Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: The Crud is Back

Hey Humble Readers...

I hope that you all are having a great early autumn.  The weather here on the flatland has been remarkably good, including getting our hottest summer temp on the second day of fall... Crazy!  It's been a busy few days, and I have much to catch you all up on.

As the title of this post suggests, I am once again under the weather.  This is the second cold I have had THIS MONTH!!!  Ugh!  Sinuses, ears, throat... just gross.  And I think that Ginny might be catching it, she woke up snarfly this morning.  I'm praying that we are both feeling okay tomorrow night, as we have been invited out to dinner with a couple of couples from church. 

I had an appointment at the diabetic clinic on Tuesday morning.  It really was just a refresher on the dietary stuff and setting a game plan.  I'm testing my blood sugar before and after each meal (2 hours), and I have to send in my log sheet tomorrow.  The nurses will look at it and if my numbers are screwy (which they are), then they will call in a recommended rx to Dr B, and I'll be on insulin beginning next week.  The challenge over the last few days has been trying to eat the way I should when I feel like total crap.  The m/s pukies combined with this cold has left me craving a ton of carbs, and sadly I have been giving in. 

I had more blood drawn on Tuesday as well.  Five vials from my finicky veins.  Thankfully, one of the other doctors in Dr B's practice called me yesterday and let me know my beta numbers.  (As an aside - In looking at my O chart, it appears that I may have o'd a day later than I thought, and if that's the case then my DPO are all different.)  So, taking that into account...

13DPO - 34    20DPO - 442    27DPO - 3215

Not as high as I had hoped, but still doubling within normal parameters.  I'm still below average, but I'm feeling a little more confident. (I've come across a website that I love...  It's a collection of beta numbers from viable pregnancies and shows the variants in numbers.  Very reassuring)  My symptoms have been slightly more intense so that's also helping me feel a little better.  I've decided that I'm not going to go for another blood draw next week as I have my u/s on Wednesday.

The other day I spent the afternoon/evening with a couple of my girlfriends.  We went to the Big City two hours north of us and hit Ikea, Olive Garden, and an event for 'employees' of my former bookstore.  We got to attend a presentation from one of the biggest publishers in the country about all the new books coming out this fall.  So many great books... I can't wait!  Ikea was so much fun... I was a good girl and limited myself to the few things I had in mind when we first walked in.  It was hard not to be impulsive, but I stayed strong!  It was a great day and had a lot of laughs. 

I've decided that I'm going to do one or two projects each day until Wednesday.  Things like going through closets, making soup, and sorting through my crafting stuff.  I'm hoping that it will help me not fixate on the u/s.  I also have a big pseudo-Thanksgiving dinner to plan (more on that later). 

There are a ton of other things that I want to tell you about, but they will have to wait for now, as I'm fading.  Ginny is napping and if I'm lucky I might be able to catch a solid half hour of sleep.  Woo hoo!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Foodie Friday: The Slacker Saturday Edition... Mega Garlic Chicken

Hey Humble Readers...

Thank you so much to everyone who commented on my last post and emailed.  I really appreciate all your support.  Thursday and Friday were spent pretty much freaking out, but I started getting a grip on things last night, and I'm feeling mostly better about things.  As so many of you pointed out, my betas are doubling the way they should, they just started out lower that normal and it will take awhile to get to where they should be. 

So, because I wasted yesterday fretting and worrying, I never got around to posting my Foodie Friday recipe.  And I couldn't just let it pass by because it's such a fantabulous recipe.  The only bummer... I forgot to take a picture of it, so no foodie po.rn this time.  Sorry.  Just imagine a crock pot full of garlic and juicy browned chicken pieces.  Amazing!

This recipe is super easy, and if you're totally lazy like me, you can buy the garlic already peeled to save time.  And please don't freak out about the amount of garlic.  The cloves are left whole, so you get great garlic flavour without being overpowered.  This recipe is a combination of a few that I found on Pint.erest. 

Mega Garlic Chicken

1 whole roasting chicken, broken down (I used 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks, bone in and skin on)

40 garlic cloves, peeled (about 3 whole bulbs)
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
3/4 cup white wine (I used chicken stock because my wine rack only has red in it, but the wine would be better)
2 tsp dried thyme (I doubled this)
2 tsp dried rosemary (I doubled this)
1-2 bay leaves

Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and rub it in. In a skillet heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil and brown the chicken. When all pieces are browned, transfer to your slow cooker. Add a bit more olive oil to the skillet and toss in the garlic cloves. Stir/toss for 5-8 minutes until dark golden. Add wine/chicken stock to deglaze the pan (loosen up all the good bits stuck to the pan) and allow to simmer for 2 or 3 minutes. Pour garlic & wine over the chicken in the slow cooker. Sprinkle with thyme and rosemary, and add bay leaf. Cover and cook on low for three and a half to four hours. Remove chicken from slow cooker to a plate, and cover with foil (I put mine in a low oven while I got the rest of dinner ready). Pour the remaining liquid/garlic mix through a strainer over a small pot, and bring to a simmer. (discard the garlic cloves, etc) Simmer for 5-10 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly (it won't be thick like gravy, more like an au jus). Serve with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies.  Tip:  Reserve a few of the garlic cloves to mash with potatoes.

The original recipe didn't call to brown the chicken, but any meat in a slow cooker should be browned first because it tastes better. Besides, any meat that goes into a slow cooker tastes much better when it's been browned first. 

Oh, and one other tip... you'll want to take the garbage out right after dinner, otherwise your house will stink of garlic. 

As always, if you try it, let me know what you think!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Not Terrible, Not Great...

Hey Humble Readers...

I'm in need of some reassurance, so this is your invitation to blow smoke and just try to make me feel better, ok?

I got my beta numbers back this afternoon.  They aren't what I would like, and of course the ever sensitive Dr. B didn't really help matters with all his "well, they're pretty low" repeating like a broken record (he must have said it 5 times in my 10 minute appointment). 

HCG Beta @ 14 DPO: 34
HCG Beta @ 21 DPO: 442
Doubling every 45.5 hours

They aren't bad, but they aren't really strong either.  I'm above the 'minimum' line, but not at 'average'.  (I apologize, but I can't figure out how to get the graphic from  I'm trying really hard not to stress about it.  I'm going back for more blood work next Tuesday, so we'll see what we will see I guess.  *sigh* 

Have I mentioned how much I hate all this worry?  Damned IF!

We also talked about my blood sugars, which are terrible!  I have an appointment at the diabetic clinic next week, and I'll likely be on insulin from then forward.  One thing I discovered recently is that prometrium, particularly at the dosage that I'm taking, can screw with blood sugars in a pretty significant way, so we'll see how they take that into account. 

My ultrasound is 13 days away.  Please God let there be a heartbeat!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blog Bliggity Blog

Hey Humble Readers...

Happy Monday everyone.  Did you do any fun stuff over the weekend?  If you're looking for a great movie to see, I highly recommend "The Debt".  It was super intense, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were Oscars in their future. 

So, I know it's been a little crazy around here lately, with all kinds of important events happening all close together, but there's just one more that deserves to be mentioned. 

Today is my 3rd blogoversary.  While the road has taken me in a few different directions than I thought when I first set up the blog, I am so grateful for the company I've had along the way. 

And because it's my blogoversary, and it's September (which has always signalled new beginnings for me), I'm really thinking that it's time for a major over-haul of my corner of the blogosphere. 

I want a new layout, something a little more personal than what I have now.  I like most of the features I have, but I want it to be a bit more... sophisticated?  grown up?  polished?

For quite some time, I've been pondering a slight name change.  Not for me, but for this space.  I will always and forever be a wanna-be hobbit, and this place will always reflect that. 

My question for you all is... do you have a blog designer that you would recommend?  I don't have a whole lot of money to spend, but I know that I need help to achieve my vision (such as it is). 

In other news, my symptoms have been up and down the last few days and it's caused me a bit of angst.  There's this little voice that keeps trying to tell me that all the symptoms that I do have are just side effects of the progesterone, and that I'm not really pregnant.  I know that symptoms wax and wane.  I just wish I could shut off that stupid little voice.  I'm sure I'll feel better after I find out my beta numbers on Thursday.  (I'll also find out my glucose levels, and I'm fairly certain I'll be on insulin sooner rather than later.)  16 days until my u/s.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Hey Humble Readers...

Meet me at the Party Tree out in the field, and we'll have a great time!  I may not be eleventy-one, but I think I can still throw a good party!  :) 

Ok, in all seriousness... I'm having a nice mellow day, and tonight my Beloved is taking me out for dinner and a movie.  Yay!  I hope we're going someplace fun...

Now, who's going to drink a margarita for me?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Great Sockeroo!

Hey Humble Readers...

I hope you're having a great weekend.  Today was pretty mellow here at the hobbit hole.  A little Christmas shopping (yeah, I'm one of those people... I find it cheaper to shop early.  Besides, I only have my staff discount at my bookstore for a couple more weeks), some grocery shopping, and some morning sickness. 

Several weeks ago, a bunch of us signed up to participate in Kymberli's super cool "Sock It To Me" sock exchange.  I love love love these kinds of events... they are so much fun, and you get to connect with people you may have not really gotten to know before. 

My totally groovy sock partner was PCOS Chick... and she sent me these wonderfully warm, stylish, and awesomely STRIPEY socks! 

I'm not sure how it happened, but it looks like both
feet are coming out the same pant-leg.  Odd.
Aren't they outstanding?  I love me some stripey socks!

As a part of the Great Sockeroo, Kym has asked us to answer this question...

It has been roughly a year and a half since the last SITM Exchange. Reflect on the past 18 or so months – how has support from others, either in the blogosphere or otherwise, helped you?
Well, the past 18 months have been amazingly full.  At the time of the last SITM exchange I had just come out of a very frustrating cycle that was sadly of my own making.  It had been more than a year since my second miscarraige, and I was getting convinced that we were never going to get pregnant again.  That SITM exhange came a the perfect time... I needed a pick me up.

And as it turned out, those socks came in really handy as lucky socks less than a month later, when I got my sticky bfp.  I wore them to ultrasound after ultrasound, doctor's appointments and consultations, and by the time our sweet Ginevra was born those skull-and-crossbone, black and white checked socks were pretty worn out.  (And yes, they came to the hospital with me)

Throughout my long-awaited pregnancy, as well as before and every day after, this community has given me tremendous gifts... laughter when I was sinking, hugs in joy and sorrow, a calming voice in my moments of anxiety and panic, and, most importantly, listening ears and open hearts for everything in between. 

Oddly, SITM came around at the exact right time again.  And I have a new pair of lucky socks to wear to ultrasounds, blood draws, and doctor's appointments.  Maybe not so odd... maybe just perfection.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Foodie Friday: Schnitzel 'wiches!

Hey Humble Readers! 

I hope that you're all doing well.  It's been a relatively quiet around the hobbit hole this week, considering our discovery last Sunday.  I've been dealing with increasing symptoms and prometrium side effects, alternating extreme fatigue and growing nausea.  I'm feeling a bit anxious about not getting to know my beta numbers until the end of next week, but I'm just relying on the symptoms to keep me calm. 

One thing that's certainly kicked in is the increased appetite (even though I've lost 5 pounds this week)...  and I'm thinking that I'm going to have to make this recipe again real soon because it's just that good.

This recipe was inspired by Rachael Ray, but I took it in a completely different direction.  Hunter schnitzel is the only form of schnitzel that I've encountered that isn't breaded.  Instead it's lightly dredged in flour and then topped with a creamy mushroom sauce.  I used pork in this recipe, but you could also easily use chicken or veal.  The sauce is a little time consuming, but sooooooo worth it.  The key is to prep all your ingredients ahead of time so that everything is ready to go.

Hunter Schnitzel Sandwiches with Whiskey Cream Mushroom Sauce (serves 4)

4 Pork Chops, boneless, about 1/2 inch thick
1 cup Flour
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1-2 tbsp Olive Oil

1 pint Button Mushrooms, sliced
1 med Onion, sliced
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/4 cup Beef Stock
1 tbsp Black Peppercorns, cracked
1 fluid ounce Whiskey
1 cup Heavy Cream

French or Italian Baguette, cut into four equal lengths and cut crosswise (toast them up if you like)
Fresh Parsley, chopped (optional)

In a medium skillet, saute the mushrooms and onions in olive oil.  When mushrooms and onions are caramelized, remove from pan and set aside.  In the same pan, over medium high heat combine beef stock and peppercorns and bring to a simmer.  Allow to reduce to about 1 cup, then add cream and whiskey.  Keep simmering and allow to reduce to about 1 cup.  Add mushrooms and onions to the sauce and reduce temp to low.  Stir occasionally while continuing to make the rest of the dish. 

Carefully cut all pork chops crosswise (think butterflying, but cut all the way through), and using a meat mallet or a rolling pin pound the slices until they are about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Combine flour with salt and pepper in a shallow dish, and dredge pork lightly.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil and fry schnitzels in batches (don't overcrowd the pan) until golden brown and keep them warm in the oven. 

Arrange schnitzels on the baguettes and top with mushroom cream sauce.  Garnish with fresh parsley.  Serve with cabbage salad. 

The sauce is great on just about anything... heck it would make an old shoe taste great.  As always, if you try it let me know what you think!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Good News-Bad News Kind of Day

Hey Humble Readers...

So, I'm still kind of vibrating from our discovery yesterday (if you haven't read yesterday's post, please do so now). 

I was 100% certain that we had missed the egg.  Then throw in the crazy sunburn I got right at O time and then the doozy of a cold that we all had.  Well, I thought that this cycle was a write off.  I was never happier to be wrong!

As I mentioned yesterday, first on today's to do list was to call Dr U and Dr B to arrange for blood tests and a prescription for the prometrium (progesterone) suppositories.  Well, I called Dr U first, as he is the miracle worker, wonder doctor with the best bedside manner I have ever encountered.  When I got through to his office I was shocked and dismayed to learn that the good Dr U has packed up and moved to Australia!  The new receptionist for the new doctor who took over his practice was really condescending ("Well dear, you need to call your regular doctor first.  We don't take just any old pregnant lady.  Your regular doctor will know if you need to see Dr W"). 

So I called Dr B's office and was able to get in today.  I was very nervous... afraid that I had just imagined that line yesterday, or that he would tell me that he didn't want to give me the prometrium or an early u/s because everything turned out ok last time.

But every now and then, Dr B surprises me.  As soon as he came in the room he told me that their test confirmed my pregnancy and that he wanted me on prometrium right away.  We talked about my EDD (May 23rd) and my first u/s (Oct 5).  We discussed how to tackle the dreaded GD issue (testing early and often) and he was even open to my request for a new OB (I did some research this morning after I found out about Dr U's departure and have a short list of options).  I go for blood work tomorrow and again on Tuesday next week.  It's unlikely that I'll get my beta numbers until my appointment on Thursday next week, as that's just how his office works. 

So... here I am.  Pregnant.  Wow.

Symptom-wise things are pretty mellow.  Sore b00bs, mild cramps, brief flashes of nausea, fatigue, and new this time around, a very dry mouth.  Because Ginny and I walked to Dr B's office and then to my Beloved's office, I now have two very ugly blisters on my foot.  Oh well.  I'm still in a great mood. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Hey Humble Readers...

I'm sorry that I've been off the grid this past week.  All three of us having a doozy of a summer cold, a teething baby, and a crazy-a$$ heat wave have sapped my energy.  Today we are actually all feeling better, for the most part, and while it's warm, there's a nice breeze that's allowing me to feel human again. 

It's been a challenging week because everywhere I turned there were reminders of 9-11.  The images, the stories, the pain.  I'm in no way saying that we shouldn't commemorate this day, just that all the constant visual reminders have been very hard on my heart.

Ten years ago today, I woke up to my radio coming on saying something about the airport in K-town being shut down.  I didn't think much of it really, and went to take a shower.  It wasn't until I turned on the tv a half hour later that I saw my first glimpses of the horrors that were taking place.  I went through the rest of the day in a bit of a fog, and grieved with the rest of the world. 

One day changed everything.  The feeling of safety that I remember having all my life up till then was gone.  I wept then for the victims, the heroes, and their families.  And I wept today as I watched the memorial services on tv.  I continue to pray that the families of the victims of such a senseless act of violence have found some peace for their hearts. 

WTC Memorial, New York
(image credit:
Three years ago today, I woke up, 11 weeks pregnant and spotting.  I didn't think much of it, I had read that spotting was possible, particularly in the first trimester.  By noon, the spotting was much heavier, and I was scared.  By the middle of the afternoon I had two ultrasounds and it was confirmed.  My pregnancy had ended several weeks before, but my body was just cluing in. 

One day changed everything.  My innocent joy and hope in that pregnancy was taken away, and the trust that I had in my body was shattered.  That day I became a statistic.  That day fear for the future of our family set in. 

Shadow Box Memorial for Emily Hope & Olivia Noelle
We collected the leaves a few weeks after we lost Emily. 
The rocks are from a memorial service we attended that fall for lost babies.

My favourite lullaby.

Emily Hope September 2008
Olivia Noelle January 2009
My Beloved gave me this ring for Mother's Day this year...
One stone for each baby, Emily, Olivia, & Ginevra

Today, I woke up with a hopeful heart. 

12 dpo... Ummmm...

Yup... oh boy...
I wasn't really expecting it, given how ooky this cycle was, but it's happened all the same.  Of course, this is still very early and given my history, I'm only allowing myself to be cautiously optimistic.  I'm calling both Dr. U and Dr. B tomorrow so that I can get blood tests done asap, along with a prescription for progesterone suppositories. 

Is it ok if I just say... Eeeeeeeeee?!?!?

(btw, if you know me irl... PLEASE DON'T SAY ANYTHING YET!  Our families won't know for a few days.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

I Laughed...

... until I peed cried!

Click for larger view... you MUST read this!
Ok, seriously.  I'm still trying to catch my breath. 

I found this on Pinterest.  (Kristin, you are an evil, EVIL woman for introducing me to the hugest time-suck around!  Oh wait, I asked... damn!) 

Hope you all had a fabulous long weekend! 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Foodie Friday: Variations on Rice

Hey Humble Readers...

Any big plans for the long weekend?  I was looking forward to spending the last real weekend of the summer outside, maybe at the farmer's market and the park.  Sadly, the cold that the baby girl has seems to be making its way around the hobbit hole.  My Beloved is really congested and I've got a scratchy throat.  Oh well, I would have just spent money at the farmer's market. 

This week I don't have one big recipe for you.  Instead I have a bunch of little recipes. 

I confess, I'm a meat and taters kind of gal.  I prefer mashed taters, baked taters, roasted taters.  I like them so much that I would only cook rice when I was doing a stir fry or curry.  Why?  Because I was always BORED with rice. White rice, without a sauce of some sort, is just blah. 

Basic Long Grain White Rice

1 cup long grain rice
2 cups water*

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add rice, stir, and cover.  Reduce temp to low and allow to do its thing for 20-22 minutes.  Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and serve. 


So, I started experimenting.  These are all pretty simple things, but they all pack a big flavour punch.  Just make sure to use flavours that will complement your entree.
  • Swap stock (beef, chicken, veggie) for the water.  Even canned stewed tomatoes work.
  • Fresh herbs work well.  Tarragon, basil, dill, cilantro, saffron, and parsely all work well. 
  • Toss in a cinnamon stick, a bay leaf, or even your favourite flavour of tea (in a tea bag).  Remove before serving. 
  • Diced onion sauteed in a bit of butter adds a great savoury flavour.  Minced garlic also works, just don't let it burn
  • In place of SOME of the stock, use fruit juice.  I often use lemon juice, and have used orange juice successfully.  I normally do a one third/two thirds ratio (1 part juice to 2 parts stock).  Right now, I'm pondering apple juice flavoured rice with a pork main dish.  Hmmm...
  • Zest a lemon, lime or orange and use the zest in the stock for a slight citrus note.
  • In place of SOME of the stock, use white wine.  Again, use a 1:2 ratio.  Amazingly good!
  • At the end, add in some toasted nuts (like slivered almonds or pine nuts) for some great crunch.
* I always go a bit shy on the liquid, whatever I'm using.  Usually about 1 & 2/3 cup for one cup of rice.  Or, I dump in a bit of extra rice. 

So, I don't have any pics of rice, but I do have some pics from some recipes I made this week.  Enjoy!

Orange Chicken w/ Saffron Cinnamon Rice
(totally ripped off from Rachael Ray)

Remember those Drunk Pork Chops I did a few weeks ago?  Well I did a whole chicken in the same brine.  Just one word.  Ah-MAY-Zing!  So tender and juicy, and the gravy was killer!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Snot & Other Bodily Fluids

Good Evening Humble Readers...

How are you all doing? 

If you're affected at all by back-to-school season, I hope that things have gone smoothly for the start of the year.  Locally, kids went back today, which doesn't make a whole heap of sense to me... send the kids back for two days before a long weekend?  How many kids are even going to show up until next week? 

All's quiet here in the hobbit hole, at the moment anyway.  Ginny has what I think is a cold.  She doesn't have a fever, but she's seriously snotty and has something other than her usual fake cough.  She's also been having several bowel movements a day.  I know that it's possible that this is related to her teething, but it seems to be bigger than that.  Her sleep schedule has been thrown off because she's having difficulty breathing with being so stuffed up, and while she still has moments of her usual cheerful self, but she's mostly pretty lethargic.  Poor wee girl... I'm hoping she's better soon.

So, remember when I said I was going to start charting again on my next cycle, in hopes of feeling a little bit more in control?  Ha-freakin'-Ha!  My cycle started 18 days ago, and I reactivated my FF account and have been getting back into the swing of things.  Now, remember that wicked sunburn I got on the weekend?  I'm pretty sure it's screwed up my temps.  I'm almost certain I O'd on CD 16 based on my EWCM and a couple other usual signs.  The thing is, my temps from CD15 and 16 are way higher than normal for that time in my cycle, and now I can't see a clear thermal shift that ties in with my other O signs.  The whole point of charting was so that I could pinpoint O and keep an eye on my luteal phase.  So much for that idea this cycle. 

Funny Ginny story... the baby gate we have has a hinged door-type-gate on one side for easy pass through.  I really like it, but apparently it's not a love match for Ginny.  The other day I went through the gate to put something away in the bathroom, but I forgot to lock the gate behind me.  Ginny was in the living room playing.  I was just coming out of the bathroom when I heard her crying in the hall.  I came around the corner and there she was, hanging on the gate that was swinging back and forth because of her weight.  The poor wee girl couldn't figure out that she had to let go.  (for those of you who are gasping... the gate just blocks the hallway.  It's not to block any stairs or other dangers) 

Finally, for all the old ladies who harrass me about how we're raising Ginny, I submit the following...

Click for a larger view