Monday, September 30, 2013

Staycation Recap

Good Morning and Happy Monday!  Wow, 10 days flew by!  We had a great week off.  A true staycation.  It was just so nice to sleep in (when Murphy wasn't howling for us to wake up) and sip my coffee while watching Kelly & Michael.  No rush to be anywhere or do anything.

Thursday - I was in Long Island for my friend Lauren's benefit dinner.  It was a lot of fun and great to see some old friends.

Friday - I had a hair cut appointment and mani/pedi which was nice and relaxing.  That night we had dinner reservations at the place we are getting married.  The food was really good, as we already knew :)

Saturday - We went in to the city.  We I wanted to check out the Peanut Butter & Co. sandwich shop (hello peanut butter BLT!) and the San Gennaro feast was also going on.  It was a nice day.  That night, we had our friend's surprise 30th birthday party at a local bar.  Also fun.

Sunday, we helped my SIL & BIL move out of their condo.

Monday, we purchased our wedding bands!  We also browsed around Crate & Barrel for a good hour.  I love their stuff!  Some is reasonable but some is real pricey.

That night, we went to an amazing local pizza place for dinner.  They do BOGO free pizza on Monday and Tuesday.  Their pizzas are small so we can easily share 2.  My favorite is their butternut squash pizza with spinach, mozzarella and pancetta.

Tuesday was bridesmaid dress shopping with 2 of my girls and then Chipotle for lunch with Ang, my MOH =D

Wednesday - I hosted a Pampered Chef party which was a lot of fun.  I can't wait to get the stuff I ordered!

Thursday - I had lunch with my Aunt and Saro cleaned up the yard a bit.  We put the summer furniture away.  We went to the mall in the afternoon and just took our time looking in some stores.  We purchased new lamp shades and curtains from Target and a few new wall pieces from Kohl's.  A subtle update for little $.  I was so happy I found Pottery Barn knock off pillows at Kohl's for $16.99 and I had a 30% off coupon.  Win!

Friday - Saro picked up the girls to come visit for the weekend and I had dinner with Ang.

Saturday - Apple picking HERE.




Sunday - Food shopping and cooking as usual, lol.  First, with all of the apples we had, I made crockpot applsauce.  Super easy.  Peel and core a bunch of apples.  Add a little water, lemon juice and cinnamon.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Mash and enjoy!

I also made pulled pork in the crock pot.  I started it yesterday, for dinner tonight.  4 lbs Boston butt, 2 sliced onion and I threw an apple in there!

Gluten free eggplant parm - made with Schar gluten free bread crumbs.

The front of our house, decorated for Fall.

That's about all I've got.  Have a great week!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ten Days Off!

It's so close, I can taste it!

I'm not sure if I will post anything (maybe Wedding Wednesday!) but we will see.

We have a few things going on.  First, tonight I'm driving to Long Island with my Mom for a benefit dinner for my friend Lauren who had a brain tumor.  Yes, had.  Her MRI the other day showed no trace of it, which is great!

I have a hair cut appointment tomorrow, lunch plans with one of my aunts next week and I'm hosting a Pampered Chef party.  Other than that, nothing is set in stone.  It will be nice to sleep in and maybe do a few spontaneous day trips.  I'm really hoping for an NYC day and go to here. :)

Have a great weekend and week and I'll see you on the 30th.  Over & out.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: A Charity Registry

Happy hump day.  I'm so glad that tomorrow is my Friday (sorry if I've mentioned that in the last few posts) but I've had a hectic couple of weeks and I'm looking forward to a week & a 1/2 off with Saro.

For today's Wedding Wednesday, I'd like to talk registries.  We've lived together for over 2 years and before I even moved out of my Mom's, I would buy things here and there, that I knew I (we) would need.  Little things here and there and let me tell you, it definitely helped!  While unpacking, it was a relief that we had most of the kitchen supplies we would need right off the bat - plates, cups, utensils (old hand me downs which we've now replaced), etc.

Needless to say, we really don't need a lot for the house.  We can't register for a new kitchen, bathroom and window treatments (lol!) so we decided to create a small registry (C&B and BB&B).  C&B for their fun and "different" looking things and BB&B for some other things, which gives people the option to redeem a coupon if they'd like.  Their prices are pretty similar but it's nice to have the option to save 20%.

So far we've thought of a few things we need/want or can replace, so we decided to do a charity registry as well.  People can choose from 4 different charities and donate however much they'd like.

We thought this was a great idea to give back!

What kind of registry did you have or what store would you like to register at?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Student Loans

Student loans are the devil.  I've been in repayment since 2007 and I still have 10 or more years to go.  I try to pay a little more each month but it's already a lot!  Geesh.

I advise anyone who is having a baby to open up a college savings RIGHT AWAY!  Heck, while it's still in the womb.  Any amount helps (this goes for any savings, though) but even $100/month over 18 years is only $21,600.  Nowadays that's not even one year with room and board at college.  Yikes.  Consider an invested college savings which will help a bit more.

If I could do it all over again, I'd go to a community school for 2 years and then do the last 2-3 years at a college/university that best suits the selected major.  You can save thousands.

That is my advice for the day.  Sorry if I scared anyone...

Do you have student loans?  How much longer until they're paid off?  I hope it's less than mine!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Muffin Recipe

Happy Monday!  I'm glad I have a short work week this week, with ten days off on the horizon!

On Sundays, I really enjoy cooking and prepping for the week and now that it's cooler out, baking.

I love pumpkin spice muffins but I know the ones from Dunkin Donuts or other places can be 500 or more calories.  I used this recipe but altered it a little bit.  Instead of the flour measurements, I used 1/2 cup regular flour, 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup almond meal and 1/4 cup coconut flour. 

Also, instead of vegetable oil, I used coconut oil and walnuts instead of pecans.  They came out delish!  I highly recommend :)

They're roughly 165 calories, give or take since I used almond meal and coconut flour instead of just regular flour.  I toasted one this morning with a little bit of butter -yum! 

So, they're not gluten free but I find that if you just bake with coconut flour and/or almond meal, it comes out too dense.  If you use all 3, it comes out better.

I felt like I needed a break from a green smoothie and 1 egg for breakfast, which I've been doing for over 2 months!

Do you like pumpkin recipes?  I think people love it or hate it.  I used to hate it, now love it!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Long Post

This has been a very long week, mentally.  So this is going to be quite a long post, too.

Last night was the MRI that I had been dreading since I made the appointment on Monday.  It wasn't SO bad but I get myself so anxious and nervous, that it could have been better.  It was indeed an open MRI but the machine was still hovering about 3-4 inches above my face.  However, I kept my head tilted to the side and stared at Saro the whole time, sqeezing his hand as if I were in pain.  I wasn't in pain, it was just my nerves.  My heart raced almost the entire time.

They do let you choose your own music so of course I chose Fleetwood Mac.

After a stressful 40 minutes, it was over.  If you're one of those people who can do a regular MRI with no problem, I give you props. 

I went back to my doctor/lower back specialist this morning (nothing says wake up like a 7:30am dr appointment) for more physical therapy and he's pretty sure what I have is anterolisthesis & disc herniation.  He's waiting for a confirmation from the MRI place.  This will probably mean weeks & week & months & months of physical therapy.  I don't mind going there - it's a nice, comfortable office, close to home but it's still frustrating. 

I want to run and can't.  I was able to slowly jog two miles the other night but I'm not sure if that's a good idea. 

Another issue bothering me this week is that I'm not liking the # I'm seeing on the scale.  I've been eating the same things but due to lack of intense exercise, I think the # is going up.

Lastly and probably most important, I had an appointment with my gynocologist to discuss another issue from recent blood work - hypothyroidism, which means I need to be on synthroid for the rest of my life.  I know it's not life altering, but still.  It might explain the minimal weight gain and the fact that my hair seems like it's falling out.  I'm not sure if it's from the thyroid issue or the fact that it's getting longer and is more tangled, so it gets knotty and more hair is appearing on my brush.

That's not even the MOST important issue.....the most important issue (not new news) is that I can't conceive children.  I've known about this for 13 years, since I was 16.  I stopped getting my period when I was a sophomore in high school (after having it regularly for 3 or so years).  Blood work showed and still shows that my TSH hormone levels are at 5.  Normal is 2.5.  Anything above that brings risk for the baby's brain and other things. 

What I have is premature ovarian failure and I've known about it for 13 years.

The options, as confirmed on Tuesday, which I already knew are egg donation and adoption.

My doctor asked me if my fiance knows.  Is she kidding?  YES, he's known for almost the entire length of our 6 year relationship, I told her and YES we're getting married.

So, while it's upsetting (I cried a little bit in her office because I'm now 29 - not the 16 year old I once was, who wasn't thinking about KIDS at the time), it is what it is.  I'm not sure if I'm one of those people who will try anything to have a child, especially since it's very risky for the child and myself.  Yes, I have a uterus so I can physically carry a child but IVF with egg donation isn't guaranteed and not everyone has $30,000 to risk.

So, that has been my week.  Sorry if some of it is TMI.  I've tried to write about it before but deleted it.

Here's to a new day.  I can breathe a little easier because I have some more clear answers regarding my back issue.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where Were You?

I was 17 years old and a senior in high school.  It's funny how we remember where we were when distinct, important things happen in our lives.  I was exiting my 2nd period phys. ed. class, walking down the main hall of my high school when I saw our vice principal standing there with a blank stare and then he spoke the words "A plane hit the world trade center."  I didn't think much of it right then.  I assumed an accident, of course.  I forget which class I went to next but the rest of the day was a blur.

I think I had a cell phone but it was a Nokia and it was probably shut off and in my car or locker.  I knew I had to get in touch with my Mom who worked IN Manhattan.  The school office was letting us call parents who worked in NY.  I got in touch with her briefly.  She told me she had no clue when she would be home but told me I needed to wait for her call and I'd have to pick her up at the train station.

I believe I picked her up at 8 or 9 that night.  My Mom said it was the scariest thing she's ever experienced.  When she got out of the building, all she saw were people running.  Running for their lives.

Today, as always, we remember those who died during the worst terror attack our country as experienced.

RIP Chuck Murphy aka "Murph"

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fears - what are yours?

My Fears:

#1 - (especially since I'm going tomorrow) - Sitting through an MRI.  I tried once and I friggin' panicked.  My doctor is sending me to an open one and I'm going to attempt it because my back and hip are still killing me.  I can't take it much longer!

#2 - Heights.  Even walking next to the glass on the 2nd floor of the mall.  Oof.

#3 - Elevators with more than about 5 people in it with me.

#3 - Something happening to Murphy and/or Tux while we're at work all day.  I don't know what, but I'm always anxious to get home to make sure they're fine.  I guess this is a legitimate fear since the other day when I arrived home, Murphy had pushed one of the screens almost completely out of the window (probably because he saw another dog and was trying to escape.)  The windows in our kitchen/dining room are low to the ground.  Gah!

#4 - Fearing I've left the dryer or straightening iron on after I've left the house.

#5 - The dentist.  More of a dread than a fear.  Just hate it.

I'm sure I have more but those are the top fears.

What are yours?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Two Things That Don't Like Me

Bread and running.....and I dreamed (dreamt?) about both last night.  I was SO tired, I was ready for bed by 8:30 and snoring by 9.  I slept from 9pm-7:15am.  Whenever I sleep for more than 7-8 hours, I vividly remember my dreams.  Last night I remember seeing yummy loaves of bread - specifically rosemary, my favorite.  This is funny because at a party on Saturday, I was loving these thin rosemary bread crisps my Mom bought (with dip of course).

I also remember participating in a Triathlon.  I had no clue how many miles it was, I just went.  I only remember the running portion of it and I was going FAST.  Maybe this is a good sign for what's to come! 

As of now, I still can't/shouldn't run.  It kills me because I found something I really, really enjoyed and was pretty good at.  Growing up, I only played soccer one year.  I didn't love it and my Mom suggested if I wasn't doing sports or something, that I should start to work - so I did.

Do you remember your dreams often?  Do you dream about the same things or different things?

Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wedding Wednesday Link Up!

I'm excited to be linking up with Kristyn & Mary for Wedding Wednesday!  I don't want to share too many details on here because I know Saro reads my blog (so I can't share one of the most important things - my dress!) and a few other friends who will be attending.  I don't want to ruin all the fun!  Some sharing will have to wait until after the wedding :)

Today, I'm sharing the shoes I bought for the wedding.  Yup, shoes.  Plural.  As mentioned last week, I don't do well with heels and Saro and I are the same height so yea, I don't want to tower over him.  These are low heels and comfy but I know after a few hours, I'll want to kick them off and put my sparkly Toms on!

What kind of shoes did you wear, or would you like to wear when you get married?

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Meat, Pepper & Onion Recipe

Basically everything except the kitchen sink.

You'll need:

5 Italian sausage links (sweet, hot or mixed)
1 lb chicken breast
1 thick cut pork chop, cooked and sliced thin (this was my leftover dinner from the other night - lol.  I didn't want it to go to waste)
2 peppers (we used green)
2 medium yellow onions, sliced in rounds
4 tbsp fresh basil pesto (we had to get rid of it.  You can omit this if you don't have/don't like pesto)
2 cups Trader Giotto's basil marinara sauce
3 tbsp olive oil

In the biggest pan you have, heat the olive oil.  Add sausage and cover.  Cook for about 30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so.

Remove sausage from the pan and discard 3/4 of the oil.

Add the sliced peppers, onions, chicken, pesto and sauce to the pan.  Mix, cover and cook on medium for about 20 minutes. 

Add the sliced sausage and pork, mix well and cook for another 5 minutes.

This will easily serve 6-8 people or 2-3 people with plenty of leftovers!  Serve over Skinny brand jasmine rice, brown rice, a challah roll or carb free.  Approximate cost = $15.

Yay for a short work week!  I hope you all had a great Labor Day!