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I love to laugh and love with my family, read, exercise, cook and sew, all the while giving thanks to God for his immeasureable love and faithfulness to me.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dumpling Making Party

Our friends invited us over for a dumpling making party the other night.  Pau Pau (grandma) and Gung Gung (grandpa) were in visiting and it is a tradition every time they come.

We were only too eager to join in the fun!  One batch was pork and shrimp and the other was vegetarian (pickled veg, cabbage, mushroom and cilantro).

The Noodle ended up getting pretty good at twisting the edge of the dumpling to make it look pretty. I just stuck to the traditional 'fold and pinch' method.  Mei Mei was a focused machine.  Ha!

We probably made about 150 dumplings in all.  Not too shabby!  In the end, only the adults were left making them since after a plate or two the kiddos trickled away to play ninjas, dress-up and eventually were lured by the glow of the video game screen.

Once we got all the jiaozi made, Pau Pau cooked up a big batch and we froze the rest for a later treat. Those, coupled with the noodles and broth, made the perfect meal on a rainy, windy night.
We finished it off with birthday cake and mooncakes.  Definitely mixed feelings around the table about mooncakes, but since Mid-Autumn moon festival had just ended, we all went with it.  Green tea, white lotus blossom, red bean and mixed nut were all sampled.
It was a great night spent with friends laughing, eating and learning.  Thanks for the fun!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What's Up Wednesday?!

Since it is the last Wednesday of the month, let's see whaaazup 'round these part!  I'm also linking up here.
What we're eating:
Let me tell you, since joining Pinterest, I am always trying new recipes.  I was never that way with cookbooks, but for some reason, I seem to try a new recipe once or twice a week now.  It's all good, right?!

First off was caramelized sweet potatoes, kale and fried rice.  This was soo good.  The girls chowed down on it...um, hello?  rice--'nuff said.  The pepitas gave a nice, crunchy, salty counterbalance to the sweet potatoes and maple-Dijon vinaigrette.  It was also colorful to boot and pretty easy to pull together on a school night.
Next was rainbow Pad Thai with peanuts and basil.  Sunday night, this was what was on the menu.  I don't have a spiralizer, yet, (perhaps maybe down the line?!) so I just cute up the veg and went with it.  Again, another homerun hit with everyone (and it didn't incorporate 'beans-n-rice', which J teases me about!).
Last up was a sweetie which elevated a basic box brownie mix into the heavens.  Suuuuper rich but delish.  Toffee-coffee brownies.  Yes.  I packaged up a few plates of these bad boys to give away to friends and they all raved too.
What I'm reading:
I didn't read as much this month since I was taking an on-line class, but I still managed to finish one book.  An easy British chick-lit book that I thoroughly loved called Thinking of You.  I've read a bunch of other books by Jill Mansell and they are always light and fluffy, just like your favorite blanket--that relaxing too!
What I'm reminiscing about:
I've been thinking a lot about "gotcha days" lately.  We just celebrated 7 years with the Noodle on Sept. 15.  We went from this
to this.
Wow.  Talk about transformation!  What a blessing!!!!  If you are at all thinking about adoption, please please please don't dismiss it as being "too hard" or "too expensive" or "something that other people do".  Listen to the Lord and just take one step to learn a little bit more.  Feel free to contact me--I'd love to bend your ear on the topic;)
I also finally finished Mei Mei's adoption video.  Compiling all those photos together brings me right back to the Civil Affair's office back in February of 2014, where one little girl went from orphan to daughter in the blink of an eye.  It is nothing short of amazing!
What I'm watching:
Usually the answer is "not much", but this past month one of the DVDs I had ordered from the library came in--I'm old school like that--no Netflix or Hulu for me, ha!  The movie is called The Drop Box and it was so moving--again with the adoption theme (and it's not even November, National Adoption Month).
It is a documentary about a South Korean pastor and the decisions he makes to protect orphans who would be abandoned on the streets of Seoul if it were not for him.  This is such a message of hope--that all children deserve to be loved and taken care of, no matter what.  Go watch it.  You'll be inspired, I promise!!
What I'm looking forward to:
All the best that fall can bring!  I love the changing of the seasons--the bright, blue sky, the crisp, cool air, the warm sun and of course the changing leaves!  Our area really knows how to put on a fall show!  Good thing, because a few weeks later, winter roars in with a vengeance and doesn't know when to leave!
What is my favorite Halloween tradition:
Last year we tried a little something new with the girls.  In a way to help make the concept of the tithe more tangible and real for them, we decided to try it out with the Halloween candy.  We asked them to give 10% of their candy away as a way of honoring God.  They were both very receptive to it and I definitely plan on doing it again this year.  You can read more about it here.

So there you have it...what's happening here!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rainy Nights and Gotcha Day

Over the summer the Noodle participated in a one-day dance camp, put on by our high school's drill squad.  The "littles" get to perform at a football pre-game show and this past Friday night was the night.
Boo for us that it was absolutely pouring buckets.  It had slowed from the deluge earlier in the evening to a slow, steady downpour, but still.  Not the best night for a football game.
Thankfully it wasn't cold and the girls were super pumped to watch the band, people watch, and catch a play or two of the game (kinda like me).  Our home team did well and scored 2 touchdowns in the first quarter, so that made it quite exciting too.  I do have to admit that we were fair weathered fans who left after the first quarter and didn't even make it to half-time.  We promised them we'd go again and watch another game when the conditions were a bit more favorable.
On Saturday it rained off and on all day, so after running around in the morning, we hunkered down in the house.  Since the Noodle's Gotcha Day falls during the week this year (Tuesday), we decided to go out to eat Saturday night instead.
The girls got dressed up in their silks, which is always special, and then we went to our new favorite place for Chinese and basically ate ourselves silly.  Everything tasted sooo good.
The Noodle has been into Butterfinger candy bars lately and I had found this dessert (thank you Pinterest) that I thought she'd like.  Unfortunately we had eaten so much at dinner, none of us had any desire to eat a rich piece of pie when we got home, so we saved it until Sunday.
Happy Gotcha Day Noodle!  7 years with your forever family!!
It is amazing how time can go by so fast and still feel like just yesterday. 
We love you to the China moon and back!!  You bring so much life, personality and love to our family.  Big hugs and kisses to you :)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Labor Day weekend re-cap

Our Labor Day weekend started off a day early since J decided to take an extra vacation day off of work.  We had had a meeting at church on Thursday evening and Lollie was watching the girls, so since our meeting finished early, we snuck out for a quick date to a local Irish pub.  A great way to kick off the weekend!
Friday bright and early we were up, dodging raindrops, to tackle the formidable task of widening the driveway.  All summer long the brick pavers had sat on the side of the house, waiting for a cool weekend, when they could be nestled next to the driveway.  We decided to wait, however, until there was a string of 90 degree days with 80% humidity to tackle the project.  #perfect timing.  Tots cray-cray.
J had originally planned on doing it himself and I was completely fine with that, but then I started to feel reeeealllly guilty about the fact that Mei Mei and I would be sitting inside the nice, cool, 73 degree house watching, while he would be outside, sweating away at least 10 pounds if not more. My conscious finally got the better part of me and so, long story short, "the couple that DIYs together, stays together".  Or something like that!
Saturday we took a break from our pro-jay and went out to be with Grandma and Grandpa and splash in the Lake.  A much more enjoyable way to spend a hot, humid day I might add!
Sunday, after church, we were back at it, but this time we recruited two little helpers.  Child labor laws?!  Nah--ha ha ha!!
I always feel these types of activities are a great "teachable moment" (insert the Noodle rolling her eyes, again, about all my "teachable moments").  These aren't fun or easy jobs, but it is a great opportunity to impress upon kiddos about the importance of sticking with a job until it is completed (what ever that is, as determined by the "supervisor") and how to go about doing something with grace (not complaining, whining, etc.).  Let me be the first to say that I had to remind myself of this, because I was pretty close (multiple times) to commenting about the heaviness of the bricks, the icky-sticky sweatiness factor or the sore muscles from digging/pounding/lifting/carrying.  Oy.
But.  They were troopers (obvs. the big one more than the little one, but still).  They were focused. They were agreeable.  They stuck to it for two hours.  In the end, J ended up paying them for their hard work and that made it all the more sweeter for them;)
When we had finally finished, we celebrated by going to swim at Lollie and Papa's.  It also happened to be LaLa's birthday so we gorged on Greek Food (straight from the take-out boxes, on the table I will have you note--Nana, just avert your eyes) and Boston cream-pie poke cake.  Mei Mei was only too happy to help LaLa open her presents, even informing her before everything was unwrapped, what was hidden in the tissue paper.
Monday, three out of the four of us made the conscious decision NOT to sweat or get dirty.  The fourth one was like a pig in the mud--he's just drawn to it and can't help himself.  Ha!  Actually there was still a pile of gravel to be dealt with and it was preventing him from pulling his car into the garage, so there was that.
While Daddy was busy tackling the left over gravel, the girls decided to do some science experiments.  Grandma had gotten a bunch of books and one of them was all about science, so the girls decided to break out the equipment and head outside to make goop.
By mid-afternoon the Lake was calling, so we met our neighbors down at the dock and paddled around.
Monday night, there were 4 pretty tired people, who hadn't had quite a labor-free Labor Day, but were all very happy to tumble into bed!