Thursday, February 3, 2011

One Woman, One Life

That's what just moved into this house. It happened last weekend and I haven't been quite myself since. It was a long process last weekend, from getting to her apartment to assist with packing down to unloading into our house and shed, I'm happy it's done.

Done? Not quite. 75% of my house might look put together and neat, but take a peek into my basement and you'll see. I can't walk around my basement, I have a path from the bottom of the stairs to our storage room with our things, but nothing else. I don't like 'extra stuff', I like things to have a purpose and don't like knickknacks. Luckily my amazing husband told her she has one week (from last weekend) to clear it out, at which point I get to move in and go through the things myself. The weekend is quickly approaching and the basement continues to be, well...full. Is it bad I'm kind of hoping that she doesn't get it done so that I can go through things? I'm not a terrible person and I won't throw out or donate things that are actually important, but there is a L-O-T of 'extra stuff'.

I've definitly not been feeling myself this past week. Irritated TMJ, headaches, being moody. As this weekend approaches, I'm feeling a bit better and more hopeful of having a better and more relaxing weekend. Sleeping in is at the top of my list of things to do this weekend, along with applying to take my LISW exam, scheduling a weekend getaway to Gatlinburg, The Superbowl of Preaching at church, and baby making!

There are so many things to look forward to and to be thankful for. Mark and I both have big weekend trips coming up soon, and while they are different (Mark's annual ski trip and my girls weekend) and we won't be together I'm really excited. I always worry about Mark when we aren't with each other, especially on out of town trips without each other. I'm hoping that with me being on my own trip I will worry less, as long as we both has cell phone reception so we can talk and text. What I know won't happen is worrying less about Tera. Mark's Mom will be taking care of her. She has no experience with dogs and doesn't totally understand how or why they do what they do, but Mark and I are going to do our best with getting her ready to watch her.

I know I'll be calling a few times to check on her because I'll be worried. I can't imagine how much I'll worry when it's a real human baby. I'll be calling then too, but it's nice to know that our human baby probably won't be running away or jumping the fence in the backyard. I hope...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When Vacations Attack...

As I sit here on the couch on a Tuesday night. I find myself watching 'When Vacations Attack' on Travel Channel, and think to myself how very FORTUNATE Mark and I are. The stories are amazing about about elephants attacking in Africa, birds attacking, and raging rivers. Luckily for Mark and I, our vacations have been much less eventful.

In October we took a Southern Caribbean Cruise (that had been postponed from May, due to me being laid off) with Royal Caribbean that was fantastic!

I had mixed feelings about Puerto Rico. Upon getting to the airport and to our hotel I wasn't impressed. It seemed full of run down high rise buildings and poverty until we got into the Condado hotel district. We stayed at a reasonably priced hotel off the main street, and quickly hopped into a cab to head to Old San Juan, where we planned to spend all our time while in San Juan. Old San Juan is amazing! It's full of little shops, restaurants, old forts, and beautiful views. Enjoy the pictures above, they do nothing to show the beauty of Old San Juan. about a bit picture heavy. The trip was great with minimal difficulties. I love to travel and have always wanted to see the world. One of the best parts about traveling is getting to see different places in the world with Mark and trying new things, experiencing them together. Lucky for us, we have gone on a major trip each year without fail, and will continue to do so until we are blessed with children.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I haven't been saying it

Why haven't I been saying it? I'm really not that busy... I've seemed to let myself slack when I wanted to do more. Things are about to get busier in this house and I need to mentally prepare.

Here's the jist of what's going down:
#1 We are TTC
#2 We are fixing up the house so it's ready whenever kids come
#3 We are saving money for kids, new car, home improvements, vacations, etc....
Now let's back up a darn minute here. What am I missing that is about to rattle us?
#4 My Mother-in-Law is moving in with us in t-w-o weeks.

I like my MIL, I do. That doesn't make the situation any less....difficult. She's live with us twice before, both for very short periods of time, but this will be different. This time she needs more. She's hard a hard life and is in very difficult circumstances. We hope that within 6-12 months she will be back on her feet with the skills she needs to succeed, so that this won't be necessary again.

On my way home I was thinking about how I never thought I'd be in this situation. I never thought supporting a parent would be something we'd need to do until we were in our 40's or 50's and even then it would be due to illness. This is a decision we have made as a couple and I don't regret it. She's family and what needs to be done will be done. I'm trying to be a better Christ like person, and I know that this is what he would want us to do. I'm selfish. I like not sharing time with my husband with anyone else at night, eating whatever we want if it's macaroni or cheese or peanut butter and jelly or dinner. I'm going to be giving up some comfort and freedom, but let's get real...there are going to be some perks. Here is a run down of positives and negatives:

Good: She's going to clean the bathrooms (which I HATE doing...when I actually do it), we are doing as Christ would want us to do by helping others in their time of need, she is going to dog sit for us so my husband can go on a ski trip and I can go on a girls weekend, and I'm sure there are others.

Not so good: Decreased privacy and intimacy throughout the house, increased costs of everyday living (utilities, groceries, storage unit if needed, etc.), increased amount of things in the house, more noise, additional opinions when may not be appreciated, quieter TTC time, boyfriend being around that I don't like and am uncomfortable around, snoring, possible strain on my marriage, having to cook more frequently, among many others.

At this point, it doesn't matter what the negatives are. We are doing this. If things become too difficult then my husband and I will intervene as necessary to right the situation. We are going to do what we deem appropriate and feasible for us to help her, but we will be putting ourselves first.

We will not allow this to effect our marriage in a negative way. Our love for each other comes first.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Shrimp Pasta in a Foil Package, a la The Pioneer Woman

I've heard wonderful things about the recipes from The Pioneer Woman. I checked out her website,, and reviewed the different options for my next experiences. She includes wonderful pictures of the various steps as well as the final product. Most of the recipes either had too many ingredients (I'm cheap) or seemed to have a very high fat and caloric levels. Therefore, I decided on trying 'Shrimp Pasta in a Foil Package'.

My individual comments are in italic after the ingredient is listed.
½ cups Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, Minced (I only had pre-minced garlic so I had to estimate)
3 whole 14.5 Ounce Cans Diced (or Whole) Tomatoes (I used two cans)
½ cups White Wine (I used Riesling)
2 pounds Jumbo Or Large Shrimp, Peeled And Deveined (I used 1 lb of extra jumbo shrimp)
Salt And Pepper, to taste
Fresh Parsley, Minced (I didn't use this because I didn't want to buy it just for this recipe)
1 pound Linguine, Uncooked
Red Pepper Flakes, to taste


1. Cook pasta for 1/2 the recommended cooking time. Pasta should still be very firm.

2. In a large skillet or pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for a minute. Dump in the tomatoes and wine. Stir the mixture together, season with salt and pepper, and allow to cook for ten minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare a large parcel of heavy duty aluminum foil. It should be large enough to hold the entire pasta dish.

4. Throw the shrimp on the top of the pasta sauce. Throw the drained pasta over the top, then pour the whole dish onto the foil. Tightly wrap the foil into a parcel.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and keep warm until serving.

6. Open the foil parcel right before serving. Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil over the top. Squeeze on lemon juice, if desired.

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes Serves 8

My Husbands Thought: "It was good, and that's what literally goes into your blog, I'll have to give it a longer review. It was really good and I'm looking forward to leftovers." Ohh...he's going to love that I wrote that down word-for-word. :)

My Thoughts: I don't love it and I don't hate it. I'm not sure if I will make it again. I didn't think it smelled all that great while making it, and I think it needed more flavor.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Going old school with Pepperoni Stromboli

In the effort of using up older items in my freezer (dough), I decided to revisit a previous recipe. The last time I attempted this recipe, I ended up in tears and wanting to throw the dough across the room.

This time around I realized that the dough was not thawed enough, and was the wrong temperature. This recipe is from (, my fall back place to find recipes to try. I want to note that I made sure I had enough of the ingredients, but I generally increased the amount I put on the bread (except for the sauce, which I put less of).

2 (1 pound) loaves frozen bread dough, thawed
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce (I used a spinach and cheese spaghetti sauce)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 ounces sliced pepperoni sausage
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

These directions are based off the ones from the recipe and include edits from me.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Punch dough down. On a lightly floured surface, roll each loaf into 20x8 inch rectangle. Place one rectangle on a greased baking sheet.

3.Spread spaghetti sauce in an 18x4 inch strip down the center. Sprinkle with oregano, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.

4.Fold long sides of dough up toward filling and pinch ends to seal, then turn it over so that the seam is facing the baking sheet.
5. At this time I brushed an Italian oil with spices on top of the bread, then sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Ready in: 45 minutes

My husband's thoughts: It was really good
My thoughts: Mm...I'll be making this again, this is so so good! It's not as good as how my Mom used to make, but I didn't expect it to. I'll try her recipe next!
I'd also like to add that for the first time ever, Tera walked into the kitchen on multiple occasions with her nose up the the air, smelling the aromas of the baking stromboli.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dinner for Two (and then some)

I've made the decision that I am going to cook more, but focus on trying new recipes. After searching for new ideas, I decided on trying Baked Ziti I ( Imagine is courtesy of All Recipes.

1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
2 (26 ounch) jars spaghetti sauce (I used a spinach and cheese spaghetti sauce)
6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
1.5 cups sour cream
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
Here is what mine looked like before going into the oven, it barely all fit into the pan.
  1. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.
Here is my beautiful helper, who sat in front of the sink the entire time.

Prep Time: 20 minutes The Husband's Thoughts: Yum!
Cook Time: 35 minutes My thoughts: Very good!
Ready in: 55 minutes
Yields: 10 servings

Overall Outcome: This dish makes a lot of food, so either make it for a crowd or be prepared to eat leftovers for a while! I packed up two containers to freeze for another (lazy) day, and we still have enough to eat for dinner again this week. I will make this again, but will try not to burn my finger in the oven next time. Enjoy!

Friday, February 26, 2010


I've decided that my first real post should be about Tera. That's because in all honesty, I will probably be posting about her, and her entertaining ways quite a bit. Tera has an interesting story, one that could have ended very badly if we had not rescued her...

When my husband and I got married, we decided there would be no dogs (or babies) for at least the first year of our marriage. After our first year anniversary we decided that it was time to start looking for a dog. Many months later, after looking at many shelters and many dogs, we wandered into the shelter where we found Tera. On that day we almost didn't make it into the shelter. We discovered that the battery to our car was leaking, and upon calling my Father for help, I quickly learned that he had just called an ambulance for my Mother.

I worry...that's what I do. I felt like my world stopped and all I wanted to do what be at the hospital with my Mother. That wasn't possible, so we called (and signed up for) AAA, and went into the shelter to look at dogs while we waited. I got a call from my Father, saying that they were at the hospital and that my Mother had stabilized and that she should be fine. Mark and I looked at many dogs at this shelter, but I don't even remember seeing Tera (who was labeled with a number on the cage) there when she came into the room.

Tera came into the room and my husband was sold, he immediately said that she was the one for us. I was a little more hesitant, because my husband has previously told me he didn't want a dog that would get too big or shed too much. I told him that due to the breed she was, she would be doing both. He said that would be fine as long as it was her. I did my tests with her by rolling her over, pulling the ears and tail, and cuddling with her. She passed all the tests with flying colors, and we decided she was the one for us. Due to the shelter being one that does put dogs down, she had not had any medical treatment while she was there... That day we brought home a 8 month old white German Shepard, who we knew had fleas and was very underweight.

We brought Tera home and got things situated, and set up her first vet appointment. At the appointment we found out that not only did Tera have fleas, and has had them for a long time, but she also had worms. I was a bit disappointed, but we went home and took her back a couple days later to be spayed. I dropped her off, but got a call from the vet just hours later with bad news. Apparently Tera had a very serious upper respiratory infection, that would require more treatment and putting her spaying off until she is healed. The vet spoke grimly on the phone, and when I got off the phone, I shut my office door at work and cried, cried, and cried. I was heartbroken that our sweet Tera, who had only been with us for a week, could be leaving us.

We have been fortunate that Tera has healed from all of these medical issues, and are so happy that we chose her at the shelter. We were told that without a doubt she would have been put down at the shelter within the next week or couple of weeks due to her illness. The money didn't matter so much because we were so happy we were able to save her life. I often think about the grim situation that Tera was in, and how she has such an amazing life now. Despite having issues with infection and inflammation after her spaying and the additional vet appointments, she has been worth every minute of time and energy we have put into integrating her as a member of our family.

In later posts I will discuss Tera, but now I'm going to finish with a few pictures of my baby Tera, who is now 13 months old.