Mar 17, 2013

Jingle Bell Run December 2012

Instead of the having a Arthritis Walk in 2012, our small committee decided that an actual run would be better for our area and since the Arthritis Foundation has the Jingle Bell Run, we thought we would give it a try! It was a complete success and everyone loved it. Everyone enjoyed the Christmas theme and since this was an actual timed race, we were able to attract a lot of runners. I was on the Committee again and in charge of  obtaining Sponsor's. Overall, we raised over  $37,000 and had 347 registered runners! For a first time event, I think the outcome was great! We now have a local Arthritis Branch director and I can only imagine that this event will keep growing year after year. I will leave you with a few pictures from the event. I did not get to take as many this year as I was actually helping to register runners etc and was very busy :)

This was Ayla at our Local News Station, we had a small segment on the news and she passed out candy canes to everyone!

This was a our local news anchor Spencer Adkins as our Emcee for the run. By the way John won Second place in his age division!!

Ayla and her friends!

Little Yoda brother, Brennan!

Raise Your Hands Against Arthritis- you better believe we always WILL!!

Where we are today

Ayla has still been in medical remission since she started her Enbrel. We are coming up on almost five years with no major problems. She complains of her neck hurting every now and again and she is fatigued more than the average child but other than that we have not experienced any major problems with her Arthritis. As far as being sick is concerned, with her low immune system, she has had her fair share of illness for sure this Winter. She missed about three weeks of school with having back to back strep. We were very lucky that she did not have to go into the Hospital. She gets every virus coming and going, whether its viral, bacterial, you name it and she get's it. She recently just got over the stomach virus and she has had impetigo about three times.  She is still taking weekly injections of Enbrel and Methotrexate. We have actually been able to switch the Methotrexate by mouth so that has been helpful. We have tried the past two years to wean her off of the Methotrexate before Pre-school and then again before Kindergarten without success. Every time we get down to the lowest dose, she starts to flare. The picture below is her left knee in a flare when we tried to wean her the first time. We had to start a round of oral steroids and then increase her Methotrexate again. It has now been over a year since we last tried and everything has been going great. We go back to visit her Rheumatologist in a few weeks so I am anxious to see what she wants to do.
 Ayla is getting older now, she realizes it is not normal to get injections every week and she sometimes asks me "why" and my answer is always the same, " Because you are special and God made you this way, he knew you would be able to deal with this where as other children might not be able to as well as you." I tell her that she was born this way you know like the Lady Gaga song, "Baby I was born this way" and then we start singing and dancing!  She just smiles and is happy with that. We have also just learned recently that her "Bunny" the one she has had since she was a baby and sleeps with every night has "artheritis" I talk to her all the time about how important it is to raise awareness and participate in the Arthritis walk, the Jingle Bell Run etc so that one day we might find a cure for this disease. She sometimes says, "Now what's a cure again", lol, and then I explain it to her...again! She prays every night that her Arthritis will go away for all of the children that have it and that she will not have to wear glasses anymore, lol.  We are so  blessed, she is a God loving child and is always praying for someone or something. Thank you Jesus for this special child!!!

Mar 14, 2013

Arthritis Walk September 2011

Wow, I can't believe it has been so long since I have updated my blog. So many things have happened since then, I am not sure where to begin. I first would like to say that our first Arthritis Walk in 2011 was a success. With only a very small committee and with no local Arthritis Foundation contacts, we were able to raise around 25, 000 if I remember correctly. It was a beautiful day and we had around 160 walkers! Ayla was an Honoree as was my mother who also has Rheumatoid Arthritis. Our team was " Ayla's Angel's", we were about 50 walkers strong and raised around 2,000 dollars.  Although I knew even before the walk that one of my life long goals would be to raise awareness for this disease, the feeling was definitely confirmed after this event. I know this cause is something that I will always be devoted to! So I will leave you with a few pictures from this wonderful event!!

Ayla accepting her Honoree Award

My mom accepting her Honoree Award

My mom and my sister

The Family

Ayla and big brother

Ayla's friends showing their support!

Great friends of mine!

My sister

Ayla and Uncle Dunc!

Mar 28, 2011

Ayla's Arthritis Journey Video and Arthritis walk Information

Please watch Ayla's Journey with Juvenile Arthritis and then take a moment to either register for the walk or contribute a donation! Please help us find a cure for this disease!

I am so excited to announce that the First Annual Arthritis 5k walk/run will be on September 10th at 10 am this year! I encourage all of you to go here and show your support by either registering to walk or by making a donation. If you are from this area and do not have a team please feel free to walk with Ayla's team, "The A Team". It costs nothing to register, the race is donation only. If you raise $100 you will get a free t-shirt. There will also be different awards given out throughout the day, every person that is registered will have a chance to win!

This is so important to me and I am working hard to make sure that this will be a successful walk! I know September is still several months away BUT it is very important that we start forming teams and getting donations now. If anyone has a business and would like to be a sponsor of the walk, let me know, I would be happy to meet with you. I would like to offer your business a unique sponsorship opportunity to reach new audiences, build consumer loyalty and be part of the Arthritis Foundation Tradition. The Arthritis Walk provides visibility among affluent consumers and the prestige of affiliation with a recognized national organization. Additionally, sponsorship is a great advantage to enhance employee morale, consumer satisfaction, and a community presence! The Arthritis walk is the Arthritis Foundation's annual nationwide signature event that raises funds and awareness to fight arthritis, the nation's most common cause of disability!

Mar 9, 2011

Ayla's Rheumatology appointment and EXCITING NEWS!

Ok, wow, I realize that it has been too long in between posts but this Winter has really been bad for us. With the exception of the last two weeks, someone in our family has been sick (including myself) for the past 8 weeks! We have had the flu, croup, respiratory infections, strep throat, stomach virus... you name it and someone in my house has had it. I am so ready for the warm weather to get here, it can't come soon enough :)


Ayla had her Rheumatology appointment a few weeks ago. She was actually excited to go so she could give Dr. Huggins a Valentine treat! Ayla made her a card and took her candy. She really likes Dr. Huggins and has always felt comfortable with her. We are so blessed to have such a great provider for her. I honestly can not say enough for Cincinnati Children's Hospital, it is a WONDER facility and I am so thankful for the care that we receive there! I just wish it were not almost 4 hours away :( it makes for a long day that's for sure!


Ayla's appointment went well. She is still doing well and her labs look great so we decided to start decreasing her Methotrexate. If all goes as planned, she should be off of it by August when she starts Pre-School! She is and will still be on Enbrel for at least another year, she still complains of neck pain occasionally, but at least we are headed in the right direction!

So for the exciting news, this Month marks the third year since Ayla was diagnosed. One of the first things I did when she was diagnosed was check into seeing if our area had a local Arthritis Walk. I was so eager to advocate and raise awareness for this disease, most people do not know that Kids can get Arthritis too! I was upset to learn that my state did NOT have a walk nor did we have a local Arthritis Chapter. I called the nearest chapter and discussed starting a walk with the person who is over the walks. She encouraged me to try and get a committee together and to actually start one in my area. I was excited about this opportunity but was let down pretty quickly. I could not get enough people interested and it was such an overwhelming task for me because Ayla was not yet in remission and less than two years old and Brennan was only a few months old. I decided that I would have to wait until there was a better time.

(This is Ayla on the day of diagnoses, three years ago, so precious!)


So out of the blue a couple of weeks ago I get an email from a local young lady wanting to know if I was interested in helping her with getting an Arthritis Walk together. What? Really? I was so excited and what an answer to prayer. I have wanted this for three years now! Her niece was diagnosed with arthritis two years ago at age three so this is very close to her heart as well. So we had our first committee meeting last week and we are having our FIRST ARTHRITIS WALK/RUN on September 10th, 2011! This is a HUGE task but one I am ready and willing to take on. Our main focus at this point is getting sponsors and raising money. I know a few of my fellow JRA moms have experience in this area so PLEASE I am willing to listen to any advice that you can give me! Erica, you out!!! I am just so excited for the opportunity to raise money and awareness for the Arthritis Foundation!
These next few months will be so busy but SO worth it! Let the advice begin!!!

Jan 10, 2011

It's A New Year


I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas! I love Christmas and this year was no exception. The kids had a blast baking cookies, singing Christmas songs, decorating the tree, seeing Santa and of course opening their gifts! We were able to help two families have a Christmas this year and for that I am so grateful :) At times, we didn't know if we would have the extra money to do it but God is GOOD and HE always provides!



I always talk to the kids about the real meaning of Christmas and how it is much better to give than to receive. They are three and four so I know that they do not completely understand yet BUT they will one day. Okay a funny story. As I was putting out our Nativity Scene, I was explaining about baby Jesus, how he was born in a manger, how Christmas is his birthday, etc. After I was done Ayla looked at me and said, "so they waved the magic wand and Jesus was born", so that is what she got from the story. Her magic wand for some reason always seem to end up in our conversations. I guess I will try again next year, lol!


The few days before Christmas were busy as usual! We celebrated Christmas with our good friends and neighbors on Wednesday, on Thursday Kaleb had his friends over and they exchanged gifts, on Christmas Eve John's parents and Grandmother came over and on Christmas Day, we celebrated with my family. The kids were completely exhausted by Christmas and they were not interested in letting me take too many pictures, they were completely over it at that point! So here are a few pictures of our Holidays! I am looking forward to what 2011 will bring, hoping and praying that all of you have the best year EVER!


Happy New Year to everyone, I am expecting nothing but the BEST in 2011!!

Dec 21, 2010

Favorite Christmas Recipes


I hope everyone is getting ready to have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I just started baking a few things this evening and thought I would share a few of my favorite recipes! Please share one of your favorites with me too, I love to make new recipes BUT they have to be EASY,lol! Someone on fb just gave me this recipe a couple of weeks ago because I mentioned that Kroger already had Cadbury Creme Eggs and that I was going to be in trouble..hehe... so thank you Sharon for sending me this recipe!! I just made it tonight! I have not tasted them yet, but they look awesome! If you like Cadbury Creme Eggs (like me) then you will love this recipe!

Cadbury Creme Egg Brownies


6 Cadbury Creme Eggs
430g (~15 oz) Cadbury Bournville chocolate
45g (~1 1/2 oz) sugar
115g (~4 oz) butter
140g (~5 oz) flour4 eggs (original recipe called for large, I used medium though)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Method1. Pre-heat the oven to 325ºF (170ºC).

2. Grease a 9 × 13 inch pan with butter.

3. Pre-mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl (you will not need to fit anything else in here).

4. Gently melt the butter, Creme Eggs (not the real eggs) and chocolate together. This is easiest to do in a double boiler, or bain-marie.

5. Hopefully, the melted mixture will become smooth and silky. It did not for me. If this doesn’t melt correctly, but instead, after mixing, is more of a soft fondanty consistency, don’t despair, mine went like this and it was still fine after the next couple of steps.

6. Remove the chocolate/Creme Egg/butter mixture from the heat, and mix in the sugar. The original recipe said to use a whisk for this step and the next, but my mixture was too thick for that, so I used a spoon.

7. Wait until you think it’s cool enough that the eggs won’t cook (it should not be very long if you didn’t overheat the chocolate), and add the eggs one by one, mixing each in thoroughly.

8. In three batches, gently folding, mix in the flour (with the baking powder and salt from the bowl you premixed them in earlier).

9. The mixture should now be smooth and silky, quite thick, but thin enough to pour.

10. Pour the mixture into the pan you greased earlier. Pour into the middle, and it should run into the corners. You can use a spoon to flatten it out if you need to. If it’s not flat on top, or you just want to get some aggression out, lift up the pan and drop it on the table a couple of times to even out the top.

11. Place the pan in the centre of the pre-heated oven.

12. Cook for 30-40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a cocktail stick or chopstick into the centre of the pan. When you remove it, it should have moist crumbs all over it, but no hint of actual liquid batter. If the stick is covered in brown batter, it’s not done yet. If there are no crumbs at all, you’ve left the brownies in for too long!

13. Remove from the oven and leave in the pan for two hours on a wire rack to cool (I know, I know, but it’s worth it!).

14. Cut into squares as you serve. If you don’t want to eat it all at once (or maybe just can’t eat it all at once), leave the remainder uncut in the pan covered in cling film to seal.That’s it! You probably won’t be able to not eat it when it’s fresh, but I’d say it definitely tastes better after a day or two.

My other recipes are on a post from last year so click on the highlighted link for more of my favorite Holiday Recipe's including "Winter Chex mix" which is my ALL TIME FAVORITE.. makes a great gift to give as well!!

If anyone decides to make any of these, let me know how you like it.. you REALLY have to make the winter chex mix, I promise you will LOVE IT.. I know how everyone loves the "puppy chow mix" well this beats that hands I have you interested now?