Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Adoption Funds Needed!!

I am sure that the title of this post really grabbed your attention.  I am sure that you are sitting there thinking, "Didn't they just have a little one... are they now adopting??"  Well, to answer your question, at this moment in time, Jordan and I are not adopting.  Instead, I am advocating (which is a nice way to put "begging") for you to help out a friend of mine that is more like an extra sister to me.  This post will not begin to do justice to how amazing this family is - I hope that you read on and truly consider helping them.

Meet the Adams' Family

Rebecca and her husband, Luke are in the process of adopting two beautiful girls.  To tell you the journey that the two of them have been through in the past, would bring many of you to tears (both joy and sadness). They have been married for a little over eight years.  After three miscarriages, they were blessed in 2008 with the birth of one of the smartest little boys I have ever met - Micah.  When Micah was almost four months old, Rebecca was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.  She underwent chemo, surgery, radiation, and Herceptin (a breast cancer drug).  She went through all of these things with the amazing, never-ending support of her husband.  Because of the treatments that she underwent, the chances of her being about to be pregnant again were slim to nothing.  After much prayer and time to absorb this new information, they decided to adopt.  On August 18th, 2011 they brought home a sweet, very energetic little boy named Levi.  Levi's story and and how he became part of the Adams' family truly has God's handwriting all over it.  So, skip a few years, and you are here.  Rebecca and Luke are now in the process of adopting two more children... that are 11 and 16 years old.

Meet Stella

Meet Lily

I know that many people are probably wondering why they aren't looking at adopting younger children.  They are adopting older children because when children in the country that they are adopting from hit 16 years of age, they are "aged out" of the system.  So, what does that mean?  It means that if you are 16 years old and you aren't adopted, you really don't have much to celebrate on your birthday because you are "sent packing" with the clothes on your back.  That is it - no financial aide for these kiddos.  The saddest thing is that about 60% of the girls turn to prostitution to make money when they are thrown out.  Rebecca and Luke feel called by God to adopt Stella and Lily.

This adoption is a blessing and a curse.  They are adopting from a country that is pretty speedy with the process.  The blessing is that they will have their girls pretty quickly - we are talking 5-7 months.  The curse is that there is less time to raise funds for this.  So, I am asking you to consider helping them out.  There are sooo many ways that you can help the.

The first way and one of the most important things that you can do for them is to pray for them and this journey that they are going on.  Pray that God blesses them with the funds needed.  Pray that the transition the two girls will be making when they move to this country are seamless.  Pray for patience for Luke and Rebecca as they quickly add two more people to their home in the near future. Pray that these two girls see the love that God has for them through Rebecca and Luke.

Secondly, you can give your money to them.  I am going to be very blunt about this.  They have a bunch of fundraisers below which I will highlight, in which companies are giving them part of the funds from your purchases.  Yes, it all adds up, and I will tell you right now that Luke and Rebecca are two of the most gracious people and appreciate every single penny.  BUT, if you have the funds and can actually just write a check - that money will go 100% towards their adoption.  You can mail them a check directly (email me and I will send you their address) or you can contribute through Reese's Rainbow (the link is on the upper left of their blog page beccaleigh80.blogspot.com).  If you go through Reese's Rainbow, you will get a receipt for your taxes next year.  It is costing them over $26,000.00 for the two girls, so every little bit helps.  Think about it, if you cut a weekly Starbucks run, you could donate $18.40 (if you get the grande caramel macchiato with extra caramel like me).

The other options are the actual fundraisers they have going on.
If you shop with Amazon, use the below link to do your shopping and they will receive 4-6% of your purchase.

They are also selling bracelets made in Haiti here.

All commissions from her Usborne Books business is supporting this process as well.  If you need any great children's books for your kids or a gift for a birthday party, they have great stuff.

This month she is also doing a Thirty-One Online show.

So, that is my super long post about some amazing people.  My next post will be more light-hearted :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yummy Grownup Mac 'N Cheese

I feel like this week I have finally recouped from Jordan's and my trip to North Carolina, which I will be doing a post about this weekend.  This week, I tried a new recipe out of a cookbook that Jordan and I received for our 9 year anniversary from his parents.  We received the fabulous cookbook and a gift card to Central Market, which was absolutely perfect for us.  The cookbook is "What's for Dinner" by Curtis Stone.  Jordan and I really enjoyed watching all of the reruns of "Take Home Chef" on Netflix (if you haven't seen these and you like cooking shows, make sure that you check them out).  Of course the chef on this show is Curtis Stone; so, when we received this cookbook we were super excited.

All of that being said, his recipes are somewhat labor intensive if you are juggling an almost 6 month old.  They are super yummy recipes though...  As you can imagine, I did some of the cooking and prep work during various naptimes.  Below is the recipe.  Also below the recipe, I put some fun finds while out today.  I hope that you enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Pasta Bake with White Cheddar

6 TB olive oil, plus more for the baking dish
1 head of cauliflower (about 2 lbs), cored and cut into large bite-size florets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
18 oz (about 8 cups) broccoli florets
1 1/2 cup (about 5 oz) penne
4 oz pancetta, coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 TB finely chopped fresh thyme
1 TB all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (5 oz)
1 cup very coarse fresh multigrain bread crumbs (I cheated and used basic bread crumbs in a canister)

1.  Position racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to  400F.  Lightly oil your baking dish.
2.  On a large baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with 2 TB of the olive oil to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread evenly on the baking sheet.  On a second baking sheet, repeat with the broccoli florets and 2 more TB of the olive oil.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Stir each sheet of vegetables and switch the positions of the baking sheets from top to bottom.  Bake for about 10 minutes more, or until the vegetables are tinged with brown.  Set aside.  (Leave the oven on.)
3.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the penne and cook, stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking together, for about 7 minutes, or until tender but still firm to the bite.  Drain the pasta.
4.  Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat.  Add 1 TB of the olive oil and the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, or until the pancetta is browned and crisp.  Add the onions and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until the onions are tender and slightly browned.  Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture, then stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, or until it is very pale golden brown.
5.  Gradually stir in the milk and cream.  Increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, for about 4 minutes, or until the sauce is lightly thickened and has no raw flour taste.  Remove from heat, add the cheddar cheese, and stir until melted.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6.Add the vegetables and penne to the cheese sauce and fold together.  Spread evenly in the baking dish.  In a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs and the remaining 1 TB olive oil to coat, then sprinkle over the vegetable mixture (I just sprinkled with the breadcrumbs from a can).  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden.  Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving.

Now on to some good deals...

Today, Julia and I made a trip to Target and to the Dollar Tree (they are right next to each other in the same shopping center).  Below are some of the goodies that we purchased.


Planters Nut-rition peanut butter is B1G1 free.  Right now it is $3.29.  There was a coupon recently for $1.00 off of two Planters products, but when I got to Target there was even a better deal on the peanut butter itself.  There was a coupon on the peanut butter for $1.50 off when you buy two.  So, I bought 4 peanut butters for $0.90 each.  Jordan eats peanut butter and honey sandwiches almost everyday for lunch, which makes this a FABULOUS deal.  Plus the flavors sound like fun ... Berry Nut and Cinnamon Raisin Granola Crunch.

As many of you know, I am a Pampered Chef Consultant, and this is the time of year when I purchase items like pens for my cooking shows (people always walk away with my pens).  Bic 10 count pens were $1.47 each.  I bought 4 packs with two coupons for $1.50 off of two packs, which makes each pack $0.72.

Dollar Tree 
Did you know that the Dollar Tree accepts coupons?!?

I purchased 2 boxes of Lugi's Frozed Italian Ice Cups for $1.00 each.  I had 1 coupon for $1.00 off two boxes.  So, I paid $0.50 per box.  Nice deal for this warm time of year.

I purchased two boxes of Hefty Slider bags for $1.00 each.  I had 1 coupon for $1.00 off two boxes of Hefty Slider Bags.  So, I paid $0.50 per box.

On a side note, the Dollar Tree has fabulous gift bags and tissue paper in bulk :)