Saturday, June 30, 2007
Winner of Memory Keeper's Daughter giveaway
Wow, what great response I've had to my most recent book giveaway for The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards! It really is a good book.

Unfortunately, I can only choose one winner and that winner is...

...Jarid & Caydon's mom! Congratulations! By the way, these two little boys are adorable. Take a moment to stop over to their blog and check it out.

Thank you all for entering. Sorry I don't have more books to read. If you have the time, go check this out from your local library. It's a really good read!

Stay tuned, I'll definitely be doing more book giveaways soon!



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5:40 AM
4 comments


Friday, June 29, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (4th of July)
Good Friday to you all! It's time for a special Favorite Ingredients Friday 4th of July Edition! Please share recipes of something that you'd prepare and serve for a 4th of July gathering. It can be a savory grilled dish, a fun dessert, or a flavorful side! Be creative! I need ideas for the BBQ that we're hosting that day!

The recipe I'm sharing is going to be a surprise for Oronzo on the 4th (sssshhh)! This is not a healthy recipe, but everything in moderation, right? I know he and our guests will love it!

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Ingredients

1/2 pint (250ml) double (heavy) cream
1/2 pint (250ml) sour cream
6 oz (150g) cream cheese
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pint strawberries, hulled & diced
2oz (50g) grated milk chocolate

Preparation

Place the cream cheese into a mixing bowl and beat until soft and smooth.

Slowly add the sugar and then beat in the sour cream followed by the double (heavy) cream.

Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice and mix until thick and smooth.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Take the chilled mixture and beat until creamy then transfer the complete mixture into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Add sliced strawberries. Save some out for garnishing.

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday 4th of July Edition recipe! I won't be able to visit your recipes right away 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.

For guidelines and my past Favorite Ingredients Friday recipes, click here.

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

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5:30 AM
14 comments


Thursday, June 28, 2007
A baby girl joins our family!

Unhappy about 1st bath!

I have a new niece and she's healthy and beautiful! My brother, Cole, and his wife, Madeline, didn't want to find out of the baby was a boy or a girl during the pregnancy. I'm told that as Madeline was pushing and the baby's head came out, she looked down and said, "Well, I guess we got another boy" because the baby's face looks exactly like her big brother, Aiden's, face did as a newborn. Cole watched as the doctor pulled her all the way out and said, "No, it's a girl!" Needless to say, they are tickled pink to have gotten a little girl! We couldn't be happier for them!

The baby was born weighing 8 lbs., 1 1/2 oz and was 21" long. Not too shabby for a girl, eh!

The picture I'm sharing is of her first bath. She was not a happy camper! I suspect she's going to be a feisty one, just like her auntie! :)

So far my nephew, Aiden, is doing great with having a baby sister. I think the presents from Grandma and Grandpa helped smooth the way upon her arrival.

Cole & Madeline have given my niece a beautiful name...I'm reluctant to share it here on this blog but I'll tell you that it starts with an "E". Do you care to guess her name? Leave your guess in my comments section and I'll email you if you guess it correctly. Be creative on your guesses!

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5:30 AM
28 comments


Wednesday, June 27, 2007
WFMW (Melt Down)
Before I share my WFMW tip, I'd like to invite you all to join me this Friday for my 4th of July Edition of my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange! Please help spread the word!

Now, it's time once again to post another WFMW tip. This tip I saw in a fairly recent edition of Parents magazine.


Melt Down

Instead of throwing away pieces of crayons, create new ones!

1. Melt crayon pieces in a mug in the microwave.

2. Arrange cookie cutters on a sheet of aluminum & pour the liquid into the shapes.

3. Place a glass on the top of the cutter after pouring in the melted crayons, to make sure the wax doesn't spill out.

4. After they cool, they pop out easily & your kids will love their new, fun-shaped crayons!

So, creating new crayon shapes works for me, maybe it'll work for you. 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:

How to get your spouse to do the dishes.
the Plate Method
free steak seasonings/marinades
bargain shopping tips
My-Calorie-Counter
free customized ring tones
party favor basket
10 ways to make brushing fun!
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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5:30 AM
15 comments


Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Giveaways at Making a House a Home!
Mrs. U over at Making a House a Home is celebrating her 1 year blog anniversary by doing a great giveaway!

If you enter, you could win the following:

- a set of Martha Stewart Everyday Towels (like she mentioned here)...
- a pair of earrings of YOUR choosing from the Etsy shop of new jewelry designer and real life friend, Melissa...
- an autographed copy of "Queen of the Castle- 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker" by Lynn Bowen Walker that I reviewed here (and mailed to you FROM THE AUTHOR HERSELF!!!)
- a 2 year subscription to Victoria Magazine graciously sent to you courtesy of Hoffman Media.

Amazing stuff, eh!

Hurry over to check out the details and to enter to win!

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5:20 AM
1 comments


Monday, June 25, 2007
Book Giveaway- Sign up now!
I just read an excellent book that a friend from work gave to me and I want to pay it forward by sending this book to one of my faithful readers.

The book I'm speaking of is The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards.

This stunning novel begins on a winter night in 1964, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins.

His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognizes that his daughter has Down syndrome.

For motives he tells himself are good, he makes a split-second decision that will haunt all their lives forever. He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child as her own.

Compulsively readable and deeply moving, The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a brilliantly crafted story of parallel lives, familial secrets, and the redemptive power of love.

If you'd like this gently used book sent to you, here is what you must do:

1. On your blog, write a post about this giveaway and then link back to my 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, 29 June. 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 Kim Edward's book giveaway.

I'll announce the winners this coming Saturday morning, so be sure to check back.

Best of luck!


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5:30 AM
30 comments


Saturday, June 23, 2007
Our preliminary home inspection went well!
Yesterday we had a Licensing Agent (to be called Jessica) come from the agency that we're working with to get certified for foster-to-adopt through the state. She was at our house to do a preliminary walk-through of our house to see if any improvements needed to be made before our actual homestudy home inspection was scheduled.

I'm happy to say that we had almost everything in order! We carefully reviewed the list that I've attached to this post (click on the image to enlarge) before she arrived, so that helped.

There were a couple of suggestions that she had and I'd like to share them with you, in case you ever go through this yourself.

1) The plastic Safety 1st cabinets and drawers locks we had will not pass inspection with the state. She recommended that we get magnetic Tot Loks instead because those will pass inspection. I must confess, I've never even heard of these. Jessica said we can find them at Home Depot. I'll bet they're sold at Babies R Us too.

2) We're not allowed to have any extension cords used in our home. We can use surge protectors, as long as they are plugged directly into a wall outlet (not into an extension cord). Apparently extension cords are too much of an electrical fire hazard.

3) We need to purchase a carbon monoxide detector, especially since we have a fireplace. Oops, we forgot that one on the list.

4) We have to get a shepherds hook and ring buoy for our pool. Guess we'll be making a trip to Patio Pools this weekend.

5) We have to sign up for CPR & 1st Aid classes, since we have a pool. We've been meaning to do that anyway, now the state will pay for these classes.

Here are a few things I found interesting:

1) We had to check to make sure our water heater had the hot water temp set below 120 degrees. Thankfully, ours was fine.

2) We had to check our fire extinguisher and make sure it was at least a 2A, 40 B C (ours was a 3A, 80 B C).

3) We had to check our dryer vent hose to make sure it was aluminum, not the papery material that I remember having on our dryer growing up. Since our dryer is fairly new, that was no problem. Apparently they don't make them with the papery material any longer.

4) All the plastic outlet covers we had were not necessary. Jessica said for some reason they don't care about those anymore. Strange.

5) Dog's have to be have their rabiew shots up to date, cats do not. I wonder what the reasoning is behind that. We don't have a dog so it's not an issue, more of a curiosity.

I must say, I really like the agency we're working with right now. Everyone we've dealt with thus far (and there have been a lot of people involved already) has been professional, compassionate, and encouraging. Having Jessica over to our house felt like talking with a friend. She was so relaxed and laid back about whole situation.

What amazes me most is that Jessica said she thinks she can have us licensed by the end of August, just in time for a possible fall placement! She confirmed with us that we'd prefer a girl, newborn to 1 1/2 years old, that we'd consider a sibling group of 2 as long as they fall within that age group, and that we'd certainly consider a little boy if he were part of a sibling group that included a girl (can you tell we really would love to have a girl).

She reminded us that we had the right to say "No" to any situation we didn't feel comfortable with. In fact, she said she'd rather we were honest and said, "No" instead of accepting a situation we were really worried about and have it end in a disrupted placement for the child.

So, Monday morning Jessica is going to schedule our real home inspection. She said it can take several weeks to get an appointment. In the meantime, we'll finish the MAPP classes, allow her to interview Oronzo and I separately (on July 16th), and get the rest of our online application and paperwork completed. Whew! We still have a long way to go before we even start getting placement calls. That's okay! This feels like it's going by a lot quicker than I expected.

It's hard to believe that we might have a second child in our home by the end of the year! I'm excited about that thought!

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7:32 AM
15 comments


Friday, June 22, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Tuna Macaroni Salad)

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

Upcoming Themed Schedule
June 29- 4th of July edition
July 13- Light and Healthy recipes
July 20- Appetizers & Snacks
July 27- Salads
August 10- Sauces

My recipe this week is something I love to serve as a side dish when we have friends over for BBQs! It's cool and refreshing in the summer heat.



Tuna Macaroni Salad

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup elbow macaroni, uncooked

  2. 4 eggs, hard boiled & finely diced

  3. 2 6-ounce cans canned tuna, water-pack, drained

  4. 1/4 cup celery, chopped

  5. 3/4 cup carrots, grated

  6. 1/2 cup salad dressing, mayonnaise-type (I use the light version)

  7. 2 Tbsp onion, minced

  8. 1/4 tsp pepper

Preparation

  1. Place water in large saucepan and bring to boil.
    Add macaroni and cook until tender, about 6 to
    8 minutes. Drain.
  2. Combine macaroni, tuna, eggs, celery, and
    carrots in a large bowl.

  3. Stir together salad dressing, onion, and pepper.
    Spoon dressing over salad; toss until evenly
    combined.

  4. Chill until ready to serve.

Nutritional Facts
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4 servings
Facts per Serving
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Calories: 520
Total fat: 30 grams
Saturated fat: 5 grams
Cholesterol: 237 milligrams
Sodium: 509 milligrams
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe! I won't be able to visit your recipes right away 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

Refreshing Drinks edition
sauted onion & tomato sandwich
Freezer edition
carmalized pork slices
Memorial Day edition
Poached Sea Bass
Breakfast Edition
garlic shrimp
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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5:34 AM
8 comments


Thursday, June 21, 2007
PS-MAPP class homework assignment
Last week we were given the assignmen to write a letter to the parents of a child who may be placed in our home. We were instructed to tell the birth parents some things about us and our family that would assure them of our ability to foster or adopt their child.

As we wrote our letter, we were asked to think of the following questions:

1) How would I feel if my child were living with people I do not know?
2) What would I want to know about a family caring for my child?
3) What could another parent tell me that would make me feel secure that I am still my child's parent?

This letter will become a part of our Family Profile and may be show to birth parents.

I have been dreading this assignment! I've always had a strong dislike for "Dear Birth Parent" letters for several reasons. I don't feel it's right to call them birth parents before it's even been determined whether their parental rights will be severed. I'm not comfortable with the idea of "selling" myself to get a child, although I realize that the sad reality is that this is what often happens. I feel that all these letters end up sounding alike anyway.

Regardless of my distaste for this type of letter, we had little choice but to do as instructed. I rebelled a bit by refusing to use the title "birth parent".

I'll let you read what I wrote and turned in. Go easy on me, if you choose to comment. This wasn't easy to write.

Dear Parents,

We’d like to take this opportunity to share some information about our family, in the hopes that getting to know us a bit will ease your mind about who is caring for your child. We recognize that having your child placed in another family will be difficult for you and your child.

Oronzo and I met back in 1997 and our first date was on Valentine’s Day that year. We dated for five years before getting engaged. We spent a year planning our destination wedding/honeymoon in Ireland. We’ve been happily married for four years now.

Our family is being built through adoption. We adopted our son, Snuggle Bug, as a newborn through a private, domestic adoption. He is now 2 ½ years old and we love him dearly! He brings such joy to our lives. Snuggle Bug is a good-natured, gentle little boy who loves other kids.

Our hearts are now calling us to provide a loving home to another foster or adoptive child. We both come from large families and we want Snuggle Bug to have at least one other sibling, if not two.

If your child is placed with us, we will offer your child a safe home in a quiet and friendly neighborhood (walking distance from an excellent elementary school) with lots of loving attention. Although I work outside of the home, my schedule is fairly flexible and I don’t have to work overtime. Oronzo does consulting engineering work from home, so your child will not be in daycare.
Note: By the time we are placed with a child, Oronzo's current contract job will be done and Snuggle Bug will be pulled out of daycare and become a stay-at-home kid again.

During the weekdays, your child will be with Oronzo and Snuggle Bug, going to library story times, taking walks, and having play dates with other young children. Our evenings are filled with indoor and outdoor play, family meals, bedtime stories, and lots of one-on-one attention. Our weekends are filled with family activities like trips to the zoo, the park to feed ducks, and other kid-friendly outings. We attend mass each Sunday and then go out to brunch afterwards. We also like to attend occasional baseball games (Snuggle Bug is a huge baseball fan already), bookstore story times, and outdoor pops concerts in the park. We often like to just relax at home and hang out in our pool when it’s hot outside!

We understand that the goal of the state for children that are placed into foster care is to reunify them with their parents. We will do what we can to assist in achieving that goal. We will treat you with kindness and respect. We will encourage your child to maintain a safe and healthy relationship with you. We will take pictures to share with you for the times that you are not together (Oronzo is a professional photographer). And if your child should become available for adoption by our family, we would be happy to send you pictures and updates on a set schedule so that you still know how they’re doing. We will never deny your child the right to their family history.

I hope this letter has reassured you that your child will be well taken care of and that you will be a part of their life, even when you’re not present. We would be happy to answer any specific questions that you might have.

Sincerely,

OW, Oronzo, and little Snuggle Bug

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5:30 AM
6 comments


Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Adoption #2- Long overdue update
It's been a while since I've offered up an update on how we're progressing towards persuing a second adoption through the state.

Let's see, this Thursday will be week 7 of our PS MAPP class. That means after this Thursday we only have 3 more classes left! Hooray!

The classes have been interesting. We've learned a lot about the "system", some good and some bad. Let me share a few details.

We've heard a lot of PC talk that frustrates us, like..."Yes, the parents may have burned their children with a cigarette but they're not bad people, they just need our help. They really love their children."

I know that it's not fair to say that all parents with children removed and placed into the system are bad people. I do believe that there are many that just need services provided to help them learn better parenting/life skills. Oronzo and I both struggle though when we're told that we're not only there to provide a safe and loving environment for the children, while it's determined whether or not the parents can get back on track, but we're also expected to try to mentor the parents. We're very protective of our privacy and the safety Snuggle Bug so we've made it clear to the trainers that, although we're willing to meet and interact with the parents for the sake of the child and the state's goal of reunification, we're not willing to do it in our home. And we don't want any of our contact information shared until we feel comfortable enough to decide how much to share.

Some of the exercises in this class have been very effective in putting us in the shoes of the children and how much loss they feel at being removed from their homes. Even when things are bad, the children love their parents and most often don't want to leave. It'll be our job to help make that transition, whether temporary or permanent, as smooth as possible. The classes have given us insight and techniques on how we can accomplish this daunting task.

Overall, I think the classes have been a lot more beneficial than I expected them to. I'm learning new things, I'm forming relationships with some of my classmates in the hopes that we can support each other along the way (we've exchanged email addresses so far), and I'm getting one step closer to becoming licensed. Oronzo thinks the classes are a waste of time and views them simply as a means to an end. He's going and he's doing the required homework, so I'm not complaining.

This Friday we have a licensing agent, from the agency we're working with, coming out to do an initial walk-through of our home. This is to share tips on how we can make our home more safe before the actual home inspection required as part of our homestudy. I'm actually happy to be having a "trial run" of the walk-through! Of course, I've been cleaning like a mad woman every night, driving Oronzo crazy, but that can't be helped.

We've filled out a lot of paperwork, I've gotten my fingerprinting card in the mail (hooray, I passed), we've turned in our emergency evacuation plan, and we're about to turn in copies of paycheck stubs, home/car insurance policies, copies of our drivers licences, and much more! It's an extensive list of things we have to provide!

So, I thought I'd mention that if you have specific questions about this process and our experiences with it thus far, leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer them.

Stay tuned, later this week I'll post the generic letter we've been asked to write to the parents of the future child we might have placed with us.

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5:47 AM
9 comments


Monday, June 18, 2007
We survived the first week of daycare...barely.
Snuggle Bug survived his first week of daycare and, by default, so did we. It started out to be a rough week. This daycare thing is not for the faint of heart and it's caused our hearts much pain and sorrow.

This first 3 days last week, Snuggle Bug cried every day that we've dropped him off. In fact, some mornings he cried when we put him in the car and would say, "No go sool" (which means, "No go to school"). He's also said, "Daddy no go work." and "Mommy, get back here." as I'm walking away and leaving him in the daycare center.

The mornings I tried to keep our parting brief were ugly. I had to peel him off of me, as he's crying and screaming, and hand him over to the teacher and then walk away with the sound of his hysterical sobbing ringing in my ears. Needless to say, I was crying as well as I got to my car and drove to work.

Wednesday I tried a different approach, against the advice of many others who have been there, done that. I brought Snuggle Bug in to his classroom and instead of handing him over and quickly exiting, I asked him to show me the building blocks that I'm told he likes. I carried him over to the blocks and sat down with him in my lap and played with him for 10 minutes or so before leaving. When I told him I had to go to work, his little lip quivered and his eyes filled with tears. The teacher came over and got him and he started crying, but it wasn't the full-on hystrical sobbing that it had been the other days. Thursday worked the same way. Friday, Oronzo dropped him off and went in and played with him a bit before heading to work and it helped again.

Every day last week I called to check on him and I was always told the same thing, "He's having a good day, really. He's playing with blocks and he went down the slide. He's not crying."

As much as we dislike having Snuggle Bug in daycare, it hasn't been all bad. He's making new little friends. There's one little boy in particular that he plays with a lot, or so I'm told.

The daycare seems to do a pretty good job of keeping the kids busy with various activities. Last week they made raindrops, worked on colors and shapes, talked about sea creatures and water, and did some painting.


The "classroom" itself is full of projects that the kids have completed, although I have to wonder how much of the work was actually done by the kids and how much was done by the teacher.

Snuggle Bug's favorite activity is the painting. Kindercare sent him home with one of his projects that he did on Friday and we're going to include it in a packet that we send to Oronzo's mom for her birthday.

So, the bottom line is that our first week with Snuggle Bug in daycare wasn't fun, but we survived and I'm hopeful that things will get better with time.

And now, I leave you with a Carrie Underwood song that I have on my iPod nano that has brought comfort to me throughout this whole daycare ordeal because I'm trying to turn all of this over to Jesus.

Oh, and stay tuned for some adoption related posts this week. I have much to share with you, if you're interested!

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5:30 AM
12 comments


Sunday, June 17, 2007
Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!

Today is Father's Day. When I asked Oronzo last night what he wanted to do for Father's Day he said, "What we always do." So, here's what our plans for the day look like:

9:00 a.m.- Attend mass.

10:00 a.m.- Go out for brunch at Oronzo's favorite restaurant.

11:30 a.m.- Drive home and put Snuggle Bug down for a nap, maybe catch a nap ourselves.

1:30 p.m.- Eat lunch and then play in the pool to beat the heat!

5:00 p.m.- Head to the park for the final outdoor pops concert of the spring/summer season.

9:30 p.m.- Pour Snuggle Bug into his bed and get things ready for the new week.

Now, Snuggle Bug and I have to run to Starbucks to get Oronzo a bag of fresh roasted coffee grounds to be used for his espresso at home. Then we have to run to the nearby Target and pick out a Father's Day card. Nothing like putting things off to the last minute, eh?

So, what are your Father's Day plans!

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7:11 AM
6 comments


Friday, June 15, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Refreshing Drinks Edition)

Good Friday to you all! It's time for a special Favorite Ingredients Friday Refreshing Drinks Edition! This week is all about drinks! The recipes can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic. They can be healthy or decadent. You choose! I can't wait to see what you all come up with!

The recipe I'm sharing was given to me by a friend of a friends. She served it at a bridal shower gathering and, after tasting it, I just had to have the recipe! Thankfully she was willing to share.


Strawberry Watermelon Lemonade

Ingredients

12 ounces frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed, + 1 can of water
1 seedless watermelon (about 6 lbs. will do nicely)
2 pints of strawberries, hulled
rum (optional)

Preparation

Prepare lemonade concentrate and water in a large pitcher.

Puree hulled strawberries in food processor or blender until there are no chunks.

Cut apart seedless watermelon into small chunks, make sure pesky white seeds are out. Try to work over a bowl to keep all the juice in. Use a mesh strainer if necessary to get out all seeds and maintain the juice.

Put watermelon chunks & juice into food processor or blender and puree until there are no chunks. Drain liquid through a wire mesh strainer one more time to get out any grit.

Put strawberry & watermelon juice in with the pitcher of lemonade. Stir and chill.

Serve in a chilled glass with additional sliced strawberries as garnishment! Rum can be added on an individual basis if desired.

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday Refreshing Drinks Edition recipe! I won't be able to visit your recipes right away 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

sauteed onion & tomato sandwich
Freezer edition
carmalized pork slices
Memorial Day edition
Poached Sea Bass
Breakfast Edition
garlic shrimp
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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5:30 AM
8 comments


Wednesday, June 13, 2007
WFMW (How to get your spouse to do dishes)

It's time to post yet another WFMW tip. This week, I've decided to go for a bit of humor. I need to lighten things up because it's proving to be a really rough week thus far.

So, do you want to know how to get your spouse to do the dishes without nagging? I have your answer!

Go buy a Bosch dishwasher! :)

I kid you not, since we bought this dishwasher a couple of weeks ago, Oronzo has been downright eager to do the dishes!

The other night, when we were discussing what to make for dinner, he wanted to go with the option that created the most dirty dishes so he could fill up the dishwasher! How crazy is that?

This dishwasher is really neat. It's got lots of bells and wistles, adjustable wracks, attachable extras to keep your silverware from falling off, and to keep small parts in place. It has an internal heating element so if a small part were to fall to the bottom of the dishwasher, it wouldn't melt.

Best of all, our dishes have never looked so sparkling clean! We used to have to wash our dishes to wash our dishes, using the dilapitated dishwasher that came with the house we bought 2 years ago. Now, we throw in our dishes with only scraping off the chunks and it really works!

One of the huge selling points for Oronzo was the fact that it's one of the quietest dishwashers on the market. It's so quiet that if it weren't for a built in red laser, we wouldn't know it was running! Hooray!

Granted, this dishwasher isn't the cheapest on the market, but it's worth every penny that we saved for the past 2 years to purchase it (we paid with our debit card, not our credit card)!

So getting my spouse to do dishes by purchasing a Bosch works for me, maybe it'll work for you. 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:

the Plate Method
free steak seasonings/marinades
bargain shopping tips
My-Calorie-Counter
free customized ring tones
party favor basket
10 ways to make brushing fun!
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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5:30 AM
11 comments


Tuesday, June 12, 2007
We survived the first day.
Well, we survived Snuggle Bug's first full day in daycare yesterday.

Snuggle Bug cried and screamed when Oronzo dropped him off yesterday morning. Oronzo headed to work feeling horrible.

Later, I called the daycare and checked to see how Snuggle Bug was doing. The director said he had cried for about 10 minutes and then a 4-year old little girl, Jade, asked him to play and he was distracted. He didn't cry again the rest of the day.

Snuggle Bug spent the day playing with the building blocks with two little boys his age. He had fun playing outside, especially on the slide. He took a nap when it was time (clutching tightly his pillow, bunny, and blanket), although he took a while to get to sleep. He was too busy looking around at first. He even ate the meals served.

Thanks again, everyone, for your supportive comments and prayers! It's hard to express how much that's meant to me!

I'll keep you all posted on how he does this week.

When I arrived to pick him up, he'd just woken up from his nap and was standing near his little sleeping mat. When he saw me walk in the door, he raced across the room and threw himself in my arms. It felt so good to hug him close to me and know that he was safe!

Snuggle Bug was a bit quiet a first when we got in the car. He asked, "Where Daddy go?" I explained that Daddy was still at work and would be home in a couple of hours.

I took Snuggle Bug for a walk in his stroller and then he helped me pull weeds in the front yard. When Oronzo arrived home, Snuggle Bug didn't rush to greet him. Oronzo had to swoop him up for a hug and kiss. Fickle child. :)

So, yesterday was a slight relief from our worries. I'll be the one dropping Snuggle Bug off at daycare later this morning. I'm not looking forward to that! Picking him up is so much more enjoyable.

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6:35 AM
14 comments


Monday, June 11, 2007
This week is going to suck!
In exactly 2 hours, Oronzo will be dropping Snuggle Bug off for his first full day of daycare. It's going to be brutal on all of us!

Last Thursday Oronzo took Snuggle Bug into the daycare and, for the first time, dropped him off for a trail run of a couple of hours. Snuggle Bug sobbed when he figured out Ornozo was leaving. Oronzo said he felt as though his heart was being ripped out of his chest. We learned that Snuggle Bug cried off and on the entire 2 hours there. We felt horrible about it!

Friday Oronzo took him again for another short drop off. This time, Snuggle Bug began sobbing the minute they pulled into the daycare parking lot. He started screaming as Oronzo walked in with him and Oronzo had to literally peel Snuggle Bug off of him to hand him over to the teacher so that he could leave. Oronzo called me from his car on the way out, near tears himself, telling me he's not sure this job is worth what we're putting Snuggle Bug through. He said he felt like a failure as a father! Although my heart was breaking, I encouraged Oronozo to hang in there and give it a bit of time to see if eventually Snuggle Bug was able to adjust and enjoy himself.

I called the daycare center on Friday about an hour after Oronzo dropped Snuggle Bug off. I spoke with the director and learned that he had been crying off and on but the class did a painting project and that captured his attention so he stopped crying to participate. She told me at that very moment he was sitting on the floor playing with another boy and building blocks and he wasn't crying. That made me feel a little better.

When Oronzo arrived to pick Oronzo up on Friday, he looked in the window and watched for about 5 minutes as Snuggle Bug played with containers of water that the teacher had set out for the kids. He wasn't crying and seemed to be doing okay. When he noticed Oronzo in the window, he about bowled over the other kids in his efforts to throw himself in Oronzo's arms as quickly as possible.

Today...well I fully expect today to be ugly. Oronzo will be starting a new job that he's not sure he should be doing anymore, since this transition to daycare is proving to be so difficult to his family.

Oronzo will be dropping Snuggle Bug off at 7 a.m. and I'll be picking him up at 2:30 p.m. I pray with all my heart that Snuggle Bug will survive an entire day there without us. I pray that the teacher will follow my list of "Snuggle Bug instructions" that I typed out and left to be posted in his classroom. I'm sure they think I'm a crazy, overprotective Mama to have made a list, but I don't care. I want them to know his preferences (i.e. he must have his blanket, pillow, and bunny at naptime or he'll flip out and he needs sunscreen and a hat each time he goes outside to play because he burns easily).

Anyway, thank you all for your supportive comments and prayers last week. I can't tell you how much I appreciated each and every one. I've been so stressed out about all of this that it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about what we're putting our baby through.

It's only temporary. It's only temporary. It's only temporary.

Please keep us in your prayers! We desperately need them this week.

P.S. To the ladies who participated in last Friday's Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange, I was spending every precious moment with Snuggle Bug this past weekend so I haven't had the time yet to look at all your recipes. I will try to get that done one night this week. Thanks so much for your participation!

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5:00 AM
14 comments


Friday, June 08, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Sauteed Onion & Tomato Sandwich)

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

Upcoming Themed Schedule

June 15- Refreshing drinks
June 29- 4th of July edition
July 13- Light and Healthy recipes
July 20- Appetizers & Snacks
July 27- Salads
August 10- Sauces

My recipe this week was pulled off of Better Homes and Gardens. The one I'm sharing is delicious and nutritious!


Sautéed Onion & Tomato Sandwich

Ingredients

  1. 2 medium onions, sliced
  2. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  3. 8 slices whole grain or rye bread (toasted if desired)
  4. honey mustard
  5. 3 small red and/or yellow tomatoes, thinly sliced
  6. 4 lettuce leaves, shredded
  7. small fresh basil leaves
  8. 4 ounces spreadable Brie cheese or tub-style cream cheese

Preparation

  1. In a large skillet cook onions in hot oil over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until onions are tender and just starting to brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
  2. To assemble, lightly spread one side of 4 bread slices with honey mustard. Top with the onion slices, tomato slices, shredded lettuce, and basil. Spread one side of the remaining 4 bread slices with Brie cheese. Place the bread slices, cheese sides down, on top of sandwiches.

Nutritional Facts
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Facts per Serving
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Calories: 287
Fat: 12g (Saturated Fat: 6g)
Carbohydrates: 35g
Cholesterol: 28mg
Sodium: 490mg
Protein: 12g
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe! I won't be able to visit your recipes right away 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

Freezer edition
carmalized pork slices
Memorial Day edition
Poached Sea Bass
Breakfast Edition
garlic shrimp
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!

Labels:

6:05 AM
10 comments


Thursday, June 07, 2007
I'm trying to avoid a panic attack!
Snuggle Bug is going into daycare, starting Monday. Well, actually, Oronzo is taking him in today and tomorrow for a couple of hours in the morning to get him acclimated.

It hasn't even happened yet and I'm already a basket case! I practically started crying when I spoke with the daycare director Tuesday morning. The part where I explained that he's been a stay-at-home kid for most of his life (all 2 ½ years of it) got me all choked up.

We're putting our baby into daycare. Our gentle, somewhat timid baby is going to have to be in a small room with eight other 2 years olds and he's going to have to learn to fend for himself, to an extent. The thought terrifies me!

Thankfully, for my sanity, this is a temporary situation. Oronzo has been offered a 3 to 4 month contract job that he's not going to be able to work on from home. He'll have to work full-time hours at a company that's about an hour drive from our house. The good news is that he's getting nearly $50/hour to do this job, plus time and a half if he has to work overtime.

Over the next several months, with our combined income, we'll be able to finish paying off debt, stash more money away into savings, and even get some home improvement projects done around our house.

We've decided that the long term benefits of the salary generated from this temporary job will outweigh the short term drawbacks (Snuggle Bug having to go to daycare, Oronzo not being able to spend each weekday with his son, the long commute Oronzo will have to make to work, etc).

It's only temporary. It's only temporary. It's only temporary.

This chant keeps running through my mind and I'm holding on to the thought for dear life! And if things aren't working out, we can pull Snuggle Bug out and go back to the way it is now, right?

I'm sure you'll be seeing more frantic posts on this subject of daycare in the future.

Supportive comments would be most appreciated!

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6:00 AM
18 comments


Wednesday, June 06, 2007
WFMW (The Plate Method)

It's time to post yet another WFMW tip.

The other day I was in Walgreens, picking up a perscription. Snuggle Bug was over in the waiting area of the pharmacy and he brought me a magazine that I otherwise wouldn't have bothered looking it. The magazine was called, "Diabetes & You" and it was published by Walgreens for customers to take home for free. I absentmindely thumbed through it while I waited for my perscription thinking I wouldn't get much out of it because I'm not a diabetic.

An article called, "Rate your plate" caught my attention! Since beginning the May Challenge I've been trying to eat healthier and watch my portion control. This article taught me about the Plate Method and it reaffirms that I'm eating way too many carbs still and not enough veggies. Having the visual pictures is very helpful so I scanned the article in to share with you all. Click on the images to enlarge them. Let me know what you think!


















The Plate Method works for me, maybe it'll work for you. 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:

free steak seasonings/marinades
bargain shopping tips
My-Calorie-Counter
free customized ring tones
party favor basket
10 ways to make brushing fun!
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

Labels: , ,

6:00 AM
10 comments


Monday, June 04, 2007
Pictures from our Mexico trips
Finally, I've had time to upload my pictures off my pictures and label them. So, today I'd like to share with you some pictures that we took during our two separate May trips to Mexico. Enjoy!

5/12/07- Snuggle Bug enjoying an ocean view of the sun rising. He was up at the crack of dawn each morning, which means I was up early too. I really didn't mind. Each morning we saw a group of dolphins feeding out in front of our beachside condo. It was a breathtaking view.


5/12/07- Here's Oronzo and Snuggle Bug swimming with the dolphins. For a mere $40 charge they were allowed to get into the water with the dolphins at a dolphin sanctuary. Oronzo and Snuggle Bug got to participate in the demonstration given to the large crowd that paid $6 to come see the dolphins. We learned that these dolphins were not taken from the ocean in Mexico. They were rescued in Australia and were in captivity for over 5 years in Cancun before being brought to Mexico.


5/14/07- Here's Snuggle Bug playing on the beach with two new friends that he made that weekend. Colin and Katie's parents were staying in the condo next to ours and the kids got to be friends. The three of them had the best time digging holes and making me run to the ocean for buckets of water to pour in the hole.


5/27/07- That's Snuggle Bug peeking out from behind his beach ball on the lawn of our rental house. I told Oronzo to get him a beach ball. I had no idea he'd get a ball bigger than Snuggle Bug! It took me forever to blow it up but Snuggle Bug loved it! The adults had fun playing with it in the ocean too.

5/27/07- Snuggle Bug getting messy on the beach. He would've spent the entire day out on the beach if we had let him. We had to be careful to make sure he didn't get too much sun.


5/27/07- Snuggle Bug and Oronzo hanging on the steps outside of our rental house. We had a great view of leaping fish, sailboats, dolphins, pelicans, and other sea creatures. Look how tanned Oronzo has gotten with being out near the water so much. That Italian blood of his allows him to tan without burning. Snuggle Bug and I are both part Irish so we have to be more careful.

5/27/07- My final picture is of Oronzo and Snuggle Bug walking on the beach. The three of us had so much fun together. Sometime in the near future we'd love to buy a 26' or 28' sailboat that sleeps 4 so that we have our own place to stay when we go to Mexico. Since we now live by the rule that we buy nothing on credit, we'll see how long it takes to save up about $12,000 for that. :)

I hope you all have enjoyed the picture show! Happy Monday!

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6:38 AM
17 comments


Friday, June 01, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Freezer Edition)

Good Friday! It's time for a special Favorite Ingredients Friday: Freezer Edition recipe exchange! Please share your favorite recipes for bulk meals that freeze and reheat easily.

My recipe is something I found on Mom's Budget. This recipe is quick, easy, and these really does taste great after taking it out of the freezer and thawing them!


Pizza Bagel's

Ingredients

  • 12 bagels - plain, wheat, or sundried tomato
  • Pizza sauce
  • Assorted pizza toppings (we like pepperoni & sausage)
  • Mozzarella cheese

    Preparation

  • Cut bagels in half and place them face up on workspace.
  • Spread tomato sauce in a thin layer, then add toppings. By making a variety of toppings, they won't get boring in lunches or for snacks.
  • Sprinkle with cheese then broil in oven until cheese melts.
  • Cool completely and package them individually (half a bagel per bag). We have a foodsaver vacuum sealer and we love it!
  • Freeze.
  • These can be put into school lunches frozen, and they will thaw by lunchtime.
  • Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday- Freezer Edition recipes! Remember, I may not be able to visit all of your recipes today until 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

    carmalized pork slices
    Memorial Day edition
    Poached Sea Bass
    Breakfast Edition
    garlic shrimp
    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!

    Labels: ,

    6:32 AM
    13 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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