Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
We started by making the green bean casserole and putting it in the oven. We also prepped the noodles to cook during the last 10 minutes of chicken cooking. Then we made a simple marinade of oil, teriyaki sauce, coarse black pepper, cayenne and salt. For the chicken breasts, she didn't want just plain old chicken and instead wanted to make kabobs.
She learns so quick! I explained how to clean the chicken, cut it into even sized pieces, thread it and marinate it -- and she was off! Then it was on to learning how to clean and operate the gas grill. Then there was understanding the hot spots on the grill and that some pieces will take longer to cook than others so you have to start those first. She was a real PRO! She cooked all the chicken, including basting and turning and moving it from hot to warm sides -- I didn't touch anything! And it turned out PERFECT!
She was so excited and happy to have made a whole dinner. The look of pride on her face made my heart sing!!
At the beginning of October we started a new way of giving her allowance and money to buy her own clothes, jewelry and make-up. She was a very careful shopper, compared prices and thought about purchases before picking items up. So far she's bought a pair of flare bottom corduroys, new lip gloss, new sparkly mascara and a beautiful black velour hoodie with faux fur trim. Here's a picture of her in her new hoodie -- she was so happy to have been able to select her own items and pay with her own money -- and she only spent about half of the money she was given so she can save the rest.
And, lastly, here's a scary picture of Sarah and me wearing our mom-and-daughter matching rhinestone studded cowboy hats. Kevin actually took the photo as she and I were in her room dancing to songs on her Ipod. She has purple maracas we brought back from Mexico a few years ago and I have a musical rainforest stick that we bought probably 15 years ago. But, what do they say? Everything that is old will once again be new!? Hopefully that will work for this old lady who now has a 14 year old daughter who loves to dance, laugh and sing!
Monday, October 27, 2008
But in less than 3 weeks when she turns 15 she can take a written test and if successful receive her learner's permit for REAL driving. It actually will be a bit before Sarah can take the test as, of course, it's in English and she's just learning to read and write. We hope it will be good incentive for her work on English though.
It's getting cold here and the leaves are starting to fall. Romeo the cat loves it as he lays in the window and enjoys watching the leaves blow around. Hope it's nice wherever you are!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
We put together a budget and are trying to watch our spending more closely. This has been a great learning tool as well as Sarah sat a bit while we were working on the budget. She asked some questions and we found a way to involve her more in our day to day running of the household.
Now, instead of a weekly allowance she receives a certain amount of money at the beginning of every month. She is responsible for selecting (with parental veto power!) and purchasing her own clothing, jewelry, makeup and fun items. Of course we buy all the household stuff, school stuff, pay for her cell phone, etc. And we buy the "essentials" as to clothing and shoes (coats, tennis shoes, undergarments, etc) but she buys the pants, shirts, sweaters, dresses, etc. If she decides, she can be happy with clothes and items she has and save all her money.
We thought this would be a good way to help her start now figuring out how to select items for herself regarding "wants" vs "needs" and how to compare items, shop for bargains, etc. She and I go "girl shopping" every Sunday and last Sunday we window shopped quite a bit, but she decided to keep all her money! She was such a good shopper looking at sales and figuring out percentages off prices, comparison shopping and list making. She made this Mama proud!
One of the first "budget conscious" things she did was to make her kitty a new toy. She had looked at a cute little cat play house at the pet store that cost $20. She came home, found a box, covered it with wrapping paper, hung a shiny paper ball inside and some ribbon down over one of the doors she cut into the side and put a big bow on top. Romeo loves it! She declared, "I just saved us $20!" She's so darn cute!!
Monday, October 13, 2008
And, no, for those of you thinking it, she DID NOT pick a pink cell phone -- it's actually blue! Also, please note the black and white shirt. Last week she asked to go shopping as she's decided that the world doesn't need to be just pink.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Then after dinner it was on to our FIRST high school football game. We could tell Sarah was nervous as she wanted to take her Ipod and she had the headphones in most of the night. This is one of her comfort mechanisms as I think it kind of makes a little "world" were she can just listen to the music she loves and it gives her an "out" when it comes to talking. As we left the car she started talking but it was more of SHOUTING as she had the volume up so high! So I'm sure she turned it down because if we would talk during the game she could hear us even with the booming crowd.
Three or four different times groups of girls came up to her and gave her a big hug which made Kevin and me very happy to know she is making friends. And as any typical teen she was more interested to people watch (actually student watch!) than to watch the game! She's even entertaining the idea of going to a game with her friends one day. And, the first school dance will be here soon -- she has her money ready!
Monday, October 6, 2008
When we arrived, we headed downtown to our favorite restaurant (Chipotle) where we filled up on awesome burritos! Then we walked around a bit, stopping at a used bookstore where last year Sarah was able to find some Chinese language books -- unfortunately this year there weren't any books that peaked her interest. Then we met up with our friend Dana and headed to the pumpkin patch where there was lots of looking and lots of goofing around!
This was the first time we've left our kitty cat alone for more than a few hours. We hoped he would just curl up and sleep most of the time we were gone, but I don't think that was the case. He wasn't bad, but we think he must have been pretty nervous as we can tell he didn't eat much of anything and we don't think he slept much at all. When we got home, he was so excited and would not let any of us out of his sight. After playing, all he wanted to do was curl up with us and sleep the evening away. Even now, Sarah is at school and Kevin is at work and Romeo won't let me out of his sight -- I'm typing with my hands over him as he's refusing to leave his spot curled up in front of the keyboard.
We eached picked a pumpkin to bring home and Sarah also picked a yellow pumpkin for Romeo. She's going to make kitty ears to put on top and paint a kitty face on it! Can you tell it's kitty love?!?!?!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Yesterday, their youngest son Samuel who is 3-1/2 was involved in a horrible tractor accident at home. The doctors have already amputated one of his legs and he is facing many more surgeries for injuries to his other leg, arm and pelvic region.
Please keep this family in your hearts.
Their family blog:
A link for medical information regarding Samuel -- check under the heading "journal" --
Friday, October 3, 2008
The photo below is the oldest photo of Sarah (we believe). She is on the far right in the pink and white coat. I asked her what the Chinese symbol behind her head on the wall is and she looked and said, "Oh, my! It says 'Yan'" which was her Chinese name! Weird indeed.
In the next photo she is standing in front in the orange coat. She said they reciting something similar to the US "Pledge of Allegiance". The place is called "Yu Hua Tai" and is a special place in Nanjing. The story behind Yu Hau Tai is that a Buddhist monk once spoke to a crowd there and his words were so beautiful, flowers fell from heaven like raindrops (Yu Hua). You can get brightly colored stones there called Yu Hua Shi (raindrop flowers). Sarah has one of these stones and brought it with her to the US.
In this last photo she on the far left in the pink. The kids are standing out front of the orphanage gates selling newspapers. You can see the gates in the background on the right and the white building in the very far back right is the rehabilitation building in the orphanage compound. The buildings off to the left are apartments that surround the compound.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
UPDATE: Sorry! Sarah is in the back row, second from left. If you click on the photo it will make it bigger.
Today on the Internet I came across two more photos of Sarah that were taken in China. The photos are stamped 2-11-2002 so they are the oldest we have of her so far. Yes, I've been spending lots of my time searching the 'net for photos, but I have found some so my searches are not completely fruitless!
p.s. Crazy Cat says "Hi" too!