Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sugar Scrub Fun- 2009!

Sugar scrubs are amazing...I love them! So this year, for Christmas and the "Make Something" policy that no one but us followed that was invoked this year ( which I actually liked) I MADE homemade sugar scrubs AND even used as many all-natural ingredients as possible (Apparently they don't recommend using organic sugars- go figure). Below are the three kinds of scrubs I made and the ingredients used! Feel free to experiment with them but BEWARE, they leave an oily film in the bottom of the shower. Bad enough to warn you...So consider yourself warned!


Peppermint Sugar Scrub (about 4-6 oz)
1/2 cup white cane sugar
1/2 cup olive oil*
1/4 cup crushed peppermint candy canes
1 Tbs. all-natural cocoa butter**
1 Tbs. Vitamin E oil
Peppermint Essential Oil- as much as desired for scent

Brown Sugar Scrub (4-6 oz)
1 cup brown sugar^
1/2 olive oil*
2 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. cocoa butter


Lavender Sugar Scrub 
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 olive oil*
1 Tbs. vitamin E oil
2 Tbs. dried lavender
Lavender essential oil- as much as desired

* More expensive oils can be substituted in the place of olive oil (Sweet almond oil is especially great) but for larger quantities, olive oil works great!

**Other moisturizers can be substituted in the place of cocoa butter (shea butter, etc) and I recommend putting it in a processor and getting it as close to a fine powder as possible as it can stay clumpy and hard otherwise!

^ Brown sugar is less abrasive than white sugar which is why the measurement is different! It is great for people who love body scrubs but have sensitive skin! And the honey doubles as a moisturizer and scent. So nice!!!!

Well here it is! My homemade project for 2009! It was fun and I hope everyone loved theirs! Each person got to pick what scent/type they wanted! Hope you can all enjoy it as much as I did!

That is it for me tonight! I am all blogged to date! Goodnight all!


How Does One Remove Stomach From Throat?

Good news! We got our Application Part II packet in the mail today!! That #1 means we were approved to proceed with this agency (good news since my barrage of questions weren't warmly received) and #2 we can officially start the timeline towards picking up Baby Smith!!! might be wondering about my strange title then...when this all seems wonderful...(and is)??? BECAUSE....this "packet"  (for lack of a more all-encompassing word) is far more in-depth than the last application...this portion included individual autobiographies, physicals, recommendation letters (5 to be exact),guardianship designation affidavits, birth certificates, marriage licenses, certificate of financial status (?), the past three years taxes, proofs of employment, and approval of required leave time...just to name a few....EEK....................

This is scary. Don't get me wrong, we are excited and nervous...but THIS- Right here, right now- IS SCARY! Our to be done with this portion of the adoption process by March 31, 2010. That is our goal, today.....So, I guess we better get started!

By the way, for those praying....On March 31, when this is done...Our first portion of $3850 will be due...prayers are SO very appreciated by us!

Learning Curve

I have been staring at my blog page for weeks with nothing to write about...I mean, the mundane is still hanging around like cousin Eddie...but I decided to spare you from  pages and pages of "Woke up a little late today" etc....

Last night I was trying to sleep and, of course, my mind was wandering aimlessly through a barrage of things that make residence in my head, finally settling on something that  I am especially thankful for. I have a few friends that I have been blessed to watch and and learn from with their kids. You see, I know teenagers pretty well. Thankfully I have been able to, over the years, watch teenagers be parented up close and personal and learn from the decisions of others. DH and  I have discussed what we want our parenting style to be...what we want to instill in our children and, most importantly, what we don't. We aren't naive to think that it's not a constant learning curve that people go through, but like everyone else, we would like to think of as many scenarios as possible, watch those around us, and learn as much as we can before we get there.Typically, in all things I would rather be PRO-active than RE-active! =)

So, back to the point. I have begun to categorize the things I see around me and I decided to write about a couple of things have stuck in my mind. Things that I hope we are able to effectively do as parents (names have been changed to protect the innocent). Take Fred and Wilma for instance. Something that I have learned from watching them is how to model the whole "not arguing in front of the kids" aspect of parenting. I don't know if maybe Wilma just ALWAYS agrees with Fred or if she has just perfected the art of pretending...but even in their home they don't disagree with each other in front of the kids...(well, at least in front of me that is--maybe I count, HAHA!) =] Another thing Wilma is amazing at is trying to watch what is said around kids...criticisms, "fat statements", etc...She never says those things and even corrects others when they do. I am sure my approach to this will look quite different ( I sometimes think our actions speak louder and teach our children where their time should be spent), but this is really something I want to get better at. ..Just food for thought I guess.

Then there is Barney and Betty. I have watched them for many years parent their kids and I STILL notice new things. One of the parenting "activities" that really intrigued me, and honestly surprised me, was the fact that they won't tell stories about their kids without their permission. I, truly, never would have thought of this..but I LOVE it. It shows your children you respect them, you honor them, and you won't betray them. Ironically, I have seen all their children naked, bathed them and changed their diapers, and a story about something funny that happened in Wal-Mart is hardly comparable to the "poop in the bathtub" story I personally have...BUT to a child who is learning a child who, YOU as the parent, are trying to instill self-esteem means EVERYTHING that you ask their permission. I have seen it first-hand, when [said] child actually tells Barney or Betty "No" and they watch as their parents honor their wishes. WHAT a remarkable concept...teaching your children respect by GIVING it to them..Now, I am not a parent but this one is going to be filed under "VERY important".

I have a lot of other files categorized...and I am always watching. Because I want to be the best Mom I can be someday (and yes,I know I will fail sometimes)... but maybe I can fail less by paying attention to all the ones who have gone before me. I am a firm believer in NOT re-inventing the wheel...

I see it like this. If I am in the woods, surrounded by things I have never experienced before,a place where I am unfamiliar and can't see my way out... I am DEFINITELY following the trail that someone else left.....Usually that leads to the clearing =)

My Rainbow Box

Do you ever feel "boxed in"? You know, when people see something about you, a trait, a talent, an ability...something. And forever you get identified as that "box"...Well, I kind of feel that way too, sometimes.

This is my amusing metaphor-ish description:

I have a box. This box has 6 sides to color (4 sides, top & bottom) and all 6 sides make up who I am..and in fact, make up my destiny. But you have to start somewhere and I started with the most obvious side. I knew I wanted it to be pink, it was the side closest to me (thereby making it the easiest side to color) and it's a fun side...So I paint it pink. And I like the pink side...It IS in fact part of me.....

Then I go on painting, lots of colors...indigo, red, purple, periwinkle, green...all part of my box. All part of me. But the people around me refuse to see the other colors. They say things like "You make such a good pink box" and "Right now, we only need pink boxes" and they don't really understand that, while the pink side was the first side to be wasn't the only side and probably wasn't even the most important side...most important color....or most important part of me. So what do you do...Do you say "Someday, they will appreciate all my other colors...they won't always see me as a pink box"? Or, do you find new people. New areas of influence. Maybe people who won't even know that you painted the pink side first....Maybe they like my indigo, or periwinkle sides better.....

I just don't think my destiny is to be a pink box forever.....
Do you ever feel that way?

Christmas at Mom and Steven's- 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I really should....

I should post....I have so much to say, what with the holidays and such....I even plan to post pictures and recipes for the sugar scrub I made the fam this Christmas...but I lack motivation and probably need prayer. =)

Posts are coming...really, they are... *sigh*

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

... ...

Application Part I. Turned in.

(Probably drained the poor country program director with all our questions...but nonetheless, I would rather be too thorough than not thorough enough...hopefully they agree) =)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tis the season

Sunday, at church, I was speaking about offerings and the spirit of giving that is so prominent this time of year...It seems like this time of year everyone has the urge or desire to "GIVE" to someone else...But God never intended for us to only give to others at Christmas. The spirit of giving was to be something noticeable all year long, all our lives. We are SUPPOSED to look different from the rest of the world. So if EVERYONE thinks about giving at Christmas time, Christians look no different!

I want to challenge each person reading this to give something every day for the rest of 2009...Not simply in remembrance of Christ and his gift to us, but to start building a habit of giving all the time. You may say "I don't have money to give" or "There are people who can give more than I can" and those statements may be completely true, but as I was once told "You might NOT be able to change the world as one person...but you can change the world FOR one person". Help someone with their shopping bags, smile at the cashier, give you lunch, or your gloves to the person on the corner, give hot chocolate to the bell ringers...There are so many small things that you can do for someone else...and if we ALL do those small things together, they become REALLY REALLY big things instead! That is what the season is truly about....remembering that we should be doing this all the time!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Great Flash Drive Mystery

So...I have been searching painstakingly, for my missing flash drives for at least a week and a half. I have been practicing staying calm and trying so hard not to move into panic mode, but the flash drives contained a LOT of important documents (school, work, personal) and I like a doofus like a normal human being with faults, didn't have them sufficiently backed up....Alas, the worry.....

Last night, I was having a terrible time falling asleep, a lot of things on my mind, but at the forefront was this dang flash drive. I just kept praying over and over again "God, please just help me to find my flash drive". I know, there are bigger issues facing our world than my missing flash drive. I know the world wasn't going to end if I didn't find it...But to me, it was pretty dang important. So this morning, I get up and get ready for work, and like a light bulb turned on, I immediately knew where to look. Praise the Lord, my flash drive has been found!!!

The moral of this story is that, the next time you don't think God cares about your problems, struggles, and worries because there are bigger things going on, just remember...He helped me find my flash drive.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Gestational Period of Elephants...

So, I may have mentioned in passing before, our plan to adopt, and while I might have been coy about everything up til now, it seems that the time is here to kind of "lay it out there". We have been furiously trying to finish the adoption application part 1 for our adoption from Ethiopia (which, in all honestly, is the easiest part...making me very nervous) and trying to get everything done so that we could turn in our application before the end of 2009 to get started on this process. The final step (in step 1, that is) was to complete the Pre-Adoption Workshop..which for our convenience was an online workshop comprised of a "movie" of slide shows that totaled over 6 hours....for real. The first time I attempted to watch it, I fell asleep at around, oh, say...slide 8 of 161...then somehow dreamed a very confusing dream in which my class (in graduate school) was discussing international adoptions...I was SoOoOo confused in my dream, only to awake, amused that the lady speaking on the "movie" had somehow made it into my dreams!

And so comes attempt #2. DH and I were going to watch it TOGETHER on Saturday morning...that was important for both morale support and to ensure we stayed awake for it, since there was an evaluation at the end! We were successful, YAY! And even learned a few things along the way! 

One of the things that really stuck in my mind was that in the "adoption world" they really relate everything about adoption to pregnancy and birth. Comparing the time waiting for your baby's arrival to "pregnancy" and the day you are introduced to your child as his/her "birthday" with his/her Forever Family. Cute, right?? Most adoptive parents try to remind new adoptive families that the same emotions, stresses, and other "fragilities" that happen with biological children are also very common with adoptions. But they also make no qualms about the LENGTH of time that you wait for your baby's "birthday"...Usually between 1 1/2 years to 2 years...that is the gestational period of an ELEPHANT...Now, I don't know much first-hand about "gestational periods" but pretty much everyone around me has been pregnant, and one thing that is resoundingly true is that the picture towards the end is a little different than the picture...well..anywhere else in the pregnancy. As an objective bystander, I generally see that most people are "READY for this kid to get here" at around 8 1/2 can you imagine how you would feel at 2 years?!?!?!

So be praying...because while we aren't "pregnant"..this is a long journey full of ups, downs, and lots of emotions! We trust God because we know this plan was laid out over 2 years ago, and so far everything has been exactly in the timeframe we felt God was leading towards, but that doesn't take away the fears, worries, concerns, etc....One thing we especially ask for your prayers about is the financial aspect. We know that God is going to have control in this and we trust Him even without having the "mapquest" of our trip in front of us. I know how we COULD take care of it in the natural, but I also know that when you trust God and step out in faith along his path, that amazingly supernatural miracles happen,  and in this case we are expecting those financial miracles!

So, I guess this is my first REAL adoption post although I am sure there will be plenty more. We are praying furiously that finances don't delay things (as the time frame is already LOONG!) and we will keep you updated on our journey as we go. Thank you so much for all your prayers and love.

DH and I at Rhema's Christmas Lights 2009