Saturday, March 19, 2011

Moving (blogs that is...)

I haven't really had anything inspired or particularly exciting to blog about lately. One thing I'm doing though is moving my blog over to www.unfamiliarpaths.com (through wordpress- so you'll have to follow that address instead (or www.unfamiliarpaths.wordpress.com- same thing). I haven't done much to format that page yet though- so don't roam around too much because it's still under construction. I did import all of my blog posts though... so the info is there at least. *(And if you've been following me on your blogger account and want to add the new site just go to your dashboard and where it says 'blogs i'm following', hit the 'add' button, then paste in the new address).

I finished my first round of blanket projects and am about to hit round two. I wanted to blog about this second batch because I bought some really crazy fabrics this time... Hope I don't blind the new babies... hee hee. I'm sure it's some deep seated emotional response to how beige my house is currently, but hey- it's just a creative outlet, right?

So- if you want to see the new fabrics, you'll have to check out the new blog....www.unfamiliarpaths.com

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Shameless Advertising

Hi blog friends,
I'm doing a little shameless advertising today. Groupon is this great $ saving site that I've been using for about a year now. They have deals for most major cities- and some smaller cities/areas too. They're doing a promotion right now where they'll give me $20 just for doing shameless advertising. :) If you click this link, sign up to get their emails, and buy a deal/make a purchase by March 21st, I'll get $20.

How it works: You sign up your email address to receive their emails for daily deals they offer in your area. You receive their emails. Every day they promote a different store/company in your area/sometimes websites. You can buy a deal or just delete the email. No commitment, no extra cost to you. Some examples of deals I've bought before:
  • Buy a $20 am*zon gift card for $10.
  • Buy a $30 gift certificate for 'So and so's mexican restaurant' for $15.
Then, after you buy your deal, you can print the coupon the next day, and then take it with you to use at the store/restaurant- or use the online code if it's for a website. :) Most groupons are good for 6 months. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as my 7 year old says.

So, if it's something that you might want to do, you can either sign up on your own without following my link, or you can give me $20 to use toward future groupons by clicking here.
    After you follow the link above and sign up, then go to this link, and buy this amazing deal:
    This is a great deal to do a printable scrapbook/book thing!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Drumroll please...

And the lucky winner of a set of Indian spice mixtures is.... #9! Beautiful Sohailah! So excited for you. I'll get these ordered and put together some recipes to include with them! :)

(thankyou random.org for your random number generating software... :))

And the rest of you will have to just try some of these recipes on your own. Since I am currently on an Aarti kick, here are some of the recipes that I've either already tried or can't wait to try!

Aarti's baked samosas

Awesome looking Lamb Kabobs from the Food Network site
Shrimp/Prawn Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala ***FAVORITE

Red Lentils

Rice Pudding

And, finally, just to put my two cents in: How I spice up my normal life to taste a bit more like India
  1. Make chicken salad with chicken, celery, onion, etc... (whatever you usually put in) but then in addition to mayo (a little less than what you'd do normally), add this: 1 tbsp butter/olive oil in a small saute pan, add 1 tbsp garam masala or madras curry seasoning (both of which you should be able to find in your local grocery store spice jars). Let the spices bloom w/oil over medium heat for about a minute while stirring, then mix it in the chicken salad.
  2. Make any kind of stew, soup, or stir fry. When you're starting to cook it, and you are sauteeing/softening your veggies, add salt, pepper, 1 tbsp garam masala, a few cloves of crushed garlic, a spoon of crushed ginger if you have it, and a tsp of cumin. YUM. Let it cook through/bubble before you throw in other veggies/items.
  3. Serve your Indian food with basmati rice. :) I don't know if you have tasted the difference, but after living in India, every other rice (except maybe Jasmine) just isn't as tasty... :) It's got a slightly nutty, richer flavor than our american rice.
I do not consider myself an Indian chef AT ALL. I'm just a girl that likes food- and I want everyone to try Indian spices/dishes because I feel like overall, people here are a bit hesitant. Just remind yourself that there are as many kinds of curries out there as there are different kinds of chili in the U.S. (Chicken chili, red chili, spaghetti w/chili, tomatillo chili, Vegetarian chili, etc...). You can't just try one and say you don't like every other kind. Right? :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Getting All Curried Away **Giveaway!

I received a really thoughtful gift from my mother-in-law for Christmas that I've been using and I have really enjoyed- so I'm going to share the love with one of you! I should have called this 'Favorite Things' and gone all Oprah on you, but you'll have to do that part with your imagination...

I want to introduce one of my favorite things when wanting to quickly cook an Indian meal: (say it in your best Oprah loud announcement voice) "PENZEY'S SPICES!!!!" ;) They have stores in a lot of places around the country, but they also have a beautiful catalog with recipes that comes out several times a year.

You can open the pdf file of their catalog or you can go to their website and request a copy be mailed to you. There are a handful of Indian recipes in the Spring 2011 Catalog (Butter Chicken, Lemon Rice, and Tandoori Lamb). Page 20 is where the pre-mixed curries/seasonings start. Their website is not particularly easy to navigate/has no pictures, so the catalog is definitely an easier source to browse. They do have recipes on their website too though- and you can search through those fairly easily. FYI: Their Tandoori Chicken recipe is delish and tastes just like the real deal.
Some of Penzey's Indian Currys
So, to spice up your February, I'm giving away a small box of spices, similar to the one pictured here. I'm going to send a lucky winner a 1/4 cup jar of each of these .
  • Garam Masala- The formula for this blend was brought into the store by a Punjabi man who had recently moved to the U.S. It was his mother's recipe and in exchange for grinding and blending the whole spices for him, he gave it to us. His mother was proud to hear that her blend had become a hit in America.
  • Sweet Curry Powder- A good starter curry powder-great flavor with little heat. Travel to the port towns of Southwestern India today and you will be served a variety of fish seasoned with this same style of curry, though sometimes with a pinch more fenugreek and always with a healthy dose of fiery hot peppers.
  • Rogan Josh Seasoning- Just a little spicy. A very popular dish from Northern India and Pakistan. This version of the red lamb stew comes from the state of Rajasthan, known for its hilly deserts and fierce, yet chivalrous warriors.
  • Tandoori Seasoning- Clay ovens known as tandoors and the flavorful food they produce have entered the fast food market all over India and many major cities of the West as well. The most popular tandoori food is chicken. Skinless half chickens are marinated overnight, skewered and baked. Tandoors are extremely hot, which seals in the juices of the chicken. Like a microwave, tandoors cook so quickly that browning doesn't take place. The red color of Tandoori chicken in Indian restaurants comes from food coloring. It is possible to reproduce the rich flavor, if not the cooking technique, of this dish at home. Mix 1-2 TB. with 1 Cup plain yogurt and the juice of ½ lemon. Pour over a cut-up skinless chicken, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Remove from marinade, bake 45 minutes uncovered at 325°, turning and basting every 15 minutes.
**To enter, post a comment below before midnight on Thursday the 17th and tell me your favorite Indian dish/food to eat. :) If you've not had Indian food, tell me why. Preconceived ideas of flavors? Heat/Spice? Fear? :) Ha! I'll pick a winner on Friday. U.S. entries only.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gratitude and Purple Potatoes

I made one of Aarti's recipes tonight, and then read her most recent blog post. She was talking about gratitude, and mentioned a book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp that I've been told more than once to read. So, as soon as I post this, I'm taking all the hints- and I'm going to buy it online with a gift card that I've been itching to spend. So, in reference to Aarti's post, I'm going to post what I'm grateful for:
I'm just full of links today... I guess I should add that I'm grateful for the internet, where I can have such amazing and instant access to some of the things for which I'm grateful! :)

Purple Mashed Potatoes! Woot, woot!
I thought I'd also post a picture from dinner last week. We found purple potatoes on sale at the grocery store and decided to make purple mashed potatoes! Awesome. So, included in this picture are several of my gratefuls (family, food, and funny things!).

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A Give Away Giveaway!

A Give Away Giveaway! ;)
Hi Bloggie friends,
A sweet friend of mine is doing a giveaway on her blog and I want you all to have the chance to enter... Check out her blog for fab ideas/inspiration, and to win some yummy handmade soap and handmade goodies!


She has a great post on Crafivism that you should read too.

I'm preparing for round 2 of Blizzard 2011. :) We got between 15-20 inches of snow total last week, and we're expecting another 5-10 tonight/tomorrow! The kids have already had 6 snow days in a row! Hopefully I can get a few more projects done, bake some goodies with the kids, and who knows... maybe do a giveaway myself! :)

Monday, February 07, 2011

A little Sew and Tell :)

With like 20 inches of snow on the ground last week, I broke out the sewing machine and tuned out my kids' cabin fever for a while and did some projects. The weather guy projects another 5-10 inches later this week too! Crazy. It just happened that I have a list of 9 friends who have either recently had babies or will in the next few months. AND it just happens that I've been ogling some beautiful fabrics online, looking for a good excuse to buy them... So I got to shopping for my preggo friends a few weeks back and voila! :) Looks like I might finish all my baby projects this week!

I'll call this sew and tell. :) I already showed them to my only Tulsa area 'sewing friend.' The fabrics are just so much fun though- that I wanted to show you too. Some of them caused me to call upon my faith (read: the fabric kept reacting differently than I expected and I kept messing up and having to re-do portions!), and those ended up having some 'character', shall we say... :) But if you're pregnant and you're my friend, just know it was a labor of love, even if it has a few extra 'interesting touches'. :) Maybe I could spiritualize it and say that the blankets are a lot like us; we have flaws but God still uses us, even in our imperfection. Ha!

One part I actually enjoyed about having so many pregnant friends (and therefore allowed myself to buy several of my current favorite fabrics!), was that I really thought long and hard about who should receive each blanket/pattern/color... So, if you're a recipient, know that I believe you're just crazy enough to like the color combinations I picked for you. :) And, if you're a reader of this blog, you'll have to act surprised when you open your package in the mail! ;)




Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Would you like to be clothed in Righteousness?

I re-read the story of the wedding feast in Matthew 22 recently- and wanted to blog a bit about my ponderings... The story is about how the invited guests did not come, so the king opened the celebration up to the people on the street (read through it if you're unfamiliar... and do it in a study Bible that has good extra facts/notes re: each scripture. So enlightening!). One interesting part of that story that I've never focused on, was that he clothed each person in wedding garments so that they'd be appropriately dressed. There was one man though, who refused to put on the garments that he was offered. Whether it be out of low self-esteem/undeservedness, arrogance or some other motive- the point was that the King had tried to clothe him in splendor, and he turned it down! The king saw that he wasn't dressed in the wedding garments and was outraged/upset that his kindness had been refused- and kicked the guy out of the wedding feast!

My prayer for all of you, is that you clothe yourself in the righteousness and splendor that is offered to you by our King! I pray that you would take it on, like a mantle, and put on His righteousness.

The other thing I thought of after I read through that story, was that all of those street people left the wedding dressed in splendor! Everyone on the street who saw them walking around, could tell they had been in the presence of the King, and that the king had highly favored them and dressed them! And, my guess is, those people wore those garments for as long as they could! I pray that you too, would wear what God has dressed you in- and know that others will see and know that you're favored and have been in the presence of the King. He will use it to draw people unto HIMSELF! He'll use His splendor on YOU for HIS glory!

Cracks me up how surprised I can get with the Word! :) Love it. It's definitely life and breath to me. Like a cup of cold water in a dry and weary land.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sympathetic Playgroup

I went to a Dillon playgroup here in T-town on Friday. Got to make a few new friends, and got to chat with Heather (Piyashi's mom), who also accepted a referral of a little boy back in May. :) It was definitely nice to sit and talk face to face with others who are in the same holding pattern that I am.

Thankfully, my life is nicely complicated and distracting during the wait. I've got kids to care for, a mess (I mean house) to clean up constantly, a new part time job working  at RIM while E's is in preschool (woot, woot!), A's diabetes to manage (there's a whole other blog post on that topic as well... how would you other type1parents do this situation: 71 bg at bedtime, 70% basal rate for 3 hours- then a 58 at 10:30... pump him up, re-check and he's only 78? Go to sleep and pray it's ok? Temp basal? Extra sugar, no temp basal? We ended up give him a little more juice and a 75% basal for 6 hours.... and he wakes up at 288! He's been trending falling 30 pts overnight- but Bleh!). Anyway- I digress...

This playgroup was wonderful to be surrounded by people who 'get it.' The ups and downs of this adoption process yet again stir my heart/emotions. Give it to God. Express tiredness with the wait. Wait. Be ok with the wait. Be angry about the wait. Give it to God. Ask God again to PLEASE bring the kid. Wait again. Watch a number of my friends get pregnant and have babies while I wait. Find out friends are newly pregnant and wonder if they'll have their babies before I do... Watch a few of my friends have 2 babies during my wait... (sigh*).

So, after the playgroup, I decide that I should not only be praying my daughter home- but specifically be praying that Heather can pick up her sweet little boy as well. I do that with most of the families I know who are in the process... but having a face-to-face conversation about how she got the referral in May and then the Indian gov't hit pause for everyone... and 8 months later she's still wondering what in the world is going on, and she still can't travel to go pick him up... I do believe that's worse torture than being 2 years 4 months, 4 weeks and 1 day into the process and not having a referral (but who's counting?).

As usual, putting on my 'patient mama hat' and doing my best to remember others' situations before His throne, trying to clean the house with more intentionality, and not to stress about stupid stuff. :) I'm also considering spending our extra cash on getting the boys into a homeopathic doc about the allergy stuff they're going through. who needs spare $ anyway, right? :) (Any opinions on that? Is it worth it?)

Well, thanks for reading my rabbit trail. Had a bit too much caffeine this morning, apparently. :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Adoption Tax Credit/Refund information:

I really enjoyed this post and all of the links provided in it, so I wanted to link up to it here.

So much good adoption tax credit info! Please pass this on to anyone who might be considering adoption, but is overwhelmed with the idea of the expenses involved.

http://dillonadopt.blogspot.com/2011/01/tax-credit-or-refund-which-will-it-be.html

Happy Saturday everyone! Pray for me, I'm headed out to Sam's club! ;)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tunnel Vision Expanding

As I started off the new year, I took some time to pray over the year and what God would have me focus on or change. The first thing that came to mind: expand my adoption tunnel vision. I've been so focused on the progress (or LACK of progress) in the adoption process lately. I've spent a disproportionate amount of time thinking about/being impatient about/attempting to figure out this whole adoption thing (as if I can control ANY of it!?). I've felt compelled to broaden my vision, and allow the Lord to remove the tunnel vision that I've had, and to speak purpose and life into the other areas of my life that haven't had enough of my attention.

Steve and I also spent some time discussing a scripture that we adopted for the year- Ezekiel 39. Interesting chapter- and the verses that carry promise for us are these:
25 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. 26 They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. 27 When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. 29 I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

We're excited to pray that God will show His compassion to us, that He'll 'be proved holy through us in the sight of many nations...' and are asking that He will pour out His spirit on the people in our family. I'm believing for growth and change in each member of our family, that we would be better people at the end of 2011- and more like our God. I also love that it says "I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind"- and I chose to believe that God is referring to our little girl- and reminding me that she'll not be left behind, but will (eventually!) be joined with our family. :)