Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Heartbreaking Story

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An appalling and heartbreaking story.

A family and a child who need your prayer.

On the other side of the world {in Russia} there is a little boy....

His name is Kirill.

Kirill was found by his mommy and daddy on an adoption list. They worked feverishly to get all his paperwork in so they could bring him home. And during that time of working to bring Kirill home they found that Kirill is the first child from his region in Russia EVER to be adopted with Down Syndrome.

A birth mother keeping her child with DS is unheard of in this area of the world. Adoptions of children with DS just don't happen in this region, these children are literally hidden away from society in orphanages and mental institutions. As it turns out Kirill would be a pioneer. If Kirill's adoption was approved, it would pave the way for other children with special needs to be adopted from this region as well.

And so just two weeks ago, Kirill's mom and dad were there in Russia headed to court to fulfill the necessary steps to bring Kirill home...

and they were loving on Kirill.... and after enduring five agonizing hours of difficult questioning before the judge...with strong statements on their behalf from two doctors, two social workers and the Minister of Children's Services fighting on their and Kirill's behalf...and prepared for the court's stamp of approval, the Judge gave her ruling:

"Your application to adopt is rejected"

The Judges reasoning:

Kirill is "not socially adaptable" due to his "medical condition" and he is better off in an institution than in a home with a family. The Judge did state several times that Greg and Tesney were a good family, that they met all the criteria to adopt a child, but that she would not approve our adoption because Kirill has Down Syndrome. She told them that they could adopt another child, because legally our application had no problems according to Russian adoption law. She said she would approve their adoption for a 'typical' child, but not this child.

The ONLY reason? Because Kirill has Down Syndrome.

Here's where we come in...
Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity has organized a day of prayer and fasting for Kirill.  Click here for more details. 

May Our Lord bless little Kirill with a loving family with warm hugs and understanding.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Love Much

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This week's Papertrey Ink Design Challenge is to make a project
using at least one Papertrey product of some kind
 and add color with markers or colored pencils
to non-neutral colored cardstock.

Papertrey Ink Stamp Set: Little Bitty Bird
Image colored with Prismacolor pencils and Gamsol.
Heart accented with Stickles.
Background layers machine-stitched for added detail.

The sentiment says it all - Love Much.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cheap Eats: Chicken Cacciatore

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Take these awesome and nutritious ingredients ...

Brown the chicken parts in a little olive oil ...

Throw all ingredients (except polenta) in a slow cooker
for several hours ... 

Serve over polenta and Enjoy!

Slow-Cooked Chicken Cacciatore Recipe  (also available here)

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 pounds chicken parts, skin removed
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, crushed
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium green pepper, cut into 2-inch-long strips
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 package polenta

1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned on all sides.

2 .Stir the garlic, Italian seasoning, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, pepper and 1 cup broth in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the chicken and turn to coat.

3. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours or 4 to 5 hours on HIGH or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the cooker, cover and keep warm.

4.Stir the cornstarch and remaining broth in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Stir the cornstarch mixture in the cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 10 minutes or until the mixture boils and thickens. Serve with the chicken and polenta.

For dessert, I made blueberry mini bundt cakes.  I started a recipe from Sunset magazine (December 2010) and made a few substitutions since I didn't have any cranberries on hand.  Here is my version. 

There's always room for dessert!

Mini Bundts Recipe
(Modified from this Sunset Magazine recipe)

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
Cooking-oil spray
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
5 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean pod
Blueberry Preserves

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat mini Bundt pan with cooking spray.

2. Beat butter, 3 oz. cream cheese, and 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar in a bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Scrape down sides; add eggs, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on medium until blended, scraping down bowl as needed.

3. Whisk together flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to batter and beat on low speed just until blended.

4. Fill each Bundt cup with batter about 3/4 full.

5. Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted in thickest part comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Invert cakes from pan, using a small spatula if necessary to loosen them. Trim cake edges if you like.

6. Spoon blueberry jam into center hole of each bundt cake.

7. Beat remaining 2 oz. cream cheese in a bowl with a mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar. Slit vanilla bean pod lengthwise and gently scrape out seeds with a small spoon into cream cheese mixture. Add 5 tsp. water and beat until smooth and creamy. Drizzle over slightly warm cakes.  Top with a small dollop of blueberry preserves.

Everything was a big hit.  All of the chicken was gone leaving enough sauce leftover for pasta later in the week.  My dad ate three bundt cakes for dessert!!  Must've been tasty. 
3/28/11 Update:  Linking up to Todays Creative Blog and

Friday, March 25, 2011

March Madness in Seattle

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This is what March Madness looks like in Seattle!

Wild King Salmon from Alaska baked on a cedar plank
with roasted vegetables
Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

During the month of March, thirty of Seattle's finest restaurants
host March Madness menus  -  3-course dinners for a mere $30.
This includes selections for appetizer, entrée, and dessert.
Many of the restaurants also offer lunch for $15.
Read more about it here.

To celebrate our wedding anniversary, my parents
treated us to a sunset dinner at Six Seven located
in the luxurious Edgewater Hotel.

The Edgewater Hotel famously hosted the Beatles in 1964
when the photo on the left was taken of them
fishing from their suite! 
You can read more about the Beatles visit here.

What a fabulous dinner we had!
My belly was hurting from all the goodness!

I hope you are able to one day visit Seattle and enjoy some tasty delights at the Edgewater Hotel!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oatmeal Cookie - It's a Good Thing

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Photo courtesy of Marthastewart.com

Clipart for Oatmeal Cookie canister available at marthastewart.com/cookies-clip-art

Taking a break from cupcakes this week.
Baking cookies instead.
Oatmeal Raisin at my mother's request.

Oatmeal Cookie Recipe (from Martha Stewart LivingJanuary 2011)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup golden raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, using a spatula, cream together butter, sugar, and salt. Add egg, vanilla, and 1/4 cup water; mix until well combined.

3. In another large bowl, sift together flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. Fold into the butter mixture until well combined. Add raisins and stir until well combined.

4. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, scoop out cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Transfer baking sheets to oven, and bake until edges begin to brown, about 14 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Enjoy!

3/25/11 Update:  Linking up to

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Discovering Discovery Park

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Notice anything different about me today?

I'm wearing


Wooo hooo !!!

What a beautiful day it was in the Pacific Northwest today.

The perfect day to discover Discovery Park in Seattle.

I grabbed Maggie and left my chores for a later time.

Maggie was soooooo excited!!!

A 3-mile hike at Discovery Park.

We were in search of a nurse log -
a fallen tree which, as it decays, provides ecological facilitation to seedlings.

I'm sure there are nurse logs in Discovery Park but we didn't find any.

But we did find these little beauties ...

And these sweet cherry blossoms

And these magnificant views of the Olympic Mountains

And the Puget Sound.

Even 'The Mountain" - Mount Ranier - was out!

Of the dozens of cities in the many countries I have lived and worked in,
when the sun is out, Seattle and the
Pacific Northwest are by far the most beautiful.

Wishing you a warm and sunny hike as beautiful as mine!
Update:  Linking up to
Razamataz for the Friday Pet Photo Challenge

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Blooms!

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Spring is finally starting to show it's lovely blooms!

All of God's little creatures are singing His praises.

The frogs in the wetlands.

The herons roosting in the trees.

The eagles soaring through the sky.

The deer are back now that the trees and bushes have buds.

Today a couple even were peeking in the window this morning.

Perhaps because they could smell bacon.

My wonderful husband made the most magnificant brunch!

Poached eggs over english muffins.

Crispy bacon.

Sweet cherry tomatoes with tasty olive oil and cracked pepper.

Fresh fruit salad with drizzled honey.

Someone was very, very happy

and ate ... and ate ... and ate!

And my heart smiled.

Welcome back Sunshine!!

We missed you!

Live Simply. Love Much.

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This sweet card was inspired by two design challenges:
Papertrey Ink's Make It Monday and
The Cuttlebug Spot.
Papertrey Ink's challenge this week is to make a card
with a partially embossed element.
The Cuttlebug Spot's challenge is to use twine
as a design element.

The top layer of this card was partially embossed
using a Swiss Dot impression folder.
The bottom 1.5" were left untouched and then
hand-punched using a Martha Stewart doily punch.
Twine was wrapped around the layers and
finished with a Papertrey Ink Vintage button and
a sweet little vintage postcard image from
the Graphics Fairy.

I love the Graphics Fairy!!  
So many darling images - so little time.

I also love Papertrey Ink's buttons and ribbon and felt!
used the same image to make a gift tag. 
I think I'll make a matching card to go with it.
Don't you love the sentiment?

Live simply.  Love much.

Live simply. Love much dear friends.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Have A Wonderful Day!

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Inspired from two design challenges and
my Send Love Today assignment.

Design Challenge #1: CR84FN Color Challenge
I really struggled with these colors.
I guess that's why it's called a CHALLENGE!

Design Challenge #2: Get Sketchy #79

So, what do you think?
What elements work for you or
don't work for you?

Go ahead 

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