Monday, 30 May 2011

Things I am looking forward to this year

With the year nearly half over, I have been thinking about all the things I have to look forward to in 2011

Visiting Paris with Murray in October - the city of love

Trying IVF again. While it is going to be stressful, we feel like now is the right time, and remain hopeful

Going to see the final Harry Potter movie. We have bought tickets for the midnight opening screening on Murray's birthday

Getting a new little nephew in June

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Cheesecake adventures

Tomorrow is my sister-in-laws baby shower, so today I have been busy in the kitchen, getting everything ready for the day. My first adventure was to make a cheesecake. Now I have made cheesecake before once, and while I really liked it, I wanted to try and do it more 'my way'. My way involves basically making a cake without a recipe and figuring out what works! So here it is - a low-ish fat, yummy lemon cheesecake.

The base
To make the base of the cheesecake, I used a blender to crush a 250g packet of Milk Arrowroot biscuits.

I popped the crumbed biscuits into a small bowl, and after sifting out the chunky bits, I added about 150g of melted butter and mixed them together to create the biscuit mixture.

Using one of those super-duper flexible molds rather than a tin or pan makes my life much easier when it comes time to take the cake out later. Use your hands and a spoon to get the mixture flattened out and up the walls of the mold, and then pop it in the fridge to cool.

The mixture
Cream around 350g of Philly Cream Cheese in a small bowl.

I started mine in a large bowl but it was too big for my purpose so swapped to the small bowl half way through. Once the cream cheese is soft and creamy, mix in a 400g can of low fat condensed milk slowly. I squeezed two fresh lemons, heated up the juice and added a packet (3 tspns) of Gelatine to the mix to help the cake set. (I have made a similar cake before without the gelatine for a vegetarian and it was fine, just a personal preference.)

Make sure the mix is combined properly with no big chunks of cream cheese at the bottom (one of my newbie mistakes the first time I made this!) Pour the filling into the base and neaten the top up. The cake is ready to eat in a couple of hours or the next day.

I'm not a huge cook, but this really is an easy one and very impressive when you need to take a dish to a party. Essentially it's a base cheesecake, you could add berries or passionfruit to the filling just before you put it in the base to create different variations. If you have a go at making this, let me know how you went!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

You are getting very very sleepy...

So what's going to be different about this cycle to every other cycle that I have done. I have tried acupuncture in the past, and quite possibly I will give that another shot this time, at least in the couple of days before and after our embryo transfer.

Something different that I have done recently is Virtual Reality Therapy, which is a specific-type of hypnotherapy. Essentially it is  guided relaxation, with blackout goggles and headphones, with a tiny tv screen in front of your face. After a few sessions with the full kit, I now have a CD which I listen to at night, or when I am feeling stressed. Just something about it makes me immediately able to relax. I have always had trouble with meditating and relaxing in the past, so it has amazed me that this really worked for me!

In addition to the relaxation and acupuncture, I also want to put the word out to my christian friends, to pray for me. I believe in the power of prayer, but to be honest I never thought of asking others to pray for me, thinking it to be something selfish, or asking too much. Recently somebody came up to me at church and told me they had had an urge to prayer for me on a particular issue that I had never mentioned, and it gave me such an incredible lift, and I realised that this is what God is about - ask and you shall receive. So here I am asking for your help, to not only lift my desire for a child to God, but also to pray for my physical and emotional strength during our treatment.

For non-believers, positive thoughts would also be appreciated. Just knowing that we have such amazing people around us - family, friends, people near and far, who care about us and want us to succeed, well, it means more than you can know.
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Monday, 23 May 2011

Back into the lions den

How quickly this year has gone. I feel like it was only yesterday that we took down the Christmas tree (actually it was only last month - oops!). Time has drifted by, carrying me along with it. So many things happening all at once. But once these things are done, there will be peace and rest. Uni is nearly at exam time, and then a break for a month. My sister-in-laws baby shower is this weekend, and then the baby soon after. We finished our three month mandated waiting period for counselling and had our final counselling session on this weekend just gone, so no more stress about whether it would be approved etc.
So here we are, ready to throw ourselves into the lions den again. Depending on how long my current cycle it is (blood test indicated I was about to ovulate on Saturday), we will start IVF again using our known donor next month. I am scared, nervous, fearful of hoping, yet not able to stop the hope creeping in. This is our shot, quite possibly our last stim cycle. We have had such a long break from treatment with my last cancelled cycle in September last year, and I haven't had an egg collection since September the year before, 2009.

We are also extremely lucky that Murray's parents have agreed to use their credit card to make the upfront IVF payment, and then we will hopefully have a decent tax return to pay them back in July *fingers crossed*. Without that, we would not have the resources to pay for another round of treatment.
This time is going to be different. We are using a known donor who has had success in the past, so we have proof that it can work. I know I can fall pregnant, my body has done it before. Now it's about connecting the dots, having faith, and keeping my sanity at the same time.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Big Day Out

Today we went for an adventure!
We went for a walk.
We saw lots of other people walking.

We had our photo taken!

And now I'm sleeping, Goodnight.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

A new look

As you may have noticed (or may not have if you use RSS or google reader), my blog has had a complete overhaul. I have loved my scrapbook style for the last 18 months, but I felt like I needed something fresh and new, but also something a little simpler. I have to send a huge thank you to the beautiful Sass from Moozoo Designs who turned my vision into a reality.

The tree in my header is a representation of my life, seeing beauty in simple things, the different areas and branches of my life, all of the different colours. The solitary nature of the being a tree on it's own, yet still strong.

I took some inspiration from my favourite American and included a verse that inspires me, actually a bible verse that has kept me going for the last couple of years.
 You can also grab my blog badge, or contact me with my new social media badges - look how pretty they are! Not sure I will keep my followers listing up though. Don't get me wrong I totally heart all of my followers, and want lots more, but I always feel it is a bit of a competition, and would rather not let myself get distracted by that. I blog for me, not for numbers, but you knew that already.

I forgot how uplifting a makeover can be! My tip for the day - go and do something different. Pop some lippy on, try a new hairstyle, go out for dinner, have a picnic in your backyard - get out of your comfort zone! You might surprise yourself with how good you will feel afterwards. I am off to bask in this new found happiness, and going for a late night waffle run with Murray - Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

For a good cause

Today I said goodbye to my wedding dress. I'm a little bit sad and have shed a few tears, but I am also excited about the dress's next adventure in a different part of the world. My church is involved in mission work in Zimbabwe, particularly with refugees there, and they have helped in the set up of a wedding hire business that the women run. The idea is that the women become self-sufficient by running thier own business, and it has been so successful that they are also able to support a local group of orphans with the funds.

So my dress is now on it's way to Zimbabwe, where a disadvantaged woman will have the opportunity to wear a beautiful dress on her special day. That makes me feel pretty darn happy.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Mothers Day celebrations

So Mothers Day is tomorrow and of course it raises a range of different emotions in me. The first thought is for our little Vanilla, who should be here with us now. But while remembering her, I am trying not to let that bring the tone of the day down.

We are just about to head out for brunch to see murrays family so I had better run.

Happy mothers day to the mums out there. Enjoy it :-)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Not enough hours in the day

Do you ever feel like you are doing so much, but not really getting anyway? I'm having one of those weeks where I feel as if I am exhausting myself by doing everything but not actually achieving anything.

I have an overdue uni assignment sitting over my head that I KNOW will make me feel so much better once its done, but every time I have sat down to start it, my mind goes blank and can't do it. I have skipped one of my uni lectures because the thought of cramming more new knowledge in my head is intolerable. I haven't walked our dogs for nearly a week and they are climbing the walls as a result, adding to the pressure cooker.

Besides all of this though, I had a real breakthrough spiritually. Becoming a youth leader at my church has really given me the prompt I needed to refresh myself in my faith, which is a pretty amazing thing. Enough gushing about that, I am praying that this renewed faithfulness will spill out into the other parts of my life, because I do feel quite bogged down wiht everything else.

One of my friends questioned the other day whether or not she should stay in uni, and she had a whole range of valid reasons. Usually I would be the first person to say tough it out for the greater good, but you know, I think what is happening right now is just as important as what may happen in the future. I am contemplating dropping down to studying only one unit next semester rather than studying two like I have been for the last few years. Yes it means my degree will stretch out by an extra semester, but the added pressure is having an impact on my wellbeing. I would love to have just one day a week where I can come home, lounge on the couch, and not have to be somewhere or doing something. Spending time with my husband and dog-children would also be a significant bonus!