Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Transfer

This morning, around 10:30, we had a successful transfer.
I introduce to you our newest, teeny tiny, microscopic embryo...from the freezer, seven and a half years later! 




Here's how a transfer works:
You have to arrive with a full bladder-the full bladder helps the uterus show on the ultrasound, which helps for better imaging.  The imaging helps with catheter placement into the uterus. The catheter contains the embryo and the embryo will be "shot into" the uterus.

Both myself and my husband had to dress in a scrub like uniform to ensure a sterile environment. 



The procedure is not painful at all, rather sitting with a full bladder for about an hour is! We met with the nurse and went over instructions, and then met with the embryologist who declared our embryo "perfect!" We then moved our way into the operating room, and I'm IDed as the patient and the embryo is made sure to match my ID.  The cervix is cleaned, the catheter is inserted and ultrasound guides the proper placement.  Once the doctor is ready, the embryo is passed through a small window in the operating room and within a few seconds the embryo is placed!  



You can watch the transfer video HERE 

Because I had a full bladder, and they want you to lie flat for 30 more minutes, they requested that I use a bed pan so I wasn't straining by holding it in.  That was quite the experience.  Labor and birth is a somewhat boundary-less experience, this was not something I was prepared for.  It took quite a bit of coaxing, but I finally gave in.  



I am back at home, relaxing, definitely using the two days of mandatory bed rest to my advantage.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to remain on bed rest for two days, but any time spent relaxing is better than no time!  I have several limitations until my pregnancy test on May 6.
No heavy lifting 
No exercising 
No douching or hot tub use
No intercourse 
Continue my medications 



I go back on May 2 to check my progesterone and estrogen levels.  



Although I've gone through this process rather disconnected, no matter how much distance you try to put between yourself and the possibility of a possible outcome, nonetheless, hope and future starts to creep right on in.  For now, I'll live in the realm of possibility, and I'll take what may as it comes. 

Here we go! 


Monday Munchies...

Or should I say Tuesday Treats?!? 
Anyway, I wanted to share some Passover recipes-a couple are my go-to, other are just some to keep in mind, because, we all like options, even for our food, not just our lipsticks! 

Lipstick overload! #ilovemyjob #ilovemakeup #lavitaebella **If you are into Beauty, fashion, makeup head on over and like Ashlee Miller Artistry on Facebook.:  
See Mom, I told ya' 

Anyway, I'll start by sharing a recipe that's tried and true, and honestly, looked forward to each year.  My guests this year even commented on how great it was! It's from Passover by Design by Susie Fishbein. Aside from the traditional family cookbooks, it's the only cookbook I have for Passover. 



Cranberry Pineapple Ball
Cranberry Base: 
4 cups matzoh farfel 
1/3 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 16 oz can of whole berry cranberry sauce 
2/3 vegetable oil 
1/4 cup orange juice

Pineapple Topping:
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar 
1/2 cup vegetable oil 
1/4 cup potato starch 
1 20 oz can crushed pineapple 

Use a strainer to wet the farfel. Then, add all the base ingredients into a mixing box and combine. 



 Once all the ingredients are incorporated, press it into the spring form pan that has been heavily sprayed.



  I always have an issue with this pan, and I always have leakage out the bottom.  I highly recommend either experimenting with a 9x13 pan, or placing a cookie sheet or foil underneath when you put it into the oven.  

For the pineapple topping, whisk the eggs and sugar, then add the potato starch and pineapple.  Once the ingredients are combined, pour it on top of the base.  



Bake uncovered for 50 minutes.  I always find that I need to let this cook for well over an hour.  I like to keep it cooking until my edges begin to brown.  

The next recipe I'm sharing is the perfect Passover recipe.  I can't find this recipe on any previous Monday Munchies, which is hard to believe...so you won't have to wait any longer!

Soo easy. And delicious! It was so light and fluffy. Will be making this again! CS:

Tali's Chocolate Mousse 
4 eggs, separated 
1 cup chocolate chips 

Can you believe that's it! I love that the ingredients are simple, yet produce an amazing mousse, cutting down on unnecessary caloric ingredients.  

Separate the eggs-whip the whites until they look very stiff and whipped.  I wish I had taken a picture but when it looks like whipped cream, then it's whipped enough.  The amount of whipping will determine the texture of the mousse.  I definitely over-whipped this time and the texture came out very thick, making it much more substantial.  

While you're whipping whip it real good...melt the chocolate chips in the microwave.  I microwave in a disposable bowl to reduce clean up, but make sure to microwave in 30 second increments.  When melting chocolate chips in the microwave, the chips don't have to be entirely melted-the heat will continue to melt the chips once you're mixing, and some chocolate chunks in the mousse never hurt anyone, in fact-I think it makes it better.  Actually, I might want to incorporate some chocolate chunks into the fully mixed mousse as a last step.  

Set aside the chips to cool, and let the egg whites continue to whip.  Once the chips are cool, add in the yolks.  The chips need to be cool enough that they won't cook the eggs.  

Once the chips and eggs are mixed, add it back into the egg whites and mix again.  The egg whites will reduce in size. Refrigerate and serve as you please. I bought little dessert cups with little spoons and garnished with whipped cream and raspberries.  You could also eat out of the container too...I may or may not be guilty of that!  

I so wish I had my own picture of this! 


I want to share one more recipe that might be worthwhile, although I haven't used it yet.  


Vegan Matzoh Balls 
1 large Yukon gold potato 
1/2 cup matzoh meal
2 tablespoons potato starch 
2 teaspoons onion powder 
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt 
pinch of ground black pepper 
1-2 teaspoons chopped dill or parsley 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
2 tablespoons club soda (seltzer) or water 

Boil the potato and cook for 25 minutes or until tender.  Drain the water and cool for 10 minutes, remove the skin.  Use a potato ricer (which is like a large garlic press) to create large potato stands.  Add in the matzoh meal, potato starch, onion powder, salt, pepper and dill, then oil and club soda/water.  Mix until combined and add in more matzoh meal if the mixture seems too wet.  Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, but not longer than an hour.  

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Then, use the mixture to create the matzoh balls-it should make 12-14 balls that are 1 inch in diameter.  Drop of the matzoh balls into the boiling water, but place no more than 8 matzoh balls into the pot at a time.  Cover the maztoh balls and let them cook for 15-20 minutes-until they're floating and tender.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate. 

I hope your Passover eats have been scrumptious! 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Transfer date is set!

I have been meaning to update all week, but with Passover beginning tonight, the days were long and there was just not enough time!
I went to the doctor for blood and ultrasound on Monday.  
For those of you that don't remember, I started on baby aspirin to increase the blood flow to my uterus.  Of course, everyone wants to hear early Monday morning, "your uterus is perfect!" I'll take it! 

I continued on the Lupron through Wednesday and I'm still taking .2 estrogen every third night, so I'm due to take another shot tonight.  Last night I began Crinone (which is a progesterone vaginal suppository) and Medrol (steroid) and Augmentin (antibiotic).  Although I can't be certain, I believe I have an intolerance to Augmentin since I woke up five ours after my initial dose puking for a few hours this morning.  Thankfully, I got a new antibiotic called in-one I've taken recently and had no issues with.  

I return to the office Monday morning just to do blood work and make sure things are looking good, and then the transfer will take place Tuesday at some point.  

Happy Passover and Happy Weekend! I don't think I've been more happy to have this crazy week come to an end!


 Yes.:

Monday, April 18, 2016

Monday Munchies...

The countdown is on: T-5 days until the big seders! If you're like me, you struggle with the desire to keep things interesting, but ultimately lack the time to really change things up.  Well, I'm here to offer that pat on the back-because my Passover menu hasn't changed in years.  I've been making Passover for about 6 years now (or is it 7) and although my mom isn't the most organized person, she is really good at making lists and keeping an inventory.  Although, she only does it as a ploy to save money!  Sorry mom! Tonight will be our annual Passover shopping trip and although I dread it, there is some serious sense of accomplishment having successfully bought what you need for Passover.  

Anyway, for those of you still struggling to complete your menu, or needing a few fill in items, I will share our Seder menu with you, along with some links to recipes.  Next Monday, I'll share my favorite recipes that you can use for the last days of Passover, or truthfully, all year round! 

Seder 1
Charoses:
Charoses is a paste-like mixture that we eat during the seder to remind us of the mortar the Jews used while in slavery.  It is typically a mixture made of nuts, apples and wine, but because of allergies, we now do a nut-free version.


It doesn't look too appealing, but trust me-it's sweet, crunchy and alcoholic!  You can also make it to the texture of your liking.  

Gefilte Fish 
Gefilte fish isn't actually a type of fish- it's a mixture of several types of fish ground and molded into a log form.  It can be baked or boiled.  Typically, we boil it and serve it with a sweet horseradish and beets mixture.  
 
Many people who don't know any better are used to eating it from the jar.  I have never had that version, and I do not plan on it! Boiling is so simple-buy it frozen, and boil it! Ta-da! This is the kind of horseradish we like: 
 It has a kick, but also sweet and you can definitely take piling it on with this mixture.  

Chicken soup and Matzoh Balls 
It wouldn't be Passover without chicken soup and matzoh balls!  We don't typically have matzoh balls anymore-they take extra time, Hannah can't have them, my dad is gluten free, and they aren't diet friendly. But, for holidays, we make exceptions!  Matzoh balls have definitely become a treat and I'm looking forward-some like them hard, most prefer them soft, but the challenge is real! Some say not to lift the lid, others add seltzer...


Chicken
I mentioned HERE that I was into roasted chicken, and that will be a simple way to add in some additional veggies, the traditional potatoes, and the chicken!  I love that it's so easy and contains so many "must-haves" that are required for an entree!

Roasted Whole Chicken with Vegetables - I am giving this a shot tonight with brussel sprouts, onions, potatoes and carrots:

Asparagus 
Such an easy vegetable to make! Not everyone goes for it, but I love it.  It's carb-free, so that's another win! With all these carbs on Passover, I can definitely appreciate the lack of carbs in this dish! 
 

Cranberry Matzoh Kugel 
This is definitely a winner-it almost tastes like regular kugel! This has been on the list since the first year and I look forward to it every meal! 

Kosher by Design Cranberry Pineapple Kugel:  

Dessert: Chocolate Mousse 
Mousse is simple and such a crowd pleaser.  Typically, I make it in a pie, but for Passover the pie crusts are limited, and not as good, so this year I bought small disposable plastic dessert cups that I can garnish with raspberries.  I cannot wait for this, I love a good chocolate dessert.  The recipe is so simple-come back next week where I'll share it! 

 

Seder 2
This seder will have a majority of the same food, but a few items will be switched out.  Instead of asparagus we'll have green beans-most likely prepared the same way.  Instead of chicken we'll have brisket with potatoes.   Instead of the cranberry pineapple kugel, we'll have a cranberry relish: it's made of cranberries, pineapple and mandarin oranges and also is a satisfying and light side dish.  
Dessert will be a lemon frozen mousse-like dessert.

Come back next week where I'll showcase some of these recipes, but I hope you'l stop back sooner!
 Happy cooking! 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Moving Along...

My uterus is holding up nicely, according to my ultrasound.  My lining is starting to build nicely, but I've now added in a baby Aspirin once a night to increase blood flow.  
I've increased my estrogen to .2 every third night, and my Lupron remains at 5 units.  
So far, so good.
I return Monday for monitoring and I should get a confirmation then on when the transfer will be.  

For most of the process I've just been going through the motions.  Appointments, shots, medication...but it's slowly staring to sink in what may or may not be in the next few weeks.  
Whatever it is, I know that it is G-d's will.  

STOP BEING AFRAID OF WHAT COULD GO WRONG AND THINK OF WHAT COULD GO RIGHT:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Scents for the whole family

Scents for the whole family


Today I'm talking scents for the whole family.  I've mentioned it before, but when it comes to fashion and beauty, I definitely wasn't destined to be "in the know" shall we say.  Fashion doesn't come naturally to my mom, and we still tease her that her clothes haven't changed in about 30 years! Suffice to say that fashion isn't a top priority.  But, thankfully, living in NYC for the past almost 10 years has done me some good, but not so much for my wallet.  

Women

For better or worse, I'm thankful that I'm getting myself together; and part of that means smelling nice.   The first time it hit me that designer perfumes were really worth the hefty price tag (although any economics major will tell you you're paying for the bottle, and it's an absurd profit) was when I was at a friend's house and her sister's friend came downstairs and this beautiful, elegant and feminine scent surrounded her.  Burberry London  has been in my rotation since then!  

One night I went to visit my former college roommate; she was from LA and of course, the mid-west can't compete! So, I always looked to her for fashion advice and she was always representing the latest trends.  I was playing around with her perfumes, and Coco Mademoiselle was my favorite from her collection; it's elegant and classy, yet youth-like.  I always kept it in mind, and knew one day I would finally bite the bullet.  

A few years ago Flowerbomb burst into the scene.  My friend was so excited when she ordered hers, but warned me it was expensive, "but it's so worth it; it smells like candy!"  I was skeptical, but then I smelled it for myself, and I was blown away.  It really does smell like candy, with a funky kick-ass sort of twist to it.

I recently added Gucci Bamboo to my collection. I felt that I had a few feminine, floral scents, and I needed something not as dainty.  There are a few things in life I'm a hard sell on-perfumes are one of them.  Sales reps are always rather surprised when my reaction to a scent is, "...it smells like a bathroom." Ok then, moving right along.  They'll try to tell me all the different tones, but they might as well speak gibberish.  I tried out several, but this stuck out in my mind and I kept saying after every new scent, "I really like that Gucci one." And since then, I've worn it more than any of my others; I almost have to remind myself to wear the other scents.  To me, it smells nice and pretty, but it's not dainty.  Like the impression I want to give off-pretty and nice, but don't mess with me!

Men

A few years back, I bought my husband his first cologne.  Before that, he was an Axe guy.  Thankfully we're over that! He's a very simple guy, and has about zero preference in fashion, other than-comfort and practicality.  It was way out of his comfort zone to put on cologne, and he definitely didn't want more than one.  I smelled this one in a magazine fold and used a gift giving opportunity as an excuse to gift him that.  He loved it, and when he ran out I replaced it with this.   However, since he doesn't have a preference, I use an empty bottle as a way to try something new!  So, I walked into Sephora of course.  These were my top three picks for a new scent for my guy!

Jimmy Choo was a fave.  I was immediately drug in by the name, as I'm sure this would be the only Jimmy Choo item I ever own!  However, because of it's popularity, and I hate being the same, I specifically opted not to go for it.

When the sales rep showed me the Montblanc  cologne, I knew the bar was just raised.  I mentioned that my husband has about no preference in fashion, but I have to take it back.  He cares about one thing-Montblanc.  He literally drools over Montblanc pens!  So I thought it would be rather cool to get a cologne in his favorite brand.

The sales rep decided to show me a newer, less popular cologne.  First of all, you get more product for the same price.  Secondly, it's less popular and I'm all for being different!  It wasn't my favorite at first, but after smelling it a few times, there's a spicy scent that comes through as like an after-scent, and it's delicious.  After I gave it to him, I kept saying, "don't you just love it?!?" The truth is, he loves anything I make, cook, bake, wear, buy...but I know he actually does like this cologne!

Kids

Of course perfume/cologne isn't for kids, but if your kids are anything like mine, they love to copy.  My daughter helped me sort the laundry, all while wearing my bra.  She recently lined her diaper with a pantie liner!  I love that they see us and learn about grooming habits and life skills and I'm all for implementing that in an appropriate way.  I have actually had this Mustela product for awhile, and it's finally getting some use! I never bothered to put it on them as a baby, but they love that they can put on their own cologne/perfume in the mornings.

Sometimes the cost of a perfume/cologne can be very off-putting.  Thankfully, Sephora has what's called perfume samplers.  This one and this one are the current samplers, a little less than 50% off the retail value.  What's great about them, besides a lower price, is that there's a certificate redeemable for one full size perfume from the choices in the sampler.  So not only do you get to have sample sizes of several perfumes, for a less than full size price, you get a full size bottle!  I don't go through my perfumes that quickly and have had some go bad on me-perfumes last about 3-5 years, so I always feel pressure to use it before it goes bad, so the smaller bottles are nice because there's less product to use!

What are your signature scents?

Monday, April 11, 2016

A(nother) Cookie Update

This post is under the guise of the typical Monday Munchies...however, the honest truth is that I've eaten egg whites for dinner every night and an uncrustable for lunch every day.  My kids rotate between oatmeal, chicken nuggets, pizza and cereal.  

............
..........
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We all survived!
But, in all truthfulness, I do want to find one recipe to re-create one time over the week so I can showcase it here.  That really can't be too hard can it? 

However, in the meantime, I'll show you some of my recent cookie work.  I last updated you on the cookies in July, so I figured if I can't show you something I cooked recently, I can at least show you something I baked.












and
tinykitchentreats  provide plenty of inspiration!  

Lámina "Baked with love" de #LilLuna:

Friday, April 8, 2016

Womb Update

Monday and Friday, today, I had monitoring appointments.  Monday was blood and ultrasound.  Everything looks good  and I dropped my lupron down to 5 units a night.  Starting a week ago, I had been waking up at 2:45 on the dot, every night with night sweats.  That led to some serious exhaustion.  Once I dropped the dose, I gained back an extra hour of sleep, waking now at 3:30. 

 I also started estrogen supplements, at .05 units, Monday night.  Because my insurance doesn't cover the estrogen patches because it isn't a common fertility drug (so they say) it was either pay $700 out of pocket for them, or pay the $10 co-pay for an injection I take every third night.  I increased my dose to .1 last night and will take another dose at .1 Sunday night.


It's a rather large needle, not the largest though, and I'm sure you can guess where that goes....in the badonkadonk.  Thankfully, after about 30 minutes of icing, it's relatively numb and the shot is painless.

 Today, was just blood and I'm waiting to hear from the office about my instructions.   

Overall, I'm feeling fine.  Sometimes hot, often hungry-it's still up for debate on if it's true hunger induced by the hormones or the placebo affect (or my bad habits from my lack of diet for the past few weeks are still hanging around.)  

Happy Weekend

may your Friday sparkle  by Pretty Print Shop:


Monday, April 4, 2016

Monday Munchies...

Today's recipe is a quick, easy, and healthy side dish.  This side dish was made for my family as part of the provided community meals during the week of shiva.  When it came out to the table, I'm pretty sure almost every person ooohed and aaahhed in excitement.  Who knew something so basic and simple could be so exciting! It was so exciting, that I even passed up on letting my friend make a side so I could make this the following week.


Sauteed Vegetables 
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Red Pepper
Mushrooms 
Snow Peas 

Heat olive oil in a large enough skillet. Add in the vegetables and toss so their coated in olive oil, then add the salt and pepper.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes, it all depends on your preference of how crunchy you like your vegetables.  You could also add any flavor of seasoning, I just happened to prefer to keep this one simple. 

You can change this up to include any vegetable you want so it can be altered to fit any family during any season or sale.

It's funny how something so simple can be so exciting! This is such an easy, quick and healthy way to get those veggies in.  I'm sure this isn't a new recipe to anyone reading this, and I didn't think it would be, but I just wanted to remind you that sometimes, it's the tried and true recipes that always end up back in the rotation.  

I wish I had taken a picture, but alas, it was all finished!


This is pretty much the advise that I was given every chance that she had to give it to me.  :D:

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