Monday, August 24, 2009

Bertram Family News

No, we are not pregnant. I do feel like I should be telling everyone that I am expecting a baby, but it's really too much to explain to a stranger in the Wal-Marts. Many of you know this already but as our family has begun moving forward, I decided it's high time the blog world knows our bidness. We are at the beginning stages of becoming foster parents. See, look, I've even been fingerprinted! Yay for background checks!

We had our first home walk through a couple weeks ago and submitted our first round of paperwork. We are going through the Call, which is an acrostic for Children of Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime. You can go here to read more about this wonderful organization. We will have our training in September followed by physicals, TB tests, CPR courses and more paperwork. We hope to have our home open to foster children by the first of the year. At this point we feel lead to take one child at a time, under one year of age. We are very excited about caring for the baby the Lord brings our way. We are open to foster care and adoption. Basically, we are open to love. It is our heart's desire to love, nurture and cherish the life of every little one He entrusts to our care however long or short that time may be. The unity that my man and I have felt through this whole process has been amazing. I will post the full story as time allows.

I do want to recommend a book to anyone interested in foster care or adoption. This book pushed me over the edge and just yanked so hard at my heart strings. It's The Middle Mom by Christie Erwin. I am giving one copy away to a randomly selected commenter. I've had the pleasure of getting to know the author and she has blessed me immensely and encouraged J and I as we begin this process.

So, comment away, peops. And, I must clarify this post and all future foster care/adoption related posts with the following statements: God has lead our family to this task. We do not think that every single family should adopt our views or foster our opinions. Pardon the puns. Teehehhee. Love to you all.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Julie/Julia Dinner Party

Last Friday, I had the honor of hosting a dinner party (with lots of help) for some very special folks. In attendance were my mom, my Nana, my mom's cousin Teresa who came all the way from Californ-I-A, my two older sisters, Amy (longtime friend of my two older sisters), and Julie and Krystal who were my two extra special guests. :) The party was inspired by the opening of the movie Julie and Julia and my obsession with Julia Child. We went to see the movie afterward and it was quite good, though not nearly as good as the before -the -movie part-ay. A little info about the party, I planned the menu meticulously with recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Julia's cookbook). This was a four course meal and it was a lot of work, but sooooo worth it! Onto the party, see the menu below:

Is it hard to read? Well, take a look at these pics....first off, as an appetizer we had a blue cheese ball with Carr's crackers (my ma's fave) and pineapple. Delirsh. Even non-blue cheese lovers said it was fantab.
Then we had french onion soup, topped with homemade croutons and swiss cheese. Julia's recipe for onion soup was quite a bit more time-consuming than I expected. My sister, ASA, who despises onions, ate her bowl of soup gladly claiming that it was "really good, and I don't like onions." I lurved it. I heart onions. And croutons. And cheese.

The main course was a mound of crepes filled alternately with a spinach and mushroom sauces and covered in a buttery, scrumptous bechamel. The crepes were paper thin and made by my sweet, sweet pal, Julie. I made three different sauces for this dish. It was insane. The sauces were a spinach cream, mushroom cream, and a bechamel. It took a loooooooong time to make the sauces. I made them ahead of time and just heated them back up the day of the party. Each mound had about 22 crepes. The mounds were cut into wedges and served with an extra dollop of bechamel and a garnish of fresh, minced parsley. We also had glazed carrots (super easy) and herb bread. The carrots took, you know, like five seconds to put together and they were fabulous. The bread is not a Julia recipe. Gasp. It's from The Pioneer Woman's site and it is some of the best bread I've ever made. Ever. In my life. And, it contained fresh basil from my garden which makes me feel so domestic.

And, dessert was a cream cheese tart topped with some lovely fruit. The crust was made from some lard I rendered a while ago and it was delish. The tart was prepared by my lovely sister, ASA, and it was a huge hit! The perfect end to a great meal.

I am so blessed to have such a fun mom who jumped right on board with my crazy plan. She graciously volunteered to have the party at her house. My nana was my right hand woman and helped me plate the food and serve all our guests among other things. I had a blast feeding people I love. Granted, throwing a dinner party for 10 people when you have three small kiddos is not a walk in the park, but I had a blast and learned a lot in the process. One of the biggest things I learned is this: If I am going to labor for a week over a meal, I should really invite my husband to the party or make sure he gets a plate the night of the event. I really love to cook for him and to not see his face at the table or hear what he thought of the meal made me realize how much I value his thoughts on what I cook. I really think my love language is food. :) Oh, and did I mention that I even dressed like Julia?

Me and two of my faves...Krystal on left, Julie on right.

I do have a few leftovers. Come over and raid my fridge. :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Overdue Vacay Post

Here are a few pics from our vacation. We had so much fun in Colorado and enjoyed lots of family time. We ate out a ton, I cooked very little and actually went shopping with three kiddos in tow. :) My man and I read The Count of Monte Cristo together during naptimes and at bedtime and it was great. I really enjoyed the book and the time with my babydad. We broke up the trip on the way there and here are a couple pics from the hotel room.

We celebrated the big boy's 4th birthday while in Colorado. It is so hard to believe that this sweet boy has been in our lives for four years. He has been a blessing from day one. I love his smile, his laugh, his voice and his sweet little boy smell. :)
Eating his birthday breakfast of choice; a "cashbrown".
Birthday dinner...he wanted mac-and-cheese, corn and fish sticks.

He'd been asking for chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing, marshmallows and chocolate chips for his birthday for months. Love the randomness...

Below are random pics from our trip: