.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Lilypie Kids birthday Ticker
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
If I Were Pregnant
I might look something like my friend below.

But even though I'm not. I am expecting. You could call today an episode of Braxton Hicks.

Rumors still look good for tomorrow. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, a special congratulations to my friend, SeptemberFirst. Her family just received TA for her new little brother, Trace.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The Sounds of Silence
According to today's rumors, referrals have been mailed from China and go through October 14, 2005.

The silence you hear is me holding my breath.

Could this be it?

Monday, January 29, 2007
It May Be Small Potatoes
compared to a lot of blogs out there, but it's big to me.

If you live in Philadelphia, use Verizon, and found my site at 11:44:22 p.m. last night by Googling china adoption updates rumors january 2007, then you were my

Cool, huh?

Want to know what's even cooler? This is my 200th post.

Sunday, January 28, 2007
A Holiday You Don't Want To Miss

When you have a long distance romance, you get to know each other in a different way than you might in the same town. You communicate by phone, IM, email, and packages, at least that is how Jim and I handled it.

As modern as it may sound when you throw the technology terms around, it is really a very old fashioned way to be "courted". I learned Jim's nightmares and dreams before I learned his style of driving. We had shared childhood reminiscences before we shared a meal.

One of my favorite ways we got to know each other were our monthly packages. Approximately once a month, we'd send each other a package. My package to Jim might contain some homebaked cookies, a few of my favorite novels, a movie or a cd, or a copy of a dozen pictures chronicling my life from birth to present. I would scan them and place them in a Word document. Jim's packages to me were similar, but also contained stacks and stacks of comic books. We shared what we loved to read, watch, and listen while we shared our personal history. Part of the box space was always saved to return the items from the previous month. These weren't gifts so much as exchanges of pieces of us.

One of the writers that Jim introduced me to during that time was Mark Evanier. First, in a comic book trade weekly called The Comic's Buyers Guide, where he had a column, and then his book of collected columns. I enjoyed his writing, too. Mr. Evanier left the weekly, but Jim found his blog and has been able to continue to enjoy Mr. Evanier's writings, as have I. He writes of life as a writer in Hollywood. His stories are engaging and span decades in the industry.

In honor of my husband, I am proud to join the ranks promoting Mr. Evanier's favorite holiday, National Gorilla Suit Day. It's only a few days away, so you still have time to dust off your favorite gorilla suit and join in the fun.

Snow Day

Good thing I did my errands yesterday. We're snuggled in today with the fireplace going. We had about six inches of snow last night, and it's still going. It's so pretty when you don't have to go anywhere.

Saturday, January 27, 2007
I Came, I Saw, I Conquered

They never saw me coming. The place was packed. If you ever wondered what we do in the midwest on a cold, snowy day, I will reveal the secret. We go to Target. I wasn't going to let a little crowd stop me, I had a mission and that mission was to buy my baby-drugs.

I seriously doubt that Target has ever had any one as ridiculously happy shopping in their drug aisles before. Let me just say that if you're travelling with me, you're covered. I think I bought everything we could possibly need. I got everything on my list except for two items. They only stocked insulin syringes in packs of 50. Since I don't plan on bringing 50, and I didn't know what size I would need, I decided to wait until I talked to my doctor. I plan on bringing about three syringes with me because I've been told it's a good idea to bring your own in case of emergency. It is still fairly common practice to reuse syringes in China. If the baby, Jim, or I need a shot while we're in China, we'll give them one of our syringes to use.

The only other item on my list that I didn't buy was K*Y J*elly. They didn't have the plain old version. All they had was fancy stuff. Somehow I don't think my baby would appreciate that gentle warming action when I stick the digital thermometer up it's bum. Forgive the asterisks, but I don't want to know what kind of traffic I'd generate if someone Googled for that particular item. It could be vewwy scawwy.

For those of you in the same place as me right now, here's what I bought today. It's a mix of medicine and hygiene products for all three of us.

Aveeno Anti-Itch Cream
Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Moisture Cream
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion
Baby Orajel Liquid Teething Medicine
Baby Orajel Tooth & Gum Cleanser
BenGay Back Patches
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste
California Baby Super Sensitive No Fragrance Shampoo/Bodywash
Children’s Benadryl, Dye-Free
Comfort Care Comb & Brush
Deluxe Nail Clipper with Magnifier
Dove 5-pk Cleansing Cloths
Fleet Children’s Suppositories
Generic Antibiotic Ointment
Generic Non-Drowsy Decongestant-adult
Generic Nyquil softgel
Gentle Naturals Homeopathic Teething Drops
Huggies Disposable Extra Sensitive Washcloths
Imodium Advanced Anti-Diarrheal & Anti-Gas Caplets
Johnson’s Baby Powder
Kleenex Travel Packs
Little Colds Decongestant Plus Cough
Little Noses Saline Spray/Drops
Little Tummys Gas Relief Drops, Dye-Free
Miconazole Nitrate for infected diaper rash
Motrin Dye-Free Infant’s Drops
Multi-Use Digital Thermometer
Pantene Hairspray-purse sized
Soft-Tip Nasal Aspirator
Tylenol Infants’ Drops
Tylenol PM
Vick’s BabyRub

I've come down from my shopping high and settled in to blog and drink my venti non-fat, decaf mocha no-whip. It feels good to mark one more thing of the to-do list.

Friday, January 26, 2007
Don't Watch!

It's the proverbial watched pot, but we're not boiling yet. Hopefully, we'll have some adoption news early next week. It's the weekend now, so we won't be hearing anything for the next few days.

As far as weekend plans, I think I hear Target calling my name. I just hope that the forecast for snow and ice holds off long enough for me to get some shopping done. I'm a grade A chicken on icy roads. I have a huge list of drugs we're supposed to pack. I can buy those without knowing age or gender.

Hey, that reminds me. To all your experienced parents out there. Do I really need both children's Tylenol and children's Motrin? Aren't they pretty much the same? Why do I see directions to alternate them? Why is my head filled with questions like this right now? And I've got to tell you that nose aspirator thing looks pretty gross.

Favorite Ingredients Friday - SuperBowl Edition!

The first time I had this dip was at our good friend, D's mother's house. We were over for some family event that escapes me now. I don't think it was Christmas, but it doesn't matter. She had a bowl of this hot dip out, and I thought it was the best thing ever. I was so surprised when I learned how simple this dip was to make.

Sausage con Queso Dip

1) 1 lb. Bob Evans Zesty Hot Sausage
2) 1 lb. Velveeta
3) 1 small tomato, diced
4) 1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles, drained

In large saucepan, crumble and brown sausage over medium heat; drain. Cut cheese into cubes, add to sausage. Cook, stirring frequently, until cheese melts. Add tomato & chiles. Serve with tortilla chips.

This recipe is so easy that I'm tossing it in as a bonus. My sister had this out for snacks when my husband and I were visiting with them on our way home from the beach. It's a 17-hour drive for us, so it's nice to be able to stop mid-way.

Ro-tel Cheese Dip

1) 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2) 1 can Ro-tel Tomatoes and Green Chiles, drained

Mix well. Can be served immediately or after being chilled. Best with Fritos.

Go visit Overwhelmed with Joy for more Super Bowl-inspired recipes!

Past FIF recipes:
Blueberry Multigrain Coffeecake
Banana Bread
Bananas Foster
Old-Time Beef Stew
White Chocolate Snack Mix
Gorilla Bread
Ginger Shrimp
Roast Chicken
Tex-Mex Chicken Taco Soup
Shrimp Mold
Pasta Puttanesca
Pork Milanese
Pumpkin Dip
Oven-fried Chicken
Best Bundt Cake Ever
Hot Dog Casserole
Chicken & Rice
Peanut Butter Fudge
Omelets in a Bag
Shrimp Boil
Apple Cheese
Pulled Pork BBQ

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
A Terrible Thing to Waste

It's official. I've gone over the edge. I can't think of anything else now. I was doing so well, but I'm gone. The rumors are heading up on this ride and sound too good to be true. Please let them be true.

Works For Me Wednesday!

Again, I have a tip that may be common knowledge. It only works, however, if you have a gas stove. A quick way to heat up tortillas (corn or flour) before rolling up enchiladas or burritos is to use your tongs and place one over a lit burner. After a few seconds, flip it. Perfectly warmed up tortilla, yet not all gummy from the microwave.

For more tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

And here's a bonus tip for all you waiting parents. When your mind is about to explode from the what-ifing of waiting, try to distract yourself with anything not related to waiting to hear adoption news. Sometimes it even works! Not often though. Obsess much? The odds haven't improved for us being next, but I'm getting more hopeful. We'll, hopefully, know next week. If not, it will be the week after. Keep us in your thoughts!!

Monday, January 22, 2007
Love It, Hate It

The buzz is everywhere. American Idol is back. Blogs are talking about it. The media asks if it's too mean. You couldn't escape it if you tried.

I love American Idol, but I'm not watching it now. I never watch the audition part. I get physically uncomfortable for the people trying out. When they sing badly, and so many do, I actually hurt. When their dreams are crushed, I feel crushed for them. I didn't catch on to the phenomenon until more than midway through the first season. When the second season started, I was all set to go. I watched and cringed. I hid my face. I couldn't stand it.

When they got down to the final dozen, I started watching again and found the show I enjoyed. Now don't get me wrong, I can be as critical as the next guy when they blow a song, but at least they can sing. It's the obviously deluded ones during the audition phase that cause me agony.

I think there are two kinds of Idol fans. Those who prefer the audtions, and those who prefer the competition afterwards. Nothing is wrong with either; I'm just squarely in the second camp. All you Idol-lovers, I'll join you in a few weeks.

Sunday, January 21, 2007
How Was Your Saturday?
Mine was good, for the most part.

Jim, as you may or may not know, is a self-proclaimed comic book geek. He's not so fond of the new stuff, but he loves what he calls "his comics." The Batman and Superman of his youth. He's been an avid collector most of his life. Or I should say was an avid collector. He really doesn't buy any more unless it's to resell. Several years ago, he acquired a huge collection from a dealer who was retiring. He's been selling this collection off on Ebay. We did a few local comic book shows when he first got the collection, but they weren't very successful. The man who ran the local shows (twice a year) didn't do a very good job. He retired and there's a new guy in town. Well, he's not actually local, but he has started running the two shows a year here. Jim went to the one last spring to check it out. When the post card came in the mail a few weeks ago to let us know it was coming up, Jim decided to buy a table, set up, and see what happened.

The show was yesterday from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Set up began at 8:00am. We were there bright and early ready to go. The guy who ran the show didn't show up until 8:30am. Not a great start, but no big deal for us since we only had one table. Jim unloaded the car, then I ran to McDonald's to buy breakfast. I was very excited to see a drive-thru Starbucks in the same parking lot as the hotel. I was able to start my day with my favorite venti non-fat mocha, no whip. I was back from the breakfast run in 15 minutes, and Jim was already set up.

My role at these shows is to run get and get food, provide Jim with company, and cover the table when he goes to the bathroom or walks the room for a break. Oh, and I chat with the customers and make small talk. We had a good day at the show. We made one really nice sale to a customer. The rest of the customers who came in bought a $2.00 book here or a $5.00 book there. Nothing too big. We did well selling to other dealers though. Most of the men who set up at these events are interesting characters. This may be their livelihood, or it maybe their way to feed their own habit. They ranged from the guy who wore the decades old faded House of Blues t-shirt and sweatpants to the guy wearing khaki cargo shorts with a long-sleeved, plaid button-down shirt and his very preppy haircut. The customers were 8-year-old boys, college professors, blue-collar workers, college athletes, the 6'7"ish bald man with the long black coat, a goatee that reached down to mid-chest, and piercings. Most of the women who come in the room are there with one of the guys, but they are fans, too. The main thing I enjoy about the shows is the people watching. You have never seen such a wide range of humanity in your life.

I didn't bring the camera, so this isn't our show. I found this picture online, but it's a pretty good representation of what it was like.

We're pretty known in the local comic book community. Jim has been a part of it since long before he knew me. It's no secret that we're adopting from China. Everyone knows we've been involved in the process for a long time. It is also known that the proceeds from what Jim sells is helping to finance our adoption. In fact, yesterday's proceeds are going towards paying for our new immigration approval request. We saw people yesterday that we see often and know that we're close. We also saw people we hadn't see in years and were excited to hear that we're finally getting close. And we also saw this guy...

I have named him butt-face because he talks out of his butt. This was the obnoxious man who ran the show. He just felt compelled to keep coming to our table and talking to me. Each time, he managed to offend me, and I don't easily offend. These were just some of the gems he shared with me:

"You're being adopted? You look almost old enough to be out on your own. Are you looking for a sugar-daddy?"

"I know! You're adopting from China because you need more workers to set up at these shows. You know the Chinese work for cheap. That's why they brought them all to San Francisco to build the railroad. See, you didn't know how smart I was. I know history."

"I had a friend who kind of adopted. He travelled through Russia and Kazakhstan until he found a 17-year-old girl. He waited until she was 18 and married her. When his daughter, who was two years older complained, he told her that she had always wanted a little sister. She p*ssed through his money in three years and took off."

"When you go to China, do you have to take a whole baby?" I'll admit that I gave him a baffled look on this one because I had no idea where he was going.
"Or are you just getting inseminated with a Chinese baby there? You know, like when you buy a frozen pizza and then have to bake it in your own oven."

Periodically throughout the afternoon, he would pass our table, stop, and toss one of these at me. Each time I was dumbstruck. I would just look at him with a horrified "you're an idiot" look, and he would go away. I have got to work on some comebacks. I swear, though, each time he said something it was so horrific that I would just blank.

This man will not meet our child.

Friday, January 19, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday

The last time I went to Trader Joe's, I bought a new (to me) product, and then it sat in my pantry. I finally tried it out last weekend. It's Trader Joe's Multigrain Baking and Pancake Mix. I love multigrain pancakes, but I never make pancakes. That poor box just sat waiting for me to make pancakes, and it wsn't happening. Sunday afternoon, I picked up the box and read the recipes on the side. I decided to make one, and it was awesome. I'll give you the original recipe, and what I substituted if I didn't have the ingredient.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

1) 1 egg
2) 1 cup buttermilk (I didn't have buttermilk. Put 1 T lemon juice in measuring cup and add milk to equal 1 cup)
3) 3 T oil
4) 2 1/2 c Multigrain baking mix
5) 1/2 c sugar
6) 1 1/2 c fresh or frozen blueberries (I used unsweetened frozen berries - a mix of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.)

In a large bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, and oil. Stir in baking mix and sugar, just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Spread batter into an 8"x8"x2" pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 45-50 minutes (it was more like 1 1/2 hours) in preheated 350 oven, or until top is golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Cut into squares, and serve warm.

This was amazing when it was warm, and good when it cooled off. I recommend you eat the entire thing right away! I plan to play around some more with this baking mix. It definitely has potential.

Go visit Overwhelmed with Joy for more fun recipes!

Past FIF recipes:

Banana Bread
Bananas Foster
Old-Time Beef Stew
White Chocolate Snack Mix
Gorilla Bread
Ginger Shrimp
Roast Chicken
Tex-Mex Chicken Taco Soup
Shrimp Mold
Pasta Puttanesca
Pork Milanese
Pumpkin Dip
Oven-fried Chicken
Best Bundt Cake Ever
Hot Dog Casserole
Chicken & Rice
Peanut Butter Fudge
Omelets in a Bag
Shrimp Boil
Apple Cheese
Pulled Pork BBQ

Thursday, January 18, 2007
Woo Hoo! Did Ya Hear There's a Party Going On?
Yessirree bob!

Barb passed on the word. Susan and Janince at 5 Minutes for Mom are hosting a blog party, and we're all invited. You can get the details here.

Ultimate Blog Party

Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Works for Me Wednesday!

Sometimes we assume that just because we know something, everyone must know it. I was reminded of this just the other day when talking to a friend at work. She's an avid baker. I bake, but not really that often. She announced to me her new discovery, and I was shocked that she hadn't known about it before. What is it? Parchment paper! It's available on a roll just like plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Just tear off a sheet and place on your cookie sheet. It's the best thing ever. You don't have to grease your pans,and the cookies slide right off. It helps with clean up, too. Just a quick wipe with a soapy sponge, a rinse, and your sheets are clean. Trace out your cake pans and trim to line your cake pans and make that process easier, too. I love parchment paper and can't imagine baking without it.

It's sold by the sheet in fancy stores, but you can buy it by the roll in the grocery store. The sheets tend to be expensive, but the roll isn't at all. Happy Baking!

For more tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
I Have Issues

Site Meter issues. I haven't been able to load my website all day. I finally got home to check it out and it appears that Site Meter is the problem. Is anyone else having this problem?

I've removed the code that displays my count and that seems to help the page loading. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears (or eyes so to speak). If not, I'll play with it tomorrow after school and try to figure it out.

Saturday, January 13, 2007
Nesting Update

Since everyone keeps telling me I'm in nesting mode, I thought I'd give an update. Today, I finished the last two major cabinet reorganizing. I still have to tackle the one over the fridge, but I think it's actually empty. I can't reach it even with the stepstool because it's set back too far. That one will require Jim's assistance. I have a few things that I only use very rarely that I'm going to stash there.

Next I have to tackle my work area, which looks worse than it is. After that, I want to organize the nursery. I have a couple of totes filled with baby clothes that have been given to me. The majority came from my neighbor after her daughter grew out of them. I've already sorted them by size. I need to get everything washed, the closet organizer set up and the clothes put away properly, not in totes.

After the nursery, I have baby proofing to do. I've read that pet gates are exactly the same as baby gates (same manufacturers even), but they cost less. I'll make a trip out to PetSmart to get some gates and to Babies R Us for outlet plugs, drawer and cabinet locks, and whatever else I'm forgetting.

Then last, but not least, I will begin packing. We are limited to one suitcase (44 lbs.) and one carry-on (12 lbs.) each. Yikes! I'll lay out on the guest room bed everything I think we'll need. Then come to the realization that I can only take 1/4th. There are a gazillion - really, a gazillion - packing lists for the China trip available online. I've got a few copied, so those will be my guidelines. I need to get started buying the meds we'll need to take with us.

I am not planning to do this all this weekend by the way. This is how I will be occupying myself for the next month or two or three.

Chirp, chirp...

Frantic Fifteen

The year I turned 15 was a year of changes for me. We had lived in Pennsylvania the previous year in our two-year sojourn to the north before returning to the south. Living in Pennsylvania was very difficult for me. First, I was 14 years old. Is 14 every easy? Second, I just didn't understand the other kids. When my dad told us we were moving back to the south, I was thrilled. I couldn't wait. It was nearing the end of a school year where I was convinced that all the other kids hated me. Imagine my shock when I told my classmates that I was moving and wouldn't be heading off to high school with them and they responded with sadness. I couldn't believe they were going to miss me. They all signed my signature book with the nicest messages about how they wished they had gotten to know me better. I think that was when I realized how easy it was for me to just hide away with a book and escape into other worlds. I actually ended up being sad about leaving and wishing I had tried harder and gotten to know them, too.

Anyway, this was supposed to be about 15. That summer our country celebrated its bicentennial and Dorothy Hamill was America's sweetheart. All the teenage girls got her haircut, including me. We had moved to Panama City Beach where I would finish my high school years and make some very good friends. I had learned my lesson.

When I look back over the last 15 months that we've been waiting for our dossier to move up in line, I have some of those same feelings. Some twinges of what I could have/should have done differently during the wait, but I learned my lesson. I have made some wonderful friends over the last 15 months that I would never have met if I hadn't gone through this wait. This has definitely been a bonding experience. I look forward to seeing these wonderful families form over the coming weeks as our turn approaches.

Friday, January 12, 2007
Es El Mío
I was three years old when we moved to the United States, and like most three-year-olds, I could talk. We moved to New Orleans, LA where my mother's family lived. My mom is the second oldest of ten children. The baby of the family, my Aunt Erin, is only 5 1/2 years older than me. This meant that her older brothers, my uncles, were exactly the right age to tease me mercilessly. Family lore has it that my favorite saying was "es mío." Es el mío means it's mine in Spanish. I was obviously very possesive. In retaliation, my uncles taught me my first English sentence, "I'm a good little brat." Anyway, I digress.

Did you notice the pretty pink picture at the top? It's a Pink Nintendo DS Lite. Nintendo is giving one away along with the game Brain Age to a hip mom at Crazy Hip Blog Mamas. We have to post how this will make us "hip." (By the way, I seem to be obsessed with quotation marks today. Please excuse me.)

I am terribly unhip as my high school students would be the first to tell you. Not only do I need to earn some street cred in the hip arena, but I'm thinking this could be totally awesome on an upcoming long plane ride to China. I could spread my hipness literally across the globe on my way to becoming a mama. Therefore, I would become a Crazy Hip Blog Mama, for real.

Es el mío, por favor!

Favorite Ingredients Friday

Apparently I have bananas on the brain. Here's another banana recipe. This is by far the best banana bread recipe I've ever made. I split the recipe between two loaf pans and freeze one. It freezes really well.

Banana Bread

1. 1 ¼ c flour
2. ½ t baking soda
3. ½ t salt
4. 2 lg eggs, room temperature
5. ½ t vanilla
6. ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
7. 1 c sugar
8. 3 ripe bananas, mashed (or 1 cup)
9. ½ c chopped pecans
10. ½ cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9”x5”x3” loaf pan. Sift flour, baking soda and salt, set aside. Whisk eggs & vanilla together, set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the butter mixture and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla. (The mixture will appear curdled.)

With a spatula, mix in flour mixture. Do not overmix. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts; then pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Go visit Overwhelmed with Joy for more fun recipes!

Past FIF recipes:

Bananas Foster
Old-Time Beef Stew
White Chocolate Snack Mix
Gorilla Bread
Ginger Shrimp
Roast Chicken
Tex-Mex Chicken Taco Soup
Shrimp Mold
Pasta Puttanesca
Pork Milanese
Pumpkin Dip
Oven-fried Chicken
Best Bundt Cake Ever
Hot Dog Casserole
Chicken & Rice
Peanut Butter Fudge
Omelets in a Bag
Shrimp Boil
Apple Cheese
Pulled Pork BBQ

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Works For Me Wednesday!
If I had planned ahead or maybe been psychic enough to realize this would be the theme this week, I would have saved the package and scanned it in. Last weekend, I tried a new (to me) product and made a healthier version of lasagna. Super Target has its own line of products as does any grocery store these days. I've actually been pretty impressed with most of their products. About two weeks ago, I picked up a pack of Archer Farms Oven Ready Whole Wheat Lasagna. This was the version I made:

1 pkg Archer Farms Oven Ready Whole Wheat Lasagna
2 jars pasta sauce (tomato basil with mushrooms)
12 oz. spicy Italian turkey sausage
12 oz. sweet Italian turkey sausage
1 15 oz. low-fat ricotta cheese
1/2 c parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 T dried basil
1/2 bag shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, and basil.

Brown the Italian turkey sausage.

In two 9"x9" pans (I used extra deep aluminum foil pans), place 2 1/2 noodles on the bottom of the pan. Pour a little sauce over the noodles, add a layer of sausage and a layer of the cheese mix. Add a little more sauce and another layer of noodles, repeat, and end with a layer of sauce. Each pan will use one jar of sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for one hour. Remove foil and add 1/4 bag of mozzarella cheese to each pan. Return to oven and cook approximately 20 more minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

We get two meals from one pan. I wrap and freeze the other for another night.

Is this the healthiest meal? No, but it's a much healther version of lasagna than the normal. Making your own pasta sauce would be healthier, but unless you have some stashed in your freezer, it would detract from the quickness factor. You could also add more veggies to health it up. I have tried no-boil noodles before and not been impressed. These were awesome.

For more healthier recipe tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

Monday, January 08, 2007
Do I Have to Get Up?

Man, was it rough getting up this morning. I don't think I'd gone to bed before 1:00 a.m. in at least a week, and let's not forget the night I just stayed up the whole night. Vacation is over, and school is back in session. Judging by how grumpy the kids were today, I'd say their sleep cycle was a little messed up, too.

A lesson was learned this weekend. Do not annoy the China adoption community. Apparently CNN ws so besieged with upset emails over the weekend that they're doing a follow up story tonight on Paula Zahn's show. Word is that people who actually know about the process will be on the panel tonight. I'll be watching, and then I'm going to bed. I'm exhausted!

Sunday, January 07, 2007
I'm It
I've been tagged by Alyson , a fellow waiting mom and all around great person.

A - Available or Taken: Taken
B - Best Friend: Jim
C - Cake or Pie: Cheesecake (which is really a pie. I also like Boston Cream Pie which is really a cake)
D - Drink of Choice: Water, non-fat mocha-no whip, Dr. Pepper
E - Essential Item You Use Everyday: My Computer
F - Favorite Color: Purple
G - Gummy Bears or Worms: Neither, yuck!
H - Hometown: Hard to say
I - Indulgence: Perugina Baci, Estee Lauder's Spellbound
J - January or February: February - Referral, please!
K - Kids and Names: TBA
L - Life Incomplete Without: Jim, my family, books :o)
M - Marriage Date: 3/31/00
N - Number of Siblings: 3 sisters
O - Oranges or Apples: Apples
P - Phobias or Fears: Heights
Q - Favorite Quote: What comes around, goes around
R - Reason to Smile: My husband
S - Season: The Next One
T - Tag 5 People: Erin B., Dawn, Jacquie, Wendi, and Cynde
U - Unknown Fact About Me: I don't think there are any. Coming up with 100 things just about spilled the beans on everything. :o) How about a weird thing? At least according to Jim, it's weird. I like ketchup on a Chick-fil-a sandwich.
V - Veggie You Don't Like: Celery
W - Worst Habit: Procrastinating
X - X-rays: No Thank You, I'm Good
Y - Your Favorite Food: Shrimp, Chocolate
Z - Zodiac: Cancer

Saturday, January 06, 2007
Can Someone Get That Knife Out Of My Back?
I didn't watch Paula Zahn's show last night, but I knew something was up when I checked the adoption boards this morning. There were a few postings yesterday letting people know the show was going to be on the air last night. They were very excited. Today, they're still excited, but in a whole different way.

One role that you take on, willingly or not, when you enter the adoption world is that of educator. It is amazing the amount of false information that is out there and accepted as truth. Last night's show could have been a great opportunity for Paula Zahn and CNN to correct misconceptions, instead they perpetuated them.

First, I'd like to explain why and how we chose China. Jim and I talked about adoption on and off for several years. I had always wanted children. Jim wasn't as sure. He had been married before and they had made the decision to not have children. In his mind that chapter was closed.

Jim and I had been seeing each other for a few months when it was time for my yearly exam. My doctor, as always, asked if I was in a relationship. When I told him that I was and that it looked serious, he told me that if thought we’d want children then I needed to start infertility treatment immediately. I was in my mid-30’s, but had known since I was diagnosed with PCOS at 26 that getting pregnant would be a challenge for me.

I definitely knew that I wanted children, but I did not think it would bode well for my relationship if I got us started on infertility treatments before we’d dated for six months. Call me silly. I knew what I was risking, but I decided it was more important at that time to build a good foundation for our relationship.

Within months of Jim and me marrying, we had his mother, brother and niece move in with us. His mother was only with us a few months. Without going into detail, his brother and niece’s stay was much longer. T had just turned 11 when they moved in with us. For all intents and purposes, Jim and I spent the next 20 months raising her and acting as her parents.

When they left, it left a huge hole in our hearts. When adoption had been brought up in the past, Jim had confessed his fear that he wouldn’t be a good father. His childhood is a tale best told by Dickens. That time with his niece taught him that he did have what it takes and would be a good father. The initial pain of losing contact with T, however, prevented us from acting immediately. We’d basically lost her and the thought of going through the process and “losing” our child again was terrifying.

I began to research. By this time I was nearing 40 and I learned that we would not be eligible to work through any regular agency as they would not accept applications if the mother was over 40.

We discussed fostering and adopting. In this case we’d be bringing home an older child and probably one with problems. These situations are fraught with their own problems and still no guarantee that you’ll end up with a child.

We discussed private adoption. The idea of advertising for a birth mother was abhorrent to us. The idea of creating a book and trying to “sell” ourselves was equally abhorrent. We also discussed the high price of involving attorneys and the high risk involved. It is a fact, and must be faced, that many domestic adoptions fail. And when they fail you are out tens of thousands of dollars. We knew that an adoption would be a one-shot for us. We could not afford to go through a failed one, financially or emotionally.

I spent hours on the Internet looking at adoption sites, looking at Rosie’s kids, and reading about the different international programs. I assumed they’d be totally out of reach for us, but I clicked and read everywhere. The more I read, the more I realized that this could be the way for us.

China was not my first choice. In fact, my first choice was Mexico or any Hispanic country. I was born in Mexico, though not of Mexican heritage. My father was raised in Mexico. I did some research into Mexican adoption and was surprised to learn that they required one of the parents live in Mexico for an extended period of time while the adoption was taking place. I can’t recall the exact length but believe it was around three months or more. This was a definite minus.

One day I was reading the newspaper and saw a notice for a meeting to be held at the library to discuss international adoption. I called and signed up. A week before the meeting was to take place, I received a call that it was being postponed. I started looking around on the Internet and found a different agency in my state. They had an informational meeting planned in a week. The meeting was about three hours south of us. We made plans to attend the morning meeting and then go to lunch at Buca di Beppo’s.

Prior to going, I researched this agency and the countries they had listed. They arranged adoptions for China, Russia, and Guatemala. We pretty much eliminated Russia due to the requirements and costs. As two teachers, we could afford neither the time nor the costs associated with making two separate trips to Russia.

At the end of the meeting, families who had adopted from Guatemala and China came out to discuss their experiences and introduce their children. All the children, no, all the families were just beautiful. We left the meeting and went to lunch. At lunch we discussed everything we learned that day as well as what I’d uncovered in my research. That is when and where we made the decision and chose the country. We asked our server to take our picture to commemorte the moment. That picture was included in our dossier and is the one posted as our profile picture. I was still undecided between the two countries. Jim, however, felt a strong affinity for China. We started discussing what connections we were feeling for China – far too many had to do with Chinese food, but it was a start.

It’s been years since that day. Far longer than we ever dreamed it would take us to go down this road, but along the way we’ve read, researched, learned and grown in our knowledge. We’ve made wonderful new friends who had already travelled or are now on this same path with us. Our families and friends embraced this decision and encouraged us along the way.

From the transcripts:

MARTIN: Maybe they think they can adopt a smart kid that is going to grow up to be a doctor? I don't know. They need to realize that's called training, not just inherent, it will happen when they're born.

Angel, help me out.

MALDONADO: Absolutely. This is something I've been looking into for a long time. Americans have this love affair with girls from China. There is this belief, this perception, irrational as it might be that if you adopt a little girl from China, she's going to be intelligent, she's going to be more lovable.

MARTIN: Like the porcelain doll.

Not once did we consider that by choosing China we’d be getting a future doctor or a porcelain doll.

UYGUR: I think a lot of people are looking for Muslim children these days.

ZAHN: Yeah, right.

Actually, no. It is against Islamic law for a Muslim child to be adopted to a non-Muslim family. There are also societal barriers to their adoption to other Muslim families. Unfortunately, the fate of these children is very bleak.

MALDONADO: I think what we need to do is we need to break down some of the misconceptions. For example, people believe if they're adopting a child from China, the child is going to be healthier than a child they adopt in the United States and that is just not true. Even if the child is born ...

ZAHN: It defies logic. The quality of the medical care many of these kids have suffered through the first several months of life.

We do not expect a healthier child. We know there are no guarantees in life. Not when you give birth, not when you adopt. We know that and accept that. While many of the orphanages who’ve been involved with international adoption have improved their circumstances, these are still orphanages. They often lack heat, they run short on food and other supplies, and they are limited by sheer numbers on how much one-on-one attention they can give the babies who need this for good early development. Fostering has become more popular and has helped to improve the situation for many orphaned children. We are, however, still planning and preparing to bring home a child who suffered from poor early nutrition and will probably be developmentally delayed.

MALDONADO: We definitely see that idea of the beautiful Chinese little girl, as compared to do, they really want to adopt a black boy.

I want a child. My husband wants a child. Be it green, purple, or polka-dotted. The facts are that it is very difficult to adopt a baby or a toddler domestically, regardless of race. In fact the National Association of Black Social Workers has worked against multi-racial adoption for a very long time. There is a growing program for adoptions from Ethiopia. That would be my next choice if we weren't already in the process with China.

If at any time in our process, we would have learned of a situation open to us adopting domestically, we would have considered it. This is the path that opened for us, and we embrace it.

I am so deeply disappointed in the lack of research conducted by Paula Zahn, the CNN staff, or any member of her panel. In my opinion, her guests appeared to have their own agenda and didn’t bother to find the facts.

If this is the level of research that is given to a story on CNN, then how can I believe any news story they offer? I can no longer trust them as a news source. It is a shame as I find Fox to be just as slanted in their portrayal of news. This is why I no longer rely on any one news source. I have learned to research and get the answers for myself.

Sometimes ignorance is bliss, sometimes it’s just ignorant.

Friday, January 05, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday

There are certain things that all tourists feel compelled to do when they visit New Orleans. One of them is to have breakfast at Brennan's, the flagship restaurant of the Brennan family dynasty. Since I was never a tourist in New Orleans, I have never had the pleasure. Isn't it funny how locals don't take advantage of many of the famous places. Brennan's is also famous for having invented Bananas Foster.

Just because I haven't eaten at Brennan's doesn't mean I haven't partaken of Bananas Foster. It's an amazingly easy dish with a lot of wow appeal. It's fun to serve to guests and amaze them with your culinary ability. Keep the fire extinguisher close by, just in case.

Bananas Foster
Brennan’s Restaurant – New Orleans

1. 1 c. brown sugar
2. ¼ c. butter
3. 4 ripe banana, peeled, cut in half and then slice lengthwise
4. ½ t cinnamon
5. ¼ c. banana liqueur
6. ¼ c.. dark rum
7. 4 large scoops vanilla ice cream

Melt brown sugar and butter in deep skillet over low heat. Add banana and sauté until tender. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Remove pan from open flame and add banana liqueur and rum. Return to stove and carefully ignite the sauce. Baste with the warm liquid until the flame burns out. Serve immediately over ice cream.

4 servings.

Go visit Overwhelmed with Joy for more fun recipes!

Past FIF recipes:

Old-Time Beef Stew
White Chocolate Snack Mix
Gorilla Bread
Ginger Shrimp
Roast Chicken
Tex-Mex Chicken Taco Soup
Shrimp Mold
Pasta Puttanesca
Pork Milanese
Pumpkin Dip
Oven-fried Chicken
Best Bundt Cake Ever
Hot Dog Casserole
Chicken & Rice
Peanut Butter Fudge
Omelets in a Bag
Shrimp Boil
Apple Cheese
Pulled Pork BBQ

Thursday, January 04, 2007
Bring on the Rusty Nails!

What a fun morning. It started at the dentist and then it went downhill!

I had my six-month cleaning appointment. That went fine. Walked in, 30 minutes later I walked out. No waiting, no fuss, no muss. Gotta like that.

On to my next errand. I just needed to stop by my doctor's office and get his signature for our update. It's a simple statement that basically says nothing has happened in the last year, medically, and that I am physically, emotionally, and mentally able to care for a child. After the last 16 months of waiting, the mental is in question, but luckily, he didn't. Question it that is.

When I called the doctor's office the other day and explained what I wanted, the receptionist told me to just stop in on Thursday any time after 9:00 a.m. I should have known it couldn't be that easy. I got there about 10:00 a.m. and handed the form to the receptionist explaining what I needed. She said it would take a few minutes, but to have a seat and they'd let me know when it was ready.

Forty minutes later, she calls me. The doctor wanted to talk to me before he signed, but he would see me today. I was surprised because the waiting room was literally standing room only. I'd never seen it so busy. Either everyone waited until the holidays were over to get sick, or everyone had this week off and was trying to squeeze in a doctor's visit. Hmm...who would do such a thing!? Oh, yeah...me!

Off I went back to my seat and to my 2-year-old copy of Bon Appetit. After another hour of waiting, I finally got called. The doctor just wanted an update on our progress. We chatted about the long plane ride and DVT, about immunizations for us and for our baby, getting his advice when we get medical information with our referral, and he decided it had been too long and it was time from more blood work. And, he added, while we're at it, let's go ahead and give you those immunizations.

The tally ends up as follows:
one needle in left forearm as 3 vials of blood removed
one needle in left upperarm
one needle in right upperarm
one needle in right hip

Yeah, just drop in any time for a signature. On the flip side, I'm ready if any rusty nails attack.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Can you sense the frustration? It looks like referrals will not include the 9/29 dossiers.

The reason this is frustrating is because we may be next, but we may not. It looks like we're on the cusp now. I'd say our odds are about 50:50.

The next batch should come in about a month. I'm guessing it will include dossiers to 10/12 or 10/13 or 10/14. I'd be surprised if it went much further than that. We will either be the cut-off, or we'll miss it by one day.

Yesterday, I finally started allowing myself to process the idea that we'd be next. It sent my mind spinning so badly that I ended up staying awake all night long. When I went to go to sleep, I just couldn't shut my brain down.

I went downstairs so my tossing and turning wouldn't ruin Jim's sleep. Why should he suffer, too? I watched a movied I'd already seen this week thinking it would put me to sleep. No dice. Then my stomach started growling. So there I am, 2:00 a.m. and eating cheese and crackers! When I was slicing the cheese, I noticed how my junk drawer had morphed into three junk drawers. I did what an insane person would do. I took the drawers into the living room and placed them on the coffee table, got a large garbage bag, turned the tv to Dudley Do-Right starring Brandon Frasier and Sarah Jessica Parker, and started cleaning them out. By the way, I had never heard of this movie before. Trust me, skip it. I finally dozed off on the couch surround by my kitchen drawers when the local morning news shows started around 4:30 a.m. The truly sick part is that I woke up at 9:30 and couldn't go back to sleep.

Is this what I have in store for me for the next month?!?

Works For Me Wednesday!

I have to admit, this totally snuck up on me. It’s Works for Me Wednesday? Who has time for tips when we still don’t know the referral cut-off for this month!!! Oh, what? Everyone isn’t obsessed like me? Your lives don’t revolve around this knowledge? My apologies.

Okay, my tip for this week involves deli meats. My husband loves his sandwiches, but have you priced deli meats lately? Ouch! I can’t stand the idea of paying $6.00-$8.00 a pound for sliced deli meat. Especially when I have a husband who could give Dagwood a run for his money in the sandwich making department.

Occasionally I’ll roast a turkey. We have a nice turkey dinner. I then slice the leftover white meat for sandwiches and shred the leftover dark meat for casseroles, plus I make broth from the carcass. Definitely more value for my dollar.

But would you like to know what’s even easier? And cheaper? Eye of Round Roast! I know, you might think they’re too tough for sandwiches, but they’re not. They are an extremely lean cut of meat; they don’t have all that tenderizing marbles of fat running through it like most roasts, but they also don’t cost as much. I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $4.00 per pound for one. Sam’s usually has some really pretty ones available. I found a great one last weekend at Super Target. Here’s my super-duper easy recipe that is a hands-down winner for all who’ve tried it.

Roast Beef for sandwiches

1 eye of round roast
Lemon pepper
Garlic salt

Preheat oven to 500. Make sure the roast is trimmed of excess fat. Sprinkle a heavy coating of lemon pepper all over roast, rubbing it in to the meat. Now repeat with a light coating of garlic salt and paprika.

Place roast in 9”x9” baking pan, and place in oven. Roast for 6-7 minutes per pound for a nice medium to medium-rare. Turn the oven off, but do NOT open the door for one hour. Let the roast cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. It’s much easier to slice when it has been chilled. Slice into thin slices and store in an air-tight container (or Ziploc bag).

This roast started as a regular roast for dinner, but my husband and I both realized that we actually liked it better, and it was more tender, when we sliced the leftovers for sandwiches. I make it now just for sandwiches. One major benefit to this is I control what is used to season the meat.

If you roast for 5 minutes per pound, it's more on the rare end of medium-rare. I've never gone over 7 minutes per pound.

For more fun tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Referrals Are Coming, Referrals are Coming!

I usually wait to post when they've all arrived and we know the cut-off date. But to add to the increasingly normal confusion, referrals are arriving immediately following a holiday and on a day when government offices are closed. This really shouldn't be a problem since they don't arrive by U.S. mail, but they're still arriving strangely.

Referrals have been announced in Europe and from some West Coast-based agencies. None of these, however, appeared to have dossiers logged in on Sept. 29. This is a monster day of dossiers, so everyone is dying of curiousity as to whether or not they're included. After the 29th, the CCAA was closed for a week and the next date is October 7th. With our log in date being October 13th, we stand a pretty good chance of being in the next group. If the 29th is included, I'd even go so far as to say we're next. If it's not included, we're probably still next, but I'd be a little more hesitant. Either way, we're really really soon.

So, Colleen, to answer your question. I feel excited, terrified, cautious, overwhelmed with all we still need to do while simultaneously ready to get on a plane, plus add a side of nausea.

Blog contents copyright © 2010 Kaffee Klatsch Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape