Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ralph can sing!

These friends in every possible way! 

We attend worship services as a family every week. The kids sit with us. Every week. When everyone stands, we all stand. When everyone sits, we all sit. When everyone sings, well...

Ralph likes music, but he isn't crazy about it. If you play something thumping, he might dance. When I sign, "time to sing," he says "no!"

Until last Sunday. I caught him singing! I told him, "awesome job, singing!" He smiled. Will he sing next week? Probably not! I can hope though, right?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ripping seams

There is a very special boy who has just been adopted from Ukraine and is coming home to the USA today. He was once Theo's roommate and was the last orphan to get out of Crimea. His passport didn't make it out though, so that caused a big delay.

I'm working on a comfy, raggy quilt for him. I just put the last piece together and spread it out to take a look. Oops. It's all wrong. If I had looked more closely at this photo I took yesterday when I was getting started I would have seen it. The strip on the left is upside down. 

Out comes the seam ripper. It's got to be right. After years of ripped and patched sheets, communal clothing and no one to give a hoot, he's getting a well done blanket. It's not nearly perfect, my old sewing maching is giving me fits, but it's got to be my best. 

What does your Sunday afternoon look like?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

FB made me a lazy blogger...

Last week I heard from a friend, a dear friend, a really grown-up friend who is taking a break from Facebook. She said she would be keeping up with me through this blog. Ouch!

Let's face it, FB has made me a lazy blogger. 

FB is a great tool for connecting. I have contacts all over the world that I interact with daily. I get instant feedback and validation. I get a lot of work done but it can be like a drug!

Here I feel like I'm writing to a big empty space. I see that there are page views but rarely get comments. NOT complaining! It's just a different experience and I got sucked into the quick-fix, easy feedback world of FB. 

My spring resolution, in honor of my sweet friend, is to keep a better blog. I can make spring resolutions, can't I?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Comfort Food

We are expecting snow today. The sky is heavy gray. It's the perfect morning for some comfort food...biscuits and gravy!

I can't believe I have never really been intentional about the way to make B&G. This morning I found myself pondering which to start with first. If I try to make both at the same time, something would definitely get scorched!

I thought for a few minutes and it suddenly made sense. I prepared the biscuits first and I let them sit while I make the gravy. It gives the baking powder a little extra time to get started and I get fluffier biscuits. I sometimes make drop biscuits, but I almost never regret the extra work it takes to knead and cut them. Who doesn't love all those yummy layers?!

Lately, I have been using this recipe:

I use half butter, half coconut oil in place of the shortening. I also use half unbleached white and half whole wheat flour. 

For the gravy, I use 1 pound of Jimmy Dean sausage. You can use less if you are cooking for fewer people. It's easy to adjust on the fly. I add a little coconut oil to the crumbled, browned sausage because the Jimmy Dean is not too fatty. Dump some white four into your greasy meat and stir. Keep adding flour until the oil is completely absorbed and then add a tablespoon or so more. Pour milk over your meat/flour mix. It's great, and quicker, if your milk is at room temp. (Quick, throw those biscuits into the oven now)

Stir and stir and stir while you bring your gravy to a boil. Don't walk away!! Season with salt and lots of pepper. I like to use poultry seasoning or sage and thyme also. My boys like eggs cooked over-easy on top of their B&G. The biscuits (I make mini sized ones) and gravy disappeared almost faster than I could get a photo!

We really enjoy comfort food on snowy days like today. What is your favorite snow-day comfort food?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

One Year Later

One year ago today I carried my Maximus out of the orphanage he called home. He has blended into our family with apparent ease!

He has his quirks, like any other person in the world...but...

He is obsessed with water.

And you know what? Zhen is obsessed with water.

And Theo is obsessed with water.

What is up with that?

Last week I watched a video about Engedi, an oasis on this western side of the Dead Sea, located on the edge of the Judean Wilderness. The wilderness is dusty, desolate and lonely. Tucked in an unlikely corner of this wasteland, the waters of Engedi pour out of the rocks, creating a lush little piece of paradise.

In the Bible, when the water pours from a spring or a fountain like Engedi, it's called "living" water, as opposed to water from a cistern, or storage reservoir. Living water is life giving, cold and refreshing. Water that's been sitting around is not cold, not refreshing, and who knows what's been floating or swimming in it.

“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
    the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
    broken cisterns that cannot hold water.  Jer. 2:13

Water is so powerful. It is essential for life and well being. Without it we die. I consider my boys' time in the orphanage as time in the desert. They were barely sustained. They were literally and purposely dehydrated by the people in charge of their care. Less pee = fewer diapers. My boys are non-verbal, but just today I heard from a mom of another un-orphan who is verbal. This is what the child told his mom, "I was very thirsty in Ukraine. Nobody wanted me to have wet mouth. It was hard." They were sustained by a broken system/cistern that could not hold water but they knew nothing else.

They knew no "living" water. be continued.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Snow Day!!

Ralph and the whole crew are rocking this house today!! All is serene and lovely outside, but inside is a different story! It's loud. Boistrous. A little on the crazy side.

Many of our neighbors hit the store for bread and milk last night. We have been baking out own bread for over a month now, so I knew we would be ok as long as we had flour on hand. I've got two loaves of sourdough raising for supper tonight. It will go great with a big pot of potato soup, AKA heaven in a bowl!

Since I have all the children at home today, I think we will work on cleaning up the basement. It's not pretty, but working up an appetite never hurt anyone.

In other news, we have baby kittens! Look at that sweet little orange kitty. The other is gray, with a vanila splash across the forehead. I'll get some better photos when they get a little bigger, but I need to think about finding homes for these two little peanuts. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Do Something Worth Writing

Among lots of other things, Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."

I haven't been writing much, so I guess I'm supposed to be doing the latter. 

My days lately have been filled to overflowing with homeschooling, cooking from scratch, laundry, diapers, more cooking. Is that worth writing about? Maybe...

But I know someone who IS doing something worth writing about. So I'll write about her.

Since early in December, my friend and Project TLC partner, Shelly, has been in Eastern Europe on a mission to adopt four children. It's been a tough road, with inexplicable roadblocks littered along the way including being told she would not be able to adopt the children she had grown to love and worked so hard to reach, but must adopt four different children or none at all. You can read all about it HERE.

Being a strong orphan advocate and experienced adoptive mom, Shelly was not about to go home empty handed. The Lord directed her to four darling little boys who might not have been discovered otherwise. Boys whose ultimate potential in their culture would have been realized in a mental institution. Finally, a ray of sunshine! Court is scheduled this week and she'll be bringing the new boys home to her family after a short waiting period.

With an extended period of time in country, funds for returning home have become an issue. Many of the costs associated with adoption in this country are on the back end. Medical appointments, immigration visas, plane tickets. Right now, Shelly is about $4000 short to get the kids home.

I'm so happy to call Shelly my friend. I love to hang out with people who are willing to do the hard things, the right things, the sacrificial things. After she gets home with the boys, I'll have some fun things to share about her adoption...sweet little threads of God's goodness. But until then, please help us raise the final bit of ransom to get these kids home!

A donor has offered a $100 Target gift drawing for all donations over $25. I'll draw a name from donations under $25 to receive a hardcover copy of The Boy from Baby House 10. Go here to donate and check on progress: 

Thank you!