Monday, January 30, 2012

Chicken "Sea Urchins"

One of the fun things about work is that being the minority we women have banded together and have lots of fun. One thing we've done is started a lunch book club. We do potluck and over lunch discuss the book. I got this recipe from one meetings. One of the dearest ladies I know shared this recipe. It is SOOO easy and delicious (even Barry says so and he thinks my cooking is questionable at best), and if I (the person who can ruin Kraft Mac N' Cheese) then you can do it too!

 One thing I wanted to add to this recipe is that I prepare the filling the night before and refrigerate it. It sure speeds up meal prep when we come home from church starving.

Sandra's "Sea Urchins"
2 c. cooked, shredded chicken breasts (I just boil them or you could use canned)
6-8 oz. low-fat cream cheese
4 Tb. soft margarine
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. canned mushroom pieces, drained and chopped
1/2 can black olives, drained and chopped

2 pkgs. low-fat crescent rolls (I like the non-generic brand better)
Seasoned or regular bread crumbs
Melted butter
Cream of chicken soup

  • Mix first six ingredients together.  Press each triangle-shaped crescent roll into a circle shape. 
  • Place generous rounded tablespoon-ful of chicken mix into roll, pinch all edges together to make a ball. 
  • Roll in melted butter, then in bread crumbs. 
  • Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. 
  • Serve warm with sauce made of cream of chicken soup, thinned a bit with chicken broth. (I used water and it was just fine)

These freeze well, and can be used later.  Just add the sauce after heating up.
Recipe makes 16 'sea urchins'.  (Weight Watchers PointsPlus Values: 5 per roll)

Happy New Year??

It's been said that when you hit bottom the only way you can go is up. I thought last New Years was bad enough having my depression return after 10 years but this one takes the cake. Let's say my birthday was not a day of much celebration. But I was so thankful for the love I felt from our family that night with the little surprise party they threw. You are thinking..."What in the world is she talking about?" Well here is the low down.

We were contacted through our adoption web site on December 23rd by a birthmother. She said she was 19 year old girl living in Indiana, PA (a borough 2 hours from Pittsburgh, PA). She claimed she lived with the father of the baby and also that 2 years ago she placed a baby for adoption.

A caseworker from our adoption agency talked to her on the phone Monday, Dec 26 and they scheduled meet with her Fri, Dec 30 to start the adoption paperwork. She sent a text message Thursday, Dec 29 morning saying she was having regular contractions and later on texting us another message saying her water broke and they were heading to the hospital. She wanted us to get to Pittsburg as soon as we could. We drove to Salt Lake City caught the red-eye flight to JFK International Airport. We didn't sleep a wink.

Just before we departed was the last time we had any contact with the birthparents. We tried contacting them once we got to New York, Pittsburgh, and then the hospital. No response. The agency caseworker had not heard from them as well since Thursday night. We inquired at the maternity ward but they did not have have a patient by that name there. The caseworker was there with us and she checked other local hospitals as well. Ultimately we determined we had been scammed.

Later on we received a phone call from a Kittanning, PA police officer who told us they had arrested a woman earlier that day. They had confiscated at arrest 4 cell phones from her and found our texts and immediately called us. Apparently she had been talking to 10 other couples as well. She is not pregnant and there is no baby.

Everything happened so fast and neither we nor the agency saw any of the typical red flags. She was very willing to work with a caseworker and to give them consent to access her prenatal records. We've known since we first started pursing adoption that adoption scammers exist and we were very cautious at first. Being a true con artist, she knew exactly what to tell us to so we would let our guard down. Plus she knew over the holidays that adoption professionals would be less available and adoptive couples are most vunerable. I don't know about Barry, but I know I was struggling with the coming of the New Year thinking another year has past and our hopes and dreams for a baby didn't come true.

Hindsight is always 20/20. When she said she was in active labor we should have asked the caseworker to call the maternity ward to inquire about her. We were still in Salt Lake City and still several hours from boarding the plane when we recieved the message about her water having broke.

It has been difficult processing this loss. It's not a typical loss like our previous failed adoptions. Though we are out money for our flight, rental car, and hotel expenses, the hardest part to is we never felt any promptings warning us. We have had to simply accept that this life is a testing ground and at times a refiners fire. I like what Peter in the New Testament says to the Saints, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:I've sure felt like an iron rod that almost to the point of snapping, but we have been re-enforced and strengthed through the Comforter and through the many prayers said in our behalf.

The strange part of this scam is she never asked for money and not knowing her ultimate plan truly frightens me. I don't believe it was mere coincidence that the police arrested her before we reached the hospital; Heavenly Father had to have been watching out for us.

I'm sure that just like me you are wondering, "What now?" We know we are to have another child in this life, so we are going to dust ourselves off, bandage the cuts and scrapes, and just continue waiting. We'll just have to see in a couple years where things stand. This quote from Elder Holland has really brought me peace, "Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come."

Here are some articles of our story in the press and the current status of her charges.

Police say woman with history of adoption scams targeted Idaho couple from Pa. women's shelter | The Republic

Friday, January 27, 2012

Our Christmas Holiday

Sorry for the lack of new posts on our blog. Keeping it updated has been a low priority on my list and secondly, I haven't felt like writing lately as I will explain in my next post.
This year we really downsized Christmas and I must admit it was the best Christmas I have had with exception of our first Christmas together and our first Christmas with Owen. No spending hours shopping, making goody plates for the neighbors or handmade Christmas cards. We had time to simply focus on the most important things, our little family and the life of the Savior, instead of letting the holiday stress get the best of us.

We decided each person would have one present under the tree and another one in each stocking. I have to admit that Barry was so right that it doesn't take much to make Christmas special. Of course Owen got one extra present to open Christmas Eve and that was a set of Lego Batman pajamas.

This year was extra fun since Owen has caught on to how Santa works. On Netflix Instant Play they had this movie called "Gotta Catch Santa Claus". Owen must have watched it 50 times at least but I must admit that it is a very cute show. We had Santa come to our ward party and Owen was so excited and not scared in the least to tell him what he wanted, a batcave, batman's motorcycle, batman, robin, and a bell (like his favorite movie Polar Express). We also watched a movie called "Yes, Virginia" based on the story "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause". It was short yet heart-warming. I definitely recommend it.


Disregard my grumpy expressions, I am not a morning person and I was feeling some frustration putting Owen's batcave together. LOL. We got him the Fisher-Price TRIO version of the batcave. The TRIO system is like the bigger Lego Duplos except they snap together for a better hold. Owen loves building with his TRIO blocks from last Christmas (thanks Grandpa & Grandma Vest) so we knew he would play with them for a lot longer than the Imaginext version.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Homemade Oreos

My sister-in-law Amanda shared this recipe with me a while back. I've wanted to post the recipe on our blog for the longest time and today I found this post in my draft folder. What a nice surprise! Hope you enjoy them as much as our family does :o)

  • 1 devil's food cake mix
  • 1/2 c. shortening
  • 2 eggs
Mix the above ingredients together. Roll the dough into dime-sized balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool cookies.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Barry's New Love - Henry's Lake Ice Fishing

Barry's brother David had a friend who ice fishes. Early this December, this friend invited David and Barry to go ice finishing with him and his boys.  Let's just say Barry is now "hooked". Before actually experiencing ice fishing, Barry could never understand why anyone would like to sit out in the cold and freeze. Barry says if you find a good fishing spot that there is never a dull moment. It is different than fishing during the other seasons. He has caught all fine specimens of trout, Cut-throats, Browns, and Brooke; they have been measured around 20 inches in length.

I told Barry we could have muted the audio of his hundreds exclaims of of "oh my word" and the spot where the audio is all garbled. Now when anyone in the family says "Oh my word" we all laugh and exclaim in our best Barry impression "Oh my word, oh my word." Gotta love that he is the butt of the jokes for once. LOL.

Since December Barry had gone ice fishing six times or so. I'm glad he has something to enjoy during his winter break but I sure wish it was something we could do together. I still hold to my opinion that once you catch a really big fish than what is the point to continue fishing unless you eat them? In my case, unless it's tuna fish or breaded halibut I won't eat it. To each their own I suppose  :o)