Wednesday, March 26, 2008

American Idol - Top 10

Birth year songs! - I love this week on American Idol - I feel like you get to know so much about the contestants & they get to choose a style of music that best suits them! Sorry this is a day late! I worked until 5:30 yesterday and had about an hour at home to eat and review for bible study, which was at 7:30...and I went to bed as soon as I got home!

David C. - Billie Jean - bummer - I was expecting him to rock it out like Michael Jackson...but this was still awesome and very un-predictable (since they'd been harping on him about that in recent weeks). That was awesome! Best performance of the night!
David A.
- You're the Voice - I am not familiar with this song at all, but I think he sounds awesome - he's just so amazing and sings with such enthusiasm - it's like he's been practicing these songs everyday for all 17 years of his life...I want him to sing to me...even if it is the phone book (and Simon is crazy tonight, too...what in the heck?).
Carly - Total Eclipse of the Heart - I love this song and Carly did an awesome job with it - Wow! She'll be a hard one to top tonight! what's up with Randy anyway? I thought it was great and I'm not normally a Carly fan...I agree with Simon more that she did seem somewhat uptight, but in general, it was good.
Brooke - I'll Be Watching You - interesting song choice...she had a little bit of a rocky start when she did the re-start, but I love hearing the purity of her voice with just the piano to accompany her. There wasn't much extra that she did with the song, so I'm not sure how they'll feel about that, but regardless, she will definitely go her!
- If I Were Your Woman - she sounds great and looks gorgeous (ok, do I sound like Paula yet?) but it's kind of a boring song...I think she should have found a Whitney song to really show off her chops...but she was still good! A familiar song would have done more for me.
Michael - We Will Rock You/We are the Champions - I just thought it was ok until he started the We are the Champions part of the song - I wish he would have picked something more melodic, but he's convinced he's a rocker, so we'll go with that. I agree that this was one of his best performances since the show started.
- Fragile - I didn't know this song, but he's just so cute and sincere, I think he could sing an irish jig and it would be great! I thought he did an awesome job! Simon was kind of harsh, I thought (and I usually agree with him)...Jason's laid back, so of course that reflects in his songs...
Chickezie - If Only for One Night - I don't know this song either, but I thought he did a good job. There weren't many "touches" in the song that made it overly special or memorable, but he sounded good overall, and he adds so much attitude that you can't help but love it! And for once, I agreed with Paula (shhhh...I didn't say that!)
Ramiele - Alone - this is a tough song for me because it was previously done by AI winner Carrie Underwood, and as far as I'm concerned, no one will ever do it as well as she did! Ramiele did OK & it was pitchy at points, but WAYYYY better than her previous two weeks. I think she'll still be around.
Kristy - God Bless the USA - of all the WONDERFUL songs of 1984 (including country, which she's been chomping at the bit to sing), she chooses a patriotic ballad? I'm very confused by this song choice. She sounds good, but I'm just so puzzled...I had considered moving her up above Ramiele, but this song doesn't have much substance to it, so she remains #10...and what is Simon talking about? I just don't GET him (or Randy) tonight.

Bottom 3: Ramiele, Chickezie, Kristy
Going home (believe me, I haven't watched the results yet): Kristy Lee Cook

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm here...somewhere

I just wanted to let all of you know that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth (even though my last post was only Thursday, it feels like forever since I've written). I'm exhausted from our 5 day trip to my hometown to stay with my parents for Easter. We had a great trip, but we had to leave super-early this morning to get back because I had to work the afternoon-to-closing shift at the daycare. I'm just exhausted...but I wanted to thank everyone for their comments on my recent blog posts (usually I try to reply to each and everyone, but I've fallen behind, and since I'm starting full-time work, I am not so sure I can make up for lost time).

I hope everyone had a wonderful easter! I don't think I can muster up a Meal-plan Monday this week! Hopefully next week I'll have time to prepare!

Catch ya tomorrow for American Idol!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Since I wrote about 13 annoying and/or depressing and/or things that drive me crazy last week, I thought today would be a great day to talk about 13 things I loooove!

1. Breaks off of work - unfortunately, once Easter is over, there are no more breaks in the school year until summer. But since I'm not working this summer (except to fill in for the regular workers' vacation days), I can't really complain.

2. Being home with my family - even if my hubby complains because he's allergic to the cats and he doesn't like the mattress and/or pillows on the bed in our room...I still love it.

3. Country music - I don't get when people say they don't like country's so diverse, that if you gave it a chance, there is definitely SOMETHING you would find that you me! Open your mind!

4. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers - have you tried those things??? Although, I do have to admit that I have found one mess it couldn't tackle - a scuff mark from a suitcase on my yellow bedroom doesn't even budge....that's ok, Mr. Clean. I still love your squeaky-clean bald head.

5. Bloggie giveaways - I just won a photo album from Robin over at Robinznest and it made my's the little things, me, it doesn't take much these days!

6. The Big Bang Theory - have you ever seen this show on CBS? It is the only show on TV that can actually make me laugh out loud...I think it's because it feeds my inner nerd (as if you didn't already know how nerdy I really was...). I was so happy for a new episode this week!

7. Wii - my dad is currently standing in the living room golfing on the Wii. We (hubby and I) actually had both my mom and my dad bowling with us on the Wii tonight. It was a great time...but don't ask me...since I won!

8. Scrabulous & Literati - both of these are fun, online Scrabble-style games that you can play online with friends or strangers. I play literati almost every night with my mom & DH & I are known to have a game of Scrabulous going via our Facebook accounts...but he cheats, so we won't talk about that anymore...

9. Coupons - I've been known to go rummaging through a Sunday newspaper that's been sitting out in the rain for 24 hours or so, just to get to the soggy coupons inside...don't laugh...the other day, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things & I got $11.50 worth of groceries for $4...and don't get me started on clearance racks. I went shopping a few months ago and got a pair of denim capris on the clearance rack at Penney's for $0.97!!! And just last week, I went shopping with my mom and got $300 worth of clothes for $37 (5 sweaters, a dress, a top and a spring jacket)!!

10. Apples to Apples - best party game ever! Get it and try it with your friends...there's a kid-friendly version as well. It's even educational!

11. Chai Tea - if you have never had it, you must...but don't get the powdered kind...get a tea bag, add in some boiling water, then a few minutes later, add a bit of sweetener and some milk...mmmm!

12. Electronic hand-held 20 Questions - have you ever tried this game? Oh my gosh! It is so amazing the way it seems to read your mind; and for less than $20, you MUST go get one! It will keep your kids (or husband) entertained for hours!

13. My Hubby - of course I saved the best for last! I love my husband - but can you blame me???

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ahh the memories

***make sure you read below for my Works-for-me-Wednesday post about fun Easter activities to do with kids!!***
A blogging friend of mine gave me the inspiration for today's post. She wrote about how different sensory elements can trigger memories for you...this caused me to reminisce about the "old days" and good times from back in my youth (because, you know, I'm old now...well, at least my eggs are, but that's a different story from a different post).

I got really emotional as I was thinking of these songs and remembering how much fun I had in my middle & high school years. I was definitely NOT one of those people who sees those years as the toughest in her life and would never go back. If I could take my hubby with me, I would go back to high school in a heartbeat...oh how wonderful it must have been that my biggest worry was who I would be going to the prom with and what grade I would get on the next test...I had awesome friends (ok, so I am not friends with MOST of them now, but we just drifted apart...we really were a great support system back then), and I was so involved in school activities, and I had so much confidence in my abilities. Back then, I LOVED being busy and always having something to how things I love being lazy and having nothing to do...I wish I could regain that energy and get-up-and-go that I had back then!

So without further ado, here are the songs that take me back...

1. Everything I Do, I Do it For You (Bryan Adams) - this takes me back to the 7th grade Spring Dance where I danced my first-ever slow dance with my "boyfriend." Kids...this was before the days of texting and IM that middle-school boyfriends and girlfriends use these days, so when I say that we were going out, it really just meant that we would stand around and hold hands at the recess period at school when the teachers weren't watching...ooh, we were rebels. I remember that I went to his birthday party at the Country Club pool...and I gave him a Barney balloon...because, you know, nothing says "we'll be together forever" like a big, purple dinosaur. Nevermind the fact that he later broke up with me on our monumental 1-month anniversary by telling one of my friends that he wanted to break up with me. I guess he didn't like Barney.

2. Achy-Breaky Heart (Billy Ray Cyrus) - oh yes...this song makes me think of my 13th birthday party. You see, my Dad played in rock cover-bands all through my childhood. It was mostly what we would now consider Classic Rock (.38 Special, Lynard Skynard, Bob Seger), but sometimes they would get so many requests for particular songs out at the clubs where they played that they would eventually give in and learn them. Achy-Breaky is one such song. I wanted to have a major party for my 13th birthday, but we didn't really have a lot of money, so I asked my Dad's band if they would play in our driveway (they always practiced in the garage anyway) and we would pay them in pizza. The result was an awesome party with all of my middle-school friends and extended family dancing in our driveway. There are pictures of my friends and I line-dancing to Achy-Breaky Heart...but thank goodness, I don't have them to show you!

3. Loser (Beck), Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison), California Love (2Pac & Dr.Dre), 1, 2, 3, 4 (Coolio) and many more - they make me think of high school post-football game dances. I looked forward to home football games just for the dances...and since I was a rebel, I even snuck into one the year after I graduated...for the record, it's not nearly as much fun after you've graduated.

4. What a Feeling (Irene Cara) - makes me think of high school show choir when I danced & sang this song with one of my best guy friends…and then we did a repeat performance at the prom & had a whole crowd gathered around us cheering…I think they thought we did this spontaneously, but what they don't know won't hurt them!I will definitely be adding more as I think of them...I love to reminisce!

By the way, if you know me, you're on the other end of your computer laughing at the references to me being a rebel...I was anything BUT a rebel, but since none of you know me very well, I can lead you to believe whatever I want!!! Ha!

Works for Me Wednesday - Easter!

Hey everyone & HAPPY EASTER! I thought I would quickly share with all of you some Easter activities that I use with my preschoolers that I thought you may want to try at home with your own children. I teach at a Christian preschool, so pretty much anything is fair-game! Have some fun with your little-ones!

1. Easter egg alphabet match - take a Sharpie (or your favorite permanent marker brand of choice!) and write an upper-case letter on one half of a plastic easter egg & the corresponding lower-case letter on the other half. Put all of the egg-halves in an easter basket or bucket and have your kids match them up with the correct letter, identifying it as matches are made. If you decide to mark eggs for all 26 letters of the alphabet, you can put them in ABC order when you are all done! Store them in a basket to play again and again!

2. What's inside the Easter egg? - Using the same Easter eggs that you marked above, search your house for small objects to correspond with each letter. Put the objects inside the eggs, then have your child shake the egg & guess what could be inside. After they've guessed, they can look inside and see if they were correct. When my preschoolers do this activity, once they open the egg, then I will repeat the letter, the letter sound & the name of the object so they can hear the correspondence (c, /c/, cotton ball). Objects that I use (don't let the super-little ones use this game!!): ball, balloon, button, cotton, elephant eraser, frog key chain, gumball, heart, key, money, marble, paper pieces, Polly Pocket, ring, smile sticker, star, tea bag, whistle, white crayon, zebra toy.

3. I do all sorts of Jellybean activities. We read "Too Many Jellybeans" and then do various jellybean activities. I gave each child a bag of jellybeans (this one wasn't for eating) in their Easter baskets, along with a printout of the Jellybean Prayer. We talked about each color and its significance for us as children of God. I then gave each child a second bag of jellybeans to use for our Jellybean Math activities. First the children sorted the jellybeans by color, by placing one into each square of this graph (I colored the bottom so that they would know which color went where). Then, using the corresponding color of crayon, the children colored under each jellybean that he/she placed on the graph. When they finished, they read me the results of their graphs, telling me which had the most, the least & which ones were tied. My kids are awesome at graphing (they're FOUR!!). After that activity, we also did jellybean addition, which also went great! Using this page (which, again, I pre-colored for them since we were short on time), the children again sorted their jellybeans by color. When they were finished sorting, the children were instructed to count how many jellybeans were in each rectangle and write the corresponding number in the box. They were to then "scoot" the jellybeans over to the right-side of each row & again count the total & write the number. This was a little more difficult than the graphing, but they still really enjoyed it...and then I FINALLY let them eat the jellybeans, which they were begging for me to do for pretty much the entire time.

4. Finally, I also wanted to make Empty Tomb cookies with my kids, but there was just no time this year since our last day before Easter break was Monday, which also happened to be St. Patrick's day...

Enjoy & have a Blessed Easter!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

American Idol - Top 11

I will be perfectly honest...I was NOT happy to hear that they were doing Beatles week again. I LOVE the Beatles, as I mentioned last week, but I don't love when other people try to sing the Beatles. It has been proven two weeks running now that it just.doesn' please, AI producers...stop torturing us!

So, here is how I sized them up this week:

1. David Archuleta - He's cute! He's sweet! and He's back! Yay! David had an awesome performance tonight and I was so excited that the judges agreed!
2. David Cook - I thought Simon was very hard on him. I do agree that he is somewhat falling into the trap of being predictable, but that's only because he is following their instructions of working the songs into his own "niche" and making them his they do tend to have a similarity to them to that extent...but I otherwise thought he was great!
3. Syesha - I was so excited that she did well tonight because it definitely isn't her time to go home yet. She had been falling into the forgettable category, so I hope this rescues her from that! She sounded (and looked) great!
4. Jason - He's just so cute and sweet and I love that he's willing to take a risk (singing in French!) and try something new! I loved his pre-song interview, too ("I just learned that ma belle is French - I thought it was English - you know, my bell")
5. Carly - I wasn't familiar with her song, but I thought she did a good job. She sounded nice & it was good to see her versatility (you know, not always rocking it out). I agree with Simon that it was a bit dark and gloomy, but I don't really have much to say since I don't know the song, so therefore have no comparison point.
6. Michael - I said it last week & I'll say it again - I think he's becoming forgettable. His vocals are always good, but he never does anything to make me remember him.
7. Brooke - not one of her best weeks - she looked & sounded good & the song fits the style of her voice, but it was kind of safe and didn't really have any elements to showcase what she can do...which I think she knew since she admitted how nervous she was about doing a Beatles week again.
8. Amanda - Does she sing with cotton in her mouth? I honestly couldn't understand a word of the song up until "Back in the USSR" - and I thought that I knew the words to the song! I actually preferred this to some of her previous performances, though.
9. Kristy - I thought she looked really pretty, but seemed disinterested & bored with her song choice...and I realize that these are young'uns and didn't grow up anywhere near the time period of the Beatles, however, neither did I - and I still know their songs! It just doesn't make her look too good to admit that she's really not familiar with the Beatles (side note: I hate how as the years go by, all of the AI contestants are slowly becoming younger than me...someone! Tell me I'm not old!!)
10. Chickezie - I wasn't really in love with his song this week. I thought he could have done so much better, but I do agree that he is showing another facet of his repetoire. His voice kind of sounded like Darius Rucker from Hootie & the Blowfish tonight, didn't it?
11. Ramiele - bad, bad song choice...she did add in a few nice elements towards the end & I started to get somewhat interested, but by then, the song was already over.

Predictions for the bottom 3: Chickezie, Ramiele & Kristy

Any of the above 3 could go home, but if I had to pick, I would say Kristy, simply because she still hasn't had a single week that has wow-ed anyone.

Tackle-it Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Today is my first-ever post for tackle-it Tuesday...I know I'm a little late hopping in today, but I wanted to write about the things I've been tackling...and then ask your help on something new that I want to tackle!

Today, I tackled a variety of tasks around the house. I dethroned the enormous pile of laundry sitting in the corner of our bedroom (actually it was about 3 loads, but it looked huge) and I had the oh-so-fun task of packing for our 5 day trip up to my parents' house...which wouldn't be so bad except for the universal fact that when men get married, they somehow "forget" how to pack a suitcase. Seriously, every time I ask DH to pack, I end up doing it myself anyway because he says he doesn't know what he will need, or where we will be going, or what the weather will be like. Usually, I pick out the clothes, lay them out on the bed for his approval & then put them in the suitcase...and then always end up forgetting something that took me about half an hour today once all was said and done and I'm sure there'll still be things that we've forgotten. Such is life!

Another thing that I would like to tackle is creating a food blog to help me organize my recipes (using the label feature). The problem is, I'm having a hard time coming up with a name for it...please comment to let me know if you have any suggestions!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Hey everyone! Welcome back to another edition of MPM! Last week's menu-planning, as expected, was not too successful due to DH's sister being home for spring break. I really did have a meal planned for everyday, but we ended up going over to his parents' house for practically every meal. Monday was tacos at IL's house, Tuesday was a super-yummy chicken & rice bake at home (the 1st time we tried! DH looooved it!), Wednesday was meatloaf (not a favorite of mine) also at IL's house, Thursday, we were supposed to go to Carabba's for MIL's b-day, but we ended up having chicken/ham rollups in mushroom gravy at IL's house, and Friday was pierogies & onions. So we actually stuck to the plan for 2 days.

This will be a short week at home for us, due to the Easter holiday, so there shouldn't be any problem sticking to the schedule this week!
Monday - Colorful Hamburger Rice (bumped from last week) ***UPDATE - this was a great & healthy recipe, but definitely needed more seasonings. I really sprinkled on a lot of parmesan & stirred it in & also added extra salt before serving it! We'll definitely have this one again!!***
Tuesday - Brown Sugar chicken (new, Crock-pot recipe!) ***UPDATE - we had this tonight & DH really liked it...I, on the other hand (the non-picky one), didn't really like it and thought that it was too sweet & that the chicken got too dried out. It kind of tasted like a pulled-pork/pork barbeque kind of dish. It could be my fault that it got too dry, though, because I slept in a little late this morning, therefore I didn't get the meat in the crockpot as soon as I wanted to, so I didn't think it would be done in time for DH since he had to eat and run tonight. I put it on high for 2 hours & then knocked it down to low...maybe we'll try this one again later.***
Wednesday - leaving for my parents' house - dinner on the road
Thursday, Friday, Saturday - will all be at my parents' house
Sunday - Easter dinner at my Grandmother's house - ham, mashed potatoes, noodles & the works! Everyone takes a side & a dessert! I'm making Macaroni & Cheese and Apple Dumplings!

See all you MPM-ers next Monday - Have a Blessed Easter!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Baby Shower...ugh

I believe that today may go down in history as one of the darker days of our TTC journey...all because of a baby shower, the bane of my existence these days. Due to my overwhelming need for even an ounce of self-preservation, I haven't attended a baby shower since we've started TTC (although I would have during that first year, when I didn't know we were actually dealing with infertility, if I had been invited) and I swore that I wouldn't until I was pg with my own. I didn't even attend the shower of one of my best friends, who just had her baby 2 days ago. Thank God she's a great friend and understood. But I suppose there are things that just can't be avoided when your husband's brother & his wife are expecting. The only saving grace of the day is that they live on the other side of the country & therefore cannot take a bunch of stuff back with them on the plane, so everyone in the family is going in on their crib and bedding ($600-something bedding, mind you!!!!!). That means that I won't have to sit through everyone ooh-ing and aah-ing over all those cute little baby things that I wish I were opening instead of SIL. Another positive aspect of the day is that it is being played up more as a St. Patrick's Day party (it's for couples, not just women) than a baby shower, so with the exception of a couple balloons & a cake with a stork on them, I won't be drowning in a sea of baby-themed stuff.

...but I'm still not looking forward to going. I know it sounds so terrible and selfish because when the time comes for me to be having a baby shower, I will want people to be as happy and as excited as we will be...but at the same time, I don't ever want someone to think that they have to temporarily mask the pain and grief that they're feeling out of social obligation to a stupid party...why does it have to come down to a shower? Why is it OK for people to assume that just because I don't want to attend their shower, that I'm not happy for them. I AM happy for them. But you know what? I'm not happy about my own situation and seeing someone else's rightful joy, a joy that I long for and know that I may never experience, is purely a form of torture. I have no problem going out to lunch with the mommy-to-be, or going for a visit after the baby is born, but a day that's all about "mommy, mommy, mommy" and "baby, baby, baby" only serves as a reminder that the only purpose I thought I held in this life may never be fulfilled. And that just sucks.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ultimate Blog Party

***This is a sticky, so please scroll down to see my posts this week!***
Hey everyone! Check out the ultimate blog party at 5 Minutes for Mom! It's a great way to get to know others...

If you are here as part of the blog party, thanks for stopping by & I hope you'll browse around if you see something that interests you. I love "meeting" new people!

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Teri & I am 27 years old. My husband, Gregg & I have been married for just over 3.5 years. We are both teachers. I currently teach preschool after teaching Kindergarten for a while...I love that age group. We love kids & God, camping with my family, vacationing in Disney & at the shore with his family, playing with our kitty Faithy and bowling together on the wii. I also love to cook & scrapbook in my free time. We've been trying for a baby for 2.5 years and it is the hardest thing I've ever had to endure in my whole life. The daily ups and downs are rough - but thank goodness we've got God, friends & family to help us through. We've done 6 artificial inseminations & we've attempted IVF twice, but never made it the whole way through the process, so hopefully our time is coming soon. We're in the process of starting up treatments to do in-vitro again in April-May.

So, in other words, I'm not a mommy, so I hope it's ok that I participate in this blog party! It seems like a lot of fun! God Bless!

PS - I would love to win any of the awesome mommy/baby giveaways (do I have to choose just one?), but my favorite prizes that they're giving away over at the blog party are:
4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 14, 22, 26, 28, 30, 37, 42, 83, 84 & 101...I told you I couldn't just choose one...really, I would love any of them!

I guess my favorite 3 would be:
101 - the woman's devotional bible
37 - the Moby Wrap
84 - a baby sling

Thanks again for stopping by! I'll leave you w/ a pic of hubby & me at a friend's wedding! We were having a great time partying it up! :)

Friday Fluff

I love having the "themes" to guide my blog posts, so when I found "Friday Fluff" over at Praise & Coffee, I thought it was perfect for me! It's great for those days when you don't want to talk about anything too serious! Today's Friday Fluff is about my own little (ok, not so little) fluff-ball, my kitty cat! Her given name is Faith Trouble S. - that was so when she did something bad and I told her she was in trouble, she could say, "Trouble??? My middle NAME is Trouble, Sistah!" or something like that...who knows what goes through a cat's head when we're talking to them...

Here is a picture of Faith when we first got her back in September of 2003. This is when I still lived with my parents. She was a gift from Gregg (we weren't married yet) because my cat at my parents' house, Lady, had just been hit by a car.
That's a really old picture...she was probably about 1 or 2 pounds, she's not so little. Actually, she's quite large. 17.5 pounds worth of largeness. DH calls her a fat cat, but I call her my plus-size kitty because I don't want her to get a bad self-image. Cats care about stuff like that, you is a "now" picture of the Faith-meister.
Haha - just kidding! That's a tiger at the Animal Kingdom in DisneyWorld. HERE is really a picture of my kitty.
And in case one name isn't enough for 17.5 pounds of kitty, I make up nicknames for her whenever the mood strikes me. Here are my kitty's other aliases:
Faith, Faithy, Faithy-baby, Faithy-girl, Faithy-kins, Faith-meister, Faither, Faither-doo, and (my personal favorite) Faitherdoodle.

In general, she's just your run-of-the-mill, finicky, neurotic housecat. She doesn't pay any attention to people food, unless you get out a bag of lettuce. I kid you not. A fat cat that loves to eat lettuce. She will actually jump up on the counter when I'm making a salad and "help" me by sticking her paw in the bag (if I'm using pre-cut that day) to steal some to eat (and no, I don't "allow" her to get on the counters, but have you ever tried to discipline a cat before??). Also, she hates people (except hubby and myself, of course). In fact, she'll be gone in a flash if you ring our doorbell. If you turn the key in the door, she'll peer around the corner at the top of our foyer steps to see if it is one of us. If not, you get the "meow - HISSSS" greeting before she runs up the stairs and under one of the beds. The other funny thing about Faithy is that she has a cat-door that leads down to our basement where her litter box is. The only problem is that she barely makes it through the hole anymore...I swear one of these days, she's going to find herself stuck halfway through the hole...and I'm going to be left with a mess on my foyer floor to clean up because she can't make it down to the litter box anymore...she's on a diet, I swear!

Before closing, I'll leave you with one last picture that describes my little Faithy-kins to a she is doing what she does best...being cute!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

I've never done a Thursday Thirteen before, but I had seen a few other people doing them so I thought I would join in. I wasn't really sure if there is a set of rules for what you're supposed to post, so I'll just make something up...without further ado...

Thirteen random things that annoy me, disgust me, or I simply just dislike...

1. When people misuse your/you're or there/their/they're - I know there are people out there who just aren't good at grammar, but your first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade (and beyond) teachers ALL taught you the rules for knowing when to use which...really, they're not that hard to remember and it just doesn't make you look very smart when you use the wrong one.

2. Roast beef sandwiches - I am not a picky eater and if you know me, you know that I'll eat just about anything. But cold roast beef sandwiches make me want to vomit. Ew. Even the smell of them. Double ew.

3. Winters in Pennsylvania - enough with the cold already! Bring on the warmth!

4. Substitute teaching - so glad I don't have to do that for the rest of the year!

5. Driving - I hate driving. Really, really hate it. I once had a panic attack while driving actually. It was so scary. My hubby drives me everywhere around here except to the grocery store, work and the doctor's office (although he drives me there when he can, too). Living near all these aggressive Philly drivers doesn't really help calm my fears either...

6. Bad parents - when you want so badly to even have a chance at parenting and sometimes believe that it actually may never happen, it really saddens you when you see so many parents just not doing their job. I just want to adopt those poor kids, almost (see item #9).

7. When people use double-negatives. I know I'm coming across as a real grammar-police here, but if you tell me, "You don't know nothing," I'll just smirk at you, because you're SO right!

8. Lost - someone out there is going to crucify me for writing that (don't be hatin'), but I can't even stand to be in the same room when that show is on. I watched it for the first season, but I quickly realized that all those questions that you were wondering about from the first season are STILL unanswered & I can't take that...I want some answers, darn it! I'm actually not a fan of ANY shows that you feel obligated to watch every week for fear of not understanding subsequent shows. Sitcoms are more my style.

9. The phrase, "you can always adopt." - Thanks for reminding me that there are other options out there that I hadn't already thought of in my nearly-3 years of infertile agony. I realize that people say this with the best of intentions, but if adoption is such an appealing life choice, then why don't you do it for yourself? It isn't the sole responsibility of the infertile community to adopt all of the needy children in this world! I'm not saying that we never will adopt, because I think it is a wonderful thing to do (and we always talked about adopting in addition to having biological children), but this innate desire to bear and birth a child isn't going to go away through adoption & that's such a huge part of the heartache that accompanies this infertility please, don't minimize my longings and desires by thinking you're being helpful.

10. The little niblet of dried-up lotion that comes out the top of the pump. The texture of it grosses me out (I swear I'm not really this neurotic most of the time).

11. Answering the phone in someone else's house - unless I know that they're expecting an important call or they specifically ask me to answer it (because they're doing something else), I kind of prance around uncomfortably because I never know if it is socially acceptable to answer it or to just let it ring and go to voice mail. This even happens at work - unless I'm specifically asked to answer the phone, I continue to let it ring because there's about 5 phones in the place and I never know if someone else will pick it up.

12. Cilantro - it tastes like soap and I hate how cilantro-lovers make me feel un-civilized because my taste buds don't like the taste of soap. I'll eat just about anything else...leave me and my cilantro-hating tongue alone! ;)

13. And my biggest pet peeve of all is when people are at the busy gas station and they've finished filling up their car. Instead of getting into their car and pulling forward to let someone else have their spot, they quite rudely decide to leave their car parked while they go inside to do whatever it is they need to do. That really makes me so mad. I once talked about this with someone and they rebutted by saying that in some places, it is illegal to get back in your car if you haven't paid, but then I reminded them that most, if not all, gas pumps in our state are either credit-card or pre-pay only, which means that they have no excuse.

Thanks for reading about 13 things that really get my goat. What annoys you?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - make some $$$

This week, I thought I would write a bit about the way that I make a bit of extra spending cash around here. Over the course of the past year, I have so nerdily kept track (in an excel spreadsheet, no less) and discovered that I made approximately $600+ simply by participating in a few online research & survey sites. Some of them give you points for referrals, reading emails, answering trivia questions, filling out surveys, shopping online, testing products, or simply by completing free offers. My rewards have come in various forms, as well! In that $600 total, prizes have come in the form of cash (checks), restaurant & retail gift cards and, my newest addition, an Apple ipod shuffle!!! I won't bore you with the referral links here, but you will see that I have several of them set as widgets in my right-hand menu. Please comment with any questions you have and I'll be sure to do my best in answering them! I know it isn't a ton, but every little bit helps & it surely WORKS FOR ME!

My favorites:
Treasure Trooper
Big Crumbs

PS - click on the WFMW icon to find a whole list of tips, tricks & ideas that work for others!

American Idol - Top 12 Finalists

To say that I'm a huge American Idol fan would be an understatement. It would also be an understatement to say that I used to be a HUGE fan of the Beatles, especially back in high school...I am still a fan now, but I'm not so obsessed with owning every album they ever made or anything like that...anyway, when I heard that American Idol's theme this week was going to be the Lennon/McCartney song book, I was pretty excited...and then they sang, and well...I was pretty disappointed. There were a few shining moments in the night (keep reading to find out), but in general, I was pretty bored & let down. They just didn't do those songs justice...The songs were either completely murdered, or BOOOORING...let me know if you agree...
We'll start with the shining moments and work our way down -
1. David Cook - What an awesome guy, an awesome song & an awesome musician. It is so cool that he stays true to who he is week after week, despite the changing genres and time periods.
2. Carly - I am definitely beginning to like her more and more each week. Last week was the first week that I actually started liking her, but she's got mad talent (I just had on my Randy Jackson costume! Could you tell???)
3. Brooke - I thought she looked beautiful & I love how open & raw she sounded...just her & the piano. Great song for her (she seems so earthy & natural).
4. Chickezie - He's such a cool dude and so entertaining to hear and to see. I love how Simon said he looked drunk (ok, so he did), but he said it with a completely entertained smile, which doesn't part from Simon's lips too often.
5. Syesha- I thought she sounded good, but she's easily becoming forgettable...there wasn't much in that song that could really showcase her voice.
6. Michael - I thought he was just OK - I read an interview with Randy Jackson this week where he was talking about the artists that are the "real deal" - he only mentioned Brooke, Carly, David A & Michael - I was kind of mad, because while I think he's a good singer, I think that David Cook is more musically talented all around.
7. Jason - I wasn't impressed. It's such a great song, but it seemed to sit too much on the area right between his upper and lower ranges, which made the singing really uncomfortable.
8. David Archuleta - I can't believe I have him way down here on my list. His problem was that he went into it with no confidence & it showed in every ounce of his performance...this was the first time that we really saw that he's only 17...I hope he improves next week because I'd hate to see him go. He is sooooo much better than he showed last night.
9. Ramiele - She's so cute and tiny & her voice is amazing, but the song was just boring. I think she stands a chance of going home this week.
10. Kristy - I thought that the song was a cute spin on a Beatles tune, but then, Beatles tunes aren't really meant to be cute...she couldn't keep up with the double-timed pace of it & it quickly fell apart.
11. David Hernandez - As soon as I heard the song that he chose, I couldn't believe my ears...of all the AWESOME Beatles songs out there, he chooses one that was re-done by an 80's bubblegum pop star?
12. Amanda - I just don't like her voice - I know some people think she's awesome, but the whole Janis thing just isn't my style.

Who might go home tonight? Ramiele or David H. are my guesses
My predictions for the top 6: Brooke, Carly, David A., David C., Jason, Michael

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What's new?

I think at least 5 people in the past 5 days have asked me what's new with all this infertility stuff...and honestly, I hate when I have to tell them that pretty much nothing is new. I think that's what is so frustrating about this whole journey. You do SO much waiting and there's SO much down-time in between treatments that I think I can even hear my ovaries crying out to me about how old they're getting and how my egg supply is dwindling (my RE's words, not mine), but then when you are in the middle of a treatment cycle, the days seem to creep by even more slowly because you're living from one appointment to the next, hanging on every word of the nurse/doctor/ultrasound tech/embryologist/etc. telling you the good (or in my case, grim) news. The waiting game is slowly killing me. The good news, however, is that I spoke with the doctor's office last week about the overview of my new protocol & I'm excited about it (Lupron Flare Protocol, for those of you interested) & hopeful that it will do the trick for us. I started on BCPs last Thursday & will continue on those through April 13th, then about a week later, I'll start Lupron, then stims. I'll keep you updated on that as things (slowly) start to unfold.

In other news, God is Good! Ok, so that might not be news to some of you, but if you've read any of my previous posts, you will know that I am absolutely in love with my job, but seeing as how I work about 10.5 hours a week at a church, the pay is not exactly fantastic & Gregg has started to get a bit cranky & worried about our financial situation...which I suppose is reasonable since we do have a $12000 medical bill looming over us again in the near future, but I digress. Last week, I was down in our living room testing my fitness age on our Wii (34, not too shabby for this non-athlete) when I got a call from my boss at the preschool/daycare informing me that one of my co-workers (R) handed in her resignation that very day, effective March 28th, thus opening up more hours for me! She offered me a promotion, asking if I would consider becoming the summer activities coordinator (for the full-time daycare kids).

After weighing all the options, Gregg (yes, the one worried about the money) & I decided that it would be best if I didn't work full-time in the summer since it is really our only time to spend an extended period with my family (who live 3 hours away) and to vacation together. I spoke with my boss yesterday and worked out a new plan for both the remainder of this year, as well as is how things will pan out...

  • For the remainder of this year, I will be working Monday through Friday, 8:30AM to 5:30PM (with a 1 hour lunch break in the middle). I will spend the 8:30-12 time slot teaching my 4-year-olds on MWF, and R's 3-year-olds on Tues/Thurs. From 1-3:30, I will be working on putting the daycare kids down for naps, then planning for the summer program. From 3:30-5:30, I will be helping with snack and after-school activities for the school-aged daycare kids. That means that I'll be gone from approx. 7:45 to 6PM everyday...I know that housework & cooking will suffer, but if it makes my husband feel more at ease with the money situation (I've never been one to fret over money matters), then I'll make it work somehow.
  • During the summer, I will probably fill in for the full-time daycare teachers when they have vacation time. This will allow me to at least post some income, but basically still have my summer off.
  • As for next year, I will most likely be working 5 days a week from 7-12, helping with the before-school daycare kids, then teaching both the 3 & 4-year old preschool classes. I also spoke with my boss & she is totally ok with me keeping my name on the sub list at the local school district to work days where they can put me in the books ahead of time (like when the teachers have workshops or appointments), so that I have time to give her a heads-up and find a sub for me for the day. This will allow me to keep my name active in the school district & bring in a little extra income here and there.
So, in other words, God has been very good and has really provided for us in this situation. I know that it still isn't ideal in Gregg's eyes (he wants a second full-time teacher's income), but it will have to do for now, seeing as how I've applied in this area for 6 years and only ever had 3 interviews (and only one position came from that), despite my 3 years of full-time teaching experience since that time. Thanks for all your prayers! :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Thanks for stopping by my blog today...this week's MPM is going to be a bit off & scattered since DH's sister is home on spring break, so we'll be eating a lot of meals at his parents' house this week so he can spend time with her (and playing her new Guitar Hero for Wii).

Here goes!!...
Monday - something at his parents' house (MIL just called to say we are having tacos...please take note to see what I had planned to make on Tuesday...hmph...)
Tuesday - tacos (see above...I think we'll try this chicken & rice recipe instead)
Wednesday - Colorful Hamburger Rice - Taste of Home magazine
Thursday - Family dinner @ Carabba's for MIL's birthday (belated)
Friday - pierogies w/ sauteed onions & salad

MPMs will begin to get interesting since I am going to be starting to work full-time, beginning at the end of March, through the end of May. I won't be getting home until almost 6 PM, so there's a good chance that you'll see much less "new" stuff & many more recipes that DH can get a head start on when he gets home from work (read: the extent of his cooking is tacos, sloppy joes & well...that's all I've seen him make).

Thanks for visiting my blog & be sure to check out my other posts & the posts over at the Ultimate Blog party (see the side-bar)!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

American Idol - Top 8 Girls

We watched the girls tonight & here are our thoughts...

I just can't rank the girls this week - no one majorly wowed me, so I will split them into groups instead...

Good: Carly, Kristy, Syesha, Brooke, Ramiele
OK: Amanda
Probably going home: Asia'h & Kady

Sorry this is so short & sweet but the girls just don't do it for me this year. If I had to pick my favorite girl performance today, it would probably be Syesha, but Carly was pretty good, too.

Works for Me Wednesday - backwards!

Ooh - my second post for today! I wanted to write my American Idol update before it was too late, but I also want to get in on the backwards Works-for-Me-Wednesday...I'm not really sure what to ask for advice on today, so I am wondering if you could just leave me something inspirational for my day (and I promise to pay it forward!) - it could be an internet hug, a scripture verse, a favorite quote, or just something to brighten my day! Thanks for reading my blog & I hope you'll come back soon!

American Idol - Top 8 Boys

So I ended up going 2 for 4 in last week's predictions...I was correct in guessing that Alexandrea & Jason Y would go home, but I didn't guess that Robbie & Alaina (wow - never would have guessed that one) would go home. Let's see how the boys shaped up this week...

1. Jason - awesome - all I could think of the whole time that song was on was the part in Shrek where that plays in the background...I thought he did a great job & I was SO amazed when Simon said that it was one of his favorite performances all year! Wow!
2. David A. - wonderful - again - of course! I agreed with Paula (say what?) that it was somewhat refreshing to hear his voice squeak and go pitchy once in a while because it reminds us that he is human and imperfect! He's still my favorite!
3. David C. - I loved that he played the guitar & I thought he was great! Great song choice!
4. David H. - interesting song choice (Celine Dion) but he actually sounded good...did anyone else hear today that he has stripping & lap dancing on his resume? I guess I won't be too sad if he goes home then.
5. Michael - I thought his song choice was a good one for him, but he's sort of succumbing to the "forgettable"-factor a bit for me lately...his days are numbered.
6. Chickezie* - I thought he sounded great, but maybe a bit TOO serious...especially when you consider how funky & fresh most 80s music was...he could have done something really cool.
7. Danny - God taught me not to speak if I can't say something nice, so I will just say that I liked his pants.
8. Luke* - so.bad - George Michael is never a good choice.

As much as I would love to see Danny & Luke go, I know that Danny is being promoted on VFTW, so my bets this week are on Luke & Chickezie

Monday, March 03, 2008

It's Another Menu-Plan Monday!

Another week & another week's worth of meals to prepare, so here goes! Not too much extraordinary this week. Last week went really well & all the meals turned out great (with no complaining from the hubby!!).
Monday - homemade stromboli (I use frozen bread dough)
Tuesday - Ranch chicken tenders
Wednesday - Girls' Night & Wing Wednesday (for DH)
Thursday - Family night or tacos
Friday - fish dinner @ my parents' place