This has been one busy week! Not only did we have Elizabeth's birthday on Tuesday, we also had the New Year's party at New Day Foster Home! The girls all had a blast. At 10am, we began making jiaozi (dumplings). Although all the girls were encouraged to join in the making, some of them would rather play with the other kiddos! Serena, Jenna, and Hannah were the ones who joined in the most with the jiaozi making. When I asked Elizabeth if she wanted to make any and I'd take her picture, she proceeded to make one and then went back to playing with the little ones. She rarely passes up a photo op! She loves to play with the little ones.
Jenna and Hannah try their hand at making some jiaozi.
Later in the afternoon, after lunch, there were many performances. Serena got to sing a bit and was not too happy that it wasn't more! This girl loves to sing and apparently feels quite comfortable performing. Perhaps she has some kind of stage career in her future?!
Sitting on both sides of the table, this is half of the Forever Home enjoying their jiaozi.
This is what Elizabeth, Shawna, and Elise spent most of their time doing at the jiaozi making party! Oh well, someone has to watch the kiddos too, right?!
And here's Elise with one of the little ones.
Serena made lots of jiaozi. She was pretty good at it too, I might add.
Of course, not as good as the experts! If you'll notice here in this picture, the experts' jiaozi is on the left, the Forever Home girls' on the right. Not quite the same, yet they did a pretty good job anyway and they taste the same anyhow, right?!
Look at all that jiaozi!! And that was not all of it! There were still about 4 or 5 other trays on another table. Needless to say, we didn't eat all of it. There were 2 or 3 trays left uncooked for another time. It's great frozen and boiled another day. Just like fresh made.
That's right her cake says Lizzie. It's a nick name the older girls gave her awhile back and she liked it so it stuck and they often call her that. When asked what name she wanted on her cake, Elizabeth or Lizzie, she told me Lizzie. It's a cute nick name,don't you think? It seems to fit her.
Elizabeth got some new clothes and toys. It is traditional at our house to let the birthday person pick their favorite cake and meal. Elizabeth wanted a home-made ice-cream cake with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate cake decorated with her favorite colors of icing. We then had soup--that's right--soup!! She requested a pork and vegetable type soup with Italian spices much like a minestrone soup only without the pasta. Although I'd made a HUGE pot, the girls ate it pretty much all up--some of them having 3 bowls!! They're some pretty hearty eaters when it comes to something they really like!
Doesn't she make such a beautiful butterfly?!!
Although we'd reminded everyone, twice before we lit the candles, that we'd sing Happy Birthday in English and then in Chinese, it was obvious that Elizabeth forgot. Right after the English version was complete, one big whoosh and those candles were all blown out!! It was too funny!!
It's time to decorate for Chinese New Year. The girls are always excited when we drag out the decorations for the different holidays.
Serena decided the bottom of the lantern looked better on her head than on the lantern!
Shawna shows off our new lanterns we purchased at the local outdoor lunar market. It's always fun shopping there--you never know what you might find!! They have everything under the sun there. Well...almost--local stuff like kitchen stuff, clothes, fabrics, shoes, decorations, fireworks, feed, live animals to eat and/or for pets, food such as sheep heads, stomaches, pig ears, intestines, etc, etc.... you know--the usual stuff:) However, we (Shawna, Elise, and myself) found out that 3 hours outside in this kind of weather is WAY too much!!
Jenna thinks these lanterns are pretty cool too!
That's a nice one Elizabeth! Where shall we put it up?!
Hannah's pretty excited about all these decorations. Perhaps she remembers all the fun we had last year during Chinese New Year!
I never know what pictures I may find on my camera that these crazy girls think of! I go to download pictures and there they are--unusual pictures I know I didn't take! On this particular day after we left for a meeting, they were supposed to be studying, doing home-school. It just goes to show you--when the cat is away, the mice WILL play!! No, they aren't left completely alone, there's always an adult around, however, they may be in the other room teaching one of the little girls. Looks like they took out a few minutes to be creative, huh?:) Well, I have to admit--these are amusing! Where do they come up with such ideas?!!
We really got into this didn't we?! Made it look so believable that it was painful to be contorted in such a position. A few tell tell signs give it away though--that it's really 2 people rather than the one. Anyway, I thought it amusing and clearly shows just how creative these girls can be!!
Someone in Beijing gifted the Forever Home with a gingerbread house kit. And yes, we're a little slow about getting around to doing it. During Christmas, things were pretty hectic around here. So.....we planned to do it the week after Christmas when the kids were off school a few days. Sounded like a plan to me. There was, however, one problem. First one got sick, then you guessed it, more. By the time everyone got well at our house, everyone had gone back to school and such. Since we wanted everyone to be able to participate in the fun, we waited for the right opportunity. Then it came on Friday when Serena's teacher wasn't here and then Jenna and Hannah's afternoon lessons got cancelled as well. It wasn't hard to decide what we'd do to fill the time! We'd been waiting for just the right opportunity that everyone could help! Though it took a bit of time to get around to doing it, they weren't disappointed as it turned out to be a lot of fun for all the girls.
Hold it steady Elizabeth!
Jenna LOVES to help out with anything to do with cooking!
Now it's time to put the candies on! Wow, that is soooo cool!
Elizabeth puts on some of the candy decorations! It's really looking good girls!
Jenna also had a blast decorating the gingerbread house!
And there it is!! The finished product of an afternoon of hard work! She's a beauty isn't she?!! They did a good job, don't you think?!
And here's the whole crew that made the house! I had absolutely no hand in it. I let them do it all and they did an excellent job! The piping was a bit challenging and was done mostly by Elise and Shawna helped some too. The rest helped with the construction and decorating.
Then there's the eating! No, we didn't spend all afternoon on it and then eat it right away:) We had to let it sit a day and just look at it saying, wow! THEN the next day, they began to chow down on it!
It's Elizabeth's 10th birthday this month! Although the day hasn't actually arrived yet (the 25th), she's already had one party! New Day Foster Home celebrates their monthly birthdays all on one day. All the Forever Home girls got to join in the fun of celebrating not only Elizabeth's birthday, but 7 others. This month there were 8 birthday kids!!
Serena and Hannah were there enjoying some cake and all the festivities!
Elizabeth got a nice little computerized game console. It's pretty neat and Elizabeth has played with it practically non-stop since she got it!
Jenna loved the cake too! She is a HUGE sweets fan!!
The girls LOVE to help out in the kitchen every chance they get! I was making some no bake cookies one afternoon and thought the little girls would like to help out. Their teacher didn't happen to be in on this particular afternoon and the older girls were working on school work. After all, they don't get as much time in the kitchen probably as some of the older girls do. They had a blast and in no time we had some delicious cookies to eat!
They helped measure out all the dry ingredients. That was fun! Mom did the wet ingredients and the cooking on the stove part with them watching. When that was done, they were spooned onto the buttered platter to set up.
Then there's the tasting! OH YEAH!! Every good cook knows you must taste your dishes before serving it to anyone else! Licking the bowl and spoon is a bonus of cooking!
Then there's the clean up. You'll notice the look on Jenna's face of pure delight! At this age, clean up is lots of fun. After all, how often does mom let you play in the water except outdoors or during swimming trips?!
Although Christmas is over, we made picture ornaments for the tree the week they were off following Christmas. My motto is: Better late than never! We were so busy with many things before Christmas and just never got around to making these. When we first put the tree up, the girls saw some other picture ornaments we'd made our first year here. They wanted to make one of themselves and put on the tree too. I only regret we didn't get it done sooner! We also wanted to make one of each of the girls as a wonderful keepsake. After all, some of them will likely not be with us next year and we thought this would be a great reminder of our first Christmas together. Then we can make new ones with each new child that comes into the Forever Home! Before long, we might need to get a second tree or find another creative way to display them, huh?!! Anyway, the girls all surely had a great time making these. They were so proud of them and placed them on the tree when they were dry until it came down about a week later. So, hey, they did spend a week on the tree!
We are the Rippee family! We manage and are house parents in a home for older orphaned girls in China. It's called the Forever Home, and it is a project of New Day Foster Home. Like all foreign workers at NDFH, we receive no salary for our work, so if you would like to support our family's living expenses, please click the button below to donate through PayPal. Donations are tax-deductible. To learn more about the Forever Home and ways you can directly support this work, please visit New Day Foster Home's website.
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Elise was adopted at the age of 3 years old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Elise is home- schooled and really loves music, cooking, arts and crafts, and enjoys being the big, older sister to the Forever Home girls.
Shawna was adopted at the age of 1 year old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Shawna is home-schooled and is good at piano, arts and crafts, and thoroughly enjoys playing with the Forever Home girls.
Elizabeth was adopted at the age of 10 years old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Elizabeth is home-schooled and loves the outdoors, computers, bike riding, and crafts.
THE FOREVER HOME GIRLS
Click on the pictures below to find out more about our Forever Home girls.
We provide this information to give our sponsors and supporters a general idea of the challenges our children face. For prospective adoptive parents, the information on the blog is not intended to be a substitute for a complete and up-to-date referral packet from your adoption agency. Please keep in mind that in our blog posts, we always try to focus on a child's strengths, accomplishments and positive developments, not in an attempt to gloss-over their often serious medical conditions, but in an effort to share a glimpse of their precious personalities.