Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

Before November is completely over, and we've all moved on to Christmas, I wanted to blog about some pumpkin doughnuts I made a few weeks ago.  I had seen the recipe here, and I wanted to try them, but I didn't have a doughnut pan.  I looked at doughnut pans at Target, but they were kind of expensive.  I knew that I wouldn't be baking doughnuts very often, and I didn't want to put a lot of money into doughnut pans, so I decided to wait and see if I could find one at the thrift store.  On my next thrift store trip, I found a doughnut pan for just a couple of dollars, so I bought it, washed it up, and tried the recipe!
 We all really enjoyed these doughnuts!  They are very soft inside, and the spices made them so tasty!  I ended up making one pan of them on a Saturday morning, storing the rest of the dough in the fridge overnight, and making the rest of the doughnuts on Sunday morning.  The dough did great, and the Sunday doughnuts tasted just as good as the Saturday doughnuts.
 Drew loved them!
 Maddie had a few pinches of the insides of the doughnuts, too.  She likes to hang out by my feet while I cook, which is cute, but sometimes a bit dangerous.
Drew and I have been trying to decide what kind of doughnuts we want to make next, and I keep checking the thrift store for a second doughnut pan.  I will let you know if we find another doughnut recipe that we like, and you will have to let me know if you have a good doughnut recipe or if you try these pumpkin doughnuts!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Our Thanksgiving

We had a very nice Thanksgiving this year, with three Thanksgiving dinners (at least for Drew and me)! 
Our first Thanksgiving celebration was at Drew's kindergarten class lunch on Tuesday.  We were assigned the mashed potatoes.  I grabbed a 10 pound bag of potatoes for $0.99 at Aldi, and cooked them up on Monday.  I told Jim that I felt like I was on K.P. duty in the military with all the potato peeling, but they turned out well!
 Drew and his buddy, Joseph.
 The class recited Psalm 100,
 and then they said a little poem about some fat little turkeys.
 Maddie was a good girl at the party.
I made Maddie's turkey shirt, and she wore it for all of our Thanksgiving events.  I used this tutorial, and I was really happy with how it turned out!
Drew enjoyed some Thanksgiving chicken nuggets (that was a good idea for 5 year-olds!) and corn.
 It was fun to be able to be a mom at the dinner and not a teacher.  Those events are always a lot of work!
That evening, we had our second Thanksgiving dinner and a praise service at church.  I made this pumpkin cake and a jello salad.
We spent Thanksgiving afternoon at Jim's sister and brother-in-law's house.  Jim's sister always cooks a big, delicious dinner, and everyone else brings appetizers and desserts.  I brought a salad and some cupcakes.
Drew had another chicken nugget dinner, and he ate pretty well.
Maddie was a good eater too.  I had brought her some turkey and sweet potato baby food, but she ended up nibbling on table food with her Aunt Sharon instead.  She ate a cracker, part of a roll, some mashed potatoes, and some sweet potatoes.
We had a very nice time with family, and I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving too.  We have so much to be grateful for.  We are very blessed!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Free Card for All My Readers!

I had quite a few entries for last week's giveaway, so I know that this offer will interest some of my readers!  Treat contacted me and wanted me to let you all know that they want to give away a totally personalized greeting card to each of you for FREE!  You can choose to make any kind of card you want - Thank You, Birthday, Holiday, anything!  You can add your own photo(s) and customize the wording to make your card just how you want it to be, and there are a lot of fun cards to pick from.
I love to take advantage of free card offers like this to make cards for the grandparents for each holiday and customized birthday cards for everyone in my family.  I like that you can add your own names and text to personalize the cards.

Another way I've used free photo cards is to make cute Christmas cards for Drew's teachers at church and school.  This year, I made something similar to this snowman card, with Drew's little smiling face in it for all of his teachers.

If you have someone special to make a card for or if you've never made a photo card before and have been wanting to try it (Mom!), here is your opportunity to do it for free!
Today and tomorrow, November 19 and 20, you can use coupon code TREATBLOGR to make and have one card shipped to you for free.
*This was a compensated post, but the ideas and opinions were mine.  :) 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tiny Prints Giveaway Winner

We have a winner for the Tiny Prints giveaway - Comment #16, Rachel Huber!  Congratulations, Rachel, and I hope you enjoy your prize!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thyroid Biopsy Update

In the weeks while I waited for my biopsy, I did what many people do - I read about other people's biopsy and thyroid treatment experiences on the Internet.  After reading several people's stories, I was pretty nervous!  I had to stop reading after a while because it wasn't helping; it was actually making me feel worse about my upcoming tests and surgery.  Jim reminded me that most people who post their stories on the Internet have bad experiences or have crazy stories to tell, and that the people with normal experiences don't usually share them because they aren't very interesting.  I am happy to say that my biopsy experience was quite boring and normal, but I want to share it anyway, because I thought it might be helpful to share a "good" biopsy experience.
My biopsy was scheduled for 9:30 last Wednesday morning, but I was supposed to be at the radiology department of the hospital by 9:00.  After I checked in, the receptionist led me right back to a changing room, and Jim got settled in the waiting room.  The staff had me change out of my shirt and put on a gown over the rest of my clothes - mainly because of the solution they were going to use to clean my neck.  They didn't want my shirt to be stained.  I waited in the changing room waiting room until 9:30, and then the technician came to get me.  Before she walked me back, she popped out to the waiting room to let Jim know that they were going to be starting my test and that I should be done in about an hour.  We thought that was a thoughtful touch.
As we walked back to the ultrasound room, the technician explained the biopsy procedure to me and told me that she had had four thyroid biopsies herself and that they weren't too bad.  I was having an ultra-sound guided fine needle aspiration, where my neck would be numbed, and then a doctor would take six tissue samples, using thin little needles to collect the samples.  They used ultrasound equipment so they could see exactly what they were doing.  When we got into the ultrasound room, I lay down on a bed and had an ultrasound done on my neck.  Once that was done, the technician covered me with a warm blanket (the BEST thing about being in the hospital) and went to get the nurse and the physician's assistant who was going to be doing my biopsy.  The PA came in first and walked me through the procedure again, and then a nurse came in to ask a few health questions and take my blood pressure.
The biopsy itself was pretty quick and easy - much better that I was expecting it to be!  They cleaned and draped my neck before they began to numb it.  The PA had told me that the numbing was the only pain I should feel during the procedure, and she told me that it would be a pinch and a burn and that I might also feel pain in my left ear.  I felt the pinch, but it never really burned, and I didn't feel anything in my ear.  Before I knew it, she had started collecting tissue samples.  The little needles did not hurt at all.  It felt like the PA was gently rubbing her finger back and forth on my neck.  The biopsy only took about 10 minutes.
After the biopsy, the PA put a band-aid on my neck, and the ultrasound tech gave me an ice pack and some orange juice.  The nurse came back in and took my blood pressure again and went through a few instructions with me.  She told me to relax for the rest of the day and to take Tylenol for any pain.  I was also told not to lift more that 10 pounds for the next 24 hours.  She walked me back to the changing room, and I was done! I noticed in the changing room mirror that my neck was already swollen in the biopsy site (it looked like I had swallowed a golf ball), and it was a bit stiff and sore, but really not too bad.  I changed clothes and went out to meet Jim.
Some very kind friends helped with our children that morning.  One friend took Drew to school that morning and picked him up afterwards.  She called on her way home and asked if she could keep him for lunch and for a while that afternoon too.  He had a great time playing with his buddies, and it gave me some time to relax and rest.  Another friend kept Maddie for us, and it was wonderful to know that she was being well-cared for, and it was nice that we didn't have to take her to the hospital with us.
Jim took the whole day off, which was so helpful, especially with my lifting restrictions that day.  Maddie is well over 10 pounds now, so he did all the changing and lifting for the rest of the day.  He also got me a Diet Coke with vanilla from Sonic - my FAVORITE - which made my afternoon a little nicer.  
My neck was kind of sore and swollen, and it did bruise up a little. I had two very small round bruises, which have just about faded away completely now, a week later.  I used my frozen rice pack on my neck a few times that first day, and I took some Tylenol.  By the next day, I felt pretty good, and by the third day, I felt back to normal. 
After a week of waiting for results, I drove out to the hospital yesterday, where I was able to get a copy of my biopsy results.  We were so thankful to find out that my thyroid nodule is benign and that I do not have cancer!  What a wonderful answer to prayer!  I will still be having surgery at some time in the coming months, so I would appreciate your continued prayers!
I know that this post was long and kind of medical, so I have a few pictures to share.
Drew had moved on from Thomas, but after his afternoon with his friends the day of my biopsy, he is back to playing with his trains again (I am SO happy - I was missing Thomas)!  Maddie likes to go into Drew's room and play with the trains too.
Our friends' adoption agency did a bowling fundraiser on Saturday, and Drew and Jim bowled.  Maddie and I went along to watch.  Here's Maddie with our friend, Kevin.
The bowlers selecting their balls.
The balls are still a bit heavy for Drew.  Wii bowling is much easier for him.
Cheering for the other bowlers.
Another turn.
Drew had lots of fun with his friends.
I will be back with another post tomorrow to announce the winner of the Tiny Prints giveaway.  There is still time to enter!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Halloween and Thyroid Issues

We enjoyed celebrating Halloween with a few little events over the past few weeks.  I have some pictures to share from those events.
This year, Drew wanted to be Mario, and we thought about getting a costume together with a few things we had around the house.  We also contemplated making him a Mario kart out of cardboard, but in the end, we found a cheap Mario costume on Ebay and just went with that.  All I had to do was cut out a felt mustache and stick it on him. 
Maddie's costume was another inexpensive Ebay find.  She was a cow, and we really loved her little costume.  She looked so cute! 
Out first Halloween event was at the mall.  We went over to the mall with some friends one afternoon after kindergarten for a little Halloween show and trick-or-treating at the participating stores throughout the mall.
Mario and the cow, ready to go into the mall.

Little cow.
Checking out the mall fountain with his friends.
Mario with his friends, Jake and Peter Pan.
Maddie and her friend, Ella, the lady bug.
Trick-or-treating through the mall.

One of the trick-or-treat stops was in the pet store.  The boys liked looking at the puppies.
Maddie entertained herself by trying to eat her stroller.
The day before Halloween, our church playgroup met for a little costume party.  Maddie has just leaned to stand up, so while she was practicing this new skill, I got to get a picture of her little cow tail.
The whole group.
Since Halloween was on a Wednesday this year, we took the children to visit the relatives that afternoon.  We stopped by Jim's sister's family business where we were able to see several family members.  Drew had a fun time visiting with Aunt Sharon in her office.
We also went back into their shop to see Uncle Larry and the rest of the guys.
Our last stop of the afternoon was at Jim's mom's apartment building to see her and Jim's aunt, who also lives there.  Grandma Esther got Drew a big bag of Skittles, his latest favorite.
The trick-or-treaters.
Maddie was happy to be able to get down on the floor and play for a while at Grandma's apartment.
Jim came over from work and met us at his mom's apartment.
The kids with Grandma Esther.
Jim's aunt gave Maddie and Drew some candy, and Maddie enjoyed chewing on her wrapped Snickers bar.  It was a mushy mess by the time we took it back from her!
That evening, Drew had a pajama party at church, and he came home with another big bag full of candy.  He always manages to get tons of candy each year, and we have never actually trick-or-treated in the traditional way!
I would like to ask for your prayers this Wednesday morning, November 7.  I have a biopsy scheduled for my thyroid.  A couple months ago, my doctor noticed that my thyroid seemed to be enlarged.  He ordered some blood work and a thyroid ultrasound.  The blood work came back pretty good, but the ultrasound showed that I have a 5 centimeter growth on one side of my thyroid.  I met with a surgeon, who recommended that I have a biopsy done to determine if the growth is benign or cancerous.  If the biopsy shows that the growth is benign, then he recommends removing the half of the thyroid where the growth is.  If the biopsy is inconclusive or if it shows that the growth is cancerous, then he recommends removing my thyroid completely and having a radio iodine treatment to totally kill it.  If my thyroid is completely removed, I would have to go on hormone replacement therapy. 
We are praying for conclusive results from the biopsy so that we can make the best treatment decisions possible.  Even if it ends up being cancer, there is a 98% survival rate for thyroid cancer patients, so even the worst case scenario is not terrible.  My main concern is really just for the care of my children during my treatment and recovery (since surgery is in my near future, no matter what the biopsy shows).  I am also a little bit nervous about the biopsy - I've never had one before.  I would appreciate your prayers, and I will let you know when we get the results from the biopsy!