahead Meals: Freezer Meal Recipes That Make Dinner Quick and Easy"

Recipe yields 4 meals, 4 servings per meal            
Calories per Serving: 493                                                                                                                     Storage: 4x 1 gallon Ziploc Freezer Bags, Saran wrap

16 bell peppers
3lbs of meatloaf mix
4 tbsp butter
4 onions, diced
2 cups of carrots, small dice
2 cups of zucchini, small dice
16oz mushrooms, sliced
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried oregano
½ cup tomato paste
2 cups dry sherry
4 cups of quinoa, cooked per package instructions
1 cup of fresh parsley, minced
4 eggs
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
1½ cups of parmesan cheese
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Cut off the tops of the peppers and hollow out the inside.  Boil each pepper for 1 minute in salted water, quickly submerge in an ice bath, and lay upside down on paper towels to drain.

Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat and add the onions, carrots, and zucchini.  Cook for 5-7 minutes until onions are translucent and vegetables start to soften.  Add mushrooms and cook for additional 3-5 minutes until softened.   Add garlic and oregano and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.  Add tomato paste and sherry, raise heat to medium-high, and cook until slightly reduced, stirring frequently- about 3 minutes.  Turn off the heat, mix in the quinoa and parsley, and let cool.

Once cooled, combine the vegetable and quinoa mixture with the eggs, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and meatloaf mix.  Stuff approximately one heaping cup of this mixture into each bell pepper.  Wrap each bell pepper tightly in saran wrap and store 4 in each freezer bag.

Day of Meal Preparation (for one meal/four peppers, only)
32oz jar, or 3 cups, tomato sauce
½ cup parmesan cheese

Serving Instructions:
Thaw overnight in refrigerator.  Transfer the peppers to a baking dish and cover with tomato sauce.  Cook at 350F for 50-60 minutes until the meat is no longer pink and registers 160F on a digital thermometer.  During the last 5 minutes of baking sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the tops of the peppers.

To access a printable PDF file of this recipe please follow this link.  The pdf is a direct excerpt from the book, so this will give you an idea of the format and style of the book as well.

To purchase a PDF file of this e-Book (for $7.99) directly from myself please click the PayPal button below

To Purchase a Full Color, Hard Copy of this Book (for $21.99) please click the Amazon link below:


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

More Details about 'Make Ahead Meals' e-Book

Hi friends! If you missed my big post yesterday I'll clue you in- I've just released an e-Book all about Freezer Meals! Today I thought I'd share some of my favorite things about my e-Book, titled 'Make Ahead Meals: Freezer Meal Recipes that Make Dinner Quick and Easy'. Here are my top 10 favorite aspects of the book, which I sincerely hope you will read!

1. The book is a start-to-finish guide for freezer meals.  I really wanted it to be an 'all-in-one' instruction book and cook book, so there was a lot of ground to cover (the book is 108 pages total). If you are a beginner looking for a place to start or an expert looking for new recipes- this book is for you!

2. Each recipe uses whole foods, lists the calorie content per serving, and is easy to prepare.  The majority of recipes are under 500 calories per serving and there are no processed ingredients used.  If a recipe calls for salsa, breadcrumbs, pie dough, etc I make sure to include the recipe so you can make it yourself!

3. The recipes are designed for bulk cooking- they each make anywhere from 2-5 meals (each of which serves at least 4).  I also list recipes that share common ingredients so you can make them in the same cooking session; this ensures you are using your time, and spending your money, efficiently.

4. Exact storage containers and freezing instructions are listed for each meal.  Because proper storage and thawing is so important to making sure a freezer meal tastes its' best, I made sure to include very specific instructions for freezing/thawing each individual recipe.

5. There are a majority of product recommendations; from equipment to spices to storage!

6. I love to have a visual when browsing recipes, so this book includes over 30 full color photographs.

7. I outline 3 different types of cooking sessions, so you don't feel tied into one method that doesn't work with your schedule.

8. There are a variety of printables included in the book.  These include Meal Label Templates, a Dream Freezer Inventory List, an Inventory Tracking List, Grocery Shopping List, and even a Sample Grocery List.

9. While the title of the book is "Make Ahead Meals: Freezer Meal Recipes that Make Dinner Quick and Easy", this book is more than just dinners! There are chapters for breakfast, dessert, and sides/condiments too.

10. A wide variety of different foods are represented. There are Asian, Mexican, Italian, American, and Indian flavors throughout the recipes in the cookbook.  You're sure to find something even the pickiest eater will love!

If you're interested in purchasing this book you can do so below.  I will be back in the next few days with sample recipes from the book and a big giveaway.  Thank you all so much for your support!

To purchase a PDF file of this e-Book (for $7.99) directly from myself please click the PayPal button below

To Purchase a Full Color, Hard Copy of this Book (for $21.99) please click the Amazon link below:


Monday, March 17, 2014

Make Ahead Meals: Freezer Meal Recipes that Make Dinner Quick and Easy

Hi everyone, welcome to my week-long book release!!!!  I am SO thrilled to finally be able to share my new freezer meal cookbook with all of you.  It's taken a whole year to complete so I really hope you love it.  I will be stopping by every day this week to share more information about the book, recipes, and some giveaways too!  Make sure you keep checking back :)

In the mean time, I'll leave you with the official "about the book" and the purchasing information at the bottom of the page.  You can purchase the book as an e-Book or a physical cookbook- whichever you prefer.

"Make Ahead Meals: Freezer Meal Recipes that Make Dinner Quick and Easy"

This book is a start-to-finish guide for Make Ahead Meals, otherwise known as freezer, or batch, cooking. This is an amazing concept that will save money, time, and your sanity. By making meals in advance your family will dine on healthy dishes while you enjoy the luxury of choosing when to cook based on your own schedule.

This book introduces you to the concept of Make Ahead Meals and goes over all the great benefits for your family; including saving time and money without sacrificing the quality of your food. There are a multitude of ideas for getting started with freezer cooking, including what supplies you will need and how to keep track of your meal inventory. This book guides you on how to make and serve dinner efficiently and teaches you the best ways to maximize your time. Also included are three different concepts for Make Ahead Meal cooking sessions and printable inventory tracking sheets, grocery shopping lists and meal label templates.

Once you’re an expert in Make Ahead Meals, you will have over 50 delicious and healthy recipes to choose from to get started. You won’t see any store-bought sauces, condensed soup, or processed foods in this cookbook; all the recipes use whole foods, so you know exactly what you are feeding your family. A few of these mouthwatering recipes include Stuffed Flank Steak with Mushrooms and Red Peppers, Eggplant Caponata Roll Ups, and Pancetta and Sage Pork Cutlets. Each recipe lists the calorie content per serving and also recommends other recipes in the book that share ingredients, so you can make the most of your dollar by cooking similar meals in the same cooking session.

 In addition to a wide variety of dinner recipes there are also chapters for vegetarian meals, breakfast, dessert, and sides/condiments.  The recipes included in this cookbook range from kitchen basics, such as Classic Meatloaf with a Tangy Ketchup Glaze, to unique and flavorful recipes from all around the world, such as the Ginger Tempeh Soup with Ramen and Bok Choy.  Whether you want recipes for a Mother’s Day brunch, fancy dinner party, or a quick family supper, Make Ahead Meals has you covered!


ETA: To see more posts about the book and sample recipes please click these links

10 Quick Facts about the Book
Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa Recipe
Ginger Tempeh Soup with Ramen and Bok Choy Recipe

To purchase a PDF file of this e-Book (for $7.99) directly from myself please click the PayPal button below

If you're interested in the hard copy of the book, this is what it looks like.  It's full color, 108 pages, and great quality :)

To Purchase a Full Color, Hard Copy of this Book (for $21.99) please click the Amazon link below:


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Quick Charlie Update

Hi friends-- just a really quick last minute update on Mr. Charlie.  He's going to be admitted first thing tomorrow morning for a course of IV antibiotics.  We went all week on the levaquine/prednisone combo with no improvement but couldn't get admitted on Friday because they couldn't put a PICC line in.  We doubled the levaquine over the weekend just in case and still no improvement.  Charlie is coughing like crazy and gets fatigued easily.  Anyways- I'm sure the IVs will work nicely and he'll be back on top in no time :)

We'll be getting the PICC put in tomorrow morning and admitted for 3-5 days to start two different IV medications.  After the 3-5 days, if everything is going well, we can continue IV antibiotics at home.  They need to be at certain time intervals 24 hours per day so this will be a challenge while still working full time but we'll make it work!  A little nervous to learn how to administer IVs but with all my background doing sterile hood work and aseptic technique I'm sure I'll pick it up in no time.

In the meantime, I'll update when I can.  This week is my big book release (this is still going forward as planned) so I'll have posts every day about that mainly.  I promise I didn't plan the book release and Charlie's hospital admission at the same time to pull on your heart strings LOL ;)

OK that's all for today- I'm busy scrambling around right now folding laundry, packing bags, and getting ready for tomorrow! Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

No Chop, One Pot, Low Calorie Vegetable Soup

I think I can safely say that you cannot beat a recipe that doesn't require any chopping.  Oh also, if it only uses up one pot that's pretty great too.  Oh also, if it is actually GOOD for you that's a pretty big bonus.  Oh also, if you can make it for under $5 that's even better.  Does such a recipe exist? Why yes, yes it does!

This recipe took me hardly any time to make and is super healthy.  I'm eating it for lunches all week and it has been deeeelicious so far.  I've seen about a million recipes for "healthy vegetable soup" out there, which is great, but it gets boring after a while.  This is definitely a more interesting spin on that concept with a bit of heat and smokiness from the red pepper flakes and cumin.  And thanks to frozen vegetables you don't even have to get out a knife and cutting board.  Sweet!  I didn't realize that they sell frozen, diced onions at Target nowadays- and it pretty much made my life complete.  I hate chopping onions SO much and this is SOOOOOO easy to just dump them in the pot and saute.  These are the veggies I used, cheap and easy!

Here's my recipe- adapted from this one- enjoy!  Don't forget to stop by on Monday for the big release of my new e-Book "Make Ahead Meals: Freezer Meal Recipes that Make Dinner Quick and Easy"!!

No Chop, One Pot, Low Calorie Vegetable Soup

Serving Size: 2 cups
Calories per Serving: 88
Weight Watchers Points Plus per Serving: 2

2 tsp olive oil
1 cup of frozen, diced onions
2 tsp pre minced garlic
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2x 16oz bags Frozen Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Carrot Medley
6 cups water
3 bouillion cubes (you can use 6 cups of chicken stock if you prefer, I just like bouillion cubes because they take up less space)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute until translucent.  Add the garlic, cumin seeds, and red pepper flakes and saute for approximately 2 minutes until fragrant.  Add the two bags of frozen vegetables, water, and bouillion cubes and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 7-10 minutes, until vegetables are cooked through.  Use a stick blender to blend the soup to a smooth consistency. 

Since I'm using this soup as lunch for the week I put 2 cups into each of these little Ziploc twist and lock containers.  I love them- they dont spill, they stack, and they're inexpensive.

That's it- easy peasy!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I'm Freaking Tired

Hi friends, thanks so much for all of your support on my CF Clinic visit post and on Facebook!  It means a lot to me :)  In the meantime I'm just exhausted with all the balls I'm juggling at the moment.  Part of it is all the stuff going on with Mr. Charlie, part of it is my new workout schedule (530am- fucking YAWN), part of it is working full time and negotiating a job move, part of it is a graduate class I'm taking, part of it is finishing up my book (yay!), part of it is meal planning/grocery shopping/laundry/bill paying and part of it is stupid daylight savings time.  Just an awful lot of stuff going on at the moment, but I did get a chance to work on a scrapbooking layout last night for the first time in a few weeks and that was fun!  It'll be up on the Noel Mignon blog Wednesday so go check it out, mkay?

My point was actually to do a quick Charlie update and not have a big bitch fest!! LOL, I really love being busy so having a lot of balls in the air is a good thing for me but every so often it becomes the perfect storm and I get tired, ya know?  


I last updated briefly yesterday.  Basically Charlie's symptoms have been this: 2 weeks ago he had a fever of 103, which came down to 100, and has been hovering between 99-100 since then.  He's been lethargic, no appetite, complaining of tummy aches, and he lost 4 lbs as of last Tuesday.  Last Tuesday he went to the CF Clinic, they figured out he had ear infections and prescribed Bactrim.  A couple days after starting Bactrim he developed a REALLY bad cough.  Worst I've heard him have EVER- both frequency and junkiness.  So we started sick plan (this means treatments go from 2x per day to 4x per day) and kept him on the Bactrim per the doctors recommendation.  His cough/fever/fatigue lasted all through the weekend and he lost yet another hard earned pound so today we called it in.

Initially they prescribed an oral steroid to deal with the inflammation (Charlie has CF related asthma) and to continue with the Bactrim.  This made no sense to me as the Bactrim obviously wasn't working as he was on Day 6 and kept getting worse.  So they asked us to come in for a visit.  I had 1 hour to get to a doctors appointment that was 1 hour away so we hustled our asses out of our pajamas and headed to the CF Clinic.

SN: I didn't get poked by the mysterious tree branch this time but Charlie did tell me to stop singing "Let It Go" at the top of my lungs which I thought was kind of rude as he wasn't contributing much to our hour long car ride himself, unless you count the coughing. "Frozen" is more fun than coughing and boogers any day.

To make a long story short- Charlie had a bunch of freak outs in the exam room but our Dr. did agree that we could pull out the big guns since he's been unwell for so long.  So we got our prescription for levoquinone and headed the hour back to the pharmacy to pick it up.  If he doesn't show improvement by Friday they'll do a 2 week course of IV antibiotics, but the combination of levoquin and prednisone worked like a charm back in November so hopefully it'll work just as well this time! I have high hopes it will so I'm not super worried but I still don't appreciate the way CF forces me to be patient when I don't want to be :p  Although I will say I am NOT looking forward to Charlie being back on steroids.  Ugh, the tantrums.

So now he's doing a crap ton of nebulizer treatments: pulmicort (inhaled steroid for the asthma), albuterol puffer, pulmozyme (DNAse to break up the DNA from dead neutrophils in his mucus), and TOBI (inhaled antibiotic) for a finally tally of 7 nebulizers per day plus 4x 20 min Vest treatments.  The amount of nebulizer parts this accumulates daily is unreal.

And after all that fun, this is his nightly medicine line up (is it wrong that my first thought was "eh, could be worse").  A can of Pediasure 1.5, digestive enzymes, appetite stimulant, reflux medication, two different types of vitamins, steroids, and two different antibiotics.  It's amazing to see Charlie take all of these medications, he just does it.  No muss no fuss,  just sucks 'em down.  He's so awesome.

That's where we're at for now!  Like I mentioned, I think he'll start feeling better soon with these new meds but I'll keep you guys posted :)  In the meantime I'll leave you with this meme which  made me giggle.  I feel kind of weird saying "giggle" because I feel like I'm too old.  So I dunno. This meme made me guffaw?  Oh god, LAUGH.  This made me LAUGH.  I forgot the word laugh.  Man I need to get some sleep.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Love Themed Layouts

Yay, it's layout time! And I got two for ya :) They are both made using Noel Mignon's awesome Book of Love kit, which I believe is sold out (sorry suckaaaaaas).  They both feature non other than Sir Charles himself.  

I did a nice long title for this first layout, yet for some reason whenever I read it I see "I couldn't love this boy more if i fried" instead of "tried".  I don't know what it means if I can't love something more than I fry.  I guess it means I love Charlie more than fried food.  Which I do. Most days... ;)

We also had a scrap lift a member week at Noel Mignon and I chose to scrap lift an awesome layout from Molly Rose.  This is my interpretation-- I chose to expand the journaling to pretty much any open inch of paper left on the layout haha.  I also like the swagger he has in those photos, lol Robb gets some funny shots I tell ya!  Those pictures were taken over a year ago now, it's crazy to see how much bigger he is now.

In other news, if you were looking for a Charlie update I don't have a good one.  He has developed a REALLY bad cough-- deep and juicy and mucus-y and all around bad.  His fever has been back, he's complaining of tummy aches, he's tired, and the Bactrim has done nada in 6 days.  I'm guessing we'll have to go in to see a Dr again at some point this week and I'm anxious to see his throat culture results from our CF Clinic visit last Tuesday.  Fingers crossed it's negative but it's not looking likely.  I'll keep y'all posted!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Adventures at the CF Clinic

Hi everyone! I’m back today as promised in my Five on Thursday post to give an update about Charlie’s CF Clinic visit.  This visit was a hot mess from beginning to end.  Seriously.

To start, I picked up Charlie from preschool at 1140 and drove us to get lunch on the way, we had to leave at 1215 to get to the clinic by 1:15 (we live about an hour away).  We stopped at BK and ate in the car so it would be faster; we finally got on the road around 1220, so I figured if I drove fast I could make it there by 1:15. 

Ever try to balance a spoon full of applesauce on your leg- while dumping 4 capsules of enzymes on top without spilling any- while your 3 year old sits in the backseat screaming because he doesn't want to eat in the car -while cursing at yourself because you forgot to bring a ramekin to mix it in?  No?

I started driving and Charlie insisted that I play Yo Gabba Gabba music the whole time, which was kind of making me crazy.  I mean there's only so many sillies I can get out in one day....anyways, 35 minutes later I see a sign for Old Saybrook and realize “holy shit, I got on the wrong highway and have been driving for 35 minutes in the wrong direction”.  Yup, that’s right, I drove for THIRTY FIVE minutes in the wrong direction and didn’t notice.  What is wrong with me, right? I blame it on the incessant Yo Gabba Gabba songs I was forced to listen to.  Anytime I tried to put on something decent, like Black Sabbath, Charlie insisted I change it. Loudly.

Anyways, now I’m totally freaking out because we’re gonna be late. Not a little late, a lot late.  If you’re more than 15 minutes late they cancel your appointment and Charlie had some issues we really needed to discuss so we couldn’t miss it.  So I decided I had to drive like a bat out of hell.  As I’m trying to call the CF Clinic to let them know we’ll be late something started poking me in the neck.  What was that?  Something poked me again.  I turn around to see that Charlie has somehow found a full length tree branch in my car and is poking me in the head with it.

Where did the tree branch come from? Why was it in my car? How did he get ahold of it?

No fucking clue.  So there I am, speeding down the highway, Yo Gabba Gabba blaring over the speakers (for over an hour now), trying to call the CF Clinic, yelling at Charlie to stop hitting me with the tree branch, and all around having a heart attack.

And that was before we even arrived.  Fun, huh?  We finally got there 20 minutes late (which is an accomplishment in itself) and they agreed to see us.  Oh Charlie also decided to poop in his pull-up on the way there (not his fault really, we were in the car for 1.5hours without stopping because I went the wrong way) and I didn’t get a chance to change it until we were in the exam room.  So he gleefully yelled to all of the nurses en route that mommy needs to change his poopy diaper.  And then the exam room stank to high heavens.  And then I put him in his big boy underwear and he peed his pants in front of the pulmonologist.  And then I put him in his spare pants and banged my head on the table until a coma came to take me away.  
 The mask in the waiting room thing lasts approximately 1 minute.  
                                    It was black and white day at preschool...matchy match!

Anyways, on to the actual appointment. Charlie had been feeling “off” for the past few weeks.  He woke up covered in puke a few weeks ago, his appetite had been down to nothing and he was barely eating, plus he had a fever last week that lasted a couple of days.  He was more lethargic than usual, not sleeping well at night, and complaining of tummy aches—just not normal Charlie behavior. 

It was Fat Tuesday so he did get a pretty rocking crown

They weighed him and he had lost 4lbs in 2 months, from the 97th to the 65th percentile for weight/length ratio.  He’s still above goal, which is great, but losing that kind of weight isn’t a good thing.  His stats are 3.5years old, 42inches, 40 3/4 lbs (above 90th percentile for height for age and weight for age).  The doctor seemed to think the problem is an ear infection, which can cause all of those symptoms.  He prescribed some Bactrim and we’re trying that for a few days and then we’ll reassess where we are.  Hopefully it works!  An ear infection didn’t even occur to us, we’re so used to jumping to the CF conclusion- LOL. 

"What's that mom?? There are germs on the floor?  Too bad you didn't tell me that before I made my fort....."

"Listen mom. If this is going to work out you might as well just buy a warehouse full of Purel now.  You're gonna need it.  Just saying"
So now we’re on another antibiotic, but there don’t seem to be any respiratory issues so that’s a good thing!  Hopefully the Bactrim will do its thing and Charlie will be back to normal ASAP!  In other news, that day is over and that makes my brain happy.  

ETA: As of this morning Charlie developed a cough.  Serves me right for gloating about not having any respiratory issues yet :)