Miracles Do Happen– Please Welcome My Baby Girl Silje Marie–Born 6/8/12


Mommy & Silje - August 10, 201225 years ago on a beautiful August day I was riding in the backseat of my parents car on our way to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula when news came on the radio of a plane crash in Detroit.  Northwestern Flight 255 had 155 people on board when the accident happened. There was one sole survivor. A 4 year old little girl who had been identified as Cecilia. 


You can imagine as a child the thoughts that ran through my head.  How could this one small little girl have survived all that chaos? What would she do without her immediate family. How would she live the rest of her life without them? I wondered what miracles really meant, did they really exist and if this was one of them.



Shortly after the news the radio started playing Simon & Garfunkel’s Cecilia. I was familiar with the song as my stepfather listened to it all the time.  But from that day forward that song cemented the memories of that crash, the little girl, and that day into my head.


Skip forward, 10 years ago when I was in Norway.  I came across the name Silje. I was immediately drawn to the name. It was so beautiful & unique. My then boyfriend (now husband) and I talked about the name & decided if we ever had a baby together that would be her name. You know, just those silly things you talk about when you’re first in love & everything is wonderful.


When I found out that my 3rd and final child would be born a girl naturally the first thing that popped into my mind was the name Silje. I decided to research it more. I discovered it was the Norwegian form of Cecilia & St. Cecilia was the patron saint of musicians. Perfect. My husband (a musician) and I met in a music chat room online more than 10 years ago. What name could be more appropriate. Then slowly as I pondered it, that day 25 years ago came back to my memory. Cecilia. That beautiful little child that was such a miracle. The name Silje was perfect. It was a special name for so many reasons. It would be my daughters name.


On June 8th, 2012 my first and only daughter was born. Her & I almost didn’t make it. Upon arrival at the hospital I was told I was 8cm dilated. My biggest worry? Would I get an epidural in time.  My Dr. dressed quickly & they rushed me to a delivery room within seconds. I was told to push if I wanted.  While I was pushing the Dr. placed his hand inside to inspect me & out gushed the waters, filled with meconium.  This had happened in my last birth so I knew I would still be able to have her vaginally, but within 2 seconds that all changed.  The Dr.’s face told all. What would be a quick delivery just turned in to an emergency.  Her cord had prolapsed. It came out before she did. This creates a risk that when the baby exists the birth canal the head can compress the cord and cut off oxygen to the baby. It’s a fairly rare occurrence.


The next few moments went by in a whirl as my Dr. jumped on the bed riding along with me to the O.R. with his hand literally stuck inside of me.  An emergency C-section was imminent. I started to get scared as we entered the room and people surrounded me. I was all alone in a room full of strangers. 18 of them! As I cried out the staff was there to hold my hand and comfort me. The anesthesiologist told me I’d be ok and then I finally went to sleep.


When I woke up I was in recovery & my baby was nowhere to be found. I honestly didn’t even remember what had happened. I was on dilaudid so I was completely out of it. All I wanted was my baby.  They told me she had come out 11 lbs 12 oz & from the time I got in that room to the time everything was over. 13 minutes.    At that moment everything started flooding into my mind. Had we stayed at home even 10 minutes later her and I wouldn’t have made it. She was NOT coming out of that birth canal easily. She was just as big as I had feared. I also learned that I lost a lot of blood. I hemorrhaged and had to have a transfusion. 10 minutes later…  we never would have made it.  My boys would be motherless & my beautiful daughter wouldn’t exist.


After I was out of recovery and was able to see my little girl, who was in the NICU at the time I went back to my room and I thought about a lot of things. Why was life going the way it was. Why when I was so happy and so lucky were other aspects of my life falling apart.  I mostly thought about how lucky I was to be here for all of my children, whom I love with all of my heart. Just days prior I had been in my bed crying and wondering if “God” or the universe, or even my grandmother, who passed 2 short years ago were really ever looking out for me. I felt extremely alone, judged for a lot of things that were happening in my life, such as having Silje when my marriage is not going very well at all.  I was wondering why I had to endure all of this & were things ever going to get better. I actually thought for a moment maybe there really is no afterlife, maybe there really are no angels, no loved ones to greet you when you pass, no anything. Maybe this is all there is.


When we left the hospital I sat down in my mom’s car & I stared ahead, wondering how things would go once I got home. I glanced over to the screen on her radio, which had been turned down and there I saw “Simon & Garfunkel  – Cecilia”.  It was then that I knew there is someone watching over us.. and my baby girl was meant to be. Everything that has happened thus far in my life was meant to be. Good & bad it has all led me here to where I am. Although times are tough, I will NEVER question the fact that some things really do happen for a reason.  I have been extremely blessed to have 3 beautiful little children that love me unconditionally & whom I love unconditionally.  Every day I look at them I am thankful for all that I have. And that question I had 25 years ago as a little girl about if miracles really do exist? Well I finally have my answer. They do.


Silje Marie - 11lbs, 12 oz, 22 in

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vegan Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting






Looking for the perfect cupcake to compliment your Easter celebration that’s healthy to boot?  Thanks to allergy-free/vegan chef Debbie Adler (as seen in the Los Angeles Times), there’s a safe (and sugar-free) Carrot Cake Cupcake recipe that is a great way to say Happy Easter! 


Debbie is a chef/mom and owner of Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes, in Los Angeles (a favorite of celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Ray Romano). She is also the author of Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats: Allergy-free & Vegan Recipes from the Famous Los Angeles Bakery (Harlequin). 


Her recipes were developed out of love for her son. At just three-years-old, he nearly died from an allergic reaction to frozen yogurt. That’s when she transformed her bakery to offer goods that are totally safe for anyone with food intolerance’s. 


Thank you to Debbie for sharing her recipe with us today.


Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vegan Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting



Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vegan Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
Serves 12
Allergy-free/vegan chef Debbie Adler brings you this delicious gluten & sugar-free Carrot Cake Cupcake recipe that is a great way to say Happy Easter!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. Must Have
  2. 12 standard-size paper baking cups
  3. 3 large carrots (about 4 ounces)
  4. ¾ cup unsweetened plain coconut milk
  5. 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  6. 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
  7. 1¼ teaspoons sodium-free baking powder
  8. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  9. ½ teaspoon ginger powder
  10. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  11. ½ teaspoon guar gum
  12. 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  13. ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  14. ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  15. ¼ cup coconut nectar
  16. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  17. ⅜ teaspoon stevia powder
Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. 8 ounces vegan, soy-free cream cheese
  2. 2 - 3 tablespoons plain coconut milk
  3. 3/8 teaspoon stevia powder
  4. ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  5. ½ vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scooped out and reserved
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Line a standard 12-cup cupcake tin with paper baking cups.
  3. Peel the carrots and slice it into ½-inch chunks. Steam the carrot chunks for about 15 minutes, or until tender. Transfer the carrot chunks to a potato ricer and push them through into a small bowl. This will give you lumpless carrot puree.
  4. Mix together the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar in a 2-cup measuring cup.
  5. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, guar gum, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle.
  6. Add the grapeseed oil, coconut nectar, vanilla and stevia to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Next add the coconut milk mixture and stir until it is absorbed and the batter is smooth. Stir in 1/3 cup of the carrot puree.
  7. Pour the batter into the measuring cup, as the spout will make it easier to pour the batter into the cupcake tin without spillage.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake tin, dividing it evenly. Each cup should be about two-thirds full.
  9. Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 16 minutes, or until they are a light golden orange and bounce back slightly to the touch. Rotate the cupcake tin from front to back halfway through baking.
  10. Transfer the cupcake tin from the oven to a wire rack and let sit for 10 minutes before removing the cupcakes to cool completely.
Vanilla Frosting
  1. To make the vanilla bean cream cheese frosting, mix together the cream cheese and coconut milk in a medium-size bowl. Add the stevia and salt and stir until smooth and well incorporated. Stir in the vanilla bean seeds.
  2. Frost the completely cooled cupcakes.
  1. Keep unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or wrap and freeze them for up to 3 months. Leftover frosting keeps in the fridge for about 4 weeks if stored in an airtight container.
First-Time-Mommy.com http://first-time-mommy.com/blog/




Are you saying “no” when your kid asks for a cupcake at a party? If so, Debbie Adler has a cupcake for you. In fact, the sweets out of her L.A. bakery and cookbook actually make you feel good. With her own son allergic to “every food in the USDA pyramid,” Debbie took matters into her own kitchen. (Without any ambitions of Food Network stardom, she was inspired to become her son’s allergen-free Iron Chef as well as create a bakery so that children like her son, as well as those with diabetes, celiac disease and autism, could safely enjoy mouth-watering and nutritious desserts.


Today, her popular bakery has Hollywood’s A-list celebrities (including Gwyneth Paltrow) and customers nationwide phoning in orders of her delicious, nutritious muffins, brownies, cookies, cupcakes, donut holes and breads. In Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats, Debbie reveals why she uses nourishing grapeseed oil and coconut oil, why it’s best to sweeten with zero-calorie stevia and mineral-rich coconut nectar and how her gluten-free flour mix packs an alimental punch. The book is a treasure trove of valuable tips, tricks and intimate details, and Debbie shares all her delectable secrets for 50 treats like Irresistible Red Velvet Cupcakes and Cosmic Chocolate Chip Cookies.



Debbie Adler opened her allergen-free, vegan bakery Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes in Los Angeles in 2006. She has appeared on NBC’s evening news, and has been featured in Pilates Style magazine and on InStyle online and E! Online. Her recipes have been published online by Food Allergy Research and Education, The Chalkboard, Life Goes Strong and AllergyMoms.com. She is a graduate of Binghamton University and was a CPA for a large accounting firm in New York City until she realized all she wanted to do was count to a dozen. She is now the chef and owner of Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes, which caters to celebrities, Hollywood studios, large food companies and customers nationwide. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son. Visit her website at www.sweetdebbiesorganiccupcakes.com.


Spring Is In The Air With New Limited Edition #FebrezeSpring Scents (Giveaway) @SheSpeaksUp








This is a sponsored review courtesy of  SheSpeaks/Febreze


It’s finally spring! Here near Detroit we had the snowiest winter on record since the 1800’s. Over 90 inches of snow this season & most of that in a 2 month time frame. We just beat the record a few short days ago but I don’t care because I had a taste of Spring earlier in the month with 70F degree weather & I know it won’t be long now before I can open the windows every day, let the breeze blow in, listen to the birds chirp, and enjoy smell of all the flowers that are blooming. 


A few weeks ago Shespeaks & Febreze sent me a box with a few of the new limited edition #FebrezeSpring scents in it.  The first thing I did was swap out my old Set & Refresh with the new Limited Edition Rain scent, and for my kitchen, the Limited Edition Sweet Pea Petals scent. It lifted my mood immediately.  I received a little booklet with the scratch n’ sniff stickers of every scent & I can’t wait to try the Nectar, which can only be described as a golden luscious fruity type of smell. You have to check it out for yourself.

The Limited Edition Febreze Spring Scents Consist of:


  • Nectar
  • Rain
  • Sweet Pea Petals
  • Wildflower

The new Limited Edition Spring Collection can be purchased at Walmart





Connect with Febreze Online

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/febreze
Twitter: https://twitter.com/febreze_fresh





 My favorite Springtime scent of all time is lilac. When I was a child I spent a lot of time with my Grandparents. Every spring their entire yard was filled with various colors of purple due to all the lilac bushes blooming. The scent was always heavenly. Nowadays we have one lilac bush left and it’s older than I am. Every spring when it blooms and the scent wafts through the air I am reminded of my childhood with my family. Planting our vegetable garden, playing on my swing set, and watching my grandfather at work out in his barn.  Such great memories.

Do you want to win a $15 Walmart gift card so you can experience the new Limited Edition Spring Collection from Febreze?  You need to be a Facebook Fan first & foremost & then all you have to do is tell me 2 things.


1. Tell me what MY favorite spring time scent of all time is. (hint: read above)

2. Tell me what YOUR favorite springtime scent of all time is (and if you want to tell me why go ahead! I love reading your comments).

Want an Extra Entry or 2??

1. “Like” the Facebook Post
2. “Share” the Facebook Post

Leave your comments on this Facebook post RIGHT HERE. Not on the blog!  Tuesday morning 4/29  I’ll pick a winner, announce them & send the card out.

Good Luck!


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Shespeaks & Febreze.








Becoming a first time parent is exciting, unforgettable and…just a little bit scary!  Your baby’s first year will be filled with triumphs, milestones and tears as you jump on the roller coaster ride called parenthood.  Magilla Entertainment and a major cable network are now casting a new documentary series that will tell the story of parenting, told by the parents themselves as they navigate diapers, 4 AM feedings and everything in between.  If you and your significant other are preparing to welcome your first born into the world and want to share your story – from the pregnancy to the first birthday – in a heartfelt and moving way, please contact us at castingdirector@magilla.tv with your names, locations, ages, phone number, recent photos and a few sentences about your story.  Please don’t forget to tell us how far along you are in your pregnancy! 

Celebrate International Carrot Day with These Healthy Baby Food Recipes Courtesy Tyler Florence & Sprout Baby Foods









International Carrot Day

Sprout Baby Foods is dedicated to bringing delicious, healthy food to growing babies and children. Sprout is celebrating April 4, International Carrot Day, by highlighting their great recipes that include the nutritious vegetable.


Not only is carrot one of the first solid foods introduced to babies, but it is an important ingredient containing vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. This is why many of the Sprout baby and toddler meal flavors contain the healthy vegetable. For example, Sprout’s organic Pasta and Lentil Bolognese includes nutritious grains as vegetables, including tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery and lentils. From roasted soup to blended fruit purees, these carrot recipes encourage a healthy relationship with vegetables as well as a nutritious diet for little ones.


Tyler Florence, co-founder of Sprout and advisor to Sprout’s recipe team has created the healthy and nutritious carrot recipes below. These recipes are found in his Start Fresh cookbook, which is based on his Sprout recipes. 




Carrot Mango Apple


This flavor combination is a great option for babies being introduced to fruits and vegetables. The combination can also be found in Sprout’s line of squeezable pouches for on-the-go snacks and meals.



  • 3 medium carrots, peeled

  • 1 mango, cut into chunks

  • 2 medium Granny Smith or Rome apples, halved and cored


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Arrange the carrots, mango, and apples on the baking sheet and roast until the fruit has browned and the carrots are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

  3. Scrape the fruit and carrots into a blender and puree until smooth.

  4. Makes about 11?2 cups

Sweet and Savory Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup


Sprout Sweet Baby Carrots and Roasted Butternut Squash



  • 1 Onion, chopped

  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced or minced

  • 2 pouches of Sprout Sweet Baby Carrots

  • 3 pouches of Sprout Roasted Butternut Squash

  • 2 cups low sodium Chicken Stock

  • Salt & Pepper to taste

  • 4 Tablespoons Butter (or less if you prefer, or 2 Tablespoons of olive oil)

  • Maple Syrup (add if you prefer, about 1 Tablespoon recommended)


  1. Over medium heat melt 2-4 tablespoons butter in a pot on medium heat. Add onion and sauté gently until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 3 minutes more until just beginning to brown. Add Butternut Squash and Carrots and Chicken Stock, and cook until heated through. Alternatively you can use less or add stock or cream to your preferred soup thickness. Add salt, pepper and maple syrup to taste.

  2. Put the olive oil and butter into a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and toss to coat them well with the fat; season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, make the Herb Butter by combining the soft butter and herbs together; season with some salt and pepper.

  4. To serve, spread some Herb Butter in the bottom of a bowl. Add the hot vegetables and dot with more Herb Butter. Moisten with some of the cooking liquid and serve.




Image credits: serezniy, daniel vincek

Target’s Biggest Baby Sale of the Year– Stroller, Travel Systems & Accessory Deals






Target is having their biggest baby sale of the year & they have all sorts of deals going on.  There are a lot of free shipping deals so make sure you read the fine print. The Stroller deals are pretty awesome. These are just a few that you might be interested in.


Shopping In-Store? Grab this Printable Coupon!

If you’ll be shopping in store make sure you print out the following coupon for $20 off $100 or more.




Shopping Online? Don’t forget to shop through Ebates  & Get a Free $10 Gift Card (for new users)

If you’re shopping online (some of these deals are only online) make sure if you haven’t already you sign up for Ebates.com & then type in “Target” in the search field.  Once you’ve done that you can come back here & click any of the links to the products directly or navigate the Target site however you wish.  You will get cash back up to 2.5%.


Use Ebates every time you shop online & every few months you can have it sent to you by check or through paypal.  You can read my experience with them HERE if you like.


If you’ve never used Ebates before you will be asked to choose between a variety of gift cards upon signing up & if you spend $25 or more during your first purchase you will get a $10 gift card shipped to you. (It only took 2 weeks to receive mine). 



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#Giveaway – Get Your Skin Spring Ready with Whish Body Butter & New eos Hand Lotion








This is a sponsored post on behalf of eos & Whish




I don’t know about you but my skin has really suffered this winter. Here near Detroit we’ve dealt with that crazy polar vortex several times & December through February we had over 79 inches of snow, which meant tons of shoveling out in the cold dry air & even more time stuck in the house where the air is even drier!


Thankfully these skin saviors from eos and Whish are here to keep skin soft and smooth before Spring’s arrival!


eos – Every Day Hand Lotion

Keep your hands soft as ever this season with the eos Every Day Hand Lotion.  It comes in three soothing scents that will have you dreaming of Spring; Fresh Flowers, Cucumber, and Berry Blossom.  Each hand lotion is made with 97% natural ingredients including aloe, oat, shea butter, and vitamins E&C & they’re small enough to fit perfectly in your pocket, purse or makeup bag so you can carry them with you wherever you go. I’ve been using the Fresh Flower scent for the past week & love it.

eos on Facebook


Price: $3.99

Available: Target/Target.com



Whish -Three Whishes Body Butter


“Get the touchable skin you crave without the added grease you don’t with this incredibly moisturizing body treat. The innovative airless pump ensures that every last bit of the Body Butter ends up on your skin and not stuck in the bottle like those other body creams.This truly indulgent, all-natural, chemical free body cream moisturizes very dry skin without being greasy. It restores lost collagen and firms tired skin with its triple antioxidant power. The Three Whishes Body Butter will pamper your skin with delicious organic and natural ingredients to create supple, healthy skin.” 


I’ve been using the Pomegranate scented body butter & it’s awesome. It has organic shea butter, raspberry butter, and even aloe. It works really well. What I like most about it is that it is Paraben, sulfate, dea, tea, and petrochemical free. It has all natural & organic ingredients and best of all it’s made in the U.S.A.

Whish on Facebook


Price: $24

Availability: Nordstrom.com


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Know An Outstanding Young Volunteer 6-18? Nominate Them For The Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program







The Kohl’s Department Stores Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program will award nearly $400,000 in scholarships and prizes this year to more than 2,300 young volunteers who have made a positive impact in their communities. Nominations for kids ages six to 18 will be accepted January 31 – March 14 at kohlskids.com. Kohl’s is encouraging parents, teachers, neighbors and friends to nominate outstanding youth, in celebration of their time, energy and passion to helping others. 


Two nominees from each of the more than 1,100 Kohl’s stores nationwide will win a $50 Kohl’s gift card, and nearly 200 will win regional scholarships worth $1,000 toward higher education. Ten national winners will be awarded a total of $10,000 in scholarships for higher education, and Kohl’s will donate $1,000 to a nonprofit organization on each national winner’s behalf. 


Since the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program began in 2001, Kohl’s has recognized more than 19,500 kids with more than $3.9 million in scholarships and prizes. For more information or a list of past Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program winners, visit kohlskids.com.


Kohl’s Cares, the philanthropic platform of Kohl’s Department Stores, is committed to giving back to the communities it serves by supporting kids’ health and education nationwide, women’s health and the fight against breast cancer, and environmental initiatives. Since 2000, Kohl’s has raised more than $231 million for kids health and education initiatives through the Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise program, recognized more than 19,500 outstanding kids through the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program and donated more than 2.2 million hours of volunteer time through the Associates in Action volunteer program. For more information on Kohl’s Cares, visit www.Kohls.com/Cares.




Be Heart Healthy with Campbell’s– Check Out These Recipes & Coupons







  This post is sponsored by Campbell Soup Company  



Heart disease runs in my family. In fact, not 10 feet from where I’m typing this, my Grandfather died of a heart attack. I am reminded daily.  That’s one of the many reasons after having children that I have decided to take steps to get healthy. That includes heart healthy.  I’ve struggled since I was a young adult with my weight, and in the past made a lot of questionable choices. But now, I’m a little less naïve, and a lot more willing to put in the effort it takes to get & keep myself in better shape. I want to be a positive role model for my children & I definitely want to be around for a long time to watch them grow.


There are many ways I try to keep myself & my family heart healthy. Things like fast food are a special occasion these days, and eating at home is the norm. I’ve always been a stickler for incorporating just about every food group into our meals, especially dinner. They don’t always eat it! but it is offered.  As a kid my grandparents grew a garden so I was always exposed to a lot of different vegetables, which I love & I am trying to teach my children to love.  So we try to do less red meat, more veggies & when we do eat meat I try to substitute things like ground turkey for hamburger when I can. Sometimes I get away with it, sometimes I don’t! It’s all trial & error, but at least I know we are moving in the right direction.  After all I don’t want my children to grow up with some of the bad eating habits I did. I may have loved veggies but I loved a lot of junk too!


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10 Tips to Prevent Varicose Veins During Pregnancy from Dr. Yan Katsnelson





Because of the extra volume of blood during pregnancy, varicose veins are a common issue. When veins collect an abnormal amount of blood, they can swell and become twisted – forming varicose veins. They can be quite painful and can lead to more serious health issues if left untreated.

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Plum Organics World Baby Pouch Products Recall (Two Varieties Only)






Plum Organics is voluntarily recalling a limited quantity of two varieties of its World Baby line of pouch baby food products after discovering damage to the top rim of the spout in some pouches that happened during production.  There is a possibility that small fragments could loosen, detach and present a choking hazard. These products should not be given to children. The damage should be visible to an adult but Plum Organics are being extra cautious by issuing this recall.

Recall of World Baby Italy & World Baby Thailand Pouches – What to Look For


The following 2 products are the only ones included in this voluntary recall:







What to Do if You Purchased these Products

Contact the Plum Organics Consumer Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 866-535-3774 or send an email to info@plumorganics.com to request reimbursement. For more information visit: www.plumorganics.com/March2014Recall or http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm388000.htm