Monday, December 30, 2013

Florida Highlights

We've been having a great time in Florida with Grandma!  Best of all I've employed quite a few frugal ways to make this a pretty inexpensive trip, especially with paying for our adoption!  Olivia and Liam's "big" gift from me this year was a day at Magic Kingdom.  With my Disney credit card which I pay some of my monthly bills on and then pay off monthly, I earn "reward dollars".  Those dollars helped me to save HUGE on our one day at Disney.  For all three of us, all day, including parking, entrance, and food, it was just under $100!  When you consider food by itself would normally cost a portion of that even if we just sat at home, we did well! :)  Today we went to one of the Disney resorts and ate a character brunch free with Grandma using HER reward dollars!  :)  Our return visit day at Give Kids the World cost NOTHING.  And most of the rest of the time we've been having at the house!  It's been a great relaxing trip!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

This past weekend we traveled to FL to spend the holidays with my mom.  It's been a wonderful time, even if Braeden has been somewhat thrown off and not himself.  It was harder last year though so I do see progress.  A very blessed Christmas for all of us in oh so many ways!

Our tradition on Christmas Eve is to dress up and go out to eat at Red Lobster.  May seem like a silly choice, but when I was small it was the only place open.  We would go to our family church service, eat there, go to look at lights, and then sometimes go to the late service.  I've gone almost every year since.

This year we came back and made cookies for Santa!  We had one tub of dough purchased through our school fundraiser, and made a gluten and sugar free sugar cookie as well!

Christmas morning was filled with excitement as the kids opened presents.  Even Macy who isn't with us yet wasn't forgotten by Santa and the kids each had one gift for her that they opened.

The only thing Liam would tell Santa he wanted was a gumball machine!  Not sure where that came from, but Santa didn't disappoint!

Braeden asked for a Power Rangers ?Zord? that Santa had to order all the way from Japan!

Olivia was THRILLED that Grandma gave her all of the Harry Potter books in hard back!

This summer the kids discovered and loved the old tv show Full House.  They watched some at Grandma's but we don't have cable so haven't seen it since.  They couldn't believe Santa gave them ALL EIGHT SEASONS of Full House on DVD!  (I have it on good authority that while the seasons each were quite pricey on Amazon, Santa found the whole set, most brand new, from a seller on a Facebook garage sale page VERY CHEAPLY!)  Santa ROCKS!  (And I LOVED all of Olivia's expressions!!!)

It's been a blessed holiday!  I have definitely felt the missing piece today though and pray that next Christmas Macy will be home with us to celebrate!
Monday, December 02, 2013

Thanksgiving Blessings

This was my very first Thanksgiving where I've been planner, cook, and cleaner upper.  And I LOVED it!  The past few months I've been back at getting healthy again (another post worthy discussion in itself!) and so my Thanksgiving menu was geared toward being as gluten free, processed food free, and sugar free as possible.  I had LOADS of fun looking for recipes and how I could work them and everything turned out fantastic!

We picked up this little beauty for our first ever turkey at Whol*e Foods...

And used THIS RECIPE to make it into the glorious bird it was!

In addition to the turkey, we had SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE, Stuffing from a box mix from W.F., Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Amazing CREAMED CORN, MASHED POTATOES, Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Pie, and Chocolate Pumpkin Trifle!  (YES!  We had leftovers!!!!)

With the Sweet Potato Casserole I made the recipe as stated with the exception of the almond flour.  There I subbed in oat flour instead and left out the nuts.  Next time I will add the nuts, I just had forgotten to pick them up.  

The Creamed Corn and Turkey I made as stated and they were amazing!

The Mashed Potatoes I subbed greek yogurt in place of the sour cream.  So good! 

For the cranberries I had really wanted to make a relish like the one I grew up eating.  My mom used to hand grind cranberries and it was amazing!  This RECIPE that I found was what I had planned on using, subbing Xylitol for the sugar.  However, I didn't have anything to grind the cranberries. :(  I DID pick up a mini food processor on Zulily recently that I think is going to be getting a LOT of use, but it came about five days too late!  So... I set out to find another option and came across THIS RECIPE which we used instead.  SO GLAD I DID!!!  Although the texture was different, it was easy to make and tasted JUST THE SAME!  Delish! I subbed Xylitol for the sugar and did not use the nuts or Grand Marnier.

Pumpkin Pie!  Couldn't forget the pie!  But I wanted gluten free.  There are quite a few recipes out there but since I am new to all this and had never even made a regular pie crust let alone a gluten free crust, I chose an easier route and bought a package of two frozen GF pie crusts at W.F.  For the filling, I used THIS RECIPE.  When I was making out my shopping list however, I misread the ingredients and instead of maple sugar, I read maple syrup! :(  So... upon researching online a bit, I ended up subbing in a portion of maple syrup with a portion of Xylitol.  It turned out SO TASTY!!!  We absolutely LOVED it!

The trifle was a total creation of my own.  I used THIS RECIPE for a coconut flour chocolate cake for the cake sections.  To make the cream, I took heavy whipping cream, whipped in two packets of stevia, a few drops of liquid vanilla Sweetleaf Stevia, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin puree.  It was perfect and Olivia and Braeden couldn't get enough!

They were all so excited to eat at home and have such great food, the pictures speak for themselves!  And while I was exhausted, it was SO WORTH IT!

We are so blessed this Thanksgiving!  Not only to have one another, but also for all of the love and support we felt this week as we were the featured family on Give One, Save One!  In total we raised just over $400!  I'm in awe and so thankful!  Here is what Liam shared at school for his Thanksgiving list...

Percy and Peeta (our dog and cat)

And I concur!

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

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What you should know about HIV

-HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles). - HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. - People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do. Additional information on transmission of HIV can be found on the Center for Disease Control website:

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Orphan Crisis

• 147 million orphans in the world
• 50 million orphans in Africa 
• Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS
• 16,000,000 have been orphaned by AIDS
• Every week, AIDS claims as many lives as American fatalities in the Vietnam War
• 854 million people do not have enough to eat
• Malnutrition is associated with the deaths of 5 million children under the age of five
• Every 2 seconds an orphan dies from malnutrition

Hence the title of my blog

Little Did I Know

Little did I know that the road would be so rocky
Little did I know that the trip would take so long
Little did I know that my heart could hurt so much
Little did I know that God is never wrong

Little did I know that love could be so powerful
Little did I know that a dream so far could go
Little did I know that God would place the right ones
Little did I know that my heart, so large, could grow

Little did I know that a dream has it’s own timing
Little did I know that this day would finally come
Little did I know that four souls would be sent to guide me
Little did I know that they would choose to call me mom

But God knew all along and He had a plan to follow
God knew all along that my dream would soon come true
God knew all along that we five should be together
God knew all along that I’d share it all with you