Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Family Friendly Low Carb Part 4 - Broccoli Bacon Cheese Soup

It's cold! I'm trying not to whine too much about it, especially since we just had the upstairs of our house insulated and the average temperature indoors has gone up ten degrees.  But it's FREEZING! And we haven't even hit December 1st yet. I am absolutely not prepared for winter temperatures this year.

When it's cold, I want soup! I want something that is going to warm me from my core, both physically and spiritually. Because soup tends to take a number of steps to prepare, I feel like it's just full of love. Cook the meat, chop the veggies, make the stock; all labors of love. And preparing soup for my family makes me feel like I am truly nourishing them. It's just good all the way around. 

Broccoli Bacon Cheese Soup

  • 6 slices bacon 
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups broccoli - coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese 

In a stock pot, cook bacon until crispy. DO NOT DRAIN THE GREASE. 

Add the stock, salt, and cayenne to the bacon. Bring to a simmer. 

While you are waiting for the stock to come to a simmer, steam the chopped broccoli. 

Add the broccoli to the stock and allow to simmer for five minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Just before you serve the soup, add the cream, water, and cheese.  
Stir constantly until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


We had an appointment with our reproductive clinic this morning. The doctor that we see is absolutely brilliant. He completed his undergrad at MIT and went to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His internship and endocrinology fellowship was done at Harvard.  I mean, this Dr. Brilliant (not his real name) has amazing credentials. His nurse ensures us that no doctor will take better care of us.

During our first few visits with him, I felt like he was going to do everything he could to get me pregnant, and treat my fertility issues aggressively. After our appointment today, I'm not so sure.

My cycles have become more regular in the last six months,which should mean that I'm ovulating. So, Dr. Brilliant has decided that if we want to try after the first of the year, I should track my cycles for a couple months and we will go ahead with an IUI in January; an UNMEDICATED, UNMONITORED IUI. No clomid. No trigger shot. No ultrasound to verify ovulation

(not my uterus. no uteri were damaged in the writing of this post.)
I've been under the impression for the last ten years that my lady parts were in some way damaged and faulty. They don't function properly. I would never be able to become pregnant without the assistance of modern medicine.

So, now, my dysfunctional body is expected to achieve pregnancy with no assistance whatsoever. Because of six maybe functional months.

I'm deeply, deeply disappointed. I want to go at this aggressively. This process costs money! Money that we have worked really hard to earn and to save. I want the absolute best chance possible with each and every cycle.  A medicated IUI with ideal conditions only gives us a 10-12% chance of conception. I'm not letting myself do any further research about the success rates for unmedicated cycles. The one statistic I found was so incredibly disheartening that I cannot bear to look any further.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ozeri Rev Digital Bathroom Scale with Electro-Mechanical Weight Dial

I have been on the verge of tossing our old scale out the window for about six months now. You can climb on six times and you will get one error and five different weights. Infuriating! With the big baby making plan starting in a few months, I've really been trying to get things down in the weight category. Not being able to get an accurate weight from my scale was just not hacking it. 

The Ozeri has every feature that I want in a scale. It turns on immediately when you step on it. No more of that ridiculous tap and wait that so many other scales have. It measures down to .2 pound increments. The digital read out is large and backlit, and the electro-mechanical dial moves in sync with the digital read out, which makes it super easy to read. There is a 24-hour alarm that reminds you to weigh yourself at precisely the same time each day.

(Obviously, I do not weigh 82.8 lbs. I just put some pressure on the scale to show the dial.)

Most importantly though? I’ve stepped on and off the scale ten times in a row and received the exact same weight each and every time. Accuracy attained! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Bring Out The Big Guns...Please?

Next week, we'll be meeting with our reproductive endocrinologist again to start making plans for the beginning of 2014.

A year ago, when we first decided we were ready to start the baby making process, the plan was-

Cycle Days 3-7  Take Clomid
Cycle Day 12     Ultrasound to verify good follicles
Cycle Day 12     If follicles are cooperating, HCG ovulation trigger shot
Day 13 or 14     Insemination

But because of my history of failed attempts, I really want to beg the doctor for stronger medications. I am not opposed to injectables, if he would be willing. At the minimum, I'd really like for him to let me try Femara, which is a step up from Clomid.  I just really want to give us the best chance we can get.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Meet Joni!

Guest Post Swap

Meet Joni from Blue Cats and Roses!


I got the honor of meeting her through the Chaotic Goddess Swaps Guest Post Swap. Her blog is lovely and refreshing and inspirational. When we first connected to plan our guest posts, I was a little scared because we are so very different. And we talked a bit about those differences and I realized that the blogworld is such an amazing place. God gives us so much grace and so many opportunities to show that grace to others. In the end, we decided to go with a recipe post. Those are pretty simple, don’t require a ton of planning or fanciness. And everyone has to eat right?  Right!  So, I’ll hand it over to Joni.
In our house we are very busy all of the time and eating healthy is not always the easiest thing for us to do. During the week when Joseph is not home, it is usually just me here at the house. If you have ever tried to cook for one person, you understand how challenging this can be.
Besides working full-time, I also go to school full-time which means cooking is the last thing on my mind so I try to come up with recipes that are quick, simply, easy and at least some version of healthy. I also don’t like wasting food so I try to incorporate any leftovers we have into whatever I am eating.

Joni’s Tuna Salad on Garlic Toast

  •  1 pouch of Tuna  (can would work also if that’s what you like)
  • ¼ Green bell pepper, cut into small bites
  • ¼ Red bell pepper, cut into small bites
  • ¼ onion (whatever kind you like – I used yellow and also 1 scallion – love onion)
  • 2 T. Mayo or Miracle Whip (again personal choice here)
  • Salt & pepper (to your liking)
  • Leftover Garlic Toast with some melted cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Place leftover garlic bread on baking sheet.


Put desired amount of shredded cheese onto bread and pop into the oven until cheese is melted.


While your cheese is melting, cut up onions and bell peppers and place into a bowl.


Add Miracle Whip or Mayo, salt and pepper and your packet of tuna fish. Mix well.


Let bread cool, top with Tuna Salad and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson

I've told you all about my problems with sleep. It has always been a huge difficulty in my life and I’ve tried method after method. In the past, I have used a combination of melatonin and guided meditation. I have generally stuck with one meditation series, and I’ve relied on them heavily. But I have found that I’ve started to get to attuned to the phrasings and voices, and I’m not able to stay as present while listening to the recordings. So, I’ve been searching for a few new mp3’s to throw into the rotation.


I gave the Deep Sleep guided meditation by Andrew Johnson a try the other night and was pleasantly surprised. Mr. Johnson has a smooth voice with a Scottish accent. The background music is non-distracting and soft. The meditation is easy to listen to and very soothing. The phrasing works well to help you become grounded, then relaxed, and then drift into sleep. I found that I was able to relax completely and fall pretty easily into a solid night of sleep. I woke up the next morning feeling alert and relaxed. I’m going to continue using the meditation for a few weeks and I’ll update you at that point as to whether or not it seems to have a cumulative effect, but with just the experience I had on one night it was worth my time.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Family Friend Low-Carb Part 3: Chili

I am very lucky to be home during the day so that I can do any meal prep throughout the day. But I still try to keep meals very simple to prepare, because I really treasure the time that my family is home. We already lose 10 hours a day to the annoying work/commute monster. I’m not going to give up any more time than necessary to the kitchen monster.

This recipe requires that you brown your meat a  head of time, but if you find that takes too much time and want to really simplify your weekday meal prep, brown enough meat on Sunday for all of the recipes that call for browned ground beef. Separate it out into individual recipe containers, or store it in one large bowl in the fridge and measure it out on the day of.


Keto-Friendly Chili

Servings: 6
Carbs: 4.2 g
Fat: 20.0 g
Protein: 31.7 g

  • 1.5 lb Ground Chuck Beef 80/20
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Ancho Chile 
  • 1 reg. can Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 flat White Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
In a large skillet, brown meat on medium heat. Add cumin, garlic, chili powder, and ancho powder. Combine beef mixture with peppers and mushrooms in crock pot on low heat. Cook for 5-6 hours and top with cheese & sour cream.

Monday, November 18, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Swap


I am beyond excited for the 12 Days of Christmas Swap! Not only because it gives me awesome blog fodder, but because I get to gather up a bunch of treats and goodies for another awesome blogger.  I won’t get to find out who s/he is until later this week, but until then, I’m giddy with excitement!

We’ll be exchanging packages that include 12 individually wrapped gifts to be opened, one per day between December 13th through 24th.  SO FUN!

If you want to get in on the fun, head over to the Chaotic Goddess Swaps 12 Days of Christmas Signup Post. Come on!  You know you want to!

2014 Blogger Challenge!!



The lovely Ms. Gaby over at Another Girly Blog is putting together the 2014 Blogger Challenge and we all know that I can never turn down a challenge! There will be two posts a month on a given topic shared by over 140 blogs (and growing!) It’s a nicheless challenge, so anyone can join regardless of what kind of blog you write.

You can email Gaby at Include your name, email address, and blog URL to join in on the fun!

Family Friend Low-Carb Part 2: Meatloaf Muffins

The first time that we started eating Keto, I was at a complete loss for dinner ideas.  We ate lots of chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, hamburger “steaks”, and spinach salads. We started trying recipes that we found on Pinterest and all over the internet. Though we learned quickly that just because someone lists something as Keto-friendly or low-carb, does not guarantee that the recipe is. Check the nutritional info. Let my mistake be your lesson!

Being a creature of habit, I tend to stick with a pretty simple breakfast and lunch routine. Usually some sort of veggie and egg scramble when I wake up and a spinach salad around lunchtime. Throughout the day I will munch on cheese or almonds if I find myself getting snacky. But dinner. Oy dinner.

And so, the “week of Low-Carb/High-Fat Dinners” has been inspired.


Meatloaf Muffins

Servings: 12 muffins
Fat: 21 g
Carbohydrates: 4 g
 Protein: 19 g

  • 2 lbs Ground Beef
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Pieces of Raw Bacon, Cut Very Finely
  • 1 cup Parmesan (Use the shaker kind. This is your binder.)
  • 8oz Tomato Paste
  • 3 Tbs Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbs Onion Powder
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • 4 Cloves Minced Garlic

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients well. Divide into muffin tin. (I’m a bit finicky about things like this and weighed my entire recipe out, 1200 g. So each muffin tin got 100 g.) Bake. 25-35 minutes You’ll want to check the internal temp of the muffins. It should be at 160+. Allow muffins to rest for ten minutes.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Family Friendly Low-Carb pt. 1


Last night was one of THOSE nights.  The Boy had bass lessons directly after school.  The Wife had errands to run including picking up our little foster kitten from the vet. Between those two things, there was no way we were going to sit down to eat until after 7:00 p.m.
When we’re short on time, our family has a few tried and true recipes that we stick to that are quick, low-carb, and delicious!
One of our favorites is Chicken Lazone. I found the recipe on quite awhile ago. The description there says that this recipe is based on the Chicken Lazone at Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans.  I have to say, it’s delicious enough to be served in a restaurant.

Brennan’s Chicken Lazone

1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
4 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup butter, divided
1/2 cup heavy cream


:Combine the seasonings and coat chicken breasts.

In large sauté pan melt half of the butter and cook chicken over medium heat for about 7 to 8 minutes, turning once.

Pour the cream into the skillet and lower the heat.

Simmer for several minutes, stirring until the sauce thickens then add the remaining butter.

When butter is melted place chicken breasts on four plates and top with the sauce.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Starting our prep work



We first started being seen at the Reproductive Medicine Center over a year ago, but wanted to take the time to save up money to purchase our donor sperm for all of our available cycles. We easily could have saved one cycle at a time and then just skipped a couple months in between to save up for each one, but the last thing I want to be stressed out about while trying to conceive is finances.

So, now we have plenty in savings to cover vials of sperm for all four cycles that my insurance will cover. I guess it’s time to get this party started.

We started the preparations over the last few months. I changed my regular multi-vitamin to a prenatal vitamin. We started eating healthier. I started paying more attention to my cycles. I’ve been quitting smoking and I think I’m finally making it stick. And as of today, the test sticks for my trusty Clearblue Fertility monitor were delivered. (I’ve just never trusted myself enough to read the regular ovulation predictor kits). We have our follow-up appoint on November 26 to set up the insemination cycle schedule and find out about medications.

To say that I’m scared is the understatement of the year. Back when I was with my ex, we attempted a couple of inseminations and failed. Now mind you, that was using what was essentially a zero sperm count sample. Our chances of conceiving were less than 2%. With a healthy donor, our chances are up to 86% with multiple inseminations. Those are pretty good chances. And there are two of us. So, depending on circumstances, we might have a secondary uterus and a few more cycles to fall back on.

But the thought of failure -- I do not want to disappoint The Wife. I don’t want to feel the disappointment in my body again. It’s ridiculously hard to sit through that two weeks between insemination and pregnancy test imagining a sweet little baby coming into your life only to have your heart broken month after month.

Chasing Sleep

Sleep has always been a challenge for me. Most nights, I’m lucky to fall asleep before midnight. Nighttime is the most difficult time for me to slow my mind and body down. And, of course, after a few nights of difficulty, it starts to impact my daytime hours. I end up irritable and can’t focus on anything.
I've tried all of the sleep hygiene guidelines. I have tried over the counter medications and natural remedies. My attempt to use prescription sleep medications can only be described as comical, but could have ended in disaster. Every night I took them, I did something ridiculous and was completely unaware of it. I cooked an entire meal, but didn't clean the kitchen. I registered for college classes and applied for financial aid. It’s called somnambulist activities. It’s actually the very first side effect listed on the Patient Information sheet. Scary, right? As someone who has experienced it first hand, let me assure you, it’s freaking terrifying! I’m so lucky that I didn't do anything dangerous like driving.

With my vast experience with sleep aids, I certainly didn't have many expectations of success when I was offered a review sample of immortalsleep Deep-Sleep Formula. The packages arrived and I checked out the ingredients.

Ingrendients: L-theanine, rehmannia root, poria, polygala, grassleaf sweetflag, biota seed, licorice roto, platcodon, condonopsis, asparagus root, schizandra, angelica root, scrophularia root, zizyphus seed, salvia root, and ophiopogon root

I used my Google Fu and to research the ingredients. It seems they are all commonly used in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) and there weren't any significant concerns. (Obviously, I am not a licensed professional and you should consult your own medical professional before trying new supplements)

I've taken the supplement for three nights now. I've been taking it about a half hour before I lay down. Now I won’t say that it has helped me fall asleep, because I am still laying in bed for up to 45 minutes before I manage to drift off. BUT in the past three nights, I have had the most refreshing sleep I have had in years. Generally, I take at least one nap a day, but with imortalsleep, I have not taken a single nap. I feel much more relaxed during the time that I am falling asleep. My anxiety is significantly reduced. My mind just seems generally calmer.

I've done a bit of a scientific testing process with this. I slept one night on the sofa (because I tend to relocate there if I’m having a difficult time sleeping), one night in our bed alone, and one night in bed with Wendy. The location has had no impact on the quality of my sleep.

Overall, I think that if I didn't have the sleep issues I have, immortalsleep would be the perfect remedy to help with occasional insomia. 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Junior High Revisted

Junior High Me (along with a friend)

When I was in junior high, I was a "choir girl," as were most of my friends. And we really fancied ourselves singers. Any opportunity we had to sit around harmonizing, we would. Lunch regularly became a sing along around our cafeteria table. We would always plow through our choir repertoire incredibly quickly and then start searching for songs that we all knew. And because of our age group, Disney songs soon became elaborately arranged with four part harmony. 

I was super excited when I read that Walt Disney Records is releasing the Disney Classics box set on November 12! The set is going to include 94 of the best Disney songs in history!  Four awesome CDs!@

  • Disney Modern Classics
  • Disney Theme Park Classics
  • Disney Timeless Classics
  • Disney Television Classics 

All of my favorites! And it includes this bonus of a capella medley from YouTube artists Peter Hollens and Alex G. If you haven't heard these guys, look them up! They orchestrate the entire medley using only their voices. So cool!

Pre-ordering is available on Amazon, but you can also buy the set now if you live near any of the Disney parks! I wish I was somewhere near one of the parks, because I would be on my way there now!

I am participating in a blog post campaign from One2One Network and Walt Disney Records. All opinions are my own.

Girl Weekend

The wife just left for work and she'll be heading home to Missouri as soon as she gets off at noon. That means I have the entire weekend to myself. WEIRD. It's going to be so quiet around here this weekend. It's The Dad's weekend with The Boy and The Wife is out of town. What in the name of all that is good and right in the world am I going to do with myself?

I have big plans to deep clean the kitchen and bathroom, and maybe scrub all the floors. The foster kitten needs a bath and there is some laundry I could get caught up on. There is always writing to prepare for, posts to pre-write for the blog, reviews to photograph, research to do, freelance projects to tackle.

But when I have nothing to disturb me, I will most likely be able to get all of those things done by the end of today and that still leaves me two full days to fill.  I'm considering heading down to the local art film house to see a movie, but that involves busing and will really depend on my "stranger tolerance" level. The number one goal I think will be getting myself out of the house and not hermiting the entire weekend.

  • Friday: Clean and write
  • Saturday: Movie date with myself
  • Sunday: Church
I do believe I have a plan! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November Monthly Goals

Monthly Goals

  • Write three blog posts a week.
  • Catch up on house work and re-work my cleaning schedule.
  • Take one day each week to dress better(dress or skirt, hair, and makeup)
  • Participate in the Guest Post Swap from Chaotic Goddess Swaps. 
  • Go to Church twice. 
  • Make travel plans for Live It Out, the Gay Christian Network Conference. 

Guest Post Swap

 Oh, I am so incredibly excited! I just signed up to participate in the Guest Post Swap hosted over at Chaotic Goddess Swaps. I got to it a little late, but you can still get in if you manage to sign up before the end of today.  Give a click on the button and head over to join in on the fun!  FUN!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sharing My Faith Sunday

Share My Faith Sunday

When I was first grappling with the idea that I might be gay, I worried so much. Would my friends still love me?Would my family accept me? What in the world would I tell my son? The one thing I never questioned was my faith.

I am a beloved child of God. I am exactly as God created me. He loves me and wants for me to be happy.My God is a compassionate, loving, and grace-granting God. Gay, straight, queer, black, white, brown, short, tall, fat, thin. All are good and beautiful in God's eyes. Our names are written on his heart.  He knew my soul before I was in my mother's womb. He loves me, scars and all.

Regardless of anything else.Exactly who you are is exactly how God loves you. And YOU are a beloved child of God.

Resources on Queerness and Christianity:


The Gay Christian Network

Whosoever Magazine

Believe Outloud

Crumbs from the Communion Table

Gay Christian 101

Gay Christian? Yes.

 Institute for Welcoming Resources


Friends and Family Plan (Great resource in planning conversations about sexuality and Christianity)

Reading Material

Denomination Specific Organizations:

Evangelicals Concerned

Affirmation Gay & Lesbian Mormons

Affirmation United Methodist LGBTQ People & Our Allies

Dignity USA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Catholics

Integrity USA (Episcopalian)

Reconciling Works, Lutherans for Full Participation

Metropolitan Community Churches

More Light Presbyterians

Rainbow Baptists

Quaker For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns

United Church of Christ LGBT and Same Gender Loving Ministries

Unitarian Universalist Association

Also linked up with:
Heavens Garden

Saturday, November 2, 2013

How to be a "Good Wife": The Queer Edition

 On our wedding day- August 24, 2013

We've been married just a couple months, but we've been together over five years now. I think I've got this wife thing down. But we're a gay couple. We're both wives. There is no husband to be found. While we were engaged, I did frequently refer to my adorable fiance as my "broom" (bride+groom=broom), but on a day to day basis, she's my wife.There was definitely a butch/femme thing going on at our wedding and, you could say there is a bit of that in our daily life as well. But here's the shocking truth; there's not one difference between being a good queer wife and a good straight wife. 

I look for her endearing qualities and recognize just how much joy they bring to our lives. I listen to the ridiculous songs that she sings. I roll my eyes at her stupid jokes. 

I rely on her to do the things around the house that I hate doing, and I do the things that I don't mind. I love to do things for her, cook her meals, bring her little treats. She likes to touch base with me on her way home to see if I need anything.

I appreciate her for being the amazing parent to our son that she is and I dream about watching her with our future children. 

I support her in whatever it is she chooses to do, listen to her when she wants to complain about those choices, cheer her on through her successes and cheer her up about her failures. 

I nag her to take her vitamins, go to the doctor, take the trash out,  pick up her socks. 

It's all very complex and very,very simple. It's a balancing act, a precious precarious balancing act. But I work every day to find my balance and I try my best to love her a little bit more today than yesterday.

Linked up with the Lovely Belinda at Found Love, Now What

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