Guardian Angel, Service Dog

Before I met Nicole and Angel I had seen people with service animals BUT I had no idea how much they could change someones life. Nicole and I met at Art Awakenings a program that promotes empowerment and recovery through the power of creative expression with adults and youth who face behavioral health challenges. I love painting with Nicole and cracking jokes! Nicole is a very amazing, sweet and strong person she is also the owner of a very amazing service animal named Angel. Angel is a very fitting name for this sweet dog! Not only does she support Nicole at the studio she supports everyone! She is very obedient and lays right next to Nicole at the studio, with Nicoles permission she will go give hugs and kisses.
Angel is very smart and aware of not only Nicole’s needs for support but others in the studio. There are some days I come in feeling a little down and Angel will sit next to Nicole and wait for permission to come give me hugs. She always cheers me up!
Before Angel, Nicole told me she would isolate for days sometimes weeks at a time. She would stop taking her medication and would be hospitalized repeatedly. Angel makes sure Nicole takes her meds everyday. Nicole says that Angels unconditional love for her does what all the the doctors and medications in the world could NEVER do!
Nicole shared the following information with me, hoping to help others learn how to get their dogs trained as service animals too.

Nicole told me that there is really no time frame to get your service animal certified through the Americans with Disabilities Act. The service animal has to be specifically trained to do something that aids their owner with their disability. Service animals must have basic obedience training, and training on how to act in public places.

Power Paws, ADA, and AZ Assistive Dog Association helped Nicole with guidlines on how to get Angel trained. Legally the owner must have full control of the animal at all times. Trained service animals can go anywhere their owner goes such as public transportation, restaurants, theaters etc. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 businesses must make reasonable accommodations to assist individuals with disabilities.
Unfortunately there are people who abuse these rights, they claim their pets as service animals to get into public places and to get their pets on an airplane for free.

I watched this 20/20 report a few weeks ago on a Friday evening and it really upset me.  I worry that if people continue to do this will the people who actually have true certification and licensing such as Nicole be permitted to bring Angel on an airplane? Not too long ago there was a man at Sky Harbor airport that brought his pit bull (not registered as a service animal) to the airport to board with him. They were waiting to board and the dog snapped and bit a man with no provocation. People who take advantage of the rights of the disabled, make it hard for people with service animals. They are the ones getting attention from the media, not Angel and others animals who are saving lives. Nicole hopes that in the future there will be some sort of central registry or other guidlines in place to ensure that these animals are properly trained before working in public. Until then is its up to dogs like Angel and the people they support to be a positive example and educate the public.

Building Memories


A Story of Charlottes First pictures!

 Searching the house for the perfect things to build the fort..


Kitchen chairs..step stool..lamp..


She was so excited!


Yes, a lamp..we needed some height to hold up one end of the sheet



Finally we have it figured it out!

We set up the fort and a memory comes back into my mind and heart..

The big red tent that Aunt Barb had set up for John, Tiffany and I.


It was something so simple but so unforgettable!

Charlotte has quite the set up in her fort..she has her big red wagon full of books


Fort flag


all of her DVDs


her favorite dolls


easel for drawing


her garden


(really just a lei but she had to have a garden in her tent)

her their nest of course


her portable DVD player


firefly jar


starry night


one of her Grandma Alice bells for decoration






and an art gallery OF COURSE!

She is an artist!


She spends most of her day in there in fact if she had a mini fridge I don’t think we’d ever see her!


If you want to build some fun memories with your kids this summer build a fort!


Meatloaf for Dad

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I’m a carnivore, through and through!  In my home I’m surely outnumbered when it comes to meatloaf lovers. I LOVE meatloaf and well my daughter doesn’t. She never has!  My granddaughter would eat it BUT she would prefer a “plain” meatloaf. I don’t want a plain meatloaf, I want to add bell peppers, onion, garlic… I want it to taste good!
I recently had a conversation with my dad and he was telling me about what proteins that he eats on his diet, he’s following the blood type diet and only eats turkey and chicken…sad…
He then started saying how much he loves MEATLOAF and would “stray” from his diet to eat a piece of meatloaf. DONE! Another meatloaf eater, I didn’t need any more encouragement. I was making a meatloaf and I finally had someone to share it with… meatloaf for dad!
2lbs ground beef (I used angus)
2 eggs
2 T tomato paste
3 T milk (I used almond milk)
1 large red bell pepper (diced)
1 large shallot (diced)
1 1/2 t salt
3/4 t black pepper
1 t garlic powder
Add all your ingredients to a large bowl, with the exception of the bell pepper and shallot.
I add my red pepper and shallot to a bowl with a little salt and EVOO and microwave for a few minutes. I just like the meatloaf when the veggies are pre-cooked a little bit. You don’t have to do this you can add the veggies in raw.
If you are pre-cooking the veggies just let them cool a little before adding them to the remaining ingredients for your meatloaf.
I don’t use a loaf pan, after my ingredients are mixed up I just form my meatloaf on a foil lined cookie sheet.
I baked mine at 400 degrees for an hour. Everyone’s ovens are different, you want the temperature of the meatloaf to be 165 degrees.
This meatloaf is tasty and my daughter actually liked it!  Feel free to make it your own by adding more or different spices. Here’s a little tip when making meatloaves or burgers. Once you have your ingredients all put together, cook up a small amount of the meat and TASTE it. If you like it put it in the oven, if you don’t adjust the spices!


A Burger For Barb

A burger for Barb is a tribute to my sister. My sister and I were very different, we didn’t have many things in common.  We did have a love for burgers in common…bacon cheeseburgers to be exact.
Something that we loved to do was go out to lunch and there was only one thing we would eat.  Bacon cheeseburgers!  We loved to go to new restaurants and “rate” the burgers and discuss how they could be improved upon.  I cherish my memories of the times that we had together laughing, complaining and eating burgers.
My sister, Barb, passed away seven years ago. She was an amazing person. She wasn’t judgmental, she was generous, had a great laugh, loved Christmas lights, and loved her family.  Probably one of her greatest sadness’s in her life was that she was never able to have children.  She was an amazing aunt though and showered her nieces and nephews with love.  I miss my sister tremendously, she was only 48 years old when she passed away.  She was my best friend…
My Aunt Barb LOVED burgers..
I’ve been researching online for some delicious burgers that I knew she would love..
This French Fry Bourbon Burger looks AMAZING I know she would love it!
This burger looks yummy and has shredded lettuce Aunt Barbs fav!
Cheddar & Bacon stuffed burger? Yes please!
Personally I didn’t eat many burgers with Aunt Barb but I have thousands of other VERY fond memories with her.
I can’t believe that it has been 7 years since she passed away. She was my 2nd mom..I still love her so much, and wish I could share so many things with her.
Especially Charlotte!
I miss you Aunt Barb..You are so special to me!
Check out this burger, Its the worlds largest burger and cost $2,000!
It has 30lbs of bacon and 36lbs of cheese!
Next time you’re in Detroit you can go to Mallie’s and pick one up! I wonder how big the doggy bag is!?
I invite anyone who knew Barb to share a memory of her below in the comments..

Her first lost tooth….


Sunday morning my daughters first tooth was lose enough to pull!

This made me think about all of the other firsts..starting with the day she was born!

First smile, First words, First time she rolled over, First time she sat up by herself etc. 

You get the idea!

She was hesistant to let me pull her tooth but yet brave at the same time.

I never let anyone pull mine when they were lose!

As soon as the tooth was out the Tooth Fairy was on her mind! She asked me if the Tooth Fairy would be coming tonight, OF COURSE!!!

I had already created a little box for her to put her tooth in, a special place for the Tooth Fairy to leave her surprises in!


Monday morning she went to her box to see what the Tooth Fairy had left her..

1 small bag of Fairy Dust


3 sparkly coins


and a note congratulating her on the loss of her first tooth, and telling her to put the fairy dust in the fairy garden we will soon be creating!


She loved all of her surprises!

Its great seeing new memories added to her life..

I have to admit every time I see the little missing spot in her smile..

I wonder…what will be her next first?


If you’d like to read another sweet story about my daughter please check out this story

Have a blessed day!

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To you Momma…

moth – er

A woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth


Momma, you are SO much more than that! 

You are the most amazing STRONGEST person I know..

Always ALWAYS there for me, even when at times I definitely did not deserve it.

You and I have been through a lot together.

You are always standing by me, praying for me, helping me, lifting me up when i’m down.

You are the most amazing Mama to Charlotte.. I am SO blessed by your relationship with her..

I love you SO much Momma

Happy Mother’s Day


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