Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I want to shout from the rooftops, but I can't just yet! ;o)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gong xi fa cai! Happy New Year!

Tonight we traveled to the city, picked up Teffy from her apartment and went to the Families with Children from China Chinese New Year party. We had a great time, although it wasn't as big a production as it has been in previous years, and a lot of the activities were more geared toward adults. The kids did enjoy participating in a tai chi demo, and the lion dance was cool (I didn't get any decent pictures though, darn it!) It was fun to see the families we only get to see once and year, and we were excited to meet some of the new little ones and find out about more who are on the way. It's crazy to me to think that these families who are just now bringing their children home from China have been waiting FIVE years or more. I'm sure they're beyond grateful that the wait is over.

Loundia and her eggroll

Sofie and HER eggroll

Maizie (who never deviates from veganism) and her orange. ;o)



Teffy and Lily

Joshua and his equally weird friend, E

Curtis and me <3

Curtis and Teffy

Bekele and Ethan

Learning tai chi

Said in my calmest, most peaceful voice: "Opening tai chi."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oh. My. Goodness.

I think our world is about to get turned upside down...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Loundia's 13th birthday

Who has five teenagers? I do! I'm not sure whether to cheer or cry, so I'll just choose the happier of the two and cheer. Woo too! Five teenagers!!

It doesn't seem like quite such a big milestone in Loundia's case, considering she's looked like a teenager for at least the last 3 years. But she's thrilled to have finally arrived. And even more thrilled to have her very own Facebook page - that modern day rite of passage. Sigh...

Loundia got some adorable clothes, money, and make up, and since those things are as essential to her as air and water to the rest of us, she's pretty happy. Really, Loundia's pretty happy most of the time. Our little, er, big, Lulu is a delightful, loud, dramatic, helpful, beautiful, talented, and sometimes over-the-top kid, and she's a W through and through.


Jackson and Loundia


Maizie, the budding photographer


Um... This would be Joshua and his best friend, D. Jitterbugging. In the kitchen.

Lily and Joshua

Jonah, who looks perturbed, but I think I just caught him off-guard ;o)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sofie's baptism

Tonight my beautiful little Sofie was baptized and confirmed along with her two friends Z and S. All three girls were so sweet, but I was particularly proud of Sofie because she was the only one of the girls who wasn't terrified to be dunked! (There was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, and ultimately the other two were baptized behind closed curtains, poor things!)

Sofie got her own set of scriptures and a pretty new CTR necklace with her birthstone. She also got a candy bar card from my parents, and 40 bucks from Grandpa W. She's got the money earmarked for more Monster High goodies. ;o)

Sofie has matured so much over the last 6 months and we are so proud of her for making the decision to take upon herself the name of Christ. She has come SUCH a long way since she came to our family, and we're so grateful she's our sweet daughter.

Sofie and Curtis

Sweet Sofie

Sofie's FABULOUS Primary president, my friend C, made this blanket for her

The unwrapping of the candy bar card from grandma and grandpa T

My beautiful mom




Jonah, Creepy Uncle J (just kidding, J!), and Ethan with a mouthful of cookie

Curtis and my mom

OK, he *is* a little creepy

Lily and Ethan

Maizie (in the middle) is a little green with envy, and thus grumpy, over Sofie's new blanket

Macadamia Nut Blondies With Caramel-Maple Topping

These are far from health food, but ohmygosh they are good! This recipe comes from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moscowitz.



2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces firm silken tofu ( half a package of the vacuum-packed kind)
1/4 cup rice or 1/4 cup soymilk
1/3 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups macadamias, partially chopped & partially ground


1/4 cup nonhydrogenated margarine (I always use Earth Balance)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar or 2 tablespoons other brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup raw macadamias, coarsely chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.
2. To prepare the dough:.
3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. In a blender, whiz the tofu with rice milk until smooth.
5. Add the oil, sugar, and vanilla, and blend again.
6. Pour the tofu mixture into the flour mixture and use a firm wooden spoon to combine everything well.
7. Fold in the macadamias. The batter will be thick and have a cookie dough consistency.
8. Spread in the baking pan and bake for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the topping.
9. To prepare the topping:.
10. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the margarine, turbinado sugar, and maple syrup, and heat until the sugar dissolves.
11. Increase the heat to bring to a boil for 1 minute.
12. Stir in the nuts. Remove from heat.
13. Finally:
14. Remove the blondies from the oven and pour the topping over them.
15. Return to oven, and let bake for 10 more minutes.
16. Let cool completely before serving. The topping should harden to a caramel-like consistency.
17. Cut them into 16 squares or triangles.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Slow cooker pulled "pork" sandwiches

This is about the easiest possible crock pot meal evah! Get yourself a bag of Butler Soy Curls (or 3, like we do), dump 'em in a bowl, and soak 'em in hot water for about 10 minutes. Once they're reconstituted, drain 'em and dump 'em into the crock pot. Pour in a bottle of your favorite honey-free barbecue sauce, stir, and cook on high for 2-3 hours (or low for 4-5 hours). When you're ready to eat, spoon the mixture onto buns and serve with lettuce, tomato, and onion (if you're so inclined.)

Every time I make this, at least one kid asks me if I'm sure I didn't accidentally cook them meat.

Yup, pretty sure. ;o)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Family Home Fighting

Every Sunday or Monday evening, we have Family Home Evening. A little music, a little lesson, a little prayer, a little snack, and almost invariably, a little wrestling. A good time is had by most. ;o)

And please ignore the ginormous wrinkle in our carpet. I don't know how that happened or how it can be fixed, but I hate seeing it in pictures. That and the dead iMac. Bleh.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Girls' weekend in Denver!

I had the BEST weekend!!! A few months ago, the sister of my best friend J asked if I would consider meeting them in Denver as a surprise for J's birthday. I've been looking forward to it ever since!

On Friday, I flew to Denver and J came with her sister and mom to the airport to pick up "a package." C, her sister, had told her that she was having some freezer parts shipped and would be picking them up from a courier at the airport. When J saw me on the sidewalk, she jumped out of the car and screamed, "What are you doing here?" I told her I was there to see her, and she said, "No, seriously - is your family picking you up?" I told her that I was spending the weekend with her, and then it started to sink in. It was awesome. :o) She was so surprised, and it was so fun to get to see her after she MOVED AWAY AND LEFT ME SIX MONTHS AGO!

We started with lunch at a falafel restaurant and then spent most of the afternoon at the Butterfly Pavilion. After a little sprucing up at the hotel, we went for a HUGE Ethiopian dinner, for which we had to wait about an hour and a half. The wait was well worth it, and it was the best Ethiopian food I've had anywhere - Ethiopia included.

The next day, we had bagels for breakfast and then headed to the aquarium. Both the Butterfly Pavilion were interesting activities for a vegan, but although I fretted a bit about the circumstances in which the animals found themselves, I did enjoy the opportunity to see such incredible creatures up close. The Butterfly Pavilion, in particular, was just so darn peaceful.

After the aquarium, J and I had lunch at yet another falafel place while her mom and sister napped, and then did a little shopping at IKEA. We got lost at least three times but managed to make our way out a few hours later. ;o) I felt bad that I only had a carry-on because it seriously cramped my shopping style. Still, I got a couple of cute throw rugs and some flower pots and was grateful for the experience.

After IKEA, we all went to see War Horse (animal lovers: be warned!) and then went to Denver's famous vegan/vegetarian restaurant, Watercourse. Our meals were divine, and the desserts (all vegan, were incredible. A giant Samoa cookie? Yes, please!

The end came far too quickly, but I had a blast and can't wait to do it again next year!

Right after J spotted me and jumped out of the car. I love my J!

A luna moth at the Butterfly Pavilion. It was the side of a small plate!

See that split pea stuff on the left? Ah-ma-zing!

We called this guy the "Old Man Fish."

This falafel meal left me feeling like I'd never be able to eat again, but it was so good!

Sweet potato/black bean tacos from Watercourse. Yum.