Pinterst is my one of my happy places!

If you haven't checked out Pinterest yet, break yourself away from this post and go have fun!  This website has become a great outlet for me to gather up ideas and put my mind to work on getting crafty!   It's a place to put all your "favorites" into one place, that you can visually keep organized.  I just love it!  

Want to be inspired by a quote?  See it on Pinterest.  Want to know how to make a wreath for the season?  Find it on Pinterest.  Need inspiration in the kitchen or taking a meal to a friend? Check out Pinterest.  Need vacation to a beautiful place, but not able to hop on a plane?  You'll be able to get away on Pinterest.  Over the past month of discovering this website, I've been spending lots more time in the Mom Cave :)  VERY best thing about it is that I am finding ways to use what we have around the house and/or finding things that are free on Craigslist or in the trash [enter a former post] or spending very little to create some great stuff!  Using my passions and being mindful of our budget are two things that equal success.  

Here's my how-to from yesterday's Pinterest :

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes

inspired from this picture:
salted caramel frosting
That's homemade Salted Caramel Frosting...

So then I got to thinking, "I really like that.  It sounds like a drink at Starbucks. Starbucks is an expensive habit.  Wonder how I could make something like that at home?"  So I got on Google and wah-lah, look what came up:

Without hesitation I began looking through our pantry, and luckily we had all but 2 of the ingredients.  Score!  All credit goes to the talented baker Kate over at Grin and Bake It--she has got some delicious ideas!  Here's how my cooking went :)...

Gathering up and taking inventory.
Used Chatfield Coco Powder from Mustard Seed Market
French pressed Godiva coffee...that just so happened to be on sale last week, so I got it for my man....and then the recipe called for it.  Sweet :)
mixing things up.
use a wooden spoon
my secret must have---makes measuring for cookies, cupcakes, muffins, etc a breeze
the batter was already a little thin, adding the coffee got me doubting...
Happy to have nonstick.
"wow, they set up just right!"
lets cool off.
meanwhile, make the homemade caramel. don't worry, you totally have this girlfriend!  briefly stir the sugar and water together...and then let.it.be.
it starts to bubble....and then after about 5 minutes on medium-high heat it starts to loose the bright white color
ooh here comes some caramel color!
look--it totally turned out :)  remember: do not stir while it's on the flames.

I put the cream and the vanilla together in a measuring cup and then spoon-by-spoon slowly added it to the hot caramel while stirring frequently.
pouring the cooled off caramel into the butter cream frosting

this smell really good!
used a piping bag, snipped off the tip, inserted #5, and with the help from Kristin at Decorate This I was able to create...
topped off with gold colored sugar crystals from JoAnn's.  
 So that's it!  Tonight is Girls Night, and I think I'll top these cute cupcakes with some drizzled caramel deliciousness.  Now, go find your apron, spatula, turn on some great music, and get baking!!  I'm always inspired by others, so share your fun baking too :)


Happy 9 Month Birthday!

Natalie Degeme,

Beautiful Baby Girl, we love you dearly! Today you turn 9 months old and we are amazing blessed by your precious life!  From 7280 miles away we're celebrating you!!  It is awesome to see your personality coming through in the picture updates we get.  We cannot wait to hold you in your arms and love on you like we're so ready to!  God has made you in such a special way, there is no other girl like you and you have a way of warming people's hearts even at nine months old!   We miss you and can't wait to celebrate with you home!!  See you soon!

Daddy and Mommy


Word from the U.S. Embassy


Well, we are finally in the last stages of this adoption!  We have heard back from the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia and they are, consistent to their new practice, requesting more paperwork on Natalie's case.  As frustrating as this was to read, we have finally come to a place where we can see the whole picture.  Yes, it really is difficult to swallow any more "waiting"; this has been one of the toughest moments yet.  However, as we've wept, argued, stressed, and felt numb, in the midst of it, our Savior has drawn us into His truth. 

In the Bible, Jesus tells me that there will be moments when my ability to trust will look like this. He goes on to tell me that when I focus my attention on what He can do, growth will happen, my faith will come forth and my roots will deepen.  That is what happens when you plant yourself in the most nourishing of soils, when you surround yourself with all things pure. So, as Tuesday's news came and went, wouldn't you believe that He never lets go?  As my morning began and my heart sank so deeply as I read the email that we'd need to wait even longer for Degeme to be back in our arms, God didn't give up on me.  As I spoke with our agency, and our caseworker confirmed that there really is no finite deadline, but that it won't be too long, God let me weep and he held me close.  I called my husband and he listened, he supported, and he allowed me to vent.  How blessed I am to have his friendship a midst the deep love we have for one another. I am so thankful that I have Justin as my partner, that he's right there beside me, that he leads with a purpose that is based on who he is as a man of God.  We are a team.  Then God used a blog post by a women I dearly admire, named Pasty Clairmont, to remind me of who I am called to be.  May I suggest you check it out here.  I trust her, even greater, I trust Him, and it was clear as an autumn sky that I needed to read those words and allow them to penetrate down to the aching.  

As the day turned into noon, and noon turned into night, I picked up my purse, grabbed the keys and headed out to spend an evening with girlfriends.  It was my first Moms Together event at our church, since you know, I am a mom :), and that night was set aside for being creative with other women.  I had, with giddiness, reluctantly signed up for this 2 weeks ago wondering, hoping, that I wouldn't make it because we'd be on the other side of the globe.  I'm so glad I didn't back down.  That I didn't completely put life on hold.  As my close girlfriend pointed out, I truly needed that night to relinquish my stress.  To focus on something new, and being that I absolutely love to create, it's as though this night was my parachute from a fearful fall.  God caught wind of my decent and allowed me to slowly, gently, come down and admire all that was beautiful and good around me.  

So, with a room full of women, we created.  We got our craft on.  And we laughed.  Oh how good that was! Our front door now has a beautiful new wreath to welcome this new season of fall.  I even learned how to make those neat tissue paper balls that are everywhere these days.  It was delightful and I realized, Kati, its just a matter of a few weeks before you enter this new chapter of life.  It won't be long.  I can endure it. 

On the ride home late that night, two songs came on the radio that sealed the deal for me.  This is what I drove home and heard... 

He uses his people to comfort his people.  How true is that!  This adoption is it's own unique labor of love.  My daughter has grown in my heart and continues to.  In a matter of weeks, maybe a little longer, my incredible husband and I will fly together and find ourselves at the beginning of forever with her.  We can't wait.  But we will patiently wait :)  We are so close to the finish line and this is where we get our second wind.  We regroup.  We hear the support from the sidelines and we give our very best for the last sprint. 

This has been in the works since that brisk Saturday in January, 2010 when we stepped out, trusted, and believed without turning back that our family was going to grow through adoption.  We chased and chased paperwork, we got parking tickets for being 25 cents too late on meters, we received the most wonderful congratulations for postal workers, bankers, strangers in the airport, cherished friends, family and coworkers.  We introduced ourselves to Injera, Tibs, and freshly roasted coffee.  And we did this all with the knowledge that our first born was coming home.  We know....it'll be just a little bit longer.... :)


Natalie's Nursery!

The room is ready, the clothes have been washed, books have been explored and the suitcase is filled for our little beauty.  Our daughter's nursery was done with a lot of frugality and patience.  My dear husband allowed me to really run with ideas, but it was neat because he had his input to add and together I think we've created a space that is soothing and ready for many memories to be made.  Enjoy the pictures.  I'm hoping to add this to Project Nursery where I got oh so many inspirations for this room!  I'll be able to tag what we've gotten and do a whole lot more.  But, it's late, and I'm just excited to share :)  

Oh, one more thing.  I went dumpster diving today and it was AWESOME!  Totally not ashamed of it...ok so maybe there was a moment of bashfulness when the homeowner walked up with her dog to ask if she could "help" me...I responded, "may I please take these cornices from your trash??".  (Mom always instilled please and thank you in us kids :) ).  She looked at me sorta puzzled [guess this is a little odd in suburbia...but I've still got my roots from our days in Cleveland Heights--no shame lady], and then preceded to explain how to hang them and apologized for how dusty they were.  Ha!  Bless your heart.  Maybe I'll take Natalie on a walk some time and thank her for this treasure.  They turned out great and add something cute to the wood blinds.

Anyway, this may sound silly, but I'm a new mom and I don't know better yet: I am eager to have those 2am moments with our daughter, even if it involves awful smelling human waste..... It won't be much longer :)

Without further ado....here's the transformation of room in house and how it became our daughter's space...



We love this space and are so appreciative to my in laws for helping me learn how to wall paper--yes WALLPAPER!!  Thanks guys!