The Blog of a Bluegrass Belle: Big Red Shoes and Tiny Little Hats

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Big Red Shoes and Tiny Little Hats

Can you imagine having a baby small enough to wear this hat? 
Three of my very slender fingers fit in this tiny little hat
My son weighed 7 pounds and 8 ounces when he was born 2 weeks shy of his due date.  I was terrified I would hurt him, and he seemed so small.  He weighed nearly 4 times what some of the super premie babies born or transferred to the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center do.  I can't imagine having a baby that small and having to watch them fight for survival.  It would heartbreaking.  Thankfully Ronald McDonald Houses across the country provide a warm shower, cozy bed, and a hot meal to families of children who are hospitalized due to prematurity, illness, or injury.  They help make the day a little brighter and easier, for so many families who are clinging to hope.  



Today Bluegrass Junior Woman's Club was recognized by the Ronald McDonald House of the Bluegrass for our support to their organization and the room that we sponsor.  It was heartwarming to see the clubs name on the door and hear all of the success stories.  They had a county map which listed the number of families from each county, along with the number of nights they stayed cumulatively.  My home county Knox, was one of their top five counties serviced.  Last year 19 families from Knox had stayed at the house for a total of 200+ nights.  I couldn't help but be curious if anyone from my hometown had stayed in the BJWC sponsored room.  I am from a very close knit community, everyone  either knows everyone else or they are related.  The county is nearly 2 hours away from the hospital, so staying at the house would be a necessity for anyone with a hospitalized premie.  I love knowing that the Ronald McDonald house is there for those families.  In the south, "we take care of our own," as they say.  

Some of the women from our organization, Bluegrass Junior Womans Club and the only clown I would ever be around
The club took a tour of the house and we snapped a few photos.  Most of us have cooked dinner there multiple times but I had never been given a tour.  Along with our premie caps, the house gave each of us a pin and an umbrella (mine is going to D.C. with me next week).  Our time at the house reminded me to be thankful for so many simple things in my life, especially a healthy child.  It was nice to see the dedication of our club pay off, and know that so many families were helped in a time of need.  

A candid of me chopping veggies for soup, I diced nearly an entire bag of onions
We cooked dinner for the residents of the house.  It always great when you can watch a large group of woman work successfully together.  The club chose Rachel Ray's Chicken Orzo Soup 

Here is the recipe for anyone interested:


  • cup orzo pasta
  • tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • pound chicken cutlets, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • ounces sliced white mushrooms
  • ribs celery, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 15 ounce can  cannellini beans, rinsed
  • cups chicken broth
  • tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the orzo until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and celery and cook until the chicken is golden-brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cooked orzo, the beans, chicken broth and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat to medium and simmer until heated through. Stir in the parsley. 
When we were done cooking, I sat at the table with my friends and watched as the residents ate.  I couldn't image what they were dealing with, I just hoped they were enjoying a peaceful, delicious meal.  I came home to a happy, healthy little boy and a heart full of gratitude.  

There are so many ways to help your local Ronald McDonald House.
1. Donate money
2. Plan a dinner with a group of friends
3. Volunteer at the house or at the family room in the hospital
4.  Collect soda pop tabs
5.  Host a fundraiser
6. Collect items for their "wish list"

You could easily help make a difference in the life of one child and their family.  Please visit Ronald McDonald House of Lexington to find out how you can help or volunteer!  

“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
― Mother Teresa


XOXO ~Jess