Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Tough Love
As if this moving process weren't difficult enough for us, Oronzo's first oldest sister (to be referred to as Paige) has taken it upon herself to try to administer some "tough love" to Oronzo, in an effort to convince him that he's making the wrong decision in leaving.

I won't get into all the specifics, but she came over yesterday wanting to talk (while I was at work) and basically told him that he was giving up too easily on his consulting business, that he needs to learn how to "tighten his belt" and make more sacrifices (i.e. get rid of cable & Netflix) so that he wouldn't have to move, that she's worried he'll hate NE and within 2 years want to leave, and that she's worried our son will be like a "military brat" and be drug from state to state as Oronzo tries to find a job that he likes.

More was said, hurtful things, all in the name of "tough love." Paige felt as though it was necessary to say these things to Oronzo in an attempt to prevent him from making this "mistake". Oronzo sat in silence as she spewed her opinion. He calmly told her he disagreed with what she was saying. Paige ended the conversation with, "I think you should reconsider your plan, but of course, I'll support your decision either way." Well, that support is obviously lacking, as far as I'm concerned!

Oronzo and I were up until the wee hours of the morning going over what Paige said to him. He asked me if I agree with her about some of the points she was trying to make. I told him I did not!

I must say, I'm angry! I'm angry that Oronzo's sister would refuse to credit us with the intelligence to look at every angle of our situation and to carefully make the decision that we felt was best for our family. I'm angry that Paige would think it's okay to try to tear my husband down in the name of "tough love". I'm angry that Oronzo's not more angry. After we talked it through, he's resigned to just let it go.

I know I need to let it go too. She's hurting right now because we're leaving. She's enjoyed having the opportunity to get to spend more time with Oronzo and with me, since we moved back here 2 years ago. She's envisioned our sons (her son is just 7 months older than Snuggle Bug) being raised together more as brothers than just cousins. I think she's feeling abandoned.

Despite all of this, I think she's taken the totally wrong approach. I wouldn't have minded if she would've asked, "Have you thought of this, this or this?" Then Oronzo could've kindly told her that we had indeed though of all these things. Instead, she decided to belittle Oronzo and his decision.

Ugh!! I'm so tempted to have my own conversation with Paige to let her know how little I appreciate her tactics! I guess I'm afraid that would only make things worse.

What would you do?

Labels: ,

6:23 PM
22 comments


Monday, February 26, 2007
Wavering
As we prep our house to prepare for putting it on the market, I find myself wavering in our decision to move. Is this normal?

This is the first house I've ever purchased and I love it. I don't want to leave it or the neighborhood we live in.

I've put off buying moving boxes and packing because I can't help myself, I keep changing my mind as to what I want us to do.

We've told most of our family and some of our friends of our decision. Everyone has been very supportive, even the family and friends here where we are now that will have to say goodbye to us in 3 weeks.

Why am I wavering in my decision?

Labels: ,

6:42 AM
24 comments


Sunday, February 25, 2007
Grains of Gratitude
Each Sunday I pop over to Michelle's blog to read her "Grains of Gratitude" post. I enjoy it so much, thanks Michelle, that I decided to give it a try myself. I know Michelle wasn't the originator of this meme, can anyone tell me who was so I can stop by their blog to thank them as well?

Okay, here's my list of the things I'm grateful for this past week:

1. I'm grateful that Snuggle Bug seems to be getting over the cold he's had for the past few days. The cold has made him cranky, or maybe it's the fact that he's two now, we can't be sure. :) His good spirits have been restored.

2. I'm grateful for my handi-man husband. Oronzo has been able to do some minor and a bit more major repairs around our home himself, with a couple of trips to Home Depot, rather than hiring a contractor to come in and do them.

3. I'm grateful for my neighbors who look after each other. We've had some minor vandalism here lately (spray paint on mailboxes & lamp posts, outdoor water faucets being turned on in one neighbor's backyard, and some broken outdoor lamp panes). We've all pitched in to repair things and vowed to try to watch over each other's homes.

4. I'm grateful for our dear friends who recently had a baby girl on Valentine's Day. We brought dinner over to them on Friday and I got to hold this precious baby and rock her to sleep while answering parenting questions that they posed to me. Who would've thought that I'd be a mom that others would turn to for advice. It felt kind of nice! :) I guess I have learned a few things raising Snuggle Bug these last 2 years.

5. I'm grateful for the good health of our newest nephew, who was born this past Wednesday. We haven't met him yet (he and his parents and older sister live out of state) but from the pictures we've seen he's healthy and handsome!

6. I'm grateful for the beautiful weather we've had lately. We've been able to take walks outside and play in the sandbox.

7. I'm grateful for the bloggers that stopped by, in response to my We're teetering on the edge of a cliff post, and offered such support, encouragement, and comforting prayers. I can't tell you all how much I appreciate the kindness that our blogging community has to offer. Thank you!

8. I'm thankful for Oronzo's mother. When we told her, in person, that we were moving, she was visibly upset and shocked but she didn't make us feel guilty about our decision. She told us she understood, that she would miss us, and that she and Oronzo's father would most surely come visit us in Nebraska. We feared that she'd express some anger as well, but she was very supportive.

Labels: ,

7:34 AM
6 comments


Friday, February 23, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Broiled Tilapia Parmesian)


Good Friday to you all! It's time for another Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange!

In honor of the Lenton season, I thought I'd share one of my favorite fish recipes. I found it at allrecipes.com.

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  2. 1/4 cup butter, softened
  3. 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  4. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  5. 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  6. 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  7. 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  8. 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  9. 2 pounds tilapia fillets


Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven's broiler.
  2. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice.
  4. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.
  5. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes.
  6. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side.
  7. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe!

Don't forget to link your specific recipe post link on Mr. Linky so I can see what's cooking at your house!

Oh, and be sure to put the title of your recipe in parenthesis! It makes it so much quicker for me to go back and search for recipes as I build my weekly menu.

My previous Favorite Ingredients Friday recipes

Scalloped Corn
Molten Chocolate Cake
Super Skins
7 Layer Mexican Dip
Garlic Linguine
Pizza Bake
Grilled Honey Corn
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
Strawberry & Cream Cheese Fudge Brownies
Roly-Poly Santa cookies
Cole's chili
Grandma's Sponge Cake
Parmesan Bow-Tie Skillet
Scalloped Potatoes
Chocolate Crepes
Chocolate Cream Pie
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Caramel Brownies
Peach Banana Daiquiri

Thanks so much for your participation. I do appreciate it!


Labels: ,

6:04 AM
13 comments


Thursday, February 22, 2007
We're teetering on the edge of a cliff!
Be prepared for a lengthy post. I've got issues!

Oronzo and I feel as though we're teetering on the edge of a steep cliff, trying not to tumble off and smash into broken pieces on the rocks below.

There's sudden turmoil in our life, and it all stems from a job offer that has been extended to Oronzo. Let me explain.

For the past 2 years, Oronzo has been a stay-at-home daddy, taking care of Snuggle Bug and doing contract work from home. Emotionally, it's been fantastic! Although I wished I could be the one staying home with Snuggle Bug, my type of work has never allowed for that, while Oronzo's has. My comfort has been that his daddy, rather than a daycare stranger, is lovingly caring for Snuggle Bug.

So, emotionally, things have been fantastic! Financially, not so well. We've been managing to make ends meet, but sometimes just barely. My steady income certainly doesn't cover all the bills and Oronzo's contract work has been rather up and down, sometimes more down than up (through no fault of his own, Oronzo is the most motivated individual I know). And what's really frustrating is when he does a lot of work for a client, sometimes that client takes 120 days, or longer to pay their invoice and Oronzo has to hound them to try to collect. That's been rather unpleasant. So, we've been getting by, but not getting ahead. And with a second adoption on the horizon, we realize now more than ever that something’s got to give.

So, Oronzo started hunting for a FT job. He searched high and low in our city and surrounding areas but the market for his field has never been that good here. He began expanding his search to other states and decided to look at Nebraska, since most of my family lives there. Low and behold, he found a position that he was qualified for, he interviewed with the company that had the opening, and after 6 long weeks of waiting, the company extended him an offer.

The offer was decent but it wasn't as nice as we'd hoped it would be. We were hoping it'd be higher so that there'd be no question about me being able to stay home with Snuggle Bug and baby #2. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Although we'll be better off financially and we'll certainly have more stability, as well as a much better benefits package, I will still have to work FT for at least another year to play catch up and meet our long-term financial goals. Even my ideas of an in-home business will not be realized right away.

The gist of all this is that we have spent the past few days AGONIZING as to whether or not to accept this position and move to Nebraska. There have been many late night discussions, many tears shed, and even a PROS and CONS list thrown together over dinner one night, which really didn't seem to help us much with deciding.

Moving means giving up so much...it means leaving the city where Oronzo went to college, where his sisters live, where we met, dated, and became engaged, where Snuggle Bug was born and entrusted into our forever family, where he was baptized into the Catholic faith, where we have a close-knit circle of friends, where we have a beloved house (that we poured lots of love and labor into fixing up) in a fantastic neighborhood just walking distance from an excellent elementary school, where we've made friends with some very dear neighbors, where we only have to drive 2 hours to visit Oronzo's parents on their small ranch. I could go on and on but I think you get the point. The scariest part of moving means putting Snuggle Bug in daycare for at least a year. This alone is such a huge sacrifice for our family. My heart aches at the thought of it!

On the positive side, moving means more financial stability; it means that Oronzo will be in a senior level position being groomed for management. It means better chances of being able to adopt again. It means being closer to my family (Snuggle Bug will have many more aunts/uncles/cousins in NE to spoil him). It means that Oronzo will have more opportunities to pursue his passion of flying (he's a private pilot). It means a fresh new start and sometimes that can be exciting.

So, what did we decide? Well, we decided to take the plunge, accept the offer, and move to Nebraska. Oddly, even after making this decision, I still find myself weepy at times. It was SO HARD to make this decision because, other than the job/work situation, things have been really great here and we have so many good memories here in this city!

I can't help but wonder, did we make the right decision for the right reasons? Will our house sell at the price that we need it to in this buyers market? Will Snuggle Bug be okay with this transition? Will Oronzo and I? Will I be able to set proper boundaries with my large family to ensure that the needs of my small family come first? Is Oronzo sacrificing too much?

Now that the decision has been made, I'm trying to quell these doubts and commit myself to this course of action. I'm trying desperately to keep a positive attitude about it all. I've got a "moving task list" a mile long and everything on it needs to be done before we leave town on 22 March, so I don't have time to feel sad and mopey about it all. Oronzo's first day at work is 26 March. It's all happening so fast!

So, dear blogger friends, if you've made it through my long, long post, I implore you to offer up prayers and words of support and encouragement for our family. We certainly would appreciate them! In fact, if you wouldn't mind expressing your prayer in my comments section, I think I would draw much comfort from being able to read them. I firmly believe in the miraculous power of prayer!

Thank you so much for allowing me to sort through these conflicting emotions by blogging. It helps so very much!

Labels: , , , , , ,

6:00 AM
29 comments


Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Uses for your child's wagon
How many of you bought a wagon of some kind for your kids? What do you use it for, besides taking the kids out for a walk?

Here are some of the things we use ours for:

1) We're walking distance from a grocery store. Snuggle Bug loves it when I pull him in the wagon to the store. Once we get there, I just take the wagon right in and use it as my grocery cart! Snuggle Bug is content to ride through the store like that, without grabbing at things, and I get my grocery shopping done. It's amazing how many customers and check-out clerks comment on how cute it is that Snuggle Bug is in his wagon in the store. No one seems to mind. Once we're done shopping, there's no lugging of grocery bags involved. It's all in the wagon I just pull Snuggle Bug and our food home to our front door!

2) I use Snuggle Bug's wagon like a wheelbarrow, wheeling grass clippings, weeds, etc. out to the garbage behind our house. I keep meaning to buy a real wheelbarrow but so far the wagon has worked just fine.

3) I use Snuggle Bug's wagon for other gardening work, like transporting big potted plants from the car to the part of our yard where we'll be planting them.


4) Most recently, we had fun using Snuggle Bug's wagon as a cookie transport vehicle on Valentine's Day! I printed out some cute signs that said, "Happy Valentine's Day" and "Cookie Delivery Express", taped them to his wagon, added some streamers, and then put Snuggle Bug in with our packaged cookies. The neighbors that we delivered cookies to loved it!

These alternate uses of Snuggle Bug's wagon work for me. Is there anything else you use your wagon for?

To see what works for others, be sure to check out all the links at Shannon's, the creator of Works-For-Me Wednesday!

My past WFMW entries:

10 Reasons Why Parents Should Not Spank
travel tip
free children's printables
calendar labels
Strawberry Spinach Salad
mesh laundry bag uses
12 lbs 'til Christmas
toddler healthy eating techniques
reindeer puppet
Grocery Game website
No Fear Shakespeare
list of age appropriate children's chores
linking within comments
baptism gift
creating blogger categories
alternate use for pot rack
cake decorating tips
unique way to stay connected
cake baking tip
comforts of home while traveling
quenching the thirst of your little one
pie crust made in bulk
hot chocolate kicked up a notch

Labels: , ,

6:00 AM
17 comments


Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Back to the drawing board.
Thanks to all of you who have offered encouragement and comments to my I need your help! post. I do appreciate it.

Magi left a comment cautioning me to look into Health Dept regs, since my idea of a home-based bakery would involve making food for public consumption. I looked online and found some of the Health Department regulations. Let me just say that they make it pretty darned hard to meet the guidelines by working from home. I'm not sure that a home-based bakery is going to work.


So, it's back to the drawing board. What other legitmate home-based businesses are out there...that don't involve food? Please, share your thoughts and ideas, and if you can include website links or phone numbers, I'd sure appreciate it!

We hope to make a decision about whether or not to accept the NE job within the next day or two.

Thanks for your input! I do appreciate it.

Labels: , , ,

9:04 AM
18 comments


Monday, February 19, 2007
I need your help!
Good Monday morning to you all! How was your weekend?

I have some news to share and some questions to ask of you.

The news: Ornozo has been offered a job in Nebraska, the state where most of my side of the family lives. Unfortunately, the salary they offered him was less than he'd hoped. Decent, but not quite enough for us to exist on his salary alone if we hope to have me stay home with Snuggle Bug and then adopt a second child.

The questions: Have any of you started a home-based business? If so, what type of business is that? How did you get started? Were there state regulations involved to get started? I know there are a lot of scams out there but I'm clueless as to what home-based businesses might be legitimate.

I have tossed around the idea of trying to start up a small, home-based bakery (cookies, muffins, cakes). I'm doing research on how I would make this happen.

Here's something you could help me with, I need a name for my bakery. I want it to start with either A, B, or C to keep it towards the top of the Yellow Pages should I decide to advertise. Any ideas?

One last question: How much would you pay for a couple of prettily decorated cookies packaged with nice ribbon and a gift tag. Be honest.

At some point, if I really try to make a go of a home-based business, I need to figure out pricing.

Well, there you have it. We're trying to decide whether or not Oronzo should take this position, which would offer more financial stabiliy than Oronzo's contract work does at the moment, but which would generate so many uncertainties in other areas of our lives.

Labels: , , , ,

9:32 AM
16 comments


Friday, February 16, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Scalloped Corn)

Good Friday to you all! It's time for another Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange! We're back to our regularly scheduled program, but based on the response I got from my query, we'll be having themed recipe exchanges at least once a month, possibly twice a month. :) I'll plan a St. Patrick's Day theme for next month. More details to come soon.

So, now for my recipe. This one is from my older sister, Tia. She makes this for nearly every family gathering. We all love it. I've made this myself a time or two, but it never turns out as good as it does when Tia makes it, go figure!


Scalloped Corn Supreme

Ingredients

  1. 1 lb. can (2 cups) cream corn
  2. 1 small package frozen corn
  3. 1 well beaten egg
  4. 1 cup cracker crumbs
  5. 1/2 cup buttered cracker crumbs
  6. 1 cup milk
  7. 1/4 cup diced onion
  8. 3/4 tsp. salt
  9. 1 tsp. pepper

Preparation

  1. Heat corn & milk in a saucepan.
  2. Gradually stir in egg.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, all but the buttered cracker crumbs.
  4. Mix well and pour into a 8" round casserole dish.
  5. Sprinkle buttered cracker crumbs over the top.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serves 6.

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe!

Don't forget to link your specific recipe post link on Mr. Linky so I can see what's cooking at your house!

Oh, and be sure to put the title of your recipe in parenthesis! It makes it so much quicker for me to go back and search for recipes as I build my weekly menu.

My previous Favorite Ingredients Friday recipes

Molten Chocolate Cake
Super Skins
7 Layer Mexican Dip
Garlic Linguine
Pizza Bake
Grilled Honey Corn
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
Strawberry & Cream Cheese Fudge Brownies
Roly-Poly Santa cookies
Cole's chili
Grandma's Sponge Cake
Parmesan Bow-Tie Skillet
Scalloped Potatoes
Chocolate Crepes
Chocolate Cream Pie
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Caramel Brownies
Peach Banana Daiquiri

Thanks so much for your participation. I do appreciate it!

Labels: , ,

6:00 AM
18 comments


Thursday, February 15, 2007
Post Valentine's Day pictures
Well, I never did pictures posted yesterday, as planned. I thought I'd have time to post some at work, but our Internet was down all day, so that didn't happen. When I got home, I was busy right up until it was time to catch some Zss.

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day. Please, tell me how your day went! :) Here are a few pictures from my day yesterday!

The day started off fantastically when I was presented with breakfast in bed (you didn't actually think I was going to show you a picture of me in my pjs, did you?)!

Oronzo got up early with Snuggle Bug, let me sleep in a bit, and made me breakfast! I had pancakes with sausage, milk, and juice. Yummy!

The best part was when Snuggle Bug and Oronzo hopped up on the bed and ate my breakfast with me! :) I certainlyl didn't mind sharing.


Here's Snuggle Bug in his new "Sealed with a Smooch" shirt that I bought him at Old Navy just for Valentine's Day. Can you believe I got this on sale for only $2?!

If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you might notice a heart sticker that says, "kiss me". Snuggle Bug loves stickers so I made sure he got one.

He also loves stamps, so he started his Valentine's Day off with a stamp on each hand. When Oronzo took him to a library story time yesterday, he said he got a lot of compliments from the mom's on Snuggle Bug's festive attire. :)


Here's what I had waiting for me when I arrived at work...a box of chocolate! Now that's what I'm talking about!
The only snag is that I still don't know who left them for me. I asked around all day yesterday and no one is 'fessin up. I did figure out that several of us ladies got boxes of chocolate, so someone decided to spoil a lot of us. :)

Did any of you get any "mystery" gifts this Valentine's Day?

Here are pictures of Snuggle Bug getting ready to deliver Valentine's Day cookies to our neighbors. It started sprinkling rain just as we were heading out. Luckily, the drizzle subsided fairly quickly! It took us a fair amount of time to deliver 21 packets of cookies, even with declining our neighbor's gracious offers to come inside to get warm. Everyone was tickled pink with their surprise delivery! I think Snuggle Bug enjoyed himself and so did I!

After all the hard work Snuggle Bug did delivering cookies, he deserved a treat of his own! He was quite happy with his Valentine's Day gift.

And if you're wondering how Oronzo made out this Valentine's Day, well, trust me, he was taken care of.

Oronzo got his own packet of cookies, a nice Italian dinner, and at the end of the day, he got a massage and some special attention in our bedroom filled with candles.

All-in-all, our day was hectic but spectacular, how about yours?!

P.S. I'll try to visit your blogs later today. I just didn't get to anyone's yesterday at all.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

6:12 AM
14 comments


Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Happy Valentine's Day, fellow bloggers!

I hope you all have a fabulous day today! Stop back later today to see pictures that I'll post as my Valentine's Day unfolds. :)




Labels: , ,

7:05 AM
11 comments


10 Reasons Why Parents Should Not Spank
It's time to post yet another WFMW tip. I'm not sure if this is really a tip, as much as an interesting list.

I'm one of those parents that doesn't believe in spanking, mainly because my parents were excessive in their belief in spanking as they raised me and my siblings.

At the last library stay-and-play that I attended with Snuggle Bug, I received a list of 10 Reasons Why Parents Should Not Spank that I thought was excellent. Let me share a few of them for you.

1) Spanking teaches children that they do not have control over their behavior. Lack of inner control can block children's ability to solve problems and make decisions on their own.

2) Spanking can teach children to rely on others for control of their behavior. Children who learn external controls are more apt to let circumstances, events, and others influence their actions rather than using their own resources.

3) Spanking teaches children that hitting is a perfectly acceptable behavior. Children can learn that violence or force is a channel for anger and a way of solving problems.

4) The use of physical force as a means of discipline teaches children that it is okay to hit someone you love. This learning and belief can perpetuate domestic violence, inflicting pain on more family members.

If you're interested in receiving the entire list of 10 Reasons Why Parents Should Not Spank please leave me a comment with your email address and I'll send it to you. Don't worry, I won't sell your info to a marketing firm! :)

Also I'm curious, what alternative methods do you use to discipline your children, rather than spanking?

Not spanking works for me. To see what works for others, be sure to check out the other links at Shannon's, the creator of Works-For-Me Wednesday!

My past WFMW entries:

Love Sweet Love
travel tip
free children's printables
calendar labels
Strawberry Spinach Salad
mesh laundry bag uses
12 lbs 'til Christmas
toddler healthy eating techniques
reindeer puppet
Grocery Game website
No Fear Shakespeare
list of age appropriate children's chores
linking within comments
baptism gift
creating blogger categories
alternate use for pot rack
cake decorating tips
unique way to stay connected
cake baking tip
comforts of home while traveling
quenching the thirst of your little one
pie crust made in bulk
hot chocolate kicked up a notch

Labels: ,

6:01 AM
11 comments


Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Imitation is the highest form of flattery.
Snuggle Bug is a typical toddler who likes to imitate everything that Oronzo and I do. Normally, this delights us, but I recently learned not always!

This past weekend we had some friends over for a visit. The conversation was flowing smoothly, fun was being had by all. Snuggle Bug was cheerfully darting in and out of rooms throughout the house, smiling as he played.

Suddenly, Snuggle Bug walked into the room where the adults were conversing, in his newest dress-up outfit!


Umm...no, that's not a training bra (barely). Yes, it's mine.

"Hi Mama!" Snuggle Bug greeted me loudly. His face beamed with pride at the accomplishment of dressing himself in an article of my clothing.

As our friends (some of them parents of toddlers as well) chuckled appreciatively and gave me sympathetic glances, I wished the earth would open up and swallow me whole! Oronzo snapped this picture with his camera phone before Snuggle Bug flung off my bra with reckless abandon.

I think the time has come to shoo Snuggle Bug out of my bedroom room before trying to get dressed. And, do I need to worry about this latest cross-dressing phase? :)

Oh, and the concept of imitation being the highest form of flattery...well, in this case, not so much!

Labels: , , ,

6:00 AM
20 comments


Monday, February 12, 2007
Valentine's Day cookie fest
Before I show you lots of pretty cookie pictures (click on them to enlarge for more detail), I wanted to say THANK YOU to all of you who participated in my Favorite Ingredients Friday- Valentine's Day chocolate edition recipe exchange last Friday! I'm thrilled with all of the mouth-watering chocolate recipes I got!

Since it seems as though many of you are chocoholics like I am, I'm going to leave a button up on my sidebar that's linked to the chocolate edition post. Feel free to stop back as often as you'd like to look through those recipes. And if anyone wants to add their favorite chocolate recipes to the list, feel free to do so at any time. It's never too late. :)

Now, for the fun cookie fest that I had this past Saturday. I invited 3 ladies over to decorate cookies with me. Friday night, I spent several hours making dough and baking over 70 heart shaped cookies, of all different sizes. I asked my lady friends to bring frosting, food coloring, sprinkles, and either a plate or cookie bags to take home their share of cookies.

We started the fun at 1 p.m., after I got Snuggle Bug down for a nap. I had a long table set up and had melted dark and white chocolate ready. I also had the packaging supplies ready as well.

It didn't take long for us to get in the groove of frosting and decorating our pile-o-cookies! We chatted, laughed, sampled, and just enjoyed ourselves along the way. Keeping Oronzo away was a tough chore. We allowed him to custom make a couple of his own cookies and then told him to get lost and leave us to our work! Little does he know, I have a bag of secretly designed cookies stashed away to give him on Valentine's Day!

When we were all done, we had a table full of beautifully decorated cookies. We stood for a bit and marveled at our handiwork before moving on to the packaging phase. We had hearts with sprinkles, pink frosting, red frosting, white frosting, dark/white chocolate, and lots of combinations in between.

For the packaging, I used the idea given to me by Carol over at She Lives. She gave a link on How to make your own customized candy hearts and I used that link to make tags to attached to the cookie gift bags that I found at Target in their dollar bins!

I made candy hearts with messages like, "Best Neighbor", "Thinking of You", "Happy Valentine's Day", and "Best of Friends". I printed these hearts out on cardstock and then strung 2 or more together to create the tags.

I put my helpers to work punching holes and threading ribbon to put the finishing touches on the tags. This was no easy task because I had 21 bags just for my neighbors alone!

The end result was even cuter than I expected! On Wednesday morning, I'm going to load the cookie bags and Jacob up in his wagon (I think I'll decorate the wagon with red & pink streamers and a sign that says, Valentine's Day cookie delivery) and have him help me deliver cookies to all our neighbors.

We also made up gift bags for our spouses, children, and close friends. For these, we used clear cookie bags that I found at Michael's. I think I paid $4.00 for a bag of 50. The clear ones are fun because you can see the pretty cookies inside.

So, our Valentine's Day cookie fest was a huge success! Fun was had by all and we're looking forward to delivering our treats to family and friends!

So, what fun treats do you have in mind for your loved ones? Anyone else decorating cookies?

Labels: , , , , ,

6:11 AM
16 comments


Sunday, February 11, 2007
I'm a Blogging Chick now!
Isn't this just the cutest little image? I pulled it off of the Blogging Chicks website. I love cute baby chicks!

It was this image that made me realize I had to become part of the Blogging Chicks. I don't know how many times Oronzo has said, "I'm going to bed now, are you going to get off your laptop to come to bed too?" and I'll respond, "I'll be off in a minute." 30 minutes later I'll finally finish up and go in to find Oronzo snoring away!

So, now that I'm a Blogging Chick, I'll have to participate in some of the fun carnivals!

If you haven't joined already, stop by and read the guidelines, to learn more about it.

One last parting thought, stop back tomorrow if you want to see the results of my Valentine's Day cookie fest. It was quite successful! :)

Labels: , ,

6:06 AM
5 comments


Friday, February 09, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Valentine's Day Chocolate Edition)


Good Friday to you all!

In preparation for Valentine's Day next Wednesday, it's time for a chocolate edition of my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange! Have I mentioned that I'm a chocoholic and that I'm so excited to see your recipes today! It's true!

Now, I have a confession to make, this is not a tried and true recipe for me. In fact, I haven't tried it yet, but I intend to make this for Oronzo as a Valentine's Day dessert and I'll let you know how it goes. I found this recipe on Food Network, one of my favorite cooking websites of all times!

I'm even going to go to Michael's to buy this heart shaped, silicone muffin pan to make my dessert in. It's sold for $10, but after I get the Sunday paper, I'll use their 40% off coupon. :)

Okay, now it's time to share the actual recipe! I hope you like it.




Molten Chocolate Cake



Ingredients


  1. 8 ounces plus 6 tablespoons butter

  2. 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate

  3. 6 yolks

  4. 6 eggs

  5. 3 cups powdered sugar

  6. 1 cup flour

Preparation




  1. Melt the chocolate and butter together. Cool slightly.

  2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the yolks and eggs then mix in the powdered sugar.

  3. Whisk this into the chocolate mixture then whisk in the flour.

  4. Fill 12 greased 4-ounce foil tins with the batter and refrigerate until ready to bake, or bake immediately.

  5. Bake in a preheated 450 degree F oven for 5 to 6 minutes from cold, or 4 to 5 minutes from room temperature.

  6. Turn out of tins immediately onto the plate.

I hope if you try this recipe you'll let me know how it turned out for you! Now I look forward to seeing your Valentine's Day chocolate edition Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe!


Don't forget to link your specific recipe post link on Mr. Linky so I can see what's cooking at your house!

Oh, and be sure to put the title of your recipe in parenthesis! It makes it so much quicker for me to go back and search for recipes as I build my weekly menu.

My previous Favorite Ingredients Friday recipes

Super Skins
7 Layer Mexican Dip
Garlic Linguine
Pizza Bake
Grilled Honey Corn
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
Strawberry & Cream Cheese Fudge Brownies
Roly-Poly Santa cookies
Cole's chili
Grandma's Sponge Cake
Parmesan Bow-Tie Skillet
Scalloped Potatoes
Chocolate Crepes
Chocolate Cream Pie
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Caramel Brownies
Peach Banana Daiquiri

Thanks so much for your participation. I do appreciate it!


Oh, one last thing, from the feedback I've received, I think I'll do a themed version once a month. Don't worry, I'll give you notice before I spring one on you! Thanks for all the great ideas! I will be using them.






Labels: , , , , , ,

6:34 AM
35 comments


Thursday, February 08, 2007
Blogging makes friends of strangers.

Have you ever stumbled across a blog that just speaks to you? And when you read it, especially in it's entirety, you feel as though you've connected with a dear old friend, despite the fact that this person is a complete stranger?

I've had this happen more than once, but just this week I stumbled again upon such a blog. It's called My Part of the Journey and it's written by an adoptive mother named Marlene.

I came across a comment that Marlene left over at Mia's Saving Grace. It was in response to one of Mia's many great thought-provoking posts, this one called "Insight". Mia is another one of my favorite bloggers!

Marlene's comment left me thinking to myself, "she's reading my mind and writing my thoughts!" I had to go over to her blog and check her out. I knew I would have to start at the beginning with her very first post and work my way through her entire blog.

What will compel me to continue to read Marlene's blog (I've added her to my sidebar) is her on-going conversations with her 6 year old daughter, adopted through the State. Marlene is processing a lot of the adoption related questions, feelings, emotions, and uncertainties that both she and her child are dealing with day-by-day. I'm sharing some of the same questions, feelings, emotions, and uncertainties when it comes to the adoption of our son.

Some of the questions I left in Mia's comment section were along these lines:

Is it okay to openly discuss Snuggle Bug’s adoption with strangers before he’s old enough to do so on his own? Will he see it as an invasion of his privacy later and resent me for it?

By not openly discussing his adoption with strangers, will it make him feel as though adoption is shameful and he should hide the fact that he came to be a part of our family through adoption? I never want him to feel that way!

How should we handle things when he starts school? Do we tell teachers that he was adopted or do we wait until a class project comes up that may prompt us to have that discussion? Or do I wait and let Snuggle Bug decide if/when he wants to share that information with others at school.

How will we handle things if/when Snuggle Bug asks to meet his first parents. They’ve told us they don’t want to meet him before he’s 18. Given the fact that he’ll know from day one that he was adopted, what if he wants to meet them at age 8 or 10 or 12? What happens if we contact them and they say they’re not ready? What if they say they are? Will I be willing and able to put my son’s needs first and not feel threatened by any growing relationship that might develop between them (I like to think so, but do I know this for sure)?

What’s the best way to raise my son to feel comfortable sharing with us his mixed emotions about adoption without him feeling as though he’s betraying us?

How do I help Snuggle Bug to grow into a confident young man, given the additional layer of adoption in his life?

The great thing about Marlene's blog is that now I have a glimpse into what kind of questions her 6 year old is asking, what her concerns are at this age, and possible responses to those questions and concerns. I realize that every child is different, but it's comforting to at least have an idea of what I might expect. And the great thing about Mia's blog is that I get an adult adoptee perspective and she challenges me to think outside of my comfort zone.

There is no instruction manual when it comes to adoption. I think most of us are trying to do the best we possibly can, given the circumstances, but sometimes it can be daunting. I can't tell you how grateful I am to have made some wonderful friends with all sides of the adoption triad (first/birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees) through blogging, to be able to share and learn from these beautiful women. I look forward to learning more through Marlene's blog.logs in my comments so that I can go check them out!
Oh, and in the near future, I will be blogging more about our efforts with Adoption #2.

Labels: , , ,

6:00 AM
13 comments


Wednesday, February 07, 2007
WFMW (Love, Sweet Love Edition)
It's time to post yet another WFMW tip. This week's theme is "Love, Sweet Love". Shannon has suggested that we either share the best relationship advice you can give. Or, share some ideas for making Valentine's Day special for your sweetie or your kids. I'll try to do both.

Let's start out with some relationship advice.

1) When you wished you could strangle your husband because of something he's done or said to tick you off, take a deep breath, bite your tongue to keep those sarcastic insults from flying, leave the room to compose yourself, lock yourself in the bathroom and call both of your sisters and any available girlfriend to discuss how mornonic men can be sometimes (specifics of your situation don't even need to be shared for this to be an effective method of releasing steam), and then come back and try to fascilitate a rational discussion.

2) Don't go to bed angry because all you'll do is fume while your husband snores and prevents you from falling asleep even if you wanted to!

3) Learn the fine art of compromise or, if you're like me, wait and see what your husband comes up with. He's usually much better at compromise than I am!

4) Marriage has it's ups and downs. Wave your hands high above your head and laugh aloud while enjoying the ups; hold on tight and hold your head up high as you ride through the downs. And along the way, be sure you not only tell your husband frequently that you love him, but show him as well!

5) When your toddler tests your patience with temper tantrums designed to push all your buttons and make you pull your hair out, grab him, pin him to the floor, and tickle him until you both forget what the tantrum was about in the first place.

6) When you tuck your little one in to bed, make sure to rub noses and whisper sweet words of love in his ear. Be patient if he calls you back into the room 5 more times for more nose rubbings, even if you know he's just stalling to prevent having to go to bed.

Now, for my ideas for making Valentine's Day special formy sweetie and my son.

1) I think I'll go in late to work and cook a special breakfast for both my "boys." I'm thinking heart shaped waffles with strawberries and whipped cream might be nice.

2) Of course, I'll be making them each their own hand-stamped Valentine's Day card. I love making cards!

3) This Saturday I'm having a cookie bake fest at my house (after I send the boys out for the afternoon). Three of my friends are coming over and we're making tons of Valentine's Day cookies and getting all fancy with our decorations. I'll be packaging some of those up to give to my "boys" on Valentine's Day. I'll post some pictures this weekend to show you all the results.


4) When I get home from work that evening, I think I'll feed Snuggle Bug dinner and put him to bed early, and then plan an indoor picnic for hubby and I, involving candles, soft music, and of lots of yummy finger foods and some mouth-watering chocolate treats, hopefully inspired by my Favorite Ingredients Friday- Valentine’s Day chocolate edition recipe exchange that I'm hosting this Friday!

I think that should do it for this week's theme is "Love, Sweet Love" edition. Now head on over to Shannon's, the creator of Works-For-Me Wednesday, to see what other's have in mind!

My past WFMW entries:

travel tip
free children's printables
calendar labels
Strawberry Spinach Salad
mesh laundry bag uses
12 lbs 'til Christmas
toddler healthy eating techniques
reindeer puppet
Grocery Game website
No Fear Shakespeare
list of age appropriate children's chores
linking within comments
baptism gift
creating blogger categories
alternate use for pot rack
cake decorating tips
unique way to stay connected
cake baking tip
comforts of home while traveling
quenching the thirst of your little one
pie crust made in bulk
hot chocolate kicked up a notch

Labels: , , , , , ,

6:22 AM
18 comments


Tuesday, February 06, 2007
I'll never be mistaken for a foot model!
This past weekend, my fabulous sister-in-law (to be referred to as Anora) treated me to a belated birthday pedicure treatment at a local spa. We laugh because my birthday was in July and the two of us just couldn't get our act together to make this happen until now!

The pedicure was fantastic! We both enjoyed an hour and a half of pampering that only a pricy salon can offer.

I almost feel sorry for the woman that got stuck doing my feet.

Okay, so maybe my feet weren't quite this bad, but they sure felt like it. Take a peek at my salon experience.

Salon employee/Janeen: Put your feet in this bowl of warm water. Is it too hot?

Me: Not at all, just right! ((gritting my teeth as I adjust to the near-scalding temperature of the water.)) Oh, what's this on the bottom of the bowl?

Janeen: Those are marbles.

Me: Fabulous! ((note to self, go buy some marbles for home use))

Janeen: Okay, I'll take your right foot now, please. Oh, my. Did you trim your nails yourself today?

Me: Well, I trimmed them last week. Did I cut them too short?

Janeen: ((Putting her clippers back away)) Umm...let's just start with some filing.

Janeen: When was the last time you had a pedicure?

Me: Before my son was born.

Janeen: How old is your son?

Me: He's two.

Janeen: I see. ((a pained expression creeps across her face))

Me: I shaved my legs last night, just for you! ((as she's putting me to sleep by massaging my ankles and calves with lotion))

Janeen: That's nice, you'd be surprised at how many women don't.

Janeen: Why don't you pick a nail color. ((handing me at least 50 nail color samples))

Me: Oh, how could I possibly choose?! ((Half the fun was reading all the creative OPI nail color names like "Red my mind!", "I'm not really a waitress", "Yucatan If U Want", "Skinny Dip'n Lake Michg'n", and "Hoodoo Voodoo?! I finally settle on "I Love This Color".))

During the hour and a half that Janeen spent making my feet presentable once more, I sipped water, chatted with Anora, watched the other customers come in for maincures, facials, and massages, stared at the soothing blue walls, and listened to the soft, calming music playing in the background.

You might be wondering what it costs for this indulgence. Well, Anora got a discounted price of $30 per pedicure. At first, I thought this seemed a bit pricy, but when it was time to go, I was plotting ways to justify to Oronzo why I just have to have a pedicure at least once a month from here on out! I like the slogan of the salon we went to, "offering a new lifestyle, not just luxury". I'm all for that!

And now, for the picture proof as to why I'll never be mistaken for a foot model. Even after all that pampering, I still have my dad's unsightly feet. Oh well, at least I have snazzy nail polish on my toes now!

Yes, that's my foot propped up on my desk. How else was I going to show you all how my pedicure turned out? :)

I'm curious, when's the last time you've paid for a manicure or a pedicure and how much did it cost? If you go on a regular basis, how frequently do you go?



Labels: , ,

7:45 AM
30 comments


Cheap Dates: Free music concerts
Shalee over at Shalee's Diner is hosting a fun exchange, to called 50 Cheap Dates and she's looking for ideas on ways a couple can enjoy each other's company without spending a lot of money.

Oronzo and I love music, so there are times when we ask his sister to come over and watch Snuggle Bug for us, and then we go out to a concert. We're lucky, there are many FREE concerts here in our city (just get on your city events calendar to find them). Our favorite kind is the outdoor pops concerts, where we can bring a romantic picnic dinner, a bottle of wine, and a blanket to spread out and cuddle up on under the stars as the music swirls around us!

If you want to see other cheap date ideas, head on over to Shalee's 50 Cheap Dates post!

Labels: , ,

6:03 AM
12 comments


Monday, February 05, 2007
Mark your calendars for 9 February!

So, the Super Bowl Sunday edition of my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange was so successful and I'm having such fun with the idea of themes that I thought I'd do another one for Valentine's Day.

This Friday, I thought we might have a Valentine's Day chocolate edition. I hope you can join me and you're welcome to grab a copy of my image to use! Now, when I think of chocolate, I think of desserts but I've heard there are more than just dessert chocolate dishes out there (like chocolate pasta), so don't feel as though you're limited to just desserts. Be creative if you'd like! Include pictures if you can.

*************************************************

I'm curious, how many of you like the idea of continuing on with more themed editions of my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange?

If you like the idea, would you be so kind as to leave me a comment with some suggestions on what types of themes you'd like to see in the future?

Everyone's opinion is important to me. I have my regular participants that submit recipes and I hope to hear from them, but I also hope to get feedback from those of you that just enjoy browsing through the recipes for menu ideas.

So, please, share your thoughts!

Labels: , , , ,

7:56 AM
14 comments


Saturday, February 03, 2007
Jewelry, Hidden Treasures, & Cheap Dates
There are some fun things going on in our blog world. Check out four of these upcoming events!

Janice over at 5minutesformom is offering a free jewelry giveaway. There are several necklaces and bracelets involved. I'm hoping to win the pretty charm bracelet shown here.

Stop by and check it out! But hurry because the winner is going to be announced on Monday, 5 February!

Jules over at Everyday Mommy is hosting the First Annual Hidden Treasure Blog Awards and nominations are being accepted now through next Wednesday, 7 Feb.

Here's what she has to say:

“Nominations for the Hidden Treasure Blog Awards will open on Thursday, February 1, 2007. This is a wonderful way to share your favorite blogs with everyone. So, go digging around in those archives, following links in blogrolls, clicking on comments here and there. You might just find that hidden gem that wins Best in Show.”

The categories are: Children & Family, Faith, Marriage, Motherhood, Homemaking, Humor, Current Events and Life.

Nominations Nominations may be submitted by email to everydaymommy@gmail.com.

Voting will open on February 8, 2007. One vote per category. Voting will close on February 13, 2007. Winners will be announced on February 14, 2007 The nominated post with the most votes overall will be awarded Best In Show.

I've already gotten together a few noteworthy posts, from fellow bloggers, to nominate. Have you? It's not too late!

Also, Shalee over at Shalee's Diner is hosting a fun exchange, to be held on Tuesday, 6 Feb. It's called 50 Cheap Dates and she's looking for ideas on ways a couple can enjoy each other's company without spending a lot of money. Oh, and I think she mentioned that hanging out in a bookstore for an hour was not an option (rats, that's one thing Oronzo and I bloth love to do)!

So, get your thinking caps on and be prepared to submit your date ideas to Shalee on Tuesday!

And don't forget, 5minutesformom is also hosting The Ultimate Blog Party, 2-9 March! What a great way to get your blog noticed, make some new friends, and possibly win one the long list of prices that are being offered!

That's all the bloggity goodness that I can think of at the moment. Any other upcoming bloggity goodness you'd care to mention? Leave me a comment!

Labels: , ,

7:47 AM
5 comments




Name: Overwhelmed

My complete profile

It wasn't supposed to work this way...Parts 1 through 10

(the story of the private, domestic adoption of our son)


(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)
(Part 4)
(Part 5)
(Part 6)
(Part 7)
(Part 8)
(Part 9)
(Part 10- Adoption Finalization)

Fostering isn't for the faint of heart!

(our journey to adopt again through foster-to-adopt, the good, the bad, & everything in between)


Adoption #2- considering the State
More Adoption #2 thoughts
Adoption #2- Back to considering the State
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 1)
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 2)
Family Foster Home Licensing Prep Checklist
Adoption #2- Long overdue update
PS-MAPP class homework assignment
Our preliminary home inspection went well!
Adoption #2: Licensing update
Adoption #2- Foster Facts
Adoption #2: I love it when things go my way!
Adoption #2- The home inspection
Adoption #2- We failed our home inspection!
Adoption #2- We passed the follow-up home inspection!
Adoption #2- Still waiting
Adoption #2- We're getting closer
Adoption #2- An update & a lead
Adoption #2- The lead that didn't pan out.
Adoption #2- We're licensed!
Adoption #2- We have a tiny baby here!
Adoption #2- Update on this precious little girl.
Adoption #2- Quick update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is staying longer!
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is growing!
Adoption #2- Overdue update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- The latest on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Shopping spree for Baby Bug
Being a Foster Parent Does Not Make Me A Saint
Adoption #2- Another Placement Call!
Adoption #2- Placement Meeting- UPDATED!
Adoption #2- We have Boo at our home!
Adoption #2- Meeting Boo
Adoption #2- I'm angry on Boo's behalf!
Adoption #2- A Birthday Party for Boo
Adjusting to three 3 and under!
Stressful moments in fostering.
Adoption #2- Update on our foster daughters
CPS Workers Jerking Our Chain!
It's getting much worse!
Fostering: Update on Baby Bug
Fostering: Update on Boo
The effects of fostering on Snuggle Bug
The time is drawing near to let go of Baby Bug.
Good conversation with Baby Bug's dad.
Boo has a Permanency hearing coming soon!
My heart is breaking!
Bittersweet news about Baby Bug.
Next Friday is going to be tough.
Packing up Baby Bug's belongings
It's done- Baby Bug is gone.
Working on finding peace, one day at a time.
Referral to the Early Intervention Program
Baby Bug update
Home Inspection for re-licensing
Parole granted for Boo's bio mom
Baby Bug is turning 1 year old soon.
Day 2 of Boo's permanency hearing
A prayer answered today!
Attending Baby Bug's 1st birthday party
Foster news
Good news for Boo's case
Boo's bio family visits
Termination Trial date set!
A new caseworker for Boo
I've been asked to testify in court.
Court hearing for "John Doe"
Contested termination trial begins tomorrow afternoon
Boo's adoption has been finalized!

Beautiful adoption video
Date Night Bliss
Family Rules and Values
In the swing of school
It's time for the kiddos to head back to school a...
Flying home for a nice, long visit!
Baby fix!
Easing back into blogging
A shocking phone call
1 year anniversary for Boo
























Add to Technorati Favorites Blog Flux Directory Google PageRank 
Checker Tool



Parenting Blogs - Blog Top Sites

Top Parents blogs

Subscribe to Overwhelmed With Joy!

Add to My AOL

Add to netvibes

Powered by FeedBurner

Subscribe with Bloglines Add to Google


Powered By: