Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I have been struggling with the idea of taking our kids trick-or-treating this year. Partially because I am lazy. When you do not live in a traditional neighborhood you have to either drive your kids from home to home, or drive into town and find a neighborhood to trick-or-treat. I want my kids to enjoy Halloween, and I don't want to be the lame mom that does not let her kids go trick-or-treating. So, I think I have come up with a plan...
After nap time get my kiddos all dressed up. Then proceed to Wal-Mart and let them pick out a few bags of candy. Go back to the car and dump the candy in their trick-or-treat buckets and then go visit all of the small stores in town (that we frequent) and go hand out candy to our favorite employees. After we have handed out some candy we will meet dad back at home, have dinner and then drive my kids to two neighbors homes for a little taste of trick-or-treating. Then go back home and have some hot chocolate. Who knows, I might even surprise them with filled Halloween candy bags.

I think the plan will work for this year, and maybe even next. After that I will probably have to grin and bear it (in the freezing cold) and take my kids trick-or-treating.

Happy Halloween!!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

November is National Adoption Month

November is probably my favorite month. It is the one time of the year I actually feel like I slow down and take a look at my life. Where am I going, what have I done, is it enough? Don't get me wrong, I don't always answer those questions but I at least have time to evaluate where my life is at. Another favorite part of November is the coziness of Thanksgiving even though we rarely do a traditional Thanksgiving meal. We just are not your turkey and stuffing kind of people. We are more like crab legs or prime rib kind of a family. Just knowing that my husband is home for four days makes me as giddy as can be. Now that we have adopted children November now has another special meaning, November is National Adoption Month.

National Adoption Month has one main focus which are the children in Foster Care. It is all about getting the word out about how many children are in need of homes. Permanent homes, getting them out of Foster Homes or Group Homes. Here is a little History for you. National Adoption week began in 1976 with President Gerald Ford. Although some say it did not really begin until 1984 with President Ronald Reagan. This I think was due to the lack of response from so many of the states. Even with not all states participating in this event, in 1994 President Clinton renamed it National Adoption Month due to more states beginning to participate.

We now also have National Adoption Day which is always one day in the month of November (this year it is the 23). This day allows courthouses throughout the participate, which allows hundreds of adoptions to be filed at the same time. Most courthouses will have celebrations with cake and balloons. A really special day.

For me it is a great time to celebrate my family. It is also the perfect time for me to remind everyone that there are hundreds of thousands of children here in the United States that need forever homes.

I love this quote, every child deserves a champion...

National Adoption Month starts this Friday. I hope everyone takes a moment to ponder adoption, foster care, or even helping an adoptive or foster parent. You can make a difference. For more information you can go to:

Cascades, Thrift Store Shopping, and a German Town, Does it get much better than that? Part 2

In reality my family does not do weekend getaways very well. The amount of time it takes me to even get my family packed and ready for just a weekend getaway is ridiculous. Then there is the clean up after the getaway that still makes me scratch my head. Pack a kids travel (toy bag) clean out a kids travel (toy bag, which to this day has never had quite enough in it. Somebody always ends in tears because something was left at home). Pack a snack bag, clean out a snack bag. By snack bag I mean a large bag that is filled with mommy approved kid snacks, and of course the usual mommy and daddy treats (jerky, Funyuns, Jo Jo's). Pack every ones clothes, get home and have 2 full days of laundry ahead of me. Factor in that it usually takes my hubby two days to relax which means right about the time the weekend is over my hubby is starting to have a good time, leads to not great weekend getaways. We must have really needed it this time because we had a great time.
We were staying at the base of the Cascades on the North side. There was a large fire that went through here about two years ago and unfortunately took out a lot of trees. I still think its beautiful.
We like to stay in a town called Leavenworth which is a (very touristy) German town. We don't do crowds well so we like to stay on the outskirts of town. Most people don't ever see these amazing homes because they are doing just the typical tourist thing.
Hubby being Swiss German felt like he was right at home. Can you believe these homes are here, not in Germany or Switzerland? I could post way more pictures of European style homes but I will save you!
Fall was falling while we were there, so my kids spent a lot of time playing in leaf piles. To be fair mom and dad played in them also.
I almost wished I was a kid again. Doesn't that look like such great fun? I had to bribe them with candy to get them to leave.
There is a candy store just inside the National Park. It is 2 full floors of candy! If there is one thing worse than a kid in a candy store, it is two big kids in a candy store. 
This was a hard picture to take! Every time my family would fly past me I would start laughing and it is hard to take a picture when you are laughing! LeiLei looks scared to death, Ademan looks bored, and JayJay and daddy look like they are having a contest to see who will blink first..
My JayJay was holding my iPhone and surprised me with a quick snap. I think I was loading up the car when I heard "Mommy say cheese" I did a quick swing around and said cheese just to humor her. Not realizing she was smart enough to use the camera in my phone. Oh well, at least it proves I was there. mommy is usually the one snapping the pictures.
 I took 200 pictures over the coarse of the weekend, so it was hard to narrow these posts down to a handful. We are home now getting ready for Halloween and continuing our Foster Parent conversations. Stay tuned I think we have almost come to a decision on whether or not stay Licensed Foster Parents.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cascades, Thirft Store Shoping, and a German Town does it get much better? Part 1...

I definitely needed a weekend away. I would love to say that I am going to come home totally refreshed, but lets get real. When you travel with three kids age four and under, nothing is completely relaxing. I will say we have had a great time. The weather was completely on our side this year. I say this year because this is basically our last trip before old man winter rolls in. Once that snow starts to fall we are home bound. We like to end our season in a town called Leavenworth. It is very much a tourist town but it is tucked in at the base of the Cascades and this year we caught the Fall colors perfectly. We always come the weekend after Oktoberfest ends so the crowds are gone. We almost have the place to ourselves....
Like going to Germany without a 12 hour flight!
I know this is not the best picture... But, this is a Barber Shop in a neighboring town. Hours were 8:30 to 4:30 and lunch was from 10:30 to 1:30. Can you imagine? I can almost picture the old man that must work in this shop!
In the same town as the Barber Shop was a Thrift Store that I could not pass by. Look what we found... A childs Carhartt jacket.. So now our little Ademan can look like Daddy when they are out feeding the animals.
Just a little taste of the Cascades...I will post more of our trip tomorrow!!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Really, I didnt see that coming... Ankle Braces???

Every once in a while you are reminded to not be so focused on one thing. I have been so caught up in LeiLei and getting her the help that she needs that I didn't even notice what was going on with my Ademan. Hubby and I joke that Ademan has Fred Flinstone feet but we never thought anything of it.
He was at a Physical Therapy evaluation recently and what we perceived as Fred Flinstone feet are actually ankles that are rolling in. This is very common, but his are rolling in pretty good. We were told that he might actually have to wear braces. I will find out more next Friday when we see the Physical Therapist for his first official appointment.
They say it takes a Village to raise a family and I firmly believe that. Unfortunately, we don't have that, most of our family live in a different state. We have a handful of close friends that we know we can always reach out to for help. I do take comfort in that, but for normal every day life the burden lies on me. Which is why I tend to get focused on just getting through the day or through the obstacle that lies ahead. We are fortunate to have a good medical team, some of whom are Foster/Adopt parents so they understand the challenges we face. They also understand how easy it is to miss key things, like ankles rolling in. I guess occasionally we need a wake up call to help us redirect our focus.
So that being said I am going away for a few days to regroup. I will be tucked in the Cascades, breathing fresh air, and slowing down (even if it is short lived). Stay tuned I will be posting pictures!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Children not Statistics

Statistics disturb me... I never trust the source, always thinking they must be biased in some manner. These are statistics that I know to be correct, and that also disturbs me. Actually it brakes my heart which is part of my struggle with maintaining our Foster License. I read these numbers, and since we have now adopted three kiddos from Foster, these numbers are living breathing souls for me.

In the U.S. 400,540 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system.  115,000 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 40% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted.

Each year, over 27,000 youth “age out” of foster care
without the emotional and financial support necessary to succeed.  This number has steadily risen over the past decade.  Nearly 40% had been homeless or couch surfed, nearly 60% of young men had been convicted of a crime, and only 48% were employed.  75% of women and 33% of men receive government benefits to meet basic needs.  50% of all youth who aged out were involved in substance use and 17% of the females were pregnant.

Nearly 25% of youth aging out did not have a high school diploma
or GED, and a mere 6% had finished a two- or four-year degree after aging out of foster care.  One study shows 70% of all youth in foster care have the desire to attend college.

As of 2011, nearly 60,000 children in foster care in the U.S. are placed in institutions
or group homes, not in traditional foster homes.

Over three years is the average length of time a child waits
to be adopted in foster care.  Roughly 55% of these children have had three or more placements.  An earlier study found that 33% of children had changed elementary schools five or more times, losing relationships and falling behind educationally.

You can find all of these statistics and more at

What would have happened to these 3 kiddos if we had not become Foster Parents? Where would they be? How many homes would they have lived in? Would they have received the help that they need?

What about all the others? Every child deserves a chance, no child asked to be part of these statistics. I know I cant save the world... But I will die trying.

Oh I'm sorry you must be confusing me with the maid we dont have...

I know I am not the only one who has a category on Pinterest devoted to nothing but cleaning. As if pinning these cleaning inspirations will magically make my home spotless... Who am I kidding, three kids and a lot of pets do not lend themselves to a clean home.

I still struggle with the fact that I am a stay at home mom with a dirty home.  Then I think back to what a friend shared with me, "if you have kids and a clean house, you are not living" (enjoying life). You know what... I think that's true. So if you come to my home and it looks clean, just know that I have probably spent the last 30 minutes running around like a crazy woman trying to clean up. Oh, and don't open the Laundry Room because that is probably where I have thrown everything.

What does work for me is a simple 15-20 minute a day cleaning schedule. After looking at so many different versions online this is the one that I have made, and works well for me.

Clean Kitchen
 Catch up on weekend dishes
Clean counter tops
Dust all small appliances on kitchen counters
Wipe down all large appliances
Vacuum every room in your home
or wash depending on the type of flooring you have
Dust home
furniture, nick knacks, light fixtures,
tops of curtains, ceiling spider web removal
Clean Bathrooms
Clean windows
There are many things that are not listed on here that I do as they come up. A good example is laundry, not a day goes by that I do not do a load of laundry. Same with kitty litter boxes, those get cleaned out daily. Then there are the every few months items like cleaning my walls, or vent covers, or getting on my knees and scrubbing the kitchen floor.
There are days that I don't get around to even doing my assigned chore, oh well. I skip it and move on to the next. If you do for the most part keep up on your schedule, skipping any given task for a week will not be detrimental.  On that note... I need to go vacuum I hear my Rainbow Vacuum calling my name. (Best vacuum EVER)!!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin carving

Mother Nature must be very confused because I am writing this post wearing a tee shirt, jeans, and flip flops. Yes you read that correctly, I should be wearing boots, sweaters, and scarves. On top of that we have received very little rain, which means I still have to water all of my plants. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. This was the first year we were able to carve pumpkins outside. My kids are bundled up in the pictures because it was 8:30 a.m. which means it was probably 45 degrees outside. By noon we are in the mid 60's!
Notice the tablecloth underneath? That sure made cleanup a breeze!

Its pretty amazing to be carving pumpkins with the beauty of this surrounding you.

I almost forgot about the pumpkin seeds! I love roasted pumpkin seeds, I like to think of it as the mommy and daddy reward. I mix my pumpkin seeds with butter, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Then I roast them at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until they are golden. They don't last for more than a day in my home!

Have a great day!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I am ready for next weekend!

This is going to be short and simple. Let me sum up my weekend...

Homemade chicken pot pie ~ Pancakes with smiley faces
Pack trailer for next camping trip ~ 7 loads of laundry
Blond moment (don't ask) ~ a cold that will not go away
Found out a good friend is moving away
Watched The Great Escape ~ Pancakes made into pirate ships
Pumpkin carving - Pumpkin seed roasting
Yard Work ~ Garden tilling ~ Mellon Chuckin
Knitting ~ Took a long walk ~ Homemade brownies
Face Time with my Auntie in CA
Projectile vomit
So on that note I am going to put my big girl panties on and get on with my week. I do have a lot to tell you, so tomorrows post I will be back on track. Thanks for understanding!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Duck Dynasty and my Inner Redneck

If you know me, you know that I have always been a little more country than city. When we finally made the move to the country I realized it was a little worse than we all expected. I am more Redneck than I am country. It was confirmed about a week ago when I had my first Moonshine. Yep, you read that correct, I had a sip of my first Moonshine. I must admit I quickly thought about the book Water for Elephants and the chapter that referenced the deaths from moonshine. So I will probably stick to a nice glass of wine from here on out (o.k. who am I kidding, a nice cold beer) but at least I can say I tried it.

I was beside myself with giddiness (not from the moonshine) when I realized I am even more like my favorite TV family than I new.
We are quite the Duck Dynasty fans in this home, so when I read this it almost brought a tear to my eye. Here is a link to the People magazine article:,,20743936,00.html

America, everybody is in too big a rush. Lay back, take a sip of tea, mow a little grass. Then if you get tired, take a nap.  - Si Robertson

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Behavioral Specialist and a Sigh of Relief

I feel like taking a large sigh of relief. My hubby and I have spent at least a year trying to figure out how to get our LeiLei the help she needs. We struggled because we really did not know (and still do not) what was wrong with her. We did know deep down that her behavior was off. Adding to the struggle was the fact that so many people we would confide in, would tell us that it was normal three year old behavior. Our instinct told us that it was not normal, and you should always stick to your instinct.
Today LeiLei and I went to our first appointment with a Behavioral Specialist. I don't know what I was expecting, but let me say, it is nothing like I had expected. LeiLei was told to go play in the play room, and if she needed us, she was to knock on the door and wait for us to open it. Then I was told to sit in this super plush chair, and the questions began.  It took an entire hour to  give her the full background for LeiLei, something I would have thought should have taken maybe 15 minutes, boy was I wrong.  Towards the end of the appointment I told her I did have a video of LeiLei having one of her episodes. She went ahead and watched it (even though later she admitted to not liking watching videos because most of the time they truly don't show anything). I sure was glad that I came prepared with a video of one of LeiLeis melt downs. She probably watched it at least ten times, she even had me e-mail it to her so that she could show it to another therapist for a second opinion.  By the end of the appointment she confirmed that we definitely have some issues. What they are is still to be determined. I am sure it will take many sessions before we can really put it all together.
It fills me with joy to know that I can now start to help my baby girl.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Martha Stewart I am not, but I can sew a Fitted Crib Sheet

I am not an advanced sewer by any means. In all honesty I am probably only a beginner but I can make simple curtains, an apron or two, and childrens bedding. A few years ago as a way to cut our expenses I learned how to make fitted crib sheets.  I found that it cost me less than $3.00 to make as opposed to the crib sheets you find in the stores. Before I started making them I was buying the no name brands which still cost around $9.00 a sheet. Our girls are now 4 and still using their crib mattresses in their bunk beds. So over the course of four years I have saved quite a bit of money on sheets.  As our kids have gotten older I now make them matching flat sheets which only cost me $2.50 to make. So a full set of sheets is $5.50. Not bad, right? Of course if you do not purchase the supplies on sale you will be spending quite a bit more.

Not only do I save money, but my girls really enjoy going to JoAnns with mommy and choosing their own fabric.  I am always at JoAnns on Black Friday, which is when I get the best deals. Don't get me started on Black Friday, that is another post for another day. I prefer to make my kids sheets out of flannel, but that is just a personal thing. I can purchase flannel for under a dollar a yard (on Black Friday) and it takes two yards to make either sheet.

Here is a quick tutorial on how to make a fitted crib sheet.

Supplies Needed 
  • 2 yards of 44-45" wide fabric
  • 1 package of ¼" flat elastic
  • All purpose thread
  • See-through ruler
  •  Pins
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Tape measure

    1 - Pre-wash and iron the fabric. This allows for any shrinkage before you start cutting the fabric to sew the crib sheet.

    2 - Cut a piece of fabric to measure 70 inches by 45 inches

    3 - Cut a 8-inch square from each corner of the fabric.

    4 - Fold the fabric over diagonally, with right sides facing each other, and pin the 8-inch  sides together to form the first corner of the crib sheet.
    • Sew a narrow seam. Reinforce the seam by sewing a second seam over the first one. Repeat the process until all 4 corners have been sewn
    5 - Fold and press under the edges all the way around the entire crib sheet. Sew the hem in place with a zig-zag stitch.

    6 - You will need 4 feet of elastic, cut into 4 1-foot lengths, (Either 3/8" or 1/4" elastic). Fold one piece of elastic in half. Sew it to the center of the first corner seam.
    • Use a zig-zag stitch to sew the elastic from the center of the corner, stretching the elastic while sewing the zig-zag seam. Sew the other half of the elastic in the same way.
    7 - Sew the elastic to the remaining 3 corners of the crib sheet.

    All done!!!
    Give it a try! What is the worst that can happen? You end up donating two yards of fabric to the local thrift store!

    Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    Biological siblings and the connection that most can't explain

    This is not the post I had planned on for today. But I had a moment of pure joy and peace (not peacefulness, but peace) today and in total mom manner I have to share it with anyone who will listen.

     I was coming upstairs during 'quiet time' (formerly known as nap time, but lets be real, they don't actually sleep) when I heard the sweetest conversation between my three and a half year old JayJay and my two and a half year old Ademan. JayJay had apparently pulled out her word book, and was teaching Ademan the correct word to correspond with the picture. This is one of the books she also used as a toddler when I was teaching her new words. Their conversation went something like this:
    JayJay " Ademan carrot, say carrot"
    Ademan "carrot"
    JayJay "Ademan butterfly, say butterfly"
    Ademan "Budderby"

    This conversation went on for quite a while, I actually walked away before it ended. I walked away because I feared I would either start giggling and they would hear me or I would start crying because it was such a beautiful moment. JayJay is such a 'little mommy' to her brother. They share a bond that is quite different than what they have with their other adopted sister LeiLei. I had been told that the bond between biological siblings is something that is quite amazing. You can have siblings who never lived together reunite later in life and feel like they completely know each other. From what I have been told and what I have seen now through being a Foster Parent is that the sibling bond is almost greater than the parent child bond. It really is quite interesting.

    I will never forget the moment when JayJay and Ademan met for the first time. She was standing with her sister and her sister took one look at the new baby brother and then went on her merry way. Jayjay just froze, she looked at him in a way that confirmed to us that she new him. In reality, she did not, she had never met him. He was born after we completed her adoption. I remember looking down at my arm and my hairs were standing strait up, as were my husbands, and the Social Workers. Words can never explain the magic and mystery of that moment.

    When I think about all of the sibling groups that are broken up when they enter Foster Care, I become overcome with emotion. It is not the Social Workers fault, we just do not have enough Foster parents, and those that we do have cant always accommodate groups of children with only a few hours notice.

    There is a wonderful Bulletin put out by the Child Welfare Information Gateway about Sibling Issues in Foster Care and adoption. They state that a Benefit for keeping siblings together when entering care is an enhanced  sense of safety and well-being and they provide natural, mutual support. This benefit is in contrast to the traumatic consequences of separation, which may include additional loss, grief, and anxiety over their siblings’ well-being. Siblings have a shared history, and maintaining their bond provides continuity of identity and belonging.

    Here is the link:

     We received a call early last week to take a placement (which was odd, because we have our license on hold until we decide what we want to do). I spent three days playing phone tag with the worker at DSHS which was not a big deal because they had already found placement. When I did finally speak to them they explained to me it was a sibling group that had to be broken up because they could not find a home with two open beds. It broke my heart.

    Not to be a downer, but can you imagine being a scared child removed from your home, and then separated from your sibling...

    If you know anyone with love to give, and room to spare please urge them to think about Fostering. I am always available for conversation and questions just contact me!

    Monday, October 14, 2013

    We survived our first Field Trip complete with pumpkins and Fuji apples

    On Friday our girls had their first field trip. The timing could not have been worse, two of my three kids were sick as well as myself. I did what any other mother of two preschoolers would have done, bundled them up and off we went! Prior to having kids I would have said how irresponsible and rude it is to expose your sick child to those who are well. But, now I get it... The reality is what mom of a preschooler (let alone 2 preschoolers) wants to be stuck at home with them when they are sick? Especially, when mom is also sick (and maybe a bit grumpy).  Some of you will probably think I was irresponsible but the truth is they had no fever so per school guidelines they are allowed to be there.

    Off to the farm with three sick kids! Each child had to pay $6.00 which was quite the bargain I thought. Our activities included a tractor ride, which for my kids wasn't that big of a deal since they get to do that every weekend with their daddy. Still kind of exciting.

    Handpicking an apple

    Learning how apple cider is made and tasting it

    Tasting apple butter and watching the farmer make apple worms and an apple slinky

    To top it off, picking a pumpkin

    I like to think of it as a Win Win for me. I was not stuck at home with them, and I was able to cross off  'go to pumpkin patch' on my list of things to do. Does it get any better than that? And may I suggest (if you have not done so already) going to an apple farm on a crisp Autumn morning, to handpick a Fuji Apple. I would have never thought an apple could taste that amazing. I love apples, Fuji and Honeycrisp are my favorites but when you pick an apple early in the day when the outside temperature has not even hit fifty degrees something magical happens. The apple is crisp, the juice nearly runs out of it, and you cant help yourself from saying "oh my gosh" between each bite. To those of you with Bucket Lists, it may not seem like much, but this is a must do!

    Friday, October 11, 2013

    Hallloween Gift, Complete with Candy!

    I am not a big Halloween person, especially now that I have kids. In recent days my kids have said some pretty nasty things all based on what they have seen in the stores or on television. Asking questions about devil dogs (I assume werewolves) talking about witches and the endless conversations about scary monsters. That is where I as the mommy draw the line, we will not do Scary at or in our home.  I understand that our kids want to experience Halloween, and I get it. Dressing up and trick-r-treating is fun for a child.  I will be more than happy to put them in fun costumes and take them trick-r-treating.

    We usually go trick-r-treating with a close group of friends and I thought it would be nice to have a little something to give the kids in our group. When I stumbled across this cute free template from Womans Day I thought perfect!

    Have fun crafting!!

    Thursday, October 10, 2013

    The Governement Shut Down & How it Affects My Family

    Many people are being seriously affected by the government shut down. My heart broke today when I read a news story about stopping death benefits to the families of fallen soldiers. It made me sick to my stomach, knowing that our elected officials are still getting paid while they are causing all of this misery.  I tend to be very opinionated so I am going to stop myself there, before I write a 3 page post about the problems with our government.

    Let me share with you how we are affected. All three of our children are adopted, and all three of our children are considered special needs. Since they are special needs they qualify for adoption support through our state. One such benefit to adoption support is that they receive WIC. I found out today that as of the 14th of October our state will no longer have the funds for WIC checks. WIC checks are for specific food items your child needs based on their medical conditions. Since two of our kids don't have any feeding issues, their checks are for staples such as milk, cheese, cereal, fruits and veggies. So after the 14th (unless our government decides to play nice before that date) I will not have access to those items. Will that affect us? Not really I can afford to purchase those items for our children.

    Now lets talk about our 3rd child who has had a fundoplication (stomach surgery), and used a feeding tube for a year and a half. He does eat adult type foods but not enough to maintain proper growth. So his calories are supplemented with Pediasure. Thank goodness he receives WIC, because a one month supply of Pediasure runs about $275.00...  on top of his regular grocery bill. On the 14th I will have to pick up that tab. Does that hurt? Yes, that hurts.

    Since I do not currently have Foster Kids in my home this does not apply, but let me go a bit deeper. All Foster children (age appropriate) qualify for WIC. Should a Foster parent financially be able to provide the basics? I think so, but as a Foster parent I have come to realize that most kids in Foster care do not have simple diets. So to have some of the financial burden lifted, really helps. Our JayJay had to use Soy formula when she was a baby, thank goodness WIC covered most of it because her formula ran about $200 a month. I know some would argue that you should be able to provide for your Foster Children like they were your own, but there are many foster families who have three or more kids in their home. Or how about the Foster families that take in sibling groups, instant family with the addition of four children. Lets face it, the reality is they are not your own children that you are spending money on. Should they suffer because our government can't get their act together?

    Lets hope that this does not go on too much longer. This is the last thing our government needed to do in a time that we should be focusing on growing and pulling ourselves out of a recession.

    Wednesday, October 9, 2013

    Nani Soup or as she would have called it, Herb Soup

    We are fortunate enough to have in our possession all of my mother-n-laws recipes. Each one hand written with such neat penmanship. You do not realize the importance of something like that, until the person is gone. What a beautiful gift to leave to your family. I am filled with joy each time I am able to pull out one of her recipes and make it for my husband. The look of 'comfort' that washes over my husbands face is something that words cannot describe.

    One of the recipes that has actually become one of my go to recipes is 'Nani Soup'. Nani is the name my husband used for his Swiss grandmother, and this was a soup that she made. This is a rustic, farmer style soup. The kind of soup made up of whatever was still in the garden come fall. I believe she called it Herbe Soup. It is a super simple soup to make, and did I mention it freezes well? I do make a few batches in the fall to keep in my deep freeze for winter.

    This soup lends itself to the possibility of various adaptations. Since I am a traditionalist I like to keep it simple.
    Nani Soup
    Half a head of Cabbage
    2 Potatoes peeled and diced
    1 Leek
    3 Stalks of Celery including the leaves
    3 Carrots
    Celery Root
    Parsley (as little or as much as you want)
    1 Can of White Beans
    1/2 cup Barley
    It is really quite simple. I give everything a rough chop. The cabbage pieces will range from 1" up to 3". The potatoes I chop to about 3/4". The leek about 1/2", make sure to rinse the leek again after you chop it. They like to hold on to their sand and dirt. The celery, carrots, and celery root I take down to 1/2". I can't always find celery root, so when that happens I just move on minus celery root. I rinse the white beans two times before I use them. I am just not fond of the slime they come packed in. I do not buy quick cook Barley, if that is all you have give it a whirl. I always have regular Barley in my pantry, it is a great soup add in. Now many of you are thinking what is Speck? Well, speck is basically fatty ham. Very difficult to find here in the States. So, I have used everything from salt pork, to pork belly, to thick cut bacon. All will add great flavor to the soup.
    Once chopped I layer it all in my Dutch Oven, then add water. Most of the time it is to full to put the lid on, stir it, or even fill it completely with water. So set your cook top to medium high to get a boil going. Once I have a boil I drop it down to maintain a slow boil and then I cook it for about 45 minutes. You will need to play with your water level depending on what size pot you use. When it all starts to relax and you can begin to stir it, add your salt and pepper.
    I hope you all enjoy Nani Soup as much as we do.

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013

    Should we keep our Foster License?

    Over the past three months my husband and I have had numerous conversations in regards to maintaining our Foster License. This has been one of those conversations that makes you feel like a dog chasing its tail. It seems as if all of our conversations end with, "well, lets talk about it again, later".  We do not currently have any Foster children in our home. So it is quite easy to say "lets be done".  On one hand you are ready to move on with life, because lets face it... When you are a foster parent your life changes in a way that is quite different than the normal "we just had a baby" life change. For example, you are tied down to your childs schedules. Your Foster child might have to leave your home five days a week for therapy visits, visits with their parents, attending parenting classes with their parents etc.   Of course there is always the vacation dilemma... They are not to leave the county. Yes, I said COUNTY... Most of the time for weekend getaways you just need a social workers approval, but if you are planning on going cross country Disneyworld or Lego Land, you will need the parents approval, if you don't get it, you can try to obtain approval from the Judge. If that doesn't work, your family minus the Foster child go on vacation, while they get shuffled to another Foster home while you are on vacation.

    Then there is the struggle of what age children you want in your home. More of a struggle for us now that we have adopted children. Lets face it, Many kids in Foster Care have been exposed to some horrific things. The last thing you want is for your children to be exposed. It bothers me that I have to cast judgement on children I have never met, but for the safety of our own kids it is necessary. We have come to a conclusion on that, birth to age 3.

    It has been nice for the past six months to maintain a bit of privacy. You definitely lose that as a Foster Parent. It feels like you constantly have somebody coming to do a well child visit, whether it is the Social Worker or the Guardian Ad Litem (advocate appointed by the court). If you do not transport your child to all of their appointments, then you have to deal with all of the different transport drivers. Each agency uses different drivers, so now you are exposing your home to all of the drivers. So, not only is your door constantly swinging open but to say that your phone rings non stop would not be an understatement.

    Lets get real, what it all comes down to is emotional stability. Are we strong enough to allow kids in and out of our home? That is where we struggle. I am currently doing all of the continuing education to maintain our license.. The one thing we have discovered is that there is nothing worse than letting your license expire and then taking a placement. Like we did with Ademan. That was a lot of craziness!

    At the end of the day we want to continue to help. There are many ways to help such as traditional Foster Care, after hours emergency placement, special needs placement, respite or receiving care. The one thing we have learned through all of this is ultimately those choices are made for us.

    Monday, October 7, 2013

    Sourdough Starter

    A few months ago our neighbors invited us over for a waffle breakfast. Not a small task considering we are a traveling party of five, not including my father-n-law who went with us that morning. Being the incredible woman she is, she went above and beyond with fresh berries, homemade whip cream, chocolate pieces, and syrup. As if that was not enough she also had a platter of spicy sausage waiting on the table by 8:00 a.m. I was so impressed. That is the morning I discovered Sourdough starter. Where has this been all my life?! I am not a huge waffle lover. Do I feel the need to get one every time we are at a Brunch? Yes... but I realy don't know why, to me they are not worth it. BUT, a sourdough waffle is a divine creation all to itself.

    She sent me home with my beginner starter. To say I wasn't intimidated would be a lie. Here are the rules.
    •  store it in a glass or plastic container.
    •  Only mix it with a wood spoon, or spatula coated in rubber. Get the drift? the starter cannot touch metal.
    •  The starter can be stored on the kitchen counter if you know you will be using it in the near future. Otherwise, you can store it in the refrigerator. When brought out of the refrigerator make sure you let it sit for a day before you start adding to it.
    •  You need to add flour and water every few days to "grow it". How much you ask? a handful. (Trust me I struggled with that one, a small handful or large handful? Doesn't matter it is all about consistency). Oh, and don't add while it is in the refrigerator, because that is when it is resting. Only when it is on the counter (and active) do you want to add to it
    • Do NOT place anything but water or flour in there.
    • If you develop mold, get rid of it and start over.

    Trust me, I was pretty glazed over by this point! If they had not been so darn good, I would have probably nixed the whole idea of trying it myself. After the first week, I got the hang of it. It really is not difficult, and the cool thing is all of the possibilities for your starter. Waffles, Hotcakes, Bread, Doughnuts, Cookies, Chocolate Cake (I have been told it is delicious), and so much more.

    The best part? When it comes time to make the waffles, all you do is add 2 tbsp. sugar, 4 tbsp. oil, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking soda to 2 cups of your starter. Mix and make! A pretty fancy breakfast mixed in under two minutes.

    So needless to say we have been eating a lot of waffles. Our favorite so far is with whip cream and homemade strawberry preserves. Ok and maybe a side of bacon!

    I did purchase from Amazon, this book which is full of recipes for your starter. It also tells you how to make a starter for those who don't know someone that they can take a half cup from. I can honestly say I don't think I will ever be without a starter again.

    Sunday, October 6, 2013

    Olay PROx Update!!!

    I am in LOVE!!!!

    O.K. The product is amazing!! I have used it twice, and my skin is now crazy clean, and as soft as my two year olds skin. I found it for $29.99 at Ulta, so not a huge investment. Remember Christmas is coming... Make sure to ask Santa for an Olay PROx under your Christmas Tree!

    Oh, and a quick shout out to the Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss... Shiny without the sticky... I also really like the applicator. It took me a day or so to get use to it. A great stocking stuffer!

    Saturday, October 5, 2013

    A Surprisingly Nice Day

    Today is going to be a good day. The sun has been shining for two full days up here, so I am feeling pretty darn good. I found out last year that I have extremely low Vitamin D levels. Many people suffer from it yet most are unaware. When my levels are where they are suppose to be, I am sharp as a tack. When they are not at the level they should be, it is a constant struggle to not be sleepy. The kind of sleepy that you cant control. In the past I have pulled up to a red light and nearly fallen asleep.  For me, being that sleepy and unable to accomplish projects also leads to depression. It is scary. Now that I know, I take 5,000 IUD a day during the summer, and winter is a whole other story. Last winter my doctor had me on a prescription for 50,000 IUD once a week. I will continue to have my levels checked every three months, especially going into winter. If you have never had your Vitamin D levels tested, I urge you to.

    Back to why today is going to be a good day... I did not have time to make coffee this morning, due to getting my two girls all done up for picture day at school. After I dropped them off, I decided to yet again drive through Starbucks. Today was a simpler Latte kind of a day. When I pulled up to pay, the man asked if I ordered a white chocolate mocha. No, I had not. Nor have I ever heard of it.  They then realized that my order was not inputted into their computer. So they took my order again, and made my drink on the fly. Which resulted in a FREE drink for me! Yahoo!! If that doesn't put a little spring in your step, I don't know what does. Thank you Starbucks for going above and beyond. How many businesses do you know that would give you their product for free if they mess up...

    Then it was off to Speech Therapy with my Ademan. That is when I noticed it. It being The Change... Yes! I wait for this day all year, and it happened today on the day I received my free coffee. The leaves have turned from green to a golden yellow and some are even a vibrant red. Time to start taking pictures...

    To make the day a complete success... When picking up my girls from school, I was told that LeiLei had quite a good day. I was a bit nervous (obviously after Monday) because today was picture day. Meaning their routine at school was going to be changed. LeiLei told me this morning she was going to work extra hard at being good today. I am so happy for her.

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    Friday, October 4, 2013

    Olay PROx and Revlon Colorburst Lip Gloss, Thank you Ulta!

    O.K. so this is a totally girly post.... I may live on a farm, but what you need to know is that I am a girly girl. I am so excited about what I received in the mail today! The kids and I had just finished painting, and they were already off getting into mischief in their room while I was left doing clean up. That is when I spotted the Mail Delivery Man pulling up our driveway, I was almost giddy with delight when he got out of his car holding a box from Ulta. I know, I am such a girl!!

    It was all I could do to feed my kids and hustle them off to quiet time, so I could dive into my box of goodies. In all fairness it was not all mine, some of the items were my hubbies. I wonder how much my hubby is going to love that I just told the world he gets products from Ulta, oh well!

    This is what was waiting for me.

    It amazes me how your priorities change once you have kids. I really struggled when I ordered this. I had quite the inner monologue going on.  Something about, you really don't need to be spending money on frivolous items, on the other hand your face does need to be clean, right? And why bother having a clean face, if your lips aren't glossy!

    So lets brake it down!

    Olay PROx, we have all seen the numerous advertisements for this product lately and quite frankly they worked. They sold me on it!

    4 professionally designed features:
  • 2 speed, rotating system delivers daily deep cleansing and gentle exfoliation
  • Water-resistant for use in the shower
  • Soft replaceable brush head gentle on the skin
  • Exfoliating cleanser professionally designed to purify and renew skin's texture for refreshed,   smooth skin

  • I cant wait to use it!!

    Revlon Colorburst lip gloss in Strawberry Fraise and Peony. Last months issue of O Magazine raved about these lip glosses. So I will see if the Beauty Editors at O know what they are talking about.

    I would love to write more, but I am going to go play beauty shop!