Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Garden Inspiration!

Last week I shared all the areas I can't wait to create gardens in next year and I promised a post full of inspiration. So, I'm here today with some pictures that I found through Pinterest (sources included) to get an idea of what I want the gardens to look like along the fence and along the side of our house. Let me know your thoughts, I love hearing gardening tips because I am very new at this!

First up, here's an idea of greenery along a white vinyl fence. I really like the way the green pops along the white fence. I definitely want to incorporate a lot of green, leafy plants in our landscaping.

I definitely want to incorporate evergreens like this because they will stay green year round. Even if the garden looks fairly bare in the winter, I need to make sure there are elements that stay year round so it doesn't look completely empty. 

I know this doesn't show a fence, but I do love the idea of having thriving hydrangeas along the fence. The only problem with hydrangeas is that you have only a few weeks a year where they look incredible. The rest of the year they don't look as beautiful so I definitely don't want to fill the garden with them. 

I absolutely love hostas and think I want to plant something similar to this along the side of the house. I like the way the garden looks full and lush. I think this could look amazing near our Siberian elm tree.

How gorgeous is this? Definitely too much to start off with, but this is definitely something to aspire to have one day!

Oh, I can't wait for spring!

Monday, October 26, 2020

S'mores Pie

 Hey friends!

How was your weekend? We kept things very low key around here, mostly just running errands and doing chores around the house. We watched a couple of scary movies on Saturday night (Ready or Not and The Invisible Man) and I liked both of them even though I'm a big scaredy cat. Have you seen Emily in Paris? I'm watching it right now and it's really cute. It reminds me a lot of Sex and the City but on a millennial scale. (Which makes sense because Darren Star...) I've been enjoying watching it when I'm getting cleaning and cooking done. It's very lighthearted and easy to follow, I recommend it if you are looking for that type of show! If you want something a little more intense definitely check out Bly Manor on Netflix. If you haven't watched it already, it's definitely creepy but I love the storyline and that you really need to be paying attention to the story. 

Anyways, on to todays recipe! This weekend I made a S'mores Pie and it was delicious. I have been looking at the recipes for this on Pinterest recently and was thinking about making it for Thanksgiving so I wanted to test it out and last night was the perfect night to do that. 

I followed this recipe so definitely go check it out but I wanted to share how the process went for me here as well. 

We only needed four ingredients: 12oz semi sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 4 cups of mini marshmallows, and 1 graham cracker crust.

I purchased the pre-made graham cracker crust from the grocery store but you can definitely make your own if you are looking for more of a challenge.

The first step is to make the chocolate ganache which sounded intimidating to me but it was super simple. All you do is mix the chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream in microwavable bowl. I heated mine in 30 second increments and then whipped it until it was smooth.

Then I poured the ganache into the pie crust and put it in the fridge. The recipe recommends putting it in for at least 2 hours. Mine was in for 6 hours uncovered and did just fine. 

Now right before serving you need to add the marshmallows and toast them. I used the broiler in our oven for this. (I had no idea we had a broiler) I put the broiler on high, making sure the oven rack was as far up as possible and I only let the pie sit inside for 30 seconds or so. Make sure you are watching it because those marshmallows heat up fast

Here is the completed pie. I think it looks amazing!! It definitely is something that looks super enticing and I am seriously considering making it on Thanksgiving. 

I think it tastes amazing as well. It definitely is super rich chocolate, so if you aren't a chocolate fan you might not like this one. But if you like chocolate and s'mores you will love it!

My toughest critic (Tim) said it was good but agreed with me that the chocolate was very rich. He had a piece and I had two (whoops). I think this is such a fun (and easy) dessert and I can picture myself making this for my kids someday!

Have you made any new desserts lately? I would love to know what they are!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Privacy Fence is Up and Future Garden Ideas!

Friends, the privacy fence is fully installed! No thanks to me, but lots of thanks to my wonderful hubby! Now we just need to figure out how to continue the fence around the backyard with the wire fencing we purchased. Hopefully it's fairly easy and the rest of the process can be completed pretty quickly (fingers crossed).

On Saturday Tim got to work finishing the final two panels for our privacy fence.

Sophie and I watched. We are the best helpers around! 

Sophie has no clue that her freedom is slowly being stripped away from her. She continues to run around the fence and thinks it's a fun game to disappear behind it. Soon she will be trapped in the backyard....poor Sophie! 

Now, you might be looking at this picture thinking the fence looks slanted. Well, it is.

Our lot is sloped on both sides. There is a hill on the side of our house that isn't technically our property and belongs to the people who live behind us (the former owners of this home too) and while that piece of property used to belong to our house, before they sold it to us they split the property in order to allow for a driveway to be put in there someday. It's only 50 feet, which isn't much and they say they have no "master plan" which we are choosing to believe but that explains the slope that we can't really do much about. 

Also, while we are on the subject I am cautiously planning out what we will do if we ever hear that they want to put in a driveway...or if/when we go to sell the house. I am thinking of planting trees/shrubs along our property line to make sure we would still have privacy if they did decide to clear the wooded area.

Nevertheless. I love our new privacy fence. I am so happy we went with the final fencing and love that we now have some privacy in our backyard. It makes it much nicer when I head out there in my pajamas with Sophie in the morning!

Now, let's talk about gardening...because that has been the topic on mind recently!

I picked up these tulip bulbs from the Christmas Tree Shop and decided to plant them in our front garden by the street.

You can see the disturbed mulch area where I've planted them and I hope that it will be a nice beginning to spring. Keep your fingers crossed for me that they take and we see them in March! You can see my tree that the previous owners planted is changing colors, and the evergreens I planted are still doing well. The lavender I planted has gone past, and the annuals are long gone. I'm anxious to see how all of this will do through the winter and am keeping my fingers crossed that the evergreens make it through!

Other than the tulips I don't have any plans for this small garden. I may purchase annuals again next Spring or maybe some new perennials, but I haven't decided yet!

Now, by having the new fence it means I am given the opportunity for new gardens! I am thinking of getting evergreens for this area so there is always something colorful in front of the fence. I might do an arborvitae on the corner where the vinyl fence meets the wire fencing, but I don't want to completely cover the rest of the fence by planting tall evergreens along it. 

I am thinking about mixing some conifers with possibly rose bushes. I can't wait to play around with this area. It is tucked behind a Siberian elm tree the old owners planted so it's a little secret garden area. We aren't having a gate or anything over here so I could really bring the garden out as far as I want it which is dangerous. I need to not go crazy or I will spend all my money on plants.

The picture I just showed you meets up with this one. Along the side of our house in front of fence is a skinny area we dug out and mulched in the summer. I planned originally to just fill this with hostas but Now I'm not sure, I definitely want to include hostas since they do well in our area but I am thinking I might bring in some other plants to enjoy. 
Also, don't judge us for still having our AC husband runs it almost every night and it will certainly be in until November... I just pile on the blankets over here!

Now on the other side of our house we have the vinyl fence with our gate. There is only a tiny sliver of area between the driveway and the fence so I'm not quite sure what we will do here.

It definitely needs something, but it will have to be something that doesn't need a lot of space to spread out. 

However on the back side of the fence I have lots of room to play! You can see my bird bath here as well and my plan is to fill this area with a mix of evergreens and perennials to keep it looking amazing and colorful in the spring and summer but still have enough winter interest in the fall and winter. I also would love to add a bird feeder here and want to add bird feeders and house around the yard. I might be turning into my mom....

On the back side of this fence I am thinking along the same lines as the other side. Evergreens and perennials, maybe some grasses? I need to figure out how to get all these areas filled without spending a million dollars...

I'm not even going to show you the back of the house because although eventually I would also like that to be a garden, right now it's storing extra bricks, fencing, etc... and is a disaster. I couldn't resist sharing this little face though! She was watching me out the window and just looked so sweet!

Any ideas for my new gardens? I might do a post with some inspiration pictures I've found on keep an eye out for that!

 Also, can you believe that two years ago tomorrow was our wedding day?! It's flown by and I am still so in love with my sweet husband! Although two years ago I never imagined being in a global pandemic on our second wedding anniversary, I am happy that through it all I have someone reliable, kind, and amazing to wake up next to every morning! Happy anniversary Tim, I love you!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

HSG Procedure

 Since I've been documenting my fertility journey here on the blog, I thought I would share my HSG procedure that I had done yesterday in case anyone else is in the same boat. I know that I read everything I could find on HSG and also watched a ton of YouTube videos that scared me to death before the procedure but you may want another opinion on the here is my experience.

Here's a picture of sleepy Sophie to make the mood a little lighter. test was set for 11:30 yesterday morning and I was told to arrive at 11:15 to check in. My test was at the local hospital in their diagnostic imaging department so I checked in with the front desk, received my sticker for not having Covid-19 symptoms and then directed to diagnostic imaging. 

I was checked in, given my hospital bracelet and was directed to a different waiting room. Within 10 minutes I was called back to an imaging room that reminded me of a surgical room that you see on tv shows. I don't think I've ever been in a room like that in my lifetime since I haven't had any surgeries or any testing like this before. There were two medical assistants who directed me to put on two gowns, one facing forward and one facing backwards (seriously how they not have come up with a better solution yet?) and once I came out of the bathroom it was only moments before the doctor came in to get started.

The doctor I had was very nice and explained the entire procedure, showing me the tools that would be used during it. He also showed me the X-ray machine and explained that they would need to call an x-ray technician in because he was not the machine guy, he was the down-low guy which made me laugh.

Once everything was ready I was told to hop up onto the table. Now, at first it was not much different than going to the gynecologist for a yearly appointment. The speculum was used which was normal, and then he did three swabs. One of the medical assistants came over to hold my hand and I told her I was fine because none of that hurt in the least, it just felt like pressure.

The next part was extremely painful for me. He inserted a tube inside me and it felt like he was blowing up a balloon inside me. It was the worst cramping pain I have ever felt in my life. I have never had period pain as bad as this hurt and it was uncomfortable while we waited for the x-ray technician to come to the room. 

They moved the X-ray machine over my stomach and the gynecologist inserted the blue dye inside the tube. Again, this felt like a balloon exploding inside me. I squeezed that poor medical assistants hand as I tried to breathe through the pain. It was over fairly quickly and I was then told to sit up on the table so the doctor could show me the X-ray pictures.

Now, let me just say that the Fallopian tubes look nothing like you see in diagrams. They are super thin! He showed me how the blue dye moved through the tubes and pooled which means everything is normal

I also received word that some of my levels in my blood work were slightly elevated. I have to return for blood work next month.

I spent the entire afternoon curled up on the couch with pain that only subsided if I was completely still. I struggled getting up to go to the bathroom and didn't want to much of anything. Luckily I can currently work from home in a reclined position! 

I am feeling much better and the pain eventually did subside but yesterday was really rough.

Now, if you are going to have a HSG done keep in mind that it seems like the pain varies person to person. I read accounts from women who said they only felt uncomfortable and I've also read stories where women said it hurt more than going through labor. I certainly don't know if that's true, but I do think that it was the most painful experience I have had thus far. I don't say that to scare you, because please don't be as scared as I was going in. The good news is that it's over quickly and though the pain lingers it seems to only last a day.

So, that's where we are in our infertility journey. Hopefully I will have more news soon!

Monday, October 12, 2020

Rainbow Shelves and Tap To Clean

 Do you guys have today off too?! Three day weekends are so glorious, I would love to have three days off every weekend! Over the course of the weekend I got a ton of things done around the house which was great. Nothing too exciting of course... we are still mid-way through the fence project and haven't started or completed any other projects lately. I had a long list of to-dos and managed to get through about half of them. 

Have you seen the "tap to clean" trend on instagram? I am so obsessed with it and like to do them on my own instagram (@balancingonmytoes).

Here is one I did last week...

I love when I get through a chore like dishes or laundry, it's so satisfying to me!

I also made a rainbow bookshelf in our office a la The Home Edit. If you haven't watched The Home Edit show on Netflix yet you definitely need to! I love the rainbow color coded shelves, it's so esthetically pleasing. 

Isn't it funny how your home never truly feels "done" and you can continually find areas to update, things to buy, etc... I am constantly finding areas where I want to move things around or where I could buy something new for the area. It's definitely a never-ending feat!

What have you been doing around your house lately?

Monday, October 5, 2020

Birthday Weekend 2020

Well, it's happened. I am officially 32.  

Despite 2020 (and my age) I managed to have a great birthday weekend! We started off on Friday night with a birthday dinner at my parents house. My mom, dad, my brother, my brothers girlfriend, Tim, Sophie and I celebrated with takeout from one of my favorite restaurants, Pasquales. It was delicious, I absolutely love their penne alla vodka! 

I didn't take any pictures at dinner but I took this picture of my birthday gift from my parents.

My mom and papa both have similar birdbaths and I wanted one so much. I found this one at Walmart and requested it for my birthday. My sweet mom ordered it and my sweet husband lugged it into the car for me to take home. I have it set up on the side of our deck in the corner where it meets our new fence (post on that coming as soon as it's completed) and I plan to plant a ton of things in this area next spring! I want this to be a little secret garden area. 

I also got a special birthday package from Rachel with this cute t-shirt inside! I panicked when I saw the mailman coming with an Amazon package because I couldn't remember what I ordered and I have been known to order so much stuff that I can't remember what is coming!

Sophie was feeling awful sleepy on my birthday Saturday! She slept almost the whole day while I puttered around, cleaning the house and getting ready because we had some visitors coming over.

Brittni came over with her family! Sophie can't contain herself around these girls, she is a nut! It was so nice to have them over for a pizza party and just hang out together. They brought me some beautiful flowers, KitKats and paintings they had done. You can see on the tv what our entertainment was- the girls love Hamilton!

My awesome husband also made me feel so special with a sweet sappy card and some KitKats (can you tell they are my favorite??). We decided to not do big gifts for each other this year since we generally just buy ourselves whatever we want anyways. We also would like to work towards our savings goals AND I just bought a new car so I don't really need anything gift wise ;)

I'm writing this on Sunday and this sums up our plans for the day...

Lots of hanging out on the couch! 

I hope you had a great weekend and are ready to take on this new week!!


Friday, October 2, 2020

Fertility Workup

 Hi everyone,

Sorry for the delayed post this week but I knew going in that I had an appointment on Thursday night that I wanted to recap for you guys. 

Yesterday I had the first of what may be a long string of appointments and procedures. I met with my gynecologist and we discussed infertility and the long road ahead. In case you are going through the same thing as me I wanted to share what I learned in this appointment.

First of all we've been trying for 15 months now and my doctor will not see you if you are under 35 and have been trying for less than a year. I must've been asked that question by everyone there. The Medical Assistant came out to get me and bring me to the examining room. She asked me a few questions (including how long we've been trying and if I've ever been pregnant or if my husband has ever had kids-no and no) and took my blood pressure. Then my doctor came in.

She is the sweetest woman and was very positive. She explained to me that in the next month they will do a sperm analysis for my husband, blood work for me, and an HSG procedure for me. Next week when I get my period I will go in for blood work on day 3. Then on one day between 5 and 12 of my cycle I will go in for the HSG. At some point in there Tim will drop off his sperm for analysis. (I'm literally giggling as a write this because it all just seems to weird but this is life)

Once all of that is complete we will hear back from my doctor and know if everything is normal or not. After that if I wish to stay with my office I can get a dose of clomid for three months. If that doesn't work then I will be transferred to a hospital on the other end of the state to meet with those doctors to try IUI with clomid. If that doesn't work then we move onto IVF.

My doctor was very sweet and said we can do as much or as little as I want. We will be definitely be completing the sperm analysis, blood work and HSG this month and see if everything is normal. Then we will see how far we end up going. 

Again, I want to thank everyone that reached out with sweet comments and emails after my infertility post. Hopefully we receive good news- I will definitely keep you updated throughout the process.