Archives for November 2008

Sunday- The Advent Conspiracy

This video knocked my socks off. This post on the Advent Conspiracy Blog is great as well.

Fewer gifts.
Relational gifts.
Having some left for those in need.
A radical concept this Christmas indeed.

Worthy Causes:

Compassion International
Living Water International

Christmas ornament craft

Yesterday morning I hit the craft store in hopes of finding a fun craft. I got some ideas from pre-made kits, but ended up buying 4 bags of beads and a spool of wire rather than a kit. The craft was fun for everyone. We had fun coming up with a variety of crazy creations. Pipe cleaners and pony beads made an easy variation for my youngest daughter. Click on the pictures for larger versions and picture descriptions.


This morning my 14 year old son and I got up at 4:30 and hit the stores. We shopped Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Office Depot, Kings, the craft store, and the grocery store. We got done around 9 AM.

My son discovered an interesting way to ‘part the waters’ in a store full of people. He’d put a shopping basket on his head and start walking. People stared. And moved. They thought he was a bit looney. He’s not–he’s just a clown. I opted not to wear the basket. It was enough just to follow him. 🙂

It worked pretty well to have my son shop with me for the first 15 minutes in each store, then head for the checkout while I finished up with odds and ends I hadn’t found yet. I found about 80% of what I wanted, so I’d call that a success. One fun find was a new bedding set for my king sized bed that cost only $35– and that included a bedskirt, 4 pillowcases, sheets, and a comforter.

At home the kids and I did a craft– maybe I’ll blog about that tomorrow– and then I locked myself in my room to wrap. I got 2 dozen gifts wrapped before I gave up and sacked out on the couch for a nap. (That is, if you can call it a nap when it is in the living room with half a dozen people, several of whom call out “MOM!” every 4.5 minutes while several others loudly hiss ‘ssshhhh!!!!”).

Tonight we’re doing personal pan pizzas for dinner and then we’re planning to watch The Muppet’s Christmas. All in all, an excellent day!

Thankful for…

good food

eyes to see

warm home

great friends

joyful holidays

precious children

wonderful husband

happy hopes for the future

God’s grace giving new power for every day

Almost instant, totally delicious dessert

Awhile back someone gave me a recipe for a really easy dessert that you just dump into a pan in layers. Canned pineapple, canned cherries, a cake mix, and 2 sticks of butter were the main ingredients. Oh, it was good! Problem was, I never had cake mixes or canned cherries just sitting around. And buying all those ingredients just for one dessert was a little pricey. So I made up my own dump cake, one that takes things I do happen to have around most of the time. It is every bit as yummy as the original recipe, but it requires a little less butter and it is much more affordable.

Almost Instant, Totally Delicious Dump Cake

Makes one 9×12 pan
Prep time: 5 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes at 400 degrees

2 quarts of peaches or apricots
2 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 sticks of butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Open both jars of fruit. You’re going to use the liquid from one jar of fruit, and set aside the juice from the other jar for a different purpose, such as tomorrow’s breakfast orange juice. Pour both jars of fruit plus the juice from one of the jars of fruit into a 9×12 casserole dish.

(If you don’t happen to have home-canned fruit, store-bought is fine. You’ll need about 8 cups of drained fruit with about 2 cups of liquid. Any kind of fruit will work: fruit cocktail, apples, peaches, and pineapple all work well.)

In a medium sized bowl mix flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Sprinkle evenly over all the fruit. Slice 1-1/2 sticks of butter into many little ‘pats’. Arrange them evenly over the top of the flour and sugar mixture. yes, it will seem like a lot of butter, but this is a dessert, remember? And it is yummy, I promise you! Just don’t eat the whole panful yourself and you’ll be fine.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until cake is browned with little crispy bits, and little bubbles of juice filling are popped up through the crust here and there. Serve while warm, with ice cream if desired.

This recipe redo really works for me!

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Our Korea Trip

As many of you know, two of our kids were born in Korea. Ever since they were teeny, we’ve been planning to take them for a ‘homeland’ visit to Korea when they are old enough. Well, now they’re 10 years old and John and I have decided that 2009 is the year of The Trip. The other day I booked tickets for a weeklong trip to Seoul in June.

Along with the our two Korean boys, I’ll also be bringing our 14 year old son. Our three oldest kids all had the chance to travel outside of the USA with various adoption trips. Eldest went to Korea in 2000 when she was 11. Second daughter went to Ethiopia in 2004 when she was 13. And our oldest son went to Ethiopia in 2005 when he was 13. Now it is our 4th son’s turn to broaden his horizons a bit.

Thanks to 140,000 frequent flyer miles (mostly to Ethiopia) we got two of the tickets free, which makes the trip quite a bit more affordable. I am not expecting to be able to meet our boys’ birth families, since we don’t really know much. But we are hoping to see their foster moms if possible, and we’re looking forward to riding the subway and exploring the various interesting things in and around Seoul.

As an additional bonus, a friend of mine who moved here from Korea as an adult, called me up the other day. Turns out she is spending the month of June in Korea, visiting family. So we’re looking forward to the fun of hanging out in Seoul together, which is something we’ve talked about doing for nearly a decade. It will be lovely to spend some extra time with her — we’ve both been so busy lately that we haven’t seen each other much. And having a native Korean who is also a friend to show us around and help translate for us — well, it will just be awesome!

I’m too busy at the moment to do much planning besides booking the tickets. But I have bookmarked a couple possible hotels, and by the time we leave in June, I’m sure we’ll have the days packed with activities. I’m really excited to be able to show our boys a little of Korea, and to see it again myself as well.

5 things in my head at the moment

1. The book winner is commenter #6, Dana of Havenstorch. Congrats, Dana! Email me and let me know which 2 books you prefer.

2. This week I am finishing 3 chapters of my frugal cooking book so I can deliver them to my editor by the end of the day Wednesday. Am feeling a bit frazzled by the immediacy of that deadline.

3. We’re having a birthday party this evening for my wonderful hubby. His birthday is tomorrow, so go tell him Happy Birthday, OK? we are also celebrating my BABY’s FOURTH birthday! How can she possibly be four already?

4. I am very happy to be getting some extra time with my college kids and their friends this week during Thanksgiving break. The game night last evening was really fun. A bunch of us were up til 3AM playing possibly the longest game of pinochle in the history of man. I would happily do it again this evening, if that tells you anything about the fun we had.

5. On Thanksgiving we are visiting John’s extended family at noon, and spending time with my extended family at the evening meal. Must make mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie before then, plus something I already forgot. I may need to entirely give up sleep to accomplish all my goals for the week. Also must make up my game plan for the shopping trip on Friday and decide which of my big kids should be my shopping buddy this year.

What are you all doing for Thanksgiving?

Game night

This evening we’re having friends over for a game night. We’re going to include our Taiwan friends via skype. We’ll be playing ‘talking’ games like Gibberish and Balderdash, stuff that can be done over the internet. We’re having easy stuff for dinner: veggies and fruit and cold cuts and teriyaki meatballs, along with cookies, pumpkin pie and apple pie. I wish the Taiwan people could be in on the food, too. After the littlest kids go to bed, I am hoping for some pinochle. I started to learn it last month, but don’t nearly have it down. Are any of you good at pinochle? Have any tips?

Sunday: Hidden in her heart

For years our family has done small bits of Bible memory on a sporadic basis.   But last summer when a pastor visited our church and spoke ALL of Ephesians from memory, we decided to raise the bar.

We began with Ephesians 6:10-20.  I printed out the words on cards for each person and laminated them.  We keep the verses at the dinner table, and simply read through the verse once or twice at the end of each meal until we learn it. It takes us 3-4 weeks to learn a verse. Once everyone can say it, I pick another verse to learn.

Everyone, even the three year old, has been able to learn the verses. In fact, it is usually someone age 10 or younger who learns it first. And let me tell you, it is pretty cool to hear a preschooler say, “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me….” — and to know that those words are IN THERE — most likely for the rest of her life. No, she doesn’t understand them yet. But they’re there.

We are currently on our 4th verse this school year– Matthew 2:1-12, which is the Christmas story.  We don’t quite have it learned yet, but I think in another week or two we will.  I am thrilled that this tiny time investment is planting words in our hearts that will be there for the rest of our lives.

Decidedly NOT a turkey

She found this sticker on the newspaper

and was sure it belonged on her shirt.