Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Accomplished Goals and BIG Thank yous for my Jimmy Fund Walk fundraiser partners!

I participated in an Ambassador Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

At the beginning of July I posted a big announcement on the blog - I am participating as a virtual walker for the Jimmy Fund Walk, a cancer research fundraiser for the Jimmy Fund Clinic and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA. I was chosen as a blogger ambassador for the event and I had a big personal story to share about why I wanted to participate too. 

My dad battled GIST (gastro-intestinal stromal tumor) for 9 years. He received a big part of his treatment from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and I visited the clinic with him while I was in high school. I met with his oncologists, surgeon and the care specialists that he had come to know very well. He traveled from Seattle to Boston 3 times during an 8 week period for over 2 years to receive care.

The Jimmy Fund Walk has raised over $100 million in support of the mission to help find cures for cancer in children and adults. Both the Jimmy Fund Clinic and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are leaders in their field for research; and I couldn't think of a better place to send my support to. You see, my dad owed huge thanks to cancer research and clinical trials for prolonging his life in his fight against cancer. He took a risk and joined clinical trials when traditional care was no longer an option. His participation in clinical trials led to FDA approval of the cancer fighting drug, GLEEVEC.

Today I'm proud to announce that through The Pierogie Mama, I have raised $541 in support of cancer research! My initial goal was to raise $500 and that was quickly reached by the help of friends and several very awesome Pierogie Mama sponsors! Today I'd love to highlight those sponsors so that you can be sure to check them out too!

Over the last month I've shared three very special stories with you on why supporting cancer research is important. If you've missed out, here's a recap:

Candice shares her story on A 911 call receiver's reason to support cancer research. Candice is also the owner of Comfort Chickens Homestead, where she pours her own All-American Soy candles that are inspired by the simple and heartwarming smells of home. Her candles are by far my favorite because they smell true and her commitment to using non-gmo soy and the highest quality materials possible. 

Theresa was the glue, an anchor and the matriarch to Sheila's family. The memory and of her beloved grandmother is why Sheila wrote about the importance of cancer research, because she doesn't want anyone else's family to be robbed of their loved ones by cancer either. Sheila and her husband are the owners of the new Just Between Friends Marysville/ Mt. Vernon children's consignment event. I am excited to share about this event in the coming weeks! 

As a health care professional, Eunice has seen many practical applications for seeking alternative medicines to help with the side effects of traditional cancer treatments. When her father-in-law, Diony, was diagnosed with a very serious and aggressive prognosis of liver cancer, he was encouraged to research the benefits of Chinese herbal medicine and naturopathic treatments. "The simple act of helping him feel better emotionally and physically through these treatments gave him the hope and strength to continue on," and through these additional treatments he survived an additional two and a half years. Eunice is the owner of Just Between Friends Everett/Monroe, a longtime partner of The Pierogie Mama and you'll find more info on her upcoming fall sale in a few days.

Three of the Just Between Friends Sales in my local area committed to partnering with me in my goal to fund raise for this special event. Just Between Friends is a nation wide consignment event for children and maternity and I have shopped at each of these events for the last three years! I can't even begin to tell you how much money I have saved on my children's clothes and toys. In the last year I've also started to consign our unused items and I have made over $1,000 in CASH. There is literally no easier way to make money back on your children's items and to save on the new sizes each season. I encourage you to check out Just Between Friends of Everett/Monroe, Just Between Friends of Lynnwood and the BRAND NEW Just Between Friends of Marysville/Mount Vernon!

Create with Coco
Based in Bellingham, Washington, Create with Coco offers handmade designs to accessorize your home and lifestyle. All pieces are original designs, and many are one-of-a kind works featuring vintage accents or precious stones. Each piece is lovingly handmade by owner and designer, Courtney, "Coco", who blends colors and textures to achieve a unique modern bohemian aesthetic. Courtney wanted to honor the memory of her grandfather, Eldon, who battled esophagael cancer and taught her the strength and honesty throughout his fight.  Follow Create with Coco to keep up with her adventures and beautiful pieces!

Grow With Me Boutique, Monroe WA: My favorite local mama and baby boutique and consignment store has partnered with The Pierogie Mama again! We've worked together in spreading the word on cloth diapers and helping set a World Record in this past year and I've been blessed to get to work intimately with Janae's awesome business. In addition to finding some of the most darling children's outfits (my favorite has been the very dapper suspender and bowtie set that I got for my nephew), I love that I'm able to get awesome mama styles for very fair prices. If you're in Snohomish County, check out my upcoming Cloth Diaper Basics + Fluffy Meet Up at Grow With Me Boutique in Monroe, WA!

Finally, a very special thank you to the friends and family who have also contributed to this very important fund. I've been touched by the stories that everyone has shared with me about their loved ones who are battling or have battled cancer.

 You can help me reach my goal by donating on my personal fundraising page and if you have a story like mine, you can sign up to walk too! Virtual walkers are free, but if you are in the Boston area and want to physically walk on September 27 - use the discount code BLOG to get $5 off your registration.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Why Is Supporting Cancer Research Important to Me? Eunice's Story

At the start of July I made the commitment to raise $500 to benefit cancer research through the Jimmy Fund Walk and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In less than 5 weeks I had exceeded my goal and am now on the way to raise an additional $250 (bringing the total goal up to $750)! Fundraising for Jimmy Fund Walk has been a personal journey as my own dad was treated for cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and I'm honored when a few of my friends stepped up to share their story on why supporting cancer research is important to them. Today I am honored to welcome Eunice as she shares about her relationship with her father-in-law and the alternative treatments that he explored, just like my dad did. Eunice is the owner of Just Between Friends of Everett/Monroe, a local consignment event for kids and maternity - keep an eye out in the coming weeks for an announcement for their upcoming fall sale! We are still looking for donations to reach our new and improved goal - 
please consider pledging $5 or more! Donate here

My life was touched by cancer through my father-in-law, Diony V. Corsilles. I was fortunate enough to know him fairly early in my life - when I was 18 years old when my husband and I were freshman in college and just started dating. He was a very compassionate man who had spent his life advocating for the rights of others through his work for the state and I was immediately embraced by him. He eventually became a father to me as well as our relationship grew.

My father-in-law was initially diagnosed with liver cancer while my husband was studying to become a Naturopathic Physician at Bastyr University. Although he had surgery to remove the cancerous portions of his liver, the cancer returned shortly after and then spread throughout his body. His Oncologist gave him only a 2-3 months prognosis with no real treatment options except for pain medications to help with his comfort as the cancer progressed. During his studies, my husband learned about the benefits of natural medicine and encouraged my father-in-law to apply these treatment options to his treatment plan.

My father-in-law sought additional care from a Chinese Medicine Doctor and a Naturopathic Physician. He drank soups made from Chinese herbs, freshly juiced organic fruits and vegetables daily to support his liver and immune system, and took supplements which slowed his cancer progression and relieved his pain from it. The simple act of helping him feel better emotionally and physically through these treatments gave him the hope and strength to continue on. Because of these "non-traditional" forms of treatment, his life was extended for another two and a half years compared to the 2-3 month prognosis he was originally given. This allowed our family the much valued time to spend with him before his passing almost exactly 14 years ago (August 21, 2001) and helped us all find closure.

In addition to my work with families through Just Between Friends of Everett/Monroe, I work in the healthcare industry as a Physical Therapist and have worked with many cancer patients to regain their strength to return home after receiving treatment in the hospital. The traditional cancer treatments of radiation and chemotherapy are so hard on patients and many suffer more from the side effects of the treatments than from the actual cancer. I can see a practical application of natural/holistic cancer care for patients and the need for more research in this area. Many of my patients have shared their stories with me over the years and I feel it's important for me to continue to share these inspiring stories to bring hope and healing to others as well as support cancer research to prevent other families from having to go through this unfortunate process. There is so much fear around the topic of cancer and the more we can share and learn, the less fearful and uncertain this disease will be.

A couple times a year you'll find Eunice heading up my favorite shopping events - Just Between Friends! With event locations in both Everett and my town of Monroe, you can shop for everything under the sun for birth through teens and maternity for mama. The Pierogie Mama + JBF Everett/Monroe are like peanut butter and jelly, so keep an eye out in a couple weeks for a pre-sale passes and JBF bucks giveaway! In the meantime, get to know Eunice a bit better by reading my 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Preparing your home for BTS with Walmart

Many thanks to Kimberly Clark for sponsoring today's story! 
Check out all of the great Back to School deals you can find at Walmart!

August is half way done and the back to school buzz is already in over drive. Many of Penny's friends are starting their first year of preschool and while we opted to wait a year, the excitement is in full force. It's what all the moms are talking about!

Even though we won't be headed to class in September, we are preparing our home for that fresh season of BTS. We will still be seeing our friends at home or at play dates, so why not take advantage of the great home, office and craft deals at Walmart?!

So a couple things that we made sure to pick up:
Kleenex: Any teacher will tell you that back to school time means the yucks are going to be passed around quickly and mercilessly. I like to keep a few extra boxes (with a friendly sanitizer bottle right next to it) tucked in the bathroom, on a end table and in the bedrooms just in case when company comes.

After school snacks: anything ranging from the nostalgic fresh apples with peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies, ants on a log, string cheese to the very versatile tortilla roll ups with your choice of hummus, PBJ, just J or salami and cheese.

Prep-ahead meals: I know, but you're so busy with Back To School shopping, so how can you possibly think to actually prep ahead your meals? For starters, it's awesome that Walmart is one-stop-shop for ALL the BTS necessities, so you'll be saving loads of time right there. Later, when you're planning ahead on meals for the week, double the recipe and immediately prep one portion to go into the freezer. There, see? You've already saved even more time.

Toilet paper: Yup, it's a necessity. So just stock up on Scott Extra Soft Double Bath Tissue and take advantage of double Box Tops for Education. That's what I got!

Crafts: I tried to think ahead for all the crafts and coloring that we'd be doing this year so I picked up a ton of Crayola products, Dry Erase, Frozen note books and water coloring trays.

Bonus: Walmart has tons of products that include Box Tops for Education coupons (some are even double points!), which helps give back to our local schools. It makes sense to start supporting them early, since Penny will be in school next year.

That's how I prepped for Back To School like a boss...even though we won't actually be going back to school!

What are your must-have Back To School essentials?

Making your zoo visit count

Help me thank a new blog sponsor by clicking here 
and see how easy back to school shopping will be!

Today I'm welcoming Megan, my long time friend and my personal go-to when it comes to questions about conversationalism and ocean animals! One of my favorite things to see on my facebook feed was when Megan was working with a stranding group and she'd share about what she's working on...mostly with processing stranded whales or seals, but there's always a ton to be learned about what these animals leave behind. What I'm saying is - for the last several years I've been bouncing around in my head about how I can turn fun zoo and aquarium trips into educational experiences for myself and the kids; rather than a sideline show where they ooh and ahh at an animal and quickly move on to the next, not really comprehending that this animal that they saw was actually very special and rare. I talked to Megan about this and she was gracious enough to write up a post about it and share her thoughts as a professional in the field! 

Zoos and aquariums are a catch-22 for me. On the one hand, they provide the general public access to animals they would otherwise probably never encounter and can serve as an educational tool for conservation efforts of their wild counterparts. They can also be a last resort to prevent a species from going entirely extinct due to habitat destruction, poaching, climate change, etc. But how many times have you been to the zoo and actually taken the time to read and learn about the animals there or attend one of the zookeeper talks? I know there are people out there who do because I am one of those people but too often I see people simply wandering around from exhibit to exhibit, glancing at the animals but not really putting in the effort to learn or engage their children to learn. This is where part of my issue with them lies. Admittedly, it is not really an issue with the zoos themselves but with the people visiting; however I also feel it falls on zoo staff/volunteers to create engaging learning environments so that more people will want to learn. Here are some of my tips for making your trip to the zoo fun, educational and an act of conservationalism:

  • Stop and read the postings at each exhibit to learn about the animals and their natural habitats.
  • Take the time to attend talks by zookeepers and don’t be embarrassed to ask questions!
  • If you are a frequent zoo-goer, have each visit focus on a certain area and spend time before and after your trip learning about each area and its wild inhabitants. 

My other issue with captivity is just that—captivity. While most captive animals these days were born that way and would therefore not survive in the wild, I can’t help but feel that they deserve bigger and more natural habitats, much like what a sanctuary provides. Besides, isn’t the point of checking out a polar bear at the zoo to see how it would naturally behave in the Arctic, something most of us will never get to experience? I’m all for going to zoos/aquariums (in fact, I LOVE going!) but I would encourage everyone to slow down, take your time and turn something fun for the kids into a learning experience for all. 

How do you turn a zoo or aquarium visit 
into an educational experience for yourself or your kids?
Check out The Pierogie Mama's zoo bucket list!

A little about Megan: I'm currently a stay at home mama to an almost 9-month old little man named Declan. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in marine biology at Hawaii Pacific University, where I focused on marine mammalogy. After graduating and moving back to Washington, I worked for a marine mammal research organization, doing photo identification work and stranding response. I currently live in central North Carolina but hope to make it back to the coast so I can work in my field again. You may remember me from my Shark Week posts on The Pierogie Mama's facebook page

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why Supporting Cancer Research is Important to Me? Candice's Story

Over the last month I've been a journey to raise $500 before September 27th to benefit cancer research through the Jimmy Fund Walk and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Last week I was honored to announce that I had exceeded my goal of fundraising $500 and am now on the way to raise an additional $250 (bringing the total goal up to $750)! Today I am honored to welcome Candice as she shares why supporting cancer research is important to her. She is one of the most sincere women than I know and is a fellow chicken mama like I am! In fact, I'd call her my chicken godmother because she taught me so much about backyard chickens. She is also the owner of Comfort Chickens Homestead, where you can find handmade American soy candles that are the best smelling candles I have ever had! Candice and Comfort Chickens Homestead has partnered with my goal and today we are sharing her story about why supporting cancer research is important to her. 
We are still looking for donations to reach our new and improved goal -
please consider pledging $5 or more! 
Donate here


"Yes, I have an emergency!"

Many people don't know this, but I work as a 911 call receiver. On any given day, I take calls from a multitude of people that never expected to have to call for emergency help. They were just going about their day, when suddenly unexpected tragedy strikes.

In the same way, many people don't expect to be relying on cancer research. They never planned to get cancer, and yet they do, and it turns their whole world upside down. When this happens, having people working on finding a cure is the best emergency help they could receive.

I am constantly amazed at how many people cancer affects. It knows no bias or limitation, it holds no prejudice. Man, woman, or child, it does not matter. A couple I went to high school with have a four year old daughter who is currently battling stage 4 neuroblastoma. At four years old she should be having fun, playing with her siblings, and living care free. Instead, she is battling the disease that wants to take her life. This is her reality.

Reality also has another side to it. The reality is there are great people out there working intensely to find a cure for cancer. They are working non-stop to put an end to this horrible disease, and to give people their lives back. But they can't do it without our help. Cancer research requires funding, and that's where you and I come in. While we may not have the knowhow for lab research, we can certainly support them by funding their important work. No amount is too small, and every bit makes a difference.

When people call 911 with a medical emergency, we have to ask about their medical problems and history. It shocks me how many people say cancer. This disease takes root in whoever it can, and no one is off limits. Before I was a 911 call receiver, I worked as a fire safety service technician servicing fire extinguishers and hood systems. One of the ladies in our office was diagnosed with cancer, and within a few months had been taken from us by it. It happened so quickly it almost didn't seem real. But it was.

What also is real is that with funding, researchers are able to continue finding cures and treatments for cancer. They are able to help so many that come to them in desperate need of help. Their work helps families be able to keep their loved ones, friends keep their friends, and the list goes on. With our help, they can continue their valuable work and put an end to cancer. We can fight this together, and win big together. The point is, we are in this together. Lets support one another and make cancer a thing of the past, TOGETHER!

A little about Candice: Inspired by God, country lifestyle, and chickens, I set to work in 2013 hand crafting my own candles.  After much testing, I finally found the perfect combination of wax, fragrance oils, and wicks! From there Comfort Chickens Homestead was born. And the rest is history! All Comfort Chickens Homestead candles are made from 100% soy wax, which  is a renewable resource and burns much cleaner. The soy wax used in CCH candles is made in the USA with crops grown from our very own farmers, is made with pure soybean oil (100% vegetable), is natural and biodegradable, and is GMO free!


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