Friday, November 29, 2013

High Five for Friday (Vol. 12)

Good morning and happy BLACK Friday everyone!

I'm linking up with the lovely Lauren as I do every Friday!

This week has been cray cray in the best of ways, here's what I'm most excited about:

1. Thanksgiving!  I got to spend the day at my Nonnie and Poppie's house (maternal grandparents) with almost all of my cousins, as well as my aunt and uncles.  We ate and joked, it was great.  There are few things that feel as good as being in that house with those people!  It's the only home I've never lived in that will always be considered home.

2. We also spent time with my dad's side of the family.  They have a tradition of spending the holiday at Maplewoods (the home where my grandmother lives, she has Alzheimer's,) then going out for Chinese and wrapping up the day with an intense round of Pictionary.  Jim and I played with them this year in our hotel lobby.  It was INTENSE and awesome!  I loved it!  I hope to play again next year!

3.  It's also Hanukkah!  While I'm Christian/Catholic, my dad is Jewish, as is all of his family.  So it was fun to enjoy some yummy cookies that my aunt made as well as Latkes!  OMG LATKES!  I love them so much!

4. Today we're unveiling my grandfather's grave.  That's not really something to be excited about but I am because I'm not familiar with my family's culture in this respect so I'm looking forward to learning and remembering grandpa.  It should be interesting to say the least.  Plus he was in so much pain that while I'm sad he's no longer with us, I'm happy he's in a better place.

5. It's finally an acceptable time to put up Christmas decorations!  I'm hoping to have everything up this weekend!  But honestly, I've been a bit lazy lately, so we'll see how that goes.

Hope you all had a fantastic holiday!

Did anyone brave the black Friday sales?  I did not!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Turkey day!

Just a quick post to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving! We're heading up to Connecticut and I can't be more excited. We'll have lunch/dinner at my nonnie and poppie's house (moms side of the family) and everyone will be there. Then we're heading to our hotel to hang out with my dads side of the family. My grandfather passed away just over a year ago and we're unveiling his tomb tomorrow. Honestly, I have no idea why this is a tradition since I wasn't raised Jewish but I plan on getting all the details from my amazing cousins and sharing with you all.
What are you doing for the holiday?
Hope you all have an incredible day with your friends and family!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Leftovers Casserole!

In honor of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share this recipe with you!  It's quick, it's easy, and it's great for leftovers.  I used all fresh ingredients for these pictures, but I assure you I'll be making it again this weekend with leftovers.  Enjoy!

What you'll need:
~Chicken cut in chunks/ shredded left over turkey
~Peeled and cut potatoes, also great with mashed potatoes

How to do it:

1. Cook the chicken or turkey, if it's not already cooked!
2. Fill casserole dish with veggies and potatoes

3. Add in chicken/turkey
4. Pour gravy over top and blend all ingredients

5. Bake for 30 minutes on 350, it's basically just warming everything up.  If you really want to put it over the top cover in shredded cheese!  I love it but Jim hates gooey cheese (I don't know what's wrong with him!)


Monday, November 25, 2013

Weekend Round Up!

This weekend was fantastic.  It was exactly what I needed to get out of my funk. 

Friday night we went to our weekly poker game and just had fun hanging out with some great people.  Then we headed out to PA to see my parents.

Saturday morning my mom and I went to have pedicures!  I wish I had taken a picture, but I forgot (fail!)  We also got our eyebrows waxed (I haven't done that in months and they looked horrible!)  Then we had lucnh with Jim and my dad, then we went to have my hair done.  I got it treated and colored back to my natural cut with a little trim.  I could not be happier!  I was blondish, redish, all over the place for a while.  Now I'm a true brunette and I feel like me again, but a better version of me.  That is a fabulous feeling!

You can actually see where my hair had grown out and the blond was at the bottom.
Unintended Ombre is my only excuse! 

All one color.  Healthy and shinny, and still long!
Check out those brows, they look so much better!

My mom also surprised me with new shoes!  Glorious, beautiful, much needed new shoes.  Oh how I love DSW!  They were all on sale!

Saturday night we went out with our friends to see a cover band.  The bar we went to was gorgeous and chill, the music was great, and there was a high school 30th reunion going on who let us have some of their food.  I've never had a cheesesteak egg roll before, but they're amazing and I must find a recipe to share with y'all.

Sunday we slept late, treated ourselves to Red Robin thanks to a gift card my aunt gave Jim for his birthday, then headed home.  Jim's car had died on Friday so we had to get a battery for him, luckily Advanced Auto helped us out with that.  Once we were home, I literally put away all our laundry, crawled into bed and didn't get out again until Monday morning.  I watched random TV shows and a few movies, and just chilled.  Ahhhhhh the best kind of Sunday.

All in all it was a successful weekend and I really have my parents to thank for it.  Although I didn't grow up in the house they live in now, they make it feel like home, and there really is no place like home!

How was your weekend?

Friday, November 22, 2013

High Five for Friday (Vol.11)

Linking up with Lauren for H54F!

First, I must say, I have severely neglected this blog!  My heart just hasn't be in it!  I hope that will be changing in the coming days and weeks, as I'm finally starting to feel like myself again.  So let's get to some high 5-ing!

1. When your husband is a better babysitter than you, it truly melts your heart!  I received this picture while I was working on Tuesday night, Jim had no problems taking care of Collin for the hour or so that we had him before I got to D&L's house.  When I got there, he woke up saw me and freaked out!  He only wanted his uncle Jim, they watched the Knicks together.  Adorable factor through the roof!

2. As I mentioned before, I'm finally starting to feel like myself again.  I'm still sad that we lost our baby Blast and that I'll never know if it would have been a boy or girl, never got to have a fun announcement to my extended family.  But I'm still holding out hope that those days are coming and for right now I'm just focusing on doing the best I can at work, and enjoying the upcoming holidays.

3. We're actually going to PA this weekend.  I can't wait to see our good friends, see my parents, and get to relax a little.

4.  There were more layoffs at work this week, this time all involving sales reps.  While I'm sad to see them go, I'm enjoying seeing the supplies that they're sending back.  Particularly this little stress ball gem, if you can't tell, it's an intestine (I've spared you the side with the anus on it!)  Seriously, who thought this would be good for advertising?

5.  Today is my parents 34th wedding anniversary!  Sadly I don't have a picture from their wedding but I do have one from mine!

Hope you're all having a fantastic week and have a fabulous weekend!

Friday, November 15, 2013

High 5 for Friday (Vol. 10)

Linking up with Lauren, as always!

Its been another long week and I've neglected the blog, I'll try to make up for that this weekend. But in the mean time let's do some high 5ing!

1 & 2. We had our WTF appt on Tuesday. This is 1 & 2 BC 1 they got us in 2 days early and 2 I actually feel a lot better. I feel like err have some explanations, got apologies that I needed, and direction. I'll explain more in another post.

3. 2 friends found out they were pregnant. This is the best news! In this community, the next best thing to getting your own bfp is a fellow struggler getting theirs! One girl had been trying for 8 years, the other just suffered her 6th failed iui and wasn't even trying. God performs miracles everyday and these ladies got to experience that first hand. I could not be more excited for them!

4. Long conversations with my mom. I love my mom, don't we all love our moms? But sometimes I need my distance. This was not one of those weeks. On Tuesday night we spent nearly 2 hours on the phone. It feels so good to have long reconnecting, random conversations like that. Its good for the soul.

5. I'm down right sick right now and I actually had the balls to stay home. Why is this high 5 worthy? Dude, I had a miscarriage last week and still went to work and just dealt with it. It was about time that I realize, I need a break, stay home, and do absolutely nothing (besides watch 24, which is finally interesting to me!) I'm still sick but at least I got a break, sometimes that's the best medicine.
That's my week in a nut shell. Hope you all had great weeks and have a fantastic weekend!

Monday, November 4, 2013


Sunday morning breakfast has become a tradition in the Cook household.  I like to make pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon!  I have found a way to make bacon that is crispy, not greasy, and just down right delicious! 

What you'll need:

Baking Sheet
Cooling Wrack
Paper towels
Salt/Pepper OR Brown Sugar/Cayenne Pepper

How to do it:
  • Preheat oven to 425
  • Cover your baking sheet with tin foil, it makes for much easier clean up!

  • Place the wrack on the baking sheet and lay the bacon out across it  The wrack lets the fat drip off the bacon instead of it laying in fat and eating up grease!

  • Sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and pepper, if you want to be adventurous use some brown sugar and cayenne pepper instead.  The sugar vs spicy combo is mind blowing!
  • Cook for 25-30 minutes, the longer you leave it in the crispier the bacon will be, but make sure to watch it so that it doesn't burn. (Here's what it looks like when it comes out)

  • When you take it out of the oven and take it off the wrack immediately place it on a plate that is covered in paper towel and blot it with another piece.  Get as much of that awful grease off of it as you possibly can! (See how wet the paper towel looks?)
There you have it, you're finished!  Get to enjoy your less greasy, more crispy grub my friends!  Oh and be grateful that you put down that tin foil because it really does make this a lot easier to clean up!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Dirt Dessert!

Trying to keep my mind off of my beta test tomorrow so I thought I'd share with a recipe that I actually made on Thursday for Halloween but can be made appropriate for almost any time of year.... Dirt Dessert!  Sounds yummy, no?  Well, it is!  This is a easy and great dessert, especially for kids!  Have fun with it!

Here's what you'll need:

Chocolate Instant Pudding Pack
Milk (according to the pudding pack)
Cool Whip or the store brand, like I used!
Oreo's or the store brand, like I used!
Gummy worms, I bought sour since it's Halloween, I wanted a kick!
Plastic Cups for serving, plant pots are also useful, but that's not what I showed today!

How to do it:

  • Make pudding according to instructions, mine required being whipped with 3 cups of milk for 2 minutes, then letting it stand for about 5 minutes to set.  I put mine in the fridge while it was setting up.
  • Blend in with cool whip.  I don't have an amount because I do it to taste.  Also if you need to make more and don't have a lot of pudding, add more cool whip, it'll still be yummy just not as dark.  A lot of people also put sour cream in theirs, but I feel that makes it too tart.  Plus I use sour gummy bears and wanted to keep the dirt as sweet as possible.

  • Place 15 cookies in a plastic bag and have fun getting to smashing them.  You'll need more than 10 cookies for the entire recipe, I'd say a whole pack in total, but I like to do this by hand instead of with a processor so it's better to stick with small batches. Note:  If you use a mallet like I did, use the flat side, not the sharp side that's shown in this picture.  You will break open the bag and create a mess! 
  • Mix the broken cookies in with the pudding/cool whip mixture.

  • Using an ice cream scoop put 2 scoop fulls of the mixture into each plastic cup then drop in a worm for a fun surprise!

  • Crush some more cookies and sprinkle on top of the pudding, then add 1 more scoop of the mixture on top.  I like to add warms to the top and make it look like they're crawling out. 

Because of the cup size I chose, this only yielded about 10 cups of dirt, but you can use smaller cups.  You can also get adventurous and use a plant pot, like I has mentioned earlier.  When I was younger my mom would make this, and do several layers of alternating pudding and cookie/worms, then cover the top with crumbling cookies and place a full fake flowers for decoration.  It looked fantastic and the worms were even more of a surprise.

Just have fun with it and enjoy!

Friday, November 1, 2013

High 5 For Friday (Vol. 8)

Linking up with Lauren!

Not gonna lie, it's been a rough week.  I'm exhausted.  I'm hormonal.  I hate my new work hours and I'm really worried about how things are going at work with the new company coming in.  On top of all that, I took a pregnancy test yesterday and got a BFN (Big Fat Negative.)  I'm praying it was just too early, and apparently I used the wrong test.  Note to all my fellow ttc'ers- don't use Clear Blue digital tests that are supposed to tell you how many weeks you are, they're not strong enough to detect a super early pregnancy.  I've also stumbled across a chart that helps explain what happens each day after an embryo transfer (I'll be posting that soon) which makes it clear that a home pregnancy test wouldn't detect a positive until tomorrow at the earliest.  So after wanting to curl up and die yesterday morning, then being talked off the ledge by some fantastic women in my life I'm finding it really hard to find 5 "high" points to high 5 about.  However, I do have 5 things that I'm very grateful for, so that will be the focus of this weeks post.

5 things that I'm grateful for, especially this week.

1. Family/Friends.  I am a firm believer that not only will family get you through life, but friends how have become family.  These are the people who know you inside and out.  They know your weaknesses but they love you anyway.  They're the people who know you're struggling and call just to make sure you're ok.  I am unbelievably blessed to have a few of these people in my life, as well as family who have become friends, and I wouldn't be able to make it through without them.  

2. New Friends.  Especially those who are going through the same struggles as I am.  I'm very lucky to have met some wonderful women through this blog and through facebook, who just understand, because they've been there or they're going through it.  There is nothing better than someone you just met being able to say exactly the right thing to you.  It's a beautiful thing when you find kindred spirits.

3. Warm comfy clothes.  I have been so bloated lately, thanks to medication and hopefully a blast that is growing inside of me.  Going to work and wearing jeans is just not something I want to do right now.  Being able to go home and curl up in sweats literally feels like heaven.

4. A helpful husband.  I'm not gonna lie, there are a lot of things that Jim does not help with and it is very frustrating.  But with this new schedule having me work til 7 or 8 pm every night, it is so wonderful that he will cook.  Granted, I usually set it up in the morning, leave it in the fridge and ask him to toss it in the oven, but he still has to make the sides.  The icing on the cake is that he's been waiting to make dinner so that it's still warm when I get home.  It really is the little things that can make me smile.

5.  Just the right song.  For me, my "favorite" song changes almost as quickly as the wind does, but every once in a while I stumble upon just the right song.  That one song that takes me away from all of it for 3-4 minutes.  The song I feel connected to, the song that makes me happy, the song I can sing along with and not care who sees or hears.  Right now, that song is "I believe" by Third Day.  I can't get the youtube video to connect, but hopefully the link works for you.  Also, here is a link to the lyrics.  I strongly recommend that you have a listen or at least read the words.  It's just the right song for what I need to hear right now.

There you have it, the 5 things that I am most grateful for this week.  Thank you so much for getting me through the tough days, the hard times, and all the crap that feels like it's piled up around me right now.