Tag Archives: fundraising

The Best Gift I Can Give

As we come to the close of the day on this Christmas Eve, I’ve come across many things the last few days speaking to me about the difference in presents vs. presence.  The last couple years, we as a family have been more focused on experiential gifts and being in each others presence, rather than tangible gifts.  Don’t get me wrong, we still give and receive presents, but not on the scale we have in the past.  I love making memories with my family;  it’s, in my opinion, the best gift I can give.  And it’s not just being physically present, but mentally present as well.  I’m guilty of being out with my family and being physically present, but my mind is on the proverbial “moms list” of things that need to be done or even worse having my nose in my phone.

My continued goal for the new year is to be more present with my family.  I’m slowing learning that laundry can wait and dishes will eventually get done, but my son will only be two for a couple more months and my husband deserves my attention when he’s home.

I try to keep this quote in mind:  Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – Mother Teresa

I also saw this Holiday To-Do List on Facebook yesterday that I just had to share.

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From my family to yours, I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday and wish you many blessings as we move into 2015.  See you next year!

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If you have thought about supporting us during our adoption journey, please take a moment to visit our fundraising page.  No amount is too small or to large, $5 to $5000 to help a family bring home our baby girl.  All donations are tax-deductible through the Adopt Together website.  www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger

Leftover Remake (1)

When I first left corporate America to be a full-time stay at home mom, I wasn’t the best cook.  Who am I kidding, I didn’t even like to cook.  I could throw a few things together and try to keep us from eating out all the time, but it wasn’t pretty.  The first couple months I started scouring the internet to find meals that my family would enjoy and even took to cable to find a cooking show that could help.  I mean it’s not like my mom didn’t try to teach me how to cook…I just wasn’t interested at the time.  Ask her she’ll tell you!

The first couple shows I started watching were repeats of “$10 Dollar Dinners” hosted by Melissa D’Arabian and “Semi-Homemade” hosted by Sandra Lee on Food Network.  Granted this was before I started moving us away from so much processed food stuff, but it helped me get started and showed me useful ways to make an almost completely different meal out of left overs.  It was a great help to a newly single-family income trying to eat on a much smaller budget.

So let me tell you about this dinner we had.  My husbands department had a Christmas lunch at work last week and he signed up to bring dressing and gravy because no one else had.  Normally I would have made at least the dressing from scratch, but I just ran out of time.  I found a really great organic stuffing mix at Sprouts so I thought I would try that.  I added sauteed celery and green onions and homemade cream of mushroom soup and baked the stuffing in the oven.  I also used a jar of turkey gravy and added extra stuff to that as well.

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Why I’m I telling you this…well even though people hadn’t signed up, there was more dressing at the luncheon than could be eaten so we had more than half a pan of stuffing left that I didn’t want to go to waste.  I’m not even sure what to call this, but my husband described it as the ultimate comfort food that he could graze on all day.  Now I take that as a super big compliment!! 🙂

So here’s what I did.  I took left over gravy and crumbled the stuffing into a large mixing bowl, added a bag of slightly thawed frozen mixed vegetables and a can of chicken and enough chicken broth to make it moist.  Mix this together with your cheese of choice; my husband requested Monterey Jack cheese this time.  Pop in the oven on 375 degrees for about 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and the top is golden brown.  It was delish!!

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Over the past couple months of having my blog, one of the hardest things I’ve discovered is trying to take decent pictures of casseroles.  They look like mush on the plate and all together unappetizing in a picture.  It’s a good thing they are so yummy when you take a bite!

I’d love to hear from other bloggers how you take something that looks like mush and make it look so wonderful.

As we come closer to the end of 2014, I want to say a special thank you to friends and family and strangers that have reached out to me to inquire about of adoption journey.  I love sharing our story with people in hopes to encourage others to consider adopting a child.  Although it can be a stressful journey, it is one of the most beautiful journeys.  Without it, I wouldn’t have my beautiful son.

If you have thought about supporting us during our adoption journey, please take a moment to visit our fundraising page.  No amount is too small or to large, $5 to $5000 to help a family bring home our baby girl.  All donations are tax-deductible through the Adopt Together website.  www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger

If you are enjoying the blog, please consider clicking on the ‘follow’ button and you will receive an email each time a post is made.  I also welcome any comments and will respond as quickly as possible.  And always feel free to share recipes with your friends and family on social media!

Sandwich Sliders

Sorry for being absent for several days.  Like I said the holiday hustle and bustle is in full swing.  I hope you are enjoying your holiday season so far.  We’re decorated and festive and almost partied out, but looking forward to Christmas day and the weekend with our families.  I’d love to hear about traditions you and your family have that you do every year.

For this post I’m bringing out one of my husbands favorites.  I’m not sure where I found the original recipe, but I’ve adapted it to fit with what my family likes.  Even my 2.5 year old likes these sandwiches!

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I typically make these sandwich sliders after we’ve had a meal of pulled pork or chicken because I always have left over Hawaiian Rolls.  I love these rolls, I just wish I could perfect the process to make them from scratch instead of having to buy them at the store.  I’ll share my steps below and then the full recipe at the end.

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Start off by cutting the Hawaiian rolls in half and place in a bakine dish (I used glass, but sometime use those aluminum foil pans if transporting).  Spread mayo (I used organic) on the bottom half. Normally I like to cook at least six of these, but we only had five left in the package so we settled for one less…

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I added one slice each of deli ham and turkey and topped it off with a slice of colby jack cheese.

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Add the tops of the rolls to the baking dish.  Now comes the yummy part.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter, then add the mustard, onion powder, Worcestershire  sauce and brown sugar and mix until well combined.  (Sorry I did not get a picture of this step :/)

Now pour the yummy sauce over the sandwiches and spread evenly if necessary.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Then remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until golden brown with melted cheese.

I wasn’t even able to get a plated picture taken before my family was attacking the kitchen to devour the yummy goodness.

The fun thing about this recipe is you can make so many combinations; really any combination of cheese and deli meat you like would probably work.  The measurements for the sauce are also very much up to you and what taste you like best.  You could use different types of mustard, such as dijon or honey mustard.  If you like more of a garlic taste you could add / substitute garlic powder for the onion powder.  The best part is you can really make this recipe your own!

Ingredients:

  • 6 Hawaiian Rolls, cut in half
  •  Mayonnaise, to taste
  • 6 slices Deli Ham
  • 6 slices Deli Turkey
  • 6 slices Colby Jack Cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Yellow Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions:

In a baking dish place bottom half of Hawaiian rolls and top with mayo.  Add lunch meat of your choice and 1 slice of cheese and replace the top half of the roll.

In a small microwave safe bowl melt the butter and then add the mustard, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Mix sauce until well combined and pour over the sandwiches.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Then remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until golden brown with melted cheese.

Hope you enjoy these yummy sandwiches as much as my family does.  Until next time 🙂

Don’t forget if you would be interested in helping to support our family during our upcoming adoption, here are ways you can 🙂  We are so thankful to those that have contacted us to let us know they are praying and for those that have donated to help us.  We’ve raised a little over $1,600 so far thanks to friends, family and even complete strangers.

  • Prayer.  If you are someone who prays, will you pray for us, for our family, for our future birthmom and for the child she is carrying and considering placing for adoption. Pray that our process will go quickly and smoothly.
  • Encouragement. Check-in with us. Help us to remember what the work and wait are for.
  • Financial. We are working to raise $25,000 to cover the costs (agency fees, legal fees, social workers, etc) involved with bringing our daughter into our family.  If you have the financial means to support our adoption, no amount is too small or too big; $5 to $5,000 – any and all funds will help!  100% of your financial support will go toward our adoption costs, thanks to Adopt Together. You can contribute by going to: www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger.  We have partnered with this great organization, Adopt Together, which is a non-profit specifically created to help families like ours raise the funds needed for adoption. They are an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible.

 

Cookie Exchange

As is typical for this time of year, I’m attending one of many cookie exchanges in the next couple weeks.  I’m really excited about the cookie I choose for my first exchange.  My favorite cake of all times is German Chocolate cake; homemade by my wonderful mom preferably, but a store bought will on rare occasion do in a pinch.  I love the flavors of the pecans and the coconut and just the right amount of sweet.

So to my excitement, I was searching through Facebook pages that I follow and one had a list of 50 cookie exchange ideas; and there I found it.  This is now my holy grail of cookies.  German Chocolate Cookies!!  They are moist, delicious and have absolutely NO calories in them!! (wink, wink, insert sarcasm)

Chef in Training is one of my favorite websites to get recipes.  I don’t think there is a recipe I’ve tried yet that hasn’t hit the mark 🙂  And now for the cookies.

German Chocolate Cookies:

Ingredients
  • 2 boxes german chocolate cake mix, dry
  • 4 eggs
  • 10 Tbsp. butter, melted
COCONUT PECAN FROSTING
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1⅓ cup sweetened shredded coconut, for drizzle
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 4 oz. melted chocolate candy coating, for drizzle

First combine the cake mixes, eggs and butter.

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Next, scoop 1in balls of dough onto either a lightly greased cookie pan or in my case I used non-stick aluminum foil.  Place 12 on a sheet to allow for spreading.  Cook on 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  You DO NOT want to over cook these.

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Once done, allow to cool completely.

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While the cookies are cooling, start the frosting.

  • Add evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, butter and vanilla to a large pan and cook on stovetop over medium heat. Continuously stir until thickened (takes about 12-15 minutes). Once thickened remove from heat and add coconut and pecans. Continue to stir until thick enough to spread.
  • Spread frosting over the tops of cooled cookies.

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The recipe calls for chocolate to be drizzled over the cookies, but I thought these were perfect with out it.

Hope you enjoy and check out other recipes from the websites I’ve included.  I don’t think you will be disappointed!!  Happy cooking.

I’d love for you to share your favorite cookie recipes or websites for your cookie exchanges.

Totally random family picture, but my boys were apparently having a meeting of the minds while I was making cookies last night.

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Don’t forget, if you are interesting in supporting our adoption process or want to read more about our story, please visit www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger

My 21st Century Life – part 1

Last night I came to a heart breaking conclusion…my baby is not a baby anymore.  Ok, so that might be a little dramatic considering he’s only 2 1/2 years old, but over the past several months we’ve made several transitions from life with a baby / toddler to life with a big boy.

Our first transition was from our crib to our big boy bed.  Since Caleb has a love for all things Cars (Pixar Movie), we bought him a Cars bed.  We quickly learned there was a chance Caleb had not been sleeping through the night in his crib like we thought.

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After a month of no one in the house getting much sleep, we discovered that he “travels” in the bed at night when he sleeps and the cute little Car bed just wasn’t going to cut it.  We’ve since moved on to a full sized bed complete with a headboard and of course Cars bedding.

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As you’ve probably seen in some of my previous posts, we are in the process of adopting another baby.  We’ve continued our transition from baby Caleb to big boy Caleb by removing the rocking chair from his room and adding in his very own dresser (sans the changing table) and yes (no comments please :)) he has a TV where of course he watches his favorite movie Cars 2.  Although I’m pleased to say we are expanding our kids movie likes and now enjoy watching The Incredibles, Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2, and on occasion we can throw in some How to Train Your Dragon.

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Needless to say our “baby” is growing up and mommy is still trying to figure out how to slow time down.  People would always tell me before we had kids that time seems to go by so much faster, a fact I didn’t realize until we had kids of our own.

With all that being said, we are slowing getting things put together for the arrival of baby sister.  Although we’ve been talking about this with Caleb, I’m sure he won’t understand the full meaning of that until she’s actually here.  No new news to report on the adoption front.  Once you are accepted into the program, then comes the waiting.  In the mean time, people are always asking us what they can do to help.  Here’s what you can do.

  • Prayer.  If you are someone who prays, will you pray for us, for our family, for our future birthmom and for the child she is carrying and considering placing for adoption. Pray that our process will go quickly and smoothly.
  • Encouragement. Check-in with us. Help us to remember what the work and wait are for.
  • Financial. We are working to raise $25,000 to cover the costs (agency fees, legal fees, social workers, etc) involved with bringing our daughter into our family.  If you have the financial means to support our adoption, no amount is too small or too big; $5 to $5,000 – any and all funds will help!  100% of your financial support will go toward our adoption costs, thanks to Adopt Together. You can contribute by going to: www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger.  We have partnered with this great organization, Adopt Together, which is a non-profit specifically created to help families like ours raise the funds needed for adoption. They are an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible.

We are beyond grateful to all those that have donated and helped us to reach just over $1600.  Such a blessing!!

Fresh vs Canned

Over the past year I’ve been working to eliminate the amount of items we buy in a can. We’ve all heard about the nasties that can be in aluminum cans that can then get into your food.

My favorite thing I’ve changed is refried beans. Buying beans in bulk is cheaper than reaching for the can and you can control what’s in your food. I’ll share with you how I make my refried beans and then my favorite thing to do with them after.

Here’s what you need:
1 medium onion,peeled and quartered
3 cups dried pinto beans, rinsed
3 garlic cloves,minced
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
7 cups Water

Directions:
Add all ingredients to a crock pot and cook for 8 hours on low. Remove the beans and mash, adding water from the crock pot a little at a time until the beans are as smooth as you like them.

Now for the fun part. I like to take homemade refried beans and make baked bean and cheese taquitos with them.

Take 1 cup of beans and add the following:

1/2 tsp each cumin, chili powder, salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro

You can use corn or flour tortillas for your taquitos. I had some bigger wheat flour tortillas I needed to use up so I cut mine in half to use. Spread a thin layer of beans and top with shredded cheese. Roll and put in a baking dish. Spray the top with a little olive oil. Bake in the oven on 425 for 15-20 minutes until the tops are crispy. You can serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, whatever you like!

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I didn’t get to take a picture of the finished yummy since my family dove right into them 🙂

These can be made in batches and frozen for a quick lunch another day.

I’d love it if you would leave a comment on things that you no longer eat from a can but make homemade!

I’m off to celebrate this week with my family. I’ll be back with you next week!!

http://www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger

Little Mans Favorite Snack

I never really had a taste for applesauce, but my son loves it.  I didn’t realize how much of a difference in taste in the store bought brand vs. homemade applesauce.  The difference now has me enjoying applesauce when my son does.  Here’s how I make ours.

Ingredients:
3 lb Apples (I use a variety of red, green, gala and fuji; all organic)
1/2 cup Apple juice
1 T lemon juice (I used fresh squeezed, but you could substitute from the bottle)
1-3 tsp cinnamon
1-2 T honey (optional)
1/4 t nutmeg (optional)

Directions:

First core each of the apples, then I take the extra step to peel the apples.  Taking the peel off makes it easier to puree and then put in my sons pouch, which I will show you later.  I usually cut each apple into 6-8 pieces and put in a pot on the stove.  Add the apple and lemon juices.  Add in the amount of cinnamon you like.  Normally I use 1 teaspoon for 3 pounds of apples, but this time I was just shaking some out of my glass container and it was more like 1 tablespoon, but the taste was wonderful.  Stir the ingredients, cover and cook on medium to medium-high heat for 20-25 minutes. (Cooking times may vary depending on your stove)

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Once the apples are soft and moist, you can add in the honey and nutmeg if you choose.  I find the variety of apples gives more than enough sweetness and don’t add the honey.  For this batch, since I accidentally put in too much cinnamon, I did not add the nutmeg.

After the mixture has cooled slightly pour into a container and use an immersion blender to puree the mix.  This recipe usually gives me enough for the three containers pictured.  I put the large one in the fridge and freeze the little ones for future use.

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About the little animal pouches.  We love our squooshi reusable food pouch containers.  We use them for applesauce, smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, anything with a squishy consistency.  We’ve used these more so since our son is bigger, but could also be used with little ones eating pureed food on the go.  These are safe to wash by hand or pop in the top rack of the dishwasher.

Adoption News:

We were so excited to see that after several donations we’ve received, we are just $102 away from our first goal of $1500 to help cover the cost of our homestudy we recently completed.  Would you consider helping us reach this first goal?  If you have the financial means to support our adoption, no amount is too small or too big; $5 to $5,000 – any and all funds will help and are so greatly appreciated.   http://www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger