Monday, August 19, 2013

Aloo tikki for Rakhi Day

First, a bit of good news -- Anya's travel visa is finished and in our hands!

Second, this Wednesday is Rakhi Day (also called Raksha Bandhan), our favorite Indian holiday!  It celebrates the bonds of love between brothers and sisters.  Our kids exchange and wear string bracelets to symbolize the ties between siblings, and give each other candy to symbolize the sweetness of their love for each other.

Anya helps by mashing the potatoes.
This spring, when Sunil was visiting, I tried a new recipe that I'll be making again for Rakhi Day.  It's a type of flavorful potato patty served with tamarind or mint chutney.  You can make it as spicy as you wish by adding more chopped peppers.  We received this recipe when we attended Dillon International's India Heritage Camp last summer -- which is open to any India-adoptive families, by the way, not just those who have worked with Dillon!


6 medium potatoes, baked, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup peas
1 Tbsp oil
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. finely chopped ginger (or 1 tsp. ground ginger)
2 Tbsp. chopped coriander leaves (or 1/2 tsp. ground coriander)
2 Tbsp. chopped green chilies
     (anaheim peppers or poblano peppers are a good substitute if you can't find fresh green chilies)
1/2 Tbsp. red chili powder
1 Tbsp. chaat masala*
1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

In a large bowl, mash the baked potatoes.  Add oil, peas, salt, cumin, ginger, coriander, chilies, chili powder, chaat masala, garam masala, and cilantro.  Make tikkis (patties) about 3 " in diameter. Brush the tikkis with oil, and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet or baking pan.  Broil for 10 minutes, then turn over and broil for another 5 minutes.  Serve with tamarind chutney and mint chutney.

*If you don't live near an Indian grocery store, you can G*ogle "chaat masala" to find recipes for the chaat spice combination.  Penzey's sells garam masala.

Yummy!  An easy, tasty side dish to replace mashed potatoes or french fries . . . Enjoy!!

Monday, August 12, 2013


Spices at a market during our trip to bring Anya home -- gorgeous and fragrant.
We are officially in court limbo.  Since hearing that our case was verbally approved, we have heard nothing about whether the judge has signed the written court order.  And that precious piece of paper is what will allow the orphanage staff to apply for K's passport! 

Also, we have no idea whether they will notify us when they send in the application for her passport.  The orphanage uses a computer that is off-site, about an hour away.  They are very prompt about e-mailing when they have news, but we aren't sure if they will consider each of the above steps "news."  (Although we sure do!)

Can't wait to be surrounded by beautiful faces in India again.

And Anya's travel visa is also in limbo . . . Would you all please pray about that?  We have been exchanging a frustrating series of e-mails and Fed*Ex packages with the visa office. 

E-mail from visa office:  "Please send us color photocopies of Anya Rashi's U.S. passport."
Us: Wha . . .?   Her passport is currently in your possession, in the first package we mailed. 

Another e-mail from visa office: Please send us an additional fee of $---.00
Us: Umm . . . the check for that amount is also currently in your office in the second package we mailed.

Muy frustrato.  (Not really a Spanish speaker, as you can tell.)

This week, we will be calling them to attempt to speak to a human being, and/or driving 4 hours each way to try and straighten things out.  Argh. Times like these are when I really appreciate the luxury of doing this as a team -- when I am frustrated, Peter has a calm head, and vice versa (most of the time!).  It really makes me admire my single friends who have waded through adoption paperwork on their own . . . you ladies are amazing!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Visas, balloons, golf & bike skills

In the two weeks since our verbal court approval, so much has happened!  We applied for travel visas . . . and discovered we had never renounced Anya's Indian passport.  Oops. 

So we had a little form-filling-out to do, and we're back in business.  So FYI . . . if you've/ already welcomed your child home and hope to make a return trip to India in the future, you're supposed to do that within 3 years of their arrival. 

We are still waiting for news of our written approval from the judge, then our orphanage can apply for K's passport . . . And when we have the written order, we can share her picture online!

* * * * * *

In other family news, my brother Matt, my sister Alicia and I had given our parents a hot air balloon ride for Mother's and Father's Day and their summer birthdays, and it was finally time for their ride.  The kids, Peter and I got to help the crew set up the balloon, and we "chased" it and helped pack up the balloon at the end.  It was just magical to see it take off into the sky!

And my sporty Mom -- that lady has a lot of gumption!  She is on a committee for a fundraiser/golf outing at her church, and had the idea to write to Wisconsin pro golfer Steve Stricker and ask if he would join them for the golf outing.  Well, he was a little busy this weekend playing in a tournament, so he couldn't come . . . but he sent an autographed baseball cap for the outing, and he signed a baseball cap just for my Mom too!  What a great guy -- and what a fun surprise for my Mom!

* * * * * *

And my former kindergartener is now officially a two-wheel bike rider!  During previous summers, Anya has ridden on longer bike rides in a trailer behind me -- but that screeched to a halt this year.  I was huffing and puffing during our first two rides of the summer, thinking, "Man, am I out of shape or what??!" 

Well, we've been able to see how tall she grew over the past year -- she's wearing size 7 and 8 clothes (how did that happen?). But we didn't realize that she's also about 10 pounds heavier than last summer.  No wonder it felt a little different for me as I pedaled!  That's a little salve for my fitness ego, too . . .  :o) 

She did an amazing job finding her balance quickly -- it took only two tries for her to ride away from her Daddy's balancing hands.  I loved watching her face change from tentative and fearful, to surprise that she was riding on her own, to gleeful victory.