Life

Will's Birth Story

Will's Birth Story

Since I documented my whole pregnancy on my blog, I figured it only made sense to write about Will's birth. I don't plan on getting too graphic with the details, but there will probably be some TMI-type information related to childbirth included in this post. So, if you're not into that, you might want to skip this one. Now let's get to the story (it's kind of a long one).

My Reaction to Finding Out I'm Pregnant

My Reaction to Finding Out I'm Pregnant

Today is Friday, September 22, 2017. Over the past couple hours I have taken 4 pregnancy tests. They're all positive! I have felt an unsettling amount of emotions since finding out. Like... Elated. Nervous. Surprised. Amazed. Astonished. Shocked. Excited.

Enjoying Fall in Northern Michigan

Fall in Gaylord Michigan || Fall outfit with moccasins || by Hayley Fiser at thehayleyfiser.com
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Fall in Gaylord Michigan || Fall outfit with moccasins || by Hayley Fiser at thehayleyfiser.com
Fall in Gaylord Michigan || Fall outfit with moccasins || by Hayley Fiser at thehayleyfiser.comFall in Gaylord Michigan || by Hayley Fiser at thehayleyfiser.com
Fall in Gaylord Michigan || Fall outfit with moccasins || by Hayley Fiser at thehayleyfiser.comFall in Gaylord Michigan || by Hayley Fiser at thehayleyfiser.com
Fall in Gaylord Michigan || Fall outfit with moccasins || by Hayley Fiser at thehayleyfiser.comFall in Gaylord Michigan || by Hayley Fiser at thehayleyfiser.com
Fall in Gaylord Michigan || Fall outfit with moccasins || by Hayley Fiser at thehayleyfiser.com

Happy first day of fall! One thing I adore about Michigan - especially Northern Michigan - is being able to watch the leaves change. It's an eye opening reminder that the year is coming to an end, and the holiday season is right around the corner. It makes me think of what I need to do to accomplish my goals for this year.

This time of year definitely lights a fire under my butt. I work a little harder. It's when I reassess where I am, and use more force to push toward what I want to be. Fall is a no excuses season for me. It's the time to turn over a new leaf.

Now that summer is over, life is going to get a little more hectic. Halloween and hunting season will be here in no time. Then, we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas. Before you know it, 2018 will be here. So, even though I work harder to reach my goals, I also make sure to enjoy 2017 for what it was and what's to come. Ah... I love fall!

What do you love about fall?

This post has affiliate links. This means, I get commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. 

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Our Struggle Getting Pregnant

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Negative Pregnancy Test Trying to Conceive TTCI wasn't completely sure if I was going to share this post, since it's so personal. But here it goes... A little background of where I am right now. Today is Wednesday, August 30, 2017. My husband and I celebrated our four-year wedding anniversary this past June, and we've known each other for eight-and-a-half years. This past weekend was a very difficult weekend for me, as it marked our 5th CD1 (cycle day 1) in the past six months. For those of you who don't speak the trying-to-conceive (also called TTC) language, this is our sixth month trying to get pregnant and I'm not pregnant at the time of writing this.

This is the sixth month I've stared at pregnancy tests thinking I see a second line that's not really there. This is the sixth month I've thought of what life would be like in nine months if it ended up being the month. This is the sixth month I've blamed my body for not doing what my teachers made sound so easy in my ninth-grade health class. This is the sixth month I've struggled (and many times failed) to hold back tears thinking of could have been. This is the sixth month I've had to tell my husband we're still not pregnant. This is the sixth month I've wondered if I'll ever get pregnant. This is also the sixth month we've been telling family and friends were trying to conceive.

I've learned something through those conversations with family and friends... I'm not the only one who's had a sixth month. I've learned of ladies who I thought got pregnant right away and it actually took a year, two years, and even longer to get pregnant. Some people have opened up to me about the miscarriages I never knew they had. I've spoken to a couple who were told they would never get pregnant, and ended up having the most wonderful surprise of their lives and conceived naturally years later. I've learned I'm not alone. I've also learned that many women don't share of their struggles getting pregnant when it's happening.

We are told at a young age that you can get pregnant so easily and you need to use protection. Sadly, when you're an adult, you learn that while that's true for some people, it's not true for all. There are thousands of couples out there right now wishing, hoping, thinking, and praying that this is their month... and it won't be... Because of the stigmas around TTC in our society, it's embarrassing to talk about the struggle.

So why am I writing this post even though I'm not sure if I'll share it? Because, I want to be open about our struggle, but I'm also scared to share it. I want other women (and couples) to know they're not alone. I also, slightly selfishly, want to remind myself that I'm not alone. However, I'm scared to share my own story, because I know there are people who have struggled with way more for much longer. There are couples who have spent thousands of dollars to try IVF and had embryo transfers fail. There are women who have had a seemingly healthy pregnancy end in stillbirth... So, what gives me the right to share my story when we've only been trying for six months?  I don't have an answer for that...

In the end, I strongly believe every women (and couple) should not feel alone if they're struggling to get pregnant. I know what it's like to dream of the day you see those two pink lines on a stick covered in pee. It's not easy, and sometimes you need someone other than your partner to talk to so you don't feel like your the only ones going through this. I want to open up this door into our lives. I want to let you know that if you're also struggling, I'm here to talk.

Instant Pot Hard-Boiled Eggs

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Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs || Hayley FiserInstant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs || Hayley FiserInstant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs || Hayley Fiser You guys are probably going to get sick of hearing about my Instant Pot, but I'm addicted to cooking in it! One thing I have gotten really good at cooking are hard-boiled eggs. Overall it takes the same amount of time to cook the eggs in the Instant Pot verses on a stovetop, but It's very convenient cooking them in the Instant Pot. Plus, removing the shell is so much easier. I love that you can set it and forget it for a few minutes.

A Little Background On My Instant Pot

The pressure cooker I have is the 7-in-1 Instant Pot in the 6 quart size (yes, that's an affiliate link. Don't be scared. It just means I get commission if you buy something after clicking that link :) ). I've had it for a week now, and I've used it every day. There is definitely a learning curve to cooking in it, and you need to follow the instructions to ensure you use it correctly. I mean it is a pressure cooker... Improper use could lead to an explosion. Now don't get me wrong, these are very safe when used correctly, and it has a lot of mechanisms to make it safe. BUT! Please, please, please, if you buy one, follow the manufacturer's instructions!

How to Hard Boil Eggs in and Instant Pot

Now what you're here for... how do I make hard-boiled eggs in my Instant Pot? What you'll need:

  • 1 Cup of Water
  • The trivet that comes with your Instant Pot
  • Eggs (the most I've made is a dozen at one time)

You put the cup of water in your Instant Pot, and place your eggs on the trivet. I honestly don't know if you need to use the trivet, but I like to use it so the eggs are not sitting directly on the bottom of the pot.

Next, put the lid on and seal it.

Then, press Manual, and cook them on high pressure for 5 minutes. If this is the first time you've used your Instant Pot, you don't have to press any buttons after you have your settings correct. Wait a few seconds, and you'll hear it beep. Then it will start to build up pressure. Once it's fully pressurized, it will start the 5-minute cooking time.

After it's finished cooking, it will beep. If you don't press any buttons after it's finished cooking, the Instant Pot display will actually count the minutes it has been since it finished cooking. I let it naturally release the pressure for 5-7 minutes. Then, I manually/quick release the remaining pressure. You'll know if it's still pressurized, because the pin by the sealing/pressure release knob will still be up (it drops once it's depressurized).

Once it's depressurized, take the lid off your instant pot, and place your eggs in an ice bath for a few minutes. This will help cool them down, so they stop cooking and are easier to handle.

After 15-20 minutes, remove them from the ice bath. You should wait to remove the shells until you're ready to eat them. One thing I love about my Instant Pot boiled eggs is it's so much easier to remove the shell. I've seen videos online of people removing them with one hand! It's amazing!

Then, enjoy! You can make them into deviled eggs, egg salad sandwiches, add them to your salad, or eat them whole.

26 Lessons in 26 Years

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In honor of my 26th birthday, I decided to share 26 life lessons I've learned so far. Most of them are pretty cliché, but if you're looking for some mid-week motivation, look no further! :)

  1. Nothing ever goes as planned... ever
  2. Hustle: All day, every day
  3. Be honest with everyone, including yourself
  4. There will never be enough hours in the day, so choose how you use them wisely
  5. Ask the difficult questions
  6. Make a budget and manage your money (the sooner, the better)
  7. When you're stressed out, crank up the music and take a little dance break
  8. There are a lot of things in life you can do, but have been too afraid to try
  9. You can't control everything, so take a deep break and just relax
  10. Only keep the things in your life that bring you joy
  11. The only person you should worry about impressing in life is yourself
  12. It's okay to ask for help
  13. Failure is okay...
  14. ... but learn from your mistakes and don't make them next time.
  15. Hangovers are a real bitch by the time you turn 26
  16. You don't need what everyone else has
  17. Learn everything you can about taxes!
  18. No matter how calculated the risk is, it can still be scary
  19. Just because someone is older than you, doesn't mean they know more than you (and vise versa)
  20. Nothing is better than making something with your own two hands
  21. Take it slow, because burnout is oh so real
  22. Don't hold on to things you might use in the future - odds are, you won't
  23. Find what makes you happy, and do it whenever possible
  24. Do your own research before making a decision or opinion
  25. It's okay to say, "no"
  26. Surround yourself with people that you love and who love you, too

Why I Love Living in Northern Michigan

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When you move to a small town from a big city, you are definitely giving up some very appealing amenities. However, there are some things that you can only find in a small town. I thought I would show you my favorite things about living in a small town in Northern Michigan.

The Weather

The weather is definitely a huge pro and con up here. What I love the most is that we have enough snow to actually do something with in the winter, and it's a very comfortable temperature to go to the beach in the summer. I felt like Lansing was cold and snowy, but it was not enough to be fun... mainly it was just a huge inconvenience.

The Water

There are so many lakes up here! Want to go swimming? There are lakes that are spring feed, so they are crystal clear. Want to go fishing? You can take a little aluminum boat out on a small lake to get some little guys, or you can charter a larger boat to catch fish that weigh as much as a one-year-old child! We got lucky enough to find a house with access to Otsego Lake, and will hopefully we can get a dock spot next year. There is no way we could have been able to afford that downstate.

The People

For the most part, everyone up here is super nice. Honestly, I feel like we live with a bunch of Canadians. For example, if someone pokes their shopping cart around the corner a little too far to see if someone is coming, I'd bet good money that they'll say, "Oh, I'm sorry!"

The Prices 

Going out with friends or family for dinner and drinks was so expensive down state! Now I can get a pitcher of beer for what I was paying for a pint. Plus, the food at the little hole-in-the-wall restaurants are amazing and very reasonably priced. Most importantly, going to the movies is half the price. You just can't beat that! Date nights are so much more enjoyable now that we don't feel like we're bleeding money all night long.

 

Ways to Earn Extra Income

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Making enough money to pay your bills, and still be able to stash some away into your savings account can be difficult no matter your situation. Plus sometimes unplanned stuff happens, and you just need a little extra cash. Maybe you had to dip into your emergency fund. Maybe your trying to make an emergency fund for the first time #nojudgement. Well, you came to the right place. In today's Frugal Friday post, I'm sharing some things you can do on evenings, weekends, or during nap time to make a little extra cash.

Clean Out Your Closets

Take Old Clothes to Resale Shops: This is a great way to get rid of old clothes quickly, and walk out with a little spare cash. Take your gently used items to a store like Plato's Closet or Once Upon a Child and see what they'll pay you for some, if not all, of them. If you do have a few items left over, you can either donate them to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army, or try to sell them on your own.

Have a Sale: This one definitely takes a lot more time and effort on your part, but it's a great way to make some cash while clearing out stuff you aren't using anymore. If the weather's nice, you could have your own garage sale. Check around locally before you hold your sale, because some areas have annual garage sale weekends (where I grew up it was call the Treasure Hunt). Or maybe you're looking to pass the torch and unload some of your old baby items. I would highly suggest looking into having a booth at a mom-to-mom sale in your community. These sales are going to attract your ideal target market, and they'll know exactly where and when to find you.

Online: Maybe you don't have any clothes to sell, or you just don't have time to do the other two things. Then, you could always post your items online to websites like eBay, Craigslist, and the new Facebook Marketplace. These are great places to sell those larger or pricer items like electronics, appliances, vehicles, and furniture. Just be safe! I hope I'm not the first one telling you this, but if you do meet someone to exchange items, do it in a well-lit public place (if they have security cameras, that's a huge bonus).

Sell Your Skills

Start a Small Business: This one is definitely a commitment, but it could really pay off if you do it right. Along with my blog and working a full-time job, I also have a photography business. It's in the very early stages with very sporadic bookings, but I still earn an income from it. If you have a service or a skill you're willing to market, I would definitely suggest starting a business plan to see if it's a viable option.

Freelance: This is a great way to make some extra cash, and work however many hours you have available. You can do quite a few things online, like writing, graphic design, and website design. I'll link an entrepreneur.com article that shares 15 sites to find freelance jobs here for you to check out if you're interested.

Sell Your Crafts: I have so many friends and family members who are uber crafty. They create some beautiful things, that I look at and have no idea how they did it. If you're one of those people, I would suggest trying to sell them on an online store (like Etsy), or at craft shows.

Blogging: Do you have a topic you're very passionate about and have a lot of insight? Well maybe blogging is for you... This is definitely a long-term commitment to make extra cash, but I thought I'd stick it on here anyway. You'll need to have a pretty loyal reader base, and consistently high viewership numbers before companies will start looking at you for sponsored posts, and/or  before you'll get enough purchases on your affiliate marketing links to make money. So you'll have to put in a lot of leg work and long hours before you'll even get one paycheck from your blog. Once you get to that point, and you remain dedicated and consistent, you should be able to bring in some cash from there on out. I've heard those stories about people who have quit their day jobs because their blogs became so successful. Maybe that'll be you! If you're interested in starting a blog, I wrote a post on how to do that here!

Help Out Your Neighbor

Watch Their Kids, Pets, or House: Sometimes your neighbors, friends or family are going somewhere (date nights, appointments, vacations, etc.) and need someone to watch their kids, pets or home. You might be able to make a little cash by helping them out with this. Now keep in mind, if this someone you're very close with, you might not get paid cash to do this. However, you might be able to exchange the service. For example, maybe you and a friend alternate Fridays when you take your date nights, and watch each others kids for free. In the end you might not be earning extra income, but you are saving yourself some money. I see that as being a win :)

Clean Houses: Are you that friend who everyone asks for cleaning advice, because you know every trick in the book? Maybe you don't understand how it can take some people so long to clean their house, or why they haven't dusted in what seems like months. Well, you would most likely be able to make some money cleaning other peoples' houses. Talk to your friends and family, because, if we're being honest, everyone knows someone who needs a little help in this department #guilty

Let me know in the comments if there is anything specific you'd like me to cover in a Frugal Friday post. See you next Friday! :)

Welcome to Frugal Fridays!

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Welcome to my new series I'm calling Frugal Fridays! I wanted to start this series, because I think I we need to start talking about finances and stop making it such a taboo topic. In this series I'll be talking about money management techniques that have worked for us, including low-cost recipes, finding jobs, and budgeting. So, what would make me want to start sharing about my finances? Come with me for a short trip down this rabbit hole...

Ever since I was young, everyone told me about the importance of saving money and making sound financial choices. As I got older I realized very few people talk openly about how to do any of this, and what did and didn't work for them. I got even older, and I started taking finance classes in college where my eyes were opened to the complexities of making financial decisions. That's when I realized it would be practically impossible to just stumble into making consistently sound financial choices the rest of my life. You have to plan!

That's when I took it upon myself to learn as much as I could about finance, more specifically, managing mine and my husbands personal budget. There's so much information out there, but I ran into the same issue I did when I was younger. So many people are telling you what to do, but a lot fewer sharing ways to go about doing it. At that point I started playing with the idea of becoming a financial planner, but going back to school what just not in the cards for me at that time. So I read lots of books and blogs, and attended a few webinars about budgeting.

Now I'm not saying I have all the answers. Believe me... We've made our fair share of financial gambles that lead to some sucky situations. I'll be honest, I've had to call my dad from the side of the road because I didn't have $250 to pay for a tow truck to take our car to our house after an accident (PS thank you mom and dad!). BUT! You can bet your butt that I did my research on saving for an emergency fund, and we worked extra hard to find ways to put money in it. We cut our grocery budget, found ways to make some extra money on evening and weekends, and sold some stuff. It was difficult, but I haven't had to make one of those phone calls to my parents in a few years, which is totally worth it.

So, you might be thinking: Yeah, but how exactly did you do all of that without going crazy? Welp, you'll have to stay tuned, because these are the types of things I'm going to be sharing in this series.

Whipped Coconut Oil Lotion

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Ever since moving to cold, northern Michigan, my skin has become much drier than before. Another downside to this cold weather is my coconut oil is as hard as a rock, which makes it really difficult to deal with issue #1. Recently, I started looking for a solution, but it was a little more difficult to find an answer on the internet than I imaged. So, I thought I would share what worked for me.

Let's rewind a couple years. I had just started using coconut oil if my skin got extremely dry thanks to Pinterest. When we live down state, this would only happen during the coldest weeks of winter. So, I would put some oil on my legs and maybe my arms. Then, within a few days of doing this, I was good as new.

Now that we live up north, every week seems like the coldest week of winter, and my skin has been struggling. I was also having issues with my coconut oil getting too cold. When this happened, it was practically impossible to get out of the jar. And yes, I know that I could run it under warm water, but I was constantly forgetting to do this while I was showering. Then, I'd be super cold, wrapped up in my towel after taking a shower, and trying to scrape shavings of this rock-hard coconut oil out of the jar with my fingernails... not my best moment.

I thought there had to be an easier way to use coconut oil in the winter, so I started scouring the internet for answers. Sadly, all I found were recipes to make body butters by whipping shea butter, coconut oil, and essential oils together. I didn't have any of these other ingredients, and I wasn't about to start running all over town looking for them. Ain't no body got time for 'dat!

That's when I had the idea... Maybe I could just whip the coconut oil. I was hoping that by adding air to it, it would be easier to scoop out of the jar with my hands. I got out a mixing bowl, plopped in my hard-as-a-rock coconut oil*, and used my handy dandy Kitchen-Aid hand mixer for a couple minutes. Presto, change-o! It worked!

I've been using the whipped coconut oil for a week now, and it's amazing! The oil melts after you rub a dollop of it between your hands for a few seconds, and spreads very easily. I've even gotten my husband to use it a few times when his face looks really dry, and even he likes it!

Once the oil absorbs into your skin and the "buttery" feeling (that's what Jason calls it) is gone, your skin feels oh so smooth. Plus, you smell like a Piña Colada, which helps me pretend I'm on a warm, tropical beach somewhere far, far away.

*Make sure you're using the coconut oil in it's solid state. Don't heat it up, and liquify it when you go to whip it.