Saturday, April 26, 2014

I've moved my blog to WordPress

Hello everyone,
I've made some changes for the future of my blog.  I've been approached by Michael Sellick from the Crochet Crowd to be a guest blogger.  It's a great opportunity for me and building up my personal blog so, I've decided to combine all my trial blogs into one and move to WordPress permanently.

So, please come visit my new blog address.  I hope you will like it!  Chit and Chats....about this and about that.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Update on Brandon

Date: 4-23-13
We're going to need continued prayers for Brandon.  Can you please pray with us for a miracle? Brandon was declared inoperable by doctors but if it is His will, he will have a chance!
Date: 4/15/14
 Here's an update from Brandon's mom: " I'd like to give you an update on Brandon's condition. We have been in an emotional roller coaster since April 10 but with everyone's prayers, Brandon is fine but we're back to square 1. 

Last April 10, they did a cardiac catheterization to get his actual pressure and attempted a VSD closure with device. The first attempt, the device was too small and if dislodged would have caused more complications. It was pulled out and a larger device was attempted to close the VSD. As they were putting the sheath in the arteries, Brandon went into a cardiac block and they aborted the procedure. He was revived and became stable in the ICU with a ventilator. 

They talked to us about open heart surgery which we agreed to. However, the surgeon turned the case down as it was too risky and Brandon was declared as inoperable. The doctors want to continue meds for 6 months and would like to do cardiac cath again in 6 months to get the pressure and see if Brandon has improved and can be reconsidered for closure of hole. 

He is in the room with us now and he looks really good and back to normal compared to his state in the ICU. We will be discharged this Thursday and will get a second opinion. Fortunately, the doctor that we want to see is a friend of Marisa's close friend. Hopefully, he will give us better news. 

Another option we will look into is going to the US. The surgeon here would have operated on Brandon if we have Nitric Oxide in the Philippines. Unfortunately, the government did not approve bringing it in so we don't have it in any hospitals here. Our pedia cardio says that we can look into bringing Brandon as a study so everything can be free. We'll try to see our options and continue to pray for what's best for him."

Please continue to pray for Brandon.

Date: 4/12/14
Here's a message from Brandon's mom: "I would like to thank everyone who have been with us praying for Brandon, giving us support in any way. I can't thank all of you individually right now since I only found time now to check my messages and will soon have to go back to Brandon. Update is we are considering an open heart surgery if the doctors believe his condition is still reversible. Please, please help us pray that he is still operable. Thank you"

Date: 4/11/14
Here's the update on Brandon: "The procedure was aborted since the device inserted was small for the hole. When the doctors tried a bigger one Brandon's vital signs were affected so they had to stop. But the good news is he is operable since his pressure and hemo dynamics were good. Doctors recommend open heart surgery by next week. Pls continue to pray for Brandon. He is now in ICU but his vital signs are stable."

Date: 4/10/14
Celebrating Brandon's 2nd Birthday!!!  Please leave a comment and say happy birthday and wish him luck/prayers for his upcoming heart surgery!

Update on my nephew, Brandon. Due to Cardiologist Schedule conflicts, Brandon's heart surgery has been rescheduled to April 10th at 8 am. That's 5pm PST on April 9th for us in the U.S.  The family is asking for extra prayers on that day.

It's extremely scary for everyone in the family to send this little 2 year old into any surgery, let alone a heart surgery.  I would love to have everyone show their support by leaving a comment of prayers and well wishes for Brandon as he undertakes this procedure.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Pretzel Pillows with Creamy Cheese Filling

Our last trip to Disneyland was so much fun and tasty!!  Yes, I said tasty!  I don't know what was going on with me, but our latest trip to Disneyland had me drooling for tasty treats!  Everywhere we went, my mind was set on finding good food to eat.

I was so hungry when we got there, so we stopped over on the Refreshment Corner on Main Street.  They offered the best stuffed pretzel I have ever encountered!  They offered a variety of fillings, but I have a soft spot for anything cream cheese filled so I opted for that one. Boy, it was the best decision ever!  Soft, creamy, not too sweet with a hint of cinnamon.  Yummmmm!

It was so good I had to have another one right before we left!  Now, 4 days later, I'm having major cravings.  Of course, there's no way to go and get it without spending way too much money.  So, I decided to try and make it myself by combining a couple of recipes that I already had.

I've had a Buttery Soft Pretzels recipe submitted by Christa Rose on that I've tried before.  Then I found a Creamy Strawberry Crepes recipe by Meliss also on that had a cream cheese filling. 

So, here's what I did.

For the Pretzel dough:

First thing you need is:
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees Fahrenheit)

In a small bowl, combine all 3 ingredients and let stand for 10 minutes until creamy/bubbly.

In your mixing bowl:
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Combine the dry ingredients and make a well in the middle.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Yeast mixture
Add the oil and yeast mixture to dry ingredients. Mix to form dough.  If the dough looks too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.  (I added 1 tablespoon)  Dough is ready when it pulls from the sides.
Knead the dough about 7-8 minutes until smooth.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in the bowl and turn to coat.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
 After about an 1 hour, your dough should have doubled.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit.
For the filling:
8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
 Cream with a hand held mixer until smooth and creamy.
Cut dough into equal parts.
Heat 4 cups of water in the microwave until hot, about 4 minutes.  In a large bowl add 1/2 cup baking soda and add the hot water.
 Make a little pocket on the dough to hold the cream cheese filling.
Pull one side over and pinch all the sides to keep the filling in.  Roll it to look like little "pillows".
Drop each "pillow" into the hot water mixture and strain it with a slotted spoon.  
Place each pillow onto a greased cookie sheet.  (I like to line mine with foil for less mess and used cooking spray).
Sprinkle a little cinnamon, if desired.  Place in the oven for 8 minutes.
Pretzel buns are done when nice and golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes.'re done!  I added a teaspoonful of the filling on the side, but to be honest, I ended up not needing any extra!
Let me tell you, this is amazing!!!!  So soft, fresh, creamy and so, so, so yummy!  Much better than the Disneyland ones.  There's were shaped like a pretzel.  Making it into little "pillows" gives more filling and more puffy goodness! 

I am so glad that I tried making it myself!  Now I can have these any time I want and is much cheaper!!!  Although, my waistline probably is not going to be too happy if I don't use some self control.  LOL  But I think I will die happy!  He he he.

Please let me know how you like it!  I would love to hear from you!

Some variations you might want to try:
Add fresh fruits into the cream filling or on the side.
Making a chocolate filling, caramel or Bavarian Creme.
Using jam or jelly for the filling.

For a savory pretzel:
Use cheese filling with bacon bits.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Help for Brandon

Help for Brandon

My nephew, Brandon Emmanuel, is going to turn 2 years old on April 6, 2014.  Normally, kids at this age are happy, active, playful and are just being kids.  Brandon is every bit as normal as all the other kids out there.  The only difference is he's awaiting heart surgery for his Ventricular Septal Defect and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension at the end of April this year. 

Brandon's situation hits me close to my heart because I once had a sister with Methemoglobinemia, Trunous Arteriosus, and Ventricular Septal Defect which resulted in the inability to separate  the "old" blood and the "new" blood.  Along with a rare, Situs Transversus.  In plain words, my sister's heart only had 1 ventricle and 1 atrium (instead of 2 of each),  and all of her internal organs were backwards (her appendix was on the left, her heart was on the right, etc). This extremely rare combination made it close to impossible to treat, especially in the 1970's-1980's.  Luckily, my sister lived until the age of 14 and was able to experience a little of life before her passing in 1985.

Thankfully,  with such advancement in technology, Brandon has a chance!  My personal mission is to spread the word about how brave and courageous Brandon and his family are.  Not once have they asked for assistance other than prayers for Brandon.  

Brandon's friends and family are doing a benefit in early April in the Philippines.  I cannot be there to support Brandon and his dear family physically, but I am there with prayers every single day.

We all know how expensive it is for anyone with an illness.  I would like to try and raise more prayers and some money for his upcoming battle.  So, I am holding a sale for Brandon.  100% of the profit from net sales will go toward Brandon's medical expenses (minus material cost and shipping costs).  You can see my Jewelry and Crochet creations at AnnaBela Artistry.

Please help me achieve this goal and help make life a little easier for Brandon and his family.  They have endured so much in such a short time, let's give them a little less to worry about and more focus on Brandon's surgery and recovery.  I know that times are tough for everyone.  If anything at all, I just ask that you pray for Brandon and his family and spread the word.

 Thank you for your support.  I am most grateful to each and every one of you.  If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to contact me.  Your prayers and well wishes on the comments below will be forwarded to Brandon.  So....comment away!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My first post

This is going to be my 3rd attempt at doing my own blog. LOL Yes, I had started 2 blogs late last year. One was called Kindred Krafters and was geared at promoting crafters who donated to charities and/or created eco-friendly products. The second one was Chits and Chats which pretty much featured just about anything that came to mind.

I was really gung ho at the very beginning but soon after lost some steam. I kind of ran out of ideas and things to feature. So, my goal for this 3rd attempt is to pace myself and do a post maybe every other week instead of 2-3 times whenever it was convenient for me. I will feature my journeys in creative production from jewelry, crochet and attempts at sewing and learning new crafts. There will be lots of trial and error, be fore warned! Other things I would like to feature are my adventures, trials and tribulations with my 3 year old daughter. My day to day life with learning to be a good mom and trying not to pull all my hair out in the process.

Another thing that I would like for people to know are my troubles and struggles with anxiety, depression and agoraphobia. Even in the online world, my social anxiety is at it's worst. You would think that interacting online would be easier for someone like me. That's what I thought. I am quickly learning that I was foolish for thinking that. My crafts are my sanity and part of my treatment. I truly believe in the powers in crafting and how it gives me a certain type of calmness and peace.

I hope that you will join me in my journey. I would love to know that I'm not alone. It would be my privilege to show you my world as a new mom and addicted crafter who struggles with the outside world.