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Monday, January 6, 2014

Fudge and Photography to Keep Us Rollin'

As many of you may already know Santa brought Mommy (and of course the boys) a wonderful present; Daddy got to come home for 9 whole days! Then, on Christmas eve we also received our I-800A approval. Who could ask for better Christmas presents?!?! Well, maybe the only thing that could have made it better is if "Hudson" was home with us, but since he isn't home just yet we will take what we got!
Of course there was happy a lot of excitement when Stacey came home, but when we got our I-800A approval there was me doing my happy dance, yet again. My children swear they've been scarred for life.  I didn't think my happy dance was that terrible, and personally, I don't know what they are complaining about, it's not like I'm out in public shaking my groove...sheesh! After the happy dance there was lots of squealing, tears of joy, and anticipation for what comes next. 
What comes next you ask.... Well, next we send the last of our documents to China along with a check for $4,160. 
By the grace of God and blessings from all of you fudge connoisseurs our fudge sales before Christmas were nothing short of spectacular.  When all was said and done, we were able to write a check for $2,800. Just typing that number makes me cringe because it really is a lot of money (if that's not a lot of money to you, then we need to chat...I'm just sayin'!) Then,  during the Christmas break we had a couple of amazing families bless our family with donations, which helped whittle down the amount of money even further. Leaving us with...drum roll please..... just under $1,000 ($987 by my quick calculations) needed to keep this train process rolling! This momma is doing another happy dance....even if my pre-teen son doesn't approve; that is a number worth dancing for!
I love that we are more than a quarter of the way there but, knowing that we are still that smidgen away, and that we are at a stall because of money, makes my tummy tie into all sorts of knots, my heart aches, and my brain just won't shut off. I am not suppose to be holding this process up, the bureaucrats are suppose to do that, not me! Oh, I guess I should mention that... with out this last $987 (and some change) our process is on hold until we can submit all the funds. And that my friends is what keeps me up at night, just in case you've been wondering why I am on FB at 3 a.m. 
As I told ya'll before, I will live in the kitchen to make fudge until my son is home. I know it may sound crazy but the good Lord blessed me with the ability to cook; we're going to do this with fudge and anything else I can think of! So, that is exactly what we are going to do!
While I marinated in family time during the holidays I began formulating more fudge recipes; you know, the ones that IF I were going to eat another piece of fudge, which flavors would be 'simply irresistible'…(go ahead sing the Robert Palmer song, its okay, I did!). I really wanted to put a little twist on creations. I came up with these four fudge combinations. I promise they will not disappoint you! (I've got one more I haven't quite perfected, but as soon as I do, I promise I'll add it too. Until then, here are the first four: 

*Peanut Butter and Jelly This is my peanut butter fudge topped off with my home made strawberry jelly. It really doesn't get any tastier than this. This needs not explanation, just a cup of milk!


*Nutella, for those of you who love Nutella, you'll love this. It tastes just like Nutella, only better.  (Sorry, it was all gone before I remembered I needed a photo of it. As soon as I get my first order for Nutella, I will take a photo and update it here so you all have an idea of what it will look like. )

*Maple Bacon Extravaganza, I can't even tell you how yummy the maple fudge tastes, then POW, you bite into these little bites of bacon heaven! It really does taste just like your eating breakfast, but in a much yummier, smaller, way! I really think this fudge is going to give the Islander Delight a run for its money!

*Chocolate Raspberry Jubilee - This is our traditional chocolate fudge with my home made raspberry sauce swirled throughout. A-Mazing!!  (I don't have photo's of this one either...I promise, as soon as the first order comes in I'll snap a quick pic and update the blog! I just don't want like fudge just sitting on my counters....it makes me eat it and I don't want anyone to ever get stale fudge!

*Islander Delight, I couldn't leave this one out! This was my best seller before Christmas. This fudge can only be described as the little bits of heaven that you may currently be familiar with as a coconut, caramel, and chocolate cookie sold by an un-named group of little girls who roam from door to door with their cute little smiles and badges…yah, you know…them! Well now, just imagine that same cookie favorite, melded into soft little bits of melt in your mouth, coconutty, fudgy heaven. It’s so AMAZING I can’t even tell you!



You can find the link to purchase these will bending, divinities on the top right hand side of the blog. *Shipping (to the Continental U.S) is already included in the price.  

As I said before, I'll do ANYTHING to get our boy home so, I decided to add some of my photography as well. I chose photos that I love dearly, and ones that people have expressed great interest in. They will be offered in the sizes listed below each photo. 

 
Lochsloy Balls
8x12 ~ $20
12x18 ~ $30
20x30 ~ $55

Who's On Deck
8x12 ~ $20
12x18 ~ $30
20x30 ~  $55

The Line Up
8x12 ~ $20
12x18 ~ $30
$20x30 ~ $55

Smoking Gun 1 
5x7 ~ $10
8x12 ~ $20
 12x18 ~ $30

Smoking Gun 2
 5x7 $10

One in a Million
5x7 ~ $10
8x12 ~ $20
12x18 ~ $30
20x30 ~ $55

Old Glory
5x7 ~ $10
8x10 ~ $18

Field of Dreams
 5x7 ~ $10
8x12 ~ $20
12x18 ~ $30
20x30 ~ $55

Winter Berries
5x7~ $10
8x12 ~$20

One In a Million 2
5x7 ~ $10
8x12 ~ $20
12x18 ~ $30
20x30 ~ $55
 

Links to purchase the new fudge flavors and photography are located at the top right hand side. Shipping is included in the price for both the fudge and the photos.

If you not interested in fudge, or photos, and would just like to bless our family you can either donate to our Home for Hudson Fundraiser page, or you can make a tax deductible donation directly to our adoption agency, you only need to note on the check that the donation is for our family (Settles). They will in turn send you a tax deductible receipt.
Their address is: 
 Heartsent Adoptions 
140 Brookwood Rd., #100
Orinda, CA 94563 

*Our total funding needed to be all together 'funded' is approx. $6,500 (that includes the $987 we need to keep moving). Just in case you, or someone you know would like to just finish us off....You can't blame a girl for trying right. :)

Please share with anyone you think might be interested and as always please keep our family in your prayers while we are seperated and as we head into the home stretch.

Lot's of love to you all & keep shining,

Daniell & family

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Delightfully Fudgy



I love for this time of year! The baking and cooking of goodies, the creating of amazing memories with our family, celebrating our Lord's birth with the people we love, and did I mention the cooking of goodies!  The wrapping of presents is a very fun/interesting time too, but that's for another post.


During this time of year, I can't possibly eat all my creations alone and I love to share the holiday joy, so that means if you are my friend or neighbor, by default I consider you my 'taste tester' and you may or may not know that I'm trying a new masterpiece out on you (promise me that if you meet my neighbors or friends, you won't tell them this dirty little secret, but I really refer to them as my guinea pigs…I don't want them to think I don't love them because I REALLY do and for Mandy, Tami, Rachel, Liz, Miss Susan, Amy, Patti, Theresia, Virgil, and a few other friends…I guess my gig is up. Please forgive me! :D ). Now that my secret is out about my little guinea pigs, for many of whom I'm almost positive will never eat my food again with out wondering if I am conducting yet another un-scientific study using you! * insert evil little giggle * All I can say is, I promise I will never intentionally feed you bad food! 
Where am I going with this you  ask…well, recently (this weekend) I whipped up a few batches of fudge and used my friends, their children, my neighbors, and even my bible study group to conduct a not so scientific study on which types of fudge were going to make the cut this year.  The study wasn’t really that difficult…it went a little something like: make the fudge, set out in front of, or deliver said fudge to neighbors, see which ones have the least amount left on the plate, or which neighbors start ringing my phone for which recipes. And, I may or may not  have eves dropped on a few conversations at holiday parties and bible studies to see what they are saying about the fudge(I promise I stopped listening if they weren’t talking about fudge...really, I promise!).
Are you dying to know ones made the cut and why I would conduct a not so scientific study about which fudges were the best? Well, here’s the deal... you all know we are bringing home our son from a certain Asian country. To do that we still need about $5,000 and I have watched other pretty amazing families bring home their kiddo’s with confections…cough, cough, Renee Tam…cough, cough. I thought to myself can make fudge like no other, and I am willing to make a thousand batches if that's what I need to do, thus I embarked to out to find the most delectable of my fudges went the fastest on the table so that I can then offer you all the opportunity to get their hot little hands on some the amazing fudge while bringing my sweet baby boy home at the same time! Winner, winner, chicken fudge dinner if you ask me!



After all the whipping up, delivering, watching and listening, (I only picked the ones that I know from previous experience and the ones that I watched people practically licking the plate to get to all the last little bits and pieces) the 6 winners/fudges that made it to the Sailing to Our Starfish Yumaliscious fundraiser(my own word that combines yummy and delicious…don’t judge!) are….drum roll please….


·      Islander Delight


·      Yuletide Eggnog


·      Downright Chocolate


·      Blissfully Peanut Butter


·      Raging Rocky Road


·      Chocolaty Walnut


*descriptions listed below


Now, all you have to do is slide on over to the top, right hand side of our blog page, find the “Delightfully Fudge” drop down menu and order away! It’s that simple!!


Each of these creations will be made, packed up, and shipped off as you order them, in tré chic Chinese take out boxes… I couldn’t help myself!  


This picture just happens to be the Islander Delight (I made this batch without chocolate, the ones you order will come with chocolate). It looks yummy, right?
 


Go…order fudge for your friends, relatives and don’t forget to throw a few in for yourself!!! Let’s bring a baby home!!!





Lots of LOVE~
Daniell

P.S. If you don't have a paypal account, please message me and I will be happy to make arrangements.


*Islander Delight - This fudge can only be described as the little bits of heaven that you may currently be familiar with as a coconut, caramel, and chocolate cookie sold by an un-named group of little girls who roam from door to door with their cute little smiles and badges…yah, you know…them! Well now, just imagine that same cookie favorite, melded into soft little bits of melt in your mouth, coconutty, fudgy heaven. It’s so AMAZING I can’t even tell you!





*Yuletide Eggnog - If you love the combination of nutmeg and sweet creaminess you will not want to miss this take with you to the office to help you endure that dull conference call, version of a holiday staple. Just so you all know, this was the fudge I expected to have leftovers of because lets face it, not everyone likes eggnog, but even the kiddo’s were going back for more of these tasty little morsels!



*Downright Chocolate – I start by using responsibly sourced cacao, real vanilla, and all of the most organic products I get can my hands on. The result is pure, delightful indulgence of mouth watering chocolaty fudge in every bite.





* Chocolaty Walnut – This fudge starts with the Downright Chocolate as a base then toasted walnuts from organic growers are folded into create a balance of smooth and crunchy, sure to satisfy even the pickiest of walnut fudge lovers.



*Blissfully Peanut Butter – Have you ever wanted to, separate the peanut buttery goodness from the inside layer of a certain chocolate and peanut butter treat that comes in a pack of two (or three if your king sizing things), they have the orange wrapper…yes, you know which ones I’m talking about (I’m sorry for yet another un-named treat/organization, I just don’t want to have to pay for trademark infringement!) Take that peanut buttery goodness and make it creamier and bigger and this fudge is what you end up with. This is my all time favorite and well, it might just be made in my home random times of the year, so I can have it…I can’t help it, it’s that good!





*Raging Rocky Road – This one is all summed up with it’s name…it is chunks of organically grown toasted walnuts, and soft pillows of marshmallow goodness, all artfully woven into our original Downright Chocolate fudge. I like to think of it as, “have ice cream, will travel.”


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's just temporary...


I have written this post at least 10 times and each time I am either interrupted, don’t find my way back to it that day and it disappears, or I just simply can’t find the right words to tell you all where our last part of June, all of July and now part of August have gone. All the crazy just seems to blur together. I look at the calendar and it is August 20th (just typing that makes me a little sad that summer is almost at an end).
So, today I’m just going to dive in and be very real with you all. It may not all fit into one post so be prepared to come back to hear ‘the rest of the story’.
I promise we have been here muddling through the adoption stuff, no slacking going on here.
As I look back the best way to describe our life is to compare it to living in a battle zone. Someone is lobbing granades at us and we have no idea when they’re coming or where they are going to land. We just attempt to control the damage, pick up the pieces and fix what we can. When we decided to adopt, I saw other’s stories about all the things that go wrong, but when you are living day to day on the defense trying to figure out what IS going to go wrong next, it is tiring. It has made me a bit weary as of lately, but I know my God is bigger, he has plans and right now, I am clinging to the cross!
Our craziness story really starts in June just before our oldest son’s birthday, our plumbing backed up. Thankfully it wasn’t a huge mess, but it wasn’t pretty! Five hours with what ended up being two men in and out of our house, tracking what I can’t even bring my self to imagine because I would have to stop typing and go through my house to clean everything AGAIN. In the end, we found out that it really wasn’t as big of a problem as the first inexperienced plumber originally thought. The second more seasoned plumber was able to fix quickly. We still got stuck with a whole lot of clean up and a pretty hefty bill. Perfect timing….right?
Just as soon as we seemed to go back to normal the enemy gives us another little shove, just like a bully on the playground would do. I’ll spare you all the details, but in our master bathroom we have the kind of shower head that sits in a slot and while undisclosed adult was showering the shower head fell off and may have actually hit her in the head. The base had cracked rendering it a handheld shower. As soon as I, I mean she was done showering we started looking online at our closest home improvement store's website. We soon realized these things aren’t cheap and due to the other plumbing fun, if we wanted to eat and/or pay our electricity bill we would just have to make due for a little while. In the grand scheme of things it really was just a minor inconvenience…right??? Right!!! After a few days of showering (quite awkwardly on my part) with the hand held shower my dear husband came up with this. 

It worked!!! I warned you all, I’m just being real! It may not be pretty, but it worked and best of all we had the clip so in essence it was FREE! This was what every adopting parent wants to hear because every extra dime we have is going to change a little boys life. It's just temporary...

Thinking we should now be in the clear we return to the previously scheduled life as we knew it….right?  WRONG! This is where I have started this post over tons of times because I feel I need to be delicate with some of this, while it affects my life it is not entirely my story to tell. For those of you who know me well ‘delicate’ is sometimes difficult for me, but here goes… Late one evening we found out that my husband’s mom had not only lost her job, she was being evicted from her residence in Southern Arizona. She was facing living in her car with her two dogs. Just as many of us would react she was extremely upset and she didn’t have very many plausible options ahead of her.  When my husband and I found this out we talked, prayed and made the offer for her to come and stay with us until she could get back on her feet. Just in case this is the first time any of you are reading about us, we live in Washington State. This is a huge move for her and a major change for us. Not to mention that we are adopting (just in case you didn’t know J) and everyone who “lives” in our home has to go through the whole process of background checks, not to mention the financial data, beds for all the little ones, so on and so forth. So, just to clarify…THIS IS TEMPORARY. (I keep telling my self this, so I’ll probably be saying this through out the post, mostly as a reminder for myself). Once she arrived (on the 19th of June, this is a tidbit that give you a timeline into my tail) we started settling in, getting used to having another adult in the home which was (and has been) interesting, to say the least.  We started to think we were on the road back to our new temporary ‘normal’. Don’t you know we were wrong, wrong and wronger (it’s my own word, don’t judge).  In the next 9 days our washing machine drain pipe came loose causing our garage to flood, and the water float in our dishwasher got stuck causing water to spew out onto our laminate flooring creating a soggy mess, which in turn made me into a nervous wreck. Then on July 2nd I picked up 35 lbs. of already pitted and sliced, fresh from the farm strawberries (theses had been scheduled since the beginning of June) to begin to make into strawberry jam and syrup. I love making jam, it makes me feel accomplished, I can see my shelves fill with yummy goodness and the plan was/still is to sell some of that yummy goodness to help pay for part (or ALL if good Lord sees fit) of our adoption fees. 
Somewhere between my 3rd and 10th batch of jam I received a phone call from my husband’s Dad. He and his wife (Stacey’s step mom), who had lived in SoCal for the last 6 years were just south of Seattle and were on their way to our house for an extended visit. In all fairness, we knew they planned on traveling up in their R.V. after they had sold their home in Oceanside but, we didn’t know exactly when they were coming, and with all the other ‘fun’ we had been having we didn’t even give it a second thought until they called us, just S. of Seattle.  Surprise!!!! Your mother in law, stepmother in law and father in law are ALL going to be at your home together. Did I mention that this is the first time they have all been in the same room together in 20+ years! I had no idea what to expect.

To be continued…

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Big Deal


We kind of make a big deal about birthdays around here. Okay, so ‘kind of’ might be an understatement, but we feel birthdays are the day that God blessed us with each of our amazing children. They were His and He entrusted them to us. That is nothing short of glorious, we feel those day need to be honored and lets face it, it is fun to celebrate!  So we (I) bake cakes, cookies and lots of other special treats. In the past we’ve done rock-climbing, trampoline, trampoline/air parks, slip and slide style bounce houses and all sorts of other kid (and adult) friendly activities. With out lulling you all to sleep with the details, I spend about 3 days in the kitchen prepping but we have F-U-N on their special days!  
Just this last Friday, our oldest son, Dominic turned 11. I can’t believe it has been that long since I became a Mom, I guess time flies when your having fun! I also make what ever the birthday boy wants for all three meals of the day.  This year Dominic chose bacon, eggs and home fries for breakfast, Monte Cristo sandwiches for lunch and for dinner he was torn between pizza and steak for dinner…I made a BBQ chicken pizza and a half pepperoni, half cheese pizza for dinner, it was much more budget friendly! This year we did the big party the day after his birthday, we had close to thirty people over for a big family style BBQ. Amazingly enough, the weather cooperated. It was 81 degrees and sunny, so we turned on the sprinkler that is attached to the trampoline and voila, “the best birthday party ever!” according to the birthday boy.
I know… some of you are probably thinking I’m a bit out of my mind, crazy, but I love doing these days with them, I want them to look back and remember them with fondness, I want them to feel with every fiber of their being that we love them and they are worth it, because they are!
After all of fun and joy of our oldest son’s birthday I have to admit that my heart, it aches and is extremely heavy, it has been heavy for the last two weeks because I knew today was coming, today is our sweet little Hudson’s birthday, he turns 3. I can’t help but wonder how he will spend his day. Will there be a celebration for him, or will it be just another day? I don’t know. I know he is not all by him self, but will they surround him and celebrate him. I am praying that they lift him up and show him he is loved, he deserves and he is worth the effort! I know he has caretakers and they may show him affection and they may even love him, but this Momma’s heart wants to run to him, scoop him up and show him just what a big deal he is. God knit him in his mother’s womb, and he is fearfully and wonderfully made, HE IS WORTH IT!!!
Will you please pray for him, that his day is special and for me and my heart.
I have to choose to focus on what is good and the fact that this will be his LAST birthday without his family. Next year,...next year he will know and we are going to be able to show him the love of a family and how amazing he is.  


We are sailing to our starfish because just one does matter!

Pray ~ Adopt ~Advocate 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Almost Summer



First of all, I am so sorry I have not blogged or updated in over a week, we have been in full swing CrAzY around here!
We have been gearing up for the end of the school year which of course means the sun is finally going to shine here in Washington, making my job of teaching our little people a bit harder because all they want to do is run, scream and play in the sunshine. I don’t blame them one bit! For the record, we did try to do a lot of our learning outside but, there are still a few subjects that we do online and taking the computer out just wasn’t an option. Those subjects may or may not have been skipped…. SSSSHHHHH, don’t tell the principal!
To add to the fun my dear, sweet husband was out, floating around in the ocean, on one of the Navy’s finest vessels for a week. I love that he is extremely knowledgeable at his job and that he was hand picked to go along on this particular ride by let’s just say, ‘someone who’s uniform has some bling’ on it.  It is a bitter sweet pill to swallow, he is always missed when he’s not here with us.  I’ll just end that with…I was very happy to see him when he got home at ‘way to late to call it Friday night, and way to early in the morning to be considered Saturday’!
This week was the last week of baseball for Blake. He has grown so much and he really has a passion for the sport. We are extremely thankful for all the support from Coach Chris, his wife Anne and all of the amazing parents on our team who made the season so very enjoyable. And, we couldn’t be prouder of Blake and his teammates, these kids were not only talented, they had amazing sportsmanship! We are looking forward to the summer with our baseball friends and fall ball.

One of my sweet friend Katie’s sons turned one this weekend and in an effort to help our fundraising, she commissioned me to make cakes, cookies and to take the photo’s for the big day. It took several hours through out the week to complete the cake and cookies. Thursday night she brought over pizza and beverages which made the cookie decorating much more enjoyable. Here are some pictures of what I accomplished.
The birthday cake (it was 4 layers and just about 6” tall, of chocolate and vanilla, yummy, goodness inside. Not to mention the green butter cream icing in between!)




Turtle and starfish cookies for the party favor bags.


The final product for the party favors.


Whale cookies for the tops of the cakes.


The smash cake


In between making cakes, school and our normal day-to-day activities, I am still tackling the pile of paperwork that accompanies an adoption.  I learned early on in the week that was going to be a bust because a lot of what needed to be done required not just the signature of ‘the man’ who was out, floating on a boat, but a notarized signature.  So, I hung it up and focused on the things I could do.  I did manage to pick up our local police reports…I now have it in writing, they say we aren’t the local criminals! I found myself grateful for the small checks in the boxes.
All in all, it was a good week; we just had a lot going on. Now we are gearing up for more fundraisers, some will be local and there will be some that everyone can partake in. We have a give-away going on over at our Sailing to our Starfish Facebook page. We are giving away 2 gift cards, one $25 Amazon card and one $50 Massage Envy gift card. Details are on the FB page. https://www.facebook.com/SailingToOurStarfish

Thank you all for following along, lifting us in prayer and joining us on our journey!
Daniell