Saturday, May 21, 2011

Adoption Online Community

Wow, a Facebook, LinkedIn kind of community for Adoption. Fascinating! Here is an press release for an amazing new website called www.DirectAdoptions.com. They connect parents wanting to adopt a baby & birth mothers together. What an amazing new avenue for adoption. I hope you find this as interesting as I do. - Tamra (a.k.a. The Frugal Mom)


Online Community Offers New Option for Birth mothers
Choosing Private, Open Adoption for Unwanted Pregnancies

Direct Adoptions.com™ uses a social networking platform to empower birth mothers and prospective adoptive parents by allowing them to meet directly without using an adoption agency in a process that is professional, safe, simple and affordable

www.DirectAdoptions.com™ is a new on-line community founded by adoptive parents to empower birth mothers and adoptive parents by increasing their direct access to private, affordable, open adoption. It is committed to providing a process, based on a social networking platform, that includes many of the positive attributes of traditional agency adoptions, such as professionalism and confidentiality, yet offers the further advantages of simplicity and affordability.

DirectAdoptions.com™ is endorsed by The National Adoption Foundation www.nafadopt.org which was also founded by adoptive parents who saw the need to address the fact that many prospective adoptive families and individuals with limited resources require financial support and assistance to meet the costs associated with agency adoptions.

“Finding a loving home for a child should not be deterred or become overly complicated by cost, uncertainty or complexity,” said Aaron Ghermezian, one of the founders of DirectAdoptions.com™ and an advocate for adoption reform. “The reality is that for adoptive couples and birth mothers, the adoption process can be frustrating, costly, and fraught with obstacles. Our goal is to empower birth mothers and prospective parents and encourage adoption as an option for all birth mothers, but especially for young, unwed mothers.”

The matching process offered by DirectAdoptions.com™ is straightforward: birth mothers who choose to participate register on the web site by filling out an uncomplicated confidential form. Prospective parents also register on the site, however, they provide more detailed profiles, including photos and videos that are available to the birth mothers to view. Birth mothers may review the profiles and decide if, when and how they would like to contact the prospective adoptive parents who have posted their profiles. The birth mothers remain anonymous until they agree to communicate openly and directly; birth mothers and adoptive parents communicate directly and make all decisions on going forward with the adoption process.

DirectAdoptions.com™ allows prospective parents to adopt for less cost and meet birth mothers directly, while birth mothers can actively choose a family for their child,” said Norman Goldberg, an adoptive parent who is also a founder of DirectAdoptions.com™.

All parties are required to follow applicable state child adoption laws. DirectAdoptions.com™ provides resources and information; however, it does not provide counselling or legal advice, and more importantly, does not act as an adoption agency.

There is no cost for birth mothers to join and register with DirectAdoptions.com™. Adoptive couples and individuals are asked to pay an initial $295 membership fee, with a $59 monthly maintenance fee; they are not required to sign a contract and may discontinue at any time after the first month. DirectAdoptions.com™ also includes forums, chats, groups, profiles, friends, photo galleries and calendars as a way to establish a unified community, provide peer support, and offer information and resources.

The National Adoption Foundation was established in 1994 by adoptive parents to address the unmet needs of adoptive families for financial support and advocacy. Everything the Foundation does is driven by a clear understanding of the challenges faced by families in the adoption process and beyond. The National Adoption Foundation is the only national resource dedicated exclusively to providing financial support, information and services directly to adoptive families.

“We've created DirectAdoptions.com™ as a community for adoptive couples and individuals to meet birth mothers in a safe, secure and anonymous environment. Birth mothers are free to directly contact as many prospective adoptive parents as they like,” said Mr. Ghermezian. “Our goal is to transform what with traditional adoption can be a negative experience, into a great experience within a vibrant community full of love and support.”

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yummy Breakfast or snack treat! Oh yeah!

I just came across this yummy recipe on Facebook on the 'Once Upon A Chef' website/link. She has such great ideas. And all have been tasty and simple to make. My kids will love this one! (If I don't eat them all first! LOL) Enjoy! Tamra (a.k.a. The Frugal Mom)

Crispy Honey Nut Granola Bars

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I’ve tried dozens of homemade granola bars over the years – some crunchy, some chewy, some loaded with dried fruit, some studded with chocolate chips, some with honey and some with peanut butter. This one, according to me, is the end-all, be-all. The secret ingredient (believe it or not) is Rice Krispies, which make them wonderfully light and crispy. In fact, if you can imagine what a cross between a granola bar and Rice Krispy Treat would taste like, this is it.



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To make them, begin by lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil and toasting old fashioned rolled oats and nuts in the oven.

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Add the unsweetened coconut about halfway through so it doesn’t burn.

Granola 1

In the meantime, combine honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and whisk to blend.

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Combine the wet and dry mixtures along with the Rice Krispies in a large bowl and toss well.

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Transfer the mixture to baking pan.

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Spread evenly with a spatula, and then bake for twenty minutes.

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Cool completely, then cut into rectangles.

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These bars are perfect for breakfast on the go, family outings, road trips or afterschool snacks. Once you try them, you’ll never go back to the boxed stuff again. Enjoy!

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Crispy Honey Nut Granola Bars
Printable Recipe

Makes 12-16 granola bars

Ingredients

1½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup sliced almonds
cup shredded unsweetened coconut (available at Whole Foods or natural food markets)
½ cup honey
¼ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup crisp rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil.

2. Spread the oats, walnuts and almonds onto prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast for 7 minutes. Add coconut and toss well, then place back in the oven to cook about 8 minutes more. Keep an eye on it towards the end; you want the coconut to turn golden but not burn.

3. In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract and salt in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir with a whisk until the brown sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off heat and set aside.

4. Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce heat to 300 degrees. Combine the the oat mixture, honey mixture and rice cereal in a large bowl and toss well. (Reserve aluminum foil.)

5. Use the reserved foil to line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, then spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Turn granola bar mixture out into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly, being careful not to press down too hard. Bake for 20 minutes (be sure heat is reduced to 300 degrees). Remove from the oven and cool completely, about 1-1½ hours. Use the foil overhang to tranfer bars to cutting board, then use a large knife to cut into rectangles. Store in a single layer in an airtight container for up to a week (do not stack the bars or they will stick together and fall apart).

*You can swap in your favorite nuts and seeds as long as you keep the proportions of dry to wet ingredients the same. You can also toss in some dried fruit. On occasion, I’ll sprinkle some chocolate chips over top for the kids (you can't mix them in or they'll melt).

**Be sure your oven is fully preheated before toasting nuts; the initial blast of heat to preheat the oven can burn them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

looking for a babysitter? childcare provider? nanny??

Hi ladies,

I was listening to the radio (Froggy 101 to be exact) a few weeks ago and heard an advertisement for Care.com. Now I thought this is a great concept, but does it really work? So I thought I would try it out and see. They are a website that puts parents in touch with babysitters.

This sight is great! You are able to see childcare providers in your area, get their references, availability, and background checks are done already. You are able to correspond with them to see if it is a right match for you both. And you can also post a job if you are looking for someone to care for your child/children. They have areas for pet care providers, special needs providers, tutors. Tips on how to interview a potential sitter, healthy meal ideas, activities for kids etc.

They even have a payment calculator! You put in the zip code you live, how many children and the amount of experience the sitter has..... and it tells you what you should be paying hourly. I mean how many times have you had no idea what you should pay your sitters!

So I went on the sight and found several sitters in my area of PA. Spoke to each of them and was pleased with their experience and personalities. I used 1 of the sitters and was very happy, my kids loved her and will defiantely be calling her again soon.

This is a great tool for moms. I also do childcare in my home and a mom found me and now I am watching her daughter. Awesome. Hope this helps you too! As always I love to hear your feedback! - Tamra (a.k.a. The Frugal Mom)