Always, Katie: January 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Financing our Fertility Treatments


This infertility journey has been full of it.  Here we are, with all of our doctors having signed off on our readiness for IVF, expecting to start during the month of March.  So on Friday, I talked to my RE's office to set up an appointment for setting a treatment plan and schedule, and one to sit down with who
ever could help us apply for the financing my clinic advertises on their site - no interest for a year!

Then the receptionist told me that the financing is only for the lab portion, which is a relatively small percentage of the total cost of a cycle, and that it requires 50% down.  The rest (/non-lab parts) of the cost of the cycle is due before any treatment starts.  We've been expecting that we'd need to have several thousand dollars available, but to come up with the amount we will actually need will take us longer than we anticipated.  And we don't want to miss this "sweet spot" my diabetes is hovering in.  And, frankly, we are sick and tired of waiting... four years is a long time to spin your wheels.

So. We made the tough and humbling decision to fundraise the remaining $5,000.  I have built a fundraising site at YouCaring, am going to sell some of the older jewelry I have mentioned a couple of times recently, and we have a couple of other ideas in the works, too... like an online silent auction, which I'll post about soon.

We appreciate your compassion and understanding, any financial support you are able and willing to give us, your thoughts and prayers, and any facebook/twitter/pinterest/email sharing y'all would feel moved to do.  <3
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How to Clean Your Silver-Plated Jewelry (without damaging the silver plating!)

As I mentioned in my post last week about organizing my jewelry, the silver plating on several of my older pieces had tarnished... on some of them, quite a bit.  And honestly, when I'm reaching for a necklace to complete an outfit, I rarely grab the one with the weird goldish-greyish-greenish layer of funky gunk! 

For example: this Anthropologie knock-off necklace that I made two and a half years ago (time flies!)

This is what it looked like when I made it... 


And here it is, fast forward almost three years...

So sad :-(

I knew not to try to use silver polish on something silver-plated, as silver polish removes a thin layer of silver from whatever you're polishing, and the layer of silver on silver-plated jewelry findings is already super-thin to begin with.  So I searched the internet for a way to clean the gunk off my jewelry without destroying it.

I found instructions on this website and decided that it was worth a try...

Her ingredients are cheap, household items...

  • An aluminum pie plate (or a bowl with aluminum foil covering it - the aluminum is important for the chemical reaction.  Check out the link to the original article for more info on what is supposed to be going on, chemically.  I'm far from a chemist, and haven't run this by the chemists in my life yet, but it worked for me!)
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Hot water (enough to cover jewelry in the pie plate)
  • Paper towels
(Before you start - keep in mind that this process WILL ruin a purposely antiqued finish, and while some people have had great success with pieces with semi-precious stones and crystal... you never know.  So be careful.)

The procedure is easy enough.  Put one tablespoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of salt in the pie plate... pour the hot water over the soda and salt and stir to dissolve... dip your jewelry in (if it's lightly tarnished) or place it in and let it sit for a few minutes (for more heavily-tarnished pieces).  Fish the jewelry out and dry it off with the paper towels.  Very tarnished pieces may turn almost black and need a good rub down with the paper towels, but the silver underneath should be beautifully sparkly and clean! 

It may not be QUITE as good as new, BUT I'm still really excited to have a bright silver necklace that I will actually wear, as opposed to a sad, neglected, tarnished necklace.  :-)  It will also come in handy for the Katie's Closet sale I have been contemplating... I can rehab some of my more neglected pieces and hopefully sell a few of them at awesome second-hand prices. :-) 

 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jewelry Organization from a Jewelry Hoarder

When we were shopping for our house, one of the things on our "Sure Would Be Nice" list was a walk-in closet in the master bedroom.  We didn't HAVE to have one, but a house would have to be stellar in several other ways to make up for it, you know?  

Well... in this wonderful, beautiful, blessing of a house, we have a walk-in closet.  EACH.  I'm in Heaven, y'all.  Having a whole closet to myself means that my clothes aren't cramped, which makes getting dressed easier, and I think has resulted in me using the full range of my wardrobe better.  It also means that my purses and my jewelry have their own nice, organized spaces in a convenient, but out-of-the-way location!

I spent some time this week unpacking, untangling, re-organizing, and otherwise squaring-away my jewelry collection, and I thought I'd share a little bit about my strategy.

First, I have a whole wall dedicated to accessories.  The two walls of racks and shelves were already here when we moved in, and that third wall was already empty, so it seemed perfect.  I put the two 2x3 cubby things from my old "cloffice" on the wall to hold my purses and totes... as well as two sections for clothes that need donated or sold, and two that are currently holding some cuff and coil bracelets (until I can find my bracelet holder) and trays of earrings.  I use ice cube trays to organize most of my earrings, and I especially love the trays with lids... I got some at the Container Store... $4 seems a little pricey for ice cube trays, but pretty reasonable for jewelry storage! :-)

The top of the cubbies is a great surface for my jewelry trees and my small jewelry box (and my pile of camis... I'm looking for a basket for them).  See the little brown jewelry box in front?  My niece made that for me for Christmas a couple years ago. <3 Priceless! 

These are my jewelry trees... the one on the left is from my mom, and it holds necklaces and bracelets I either wear a lot, or want to remind myself to wear more often ;-) Around the base, I have some pendants that I don't have designated chains for.  The other, more tree-like tree, we picked up at CVS of all places.  It's perfect for earrings that I like to have within very easy reach.  Sad, single earrings and some other doo-dads (like my embellished comb) are hanging out on that base until I can find their mates or make a replacement. 

Then, there are the tie/belt racks.  These have hung in each of our three homes somewhere... in the apartment, the only place I could figure out was the inside of my closet door!  They're just held up by finishing nails, so the weight worries me a little bit.  I will probably add another rack right above these soon, and shift my bracelets up to it. 

I made the observation on facebook the other day... when you make your own jewelry, it is REALLY easy to become a jewelry hoarder!  Some of these pieces, I NEVER wear...  I found a tutorial from another designer on how to remove tarnish from silver-plated jewelry.  I'm thinking of polishing up a few of these things I never wear and having a Katie's Closet sale.  With IVF hopefully in March, every little bit will help ;-)

 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

To Do List Victory!

Happy Tuesday, friends!  

I have a snow day today, after MLK day yesterday, so I have had a wonderful, restorative, loooong weekend.  I mentioned in my last post that this past week was the first week of my school counseling internship. This career comes with a lot of tricky emotional aspects, and some of the more intense of those happened to come up this week... so while it was a great week, full of great opportunities for learning and growth, I have been oh-so-grateful for a couple of days to kind of catch my breath :-)  

This month, I have been able to cross out a few items (or sub-items) from my "To Do in 2014" list, most notably the make-ahead meals.  My goal was to make 15 freezer meals that I could either throw in the crock pot on my way out the door in the morning, or move from the freezer to the oven quickly and easily if I was too drained from work to think about cooking.

Yesterday, I made a big batch of chicken nuggets, and I have enough chicken to make that many again, which I plan to do today or tomorrow.  With those completed, I will be WELL over my 15 meal goal!  (Before finishing that batch, I'm at about 14-15 meals, depending on how many nuggets we choose to heat up at a time. So I'm gonna go ahead and claim victory, haha!)

This list from Six Sisters' Stuff was a great jumping-off point for this project.  I love this blog, and have followed them for a couple of years... everything I've ever tried of theirs has been fantastic! 

Currently, in my freezer, I have:
I do plan on making more meals for the next few weekends. (I'd love to keep at least 10 in the freezer at all times, even after the internship is over.)  Can anyone recommend another delicious and easy go-to freezer meal for me to whip up?
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone is rested after staying up past midnight last night!  Why is it that I have NO problem staying up until 1 or 2 most nights, but on NYE, I'm wiped out by 10?  Ethan and Charley and I had a nice quiet evening at home, ate dinner by fireplace-and-candlelight and toasted with sparkling white grape juice at midnight... a wonderful, cozy way to start a year :-)

LOVE these boys so MUCH!!

I have never been big on New Year's resolutions, personally.  Partially because it's a LOT of pressure, and I like to start my years contentedly and joyfully, instead of looking for all of the things that are wrong in my life and resolving that this year, I will somehow make them all better ;-)  

But mostly, I think it's because resolutions tend to be too abstract for my taste. 

According to the University of Scranton (does anyone else immediately think of Dunder Mifflin when you read that?), these are the top 10 resolutions this year:
  • Lose weight
  • Get organized
  • Spend less, save more
  • Enjoy life to the fullest
  • Stay fit and healthy
  • Learn something exciting
  • Quit smoking
  • Help others in their dreams
  • Fall in love
  • Spend more time with family
See how many of them are not measurable or definable?  Like "Enjoy life to the fullest"... nice idea, but how do you know when you've succeeded?  I know this kind of resolution works really well for some people, it gives them direction and focus, and acts almost as a mantra for how they make decisions in daily life... but for me... the nebulous nature and the big-picture scope stress me out!  

I like to make bite-size goals for myself.  They are reasonably small and manageable, and allow me to check items off of a list, which makes me feel productive and motivated. (I LOVE to do lists... they keep my ADHD brain on track and sane.)  ;-)  Instead of "lose weight," I might say, "weigh X pounds."  Instead of "spend more time with family," I might say, "institute family game night once a week."  Instead of "save more, spend less,"  I might say, "set a budget and stick to it" and "put X% of every paycheck straight into savings."  

On that note, I have made a brand new to do list for myself and posted it in its own tab at the top.  I will be marking out items as I finish them, and adding new things as I think of them or as next steps after other items.  Some of the items are home improvement, some are an attempt to help the household run smoothly while the primary homemaker (me) is temporarily working full time, some are health-related, some are for fun, some are business-related... all are, I believe, achievable in the next 12 months.  

I would love it if you shared some of your resolutions for the year!  Are you someone who works well with an idea as a resolution, or do you also need concrete, step-by-step goals? :-) I'll be praying your 2014 is peaceful, healthy, joyful and blessed!
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Blog Design by Get Polished