Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lindsey and Josh

It has been a long road, but Lindsey and Josh, Mike's sister and brother-in-law, are now officially certified to be adoptive parents! What does this mean? It means that it could REALLY happen any day now. I know Lindsey and Josh are going to be fantastic parents!--Lindsey with her creativity, her attention to detail, and her enthusiasm in life; and Josh, with his athleticism, his grill-master skills, and his genuine desire to help other people--the child that is lucky enough to have Lindsey and Josh as parents is going to have it all!

Seeing Lindsey and Josh go through this adoption process, and all the emotion involved in that, I have been amazed and inspired by the strength that I've seen from each of them. They really are such an example to me in the way that they have completely relied on the Lord during this time. There really isn't much I can say that expreses how their insight through the process they have gone through to find peace in this situation has touched me, but I know they have been given this special calling to provide a loving, gospel-centered home to children in need of that blessing. Not only does that speak to their characters and what kind of parents Lindsey and Josh will no doubt be, but it also speaks to the strength they have within them to recognize this calling as a gift, which is an amazing thing in its own right and I know that cannot have been an easy thing.

Lori, Lindsey and Josh's social worker, stressed to them that this is not the "waiting phase" this is the "finding" phase. With that in mind, they are trying to let as many people as possible know about their website and then asking them to share it. They know this will ultimately help them locate their children and pray that their birthparents will recognize them as the baby's family. They, of course, are not looking for ANY baby; they are looking for theirs.

here's the info:

go to

on the left hand side, click SEARCH ADOPTION PROFILES

then type in


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sand Art Brownies

How cute is this Sand Art Brownie mix?! I made this brownie mix just by coloring the sugar before adding it to the jar. Other than that, it is just the usual--flour, cocoa, and chocolate chips! Once I got the food coloring figured out (you have to use the liquid food coloring; the gel variety will just clump up in the sugar), it was a piece of cake!

Here's how it works:

For the Sand Art:

2 cups sugar
Food coloring
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup semisweet or white chocolate chips or a combination of both
1 clear glass quart jar with a tight fitting lid

To make the Brownies:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing pan
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To color the sugar: Divide the sugar into 4 (1/2-cup) portions. Put 1/2 cup sugar into the jar (I used a salad shaker) and add 1 to 3 drops of food coloring. Put the lid on and shake the jar well until the sugar is completely colored. Empty the sugar into a small bowl and continue with the remaining sugar using different food colorings to make different colors.

To make the Sand Art: Whisk together the flour and salt and set aside. Layer the dry ingredients into the jar, alternating colors (the sugar) and dark (cocoa powder) and light (flour), making your own design. Then add the chips! Screw on the lid and print out this recipe to enclose with your gift jar.

To bake: Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9-inch pan with butter.

Dump the contents of the jar into a large bowl. Mix together the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Now, I haven't made the actual brownies yet, so I can't say how good they are (but how can you really go wrong with brownies?). I was more concerned with how great the mix looks in the jar!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

National Zoo

Last Saturday, Mike and I were looking forward to enjoying his last day of freedom before starting his second semester of law school. With the 70 degree weather that we were also enjoying over the weekend, we decided to go to the National Zoo for the afternoon. I have wanted to go to the zoo to see the baby Panda since he was born two summers ago. And, believe me, he didn't disappoint!

How cute is this panda bear?! There was a huge crowd of people watching his every move and he was completely playing to the crowd! Rolling around, scratching, chomping on bamboo, looking at us upside down...he couldn't have been cuter if they were paying him!

Another of my favorite animals were the California Sea Lions. Ever since I had a season pass to Sea World when I was 4 years old, I have loved watching these playful creatures...maybe it was because of the personality they appeared to have during their daily shows with the Sea World trainers (they even use the microphones!). But the funniest part was the 8-year-old standing next to us, giving the complete play-by-play of their every move. "Here they they are...they're so playful!...oh, here comes the larger female...hurling through the water..." Oh, man, Mike and I were dying!

But, probably the biggest surprise came from the gorillas. There were at least 8 or 9 gorillas in their compound and the one that was closest to where Mike and I were standing gave us quite a show. She walked along a log and stopped at the very end, which was about 2 feet off the ground. Then this gorilla squats and starts peeing...ok, not so bad...but then, she stands up a little straighter, puts her hand between her legs to catch her pee, and then...wait for it...takes her hand to her mouth and DRINKS IT! AHH! I screamed--I was certainly not expecting to see anything like that.

It was a pretty great day...pee-drinking gorillas and all...and we couldn't have asked for a nicer day (in January, no less!) to enjoy our afternoon in the outdoors!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Village

If you liked the Fat Santa cookies, you will LOVE this gingerbread village!

I saw this train cake cake pan in the Williams Sonoma catalog over Thanksgiving and had been thinking about getting it for weeks and weeks. A couple days before Christmas, I finally decided I had to have it! My mother in law, Gaye, bought some goodies to make gingerbread houses and I thought it would be fun to make an entire village with all of the goodies (I also planned on little gingerbread men, but they couldn't make it).

I knew it was a sign of good things to come when each of the 9 train cars miraculously came out of the pan in tact! Last Friday, after letting the cakes dry out for a few days, each of the Wheatleys/Redferns got to decorate his or her own train car. When the cars were finished, Mike's sister Lindsey and I decided we should keep going and put the entire village together that night....the next thing we knew, it was 4am and we were just starting clean up! I don't know if I've ever had so much fun in my life!

This is going to be a Wheatley family Christmas tradition for YEARS to come!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Fat Santa

Aren't these santa cookies cute?! I made these cookies on Christmas Eve and I couldn't get over how adorable they turned out! They are on a Santa plate that I painted in can't really see the whole thing, but I was pretty impressed at how this turned out as well, considering my artistic skills are severely lacking!

I'm pretty sure Santa was so impressed with my cookies and plate in his likeness that he left me a few extra goodies in my stocking!