Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
This morning CCAI GA showed up on my caller ID and I knew it wasn't good news. Sure enough, time has run out and we need to have a home visit from the Social worker and a home study update, get the doctor to update our medical reports and re-apply for our I-600A and I-171H. Later in the afternoon, the Denver CCAI office called asking how we were doing during the wait and if there was anything they could do to make it easier. Yeah, give CCAA a swift kick in the butt and get them moving so we don't have to waste our time, effort and money on re-doing all this cr*p!
On a happier note, congratulations to all the families who received their referral this month, including my Utah bloggy summit mate, M3 with a referral for twins!! Rose and Marie are darling, Congrats!
Fellow local adopters Ilene & Michael have a beautiful new daughter Xiu Fu Xu, soon to be April Lauren. Born November 28, 2005, Xiushan, Chongqing
Given Name: Xiu Fu Xu Surname Xiu, Fu (Good Fortune) Xu (Warm; Balmy)
Check out all the beautiful new babies, listed in the side bar under "We have our Referral."
Monday, August 28, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
This week in our tour we're taking a look at kitchens. I think that the reason our home was on the market for as long as it was, was the previous state of the kitchen. At the bottom of this post I have pictures of how the kitchen looked the day we did our pre-purchase home inspection compared to how it looks today. I do have to say, it was in a sad state. The cook top only cooked on high, the microwave took 8 minutes to heat a cup of water and the refrigerator leaked. The original colors were yellowish tile on the floor, green and off white tile on the counter tops, the cabinets were beige with oak trim and the wall paper which by the time we purchased the house had been painted white, was originally pink.
One of my favorite parts of the kitchen is the back splash. The 1-inch slate tiles match so well with the granite countertops. The granite color is called blue pearl and has these speck in it, which when seen in certain lights, glow blue, silver or gray. I also love the decorative tiles in the back splash as well as the stainless steel rack which helps break up the wall space. If you look closely in the pig's pitcher, you'll see that there are wooden giraffe salad forks.
In my previous home post I spoke of my chair fetish, well the kitchen sports some fun chairs too. These teapot chairs (and table) were made by my blacksmith friend George Martell. It's rare that we sit at this table as generally we eat at the breakfast bar, which sports coffee cup stools.
Eammon has two favorite parts in this room. Well, actually four favorites with the freezer that magically provides food and the microwave which cooks all food. Honestly though, one of his favorites parts is the view. When I first brought Eammon to look at the house, he walked in the front door and out this set of kitchen doors and said yes. He didn't even realize that there were rooms upstairs. He fell in love with the view and said if I wanted the house, to go for it. These French doors in the kitchen are the ones that the geese and ducks generally knock at when they want to be fed, so they are always somewhat dirty with peck marks.
Eammon's other favorite feature in the kitchen is the instant hot water tap, just what every good Brit needs when tea time rolls around. Sorry that the pictures aren't better, we get such great light with all the windows, but it makes picture taking very difficult.
Below are some before and after pictures of the kitchen. I tried to pair up the pictures to first show how the kitchen looked before we purchased our home, on the day of our pre-purchase home inspection, followed by the same view today. Just a little difference in the look.
I've gone back into the past weeks posts and added some before pictures, also from the day of the home inspection. It's always fun to see how the rooms have changed. Enjoy!
Well, that concludes this week's tour, join me next Friday when we look at bathrooms.
Previous bloggy tour home posts:
Week 3: Dining room
Week 2: Living rooms/ Family rooms/ dens
Week 1: Foyers/ Entrances
Thursday, August 24, 2006
On top of that, I'm already on the phone with a problem, aggravated that I'm missing my shows and sitting there having to listen to their music and promotions, do they really think I'm going to sign up for premium services and pay them more money?? Why the rep bothers to ask is beyond me.
Since we've been without television for almost a week, Eammon rented a couple of movies. This week we saw V for Vendetta, Syriana and Inside Man, all were really good. It's funny, neither Eammon nor I really miss having the T.V. but of course the new seasons of Survivor, Lost, Grey's Anatomy and Desperate housewives haven't started yet so I figure that I'm not missing much.
Last week I bought petrol for $2.64 and I thought I got a bargain, man have I been brainwashed!! When I moved to Georgia in May'98, I was paying $0.69/gallon.
What ever happened to the cents symbol on the keyboard, when did that disappear?
Speaking of when I moved to Georgia, in May 1998 my 1991 Volvo had just shy of 160,000 miles on it. That was mostly thanks to a lovely 209 mile daily round trip from my home in Boston to a work site out at UMass Amherst, which I did for too many months to count. Well, that and driving up to the North Shore, New Hampshire or the Cape to hit the beaches most every weekend of every summer.
Well, today I hit 188,000 miles on my car, averaging just over 3,600 miles per year since living in Georgia. At this rate the car will still have less than 250,000 miles on it when Baby S starts to drive, a mere dent into the life of a Volvo!! Think she'll mind driving around in a 31 year old Volvo while all her friends have shiny new cars? I can't complain about my car, I wanted one that would out last the payments and was safe and that it has. One thing to notice though, on the dashboard there's an analog clock, how many people remember those?
Toilet paper. Fellow blogger Melissa wrote about husbands and toilet paper so it got me going. Tell me why, when there are paper towels and rags and other things to wipe up spills, does my darling husband find it necessary to remove the t.p. from the master bathroom to wipe something up in say the kitchen? Then IF, which is a big IF, the t.p. is returned to the bathroom, why is it left on the tub, no where near the little room with the toilet??? There's a case of t.p. in the linen closet, if t.p. is the only thing that he can use to wipe up a spill, wouldn't it be easier to take a roll from there instead of off the holder in the toilet room? Think I may need to invest in one of those locking t.p. roll holders that they have in some public bathrooms because drip drying is no fun.
I'm in the market for a new digital camera, something on the smaller side. Anyone out there with suggestions or comments about their camera, positive or negative, please let me know.
To my Secret Pals, I know I'm late this month, please forgive me as I just haven't gotten myself in gear but your gifts will be in the mail early next week!
I'm making tacos for dinner, avoiding referral rumors and waiting on the service tech...Fun, fun, fun.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
They flew out of Florida on a Saturday to Salt Lake City where they took a tour and stayed the night. Sunday morning they attended the broadcast of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir then were on the bus as they passed Bear Lake and continued through Bridger-Teton National Forest to Jackson, Wyoming for a fun filled evening including a covered wagon ride, chuck wagon dinner and western entertainment at the Bar-T-Five Ranch. On Monday they visited the Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Jackson & Jenny Lakes, the Chapel Of the Transfiguration, Old Faithful and Firehole Canyon & Falls. Tuesday included visits to Norris Geyser Basin and Mammoth Hot Springs then they passed through Tower Junction and visited the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, which included views from Lookout and Inspiration Point. Wednesday brought Shoshone National Forest and then onto Cody for a tour of the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Plains Indian Museum, Whitney Gallery of Western Art and Cody Firearms Museum. Then off to Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis, Wyoming. Thursday they saw Ten Sleep Canyon and crossed the Big Horn Mountains to see Devil's Tower. They arrived in Rapid City in the afternoon, where they actually got to spend 2 nights which included dinner and the sunset lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore. Friday morning they visited Mount Rushmore, and went through the Black Hills to Crazy Horse Memorial. That afternoon they boarded the "1880" Train in Hill City for an excursion through So. Dakota to Keystone and finally a tour of Deadwood where they spent the night. Saturday they returned to Wyoming for a stop at Fort Laramie National Historic Site, then on to Cheyenne for their farewell dinner. Sunday after breakfast flew out of Denver International Airport back to their quiet home in The Villages.
Even with their busy schedule they were able to find two of the cutest t-shirts for Baby S and fun socks for all of us. Mom & Dad, I know you enjoyed your trip and we'll enjoy the gifts. Thanks!
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
This morning Eammon and I went into Atlanta to get re-fingerprinted. Hopefully this will be the only part of the process we'll have to re-do and re-pay for and this never-ending adoption will soon come to an end before we have to do anything else over again. I do have to say, the location where they do fingerprints now is much nicer than where we went the first time. It was easy to find, plenty of parking and it was a nice big, clean space. Just like last time they were quick, our appointment was for 9am and we were back in the car on the way to Eammon's office by 9:28am...not too bad.
After I dropped Eammon off at his office, I came home as decided it was a good morning to pull some weeds. It rained last night which helped loosen up the Georgia clay baked brick soil, but man were those weeds wanting to hang around. I was so pleased when my neighbor stopped over with a jar of homemade fig jam, it was the perfect excuse to stop work in the yard and wash the mud and sweat off my body.
So fingerprints and figs, our "F" words of the day.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Friday, August 18, 2006
This week our tour features dining rooms. I love that when you first enter our home, the first thing you see is the view above. The dining room is a large trapezoidal room which is a little unique and it gives a very open feel as the room flows right up to the entrance and the living room. I have many of my favorite items in this room the largest being the dining room set its self.
The set is red oak with black walnut inlays and decorative metal components so that it has the arts and crafts feel and style of both Frank Lloyd Wright and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. This set was actually designed by Robert Sonneman and was marketed under the name Urban Primitive. Just before it went out of production I was able to get three pieces, the table and chairs, the sideboard & hutch and the buffet table. To this day I've never seen a dining room set that I've loved as much as this one.
Eammon's favorite part of the room is the view out of the French doors. He loves to sit at the head of the table, looking out...Except when the geese come knocking and begging as they see us sitting in there.
Also in the room are three leather giraffes, the largest being the same height as I. We named the giraffes but we obviously aren't very creative as the largest one is named Gia as in gia-raffe... The mid-sized giraffe is Gia-too and the small one is Baby. To further display our lack of creativity, the bunny and pig that you can just see under the antique radio, they're named Bun and Pig. I know, we're losers and it's amazing that we're going to be allowed to name a child all by ourselves!
Another favorite of mine are these three drawings that were done by my maternal grandfather. It's interesting that in all the homes where I've displayed these, I've always hung them vertically. I guess that's just how I always see them in my mind and it's amazing because in each of my homes, there's always been the perfect spot to hang them. If you look off to the right, you'll see the entrance to the master suite and of course a giraffe painting greets you as you enter that space.
In addition to my love of giraffes, I also have a bit of a chair fetish. I love chairs that are unique, even if somewhat impractical like the one pictured to the right. When I first saw this chair I just fell in love with it and had to have it and I've always been able to find a spot to display it. The built in shelves surrounding the French doors give me lots of space to display some of my trinkets and helps to keep all my clutter in one spot.
Last but not least are my lady & man chairs which flank the sides of the sideboard & hutch.
Above the chairs are some paintings that Eammon always teases me about, telling me that they look like ladies with willies, but I'll let you be the judge on that one.
Here are some pictures of the room before we bought our home. These were taken on the day that we did our pre-purchase inspection. The previous owners used what we use as the dining room as their living room.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
before and after pictures of our freezer
(click on pictures to enlarge)
I've received numerous email requests asking for the recipes of some of the items I made for Eammon before my trip. The recipes below may not be authentic, but we like them. If you make any of them, let me know how they turn out. Enjoy.
Chicken Tikka Masala
1 lb. Chicken breast, boneless and skinless cut into 1-inch cubes
2-inch-square piece of fresh ginger, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Oil
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Chili powder
1/2 cup plain fat free Yogurt
In a food processor puree ginger, garlic and 2 tablespoons oil into a paste. Remove 2 tablespoons of the paste and set it aside for the gravy. Add turmeric powder, chili powder, yogurt and salt and mix well. Scoop out into a bowl. Add chicken pieces and stir to coat well. Allow chicken to marinate for about an hour.
After the chicken is marinated, Pre-heat the oven to 300 F and bake for about 15 - 20 min or until just cooked through.
For the Gravy:
2 Onions, medium dice
2 tablespoons ginger/garlic paste from above
2 teaspoons Coriander powder
2 teaspoons Garam masala
1/2 cup Tomato puree
3 medium potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes (boil until cooked and fork tender)
4 Italian plum tomatoes quartered length wise.
10 fresh basil leaves
1/8 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup toasted cashews halves
Heat oil in a pan and fry onions till they turn golden brown. Add ginger/garlic paste and fry till the oil separates. Add coriander powder & garam masala, then add the tomato puree. Add salt to taste and then add little warm water and let the gravy to come to boil.
Add the cooked potatoes and plum tomatoes, allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Add chicken pieces and basil leaves and allow the gravy come to a boil.
Serve over Basmati rice. Garnish with cilantro and cashews.
1 1/2 pounds mixed seafood/fish, all shelled and cleaned (shrimp, oysters, clams, squid, cod, whatever you fancy)
2-inch-square piece of fresh ginger, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoon chili powder
Salt to taste
2 tablespoon turmeric powder
2 red chili peppers, minced
3 diced tomatoes peeled and seeded
1 cup low fat coconut milk
1 bag favorite frozen veggie mix, thawed & drained
Fresh cilantro to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cashews
2 tablespoons raisins
In a food processor, puree ginger, garlic and 3 tablespoons water into a paste. Scoop out; set aside.
Warm a large skillet a few minutes over medium-high heat. Add oil. When oil is hot add onion and allow to slowly cook to golden brown. Add cumin seeds and cook for a minute or two. (Cumin seeds may explode like popcorn, so keep the lid handy.) Add chili powder, salt and turmeric powder. Stir in chili pepper, cook 1 minute. Stir in tomato and ginger paste. Cook until fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add coconut milk and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium, and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce should thicken. Add veggies and bring sauce back to a boil. Add seafood/fish and cover. After one minute, remove from heat and allow fish to poach in the hot liquid for 15-20 minutes.
Serve over Basmati rice. Garnish with cilantro, cashews and raisins.
Spicy Udon with Lobster
1 pound cooked lobster meat pieces
3 large frozen Udon noodle cakes, thawed
2 large onions, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons lobster base
1/2 cup Heinz ketchup
1/2 cup medium sweet soy sauce
1/2 cup sweet rice wine (Mirin)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Sriracha a few tablespoons, to taste
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
In a very large pan, heat oil and add onions, cook until golden brown. Add garlic and cook about a minute until fragrant. Add sesame oil and lobster base and stir well to mix. Add lobster, toss well and cook for 2 minutes. Add ketchup, sweet soy sauce, Mirin, vinegar and Sriracha. Bring to boil and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add Udon noodles and toss to coat, cook until noodles are warmed through. Sprinkle top with sesame seeds.
Monday, August 14, 2006
We absolutely love the gift, so if you are the pal who sent this wonderful package, please leave an anonymous comment and let me know so that I can thank you properly.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Thanks Melissa & Darren for being great hosts and happy birthday Melissa!!
If you're a local waiting family and would like to join us at our monthly gatherings, please email me and I'll add you to the mailing list. Below are links to check out our past gatherings.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Yesterday the ladies who lunch celebrated with Julie, the referral of her beautiful daughter Kacey. Julie had put in her order for key lime tarts so they were the dessert du jour. Kacey received lots of nice gifts and as usual we all had a great time. Of our little group, three of the babies are home, two of the girls have their travel dates set, Julie has her referral and then there's me, the last of the group...Waiting patiently...