Happy Birthday to You!

Today was my husband’s 36th birthday.  He’s OLD now!  haha!

For dinner I made a BLT pasta salad with grilled chicken.  It also has green onion and ranch dressing in it.  It was REALLY good!!

Then, after dinner we had a cake that I baked today.  My husband picked it out, and he wanted plain white cake with whipped white frosting.  It turned out perfect, and was OH SO good!!

Make a wish!!

I hope he had a great, relaxing birthday, and hopefully this year is a good one for him!  🙂  I love you honey!!

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Menu March 4th – 10th

This week is super busy for us.  My husband is working 50 hours at his job, plus he has a college orientation class on Monday night, we also have our weekly foster care training class on Thursdays and Greyson has youth group on Wednesday nights, so we are sticking to easy meals this week.

Sunday
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Soup

Monday
Macaroni and Cheese
(mixed with tuna and peas)

Tuesday
Spaghetti
Seasoned Green Beans

Wednesday
Leftovers
(youth group)

Thursday
Leftovers
(foster care class)

Friday
Cheeseburgers
Tater Tots

Saturday
Chicken Noodle Soup
(pressure cooker)

Fostering Fears

No, not in the way you think.

My husband and I are training to become foster parents through the state of Missouri.  We are about half way through our classes, and we have already had our first of three home studies.  We hit a snag in our home study when she found out about my husband’s difficult childhood, and we were worried that we would be told to stop coming.  “Our” worker, the one assigned to stick up for us and help us out, was the one that needed to make the decision on whether or not we could continue, and after talking to my husband she realized that the lady doing our home studies (and also teaching our classes) stepped over a line and went a little crazy in her notes, and she told us that we had better keep going to the classes.  lol  I’m just worried now about any repercussions from the lady that is doing our home studies, since we complained about her and I’m sure she’ll hear about it.

Our classes have been rather boring so far, actually.  We went through most of this already back in Nebraska, and the classes are exactly the same thing.  Same text book, same homework, same ridiculous videos.  Everything is the same.  There are about 10 couples in our class, and out of all of them, only 3 “students” ever speak unless asked to read from the book.  Those 3 people would be a lady that always sits next to me that already has a kinship foster child (so she has already experienced most of what we talk about)…and my husband and me.  It’s crazy!  We do have one avid note taker…she writes down everything that the instructors say.  Literally.  I watch her.  lol  Everyone else just sits there.  Almost all of them are there for the sole purpose of eventually adopting, so they just want to get the classes over with.  It’s very strange, to say the least.  I have to wonder if the instructors feel like they are talking to the wall most of the time.

I can’t wait until we are licensed and have our first foster child.  We are planning on taking children ages newborn to 3yrs, and gender or race doesn’t matter to us.  For now we are only taking one child at a time, but if we can ever get a bigger car in the future we would be willing to take 2 children at once which will open us up to more placements because we could take sibling groups. At the moment, though, we cannot fit more than one carseat in our car and still have room for our son.  Our worker suggested that we only take children 6 and under based on our son’s age (he just turned 13), and in this state all children under 8 must ride in an age appropriate carseat, so we are out of luck on taking more than one child for now.

For the time being we are going to be doing straight foster care, which means we will care for the child until they are able to return home, then we will get another placement.  If a child we are caring for becomes free for adoption, we will consider it at that point, but we aren’t going into this with the intent of doing foster to adopt.  That is the biggest reason why we do a lot of talking in class, asking questions and getting clarification on what they are talking about.  I want to be as prepared as we can be.  There are less surprises down the road that way.  We also agreed to do respite care and emergency care in between our own placements.

Respite care is taking care of a child in the foster care system for a couple of hours up to a week or so while their assigned foster parents are either out-of-town, sick, or for whatever reason, then they will return to their assigned foster parents.

Emergency care is taking a child during any time of day in an emergency and stay for a couple of hours up to a couple of days, while authorities figure out if they will be staying in the foster care system, if they will be going to relative placement, or if they will be returned to their parents.  They typically do this if the child needs to be removed in an emergency before they get any of this figured out.  Sometimes an emergency placement can turn into a standard foster placement.

When it comes to foster children, privacy is everything.  I can’t say anything about them, I can’t even say their name (especially online), and I can’t take and post pictures of them.  I worry about how I will handle this when it comes to Facebook and my blog, but I’m sure I’ll do fine.  It will just be so hard not to talk about them and the cute things they do, or vent about the hard stuff we have to go through.  I’m going to want to share them with the world, and I won’t be able to.  It will be difficult.

I’m so excited, though.  There are so many things that I can’t wait to do.  For starters, I plan to use cloth diapers on all of the foster children we take care of.  I already have the majority of my cloth diaper stash washed and ready to go.  I’m so anxious that I keep practicing by putting diapers on my stuffed bear.  hehe  I didn’t use cloth diapers on our son, so this will be a fun and interesting adventure.  I also can’t wait to baby wear.  I’m excited to use the Mei Tais that I made while I was a nanny, and my Didymos wrap that I’ve kept forever and have only had the chance to use once.  I’ve never been able to use them on a child of my “own” before, but I just can’t wait.

I’m also worried about how our families will react, and how they will treat our foster children whenever they are able to meet them.  So far, both of our families seem to be completely ignoring the fact that we are even doing this (aside from the time my husband talked to his family about the troubles we were having with our home study), so that is what has me concerned.  I’m not as worried about my husband’s family as I am about mine, though.  I’ve tried bringing it up with my family and they refuse to even talk about it, and just change the subject.  *sigh*  Especially if we end up adopting…will that child be treated differently?  Will they be treated as if they are damaged or as if there is something “wrong” with them?  I hope not, but I guess time will tell.

Being foster parents can be really scary and really hard, but we’re up for the challenge.

Did I tell you that I can’t wait??

Cricket

Cricket is my Silver Laced Polish Crested chicken.  She was the only one that we got purposefully to be a pet.  We had to hand raise her for a week or two shortly after we got her b/c the two other chicks we got at the same time died.  She became very attached to me.  Now, she follows me around the yard and climbs up and sits in my lap.

When she was a chick, she would cuddle in my hair and sleep behind my ear while I would sit on the sofa and watch tv.  Even now, she sits on my shoulder and nuzzles my hair and coos.  it’s really cute.  Today she was sitting on my shoulder, when all of a sudden she climbed on top of my head.  Now, every time she gets on my shoulder she goes right to the top of my head.  LMAO!!  She is such a funny girl!  Full of such sass and attitude, but such a great personality.

Silly girl!

Our nightly walks

Recently, my husband and I started taking a walk late each night.  We get some exercise, but mostly we like to take the dogs with us and get them some exercise also.  Weather and predator permitting (we don’t like to go if we can hear coyotes out there) we walk from our house, down the road to the highway, and back.  In total, it is about 3/4 of a mile there and back.

Tonight we got down to the highway and my husband checked the mailbox in case anything was in it.  We have a PO Box, so we don’t usually get anything, but tonight we had a phone book and a newspaper type ad.  We went to turn around to walk back home and I see something small running toward us.  It was Hazel, our new little stray cat!  She followed us all the way there!  I gave her a quick pet, and then we started to go back home.  She walked with us.  Her poor short legs didn’t allow her to keep up with us very well, but she did her best.  We slowed down for her every once in a while.

I thought it was so cute that she would follow us all the way there and back.  She is a very smart and loving cat.  I think she is amazing.  Thank you for joining our family Hazel!  ♥

Homemade pancakes

Tonight we had pancakes for dinner.  I pulled out my great grandmother’s Good Housekeeping cookbook.  It has been well-loved over the years, and I love that it still has little notes and page markers throughout it that my grandmother put in it.  I love seeing her handwriting again.  This cookbook was published in 1963, and I love the thought that I’m using a cookbook that 50 years worth of people have looked at.  How many meals did this help my grandmother make for her family?

This is the pancake recipe from this book:

Homemade Pancakes

1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp double-acting baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk*
3 tbsp melted butter, margarine, or fat or salad oil**

1. Set griddle over low heat to warm up.  Into a medium bowl or wide-mouthed pitcher, sift flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
2. In a small bowl, beat egg well; add milk, butter.  Slowly stir into flour mixture, mixing only until dry ingredients are wet.
3. When griddle is hot enough to make a drop of cold water dance, lightly grease or not as manufacturer directs.  Drop batter from pitcher or large spoon onto griddle, lightly spreading each cake with back of spoon into round about 4″ diameter.  Don’t crowd cakes or they will be difficult to turn.  Cooking about 3 cakes at a time is usually safe.
4. Cook over low heat until rim of each cake is full of broken bubbles and underside is golden brown.  With broad spatula or pancake turner, loosen and turn each cake; brown on other side.  Turn only once.
5. When pancakes are done, remove to heated platter or plates, stacking 4 in each pile.

Serve at once with butter or margarine and syrup, apple butter, honey, marmalade, molasses, shaved maple sugar, etc.  Makes about 12 4″ cakes.
*For thicker pancakes, use 3/4 cup of milk.
**We used melted Crisco
***We added 1/4 tsp vanilla extract to the batter

They turned out wonderfully!  They tasted fantastic, and we SO easy to make.  They only took a minute more than boxed pancakes do, but of course were much better.  I’m glad I found this recipe, because we will definitely be making these again in the future any time we want pancakes.

Our new family member

A week ago today an adorable tiny cat showed up on our front porch.  At first I thought it was a boy, but the next day I realized it was a girl…and probably had a litter of kittens around here somewhere.  Since she was SOOOO thin, I didn’t think it would hurt anything to feed her.  I honestly didn’t think we would ever see her again.

Boy was I wrong.  Apparently she has now adopted us.  She lives on our front porch almost all day now.  I think the only time she leaves is to go feed her babies, which she has stashed somewhere down the road.  We had chicken stir fry yesterday, and I gave her a big piece of the chicken scraps.  She was a good mama and carried it back to them.  Otherwise, she is always there to greet us when we go outside.  She is very friendly, and loves to be petted and purrs up a storm, but doesn’t like to be picked up.  She is also not a huge fan of our dogs.

Isn’t she cute?  She has put on some weight since we’ve been feeding her regularly.  We’ve been calling her Hazel.  🙂

14 Days of Beauty – Days one and two

My sister-in-law started doing 14 Days of Beauty on her Facebook page.  She was tired of all of the negativity she saw on Facebook everyday and decided to do her part to change that.  So, every day, for 14 days, she is going to find, take a photo, and post a picture of something she finds beautiful.  She has inspired me to do the same.

Yesterday I posted this picture as my “Day One”.  It is a picture of my clean kitchen.  I have a tendency to not do well at keeping it clean, and yesterday it happened to be perfectly clean.  I thought it was beautiful.


This is my Day of Beauty – Day Two picture.  It’s of a cat yawn.  I love my cats, and I find them beautiful, especially their yawn which can look deceiving in a picture because they look like they are mad or growling.  This is Thomas.  We rescued him and his brother Walter when they were 7 months old after being bounced around through 4 other homes in that short time before we got them.  We couldn’t have asked for better cats.  They are so sweet and loving.  It took Thomas almost 6 months of living with us to fully trust us, and I think to realize that we weren’t going to just bounce him to the next house and that he wasn’t going anywhere.  He is here to stay.  ♥

My Mother-in-Law ROCKS!!

She really does!  I love her!

I am allergic to a lot of soaps.  Most of them give me a rash, especially ones that I use on my hands, so I have to be really picky on the soaps that I use.  A couple of years ago I found a dish soap that I can use without a problem and I love it.  The problem is, I can’t find it anywhere down here.  The only place I’ve found it is at Whole Foods back in Omaha, and now I’m down to the last bit in my current bottle.  😦

Last Friday I asked my Mother-in-Law if she would mind stopping by there to pick me up a bottle (she works just down the street) and sending it to me.  By the next day TWO bottles were on their way to me.  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The UPS guy delivered them to my doorstep this morning.  I am eternally grateful, and I owe her.  😉  My Father-in-Law is awesome also, b/c he included a newspaper for us to read, along with the comics!!  Love you too, Dem!  🙂 Thank you guys so much!  I’m so lucky to have such great in-laws.

The best dish soap ever!