Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The road to international adoption is a bumpy one with lots of twists and turns (yes, we knew the road was like this when we started this process). There are quite a few large potholes (careful not to fall in), and some forks too.
Well, we have come to another fork in the road. The first fork happened in August and it consisted of the Zambia program being put on hold and us changing to Ethiopia. We learned about the second fork yesterday while we were at the Colorado Secretary of State Office trying to get our last documents for the dossier certified. We were all set to send our dossier on Friday. We had some problems at the SOS office and I needed to call Love Basket to see if they could email us the forms we need to get certified because the person who notarized it did not have the correct stamp format. When I called Love Basket our adoption supervisor told us that she was just sending out an email to the families in the Ethiopia program to let them know that they had not been getting referrals as quickly or as frequently as they were expecting and they did not know when they would be getting the next set of referrals. She also went on to say that if something does not change, they would have to look at putting the Ethiopia program on hold for a while until they could figure it out. Well, as you can imagine, we were quite upset. We have been so very, very close to being done with all the paperwork. I have our dossier in an envelope ready to send in. There were tears yesterday, lots and lots of tears. Tears of frustration, not tears of throwing in the towel on our Ethiopian adoption. Our daughter is still there, somewhere in Ethiopia.
Last night, we made the decision of contracting with a new adoption agency and filled out our information for that agency online last night. Thank goodness this new agency will take our home study. We have to take a few steps back. This new agency will have to approve us into their program and we will have to fill out their application information, but then hopefully we will be able to send in our dossier soon. For now, we are enjoying the scenery the new fork has lead us too. Yes, the road to international adoption is one of the bumpiest roads I have ever traveled, but it is filled with kind people, dreams of our Ethiopian child, views of foreign lands, and shaped by God's very own hand.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Handmade and Do Good Gift Ideas for Christmas

Did you know there are only 28 days until the year does fly. This year there has been a major pull to buy handmade. I think this is important especially for Blake...all those toy recalls kinda scare me. I am going to try to do a good majority of my gifts handmade. There are so many amazing artists and ideas out many possibilities to find gift ideas for those who seem to have just about everything. Here are some great places to look for handmade gifts:



Design Sponge


You can also take the handmade pledge here.

If you are not too jived about doing the handmade thing, there are also some amazing options for helping others when you are buying your gifts:

World of Good

Compassion International Store

Saints Coffee

(RED) campaign

Kiva Gift Certificates - Loans to entrepreneurs in a developing country

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bring on the Jingle Bell Rock

Now that Thanksgiving is well over, I can begin to listen to some Christmas music. I do know that some of you have been listening to Christmas music for many many months by now. I had a roommate in college who started listening to Christmas music in September and she kinda ruined it for me that year. Each year though, I wait for KBCO to post their Holiday Music Channel...if you like Christmas music, give it a try.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

This was the first Thanksgiving where I had some major cooking responsibilities...I have wanted these responsibilities for a long time. I was in charge of cooking a 22 pound Turkey, making sweet potatoes, the green bean casserole, and pumpkin pies and my Coffee Toffee Cake...I was thrilled with the outcome:I had always heard how hard it was to do the turkey...I was kinda scared and then I found this amazing method of cooking the turned out so juicy and it was way easy. I will definitely do a turkey again.
So yes, the cake was not the disaster I was expecting it to be. It was so much easier to cut the cake rounds in half once they were frozen. I also frosted it when it was still frozen so that cut down on many crumbs. This cake was kinda time consuming, but I think it was worth can find the recipe here. This would be a great cake for Christmas too.
Hope everyone enjoyed TurkeyDay.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

So much to be thankful for...

Wishing you and yours all the joy and kindness
this Thanksgiving 2007.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

San Francisco is one of my most favorite places in the world. I spent a week there when I was at Azusa Pacific University serving in the city, we walked all over the city, to all the different districts, and it was the absolute best way to see San Francisco. We spent our time in homeless shelters and food banks, painting over graffiti and going on blanket runs. The city was amazing and I would love to be able to go back and do the same thing.
Now, I am finding out that I love SF for another reason...they are banning plastic bags from grocery stores. You can read all about it here, and here. There are approximately 180 million plastic bags distributed to San Francisco shoppers each year! These bags can be difficult to recycle and often wind up in the environment. I am encouraged to follow SF's ban and would love to see other communities do the same. In the mean time, here is a tutorial to make your own fabric bags using a plastic bag as a pattern...these are pretty simple and way cute.
Yes, I know I am turning more and more into a tree hugger...I love it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Life is better with peppermint

I love this time of year for two very good reasons:

1. Dryer's Limited Edition Peppermint Ice Cream - this ice cream is is light and cool and refreshing all at the same time. This is some glorious ice cream.

2. Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Tea - my co-worker, Elaine introduced me to this tea last year...I looked for it and looked for it at the store last year and couldn't find it anywhere. When I was doing some Thanksgiving shopping at the store the other day, I finally spotted it. If you are a tea lover, this tea has such a great light sweetness...I could drink it all day long. It's supposed to be getting cold soon...this tea comes in handy on those Colorado Crispy mornings.

Spice Cake with Coffee Toffee Crunch

First of all, I would like to start out by saying that I did not make the cake pictured to the left...Sunset Magazine made this cake. I was reading the November issue of Sunset and I came across this cake and it looked just divine! I decided to make it for Thanksgiving. The article said you can bake the cake up to a week in advance...even better. I made the spice cake this weekend and it was basically a disaster. I guess I didn't butter and flour the pans enough because they all stuck. I was able to salvage half of one cake (Blake and I ate the stuck part for dinner, and yes, the cake is divine), and the other two came out a little better, though not at all like they were supposed to. Instead of six glorious layers of cake between layers of cream cheese frosting and coffee toffee crunch, we will have 2 and a half layers...not as beautiful as Sunsets, but oh well. Pictures may follow depending on how dreadful the cake turns out.
I love baking. I think it is one of the lost arts. There is just something about fresh bread, warm homemade cookies, cakes, and pies that means comfort, especially as the weather cools.
A few years ago, my mother went to Cake Making School (yes, there is such thing). She was a cake-making fiend for a time. She would come out with these amazing creations. The cake to the right is what she made for Blake's first birthday. Her cakes would always amaze me. I have such a hard time getting a cake not to stick let alone being able to stack them and put colorful polka dots on it.
I guess my cake isn't a complete loss yet, we'll see on Thursday how it turns out.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Children's Book Week :: Favorite Children's Authors

There are so many great children's authors out there...and so many of them have great websites with activities you can do with kids after they have read their book. Here are some of my favs:

Eric Carle - The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Quiet Cricket,among many other great books.
Patricia Polacco - Pink and Say, Thank you Mr. Falker, Betty Doll - Her books are beautiful! I have had to wipe tears away while reading some of them. She writes a lot from personal experience.
Shel Silvertein - His poems and illustration and funny and imaginative...We have almost all of his favorite is A Giraffe and a Half.
Jan Brett - The Mitten, The Hat, Trouble With Trolls - Her illustrations are beautiful. She has an amazing website with over 4000 coloring and activity pages for kids to print out.
Don and Audrey Wood - The Napping House, Quick As Cricket

Hope you enjoyed Children's Book Week!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Children's Book Week :: Banned Book List

Did you know there is such thing as a banned book list? Well, there is. The top three reasons, in order, for challenging books are the material is considered to be “sexually explicit” contain “offensive language,” and be “unsuited to age group.” I do understand that these books are challenged with the best intentions - to protect children from difficult ideas. I fully support that, but if a child is mature enough to read some of the books on the list and has an adult available to answer questions and discuss the book, they should be allowed and encouraged to read.
I do have to ask, if we have a banned book list...why don't we have more of a banned children's TV program, video game, and movie list? Most children are seeing cartoons that are “sexually explicit” contain “offensive language,” and are “unsuited to age group.” every afternoon with their after school snack. At least with books, they are actually reading and working their brain a bit.

Here is the list of the top 100 most challenged books of might be a little surprised to see some classics and some favorite books on this list.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Some of Blake's Favorites

Sometimes, in the morning, after Blake first wakes up and is out of her crib, I catch her snuggled up in her chair with a quilt, her bottle, and a book. I love these moments because I feel her imagination and creativity are being nurtured. When I was a kid, I dreamed of summers because I could read all day long if I wanted. I would climb in to my tent or under a tree or in the hammock and read...I devoured books! I hope and pray that my children have the same love for reading and books. Here are some of our favorite books now:
When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.
~Kathleen Kelly played by Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Meet Henry and Oscar...

Introducing Henry (left) and Oscar. We have been looking for a kitten for a while now and when we went to see the litter of kittens, Andy told me to get both of them. Welcome boys!
Ahem: The kittens were rather upset that I did not include their titles when I introduced them to you....their proper names are Sir Henry and Lord Oscar...I'm glad we got that all cleared up.

Favorite Children's Books Turned to Movie

I love reading a book and then watching the are some of my favorite children's books turned to movie:
Matilda by Roald Dahl

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Other Children's Books turned to movies:
Anne of Green Gables
The Cat in the Hat
Harry Potter
Polar Express
James and the Giant Peach
A Little Princess
Bridge to Terabithia

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Children's Book Week Nov. 12-18th :: My Favorite Books when I was a kid

I love books and reading. One of my best memories from childhood was when I had won a poster contest...I had to draw a poster about reading. I drew a picture of a lion with the words " Roar Through Reading!" Because I won in my age group, I was awarded $75.00 to the Tattered Covered Book fifth-grade self could not have been happier with that prize. I remember coming home so excited about the books I had purchased with the $75...I think I read all summer long.

I still love children's literature. I love the kids section of the library and book stores. My favorite class in college was Elementary Curriculum in Reading and Language Arts because we were able to learn about all sorts of children's books. I actually considered going back to get my masters so I could be a reading specialist. I just love reading.
This week is Children's Book Week. Since 1919, educators, librarians, booksellers, and families have celebrated Children's Book Week during the week before Thanksgiving. During this week, I am going to post some of my favorite Children's books. Enjoy.

Favorite books when I was a child:
Miss Suzy is a little gray squirrel who lives happily in her oak-tree home until she is chased away by some mean red squirrels. Poor Miss Suzy is very sad. But soon she finds a beautiful dollhouse and meets a band of brave toy soldiers.
Life is delicious in the town of Chewandswallow where it rains soup and juice, snows mashed potatoes, and blows storms of hamburgers--until the weather takes a turn for the worse.

The poor mother of seven children, each named for a day of the week, goes off to market promising to return with individual gifts that each child has requested and admonishing them to lock the door to strangers and not to touch the fire. The gullible children are tricked into disobeying their mother by the witch, Heckedy Peg, who turns them all into various kinds of food.
One day, the wife of an illiterate man needs to leave town and she tells her husband what he will need to purchase at the store while she is gone. He heads off to the store and when he gets there, he does his very best to purchase what his wife told him to purchase, but instead of reading the labels (which he obviously can't do), he purchases products that "look" like what he is supposed to buy. Instead of spaghetti, he brings home wax paper. Instead of sugar, salt. Instead of regular milk, he finds himself drinking the (dreaded) buttermilk. Needless to say, he has a miserable time while his wife is gone (and he is starving when she gets back) and upon her arrival home, he insists that she teach him how to read.

More books to come!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday Morning Testing Jitters

Today, Andy is testing with Aurora Fire Department...please keep the whole testing situation in your prayers. Testing is not Andy's best skill...he is awesome at the interview and the physical part of it, but like me, math is not the easiest thing in the world...our poor children will have to learn math all on their own. The test starts at 9:30AM and will be done around noon. He really wants to get on with a fire department...hopefully this is it.

UPDATE: Andy did great on his test...we will find out next week if he makes it on to the next round! Way to go Andy!

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Big 2-5

Yesterday was my birthday...the big 2-5...thank goodness I can finally rent a car. We spent yesterday getting ready for our Adoption Auction but we celebrated the day before by going to Hacienda Colorado, a wonderful Mexican restaurant with my parents. I am always so blessed on my birthday...Andy's parents gave me some beautifully unique pearl jewelry, Blake gave me this shirt, Andy gave me some Uggs...I have been wanting them for a very, very long time, and my parents gave me this sign for our house and a journal and some fun notepads. My parents also gave me this really cool coffee sign to put in our house...I actually found it (accidentally) in their basement last January...early Happy Birthday to me! My family knows me oh so well. Since it was my birthday, here are 25 things you might not know about me:

1. I love Starbucks...I use to spend hours there studying and reading and praying, and meeting with friends...I like the coffee too.
2. Since before I could remember, I was always intrigued with Africa.
3. I love living in Colorado.
4.I have been to the Philippines.
5.I did not see the ocean until I was 15 years old.
6. I love to paint.
7. I have a tattoo.
8. I play guitar...not very often, but I do play it.
9. I would love to live off the grid.
10. I love children's literature....the children's section of the book store is my absolutely favorite.
11. I have eaten Frog, Zebra, Hartebeest, Eland, Crocodile, Impala.
12. I am basically a vegetarian.
13. I am the oldest of four kids.
14. I've been to an N-Sync Concert (I didn't say I would be proud of all 25 things.)
15. I want to write a book someday.
16. I only went to three years of high school.
17. I love taking pictures.
18. I have read all of the Harry Potter Books and eagerly await for movie #5 to be released on DVD.
19. I'm kinda a dork.
20. When I was little, I wanted to be a professional singer when I grew up.
21. I hate roller coasters...with a passion.
22. I have my degree in elementary education.
23. I like to sew things.
24. My favorite book is Blue Like Jazz.
25. I would completely consider living overseas for a time...I think it would be a huge adventure.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Halloween

For Halloween this year, we were joined by the cutest fifties girl I have ever seen. Blake was so excited...she even was allowed to wear some bright pink lipstick...Andy thought it finished off her ensemble. We went trick or treating in our friend's neighborhood and then we went to the Family Fun Night our church puts on. Blake was in heaven...there were carnival games and rides and a petting zoo...she was even able to ride a miniature horse (the highlight of the night).
Going trick or treating last night was the hardest part of the evening...Blake loved going up to different houses and having them put something in her bag...she has not had any candy, but she realizes that there is something special about do you let your child go trick or treating without keeping the candy??? What do I do when she is older? I know that one day (hopefully far off) she will have candy...I love candy and I want her to enjoy it also, but what do I do next year at Halloween when I would still rather her not have candy??? Hmmm.
All in all we had a wonderful night...Halloween was fun, but bring on Thanksgiving!