Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Adoption # 2- The Home Inspection
In about 3 hours, our home will be inspected by a State representative!

Since I'm currently in Ft. Walton Beach, FL on business, Oronzo will be handling the inspection on his own.

We spent this past weekend cleaning and finishing the final touches for this home inspection so we're hopeful it will go well. We're both nervous about it.

I feel bad that Oronzo has to do this walk-through alone but, since it's so hard to get a date scheduled with the State within a reasonable amount of time, when they suggested this date I snatched it up without argument!

If we pass this inspection today, we're one step closer to being placed with a child before the end of the year. If we don't pass the inspection today, we'll be given the opportunity to fix any issues that the State representative sees and then our agency licensing agent will be able to come back and verify that we've made the necessary modifications.

Wish us luck! I'll post the results later today when I get the call from Oronzo!

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7:09 AM
6 comments


Here I am, in Ft. Walton Beach, FL!
I made it safely to Ft. Walton Beach, FL. Well, technically speaking I'm in Shalimar, at the Fairfield Inn.

I talked to Oronzo and Snuggle Bug on the phone last night before I went to bed. Oronzo told me that when I talked to Snuggle Bug he looked at the phone like he was trying to figure out how I got in there. Then he kept asking, "Go outside, see Mama?" I guess he thought I was outside and he could go play with me if Daddy would just let him go out.

I really love the suggestions I got on my last post on how to help Snuggle Bug understand the passage of time and when I have to travel on business to Las Vegas in September, I'm going to try one. This time, I asked Oronzo to mark off days on the calendar with Snuggle Bug to track the time until I return back home.

This morning I woke up at 6:45 a.m. and stretched in my king sized bed and marveled again at having my own bed with five pillows to sleep in. Oronzo has a tendency to toss and turn a lot so it was nice to get an uninterrupted night of sleep. I went down for breakfast and enjoyed eating breakfast with a couple of my pilots.

As soon as I'm done with this post I'm going to venture out and head to the ocean side boardwalk area between Ft. Walton Beach and Destin. From what I remember from the last time I was here on business there are a lot of neat shops there. I have to scope out some gift ideas for Snuggle Bug and Oronzo. I've promised them both that I'd bring them something back, since they couldn't go on this trip with me.

I've gotten some seafood restaurant suggestions from a local so I'll be enjoying a nice lunch at Anglers before heading in to work at 1 p.m. Thankfully I'll have plenty of R&R time while I'm here. I intend to enjoy it!

I'm bummed that there are no fellow bloggers in this area. I would've loved to arrange an in-person meeting. Oh well, maybe another trip!

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5:55 AM
2 comments


Sunday, July 29, 2007
Anyone from Ft. Walton Beach, FL area?

Tomorrow around 1 p.m. I'm leaving to fly to Ft. Walton Beach, FL to spend a week there on business. I'll actually be working at Eglin AFB.

Are there any bloggers that live in the Ft. Walton Beach or surrounding areas? If so, please let me know!

Leaving Snuggle Bug for 5 days is not going to be fun. He's now at an age where he'll understand that I'm gone. At 2 1/2 years old, I'm pretty sure he still doesn't have a concept of time, so I'm worried that he'll wonder if I'm ever coming back! We'll talk on the phone (well, I'll talk and he'll listen) and Oronzo will take pictures of him to email me but I won't be there to tuck him in at night, say prayers with him, and sing him his requested "Baby Mine" song. I won't be there to play with him each day.

Can you tell I'm going to miss him? ((sigh)) These business trips can be so hard!

On a more positive note, I must admit that I'm looking forward to some R&R time on the beach and sightseeing while I'm not working. A little alone time for Mommy is not a bad thing!

I'll have internet access at my hotel, so I'm sure you'll be hearing from me!

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2:29 PM
16 comments


Friday, July 27, 2007
Winner of Dog Days of Summer
My Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange is listed below this post. If you haven't already, please join in!

It's time to announce the winner of Shannon's Dog Days of Summer Bloggy Giveaway.

My giveaway was a pair of earrings that I made myself. One day soon I'm going to attempt to start a jewelry side business, so please check back to see more of my creations!

Okay, now for the winner, which was chosen by using the Random.org Integer Generator.

And the winner is...

Jen at Here and There Congrats Jen! Please email me your mailing address!

Now, let's hope my luck turns around and I win something today. So far, nothing but the day is not over yet, right?!

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1:29 PM
6 comments


Favorite Ingredients Friday- Appetizers & Snacks Edition

Good Friday to you all! It's time for a special Favorite Ingredients Friday Appetizers & Snacks edition!

Before we begin, I'd like to mention that there's more Pay It Forward book exchange giveaways happening or about to happen so be sure to check it out!

Okay, now onward with our recipe exchange.

The recipe I'm sharing is from my beloved sister-in-law, Madeline. I'm going to cheat and just post the scanned image of her recipe card, rather than type it all out. I hope you don't mind. Isn't her handwriting beautiful! I wish I could write with such elegance!

Monterey Jack Salsa



Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday Appetizers & Snacks 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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7:00 AM
12 comments


Thursday, July 26, 2007
Pay It Forward Book Exchange- more upcoming giveaways

I'm finishing up reading an excellent book, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, in preparation for my second Pay It Forward book exchange giveaway. I think I'll kick this second giveaway off on Monday, 6 August, so please mark your calendars and help me spread the word!

I'd like to bring your attention to some other "Pay It Forward book exchange" giveaways going on:

1) Iris gave away the book Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. Thanks, Iris!

2) Cee Cee gave away the book The Elevator by Angela Hunt. Thanks, Cee Cee!

3) Vail gave away the book Death of a Garage Sale Newbie by Sharon Dunn. Thanks, Vail!

4) April gave away a great mystery book, Dead Eyes by Stuart Woods. Thanks, April!

5) Sheryl gave away Hitched by Carol Higgins Clark and I was the winner! Hooray! :) Guess what? This coming Wednesday she'll be giving away Fair Game by Carol Cox. Thanks so much, Sheryl!

6) Danielle gave away the book Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg. Thanks, Danielle!

Are there any other Pay It Forward book exchange giveaways going on (or being planned) that I need to post here to inform my readers? If so, leave me a comment and I'll add you to the list!

Thanks, and be sure to check back on 6 August to sign up to win my next book.

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6:00 AM
14 comments


Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Upcoming FIF: Appetizers & Snacks Edition

I must apologize to my regular participates of Favorite Ingredients Friday. In last Friday's post, I had the dates of my upcoming themed FIFs listed incorrectly. I didn't actually mean to do the Appetizers & Snacks Edition until this coming Friday. Have I succeeded in confusing you? Sorry about that. I hope you all can pull out some more appetizer recipes for this week! :)

Please help me spread the word!

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6:00 AM
6 comments


Monday, July 23, 2007
Dog Days of Summer Bloggy & Love for Parker Giveaways
Updated 27 July to add: A winner has been randomly selected for my earring giveaway. The winner is...Jen at Here and There Congrats Jen and thank you all for your entries!

Shannon is coordinating one huge giveaway carnival this week and I'm joining in the fun!

Anyone interested in winning a free pair of these beautiful earrings, made by yours truly, please leave me a comment and you will be entered in the drawing for said earrings. That's right, all you have to do is leave a comment. It's as simple as that! You don't even have to be a blogger to win. Just be sure to leave me your email address if you're not a blogger so I can contact you!

The earrings will come professionally packaged in a pretty bag. You can give them as a gift or you can keep them for yourself. Your choice! If you do want to give them as a gift, let me know and I'll include a blank gift card for you!

So, leave your comment now to enter to win this pair of earrings! The winner will be announced the morning of Friday, 27 July.

And if you'd like to see what others are giving away, check out Shannon's guidelines. You can even join in the bloggy giveaway fun and offer a little something on your blog. Be sure to check out Shannon's Dog Days of Summer Bloggy.

And please, please don't for get the efforts of Melody over at Slurping Life. She is hosting an online love offering to Parker, a little boy with big medical needs.

By participating in this online love offering, you will also have an opportunity to win the following digital camera, printer and accessories package courtesy of Hewlett Packard...

HP Photosmart R837 Digital Camera, camera case



HP Photosmart A616 Compact Photo Printer, carrying case, and an HP Custom 110 Series 120-Sheet Photo Value Pack ((glossy Advanced Photo Paper).



There's a long list of more prizes listed for this event!

The dates of the love offering will be July 23 through July 27. Make a $2 donation (of course, larger donations will be accepted) during that time from the Paypal button that is posted on Slurping Life and you will be entered in the drawing for all prizes.

Thanks, everyone!

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6:00 AM
273 comments


Sunday, July 22, 2007
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows
I've done it. I've just finished the final book, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, thanks to Oronzo kindly keeping Snuggle Bug entertained for me.

All I'm going to say is that the book made me sob like a baby!

Has anyone else finished the book yet? I would really love to discuss it with any of you when you're done? Please, feel free to email me!

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3:20 PM
17 comments


Friday, July 20, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Strawberry Bread)

Good Friday to you all! It's time for another Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange! Before we get started, I wanted to ask you all to give me more suggestions for upcoming themed recipe exchanges. Please share your ideas in my comments! Thanks!

Upcoming Themed Schedule

July 27- Appetizers & Snacks

August 10- Salads

August 24- Sauces

My recipe this week comes from a dear neighbor friend. It's easy to prepare and tastes heavenly! I hope you enjoy it!


Strawberry Bread

Ingredients

  1. 2 10-oz packages frozen strawberries
  2. 4 eggs
  3. 1 1/4 cup salad oil
  4. 3 cups flour
  5. 2 cups sugar
  6. 3 to 6 tsp. cinnamon (as you like it)
  7. 1 tsp. baking soda
  8. 1 tsp. salt
  9. 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts are good)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix strawberries, eggs, and oil in a medium bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients and the nuts. Add the strawberry mixture and stir until blended.
  4. Pour into two 9x5 greased loaf pans.
  5. Bake approximately 1 hour.

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.

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
13 comments


My Childhood Home
Mary at Owlhaven is hosting a fun meme today. Here's what she writes:

I’d like you all to consider writing about your childhood home. It doesn’t matter how big or small it was. All the memories don’t have to be picture-perfect. If you moved a lot, it’s fine to pick one favorite house. What I want to hear are details that were important to you as a child: your secret hideout under the stairs, the single-paned picture window you licked and froze your tongue to one winter morning, the backyard tree you climbed, the way your mother washed your hair in the kitchen sink every Saturday night, or any other strong indelible memory you have.

As many of you know, my childhood upbringing was less than ideal, but even so it still had it's bright spots here and there.

We were raised in a very small town (less than 200 people), on purpose. My dad was committed to having his children raised in a small town, like he was, so he commuted an hour each way to work five days a week rather than move us all to the large city that he worked in.

My childhood home was small. We only had four rather small bedrooms and one bathroom to be shared with two adults and five children. Money was tight because my mom stayed home while my dad was the sole income provider. Despite all that, some good times were had in that home.

My four siblings and I shared bedrooms and many nights were spent talking into the wee hours of the morning about everything and nothing. In the summers, before we had air conditioning, we'd sleep in front of large box fans (to this day, I get sleepy at the sound of a fan). And reading under the covers by flashlight was a common occurrence at night.

We had a cedar closet upstairs in one of the rooms and I remember opening the door frequently just to smell the cedar. I also remember pealing back the plastic garment bag, that held my mother's wedding dress, and stroking the velvet skirt.

The steps leading up to our bedroom had specific creaks and we got to know each and every one, and how to circumvent them when we wanted to sneak outside at night. With my parents bedroom being at the bottom of the stairs, that wasn't always easy.

Our front porch was a place to sit and slurp popsicles and grill burgers and hot dogs year round. In the evenings, we sit out and listen to the locust and watch the dancing fireflies.

Our front and back yard was fun for climbing trees, running barefoot in the grass, and playing hide and seek with our neighborhood friends. Running through the sprinkler and playing on Slip 'n Slides was always fun too! We had a fort in a loft area of our garage that entertained us for hours!

And just a mile walk from our house, along a narrow dirt trail that follows a railroad track, was a river that we had fun swimming in. There were mulberry trees along that trail and we'd pick and eat until our fingers were stained bright purple and our stomachs were full and content.

The best thing about being raised in this small town was that everyone knew everyone. All the neighborhood kids played together, no matter what the age difference. And best of all, you felt safe from harm. No one locked their doors. There was a definite sense of community within our town that carries on even today.

So there you have it, memories from my childhood home. I hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane. I know I have!

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5:15 AM
16 comments


Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Works-for -Me Wednesday (chalk it up)
It's time once again to post another WFMW tip. Before I share my tip, I wanted to share some info about book giveaways that are happening out there! Although I've already selected a winner for the launch of my Pay It Forward book exchange, there are other books still being given away. Check it out!

Now, for my WFMW tip...


Chalk It Up

We spent quite a pretty penny for a train set for Snuggle Bug last Christmas and he loves it! We don't regret our purchase, but since there are 112 pieces we try to encourage Snuggle Bug to play with the train set mainly in his bedroom.

Snuggle Bug has other wooden trains that we allow him to play with outside and, rather than buy the expensive connecting tracks that can get lost or broken, we use sidewalk chalk to draw train tracks on the driveway. We draw a different train track each time and he loves it!

So, creating chalk train tracks 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:

fun & creative labels
Melt Down
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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6:00 AM
7 comments


Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Adoption #2: I love it when things go my way!
We're plugging right along on getting everything done on our certification checklist. Let's see if I can remember what's been done thus far:

I think that's close to everything. We still have a few items left before we can be officially licensed. The biggest hurdle we face now is getting our "real" home inspection done by a State Inspection Agent.

Our agency licensing agent requested an inspection date for us 2 weeks ago and hadn't heard back. We got a packet of info in the mail from the state, explaining in layman's terms what the process involved (I though that was nice). The best part is that there was a number to call if we hadn't received a call from anyone scheduling an appointment for us within 30 days of the submitted request.

Okay, it hasn't been 30 days but I'm not always a patient person. I called the toll free number and left a very polite message asking someone to call me back. Amazingly enough, I got a call back in less than an hour and I got a inspection date scheduled, thanks to my call! I love it when things go my way!

Our home will be inspected on 31 July, a day when I will be out of town on business. Oronzo is going to handle the walk-through. It's probably better that I'll be out of town. I'd be a basket case if I were here, driving Oronzo crazy with my mad efforts to once again scour our house from top to bottom right before the inspection.

If all goes well with our inspection, we'll only have a few things left go get done to be certified (perhaps we'll be done by mid-August). Of course, we'll have to wait on our references to mail in their letters. Hopefully everyone will be prompt with that! We'll also have to wait for our licensing agent to write up her homestudy report but I get the impression that she's on the ball about all of that.

Wish us luck with the rest of the licensing process! We're starting to get nervous and excited, all at once!

Oh, one quick question, does anyone care to share some ideas on cute crib sets for little girls that incorporate the colors purple and sage? Store links would be appreciated! I find myself pondering over little girl crib sets now! :)

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6:30 AM
15 comments


Monday, July 16, 2007
I donated blood & all I got was this t-shirt...
...and a strong case of nausea!

Yesterday morning, Oronzo and I arrived at mass to find a huge blown up blood drop character outside our church, as well as a bloodmobile bus. Apparently there was a blood drive push being sponsored by our parish.

I've never donated blood before, mainly because I never met the 110 lb. weight requirement. Now that I've finally surpassed that requirement by 5 lbs, I had no excuse.

After mass, I went over to the blood mobile and registered. The sign said it was a 10 minute process to donate blood. That was so not true! I took me about an hour.

I read the booklet and then I was escorted into a tiny room to answer several pre-qualifying yes/no questions with a nice lady in a white lab coat.

Q: "Within the last year, have you been to any third-world disease-ravaged countries?"
A: "No."

Q: "Within the last year, have you had s*x with anyone from a third-world disease-ravaged country?"
A: "No."

Q: "Within the last year, have you had s*x with someone who might have had s*x with someone from a third-world disease-ravaged country?"
A: "No."

Q: "Have you ever taken money for s*x?"
A: "Um, no," I said.

I think you get the point of how personal this line of questioning was. Apparently I answered "No" enough times to qualify to donate blood because I was eventually lead to a blue lounge chair on the bus, where a man in a white lab coat tried to find a good vein. He practically jumped up and down with glee when I told him I have the rare AB- blood type (1 in 100 people have this).

I made it very clear that I would pass out if I saw the large needle or the blood, I don't do well with either. I squeezed my eyes shut tight when he told me the needle was going in. Thankfully he was good and it wasn't that painful. I looked out the bus window and watched people go by as a pint (600 grams) of my blood slowly drained out of me and into a plastic bag being rocked back and forth to mix my blood anti-coagulate. 6 more tubes were taken after that for testing purposes.

After I was done, I slowly sat up and felt fine. I went to the back of the bus, where Oronzo was getting ready to donate his blood, and retrieved Snuggle Bug from him.

In the time that it took for me to walk from one end of the bus to another, I started to feel nauseous. It hit hard very quickly! I called out, "I don't feel so good," and then, "I think I'm going to throw up!" I felt dizzy like I was going to pass out at any minute!

Two lab techs rushed towards me, one grabbing a waste paper basket to put near me. I was slowly escorted back to the blue lounge chair and made to lay down. I had a cold compress put on my forehead and my neck and my feet were elevated.

I was told to spend the next 20 minutes laying down. A lab tech checked on me frequently and brought me juice to drink. She asked what I had eaten for breakfast and I confessed that I hadn't had any breakfast yet. "Well, that's why you almost passed out! After we took so much blood out, I'm sure your body went into shock."

Snuggle Bug was a trooper. He sat nearby, within eyesight, happily munching on the cookies and juice that the lab tech had given him. He never once got ansy or anxious.

Once the color returned to my face, they let me get up and go sit on the bench next to Snuggle Bug, plying me with more juice and raisins. When I was ready to exit the bloodmobile bus, they insisted that I take a t-shirt home with me.

The rest of the afternoon I was pretty useless. I went home and took a 3 hour nap and awoke feeling quite a bit better at 4:00 p.m.

I know donating blood is a good thing but I think I'm going to be a bit hesitant to do it again anytime soon. And when I finally do push aside the memories of this bad first experience, I'll at least make sure to eat a hearty breakfast before giving up any of my blood!

So, have any of you donated blood? If so, how was your experience?

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6:00 AM
22 comments


Saturday, July 14, 2007
Pay It Forward Book Exchange Winner!
It's time to announce the winner of my very first Pay It Forward Book Exchange!

Before I make the announcement, I want to thank each and every one of you for your interest in this concept. I was so excited to see your enthusiasm and I was tickled pink to see others offering books of their own to "pay forward". Thank you all!

Okay, now for the moment you've all been waiting for! The winning name pulled from the hat this morning was Jill at The Diaper Diaries.

Congratulations Jill! Now, I just need you to email me your mailing address so I can get this book, Lucky by Alice Sebold sent out to you. And I'll be touching base with you in about a month to see if you're ready to Pay It Forward by hosting your own book giveaway!

I'd like to bring your attention to the other giveaways that have resulted:

1) Sheryl is giving away a book each week. She's already given away The Storekeeper's Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter and The Quilter's Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter. Head on over to enter her weekly book giveaway. Thanks, Sheryl!

2) Vail is giving away the book Death of a Garage Sale Newbie by Sharon Dunn on 3 August. You still have chance to enter to win. Thanks, Vail!

3) Carolyn gave away the book Beyond Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury. Thanks, Carolyn!

4) Lorie gave away the book Unchartered by Angela Hunt and I was the lucky winner! Thanks, Lorie! I'll be sure to "Pay It Forward" when I'm done reading your book.

5) mamabright gave away the book Bygones by Kim Vogel Sawyer. Thanks, mamabright!

6) Deena gave away away the book Return to Me by Robin Lee Hatcher. Thanks, Deena!

7) Heather gave away Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I've read this book and it's excellent! Thanks, Heather1

8) Lauren gave away 3 Seconds by Lew Parrott, Ph.D.. Thanks, Lauren!

Okay, Oronzo, Snuggle Bug, and I are off to meet some friends at a local farmer's Market. Have a great Saturday, everyone!

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7:03 AM
7 comments


Friday, July 13, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Healthy Eating edition)


Good Friday to you all! It's time for a special Favorite Ingredients Friday Healthy Eating edition!

Before we begin, I'd like to remind all my readers that today is the last day to enter my Pay It Forward book exchange giveaway! I'll be drawing a name tomorrow morning for one fortunate winner of the book Lucky by Alice Sebold. Not only that, so far five other bloggers are joining in and hosting book giveaways of their own! Check it out!

Okay, now onward with our recipe exchange.

Please share your light and healthy recipes to help me get my cholesterol down to normal levels! :)

The recipe I'm sharing I found on Prevention.allrecipes.com!

Apple-Walnut Muffins

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
In a large bowl, stir together the buttermilk, oil, brown sugar, and egg. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Do not over mix. Stir in the apples, walnuts, and raisins (if using).

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Remove to the rack to cool completely.

Nutrition Info

Servings Per Recipe: 12
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 139
Total Fat: 4.1g
Cholesterol: 18mg
Sodium: 214mg
Total Carbs: 23.4g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9g
Protein: 2.7g

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday Healthy Eating 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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5:25 AM
18 comments


Thursday, July 12, 2007
Adoption #2- Foster Facts
Oronzo and I attended an "extra" training class last night, as part of our efforts to get licensed for foster-to-adopt through the state. This was a "Nuts n' Bolts" kind of class and I thought I'd share some of the facts that I learned. Some of these may be specific to our state, I'm not sure.

I'm going to list some of the details in a random order:

1) You may be licensed for up to five foster children at one time (not including bio and adoptive children).

2) You may only have two foster children under the age of 1. Perfect, that's what we're willing to consider!

3) You may only have four foster children under the age of 5.

4) Foster children 3 or younger can have a bed located in your bedroom. Umm...a month or two of having a child sleeping in my room was plenty long for us! We never really "slept" very well when Snuggle Bug was in our room because we jumped at every peep and squeak that he made.

5) Foster children 3 or older must have a bed in a separate room.

6) Foster children 6 or older must have boys with boys and girls with girls when sharing bedrooms.

7) Our licensing agent stipulates that babysitters for foster children must be at least 18 years of age, and must be background checked and fingerprinted. We talked to one of Oronzo's sisters about that and she said she'd be happy to get this done so she can babysit for us when needed! Thank goodness because Snuggle Bug adores her and we ask her to baby-sit occasionally (like last night).

8) If you're providing Respite Care for other foster parents, you don't have to have a separate bed for the foster child you're taking in on a temporary basis. Having them sleep on the couch is fine. Not in my house! They'll get their own bed, thank you very much!

9) As a Foster Parent you receive monthly payments for care of the foster children. The amount depends on the age of the child. You are not required to submit receipts for items purchased with this monthly allowance. I'm must admit, I'm a little uncomfortable with this lack of accountability.

10) There are special allowances/supplemental financial supports available for foster children. For example, you can get funding for emergency clothing, books/educational expenses, graduation expenses, special needs allowance (holidays, birthdays, etc.), camps or family vacation expenses, etc. Receipts must be submitted for these special funds. The amounts available are pocket change, really, but I suppose every bit helps.

11) A foster child has excellent medical coverage while they're in the system. If you adopt that child from foster care, more than likely that child is going to qualify for an adoption subsidy and they will be allowed to have their own medical coverage until they turn 18 years old.

12) There's a pretty expansive support system in place for foster parents (at least in our area there are many monthly support meetings for foster families) and many companies do things to help foster families as well. For example, one company creates life books for foster children for free! This company is always looking for volunteers to donate their time and talent. I think I'm going to look into this. What a great outlet for my scrapbooking passion!

Pretty neat stuff, eh? Did you learn something new by reading this list? I hope so. :)

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6:54 AM
10 comments


Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Check this out!
I have a few items of "business" to mention. Click on the images to enlarge.

1) This coming Friday's theme for my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange will be Healthy Eating. I'm really hoping to get some good recipes from this exchange, seeing how my cholesterol levels are in the "high risk" area (more on that later)! Feel free to grab the button I've designed and help spread the word. Thanks in advance!

2) Yesterday I went and checked my post office box and found a Barb's lovely gift waiting inside. Can I just say, "Wow!" Barb, you are amazing. I love the sleek look of this packet of recipe cards...the silver and pink ribbons, the embossed silver "V", the bordered recipe cards on pretty pink cardstock. You are quite talented, my friend! I'm so glad that I was one of your winners. Thank you so much for all the wonderful recipes! You know me, I do love collecting recipes!

3) I am truly amazed at the wonderful response I'm getting thus far from the launching of my Pay It Forward book exchange! I think the part I love the most is that others are joining in and hosting their own "Pay It Forward" book exchanges. Thanks everyone! If you haven't yet entered to win my book giveaway, please stop by before end of the day Friday to do so. And while you're there, check out the other blogger book giveaways that I've linked within my post.

3) Okay, this isn't really business. I just had to show you all these cute Sesame Street overalls that I pulled out of Snuggle Bug's closet yesterday. They still had the tags on them. I have no idea where we got them from (probably a gift) but they fit him perfectly and he loved wearing them! Elmo is one of his favorite characters. What was really cute was the reaction his overalls got from other kids when I took him to a library storytime. Other kids (same age or younger) would point at Snuggle Bug's overalls and say, "Elmo! Elmo!", clap their hands, and bounce up and down in glee. Apparently Snuggle Bug isn't the only Elmo fan out there.

That's all for now. Have a great Wednesday!

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6:00 AM
13 comments


WFMW (Fun & Creative Labels)
Before I share my WFMW tip, I'd like to invite you all to join me this Friday for my Healthy Eating Edition of my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange! Please help spread the word!

Now, it's time once again to post another WFMW tip.

Fun & Creative Labels

Never purchase address labels again!

When sending packages/cards in the mail to family or friends use Microsoft Word's label tool to make your own customized labels!

1. Create a new label document based on the style of labels you're using (we use Avery # 5161 or # 5163 a lot). Click on each picture to enlarge for more details!

2. Insert your chosen image (from the file you've saved it in) onto a label (resize it to fit) and type the name/address beside it using a text box.


My family and friends get a big kick out of my customized labels and it ends up being much cheaper than purchasing labels online!

So, creating my own custom labels 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:

Melt Down.
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
4 comments


Monday, July 09, 2007
Pay It Forward Book Exchange- guidelines


Here are the guidelines for my Pay It Forward Book Exchange.

Most all of us love to read and get “new-to-us” books, right? And if you’re anything like me, you love winning things (what a rush), not to mention getting fun stuff in the mail! So here’s what this book exchange is all about:

1) On the first Monday of each month I'll pick a couple of books to give away to two lucky readers (you don’t have to have a blog to enter). It may be a book that I’ve purchased new or used, or it may be a book that someone has shared with me that I really like. It’ll probably be a paperback, just to make things easier, but no guarantees.

2) Details on how you can enter to win will be listed in each monthly post.

3) If you’re the lucky winner of the book giveaway and you have your own blog I ask that you, in turn, host a drawing to give that book away for free to one of your readers, after you’ve had a chance to read it (let’s say, within a month after you’ve received the book). If you mail the book out using the media/book rate that the post office offers it’s pretty inexpensive. If you're a non-blogger who has won the book, please consider donating the book to your local library or shelter after you're done with it.

4) If you’re really motivated and want to host your own Pay It Forward giveaway at any time during the month, grab the PIF button above to use on your own blog post and link back to my original Pay It Forward post. Be sure to let me know about your giveaway so I can add your link on my original PIF post directing my readers your way! I'd appreciate it if you would not use Mr. Linky on your blog and require that your readers post about your Pay It Forward book exchange on their blogs to be eligible to win your book. If you'd just ask your readers to leave you a comment on your post to be entered to win, and then direct them to my blog to review the master list of other Pay It Forward giveaways, that would be much appreciated and I think less confusing for all participating!

So there you have it, my Pay It Forward Book Exchange, designed to encourage people to read, to share good books, to possibly get you out of your reading comfort zone, and to get fun stuff in the mail instead of just bills!

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6:30 AM
1 comments


Launch of Pay It Forward Book Exchange- Book Giveaway!

Last week I introduced my Pay It Forward book exchange idea and it seems to be well received. So, I'm launching this idea with a free book giveaway!

Let me just recap the Pay It Forward Book Exchange concept for those who might have missed it.

Most all of us love to read and get “new-to-us” books, right? And if you’re anything like me, you love winning things (what a rush), not to mention getting fun stuff in the mail! So here’s what I'm proposing:

1) Once a month I'll pick a book to give away to one lucky reader (you don’t have to have a blog to enter). It may be a book that I’ve purchased new or used, or it may be a book that someone has shared with me that I really like. It’ll probably be a paperback, just to make things easier, but no guarantees.

2) Details on how you can enter to win will be listed below.

3) If you’re the lucky winner of the book giveaway and you have your own blog I ask that you, in turn, host a drawing to give that book away for free to one of your readers, after you’ve had a chance to read it (let’s say, within a month after you’ve received the book). If you mail the book out using the media/book rate that the post office offers it’s pretty inexpensive. If you're a non-blogger who has won the book, please consider donating the book to your local library or shelter after you're done with it.

4) If you’re really motivated and want to host your own “Pay It Forward” giveaway at any time, feel free to grab the button above to use on your own blog. Just let me know so I can publish a post on my blog plugging your giveaway and directing my readers your way!

So there you have it, my Pay It Forward Book Exchange idea, designed to encourage people to read, to share good books, to possibly get you out of your reading comfort zone, and to get fun stuff in the mail instead of just bills!

Now then, my book giveaway for the month of July will be Lucky by Alice Sebold.

Alice Sebold's courageous Lucky describes her experience as a student at Syracuse University.

Alice is an intelligent young woman constantly trying to fit in and make new friends. On the last day of freshman year, her virginity and innocence are taken when she is brutally raped.

After the assault, things in Alice's life change. People start to whisper in the hallways, and her friends look at her differently. At home, Alice's parents don't know how to deal with her situation and try to pretend nothing happened.

When Alice returns to school her friends, once supportive, coldly ask why she would come back. She is restricted to living in an all-girls dormitory and walking outside only during the day; the rapist begins to control her life.

Alice becomes friends with her English professor, who urges Alice to write about her rape to release her feelings. Alice creates an emotional poem about wanting revenge, which baffles her classmates.

After class one day Alice encounters her rapist and runs to the police station. Now he has a name - he's Marshall, not just "The Rapist" anymore. Few rape cases ever get to court but Alice is "lucky" to land a case in front of a grand jury.

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, using my "Pay It Forward" button, 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, 13 July. 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 Alice Sebold book giveaway.

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

Best of luck!

Edited to add: The winning name pulled from the hat was Jill at The Diaper Diaries.

Additional Book Giveaways!

1) Sheryl is giving away a book each week. She's already given away The Storekeeper's Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter and The Quilter's Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter. Head on over to enter her weekly book giveaway. Thanks, Sheryl!

2) Vail is giving away the book Death of a Garage Sale Newbie by Sharon Dunn on 3 August. You still have chance to enter to win. Thanks, Vail!

3) Carolyn gave away the book Beyond Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury. Thanks, Carolyn!

4) Lorie gave away the book Unchartered by Angela Hunt and I was the lucky winner! Thanks, Lorie! I'll be sure to "Pay It Forward" when I'm done reading your book.

5) mamabright gave away the book Bygones by Kim Vogel Sawyer. Thanks, mamabright!

6) Deena gave away away the book Return to Me by Robin Lee Hatcher. Thanks, Deena!

7) Heather gave away Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I've read this book and it's excellent! Thanks, Heather!

8) Lauren gave away 3 Seconds by Lew Parrott, Ph.D.. Thanks, Lauren!

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5:30 AM
28 comments


Saturday, July 07, 2007
Adoption #2: Licensing update
I haven't updated in a while how we're doing with our process of getting licensed for foster-to-adopt through the state, so here goes.

Thursday evening we attended the 9th of the 10 required MAPP classes. Although you think we'd be done with one more training class, you'd think wrong.

One of the things that has frustrated us about this training is that they seem to keep adding classes! We have to attend an extra "Nuts and Bolts" class next Wednesday evening and then our 10th MAPP class.

There's more. Since we have a pool, we both have to attend a CPR and a First Aid class (7/17 & 7/23) as well. We know these classes are important and we really don't have a problem taking them, we just wish we'd known upfront exactly what classes were expected of us!

So, when all is said and done, we will have attended 13 separate nights of classes! That's a lot of classes, especially considering we didn't have to take a single class to adopt Snuggle Bug. This process is so very different from adopting privately. We'll be glad when all these classes are done!

We're still waiting to have our official home inspection done by a state inspector. We did get a packet of info from the state that put into laymen's terms exactly what they're looking for, so that was nice. Better yet, they've given us a phone number to call to schedule an appointment if we haven't heard from anyone yet. You can bet I'll be calling them on Monday!

One unexpected thing that we learned during our class last week is that anyone we ask to babysit our foster child has to be fingerprinted before they can do so! I understand that they want the children to be safe, but this seems just a bit over-the-top to me. I sure hope our family members and close friends don't mind us asking them to take the time to go get fingerprinted if we need them to babysit for us! I'm not sure how one goes about delicately making that request.

Well, that's all for now. Check back on Monday if you're interested in participating in my very first Pay It Forward book exchange! I have another good book to give away! Thanks to all of you who seem to be in support of my idea! I can't wait to see how it goes.

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6:00 AM
14 comments


Friday, July 06, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Thai Spinach Dip)

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

Upcoming Themed Schedule
July 13- Healthy Eating recipes
July 20- Appetizers & Snacks
July 27- Salads
August 10- Sauces

My recipe this week is something I stumbled across on the Better Homes and Gardens website. I tell you, if you make this, once you start eating it you won't be able to stop! It's delicious!


Thai Spinach Dip


Ingredients

  1. 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  2. 1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
  3. 1 8-ounce carton plain fat-free yogurt
  4. 1/4 cup snipped fresh mint
  5. 1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts
  6. 1/4 cup peanut butter
  7. 1 tablespoon honey
  8. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  9. 1 to 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  10. Vegetable dippers (such as peeled baby carrots, zucchini slices, and/or cucumber sticks)

Preparation

  1. In a medium bowl combine spinach, sour cream, and yogurt.
  2. Stir in mint, peanuts, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, and crushed red pepper.
  3. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours. Serve with vegetable dippers.
  4. Makes about 2-1/2 cups dip.

Nutritional Facts
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Servings Per Recipe about 2-1/2 cups dip
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Calories 44
Total Fat (g) 3
Saturated Fat (g) 1
Cholesterol (mg) 3
Sodium (mg) 61
Carbohydrate (g) 4
Fiber (g) 1
Protein (g) 1
Vitamin C (DV%) 5
Calcium (DV%) 3
Iron (DV%) 2
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

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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6:14 AM
19 comments


Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

I don't know about you, but I plan on enjoying this day off! We're having about 15 friends (plus a small gaggle of children) coming over at 5 p.m. for a BBQ/pool party so we're doing a bit of shopping, cooking, and cleaning today before their arrival. I know we'll have a good time!

So, what are your 4th of July plans?

Labels:

6:00 AM
12 comments


Monday, July 02, 2007
Pay It Forward Book Exchange


Last week I decided to give away a book that had been given to me by a friend…a “pay it forward” gift to a fellow reader. The idea was so well received that I’d like to expand on it and do it on a monthly basis, if the interest level is there.

Most all of us love to read and get “new-to-us” books, right? And if you’re anything like me, you love winning things (what a rush), not to mention getting fun stuff in the mail! So here’s what I’d like to propose:

1) Once a month I'd like to pick a book to give away to one lucky reader (you don’t have to have a blog to enter). It may be a book that I’ve purchased new or used, or it may be a book that someone has shared with me that I really like. It’ll probably be a paperback, just to make things easier, but no guarantees.

2) In order to enter to win in this book giveaway, you’ll need to publish a post linking back to my original post spreading the news to other readers so that they have the opportunity to enter as well. If you don't have a blog, just post your name and leave me an email address in the comments.

3) If you’re the lucky winner of the book giveaway I ask that you, in turn, host a drawing to give that book away for free to one of your readers, after you’ve had a chance to read it (let’s say, within a month after you’ve received the book). If you mail the book out using the media/book rate that the post office offers it’s pretty inexpensive.

So there you have it, my Pay It Forward Book Exchange idea, designed to encourage people to read, to share good books, to possibly get you out of your reading comfort zone, and to get fun stuff in the mail instead of just bills!

What do you think? Are you in? Please leave me a comment letting me know either way [I encourage you to delurk to do so]! If I get enough interest, I’ll host the next book giveaway on Monday, 7/9. I already have a great book picked out to give away!

P.S. If you’re really motivated and want to start your own “Pay It Forward” giveaway at any time, feel free to grab the button above to use on your own blog. Just let me know so I can publish a post plugging your giveaway and direct my readers your way!

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7:06 AM
26 comments


Sunday, July 01, 2007
Can I just say...Wow!
First, Katie over at Roses are Red, Vilots are Blue honored me with the Rockin' Girl Blogger award. What a sweet surprise!

Here's what she wrote:

She's a fellow adoptive parent whose blog has been one I've lurked on for some time now. It's pretty to look at but she always has something cool to share...whether it's ingredients, or tips, or just feelings about the adoption process. Check it out!



Then, Michelle over at Big Blueberry Eyes bestowed upon me the honor of the Blogger Reflection award!

Here's what she wrote:

The first post I read of hers was about a conversation she overheard between her husband and son via her cellphone. Unbeknownst to her husband, he, or their son, accidentally called her cell phone. He didn't realize his phone was connected and she got to listen in on a small part of their day. Then I started reading her adoption story and was hooked and couldn't wait for the next installment. I've also been lucky enough to meet her twice now! She is just as friendly and down-to-earth as she comes across on her blog.

Can I just say, "Wow!" I am so flattered. Thanks so much to both of you. It's so nice to be appreciated!

In return, I'd like to mention a few bloggers who keep me coming back for more (blog reading, that is) and deserve to be awarded both awards:

Heather- This woman inspires me and encourages me to work harder at living a truly faith filled life. Heather is battling brain cancer. She's at the half way point in her radiation treatments. She writes with courage, grace, and determination and I love her, even though I've never met her. On her 25 June post she asked people to leave a comment letting her know where they're from. She's had 1224 comments thus far. If you haven't already, stop by and offer her your support and encouragement!

Kelli- Here's another blogger who inspires me! She spends 12 hours a night on a dialysis machine and she needs a transplant. Despite all of this, she is faithful in her trust in God, she's got a positive, upbeat attitude, and she'll be the first one to offer up prayers for others in need! She can use all the prayers and support that we have to offer, so go over and leave her a comment or two!

Cookie's Mom- This is a mom who adopted her daughter through foster care and she's fostering again. I discovered her blog not long ago and I love reading what she has to say about the ups and downs of fostering. I feel as though I'm able to gain insight into some of what we might experience during our next adoption journey. What a blessing this blog is to me.

Sandra- Although I don't participate as often as I should, I love the fact that Sandra does a Slow Cooking Thursday recipe exchange! I've gotten some fabulous crock pot recipes from this exchange. My family thanks you Sandra. Keep up the good work!

Jen- Her blog just makes me feel relaxed and at home. The design is one of the most beautiful ones out there, her posts are fun and often encouraging, she writes frequently about her two adorable kids, she includes a lot of pictures (I love that), and she's a regular participant in my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange, so I can't help but love her! You will too!

Thanks, ladies, for your part in keeping me addicted to blogging!

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6:00 AM
6 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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