And the moral of the story is…

Don’t listen to rumors!!  Now agencies are reporting that the courts aren’t opening for another two weeks…maybe even three!  Yes, I’m not thinking nice thoughts.  Looks like it will be definitely be after Christmas before the boys are home and we will have had their referrals for almost a year.   Please pray specifically for them and especially our oldest who has to be wondering what in the world is taking so long…may the God of all comforts bring great comfort to them as they wait for a family.

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Almond-Pear Cream Cheese Torte

Almond_Pear_Cream_Cheese_TorteA delicious and beautiful dessert…and perfect for fall!  Every time I make this one, it looks like I spent a lot of time, but its so easy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup  sugar, divided
1 cup flour
1 pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp.  vanilla
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4   fresh pears, peeled, sliced
1/4 cup PLANTERS Sliced Almonds

HEAT oven to 425°F.

BEAT butter and 1/3 cup sugar in small bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour; mix well. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of 9-inch springform pan.

BEAT cream cheese and 1/3 cup of the remaining sugar in same bowl with mixer until well blended. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Spread onto bottom of crust. Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon. Add to pears in large bowl; toss to coat. Arrange over cream cheese layer; top with nuts.

BAKE 10 min. Reduce temperature to 375°F; bake 30 min. or until center is set. Cool completely. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen torte. Remove rim. Refrigerate torte 3 hours.

Rumor Has It…

A couple of agencies are reporting that the Ethiopian courts are re-opening this coming Monday, September 28th!!!  Please let it be so, and please Lord move the mountains that stand in the way.  We are still hoping that God might work miraculously to allow us to have the boys home by Christmas.  Thank you for praying faithfully, even through the rainy season!  May God be glorified through every step of this process.

Pan-grilled Snapper with Orzo Pasta Salad

grilled-snapper-ck-1662933-lAnother one of my many “projects” as of late was to find ways to incorporate more fish into our monthly menu plans, but to do so without increasing our grocery budget in a huge way.  I pulled this snapper recipe from a recent e-mail from Cooking Light and was greatly pleased with last night’s dinner!  I bought almost 2 lbs of fresh snapper at Costco for about $13 and was able to cut it into six fillets (and freeze four of them).  Since Molly Kate only eats a few bites of my meat, this easily made three nights worth of dinner at $2.16/fillet…not too shabby! 

 

 

 

 

  • 1 1/2  cups  uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • Cooking spray
  • 4  (6-ounce) red snapper fillets
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper, divided
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  minced shallots
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh parsley
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
  • 2  teaspoons  orange juice
  • 1  teaspoon  Dijon mustard
  • 2 1/2  tablespoons  extravirgin olive oil

Preparation

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle fish evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, shallots, parsley, lemon juice, orange juice, and mustard in a small bowl, stirring well. Slowly add olive oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Drizzle the shallot mixture over pasta; toss well to coat.

God’s Perfect Timing?

Sometimes I just feel plain old sorry for women who don’t have sisters, or who as adults are no longer close to their sisters.  While Amy and I have certainly had our ups and downs, I keep finding that our relationship becomes more worthwhile with each passing year.  I adore spending time with her as I’ve posted before, but I think the distance (miles) between us has also given us these incredible opportunities for deep encouraging conversations that we might not have if we saw each other everyday.  Case in point…Wednesday night.  I just happened to give Amy a quick call that evening and an hour and a half later, was so thankful God gave us time in our busy schedules to just slow down and catch up.

The circulating topic of conversation, of course, was the trials God continues to take us through (you can read more about what the Lord is doing in her life here and here).  At one point we began talking about the “not-so-helpful” comments that others tend to offer us when they just really have no idea what to say to comfort us in our hardships.  We had to laugh as number one of both of our lists was the same phrase…”God’s timing is perfect!”  There’s just something about this sentence that never seems to settle right and strangely, we both felt the same way.  So, we tried to get to the bottom of this well-used phrase, what about it really bugs us and where the truth lies within it.

First we talked about how its true….we know and believe that our God is sovereign, He is the One who has planned and “timed” all events for all of time.  “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this (Esther 4:14)?” “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven– (Ecc. 3:1)”  And as we believe our God is Perfect, His timing must be perfect as well.  With those thoughts established, we began talking about why it bothers us when friends, family members or acquaintances say this in response to God causing us to wait right now ( my waiting on our boys, her waiting on conception).  And finally, I think I figured it out!  From the context of different conversations, I think most of those who have made this comment to me mean something like this…”I’m sure once the boys are here, you’ll be able to look back on all of this and see why God made you wait and why He chose this exact time to bring the boys home.”  In essence, they are saying God’s perfect timing means the best possible time to make your life the easiest and the time that will make the most sense in hindsight.  This is unsettling to me for a couple of reasons…1) No where in Scripture does it tell us that God will always reveal the “whys” of our waiting.  I doubt I’ll ever fully understand this side of heaven all the reasons the Lord had for making us wait.  2) Molly Kate and I have sat around all summer wanting the boys home…no doubt this summer would have been my perfect timing.  It was warm, providing numerous opportunities for family bonding outside.  We had a closet full of summer clothes for both boys.  All the financial aspects are in line.  Its hard for me to believe that when the boys come home in the dead of winter and we are cooped up in our 1500 square foot home for four months, I’ll think to myself…”Yes, what perfect timing!!!  Yea!!”. 

But that’s when it dawned on me.  God’s perfect timing isn’t a timing that necessarily yields the easiest life for me.  God’s perfect timing is the one that brings the most glory to Himself and the greatest sanctification to me.  As I thought about bringing the boys home in the bitter cold of Louisville winter and how hard that would be for someone like me (who tends to be more warm weather oriented), I realized how much it would cause me to depend on God, to throw myself at His mercy.  Of course, I have no guarantee that they will actually come home this winter…we may not see their sweet faces until next summer.  But, I am a bit more at ease with “God’s perfect timing” as I now know what to think when I hear that phrase and can actually rejoice that it will bring the Lord the utmost glory. 

Yes, His perfect timing is a good thing…but it is rarely an easy thing.  May the Lord give Amy and I both the grace we so desperately need to trust His will and time.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins and Sausage Frittatas

As promised, here are two excellent recipes from one of my close friends here in Louisville.

Frittatas:

1 lb. sausage (Jimmy Dean – Hot)

1 med. Onion (chopped)

2 cups shredded hash brown potatoes

1 tsp. Lawry’s seasoning salt

6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

3 Tbsp. flour

6 eggs

½ cup milk

1 cup ranch dressing

 Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray muffin tins.  Cook sausage & onion then drain.    Add potatoes, cheese & flour.  In another bowl, beat eggs, dressing & milk then add to potato mixture.  Stir in seasonings.  Pour into muffin tins and bake for 15 to 20 mins.

Makes ~ 24 frittatas

 

 

Pumpkin Pie Spice Muffins

1 2/3 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 T pumpkin pie spice

1 t baking soda

¼ t salt

1 t baking powder

2 large eggs

1 cup plain pumpkin

½ cup butter melted

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup thinly sliced granny smith apples

 Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, spice, soda, powder, & salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs, pumpkin & butter until well blended.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture.  Stir in chips and fold in apples.  Spoon mixture into sprayed muffin tins.  Bake for approximately 20 to 23 minutes.

Makes~24 muffins

Projects, projects, projects!

k0520038I read a quote in Parents magazine last month that said something to the effect of “Vitamins, organic food and organizing your house…don’t stress out, you’ll think it all through again in February.”  While I couldn’t find the exact quote, the point was this: as summer comes to a close and a new season approaches, all of us tend to get motivated to tackle some new projects or research some facet of our lives that we never got around to doing in the summer (or winter!).  I laughed when I read it because it followed shortly after I had made a short list of some “must-tackle” projects!  Here a few things on my agenda right now…

  1. Research new make-up and skin care products that don’t contain harmful chemicals that could result in negative health side effects later in life.   My budget in this area is relatively small, so I’m trying to locate products that strike a balance between safe and affordable.  I’m using the Skin Deep database…what an enormous wealth of information!  This will be a slow to complete project as I only plan on buying new products once I have used up what we currently have on hand.
  2. Bake and freeze some breakfast foods for Kevin to have during the week.  My awesome hubby leaves for the public bus at 6:45 am every morning, so he usually eats breakfast at work and needs something portable and filling.  I decided at the first of each month, I’m going to take a day to bake at least three varieties of breakfast items to freeze and have on hand throughout the month.  Last week I made Pumpkin Spice Muffins, Sausage and Hash Brown Frittatas (recipes to follow later) and Blueberry Spelt Muffins.  Kevin is a very happy man!
  3. Research and decide on a dollhouse for Molly Kate.  We’re still trying to weigh out how much to spend on Christmas presents this year because we don’t know if we’ll be buying for just one kiddo or three!  Oh, how we hope to celebrate this special holiday with all of our children in our home.  But, since we don’t know, I’m trying to find a dollhouse that I know Molly Kate will love for several years and one that still leaves us enough cash to buy the boys fun stuff as well.  Plastic or wood, large or small, lots of color or plain…there are thousands of options!  If any of you mamas have an opinion, I’m all ears!