Let’s Go To The Zoo!

Last week I took a little trip to see some of my favorite people. While I was there we took a little trip to the zoo. I forgot how much I love looking at animals that are just not part of my every day life.  Enjoy the pictures!

We were greeted by peacocks! I had no clue that 1. they could fly, and 2. they had such a pitiful cry! It was such a sad squawk!




Then we saw the bears playing….











I love elephants…such huge massive creatures….that seem so gentle.

This one was “leaning” on a post – it made me think of Joe Jr in While You Were Sleeping….leaning….lol







The Giraffe exhibit had to have been my favorite! We were able to feed them and boy did they know why were were there!

This is a picture of the babies laying down in the field.






One of the babies came up to get some food too!


Am I the only person who had no clue that they ate off the ground too?


This guy was going for ALL the crumbs left behind – his tounge was MUCH, MUCH longer than what this picture shows!





I was tempted to leave my address with this stork….maybe since we’ve moved so much they’ve lost track of where I live and have forgotten to bring me my baby!







These Tortoises were MASSIVE.  I forget how big they really get. It was neat to actually see one get up and move around though!









At the end of our zoo trip we stopped to see the Hippo – and we got there just in time! They were going to feed him! We found out later that you can pay some money to go and have an “experience” with one of the animals – that is what these girls were doing.


It was funny – the hippo knew it was lunch time – he just stayed right there the entire time waiting for his lunch.





The best part was the watermelon, They threw it in his mouth and when he bit down the juice came flowing out of the sides of his mouth….it was awesome!









You can tell he thoroughly enjoyed his watermelon!



Make it a GRATE Day!



PS – Have you followed me on Facebook Yet? Why not? 

Fall Apart, Melt In Your Mouth…..RIBS!

When I was little I remember making the decision to NEVER eat ribs again. They were SUPER messy and very hard to eat. You had to chew on bones to get the meat off….all around it was a horrible horrible mess and something I just never wanted to do again.  I was probably about 5-7 years old at the time. I kept that promise until the year 2013 when ribs went on sale at our local grocery store.  Now you have to know that my husband very much enjoys ribs, but I had never made them for him, and had no plans to ever do so.  But for some odd reason, and knowing they were on sale for an amazing price, I bought some.  I brought them home and put them in the freezer, because I had NO CLUE what to do with them!

A few weeks later I came across a recipe that looked easy enough so I thawed the ribs out.  They take about 4 hours of low slow cooking so my house smelled AMAZING all afternoon and I couldn’t wait until Brian got home for dinner.   I took these out of the oven and they basically fell apart as I tried to lift them from the foil lined pan to a dinner plate. I didn’t know ribs could be so moist and that the meat could fall off the bones like it did.  TOTAL GAME CHANGER for me!  I was now a HUGE fan of RIBS!

So now I’m sharing that amazing recipe with you!!


I didn’t change anything with the recipe except I used Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce instead of making my own.  Trust me, you will WANT to try this, and SOON!  The only direction that I didn’t follow was to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. I have no clue what the membrane is or what it looked like, so it stayed.  Brian couldn’t tell the difference – so I guess we’re ok!

I made up 2 batches at once:


I loved mixing up my spices. I know exactly what’s going into that rub and I can change it if I want to!




I like using a fork to mix the spices and the brown sugar together. But you could place it all in a sealed container or a plastic bag with a zipper and shake it up if you want to.




Here is the trick – LINE THAT PAN WITH FOIL! And LOTS of it! The foil will catch all the drippings and hopefully leave you with a pan that’s pretty easy to clean up.  When you go to cover the ribs with foil later on – you will again want to use a bunch of foil to keep that moisture in the meat – just plan on using a whole roll of foil, I won’t tell.





Rub that seasoning into the ribs, you want a nice coat!



This time I covered the ribs the entire time – I won’t do that next time. Follow the original recipe – it’s amazing!



This is at the half way mark – don’t they look amazing?  Resist the urge to lick them right now. Wait, it will be worth it.



The final product! YUM!




Look at how that bone just fell right out of the meat…this is how ribs should look!



I did use a flipper to get my husbands portion to his plate.




These are the clean bones. No meat left on them, no work at getting the meat off of them, it simply FALLS OFF!


I really do hope you go and try this recipe – it’s amazing and you will NOT be sorry!  Just remember – DO NOT OVER COOK THEM!

Make it a GRATE day!



PS – Have you followed me on Facebok yet? You haven’t? What are you waiting for? 

Our Baby Journey…..Part 5

Here you can read  Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four.

WARNING: If you are easily grossed out or uneasy hearing about “female” stuff stop reading here and come back another day!

So before we moved to Texas I knew that I needed to find a new doctor. I had been seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist back in Iowa, and while I liked her – she wasn’t a “Fertility Specialist.” She ran her office more like an OBGYN office than a Specialist office – and that was ok for Iowa. But I knew I needed something different this time. I also knew that being closer to Dallas was a plus because they were going to have more options than I had where we were in Iowa.  So I started searching the web. I put in “Fertility Doctor Frisco Texas” (which is the closest big city to us)  And an office popped up. The first one.  Dallas IVF.  They had a location within a 20 minute drive of our house. They had fantastic result numbers in helping couples get pregnant. At the time I was searching it was pretty late in the day so I decided to use their “contact us” form and send them an email, not really thinking that I would hear back from them anytime soon.

The next morning the DOCTOR, not the nurse the DOCTOR, called me and told me she could see me the NEXT day. I was shocked and a little in awe. I had to explain to her that we weren’t moving for another few weeks, but I would love to get an appointment to see her when we did move.

We moved the last week of November,  got the keys to our house on November 29th, our stuff arrived that weekend and I had an appointment with the Doctor on December 4th.  I remember that day pretty clearly. I was rushing around the house trying to find clothes to wear, and then find shoes to wear – there were boxes EVERYWHERE.  Oh the joys of moving!

We arrived at the Doctors office, Yes, WE. Brian has thankfully been a HUGE supporter to me during this process and tries to go to every appointment with me if at all possible.  We ended up waiting 45 minutes before seeing the doctor.  We were both a little on edge because of the wait – but found out that she was running late because she was with another patient running some tests or something.  So she starts asking the regular questions: how long have you been trying, what methods have you used etc…  She was FLOORED that we had been through SO MANY Clomid cycles with the previous doctor – and that the doctor had allowed it to happen.  She heard that I have PCOS and without even thinking she said “PCOS, no problem, I can get you pregnant. PCOS is an easy fix” The first glimmer of HOPE that we had seen in a VERY LONG TIME.   So she discussed the options we had before us, and put us on a plan.  She wanted to re-run a few tests to see my uterus and my Fallopian tubes for herself, which was fine by me.  So we left the appointment feeling GREAT, knowing that she was the doctor for us and had a plan that when my next cycle started we would start with some testing.

Of course my cycle decided to wait until RIGHT before we left for our Christmas holiday trip to start so we had to wait for the NEXT cycle to do any testing.

End of January 2013:

YAY, my cycle FINALLY started! I know, most infertile couples wouldn’t be jumping up and down with joy for the start of a cycle. It’s usually a very sad and painful way to say “Look, you’ve failed again, you’re not pregnant.” But this time I was excited, knowing that we were getting this ball rolling.  I called up the office and made an appointment for another HSG Dye Test (This is the test that they put a blue dye into the Fallopian tubes to see any blockage or problems.)  My doctor wasn’t available to do the test that day so another doctor in the clinic did the test.  It seemed to me that they had a specialized x-ray machine that is JUST for this test, it wasn’t the regular x-ray table that you see at the hospital.  So the doctor put the dye into my tubes,  and yes this causes a fair amount of pain, almost immediately he says “Wow, your tubes look fantastic!”  I half sat up and said “WHAT?”  Because remember one of the doctors in Iowa wanted to cut the tubes out because they were “bad.”  He assured me by showing me the dye on the x-ray machine, it was flowing freely through  both tubes.  I was SHOCKED to say the least.  I was SO very happy that we hadn’t listed to the previous doctor and went ahead and had my tubes removed.  SO happy that we listened to our gut and sought out additional advise. Finally, some good news in this long process!

Look for part 6 coming soon!

Please take a second and view this video – and then share it.  It will give you an entirely new perspective on people going through infertility – You may have someone you know that is going through this journey alone and heartbroken, 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility.

Make it a GRATE day!



PS – Have you followed me on Facebook yet? You haven’t? Why not? 

Writers Workshop 1

Today I am linking up with Mama Kat and her amazing Writers Workshop. This is my first one, so be nice!

I choose writers prompt #2 “6 Random Facts about Myself”

1. When I was younger I was seriously a crazy cat lady. NO KIDDING.  I had numerous pictures of cats on my walls, a cat bedspread, cat figurines, a “I ❤ CATS” sign and wooden cat “shadows”  I tried to find some pictures to prove my point. 2 Hours later this is all I came up with, so you’ll just have to trust me!

Notice the cat calendar, the stuffed animal holder – filled with cats, the candy cane picture you can’t quite see – yep, a cat.


Yes, aren’t my two little brothers adorable? Well look close – they are laying on my “Cat Comforter” and of course there are 2 real cats on the bed as well.


I didn’t just love cats – I loved our cocker spaniel “Kelly” too! She was the sweetest dog!  Well by this time I was in high-school and had calmed down on my crazy cat loving by then – but you can still see the creepy cat pillow behind the dog, the curtains that matched my bedspread, and the stuffed kitty in the pink swing – ok so I was TRYING to recover from being the crazy cat lady! scan0009

Don’t I look grand? This was for my senior “Valentine Banquet” at our church – but I want you to notice the cat “shadows” above my closet….yeah….told you!


2. I used to raise and milk goats growing up. I didn’t mind it most days, except when they would kick the bucket over while milking! I loved when the babies were born. They were so sweet!




3. In 7th or 8th grade my mom had my older sister and I make our own Easter Dress. (I’m the one in the pink and white in the back row)  What you don’t see is that along the waistline I put black lace.  That dress was SO itchy and SO uncomfortable. But I loved my headpiece. I thought I looked amazing.  Confession: I was trying to mimic my aunts wedding veil from the 80’s.


4. When I was little I was supposed to be getting into the bath tub, but the glitter nail polish was sitting on the sink!!  I thought anything that looked THAT pretty on your nails MUST look that pretty on my lips!  Boys and girls – don’t try this at home!! IT HURTS! There is a reason that we don’t put nail polish on our lips!  I ran out of the bathroom (half naked) and my mom had to clean my lips off with polish remover, I think that hurt even worse!

5. I was more “mature” during my high school years than I was during my “college” years due to the crazy homeschooling cult we were raised in.  I actually “rebelled” by heading off to Bible College!  I’m just a little sinner aren’t I!

6. My husband proposed to me by the pond in his backyard. I attacked him with a hug and didn’t even look at the ring. He was scared the ring was going to go flying into the pond.

Well there you have it! 6 things I’m sure you didn’t know about me!

Make it a GRATE Day!



BBQ Turkey Pizza

I originally got this recipe from Weight Watchers – I can’t remember where – and I’m sure when done “properly” it’s a lower fat pizza – but I’ll leave that up to you to figure out 😉 I’ve changed it so much over the years that I really can’t remember what the “healthy” version is!

Turkey BBQ Pizza

So you can either start with a store bought pizza crust (like I did) or make your own (THIS recipe is fantastic!) and then put any type of BBQ Sauce that you like on the crust – I LOVE Sweet Baby Ray’s (even if it has High Fructose Corn Syrup in it – boo…) I think I usually use about 1/2 cup – but do as much as you’d like

pizza 1

Spread the sauce over all of the dough – if you like a clean crust than make sure you leave room for that – I don’t care much, so I put it ALL OVER 😉

pizza 2

Take one package of Turkey lunch meat and slice it up – I just use scissors and cut it all at once – super fast! layer it over the bbq sauce.

pizza 3

Take 1/2 of a purple onion and chop it up – you can do this as course or as fine as you’d like – and you can use more or less of the onion – totally up to your tastes – layer the onion over the turkey

pizza 4

I then give it another layer of BBQ Sauce – again do as much as you like – if you like a saucier pizza – than do more – if not do less. Obviously you can tell that I just squirted it out of the bottle onto the pizza

pizza 5

Then put some shredded Swiss cheese on top – again do as much as you’d like, this is where the extra fat comes into play – so do as little or as much as you’d like

pizza 6

I then bake in the oven at 350-400′ for 25-35 minutes – I usually like the cheese a little more brown than this turned out today. I also bake it on my Pampered Chef Round Stone so the crust is nice and crispy!

pizza 7

Slice and serve HOT!

Let me know if you try this pizza – it’s one of our favorites!!

Make it a GRATE Day!




Furnishing a House

When I married my husband we didn’t really ever discuss buying furniture. He had a pretty nice couch (which isn’t my taste AT ALL, but it’s comfy), I had a horrible smelly couch – obviously his couch won.  He had end tables and a coffee table (again, not my taste, and they were big and clunky) – mine were bought at Big Lots (before they started carrying nicer furniture) and were in pretty bad shape – I think I ended up just throwing them away, I didn’t even move them from my last apartment. Needless to say – most of his stuff “won” over mine because it was nicer.

The only thing we ever had a “discussion” over was our kitchen table.

So when I was living in Missouri someone at the church that I was attending gave me this beautiful table – I LOVED it – can I say it again, I LOVED it.  The detailing on it was gorgeous.  It was by far one of the most comfortable tables I had ever sat at.

old table 1

old table 2


This is actually a picture of it set up in my apartment that I lived in from spring 2004-Spring 2006old table 4

It was actually bigger than the pictures make it out to seem.

So I move to Michigan and meet this amazing guy and fall in love and get engaged and we both have pretty nice tables.  And he hates my table, and I felt just about the same towards his table:



I just felt his was pretty generic – everyone I knew had a table like that. It seemed a little “old” for us – I mean come on we were in our 20’s!  We went back and forth on the issue for quite a while and finally he came up with a compromise (since we found out that his table pedestal was cracked on 1 side) that I get rid of mine and after the wedding we would get a new table.  I was good with that and found a new home for my lovely table.

4 moves,  3 more cracks in the pedestal, and almost 6 years later we finally bought a table! YAY!!  Looking back, I’m actually really glad we didn’t keep my table – because as much as I loved it, it’s really not the style that Brian and I together like.  It took us a while to come up with a style that we really wanted to go with in our home.  Brian really likes the light oak, more country feel to a house. I like a dark wood, hard wood floors and slightly more modern.  It’s really been just over the last year or two that we’ve come up with our style, and honestly I have no clue what to call it!  Rustic/romantic/shabby, I don’t know!

So our table was delivered over the weekend, and well it’s GORGEOUS.  I found this place called The Rustic Oar in McKinney Texas that will build the table the exact way you want it, stain it the color you want and even provide a place to get chairs if you need them.  We are SO happy that we choose to go with them. The table looks amazing and is exactly the style that I wanted.

IMG_0654 Continue reading

A Baseball Weekend

My sweet husbands birthday was at the beginning of May. He knew that he wasn’t going to get anything for his birthday since I combined his birthday present and his Christmas present when I bought him his PS3 on Black Friday.  I was excited to be sneeky and purchase him Baseball tickets. His mom and brother were in on it and purchased him a new Detroit Tigers T-shirt to wear to the game – and they sent him bags of Tigers Peanuts to enjoy during the game.





He also got a card from Annie



So this past weekend Brian and I attended our first Texas Rangers Baseball game – of course the main reason we went was so that we could support our team  – the DETROIT TIGERS!!  We had SO MUCH FUN and we were So thankful for an amazing breeze all night long.  IMG_0638





Brian of course wanted to try the “Boomstick” it was a 2 foot hotdog – that looked more of the thickness of a kielbasa instead of a hotdog!  He got it with Chili, Cheese and grilled onions.


Yeah – I was a little scared about eating this!




It was pretty good though!


Sadly our team lost – even though they made a good go of it!




What type of fun stuff did you do this past weekend?

Make it a GRATE day!



A Song to Touch the Soul

Musical Monday….
Have you ever had a song that just moved you? It made you think, it made you dream, it touched your soul? Well if you haven’t figured me out by now music sometimes speaks to me more than a preacher giving a message, more than reading a book or listening to someone give advise.   Well I’m not going to say that this following video did anything more than touch my soul – and give me goosebumps….but it’s fantastic!

I think I first saw this video back in 2009 or 2010 and well….each and every time I watch it I get goosebumps up and down my body. The arrangement is just gorgeous. I told my husband that if I had heard this song before our wedding that it would have been incorporated somehow – someway into the ceremony.

Well I just saw this video this past weekend and once again just a beautiful arrangement that touches your soul. Yes, it’s the same piano player in both videos if you’re wondering.

What’s a song that just moves you?

Make it a GRATE Day!

Our Baby Journey…..Part 4

You can read Part One, Part Two or Part Three if you’d like to….

If you get offended easily or grossed out – please skip this post and stop reading now.

July 2011

We officially did our first round of Clomid (I only had the prescription for 2 months at this point)  Of course I always seem to start my cycles right before or when we travel – this of course was the case. Of course when you travel your entire schedule goes out the window because you have friends that want to see you, you’re tired from exploring all day, you have a wedding etc… it just goes out the window. If you know anything about Clomid you know you’re supposed to take it during certain days of your cycle and then you’re supposed to have sex on other days of your cycle.  So the days we are supposed to have sex are of course our busiest days.  I remember one night I was so tired and just wanted to sleep, but I knew we needed to have sex, and Brian wanted to go down to the bar and see his college buddies. So I told him lets do a “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” and he could leave and I could stay – of course DURING his college buddy comes and knocks on the door….thankfully he left and didn’t keep knocking and we were able to finish……can we saw AWKWARD!! oh my…

Well needless to say that round of Clomid didn’t work.

September 2011

I finally heard about another doctor in our area and called to get an appointment with her – I couldn’t get in until December….alright, I will wait.

December 2011

Finally got in to see Doctor #3 – she was wonderful.  She sat and listened to me, she listened to Brian and wanted to see if she could help us.  She also did another ultrasound and didn’t think that we needed to have my Fallopian tubes removed, and she wanted to do an HSG dye test to see if my tubes were clear.

March 2012

We finally got the HSG test scheduled. Again, because of my crazy cycles it took us a while.  After the test she said she thought she unblocked the left tube, but she couldn’t get the dye to even go through the right tube, and that it was probably blocked. So our chances of getting pregnant were VERY slim, but not impossible.

During this time I found out that I needed to have surgery on my ear so from April 2012 – June 2012 we had to use protection so that we wouldn’t get pregnant.

July 2012 – November 2012

We did a round of clomid each month – none of them working, each one they gave me a higher dose, and the crazier I became. My emotions were on a roller coaster. I was happy one second, depressed and sad the next. Even threatening to throw my cat outside and get rid of her – and if you know me, that’s not something that I would ever do!  And don’t even get me started on the hot flashes!

Then in November we moved to Texas.

Watch for Part 5 coming soon!

Make it a GRATE Day!



Strawberry Shortcake….my mom’s way…..sort of

Growing up one of my favorite desserts was Strawberry Shortcake. I loved the strawberries and the sweet red juice all soaked into a biscuit…..wait, you’ve never had strawberry shortcake with a BISCUIT?  Can I tell you a secret? I didn’t know strawberry shortcake was anything different until I went to college – only then did I find out that people use pound cake or angel food cake as a base and then they top it with whipped cream….oh my.  So since we had an over abundance of biscuits left over from the biscuits and gravy I made the other day I decided to make up some strawberry shortcake.  Obviously this is such a simple dessert, but one that is just delicious!  Since my mom’s shortcake was a little different – I thought I would share how she used to make it – along with my additions!


1. Slice strawberries – or just chunk them in half


2. Sweeten with sugar (my mom didn’t do this!) I usually use 1/4-1/2 cup of sugar – depending on how many strawberries I am using.


3. Smash your strawberries – you can use a potato masher, but I love to use my Mix n’ Chop – you want to smash them until there is a bunch of juice and the strawberries are smaller chunks.


4. At this point you can use them, but I like to let them sit for a few hours in the fridge.

5. When ready to use break up some biscuits in a bowl (for a great biscuit recipe click here!)


Pour some strawberries over the biscuits


And top with whipped cream (something my mom didn’t do!)




Yes, yes, I know – simple. But sometimes I think we need to remember that everything we put on the table doesn’t need to be hours upon hours of  hard work in order to taste good.

What’s your favorite easy dessert?

Make it a GRATE day!