"Every Good and Perfect Gift Comes From Above" ~James 1:17

"Every Good and Perfect Gift Comes From Above" ~James 1:17
Thank you so much for coming to check out my brand spankin' new blog! I've never "blogged" before, so here goes nothin'! This page is inspired by our adoption process, and I am hoping to get words of encouragement or advice every step along the way :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Baking Spree

While we wait for our home study to be typed up and sent back to use for approval, Austin and I had a baking extravaganza :) We made chocolate pudding peppermint cookies, mint chocolate chip cookies, chocolate peppermint bark, peanut butter fudge, Hershey kisses pretzel bites, and cracker toffee. I will post links to all of these recipes for those who are interested! Last year's favorite among my boys was hands down the mint chocolate chip cookies. However, this year they both decided they like the chocolate peppermint cookies better! These will be a definite among baking years to come.
Baking supplies ready to go!
Austin helped a lot, but all in all this took about 5 hours to complete and- being that he is 7 years old- he lost interest after about hour 3 ;) 
The finished products!

Yum, so so good :)

Some tips: 
- Buy the good white chocolate. I may sound like Ina from Barefoot Contessa, but when you buy the generic brand it doesn't turn out the same at all! It just would NOT melt, and got chunky, so I had to mix it in with the milk chocolate and it didn't make the pretty black and white layers that are in the original recipe. 
- A little peppermint extract goes a LONG way! Don't use too much, I used even less than called for in the 2 mint cookie recipes. 

While baking, we also made some cute and easy Christmas presents for Austin's teacher, bus driver, karate instructor... you get the idea! I used a printable found here: 
We just got some cute jars/ mugs from WalMart, filled them with Hershey kisses, and VOILA! 

~Erin XOXO

Monday, December 17, 2012

Home study is finished!!

Just had to log on to share that we just had our 4th and last home study visit :) yay!!!
So now we wait for it to be typed up so we can send out our I800A form and get the ball really rolling on our way to send our documents to China. Hoping this part happens quickly! We are really ready for the paperwork part to be completed so we can patiently wait for our daughter ;) Any of you that know me know I am not a patient person. Funny, quirky, stubborn, loving, but not patient. Especially when I am waiting for something I reallyreally want, like a LITTLE GIRL! So this part will be hard. However, it will be nice to not be feeling so "paper pregnant" and overloaded with tons and tons of forms and documents and letters and referrals...
Any prayers on this next step will be appreciated! I promise to keep you all updated all along the way :)
~Erin XOXO

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Merry Merry Merry Merry Christ-mas!

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Here's our 2012 Christmas card! Hope you like it :) And I hope next year we will be a family of 4!!!!
~Erin XOXO

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Etsy Store!

For those who haven't heard, I opened a store on Etsy to sell some crafts that I have made, in order to make money to bring our China doll home! While things can seem to move very s-l-o-w-l-y in this process, we also realize that we could get approved and get a call much faster than we think that there is a baby girl ready for us in China! We have been able to save and/or raise enough money to get us through the next step or two, but once the referral comes in that is when the big bucks are due. So we are still trying to make money in any way we can, hence my Etsy store! Go check it out, and here are a few things that I've put up for sale at


Newborn Tutus

FSU Chevron frame

UF Gators Rag Wreath

Thanks for checking out my items, and keep looking for new products! I'm constantly making new crafts and always have new ideas! :)
~Erin XOXO

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dolla Dolla Bills Y'all

Our funds we have raised to date. Considering we just started, I am excited about this progress! Until you look at it in this format and then it becomes very anti-climatic ;) However, we will keep on trucking. We know in our heart of hearts we are meant to adopt this baby, so in keeping with the Field of Dreams motto: the Funds will Come!!! 
Thanks for all of your love and support!
~Erin XOXO

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Garage Sale Success!

Haven't been on in a while, been super duper busy! But the good news is we start our Home Study next week. Yay!!! The bad news is, there is a loooooootttt to do before then.

David and I went on a trip to San Francisco and Napa Valley a few weeks ago, at the end of September. It was much needed and we had a great time! We came back ready to start fundraising and getting funding together for this adoption, especially because we know that after the home study is completed we will have another $3000+ fee to pay.

We were called when we were on vacation in Cali that our home study has been scheduled. So exciting! Here is the problem: we had planned on getting things together for a large multi-family garage sale mid-October. People have been donating all sorts of things to us, big and small. My home started to look like a house on Hoarders. I was able to get rid of most of it today at our garage sale, which went so well David is already planning on when we will have another one! If it were up to me we would never do this again LOL.

Early morning at the garage sale. The bounce house was inflated for less than 5 minutes before it was sold!
I worked three 12-hour shifts, spent all of Friday running around getting things organized and ready for the sale, spent all day Saturday loading and unloading items, haggling with people over literally 10 cents, and then reloading and unloading all the things that didn't sell. My back hurts and I have a sunburn. However,

We raised enough money to get us to the next step in the adoption process!!!!

Today was awful but it was also incredibly moving. So many people we have never even met gave us donations, prayers, and well wishes. I was overwhelmed at the end and to be honest, how well we did still has not sunk in. I had heard from other families looking for ways to raise money for adoption that garage sales were great, and I admit I was skeptical. But we went ahead anyway, knowing God can do amazing things. He definitely did today! We are amazed, blessed, and totally in the debt of all of our friends who so graciously helped us.

This doesn't even begin to show the huge amount of things we had at our garage sale today.
Thankfully, most of the big items sold and we almost tripled our goal of what we had wanted to fund-raise!!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to those who helped us today. Elizabeth, Louis, Leslee, Nick, Staci, Grant, Jessica, James, Amanda, Steven, Susan, Rachel, John, Renee, Chris, and anyone else I missed. Love you all and could NOT have done any of this without you!!!!!!

We start our home study this Wednesday. My house is a complete disaster from the garage sale prep. Plus, we sold Austin's bed so he is now sleeping on the floor. I work tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday. I am *kind of* freaking out at how this place is going to get in order by the time our coordinator comes. But, I must remember that things seem to fall into place when they need to. Also, we were told at our last adoption meeting that they will not be coming with a "white glove" trying to see how dirty our house is! Still, I want everything to be perfect. So the prayers this week will be for us to be able to get done what we need in order to be ready for our home study on Wednesday. :) Thank you so much for keeping us in your thoughts! 

~Erin XOXO

Friday, September 21, 2012

Easy Homemade Dog Biscuits

 I decided the other day to make my own dog treats. It seemed easy and, to be honest, we had been out of treats for a while. The dogs kept looking at me like I was the worst owner on the planet.
Could you say no to this face? ----------------------->

 Anyhoo, I had seen lots of tutorials for dog biscuits on Pinterest, however I don't have a fancy cookie cutter in the shape of a dog bone. Plus I usually end up breaking regular Milk Bones into halfsies anyway because my lab is quite on the hefty side. So I decided to make this easy as can be and just make little hush puppy type treats.
Here are the ingredients I used, in no particular order:
Oats (of any kind unless your pup has an allergy)
Flour (again, any kind will do)
Peanut Butter
I ended up just throwing ingredients in to the bowl until I got
a consistency I thought would work in order to roll the treats
into balls. Here I put in flour, PB, oats, and 1 egg.
This was obviously too sticky, so I decided on more flour.

Oops. The flour kind of exploded. The beauty with this non-
recipe is that you can keep adding things until it comes out
right. So I then added another egg...

Much better! Semi-sticky but not runny or goopy.

Here they are all rolled out. You can make
them big or small, I chose bite-size for my
lab and my Boston Terrier kind of has to
chew it for a second or two. His name is Jim
and he is special ;)

Sticky stuff.
PS I used my old cookie sheets, I do have better ones so
no judging! :)

Mom, please hurry. It smells awesome in here.

Waiting with baited breath to lick the bowl.
I admit I did try them before I cooked them. They tasted like
oat-y peanut butter globs, just what dogs like! I don't know
about you, but my dogs sometimes eat cat poop. Anything
would be an improvement.

Jimmy licking the spoon. Right after this he yanked it away
from me and took it under the dining room table. There goes my
wooden spoon!

What they looked like after 15 minutes in
a 350 degree oven.

They got slightly browned on the bottom and top so I knew
they were done. They weren't too hard or too soft.

Little hush puppies!

I don't have measurements but the amount I made just fit into
our dog treat canister. If you don't have an air tight container
I would refrigerate them, or freeze half the batch to keep them
fresher longer.

My boys were very happy!
~Erin XOXO

Thursday, September 20, 2012

If you like the Pumpkin Spice Latte:

I LOVE this time of year. I love Publix cinnamon brooms, leaving the windows open (not quite there yet in FL I'm afraid), getting out the Happy Fall Y'all wood sign I got in NC at a craft fair, and all of the pumpkin flavored drinks and food that come out! The Starbuck's Pumpkin Spiced Latte is my absolute fave, however now that I'm counting calories (ughhhhh) I've noticed how not so fab it is. Here are the facts:

Grande Pumpkin Spice w/ 2% milk and No whip     = 310 Cals
Grande Pumpkin Spice w/ soy milk and No whip     = 300 Cals
Grande Pumpkin Spice w/ nonfat milk and No whip = 260 Cals
--for comparison only--


So in order not to totally ruin the experience, I have been experimenting with drinks over at the store-with-the-green-straw and this is what I came up with. I must say, it is ah-maz-ing.

Order a Grande (or whatever size you like, but I think a Tall is gone in like 2 sips) Latte with Sugar-Free Caramel Syrup and your milk of choice. This would be soy for me, and my other lactose-intolerant friends. Then add 1 (one) pump of pumpkin spice syrup. This takes the drink down a whole lotta Cals! 170 Cals for the latte (120 for ICED), and an extra 33 Cals for the pump of Pumpkin. Let me say, it is yummm-myy! I had 2 co-workers get one as well and they said it was awesome! Grand total = 203 (hot) or 153 (iced), better than 300 Cals :)

I called this drink the "Erin" since it is such a mouthful to order each time. "Yes, I'd like a Grande iced sugar free caramel soy latte with an extra pump of pumpkin spice syrup". No. "I'd like the Erin please."

Then you can tell your husband you are going to do some "Erins", and he thinks you are doing errands instead of going to Target and shopping with your new fave drink! ;)
~Erin XOXO

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hopin'.. and Wishin'... and Prayin'...

I hope I got that song in your head :) Because it has been stuck in mine for a while! Heehee...
Just logged on to share that we sent our paperwork in today! I felt so good taking that huge pile of documents with our lives' details spelled out, wrapping it up in a nice thick priority mail envelope and shipping all the way from Orlando to... Winter Garden. Ha! I know, I could have driven it over at that point. But the $5.15 stamp cost less than the $3.79/gallon gas that I saw today.
Other than that, nothing new to report on the adoption process. Just waiting around for things to start happening. I HAVE however been planning things, because those of you who know me know I like to PLAN! Yay for plans! So, I decided on a mermaid themed room (thank you again Pinterest) and found some great stuff already at Home Goods. I really wasn't going there with the intention of buying anything for our little girl and just storing it away. Really, I wasn't. But it's HOME GOODS and it's like they can read your mind or something. So I walk in with 3 bags and David is like, what's that? Me: "Oh, you know, things we needed". David: "Oh". He can portray a sarcastic tone with just one word. I don't know how. Maybe I was feeling guilty! Thankfully HG is cheap so it wasn't a money issue, it was just the idea that I am buying things for someone who may or may not exist yet. Silly right!
This led me to think about Austin's Harry Potter party we had this year for his 7th birthday. I *might* have gotten slightly carried away. I planned and planned the crap out of that party. I picked up "odds and ends" at different craft stores, antique shops, even a garage sale or two. The fabric I got right after Halloween was over last year for a great deal on clearance (that goes to show how far in advance I planned. Halloween= October, Austin was born in April). I'll put some pictures of it up, since Halloween is getting closer and he wants to be HP again this year- thought I may decorate the house with the leftover party stuff!

The birthday boy, on Halloween 2011

We had the guests enter through Platform 9 3/4.
Making this probably took the longest!
We got an old sheet from Goodwill and
sponge painted the bricks.

Odds and ends found from various craft and antique stores.

The food table, complete with witch hat cupcakes, witch nails, and goodies from Honeydukes (including Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans!) and other munchies.

I totally can't take credit for this idea, although it turned out so well! I got it on Pinterest right here:

A great suitcase that I had Modpodge'd (is that a word??) Harry Potter crests onto.
This is where Austin keeps his HP costume and special wand :)
I made wands from wooden dowels we got at Michael's,
put some hot glue onto, painted black, and then let the
kids each choose one to personalize. It then went into their
treat bag (see below)

Microsoft Word is my very good friend :)
I had each kiddo pose with this poster.

Of course we had to have the Golden Snitch!
This is also some more of the fantastic Halloween fabric that
we found on clearance last November.
Potions class. You can't see it but there is
dry ice under the table!

The kids playing with their magicalcolor changing drinks. The cup looks empty, but there is really a drop of food coloring in the bottom. When you pour in the clear liquid (Sprite or water, etc.) it changes colors magically! 
Too bad some of the kids were too smart for me and figured it out ;)
I thought I was pretty clever actually! LOL

Dumbledore, aka my dad, shows up as a surprise to everyone-
including me! He did this all with the help of my mom
and my sister. I <3 my fam!!!
Dumbledore and his favorite pupil :)

The witch treat bags. Again, found this one on Pinterest!
The treat bags, with a list of common
spells in the background.

Dumbledore and Harry at the end of the night, sharing a Butterbeer (If anyone cares I can post a recipe!)
It turned out quite well actually! 
~Erin XOXO