Thursday, March 23, 2017

Awesome Life Friday #105

Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!

I don't know about you, but now that it's officially Spring, I am impatiently waiting for it to be warm enough outside to throw open the windows and get some fresh air in here.  Until our temperatures get a little farther away from freezing, I'll enjoy instead all the fresh inspiration you all bring each week.

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

Here's a bit of what we've been up to this week:

Jackie's been sharing her daughter's clubfoot treatment since birth, and offers her latest update here.

And now our favorite part - the FEATURES !  If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!

Healthy But Tasty Zucchini Noodles with Bacon, Ricotta & Peas // Oh My Heartsie Girl
Doesn't this dish look refreshing?  This is a great way to taste the flavors of Spring!

Puff Pastry Baskets with Creamy Lemon Filling // Hostess at Heart
Fresh raspberries and a few simple grocery store ingredients make this simple, yet beautiful confection.

$2 Farmhouse Pillow Covers // Fresh-Squeezed Life
I love IKEA's towels and now I can't wait to use some to make these cool and breezy throw pillows.

Driftwood Art with a Starfish // Crafts by Amanda
This rustic starfish wall art will have me imagining gentle sea breezes in no time!

A Nest For My Rustic Eggs // The Boondocks Blog
Mary's creative touch and a bit of repurposing magic leads to this sweet birds nest to cradle a few painted eggs.

Blueberry Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich // Simply Stacie
I admit I never met the grilled cheese sandwich I didn't like, but this unique version blows me away!

If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!

Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!

Are you all ready to party?  If you like, we'd love it you'd help spread the word by grabbing our button:

Here we go!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Penelope's Clubfoot Update: Navigating the Challenge While Overseas


I'm way overdue on an update for my daughter Penelope's clubfoot progress. For a bit of recall, she was born with bilateral clubfoot, or talipes equinovarus.

The last I left off, was when she had a relapse around 10 months old. She was recasted for two sets, and looked great after!

We moved to Germany in november of 2015 and although we are American military and there is a clinic on post, all specialties are off post in the economy (in other words - German doctors). We spent many months jumping through hoops to make the appointment we needed.

We are on EFMP (the Exceptional Family Member Program) and had already locked down our specialist before we'd arrived. However, communication was a bit hit and miss, and it took us quite some time to see him.

We finally did about 4-5 months after moving here. It was a good visit but they did say her dorsiflection was stiffer than they like. Dorsiflection is the range of motion and ability for toes to bend toward the ankle.

Then, around 18 months, in an accidental fall, she broke her left leg - a crack right on her femur right above her knee. This resulted in a 10 days cast and further delay in her physical milestones (such as walking). Not to mention, it wasn't a 'clubfoot cast' so she was unable to wear her brace for that period of time. I truly think this is where we began to go downhill again.

She finally started walking at 21 months.

A few months after her leg had been casted, we saw her specialist again. At our second appointment, he commented that if her dorsiflection got any worse he may suggest casts, like she'd worn when she was younger.

Unfortunately, it was another 6 months until we could see him again! (Our doctor in the States had had much more frequent check ups.)

In the meantime, our pediatrician recommended in-home physical therapy. The therapist came to our home twice and recommended AFO, which are full time shoe inserts meant to mimic the effects of her brace.

I hated the idea of making her wear shoes/boots 24/7, but attempted ot do as recommended.

Once we had the AFO in hand, we spent a lot of money and energy buying her shoes after shoes to fit them properly, and never fully succeeded.

Unfortunately, the visiting physical therapist became very flaky. We never achieved a good working relationship, or any consistency in communication, and eventually she became too difficult to work with.

Finally, February rolled around and it was time to see our specialist, Dr. Wurth again. I always dread these checkups, especially when they are spaced so far apart, but I didn't really expect the news we got.

Penny spent hours in the waiting room (yes, hours), singing Doc Mcstuffins songs about feeling better after the doctor.

She babbled about letting the doctor see her feet and being a brave girl.

But as soon as we went in his office, all bets were off.

She screamed, refused to get down and show him how she walked, and was very uncooperative. Her natural resting position was mostly all they had to go on, as well as unimproved range of motion.

They really wanted to see if her toes curve in when she walks but they were unable to assess that. In the end, we were informed she would be recasted that same day.

I'm not so sure Penny remembers any of her previous casts and really acted like she was in a torture chamber. It was just awful to have to witness!

She spent the first 3 days or so sadly asking us if she could get down and run, and we'd have to tell her she couldn't. She spend most of the first week on the couch, watching TV.

We were also very fortunate to have a fantastic community and managed to borrow a few things for her that made our lives easier. Both from virtual strangers, we got her a papasan chair, that comfortably rested her casts, as well as a open seat high chair as hers had hard frame leg holes that were were difficult with her bend leg casts.

We reiterated to her over and over that at the end of the week these casts would come off BUT another set were then going on. The way she repeated it, I don't think she quite understood that second part, which made the next appointment just as sad and difficult.

One thing that made removing the first set challenging is that we never had plaster casts before! All her previous sets were soft roll they would just unravel.

We opted out of using the saw, as it scared me.

So, they set us up with a bucket of water and a huge roll of paper towels. We had to soak each towel and wrap them around her casts. I felt so badly about it as it was pretty cold in there. After about 40 minutes, they came back and told us to start over, and do it again. UGH!

Finally her cast of soft enough to cut off using these industrial scissor things. They had to shove the shaft of the scissors down the leg of her cast, and tug pretty roughly and she complained of pain the entire time. She kept saying he was going to cut her foot off and that she was 'afraid to see my leg!' it was heartbreaking.

Once she had the new set of casts on, she was ok. She was just happy they weren't touching her anymore. When we got home she was in much better spirits week two. She often got down on the floor to play with her big sister and kept saying she couldn't wait until she could run around in circles again.

When the day of the second cast removal finally came, we were all so excited! This time we opted for the saw, which was much faster, but incredibly loud. She still cried and was scared but didn't complain of any pain this time.

On a plus side her feet look SO straight!!

What we forgot to anticipate was how sore her legs would be, having been locked in the same position for two weeks. Once we got her home we figured it might be a day or two before she would be back to her old self. She could only move around in very small steps and only holding hands or furniture.

Now we are almost 2 weeks out, and she is finally running around just as before. Hopefully we can get back into the swing of potty training, which was interrupted by this relapse!

She continues to wear her brace every night, for about 12hrs a day.

At just 29 months of age she has endured 25 casts total, 2 surgeries and hundreds of hours in an awkward brace. Even she will happily tell you she is a 'Warrior Princess"

Here's to hoping that was our last bump in the road along this journey!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Party in Your PJs #150!

Happy Tuesday! Happy Spring!

Welcome to the Party in Your PJs Link Party, where your posts will be seen on four different blogs each week.   In addition to Kim from The Cookie Puzzle, you'll also find Party in Your PJs every Tuesday evening at Grandma IdeasWood of Bell Trees and... here!

You'll also find the Awesome Life Friday link-up here at RCHReviews, every Thursday evening at 8pm ET so we hope to see you there as well.

Are you ready to party? I can't wait to see what you've brought to share!

Kim ~ The Cookie Puzzle | Facebook | Pinterest 
Nina ~ Grandma Ideas | Pinterest | Twitter
Lynda ~ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos | Facebook | Pinterest
Heather ~ Woods of Bell Trees | Facebook | Instagram

 Meet the Co-Hosts

Kim @ The Cookie Puzzle 

Kim is a small town girl who love simple things. Simple cookies, simple crafts and simple people. She is a wife, mother to one son and two adorable fur babies. Slightly addicted to reality TV and sitcoms, but she loves curling up with a good book or a good walk while listening to podcasts. You can find her at The Cookie Puzzle, where she shares her love for cookies and crafting. 

Nina @ Grandma Ideas 

How is this: Nina is wildly in love with her grandchildren. She delights in doing activities with them that strengthen their relationship –- playing games, doing crafts, snuggling, reading stories to them, and cooking together. She enjoys reading, technology, and traveling. (Tahiti is her most favorite place on earth!)

Lynda @ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos 

Lynda lives outside DC with her husband Michael and elderly beagle, Sadie. She and her daughter Jackie started RCHReviews as a way to spend time together in spite of living across country, and along the way they've added several friends as regular contributors. Between them all, they bring together many different perspectives and lifestyles with one common philosophy - try new things, have fun, and remember you are awesome!

 Heather @ Wood of Bell Trees

Heather is a wife of a peanut butter fanatic and mom of one silly human and one furry canine, wrangling life on 2nd shift and glitterizing everything as she goes!

The rules for the group board include:
1. Limit of one pin a day.
2. Just like the party anything goes, but clear wonderful pictures with great descriptions are most successful.
3. Please no Spam ( Spammers will be deleted without warning)
4.  If you pin to the Pinterest Board, please link to the Party in Your PJs Party also, the party runs from 7 pm Tuesdays-Midnight Saturday (Central Time)
5.  Finally have fun and share this group board  with blog friends and followers!  The more success the group board is the more success you will see from your pins.

Want to be added to the group board?  Follow our Party in Your PJs board and email Kim at

Features from Last Weeks Party!

 to see their features - we each pick our own!

All links are pinned to a Party can follow the board on Pinterest...feel free to follow the board, there is lots of inspiration to be found there.

Ok...let's party!

Rules -Link to post, not your home page
-Link to something YOU made, wrote or thought
-No Etsy or Business Pages
-Link Parties, Roundups and Giveaways welcome
- Don't Link and Run! Please visit other links, make friends, learn something new, leave a comment.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Awesome Life Friday #104

Welcome to the 101th Awesome Life Friday!

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

Here's a bit of what we've been up to this week:

And now our favorite part - the FEATURES !  If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!

Catnip, Profile & Uses // Frugal Living on the Ranch
This hardy mint isn't just for our cats - there are several wonderful uses for it for humans, too!

Felt Celtic Pins // KBB Crafts & Stitches
Aren't these beautiful? I can't wait to stitch up a few of them for my Celtic-loving friends!

Turmeric Gummies // Dear Chrissy
I am a huge fan of turmeric to fight inflammation - these gummies get their color and flavor from carrots, orange juice and turmeric, to provide a healthy, delicious supplement.

Naked Buttermilk Chocolate Cake // Sweet Sensations
This stunning cake would be just right for a special occasional, and yet the recipe is simple enough to actually do.

Creamy Parmesan Salmon Fillets // This Autoimmune Life
I plan to try this rich, creamy salmon dish soon - it made me hungry just looking at it!

DIY Simple Greenery Wreath // Maggie Lois
A simple DIY project that will add a touch of spring to your decor!

If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!

Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!

Are you all ready to party?  If you like, we'd love it you'd help spread the word by grabbing our button:

Here we go!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Review: Pipsticks Stickers (Discount Code)


I'm a recovering scrapbooker. And only 'recovering' because I simply don't have the time or space I once did. However, I still have BOXES upon boxes of supplies.

Now, I have two daughters, and they just love finding my stickers! I”m happy to share but sometimes I remember the boutique prices I paid for many of them and cringe a bit while watching them overlapping them one after the other on a single sheet of paper.

My oldest daughter, Hailey (7) is better at using them to create actual pictures while my 2 year old, Penny mostly just enjoys the actual sticking process and doesn't care where they go, or what the end product looks like.

She can clear a full sheet in a matter of seconds. For that reason, the price of stickers REALLY matter to me.

So, I was really excited to discover Pipsticks! It is a subscription box..erm, envelope, filled with stickers and paper goods. I feel like this is everything that has always been missing in my life! I'm so grateful it is now, and my kids and I had so much fun with ours this month!

They have a few different tiers/styles that I'll mention later. We reviewed the Kid's Club Classic.

Their website lists its components as :

15+ sheets of stickers
1 postcard
4 sheets of craft paper
1 Sticker Club newsletter
1 fun coloring sheet
1 VIP raffle ticket

All for $14.95!

I was sent the January pack. When our fun vellum envelope arrived, we couldn't wait to see the goods! We counted exactly 15 sheets of stickers, in varying sizes and themes which was really fun.

Not only were they different themed, but they were different styles! The pandas were big and puffy, the strawberries were scratch and sniff, the flowers and owls were sparkly, etc. My kids both agreed that their favorites were the realistic kittens.

As promised, there was a postcard. It's blank on one side, and the other side had lines for an address and was even already stamped, ready to send once decorated! I thought that was incredibly cool.

The four sheets of craft paper were thin like computer paper and came in bright colors.

My oldest daughter claimed the dinosaur coloring page (which is on the back of the newsletter) as her own.

I noticed that the newsletter says to take a pic of the finished coloring and email it to them to enter a coloring contest.

I didn't bother with it as I was sent the January pack in February and the winner was likely already chosen.

The raffle ticket was a cool idea (and smart marketing!) You are to hold onto it, and the winner will be announced in the next month's newsletter. It doesn't specify what the prize is but great incentive to purchase the following month. To be honest, however, I'd surely lose them month to month.

The kids enjoyed many hours with this single pack before it was depleted. I believe it to be well worth the price, and I absolutely will be purchasing this again!

As mentioned, this one was the Kids Classic and retails for $14.95.

They also have a smaller children's pack called Kid's Club Petite. The petite version comes with half has many sticker packets and craft papers which retails for $9.95

But stickers aren't just for kids!!

There are also two similar tiers for adult packages as well. The larger of the two, the Pro Club Classic, costs $14.95 and comes with:

15+ sheets of stickers
1 postcard
1 quote card
1 Sticker Club newsletter
1 VIP raffle ticket
Fun re-usable packaging

I have definite plans for checking this out as well, and know it will come in handy when I get back into my own crafting.

Additionally, there is the Pro Club Petite with the same products, however the quote card is mini and there is half as many sticker sheets, which costs $9.95.

On top of this recurring monthly surprise, they also have a shop section where you can purchase exactly what you want. You can get a pack of just hearts, or stars, or puffy stickers only, or vehicles, etc. There also seems to be tons of sets for making party gift bags and such. Some packs even come with stationary, or washi tape. Many of these packs cost a bit above the monthly subcription.

Thanks to the mom of four that created this wonderful company, I will always have the tools needed to get a few minutes of peace.

If you'd like to check out Pipsticks, they are offering our readers a generous 20% discount! 
Enter RCHREVIEWS to receive 20% off the first month of ANY regular (non-gift) subscription.