Friday, April 29, 2016

Keeping Jazzy Entertained

When we first got Jazzy, we were a bit perplexed to find that she didn't really know how to play.  We bought her all kinds of toys and tried to get her to play with them, but she just sat in front of them and stared at us.  Eventually, she got the hang of playing tug of war.  Once she figured out that playing with her toys was fun, we tried to come up with some other ways for Jazzy to play.

Playing is important for dogs.  It helps them combat boredom and keeps their minds sharp.  Plus, it makes them happy to spend time with their owners doing something they love.  It's also a bonus if they get some cookies (aka treats) out of the game.  We like to use these cookies for Jazzy.  They are small, tasty and low-calorie.  Sometimes we even break them in half to make them last longer.        

Here are a few games we play with Jazzy to help stimulate her mind and keep her entertained: 

Hide and Seek
Jazzy loves this game!  We have her sit and stay in the living room.  Then we go hide somewhere else in the house.  Once we make it to our hiding place, we yell "Free!" to Jazzy and she comes running to look for us.  We'll usually call out her name if she can't find us right away to give her a little hint.  Once she finds us, we make a big deal about it.  We'll tell her what a "good girl" she is and give her a cookie.  Then, we'll walk her back to the living room and repeat the process.  We haven't figured out a way to make Jazzy hide yet.  Maybe one of these days.  She is pretty smart, after all.  

The Muffin Tin Game
This is also a favorite of Jazzy's.  All that's needed is a muffin tin, some cookies and some toys or balls to cover up the treats.  First, we show Jazzy that we put a cookie in the muffin tin.  Then, we cover up the cookie with a tennis ball or one of her toys.  We tell her "Free," and she has to use her doggy problem-solving skills to get to the treat.  When she eventually gets to the treat, we make a big deal about it.  

I remember the first time she was able to get the tennis ball out of the muffin tin.  We were so proud of Jazzy!  I looked over at Adam and told him this must be how parents feel when their kid walks for the first time.  

Try these games out with your pooch!  I promise you'll end up having just as much fun as they will.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Taking A Break

I have decided to... 

take a break - Pink Art Print

...from all the craziness involved in trying to get pregnant.

We kinda felt like we were at a point where we either needed to start looking more seriously into other options like IVF or adoption, or we just needed to take a break from it all.  With summer coming up, we have lots of fun vacations planned.  So we thought taking the summer off from dealing with stressful fertility treatments is exactly what we needed.  That's not to say that we won't continue to try to get pregnant, but we will try not to make is our sole focus in life.  

I have to say, it's been pretty darn nice.  I've enjoyed lots of wine, used spray paint to my heart's desire, stopped peeing on ovulation tests every morning and taken a much-needed break from Clomid.  I hadn't really realized just how consumed I was with trying to get pregnant.  It plagued my every thought.  It controlled my every action.  It was exhausting.

I've been in this "taking a break" mindset for awhile now.  When I got my period this month, it was the first month since losing my baby that I didn't cry about it.  I don't know how exactly I managed to take so much of my focus off trying to get pregnant, but I'm very glad I managed to do so.  

Of course, I still have my moments.  Hearing about a co-worker's pregnancy or seeing a pregnancy announcement on Facebook still feels like a little stab in my heart.  But I am getting better at being happy for them and then moving on.  

For now, I plan to enjoy my upcoming summer!  I'm trying to live in the now and not waste my life worrying about the things I don't have.  Instead, I'm going to focus on things I do have.  And I'm a very lucky girl to have all that I do.         

Monday, April 25, 2016

Flower Power

Spring is such a happy season!  Everything is turning green, birds are cheerfully chirping, Jazzy basks in the sun and I get to plant flowers!  

All the rabbits running around our yard makes it a bit tricky to plant flowers in the ground.  And I don't exactly have a green thumb.  However, I am pretty successful when it comes to hanging baskets and pots. So, I'll share what I have found works when planting baskets and pots.  

My first tip is to spring for potting soil.  I know it's more expensive than plain ol' dirt, but it really does make a difference.  I usually go with some type of Miracle Grow variety.  My second tip is to get some Miracle Grow Plant Food.  This stuff really does make your flowers grow bigger and look healthier.  I dilute it with some water and only use it every 2-3 weeks.  My final tip is to get flowers best suited for the amount of sunlight you have available. 

The way our house is situated makes full sun plants difficult to grow.  There is one pot that I put on our driveway that gets sun for a good portion of the day.  I have found that I can include full-sun plants in that pot and they do well.  This year, I opted for spikes (that's what the tall grass is called, just spikes), petunias and ranunculus.  I also threw in an elephant ear bulb.  I love the big, gorgeous elephant ear-sized leaves that pop up!  

I found these adorable polka-dot-ish pots at Home Depot.  I bought two to put on either side of our porch steps.  

These pots gets quite a bit of sun throughout the day.  So, I bought full-sun geraniums and celosia.  I added an elephant ear bulb to each pot.  I also mixed in some part-sun fuchsia and threw in some shade impatients.  I love impatients because they seem to do well in the sun or in the shade.  I've had luck with both sunny and shady areas.   

The hanging baskets do best with part sun or shade plants.  They do get some morning sun, so I can put some full-sun flowers in there and they seem to do pretty well.  I have three hanging baskets hanging above our porch railing.  

I filled these guys with a variety of the following: impatients, celosia and petunias. 

I wanted to go with blue accessories on the front porch this year, but didn't want to spend a fortune replacing the red accessories I already had.  So, I bought a $3 can of spray paint.  A big red pot and my red plastic watering can got a spritz of navy spray paint.  They look brand new and you can't beat the $3 price tag.  

Hope you get to do some happy spring planting, too! 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Who Doesn't Need A Blue TV Stand?

I haven't been happy with our tv wall ever since we moved in.  The tv stand itself was way too small for the scale of our tv and the space.  The speakers were not attractive.  (Sorry Adam.)  And the wall turned into a black hole with the black tv, the chocolate walls, the brown speakers and the dark tv stand.   

I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do with that wall, but I knew what we had going on wasn't working. I threw around the idea of finding an old dresser on Craigslist and refinishing it.  I've looked and looked but couldn't find a style I liked in the size I needed.  Eventually, I broadened my search to include actual tv stands.  I came across this cutie on  The size was right and the color would be a perfect accent in our living room.  It was also on sale and I used a promo code, so I got a pretty good deal.  

I thought ordering a tv stand with the click of a mouse would be a piece of cake.  Boy, was I wrong!  The first one they shipped to us had dings in the top and the top shelf.  Since they were front and center, we decided we couldn't look past it.  After many phones calls and emails to the manufacturer and (so annoying!), I finally convinced them to send us a new one.  When I drove up and saw the second tv stand box on our porch, I was super excited...until I saw that the box was open on both ends and looking pretty beat up.  I wasn't too hopeful that the second one wouldn't be as damaged as the first one.  But we were able to piece together parts from both boxes and end up with a complete, damage-free tv stand.  

My mom and Mama (my grandma) were in town visiting.  They kindly helped us put it together.  It was definitely helpful to have some extra hands.  It took longer than I thought it would to put it together (doesn't that always happen when assembling furniture?), but we managed to get it put together in an evening.    

I am in love with the color!  We have accents of that color throughout the living room, so it ties in so well. It really brightens up that once dark wall.  It also helps that we eliminated the speakers.  (Thanks, Adam!) And I added some colorful artwork above the tv.  I had envisioned a whole gallery wall around the tv, but with my mom and Mama's sharp eyes, we decided hanging three pictures above the tv would work best. The photo on the left is an actual photo of a nebula from outer space!  Adam got it while visiting a conservatory in Arizona.  Right now it's hung with some tape.  It's an odd size so Adam will have to make a frame for it.  But the tape works for now.  Classy, right?  The center print is the state of Missouri made out of words describing Missouri.  I got it from this Etsy shop for Christmas from my mother-in-law (Thanks, Janet!).  The print on the right is of landmarks of Kansas City.  I bought it at the Home & Garden show I went to recently from the artist.  I love how it starts with outer space, then narrows to the state I live in and ends with a specific city.  Plus, they are all super cute and meaningful.   

Baskets bookend the tv stand.  The one on the left holds the video game controllers.  The one on the right holds extra blankets and covers up the Google Fiber box.

I also added some photo storage boxes I got from Hobby Lobby for 2 bucks a piece!  They were on sale for 50% off.  They hold extra cords that go to the various electronics behind the glass doors and Adam's video games.  They are a fun pop of print and also tie in the navy from other accessories in the room.   

I added a few simple decor items to the top.  I included two books in coordinating colors with a dish my dad bought me at an art fair a few years ago.  I added three buckeyes for good luck.  (One for Adam, one for Jazzy and one for me.)  

And my brass elephant from my mom got a new spot on the other end.

I adore how the tv wall looks now!  I find myself just sitting on the couch, staring at the wall without the tv even being on.      

Monday, April 18, 2016

Simple Administrative Professionals' Day Gift

Administrative Professionals' Day, aka Secretaries' Day, is coming up on April 27.  Since I am a teacher, and former secretary, I know just how important secretaries are to helping a school run smoothly.  I'm sure administrative professionals in other professions are equally important to helping businesses run smoothly. It's nice that a day is set aside each year to show appreciation for these hard-working folks.

I wanted to share a simple gift idea that you could give to the administrative professionals/secretaries in your lives.  

Here's all you need: 
-"You are stu-pen-dous!" Saying
-Scrapbook Paper
-Double-Sided Tape

First, go out and buy some fancy pens.  You'll get bonus points if you figure out which pens are their favorites.  Just pay attention to the pens that they use over the course of a few days and you'll get a pretty good idea.  

Then, create the background for the saying.  I opted for a cream cardstock with a strip of a fun-patterned scrapbook paper down the center.

Next, use some more double-sided tape to attach the ribbon in between the background and the saying. You'll end up with the following: cream cardstock, double-sided tape, fun-patterened scrapbook paper, double-sided tape, ribbon, double-sided tape and then the saying.  

To attach your cute little card to the pen package, just wrap the ends of the ribbon around to the back side and secure with some more double-sided tape.  

There you have it!  A sweet, simple meaningful gift to show your appreciation.  

You'd be hard-pressed to find an administrative professional who doesn't appreciate a nice pen.  That's why this gift is the perfect way to say thanks.  The fact that you took time to make it adds an extra special touch.  (Of course, you could also add a gift card to a place with a happy hour if you really wanted to outdo yourself.)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

An Update On Jazzy's Sleepypod Utility Seatbelt Harness

I was so stoked when Jazzy got her Sleepypod Utility Seatbelt Harness in the mail!  It promised superior safety and I'm all about keeping Jazzy safe.  Jazzy tried it out on a car trip we took recently.  We got her all strapped in alright and she was able to lay down during the car ride.  However, I looked back at one point and noticed Jazzy had managed to get her leg through the neck hole.  The stinker!  

So, Adam pulled the car over so we could get Jazzy unstuck and correctly-situated in her harness.  We we got a good look at Jazzy we realized the harness was stuck on her very tightly.  I have no idea how she managed to get herself in that position, but there was no way that harness was budging.  We started to worry because it was super tight on her.  I felt like a horrible dog mom at this point.  Poor thing!  She didn't even whine or try to get out of the harness.  The neck strap was one continuous loop and there wasn't any way to undo it.  We stared at Jazzy for a bit and tried to think about what to do.  We came to the conclusion that we would have to cut it off of her.  There was no way to get her foot back through the neck hole.  

Of course, we didn't think to pack scissors or a pocket knife on our car ride.  Silly us!  So, Adam stopped at the nearest gas station and asked the clerk if they had any scissors we could borrow so we could cut our dog's harness off.  Luckily, they didn't ask any questions. 

Before we cut it off, Adam wisely thought to take a few pictures of the situation.  We wanted to be able to show the Sleepypod company exactly what happened in the hopes that they would replace the harness or refund the $90 we spent on it.  When we got home, I sent the pictures and an email to Sleepypod.  A customer service representative got back with us in a short while.  Based on the pictures, they determined the harness was too big for Jazzy, even though we used the measurement reccomendations from their website.  They gave us the option of getting a smaller size of the same harness or to try out the Sleepypod Sport Seatbelt Harness.  The Sport version has a neck strap that can be undone and also offers the same safety features as the Utility version.  We decided to go with the Sport version so we wouldn't have to worry about Jazzy getting stuck again.  

Sleepypod covered the costs of returning the damaged harness and sending us our new one.  When I mailed back the damaged one, I included a note specifying the new harness we wanted and asked if we would be reimbursed the price difference between the two harnesses.  We did receive our replacement harness in the mail, but never heard anything back about the price difference reimbursement.  It was only 10 bucks, but it would have been nice if they had paid us back.  I probably could have pushed harder on that, but I was finished dealing with the situation.  Sometimes it's just not worth the hassle.  

We've gotten a chance to try out Jazzy's new Sleepypod Sport Seatbelt Harness a few times now.  It fits her much better and there's no room for Jazzy to get her paw where it doesn't belong.  She seems comfortable in it and can easily sit or lay down.  Overall, we are satisfied with her new harness and would recommend the Sport version over the Utility version.   

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Our Plant Gets Some New Digs

Somehow, and I don't really know how, I have managed to keep a plant alive for more than a year.  I have probably just jinxed myself now.  I've never really had a green thumb and have killed more than my fair share of houseplants.  I really love how much life they bring to a room, so I continuously try to keep new plants alive and thriving in our house.  

One plant has managed to stick around for over a year now.  We got it at a greenhouse after telling the greenhouse guy that I tend to kill everything and the windows in the back of our house don't get much light because of our covered deck out back.  I'm pretty sure it is called a ZZ Plant.  

So, it has been hanging out on one of the stools from our table for a year.  It worked out just fine, but we lost a seat and it was also a bit low to take full advantage of what little sunlight came through the window.  

Adam found an idea for a plant stand in a woodworking book he got from the library.  So, he whipped up a plant stand using the idea from the book as inspiration.

It fits the window nicely and brings the height of the plant up so it can get more sunlight throughout the day.  

The overall cost of the project was pretty low.  Adam was able to use lumber that he already had and we got the slate tile from Restore for a buck.  

It's such a cute little stand.  It's even got a little shelf on the base.  I haven't decided what to put there yet, but I'm sure something will come to mind soon.    

Adam is turning into quite the woodworker.  I can't wait to see what he builds next! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Trying Out A Conference

One of my co-workers asked me if I had ever heard of Kansas City Infertility Awareness and if I might be interested in attending their Annual Family Building Conference.  I was touched that she thought of me and decided to look into it.  

I've never attended any sort of conference or support group surrounding infertility, so I'm not really sure what to expect.  I don't know how many people will be there or what exactly the format of the presentations will look like.  I am hoping the vision I have of people sitting in a circle, introducing themselves by saying, "Hi, I'm Sara and I'm infertile," is far from the reality of the conference.  I'm also hoping it won't be overly centered on religion.  I'm open to the idea of learning more about infertility and connecting with others dealing with similar infertility struggles.  I figured it was worth a shot and I might even walk away from it with new information or a new perspective.    

It looks like there will be a keynote speaker and then several breakout sessions afterwards.  I signed up for the In-Vitro Fertilization Session and the Adoption Session.  I'm not sure which direction, if any, Adam and I are headed in, but figured information on both topics would be steps in the right direction.  It is a free event, but you do need to sign up to attend.  

I thought I would share about this event, in case there is anyone in the Kansas City area who might be interested in attending.  Click here if you would like to sign up to attend.  I'll be sure to report back and let you all know how it went.