31 October 2007

Special FFD lunch and a trip to the Mall!

After the Dentist Mike had to stop by Macy's to pick up a jacket that he had altered, while he was doing that Piper and I went to the kids department to look for a holiday dress. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good tartan but seriously I do not want to dress my child like a giant Christmas present, including the 10" giant bow! Where can a girl find a cute holiday dress say in brown velvet with a subtle flower or embroidered embellishment measuring no more than 2" in diameter? Not at Macy's!

After our failed attempt to locate an ensemble cute enough for our very own 'Fancy Nancy' we left the Mall for the 'Galleria', the 'Galleria' is really a Mall of sorts, but it hosts the swishier shops..Tiffany & Co. Bang & Olufson, Restoration Hardware...Oilily...getting the picture...did we go to shop? HELL NO..we went to EAT! They have a 'Big Bowl' restaurant and that's where we had our Forever Family Day celebration!

After a delicious lunch we ordered a special celebratory desert for Piper...she waited...

...and waited....

...and when it came it was a winner...chocolate filled wontons with a big scoop of ice cream!

..."did I eat all that by myself?"

Happy Candy Day!

How do the Hoppe's celebrate candy day? Well, first things first we get up at the crack of dawn and we go to the DENTIST!

I did quite a bit of research on Dentists and in particular, Pediatric Dentists. We felt it was important for Piper to go and see a dentist the specializes in caring for children...we've heard some scary stories and wanted to make sure Piper was at ease, even if I was having an anxiety attack! Believe me, it is worth it to visit a Dentist that is kid friendly...it could change the way your child sees the man in white for years to come!

We booked the first appointment of the day and arrived early but as we sat in the waiting room the clock kept on ticking and before you knew it we'd been waiting for over half an hour...we didn't say anything to the receptionist but we were starting to wonder what was happening? Before we had a chance to ask, the nurse came out and apologized for the wait, handed us two free movie passes and ushered us into the exam room! TWO FREE MOVIE TICKETS!!! For what, for waiting?

First Holly the Hygienist counted all Piper's teeth...she has twenty!

Then we met Dr Dave...I am not exaggerating when I say this guy is a rock star dentist for kids! What a lovely man, Piper wasn't freaked out in the slightest and they were all impressed with her behaviour! Dr Dave checked all Pipers teeth and pronounced them in perfect condition...she did not need a filling, she did not need sealant and her enamel is in awesome shape! The reason we'd had to wait was soon apparent, as soon as we met Dr Dave...we knew what the hold up had been...the nurses had been spraying his hair blue for Halloween!

Piper left with a bag of goodies...toothbrushes, stickers, and a PRIZE! A funky jelly ball bouncy thing. Now why don't I get movie tickets, stickers and a free jelly ball when I go to the dentist? Oh well, I guess Valium will do...I wont complain!

30 October 2007

The Blog Design Angel does it again!


Okay, so you know how much I love my new 'redesigned' blog...I was really grateful that Danielle was able to put our personality into it and create a wonderful backdrop for our daily posts.

Danielle has done it again! She let me know that she will donate her fee from TWO MORE blog designs to OCDF and their 'coal for children' fund.

Thanks Danielle...you are amazing!

contact me if you are interested.

This means that Danielle will have donated FOUR blog design fees to Coal for Children through OCDF...thats awesome news!!

Anyone can do it, just contact me, or Danielle by clicking on her link and let us know that you would like a blog redesign and to have your fee go to OCDF!

Please also remember our goal to raise $250 for OCDF to use towards both 'coal for children' AND the Tibetan orphanage fund. Donate through the top chipin. Once we reach our goal we will donate and Mike's employer will match 100%!

29 October 2007

Back to normal...

Thanks to everyone who enquired, the Ergo links were down for a few days while they updated their website. They are all up and running now and you can purchase an ERGO through the link on our sidebar...just click on the picture in the sidebar section!

and so it was that Mickey...or in this case...Minnie, met her demise.

CHARLIE & LOLA meet...


this year I enlisted the help of an FCC Mom to help me with Piper's costume...thanks Betty for all the work you did on sewing the dress!! The wig was my own creation, and the shoes were painted to match Lola's regular shoes. Daddys costume was super easy, I just cut out sticky felt and sewed on the letters.

"I have a little sister Lola, she's small and very funny"

On Saturday we were very extremely busy! We were up bright and early for swimming lessons...this was Piper's 'testing' day to see if she can move up to the next level. She is now going to be a 'little' which means Daddy doesn't have to be in the pool with her...Daddy is ecstatic!
After swimming lessons, we got Daddy & Piper into costumes for a Halloween party at Fuller Park in Minneapolis. It was fun, but we didn't stay too long.

just long enough to join in the parade! Daddy hadn't had his coffee yet..can you tell?

from there we headed over to Java Jacks for a cuppa joe...Jack's is great, and we met up with our urban dwellin' friend 'unkle Matt' and his dog Saully.

After we were all caffeined up we headed home via Edina...a happening little spot. We noticed that there were hundreds of kids in costume trick or treating at all the local stores, so we stopped and joined in the fun! We ate nacho's and blue corn bread at a little Mexican restaurant and on the way back to the car we stopped at Lund's, the local grocery chain..which was having an all out Halloween bonanza! Good thing it was a nice sunny day and 50 degrees!

Piper got to meet a fireman and sit inside the truck (and get candy), then inside the store she got to meet a magic fairy and the balloon clown, who kindly made her an orange ladybug! On the way out Snow White filled Piper's goodie bag with chocolate milk boxes, pretzels and candy...talk about cleaning up!

She was very impressed with the balloon clown and all the wonderful animals he could make.

She chatted in the car all the way home and had a nice long nap (praise the Lord)

but it's not over!!!

After dinner we headed over to the Chanhassen Rec center for another Halloween party! This one was much larger and more elaborate than the first party!

They had set up some of the rooms as a haunted house...Piper was a bit freaked out but endured because she knew there was CANDY at the end of each corridor! She didn't seem to mind Darth Vader too much which was funny!

there were games too!

After the party we went outdoors for our last activity of the night, the hayride! It was getting dark and a wee bit chilly but we snuggled up close and had a wonderful ride around the park. I think this was Piper's favorite and best part of the day..snuggling up with Daddy..the moon in the sky and the wind in her wig! Kudos to our little chickadee, she kept her costume on almost all day, no complaints, no worries! In fact when it was time to take it off she was "very absolutely sad" ...no kidding...thats what she said!

the wind in her wig

snuggling with Charlie

Monday Menu Plan

we are dubbing this week 'meat week'...I am getting over a two and a half week cough/cold and Mike is recovering from travel, university and lack of sleep...and so..we have meat week! Sorry to all the vegetarians that are cringing at our diet this week.

MONDAY: angel hair pasta with lemon & chicken served with green salad

TUESDAY: roast lamb with roast carrots & parsnips and minted peas

WEDNESDAY: Happy Halloween! Happy two year Family day anniversary!!! Because today is so special Mike is taking the day off and we are spending the day together! We will have lunch at PF Changs and dinner will be soup & grilled cheese before trick or treating!

THURSDAY: taco night! spicy organic beef tacos

FRIDAY: lasagne (from freezer...last weeks leftovers) with green salad

SATURDAY: Botham burgers from Jamie Olivers book! Served with english 'chips'

SUNDAY: Fish with parmesan risotto and green beans (Daddy is off to Sales meeting in Florida so it's just the girls!)

26 October 2007

The Blog Design Angel


please contact me if you are interested in the entire proceeds of your blog design to go to OCDF. Danielle has offered one more blog design!!! How generous!

Okay, so you know how much I love my new 'redesigned' blog...I was really grateful that Danielle was able to put our personality into it and create a wonderful backdrop for our daily posts.

WELL...Danielle has done it again! She let me know that she will donate a blog design to the first person who donates $40 to OCDF and their coal for children or Tibetan fund.

Thanks Danielle...you are amazing!

contact me if you are interested. UPDATE: MAIA LARKIN is the first taker!! Thanks Maia!!!
Also....if you are interested in having a adoption journey DVD made, please consider Danielle's services. Just click on this link to have a look at her wonderful DVD's!

24 October 2007

The holidays are coming...what are you thankful for?

...how will you show it?

Mike & I are still furiously fundraising for our next adoption, we are still more than $10,000 short, but we are working on it! Because we feel so grateful for being able to adopt we also know that it is important to give back as we recieve and have picked our current charity project for the Fall, together we decided to raise money for OCDF. Today I emailed Our Chinese Daughters Foundation, they are a wonderful group that has many projects to help raise money and awareness for orphaned and abandoned children, I asked "how can we help?"

I am hoping that in the next month or so our family can raise a few hundred dollars for the orphans in the colder climates in China. Living in Minnesota has taught me how cold it can be, and yet we have the luxury of warm coats, blankets, mittens and HEAT! Many orphanages in the rural provinces have little resources if any to keep the children warm. That is why we are going to set aside our personal fundraising for the next month and try to raise $250 for OCDF's coal for children fund.

Please join with us and donate the cost of a large latte at your local coffee shop...about $5. Or the cost of a movie ticket $10. Just click on the link in this post and donate!

feel good this winter...know that you are helping children who have nothing, not even life's barest essentials.

p.s. even though it's Piper's daycare's monthly parents night out on Friday, we are going to skip it and save the $50-60 we would spend on PNO and a movie & burger and put it in our OCDF fund.

from Jane at OCDF

The international adoption program does not include Tibet nor the orphanages in western Sichuan at this time (where the children are also Tibetan). There are two orphanages we started to work with through See the Stars project - the goal is to get fund for a full-time pediatrician and surgeries for the children with eye care needs. They also need school supplies and teachers as presently 1 monk teaches 150 kids in one room with no desks!

Any fundraising efforts will be much appreciated by OCDF and Dorje, the group making the medical arrangements in Tibet. The trip to the orphanages is 3 days by jeep on mountain roads from Chengdu so it's pretty remote. I suspect that is one reason the children are not included in the international adoption system. The region has the highest infant/mother mortality rate in the world so a lot of the children are orphaned at the time of birth. It's quite sad.

Kids in that region need vitamins, winter clothing, UV sun protective eye wear, hats, etc.

Thanks so much for your willingness to help!

The Tibetan orphanage fund is also a wonderful way to give...the photo of the child above was taken in Tibet, abandoned on a step, clearly loved...but sadly lost.

I have created a chipin for the OCDF fund. Please donate through the chipin, when we reach $250 we will donate the entire amount to OCDF AND we will get a matching donation from Mike's employer!!!! So $250 will become $500!!!!


click here and send this guy an email. I wonder if he has ever looked into adoption? Either Domestic or foreign, or whether he has read books about the orphan crisis in third world and developing nations...what a WANKER! Big ole thumbs down to this stinky reporter! Can he call himself a reporter? Or is he just a silly pompous arse?

p.s. I just used spellcheck and WANKER is apparently a real word and spelt correctly!

I will continue to use it WANKERWANKERWANKERWANKER...boy that felt good!

Wacky Wednesday

Two things...

Firstly...this is my parfum du jour...I have had a bad cold/cough for the last two weeks...some may call it the FLU, but I refuse to break! I am resorting to Tylenol severe congestion medication (tastes like feet) and lashings and lashings of good old vicks vapor rub...begone woes of using petroleum products on my bare skin...I don't care...I am using it, it makes me feel better! We used to call it 'tickle tummy' when I was a kid...perhaps it's better described as 'stinky tummy' - whatever...I smell therefore I am!

Secondly....isn't this chipmunk cute as a button? Yeah, ooooh, look at his cute cheeks all filled with autumnal goodies ready to be 'squirreled' away somewhere safe...BUT NOT IN MY HOUSE!!! We have a suspicious invader in our kitchen at present. We are calling ORKIN...as cute as they are, they do not belong with humans. I broke out the 'emergency' bleach (we don't use it) and steralised the drawer where this little critter had decided to store his winter munchies...better luck next time Alvin...we're gonna get you!!!

it isn't a chipmunk people its a bloody.....

Mike bought traps yesterday...if that doesn't take care of him...then we call the ORKIN man! Mike saw him this morning...he was up before dawn and saw a tiny mouse zoom accross the kitchen floor, when Mike turned his head the mouse froze...he must've known...his days are numbered! sayonara Mickey!

22 October 2007

if not our home...then maybe yours?

This is Spencer. This week Mike & I inquired about adopting him. Sadly due to new CCAA regulations, his file cannot be transferred to another agency, nor can we transfer to the agency that has his file. Mike and I were both excited that this little chap would be ours. His special need is club feet and although they tried to correct it surgically in China it will require casting once back in the States.

Please read about Spencer, pray his family finds him soon so he can come to the States and receive the care he needs.

from Small World Adoptions

Spencer had surgery of bilateral equinovarus in The State Hospital, Hu Pei province from November 23 to December 20, 2006. He was also prescribed afixed orthodontic plaster boots for his lower legs after surgery to wear every night. His foster mother took very good care of him by changing his diet. Because of the severity of his club feet, he was not able to stand up normally even after surgery. He still needs treatment and physical therapy for a while because of the developmental delay of his leg muscle.

Spencer is able to walk everywhere in walker. He is able to lift the walker to step up the stairs. He needs his foster mother to hold his hands to walk because of his feet. He can speak 1-2 words and call his family members. He is able to express his needs when he sees the other kids eating. Spencer is an extroverted, active boy. He obeys most of the time but has a little temper. He is very easy to comfort by hugging, playing outside or having his favorite food. He is very attached to his foster mother and does not want to be touched by others when outside.

If you would like more information about Spencer please contact
Small World Adoption

UPDATE: Spencer's file is on hold...which means a family is interested in adopting him!!! Please pray or send good wishes his way, and to all the children who wait!!

Here it is! I was approved as an ERGO affiliate and now I need to sell ERGO's through my link on the sidebar to raise funds to purchase one for Paisley!!! I need to sell about 12-13 of them, so if you know ANYONE who is interested in buying an ERGO please let them know that by linking from my site they are helping us fundraise for Paisley's adoption!

Guinness chocolate cupcakes

As promised here is the recipe! These are so elegant and simple to make, the chocolate & Guinness are extremely complimentary to each other but each flavor still stands on it's own! Yummo! Also a friend just sent a recipe for Guiness CAKE...if I try it and it rocks, I'll post the recipe here! I'm thinking you could make a 'black & tan' version by making the icing with a shot of dark espresso in place of half the cream...also my icing was a bit runny becuase I used 12 oz of cream cheese by accident...for stiffer icing, just follow the recipe!

1 bottle (12 ounces) Guinness stout
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for garnish
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the Frosting
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 pound confectioner's sugar

cocoa powder or nutmeg for dusting

Makes 24
Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Guinness, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Guinness mixture.

Butter 24 muffin tins and divide the batter among the muffin tins.

Bake 25 minutes until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out of the tins.

Make the frosting:
Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the heavy cream. Slowly mix in the confectioner's sugar.

Top each cupcake with a heap of frosting and dust with cocoa.

MENU MONDAY...um okay...

Monday: leftover shepards pie and garlic bread and guinness cupcakes!

Tuesday: pad thai - I will post my yummo easy recipe soon!
Piper scoffed this down, tofu and all...she loves tofu, peanuts and cilantro...god bless her!

Wednesday: breakfast for dinner...pancakes, bacon, eggs, coffee...yummo!
p.s. we ALL have to get into our jammies for this one! FUN!

Thursday: fish & chips...I know, AGAIN but it is easy and Mike is in school this week!

Friday: parents night out! Hamburgers at Axels! Then a movie!
since we are skipping PNO we will be having spaghetti or pasta du jour a la whatever is in the le fridge! wholewheat lasagne with ricotta and beef with a spicey tomato sauce with grilled peppers.


Sunday...pizza at our local joint

Mike's doing a course at the business school at the University of Minnesota this week, his days will start at the crack of dawn and he wont be home until late so meals will be on the fly this week!

I started meal planning Mondays because of Tiffany at the Bamboo Sprouts, but I think it originates here

Isnt this bedding awesome! We just entered the drawing to win it! Click here for more information on entering, or go here to buy it directly.

21 October 2007

I'm so happy my feet aren't touching the ground!

Yum Yum Dim Sum

This morning we got a call from a family whose home we'd visited in the Summer for a party. They invited us to join them for Sunday dim sum and we were excited to go! Piper was pretty squirmy at the table and spent the best part of the meal on the floor beneath the long tablecloth with her new comrades! They sure had a good time under the table...I have no idea what was going on, and although neither Mike or I are really on board with letting our kiddo get out of her chair during a meal, we could tell that she was happy, not in any ones way and that the grown ups could have five minutes of adult conversation and a bite or two before the next 'whinykiddus-interuptus'! The food was delicious...what a great treat on a Sunday morning!

We had a wonderful time and I think Piper is in love with Reid! We cant wait to have the Mathers Family over for dinner sometime soon! Their daughter Brenna is delightful, but Piper latched onto Reid like they were long lost friends.

I think the kids liked that Piper was pint sized and tried to pick her up...it was pretty funny because Piper let them! Reid also announced that "Piper comes up to my NECK!" ...of course meaning that she is waaaaay shorter than him!

My Daddy went to China and all he bought back was this....

..very funny shirt. So okay, some of you might think it's off, but we think it's funny, it says 50% Mummy, 50% Daddy 100% cute! Mike thought it was sweet AND funny because Piper is adopted...and while we do honor her birth parents and acknowledge our differences there 'ain't no denying' this girl is our child...from her funny accent and the way she pronounces words like a born & raised kiwi, to her fastidious obsession with keeping things 'clean & tidy' like her Engineer Daddy! Also her gift of the gab...a combined effect from both her Mummy & Daddy....this girl can talk the ear off a politician!

She also got a Hello Kitty wallet for her Hong Kong coins, and a copy of the first movie Piper ever saw on the big screen 'Surf's up', we celebrated by staying up and had a special movie night last night in honor of Daddy being home! Daddy didn't forget me either...I cleaned up too... Mike bought me back an 'ehemmm' "totally authentic special price for you" Coach purse purchased at the extremely above board markets in Hong Kong! I also got some lovely tea that I am looking foward to drinking this afternoon with our Guiness muffins!

19 October 2007

a unexpected gift from China

Today a parcel arrived from San Diego. For a moment I thought it might be our Secret Pal...but once opened I discovered that a friend that I had met during our first adoption journey had sent us the most delightful hand painted glass balls on a pedestal from a recent trip to China. How kind of them to think of us...not just one for Piper, but one for Paisley too! I have never met Geoff, Sherry and their daughter Mei in person, but we have communicated on and off for the past two and a half years via this great big universe called the Internet. In fact it was Sherry who wrote out our questions in Mandarin for us to send to China in Piper's care package! Piper picked the butterfly one for herself and the Pandas for Paisley.

Thank You, you are so kind.

speaking of products....

I got rid of ALL my diaper bags recently in my ebay fundraising fervor! The Tumi one was not quite right (even though I got it cheap) and it kept falling off my shoulder, the Lands End 'do-it-all' was TOO huge and had no padding on the straps so it burnt indentations into our skin!!! I was left with my favorite lil' tripper from Lands End. I love it...it is the BEST small diaper bag on the market in my opinion! Sadly, I am so un-glam these days (okay I haven't ever been glam even on my best day but that's beside the point) that I ehemm...use the lil' tripper as my purse...no Coach,Gucci or Prada here girls, pure 100% microfiber is me! here's the lil' tripper...perfect for short trips!

see..it's teeny weeny!

So, today I saw a girl in the checkout line at the grocery store sporting the coolest diaper bag and the cutest little girl to boot! I asked her where she got her diaper bag as it looked incredibly comfy and pretty darn cool too...and it looked like Mike would be okay carrying it!!! She told me where she got it and also mentioned that her little one was from Guatemala and the diaper bag was great on their adoption travels. So I'm sold!

the Diaper Dude!

The ERGO effect

Well, I have done a bunch of research on baby/toddler carriers and I think this is the winner! When we go to China we want to be able to carry Paisley close to us as much as possible, and this carrier seems to be the one that suits our needs. It can be used as a front carrier, piggy back carrier or even a hip carrier...fan-bloody-tastic! Piper is even small enough to fit in it if things get dicey(and I'm pretty sure they will!) We had a maya wrap for our trip with Piper and it was a pain in the bum! This time I want to be sure we will both be comfortable!!

The downside is that it is pricey. Not so pricey that it's not possible, but with all the other adoption related expenses adding up it is pricey in my book. SO...I have agreed to be an affiliate for ERGO and will soon have a link to their site on my blog. If you purchase an ERGO through my link I get a payment, I need to sell about 12-13 ERGO's to earn enough to buy one for our trip.

So if you know anyone, or if you are in the market for an ERGO please consider buying through our link!

18 October 2007

blonde no more

that is I.

dark brunette and loving it!