Friday, March 30, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (BBQ Boneless Pork Ribs)

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

Before we get started, I'd like to present a schedule for upcoming themed FIFs! This will just be through the month of June. I'll add more later. All the dates inbetween will be free-style FIFs, like today. Let me know what you think.

Upcoming Themed Schedule

April 6- Easter edition

April 20- Vegetarian edition

May 18- Memorial Day edition (foods to take to the beach or lake, snacks for car rides)

June 1- Freezer cooking meals (bulk meals that freeze easily)

June 15- Refreshing drinks

June 29- 4th of July edition

Okay, now for my recipe. This is something I made for dinner earlier this week and it was well received by Orozono and Snuggle Bug! Best of all, I found the meat on sale (a big package for $6.50)!



BBQ Boneless Pork Ribs

Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless country style ribs
  2. Kraft honey BBQ sauce

Preparation

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add ribs and boil gently for 10-20 minutes
  3. Drain and pat dry.
  4. Brush both sides of each boneless pork rib with BBQ sauce.
  5. Grill on medium high heat on a gas grill until well browned on each side.
  6. Baste with BBQ sauce as desired.
I served these ribs with mashed potatoes and grilled green bell peppers. Rice would probably be a great side dish too!

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe! Remember, I won't be able to visit all of your recipes today until after I get home from work. But fear not, I will stop by to visit your recipe as soon as I can!

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

Grandma's deviled eggs
tropical fruit salad
Killarney Cream Scones
Chocolate Fudge Cookies
Broiled Tilapia Parmesan
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!

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5:46 AM
13 comments


Thursday, March 29, 2007
Writing an obituary
Last night I got a call from my neighbor, Jack. He wanted me to come over with a pad of paper and a pen, telling me he had a task for me.

When I arrived, he teared up and asked me if I'd write Hetty's obituary. No, Hetty has not yet died, she was napping when I arrived, but the hospice social worker had given Jack a pamphlet Tuesday that listed the symptoms of an actively dying person. Jack read it carefully, highlighting those symptoms that Hetty is experiencing (not interested in eating solids, only interested in drinking liquids, tired all the time, etc.). I think it was then that he finally understood and accepted that Hetty isn't going to get better and that she won't be here with us much longer. I think this is what prompted him to call me.

You may wonder why he's asking me, his neighbor, to write his wife's obituary, rather than his son or daughter? Truthfully, I wondered the same thing. Jack simply said that he didn't want to burden his children with this task but, for his own peace of mind, needed it taken care of in advance. He did ask me to contact his daughter and let her have final approval on what was written for Hetty's obituary.

So, I sat down at their kitchen table with Jack and dictated facts from him about Hetty, when she was born, when they were married, her career, her retirement, surviving family members, and things she'll be remembered most for.

Last night I typed up an obituary for my neighbor, Hetty, who hasn't died quite yet. What a surreal experience.

Now I have to call Hetty's daughter and somehow delicately broach the subject, asking her to read her mother's obituary and approve it ahead of time. How does one do this exactly?

**Edited to add**

Thank you all so much for your supportive comments and prayers! I do appreciate it.

I spoke with Hetty and Jack's daughter over the phone today. I stumbled over my words in the beginning, not sure how to explain the purpose of my call without causing her pain. I decided the direct approach was best.

She took it well and we talked for over 30 minutes. She cried a bit and opened up and shared some of the family dynamics. It was actually nice learning more about her parents through her experiences.

So, the conversation went well. I emailed her the obituary and she's going to review it, possibly make suggestions, and send it back.

Whew! I'm glad that task has been completed!

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6:28 AM
15 comments


Wednesday, March 28, 2007
WFMW (stop urban legend emails)
It's time to post yet another WFMW tip.


How many times do you get those annoying, urban legend type emails forwarded to you by family, friends, and acquaintances? You know, like the one about the "syringe in the McDonald's Ball Pit".

Now you have a defense! Check out Snoops, the website that helps you disprove (or prove) the validity of these urban legend emails.

Check out their list of the 25 Hotest Urban Legands. You can also search by categories like Fraud & Scams or Old Wives' Tales.

Since discovering Snopes, I now take great pleasure in responding to these forwarded message with a message of my own that includes a direct link to the Snopes article that disproves (or proves) the content of the forwarded message. What's amazing is that it usually only takes one such response from me to quell the urge of other's to send me these types of emails.

Using Snoops to stop urban legend emails 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!

One last thing, do any of you know how to get permanent marker off of wooden floors? We had one of those days yesterday!

**Edited to add**

Guess what? The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser suggestion that many of you gave me worked! We bought some today and used it on the permanent marker scribbles on our wooden floor. It came off and it doeesn't seem to have hurt the finish, although, that spot is quite a bit cleaner looking than the rest of the floor now. :)

Thanks so much for the advice!

My past WFMW entries:

send credit scores soaring
foolproof extra creamy cottage cheese
stainless steel ball whisk
Uses for your child's wagon
10 Reasons Why Parents Should Not Spank
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:

6:00 AM
23 comments


Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Have you heard the news?

In case you haven't heard, Disney will soon have its first black princess! Princess Maddy will make her film debut in 2009 in a musical fairy tale called "The Frog Princess." It'll be set in New Orleans in the 1920's jazz age and it will be hand-drawn, no computer animation allowed!

Be sure to read more about Princess Maddy in an article written earlier this month in the Kansas City Star, entitled Black girls deserve some princess power.

Can I just say, it's about time! What do you think?

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5:29 AM
10 comments


Monday, March 26, 2007
Planting Love & Growing Memories
Yesterday, I had a nice visit with my neighbor, Hetty . The nurse had her up in the wheelchair and wheeled her out in her backyard during my visit.

While we were outside enjoying the beautiful weather, we examined the various flowers and plants that she and Jack have been growing. They're both gardeners and take great pride in their efforts.

Right now, they have beautiful African daisies (orange and yellow) growing wild. Hetty shared with me that at one time their entire yard was covered in these daisies and that strangers used to drive by their house and take pictures of all the flowers.

Last September Hetty took some African Daisy seeds and scattered them around her yard. She watered the area once and then let it go. This Spring, the flowers have bloomed bright and beautiful.

Hetty explained to me that her African daisies will dry up and go to seed, not long after blooming. Some have already done this.

Hetty gave me a plastic container, the one she's used as a gardener year after year, and encouraged me to gather the dried up seeds of her African daisies in the hopes that we can grow some at our house. I managed to get quite a few seeds this afternoon.

This September, there's a good chance that Hetty will no longer be here with us on Earth. I'm keeping the seeds I've collected from her flowers and when the time is right, I'm going to scatter them throughout our front yard. I'll lightly water them and then pray that, come next Spring, I'll see new blooms.

I can't think of a better of way to honor Hetty than by sharing her love of African daisies. And each time I see these flowers, I'll keep the memories of Hetty near and dear.

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6:00 AM
11 comments


Sunday, March 25, 2007
Grains of Gratitude

It's time to reflect on the good things of this past week in another "Grains Of Gratitude" post.

1. I'm thankful for the fact that my blogger friend Stacey and her husband were chosen to be the adoptive parents of a little boy due at the end of May. Oh how I remember the excitement (and nervousness) of being chosen and matched! Stacey, your family will be in my prayers!

2. I'm thankful that my neighbor, Hetty has been granted her wish to spend her final days at home. She was moved from the hospice facility to her home earlier this week. The hospice care provided her with a hospital bed and Hetty and Jack's two children hired round-the-clock, in-home nursing care for Hetty because Jack just can't take care of her on his own. It's a tough time for Hetty and her family, so I'd appreciate it if you'd keep them in your prayers.

3. I'm thankful for the opportunity to get to know my next door neighbor a bit. Mary & her husband (Bill) have a little girl (Nan) who is 2 years older than Snuggle Bug. Despite the fact that they live right next door, we don't see them often. This Thursday Snuggle Bug saw their car in the driveway and made a beeline towards their house, dragging me behind. He wanted to play with Nan. Mary welcomed us in and we spent about an hour there. The kids played while Maria and I talked. I learned that she doesn't have many friends yet in this city, so I'm determined to make more of an effort to include Maria and her family in fun activities when we can.

4. I'm thankful for the opportunity to take Snuggle Bug on some fun outings this week. We went to a spring training baseball game with some of my co-workers and we also went to a semi-annual street fair. Snuggle Bug had a great time!

5. I'm thankful that Oronzo is still taking Snuggle Bug to swim lessons. Those lessons started this week. Snuggle Bug had lessons last year (the kind where we were in the pool with him) and this year he's started the kind where he's in the pool with an instructor and not us. The past 2 lessons, held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, he's cried nearly the entire lesson. Oronzo has felt discouraged and wants to pull him out. I'm encouraging him to stick it out a while longer, in the hopes that Snuggle Bug will get past the crying stage and move into the learning stage, as he has in the past. We have a pool in our backyard so I really feel these lessons are important!

6. I'm thankful for the rain we got this week. It was nice to be able to cozy up to our fireplace a couple more times before the summer heat prevents this. Our plants and flowers appreciated the rain too. They're stretching out and growing!

7. I'm thankful that Snuggle Bug slept in long enough this morning to give me time to write and post this list. :) I hear him stirring now, so I'd best be going!

Happy Sunday to you all!

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6:21 AM
4 comments


Friday, March 23, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Grandma's deviled eggs)

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

Before we get started, I'd like to mention that I'm going to put out a schedule of upcoming themes soon. You all have given me some excellent theme suggestions so I have plenty ideas to choose from. Watch for that soon.

Also, I won't be able to visit all of your recipes today until after I get home from work. But fear not, I will stop by to visit your recipe eventually!

Okay, so I know there are a lot of deviled egg recipes out there, but my Grandma's is the best! You really need to try this. This recipe is versatile, it can also be made as an egg salad recipe. I think I'll be making it again this weekend.



Ingredients
  1. 6 boiled eggs (boil for 20 minutes)
  2. 1/2 tsp dry or 1 tsp prepared mustard
  3. 1/4 tsp salt
  4. dash of pepper
  5. 3 Tbsp mayo or sour cream
  6. 1/2 Tbsp vinegar
  7. 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  8. paprika

Preparation

  1. Cool boiled eggs & shell, shell & have lengthwise.
  2. Carefully lift out yolks & place in a mixing bowl.
  3. Mash yolks with fork & add remaining ingredients, except paprika. Mix until fluffy.
  4. Fill egg whites with yolk mixture & sprinkle with paprika.

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

tropical fruit salad
Killarney Cream Scones
Chocolate Fudge Cookies
Broiled Tilapia Parmesan
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!

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5:25 AM
15 comments


Thursday, March 22, 2007
What has surprised me most about motherhood?

The Mom Blogs has started presenting weekly topics for discussion and I thought I'd participate in this week's question, What has surprised you most about motherhood?

Here's my response.

1) I always believed that I'd be enjoy being a mother, but I didn't realize how much fun motherhood would be! Sure, there's the sleep deprivation, endless bottles and diapers, occasional toddler temper tantrums, and such, but that's all such a small part of motherhood. I'm enjoying the hugs, the kisses, the snuggle time, the exploring nature, the imagination, the developing sense of humor, and the energy of my son. Every day is new and different.

2) I didn't realize how completely my child would look to me for guidance and support. When he gets and owie, he comes to me for a kiss and suddenly it's "all better" (what an amazing feeling that is)! When he's in a group of people, he looks to me for reassurance. When he's scared, he needs my comfort. My husband and I are the center of his world, and he is ours. We love it!

3) I didn't realize how often my husband and I would have different views on little things dealing with parenting our son (i.e. I like Snuggle Bug in bed early at night and don't mind him waking up early the next morning. Oronzo would prefer to put him to bed later and have him sleep in later the next morning.) Parenthood is teaching us both the fine art of compromise.

4) I didn't understand how my son would imitate my every word and action! Even the littlest action that I do, he mimics. It humbles me and makes me stop and think about what I'm doing and saying. That's a good thing!

5) As much as I lament at how quickly my son is growing up (he's now 2), I didn't expect to enjoy each developmental stage better than the previous one! I hope this joy continues right through his teenage years and beyond.

6) I didn't realize how much I would worry about my son. When he was an infant, I worried about whether or not he was eating enough, did he weigh enough, was he learning and developing on target? Now that he's a toddler I worry about things like, is he getting enough socialization (he's a stay-at-home kid), are we reading to him often enough, why won't he eat veggies, should he know some of his colors by now, how can we teach him not to run out into the street, am I spending enough quality time with him when I'm not working FT? I know the worrying never ends, I just didn't realize how intense it would be sometimes.

7) I didn't realize how intensely I'd love my child! The fact that I didn't carry him for 9 months and give birth to him makes absolutely no difference to me. I would throw myself in front of a bus if it meant saving him. He is the light in my life.

These are just some things that come to mind. Perhaps it's because my husband and I waited until our mid-thirties to become parents, but I find myself feeling so thankful and grateful to be parenting this adorable son of ours. I know there will always be some challenges along the way, but I'm okay with that. The rewards of motherhood far outweigh those challenges.

So, what has surprised you most about motherhood? Please feel free to share a couple of thoughts with me in my comments section!

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6:00 AM
8 comments


Wednesday, March 21, 2007
WFMW (send credit score soaring)
It's time to post yet another WFMW tip.

Not long ago, I read an article in Air Force Times entitled "Make Good Credit Even Better~ 10 strategies to send your scores soaring."

I don't know about you, but my credit score has room for improvement, so I cut the article out to post up at home as a reminder. I scanned this article into an Adobe file. If you'd like a copy of the complete article, leave me a comment including your email address and I'll send it to you!

For now, I'll share three of the strategies mentioned in the article.

1) Pay your debts early, not just on time. If you pay your credit cards, installment loans, and mortgage loans as much as three weeks early for a few months' time, your scores will rise.

2) Pay more than the minimum amounts. If you can, regularly pay at least $25 a month over the minimum required payment amount.

3) Use every credit card you own once every five months, even if it's only for gas, groceries, or clothing. This moves the "date of last activity" up in time, improving your scores. It also will prevent credit card companies from closing your accounts for lack of use. The message "closed by credit grantor" is not good for your credit.

Working to make my credit scores even higher 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:

foolproof extra creamy cottage cheese
stainless steel ball whisk
Uses for your child's wagon
10 Reasons Why Parents Should Not Spank
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:

5:57 AM
22 comments


Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Hospice Care
Our 85 year old neighbor, Hetty, has been referred from the hospital and admitted into the Hospice facility, as of Sunday. What this typically means is that her doctors have determined that she terminal cancer and has a life expectancy of 6 months or less and therefor qualifies for the Hospice program.

I've visited Hetty twice now, both times just on my own. The first time her husband, Jack, was there. The three of us chatted and Hetty got a bit teary eyed and mentioned that maybe it would be best if she just gave up. Jack quickly chastised her and said, "I thought we agreed not to talk like that anymore."

The second time I visited Hetty, was last night after I got Snuggle Bug down to bed. Thankfully the Hospice facility is close by our house so I was able to get there before 8:30 p.m. and Hetty was still awake and restless. I brought Hetty some fresh baked cookies in the hopes of enticing her to have a bit to eat. She hasn't been eating well lately.

Hetty's battle with cancer these past 15 years has been so hard on Hetty, Jack, and their 2 grown children. This past 6 months has been the roughest because the cancer got into her brain and the radiation treatment she went through has weakened her. She can't walk now.

In the past year almost 2 years that I've known Hetty, her courage and determination have impressed me. Her positive attitude has been inspiring. But now, these past few months, I've had to watch her suffer humiliation at the loss of control and see the hope slowly drain from her spirit. I've heard her fears of dying and leaving her husband of nearly 60 years. I've also heard the fears of Jack, who's not sure what he's going to do without her.

I'm actually glad she's been admitted into Hospice. It's a wonderful program with a holistic approach to the care of people who are actively dying. Pain management is a large part of the care, but spiritual and emotional needs are tended to as well. It's not just about the care of those who are dying, it's also about helping the survivors to cope and work through their own grief. The Hospice staff are very kind to Hetty and are taking good care of her. I used to be a Hospice volunteer many years ago and, listening to Hetty talk about that "nice young man" who makes a point to talk to her (he's a hospice volunteer) so kindly, it's nice to see from the other side how much that volunteering matters. I've always felt the pull to get back into Hospice volunteering and I know I'll do it again soon in the future. For now, I will devote my energies to being there for Hetty and Jack.

Hetty is anxious to return to home and there's a chance that this may happen. Hetty and Jack's children, who live out of state, are working with the Hospice staff to try to arrange in-home care for Hetty. If they can get that figured out, then she will allowed to go home. I believe she wants to die at home, rather than in a hospital or hospice bed. I don't blame her.

You know, all of our days are numbered and only God knows when our time will come. I just hope that if I'm in Hetty's position, facing my mortality and counting down the days until the end, I will have her courage, dignity, and grace in those final hours.

Prayers for Hetty and her family would be much appreciated!

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5:42 AM
12 comments


Monday, March 19, 2007
Toddler products I'm ordering soon
How cute is this??! It's a t-shirt that I'm going to order from Babesta. I have two nephews, with upcoming birthdays, that will be starting pre-school this year. I think this will be a cute gift for each of them! The cost, $20 plus $4 shipping per order. There's some other cute stuff on this website too, so check it out! And if you'd like to receive 10% off, use this code: BABESTA70.

Another thing I'm ordering soon is a couple of solid color Flap Happy sun hats. I'll probably go for one white and one navy blue. These hats are awesome because they protect not only Snuggle Bug's head, but also his neck and ears! And the hat stays on much better than most other hats. Snuggle Bug currently has a fish print Flap Happy sun hat that's cute, but it's hard to match with anything but a solid color shirt. I want some solid colored ones to mix and match better with many of his outfits.

So tell me, what baby/toddler/child product have you ordered lately?

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6:07 AM
9 comments


Friday, March 16, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Tropical Fruit Salad)

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

Before we get started, I'd like to remind my readers that may have missed it that there were some great Irish/green recipes submitted last week in preparation for St. Patrick's Day. Stop by and take a peek!

Also, I won't be able to visit all of your recipes today until after I get home from work. But fear not, I will stop by to visit your recipe eventually!

Okay, so as the weather warms up, I find myself craving chilled fruit. This is a recipe that I got from my Easy Everyday Cooking recipe card box.


Ingredients

  1. 2 bananas
  2. 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks or 1 (20-0z) can pineapple chunks, drained
  3. 1 (10-oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
  4. 2 cups chopped Granny Smith apples (about 2 medium apples)
  5. 1 cup sliced strawberries
  6. 1/2 cup thawed frozen limeade concentrate
  7. 1/2 cup honey
  8. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  9. 1 tsp poppy seeds or papaya seeds

Preparation

  1. Slice bananas. Combine pineapple, mandarin oranges, apples, bananas, and strawberries in large bowl; mix gently. Tightly cover; refrigerate.
  2. Combine limeade, honey, and oil in a small bowl; whisk until well blended.
  3. Stir poppy seeds into limeade mixture. Pour over fruit salad.
  4. Gently mix fruit salad. Spoon into individual dessert glasses. Serve immediately.

Note: You can make this salad up to 2 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready serve.

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

Killarney Cream Scones
Chocolate Fudge Cookies
Broiled Tilapia Parmesan
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!

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6:00 AM
11 comments


Thursday, March 15, 2007
Changing our spending habits.
We're living in the lap of luxury! Okay, maybe not quite, but it sure feels like it since we purchased these...


After much searching and a bit of patience, we found these 2 leather recliner rocker chairs on sale for only $300 each! A local furniture store was having a 50% off sale!

We just had these chairs delivered yesterday. They're so soft and comfy. As I sat reading a book in mine, I felt like I had scored the best chair in Barnes and Noble or Starbucks, only better because I was in my jammies and was enjoying the warmth of our fireplace! In fact, I must admit I feel asleep in my chair last night as I was reading my book.

Want to hear the best part? We purchased these the right way...by saving our money (Christmas gift money, a bit of money from Oronzo's contract jobs, etc) and paying cash, rather than charging it.

We visited several furniture stores, testing out chairs and watching for sales, as we built our chair fund up to $700. It took us several months, but we were patient.

That patience and discipline paid off! It felt so good to walk into the furniture store, find the chairs we liked and tell the salesman we'd take 2, and no thank you we didn't need the financing option, we were paying cash! And we have a bit of money left over to purchase a nice end table to put between the 2 chairs, if we can find one we like.

Oronzo and I haven't always been so disciplined. We bought our fancy refrigerator by taking advantage of a 12 months interest free offer. So, we got the refrigerator before we paid for it, then spent the next 12 months paying it off. We've also used our credit card to purchase things when we didn't have the money needed at the time. Then we stressed about paying off those items with interest.

It felt so very satisfying and rewarding to pay cash for our chairs. And the wait and anticipation has made us appreciate these chairs all the more. We're proud of ourselves for our financial responsibility!

Oronzo and I are making a determined effort to change our spending habits from buying before we can afford it to saving up until we can buy it. Instant gratification isn't always what it's cracked up to be. Waiting and saving is so much sweeter!

Now, we begin saving for a new dishwasher. We're going this weekend to shop around and get an idea of what we like and how much we'll need to save up for one.

When's the last time you were able to pay cash for a somewhat major purchase? What was your purchase?

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5:51 AM
15 comments


Wednesday, March 14, 2007
WFMW (foolproof creamy cottage cheese)
It's time to post yet another WFMW tip.

I like cottage cheese but try as I might I could never find a brand that was creamy enough for my liking. I tried so many different kinds and just got more and more frustrated!

Finally, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I took a container of cottage cheese, and added a splash of 2% milk, giving it a good stir. Suddenly, I had extra creamy cottage cheese! Alleluia!

Now that I've got my cottage cheese creamy enough, I like to experiment with variations. I could buy the Breakstone's Cottage Doubles at the store, but I like to mix in my own fresh fruit instead (strawberries,l peaches, blackberries).

I've also been known to mix together the following ingredients: 3 tablespoons of applesauce to 1/2 to 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Extra creamy cottage cheese work 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:

stainless steel ball whisk
Uses for your child's wagon
10 Reasons Why Parents Should Not Spank
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: ,

6:35 AM
11 comments


Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Blogging Your Baby

Oronzo recently sent me a link to an article, Blogging Your Baby, that he came across and wanted to share with me. Go ahead, take a moment to read it yourself!

At first I thought he was not so subtly telling me that he was uncomfortable with the content of my blog. So, I asked him.

Me: Do you think my blog is too personal? I try to protect our privacy by blogging anonymously and I don't usually post head on pictures of Snuggle Bug, but what do you think?

Oronzo: No, I'm not criticizing your blog. I just thought you'd find the article interesting.

Whew, that's a relief! Reading this article did make me stop and think. Do I share too much? What will Snuggle Bug think when he's old enough to read this? I have no intention of hiding it from him when he's older. Will he be embarrassed or upset with what I have written about him?

When I write, I do so mainly to process my thoughts and feelings on certain situations. I know I'm not always positive and upbeat about all those situations, but I try not to be hurtful towards others. I do think of the privacy of Oronzo and Snuggle Bug, trying not to cross any lines. I also write to gain the support and advice of my fellow bloggers. I love that aspect of blogging!

Perhaps I'm paranoid, but I do worry about sexual predators trolling for children online, so you'll notice that the pictures I post of Snuggle Bug often are at side angles or altered to not show his full appearance.

I'm curious, do you ever feel at times that you get too personal in your blog? Do you worry about what your child will think later? Do you filter what you write about in the interest of privacy?

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6:28 AM
14 comments


Monday, March 12, 2007
I have a confession to make.

Yes, that's right, we're not moving after all, despite all the reasons I gave for needing to in my We're teetering on the edge of a cliff post last month.

So, let me just list the reasons why we are now not moving:

1) Oronzo has won some fairly large paying contract bids as of late, and it's looking as though if we stay we can stash a good chunk of change away to ride out the leaner months that we might be facing later with the unpredictability of contract work. If all works out as planned within the next few months, just based on the contract work he's doing right now, we'll be able to stash away about a year's worth of cushion. And as he gets more contract work this year, we'll be adding to that stash.

2) We found out that we'd be loosing close to $20,000 to sell our house! The housing market has taken a real nose dive here since we bought our house and, although the realtors that we talked to said it's slowly making a comeback, we're looking at least another year before we wouldn't have to sell it at a loss! We love our house, we put a lot of work (and love) into remodeling it when we bought it a year and a half ago. We might have been able to come up with the $20,000 required to sell it at a loss (thanks to Oronzo's good paying contracts at the moment) but we still would've had to rent for at least a year in Nebraska as we scrambled to save up for another 20% down payment on a new house.

3) Our efforts to adopt would've been delayed at least a year due to having to save up money for a down payment on a new house. We also would've had a tough time getting time off of work to spend with a new baby with both Oronzo and I starting brand new jobs. You have to be employed at least a year before Family Medical Leave kicks in.

4) Neither of us were comfortable with putting Snuggle Bug in full-time daycare and the idea of me dropping down to part time after a year of working FT wasn't looking very realistic. And the idea of putting a brand new baby into daycare right away really broke our hearts. Oronzo was really struggling with the concept of going from spending 12 hours a day with Snuggle Bug to spending 2-3 hours a day with his son. He loves being a work-from-home dad and I love knowing that my child is being cared for by a loving parent.

5) The FT job for Oronzo in Nebraska seemed great, but in light of getting more contract work that would allow him to continue to work for himself and set his own hours, it wasn't quite as appealing as he first thought. Giving up my great job to find a new one in Nebraska was also feeling rather unappealing.

So, Oronzo has informed the company that he won't be accepting their position after all. They were disappointed but said that they understood. I had the very difficult task of telling all of my family that I wouldn't be moving back as planned. Giving up my dream, at least for now, of living close to my family has been the hardest part of this decision to stay. I was emotional, to say the least, when I had to tell my family we were staying. Every one of them were extremely supportive, despite their obvious disappointment. They've promised to do their best to come out here for Christmas.

We've let our friends here know that we're staying and they're all thrilled. We have yet to inform Oronzo's family. I'm leaving that to Oronzo to do. After Paige's nasty tough love conversation with Oronzo, we're almost feeling resentful at the fact that our staying means Paige will feel as though her conversation was what convinced us to stay, when in truth her conversation made absolutely no difference at all! If anything, it's made us more inclined to put up boundaries and keep her at bay.

Now that we're staying, we have to be even more diligent at budgeting and saving. We've got a list of home improvement projects that we know would have to be done if we ever want to successfully sell our house (thanks to the realtor we chose to sell our house), so we'll slowly be working on those improvements. We've also decided to start pursuing a second adoption sooner, rather than later, so be prepared to hear more on that topic in the near future.

Oh, and now that we're staying, Michelle can come visit us! Let's plan a visit before this year ends, okay Michelle? :)

Please say a prayer for Oronzo, that his contract business continues to grow and provides adequately for our family. Thank you so much!

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6:37 AM
19 comments


Sunday, March 11, 2007
Grains of Gratitude

It's time to reflect on the good things of this past week in another "Grains Of Gratitude" post.

1. I'm thankful for the kind ladies that so faithfully post recipes on my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange, and for those that pop in from time to time to add their recipes as well. I can't tell you how much I love your recipes! It really helps make my weekly menu planning much easier! My family appreciates it too. It gives them some variety.

2. I'm thankful for the wonderful little friends that Snuggle Bug has made. He has so much interacting with them on a weekly basis. They're such dear little people and he's always so excited to spend time with them! They're parents are pretty neat too!

3. I'm thankful for the safe plane ride that Snuggle Bug and I had yesterday morning. One of our Mommy friends invited us to join her and her son for an aviation day that their church was hosting. Snuggle Bug and his toddler friends got to go up in a Cessna 206 together (with us mommy's of course). The boys absolutely loved the whole experience! And now, when Oronzo wants to take Snuggle Bug up in a plane with him (Oronzo is a private pilot), I won't be quite so nervous about it because I know how much fun they'll both have.

4. I'm thankful for the warm weather we've been having lately! The warm sun has been wonderful. It's allowing us to get outdoor projects done, visit with our neighbors who are outside more, and to play outdoors more with Snuggle Bug. He's happy to be back in his sandbox.

5. I'm thankful for our the support that our neighbor, Hetty, has received from her husband (Jack), 2 children, and our neighborhood. She's been battling cancer for 15 years and it's taken a heavy toll on her this past year (she's 85). She's in the hospital right now and everyone has rallied around her and her husband to offer their support. If you wouldn't mind offering up a prayer for her, I'd sure appreciate it.

6. I'm thankful for our dear friends who didn't mind coming to our house on Wednesday night for pizza and a game of Phase 10 . This particular couple has no children and they're very good about offering to come to our house so that after dinner we can put Snuggle Bug down to sleep in his own bed and then play some cards and chat. We always have such a great time!

Happy Sunday to you all!

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7:52 AM
6 comments


Friday, March 09, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Killarney Cream Scones)

Good Friday to you all! It's time for another Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange! This time we'll be doing a St. Patrick's Day Edition!

The recipes that you submit can be food or beverages. They can be Irish dishes or just food/drink that's green in color.

Pictures of your food/drink are helpful, but not required. Stories of the history behind your dish/drink (if it's a family recipe) are most welcome indeed! :)

Remember, I won't be able to visit all of your recipes until after I get home from work. But fear not, I will stop by to visit your blog in due time!

The recipe I'm about to share is from a wonderful Irish cookbook, called Elegant Irish Cooking, that Oronzo gave me as a gift.

I love this cookbook because it has fantastic pictures of many of the places we stayed at or visited during our wedding and honeymoon in Irleand. And some of the recipes are of dishes we actually tasted during our travels! The recipe below is one such recipe and I love being able to make these at home. In fact, I do believe I could happily eat these every morning for breakfast, especially served with orange marmalade!


Killarney Cream Scones


Ingredients

  1. 2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
  2. 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 2 tsp baking powder
  5. 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled & cut into small pieces
  6. 1/3 cup dried currants
  7. grated zest of 1 medium orange
  8. 1 cup heavy cream + 1 Tbsp for brushing tops

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Position a rackin the middle of the oven.
  2. In a bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Stir until well blended. Cut the butter pieces into the flour and mix thoroughly until crumbly. Add currants.
  3. Combine the orange zest with the cup of cream. Using a spatula, stire the cream into the flour mixture.
  4. With floured fingers, knead gently, and form into a soft ball. Transfer to a lightly floured surface.
  5. Roll the dough into a square (2 inches), approximately to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a sharp knife, cut the square into 3 strips (about 3 inches). Cut each striip into 5 triangles. Place on a lightly flour-dusted sheet pan. Brush the tops of the scones with the remaining cream.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes in preheated oven, until golden brown on top.
  7. Serve with lemon curd or orange marmalade.
I hoped you liked this Irish scone recipe. 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

Chocolate Fudge Cookies
Broiled Tilapia Parmesian
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!

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5:54 AM
15 comments


Wednesday, March 07, 2007
WFMW: The Kitchen Edition
It's time to post yet another WFMW tip. Shannon is hosting a kitchen edition this week!

I do a lot of baking in my household. While traveling, I found stumbled across a type of whisk I'd never seen before... a stainless-steel ball whisk...in a specialty kitchen store. I bought two different sizes.


I've looked for them in stores in my area, but haven't found them. Then, the other day I found them for sale on Amazon.com.

These whisks are fantastic! They're great for mixing both wet and/or dry ingredients. The thing I love about them is that the food you're mixing doesn't get stuck in clumps on the whisk, like they do with the egg whisks that I used to use.

If you haven't tried a stainless-steel ball whisk, I encourage you do do so! You'll love it!

Stainless-steel ball whisks work 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:

Uses for your child's wagon
10 Reasons Why Parents Should Not Spank
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

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6:01 AM
26 comments


Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Topsy Turvy World

My world is a bit topsy turvy right now. I haven't had much time to blog, especially now that my work has blocked all access to blogs and I can't sneak in a post or a comment or two during our slow times. The audacity of it all, they actually expect me to WORK at work? ;)

Thank you all for the fun comments you've left me on my Welcome to the Ultimate Blog Party post. I will do my best to stop by your blogs and join in your party festivities too!

So, based on the feedback I received during last week's Favorite Ingredients Friday post, I'm going to have the St. Patrick's Day themed recipe exchange this coming Friday, 9 March, so that you all have time to go grocery shopping and try out an Irish recipe or two by the time St. Patrick's Day arrives.

Do you like the button I made? It's actually from a picture that we took at our rehearsal dinner in Ireland nearly 4 years ago. The restaurant served us Irish coffee with this neat nutmeg shamrock on the top.

Okay, specifics for the recipe exchange, the recipes can be Irish dishes, or even just green foods/beverages. I'm excited about this one. I have a beautiful Irish cookbook that Oronzo got for me while we were in Ireland. I'll have a tough time deciding which Irish dish to share with you! :)

Okay, thanks for hanging in there with me, despite the fact that I haven't been as active of a blogger as I like to be lately.

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6:12 AM
7 comments


Saturday, March 03, 2007
Welcome to the Ultimate Blog Party!

5 Minutes for Mom is hosting a fantastic party! I'm always up for a party, so let the festivities begin! :)

So, for those of you who are here for the first time, let me tell you just a few things about myself.

1. I'm the proud adoptive mom of the most wonderful 2 year old boy, my little Snuggle Bug. You can read all about our first adoption journey in my 10 part series called "It wasn't supposed to work this way...". If you want to learn more about our private, domestic adoption, start with Part 1. The entire series can be found on my sidebar. We'll be adopting a second time, hopefully in the near future, so stay tuned for news on our next adoption journey.

2. I'm the proud wife of Oronzo. We've been married for almost 4 years. We had a fairytale wedding in Ireland. Oronzo even wore a kilt!

3. I'm the hostess of a weekly recipe exchange called Favorite Ingredients Friday. It's a great way to help with weekly menu planning! Next Friday I'll be doing a St. Patrick's Day themed recipe exchange. I hope you can join in the fun!

4. I love doing crafty things like decorating cookies, card stamping, scrapbooking, and I'm even dabbling a little bit in jewelry making.

Okay, enough about me. If you've stopped by, please share a tidbit of information about yourself in my comments section!

Now, I'm off to meet those of you that left links over at Janice and Susan's party central blog! If you haven't joined the party, please do so. You're invited!

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8:39 PM
44 comments


Friday, March 02, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Chocolate Fudge Cookies)

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

Before we get started, I have a quick question. I'd like to do a St. Patrick's Day themed FIF, where we all post either Irish recipes or even green food recipes. Since St. Patrick's Day is on Saturday, 3/17, I can either do this themed exchange next Friday (3/9) or the following Friday (3/16). So, cast your vote on which day you'd prefer.

Also, I won't be able to visit all of your recipes until after I get home from work. The base where I work at has tightened their security and I can no longer get to my blog or anyone else's. Rats! But I will stop by to visit your recipe eventually!

Okay, so I'm in the mood for cookies, so I'm going to share one of my favorite recipes that I found on joyofbaking.com. It's heavenly! Oh, and one of my secret to making great cookies is to slightly undercook them so they're soft and chewy. So, in this recipe, I only bake them for 11 minutes, instead of 12-14 minutes.




Ingredients


  1. 1 cup (115 grams)pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (could also use walnuts or hazelnuts)

  2. 1/2 cup (56 grams) flour

  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder

  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt

  5. 1 pound (450 grams)bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

  6. 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted

  7. 1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated white sugar

  8. 4 large eggs, room temperature

  9. 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  10. 1 cup (170 grams) semisweet dark chocolate chips
  11. 1 cup (170 grams) white chocolate chips

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly brown and fragrant. Let nuts cool and then chop coarsely. Set aside.

  2. Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, into small bowl. Set aside.

  3. Melt the chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.

  4. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the sugar and eggs until pale yellow and thick, about 5 minutes. When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons. Beat in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla extract. Fold in the dry ingredients to the chocolate batter and mix only until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the batter until firm, about 30 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  6. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto prepared cookie sheets, spacing evenly. With moist fingers, press batter to form 3 1/2 (9 cm) to 4 inch (10 cm) rounds. Bake cookies about 12 - 14 minutes or until the tops of the cookies become dry and cracked, but are still shiny. Do not overbake these cookies.

  7. Remove from oven and place baking pan on a wire rack to cool. When cookies are firm, remove from baking pan and let completely cool on rack.

  8. These cookies are best the day they are baked but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days.

  9. Makes about 24 large cookies.

How's that for a sinfully decedant recipe?! 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

Broiled Tilapia Parmesian
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!

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5:43 AM
10 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
























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