Foodie Friday Fragments…

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems throughout your week and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Add a recipe or something ‘foodie’ from your week. Leave me a link in the comments so I can read your fragments!

I am really starting to dislike the last week of the month! For some reason I am struggling to accomplish my monthly goals. Saying life gets in the way is the truth but it is a poor excuse for not managing my time effectively.

This time last week it was 40 degrees in the Philly suburbs and today it’s 80. What a difference a week can make. It’s actually hot. The weather changed just in time for the NFL Experience and the Football Draft which is happening in the city right now. I’m hearing there are big crowds and they aren’t all nice, a friend wrote that there was a lot of spitting going on. I had the opportunity to witness everything in one of our local TV stations booth but decided I would see and hear so much more watching on TV. Now I’m kind of sad I didn’t go. Hopefully everyone stays safe, enjoys the city and they spend a bit of money while they are here. Most importantly I hope our EAGLES get someone good!

Friend Randi Vladimer (the best Family Law Attorney Ever) invited me to a ‘Sip & Paint’ Party. My Dad was an extremely talented artist. He didn’t purposely intimidate me but I was intimidated by his talent. Because of that I never even did paint by numbers. So this was my first ever attempt at painting and I will definitely keep my day job.😊 It was a lot of fun and quite relaxing so I can’t wait to do it again.

Have you ever tried Painting with A Twist? The location we went to was in Wayne, Pa. I highly recommend it!

April is Autism Awareness Month. I have a grandson with autism secondary to Smith–Lemli–Opitz syndrome. He is such an angel and honestly has been a blessing to our family. My daughter rarely gets a chance to get out so when friend Debra Wallace, who also has an autistic child asked me to attend an Autism Cares Fundraiser I invited my daughter. We had a great time at Mt. Fuji Restaurant in Southampton. I need to spend more time with my adult kids. I miss them!

  Autism Cares Foundation

I’m always nervous eating out because of my severe allergies and the staff at Mt. Fuji could not be more accommodating. It was delicious!

Southern Charm on Bravo is 2- episodes in and the middle-aged teenagers of Charleston, South Carolina have sucked me in again. I was team Thomas but I am not a fan this season. His kids can’t live in his house because they are messy and when his little girl called out to him and he ignored her I wanted to slap him! I am hoping Catherine gets her s*#t together and puts them first.

Have you watched Sweet Home Oklahama? Another show in the Bravo Housewife’s franchise this one seems a bit more realistic, sort of. It’s different. So far every episode has made me laugh out loud and that is a good thing!

Living with Celiac is so awful. I want cupcakes and bread. I was really missing pasta so I gave this gluten/grain free eggplant & spinach lasagna recipe a try. It was amazing!

2- Large Eggplants sliced length wise ¼ inch thick.

2-cups of fresh spinach

1/8 cup of Olive oil

1 large and 1 small can of crushed tomatoes

1 pound grass fed ground beef

16 oz. Ricotta (Make sure it is gluten free. Some low fat brands are not!)

3-Tablespoons crushed garlic

¼ cup of diced onion

1-teaspoon fresh basil

1-teaspoon sea salt

1-teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 eggs

12 ounces of whole mozzarella sliced thin

¼ cup of parmesan cheese


Brush both sides of eggplant with olive oil and bake on cookie sheets for 12 minutes. Flip and continue baking another 12 minutes or until crisp.

Pour the rest of the olive oil in frying pan. When hot add spinach, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Add and brown hamburger.

In large bowl add ricotta, egg and basil. Mix well.

Brush bottom of lasagna pan with olive oil. Cover the bottom of pan with some of the crushed tomato. Add eggplant slices. Layer with the hamburger, the ricotta mixture and any left- over eggplant slices. Cover with the rest of the crushed tomatoes. Sprinkle with the parmesan and then cover the top with the mozzarella slices. Bake for 45-minutes to an hour or until cheese is slightly golden. Let sit for 5-minutes before cutting.


How was your week? What are you watching and eating? How is your weather?

Have a Blessed Weekend,


P.S. I hope you all will take a minute to subscribe to this site up there on the right. I will never share your info and I won’t over send junk to your inbox. Thank You!

The NJSCBWI- New Jersey Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 2017 Conference

I will be presenting 2 workshops on Book Marketing.

PHILADELPHIA WRITERS CONFERENCE: June 9, 10 and 11-Teaching a 3-day workshop on Writing Memoir:




Kindness is Sending a Bowl of Berries…



Those that know me best know that I’ve been preaching kindness pretty much since I started talking. It is a new year and a good time for all of us to do a little soul searching and a lot of kindness generating. The ugliness I have seen over the past six-months has been overwhelming. We all need to take a good long look in the mirror and decide if we like who we see looking back at us. Are we telling little girls who to be or are we showing them by example?

Some psychologists believe that ‘being nice’ isn’t really so nice after all. They believe being nice actually comes from a fear.

Read the rest of this entry »

The link between PTSD and Addiction

I was diagnosed with PTSD 17-years-ago. For the longest time I did a pretty good job of hiding my symptoms but they eventually affected my life negatively on a daily basis, sometimes for days at a time.

The breaking point came for me when I was in line at my bank and one of the guys that was involved with the murder of my brother was 4 people behind me in line.  He eventually ended up directly behind me and I blacked out. I don’t remember screaming at the top of my lungs, the police and paramedics coming and being transported to the hospital.

Through counseling I learned my anxiety, depression and OCD were directly related to past traumas not only the murder of my brother.

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A Xenial Community

During the month of April I am participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. You can find out more about that here:

A-Z 2016 badge


My theme this year is Keep Moving Forward


Definition: Friendly relationship between host and guest

“A xenial community”

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Walk on…

For the month of April I am participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. You can learn more about the challenge here:

A to Z Badge 2016

My theme this year is KEEP MOVING FORWARD

All of us, no matter who we are or where we come from will experience different levels of disappointment and loss at some point in our lives. Whether it is a rejection letter, we didn’t get chosen for a job we wanted, a relationship ended or a close loved one passed away it is painful. The ways in which we deal with our disappointments and losses can be as different as we all are. Each one of us feels some level of grief every single day of our lives. If we cannot find our car keys we become angry, we deny that the keys are lost or that we had anything to do with them being lost, we panic, we bargain with God or the universe or pray to Saint Anthony and finally we accept that we need to stop, clear our heads and accept that we misplaced our keys and we need to find them. When we lose a love one we have all of those same feelings of grief, greatly compounded. Our lives are turned upside down and the world stops. Some of us find it difficult to move on. We struggle to return to ‘normal’ not realizing that we are forever changed and will never return to what was once ‘normal.’ We must find a way to move forward and adapt to a new ‘normal.’ For many of us that is easier said than done. We find ourselves needing a lot of help.

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Its Release Day for The Stranger In My Recliner!

Its release day for The Stranger In My Recliner! I am overwhelmed and filled with gratitude for all of the kind words about Sophie’s story. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!

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Post Concussive Syndrome…

The woman was driving much too fast for a neighborhood.  She ran a stop sign and hit my car’s passenger side.  I felt a very sharp pain in my neck, shoulder, arm and I thought 2 of my fingers were broken.

Stop Sign

She attempted to leave the scene then came back and shouted at me. I called the police. An officer took the report and I went to work. While at work, I had a bit of a panic attack. I was also developing a headache. I left early and went home.

By the time I arrived home, I was a basket case. My head was pounding. My husband told me to go to bed and he brought me tea, toast and Advil.

I slept horribly. I had vivid nightmares. I woke up with the worst headache. I was sick to my stomach the entire day. Convinced it was my nerves, I took it easy and rested.

The next day I called my husband at work and told him my shoulder, arm and fingers were hurting. He made an appointment for me to see an orthopedic doctor that afternoon. He prescribed the usual muscle relaxers; steroids and pain medication. He thought I had a neck and shoulder sprain and suggested physical therapy.



I headed out to my daughter’s house. I drove 45 minutes past her exit. I stopped the car got out, was sick and got back in the car and drove to my daughter’s house and acted like nothing happened.

Something was amiss because the {real} me would have immediately known I had a concussion.

I would have been familiar with the symptoms because I suffered several concussions as an adult and most likely a few as a child.

Two-and-a-half-months later I was finally diagnosed with post-concussive syndrome.  There is no specific treatment for this syndrome.  Instead your doctor treats the individual symptoms. The types of symptoms and their frequency are unique to each person.

Concussion 2

I thought this was an important post to write because people die from concussions, or as they are sometimes called, closed head injuries.

The worst symptom I was experiencing was dizziness.  It was head spinning, vomiting inducing dizziness.  I was sent to a balance center. Balance therapy actually makes you dizzy supposedly so your balance system will re-learn how to balance you. This was awful. I went twice a week and was so sick in between I was useless.  I was also sent for MRI’s and hearing tests. There was evidence of bleeding that healed and I suffered significant hearing loss in my left ear.


Headaches that occur after a concussion can vary and may feel like tension type headaches, cluster headaches or migraines.  Most are however, tension type, which is most likely due to a neck injury suffered at the same time as the head injury.  In some cases, people experience behavior or emotional changes after a mild traumatic brain injury.  Family members are usually the first to notice that the person has become a bit more irritable, suspicious, argumentative or stubborn. {Insert fast food and police rage here}.

Concussion 3

Memory, cognitive and thinking problems may also appear.  No medications are currently suggested or recommended for these symptoms.  Brief focused therapy on how to use a pocket calendar, an electronic organizer or other techniques to work around memory deficits are often helpful.  I suppose this would be helpful if you could remember where you put them.  I had no idea how forgetful I was.  My husband was becoming more and more frustrated with my ‘forgetfulness’.

Depression and anxiety are also symptoms.  It was suggested I see a psychologist who had experience working with people with brain injury.  In my case because of a history of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and severe OCD issues anti anxiety and anti depressive medication was prescribed.

Some experts believe post-concussive symptoms are caused by structural damage to the brain or disruption of neuro-transmitter systems, resulting from the impact that caused the injury.

My symptoms were being treated and I was finally starting to feel more like myself.

I had a lot of catching up to do….and then out of nowhere, I was curled up with gut wrenching pain.  My gall bladder needed to come out.  Six days in the hospital, different medications and I was dizzy and sick again.  I was devastated.

I started to pass out.  I ran back to the neurologist.  Medications were adjusted and I returned to therapy.  The crazy thing is I am aware of my memory loss.  I go nowhere without my calendar and a notebook.

Did you know that a 15-mile an hour accident generates 10 G’s of force on the head—a fighter pilot can start to lose consciousness at 6 G’s.

How many times do we hear our children really smack their heads, we are so scared, and the doctor says it is only a mild concussion? If you take anything away from this post, let it be that there is no such thing as a mild concussion and if another is suffered, it is worse and so on.

I cannot help but wonder if forms of ADD and autism can be caused by head or neck injuries during birth or just from playing as a small child.

Please put those helmets on your kiddo’s and if you have that ut-oh something is not right do not stop until you are satisfied with the diagnosis.

bike helmet

With all of the changes happening in health care it is so important that we all become vigilant and well informed when it comes to our health.


Stay healthy,


Scary Medication Side Effects…

A few months ago I came home from work to find my husband acting strangely. He had been having trouble sleeping and now he was full of anxiety and speaking loudly and fast but making no sense.

The scariest part was he had no idea anything was wrong.

I knew right away to check his medication. Just a month before he had the same reaction to a generic version of a medication he takes to help him sleep. At that time we thought his doctor had solved the problem by calling the pharmacy and instructing them not to substitute this medication with another.

Pills 2


As I spilled the pills into my hand that night and saw they were the wrong ones I was furious.

We spent hours in the ER that night.

BloodPressure pic

His doctor now calls the prescription refills in personally and for now that is working.

If we had not read the information that came with the medication we never would have known the symptoms my husband was experiencing were actually side affects to the medication.

It is so important to ask your doctor about possible side effects at the time he prescribes a medication and also a good idea to ask your pharmacist as well.

The slightest change from one manufacturer to another, such as a dye or a time release ingredient can trigger a reaction. If your pills look different don’t hesitate to ask your pharmacist.


*This post is a joint effort with the American Recall Center for World Health Month and to spread awareness about medication safety. For more information visit:

The American Recall Center:

Have you ever had a reaction to a medication?

Thank you for reading,




Zofran and Zuplenz Side Effects

Patients who are hypersensitive to selective 5-HT3 receptor antagonists have experienced hypersensitivity reactions to Zofran and Zuplenz, including anaphylaxis.

Other reported adverse effects of these drugs have manifested in the form of electrocardiographic (ECG) changes (including QT interval prolongation) and cases of Torsade de Pointes. The Zofran and Zuplenz labels also carry warnings regarding serotonin syndrome, a potential side effect of having an excess of serotonin in the body.

Scientific studies indicate there is also a risk that Zofran may cause congenital birth defects.

In one study, researchers noted there had been reports of transplacental transfer of Zofran during the first trimester of human pregnancies.

A 2012 study that examined data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study found more than a doubling of risk of cleft palate among babies whose mothers took ondansetron during the first trimester of pregnancy.

A 2014 study by Danielsson et al. determined that the risks of certain heart defects in newborns whose mothers took Zofran during early pregnancy were “increased and statistically significant.” Some of the most frequently encountered of these congenital malformations due to Zofran exposure were ventricular and atrial septal defects.

Pills Zofran 2

For more information on Zofran:



Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments post and link back to our host Mrs. 4444 at Half-Past Kissin’ Time.

Friday Fragments Summer logo

It’s not too late to join in on the fun and we would love to have you!

Finally! The weather is a perfect 72 degrees, this morning. It feels like spring.

My granddaughter, Adriana Jean is 6-years-old today. She has brought so much joy and fun into our family. Six is so grown-up but she will always be the baby in her family. Her big brother Dominic will be 13 in two-weeks and her sister Allyson will be 20 in September. OMGoodness I am going to have a 20-year-old granddaughter, yikes!

Adriana Lost tooth

She lost her first baby tooth and was thrilled to find dollars under her pillow. I like her tooth fairy. Mine left a nickel and a pack of Trident.

I finally received the mock-up of the book cover for The Stranger in My Recliner. It is growing on me. Now I am anxiously waiting on the release date. I cannot wait to share Sophie’s story with everyone. What do you think of the cover?

Sophie Book Cover

What is going on in Texas? I have been praying for my friends and relatives who are dealing with flooding and no power and it is still raining. My uncle who lives in Texas had a 20-pound-racoon fall through his roof at 4:00 this morning. I hope his week gets better, he needs some sun.

Two weeks from today is finally the start of the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. I haven’t attended for a few years now so I am really looking forward to listening and learning but most importantly I am looking forward to hanging out with some of my favorite writers. So excited!

And one week after that is finally our annual family beach vacation.

Of course I am hoping, finally for some kind of good news from the surgeon I am seeing on Tuesday about my pelvic congestion. I am praying for a non-invasive fix. I don’t want to miss the conference or the beach. Please think good thoughts for me.

TV has been pretty boring this week. I have new guilty pleasures. Married-The First Year-ended last week and one of the couples said they won’t be backL. ‘Arranged’ is a strange one but I am fascinated by the craziness and Married at First Sight has me hooked too. I am really rooting for these couples. These two are ending next week but Sunday is finally the season premiere of Halt and Catch Fire. This show kind of picks up where, Mad Men left off. It took a couple of episodes to get hooked but I love it now.

Halt and Catch Fire 1

I am finally, back to working on book #3, The Father’s Pain. This one may be my last nonfiction for awhile. I am looking forward to making some stuff upJ

This weekend will finally be quiet for us.  We need to rest-up. What are you up to?

Have a blessed weekend,


Quote live each day the best

Six frightening yet common medical conditions middle age women don’t tell women approaching middle age about…

I cannot believe no one ever told me about these until a few of them happened to me and I asked.

Uterine, bladder, intestine or bowel prolapse– Apparantly a very common condition but if you have no idea what is happening it is terrifying. A prolapsed happens when the uterus, bladder, intestine or bowel has moved from its normal position in the abdominal cavity into a different position, usually a lower position. Prolapse may occur because of underlying weak muscles or simply as a result of repeated term pregnancies. It can cause pelvic pain. A prolapsed uterus can be treated by inserting a stabilizing device into the vagina called a pessary. Sometimes surgery is required.

Prolapsed uterus

Reflux– Another extremely common condition that I have heard of but had no idea it could cause a sore throat actually feeling like you are gargling with glass. The return of stomach contents can back up into the esophagus. This frequently causes heartburn because of irritation of the esophagus by stomach acid. 80% of patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease also have a hiatal hernia.

Reflux photo

Migraine, insomnia, night sweats– We have all heard about hot flashes occurring with menopause but did you know that the drop in hormones can cause severe migraines, chronic insomnia or waking up completely soaking wet and needing to change the sheets as well as your pj’s.

Bladder Incontinence– We are seeing commercials for this problem but when it actually happens to you it is frightening and embarrassing. Urinary incontinence — the loss of bladder control — is a common and often embarrassing problem. The severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that’s so sudden and strong you don’t get to a toilet in time.

Intestinal blockage– This condition can be extremely dangerous. Intestinal obstruction is a partial or complete blockage of the bowel. The contents of the intestine cannot pass through it. There are numerous causes of this type of obstruction. Some are simple to treat and others, require major surgery.

Pelvic Congestion cramp photo

Pelvic Congestion– One third of all women have this painful condition.  Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is similar to varicose veins in the legs. In both cases, the valves in the veins that help return blood to the heart malfunction and don’t close properly allowing blood to flow backwards and pool in the veins causing bulging veins, pressure, pain and discomfort. In the pelvis, varicose veins can cause pain and may affect the uterus, ovaries and vulva.

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

Shortly after New Year’s I woke up in the middle of the night with one of those leg cramps that goes all the way down to your toes. My toes were actually stuck and no matter what I did it hurt. It happened the next night and the night after that. I Googled leg cramps. The ‘simplest’ reason for cramping was dehydration, so I drank water. The leg cramps stopped but I started being woken up during the night with painful heartburn. The cramps came back and I developed a bulge in my pelvis, heaviness in my legs and several other unpleasant symptoms the worst of which was pain.  It is a non-stop throbbing ache. Four doctors, numerous tests and three days in the hospital left me with no diagnosis. The first five conditions above were ruled out. Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is difficult to diagnose and sadly some women suffer for years before it is detected. There is non- invasive treatment available but some cases require a hysterectomy. I am hoping the non-invasive treatment works for me.

Symptoms of Pelvic Congestion

Chronic pain that is dull and aching usually felt in the lower abdomen and lower back. The pain often increases during the following times:

  • Following intercourse
  • When tired or when standing (worse at end of day)
  • Other symptoms include Leg cramps
  • Irritable bladder
  • Irittable bowel
  • nausea
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Varicose veins on vulva, buttocks or thigh.

Thank you for reading,


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