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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jesus in my heart

 A little orange popsicle residue around the mouth to remind us to get the last few licks of summer :)

Once a month the Noodle and I go up to the Board of Education office to drop off our insurance check--I know I could drop it in the mail, but I want to MAKE sure that it gets to where it needs to go.  Each month we see the same friendly ladies and chit-chat with them.  We've been doing this since we got home, which is going on our third year.  Most months, the Noodle acts stoic, shy or down-right refuses to say anything/interact until after we leave.  Once we walk out the office door, then she bubbles away again.  By the beginning of this summer, that behavior was really starting to annoy and embarrass me.  Grrrr.  I get that she is shy, but she was starting to use that response, "I'm shy", to act rude and be disrespectful.  As I like to say "not a good choice".  I decided to write a social story about being polite and using nice manners, especially when we're out in public like church, the Board office and the library, and I have to say it is working!

Yesterday, when we went in, she was polite, looked the adults in their eyes and even conversed with them.  At one point in time, she was telling a story about how she got afraid this summer (remembering VBS and the clown, perhaps??!) but then she told them that she remembered she had Jesus in her heart and so there wasn't any reason to be afraid.  I was just about bursting with pride :)  She's getting to be such a big girl, isn't she?  Sniff, sniff.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Farm in the City

Each time we go pick raspberries, I'm always amazed that there is a farm, right inside the City limits.  Who knew?!  But there it is--with row upon row of raspberry bushes, just waiting to be picked.  We helped relieve the bushes of all that extra weight and left with 6 qts and 1 pt.  Somebody probably ate her weight in raspberries...hmm wonder who THAT was?!  If the truth be told, her mama wasn't far behind her.  Ha ha!!
And here's a peek from last year:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fun Friday--Lunchtime with Daddy

If J's schedule permits it, the Noodle and I love to go down and eat lunch with him.  Sometimes we sit by the river, sometimes we sit by the Lake, other times, it is a park close to his office.  Today, we decided to venture a little further and headed over to the main library's reading garden.  It is filled with dappled sunlight, lots of chairs and benches, various water features and constantly changing artwork.  My favorite part of the garden, however, are all of the little boys and girls who cavort around the ABC gates.  I love to spot them hiding, or hanging out and just think they are too darn cute!  It was so relaxing to "picnic" and enjoy this little bit of tranquility among the busy city streets.  Happy Friday to you!
See the little guy up in the corner, holding the letter B?
These 2 greeted us as we walked in :)
Finishing up the last bits of lunch.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

CSA last week in Aug.

J and the Noodle went to pick up our veggies this week.  In our "single" share, we got:  a honeydew melon, beets, a yellow/green pepper, 2 Hungarian peppers, lettuce, eggplant, sweet potatoes, and basil.  In my post last week I was feeling at a lost as to what to do w/the okra that we received, so I called Nana.  Her suggestion was to saute onion, garlic, and the okra together and then add some tomatoes, corn and rice.  I had some fresh corn that I cooked and cut off the cob and threw that in as well as some yellow tomatoes from our garden.  I rounded it out with brown rice, a can of diced tomatoes (more for the juice than anything else) and a generous sprinkling of oregano and S and P.  Threw it all together in a casserole dish and topped with Panko breadcrumbs.  Cooked it for about 35 min. at 350 until nice and bubbly.  J and I thought it was good.  The Noodle turned her nose up at it--even the lure of rice didn't entice her.  Too bad...she went hungry since she only ate a few bites.  That's how we roll here--if you don't eat what you've been served (or at least attempt/try it) you'll probably starve be hungry until the next meal. 

So...if you're looking to try something new, give the okra (or ogre as my uncle affectionately called it) a chance.  You might be surprised!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

100 years from now...

...I hope that I am an alert, "with-it", free-moving chickie...with lots of family surrounding me.  That's what J's Great Aunt is.  We went and celebrated her 100th birthday today.  Can you even IMAGINE what it would be like to live for 100 years?  I certainly can't, but J's Great Aunt is just as spunky and active as if she were 50.  It was also special, because we got to see and play with some cousins who happen to have a similar story as the Noodle.  So on this day, we say Happy Birthday to You Great Aunt I and thanks for the great party!  We look forward to doing it again next year :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Red Thread

A few months ago, while sitting in the preschool pick-up line, I was listening to NPR.  An author came on by the name of Ann Hood to talk with Diane Rehm about her newest book  The Red Thread.  I finally got a chance to read it and would highly recommend it, whether or not you have a child born in China.  Here's a quick book review in case you're interested. 

The story revolves around the main character, Maya who runs "an adoption agency that specializes in placing baby girls who were born in China, with American families".  As the story unfolds, we follow 5 families and their struggles, as they go through their orientation with the agency, prepare and send their paperwork to China, receive their LID, referrals and finally meet their new daughters.  Maya herself is harboring a tragic secret that she grapples with throughout the story and only is able to find solace in her work--until the end.  As each section concludes, the author flips over to China to tell the story of 5 mothers who are faced with heart-wrenching decisions that they must make and the circumstances that surround those decisions. 

Obviously the whole adoption process to China resonated with me, since we have "been there, done that".  What was even more moving for me, however, were the stories of the 5 Chinese mothers.  I think I especially feel this way, because we are coming up on our 2 year Forever Family Day in a few weeks.  My mind has been quite wrapped up lately, in the origins of the Noodle's birth, her unique story that only her birth mother knows and the grief that this woman still (I would think) feels to this day.  Her searing sacrifice resulted in our beautiful blessing.  One woman's grief led to another woman's joy.  You can't HELP but stop and think...and thank the Lord for His provisions.

I want to be upfront and state that this book is entirely fiction.  While the author herself adopted her daughter from China and certainly drew upon those experiences, none of the story-lines were based on real-life (either  in China and here in the States).  It was a quick read and hooked me from the start.  I know that there are only a few more weeks in summer, but if you have a chance, definitely pick this book up and give it a read!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

CSA this week

Look at all those gorgeous colors.  Hasn't that been a big push from the USDA lately?  To eat your colors?  During this time of the summer, it is easy!  Yum :)  Our loot consisted of:  peaches, apples, tomatoes, 2 red peppers, red leaf lettuce, Chinese eggplant, okra (hmm--have to check with Nana on the preparation of this), a red chili pepper and some Hungarian peppers.  It is heating up again outside, so for dinner tonight, I think we're going to have a wild rice and barley salad and tomato/basil/mozzarella on french bread with a generous drizzle of evoo.  Peaches and ice-cream for dessert.  Vegetarian and energy conscious.  Uncle, you should be smiling!
 ***Now serving up a little summertime delish!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Our happy family of 3

The Noodle has been working on her drawing skills lately.  If you've every studied any kind of child development, then you know that once a child progresses from various scribbling stages and they begin to gain more control over the art utensil, often what emerges is called a "head-body".  We were out to brunch this past Sunday, and to pass the time, Papa gave the Noodle his placemat.  The following was her drawing of our family:

In her own words: "This is Mommy [the one w/the big nose], this is me [the medium sized person] and here is teeny-tiny Daddy."  Love it!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lazy Days

With Uncle and Aunt C visiting, we went up to Lolly and Papa's cottage, Lazy Days, for some good ol' fashion family time.  Everything moves at a slower pace there.  Mornings start later (thankfully the Noodle slept in a bit--like 7 a.m.), there's longer to linger over the paper and coffee and schedules and agendas take a back seat.  There is always the next "masterpiece" to be created in the sand, walk to be taken by the Lake, snooze to be had during the mid-afternoon hours (both for kiddos and adults alike), farmer's market to visit, or glass of wine to be savored.  Dusk creeps up and all of a sudden, another day is over.  It was so nice and relaxing and a special treat to spend some good quality time with Uncle and Aunt C!  The Noodle was in her glory.  When ever she asked "Want to play with me?", someone was always ready and willing to say "Yes!".
Playing in the sand with Uncle
The attempt at a family photo.
The special touch that only an Aunt and Uncle have...

Thanks again Lolly and Papa for a wonderful time!  We can't wait to do it again!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

CSA Week ???

So we've missed a few weeks from our CSA--at least we've missed some photos.  Oh well.  That's summer for ya.  J and The Noodle cut through the haze last night (the heat and humidity are HORRIBLE!!) to pick up our share.  This week, we got:  a watermellon, peaches, apples, corn on the cob, garlic, cilantro, a green pepper, a yellow pepper, an onion, potatoes and banana peppers.  Stay cool everyone!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dragon Boat Races

This past weekend was the Dragon Boat Race.  Since Aunt C and Uncle have been in town for about a week and a half, we thought it would be fun to go down and watch.  The Noodle wanted to get K*i Lan in on the action--especially since she had just seen a show where they competed in a Dragon Boat Races.  It was gorgeous down by the river and such a relaxing way to spend the day.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Raising Rock Star Preschoolers--long post

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this website and this one and after some heavy browsing, decided this was something the Noodle and I were going to undertake.  I already knew I was going to start doing some "table time" with her--basically focusing on pre-academic stuff like letters, numbers, patterning, sequencing, fine motor skills, etc. but that I wanted to make it fun, low-key and non-threatening.  This is exactly the kind of stuff that I did when I was in the classroom, so I already had quite a few materials on hand.  What I like about this mom's philosophy is that she incorporates many Montessori approaches (something I have VERY limited knowledge of but have been curious about) as well as making the learning biblically based.  I guess I just needed a kick in the pants some inspiration to get the ball rolling!

Most afternoons, after the Noodle wakes up from her nap, we head on down for about 20 minutes of "table time".  So far, she's been excited to see what's on tap each day and (most days) is an eager and willing little student.  Let me just insert a few comments for the record:  1., I have no expectations of her becoming a "wiz kid" and skipping grades, etc.  2., her attention span and interest led me to believe that she might be ready to tackle something a bit more challenging but I know that each kiddo is different, and 3.  if it becomes a battle then we'll either scale back or drop it completely. 

The other reason I wanted to focus a bit more on the "academic" end of things is that while I love her nursery school and feel it is a great fit for her, it is primarily play-based.  This is exactly what she needs right now--interactions with her peers, ample opportunities to use and explore language, time to spread her own little wings without my presence, etc.  I haven't been worried about the "academic" side of things because I knew that I could supplement that at home.  Since I have one more year off before I have to go back to work, it seemed like the perfect time to get started.

Raising Rock Star Preschoolers is based on God's Word and begins with the foundation of learning, memorizing and applying a verse each week, taken from the book  My ABC Bible Verses.  There is a letter, sight word and number of the week, a simple reader, handwriting practice, craft, song and life application of the biblical verse...ALL FOR FREE PEOPLE!  This mom just wants to share the love.  Ya gotta love that, because I know how long it takes to create this stuff!  

In this video (hopefully you can hear--we used J's new i-Pod; just mute the music and turn up the speakers) the Noodle has cut out her verse and put it in order and now she is reading/reciting it:
The verse is:  "Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven--Matthew 5:16".  The other benefit?  This forces me to memorize some scripture too--something I am woefully lacking in!

I'll keep you posted as to how it all goes :) 

Monday, August 2, 2010

All in a day's work

One of the benefits of growing up with a car dealership in the extended family is that you learn all kinds of helpful things like how to change your oil, rotate your tires, etc.  Combine that with a love of anything VW and you've got one handy hubby.  After church yesterday, we didn't have much planned, so J decided to give his car a tune-up.  Always the eager helper, the Chinese Noodle was right there acting as his right hand [wo]man.  Priceless!  I guess it is all in a day's work.