Thursday, July 31, 2008
Boo and her babies!
Boo has become attached to baby dolls this past month.  

She started out clutching two dolls at once nearly all the time.  If she saw some toy that she wanted, she'd spend several seconds agonizing over whether or not it was worth setting one of the babies down to pick up the toy.  

One day the head of one of the babies fell off and she was quite distraught about that until we hid the broken doll from her (out of sight, out of mind).  

Now, she has one baby doll left and she carries that doll everywhere with her!  She eats with the doll, she sleeps with the doll, she plays with the doll, and she tries to take her doll into the bathtub with her.  

I find this attachment to her doll quite adorable.  

What are your little ones attached to? 

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9:12 PM

Monday, July 28, 2008
More tutus!
I'm in the process of getting a website designed, FINALLY!  It took me forever to make the plunge and choose a web designer.  I'll let you know when it's up and running.

In the meantime, I thought I'd show off a few new tutu designs that I've made recently for local and online clients.  I'm amazed that people are already thinking of Halloween in July! :)

Click on the images to enlarge and let me know what you think.   If you're interested in ordering one these (I also do custom orders) please email me at sales [at] sparkleandcharm [dot] com.


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11:58 PM

Friday, July 25, 2008
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Whole Grain Pancakes)

Good Friday to you all! It's time for another Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange! I can't wait to see what you all come up with!

Upcoming Themed Schedule
August 1- Appetizers & Snacks Edition II
August 15- Salad Edition II
August 29- Kid Friendly Foods
September 12- Breads Edition

The recipe I'm posting is another one that I found on the All Recipes website! We're a big fan of  pancakes in our household and this is a bit healthier version. They're quite yummy!  :)

Whole Grain Pancakes


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups dry milk powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups water
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons vinegar


1) In a large bowl, sift all-purpose flour, milk powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in whole wheat flour. In a small bowl, combine sugar, eggs, water, butter and vinegar. Make a well in the flour mixture, and pour in the egg mixture. Mix until smooth.

2) Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot.

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe!

Don't forget to link your specific recipe post link on Mr. Linky so I can see what's cooking at your house!

Oh, and be sure to put the title of your recipe in parenthesis! It makes it so much quicker for me to go back and search for recipes as I build my weekly menu.

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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6:00 AM

Wednesday, July 23, 2008
WFMW- free trinket boxes
Happy Wednesday to you! It's time once again to post another WFMW tip!

Before leaving on my business trip, I managed to snatch some "me" time to go browse through a shopping complex. While out, I stumbled upon a cigar lounge and remembered hearing somewhere that cigar shops often times offer their empty cigar boxes for free to those that ask.

So, I stopped in the cigar lounge and instantly had several pair of male eyes on me as I walked toward the bar. I asked about the availability of empty cigar boxes and the owner pointed to a small table near the entrance and told me to help myself. On the table were several cigar boxes of various sizes. Several were very nice, with hinges and locks.

I selected two boxes, offered my thanks, and then took them home to Snuggle Bug. He was thrilled to have such neat boxes and quickly filled them with various trinkets (small toys, favorite rocks, etc.).

If I were really motivated, I could've decoupaged the wooden boxes with fabric but Snuggle Bug seemed happy with them just as they were so I didn't bother.

Scoring neat trinket boxes from a cigar lounge for free works for me. To find out 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 are found here.


6:00 AM

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
After a long day at work, I just spent the last THREE HOURS in a long line of stand-still traffic trying to get off of Edwards AFB!!  Apparently they locked down the entire base and no one knew why for sure.

Three hours of sitting in my car, waiting!  I read 3/4 of a book during that time and got out of the car and chatted with those around me, and the longer I waited the more I fumed!

My patience had worn thin by the time I finally got past the guard gate and off the base.  It didn't help that no one attempted to explain what the lock down was about!

A co-worker of mine who was stuck in line behind me called and said he got someone at the guard gate to answer the question of "Why?"

According to the person he talked to, a 2 year old child had been abducted on base and the base locked all their gates in attempt to find and rescue the missing child.  Edwards is a very large base, so I can only imagine the ground the police were trying to cover.

Upon hearing that, my anger deflated.  If it were my child missing, I would want the entire base locked down as well.  

I hope this child is found very soon.

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9:20 PM

Saturday, July 19, 2008
Here's what 40 looks like.
Most of you know by now that I'm a pretty private person and I avoid posting identifying pictures. Well, in honor of my 40th birthday, which I celebrated earlier this week, I've decided to post a recent picture of me on this post. I'll take it off in a couple of days.

[photo removed]

So, I'm thinking 40's not so bad so far. :)  I'll expand a bit on why I think that, when I have more time.  I'm visiting relatives in Orange, CA so this is going to be a quick post.  I'll come back and edit it later this weekend.

Happy Birthday to me!

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5:01 PM

Friday, July 18, 2008
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Healthy Edition II)

Good Friday to you all! It's time for a special Favorite Ingredients Friday Healthy Eating Edition II. Last year I got some great recipes so please, share more light and healthy recipes! :)

The recipe I'm sharing I found on Eating!  These sandwiches are delicious!

Southwestern Cheese Panini

4 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup prepared salsa
1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeño pepper (optional)
8 slices whole-wheat bread

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

1. Have four 15-ounce cans and a medium skillet (not nonstick) ready by the stove.

2. Combine Cheddar, zucchini, carrot, onion, salsa and jalapeño (if using) in a medium bowl. Divide among 4 slices of bread and top with the remaining bread.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 panini in the pan. Place the medium skillet on top of the panini, then weigh it down with the cans. Cook the panini until golden on one side, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, flip the panini, replace the top skillet and cans, and cook until the second side is golden, 1 to 3 minutes more. Repeat with another 1 teaspoon oil and the remaining panini.

Nutrition Info
Per serving: 310 calories; 11 g fat (5 g sat, 1 g mono); 30 mg cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrate; 16 g protein; 5 g fiber; 523 mg sodium; 163 mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (50% daily value), Calcium (30% dv), Vitamin C (20% dv), Iron (15% dv).

2 Carbohydrate Serving

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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6:00 AM

Thursday, July 17, 2008
Stepping out with pediped™ footwear
Some time ago, I got an email from Nancy with Babies and Moms Radio letting me know that I had been picked as a winner for a pair of pediped™ footwear shoes. I was even allowed to pick out the style that I wanted.

Thinking of Boo, I chose a 12-18 month sized pair of pink Abigail pediped™ shoes.

I have to say, I love these soft-soled shoes! Boo seems to find them comfortable, probably because pediped™ footwear features soft, flexible soles and supple, premium grade leather uppers. Velcro fasteners make them quick and easy to put on (even with one hand- I love that!) and ensures they stay securely on Boo's feet. She wears these shoes without even trying to take them off, which is pretty amazing for her.

We all know that at the age that little ones are learning to walk, it's best to be barefoot, but that's not always practical. Given the fact that pediped™ footwear is accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association and recommended by podiatrists, I feel pretty good about having these shoes on Boo's little feet.

After looking through the pediped™ website, I know that I will be purchasing some more of these shoes. They have so many cute styles for boys and girls!

If you'd like to purchase a pair of these shoes, you can either order them off of the pediped™ website or check out their store locator to purchase them in a store near you!

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10:55 AM

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
WFMW- Saving on packed luggage space
Happy Wednesday to you! It's time once again to post another WFMW tip!

This is a travel tip, whether you're traveling on business or pleasure.

I'm out of town on business this week and next and I tried to pack smart for this trip, given the fact that many of the major airlines are now charging $15-$25 extra per 50 pound  checked bag!  Ouch!

I had to pack business casual clothes for work and casual clothes for off-hours so I worried about the sheer amount of clothes I'd have to bring.  I decided that it would be smarter to do laundry at the hotel while I'm away.

I checked with my boss.  My company will pay for coin operated laundry, but not hotel dry cleaning (not surprising, given the jacked up prices they charge) unless I had business suits to dry clean (I don't have to wear those on this trip, thank goodness).

I knew that these coin operated laundry rooms in the hotels usually sell small boxes of laundry detergent and softener, but I also know that those products are overpriced so I decided to get creative and bring my own.

I found a cute set of travel bottles (plastic carrying bag included) at a dollar store and I filled two of those four bottles up with liquid laundry detergent from home (the two blue bottles on the left).  I threw in a couple of fabric softener dryer sheets and a handful of quarters.  I tucked this in my checked bag.  Now I'm able to do up to two loads of laundry (lights and darks) and, as a result, I only packed one week's worth of clothes rather than two.    

Packing laundry detergent to save on luggage weight works for me. To find out 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 are found here.


6:30 AM

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Sneak Preview of Third Day Revelation Album
Some time ago, Brian with Provident Music Group offered to send me a pre-release of the new Third Day Revelation CD comes out July 29th. 

Since I have a 45 minute drive to and from work each day while working at Edwards AFB, I made a point to bring some CDs to listen to in the car.  I popped this Third Day CD in the CD player yesterday afternoon.

Can I just say, I love this album!!  It's the kind of music that makes you want to crank to volume on your car stereo higher and higher to feel the music.  I'd describe this album as edgy!

Take a look at a sneak preview of this new album.

My favorite song on this CD is the first one, This is who I am.

If you're interested in the CD for yourself, from now until July 29th, you can purchase this CD for the low price of $7.99!

I assure you, if you like rock music, you're going to love this album!

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8:36 AM

Sunday, July 13, 2008
Nice Diggs!
Well, I made it to Lancaster in one piece.  I'm not sure I took the most direct route to get here.  I flew into Ontario, CA and rented a car.  The nice people at the Dollar car rental counter gave me directions to Lancaster that had me taking 10 W to 57 N, then 57 N to 210 W, then 210 W to 5 N, then 5 N to 14 N on in to Lancaster.

As I was driving, I called Oronzo and chatted with him.  Of course, being a guy, he had to get on to Google and look up the course I was taking and then proceeded to tell me that if I had gone in the opposite direction on 15 I would've avoided driving through mountains and gotten here quicker.  I assured him that I didn't mind the longer drive.  For the next 2 weeks, I've got nothing but time and since the car rental and the gas is being paid for on this business trip, it was no big deal to take the longer route.  

I had my iPod with me and was enjoying being in the car alone, listening to my music (rather than Jimmy Buffet songs that Oronzo always listens to on his Margaritaville station in the car), belting out the lyrics to my favorite songs!

I must say, I'm impressed with my diggs for the next two weeks.  This Marriott in Lancaster is one of the nicer ones I've stayed in.  I have a rather spacious suite with a king sized bed in one area with a big screen TV (not your normal size) and a nice sized bathroom a stone's throw away!

Another area has a desk with free wifi internet access (my Macbook picked up their network in no time), along with a couch and a cofeee table.

Finally, there's a small "kitchen" area with a refigerator, a microwave, a counter with a sink, and a cabinet space in case I want to purchase beverages or food and store it there.

I'll tell you what, this place sure beats the rundown Motel 8 that I'm forced to stay in when I'm working at Holloman AFB in Alomogordo, NM.  Thankfully having an opportunity to see Michelle when I'm there makes up for it! :)

Okay, time for me to go do some more exploring.

Hope you're all enjoying your Sunday!  I can't wait until next weekend!  I'll be in Orange, CA hanging out with Oronzo's brother and his family.  My sister-in-law is taking me shopping and helping me to celebrate my upcoming birthday.  Fun!  Fun!

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7:12 AM

Saturday, July 12, 2008
Deploying to Edwards Air Force Base
I'm heading off to Edwards AFB today.  I'll be there on business for two weeks, through 25 July!  I'll have access to email and the internet while I'm in my hotel in Lancaster, CA but not during my time on base.

Oronzo is going to be caring for the kids solo in my absence, expect for the few days that he's going to spend with his parents at their home in another town.  They've offered to help him with the kids if he can come to them.  Thankfully his work allows him to work anywhere that has internet access, fax capability, and FedEx service so he's going to take them up on their offer.

So, are there any bloggers in the Lancaster or surrounding area?  Just curious.

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2:00 PM

Friday, July 11, 2008
Favorite Ingredients Friday (strawberry shortcake)

Good Friday to you all! It's time for another Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange! I can't wait to see what you all come up with!

Upcoming Themed Schedule
July 18- Healthy Eating Edition II
August 1- Appetizers & Snacks Edition II
August 15- Salad Edition II
August 29- Kid Friendly Foods
September 12- Breads Edition

The recipe I'm posting is one that I found on the All Recipes website! Strawberries are on sale in my grocery store, how about yours? :)

Strawberry Shortcake


3 pints fresh strawberries
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
2 cups whipped heavy cream


1) Slice the strawberries and toss them with 1/2 cup of white sugar. Set aside.

2) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease and flour one 8 inch round cake pan.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons white sugar and the salt. With a pastry blender cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg and milk. Stir until just combined.

3) Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool partially in pan on wire rack.

4) Slice partially cooled cake in half, making two layers. Place half of the strawberries on one layer and top with the other layer. Top with remaining strawberries and cover with the whipped cream.

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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6:07 AM

Wednesday, July 09, 2008
July Pay It Forward Book Exchange- 11 books up for grabs!

It's time for another one of my free Pay It Forward book giveaways! Sorry for the delay on getting this out. We've had an emotional roller coaster these past couple of weeks with foster care issues.

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) Hitched by Carol Higgins Clark.

This book was sent to me by Sheryl with Taking the Challenge. Thanks, Sheryl!

From Publishers Weekly

Nervous brides may want to wait until after the wedding to read bestseller Clark's winning ninth mystery to feature PI Regan Reilly (after 2005's Burned). With her wedding to Jack "no relation" Reilly, head of the NYPD Major Case Squad, only a week away, Regan thinks she has everything under control. But when she arrives to pick up her wedding dress at Alfred and Charisse's Coutures in Little Italy, she finds the young husband-and-wife designers bound and gagged, a wedding dress shredded on the floor and four others missing, including her own. In spite of all she must do before the wedding, Regan agrees to investigate. Jack, hoping to solve a big bank robbery case before their nuptials, is more than supportive. To Regan's surprise, not all the brides-to-be who've lost their gowns are that distraught. Regan's and Jack's cases convincingly intertwine as the sleuthing trail leads them from the streets of New York to Las Vegas. With her usual cast of quirky characters, Clark's lighthearted romp will keep readers guessing who will and who won't make it to the altar.

This was a fun, quick read!

2) I Choose This Day by Sharon Fieker.

This book was sent to me by Dawn at Our Adoption Nowhere. Thanks, Dawn!

Book description: Have you faced a difficult decision concerning an unexpected pregnancy? Sharon Fieker uses I Choose this Day: Mournings and Miracles of Adoption to convey how the circumstances of the darkest period in her life evolved into the brightest time. She includes the challenges and blessings surrounding her pregnancy. The heartache of "not knowing" what happened to her baby and the beautiful story that unfolds as she meets her birth daughter are inspirational. When going through difficult times, Sharon sometimes wondered how God could allow such troubling things to happen. Her story demonstrates how He had a plan for her--one filled with hope. He also allowed her free will to make her own choices. If you're facing or have faced an unplanned pregnancy, you will benefit from reading I Choose this Day: Mournings and Miracles of Adoption.
This book was quite good and it was a quick read too!

If you'd like to win 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 on Saturday morning, 26 July, so be sure to check back.

Best of luck!

If you have any books you'd like to Pay It Forward yourself this month, please leave me a comment and I'll link you in this post!

Additional Pay It Forward Giveaways:

1) Tracy at BookroomReviews's Webblog is giving away two books, The Host by Stephanie Meyer and Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter on 20 July. Stop by her blog to enter win. Thanks, Tracy!

Cynthia at Springmont Cottage gave away the book Summer in the Land of Skin by Jody Gehrman on 27 June. Thanks, Cynthia!

Tamy at 3 Sides of Crazy gave away the book The Widow by Carla Neggers on 30 July. Thanks, Tamy!

Jubilee at Notes of Jubilee gave away the book A Mile In My Flip-Flops by Melody Carlson on 15 July. Thanks, Jubilee!

Forgetfulone gave away four gently read Scholastic children's books to one lucky winner on 20 June:

99 1/2 School Jokes, Riddles, and Nonsense by Holly Kowitt
The Bailey School Kids: Reindeer DO Wear Striped Underwear by M. Jones & D. Dadey
I Joe vs. Cobra: Ice Force by Holly Kowitt
The Emperor Lays an Egg by Brenda Guiberson

Thanks, Forgetfulone!

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11:24 AM

Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Bittersweet news about Baby Bug.
Today there was a dependency review for the parents of our youngest foster daughter, Baby Bug. The outcome was what everyone expected.

CPS, the state rep, and all the lawyers were finally on the same page, advocating to the judge that Baby Bug be returned home to her parents. This is the first time that Baby Bug's lawyer has been on board with this plan, so Oronzo and I suspected that her buy-in would influence the judge to grant CPS the discretion to begin a transition plan to get her home.

That's exactly what happened. The judge is willing to allow the transition to begin to get her home. CPS has set a target return date of Friday, 15 August. It's being left up to us and Baby Bug's parents to decide on how that return will happen. I'm advocating for us to be allowed to deliver Baby Bug and all of her possessions to her parent's home, bringing Snuggle Bug with us so that we can see her happy in her home with her parents and have a sense of closure. I think that's important for all of us.

So, I did pretty good throughout the court hearing. When the judge asked for my input, I spoke clearly of my support for the decision to reunify Baby Bug with her parents. They've worked hard these past 7 1/2 months, still remaining 100% compliant with every aspect of their case plan, and although we'll miss Baby Bug dearly we agree that she belongs back home with her parents.

After court, when I was asked to stay behind and speak with Baby Bug's parents and the CPS worker to arrange the beginning of overnight visits, I must admit that I broke down and cried. The emotions were just too intense to hold in.

I felt bad that I cried on what was a very happy occasion for Baby Bug's parents and I assured them that I was truly happy for their good news. But the thought of saying a final "goodbye" to this precious baby girl left me feeling overwhelmingly sad as well.

Baby Bug's mom actually started tearing up too and her dad was quick to assure me that it wouldn't be a final goodbye because they wanted to keep in contact with us. I half teasingly told her parents that Oronzo and I want to be considered an honorary aunt and uncle to Baby Bug and they told me that'd be great because what little family they do have in town they're not on the best of terms with.

So, we've got her with us (part time) until 15 August. ((sigh)) I pray the good Lord gives me the strength to survive these final days with her and beyond.

This certainly has been an emotional couple of weeks in our world of foster care.

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3:04 PM

Sunday, July 06, 2008
I got a new Singer Confidence sewing machine!
After much research, I chose a new Singer Confidence 7463 sewing machine.  Oronzo purchased it early for me for my birthday that's coming up next week.  Of course, it'll take me some time to learn how to use this, considering I know nothing about sewing.  But I have a willingness to learn!

  • 80 Stitch Functions (30 Stitches)
  • 2 Styles of Fully Automatic Precisely Balanced 1-Step Buttonholes
  • Pushbutton Stitch Selection
  • Electronic Stitch Formation
  • Automatic Optimum Stitch Settings
  • 6-Second Threading System
  • Top Drop-In Bobbin with Bobbin Viewer Slide Plate
  • Heavy-Duty Aluminum Frame
  • Auto Tension
  • Lock Function on Decorative Stitches
  • 13 Needle Positions
  • Long-Lasting LED Light
  • 5 Snap-On Presser Feet
  • Free-Arm
  • On Board Accessory Storage
  • Adjustable Stitch Length and Width
  • Electronic Twin Needle Control
Ease of Use
  • Automatic optimum stitch settings - Optimal settings for length, width, balance, pressure, and tension.
  • Automatic bobbin winding clutch - Needle bar automatically disengages when winding the bobbin.
  • Push-button stitch selection - With the touch of a button your stitch is selected.
  • Lock function - Tie off and secure decorative stitches with the touch of a button.
  • Electronic stitch formation - All stepper motors are electronically controlled. Digital electronic control of the stepper motors that control the pattern formation allow for perfectly formed stitches every time.
  • DC motor - Provides instant start up and stop with no coasting, for accurate and precise stitch placement.
  • LED lifetime white lamp - The lamp illuminates the sewing surface for optimal viewing. The long-lasting lifetime bulb (100,000 hrs.) stays cool, regardless how long the machine is operated.
So, do any of you sew?  If so, what type of sewing machine do you have?  Can you point me to some good sewing instruction websites?

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10:56 PM

Saturday, July 05, 2008
Happy Belated 4th of July
I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July!  We did!  We had a group of friends over for a BBQ/pool party and managed to see a good view of the city fireworks from our front yard.  Hooray!

I got a cute picture of Boo that I thought I'd share with you.  She was all decked out in red, white, and blue yesterday in readiness for our party!  The shorts/tank top outfit was passed on to us by Michelle.  Her daughter, Kayla, wore it long ago.  Thanks, Michelle!


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6:59 AM

Friday, July 04, 2008
Favorite Ingredients Friday (4th of July Edition II)
Good Friday to you all! It's time for a special Favorite Ingredients Friday 4th of July Edition II! Last year you gave me several great ideas and I need your help again this year.  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 later today! :)

The recipe I'm about to share is one that I found on Fabulous Foods.  I'm going to make it for our party today.

Flag Cake


2 pints of strawberries
1 recipe of your favorite white or yellow cake (mix or from scratch, your choice)
1 1/3 C of blueberries
1 tub of whipped topping


Mix up and bake your favorite cake mix or recipe. Let cool.

Slice 1 cup of strawberries, set aside. Halve remaining strawberries, set aside.

Top cake (in pan) with 1 cup sliced strawberries, 1 cup blueberries and all of the whipped topping. Arrange remaining strawberry halves and blueberries on whipped topping to create a flag design. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 12.

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday 4th of July recipe!

Don't forget to link your specific recipe post link on Mr. Linky so I can see what's cooking at your house!

Oh, and be sure to put the title of your recipe in parenthesis! It makes it so much quicker for me to go back and search for recipes as I build my weekly menu.

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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7:09 AM

We're hanging in there.
I thought you all might want to know that Oronzo and I are hanging in there and getting over the shock and anguish of how court went this week. We've decided it's best just to take things one day at a time and hope and pray for the best. A lot of this situation is out of our control. Thank you all so much for your supportive comments. They really are a comfort!

On another note, I'm learning how to make movies (complete with titles and music) on my Mac and I have a couple of cute ones of Snuggle Bug to share. If I could ever get Blogger's video upload feature to work I'd share them with you. These are videos of Snuggle Bug praying and singing. The only way he'd cooperate is if I didn't point the camcorder anywhere near him (he clammed up when I did) so you're not going to "see" much but you'll be able to hear his sweet voice.

Stay tuned.

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7:07 AM

Tuesday, July 01, 2008
My heart is breaking.
I had intended to post a July Pay It Forward Book Exchange today but I hope you'll forgive me for not feeling up to it quite yet. Maybe later this week.

Boo's 12 month Permanency hearing has taken place and it ended up being the worst case scenario for us. I wish I could share details with you to explain, but I just can't.

Suffice it to say that due to the CPS worker's incompetence and half truths or outright lies, Boo will remain in the system as a foster child for at the very least 4 1/2 more months, but in all likelihood it'll be next May or even as late as next August before a decision is reached for her, meaning she will have been a foster child for well over 2 years.

The judge granted an extension until November and is likely going to push the case out 6-9 months after that. Even if severance is granted finally at that point, she'll be in the system another 6-8 months + to get through the adoption process.

My heart is just sick. We've had this little girl in our home just 4 short months and I already love her. Oronzo is being honest and telling me that he's not sure he can commit to 2 more years of uncertainty in the "hopes" of being able to adopt her. The longer we have her, the more attached she becomes to us and we become to her. And if it doesn't work out in our favor, and we're not confident that it will, it'll be even harder on all of us.

Oronzo is angry beyond belief at the lies we've been told by the CPS worker, the truth has been slowly revealed to us over these past few months and more came out during this hearing. He said that had we been told the truth about this case in the very initial meeting, he would've never taken it on. I'm angry and shocked with the CPS workers lies but more just incredibly sad.

I don't want to give up on this little girl and if we ask her to be transferred to another home, that's what I would feel like we were doing. She's been through so much and she deserves better! None of this is her fault. She's the innocent one. I don't want her hurt any further. I want to be there through the very end, even if that means seeing her going back to her mother. I think I could live with that.

It may be out of our control anyway. We learned in court that there's a family friend in another state (the same state that Boo's mom is in right now) that is trying to get licensed as a foster family with the specific purpose of having Boo transferred to that state to be closer to her mom, so that her mom can avoid having to come here. I think the judge would grant this. We were told by the CPS worker that this wasn't a viable option but now we're learning differently.

Please understand, I advocate for parental rights 100%. Children belong with their biological families if at all possible. But how long should parents get to pull their lives together? How much trauma and suffering should their children be forced to go through in the process?

The question we have to decide upon is how much anguish can we take as a family? How can Oronzo and I come to an agreement on this situation? We don't have answers yet. We've decided to hold off on making any decisions until we see if Boo will be tranferred out of state.

Now when I see Boo, I want to burst into tears and hold her tight. I want to tell her I'm sorry. I want to keep her safe forever. I want to shield her from all of this. It's killing me to know that I can't. I can only love her while I have her but that hardly seems enough. I shudder to think of how all of this is effecting her little spirit. How will she ever trust or have healthy attachments when the floor keeps dropping out from under her?

We knew fostering wasn't going to be an easy road but "knowing" and experiencing are two different things.

I'm struggling to see God's purpose in all of this.

Labels: , , ,

12:16 PM

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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