28 January 2015

Adoption Update? Embryo Adoption Awareness

About a week ago I posted a Facebook update asking for prayer about making a decision concerning our adoption. We were seriously considering adopting embryos.

Was there a record scratch or a say whaaa in your brain just now? Embryo adoption is totally a thing. There are many, many families who have frozen embryos left over from cycles of IVF that they are unwilling/unable to add to their families. These embryos can be donated to science (where they will die), disposed of (where they will die), or donated/adopted by another family (where they have a chance to be born).

The idea of giving birth to your adopted child is beautiful, and giving life to these lil snowflakes is sweet and precious. And I really wanted another baby. So we were seriously considering it.

Notice I'm using the past tense. I realized over the weekend that, while I think adopting embryos is wonderful and important, I just don't have a conviction that it's what we should do for this adoption. I think I was considering it so seriously was a result of not having much hope that we could adopt internationally. Also known as not a great reason to bring a child into our family.

We are seriously considering adopting a little girl with a special need from China (why China? Well this is pretty much the earliest we could adopt from China, since Stephen turns 30 in July). Please be praying with us that God would give us clarity in our decision.

Want to know more about embryo adoption? Click here! This was not in any way sponsored or something. I just think it's a great thing.

02 January 2015

When God doesn't bless your godly decisions

Happy New Year!

Our Christmas break has felt quite full, but a pretty good kind of full - family, preparations to eventually sell our house, and lots of processing for both Stephen and me.

I have been mulling over the title up there for the past week, after a prayer prayed by a family member for another family member. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law-in-law are in the process of becoming licensed foster-to-adopt parents, and received an unexpected bonus that will cover the rest of the costs for their preparations. The family member thanked God for blessing them because their desires are godly.

And it's true, and I'm so glad for them. There's no denying that their hearts are turned toward the fatherless, and they are preparing to love and parent a child (or children) who has undergone trauma and who needs a safe place. It is godly, and God, I'm certain, is pleased with them.

But the lump in my throat wonders about us. Are my desires to adopt not from a godly place? Am I just not ready in some way? in many ways? Do I lack a quality that will make me a good adoptive parent? Is God frustrating our adoption plans because He knows we wouldn't be a safe place for a hurt child?

Before you (well some of you) rush to the comments to leave sweet remarks, it is definitely possible that I am not ready. That it is me that's the hold up in this situation. And I'm trying to be okay with whatever the reason is, even though it really hurts a part of me to see others get to do what I really want to do but have not been allowed to yet. I feel left out, yes, but also a little less than. Maybe a little exposed? Afraid others see me as a phony, and afraid maybe I am a phony and don't realize it. Id God not honoring my desires because they aren't godly? How would I know?

Those are the things I'm pondering, bringing to the Lord, and hoping for answers at some unforeseen point in the road.

Now that it's 2015, and I feel fairly assured in my spirit that I won't get to adopt this year either, I'm trusting God that it can still be a really good year. I have at least enough faith to believe I will look back one year from now and see his goodness pursuing me the whole time.

05 December 2014

Gingerbread Cookies

Y'all, I know what you're thinking: just another cookie recipe. But these are the BEST gingerbread cookies evvvaaaaah. I would eat them for dinner if I didn't have a child to feed and a husband who wouldn't really appreciate eating cookies as a meal. #ughgrownups

They are perfect for decorating because they are not very sweet themselves, so you won't feel sick from sugar overload. But I also like them without decoration, because they can stand on their own little delicious feet. Until I eat those feet off.

I'm your worst nightmare, Gingy.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 C flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

9 Tablespoons melted butter (that's 1 stick and 1 T)
2/3 C brown sugar
3/4 C molasses
1 egg

Mix all those dry ingredients together in a bowl (not your big bowl, some other random bowl). Enjoy the smell of Christmas and set aside.

Melt the butter (just do it ok), add it to your big bowl, then add brown sugar and molasses. Beat those together, then add your egg. Make sure they are thoroughly creamed together.

Add your dry ingredients in 2 parts; mix until combined (but no more than that; you don't want to overbeat your dough). Divide into two parts, pinch off a bite to eat, then wrap each part in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (preferably all day or overnight).

After that you can shape your dough in whatever way you'd like. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 6-8 minutes.

"Tico" Tacos

We eat the heck out of some tacos in this family. Mostly bc Ezra will actually eat them, usually without even complaining that he "doesn't like this dinner." They also make a pound of ground beef stretch over at least one round of leftovers.

A word of caution on crunchy taco shells: some of them are GROSS. And pretty much all of them are gross if you don't recrisp them in the oven before eating. We have a toaster oven that we love at least as much as a pet (sorry, Django) and use all the time every day. What I'm saying is, the next toaster that gives out on you, buy a toaster oven. It's what you need if you live where it's miserably hot for half the year. Ours is even mounted under the cabinet, so the countertop is free for storing Stephen's many coffee things  being covered in sugar, coffee grounds and toast crumbs  more food prep.

Not my best friend, but close.
Ingredients:
1/2 - 1 tablespoon oil
1 lb ground beef
1 baking potato
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 an onion
1 lime
1 can of unsalted black beans
taco shells (get Taco Bell brand shells if they sell them at your grocery store. They are the legit best.)
shredded cheddar or monterrey jack
cilantro

I love this dinner because all the prep work I have to do is making sure the beef is at least mostly thawed, chopping a bit of onion, and small-dicing a potato. So I do it during Ezra's nap. If you want to use fresh garlic, mince however much you'd like. I suggest 2 cloves.

About an hour before you eat, heat your oil on at least medium heat and add potatoes. Don't stir them too often, every 5 minutes max. Let them cook until they are almost done (which will take a while, 20-30 mins). Transfer to your toaster oven and bake them at 350 until I say so.

Now you'll brown your beef. Put it in that same pan you had the potatoes in, get it browning, and add the onion & your spices. Some of you may be used to "eyeballing it" on the spices when you season ground beef, and your eyes may bug out when you use this much spice. But if you eyeball it based on what you'd usually use for just a pound of ground beef, your tacos will be super bland, bc you're sticking a whole can of black beans and a whole potato in it. Be brave! Be bold! Push past the fear of over-seasoning!

Use the time the meat takes to open and drain those beans, and rinsing some cilantro. You can either pick off the leaves & just add them for garnish, or you can chop the leaves and stems and add them to your meat riiiight before serving.

Once the meat is cooked, drain the grease if you need to, then add the beans and turn the heat to low. Get those heated and juice your lime over those beautiful taco guts you're making.

Take the potatoes out and start toasting your taco shells. A WORD OF CAUTION: in a toaster oven, taco shells go from this:

to this:


in about 10 actual seconds. So KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR SHELLS. Also maybe buy extras if you have kids because they are so good at being crazy right when you should be trying not to burn your taco shells. #stopthrowingthings

Add the potatoes to your meat & fill up those beautiful, not-burned shells, and sprinkle some cheese on top. You could also add lettuce, tomato, and sour cream, but I think those are for people who don't care enough about meat.

02 December 2014

Baked Potato Soup

I love when it gets cold enough for me to make this. I also love that it makes a ton of soup; I make it on our last day off before the week, and we eat on it for a few days. There is naaaathing healthy about it, but it's delicious and it's not like I'm making it every other week oh except I definitely just did.

Be still my heart.
Listen, you can make this with another kind of potato, but you shouldn't make it with anything other than Yukon golds. It's just a fact, and I'm the one with the recipe. They're not expensive.

Ingredients:
a whole bag of Yukon gold potatoes (5#)
~48 oz reduced sodium chicken broth (a little more also works well)
a package of bacon (I prefer center cut -- less fat)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 an onion
1/4-1/2 t black pepper
1/4-1/2 t red pepper/cayenne pepper
1-2 C frozen corn
2 C heavy cream
shredded cheddar (for garnish)

Get out your big pot and pour the chicken broth in it. Start the heat on medium. If you like skin on your potatoes, congratulations, you're a grown up! If you're like me, peel the potatoes and cut them into what-will-be large bites. Dump them in the broth.

Mince the garlic and small dice the onion and add them to the broth. Also add the black pepper and the red pepper. Be adventurous! We use the half teaspoon of both and it's not too hot for me. Stephen adds more black pepper to his bc his love affair with black pepper predates our relationship.

As that's heating up, start cooking your bacon. I like my bacon very well done, but it's going in the pot, so you don't need to be too picky.

Once the broth starts to boil, turn the heat down to where it simmers, and keep it covered. When your bacon's done, crumble it and throw it in the pot.

Hey, beautiful.

When you're about 15 minutes away from when you want to eat, turn the heat up just a bit and add the corn. Let the soup come back up to a boil, then add the cream. Let the soup heat up again, then you're ready to go. Garnish with cheddar. You can also garnish this with extra green onions you may have in your fridge that will totally wilt soon if you don't use them.

You could also get sassy with some sour cream, but we're more traditional than that.