Friday, March 30, 2012

New Noonday Awesomeness

It's no big secret that I'm a crazy Noonday fan. Today I'm sharing a few faves out of the new spring collection. You know I have a tendency to post way too many pictures when I do this, but this is the best I can do. I want it all!!!

The D'Orsay Bangle

Beachside Necklace

This Way Necklace

Kenyan Kikoy

The Louvre Bangle

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Haiti Family of the Week

Hey hey, you guys! I am blown away by the generosity you have all shown to all the families this week. I thought bringing in more families might result in fewer donations, and I'm so happy I was wrong. You are my favorite people on the planet! I'm all mushy inside now.

Since we've got a new program on here I thought I'd tell you a little about it in case your in those first stages. Haiti is stinkin' beautiful. The kids are beautiful. The process is very interesting and quirky. We tried to go down this road, but it's not going to work this time, but let me tell you about it just in case it works for your family. There are three main requirements to adopt from Haiti and they are pretty strict about it. There is some buzz about laws changing, but so far that hasn't happened, so here's the current scoop.

  • Parents need to be at least 35.

  • Married at least 10 years.

  • No more than 2 biological kids.

Please keep me up to speed if any of that has changed (update: check the comments section for extra details there if you're interested in Haitian adoption policies)! I'm telling you this because they needs willing parents over there, and the qualifications are tough, so if you happen to meet that set of criteria, Haiti just might be for you. You get your referral very early in the process, shortly after finishing your home study. And then you are free to visit and bond with your child as much as you want while the legal end is being completed. Really interesting program. And the flight's not too long either. ;) So there's the scoop on Haitian adoption as understood by me. And here's our first family embarking on that journey. The Sleasmans are matched to two little sweeties. You can read more about them and their journey on their seriously informative blog. And you can donate right here. Thank you so much!

[vimeo w=400&h=300]

Sleasman Adoption Video [Give 1 Save 1] from Brent Sleasman on Vimeo.

***Our running total so far is $580!***

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Random, But Awesome Stuff

There is no rhyme or reason to this post! Just a bunch of stuff you need to know. Here we go.

#1. You might be missing some killer awesome giveaways. The Hoke family, our Africa family this week, have been doing some pretty cool giveaways on their blog. Today is a beautiful handmade batik sling bag, your choice. I have my eye on the turquoise one! Go check out the giveaway and get entered! Details here.

2. The Haiti house that we've been working on all month is almost entirely funded!!! Go you guys!!! There is still one more day to donate. Tomorrow our first Haiti adopting family will be taking over the Paypal button. If you're late to the party you can always donate to the Haiti Safe House HERE.

3. The Mowens are one of our first dear families. I love the week they had on here and their wild story. It's got God's hand all over it. They've actually been home for a few weeks now with their new boys, but if you are adopting soon and need to navigate those awkward waters of the first weeks, let me point you to Tara's gentle post regarding friends and family and their role in the early stages. It's perfectly worded. I've heard a bunch of people say "Can I just copy that?". Add me the that list.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Asian Family of The Week

OK, guys, here's the big change I've been messing with. I don't know if it's going to fly. It's up to you guys. But I think there's some awesome potential here, so let's give it a go. We're maxing out Give1 Save1 by adding the final region, Asia, to the line-up. I will never ask you for more than $3 a week (Africa, Haiti, and Asia), this is as big as it's going to get. But adding these regions will teach us more about options and changes and what's going on in the world outside of America and Africa. And I'm really excited about expanding the Give1 family. I think it will ultimately lead to higher donation totals for everyone. Crossing fingers!

So for our first Asia reps, let's give a warm welcome to the Russell family. The are adopting a 5 year old boy from the Philippines. I asked Mom about the program and how it works, and I'm telling you, it seems like such an organized and smooth process. I am NOT any kind of expert at all in this arena, so totally don't believe me, do your research. But it looks well worth researching if you're just starting out. Here's a few things Emily had to say about it:
The Philippines is a GREAT place to adopt from.  First of all, in the international adoption world, it is significantly less to adopt over there.  You only have to make one trip, and it is only 4-6 days, which makes it so nice for us mommas that have to leave little ones at home!  It is a Hague country, and they are very thorough in their medical reports.  There is a very long wait for babies, but if you are willing to take a waiting child it is 6-12 months from the time you submit your application to the time you have them tucked into their new bed!  Our agency (which I highly recommend) has whats called a pre-approval.  If we find a waiting child we would like, they send the request to ICAB - the Filipino board of adoption- and ICAB chooses whether or not to pre-approve us for the child.  If they say yes, then that child is on hold for us, while we get our dossier over there, so you don't run the risk of falling in love with them, and having another family get there first. 

Let me know if you have any questions! 

You can follow the Russells adoption as it unfolds over here at their blog.

You can donate right here. And you can watch their video right here.


***So far our running total is $640!!!***

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Great Idea (And A Question).

First, the Great Idea.

It's totally not mine. It's a brilliant idea that I found via Pinterest (all of my great ideas are completely unoriginal and come straight from Pinterest). The clever lady behind it is Carissa, from lowercase letters. She came up with the idea to use a SMASH book as a scripture scrapbook to help the littles memorize scripture (and I just happened to have an extra SMASH laying around). My 6 year old is taking to it like crazy. I involved the kids (as much as I could) in the process of creating it, and it's not at all done yet. We're doing one page every day or two. Here are a few we've done so far.

Little Mister is absolutely loving making these. In fact, he has taken to scouring the Bible to find verses he likes. He's six, so this is a little different, but we're going with it. I love that he considers 'pools' and 'cats' to be a good and perfect gift. This is a fun age. Now here's where I totally deviate from the normal Give1 post, so I'm trying to tie it together, see...

I promised said Little Mister that he could make a cameo on Give1 Save1 instead of our regular family blog. He actually knows that this one gets more traffic and he wants a bunch of comments. In fact, he'll be checking this post obsessively to see if there are any responses, so I beg you, help a mom out! For a project he needs to graph these results. Here we go...

I mustache you a question... What is your favorite color? Red, blue, green, yellow, or orange?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

New Africa Family of the Week

Hey Guys,

I am so happy to finally introduce you to a family that has been here pretty much from Day 1. Say hi to the Hoke Family. Mama, Ginny, is one of the most reliable givers on here. I can almost guarantee that if you or someone you love has been featured on Give1 Save1, the Hokes have donated to them. Regardless of the fact that they are fundraising for their own adoption. Regardless of the fact that you may not know them. I love that about this group! It would mean so much to this lady right here if you would reciprocate. Let's really pound that donate button and say thanks for sticking around with this group for so long!

Here's where we'll keep the running total, which right this second is $1521!!! 

[vimeo w=400&h=300]

Our Adoption Journey: Part 1 from Ginny Hoke on Vimeo.

Friday, March 23, 2012

5 Minutes + $.00 = Big Impact

Wanna do something HUGE to help thousands of families afford adoption? It’ll take five minutes of your time. And it won’t cost you a penny. Seriously.

Are you in?

Then help Give1Save1 get the Adoption Tax Credit extended! For adoptions finalized in 2012 and before, the US Government was actually a big help to adopting families. Many families were eligible for around $12,000 in tax assistance to offset the immense costs of adoption. While Obama’s healthcare reform extended and enhanced the Adoption Tax Credit, it is set to be dramatically reduced for adoptions finalized in 2013 and beyond.

American World Adoption has put together a convenient advocacy kit; please click here. The article includes links to contact your local lawmakers, and it includes links to sample phone scripts and letters to email to your representatives. For more information about the Adoption Tax Credit, click here.

Seriously, contacting Congress will take just five minutes of your time. I did it, and I even got lovely emails back from some of them! This is a bipartisan issue we can all band together to support. Thousands of families, including the wonderful people we meet each week on Give1Save1, are depending on this tax incentive to help make adoption possible. More than that, thousands of the world’s orphans are counting us to remove the hurdles that are blocking their futures.

Join us. Contact Congress. Spread the word.

(Can I get a "God Bless America?")

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Am I the only nut who loves Spring Cleaning? I just love the sense of freshness and renewal that Spring brings…from the dewy air to knowing that the neglected corners of my house are now dust bunny-free.

I must admit I love cleaning, because I love my cleaning products. I can’t stand to clean with harsh chemicals, and I just love the selection of gentle cleaning products on the market today. They smell great, and they are cheap (at least the way I use them).

First up, I heart Method Wood Floor Cleaner. It smells like almonds, and it does a great job cleaning with NO residue. I dilute my cleaner with water (1:1 ratio) to make it last longer and to tone down the scent. You just squirt it right on your floor and mop it up with a washable microfiber mop cover. You can get this for $4 or $5 at Lowe's and other retailers. With dilution, a bottle will last you a couple dozen mops.

Next, I might be addicted to Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products. I have the Lavender and Geranium hand soap refills, and I honestly love to wash my hands because of it. But the real gem is the concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner. For $7, you can get a 32 oz. bottle of this powerful stuff. I pour just a splash into a spray bottle, fill the rest with water, and I have a great-smelling cleaner that is safe to use on granite. A 32 oz. bottle lasts me 8-10 months. (Maybe more…I just can’t remember the last time I bought the stuff.) Mrs. Meyer’s products are made with natural ingredients, and the smell is seriously amazing.

Caldrea products are very similar to Mrs. Meyer’s – in fact they are made by the same company. Check out the Ginger Pomelo for a really fresh scent.

You can also make your own all natural cleaners for a completely non-toxic, budget-friendly option. Check out this site for lots of ideas, including lavender scented vinegar.

There! I just made cleaning a little less of a chore, and I put a little more money in your wallet to donate to the family we’re supporting this week!  

Oh, and don't forget to start cleaning out your closets and basements for the Give1 Garage Sale on March 24!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Scene, Not Herd

Allow me to introduce you to a fun little shop I just found, Scene, Not Herd. Holly Doden is an adopting mom using her site to fundraise to get her little one home from the DRC. Check out the awesomeness in the shop. I could sit here and attach all the pictures, but that would be silly. Just go check it out! Trust me.

Africa Necklace 14k Gold

Camera Necklace Hand Stamped Charm

Lantern Shine Necklace

Pocketwatch Necklace with Citrus Flowers

And this one's a pocket watch too. Looks like I'll be making my Mother's Day list right here. Hint hint, Honey (ahem, the gold Africa necklace). If you're as smitten as I am with this shop, then I have good news for you. Holly is giving all of us free shipping! Just use the code GIVE1SAVE1 at check out.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Victory! And Celebratory Shopping.

You guys! Guess what?! Our home study is done. I know it took forever. I know. But we had that little incident early on in the process where my youngest caught her face on fire. That was a road bump. Lots of holidays were sprinkled in there. And some indecision about what program to pursue. Anyhow, in the end we decided not to pursue Haiti after all as the law that we hoped would change did not. It still may. If you're waiting on Haiti, don't give up hope. It could still happen any day. But we've decided to stick with Ethiopia. Maybe Haiti next time. Maybe not. We shall see. But anyway, bla bla bla. The point is that our home study is done!!!! That's a huge big honkin' deal!!!

We are approved for a little girly, 0-5, so I can't go out and buy dresses or anything, but I did snag some fun stuff that any little girl would love (a Pillow Pet, a blanket, some funky sunglasses, and a Littlest Pet Shop backpack). Who doesn't love a Pillow Pet, right? I think Pillow Pets cross cultural divides. Yep. So I'm jumping the gun shopping for care package stuff. It's like when you get your first ultrasound and buy some gender neutral bibs just so you can buy something to represent that this is actually happening. Something to fill up space in this house that proves that someday she'll be here. I'm pumped, you guys.

And on a different note, could you kindly celebrate with me by hitting that donate button over there? That one at the top? It's not for us, we're done fundraising, but the Tenges family could use a some love getting their little one home. That would actually mean the world to me and I would feel like we're all having a big old jumping up and down group hug.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Africa Family of the Week

***update: we are at $908 for the family of the week!!!***

Hey, you guys. I hope you had a good weekend and a good Spring Break! Welcome to the new week.

This week, we're hanging out with the whimsical Tenges family. Don't they look like fun? They just do. Little Tenges will be lucky to have such cool parents. :)

A word from Mama Tenges: We have received tremendous support from those around us, and God continues to provide for each step as we go. We almost have enough saved up for submitting the dossier, when that needs to be done. We know that our biggest struggle may be getting all of the money for the travel and such, but we know it will happen. So far, we have had a pretty smooth process (except for the parts where I get overwhelmed because I want to do everything all at once).


My 3 year old is making me watch this video over and over! To follow along with their journey to Little Tenges click here. And to donate, click here. Or right below you. Or to the right. Whichever button you so choose.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Oh, How I Love This Verse

Don't you love it when you happen across a verse in that great big book that you never knew was there. Or maybe it never much before, but now it does...

There Is Freedom Art Print


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Real Food.

You know, we plan on making ethnic food, food that might remind our little ones of where they came from. The funny thing is that recipes are so different. Here or there. Your chili recipe is not my chili recipe and if you eat someone else's chili it might really be a surprise. So while we navigate the recipes for their native food and preferences, let me suggest an alternate focus.

Jen Hatmaker said in her guest post last week that though she intended to make injera all the time, whole, natural foods were what he kids needed.

You are going to have good luck with whole foods. Our littles didn’t even know what processed food was. They eat like sane people in Ethiopia, meaning, well, real food. You know, that was grown. Our kids ate eggs, avocados, tropical fruit, beef, chicken, sweet potatoes, and stuff like that until I figured out how to cook some of their favorites. Your son can eat ten avocados a day for three weeks and live. Um, I’ve heard.

That makes perfect sense. Really our kids should be eating more of that anyway. So in an attempt to do revamp the grocery list around here, I found this site and used the free menu plan (week 4). It's been fantastic. First of all, my grocery bill was $148. That's unheard of for us. And it's the whole week! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. That's crazy! If I'm honest, the whole grain baking is not awesome for me yet. And I cheated a little. I know I'm supposed to make the granola myself, but I can't really see that happening. Instead I bought some natural, organic stuff that had no funky stuff in the label. So hopefully, while I wait (and wait and wait) for the latest Cupitt to debut, I can prepare the rest of us for eating stuff that comes from the actual Earth.

*our favorite recipe so far: pork carnitas tacos with tomatillo salsa. photo via {100 days of Real Food}* Go now! Make this! Though I will admit that I bought the tortillas. Again, can't really see making my own tortillas at this point, but we're making strides. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sseko Spring Sandals

Kula Sandal

Regalia Graphic Silk Sandals

[vimeo w=400&h=225]

Sseko Way from Sseko Designs on Vimeo.

Sseko has a few new awesome straps for their spring debut! These are some of my faves. I love the graphic prints and wild colors. So fresh. I wish mine looked like this with my short shorts! Ha! Um, luckily they're pretty cute with a maxi skirt too!

Monday, March 12, 2012

How Did I Not Know About This?!

I might just be the last person on the planet to know about this. That happens to me a lot, actually. But just in case... This is the coolest thing ever! It's a website chockful of the newest and coolest books. Beautiful illustrations. Silly, fun books. Classics. There are hundreds and more added all the time, apparently. They are free to read.

But here's the super cool bit. You have to make an account (takes less than 10 seconds with your facebook account) and then it will log what you read. You can add favorites to your library. Then after you read each book you hit the button to give a book. You choose the campaign you want to read for (Africa Library Project, World Vision, Read for Central America, etc.) and then a book is donated for each one that you read. Is that not the best win-win ever?! My kids are hooked!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Africa's Family of the Week

Hey guys,

Just to keep you  up to speed (and myself as I figure all this out) we have added Haiti and Asia to our line-up of adoptions that we support. So far we don't have any families ready to roll besides our African families, but when we do they'll have a day to themselves. Feel free to donate to any or all that you feel led to. I'm so excited about the growth and variety that we're seeing here!

Now, on to our family of the week. The Thompsons are this close to picking up their 4 year old little boy from Ethiopia. Let me let Mom tell you a little more about it:

We started this process like most families ready and willing to wait patiently on a list until we got a referral.  However as we were finishing our home study a little guy caught my attention on our agencies waiting list.  We prayed for him to find a family and as a month went by started praying more for him and the family that was going to adopt him.  One night as we were praying for a family to open their hearts to adopt him I could feel the Lord telling me, "you are the family your praying for".  After that we were forced to ask ourselves why we were adopting to begin with....was it for ourselves?  Or was it for God?  And if it was for God, like we said, we knew we had to trust Him with it.  

We got our son's referral three weeks later and about a month after finished our dossier.  Then 10 months after we applied to adopt we found ourselves flying to Ethiopia to go meet our son.  Our process has gone super fast.  CRAZY fast in any adoption.  Especially international adoption.  We are grateful at every opportunity the Lord has given us to fund raise and we are blessed that so far He has supported us through this journey.  

[vimeo w=400&h=300]

Another cool tidbit about this family... Desiree makes all kinds of cool stuff in her shop, Hannah James. She partners with an adopting family each month and donates 45% of the profit to that family towards funding their adoption. You can find out more on her blog, which will be doing a giveaway every day this next week, so don't miss it!

UPDATE*** So far we're up to $949 for this family!

Friday, March 9, 2012

West Elm and Aid for Artisans

You know I'd take any reason to shop at West Elm. It's my fave. Well, here's one more reason I'm loving Pottery Barn's funky little sister.

West Elm has teamed up with Aid to Artisans, a nonprofit that links artisans all over the world with new markets and buyers. In fact, West Elm is their biggest retail collaborator. And I'm so glad. Because look at all this stuff. Beautiful Indian textiles and witty and modern paper mache from Haiti. It's a win win really. So there ya go, a reason to shop. Like you needed one!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Guest Post by Emily Anderson of The Anderson Family Crew

Hey, everybody! We've got another guest post today from Emily of the Anderson Family Crew. If you're new here, welcome. Be sure and check out our whole week of posts this week. On this blog we donate $1 a week to an adopting family. This week we have two. We have been absolutely blessed to have such fabulous women contribute their experience and wisdom to us on behalf of our family of the week and the Haitian safe house. If each of us donated a dollar today, we could build the entire safe house and put a serious dent in the Gregory family's adoption. Please donate to support them and to say thank you to our guest posters this week for their generosity and general awesomeness. The donate buttons are over there to your right. Thanks! And now, our post from Emily:


Beth asked me if I would write about what we have done to help transition our daughter from Africa to our home.

I felt so bad when I got that e-mail because really, I hadn't done much.

When our daughter, Elsa, came home back in March we were thrilled!  We had so many plans for her, for us.  Plans that included keeping Africa alive in her heart.

 But then, plans changed.  God showed us a different path when I, surprisingly, got pregnant just a few short weeks after she was home.

This normally would be a pleasant surprise, but for us, it was hard.

I suffer from the severest form of "morning sickness" (clearly a man named that cause it's not just morning sickness) and was laid up on the couch for the next several months, and in and out of the hospital.

This baby would make us a family of 8 (our oldest child is 7), so to say that I had a lot on my plate, was an understatement.

I look back on that time now, and while I was in it, I would have traded anything to not be there...but now I can confidently say that I learned so much from that experience.

It's when I'm in the depths that I cling to my Jesus.  And rest assured, I clung.

So, instead of a post about transitioning, I thought I would write up a post about what we hoped, versus reality.

Hopefully this will make some of you, who might be in the depths too, feel somewhat normal.

What we hoped for:

To learn Amharic and have totally awesome conversations with our Amharic speaking daughter.

What really happened:

No Amharic was learned.  And instead, Elsa was basically taught English by Dora the Explorer.

And a little Spanish.

I'm sure she was thoroughly confused.

What we hoped for:

Beautiful African hair that looked amazing everyday.

What really happened:

A hot mess, mainly my fault.

What we hoped for:

Injera made weekly, so that she could have a bit of Africa here.

What really happened:

A lot of macaroni and cheese.

What we hoped for:

To acquire some Ethiopian music for her to have.

What really happened:

She memorized all the words to Beyonce's "Single Ladies", thanks to my other children.

You was not easy after we adopted (duh) but we can't look back and hold any regrets.

The Lord was there...even amidst the macaroni and Dora.  He knew we wouldn't be able to do this on our own...and I'm pretty sure, prior to Elsa being home, I was thinking "I got this Lord"...

Yah right, he said.

Even though it was not the most ideal transition, it was our transition.

And we might have failed at keeping Africa alive in her heart, but we didn't fail at filling that hole with love (even though it wasn't always easy).

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Guest Post by Lara, The Farmer's Wife

Today we have another awesome guest post from Lara, from the Farmers Wife Tells All. 
In July of 2010 our family began the journey of international adoption. We had two biological kids at the time, Cade was 3 and Ellie was just 9 months old. Because of the ages of our children, the agency we chose said we were only eligible to adopt a child under 1 year old. They had a policy against disrupting birth order. We felt satisfied with that and began the process.

8 months later, we were up to our necks in all things adoption. We received our monthly waitlist number and celebrated each time it moved down.

Then things took a sharp and drastic turn. Through an unforeseen set of events, God broke our hearts for waiting children. Older children and special needs children, who no one lines up for. I knew our agency had a waiting child list and we began to look at it and pray about adopting a waiting child. We realized this meant we would most likely disrupt the birth order of our family, something that is controversial in the adoption community. After much prayer, we had total peace about adopting a child older than our Ellie, now 17 months old. God also showed us that Cade, now 4, should remain our eldest. We saw that he relished his position as firstborn and we did not want to take that from him.

After much prayer and reflection, we approached our agency. We knew their policy on disrupting birth order was firm, but we were also confident that the child God had for us wasn't an infant. And guess what?

They said no. Our request was out of the question and wouldn't be considered.

We prayed again. Was this the proverbial "door closing?"

Then came the difficult decision. We left our agency, and a sizeable amount of money, and chose to pursue a waiting child. We never looked back.

The path the Lord took us on from there was a wild one. Just three months after leaving our agency, we accepted the referral of a 3 year old boy from another country. His referral picture showed a frowning child with a bloated belly. We began planning for him to join our family.

Then we received an e-mail one day stating more information had been discovered about our child and he wasn't 3 after all. He was 4. Not only that, he was just 6 weeks younger than our Cade! If disrupting birth order is sometimes frowned on in adoption, artificial twinning is thought to be even more "risky." Yet, we had total peace that THIS was our child. We moved forward.

Four months ago, we brought our son home. Almost daily someone asks nervously, "How's it going....?" and everyday I answer them

It has been amazing. We have struggled. We have laughed and cried and lost sleep. We have had issues and we have dealt with them.

God has been so good to our family. He has done a miraculous healing work in my child's heart. My child, who has seen more than any 4 year old should, loves us. He gives hugs and asks to be held. He smiles and makes eye contact and is happy to be in a family.

And what about my other two children? Well, they've learned greater compassion than just about any other preschoolers I know. Cade has accepted his younger brother with wide open arms, and we sometimes laugh that we don't know what those two ever did without each other. They laugh, play, and (sometimes) fight, just like brothers do. Our little Ellie is never far from her older brothers, stepping in the middle of their train track or knocking down their block creation.  The three of them make messes and mischief.

Please know, I never said it was easy. Nor do I think this path is for everyone. Yet, our God has never left us and has shown himself to be faithful.

Thank you, Lara! If you'd like to read more of The Farmer's Wife Tells All, let me point you to my super fave, The Shallow Gal's Guide to Africa. There are some gems in there. And before you leave, hit that donate button over on your right to support the adoption of the week.