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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Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

crazy socks

Today is the 9th annual World Down Syndrome Day – a day to celebrate our friends with Down syndrome and build awareness about Down syndrome.  I’m wearing crazy socks today – as are many supporters of people with Down syndrome. My socks my look different than “typical” socks – but their purpose is the same. They are just socks. They cover up  my feet, and they are doing it quite effectively. In the same way, individuals with Down syndrome may look different on the outside, but their purpose is the same as yours or mine – to live happy, productive lives. Lives full of love, joy, and achievement. Lives that matter. Lives that are normal and yet exceptional.

You guys know I love people with Down syndrome. If you don’t know anyone with Down syndrome, I invite you to read my friend Stefanie’s blog and meet her son Liam. Or read about my friend baby Joy, or my friend Emmy.

joy swimming

EmmyC

Or  – even better – reach out to volunteer at a special needs event in your community so you can meet some of these incredible folks for yourself.

But for today, you could do something easy – go to your drawer, and put on a pair of mismatched socks. And if someone asks, tell them you are celebrating World Down Syndrome Day. Tell them that people with Down syndrome have a genetic condition and not an illness. That having DS does not make a person unhealthy. Tell them that though they may need speech  and physical therapy to do things that you and I learn naturally, that they will accomplish their goals and be better for it. Tell them that they are people who love and are loved.

But before you do ANY of that – take a look at this short video that will leave you changed for the better.

Happy World Down Syndrome Day! Who are you celebrating today?

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Got Quads? You need the gift of sleep!

Pampers Baby Board

Remember how I told you a few months ago that I am a member of the Pampers Baby Board? Well, as they say, “membership has its privileges.” And one of the privileges of being a PBB member is that I get to do some cool stuff, like go to Pampers headquarters, help pick the package design for their new wipes coming out soon…and give away $500 to a deserving family. Let me explain!

The week before I joined the Pampers Baby Board last fall, I had read on my church message  boards about a couple in our church who had a toddler and was expecting QUADS! Wow! The request was that we gather together as a church to provide them with diapers. Since I am a super-coupon lady, I picked up several packs of diapers and dropped them at church. We have a big church and I didn’t know the couple, but of course I wanted to help out. The very next week I was invited to join the Pampers Baby Board, and the week after that, Pampers told me they had $500 to give me to give a family the “Gift of Sleep”. Of course I knew right away that I wanted the expectant quad family to get the Gift of Sleep – God is cool like that. One week I’ve never heard of these people, the next week, I’ve got $500 to give them!

Through the old church message boards, I got in touch with the friend of the family and she put me in touch with Crystal, the mama-to-be – who ended up having the babies the VERY NEXT DAY!!! – a few weeks early. She gave birth to 3 girls and a boy – Norah, Jane, Everett, and Ellie. They joined big sister Kate and dad Matt, as well. The babies were tiny but good fighters, and as of a couple of weeks ago they are ALL home together!

quadswithsis

Aren’t they just beautiful!!? What a sweet family! Pampers was kind enough to let Matt and Crystal choose what the “Gift of Sleep” would mean to them – with 4 new babies, they had a lot of needs! And they decided that they’d sleep better at night knowing they had somewhere to put the massive amount of clothes and toys that come with four new babies. Sooo…thanks to Pampers, Matt and Crystal had me order them up some awesome storage from IKEA with the $500. And it worked out beautifully. See?

quads dressers

A dresser for each babe

And toy/gear storage too!

And toy/gear storage too!

quadstoybins2

You need a lot of storage when you have five kiddos!

Of course, another thing that helps Crystal and Matt sleep is using Pampers Swaddlers to keep their babies dry LONGER – I have it on good authority that Swaddlers are the babies’ fave!

Life has been super crazy for Crystal and Matt since they welcomed their four newest bundles of joy in October, and I am so blessed that Pampers allowed me to be a part of helping them out with getting all their baby STUFF organized.

quadsfamily

Words cannot express how much I love these parents’ faces!

Thanks Crystal and Matt, for sharing your family with us! And thanks Pampers, for gifting this beautiFULL house with some much-needed storage for their “Gift of Sleep”!

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