Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Knit-Along for Japan

Here is this week's installment in Ginny's Knit-Along.  My dear friend, Mary from Homegrown Learners suggested that we Knit for Japan (also hosted by Ginny).  She suggested we each make a hat to be donated to help victims of the tsunami.  She has learned to knit recently and I'm so excited to see her already reaching beyond knitting square things (scarves and dishclothes).  She chose the Amanda Hat, knit in the round with a lace pattern! Check out her hat here!

I finally finished my Heart to Heart Lace shawlette.  It took over a year, but I'm so pleased with the result!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Six Months Together and Milestone Update

Last week we celebrated six months as a family of four.  It's hard to believe that it has been that long! Noah has really settled into our family.  He loves showing off his dance moves!

Six months ago he was frightened and angry!
Now he's a happy little brother who wants to be just like Micah.
He is doing pretty well overall.  He seems to be on target for most social, emotional and gross and fine motor milestones.  He continues to lag behind in language.  By two years, most children will have many words and will begin to use two word sentences.  Noah has only a handful of spoken words.  Mama, Libby, Mao (for cat), nap, snap, oh-oh and his favorite, snack!  I think he calls Micah "Nuh" which is what Micah called himself for a long time.  He has said a few other words while imitating others, but I'm not convinced he has conquered these words.  His newest word is cheese which represents a new vowel sound for him. He has a larger vocabulary of signs:  yes, juice, cheese, please, shoes, yogurt and all done. 

He has speech therapy through Babies Can't Wait once or twice a month.  We will have his speech evaluated at Scottish Rite in May and then we'll have a better idea of exactly where he is. 

What's for Dinner? Crust-less Spinach Quiche

Today's recipe comes courtesy of  I doubled the original amount of spinach in order to get more veggies into my boys.  They both love this one!  

Crust-less Spinach Quiche


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 16 oz shredded Muenster cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in spinach and continue cooking until excess moisture has evaporated.
  3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add spinach mixture and stir to blend. Scoop into prepared pie pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until eggs have set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. 
Head over to Homegrown Learners and see what else is for dinner. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yarn Along

I love to knit and I love to read.  Apparently many knitters are also readers.  I am once again joining the Yarn Along to share with others who share my affinities.  

I have just started reading Choosing to See by MaryBeth Chapman.  She wrote the book after losing her daughter in a tragic accident.  It's such a sad situation, I've had a hard time bringing myself to read the book because I can't imagine the pain she must feel.  

My big project is a circular sweater knitting in yummy Malabrigo Rios, a washable wool.  It's so soft and a pleasure to knit with.  The pattern is called Pole and I'm participating in a knit-along led by the designer herself.  That's been really helpful since I'm using a different yarn than originally specified and that has affected the gauge and drape of the fabric.  She's also helped me tweak the design for a custom fit.  

I'm celebrating Malabrigo March by knitting various projects in Malabrigo yarns.  I knit a cute hat for me since I seem to have lost my favorite Malabrigo hat. 

What's for Dinner? Betty's Salad

Today's recipe is for a Toledo classic.  Originated by Toledo restaurateur Betty Timko, it's my all-time favorite salad.  Of course no one in the South has heard of Betty or her wonderful salad with signature dressing, so I have to make it at home. 

6 hard boiled eggs, sliced
bean sprouts
bacon crumbles

1/2 c. salad oil 
3/4 c. sugar 
3/4 c. ketchup
1/4 c. vinegar 
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 
1 med. onion, minced
1 tsp. salt

Blend above ingredients with immersion blender or in a mixer or blender. The dressing can be served cold or can be warmed for a special treat.  

Head over to Homegrown Learners and see what else is for dinner. 

Monday, March 14, 2011


This week we completed readoptions for our boys.  Their adoptions were final in China, but completing a "domestication" will result in the issuance of a Georgia birth certificate in their adoptive names. Judge Sams was so nice and his staff was so helpful.  They said it was one of the happiest things they get to do.  After the hearing, we celebrated with playing by the courthouse and brunch at McDonald's!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

What's for Dinner? Family-style French Toast

Dontcha love french toast?  Dontcha hate being stuck at the griddle cooking slices of french toast while your family eats your creation so it doesn't get cold?  The answer?  Family-style French toast.  Original recipe courtesy of my favorite site,!


  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 10-12 slices of bread
  • confectioners' sugar


  1. Combine brown sugar, butter and cinnamon; spread evenly in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan; set aside. 
  2. Combine eggs and milk in a shallow dish; place bread in dish and coat with egg mixture. 
  3. Place bread on baking pan over sugar mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve brown sugar side up; dust with confectioners' sugar. 
Clean up hint:  Cover the pan as completely as possible, breaking slices to fit odd sized spots.  Every place the bread is on the pan, the brown sugar will stick to the bread and not the pan.  Exposed brown sugar will bake onto the pan and will be much harder to clean.  
Visit Homegrown Learners to get more recipe ideas!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Visits with the grandparents

We were blessed to have back-to-back visits from both sets of grandparents.  Our house was full of love and laughter!  Here are a few pictures of the kids with their grandparents.  Noah was very excited to meet his NaiNai and YeYe.
The boys had a wonderful time hanging out and loving on NaiNai and YeYe.
Within hours of taking NaiNai and YeYe to the airport, LaoLao and LaoYe arrived.  Noah was happy to show LaoYe how to use his netbook.

There was lots of roughhousing!
 And lots of good family time.
Night, night!  Sleep tight!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Yarn Along

Are you tired of seeing my shawl yet?  This has been slow going.  It requires concentration that is difficult to achieve with a two year old at home.  I work on it mostly at nap time when I don't have something else I have to do (housework? what's that?!)  I have started the decreases and can't wait to wear it. 

I'm still reading Chinatown Beat by Henry Chang. It's a very dark story full of snippets of Chinese and glimpses into Chinese-American culture. 

I'm a short-attention-span knitter.  I always have at least two projects going and sometimes four or five!  My current diversion is Malabrigo March, a month dedicated to knitting projects from soft, yummy Malabrigo yarn.  I am working on a cardigan (Pole) from Malabrigo Rios, a washable wool that has a really nice drape.  The pattern calls for using different sized needles for different parts of the sweater so I ended up making five swatches to make sure I had the right sized needles for each part.  You'll see more of this in the future.  Here are my swatches: 

Wednesday What's for Dinner

Here's one of our favorite dishes.  It's usually a breakfast, but it can be a wonderful dinner too. 

Breakfast Strata

8 slices bread (I've even used hamburg or hot dog buns in a pinch)
2 cups shredded cheese
2 cups breakfast meat (I usually use Morningstar Sausage Crumbles, but you can use cubed ham or any sausage
6 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
4 T margarine

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick spray.  Layer bread, cheese and meat in the pan.  I aim for three layers.  Beat eggs and milk together and pour over layers.  Can be covered and refrigerated overnight.

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt the margarine and drizzle over the whole pan.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Enjoy!

Head over to Homegrown Learners to see more menu ideas. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yarn Along

Here's this week's edition of the Yarn Along,  I'm still working on my Heart to Heart Shawlette.  I've reached the halfway point and am ready to start decreasing.  I am loving this yarn and can't wait for this to be ready to wear. 

I am reading Chinatown Beat by Henry Chang.  It's the story of a Chinese American cop in Chinatown.  I've only just started it, but it's dark and fascinating from the get-go.  

This week I was finally able to finish the prayer shawl I've been working on. It's prayer shawl for a 19 year old girl who's been diagnosed with a brain tumor.  Most of the prayer shawls in the closet at church aren't really suited for a young lady, so I decided to make something cooler for her.  This pattern is based on the very popular Clapotis, but works up easier because it isn't knit on the diagonal so it doesn't require the increases/decreases that make it complicated.  The pattern is named Dummy Clap.  It's knit in stockinette with a few ktbl's and the stitches are dropped when binding off to create the lacy look.  It is simply beautiful and I hope she feels surrounded with prayers and love when she wears it. 

What's for Dinner? Crock Pot Orange Chicken

My friend challenged me to join her in her Wednesday What's for Dinner.  Tonight we will have one of our all-time favorite crock pot meals.   I don't know where I first found this recipe, but it's been our go-to dinner for busy days.  I serve it with rice and steamed veggies.  There are rarely any leftovers!

Crock Pot Orange Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (if they're huge, cut in half)
3 T flour
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1/3 cup BBQ sauce
1/3 cup Soy Sauce
1/3 cup water
1 Tablespoon ginger
2 cloves fresh minced garlic
red pepper flakes

1. Toss chicken with flour in slow cooker
2. Stir in all remaining ingredients; cover with lid
3. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours or on High for 3-4 hours

Monday, February 14, 2011

Noah, you're a child of God!

Surrounded by family and friends, Noah was baptized.  It was a sweet blessed moment as we made the commitment to raise Noah to know and love the Lord.  Hal and Mary, Noah's godparents (and Anna and Grant) were right there with us and made the moment even sweeter.

Micah was the proud big brother and insisted on being part of the action.  He even wore a silk outfit and looked very handsome.
Noah was very curious and didn't seem to mind the water or the blessing from Pastor Fritz. 
Micah and Noah were asked to present the offering to Pastor Miriam. 

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Yarn Along

At a friend's suggestion, I am going to participate in Ginny's Yarn Along.  It seems that a lot of knitters are readers too.  Or is it readers who are knitters...?  Anyways the idea is to post a picture of what your knitting and what your reading. 

Right now I am really working on this little beaded shawl.  I started this last year as part of a mystery knit-along at Sugarfoot Yarns last year.  However my lace skills weren't up to the task and it ended up sitting in the basket for the last 11 months.  I'm on a mission to finish WIPs (works in progress) so I resurrected this one.  I'm a better knitter than I was a year ago and it's going much better this time.  The pattern is Heart to Heart Beaded Scarf by Sivia Hardin.  The border features little hearts, perfect for Valentine's Day.   Edited to add a close-up to show the beading.

I'm also knitting heart shaped dishcloths to give as Valentine's gifts!  This is a quick and easy pattern and is giving me a break from knitting lace.

I'm reading Crush by Alan Jacobson.  It was a Free Friday download from Barnes and Noble.  This is the second book featuring profiler Karen Vail (think Criminal Minds).  It's a good read and has kept me up later than is wise a couple of nights.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Some thoughts about attachment

According to Wikipedia: 
Attachment theory describes the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans especially as in families and life-long friends. Its most important tenet is that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally, and that further relationships build on the patterns developed in the first relationships.
Adoptive parents worry a lot about attachment.  The relationships mentioned above are a challenge for a child who is first abandoned, then placed in an orphanage, and then possibly into foster care before finally being adopted.  A child's attachment to a parent breeds trust and faith that allow them happiness as they explore relationships with friends, teachers, baby-sitters etc.  We feel that our children must attach to us before we leave them with other caregivers. 

How do you know when attachment occurs?  For a child it seems to be a trust that the child will be there for them.  To feed, clothe, care for, and heal them as needed.  

The path to attachment between us and Micah was a rocky one.  He came to us torn from his foster mother of over one and a half years.  He hated the blond woman calling herself Mama.  He tolerated the fun guy called Baba.  I didn't really like the wild ball of anger we had adopted.  He hit, scratched and rejected me.  It was all I could do to not shut down and reject him too.  Over time, he allowed me to care for him and through that we developed a mutual trust and tenuous bond.  Then came his palate surgery.  When I saw my boy afraid and in pain, it was like it was happening to me.  I was small enough to curl up in his hospital bed with him and through the days in the hospital he learned that Mama was there for him, offering comfort and relief.  We were attached. 

Noah is a completely different creature.  He left the orphanage and never looked back.  He was thrilled to have a Mama and Baba to care for him and most of all to feed him!  I immediately took to this smiling, curious boy.  Attachment was not immediate, but it grew steadily from day one.  Then one day about a month after coming home, he fell on the asphalt and scraped his forehead.  He immediately reached for me and I ran to him crying as if the pain were my own.  Wow - attachment was happening already!   We're not done with our work on attachment, but we're well on our way.