Deck the Halls With Pasta and Gift Cards!

This post is sponsored by Piada. Naturally, all opinions, bad jokes, puns, and overly-used exclamation points (!!!) are my own.

It’s the moooost wonderful time, of the yeeeeeaaaar! (I really hope you SANG that with me as you read it. If not, please go back and DO IT AGAIN! I’ll wait…good job. Much better.)

Anyhoo. As I was saying, unless you live under a rock, you know that the Christmas season is upon us. More like ALL UP IN OUR FACES. Whew! I am feeling the holiday hustle & bustle already. Tonight is Sophie’s elementary Christmas program and although it’s usually lovely, it’s one of the most difficult nights of our year, getting everyone there and ready on time. Whew. I wish I could pay someone to do it for me and just show up and enjoy the program. (Mom of the year!!) But anyway, I am digressing AGAIN.

One of the most important parts of the holiday season for our family is giving back. We always try to involve our kiddos in the giving to show them how much better it is to give than receive, and that it is important that those who have help care for those who don’t. This year we’ve already participated in two big service events, and now we’re doing something a little different, too—participating in a gift card drive to benefit Dayton Children’s Hospital with Piada Italian Street Food.

piada

Have you ever tried Piada? When I saw one open I was a little afraid I would not be able to eat there because of my food allergies, BUT happily I CAN eat their chopped salads and THEY ARE TO DIE FOR. My husband looooooves the Piadas. So let me explain a little about what this restaurant is like if you’ve never been there.

It’s a fast casual, authentic Italian eatery with choices of fresh grill items, sauces, dressings and toppings, which can be added to three main entrees: a Piada, Pasta Bowl or Chopped Salad. Menu items are made-to-order and guests can choose from more than 30 healthy ingredients. Soooo you can really, really, really customize your food!! “Piadas” are like wraps, reimagined—they have a thin crust, made from handmade dough that is freshly baked on a stone grill. Then, the Piada is filled with Italian-inspired ingredients and hand-rolled to perfection.

Related: I AM SO HUNGRY RIGHT NOW! We have a Piada conveniently located on the way home from church in Kettering, soooo it’s a favorite place to stop for lunch! But there are actually three Piadas in our area. In addition to the one we frequent, there are locations in Beavercreek and Centerville, too.

Besides the DELICIOUS food, here’s another reason to go to Piada this holiday season. Piada is holding a gift card drive in December benefiting Dayton Children’s Hospital, and it’s a total win-win! Here’s how it works:  Gift cards, of any denomination, will be accepted at all three Piada locations in the Dayton area (Kettering, Centerville and Beavercreek). In exchange, each guest who donates a gift card will receive a free meal at Piada, including Piadas, Pasta Bowls and Chopped Salads.

DID YOU HEAR THAT? You give, you get! Personally, we have had great experiences with Dayton Children’s Hospital in both the ER and with tests our kids have had. I know many other families who have greatly benefited from the great therapies available through Dayton Children’s as well. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you know I have beautiful little friend named Joy, and she is literally the poster child for the wonderful care that Dayton Children’s gives!

My girl Joy Marie is a star therapy recipient at Dayton Children's!

My girl Joy Marie is a star therapy recipient at Dayton Children’s!

Additionally, there are many kiddos who have long-term illnesses there, and they and their families will really benefit from this gift card drive! Providing gift cards to in-need patients and their families is the best way to get them exactly what they need this holiday season. In fact, gift cards are at the top of Dayton Children’s Hospital’s wish list and allow kids and families to pick out their own toys and gifts, as well as purchase necessities such as food, clothing, medicine and gasoline. Having a child in the hospital long term is extremely taxing on the emotional, physical, and financial needs of a family, and the gift cards collected at Piada will go a LONG way in soothing some of these difficulties for these precious families this holiday season.

Allright, soooo…what are you waiting for! Get ye to Piada between NOW and December 27th to give give give and eat, eat, eat!

If you have any questions, please drop them in the comments! And stay tuned…we will have a Piada GIVEAWAY coming up later in the month!

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It’s National Down Syndrome Awareness Month & Pampers is Making it #BetterForBaby

joybetterforbaby2

If you’ve been following this blog for any decent amount of time, you know that people with special needs, especially Down syndrome, are very precious to me. Since October is Down syndrome awareness month, I want to once again tell you about my friend Joy Marie Minor! Joy turned 3 in April and since she was an infant, it’s been my privilege to walk on her Buddy Walk for Down syndrome team and raise $$ for our local chapter of the Down Syndrome Association. ALL of the funds raised stay here in our area to help our friends with Down syndrome get the therapies and services they need to fully rock out their extra chromosome. Since I’ve had two out of my three kiddos in various therapies, I know how expensive it is. The money we raise helps out with these expenses and more! Joy works her butt off in therapy 5 days a week and has recently started taking steps on her own. She is a rock star!

This year because of my affiliation with the Pampers Baby Board, I was able to give a grant of $2500 to an organization I felt made life #BetterForBaby, which is a main aim of the Pampers brand – making life better for baby! Since the Miami Valley Down Syndrome Association helps babies with Down syndrome and their families as they grow, I knew I’d be blessing the Buddy Walk with my grant! I spread the grant money out over three Buddy Walk teams that are special to me including Joy’s Team Peace, Love, and Joy which my family and I walk on. Thanks in part to Pampers we were a top fundraising team! Whoop whoop!

BuddyWalk

Joy has so many people who love and support her!

Joy has so many people who love and support her!

People with Down syndrome may have an extra chromosome, but they are just like you and me. They are people with dreams, struggles, highs, lows, talents, abilities, goals, wins, and losses. The reality is they need some extra help through therapy but SO many others do too – like I said, two out of three of my kids have. I appreciate Pampers #BetterForBaby helping to truly make life better for these amazing people who live, love, learn, and work in our community. It’s an honor and a blessing to be associated with such a giving brand who sees the value in every baby!

Thanks Pampers, for making life #BetterforBaby and for helping me to bless the Miami Valley Down Syndrome Association and the three Buddy Walk teams that are special to me: Team Peace, Love, & Joy, Emmaline Curley’s Crew, and the Carsonettes!

Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month! To learn more about Down Syndrome, check out this link! And check out this awesome Pampers #BetterForBaby video that will make you cry!

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Please Stop Smoking From the Pumpkin Spice Flavored Crack Pipe

You guys. It’s FALL. Like, officially, according to the calendar, not just according to white girls who loves scarves, boots, and OHMAHGAH PUMPKINSPAHHHHCCCEE!

Or so I've heard.

Or so I’ve heard.

Little known fact about me: FALL is my favorite season. I love the weather, I love the boots, and scarves, and dangit if ORANGE isn’t my favorite color, I don’t know what is!! I freaking love ORANGE. I even like Pumpkins. I mean, they’re adorable fruits you can eat or decorate. Except I don’t actually like to eat them. But their seeds? I do love to eat some  baked-up pumpkin seeds. What I don’t like? PUMPKIN SPICE. Pumpkin spice is the orange-colored, clove-scented, RUINATION OF FALL! I know you are all gasping in one accord and your heads are collectively SPINNING with rage on your scarf-clad necks, but please take a breath and maybe a huff of your pumpkin-scented Yankee candle and hear me out. I will explain. Once upon a time a few falls ago, I made the mistake of innocently posting on Facebook how much I hated “Pumpkin Spice” and had therefore never been a fan of pumpkin pie or that disgrace that’s come to coffee, the PSL. I say “mistake” because this resulted in an immediate torrent of pumpkin spice-related pictures, memes, comments, and tags on my Facebook timeline. This pumpkin torment has been going on for at least three years, I’d say.  It’s KIND OF annoying. BUT!! But…today I’m here to say, the joke is on the jokers. By tormenting me with all things pumpkin spice on my timeline, you’ve given enough ammo to prove that this country has lost it’s damn mind over all things pumpkin spice to a REEDONKULOUS degree. Allow me to demonstrate:

frosted mini wheats

Ummmm….no. fall frolic YOUR CAT NOW HATES YOU EVEN MORE THAN IT ALREADY DID! Why would your force it to defecate in pumpkin spice-flavored litter? pumpkin spice chips Way to go, Nestle, I just THREW UP IN MY MOUTH. I pity the kids that bite into a cookie made with these and think they are chocolate chip. Have fun paying for the years of therapy caused by THAT violation of trust, parents. Things in the United State of Pumpkin Spice have gotten SO very out of hand that my friend and loyal reader Allison, grocery shopping in sunny California, was compelled to make a lovely photo collage of the pumpkin parade at her local grocery. This is just the stuff on the END CAPS! God knows what other horrors are lurking in the aisles…

pumpkin spice collage

Seriously…Oreos? Milanos? Hostess cakes? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO THESE DELICACIES??? It’s like junk food treason.

That’s right America, you have gone so COO-COO for Pumpkin Spice, I think that stuff must be laced with crack, or more likely, a mind-controlling drug invented by the purveyors of Pumpkin Spice, the Pumpkin Spice Kingpins if you will, to make you crave MOAR AND MOAR AND MOAR PUMPKIN SPICE. I know this is a joke, but I have no doubt that if it were real, people would actually be lining up at the corner drugstore to purchase this so they could squirt pumpkin spice up their hoo-has. (This is another gem from my FB timeline that a “friend” shared with me.)

pS enema

And, in case you’re period just isn’t unpleasant enough ALREADY, have a pumpkin spice tampax! The warm scents of cinnamon and pumpkin will ALMOST make you forget your constant state of hormone-induced homicidal rage.

PS tampons

This is FUNNY BECAUSE THIS IS HOW CRAZY YOU PEOPLE ARE! You guys. Put down your Pumpkin Spice Latte, pick up a Salted Caramel Mocha, (because we ALL KNOW that CARAMEL is the REAL FLAVOR OF FALL), and umm…get a life. (And if you can’t control yourselves, please hide in secret with your pumpkin spice Oreos and do not sully my timeline with that blasphemy! )

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