dossier documents = making me crazy

We’re really close to having all of our dossier documents together.  The last couple of things that we’re waiting on are making me crazy, though!  When you’re in your little adoption bubble, you forget that normal humans don’t have so much emotional energy wrapped up in single pieces of paper and don’t understand when you ask them to recreate an entire document because of one little error, or why you have to take deep breaths (to try to avoid bursting into tears and/or raising your voice) standing at the desk of the doctor’s office.  Hang in there, friends.  This is grueling, but I believe it will be worth it!

I’m praying that I will be expectant and excited to see how God will orchestrate all of these details, rather than stressing endlessly about EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.  When am I going to learn this?!  Will you pray with/for me?  And, if you happen upon this post someday when dossier documents are making you crazy, comment, and I’ll pray for you, too!

Choconananut Muffins

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This is a recipe I created a few years ago, and they are some of our favorite muffins! They’re only about 180 calories each, and lots of fiber and protein. Perfect for breakfast on days when we’re driving carpool, or for packing in lunches. I sometimes make a double batch and freeze half so we can enjoy them for a while.

Choconananut Muffins

You’ll need:
1 cup white flour
2 cups wheat flour
1.5 cups old fashioned oats
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2(+) tablespoons cocoa powder
4 small ripe bananas
1 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
1.5 cup plain lowfat yogurt
2 eggs
1(+) tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients and bananas and stir until mostly blended. Add everything else and mix well. Bake at 400* for 15 minutes. Makes about 28 ice cream scoop sized muffins.

Honeyed Chicken & Pineapple

Honeyed Chicken & Pineapple

I made another Asian recipe! They loved the dish, but I tried the crunchy fried noodles, and they didn’t care for those. But, the dish itself is definitely a keeper. (Confession #1: This was my first time ever to fry something! It’s sort of hard work!)

You’ll need:
1 broiler-fryer chicken (about 3 lbs)
1/2 c. cornstarch
3 c. vegetable oil
2 t. grated ginger
1 20 oz can pineapple chunks, drained
1 bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 1/2 c. water
2 t. cornstarch
1 1/2 T honey
1T. chicken bouillon granules
1 t. sesame oil
4 green onions, cut into thin slices

1. Remove giblets from chicken. Rinse chicken and cut into serving size pieces. Coat chicken pieces with 1/2 cup cornstarch. (Confession #2: I used boneless chicken breasts.)

2. Heat vegetable oil in wok over high heat until it reaches 375 degrees. Add chicken pieces one at a time to hot oil. Cook 1/3 of the pieces at a time. Cook until golden and completely cooked, about 5 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper. Repeat with remaining chicken.

3. Pour all but 2 T of the oil out of the wok. Stir-fry ginger and garlic in the oil over medium heat 1 minute. Add drained pineapple and the sliced pepper to ginger mixture. Sir-fry over high heat 2 minutes. Remove from wok.

4. Mix water and remaining 2 t. cornstarch. Blend in honey, bouillon, and sesame oil. Pour mixture into wok. Cook and stir over high heat until mixture boils and thickens. Return chicken and pineapple-pepper mixture to wok. Cook and stir over high heat until hot throughout. Add green onions. Cook and stir 1 minute longer.

My family really liked it, and I’ll definitely make it again. (Confession #3: I accidentally used corn meal instead of corn starch. I didn’t even realize I had done it until my sweet husband asked if it was supposed to be fried like catfish instead of chicken. He pretended to think it may have been a chinese strategy that he had never heard of, rather that an error. But, it was still good!)

it’s that time again

it's that time again

Is it weird that I measure the passage of time by baseball seasons? I love the light in the mornings and evenings at the park where our oldest plays ball. One year ago when the spring season started, I had just gotten my camera and was figuring out how to use it. Now, it’s baseball time again, and I’m still a total beginner, but love playing with the light there.

This little cutie has grown up so much in the last year! She’s my little buddy at baseball games, and I love every minute of it.

getting real about money

Can we get real about money?

We lost some when we switched countries.  And China Waiting Child adoptions are usually very quick.  Which is good, but scary, because that means we need a whole lot of money really, really fast.

I didn’t want some person considering adoption somewhere to be reading my statements about trusting in God’s provision and think that he/she is somehow unworthy because he/she is worrying about money.

So, here’s the bottom line:  I’m unworthy, too.  I do trust in God’s provision.  Or, possibly more accurately, I’m trying hard to trust 100% in God’s provision.  But it’s something I have to work at.

Right this minute, we’re looking at needing almost 2/3 of our annual income for the adoption in the next 10 months.  That’s intense, y’all.  I have to be really deliberate about taking my thoughts captive (2 Cor. 10:5) every single day, sometimes every single hour, sometimes even more often than that.  Adoption is possible the ultimate lesson in knowing that I cannot be in control of everything.

Last July, we prayed earnestly that we needed $8,000 very quickly.  We got every cent of it right when we needed it.  (Here’s a link to that blog post.)

God does have a plan, and He will provide.  I believe part of his plan is for us to be creative. I also believe part of his plan is for us to be willing to ask for help.  I believe lots of the money will be hard-fought for, and lots of the money will be a total surprise.   We’ve already had some of those total surprises, and they’re incredible, and remind us that He is big.  If we didn’t need His help, how would we ever learn that we can’t do it without him?  (Isaiah 55:8-11, Matthew 10:29)

Project Big Girls’ Room

Project Big Girls' Room

Little Miss learned how to climb out of her crib, so we had to transition to a big bed a little sooner than I anticipated. It has spurred on a pretty fun room make-over. We didn’t find out her gender before she was born, so I’ve never done a super girly room. Turns out, I sort of love pink and purple! I won’t give too much away yet, but it’s going to be lots of fun and perfect for the two most precious little girls on the planet!

physicals, beef noodles, & special needs request

Right now, we’re gathering our new documents for our home study update.  Today, I called to schedule our physicals.  Our doctor, who was very interested and encouraging about our adoption, was booked through the month of April.  Obviously, that wasn’t going to work.  Then the receptionist said, “Wait, this is so weird.  Two consecutive appointments just opened up on March 20th.”  It’s not weird – it’s God working!

We also sat down tonight, over my first-ever successful asian meal, and finalized our special needs request, pending approval from our social worker.  We’ve been asking our close friends for prayer, and telling them, “We’re in the same chapter but not on exactly the same page yet.”  We’ve both prayed about it a lot, and know lots of you have been praying, and tonight we were able to come to a decision that we both feel really comfortable with.  I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on that here right now, but our list includes several orthopedic needs as well as cleft lip/palate.  People have written a bunch on blogs about how writing the special needs request was one of the hardest parts – yeah, it was pretty hard.

Thanks for the prayers and for checking in!  Hopefully, some more exciting updates will happen sooner, rather than later.

Here’s what I made for dinner tonight!  We both really liked it, even though I don’t really love either ginger or soy sauce.  It’s from, Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook.

Beef with Noodles

You’ll need:
8 ounces Chinese fine egg noodles
1/2 c. water
3 t. soy sauce
1/4 t. salt
2 t. instant chicken bouillon granules
6 T. vegetable oil
1 lb. beef rump steak
6 green onions
1 piece fresh ginger root
2 garlic cloves

1.  Cook noodles until tender according to package directions.  Drain well.  Place a clean towel over wire cooling racks.  Spread noodles evenly over towel and dry about 3 hours.

2.  Combine water, 2 t. of the soy sauce, the salt, and bouillon.

3.  Heat 4 T. of the oil in wok over high heat.  Stir-fry noodles in the oil 3 minutes.  Pour water mixture over noodles.  Toss noodles until completely coated, about 2 minutes.  Transfer noodles to serving plate.  Keep warm.

4.  Remove and discard fat from meat.  Cut meat across the grain into thin slices about 2 inches long.  Cut inions into thin diagonal slices.  Pare ginger root and cut into thin slices.  Crush or mince garlic.

5.  Hear remaining 2 T. oil in wok over high heat.  Add beef, onions, ginger, garlic, and remaining 1 t. soy sauce.  Stir-fry until beef is done, about 5 minutes.  Spoon meat mixture over noodles.