Tag Archives: life in a nutshell

Hell on Earth: Coping with Acid Reflux and Getting Insurance to Pay for Your Formula

14 Apr

I shared last week that my little one had terrible colic, acid reflux and milk-protein intolerance, which all started shortly after we brought him home from the hospital. He would scream all the time, for long stretches of time. PoppaNut and I were beyond frustrated — what could we do to help our little angel? He was clearly in a lot of pain and nothing we tried seemed to help.

I decided to think of Reece as my Rubik’s cube. “I will master you before my maternity leave is over,” I proclaimed, as I scoured the internet for hours each day. I’d make a list of products to try, products that other mothers were swearing by, and I’d head right to Walgreen’s.

We tried Colic Calm, Mylanta, gas drops, gripe water, fennel seeds … you get the idea. I’d hear a mention of something I hadn’t tried, and I’d run right to the store to buy it. With each purchase, I’d come home all excited to give a whirl. And I’d notice some relief, and the happy dance would start. Then, four hours later, I’d retire that product to my collection of “didn’t work after all” buys. We reached out to all of our friends who had similar experiences for sanity tips and home remedies, but we couldn’t quite figure out that right mix for Reece.

One of Our Many Trips to the Doctor's with Reece

One of Our Many Trips to the Doctor’s with Reece

We also played the formula rotation, trying to find that perfect mix. Reece was terrible during feedings, frantically moving his head from side to side in pain. His belly would rumble, and you could just tell this wasn’t working for him. So, we tried every formula known to man … again, excited each time we tried one, thinking we were closer to a solution, and then it would end in disappointment when the screaming would start again.

A very good friend said, “Once you figure out the right combination for him, this will all go away.” I’m no doctor, but that’s exactly what happened. Reece needed a combination of medication and specialized formula with gas drops, and he was a happy baby again! It didn’t happen before my maternity leave was over, but it was pretty darn close.

But, as you can guess, that specialized formula isn’t cheap. My insurance wouldn’t pay for the $45-a-can formula, and while I considering selling my non-vital organs to the black market for formula funds, I luckily found an alternative means. A found a blog that outlined the process — find a durable medical equipment supply company (DMEs) that carries your formula (ours was EleCare) and takes your insurance, and you’re golden.

Elecare

You’d think your insurance company would just give you a DME list, but why would they be that nice? I started Googling DMEs and my insurance company, and I found an excel spreadsheet. Then, I took to the phone lines, calling each one tirelessly. I finally found one, and I had Reece’s GI doctor submit a prescription … and just like that, they sent me out two cases of formula! When I got the call confirming my address, I jumped up and down like I won the lottery … and I did — at least the formula lottery!

I learned two really important things through all this. One, you are your own health-care advocate, and that’s true for your child as well. PoppaNut and I were told so many times that everything was fine with Reece but we knew there was something wrong. We had to keep pushing for answers until we got them. I encourage you to do the same when it comes to your health or your child’s health. Two, insurance doesn’t make it easy. You have to fight for it. I’m still talking to insurance about reimbursement for Reece’s medication, filled nearly five months ago. But I think they know now I won’t give up now!

And that’s life in a nutshell.

MommaNut

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My Fitness Obsession: Zumba Fun

6 Jul

So, I have a little secret. A few of my friends know about this about me, but I don’t think they know how serious it is. They mention it from time to time, but they don’t realize it has turned into an obsession. I’m addicted to Zumba.

Wow, it’s so nice to have that off my chest! I can proudly scream it from the rooftops now. I am addicted to Zumba, and I don’t care who knows it. For those of you who don’t know what Zumba is, let me explain. Zumba is an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party that’s moving millions of people toward joy and health. In real-people terms, it is like spending an hour at the best club in your life sans booze.

Now that you know what Zumba is, let’s start the countdown of my favorite things about Zumba … which will ultimately make you sign up to try it yourself!

1. As I mentioned above, your one-hour class is literally like stepping in the most happening club of your life, sans all the negative stuff like the smoky atmosphere, obnoxious men trying to hit on you and the spilled drinks that always seem to land on your perfect party heels.

Zumba at My Way Fitness in Oldsmar

2. You get to super silly! In fact, the sillier, the better. There are no bosses or professionals critique your moves. There is no judgment. There is only fun and laughter in this space. I often feel like a kid again after a few dances! When was the last time you danced like no one was watching? Now go ahead and show us the Roger Rabbit!

3. This fitness activity comes with the most amazing wardrobe. I mean, you don’t have to buy the Zumba clothes, but I highly recommend it. First, I swear I have way more swagger to my moves when I’m wearing the Zumba-approved gear. That could be just in my head, but I think I look like a backup dancer to 50 Cent. Plus, the pants dry really quickly so you don’t drive home with a wet bottom. That’s important to me!

The Zumba Gear

4. I have made the best friends in Zumba … friends that are now very dear to my heart. We call each other the Fly Girls, because us gals get in front of the whole class for at least dance per class in “In Living Color” style. We text each other, making sure we are all going to be at class each night, and we all support each other throughout the week. These girls have the best hearts, and I’m lucky that they let me crash class each week.

Some of Us Fly Girls

5. The music is amazing! While my class does a few Latin-based dances, my favorite ones are the hip-hop versions. We also do some flashback songs like “Grease: You’re the One that I Want” and “Let’s Hear it for the Boys.” You just can’t help smiling and singing along during that kind of music. It really makes the hour just fly right by.

6. I have the best Zumba instructor on the planet! And I’m not even exaggerating in the slightest. Tiffany has the warmest heart and biggest energy in the little package I have ever seen. She cares about all the girls who come to class, she gives us challenges to take our fun to the next level and she makes me want to do a GREAT job in class. Tiffany inspires me to give it my all, and she is the reason that I love Zumba as much as I do! Thank you, Tiffany.

Meet My Instructor, Tiffany!

7. Zumba is a great stress relief for me. After a long day with a million things on my mind, and another million on my plate for the next day, I can’t wait to take one hour and just let loose. It is one hour that I get to act crazy and silly, and there are days that I certainly need that.

8. Lastly, let’s talk about the results. I have certainly noticed a different in my own body, and several people from class have also noticed results. I get to dance and lose weight? Now that’s a no brainer!

And that my feet are tapping from the Zumba songs playing in my head, I can’t wait to get back to class at My Way Fitness in Oldsmar. I’ll be counting down to Tuesday, when I get to see my Fly Girls again.

And that’s life in a nutshell … working out is great for you, but Zumba is good for my heart too.

MommaNut

 

Knowing Your Roots: A Grandfather’s Gift

27 Jun

So, my blog is not like everyone else’s blog. Yes, I like to talk about fashion, recipes, home renovations, my puppy dogs and more. But I also like to talk about my roots, my values, my love and my heart. And this posting is very dear to my heart because it is years in the making.

When I was a little girl, I used to spend at least a weekend every month at my grandparents’ home. It would be a long drive down an old, stinky country road, followed by hours spent with my cousins playing games and climbing trees. At night, we would gather in the living room to watch “Golden Girls” and “Empty Nest” while we patiently waited for my grandpa’s famous homemade chocolate milkshakes to be ready.

My grandparents used to take us all camping quite a bit during the summer, and we all loved it. My cousin Ashley and I even competed in a dance recital at Twin Mills one year, and I’m sure my grandparents still have a video of that somewhere. I spent so many warm summer nights on my old bicycle, riding around the campground having so much fun with my sister, brother and cousins.

Enter Grandpa into the story. My grandfather is a strong, quiet man. A veteran of the Korean war, my grandfather is not the type that will talk your ear off. You’ll only hear his gentle voice when he has something important to say or if he wants to get your attention. My grandfather has always showed he loved me by with a simple gesture … an arm around my shoulder, a kiss on my forehead, a high five and a delicious homemade milkshake.

Fast forward several years later … PoppaNut and I told my grandparents that we were about to purchase a home, and they mentioned that old bicycle again. It wasn’t in the best condition and it had been painted green, but I could have it if I wanted. Me being in love with all things vintage, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that bike.

But with any home closing, your mind is so overwhelmed with the insurance estimates, closing fees, realtor drama and more that you forget all about what you’ll fill your house with and instead, focus on the list of things you must do today to actually get the house. So the bike discussion completely flew out of my mind, and I focused on the closing.

Just two months after the closing, I received a text from my grandpa with a photo. No words, but just one picture of a vintage yellow bike that looked a whole lot like that one I had as a child. And it turns out, it was. My grandfather had completely taken apart my bike, restoring each piece and renovating it to its former glory. And in that one text, I was 10 years old again with my grandfather handing me my homemade shake. I didn’t need the words to know what he was saying. To anyone else, you would have just seen a yellow bike. But to me, that text said “I love you and I’m proud of you” in the same way my grandpa would convey his love when he made me one of those famous milkshakes.

I’m so honored that my grandfather spent time restoring my old bike. And I’m be thrilled to have it at my home as a reminder of the kind of childhood I had, the value of my Indiana upbringing and the importance of beautiful gestures my grandfather has always shown me.

MommaNut

Campfire-Inspired Dessert: S’mores Bars

25 Jun

If you haven’t been watching the news, you’re blissfully unaware of the tropical storm that has taken up residency right above my home. With flooded streets and down trees, it is easy to get a bit antsy once the DVR is void of any new shows. So, I fired up the oven and got to work.

This s’mores bar recipe is really easy and super delicious. And most of the items are probably already in your pantry!

 

Ingredients

1 pouch (1lb. 1.5oz.) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 cup butter, melted

3 cups milk-chocolate chips

4 ½ cups miniature marshmallows

Directions

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix and crumbs. Stir in melted butter until soft dough forms. Press into ungreased 13×9-inch pan.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until set. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt. Spread chocolate evenly over crust.

Set oven control to broil. Sprinkle marshmallows over melted chocolate. Broil with top 5 to 6 inches from heat 20 to 30 seconds or until marshmallows are toasted. (Watch closely; marshmallows will brown quickly.) Cool 10 minutes. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Serve warm. Store any remaining bars tightly covered.

These are so filling that it doesn’t take much to satisfy your sweet tooth. Wishing you knew the recipe for a similar cupcake recipe? Here you go!

And that’s life in a nutshell. Don’t the let rain get you down! See it as a GREAT excuse to pull out your recipe book and create something amazing!

MommaNut

Cupcake Dreams: Reese’s Pieces Cupcake Recipe

29 May

I love to bake, and I especially love baking when I have a long weekend to enjoy the final product. So, knowing last weekend was gonna be a long one, I asked PoppaNut to pick a flavor of his choice. He picked “Reese’s Pieces,” and I went on a hunt for a new recipe.

I found this delicious recipe that combines Reese’s Pieces with cream-cheese frosting. Need I say more? My search was complete and I ran to the grocery to pick up everything I needed.

Ingredients:
Butter pecan cake mix (I couldn’t find this anywhere so I got Butter cake mix and added in two big spoonfuls of crunchy peanut butter)
Muffin tin
Bag of Reese’s Pieces
Cream-cheese Icing
Cupcake Liners
AND my special secret ingredient … applesauce to substitute for the oil called for in the cake mix

Directions:
Mix up the cake mix according to the directions, substituting oil for your cup of applesauce of course. Place the cake mix into your lined muffin tins. Place about five Reese’s Pieces right on the top and pop into the oven.

Once the cupcakes are cooled completely, put the frosting into a plastic bag. Snip the corner and easily frost each cupcake. I decorated the tops with a few more Reese’s Pieces (I’m clearly not on a diet this weekend!). Then, enjoy!

With the cupcakes complete, PoppaNut got started on the main course of hamburgers and hot dogs on our new grill! Yummy! Plus, this gave us a chance to enjoy the new rock that PoppaNut put in at the front and sides of the house. Looking good!

And that’s life in a nutshell. Let your loved one pick a favorite flavor, and then explore a few new recipes that you can create at home!

MommaNut

Bentonville Culture: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

23 May

From time and time, I head to Bentonville, AK for work. And that last time I went, I had the great pleasure of visiting the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and I was completely blown away. Now, you’re probably thinking that a museum in Arkansas can’t compete with the likes of those in New York, Chicago, D.C. and others. Well, I’m going to beg to differ.

Crystal Bridges Museum of Art was actually founded by Alice Walton, the daughter of the late Walmart founder Sam Walton. Alice spent years collecting just the right works of art to display at the museum, and her taste is impeccable. And because the museum is sponsored by Walmart, general admission is free.

Alice has been well-recognized as an influential leader within Arkansas’ small community, and national press has picked up this story like hotcakes. And with a story like that, I was dying to check it out. Here are some of the pieces that I loved the most. I hope you also enjoy and plan a trip to visit the museum yourself.

And that’s life in a nutshell … one person can really make a different in the life of others. Alice sure did on me!

MommaNut

 

A Big Thanks: Clifford Field Trip

21 May

You guys might remember my post about my sister’s kindergarten classroom. She wanted to take your kids on a theater field trip to see Clifford, but her budget wouldn’t allow her to schedule the bus. Well, my wonderful blog followers stepped in and made it happen. This is what my sister said about it.

“I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude for everyone that played a part in providing the funding for our field trip to Clifford, The Big Red Dog.  With those funds, all eight kindergarten classes were able to get transportation to the play as well as to the park for a picnic and time to play together.  The play was a huge success and the best part was, the actors made it interactive with the audience, which really held our students attention! Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our children.  The majority of them had never seen a play before and I know it was an experience they will hold on to for a lifetime.”

My Sister and Her Students

I second all of those sentiments, and I sincerely thank each of you for your help.

And that’s life in a nutshell … investing in a child’s future is the greatest gift of all.

MommaNut

Home Sweet Home: First-Time Home Buyers

8 May

You all haven’t heard from me in quite a few weeks, but it’s not because I’m sitting around with nothing interesting to talk about. In fact, it is quite the opposite case. PoppaNut and I bought our first home.

This crazy journey dates back to late February, when PoppaNut ran across a new home listing on our dream street. Lined with beautiful palm trees, this perfect road has everything we have ever wanted in a home location: small-town feel, lots of charm, large yards, close to nearby parks and water and more. Every Sunday on our afternoon runs, we would dream about living in one of the houses on this road. We would talk about what it would be like to walk out our front door and see water or to skip next door to play tennis at the public courts. Our large dreams would usually end with a “one day” kinda sentiment, and our minds would fixate on something more immediate. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought that we could make it happen.

But I underestimated us. Because we are now residents on that same street. We can see the tennis courts from our front porch and we can see water from the driveway. PoppaNut has two large garages and plans for a GIGANTIC Yankees bar. I have two beautiful porches, where I can sit and write or entertain friends. And it’s a complete blank slate for us to do a million and one things to it in the future.

But more than all the features that it has, it is what we are building there that means the most to me. PoppaNut and I are building our future, one paint stroke at a time. We have a story for every project we have already completed in the home, which needed quite a bit of love after being vacant for two years. And while some may have doubted our ability to make a house like this livable, we managed to do it with a lot of help from family and friends in just 10 days.

PoppaNut literally worked around the clock, fighting back hunger and sleep on several occasions, to make my dream of what this house could be come true. Just like the song “The House that Built Me” says “Brick by brick and board by board, Daddy gave life to Momma’s dream,” PoppaNut has certainly given life to my dream. He is my super hero, my prince charming and my best friend. And when this house tried to take down our spirits along the way, like a broken A/C our first night sleeping there, PoppaNut was always by my side.

So, be patient with my postings. We have taken on quite a challenge, but I know we are up for it. Get ready for a front-seat view! And that’s life in a nutshell … every dream is possible if you are up for the hard work required.

MommaNut

At Last, Atlantis: Visiting the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas

9 Apr

I’m crazy about pink hotels. This is not the first time you have heard this. You’ll probably remember my pink-house story. When I was a little girl, I dreamt that my dad built me a pink house with rainbows and diamonds on the outside. A girl can dream, can’t she?

And while I don’t have diamonds outside my home, PoppaNut always takes me to pink hotels for special occasions as a tribute to making all my dreams come true. Our wedding night was spent in a pink hotel, and my birthdays are always spent at a pink hotel. And now, our second anniversary also involved a pink hotel: The Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

Now, I don’t know that I can call that a hotel … it’s more like a city in itself! There are a ton of things to do in this hotel, but I couldn’t help but just look in awe of the overall beautiful of the resort’s design. Once I was able to shake the fact that I wasn’t in “Couples Retreat,” we took our map and set out to explore!

I have to say we were lost the majority of the time, but we didn’t care. Everything around us was gorgeous! We jet-skied, we laid out in the sun, we went through the aquarium, we ate delicious food, I saw a shark (and a million of his friends) and we found a gift shop.

And that’s life in a nutshell … there is something magical that happens in a pink hotel, and I’m lucky enough to get to explore each one I come across.

MommaNut

All Aboard: Cruising on the Yacht StarShip in Tampa

3 Apr

If you leave anywhere near the Bay area, you have probably heard about the Yacht StarShip cruises that leave out of Tampa and Clearwater. You have probably put it on your wish list of places to visit around the area, and month after month, you never take part.

I was the exact same way. Every time I would see a commercial or someone talking about Yacht StarShip, I burst out, “Oh my gosh, I want to do that so bad!” But, then I would forget about it until the next commercial aired. Well, I decided to make a change, and I purchased two tickets through LivingSocial. I mean, who can pass it up when it’s at such a discount on LivingSocial. I no longer had an excuse not to try it.

So, in honor of our two-year anniversary, PoppaNut and I boarded the Channelside yacht for an unforgettable evening. Yacht StarShip, America’s First 3-diamond rated Dining Yacht by AAA, ranks in the top 28% of all restaurants, and the food was amazing. Our exquisite dinner cruise offered tableside service with exceptional dishes. The calamari was so fresh and tasty, we ate it in about two second flat. With cocktails in hand, we chatted about everything under the sun, while watching the sun set in the distance. With our meal finished and dessert wrapped up to-go, we headed to the top floor to take in the spectacular views from the deck.

Wow! The views of some of the houses nearby were amazing. I couldn’t help but imagine what each person inside those houses were doing and what their lives were like. I could have sat up there for hours, but the dancing had begun inside. After some foot tapping and another few cocktails, PoppaNut and I deboarded the beautiful yacht to look at some of those amazing houses a bit closer.

And there, in the shadows of the night, stood Derek Jeter’s humble (or not so humble) abode. With the faint glimmer of a TV on inside, we knew the Yankee legend was just a few yards away. So, I’m just going to say we celebrated our two-year anniversary with Jeter. And for PoppaNut, that was a dream come true!

And that’s life in a nutshell … explore the amazing things this area has to offer. Make a new wish list, and make a point to actually partake in each one. You’ll lead a richer life because of it.

MommaNut

 

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