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The One Where I Talk About PCOS

24 Jul

So, yeah… I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This is not a new development. I’ve known for about 6 years… I’ve had symptoms since puberty (I was diagnosed after trying to get pregnant for over a year with no positive result. I was immediately referred to a fertility doctor. A great story with a beautiful ending for another day).  It just so happens that its reality hit me hard today.

I’ve read about PCOS, I’ve done my research.We don’t know what causes PCOS… but we do have a long list of symptoms. I understand what happens, I understand the science (I was a Chem major in college and have a masters on Biochem… as well as a masters in counseling, which you would think should be super helpful tools to have when one is dealing with this kind of thing). But I understand it as something that happens to an individual or, more specifically, to 1 in 10 women… not to me. Except it is happening to me. It’s been happening to me whether I want to accept it or not.

I look at myself in the mirror and see the effects of PCOS. I see all the extra weight that seems impossible to lose. I see all the unwanted facial hair. I see all the skin issues. I see a woman with low self-esteem. It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror and feel the anxiety and sadness take hold. So, for a long time, I chose to not think too much about it, not look too closely. PCOS became an invisible illness even to myself.

Today it all came to the surface in “cry” form… why? why? how come?… we all have something we have to deal with… keep calm and carry on. It went from a hard heavy thing I thought I couldn’t carry to an “I think I can handle this” to an “I gotta do something about it… I have ideas”. And that’s just a glimpse at how my brain processes things (hormones!?)… apparently all at once (“one thing at a time” I’ve heard my husband say lovingly).

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I don’t pretend to have it all figured out and I know it’ll take loads of hard work to get to a comfortable/healthy place, but the initial motivation to change is there and that counts for a lot in my book. I hope to share more of my experience as I mindfully (hopefully) go through all this.

* You can find more info about PCOS, here.

How I plan a birthday party

5 Nov

I love love love planning my son’s birthday parties. And it takes me a while to do… and sometimes (always) ends up being a lot of work… but oh so worth it! So, I just wanted to share with you a few things about how I plan a birthday party and what I did for my son’s 3rd birthday. We went with Where the Wild Things Are theme and it was great!

1. Theme – First things first… thinking about the theme. I usually have a few possible themes at a time. I make a choice when we’re about 2-3 months away from the actual birthday dependent on my son’s interest at the time (and now he has an opinion as well 😉 ). I make a Pinterest board (will talk about that next) for every theme. That way, when is time to choose a theme, I have all the ideas I like in one place and don’t have to do as much research/planning.

Example of my Pinterest boards for birthdays

Example of my Pinterest boards for birthdays (Sesame Street, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Where the Wilds Things Are) *Click to see the boards on Pinterest

2. Pinterest board – I pin and pin and pin… every little idea that comes my way.

  • cake – I make my son’s birthday cakes. I’m not a trained cake decorator but can totally put together a cake. Sometimes very kind people will share their creations and even do a step-by-step tutorial. Just search! I followed this tutorial.
  • invitations – I love mailing invitations. I love seeing what others do and use it as inspiration to make my own. I usually also have a Facebook event going (it is a great reminder).
  • food – Sometimes I make the food, sometimes I order out. This year we had pizza and wings from Great Northern Pizza Kitchen. It was great. Specially since the birthday party was around lunchtime.
  • decorations – You can find pretty much an idea for most things that come to mind on Pinterest. Finding ideas for parties is just great… from simple to all out… from DIY to you-can-buy-this-here. You’ll find something for your taste and budget.
  • other – I add activities, favors, costume, etc.

Obviously, not everything that gets pinned, gets done for the birthday… although I wish I could! 😉

3. Make/send invitations – I make and mail the invitations a month-ish before the birthday party.

Inspired by a few invitations I found online.

Inspired by a few invitations I found online.

4. Make cake TIP: Make sure that you allow enough time to finish your cake! This is the most stressful part of the whole birthday party planning. It is hard to predict what’s going to happen. This last cake took me a good 3 days to complete… but a month after the party, I still have people talking about it. Not too bad! 😉

Cake

Love this cake!

5. Birthday Party Day – We are fortunate to have an entertaining room in the apartment complex that we can use for this kind of activity. It is a big room with tables/chairs already set up. There’s also a kitchen. I love it! Minimal setup… we just have to clean at the end. I’ve had birthday celebrations at home before and I feel that there’s much more to do/clean before and after the party. See if you can find a room like that for your next party!

We were able to bring a ball pit, tunnels, and a huge inflatable bowling set. They were all a huge hit with the toddler crowd. My husband did story time and read a couple books including Where the Wild Things Are.

Story time!!!

Yes, he was wearing his Max suit!

Yes, he was wearing his Max suit!

6. Thank You cards – I believe in sending Thank You cards. People take time of their day to come celebrate with us and I think it is a very nice thing to do. I love receiving thank you cards (any kind of cards/letters), so I love sending them too. It is also a great learning experience. Talk to the little one while you write them and explain why you’re mailing cards.

Hope this post helps you a bit on your future birthday planning! 🙂

Covered Apples!

21 Oct

On Sunday, we went apple picking! Of course, we picked way more apples than we should have… not a problem! What to do with extra apples, you ask? How about chocolate caramel covered apples? I used granny smiths for this recipe. Follow the caramel recipe exactly, it works perfectly!

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I didn’t have any craft sticks, so I used plastic knives leftover from my son’s birthday last week. They were a bit flimsy for the apples but got the job done. Next time, I will use a sturdier handle. With this caramel you have to work fast and stick the apple in the fridge quickly to set.

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Once the caramel sets, go ahead and melt the chocolate chips. I used Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips (I just love it!). I think my apples were a bit to big and ran out of chocolate. I also like the pretty uneven swirl and that uses up a lot more chocolate. Stick them back in the fridge to set.

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You can add even more to these delicious treats! I chose some ghost sprinkles (perfect for Halloween). Nuts would be great too.

20131021-071442.jpgGive them a try! They were a bit more work than I anticipated but well worth the effort, because these apples are delicious!!!

 

So super easy Fro-Yo!

18 Oct

On one of our recent trips, we ended up on an airport with a Pinkberry! Yum! I love me some Pinkberry frozen yogurt… the plain original kind. We don’t have a Pinkberry where we live, so I indulged. It was great! But, I had “the” thought… “You know what!? I can make this at home! And cheaper!”

So, I looked online for a base recipe. There’s a bunch of frozen yogurt recipes but I found one that is a Pinkberry copycat recipe. I’ve made it twice since then. It is a delicious treat and so super easy to make. I really don’t know how the price compares (gotta look into it), but I know for sure that mine is cheaper. 😀

This is what frozen yogurt looks like when you first put it in the ice cream machine. I have a Cuisinart ice cream machine. It takes my machine approximately 25 minutes to bring the yogurt mixture to soft-serve ready-to-eat consistency. Note: If you put it in the freezer overnight, the frozen yogurt will get hard as a rock and pretty impossible to scoop. You’ll have to let it sit on the counter for a while. Ask me how I know!

20131018-085812.jpgI like mine with fresh strawberries and chocolate chips. The possibilities are infinite when you think about toppings. Go crazy!

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Note: The first time I made the recipe, I used FAGE greek yogurt and it turned out delicious. Perfectly tart and tangy! The second time I made it, I used store-brand greek yogurt… it was good but not as flavorful as the first time around. So, I guess buying the really good greek yogurt pays off if you really want to taste the greek yogurt on your frozen yogurt treat!

Hope you go ahead and try making something new! If you have kids, this would be a great food/cooking activity to do together. Not a whole lot of involved steps… just some measuring (can you say math!?), mixing and pouring!

Which reminds me! If you want to try more cooking with your children, check out Kids’ Kitchen – 40 Fun and Healthy Recipes to Make and Share*Click on the link or image below so you can see some of the cards included. They are a great size (box: 8.5″x6.5″x2″), perfect for children to manipulate, read and follow.*

Kids' Kitchen

Step into the kitchen for some child-friendly fun with food. The forty recipes in this colorful deck are based around the five main food groups, and offer a healthy and exciting way to learn about cooking.

How about, before getting to the cooking part, you and your kids make chef hats! This is the kind of activity that will become a fond childhood memory. Kids’ Kitchen includes a recipe for vanilla ice cream… can’t wait to try it out with my son while wearing our own chef hats!!! 😀

Lifetime Learner

28 Sep

I sometimes wonder what makes a person be so sure of what they want to do professionally. I don’t have that gene/inspiration/focus or whatever that special thing is. I’m more of I-want-to-experience-it-all kind of person. Growing up I was always into reading (all sorts of books and magazines), math and science. I went to schools “specialized” in Math and Science. I went to college and studied Chemistry as an undergrad. Then moved on to grad school and chose Biochemistry. I was never totally sure of what I wanted to “be”. I still don’t know what career I would like to pursue. But, I still love learning about science. Then, I decided I wanted to do something a bit different… and, I went into school counseling. I worked as a counselor for a few years. I liked learning about people and how different and similar we all are at the same time.

After all this schooling, I learned this about myself. I am a pretty good student and can be successful in school… but the bottom line is that I just love learning new things. I’ve taught myself to knit, crochet, quilt, spin yarn, cross-stitch, and soap-making (love the chemistry that goes into it). I love the variety. I love working on different projects. But, I’m still trying to figure out how to harness that love of learning and turn it into the ultimate most perfect career for myself. For now, my focus is being a stay-at-home-mom… the one career that doesn’t include formal schooling but is mostly learn-as-you-go… and I love it.


I also chose Barefoot Books! I recently received my Starter Kit and I’ve been reading through all the books. You might think that they’re just children’s books and there isn’t a lot to them. Oh, well, let me tell you! I’ve been learning so much… from other cultures and traditions to vocabulary and other languages! Right now (until September 30th, 2013… hey, that’s my birthday… can you say birthday gift!) you can get 20% off sitewide by using the code AUTUMN! Don’t miss out. Click on the picture above, explore my online marketplace, and place your order! Don’t forget the code!!! Just to get you started… the Bear books are a big favorite around here. Go check them out. =D

Barefoot Eliany

24 Sep

Hello everybody!!!

Can you believe my previous post was about my Project Life week 5 layout back in February!? Not good. But, I’ll dare say it… I’m back!!! I’ll give you the short story. Most days I just forget to write up/photograph the things I’ve been making (call me lazy or distracted). The summer went by way too fast. We had fun! Now, I’m a stay-at-home-mom and I love it! Naive-me thought that I was going to have so much more time to do things (crafty stuff) because I’m home all the time… right? Eh, wrong. Between making 3 meals a day (plus snacks) and cleaning after each, playing with my almost 2-year-old boy, reading the same book a gazillion times a day and brushing my teeth… I don’t have much down time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I do love doing all those things. I just don’t have time to share it here. But, I’m making time (I haven’t figured out how to yet :P). I have too! I’m doing this for myself. To connect with others.

Starter Kit Box

Starter Kit Box

With that lame explanation out of the way, I wanted to share an awesome thing with you guys. I became a Barefoot Books Ambassador just last week! This new adventure will give me the opportunity to share with my son and the rest of the world my love of reading and books (and perhaps bring in some income to our household as well). Of course, I’ll be sharing a lot more about this: ambassador opportunities, special offers, book reviews and more! For now, I invite you to come over (click on the banner below, like my Facebook Page) and check out our gorgeous catalog that includes books, music, games, and other gifts.

Project Life – Week 5

6 Feb

Here I am again with another edition of Project Life 2013! =D I’ve been having lots of fun with it! Just wanted to share my week 5 spread. I’ve noticed that I don’t take too many pictures during the week, but take tons during the weekend. I still manage to fill 2 page protectors and have leftover pictures. I showed my son the new pages and he loved them (as shown by all the giggling… let’s be real, he just loves seeing himself on pictures).

PL Week 5

I put together the 3×4 week days cards on PSE. I just wanted to have 3×4 cards where I can do a row of week days with highlight moments. I also put together the “Hello February” card, but this time using a PL Seafoam kit 3×4 card as a base. I particularly love the faux letterpress heart over the 14. I think I’ll continue doing this type of card every month.

Hello February

I can already tell that this album will become a family favorite!

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