About My Absence, My Grandma and Her Medical Campaign

A few months ago we found out my Grandmother was dying of colon cancer. We had this terrible week where her heart rate was just 40bpm and a decision had to be made about whether to risk her life putting her under for surgery to stop internal bleeding. When the choice was brought to her she smiled at my sister, who was so scared, and said, “If I do the surgery then I’ll get to sweep my floors and garden my flowers.” That’s all she ever worried about.


I can’t tell you how afraid we all were about whether she would wake up, but she did. She may be old, but she is so strong and stubborn. After all was said and done, she had to have multiple organs removed and since she’s so far in her age and the cancer is already in early stage 4, she opted out of radiation and chemotherapy. There was nothing else they could do and she was sent home. Since then she has had to be taken back to the ER 3 times.

It’s hard taking care of someone in their later years of life, let alone someone suffering from cancer. My grandmother’s only wish in life is to die in her home with the knowledge that her home will stay in our family for generations. It is everything to her and we are trying so hard to honor this while also making sure she is properly taken care of. We keep getting stuck in this corner with the fact that if we receive help we risk losing the house and if we don’t get help then her health will falter. So I had started a campaign to help raise funds to offset the overage costs. 


Her life and her home are tied together. 

You see, my grandma grew up during the depression and married young as most people did then, they purchased the house shortly after my father was born. My grandfather served in the Navy during WW2 and watched as his entire ship went down. For years he had suffered extreme PTSD and depression; one day he went out hunting and he never came back. As suicide was extremely taboo then, whatever life insurance and widow’s assistance she would have received was forfeit. She was left to raise 5 children on her own with very little. 

Despite this, my grandmother went to work and she never complained and she never remarried. Even though they had barely anything, she gave all she had to her children and her church. She had even crossed racial barriers before segregation ended in 1964 by befriending and helping families in her community despite their race. Her children grew up and she took in her grandchildren, then her great grandchildren and along the way she cared for hundreds of children and families that came to her. She never turned anyone away and she never asked for anything in return. Her whole life was devoted to the people she loved. Throughout time her home became a monument of her life and all the lives that passed through the door.

This is why it is so important to hold on to. It is why it is so important to keep her door open.

She’s never had anything extra in her whole life. She didn’t even have cable until a few years ago and still watched movies on old VHS recorded tapes from television circa 1970s. Everything in her home is as it has been since the beginning because she never needed anything before. She was just content on sweeping her floors and gardening her flowers.

If you find it in your heart to donate, I appreciate it with all my heart. I really do. For everyone reading this, I just ask for your understanding that this is a rough time right now for my family and I’m a little behind. However, I am trying my best to find a balance with everything and I will get there.

Thank you,

Manda Signature

Kazaz! is the Exciting New App Featuring Interactive Stories

~I was compensated for this post. Opinions and stories are my own.~

I will admit that I let my girls play on their ipads for car trips. For this reason I am always looking for apps that will entertain them while also teaching them a thing or two. Kazaz! is the exciting new app featuring a world of interactive, animated original stories that will challenge and ignite a child’s curiosity. It is most ideal for children ages 3 to 8, which is perfect for my 3 and 6 year olds. The digital stories combine sight, sound and touch to help maximize even the youngest child’s learning experience. With Kazaz!, kids don’t just read a story, they get to experience it!

Kazaz! Entry Screen after downloading it (72)(1)

Kazaz! is a magical planet made up of islands, each with its own distinct characteristics, artistic style, and ambiance. Some islands are enchanted, some are not, and some are a mix of both. Each island has a set of unique characters that will be featured in five to ten stories.

Kazaz! on the App Store from Kazaz! on Vimeo

The Kazaz! app is free to download for iPad and currently has 3 stories:

  • The Magic of Kazaz: Reveals the history of how Kazaz! became a magical planet. This story will always be free.
  • I Am the Music Man: Sing along with the Music Man in this hand-clapping, toe-tapping rendition of a classic children’s melody for $1.99.
  • The Story of Wooding: The tale of an adventurous young swan who sets off on an exciting journey for $2.99.


Kazaz! offers the ability to create up to three audience profiles so that more than one child in a family can have tailored experiences and individual progress can be tracked. This is a feature my mom of two girls can really be thankful for! No arguing about one or the other playing on their profile.


Discoverable gems are learning components that are embedded on each illustrated page of stories, waiting to be found by the audience. Tap the gems and get ready to learn fun facts!

Travelogue page of See-More Island

Both my girls enjoy playing on this app and they can do it by themselves. Of course my older daughter has an easier time and with my younger one I am usually playing on the app next to her while she plays. This app gets plenty of squeals of delight. 

Travelogue page of I Am the Music Man-Purchase (72)

Kazaz! will take advantage of Apple TV, so in the future the app can be enjoyed on the big screen, where the experience may be amplified with additional sights and sounds. Also coming soon, video versions of the stories will appear on the Kazaz! Kids YouTube Channel. Children can experience imaginative play with real-life 3D figures based on Kazaz! characters. Families can order print-on-demand collectibles through the Kazaz! Kids web site for an additional fee. Later this fall, families will be able to print a free gift, along with other items at home using their own 3D printers. Very technologically advanced of them to offer off these options in the future and that makes me even more excited for it.

Their monthly newspaper (not newsletter), KazazPost.com, will feature behind-the-scenes insights about our productions, human interest stories about our team members, as well as news about what is coming up in the world of Kazaz! They are constantly updating and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Connect: You can connect with Kazaz Kids on their website, Facebook and/or Twitter.


Happy Family Milk & Cookie Happy Hour

~I received Happy Family samples for the purpose of reviewing. Opinions and stories are my own.~

My girls love snacks so a Milk & Cookie Happy Hour for my girls and their friends was just perfect for an afternoon get together. This kid-friendly happy hour was to celebrate Happy Family’s NEW Happy Tot Grow & Shine Organic Toddler Milk, a nutrient-rich milk developed specifically for children 12 to 24 months. October is National Cookie Month so there was no better time to celebrate!

Launched on Mother’s Day 2006, Happy Family is an organic brand that offers a line of nutritious foods for babies, toddlers and kids with a focus on what makes their bodies grow. They are constantly innovating and creating new and tasty products which is why the release of their new Organic Toddler Milk is so fitting for their product line.

happy family

You may be interested to learn that the Toddler Milk has the following benefits:

  • Offers more DHA, ARA and choline than the leading toddler milk
  • Provides essential nutrients that regular cow’s milk does not, such as DHA and choline
  • DHA, ARA and choline to support brain and eye health
  • Calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D to support bone growth
  • Antioxidants, vitamins C & E, for immune system support

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The Happy Tot Toddler Cookies were an extremely big hit with all the children there…even the older ones. Especially the chocolate pumpkin flavor which was the clear winner. These cookies are puppy-shaped, gluten-free and made with whole grains! There were definitely no leftovers!


 A toddler’s brain triples in size from birth to age 2. During that first year a child’s brain can grow up to 1.7 grams a day. With that much growing it is definitely important that they get all the right vitamins and minerals so that it grows to its potential. That means eating all the right foods.

Happy Family is a company that believes that every baby deserves to be a happy baby. Since its launch, the company has underwritten more than 1 million meals through Project Peanut Butter, a nonprofit that helps to feed starving children in Africa. They also work with FEED in this fight against hunger and malnutrition all over the world by donating a portion of our profits to them. You can read more about how they give back on their website. We eat a lot from their product line even as my children are getting older. I always keep some stashed in the diaper bag and the car for when the girls need a quick and healthy snack. I have even been known to sneak a snack or  two myself.

Connect: You can connect with Happy Family on their website, Facebook and/or Twitter.


Change a Child’s Life For the Better by Shopping the World Vision Gift Catalog + Giveaway {US}

~I received a World Vision sample for the purpose of reviewing. Opinions and stories are my own.~

With the holiday season fast approaching that means for a lot of us we will be doing tons of holiday shopping for several different friends and family members. During this holiday season each year I like to teach my daughters the importance of giving and helping others through things like donations and charity events. Teaching them to have a caring heart is something that I find important. One way you can help fight poverty is by shopping the life-saving gifts from the 2014 World Vision Gift Catalog. With more than 250 items, ranging in price from $10 to $39,000, both online and in the print catalog you can help improve quality of life for women, children and families in the U.S. and around the world.

The Catalog gives shoppers over 100 ways to improve the lives of children through gifts like clean water, food, medicine, education, job training and small business loans. When you make a donation to help where it is needed most you can receive handcrafted gifts that are perfect for holiday baking or entertaining.

world vision

With your gift of $65 or more to where most needed – which provides for the unique needs of children and families worldwide – you will receive this beautiful set of two hand-carved olivewood serving spoons delivered in a gift bag of African fabric hand-sewn by local women. The serving spoons are made to benefit orphans of the Kamba tribe in Kenya. Each one is unique – just like the children they help. 

Now every time I use these spoons I will remember the meaning behind them and they are a great conversation pieces when I am entertaining with friends.

It is so easy to purchase one of these meaningful gifts.

  1. Choose a gift to donate in someone’s honor (such as a goat or chickens)
  2. Personalize your free card
  3. Enjoy the satisfaction of giving a life-changing gift

Since it began in 1996, the World Vision Gift Catalog has grown in popularity as a gift-giving alternative; more than 844,000 people helped someone through the Catalog in the last fiscal year alone. To order from World Vision’s Gift Catalog, visit www.worldvisiongifts.org or call 855-WV-GIFTS. World Vision provides assistance to people in nearly 100 countries. The Gift Catalog is one of many programs designed to help eradicate poverty and provide hope around the world. Get the kids together and make purchasing something from the catalog a part of an annual tradition. Teaching philanthropy to the next generation can be fun!

Connect: You can connect with World Vision on their website, Facebook and/or Twitter.

Giveaway: How would you like to win a set of these same serving spoons? Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!

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