It's unusual…

..what started out as an IVF journey and ended up being about life

Snow Day Projects February 19, 2014

Filed under: Do It Yourself!!,Life,Parenting — gertyrae @ 12:53 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

20140219-110658.jpg

We have had a bevy of snow this winter and I have spent the bulk of my days figuring out what we can do in.the.house.all.the.time.

We’ve done puzzles, played Legos, watched movies and even broken down and purchased Disney Infinity….

But, it all comes back to baking and yesterday we decided to make pretzels. Great project for C and they were delishly yummy. Shout out to Jessica Fischer for the basic recipe on good cheap eats.

Here is our version:

Homemade Pretzels

20140219-111039.jpg

1/2 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk (microwave for 1 minute)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rapid rise yeast

Whisk all above together in stand mixer bowl until blended. Let sit for approximately five minutes to get a bit foamy.

20140219-112248.jpg

With dough attachment on mixer, add the following:

1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups bread flour

And mix together. Remove dough from mixer and knead for approximately 10 minutes. You can take turns 😉

20140219-112616.jpg

Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm location to rise. Allow to rise about 1 hour, dough should double.

20140219-112844.jpg

20140219-112854.jpg

When dough has doubled, flatten it out and divide into equal pieces approximately golf ball sized. I put them back into the bowl and let them sit as we shaped each pretzel. For each pretzel, roll dough into a rope about 15″ long, lay dough on counter and make a “U” shape

20140219-113302.jpg

Now take the open ends and twist them around each other twice.

20140219-113410.jpg

Turn twisted ends back to the “U” part and press together. Set aside. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Now you need to make a soda bath, in a 6 quart pot boil 8 cups water. When water is boiling add 1/4 cup baking soda…very slowly!. We had a volcanic eruption cuz we added it too quickly. When the mixture is at a rolling boil add pretzels one at a time and let boil for about 30 seconds. Remove each pretzel and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

20140219-114106.jpg

Once your cookie sheet is full, salt pretzels with coarse salt (or leave as is for cinnamon/sugar pretzels) place in oven and bake until browned, 8-10 minutes.

20140219-114240.jpg

Remove, allow to cool and Walla!! You have pretzels. If you opt for cinnamon/sugar brush the pretzels with melted butter while warm and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.

20140219-114504.jpg

Yummy delishness!!!!

20140219-114548.jpg

Oh, and enjoy the snow!!

20140219-114828.jpg

20140219-114840.jpg

20140219-114929.jpg

20140219-114942.jpg

20140219-115211.jpg

20140219-115218.jpg

Advertisements
 

Blessings and Tragedies September 3, 2012

Filed under: Life,Parenting — gertyrae @ 4:02 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Since I do have a little free time – I wanted to take the opportunity to just post about the good in my life.

For a multitude of reasons.

One – because sometimes I think we forget how good we have it and get stuck in the muck of daily life.

Two – because maybe it can help someone else in some fashion or other, such as raising awareness, raising money or just making someone else see outside the muck of their daily life.

Three – because no matter what else happens, none of us should forget how truly blessed we are. Especially when our true dreams and hopes come true

Four – because I never want to lose empathy for those who struggle in any way, shape or form. To forget that might be to lose my own humanity.

On that front, I need to express my thoughts and prayers for some people who are close to me.

One is a friend from my book club. Her daughter was born on May 16 and was quickly diagnosed with a failure to thrive. Further testing has shown that she has Niemann-Pick Disease which has a terrible prognosis. They are now down in North Carolina at Duke in the hopes that they can do a stem cell transplant. They will have to undergo a multitude of tests just to make sure their little girl is eligible and all this at only a little over 3 months old. I have no idea how my friend has found the strength to laugh and live and be there for her other two children. I don’t know how she handles loving this baby knowing how bad her prognosis is. I can only pray that they are able to help their baby and that, by some miracle of God, the stem cell transplant is a viable option for their daughter and it works.

Then there are two of my friends that I met while going through all the infertility treatments, both of which are having medical issues with their Moms. Having lost my own Mother, I want to cry for them because I understand all the fears and anxieties that go along with our parents getting ill. While it’s normal to outlive your parents, it’s also terrible to watch them get sick and feel as though there is nothing you can do. Old age is a terrible thing. And as we get older so do our parents, I was in a very difficult place losing my mother when she was so young. But I realize that no matter how old you or your parent is, it never gets easy. It is so hard to watch them go to doctors, specialists, etc. and not get any great answers. It is so hard watching the person who has always been strong for you get weak and/or sick. And it is hardest of all to think that the possibility of the person you always went to for advice and help may not be there. So, I pray for both my friends’ mothers – that they are only suffering minor setbacks and make a full recovery so that my girls can have their Mums around for a long, long while.

And lastly, but certainly not leastly, probably the saddest of all. The woman who took all of Colin’s newborn photos, as a kindness and donation to us because she felt so badly that we had lost our son Rogan, is Summer Lyn. And she is an amazing photographer as evidenced by her photos of Colin and many more that you can see on her website http://www.summerlynphotography.com . I have followed her through the years because I think her work is amazing and although I certainly couldn’t afford to pay for her services while we are struggling with daily expenses, I still love to look at her photographs. Her brother and his wife just gave birth to a baby boy named Easton. Easton was born with Epidermolysis Bullosa- EB also known as Butterfly Disease as his skin is so fragile it cannot be touched. He was born with burns and he is constantly blistering and burning. As of now, he is undergoing surgery to have a second PICC line placed into his chest for feeding. His prognosis is terrible. My heart breaks for this family. I wish there were something more that I could do for this baby, his parents, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. How do you watch this?! How do you sit there completely unable to comfort your baby boy? How do you go home and take your other boys school shopping? How do you get up each morning and go to the hospital to watch your baby endure the horrors of bandage changing? God give them the strength to get through all of this. I don’t even know how Summer deals with the fact that she has to stay here, work and care for her own children while her brother and sister-in-law are in Cincinnati trying to save their baby. I just don’t know…..

But it does make me say prayers for all of them and so many others that are dealing with tragedies and at the same time it makes me so much more aware of the things I DO have in my life. And grateful for the good things that have come my way. And it may be a long while before I complain about not having all the things I want since I really do have all the things I need; a loving husband, a happy and healthy child and a roof over my head…

God Bless all of you….

 

p.s. – if you would like to donate to Baby Eastons family please go to the links on left side of my page under charities…and if you would like to view Summers work check out her link under photography – thank you!

 

A few quiet moments September 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gertyrae @ 11:15 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

It’s been a crazy, wacky summer and I haven’t had time to think much less post on here. But, it’s Labor Day weekend and although I’ll be working tomorrow and Monday, I got a little unexpected reprieve tonight. We had a party last night and were headed up to CT to visit the ‘rents and I got a call from my neighbor that Stormy was bleeding from the e-collar so I decided to head home early today. Pup is fine, lots of cleanup to do and vet is being called on Monday.

Now — the update on my life:

Marathon is NOT happening. My knees are killing me and there is no way I’m running 26 miles with these knees. I am going to do the half as I’ve been able to run 12/13 miles a few times and I know I’ll be able to finish that. Just have to get back to running as of tomorrow for sure. A little depressed about not being able to do a full marathon but I am realistic that I’m going to be 47 years old and I can’t do everything.

My sister-in-law is getting married in less than a week!!! We are all set and I am pretty excited for this party…just based on the fact that we will get to have a huge celebration with the whole family and spend a few days together….no more details for now…

Doggies are good. Stormy is a bit crazed right now — looks like she is entering into her adolescence. The biggest problem is she injured her tail somehow and keeps opening it back up. Which is sort of what led to the mess yesterday. So, I’ll call the vet on Tuesday and take her in to see what they can do. Probably going to end up needing some meds to calm her crazy self down.

And on to the star of our show — Young Mr Colin!!

He is a wild ride folks….all vim and vinegar this kid. More questions than you can think of and lots of running around. We have had an amazing summer together. We’ve done so much I can’t even figure how to record it. Third birthday party was good – both here and up in Connecticut. Fairs, parks, beaches, lakes and farms…this kid has done it all. I really have enjoyed this summer, cannot begin to say how much I love this age. He wants to know everything, see everything, experience everything. He is so lovey and I know that is NOT going to last.

How much am I going to miss this lovey boy? How do I hold onto the memory of him saying “Mom, I miss you so much.” or “Mom, I really, really love you.” How will I ever remember how it feels when he hugs me or asks me to hold him when he goes to sleep at night. The way he will grab my hand so he can take me and show me something important to him? All of these things happen daily and they just pass like a breeze and I know it won’t last. And I worry that I’ll never be able to remember what it felt like. Because time marches on and if it weren’t for old videos and/or photos I wouldn’t remember the baby that he was. So, I try to do as much as I can and record as much of it as possible. So that someday, far into the future, I CAN remember my little boy.

 

 

OMG – It’s been almost a MONTH!! June 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gertyrae @ 11:51 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

What a slacker!!

I’ve gotten over my depression in regards to “the car robbery”.

Stormy finally got spayed. I have to say that she is a MUCH better patient then Misty ever was. She’s been so good, staying in her crate, not jumping on anything or licking at her stitches and taking her meds like a champ. I am so proud of our little girl, 2 days down and 8 to go before her stitches heal.

Working on C’s birthday party – just doing favors this year, party is at a place.

Going to Connecticut next week – first time this year – SO EXCITED!

Made Dad and Dan tee shirts with C for Father’s Day – they came out cute.

We’ve had a crazy month – lot’s of fairs. Mr. Colin has developed a deep love for carnival rides. He also wants to dump thousands of dollars in “Carnie Games” but we refuse to encourage that particular habit.And what is it with the games anyway?! I know they are a part of the whole carnival theme but really?! These people could really spring for a slightly better quality of stuffed animal or toy…I refuse to spend $25 on a $3 item. Sorry Charlie!!

Training in progress for the marathon I plan on running in September – more on that later.

Took C to a couple classes at the local farm.

and last but certainly not least:

My Uncle George passed last week and he will be sorely missed. He was such an unusual man yet so open, honest and mostly so well-loved. He left behind 3 daughters who will miss him dearly. After losing my mother, I know how much it sucks to lose your parent. Thankfully, they still have their mother to help them get through but she has to deal with the loss of her husband. The funeral was so moving – they asked people to come up to the alter if they had anything to say about George and so many of his friends and relatives gave the most moving speeches about him. So, Uncle George – this one is for you. Enjoy being a “spiritual being in a spiritual world” – I loved you dearly and will truly miss you.

 

Do It Yourself – Experiment One May 6, 2012

Filed under: Do It Yourself!! — gertyrae @ 9:47 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Making Laundry Detergent

Okay, so I figured I had to give this a shot. Not only should it save boatloads of money if it works out, but I now have some kind of idea what is going into my laundry detergent.

I had seen a few posts here and there about making it yourself and this “recipe” seemed to be the most popular. It was not nearly as difficult to make as I expected. Like I had read, the worst part was grating the soap. I’ve been using it for a few days now and it seems to work great. Now, if it lasts as long as it should the savings will be significant.

Here’s the recipe for those that may want to give it a shot:

  • 1 Box of Borax  $5
  • 1 Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda $3.50
  • 1 Container of OxyClean $6.00
  • 2 Bars of Zote Soap $3.00
  • 1 4 pound Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda $4.00
  • 1 Bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener $5.00
Image

The ingredients as we used them

Total Cost:$26.50 — and this is supposed to last approximately a year.

To make it, you need a large bucket. I mixed it in portions to make life a little easier. Plus, I had Colin helping so it gave him something to do by mixing the powders together and I would add the Zote soap as I grated it. I think it took us an hour total. Once it’s all mixed, you use 1-2 tablespoons per load of laundry. I followed another bloggers suggestion of putting the detergent into the empty Purex bottle and then using the cap to measure out detergent per load. The middle line on the cap is 2 tablespoons so there is no thinking involved 🙂

Image

this is the soap all grated up

Image

Colin mixing up the detergent

After it was all mixed, I put the detergent into some extra large storage bags I had. I ended up with 2 large bags of detergent and the Purex bottle full. I figure that even if I only get six months out of it, I’m still saving around $50 since I was using Method detergent at $12/bottle on sale and I went through a bottle a month…

Image

This is what I ended up with when I was done.

By the way, this works in HE machines also.

Now I have to find a “recipe” for dishwashing liquid!

I just wanted to come back to say – I made this detergent in May and just had to make a new batch a few weeks ago. Started using it the beginning of December. So, $28 for 6 months of detergent works out just fine for me! And it really works great, my clothes smell good and they come out clean every time.

 

Okay so I’m poor… April 15, 2012

Filed under: Life — gertyrae @ 2:10 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

…and now that I’ve gotten that off my chest I feel better. On the upside,  I think  I have accepted poverty (for now) and will just deal with it.

We are going to try to battle it a bit though. Step One – get a car that doesn’t burn so much gas. We have two trucks right now and they both average 16mpg so we are going to dump mine and get a car that will get more like 30mpg.

And I’m going to start loving cheap stuff!!! Baking for example – cheap and gratifying…and Colin loves to sample the results so it works for everyone. I really like the decorating part better than the baking. And after months of trying I have finally figured out royal icing. And I’m starting to make biscuits for the pups…hopefully better for their skin and coats.

Also, running – have decided to run a marathon this year so I’m training now. Wish me luck on this one cuz it ain’t gonna be easy. Because for me I can’t just do a marathon, I have to do a trail marathon in the hills of Connecticut. Should be interesting to say the least.

Oh – and I have to share this Colinism: sitting at dinner the other night. He’s on my lap, hugs me and says “mommy i love you, you are the best mom” then looks over at Dan and says “and daddy you are my dad and you are the best dad”…Misty comes over cuz she’s looking for scraps and Dan says “and who is that”…Colin’s response: “This is my sister Misty!” and he gives her a big hug. Totally unprompted, we never say Misty is his sister and yet she is just a part of his family…And Stormy is his pest 🙂

So that’s my update – not much else going on…

 

Money Changes Everything March 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — gertyrae @ 8:14 am
Tags: , , ,

and how I wish we had some. This is just a total vent. I don’t understand how two hard-working people can struggle like we do. I could understand if we lived “large” but we certainly don’t. We eat home every day, don’t go on trips anywhere, don’t buy expensive items – nothing like that. My husband has a few fantasy leagues that he does and that’s about it. I go to dinner with my friends for a bookclub every month or so…those are our big “expenses”. And yet, every month I’m trying to figure how to pay the mortgage and put milk in the fridge. Wishing I could give my son the small things that his parents had.

We were watching a DVD the other night that my in-laws had made up of some old 8MM movies and I was sort of astounded by the fact that they were able to afford, on one income – a summer cottage in CT, boat, 2 cars, a home in Sayville, pre-school for their FOUR children…etc, etc. One income – and my father-in-law was a fireman so we aren’t talking lawyer salary, here. Their mortgages were like $100/month. Could you imagine?! Here we are trying to struggle and pay $2500/month for our house which will never have the value increase that was seen in the past. There is no way we are selling this bad boy for even $500,000 so what happens then?! When we are ready to sell, we’ll be happy if we get back what we paid and we actually won’t get that if you figure in all the interest we’ve laid out.

And then there are all the “haves” (cuz I figure we are pretty close to “have not”). How in the world do they do it?! What banks are they robbing? I just don’t get how people can afford to do what they do. It’s so friggin expensive just to live daily life – how do you go out and buy a $500 purse?

I don’t want $500 purses. I would just love to say that I want to take my kid to Hershey Park and I can. Or Disney -hahahahaha. I would love to be able to pay my mortgage without wondering how I’m going to cover the rest of my expenses that week, put oil in the tank without worrying about how we’ll get to work, have a car that I can rely on as opposed to wondering what the next thing to go on my Santa Fe with 250,000 miles….

It’s just such a sad state of affairs that most people have to live like we do and that the middle class pretty much no longer exists. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had some kind of balance back in the world?