About Me

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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, February 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

He may come across as serious and no-nonsense, but don't let it fool ya. He's really a great big teddy bear on the inside!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Maple sugaring

In our little corner of the US, late February through March means it is time to tap the maple trees to make maple sugar. This morning we went to our local Metroparks to learn a little more about it. While most of the time was indoor, we did venture out at the end to see an actual tree with a bag full of sap. I was amazed to learn how much sap is needed in order to produce just a small amount of maple syrup. No wonder the real stuff is so expensive!! There was sap to taste (it tasted like sugar water) and then a small amount of real maple syrup. Yummy!! As we drove down the winding, tree-lined road to the nature center, the Noodle kept saying "Mama, I'm so excited!". I think she thought we were going to get pancakes, since I had explained that we were going to learn about maple syrup, like we put on the pancakes Daddy makes. When it was over, she seemed to have forgotten about the pancakes, but again said "that was so fun", so I know she enjoyed it.

"Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God"--Job 37:14
I can't wait!
Getting a chance to try to drill the hole.

Waiting to taste the sap and syrup.

Collecting sap from the tree.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Change...will do us good!

One of the first rooms that we painted, back when we first moved in, was the dining room. Back at the turn of the century (ha ha), dark red was The Thing. I still love the color, but after 10+ years, the paint was needing to be freshened up. We decided to go with a different color.

Our wood floors, that J refinished about 5 years ago, are DEFINITELY showing their age (80+ years) as well. Unfortunately, there are some boards that have become so soft, I'm worried about all of us falling through...especially when a certain youngster is bounding back and forth. J tried replacing them as well as shoring them up, from underneath in the basement, but a duct prevented him from getting all of them. He's been feeling the itch to "home improve" and decided to tackle the woodwork (refinish it) and put down some new flooring too.

I'm so fortunate to have a hubby that is good with his hands. God has certainly blessed him with this gift and he loves to use it. Even better is that when he starts a project, it bugs him until it is all finished and cleaned up! No lingering projects with him.

While the woodwork and painting are finished, the bamboo floor will take a little longer since we've got a busy weekend planned. So, goodbye old dining room...

...and hello new one! Here's hoping he gets a few free days at the beginning of March.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Big girl bed and new pillows

A few weeks ago, we transitioned the Chinese Noodle out of her toddler bed and into a regular twin size bed. She loves her new bed and is excited to show it to anyone who comes over.

Where did my old bed go? (Please excuse the dust bunnies and the collection of "stuff" that fell behind...so embarassing!).

Trying out my new bed. Ohhh, very comfy!

I decided to spruce it up a little bit with a few small throw pillows. Since Santa had brought me a new sewing machine, this was the perfect project to take it for a test drive. As a side note, if you've never made throw pillows before and you are a beginner sewer, let me just tell you that this is the BEST project to undertake. Soo simple. I went to JoAnn's and picked up pillow forms. Right on the outside of the package it tells the dimensions. Just add a 1/2 inch on each side when you are measuring the material (example: one pillow form was 14x14. The square piece of material I cut was 15x15). Pin material wrong sides together and sew 3 of the four sides together. Leave about 5-7 inches on the 4th side open. Cut your corners, being careful that you don't cut the stitches, and turn right side out. Stuff the pillow form into the newly created case and whip-stitch closed. Presto, new throw pillows.

Since I had been able to make the pillows so quickly, I decided to whip some up for our bed. I had been holding onto some old sheets/pillowcases and thought these would be perfect for our pillows. So, for about $20 (4 pillow forms (50% off during the President's Day sale) and some yellow ric-rac--love that stuff!), we got new pillows too. Certainly spruces up the room and puts a smile on my face (as does the sun that's shining outside today).

Happy decorating and sewing!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nursery School visit

Today I went in to share a story with the Noodle's Nursery School class. Since Chinese New Year was celebrated on Sunday, I thought it would be a great way to begin introducing her little friends to that aspect of her life. Before we read My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz, we discussed a little bit about adoption, why our family celebrates the Lunar New Year and China. Obviously it was a lot to take in for a bunch of 3 year-olds, but all in all they did pretty well. One little girl asked if she could have a dress like the Noodle's and another boy told me that he flew on an airplane to China and then to Chicago a few days ago. Ha ha ha!! We had also brought in fortune cookies for the kiddos to take home, so I cracked one open and paraphrased the fortune inside for them. They were quite excited to eat them, but had a hard time understanding that they'd have to wait until they got home so their parents could read the fortunes to them. Throughout the entire exchange, the C.N. never left my side...perhaps we have a future teacher budding inside?!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Special delivery

While the USPS doesn't work today, UPS must. The Noodle got a special delivery this afternoon from J's Aunt and Uncle who live out in California. As soon as we opened it, we decided it HAD to be tried on...especially the shoes. Aren't they a hoot? Aunt C teaches preschool and one of her students had them--she was inspired. What's even more fun is that they light up. Currently the Chinese Noodle is stomping around the house, trying to see if she can make her shoes dazzle. A BIG THANK YOU for this very sweet and thoughtful gift!!!!

**Here was another set of shoes that Aunt C gave The Noodle. She's definitely doing her part to make sure The C.N. becomes a shoe addict!!

Weekend Re-cap

It was a busy, busy weekend around here, what with Valentine's day and Chinese New Year! Living close to a big city allows us the opportunity to visit Chinatown anytime we desire. This year, they were offering lots of activities, so we went down to nose and browse around and watch some Chinese dancing. Great stuff!

See anything that looks tasty?

Hmmm...live frogs perhaps? No?!
Love that Budda guy...just cracks me up, especially his belly.

For Valentine's day, Lolly and Papa came over for the afternoon, giving J and I the chance to go out for a little "date". Where did we go you ask? Why to pick out a new dining room floor!! Romantic, huh? It WAS, though, because it was great just being together. We already had in mind what we wanted, so it really didn't take too long, and then we went out for a drink afterwards. We were home in time for a special dinner and the red velevet cake the Noodle had helped me make and decorate. As a disclaimer here, I have quickly come to the realization that I am NOT a good cake decorator. My Nana is ALWAYS baking double layer chocolate cakes with fabulous, smooth frosting and they never seem to topple, crumb through the frosting or generally look like the cat has dragged them in. Sigh. Good thing that my 2 biggest fans don't hold it against me...and that it tasted MUCH better than it looked.

Watch out...that red velvet batter stains somethin' fierce!

Don't those Valentine M & Ms just make ya smile? Kinda like the leaning tower o'cake.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

2 for 1

Gung Hay Fat Choy!! Happy Lunar New Year, the Year of the Tiger!!
Happy Valentine's Day!!

Whatever you decide to celebrate, let's hope it is filled with lots of red and love!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


When it is doing this outside--

--might as well hunker down inside and have "storytime" with friends.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentine's party

The Noodle had her first ever school party this morning--a Valentine's party. Since they are only in school on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Valentine's day falls on a Sunday this year, they celebrated early. The room was a sea of red and pink and all variations of hearts. Fun and festive! Early on, before school had even officially started, the teachers had asked if I wouldn't mind being the room mother. This was my first task--to organize the food, treat bags and party. Thank goodness for e-mail as a way to coordinate everything! After being on the teacher end of parties, I knew I wanted things to run smoothly and be as organized as possible. I use to always have mixed emotions about party days because they could just be soooo exhausting! All in all, I think things went well. I really can't take any credit for it though, because the Noodle's teachers had obviously dealt with a roomful of excited 3 year olds and the parents that accompany them...they had all the nitty gritty details worked out thus ensuring a great party.

Good friends--like the "tough guy" face?!
Waiting to go to circle time.
Listening to a story about everyone's favorite big, red dog.

What's inside?

Getting ready to say grace before eating the goodies.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Smells like......

One of the things that the Noodle loves to do at preschool is art work on the easel. Most days she comes home with "something special to show me". I suspect part of the reason she likes it is because of the scented Mr. Sk*tch markers. When I picked her up this morning, she looked like this:

Sunday, February 7, 2010


The mid-January through mid-February time frame ensures that there will be lots of Lunar New Year celebrations. We went to our first one of the season yesterday, hosted by our local FCC (Families with Children from China) group. There was a tasty lunch buffet down at a restaurant in Chinatown. After the children did some crafts, there was a raffle (once again, we came home empty-handed!), the dragon parade and a group picture. Whether it was because of the timing of everything (smack in the middle of nap-time), the fact that the Noodle decided she only wanted to eat a fortune cookie and some rice and so was hungry, or just that she was overwhelmed by all of the unknown people, someone was very clingy. She wanted NO PART of wearing the dragon mask, unlike last year--not so fond of the beard on it she informed me, was adamant about me joining the parade with her, and down-right refused to stand with the other kiddos during the group picture. The one hit was the larger-than-life Buddah--loved the bare toes (?!) and his big belly! Sooooooo, while we had a good time, she was certainly more stand-offish. Oh well, she'll have another opportunity in the not too distant future, I'm sure.

Our eyes are always bigger than our tummies!
Working on an art project.

So many tasty treats.
All the precious children (minus a stubborn one).

Let the parade begin!!

Holding onto her lantern from the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival with one hand and me with the other.
Come on...you know you want to rub it!!

Even this couldn't win her over.
Happy New Year!