Saturday, July 28, 2007

Photo Hunters - Creative

This week's Photo Hunters theme of "creative" leaves A LOT of room for interpretation. Can't wait to see what pictures eveyone chose.

The Hunt - Creative

My daughter took this photo. I love the way she captured the hot air balloons in the van window. I thought it was a really creative way to take a balloon picture instead of your typical "point at the sky and shoot" method.

Stop by TNChick to see her "creative" photo. And if you want to see two of THE COOLEST pictures of "creative" drop by Castleruins - the Photo Hunters "Site of the Week."

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.

Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Favorite Ingredients Friday - Appetizers & Snacks

Each week Overwhelmed with Joy hosts Favorite Ingredient Friday. It's a terrific place to go for yummy recipes. Today is a special edition. She asking for recipes for appetizers and snacks. Here's my contribution - a delicious dip. I never have any leftovers of this when I take this to a potluck. Many times I'm asked for the recipe. Here it is.

Super Sausage Dip

1 lb. bulk sausage (as spicy or mild as you like it)
1 can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with green chiles (again as spicy or mild as you like) Do not drain.
16 oz. cream cheese
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can corn niblets, drained and rinsed (optional)

Brown sausage until crisp. Drain fat. Add Ro-Tel, and bring up heat to a simmer. Add cream cheese and stir over medium heat until it has melted. Stir in beans (and corn, if using). Turn down and let simmer about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens to a dipping consistency. Serve with tortillas chips. Use microwave for reheating leftovers (if you have any). You can also use it as a baked potato topper.

Dog Days of Summer Giveaway - Winners! (updated)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

What an amazing week of giveaways! Fun, fun, fun! My thanks to the wonderful Shannon for organizing it and managing it. (Which turned out to be a much bigger job - over 500 giveaways - than she imagined.)

I used a random number generator to select my winners.

  • Anastasia is the winner of Year-Round Crafts for Kids and
    The School Days Album - a scrapbook of your child's school records, photos & keepsakes

  • Susanne wins a Pastormac's Ann original pysanky egg

  • Monk5 wins the cute little "hexapus" massager. (It really works!)

  • and finally

  • the coveted 365 Ways to Cook Chicken and 365 Ways to Cook Pasta books go to Dawn.

Thanks so much to everyone to stopped by my giveaway. I had a lot of fun. Now I'm off to get packing for Ethiopia. We leave in a week! Yikes!

Update: The first winner selected for the "hexapus" massager, Karen C., emailed me to let me know that she had won multiple giveaways; she asked me to pick a different winner, so as to "spread around a little more giveaway love" as Shannon suggested today.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dog Days of Summer Giveaway

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The waning days of summer always leave me a bit blue. Leave it to Shannon to give us all a lift. She's hosting a Dog Days of Summer Giveaway. Already there are HUNDREDS (I kid you not) of great giveaways happening all over Blogland! You can get the details here if you want to play along too. It's going on all week. Come back by The Production sometime when you're not in a rush to get to all the other giveaways and read about our amazing adoption story.

Now, on to my giveaways.
  • Year-Round Crafts for Kids and
    The School Days Album - a scrapbook of your child's school records, photos & keepsakes

  • A genuine pysanky egg done by me.

  • A cute little "hexapus" massager

  • and finally

  • 365 Ways to Cook Chicken and 365 Ways to Cook Pasta

All you have to do to enter my giveaway is leave a comment (no multiple comments, please!) on this post and have a valid email address. I'm closing comments on Friday, July 27th at 12:05AM so I can draw the names of four winners and announce them later on that day. I'm willing to ship internationally. You don't need a blog to enter or win!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Photo Hunters - Tiny

The Photo Hunters were in search of something "tiny" this week. This one was tough for me. When I think of "tiny" I think microscopic, and I can't take a picture of something like that. I thought about posting a picture of my new Ethiopian daughter because she's pretty tiny to me. But instead I took this photo. These are pysanky eggs. Not done by me. (Don't I wish they were.) The little one is a bantam egg and the pysanky on it really is tiny. I've put it next to a duck egg for comparison.

The Hunt - Tiny

TNChick has been having a rough time of it. Go by and wish her well and see her choice of "tiny." And don't forget to drop for a look at the "tiny" photo at East Coast Life, she's the Photo Hunters "Site of the Week."

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.

Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

Friday, July 20, 2007

My Childhood Home

Mary over at Owlhaven asked us to share some favorite memories of our childhood homes. I've been thinking about this post all day long (actually for several days) and finally I've found the time to sit down and write it. It was fun thinking back to the place I called home until I made my home with Pastormac.

I grew up in two homes. Both in the same city in Small Town USA. The first was the house that my dad was born (!) and raised in. I remember walking from my room to my parents' room in the middle of the night and the moon shone in through big picture windows in the sunroom. I remember too, sleeping in sleeping bags on the front porch with my brothers and sisters on warm summer nights with bats flying off over our heads. We moved from this home before my 5th birthday so I don't remember too much more about it.

I spent rest of my childhood in the home on 1 Crescent Drive. I still remember my phone number.

I remember sharing a room with my older sister. I remember she snored and I talked in my sleep and we were each bugged by the other's annoying nighttime habit. I remember the ugly sound the alarm on her clock radio made when she got up early for swim practice. I remember building blanket forts over our beds which fell down on us during the night while we slept. I remember giving up our room each and every Christmas to an aunt and uncle who came to celebrate the holiday with us. Every year we slept together in a tiny pull-out sofa bed in a back TV room.

I remember my dad coming in to kiss me goodnight and give me a backscratch every single night until I went away to college. I remember my dad coming to kiss me goodbye in the morning every single day before he went to work, right before he kissed my mom. I remember the sound of his feet clunking down the stairs and his car starting in the garage.

I remember watching TV with my older brothers in my parents' sitting room in the afternoons before my folks came home from work and then rushing to turn it off and get out of there when we heard their cars pull into the driveway.

I remember BBQing and swimming and my dad's delicious homemade chocolate walnut ice cream on the 4th of July. I remember the sound of the ice cream maker as it churned away outside the backdoor and the way the mortor groaned when the ice cream was almost ready.

I remember our yellow kitchen, bright and warm and cheerfully inviting, a fireplace and breakfast room with fireplace adjoining. I remember my mom there working her cooking magic. I remember helping her prepare huge Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. I remember getting all dressed up for dinner and eating on the good china in the dining room. I remember doing the piles and piles of dishes afterwards with all my brothers and sister.

I remember watching my oldest brother proposing to his financee as she sat in the kitchen with all of us standing around waiting to see her reaction. (We knew she'd say yes.)

I remember my mom catching us as we walked through the kitchen and two-stepping with us.

I remember my dad deciding to turn our back patio into a pool when I was in 3rd grade. I remember my mom coming to get me from school so we could watch as a giant crane lifted the pool off the semi-truck that had brought it to our town and up over our house, placing it into the hole that had been dug to hole it. I remember playing Marco-Polo and other fun pool games with my siblings.

I remember sitting by the pool after dark in a lawn chair beside my dad as he taught me the constellations.

I remember talking with my mom in the evening as she watered her roses and honeysuckle. The sweet smell of both filling the air.

I remember watching mom walk to the end of our yard, slip off her shoe and then punt a football WAY down the street to my waiting brothers. I was so impressed.

I remember my parents standing together at the front window waving goodbye to me every time I left to go back to college and then later to Pastormac & me (and then us and our kids) each time it was time for us to leave.

I could go on and on but I think I might cry. So I'll stop here.

May our home now be a place of many many warm and happy memories for our children.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Good News and Bad News

I've got good news and bad news. Which do you want first?

Okay, the bad news first. (you didn't really have a choice.) We found out on Monday that barring a miracle from God, there is no way that our boy Bear is going to have a successful court date before the end of the month when the Ethiopian courts close for the rainy season until sometime in October. Even if the court date took place tomorrow, getting a new birth certificate printed pushes us past court closure. And we still waiting on the ever-ellusive last bit of paperwork, with no real end in sight.

We are SO SAD! When we accepted our adoption referral back in March, we never imagined that we would miss getting a successful court date in before the yearly rainy season court closures. Yet that is exactly how it is. He's there. We're here. Still waiting for him to become our son. So frustrating. So heart-breaking. So hard to accept that he will come to us in God's perfect timing, yet resigned to and comforted by that fact.

The sadness and frustration is only tempered by the good news...


That's right. We have a confirmed Embassy date (to apply for a US visa to bring her home) on August 7th, so we're flying out of here in the wee hours of the morning on the 4th. And while we're there we'll at least be able to see our Bear.

So without further ado, may I present to you, LemLem, the newest member of The Production.

This is how she looked when we first laid eyes on her. Isn't she lovely?

Last month, we got these updated pictures.

And on Monday, attached to our Embassy instructions we found her new birth certificate - we're her parents! Am I dreaming?

If you're so inclined, we could use your prayers as we get ready for this trip. There is just so much to do as I have to prepare for an international trip and also see to the care of the five children we're leaving at home.


Here are two great ways to help a family after the birth or adoption of a baby.

  • Grab some of your friends, family, neighbors and organize dinner meals for the family. Our church has a group of ladies that does this and we try to have meals for the new baby's family every other night for about two weeks. It's not a surprise; you coordinate with the family so that you can know food preferences and/or allergies and when to start. And it certainly wouldn't necessarily have to be church-related as you could do the same thing with you and a group of your friends or neighbors. I've benefitted from this 5 times and I can't begin to tell you what a wonderful thing it is not to have to worry about that dinner meal, leaving much more time for resting and enjoying the new baby.

  • I wish I had thought up this next idea but alas no. I was dropping off a meal like I just described and as I was leaving, the new mom handed me one of these cute little packages as a "thank you."
    She said that a girlfriend of hers had made her a basket of them (we all knew the baby was a girl - hence the pink.) to give away to friends and family who would be dropping off meals and stopping in to admire the new baby. (Who was too adorable for words, I might add.) I thought that it was so amazingly thoughtful of her friend. (And I sure didn't mind leaving with some chocolate.) I just had to pass it on.

More great WFMW tips.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Photo Hunters - Shadow(s)

In search of "shadow(s)" this week.

The Hunt - Shadow(s)

A self-portrait of sorts - painted by the sun.

Go by TNChick's for a look at her "shadow." Kyrie Eleison is the Photo Hunters "Site of the Week" so check out his choice of "shadow" too.

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.

Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

Friday, July 13, 2007

11 at 10 by #1

As has been my custom for the last year, I handing over my blog today to #1Son who is celebrating his 10th! birthday. So here is his list of 11 things about him. One for each year and one to grow on.

Hi, #1Son here. I'm turning 10 today! Yay. Here's my list, I've been thinking about these for a while.

11 at 10 by #1

  • 1. I love to act. I was in two drama productions this year. I had great parts in both. And it was SOOOO much fun. It's hard work but it's still fun. I'm looking forward to this fall to see what part I might get.

  • 2. This year my drama director gave us each a $10 movie coupon. I thought that was nice of him.

  • 3. Last fall I got to go to a live production of The Phantom of the Opera. It was so cool. I loved it. My mom bought me a pin for a souvenir. It looks like the Phantom's mask.

  • 4. I've gone to two auditions for real parts in real movies. I even got one call back. I didn't get either part. But auditioning was really fun.

  • 5. I'd still like to be a singer.

  • 6. I'm a big fan of a Danish singer named Caroline, who is only 12 years old. That's inpires me that age doesn't have to keep you from doing things you want to do.

  • 7. I have lots of favorite singers like Miley Cyrus, Caroline, Hillary Duff, Play, Jump 5, Crystal Meyers, Weird Al, Jesse Daniels, Kelly Clarkson, and Avril Lavigne (my mom won't let me listen to all her songs.)

  • 8. I like to climb trees. Actually I like to climb anything.

  • 9. I'm really excited that we're adopting two babies from Ethiopia. My new sister is super cute. I can't wait until they can come home. It's taking FOREVER.

  • 10. I like to write my own songs. Sometimes my brother and I record our own CD's and also film our own music videos.

  • And one to grow on...

  • 11. I think I know what I'm getting for my birthday....a video camera. I can't wait until present opening time!

Thanks for reading! Leave me a message if you like my list. See you next year...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

WFMW (updated)

Are you having one of those days when a couple of your children can't seem to stop bickering with each other?

Try this: have them sit together, holding hands for 5 minutes and pray about the situation and for each other. We tried this technique on the 4th of July with our 12 and 14 year old girls when they just couldn't get along for more than a few minutes while they were together helping with our celebration preparations. It was driving me nuts! Finally, I told them they had to do this. You would have thought that I had just asked the 12 year old to hold a red hot poker but she did it. And the results where...REMARKABLE! (Thanks God!) The rest of the day they were cooperative, kind, really a lot help, and a joy to have around; I couldn't have done without them.

And lest you think that it only works for older kids - the other day, just the threat of having to sit on the couch, holding hands with each other, (I hadn't even mentioned the praying part yet) got two of my boys (ages 9 & 7) to quit fighting with each other and play together kindly.

(Obviously, you can adjust the time needed according to the age of the children involved. Maybe you can tell them that they have to sit and pray together until they're ready to cooperate and work/play together nicely. If they're right back to bickering, send them back to the couch together for more prayer & quiet time.)

Works for me!

More great WFMW tips.

Update: If you're not comfortable the the praying part of this, you could modify it and just have your kids sit together holding hands and then have each of them take turns listing 5 (or more) things that they like and appreciate about the other. If they finish quickly, then they would sit quietly together.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Photo Hunters - Fake

Something "fake" was what the Photo Hunters were searching for this week. This was a tough one for me but after a quick visit to several of the Photo Hunters posts for today I was able to come up with this one.

The Hunt - Fake

Although we DID see a real lobo at the zoo, #1Son had to limit his riding to this bronze one that sits outside the zoo entrance. Definitely "fake," and a good thing it was!

TNChick has an interesting photo of "fake" today, and drop by Picture Clusters - the Photo Hunters' "Site of the Week."

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.

Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

America, America...God shed His grace on thee...

This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.
- Lyndon B. Johnson

Happy Independence Day to the ol' U.S. of A.!

Photo by Ladyheart. Used by permission morgueFile.