Wednesday, November 30, 2005

For the love of a Rainbow Roll

OK, I ventured back to the grocery store. Why? I know, I know, there's plenty of food in the house, in fact more than we need, but you see I needed...OK, really *wanted* a rainbow roll. So, don't have this in the house, *must* have it, need to go to store! I did at least plan it well, arriving just after 11am, when I know the sushi is just being made and put out fresh, before the lunch traffic and rush. Was it worth the trip?!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Because I wanted to...

I didn't have to go to the store because as I bragged before, I am finished with all my holiday shopping and I have enough groceries to last until we leave for Aruba. So truth be told, I wanted to go shopping. Now that my desk has been put together, I decided to take a quick trip down to IKEA to pick up this chest organizer thing that fits perfectly between the shelves of the desk.
I haven't had time to get anything organized in the desk yet and we still need to get a new computer monitor before the computer can be moved, but I love my new desk.

Now you may think that a quick trip to IKEA is impossible, and that's sort of true, but I have a secret way to avoid the crowds and make my shopping trip easy. If you want to shop when the store is virtually empty, shop Monday through Thursday and arrive there when they first open. At least here at the Atlanta store, if you do that, there will be more employees in the store than shoppers and everyone is looking to help you.

Now, no one can go shopping at IKEA and only buy one item and I'm no different. I spotted this adorable monkey and her baby and knew they were perfect for Baby S's jungle room. In addition I found a really pretty vanity mirror that I absolutely needed for the guest bedroom, thus another purchase added to the buggy. On my way out the door, I did stop and pick up a few of the chocolate bars that Eammon loves so much. That way he too got something out of the shopping trip, other than just the bill.

Over the past few months I have recovered from my addiction of stalking the postman. I now will be away for two weeks without a computer, thus I will have to go cold turkey and break my blog stalking addiction, so in their place my newest obsession is Sudoku. I only started doing these puzzles in the past week, but already I am almost finished with my first book of 76 puzzles. So, while I was out shopping, I decided to drop in at the book store and get a new book that I can work on while sunning on the beach. This book has 200 puzzles including the 9x9 puzzles that I have been doing, as well as jigsaw and triplex grids.

Then, just so Eammon wouldn't feel left out, I found a book of Kakuro, which is even more brutal than Sudoku. I love how this book rates the difficulty of the puzzles, It starts out at Level 1 Delicious, moving on to level 2 Pernicious, continuing to Level 3 Malicious and finally ending at Level 4 Vicious. Hopefully this will keep Eammon entertained as he lounges on the beach.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Updated look

I decided that my header was boring and that I needed something new, so I contacted Julie who created a new and wonderful look for my blog. Thank you so much for creating such a fun header and for explaining how to make it all work. Hugs, hugs, hugs...Thanks!!!

Spoiled again

Today I received a wonderful package, full of ladybug items, from my CCAI Secret Pal.

There were two books for Baby S, Ten Little Ladybugs and The Grouchy Ladybug. Eammon and I both can't wait to snuggle with Baby S and read the books to her.

Also in the package was the cutest ladybug cell phone charm. I'd never heard of a cell phone charm but after speaking to friends who knew what they were, I feel old and behind the times. But now, I'm hip and I have one too!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

No More food!!!

Wednesday at the aquarium, Eammon ate something that he must be allergic to, because by the time we were leaving he was starting to feel quite ill and by the time we got home he was covered in hives. Poor guy spent Wednesday evening in bed popping antihistamines and rubbing on cortisone cream, while my parents and I dined on leftover chili and prepared the ingredients for my Thursday morning cooking.

Thursday started early as I made tapenade tarts, sweet potato gnocchi in a browned butter sage sauce, pumpkin cheesecake squares, white chocolate raspberry almond fudge, cranberry cake and chocolate raspberry squares. Eammon soaked in the bath, lounged outside in the sun for a bit, tried to get himself going, but in the end, he was still too wiped out to go to our friends home for T-day dinner. So, my parents and I left poor Eammon tucked in bed as we went with home cooked goodies in hand, and enjoyed a lovely and delicious Thanksgiving dinner with about 40 other people at Al & Anita's home. I love holidays at the homes of friends. Not too much family around to cause depression, no childhood angst or repressed rage rearing it's ugly head, just people you choose to be around, an excellent way to spend holidays.

Eammon was so disappointed that he missed out on a really wonderful dinner, but nice wife that I am, I cooked a repeat turkey dinner on Friday. I made turkey, stuffing, roasted potatoes, pecan crusted sweet potatoes and a corn souffle just so that he could have all the goodies of Thanksgiving. Friday's dinner was wonderful but now I am so sick of the taste and smell of anything and everything Thanksgiving, that it will be salad for me for a few days. Eammon still wants his favorite, leftover turkey soup, so that will be the last thing I have to make and will do that this morning.

My parents visit was nice, they were here for six days. At 5:45 this morning, I was driving them to the airport so that they could fly off to Aruba where later this afternoon they will start recuperating from being here, by laying on the beach and relaxing. Monday, my Dad and I put together my new IKEA computer desk so it was nice to get those boxes out of the family room. I was hoping that during their visit, my dad and Eammon would get the crib assembled, but with Eammon sick for three days, that didn't happen. At the rate of referrals, I don't feel too pressed for time in getting the crib assembled, but would like to get it done already. Maybe over Christmas that will be our project getting us used to putting things together, in preparation for all the assembly needed toys and bicycles in our future.

I haven't decided if I'm even going to decorate the house for Christmas this year. Usually I have the house decorated well before Thanksgiving, because we generally leave for Aruba two days after Thanksgiving, and don't return until a few days before Christmas. But this year we hadn't planned on going away, so I thought I would hold off on decorating until the beginning of December. Now with the change of plans, I have just a week until we fly off, and I have so many things to organize and get done. I just don't have the time, patience or energy to decorate. Then, we get back a couple of days before Christmas, and do I really want to put all the stuff out, only to have to pack it away a few days later. When we return from out trip, I may go buy one of those tabletop Charlie Brown Christmas trees and call it a holiday. Right now I have a week to get myself organized and packed before I can rest on the beach reading my books and indulging in my newest obsession, sudoku.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Can you say fish?

Today, my parents, Eammon and I attended the grand opening of the Georgia Aquarium. For all of you who have asked where I get my dark complexion, check out my father!

We arrived just before the doors opened at 9:00am to find hundreds of people in the queue. After having our bags inspected and being checked with the security wands, we entered the aquarium. Right away you enter through two wall aquariums filled with beautiful fish. Of course this is only a taste of what is to come. The aquarium is divided into five galleries. For me, the best exhibit was the Cold Water Quest which contained an 800,000 gallon habitat for the Beluga Whales. The picture above does little to show the beauty of these animals. They seemed to dance in the water and seemed so playful.

Speaking of playful, I tried, but couldn't keep my parents off the kiddy rides...Those playful kids, getting ready for their grand-daughter!

After we dragged the parents off the mermaid, we entered our second gallery, Ocean Voyager.

This gallery was awesome with a tunnel below 30 feet of water. In this six million gallon saltwater gallery, there were approximately 100,000 fish including the ocean's largest fish, the whale shark.

After seeing all the big fish, we then went to the food court, where my father got up close and personal with the biggest fish of all, Bernie Marcus, founder of the new Georgia Aquarium.

After lunch we continued our visit going into the Tropical Diver gallery. Here we saw the largest living reef of any aquarium in the United States.

We also saw a mesmerizing display of jelly fish, with the Sea Nettle Jellies being my favorite.

Our next gallery was River Scout. Here again there were fish above and below. It was neat how they showed the river above us, check out the catfish in the display above everyone's head.

The final gallery was called Georgia Explorer. Here they had a large play area for children with numerous touch tanks full of horseshoe crabs, stingrays, sharks and conch.

They also had a tube that you could crawl through, going over some of the large tanks. My favorite part of this exhibit was the Georgia Sea Turtle.

Our visit ended with us waiting in the parking garage for the arrival of AAA. On our way to the aquarium, we got a flat tire. We realized this just before we were exiting the highway, and decided to put the problem off until our visit was complete. AAA came, replaced the tire and we were on our way home.

If you are planning a trip to Atlanta, make sure to visit what is now the world's largest aquarium.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Bonfire night

Saturday night was the fourth get together of local summer LID families. This time we met at the home of Sonia and Hugh for a bonfire chili night. It was an absolutely perfect, cold, crisp evening with clear skies. It was a blast
sitting around the bonfire with everyone, chatting and having a great time. Especially fun was to watch Seth and Eammon, being little pyros, seeing how big they could build up the fire. Sonia made 2 different kinds of chili,
both of which were wonderful, and I added my Fruit & Nut Turkey Chili to the mix. We also had grilled hot dogs & kielbasa, mac & cheese, various dips, appetizers, desserts, hot mulled cider and of course s'mores. Delicious food all around. Thank you Sonia & Hugh for hosting a fabulous evening!

Lisa's Fruit and Nut Turkey Chili

2 T. olive oil
3 c. onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
3 T. chili powder
3 T. ground cumin
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T. hot curry powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
2 4-oz. cans diced green chili peppers
2 med.Granny Smith apples, core, peeled and chunked
1/2 c. raisins
2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted
cheddar cheese
sour cream

In large pot, saute onions in the olive oil until golden brown. Add the garlic and the ground turkey, cook until the turkey is browned. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, cocoa, curry powder and cinnamon. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute to bring out the aroma of the spices. Add the tomatoes, chili peppers, apples and raisins stir to mix in well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook one hour, stirring occasionally. Add the black beans and almonds, heat thoroughly. Serve with cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Toes in the sand

Sixteen out of the past 20 years, I have spent the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas soaking up the sun, obtaining a deep, dark winter tan, as I basked on the pink sand beaches of Aruba. Eammon, being the very white English/Irish boy that he is, has spent 6 out of the past 8 years we've been together, soaking up the sun, obtaining a distinctively pink-milky-white color as he basked on the very same Aruba beach.

But this year, we decided to forgo our beach holiday because we expected to travel to China before Eammon's vacation year ended on April 30th. It was worth saving most of his vacation time for a trip that was far more important and special than another trip to paradise. But, delays in referrals now make travel to China before the end of Eammon's vacation year impossible.

So, last night Eammon and I were talking, saying how bummed we each were over the referral delays. I complained about how I am not enjoying the cold weather, even though we've had maybe two days of it thus far and how I wasn't looking forward to going through the winter looking all pasty white. Eammon said it was too bad we hadn't planned on taking our annual trip and wondered if it was something that we could still do, without breaking the bank.

Much to my surprise and delight, this morning I was able to obtain frequent flyer tickets for both of us to Aruba. Though I couldn't get tickets that allowed us to be down there the full time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we will still have 2 full weeks to soak up the sun. Before booking the tickets, I called my parents to see if they would like some last minute visitors and they said yes, so tickets have been booked!*

Now the upside of referral delays; Aruba in December...Yeah baby!!!

* Good thing I was on the ball and have all of my holiday shopping completed. Being a little obsessive sometimes pays off!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

How to avoid the holiday rush

I don't like crowds, traffic, or having to search for a parking space. Each year I do my best to avoid these situations by planning ahead as best as possible. If I could avoid all stores, grocery included, between mid-November and January 2nd, I would be a very happy girl. So in my attempt to get as far ahead of the game as possible, I made a list of all the upcoming events for which I would need to shop:

  • Saturday 11/19: Local Adoptive Parents pot-luck bonfire evening.
  • Sunday 11/20: Parents arrive for the week...need food in the house!
  • Thanksgiving (at the home of our friends Al & Anita, but I am still making lots of yummy things to bring with us.)
  • Day after Thanksgiving (because we are having turkey day at Al & Anita's, Eammon would miss out on his leftovers if we didn't recreate the meal!)
  • July Dragonfly December Secret Pal Gift. Theme: Welcome to your forever family.
  • August China Blossom December Secret Pal Gift. Theme: Welcome to your forever family.
  • CCAI December Secret Pal Gift. Theme: Picture frames or albums.
  • Miscellaneous holiday parties
  • Wednesday 12/14: Neighborhood bunco group holiday party with cookie swap and Yankee swap.
  • Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas prezzies
  • New Years Eve
  • July Dragonfly January Secret Pal Gift. Theme: Chinese New Year.
  • August China Blossom January Secret Pal Gift. Theme: Chinese New Year.
  • CCAI January Secret Pal Gift. Theme: Chinese New Year.
I've already purchased all of my December and January Secret Pal gifts and they are ready to be posted. If I could, I would take them to the post office today, but that wouldn't be any fun. So, I will get them into the mail very early in December and then the January gifts will be mailed after the holiday rush so that shouldn't be too bad. I have finished all of my holiday gift shopping for everyone and in addition, I have an abundance of hostess gifts so I am set for almost any situation. Now no more department, specialty or mall stores!

On to the groceries. I realize that I can't do all the grocery shopping now, for the rest of the year, but I can get myself through the end of the month and get pantry items though the end of the year. So, yesterday started my two day shopping frenzy. I started at , list in hand and I got everything that I need, so I am done with that store until 2006. Then last night I made my weekly call to IKEA, to see if my desired desk, which has been out of stock since the store opened, was available. They told me that they had 2 in stock and could only put a hold on one until 9PM! Well, that was at 7:40PM, so I hopped into the jeep, raced downtown and bought my new computer desk! Now we shall see how long the boxes sit in the family room before we get the thing assembled. By 6:30 this morning, I was on my way to Super Walmart to do the majority of my grocery shopping, stocking up on all the pantry items I need through the end of the year! By 8:30am I was at BJ's getting the final big items that I needed...Another store off my list until next year. On Monday, I need to make a very quick run to Harry's to get the turkey, some specialty items, and fresh veggies. Then I am DONE!!!

Now I'm able to sit back, relax and enjoy my newest addiction, tea. A few weeks ago when the MTB meet for lunch, Sonia introduced me to a delightful herbal infusion. Magical Garden Rooibos, a blend of roses, lemon grass, botanicals and rose hips with Rooibos. This infusion is caffeine free and I can drink it even in the evening. While at the tea shop, I found a tea which is truly intoxicating. Winterdream, a blend of black tea, coconut, chocolate, mint and whole red peppercorns. This tea could be dangerous to my precarious sleep situation and I must limit myself to one cup per day, and only before 8am. Though after one cup...OK, as you can see in the picture, a large and quite adorable mug...I can still smell this tea and I crave it all day long. I think I'm addicted! So now I am battling two addictions, blog stalking and tea! Guess it could be worse.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Who loves baby?

This month, the July dragonfly dtc secret pal swap theme was "something for travel to China." Check out all the cool stuff that my pal sent. The book Who loves baby? holds pictures and will be perfect to include in the package we send to Baby S when we get our referral. All the other wonderful items have been set aside, ready to be packed for our trip. Thank you my July dragonfly pal!

Monday, November 14, 2005

100 already!!

Difficult to believe, but this is my 100th blog post!!

Just to show that I am not a total slacker, I am showing off my weekend project. After talking for months about needing to work on Baby S's room, I finally got myself motivated. I cut, sewed, stapled, hammered and glued this weekend as I made and installed Baby S's valence and curtains. One step closer to having the room ready for her arrival!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lions, tigers and bears, oh my!

Well, more like tigers, monkeys, bears and... ducky?

Yesterday I received a fabulous package from my August secret pal. Once again everything was wrapped in gorgeous paper. I am making quite a collection for Baby S's scrapbook with the paper and adorable tags that she adds to each package.

This month's theme was baby bath time and here's the booty.

The outfit will be perfect to bring when we travel to China. It is difficult to see, but the onesie has tigers, monkeys, birds, hippos, elephants, palm trees and my favorite, giraffes!! Also, check out that monkey face on the back of the pants... How cute Baby S will be with that on her adorable bum! The bear tub faucet and handle covers are a soft terry cloth and so fun... Then there's a yellow ducky!! Thank you Secret Pal, Eammon and I love everything.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

277 days

Today marks the three month anniversary of our dossier being logged in at CCAA. Based on original estimates, this should be our half way point to referral. Due to the recent slow down in referrals though, it is more likely that we are only 3/8 of the way to referral, or dare I say it, only 1/3 of the way. We started this process 277 days ago, but the past 90 days have felt as if they've taken longer than the first 187 days. When we were paper chasing, there was always something to do, filling out forms, proving we weren't criminals, photo copying, mailing and of course stalking the postman. Now it is sit and wait...Stalk the adoption boards and blogs for rumors of referrals. Guess I could get motivated and work on the nursery, seeing that I haven't made any progress in completing the room!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Isn't it adorable!

Shrimp boil; that is the wonderful culinary delight that Daphne & Greg cooked up Saturday night. Eammon and I always enjoy dinner at their home, as the food is delicious and the company and conversation, fun & interesting. Hopefully Eammon and I didn't make complete piglets out of ourselves. Everything was so tasty, we just didn't want to stop eating! In addition to feeding us wonderful food, check out the adorable outfit that Daphne bought for Baby S. Thanks D & G!!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Barbarisms & Solecisms

Last night I dined with a group of ladies from my old neighborhood, at the Pinetree Country Club. My critique; the food was wonderful, perfectly cooked and seasoned, especially the asparagus which were divine. The quality of the service though, was truly lacking. My dinner and evening as delightful as there were, are not the subject of this post. This post is an addendum to this interesting conversation.

On my drive to the restaurant I was listening to talk radio. A man called into the show to discuss how people, not in line with his political views and party, are unintelligent and vacuumous! Yes people, he said vacuumous!! I bet his English teacher is proud of him. Not only is he redundant, but he doesn't even know the correct word when trying label others as vacuous. I got so silly hearing this, that I had to call Eammon and share. He and I both cringe, then giggle when we hear such creative words.

Everyone seemed to enjoy when we previously shared our barbarisms and solecisms, so I thought we needed to revisit, share and add to the list of most annoying verbiage.

Just to get you started, here are some delightful George W. solecisms. Please add your personal "favorites" to the comments and give everyone a good cringe.
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