Last night we were fortunate to host the A capella group Vanguard at a Christmas Party. Vanguard is a quartet of two men and two women who artfully performed an hour long concert all a capella, using only their voices and hands. It was especially delightful to hear Vanguard perform after watching the groups on The Sing Off–NBC’s a capella singing competition.

Here is a special Christmas video of Vanguard singing White Christmas.


For me and my family, home is Zionsville, Indiana. Zionsville is a Colonial Village of about 10,000 people. It has a charming brick Main Street and a small downtown area of antique stores, restaurants, toy stores, children, men, and women’s clothing, even a toy museum. It is a pleasant place to shop and stop for an afternoon cup of tea.

Some of the things that we love most about this town are the many festivals that it offers. This weekend December 5th and 6th is Christmas in the Village. It is a traditional Christmas celebration with Santa, a Christmas parade and carolers. The video below gives you a glimpse of what the celebration is like. We invite you to come and enjoy the fun!

Thanks to John Maler for sharing his wonderful video.

Please take a moment and sign my Guest Book below.

Check out my Guestbook!

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Locator map for Australia

Image via Wikipedia
Hi All,

I have seen the advertisements for the new show on ABC called Find My Family. I wondered what is your reaction to the show? It will show reunions of people who find a lost family member, friend or lost love. It has been a huge success in Australia where they say the emotion it reveals is real and not contrived.

Here is a link to a story on the show http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118005294.html?categoryid=1071&cs=1

and a link to a casting call showing the types of scenarios they hope to feature.


As an adoptive mom to twins from China, I am apprehensive about the show. Will the message conveyed encourage my daughters to search for more answers to the circumstances surrounding their birth? For many of our children, those answers are not possible to find.

What are your thoughts? I am hopeful that we can help one another. Please feel free to share your comments.

Follow me on twitter @talktodiane
Join me on facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/DianeFBrooks

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A New Taste Sensation

New Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters

New Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters

The kind folks at Nature Valley sent me samples of their new Granola Nut Clusters. I immediately loved the packaging–an easy to grab bag that reseals quite neatly. The nut clusters are delicious, a very tasty and chewy mouthful. I sampled all four of the varieties and liked them all, but if I had to choose I would pick the Nut Lovers and Roasted Almond. They were very crunchy and satisfying, 100% natural, a snack I did not have to feel guilty about.

Thanks to My Blogspark and Nature Valley for letting me test this delicious new product. Look for Nature Valley Nut clusters in the granola bar aisle.

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I am delighted to share this post by my first guest blogger Brooke Randolph. I will share more about Brooke at the end of her post. Read on! (top two photos courtesy of Michael Salazar)

Home is where the heart is. Home is where most of us go for renewal. Home is generally where we say we’re going when we visit our parents. I am writing this from my parents’ living room while my mom sits beside me and watches HGTV; we are both enjoying Mother’s Day. Home is bigger than a house and several locations can be part of Home. Although they no longer live there, my grandparents’ farm is a part of Home for me. Home is about safety, memories, nourishment, and family.

There are millions of children in the world that feel that they have no Home. These children may have nowhere to live, may be shuttled from location to location without a permanent residence, or may live in an institution. Beyond our physiological needs for shelter, food, and clothing, we have needs for protection, belongingness, and esteem. I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to spend time visiting orphanages, including several very nice child-centered facilities with staff that care about their children enough to ask us about each one that has left them. Talking to the staff and interacting with those children makes it clear that even the nicest orphanages cannot provide all that a child needs emotionally. These children need a Home.

I am proud to be a part of a team of professionals passionate about building families through adoption and finding loving Homes for orphans. We know the joy that adoption brings to both the child and family. My mother has a gift for hospitality and making others feel comfortable in her home; it has certainly impacted me throughout my life. I will share my Home by providing a Home for children in need of Home and a family. As part of a licensed child placing agency (LCPA) in the state of Indiana, it is my honor to help prepare parents to adopt and provide Homes for more children. The joy we see when the adopted child is in his or her new Home is the most important perk in all that I do.

Brooke Randolph

Brooke is a dynamo. She is extremely engaging, intelligent, and intriquing. You can follow Brooke on twitter @choosingchange or read her posts on http://www.MLJadoptions.com. Her private practice website can by found at http://www.Brooke-Randolph.com.

If you have personal experience with adoption–either yourself or through a friend or family member, I would love for you to share your thoughts!

My Sister in Law Katherine shared a freshly baked loaf of Artisan Bread with us tonight. On a very rainy and surprisingly cool day, a pot of Spicy Chicken Chili was the perfect accompaniment. Divine! Now I am ready to try the recipe myself. The original recipe is the basic one. There are a number of variations that can be found in the creators’ book Artisan Bread. Breaking bread with friends and family is a tradition to savor.

The video is short–just a little over 4 minutes and very helpful in understanding the technique!