Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Galaxy Tab 3 Update!

Yesterday, I wrote this post with all the current amounts. Then, it all changed again last night! It's a great problem to have, so all the current updates are added now. :)

Which one of our lucky friends will get this?!

If you are not familiar with Galaxy Tablets (like me some people) let me tell you about them. :) Let me just tell you, I have never owned one of these, so all my information comes to you from my techy brain Google. ;)

Some of it's key features:

  • Use it for apps, movies, books, streaming TV shows
  • It doubles as a universal remote
  • Large, beautiful display

What others are saying about it: 

"Great speed, screen color and clarity is excellent. Battery life is good too."

"I couldn't be happier with it. I found it easy to setup and use."

"It is lightweight, and full of features. I especially like the bluetooth. No more using cords to connect a keyboard and I can use it to listen to music in my car."

"This tablet satisfies everything! It fits good in my hand, has great speed, and lots of storage!"

Turns out I might just keep it. ;) 

Actually, I'm SUPER excited to see who gets to win this one. Only 10 more days before we do the drawing. Have you put your name in the hat for a chance to win? 

This is where we are at today:

-We've raised: $1,225 $1,583 toward our goal of $3,200. 

WOW! Thank you, thank you to everyone who has gotten in on the raffle!

-13 18 friends and family have entered

-32  49 chances have been sold

-There are 68 51 chances left--be sure to get yours today!

*In order to enter: Click on the donate button on the left side of the blog. Put in your information. Make a donation of $32 per chance & wait for us to choose a winner on March 7th! :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

The World to Us

We have amazing people in our life. Really, really amazing people. We are so blessed to be surrounded by people that are encouraging us, praying for us and helping us bring home a little girl we don't even know yet.

Over the past week we've been getting super fun emails. They come from our pay pal account telling me a donation has been made. Which means, I get to write down names of friends and family--near & far--anxious to see who will get a Galaxy Tab 3 soon! :) It's an exciting journey, friends. Each and every one of you who have given us such great joy!

Last night I checked the mail and found a real card {who came up with junk mail anyway?} and a package filled with goods I did not order. :) It was a great mail day! What made it even more special was opening each of them to find ways that beautiful people around us are coming behind us to show their love and support to us. A generous donation was included in the card. I can't even tell you how much it means to us to see the outpouring of love from the people in our lives. The package was filled with donated goods for future fundraising opportunities. Ah.maz.ing! What a joy it will be to share with our little girl how loved she is long before she gets to us.

Then, this morning, I check my email and see another donation email--that makes for a great email day too. ;) I recognized the name of a dear, sweet friend who I haven't seen in years! Her family and her friendship have touch our lives in so many ways though, we treasure them. Her own adoption stories have been an encouragement to us too. My eyes filled with tears as I saw their generosity toward us.

This--the generosity, love, support, prayers, emails of encouragement, sharing our fundraising with those around you--all of it, is a blessing. It's hard to put into words all that it means.

To all of you, our friends and family, YOU mean the world to us.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Drew and Chelsea are giving away a Galaxy Tab 3!

If you want to get in on the drawing--which you should--go to my page titled "Project:Home" to find the donate button. You will also find more details about our adoption journey there too. :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fun Facts about Uganda

On Sunday night we had the privilege of going to a show put on by Ugandan children. It was a wonderful evening for our family. The event is part of the Tour of Light by Children of Uganda. There we learned more about traditions and dances that are part of our daughter's country. Our kids loved the drums and dances. If they are coming to an area near you, be sure to check them out and support their ministry! These children, who all have lost at least one parent, train and learn these dances for a year & have to maintain high grades in school to be selected to come here. They travel the country and perform as a way to raise support to take home to fund the programs they are offering to help vulnerable and orphaned children in Uganda. 
Part of our preparing to bring home our daughter, is to learn about Uganda and it's culture. Sunday was a great learning experience for us. :) I'm going to share some things we learn along the way too. 
A few fun facts we've learned: 
1. Uganda is the same size as the state of Oregon
Uganda population 35,873,253
Oregon population 3,871,859

Apparently, we need to prepare for crowds! :) We are hoping that the size of the country makes it easier for us to travel and explore the area outside of Kampala easier. We are looking forward to learning and experiencing as much of Uganda as we can while we are there.

2. Uganda has the worlds best bananas, pineapples, mangoes, and avocados.
For reals! It's like it was made just for me! :) I'm pretty sure I will be eating pineapples, mangoes and avocados with EVERY meal! Yum. Yum. I can't wait. Real, tropical fruit, this is going to be amazing. :) Do you think customs would notice if I had bags full of fresh fruit to bring home with me?! We also learned the other night that they have banana wine. That might actually be sweet enough for me to try. Haha!  :)
3. Soccer is the most popular sport in Uganda.
Good thing our little girl will have Auntie Ash and Uncle Ry to help teach her about her national sport. 
4.  Kampala, Uganda’s capital, is a city where you can enjoy an excellent cappuccino or latte. 
Really, I think they are speaking all my food love languages. 
5. Some more about their food: We can find some of world’s best Chinese and Indian food, or try some traditional Ugandan luwombo.  We can also try a street vendor meal, like a Rolex--watch this video to see how they are made. Roasted Cassava & Suya (meat shish kabobs) are also popular street foods. 
6. Uganda’s climate is tropical and there are two dry seasons Dec – Feb and June – August.  The average temperature is 82 degrees F.
Another little piece of heaven. It's my ideal weather year round! :) Uganda is along the Equator, so it's climate is probably very similar to Ecuador's. Anyone else love spring? Year round? 
I'm really looking forward to our time there and learning even more about this small little piece of Africa. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

ummm…no, I didn't disappear.

Ever feel like things are just TOO crazy at a particular season of your life? Yes. Me too. I was am experiencing that feeling. So I took an unannounced and undefined amount of time off from blogging.

Truth is: I needed the break. Truth is: I missed it. Truth is: I'm not sure what this will look like for me during this season either, but I do know that I really enjoy blogging and hope to make it part of my life again.

Quick re-cap on the last 2 years. Yes, it's been that long.

1. Baby #3 is here, and now is a year old, walking and a bundle of humor. He is such a love, a determined little guy and a mama's boy.

2. We are still tracking with our budget. It's been working really well for us. It's hard to see so little "extra" on some months, but we are not lacking. So, gratitude is the best perspective on that. :)

3. I have a million and one projects I want to do and blog about. We will take one at a time and there are no promises from me about when they will be done. ;)

4. We are adopting! Our fourth child will be coming to us from a dear mother in Uganda. We know very little details about the "who" right now, but we know she belongs here and we are preparing for her. :) To get all the details on that, you can follow the link under the page: "Project: Home" or click here. This will be a big part of our year, so I'm sure you'll be hearing a lot about this process.

I'm excited to get back in touch with each of you dear readers. Leave some comments and let me know what your updates are too. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Homemade Butter

I finally got around to making homemade butter. It was so worth it! It has a fluffly, whipped texture and tastes fantastic. All I did was whip heavy whipping cream until it was firm and added a little bit of salt. So easy. So good.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Packing 101

For all of you who are heading out of town to spend time with loved ones over the Holidays this one is for you! Turns out that spending a childhood of moving internationally several times and a few more times domestically (from one state to another) I've developed a talent for packing. Until now, I've kept this bit of information about myself hidden from most people. Of course my family has always known and as far back as I can remember I've gotten the "honey, can you come help us pack?" call any time someone is going anywhere. Which is precisely why it's not been made common knowledge. I'm okay with it in this setting though, because I'll be sharing my tips with you so that you can become your own expert packer! :) Of course, there are all kinds of ways to pack and I'm sure there are plenty of good ideas I haven't come across, but these have always worked for me. The tip I'm sharing with today are my ways to save space. In another post I'll share with you another packing tip to use when space isn't as much of an issue.

The pictures I'm showing you are from our 2 week trip to San Diego this September. This is my daughter's suitcase, a carry on sized bag. 
Just getting started. Underwear and socks in the pocket at the top. 
First, I lay out all the clothes that we will be needing for a specific trip. I arrange things by outfits. This helps me make sure that we have each piece necessary to coordinate once we're there. I also add layering options, and when possible I add long and short sleeve options to the outfits to account for any unexpected weather changes. I tend to be some what of an over packer, especially for my kids because I want there to be enough options in the event of spills, accidents, weather changes, etc.
Everything that I'll be fitting into the suitcase

Another view of the pile to be packed. Each pile is laid out as an outfit.

The shoes that will be going with us
Then I take each outfit and lay them on top of each other. I like the pants to be on the bottom, then the shirt(s) go in order on top of the pants.
Outfit laid out ready to be packed
I roll my outfits together, tightly. I do this for a number of reasons. The first one being that it's SO much easier to have my daughter or husband grab a whole outfit out of the suitcase at one time. This eliminates the digging through the bag for each piece and making a whole mess each morning. It also keeps certain pieces of the outfit from being used on another day and then not being clean when it comes time to use the other pieces of that specific outfit. Another reason I roll them together is because it saves space. Yes, I know it looks much larger this way, but trust me, it saves space. The final reason I roll things is because if you do it well, it can keep things from getting as wrinkled. I know, you think I'm crazy, but I promise for most things it keeps them from getting less creases and wrinkles then being stacked in a pile in the suitcase.
All rolled up, ready to be packed

Another example of an outfit.
This one has a long sleeve and short sleeve option that will be rolled up together.
As I'm packing things into the suitcase I'm mindful of what kind of outfit it is and pack like things together. In the picture below, the far left has all of my daughters cooler weather outfits, rolled up and then stacked on top of each other. This way when once we are there I don't have to dig around for things as much. In the center (the right side of the picture) she has warm weather outfits ready.
All packed up
In this picture you'll see that there are more warm weather outfits in the bottom right side, then in the middle of the right side I have her dressy clothes (she didn't need many, just 2 or 3) and then in the top right I have all of her pajamas. Again, all of this is packed specifically that way so that it makes things less complicated when it comes time for her to find what she needs each morning or evening.
Everything is in!
That's everything. In the top pocket we added her swimsuits and swimsuit covers.
When I pack shoes, I like to put them in between each little rolled up outfit. Shoes fit nicely in those little spaces. I put them in with the top down so that the dirty soles aren't touching her clean clothes. You can also put them in a bag before putting them in or lay a plastic bag or two over them if you're concerned about how dirty they might be and to keep the soles from touching the items in the pocket above them.

Just in case you weren't sure it would close! ;)
In the smaller top pocket I have her hair accessories and brush
and in the larger pocket below we put her Bible and a few other books in.
A quick picture of the hair accessories (in a separate bag) and her brush.

A quick recap:
-Put outfits together
-Roll them as a set
-Stack outfits according to style or weather
-Place shoes on top of the stacks facing down

For those of you who like to be extra organized and prepared, you can also print off my packing list. Then on pinterest (because I LOVE that site & I'm slightly addicted) I found this great resource for packing light. There are great suggestions that I totally agree with! :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Homemade Mixes: How To

Last week I shared with you all the benefits of making your own mixes. Hopefully that sparked your interest and you gathered up your ingredients because today we are putting our mixes together.

You can use this same basic process for any sort of mixes. Here are some ideas:
-Spice mixes
-Bread (savory or sweet: banana, zucchini, cinnamon rolls, pizza crust, dinner rolls, etc)
-Desserts (cakes, cookies, pie crusts, etc)
-Snack mixes

1. Gather your supplies for the first recipe (it's best to do one at a time)
This includes:
-The recipe
-Gallon size ziplock bags (or you can use mason jars if the mix is small enough)
-Snack and sandwich size ziplock bags
-Measuring utensils
-Index cards & pen OR printed recipe
-Sharpie or printed labels

2. Decide how many mixes you'll be making
Label the bags you'll be using and open all of the bags. Prop them up for easy access to the opening. Also decide if you'll be making 1/2 or 1/4 size protions. If so, then write out the correct amounts you'll need for those variations on your recipe card so you don't have to do the math each time. Be sure to also adjust the liquid amounts to match the amount you've decided on so that your recipe will be correct when it comes time to make the mix.

3. Read the recipe carefully. Be sure to look over all the directions so that you know if there are specific things that you'll need to do with some of the ingredients when it comes time to prepare the mix or something you should do now. For example, my cookie recipe calls for my oatmeal to be blended, so I do that before adding it to my mix. If there is anything that needs to be combined separately with a liquid ingredient, then you will need to keep that/those ingredients in a separate ziplock bag. For example, my cookie dough recipe calls for the sugars to be combined with the butter, so I keep the sugars in a smaller bag within my mix. Once you've paid careful attention to the recipe and made sure you made special arrangements when necessary, then you can move ahead to the next step.

4. Start adding your ingredients
First, put any special ingredients in individual bags so that you don't forget to that later and add them to the gallon sized bag. Then, start at the top of recipe and add the required amount of each DRY ingredient to your bag. I like to do one ingredient at a time. So if I'm making 3 mixes and my recipe calls for 2 C of flour, I'll add the 2 C of flour to each of my 3 bags before moving on to the next ingredient. Then I'll do the same for all the remaining ingredients. This helps me make sure I don't miss any ingredient in each mix. It also helps me keep a cleaner area, once I've finished with all 3 mixes, I can set that ingredient aside or put it away.

5. Finish your mix
Once you've added all your DRY ingredients to your mix, then add your printed or written out copy of the recipe to the bag. Seal it up and put it away.

You can follow this exact same process for the remaining recipes you're making. It's not hard to make several mixes in just a few hours, especially if they have similar ingredients.

Have fun stocking up!

If you come across a great recipe that works well for a homemade mix, please share it with us!
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