Monday, March 31, 2014

Small change making a big difference

Usually I exercise in the late afternoon while my husband is out for his run. Last week I decided to try something new. I started exercising in the morning after breakfast. What a difference it makes! I start the day off feeling productive and it carries me through the day.

Normally I spend way too much time in the mornings reading things online - Facebook, my RSS reader, a couple forums, my email, etc. For the last week, I've been allowing myself to browse the internet during breakfast but then I kick myself off the computer to exercise for 45 minutes to an hour. It really is making a huge difference. Because I've started the day off well, I continue getting things done. By three in the afternoon, I already feel like I've accomplished a lot. I think this is one schedule I will try to make a habit.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A quick adoption update

I have so many thoughts these days but can't seem to get them put onto paper (or computer screen). So I'll just post about our latest adoption update. As of yesterday, the adoption agreement paperwork still has not left Taiwan. We need that paperwork before our dossier can start the authentication process.

While we're waiting for the latest paperwork, I scanned our entire dossier and emailed it to my agency. Our dossier specialist is going over all of our paperwork to make sure it is correct. That way, as soon as the adoption agreement paperwork arrives, we can take the entire dossier to the bank to have it notarized. I'm praying that this last batch of paperwork comes quickly!

We also requested an update on Z. We haven't heard anything about her since July last year and really want to know if she's ok. Our Taiwan coordinator is supposed to be getting that done for us. Hopefully we'll soon have some new information!

That's the extent of our adoption progress this week. Maybe next week we'll have more news?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Library Monday

I visit the library once every week or two. Last Monday and this Monday, I started the week on a perfect note by spending some time reading in the library. I love our local library. Just walking in the front door inspires me to learn.

I was finally able to pick up this month's Reading to Know book club selection. Would you believe that three library patrons had kept their copies at least two weeks past the due date? I had this book on hold for a month and was despairing that I would be able to read it in March. But someone finally returned their (overdue) copy last week.

I spent most of my library time reading The Little White Horse while curled up in a chair on the second floor. My morning was delightful.

The rest of my library time was spent reading the introduction and first chapter of this book:

I suspect that Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning will be my favorite of the TJEd books.

Happy reading!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Culinary Adventures

Friday was White Day in Japan. I completely forgot about it, but my husband remembered! He surprised me with this positively delightful raw vegan chocolate pie from Whole Foods. YUM!

On Sunday, I made my own Chocolate Greek Yogurt Pie. I want to try different brands of vegan yogurt until we find one that we like to eat straight from the carton. This recipe will be good, I can tell, if we find a brand of vegan yogurt that we like. Even though we were disappointed, our meat-eating friend devoured his slice and took two home!

I also tried another Orange Tofu recipe. I love orange "chicken" and had a favorite recipe but wanted to find something healthier. My old recipe contained 3/4 cup of sugar, whereas this one contains only tablespoons. We'll be making this recipe again because it was fantastic!

Have you tried anything new recently?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Lord has blessed with an answer to prayer

I haven't posted much about our adoption lately because nothing has been happening. Ever since we finished the fundraiser and updated our paperwork, we have been waiting for the legal guardian to give his or her approval. Someone suggested we write a letter to the guardian, explaining how we'll be able to take care of Z and give her a good home. I wrote a letter that I hope was touching. It made me cry, at least. There's something touching when you write "I promise to take care of your child forever, loving her as if she was my biological child." I'm actually tearing up now, thinking about it...

I have no idea if our letter helped, but this morning we woke up to an email that said: "Your petition to adopt Z has been pre-approved by her legal guardian. Now, Taiwan will prepare the adoption agreement and power of attorney."

Praise the Lord!! We have been praying for a few different things lately. 1 - That Z's heart will be softened so she will allow us to love her. 2 - That she will be protected until we can pick her up. 3 - That the legal guardian will have faith that we will take good care of his/her child.

I can't wait to go to Taiwan and start loving on her!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Month One - Complete

I am so proud of myself. I finished the first month of my video Chinese course! I'm currently working through a six month course on beginner conversational Chinese. I'm hoping this will help prepare me for our first Skype call with our daughter. And of course I hope that it will help when we finally meet!

So far we've spent a good deal of time working on pronunciation. I think most of my pronunciation is alright, though I'm still butchering the R sound. I'm trying to get it but it still doesn't sound like the instructor's R.

I'm adding a lot of vocabulary words to my Anki deck, plus some basic sentences that reinforce the grammar we're learning. So far I'm learning how to say sentences such as:

我喜歡喝茶 - I like to drink tea.
我要巧克力 - I want chocolate.

That last sentence is particularly useful!

Tomorrow I'm attending a Google chat with the instructor to learn more about Chinese tones. I will conquer tones!

Monday, March 10, 2014

This week's goals

I have a few specific things I would like to accomplish this week.

    Complete week 4 and start week 5 of my beginner's Chinese course
    Baste my baby quilt and start quilting
    Spend some time at the library researching
    Mop my kitchen floor

I think this will keep me busy for awhile. I'll probably go to the library tomorrow or Wednesday. I just found out my Chinese instructor is doing a video chat on Friday so I'll be attending that to learn more about pronunciation. Fun stuff!

Fact of the day - I learned my most important Chinese word yet. 巧克力 Chocolate!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Early bedtime for me!

I know it's (only) 8:38PM. I know that my body thinks it is (already) 7:38PM. But I am exhausted and headed to bed early! Maybe my cats will let me sleep all night so that I can wake up refreshed early tomorrow morning.

It's going to be a productive Monday!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Two new meals

I've been trying to break out of my cooking rut this week. We tried two new meals.

This first dish is a vegetarian eel that we bought from the Asian market. Yes, vegetarian eel. It tasted rather fishy and my husband loved it. I thought it was so so, which is not surprising because I didn't like fish even when I ate meat. We'll probably eat it again, though, because hubs liked it so much.

Vegetarian Eel

The second new recipe is Cold Spicy Ramen Noodles with Tofu and Kimchi. Yum! I wasn't sure what to think of kimchi with ramen but we really, really liked it. It helps that we love kimchi and eat it on a regular basis! I will definitely be playing around with this recipe to make it perfect for our tastes. Neither of us liked the carrots but we loved the green onions and the kimchi and the tofu. Definitely a keeper!

Ramen with Kimchi

Next week I am hoping to try Spicy Orange Tofu and Peppers. I think it looks delicious!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Monday, March 3, 2014

Quilt top finished!

I'm so proud of this one!

I hope to baste it tomorrow and get started on the quilting. I'd like to have it completed by Sabbath so that I can take it to church and pass it along to the new baby!