Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ronald McDonald House Charities

I'm sure that you all have seen those little boxes on the counters at your local McDonald's.  If you are like me, I saw them and pretty much ignored them - it was just one more "charity" that was for someone else, no one in my family would ever need those services - so, I could ignore it.  I gave to the American Cancer Society and participated in my local Relay for Life activities - so who needed RMH?  Also, to tell the truth, I had no idea what the Ronald McDonald House did.  Well, in June of this year I found out.

June 7th started out as a 'normal' day.  We were getting excited as it was almost time for my first grand baby to come into the world.  Melissa, my daughter, went to work that morning.  It was the final work day for the teachers in the county where we live, and she had everything all packed in her classroom and was ready to spend the summer getting used to being a first time mommy.  She had a doctor's appointment at 3 that afternoon - no big deal, just an appointment before the delivery.

Well, who knew that she was already in labor?  She still doesn't know when her water broke (in the shower, maybe) and didn't know that her labor had started, but it had.  Due to some medical issues, it had been determined that she would need to have a C-section instead of a 'regular' birth.  So, after a quick call to me, she and Justin headed to the hospital to get ready for the birth.  Mountain Man and I were fortunate enough to get to the hospital as she was being transported to the delivery room and give her a kiss.

We went back out into the waiting room and settled in.  Sometime later, and I'm sorry to say I really don't remember how long it was, the nurses went into the "nursery" and closed all the blinds.  We really didn't think that much about it - then we saw Justin in the room.  I just thought that they had brought the baby in to take weight and do all the newborn stuff.  A little later Justin came out to the waiting room and told us that Melissa was doing fine, but the baby was having some breathing issues.  Once again, we weren't worried and just thought that she needed some oxygen for a little while.

We were able to go back into the room and visit with Melissa while things were being evaluated.  It was then that we found out just how serious the baby's breathing problems were - every time she was taken off the oxygen she turned blue - not what we wanted to hear.  The doctor came in and talked to all of us and let us know that they were going to keep her on oxygen over night, but if she didn't improve she would have to be transferred since they were not equipped with a stage 2 nursery.  (Actually, this hospital really did not have a "nursery" as the babies usually stayed in the rooms with the mom.)  After a little while Justin came out and told us that we were going to be able to go in and see the baby - but we had to wait until Melissa could be in the room with us - this was something that they wanted - they wanted to be in the room with us when we saw her for the first time. (Melissa wanted to see our faces when we saw this beautiful little one for the first time.)

The nurses were able to get Melissa out of the bed and into a wheel chair and take her into the nursery and she and Justin had a few minutes with the baby.  It was decided that the two grandmothers would be the first to go in and to say that I was beyond excited would be an understatement!

Now, one of the "conditions" that the kids put on us was that we could NOT take pictures of the baby with all the tubes and stuff on/in her - so I do not have any pictures to show - but it was such an experience.  I was so excited to see her, and she was so beautiful, but I was also so scared.  Here was my first grand baby lying there with IV's and an oxygen mask and I couldn't touch her or make it better.  After all the family was able to go in and see our pretty little girl Justin and Melissa told us to go home.  Melissa needed to get some rest - remember she had just had a C-section, and we were hopeful that the baby would be fine the next morning.

We received a telephone call from Justin first thing the next morning telling us that the baby had had a turn for the worse and they were going to transfer her to Orlando via helicopter.  It was pouring down rain and I was scared!  We jumped in the truck and headed back to the hospital in Sebring - about 45 minutes away from our home in Lake Placid.  I told Mountain Man that I was going to stay with Melissa.  My thought, at the time, was Justin would go to Orlando to stay with the baby and Melissa would stay in the hospital in Sebring.  Well, we get to the hospital and find out that not only was she having breathing issues she also had a hole in one of her lungs and it had partially collapsed.  The kids had decided on the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital in Orlando and the transfer team was on their way.  The good thing was, due to the weather and other issues, the doctors decided that they did not need to send the helicopter and transferred via ambulance.  Another surprise for us - they released Melissa so she would be able to go to Orlando, which meant I was going to Orlando too.

Well, it took a little while, but we made it to Orlando and were able to see the baby after they had her settled in the NICU.  By seven o'clock Melissa was hurting and we had no where to stay.  The hospital called the Ronald McDonald House - but they didn't have space for us - so we spent the first night in a hotel (at least they gave us a break on the rate) and Justin and I got Melissa medicated and settled in bed.  Melissa was in one bed - I was in the other and Justin slept on the pull out couch. 

The next day we spent the entire time at the hospital going in and spending as much time as allowed with Lorelai.  We, including Melissa and Justin, were not allowed to hold the baby or even touch her.  It was so difficult seeing our little baby with tubes down her nose and in her mouth, IV's all over and the oxygen tube.  All those machines hooked to our little, bitty baby.  By the time the nursing staff told us we really needed to leave we weren't sure if we would have a place to stay, but the hospital had contacted the RMH and they had a room reserved for us.

Now, I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it certainly was not what we found.  The Ronald McDonald House in Orlando took us in with open arms.  This organization is wonderful, not only do they provide a lovely room with a private bath (the room had two twin beds and they brought in a roll away bed for me), they had a laundry area, a full kitchen, a TV room, a visitor area, a play room for the kids, and every night an outside group came in and fed the entire house dinner (this was always done during shift change at the hospital when we could not be in the NICU with the baby).  Also, on the weekend groups came in and fed us brunch.

The staff at the house was so nice and if there was anything that we needed they tried their best to supply it.  There was a full kitchen that we could use for breakfast or lunch - leftovers from the night before were always in the refrigerator for you to warm up.  They provided a place for you to put your own groceries - dry goods or refrigerated.  There was laundry detergent and fabric softener in the laundry room.  There was a 'pantry' area that had additional supplies for your use.  They just tried to make sure everyone was as comfortable as possible and it was one thing we did not have to worry about - we always knew that we had a "home" to come back to every night.  And the thing that really took a load off our minds - there was NO cost for any of this. Yes, when we checked out I made a donation to the house, but it wasn't a requirement for staying there.  We were at the house for ten days - and they didn't charge us one red cent.

So, why am I telling you this long drawn out story?  Well, as I said at the beginning - I never paid any attention to those little boxes that sit on the counter at all the McDonald's I have been in (and I've been a lot of McDonald's).  

I never thought that I would have a need for the Ronald McDonald House - 
I was wrong.  

I hope and pray that you never have to stay in the house, but isn't it nice to know that it is there?  How does McDonald's continue to do this all over the world (yep, all over the world)?  


When you drop change into that little box it goes to the houses.  

Plus they do fund raisers.  In fact, my oldest daughter, Crystal, just ran in a 5K in Nashville for the RMH.  (If you are interested, you can go to her site to make a donation, I'll put the link at the end of the post) and at Christmas she is asking the guests at the party she always throws - to bring supplies for the RMH in Atlanta (she always has people bring toys that are donated, but decided to do for the RMH this year in honor of Lorelai).  

Melissa and Justin are also trying to give back.  They are getting a group together and are going back to the RMH in Orlando and cook dinner for the guests.  They are also getting donations of supplies that the house needs.  

Would you like to help?

McHappy Day continues to be the main fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House Charities and other children's causes around the world - yes, around the world.  McHappy Day is November 10th and kicks off the annual "Give a Hand" fundraiser in support of the RMHC.  This year the campaign runs from November 10 - 20 at participating MacDonald's around the country.  During this period of time customers can show their support for the charity by purchasing a paper "hand" for $1, $3, or $5.  ALL proceeds from the sale of the paper "hands"  will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. 

Also, did you know that for every purchase of a McDonald's Happy Meal or a Mighty Kids Meal throughout the year, a donation is made to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

You don't have to give money to help a RMH in your community, there are so many other things you can do.  If you run/walk, check and see if there is a RMHC event you can enter and ask friends or the company you work for to sponsor you.  Or, you could even ask your boss if you could put a box in the break room at your office where people could donate things for the house or you might be able to do something at your church - the house we stayed at had a list of items they always needed such as diapers, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper plates, plastic table ware, paper towels, napkins, etc.  You can always call the House closest to you to see what their individual needs are.  

The following ways to show your support are from the Ronald McDonald House Charities website -

Support Ronald McDonald House Charities

You can show your support for RMHC and McHappy Day at McDonald's all year long. Give A Hand for RMHC or consider other ways of lending a hand and getting involved.
I know that this has been an extremely long post, but I can't explain the help that these houses provides to families in need.  I can only share with you our story. I can now show you the first picture that Melissa and Justin allowed us to take and share 

 ALMOST ready to come home.

She was still in the NICU, but Melissa was finally able to hold her and feed her.  Chest tube was out, feeding tube was out.  We still had the IV but we were down to just the nasal oxygen.  So much progress!

And here she is at three and a half weeks.

This was only about a week and a half after coming home.  Such progress.

This is our precious little one today.
Happy and healthy.

All I can say is thank you to the doctors and nurses at the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital.  Their care for our sweet baby made all the difference in the world.  I would also thank the staff and all the many volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House in Orlando.

I sincerely hope that you will never need the services of a children's hospital or the Ronald McDonald House, but I am so very thankful that they were both  there for us.  If you find it in your heart to want to help make sure that there is always a place for parents to stay so they can be close to their sick child, please think about reaching out to your local Ronald McDonald House.  They will so appreciate it.

If you are interested in helping Crystal with her fund raising for the RMH in Nashville here is the link for her site:

(the event in Nashville was called the Hustle for the House, cute huh?)

The home site for the Ronald McDonald House Charities is:

If you find it in your heart, please give what you can.

Thanks so much!

 Hugs -

aka Nana

I posted this link on a friends Facebook page and there have been many ideas for donating without having to give money. McDonald's will take soda tabs and that money will go to the houses - and I have been told that they will even take the cans (but they have to be crushed).  Just a couple more fantastic ways to get involved - how about getting your child's school or your church to do this.  What a great way to teach our children/grandchildren how to give back to our community.

Thanks again and many hugs!

Linking to these parties:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Menu

So much going on - I have to say that I give a lot of credit to those of you that have small children/babies at home and can still post everyday.  This is just NOT happening with me.

However, I did want to give you the Monday Menu today.

So, here it is:

Monday, September 24 - Chicken and Yellow Rice w/green peas, Cuban bread
Tuesday, September 25 - Crock Pot Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes, Corn on the cob
Wednesday, September 26- Louisiana Style Pork Roast w/potatoes, carrots, and onions
Thursday, September 27 - Chicken Alfredo, Noodles, Garlic Bread
Friday, September 28 - Layered Mexican Pizza
Saturday, September 29 - Hamburgers, French Fries, Lettuce & Tomato
Sunday, September 30 - Country Style Ribs, Cole Slaw, Beans

That's it.  

Hope you have a fabulous week!

Hugs -


Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Menu

Hello everyone!  I sincerely hope you had a fabulous week last week.  Mountain Man and I were able to get a few things done around the ole 'new' homestead - but there is still soooooo much to do!  It will just come little by little.  I actually wanted to work in the garage (yes, this one is no different than at any other house we have lived in), but instead I did some canning. While we were in North Florida I was able to get some fresh pears right off the tree.  So, I spent Sunday afternoon in the kitchen - and ended up with eight pint jars of pear jam and six quart jars of sliced pears.  Not too bad for a days work.

So, how did you do with the recipe from last week?  It actually turned out pretty good for us - let me show you.

First, I placed my chicken breasts (thawed) into the crock pot)

Chicken Broth and Cream of Chicken Soup

Measure out 1 cup of broth and save the rest for a later date
(I actually put the extra in an ice tray - froze, then placed in a zip lock bag.)

Mix Cream of Chicken Soup and the broth.

Salt and pepper chicken

Pour broth and soup mixture on top of chicken
(notice, no mushrooms)

Set timer for 4 hours on high.

Ahhh!  Now we have mushrooms
(okay, I confess, I didn't have any mushrooms - so Mountain Man made a trip to the grocery store - with a list of other things we needed too- haven't been to the grocery store at all this month)

All done.
Looks pretty yummy.

Okay, I did make some changes - I originally said I was going to have mashed potatoes, but a "game day substitution" was made to pasta.  Bad idea - it would have been much better with the mashed potatoes - oh well, you live and learn.

(BTW - this is Mountain Man's plate NOT mine! LOL!!)

Mountain Man thought that this was a keeper, but also thought that it would have been better with mashed potatoes.

Okay, I get it!  
Next time I'll fix mashed potatoes!
Good grief, Charlie Brown!

Okay, let's move on to this weeks menu -

Menu Plan

Monday, September 17 - Skillet Macaroni & Beef
Tuesday, September 18 - Crock pot Italian Chicken, Noodles, Vegetables
Wednesday, September 19 - Mexican Chicken, Tortillas, Lettuce & Tomatoes
Thursday, September 20 - Baked Southwest Tilapia, Rice
Friday, September 21 - Homemade Pizza
Saturday, September 22 - Crispy Cheddar Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Broccoli
Sunday, September 23 - French Onion Pork Chops, Noodles, Steamed Cabbage

Now, let's look and see what recipe we want to do this week -
well, how about the Mexican Chicken recipe?  It's another Crock pot recipe, but they seem to be the way I'm rolling right now.  This recipe also comes from the Gooseberry cookbook "Super Fast Slow Cooking" and it's a new recipe for me too.

15-oz can black beans, drained
2 15-1/4 oz. cans corn, drained
1 c. picante sauce, divided
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
12 8 - inch flour tortillas
Garnish - shredded Cheddar Cheese

Mix together beans, corn, and 1/2 cup picante sauce in a slow cooker.  Place chicken on top; pour remaining picante sauce over chicken.  Cover and cook on high setting for 2-1/2 hours, or until chicken is tender.  Shred chicken and return to slow cooker.  Sprinkle with cheese; cover and cook until melted.
Serve with tortillas.
Serves 6.

Sounds good to me - how about you?

Just to let you know.......
I'm trying to pull together the other recipes that I have 'highlighted' on the blog so you can go to one place to see them, if you are interested.  Give me a couple of weeks to get this together (the 'wee one' seems to take up a lot of my day during the week - I'm not as young as I used to be - LOL!)

I'll be excited to see how things went for you guys!  So, Please share.

See ya in a couple of days!

Hugs -


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Our New Home

Well, as you know, we sold our "forever" (not) home in August and had ten days to find a new place to live, pack, and get moved.  That is NOT enough time to buy a new house, so we decided we would rent for a little while.  We found a cute little (with the key word being "little") house and signed a six month lease - with an option to renew.

I thought that I would share the "before we moved in" pictures.

 Master Bedroom Closet

The other side of the master closet

Master bathroom

Master bathroom looking back toward bedroom

Master Bedroom
(really the largest room in the whole house)

Another shot of master bedroom

Living Room/Dining Room/Kitchen
(yep, you read that right - this is the whole sha-bang)

A different view of the kitchen 
(and Mountain Man writing down measurements)

Another view of the kitchen

 Guest bathroom

Another shot of guest bath

Guest Bedroom
(10 X 10)

Guest bedroom closet


Third bedroom/nursery
(also 10 X 10)

Another shot of the nursery

So, now you see the "little bitty" house that we are attempting to make into our new home.  The largest most challenging problem that we have is we are renting!

We haven't rented anything for about 30 years and it is quite an issue for me.  I really have all these ideas but Mountain Man keeps telling me
"This isn't our house"!

I am trying to figure out how to give this house our "stamp" - but I can't paint, I can't change the kitchen cabinets (and boy does the kitchen need a complete overhaul), I can't do anything to the floor.  All the things that I have always been able to do to make a "house" our "home" I can't do!  

Boy, is this frustrating!

However, I will do this - and I'll start showing some of the changes that we have made next week.

Hope you'll come back and see what we're doing.

Hugs -


Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Menu

Hello everyone - I hope you had a fabulous week.  I know that I was AWOL last week - but Mountain Man and I had a chance to take a mini-vacation since my daughter had to go to training in Tallahassee and her husband took his vacation time to take care of the "wee one".  It was nice to get away and spend some time with our friends in North Florida but we are home now and I don't see anything in the near future that will take me away - so, I think I will be back on task.

Now, I had a question on my last Monday Menu post.  I was asked if I posted recipes with my menus.  Well, I have been thinking about that.  I know that I usually do a recipe on another day of the week - but what if I pick one recipe every week and post it at the end of the Monday Menu post?  Then, the next week do a review of that recipe - do you think that would work?  You guys could even come back and let me know how the recipe turned out for you.  What do you think?  I'll post one this week and you guys can let me know what you think of this new idea.

Okay - so let's get with the program and post this week's Monday Menu!

Menu Plan

Monday, September 10 - Shepherd's Pie, Biscuits
Tuesday, September 11 - Southwest Taco Pie
Wednesday, September 12 - Chicken w/mushroom gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Corn
Thursday, September 13 - Baked Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread
Friday, September 14 -  Homemade Pizza
Saturday, September 15 - Country Ribs, Potato Salad, Baked Beans
Sunday, September 16 - Home style Turkey w/stuffing, squash & zucchini casserole

Recipe for this week

Okay, for the first recipe with the menu plan, I thought I would give you a Crock Pot recipe - something simple and easy (that is my mantra).  So, let's go with Wednesday's recipe for 

Chicken w/mushroom gravy
(this recipe came from Gooseberry Cookbook - "Super Fast Slow Cooking")

**I should also note that I have never made this recipe before - so it will something new for all of us.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. chicken broth
10-3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup
4-oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained

Place chicken in a slow cooker: sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Mix together broth and soup; pour over chicken.  Stir in mushrooms.  Cover and cook on low setting for 7 to 9 hours, or on high setting for 3 to 4 hours.  Serves 4.

Okay, guys, I'm looking for you to give me some feedback this week.  Let me know what you think of this new format - or if you would rather I keep the recipes on Wednesday.


Hugs -


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Out of Town

We are out of town this week visiting friends in North Florida (Melissa and the baby - along with dad- are at a training for Melissa's new job, so we had the week "off").  I'll be back to my regular posts next week.  Hope you have a wonderful week.

Hugs -

Rainy, Dreary Days

Well, I don't know what the weather has been like where you live but here it has been warm, overcast, and rainy.  We are having temperat...