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This blog was started in 2008 when we did IVF for the first time to build our family after 5 1/2 years of infertility. We now have 7 and 2 year old boys (thanks to modern medicine) and we are enjoying our blessed life as parents ♥ In the summer of 2016 we took another huge step and moved across the country from Oklahoma to New York! This blog is about life and everything in between



Sunday, August 26, 2012

Recipes!

 One of the biggest things (besides family) that I miss when I work a bunch is COOKING! This weekend I made up for it and have been cooking several nice meals for the fam. Today I tried a new recipe for a dessert I will be taking to a potluck tomorrow at work. The magazine called it "Banana Cream Pie" but I'm calling it "Banana Custard Pie" because you make your own custard.
(This is before the whip cream topping and it has plastic wrap over it)

 1 9oz graham cracker pie crust
1/2c sugar
1/4c cornstarch
1/8tsp salt
2c milk
1c heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1/2tsp vanilla extract
2 bananas

You can either use the crust in the metal pie pan or transfer it to your own (which I did). In a medium saucepan mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Over medium heat ad the milk and cream and whisk well. Add egg yolks then bring to a simmer and stir frequently for about 15 minutes until thick. Pour half of the mixture into the crust, then top with a layer of sliced bananas. Pour the rest of the mixture over the bananas and cool for at least 3 hours covered. Top with whipped cream and serve!

The next recipe is one of our faves and is a classic Italian minestrone soup--basically a veggie soup with pasta. The flavor is so good and there is really no seasoning in it--just fresh ingredients!


2 cans chicken broth
1 can garbanzo beans--drained
1 can diced tomato--NOT drained
2c frozen mixed veggies
1/2 c uncooked elbow pasta
1/4c Italian dressing
Parmesan

Mix all ingredients in large saucepan and boil until pasta is al dente. Top with Parmesan and serve!

The changes I made on mine today are that I used about 32oz of homemade chicken broth, I didn't have any Italian dressing so I used a handful of my fresh basil, and I added 2 chicken bouillon cubes since my broth is pretty tame compared to canned. The pasta soaks up the broth beautifully and it is very thick.

The three of us went to the Y today so I got to fix Brad's mohawk for the first time with gel! It was hard to get a pic with him moving around so much but it turned out cute and he had fun playing with the other kids. Nick and I have made it our ritual every Sunday to go to the gym together!

 
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Healthy Living Updates


I am done being a guinea pig! I am referring to a year-long investigational drug study I have been on and FINALLY finished it last week. I did another year-long study before that so I have been on pills for 2 years and I am so happy to say that I am off of them! What drug you ask? Well nothing too fun, just birth control. If you have read our infertility story here, you will note that I don't need them! But I figured I may as well get paid to not get pregnant :)

Before these drug studies I had only ever taken BC for 1 month in my life and that was in preparation for IVF. I haven't had any weird side effects but I could notice the subtle changes from the extra hormones and I will be happy to get back to normal. More power to the girls who want to take them, but they are not for me!

My last visit for the study included a physical and a full set of labs to make sure nothing had changed from the beginning of the study. Being the inquisitive nurse that I am, of course I requested a copy of the labs and was quite pleased to see the results! I figured this was as good a time as any for an update on my goal of healthier living...

All of the labs were within normal limits (or WNL in nurse-speak) but the ones that deserve an honorable mention are:
  • Fasting glucose--88
  • LDL cholesterol--83
  • HDL cholesterol--55
  • Total cholesterol--159 (I believe a previous reading was in the 170s)
  • Triglycerides--101
 From a nutritional point of view your cholesterols, blood sugar, and triglycerides are direct indicators of how your diet and lifestyle have been. If you eat junk food, burgers, frozen dinners and soda while sitting on the couch then your numbers will be thru the roof and you will end up with plaque building up in your arteries just waiting to give you a heart attack. Not cool! As you get older your vessels age and these numbers are even more important to keep under control for your overall health.

This year I have made a conscience effort to eat healthier including more fresh fruits/vegetables, less meat, more water and less starches. I have also worked hard at being more physically active--not just going to the gym but doing yard work, going for walks, etc. I am working hard at getting Nick to join me in this lifestyle change and he is *slowly* getting better.

I have also maintained a 5lb weight loss for several months now and am only 5lbs away from my ideal weight! No crash dieting for me--slow and steady is the healthy way to do it! Now keep in mind that I am Italian, so I LOVE to eat. And by eat, I mean I love PASTA and CHEESE. I could never give these things up so I sacrifice other luxuries so that I can truly enjoy the foods that I love. When you cut yourself off completely from something that only makes you want it even more.

In other news, we are only one month away from vacations on the shores of Pensacola Beach, Florida! Our family of three is going on a roadtrip there to enjoy a beachfront condo for 5 days. We can't wait!

I gave my little boy a much needed haircut today, and I convinced daddy to let me give him a mohawk! I didn't buzz the sides too short, but it is enough for a decent mohawk that can be gelled up pretty snazzy! It seems with each haircut Brad is more cooperative (bribery included).



I am continuing my experimentation of nail polish designs with the latest being orange fading into pink tips. It is hard to see in the picture unfortunately but looks bright and beautiful in real life!



 I think that is all for this post, thanks for reading!


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Sunday, August 19, 2012

A New Recipe and Some Crafting

You may (or may not) have been wondering where I have been for the last couple of weeks....well last week I put in 62 hours at work so there was no fun time for me---until payday that is :) This week I had some down time finally and had lots of things waiting for me at home to do. I also had a strange bug that lasted about 4 days, but thankfully it is gone now and I am back to normal!

Today I made a meatless southwestern lunch with an inspiration from Pinterest--homemade nacho cheese sauce! The original recipe is HERE but I adapted it to my liking.

Here is what I used:

4oz cheddar brick
4oz pepper jack brick
can of evap milk
pinch salt
can Rotel
tbs of cornstarch

In a saucepan on low heat, I cut the cheese (no pun intended) into small chunks then stirred in the cornstarch. I added maybe 1/4 of the can of milk and stirred everything well. The cheese melted pretty quickly. Drain the Rotel well then add. Add more milk for desired consistency. I did end up adding more cheese than just half the brick, maybe 3/4 brick of each. Stir frequently and don't let it burn!

I served mine over chips with a quinoa dish I made up. The quinoa was cooked with chicken broth and a bit of taco seasoning, then I added some black beans, kidney beans, and corn.


I had several orders for crafty things that I needed to get done this week on my days off, and here is some of it:


A pregnant friend requested a set of tractor burp cloths for her little boy. While I was out looking for tractor flannel I ended up finding two new robot fabrics! I picked up a little of each and added them to my pile at home of things to make for Brad's soon-to-be robot room.

Speaking of Brad, he got out of his crib in the morning earlier this week and greeted us in bed. I have known that he could get out, but was hoping that he wouldn't. He hasn't done it again since, but I'm sure if his desire for freedom was strong enough he would do it in a heartbeat. Nick and I have been talking about things we will need to do after we convert his crib to a toddler bed. Ideas include:
1. Turn his nightlight off so he isn't tempted to roam around his room and play
2. Put a baby gate either at the stairs or at his door
3. Install a guard of some sort so he doesn't roll out of bed

That's about all we have so far. I am hoping that when we finally do transition him it will go smoothly and we won't have many late night rendezvous!

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Retirement Rant

I am only 26, but I have already been thinking about and planning for my retirement for many years. Since I started my career at such a young age (19) I am very much looking forward to my golden years when I won't have to work, or can work very minimally. We will call this my "30 Year Plan".

For the 5 1/2 years I worked at OU Medical Center I had a 401k that I contributed to. Keep in mind that I can't contribute a whole lot since I am the sole wage earner right now. By the time I quit working there, I had almost $10,000 to rollover into a new account! I chose a traditional IRA that I will not be touching so that the money can just sit there and earn interest.

At my current job my position is not eligible for the benefit of a 401k so chose to open my own individual IRA which I contribute to with monthly automatic deductions. I chose the company T. Rowe Price for this because of their ease of account startup/use, no annual fees, and good reputation. Of course whenever Nick is able to get a good job I will greatly increase the amount that I contribute every month. When tax time comes I will be able to use my contributions to this IRA as a deduction for the year!

I also have an online savings account that I contribute extra money to frequently, like extra paychecks or tax returns. Right now I am saving for a goal of $10,000 to use for when we move out of state--only $3,000 more to go! It is an interest-bearing account (not much since it is just a savings account, but still one of the highest on Bankrate.com that doesn't have any fees) so the money isn't just "sitting there" being useless. After we move and get settled I will continue to contribute any extra money into it with the intention of it being in line behind my two IRA's for retirement savings.

For the last almost 10 years Nick and I have pretty much lived solely on one income so I have the hope that we can do the same with our retirements. Even though he is older than I am, he has not put as many work-hours in as I have which means his Social Security dispersements will be lower than mine, and he does not have an IRA in his name. This leads me into the next part of my retirement plan....

A lot of people might be confused when they are trying to plan for how much income they will need in their retirement years. It makes sense that in our younger years up to middle age we would have more expenses e.g. college, cars, children, credit cards, house. But the wise person will start planning at a very early age to only have a few or NONE of these burdens upon retirement! It's not uncommon to rack up a lot of student loans or credit card debt in your 20s, but hopefully after 30 years you would have learned your lessons and gotten rid of it.

My plan in 30 years is to have my house paid off or very near to it, and to have no other debt to my name. I got rid of any credit card debt a couple of years ago, and I paid off my car early last year so neither of those are problems right now and I hope to continue that. In 30 years my children will be grown and God-willing not living with me, and we never had to use student loans.

My hopes are that if we follow this plan and continue with our savings, frugalness, and simple lifestyle then when retirement age is nearing we will only have our living expenses and healthcare to pay for. I am very glad that I started an IRA at an early age because that means there are more years that I will be paying into it, which means more interest will be earned than someone who waited until much later to do it. Even just contributing a small amount early on is better because that starts the ball rolling on compounding interest.

So now you know my plan; do you have one?

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Nails


Just wanted to share this week's polish choice: Metallic teal with pink gradient glitter!


The teal is one of my favorite shades out of all the colors that Nick got me! I really think the gradient glitter design is growing on me. It is so easy to do with any combination of colors and it's not as cut and dry as French tip. Plus it seems to last longer because there are more layers of polish!


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