Friday, October 31, 2008

Praise the Lord!

Our blogging break has been interupted by the news that we are out of MOI!

We were really doing pretty good about only being on the computer for essential things like keeping up on our ebay auctions and checking email. But then I realized today was the last day in October so I had to weigh following our internet "fast" or checking to see if we had an update from the orphanage. Guess which won out?

Anyway, Kenson's dossier has been released and is hopefully sitting at the passport office, awaiting printing. No time lines are ever definite with Haitian adoption but we are hopefully looking at 4-6 weeks until we travel. (Or maybe more...or maybe less...) Not a full fledged bawl fest this morning but definitely a few tears of joy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Blog Break

D and I have decided we need a bit of an Internet break. We are spending way too much time consumed by checking for details about Haiti and adoption. It can't be all that healthy to be neurotically checking the same websites over and over, hoping that something has changed within the last 10 minutes. (And we're spending way too much time on Ebay.) So we're taking a break for a week or so. See you all next week!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


D has been working on his master's degree for about 18 months or so. I already have a master's so I've been down the road he is on. My master's is in literacy and education while his is in art education so we've taken different classes but some of the classes have been the same. Like Research Design. It's a bear of a class. The goal is to create a paper that scientifically researches a topic. If you actually follow through with the whole class as well as an additional project that counts as another class, you end up with like a 50 page paper. Good times...I did both. D decided to do just the class and not the additional project. So instead of 50 pages you write like a 20 page paper. For my husband who does not like to read or write, it's been drudgery. The articles you have to read are scientific in nature, even if they are written about education. (Translation-they are often boring and can be difficult to read.) And you have to have read like 10-15 articles to even begin writing your paper.

But on Sunday night at 11:00 pm or so, D finished his paper. He actually was finished closer to 9:30 or so but it took like 1-2 hours for me to sit down with him and help him edit it. But it's done! So yeah for my hubby for finishing a real monster of a project! He only has 1 or 2 classes left and his whole degree will be finished. He's getting close.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blog Fundraising

I have several friends who are adopting and currently have fundraisers going on via their blogs. I thought I 'd take a minute to post those blogs and encourage my readers to consider donating to one or more of these friends. Adoption is not cheap. It costs a birth family the opportunity to parent a child. It costs an adoptive child the freedom from nagging questions like why and what if. It costs adoptive families time, and energy, and money. But despite the cost, families choose to believe that those losses will be redeemed as a child is nurtured and provided for in a uniquely complex way based on the simple concept of love. Anyway, hop on over to these blogs and consider how you might encourage a family through your gift.

Terry is doing an afghan raffle. $5 tickets for a chance to win a beautiful afghan.

Kathy, Christina, Tracy and Dawn all have donation buttons on their blogs. (If I've left anyone who I usually read out, let me know. I thought I got everyone who had a button or special event going on.)

Adoption Fundraising and God's Economy

We have personally had several people at different points in time choose to bless us with different gifts along the way. Those gifts have encouraged us. We have also written about those gifts in our childrens' scrapbooks so that our kids might come to understand how many people cheered for them and cried with them and waited for them and prayed for them, so that they might understand how they were loved before they were even known. Gifts like that reflect a sense of fellowship and community. When Christians choose to share life, to invest in the joys and hurts of one another, that examplifies what God wants fellowship to be like. Sharing one another's burdens is the truest form of fellowship.

Let me also say, we have never expected anyone to give us anything in regards to our adoption. We believe that God called us to this and asked us to step out in faith that the money would come from somewhere. We believe that He may or may not use the generosity of others to help fund this ministry. And we believe that He expects us to be good stewards of the resources He has already blessed us with.

We started both of our adoptions with $0 set aside specifically for adoption. We had savings but nothing that was designated as money for adoption. We have had the benefit of having two full time jobs. We have sold and are selling items on Ebay and . I am currently selling purses on etsy as another way to bring in a bit of extra money. All in all, we have always had what we've needed and managed to have no debt associated with our adoptions. We still have half of Conleigh's to pay for plus plane tickets for at least two more Haiti trips. But we believe that somehow, someway God will provide the money for that. God has continually given us what we've needed. Like the manna and quail the Isrealites ate in the desert, God has given us just the right amount to pay our adoption bills. He asked the Isrealites to gather only what they needed for one day and we believe that is how God has worked in financing our adoptions. He has given us the amounts we've needed, when we've needed it, no more and no less.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

God and Me 17-Watching Water Boil

These last few weeks have been difficult. We are fustrated with the lack of progress with Kenson's dossier. It's like watching and waiting for a pot of water to boil...for weeks on end. Any day now, we could have the approval needed to get his passport printed. Or it could be another month. Or another two months. It's nuts.

For me, it's been times of real discouragement interspersed with times of real encouragement. God has continued to be faithful and send out bits of hope here and there. And I am so thankful for that. But there are still quite a few times where I'm left feeling like things are unfair and that things are not working the way I would like. This week, God reminded me to stop and see what He has done through a song sung by The David Crowder Band. The words "Come and listen to what He's done. Come and sit a while with Me." echoed through my head one day followed by the words from another song "God is good." I found myself just sitting in silence and being reminded of God's faithfulness to me, and others both my contemporaries and the people of the Bible. Today at church we also sang several songs that reminded me that "out of Zion's hill salvation comes" and "what have I to fear, what have I to dread, leaning on the everlasting arms." I would ask that you continue to pray for the release of Kenson's dossier from the MOI office so that his passport might be printed. And I would ask you to pray for us as well, that we would not be discouraged, that we would pray from God's perspective as we wait.

Menu Planning Monday

Cabbage Patch Soup, with carrots and celery

Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (I use low fat cream cheese and then do half regular cheese and half low fat cheese), canned vegetable soup

Poor Man's Prime Rib cooked with potatoes, carrots, and parsnips, baked apples
Any cut of roast, 1 can beef broth, 1 package dry Italian salad dressing mix-cook in your slow cooker for 8 or more hours. Add potatoes and carrots prior to cooking for a one stop meal. I'm also going to add some parsnips if I can find them.

Leftover Beef and Veggies over biscuits, with corn

Turkey and Noodles over mashed potatoes, with mixed vegetables
I have a cooked turkey tenderloin in my freezer from a previous meal so I will shred it, and add it to about 3 cups of water and 3 chicken bouillon cubes. I boil this, then add frozen egg noodles. Once the egg noodles are tender, reduce the heat. Then, I mix together corn starch and cold water, a couple tablespoons of each. This then become the thickener when you stir it into the turkey and noodles. You then add the corn starch/water mix to your turkey and noodles and stir as it thickents. If it doesn't thicken as much as you'd like, mix together some more corn starch and cold water.
(If you haven't ever used a corn starch thickener, adding it to cold water is really important. If you just dump it into the hot water, you will get clumps of corn starch. )

I rarely make 100% real mashed potatoes but I'm not a fan of the instant flavor so I do my mom's trick of doing a half and half mixture. I boil a couple of potatoes in water with a cube of chicken bouiloon. I then mash the potatoes right in the water and use the hot water/potatoes mixture in place of the boiling water the instant potatoes recipe calls for. I usually measure out the water that the instant potato box calls for before I boil my potatoes so that way I can kind of follow the recipe on the box. After I add the potato flakes, I add the milk and butter. I think adding sour cream or cream cheese can also reduce that instant flavor so I usually add one of those too. I just dump the milk, butter, cream cheese, or sour cream until I like the taste or texture. If it gets to runny, just add more flakes. The real potatoes make all the difference.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Lori, a worker at HCH, just posted this photo on her blog.
It is titled Princess Conleigh on her blog. None of the other children's pictures she posted have such a subtitle. Those pictures just say the names of each child. (I'm not complaining because the subtitle is true.) Again, as I've said before, Conleigh is full of it. (What, I'm not sure. Spunk. Attitude. Assertiveness. I don't know, all of those and some more.) She knows what she wants and is unhappy if she doesn't get it. Fun times ahead. A toddler who thinks she's an adult. We laugh now; oh how I hope we can laugh in a year or so.

Me vs. the weather

Well, it's officially started. The weather here has been positively weird, cold and rainy for three days in a row. And the southwest parts of our state were supposed to get up to a foot of snow last night. Before Halloween!
So now, it's game on! It's me vs. the cold where I try to keep our house warm without breaking my budget. Oh, it's such a fun game!!! (Not really.) Our house is old and fairly large and has lots of things that don't help with heating it. (Like some ductwork made of wood!) The first winter we lived here we just set the thermostat to a temperature that was comfortable and ended up with an $800 heat bill for one month.
We don't do that now. We have a programable thermostat that we keep really low. We sleep with an electric blanket. We put in all new windows last spring. (25 windows in all, one of which the window guy starts measuring and says, "You know, I don't think I've ever measured a window this large before. Nice...and real cheap too!) We have insulation purchased to go in our attic as soon as we can figure out how to cover up the old wiring that is up there without setting the house on fire. And we bought a corn stove. It runs on corn out of the field and wood pellets you purchase at a store. (Unfortunately, corn is selling really high right now so it's not as great of a money saver as it used to be but it still helps us out by not having to run our furnace as much.) It's by far my favorite energy saving investment. It really helps to take the chill out of the air on our first floor. It makes it a bit more hospitable. You don't feel like you have to wear a sweatshirt or offer your guests one. Plus it just feels cozy especially when it's overcast and drizzly outside.

Monday, October 20, 2008

God and Me 16-A Sovereign Father

God has a funny way of knowing exactly what you need. Today was no exception. I have not worked for 10 straight days now. Actually longer than that, now that I think about it. I've been stuck at home. And I've been sick for three or four of those days. So I've spent a lot of time with no energy or without something to do other than clean. (Yuck! If I haven't ever shared, I dislike cleaning. To clarify, I enjoy cleanliness but that's as far as it goes. I am not one of those people who get a kick out of vacuuming or who feels a sense of accomplishment over a well polished faucet.) It was discouraging. When I resigned, I knew that I would have times before Kenson came home where I felt discouraged about not working but that doesn't mean I really am ready to embrace them. Anyway, I have thought a lot about Conleigh and Kenson over the last few weeks and have really wished we were finished with both processes.

I have missed Conleigh fiercely. She absolutely loved having us there and basically just fell asleep in my arms every single time I picked her up. Holding her meant her sleeping way too much so I often had to put her down just to keep her awake. And she would cry and cry and cry. Those tears were seriously haunting me last week. And Kenson...well I spent most of last week feeling badly over how long this has taken. I was frustrated over the lack of progress that we seem to have made in the last three month, I was frustrated in things not moving more quickly than they have, I was frustrated over other families being home and together while we are not.

So today, I think God just decided to show me how Sovereign He is. The first song during church was Blessed Be the Name which has truly been my anthem song as we've tried to adopt for the last five years. The message today was on Hebrews 11:1-16 which is a chapter all on faith. Our minister reminded me of some wonderful truths about God. Like that relationships must have trust and obedience to be authentic. And that my relationship with God is no exception. And that the essence of faith is believing that God's plans are better than any possible alternatives. And then today, while I was researching some things for the Bible study I teach, God showed me a video with several passages from Psalms 139. In the last two years, I have prayed Psalms 139 over both of my kids often because it reminds me so much of God's presence in their lives even in my absence.

So God showed up. He reminded me today of how much He cares, of how well He has all of this covered, of how He is at work even when I don't see it. Today was not a tear free day, but it was a day where God saw my bare heart and where He responded like a Father who loves His daughter and wants her to know that it all is going to be okay.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

Head over to the official site for Menu Planning Monday for lots of other recipes and menu ideas.

Crockpot Cheesy Spanish Chicken with tortillas and lettuce salad

Chicken Cheesy Chilli using leftover chicken from the above recipe (I didn't really plan this but once I saw how this turned out, I'm going to use the extra chicken and sauce to make a soup. I think I'll add some milk and some navy beans. Maybe some corn?)

Wonton Soup with lettuce salad (Didn't get to this last week.)

Homemade Chilli, fresh fruit, carrots and celery sticks (I don't have recipe for chilli; I don't think I've probably ever made chilli the same way twice. I brown ground beef, drain it, then add a couple cups of tomato juice, chilli beans, kidney beans, chopped onion, chopped celery, canned tomatoes, canned tomatoes with green chillis, salt, pepper and chilli powder. I also add some water and beef bouillon cubes.)

Chilli Dogs using leftover chilli, jello with fruit, carrot and celery sticks (I buy Oscar Mayer's low fat turkey hot dogs; they taste good and are much better for you than regular hot dogs.)

Corn Dog Casserole, fresh fruit, pudding

Corn Dog Casserole (My cousin Dacia's recipe for a scallopped corn side dish. I just added hot dogs to make it into a meal.)

2 sticks melted margarine (I usually only do 1 stick and it turns out fine)
16 oz. sour cream (You can use no fat)
16 oz. canned corn, undrained
16 oz. cream corn
2 pkgs. Jiffy cornbread mix (any brand will do, should be the kind that makes like a dozen muffins or a smal pan of cornbread0
2 eggs, beaten
4 or 5 hotdogs, cut in 1/2 inch chunks

Mix it all together and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour in a greased 9 x 13 pan.

Adoption Update- Conleigh

We received word today that Conleigh's dossier was submitted to IBESR in September. This office is essentially the Haitian social services office. For adoptions, they write a social history of the child and the birth family. Once in IBESR, this social history is verefied to ensure the child is legally being placed for adoption. The adoptive families are also then approved based on their home study and other information. It's just the beginning part of the the checking and double checking that is done. The current wait seems to be 3-5 months of waiting for IBESR approval.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How we got to Haiti

My friend, Kathy, who is also adopting from FHG recently posted their answer to this question. I've always had a shortened version of our answer on the side of my blog but reading her response made me think maybe I should tell the long answer too.

The truth is, after I returned from Romanian orphanages my sophmore year of college, I knew I was supposed to adopt. God had placed me in that situation and allowed me to be a first hand witness to an international adoptive family through my best friend's family. Those experiences shaped my heart into something that felt compelled to act on the behalf of those who didn't have a family. I met D at school right after my Romania trip, we started to date, and as things got more serious, we talked about marriage and family and kids. Adoption came up and he was okay with adoption. We then married, finished school, and got our first real jobs but weren't really ready to have kids yet. (At least I wasn't.)

In the fall of 2003, we decided to start looking into adoption. I was 100% sure that we would use a specific agency within our state to do a domestic adoption. This agency does the adoption essentially for free. We attended the first information session they had for all potential families and were very excited at the prospect of jumping into the adoption pool. Then we met with our case worker. We were told that because we were not infertile, the agency did not feel like we would have a good chance of being selected by expecting mothers. We were told that if we really wanted to help children then we could perhaps host a Christmas party for poor children. Needless to say, I cried for the last part of our meeting and we went home devestated.

We didn't know what to do next because the only two choices that seemed available were international adoption and a domestic infant adoption through another agency. Both options were equally expensive. And I swore when I left Romania, I would not do an international adoption because of the way the government took money from adoptive families but then provided sub standard care for the children.

In the spring of 2004, we were contacted by Health and Human Services, asking us if we'd like to do foster parent training. We decided to try it with the belief that we could maybe start our family by adopting through foster care. We specified that we would consider doing respite care for familes who needed a few days off or we would be an adoption only family for a child or sibling set, boy or girl, aged 0-6. We attended the training, went to the conferences, and waited. We received no calls for children. We got online and looked at available children in other states' foster care systems. We put in many phone calls with only one response which was not even a serious response.

We finally received a call from our local case worker in October of 2005, asking us if we would take a 6 year old girl in an emergency placement. We knew we would have her for probably less than 1 month but possibly for longer. The initial information we were given was that this was not an adoption situation. This did not fit what we really wanted but we had been waiting so long, we decided to try it and see if maybe full time foster care was what God intended for us.

Lee'la stayed with us for a little over a month. It was hard. She was a very sweet little girl who missed her mama more than anything. But D and I were both ill prepared for foster care. Our training did not really give us insight into what to expect in terms of her grief and confusion nor did it provide us with insight into how we might feel. We had no problem parenting/disciplining; we had huge problems loving. And we felt guilty about it. I was working full time as was D and we took no time off. The two of us plunged into caring for a stranger, into this glorified babysitting experience. Please don't think I'm ragging on foster care. I'm not. It was just not right for us. We wanted a child who would forever be a part of our family. We were not prepared for our own attachment feelings. We did not have realistic expectations of what it would be like. I don't regret our decision to take Lee'la in for a minute. She got to see through D what a loving man is like, something she had never seen before. And the last day she stayed with us, she asked me to tell her about Jesus dying on the cross. But we knew, foster care was not for us.

In the spring of 2006, we received another call from our caseworker. This time, she wanted us to consider being adoptive parents for two sisters who were 4 and 6. We went to their foster home, met them, watched them for an hour or so by ourselves, and went home. I cried the whole way home because I knew they weren't our kids. After that, we decided to stop actively pursuing a fos adopt situation.

We didn't know what to do. Maybe we heard wrong? Maybe we were supposed to be having our own kiddos? Maybe we weren't supposed to have kids? We were totally lost. So we just decided to do nothing. To just wait and live life and do our best to be obedient. Our church was planning a mission trip to Peru in the summer of 2006 and it was something that used our gifts and passions so we decided to go.

We traveled to Peru to do sports camps and a VBS type ministry and some street evangelism. We both came back feeling like we should start planning to go somewhere the next summer, 2007. We returned to the US on August 6, a Saturday. We were in church on the 7th, listening as a missionary began sharing about Haiti. And we decided to pray about going to Haiti in the summer of 2007 as part of a mission trip.

So pray we did. I also started looking at adopting from Haiti. A high school friend had adopted from FHG and the orphanage had been recommended to us a few years back but we basically ignored that information. Besides at that time, we weren't old enough. So I started looking again at the FHG website. Then, I asked D to start praying about adopting from there. And, eventually, we decided we should try. We mailed our application to FHG in October of 2006. Shortly after this, Kenson's picture was posted on their website. I had wanted to let the FHG administrators choose our child but D really felt like it was Kenson. So we requested to become his adoptive parents.

And that's it. That's how we got to where we are. The coolest part? Kenson's birthday. He was born August 6; we started praying about Haiti on August 7. The other cool part. His birthday is my birthday too. I think that's one of the reasons he stuck out to D. Conleigh came about later as a family began advocating for her online. D and I both noticed their postings and then we started praying about her. But that's our story, one with lots of detours and some real craziness and some real heartache. But oh the things we've seen, and done, and heard, and felt.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Two Quarters Quotes-October

On relationships...
We never touch people so lightly that we don't leave a trace.

On money...

The worst poverty is not to live in a small house, but to live in a small world. -Roy L. Smith

On faith...

God delights to increase the faith of his children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God's hands as a means. Trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith. -- George Müller

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Insomnia Linked to Cough Syrup

Ri-di-cu-lous. This is the second night in a row where I have had difficulty falling asleep, finally fell asleep around midnight, and then woke up a few hours later bright eyed and bushy tailed. So aggrevating...

I'm blaming it on expired cough syrup. Don't know if it's true or not but my scientific analysis has connected these dots: both nights I took the same cough suppresent, both nights approximately 4 hours after taking the medicine I promptly woke up, the medicine's duration was 4 hours, I did not wake up from coughing or congestion I simply just woke up.

Now here's the part where you can roll your eyes and say "oh brother!" The cough syrup tasted terrible yesterday and tonight. I know, big surprise. However, it was worse than normal. For whatever reason, I decided to look at the bottle for the expiration date. December 2005. Yummy! I dumped the last few tablespoons down the sink. And now I'm blaming my insomnia on the expired cough syrup.

Thanks for indulging my random thoughts! Sorry, no prizes or awards for enduring them.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Feeling like you've been hit by a truck

Could be a portrait of the two of us. D and I have both been under the weather the last few days. D has actually been crouping around for a week or so but we thought it was just his allergies. Then I ended up with it. Neither one of us feels particularly bad just exhausted and less than stellar. For the record, I'm the biggest weenie about being sick. I like to lay around and wish for death to come, even over little sicknesses like this. (Something tells me I'm going to have to buck up once the kids are home. I'm a bit disappointed that poopy diapers and laundry won't magically disappear just because I don't feel good.)

I don't think it has helped that I have not had to work today; I think if I were working I'd be focused on that rather than how tired I am. Anyway, I'm teaching Bible study tonight and leading a ministry meeting before that so I've got a full night ahead of me. D has parent-teacher conferences until 8 p.m. so the same holds true for him. D has an especially long week as he will put in a 12-13 hour day at school today and then turn back around and be there bright and early tomorrow morning followed by another 12-13 hour day on Thursday. Not fun, especially if you don't feel good.

Photo for a mom

This photo is for another mom is adopting from our orphanage. It seemed like the easiest way to get the photo to her as I don't have her email. And the rest of you can just enjoy another picture a beautiful Haitian babe!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Meal Planning Monday

On the menu this week...

Olive Garden Chicken Vino Bianco with pasta and salad

Hamburgers, buns, oven fried potatoes, and some kind of veggie

Wonton Soup with lettuce salad and some kind of bread-I'll be changing things a bit because we can't get all the ingredients. The recipe calls for frozen premade wontons. That's a no go here. So I just buy wonton wrappers and cut them into noodles and add them to the broth.

Tuna Patties with baked potatoes and frozen mixed vegetables-I don't really follow a recipe for this. I just dump. I usually use two cans of tuna fish, packed in water, one egg, and some bread crumbs. I drain the water from the tuna, add the beaten egg, and then add the bread crumbs until I get a mixture that will stay together in a patty shape. I sometimes add seasoning like Mrs. Dash or a grill seasoning but salt and pepper work just fine. Form the tuna mixture into patties and cook in a skillet over medium to medium high heat until golden brown on both sides.

Cream Cheese Chicken Enchilladas with salsa verde and corn-didn't get to this last week

I did these enchilladas last night. I started with 4 oz. of softened cream cheese. I added about 3/4 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 1 4 oz. can of green chillies, 1/2 cup chicken broth, and about 1 1/2 cups of shredded cooked chicken. I placed a couple tablespoons of this mixture into warmed corn tortillas and rolled up enchillada style. Then I poured a jar of homemade salsa verde over the top and added more shredded cheese. (You could use enchillada sauce or salsa instead of the salsa verde.) I baked it at 350 for about 2o minutes. I used all low fat or no fat dairy products. Turned out great.

If you're in a hurry, just layer the cream cheese mixture with torn up tortillas like you would a lasagne. This also cooks well in a slow cooker on low. My aunt also has taken a similar cream cheese mixture and served it by itself with tortilla chips for a chicken enchillada dip.

Friday, October 10, 2008

God and Me 16-Select Psalms

I've been reading through Psalms still. Here are some of the ones I wrote down in my journal this week. Perhaps they will encourage you.

Psalms 36:5-6 Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.

Psalms 37:23 The steps of the godly are directed by the lord. He delights in every detail of their lives.

Psalms 38:9 You know what I long for, Lord; you hear my every sigh.

Psalms 46:1-2 God is our refuge and strenth, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and mountains crumble into the sea.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

September photo

I love update photos but I hate them too. I've probably said that before; I can't remember what I say half the time. But at any rate, I am so thankful we get photos regularly. But it always makes me think about what I've missed in the last month. Anyway, I'm hoping this is one of the last update photos we ever receive. Hoping we'll be home soon-

Sewing Supplies Reorganized/New Bag Created

I finally decide that it was time to do something about the mess that I was making with my purses. I think the fact that my huge stash of fabric kept falling of the stool I had it perched on had something to do with it. So I moved my sewing machine off the dining room table. I set up our card table as a cutting table. (Check out the giant "paper cutter"; it's actually for fabric and it is my absolute favorite tool of all time.) And I pulled out a small table that I had shoved in a closet because I didn't know where to put it. (Nevermind the door. We live in an old house so we've got doors that really lead absolutely no where. Trust me; no one is missing out because the door is blocked off.) And I actually decided to use the iron cabinet I snagged from my mother in law. My fabric found a home too. So much neater and we could actually sit at the table now if we wanted!

I also decided to make a diaper bag/tote bag for myself using pictures of my kids. I'm so pleased with the result! People often ask me for pictures of my kids and I never have any. Not the case anymore.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Creative Gift Ideas

If you're looking for something unique for yourself or someone else, check out these two etsy sites with one of a kind purses, notecards, and aprons.

My cousin's-she has some really cute aprons which would make great Christmas gifts plus purses and notecards with great photos.

My site (it's also linked as a gadget on the side of my blog) I'm hoping to get some more handbags made with the African baby print so you can watch the side bar for that. I'm also doing custom orders so if you've got something special in mind like a handbag or diaper bag made for a sports team, a specific set of colors, etc. you can order if off of my site.

Menu Planning Monday

I decided to try something new based on something I was already doing. I always plan our menus for the week, even though it's just the two of us right now. It saves me time and money. Generally, we don't have to think too hard about what to fix for supper and it really helps me to use up larger portion items like a roast via made over meals. (ie beef roast for supper one night, then beef pot pie with left over roast beef on another night) I also can plan my menus around what's on sale at the grocery store. It sounds a bit hokey perhaps but I already do it. Then I found a link to a website for moms that host Menu Planning Mondays. You just link your weekly menu into her site and then you can view a whole slew of other families' meals and recipes. I'm always looking for new meal ideas so I figured "Why not?"

So here's what's on our menu this week:

Lunch after church-Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken over Brown Rice
Supper-Bean and cheese burritos on whole wheat tortillas, grapes

Cheesy Potato Soup with carrot sticks and celery
(To make this lower fat, I omit the bacon and use skim milk and 2% Velveeta cheese. I also use less cheese than what the recipe actualy calls for. I just add a little bit and taste it until it's good. My husband prefers a creamy soup so after I boil the potatoes, I mash them with my potato masher. I very rarely actually use the recipe for this as I'm more of an add as you go cook so often I will add mashed potato flakes to thicken the soup up if it gets too thin.)

Pumpkin Bread Pudding and turkey bacon
I adjusted an existing recipe to make it a bit healthier. Here's that version:
Whisk together 2 eggs, 1 egg white, 1 1/2 cups skim milk. Add in 2/3 cup sugar or Splenda, 3/4 cup canned pumpkin, 1 t. vanilla, and 1/4 t. of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground cloves. Add 3 1/2 cups cubed bread and toss to dampen the bread. Butter a casserole dish and pour the batter into it. Sprinkle with 6 T. of mini chocolate chips and 2-3 T. of brown sugar. Bake in a 350 degree oven in a water bath (place your casserole inside of another baking pan and add hot water until the water is halfway up the side of the smallest casserole) or just bake as you normally would. I've never had a problem not using a water bath. Bake until the pudding is golden brown on top but with no uncooked custard visible. (It should not look like uncooked scrambled eggs. If it does, it is not done. A knife inserted into the custard should come out clean.)
You may have extra pumpkin left over from the can. You can freeze it or use it to make another pumpkin treat. My personal preference? Mix it together with a bit of low fat cream cheese, some Cool Whip, a bit of powdered sugar, and some cinnamon for a great dip for graham crackers. Again I just dump. I would say 1/4 cup pumpkin, 2 oz. cream cheese, maybe 1/4 cup Cool Whip, a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar and a pinch of spice.
not home for supper

Baked potatoes with canned chilli and cheese
Frozen fruit salad (Dole frozen mixed fruit available in the freezer section)

Cream Cheese Chicken Enchilladas with salsa verde, corn
(I'm not sure about this recipe; it's going to be an experiment. But I do plan on using a recipe I already have for a chicken enchillada casserole as a base.)

Friday, October 3, 2008

God and Me 15-Rightness

Being right isn't all it's cracked up to be. I know because I spent part of this week being right. So right in fact that it was driving me crazy that the person who was wrong didn't know how wrong they really were. And the worst part of all of it was that the wrong person probably didn't even understand my viewpoint nor did they really want to understand where I was coming from!

I wrestled a bit with God on it. I really wanted go to the individual and explain myself, to lay out my arguement in a rational format. After all, I was in the right. I wanted to tell the individual how not only was their arguement flawed but that they weren't being nice by turning a deaf ear to my words. I wanted to convict them, to change their heart and their mind because I loved them. I wanted to help them see not just my point of view but what I thought represented God's point of view.

In my usual analytical ways, I talked in circles with God for a good 45 minutes. And what I received was the news that it really doesn't matter if I'm right. Nor is it up to me to change this person's heart. Let by gones be by gones. Don't use my rightness as an execuse to be overzealous. Put the love that is motivating me to better use in ways that feel more loving. Let the Holy Spirit convict those who need convicting. And be satisfied if God doesn't think they need convicting.

So I still think I'm right but I'm not doing anything about it. Because God is big enough to deal with my "rightness" and others' "wrongness."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Birth parent interview completed

We received an email today telling us our birth parent interview was completed on Monday and that the interview went off without a hitch. Now we can cross one more thing off of Kenson's adoption to do list. The US officials could have requested DNA from Kenson to prove his mother was his mother. They could have pressed for more information from Kenson's birth father. But they didn't do any of those things. So hopefully things will be smooth sailing once we get out of MOI. (Let it be soon!)