Monday, February 28, 2011


Did you see this post on how to get five meals from five chicken breasts?? They aren't skimpy meals or increadibly unhealthy meals, either! Some of the ingredients are not exactly allergy friendly for us, but I am going to try to make substitutions so that I can try this out.  I found this post through Money Saving Mom. If you don't already subscribe to this site, you should.  I get so many free samples and find great deals all over the place from following this site, and it has really helped me with my grocery budget! Enjoy!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stupid Cancer

Have you been touched personally by cancer yet?  It seems like I have had more contact with cancer in the past 10 years than I care to.  My dad had cancer. My aunt had cancer. Another aunt had cancer. People I knew at church had cancer.  People I know in the blogosphere had cancer.  It seems to be everywhere!  With each person I've known with cancer, the more strongly I grow to hate cancer.  I have been fortunate that my family members who have had cancer are all doing well now, and I don't take that lightly.

Earlier this month I learned that a friend of mine from high school found out she has breast cancer. Although we haven't seen each other too often since we graduated, this hits close to home for me because she is only 33 (like me), married with young kids (like me), and has family members who also have had cancer (like me).  She has been on my mind almost constantly since I learned of her cancer and tomorrow she is having a bilateral mastectomy to remove all the cancer, and because her type is agressive, all the remaining tissue it could have spread to. I think it is wrong for a young wife and mom to have cancer.  It makes me mad to know that there are many young wives and moms dealing with this every day!

But that brings me to the point of this post. A person has a much better chance for recovery if they find their cancer early.  Early detection is vital, and in the case of breast cancer - it is easy! We've all been told during our dreaded annual check-up to do breast self exams monthly, but how many of us actually do them? I don't. My friend didn't either, until two months ago. However, she thought that since she had family members with breast cancer, she really couldn't afford to forget to do it each month.  The first month, her self exam felt fine. The second month she found her cancer.  Who knows how long that cancer would have grown and spread if she hadn't taken the time to make this a priority? I think this is super important, and I would post a good exam right here on the blog, but the pictures are a bit explicit for the young eyes at my house an many of your houses, so I will just post a link: Breast Self Exam. But promise me something, okay? If you are a woman and you are reading this post, click on that link and learn how to do this.  Then do it! It could save your life.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lady in Waiting

It has taken me a while to get to my next book review, but here it is! Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner is two tales woven together as one.  The reader is first introduced to a modern-day Jane - a recent empty-nester and antique shop owner, who is shocked to find that her husband wants a break from their marriage after 22 years together. In the midst of her struggle to work through life's unexpected events, she finds an old ring that immediately intrigues her when she sees that it has a Latin inscription including her name, Jane, on the inside of the band.  After several chapters, the reader leaves modern-day Manhattan to travel to 16th century England, and is introduced to a young Jane, who is grieving the death of her benefactor, Queen Dowager Katherine, and struggling to find her new place in a life over which she has little control.

I must admit that I am generally not a fan of novels written in this format. It is frustrating for me to flip back and forth between two stories, never getting quite enough information in one story line before being forced to switch to a new one! At first, this book was frustrating for me in that way as well.  It also isn't clear how the two stories parallel until later in the novel, other than the obvious assumption that the ring found by the modern-day Jane once belonged to the 16th century Jane. However, this novel won me over.  By the time I cycled back to modern-day Jane, I was interested to see what would happen to her next, but what really held my interest in this story is the historical half of the tale. As a big fan of English history, I enjoyed seeing Meissner's speculations about what Lady Jane Grey's life might have been like.  So little is actually written about her, and I personally liked Meissners suppositions!  Also, toward the end of the novel I was able to see many parallels between the two lives - an aspect of the story that gave me reason to think.

Overall, I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. The author's imagination clearly shines in the historical sections of the story, even if I was not captivated by the modern sections.  For this reason, I give this novel 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mini Post Monday

  • I think this has been the January/February with the most snow and ice days in the DFW area that I can remember! It has been crazy just how often everything has been shut down for a bit of ice.   
  • Andrew enjoying playing in the snow!
  • Along the snow day theme - the post office doesn't really have that motto, "Neither rain, nor snow, nor..." We have had almost no mail delivery in the past couple of weeks! 
  • A full 4 inches one of our snow days!
  • Good news on the allergy front! Jerry and the boys went in for another treatment this last week, and were told that after the 3 week "critical period" is over, they can add in ALL their allergic foods on a rotational basis! Woo-Hoo! That means I get back yeast and tomato!! I have really missed yeast and tomato. 
  • All of my men enjoying some winter fun.
  • I placed an order with this company, 240 Sweet, recently.  I was amazed at the level of customer service I received from them! I messed up my order (completely my fault) and e-mailed to see if they could change it before it shipped.  I had a response in less than an hour from them, they fixed the problem, and even went above and beyond what I asked them to do! You don't get service like that very often anymore.  If you are looking for a fun treat or an unique gift, check this company out! 
  • A bit of snow and a very big stick.  What more does a boy need?
  • You may not even notice my adoption ticker on the side blog anymore.  After something's been up for 2 years, 3 months, and 3 days, it starts to blend in with the background.  When we first started this whole process, we were told the timeline was about 28 months from our dossier being accepted in China to travelling to pick up our daughter. We are now just days away from that 28 month point, and it doesn't look like we are any closer to going to China than we thought we were then.  This can be discouraging at times, but occasionally some promising news comes out of China, as it did this past week.  Please continue to pray for this whole process - and not just for me, but for the thousands of families waiting to receive a referral from China, and the tens of thousands of children in orphanages throughout that country waiting for their forever families.  Change doesn't usually happen quickly in this whole process, but I know that God is in control of every step of the process.  He alone can cause things to speed up! 
  • Aaron - all bundled up and ready to play, but humoring his mom with a smile!
  • I am finally getting my energy back after surgery Jan. 4, which was preceeded by about 4 months of being anemic.  I can almost feel my red blood count growing each day - and one friend told me I even sound like I have more energy!  You never realize how much you appreciate your red blood cells until you are low on them. 
When I mentioned being down, my bestest friend had these delivered to me. What an amazing spirit-lifter that was!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Yeah, I *know* it's February...

...but I'm posting Christmas pictures anyway! That's just the kind of rebel I am!

This past Christmas was particularly enjoyable for me. I think that was because my older boys are old enough to be truly thoughtful in their gift giving as well as in their wish lists, my younger boy is old enough to understand the gift unwrapping concept and really be joyful about the gift contents, I got my Christmas shopping done very early this year, I wrapped the presents gradually and not all in one night, and I knew we were leaving the next day for my family reunion - I time we all enjoy thoroughly and look forward to in the two years between each one. As I downloaded my pictures from Christmas morning today (yes, just today...) I was sad to discover that many of them are blurry or grainy. One of these days I am going to have to learn to take better pictures.

Here are some of my favorites from this Christmas morning:

I got a kindle from my parents on Christmas Eve, and was very excited to get this cover (with a light!) from Jerry on Christmas morning.

Jerry and his new shop-vac.  Andrew spent quite a bit of time in the box this came in...

Ethan got me some new kitchen tongs.  As it turns out, he should have gotten them for Andrew! He spent 20 minutes using these tongs to put fake strawberries in a play bowl.

Ethan showing off his favorite present - a real Bible! I am one happy mama that this was his *favorite* present of the morning.

Drew is fascinated with the presents.

But I want to open another one!

I think the older boys were just as excited about Andrew's presents as he was!

After getting an official Texas Rangers World Series T-shirt and jersey, he could not wait to finish opening presents before putting them on.

I guess we are slackers...

I was looking through the pictures still on my camera yesterday, and noticed I still had some from Christmas morning that I haven't even downloaded yet! Really??? I am officially a slacker.  I'd love to get caught up, though.  I miss this whole bloggy thing. And I'd love to start off by including an awesome Christmas morning picture here, but, um...they're still on the camera.