Monday, February 21, 2011

Mommy Time

A big concern of parents of several children is how to give them each the individual time and attention they need. Last night, Hannah was in need of some "Mommy Time" and requested a special time with me. This is a little tradition that has evolved over the last couple of years and really works well for us, especially as the kids get older and life gets busier.

Mommy Time used to be a date night, with dinner and maybe a little shopping. But as our schedules got busier and finances got tighter, it was more and more difficult to work these evenings into our hectic weeks. Now, when someone needs Mommy Time, it happens right at home. The special girl gets ready for bed, but gets in Mom and Dad's bed, and usually reads while waiting for me to put David to bed. Then I get in my jammies too, and get in bed with my special girl. We might talk, or read, or watch part of a movie. Sometimes I knit. Last night, Hannah requested that we watch an American Experience US History DVD. There is always great snuggling involved! Once in a while, we end up having a really good talk about something. But more often than not, we just have quiet together time without interruption. I try to make these nights on a non-school night, so we can stay up a bit later, but sometimes we've just needed to do it on a school night, and that's OK. When Al comes up to bed, the special girl is usually asleep, and he scoops her up and carries her to her bed.

The added bonus is that it gets me to bed pretty early, too!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Our Abbie is 7!!!

Happy, happy 7th birthday to our sweet, sassy, spunky Abbie! What a loving, compassionate, happy little girl you are! You fill our lives with joy, sunshine and love! And wonderful snuggles!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Gotcha Day, Rachel!

Eight years with this sweet girl! Happy, energetic, funny, smart, sensitive, caring, hard-working, snuggly, great swimmer, super speller, talented artist, lover of elephants, bouncy, tender, wonderful blessing!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook - February 14th

Outside my window... chilly, grey, damp - again! At least the temps are in the upper 30s.

I am thinking... of how God has blessed me with so many people to love on this Valentine's Day!

I am thankful for... the call we got this morning from Shriner's, giving us David's surgery date.

I am wearing... a red turtleneck, grey V-neck cable sweater, jeans, red and grey wool socks, my LL Bean Wicked Good slippers.

I am going... out to lunch this afternoon with my two favorite guys for Valentine's Day.

I am creating... a whole lot of WIPs (Works In Progress) or UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) scattered around the house. Not much creating time these days.

I am currently reading... Nikon D40 for Dummies.

I am hoping... that all my children stay healthy now!

I am hearing... Christopher Parkening's "Simple Gifts" CD.

In the kitchen... spaghetti casserole defrosting on the counter (I love when I get an extra batch of something into the freezer), ingredients for cupcakes for Valentine's Day.

Around the house... preparations for Abbie's horse-themed birthday party this Saturday.

One of my favorite things... a little quiet time at home in the morning while the kids are all at school.

A few plans for the rest of the week... one-year post placement visit with our social worker tomorrow afternoon, Jim Gill family concert at school tomorrow night, Rachel's Gotcha Day on Wednesday, Nana flies in from RI on Friday, Abbie's party on Saturday.
Here is a picture I'd like to share with you...

(The picture of the three of us that we will send to the folks in China as part of our one-year update.)

More Portraits!

Since David started his school year in late November, he missed having his school portraits taken. Not only did I want a portrait to join his sisters' in our living room, I also wanted a nice one to submit for the yearbook, instead of a classroom candid. So off I went with my coupons to visit Jenny at JC Penney to have more portraits done!

Back when Hannah was in preschool, I started the tradition of having the children wear their First Day of School outfit for their school portraits, and I continued that tradtion with Shi Shi. He just loves having his picture taken and really hams it up for Miss Jenny!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

A couple of years ago, when I was learning all about canning, I found this recipe for homemade barbecue sauce. I've canned it to give as gifts, and have served it at different parties, and it always gets rave reviews. I have two events to make appetizers for this weekend (our adoption agency's China waiting children potluck and Rachel's China group's Gotcha Day party), so I'm simmering a pot of this sauce on my stove right now. I just toss in a bunch of frozen meatballs, heat the whole thing through in the crock pot, and I've got an appetizer that I know will disappear. Just one problem - no leftovers for us the next day!

Homemade Barbecue Sauce
44 ounces ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 bay leaves, crushed
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 small can (8 3/4 oz) crushed pineapple
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon ginger

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, 30 to 40 minutes until sauce is well blended. Ladle into hot jars. Clean rims of jars and seal. Process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.

Makes about 4 to 5 pints.

Friday, February 04, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. Hosted by Soulemama.

Snow Day 2

When there's so much snow in the road...

...that the only way to move it is with a bulldozer...

,,,and the only place to put it is in our yard...

...what else can a kid do but... a snowman!

Shi Shi came in early to snuggle with his "Nani", who was nursing a fever.

"Mr. Billy Bob" was in the front yard to greet me with the sunrise this morning!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Snow Day!

So, yes, we did have a big blizzard yesterday. We were blessed that all six of us were home and safe and we never lost power. I had stocked up on plenty of food, including junk food I don't normally buy the kids, I brought home dozens of books and DVDs from the library, our cars' gas tanks were full, and we were ready to ride out the storm.

This is what it looked like out our front window once the storm was in full swing...

The snow was blowing in sideways, covering our windows until we could no longer see outside...
...and the next morning, we discovered that the wind had been so strong, it forced the snow inside the storm door.

Notice how little of my garden chair is peeking out of the snow now!

This is a view of our backyard taken from the upstairs window. Notice the drifts...

Looks like it will be a while before we're barbecuing again!

Can you see Rachel? She's standing on a drift, her head above the monkey bars on our swing set!

The drifts were so high that the kids were able to do some sledding right in our back yard!

Meanwhile, I was inside working this small appliance...
...while Hannah, my indoor girl, worked on a design project for Girl Scouts.

This is what the yard looked like when they were all done!
And we have another Snow Day called for tomorrow!

Author Project

Rachel's third grade classmates have been researching various authors of children's books. Rachel chose Mo Willems for her project. Our family are huge fans of Mr. Willems' books, including "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus", "Knuffle Bunny" and the Elephant and Piggie series. His illustrations are delightful and his books make both parents and children laugh out loud!

Rachel researched Mr. Willems' life and work carefully and found lots of pictures of his works and characters on the internet for me to print. Just before her presentation, I wiped out the Sugar Grove and North Aurora libraries of all his works, including two board books, a couple of titles which were less familiar, and a copy of "Knuffle Bunny" in Spanish! Her finishing touch was to include her stuffed Elephant and Piggie in her display.
Rachel received a lot of encouragement from her fantastic third grade teacher, Mrs. Linden. Al and I were both able to attend the author presentations, and were so proud of Rachel's hard work!

I need to pick up a copy of this book for David. It's hysterical and practical at the same time!

Just Like Daddy

This Christmas, my mom gave Al and David these great sweatshirts. David loves wearing his "Guy shirt" with jeans and an undershirt, "Just like Daddy!"