Sunday, August 26, 2012


Finally a bit more movement on the adoption front I can share with you!

First though I wanted to update about our van.  Which broke down on Olivia's birthday.  Yuck.
Anyway, I love our van.  We drive a twelve passenger van and even though it's just the four of us (for now) we have used it to the hilt: having extra foster children fill some of the seats, driving friends to Chicago with us to spend the day, driving to Florida at Christmas and having room to bring along scooters and all of the Christmas gifts, taking extra kids to and from school, etc.  We purchased in 2009, buying a year old model at the height of the gas prices skyrocketing.  They were practically trying to give these things away! :)  We were able to get a GREAT deal (our mini van was in the last stages of usefulness) including low mileage, an extended warranty, and installation of TWO DVD players.  And... it's paid OFF... NO debt!  Which has been great!

So... when we limped our van into the dealership to drop it off on Aug 16, and then found out the next day that it was the transmission, and the transmission guy was of course on vacation until Aug 20, and we were renting a car in the meantime... well... it was disappointing to say the least.  I've had a few people ask why not "get a new car"... but that just wasn't even an option.  As I said, we have no debt on this!  Buying something else, even if we got a good deal on trading, would have meant a car payment again, something I'm just not willing to do in the midst of an adoption.  We have no savings right now, all of our savings is our adoption fund.  If this had happened at the beginning of summer I can tell you that we wouldn't have done much of anything this summer.  Our activities are budgeted in, along with a heavy deposit into our adoption fund, each month.  Although we do quite a bit as a family, it's within our budget and I'm watching that money VERY carefully.  We buy seasons ahead in clothes when we find great deals.  We thrift shop.  I have sold MUCH over the past couple years.  But this was definitely not in the plan and was a hit I wasn't liking.  BUT... we are still "rich" beyond measure.  We serve a mighty God.  I had the money, but am now VERY limited on what is in my adoption fund and (hopefully) soon we will be needing more... More to travel. Twice. and More to enable myself to stay home for a bit when they come home, assuming it's during the school year.  I can take up to twelve weeks off, but it will not be paid leave.

All that to say, we may be doing some more fundraising in the near future... so stay tuned! :)  But, I hope to have some FUN fundraisers where you could WIN!  

Reminds me, we STILL have to get to that 100 "likes" on our FB page to give away $10 on Amazon!!!  Get to it, share, blog, get the word OUT! :)

So... on the adoption front... As of Thursday all of my dossier was at my adoption agency!  I only need to get a paper called the I171H which I'll get after my I600a is approved saying I can adopt internationally with Gov't approval.  And Monday I'll FINALLY be able to apply for that I600a!  Once they receive that packet, I'll await word on when I'm to go in to be fingerprinted.  Two big things in one week, right after all the car issues... I think Satan KNEW something was going on! :)

That's ok... we're ready to do battle to find out WHO our little one is and WHEN they're coming HOME!  Liam asks about her all the time... he is so excited!

So are we buddy, so are we!
Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Mandatory First Day Pictures

As I said, we started school this week.  I can't believe how the time seems to go faster and faster as each year passes.  I can't believe the rough year we had last year is growing farther behind and it's really been almost a year out now.  And I'm looking forward to the year, with all the twists and turns it will most likely hold.  Most people "look ahead" at New Year's, but for me, as a teacher and a parent, the start of the school brings about these feelings of nostalgia and promise that often as spoken of in January.

And here are the promised pictures... my how they're getting so big!

Olivia began middle school this year!
Her first day of Sixth Grade!
She LOVES it!!!

Braeden started Third Grade this year.
That also means he's at my school now.
(Our Elementary District has 3 buildings: K-2, 3-5, 6-8)
It also means he's literally across the hall 
because of the room he was placed in.
After two days I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad.
He's constantly hanging on me and hugging me when he sees me.
Normally great, but in school, 
not so sure it's going to fly if it keeps up.
Hopefully it is just a phase.
He loves his teacher, but had a rough day yesterday where they butted heads most of the day.
Praying for a great year!

Liam is redoing Kindergarten this year.
With his past of trauma and learning deficits 
he's definitely behind his peers in these areas.
We're hoping this second year will help him 
catch up in many areas 
and give him the edge in years to come.
He thinks his teacher's great and is excited about school 
(for now anyway!).

Praying each of my blessings find their way this year 
in a positive manner.
They will each have different struggles.
I can only hope the resources they've been given 
to navigate these waters
can be the guide they need so that we all have a banner year!

Saturday Favorites

These first few weeks of school always kick me in the tush!  Just getting back into the routine, a new sleep schedule for our bodies, lots of paperwork for the kids in their new classes and my own work at school... it can be overwhelming! 

I'm glad to be back in the swing though and having some fun projects along the way always helps!

First (and you can click it to make it bigger remember) is a banner I made for my hallway bulletin board at school.  Going along with our Harry Potter theme this year, the banner says "Reading is Magical."  I used inexpensive canvas drop cloth to cut triangles.  After throwing them in the wash they were perfectly fringed!  I trimmed the fringe and used Tacky Glue at the top to fold over a piece of twine.  Finally, I used Crayola Fabric Crayons to write the letters! It looks great hanging in the hall over the board I'm making.  I hope to have finished pics of the whole board next Saturday!

Also for school and my window display that is a take on Honeydukes Candy Store from Harry as well, I made some Butterbeer bottles.  I started with Stewarts Root Beer that had some clear labels that were easy to remove.

I found an AMAZING and FREE printable online for new Butterbeer labels and cut them out.

I then used my homemade Mod Podge on the backs to glue the labels onto the bottles and Voila'!  They look so great!  I'll have final pictures of the window display up soon too!  I LOVE it and have already received many comments and compliments!

And, finally, a delicious trifle!  These things are so addictive!

We had friends over for lunch and play time the other day, and this was our dessert.  SO GOOD!  This one is one I made up myself and it turned out so tasty!

1 large container lite cool whip
1 package white chocolate pudding mix
1 cup milk
1 package strawberries
1/3 bag chocolate chips
1 box funfetti cake mix

First make the cake according to the box directions.  While that is baking, mix the pudding with one cup milk and set aside.  Slice strawberries and set aside.  Mix the pudding mix, now slightly set, with the cool whip.  Once the cake is done and cooled, cut into one inch cubes.

Layer 1/3 of the cake (you will have some left over), then 1/2 the cream, 1/2 the strawberries, then half the chocolate chips into a trifle bowl.  Repeat and top with chocolate chips.  Refrigerate until ready to serve and enjoy!
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

We have a winner in the My Memories Giveaway!  I'm so shocked not many entered, but that was a good thing for this winner I guess! :)

As you can see out of the 6 comments that were left, Random dot org chose number 5, Jennifer who said, "I liked the MyMemories facebook page" as our winner!

Congrats to Jennifer!  I will be contacting My Memories and they will be giving you your FREE copy of the My Memories Digital Scrapbook software to play with as you like!  How fun!
Monday, August 20, 2012


This is the LAST night for our Digital Scrapbook Software giveaway from My Memories.

As of right now YOU have an AMAZING chance to WIN!  There are just a few entries!

Go HERE now and leave a comment or two to enter... it costs nothing but a few minutes' time!
Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Favorites

Another list of great ideas used 'round our house. :)
Currently I'm working on redoing nesting some areas of the house. With the help of our awesome FB garage sale pages, I'm selling unused items to pay for the redo as well as put money into our adoption fund.  My bedroom is almost complete and the living/dining area is in the works as well.

In searching Etsy (another site I love almost as much as Pinterest) for a vinyl wall piece to go in our dining area, I came across these for the kids' rooms.

One for the boys (they share a finished "attic" room)...

And one for the girls...

And, finally, Olivia's birthday cake!

ice cream sandwiches (ours were milk, white, and dark chocolate!)
vanilla pudding mix
8 oz cool whip
caramel sauce
frosting (we used cream cheese)

On the bottom of your pan, place a layer of ice cream sandwiches.  Next, mix 3/4 cup milk with the vanilla pudding mix and let set for 5 minutes.  When that is set, mix with 1/3 of cool whip and layer on top.  Next place another layer of ice cream sandwiches.  On top of that, heat caramel in microwave for 20 seconds and pour on top.  Then, heat frosting and pour on top.  Finally, place M&Ms as the final layer.  Freeze and enjoy! (SO yummy!)
Friday, August 17, 2012

Best Birthday Idea Ev-ah!

Olivia's birthday was yesterday.  She is now officially 11!  Wow!

We usually do something as a family around each of the kids' birthdays (the boys' days are only a week apart so theirs are usually together) and this year I had seen an amazing idea on another blog.  I showed it to Olivia knowing it was right up her alley, and sure enough, so we modified it and got right to work.  A portion of our day was rained out and we will be doing it this weekend if the weather is better, but here's a gimpse of the rest of the day, which Olivia has proclaimed her best birthday ever and wants to do again next year!

Olivia chose to have a "giving" day today, doing random acts of kindness for others throughout the day.  We had some appointments which ended up being scheduled for this day as well, so those were interspersed with our giving ideas.

Ready to start the day in her new outfit from Grandma!

Our first activity was rained out! :(  We were going to take pennies to our local fountain and scatter them on the ground with a sidewalk chalk note telling others to "Make a Wish".  We'll do that soon.  Instead we headed to our first appointment for Braeden and then to lunch.  Olivia chose our awesome Chinese buffet!

Afterwards I surprised them by taking them to see The Odd Life of Timothy Green which they were just asking about and had no idea it was out yet.  SUCH A GREAT MOVIE!  Especially for those with adoption in their family!  Bring the tissues!

Another family we've been getting to know who has a daughter Olivia's age met us at the movie and gave Olivia a bag of coins for her birthday since they knew about the day we had planned. :)

On our way in we dropped off some quarters on Random Acts of Kindness printables (link below) for others to use the machines.

After the movie we drove through McD's for a drink to share.  On our way through we also left a $20 bill and three Random coupons to pay for the three cars behind us.  The best part was the kids were able to watch out the back to see the person's reaction behind us and they were SO TICKLED.  It was so cute!  The woman had had her credit card out and ready to pay and instead was handed her receipt and a coupon.  They said she laughed and said "Yes!" and then told her kids what had been done for them.  I absolutely LOVED watching their reactions and have to say that was the best part of the day!

Next we went to a local laundromat and hung up rows of four quarters on Random coupons for patrons to use.

Stop for a pose!

Ok, Ninja style!

After the laundromat we went to a store to kill a little time before picking up our sitter to watch the boys while I took Olivia to an appointment.  While there we hung more Random coupons and quarters.

Unfortunately, on our way to pick up our sitter, something went VERY WRONG with our van.  I have no idea what exactly happened yet but let's just say it sounded like we were dragging chains and it wouldn't go in reverse.  Um, I'm thinking, Not. Good.  So we limped to our car dealership/service area to leave it with them and waited for a rental car place to pick us up.  (Olivia's pout is fake :) and yes, the boys are trying the free coffee.  It had been a day.  Don't judge.) :)

We had to reschedule Olivia's appointment but we made it home in time to make her chosen birthday dinner.  This year Olivia picked summer sausage (one of her FAVES), asparagus, sweet potato casserole, root beer, and brownies for dessert. :)  

She then opened a gift from the boys (a new necklace).

And a large box from mom (clothes and a few locker items for middle school) along with this Survival Manual for Middle School! LOL :)  She was so excited!

To top off the night, her older bio brother called  her unexpectedly and she was over the moon thrilled!

As she was going through her "take", Braeden made Olivia an awesome picture!

The other activity we had planned but was rained out was to take popsicles to a local park and pass them out to kids at play.  We'll try to do that soon as well!

It was such a great day, even with the mishaps in the middle, and I'm so glad she had such a wonderful time!  I love her heart and love HER so very much!

Random Acts of Kindness printable HERE.
Thursday, August 16, 2012

Birthday Time

We have a birthday girl in the house!

Can it REALLY be that she is 11 years old today?!  I know I say and think the same every single year, but really, how does time move so FAST!?

My dear Olivia... where to even begin...
You were such a peanut when you came to live with me at 3 1/2 years old.

And even then, with all you had been through, you smiled.

That same smile you smile today, almost always.

And although you have your ups and downs, 
it's mostly time to smile and look at life in a positive way.

You say often you don't know where you'd be if you weren't adopted. 
That adoption saved you.

Little did you realize I think the very same thing.
Where would I be if I hadn't adopted you?
You have taught me more about forgiveness and love and perseverance 
than I ever could have learned any other way.

You are a guiding light in our family.
Keep on shining!
And happy 11th!
Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cake Time

Tomorrow is Olivia's birthday.  Seems like these things just sneak right up on me!  Can she really be turning ELEVEN!?  So today she opened a gift from Grandma...

Yep, your typical preteen... so excited about getting clothes! Grandma knows what's what! :)

In heaven with the GREEN shirt and shoes!  (Her favorite color!)

Then we had a family of good friends over for cake.  (The kids get parties at ages 5, 10, and 16.)  For her cake this year, Olivia requested an ice cream sandwich cake similar to what I had made for my day in June.  We used some different ideas, but it was so tasty!

Eleven candles!? :)

And her bestie gave her a best friends bracelet and ring set for them to share!

Modeling the goods!

Friday her mom and I are taking the girls to Chicago to shop!  They are so excited!

What a great start to our birthday celebration this week!

* don't forget to leave a comment and sign up to win a FREE software download from My Memories!!!!
Monday, August 13, 2012


No, we haven't reached 100 "likes" on Facebook YET!  BUT, I still have a MOST amazing giveaway for YOU! (And if you'd like another, and haven't yet "liked" our FB page, go now and click that little button!)

Recently I've partnered up with a wonderful digital scrapbooking software company and we are prepared to offer to one of my loyal readers, or one of my brand new readers :), a FREE copy of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook Software!!!  (A $39.97 value!)

My Memories already has provided one copy to me in order to "play" and see what I think.  The ideas I'm about to share are completely mine.  I have loved working with this software and I've barely scratched the surface with what it's capable.  It's user friendly and appropriate for not only novices to digital scrapbooking, but advanced scrapbookers as well.

Already included in the software are over 30 album templates, perfectly designed for you to plug in your photos and journaling and go.  Here is a sample I created using just a FEW of the pages in this ONE template...

In addition to the premade albums, you can custom design your own using the over 1,500 papers and over 1,000 elements that are included in this software.  OR you can download freebies or purchased kits to add even more creativity to your work.  The My Memories Suite 3 software has it all!

Besides the ever popular scrapbook albums, My Memories Suite software can also assist you in creating SO MUCH MORE!  You can make photo books, cards, videos, and even use the papers/layouts to make craft projects! Today the kids and I used their papers to create pinwheels!  So fun!

So what's up with this giveaway?  How do you enter?  Well, here is the nitty gritty!

Rules of the Giveaway...

1.  Go to My Memories and then come back and tell me in a comment which New Digital Scrapbook Kit is your favorite!

2.  Once you've done that and have left a comment... you're golden!  You've entered!

3.  IF you've done #1, THEN you can also add on additional entries by 
     - becoming a follower (or telling me you already are!)
     - sharing this giveaway on FB or your blog (provide me a 
        copy of the link)
     - liking our FB page (or telling me you already do),
     - liking My Memories FB page
     - and/or giving me your best idea for using the My Memories digital scrapbooking software for something OTHER than a scrapbook.

4. You can receive up to 6 entries in this giveaway, but PLEASE leave a separate comment for each method of entry!

5.  Giveaway will run from Monday, August 13 until Monday, August 20 at 11:59 pm.  At that time a winner will be drawn by Random dot org.

Didn't win?  Or don't want to wait?  You can order your very own My Memories software through the link on the top sidebar of the page.  AND... just for readers of this blog... there is your own special code just below that you can copy and paste for $10 OFF the software price!!!  Now THAT'S a deal!

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

Check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Blog Archive

What you should know about HIV

-HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles). - HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. - People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do. Additional information on transmission of HIV can be found on the Center for Disease Control website:

Other Awesome Blogs

Orphan Crisis

• 147 million orphans in the world
• 50 million orphans in Africa 
• Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS
• 16,000,000 have been orphaned by AIDS
• Every week, AIDS claims as many lives as American fatalities in the Vietnam War
• 854 million people do not have enough to eat
• Malnutrition is associated with the deaths of 5 million children under the age of five
• Every 2 seconds an orphan dies from malnutrition

Hence the title of my blog

Little Did I Know

Little did I know that the road would be so rocky
Little did I know that the trip would take so long
Little did I know that my heart could hurt so much
Little did I know that God is never wrong

Little did I know that love could be so powerful
Little did I know that a dream so far could go
Little did I know that God would place the right ones
Little did I know that my heart, so large, could grow

Little did I know that a dream has it’s own timing
Little did I know that this day would finally come
Little did I know that four souls would be sent to guide me
Little did I know that they would choose to call me mom

But God knew all along and He had a plan to follow
God knew all along that my dream would soon come true
God knew all along that we five should be together
God knew all along that I’d share it all with you