Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bison Burgs & A Blueberry Date Topper

You guys, these tan lines of mine are incredible. So incredible that the lifeguard at the pool the other day said something to me about them. I’m pretty sure his exact words were “those are some pretty impressive tan lines.” Thanks for pointing them out young man.  The combination looks something like this…

-sports bra tan line with high waisted bike shorts on the back
-white belly
-light tan lines from running in shorter shorts
-medium tan lines near my quad from the longer bike shorts
-it may or may not look like I still have socks on
-dark arms & chest…those are consistently in the sun so at least have that going for me if it’s really something to write home about.

Let’s just say it’s a good thing you all get to see me in regular clothes. They all hide fairly well. But if you catch me any other time don’t be shocked, don’t’ act surprised, don’t do a double take. 
Not worth your time.

For those of you who don’t care about any of that and just want to eat a blueberry date bison burger, here’s what you really came here for. I could eat these things for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s way too easy. So easy, I don’t even have measurements and so easy you won’t need them either.

Bison Burgs
2lbs ground bison
dash of salt
dash of pepper
dash of oregano

Mix all together in a medium bowl. Separate into sizes of burger preference (mini sliders vs. burger size). BBQ on your BBQ. Boom, done.

Blueberry Date Topper
2 handfuls of fresh, ripe blueberries
6-10 dates, pitted
dash of ground ginger
a squirt of water from the faucet

Place a small saucepan on medium heat. Toss all of the above into the pot, smash half of the blueberries, and let simmer. Stir occasionally until everything is soft and fairly mixed together. (it will not turn into a sauce, it should be thicker in texture). Serve atop your bison burgs!

Consider serving with some sautéed brussels or cauliflower rice. Simple. Now go squash it in minutes. Then eat it in seconds. Or savor over some period of time. We don’t care.

♥ C and my forever sidekick, T

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Ladies of The Backyard & Their Spot

You guys, I feel like I'm decorating the chicken coop as though I'm decorating a bedroom. If only I actually put the time and effort into decorating one of the rooms around here, something would actually look finished in the house. Instead, the chicken coop has been my deal. I love those little ladies back there...most of the time. The other times when they eat the strawberries and wreck the corn I planted is an entirely different story. Besides that, they are great. You all should have a pet chicken and maybe even a duck if you're husband will let you (Ty says no more birds, so I'm on to convincing him we should have a baby goat instead).

When I work on the computer on the table out back, the ladies like to join.
They obviously have some interest in blogging...

They also wanted me to share with you the happenings in their coop because they think you need to do the same for our chickens or at least take a few ideas and run with them. I humor myself when I think of it as a Ronald McDonald play place but for chickens...when really the only similarity is that they have food ready to them whenever they want in their little trough, we bring them snack packs of food similar to kid meals I guess, and they've got a few things to play with in their part of the yard (we recently decided to keep them in a certain area of the backyard to prevent so much poop everywhere when we have BBQs this summer because no guest wants to step in chicken poo).

Here ya have it...

*Less than a dollar Ikea pots...plant some nasturtium! 
If they don't eat the leaves, you will soon get some great foliage and pretty colored flowers that bloom. But most likely they will snack on them as they do with anything else. Good thing nasturtium is a natural wormer and antibiotic for the ladies! It becomes a treat for them and an added health bonus.

*Add a touch of lavender around the coop!
They love it. I love it. We all are happy. Plus it helps with insect repellent. Also a bonus!

*Plant pots specifically for the ladies in your garden.
All sorts of herbs, lettuce, fruits, veggies. You name it, they love to eat it. You can also add in some of the mint to their water or herb mixes to their lay boxes. They work as insecticides, have anti-bacterial properties, laying stimulants, and much more! Check here for more details. 

At the moment we have plenty of lettuce varieties, berries, chocolate and regular mint, parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, and sunflowers. Who knows what else will be added...I'm getting slightly addicted.

(pots from ikea, holes drilled into the bottom for drainage)

*Plant in the coop.
I can guarantee you that if you don't cover whatever it is you plant and allow them to grow, all the leaves and stems will be gone in minutes. Plant in the ground or plant in something like this...
We cut off the headboard from the spare bed frame we bought for the spare room, stained it, and then drilled soup and big coffee cans to the wood. Throw in some soil, plant whatever your heart desires, cover them with bird mesh, and let it all happen. Uncover the mesh when you're ready to let your ladies dig in!

*Snacks on snacks on snacks.
Our homegirls love watermelon and berries...placing leftover rinds in their coop to munch on keeps them busy.

(A little side note...the few things not to give them are avocado pits and peels, citrus fruits, 
& raw potato skins)

*Chicken tetherball.
String fruit and/or veggies on to something that will hold up with all the pecking that is attached to a wood stick of some sort. Our gals sure get into it!

*Chicken Pool
They don't really get in and swim, but they love their mini pool. They can drink from their trough, play in their pool. Perfect for all these hot days we've had!

Kathy didn't mind just hanging in the pool...

Cindy obviously wasn't about it...

And a few random chicken pictures because this is what life is like around here with chickens...

Sometimes just one will visit....
and sometimes they all think they've been invited in for coffee & snacks!

Double yoke eggs. Kinda like Christmas.

You plant for your ladies, your ladies will provide!

That's all we've got for now. Thanks for listening to the crazy chicken lady I've become!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Adoption Update

I will apologize from the get go. The whole "adoption update" isn't much. It's just that we get the same question often lately..."how's the adoption going?" or "any news yet?" And our typical response...we've got nothing. So, sorry I brought you here for very little. Another month closer, but no word from South Africa. We continue to wait.

I remember connecting with a Mom who adopted a young boy from South Africa earlier in our adoption journey. And although we so badly wanted to announce the adoption plan much earlier on, something she mentioned stuck with us...the earlier on you tell people, the more of the same questions comes through, and eventually it can become a little discouraging when you have no news for what seems like an eternity. I am so glad we took that advice because only three months since the official "waiting" after the dossier was submitted, it's hard to continue to respond with the same answer..."still waiting," "still no news," or "nothing yet." Time and time again on the daily those frequent questions remind us...still waiting. So to our people who have come together through adoption we thank you for that advice. I sure know that if we would have announce this an earlier, I'd be close to pulling my hair out with those same responses for such a long period of time. We owe ya big time!


As far as the adoption paperwork home front (I've decided we need different adoption categories because one area of adoption may have no news while another area just might and it can give us a little something to celebrate even if it's nothing at all), the most recent update at this point is that our "service plan" is now complete. The program our social worker uses shut down back in March and they said ours was to be the first to be completed once the program was fixed. We waited and waited as we always do until yesterday...we got our first portal message in a while to say it's all done! This was one of the missing pieces in our dossier that can now be submitted to South Africa. Thank goodness it was not mandatory for the service plan to be a part of the dossier packet when we submitted everything back in March or else we'd just now be starting that wait time for a referral. If you haven't already caught on, we have no control over all this and that alone can be one of the hardest things. So instead, you learn to give it up, let it go, and learn to let someone else take the reigns. Sometimes news like this is big news for us when we don't hear anything for a few months. We take those little wins, even if it isn't necessarily something that's getting us closer to our child.


As you all can imagine, we've had plenty of time to think. When I'm out on those 4 hour bike rides or 1.5 hour runs, I envision us getting that much closer to adoption day. I envision each mile I complete being that much closer to getting us to South Africa. And for every day, which turns into every month of living life around here...just that much closer. In all honesty, some days are easy but there are those few days in between that are hard to be patient, hard to understand why it takes so long, and hard to know that our child could be born at this point just waiting for us. (Not to mention, Case & Ev are excited to meet their cousin. They have been buying "him" things because "he should be 4 or 5" per Casey). Sometimes while I'm out, I pray for some sort of sign that indicates those last few things that need to be completed in our lives before taking on the rest of the adoption process. I wonder what the Lord has planned for us between now and then and what it is He wants us to do or work on as a couple before bringing a child into our family. I'm obviously still waiting on that sign because nothing has happened yet. I suppose I'll keep riding and running and praying and thinking until that day comes. Lord knows I've been doing plenty of each and every one of those things!

One of the more difficult things we've found lately is this feeling of not being prepared. Normally you get about 9 months to prepare for a baby. We have an unknown amount of months left to count, an unknown child to us across the world, two people sitting and waiting in our little home trying to do what we can to prepare for a big unknown. And yes, we do education hours and yes, we get practice with all sorts of kids. But we can't fully prepare ourselves for one child or another. One who is possibly new to life or maybe a child who will be 3 or 4. We can't prep a room with the right things because we have no idea if our child will be 1 or 4. We can't save up on clothes because we have no idea, again, how old our child will be. The room remains empty minus a small chest of random toys Casey, Ev, and Turner play with when they come over, a worldly beanie hat made big enough for a 3 or 4 year old because I didn't want it to end up too small when he arrives, an Ugandan doll we purchased after a group of Ugandan kids performed at my Grandma's church, and a little South African flag that hangs in the window to remind us each day of this special little body that one day will fill that room with more than he will ever know. And although there's this fear of being unprepared, there's also this cloud of calmness that covers it knowing that we may only have a month to prepare when all this finally goes down, but that child will survive without all the clothes, all the toys, or all the extra stuff. It's when you realize that, that you know all you need to do is fill your child with love, joy, life, experiences, and a family. I've found that sometimes getting thrown into the fire or riding into the rain is one of the best ways to do it. You can be fully prepare yourself for one thing, but it could all turn out to be something so completely different. So I guess that means we'll be riding into the rain and that's ok.
It will have to be.

Often enough, I dream of the moment we get the phone call. Will they call while I'm at work or will I receive a voicemail with the good news on my drive home? I can't tell you the feelings of excitement I get thinking about sharing the news with Ty thereafter. But as with everything else...who knows when it will all happen. Maybe we will be together when the call comes through or maybe they will just post something to our portal website. I guess we'll find out one day, some day. And I'll briefly mention it here because I could possibly lose it in front of you if I brought up my thoughts on the day we get to bring our child home. Now that thought...every time...gets me all teared up. I can kinda laugh about it because it's the same reaction every instant tear-jerker out of nowhere when that thought of getting off the plane and being home enters my mind. Thank goodness I've been out on my own when that happens or else someone might wonder what's wrong with me. It's interesting, I envision the first time meeting our child, maybe one of the court hearings while in South Africa, and coming home. There's lots of missing pieces in between and maybe because we have no idea what the process will be like in between those steps. In fact, I've never imagined what the plane ride will be like on the way home (although I probably should start seriously thinking about various situations pending any one of them could happen on the flight home), but what I do envision is the three of us walking through the Portland airport after 6 long weeks abroad through our journey of becoming a family and finding our way to the exit to be greeted by our family. I visualize all the people there, the tears, the excitement, the love, the moments, and what one day will be a memory.

We made it. We're Home.

Now that sends a thousand emotions through my body. It's exciting, it's overwhelming, it's our journey. A journey that we will been living for who knows how long at that point. Our journey in which part will have been closed come that time and the next part opens up wide to the next part of The Stanley Life....There will be more to it, more layers, more pages, more of our life. And my oh my, do we ever look forward to that. We are ready for you little one!

We don't have anything exciting for updates, but maybe you can find a little update within our thoughts/emotions and mini paperwork update as part of the journey process enough to get you by for now. So while we continue to wait, you too can sit back and wait. Maybe think some good thoughts and say a few prayers for a little one to come our way sooner than later. Other than that, hang tight because one of these we'll have some sort of update for ya and hopefully it will tower of today's post.
We appreciate all you adoption journey followers and all of you who make our village!

♡The Stanleys