Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday's Matter: Emergency Plan

At our home, and millions of others around the globe, Monday nights are set aside for family.  A Family Home Evening (FHE)!

Even though we may look perfect from the outside (wink, wink) we are NOT.  And we are certainly not perfect at holding FHE every Monday night.  Oft times we settle for eating dinner together or going for a walk around the neighborhood with the dog.  Sometimes I feel like EVERY night is Family Home Evening at our house, since it is ALWAYS the two of us at home at night.  I can say that making FHE something fun and uplifting and making it okay to be silly has been wonderful.  Singing songs helps bring in such a happy atmosphere to our home too.

Tonight lets sing THE TOMATO SONG!!  If you love silly songs, you're gonna love this one!

With General Conference rolling around (if you are unfamiliar with this term then click HERE) it is a great  time to update our Emergency Plan as a family.  Timing it with General Conference helps us to remember to revisit the plan at least twice a year.

Discuss and Prepare:

  • What natural disasters might happen in your area?
  • What you would do if such things occurred while you were home?  While you were away from home? If you were separated from each other?
  • Designate a place to meet each other if you get separated.
  • Restock your 72 kits.  Items should include a 3 day supply of Water and non-perishable food, flashlight with extra batteries, waterproof matches, personal hygiene items (toilet paper, pads, tampons, toothpaste, toothbrushes), Cash money and change and anything else you might be able to think of.
  • Designate a family member out of state to contact if you have a disaster in your area.  Often times local lines will be jammed, even cell towers could go down and you will need to check in with someone outside your area to find other family members (Just think if you had a huge earthquake while your husband was at work and you were out shopping, if roads were impassable by car and your cell phone wouldn't work how would you find each other?).
  • Don't forget to restock a few emergency items in your cars too, including tossing a pair of old athletic shoes in the back just in case.  Can you imagine having to hoof it over rubble or broken glass in high heels or flip flops?  No bueno.
Then when you have done all this.  Go have some ice cream or Frozen Yogurt.  Better hurry - Opening Day is TODAY for the Giants and the game starts at 6:40pm!



{Family Home Evening Doesn't Have to be Perfect, it just has to BE!}



Friday, March 28, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things

Just a few of my favorite funny things for this Friday...












Happy Friday Everyone!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Garlic Cream Chicken with Stuffing

Garlic Cream Chicken with Stuffing.  Sounds complicated right?  It's not!  It is easy and delicious.  Even our friend's children, who are picky eaters, like this one.


Ingredients:

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 tub whipped cream cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 TBS minced Garlic

1 box Stove Top stuffing (or your favorite brand) prepared

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

In medium stock pot combine whipped cream cheese, mushroom soup and garlic. Heat and stir until well combined and warm.

In large casserole dish place chicken cubes, cover with sauce and stir to coat.  Top entire dish with stove top, making sure to rough it up a bit so it gets crispy (ie Don't flatten it all out).

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until chicken is done.

Serve with cranberry sauce and Carrots Supreme (recipe in previous post).

{Quotes to Cook By}

“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.” 
― Samuel PepysThe Diary of Samuel Pepys

“You can't possibly ask me to go without having some dinner. It's absurd. I never go without my dinner. No one ever does, except vegetarians and people like that.” 
― Oscar WildeThe Importance of Being Earnest

“If you want to grow up to be a big, strong pea, you have to eat your candy," Papa Pea would say.” 
― Amy Krouse RosenthalLittle Pea


What's For Dinner Wednesday: Carrots Supreme


Carrots Supreme!

I love this recipe.  Carrots are so affordable and delicious.  However, with all the added cheese and butter these aren't the healthiest of veggie sides, so eat sparingly.

Ingredients:

4 cups sliced carrots
1/4 C mayo
2 tsp melted butter
1/4 C french fried onions
1/4 white onion minced
1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

In medium stock pot, simmer carrot slices in water until fork tender but not mushy.

Meanwhile, in medium mixing bowl combine the rest of the ingredients.  Stirring well to combine.

Drain carrots and place in oven proof casserole dish

Top with onion-cheese-mayo mixture.  

Bake, uncovered at 350 for 15 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and starting to brown on top. Season with Salt and pepper and fresh chopped parsley never hurt anybody ;)

{Quotes to Cook By}

“In my first video diary I explained my love for women who have a taste in carrots. Since then, I have received plenty of carrots. Now I also have a keen interest in women who like Lamborghinis.” 
― Louis Tomlinson

"I'm Irish so I'm used to the odd stew.  I can take it.  Just throw a bunch of carrots and onions in there and I'll call it dinner."
-Liam Neeson

"The man in the moon drinks claret, But he is a dull Jack-a-dandy; Would he know a sheep's head from a Carrot He should learn to drink cider and brandy." Song of Mad Tom in Midsummer Night's Dream.
-William Shakespere


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Adventures in Infertility #36

#36  Those Crazy Fertility Drugs

Oh boy!  Fertility drugs!



I had 3 rounds of Lupron in one year.  Before the first injection my Dr. told us that some women get "out of their heads crazy" on this medication.  Then he leaned in towards my husband and confirmed with him that we had his home number, just in case.  Hahahaha...oh wait, you're not kidding are you?

When I started Clomid I heard everything from "It made so and so literally want to kill herself", to "It made me cry all day long", to "You won't remember a single happy thought", to other people's children calling their mom a "monster" and asking the Dr. not to put mommy on the "angry pills anymore."

Perfect pill for trying to make a baby don't you think?  Sheesh!

Just FYI on both accounts I was blessed to feel just great and because I was so worried about turning into a wild and crazy monster I went out of my way to be extra nice to everyone.  My husband even told the Dr. that "I was nicer on the meds than off of them." Haha.  Funny now, not so funny then.  Bwahaha  :)

*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #35

#35 You Know You're Infertile When...

You know you're infertile when you are jealous when your cat gets pregnant before you do.

You know you're infertile when you take prenatal vitamins that you know make your stomach upset but you still get excited when you feel a little queasy after taking them because it could not be morning sickness.  Right?

You know you're infertile when you entertain the idea of  writing hate mail to shows like "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant"  "Teenage Mother" and "Another Teen Mom".

You know you are infertile when you retake pregnancy tests after your first one came up negative.

You know you are infertile when you pull the old, negative pregnancy tests out of the trash bin hours later just in case the developed a second pink line.

You know you are infertile when you worry about the little belly pooch your getting while taking fertility medications, not because you wanna bring sexy back but because you don't want people to ask you if you are pregnant because you are fat.

You know you are infertile when you rolled your eyes in the last Twilight book when Bella got pregnant on her first try, with her husband who had been un-dead for centuries.

You know you're infertile when you automatically calculate how many days until your most fertile day as soon as your "Aunt Flo" starts her visit.

You know you're infertile when you try and have your breakdown, crying about infertility, moment in really FUN places like...in front of your boss, at your friends baby shower, in line at the grocery store when you are checking out, or at church.

You know you're infertile because if robbers ever broke into your house in-search of money, you would just laugh and search with them.


*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #34

#34 I am a Failure:  A Car Ride Pep Talk



I recently spent some time with the most fun group of women!  We laughed, we played games, we ate amazing food.  When I left I was feeling so joyful!  It had been such a fun night.  I wonder why, then on the car ride home, I had the same word running through my head and my heart over and over again.  Failure.  Failure. Failure.  It made me think of many things. I am sorry to say my joyful night turned into a tearful car ride home.  

I wonder if this ever happens to anyone else?

These are the things I thought about.  The things that helped me realize I AM a failure and it's a pretty darn good thing!

Some once said, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home."

Failure.  It is a funny little word.  A punishing word.  Knocking the breath from your lungs, breaking your spirit and your heart, making you doubt yourself.

No matter how much I try and deny it.  No matter what I tell myself or others tell me. I am a failure.

I have failed.

It might not be so stinging if I hadn't tried so hard.  We have all had those little experiences when we have tried to do something and it hasn't worked out and we just shrug our shoulders and say "oh well."  But when those moments come along when we pour our entire being into an effort.  When we employ every tactic we can think of to reach our goal and we still fall short, those are the moments that define us.  They are fiery furnaces of our lives.  The point where we will decide who we will allow ourselves to become.

It made me think of a woman I met once, a long time ago, who had been married many years. She was well past her child bearing years.  She and her husband had never been able to have children and they had never had the income available to adopt.  She was bitter and sad.  She held open disdain for mothers and could not bring herself to leave her home on Mother's Day.

At the time I could see myself in her.  I did not want to become her.  

It made me think of the Parable of the Talents (Paraphrased here by theologian Elder Ronald A Rasband).

Would I be afraid?  
Would I hide myself in the earth?  
Would I squander this magnificent gift of life that so many would have given so much to obtain?  
Who would I allow myself to become?

This is not a dress rehearsal.  This is IT.  Our lives are not perfect. We can't wait for them to be perfect to begin being happy with them.

And this not being able to have babies, this trial, this hiccup in my plan, whatever it is...It is not the worst thing that could happen to me.  I am NOT the mother who's child was taken from this world earlier than anyone could have imagined.  I am NOT the wife who's husband gave his life in service to our country.  I am NOT the abused or down trodden who can only find relief in the bottle or the pill.  I am NOT unloved or unwanted.  I don't have children, but I do have so many wonderful blessings.

So, while I may be a failure at doing something so many others do effortlessly, I am also a failure at staying down when life knocks me down.  I am a failure at seeing the glass as half empty.  I am a failure at quitting.  I am a failure at believing that my life doesn't have meaning and purpose.  I have failed at being bitter and sad (most of the time).   And these failures feel so good!

You know, the older I get, the more I realize I am happier when I am happy (Deep thoughts right?)  ;)

Plus crying make this funny thing happen with my snot.  Do you remember when you were a kid and you mixed baking soda and vinegar?  It's like that, only with snot.  Not. Pretty. At. All.

*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!




Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday's Matter: Forgiveness is for Everybody

At our house and millions of other's around the globe Monday nights are reserved for family.  A Family Home Evening (FHE)!!

When we were first married we had FHE with our other, newly married friends.  We had such fun times planning lessons, making treats and forming friendships that have lasted a lifetime!  We even started a tradition of having an FHE camp-out once a year. We haven't done it in a while since everyone has had growing families or has moved around the country but those memories will last forever.  Like the camp-out at Pinecrest when everyone's babies were young and Erica was pregnant and it thundered and rained all night long, and Mikey got food poisoning. Or Bass Lake when we got so sunburned we could barely move but still could laugh.  Or that time at the beach when this happened...



We had some pretty amazing gospel centered discussions and lots of good old fashioned fun and games.

We strive to make our FHE reach those amazing heights each Monday but we often fall short.  But that is okay.  We forgive ourselves ;)

I'll admit it.  This lesson idea is a reboot of my Sunday lesson about the importance of forgiveness.  But hey, it was an excellent topic.  Worthy of a repeat, if you ask me!

Read:

Book of Mormon Examples: Forgiving Others by Keith J Wilson, Professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU

Elder Neal A. Maxwell pointed to this when he stated, "Jesus partook of history's bitterest cup without becoming bitter!"  

Make a list of reasons why Laman and Lemuel might have been angry with their brother Nephi (Play Devil's advocate as best you can).  Some examples might be: 


  • Nephi was younger but was always telling them what to do.  
  • Lehi made them leave their wealth in Jerusalem and camp-out in the desert.
  • Laman and Lemuel had to travel BACK to Jerusalem to get the plates and they had to try and trade their families riches for them.
Make a list of reasons why Nephi might have had cause to be angry with Laman and Lemuel.  Reasons like:

  • They beat him up
  • They tied him up
  • They were always complaining about doing as the Lord commanded
Discuss: effects of not forgiving others can do to a person, a people, a generation.

How do you feel when you are angry with someone?  
How do you feel when you forgive them?


"After a history of abuses, how hard would it have been for Nephi to grant them forgiveness? Nephi had endured one painful moment after another with these calloused brothers.
To this mountain of offense, Nephi responded with forthright forgiveness. "And it came to pass that I did frankly forgive them all that they had done, and I did exhort them that they would pray unto the Lord their God for forgiveness. And it came to pass that they did so" (1 Nephi 7:21).
Nephi cared nothing for revenge. He looked beyond their malice and concerned himself with his need to forgive..."

"...the Lamanites still harbored such animus toward the Nephites.
Note the generational hatred that persisted in Lamanite memory: "They (the Lamanites) were a . . . blood-thirsty people, believing in the tradition of their fathers, which is this — Believing that they were driven out of the land of Jerusalem because of the iniquities of their fathers, and that they were wronged in the wilderness by their brethren." (Mosiah 10:12—13).
What a truly tragic aftermath of two brothers with an enlarged disposition for revenge! But even four hundred years did not circumscribe the damage of these two unforgiving brothers. Approximately one thousand years after Laman and Lemuel contended with Nephi, the prophet Mormon watched hundreds of thousands perish as those who called themselves Lamanites annihilated the entire Nephite nation. The pattern for this genocide can be traced to a contempt for those who followed God or were the children of Nephi (see 4 Nephi 1:39)."

"He who is offended when no offense was intended is a fool; he who is offended when offense was intended is a greater fool."

Forgiveness is as much for you as it is for the person you are forgiving.  Don't carry around the weight of anger and hate.  Unburden yourselves of this load and continue on.

Activity:



Stick pulling!  Sounds lame but it is super fun and easy.  And it is just what it says it is...pulling on a stick.  Sit on the ground, put your feet against your opponents feet.  Hold onto a shared stick (broomsticks work well) with both hands.  And PULL! See who can pull the other person over first.

Remember to be a good loser and forgive the winner for being so AwEsoMe!  ;)




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What's For Dinner Wednesday: German Potato Salad



Left-Over Make-Over!  Hot German Potato Salad

I always seem to make extra baked potatoes.  Sometimes I use them in the mornings for fried potatoes or in cheesy Funeral Potatoes.  Other times, I'm not sure what to do with them.  One thing is for sure, they are never as fluffy the second day.  

After church on Sunday I was standing in-front of the open refrigerator wondering what I could throw together for a quick dinner between meetings.  Then it dawned on me!  I could make a hot German potato salad.  And 20 minutes later it was on the table along with sandwiches and a fruit salad.  Too bad I didn't have any 'wurst in the fridge.

*A lot of other recipes call for a thickening agent like flour but I feel like the left over baked potatoes create enough thickness on their own.

Ingredients:

4 strips of bacon
1/2 medium Red Onion minced
2 ribs of celery diced
1 bunch of dill, bottom stems removed and fronds minced
1/2 - 2/3 C apple cider vinegar
1/4 C olive oil
1 tsp salt (or more for taste)
1-2 TBS sugar (to taste)
4 Cups peeled (as best as you can), sliced, left over baked potatoes 

Directions:

In large skillet cook bacon strips until crisp, remove bacon, leaving bacon grease in pan.

Add potato slices to hot, bacon greased pan.  Cook, stirring often (it is okay if your slices break apart into smaller pieces, they are supposed to do that!) until heated up.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine onion, celery, dill, 1/2 C cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and 1 TBS of sugar.
Whisk until combined.

Add hot potatoes to vinegar mixture.  Stir well.  

Taste.  You may want to add the additional salt, sugar and/or vinegar depending on your preferences.  I like mine with a lot of vinegar!

Mince crisp cooked bacon and add to mixture.  Stir.  Let sit for a few minutes and serve warm.

{QUOTES TO COOK BY}

“I wish my stove came with a Save As button like Word has. That way I could experiment with my cooking and not fear ruining my dinner.
” 



“Calvin: Why are you crying mom?
Mom: I'm cutting up an onion.
Calvin: It must be hard to cook if you anthrpomorphisize your vegetables.” 



“Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.” 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Adventures in Infertility #33

#33 Dining Out (ie Sports Talk)

Remember that song from Sesame Street?  You know the one that goes, "One of these things is not like the others.  One of these things just doesn't belong."?


I hum that song to myself sometimes when we are going out to dinner with friends.  Sometimes I feel like the thing that "doesn't belong" at the dinner table.  Butter?  Good!  Meat?  Good!  Friends?  Good!  Infertile who has nothing to contribute to the potty training/dealing with elementary school teachers conversation? 

Not 
so 
good.

Everybody wants to BELONG somewhere, to have a group they can relate to.  Probably why gangs are so popular.  Hey! we should start the East Side Infertiles and we can go around bedazzling onesies and overturning sippy cups!  ;)

Over the years, like the Stink Bug, I have developed my own self- preservation methods.  They may not be pleasant but they get the job done.  The one that works the best is SPORTS TALK!  



I may not be able to fake knowing how painful it is to breastfeed when the baby has teeth or know how to help get a back-talking kid to stay in time-out and lets be honest, no one wants parenting advice from someone who is not a parent  with the mom side of the table.

So instead, I fake sports talk with the man side of the table.  Grant it, my lack of in-depth knowledge probably has them all rolling their eyes BUT they are too nice to say anything.  And so I blissfully doled out inaccurate baseball stats, basketball rankings and football commentary until I found this website Women Can Talk SPORTS!  Dedicated entirely to a race of women who want to weasel their way into the man talk at the table and not make a fool out of themselves!  I'm sure it was started by an infertile.  That's one more member for my gang!

Plus baseball greats have said some awesome things over the years that apply to infertility:

“It ain't over 'til it's over.” 
― Yogi Berra

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” 
― Babe Ruth

“Never allow the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!” 
― Babe Ruth



*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #32

#32 Yo Mama So...Jokes

Yo Mama so Barren Jokes:

Yo mama so barren she makes the dust bowl look like the garden of eden!

Yo mama so barren her living room looks like Martha Stewart lives there!



Yo mama so barren she gets fertility advice from the Sahara Desert!

Yo mama so barren she's NOT THE MAMMA!


Yo Mama so Fat from Fertility Drugs Jokes:

You mama so fat from fertility drugs she saw a yellow bus full of white kids and yelled "Stop that Twinkie!"

Yo mama so fat from fertility drugs when she runs she makes the CD player at the radio station skip.

Yo mama so fat from fertility drugs when she went outside in a red dress kids yelled, "Hey, KOOL-AID!"

Yo mama so fat from fertility drugs she fell in love and broke it!

Yo mama so fat from fertility drugs she floated in the ocean and Spain claimed her for the new world.

*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #31

 #31 Mythbusters!

Myth: Boobies = Babies

When I was in high school I was skinny.  Not just skinny. Not pretty, model skinny.  Awkward, unattractive skinny.  Skinny. I was 5'9" tall and only 110-115 lbs. Taller than a lot of the boys which is why I thought none of them ever wanted to dance with me at dances or ask me out on dates.  It couldn't have been that I had a personality like Margaret on Dennis the Menace, right?

Being tall was awful, I felt like big bird sometimes.  Luckily I made the best of friends with an amazing girl who was much taller than me. But height, as it turns out, was the least of my worries.

So to recap:  Skinny- knob kneed, boy-body, ugly duckling skinny and tall.

So, wouldn't 'cha know? In all my teenage angst I found a new worry to occupy my time. My flat chest.


  • I was so flat chested it looked like I had taped two skittles under my shirt.
  • I was so flat chested that guys would rub a flat wall as I passed and say "Amber is that you?" Ha.
  • I was so flat chested mosquitoes scoffed at the shoddy workmanship.
  • Colonel Sanders had bigger breasts than me.
  • I was a carpenter's delight. Flat as a board.


But who cares right?  Well, teenage ME!  My worry progressed into wondering if I wouldn't ever be able to get someone to like me or marry me so I would finally get to have babies.  According to my lack of knowledge and inexperience it seemed to me all the women I knew who had a husband also had babies boobies.  It was a Catch 22.  I would never be able to catch a man because I didn't have tatas and I would never get them, I feared, unless I was married and had a baby and therefore a visit from the bazoombas fairy.

These are the worries of my teenage mind.

Well here I am many, many years later.  Married but still without kids.  But good news!!  No longer am I the girl who's cup size was punctuation (Ba dum cha! Get it? Not a letter.  Punctuation?).  And after much calculation...



I have proven that Boobies do NOT = Babies!  Boom Busted!
*Don't you worry all you skinny, flat chested girls out there!  Everything gets better in college :)  In High School I still had one or two smart and handsome boys who liked me and looking back they were the cream of the crop.  I don't know why they liked me, but I like to think they liked me for me.  I met some pretty cool guys in college too and kept the best one just for me!

And he was super RAD in high school!

*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday's Matter: Don't Drop The Ball

At our home and millions of others around the globe, Monday nights are set aside for family.  A Family Home Evening!!

Is there any reason our Family Home Evenings shouldn't be something to look forward to?  Something fun and worthwhile?  Something that everyone is excited about?  I say unto you, that is exactly what Family Home Evenings are about!  Having memorable and fun experiences with our families, strengthening our testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and fortifying our relationships with each other is what it is all about.  So join in!  It doesn't have to be a perfect "lesson" to be successful, it just has to BE.

"We cannot afford to neglect this heaven-inspired program. It can bring spiritual growth to each member of the family, helping him or her to withstand the temptations which are everywhere. The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest.”  
-Pres. Thomas S. Monson

Read and Discuss:
This is an excerpt from an article in Meridian Magazine that I found online:
"... in a very small branch in Ankara, Turkey, a woman came to church who had clearly just smoked a cigarette only moments before. She still smelled strongly of the smoke and people noticed--though they tried not to react. It was testimony meeting that day and she got up and said something he never forgot. "I know you all smelled the smoke on me when I came into church today, but you know if every sin had an odor, the church would be a pretty stinky place." 
We are all always struggling to overcome our weaknesses and become more devoted disciples of Jesus Christ.
So this is a plea. Can we refrain from judging each other as to whether we are good members or not? Can we give each other the benefit of the doubt? Can we act with charity in our comments? Can our hearts expand to include people whose ideas and inclinations may not match our own?
The Adversary would have us scattered and divided. He would love us to make camps and forge little wars against each other. Let's not play his game or fall for his tactics.
This is a favorite scripture of mine which seems to suit the situation. "I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. (D&C 38:27)""

Activity:

Start a WHAT I LOVE ABOUT YOU JOURNAL!  It is as easy as  writing down the names of your family members in it on different pages (leave a a gap of a few pages in between each person, because you will need room to write over the next few months).  Then write down things you love about them.  To start it out you can pass it around or you can have a scribe write in it for each person.

Fill in the blank..."Do you know what I love about you?  I love_________________!"

Then each FHE you can pull out the journal and ask each family member to contribute, if you have a large family you may want to focus on just one member at a time each week.  If you family is small, like ours, you may want to just leave the journal out and each contribute on your own.

It will give you something to look back on and remember all of the wonderful reasons why you love someone.

You can "love" the meal they cooked or love the way they say something a certain way, you can "love" the color of their eyes or their fashion style.  The possibilities are as endless as your love for your family!

I think it is more fun to limit the thing you "love" to something from that day, so you can reflect on the day and see what they did that made it special.

And y'all know our FHE would not be complete without a game.  Let's PLAY BALL!! Whiffle Ball!!





Friday, March 14, 2014

Date Night Done Right: Stepin' Out With my Baby!


Sometimes marriage is a LOT of work  challenge.  What to do when you come home and crankiness abounds?  We like to employ the "Do Over!".  It goes down a little something like this....

I come home and am cranky.
My husband is cranky too.
I say something cranky. He smiles.
He says "Do Over!"
I go back outside, ring the door bell, he opens it and I come in the door again, trying to be less cranky. (I really cheese it up with the "I've missed you"s and "It is so nice to be home"s).
He says something cranky (I think he does it just so he can be sent outside).
I say "Do Over!"
He goes outside and comes back in (I'm sure our neighbors think we are nuts).
This time*, as weird as it may sound, the silliness of our own crankiness and cheesiness gets us laughing and we hug.  The "Do Over" works for us.  But mostly because we are silly at heart! 

*Once we had to do this 4 times in a row before we got past our crankiness.  Good times!  Good times! Good times! Good times!


{WHAT TO DO FOR DATE NIGHT}

There are actually quite a few good date night options in our area this weekend.  Here is a run down of my top picks!

Les Mis is playing at the Sierra Rep. This is your chance to see amazing actress Miori Kennedy as Young Cosette!!  She is a doll and wonderfully talented!  For showtimes, prices and ticketing check out this link HERE.

Our Town is playing at the Gallo Center this weekend.  Check out the link HERE.

And my favorite stay at home option: Have a living room camp-out!  Don't forget the s'mores!!



{Date Night doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to BE!}

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What's for Dinner Wednesday: Stuffed Bell Peppers


This recipe is really just an accident, stumbled upon because of my lack of planning.  Boy am I glad to have a well stocked pantry.  At many times during our early married/grad-school years my pantry was "stocked" with brown tuna and the 25 cent mac and cheese, nary a fresh vegetable to be found.

We actually really like stuffed bell peppers in our home.  They are hearty, filling and full of yummy goodness!

Ingredients:
  • 4 good sized red bell peppers (okay, you can use green too but it isn't as much fun).  Seeded and cut in half.
  • 1 "family sized" box of Beef Rice a Roni (the San Francisco Treat - ding! ding!) prepared
  • 1 can of hunt's spaghetti sauce (we like onion and garlic)
  • 1/2 yellow onion minced
  • 1/2 lb ground beef (it really is much better if you grind your own, really)
  • 1/2 lb ground pork (really)
  • 2 C grated cheddar cheese
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder


Love my KitchenAid mixer in butter yellow from Williams and Sonoma - I use it all the time.  The meat grinder attachment is especially helpful!

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

In large pan brown meat and onion, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder, until done.  

Combine prepared Rice a Roni, meat and onion mix and spaghetti sauce.  

In 9" x 13" casserole pan place peppers cut side up, stuff each with meat/rice mixture.  

Top with shredded cheese.

Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes until cheese is bubbly and peppers are tender.  The Aussie only likes uncooked veggies but I can get away with this one if I under cook the peppers and they are still crisp.




{ Quotes to Cook by}

“I want to lose weight by eating nothing but moon pies, which have significantly less gravity than earthier foods such as fruits and vegetables.” 
― Jarod KintzI Want

“Facts must be faced. Vegetables simply don't taste as good as most other things do.” 
― Peg BrackenThe Compleat I Hate to Cook Book

“They sowed the duller vegetables first, and a pleasant feeling of righteous fatigue stole over them as they addressed themselves to the peas.” 
― E.M. ForsterWhere Angels Fear to Tread


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Adventures In Infertility Ideal #30

#30  Be Careful What You Wish For





Being inexplicably infertile is kind of like being lost at sea, without a raft, in a really uncomfortable bathing suit. At some point everyone gives up, the search planes stop searching, the press stops reporting and people forget about you. Plus, it is really easy to be freaked out if you don't concentrate on just one thing...staying afloat!  Just keep swimming (gotta love that Dori!)  

Your best chance at survival?  Forget about yourself and try and serve others, your spouse included.

I have a friend who had a baby recently.  The baby was early and it seemed everyone was gathered at the hospital to check on mama and baby.  The other women all had "I know just how you feel" stories for her comfort. I had none. They expertly dealt out advice and  held and cuddled the little one and I just felt so utterly useless and completely inadequate.

Later, before mama and baby came home from the hospital, I decided to drop off some cinnamon rolls at the house for dad and kids and see if there was anything I could do to help get ready for their arrival. I so desperately wanted to be useful. On the drive there I tearfully asked my Heavenly Father to make me of some use.  I pled with Him to let there be something I could do to contribute and to help my friend know that I love her.  

**Let's just take a break here and remind ourselves of the sense of humor our  Father in Heaven must have**

When I got to their house, my friend's mother had just arrived to tend to the kids and dad was on his way to the hospital for the night to stay with mom and the new baby.

I looked around for something to help with.  Then I saw it. And it made me laugh out loud.  

On the couch was a week's worth of laundry to be folded. Dad had washed and dried it all so the kids could have clean clothes and now there was a full sectional sofa piled high with load after load of laundry.  I knew it was meant for me.

**Anyone who knows me knows how much I loath folding laundry.  There are only two of us in my household and our laundry still goes from the dryer to the basket, to the bed to the floor never to be folded. I can't explain my hatred of folding laundry, it is inexplicable**

That night I folded and put away laundry for hours, until my back ached and my feet hurt and until my heart was full and my cup was overflowing with gratitude for answered prayers.  


“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” 
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” 
― Gordon B. HinckleyStanding for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes


 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #29

#29 Babies AKA Invasion of the Friend Snatchers!!

We all grow, we all change, we all naturally move on, blah, blah, blah and no one knows this better than the infertiles who watch everyone else grow and change and move on with kids, without them.  To me this was the worst, most awful, terribly painful most challenging part of not being able to have kids.  All those things you shared and had in common with your other newly married friends take a back seat as soon as kids come along.  Sure they all try, you can see them trying to invite you to first birthday parties, gymboree tumbling classes, mommy and me play dates and you know they don't know what to do with you anymore still love you.  Then it happens.  BAM!  You introduce some of your friends with kiddos to your other friends with kiddos and suddenly they are all hanging out together without you because their kids are the same age and like to play together.  Children are the great equalizers, no matter your station in life, no matter your age, if you have had kids then you have something to talk about and can make some new friends.  It takes us infertiles a few times to catch on to this phenomenon I like to call Invasion of the Friend Snatchers.  But eventually you get wise to the friend snatching.  For those who are new to the game, this is how it goes down...

Infertiles: Hey (insert name of good friends who just had a baby here) you guys wanna come over and play board games and have pizza?

Friends:  Sure!  That sounds like fun we haven't been out of the house in weeks, we really miss you guys!  We will bring some soda.  Who else is coming?

Infertiles: Well not so and so because she just had a baby, and not such and such because they are pregnant and we don't want them to snatch you Um...a just a few couples from college.

{Night of Party}

Infertilies:  Everybody this is (good friends who just had a baby)!

Friends at Party:  Aw look at your cute baby!  I wasn't going to say anything but I am pregnant!Uh oh  (Other friend)  Really?  Me too! Crap  I just found out!!

Infertiles:  Wow!  That is so sad for us wonderful for you guys!

Night proceeds with NO games but lots of talk of babies and labor and poopy diapers (to which the infertiles make inappropriate hilarious comments while downing as much pizza as they can so they don't have to talk too much and reveal how much they don't know about the subject of having kids).  Everyone declares the night a huge success!  One of the best "game nights" they've been to in a long time!  Hurrah!

*Party ends with plans for all the couples to meet for dinner next week and discuss car seats and in one night 3 couples were snatched to be taken on to bigger and better things, leaving the infertiles to fend for themselves at the Empty Nester's Potluck (where everyone talks about their grandkids) and where they don't really fit in either.

Disclaimer:  Friends are not to be blamed for being snatched by other friends with kids, they are wonderful and anyone would be lucky to have them as friends and they deserve to hang out with people who have kids their kids can play with while they play board games and eat pizza.

 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #28

#28 Things Said By My Surgical Staff

Can I first just say that my surgical staff were wonderful?!  Because they were!  The best part about them was that they had a sense of humor.  Nothing puts this infertile at ease more than a funny person.  I appreciate all of you and your amazing care!

So an infertile, a pregnant woman and a rabbi walk into a hospital.... just kidding ;)

Ahem.

THINGS SAID BY MY SURGICAL STAFF

Anesthesiologist:  Have you ever had surgery before?
Me: No
Anesthesiologist: Have you ever taken any drugs?
Me: No
Anesthesiologist:  Do you drink alcohol?
Me: No
Anesthesiologist: Well, do you take any medications?
Me: No
Anesthesiologist leans in and smiles big, making his eyes just tiny slits behind his glasses and says, "You are what we like to call a 'Cheap Date' "  and he laughs a big laugh, "because it won't take much to knock you out!"  Hahaha!

And me, feeling small in my giant hospital gown, in my giant hospital bed, hooked up to my IV at 6 in the morning, with no makeup on, laughed and felt like I was big enough to handle this, that I was going to be okay.

OR Nurse:  Wake up sweetie.  Wake up.  You have to wake up.
Me:  Hi.
OR Nurse: How are you feeling?
Me:  Great! (It was a lie, in my next breath I vomited.)
Me:  (Nurse starts to leave)  WAIT!  How many people saw me naked?!  (You think by now I would not be so concerned about this.)
OR Nurse:  (Laughing)  Well all of them sweetheart!
********************Elapsed time a few hours?  Or maybe 10 minutes***********************
OR Nurse:  Wake up sweetie.  You have to try and wake up.
Me:  Hi
OR Nurse:  How are you feeling?
Me:  How many people saw me naked?
OR Nurse: Bahahahahaha!!!
Me: What's so funny?


 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday's Matter: Spiritual Vertigo

At our home at at millions of others around the globe Monday nights are set aside for family.  A Family Home Evening!

We LOVE history and are so blessed to have so many wonderful stories from my husband's father who wrote down his memoirs.  He was born in 1921 in Ohio.  He lived through the Great Depression, loved baseball and tried out to pitch in a minor league team as a young man, he joined the Army Air Corps and served during WWII,  he lived in tropical Florida, moved to tropical Townsville, Australia, he was a photographer, a husband, a father and an adventurer at heart.

For tonight's FHE, and in honor of him, I thought it might be fun to watch and discuss this awesome video about a WWII fighter pilot and have a paper airplane contest!

WATCH AND DISCUSS:

A World War II fighter pilot teaches some essential truths to fly by—and to live by in Spiritual Vertigo.




ACTIVITY: 

Paper Airplane Folding and Flying Contest

Step 1:  Choose your style
Step 2: Fold your paper





Check out this link for some more amazing step by step instructions for Our Favorite Paper Airplanes!!!

Step 3:  Fly it!!!

~ Air Show ~

Distance Flown -  see who can fly the farthest!

Time in the Sky - use a stop watch and clock hang time!

Air Show - See which planes can fly in the most unusual ways!



“What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure discourage you.” 

                       ― Dieter F. Uchtdorf