Thursday, November 19, 2015

Book Review: From Carrie at Reading to Know

Last weekend I attended the Called to Love conference for foster and adoptive moms in Silverton, Oregon. It was a wonderful, reflective time away and I was blessed to have my book, What Led Me to You, at a table.

One lady chatted with me and we bonded over the fact that both of our names are Carrie! :) She bought my book and started reading it that night. She connected with me the next day because she realized we had a connection more than just our names. We had been through similar trauma.

After returning home from the weekend I got an email from this mama and she let me know that writes book reviews! Who knew? So she passed on this book review that is from her heart as she reflects on her own story and her response to What Led Me to You.

I have to say it brought me much joy knowing that God used our story and what we went through to touch this woman's life and help her share something that she had been holding onto all of these years. God is good. I am so passionate about connecting with other parents, and it is my hope that our story will help them feel less alone in their own journey. So it was such an honor to meet this sweet lady. :)

Here is her book review:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Book Review: Fostering Families Today magazine

Fostering Families Today magazine is such a great resource for Foster Parents. 
I am honored to have had a voice in their magazine over the last several years. 

So today I am thrilled to share with you Fostering Families Today's 
book review for What Led Me to You in their Sept/Oct 2015 issue. 

Be sure to check out their magazine and find out how you can get a hard copy or an online version: 

A subscription to Fostering Families Today magazine would be a great gift idea for the foster parent in your life! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Photo Ledge- Afternoon DIY

I am excited to share with you my latest project...Photo Ledge for my entry way!

We moved into our house over two years ago and I was eager for decorations to get up on the wall. So the BEFORE picture is what we looked at...and I loved it! However, as the years went on and the rest of the decor in the house came together I realized that the black frames were not meshing well with my new love of lightening up the house by using, natural colors, whites, and blues. 

Another reason I wanted to change this entryway look was every time I shut the door the frames that were hanging before tilted from one side to another. They never hung perfectly straight. :(  I was constantly looking at crooked pictures or adjusting their direction.

So I stared at that entry wall for several months before having time and my plan put together. And now that it is done I am happy to share it with you~

Here is our BEFORE and AFTER look and I am in love with it.

With having a large family, it is simply too hard to choose which photos to put up. What I LOVE about the photo ledge is how easy I can change the direction of a frame, add a new photo or even a new frame all together. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

DIY Homework Station

I am so behind on our vacation posts from this summer but wanted to share my excitement with you from my little DIY project!

This next year I will have four of my five kids in all day school and at the same school! It is going to be much different from this last year when I had kids with so many different start and stop times at three different schools.

So I am getting a little excited about how my routine at home will look. Last year I left every hour to pick someone up or drop them off or to take them to therapy. all of my day dreaming about this year coming up I did a little bit of prep work. Lets just say I am sure I looked like a crazy lady stalking the school supply isle at the store with supply lists for four kids. It is a good thing I went during a quiet time or things could have been rough for the other shoppers.

After bringing home, what felt like the entire school supply section I sorted (with the help of my two oldest girls who are organizers after my own heart) and we stuffed each backpack with their needed supplies.

Then came the fun part... 
Our own little organization station for homework folders, library books, and permission slips. 

I found this at my local office supply store and I did a little happy dance in the store when I saw that it had exactly five sections for my five kids. (Our two foster kids are expected to return to parent before the fall, and are not in school this next year.)

I was tempted to spray paint it white and I still might do that later on but for now it is perfect. I added their names in Sharpie and am so pleased with how it turned out.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Guest Blog Post at God-Sized Dreams

It was such an honor to have the opportunity to share my story, my heart, with the God-Sized Dreams audience today! Be sure to head over there and read how God walked my family through the unexpected.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Magazine Article: Trigger Day

I have had the privilege of working with Fostering Families Today magazine over the last few years. They included my article, Trigger Day in their July/August 2015 issue of the magazine. It is my hope that this article will connect and relate to other foster parents who are also living in the trenches.

You can read my article below:

You can find copies and subscription information to Fostering Families Today magazine at

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Book Review: from Jessica Good at

Jessica Good, wrote a sincere book review for my book, What Led Me to You at She really captured so much of what I was hoping would come across in the book and I am so honored that she took the time to share her heart with all of you!

You can find the full review here:

To read more from Jessica, check out her blog:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Interview: Adoption Reflections Radio Show

It was an honor to share my story with the Adoption Reflections radio show, located in Colorado. 
If you missed it you can listen to it HERE

It is about an hour long…I get introduced about about five minutes in, as you click on the link above.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My guest post on Not Alone

What an honor to be able to share an excerpt of my book with the Not Alone audience. 

You can find it here! 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My book is here!

This is such a fun moment! I got to hold my proof copy in my hands yesterday and it looked amazing! So, I am happy to announce that my memoir, What Led Me to You, How a mother's faith and family grew in ways she never expected is finally here!

Get your copy today!

Here are a few more pictures! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

This Busy Bee....

.....has been working hard!

We are close to publication! Soon, What Led Me To You will be available on and a few other places!

 These last few weeks have been busy for our family. Not only with all of the chaos that comes with having seven little kids at home but I have been spending the late night hours and nap times getting this going.

I am adding the finishing touches to the interior and working on the cover design! I have been blessed to have a few amazing, talented people work with me as we pull the last finishing touches together.

So check in now and then because I hope to soon announce that we are finished!

I am so excited and terrified. Is it bad that my eye is twitching? :)

So just a quick note today before I run out the door to take the littles to preschool.

Much love.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Certificate of Merit

Look what came in the mail today!

Last month I found out that I made the top 15 finalists for the Deep River Book's Writer's contest for my manuscript, What Led Me To You!

How fun to get the actual certificate in the mail today.

Keep your eyes open for more publishing announcements to come!  :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

African-American Hair Care Week #3

My sweet girl wanted a pony tail this week.

Bath time went great, her hair has been staying soft and untangled for the most part.

This week was the first week we didn't have anxiety about hair day or meltdowns over it. In fact, M was looking forward to it. We have special time while the other littles are napping and she gets to watch a movie on the counter.

Our look for this week! Super cute and girly. 
This week I was eager to give her a new part since the last two styles had her hair parted down the middle. I wanted to give her hair a break and have it in different directions. So I started with a braid centered on the top of her head with a new area parted.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Controlling the Chaos: Traveling with the littles.

Traveling with littles.

Going to the doctor with our group can be a huge adventure! :) The picture below is six of my kiddos while my oldest daughter was still in school. 

My new foster son put a bead up his nose, yep, he did.  Surprisingly, this was a first for me as a parent. It was way up there and we all had to go in, to a new doctor mind you, since he and his sister just came into my care a week earlier. 

Planning so we are early or on time: 
I have learned that the more I am rushing everyone, the more they are bound to meltdown from the stress. So for the sanity of everyone involved, I work hard to keep at a calm pace. This gives me extra time when I suddenly lose my keys while buckling everyone in the car and spend over ten minutes looking under all of their bums and carseats trying to find them; or for the times when the seatbelt has been pulled over and over by one of the kids and completely locks up and won't stretch to the buckle, and it won't retract because it is tangled in the carseat loop; or on the mornings when I hadn't even had time to look outside and I see that my car is completely frozen over. I plan in order to make time for the chaos. :)

When we arrive at our destination and sometimes even while we are driving to our appointment, I go over all of the rules before we get out of the car. I talk to the kids about walking with a buddy and staying in our group while we cross the parking lot. I remind them we have to have quiet voices in the waiting room with no fighting or fussing. I let them know that I packed a special treat and if they can do these things, then they get a treat when we get back to the car to head home. I usually keep it a surprise so the anticipation keeps them going. Otherwise they sometimes decide that it isn't worth whatever I have. :) 

Controlling the Chaos: Large Family Style

So I love a good organized system. I have lived and learned, the hard way sometimes, how to get rid of  unnecessary chaos. Below are some of our new and improved systems in place since our two new littles joined our family. Right now we have kids ages, 8, 6, 5, 4, 4, 3, 3. Take a peek below and see how we add a little organization to our lives. :) 

One of the easiest decisions I made was to give each child a day of the week. If it is their assigned day then they get to make special choices, they get to serve snacks and meals to the other kids (one of their favorite things to do), and they get to be the line leader when it is time to go. This completely eliminated arguing over who's turn it was to do something special and fighting over every single time there was a choice to be made. 

Now they all ask, "Who's day is it?" And problem solved! With five kids we did the weekdays and my husband and I got to make choices or it was a free-for-all on the weekends, but now we have seven kids to fill seven days a week! 

Lining up to go out the door for school can be chaotic when you have tired kids.
So to eliminate the pushing and shoving I created line up spots that give each kid their own bubble space. I started after the door mat so I have the space to unlock the door before everyone piles out. The rule is that if it is their special helper day as mentioned above, then they get to be the line leader that day. The rest of the spots are free choice.  When the kids are ready with their shoes, coat, and backpack they get to go line up and I know they are ready to go. They love it and it has worked so well! This is one of my favorite ways we control the unneeded chaos. No more crowding each other, knocking each other over, there is a perfect amount of bubble space marked with painters tape on the floor.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dahlin-07: Update for our family.

For a while you can call the kids, Dahlin-07. (My husband is proud of his play on 007) Almost two weeks ago we had two new foster kids join our family. Here is my attempt to share with you how God has called us to this place, as foster parents, once again. 

My husband and I had been praying about adopting again for quite some time. We put that on hold after we learned that our son had a bio sister that was born but after she didn't come to us, we decided to officially continue the adoption process.

In December of this last year, as part of our annual giving-back gift, we were told about two kids in foster care who could use some extra gifts. So we gave the gifts, and I ended up connecting with their foster mom afterward online. We became an online support to each other but that was about it. The kids we gave gifts to were African-American siblings, a four-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy. 

African-American Hair Care Week #2

Here are more of our hair care adventures….I hope you enjoy and get inspired!

This is our finished style for week #2 

African-American Hair Care Week #1

We have two new foster kiddos with us for a while, long story, and when I am finishing digesting it, I will post about it. I promise. :)

But in the mean time, M and I have been doing "teamwork" each week as we have hair day/wash day. Hair was a huge stress for her when she moved in, and I have been trying really hard to take care of it and help teach M that it is important to take care of her hair.

I feel like I am finally able to use all of the information I learned a few years ago, after taking an African-American hair and skin care class. Although the reason I took it was because my son, had over 9 inches of length in his hair before we were allowed to cut it. So I did get some practice doing his hair a few years ago. :) But it has been so fun to practice girl styles these last few weeks.

M has come so far in her ability to be calm while I do her hair. Here are some fun pictures and information that has helped with our experience. I am in no way a trained professional, just a adoptive mother trying to pass along helpful information.

Week #1

Our style for the week!  

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Art Birthday Party

Here we are another year later celebrating two of my daughter's birthdays. :) This year they asked for an art themed party. It was a huge success and a lot of fun to put together.

This was our main attraction. I am all about the sit down activities with a big group of kids. Granted 7 of them were mine. :) Aprons over the chairs, and each child had their own set up ready to go. When it was time to get settled in their spot I let them choose six colors of acrylic paint to put on their pallet. We did this activity first and let them dry on the counter so they were dry when it was time to go. I did forget to put down napkins for drying their brushes when they rinsed them.
I spent the day before making over 20 of these cups. So one large box of each jello color was a perfect amount. It took about 90 minutes for each layer to solidify so I could add the next one. I had a ladle that was about a 1/4 of a cup and it worked well.  We didn't do the white whipped cream layer in between as you often see because several of my kids are dairy free so I was happy this turned out just as pretty! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

His Smile.

Lately I have been feeling like that new mom who wants to shout about every little thing their child does! Because my youngest son, three years old, has been working so very hard this last year and has over come so many obstacles. So, for those of you who might pass him in public or see him at a social event might think his smiles and conversations and spontaneous hugs are no big deal, because they are age appropriate.

But I want to shout for joy because it is so different from where he was, because I was once so scared about his future. 

The other night I was near tears when he ran up to me with his arms wide open and said in his best deep voice, "Give me a hug!"

Not only is his language improving but more importantly his whole communication is growing. He seeks me out. He shows me his favorite toy. He sings the ABC's and he smiles. 

Oh how I love his smile.

Every time my son does the opposite of what he once knew I want to praise the Lord for His blessings. And to be honest, I am thankful we aren't there, in that dreaded place, anymore. There is relief in my exhale.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"Maybe Next Time"


I am constantly running to that place, that dreaded place where I hear words spill out of my mouth and regret what I said in an instant. I gripe about my morning or my crazy-tornado-mess-of-a-house or my lack of coffee.

Why is it that so often, our go-to response is to complain about things, as if when we say how great things are going then we are bragging or candy coating what is really going on.

While I think there is room for the inevitable vent session now and then, I believe our grumpy attitude will creep into our daily conversations if we let it. We take our eyes off of the Lord and grumble about things that just don't matter. We forget the bigger picture.

My four-year-old son has been working on his social anxiety the last few years and I am so impressed with how far he has come. Yet, I found myself getting so frustrated with one of his coping phrases. When I would say no to something he would with out a doubt reply with, "Maybe next time?"

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Three DIY projects in under an hour!

Life has been so busy and I have been working so much on my book that I haven't made time for any DIY projects. They make my heart so happy! In fact, the pictures below were done in November and I am just now getting them posted! 

I have been slowly adding lighter decor into my house to help brighten it up. I have had a lot of dark decor and cast iron decor from our previous house and when we moved in I just threw everything up whether it really belonged or not.

After two years of staring at my walls I started making some changes. Since I have had hardly any time these had to be quick...and cheap. 

I knew I wanted two frames that were 11x17 or close to it. I found these on crazy sale, they matched and I knew I could paint them white. Again because these projects were so quick (I may or may not have done these the night before Thanksgiving)  I didn't take the time to get a proper BEFORE picture. 

However I didn't see until after I bought them that the glass was glued to the frame! Really? So I couldn't paint them unless I covered the glass. I used a flat white spray paint and ran outside before dark to get these done. I added light coats until they were a solid white. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Only New Year's Resolution

I am a very reflective person at heart. So, you can imagine my excitement when the whole world joins me for a bit of insight on life.

I think most of us like the idea of new.  

However, debating on what to put on our list of goals can be a daunting task. There are the obvious; health related pursuits, splurges so we can enjoy life better, or education and job related goals.

Many of us pick an area of the house to purge from clutter with the hope of seeking the simple life, the frugal life, or the stress-free life. 

But here is the thing...

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

We have had a busy, super fun, month! I have been looking forward to Christmas for a long time! Maybe it is all of the fun family time. Below are several pictures!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 

We finally found our tree! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Frozen Birthday Party!

My daughter turned 6 this month and for once we had a perfect theme for her December birthday!

I was able to find a ton of snowflake decor on sale right before Christmas. :)

First let me introduce you to my favorite part...the cake! My sweet girl looked around online with me for inspiration and we both had high hopes for her cake. I was excited and nervous to try to pull some ideas together and I have to say I am pretty excited about our creation.

Our cakes are always gluten-free of course. I used a 9x13 pan for the bottom layer and I did a vanilla cake. The gluten-free vanilla mixes I use are usually more dry and I figured it would hold the weight better.

The top around double layer was chocolate. The towers are made of three gluten-free ice cream cones. I covered them with white chocolate melts and a bit of oil to thin it out. They worked great and hardened overnight.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Cookies!

We have had a bit of a slow start with all of our Christmas fun this year. So I was really excited to kick off our vacation with our first ever, Christmas cookie decorating party!

Enjoy the pictures!

Lets just say, when my husband saw this, he thought I was a little nuts. :) I wanted everyone to have their own set of toppings. Plus for the kids, it was great, because, unlike the fistfuls they could grab in a shared bowl, they could only grab a little pinch at a time. There were 19 of us and I made 20 cups total. Never hurts to have a back up. :) I may have been a little excited about the options. :)

We moved furniture around and set up the table. My favorite part. :) 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thanksgiving Fun

This post is a little late... but here are some fun pictures from our Thanksgiving. We hosted this year and had a great time putting it all together. I love to decorate a table and plan the food and the whole party planning fun!

We had a great group of family over and wonderful food.

This little appetizer platter was an idea from...ready for husband! :) He didn't do any of the shopping or put it together but he claims it as his own. :) I joke but he did all the other work that I don't like to do, the yard work, heavy lifting and blowing leaves etc.. :) I am thankful that he helps prepare for the fun. Oh and he cooked the turkey for me. I do not enjoy touching raw meat of any kind.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Entryway Closet Makeover!!!

I am so excited about this make over I can hardly stand it! 
I have been day dreaming about a solution to our closet mess for quite a while now. 

Not everyone has a garage or a large mud room. So many of us have these little hallway closets that we barely fit in.  We have lived in three houses with all five of our kids and I have tried several ideas. We have had a big shoe bin outside the closet, in the entry way. We have had individual baskets for each of us on the bottom of the shoe closet. All of which resulted in big piles of shoes messed up on the floor. 

The kids would dig through their shoe baskets and it would end up mixed up, messed up and spread all around our entry way. Every day we did this...then I would throw everything back in just so I could barely close the door. Oh and the next pair of shoes I needed, they were of course, on the bottom of the pile. :) 

Here is the BEFORE picture. I am sorry to say I should have taken a better picture. I was so excited to get started on my project and I wish you could have seen it at its worst.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Adoption Celebration & Circus Party!

What a weekend it has been! On Friday we had our adoption finalization hearing. What a fun day! We celebrated with family and had cupcakes and apple cider and took a ton of pictures. We took a wonderful family photo with the judge. 

I have spent the last four and half years going in that court room and spent most of those years imagining our adoption ceremony in there. But when I walked in and set up with the kids in the front, sitting at the table, all I could think about was the fact that their birth parents sat in those very same chairs years ago when I sat in the back. I recounted a handful of hard court hearings and all of the waiting and ups and downs in the case. At times, I doubted we would ever get to this day. 

It worked out that my husband was off that day, as were the kids. So we woke up and everyone crawled into our bed and we took our time starting the day. We sang "Happy Adoption Day to you!"

As we made our way downstairs I began picking outfits to wear and getting everything together. 

Along with the pictures and cupcakes to celebrate I brought to the court house, two books. One for each child being adopted. We did this with my other son a few years ago at his adoption. We bought children's books on adoption and asked everyone to sign the inside cover and blank pages. It was such a treat to have the judge and counsel and everyone who had spent the last few years working with these kids, sign their books. :) We brought them to the party the next day and put them on our welcome table for everyone to sign as well.

Monday, October 13, 2014

What a difference a year makes!

After church yesterday, we went to the pumpkin patch with the kids. We had perfect weather. The fresh air felt so good, a little crisp, but not too cold. 

I was looking forward to this day for a while now but inside I was a little anxious about how it would go. Last year we had such a short and hard visit to this same place. Our youngest little guy was right in the thick of pushing me away and social outings were especially hard for him. 

What a difference a year can make. Last year at this time I was scared, exhausted, and I spent a lot of time trying to predict the future. I worried about every parenting decision I made, for fear that I was only adding to the problem and not fixing it. Attachment, or lack of it, had creeped into my home when I was unaware and unprepared. 

But on this day, we took our time visiting the "farm" and saw the chickens and horses and ponds covered in lily pads.  We were not rushed. We had no agenda. Robert would run up the hill and reach for my hand. The kids climbed on bales of hay, and I even found them laying down, relaxing, on the green grass.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Exciting Adoption News!

We FINALLY have a date set for next month to finalize our adoption for Katie and Robert!!! 

What?! I is crazy exciting. 

I can't wait to make it official and have a big party to celebrate this long, brought-me-to-my-knees,  wonderful journey. They have been my kids for so long but to have it be finalized is such a wonderful thing to jump up and down about! 

As a gift to myself, or from my husband, how ever you want to see it :), I ordered this set as part of our celebration. I LOVE Willow Tree. My mother-in-law started buying me Willow Tree Christmas ornaments every year when I first got married. It has been a fun traditional gift that I just love!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Catering for a Labor Day Campout

Earlier this year I was asked to cook for a campout at the church I grew up in. My parents still attend and this year they were organizing the annual church campout. 

It was an out reach to the community and while it rained most of the weekend, we had a wonderful time. 

Here are some pictures of my food adventures!

I put together these buckets to help people know where to line up for food. I made signs to change out for every meal. The signs had scripture, quotes, thoughts, all about prayer. Unfortunately, it rained after the first breakfast and well, I didn't laminate my signs. :) I was able to use them though for the last meal after church on Sunday, once the sun shined through. :)

These five gallon buckets were easy to put together. Thankfully my dad provided the buckets and filled them with dirt he had on at his house. I got fabric and tied it around them. The signs were stapled into the sticks. The ground was too hard to put the signs into anyway and we were able to move the buckets around as we needed. :)

Ultimately, if the lines were long, I wanted to provide something for them to read and ponder while they waited.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A little style.

This morning I took my little Mia off to her second day (because of the staggered start) of kindergarten.

Today was the first day that she got out of my car in the pick up line and held her sisters hand and walked in the building as I waved good-bye. My heart ached. I was so thankful that Laura would walk in with her. :) I knew she would be fine and I could see them go inside as I drove away but then I remembered that a few years ago I let Laura walk in- by herself! I thought it would be easier...and maybe for Mia, but for me. :(

I came home and tried to keep busy, and with my three little ones, it wasn't hard to do.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Beach Family Reunion 2014

A picture I happened to get of some random kids playing down the beach.
I love how it turned out. 

Every year we go to the beach for a reunion with my husbands extended family. It was the perfect end to our summer break.

Traveling this year was different in many ways for us as a family. I didn't need to pack the big items like, the playpen, high chairs, baby gate or even sippy cups. Although, diapers and wipes were still on the list.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back To School: Closet Organization

We have been in our new house for over a year now and I finally have order in the closets!

With school just two weeks away, and my husband going back to work next week, I have been on this cleaning rampage all over the house. (So watch for more pictures to come!)

We don't have dressers for the kids, I am not a big fan anyway. I have always wanted to utilize the space at the bottom of the closet for more storage/clothes. Since I hang their shirts (and dresses for the girls) it makes sense to me to have the bottoms, well, at the bottom.

I bought five of these cube storage units for each of the kids and with free shipping they arrived at my door step. Fast forward a few weeks later when I had time and energy got tired of tripping over the boxes and wa-la!

I have two boys who share a room. They each have their own 6-cube storage unit for their clothes. They had enough width in their closet for me to lay them on their side.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

2014 Cascade Awards Ceremony

A few months ago I was chosen to be one of three finalists, in the unpublished memoir category, for my book, What Led Me To You.

Last night I attended the banquet for the 2014 Cascade Writing Contest hosted at the Oregon Christian Writers conference.

Even though, I did not receive the award for my category, I really enjoyed getting to get to this point.  I met some amazing people and had a wonderful night out with my husband.

Here are some of the fun pictures!

Waiting for the event to start. :)