Monthly Archives :

November 2014

Raquel’s Sweet 16 Birthday Party
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Well, the last few weeks have been a blur of amazing progression with Raquel’s health as she’s fighting a terminal illness, but her sweet 16 birthday party was so much fun that I need to write a whole post about it!

I invited a whole bunch of her friends to come over the night of her birthday which was a Friday. A few days before I just happened to look at craigslist and found an amazing couch for our basement for cheap, and I was so excited to actually get it.

Raquel's Party: New Couch

That morning I looked at my email and saw a Costco ad for a ping-pong and foosball table on sale. I told my husband that’s what I wanted for Christmas so we could finish out our basement and make it a fun hangout place.

He said that was fine, so I sent my father down to St. George to pick up the tables and then we needed extra help to put them together before the party. A couple of Raquel’s friends helped out and our neighbor. Thank goodness!

Raquel's Party: New tables
Another neighbor, and mom of some of Raquel’s friends, Laura Curry, made the most fantastic cake. It was shaped as the number 16, covered with fresh berries and pomegranate seeds. It was one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever eaten, and it was a huge hit!

Raquel's Birthday Party: Raquel's Cake

The friends just kept coming, and coming!

Raquel's Birthday: Friends at Party

After everyone arrived and hung out for a while, we sang to Raquel and had the cake with ice cream. 

Raquel's Birthday Party: Singing
After that we all went downstairs and played games.

Raquel's Birthday party: Playing downstairs

Raquel sat on the couch with her best friend the whole time and had a sing-along!

Raquel's Birthday: Raquel and Chloe at party

It was so much fun and I was so happy for Raquel. She was beaming the entire time! Here’s a video glimpse of her great night.

Raquel is making amazing progress with her healing! We are so blessed! Check back soon for a general update on how well she’s doing.

A Date With Mindy Gledhill at Primary Children’s Hospital
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We had a wonderful experience last week with our daughter, Raquel, who is fighting a terminal illness. We enjoyed an intimate concert with a fantastic singer and musician, Mindy Gledhill.

Anchor-Mindy GledhillOur friend introduced us to her uplifting music while we were in the hospital, and we bought a couple of her albums right away. We listened to them every day, as I mentioned in one of my previous posts. Raquel’s music therapist had a connection with one of the docs who knew Mindy, and they requested for her to come play for Raquel and the other hospitalized children. She accepted the invitation, but it was scheduled two weeks after we were discharged from the hospital. We decided to make a road trip back to hear her play. It was worth it, and it was a super sweet experience!

Jenni and Raquel at Mindy Gledhill's concert

Mindy introduced herself and played some of her music. She performed several songs that Raquel and I had grown to love as we had listened to her music while we were in the hospital. Her music is so happy and uplifting.

Mindy Gledhill Singing

Some of the lyrics sunk deep into my heart as I compared the messages with the challenges that we were experiencing. Several of the songs touched me so much and made me think of Raquel, especially the one called All About Your Heart, which Mindy had been inspired to write about her dear friend, Stephanie Nielson.

Mindy Gledhill singing 3

When she was done playing she announced that she had some giveaways and pulled out a box of her CDs. First she asked who had a birthday in the month of October and a few people raised their hands and got CDs. Then she asked who had only been at the hospital for one week. Then she asked who had the name of Raquel. We raised our hands and she came over with a big smile and told us she was worried that we wouldn’t be there because we had to make a special trip. And because Raquel’s birthday was in another week she got a second CD and Mindy signed them both. After the concert we discovered that she had a good friend in common with my husband. She was so sweet and wanted to take a photo with Raquel.

Raquel and Mindy Gledhill

I’m so happy that we made the extra trip to take Raquel to hear Mindy sing. It was a wonderful experience! Here is a video my dad took of this special concert. I’ve included Mindy’s commentaries, introductions, and beginning parts of her songs.

Thanks so much for singing to us and inspiring us, Mindy! You are awesome!

Stay tuned for photos and video of Raquel’s sweet 16 birthday party!

Elderberry Recipe: Kid Friendly Glycerite
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This Elderberry recipe is a wonderful, natural remedy for kids (and adults), as it is mild and yummy tasting. I usually make this and start administering it in the fall when school starts and the sick bugs are flying around. It has anti-viral properties, which makes it great for supporting the immune system.

I’ve tried 4 different formulas, and this one is the simple, inexpensive recipe I use and prefer. Your local health food store should carry the 1 ounce of dried elderberries in their bulk herb section.

Elderberry Glycerite

1/4 C or 1 oz dried elderberries
2 C pure water
1 1/2-2 C vegetable glycerin

There will be some stems mixed in with the elderberries and that’s okay. You’ll want to crush the berries a little somehow. I used a nut chopped, which worked just enough for the job.



Combine 2 cups boiling water with the elderberries and cover tightly for 15-20 minutes. I like to put my herbs in a tea bag so I don’t have to strain, but you can add it straight to the water and strain it through some cheesecloth or coffee filter instead.




When I take out the tea bag I squeeze all the excess water out, dunk it back in and squeeze it out again to get all the concentrated liquid out.




Then I add the vegetable glycerine to the elderberry tea. I start with 1 1/2 cups and taste it. If it tastes too strong, then I add a little more glycerine.glycerite-to-stir



Stir and put on a lid. I like to put some in a dropper bottle to keep on the counter and refill as needed. The glycerite will last several months in the cupboard and a year or more in the fridge. Make sure you label the bottle!

Elderberry glycerite

It’s really hard to overdose on this natural product if you use it in moderation, because it’s just like a food. I usually give a dropperful several times a day. If symptoms acute, like the bug my daughters had recently, I give it every hour until symptoms diminish.

It tastes great!