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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Recipe Time! Grilled BBQ Cheddar Bacon Chicken Sammie

So this recipe came to me in a dream. I honestly cruised Pinterest and recipes for way to long the other night before I went to bed. When I do that, I tend to dream about food and recipes. HA

6 chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon "Jonesy'z Old Time Seasoning" (original-- sweet BBQ seasoning that is sold locally and can be found in Hy-Vee or the farmer's market)
2 tablespoons of bacon bacon (Tastefully Simple)-- if you don't have this seasoning, add some dried onion and bacon bits)
6 pieces of low sodium bacon cooked to taste (I like mine crispy)
6 slices of cheddar cheese
BBQ sauce (we usually make our own, but this time I used Kraft Honey BBQ sauce)

Grilled buns:
6 prepared buns from the grocery store (we used Ball Park brand)
1/3 cup of butter (melted)
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
Sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese

1) Place chicken breast halves on a baking sheet or pan and rub in seasoning (garlic, pepper, Joney'z, and bacon-bacon).  Place pan in refrigerator for 1 hour to marinate.
2) Melt butter with garlic powder, sea salt and parm cheese in microwave (30-45 seconds).  Once melted, brush butter mix generously onto the inside of each bun-half. Place buttered buns and put on to the side, so that they can be grilled later.
3) Spray gril with cooking spray and heat up the grill (I used a medium heat). Once grill is warm, place chicken on grill.  Cook on each side 5 minutes or until done.
4) Add buns to the grill (I put them on my top rack so they do not burn), and brown each side.
5) brush BBQ sauce on each chicken breast half once fully cooked.  Add a slice of cheddar cheese and a slice of cooked bacon.
6) Once cheese is melted and buns are ready, assemble sandwich on grill (shut off grill heat) and let the sandwich melt together.

Serve!  We served this with fruit and a bacon ranch pasta salad recipe from

Monday, May 21, 2012

Polyps In My Lungs

Many of my friends know how dear relay for life is to me. They know that I relay for my mother in law, Linda Flye, who was taken from us too early. She was an amazing mother, grandmother, and friend. They know I relay for my grandfather, Orrie Hitt... who was also taken early after battling lung cancer. I relay for my dear friend, Deryck. He passed away earlier this year after a long hard battle, and AGAIN he was taken WAY to early... I relay for my aunt Peggy. She passed away this last month after battling lung cancer. Again, she was taken way to early....

My life was forever blessed because of my loved ones above, but it has also been changed for the better (ah, now I have the "Wicked" soundtrack running through my head, great music- FYI). I want to help find a cure. Make it so other people don't lose like I have.

I relay for myself.

My personal story is not one of cancer... YET. That is the hardest part for me. A little over a year ago, I started to get very sick.  Lost a ton of weight, and after three months of doctor visits, MRIs, catscans, blood draws, iron infusions, and six specialist, they found a multitude of issues. FIRST, I had MALS (median arcuate ligament syndrom)- a rare disorder where a ligament is tightly wrapped around an artery by your heart causing all kinds of problems... then they found tumors, polyps, cysts.... It was overwhelming.  The first tumor was on my adrenal gland and it was 3 times the size of the gland itself. They found cysts in my hip, big toe, and wrist. Polyps in my lungs (three to be exact) and cysts in my ovaries.

A bit overwhelming for this mom of many.  I underwent surgery at the University of Iowa in June of 2011 to correct the artery issue and have the tumor along with my left adrenal gland removed. I spent a lot of nights talking about how it is NOT fair.  But, I was hard on myself in my 20s and early 30s. I had a horrible diet, I smoked like a fiend and I didn't really think about WHAT I was doing to myself. I wish I could rewind, but I cannot. Instead I have to move forward.

I have polyps on my lung. Three. Every six months I have to go and have another catscan...another visit with a specialist. Another time holding my breath to see if the polyps have grown and if they are the C word. If you do this for two years straight and they don't grow... you are considered in the clear and the polyps will most likely NOT develop into cancer. If they do change in size or color then you probably have cancer.

I have one year down and still cancer free. I am thankful to a mighty God who watches over me. I am also thankful for research. For if there wasn't money put into cancer research, my doctors wouldn't be concerned about the "polyps"... I wouldn't be seeing the specialist every six months and having a catscan. I wouldn't know what an important preventative measure the catscans are, and how they can save my life. Early detection. That is what saves lives.

So, that is why I relay. I relay to raise money so that research can be done. Research that can save lives.

If you have lost someone to cancer, been a caregiver to someone with cancer, are a cancer survivor yourself... get out and RELAY.  It is one of the most amazing events ever to come together for one cause, because together we can fight back.

If you would like to donate, our relay for life team is DahFeet (silly, but we wanna dah-feeet cancer) and we participate in the Linn County IA relay for life (being held on June 1st and 2nd).  If you are in Cedar Rapids, come and relay with us.
If you want to donate, the site to our relay event is below... any amount is great! You can donate it to Relay under our team name (DahFeet).

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Personal Best

Kennith has ALWAYS struggled with writing. He writes letters and numbers backwards. For the longest time, I had NO IDEA why he struggled so much with it. His letters would look crazy and out of control.  I would sit and practice with him for hours... days... months...years (OK so that is way to much drama, eh? LOL)

But I would practice with him.  Earlier this year, his spelling test looked like the test below. How do I fix it?

We started having him write out words at least three times per night, and if he wrote a letter backwards, or if it was sloppy he would have to write it again... and the result was this....

One night, Phillip sat down with Kennith and he started to write out his words.  Phillip said, "Now Kennith... is that YOUR personal best? I think YOU can do better." and sure enough... here is what happened.

I cannot tell you how this has helped me in this ADHD journey with Kennith.  So, every night with homework, before his father or I check it, we always ask if he did his personal best. If he didn't... he will fix it.  It he did, then we review it. Kennith has come so far!

So, I wonder if that is a lesson for me.  I should do my personal best at everything, and make sure it is my very personal best before I am done... whether it is dinner, work, quality time with my kids, even cleaning the bathroom. Always do it your personal best.... then you can always be proud of what you accomplished.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Do Things Happen for a Reason?

Hi there! My name is Melissa. It has been 14 crazy days since I last blogged.  I feel, well... I feel, out of sorts and strange! I mean, I usually blog every other day, or at LEAST every week.. but to go two whole weeks without even POSTING ONCE? That is just insane. (insane in membrane... insane in the brain... do you remember that song? Cypress Hill, YES?) As I digress... Where was I? OH... I remember...

Do you think things happen for a reason, or do they just happen?

Here is why I ask... Things have been crazy-awesome-busy-and rather amazing.  I am getting involved in a great business that I love (for now just part time) and I have a great team of folks I am working with. AND my real job has been uber busy.  Long story short, I was working from about 7:15 am central to about 11 pm central daily, because there were a lot of responsibilities we had to take care of every day. So, as my work gets busy, that is all I can think about. I mean, my husband and my kids talk to me, and I hear them, but do I listen? I have come to the realization I do not. not when I am overwhelmed with work.

So, thankfully I have an amazing family who will put up with me and this hectic schedule, but also... they will talk to me about it and bring up concern when necessary.  I love them so much, and it is hard to show them that I work this hard for them, when I work I am away from them... so how is it really FOR them? Know what I mean? But do you think things happen for a reason? I mean, we moved here, and I found a day care provider for Maddy right away.  We called her up, went and met her, and INSTANTLY I knew she would be great with Maddy. Maddy has grown up so much with Kathy (our day care provider). Kathy and her family are like our extended family.

Well, Maddy is leaving her terrible twos and entering into the temper tantrum threes like a champ!  She is very aggressive and stubborn to the max.  On Friday, Maddy tested Kathy. While they were driving, Maddy would take her arms out of her car seat. Kathy would have to stop, put her back in the car seat and tell her no.  Maddy did this about 4 times.  When I picked up Maddy from Kathy's... Kathy said, "Melissa, Maddy kept taking her arms out of her car seat, and it is not safe. I cannot have her do this. If she does it again, she can no longer come here." I understand Kathy's position, but I am personally crushed... because we love our Kathy. Anyway, I talked to Maddy about how important the seat belt is (I hate to admit she has been doing this as of late, and it is horrible to always pull over).  I talked to her about how we always have to buckle up for safety.

After daycare, Kennith, Maddy and I did our errands.  We went to the post office, and to the grocery store. I usually go to two different stores... one for the bulk items and one for meat, etc.  So, I was driving on a very busy road going to the last store (I had a craving for sushi, and they make it fresh there...) As we were driving... my car made an odd sound. Then I was by my house, so I pulled off the busy street and onto O Ave. Called Phillip... he said to try and make it home. And a block away, my tire completely FELL OFF my car. The tire rod rusted and the tire completely fell off.  Brought my car to an immediate stop, and we all were pushed forward and back by the force. All I can think, is what the heck happened? Maddy and Kennith were safe. She kept her seat belt on. I went out to look at the car.

If this day had gone differently... if she didn't talk to Kathy about the seat belt... if I would have ignored the sound and drove to the other store... things could have been much worse...

So, things happen. For a reason? I don't know. I cannot determine that. I do however believe in GOD and that he was with us the whole day. And His mercy happens for a reason. His love happens for a reason. He watches of us... for a reason. Maybe I don't why He does what he does, but man... I am sure glad he does!
Happy Monday!

My car: