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19 Me & Mine Staff THE RYLIE KATE STORY

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GETTING TO KNOW JENNA TUNES

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Jennifer Jaeger Traynham PUBLISHER

Rona Desmond MARKETING & ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE

Jessica Jaeger HEART HEALTH HEART HEALTHY BLACK EYED BEAN SOUP

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CHARACTER-INSPIRED KIDS' BIRTHDAY PARTIES TIPS FOR THROWING A BASH THAT YOU BOTH LOVE

MEET HEATHER THOMPSON

EDITOR

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on the cover RONNIE, KATIE AND RYLIE ROLLINS PHOTOGRAPHY:

HEATHER SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY

www.meandminemagazine.com Me and Mine magazine is an LLC and its information, format and designs are protected by copyright laws. Any reproduction of content, photography or arrangement is not permitted unless written permission is granted by the publisher of the magazine. Contributing authors and photographers are responsible for content and accuracy in their submissions and Me and Mine Magazine, its founders or members assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Me and Mine Magazine, LLC, © Copyright 2018

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661 Plumas Street • Yuba City

530.673.8800

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The Rylie Kate Story Photography by Heather Smith Photography, Samantha Prather Photography and Allie Rollins

ylie Kate Rollins. RK. Ry Ry. Tootsie. Princess Warrior. Shawty. Baby La La. Little Boo. Or just plain Rylie. It doesn’t seem to matter what she is called—every name still seems to bring the same smile to everyone’s face and the same feelings of complete love and adoration. And no matter what the name, it seems that all have concluded that “RK” is definitely one special little girl. How someone only 20 months old could have such an impact on so many is truly remarkable, and how in those 20 months her little life could reconstruct my heart in so many ways is nothing less than divine! As RK’s dad, I am taken aback daily by the pure joy, strength, and determination she displays, and it is truly an honor to share some of her story—our story—with you. Our Gratitude I would be remiss not to start by saying thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read this story. Thank you for caring

about our Rylie Kate. Thank you for your love, prayers, and support, which has at times been completely unbelievable and overwhelming. It’s hard to even imagine going on such a journey without such support from family, friends, and a closeknit community. So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you! Knowing that there are so many people praying, caring, and loving makes the journey ahead seem so much brighter. May God richly bless each and every one of you! Expecting In the summer of 2015, my wife Katie and I got a huge surprise: we were expecting baby #5! Our four older kids, Abbie, Allie, Annie and Rex (ages 20, 18, 16 and 13 at the time), had been telling us how cool it would be to have a baby brother or sister for some time, so telling them and the rest of the family was all kinds of fun! The baby was due on Mother’s Day 2016. The pregnancy progressed normally, and the first

ultrasound was done around 19 weeks. Everything looked completely normal and we found out the kids would have a baby sister. We had already picked out the name Rylie Kate for a girl, so RK it was. “Rylie” means courageous and valiant. We had no idea! Her Arrival On Friday evening, April 15, Katie and Allie were doing some shopping. A friend had mentioned to Katie earlier that evening that her face looked flush and asked her if her blood pressure was elevated. They stopped by CVS to test it, and sure enough, it was very high. Katie immediately contacted Dr. Maddalena, who instructed her to go straight to the hospital for evaluation. Katie had a history of high blood pressure during prior pregnancies, so Doc wanted to take every precaution. After a few hours of observation and being off her feet, her blood pressure came down enough to send her home. She was ordered to rest

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church in Yuba City with her best friend telling her story about a miraculous rescue. In that moment, it was like the Lord said to me, “See, the boat was already on the way! I know everything you need - before you ever need it.”

until returning to the hospital on Sunday morning to be evaluated again. After that visit, the decision was made to induce her first thing Monday morning, April 18, at 37 weeks gestation. In the meantime, I led worship on Saturday night and Sunday morning at Glad Tidings. That weekend at church, we had a guest speaker, Darnisha Taylor, who told a miraculous story of having drowned while scuba diving with her husband in Crystal Lake, Michigan. Her husband, in attempting to save her, was in danger of drowning himself, when out of nowhere a fishing boat came across their path and rescued them. The boat was driven by a couple who had decided hours earlier to change their plans and go to the other side of the lake to fish. As I listened to the story I thought, “Wow, even hours before Darnisha had gotten in trouble, God sent the boat to rescue her!” Monday morning came, and we went to the hospital with great anticipation. Rylie Kate would finally be here! We knew it could take some time for things to progress - and it did. Although the contractions were getting stronger and more frequent, the baby just wasn’t moving down. Night turned to morning, and Doc came in first thing Tuesday morning to check on Katie. He told us he was ordering an ultrasound because he wanted to see why Rylie’s head wasn’t dropping. After the ultrasound, Doc came back into the room, leaned back against the wall and said, “I have to tell you guys, something is wrong with the baby’s head.” I will never forget that moment. I literally felt as if the breath was sucked out of my lungs and I just wanted it to be a bad dream. Doc said he needed to perform an emergency C-section because there was no way Rylie’s head could pass through the birth canal. He also said that he had no way of knowing what neurological effects the

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skull deformity had had. Through the shock and tears, we began to ask questions, all to which he could only answer, “I honestly don’t know.” The rest of the family was soon at our sides and we all began to hope and pray for the best. About 45 minutes later, we were in the OR and I heard the familiar words: “It’s a girl.” I looked into her beautiful eyes, and she gave me a look as if to say, “I know something’s wrong, but it’s going to be ok!” I would’ve given anything to be able to fix everything in that very moment, and yet the strength I saw in those eyes told me that whatever it took, she was going to make it through. The NICU After being assessed in the nursery and spending a few minutes with Katie, RK was handed over to the transport team from Sutter Hospital in Sacramento. Annie and I headed down to Sacramento while the rest of the family stayed with Katie. When we arrived at Sutter’s NICU, I had no idea what to expect. My head was still spinning from the day’s events, and I truly felt as if it all wasn’t real. When we got to Rylie’s room, after talking to her nurse, in walked our social worker, Melisa. She said she had spoken to Katie on the phone and asked me about my worship leading. She asked what church I worked at, and when I said Glad Tidings, she said, “I was at your church Saturday night! That was you leading worship right? I was there with Darnisha. She’s my best friend!” We were both blown away that three days before Rylie was born, our soon-to-be social worker was at our

The next several hours would be more uncharted territory. I rapidly began to learn about what they presumed was wrong with Rylie. Her most obvious condition was the fusing of the sutures (soft joints) of her skull. At some point in the womb, RK’s skull had completely fused due to a spontaneous mutation of the FGFR2 gene, causing what is called cloverleaf skull. It is extremely rare (1 in a million), and can cause trauma to the brain due to lack of space to grow. Rylie’s head was badly misshapen at birth due to her brain desperately trying to grow in any possible direction. Parts of her skull had even “dissolved” to allow her brain to grow through the voids. We knew surgery was imminent. The plan was to completely remove Rylie’s skull, which gave her brain its only chance for normal shape and growth. The neurosurgeon explained that waiting even 3-6 months to do the surgery (which we have since discovered is typical) would impose great risk to Rylie’s brain health. Meanwhile, Katie was doing all she needed to do to get released from the hospital. She simply couldn’t stand being away from her baby. On the morning of the surgery, we received a call saying that the surgery had been moved up an hour, so we hurried to the hospital. After meeting with Dr. Ciricillo to discuss the surgery, it was time for them to take her to the OR. The OR nurse said she would be calling my cell phone with updates throughout the surgery. The NICU staff had reserved a private waiting room for our family, so we all gathered there for the long wait, and I finally had an opportunity to check my phone. There


was a text message from my dear friend and former pastor, Francis Anfuso. He was in a meeting and the person doing the presentation had just put a slide up on the screen that left him dumbfounded - to the point that he stopped the meeting and asked that everyone please take a moment and pray for Rylie Kate, who had actually been rolled back to surgery at the very time he had texted me. Here is a picture of the slide:

As I read the slide, I was overcome with emotion. How was this even possible? Of all the names in the world… Of all the places Francis could’ve been at that time… And of all the times for that slide to be projected… From that moment on, there was never a doubt that our precious baby girl was going to make it through all of it! Not just that surgery, but through the seven more that she has endured. Through the countless nights in the hospital (around 80 I believe) and all the nights of laboring just to breathe. I know…WE know…that God has His hand on our precious RK, our princess warrior, and that she is going to do amazing things through Christ who gives her strength. So

it came as no surprise that with the first update call from the OR nurse, we were assured that Rylie was, in her words, “beautiful!” Her recovery from that first major surgery was 10 days, and on May 3rd we were finally able to take our precious girl home. Her First 20 months As I mentioned, RK has gone through 8 total surgeries. Five of those have been major skull surgeries to create space for her brain to grow as well as providing protection for her eyes by moving her brow bone forward. The skull that Rylie has now is all new bone that has been regenerating from the membranes covering her brain ever since her first surgery. There are still several large voids, but the miracle continues. The other three surgeries were for a VP shunt to drain excess fluid from her brain, a hernia repair, and a G-tube placement for supplemental feedings. She has had countless doctor’s appointments and several trips to the ER. The main objective to this point has been keeping her brain healthy, assisting her breathing at night (she wears an O2 mask when she sleeps), and weight gain. With cranial-facial issues like Rylie’s, the entire mid-face doesn’t grow at a normal rate, so breathing, swallowing and chewing are all

affected. Her airways are much smaller than normal, so the common cold has landed her in the hospital more than once. She has done incredibly well, all things considered, and she continues to amaze us with her determination to beat the odds. Looking Forward RK has two entire panels of specialists that have given her exceptional care and will continue to intervene whenever necessary. Her last MRI showed excellent brain development and some room to grow, so we should have about 6 months before the back of her skull will be reconstructed to provide yet more room for growth and better shape. After that, it could possibly be several years before the next surgery. At around age 7 or 8, Rylie will have major reconstructive surgery of her mid-face. Using a RED device, her cranial-facial plastic surgeon will move her entire upper jaw/cheek bones forward over a several month period, which will greatly improve her breathing, chewing and of course the positioning of her facial bones. RK’s other main obstacle is her fused elbows. Her elbow joints simply did not form, but instead the arm bones fused together and thus her arms do not bend. We are seeing some of the best pediatric orthopedic surgeons at Shriner’s Hospital in Sacramento, and we are hopeful that a corrective procedure will be developed before long (currently there is none). Ultimately, our hope is in the Lord and we are trusting Him completely to keep our baby girl in His loving arms no matter what lies ahead. We are always hopeful for miraculous healing! Thank you again for loving our Ry Ry enough to pray for her and to support her as she continues to grow into the amazing girl that God has called her to be! Go RK!

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GETTING TO KNOW

JENNA TUNES

Photography by Brandi Schwartz Photography & Design

ife is a series of moments. Some impact us deeply enough that we consciously recall how they changed the course of our lives. Others settle into our being and go unrecognized until we start searching for a “why” related to who we have become. As a child, I was unaware that I was overweight until around the age of eight, when a younger child innocently asked me, “Why are you so fat?” That question changed my self-perception and became one of the reasons that I joined Weight Watchers, hit the gym, and lost a decent amount of weight just before entering junior high. Despite my peers teasing me with names like “Jabba the Hut,” I remained resilient and enjoyed life. The physical challenge of managing my weight did not diminish my spirit. My resilience is owed in large part to my parents, who always encouraged me and instilled confidence in me by focusing attention on my strengths. Through this positive reinforcement, I grew comfortable in my vocal abilities and throughout high school I performed on stage for singing competitions, churches, choirs, and corporate events, sometimes in front of thousands of people. However, two life-altering events took place during my late twenties. At age 26, my father was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s Disease. A few years later, my only sibling, Rachel, battled stage three cancer immediately after birthing her first child. During that time, I was also pregnant with my second child. In the midst of such tragedy, it felt wrong to be joyous about the beautiful family I was building. At times, I watched as my son learned how to do things that my father was losing the ability to do. Meanwhile, my sister was fighting for her life and I was busy bringing another into the world. I did not want to burden my family with the heavy emotions I was carrying, so I tried to remain resilient. It wasn’t until I moved across country with my husband, our first child, and our two-week old newborn that I began to process all the emotions I had suppressed. In that place of realizing the real loss and the chance of losing even more, life got real and fear set in. With that fear came anxiety, and the anxiety pulled me into depression. After being diagnosed and prescribed medication to “get through it,” I felt like I needed to do everything I could to limit the negative effects these emotions would have on my relationship with my husband and little ones. I needed to find my strength again. I remembered a time when my life was carefree and I believed I had enough within me to overcome. I went back to that summer before junior high where I found my strength. I forced myself to get out of the house and go to the gym every day. The kids got to play and I got “me time.” There were times that “me time” meant I went and cried it out on the treadmill, but I still went. Working out became my therapy.

I came to realize that going to the gym did not just make me strong physically, but also made me strong emotionally. Managing my weight has been and will be a lifelong effort, but I remain an avid gym-goer and self-proclaimed “gym rat” because I am committed to allowing myself the time each day to process what I am feeling so that I do not become overwhelmed with the heavy moments in life. I even started an Instagram page years ago to document my daily efforts toward becoming the best version of myself, despite the days that prove difficult both emotionally and physically. Through that page, I have the hope of reaching others who struggle with weight, body image, anxiety, depression, disease, or who simply desire to become a stronger version of themselves. I encourage you to search for the moments in your life that have forever changed you. Even the moments that can be hard to think about can allow you to choose how they affect your path once they are recognized and dealt with. May you find your path to strength. Jenna Tunes ME AN D MIN E MAG AZINE | W I NT E R 2 01 8

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Heart Health

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates

By Dr. Dilbahar S. Mohar, MD

Healthy Fats Fat is essential for heart health, but certain types of fats are extremely harmful to the cardiovascular system. There are three main categories of fat: Unsaturated fats, saturated fats, and trans fats. Unsaturated fats are better tolerated, whereas intake of saturated and trans fats should be strictly moderated.

The question inevitably arises: “So Doc, what should I be eating?” With a bevy of indulging and scrumptious meals at our fingertips, it has become increasingly difficult to decide which meal is the “right” choice. Moreover, in the age of information technology, we are exposed to an overwhelming amount of "fad" diets, which may provide misconceptions about shortcuts to healthful living and nutrition.

treatment, but now more than ever, the prevention of heart disease through diet and lifestyle. These evidence-based guidelines have now given structure and formulation to the “basic” diet that we all have vague familiarity with from our youth and that keeps getting recycled to a degree in these dynamic “fad” diets. The fundamental principles are as such and are summarized here.

Additionally, circumstances and goals of a diet may also influence the type of diet one assumes. For example, long-term weight maintenance which is cardio protective balances physical exercise with a diet rich in fruits, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, yogurt, fish and whole grains. Overweight individuals desiring short-term, rapid weight loss may prefer a diet with strict calorie control, independent of types of food eaten. Such a strategy is reasonable and effective for intensive short-term weight loss; however, once weight loss is achieved, a shift toward a long-term weight maintenance diet should be adopted.

Portion Control The portions that an average American Protein ingests during a meal have become The heart is the hardest working muscle in increasingly large and excessive. the body, as it pumps on average greater than 2,500 gallons of A mindful eating blood daily. Proteins serve strategy should be as the major building enacted to identify blocks for maintenance of how much of a meal heart function. The best is necessary and what type of proteins should constitutes excessive. be lean and include items Furthermore, in such as dairy products, order to succeed eggs, poultry, fish, and with mindful eating soy products. Avoid fatty strategy, one should meats such as bacon, identify appropriate sausage, and hot dogs. portions well before one actually sits down Decrease Salt Intake to eat. And waiting Sodium is an element in FIGURE 1: Modified from: Mozaffarian D. Dietary to eat until we are and policy priorities for cardiovascular disease, salt. Although necessary very hungry may diabetes, and obesity: a comprehensive review. for metabolism, sodium create the inevitable Circulation 2016 Jan 8. is only necessary in small circumstance where amounts. Excessive our “eyes become portions result in increased blood pressure. bigger than our stomach.” Avoid processed foods, which are the typical culprits that contain high quantities of salt. Eat Fruits and Vegetables Try to use salt-free spices and herbs to add Eat raw fruits and vegetables, preferably zest to your meals instead of salt. ones which are not fried. Frying veggies may extract the great nutritious vitamins As a cardiologist, I believe that the in the vegetables. The body, including your treatment and prevention of heart disease heart, depends on these valuable vitamins involves first and foremost being up and nutrients to operate optimally. to date with evidence-based options. Further, medical therapy, when prescribed Whole Grains thoughtfully and appropriately, has clearly Avoid white bread and refined flour. proven to be beneficial. A heart-healthy Instead, opt for hearty, healthy whole diet, in tandem with the right medications, grains in whole-wheat flour and wholeadministered at the right time, leads to grain bread. Incorporate barley, buckwheat, the most optimal, synergistic, and durable farro, and quinoa into your diet. Oats are outcomes. a great option as well as small portions of brown rice.

The goal of assuming a diet should not be to be excessively disciplined and vigilant about food choices where the joy of eating food is taken away. Instead, the goal is to have a balanced and sustainable way of life that includes the pleasure of making food choices, not blindly following dynamic and popular fad diets without being informed. Organically, most of these popular diets, such as the “South Beach Diet”, “DASH,” “Atkins,” or “Vegan” diets all highlight certain basic features of a diet we all know is the “right” diet. It’s the diet preached by our parents and grandparents, many times over: “eat your fruits and vegetables,” “don’t eat too many sweets and sugary drinks,” “eat quality grains and proteins,” and “don’t overeat.” Leading cardiovascular societies such as the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology have recently published position statements and guidelines to emphasize not only the

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Table 1: Evidence-Based Dietary Priorities for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health

Consume More

Consume Less

Target*

Notes

Fruits

3 servings per day

Whole fruits (fresh, frozen, canned) are preferable to 100% juice; limit the latter to about 1 glass per day.

Nuts, seeds

4 servings per week

Choose from a variety of different nuts and seeds.

Vegetables, including legumes (excluding white potatoes)

3 servings per day

Minimize starchy vegetables, especially white potatoes.

Minimally processed whole grains

3 servings per day, in place of refined grains

As a practical rule of thumb, choose grain products with at least 1 g of fiber for every 10 g of total carbohydrate (i.e., a carb:fiber ratio of <10:1).

Fish, shellfish

2 or more servings per Aim for oily fish, e.g. salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, herring, sardines. week

Dairy products, especially 2-3 servings per day yogurt and cheese

The choice of whole-fat vs. low-fat can be based on personal preference, as current evidence is insufficient to confirm which is superior.

Vegetable oils

2 to 6 servings per day

Aim for polyunsaturated and/or phenolic-rich oils and soft spreads, such as from soybean oil, canola oil, and extra-virgin olive oil.

Refined grains, starches, sugars

No more than 1-2 servings per day

Do not focus on total or added sugars alone, as low-fiber, high glycemic complex carbs (refined grains, starches) appear similarly harmful.

Processed meats

Don’t eat

Avoid meats preserved with sodium or nitrates, e.g. hot dogs, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, salami, and chicken, turkey, ham, or beef deli meats.

Red meats

No more than 2-3 servings per week

Fresh or frozen beef, pork, lamb.

Industrial trans fat

Don’t eat

Avoid foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Sugar-sweetened beverages

Don’t drink

Avoid sugar-sweetened soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, iced teas, and fruit drinks.

Alcohol

Up to 1 drink per day for women, 2 drinks per day for men

For those who drink alcohol, moderate daily use appears optimal, without clear differences in health effects between wine, beer, or spirits.

Sodium

No more than 2,000 mg/d

Avoid packaged, restaurant, or deli foods high in sodium. Major sources include bread, chicken, cheese, processed meats, soups, and canned foods.

* Based on a 2,000 kcal/day diet. Servings should be adjusted accordingly for higher or lower energy consumption. Modified from: Mozaffarian D. Dietary and policy priorities for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity: a comprehensive review. Circulation 2016 Jan 8. References: Mozaffarian D. Dietary and Policy Priorities for Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Obesity: A Comprehensive Review. Circulation. 2016 Jan 12;133(2):187-225.

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Heart Healthy Black Eyed Bean Soup Contributed by Mary Fisher

Mary Fisher

Deli Manager Sunflower Natural Foods

Ingredients: • 4 quarts water • 1/2 cup chicken base • 8 medium red potatoes, cubed • 2 cups fresh spinach • 2 cups soaked black eyed beans • 2 8oz cans chopped tomatoes • 5 garlic cloves, chopped • Salt and pepper to taste

Key ingredients for heart health: Black eyed beans are a soluble fiber which binds to cholesterol and carries it out of the body. It also helps prevent type 2 diabetes while keeping your blood sugar balanced after you eat. Spinach contains antioxidants, which helps prevent the oxidation of cholesterol.

Directions: • Bring water and chicken base to a boil. • Add potatoes and cook until tender, then turn the stove down and let simmer. • Rinse and drain the black eyed beans and drain the tomatoes. • Add beans, tomatoes, and garlic to soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. • Cook until beans are tender, approximately 10-15 minutes. • Turn off the stove and add spinach.

Enjoy!!

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C haracter-Inspired

Kids' Birthday Parties Written and photographed by Jennifer Sbranti

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Tips for throwing a bash that you BOTH love!


When I first started designing parties,

I didn’t have any kids of my own yet, but definitely noticed that one particular topic came up over and over (and over) again from moms of young children. They were often really excited to plan their kids’ birthday parties, but also dreading having to plan it around a specific character, movie, or show that their kids were into at the time.

tassel garlands crafted from tissue paper.

After a little more digging, the general problem seemed to be that the parents that truly enjoyed the party planning process sometimes felt creatively stifled with a “character theme” because they’d have to rely on whatever licensed character party goods happened to be available instead of throwing a party that truly reflected their style.

SPARKLY & GLITZY elements were weaved all throughout the party. Drink dispensers and vases were embellished with sequin trims, and the main activity table centerpiece featured a (store bought) glittery “5”. I found a sparkly Trolls fabric at JoAnn to use on the food/ drink station. I also hand-glittered a couple champagne bottles for the adult guests and invited them to add some extra “SPARKLE” to their party punch, if they felt so inclined.

Flash forward to today – almost a decade later and 2 kids of my own—and the same advice still rings true. You can take any character, show, or movie that your child loves, and turn it into a party that YOU love spending your time and energy on too. The key is to focus on a couple distinctive attributes or elements from the movie/ show and bring those to life in your own way, whatever your aesthetic style may be. I also recommend using characters in just a few key areas of the party, as opposed to having them pop up on every plate, napkin, cup, and balloon in sight. I’ll expand on this more in the tips below, using my own daughter’s Dreamworks Trolls 5th birthday party as an example 1. Define your key elements. Between all the favorite scenes and all the different story lines, there’s often so much content to be inspired by in a movie or show that things can get overwhelming quickly. So, focus in on just 2 to 3 main attributes or elements from the story. Design your party around those specific things, and stop worrying about all the other things you “could also do.” Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to fit everything in. For example, the Trolls movie had a ton of great elements to choose from, including an artsy forest, rainbows, glitter, a crafty felted look, scrapbooking, lots of music,

roller skates, a prince and castle, and more. As cool as it sounded to create some sort of amazing, sparkly rainbow forest in my living room, there was just no time for it in reality, so I decided to narrow my focus to 3 simpler elements: the general “crafty” look, rainbows, and glitter. 2. Bring the key elements to life in YOUR own unique way. Once I narrowed my focus to the “crafty,” rainbows, and glitter elements of the movie, bringing them became the fun part, because I could do it in my own way. Here are some examples: RAINBOW elements: Fonts and letters are one of my favorite design elements, so I started by spray painting letter balloons in rainbow colors and using them to put a key phrase from the movie up on our wall. The kids also made rainbow necklaces, chased rainbow colored balloons, and took swings at a rainbow piñata, which eventually rewarded them with lots of rainbow candy. CRAFTY elements included vases filled with fuzzy craft poms, hand-cut felt flowers with contrasting centers, and

3. Feature the characters selectively. As I mentioned earlier, even though the characters are the stars of the party, they don’t need to appear as often as you might think. I love it when characters just pop up in a few main areas and are complimented by coordinating colors and elements everywhere else. And my favorite way to incorporate characters into parties is actually through regular toys or other non-disposable licensed character products. Toys – especially smaller items like dolls or figurines – usually have a much higher design quality to them for around the same price as a one-time-use item like a paper centerpiece from a party store. For this party, I found an awesome line of Betsy Johnson-designed Trolls accessories to work into the decor, including a cute “Having a rainbow moment” jewelry tray and “Rock ’n Troll” ring holder for the dress up station. My highest impact “not actually made for party decor” find, though, was a pack of Trolls themed removable wall decals, which we stuck to all of our chair backs. It only took about 5 minutes to get them all on, and it instantly felt like a Trolls party! The pack was $14 on Amazon.

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Printables are my other go-to way to incorporate characters, especially when they’re personalized for the guest of honor. I designed a few themed signs for this party using movie images found online, then printed them at home and slipped them into frames that we already owned. 4. Include at least 2 activities inspired by your key elements or characters. Even if kids are old enough to entertain themselves for a while, it’s always important to include a couple structured activities or crafts to keep things flowing along. We hired Stacey from Color Me Cutie Face Painting (based here in Yuba City) to turn our guests into their favorite Trolls character, and she did an AMAZING job! The kids looked so cute and couldn’t stop giggling at each other’s colorful makeovers. In keeping with the rainbow and glitzy attributes, we also had a simple dress up station with colorful headbands, light up rings, and feather boas. Trays of rainbow beads and jewelry making materials were available throughout the party so the girls could get crafty whenever they felt like it. And don’t forget that the simplest activities are sometimes the best! We blew up several bags of plain and polka dotted latex balloons (in rainbow colors) and just tossed them around the living room and backyard… the kids had the best time chasing them and trying to pop them. 5. Smart send-offs. Party favors aren’t always necessary, but I do love sending guests home with a little “piece of the party” when it’s fitting, and usually apply the same guidelines as I use for the party. Again, the only actual character-driven item included in our favors was a Trolls Pez dispenser. Everything else still matched our key party elements, though - rainbow colored pencils and candies, “sparkly” bubbles, and felt flower accents. That’s a wrap!

Jennifer Sbranti is a graphic designer, event stylist, and mom of 2. She works with clients to produce highly creative events inspired by their unique product, personality, or message. In 2006, she founded Hostess with the Mostess®, an inspirational party planning blog. Her ideas have been featured in media outlets such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, InStyle, and Real Simple. 16 ME A N D M I NE M AG A Z I N E | WIN T ER 2018


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MEET HEATHER THOMPSON Lone Oak Longhorns

Photography by Brandi Schwartz Photography & Design

Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and what brought you back to the area?

Have you always been interested in cattle? How and why did you start this journey?

I grew up in the Yuba Sutter area and like most kids, couldn’t wait to move away. After living in Sacramento for 10 years, my family was looking for a change of pace and more area to roam. Our business consumed most of our life, and we needed a hobby. My children had been raised without learning to hunt or fish and we really missed the small community feel. We considered all rural areas within an hour of Sacramento, but when we first looked at our beautiful home in Marysville, the rest was history.

I was never interested in cattle, but my husband Ron and I knew we wanted something unique for our property. We visited a beautiful ranch in Paskenta and fell in love with the stunning Texas Longhorn grazing with their calves. I knew then that I wanted to breed Registered Texas Longhorn. Since beginning this journey, I have fallen in love with so much that the Longhorn community has offered us. Texas Longhorns to me represent love for your family, your country, God…and possibly some Friday night lights!

What is different about living in this area now vs. when you were growing up? What are some of your favorite things to do here?

Did you find your friends and family to be supportive when you told them about your business?

My favorite thing about living in this area is the community involvement in sports. Kids here stay busy with sports, often making friends with children from other areas as they compete year-round in different events.

They mostly thought I was crazy, especially my Sacramento friends. Moving from the city and knowing nothing about cattle, much less a breed that’s fairly unknown to the area, seemed crazy. But everyone has been captivated by their beauty and enjoys visiting, especially during calving seasons. People are very intrigued when they find out what we’re doing over here.

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DID YOU KNOW? Longhorn beef is an up-and-coming source of low fat, high protein red meat for the beef market. At Lone Oak Longhorns, we breed for horn length and body composition.

What are your daily responsibilities? They are fed twice a day. I usually do the morning shift, and my husband does the evening. I always spend some time with them, offering treats like cubes or wheat bread. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s good to get familiar with them, to know their personalities. Some will let me pet them. Spending time with them also gives to me a moment to ensure their health is good. I look them over for anything out of the ordinary. What are some of the challenges of starting this new venture? One of the biggest challenges of starting this career is that there are few people familiar with the breed in California. In some states, Longhorn are shown in futurities and compete just like steer here at the YS Fair. Finding a vet was difficult, as well as a chute. Obviously there hundreds of chutes in the area, but finding one to accommodate horns was an issue. We ended up having one custom made and shipped here from Kansas. What is one lesson you have learned since starting this new career? It takes patience. A lot of it. The gestation period for Longhorn is 283 days, so you will only have one calf a year. The prime time to sell them is around 2-3 years of age. So we expect it to take 3-4 years before we really get into the swing of things. What are a few things you would like to accomplish in the next year? This year we plan to sell our first Longhorn at the Fort Worth Stockyard Sale in September. Breeders from all over the county attend this event and bring their best. Last year a famous bull called Cowboy Tuff Chex sold for a record breaking $165,000 when we visited the sale. He has the World Record for tip-to-tip horn measurement. Over the next year, we also plan to grow our herd and perform our first AI. 20 ME AN D M I NE M AG A Z I N E | WIN T ER 2018


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Me & Mine Magazine | Winter 2018  
Me & Mine Magazine | Winter 2018