Tag Archives: summer

Formula Samples: 1 Jessica: 0

26 Jun

This lovely package came in the mail yesterday…
I was not pleased.  I got a little teary and a little angry… and a little clomid crazy.  But then I pulled it together enough to call and ask to be taken off of their mailing list.  I explained to the woman who answered that we were battling infertility right now and the last thing I want to do is open a package of formula samples.  I was honestly surprised with how calm I was.  She felt awful and promised I wouldn’t be getting anything else from them.
Then I hopped in the car and dropped them off at the women’s shelter down the street.  They were very appreciative, which made me feel a little better.

I don’t even care how they got my information.  I could have been anything.  A baby present I bought for a friend, a onesie I bought for my stache… I’m just a little too emotional for it these days.

Today is day 4 of clomid.  The heat here in the midwest combined with hot flashes is a real bummer.  I kept waking up last night soaked.  I think they’re worse than they’ve ever been before.  And I’m retaining water like a boss.  Jenn over at Future Fords is holding an infertility weight loss challenge.  I really wanted to participate and keep chipping away at this excess weight, but I knew starting clomid again would leave me with zero motivation.

I made it to kickboxing yesterday morning, but had to leave half way through.  My arms and legs just wouldn’t cooperate.  We’re almost through it though.  Another week of hot flashes and things should slow down a lot until I ovulate.

Also, my aloe plant divided and had babies.  I divided and repotted them yesterday.  They’re super cute and little.

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Spring Fever

16 Mar

It’s 78 degrees and partly cloudy outside right now.  There’s the slightest breeze.  It could stay like this all summer and I would be perfectly fine with it.  I donned my bikini top and shorts and am working on my first sunburn of the year.  😉  Spring Fever to the max.

I’ve started working on my garden.  I missed my garden like crazy all winter.  I’ve decided it’s one of my favorite things to do.  Every time Jeremy applies to a job in a climate that will let me garden year round, a part of me always hopes he get it. 😉

My goal is to never use any chemicals in the garden.  Last year, with the exception of the scary ant invasion, I succeeded.  This includes weed killer.  Last year I used a sheet of clear plastic to cook the weeds and grass in the area I wanted to garden in.  My reasoning on using clear was that it would magnify the sun and make it too hot for the weeds to survive.  It worked really well, but this year I wanted to experiment with black plastic.  In theory, it should get really hot under there, right? So, I stopped at Home Depot on my way home from ESL class yesterday to pick up some black plastic.  1000 square feet of it to be exact.

I finished my garden plans the other night and am planning on using around half of this space.  My mother-in-law is going to take over the second half and we’re going to have ourselves a huge AWESOME garden! 🙂

Another thing we’re working on this year is planting things that will draw pollinating bugs to the garden.  I have coneflowers, dill, and lavender already, but the other night I ordered zinnias and a blueberry bush.  I think it’s going to be neat to see a vegetable garden with flowers mixed in. 🙂

One week until the urologist.  I’m trying not to go crazy in the meantime… Have an awesome weekend!

Here’s an updated post after we took the plastic off.

4 things…

13 Mar

4 things…

1. Aloe juice/pills are linked to improved male infertility.  Helloooooo, Amazon…  Sorry, Jeremy, more supplements. 😉

2. The longer this first baby takes to get here, the more of them I want… How does 3 sound? 4 sound? 😉

3. My temperature dipped and went back up… Getting hopeful?  You betcha.

4. 58 and sunny in Aurora, IL.  My spearmint is growing back. 

Sewing Summer…

27 Sep

I don’t knit in the summer.  I don’t like the way the needles feel in my fingers if there’s any humidity in the air.  I don’t like the feeling of wool or wool blends or acrylics, or fibers of any kind really, when it’s warm out.

But this summer, I found that I really needed to do something.  I was doing a lot of sewing for the store and for our craft shows.  I decided to take my sewing a little farther and start making things for myself.  It was almost all trial and error as I’d never actually made myself something really useful before with a sewing machine.  Once I got my new Brother CS-6000i machine, I really had no excuses…

Don't mind my poor picture quality... 😉

I made these skirts to wear for our first and last mall craft show.  The pattern is really forgiving and really versatile.  It’s a good base if you want to design something farther.  The pattern is Lil Blue Boo’s Twirl Skirt.

Next, I spent the summer perfecting Lil Blue

The birds just fit. Just go with it.

Boo’s Tunic Top pattern.  I made a few different variations as I learned what I needed to do to make them fit me comfortably.  I made the arm holes longer (to better fit my obvious man-shoulders? 😉 ), I made the stomach and hips smaller (for my disproportionately large chest? I wish 😉 ), and finally, I cut them shorter than the pattern called for because they were way too short to wear as a dress (I’ll own my longer than average legs) and I wanted to wear them with shorts.

Each one of them incorporate some kind of old, unworn article of clothing.  I’m really enjoying be able to reuse something that just isn’t working for me any more.  I think I lived in these for a good chunk of the summer.
This pattern made me realize how much I want a serger. (Did you get that, oh husband of mine?  **Early Christmas/Birthday present?**)  I don’t love the way my machine sews with jersey.  It’s doable, but a serger would look awesome.  Overall, however, I’m happy with how they turned out.

After that, I decided a dress form would make my life easier if I were going to continue to make clothing here and there.  But spending hundreds of dollars on a dress form that still wouldn’t match my body?  No thanks.  Jeremy helped me use Prudent Baby’s duct tape dress form tutorial.  I’m not going to lie, if you’re at all claustrophobic like I am, this whole process is going to bother you.  I could get out of that duct tape fast enough.  No pictures of that process for you though… It wasn’t pretty…
Anywho, my dress form turned out really great.  I think she needs a little tummy tuck still, but she’s technically the right size.  🙂

Finally, I wanted something warm and comfy now that it’s starting to get cooler out.  I found this pattern from 1984 on ebay for $2 and got the thicker jersey fabric on sale.  I’ll make some more modifications on it the next time I make one, but I’m really happy with how comfortable and decent it looks. 🙂

There have been a few other things that I’ve been working on, but we’ll save those for later.  I’m really glad that I’m finally learning some useful sewing skills.  I really enjoy it and often it’s quicker than knitting, so it offers some quicker gratification. 😉

Summer So Far…

30 Jun

Where has the summer gone?

I spent sooo much time this past winter and spring waiting very impatiently for summer to arrive and now it’s half way over!  Yikes!
It’s been a busy summer thus far though.  I’ve been volunteer teaching at a company in Bolingbrook.  They wanted to give their employees the opportunity to learn more and better English skills and the organization I’m volunteering with stepped in and offered their volunteers.  They offer two classes on Thursday afternoons one upper level and one lower level.  The students are awesome.  They want to learn the English language so badly and they all have varied reasons.  Some want to be able to write their children’s teachers emails or attend parent-teacher conferences, others want to be able to communicate with a doctor without an interpreter, some want to be able to go shopping at non-Spanish speaking stores, and others just want to be able to read a newspaper.  They’re so much more motivated and willing to learn than most kids are.  I really love teaching adults.  I work with two other ladies, Susan and Pat, and they are fantastic!  Both so willing to offer their time and energy for these students.  I’m really enjoying getting to know them as well.
Jeremy and I started this summer thinking I would take a month or two and get some volunteer work in before finding a full-time job, but the more the summer goes on, the more I would like to continue this volunteer work.  It makes me feel good to contribute to society and help improve lives.  Many of these students would never be able to afford to take English classes on their own.  I’m so lucky to have the time and resources to be able to help.

This past week, I met with one of the librarians at the Aurora Public Library’s Main Branch about taking over the knitting group that meets once a month.  I managed to talk them into meeting once a week as that would be more useful in building community and relationships among members.  I’m really looking forward to this as well.  I’ve really missed my knitting group in Oak Park especially now that school is over and I have a decent amount of time to be knitting.
Our bedroom is still under construction, which means our bed is still in the living room for now.  Once our couch is out of storage, I might be more willing to do some hardcore knitting again.

Alice "supervising"

Meanwhile, we took Three Sassy Sisters on the road to Geneva, IL’s Swedish Days last week.  What was initially quite promising turned into a complete bust because of the weather.  We had a good time with my friend Jessica though.

Swedish Days 2011

 That little cutie is due in 2 months and already has a present from his Auntie Jessica. 🙂

Giraffe Buttons!

Moving along, we found 3 kittens in our garage at the beginning of June.  June 8 to be exact.  It was my niece’s, Calli, 6th birthday.  She and my sister stopped by to see them and decided to keep Milly, a very sick, grey kitten.
She’s 8 weeks old now and is a pretty great addition to their family.  My sister closed on her first house last week and they’re all living together now.  We jokingly call her “pure evil” because of her tendency to attack your feet, hands, hair, face, elbow… etc… but she really is a sweetie pie. 🙂

Lastly, is my garden!  It’s going well enough for my first garden.  Everything is growing.  I’ve harvested a TON of mints and basils.

Yum!

My tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, jalepenos, fennel, rosemary, strawberries, lavender, chives, peppers, basils, mints, sage, and feverfew are all growing and growing.  Of course, so are the weeds, but that’s a battle in itself. 😉

Wooo!

Some kind of animal, I’m assuming a cat or raccoon, has opted to sit in my catnip pot every night.  My catnip is very smashed, but I had Jeremy move it towards the house last night, so hopefully it will perk up. 🙂
That’s all I have for now.  Something else will pop up this week though.  I won’t leave you hanging. 😛

Dandelion Root Tea: A Tutorial

31 May

Well, it is definitely summer in Chicago.

I was so excited to start my first garden when we moved in with Jeremy’s parents.  They let me make up a big plot in the back of the yard that I tilled (with Jeremy’s help, of course), weeded, composted, and planted.  It’s beautiful and growing. 🙂

   

When they bought the house last year, the backyard was a mess.  It’s definitely getting there, but the focus is really on the house right now.  When I started working on my garden, the weeds were (and still are) threatening to take over.  The crazy amount of rain we’ve had lately is only making things grow faster.  I’m going to try my hardest to not use any chemicals back there as I’d like my herbs and vegetables to be as organic as possible.  This includes weed killer.

I’d been thinking about dandelion root tea for a while and the fact that I had all of these gigantic dandelion plants at my disposal made me want to try my hand at harvesting, drying, and storing roots for tea.

Dandelions have amazing properties.  It’s kind of funny that one of the most hated weeds is one of the best things you can give your body. Just one of God’s little jokes, I suppose. 🙂 My favorite tea property book gives them the subtitle “The Little Plant That Roars” (110). Besides being packed full of vitamins, iron, and potassium, dandelion roots are an epic detoxifier. They remove toxins, wastes, pollutants, and contaminants from joints, cools and cleans the liver, improves your mood, and cleanses your urinary tract.  Dandelion leaves are equally amazing, but we’ll save that for another post. 🙂

When it comes to harvesting your own dandelion roots, it’s important that you know exactly where the plants come from.  Don’t harvest from a place that has come into contact with animals or chemicals.  Harvesting from within or around your existing vegetable garden is ideal.

fresh from the garden

When you pick your dandelions, look for larger plants as that will often mean a larger, more advanced root system.  I use a large shovel to dig around and under the rooms.  Try not to break them off in the ground.

Dandelion roots will shrink approximately 25% when they’re dry, so you should always pick more than you think you need. 🙂

After you have a nice pile, cut your roots off just below the leaves.  Discard the leaves.  While it would be nice to use the leaves as well, large dandelion leaves are very bitter.  It’s best to compost them and search for smaller, new leaves at a later time.

Rinsing.

Next you’ll want to rinse your roots really well.  I use my thumb nail to peel the thin outer layer off, like you would a carrot.  For larger roots, you could use a vegetable peeler.  Get rid of the little hair roots as they don’t contain many nutrients and are pretty irritating.

 

 

 

 

 

Hey... that's not a dandelion....

Peeling the roots offers more than just a nice,

clean root to work with.  It will also show you if any of your roots don’t match the other.  Obviously this pretty green root is NOT a dandelion root. Discard that.

At this point, go ahead and preheat your oven.  Mine doesn’t go any lower than 170* F, but something around 150*F or so would be better.

Next, you’ll want to chop your roots up in to small pieces.  Much like mincing garlic.  You want them to be small and similarly sized so they’ll dry at the same pace.

 

Getting ready to shrink...

Once everything is nice and chopped, you’ll want to blot it as dry as possible with some paper towel.  Extra water will only make the drying process take longer.

Then spread your pieces on a cookie sheet.  Try to spread them out as much as possible.  Once this is done, pop them into the oven.  I’ve found them best way to dry things in the oven is to prop your oven door open slightly with a pot holder.  Jeremy insists this is a useless step, but I swear it works better this way. 😉

Let them sit in the oven for an hour or so and then use a spatula to stir everything up a little bit.  Spread it all back out and stick it back in the oven.  Stir your roots ever half hour or so until they are completely dry.  Sometimes, if I’m not completely sure if my roots are totally try, I’ll let them sit out overnight and check them again the next morning once they’re cool.  If your roots aren’t completely dried out, they’ll mold when you put them in an airtight container.

It’s ok if they get a  little over dried at first.  Some people actually dry, roast, and then grind dandelion roots to use as a coffee substitute.

Yum!

Once everything is dry and cooled, store your roots in an airtight container.  They should last up to a year.

Dandelion root tea is rather bitter if you’re not used to root teas.  I typically mix mine with dried baby dandelion leaves to boost the nutrition even more and give it a more springy taste. 🙂

Happy Drying!