Monday, June 29, 2009

Update #1 to the Gift Wreck

I thought I would add a couple of updates to my gift wreck saga from yesterday.

The first thing I did was unwrap the gift and re-wrap it to make it presentable for the wedding. I have decided, however, that I am going to get the pictures of the mis-wrapped gift printed out & put them inside the card for the bride & groom at the wedding. Now, to the wrapper's credit, I did discover that she was attempting to wrap the package using an actual gift bag. It's basically like a decorative trash bag, which happened to only be slightly bigger than the gift itself, so I also realized that she had poked holes in the bag with the corner of the box as she was putting it in, which she then taped over on the outside of the package, adding further misery to the sorry shape of the gift. Yes, it would have been tricky to wrap the package neatly using a plastic-y gift bag, but I'm hard-pressed to believe that was the BEST she could do.

I ended up opening up the gift bag so that it was actually like a big, flat piece of gift wrap & this is what it looked like when I was finished with's not perfect, but it's a far cry from what it did look like...

After I finished re-wrapping it, I also went online to submit an email to BB & B's customer service. As you can tell, we weren't upset about our experience there, but I thought that BB & B might appreciate a quality-control check (laced with a bit of wry humor). Here is what I sent them:

I love your store, but if I could get you to stop by my blog today and look at the entry/pictures of the package I received at your gift wrap station at one store today, I would greatly appreciate it! I''m not giving negative publicity, but it might make you wonder a bit about quality control..., of course, unwrapped and re-wrapped the package once we got home (and had a good laugh in the mean time about the sorry state of my package!
I got a response this morning asking for information about which specific store it was, so I am going to reply with that...I'll keep you posted about their response!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gift Wrecks

I hope to update later today or tomorrow with all the (FUN!) details of our camping trip (complete with pictures and videos), so be looking for that later...but I couldn't resist getting online now & blogging about today's fact, all I talked about on the way home was how I couldn't wait to get online and tell all of you about this one...

My cousin's wedding is coming up in 2 weeks & she's registered at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I am on their mailing list & I happened to get an email from them last week (before we left on our trip) announcing the grand opening of a new store very close to us. I was really excited because all of the other BB&B locations are kind of out of the way, so I probably would have just ended up giving her money, simply for lack of time to head out there.

We decided to head over after church today & check the place out. It's in a great new shopping center at a commercialized, yet not-too-busy part of town, so I can actually see myself going back there on my own (I'm not much for driving so it has to be REALLY easy and REALLY non-congested for me to go by myself). We made our way around the store and I found what I wanted pretty easily & headed to the checkout counter. The friendly cashier checked us out (saved $11 w/ my coupon! woo hoo!) & then, knowing it was a gift from the registry, asked if I would like free gift wrapping. Of course I said yes! I mean come on, it's me and it's free!

So G & I moved our cart to the front of the store while the cashier took the package to be wrapped. We waited for what seemed like an eternity (at least 7 minutes) and I kept asking G what could be so tricky about wrapping a perfectly rectangular box? FINALLY, the clerk emerged from the depths and sheepishly handed us our least that's what I think it is supposed to represent...

behold...'tis an object of rare beauty...

The bow makes it all better, doesn't it?

I suddenly feel the urge to run to BB&B to get a job as a gift-wrapper...

I now know why the gift wrapping is free...and why someone came up with the saying, "There's no such thing as a free lunch (or free gift-wrapping!)"

Bless the poor woman's children at Christmas...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Good times to come!

Tonight, G & I are off to a Phillies game in the city - we go a few times every season and I'm excited to head back tonight! After the game, we'll come back home to sleep & then head out for central PA in the morning! We'll be gone for a week to visit with family, attend my *little* cousin's graduation party (I say *little* because she's at least half a foot taller than me!) and go on our annual camping outing with my parents (and the same cousin, J).

Over the years, J & G have become quite the duo...they make silly videos, take crazy pictures, roll down hills together & make everyone laugh! Let's just say that camping is NEVER boring when the two of them are involved! We've got stories to tell EVERY time (the camper breaking?, skunks "fighting" outside our camper at night?, G & J burning random stuff in the fire?), so I'm hoping that J will be a guest blogger for me when we return (and of course, there will be plenty of silly pictures & videos to share)...

Let me include some pics from past camping trips - I hope you'll join us for the fun when we return!

G & I cooking some food

G & I on the Dam

G, J & I - We LOVE HER!

G, J & I and another younger cousin, M (who usually comes along, but not this year)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yummy Summer Salad Dressing

This super-simple salad dressing always makes me reminisce about pulling tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh lettuce right out of my grandparents' garden, taking them inside and drowning them in this delicious's my Grammy's own "buttermilk" dressing! Today, I made it Rachael Ray style by turning it into a "bottom of the jar" recipe. This dressing goes fabulously over a tomato, cucumber & onion salad, or simply over fresh lettuce, which is how I had it today!

Grammy's Buttermilk Dressing

1. Mix equal parts of mayonnaise (Miracle Whip works beautifully, too), vinegar, milk (regular milk - combining it w/ the vinegar creates the buttermilk flavor/consistency) & sugar. My bottom-of-the-jar version ended up being about 1/4 cup of each.
2. Sprinkle in some salt & pepper & shake to combine!
3. Enjoy! That's all there is to it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

WFMW: Father's Day Card!

This week I thought I would blog about a simple craft project that you can make with your little-ones for an inexpensive (yet super-cute) Father's Day gift! I know it's odd for an infertile to blog about Father's Day, but I've always loved making this craft with my preschoolers/kindergartners & I didn't want to pass up a chance to share it with everyone who DOES have a baby who needs a gift to give Daddy on Father's Day this year!

For this project, you will need: 1 piece of solid-colored card stock, 1 long-ish scrap of pretty patterned paper (or a solid color & your kiddo can make a design themselves!), 3 buttons, scissors & some glue. Please pretend there's a bottle of glue in this picture

Step 1: Draw the outline of a neck-tie on the backside of your patterned paper. You'll want it to be about 5-6" long. Cut out the tie.

Step 2: Fold your card stock into a card (hamburger-style, as I tell my preschoolers...not hot dog-style).

Step 3: Open the paper up again so it is lying flat across your work surface. Using your scissors, cut down on the fold approximately one inch and fold this section down to create a rectangle.

Step 4: Again using the scissors, cut away the rectangular section that you created on the left-side (back) of your card. This will, in essence, make the back-side of your card 1" shorter than the front.

Step 5: Fold the card again along the original fold & cut in 2" on both sides of the front to create two flaps. Use the back of the card as your guide in order to make your new flaps just 1" tall.

Step 6: Fold the flaps in at an angle so that they meet each other in the middle.

Step 7: Glue on your tie & buttons, then add your message inside!

Include a hand-written message from you and/or the kiddos (kid-writing is awesome, or if they are able, try having them copy a simple "I Love You, Daddy!") or include baby's hand-print as the signature. Find a simple poem to include & your project is complete! Here is a cute poem that my preschoolers glue inside:
Daddy, I love you
For all that you do.
I'll kiss you and hug you
'Cause you love me, too.

You feed me and need me
To teach you to play,
So smile 'cause I love you
On this Father's Day.

Check out We Are That Family for more WFMW!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I love a bargain (meal)!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bargain-shopper extraordinaire. Whether it be dollar store finds, deals and steals at the grocery store, clearance racks at department stores, various miscellany at yard sales, or free samples online, I literally get a high when I get a great deal (I once got a pair of really amazing denim capris with a belt for $.97 off the clearance rack at JCPenney's! Imagine the euphoria!). So it shouldn't surprise anyone that making cheap (yet delicious and healthy) meals at home would bring me equal amounts of joy!

I bought a 6-lb roasting chicken at the grocery store the other day for $1.59 a pound (roughly $9.50 total). I didn't have any hard & fast plans for the chicken at the time, but Thursday evening, I decided to roast it. I used an adaptation of Tyler Florence's Ultimate Roast Chicken (thanks Hafsa!), except that I made an herb butter instead of using olive oil & I didn't use the bacon at all. Of course, after the fact, I found this recipe on the Delish food blog & now I want to go out to buy another just so I can stop drooling...but I digress...

After Thursday's delicious dinner, I picked all of the big pieces of meat off the bones. We still had a bunch of meaty bits sticking to the bones, though, so on Friday, I decided to boil the carcass & innards (lovely, huh?) to make my famous chicken noodle soup! And it was such a huge batch that we had it for lunch today & there will be enough for lunch tomorrow, too!

And finally, there was still about 2 cups of meat left, so today, I modified this sloppy joe recipe to make chicken bbq sandwiches and they were AMAZING! I threw all of the ingredients into the crock pot on low for about 2 hours & served them with a (thrifty) side of salad with lettuce fresh from our garden! And there's still enough left for a couple of sandwiches this week! I'll include the recipe that I used below, just so I have it in my blog recipe file for future use!

3 complete meals (plus plenty of leftovers) from one chicken? That's what I call a bargain!

Chicken BBQ Sandwiches

1.5 to 2 c shredded, cooked chicken meat
2T tomato paste
2/3 c barbecue sauce (we LOVE Sweet Baby Ray's)
1/2 c ketchup
1/4 c Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c soy sauce
black pepper

Combine all ingredients in the crockpot & cook on low for 2 hours.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ok God, I hear ya!

First of all, let me come clean in front of all of Bloggyville...I've not done the best job of listening to God lately. Don't get me wrong, I haven't gone out and robbed any banks or mugged innocent bystanders (or the guilty ones for that matter!), but over the past few weeks I have succumbed to the evil forces of laziness (where my walk with God is concerned anyway) & I'm not feeling so great about it. My bible had been sorely neglected for crosswords & Sudoku God decided to kick my butt!

I finally managed to wipe the dust off the old Book two nights ago and Whew! Let me tell you! God had some words for me. I first started by reading in the book of Job (Job & I are kindred spirits, I think...except for the whole crusty sores thing...), which then directed me (via the devotional section of the bible in the margins) to Psalm 46...which I read, and promptly cried. I've probably read this psalm hundreds of times (particularly 46:10) over our 4 years of TTC, but for some reason, the other night it hit me hard...because I know that I'm trying to do too much of this on my own. I'm worrying over details, stressing over whether or not B's bloodwork will come back before she leaves on vacation, and just being plain untrusting. And finally God said, "Look - this is MY job! Sit back & let me take care of the details!" So for the next couple of months (while all of the craziness ensues), I'm going to try my hardest to sit back, shut up, and see where we end up when this crazy roller coaster finally stops. Join me on the journey (but please buckle up! God still hasn't promised me the roadblocks would be cleared!)

Psalm 46
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Only In America...

Thanks for the comments on my last post! I think I'm going to go with the bean salad, only because I think it will hold up the best for the duration of the picnic! Thanks, Katey!

I received the following forward in my email today & thought that I just HAD to share it...only in America...

Recently, Michelle Obama went to serve food to the homeless at a government funded soup kitchen.

Cost of a bowl of soup at homeless shelter:$0.00 dollars

Having Michelle Obama
serve your soup: $0.00 dollars

A homeless person who is receiving government-funded meals taking a picture of the first lady using a$300 Black Berry cell phone with a $200-a-month BlackBerry service......PRICELESS !

Monday, June 08, 2009

Suggestions?? Anyone?

Readers/comments (not sure which) have been scarce lately...I know it's partially my fault because I haven't had too much to write about lately, and because I've been really busy the past few weeks. Now that I only have 4 days of work left, my schedule will be opening up very my question for you is...what would you like to see more of on my blog? Are there specific infertility (or non-infertility) topics that you would like to read more about? Any other suggestions on how to attract more readers to my blog?

Also, I'm looking for a really great salad recipe to take to our church picnic on can be a pasta salad, veggie salad, non-traditional salad...anything really! I need suggestions, people! Thanks everyone!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009


Our Annual (almost the) end-of-the-school year weekend of fun is upon us and I couldn't be more excited! Every year for the past few years, we pack up the car for G's parents' shore house and we host all of our friends from G's work & his coaching buddies. The weekend usually involves board games (Apples to Apples and Loaded Questions are some favorites), the beach (of course!), outdoor games (horseshoes & the PVC pipe frisbee game!), and consuming large quantities of alcohol...I will have you know that I usually stick with a wine cooler, sparkletini, or maybe an appletini...I am definitely the soberest (is that a word) one at the end of the night (I'm a total lightweight!)! However, I've been pulled through the wringer several times by the RE's office this week...I told G today that I need a massage...he thinks that I need a drink instead!

Last year's trip included our friend Mark losing his wedding band in Davy Jones's locker, with a trip to the 5 & 10 store to follow in which they came back armed with kiddie snorkels and shovels in hopes of finding it (no luck, however). This year, he will have to remember to keep his ring in the beach bag. Last year's trip also involved a game of cops & robbers (or was it cowboys & indians?) with the (intoxicated) boys around 3 in the morning. I am happy to say that my husband did not partake in the re-enactment.

I've been prepping food for the past few days, doing a few things here and there. I browned up ground beef & boiled & shredded some chicken today. Those will go into a lasagna, a Chicken Broccoli lasagna & my famous Buffalo Chicken Dip. I also made some garlic butter to go on a loaf of French bread, so we can have garlic bread with our lasagna on Saturday. Our friends are bringing baked goods & snacks, taco fixings for tomorrow's dinner, cookout goodies for Saturday's lunch & pretty much anything and everything you can imagine! Basically a weekend of indulgences, which we will pay for come Monday...I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Mom, I'm Bored Edition!

I don't have kids (hence the title of my blog), but I do teach preschool, so I thought I would hop right in on this week's Works for Me Wednesday: Mom, I'm Bored! Edition.

How would you like an activity for your kiddos that is inexpensive, educational, AND fun? Look no further than your hubby's can of shaving cream! Squirt a nice-sized mound on the table in front of your little one and watch them get to work! You can use this as purely a sensory activity for the younger ones, letting them squish & squash to their hearts content (with supervision, of course)! Give them toy cars to drive through it or cookie cutters to make patterns/designs in the foam.

For older kids, you can have them draw pictures, practice writing their name, letters, numbers or word wall words. When I taught kindergarten, I would do this activity on one of the last days of school every year (I forgot to do it in preschool this year) and the kids would rave about it the rest of the day! They would each take turns (at their table) choosing word wall words or classmates' names for the other kids at the table to write.

And best of all, as the kids are playing, the foam dissolves into nothingness and leaves your tables sparkling clean! That works for me!

What's new?

Everyone has constantly (in a nice way, of course) been asking me when the IVF w/ DE cycle will start up and at this point, I basically have to say that your guess is as good as mine! I'm supposed to be starting bcp w/ my next cycle & B is supposed to start hers, too. The problem is that B doesn't get AF, which means that she has to go for repeated blood work in order to determine where she is in her cycle (hormonally in her body). This wouldn't be such a difficult thing except that I've been emailing and calling the nurse at the RE's office repeatedly since SUNDAY to find out whether or not they've faxed in an order for B's blood work to her local lab. Honestly, one wouldn't think that it would be such a hard thing to reply a quick "sure" to my emails or call me back with a "yes" but apparently it is.

I feel like I've become a squeaky wheel now, but I don't know what else to do! B leaves on her vacation in less than 2 weeks, so I would like her to know (before she leaves) whether or not she will be able to start on the pill while she's gone or what will be expected of her upon her return.

Despite all of the craziness, my persistence has paid off (G says it's good that I'm so on top of things since the RE's office is so friggin' disorganized). I arranged for B to do her first two u/s and b/w monitorings in central PA, 20 minutes from where she lives, which is fantastic news! It will cost us some money out-of-pocket, but I feel better about things, knowing that I can take at least a little bit of the burden off of B.

G also went for his cystic fibrosis full-panel screening yesterday! I am happy to report that he took it like a champ (meaning he didn't pass out and look like he was having a seizure like he did a year ago when he had to have b/w done for our 1st IVF)! The nurse was excellent (he has to lie down to give blood & he's got tough veins) & she even brought him apple juice and animal crackers when he was done. I was so proud of him! I!, right? He said that if he had to give blood as often as I have to, he would probably get used to it...but I say I'm just tougher than he is!

In other exciting news, we broke out the ice cream maker for the first time ever on Sunday (nevermind the fact that we received it as a wedding gift nearly 5 years ago)! We modified a recipe & tried to make pineapple sort of turned out, but mostly tasted like pure sweetness. However, on Monday, we followed the recipe for Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream to a tee and it turned out great! The ILs took us out for dinner last night (just for the heck of it), so we invited them over afterwards for ice cream! MIL said that if we hadn't told her any better, she would have thought she was eating Breyer' much cheaper (less than $3 for almost a half gallon) and I just feel better about eating: milk, cream, sugar, peppermint & chocolate chips, rather than on my agenda is Cinnamon ice cream!

Finally, let me share with you some of the fruits of my labor...our first harvest - 3 radishes!!!