That Chicken Salad

Losing weight doesn’t have to be boring when you focus on bright, colourful meals. What does this mean? Simply by making sure your plate reflects a range of colours, you’ll naturally create more balanced and healthful menus. Not everyone has the time or the patience to count calories, but assessing the colours on your plate is something anyone can do – and it only takes an instant!

Why is colour important? Several fatty and caloric foods, such as dairy products and startchy carbs, are beige or brown. When there are too many of these drab colours on your plate, weight gain is almost certain.

That’s because these beige foods typically are high in calories and can leave you feeling hungry later. A cup of beige or brown beans can be over 200 calories. . . . but a cup of red or green vegetables is under a hundred! Add fresh greens, deep purple-reds and bright yellow-orange to a meal, and water the nutrient content go up, although calories go down! Plus, you’ll get more enjoyment from eating when there is a variety of colours and flavors on your plate.

3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into small pieces
1 cup peeled and cubed mango

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Add chicken and mango and toss gently to coat. Arrange dark green lettuce leaves around a serving bowl and spoon mixture into bowl.

For extra crunch, serve with a side dish of red and green bell pepper, romaine lettuce, chopped celery and cucumber.

Makes 4 Servings

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving of Curried Chicken:
Calories: 218
Total fat: 3 grams
Saturated fat: 1 gram
Cholesterol: 73 mg
Sodium: 170 mg
Carbohydrate: 17 grams
Protein: 30 grams
Dietary fiber: 1 gram

Why Do Chickens Play An Important Role In Sustainable Living?

Chickens are currently our friend economically speaking, whether you’re thinking as a supplier or a consumer. Chickens are easy to raise, and if you’ve been to the supermarket to purchase meat, you know that chicken comes with a much cheaper price tag than some of the other solutions.

If you’re a supplier, improvements in vaccinations has made hatcheries very happy lately. Any benefit to suppliers is naturally going to trickle down to consumers, a cyclical scratching of the back, if you will. With reproductive efficiency on the rise, it’s making the market for chicken products look very appealing.

Chicken & Food Service Suppliers Are Finding Relief These Days

With vaccination upgrades and boosts in chicken reproduction efforts, chicken suppliers are feeling better these days. Of course, consumers are still questioning the cost of eggs, but both consumers and the food service industry is benefiting from better chicken health and reproduction.

I myself am glad that I can buy chicken for cheap when hamburger and other red meat prices seem to just take me to the bank. Of course, even with the good news, there is plenty of bad news circulating about tortured chickens and suppliers that aren’t handling their business ethically.

Why Is Health Insurance Important

It has been stated that nothing is more important than your health, and there is a lot of truth to that saying. Among other things, a loss of health can mean a loss of earnings if you are not able to work, and it can also mean medical bills that are extremely expensive. Health insurance can help you avoid any of those costs and it can also help individuals to lead more healthy lives by paying for preventive measures such as regular check ups and immunizations to name just two.

There are several means by which an individual can get health insurance. A person may purchase his or her own insurance. A person may receive health insurance as part of an employment package. A person may receive health insurance through local or Federal programs.

In many instances, there might be a combining of the premiums paid. What that means is that, for example, an employer might pay a certain amount of the medical insurance premium and the employee pays the remainder of the premium, usually through payroll deduction. In other cases, an employer or government entity may pay the full amount of the premium.

Also with most types of insurance, health insurance comes in many forms and is available at differing levels of coverage. The best case scenario would be if an employer paid the full amount of the monthly premiums and there were no co-pays or deductibles charged to the patient. This type of coverage is rare, however, unless you are extremely well placed in a company or you are living below the poverty line.

Most consumers will be in a co-pay system of health insurance wherein they are responsible for a certain amount of the bill and the insurance company will pay the rest. As you might imagine, there are many different levels of coverage in these arrangements as well.

Normally, the more money the patient is required to pay from his own pocket at the time of the medical services, the less the monthly premiums will be. For those individuals who are relatively healthy and have a reasonable income this might be the best option for health insurance. For those with a limited income or for those who have health problems this might be a difficult option to live with as the co-pay or deductible of each medical visit will need to be paid for out-of-pocket by the patient.

The importance of having health insurance should not be dismissed or underestimated. Rising medical costs can wipe out a lifetime of savings with just one major medical event. Even the most routine of surgeries can cost tens-of-thousands of dollars, and more sophisticated procedures can easily run into the hundreds-of-thousands of dollars. Health insurance can help pay those skyrocketing cost and help save you from financial ruin.

Before selecting a health program to participate in you should read the contract carefully and understand all of the terms and conditions that are in it. If you are unsure about any of them, ask your employer or the insurance representative for clarification.

What Is Responsible For The Skyrocketing Cost Of Eggs?

Technology keeps finding ways to get cheaper, and the cost of food just continues to rise each and every day, not year. Especially eggs are getting the attention of consumers, as the mainstay is breaking many people’s banks just to keep eggs on their plates.

It’s one thing for a food choice that isn’t a staple to go up in price to where it’s an ‘option.’ But when you have something like eggs costing so much, people really start to take notice. Forget about the fact that gas prices are on the way down because everything else seems to be costing more!

And with gas prices down, and chicken prices still low, why do eggs cost so much? It seems as though chicken and egg costs should be aligned as normal, and it seems that a lower cost of gas should help with transporting eggs. Was there an egg crisis that people don’t know about?

It has definitely made many people wonder just what is going on. The answer lies with the flu when it comes to egg costs. Bird flu has sent the cost of eggs soaring, and it’s going to take some time for prices to come back down.

Were You Aware Of Herbal Remedies For Treatment Of Psoriasis?

When psoriasis flares up, it is not only irritating but also impacts a person’s self esteem and appearance. While there are prescription drugs available for treatment of psoriasis, many people are happy to find out that the condition can be treated with an array of natural remedies as well.

The Aloe Vera plant is one natural remedy, and some essential oils also help provide relief of symptoms. Additionally, apple cider vinegar is known to help with psoriasis as well. Tea tree oil and turmeric are also solutions that people suggest for treating this persistent skin condition.

Proper Health Management

Proper health management can be accomplished by good nutrition and exercise. There are many people in the world today who are struggling with poor health. In many cases the diseases and illnesses that these people have can be prevented by better eating habits and a daily exercise routine.

It is sad to say that many parents do not understand proper health management for their children. Children today have many more illnesses than children did from years ago. Many of these illnesses are caused by inactivity and junk food. Parents need to manage these important areas of their child’s life.

Third World Ingredients

One of the more frustrating things about traveling to a Third World country is trying to find the right ingredients for a delicious Parmesan chicken dinner. We all know that most American grocery stores have a variety of every type of ingredient imaginable for cooking, baking, and barbecuing.

This is not the case however in a Third World country. Finding the right ingredients make something simple like Parmesan chicken is not that easy. Many of the Third World countries do not have supermarkets but only outdoor markets. I love these outdoor markets But unfortunately they do not have the right ingredients for a Parmesan chicken dinner.

Why Holistic Health

Holistic health care is a phrase we hear a lot, but most of us would probably be hard pressed to come up with a definition. Indeed, even if we could, holistic health care means different things to different people, so definitions can change from one source to another.

The term holistic means approaching an entity as whole, because all of its parts are interdependent. As it relates to health care, a holistic approach addresses the whole person, paying attention to all of the interdependent parts, to achieve overall health and well being.

A holistic approach is aimed at maintaining a healthy body, mind and spirit. The understanding is, if there is a problem in any one area, it can affect the others, so we need to look after the whole person, mental and physical, to achieve maximum health.

Contrary to popular belief, holistic health care does not necessarily exclude symptom-based medical treatment. In cases of chronic conditions, diseases or temporary disabilities, especially those involving pain or quality of life issues, a holistic approach can include medicines, support for the body’s own healing ability and care for the patient’s emotional and spiritual well-being.

Especially with elderly patients, the impact of a debilitating physical ailment, coupled with the issues surrounding aging, can lead to mental and emotional issues, like anxiety, depression and isolation. Even a patient’s surroundings, like an unfamiliar hospital room or health care facility, can affect the patient’s ability to deal with an affliction in the best possible way.

In such cases, a holistic health care practitioner can work in partnership with the patient to provide care for the whole person, considering all the factors affecting the patient’s situation.

As an example, if it is determined that a patient’s surroundings are adding to emotional stress or loneliness, simply moving to a more familiar setting could vastly improve the patient’s overall well-being and speed-up recovery.

Very often, a holistic health care provider becomes an elderly patient’s close friend and advisor, acting as an understanding intermediary between the patient, doctors and family.

Several studies show that lifestyle, our physical and mental activities, has the greatest impact on our overall health. A holistic approach to treatment of an ailing elderly patient makes sure their lifestyle constantly moves them towards better health.

Why Need Health Insurance

Health is wealth so they say and all person should prepare financially and emotionally for the possibility of any health problems that may come his way at any time in the future. People say the only things certain in life are taxes and death. Perhaps, illness should also be included in that list because all person can get sick at any time.

A person will only realize the importance of preparing for the possibility of health problems when he is already afflicted with an ailment and he has not prepared for it financially. When that time comes, the sick person is faced not only with pressing health problems but with unpaid bills as well.

Most Americans are aware of the importance of getting a health insurance. However, there are still Americans who do not have healthcare coverage because of a variety of reasons and one of them is the increasing cost of health insurance.

The price of healthcare in the United States is on the rise and majority of American families can no longer afford it without a health insurance. The cost of healthcare has been on the rise because of the number of people getting in and out of hospital annually. It seems that the unhealthy way of life of most Americans plus the increasing number of old people in America are pushing the demand for healthcare to the limit.

Research shows that at least half of the American families could not afford health insurance because of insufficient income. Most American employees who annually earn no more than fifty thousand dollars work for small businesses that do not offer health insurance or coverage.

There are existing health coverage programs offered by the government like Medicaid but there should be more effort to educate the people about these programs. Some people who may qualify for the government health programs are not aware of the existence of the program and how to qualify for that program. More often, the bureaucracy is also one of the reasons why some Americans have not availed of the health programs.

Responsible parenthood means providing healthcare not only for the parents but also for their children. The government offers free and low cost health programs for qualified children of Americans as well as for children of immigrants. Such health programs provide coverage for a variety of health expenses like medicine, fee for doctors and even payment for hospitalization.

Every family should be aware of the importance of healthcare coverage. Thus, all family should invest in a quality healthcare program especially at a time when the parents are still able to work and pay for the proper health insurance. Otherwise, families who cannot pay for health insurance but are qualified for State healthcare coverage should start researching on the different government health programs and apply for the program which suits them.

Healthcare Jobs

With an aging population and new innovations in medical diagnosis and treatment, healthcare jobs are growing faster than in any other field. An aging population needs more health services while healthcare innovations increase the use of medications and the demand for treatment facilities.

Even though healthcare provides job opportunities both to health services professionals and others such as accountants, personnel officers, buyers, computer programmers and food service personnel, the emphasis in this article is on health services professionals.

Health Services Professionals

Health services require both professionals with advanced training and technicians with different kinds of operational skills. We look at the range of healthcare jobs in this market. This is more an indicative list rather than an exhaustive one.

* Physicians, dentists, chiropractors, optometrists and veterinarians are professionals whoever require varying levels of training

* Technologists and technicians in clinical laboratory, EEG, EKG, nuclear medicine, radiology and surgical work

* Health technicians like dental hygienists, dispensing opticians and emergency medicine technicians

* Dieticians and nutritionists, occupational, physical, recreational and respiratory therapists and speech pathologists

* Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians

* Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nursing aides and psychiatric aides

* Home care nurse, health aides, medical assistants and social workers

* Medical billing specialist, coding specialist, patient account representative and insurance claims/reimbursement specialists

* Medical records technicians

* Medical transcriptionists

As would be immediately evident, the field is quite extensive, and could extend further with new innovations in diagnosis and treatment.

Healthcare Jobs Information Resources

Each of the healthcare jobs requires specialized training, certification and licensing. Being a matter of life and death, unlicensed practitioners are not allowed to work in healthcare fields. Licenses are granted by different states in the USA, and each state has its own licensing regulations.

There are many sources for info on healthcare jobs.

The US Department of Labor publishes projected demands for different kinds of labor. Similar projections might be published by the healthcare industry also. These projections can help you select a healthcare job that is in line with your inclinations and also promises a growing demand.

Then there are numerous career centers, on the ground and on the Web, which will provide you info about each job. You can get info on:

* What the job involves. A description of the work that the job involves.

* Qualifications needed to be hired, and details of education and training needed to acquire the qualifications

* Training institutions and admissions procedure

* The formalities regarding certifications and licensing, such as the need for internship

* Career progression paths indicating the potential for growth in job satisfaction and earnings

* Current earnings levels in each healthcare job

* Associations of healthcare professionals and technicians

These career centers also interview persons engaged in each occupation and publish the interview details. These published interviews portray life in each profession, the kind of satisfaction it can provide, and give you a more realistic picture of what to expect if you choose it.

What Health Insurance To Get

We all hope to stay well and healthy all the time, but we all know that we are going to be sick or may even be unfortunate and have an accident at any point in our lives. We all have access to the state health services but if you need additional private cover then this is where taking out a private medical insurance comes in. This article explains about health insurance in general and how quotes are worked out in general.

Private medical insurance will cover the cost of your treatment when you are unwell, but the kind of cover and amount of the cover you get varies considerably from policy to policy.

Make sure that when you are considering which health insurance policy to take out that you carefully read the policy so that you can find out which illnesses you are covered for and which illnesses are not included in the policy cover. It can also be the case that your medical insurance policy may require you to use particular hospitals for your treatment.

So what are health insurance quotes calculated on? Well providers calculate your policy quote on several factors, the most important being your age, your health, your medical history, your occupation and they also look at whether you smoke or not. If you do smoke, then you are likely to get a more expensive medical insurance quote.

Some health insurance policies let you choose to have an excess which if you decide to have this option it will lower your insurance quote. Another important thing to take into account when taking out a private medical insurance policy is that no matter how much you decide to spend on your cover you will not get cover for certain illnesses. These illnesses include long term illnesses, alcohol abuse, AIDS, suicide attempts and illnesses that are related to old age.

It is very important that when you take out your cover that you advise your healthcare insurance company of everything that is relevant to your health insurance application. This means you must tell them about any pre-existing medical condition or illness that you may have and it is highly likely that they will not cover you for these pre-existing medical conditions or illnesses.

And finally it is worth mentioning that it is always a good idea that you shop around to find the most suitable and affordable private medical insurance solution for you.

Healthcare Management

There is a lot said about health care these days. With costs rising and no end in sight there is a bigger need than ever for everyone to have the coverage of a health care plan. Health car plans are basically like insurance that helps you cover medical costs. Like any insurance they are sometimes difficult to understand.

There are many types of health care plans available. Each type breaks down into two basic groups: group or individual. Group plans are the least expensive option. They are provided through an employer. Individual plans are offered through private companies and can cost much more than group plans because there are no group discounts to the provider. In each group there are a few different type of health care plans.

Fee for service plans are the most common and traditional forms of health care coverage. With a fee service the covered individual gets many choices of doctors and hospitals. The insurance provider pays for a portion of your costs while you pay a fee. You pay both a monthly fee for coverage and fees based on the care you receive. Many times there is a deductible that must be met before the insurance provider pays anything. Most plans also have a maximum amount you will pay out of pocket. Once this figure is reached your costs are covered 100%.

Health maintenance organizations or HMO’s are another type of health care plan. HMO’s charge a monthly fee. You are required to use certain doctors who are signed up with the HMO. You pay a fee for any costs you incur called a co-payment. The total costs of any medical care is negotiated between the doctor and the HMO so the costs are lower.

Preferred provider organizations or PPO’s are a combination of the fee based plan and an HMO. There are limits on the doctors and hospitals you can choose, you make a co-payment for each service and you may have a deductible. You can, however, use a doctor that is not part of the PPO. You will still get coverage but you may end up paying a larger fee.

There are other forms of health care plans. The government offer two plans: Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is a plan for people over age 65 or disabled. The coverage provided by Medicare often changes and can be confusing. There are several kinds of Medicaid. There is a free type and a fee based type. Medicaid is another government offered plan. It is based on income. With Medicaid all of your expenses are covered. New changes have made it so some care requires a very small fee. There are also variations in Medicaid. To find out information a person should contact their local government human services agency.

Health care plans can be very confusing. Talking with your provider will help ensure you completely understand how your plan works and what coverage is provided.

Who Health Insurance

If you are not eligible for COBRA, HIPAA, insurance policy conversion, state continuation, Medicaid, Medicare, or any kind of state-sponsored health care program, but are in need of affordable health insurance in New York, you may have to purchase an individual health insurance plan.

Most people groan at the thought of purchasing an individual health insurance plan – and for good reason. Individual health insurance plans are usually more expensive than the ideal health care coverage – employer-sponsored group health insurance plans. However, in New York, you can purchase an affordable individual health insurance plan for a couple of reasons.

First, when you set out to purchase an individual health insurance plan in New York, you can not be turned down due to your particular health conditions. This is great news because many people with pre-existing health conditions tend to have a difficult time finding health insurance companies that will sell health insurance to them. Health insurance companies view people with pre-existing or serious health conditions as higher risks to insure. They view them as potentially lost money. Yet, in New York, there are health insurance companies that will not turn you down regardless of a pre-existing health conditions you may have, or the severity of the health condition.

Second, you will not be charged a higher health insurance rate due to your pre-existing health condition, regardless of the severity of your pre-existing health condition. This is more great news, since people with pre-existing health conditions who do manage to purchase individual health insurance policies do so for a high price. They need health insurance, especially because they need care for their pre-existing health conditions; however, because of their pre-existing health conditions, they pay high prices. It is a vicious cycle that New York is working toward ending.

For more information about the health insurance companies that provide these individual health insurance policies and their contact information, contact the New York Insurance Department.

Why Need Health Insurance

Have you ever considered investing in life and health insurance? It truly is very important that everyone understands what this means. We all need health insurance just in case something should arise. As an example, have you ever broken your arm, gotten severely sick, or even had a stomach ulcer? Well, chances are you may never suffer from any of these suffering, but how can you know for sure? This is where life and health insurance come in helpful. The fact is, the future is rather changeable and we simply have to prepare ourselves for the worst.

Recently my wife and I invested in quality life and health insurance plans. We both need to be prepared just in case something should occur. Life insurance is essential if you’ve a family. If something were to happen to me, I would know that my wife and children would be taken care of. It’s truly that simple. Imagine you were in a car accident. We all know that this can and does happen every day.

Well what would your partner or family do to get by without your income? Would they be in debt up to their eyeballs? This is something to take seriously. We all need our families to be safe from damage. I took out a life and health insurance policy that covers this problem. Now, if I suddenly get sick and have to be hospitalized, I don’t have to worry about the enormous bills and how to pay them. In addition, if I met my end at a early date, my wife would be taken care of.

With life and health insurance you basically erase that uneasy feeling of, what if. Sure, it’s not extremely likely that you’ll be unable to ever work again starting tomorrow, but what if it happened? Do you’ve a decent life and health insurance policy to kick in if it does? After exploring the many life and health insurance policies available today, my wife and I were able to find one that suited our needs and income.

With our current life and health insurance policy we can easily afford the monthly payments. The truth is that life and health insurance are a essential part of life these days. While none of us care to imagine the worst, it is always careful to be prepared in the best possible way. Hop online today and check out any of the quality and affordable life and health insurance policies at your fingertips. You can never be too safe.

What Oral Health

Recently, in the last seven days actually, I purchased a HydroFloss. A what? Well, it is sort of like a high powered waterpik that uses magnetized water.

Why? For starters, I’m tired of my dentist complaining about my gingivitis which has now become mild to moderate periodontal disease. Will a HydroFloss change that? I honestly don’t know, yet. Based on what I’ve read about them, it may be possible. I’m a skeptic by nature though, but I’m also curious enough to try out different things. Sometimes that strategy works for me and sometimes it doesn’t.

I’ve had a lot of problems with dentists over the years. I don’t believe that all dentists are completely honest. In fact, I had a dentist tell me that I had a ‘trouble spot’ that she wanted to drill into. I went to another dentist whoever didn’t appear to detect any problem or any ‘trouble spot’ at all. That was after waiting six months. If there was a problem that was going to get worse, it certainly didn’t do so.

Another time, a dentist cheerfully suggested a root canal for a pain I was having in a tooth. I declined. In less than two weeks, that pain went away and never came back, without a root canal being done. That was about 14 years ago. I’ve heard stories from people whoever went to a dentist to be told that they had several cavities. Upon visiting a different dentist they were told they had none!

I find this trend disturbing. I go to a dentist to maintain my teeth and gums and to make sure that I keep the teeth with minimal damage to the gums. So when unnecessary procedures are recommended, I find it a little annoying. I should be able to trust my dentist but instead, I view her much like I view a car dealership when taking my car in for service. Watch the wallet or get taken. I should not have to feel that way about my dentist. But I do.

One of the very best sales presentations I’ve ever seen was that of a dental hygienist. She wanted to sell me a ‘root scaling and planing’. During this procedure they anesthetize your gums and use metal instruments to scrape and scale along the root to remove plaque under the gumline.

I bet it hurts a lot when the anesthesia wears off. I was told this was the ‘only’ way to get rid of plaque under the gums. Since I declined the procedure, they wanted me to sign a waiver in case I lost my teeth as a result of not undergoing their prescribed treatment. I viewed this as another scare tactic. It also motivated me to find another solution.

Like I said before, I’ve only had my HydroFloss for a week, but I like the results I’m seeing so far. When finished using it, I feel like my gums have just had a good massage and it only takes a few minutes to go over my entire gumline.

I asked my dentist what she thought about the HydroFloss. She was not convinced that it was any better than a waterpik. I decided to try it. If my dentist doesn’t like it, it might actually be good for me.

I’m not interested in losing my teeth due to gum disease. I’ve always kept good care of my teeth. It seems that brushing and flossing are just not enough for most people to avoid periodontal disease or gingivitis. Brushing too hard can erode the gumline, precisely what I wish to avoid. I reason that if I followed the same old advice, I would get the same results.

As for the HydroFloss, I believe I’m seeing a difference already, but I can’t be sure. There are no double blind studies being conducted on my body. My results are subjective. But I think I’ll know certainly in about a month. For now, I’m impressed.

If you’ve any questions about what your dentists finds or suggests, you may want to get a second opinion. That doesn’t hurt!

This article is for information purposes only. It is not meant to offer advice, diagnosis, prevention or treatment of any health condition. Please view your dental or health care professional for proper advice, care and treatment.

That Chicken Shop

A grand prize of $100,000 will be awarded to America’s top chicken cook at the 47th National Chicken Cooking Contest, to be held May 4, 2007, in Birmingham, Ala.

Fifty-one contestants, one from each state and the District of Columbia, will be selected to compete. Chicken is the only required ingredient for recipe entries, and it can be prepared whole, in parts or in any combination of parts. Pre-cooked, pre-marinated and ground chicken products are also eligible.

Recipe preparation and other ingredients are left up to the imagination and creativity of the entrants. All recipes must be original, make four to eight servings and take less than three hours to prepare and cook twice. Grilling recipes are not allowed.

Contestants may submit an unlimited number of recipes. Each should be on a separate piece of paper and should include the contestant’s name, full address and telephone number.

The judges, a national panel of food experts and journalists, will choose the winning recipes based on taste, appearance, simplicity and overall appeal.

The second-place finisher will be awarded $10,000; third place will win $5,000; fourth place will win $2,000; and fifth place will get $1,000. Every state finalist will win an expense-paid trip to Birmingham for the cook-off.

The contest is sponsored by the National Chicken Council and the U. S. Poultry & Egg Association. Members of the Alabama Poultry Federation will serve as local hosts.

The grand prize at the 46th National Chicken Cooking Contest, held in Charlotte, N. C. , in May 2005, went to Indiana contestant Camilla Saulsbury for her Mahogany Broiled Chicken with Smoky Lime Sweet Potatoes and Cilantro Chimichurri.

That Chicken Soup

Excerpt from Nikki McKibbin

Top 10, Season

The 2002 American Idols Live! tour was coming to an end. One of our last cities was Seattle, and as always, we were backstage after the performance mingling with fans at what is named a meet-and-greet. I don’t know why, but whenever there were little children at the meet-and-greets, they always gravitated toward me. Seattle was no different.

Tylee was the cutest little girl I’d ever seen, with her tan corduroy overalls and little bald head from her chemotherapy. Her big brother, Tre, and her mom were with her. She was only five years old and already a huge Idol fan.

From the minute she walked into the meet-and-greet room, she did not leave my side. She hugged me and kissed me as we drew pictures together. Whatever her disease was it had to be serious, but despite it, she was such a perky and happy little girl.

Although I’m mostly tired by the time the meet-and-greets are done, I was sad when this one ended because I had to say good-bye to Tylee.

With the tour over, I headed back to Dallas and looked forward to spending some time just chiling and being with my four-year-old son, Tristen. I’d hardly seen him over the last three months.

Just as I was starting to settle in and get some semblance of normalcy back into my life, the phone rang.

“Nikki McKibbin, please. ”

“That would be me. ”

“This is the Make-A-Wish Foundation®. There is a little girl you met on the American Idols Live! tour who was just given a chance to make a wish. She said that her wish was to spend a day with you. Her name is Tylee, and we don’t know if you remember her, but we’d be very appreciative if you could make her wish come true. ”

“Of course, I remember her,” I said. “How could I forget her? She was so adorable. ”

“If you want to fulfill her wish, you need to get on a plane to Seattle tomorrow. She’s not expected to live through the weekend. ”

She’s not expected to live through the weekend? I thought. No, that cannot be true!

My mom and grandma pitched in to help me get ready. On the way to the airport that Saturday morning, I stopped and bought pants that matched Tylee’s tan corduroy overalls.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation® set up our meeting in a hotel suite not far from Tylee’s hospital. I don’t know who was more exited when I walked in–her or me. Tylee’s mom, dad, brother, stepmom, and grandmother were all there.

I almost did not recognize Tylee when I saw her. Some of her hair had grown back, and she was all dressed up in the cutest little pink frilly dress. Pink must have been her favorite color since she also clutched a pink Beanie Baby teddy bear in her hand that she never put down.

“She carries it day and night,” her parents told me.

We talked and laughed and took lots of pictures and videos. We even ate hot dogs together. She showed me a little book she had made named Nikki Notes that contained the photos we had taken together at the meet-and-greet. She had me write in it.

After a while, Tylee was not feeling well, so she took a nap, and her grandmother and I went shopping. I knew she loved Barbies and teddy bears, so I bought her a new Barbie comforter sleeping bag, Barbie pillow, and a teddy bear. I signed them all, “Tylee, I love you. ”

When we got back to the hotel, she was awake and feeling a little better, so she sat on my lap and we went through her Nikki Notes again. At one point I gave her a little tickle and she laughed, so I gave her another tickle, and she jumped off my lap and we ran around the room playing tickle tag.

Her parents and grandparents were overwhelmed with emotion. They said they hadn’t seen Tylee have the strength to play like that for as long as they could remember. They said they felt like it was the best day of her life.

As we were saying our good-byes, Tylee went over to her mother and whispered something in her ear. Her mom blinked back her tears and said, “Oh course, honey, if that’s what you want to do. ”

Tylee came over and gave me her pink teddy bear, the one she carried with her night and day.

The rain pounded the roof of my cab as I rode to catch my flight home.

Tylee lived a few more weeks.

(Reprinted with permission from Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul: Stories from the Idols and their Fans that Open Your Heart and Make Your Soul Sing).