Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pin Crazy

Hello and Happy Thursday, friends!!
It is time for another Pin Crazy party! Probably the easiest link up of all time, if you ask me ;)

Living In This Season

Meet your hosts:
Each week, your pins get seen on all four of our blogs! I highly recommend following these sweet ladies if you aren't already!
All Kinds of Things
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter


Almond Place
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter



She Builds Her Home
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter


Living In This Season
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter
Party Rules:
1. Link up your PIN (Not your post)!
2. Hop around and pin at least 2 other pins!
That's it!

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

On Adoption Fundraising


Oh fundraising. 
I have such a love-hate relationship with you. (Ok, mostly hate right now if we are being perfectly honest....)
I am really bad at fundraising. Some people seem to have a natural gift for fundraising, but honestly, it makes me really uncomfortable. 
No matter how you spin it, you are asking people for money. And it is awkward. But it's also really good and God has taught me a lot through it. 
I have read articles and blog posts about adoption fundraising (the negative side of them) written by wide varieties of people from annoyed friends to adoptees themselves. All of these people felt like if people can't afford an adoption on their own, then they shouldn't adopt. I couldn't disagree with this more. No, not only because we need to fundraise, but because it is about a child getting a family, not a family getting a child. When I feel awkward and don't want to do it and keep putting the next fundraiser off, I have to remind myself that this money is not for us. This money is for a child. It is for one of the millions of orphans out there who need a family to care for them and love them. It is not about me. It is not about my husband. It is about them. Them and God. If everyone that couldn't afford to adopt didn't, how many more kids would be living in orphanages and shelters, or on the streets? I recently saw this graphic...
(Sorry, I do not have a source for this.)

ONE family from 1 out of every 3 churches. That is NOT very many at all, you guys. And just think. What if each of those 3 churches came together to finance those adoptions? Depending on the size of the congregation that would probably be less than $100 from each attending family. Not every person is called to adopt, but every Christian is called to care for orphans. 
James 1:27 "Religion that God accepts as pure and without fault is this: caring for orphans and widows who need help, and keeping yourself free from the world's evil influence" 
Notice it doesn't say "adopting orphans" but "caring for orphans". One way you can care for them is by supporting those families who are being called by God to adopt them. 
We have been really blessed by a few people throughout this process so far thanking us for allowing them to help. I am so blown away by that! Who thanks you for allowing them to give you money?! Kind, generous, God loving people, that's who. We have run into some naysayers and people who disagree with it, but for the most part, people have the general attitude of wanting to help. 
I think one reason it has been so hard for us is because we know there are so many needs out there. There are crowd funding pages shared all over Facebook every day, asking for money for everything from vacations to medical expenses. There are a lot of people who need help and a lot of people asking for money. Why should someone give money to our cause?! I don't have an answer for that except that children belong in families and we are just a family trying to following God's calling. 
The other biggest reason why fundraising is hard is because of pride. I don't know about you, but I don't want to have to ask people for money. Yes, it is going to a great cause and ONLY to that cause but I still would love it if that money was just dropped in our lap, or I woke up one day with $40,000 extra dollars in our bank account (ok, who wouldn't want that?). It is hard to humble ourselves and ask. It is hard to step back and let God work. Aside from cutting our expenses where we can, making extra money where we can (garage sales, selling stuff on Craigslist, donating plasma, etc.), and things like that, we are trusting in God to provide it through people, grants, and more. I've seen it time and time again-the amazing story of His provision. I recently read something in terms of adoption funding that said "If God wills it, He will fund it." It is really hard to have that mindset when you are at risk of getting into a seriously sticky financial situation, but we trust that is true. 
So maybe the question still on your mind is why do families need to fundraise? The answer is that adoption is insanely expensive. Yes, you can adopt very inexpensively or even at no cost from foster care, but for various reasons that is not the right path for everyone to take. The cheapest I have seen a domestic adoption through an agency or lawyer is $14,000 (very rare), and the most expensive I have seen is $48,000 NOT including travel, post placement, home study and finalization expenses. Not very many people have $30-40,000 laying around. (You can read my breakdown of adoption expenses here.) Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to ask other people to step in and help a child gain a family. 
I feel like for us, adoption fundraising is one of those hard but so good areas where God grows and stretches us and we learn so much from it. He is in control of it all and we have to have faith that it will all work out according to His plan. But isn't that really how all of adoption goes? 
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Monday, April 20, 2015

DIY Painted Striped Headboard

I am super excited to share this tutorial for a DIY painted striped headboard with you all today! 
I have been wanting to make a headboard for our bed for several years now. We have never had one and it just looks so blah without one. I actually just noticed on Timehop yesterday that we moved into our house one year ago yesterday! I think we are officially past the point where any excuses are acceptable to why we haven't done something, so this was perfect timing. It took me a lot longer to get to it than I wanted, but once I got to it, it went so quickly and turned out so well! 

Here is what you will need to make a similar headboard. 
*Painters tape
*Roller brush (I prefer a small-ish foam roller)
*Paint (I used a quart of paint + primer for the base and a sample size of the color I wanted)
*Plywood cut to size

So the first step is going to be to go get your supplies. Some hardware stores will make wood cuts for you for free so I would recommend going to one of those (Home Depot for sure does). They can get it so much straighter with the equipment they have. Measure your bed and have it the exact width of your bed and then decide how tall you want it to be and have them cut at those measurements. We chose just a simple plywood that was about $13 for a sheet. I was hoping to find one that was already white but we had no luck so we just chose one that was sturdy but not too thick. 

I apologize for the shadowy and not the best photos--garage lighting isn't great. 

Go ahead and lay everything out and paint your board the main color, which for me was just the white that came in the can. It took me 3 coats to get it just right and thick enough and by the time I finished one coat it was already dry where I started so this didn't take long at all.
For the next step I did wait until the next day just to make sure it was really dry and solidified on there and the tape wouldn't bring any of the bottom layer up. 
So you need to decide how many stripes you want and how wide you want them to be. I decided on 5 stripes so then I divided the length of my board by 5 to figure out how wide I needed to make each stripe. After you have done that, take a tape measure and go down the board marking at the intervals where you want the stripes to be. I just did a small pencil mark on each side of the board. 
My husband helped me out with this next part and I put the tape down on one side and he held it, then I pulled the tape out and we set it down on either end so it was straight. This worked out really well because we just pulled it taut. 
I'm not going to say too much about taping for stripes because there are probably a lot better tutorials out there for it, but basically you need to decide what color you want to start with and then tape accordingly. The stripes you don't want to paint will have the tape on the "insides" of the stripe so it looks skinnier. That probably doesn't make sense so just search Pinterest for a better tutorial if you need help on taping stripes :) 

Ok after your tape is set, you can paint your stripes! Be careful to pay attention to which stripes you want painted so you don't get some funky looking stripes. You'll want to remove your tape immediately while the paint is still wet so you don't take paint off with it. 
And voila! 




We are finally making some good progress on our bedroom and hopefully will have it completed really soon! Just a few more things to do. 

What do you think of atypical headboards? I personally think they are so fun and so many of them unique! It is amazing to see what people can come up with! 
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Friday, April 17, 2015

How to Get Your Toddler Excited About Prayer

Have you ever wondered how to get your toddlers to learn how to pray AND to be excited about praying? I am really excited to be sharing some of my tips for getting little ones excited about prayer over on Hayley's blog today! 
"My kids love praying for things that are on their hearts! Kids want to feel like what they have to say is of value. One of the ways we started getting our kids excited about praying was to ask them if there was anything they wanted to pray about." Read More at A Beautiful Exchange
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Adoption Update + Pin Crazy

I keep getting requests for what has been going on in our adoption process lately.
On the one hand, not a whole lot. But on the other hand, a whole lot.
Not a whole lot because we are doing a lot of waiting. Waiting to hear back from grants we have applied to. Waiting to get situations from our consultant. Waiting to be chosen by an expectant mother. Waiting for updates when we do present our profile. Waiting and planning fundraisers. Waiting. 
But a whole lot because we have been presenting to birth moms. We have been praying over so many situations that we see and asking God to guide our steps. Each situation that we receive by email requires us taking it to the Lord's feet and seeing what He'll do with it. Do we present? Do we not present? What if we want to present but the fee for that one is way outside of our budget? What if we feel like we should present but don't want to right now? Then we present (6 times now) and we have to wait and pray for an answer. Sometimes it takes a day, sometimes it takes weeks. Sometimes we get other situations we are interested in while we are waiting to hear back from the one we presented to but we can't present to more than one at a time so we have to wait only to hear no from the one we presented to. It can definitely weigh on you emotionally and spiritually. Even physically for me. The first couple times we presented I had a hard time sleeping well because my mind was racing about it. Sometimes we will present to a mother whose baby has already been born. In those cases it is really hard not to be Type A and plan because you may need to hop on a plane the very next day if she chooses you. But you have to guard your heart so you aren't broken if you hear no. You just never know what it'll look like. Every situation is different and that can be hard. 
Of course God is using this experience to grow us. A lot. Like He always does with big stuff like this. 
For right now, we decided to take a little break from presenting to birth moms. We presented to 6 mamas in less than 3 months so we have basically been in a constant state of presenting and in limbo since they take a week or two sometimes from the time you get the situation, you decide to present, send in your profile and wait for her to decide. It has been hard to plan fundraisers and do things like that being in this constant state of waiting to hear back. We don't want to put a ton of hard work into planning only to be chosen and have to cancel the whole thing (obviously that would be a wonderful problem to have). So for right now we are taking a little time off from presenting while we plan our first big fundraising event that is happening in just a few weeks. We are continuing to pray and ask God to guide our steps and help us to know which situations to present to. We have a lot of questions and are doing our best to discern and have wisdom about everything, but it is hard. We appreciate your prayers as we continue to wait for our baby and raise funds in the meantime. We continue to be hopeful about receiving some grants as that would take off a huge financial strain for us. 
Now on a lighter note, it's time for another Pin Crazy party!

Living In This Season

Meet your hosts:
Each week, your pins get seen on all four of our blogs! I highly recommend following these sweet ladies if you aren't already!
All Kinds of Things
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter


Almond Place
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter



She Builds Her Home
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter


Living In This Season
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter
Party Rules:
1. Link up your PIN (Not your post)!
2. Hop around and pin at least 2 other pins!
That's it!

post signature

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How I'm Doing This Whole 30 Differently

Last May I did a whole 30 with my husband, which was really a whole 25. After that, I swore I would never do another one. Mainly because once I stopped it, I couldn't stop eating all the junk I couldn't have on whole 30, which completely defeats the purpose of it. I felt so deprived during it that I spent the next few months making up for what I didn't eat that month. A month or so ago, when I brought up the idea of doing another one, I knew immediately that there were several things I would do differently this time around to make it more sustainable and less miserable for me. So far, it has gone much more smoothly this time around-physically, emotionally, in terms of food, everything! So here is what I am doing differently: 
Planning out dinner for the whole month
I always meal plan. Usually I do it for a week at a time instead of a month because that just works out better for our family. I don't usually know what we will be doing in 2 or 3 weeks. Last whole 30 was no exception, but by about half way through I was running out of ideas, nothing sounded good, etc. This time, I took a few weeks before I started, compiled all of my favorite recipes from last time and looked for a few new ones to fill in the blanks and made a spread sheet. I came up with 15 days worth of dinners and then planned to just repeat them for the second half. Eating the same thing every week, I may get sick of it, but only twice a month is fine for me. So far this has worked out SO well. I put in all the ingredients I would need, so each week I go and make my grocery list and I'm all set. Easy!
Eating the same thing for breakfast for a week at a time
One of the worst things last time was that I got SO sick of eggs. I hated everything about eggs because I ate them so much and didn't do a good job of planning ahead for breakfast. If I didn't plan anything, I ended up eating scrambled eggs. This time, I knew that would happen again so I decided to eat the same thing every day for a week for breakfast and that way as I'm starting to get sick of it, I'll move to something else. I can make up a quiche and eat on it for the whole week, or I can dice potatoes for potatoes o'brien to cook each morning. It has been really easy and so far I am not sick of breakfast.
Not trying to make whole 30 versions of something
...for the most part. I did make a whole 30 compliant mayo so I could make deviled eggs and egg salad and that has been good. But last time I would try this intricate, complicated recipe and it would be a total flop. Like zucchini fritters. Just no. It didn't work at all. This time I decided to not even try with that and just stick to not trying to go out of my way to make something with expensive ingredients that I don't have and will never use again. 
Snacking less
Last time, I didn't snack a TON, but I kind of depended on a little snack to get me through the day and night. I think I never mentally got over feeling like I needed something to eat when I was doing this. I have still snacked a bit this round, but only when I am actually hungry and not just feel like eating to eat or out of boredom.
Having balanced meals
As I started getting into a food boredom phase last time, I turned to Larabars, nuts, snacks, fruit, etc. to get me through. This turned out really bad because I would eat a Larabar for breakfast since nothing else sounded good, but then I'd be hungry again an hour later and would eat a little something else and so on. I also noticed that when I didn't eat a well balanced meal I would be hungry a lot sooner, so this time I am really aiming to have enough protein and healthy fat at each meal along with produce of course. 
Not dwelling on what I can't have
Last time I think this really set me back. I was constantly thinking about the food I wanted to be eating but couldn't. Mentally this hurt me because all I wanted to do was eat that food instead of the healthy food I could have. This time, I didn't necessarily set out to not do this, but I realized a few days into it when my husband pointed out how well it was going this time that I had been doing that and now I have aimed to continue. Instead of dwelling on the buns my family is having on their hamburgers, I just enjoy the bun-less burger I am having instead. It has been a game changer to switch my mindset in this way! 
So far, this whole 30 has gone a lot better than my first one and I am hoping it stays that way. I really think I have some stomach issues that are food related and I am guessing the culprit is either dairy or gluten so it will be interested to completely clear my system out and reintroduce and see what happens! I am anxious to continue learning more about how I can fuel my body well and that is something I couldn't say last time. Last time I was anxious to get my hands on donuts and pizza again! 
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Monday, April 13, 2015

How to Choose a Front Door Color

Bold, beautiful front doors are in, if you haven't noticed. But the million dollar question is, how to choose a color for your front door.
I'm sure this all started with Pinterest. At least I am guessing. I mean, what didn't start with Pinterest?! When we built our house last year, we had to choose 1 interior wall color and a front door color. The wall color was basically a giant sheet of different whites and off whites, and the door color could be literally any paint color that Sherwin Williams makes. Talk about impossible. How do you narrow it down?! To make matters even harder, our house is the very first house when you enter our neighborhood, so I totally felt like there was pressure (that was only coming from myself, of course) to set the tone for the whole neighborhood. Who wants to look at an ugly front door every time they come home or have friends come into the neighborhood to visit. Whew! Eventually we got there, and I have been obsessed with the color we chose. I continue to receive countless compliments on it from people who come to visit or even just random people driving by. So how did we finally narrow down the thousands of colors and choose the perfect one? Read on, my friends, read on. 

First, you'll want to narrow it down to what you DON'T want! You probably know if you don't want a brown door or a green door. This will be easy to take out several color families right away and possibly even cut your choices in half or more. For us, I knew I either wanted a black door (which would have been totally simple), or some shade of turquoise-y or yellow. That took out so many other color schemes. 

Second, find inspiration. Browse Pinterest for gorgeous front doors, do a google search for "your color front door", check out HGTV or Better Homes & Gardens, etc. There are so many beautiful options out there that you might want to piggy back off of. 

Third, take other things into consideration. What color is your house? What colors are in your front yard (flowers, greenery, water perhaps, etc.)? Do you have accent colors, like ORB fixtures on the front that you want to coordinate with? When I was having a terribly hard time deciding between a shade of turquoise and yellow (I had already eliminated black), I realized that my siding was way too light for a bold, bright yellow front door. Our siding is very light gray and I felt like the bold yellow that I wanted would have stuck out like a sore thumb instead of just looking happy and peppy like I was aiming for. If my siding had been 2-3 shades darker gray I think I would have been more comfortable with it. Looking at these factors helped me to narrow it down once again. Maybe you have some beautiful orange flowers that bloom in your yard that you want to accent with. Think about all of these things and what colors will coordinate the best. 

Fourth, once you have narrowed it down to one or two color families, go get paint swatches. Personally, I feel like the paint swatches never are the same color on the sheet as they end up being on your wall so I do a combination of things. First, I google. "Paint brand Color Name" "i.e. Sherwin Williams Reflecting Pool". Of course every color looks different depending on lighting, what it is painted on and your monitor but I think this can really help you narrow it down. I think this step is crucial for eliminating some colors. It'll really show you which colors you may not want on your front door. After you have narrowed it down even more, go get samples. I used to avoid getting samples because it was just one more thing to pay for, but they are critical if you want to know what it is really going to look like. 
Finally, paint a few inconspicuous spots on your front door. Paint little spots with each of your samples so you can see how it will really look on your door. Check it at several times of day to see what it looks like in the early morning light, direct sun, sunset, etc. This will also probably help you narrow down ones that you don't like and hopefully by now, you will have just one or two to decide between! At this point you may just have to flip a coin ;) Or you can do what I did and send your 2 final picks to your husband and tell him to choose one and take care of business. Most likely you love both of the final picks so you will be happy with either one! 
Now you can sit back and enjoy your beautiful new front door (after you've done all the work to paint it which I have no tips on because our builder did it for us, sorry!)!
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Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter 2015 Recap

Easter came and went really quickly this year! It seems like we were just celebrating Christmas, but we are already more than 1/4 of the way there again! We had a pretty low key, but really lovely, Easter this year!
Saturday, we went to an Easter party at our library. Our library always has fun events for kiddos and this one was definitely not a let down. They had a bunch of craft and game stations, the Easter bunny was there and then they had a little parade and egg hunt in the square outside. Our kids have never seen the Easter bunny, but my oldest daughter loves anything like it--the Chick Fil A cow, or anything dressed up in a costume so she was pumped to run right over and hop on his (its?) lap. 
Easter morning we woke up and quickly did Easter gifts. I skipped their baskets this year because I just had a couple things I wanted to give them. They each got rainboots that light up and a new swimsuit--I try to do things they need for spring/summer at Easter. We did that pretty quickly so no pictures unfortunately. My husband took the girls out and got some cute pictures of them while I was getting ready for church.

After church they had an egg hunt for the kiddos and the girls had a blast finding eggs that were in plain sight, haha.





After church, we went home to change clothes and get a few things and then headed to my in laws where my husband's extended family was gathering. We had a big Easter lunch that was delicious (well, I ate whole 30, but mine was still good) and the kids played. The girls decided they wanted to hide AND find their own Easter eggs. All the adults were like, alright. But we did move some around so they actually had to search. 

Apparently that was the egg to have....
We played some games, the girls opened their bags from the grandparents and we just hung out until we all went home and they passed out in a sugar coma! 
We hope your Easter was wonderful, as well! 

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Snapshots + PinCrazy

I have been a little bit silent over here lately, unintentionally. I am not really sure the reason but I think I have just been in a bit of a funk in general + not sleeping well most nights so I have been doing a lot of nothing when my girls nap each day. Hopefully I will be able to get a more regular schedule going again soon! 
Just wanted to share a few cute pictures about our goings on as of late! 
These two sweet sisters really are just the best of friends. I pray they will always have the precious relationship that they have today. Random strangers tell me all the time to "just wait" and that "they will hate each other and fight all the time when they're older" (why do people say things like this?!) but I hope and pray that they will always have a sweet bond. Sisters are bound to have little tiffs here and there, but hopefully a strong foundation will keep them close. 
I was able to get some more photography practice in doing my daughter's 2 year old pictures with a sweet friend of mine and I have been having a lot of fun editing (and re-editing as I learn new skills and tricks) the ones I took. I will have to share them whenever I get them all done, but this one just makes me smile so much. I have very dark, naturally curly hair so I was thrilled when my first daughter was born with a HEAD FULL of black hair. Then it basically all fell out and came back in almost blonde and totally straight! Then this cutie was born and right around the time she turned 1, her first little ringlet popped. I just love her curls so much, they are so precious to me! 
This was another one of my favorites from the shoot. I love her little dimple that she has had from birth! 
This is obviously not the best picture, but I have a feeling it is one that I will treasure through the years. My husband caught my daughter and I having a laugh fest on the couch one night and I can't help but laugh every time I look at this one. 
Sometimes egg hunting is really hard. Those lips though. 

It's Thursday so that means another PINCRAZY party!
Living In This Season

Meet your hosts:
Each week, your pins get seen on all four of our blogs! I highly recommend following these sweet ladies if you aren't already!
All Kinds of Things
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter


Almond Place
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter



She Builds Her Home
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter
Living In This Season

Party Rules:
1. Link up your PIN (Not your post)!
2. Hop around and pin at least 2 other pins!
That's it!


post signature
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