Friday, November 30, 2012

Lasagna Roll Ups

Here's another meatless and delicious recipe for you all.


Lasagna Roll Ups


I saw one (that included spinach) on Pinterest and it looked so yummy I gave it a try (minus the spinach since I didn't have any on hand).

You can add just about any veggie or meat to this dish or, just prepare it with cheese, as I did.

Ingredients:

9 lasagna noodles, cooked
15 oz Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
Salt and Pepper to taste
32 oz Spaghetti Sauce
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine Ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Mix well.  (I was able to hand mix with my wooden spoon.)

2.  Ladle 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9" baking dish.

3.  Place wax paper on counter and lay out the lasagna noodles.  Dry the noodle off. (Otherwise, the Ricotta  mixture won't stick to noodle.)  Take a 1/3 cup of Ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle.


4.   One by one, roll the noodles and place in the baking dish seam side down.



5.  Ladle sauce over the noodles and then sprinkle each with 1 tbsp of the Mozzarella cheese.


6.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts.

**I doubled the ingredients when I made this dish for my family.

Enjoy!

~  Patty  ~

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Snowflakes in Texas




Sometimes this is as real as it gets down here :)

I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it would look cute on our red, front door.  This was so easy to make!

I used (2) 6- packs of plastic, shiny snowflake ornaments from Hobby Lobby ($7.99 each with 50% off coupon) and a large spool of ribbon ($9.99 with 50% off coupon). 



I arranged the snowflakes in a circle and then hot glued it all together.  Next I cut the elastic hooks off of each ornament.




I told you it was easy!

I strung the ribbon and hooked it onto the inside of my front door.  (Saw that idea on Pinterest as well.)  Just get one of those 3M paint-saver, removable wall hooks and hang it upside down.




After 17 years, our Christmas decorations are looking "old".  I decided to start fresh this year going with a red and white color theme.  This wreath makes a great addition...I think :)

**Update** For added measure, I went ahead and bought white-wrapped floral wire and tied the flakes together where they were glued. (In case it became too cold and the hot glued broke apart.)

~  Patty  ~

Monday, November 26, 2012

Transracial Adoption

Unfortunately, I will need to step away from our round table talks this week.  We just came back from driving over 2,000 miles to visit family over Thanksgiving.  I had wanted so badly to put my thoughts into writing prior to our departure, but I barely squeaked out last week's post.

It was a hard trip.  We stayed in five different homes/ hotels in six nights, visited my in-laws where my father-in-law suffers from Alzheimer's, and then got a quick visit in with my mom who would have celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary last week.

I now have the lovely task of chiseling away a mountain of laundry - one week's worth for a family of 7 and resuming class today.  My plan of attack ::  one thing at a time, one day at a time.  Hoping to regroup by Sunday, the start of Advent. 

(I really wish I had another 30 days before Advent begins!  I am so not ready for Christmas this year.)

I encourage you to stop over at Jen's to read what the other moms have written on this delicate subject.  I want to also thank Jen for inviting me over this past month.  I have enjoyed writing about adoption, hoping to  shed more light on the subject.  Jen's passion for adoption awareness is such a blessing to everyone.  Really and truly.  

Leaving you with one of Jen's recent quotes...

"Adoption isn’t so much about providing children to parents as it is about finding parents for children.  Does that make sense?  As an adult I’m not entitled to a child any more than I’m entitled to a closet full of clothes, a fancy sports car, or a tropical vacation every year.  However, no child should have to grow up without a permanent, loving family." - Jen Dunlap

~  Patty  ~

Saturday, November 24, 2012

50th Wedding Anniversary



~  My parents.

My father passed away 6 years ago and today they would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  I wanted to share some pictures of their special day :)




As some of you know, the pain from losing a parent or loved one never goes away.  You just learn to cope with it.  Momentous occasions, like today, can be difficult.  Bittersweet.

My family always keeps his spirit alive.  We miss him dearly, especially his never-ending, positive outlook on life.  I  think he would get a hoot out of seeing his picture floating out there in the blogosphere :)

Speaking of picture...

Weren't they a cute couple?  My dad was 25 and my mom was only 20 (turning 21 three days after their wedding.)  They had a beautiful life together.  It was not always easy, but they always kept God first.

My mother always says, "The best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother."  And he did.

~  Patty  ~

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Advent Traditions

Today I am thankful for...

~  Last year's Advent Traditions link- up at Forever, For Always, No Matter What.

A group of gals from across the country came together and created  Advent posts chuck full of Advent treasures!!



(I hope the links still work!)  If not, this was  my Advent Traditions contribution in case you want to check it out.

~  Xhonane, at Familia Catolica, has a beautiful Advent link up going on right now!   Xhonane and her family reside in Mexico and share some amazing faith-filled ideas!

~ Here's a link to last year's Jesse Tree project we did with our home school group.

Gosh!  I just love Advent!  It is such a beautiful season to celebrate and so many amazing saints have feasts days during that time as well.

Don't forget, Advent begins on Sunday, December 2 this year!

~  Patty  ~

Monday, November 19, 2012

Educating Others On Adoption

Today I am thankful for...

~  Having the opportunity to help others in their journey of adoption.

Week 3

Educating Others On Adoption

     The best education I could give to others regarding adoption is to provide a little insight into our own experience.  First, I need to provide you with some information regarding the Hague.   Each country that is part of the Hague Adoption Convention's standard of international rules regarding the protection of children still have their own set of national rules.  This makes each international adoption process unique to that particular country.  So what our experience with the Korean program was doesn't mean it will be the same for the Chinese, Russian, or other international programs.

     So let's begin.

     People have always assumed,  (myself included until I took my first adoption class), that when a child is adopted in infancy, the attachments must be greater than that of an older child.  Well, in some ways it is, but there is so much more to factor in .  When you look at the big picture and research all the factors that enable children to emotionally and physically attach, you realize it all begins while in utero.  The ability for the brain to nurture attachment is abruptly interrupted when the child is sepearated from the heartbeat he knew while inside his birth mother's womb.  For some children, that is the first of many interruptions.


     We fell madly in love with our little boy when we received his paperwork, and that love continued to grow over the next 4 1/2 months while we waited for the travel call.   We prepared ourselves as well as we could as we waited to bring him to his forever home.  It was so terribly difficult to wait for the travel call.  As each day passed, our excitement and love grew stronger.

     Then reality hit.  Hard.  Do you know how hard it is to love someone who doesn't love you back?  To try and calm the mournful cries and moans each night only to be pushed away, only to come in as a runner up to a baby bed that brought more comfort than your warm and loving arms?

     We took classes on this and expected it, but we didn't really "expect" to feel the pain to the degree in which we did.  It was total rejection. Where we could read his history and study his features in the photograph, imagine what his baby soft skin smelled like, and love him without "meeting" him, he did not have the same emotions or feeling for us.  How could he?

     We looked different to him.  We smelled different to him.  We sounded different to him.  We behaved differently than his own foster family did.  Imagine someone taking you away from the only family you knew and plopped you down in front of another family and told you to "be in love with" them.  The horror of it!

     Babies feel this, too.  Infants feel this loss and abandonment and even betrayal perhaps.  In my son's Korean program, these poor little ones are taken to the center's nursery at birth.  A state of the art facility with a pediatrician's office down the hall.  They wait there until their foster family is assigned to them.  Sometimes up to two weeks.  Even in this beautiful facility, our son was never able to attach to one person there since the shifts rotated every 8 hours, sometimes only 4 adults to dozens of babies.

    When we were in South Korea, we stayed at the same adoption center.  One section of the center was a small hotel for parents adopting or for adoptees and their families back in country for motherland tours.  Parents could volunteer for the mid night feedings.  Since we had severe jet lag, we signed up.  I remember how torn I was when I walked in and put my gown and mask on.  All these beautiful, little newborn babies!  Starving for the attachment, waiting for their foster families and then their forever families.  I couldn't help but wonder how hard did my son cry before it was his turn to be fed, changed, or rocked?  Who fed my son or changed his diaper while he was in that exact nursery six months earlier?  Was it one of these ladies working their shift?  I wanted to hug and kiss them all.  I wanted to swoop them up in my arms and just take them all home with me.

     Though this facility was clean and loving, these children were still waiting to learn to bond and attach with someone.  Their chance would finally come when they were assigned to a foster family.

     Our son spent a wonderful 5 1/2 months with his foster family until his travel papers were ready.  At least that is what we see from the pictures they took of him and gave to us.  That's when they handed him off to us.  Total strangers.  He was told how much these strangers loved him but he had no clue who we were.

     Those first few nights home were so very painful.  I remember, clasping my husband's hand in the middle of the night, listening to the mournful cries of our son and spoke my fears out loud.  Did we make a mistake?
No matter how much you read up on or study for certain situations, until you actually experience it, you will never fully comprehend the reality of it all.

     Verbalizing my fears was the first step in the right direction.  It wasn't easy, but we did make progress.  Slowly.  My poor husband had it worse.  In the beginning, our son would only come to me.  He only needed one person and I was his primary care giver.  It took much longer for him to attach to my husband.  Eventually our son did learn to trust and attach to my husband.  About every few months, we could stop and look back and see the progress that was made.  It took about a year to really see that he was quite attached to us.  It wasn't a fairy tale.  It wasn't easy.  It was some of the hardest months in our lives, but it was so worth it!  Every bit of anxiety, doubt, fear. All was overshadowed by love and joy.

     I'm sharing our story in order for people to step back and realize the emotion that comes along with adoption.  I am a big believer in old-fashioned common sense, more so than being politically correct.  Here are a few suggestions on what to say or not to say to an adopted child or the family of an adoptee.

*  NO adoption jokes.  They are very cruel.  They are emotionally abusive.

*  It is okay to inquire about adoption.  Great!  But certain questions need a certain level of descretion or approached with a level of sensitivity.  Want to know about finances?  Ask if you can call your friend or email the question .  Don't ask in front of the adopted child.

i.e.  How much did he/she cost?
   
Which I reply....How much would you cost?  (if I want to be a smarty pants)...or....He is priceless. (If I just want to remind my son standing in front of that rude person how just priceless he is.)

*  When a child may appear to be adopted, do you really need a confirmed answer if it is obvious?

i.e.  Is he yours?

Which I reply...Yes, they are all mine.  (If the other four children are with me and wanting him to be a normal part of the family.)

Sometimes, the obvious dim-witted person persists.

i.e.  No, is he yours-yours?

At that point I try REAL hard to make my point...Yes, he is mine-mine.  (With a grin that says, obviously your elevator doesn't go to the top floor!)

And if I want to be nicer I will add....These four are home grown and this one is a transplant.  (Believe it or not, those kind of people will actually get offended at me for using that answer.  LOL!)

 And the list of questions goes on and on and on.  Just remember, sensitivity and common sense go a long way.

Do not forget to stop over at  Jen's Forever, For Always, No Matter What.  You can read the contributions other mothers have on this week's topic.  Finally, we encourage you to pass this along to others who are contemplating adoption.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

~  Patty  ~





   

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pecan Crisps

Today I am thankful for....

~  Hot tea to go with a new cookie recipe.    (The family said it was blog-worthy!)

Pecan Crisps 


Ingredients:

2 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted


Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, butter, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.  Stir in flour, baking soda and pecans.

2.  Shape dough into 1 1/4 - inch balls (I made mine 1 inch balls).  On ungreased cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart.  

3.  Bake 10-14 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.  Remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack.  

Yields:  4 dozen


Something different from chocolate, but still very yummy!

Enjoy!

~  Patty  ~

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwich

We try to keep Fridays meatless throughout the year.

Ha!  For that matter, we seem to have more meatless nights since the price of groceries keeps skyrocketing!

Back to our meal...

Let me introduce you to a gooey, messy, absolutely delicious mozzarella, avocado, tomato, grilled cheese sandwich.


I layered slices (from block mozzarella), avocado, tomato, and more mozzarella.  The cheese takes a bit longer to melt, so I turned the heat down (so the bread wouldn't burn) and put a lid over the sandwich to speed up the process.

I originally saw this on Pinterest and knew it would be a good one!

Enjoy!

~  Patty  ~

Friday, November 16, 2012

Advent Books

Today I am thankful for...

~  Christmas Mosaic!


If you've read my blog long enough, you'd know what a HUGE fan I am of Cay Gibson's Christmas Mosaic!  

Each year I try to pull a different theme out of her endless list of illustrated children's books.

Last year was a FUN one when we did a Christmas Around the World theme.

This year?

A  Jan Brett  theme ::




(The two above are the only ones I already had.  The rest I worked on purchasing throughout last winter.)








My family LOVES Jan Brett.  Her illustrations are just gorgeous!  I think they will be pleased with the selections I made for them :)

By the way, Advent begins on Sunday, December 2 this year.  It's quickly approaching, isn't it?

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Books and Birthdays

Today I am thankful for...

~  Yet another baptism birthday!

9 years ago today, Mabel became an adopted child of God and her soul was wiped clean of Original Sin.

Some time ago, Waltzing Matilda posted about this new book on Our Lady of Guadalupe and so I picked it up to give to Mabel as a gift.



It is a 3D pop up book.  Absolutely GORGEOUS!!


You know that THEY know it is something so very special when they gently and slowly turn each page, lingering on every bit of detail.


~  Patty  ~

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cupcake

Today I am thankful for...

~  Cupcake brand wine...now chilling in my fridge!


Some days are rough in my house.  Didn't have this last night when I could have used it.

(Never tried this brand but I saw it on sale while heading to the check out line at the store earlier today.)

Cheers!

~  Patty  ~

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Kids Say

Today I am thankful for...

~  The cutest things that come out of the mouths of babes!

(There are days that my kids squabble way too much....)

Mabel:  I had a nightmare about you, Stan! 

Stan:  Yeah, but in real life it isn't true.




~  Patty  ~

Monday, November 12, 2012

Adoption Talks With Our Son

Today I am thankful for...

~  Our adoption talks.

Week 2

Talking With Our Children About Adoption

     Adoption talks.  Just as in biological children, parents of adopted children learn what makes them tick emotionally.  And as our children grow and mature, our adoption talks evolve right along with their ever-changing minds and bodies.

     Being that our son is Asian and we are Caucasian, we knew sooner than later we would be starting to talk about adoption.  And I would be less than truthful if I told you we were not nervous about that first encounter because, seriously now, we did not want to say one thing that would ruin our son's life forever.  Then we relaxed because we learned that mistakes happen.  It's a fact of life.  Learning from those mistakes is part of what makes you a successful parent.

       The age game.  At the early ages of 3 & 4 children can't really understand the concept of a child moving from one set of parents to another.  They may be able to tell their story but it doesn't mean they actually understand it.  A lot of children act out what is on their minds with imagination and role playing.  

     For example, there is a part in his story where he became sick on the plane and vomited all over himself and me.  He honed in on that, thinking it was so funny, and that is what he emphasized in his birth story when retelling it to others.

     His story around age 3 - 4.  "I was born in Korea and then my mom and dad came to pick me up. We got on a BIG plane and I puked all over the place.  Ha ha ha ha!" 

    Where friends would look at us in horror over the fact that he thought vomiting was hysterical or that is his "birth story" was all about puking, I would remind myself (and occasionally my friends)  that this was okay.  It is the way he was processing it at the time.   The key at that age was while we talked, it was kept very basic but very accurate.  

 
     Around the age of 4, children can begin to realize there is a past as well as a present.   This leads to curiosity about the time they were babies.   As he has grown, we've slowly added details.   We have learned from classes that it isn't until the middle-childhood years (ages 7-11) that children start to compare their own experience with those of their friends.  That's when they'll react more to those differences.

     Our son recently turned 7.  So we continue with our talks, when he wants, and those talks continue to change.  The birth of his baby sister last winter brought us to a new level of talks as well.  I must add, you would be surprised at how innocent (and sometimes not so innocent) comments or questions from strangers (and even friends) can prompt discussions.  

     Life books.  Every child (age 1-99) loves to look back at old photo albums and baby books.  But what do you do if you weren't the biological mother?   We learned that you can still make his baby book extremely special by adding bits and pieces of information

     What is a life book?  A life book is a link to the past, an amazing tool to use as we talk about adoption.  It allows parents and children to create a sense of history and belonging.  By using scissors to crop photos, stickers, die-cuts, and colored paper, a parent and/or child can create a beautiful life book.

Things you may consider including :

* Who gave birth to me?
Why couldn't my birth parents raise me?
* How and when did I get from my birth parents to the orphanage, foster parents, or other caretakers?
* Who gave me my name?
* What type of area of community did I live in?
* What did my home look like?  did I share a room, crib, or bed?
* With whom did I live?  Who took care of me?  What were their names?
* What was my life like?  What was my daily routine?  What was my general health? What skills had I developed?  Did I have any special friends?  What were my favorite toys or foods? Do you know someone who may have photos or additional information about my early life?
* Why was I not adopted sooner? (If your child was older.)
* Where and how was my special need diagnosed?  What special services or help, if any, did I receive?
* Is my medical condition common in my country of origin?
* Do I have biologically related siblings?
* Did my birthparents die?        

 I want to share some pages out of our son's life book for you to see...

    
    



 





The next picture is of the phone that we received the "travel call" on.  Then I wrote a description of that amazing moment so we would never forget!


By the way, always keep very personal information private!  There are things that people ask about our son's birth family or his history that we just decline to talk about.  We want him to know first and then it is up to him to decide what to share with others.


Our son loves this  section of his life book!  I mean, how many kids get to look at passport pictures in their own baby books? :)




     And there are so many more pages!  I keep the finished pages in page protectors and then place it in an out of the way area.  I do not plan to "give it" to our son till he is older and settled.  I continue to add to it every single year, and we have already started Book II!

     We usually pull his life book out on his birthday.  For the first time, (at the age of 7), this year he seemed to really enjoy it which tells me that he is maturing and his emotional processing is changing as well.

     Children's books on adoption.  There are also some amazing illustrated children's books on adoption these days.  If they don't talk specifically about his adoption, we find the similarities in them and apply them to our own experience.  Regardless, these books are amazing medians to be used when discussing adoption with your child.

A Mother For Choco

Over the Moon:  An Adoption Tale

I Wished for You:  An Adoption Story

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born

And SO MANY more!  You can peruse Amazon and load up on titles then check them out at your local library.

     Remember, I'm gathering around the blogosphere table with some other women who have so much to share.  You can link up with all of them by going to Jen's... Forever, For Always, No Matter What.  If you know of anyone else who is in the process, please pass this along.  We are hoping to help others out there who are adopting or placing.  God bless!

(I am also linking up at Catholicbloggers.network under the section Catholic Family Journal.  Stop on over and see some great Catholic bloggers sharing posts in many different categories!)

 ~  Patty  ~










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