our adventures in life, love, faith and adoption

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!


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.


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)
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.


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... ;)


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.) ;)


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

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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NYC: 9/11 Memorial + US Open

This past weekend I did a little adventuring with my mom and brother! We took a really quick trip to NYC to see a couple matches at the US Open, and while we were there we also went down to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

We arrived in NYC early Sunday morning, and the matches at the Open didn't start until 11am, so we went to the memorial and museum first. I thought both were extremely well done and aesthetically very beautiful, but they were both extremely heavy and sobering. You could cut the emotion with a knife it felt like, and many of the details and installations were quite raw in the types of information they displayed.  
The installation below was the most intriguing to me from an artistic standpoint. The blue squares are all done by different artists as they were asked to try and represent the color of the blue sky on the day of the attack. Each square was done in watercolor, and I just love the beauty of all of them put together.
After we were finished at the museum we went to the stadium. It was SO HOT and SO HUMID. I'm not sure any of us were prepared for how that combination would feel on asphalt and metal stadium seats, but we had such a good time.
We were able to catch the Sharapova/Wozniacki match in full, and that was really exciting to watch. My brother makes frequent trips to the city on business, and over the years he's made friends with a particular cab driver who now drives him every time he goes. He drove us on Sunday, and came with us to the Open :)
We caught a little bit of the Federer match, but it was quickly postponed due to flash flooding and really heavy rains. We laughed because our goal was to make it out of the stadium before everyone else, so that we could catch our flight, but we were too excited to see the Federer match and ended up evacuating with everyone else a bit too late.
The rains came and because we had to try and beat everyone out of the stadium to our car in order to make our flight on time, we had to run through the rain instead of taking cover until it stopped. That resulted in being ABSOLUTELY DRENCHED and landing at the airport sopping wet with nothing but the clothes on our backs. Ha! Fun times. Our flight ended up being delayed a couple hours, so there we were in the airport soaking wet and freezing. Suddenly "I Love NY" shirts from an airport stand seemed very appealing just to get something dry on :)
It was such a fun trip, and so fun to go together! Now it's back to work and back to school, and somehow I'm scratching my head wondering where the summer went! Crazy! Hope you all have a wonderful week and great 'first days' :)


Friday, August 29, 2014

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Line Dancing

For her birthday my mom really wanted to go out line dancing. We had never been, but there is a great line dancing bar near us, so we decided to go all out and make a night of it! I just had to take these pictures because to not document my parents in cowboy boots, hats, and plaid would have been a darn shame! 

We had so much fun, even though we had NO CLUE what we were doing. We were too late for the lesson they give before the night kicks off, so we just jumped in and did the best we could. What surprised us is that each song actually had a specific dance and set of steps to it, so you had to know what you were doing to go out and dance to that song. The DJ sort of took us under his wing and would give us a sign when the next dance coming up was an 'easy' one… that way we had half a chance of catching on before it was over. Ha!

We had a great time, and it was fun trying something new! Happy birthday Mom!! We should take those new cowboy boots on more adventures this year :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Last time we left off Andy had built shelving to frame the tv on our black wall:

I knew I wanted to have some lighting on this side of the room, and I wanted to have it on the wall above the tv, but I had no idea what it should look like or where I was going to find it. I also wasn't sure how we were going to install it without having wires running all over the place. A couple weeks ago, we were at Target looking for something completely unrelated to this when Andy spotted some brass spotlights. I knew right then they would be perfect.

The brass on the spotlights ties into the brass that we have on our lamp bases on the other side of the room. I also thought they would be classy without being too traditional. Andy installed them on the wall, and then we ran the cords down and to the back of the tv, then out to the floor on a power strip so we can turn all three on with one button.

We installed some plastic casing around the white cords and then painted it black to blend in with the wall. You can still see the cords popping through a little bit at the top, but everything still looks much more streamlined than if we had just painted the cords themselves. After we had the lights all hooked up, I finally decided to grab some frames to go along each of the top shelves. I found them for $2 and $3 at Dollar General (except for the big ones with the white mattes) and filled them with some pictures we've taken this summer with a few of our excursions.

Wanna see something crazy? I found a picture we took just as we were about to redo the living room with new paint:

^^ That right there is what this wall looked like before the black paint, shelving, lights, and frames. I am so much happier with the "after":

This little wall of ours has come a long way! I literally stared at it for years not knowing what to do to make it more appealing, but it's finally to a place that I love. I'm still working on what to do with the bottom shelves on each side, but I think I have an idea, so I'll be sure to share when I figure it out! For now I'm going to sneak around and see what else I can turn black with my leftover paint ;)

Have a wonderful week!



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