Thursday, August 29, 2013

Catching My Breath

Things have been just a little busy around here lately so I haven't had a chance to post in a week or so.  Here are a few of the things I've/we've had going on over the past 7 days:

Marlie's 6th Birthday party prep
Mom flew in
Parent-Teacher conferences
Bryan's small group social/cookout
Marlie's 6th Birthday party
Visited the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City
PWOC kick off
CGSOC Commandant's Reception (& an improptu sushi date night!)
Marlie's 6th birthday & a trip to Chuck E Cheese
babysitting another toddler and newborn foster baby
Mom flew out
my neighbor's baby shower

I am trying to regroup though and working on some new posts - including some more of our favorite recipes!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Parmesan Potatoes

A few weeks ago I needed to make a finger food for our neighborhood Bible study.  I had a lot of potatoes that needed to be used, and I found the perfect recipe at Favorite Family Recipes.   Their recipe used small potato halves, but I had large baking potatoes on hand so I just cut them into slices.  These were a hit and the dish was completely empty in no time!


Parmesan Potato Slices

potatoes, cut in slices
1/4 cup butter
grated parmesan cheese
garlic powder
other seasonings, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
While the oven is preheating, place butter in 9x13 baking dish and melt in the oven.
Once butter is melted, sprinkle parmesan cheese and other seasonings all over dish.
Place potato slices flat in dish on top of butter and seasonings.
Bake in oven 40 minutes.
Cool potatoes for 5 minutes before removing from baking dish.
Serve with sour cream or ranch on the side.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Stitch Fix #5

Once again, my August Stitch Fix is almost here and I have yet to share what I received in July.  My next box will be my 6th "fix" and I'm still just as excited about it as I was when I first signed up.  I just love getting clothes picked out for me and delivered to my door each month!  If you want to know more about how Stitch Fix works, you can read my original post here.

These are the items I received in Stitch Fix #5!

Aryeh - Gregor Dot Print A-Line Dress

Ellison - Lulu Sheer Stripe Bejeweled Neck Top

LA MADE - Alexa Cross-Front Striped Shirt
41Hawthorn - Floral Bib Necklace
Last but not least is my keeper - a Nick & Mo cardigan!  I reallllly didn't want another long sleeve/sweater type piece since I kept a cardigan last month.  I just couldn't resist this one though!  My friend, Renee, got it in her very first fix a few months ago and I fell in love with it then.  I never actually requested this, but I think my stylist knows now I have a weakness for cardigans!  It doesn't hurt that this one is super soft and comfy.  Don't judge me if I'm wearing this every time you see me this fall/winter/next spring!

Nick & Mo - Becket Multi Colored Dot Cardigan

If you would like a stylist to select some great items just for you, I would really appreciate it if you used my referral code to sign up:  
Would you like to see what items I've received in my previous Stitch Fix shipments?
Stitch Fix #1

Stitch Fix #2

Stitch Fix #3

Stitch Fix #4

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

I recently joined Booksneeze and was able to select a book to review.  When I was looking through the available titles Bread and Wine jumped out at me because I had recently heard the book mentioned by some other ladies.  I didn't know anything about it and honestly didn't have high expectations for it.

Here's what I've been telling my friends since I finished the book.
1.  If you like food, read the book.
2.  If you like to cook food you should really read the book.
3.  If you love Jesus and food, you must read this book!

This book is like a memoir in that Shauna tells a story in each chapter.  What makes it even better though, is that most chapters end with a recipe!  

As I read, I smiled and I got choked up, but most of all I was nodding my head because I could relate so much to her experiences and beliefs.
I was only on the first page of the Introduction when Shauna hooked me:
"I'm a bread person...  And I am a wine person...
More than that, I am a bread-and-wine person.  By that I mean that I'm a Christian, a person of the body and blood, a person of the bread and wine.  Like every Christian, I recognize the two as food and drink, and also, at the very same time, I recognize them as something much greater - mystery and tradition and symbol.  Bread is bread and wine is wine, but bread-and-wine is another thing entirely.  The two together are the sacred and the material at once, the heaven and earth, the divine and the daily."
There are so many pages in this book that I have marked because they spoke to me so strongly.  I won't share them all, but here are the last two paragraphs that I made notes of.  In the chapter titled, "What Money Can't Buy" Shauna talks about those who are experiencing true hunger and serving with more than just food.  This is something that has been on my mind A LOT in this season of my life and I believe that's why it resonated with me so much.
"The church is at its best, in my view, when it is more than a set of ideas and ideals, when it is a working, living, breathing, on-the-ground, in-the -mess force for good in our cities and towns.
That's all we can do: start where we are with what we have.  We have so much more than we need, and we spend a lot of our time managing our stuff, picking it up and and organizing it and finding places for it.  That's not how I want to live.  I don't want to stand by, choosing to be ignorant.  I want to stand with, choosing to be a part of the solution.
After I read a book, I usually pass it on to someone else.  (Moving as often as we do, books aren't really a good thing to accumulate.)  This book will be one of those rare ones that I hold onto.  I'll definitely want to read it again, but I also want to keep it for the recipes.  Last weekend I made Nigella's Flourless Chocolate Brownies and hope to try all the other recipes too!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Favorite Apps

Today I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner to share my favorite apps.  I don't have an iPad so these are are just what I use on my iPhone.  Unless noted otherwise, these are all free.

These are very popular social networking apps that most people have:

I love to take pictures, so of course I have Instagram, but I also like to use:
PicStitch - a collage app
Timer Cam - self timer for iPhone
A Beautiful Mess - photo editor (paid)
A Beautiful Mess sample screenshot from the iTunes store

For blogging I obviously like to use the Blogger app.

I haven't used it in 18 months, but when I went into labor with Emma, I used Full Term to help me track my contractions.
After she was born and we were nursing all the time, I loved playing the game Truffla Shuffla!  It's probably more for kids but I really enjoyed it!  The app was free when I downloaded it, but you may have to pay for it now.
Truffla Shuffla sample screenshot from the iTunes store

Some other random apps that I find useful are:
Flash Light comes in handy much more than I thought it would
Trip Advisor can let you know what's in your current area as far as restaurants, hotels and things to do
Foursquare also allows you to find places in your current area and may sometimes offer deals too
Groupon is probably the most well known site for deals
Kindle allows you to download books onto your phone without actually having to purchase a Kindle device
Gas Buddy helps you find the cheapest gas in your area
Gas Buddy sample screenshot from the iTunes store

Those are most of the apps you will find on my phone.  My 5 year old also has one of our old broken iPhones but we allow her to use it to play games.  Her favorite app at the moment is probably Snapchat.    Her 'friends' on there are her aunt and uncle, babysitter and one of my lifelong friends.  She loves sending them silly pictures and videos and can't wait to see what they send back to her!

This is a post I probably never would have thought to write but it is fun to see what all apps are out there that I don't even know exist.  What are your favorites?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Go Ahead and Call Me Crazy...

I feel like I've been keeping a secret, which is something I can't stand to do.  For a few months our little family has been working on something privately.  We're now at the end of one phase and the beginning of another, so I feel like it's time to share.
On May 20, I finally made the decision to call our local agency and inquire about how we could become a foster family!  (There will be another post coming to share what brought us to that point.)
The first step in becoming licensed here in Kansas is participating in 30 hours of PS-MAPP training.  PS-MAPP stands for Partnering for Safety and Permanence - Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting.  The class is broken up into 10 three hour sessions.  I was just a little caught off guard when the worker told me that the next class would be starting the following night, May 21, and asked if we wanted to be in that one.  Bryan & I freaked out a little bit then decided that if we could get a babysitter, we would go.  At that point we had talked to a local teen about babysitting, but had never actually used her!  She agreed to come the following night and has been a huge blessing to us ever since then.
Our big textbook...
Last week we completed our PS-MAPP training and this weekend we will have the second of our 2 home visits.  We are currently finishing up our licensing packet aka a lot of paperwork.  After that we will have an official home inspection basically just to make sure our house is safe for a child.  From what I understand it's not nearly as strict and thorough as an adoption home study.  It is possible that we could be licensed and available to accept a placement as soon as next month.
We have decided to license for only one child that is younger than Emma.  I was very surprised to learn how specific you can be when deciding what you are or are not willing to accept.  It seems as though the state really wants the families and their placements to match up as well as possible.  We are open to any race or gender but have yet to decide what we are comfortable with as far as reasons the child came into care and their medical needs.
Every day that we are closer to being licensed, I wonder if I've lost my mind.  We are also still trying to figure out the logistics of having an extra child in the family.  What makes it even more interesting is that it could be anywhere from a newborn to a 1 1/2 year old!  We still need to get another crib and car seat just for starters!
...and big licensing packet!
What I do know is that God is calling me to serve in this way and to love on these little ones when they need it most.  We are terrified and excited but trust that He will provide and guide us when we don't know what we're doing!  Please pray for us as we move forward, but especially pray for these little ones and their families as we try to care for and minister to them.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Excellence Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

During our trip to Georgia last month, Bryan and I were able to get away for 6 days to travel to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.  We celebrated our 10 year anniversary by relaxing at the Excellence Punta Cana all-inclusive resort.  We haven't been on a kid free vacation since Marlie was born, so we had been looking forward to this trip for quite a while. 
We flew from Atlanta to Punta Cana and then took a taxi to our resort.  There were 2 other couples from New York in the taxi with us and both couples were celebrating their 25th anniversaries!  They insisted on stopping to get some beer for the ride and grabbed one for Bryan & I too!

When we arrived at the resort an hour later, we were led to our room where they had decorated our door with an anniversary sash.

We opted to get a basic garden view junior suite rather than upgrade to anything pool side or be a part of their Excellence Club.  Once we got there we were glad we had made that choice and thought our room location on the property (Building 7) couldn't have been better.  

A bar and full mini-fridge stayed fully stocked and were all-inclusive for everyone at the resort.

We loved our little sitting area and hammock outside.

We opted not to do any excursions during our trip.  We just wanted to be completely lazy and that's what we did.  I slept until around 930am most mornings then we would go have breakfast.  After that we would find us some chairs out on the beach and stay there until we wanted to eat lunch.  The employees would come by often to check on us and see if we needed any new drinks.

We spent each afternoon by the pool or at the swim up bar.  We ate dinner at a different resort restaurant each night and then we would watch the evening show by the employees.  
By the end of the trip, we had consumed all the resort food and drinks we could stand.  We had enjoyed doing nothing for a few days but were recharged and ready to get back to our girls and normal life.