Gifts for Judah

If you follow me on Instagram, and you totally should be, then you may have seen my post the other week where our first gifts were sent to Judah.

Judah's first gifts from us are being sent to him today! A sweet lady in China helps purchase these gifts and sends them to the orphanage. Because he's not even two yet he'll probably never know his new xylophone is from us but I hope it brings him lots of joy. As for the sweaters… we were under the impression we selected the "boy" package. This might explain why he's wearing pink in every picture. At least these are to share with the hundreds of other children living there. Please pray for our sweet boy. In a few months we will travel to bring him home. One day he will leave the orphanage having no clue where he is going and then a couple hours later be handed over to us… complete strangers that look different, talk different, and smell different than anything he has ever seen before. We look forward to that day but to him it will be the scariest day ever. #chinaadoption #adoption #boys

A photo posted by Krystle@ColorTransformedFamily (@krystle_colortransformedfamily) on

We got an e-mail the other night letting us know that the orphanage where Judah lives did receive our care package of gifts.  With gifts being sent and a travel meeting that I posted about on Instagram the other week…

I thought it would be good to share a little adoption update. In my last update we had just received immigration approval from the U.S. to adopt a child from China.  At the time we were hoping for a travel somewhere in January or February but knew that the Chinese New Year could throw a loop in things.

For the past two months our dossier has been in China waiting to be reviewed.  During that time China had a holiday where the government shut down for a week… so that extended our wait a little longer that we anticipated.  This whole step for some reason has been a little longer than the average wait time but God is in control and I constantly remind myself that He will not be a day early or a day late in arranging the day for Judah to come into our lives.

At the end of this step we will receive our Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from China and then we will have the green light to submit the final immigration papers to the U.S government to specifically bring Judah home. Once we have the LOA  in hand we will be about two to three months from travel approval and three to four months from actual travel.  This mommy heart is getting excited and can’t wait to hold him in my arms!!!

As we get closer and closer to travel we are having more and more people ask us if we are doing any fundraising.  The answer is “yes”. We have an account set up with Lifesong where people can donate and with donations of $50 or more receive a tax deductible receipt.

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Kneading More Bread

4-tips-for-baking-breadThe other week I posted a picture of fresh sourdough bread that I had made. My friend asked for some tips and recipes so I thought it would make a good topic for a blog post.

It all started with biscuits early this summer.  I’m not sure what prompted me to make biscuits one morning but knowing me we were probably low on everything else that would have been acceptable to eat at breakfast time and after flipping through a cookbook I realized I had enough ingredients to make some biscuits… from scratch.

bread-03

The recipe said Fast… which is totally not true the first time around but after almost three months of cooking biscuits for breakfast it has definitely turned into a fast recipe.  The Baking Powder Biscuits from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook Bridal Edition require about 10 minutes of prep and 12 minutes baking.  I make it even quicker because I add more milk to my batter which allows me to skip the rolling and biscuit cutting step. I just spoon the batter onto the baking sheet for easy drop biscuits.

One batch yields 12 biscuits lasting us three days.  Each morning I fry eggs to go with the biscuit and make an extra egg to place in the refrigerator for ML to eat the next morning. He leaves too early for me to fix him fresh eggs each morning so this is as close as he gets.

When I blogged about my summer reading a couple months ago I mentioned falling head over heals in love with Lauraine Snelling‘s books.  Seventeen books in and I am almost through with the Red River Books  These books are set in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s on the Dakota Plains.   A time when farming was the way of life and baking fresh bread every day was the norm.  Well, I fell so in love with the characters and got so wrapped up in their way of doing things that I decided to try my hand at making Traditional White Bread from the same Betty Crocker Cookbook.  I don’t consider myself an expert at bread making by any  means but I do have a few tips to share.

bread-01

Kneading is key.

To avoid super thick and hard to chew bread KNEAD.  Knead that bread like you are mad at.  Knead the entire time the recipe recommends. It really is a good workout!  I put so much force into kneading my bread that my Fitbit actually counts it as steps and I don’t mind at all because it really is an arm workout.

My first loaf of bread wasn’t as soft as I was expecting but after a few tries I learned that the secret to soft bread is in the hands.

Start your bread early in the morning.

There’s a reason why in Lauraine Snelling’s books the women start the bread first thing in the morning… it’s because it takes a good portion of the morning to prepare and bake the bread.  This isn’t some toss it in a bowl and forget about it recipe.  While there are definitely times the bread is just “sitting” there you will discover much of your morning is spent working on the bread.  For me I find time for all that kneading between teaching different subjects in school to the girls.

Give it more than one try.

If your first loaf could easily place in a #pinterestfail competition don’t give up.  Don’t.  Give it another try. Reevaluate and take note of where you could improve. Maybe it needs less flour, more kneading, or longer to bake. Think of it as a science experiment and you are the scientist.

Store Tight

This isn’t your store bought bread that’s made to sit on a shelf for weeks at time.  This is fresh, simple ingredient bread so don’t expect it to last more than a week.  Store your bread tightly wrapped in cellophane in a cool, dark place.

My girls have fallen head over heels in love with fresh bread.  They love a slice for lunch with a little fruit and cheese on the side, a slice for breakfast with a banana, and a slice for supper to help sop up the leftover spaghetti sauce.

bread-02Esther claims that its the best bread.  I enjoy it too but most of all I enjoy the smell of it baking in our home and the feeling of accomplishment when I take the loaves out of the oven.

Much of the food we buy in the stores these days contains chemical after chemical and I just don’t have the time to research it all. Thankfully, there are sites like Positive Health Wellness who provide a variety of resources for people who are enthusiastic and passionate about being positive and healthy. Michael Luke and I believe there is a strong correlation between diet and health.  We believe it because we have seen radical changes in our own lives and in the lives of our children by gradually changing our diet over time.  I don’t know much but I do know that for centuries people have baked fresh bread from simple ingredients.  For a short while in the span of history bread has been mass-produced and traditional recipes have been altered to keep production easy and efficient and prices low.  During this time we have also seen a huge increase in gluten intolerance and a host of other gut issues.  I can’t fix everything from scratch for my family but I can at least bake them fresh bread.

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Prepping for Fall

Today as I sit curled up on my sofa with my Chromebook propped up on the arm rest I see the leaves beginning to change color outside and the gray clouds looming over our house bringing the first chill to the air.  I love it!  This is what fall is to me.  When this happens it means it’s time for hearty vegetable soups and to prepare our home for fall.

Fall is the prelude to winter and both of these seasons are when we spend the most time inside.  During the colder months I love to hibernate inside and enjoy the aroma of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Orange essential oils diffusing in the air. I also love to swap out some of my decor for warmer tone pieces to help really create that intimate and warm feeling in my home.

When it comes to home decor I like to purchase one or two good pieces each season.  I don’t typically go for the cheap or fad stuff but for a piece that I feel like I will be able to use for years. For me it is an investment.  I found several pieces that I adore this year while I was browsing through Pinterest.

Amber Crackle Glass Pumpkins


These glass Pumpkins from Pier 1 Imports caught my attention because they remind me of my pieces of carnival glass that I have collected over the years.  Beautiful glass like this is one of my favorite ways to bring the deep hues of orange into the house.

Faux Oak Leave Stem


Faux foliage and flowers are great ways to add height and color to a corner, end table, or mantel.  I know some people like to use real foliage from outside but faux makes more sense for us since we are living in an apartment until after this next adoption.

Round Iron Flowers Mirror


This beautiful round iron flower mirror from Arhaus can either be hung on a wall or laid flat.  I would have to place this one in the center of my round coffee table and light the candles on those nights when I just want to curl up and finsh the last two hundred pages of my Lauraine Snelling book.

Dashing Deer Art


I bought a beautiful painting of a horse last year for our living room. Ever since then I have been head over heels for animal artwork and this Dashing Deer one is no exception.  To me its a perfect pair of rugged and feminine decor.

Pillows


We were shopping the other week and the girls fell in love with the mermaid sequin pillows.  I’m not kidding you, they played with them for about fifteen minutes in the store.   They are like decorative sensory toys.  The ones we found in the store were priced a little higher than what I wanted to pay for a sequin pillow but one quick look on Amazon and I found these for a much lower price.

Pillows are a fun and easy way to change the look of a sofa.  So why not have a little fun and add these (deer, arrows, cowhide)  cute pillows in for some seasonal comfort.



Sectional Sofa

I’ve had our current sofa for thirteen years now.  It’s a good quality sofa with a color and pattern that is very forgiving of spills.  As much as I love my sofa I’m going to be about ready for a change next year when we move.  Sofas are so important because as a family that’s where we spend a majority of our time together.  Comfort and durability are key with little ones.  Michael Luke is a huge fan of sectionals.  I wasn’t quite on board with the idea during the first few years of our marriage but sectionals have really grown up and can really look quite stunning in a living room.  For instance take a look at these from Arhaus.


For me a sofa is an investment. It’s a piece that needs to be well crafted and look beautiful for years to come. That’s one of the things I love about Arhaus sofas. Plus,wouldn’t they look amazing with the pillows I selected, the round iron mirror on the coffee table with the pumpkin glass on top, and the deer artwork hanging on the wall?  The only thing lacking might be this super soft throw.

Yeah, now I feel ready for fall.  What pieces do you love to use to prepare your living area for fall?

 

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