November 30, 2011

hot chocolate? yes, please!

Let’s be honest, this lady loves her some chocolate. I sort of have a weakness for it. Hence the reason we do not keep sweets around the house. I have no control…none! 

For example, we bought chocolate chips last weekend to make chocolate chip pancakes (which were quite yummy). We still had some chocolate chips left, so I just had to make chocolate chip cookies. That was Monday. Here we are on Wednesday and all 2 dozen are GONE! It’s pathetic, I know. But in my defense, I had some helpers :)

This afternoon when I needed my chocolate fix, I decided to find a recipe for hot chocolate. I knew we would have the ingredients because we always have cocoa on hand. It was easy, semi-healthy, and yummy so I thought I should share.


  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • miniature marshmallows


Blend cocoa and sugar in a small bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat milk to scalding. Mix about 1/3 cup of the hot milk into the cocoa-sugar mixture, then pour cocoa mixture into hot milk in the saucepan; stir until well blended. Stir in vanilla. Serve with mini marshmallows. Serves 4.

November 28, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

We had big plans to go to a Christmas tree farm and do this…
FYI, that is not us. Although they are rockin’ some pretty awesome attire.

But it was rainy and cold, so we did this…don't you see the excitement on the kids faces?
Yep, that’s Lowes. I figure the kids don’t know the difference, at least this year. Besides, they had so much fun looking at all of the blow up lawn decorations. If it were up to Mark, we would have at least 3 of those in our 1/100th of an acre front yard. 

Here is a fun tip I learned last year, instead of going around your Christmas tree with lights, go up and down in a zigzag pattern. It is easier, takes less time, and, in my opinion, looks much better. 

And just in case we ever need a photo to embarrass Noah.
What? He wanted to dress up too. Note to self…must buy super hero costumes for Noah to play “dress up”.

November 22, 2011


It seems that I am becoming somewhat of an expert on fundraising because it plays such a  HUGE role in bringing our baby home. Mark and I are both dorky planners, so it was necessary for us to make an Excel spreadsheet outlining what we needed to save, what we needed to raise, and any ideas we had to cover the expenses. It was pretty intense…Mark loves him some Excel spreadsheets! 

We have sold t-shirts, hosted a parent’s night out, had 2 garage sales, put on a benefit concert and silent auction, done a baby bottle fundraiser, and a friend had a jewelry fundraiser for us.  

Each of these fundraisers was not possible without the help of lots of family and friends! We are always overwhelmed with gratitude from the support we receive. While we are so appreciative of all those who donate, there are a couple who have really stood out to us.

My parents teach a Sunday school class at their church. We did a baby bottle fundraiser with their class. Each couple received a baby bottle to fill with spare change over a few months time period. My parents brought back one of these bottles to us this past weekend. We are excited to get any bottles back, but this one was particularly special because of who had filled it up.
When the couple who had this bottle took it home their daughter, Lizzie, asked what it was for. They told her about us and our adoption and she responded that SHE wanted to use HER allowance money to fill it up. She is SIX!

When we announced that we were adopting, Kelly sent me a message that she wanted to help. Kelly was the coordinator of a mom’s group I used to be part of.  As part of the group, we might have hung out 5 times…so we hardly know one another. Despite this, she has donated items for our yard sale, made tutus for our silent auction, and hosted a jewelry party where a percentage of the profits went towards our adoption.

If you have fundraised before, you know that it is HARD. If you are like me, it is difficult to humble yourself and ask others for help. Having people like Lizzie and Kelly, people we hardly know, come behind us and help us get closer to our baby has been absolutely amazing!

November 20, 2011

giving thanks

My initial reason for this post was to share some wonderful news with you…yesterday we received a letter in the mail that made me so thankful.

As I opened the letter my heart skipped a beat wondering what it entailed. I read the words “we are pleased to inform you that you have been awarded an adoption assistance grant in the amount of $3,000”.
We received a $3,000 grant from Show Hope! Praise the Lord!

Today, our Pastor spoke on thankfulness. He asked us to think of events in our lives from the past year, first joyous occasions and then times of struggle. At that point, he asked us to give thanks for the times of struggle.
Ephesians 5:20, reads “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
The words “always and for everything” struck me.

Yesterday, I had no problem praising God when we received the letter from Show Hope. I was joyful and words of thankfulness came easy. But for me to be thankful during trials is such a different story. Showing gratitude to God is the last thing I want to do when I am stressed or angry or sad. Nevertheless, isn’t that what God asks me to do?
Something I most definitely need to work on :)

November 18, 2011

wrapping it up…or at least trying to

Remember that silent auction we had about one month ago to raise money for our adoption? Remember how many awesome items we had donated? Well, we still have a few items left and I want to give you the opportunity to bid on them.  
Everything raised goes towards our adoption!

Here's how it works:
I am going to list the items, description, and value. There is NO minimum bid. Email me ( what you want to pay (keep it real though…like please don’t bid $1 on an item worth $150). If you are the only one to bid, then it is all yours.
Click on the item to go to the website. 

Need to get your hair did?
Shine the Salon – haircut with Sarah Shepard – value $55
Salon Salon – men’s or women’s haircut – value $30
Classic Sports Barber Shop – $20 gift card

Fun times for you and the is getting cold outside. 
A-Game Sportsplex– 5 laser tag passes and 5 ice skating passes – value $78
My Gym – Lifetime family membership and 1 month of classes - value $150
Goofballs – 12 admission and 12 attraction passes (I can split these up if you do not want them all) – value $10 per pass, $120 total
Mathnasium – assessment and 1 month of math education – value $285
Coco BonBons - $10 gift card

Getting fit...almost time for New Year's resolutions!!
Temple Fitness – 4 weeks of boot camp – value $209
Fleet Feet – product package including arm warmers, mug, and training program. Click here for more details on the training program, you can pick any…it sounds awesome! – value $150

Photography session (think Christmas cards) – value $250
Interior Design - value $150
Titans tickets - vs. Jacksonville Jaguars at LP filed, Saturday, Dec. 24th at noon - 2 tickets, Section 329, Row D, Seats 8 & 9 - value $120

Got questions? Want to bid? Email
Thanks y'all!

November 16, 2011

chocolate yumminess and hashimoto's

So, here is the deal-i-yo…I have been CRAZY tired lately, like I cannot even make it through the day without wanting to take a serious nap. I also noticed a few unaccounted for pounds creep on and some major outbreaks of fever blisters (yuck!).

All of this combined made me decide that a trip to the doctor was in order. First, let me just say that I love our doctor. She is all about the natural way of doing things and then if that does not work, we talk about medication.

When I told her what was going on, we tested my thyroid and did a food allergy test. Turns out I have hashimoto's…basically, I have some inflammation going on in my thyroid. And most of the time, inflammation can be controlled by what we eat, hence the allergy test.

I got my allergy test back and I am sensitive to some random stuff; chicken, cantaloupe, potatoes, yeast, haddock, peanuts, and honey. Most have been easy to cut out, but yeast gives me a little trouble. Mainly because everything yummy has yeast in it. And since I eat yeast almost everyday for lunch in the form of a sandwich, I have had to find a new favorite lunch item, enter chocolate yumminess.

And because I love you all so much, I am sharing this recipe with you :) (thanks to Tracy Wells)

1 cup milk (I use almond)
1 banana
1 or 2 T almond butter
1 T cocoa powder
½ scoop chocolate greens powder (optional)
a bit of agave (you like that measurement?)
1 cup ice

Blend and enjoy :)

November 10, 2011

better later than never

Me and the computer have not been friends lately. For some reason I have not been able to upload any pictures over the past 2 weeks. The longer it took to get the pictures off of the camera and on to the computer, the more I built them up in my head. You know how that goes.

Let the randomness begin…

Pumpkin painting and carving

Our neighborhood chili cook-off. I love these guys :)

I am a last minute Halloween shopper, so we took what we could find. Tay was a bee and Noah was Batman. And let me tell you, Noah was HILARIOIS! Anytime we put him down, he would just take off (surprise, surprise). The quote of the night was “there goes little Batman”.

Tay also wanted to be Batman

The first picture is our attempt at getting a cute picture of the kids. In the second, you will notice that Mark is a whoopie cushion. Thankfully (?) the couple who hosted the Halloween party had an extra costume...
Oh, and we found out that Noah loves golf carts :)

November 2, 2011

Wait list!!!

Does this title sound a little familiar? But this is not the wait list for Ethiopia; this is the wait list for Uganda :) 

If you remember here, I posted about the day we got on the wait list when we were in the Ethiopian program. And then here where I posted that we switched countries from Ethiopia to Uganda. When we switched, several of our documents had to be updated.

So here we are again, on the wait list, but this time for Uganda. And let me tell you, I have such a wonderful peace about Uganda. I am thankful that this is where we are and this is where we are going to stay.

Now on to update more paperwork…