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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 1 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



Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Trip to an Apple Orchard and Cider Mill


Today we went on a new adventure! We decided since the weather is so nice that we would venture out and try picking some apples at an orchard! I found this one in Pendleton, about 20min from where we live. We grabbed a bag and headed off to the orchard to find some fruit.


The boys loved it! Of course we had to nibble on some while we were shopping. This is the first time I have ever eaten an apple fresh from a tree! I let Brad pick all the apples himself, and Jacob wondered along behind us.


We were amazed at the amount of apples that grow on just one tree! It definitely got us excited for when we can have our own fruit trees to pluck fresh fruit from in the near future.

After we filled our bag, we headed back to the mill and got to see how they make the cider. For the trip home we all got a cider slushie, and a gallon of freshly pressed cider to take with us!

Today Brad also got to go to a friend's birthday party, but I'll post about that later.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Back to School!

I just realized that I never posted about Bradley starting 2nd grade!!! I didn't want to leave you hanging, so here are the pics from his first day of school last week on Sept. 6 at Thomas Edison Elementary School in Tonawanda.

 

His teacher is Mrs. Pritchard and seems very nice!
 
 

And of course I had to do our annual poses! Here are the two from this year:



And here are those same poses from his first day of PreK! How much he has grown in 3 years!


This is his first time to ride the bus to/from school and he was VERY excited about it! There are a ton of kids at his bus stop from the neighborhood, most of whom he has been playing with all summer! Here is he is hamming it up on our way to the corner.






The first week of school I insisted on walking with him to the bus stop to make sure he got on and off okay. Plus it was nice to socialize with the other parents! This week I relaxed a bit and let him walk by himself while I watch from the porch.

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Simple Breakfast Burritos (Freezer Cooking)

I finally got around to making a batch of breakfast burritos for the freezer! I kept mine simple this time with just eggs and cheese, but of course you can add in anything you like to make it fun! Tater tots, meat, bell pepper... The possibilities are endless!

I had a lot of eggs to use so I did mine in two batches. All together I used about 27 eggs. For each batch I recommend using a dozen eggs in a nonstick skillet. Cook them as you normally would for scrambled eggs with salt/pepper to taste. I added shredded cheddar in at the end, about 1/2c each batch. Once they are cooked you can turn the heat off and stir in any other add ones you like.



I used some flour tortillas, and some whole wheat. You should get the largest size available to make a good size burrito. If kids will be eating them too, you could use a smaller size for them.



After you fold each burrito, let them cool a bit then wrap each one in some plastic wrap.

***sorry, I can't get the pic to rotate!***

After they are wrapped you can stack them in a labeled freezer bag and throw them in the freezer! I recommend wrapping it in a napkin and microwaving for about a minute, then flipping over and heating another 45sec. You may need to heat more or less, depending on your microwave.

Enjoy!

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Holiday Hiatus

The time has come! My 13 week travel assignment as an ICU night nurse at Buffalo General Hospital is finished and I am so very happy to say that I have budgeted well enough to take a few months off! My boys deserve to have their momma home with them for our first holiday season away from family and truly on our own. I have so many things that I want to get done during my time off, so this blog serves as a sort of plan to outline that.
 
I truly enjoyed my time at BGH. I met a lot of great people and learned some new techniques. The staff there was always so nice and helpful to me. I honestly feel bad that I had to leave them because they are still painfully short staffed, however I have other plans with life right now and my family comes first!
 
When people asked me what I was doing after my contract and I told them "Nothing!", they would then ask, "What are you taking off for?" And to that I would gleefully answer LIFE! Yes I wish I could answer that I was jetting off to an island for awhile to gather my thoughts, but alas that is not in the cards for me right now. It may not seem that great to "just" be taking off some time for nothing, but I am very proud of it and I can't wait to enjoy the holiday season with my boys without having to juggle a work schedule or squeeze everything that needs to be done into my few days off.
 
How many people are actually able to take some time off? To voluntarily choose to take a break and enjoy the things that really matter in life--our loved ones? To plan your work around your life, instead of trying to live around your work? Not many!
 
Most of you know that I've been the "breadwinner" for many years while Nick was a stay-at-home-dad. This was just how life worked out for us and we are happy that we had that opportunity to avoid day care for our children so far. Now the roles have reversed somewhat and Nick is working a full time job that he loves. Hopefully his pay will soon reflect his responsibility and value to the company, but until then I will most likely work part-time hours when I can. This is just one more positive change that we have had in our lives that was out of reach for so long before our move.
 
My current intentions are to go back to work part time starting in January or February, so until then these are some of the things I want to accomplish during my time off:

  • declutter the few remaining piles of unpacked boxes/papers
  • do a weekly dinner menu
  • stock freezer with meals
  • ease back into couponing
  • finish our family photo album for 2016
  • catch up on Brad's scrapbook
  • catch up on Jacob's scrapbook
  • crochet things!
  • take the boys sledding when it snows
  • go on picnics and walks by the lake while nice weather is here
  • read lots of good books
It may not seem like much, but these are things that I enjoy doing yet have not had time to do with the craziness of our life recently. All of my hobbies have been put on the back burner for basically the last year so I'm craving some ME time to unwind and be creative!

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fun Outings

This past weekend was one we decided to go see a new place! We've been alternating weekends with eating somewhere new and seeing somewhere new. The world's biggest rubber duck was in Buffalo so we headed to the Canalside boardwalk to check it out!






The weather was perfect and it wasn't too busy on the Sunday afternoon. There were lots if neat vendor booths to see, and of course great views of the Niagara river. Jacob wasn't very happy, but Brad seemed to like it!

Today me and the boys decided to finally go a few miles north to check out a local farmer's market. I was amazed at the good deals, and that's saying a lot because I'm so cheap frugal. They had things I'd never heard of, like yellow watermelon and white eggplants!!



They also had other locally produced goods, like honey, maple syrup, cheese and pepperoni.

This was my little haul, all for less than $5 and grown locally! I can't wait until I have room to plant my very own garden.


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Monday, August 29, 2016

Super Easy Black Bean Burgers

Are you looking for a quick and healthy alternative to beef for your burger night? Not to mention CHEAP?! Well 50¢ for a can of black beans and some stuff from your pantry, and dinner is served. Here you go!


1 can black beans (rinsed/drained)
1 egg
1tbs minced onion
1tsp garlic powder
1/4c bread crumbs
Salt + pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse a few times to mash most beans and blend. It will be very thick! Have a hot skillet ready and make into 4 equal patties. Place each one on skillet (or grill!) and cook approx 5 min on each side over med heat. Flip once. It should look golden brown with a slight crust. Serve!


Yum! You can't beat dinner that takes less than 10min to make! I got buns at my local bakery outlet for 89¢ and already had the veggie toppings, so this meal cost us a little over a quarter per serving!!!! Now go make some.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Baby Jacob

I haven't posted many recent pics of my growing toddler recently, so here are some for your viewing pleasure! He is 16mo now and full of energy.





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Monday, August 22, 2016

Bean and Bacon Soup + Pasta Fazool (Fagioli)

Who doesn't love bean and bacon soup? Yes those delicious little cans of condensed goopiness that you add some water to for a quick meal. Well I decided tonight to try my hand at a homemade version, and I have to say it is spot on!

Pasta fazool, or pasta fagioli, may not be as common but it is as delicious! It is basically pasta and beans. I grew up with my family using the bean and bacon soup as a base, then adding the pasta to that. I still do that to this day and it is one of our favorite soups! It goes great on a cold day with a grilled cheese or rolls.


4c chicken broth
1 diced onion
3 chopped carrots
1tbs minced garlic
1 can cannelini beans (or great northern beans) not drained
2 slices raw bacon, diced
*optional* 1 1/2c small pasta for pasta fazool

Add all ingredients except pasta into medium pan. Simmer for 30min, stirring occasionally. Add pasta if desired and cook an additional 10min or until tender, then serve!


Of course, in my house we put cheese on top of everything!

If you add pasta it thickens up nicely, otherwise there is a good amount of broth.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Special Trip

I don't think I ever posted, but the Saturday before last I got a new car! Not brand new of course, but good enough! It's a 2010 Kia Forte (6spd manual!) That had only had one owner. I'm a little sad it doesn't have an Oklahoma plate any more, but this is just one one more thing to transition for us. The best part is that I payed for it in cash, so no car payment! Woot!


I quickly got a chance to break it because later that day I got the call that my grandfather in Ohio had passed away. I arranged to take the boys and leave Monday morning.

Murphy's Law got me once again by rendering my trusty GPS useless as soon as I left my driveway. I had never used it on my phone but thankfully I figured it out and was able to find my way there with little trouble. It was about a 6hr drive to just north of Cincinnati and naturally we hit rush hour traffic that slowed us down. Jacob didn't nap much but they both passed out shortly before we arrived.


My mom, step dad, and brother Eric were already there when we arrived so we got a very warm welcome! I hadn't seen them in almost 3 months, and hadn't seen my Ohio family in several years. My aunt Diane was so kind to let me and the boys stay the night with her!

This was their first time to meet Jacob but of course he was shy and only wanted his momma.







It was so so nice to see everyone and catch up. The funeral was the next morning and I saw many more extended family members there. However I did not take pictures, I felt that would have been a little tacky considering the circumstance. It did inspire me to work on convincing people to arrange another official reunion!

These pics are from one of the last times I saw my grandparents. I took Brad there when he was 3mo with my mom for a short visit. My grandpa performed a dedication ceremony on him. He was a minister for most of his life.



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