Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Day in Chattanooga

One of the great things about living in Georgia is that we are close to so many wonderful destinations. Chattanooga is one of those destinations.  Such a gem of a city.  Perfect for a day trip or to spend the night.  We have been there before and visited Ruby Falls, Lookout Mountain, The Train Museum, eaten great BBQ, and have ridden on the Incline Railway; however, on this trip we went to the Discovery Children's Museum and The Aquarium.  Our first stop was to 5 guys as everyone was pretty much hungry.  Oh, I should mention on this trip it was Avery, Roman, Addy, Nana and I as Frank and Winston are in Florida.  It's Winston's turn to get scuba certified and Harris in typical teenager fashion was still sleeping when we left the house.  After filling our tummies with hamburgers and hot dogs we went to the children's museum.  The gang had a blast!  Then it was off to the aquarium.  I love how the aquarium sits along the river and while inside you get a great few as an extra bonus.  It may not have the whale sharks like the Georgia Aquarium, but is one of my favorite museums.  I love how they have recreated the the Louisiana Delta region and the butterfly garden is a big hit too!  We finished the day by getting ice cream at Ben and Jerry's.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Avery and Adelaide's Room

Wow!  It was a crazy day today.  I spent the majority of the day in the car taking children from point A to point B and running errands.  The day was made even longer by the amount of traffic on the way to Winston's scuba class. The one thing I have been wanting to finish was the girls rooms.  I feel a little guilty that Avery has only been home almost 8 months and her room wasn't finished, so in between all the driving I finally got their rooms put together. Actually, I have one more thing to add to Avery's room which are some Chinese lanterns that I purchased while in Zhengzhou at Walmart, but I figured it was better now or never.  Avery's room is a East meets West theme with a touch of shabby chic.  Adelaide's room is Country Cottage. If you remember Addy's room was actually a Paris theme, but with the addition of Avery I changed it some so that she would not be jealous.  As I was taking the photos of the rooms I came to the realization that in a few months the rooms will change again as the girls transition to their big beds. No more babies!  Not sure how I feel about that, but at the same time I am enjoying watching them become little girls.

Addy's Room

Avery's Room

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Trying New Things

In the United States we have a saying that goes like this, "You can't teach and old dog new tricks."  I am starting to wonder if I am becoming that old dog.  I have been cooking since I was a teenager, but when I tried to make this recipe for Crostata it kicked my butt.  It tasted good, but did not look anything like the recipe I was following.  Crostata is an Italian pastry that I had when I was in Italy.  The recipe calls for jam and you can use any kind you like. I don't believe in giving up, so I think I will try making it again.  Maybe it was just me and maybe like pies you just need practice.  Happy Sunday!  What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Butterfly Festival

Last Saturday was a busy day for our family. In the morning we attended a baptism for our friends children Grace, Tyler, and Cayman.  Such a sweet moment for their families I am grateful we were invited to see their children accept the Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ into their lives.  Then it was on to the Butterfly Festival in Dunwoody at the Dunwoody Nature Center with our good friends Kristi, Logan, and Evan.  It was our first time at this park and we can't wait to go back and take a walk through the wood there once the temperatures cool off.  While the festival was no Butterfly Conservatory like the one we went to at Key West the children still had fun seeing the butterflies, eating snow cones, making butterfly crafts, and seeing the bird of prey show where they learned about Screech Owls and Falcons.  Then becomes it was so hot we had to finish our day with a dip in our friends pool.  I love summer!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Your face -August 19, 2012

My computer was in the shop for two weeks to fix the Wi-Fi card, and I know the anniversary date has passed; however, I didn't want to miss the opportunity to talk about her face. On the 19th of August, Frank and I received a call from our adoption agency CCAI that they had a file of a little girl that they would like us to take a look at. I remember the moment so clearly. It was a sunny afternoon. Frank had left for the gym. Roman would have been home from school along with Addy and Harris. Winston would have been on his way home from school. I was in the TV room and the phone rang. Normally, I don't answer our home phone as it is usually a telemarketer; however, I saw the phone number flash across the TV screen and it was a Colorado phone number. I jumped up so fast and dashed across to the kitchen to grab the phone. Pam was on the other line. She asked if I had time to talk. I found this question amusing as what adoptive parent waiting for a match is going to say no. Anyway, I said. "yes." She then went on to explain that they had a file of a little girl that they would like us to look at and could she send us her file via e-mail. I said of course. I thanked her and hung up and checked my e-mail. There was the file of our to be Avery. Her name was Xin Jing. She was 23 months. I read over the file multiple times and was so excited to share it with Frank. I called and called his phone, but no answer. So I told Harris to watch Roman and I would be back soon. I must have taken Addy with me, but I can't really remember. How funny is that! I arrived at the YMCA and found Frank on the elliptical. He was surprised to see me. I told him we had our daughter. He said,"what do you mean?" I told him a file of a little girl was sent to us and she was perfect. I pulled out my phone and showed him her file and her picture. We hugged each other and I called Pam to tell her we accepted her file. So 1 year ago, we saw Avery for the very first time. This video was apart of this file. We love you Avery! We are so happy you are apart of our family.

A Taste of Summer

Despite the children being back in school, summer is still in full swing here in Atlanta.  Yesterday, I thought we were starting to get a reprieve from the heat, but just after noon the temperature on the scale slowly rose again to 90 degrees.  It has been pretty much that temperature since May, but I am not complaining because that means my children can still go swimming.  Going swimming means children who sleep like babies. August also mean fig season.  In the U.S. fig season is pretty short.  I am not even sure all supermarkets carry figs because my local grocer didn't get any this year and I had to drive a little farther to a farmers market.  My friend from Italy loves to eat them like you would a peach, but I like them on Pizza with prosciutto and spinach.  Super yummy!  This year I thought I would make some fig jam so that I could enjoy figs all year round.  If you read my previous post, I mentioned a book called My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss and in her book she gives this recipe for fig jam.  

1 1/2 pounds of wiped cleaned and quartered figs. (color doesn't matter)
1/2 of a lemon using its juices and zest.  Don't throw away the lemon half as you can throw this into the pot and it will help your jam set up.  It acts like pectin.  
2 cups sugar
a generous pinch of cinnamon

Place the figs along with other ingredients minus the cinnamon in a medium sauce pan in your refrigerator overnight.  The mixture will create nice juice.  Place pot on a low flame and bring to a boil.  Once it comes to a boil reduce the heat to the lowest setting you have and allow it to simmer for two hours.  Once the jam has cooked mix in the cinnamon.  Note: my jam was done in about 1 hour 20 minutes.  It was starting to burn on the bottom, so I knew it was finished. I also used my scissors to snip the figs a little smaller once they had been cooking for about an hour. When figs are not in season, you can use this jam on pizza.  As you can see I enjoyed a little nice lunch of crackers, cream cheese, and jam.  It was perfect.  I think it would pair up really nicely with a pepper cheese too!  

This post was inspired by the invitation from Francesca to participate in a blog hop.  I was told it was OK that I didn't knit and my pots could be used as my means for creation.  I am going to nominate Danelle and Shauna to join in on the fun.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Joy of Cooking -Focaccia and a Book Review

Hi!  You still there?  I am still here!  Didn't intend to be gone for so long, but I have had some problems with my computer and it is still in the shop.  So, here I am on my sons computer because I can't stand to be away for so long.  The break while not intentional was well needed.  My well is kind of dry.  I don't know if I mentioned, but my father moved  just around the corner from me a couple of weeks ago.  I am his only child and he is getting older.  So if you can read between the lines than you know that means, I have been very busy.  First it was helping him set up a new household as he left most of his furniture behind due to the expense of moving it!  Then it was getting him medical attention for some aches and pains that are ailing him and then it was straightening out his finances.  The reason why he had to move here was his girl friend of 3 years stole about 65 thousands dollars from him and he had to sell his home to pay the debts.  Today, I spent a lovely day on the phone (can you hear the sarcasm in this sentence) with the bank trying to get information on his accounts so that we can try to get some of the money back and report her to the police.  All I got was the run around and switched from one department to another.  Thankfully, I do have power of attorney now over both his medical and financial well being.  I just feel so bad for him because he has the biggest heart and would not hurt a fly.  She totally took advantage of him!  While I was gone, I did find the time to read this great book called My Berlin Kitchen, and I totally loved it!

The book besides being an easy read takes you on a journey of life, food, and love.  Doesn't that sound like a good book.  Luisa's story is so similar to mine minus that I got married at a younger age than her and did not work in the book publishing industry; however, we both blog, we both love to cook, and we live with our hearts divided between two places.  While I have never lived in Europe for more than 4 months at a time upon departing I always seem to leave a part of my heart there, and even harder is the loss of not being closer to my husbands family.  Do you know that we have never spent a Christmas with my husbands family after having children.  I dream of my children spending at least one Christmas with his family and seeing Germany in the winter and the Christmas markets.  The book is not only a great read, but has some pretty good recipes in it too.  I tried the first recipe with is an omelet with jam in the middle.  Sounds strange doesn't it?  It was so good.  The perfect combination between salty and sweet!  Last week we made the focaccia recipe from her blog.  It was pretty good.  A little to crispy, but that could be just me.  I need to try making it a second time.  It was like being on Elba for a minute eating the perfect focaccia while on the beach watching the children play.

Well, it is very late!  I better get to bed as I have to get up in a few hours to get the children off to school.  I hope you have a fantastic weekend.  Do you have any plans for the weekend?  I am hoping to go to a movie or Stone Mountain for the laser show and firework show.  On Saturday, we are going to a baptism of a friend of ours daughter.  I need to not forget that I volunteered to bring a dessert.  Happy Weekend!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Avery makes a Video Debut

You would never guess that this child hated the pool only weeks ago!  Look at her now!  She loves the pool and we have to be careful to make sure she has her water wings on before we even go into the pool area because she will just jump right on in!  Can't believe she has been with is now for almost 7 months.  She is changing so fast.  The other day at physical therapy they said she was doing so well that they thought she is almost ready to end her treatment.  She now is a proud owner of an American social security number and a passport which she will get to use for her birthday.  Spain here we come!  She is starting to count.  I love when I say one she will automatically say two and then will repeat the numbers after me or fill in the number that comes next.  I love how sometimes she automatically skips to 20!  She loves the song "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Ring around the Rosie".  She cracks me up with how excited she gets when she sees a dog, but if they come to close it is like the world is going to end.  Both girls are pretty scared of them, but even more strange is how they had no problems petting the goats at the zoo the other day.  She still has a love hate relationship with her sister.  Addy is the first thing she ask for in the morning, but she isn't too thrilled to have her in her face all day long.  She is pretty sweet though and will often give up something she has to make her sister happy.  She has a truly giving heart.  She is the first to make sure you are OK if you are hurt and will kiss your boo boo.  Love this girl!  So happy she came to our family!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Winston Goes to Philedelphia

The last two days photos have been streaming into my e-mail account.  Frank and Winston are in Philadelphia this week.  Frank has a conference for his work there and Winston tagged along.  Winston loves to travel.  He loves history, so it was only natural that he was the one to be picked to go along. Winston has this crazy ability to remember details of history that no one else does.  He is a great travel companion because he wants to see it all.  Yesterday the two went after lunch to see Independence Hall the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed, saw the Liberty Bell, and then made videos of themselves running up and down the stairs where Sylvester Stallone ran up in the movie Rocky.  Today they went to Hersey, Pennsylvania the home of Hersey Chocolate and Hersey Park.  I am sure they are screaming their heads off as they ride the roller coasters.  Hersey Park is actually my favorite amusement park here in America because it has something for everyone, and if you get too hot they have a great water park inside to beat the heat.  The smell of chocolate in the air isn't too shabby either.

Happy 17th Anniversary to my amazing husband!
Love you more with each day!