friday update. matt edition

“woah halloween is fun. candy is good!” was what we heard tonight from one cute kid while handing out candy. 

This is the matt edition of the friday update. so it’s probably not as in depth as stephanie would be.


same deal as the usual. no sibling referals this week. I think how it feels for us, and i feel bad for who ever is number 1 on the sibling list. they have been waiting a long time, and I hope they are matched with a sibling group soon!

Work outs

Stephanie has been doing lots of walking, and is still rocking on her push ups. Me, i kind of work on them. I have lost some motivation. not sure why, i do like the results so far. I’ve been back cycling on the road bike in wee hours of the dark mornings (with headlights!) a lot this week. I guess my road bike and i just need a relationship break. We are friends again. 


The garden is coming along. Maybe next week some pics may be needed. Things are still alive, and sprouting a bit more. 

Grass is coming in nicely for the winter rye


we carved some mean pumpkins with Steph’s parents & steph’s bro & wife. the results:

Why I am thankful for the WAIT

I could not have said those words a month or two ago.  I was not thankful at all, I was done, I wanted to be a mom and that was it.  I have spent a lot of time reflecting lately on my life, the wait, and who I am.  I was the person who never really knew what they wanted to be when they grow up, I said I wanted to be several things, teacher, marine biologist (you can be one in Arizona right?), scientist, professional football player, lawyer, and many other things have crossed my mind.  I never had a strong desire to have a professional career, all I knew was I wanted to be a mom.  I have spent the last couple years of my life waiting for that to happen, forgetting that I have a life right NOW, just waiting for my life as a mom to start, because that would bring me the ultimate in fulfillment.  I have come to the realization that living a life just waiting for my future isn’t all that great, not that the future won’t be great, but just focusing on that and nothing else isn’t the most fulfilling way to live.  I have been focusing more on living in the moment, living for each day, and learning to enjoy what I am passionate about.  I realized that I have grown quite a bit in the last couple of years and that I really like the person I am becoming.  I am not trying to boast about how wonderful I am, if you know me really well, you would know I struggled with liking me (I think a lot of women do, but I could be wrong).  

I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to wait and learn so much more about myself.  I have been given the opportunity to develop passions that I did not know I had, passions for cooking, baking, gardening, and the environment.  I have learned that I can be fulfilled and content without being a mom, of course, that would bring fulfillment and contentment to my life also, plus great joy, but for now I am going to enjoy the wonderful life I do have, right here, right now, and I will move on to the next chapter when the time comes.


Misty also wrote a great post on joy and waiting this week (then she got her referral two days later, go figure).


No I did not write this post in hopes of getting a referral, I just wanted to share my thoughts.  😉

Mom's Sour Cream Apple Pie

This pie is tasty! I don’t usually make it because my mom makes it for me. 🙂

Sour Cream Apple Pie

Pie crust – make your own or buy it at the store

Pie Filling:

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbls. flour

1 small sour cream (I think that is 8 oz, mom you can correct me if I am wrong)

1 egg

1 tsp. Vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

1 can apple pie


1/3 c. flour

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. margarine

Bake 24 minutes at 400°, sprinkle topping, bake 20 minutes more.

Autumn Apple Salad with Pomegranate

Autumn Apple Salad with Pomegranate
Vegetarian Times – October 2008

Fuji, ginger Gold, and Pink Lady apples are good choices here because they resist browning.

2 tsp. olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. honey
12 cups mesclun salad mix
3 oz goat cheese, crumbled (1/4 cup)
1 cup pomegranate seeds

1. Heat oil in small skillet over low heat. Add shallot, and saute 4 minutes, or until soft. Remove from heat, and stir in balsamic vinegar and honey. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Combine mesclun mix and apple slices in large salad bowl. Drizzle with half of shallot dressing, and toss to coat. Divide salad among six plates. Top with goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, and remaining dressing.

This salad won me over because it had goat cheese and pomegranate, but the Fuji apple I bought for it stole the show, it was yummy.

The magazine also gave a tip on how to remove pomegranate seeds without getting squirted. Slice off the top of the pomegranate, then cut the fruit into quarters. Place one quarter in a large bowl of water, and rub the seeds from the pith with your fingers. Let the seeds sink to the bottom of the bowl, and repeat with remaining quarters. Strain out water — the yield for one pomegranate is about 3/4 cup of seeds. My giant pomegranate yielded over one cup.

Retote Offer

For those of you who frequently shop at Target, I know many of you do, they are offering a free reusable tote if you send in five Target plastic bags.

Reusable bags are easy to use and one great way to help the environment.


Yes I know it is October and is a bit early to bring the subject up, but I saw this video today and wanted to share some thoughts.

Matt and I want to raise Tom and Jerry to truly appreciate the meaning of the Christmas season. We don’t want them growing up thinking that it is all about the presents. We haven’t fully figured out how it will all work, all we know is we want it to be about time spent together, the fun had, and love shared. The things I remember most about Christmas past are the fun times, the baking, and just being together.

I saw the video above on our church’s blog and was shocked to find out Americans spend 450 billion every year on Christmas. Wow that is a lot of money! I am sure some of that is spent on travel to see loved ones, but a decent chunk of it is spent on presents that most Americans quickly forget about and that no longer satisfy. I was also shocked to find out it is estimated that we only 10 billion of that to provide clean, safe drinking water to EVERYONE. Churches have been encouraging people the last few years to give the gift of presence over presents and have begun raising funds to provide fresh water wells to those who need them. I personally could not imagine not having clean water to drink, or to give to my children.

I encourage everyone to focus more on the gift of presence this year and help provide clean water to the world. You don’t have to go to church to participate and if you do go to church and your church isn’t interested, YOU can still do something. Talk to your friends and family encourage them to donate to charities that provide clean water to people who need instead of giving gifts this holiday season. Here are some charities to get you started:


Blood:Water Mission

Living Water International

I am not saying don’t give gifts, you can give gifts, please just make them meaningful gifts instead of something that is just going to get thrown away, put up on a shelf to be forgotten, or re-gifted.

Friday Update – 10/24/08

Adoption Update: No referrals again this week. Hopefully we see some next week. I finally scheduled our travel vaccination appointment, some people wait until they get a referral, but I didn’t want to have to do it so close to when we travel, I think we will be pretty busy preparing for Tom and Jerry once we get our referral and don’t want to have anything extra to worry about.

Push-Ups: I finally am graduating from week 3! I am starting to feel the improvement.

Gardening: A few of my seedlings died this week, but I have lots of new stuff sprouting. I would take pictures, but they are so tiny it would be hard to see.

Other than that nothing too exciting has been happening. The weather has stayed very tolerable, only getting to the upper 80s or low 90s, the mornings are a very cool mid 60s. I have been spending lots of time outside, riding my bike places and just loving this time of year.

new blog toys

I made a few blog updates tonight as requested by my beautiful wife. 

  1. Comment Gravatars (little photos next to comment authors)
    Sign up for your gravatar here
  2. Smileys. (this one pains me, but Steph really wanted them) 
  3. Comment luv – Shows you last blog post – from your blog
  4. I’m working on comment previews, but for some reason its giving me trouble. 
thats all. More toys to come in the future I am sure. 

Spiced Apple Pancake

This is Matt’s favorite brinner recipe.

Spiced Apple Pancake
Good HouseKeeping October 2007

Tip: For the puffiest pancake, use a cast-iron skillet. If you don’t have one, choose a heavy 12-inch skillet with a bottom that is at least 10 inches in diameter and an oven-safe handle.

2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. water
1/2 c. plus 2 Tbsp sugar
1-1/2 lbs. Granny Smith apples (3 to 4 medium), peeled, cored, and cut into 8 wedges
3 lg. eggs
3/4 c. milk
3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice or 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (ummm I use both because I like it that way)
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. In 12-inch cast-iron skillet, heat butter, water, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium-high heat to boiling. Add apple wedges; cook 12 to 15 minutes or until apples are golden and sugar mixture begins to caramelize, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, in blender or food processor with knife blade attached, place eggs, milk, flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, adding liquid ingredients to blender first. Blend until batter is smooth.
3. When apple mixture in skillet is deep golden, pour batter over apples. Place skillet in oven; bake 15 to 17 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Top Cat

Carter and Sammy are great friends. Carter often visits Sammy, who lives in the nursery.

That is why I was shocked today to find this:

and this:

I don’t know what Sammy did, but Carter showed him who was boss.

Chewy Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Here is another one of our favorite apple recipes. I also like to count this one as healthy because it has apples and oatmeal, just ignore all that butter and sugar.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped dried apples

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, cinnamon and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Fold in oats and apples. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased banking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. Let stand for 1 minute before removing to wire racks. Yield: about 4 dozen (funny I only got 3 dozen).

These are super easy and yummy. I did try to substitute 1/2 cup of the all purpose flour once with whole wheat to try to make them slightly healthier. I do NOT recommend this, they were not good.

Friday Update – 10/17/08

Adoption Update: No referrals this week, but several families received their court dates. We also decided this week to expand the ages we were requesting. We are now waiting for two siblings 0-42 months with one being under 18 months.

Life: Matt’s Grandpa found out this week he has cancer. Please keep him in your prayers.

Running and Push-ups: Yep still doing those, being consistent, but not progressing super fast.

Gardening: I finally transplanted my little seedlings and they are going through some major transplant shock. Maybe it is because they want from a nice humid little house to the dry desert air. I hope they perk back up soon.

Random: I finally have decided what I want for Christmas. Solar Panels! Our local utility is finally offering a rebate for the purchase of them (up to $15,000). A system for our house would run around $33,000. With the Federal and State credits we only need about $15,000 more. Now if my money tree would start producing I would be set!

Fighting Poverty through Education

Today, Oct. 15, is Blog Action Day, the day that thousands of bloggers, regardless of their genre, unite to discuss a single issue. This year’s issue is Poverty.

Many experts believe that education is a sustainable solution to poverty, specifically education of girls. Why girls? (ummm because we rock!)

Recent studies corroborate what Camfed has observed and fostered on the ground: girls who complete primary and secondary education tend to marry later, have smaller families and earn significantly higher wages. Girls’ education has been posited as a “vaccine” against HIV/AIDS, with comparative analysis of data from Zambia, for example, of non-educated and educated women showing a substantial difference in infection rates. Educating a girl changes her destiny, as well as those of her future children, and ensures that she can contribute to the economic life of her community. (UN Chronicle)

A child born to a literate mother is 50 percent more likely to survive to age five. And, providing girls with one extra year of schooling beyond the average can boost their wages by up to 20 percent. (CEDPA)

Mortenson’s belief, one shared by many scholars and human-rights organizations, is that educating women is the best investment for community sustainability. Studies have shown that a fifth-grade education level for girls results in decreased birth rates and infant mortality, and increases the strength of the social structure. (IKAT)

What can you do? Support organizations that focus on girls education, make sure the girls in your life value their education, or considering working with children in your area that have less education opportunities.

Here are some programs helping with education in developing countries:

Ethiopia Reads

Central Asia Institute (I highly recommend the founder’s book Three Cups of Tea)

Take the Walk

The Girl Effect

Send a Child to School for a Year in India

Teach Literacy to Women in the Congo

More on this topic:

NY Times Article

A Dollar A Day

United Nations Population Fund

If you know of any wonderful organizations building schools for girls, please feel free to share in the comments section.