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Monday, June 26, 2017

Infertility Issues? Explore Egg Donation

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Infertility Issues? Explore Egg Donation
Are you and your significant other trying to start a family, but you’re experiencing some difficulties? It can be very frustrating for a couple who is having trouble getting pregnant. If you have already undergone IVF treatment and are beginning to wonder if you will ever get to have a child of your own, egg donation may be another option available to help you overcome fertility issues. If you’re not sure how it works or if it is right for you, here’s some information that can help.  

Fresh vs. Frozen Eggs
When you decide to move forward with donor egg, you have a choice between fresh or frozen eggs. For fresh eggs, you select a donor (usually from a smaller pool of donors located near you), and you will receive the entire yield of your donor’s cycle.

With frozen eggs, on the other hand, your eggs will be provided from an egg bank that typically offers a much larger donor selection.  You select your donor based on the information they provide to you, and you will receive a lot of about 5-8 unfertilized eggs, regardless of the number of eggs retrieved from the donor.  

Fresh eggs are known to generate ‘good’ embryos, with more eggs retrieved per cycle and thus more viable embryos overall. However, egg retrieval from donors can be an unpredictable process and can involve a long waiting time due to the synchronization of you and your donor’s cycles.

Frozen egg cycles are more predictable and less costly, since they don’t rely on synchronizing cycles. They come in smaller egg lots, though success rates are just as high as fresh eggs. Typically, fewer embryos are available for the future which is something to consider if you want to have more children later on.

How Egg Donation Works
Application and Screening
You will go through an application and screening process, which may involve interviews and testing.

Choosing a Donor
Once given the green light to use donor egg, you will choose your donor from an agency’s donor pool, or use a known donor such as a friend, acquaintance, or relative. A reproductive endocrinologist will be able to help you determine if your known donor is a good candidate. If choosing from a donor pool, you will be able to see information about their background, including educational level, family history, and medical history.

Legal Processing
Risks and liabilities will be discussed, and waivers and legal documents will be signed to make sure you understand your rights and agree to the terms and conditions of the process.

Cycle Synchronization (Fresh Eggs)
When it comes to fresh eggs, your cycle needs to be synced with the donor’s cycle. This ensures that your uterine lining will be ready for implantation at the same time that your donor’s eggs are retrieved and fertilized. This is usually done through birth control pills. Once your cycles are synchronized, you will have to take estrogen supplements for 8 to 10 days to prime your uterine lining in order for the embryos to be implanted.

Selecting an Egg (Frozen Eggs)
When using frozen eggs, you will get a guaranteed number of eggs from the egg bank. They are ready for your use, on your schedule, without the need to synchronize your cycle with the donor’s.

Fertilization and Embryo Transfer
For fresh eggs, an egg retrieval is scheduled once your donor’s eggs are mature. After the eggs have been retrieved, they will be fertilized with sperm from your partner or a donor. When the embryos are ready for transfer, typically on the third day, the embryo will be transferred to your uterus. In most cases, one or two embryos will be transferred. However, transferring just one embryo will reduce the chance of twins. Any additional high-quality embryos left from the cycle can be frozen for use at another time.

Post Check-up and Pregnancy Test
After 9 to 14 days, a blood pregnancy test is performed. This test checks for the presence of a pregnancy hormone called hCG in your blood. Once positive, the test will be repeated two days later to confirm the pregnancy. For the donor, there will be a check-up one to two days after retrieval.

Once your pregnancy is confirmed, you will be transferred to an obstetrician who will tend to the duration of your pregnancy. While this is indeed a process, trained professionals can make it much easier, and in the end, you can quite possibly fulfill your dream of being a parent.
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Strawberry Shortcake Floats

Summer is the perfect season to make ice cream floats. This one is perfect for a dessert or a decadent way to cool off on a summer day.


I love strawberry shortcake on a summer day! But, sometimes I want something cooler than cake. A float is the perfect solution to cure my cravings.

With simple ingredients I made something incredible. This was one of those floats that made you wish you used a bigger glass. 

Vanilla Ice Cream
Strawberry Ice Cream Topping 
Whipped Cream
Sliced Strawberries
Graham Cracker Crumbs
Vanilla Cream Soda

Begin by drizzling strawberry ice cream topping onto the sides of the glass.
Add a little ice cream.
Sprinkle in graham cracker crumbs.
Add a little more ice cream.

Slowly add vanilla cream soda to the glass.
Top with whipped cream and add a few strawberry slices.
Sprinkle on a touch of graham cracker crumbs.

This was so good. I had to have a second float! My guilt subsided when my husband asked for another one, but in a bigger glass.  This is an easy way to impress a guest, or a delicious addition to any day of the week!

Buying Clothing Gifts for the Men in Your Life

Buying Clothing Gifts for the Men in Your Life
Buying presents is fun. Most of us enjoy shopping, and we all like being able to give someone we love something we know they will like. The problem is that sometimes working out what that something special is can be a bit tricky. This is especially the case if you are buying a gift for a man. For some reason they seem to be harder to buy for than women.
Fortunately, there is one item all men need, and that is clothes. Provided you put enough thought into the buying process clothing makes a wonderful gift for a man.
Buy him a wardrobe staple
Some items of clothing tick all of the right boxes for most men. For example, a pair of chinos from Jacamo's menswear range would make a good gift for virtually any man. At some point, all men wear this style of trousers. They are a wardrobe staple, which means you have a pretty good chance of them being worn, rather than taken back to the shop and exchanged for something else.
Buy the style of clothing they normally wear
Try not to fall into the trap of buying the type of clothes you would like to see the man you are buying for wearing. An awful lot of people do that, and end up being offended when their gift is never worn. However, there is no harm in nudging someone in a slightly different direction. For example, you could buy a man who only wears light blue shirts one that is a shade darker, as a gentle way of getting him to try something new. Whereas, buying him a stripy red shirt would definitely be a bad idea. The best approach is to think about the clothes that they wear most and buy them something to go with that.
Always include a receipt
When buying clothing for someone it is always polite to include a gift receipt with the purchase. That way if it is the wrong size they can exchange it.
When to give vouchers instead
If you are in any doubt about what to buy a far better option is to give them a clothing voucher instead. A lot of people do not like to do this. They feel that it makes them look like they have been too lazy to go out and find a proper present. In reality, the majority of men, and women, appreciate the fact that you want them to have something they really like. They enjoy the freedom of choice vouchers give them.
Bespoke clothing
A lot of men like the idea of wearing tailored clothes, but very few buy them because they think they are too expensive. In the past, that would have certainly been true. However, the fact that many tailoring firms are no offering their services online means that the cost of bespoke clothing has fallen drastically. Therefore, it is worth looking into the idea of clubbing together with a couple of other friends to buy a voucher they can use on one of the many bespoke clothing sites.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

7 Must Try Corn on the Cob Recipes

Corn on the cob is one of the best things about summer! 

The days of simply boiling a corn of cob and calling it a side are over! The evolution of corn on the cob is here, and there are so many yummy ways to enjoy it!

After scouting out these options, I am itching to get to the farmers market and stock up on fresh corn! I literally had no idea you could cook corn like this!

These recipes are perfect for a family dinner or to add a touch of wow to any gathering or BBQ!

Slow Cooker Corn
Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob
Popped Corn on the Cob
Parmesan Herb Corn
Crock Pot Corn on the Cob
Mexican Grilled Corn
Chili Butter Grilled Corn

This post contains affiliate links.

Which of these recipes do you want to try first? I think the Mexican Grilled Corn sounds fantastic, but my kids would LOVE to popcorn on the cob! Popcorn is their favorite snack ever!

Choose The Best Tabletop Fireplace with Our Buyer’s Guide

Choose The Best Tabletop Fireplace with Our Buyer’s Guide
If you’re looking for a perfect addition to your room, a tabletop fireplace is the best bet for you. These small devices not just warm an area but also add an aura of ambiance. They are placed at affordable prices so majority of the people can have one. They support you in reducing the amount of money you spend on warming your home or office every year.
These fireplaces are safe to use, and they do not give out unsafe odors. These vent free devices let you add a custom touch to your work desk, or an intriguing decoration to your couch tables.

Why Choose a Tabletop Fireplace

You’re looking for a fireplace with uniqueness, but you’re not sure where to look. A tabletop fireplace might be the answer for you. It is a right choice for those with limited space or the desire to move it around their homes. A tabletop fireplace is portable and thus can be used indoors or outdoors as per the seasons.
A tabletop fireplace brings down your utility cost. Unlike in the case of furnace, where its cost increases as each degree increases in the thermostat, a tabletop fireplace keeps the occupied area of the home at a temperature we are comfortable with.
With these smalls units, you get the additional heat and the bestowed room complements. These fireplaces are attractive and so they add magnificence to the rooms they are placed in. You can embellish your room with something that is practicable, and that will spare you cash.

A buyer’s guide to personal tabletop fireplace options

We are putting up a precise buyer’s guide to personal tabletop fireplace options so you can settle on the right decision. This guide covers fuel types, modern designs and everything in between.
So, in case you're searching for a unique change for your home, read on and discover the best tabletop fireplace for your home.

Indoors or outdoors?

Tabletop fireplaces are portable and they give you the flexibility to place them either inside or outside. They can be put on the dining table in the garden and then taken inside as the sun sets. These units come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are secured by a glass frame which protects the fire from the air breeze making it perfect for the garden.
The warmth created from a tabletop fireplace is perfect to take the chill of a summer's night and give you a place to lounge around after the sun goes down. You can also place the fireplace indoors on a sideboard or an end table making an exceptional feature. Simply carry the fireplace with you in case you want to use different rooms.
They are inexpensive to buy and considerably easier to install as most models carry straightforward directions and minimum maintenance.

Different fuel types

The main fuel used in tabletop fireplace is bioethanol. This fuel is cheap to buy, safe to use, ecofriendly and an efficient fuel source. You can run a small unit for many hours with only one canister contingent upon the size of your fireplace.
Fireplaces with bioethanol are ventless. They burn neatly without leaving any smoke or sediment which implies you don’t need to stress over smoke choking off your home. This fuel is additionally useful for individuals with breathing issues like asthma or COPD as it doesn't release any destructive gasses or smoke.

Inset tabletop fireplaces

A tabletop fireplace can be a permanent element as it can be inset into your furniture. You can create a real statement with ultra-modern designs both inside and outside your home.  What’s more, there are tables in the market with a readymade insert for the tabletop fireplace to give the complete design a smooth and refined look.
With this information in hand, all you have to decide is how much you are willing to spend on a tabletop fireplace and where to buy them.

Monday, June 19, 2017

8 Superb Salsa Recipes

Salsa is super yummy, no matter how you serve it. Let's discover 8 new awesome recipes that are topping my must make list this summer! I am sure you will notice a few you can't wait to try too!

If you like salsa, you are in the perfect place! I have rounded up 8 salsa recipes I am dying to try and I know you are going to like a few of these too! From tropical flavors to simple recipes sourced from the garden, this list contains some amazing options!

Avocado Salsa
Black Bean Salsa
Cranberry Salsa
Mexican Corn Salsa
Slow Cooker Salsa
Pineapple Salsa
Strawberry Salsa
Summer Salsa

Which of these recipes will you try first? If you have a favorite salsa recipe I would love to hear about it in a comment!

You might also like this Mango Salsa recipe!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Easy Butterfly Craft

This easy butterfly craft is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. It makes good use of common household items for a fun craft that really takes flight!

This post contains affiliate links.

Harper and I love to craft together! We try to make something every day. It is good for her development as a preschooler, and it is a great way to spend time together, expressing creativity.

This is one we came up with simple supplies that we had at home. I love crafts that don't need special supplies! This easy butterfly craft is a great example of gathering inspiration from the world around you.

To make this cute craft you will need:
A Paper Plate
Paint {We used Kwik Stix }
An empty toilet paper roll
2 squiggly eyes

Have your child cut the paper plate to become wings. Use scissors your child is comfortable with. They are never too young to develop scissor skills which are so super important when it comes time for school!

Next paint the toilet paper roll as a body. We used Kwik Stix because they are easy to handle and clean up. They are also super fast drying!

Paint the paper plate.

Glue the painted toilet paper roll in the center.

Add the eyes and paint on a small smile.

This was easy and fun to make with Harper. She liked getting to cut the wings and paint. I helped with the hearts at her request.

You might also enjoy this easy paper plate lion craft.
Saturday, June 10, 2017

7 Luscious Lemonade Recipes

Summer is near, so the time to stock up on lemonade fixings is now! I have 7 Luscious Lemonade Recipes to inspire your summertime sipping!

There is nothing like a glass of lemonade on a hot day. I found 7 awesome recipes that I can't wait to try. I think you are going to love these too. From the traditional twist of a strawberry version that promises to be easy to an unforgettable Lavender punch that tickles the taste buds in style.  I can't wait to hear which of these recipes you want to try first!

Sparkling Watermelon Lemonade
Strawberry Kiwi Lemonade
Easy Strawberry Lemonade
Sparkling Pineapple Lemonade
Lavender Lemonade Punch
Strawberry Basil Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade Punch

Have you ever made a special lemonade recipe? I would love to hear about it to inspire my summer sipping!
Thursday, June 8, 2017

Family Fun at Kalahari Resorts and a New Water-Slide!

We have a unique situation in the summer, all 4 of us are home together, free from the responsibilities of work and school. Making the months of summer stretch into the kind of fun that turns into memories to cherish forever, takes some careful budgeting and planning.

Planning a visit to an Indoor Waterpark is one way to make a splash with the kids. Lucky for us, Sandusky is just a few miles north and we can hit up Kalahari Resorts for family vacations in OH. Kalahari is nothing short of amazing. There are so many things to do at Kalahari Resorts that the entire family will have an unforgettable time.

Being in the Midwest, we are too far from the ocean to make a comfortable drive to the beach. Kalahari offers the solution for my family hands down. Let me tell you why:

While Kalahari is famous for its awesome waterslides, they offer so much more! From mini golf to an adventurers club, an arcade and a spa, shopping, and dining to name a few of the options for family fun in one location.

That is so appealing to me as a mom, the last thing I want to do on any given day is head out to relax and end up running all over town! At Kalahari Resorts you get to the resort, check in and explore without the car. This results in relaxed parents and happy kids!

There is a new waterslide at the Sandusky location this year, so make sure you head over to learn all about it and all of the fun that awaits your family under one roof!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Picking The Perfect Father's Day Gift

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Father’s Day is fast approaching, and it’s not just about appreciating the man who gave you the children in your life. It’s about helping your children to appreciate their father, and you can do this by helping them to choose the perfect gift for Daddy.
Whether you have little children or teenagers, you will likely be the biggest help when it comes to Father’s Day options. Choosing a present that is ‘just right’ isn’t easy, especially with all the other gift-giving events throughout the year. When you need a little help finding the right present, it’s always easier to go online and get some ideas, so check out our list of Father’s Day presents that will go down well in 2017:
  • Get crafty. DIY gifts are always appreciated from children because of the effort that goes into them. You get to help the little ones make something beautiful and they get to have fun. Dad can take the gift to work and proudly display it on his desk, even if it is a lopsided pottery pot! Crafts are a great idea for younger children, as they really feel a sense of pride for their creation, which rubs off on everyone around them.
  • For older children, looking for a gift can be difficult but they’ll know better what their dad likes and doesn’t like. A cross necklace or a personalised bracelet for the Dad who loves a little bling will always go down well, and older teenagers who have their own job will be able to afford the gift from their own pocket. These types of gifts are cherished as the effort put into them and affording them is huge, and that is recognised.
  • Watch Dad. See what he likes and what he loves. Ask him what he would like to have for his day and by watching him, you can really pick up on subtle clues about what would make him happy.
  • Gift cards are often a last resort gift for some, but this way, there is far more freedom for Dad to choose his own gift and know he didn’t pay for it. It can feel like an impersonal gift at times, but for the Dad who is difficult to buy for, it can be a relief!
  • Think about the gifts you have bought in the past that have been greatly appreciated. Was it a great suit or an experience day like these that brought that smile? Buying a similar gift isn’t a bad thing, in fact, if you know he’s enjoyed it before then you know he will again!
  • His hobbies should absolutely count when it comes to Father’s Day gifts, so go for gardening gifts, golf gifts and musical gifts if they’re what he loves the most. You can’t lose by choosing something he’s invested in!

Dad is a big part of your life, and the life of your children. A whole day dedicated to appreciating your Dad or the father of your children is a gift that cannot be wasted.
Friday, June 2, 2017

9 Cards to Make for Father's Day

Father's Day will be here soon and I have 9 fun card ideas that your kids can make for their Dad to let him know they think he is a Super Dad!

Fingerprint Monkey Card
High Five Card
You're the Vest Card
Tie Card
Fingerprint Golf Ball Card
True Grit Card
Shirt and Tie Card
Dad's Tools Card
Popsicle Card

Which of these cards do you think your kids would like to make first? My kids think the Vest Card is pretty awesome! We plan to make one soon!
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

In the Carrot Patch Activity

This easy activity for kids is fun and it uses their fine motor skills!

My kids are too cute. In the warm months, they attack my flowers with the cutest dramatic play sessions. The flowers are carrots and they are farmers, anxious to share their crops!

With that kind of imagination, it is hard to get irritated over it. I thought maybe we could keep the carrot patch fun going, long after they had picked every stem.

This activity comes together fast! All you need is a box, some orange and green cardstock and some glue. A utility knife or box cutter will be handy as well.

Cut carrot shapes from the orange paper.
Glue green bits to the top, to resemble a fresh carrot.
Cut slits in the box, making them a tiny little bit wider than the carrot shape.
Slip the carrots into the slits and let the kids pick them and plant them.
This is great for fine motor and dramatic play, and it just might save the flowers, but I am not counting on it!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Swap This for That

Are you trying to save some money? No matter whether you are looking to put away some pennies for a rainy day or you want to treat your family to a vacation, you need to be dedicated and disciplined if you are to reach your saving goals. However, finding the spare money in the first place can often be the challenge. Read on to discover some clever swaps you can make in your day-to-day life to save some money.

  1. Swap your standard light bulbs for energy saving light bulbs - Energy saving light bulbs may cost a little bit more to purchase, but when you consider the fact that they last ten times longer, you see where the savings are to be made.
  2. Swap your canteen lunch for a packed lunch - You will be shocked by how much money you spend on lunch every week if you buy it. Even if you get a meal deal from a nearby supermarket, it quickly adds up. Instead, make your own lunches. Not only will you be able to save money, but they will taste a lot nicer too. Here are some delicious recipe suggestions to get you started.
  3. Swap your expensive TV subscription for Netflix - Do you pay a lot of money for TV channels? If so, go back to basics, and invest in Netflix instead or another online subscription service.
  4. Swap your manual payments for direct debits - A lot of businesses prefer you to set up a direct debit with them, and so they will offer you a cheaper rate if you do so. Not only this, but by setting up a direct debit, you make sure you do not miss any payments, which could result in a fine.
  5. Swap branded products for supermarket own brands - You can save a lot of money when doing your grocery shopping by going for a supermarket’s own branded products, instead of buying popular brand names. You will often find that there isn’t much difference in terms of taste, but you will make a big difference to your bank balance.
  6. Swap your car for a scooter - You can save a considerable amount of money by swapping your car for a scooter. Firstly, by selling your vehicle and buying a scooter, you will immediately have access to a large chunk of cash that can go into your savings, as scooters are much cheaper to buy than vehicles. However, you will also be able to make ongoing savings as well. After all, it is much cheaper to insure and road tax a scooter than it is a vehicle. Calculate the savings you will make every month, and put the money aside. This is especially recommended for families that have two vehicles; it is unlikely that you need both.
  7. Swap your monthly insurance premiums for annual payments - If you pay insurance premiums on a yearly basis instead of monthly, you will be able to lock in a reduced price.

Make the seven swaps mentioned above and put the savings you make into a separate account; you will soon see the money mount up!
Monday, May 29, 2017

13 Must Try Jalapeno Recipes

There is nothing like the powerful punch of flavor that a simple jalapeno can bring to any recipe or dish! This collection of recipes includes some fantastic options to spice up your meals and add a delectable spicy flavor to the dinner table.

I can't wait to try the Bacon Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese! I can tell you from personal experience that the Jalapeno Popper Spread is fantastic. You will love it spread on crackers, dipped with chips or on a sandwich as a spicy and creamy spread to take the experience to a new level of deliciousness!

If you have a favorite recipe making use of the gorgeous little green pepper, be sure to give me the scoop in a comment! I am always looking to try something new and tasty!

Jalapeno Artichoke Mac n Cheese

Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Black Bean Burgers

Bacon Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

Cheesy Jalapeno Corn Cakes

Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa

Jalapeno Popper Bread

Jalapeno Popper Wonton Cups

Loaded Jalapeno Bites

Cheesy Jalapeno Mushroom Bites

Jalapeno Popper Pizza

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

Bacon Jalapeno Cheese Ball

Jalapeno Popper Spread

Which one of these dishes will you try first?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Essential Items That a Good Chef Needs to Have

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Essential Items That a Good Chef Needs to Have

Imagine yourself cooking a four-course meal for Christmas dinner with bacon wrapped dates, a beautiful fresh kale salad, a juicy honey glazed ham, and a mouth-watering chocolate trifle for dessert. This is fine dining at its best, but to make this incredible meal you will need some essential cooking tools to get the job done.
The essential items every chef needs are sharp kitchen knives, a potato masher, measuring cups, bib apron, Silicone cooking utensils, a bread knife, and a colander.

Kitchen Knives
The most important item in every kitchen are the knives. A sharp knife is a difference between a beautiful entrée and a squashed ugly piece of meat. A good knife will easily slice right through meat without pressing out any of the flavorful juices. Having a sharp knife will also save you from cutting a finger chopping food, as dull knives tend to slip while cutting making them harder to control.

Potato Masher
This is an essential item because of the time and energy it will save you. There are few things worse than trying to make mashed potatoes without a masher. This strong piece of metal should have a solid easy to grip handle that won’t leave you with a blister.

Measuring Cups
Many recipes call for an exact amount of an ingredient so it does not overpower the rest of the meal. You should purchase measuring cups of various sizes so you don’t have to waste time calculating a dozen small measurements. Make sure to purchase mixing bowls with measurements on the side so you don't have to transfer everything after it’s been measured.

Bib Apron
A bib apron is an essential kitchen item because it protects you from hot materials and keeps your clothes as clean as possible. Working in a kitchen there are several things that can go wrong and leave you with severe burns. Don’t risk a late-night hospital visit because you didn’t wear an apron while boiling a pot of water.

Silicone Cooking Utensils
If you own non-stick pans, then you must invest in silicone cooking utensils. This is extremely important because metal utensils can scrape a non-stick pan and the Teflon material will end up in your food. These materials are not intended to be digested so it’s in your best interests to avoid the toxins and use silicone materials.

Bread Knife
You will want to invest in a quality bread knife for the same reason you should use sharp kitchen knives. Even the sharpest kitchen knife will not cut as cleanly as a serrated bread knife. The best part about bread knives is that they are very cheap, so buy one and never squash your bread again.

As a chef, you will inevitably have to boil something for most meals. Therefore, it’s important to have a colander handy at all times. Don’t forget that when you are using a colander you are dealing with extremely hot materials and you should always wear protection on your hands.