adoption: the desires of our hearts

Okey and I pride ourselves on making things from scratch. Cookies, cakes, pies, breads, pizzas, pretzels, bagels, ice cream. Wine and beer. Computers. The list goes on. However, there is one thing that try as we may we cannot seem to make ourselves … a baby.

It’s due a combination of things, and I won’t really go into it here, but we are what the medical world calls “infertile.” At first, I dismissed the doctors claims. Partly because we didn’t go seeking this diagnosis; it was given to us on a simple checkup. Tests later confirmed the difficulties we would encounter in producing our own biological children.

It took another full year for Okey and me to realize the truth of our situation.

It’s strange realizing the loss of something we never had and especially something we might never have. We always thought that we would have a blond girl with Okey’s curls. Perhaps she would be named after him (as I was named after my own father). And perhaps she would have a brother also with golden hair.

But we realized that we can still have children. We can adopt.

We are excited about what the future holds, and the blessings that God will give us. Maybe our little girl will have black curls. (Or straight hair like me.) Maybe we will have a boy that will have beautiful brown eyes (another thing we two blue-eyed people could never make). Only God knows!

We are currently going through the mountain of paperwork, and it will likely be another two months before we are approved and put on the waiting list.

We eagerly welcome your prayers for us and for the birth mother and father, whoever and wherever they may be, and for the baby that we will someday be a part of our family.

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news about virginia gold

Yesterday, I noticed the first sign of growth from the tobacco seeds I started on March 1st.  Yes, finally, growth!  It only took 48 days to sprout just one seed so I am curious to see if any others will sprout, and if my newer batch will yield anything as well.

The poppies have grown too large for their starting containers so I moved them outside last week.  I have read that these plants are fragile and do not transport well.  I don’t know where I want them yet so they are in another temporary container.  They seem to be doing well today.

I will attempt to germinate my cotton and flax seeds next week.  These are the ones I really care about; the tobacco and poppy seeds have been practice.  I’m really having a lot of fun with all of my plants so far this year, but I really am looking to when it’s harvest time.

Other updates from the garden:  The hops are two inches shy of being seven feet tall.  (That was yesterday, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they have made it to seven feet as I am typing this.)  There’s a little bit of new growth on my grapevines.  Finally, the strawberries look great!

(no) news about virginia gold

Today is day 37 in my attempt to germinate tobacco seeds.  While most people might have given up around 28 days, I’m still going.  I refuse to give up.  With that said, however, I have started another batch of seeds.

Things I did with batch #1:

  1. Used an open container
  2. Spritzed twice a day
  3. Waited

Things I’ll do with batch #2:

  1. Use a closed container
  2. Spritz twice a day
  3. Wait

I suspect that my soil dried out too quickly for the seeds to remain moist.  I also believe that they fell into the soil and consequently didn’t get adequate sunlight.  I’m hoping that with this warmer weather upon us the seeds will react kindly to germination and sprout soon.

Other updates from the garden:   The tiger lilies are up.  The strawberries are blossoming.  The hops are 35″ tall. Lastly, I’m attempting to germinate some poppy seeds the state of California gave me!

how to make a white pizza

My favourite thing to make with the leftover ingredients from a white lasagna is a white pizza.

I’m assuming that you already have a recipe for a pizza dough that you hang with a magnet on your refrigerator.  No?  Then I must recommend that you use Betty Crocker’s basic pizza dough recipe.  (Note:  I am not paid in any way, shape or form by Betty Crocker.  I just really like the fact that her bread, cookie and pizza dough recipes always turn out right the first time.)

So, with your pizza crust ready, spread the Alfredo sauce and top off with your leftover ingredients.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.

That was easy!

 

 

 

how to make a white lasagna

Back when Sarah and I were living together in Arnold Apartments at WVU, we would prepare family-size meals and invite our friends over for dinner.  We had a lot of fun exploring our culinary skills.  Although we couldn’t quite master rice on the little electric stovetop, it didn’t stop us from making grand chicken curry and white lasagna meals.

Okey wasn’t a fan of the chicken curry with coconut so that meal fell by the wayside when we got married.  However, he still will request for me to make him a white lasagna.

I believe the white lasagna was something Sarah recommended we try from her Betty Crocker cookbook.  (This was before she discovered her intolerance to wheat).  The original recipe was strictly vegetarian, but we immediately corrected that with some chicken.  The meal would take about two hours to prepare before we could even put it in the oven. We had to cut all of the vegetables, cut and cook the chicken, and boil/drain/rinse the lasagna noodles.  Then we had to layer all of this with a mixture of cheeses and sauce.  And then it would bake in our finicky little oven for yet another hour.

But it was worth it.

Today’s version of the white lasagna is still as good, and I thought I would share it with you here.

Disclaimer:  The following recipe in theory should work.  Once I learn how to cook a meal, I start improvising.  Eventually the original recipe is lost or forgotten.  This is just how the recipe currently works in my head.

Ingredients:

2-3 lb. of Chicken (dark or light)

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Garlic Salt

1 Medium Onion

1 Head of Broccoli

1 Orange Pepper

1 Green Pepper

1 and a 1/2 Jars Bertolli’s Alfredo Sauce

16 oz. Ricotta Cheese

2 Eggs

6-8 oz. Parmesan Cheese

4 oz. Mozzarella Cheese

1 Box of Barilla’s Lasagna Noodles (no-boil)

☝ Polly’s Tip:   Consider using the vegetables that may already in be your kitchen such as mushrooms, carrots, spinach, peas, etc.!

Instructions:

Set your oven to 375-degrees Fahrenheit.

Start off with cooking the chicken in a pan with olive oil and a dash of garlic salt.  Add your diced onions to cook here.  While this is cooking, steam your broccoli.  Dice your peppers.

Mix a jar of the Alfredo sauce with the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and eggs. Take a third of this mixture and combine with the cooked chicken (which should be cut into bite-size pieces).  Repeat.  (Combine into a single bowl if you want, just know that you’ll use half of it for each layering.)

Layer 0:  Put some Alfredo sauce on the bottom of your tray.

Layer 1:  Place the noodles in the tray for the first layer.  Add the chicken mixture.

Layer 2:  Place the noodles creating a shelf for the second layer.  Add the layer of mixed ricotta cheese (without chicken) so the noodles are covered.  Then add your vegetables so they fit comfortably (not crammed).

Layer 3:  Place another layer of noodles creating a shelf for the third layer.  Add the chicken mixture again.

Layer 4:  Place another layer of noodles.  Then pour the remaining Alfredo sauce on top covering the noodles.  (We don’t want them to dry out!)  Then top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake covered for 45 minutes, uncovered for 15 for golden-brown goodness!  Let sit for 15 more minutes then dig in!

☝ Polly’s Tip:  You can bake this in two bread loaf pans.  Eat one and give away or freeze the other for later.

In addition to having half a jar of Alfredo sauce leftover, you may find that you have some extra vegetables.  And maybe some chicken. (This is what usually happens when I cook because I don’t really follow recipes.)  I will tell you tomorrow what to do with that.  Stay tuned!

local re-exploration: US National Arboretum

After watching my yard to come to life (my hops are growing inches a day), Susie, a love frog for the Search and Snap photo hunt, and I drove back to the US National Arboretum hoping to see plenty of blooms and blossoms.

I went first to the azalea garden and found many collections starting to bud, but only found a few had flowers.

The boxwood in the Morrison garden was perfectly manicured.  I found myself being drawn back there throughout the day.


We walked a short distance from the azalea garden and found a monument dedicated to the National Grove of State Trees.

Each state’s trees were planted throughout the area.

I was excited to see California’s plaque:


and Virginia’s plaque:

but I wasn’t very pleased when I saw West Virginia’s plaque:

I painstakingly found each tree.  Virginia’s dogwood was right there, but like most other things in the park, it wasn’t flowering.

It took me several tries to find the right sugar maple.

I spotted the “giant” sequoia from afar,

and I wondered how come that tree was chosen over the more majestic redwood.

(I’m sorry for the large image, but I assure you this is just half the full picture.  And, no, this tree wasn’t at the park.  It’s located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.)

I look forward to returning to the park in a few weeks to see what’ll be blooming then!