"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Apple Goodness...

Fall is upon us, and even thought it has been a CRAZY BUSY fall around our house, I have taken a few minutes to enjoy the yummy treats and adventures that are all about fall.
First off, I came across a hilarious blog written by a law student who happens to be an ex-Barista. She dishes all about how to recreate the awesome drinks that I love at Starbucks! She is funny. She said that if you are rude to the workers at Starbucks, they will give you decaf when you order regular. I found that so funny. Always be nice at Starbucks.
If you are like me, you might enjoy the wonderful pumpkin and apple flavored drinks they serve at Starbucks this time of year. I love hot drinks. Like REALLY love them. All day long. Every day. I was excited to read her secrets about this very simple and enjoyable treat.
The caramel apple spice drink is so easy. I followed her suggestions, headed to Starbucks for the secret ingredient, and now I can make this little goody at home (more often than I should).
The secret is in the cinnamon dulche syrup. They will sell you a bottle of the syrup at Starbucks for about $7.95- I am guessing it will last a LONG time. You can find the recipe here.
I tried to convince Bryce that we should share a little special treat together one night when we were home alone (how did that happen? Grace must have been in bed, Drew at football, and Alyssa at dance). He was excited when he saw the whip cream come out of the fridge, but he was not sold on the idea of his apple cider being hot. He ate the toppings and I drank the liquid. Oh well...I still enjoy "drinking" with someone more than by myself...even if it is just a hot cider...yes, that goes for margaritas too.

In other apple news, Grace has her very first field trip! She was SOOOO excited. She got to go to an apple orchard and pick apples. I had to remind myself that even though I have been on this very field trip MANY times, I needed to be excited for her and enjoy the time. Is it sad that I had to psych myself up for the field trip? I need to remember that Grace is experiencing so many new things and they are all exciting to her. It's so easy to lose sight of where she was only a short time ago. Of course, for her, taking a bus and traveling to an apple orchard is a big deal. Getting a new tube of toothpaste is still a big deal for her (really- the pure joy that came from her latest tube of Dora toothpaste almost set her over the edge)...I just need to remind myself sometimes.

The bus ride was the highlight. She talks about it all the time. Maybe it reminded her of being in Ethiopia...flying all over the back seat of a car with no seat belt...bouncing on the bumpy roads....
This sign says "how tall this fall?" I would say "tall enough!" Grace really has grown like a weed in the past year. I can't believe how tall she has gotten. Enough already. She has grown 4 1/2 inches and three shoe sizes since last fall. My "baby" is no where to be found. She is all girl. She is so grown up and can't wait to be even older. Today she complained that she was disappointed that she has only had one birthday so far. She is sick of being four. She can't wait to be five. NO WAY! Five sounds way too old! Thankfully she will be four for a long time and we may decide to skip her 5th birthday all together :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

C4C Switch!

Good news and bad news...the good news is that the wonderful ladies in charge of organizing the Created for Care retreat have gone into overdrive to serve more adoptive mommas and host a second retreat! Registration for the second retreat starts tonight at midnight (I would register early based on what happened the last time registration started (for the first retreat)- the retreat filled up (400 people) in less than 9 hours!!!! So visit Created For Care's website tonight to register if you are interested.
The bad news is that I am switching my registration to the second retreat...that means I may not be able to meet some of you bloggy buddies that I was hoping to. On the other hand, some other blog friends that I have been hoping to meet for a very long time will be attending the second retreat!!!! Yeah!!!! I feel like my little getaway is going to be wonderful and March will be an awesome time for a little break from every day life (sort of like when I went on "spring break" in college only 100% completely different! ;) - and safer!)

Here is Grace posing for a picture after dance class this morning...believe it or not, this is her unhappy, not wanting to pose for the camera look. She DID NOT want to have her picture taken. She was not happy about it. I actually thought it would be cute to get a picture of her pouting (for old times sake), but she can not help but smile! She is like Pavlov's dogs...when she sees the camera in my hand, she smiles... I really am lucky to be her mom.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Another Post About Hair...I LOVE this product line!

I realize that I have written about Grace's hair care routine many times, but I am so excited about a new product line, that I had to write more! I read about Curls by Sisters Smith on the Ethiopia mamas facebook page (a great resource for so much information). I have been trying to figure out what to do with Grace's hair now that it is getting so much longer. I miss the easy hair care of her braids, but we have decided to have her hair in a "natural" state for awhile. She looks adorable, and I think her hair is very healthy, but I was in search of some products that would help to moisturize and define her curls.
The Curls by Sisters Smith product line is AWESOME. I must say that it is awesome for us, but I realize that all kids have their own unique hair care issues. The product line is very basic. The packaging and website are basic. I could care less, because these products are perfect for Grace's hair! I have never seen Grace's curls more defined than they are when we use the hair "pudding." It's hard to get a good photo of what I mean, but...I am guessing that all of you adoptive moms caring for curly hair, know what I mean. The "quick fix" spritzer is nice for throughout the day when I want to freshen Grace's hair up (in other words, when her hair gets squished while she is laying around watching TV and then we need to head out the door...). The regular conditioner is great too. I haven't even used it in the tub yet...instead, I use a little bit to condition her hair while it is damp (like before bed).
I got the products last week and have used them exclusively since. I am going to try to stick to only this product line for awhile. I seem to grab a little of this and a little of that and then who knows how many different products end up on Grace's hair at one time? We have really cut down on washing her hair too. I am only co-washing her hair and rarely use shampoo. This has also helped with her hair's level of moisture.

I've read that customers will email the "sisters" questions about specific hair types, etc. and they will offer you feedback and suggestions. Most of the products can be "scented" with a scent of your choice. I ordered all of our products in the Summer Citrus scent. It is nice, but I think I will order peppermint or vanilla next.
The company and the products seem very basic, yet are VERY effective. I have to say that I have not been more pleased by ANY OTHER products so far (and I've tried a bunch!!!) I am starting to believe that spending more money on products DOES NOT necessarily yield better results. Hopefully I will be done writing about hair products for awhile...I think I've found a winner here!
The founder of the Curls by Sisters Smith website explains:
"I chopped off the last of my relaxer 7 years ago. Immediately, I noticed a lack of commercially available ‎products for naturally curly hair. The few products I did manage to find were WAY to expensive for my ‎budget. So, I spent months researching the needs for natural curly hair and good hair care in general and ‎put my biology and chemistry background to good use to create my own products. I take great pride in ‎my products – each one is handmade, customized especially for you. ‎So, take a look around our little shop. Feel free to e-mail us with any questions or comments you might have."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hello There!!!!

It has been a bit since I took the time to blog...we have been busy. Things are t.r.i.c.k.y. when school starts. We have four kids at four different schools, and it seems like it takes a few weeks to get back into our groove.

I plan to blog more soon. I have a lot of ideas and thoughts that I would love to share with my "blog buddies" - I learn so much from your blogs and do read them regularly (even when I don't take the time to leave comments). If only I had a personal assistant...I could get so much more done...wouldn't it be cool if we all had a live-in helper like Alice from The Brady Bunch (ok...I'm daydreaming as I type).

In the meantime, check out this cool, mechanical hand that Bryce and I built!
I found the directions in the September edition of Family Fun magazine (but couldn't seem to find it online....). Bryce is very creative and loves to make things. He and I had a great time with this little project. All we needed was some pool noodles, clear duct tape, 20 ft of cord, and a little bit of craft foam.

Bryce thinks he is pretty cool making the fingers move with the cords....
He couldn't wait to take the hand outside and wave to people with it.
I sure love you Bryce. You are so creative and fun. Yes, you are definitely "super fly."

Friday, September 9, 2011

"Moms and their kids don't have to match."

Third day of preschool. Yes, I did have to take another picture of Grace.
I also had to chat with Grace a little about other kids...specifically, other kids who say things that aren't really that nice. I figured it would take a little time at preschool before someone would say something that was hurtful. I was wrong. I forgot how outgoing Grace can be. She marched up to a little girl and asked her if she wanted to "be my friend?" The little girl looked at Grace and said "No."
I am sure this comment was only a typical little kid comment...nothing to do with race...right?
Well, it got me thinking. It got me and Grace talking. I asked her if it was alright that she and I don't "match." She looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Mom...moms and their kids don't have to match." OK. Good. She understands that. I am sure of it. The way she runs into my arms when I pick her up from preschool assures me of that.
Now if only I could "run into" that little girl that doesn't want to be Grace's friend....

"Moms and their kids don't have to match." - Grace

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Game Time!

Living in the Green Bay, WI area means one thing...Packers football.
Whenever we travel and mention that we are from Green Bay, people always ask if we are Packers fans...dah.
Packers football is a religion here. Lambeau field is the city's "cathedral."
They say people here bleed "green and gold."
People wear Packers clothes to church every Sunday during the season...really... not weird, normal.
I know it all seems strange, but we are not really crazy, over the top fans. It is considered completely normal to follow the Packers, and for good reason. Green Bay is NOT a large city. We do not have ANY skyscrapers. We are not a huge metropolitan area. In fact, the Green Bay Packers are owned by the fans. We are one of the 111,507 people who actually own stock in the Packers (I know...crazy).
Did you know that when someone has a baby here, one of the first things people ask is "did you put them on the waiting list for season tickets?" Seriously. (Yes, our kids are on the waiting list. Our oldest daughter (14) has been waiting since she was born and she is number 39,950 on the list of over 80,000 people waiting. They say the average wait is 30 years).

Well...I just had to give a little shout out to the Packers today. Since winning the Superbowl last season, the Pack has been an even bigger deal than normal. Today is there is a HUGE event being held in town. The NFL is doing an enormous "kick off" tonight for the season's first game. The Today Show aired their show from here this morning. Big name musical artists are performing this afternoon, and even schools in the area are getting out early to accommodate the crazy traffic and events being held (I know...weird, but normal here).

One of my favorite things about living in a small football market, is bumping into players around town. It is not uncommon to run in to a wide receiver at the local grocery store (Go #80 Donald Driver who frequents the Piggly Wiggly in our neighborhood!). Last weekend, we were out for dinner with some friends when I noticed that Charles Woodson was in the restaurant. He was just hanging out with some guys and was standing near the door, so when we were leaving, I had to let him know that my 8 year old son is a HUGE fan. He was gracious enough to let us snap a picture (so I could prove to my son that I had been hangin' with his favorite player).

So...as we prepare for a big night of football in Green Bay, I thought I would post some pictures of my family enjoying our favorite team. Keep us in mind tonight if you are trying to decide who to root for!
Go Pack Go!

My friend Beth and me hanging out with "Sir Charles."

Five cute guys getting ready to leave for some pregame tailgating...

I know...weird, but normal.

Bryce soaking up his first real experience at Lambeau Field.

Drew and Bryce sporting a REAL Superbowl ring that they were able to borrow for some pictures.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday...a simple treat to try

Now that Grace is in preschool, she is learning the days of the week a bit more. Each day has a silly name at school, and Wednesday is "Wonderful Wednesday."
I discovered this super simple treat on Pinterest last night. Lucky for me, I happened to do a little grocery shopping while Grace was at school, and now we are enjoying a "Wonderful Wednesday treat!"
(maybe this can be a weekly blog theme...wonderful Wednesday treats!)

Two of my favorite flavors...raspberry and chocolate. Just stick chocolate chips inside of raspberries!!!!!! Perfection!!!
On on side note...Grace was so excited for her SECOND day of school that she INSISTED I document it (just like we did on the FIRST day) by taking her picture before we left for school!

Friday, September 2, 2011

First Day of Preschool (and some contest winners!)

Seriously...is she not the cutest little preschooler ever?
Grace was BEYOND excited about her first day of school.
She was up MANY times last night asking if it was morning yet (note to self- learn to have more grace FOR Grace in the middle of the night).

She acted like a pro as she found her spot for "circle time" and settled in.
She gave us a little wave goodbye and smiled.
She was so happy to be in school.
Showing off her "first day of school" certificate.
And, as promised, here are the winners of our little giveaway:
Girl's purse: Ashley from "My Redburn Journal"
Tan hat: Joel from "Life with Jding"
Black hat: Kara from "It's A Plaisier"

***I will be in touch soon to get your addresses to mail out your goodies***

Thanks to everyone who bought shirts, made donations, or spread the word about Kim's blog and her adoption journey!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Last chance to win a hat...or cute little purse...

If you haven't already done so, head over to my friend Kim's blog and order one of her awesome t-shirts. She is doing a great job of fundraising to bring home her two Ethiopian beauties. Kim and her family are working so hard (and fast) on their home study and dossier. I would love for them to be blessed with some donations/t-shirt purchases to help them along!

****Your odds of winning are still very good****

If you would like to win one of the following cute items, you have less than a day left. Just visit Kim's blog and (A) make a donation (one entry for each $5 donation)
(B) Purchase a shirt (5 entries)
(C) Blog about Kim's shirt sale or share the design on facebook (2 entries)

Thanks for spreading the word!
Three winners will be randomly chosen tomorrow at noon (central time).
Please be sure to leave me a comment about what you have done to earn entries and which item(s) you are interested in winning!

Kim's design: