Just a Little Adoption Update

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It’s been a few weeks since I shared an adoption update, so I thought today would be the day I would share what has happened since then.

While I would love to share that we are in the middle of getting our home study done, or that it is finished, or better yet that our profile was picked and we would potentially have a new baby in a few short weeks, this is sadly not the case.

However, a few things have happened in the last few weeks.

The first news we have is that we heard from the adoption agency that we applied to. We are officially approved and #5 on a waiting list that they will draw from when they open new spots for waiting families. As I have said before, it could be 6 to 18 months before they will even do our home study and put our profile into the pool. (The agency only placed six babies last year and have almost 20 waiting families).

In my last update, I shared about our curiosity with a Kidsave program. Through this program, we would host an older child or sibling group from Columbia for four to five weeks in the Summer. The goal of this program is to connect Columbian orphans with hopeful adoptive families. With a series of events that happened (more on that later), and much prayer, my husband and I decided this is not a path we will take.

In addition, I also shared in that update that we would be looking for alternate ways to connect us with potential birth families. After a little research, we found two agencies that will help facilitate the adoption. I am still researching both, looking into reviews, references and asking tons of questions so that we can make the right decision.

Finally, since we have no idea when the adoption agency we applied to will start our home study, I have continued to look for a different one. I found two out-of-state agencies that are accepting waiting families and have strong potential. My husband and I are weighing our options and praying about them before we make any decision.

Will you join our family in prayer as we desire to grow our family? Here are some ways you can pray for us as we wait!

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Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli (Gluten Free)

An Everyday Blessing

An Everyday Blessing

One of my all-time favorite meals is Chicken Alfredo. It’s usually the dish I order when we go to an Italian restaurant. However, I rarely make it at home.

So last week as I was trying to think of gluten-free meals for our dinner menu, I thought I’d make an Alfredo sauce to spoon over chicken and broccoli. I didn’t want the pasta (even if it was gluten free) because it would make the meal too heavy.

Chicken Alfredo

Surprisingly, this meal took little time to make. Not surprisingly it was a crowd pleaser. My husband asked for it to be put on a regular rotation…and I have to agree!

Today I ate one of the leftover pieces of chicken. Since I had put all the leftover broccoli in with my husband’s lunch the other day, I needed a veggie to go with it. So I quickly steamed some green beans, which also compliment this dish quite well.

And unlike the Chicken Alfredo you take home from a restaurant, this Alfredo did not end up looking like a pool of grease when reheated. It was just as good the second time as it was the first.

I am so looking forward to making this meal again sometime soon!

Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli

  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 2 large breasts halved)
  • garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or cooking oil of choice)
  • 12 oz frozen broccoli

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (up to 1 cup)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Sprinkle chicken with garlic salt. Place chicken in skillet and cook on each side for 4-5 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle.
  2. Meanwhile, in another skillet melt butter. Whisk in the cornstarch to make a roux. Slowly whisk in whipping cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened. Add in cheese, garlic and salt.
  3. Steam broccoli according to package cooking instructions.
  4. Place broccoli and chicken onto a platter. Spoon Alfredo mixture over the top. Serve immediately.
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What’s for Dinner…” #19 Gluten Free Meal Plan

What' for Dinner

 Today I am starting Week 4 of a gluten free diet…sort of anyway! This has been challenging for sure. I do great during the week, and then the weekend comes…

So this weekend I am determined to do better. I think my most challenging meal will be Friday, depending on where my husband wants to eat dinner. I may just have to make something for myself so I can fully stick to a gluten free diet!

I realized after I put my list together and did my grocery shopping and this week’s meals are a little heavy on rice. My husband could eat rice every day of the week. Me…not so much! So one or two of these meals may be changed, but for now, here’s my meal plan and I’m sticking to it!

Thursday:  Grilled Chicken and Broccoli with Alfredo sauce, served with salad

Friday: Family Night Out at a Bulls Game!

Saturday:  Date Night with my husband

Sunday:  Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas (served either over rice or on corn tortillas), with fresh fruit and veggies

Monday:  Beef Stir Fry

Tuesday:  Slow Cooked Bourbon Chicken

Wednesday:  Breakfast for Dinner (and I think I’m going to try these Sweet Potato & Zucchini Fritters from Averie Cooks!)

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Build Your Own Baked Potato

Baked Potato 1

Simple. It’s how I plan my meals.

I don’t do complicated. Complicated simply takes too much time, and time is a precious commodity.

When it comes to my meal planning, I create a simple menu plan. Dishes with few ingredients. Meals that have “normal”, easy to find ingredients. Dishes that take very little time or effort to make.

So today I thought I would share an ultra simple dinner idea…

Build Your Own Baked Potato Bar

It’s nothing really new. It’s simply an easy weeknight dinner idea that is easily forgotten about, at least in my home anyway. At the same time, there are so many possibilities of what you can top on the baked potato. And it is a fantastic meal if you have picky eaters because they can put on whatever toppings they like!

Baked Potato

I recently did this with my toddler for dinner one night and he absolutely loved it. On top of that, we were able to use up some leftovers in a “new” way. Here are some of my ideas:

Build Your Own Baked Potato

  • One russet potato per person
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Easiest Cooking Instructions:

Wash potatoes thoroughly. Place potatoes in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until potatoes are tender.

Baking Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Wash potatoes thoroughly. Puncture each potato several times with a fork.
  3. Season the potatoes by lightly brushing the potatoes with the oil (or rubbing it on with your hands). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place potatoes on baking sheet a few inches apart. Bake for 50-60 minutes, turning every 20 minutes or so. The potatoes are done they feel soft on the inside when you prick them with a fork.
  5. Top potatoes with desired toppings.

Topping Ideas

  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • shredded cheese (any flavor you like)
  • steamed broccoli
  • crumbled bacon
  • leftover chicken, shredded or cut into small pieces
  • Ground Beef (perfect if you have leftover taco meat!)
  • black beans
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Ultimate Blog Party 2014

Ultimate Blog Party 2014

Hi! My name is Christie. Just today I stumbled upon the Ultimate Blog Party. Being a relatively new blogger, I decided this is just what I needed. What an exciting opportunity this is!!

Family Picture

I have the privilege of being a homemaker and a stay-at-home mom. Taking care of my husband and child is the most rewarding job that I could have! I love cooking, trying new recipes, menu planning, and yes, even grocery shopping. I am always looking for new ways to organize and run my home more efficiently.

Two years ago, my husband and I welcomed our son into the world through the wonderful gift of adoption. While our journey wasn’t easy, we wouldn’t trade it for anything. We are currently starting the adoption process again.

#12B&WGavin

A year ago I started my blog to share recipes and ideas with family and friends. It’s also a great place for me to journal our adoption story and keep people updated with where we are at in our journey. Just recently I started a gluten free diet, so I am starting  to share a bit about that as well. (I think anyone on any kind of diet can relate that it is NOT easy!)

Some of my popular posts include:

Let the Waiting Begin

Waiting for You Adoption Update

Apple Crumb Cake

Apple Crumb Cake

Meat & Cheese Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells

Ranch Chicken with Potatoes & Green Beans

Ranch Chicken

This year I look forward to connecting with other bloggers and sharing more on social media.

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment to introduce yourself. You can also find me on Facebook and Pinterest.

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Ranch Chicken with Potatoes & Green Beans

Ranch Chicken

Do you love simple meals? You know, the meals with little prep and few dishes to clean up. Or how about meals that you don’t have to keep a close eye on?

If your answer is yes, then this meal is for you!

Sometime last year I found a recipe similar to this on Pinterest, except that it used Italian seasoning mix. The one I found was simply a picture with the ingredients and directions in the description, but it didn’t link back to any blog. Every time I made it I thought, “I wonder how this will taste with Ranch Seasoning?”

This past week I finally found out, and I ended up receiving rave reviews from my husband and son. What can I say! They are not always easy to please!! And I have to say, I like the ranch seasoning WAY better than the Italian seasoning.

This dish took all of 5 minutes to prep. The downside is that it bakes for an hour in the oven. The upside is that once it goes in the oven, you don’t have to think about it until the timer beeps. Another pro is that it only has 5 ingredients. It can’t get too much simpler than that.

Ranch Chicken with Potatoes & Green Beans


  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tblsp Ranch Seasoning mix (you may buy a seasoning packet or see below for recipe)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 6-8 red potatoes
  • 12 oz green beans (fresh or frozen)

Directions

  1. Cut potatoes into bite size pieces and place into 1/3 of a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Depending on size of chicken, you may want to slice them into smaller pieces. I had 2 large chicken breasts that were rather thick. So I sliced them in half down the middle to make them thinner (so much easier than pounding them out), then I cut them again in half to make two smaller pieces from each half. So each large breast makes four smaller pieces.  Place the chicken in the middle third of your baking dish.
  3. Fill up the remaining third of your baking dish with the green beans.
  4. Sprinkle entire dish evenly with Ranch Seasoning. Pour melted butter over all the food.
  5. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Ranch Seasoning Mix

I use the recipe from Heavenly Homemakers

  • 5 Tablespoons dried minced onions
  • 7 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix together and store in an air tight container.

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What’s for Dinner…? #18 Gluten Free Meal Plan

What' for Dinner

Whew! Third week of gluten-free eating, and this week was a tough one for me to come up with our dinner plan.

This past week we had some meals that my husband was not completely fond of, like tomato soup…

Chicken Tomato Soup

or even Build Your Own Loaded Baked Potatoes

Loaded Baked Potatoes

….though my son loved them and I thought it was  quite a filling meal.

This week I thought I’d make it up to him a little bit, starting with tonight’s dinner of Ranch Chicken with red potatoes and green beans.

Ranch Chicken with Potatoes

I’ll post this super easy and delicious recipe on Monday!

Hopefully, as my way of thinking about meals changes, gluten-free meal planning will come more easily for me. For now, here is what we have planned this week:

Thursday: Ranch Chicken with red potatoes and green beans (one pan dish!)
Friday: Dinner out – Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Roast Beef with mashed potatoes and green beans
Monday: Parmesan Crusted Chicken with steamed broccoli and salad
Tuesday: Pork Burrito Bowls
Wednesday: TBD

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Crustless Cheddar Broccoli Quiche

Crustless Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

My family loves breakfast food. We love it so much that we often eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

One of my favorite breakfast dishes I like to make is a quiche. It’s so simple to make. It takes little effort and can be whipped up in no time at all. I can easily toss in a vegetable, even for breakfast, and my son and husband will still eat it.

Currently, my favorite quiche is this Crustless Broccoli Cheddar Quiche.

Broccoli cheddar Quiche

Yes, you can easily add a crust to it, and it will still be delicious! Maybe even more delicious. But I don’t always want to take the time to make a pie crust. And recently I started a gluten free diet, so a crustless quiche it is. Who needs the extra carbs anyway?

Crustless Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 1 10 oz package of Brown & Serve breakfast sausage, thawed
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large pie plate.(You’ll want a deep pie plate, otherwise the mixture will bubble over
  2. Cut sausage and broccoli into small pieces. Place on bottom of pie plate. Sprinkle with cheese.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Pour over the sausage, broccoli and cheese.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until eggs are settled and you can insert a knife into the center cleanly.

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What’s for Dinner…? #17 – Gluten Free Meal Plan

 What' for Dinner

What do you think is the hardest thing about being on a “diet”? I think often we tend to focus on the things we can’t have instead of remembering what we can have. We also view it as “diet” instead of seeing it as a “life style change”.

Thursday my family began Week 2 of a Gluten Free diet. Well, most of us anyway! I bought bread for my son’s lunches. Having a gluten-free diet means saying “no” to a lot of foods. But there are still so many that I can have.

While I can’t speak for my husband, I have done quite well not thinking about it. Don’t get me wrong.  It truly is a discipline to be at a party and have to pass by the yummy pasta and load the plate up with a salad instead. It’s not easy to refrain from taking a bite of my son’s sandwich that he didn’t finish. After all, I don’t want it to go to waste, right?

This Friday was a hard day because I wanted something quick, but my fruits and veggies weren’t washed and cut up yet. I was so incredibly tempted to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But I practiced discipline and sliced up a little cheese to go along with  an apple with peanut butter on it.

When faced with these challenges I have to remind myself that I am making this lifestyle change to improve my health. And really, I need more fruits and vegetables in my diet, so it’s good if I load up on those a bit more. As the Little Engine that Could would say, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can….”

Gluten Free Dinner Plan

Thursday: Bourbon Chicken (from MMM…Café)  with Rice and veggies

Friday: Taco Salad with tortilla chips and fresh fruit

Saturday:  Leftovers

Sunday: Pot Roast with mashed potatoes and green beans

Monday:  Tomato Soup

Tuesday: Slow Cooked Chicken Caesar over salad with sweet potato fries and fruit

Wednesday: Loaded Baked Potatoes (Broccoli, cheese, bacon bits, sour cream, black beans) with fresh fruit

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Adoption Update: Let the Waiting Begin

Waiting for You Adoption Update

Well friends, it’s been three months since I shared our last adoption update. Three really incredibly busy, non-stop months with illness, Christmas, birthdays, more illness, ministry, vacation, and a crazy every day life.

Finally, I am happy to share that we have officially submitted our adoption application for Domestic Infant Adoption.

And now the wait begins. A really LONG wait.

You see, normally, once an application is submitted, an agency will review it and then begin the home study process. Within a few months our profile would be ready for expectant mothers to view.

Sadly, this is not the case for us right now.

When we decided we wanted to start our second adoption, I contacted several agencies. All of them said, “We have too many waiting families and aren’t taking anymore until babies are placed with them.”

We finally found an agency that would take an application. With one hitch. They were in the same boat as other agencies. However, by completing a full application, we would be put in a pool that they would draw from when spots opened up. Unfortunately, they said it would be 6 to 18 months before we might officially be accepted.

What do you do while you wait?

Waiting for You Adoption

That’s a great question! Thanks for asking:-) There are actually several things we will be doing.

1.  Pray!

We’re praying for guidance and direction as we seek to grow our family. In December I shared “Praying for our Waiting Adoptive Family”. These are ways that we are praying and ask you to join us. I cannot begin to tell you how encouraging it is to know that people are praying for our family.

2.  Work on our Profile.

To the best of my ability, I am going to update our current profile so that it’s ready to print and give to the agency when the time comes.

3.  Earn money.

Adoptions are expensive. Honestly, our first one wasn’t all that bad. However, agency fees have gone up, and the agency we currently applied with are more expensive than the one we had with our first son. So I am going to look for ways to earn money (and save money from our budget) to help fund our next adoption.

4.  Advertise ourselves.

We are really in the discovery stage of this one. When we met with our agency, they said that a lot of the families are connecting with birthmothers outside of the agency. Right now I’m really not sure what we are going to do to maybe help us connect with an expectant mother without an agency, but I’ll be sharing ways once we figure this all out.

P.S. Please keep us in mind when you hear of someone expecting that may be considering adoption!

5.  Seek new opportunities.

This is one we are really praying over for guidance and direction.

The first opportunity is foster care. So many children need a stable, loving home. By opening our home to foster care, we have a unique opportunity to share the love of Jesus to children who may not hear it otherwise. The agency we are looking at has an orientation information meeting once a month. Each month we have had something big going on that couldn’t be changed and have been unable to make the meeting. After five months of this not working out, I don’t know if we should look into a different agency, or if this is not the direction God wants us to go right now.

The second opportunity is through a Kidsave program. We first heard of Kidsave when we went to the information meeting for our adoption agency in November. It peaked our curiosity immediately. Through Kidsave, we would host at least one child (and possibly a sibling group) from Columbia for four weeks in the Summer. During these four weeks we would be an advocate for the child we host, providing a loving environment for them, sharing our culture with them, and obtaining medical care if needed. The ultimate goal of Kidsave is that we would choose to adopt our host child or connect with someone else who would be willing.

The Kidsave opportunity would be a huge undertaking and commitment with our time, as well as with our money, especially if we choose to adopt. In addition, by going this route, the child we would adopt would most likely be between the ages of 10 and 13. Since we still want to pursue domestic infant adoption, I’m really not sure how this will all work. We are praying that God would make clear His will for us.

Right now I don’t know what the future for our family will look like. What I do know is that our God is a faithful God. He knows what our future holds. His timing is always perfect. And He is good. As the Psalmist says,

“I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord…Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:13,14)

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