Saturday, May 30, 2015

Second Visit

I had my second acupuncture session on Wednesday.  When I first came in, my acupuncturist felt my pulse and got very excited.  She said that I was already more fertile and that I would get pregnant quickly.  I am choosing to believe what she says.  

This time I had a few more needles stuck in me and it seemed as though the acupuncturist stuck them in with a bit more conviction this time.  It still didn't hurt, but I felt more of them going in this time around. Instead of burning the herbs over my stomach like last time, she put some needles in my back.  I have no idea how she decides what to do each time, but I trust her.     

With two acupuncture treatments under my belt, I feel confident enough with my acupuncturist to share her information.  Her name is Mary Zhang and she runs the Chinese Medicine Clinic, Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri.  

Mary is extremely knowledgeable about Chinese Medicine and I have really connected with her.  By this point, I've had experiences with lots of different doctors and nurses and specialists.  While I felt each of them were knowledgeable, I never really connected with any of them.  Mary has made me feel as if she truly cares about me.  More than that, she has given me hope.  Whether or not I end up getting pregnant with the help of acupuncture, Mary has given me the hope I desperately needed.  

I also appreciate that she is the one to call the shots.  When Adam and I met with other specialists, they always gave us lots of options.  They told us we could try an IUI or an IUI with Clomid or this test or that test.  I felt like we were the ones making important medical decisions and I didn't really have the knowledge to make those decisions.  I know having control over medical decisions is important to a lot of people.  But at this point, I just wanted someone to tell me what to do.  Mary has done that for me.  

She told me what she was going to do and what I needed to do.  She told me how often I needed to come do acupuncture treatments.  She told me what herbs and supplements to take.  She took all the decision-making pressure off of me.  

She also told me not to worry and that she would help me.  Countless people have told me not to worry. But for some reason, I believed Mary when she told me not to worry.  It's as if something has clicked in my brain and I turned over my worry to her.  Who knows how I'll feel in a month, but for now I'm at peace and full of hope.  

Friday, May 29, 2015

Jazzy's Clean, But Very Ornery

Adam went on a fishing trip for a few days this week and I stayed home with Jazzy.  In honor of Adam's return, I decided to give Jazzy a bath so she would be nice and clean and ready to snuggle with Adam.  

Usually, both Adam and I give Jazzy her baths.  One of has a grip on her during the bath while the other one gets the shampoo and rinses her off and so forth.  Jazzy does not particularly care for baths, but she puts up with them because she knows she'll get a treat when it's over.  I didn't think it would be that tricky for one person to give her a bath, so long as I thought everything through before I started.  I made sure to have towels, a washcloth, shampoo, conditioner and a cup all close by before I trapped Jazzy in the bathroom.  

Things were going smoothly and Jazzy was cooperating.  We got the shampooing out of the way and I was getting ready to move onto the conditioning step.  I had to let go of Jazzy so I could open up the lid on the conditioner.  That was a big mistake.  The second I let her go, Jazzy heaved herself out of the tub.  I must say, she did so rather gracefully for being a wet dog in a slippery bathtub.  Once she was free from the tub, she shook all that pesky water out of her coat and made her way to the door.  I did not realize how much water a little dog's coat could hold.  She got water everywhere.  She got water in my eyes and my hair and all over my clothes.  Thanks, Jazzy.  

Luckily, I had closed the bathroom door so Jazzy couldn't escape to the rest of the house.  I wrangled her back in the tub and got her coat all conditioned without anymore escape attempts.  After I rinsed her and dried her off, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  Good thing I didn't have anywhere to go.  

I think I will wait for Adam's help before I attempt any more baths.  Look at that ornery girl.  Good thing she's cute.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

In Addition to Acupuncture

My acupuncturist has told me to make a few changes to my diet and daily routine in addition to doing acupuncture treatments.  I'm all for doing whatever she says, because I feel like she really knows what she's talking about.  

One thing she wants me to do is to eat more protein.  She told me I needed to have more protein in my diet.  Having enough protein in your diet helps your blood flow throughout your body, including to your uterus.  So I've been trying to make sure I eat enough protein each day.  I've added more eggs and Greek yogurt to my breakfast and more chicken and pork to my lunches and dinners.  

Another thing she told me was to make sure I eat enough warm foods.  She explained to me that everything you eat has a a warming or cooling effect.  And it goes beyond just the actual temperature your food is; it depends on the type of "energy" the food has.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around this idea, but she did give me a few tips.  In my case, I need to eat more warm foods to help my circulation and blood flow.  She told me to cut down the amount of raw salads I eat and to drink room temperature water instead water with lots of ice.  She also recommended pistachios (which I hate, but will try to choke down).  Tea with certain types of herbs is also supposed to help me.   

She also gave me some supplements and herbs to take.  The supplements include things like CoQ10 and L-Carnitine.  She also made sure I was taking enough Folic Acid, which I had been following the advice of my fertility doctor.  The herbs include ingredients I can't read because they are written in Chinese on the bottle.  She did provide me with information on all the supplements and herbs and told me the purpose of each.  I trust her judgement and knowledge, as she has studied both Eastern and Western medicine.  Plus, she comes recommended by doctors and fertility specialists.  While not everyone may be comfortable taking supplements and herbs, I feel comfortable with her suggestions. 

I plan on following her advice for me in the hopes of a future healthy pregnancy.     

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Jazzy Has a Bunch of Stuff

Jazzy has acquired lots of stuff since coming to live with us.  I'm not sure if this is normal for dogs or if Jazzy is just a bit of a pack rat.  Regardless, all of Jazzy's stuff needed a place.  So I've come up with a couple of simple dog supply storage solutions.  

Food/Treat Storage

All of Jazzy's food and treats are located inside of our pantry.  She has a bin in the bottom drawer that houses a glass container for her food and all her treats.  It's very handy to have her food and treats readily available in the kitchen.    

Leash/Collar/Harness Storage

We have three hooks by our garage door.  One is for my keys, one is for Adam's keys and sunglasses and one is for Jazzy's items.  We hang her leash, collar and harness on her hook.  It's very easy to quickly grab these items when Jazzy's in her "I get to go on a walk!" frenzy.  

Toy Storage  

We keep all of Jazzy's toys in a basket in the living room.  It's tucked into a small space between the fireplace and a shelf.  Jazzy does most of her playing on the living room floor, so it's a convenient location for all her playthings.  

Everything Else Storage

I found this adorable bin at TJ Maxx.  It lives on top of our pantry in our kitchen.  The red matches the rest of our red kitchen decor.  We keep her seat belt harness, poop bags, doggy toothbrush, brushes and other random items in there.  It contains all the clutter while still fitting in with our decor.  

Jazzy had better stop asking me to buy her things when I go shopping.  If she doesn't, I'll have to come up with some more storage solutions.  Which wouldn't be such a terrible thing for such an organizing fiend like myself.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Cheery Monogram Wreath

I decided my front door needed a bit more cheer, so I whipped up a cheery monogram wreath.  I made it using materials I had on hand, so it didn't cost me a thing!  You can whip one up yourself in no time at all.  

Here's what you need:

-A wooden letter
-Two paint colors of your choice (I used pearl white and teal.)
-Small craft paint brush
-Two thumbtacks
-Scrap cardboard

The first thing I did was lay out a piece of foil.  This will serve as my painting backdrop.  

Then I painted the outside edge of my wooden letter with three coats of paint.  The white pearl paint I used was a bit transparent, so it needed three coats.  Depending on the type of paint you use, you may only need one or two coats.  I only painted the outside of the shape, because I planned to use the other paint color on the inside. 

Once my outside paint was dry, I carefully painted the inside of the wooden letter with my other paint color.  I didn't try to make my outline perfect, I just eyeballed it and hoped for the best.  

After all the paint dried, I tied my ribbon in a bow.  Then I attached the ends of the bow to the top of my letter using the thumbtacks.  Normally, I would use a staple gun, but I couldn't find where Adam hid it in the garage.  So I decided to use thumbtacks instead.  I placed a piece of cardboard that I folded several times in between the letter and the thumbtack so the end of the thumbtack wouldn't poke through the front of the letter.  I used a hammer to help push the thumbtack into the dense wooden letter.  

The only thing left to do was hang it on my front door.  I like the combination of the bold ribbon with the simple paint job.  It definitely brings a bit more cheer to the front of my house.  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Jazzy's Day Out

It's no surprise that Jazzy is a very spoiled little dog.  Jazzy's adventures yesterday are perfect proof of just how spoiled she really is.  

She started her day with a nice long walk around the neighborhood with Adam and me.  We let her stop and sniff whatever she wanted to sniff.  She got to show a very mild-mannered black lab how tough she can be.  She also got to pee on any rock, clump of grass, mailbox and utility box that she felt needed marking.  

Then we took her on a trip to Home Depot.  We needed to get some paint for a project that Adam is working on, which is super cute and I can't wait to show you, and some more flowers for the front.  So we buckled Miss Jazzy in her harness in the back seat and rolled down the windows so the breeze could ruffle her little beard.  She's graduated to sitting in the backseat all by herself.  Adam or I used to sit in the back with her because we are ridiculous, but Jazzy is a big girl now and can sit by herself.   At Home Depot she got to wag her little tail at everyone and lap up some attention. 

Once we got home, we tied her up out front so she could be a part of all the action.  Adam worked in the garage and I worked out front.  I weeded the front landscaping, which only took roughly one million years. Jazzy would wander from the garage to the front yard, taking everything in.  She liked to come visit me and climb up on my lap.  It is very difficult to weed while there's a dog sitting in your lap, but I made it work since Jazzy gets to call the shots.  She also looked longingly at the neighbors' yard from time to time. She would love to go explore those wood chips.   

After spending a long, hard day lounging in the sun, Jazzy needed some ice cream.  There's this cute, delicious ice cream place downtown called Poppy's.  They have a special "Puppy Scoop" which includes vanilla custard and a dog cookie.  Plus, all the proceeds go to a local animal shelter.  So we took Jazzy for another car ride to get her a Puppy Scoop.  She gobbled that thing down in no time.  After she finished, she kept showing us her best sitting and looked up expectantly for more.  I guess we'll have to keep going back for more ice cream this summer.  Oh, darn.  

Then Jazzy needed to work off her Puppy Scoop, so we took a stroll around downtown.  She loved the new smells and especially liked peeing on lamp posts.  But don't worry, we let her know that was not very ladylike.  

On her ride home, she could barely hold her head up and keep her eyes open.  She was a very sleepy girl. As Adam always tells me, a tired dog is a happy dog.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

I Survived... first acupuncture session!  It turned out to be painless and I plan on going back.  

I was surprisingly nervous when I woke up this morning.  I got more and more freaked out about the thought of lots of needles being stuck in me for a lengthy time.  The receptionist had told me that the acupuncturist would likely put needles in my lower arms, legs and stomach.  She said if I wore pants that could roll up, I wouldn't need to take them off for the session.  

So I arrived early with my boot cut jeans on.  As soon as I got there, I was led to a room and told to lay on the table.  I waited for a little while and the acupuncturist came in.  We talked briefly and she did a good job of putting me at ease.  She asked me if I was stressed out about trying to get pregnant and I told her I was very much so.  She was so kind and told me not to worry because she was here to help.  

Unfortunately, she was going to have to put a needle right above my knee and my pants turned out to be too tight.  So I had to take my pants off, but there was a sheet to cover up with and I felt comfortable with the acupuncturist.  

After I was all settled, she started sticking needles in me rather quickly.  She put one in the top of my head, three in my stomach and a bunch in my legs.  I didn't really have a chance to think about what was going on because she stuck those needles in lickety split.  I didn't look at the needles because I didn't want to risk fainting or throwing up.  

I could barely feel when she put the needles in.  It didn't hurt at all.  I could only feel one of the needles on the inside of my ankle while it was in there.  Again, it didn't hurt, I could just feel that something was there.    

Then she turned off the lights and turned on some soothing music and said she would check on me in about 10 minutes.  I tried to think calming thoughts, but ended up just thinking random thoughts.  I thought about how funny it would be if the fire alarm when off and all the people in the office would have to run outside with their pants off and needles stuck all in them.  And I thought about the episode of Sex and the City when Charlotte got acupuncture.  I eventually worked up enough courage to look at my stomach.  I didn't realize that she had put three needles in there because I couldn't feel them.  I didn't want to move around too much and look at my legs in case moving around would mess something up.  

After about 10 minutes the lady came to check on me.  She popped her head in the door and said, "Don't worry.  I'm here for you.  I will help you."  It touched me so much that a little tear escaped.  So then I had to try to get my t-shirt up to my eye and wipe away the tear without jostling around too much.

She came back about 10 minutes later and took all the needles out.  Then she said she was going to put some herbs over my stomach to help encourage fertility.  She lit some herbs in a little wooden box thing and put it over my stomach.  Not gonna lie, that was a bit strange.  But she talked with me while she was doing that.  She told me about some of her other patients' success.  And she reassured me that she would help me.

It was a very positive experience and I'm very hopeful about future sessions.  I'll keep you all posted.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It's Official: I'm Desperate

The more and more time that passes without getting pregnant, the more and more desperate I become.  I have become so desperate that I am considering something I never thought I would consider: acupuncture.  
I have a fear of needles.  The thought of them make me a bit squeamish.  I have to work up courage just to get my yearly flu shot, so the thought of acupuncture is only slightly terrifying.  I have good reason to try acupuncture, however.  I am hoping it leads to a healthy pregnancy.  Adam's friend's mom, who is a retired nurse, suggested it.  And at this point in the game, I am willing to try anything.  

When I think about acupuncture, things like voodoo and magic come to mind.  But after some internet research, I have come to the realization that I might have it all wrong.  Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture, has been around for a very long time and there is lots of research out there to prove its effectiveness.  As my mom said, it can't hurt, unless of course the needles actually hurt.

I went for a consultation this week and got to speak with the acupuncturist, who specializes in infertility treatment.  I liked her a lot and she seemed to know what she was talking about.  She somehow diagnosed my problem by taking my pulse.  It turns out I have a Qi Blood Deficiency, Kidney Jing Deficiency, Kidney Qi Yang Deficiency and a Spleen Qi Deficiency.  Well, no wonder I'm not pregnant.  

I met up with Adam for lunch after my consultation.  In honor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, we ate at Pei Wei.  If our fortunes have anything to say about it, I think we're on the right track with acupuncture. We're taking the advice of our faithful friend and I guess I should be pregnant by the next new moon. Here's hoping! 


Monday, May 18, 2015

My Child's Name Is Jazzy

While I realize owning a dog and having a child are far from being the same thing, there are some striking similarities...

I think about Jazzy all the time.

Jazzy has become the most prominent thought that runs through my mind.  I think of her when I'm at work and wonder what she's up to.  I think about her when I'm shopping and what she might like me to buy her. Adam and I went away for the weekend and left Jazzy behind with a friend and I thought of her about every other minute.  Perhaps this makes me a crazy person, but I very much enjoy having Jazzy to think about.   

I would do anything for Jazzy.

If Jazzy wants me to crawl around on the floor and play with her, I will do it.  If she wants me to run around the backyard so she can chase me, I will run until I can't run anymore.  Or until a neighbor comes out and starts looking at me strangely.  I would throw myself in front a car to save Jazzy.  Again, this might make me crazy, but I love my little Jazzy.  

Jazzy wakes me up in the middle of the night.

Jazzy wakes up in the middle of the night and I am the one that gets up with her.  This may not be a good sign for when Adam and I eventually have kids.  He claims he doesn't hear her.  I might have to get her a microphone.  Sometimes she needs to go outside, in which case I stumble downstairs and let her out. Sometimes she just needs me to rub her belly.  I get kind of mad that she wakes me up and then flops over on her back once I get out of bed so I'll rub her belly.  But she's just so darn cute, that I change my tune and oblige her.    

Jazzy's needs come before my own. 

Whether I want to go take a walk in the rain or snow or frigid temperatures or blazing hot sun or not, I do because Jazzy needs her exercise.  I make sure she gets her dinner before I eat my dinner.  I make sure she gets attention before I do whatever else I need to do.  And I'm happy to do all this for Jazzy.  

I am no longer the first person Adam says hello to.

Before Jazzy came along, I was the first person Adam greeted when he came home from work.  Granted I was the only option, aside from the fish in the aquarium.  But now, Adam puts down all his stuff and makes a big fuss about Jazzy as soon as he walks in the door.  It is so cute to see Adam get down on the ground and talk to Jazzy that I don't even mind.  Seeing Adam's cheesy grin and Jazzy's excitement brings me so much happiness.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

One of the Many Reasons I Love My Mom

I am beyond lucky to have the mom I have.  She has always loved me and supported me.  We have a blast together whether we talk on the phone for 5 minutes or spend a week in Gulf Shores on vacation.

I always knew my mom was amazingly wonderful, but I got a new understanding of just how special my mom is by going through the loss of my baby.  She was there for me in every moment before, during and after.  She held me on the couch and cried with me.  She continues to keep me positive and hopeful.  I love her so very much.

I'm not going to lie.  Mother's Day has been a rough day ever since I lost my baby.  I want to celebrate my own mom, but I'm constantly reminded by the fact that I am not a mom.  However, my mom gave me one more reason to love her this year.  She sent me a package with Jazzy's name in the return address.  

When I pulled it out of our mailbox, I had to fight back the tears.  My mom sent me a Mother's Day present from Jazzy.  The fact that she thought of me on this difficult day and tried to make it a little more happy makes my heart smile.  

One of the few things I've gained from losing my baby is a willingness to appreciate things more, both big and small.  I appreciate my mom more than ever.  She is the most thoughtful, kind, caring person I know and I really do strive to be like her.  I hope I get to be a mom like her one day.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  I love you! 


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Jazzy Has A Big Heart

It's no coincidence that Jazzy's markings make her look like she has a big ol' heart on her side.  She gives us so much love!

I didn't realize how much love my life was missing until Jazzy entered my life.  I've always been lucky to be surrounded by people who love me.  There's never been a time in my life when I've felt like I wasn't loved.  So I'm almost baffled by how much more love my life has now that I have Jazzy.  

Jazzy manages to know exactly when I need a smooch or a snuggle.  If I'm upset or crying about something, she hops up on my lap and looks up at me with her sweet, little, concerned face.  When I'm stressed out or irritated about something, she does something cute that makes me forget what I was worrying about.  It's crazy how intuitive she can be.  

Sometimes Jazzy has so much love to share with Adam and I it's as if she might burst!  She can't seem to wag her little nub of a tail fast enough.  She has brought so much joy and happiness into our lives.  I can't begin to understand how the universe works, but I know this much: Jazzy was meant to be with us and we were meant to be with Jazzy.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Little Old Lady Fixed My Jeans

I really miss how jeans used to be made.  They used to stay up and you didn't have to awkwardly yank on them all day long.  I blame spandex.  I understand the lure of spandex.  It promises comfort and the ability to do high kicks at any time.  And when you put your jeans on in the morning, they do have a comfortable fit.  But by the end of the day all you are left with is a loose waistband and a saggy butt.  

While I can't find jeans that don't have some percentage of spandex, I think I have found a way around the problem.  My way around the problem is a little old lady named Yong.  I found her by searching for a seamstress on Google.  I picked her because her shop was close to my house and I could stop by on my way home from school and not be too late letting Jazzy outside.  

After walking around the side of a strip mall to a shady basement entrance, I entered her shop.  When I walked in I saw racks and mounds of clothes and a head full of gray hair behind a sewing machine.  

Here was my conversation with Yong:

Me: Hello!

Yong: What you have?

Me: I have a pair of jeans.  

Yong: You want hem?

Me: No, I need the waist to be smaller. 

Yong: Go put on and come back out. (Pointing to a back room)

I went into the back room and put on the jeans, while trying not to step on any of the pins strewn about the floor.  When I came out, Yong went right to work pinning the waist of my jeans.  I didn't have to say how I wanted them to fit or what needed fixing.  She just knew what needed to be done.  

$19 bucks and a week later I picked up my jeans.  Let me tell you, they fit like a glove.  At first I thought the price might be a little steep, but it is well worth it not to have to pull up my jeans all day long.  And you can't even tell where she altered them.  

(I promise my butt is not as big as this picture makes it seem.)  

I just might have to bring Yong more jeans to fix.  She's my new favorite person.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

This Just Makes Me Smile

There's this tiny wall in the eat-in portion of our kitchen.  It was screaming for some kind of artwork.  It's a really odd size, which made finding artwork tricky.  

This space has had me stumped ever since we moved in.  That is until the day I saw this post from Kelly's blog: A View Along the Way.  Isn't that plate wall to die for?  After seeing her plate wall, I knew that's what that odd space of mine needed.  

So I began collecting plates a year ago.  I cruised the clearance aisles at Target, TJ Maxx and Crate & Barrel looking for cute plates.  I also scoured the plates at Goodwill and Red Racks.  I had some very specific criteria: it had to be cute and it had to be cheap.  Eventually I came up with enough plates to fill the space.  

I decided to tackle the project this past weekend.  The first thing I did was buy these plate hangers for the heavy plates.  Then I used Kelly's plate hanging hack for the lighter-weight melamine plates.  Once I knew how I was going to get the plates on the wall, I had to decide where to put them.  So I traced each plate on paper and played around with the arrangement.   

Once I had an arrangement I was happy with, I started to put the plates on the wall.  At one point I discovered a spider in the crack where the wall and ceiling meet.  I tried to play it cool for Jazzy and squished it in some paper.  The spider managed to escape my paper trap and crawled on my hand.  I almost fell off the stool and landed on my plates, but I was able to pull it together without falling.  I think Jazzy might have laughed at me. 

Here's the final outcome: 

I like the wave arrangement because it's not too perfect.  Plus it was nice not to have to carefully measure each plate's placement.  I also have some extra space to work with in case I find some other cute plates later on down the road.  

Now whenever I walk into our kitchen, I can't help but smile.  I've noticed that Jazzy smiles when she comes into the kitchen, too.  But that might be because she's thinking of me almost falling off the stool. Either way, there are more smiles in our house, which is always a good thing.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

Grow, Garden, Grow!

It's garden time!  After a long day's work, my garden is officially ready to grow.  

Here's what I had to work with: 

It was a weedy mess.  I got a bunch of leaves, helicopters (I hate those stupid things with a passion) and leaves out of there.  Then I tilled up the dirt so it was nice and loose.  From there, I planted an herb garden on one side and filled in the other side with some more perennials.  

I decided to plant herbs because that's the only thing that seems to grow well in that spot.  We have lots of big trees, which means the garden doesn't get a lot of sun.  We've had luck with cilantro, basil and arugula in the past, so I planted those again.  This year I added spearmint and parsley to the mix.  

I also added some zinnias to the very end of the herb garden.  My dad gave me the seeds from his own flowers.  They are always gorgeous and I really hope they grow.  I put them in the corner that gets the most sun, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that I end up with some pretty flowers.  

Here it is all planted up: 

On the other side of the garden, we have several perennials.  We already had irises, peonies, daylillies and hostas.  There was also some kind of plant with little yellow flowers that popped up this year.  It might be a weed, but it was pretty enough so I let it stay. 

I added more hostas... 

...some pretty purple flowering plant that I don't know the name of...

...and calla lillies.

Now I just have to hope that the rabbits don't eat everything.  I will put Jazzy on patrol.  

Sunday, May 3, 2015

What Did I Plant?

Spring is finally here, which means it's time to plant a garden!  I have learned that the only thing that ever grows in our garden seems to be herbs.  So instead of trying to plant vegetables that I know won't grow, I went with herbs.

Along with my poor cooking skills, I also lack the ability to differentiate between herbs.  Parsley and cilantro look exactly the same to me.  So to help me remember what I planted, I made some handy rock markers.  It was very easy and will be very helpful once the herbs actually grow.  

After I planted the seeds, I used the empty seed packet to mark where the rocks would go.

Then I gathered the materials I would need for the project:

-River rocks
-Paint Pen
-Clear Protective Spray Paint

We have a bunch of river rocks along our fence, so I wandered back there and picked out some rocks.  I tried to pick ones that were longer and flat on the bottom.  

Once I had my rocks picked out, I brushed off any dirt that was on the top of them.  I didn't worry about getting them too clean since they were going back in the dirt.  I used a navy paint pen and my best cursive to write the name of each thing I planted.  

After that I put a coat of clear protective spray paint on each rock.  I'm not sure how well the spray paint will work, but the project didn't cost me any money.  So if the paint wears off, I can just flip the rocks over and put them back by the fence where I found them.  But I think they'll hold up and be a handy reminder of what's planted where.  

Now I'll just have to wait for rain and sunshine!  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

I Have to Cook Dinner Again?

Growing up, my dad did all the cooking.  And he is a wonderful cook!  My brother inherited all the cooking genes and didn't leave any for me.  I am not a good cook.  I can follow a basic recipe, but that's about it. Even if I try to make some of my dad's recipes, they never turn out as well as they would have had my dad made it.  That being said, I do make a valiant effort to make edible meals for Adam and I to eat each evening.  There are a few things I do that help keep me organized and sane while cooking.    

Weekly Menu  

Each Sunday, I write down the meals I plan to make each evening throughout the upcoming week.  I write down what we'll be having each day and stick the magnetic list on our refrigerator.  That way I remember what to make each evening and Adam can get a head's up.  I use the back side of last week's paper to write down my grocery list to save paper.

I like that I don't have to spend time each evening trying to decide what to make for dinner.  It also helps me know exactly what to buy at the grocery store.  I check out the weekly ads and try to make meals using ingredients that are on sale.  

Meal Ideas 

If I were the only person I had to cook for, I would eat the same five meals every week.  But since most people, including Adam, like a little variety in their meals, I try to switch things up.  One thing that has helped is to make a list of my go-to meals.  These are meals that I know how to make and have turned out in the past.  

So when I'm trying to come up with meal ideas, I can look at my list for help.  It has helped save me time on Sundays when I'm trying to come up with my weekly menu.  

Recipe Binder

I got this handy little recipe binder at Hallmark.  Here's a similar one in a different design.  I like it because you can write down your favorite recipes on the cards, or you can clip in recipes from magazines or recipes printed off Pinterest.  I like to have a paper recipe and not use my laptop or Kindle.  I'm always afraid I will dump a pot of boiling water on them and ruin them.  

One of the things on my summer to do list is to re-write all my recipes on the recipe cards, or print them out so they will fit in the plastic sleeves.  My binder is looking a little cluttered with all the randomly sized pieces of paper stuck in there.  

Crock Pot Meals

I love my crock pot.  I love that I don't have to "cook" when I use it.  I just have to throw everything in the crock pot.  And it's so nice to have a meal ready for you when you come home from work.  AND there's usually leftovers, which is like a free dinner that you don't have to cook!  

I bet you can guess that my favorite dinners are ones at restaurants.  Or ones that my dad or brother have cooked.  

Hopefully these tips will help make planning and cooking dinner a little bit easier.  Bon appetit! 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Home Tour- Backyard


Our backyard is slowly coming along.  It's actually one of the spaces we have spent the most time on.  

Here's the one and only photo I have of the backyard before we got our hands on it:

Here's what we've tackled in the backyard so far:
-Making the deck structurally sound (Adam was appalled with the shoddy construction of the deck.  With help from some family members, he made it safe and sound.)
-Had a sprinkler system installed
-Had a fence installed
-Added brick paver stones around the mulched areas
-Put up a hammock (One of my favorite features)
-Turned our circle planter bed into a garden (We still need to plant this year's plants.)

Here it is now:


Can you spot Jazzy in all the pictures?  The little ham!