Friday, July 6, 2012

Quickest Iced Coffee Ever

I think everyone is trying to beat the heat these days.  It's been a scorcher here with heat close to the 3 digit mark for a few days now.  Most evenings my poor hubby comes home so weary and doesn't feel like eating at all.  We've pretty much turned into vegetarians...eating all the fresh produce that comes with this season.  Last nights supper was grilled cabbage, corn on the cob, tomatoes, and cantaloupe.  We were all satisfied and it tasted so good!

This is my go to drink when I want something quick and delish.  Not to mention the caffeine that I need most mornings and I don't feel like drinking a hot cup of coffee.  This recipe was shared from a friend a few years ago and Brad and I both LOVE it!  Enjoy...

Just 2 ingredients, that's all you'll need!  A pot of coffee and a can of sweetened condensed milk.

Brew a pot of coffee.  I make mine extra strong for this.

I pour the milk into the bottom and the coffee on top.  After a few stirs it's all dissolved.

Mmmmm so yummy.  This time I made it with the "fat free" can and thought it was good and not as sweet.  We'll see if hubby can tell the difference!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Just a Swingin'

While browsing Pinterest one day I noticed a picture of a bed hanging from a tree and got lost in the idea of how relaxing it looked.  Perhaps on such a bed one could escape the many demands of motherhood and even of being a wife/homemaker sometimes.  While lounging on said bed I was pretty sure all cares of this world would disappear!  I showed my hubby the "pin".  My hubby has such a love/hate relationship with Pinterest.  I've tried many recipes from there lately and some have been a flop and others a hit!  It's not uncommon to be eating our supper and have him ask "Is this a Pinterest idea"?!  I can usually tell by his tone if he's loving or hating it at the moment.  So anyway, I showed him the pic and said "Doesn't that look so relaxing?"  His mind immediately went to the pile of barnwood in the garage and he started planning it all out within a few minutes.  We walked around our property and found a tree that looked like a good sturdy tree.  One that could probably withstand people not only lounging, but kids probably bouncing! 

Brad had off of work July 4th so he decided to spend the day making this thing for me. 

So get this...I was regretting saying something to him because I would've loved a day "to myself".  Baby C is outgrowing everything and it's tough to go shopping with 2 in tow.  Brad knew I wanted to get out a little so after he was done with the first part of the bed he sent me out the door to go shopping oh and while you're out...get yourself a pedicure.  Spoiled much?  Yup I am and I have no trouble admitting it.  I so LOVE this man and the way he showers me with love!

He had a very willing "helper".  She follows him around all day when he's home.  So he got her a hammer, some nails and a few pieces of wood and she was entertained for a while!

An hour or 2 later it looked like this!

I dug this old thing out of the corner it was dwelling in.  I got it free at the auction I used to work at.  It was going to be used in a scene at our Christmas Nativity but never made it there.   Brad fixed it so that the light parts went up instead of down and stripped the wires.  I spray painted it black, put candles in and hung it above the bed.  We need to figure out how to hang it lower because it's kinda hidden in the tree!

I wasn't home when Brad drug the bed out to the spot in our backyard we picked out so I have no idea how he got it there.  He set the bed on jacks to allow him to work with the rope.

Pretty much my only instructions to him were that I don't want to be laying on it and be afraid that I'm going to fall down or off.   He used thick heavy rope and used heavy duty loop thingys and knots to fasten the rope to the frame.  We looped the rope around the end closes to the truck for added support.  This tree is growing weird.  It grows on an angle so that allowed us to hang it this way and yet have room for the bed to swing freely.

After he had it hanging I told him he has to be the first to try it out!  It moved and creaked but held fast!  We seen right away that we would have to do something about the foot end.  We didn't think about it that that side would hang down farther and so we should use less rope on that side. But that's a project for another day!  Once he was on, I could barely persuade him to get back off again!

Then we both got on and gave Miss A the camera!  She was delighted to snap some pics of us! : )  We laid there for a while but couldn't ignore the screaming kids for too long!  See what I mean about the lower end hanging down?

I think my favorite part of the whole bed is the headboard.  He used old lath to make it.

I was so so happy with how it turned out.  It's so relaxing and I can't wait to spend some time out there.  It's really close to our fire pit so I'm picturing many relaxing evenings out there! 

Now for the cost of the project:
All the wood we used was FREE...salvaged from the old barn we tore down a few years ago

The Rope:  Salvaged from an old tug of war Brad was at years ago.  The rope tore and they were going to throw it out.  I know what you're thinking... THE ROPE TORE and yet you trust it to hold this thing up?  Brad assured me that it only tore after being pulled by a truck on one side and a tree on the other...

The heavy duty hook thingys were about 6 bucks a piece...
Mattress cover and candles came to about $20. 

$26 buckaroos...not bad huh?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Holding Them Close

Tears stream down my face as I hold closely the wriggling body of my infant son. He has no idea what is going through my mind, but I can't help but hold him close and cry into his shoulder.  I go to the table where his preschool age sister is happily playing play-do and scoop her up in my arms. Surprised, she wraps her little arms around my neck as I quietly sob. She has no idea that tears are streaming down my face and has no idea what possessed her mother to interrupt her play and scoop her into a tight hug. I let her go and turn quickly so she can not see my tear stained face. But shes smart and says “Don’t cry Mommy, you may play with me”. I choke out a smile and go back to her wailing brother.
When my husband and I started the journey in foster care we tried to prepare ourselves for the heartbreak that inevitably comes with losing your heart to these kids but nothing could’ve prepared me for the fear that coursed through my body when I found out that we can not move towards adoption at this point like we had hoped. By this time we should be well on the way to adopting our daughter. Even though nothing is finalized, just the thought that things don’t look as good for us as they did at one time, makes me panic. 

I feel myself wanting to distance myself from these children to protect myself but I know that is not the answer. The risk of being a foster parent/hoping to adopt is just that…a risk. We knew that when we signed up for this and yet the reality is so tough. It’s impossible to halfway love these kids, impossible not to dream of a future of when we change their names and they become “ours”. So for now, I will love on them like they deserve while I have them. Make memories while we can, try to teach them things that will last for a lifetime, and hold them a little closer today.

Smokey Mountain Chicken

Don't know what to make for supper tonight?  Try this yummy, yummy chicken.  You know you can always count on chicken when you don't know what else to make!  Seriously though, this recipe is so easy and delicious.  It came in handy last week during one of those "What do I make tonight" days.  The best part is that the sauce it's baked in makes a delicious sauce for rice.  I usually make something green for good measure and wal ah...dinner is served.  Hope it comes in handy for some of you!  It comes from one of my favorite cookbooks...Fix-It and Enjoy-It 5 Ingredient Recipes.

This is all it takes folks:

Slice a giant onion and spread on the bottom of a 9x13 pan
Lay chicken on top of this.  I usually use thighs.

Mix together 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup maple syrup (I used pancake syrup), 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 TBL mustard.

Spread sauce over chicken pieces

Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes @ 350*

Serve over rice

Hope you enjoy it!  It's a hit with our family, even my anti rice hubby!

Here's the short version:

Smokey Mountain Chicken
1 onion sliced
3 lbs chicken pieces: legs, thighs or breast pieces
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup vinegar
2 TBLS mustard

Place onions in the bottom of 9x13 pan.  Arrange chicken over onions.  Combine remaining ingredients pour over chicken, covering completely.  Bake uncovered at 350* for 45- 60 minutes, basting serveral times.  Chicken is finished when juices run clear after meat is pierced with a fork.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Catch up Time!

It seems like forever since I've blogged.'s BEEN forever!  I had a few posts started but never got them finished.  Seems with all the changes life has thrown our way this just got put on the back burner.  But now with Sissy in preschool and Baby napping in the afternoon, I have time to myself again!  And yes, that's right..I did say Baby!  So it looks like I should catch you all up on a few things.  Here is the past few months in a nutshell....

August 11th: we got a call asking us to take 2 little girls.  Sisters, ages 5 and 2.
September: the 2, 5 year olds started kindergarten every day, all day.  I was quite grateful!
October and November: I was busy just keeping my head above water.  We thought "J" was going home to his father earlier but it kept dragging out and the reason we said yes to the girls was so that Sissy would have someone to play with and help with her depending less on her brother.  There were days I wanted to pull my hair out, and quite a few trips to the bedroom to cry a little and regroup myself! : )  But somehow we made it through.  Along with the business of taking care of all the children we were also doing some fertility treatment.  Nothing too invasive just lots of trips to the doc for bloodwork and tests.  Sometimes I took the girls with me and sometimes my mom came to my rescue!
End of November: we got a call from the agency saying the mother of the first 2 kids we had was pregnant..would we want the baby?  After some thought we said yes.  She was due the middle of December.  We knew J was going with his father in the next week since he had started spending weekends there.  The girls were going to leave soon after Christmas because it was just too much here.  The oldest and "Sissy" did not get along and when the family that was caring for their brother and sister said they would be willing to take them, it was an answer to prayer for us!  So even though we knew it would be a crazy few weeks, in the long term we would have 2 that looked good for adoption!  I promptly went knocking on doors of Amish neighbors and found me a helper!  She came once a week to clean and was ready to come any time I needed her to help look after the kids etc.
Beginning of December: birth mom was having cramping so she went to the hospital where they did an ultrasound.  She told the caseworker that it was a baby girl and she is due the beginning of January.  We were tickled pink at the thought of a sister for Sissy and relieved that the baby was due in January!  I went shopping! ; )
The beginning of this month: I had another miscarriage.  I had been under treatment and on some hormome stuff but it wasn't enough to keep the baby in my womb.  It was devastating and yet the thought of a baby soon to be joining our home made it somewhat easier.  It's hard to say how I feel about this 4th loss.  I feel almost immune to the fact that I was even ever pregnant and it's like a part of myself hardened yet again.  Maybe it's because that with the craziness of the month I didn't really have or take time to grieve.  We still pray that God would bless us with a biological child but at this point have put all treatment on hold.  It's just too hard...
December 9th: Sissy turned 4 and had not one, but 2 parties!  I had fun putting together a princess party for her and some of her friends!
December 9 -11: was our church's Live Nativity.  Brad and I are on the committee so it was a busy weekend for us!
December 15th: J went home to his birth father.  It was hard to see him go but the transition was rough on all of us so it was almost a relief to have him in one spot instead of back and forth.
December 16th:  Got a call from the caseworker that BABY had arrived.  Oh and by the way...IT'S  A BOY!!  Thank goodness I hadn't washed all that cute little girl stuff (just in case)!  I went shopping again! : )
December 18th: Brad and I went to the hospital to pick up an adorable little 6.5 lb baby boy!
The Christmas season was somewhat of a blur....I was running low on sleep! : ) 
December 26th: we took the girls to their new home to live with their brother and sister.
January 21-27:  Brad and I went with our church worship team to sing in Alabama Prisons with WeCare.  SOOO hard to leave the kids but they were in good hands with a foster family from church.
End of February: Sissy started preschool.  She loves getting out and playing with other kids.  She's there every day but Monday from 12:25-4:00.  It's been nice to have some time to get things done around here and even take a nap sometimes!

After that things settled into a new normal.  We love having these 2...and have been able to really work on bonding and attaching with "Sissy". She loves having us all to herself and getting special privileges since there aren't any other kiddos around.  She didn't even go through anything major with the baby.  I started rocking her every evening and making sure I take time to hold, cuddle and sing to her, just like I do her baby brother.  Speaking of Baby brother.  He is so adorable and growing like a weed.  The tiny 6.5 lb baby boy is now a whopping 14 lbs!  I spent the first month being his primary caregiver so that he would definitely attach to some one.  I ended up sleeping on the recliner most nights because I loved holding him.  Although Brad fed him a time or 2 and my mom once or twice, I wanted to be the only one to feed him.  Basically I pretended I was breastfeeding!  It definitely helped with attachment.  He lights up as soon as he sees me and it's humbling to be the center of his little world!

Being a foster parent isn't easy especially when we find ourselves so in love with these children and realizing they could be taken from us so easily.  And yet, I keep reminding myself that having a biological child wouldn't be too much different....they could still be taken at any time.  It's just a different way of thinking about it.

Life has been good...It's had it's challenges and days of tears.  Any foster mom can tell you that the waiting game is so so tough.  I want to write more and have posts waiting but for now, I felt like I should let you all know that I am among the living! : )