Monday, April 30, 2007
Cracking the Kid Code
I got a call from Oronzo yesterday while I was out shopping.

Oronzo: “Can I ask you a stupid question?”

Me: “Sure, go ahead.”

Oronzo: “Snuggle Bug is asking to watch ‘blani book’. What does ‘blani book’ mean?”

Me: “Hmm…is it the Bug’s Life movie?”

Oronzo: “No, I tried that. That’s not it.”

Me: ((wracking my brain trying to figure this out)) “Wait, I’ve got it! ‘Blani’ is his word for Bambi. We have that book retelling various Disney movies and he likes me to read him the Bambi story. So, I think when he says, ‘blani book’ he’s really asking to watch his Bambi movie!”

Oronzo: “Okay, Bambi movie it is. I’ll try that. Thanks.”

Me: “No problem. Call me anytime you have more stupid questions.”

Just for fun, I’ll list some more of Snuggle Bug’s unique word pronunciations:

 “Boo foder”, translation: move over
 “la la”, translation: Baby Einstein movies (it’s a long story)
 “bicasil”, translation: bicycle
 “woedirt”, translation: yogurt
 “ow bout”, translation: how about

So, what fun but hard to understand phrases do your little ones say?

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6:00 AM
15 comments


Saturday, April 28, 2007
The moment you've all been waiting for!
Well, okay, maybe not all of you, but at least those of you that entered the drawing are probably interested in the results of my book giveaway.

Sorry it's taken me so long to get this post written and published. I actually got to sleep in a bit this morning. Hooray! Once up, I've had many interruptions from a certain toddler asking me to play ball, color, and to go outside. This is why I usually do all my postings late at night or early, early in the morning! :)

Okay, so thanks to my adorable assistant, Snuggle Bug, 4 lucky winners were drawn from a hat.

Can I have a drum roll, please...

The winners of my Randy Alcorn book giveaway, listed in the order they were drawn from the hat, are:

1. Rebecca P. at Just a little bit of something extra.

2. Eden at Air Force Family.

3. Laura Davis (a non-blogger who emailed me her entry)

4. Lisa Knight at Sew what's up?.

Congratulations to the 4 of you!

Rebecca and Eden will receive a copy of Wait Until Then. Laura and Lisa will receive a copy of Heaven for Kids.

Will the winners please email me your mailing address? I'll do my best to get these books mailed out within a couple of days of receiving your contact information.

A special thank you to Anne at Authors On The Web for donating these books for this drawing.

And thank you to all who participated! Check back next week, I have another book drawing coming up!

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8:41 AM
4 comments


Friday, April 27, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Garlic Shrimp)

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

Before I share my recipe, I'd like to remind you that today is the last day enter my free book giveaway. Please stop by and check out the details!

Upcoming Themed Schedule
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

My recipe this week is out of one of my favorite cookbooks, Betty Crocker's Good and Easy cookbook. I like to serve this over steamed rice, but you can serve it over noodles too!

Garlic Shrimp

Ingredients

  1. 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

  2. 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

  3. 1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

  4. 1 large carrot, cut into julienne strips (1 cup)

  5. 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

  1. Heat wok or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; rotate wok to coat side.

  2. Add garlic; stir-fry 1 minute. Add shrimp; stir-fry 1 minute. Add carrot; stir-fry about 3 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm and carrot is crisp-tender. Stir in cilantro. Serve over rice or noodles.

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

Vegetarian Edition
Easter Edition- crispy marshmallow eggs
boneless pork ribs
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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6:05 AM
16 comments


Thursday, April 26, 2007
Hereto forever more known as “bag lady”
I’ve never been a purse sort of gal. Oh sure, I have always had a couple of tiny, tiny purses (you know the kind that only fit a few bills and a tube of lipstick) for my occasional grown-up nights out, but for everyday use I’ve stuck with what I refer to as a large wallet. If you look at the pictures I’m sharing, you’ll see how unorganized the large wallet option can be!

After Hetty died, her daughter came in and went through all of her things to prepare much of it for donation. Hetty’s husband, Jack, insisted that I have a few of her favorite things, like the black purse that you see below. I didn’t have the heart to tell Jack that I don’t do purses, so I took it home. Once I got it home, I contemplated giving it away but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it…it was one of Hetty’s favorite purses, after all. It made me think of her fondly when I looked at it.

So I decided, “I guess it wouldn't hurt to give the purse a try.”

It didn't take me long to transfer the contents of my large wallet into this purse and take it out for test drive.

It also didn't take Oronzo long to start teasing me about carrying a "little ol' lady" bag.

Come on now! Even at 85 years old, Hetty was one stylish lady! Does this look like just another "granny" bag to you? Having never owned a real purse before, I'm a bit fashion challenged in this area.

No one ever clued me in as to what cheap entertainment a purse can be for a toddler. This purse kept Snuggle Bug distracted in a restaurant last night for nearly 30 minutes. He pulled everything out of my bag, examining each piece as if it were a hidden treasure newly discovered. He put everything back in the purse, rearranging items with zeal. He was quite fascinated! It was if he'd never seen a purse before. Come to think of it, he probably hasn't, at least not a mommy purse.

I realize now that, if I'm going to keep using this purse, I'll need a small billfold for my money and credit cards, rather than leaving these things floating around in a jumbled mess in one of the three large pockets. Who knew that purses would need accessories?!

Does anyone have suggestions on where I might find a nice black billfold? Are there any companies out there reading my blog that would like to donate a black billfold in exchange for some linkage love!

Anyone? ((sound of crickets chirping))

Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to take my "little ol' lady" purse and go shopping!

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6:00 AM
10 comments


Monday, April 23, 2007
Book Giveaway- Sign up now!
If you recall, last Monday I posted a review on two books, entitled Wait Until Then and Heaven for Kids. Both books were written by Randy Alcorn.

Anne, with Author's On the Web, was kind enough to send me two additional copies of each book to offer as giveaways to my readers! Thanks, Anne!

So, do you want one of these books? If you do, follow the simple instructions below. You've got 5 days to enter the drawing! When the time comes, I'll throw everyone's name in a hat and have Snuggle Bug pick out 4 winners. The first two names drawn will each receive a copy of Wait Until Then. The next two names drawn will each receive a copy of Heaven for Kids.

Here is what you do:

1. On your blog, write a post about this and then link back to my giveaway post. I am sure your readers would appreciate learning about the chance to win a book. You must complete this step to be put in the drawing!

2. Sign the Mr. Linky (the Mr. Linky is that list of names at the end of this post - just type your name in the box) with your name and URL by end of day on Friday, April 27th. Note: If you are not a blogger, you may still enter. Just sign your name on the Mr. Linky without a URL and then email me your contact information. Please note on your email that it is for the Randy Alcorn book giveaway.

I'll announce the winners this coming Saturday morning.

Best of luck!

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5:30 AM
11 comments


Friday, April 20, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Vegetarian Edition)

Good Friday to you all! It's time for another Favorite Ingredients Friday Vegetarian Edition recipe exchange! Please share your favorite vegetarian dishes today!

My recipe this week is a delicious alternative to a meat filled sandwich! I think your family will love it as much as mine does.



Grilled Veggie Sandwich


Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup mayonnaise

  2. 3 cloves garlic, minced

  3. 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  4. 1/8 cup olive oil

  5. 1 cup sliced red bell peppers

  6. 1 small zucchini, sliced

  7. 1 red onion, sliced

  8. 1 small yellow squash, sliced

  9. 2 (4-x6-inch) focaccia bread pieces, split horizontally

  10. 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preparation



  1. In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, minced garlic, and lemon juice. Set aside in the refrigerator.

  2. Preheat the grill for high heat.

  3. Brush vegetables with olive oil on each side. Brush grate with oil. Place bell peppers and zucchini closest to the middle of the grill, and set onion and squash pieces around them.

  4. Cook for about 3 minutes, turn, and cook for another 3 minutes. The peppers may take a bit longer. Remove from grill, and set aside.

  5. Spread some of the mayonnaise mixture on the cut sides of the bread, and sprinkle each one with feta cheese. Place on the grill cheese side up, and cover with lid for 2 to 3 minutes. This will warm the bread, and slightly melt the cheese. Watch carefully so the bottoms don't burn. Remove from grill, and layer the with vegetables. Enjoy as open faced grilled sandwiches.

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday Vegetarian 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

Cupid Cups
Easter Edition- crispy marshmallow eggs
boneless pork ribs
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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5:31 AM
18 comments


Thursday, April 19, 2007
Witnessing A Dream Come True

Yesterday I had the rare opportunity to witness a dream come true for a most deserving little boy.

As most of you know, I work on a military base. Earlier in the week the entire base received an email announcement that we’d have a very special guest at our unit.

Dominic, a six year old with terminal leukemia, had always dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot. Through the Make a Wish Foundation, his wish was granted yesterday and the entire base was invited to his pinning ceremony.

When I arrived at the designated location, about 10 minutes early, I found the room filled to overflowing with military members in fatigues and flight suites and a scattering of government contractors in civilian clothing. Excited chatter circulated the room as we all waited for Dominic’s arrival.

Little Dominic arrived in style, riding atop the base fire engine, sirens blasting across the flight line. He slowly walked through the crowd to the front of the room. He was dressed in a children's sized flight suite, displaying the base patches and a patch with his name on it. He had on a too-big fire station cap on and his shining eyes were peeking out from beneath the brim.

Dominic was placed on a pedestal, military personal flanking either side, his family seated in front of him. Attention to orders was called and after a list of Dominic’s achievements were read aloud (i.e. completion of honorary flight course, shooting down 3 planes and a perfect landing during simulated training, etc.) he was awarded with the honorary rank of 2nd Lieutenant and his flight suite was pinned. A navy blue flight cap was placed on his head. He stood tall and proud throughout it all!

We learned that, not only did Dominic receive pilot training, tour the base fire station, and ride on the fire truck, but he also was taken up for a brief ride in a B-17 plane and he spent time exploring the insides of an A-10 plane. The pilots dubbed him with a call sign of “Magnum”.

During the ceremony, Dominic was presented with numerous gifts: various military patches, squadron coins, framed certificates, military caps, a stuffed bear dressed in fatigues, and a cake that said, “Congratulations Lt. Dominic”.

Although quiet and shy in the midst of such a large crowd, joy and excitement lit up his face and made his eyes sparkle.

The ceremony ended and Dominic was escorted out to the flight line where an F-16 jet awaited. The maintenance crew had put his name on the jet and the cockpit was open and waiting. One of the pilots climbed up into it and Dominic was handed up to him. Dominic sat on the pilot’s lap and watched attentively as the jet was hooked up to a special towing truck. He was taxied away for a ride around the base flight line. We smiled at him and waved our goodbyes.

My eyes, and the eyes of many around me, glistened with tears as I gazed at this precious soul and realized he wouldn’t be on this earth much longer. My heart filled with gladness that at least his dream had come true and his family was there to witness his happiness! I was honored to be able to witness it as well.

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6:32 AM
15 comments


Wednesday, April 18, 2007
WFMW (10 Ways to Make Brushing Fun! )


Before I share my WFMW tip, I'd like to mention that this Friday I'll be doing a Vegetarian edition of my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange. I hope you can join us!

Now, it's time to post yet another WFMW tip. For the longest time, Snuggle Bug was really good about brushing his teeth, but over the past few months he's decided he's no longer interested and it's been a challenge to convince him otherwise. This week I'm sharing some tips on brushing that I found on the Orajel website.

10 Ways to Make Brushing Fun!

While brushing is usually a fun experience, your child may go through a cranky phase when he or she hates to brush. if this happens, try not to make tooth brushing a battleground. Be casual and lighthearted about it all, brushing your own teeth with great gusto and delight, so your child sees how much fun he or she is missing.

Remember that bedtime brushing is most important and, during the day, offer your child lots of plain water after meals.

Here are some ways to make brushing fun and easy for parents and kids (I do #s 1, 3, 6, & 10):

1. Brush with your child — Stand next to your child in front of the bathroom mirror and brush together. It's a nice time together, and your child can mimic your brushing technique.

2. Brush in bed as part of the bedtime routine — If you use a product like Baby Orajel Tooth & Gum Cleanser that is safe to swallow, your child can climb in bed and begin unwinding. Some nights you might even include one of the many books available on taking care of teeth or visits to the dentist.

3. Cute toothbrushes — There are lots of great-looking children's brushes available in stores. Be sure to choose a toothbrush that's small enough for your child to hold comfortably, with a small, rounded head and very soft, polished bristles. You'll probably have to replace toothbrushes every three to four months (more often for preschoolers who tend to chew while they brush!). For babies, a soft finger toothbrush is easy for you to use.

4. Tasty toothpaste — For children under 4, choose a product formulated especially for children, like Baby Orajel Tooth and Gum Cleanser. It has a special mild flavor that babies and toddlers love, in Fruit or Apple-Banana. It's also safe to swallow and non-abrasive. So tooth and gum care is easier and more fun.

5. Count as you brush — Count out loud as you brush each tooth: "Tooth number one is all clean! Tooth number two is all clean! Here comes tooth number three!" This is entertaining for your child, and a good way to practice counting.

6. Say Ahhhhh! — You can't say "ahhh" with your mouth closed. As you brush his or her teeth, encourage your child to say "ahhh," varying the pitch, tone, and rhythm to keep things interesting.

7. Bring a friend — At bedtime, kids may want to invite a favorite stuffed animal into the bathroom to watch as they brush.

8. Tell a toothy story — Kids love to hear favorite stories again and again. Try making up a special short story that you tell only during teeth-brushing time.

9. Make a sticker poster — Hang a piece of bright construction paper on the bathroom wall. Each time your child has a thorough brushing, he or she can choose a sticker or star and put it on the poster. You can also have your child color in Thomas, Percy, James and Gordon on our Thomas & Friends "Brushing Chart" .

10. Sing a toothy song — Make up a silly song to sing every time you brush. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece. Here's what I sing to Snuggle Bug while we brush our teeth:

"Brush your teeth. Round and round. Circles small. Gums and all. Brush your teeth!"

Making brushing fun 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:

Crayola Twistables Slick Stix
kids car organizer
stop urban legend emails
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

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6:00 AM
13 comments


Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 2)
In an earlier post I shared a small portion of the paperwork that we've been requested to fill out in preparation for getting licensed for foster-to-adopt through the state.

Oronzo and I have managed to fill out the entire packet of questions and I dropped it off at the agency today. Okay, let me re-phrase that, Oronzo filled out the Foster/Adoptive Father profile paperwork after I repeatedly badgered him and I filled out all the rest. That's okay though, it's done!

So, since many of you expressed an interest in seeing more of the questions we are being asked in this paperwork, I'll continue one with a second list. Here goes!

Personal Profile (My School and Work History)

1. How many grades did you complete in school (junior high, high school, college, graduate school)?

2. If you did not complete high school, what were the reasons?

3. If you have attended college, what was your field of study and what degree did you receive?

4. As you think back over all your school experiences, were they primarily good experiences or bad? Please explain.

5. What kinds of school experiences did you like the most (what subjects, what activities)? Please explain.

6. What parts of school were most difficult for you (what classes, what activites)? Please explain.

7. How important will grades and school performance be for the child placed in your home?

8. What are your school expectations for a child placed in your home?

9. Since leaving school, please list (from first to current job): places you've worked, job title, length of stay, & reason for leaving.

10. Of all the jobs listed, which did you like best and why?

11. Of all the jobs listed, which did you like least and why?

12. If you are currently employed, please describe your job. What do you do at work? How long would you like to keep this job? What are your plans to look for another job within the next few years? How do you think becoming a foster or adoptive parent might affect your work?

Personal Profile (My Interests In & Expectations of Foster/Adopt Parenting)

1. What made you think about becoming a foster/adoptive parent at this time?

2. Have you ever been in foster care? Were you adopted? Do you know anyone who has been in foster care or adopted? If yes to any of these questions, please explain.

3. If yes, how did your own experience or contact with these people affect your interest in foster care or adoption?

4. What do you believe to be the major differences between foster care and adoption?

5. If you are interested in only foster care, what helped you decide to provide only foster care?

6. If you are interested in possibly adopting through the foster care program, what are your concerns?

7. If you are interested in only adopting, why do you prefer to adopt rather than foster?

8. If you're interested in becoming a foster parent, under what circumstances (if any) might you later consider adopting a child?

9. If you're interested in becoming an adoptive parent, under what circumstances (if any) might you later want to foster?

10. Are you physically able to mother/father a child? If yes, are you planning to have a child or children by birth in the future? If no to either question, please explain.

11. As you think about becoming a foster/adoptive parent, what do you think you will like the most? What do you think you will like least? What do you think others in your family will like best and least about having a new child in your home?

12. If you have parenting experience, what have you enjoyed most about being a parent?

13. What have you disliked most about being a parent?

14. What childhood ages do you or would you most enjoy parenting?

15. What childhood ages do you or would you least enjoy parenting?

16. What forms of discipline do you find to be most effective?

17. Under what circumstances do you think it is OK to spank or physically discipline a child?

18. Please list any agencies you have previously contacted to be come a foster/adoptive parent and share the outcome of contact.

19. Imagine that today is the day you are going to meet the child or children who will be placed in your home. Please describe this child: age, sex, personality, appearance, family, background, siblings, etc.

20. Have you ever been a parent to someone else's child?

Well, there you have it, another small portion of the paperwork we've been asked to complete. There's quite a bit more. Are you still interested in additional paperwork posts? :)

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7:00 AM
14 comments


Monday, April 16, 2007
Reading Books by Randy Alcorn
Not long ago, I got an email from Anne at Authors On The Web asking me if I'd be willing to receive copies of two books and post a review on my blog. Despite not recognizing the author of these books, Randy Alcorn, I emailed Anne back and told her I'd be happy to do so. I love to read and was excited at the opportunity to review a couple of new titles.

The first book I read was Wait Until Then. This is a heartwarming story about a wheelchair-bound boy, Nathan, and his beloved grandfather who is dying of cancer.

The story revolves around talks between Nathan and his grandfather about their mutual love of baseball, Nathan’s desire to be able to run and walk like other kids, and his grandfather’s efforts to explain why we have suffering and bad things on this earth but how all will be made new on the New Earth. Nathan's grandfather also talks about how Jesus is building a special place for each of us in Heaven.

The book is recommended for children ages six through ten, but I believe it can help open dialogue about the death of a loved one, Heaven, and the plan of salvation with children of other ages as well. Randy Alcorn includes a helpful note to adults at the end of the book to offer guidance on what points to share after reading the book together.

Doron Ben-Ami has done a fantastic job illustrating this book! His illustrations are warm, colorful, and life-like. My favorite illustration is the one at the very end!

The next book I read was Heaven for Kids. This book took me quite a bit longer to read, and not just because it's 194 pages long.

With this book, I found myself stopping to look up bible passages that are referenced throughout. This book encouraged me, an adult, to open up my bible and to read and reflect. I think it'd do the same for a child.

I can truthfully say I really enjoyed this book and got a lot out of it. In fact, I wished I had read this book before my neighbor Hetty got too sick to converse with. Just after she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was feeling afraid, she asked me, "What are your thoughts on Heaven? How do you think things will be there?" Sadly, at the time, I was only able to share vague thoughts and the conversation didn't go very far because I didn't know what to tell her. Honestly, even as a Christian, I've never really known what to think of Heaven.

Reading this book has given me a clearer picture of what Heaven might be like, and how to prepare for Heaven. The easy-to-use question-and-answer format is helpful for independent readers aged 8-12. It's also nice for us adults who may be reading it in preparation for the questions our children (or others, like Hetty) may one day ask us.

Just a few of the questions covered in this book were:

Is Heaven a real place?
So how can we know what Heaven is like if we've never seen it?

What happens the second after we die?
Do people in Heaven remember life on earth?
What is the New Earth? What will it be like?
What will our new bodies be like?

One of the things I loved about this book is that Randy Alcorn made reference to many passages from the Chronicles of Narnia books by C.S. Lewis, as well as passages in the bible, in his efforts to bring home the points he was trying to make. I don't know about you, but I loved reading all the Chronicles of Narnia books as a kid and I enjoyed those references used in this book.

If you haven't read Wait Until Then or Heaven for Kids yet, I encourage you to do so. I believe you'll enjoy them as much as I have! I'm going to try to get my hands on another one of Randy Alcorn's books, Heaven, which is geared towards adults.

Has anyone read any books by Randy Alcorn? If so, what did you think?

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6:02 AM
6 comments


Sunday, April 15, 2007
Grains of Gratitude

It's time to reflect on the good things of this past week in another "Grains Of Gratitude" post. Grains of Gratitude was started by Christine at Brady's Bunch.

1. Our sweet neighbor, Hetty died earlier this morning, at 3:30 a.m. We got the call from her husband, Jack, at 6:30 a.m. I'm thankful that we were given the opportunity to know this wonderful woman. Over the past 2 years, she became like a grandmother to me and Oronzo and a great-grandmother to Snuggle Bug. We will miss her fiesty nature and her kindness. Prayers for Jack and their 2 children and grandchildren would be much appreciated. They will miss Hetty most dearly, as will we!

2. I'm thankful that so many bloggers are offering up prayers for Kelli and Heather. Both need prayers now more than ever! The power of prayer can work miracles, so please go to their blogs and offer them enouragement and prayers.

3. I'm thankful that we finished our huge stack of adoption paperwork last night! I'm sure more will be required to be filled out, but for now we're caught up. We'll turn it in on Monday to the state agency we're working with. Oronzo's responses for his foster/adoptive father profile were quite brief, but I don't care. He did them, that's what matters. If they need clarification from him, they can ask him. Later this coming week, I'll post some more of the questions we had to answer, since many of you expressed an interest in seeing those.

4. I'm thankful for the opportunity to meet Jessica, the midwife, this past Friday. She loved the photo scrapbook that I put together and said she'll be sharing it with her other midwife associates and will try to spread the word with doctors here in town. Perhaps we'll get our next match through Jessica. It could happen!

5. I'm thankful for the Family Day that's being hosted by the military base that I work on! It hasn't happened yet, so I'll come back and post details later today, but I'm really excited. It's going to be a lot of fun for Snuggle Bug and one of his toddler friends that we've invited to join us. Stop back and take a look at the pictures that I'll post!

Happy Sunday to you all!

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6:03 AM
12 comments


Saturday, April 14, 2007
Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

The Orlando Sentinel has an interesting quiz entitled, Are you smarter than a 5th grader? You have to go take the quiz! No cheating and using Google to look up the answers.

So, are you brave enough to come back and tell me how you did? If you leave me a comment with your score, I'll follow up on this post later today and share my score! :)

** Edited to add**

Okay, since some of you have been brave enough to share your scores, I'll now share mine. I got an 80%, which means I missed 4 of the questions. That heptagon question was one that threw me off. I had to go Google that one after I was done. Oronzo took the quiz and he got an 85%. It’s amazing how quickly you forget things when you’re out of school! I guess I’ll be re-learning some things when Snuggle Bug gets starts.

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6:06 AM
14 comments


Friday, April 13, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Cupid's Cups)

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

Upcoming Themed Schedule

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

My recipe this week is yet another great find from Kraft Foods. You might think is just a dessert for Valentine's Day but let me assure you it's a great treat for the warm spring/summer months as well. It's a great way to express your love and affection to your spouse and children!




Cupid's Cups

Ingredients

  1. 1 square BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted
  2. 2 cups boiling water, divided
  3. 2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Brand Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
  4. 1-1/2 cups cold water, divided
  5. Ice cubes
  6. 1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
  7. Assorted sprinkles and candies

Preparation

  1. DRAW a heart design or write a sweet message in each of eight (6-oz.) clear plastic cups by piping melted chocolate onto inside of each cup. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm.
  2. STIR 1 cup of the boiling water into 1 pkg. of the dry gelatin mix in medium bowl at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Stir in 1 cup cold water; pour evenly into prepared cups. Refrigerate 1 hour or until gelatin is firm.
  3. MEANWHILE, stir remaining 1 cup boiling water into remaining package of dry gelatin mix in medium bowl at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add enough ice to remaining 1/2 cup cold water to measure 1 cup. Add to gelatin; stir until thickened. Stir in whipped topping with wire whisk until well blended. Spoon into prepared cups. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm. Decorate with sprinkles. Store leftover desserts in refrigerator.

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

Easter Edition- crispy marshmallow eggs
boneless pork ribs
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!

Labels:

7:05 AM
15 comments


Thursday, April 12, 2007
Adoption #2- Creating a Photo Scrapbook
Last December we were put in touch with a friend of a friend who's a midwife named Jessica. The first adoption lead that she had for us just didn't pan out, but she's made it clear that she's still on the look-out for us, for a private, domestic adoption situation.

After four months of conflicting schedules, we're finally meeting in person for the first time tomorrow afternoon. We're meeting in the park and Jessica is bringing her youngest child to play with Snuggle Bug while we chat and get better acquainted.

For this in-person meeting, Jessica has requested that we put together a photo scrapbook and give it to her to share with any expectant mothers that come to her looking for adoptive parents.

We have no problem with Jessica's request. We actually did this over two years ago for Snuggle Bug's birth parents and they said they loved having our photo scrapbook to share with their family and friends!

Putting together a photo scrapbook has proven to be much harder the second time around. I guess it's not surprising, considering the sheer volume of pictures we have taken since Snuggle Bug's birth. I only have room for 30 pictures...can you imagine how difficult it was to pick 30 pictures out of thousands?!

I suspect we'll be doing this again as part of the foster-to-adopt licensing process, so I'm playing it smart this time. I'm taking a picture of each page of this latest photo scrapbook before I turn it over to Jessica. That should make the next one easier to put together.

So, the dilemma we face now is whether or not we should put our family name on the inside cover of this photo scrapbook, as in "Meet the Overwhelmed With Joy family". I'm comfortable with using our last name in the book but Oronzo is not, since he has no idea who will be looking at this book, how often it will be distributed, or if it will be kept in a safe place when not being viewed by an expectant mother. I kind of understand his hesitancy but if an expectant mother is interested in talking to us, I have no problem sharing our first and last names then, so why not just have them in our photo scrapbook?

What's your opinion? Should we share our last name in this photo scrapbook or leave it out, using first names only? What would you do in our situation?

** Edited to add**

Okay, you all have convinced me to use first names only. Besides, I have to respect Oronzo's wishes in this matter. It's not all about me. :)

My photo scrapbook is done (28 pictures, 1 picture per page with a descriptive paragraph for each page). I think it turned out great and even Oronzo approves of it. I hope Jessica likes it tomorrow!

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6:04 AM
9 comments


Wednesday, April 11, 2007
WFMW (Crayola Twistables Slick Stix)
It's time to post yet another WFMW tip. This week I'm posting about our new favorite coloring product, Crayola Twistables Slick Stix! The endorsement I'm about to give was not solicited. I just love this product enough to want to spread the word on my own.

We first saw this brand of Crayola Twistables at the craft area of a street fair in our city. Snuggle Bug and I tried them and had a lot of fun creating vibrant colored pictures! So, the Easter bunny decided to leave Snuggle Bug a set in his Easter basket this past Sunday.

What I like about these Twistables is that they require no peeling or sharpening when the tips get worn down—just twist them up and you're ready to keep on coloring. The clear plastic barrels keep them from breaking and make it easy to see how much color is left. Child safe snap on cap prevents drying out.

The Crayola Twistables Slick Stix remind me a bit of using a tube of lipstick for coloring. These rich, brilliant colors glide across the page, making coloring lots of fun! Take a look at Snuggle Bug’s latest masterpiece! He had a blast creating it this afternoon. I practically had to pry the colors out of his hand when it was time to go.

Word of caution: these are not entirely washable. The twistables can make a mess because the colors can smear at first. I would advise you to keep these set up out of reach and only allow them to be used under the careful eye of a parent. I’d hate to see what would happen if a toddler were on the loose in the house with a set of these!

Crayola Twistables Slick Stix 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:

kids car organizer
stop urban legend emails
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: ,

6:11 AM
13 comments


Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Look what Snuggle Bug can do!
In December, we bought Snuggle Bug a bike for his 2nd birthday. Oronzo took it home, put it together, and then Snuggle Bug hopped on. He was so excited!

Unfortunately, his little legs couldn't reach the pedals. Oronzo tried to tape wooden blocks on to give Snuggle Bug some extra height, but that didn't work. Being pushed on his bike by Mommy or Daddy was fun for Snuggle Bug, but not fun for Mommy or Daddy!

Yesterday afternoon, Snuggle Bug and I were outside playing. I saw his tricycle in the driveway and asked him if he wanted to ride it. "Yesth" was his prompt reply! I figured I'd push him around the block once and call it good.

Snuggle Bug climbed on his tricycle, put his feet to the pedals, and to much to my amazement he pedaled and the tricycle moved a bit! I wasn't helping him. His feet actually now reach the pedals, proof positive that he's grown since December!

I laughed and cheered him on! He grinned and pedaled some more. He was only able to go short distances on his own (except for the times when he was pedaling downhill, that was much more effective) but he was so proud and excited that he was riding his bike all by himself!

This is yet another moment when I'm reminded that my baby is growing up quickly! This time, I was grinning from ear to ear with pride at his accomplishment!

And of course, I did what any good modern-day mommy would do. I took these pictures on the fly with my cell phone camera!

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6:05 AM
15 comments


Monday, April 09, 2007
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 1)
Oronzo and I have made the decision to try to adopt through the State. We've picked an agency that we feel comfortable with and we're going to sign up for their foster-to-adopt program. We're still going to keep the word out with family and friends for a private adoption situation, just to keep our options open. But, since nothing's happening on that front, we're proceeding in this other direction.

I'd like to share our experiences along the way with adopting through the state. Of course, I won't be able to get into specifics about the child we might be placed with or the family of that child, they deserve their privacy after all, but I will get into specifics about the process itself and our interpretation of it. I hope that others will learn from our experiences, as I have learned from others.

Adopting through the state seems pretty scary to me right now, but a part of me has decided to let go of that fear. I'm tired of it holding me back. I'm ready to make a leap of faith.

So, in the interest of sharing our experiences, I thought I'd start by sharing some of the paperwork that we're having to fill out in preparation for our training class. I'm short on time so I may have to come back and add more details this afternoon, so please stop back.

Please keep in mind that each state will have different paperwork and, even within the same city, each agency will have different paperwork, but the resulting information that the state gets from prospective foster/adoptive parents ends up the same. I hope to take the mystery out of this process for others by sharing what we're going through.

Personal Profile (My Family History)

1. Who were all the people who lived with you (birth date and relationship) when you were between the ages of: birth through five years old, six through eleven, twelve through fifteen, sixteen until you left home.

2. Was there anyone not in your home or immediate family with whom you were especially close, and why?

3. Of all the people you listed in Question 1 & 2, where are these people now and how often are you in contact with them.

4. Of all the people listed, to whom were you closest and why?

5. What ages of your childhood did you like most, and why?

6. What ages of your childhood did you not like, and why?

7. With whom did you have the most difficulty getting along, and why?

8. When you were growing up, what were ways for members of your family to show the following feelings: happiness, love/affection, anger, disappointment, frustration, sadness/depression, stress.

9. Compared to other families you've known, both as a child and as an adult, would you say your family was happier or less happy than most families?

10. What family traditions with which you grew up do you still keep today, and why? Are there new traditions, and why?

11. Are there family traditions with which you grew up that you do not keep, and why?

12. Think back to the time when you left home to be on your own. How old were you? Why did you leave? How did you and your family feel about your leaving?

13. If you have been previously married or lived together in an intimate relationship, please complete questions 13-16. If not, go to question 17. Name of spouse or significant other? Date of marriage or beginning of relationship? Place of marriage? Reason marriage or relationship ended? Date marriage or relationship ended?

14. List any children you have, from previous marriages or relationships, who do not currently live with you.

15. What contact do you have with the person listed in questions 13 & 14. How do they feel about your desire to become a foster/adoptive parent?

16. Identify your emotions about the ending of your marriage. Describe how you handled those emotions.

17. If you have remarried, or entered into a new relationship with someone other than your children's father, how did your children adjust to the new person?

18. How did you meet your spouse or the person with whom you are living?

19. How long have you: know each other, been married, been living together?

20. What do you think was the main reason you married or entered into a relationship with this person and the main reason you have stayed together?

21. What do you like most about your spouse or partner? What do you think your spouse or partner likes most about you?

22. What would you like to change about your spouse or partner? What do you think your spouse or partner would like to have you change?

23. What do you most like about being married and/or living with someone?

24. What do you least like about being married and/or living with someone?

25. What would make you want to consider a divorce or ending of the relationship?

26. How much time during the week do you and your spouse or partner have along together, and do you think this is enough time?

27. What was the biggest disappointment or loss you have had in your life and how did you cope with it?

28. How and by whom were you disciplined as a child under the age of six?

29. How and by whom were you disciplined as a child between six and twelve?

30. How and by whom were you disciplined as an adolescent?

Okay, so this just scratches the surface of the stack of paperwork I have in front of me. As I was typing the questions here, I had an internal commentary going on in my brain, but I don't have time to explore that now. I'll try to come back this afternoon and add that after I get off work.

So, what do you think? Are any of you interested in me continuing with the sharing of this type of information? How would you feel about having to answer these questions?

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5:44 AM
13 comments


Saturday, April 07, 2007
Imagine my surprise!
I'm not always the best about keeping up with my email. Yesterday, I was slowing plowing my way through the backlog when I ran across an email entitled, OW. To show you how much of a technical geek I can be, I was checking my email from my cell phone, since I have no access to Yahoo from work.

I almost deleted the email I'm about to reference, thinking it was spam. Imagine my surprise when I read the following:

OW,

Way to go! You are now a 'Top 100 Mom Blogger'!

The staff at MothersDayCentral.com searched through the 'momosphere' and found your blog to be of exceptional quality.

The Top 100 Mom Blog Awards page lists all 100 winners. Take a look here:

The Mother’s Day Central Top 100 Mom Blogs Awards

You may proudly display an award button anywhere on your website.

Let me know if you have any questions at all, and CONGRATULATIONS!

Daniel Kovach


Truth be told, I'd never heard of Mother's Day Central or Daniel Kovach, but tell me I've bnee voted on to some list and you can bet I won't be able to resist checking it out!

My blog has never made it on a top "whatever" list until now. Truthfully, I'm flattered and honored to be listed with so many big-name bloggers! Thanks, Mother's Day Central!

So, go check and see if your blog (or another blogger that you know and love) made it on the list. You know you want to! :)

One last thought, It's my 1 year blog anniversary!

My blog began with this post. This past year has been so much fun! I've met a lot of fabulous bloggers, gained new insights from each of you, and truly enjoyed the feedback generated from my posts. Thanks to all of you who take the time to read my blog!

Many of you have expressed an interest in knowing my first name. In honor of my 1 year blog anniversary, I'm going to disclose my first name to those who request it.

If you'd like to know my first name (if you don't already), leave me a comment with your email address and I'll email you my first name. But, just to warn you, I still won't be using my name on my blog, in an effort to protect my family's privacy.

Happy Easter weekend!

Labels:

6:00 AM
9 comments


Friday, April 06, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Easter Edition)

Good Friday to you all! It's time for Favorite Ingredients Friday Easter edition! Please share recipes of dishes/beverages that you might serve at a Easter Sunday meal. Or, share a special Easter treat that you might make for your children!

The recipe I'm about to share from you is one that I discovered at Kraft Foods. It's quick, simple, and a treat that your children will love! I'll be putting some of these in Snuggle Bug's Easter basket on Sunday.


Crispy Marshmallow Eggs


Ingredients
  1. 3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  2. 1 pkg. (10-1/2 oz.) miniature marshmallows
  3. Food coloring (I use pastel colors)
  4. 6 cups crisp rice cereal
  5. cellophane wrap & ribbon

Preparation

  1. MELT butter in large saucepan on low heat. Add marshmallows; cook until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended. Remove from heat. Stir in food coloring as desired.
  2. ADD cereal; mix well.
  3. SPRAY hands with cooking spray. Working quickly, shape cereal mixture into 18 oval shapes to resemble eggs. Cool completely. Wrap individually in cellophane and tie with a ribbon.

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday Easter 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

BBQ boneless pork ribs
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!

Labels: ,

5:30 AM
15 comments


Wednesday, April 04, 2007
WFMW (car edition)
It's time to post yet another WFMW tip. This week Shannon is doing a car edition. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

As parent's of a toddler, it didn't take us long to realize that our cars got mighty messy in a hurry with all the little toys, books, sippy cups, and other odds and ends that Snuggle Bug likes to have when we're out and about. I did a bit of researching online and found a fairly inexpensive kid's car organizer. We bought ours for only $20.

This organizer has been a life saver. Snuggle Bug has easy access to his toys and drinks and we no longer have such a mess to deal with! Oh, one note, this is not my picture that I'm showing. We don't give Snuggle Bug Wendy's or other fast food in his carseat. :)

A kid's car organizer 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:

stop urban legend emails
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
11 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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