Monday, November 29, 2010

Two Baby Steps in Our Adoption

Tomorrow evening we will head to Fort Smith, Arkansas to stay the night with my cousin, Trisha, so that we can wake up bright and early on Wednesday and kick December off right, Immigration office-style!  Please pray that we have safety in travel AND that I don't forget anything.  I think I have it all on post-it notes and alarms on my phone, but stranger things have happened!

Also, check out this beauty...

So, she needs a facelift (or maybe just a face :)), but I am still so excited that in 10 weeks she is going to be ours!  And, do you know why I'm so excited?  Because if we can sell our Honda Passport, we will easily be able to pay cash for our carefully rebuilt Dodge Grand Caravan!  And, that means thing #1 will be crossed off our list and all savings can be poured into the adoption fund! 

Van
Adoption Fund
Student Loans

I'm hoping this will grow our adoption fund much faster than our fundraising efforts thus far. :)

I'll post pictures of her in 10 weeks, when she is all done with her small, cosmetic upgrade. ;)  In the meantime, anyone interested in buying a 2001 Honda Passport?!


A New Friend

I'm not really sure I can call Courtney Thornton my friend.  I mean, I've never really spoken to her on the phone or even actually met her.  Yet, somehow, anyone who will send me a gift for Melia even though they have never even met me is pretty high on my list!  So, I thought I should introduce you to my new friend.

Courtney and her hubby, Brandon, are in the beginning stages of adopting from Ethiopia (just like us) and they are planning to adopt a sibling group (just like us).  Only, they are going to adopt a sibling group of 3 (one more than us, but I still consider them equally as crazy as us!;)).  Anyway, Courtney is like this SUPER amazing talented lady that has a SUPER cute ETSY store to raise money for their adoption and when I asked her about her AMAZING cloche's that she makes, she sent me one for Melia for FREE! 
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Isn't it the CUTEST thing you have ever seen?!  (Think Melia will mind if I "borrow" it?!)

Anyway, I thought since she custom-made this hat for Miss M and sent it to me for free, the least I could do is show her some love on my blog and do a little advertising for her ETSY store (that you can find here).

In addition to these cutie hats, she has baby booties, coffee cozies, totes, and Africa ornaments similar to this one that she sent me:
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Again for free, without me even asking...I told you she's awesome!

So, please take a moment to check out her store and help Courtney and Brandon bring their three kiddos home from Ethiopia!  You can also follow their journey on their blog: http://thorntonfamilyadoption.blogspot.com/

Thanks again, Courtney!  Oh, how I love these amazing people that God just keeps sending my way!




I'm Famous

OK, I'm really not famous, but I was in our newspaper, The Joplin Globe.  I'm not going to lie, I DO NOT read the newpaper...too depressing.  I'd rather read, um, anything else!  But, we are working on a backpack program at our school where we are going to send backpacks full of food home with our needy kiddos and I got the pleasure of researching it initially last Spring, so I have become one of the go-to people for the program.  It is a MAJOR group effort and is so fun to be a part of something that is going to positively impact hungry kids in our community.  We are hoping to be able to launch it this March!!  Anyway, without further ado...

The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


November 22, 2010
Group gets grant for food program
By Emily Younker
news@joplinglobe.com

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — A program to help feed hungry schoolchildren is $1,500 richer thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri.

“We see it as a need in that we’ve got kiddos who have lower socioeconomic living conditions,” said Jennifer Chase, a counselor at Carl Junction High School. “If their basic needs aren’t being met, they’re not going to be (performing) at their highest ability.”

The foundation presented the grant on Monday at the school district campus to the Carl Junction Youth Empowerment Project, a recently created high school group that plans next spring to launch a program that will send food home on the weekends with children who need it.

Michelle Ducre, executive director of the foundation, said the board chose to fund the food program because of its importance to the youth group.

“They felt strongly that it’s not right that their little children went home and had nothing to eat,” she said.

In addition to the grant, the youth organization is accepting food and monetary donations, and a recent pancake feed raised about $1,400 for the program. Chase said the program is expected to launch in March.

The Youth Empowerment Project also is planning a high school talent show in April to serve as a fundraiser. The money it raises will be given out as grants to other local organizations, said sponsor Theresa Wilson, a teacher at Carl Junction High School. She said the application procedure for those grants should begin after Thanksgiving, with applications due tentatively in February.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Tuesday’s Joplin Globe or register for our E-Edition at joplinglobe.com.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blocks, Wristlets, and Purses, OH MY!

I have been a crafting fool, but have not posted about what all I've been making because of all the other fun things going on around here.  So, this little post is going to be devoted to things I've made. :)

First, I was determined to make SOME presents this Christmas, so I made these *super cute* blocks for my little bitty foster niece (love that precious girl!).  I'm sure they've been done before, but I'm pretty proud of them and love something that came from my own little brain and turned out just as cute as they were in the sketch in my head! :)
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I also made her some HUGE flower bows.  I really only meant to make a couple, but just couldn't stop once I started buying the stems from Hobby Lobby.  You just can't beat a gift that costs less than a dollar to make and turns out looking so professional (plus, they are SUPER EASY!).  I actually think some of these will come from Nana. ;)
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For adoption fundraising purposes, I have been making a bunch of shoes and a gazillion of these...
PhotobucketIPhone/IPOD wristlets.  I made 15 of them in various prints for our craftastic craft fair and ended up making four more of these owl-print ones (two orders were from the fair and two were from the Adoption Auction).  This cracks me up because T thinks this fabric is "weird," but we women LOVE it!! :)
 
Next, Miss Melia and I had a little sewing lesson using her Pixie machine that she got from her Granny last year for her birthday, and here is the result...
PhotobucketIsn't it a cute little pillow?
It's about 10 inches by 10 inches and I helped her quite a bit, but she had SO MUCH fun doing it.  PLUS, she wants to give it to her cousin (Lindsey's 2 year old) for Christmas.  I love that girl's heart.  When we were on our way downstairs to the sewing area, she said "Mommy, I'm so excited that you are going to be my sewing teacher!"  So sweet!

And for the grand finale...my new sling purse!
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I used an old sweater (that was super cute on the hanger but made me look very square when it was on...who lives in a pineapple under the sea...) and this tutorial.  It's my first purse I made all by myself and I LOVE how it turned out.  I even added a couple of pockets to the inside to assist with my organizational issues!
There are definitely pros and cons with this purse.  Big pro, I love it and have a "new" Wintery purse.  Big con, I have the itch to sew stuff for myself and Melia but I have lots of other things that take up my time! ;)

Have a great Thanksgiving week.  I know we will...we have much to be thankful for...God has really blessed us all, huh?! :)


Saturday, November 20, 2010

And the Winner is...

Thank you so much for keeping up with our blog and for entering to win the CCC HOPE letter art!  We had 24 entries in our giveaway (not bad for our first one!).  I used a Random Number Generator from Random.org to get our winner.   And the winner is...
Congratulations, Amber Strickland!!  I will get in touch with you about getting your art to you!

I have to be honest, though, I actually feel like the one that won a prize, because, at the end of a long and trying week, this...
was in our mailbox!!  Our fingerprinting appointments!  So, on December 1st, we will be roadtripping to Fort Smith, Arkansas to get our biometrics taken.  I am beside myself excited!  First of all, this is a major step in our process and secondly, after reading a blog that I follow, I was led to believe this process could take up to six months (as I mentioned a couple of posts ago).  Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when Trev told me that the appointment letters were in our mailbox.

Mr. Camden has been saying his last two months' memory verses from pre-school over and over, so I thought with this great news, it would be a perfect time to share them with you.

video

Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My God is So Big

So, we're sitting at dinner and my sweet 5 year old (who is very quickly nearing 6 *tear*) says, "Hey, Mommy, you know that song that says 'There's Nothing My God Cannot Do'?  Well, it's really true!  There is nothing that He cannot do!  He can even make things fly...He made the birds fly!"

God really blessed us with this sweet girl!

Jen

P.S. If you're looking for our Christina's Crafty Creations giveaway, click here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Team Chase's First Giveaway!!

OK, the moment you've all been waiting for *drumroll, please*...our first official giveaway!

So, maybe you have been seeing this letter art all over the place and, if you are cheap frugal like me, you haven't wanted to shell out the $50-$150 even though you LOVE it!!  Well, have I got a deal for you!!  We are giving one of them away on our blog!

My good friend, Tina has launched a website called Christina's Crafty Creations (a nice use of alliteration if I do say so myself!) and she is making those WAY COOL letter art pictures!  I absolutely LOVE them!  And, just because she is an amazing friend, she donated one to me and is allowing me to give one away on my blog.  AND, for every one that she sells with the word that I'm giving away, she will donate $10 to our adoption!  AND, they make AMAZING Christmas gifts and she guarantees all orders shipped to you by Christmas if ordered at least two weeks before!  AND, she will do ANY word your little heart desires.  AND, the regular price of her art is $25-$30 (she is practically GIVING them away)!

OK, ok, I know, you want to see the giveaway already!  So, here you go.  Christina's Crafty Creations Letter Art of the word...



OK, do you love it?!  The winner can specify black and white or sepia (my unsolicited fav!). 

Here is a picture of mine in on top of the bookshelf in our sitting area:

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Do you want to know how to win it?!  There are multiple ways to get entered and you can have multiple entries for this giveaway.  Here's how:
1. Follow my Blog. Once you are a follower, leave a comment telling me you are a follower.*

2. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook. Leave a comment telling me you posted.*

3. Visit Christina's Crafty Creations, look around, come back here and leave a comment saying who on your Christmas list would like a Letter Art and what word you'd choose for them.*

4. Blog about this giveaway and provide a link to it. Come back here and leave a comment with a link to your blog post.*

*Please leave your E-mail on each of your comments so I can notify the winner!

This giveaway will be open for entries until midnight central time on Friday night, November 19th, 2010 and winner will be announced over the weekend. :)

Ready...Set...GO! :)

Jen

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Adoption Auction Success

Hey, everyone!

I CANNOT believe it is the middle of November already!  October was a crazy busy month and I feel like November has been a little more manageable, but it has just gone super fast!  Before we know it, I will be stuffing myself into a turkey stupor and passing out from all the tryptophan!;)

Anyway, I just wanted to update everyone on the adoption, fundraising efforts, etc.  First of all, I think I am a fundraising flunkie!  It all started with a failed garage sale back in April, which turned into a semi-failure of an on-line garage sale.  From there, I've had a couple of sort-of ok ideas (like the bling shoes) that have brought in a little bit of money, and some really BIG flop ideas (like the VIP Card and the wasted Saturday Holiday Bazaar Craft Fair last Saturday).  Now, don't get me wrong...I totally appreciate all the support we've received so far, and, honestly, your prayerful support and encouragment means way more to us than anything else!  So, THANK YOU for continuing to support us (even when my ideas are flops overall!).

However, do you remember this?
Well, this was a success!  I don't know for sure what our total was from this, but I do know that we sold everything we put in it, including the things that our friend, Cassie Welch, donated for it (THANK YOU SO MUCH, CASSIE!).  Now, that was a boost that we definitely needed.  When I get the total, I will let you all know what we've raised so far!  But, then, I'm taking a fundraising break...I'm pooped from all the efforts and need a rejuvinating time to hang out with my hubs and play with my kiddos!

In adoption news, we have sent in our I-600a and have heard nothing.  Well, nothing from the USCIS office, anyway.  What we have heard is from our adoption consultant with our agency who told us that families are waiting several months for this process and I also read on a blog I follow (who happens to be about 3 weeks ahead of us in the paper chase) that the USCIS office just told her that it is taking families up to 6 months for this step.  More waiting before the "waiting list"...*sigh*.  I also just did a little adoption tax credit research and found out that our beloved government is planning to "sunset" the credit for adoptions completed in 2012 so that the credit will be about a third of what we expected.  Not sure how that is going to alter the course of our plans...we shall see!

So, let's talk about some more positive news, shall we?  (I would hate to ruin my eternal optimist reputation!;))  I am getting ready to run my very first give-away on my little blog!  I have linked to give-aways before, but never done one on my own, so I am SO EXCITED about this one.  I can't give you any details, nope, don't even ask.  BUT, I can say that you will want to become a FOLLOWER OF MY BLOG quickly if you are not publically following it already!  It's super easy!  Just click on the "follow" button and follow the instructions.  It will take you like two seconds.  That's all I can say!  Hehe...I am leaving you in suspense...details will follow soon! :)

Jen

Friday, November 5, 2010

Free Christmas Cards!!

I got this amazing deal from Shutterfly where I get 50 free photo cards from them.  BTW, I totally stole the idea from my friend, Mary Jo Smith of 517 CreationsCan I just interject here and say how much I love her...she, her husband, and her little man are so super fun, we just do NOT get enough time with them!!  Anyway, I'd been thinking that I wasn't sure if I'd do cards this year, but reading MJ's post totally got me in the mood for Christmas!

So, back to the deal...I previewed all of Shutterfly's photo Christmas cards to try to pick my top three.  They are all SO CUTE and such fun new ideas, so I really had a hard time picking, but I think I've done it.  However, I need some help deciding which one should don our "team" this year...

Should I choose the elegant damask-type print card...

 The simple but pretty religious card...


Or the totally new, whimsical, super fun family update card...


You know I am NOT good with decisions!!  I need your help!!  Which one do you love the most?!

P.S. If you are a blogger, you can get in on this deal, too!! Just click here to find out how.  Also, even if you're not a blogger, you can get shutterfly's cards for 20% off right now!!  YEA!    



Jen

Monday, November 1, 2010

Home Study is Complete!

YEA!!  I just got an E-mail from one of our social workers that they received the final paperwork they needed.  So, she finalized our home study, printed and signed three copies and put them in the mail!!  Yipee!  We should receive them in about two days and then we will send one of them off with our birth and marriage certificates and our I-600a to the Immigration office in Texas.  At that point, we will wait for our fingerprinting appointment in Kansas City. 

Please pray for a timely response from Immigration (and more than that, for patience on our part!).

Love you all!  Thank you for coming alongside us in this journey!
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