Friday, December 21, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Dinner Roll Wreath)

Good Friday to you all! I can't believe it's been an entire week since I posted. I usually post daily! Sorry, things have just been so busy here with work, caring for Baby Bug & Snuggle Bug, and preparing for the holidays! I have two of my siblings flying in from NE with their families on Monday and staying for a week so I'm sure my posting will remain sporadic until after they leave. I will try to sneak updates on the baby in soon though!

So, if any of you are still reading, it's time for another Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange!

Upcoming Themed Schedule
December 28- Side Dishes
January 11- Pies

The recipe I'm about to share is one that I found on Food Network. I was watching Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Holiday show while folding laundry and saw her making this. I had to try it. It's so easy and very pretty. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture but I'm making it again soon and will post a picture when I do.

Dinner Roll Wreath

Ingredients:
1 bag yeast rolls, frozen dough
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons ranch-style dressing mix
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, parsley)
Fresh herbs, for garnish

Preparation:
Remove 12 frozen roll dough balls from bag. Use a nonstick spray on a baking sheet and arrange the yeast rolls; approximately 1/4-inch apart, to form a ring Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and set in a warm spot in the kitchen to thaw and rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine melted butter and ranch dressing mix. Brush tops and sides of rolls with butter mixture. Sprinkle rolls with finely chopped herbs. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.
Serve on cake stand, garnished with fresh herbs.

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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8:19 AM
6 comments


Friday, December 14, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Quick & Easy Meals Edition)

Good Morning everyone! Thank goodness it's Friday!

Okay, it's time for my Favorite Ingredients Friday- Quick & Easy Meals edition recipe exchange! I love recipes that make quick and yummy meals so I can't wait to see what you all come up with!

The recipe I'm about to share came from Foodnetwork.com. I'm always looking for ways to cook fish and this is a delicious and easy recipe!


Roasted Salmon

Ingredients

  1. 1 (5-ounce) piece salmon, with skin
  2. 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil plus additional, for drizzling
  3. 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  4. 1/2 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, optional

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Rub salmon all over with 1 teaspoon oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast, skin side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet in upper third of oven until fish is just cooked through, about 12 minutes.
  4. Cut salmon in half crosswise, then lift flesh from skin with a metal spatula and transfer to a plate. Discard skin, then drizzle salmon with oil and sprinkle with herbs.

I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday- Quick & Easy Meals edition recipe! Don't forget to link your specific recipe post link on Mr. Linky so I can see what's cooking at your house!

Oh, and be sure to put the title of your recipe in parenthesis! It makes it so much quicker for everyone to go back and search for recipes.

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7:27 AM
6 comments


Tuesday, December 11, 2007
PIF: 9 FREE BOOKS still up for grabs!

I just wanted to remind you all that my December Pay It Forward Book Exchange is still in full swing and there are currently 9 free books up for grabs! That's right, FREE books! What a treat!

Be sure to stop by for details on how you can win. It's really easy and you don't even have to be a blogger to qualify!

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7:06 AM


Monday, December 10, 2007
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is growing!
Sorry I've been absent lately. It's been a bit busy with an almost 3-year old and a 4 week old in the house. :)

All is well here. Snuggle Bug still likes having the baby around. And Baby Bug is growing! She had her follow-up doctor's appointment last Thursday and she's now 7 pounds, 20 1/2" long. That means that in the week that we've had her she's gained a pound and has grown an inch! Hooray! Our pediatrician is quite pleased and has said that he can wait for the normal 2 month appointment to see her again.

Interestingly enough, CPS mandated that Baby Bug's parents attend all medical appointments for her, to prove their commitment I guess. I learned of this at the hearing on Wednesday and they were instructed to meet us at the doctor's office for this appointment last Thursday.

When I told Oronzo this, he said he was uncomfortable having to interact with the parents without a CPS worker present. What if they got difficult about ending the time with Baby Bug when the appointment was over and it was time for everyone to go? What if they wanted to take her with them? What if, heaven forbid, they were under the influence when they arrived?

My agency worker told us that we were not to leave the parents with the baby unattended. We were to be with her at all times. If they took off with her, we were to call 911.

As first time foster parents, we felt very awkward about this situation. I called our pediatrician and explained the situation. He told me not to worry. Since his office is on a hospital campus, he could call their security and they'd be there in minutes to help. And he'd know if they arrived under the influence and would act accordingly. That made us feel a bit better, knowing he'd be watching our back. We decided not to take Snuggle Bug along for this appointment, just in case there was trouble.

Our worrying ended up being for nothing. Oronzo got to the appointment early and Baby Bug's parents arrived shortly thereafter, on time for the appointment. While there, they were courteous, cooperative, and expressed their thanks over and over to Oronzo for taking such good care of their baby girl and for the pictures that I had given them at the hearing.

Oronzo offered to let them hold Baby Bug during and after the exam and they did, but when the appointment was done and after they had chatted with the baby and Oronzo for a bit, they kissed the baby, telling her it was time to go, and handed her back to Oronzo with no prompting.

Baby Bug's parents brought a large duffle bag full of baby clothes, they told Oronzo that they brought everything she owned so that we could use it while she was with us! They also brought us her infant car seat. As her parents and Oronzo left the doctor's office, Baby Bug's dad helped load all her things in our car. Then both her parents said their goodbyes and walked to the nearby bus stop to catch the next bus.

Now we wait to find out when their supervised visits with Baby Bug begin again. At the hearing last Wednesday, CPS said they'd get two 2-hour visits per week, to be held at a CPS office, but no one said when they'd start. I would guess they'd start sometime this week.

I'll keep you posted!

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6:17 AM
20 comments


Friday, December 07, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday

Sorry ladies, I've had a crazy day and I didn't get this post up this morning as I had hoped. If you still have recipe you'd like to share this weekend, feel free to post it. Otherwise, I'll see you next Friday for my Quick & Easy Meals edition!

I'll post my recipe on this post tomorrow. I'm holding Baby Bug and it's too hard to type one-handed!

Upcoming Themed Schedule

December 14- Quick & Easy Meals
December 28- Side Dishes
January 11- Pies

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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10:46 PM
3 comments


Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is staying longer!
Today was the PPH (Preliminary Permanency Hearing). I am so glad I made the decision to go because it's amazing the amount of information I learned at this hearing!

I'll cut to the chase, Baby Bug is staying with us a while longer. We were told to expect her to be here for 1-2 months, maybe longer.

After the very first meeting that I couldn't attend, I learned that an extended family member (a cousin) had stepped forward and expressed an interest in taking Baby Bug. We thought this cousin was related to Baby Bug's mom and had custody of Baby Bug's two siblings. That is not the case.

Apparently no one from the mom's side of the family has stepped forward on behalf of Baby Bug. The cousin that has requested her is related to Baby Bug's father and the courts have never dealt with this woman or her husband before.

My understanding is that CPS initiated a background check and right out of the gate found something that causes them concern. Because of the information reveled, they are not willing to place Baby Bug with this couple at this point in time. They haven't totally ruled them out, but they intend to do a more extensive background check/homestudy before proceeding with this possibility. This could take a month or two to complete. In the meantime, CPS wants Baby Bug to remain with us. Apparently they think we're doing a pretty good job of caring for her thus far.

At the beginning of the hearing, everyone introduced themselves and I was amazed at how many people were there in the interest of this tiny baby girl. Baby Bug's parents were present, the paternal cousin was present. The lawyers for each parent were present. Baby Bug's lawyer was present. Two CPS caseworkers were there, as well as a lawyer representing CPS. There was a social worker type person there, ready to make recommendations about services for Baby Bug. There was a Drug Team rep there, ready to offer services to the parents. There was a mediator and, of course, a judge.

I sat and listened for the most part, taking notes along the way. I was asked to voice any concerns I might have for Baby Bug's condition and I mentioned her low weight (only 6 lbs at 3 weeks, and she was born full term) and stiff joints. I said that other than those two issues, she's doing quite well with us...she's getting into an eating/sleeping routine, pretty mellow, etc.

During the hearing, I sat and listened to all the allegations being brought against Baby Bugs parents and couldn't help feeling relieved that CPS had removed her before she was seriously injured.

Baby Bug's parents seem very eager to do what is necessary to get their daughter back. They are looking forward to the promise of twice a week, supervised visits with Baby Bug (court approved) that will take place at a CPS office. They were also told that they would be expected to meet us at the pediatrician's office each time that Baby Bug has a doctor's appointment, to prove they can offer active participation and better parenting skills. There are other requirements they'll have to meet as well. They assured the judge that they will do what is required of them to work their case plan.

Out of that court hearing came appointments for 3 other court appointments between now and mid-March! There will also be 90 day reviews done for each parent to see how they're progressing. I learned that the parents will be given up to 1 year to meet all the requirements to get Baby Bug back (they could have her sooner than 1 year, it's up to them). If they haven't met those requirements, they were warned that an adoption plan would be formed at that time and parental rights would be severed. 12 months that the family caring for Baby Bug may have to wait to know what the outcome will be. That's a long time. I suspect that, if the parents do what they're asked, they'd get her back before then. Time will tell.

I met Baby Bug's parents at this hearing and I'm glad I did. Mom is pretty. Dad is a big man (not heavy, just big and very tall). I introduced myself to them (first name only) during a break and offered them pictures of Baby Bug that I had taken and made copies of for them. The pictures really broke the ice and they were very appreciative to get them. They thanked me for the kind gesture.

At the end of the hearing, Baby Bug's dad made a point to come up to me, shake my hand and say, "Thank you for all that you're doing. Please take good care of my baby girl." I assured him she would be well taken care of.

So, it looks like we'll have Baby Bug through Christmas, maybe longer (it's all still so up in the air). I must admit, I'm relieved. I like knowing for sure that she's safe and loved and when we have to give her back, I'll always wonder how she's doing. Now, there is a slim chance that we'll end up being able to adopt her, but I'm not counting on it. Her parents seem pretty determined to do what's necessary to get her back and that's a good thing, if she can be safe and cared for.

Tonight I got boxes of baby girl clothes (0-3 months) out of storage and did a load of laundry. There are so many cute outfits in there that family members have given me over the past couple of years. There were lots of tiny pink outfits. I do believe I like pink! :)

That's all for now. Time for me to get some sleep before that next night feeding!

I'll keep you all posted!

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10:35 PM
24 comments


Monday, December 03, 2007
December Pay It Forward Book Exchange- 11 books up for grabs!

It's time for another one of my free Pay It Forward book giveaways!

For those who may have missed out, please read about the guidelines right here.

So, I have two books to give away this month.

1) The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom.

This book was sent to me by Briggie at There is Power in Prayer. Thanks, Briggie!

Review from Publishers Weekly:

At the time of his death, Eddie was an old man with a barrel chest and a torso as squat as a soup can," writes Albom, author of the bestselling phenomenon Tuesdays with Morrie, in a brief first novel that is going to make a huge impact on many hearts and minds.

Wearing a work shirt with a patch on the chest that reads "Eddie" over "Maintenance," limping around with a cane thanks to an old war injury, Eddie was the kind of guy everybody, including Eddie himself, tended to write off as one of life's minor characters, a gruff bit of background color. He spent most of his life maintaining the rides at Ruby Pier, a seaside amusement park, greasing tracks and tightening bolts and listening for strange sounds, "keeping them safe." The children who visited the pier were drawn to Eddie "like cold hands to a fire."

Yet Eddie believed that he lived a "nothing" life-gone nowhere he "wasn't shipped to with a rifle," doing work that "required no more brains than washing a dish." On his 83rd birthday, however, Eddie dies trying to save a little girl. He wakes up in heaven, where a succession of five people are waiting to show him the true meaning and value of his life.

One by one, these mostly unexpected characters remind him that we all live in a vast web of interconnection with other lives; that all our stories overlap; that acts of sacrifice seemingly small or fruitless do affect others; and that loyalty and love matter to a degree we can never fathom.

Simply told, sentimental and profoundly true, this is a contemporary American fable that will be cherished by a vast readership. Bringing into the spotlight the anonymous Eddies of the world, the men and women who get lost in our cultural obsession with fame and fortune, this slim tale, like Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, reminds us of what really matters here on earth, of what our lives are given to us for.


Wow, what an amazing book! I really liked the powerful message of this book. The message that everyone is important and has an impact on the people around them. Things that mean nothing to me (or you) may affect other people's lives without us being aware of what has really happened. If you win this book, you're going to love it!

2) Kissing Adrien by Siri L. Mitchell.

This book was sent to me by Brea at The Road to Creating Our Family. Thanks, Brea!

Here's what the back cover says:

Claire Le Noyer, 29, wants a do-over. She wants the life where she majors in history, not accounting. Where she takes two-hour lunches, not just ten minutes in front of her computer. Where her pastor boyfriend treats her like an attractive woman he's deeply in love with, not like a nice pet dog.

But for now shes a Seattle numbers-cruncher with a wardrobe from REI sent to fashionable Paris to check out an apartment left to her parents by a mysterious cousin. When her childhood crush- handsome, pleasure-loving, and very French Adrien- introduces Clair to the City of Lights, bearnaise sauce, and kisses in very public places, Clair cautiously begins to embrace another way of living.

Who would have every guessed Adrian would also introduce her to the bigger questions she must answer...Who is her one true love? And will she ever learn to enjoy the life God has placed right in front of her?


What a fun read this book was! I think I especially enjoyed it because I've been to Paris and the author did such a great job of painting a picture with words to capture the essance of this romantic city! This is another good book that a winner will enjoy!

So there you have it, details on the three books that I'm giving away this month. If you'd like to win any of these books, 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, unless of course you don't have a blog!

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 the specific URL of your PIF post. Note: If you are not a blogger, you may still enter to win. 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 PIF book giveaway.

I'll announce the winners next Saturday morning, 15 December, so be sure to check back.

Best of luck!

Additional Pay It Forward Giveaways:

1) To Know Him is giving away the book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers on 1 January. Stop by her blog to enter to win. Thanks, To Know Him!

If anyone else is hosting a Pay It Forward Book Exchange giveaway this month and you'd like me to link you on this post, just leave me a comment letting me know the details and I'll be happy to add you!

Kathleen Marie at The Open Window gave away the book Resting in the Bosom of the Lamb by Augusta Trobaugh on 9 December. Thanks, Kathleen Marie!

Elrena at The Elrena Evens gave away the book Getting Unstuck Without Coming Unglued: A Woman's Guide to Unblocking Creativity by Susan O'Doherty on 12 December. Thanks, Elrena!

Briggie at There is Power in Prayer gave away the book A Christmas Blessing by Donna VanLiere on 14 December. Thanks, Briggie!

Jubilee at Notes of Jubilee gave away the book Return to Me by Robin Lee Hatcher on 14 December. Thanks, Jubilee!

Cynthia at Springmont Cottage gave away the book Down a Garden Path by Karla Dornacher on 17 December. Thanks, Cynthia!

Cloudscome at a wrung sponge gave away the book The Stories of Eva Luna by Isabel Allende on 17 December. Thanks, Cloudscome!

Paige at Superpaige's Pad gave away the book Stately Pursuits by Katie Fforde on 17 December. Thanks, Paige!

Angi at Thoughts of a Wannabe gave away the book Snow Angel by Jamie Carie on 20 December. Thanks, Angi!

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5:30 AM
22 comments


Sunday, December 02, 2007
Adoption #2- Quick update on Baby Bug
I thought I'd give you a quick update on little Baby Bug. She's doing great!

Baby Bug has been eating 2-4 oz. per feeding, although all day yesterday and last night she seemed to be in snacking mode...eating 2 oz. every 2 hours. I'm hopeful that she's gaining weight. If we have her still, next Thursday we'll take her in to our pediatrician for a follow-up appointment to find out.

She's really a mellow baby. She only cries when she's hungry. Other than that, she's content to sleep in her bassinet, on our chests, our in our arms (we like to hold her a lot).

Baby Bug has her periods of being fully awake where she's alert and curious. She's already begun turning her head towards us at the sound of our voices. And if Snuggle Bug gets near her, she turns to look at him too.

Now, for privacy's sake, I can't show you a picture of Baby Bug in all her cuteness, but I wanted to at least show you her beautiful dark hair! She's got so much of it that I was able to put in a tiny pink hairclip that I made her (sorry, you can't see that very well in the picture). I just love her thick, soft dark hair! I hope that whoever she ends up with lets it grow out long as she gets older.

Baby Bug is absolutely adored by Snuggle Bug. Each morning he wakes up and the first thing he does is rush in to our room saying, "See baby?" He likes to hold her (supervised, of course) and he tries to be helpful in feeding her, making sure her blankie is tucked in, and trying to comfort her if she's crying. There's been no signs of jealousy by him yet. It's been neat to see what a great big brother he's going to make, but I'm kind of dreading when we have to tell him that baby is going back to her family. I want to make sure he gets his chance to say "goodbye" to her before she leaves, so he understands what's going on.

We found out a bit of information from that Team Decision Meeting that I mentioned in my last update. According to the CPS investigator, the cousins that have stepped forward to say they'll take her, until it can be decided if her parents get her back, are the extended family members that adopted Baby Bug's other 2 siblings. I can't tell you how much better that makes me feel, to know that she's most likely going to be transferred to the extended family members that have her siblings! I'm almost certain this couple will be pass the background checks by the time Baby Bug's dependency hearing takes place (I should find out tomorrow when that date/time is).

We've been told that we can attend the dependency hearing and I have every intentions of going, if my work schedule allows. If I can't go, I want Oronzo to go. It'll be nice to hear what's going on first hand, rather than having to allow others to pass info on to us.

Since it's likely that Baby Bug's mother is going to be there, I thought I'd make a point to give her a packet of pictures of Baby Bug that I've taken while she's been here with us. I can only imagine how much she misses her sweet little girl.

Well, it's time to dress this little angel for church. Some friends of ours that have 2 daughters brought over some precious little girl clothes for us to borrow while we have Baby Bug. I just love baby girl clothes!

I'll try to post something tomorrow about when exactly the dependency hearing is and whether or not the cousins have passed their background checks yet.

Thanks again for all your support!

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7:12 AM
17 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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