Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Pasta

There are things in life that are just so wrong, they're right.

This just happens to be one of those things. Crispy, crunchy, spicy, creamy deliciousness to be matter of fact. To lessen the guilt of this wonderful taste explosion in your mouth, just watch your portions & eat a salad. (A salad solves everything in my opinion.)

You'll need:

•Boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced thin (as many as you need to feed your family &/or guests.)
•Bread crumb mixture - Mine happens to be dried bread ends, cornflakes, seasoned salt, paprika, black pepper & parsley in a food processor. But anything will work.
•Flour mixture - Again, little of this (parsley, seasoned salt & black pepper) & a lot of that (flour).
•Egg wash (beaten eggs with a splash of water)
•Onion (reds are my fave)
•Frank's RedHot sauce
•Alfredo sauce

Thinly slice your onion. They don't have to be perfect, just thin.

Working in small batches, cover onions in flour mixture.

After shaking off as much excess flour as you can, dip in egg wash. Be sure you coat them well.

Then the breadcrumb mixture.

After frying for a minute or two (be sure to watch them), they'll look like this. Repeat with remaining onions & try not to eat too many before the meal is done.

Somewhere around here, start cooking your fettuccine noodles.

Using the same mixtures, move on to the chicken.

I had to make a bit more egg wash for the chicken, but no biggie.

You may need to add more things to your breadcrumb mixture depending on how much chicken you have. When that happens to me, I grab the nearest crackers I can find, put them in a Ziploc baggie & crush them with my rolling pin. Crisis diverted.

you want a good color on your crumbs. Don't worry if the chicken is cooked all the way or not at this point. I always throw mine in the oven until I'm ready for it or until it's cooked through.

Pasta is waiting...

In a skillet, melt your margarine. (How much you use depends on how much spice you want.)

Is it bad that my mouth is watering right now? Oh yea, add the RedHot.

Check the chicken & slice it on up.

Holy steam Batman!

 Now you can mix your fettuccine with the Alfredo sauce. Be sure to heat it all the way through.

Assembly time:
•Sliced Buffalo Chicken
•Fried onions

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Dig in & enjoy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

BIC 4-Color Pen

There's some things of the past that need to stay in the past, like Hypercolor shirts & Milli Vanilli. Things that you wish would come back from the past, like Pepsi Clear & The Muppet Babies. And things from the past that you see in the present, like MC Hammer & BIC 4-Color pens

Let's talk about the latter now, shall we? You remember BIC's 4-Color pen, right? One pen, four, blue, green & red (to write on your homework just because you weren't supposed to.) Plus, let's remember the mindless clicking between colors during those boring class lectures. I know I'm not the only one who did that.

But what's great about this pen is it's versatility. I can easily make my to-do list for the day & everything stands out since it's not just one mundane color. This assures I don't miss anything. 

And let's not forget how great it writes! I'm already a huge fan of the BIC brand, but the 4-Color pen fits right in. It writes smooth & never seems to blot, not even between color changes! And I give it bonus points for my oldest daughter only needing one pen instead of four. Which if you do the math correctly, means that my 1 year old daughter will have zero pens. 

**Disclaimer: I received this product to try from Smiley360 & am simply sharing my personal opinion which may vary from yours. I was not compensated for this review.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Kawasaki Disease Awareness Day ~ Paige's Journey

Today is Kawasaki Disease Awareness Day. Today is the day I share Paige's journey at the beginning of her diagnosis. A fair warning to my reader's, it is raw & full of emotion from my perspective.

Paige's KD Story

It had all started on a Saturday night in October '06. While I was getting my 9 month old daughter, Paige, ready for bed, I noticed 3 red marks on her thigh. At the time, we lived in a town house style apartment next to a mulching factory, so we had some funky looking spiders, which is what my husband, Josh, thought they were. Of course the next morning I had picked up a catering shift at the restaurant I had worked at. When I went to change her diaper after she woke up, I noticed that those three red spots, were now a rash that had spread throughout parts of her bottom half. I informed Josh before I left for work & nervously went on my way. When I was working, I had described what it looked like & people suggested either a spider bite or an allergic reaction. Both of us had thought the same, so Josh went to the store to get some Dreft (I had just switched 2 weeks prior to All Baby) & some bug bombs. When I got home after working, we started the wash & he set up the bombs (1 on every floor). We went to a local restaurant with family to help pass the time we needed to from the bombing. While at the restaurant, we commented that it must be the detergent, because her rash was spreading northward. & it was there that I noticed her ankles were a bit pudgier than usual, but I thought it was from her outgrowing her socks & put it in the back of my mind. After the restaurant, we left Paige with my in-laws, while we went home & disinfected from the bombings. All hard plastic toys went into a bleach water mix & then rinsed & sanitized again with a Lysol spray. Other toys got a Lysol wipe down followed by a spray. We worked hectically for an hour before Josh left to go pick up Paige, I stayed home to do more. On his way home, he called me & told me to pack a bag & get ready to go immediately when he got home. We were taking Paige to the hospital because she started to swell up & we were concerned for her airway. I frantically called a co-worker to see if she could cover my opening shift the next day & also informed my bosses of the possible change. When Josh & Paige got home, she looked awful. She was swollen & you could immediately tell. We went to the hospital she was born in & were taken to the Peds ER. Countless pokes, prods & x-rays were done to figure out what was wrong. We were there for 3 hours with still no answers. A male nurse, while moving us to the regular ER (the Peds ER closed at night) had mentioned a possibility of Stevens Johnson syndrome (whatever that was!) & left us there for the Dr. to return. A total of 5 hours later, Paige was being admitted into the Peds unit. I felt so helpless. I sat there in a hard & uncomfortable rocking chair, staring at her in the crib. I did not want to take my eyes off of her for fear that something horrible would happen if I fell asleep. I think I dozed off here & there a total of 90 min. that night. The next couple of days, is a blur of countless blood draws & questions. The hospital staff had no answers. She was taking the Tylenol & ibuprofen on their scheduled times, as well as Benedryl every 8 for her swelling which was still very prominent. By this point, she had a fever of 103+ & her rash, which now covered most of her body except her back & face, seemed to mutate from one form to another. 

Eventually, (& after asking if we needed to go to another hospital) her team of Dr.'s had concluded she had Multiforme Erythema. We were bombarded with student doctors (it was a teaching hospital) & nurses. We signed a waiver allowing them to take pictures & document her case since this was never seen there. One nurse even woke me up when I managed to doze off at 3 o'clock in the morning to look at her & ask questions because she had only read about this in the books. Around this time, Paige's hands began to swell to the point that they blistered. She couldn't even pick up her teddy grahams (her favorite at the time) to eat them. We were put on burn watch for the children's hospital (they have a burn unit there), roughly 30 min. away. The blisters on her hands were consistent with a 3rd degree burn. Had they spread to the rest of her body, roughly 50%-80% of her body would have been covered in 3rd degree burns. Luckily for my baby, the blisters never spread & began to recede within a couple days. I remember looking at her & crying, that was not my baby. She was, but looked nothing like herself at this point. We were transferred the night of day 4 to a different room due to construction taking place on the floor above. By this point, we had only left the hospital a few times, leaving Paige to be watched over by family & close friends, so that we could retrieve more clothes & take a quick shower. I would not leave that hospital again until discharge. On that 4th night, after Paige had received her doses of Tylenol & ibuprofen relatively close together, her fever had gone down the tiniest bit & then was higher than before the doses. On my way to the kitchen on the peds floor, I passed her Dr. before he left & mentioned it to him.He said they would take a closer look in the morning. 

That next morning, they informed us they were going to do an echo cardiogram & an EKG. Why would they be doing tests like this?! I went into the bathroom to wash up as best I could & put on some clean clothes. This is when I heard people speaking to Josh in the room. I was furious! I thought, 'They better not touch my baby until I'm out there!!' I was too late, they were starting the tests. I tried to keep up as best I could, but by this point I was in utter shock. I caught a few words, coronary aneurysms, life saving medicine, Kawasaki disease. They wanted to take Paige to get her IV inserted (they had tried before & failed, but she was eating & drinking, so they thought it OK) & to give her a catheter (they also tried this in the ER, but failed). I had a few moments to make a few phone calls. I called my boss, who was planning on visiting again before her shift. I blurted out what they said & told her I had to make a couple more calls before they started their proceedings. I also called my parents & my mother-in-law before we had to go. There were 3 nurses & the 2 of us, attempting to hold Paige down for her catheter & once again, my 9 month old baby was no match for 5 adults. The Dr. concluded that it wasn't necessary as long as she continued to eat & take in fluids. We were then transferred to a monitoring room near the nurses station. We were told it would take 12 hours for the entire dose of IVIG to make it into her system. The nurse explained it as "an expensive immune system in a bottle." Her dose of aspirin to thwart blood clots also began, 1 chewable children's aspirin every 12 hrs, with only a 1 hr window either way. & she was also hooked up to countless monitors to carefully watch her intake of her meds. Shortly after this, Josh's whole family had shown up to start waiting with us way before it was time for them to quit working. My boss who was going to come before her shift also came later with a co-worker (who sang many songs to Paige to keep her occupied) & her boyfriend. After I got off the phone with her earlier, she had googled what I said & printed a paper out for all to see at work. When she came, she brought food to eat, a collection they took up at work with a card from everybody & a personal gift from her to help out. We were so thankful, we weren't sure how long we would be in the hospital. But Paige took to the IVIG & after the careful period of monitoring afterward, she was discharged 1 week after our initial trip to the ER. The next couple of months were still rough for us. We had what seemed like endless appointments for follow ups, blood draws & echos. But her heart was untouched by the Kawasaki's. However while she was taking her aspirin (2 a day for 2 weeks, followed by 1/2 a day for 8 weeks), we were on a new alert. We had to be extremely careful of who & what she came in contact with for fear of her contracting Reye's Syndrome, which could be fatal if not caught immediately. & although she came out unscathed, she still receives follow up echos every 3 years for cautionary measures. It has been over 6 years since our ordeal & I remember it vividly. & while she doesn't remember the initial onsets of KD, she's a champ at needles (most of the time) & echos & very grown beyond her years.

Paige & her KD t-shirt a few years ago.

About Kawasaki Disease:

Kawasaki disease (KD), also known as Kawasaki syndrome, is a serious illness characterized by inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body that primarily affects young children and infants. Kawasaki disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children. Although about 80 percent of patients are under five years of age, older children and teenagers can also get KD, but this is uncommon. KD is more common in boys than girls, and the majority of cases are diagnosed in the winter and early spring. It is not contagious.

Kawasaki Disease is characterized by an inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body. There is no specific test for KD; doctors make a clinical diagnosis based on a collection of symptoms and physical findings. 
Early symptoms of KD include:
Fever that lasts for five or more days & is unresponsive to meds
Rash, often worse in the groin area
Red bloodshot eyes, without drainage or crusting
Bright red, swollen, cracked lips, "strawberry" tongue, which appears with shiny bright red spots after the top coating sloughs off
Swollen hands and feet and redness of the palms and soles of the feet
Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
NOTE: Paige had atypical or incomplete Kawasaki Disease. Meaning that she did not have all of the symptoms.

It's echo time!
Paige, left (KD survivor). Colson, middle (KD survivor). Bella, right (KD survivor).

Without treatment, about 25% of children develop heart disease involving the coronary arteries. Timely diagnosis and treatment (which usually includes intravenous gamma globulin within a 10 day window) is highly effective in preventing coronary complications. Doctors continue to study the long-term outcome of children who do not appear to have coronary involvement.

Paige & her bracelet <3

For more information on Kawasaki Disease, visit The Faces of Kawasaki Disease & The Kawasaki Disease Foundation.

You can also read the journeys of other Kawasaki kids here

Please, learn the symptoms & tell others. You may help a child one day just by knowing them since Kawasaki Disease is often misdiagnosed. 

Paige's heart shaped stone & note from Linda,  mom to Johnny, a fellow KD survivor.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Paige!

On this day, 7 years ago, I became a mom. It has been the most rewarding experience full of hair pulling (my own of course) I could ever imagine. And I can now say that I know what it feels like to argue with myself. A younger version of myself that is.

I didn't get many pictures today & our evening plans got changed last minute. But it was still her day.

My now 7 year old, Paige.

Birthday Cake Pancakes I got up early to make. My other 2 kiddos loved them too (lumpy icing & all.)

Happy 7th Birthday Paige!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Goody Quikstyle

Oh Goody! I knew there was a reason why I liked you so much. Oh, hi there. You know Goody, don't you? Goody, ouchless ponytails ring a bell? Well they've surpassed all expectations once again. Introducing Goody Quikstyle!

It's a towel & a brush in one. No, you can't brush your hair dry in a matter of minutes. Although you can detangle straight out of the shower in just a few quick brushes.

Super absorbent microfibers soak up to 30% of water to speed up your drying time. And don't worry, they're antimicrobial, which means your brush will stay fresh. I know what you're thinking, "Aren't the microfibers going to get pushed down?" Well, yes, of course they are. But if you flip your brush over & tap it with your palm, they are completely refreshed. So easy a kid could do mine do.

Do you see that? That's a side vent (they're on both sides by the way) for maximum air flow. Which means, well, I'm not sure exactly. But I thought it was a key element to point out. Another key element, it's lightweight. Now you can brush while you're blow drying (if you do of course) without getting a tired hand.

Now let's talk maintenance. A brush of this caliber has to be a pain to keep in tip top shape, right? Uh, well, no. Not at all. Just take a comb to clean stray hairs out & the wash with water & shampoo when necessary. Nice to know something that makes your hair look high maintenance, is low maintenance to take care of.

High maintenance look? OK, that's my best "self-shot" of the back of my head (fresh out of a bun). As you can tell, I have long hair (midway down my back). Which is generally a huge pain to get it to almost cooperate. Since I've been using my Goody Quikstyle Paddle Brush I received from Influenster in my Holiday VoxBox (you knew that was coming, didn't you?), my hair has been much more manageable. Not to mention a bit sleeker & shinier. Basically perfect for a busy mama like myself. Less time spent drying & styling. On the days that I actually style my hair of course.

Head on over to Goody to check out the Quikstyle Half Round Brush & everything else they have to offer. Not convinced the Quikstyle is that awesome? Maybe reading what other Influensters think about it would help (you can do that here.)

**Disclaimer: I received this product to try from Influenster & am simply sharing my personal opinion which may vary from yours. I was not compensated for this review.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Melissa's Tuna Salad

It was a blustery cold day in NE Ohio today. So what's a crazy mama to do? Turn the heat up a bit, throw on a tank top & make some Tuna Salad (a summertime staple.) Reverse psychology at it's finest folks! Of course making my favorite Pita Bread to go along with my Tuna Salad helped heat things up a bit.

Now, about that Tuna Salad...

You'll need:

•2 cans (or more if you'd like) of tuna
•Mayo, preferably real but Miracle Whip will suffice
•Celery, minced
•Red onion, minced
•Seasoned salt & black pepper

As you can tell it's lacking measurements. Just put in desired amounts based on your liking.

Start by draining the tuna & placing it in a small mixing bowl.

Next up, your desired amount of mayo.

Crunchy celery.

Crunchy (& yummy) red onion. Red is the key word by the way.

Seasoning time!

Stir it all together & perform a taste test. Adjust to your liking.

Grab your Pita Bread (a definite must) & enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine

Let's just get right down to it. I love a good lip gloss. Unfortunately, most tend to either have a sticky consistency or have an odd scent. I don't know which is worse, having your lips stuck together 3 seconds longer than they should or making random sniffing noises. Both are equally embarrassing in my opinion.

Good thing I don't have to worry about either of those things with NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine. This is my favorite lip gloss yet! And not just because it has a creamy (non-sticky) texture & smells good (cookies come to mind.) But the #3 deal maker  is a long & flexible applicator.

A rich, vitamin E formula provides shine & optimum moisturization. A gloss that actually moisturizes?! That's virtually unheard of.

To be fair, I didn't even hear about it until I got my Holiday VoxBox from Influenster. But boy am I glad I did! Instead of needing color, balm & gloss, I just need my liquid lipshine.

"pure pigments give a 3D effect that's off the charts glossy."

I received "Nude" which is perfect for my light complexion. Is it funny that I actually feel nude when I leave the house without any one? (I bet that was the plan.) Good thing I can run to Target (my fave) & pick some up for only $2.49. maybe even in a different color. After all, the do offer 10, including a clear & multiple shades of pink. I wonder which one I should pick up next...

Want to know what other Influensters think about NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine? You can find out here. And don't forget to check out what else NYC New York Color has to offer here.

*available at mass retailers & drugstores nationwide

**Disclaimer: I received this product to try from Influenster & am simply sharing my personal opinion which may vary from yours. I was not compensated for this review.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


 Ever wish you had something to help you get through your day? Preferably without that horrendous crash at the end. Call me crazy, but a crash crosses out the pick-me-up & just makes it even (if you're lucky.) Wouldn't it be great if there was something out there that would not only give you the boost you were looking for, but make you feel good too? Oh wait, there is.

EBOOST contains real ingredients. Such as vitamins B & C, green tea & folic acid. And it's also sweetened with Stevia, a plant-based sweetener. That means it's full of natural energy (hence the no crash) to give you the boost you need as well as immunity support. So if you think you might be coming down with something, EBOOST will help you out. Just not in the same sense as getting you through your morning workout.

Now I know you have to be wondering where I came across EBOOST. In my Holiday VoxBox '12 from Influenster of course! And I'll be honest, I was excited to try it! I had only heard a bit about EBOOST, but what I had heard was always good. Now I know why.

It was simple. One day I was feeling a bit sluggish, but I didn't want to turn to coffee. EBOOST it was. The directions were simple too, dissolve my effervescent powder in 12 oz. (1 1/2 C.) of water & stir. Immediately it began to fizz & foam on the top. I'll admit, I was a bit taken aback by it, despite it being an effervescent powder. I guess I was just expecting a bit less.

The taste wasn't that bad either. I'm not a huge pink lemonade fan & that was the flavor I received, but had I have been, there's no doubt in my mind I would've sucked it all down in a few giant gulps. Had it of been orange or acai pomegranate, I probably would've inhaled them. (Super berry comes in the 2 oz. shot only.)

The verdict: I used EBOOST before my workout. Truth is, I think I worked it a bit harder. of course there's something about seeing it endorsed by Jillian Michaels that helps a bit too. At least for me that's a bit of a motivator. But the best part, aside from feeling great of course, was that there really was no crash. I was able to get through my day as usual. Only more productive.

Need more opinions on EBOOST? You can see what other Influensters think about it here.

Want to know where you can find EBOOST? Check out your local Whole Foods Market, Vitamin Shoppe, Duane Reade, Equinox, 24h Fitness, gourmet stores, natural markets & on (20 low calorie effervescent powders retail for about $28.)

**Disclaimer: I received this product to try from Influenster & am simply sharing my personal opinion which may vary from yours. I was not compensated for this review.