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Archives for September 2011

Grilled Caesar Salad

canyon ranch grilled Caesar saladI have always been a huge fan of Caesar Salad, love the velvety dressing, love the crunch, even love the little salty anchovies.  So when we visited Canyon Ranch I had to try their version which is grilled and it did not disappoint! At the ranch they served this with sun dried tomatoes. Since visiting the ranch I have made this several times at home and even served it at a party or two.

From the Kitchens of Canyon Ranch


Caesar Salad Dressing:

1 teaspoon minced anchovy fillet

1/4 cup roasted garlic cloves

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 Romaine lettuce hearts

Olive oil spray

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Puree all ingredients for dressing in a blender.

2. Preheat grill.

3. Cut Romaine lettuce hearts in half.  Spray lettuce with olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill to mark and cook slightly on each side.

4. Place 1/2 Romaine lettuce heart on each plate and top with 1 tablespoon Caesar Salad Dressing.

Serving Information

Makes 4 servings, each containing approximately:

55 calories

9 gm. carbohydrate

2 gm. fat

2 mg. cholesterol

3 gm. protein

175 mg. sodium

5 gm. fiber

* Nutritional Note: Try and pick Romaine hearts with as much green color in the leaves as you can. With salad greens, the more color means more nutritional value.

Back to School for Bloggers

apple and booksWelcome to Back to School for my new weekly ProBlogger Review. I will be reviewing both “First Week of Blogging” & 31 Days to build a better blog. Some of you might be total newbies, some of you might be starting a second or third blog, some of you might be starting a business blog, starting a vlog, and some of you like me might like to review with the “scholar” of blogging to perfect your own site. In any event I am thrilled as punch to happy to have you join me. I will be posting here on Thursdays and occasionally will be hosting Tweet Up to discuss things a little further.

I will discuss the weekly lessons as well as put up a weekly task. OK, with that said, “Did anyone bring me an apple?”

Today we are starting from the beginning… Let’s take a look at the first week of blogging… As I said, even if you are not a newbie, this is such a great lesson for all of us!

Planning, planning and some more planning..

1. Set up an ideas folder. This is the brain behind your blog; this is where you will store your info to create quality content.

  • You can use old standard office files and label them; I find these useful for magazine or newspaper articles that I save that bring an idea for a post to mind, and those little pieces of paper I jot on with an idea when I am doing something completely different.
  •  Or set up files on your desktop.
  • Set up a main “idea” file and then secondary files within that or idea text documents. *This is where you run in the middle of the night if you get that “great idea” you want to write about but are afraid you will forget about until morning.
  • Each text file is a different idea for a blog post.
  • Write a topic in the subject and leave until later to come back to.
  • Some text files might have 2-3 key points which will help you start to write your content.
  • Others might be full drafts which when reviewed you can move over to schedule to post. (That might be another folder-ready to edit.)

If you are like me you have a hundred ideas going through your head and this will help you keep things organized from the start, and will also help you when you have “writers block” and need something to fill in fast.

2. Brainstorm posts i.e. Mind Mapping. This is key to coming up with great content for future use. Darren explains this in great detail.  The main thing to remember is to sit down with an open mind, doing this 5 minutes before your kids get home from school, or just before it’s time to make dinner is not the time to do this.

  • However you may choose a different method of brainstorming but the key is to set aside specific times to simply come up with ideas to write about. *I now do this the weekend before the beginning of a new month.
  • Mind mapping is also a great way to come up with categories for your new blog on topics which you would like to cover.

3. Set a posting rhythm. After doing your mind mapping you should have a handful of great post ideas to put into your ideas folder. Now is the time to sit down and “realistically” think about your life, do you have a business, children, demanding husband, now is the time to think about all of this and how am I going to fit writing into your blog, don’t fret it can be done! You just have to be organized and come up with a plan.

  • Schedule a time to write your content.
  • Establish a time/day to edit.
  • Decide what days you are going to post on a Calendar. *I do this on my Google calendar.
4. Plan your first week of content. Now that you have both a mind map and an ideas folder of great post topics, and you have set up times to make this happen it is time to pull this all in place. If you have done your mind mapping and sit up the posting rhythm you should be set to work well beyond your first week of blogging.

5. Create a launch post. It’s Show Time!! Now is the time to sit down and take the first idea, the one that sparked your interest in why you wanted to write this blog and put your pencil to paper or fingers to keys and type away…

  • Within your first post I would introduce yourself and let people know why you are writing and creating this site.
  • Let people know how reading your site might help them.
  • Set up an RSS feed through Google and point people to subscribe to it.
  • It is always good to have someone look at your launch post before hitting the publish button, PLEASE make sure all of your spelling and grammar are correct.


Now, after taking the time to go through each of these tasks let’s  create a post; either a launch post, a re-launch post or an About Me Page and link up! Take a moment to stop by the blogger just before you and leave some love.


I’m so glad to have you with me!




10 Fun Facts About Apples

applephoto credit: Linds

  • Two pounds of apples make one 9-inch pie


  • Apples are fat, sodium, and cholesterol free


  • 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States.


  • Most apples are still picked by hand in the fall.


  • The crabapple is the only apple native to North America.


  • A medium apple is about 80 calories.


  • It takes the energy from 50 leaves to produce one apple.


  • One of George Washington’s hobbies was pruning his apple trees.


  • A bushel of apples weights about 42 pounds and will yield 20-24 quarts of applesauce.


  • Some apple trees will grow over 40 feet high and live over 100 years.
What is your favorite apple? favorite recipe? I’ll be posting some of mine soon! stay tuned…

Inspiration formed from love

shane's inspiration logo

Back in early 1998 while I was in the “building phase” of Hadley’s Park I had heard of an organization in Los Angeles that was planning on creating a fully inclusive playground and I thought, “Wow! Someone else with the same vision, a place for all children, someone who was doing the same thing that I was doing clear across the country, I would love to meet these people and learn about what they were planning on doing. So that is exactly what I did, I made a phone call introduced myself to one of their founders, Catherine, traded a few frequent flier miles, grabbed one of my board members and we were off to California to meet the founding crew of what today is known as “Shane’s Inspiration.”

Shane’s Inspiration was created by Catherine Curry-Williams and Scott Williams in memory of their son Shane Alexander who had passed away the year before of Spinal Muscular Atrophy only a few weeks after his birth. Had Shane lived, he would have spent his life in a wheelchair. Because of a physical disability, Shane would have been denied one of the most fundamental rights of childhood: the right to play independently with friends and family at neighborhood and school playgrounds. This realization encouraged the Williams and family friend Tiffany Harris to turn a tragedy into a vision that resulted in Shane’s Inspiration… a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children with disabilities.

I was so glad to take the trip out there and meet the entire group of fine folks and listen to their story; we laughed, we cried, we shared our visions but most of all we bonded over a common cause. I cannot believe that was 13 years ago! Shane’s Inspiration is very close to my family’s heart and I will write much more about them over time. But right now I just wanted to introduce you to them and to their wonderful work!

shane's inspiration

Upon completion Shane’s Inspiration gave a gift to thousands of Los Angeles children through the creation of an environment where all children can play together at the highest level of their ability. With the support of visionary community leaders, Shane’s Inspiration created the first Universally Accessible Playground in the Western United States. Located in Griffith Park, “Shane’s Inspiration” provides two acres of fully accessible, sensory-rich and physically challenging equipment.

In June 2002 they started an inclusive play program called “Shane’s Club.” with a small group of committed families which has grown to almost 1,000 members today!

Run today by Tiffany Harris, I applaud this wonderful organization for all it does for all children! If you live in the Los Angeles area I invite you to go visit this wonderful playground or check out many more that they have developed. Should you want to get involved in helping them raise funds to build playgrounds, an exceptional woman named Marci Moran is head of their events, and I know she would be glad to have you stop by and say “hi!” I know somewhere Shane is smiling!

Fall = Orange

I have been so busy writing about my families journey with a special needs child and my wellness makeover that I have neglected to write about things that inspire me on a daily basis however as part of my “new do” I am going to be writing about the well rounded person that I am and all that incorporates into the making of “me.”

As a small child I was always redecorating my dollhouses interiors. Other girls would love to change their doll’s outfits and accessories however, I was just thrilled to make “wallpaper” and move all of the furniture around in their houses, and not care so much about the dolls themselves. I also spent a great deal of time “rearranging” my stuff in my room because I was not allowed to even “think” about moving the furniture so from time to time, I would take allll of my books off the shelves, and other nick-knacks I had and rearrange it all. This should have been my first indication that I had a love for all things “interiors,” however it wasn’t until my second year in college that I took the leap and chose it as my major.

There are so many elements of design that I love, but my gift from god, well, one of them, I am grateful for is my gift of color. I can visualize what just about anything will look like. And i LOVE color!!

As part of my Designing Diva column I’d like to share with you some of my favorite elements of design, and in honor of “fall” i’d like to introduce you to the color, “orange.”

orangeWhat do you think of when you hear “orange?”


So sad to say good bye…

all my children marriage chartphoto credit: we loves soaps and abc

Today marks an end of an era, some people might snicker and think nothing of it, but for 41 years the town of Pine Valley has been “home” to many who have not really resided there but sat and watched from the comfort of their family rooms and glimpsed into the lives of this small towns citizens.

We have witnessed; hookers become wealthy housewives, people find out they have long lost missing twins, people come back from the dead, siblings stealing each other’s spouses and turning marriages into divorce and then new marriages, bouts with amnesia, anorexia, deadly accidents and switching of DNA test results, babies switched at birth, and lots and lots of blackmail. There have been story lines that were so unbelievable crazy to those that really touched our hearts.

I can’t remember when exactly I started watching All My Children, because the TV was not on in my house during the day growing up, but somehow I must have started watching at a friend’s home in the late 70’s. My earliest memory was watching beautiful Nina Cortlandt fall in love with Dr. Cliff Warner and longed to have a wedding as beautiful as theirs. (Little did I know, in “real life” I would move to the town where they filmed that wedding and many other scenes.)

I have watched Jessie, Angie, Tad and Liza, as well as the diva Erica’s life move from teen to grandparents. It is amazing to think about all of the lives and stories that were intertwined on that show.

The show did bring issues to light and caused people to think about things that were not really spoken about like, anorexia, spousal abuse, AIDS, drug addiction and alcoholism, and rape.

So what did Pine Valley do for me? I know a lot of people think; soaps, how stupid, what a waste of time. But I’ll admit it, Pine Valley has been my “guilty pleasure.” For one hour of time I could leave my life and just watch the lives of others unfold as crazy as some of the story lines were. I found myself hanging from that “cliffhanger Friday” until Monday sometime to see… what happened… and yes it did entertain me, isn’t that what TV is supposed to be for?

Nothing quite like a parfait… for breakfast

Greek yogurt parfaitI have become a breakfast kind of gal; however it has to be something “special.” No boring cereal for me, unless it is steal cut oats and fruit, yum, however that’s another recipe..,. Today we are talkin’ parfaits…

I know you are saying parfait for breakfast?

Why yes we are!

A wonderful mixture of oats, nuts, fruit and Greek yogurt, so yummy and full of everything you will need to start off a great day!

Shelley’s Breakfast Parfait

Makes 4 servings

Serving size:

½ cup of Greek yogurt

½ cup of berries and bananas

¼ of granola mixture



½ cup of raw almonds chopped

½ cup of walnuts chopped

1 cup of rolled oats

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

Pinch of cinnamon

2 cups Greek yogurt

2T of honey

½ t of vanilla

2 cups of mixed berries

1 banana



Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a small bowl mix the rolled oats, nuts, syrup and cinnamon and then spread on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes. When done let come to room temperature.

In another small bowl mix the Greek yogurt with the honey and vanilla.

Now it is time to assemble:

Take out your fanciest parfait glass or bowl. *note you should try and enjoy all of your senses surrounding your meal; sight and smell as well as taste. Another little ditty that my nutritionist taught me.

Add ½ cup of the Greek yogurt mixture into the parfait glass or bowl.

Layer ¼ of the granola mixture on top of the Greek yogurt.

Top with the berries and ¼ of the banana

Enjoy with your family, friends, or by yourself… I know you are going to love it!

My new “home”

streamersThis is the start of “something new”….. I am so excited I can just *squeal! “eee” Can you hear me? I’d be surprised if you couldn’t. The last time I anticipated so much joy was when I gave birth to my daughters, no wait maybe when I cut the ribbon on my first fully inclusive playground. OK, you get what I’m saying. I am pretty darn excited.

I’m Still Standing has evolved so much over the past two and a half years; it began as a place for me to start my creative juices moving to write about a book about my inspirational daughter Hadley and how my family’s life as well as so many other children’s lives have been changed due to her disability. *Note to self, get that book outline finally done!

I have so much to write about raising a child with disabilities and what our family has been through in our 20 years with Hadley but I have gotten so many wonderful emails from friends about how did I start a nonprofit organization, and what did I do to raise $1 Million for my first project so I thought hmm maybe this should be part of my “new do.”

My life as a “designer” and “entertainer” *not like someone on TV or movies, rather someone who loves to give parties! keeps popping up from time to time so I thought it would make a fun addition to show the “well rounded” Shelley.

Then last year I began a “Wellness Makeover” to live a healthier and fuller life. It has been a daily struggle as anxiety has decided to come back into my life so I’m taking everything day by day and hoping to share with friends along the way, because I know I’m not the only one on this journey. And isn’t it more fun to travel with friends?

This year while thinking about my site and what direction I want to move in I spearheaded ProBlogger’s 31 Days to a Better Blog and took a lot to heart. From that moment my brain was “high jacked” and I began to write down many ideas. However I couldn’t make this easy on myself (naturally that would just not be like me!) so I decided that not only did this site need a facelift and move from blogger to WordPress but so did my other site The DC Ladies.

Six months, I began this conversion six months ago! The culmination of this site could not be possible without the wonderfully talented team that I was introduced to through my friends the Sits Girls. Renee, my graphic designer, from  Studio Bold has so much talent I can’t even begin to tell you, and Gill, my programmer, from Flashing Cursor, although we had a few little hosting issues, he was great at getting the site just the way Renee and I envisioned it to work. So please applause for my new friends! And a great deal of thanks from me to both of them for all their time and effort I know you put into not only one site but two!

Love to Cook, Love to share stories of inspiration, Love to help others, Love to exercise-well not really, but I do love Zumba and dancing and I Love the way I feel when I’m done and love to Entertain

And I love that you are all here with me… while…

I’m Still Standing…

I’m Still Standing website: a sneak peak

It amazes me how fast this year has flown by… September, really? The summer went by in a blink of an eye, we went from event to event in our home, and I anxiously awaited the arrival of my newly designed site, which will be here…. Soon!

I’m Still Standing started out in the spring of 2009 when I began jotting down stories about raising a daughter with disabilities while raising another very active daughter, to help me become a more confident writer and like most things in my life it has “evolved.”

So who am I, you might be asking if this is your first time joining me:
I am Shelley Kramm, Playground Fairy, Special Needs Advocate, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Blogger, Wife and Mom to three wonderful people who have helped change the world, who is on a Wellness Adventurer; and did I mention I really am dying to get to Italy?

It’s called I’m Still Standing… well basically because I AM!

So this is kind of my re-launch page… however it would make more sense to have had my website redone by this time, but you know how that goes… plan for A and you get, umm, in my case C! But it will be here soon…

Here is a sneak peak of what’s in store for you:

new blog header

• Special Needs Mom: I will continue to write about our journey in raising a special needs child, there is so much to be said about 19 years of struggles, triumphs and joys.

• Healthy Shelley: I will share some delicious recipes and my cooking expertise in making “regular” recipes a little healthier. And also some tales from the treadmill and beyond.

• How to Helper: This is where I will share my bloggy educational wisdom that I have learned from all of the books I have read, conventions and seminars I have gone to, and my love for ProBlogger. (He is the bloggy genius!) I’m like your personal bloggy cheerleader!

• Designing Diva: I have a BS in Interior Design and I minored in Landscape Architecture so I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my loves for the elements of design, especially color!

• Media Maven: In my “spare time” I am co-founder and editor of a lifestyle blog where I have the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people and I’ll be sharing tales with you here.

• Playground Fairy: After raising a million dollars to design and create the first fully inclusive playground in the state of Maryland and running the nonprofit I originated to do that I have some wonderful ideas for anyone who wants to do the same or build on an idea to start a nonprofit.

Why you should stick around I’m Still Standing:

This site is dedicated to helping other people who want to be inspired, who are looking for everything from healthy recipes to stories about overcoming adversity, and realizing we are all “able”.

If you want to read an extended version of my story I’ve written it at Why I’m Still Standing. You might also like to visit my families press page.

I told you I’m social:

I love getting mail! I love reading comments, I love meeting new people so do your thing… leave me some love!!

And if a post so moves you like I do hope some will please hit those little icons at the button and share the posts with all of your friends on twitter or facebook, or any other social media outlet you might have.

Subscribe to I’m Still Standing:
Please stay in touch with what I’m up to through one of my subscription methods. Also feel free to connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn and Join my Wellness Makeover on Facebook. I’d love to hear from you!-contact page