Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Easy Stick Animal Kids Craft


This was a super easy craft that ended up being a hit with my 3-year-old and 5-year-old.  It is so simple that you don't even need a step-by-step tutorial.  But I will lay out what we did! 

1. Go and send your kids out to find some sticks.  I thought this was going to be a great adventure with my 2 kids going out into the yard searching for sticks, giving me some time to set up the craft.  But, what it ended up being was: my kids walked out side the door and yelled "I don't see any sticks" and came back in side.  I was all "You didn't look, go try again" and the same thing happened. So, I ended up going out into the yard and finding the sticks (which were like 10 feet from the door and the kids could have totally found them if they would have just looked!) 

2. Draw the the body parts of the animals like the head and the body.

3. use glue to glue the sticks on for the legs, neck, wings, tail, etc.  I used hot glue because we were impatient. 

Here are the animals we made:




And we had lots more ideas like dinosaurs, or an octopus.   

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Losing weight with Nutrisystem® #FuelABetterYou

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nutrisystem, Inc. for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

This is me at 37 weeks

After having my baby I have some weight to lose to get back to my pre-pregnant weight.  I gained 40 pounds with the baby and I am a little over half way  getting back to the weight that I want.  I know that they best way to lose weight is the eat healthy and exercise!  I have been trying to get out and walk more.  Some days I wake up early and go out by myself and other days I head out with all 3 kids.  

The trouble I have is eating healthy.  This is where I think Nutrisystem® could really help.  Since I have 3 kids under the age of 5 at home I spend most of my time making sure that they eat well and neglect myself and end up either not eating or stuffing my face full of junk food. Not healthy!  But, Nutrisystem® delivers healthy meals right to your door!  Just what I need right now... I mean I can barely remember to brush my teeth in the morning!  

Nutrisystem® has been helping people lose weight for over 40 years now!  They offer counseling over the phone and online to help people deal with their weight problems privately.  The other great service they offer is meals delivered right to your door!  They prepare perfectly portioned® entrees and snacks and bring them right to your home!  They have over 150 entrees and snacks to choose from you are sure to find something you love!   They also offer vitamins, supplements and cookbooks to help you on your weight lose journey! 

They are having an awesome sweepstakes right now: Nutrisystem Fuel A Better You Sweepstakes.  - Fuel your goals.  Fuel your greatness! 

Here is what you could win:

  • Four winners will win a FREE 28-day Nutrisystem® Select® program (featuring top rated frozen cuisine) 
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Amazing- right?!  So here is how you enter:

Visit the Nutrisystem Facebook Page and select the "sweepstakes" tab.  Fill out the form and press enter and you are done!  Easy-peasy! 

So hurry and enter!  You have nothing to lose (except the weight!)

***Disclosure: Nutrisystem® has compensated me for promoting this sweepstakes - all opinions are 100% mine***

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Summer Breakfasts

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walmart. All opinions are 100% mine.

So- the first half of our summers was super laid-back... No going anywhere, no rushing out of the house, just hangin out in our PJs until about 10 and then getting dressed to eat lunch!  But then July hit and suddenly we are super busy with family visiting, VBS, Summer pre-school, and sports camps... and back to school is right around the corner!  Not to mention that we are getting ready for a big move.  So um, yeah - we are a little bit busy around here!  Pretty much every morning 1 or all 3 of my kids wakes me up at the creak of dawn letting me know that they are hungry!  

Photo taken by Footloose Photography

That means summer breakfast is even more important!  If we are going to be out and about all day we have to get our bodies all fueled up for the day!  Walmart has some great breakfast options for everyone and great everyday low prices.  They have a little something for every one: Folgers© for mom, Hungry Jack© mix (Waffles and pancakes) for dad, Smuckers© brand jelly for toast for our daughter, and Martha White© muffin mix for my son!  All of these options are WAY WAY WAY better then stopping for fast food breakfast!  


We also love to make breakfast for dinner.  It is low key and seems like a cooler dinner when it is really hot!  Pancakes is our favorite breakfast for dinner meal!  You know you can also make extra pancakes and waffles and freeze them to make for an easy breakfast later in the week!

What do you do for summer breakfasts?  

 

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Back to School Shopping and White Cloud Facial Tissues

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of White Cloud for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

My son is going to kindergarten this year!  It is my first time shopping for school supplies as a mom.  Before-Children I was a middle school math teacher so, I am no stranger to shopping for school supplies!  I would stock my classroom each year with new pencils, markers, colored pencils, glue sticks, and much more! But this year I am filling my son's backpack not my classroom and it makes me all excited and nervous at the same time!
My son's first day of pre-school last year.  (picture taken for our family blog)
I cannot wait to get his school supply list and take him shopping to pick out folders, notebooks, pencil box, and backpack!  This year I am going to be hitting up the sales and trying to use coupons to save on all the Back-To-School items that we will need!

As a teacher I always put Facial Tissue as one of the items that my students needed to bring for the classroom.  You can never have enough tissues around kids!  White Cloud Facial Tissue is a great choice since they come in a multi-pack (3 pack or 6 pack) - perfect for if you have more than one child heading back to school!  Even if you just have one, sending a multi-pack of White Cloud Facial Tissue is sure to get your kid on the teacher's good side!  Also if you buy the limited edition packs you can help support the Miracle Children's Network Hospitals too!

 photo 1162ef5e-4d2d-416a-a97c-75470d9d7477_zpsb860d0db.jpg White Cloud is helping mom's out everywhere by offering a coupon for $0.75 off.  They also have a coupon coming out July 28th in the Newspaper FSI and also these magazines: Good Housekeeping, First for Women, Cosmopolitan, Women's Day, O, The Oprah Magazine, Family Circle, Everyday with Rachael Ray, Country Living, Fitness, House Beautiful, Redbook, and Ladies' Home Journal.

To find out if White Cloud is sold in your area us the White Cloud Store Locator.

Stay up to date with White Cloud:
White Cloud Facial Tissue page
White Cloud Facebook Page
White Cloud Twitter Page
White Cloud Pinterest Page
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Monday, July 15, 2013

Adoption week - Fawnda's Adoption Story


I always knew that I would probably adopt someday.  Well, at least since I was a teen girl who had issues with her monthly cycle. I was told at age 14 that I would probably have difficulty getting pregnant some day, but not to worry about it until I was older. My sister and I would joke about how I would some day have quads because I would probably have to use fertility drugs.

Fast forward to college and I am dating the man of of my dreams. It was kind of  a tough conversation to have when we started to get serious and were talking marriage and family.  Lucky for me he was open to adoption too. We ended up getting married and decided to wait a few years to have kids. We had some large college loans we wanted to pay off and be settled for a bit first.

Once we started trying we knew there would be issues. So, it wasn't long before we got referred to an infertility specialist.  I am not going to go into detail of my infertility testing and procedures, but let's just say it was a year of doctors knowing way too much about our sex life, lots of poking in places you don't want to be poked, and some bad side effects from fertility drugs. As we moved through each stage our chances of conceiving got less and less.  The more infertility stuff we did the more we felt hopeless.

We decided that we had had enough of trying to conceive and were ready to start a family. We did not need to be pregnant- we needed to have children. We started to research different adoption agencies and different adoption programs. The more steps we took toward adoption the more excited we got and felt that we had HOPE!

Education is really important to us so we tried to get as much of it as we could about all the adoption programs so that we would know the best fit for us. We decided on international adoption right away. We both love to travel and we know we couldn't handle the unpredictability of domestic adoption. We finally decided on the Korea program because, at that time, the kids were still under the age of 1 when they came home and it was a stable, predictable, program.

Adoption requires a lot of trust in God. There are a lot of factors you cannot control. And waiting to get matched with a child is really hard. The whole adoption process was an exercise of faith for us and really made our relationship with God stronger then ever. We had no choice but to trust that God would match us with our child... the one he created for our family!  Psalms 139 took on a whole new meaning to us.  Knowing that God was knitting our baby in another women's womb, that He knew how many hairs were on his head, that He was with that baby even though we could not be was such a comfort to us.

It is not a secret that adoption is not cheap!  It comes with all sorts of adoption fees.  This also was an exercise in faith.  It was amazing how God provided for us each step of the way.  Just when we would need some money my husband would get almost that exact amount in a bonus from work, or our tax return would be about the same amount we needed.  It was truly amazing to see the money show up in just the nick of time.  

I will never forget when we got our call to tell us that we had a referral (a referral is when you are matched with a child). It was so exciting hearing about the child. They emailed us all the information about the baby which included the medical records and little family history. We were told not to look at the pictures until we had decided that we were going to accept this referral. We are rule followers so, we did just that. Once we knew that we were going to accept this referral we opened the photos file.

It was crazy waiting for the photos to load! We were just hoping the baby would be cute! As the pictures loaded line by line down the screen we watch with anticipation... and of course he was SO CUTE... I mean adorable!  honestly- what Korean baby isn't, right?!  Now we just had to wait for some more paperwork to get done so that we could bring him home!  The Korean and US governments had to get all the right documents together for us to travel to bring our baby home.

It was so exciting sharing the pictures with our family and friends, planning our baby's nursery,  buying him clothes.  Our families and friends threw us showers. We had lots to do but still ached to be with our son!

I can also remember getting the call to travel... I was at school teaching my first hour class when the call came into my classroom. I picked up the phone thinking it was the office calling for a student and it was one of the social workers. She asked "Are you ready to go and get your child?"  YES! All teaching stopped that day!  I called my hubby, my mom, and my long term sub! I told my students that it was going to be my last day because we were going to Korea to get our baby!

The trip to Korea was, of course, amazing.  It was so exciting and scary getting on the plane to Korea knowing that when we came home we would be parents.  We got custody of our son the morning that we left Korea to come home (we had meetings with our son and foster mom, but we didn't get to keep him until we were traveling home).  Then began our bonding experience.  We had over a 24 hour trip home, which included a 1 hour van ride,  14 hour flight, another 5 hour flight, and lots of waiting to get through customs.  We came home Nov. 5th 2008.
1. Our "Before" picture at the airport leaving for Korea
2. Fawnda's first time holding Kyan at our first meeting.
3. At our Second meeting Kyan fell asleep on Fawnda
4. Jason's first time holding Kyan at our first meeting.
5. Our first family shot.
6. On the plane ride home. 

We were so happy to be home and starting our family.  1 year later we started the process again to adopt a girl.  We were told at that time, lots of things in the Korea program had changed and that the wait times to bring a child home was much longer.   They told us that it would probably 2 years before we could bring a little girl home.  That was much longer then our son, but we trusted in God's timing and said OK.  And then we prayed that God would speed up the timing so that we would bring a daughter home... and speed it up He did!

3 months later we got a phone call telling us we had a referral... ummmm- isn't this much sooner then we were told?  Yes!  And then we traveled to go and get her 9 weeks later!   The total time between we were approved to when we brought her home was 6 months.  It was CRAZY fast and such a whirlwind I don't remember much of it! :)  But, I do remember that our Second trip to Korea was equally amazing and it was such a blessing to bring our little girl home.   We came home Dec 23rd, 2010 - just in time for Christmas! 
 1. Our First meeting with Nyah at her Foster Family's home
2. Lots of crying the first day that we had her.
3. Finally crashed after all the crying.
4. Happy with daddy
5. Waiting at the Seoul Airport for our LONG trip home (it took over 25 hours total)
6. At home with mom and brother!

In 2013, 2 1/2 years later, God surprised us again with a 3rd child.  This time I was pregnant!  What?!? Our 3rd son was born April 8th, 2013.

We are so blessed by our children   We know that God created each of them to be a part of our family.  It is crazy all the similarities we have with the personalities of our kids,  that I know that God selected us to be their parents!


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Adoption Week: One way we celebrate adoption (Gotcha day!)

Adoption week continues!  We have more posts to share with you so we are going to keep going this week too! 

Every year on the date that we got custody of our adopted children we celebrate their "Gotcha day" (ya know- because it was the day that we got-ya!).  It is different than their birthdays because it is a celebration of the day they became part of our family.

We adopted our kids from Korea so, they were a little bit older when they came home. My son's Gotcha Day is Nov 5th (almost 9 months after his birthday) and our daughter's is Dec 22 (8 months after her birthday). Since their Gotcha days are not near their birthdays, it makes sense to us to celebrate it at a different time.

Here is how we celebrate:

We don't do gifts.  We do lots of gifts for their birthdays so they don't need more gifts.  This is a family celebration day.

So far we have gone to a Korean restaurant on every Gotcha Day. Our kids love "Korea Food" (what they call the restaurant that we go to), and so do we, so it is an easy and fun way to celebrate their heritage. Since our kids are 3 and 5 we still pick the restaurant but I think as they get older we will let them choose where they want to eat. It might not end up being Korean and that is OK, it is about being a family!

Our Daughter, Nyah's,  First Gotcha Day @ Mirror of Korea


Our son, Kyan's, 3rd Gotch Day @ Mirror of Korea


Before we go to bed that night we tell the story of their journey home. We start back at the beginning - How they started out growing in their Korea mommy's tummy, how we wanted a baby so bad, how we had to do lots of paper work to get them,  how their Korean foster mom took care of them while we were waiting for them to come home.

We have photo books of our trips to Korea and we look at the books and talk about our first visits with them and how they acted.  We tell them how they acted on the air plane ride home. We show them the pictures of when they were crying because they missed their foster moms. We tell them about how much we loved them from the start!  My 5-year-old is just starting to get-it and ask some questions. We answer them as honestly as we can (age appropriately too).

Our son's book:
  Made using Snapfish

Our daughter's book:
Made using Paper Catorie
Our kids seriously love these photo books and look at them often.   

And that is it.  Just a day of being together as a family and reminiscing of when they came home to us.   We don't make it too extravagant but we do make it important.  And I think that is the key.

How do you celebrate adoption at your home?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Adoption Week: Red Thread Wall Art

***This is a craft I have shown on this blog before but had to share it with you for adoption week!***

Yesterday I shared some of our favorite adoption themed childerns books.
One of them is The Red Thread and this craft is inspired by this book!
"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break." -Chinese proverb
 Many of you know that we adopted 2 of our children from South Korea.  We believe that we were connected with them even before we met them.  The Red Threads were pulling on our hearts brings us together!  

Here is what you will need:
2 canvases
Scrap fabric
Craft Paint
Red embroidery thread and needle
Felt (not pictured)
Here is how you can make it:
1. Paint your canvas your base color.

2. Around the sides of your canvas mark off 1 inch marks.  My tape was 1 inch thick so that is why I used 1 inch marks... if your tape is wider you can use wider marks.

3. Use you marks to tape off your stipes.  I wanted a Chevron look to mine so I put my tape at a slant.  
The ScotchBlue Edge Lock Tape is Magic!  Seriously... I did not need to touch up any of my stripes. I wanted to test this tape out to see if it could live up to the hype... and it can.
I reversed the slant on the other canvas to get the chevron shape.

4. Paint your stripes with your other color. 
 I wanted a distressed look so I did a thin layer with lots of brush strokes. 

5. While the paint is STILL WET, take off the tape.  The ScotchBlue Edge Lock works WONDERFUL for this project.  The lines were crisp!  This tape made this project so much easier!
Look at those beautiful stripes!

6. I used my Silhouette to cut out the shapes of the map.  First I ironed on the clean cut interface to the back side of the fabric.  I used the trace feature to make the map shapes and cut them out the fit on to the canvas. 

7. Cut out heart shapes out of red felt and hot glue in the location of the city.

8. Lightly draw a line for the thread to follow.  I made mine with some loops.  It is hard to see my pencil marks so I tried to point them out to you.

9. Thread your needle and sew on the line you drew.  I thought that it was going to be harder then it was.  The needle went through the canvas and paint very well.  When I got to the edge I wrapped the thread around the side and hot glued it to the back to hold it in place. 

All done!



Make some for yourself or this would make an AWESOME gift for some one who is adopting internationally!

***Disclosure:  I was supplied with ScotchBlue Edge Lock Painter's tape for free.  However my opinions are 100% honest***






Thursday, July 11, 2013

Adoption Week - Children's books

We have a lot of children's books with the adoption theme in our house.   We have found that some adoption themed books are better than others.  Some books focus on the kids being angry about being adopted.  Although some adopted children do struggle with that,  at this time my kids don't, and I like to keep a positive attitude about adoption.
(For example one book we have is about a little girl who gets mad that she is adopted and starts to ruin and break some of her parents things.  I don't want my kids to get any ideas that they have to be mad about being adopted and then break my things.) 

These books are some of our very favorites!  Most of our books lean more toward international adoption since that is what we did.  I thought I'd share some of the ones we really like.  They would make a great gift for a friend or family member who has adopted children.

Mama Roo is praying for a baby to love and care for and she is blessed with a baby bird.

It is the story or one couple who adopts a baby girl from South America.

A Chinese proverbs says "An invisible, unbreakable red thread connects all who are destined to be together"  The story follows a King and Queen who have a pain in their heart caused by a red thread that is pulling on them.  They have to take a long journey to find out what or who is on the other end.

Choco needs a mom but he cannot find one who looks just like him.  He talks to Ms. Bear who shows him that a mom doesn't have to look like him to be his mom.

Guji Guji is a crocodile that is raised by a family of ducks.  Some mean crocodiles try to tell him he is like them and threatens his family.  But Guji Guji is the hero in the end.  

Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies
A little boy tells his story of how he came home to his mom and dad from a far away country. 

A story of a mom who adopted a little girl from China.


An Asian girl is adopted and she tells about her family.  She tells the story through an upbeat positive perspective.

Do you have any favorite adoption books?  Leave them in the comments below!



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