Saturday, September 17, 2011


This is another one of the wreaths I made. Its a small one, so I would charge $10. I think its really cute!
I bought 2 huge bags of supplies to make more. The problem with Michaels is they cycle supplies in and out so fast that I may not be able to find what I had bought 4 days before. It makes it tricky to have multiple wreaths of the same design.

My mom ended up deciding she liked the other wreath better. That one was my favorite too. Of course I couldn't find some of the flowers I need to make another lol.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Come home baby girl!

AHHH! our adoption facilitator thinks we may be able to get Elizabeth home as soon as Jan!!!!!! So much to do! And we need to raise a LOT of money between now and then!!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wreath Fundraiser

I made 4 wreaths last night. One of them was for my mom. I let her pick which one she wanted, and she picked the top one.

This angel says 'Home Sweet Home' and they just moved into a new place. Its perfect for them!

I think this design needs some more work, but I like it. The wreath is wrapped in burlap strips. I think it has some potential. I think i'll sell this one for $20.

I'm going to keep making wreaths (though I'm almost out of supplies) in till I have an inventory for the Antique booth. I have a few listed on craigslist but I doubt they will sell there. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Scentsy Fundraiser!

I am so excited to bring home our baby girl! To be able to look at her face and know some day i will hold her fills me with such joy. And I finally have something productive to do! Since this adoption came up so quickly and will be more expensive then we planned on, we need to raise funds.

An amazing lady, Mary who is adopting from Uganda herself has set us up a Scentsy party for help raise funds. Mary is donating her commission from the party to us for our adoption fund! What a blessing! If you need some Scentsy products, perhaps some Christmas gifts? Please give our link a look! we'll be doing some other fund raising activities as well. I bought supplies to make wreaths, and my husband will make survival bracelets. I'm hoping to raise more then we need so we can make a big donation to the orphanage! I'm still praising God today, the journey he has given us is amazing!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Life is crazy. As of last week we are no longer adopting from Ethiopia. There were many reasons why we had to quit. It wasn't a decision we made lightly, it broke our hearts.

Two days later we get a message from the agency. There is a 3 month old baby girl in the Congo who needs a home. Could we be that home? I cant begin to tell you the shock and amazement i felt at that moment. The baby is healthy, and the adoption could be completed in 6 months! Exactly the time we have left to do an international adoption. God is amazing. We think we're adopting from Ethiopia but God knew all along that wasn't our path. In 5- 6 months my husband will be bringing back our baby girl. Life is crazy. But oh so good.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eating out challenge

My family LOVES to eat out. When hubby and I were dating we ate at restaurants all 3 meals a day. We gained a million pounds. I shudder to think about how much that cost. We're past that point but we still eat out several times a week. We're trying to kick our habit. Last night we had dinner at Outback ($12 plates. I wasn't impressed) today we start our week long eating out challenge. I wouldn't mind eating out once a week as long as we budgeted for it. And if it was mindful, a planned expense. Right now we eat out randomly. Part of the problem is our busyness. Part of the problem is I get tired of cooking. I enjoy it fine, but i get burnt out when I cook all the time. Too bad for me!!! :) I'll be using the crock pot and bbq to help stay on track.

Tonight's dinner
Sloppy Joes (gluten free bread for hubby)
Asian Broccoli

Zoo Bento

I had to quickly pull these bentos together, there isn't much finesse here!

Bento baby has a half a turkey sandwich, cheese stick, and strawberries.
Hubby had a sandwich, strawberries, cheese, granola, cookies, and almonds. This was right before he started eating gluten free. I imagine this lunch made the poor man quite sick!

I had turkey sandwiches, cheese stick, pineapple and strawberries.

Bentobaby ate everyone's strawberries, most of my pineapple, and all of hubby's granola! She was a hungry girl. She says "I a hungry teddy bear!"

Monday, August 29, 2011

Night stand score!

I'm replacing (slowly) a lot of our cheap, beat up furniture. Its going slowly because I buy second hand, or refinished items. Some I repaint myself. But with others sometimes I'm blessed to find a good piece and a good price. As is the case with my new night stand. it barely fits in its new spot. Its so tight I had to move the blankets and comforter off the bed for the picture.

I've been looking for a new nightstand for over a year. What I had before was very ugly open shelving. I had become so desperate I was eyeing new $60 night stands! Imagine my glee at finding this little cutie for $17. Already painted the white color I wanted! YAY!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Free organic fruit? I'm there!

My area has a very invasive, aggressive, painful weed hat grows everywhere. The upside to that is during the summer this weed produces sweet and juicy blackberries. Its very easy to find ripe blackberries. I picked a pound and a half out of my tiny suburban yard yesterday. We eat them plain, topped with yogurt and topped with whipped cream. Bentobaby loves them. I want to try something new. So today I'll be picking more berries and trying my first batch of freezer jam.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thrift store mirror re-do!

I love pretty things. And i feel better when my far from perfect house feels nicely decorated. Unfortunately I can't afford to furnish my house by buying all the things I like from Macys. But that is okay. It means my house is full of different, sometimes unique items.

Our bedroom is purple. A pretty dark purple. I want to repaint it. But, hubby doesn't. So i am doing my best to lighten the room with accent pieces. I wanted a frilly white mirror. It took forever but I finally found a frilly black mirror with gold accents, it was horrible. The price was perfect $7. It took some spray primer, and several coats of white plastic paint. But now the mirror looks like this:
I love it! And the best part was I already had the paint. It didn't cost me a cent to re-do my thrifted treasure!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Zoo bento lunches

Bentos for the Zoo. Our family spends $130 a year for a Zoo pass. Its such a blessing to us. We can go as often as we want and leave when we want without feeling like we need to get our money's worth. It does cost us a $4 toll each time we go. I pack a lunch to keep our trips low cost. Plus our pass lets us take 3 guests free each time we go. I love being able to invite people to a very cool and very cheap play date!

Bento baby used the Strawberry shortcake box. (dollar tree) She had toddler sized turkey sandwiches, (with daddy's home grown sprouts!) strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and a clementine.
J's bento box came from Old Navy of all places! It was $5. Its a very cool box. He has two pieces of cake (to split with Bentobaby and myself) strawberries, clementine, and a turkey sandwich.

My bento box came from Dasio. It was $5. I had the same sandwich, cherry tomatoes, strawberries and a clementine.

We did thrill bentobaby by purchasing a $5 bag of popcorn to split. She LOVES popcorn. It does big me a bit to pay so much for such a cheap product. Oh well! It was really good popcorn. :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

First and last twist out

Bentobaby's wet hair right after her twist were removed. In this picture her hair looks kind of cute.

But after her hair dried, it looked awful. I'm not sure how to describe it but it wasn't a pleasing look. We had errands to run so the kiddo wore one of her cute summer hats. Today I spent 20 minutes combing out the weird puff looking strands. Bentobaby's hair was really dry after being in the twists for a few weeks. I've been adding coconut oil, and a bunch of leave in conditioner. Today we busted out Oyin's Whipped Pudding. Her hair feels great right now but we'll see how it feels once its dry.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sensory toys

Meet Rody. Rody is a very sturdy rubber horse made to bounce. While most of bento baby's symptoms present as sensory avoidant (not wanting to touch something. Afraid of new things etc) she does have some sensory seeking behavior. Add that to the fact that she is a SUPER high energy kid. And we live in a very rainy area. She needs some way to use up her excess energy. If we had a lot of space or an unfinished basement I would fill a room full of (used) play equipment for her. I do not have that option. Rody lets her bounce while not taking up much space. Of course she didn't like it at first. But now she's getting better at pulling him out for a bounce when she needs to move.

Rody isn't a cheap ride. He was $40 on Amazon. But I consider him a good purchase. Not vital, as we did have to give her another option. I'll tell you about that later. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I spent about 2 hours giving Bentobaby a head full of two strand twists. I LOVE this style. Its super low maintenance and it looked good for 3 weeks. She didn't lose many beads either, maybe 5 over a 3 week period. And the kiddo loves having a head of beads, lots of clanking noises. :)

Every other night her hair gets rinsed in the tub. Every night its sprayed with Darcy Botanical's Herbal Leave in Conditioning Spritz. I do not like the smell but it works well. In the morning I spray Bentobaby's hair with Greg juice. Eventually the ends start to feel dry, at which point i would add Darcy Botanical's twisting cream and a little coconut oil. That routine worked well. Her hair was shampooed twice while she had the twists. When we noticed her scratching at it often, time for a shampoo. After the first shampoo the twists still looked great. After the second the base of the twist were too fuzzy for me. Time to come out! :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Our first share from the CSA: Spinach, mixed greens, garlic greens, and beet greens.

Our family decided to try a CSA for the first time this year. Our csa costs $475 for 20 weeks of organic produce. Thats $23.75 a week. I hope it gets better!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Why does a 2 year old need spring break? What exactly is she burnt out on, coloring? *sigh* As you can probably guess Bentobaby is enjoying a spring break. While Mama is burnt out city. I'm not one of those moms who can parent 24/7 with out getting burnt out. I think those of you who can are great, not me. I'm going to the movies tomorrow for a much needed break. Plus our family has been under a great deal of continuing stress for the past week. Fun. My nerves are raw and bentobaby is deep into wanting to do everything herself. We encourage this as much as possible, but there are things she simply can't do. Enter fireworks.

ANYWAYS, I needed a new activity to keep her occupied. She's bored with our toys. (i hid a bag in the closet to bring out next week, old toys new again) I had an empty sensory box (used to hold Orbeez) but no idea what I was going to use in the box. Sand is an outside toy at my house, she already has a cotton, dress up, rice, and popcorn box. I did consider dry beans but those are for dinner in a few days. Then I remembered the cheap plastic beads from the dollar store. USE CAUTION when giving your child small objects. Bentobaby doesn't put things in her mouth and i stayed with her the whole time. I gave her a kitchen scoop, scraps of ribbon, an empty cream cheese container, and an empty spice shaker. She spent a good 20 minutes happily scooping and dumping beads while i enjoyed some blessed peace. Ahhhh.
(yes, her hair is being re-done today. She keeps pulling off her sleep cap and not using her satin pillow)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bento Dinner

Hubby's dinner bento. He planned to take leftover pizza for dinner. I made him a quick bento box while he put bento baby to bed.

Hubby has carrots, strawberries, a clementine, a clearance valentine candy, two pieces of pizza, and a sauce container full of raisins. I didn't think raisin covered pizza would be good.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Colorful bento filler

I have been looking everywhere for re-usable ice cubes. Why? For Bento of course! I think these will make great fillers/ ice packs for bento boxes. Plus iIbet they will fit into a packed lunch bag more easily then a big ice pack. I have had not had any luck locating re-usable ice cubes anywhere. I'm guessing because its winter and not really ice cube season. Imagine my joy with hubby found these for me. Best of all, it was at Dollar Tree!

16 cubes for a buck! YAY! Of course I have yet to use them (not really bento season where I live) but I'll be sure and update when I've given them a shot.

Monday, February 28, 2011

After wash results

Right after the wash my husband said her hair felt softer and lighter. We put her to bed with wet hair, and in the morning it was pretty dry. I added Kinky Curly's Knot Today (which i love)for her detangler. Unfortunately our tangle tweezer is missing, had to use the detangling comb.

I then styled in Bantu knots. I used Darcy Botanical's twisting cream for hold. I like it, but i want to try the heavier stuff next time.

She was watching Phineas and Ferb so mama would style. Bantu knots are fairly quick so I left her in her high chair. Before we left for church I gave her a few sprays of Greg juice. Her hair feels pretty good now, still a little dry.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lazy home bento

This is my Non- Bento. I had pulled out the Strawberry Shortcake bento for myself. But hubby was going to end up eating after I did. I gave him the bento box, i used the plate.

I had carrots, onigiri stuffed with turkey, turkey to wrap the onigiri and a bit of extra sharp cheese.
Hubby's strawberry shortcake bento (LOL) had onigiri, cheese and carrots.

Bento baby has jiggler, rice squares, cheese and carrots. This girl loves her onigiri.
These bentos are not properly packed. I made them to eat at home. I wasn't worried about the contents shifting or having enough to fill everyone up. A lazy at home bento!


Sometimes we do a sensory activity with Bentobaby without realizing it. When we took Bentobaby to the park, hubby had her throwing rocks in the water. She thought this was awesome. (even managed to get a few in!) I thought about it later and throwing rocks is very sensory. There is the feel of the stones, (smooth, rough, bumpy etc) the splash of the water from the throw. Bentobaby did great. She did not like the wave that came from the rock landing in the water. That kind of frightened her. Being encouraged to throw things was very enjoyable to bentobaby.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hair wash tonight

Today I took bento baby's hair braids out. She had one long corn roll across her forehead. (Happy Mom calls it 'Queen Style') Two smaller braids behind the long one, and some bantu knots in the back. Her hair actually feels pretty good right now. But there is some visible product build up. I would guess its from my using too much product. Either way its been a few weeks since her hair was washed, and tonight is the night.

Tonight's hair products

New to the line up is the RenPure Amazing Miracle Deep Penetrating Reconstructor. It was .99 cents at our local Walgreens. I thought we would give it a try.

Sensory play

I am blessed to have a good friend who's kids have sensory issues. I can't tell you how nice it is to have someone else who understands and I can talk to. My friend gave me a handful of what looked like tiny colored seeds. The seeds are called Orbeez.

Orbeez right after I put them in the water:

Orbeez about a half hour later (not full size yet)
My husband, daughter and myself all sat on the kitchen floor to play with the Orbeez. Bento baby would scoop up some Orbeez squeal 'yucky yucky yucky' laugh, and grab some more. It was really fun to play in the warm water with the squishy balls. On another day we drained the water and played with the Orbeez dry. It wasn't quite as fun as playing in the water with the Orbeez. They tended to roll all over the kitchen floor. They bounce and break into small pieces when too much pressure is applied to them.

Overall I think the Orbeez are fun. Its not something I would use regularly since they do not last very long. But they are fun to play with and as an occasional treat I would buy them again.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dry Dry Dry

(be kind, i am just learning how to style her hair)

As I mentioned yesterday hair is a big obsession in our home right now. Bento Baby had short hair when she first came home. (17 months old) We used a line of products i found recommended on a website called Circle of friends. I used a leave in conditioner, spray detangler, and a once a week shampoo. Worked great. But now at 27 months she has quite a bit of hair. DRY hair. Her old routine and her old products no longer work. Which is a bummer because we just stocked up on several bottles!

I made two large purchases of new products. One to Darcy Botanical, and one to Curl Mart. I purchased several moisturizers. Darcy Botanicals' Shea butter moisturizing cream, coiling jelly, and twisting cream. I also bought Kinky curly's knot today, Carol's daughter hair milk, Greg Juice, and a spray leave in conditioner. I bought coconut oil online. (amazon $11.76 for 30 ounces. Used a $10 swagbucks card so 30 ounces cost just $1.76)

Our current routine is a rinse with water followed by an application of circle of friend leave in conditioner. After that we add Carol's Daughter's hair milk. Followed by a spritz of spray leave in conditioner. Her hair is still dry. The next morning i spray it (mix of leave in conditioner, spray detangler and water) and then add either Darcy Botanical's shea butter moisturizing cream ( I haven't seen any build up from the shea) or more hair milk. If her hair is loose i add the curling jelly (love it). Once done i spray her hair with Greg Juice. ITS STILL DRY. I added coconut oil this morning and it did feel a little better but not much. I'm so frustrated.

She sleeps on a satin pillow. Does not wear many hats or spend a huge amount of time in her car seat. I think her hair has gotten so bad it needs serious intervention. And more money. *sigh* Hopefully we'll figure out her product needs, our likes and dislikes and we won't be buying so much stuff.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hair care: an area my family splurges.

My beautiful daughter is African American. My husband and I are Caucasian. When we knew we were bringing our daughter home i asked everyone I knew for help. No one could help us. Even though some of the people are AA themselves. We bought a child friendly shampoo and leave in conditioner. One a week we washed her hair. Everyday we rinsed it and added a leave in. Thankfully Bentobaby's hair was very short and this was sufficient. But it grew. And grew. All the sudden it needed to be styled. A friend of church suggested puffs. (3-5 puffs) At first her hair looked awful but i mastered that. We added jojoba oil about once a week. Bentobaby's hair still felt dry. We needed more help. Finally someone added a link to Happy Girl Hair . I can't tell you how happy I am to finally have information! This website has been a lifesaver.

In the past few weeks I've ordered from Darcy Botanicals. I've bought a box of products from CurlMart. I went to Sally beauty supply. I bought elastic bands, hair beads, clips, decorative clips, a satin pillow. I even ordered Bento baby a SILK sleep cap. I've literally spent hundreds of dollars. While using free from the drugstore shampoo and conditioner on myself, I'm liberally coating bentobaby's head with products that cost $12 a bottle. Seems like a contradiction doesn't it? To me it makes all the sense in the world. I can use free products and still have nice looking hair. Bentobaby can't. Her hair is very tightly coiled and very dry. She needs the fancy expensive products. She needs to wear braids to protect her hair. My hair can sleep on a flannel pillow and still be fine, bentobaby's can't. This is an area we need to splurge in. Thankfully we are frugal in other areas so we can buy bentobaby's items.

Do I spend willy nilly? Nope! I'm still looking for deals, using online coupon codes. My sally card gives us deals and coupons. I bought a ton of hair decorations in the Valentines day sale at 75% off. I'm still doing my best to find the lowest price. And i'm learning not to cringe when the lowest price for her product is $10. (verses $0 for mine)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bento Baby's playroom

That is MY beautiful baby girl. *love*
This is bento baby's playroom. Well honestly the whole house is her playroom. But this is her area. I wanted to make it cute but not overly decorated. I don't believe in buying small children new furniture. When I pay a lot for something I want to keep it nice. But I don't want to stress about the toddler's furniture. I want it to be used but well made. She can beat it up all she wants and I won't care.

Her table and chair set was $10
The Dora organizer was $15
The wheel barrow she rammed into the table several times $5
Wall Decals $14 (and they stink, constantly falling off the walls. They look great but don't work well)

Total $44

Add that to the other total of $27, and it comes to $71.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hubby's dinner Bento

Woohoo a bento! Dh has cheesy rice, sauce, orange, cheese, carrots, a turkey mushroom burger, and broccoli.

I'm not making many bentos. Its too cold to eat at the park. And my 2 year old can't juggle a bento on her lap. But as the weather warms, and we spend more time at the park i can see a big increase in Bentos.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Free sensory play

Today Bentobaby showed me a new sensory idea. I hadn't thought of this! I was pouring cereal on her highchair for her to eat. I like for her to practice her gross motor skills by picking up each piece. We were at the end of the cereal. A bunch of soft cereal dust landed on her tray. I'm thinking 'great! How do I get this off here so she can eat?' While bentobaby is thinking 'fun!' She starts running her fingers through the soft edible dust. She builds little piles, pinches some and sprinkles it over her tray. She's having a great time! Cereal dust is fun and edible, not to mention free. Perfect!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I've been fighting a series case of discontentment lately. We need a bigger house in order to easily foster children. We can't afford a bigger house. We have to do our best and hope that social services accepts what we have to offer. Its so frustrating to me. And its been wearing down on my spirit.

Yesterday Hubby and I headed to IHOP for dinner. We eat a lot of on the go meals. But meals at a sit down restaurant are special. We were pretty excited. When we arrived at IHOP and we were seated we quickly realized there was just 1 waitress working. For the whole restaurant. It took half an hour to get our water. And another half an hour to get our dinner. Hubby and I were not pleased, we wanted to have a nice time. I could have easily become upset and blamed the waitress. But you know what? Its not her fault. She wasn't have fun. And I imagine her tips were suffering quite a lot. I want to show bentobaby how to extend grace. To understand that not everything is about me and how i feel, that I can see things from another person's perspective. How can I do that if I get all huffy because i'm inconvenienced?

Remember that discontent I'm fighting? In my cute, warm, safe house? Well God showed me just how lucky I am. A few minutes after we had been there I saw a woman return to work. She was cleaning the tables, floor etc. When I took my fussy toddler to the bathroom for a change I saw two young girls sitting alone in another part of the restaurant. They belonged to the woman who was cleaning. The girls were probably 7 and 9. They were bored stuck in the booth, trying to entertain themselves. My guess is the woman had no choice but to bring them to work with her. Probably doesn't have someone safe to watch them. And she probably needs to work to feed her kids. Wow God. Message received.

My life isn't perfect but it is very good and I need to be thankful. Somewhere out there a childless couple would give anything to have my fussy toddler. I know, because I've been a part of that couple. Someone would give anything to have my warm, small, but safe house. I have much to be thankful for. Its all a matter of perspective.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Small house

Our home isn't large. Its 1300 sq feet. It was huge to us at the time, but as our family grows and our stuff grows we're finding it more cozy. We can't afford to move and sell since the market bombed. We have to bloom where we are planted. One thing I'm quickly learning is that stuff makes the home feel smaller. More stuff equals less space. Of course that means we should be picky about what we buy (which should save money) but it also means stuff that isn't being used, has got to go!

Not only is our home cozy, its also laid out weird. Our main living area is downstairs. Upstairs there is a bedroom (where we do bentobaby's sensory things) a tiny bathroom, a hallway and a small nook. We store most of our things in the hallway because we don't have a garage. And yes, we do have to keep the 3rd van seat even though i think about getting rid of it every time i see it. Most of our food storage is upstairs too.

The old never used computer desk however, that is toast. I've been eyeing that spot. And when Bentobaby was very blessed with gifts it became necessary to do more then eye it. It was time to tackle it. It took a few hours of hauling things outside to the van and a few more hours of painting but now she has a cute little play nook.

So far i've spent $14 on paint $10 on paint supplies

And $3 on a goodwill shelf.

So $27 total.

I'm looking for another shelf from the thrift store, a Dora adventure rug, a used small table and chair, and I have a $14 well decal picked out. Probably a pair of comfy chairs for mom and dad too.

Its a small space but judging by the tantrums when we leave, she loves it. and i enjoy it too. Its not our main living area so it feels different to go there. And i get the satisfaction of knowing i fixed something that wasn't working for our family.

Btw according to BentoBaby, Mr. Potato head has a 'nakey tummy!'


Bentobaby was adopted the day after her 2nd birthday! Her case has been amazingly easy and such a blessing to us. I'm so thankful to be her mother. It was an amazing day. I spent most of it crying :)

Now we're in limbo. We need her new birth certificate to be able to register her in the navy system and get her info changed at her preschool. I'm so concerned she's going to need medical attention and her old information wont work. Hopefully it comes quickly.