Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas !!

The Forever Home wishes all of you a very Merry Christmas!!

These pictures of your children were done especially with you all in mind as I know you desired to be with your children on Christmas. Since that wasn't possible, I'd hoped to give you a keepsake instead and took these pictures of your girls for you to cherish until you can be together and make new memories at Christmas.

Holly and Elly's pictures are also here for their future parents or anyone thinking of making them their daughters. Enjoy!!

Merry Christmas Cont.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Makin' Christmas Cookies!!

Hannah enjoys helping mix the butter and sugar for the cookies.

Hannah, Serena, and Elly all form the dough to put some goodies like chocolate and caramel inside the cookies.

Hannah puts one on the pan all ready for baking.

Serena gets just the right amount of dough for her delicious cookie creation.

This is an all new experience for Elly and she thinks cooking is just great!

Makin' Christmas Cookies Cont.

Once this cookie gets done baking and is cooled, Hannah and Elizabeth then roll them in powdered sugar to make them extra good :)

We actually made two different kinds that day. These particular ones are a molasses cookie with chocolate chips and coconut--very delicious!!

And this one is the one you've seen with all the pictures of the girls doing them. They are Russian Teacakes--both cookies are one of our favorites :0

Can You Feel The Excitement?!!

The stockings are hung by the fireplace..uh, we don't have one of those so by the buffet instead :)

It's nearly Christmas and you can just feel the excitement in the air here in the Forever Home! On Tuesday mom, dad,Shawna, Elise, and Elizabeth all went to Beijing to finish up our Christmas shopping while the Forever Home girls were in school. When they returned home and saw all the wrapped presents under the tree, they were were sooo excited!! In fact, they were quite loud and excited all evening and we often found ourselves shhhing them to keep some of the noise down for the neighbors :) They also found it hard to go to sleep that night! Sooo many girls.....sooo much excitement!! Wouldn't have it any other way!! They are a joy and blessing to us!!

Guess who I find sitting by the tree staring at the gifts? Hannah!! I find her there a lot these days :) She's quite excited about Christmas and is having a hard time waiting until it arrives. While I also see the other girls under the tree admiring the gifts, I find Hannah there more often than not. She was the only one I was able to get a picture of as she gave me soooo many opportunities to get a picture, right Hannah?!

Hannah says, "This one is mine :0" (among others of course) Don't worry Hannah, Christmas is almost here!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


One day when Elly climbed onto dad's lap, it wasn't long before he fell asleep and I looked over to see Elly give the shhhh gesture to everyone so as not to awaken him. It was sooo cute I couldn't help but take a picture :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's A Party With New Day Foster Home!!

Today New Day Foster Home had their annual Christmas party. The kids were soooo excited! First they sang Christmas songs, heard the Christmas story told, and FINALLY got to open their presents. They each got a gift from NDFH and some of them received gifts from sponsors and/or their waiting parents in America (Hannah and Serena). They tore through them pretty quickly and it was hard to get pictures and figure out who got what in some cases after all the excitement subsided. Imagine about 50 kids all in one large room, then add in all their foster parents, New Day staff and interns, then SANTA arrives:)) Santa was played by none other than Randy, our Forever Home foster dad!

Hannah got some new clothes--among other things of course!! What girl doesn't like new clothes, right Hannah?!!

Serena thinks her presents were pretty awesome too! She got a camera, clothes, and some cooking mixes for Christmas.

Elly also received some new clothes and some artsy type activities.

Holly got a bag of many things too like books and activities to do.

Thank you all for blessing the Forever Home girls with so many things!!

It's A Party With New Day Foster Home Cont.

Shortly after we all enjoy a nice lunch together, there are the usual performances. Serena, Alex, Hannah, Elly, and Joel all perform a Chinese poem. These are all the older children who study in the backyard classroom at New Day.

Then Serena volunteers to sing a solo--something she often does when given the opportunity. She enjoys singing for everyone and doing performances.

After we go home, later in the afternoon, Elly takes advantage of her free time with school cancelled for the day to paint a picture that was a gift she'd just received at the Christmas party. What a beautiful job you did, Elly!!

Serena also enjoys her free afternoon by baking some cookies she also received as a gift this day.

Chocolate peppermint--yum yum!! They were delicious, Serena!!

Helping Out

We do our best to teach the girls and get them involved in everyday chores and things that they'll do when they go to their forever families some day. One of those chores is setting the table. Since Elly only walked with a walker, it seemed pretty evident she wouldn't be able to do such things--not because she didn't want to though. However, we thought of a way to allow her much more independence and the ability to do more things like the other girls. The answer was simple you see, just put a basket on her walker! This way she could take her empty dishes to the kitchen after meals, take her clean laundry to her room, and help set the table--all like the other girls do here. I can't tell you how excited she was when we told her what we planned to do! She is very happy with her new basket on her walker--I just hope we are able to put one on her new one but don't see a reason why we can't. This also gives her the ability to carry toys or books from here to there. It was a great solution and she is quite happy about that!!

Elly's one happy girl!! Such a great job setting the table too, Elly!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gift Exchange

Here we all are--waiting anxiously for the gift exchange game to begin!!

Serena opened her first gift getting a beautiful scarf that we all thought she'd love, however, she traded it in for another and ended up getting a warmer like Elizabeth's to keep her warm.

Elise got this beautiful vase! Quickly developed plans for it to decorate her room.

Hannah got a very large flashlight. Now, one might think she'd put that back and pick another more child like gift, however, I knew she wouldn't--and didn't! She liked the idea of having her very own flashlight!

Gift Exchange Cont.

Elizabeth proudly hold up her gift--a warmer for those cold rides in the cart this winter!

Elly knew exactly what she wanted and went right over to pick it out from the stack of gifts. Guess what she picked?!! The very gift she helped me wrap earlier in the day:)

Shawna also knew what she wanted and stole hers from another person (all part of the game of course--we don't actually condone stealing), who had to pick a new gift.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's A Full House!

Please welcome our newest Forever Home girl who arrived just today!! We are currently working on an English name.

Christmas Preparations

Last Friday, we had a Christmas gift exchange at New Day (not the foster home one). After purchasing gifts, we--all who were home during the day--helped wrap gifts. Elly gets so excited about things! I wish you could see her face when I tell her things like this--she gets plumb giddy!! Anyway, she was quite excited to learn we were going to a party and she would get a gift that evening of her very own.

Shawna loves to help wrap presents too!

Would you just look at the expression of pure joy on Elly's face!!

Elise helps wrap gifts too.

Here's one gift we finished wrapping. Elly wanted to pose for a picture.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Settling In

Every child that comes into the Forever Home and New Day gets an assessment done on them to see where they are. It is a wonderful tool that we use a lot! It helps us to know where they may be behind in and what things we can work on to catch them up to their peers. It also helps us track their progress each month giving us new goals to reach once they've accomplished others. I have been very impressed with where Elly is in her progress level. She has clearly been in a program and been taught many things--that much is obvious as I have been evaluating her these past few days. I will likely not be done evaluating her until the end of this week. I can tell you this, she's one smart girl and isn't too far behind according to her age.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Getting Excited For Christmas

Hannah loves Christmas and is getting excited! She also loves her picture taken. Here she poses by the tree.

Eating some special treats for Christmas. Yeah, Hannah thinks Christmas is great for many reasons!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oh So Blessed!!

Just a quick note to let everyone know that someone has already come forward wanting to bless Elly with her new walker. Thanks so much!!

We're Cookin' Now!

Serena has decided she wanted to teach her new parents how to make some Chinese dishes. Given the fact that she's never actually cooked anything on her own before, only helped out, we decided to teach her a few simple dishes. Once she learns these, she can teach them to them after she goes back to America.

One very popular and simple dish here is "Eggs and Tomatoes." We eat it once or twice a week and you can get it in any restaurant here. It can be eaten at breakfast or any meal.

First, Serena washes and cuts the tomatoes into wedges.

Then she cracks the eggs into the bowl, mixes them and adds some salt.

Then there's the scrambling like any American scrambled eggs. Remove them from the pan and add tomatoes to cook until a bit soft adding some chicken boullion, salt, and a dab of sesame oil for flavoring.

After the tomatoes soften and give off some juice, add the eggs back in to stir around a bit. It is then done and is a very quick and easy dish. Though I don't think Serena making it just once will be enough to remember so she'll be making it a few more times before moving on to another simple dish. That doesn't bother Serena none--she thought it great fun and really enjoyed making her first real dish of Chinese food!