Thursday, September 18, 2014

No-Bake Cheeseburger Cookies (National Cheeseburger Day)

Happy National Cheeseburger Day!!  Can you tell I'm amused by these national holidays?  :-)

Since I LOVE cheeseburgers like CRAZY, this is one goofy holiday I HAD to celebrate!!  So I'm sharing a recipe (that's almost more like a craft) that we've made in my family for a long time.  I have no idea where it originally came from, and I think each person who makes it makes it her own in some little way :-)

To make your very own tiny cheeseburger cookies, you will need: 

  • Nilla Wafers
  • Grasshoppers (or Thin Mints, if you're lucky enough to have some on hand)
  • White Icing
  • Food colors: Red and Yellow (gel if you have it) and Green (liquid is better... I used gel here)
  • Light Corn Syrup
  • Shredded Coconut (If you hate it, you can leave it off - but it's super-cute!)
  • Sesame Seeds (again, optional, but very cute)
First, separate your icing into two bowls - color one yellow and the other red.  I only used a little less than a quarter tub of icing for each color, and made a dozen cookies.  (Since this is more craft than recipe, my amounts are pretty approximate!)  Place the yellow and red icings into separate zip-top bags, and snip a tiny piece of one corner off each bag. 

Put about half a cup of shredded coconut in a zip-top bag, along with a few drops of green food color.  Zip the bag and shake it up!  If the "lettuce" looks too light, add more food color gradually  If there is extra color floating around, add some more coconut to soak it up.  

Lay out some Nilla wafers, flat side up.  (I work in batches of about a dozen at a time.) Pour a little puddle of corn syrup onto a small dish.

Dab a small amount on the flat side of each Nilla wafer. (Only do one or two at a time, so it doesn't set on you!)  I use a baking-only paint brush.

Press a Grasshopper onto the dollop of corn syrup.  

Now it's time for toppings!  On my real cheeseburgers, I don't want any toppings except possibly bacon and the occasional fried egg... on my cookies cheeseburgers, the more the merrier (and cuter)!  First, I pipe on some of the red icing to look like oozing ketchup.  It always ends up looking like sloppy flowers.  It won't mush out much on its own as you assemble, so you have to pipe it to look that way  :-) 

Next, I do the "lettuce" because I like to have it sandwiched between icings to keep it in place.  Put a big pinch of the green coconut over the "ketchup" and make sure some of it is sticking out the sides...

Pipe some yellow icing over the lettuce, in similar "squish" patterns to the way you did the ketchup.

Pop another Nilla wafer on top of the "mustard" while it's still soft.  It'll hold the cookie on, no need for more corn syrup yet.  

Now, these are pretty stinkin' cute already, but the next two steps just put them over the edge of adorable.  Brush a thin coat of corn syrup on the top of the top "bun" to give it a shiny, toasted-bread look.  Then sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of that.  If you skip the seeds (I do fairly often, because I don't always have them in the house), still go ahead and put the syrup on top.  It really is the perfect realistic touch!

 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

BarBABYdos, Take 2: Baseline and Lining Check Ultrasounds

Last week I had my baseline ultrasound for our FET.  It went smoothly... no cysts, and my lining showed that I was at the very beginning of my cycle, just like it was supposed to.  

Yesterday was a lining check ultrasound, which was the second of three appointments I had made for ultrasounds.  The third was for this coming Thursday, and was dependent on the results of yesterday's.  Happily, when I told Anna how thick my lining was (10.9 mm), she told me to go ahead and cancel that appointment!  In her words, "It doesn't get any better than this!"  Yippee!!!  I took cookies with me to yesterday's appointment, to thank the office staff for taking such good care of me.  All of the extra orders and prescription-writing I've needed from them has really been above and beyond the call of duty!  So they got Almond Joy Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Six Sisters' Stuff) and Quadruple Chocolate Soft Fudgy Pudding Cookies (from Averie Cooks)! 
I am to keep on Lupron for two more days, then switch to having Ethan give me the dreaded Progesterone in oil shots at night.  These will continue through transfer, and I think through my two-week-wait?  I also start Doxycycline and Bromocriptine (aka Bromokryptonite) on Friday, which will also continue through transfer.  :-) 

I spoke with my maternal-fetal medicine specialist (high risk obstetrician)'s office last week, to see when they wanted to see me.  Typically, an RE follows a patient through the first trimester of her pregnancy, then passes her back to her regular ob/gyn, but since my RE is in another country, I needed a slightly altered plan.  They said to see Dr. Altman, my regular ob/gyn, for my betas and the rest of first trimester (or at least through week 8), and that he'd hand me off when he thought it was time.  So, yay for that much of a plan! 

BFC is very much oriented toward positive thinking, and I find myself feeling generally more positive and optimistic as their patient than I used to feel before finding them.  But every once in a while, I catch myself being absolutely CERTAIN that I will be pregnant in just over a week, and it scares me.  I was fairly certain last time, too... what if it doesn't work this time, either?  I know that if I'm certain, and I'm wrong, the pain will be even worse.... I am terrified of having to pick up pieces of a shattered heart again, and honestly can't picture myself finding strength to do this all again after another disappointment.  Please pray for peace and courage for Ethan and me....
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Home Sweet Home: Make Your Bed Day (and some bedding reviews)

Today was "Make Your Bed Day"... so I actually did.  :-)  

I wanted to share another peek at our bedroom in honor of this most special holiday... we are really pleased with how cozy it is turning out to be, and we only have a few more tiny projects we want to do and purchases we want to make to have it exactly the way we want it :-)  (Check out our secondhand and repurposed nightstands, if you missed it!)  Hopefully we'll get those knocked out soon, and I can show the whole room, but for now, let's talk bedding!

We decided to go all white for our linens, because bleach is amazing.  We're thinking of kids and small dogs who throw up, tinkle, who-knows-what-else in inopportune places... and the idea of throwing everything in a super-hot washer with bunches of bleach, without worrying about fading or spots... priceless!  

We have two sets of sheets - one is microfiber, and we like it in the winter time, because these sheets don't get cool spots in them.  They're warm and cozy as soon as you slip into them, and stay that way no matter where your little toesies wander overnight :-)  I got the microfiber set from NoMoreRack for Ethan for our 4th anniversary (even before we had the bed... or the house... or the job... it was a gift of hope and confidence!).  It even came with 4 pillowcases instead of 2 - YAY!  

The other set is this set from JCPenney - 500tc, and delightfully crisp and cool.  They've been washed and bleached a lot, and have held up beautifully :-)  Clean sheet night (and even better - clean sheet MORNING) in these babies is bliss! 

Then, we have a fluffy microplush blanket that I LOVE!  I had a blanket out of this material on my college bed, and may have a mild addiction to all things microplush and snuggly. :-)  And that blanket from college is still in circulation... currently across my lap :-)  This is ever-so-slightly off-white, but it's pretty close.  And like everything else, it's been washed and bleached a few times, so it'll be white before we know it ;-)  

This is our comforter, which we've covered with this duvet cover.  Both are from Target, like the blanket.  We've been really pleased with all of our Target bedding!!  The comforter is warm without being too heavy... I like to be warm, but too much weight from covers makes me feel a little like I'm smothering.  The duvet cover came with 2 matching shams... I want our bed someday to be almost covered in snuggly blue and white pillows of different shapes and patterns, and these give us a great backdrop for that look.  The blue and white shams came from eBay - pulling the blue and white toile theme onto the bed.  :-)  The bedskirt is from JCP recently... I can't speak much to its quality, since it's so new and hasn't been washed or messed with much yet, but so far... it covers our box spring, so I'm satsified :-)

How about you?  Did you make your bed today?  Or are you like me - actually making the bed calls for pictures and a blog post ;-)
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

SEEN Gathering September Post

I have a new blogging adventure of sorts!  I am proud and excited to be a contributing blogger (and the Pinterest guru - yes, that's the official title... and yes, I chose it!) over at SEEN Gathering.  This is a ministry dreamt up and created by my dear friend Rebecca of Caravan Sonnet for young people with chronic illnesses (we call them "Chronicittles"). I'd love for you to go explore the space - lots of cool stuff already, and even more in the plans - and check out the blog (the blog is hosted at .com, the rest of the awesomeness is at .org!).  Today is my first monthly blog contribution there, and I'm hoping that this outreach helps comfort and encourage the Chronicittles out there! 
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Monday, September 8, 2014

BarBABYdos, Take 2: FET So Far (Lupron and BCPs)

While there isn't a whole lot of exciting stuff to report on the FET front right now, I wanted to pop in and just give y'all an idea of what I've been doing to prepare for the end of the month.  

I'd been back on birth control, since right after my IVF cycle  (until this past Wednesday).  It's not always used with an FET, but it helps prevent cysts, and also lets us plan my dates... which is pretty useful when your embryo transfer will take place a few plane rides away :-)  This round of pills went better than some rounds in the past.  I didn't gain any additional weight on it, but it made me a little crankier than usual and I needed to increase my insulin.  

On August 29, I started taking Lupron.  I'd heard about the infamous Lupron headache, but wasn't all that worried about it.  So I gave myself my shot in the morning, subcutaneously in my thigh, like I was instructed to do.  I've never had great luck giving myself shots in the leg, because my legs are fairly muscular and I can't "pinch an inch" of skin/fat on them (not a problem on any other part of my body, haha).  Almost instantly, I had a big knot in my leg, it was hot and red and burned and throbbed, and I was scared!  I fired off an email to Anna and asked if I could try taking them in my hip or the back of my arms (both places I am quite used to putting sub-q needles), in case that might help with the pain.  Her colleague who was answering her emails suggested my lower abdomen (below my belly button), so I decided I'd try that the next morning. 

Within 20 minutes, the knot had peaked, and it was gone in an hour and a half.  But I got nauseated and woozy and wobbly and felt just generally crummy.  I knew I needed to eat something for blood sugar purposes, so I nibbled on some Ritz crackers.  Almost instantly felt better!!  

So the next morning, I ate a little bit of breakfast before I gave myself the Lupron in my belly.  Problems solved!  Just the tiniest little itchy reaction for about 10 minutes, no nausea.  I did end up with a migraine that night, but just the one.  I've taken the rest of my shots just like that, and I've only had low-grade headaches and some drowsiness.  It's definitely messing with my sleep - I wake up several times a night and don't feel rested in the mornings... I tell myself it's good practice for having a newborn ;-)  It's not pleasant, but it's definitely manageable.  

Tomorrow morning, I decrease my Lupron dose, and go for my baseline ultrasound. I also start Estrace and my low-dose aspirin :-) 
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg