Friday, April 18, 2014

Baking (lots of photos)

This week has been busy. My father-in-law was back in the hospital. He was home for five days before we took him back. Thankfully he wasn't admitted. 

My knee is on hold for a few days. I have an appointment on Tuesday with my pain doctor. We are going to try a spinal stimulus trial which should be scheduled for the next few weeks. 

I have done a lot of baking this week and have a lot left. We dropped off cookie packages to our neighbors earlier this week. I have tried to do this for each holiday for the last 12 years. This year's Easter packages weren't as fancy since I cannot stand for any length of time. But I got them done!


Easter cookies - white chocolate macadamia nut sandwiches & double chocolate chip


Today I had one of my best church friends come over. Her daughter is turning 16 on Monday and it is a surprise party at our church. She asked me to help with the cupcakes. The theme was hot pink & zebra and I love how the cupcakes turned out. 


I found these on Pinterest - Divide white cake batter in two bowls and dye on hot pink. Then make chocolate cake mix. 

My friend had given me cupcake wrappers earlier in the week. I used 10 drops of the pink food color from the Neon dye.



Carefully spoon the batter in the cupcake papers. I did chocolate, then pink, then chocolate, then white, etc. Spoon each color in the center of the last so it spreads to the sides.  



I used a knife to drag through the mixture before I put them in the oven. 


The baked cupcakes were really pretty. 


They are a bit more time consuming but worth it for a themed party. 80 of them took me about 3 hours to do including bake time.



This was one of my earlier batches before I adjusted and put chocolate in between each layer so the white & pink were more divided. 



I used the Wilton 2D closed flower tip to make these rosettes on top. The icing went SO fast compared to baking them. You can YouTube rosette cupcakes to watch exactly how to do this.

My friend forgot to bring the shortening and milk today and so I made the icing from water, powered sugar and butter. They are SO sweet but we didn't have any other choice. My nearest grocery store would be a 1/2 hour round trip and I didn't have any choice.



After she left I made two cakes. One for her daughter turning 16 (Taylor) and another for her daughter turning 8 (Megan). 



This icing is also the powdered sugar and butter mixture. The kids are going to be bouncing off the walls!



The black stripes were from a tub of buttercream fondant I purchased last year at TJ Maxx on clearance for $3. It is easy to use and tastes much better than normal fondant. 

I hand painted the zebra with black Wilton food gel (thanks Amazon) and a tiny paint brush.




Megan loves the movie Frozen and I wanted to do something different for her. I am going to attempt an Olaf fondant character a bit later today but here is what the cake looks like right now. 


Before adding Olaf - scroll down for the finished cake

I iced the cake twice with white icing and then glazed the top to give it a frozen look. Mix two drops of blue with a bit of water and use a foam paint brush to paint on the color. 

Before adding Olaf

Thank goodness for buttercream fondant and cookie cutters!



Tomorrow I am going to make the gluten-free Easter egg cookies for children's church on Sunday. I am teaching ages 2-7 and we usually have about 40 kids in the group for the holidays. 

And then I am making zebra cut out cookies for Taylor's birthday. Stayed tuned for more photos!  


Update: Here is the (almost) finished Frozen cake. I have to re-plump Olaf's head since I squished it when I put a toothpick through it. But I can do that tomorrow.


 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Recent Ebay Sales - 4/14/2014

I had a pretty good week on ebay. Here are some of my recent ebay sales: 

1. Anthropologie "Saturday Sunday" brand dress, sold for $35. 



2. Ralph Lauren (black label) linen suit, sold for $60. 


3. Joseph Ribkoff blue & white striped dress, sold for $40. 


4. BCBG silk floral dress, sold for $50. 


5. Men's Lululemon shorts, sold for $35. 


6. Jams World men's floral shorts, sold for $20. 


7. Flax linen skirt, sold for $29. 



8. Burberry's older label top, sold for $22.50. This was part of a lot I purchased back in September and took 8 months to sell. I'm glad to see it go.


9. Franccesca Bellini red cocktail dress, sold for $25 to a buyer in France. 


10. Tianello printed top, sold for $32. This label seems to have a good following on ebay.


11. BCBG silk blend mini dress, sold for $35. 


12. Brokedown viscose printed scarf, sold for $20. And this adorable elephant ring holder, sold for $9. I purchased the March "Must Have" PopSugar box for $35 last month. The scarf & ring holder came from this box. I also listed an adorable necklace from the box for $15. 




By listing these three items, the rest of the items were basically free! I got a face serum moisturizer, a small fitness ball and two snacks for free.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

My thrift finds (that I am keeping!)

Yesterday I went thrifting. I am still having trouble with my knee and it was my first real outing. 

I found a bunch of stuff for ebay. And a few things for me! About 95% of my closet is thrifted. I regularly go through and sell my personal items when I find more. 

Here are four items I am keeping from yesterday's Goodwill trip:

1. This adorable skirt which has no labels. I'm sure it was a cheaper brand but it fits me really well and I can wear it with a t-shirt & ballet shoes (my summer wardrobe). I paid $1.99.



2. Yet another skirt. This one is a full circle skirt and was handmade in a heavier barkcloth. I am going to twirl everywhere I go. It makes me so happy. $1.99.



3. Talbots red sweater for next winter. I plan on cleaning this and putting it away for next year. I love these open draping sweaters. $3.99.



4. A yellow purse from a cheap brand. It is a cross body and is the perfect bright shade. I only own ONE purse in black right now and I plan on switching to this one for the summer. I have a lot of coral & aqua in my summer wardrobe and love the look of yellow with those colors. $3.99. 

Gap watercolor stripe t-shirt: thrifted
Ann Taylor aqua capri pants: thrifted





Friday, April 11, 2014

Updates

We have been home for one week. Here are a few things that have happened in the last week:

-My father-in-law went into the hospital. We got home from the Calmare treatments in NJ on Friday evening. We went up to visit my FIL on Saturday morning and he was having trouble breathing. He had fluid in the lungs. 

-My father-in-law was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday. A company dropped off oxygen tanks that night. He is having nurses come in a few times a week for awhile. 

-I have rested. The doctor said to rest for a week after arriving home. I have caught up on Netflix. Bo-ring!

-I had to turn down my dream job. This one breaks my heart even as I type it. There is just no way I would be able to be on my feet for any amount of time at this point. 

-The pain in my knee has been less but it is still there. As long as I am off my leg it is bearable. Today I tried to thrift and it was not good. I have a doctor appointment next week. The next step should be a spinal stimulator but I am not sure I want to do that just yet.

I wish I took photos to make this blog a bit more interesting but I haven't. Sorry about that.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Top Ebay Sales - 4/7/14

We were away for two weeks and I ended all my listings before we left. I started them back up so they would end the day after we got back which was Saturday. 

Here are a few things that sold this weekend: 

1. A wedding dress! I found this at Goodwill for $100 and it sold for $375 plus shipping. Wedding dresses normally don't do well but this one was a Maggie Sottero and was new with tags. Maggie discontinued this style in 2011 and so it was fairly current.



2. Carole Little rayon skirt, sold for $52. The rayon was made in Germany which is desirable for some reason. 


3. Levi's black corduroy pants, sold for $46. They are off to France. I paid just $2 for them at TJ Maxx last month. 


4. Relativity spring jacket, sold for $25. 



5. Chris McLaughlin lace dress, sold for $20. 

6. Chico's colorful skirt, sold for $20.


7. Eddie Bauer down vest, sold for $26 to a buyer in Norway. I purchased this vest for $2 at Goodwill and wore it a few times. 


8. Laura Ashley floral cotton romper, sold for $35. 


9. Levi's blue men's pants, sold for $20. These were purchased at TJ Maxx for $1 last month. Woo-hoo!


10. White House Black Market silk dress, sold for $35. 


11. Vintage set of pillowcases, sold for $10. One of my thrifts had a fill-a-bag sale months ago. I threw these on top since I had just a bit of room left. They didn't bring a ton but they paid for the entire bag.


And a quick note about my knee. I had pain last night but this morning it did feel somewhat better. My husband ran into one of my old doctors (now partially retired) at the hospital last night while he was visiting his father. The doctor sat down with my husband for over an hour and talked about RSD. He did his doctorate on a similar subject. The doctor took my husband's email and they swapped cell phone numbers. The doctor gave him a script for a pain patch and promised to call after doing some research. I am going to try the Lidocaine patch later today.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Day 10 & Final Thoughts About Calmare

Feel free to read about my Calmare experience HERE

I had the 10th and final Calmare treatment yesterday. The machine feels amazing. I love the buzzing that is sent throughout my leg. Amazing! 

After the last treatment we drove home 5 1/2 hours. We stopped along the way to let me walk around since the vibrations of the car still aren't the best. However, it was MUCH smoother than two weeks ago. 

Two week ago I was taking 4+ pain pills. I am down to just 1 lesser pain pill a day at this point and hope to stop taking those today. Two weeks ago I couldn't stand being in a car even if we were driving a mile. Today I didn't give it a second thought when we went to visit my father-in-law. 

Would I recommend Calmare to other RSD patients? Absolutely. There is a reason people are coming from the UK, Europe and all over the US to see this doctor.

Do I think I am 100% fixed? Nope. But the pain level has gone down quite a bit. My leg muscles will need to be built back up. The leg with RSD measures 2" smaller than my other "regular" leg. I have lost all muscle tone in the RSD leg since I haven't been using it in awhile. 




On my doctor's Facebook page I found this blog which I found helpful: LINK 
Here is another link to a success story: LINK

The 10 treatments cost $2500 plus any traveling & hotel. I am going to submit all the paperwork to my insurance and see if I get reimbursed. But even if I don't, I am really glad I tried Calmare. 
 




Thursday, April 3, 2014

RSD Treatment - Calmare - Day 8 & 9

Feel free to catch up HERE if you haven't been following my (boring) saga of the Calmere treatments.

The treatments are going well. 70-80% of people with RSD are helped with Calmere. It is hard to say if I will be in that percentage just yet. 

I feel great when I am all hooked up to the machine. The machine creates a wonderful buzzing through my leg which allows my brain to be distracted and not feel pain. I want to take this machine home and have it on my leg permanently. It is much better than a TENs machine. 



Calmare treatment machine


I feel great after the treatment but honestly it doesn't always last for very long. My overall pain is down from a level 9 to about a 5. I am taking less pain medicine. I am very thankful for both of these things. 

However, I am a bit hesitant to say that it works just yet. I still cannot function well with a level 5 pain. Some days I have felt real relief. Some days (like this morning - ouch!) have been rough. 


Although we have been in NJ for the last 12 days, we haven't done much. I am doing a lot of sitting in bed trying to rest. 


However, we did visit a supermarket yesterday for 'fun'. My hubby has been running in and picking up groceries along the way since our hotel thankfully has a microwave & mini fridge. Yesterday I went in and saw how HUGE the store is. We don't have stores like this by us. Look at the bakery!



And my pick was a chocolate cake doughnut with LOTS of sugar! 




I now realize why people take selfies in the bathroom mirror - the lighting is great! ;) This was at the doctor's yesterday. 






Sorry about the blurriness. My phone's camera is pretty awful. 



Other things we have done in NJ include eating pizza in the hotel, going to a thrift store and taking a 5-minute "walk" around Anthropologie. I wanted to buy something as a souvenir but wasn't willing to spend $20 for a small kitchen towel. Yikes. 

A gorgeous Italian calfskin tote I found for $5 at the thrift! It smells amazing.