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 8 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

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Call to Action!

Have you ever had a moment that was a wake up call for you? Where something happened or you noticed something that truly opened your eyes and made you realize "Man, I need to change something"? As a nurse I am a little more tuned in to signs and symptoms of diseases. I have seen over and over again how it can escalate into a full blown illness and miserable life. I have seen people in their 20s getting toes amputated from diabetes, people in their 30s and 40s having fatal heart attacks and strokes, or going into liver failure from drinking.

I am a staunch advocate of taking CONTROL of your own health and being responsible for how it affects your body. So many diseases these days are reversible and yet doctors continue to prescribe pills to "fix" the problem. Unfortunately more often than not, the root of the problem is in our mind and we have to overcome it our self to truly be healthy. I'm sure if a doctor wrote a prescription for "diet and exercise" instead of drugs there would be a lot of angry people out there who either sued or ignored the order. But they have pills for this!! Why do I have to completely change my life??

This day came for my husband on December 22. We had lost power during the night and it was very cold in the house. I had to go to work for a couple of hours and had him and my son go with me to get warm. After I was done with my patient, me and another nurse were messing around and taking our blood pressures. Nick came over there and we took his----and were floored. His first BP was 175/112. We took three readings and all over them had a diastolic (bottom number) over 100. He just got the wake up call!

For almost a decade up to this point his diet had been very poor and his lifestyle was very sedentary. Of course as a nurse and wife I nagged him about it but in the end I knew that he would have to WANT to change for himself, not for me. As much as it bothered me, I could not control it so I waited for that day to come.

In the last 8 days he has truly made a huge turn around in his lifestyle. No sugar (even on Christmas!), no caffeine, no fast food, no soda, and exercising at least 30 minutes each day. The progress is already evident! His latest BP reading is around 145/96 and he has lost 3lb!

We will be keeping a log of his progress because I feel that will be the biggest motivator. Everyone likes seeing proof! He went today for blood work to see what his baseline numbers are. We should have the results tomorrow and I don't expect them to be very pretty. After 6 months or so we will get some more done to really see how he has improved not only on the outside, but also at the cellular level.

Baseline bloodwork: CBC, CMP, Hemoglobin A1C, Urine Albumin, and Lipid Panel (in layman's terms--blood count, electrolytes, liver function, kidney function, diabetes check, and cholesterol levels)

Beginning stats:
BP: 175/112
Pulse: 90
Weight: 217lb
BMI: 32 (obese)

1 Week stats:
BP: 145/96
Pulse: 85
Weight: 214lb
BMI: 31.6 (obese)


Thursday, December 26, 2013

4 1/2 Years Old


It's that time again! My little one is 4 1/2 years old and has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 6 months. This will be his last 6 month post! I will do once a year updates starting with age 5.

Weight: 35 lb
Height: 41 1/2"

At 4 1/2 years old you:
  • go to bed around 8:30p and get up around 8am
  • come downstairs on your own each morning to sit and watch cartoons until mommy and daddy get up
  • take a nap each day from around 4-6
  • are a great eater and know that you only get treats if you finish your veggies
  • LOVE being in school (half day preK)
  • can count to 50, and count to 100 by tens
  • know the sounds each letter makes
  • can write your name and every letter/number and several shapes
  • are DONE with pullups (but we try to get you up to pee once more late at night)
  • know your days of the week
  • still fit size 3T and 4T clothes
  • wear a size 9 shoe
  • got a bike with training wheels for Christmas and were a pro the same day!
  • have good manners and are *usually* polite
Since he started school this year I have started an album for his "School Years" to keep track of how he changes and grows. I will put each year's school picture in it with a paper that he answers questions about his favorite things at that time (book, cartoon, food, etc.).


Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Favorite Potato Soup

I have made this recipe several times already this season and it is so delicious each and every time!!! It is very forgiving if you forget an ingredient, or need to substitute something different. You can easily adjust cook time for the crockpot or stove. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!! There are rarely leftovers.

3-5 strips bacon
1 stalk celery (chopped)
1c baby carrots (chopped)
1/2 onion (chopped)
3c broth (or 1 carton)
1c milk (or cream)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 of smoked sausage chopped
3 large potatoes chopped (or 5 red potatoes)
1c corn (or 1 can)
1 can cream corn
1c shredded cheddar

In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon strips till crispy. Remove and save for later. Saute celery, carrots, onion, and garlic in bacon grease for 10 min, then add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT for milk. Cover and simmer for 1-2 hours stirring occasionally. 15 min before serving, add milk and cheese, stir to mix. Serve with bacon crumbled on top!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Enjoying our Winter

These pics are a couple of weeks old but I figured I would clump them all together for one post! The first weekend of December I took Brad downtown to the Devon Tower to meet some friends for Christmas fun! We wanted to see Santa but he was very important and his line was about 3 hours long....

In our latest winter "storm" we got about 5 inches of snow so Brad was out of school on 3 snow days. We did our own lessons at home! Here he is working on writing his name...

Later of course he wanted to bundle up and play in the snow! He had a fun time and drank some hot cocoa when he came inside.

Everyone I sent cards to has gotten them by now, so I will share our Christmas collage I made from family pics we had done by Allison Revas in November!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Frugal Living: Vehicles

Everybody needs a car, right? Unless you live in downtown NYC or something, you probably need a car to do anything. If you don't--kudos to you! I work 30 miles away from where I live so I am definitely one that needs a reliable car. Today I will talk about how to be frugal with your car!

I have seen over and over young adults who turn 18 and immediately go out and finance a new (or < 5 year old) car. I'm sure they are so excited about being a grown up and having the responsibility of a car payment, plus being able to brag to their friends. But in the end, you will be a slave to that car payment and that full coverage insurance until it is paid off!

To parents who want to pay entirely for your kids car/insurance--don't do that either. It in no way teaches them responsibility, ownership, or what reality is like. A car is a luxury that you should earn and take care of.

  1. Cash--When I was a teenager my parents agreed to pay for half of my car. I saved up my money and they matched it. As you get older it is still very wise to save up a significant amount of money (if not the entire amount) toward the car that you want. Be realistic about the kind of car that you can afford. If you are eating Ramen noodles and counting pennies, you should not be shopping for a Lexus. There are good deals to be had in used cars. If you can have a trusted mechanic or knowledgeable friend check it over then you can easily find a reliable one for a good price. Monthly savings = NO interest charges!
  2. Pay Off Early--If you do have to finance a car then you should immediately start planning to pay it off early. My first financed car was a 5 year old Suzuki and I had a 3 year loan on it. I paid it off in 1 1/2 years! My payment was  $179/month and I paid over each month, plus extra when I could.
  3. Insurance--Every car needs insurance. The best idea is to shop around and stick with one carrier for all of your insurance needs (home, auto, life). That way you are familiar with the company and get discounts for multiple policies. If you live in the middle of a busy city, your insurance is going to be much higher than someone who lives in the suburbs or country. Check into discounts for autopay as well as paying 6 months at a time instead of monthly. If you have a financed car then you will have to carry full coverage until it is paid off. Full coverage can easily cost twice as much as basic liablity so keep that in mind! Monthly savings = from $80/mo full coverage down to $40/mo liability.
  4. Maintenance--If it ain't broke don't fix it..........that doesn't apply here! To keep your car from breaking down you have to keep it serviced! The cheapest route is of course to learn how to change oil/spark plugs/rotate tires etc. yourself (or someone you know). Otherwise you should find a mechanic you can TRUST to do this things regularly for you. It truly helps prevent major problems down the road, plus you can catch issues early on instead of when you are stranded on the highway. It is also a good idea to keep a small notebook in your glovebox to keep track of when you do your maintenance.
  5. Gasoline--You can't drive without it! If you drive just a few blocks you will see a huge difference in gas prices. Ethanol, no ethanol, super unleaded, premium... The average car that is < 10 years old will run on ethanol just fine. Do some research on gasbuddy.com and figure out where the cheaper gas stations are. Stick to those, and plan on filling up when you are close to E! Don't back yourself into a corner and end up in the boonies with your gas light on. You will be forced to buy gas that is 50 cents higher than your usual place! There are about 5 gas stations within a mile from me and they regularly have at least a quarter difference in price of the SAME gas. And yes, they pretty much all get their gas from the same place. It adds up! Average savings for 10 gallon tank of gas at 25 cents cheaper = $2.50 or almost a whole gallon 

I hope this helps a little, thank you for reading! Please check out the other posts in my Frugal Living Series here!!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Homemade Sandwich Bread in the Oven from Machine Dough

I have a bread machine and I love making homemade bread. Who doesn't? It's cheap, tastes delicious, is cheap, and you know exactly what is in it. The downside to bread machine bread is that it can only be the shape of the machine insert. Mine is slightly rectangle but the bread turns out very tall because of the rising. I finally decided I wanted to try out making the dough in the machine, then baking it in the oven.

The manual that came with my machine does not talk about this process at all, and the only "dough" recipe in it is for rolls. I have made them before and they are good, but I imagine that simple sandwich bread should taste a bit different. I did some searching on the internet for techniques of baking bread machine dough in the oven and saw that they were all generally the same. So I pieced a few things together and came out with a winner!

Sandwich Bread Dough:
1c warm water
1 1/2 tbs soft butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbs powdered milk
3 tbs sugar
3c flour (I used all purpose)
3/4 tsp fast-acting yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine in the order listed with yeast being last. Start machine on "dough" cycle (mine is 1 1/2hrs). When it is done, remove dough with floured hands and knead for a few minutes. Place in large greased loaf pan and cover. Place in warm spot to rise for 1hr. It should about double in size. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and cool in pan for 10-15 minutes, then gently remove from pan and cool completely before slicing/storing.

Mine turned out perfectly and tastes so good! I was able to get about 18 nice thin slices from mine and they held together very well. This is the perfect shape I was looking for!
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