11.30.2009

O Christmas Tree

Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we spent lots of time together as a family. I never wanted it to end! On Thanksgiving day, we lazied around in jammies, listened to Christmas music, went for a drive... looking at beautiful homes in the area, and enjoyed a bountiful turkey dinner with extended family. The next day, we decorated our first Christmas tree as a family, put up the few decorations we have and then Andrew illuminated our house with beautiful Christmas lights!

I love the holidays!

giving thanks.


Thanksgiving is such a beautiful holiday. A day, dedicated solely to gratitude.

Life has thrown many curve balls my way, and 5 years ago... I would have never imagined myself in the life I live today. I am truly blessed with an amazing husband and a beautiful daughter. These two blessings fill my heart and home with so much joy.
It's a wonderful life.

11.25.2009

delish.

Wow... another recipe? I have been quite the little Asian Rachel Ray these days, wouldn't you say? I was assigned to stuffing for Thanksgiving and decided to go all gourmet on my fam. I'm hoping this recipe is a success. If not, at least it's a hit with my taste buds.

Artichoke Parmesan Sourdough Stuffing

Time: 1 1/2 hours

Serves 12 (makes 10 cups)

What you need:

1 pound mushrooms, rinsed, ends trimmed, and sliced

1 tablespoon butter

2 onions (3/4 lb. total), chopped

1 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons minced garlic

About 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 loaf (1 lb.) sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-in. cubes

2 jars (6 oz. each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves or 3/4 tsp. crumbled dried rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg

Prep:

1.) In a frying pan over high heat, cook mushrooms, butter, onions, celery, and garlic, stirring often, until vegetables are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Pour into a large bowl. Add a bit of broth to pan and stir to scrape up browned bits. Add to bowl.

2.) Pour 2 cups broth into bowl and add bread, artichoke hearts, parmesan cheese, poultry seasoning, and rosemary; mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Make a well in stuffing. Add egg and beat with a fork to blend; mix egg with stuffing.

3.) Preheat oven to 325° to 350°. Spoon stuffing into a shallow 3-qt. (9 x 13) casserole dish. For moist stuffing, cover with foil; for crusty stuffing, do not cover. Bake until hot or lightly browned, about 50 minutes.

4.) Thoroughly enjoy every fat-free bite! (right...)

11.22.2009

dear crock pot, you rock.

The secret to a fabulous Sunday meal is a crock pot. Sunday meals are my favorite because they are effortless! Every Saturday night, I load up my crock pot with a delish recipe and toss it in the fridge. When I wake up on Sunday morning, I turn on my crock pot and my work is done. When we get home from church a hot meal is a brewin'! Some of our staple Sunday meals are corned beef and cabbage and pot roast. Today, I tried a new recipe from Southern Living Magazine. It is definitely a new favorite! This warm meal is so amazing, I am willing to share it with you and your families!


Chicken Thighs with Carrots and Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 medium-size new potatoes (about 1 lb.)
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 6 skinned, bone-in chicken thighs

Preparation

1. Halve onion lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place onion in a lightly greased 6-qt. slow cooker; top with potatoes and carrots.

2. Combine broth, next 3 ingredients, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Pour over vegetables.

3. Combine paprika and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper; rub over chicken. Arrange chicken on top of vegetables.

4. Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Southern Living, OCTOBER 2009

11.21.2009

cooking with Londyn

Londyn helped me whip up a simple casserole in the kitchen a couple days ago. Of course, she's just so dang cute- I had to get a few snapshots of her fabulous culinary technique.


Easy Chicken Broccoli Casserole

4 cups cooked broccoli flowerets

1 1/2 cup cubed cooked chicken

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoon butter, melted

  • Place the broccoli and chicken into a 9-inch pie plate.
  • Stir the soup and milk in a small bowl. Pour the soup mixture over the broccoli and chicken. Sprinkle with the cheese. Stir the bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Sprinkle the bread crumbs mixture over the cheese.
  • Bake at 450°F. for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbling.

11.18.2009

project: hot mama

I get weekly newsletters via e-mail from American Baby about Londyn's development and what kinds of things she should or will be doing. Included in the e-mails are various articles. An article on the newsletter I received today is titled, "6 Milestones That Make a Mom" I thought I would check it out. Below is the 5th milestone...American BabyGetting a mom haircutIt's the beginning of a new era: When you say you want a hairdo that requires no styling, you now mean no styling. You decide to cut it all off. So you clip a photo of Meg Ryan or some other star sporting a no-fuss style (in denial of the fact that Meg's personal stylist likely spends hours perfecting her wash-and-wear look), pack up the baby, and head to the salon.
You leave the salon looking like Laura Bush: cute, clean, but undeniably mom-like. You throw away the picture of Meg. Fortunately, the new you has no time to dwell on a disappointing haircut. Plus, everyone will say you look great because they all keep picturing you in those last bloated days of pregnancy. Believe them. You do.... click here for the rest of the article
Unfortunately, this is totally my story! When I got married my hair was longer... then I chopped it off all sassy and fun. I tried growing it out, in the attempt to look like a hot mom after Londyn was born. All too soon, I realized that I have ZERO time to put into my hair. Hence, the chopping off... once again. Although, this time... my hair turned out much more "mom"-like. Now, I read this article AFTER I already decided to grow it out... and this time, I MEAN IT. This is my 2nd attempt at "project: hot mama".
BEFORE: once upon a time
AFTER: Laura Bush

11.17.2009

movin' on up


Grandma Milne got Londyn a Jenny Jump Up today at Target. When we got home, I was so excited to put it together and try it out. Londie loves to stand up on our laps and bounce up and down. What a perfect way to get her legs even stronger and give mom and dad a little break. Unfortunately, she wasn't so thrilled when I left her sight... but loves to show off her fancy feet in her new toy.

11.13.2009

4 months


Yesterday, I took Londyn in for her 4 month checkup. Even though I have noticed how big she has grown, I wanted numbers and straight up facts! After our adorable nurse Lisa, took us back to the room, she measured and weighed Londyn. Londyn currently weighs 16.12 lbs and 25.25 inches long. She is in the 90th percentile for weight and 75th percentile for height. Our baby's got some meat!
After measuring her weight and height, the nurse gave Londyn her 4 month series of vaccines. Londyn didn't cry after the first shot but then quickly caught on to the madness and screamed for the other two. My poor baby!

After the shots, we waited to see our doc. Londyn and I see Dr. Maggie Yu, who is the best doctor ever! AND... she's one of us (Asian). I love how patient she is with me and my bazillion phone calls, when Londyn hasn't pooped for 24 hours or when she has a runny nose. Having a fabulous doctor is a huge blessing to our family. We also love the staff at Sherwood Family Medicine. They are so sweet and it doesn't hurt that they think my baby is super cute! We can't help it!

Londie Poo-Poo is right on track and is growing like a weed! (well more like a flower... because nobody likes weeds, and everybody loves Londyn) We are so grateful for a healthy and happy baby girl. She is such a joy and really... the cutest thing ever!

11.11.2009

merry veterans day

I would like to thank all American Veterans and Active Military for their sacrifice and dedication to our country. I am deeply blessed and inspired by those that have fought and are currently fighting for my families' freedom.

In celebration of Veterans Day, Applebee's Restaurant offered a free meal to all Veterans and Active Military. We LOVE free!

Londie Lou & Daddy too... waiting for our food.



11.08.2009

FSA Conference

Yesterday, my parents, Andrew, Londyn and I were able to attend the FSA conference. I had been waiting for this event and it was totally worth it! What an experience it was to be surrounded by individuals that all support adoption. There were birth mothers, adoptive parents, adoptees and many supporters in attendance. I was honored to be a part of the conference and speak on a panel of fellow adoptees.

Growing up, I have always been considered adopted... which is foreign to many people. Most don't know much about adoption and all that it entails. For the first time, I was surrounded by so many advocates of adoption. I have never really had a problem with being unique (quite honestly... I thrive on standing out in a crowd) but for once, I was able to belong in a positive adoption environment. What a joy it was to hear from those that spend there lives supporting and living the blessings that adoption brings to families. I am so grateful to have shared the experience with my forever family and parents because without them and our divine design, I would not be who I am today.

Happy 234th Birthday Marines

Andrew and I attended the 234th Marine Corps Birthday Ball on Friday night. Not only was it a fabulous excuse to get all gussied up and go out for a night on the town, but it was a highly inspirational experience.
The ball was held at The Governor Hotel in downtown Portland. The ballroom was gorgeous and really nicely put together. Last year was my first time attending the birthday ball. I was so excited to participate and learn more about the Marine Corps as I had only been married to a Marine for a few months. Unfortunately, the event last year was a little out of sorts and we could barely hear or see what was going on during the ceremony. This year, the most memorable part of the evening was the ceremony. They played a video message from the Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps and it truly made me proud to be married to a Marine.

We visited with friends, enjoyed the ceremony and enjoyed yummy eats. Considering I have been dieting and gearing up for this event, I was debating on whether I would devour the entire meal or just want was diet-acceptable. Andrew told me to enjoy my meal. I deserved it. So I followed his orders and ate up! Boy, was it delish!

While at the table, we were sitting next to one of Andrew's friends that is much younger than us. Him and his girlfriend were very cute and we had lots of fun with them. I wonder if we were as fun to be around... considering we weren't drinking like everyone else and we were showing them pictures of Londyn on our camera. We are officially an old married couple.

Until next year... Happy Birthday Marines. I am grateful for all that you are and all that you do. Semper Fidelis.

11.06.2009

prayers

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the 13 dead and 31 wounded following a mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas. I am truly grateful for the men and women that dedicate their lives to provide our country with freedom. I am very passionate about not only the armed forces, but the families attached to those individuals. It is a sacrifice for many families and I am forever indebted to their efforts.

Related Links:


morning bliss

The 4 month old baby slept... drum roll please... 11.5 hours!!! That's right. Which gave the 23 year old mama a whole 9.5 hours of blissful sleep! Can it really be? There is light at the end of the sleepless newborn tunnel? I'm beginning to believe so! As much as I adore my precious hours with her awake... it is sheer bliss, when she is asleep.

When Londie Lou and I woke up @ 7:30 this morning, we went downstairs and noticed that daddy's uniform cover was on the coffee table. I immediately asked Londie Lou if daddy forgot this very important item? Of course, she responded in a complete sentence "yes, daddy left his cover" (okay... no she didn't, but I always carry conversations with my daughter that doesn't respond yet... because someday she will and if anything like her mama, I won't be able to shut her up). Anyway, then I instantly checked my phone and Andrew had called a bazillion times between 5:30am and 6:30am. Uh oh. So I took one look at my fab bed head hair, put chap stick on, a sweatshirt and spandex... my Target fake UGG boots... and the celebrity in me put on a pair of large sunglasses. Of course, when I go to a venue filled with military men... I want to be my man's hot Marine wife... but today, not so much. So I packed up the baby and hit the road! All I had was my GPS system which can be unpredictable at times, leading me to make a hundred wrong turns, hearing the dreaded words "recalculating route" (I hear that often). Finally, I made it and my husband was such a sweetheart. He had no clue I was coming, but made sure to tell me how much he appreciates me.

The rest of my morning consisted of a Diet Coke run to McD's... and a stop at Marshall's - my favorite bargain getaway. I found a super cute $25.00 dress on clearance for $10.00... and of course, I snatched that up, right then and there.

(Now that's an artistic photo)

11.05.2009

wiggles & giggles

Londyn gets the wiggles when...

  • she's getting her diaper changed
  • in the bath tub
  • eating her bottle
  • fighting sleep
  • she wants to get out of her car seat
  • she's done swinging
  • she's not getting attention
  • on her play mat
Londyn gets the giggles when...
  • daddy lifts her up high in the air
  • we swing her upside down
  • we kiss her ears
  • you smile at her
  • you talk to her
  • her feet are pushed up to her chest
  • she wakes up
  • bounced on your lap
  • holding her hands to sit up and down
  • you shimmy her legs, arms and belly

hello, weekend.

I am gearing up for a crazy busy weekend. It begins with Drill weekend for Andy-Roo... which is always a joyful time in our home as it is the most dreaded weekend of the month. Tomorrow, I have work and then the Marine Corps Birthday Ball at the Governor Hotel downtown. On Saturday I will be speaking at the Families Supporting Adoption Conference, which I am really excited to attend! Advocating adoption has been a new aspiration of mine and anything I can participate in- to do so, is truly wonderful!

Hello, weekend.

11.04.2009

it's here, it's really here

2009 FSA Regional Conference for OR, WA, AK, CA, ID & HI


This weekend is the 2009 FSA Regional Adoption Conference for Oregon, Washington, Alaska, California, Idaho and Hawaii.

See you there.

Get all the information and register HERE.

11.03.2009

...a man like mine.

video

Have I mentioned how much I love my big tall white man? Truly, he never ceases to amaze me. After a long day of work yesterday, I came home to several surprises.

I have been wanting to move our computer downstairs so that when Andrew is working on homework, we can still spend time together. But, with this being a super crazy week- we decided to wait a while to attempt the rearranging of our family room. Lo and behold, I opened my front door to a transformed family room! He had done it all! To top that off, I was exhausted and knew that I needed to unload the dang dishwasher that never ends... and SURPRISE! Done. What a guy.

Last but not least, I got on the computer to check my e-mail and there was a video file on the desktop screen. I opened the file and of course... it brought tears to my eyes. It's the small, but sweet gestures that truly sweep me off my feet, time and time again. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I do deserve a man like mine.

11.02.2009

the office.

Temporarily, I have added Mondays in our Portland office to my work schedule. This has been a blessing for my paychecks but it's an adjustment to be away from Londyn for an entire day. On Tuesdays and Fridays, I am only working a half-day in Sherwood. So when I am in Portland all day long, I miss her. Luckily, I am at ease knowing that she is being watched by family. I have Grandma Milne, Aunt Jenelle, Uncle Todd and Aunt Rebecca to rely on. We are pretty dang lucky! Although it is tough to leave Londyn sometimes, it makes me a better mom because I am given the chance to miss her. It's also nice to maintain an identity outside of mommyhood. I love being a mom, but I also like speaking with grown-ups too.

Here's to, the office.

11.01.2009

true wuv.

My favorite times are always spent with my man. I don't know if it's still the honeymoon phase... but if it is, I hope it lasts forever.

Whenever life hands me lemons, Andrew makes me a big pitcher of lemonade.

weekend.

On Thursday evening, Londyn was extra fussy and not acting like her cute happy self. She was beginning to sound congested and had quite the runny nose. When a sleepless Friday night came and passed... I was ready and willing with the baby Tylenol, boogie sucker-outer and open cuddly arms. The poor thing was miserable... coughing, sneezing and a very stuffy nose. Luckily, no fever or signs of anything serious. Nontheless, a grumpy and high maintenance baby girl was she. Since we didn't have much planned, other than Andrew's endless homework and celebrating Halloween... it was nice to stay home and take care of the babe.

After fighting sleep all day, Londyn finally fell asleep Friday night and slept 9 hours. What a relief! Saturday morning, she was still feeling pretty yucky but slowly improving with the medicine and lots of fluids. We made our weekly trip to the new track near our house, while Andrew ran and I walked with the baby. It was nice to get out of the house and breathe the fresh Fall air. Then we came home, and got ready for the day. Unfortunately, the Mr. and I didn't dress up this year but lil' Londie Lou was all decked out as what we've decided to be a "Halloween Princess" (if there is such a thing.) We then went out to dinner as a family and then to the tri-ward Trunk-r-Treat. What a nice and easy way to spend the holiday! To top it off, we put the baby to bed and watched a movie together. Cuddles and all.