Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Papers, papers

I've been busy filling out paperwork for our dossier (fancy name for adoption papers).  Yesterday, we all took a trip to the Sheriff's Office so Nathaniel and I could have our fingerprints done.  The kids had a good time with that.  They liked watching us get fingerprinted, and the officers gave them coloring books, stickers, suckers, and crayons.  It didn't take long, and the kids were sufficiently charmed into behaving, so it went really well.  Malachi wants to be a police officer (as of now), so he was particularly interested.  The officer encouraged him and let him feel his badge.  He got a jr badge sticker just like it.  He was pretty quiet there, but I could tell by his eyes that he was very happy.

Our next step is the first homestudy visit.  Also, we're doing some parent education online and such.  That will be on-going for a few months.  We are moving forward!

Monday, January 21, 2013


Here is Lydia, wearing the cape because you know, she is Batman!  I hear "To the bat cave!" all day.  Her room is the bat cave.

 Malachi gave a grin when I asked for his picture.  He has been a bit under the weather this weekend.  I was glad the kids had today off school so he was able to get more rest.

And here's my big guy, Elijah.  He has trouble giving a natural smile for pictures, which is a shame because he has a great smile.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Chocolate Cinnamon Bars


This recipe was originally my Grandmommy's, although I don't recall eating these as a kid like I do some treats.  My mom and sister rediscovered this recipe when my aunt made them a couple of years ago, and I've been meaning to try them.  I finally did, and they are wonderful!

2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 c sugar, divided
1 T and 1 tsp cinnamon, divided
1 c soft butter*
1 egg
1 egg, separated
1 package chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate)
1/2 c nuts (I use pecans)

Mix butter, 3/4c sugar, egg and egg yolk.  Add flour, baking powder, 1Tcinnamon.  Spread into greased 13 x 9" pan.  Beat the remaining egg white slightly and brush over mix.  Combine remaining 1/4 c sugar and 1tsp   cinnamon and sprinkle over top.  Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

*My butter wasn't getting soft, so I melted it.  It worked fine.

I made these to take to a church dinner tonight, but I let everyone try one first.  They are delicious!  (And I put them on a platter so no one can tell that there are some missing!)  The bars cut easily and stay together for serving, but they crumble and melt in your mouth.

Disclaimer for those that have the original recipe: I swapped butter for the shortening and reduced the sugar by 1/3c.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I know by now you all know that we have been planning on adopting for years.  We have just started the process, but I wanted to let you know that I can't be posting much on the blog.  We aren't allowed to post which country we are considering, or any "identifying information" of the child when we do get a referral.  I can say that we are just at the start of a very long process.  It looks like it will be about 2 years before we have the child in our home.  It will definitely be more than 1 year from now, as that seems to be the minimum to get all the paperwork and traveling in order.  We are open to a boy or a girl, and we're looking at an age range of about 1-4 years.  We talked with the kids about it last night, and they are pretty excited.  Elijah wants us to adopt a boy and a girl.  Malachi wants a boy.  Lydia goes between wanting a sister and wanting a little brother.  (We think she wants a brother she can boss around!)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Roaring 20s

Well, tonight Nathaniel and I hired a babysitter for the first time since we've been here (you know, about 5 years).  It was his company's annual dinner/dance, and this year's theme was the 1920s.  We thought that would be fun (and it was!), so we got into the spirit:
 My man looks so good in pinstripes!  And I love the vest.

I made my dress to have a 20s look.  I used some of the fabric from Missy's grandma-in-law's stash, and I used a scarf my mother-in-law bought in San Francisco's Chinatown for the sash, so I actually had a free dress.  I thought it turned out pretty cute.  

I spent quite a bit of time looking on line at 1920s fashions, and I decided to go with the drop-waist dress and sash.  I knew the flapper-style dress with fringe would be popular, but fringe is expensive and that style is really not very flattering on me, so I used a bodice pattern for a drop-waist dress and modified the bottom part because the pattern I had wasn't 20s at all.  In the end, I was pretty pleased.  I modified a pattern and it came out about what I had in mind.  And I even sewed darts on the bodice and put some flair on the dress with the front piece.  Several people commented on the dress, so I guess I did all right.  I'd never made a dress for myself, and this one was more costume than regular dress, but I think I'll use the orange fabric that is like this blue and make a summer dress.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I haven't mentioned the chickens lately.  Things have been going pretty well with them, until yesterday.  The boys had put the chickens up the night before, but they obviously didn't count them, and they left Squatch out.  Lydia and I found her dead in the third yard yesterday morning.  Something ate her, but in this cold, she would have probably died regardless without the protection of the coop.  She was our last barred rock hen, and my favorite.  We had a talk about responsibility.

In the spring, Nathaniel and I are planning on buying new chicks.  We want more barred rocks, and possibly some Buff Orpingtons or a more broody type.  We are down to just 2 hens (Leaf and Crest) and Puff the rooster now.  Puff may (probably) end up as dinner in the spring, but for now he's allowed to live since we just have so few chickens.  On the plus side, Crest lays an egg every single day, and Leaf lays about 5 a week, so we are still going to get about a dozen eggs a week.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Beef and Barley Stew

Beef and barley stew is one of the most comforting foods I make in the winter.  I've never put the recipe on the blog because it does take a while to make, but it is so worth it.  I often make it on lazy days when I'm home all afternoon, because then it's not too hard to remember to stir it every once in a while.  I first came up with the recipe when we lived in the apartment, about 4 years ago.  So here it is:

Start with 1 1/2 to 2 lbs of stew meat, cut in bite-sized chunks.  Sprinkle it with salt and pepper and dredge it in some flour, then brown it in oil in the bottom of your stew pot.  Take the meat out, add about 2 T oil and 

1 chopped onion
1 diced carrot
1 diced rib of celery
4 chopped garlic cloves

Cook these vegetables for about 5 minutes on med heat, stirring often.  Then put the meat back in and liberally sprinkle everything with worchestershire sauce, salt and pepper.  I also add about a teaspoon of Italian seasoning.  Add enough water to cover.  (Add Optional nutrition boost: 1 c pureed pumpkin.)  Then bring it to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  You can cut this time frame shorter or make it longer without real problems.  Then add:
1/2 c barley (pearl)
1/2 - 1 c water
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 can of peas 

Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 min or more.

It's a very yummy comfort food perfect for cold days.  It reheats well as leftovers, but I don't freeze it because the texture went kinda funky on me once.  I love that it is packed full of vegetables, but it tastes so beefy that it's one of Nathaniel's favorite meals. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Kitchen Floors

I forgot to tell you about the kitchen floors.  Nathaniel and I finished them over the end of the break, and they look fabulous.  They really brighten up my kitchen, and I love them.

 I love, love, love my hardwood floors!  And here is a shot of Katie.  Her eye looks so much better than it did.  She can't see out of it, of course, and it probably will never look "normal," but it does look much better.

Now, the only room we need to lay hardwood in is our bedroom and closet.  First, though, we're going to patch and paint the walls.  And we're not all done with the kitchen; after our bedroom is done, we're going to install our butcher block counter tops.  They have been in the garage for months (along with the flooring), but we still have to cut and seal them and let them sit for a while before installing.  And eventually, we will have to re-tile the fireplace in the living room, but that's going to be even further down the line.  


I got a picture of the kids in front of our tree.  The boys are wearing their new pajamas.

And just to prove that Malachi really does smile, just not for pictures, I took these, too:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Well, this is the end of Christmas break.  The kids are not looking forward to heading back to school tomorrow!  And I'm sure Nathaniel is even less excited about heading back to work.  It's been a nice break for us.  Here is a brief recap:

We enjoyed Christmas Eve and Christmas day with family.  Then, the day after Christmas, we woke up to this:

Nathaniel shoveled the road (for about 3 hours)!

The kids had a ball in the snow.  And Sleepy Hollow is such a beautiful wonderland when it snows like this!

We came home, and then it snowed here, though not as much.  The kids have gotten in plenty of time in the snow, though.  It's pretty much gone here now.  And it's back to "normal" tomorrow.  

Happy New Year!