August 20, 2014

A Birthday Treat

I celebrated my birthday last month. One of the surprises I received was a very cold box from one of my favorite places to frequent in Ohio - Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams originated in Ohio and founder, Jeni Britton Bauer, attended my Alma mater. Jeni's uses the freshest ingredients, from local farms and fair trade around the world. The ice cream is so yummy, the flavor so rich, and tastes like it was made so intentionally. (Not sure that I know any other way to describe it!)

My mom ordered me a box of yummies from the fabulous ice cream shop. If you've never tried Jeni's, I highly recommend it! Although there are only a few states that have Jeni's Scoop Shops, their pints are available in many grocery stores. And of course, if you can't find them in stores, you can always order online.

The flavors my mom ordered were Wildberry Lavender (yum!) and Grapefruit Frozen Yogurt (double yum!)

I'm also a huge fan of their Chamomile ice cream (although I think it is only a seasonal flavor) and I'm dying to try their Goatcheese with Red Cherries.

My mom also ordered me an assortment of ice cream sandwiches. I was kind enough to share with my hubby and we both agree that they were all so delicious we couldn't pick a favorite! Although, I am kind of partial to the Orchid Vanilla just because it is so pretty...

If you're looking for a fun sweet treat to try as the last days of summer wrap up, try Jeni's. It's fab! :)

August 15, 2014

Places and Spaces: Switzerland

Since we weren't able to do any traveling this summer, I was being a little sentimental and going through some old travel photos. A little over a year ago, I took an amazing vacation with my dad. It's always great fun traveling with him because he takes me to really neat places that I would never think to go. Last year we went to Switzerland. This wasn't one of my top choices for a summer vacation. First of all, I love summer (like how Olaf loves summer) and I'm not a huge fan of outdoorsy types of activities (like climbing mountains!) nor do I like heights very much. But this trip was amazing. I can't even describe it in words and quite honestly, the photos don't do it justice!

One of the strategies I like to teach my students when they need a break is to take a mental vacation. I suppose looking at these photos is quite like taking a much needed mental vacation. 

We toured the country by train. This is one of the many trains that we rode. I love this photo that we snapped as we stopped for a quick break in the quaint little Swiss station.

Here's the train in "action." We're actually turning round a bend and were able to see the front end of the train from where we sat! I'm going to apologize now because most of my scenic photos are taken by train, so you might notice some blur or reflection from the windows...

This is the view from the window of our hotel in Interlaken. It was so pretty to see the church outside the window.

On one of our first days, we stopped at Jungfraujoch, where we climbed to the Sphinx observatory, one of the highest in the world. Outside, I found myself looking down into a metal grate that stood above nothingness.

The inside was lots of fun too, including an ice sculpture room with cute little arctic scenes like this one.

And of course some yummy food and deserts! :)

This is Gornergrat, the Matterhorn Observatory, which boasted some gorgeous views. Unfortunately, the clouds got in the way and we never did get to see the Matterhorn. 

But, we did get to have lunch al fresco (brrr) under some warm blankets, with this fabulous view. 

Once we returned to the hotel and the clouds decided to cooperate, we were finally able to catch a glimpse of the Matterhorn from none other than our hotel window!

On one of our final days in Switzerland, we stayed in St. Moritz, and after taking a walk though the resort town, we spotted a rainbow at just the right moment that a train was coming through.

Hope you've enjoyed the virtual vacation... Now back to reality... Back to work on Monday!

August 11, 2014

Virtual Hugs

You never cease to amaze me! The outpouring of love from you guys has been so absolutely incredible. I've received so many kind comments, e-mails, cards, and texts from you guys. I feel so loved! Thank you :) Here are a few of of the beautiful, heartfelt and handmade cards that I received.

My sweet friend, Naki sent me this lovely card. 

Here's the lovely card that I received from Susie, a Sweetie from the Cupcake Inspirations Design Team.

Stampin up stamping pretty and many more park lane paper hexagon punch card ideas simple blog demonstrator
This card is from Mary Fish, of Stampin' Pretty. I do miss being one of the Pals.

Here's a pretty card from Lynn Hoyt, one of the Stampin' Pretty Pals

And a lovely card from Windy Ellard, another Pal.

It's so nice to be surrounded by such kind and thoughtful friends. When I entered the blog world, I never imagined that I'd meet so many lovely people! Your kindness is more than I could have ever expected and I appreciate you more than you know. Thank you all for your kind thoughts and well wishes.

August 6, 2014

Insomnia (Or Something Quite Like It)

I'm sorry if it seems like I've been doing a lot of complaining lately. I promise more positive posts soon! Unfortunately, there just hasn't been much of anything else going on around here lately. Recently, I've been plagued with a lot of sleepless nights. I don't know if it because I'm so itchy from the drug allergy, still adjusting to staying up for the the IV treatments, stressed, or just been through a lot. Most likely, it's a combination of all these things. Regardless, it has been quite frustrating. Here's what my nights have been like...

9:30 PM
Hubby and I usually head to bed around 9 or 9:30. We might stay up to chat for a while or I might read while he plays around on the iPad, but for the most part, we're turned in for the evening by this point.

10:30 PM
It's lights out for us no later than 10:30 and hubby usually falls asleep right away. He amazes me that way - haha. At this point, I'm laying in bed, ready for sleep, with my eyes close, but it will be hours that I will be laying here awake.

2:00-3:00 AM
I've been finally falling asleep for the first time of the night around 2 or 3, but it isn't for too long. I'm usually awake again every half hour or every hour, if I'm lucky. Every time I wake up, I feel like hours have passed, but when I glance over at the time, sometimes, it's been as little at 15 minutes. Crazy.

5:00 AM
I'm always awake when Hubby's alarm goes of in the morning. Although he knows that I'm wide awake, he patters around the house as quietly as possible and does his best not to cast any disturbing light my way. He's so sweet like that. And he always kisses me lightly on the forehead and whispers goodbye before he heads off to work.

5:30-6:30 AM
Perhaps his morning kiss does the trick, or maybe it's because the bedroom is getting lighter as the sun is rising outside, or it might just be the stillness of an empty house, but I'm usually able to fall asleep at some point after hubby leaves. This is quite an amazing feat because it's also about the same time that my heavy-footed upstairs neighbor puts on her work boots and rearranges her furniture upstairs. Haha. I really have no clue what she is doing, but there's always a lot of loud stomping and banging around early in the morning, and I somehow manage to fall asleep despite it.

8:30-9:30 AM
Amazingly, I'm able to sleep for a couple solid hours in the morning. Thank goodness I'm still on summer break and I'm able to sleep in. I'm usually awake by 8:30 or 9:30, which makes it about 12 hours total that I've been laying in my bed.

Surprisingly, I don't feel too tired during the day. Although, I sometimes feel nauseous at points during the day, which hubby attributes to lack of sleep. I do sometimes manage a small nap during the day and have grown accustomed to keeping my phone on silent. At this point, I don't want any disturbances if I manage to get any sleep. Hubby seems to feel the same and has even mentioned that if I manage to fall asleep, he fully intends to change our plans for the sake of my sleep.

I use an app on my phone to track my sleep (Sleep Cycle). It's meant to track your sleep cycle (hence the name) to wake you at your optimal sleep state (when you are at your lightest sleep cycle). It works by using the iPhone's accelerometer to sense movement as you sleep. I don't use the alarm feature much, but I do turn it on almost every night to track my sleep habits.

Last night I slept for a total of about 4 and a half hours. I like being able to get an idea of how much (or in this case, how little) I'm sleeping. Of course it isn't 100% percent accurate - sometimes, it seems to be picking up the deep breathing from the pup or hubs and thinking that it is me sleeping. (It probably works really well if you sleep alone in a bed). But aside from that, it seems to do a pretty good job. I also like the graphs and the data that it gathers, although I'm really not sure how it calculates your sleep quality percentage. I'm kind of stumped on that because there are nights that I think I didn't sleep well and it still gives me a 93%.

I haven't tried any other apps to track my sleep, other than using my Fitbit, so I don't have much to compare with. The Sleep Cycle app seems to work better than the Fitbit, in my opinion. Because the Fitbit tracks movement, as long as you're staying still, it thinks you are sleeping. On the flip side, the Fitbit is pretty good at tracking restless sleep patterns, since it can tell when you are moving around in your sleep. The app does cost money (I got it when it was a freebie) and I don't know that I would actually pay money for it (just because I'm cheap). However, I have read a few reviews that rave about this app as an excellent alarm clock.

What do you think? Know any good sleep apps to share? Have some awesome sleep tips?

August 1, 2014

Goodbye to July...

It seems I spoke too soon when I said I was ready for whatever July had in store for me. I could not have been more wrong. It has been a difficult month, to say the least...

After an ambulance ride,
2 blood transfusions,
3 emergency room visits,
5 different doctors,
5 nights and 7 days in the hospital, 
10 pounds lost, 
14 days of IV treatments at home every 6 hours,
At least 15 remedies attempted to relieve the rash all over my body as a result of allergic reactions to the medications,
and a 32nd birthday spent in bed, 
July fared worse than we could have ever imagined.

Forgive me for not being here and posting quite as regularly as I had hoped and promised. It has been a difficult month, and now, we are focusing on healing... both physically and emotionally.