our adventures in life, love, faith and adoption

Sunday, November 30, 2014

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Knit Hat by Lauren

A good friend of mine and I have been doing some creative exchanging over the last several weeks and I wanted to share this amazing knit hat she made for me. Lauren is a Master Knitter, which I learned recently is quite a feat. She knits absolutely beautiful things and this hat is no exception. There is a coordinating scarf and pair of mittens coming soon and I can't wait to try them all together!


What have you been creating lately? I am always so impressed with the amazing things my friends can make or do that I simply don't have the talent for. I often wonder what sort of amazing shop we could put together if our powers were combined. ;)

I hope you have a stupendous Monday!

xo,

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

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Deck the Townhouse

Well hello there! Last time we left off I was talking about enjoying colorful leaves and all things fall. Here we are about a month later and we managed to survive an epic snowstorm which put us all in the mood for Christmas lights and Kenny G before you could even say, "frosty the snowman". 


My brother has been talking about putting up lights on the outside of his place for a couple years now, so we decided to make a little day of it and deck the heck out of his townhouse.


Andy was very useful, especially with his long arms and years gleaned from his younger days and his annual family Christmas light hanging adventures. My brother has the perfect porch for icicle lights, so we got right to work hanging those.


He also wrapped a tree out front while mom and I practiced our spectating and "a little to the left" skills. It happened that the day was about 60 degrees, which need I remind you was hot off the heels of our epic snowstorm, which there is no evidence of because it melted just as quickly as it came.


I may or may not have taken over the project management roll when there was one strand left and the guys started haphazardly wrapping it around the trunk of a fat tree. I think I yelled, "Around the door!" about six times before they finally gave in and appeased me.


^^ Um, yes, perfect! Who doesn't love having their front door bordered in Christmas lights?! :)


We came in and ate an amazing dinner together and my brother built us a roaring fire (which I am only slightly jealous of) and we made about 200 attempts to get a good picture of mom and dad in front of the tree. It was mostly shenanigans.


We also updated the chalkboard with a little Christmas countdown. It surely is the most wonderful time of the year. :)

So that's what we've been up to these days. After seeing what good work we can do I think I am going to rope my family into helping us with our house. Maybe I'll bribe them with food and a roaring fire candle.



:)


Sunday, October 26, 2014

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Life Lately: Little Updates


I am happy to report that we have been soaking in the fall season with just as much voracity as we did summer. I told Andy that if there's one thing I regret each year, it's that I let fall slip away without appreciating it to it's fullest extent. So far we have gone to our state park during peak color, enjoyed apple cider donuts with homemade cider (numerous times), gone to a fall craft festival, raked leaves, walked The Farm trails and photographed the colors, pressed cider while eating homemade soup outside, and baked an apple pie. To some this may seem like a rather short and uneventful list, but for us it's quite significant... taking all that time, and many times on a Sunday afternoon (hello football season) to escape for a little bit and appreciate the changing seasons.


I up and bought myself a new macro lens for my camera this week because setting my should-really-be-insured diamond ring on various outdoor foliage wasn't fascinating enough the first time. I am in love with it, and I also have a deep respect for photographers who shoot with a macro lens frequently, because out of about 50 shots I carefully set up and focused, only about three were respectable. This is proving to be a new challenge. ;)


In other, more ridiculous updates, I decided after looking in the mirror every day for almost a year and remarking how long my eyebrow hairs are, that I should trim them. This led to multiple YouTube tutorial sessions on how to properly trim your eyebrow hairs, and when all was said and done I had wielded an adult version of Fiskars just well enough to end up with two eyebrows still in tact, albeit a bit more tamed. I'll consider that a win. (I was having visions of having to tattoo my eyebrows back on after such an adventurous task.) 


Finally, but certainly not of least importance, I'm afraid I have become a coffee drinker. After 29 years of distaste, it has won me over. Just don't watch while I poor the sugar in... certain family members have been known to gasp at the sight.

So, what have you been up to? Anything fun? I fear I have lost all my readers after such a long pause, and if I hadn't already, I'm certain that news about eyebrow trimming and how much sugar I put in my coffee may drive the rest of you to officially cancel your TeamFuest subscription.



Until the next set of random updates,







Thursday, October 2, 2014

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Life Lately // Fall Edition


Oh fall! You're here! Your beautiful colors, your field harvest scents, your layers of cozy crocheted garments, your beckoning for hands to be wrapped around a mug of warm coffee.... it's perhaps my favorite time of the year, yet so fleeting at the same time. We spent some quality time at The Farm last weekend. Just when I think I couldn't love The Farm more, I catch a glimpse of Chloe's grin that does not leave her face for the duration of our time there. There is perhaps no other living thing (except maybe the deer and wild turkeys) that loves The Farm more than Chloe. :)

We're gearing up for our annual Fuest Family Cider Weekend in a couple weeks and we're going to sneak in some apple picking, cider donuts, and football games before then. Other than that, life continues on as usual. I'm off to go wrap a scarf around my neck and hunt down something pumpkin-flavored… ;)

Happy Thursday!

xo,

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Several months ago I read somewhere that you could whip coconut oil with your mixer and it would turn into this silky smooth "body butter" that would be a lot easier to apply as a lotion than when you just dig the hard coconut oil out of the jar. I was intrigued, so I tried it and LOVED it. So fun, and I've been using it for a while now. This time I wanted to try something a little different and with more ingredients to see what it was like. I watched several YouTube videos and read a couple blogs and finally decided to give it a shot.


RECIPE/COST BREAKDOWN:

1/4 C Unrefined Pure African Shea Butter: $1.87 ($14.99/16oz)
1/4 C Organic Cocoa Butter: $1.75 ($14.00/16oz)
1/4 C Unrefined Coconut Oil: $0.75 ($5.99/16oz)
1/4 C Organic Sweet Almond Oil: $3.06 ($12.25/8.5oz)
12 Drops Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil: $0.86 ($21.50/15ml)
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TOTAL: $8.29/8oz, or enough to fill (2) 4oz Ball canning jars

Add shea butter, cocoa butter, and coconut oil into a glass bowl that is safe with heat. Place glass bowl into a pot of water on stove and heat the pot of water on medium while the ingredients turn to a liquid. Once the ingredients are liquid and blended together, take the glass bowl off the stove and out of the pot of water and let cool for 15-20 minutes. After mixture has cooled slightly, add the sweet almond oil and essential oil and mix well. Place glass bowl with mixture into the freezer for about 30 minutes or until hardened. Transfer mixture to mixing bowl and whip until smooth and buttery. Keep in small glass jars in temperatures below 75 degrees so that it doesn't melt (or keep in fridge). Best if applied right after a shower or bath. :)

Slightly adapted from Wellness Mama.

REVIEW:

Oh my. I think I may be in love! I applied right after a bubble bath and it actually felt very much like a conventional lotion or body butter. It softens in your hand with your body heat, so it goes on smooth and not too thick. I had gotten so used to the straight whipped coconut oil that I started to not mind the greasy-ness of it, but this is actually far less greasy and absorbs much quicker. The scent is heavenly. I didn't even realize this would happen, but my cocoa butter smells soooo amazingly like chocolate, and then I added peppermint, so I just made the worlds best mint chocolate body butter. Ha! (Mint chocolate chip is my favorite ice cream, so I may be a bit biased, but I love the smell.) This may get old, however, so I would love to experiment with other essential oils... maybe citrus oils when I won't be in direct sun (they are photosensitive)

A word on storing/applying... because there are no preservatives or additives, I've heard it's best to be careful that you don't stick unwashed or wet (water can contain bacteria) hands directly in the jar of body butter. I use a clean spoon, scoop out what I need, and then take it off the spoon to apply. I don't know how strict I really need to be, but I have heard it's good to be a bit more careful than you would with conventional lotions, and to also use it up after about 3-4 months while it's fresh. If any of you know more on this I would love to learn!

This was slightly more expensive to make than I was anticipating, but then again I'm used to the price of grocery store clearance lotions, not organic unrefined varieties, so I think the price would be competitive if comparing against those types of products. I also realized after doing my cost breakdown that the sweet almond oil drove up the price quite a bit. I've read you can also use olive oil or jojoba oil (or other light oils), so if I do a little more research I may be able to get the price back down a little. Overall I love it so far and am so excited to use it this winter when our air is so dry and my skin feels like it might just crack in half. This is such a fun creative outlet for me, and I am tickled pink whenever I can make a beauty or health product myself!

Wishing you smooth healthy skin... ;)

xo,

P.S. I purchased the cocoa butter and sweet almond oil via Mountain Rose Herbs. The african shea butter I found at our local health food store, and the coconut oil was purchased at Trader Joes. :) My essential oils are purchased from Young Living.


Thursday, September 11, 2014


A couple weeks ago we found out we are now #21 on the waiting list with our agency. We of course were a little excited to have our number change (it's been 10 months), but we were also told that it's not due to any new referrals, but to families leaving the program to pursue other adoptions or ways of expanding their family. 

Shortly after we renewed our home study this summer our agency told us not to renew any more paperwork (specifically our immigration approval that expires next week) because things in country are just not moving at all right now. We are not really sure of any further details, other than the country is going through a lot of change regarding inter-country adoptions and right now signatures needed on a child's case to refer them to a family are not being given out.

Every time there has been news like this (and many times in between) Andy and I put a lot of prayer into whether we should pursue other options, close this door, or open another one simultaneously. Our patience with waiting runs thin and the thought of ending the waiting often tempts us to just throw in the towel. I remember one recent night in particular when we both looked at each other and decided to pray and seek wisdom about starting a new chapter in our lives. My heart was so torn, especially because we do know we were called to this path, yet we never imagined the waiting and sacrifice of our own desires in the process. I opened my Bible reading and devotion for that day, and right there in front of me was the title, "A Word for the Struggler": 

"There is an old adage that says, 'Don't bite off more than you can chew.' It's wise not to take on more responsibilities than we can handle. At some time, however, we will likely feel overwhelmed by the size and difficulty of a task we have agreed to do. This can happen even in our walk of faith in Christ when our commitment to God seems too much to bear. But the Lord has an encouraging word for us when our confidence wavers. 
'Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.' – Hebrews 10: 35-36"
This and many other words of confirmation that week reaffirmed for us that for now, we are where we need to be. I certainly wish we could look into the future and see where this experience is taking us, but of course life doesn't work that way. So we continue to hope, to trust, and to put our own desires and timelines into the hands of the only One who truly knows best. (Something tells me that whatever the plan is, the end will be sweet.) ;)

xo,







Sunday, September 7, 2014

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The family that cheers together...


We have high hopes for this football season. A certain redhead is a die hard fan no matter the dismal results we've been seeing for the last several years. I'm fairly certain that along with roads paved in gold in heaven, the Bills will win a Super Bowl. Let's hope we can see that here on earth as well ;) The win today was a start.

#gobills #diehardfan #wearethatfamily

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