Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Meds Class Done - Bring on the Lupron!

It really feels surreal that meds start tomorrow (I think, I've been thinking it was Friday, but I'm pretty sure its Oct. 1, I need to recheck my meds sheet at home). I can't believe after all this "down time" its time to start cycling... I'm not nervous, I am a little excited, and mostly just curious how it will turn out!! Weird feeling, almost like I'm peeking in on someone else's life...!

I went for the meds instruction class yesterday and a run down of our rough schedule. My IM "L" will start Provera on October 7th and I am to start estrace 5 days before her period arrives (since she starts meds on CD1), so probably around the 14th of October for estrogen to start. Once estrogen starts I cut my lupron from .2cc to .1cc but stay on it I think through transfer if I remember what she said correctly. I didn't get a nice neat schedule with dates, because everything depends on L's schedule and we don't have a definitive timeline for that yet until after her period arrives and they can nail some things down. So for now, that's my estimates. Lupron tomorrow and estrace in a couple weeks. Yay for cycling!

During the meds class she pretty much said I didn't need to actually go through the exercise of drawing up the meds since I've done it so many times, but she had everything out and drew back on the needle to pull the air in so I went ahead and took it to plunge it into the "lupron" bottle (which I assume actually had saline in it or something) and I BENT the needle bad!! I went to put it straight in, and bam sideways it went... she said that needle had been used many, many times, but still I was like "I'm supposed to be an 'expert' here and I can't even practice right"! Hee hee!! :D Oh well, lets just hope I don't do that to the needle that will then go into my stomach - bent needles don't exactly bode well for a smooth injection and removal...!! :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ready for the coming week!!

I am excited!! The past week is behind us now, we got all the carpet out and the basement has been largely reassembled and is almost "back to normal". I am taking one big load of carboard/recyclable stuff that got a little wet tomorrow to get it out of the basement and will have about one more load of that, and hopefully all the trash (including carpet) will get picked up on Tuesday. Then I have a load of goodwill donation items to get out of the basement and I should be in good shape! I'm thrilled with how much we got done this weekend. Kent was a HUGE help, and I'm super proud of him!

This coming week is bringing lots of great stuff, med instruction class on Tuesday and then I start lupron on Friday! Yay! :) We're on our way finally, how exciting! A little less than 6 weeks 'til estimated transfer time. Can't wait to see it all come together!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up!

(Originally written Monday, September 21st, in the evening.)

We've had some massive storms in the area, and a lot of flooding. Because of the flooding we couldn't get out of town today, and the school and daycare was closed. However, I made an attempt to make it to work first thing as usual, so my day started off pretty crappy. The daycare was open when I stopped there at 6:15, the teacher on duty told me the county schools were closed and traffic was bad. I figured "ok, Kent can hang out at daycare today and if I can just get on the main road that leads out of town I'll be fine". It didn't happen. I literally spent 2 hours driving within a 5 mile radius, this way and that way, getting close to where I wanted to turn off to meet a road block, turn around and the same thing a little further down another road. I was so incredibly frustrated and knew I was just wasting gas and time I finally gave up around 8:00am and made my way through traffic back home. I should have just gone to the daycare. As soon as I got in the door and pulled up my work e-mail to send my boss a note I got a call that the daycare was closing too. So, off I went again and it took about 30 minutes for what usually takes less than 10 since I had to go such a roundabout way to get to the daycare. The major road we use to connect to everything was completely shut down (I found out later that the little gas station which is at the lowest point on the road was under water and there was some gas leakage or potential gas leakage so they were considering it very hazardous and no one was allowed anywhere near that). We finally made it home and I was already exhausted. My ceiling has several wet spots that I first noticed last night, and I anxiously watched those all day too. I dug around in the attic trying to find the source of the leak without success... my poor house.

I am now completely exhausted and ready to go fall over in bed... this evening while dinner was cooking Kent discovered that the basement was partially flooded - a very low amount of water, but it covered about 1/2 of our basement/garage and our basement side is carpeted. Thankfully not nicely carpeted, just carpet scraps Kenneth cut to fit the floor space so we could walk on something other then concrete, but it was SOAKED. Our basement was not cleaned up either - there was all sorts of randomness all over the floor. That is "Kenneth's territory" in my mind, and I let him throw his junk everywhere and try to ignore it since I only go down there for laundry duty. There's really not much point in trying to clean up after him, it just goes back to the way it was in a short amount of time. In any event, we spent a good hour and a half just picking up the floor and accumulating a huge trash pile in the garage side where it was mostly still dry. I also started a large "get rid of" pile - what better time to purge?! Then we were left with a huge sopping wet carpet... We took EVERYTHING off the floor that we could and moved it into the other side, and then I took my steam cleaner down and just started sucking up water. I can't even guess how many gallons of water we took out of the basement. I know I was vacuuming for about 2 hours, and it was filling up QUICKLY for quite some time, I had to go over and over and over the same spots trying to get as much liquid up as I could. I didn't get all of it, don't know if I would have been able to even if I stayed down there all night, but we made a good dent. We have one large fan, so I left that in the middle of the floor to keep some circulation going and hope it will help start drying out the floor... Of course all of this would happen when Kenneth is gone. It always does! Makes me appreciate him and miss him like crazy. I just hope I did a good enough job... I worry about tomorrow and what else we'll discover, and I am praying HARD the rain will let up and that today was the worst and the last of it... I will probably work on the carpet again tomorrow night, but I'm going to try to get into work if the roads are a little clearer. Kent's school is closed again tomorrow and I'm going to assume the daycare will be - even if they're open I don't want to risk getting into Atlanta only to have them decide to close and then have to turn around and come pick Kent up, so he's coming with me tomorrow. He'll be fine, we have a room he can hang out in and play on the computer and read... I'm sure I won't stay all day, but I hate missing work when its not a matter of vacation or illness - feels weird to have actually been kept home because of the weather!

Ok, enough rambling, I need some sleep.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My husband amazes me

He amazed me today, made me very proud to be his wife and I was just sitting here pondering our conversation and had to write down my thoughts.

The back story first, Kenneth had to be "convinced" to give his support when I first started looking into surrogacy. I am sure I've shared the story many times before, but the abbreviated version is that I first looked into it when Kent was only about 3 years old. At the time we were in the Marine Corps and Kenneth thought it was a bad time and I could tell he was hesitant so I said "ok" and let it go. Years later through a series of coincidences or fate, the desire surged again and I felt much stronger about showing Kenneth how much it meant to me and making sure this time I would have his support. Of COURSE I only wanted to move forward as a GS with his 100% support, but I also know sometimes it just takes a little prodding and providing the right information to gain that support. So I researched like a mad woman, presented my case and poured out my heart and gave him time to think it over. Obviously he did agree, and I do think for him the biggest motivator was the compensation. He realizes that I am personally gaining quite a bit emotionally and that is my motivator, but he sees his reward as financial. I admit this has frustrated me some and aggravated me that he couldn't be more emotional about it, more sensitive to the couples I am working with, but I accept that part of his personality and we agree to disagree. There was a time when I wanted very much to TS for a couple we'd met who live in Georgia and the compensation they were offering was significantly lower than what my first contract had been for and I worked and worked and worked on Kenneth to try to get him to agree to the lower amount. He did eventually agree to a much lower amount then I'd recieved the first time and I was very happy that we'd been able to compromise and that he was willing to budge. That felt like a huge deal! (Nothing ever came of that potential match, so there was no more to that then a discussion between Kenneth and myself).

So, I tell you all of that so that you will understand why the conversation he and I had just a little while ago truly amazed me and reminded me again of the depths of his heart, when its for someone he cares about. He is so fiercely loyal, I will NEVER ever have to doubt that my husband is faithful to me, loyal to me, would do whatever it took to protect and care for his family - it is WHO he is. When he loves someone, when they are someone he can truly call friend, they become a part of that inner circle of which he is fiercely protective. I have always loved that about him, it drew me to him many many years ago. He is a very strong person.

He called to check in and then brought up something that is going on with one of his Marines, I don't want to share too many details because they are very personal to the people involved and honestly I don't know the full story and don't want to put anything down that's not true. The abbreviated version is that the wife of someone he works with is facing the possibility of a hysterectomy, they don't have children and were trying recently. Most everyone Kenneth works with knows I was a GS, and apparently someone suggested that the person talk to Kenneth which he did yesterday. Kenneth thought about it all evening and was stewing on it, and he pretty much asked me if I would be open to being their GS if that is what they need in the future. I told him of course I would and was he ok with a non-comp GS for them, and he said he was... that is HUGE... I mean, I really wouldn't have expected him to bring it up for a Marine if he wasn't meaning for it to be a non-comp journey but still the fact that he spent half a day thinking about it and wanted to make sure I would be ok with it, so he could let the guy know its an option if he needs it... it really, really touched me. I think he was a little worried because I've said this journey I'm currently matched for is my last GS, regardless of what happens but I have no problem with working with family or friends - I just don't want to go through the whole process of matching, etc. again, not that there's anything wrong with that or that I have any negative feelins about it AT ALL, I'm just ready to focus on my life and family. But for a family member or friend, of course I would at least offer in a heartbeat! I will hope and pray for this couple that they have other options and that they don't need a GS, but I am very touched and amazed by my husband today that he wants us to consider this for them if they need us... that was super special to me and I love him very much for his heart, for his passion, and for his loyalty...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Yay for Friday!

Kent has jiu jitsu at 9:30 tomorrow and then we have a bridal shower in the afternoon, and I am SO glad its the weekend! I keep thinking about having a picnic day, and then we don't. Since Saturday is booked and we have church Sunday, maybe we can just eat outside for one meal if the weather cooperates, I'll have to think of a fun "picnic lunch" we could take out to the grass. Maybe egg salad sandwiches, fruit salad and some brownies...

I had 2 doctor appointments yesterday so I took the day off, and what did I do in between appointments? Laundry, and caught up on household chores. I have to take time off to catch up around the house... sad! :) Oh well, at least there wasn't too much to do! Still need to get the backyard mowed again but its been so wet lately its been impossible. I hope we get a couple dry days so we can cut it down before it gets high again. Not that we don't need the rain too...

It is starting to get so chilly! I am freezing today, and wearing a sweater and jeans... definitely time for the wardrobe change over!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lupron on October 1st

That's the udpate! :) I have a meds instruction class scheduled for September 29th and will pick my lupron up then. Our transfer schedule and "real" meds schedule depends on when my next period arrives after lupron started (which should be about 2-3 weeks after the first injection if I remember what she said). Fingers crossed that all goes smoothly with cycling! :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

RECIPE: Best Stovetop BBQ Ribs

Best Stovetop BBQ Ribs

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup steak sauce (such as A1®)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup water
4 (6 ounce) country style pork ribs
1 onion, cut into rings (optional)

DIRECTIONS
Whisk together steak sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, and water in a bowl until smooth.
Place the pork ribs in a saucepan with a lid, and pour the sauce over the ribs. Spread raw onion rings over the ribs, and cover the pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and simmer the ribs in the sauce for 45 minutes, or until tender.

************

This is actually my own recipe that I submitted to allrecipes; I made it up one evening when I was in the mood for concocting years ago... I remember that day vividly; it was before we'd moved into our own house and were still living with Kenneth's grandmother in Marietta. It's been ages since I made this! I discovered the recipe had finally been published on the website and was getting good feed back so I decided we'll try it out tonight again! I have found a couple mashed potato recipes and am going to pick one so we'll have mashed potatoes, a salad and I'll reheat some biscuits from last night for dinner. Yumm!

PMS Kicking In?

I think I have a bit of sinus stuff going on which doesn't help (I woke up with a massive sinus headache) but I think PMS is kicking in full gear all of a sudden too - I am just grumpy today and want to be left alone. Everything is "not right", little things are bugging me and I'm having to make an effort to not say something nasty today that I don't really mean! Ugh! I would love to just head home, make some tea and curl up under my quilt. I think that sounds like a VERY good plan for my afternoon/evening. Maybe a bubble bath too... I shouldn't really need any down time, it's not like all of a sudden things have been hectic, but today I definitely feel like I do!

Kent's first jiu jitsu class was last night, and I think overall it went pretty well! He's got a lot to learn, and is definitely up there (age wise) compared to the other kids, but he seems interested. It is taking him out of his comfort zone, for sure, but with some positive reinforcement and lots of encouragement I think he'll invest the time and energy and find out he can do it, and hopefully he'll find he enjoys it as well! We'll see! :)

I am glad tomorrow is Friday. We don't have any solid plans for the weekend - I do know I am bound and determined to get the yard finished up and will have Kent help me with that. We never did any camping stuff over the long weekend, and I'd still like to do something so I'll check the weather and see if Kent wants to put the tent up in the yard, or maybe have a living room sleep out (maybe I can finally use the new Queen inflatable bed I bought)! :) I am definitely in the mood for some toasted marshmallows and a nice fire... that will be a very nice way to spend an evening (as long as the bugs aren't biting too bad).

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

RECIPE: J.P.'s Big Daddy Biscuits

I think I'm on a new recipe making quest! I am having a great time trying lots of new stuff out, and Kent is enjoying it too! :D

We made these ones tonight.

J.P.'s Big Daddy Biscuits

INGREDIENTS
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup milk

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20 times. Pat or roll dough out to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown.

************

For me it made 7 big biscuits and I followed the recipe precisely. I will make a couple changes next time, I will brush the tops with melted butter and try the butter flavored shortening (though I thought the taste of these was great as is, but it was one of the suggestions I read that I want to try). These came out beautifully golden brown with layers of soft fluffy biscuit in the middle. I think I did overwork the dough a little, they were a little firm, but still very soft in the middle. Next time I won't knead as much as it says to, maybe just a few times to pull the dough together.

Kent really liked them too and said they get "5 stars". :) These will be GREAT for biscuits and gravy, nice and hearty and will hold up to the gravy. I know Kenneth will enjoy this recipe when he gets to taste it when he's home next! :)

Something About November

I was just doing the rough calculations in my head on when transfer would be (its usually targeted for 5 weeks after lupron is started, so 8 weeks from my period starting) and of course it would fall right around the first week of November... I don't know what it is about November... Fiona's transfer was November 3, 2006 our 2nd (and failed) transfer attempt was November 21, 2008. I am actually having a hard time believing that was only 1 full year ago... It seems like SOOOO MUCH has happened in that amount of time, a lot of changes in me, in the person I am what I want, what my focus is, my out look... I am a much happier person now, very content with my life, very happy with what I have and overall who I am.

Yesterday was a weird day, started out crappy because I didn't turn my alarm on and Kent woke me up with a tentative knock at 5:55 which is usually when I'm blow drying my hair and getting ready to head down to the car. I rushed around and speed showered and dressed and 20 minutes later went down and pushed the button to open the garage door. It went up an inch and made a noise like something was stopping it and came back down. Puzzled I pushed the button a couple more times, and the same thing happened. Something clicked then and I looked closer and sure enough it was LOCKED! We NEVER lock the garage door, I had forgotten I even could, but the friend Kent had over on Monday had locked it while they were playing down in the basement. It took me FOREVER to figure out how to get it unlocked! It was jammed about 1 inch off the ground, so the metal bars were tight and I couldn't just twist it like you should be able to. I'd already unlocked the piece holding the metal bars in place and then I strained, and strained and strained to get it to release, I tried jumping on the metal tab at the bottom to push the door down, but only succeeded in scraping my ankle pretty bad, then I sliced my finger where I was trying to twist the metal bars back into place... I was not in a pretty mood by that time and I was trying so hard to bite my tongue and not yell, I KNOW it wasn't Kent's fault - but it was his friend's fault and I was upset that he'd let him roam around in the basement without keeping a better eye on him. Eventually I tried closing the garage door once more to see if it'd stay down and release the pressure on the bars, it didn't but that brief pressure relief as it went down before coming back up was enough that since the lock had been undone they were able to snap back into place on their own. I'm not sure how long that whole ordeal took, but we were DEFINITELY running very late by then! I got Kent to school and tried to make sure he knew I wasn't mad at him at all and that I loved him and off to work I went. At least my day at work was pretty uneventful, though my ankle stung pretty much all day.

I ran my errands on the way home dropping Kenneth's picture off for framing. It was very expensive but I think its really going to look beautiful and is such a special moment captured. I cannot wait to see the finished piece in a couple weeks! I am hoping my father in law will help hang it when he comes out to help with a couple things around the house later in the month.

Also, after another suggestion from my inlaws about raising the deck (Kenneth had said this to me before) on the push mower to see if that would help get it through the thick grass, I finally decided to try it and low and behold it really worked. It was slow going, I had to really move SLOWLY through the thickest parts of the grass, but it did it without dying too much (from getting clogged) and I was actually able to see some progress after about an hour, though the darkness and rain chased me back inside. Tonight Kent has his first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) class and then I'm hoping we can work in the yard for another hour and maybe get most of the fenced area under control and then I can work on the side yards later. I still really don't want to spend multiple nights of my week working on it, and will probably have it serviced at least once, but if I can get the worst of the back under control it shouldn't cost as much and I will feel better that I did it! :)

I'm listening to "Nights in Rodanthe" on CD in my car this week and really enjoying it! I can't wait to hear how it ends! It is going pretty quickly - I think I only have about 2 more hours (2 more CDs) and then I'll be done with that one and can listen to "A Bend in the Road" next. I am really glad I listened to Three Weeks With My Brother before reading/listening to any other Nicholas Sparks books; I feel like I am seeing "insider information" in his stories now, things that are a part of the book that come from his life. It's really interesting. I really enjoy spending my time reading, I am so glad I started again!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

RECIPE: Maria's Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Tried this one last night:

Maria's Stuffed Chicken Breasts

INGREDIENTS (Nutrition)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper to taste
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 clove garlic, minced
2 eggs, beaten
1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste. Slit open on the side for stuffing; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, garlic, eggs and 3/4 of the cheese. Mix well and stuff each breast with 1/4 of the mixture; secure with toothpicks and place stuffed breasts in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour sauce over all and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 60 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

*********

I halved the recipe for just me and Kent, and we ended up splitting a chicken breast (with all that filling they are BIG - they looked like chicken balloons)! The filling was VERY plentiful and I didn't think flavorful enough, needed some more seasoning (more garlic and some Italian Seasoning next time), but I will most likely make this again. It was very pretty, good with some pasta, and really pretty easy to put together. For baking, I suggest 40 minutes covered in foil (leave the cheese off) then uncover, add cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes for that nice golden brown crust of cheese. Next time I will add more spaghetti sauce to the pan too, for some extra sauce to put over pasta.

Getting Kenneth's Picture Framed

I am so excited... I have been putting this off for awhile because of cost, but I'm going to cross fingers, knock on wood and pray no huge unexpected expenses arise and go take the amazing picture of Kenneth and his Marines in front of one of the palaces in Iraq that was taken in 2003 while he was there during the war and get it custom framed. It is a breath taking picture and I just have this huge desire to get it done and hung and have it up before he deploys again... its weird that we've had it sitting so long without having anything done with it. I guess I was never QUITE sure how Kenneth felt about having it put up, I think he is proud of the picture but at the same time I can only wonder at the emotions and memories it evokes and so I've hesitated to get it done. But it came up in conversation not too long ago, so it seems he does want to get it done too. I can't wait to see it finished!! Then the biggest decision is dining room or living room... Do I want to look at it every day, or just some days...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

MOVIE: Marley and Me

I just watched this movie with Kent this evening... My eyes are so puffy and my shirt is tear stained. I can honestly not remember the last time a film had me literally sobbing, body wrenching actual sobs. Any dog lover who feels their pet is much more than a pet will most likely have a similar reaction, especially if you have gone through the loss of a beloved furry friend.

The story is a great one, well told, well acted, and there are so many great highs and lows and glimpses into their lives. Watching Marley age, knowing the inevitable is getting closer and then going through the loss with the family - watching the children mourn, and the 2 who loved him and raised him from a puppy, it just tore at my heart and brought back the memories of loosing our first childhood dog, Darcy in winter 1995 and then our first family dog, Lulu in summer 2007. My brother, my sister and I all carry some sort of hurt over the loss of Darcy. We knew she wasn't well, but none of us knew she was being put down until after it happened and we never got to say goodbye. We'd grown up with her since we were very young, and I still feel devastated when I think of her. Not getting the chance to give her one last hug, one last I love you, one last I'm sorry for all the things I did to you as a kid when I didn't mean to hurt you... she was the most patient, good natured, and loving dog I've ever met. I still miss her so much. And our sweet Lulu... I still feel such a heavy heart for making that decision for her, guilt for not letting time make the decision for me... I know she wasn't well, she hurt, she had numerous things wrong, but it is such a heavy, heavy decision to end your friend's life even if you feel it is the compassionate thing to do. I just wished for more than that for her, and watching my son cry and grieve for her, his first dog, I wished I could take that away from him too.

Our animals give so much of themselves to us, so completely, and ask for so very little in return. It is no wonder we have 5 beautiful "clearance puppies" in our home, and often discuss the idea of bringing "just one" more home. They mean so much to us, give so much love, so much comfort. No judgement, just friendship, companionship, loyalty... how could I not want to give as many as possible who are currently in shelters, waiting for homes, in rescue groups having been through one tragedy after another a chance for a family, a warm bed, food twice a day, clean water and love... we have so much love to give and feel so grateful for our furry friends, my 4-legged children, Kent's brothers and sisters (that's what he calls them!)...

This movie made me think of all this and more. The bond between us and our animals is such a precious thing, and this movie captures that (and much more) beautifully.

RECIPE: Double Chocolate Snack Cake

Double Chocolate Snack Cake

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup Hershey's cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vinegar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Hershey's Semi-Sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour square pan, 8 x 8 x 2 inches.
In small mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
Add water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla; beat with mixer until smooth.
Pour into prepared pan.
Sprinkle chocolate chips over top.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack.
Cut into squares.

Can be served cool as a snack, or warm with ice cream for dessert.

****************

This is a "blast from my past"! I used to make this a LOT in highschool, I remember making it one Valentine's day for the guy I had a huge crush on. I had cut it into a heart shaped cake, wrapped it securely in foil and hid it on campus with a series of clues on how to find it... ah puppy dog love, too bad he didn't return my affection. Or maybe its a good thing since I fell madly in love with my now husband not too much longer after that! Highschool drama and yummy chocolate cake... good times!! :)

House is Falling Apart?!

I swear the house just gangs up on me when Kenneth is gone!! The doorknob to the back porch fell apart yesterday and this has happened once before so at least we knew how to fix it, even if it was still a huge pain. The tire to the riding mower (which I am physically unable to start anyway) now has a flat tire I discovered. And today when we were trying to get out the door to church the refrigerator door FELL OFF!! What the HECK?? It took me and Kent a good 20 minutes to get it back together, having to empty the door, tighten the metal piece on the bottom, and finagling it all back into place. We couldn't get the bottom washer on and I am starting a running list of things I need "man" help with... Mowing the back yard, the refrigerator door, and getting a fan installed in Kent's room... sigh.

So, there went my plans to go to church this AM. Luckily they have a PM session too, so we'll go then but I was all set and excited to go this morning!

I am going to run a couple errands this morning, work on my cook book project and maybe a writing project I have going as well. I am really tired too, been staying up way too late! A nap this afternoon would be a nice treat. :)

World's Best Scones!


I tried to change this very minimally since I like to try a recipe out as directed at least the first time and go from there. I used non-fat milk, reduced fat sour cream and omitted the raisins/currants. I also omitted the salt but used salted butter instead. Other than that, I followed the recipe.

I made seven scones, and baked them for 12 minutes. They came out great! The flavor was nice and light, they were super fluffy but at the same time very hearty, and they are beautiful with their golden brown top, thanks to the egg wash. Kent really enjoyed these too! I found another keeper. :)

These are fantastic with a little butter and some of your favorite jam (mine happens to be blackberry - yumm)!

World's Best Scones! From Scotland to the Savoy to the U.S. by   on AllRecipes.com

INGREDIENTS
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or rubbing between your fingers until it is in pea sized lumps. Stir in the currants. Mix together 1/2 cup milk and sour cream in a measuring cup. Pour all at once into the dry ingredients, and stir gently until well blended. Overworking the dough results in terrible scones!
  3. With floured hands, pat scone dough into balls 2 to 3 inches across, depending on what size you want. Place onto a greased baking sheet, and flatten lightly. Let the scones barely touch each other. Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon of milk. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash. Let them rest for about 10 minutes.
  4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until the tops are golden brown, not deep brown. Break each scone apart, or slice in half. Serve with butter or clotted cream and a selection of jams - or even plain.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Getting Excited Again...

I have put surrogacy in the back corner of my brain for the past three plus weeks since learning I was to go on BCPs, but now that I'm down to my last 3 or 4 pills the excitement is starting to bubble back to the surface! I am very much looking forward to our cycle actually starting, 1 more month and I'll be on meds, yay! :)

I haven't talked to my IPs in awhile, its probably time to send a quick note to check in. I know they are very ready to be moving forward as well. I know they've been busy, so hopefully time has passed quickly for them as well. :)

Things are always in motion here, I make a point to do things that relax me on the weekends in between the errands and "to-do" list accomplishments, but time just keeps flying by... I can't believe we're into September, the year is going to finish in a whirlwind.

Kenneth called me tonight from the Machine Gun Range and I heard a few rounds going off in the background. I cannot even tell you the wave of nostalgia that hit me along with a million flashes of images in my brain from our time at Camp Pendleton... seems like a lifetime ago... I am glad I got to hear Kenneth's voice and catch up a little, those chances have been few and far between this time around.

I took Kent by Alpha Fighting Systems this evening to find out what programs they have for children and the cost. If what the guy told me is accurate, its very reasonable and is 3 nights a week, so what a great way to get to really know some other kids, get some great exercise and training too. I'll take him next week to try it out and hope it "clicks" for him - I really want him to find some sort of sport he likes and wants to be involved in. It would be so good for him, and I could see Kenneth really enjoying watching him do this, and going to tournaments with him. It might be something they could really enjoy sharing when Kenneth is home.

We're going to try a church out tomorrow as well. I am truly ashamed at how long its been since we had an actual church family, but it seems it is just "time" for some big shifts around here and that is one of the ones on my important list. The service is at 9:30 and we might stay for the study classes after, I wasn't clear on what was offered for children during the classes time period, so I'll have to find out what Kent can do once we go tomorrow. One good thing about being in the South, there are churches literally everywhere you look. Within a 5 mile radius of me I'm sure there must be at least 20, so we can keep trying if this one isn't a great fit for us. The most important things to me are a good music program (I really want to start singing again), a good children's program, and sermons that are meaningful and understandable and hopefully a church that offers at least Wednesday night suppers and preferably children's activities, etc. Ways to get involved and get to know people outside of Sunday Service.

It is so quiet right now... Kent has gone to bed, one of my chi's is sleeping on a pillow next to me and the fan is whirring gently... what a peaceful end to my day. :)

RECIPE: BBQ Chicken Pizza

Homemade Pizza Dough

1 pkg dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3 cups wheat flour
1 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil

Dissolve yeast in warm water; add sugar, salt, and oil. Add 1/2 of the flour and beat until there are no lumps, gradually add remaining flour. Knead dough for 5 minutes. Roll the dough out to fit the pizza pan (I use a 16" pan and this fits well on it).

Follow instructions below for topping and baking.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

1 recipe homemade pizza dough
¾ cup hickory smoked BBQ sauce
1 ½ - 2 cups shredded mozzarella
2 TBS olive oil
12 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2” x ½” strips
1 tsp minced garlic
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
½ cup finely diced onion

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place crust on cooking sheet. Spread ½ cup BBQ sauce on crust with ¾ cup mozzarella cheese. In skillet, heat 1 TBS olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and garlic. Sauté 4 minutes. Toss with remaining BBQ and arrange chicken over crust. In same skillet, heat remaining oil. Add mushrooms, onion and pepper, sauté 5 minutes. Arrange vegetables on pizza and sprinkle generously with remaining cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Allow to cool 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

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I have been working on creating an electronic collection of family favorite recipes, and this is one I came across as I was flipping through my various recipe books. I don't remember where I got this one from (though the pizza dough recipe is from my mother-in-law) but it is one of our favorites for homemade pizza nights! The flavors are great, and its a terrific way to use leftover BBQ chicken in a completely different way (that's what we used with tonights pizza).


Thursday, September 03, 2009

RECIPE: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I have often wondered if I should be more "focused" when I write this blog, but truly it is ultimately to capture my life - whatever the focus of life may be at the moment; whether its a book I just read, a new recipe I just tried, surrogacy experiences, a school field trip I attended with Kent... they are all bits and pieces of me.

So, with that, I had to share this recipe Kent and I baked on Monday night! These are great cookies!! We have a fundraiser project coming up through my company, a cook book that we are going to gather recipes for and have a cover artwork design contest for. So I've been trying out new recipes and trying to get my "creative juices" flowing so I'll have good ideas and good recipes to contribute! I love any excuse to try out something new in the kitchen, and www.allrecipes.com is a great resource.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/BAKERS-Peanut-Butter-Oatmeal-Chocolate-Chunk-Cookies/Detail.aspx

INGREDIENTS
1 cup flour
1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (I use reduced fat)
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter chips or coarsely chopped peanuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. Beat butter, sugars and peanut butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing until well blended after each addition. Stir in chocolate and peanut butter chips or nuts (if desired).
Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 10 to 11 min. or until lightly browned. Cool 1 min.; remove from baking sheets to wire racks. Cool completely.

I modified the chocolate part of the recipe to show what we used, the original recipe calls for bakers squares. These are definitely keepers! :)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Holy September!

This year is really starting to snowball! Yikes!

It's labor day weekend and Kent and I talked about camping, but the weather has been unpredictable and I'd have to take at least 4 dogs with me and am hesitant to tackle that task along with being the only grown up; pitching a tent, doing all the cooking and general "adult" duties at a campsite and keeping up with the dogs seems a little daunting to me, especially when you factor in possible rain... so I think we're going to try to pitch a tent at home and camp out as long as the weather is nice enough to sleep outside! We have a little campfire and can do marshmallows, and still enjoy indoor plumbing and TV when we want to! :) Maybe we can go for a picnic one day, that would be nice!

I got permission to bring Kent to the humane society to volunteer, so we're definitely going to head over there on Saturday and spend some time with the animals and help out however we can. I'm really looking forward to it and think it will be great for Kent too!

I am on my last week of active BCPs and as soon as my period arrives (in about 1.5 weeks) we'll start the count down again for cycle day 21 and starting meds! YAY!!

Kenneth has been gone for what seems like longer than it has been, but he's called a few times which has been good... I miss him. :)