Sunday, October 20, 2013

Rally for Reghan


This is my first cousin, Kris and his lovely family. Kris and I are only a year apart so it of course made sense that when we were kids on family vacations we were buddies. We got along pretty well and I always loved spending time with him. A lot has happened in the last decade since I've gotten married and we don't see each other very often, but when I got to see him last summer I realized how much I truly missed my friend. They have had a quite unfortunate battle for his son Reghan because of issues with Reghan's birth mother dealing with abuse. Kris is an amazing father and is a hero to his little guy (who btw is a spitting image of his dad) I was fortunate enough to meet his little family last summer and his lovely partner, Loleta. They are so sweet and love their kids more than anything and now they are fighting to get their children back because of unfortunate events out of their control. Please read the following which is written by my other cousin (Kris's sister) who explains the situation and started a fund to help them get their children back. They really need our help! I put the widget in my sidebar (unfortunately I couldn't edit it so that it looked normal, but at least it fits for now) OR you can....

Click the link to take you to their funding page. 
Written by: Kelsie Rosekrans

"This is my brother Kris’ beautiful family. 
They have been torn apart by a flawed system, and the road to getting them back together is piled high with roadblocks. 
The system which is supposed to help children has taken theirs; taken them from the people who love them the most. 

Nearly six years ago, Reghan was born. A spitting image of my brother, he brought a light to his life – a happiness I’d never seen in him. Despite splitting with Reghan’s birth mother, my brother was bound and determined to give him the best life possible. 

Soon, he met his partner Loleta. She brought with her two of the most caring, smart, and respectful children I’ve ever met. 
Together, they would have another son, and their family was complete. 

And then everything changed. 
Reghan was growing up fast. He was incredibly smart and so loving. But they realized that he knew, said, and did things that no two year old should know anything about.
They soon realized the signs were of serious physical, mental, and sexual abuse – at the hands of his own birth mother. 
Kris and Loleta began documenting everything they could, taking him to doctors to show the things they couldn't, and enlisting the help of the local courts. 
It seemed insanely difficult to get anyone to take them seriously. 

For the past three years, they’ve been fighting battle after battle in court, disrupting their family, putting strain on their relationships, and emptying their wallets. 
Over 2 years ago, Reghan was placed solely in the care of Kris and Loleta, and the birth mother was stripped of any and all visitation rights. But they still haven’t gotten to a final decision with the courts, and she still has legal rights. 

Early this summer, Reghan was hospitalized with stomach pain and a distended abdomen. He was later air-lifted to the University of Michigan Mott Children’s hospital, 60 miles away, and emergency surgery was performed. 
He had a ruptured intestine, they removed his appendix, and they found tons of scar tissue – only some of which they were able to remove safely. The scar tissue, they were sure, was from the past abuse, and Kris and Loleta were sure they finally had the proof they needed to put his birth mother away for good, and to terminate her rights completely. 

Some of the doctors, however, felt they couldn’t explain the injury. It’s usually something seen with a sudden or intense impact, yet there was no bruising or any other evidence of such an impact. At the very least, they thought they would see internal bruising, even if external had not yet appeared, but there was nothing. The scar tissue could have been the cause, and was documented as such, in the report Dr. Markman, a member of the University of Michigan Child Protection Team, gave to Shiawassee County Child Protective Services. 

Dr. Markman only spoke with Kris and Loleta very briefly, while Reghan was prepped for surgery. She told them that she was there to help walk them through this and to be their liaison through the process. They never saw her after that initial interview, but she sent CPS to speak to them immediately after surgery, so Reghan came to after surgery, without his parents by his side. CPS was called because Dr. Markman felt that Kris and Lo weren’t forthcoming with information – though clearly distracted by a child about to undergo emergency surgery, with life threatening injuries. As well, she has asked if there was a history of abuse, but didn’t care to hear the circumstances.

Nearly a week later, they were ready to release Reghan from the hospital, but in a twisted mess of policy, they decided that since the doctor’s wouldn’t say for sure that the injuries were a result of the prior abuse, they wouldn’t release him to Kris and Lo. They took him to stay with my mom – Kris and Lo were not allowed to accompany him there.

And then, to add salt to the wound, a few days later, CPS decided that because they wouldn’t allow Reghan in the home, they also couldn’t allow the other children in the home, even though CPS was clear that they had no concerns of the safety of the other children. 

While Dr. Markman, who barely saw or spoke with Reghan, states that his injuries were from a trauma, a specialist has stated otherwise. The only thing the doctors agree on is that the scar tissue is from past abuse, and that the scar tissue weakened him and made him more susceptible to injury. There were no signs of an impact, or trauma, except the previous abuse, and yet Dr. Markman believes there is reason for inquiry. 

All of the family was separated. My brother and Loleta could not be there to console their son as he healed from major surgery. The other kids were taken to stay with different family members, Reghan now in a foster home. Everyone’s world has been ripped apart. My brother and Loleta are left with an uphill battle. 

Kris and Lo are prepared to fight as long as they have to, to have their family whole again. They are hard working and dedicated, but doctors and lawyers come with a hefty price tag. Reghan will need more medical care, more therapy, and more lawyers to fight for him. This on top of all of the medical bills and lawyers’ fees they’ve already racked up in the last 3 years.

Please help me, help them, to finish the fight. To get Reghan, and all of the kids, home. To get Reghan every ounce of help he needs. And to finally, and fully terminate his abuser’s rights, so he can feel safe."

Please do what you can to help! They deserve to have their family together! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dining Room Table Makeover

A few years ago, we got the table below for the apartment we lived in. It was tiny and the table was round but had a leaf so that we could expand it if we had company. I was never in love with the color but liked the style. We got it because it's what we could afford. Well, after moving into our new house we got a corner nook kitchen table and used this as our dining table. However, the only thing is the largest I could make this table was to fit 6 people. Since we actually had a dining room, I felt it was time to graduate to a real dining room table. So I was on the hunt....I posted this on craigslist and then found a great table and four chairs for only $65. It was in need of some serious TLC but was sturdy and simple, yet had a little bit of character as well. PLUS it came with not one but TWO leaves! 

 The drawback...other than the need for a makeover, it came with only four chairs. We used the table and stored our former table in the basement while waiting for it to sell. I kept going back and forth on whether to keep the chairs and paint them a color I like, but (per Prince Charming's advice) sold the table and chairs as a set. I put them on our local Facebook yard sale page and got 3 offers within a minute...SCORE! 

Next, I took the table outside and got set up. First, I sanded it down with my Black and Decker Mouse detail sander (Love that tool!)

Then I started painting. We used Valspar Pale Bloom. It's a great white, not too cream but not too bright white. One thing I wish I'd have done is put on a coat of primer. I put on three coats of paint, sanding lightly between coats with the above hand sander that has refillable sanding pads.

My princesses helping me out.

Here's my oldest princess painting.

Ta-dah! Then I put on 3 coats of poly-crylic in satin. Since it's going to be used as our dining table I wanted to make sure it was protected and I didn't want to use polyurethane because it yellows over time. 

The table right after it made it inside.

The chairs after I recovered them. Then, since I didn't have enough chairs, I used the money I got for selling my old table to purchase new chairs from an antique store. I had intended on painting them but decided that since all the chairs were a darker color they actually looked nice that way. I love the mismatched chair look. Now I'm loving my dining room! 

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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Strawberry Gorgonzola Grilled Cheese (or Panini)

How many of you LOVE strawberries??? How many of you head to the strawberry patch every year with your kiddos in tow only to pick more strawberries than you really need. My question always is..."What am I going to do with them?" I can only have Strawberry shortcake so many times. This year I tried freezer jam and froze a bunch which I used for smoothies as well. Well, after going to this one restaurant in the city called Garces Trading Company (if you're in Philly...I'd definitely recommend it because the food is AMAZING) I had a cheese sampler plate and one of the cheese was a 'stinky' cheese. I can't remember but I think it was Gorgonzola and though in my head I was wrinkling my nose at the idea of eating a 'stinky' cheese I tried it anyway, for one...because I wasn't paying, and two because it was made on the in Rome....I absolutely LOVED it! Ever since, I have been getting crumbled Gorgonzola to put on my salads. So after getting home with all these strawberries, having strawberry shortcake twice, making freezer jam and freezing a ton, I still had some left over. So, I decided to make my own version of a grilled cheese. Sorry, this post doesn't have step by step with pictures...I was too hungry to grab my iphone. 


2 slices of bread (I used white Italian because it's what I had on  hand)
strawberries, sliced (however many you think looks good)
crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (ditto)
arugula or lettuce (I used spring mix bagged lettuce)

1. Preheat griddle or skillet. 
2. Spread butter on one side of both slices of bread.
3. Put the slices of bread on the NON-buttered sides first to toast it up a little so the inside won't be too soggy.
4. Once the bread is a little toasted, flip to the buttered side. 
5. Add the Gorgonzola cheese to one piece. Add strawberries and lettuce/arugula. Place the other slice on top buttered side up.
6. Once the bottom is toasted, carefully flip to grill the other piece and press down a little with the spatula.
7. Once toasted, remove from pan and Enjoy!

Just Sayin

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Homemade Chalk Paint Record Player Re-do has been C-R-A-Z-Y!!

I know, I know.... I've been MIA lately...but it's been a necessity. There is just way too much going on in my life so the RHP is on the back burner for now. I am still crafting and cooking and re-doing stuff so I have some things in my blogging arsenal but my family and school are the blog suffers....don't give up on me yet!

Okay, so anyway...I got this Awesome record player years ago for FREE on craigslist...and even posted about it HERE and how it's one of my favorite things. I love old pieces that are nostalgic like this. I wasn't in love with the color though so after much deliberation and hemming and hawing (and Pinterest research) I decided which direction I'd like to go....homemade chalk paint. I tried a few recipes on a trash-picked end table and on two yard-sale night stands and wasn't too impressed. They all seemed to make the paint WAY too thick! And the result wasn't to my perfectionist OCD standards...I still love the pieces I painted but they were my guinea pigs. THIS piece, however, I loved how it turned out. I painted TWO coats with NO SANDING OR PRIMING!!! Then I applied wax. This post won't be a step by step tutorial, that'll have to come later when I've perfected it...maybe I'll even do a video...because I totally had to watch some youtube video how-to's to decide what to do.
For my recipe:
I mixed two cans of Valspar sample paints in tropical oasis and one can of gray mountain smoke in a plastic paint container. (You can use to old plastic ware) Then in another bowl I mixed 1 Tablespoon of plaster of paris and 2 Tablespoons of HOT water. I bought a few forks and a whisk from the dollar store to keep in my paint supplies for this. I whisked it together until there were no lumps. Then I added only half of the mixture to the paint and stirred. It thickened up but not TOO much. All the other ones I tried were awful. Maybe they worked for them, but it DROVE ME CRAZY! This stuff dries seriously fast too! I re-coated in half an hour. The next day I used Briwax clear paste wax which I got off of amazon to coat the entire piece. Make sure to use a rag to wipe the wax into the paint and wipe off the excess. Then after about 20 minutes I sanded it to give it a little distressed look. I read somewhere to sand AFTER the clear wax so you have less dust and since I painted inside the house, this was what I was going for...less dust. Then I added Minwax DARK paste wax and wiped off to give it a more aged look. I would have applied another coat of clear wax if it was painted on the top, but since I only painted the sides, I didn't bother. Ta-dah!! The most lovely record player re-do ever!! I may end up stripping the top and staining it darker at some point, but for'll do. :)
You can kinda see the sample paints next to the container.
Product Details
 wax  and a Wooster size 6 stencil brush from amazon for the dark wax.

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