Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sometimes, I Can Be Creative

I have a super-creative bloggy friend named Polly.  Polly makes amazing stuff everyday.  No really.  Almost every day on her blog (found here) you can find sweet stuff Polly has made, like a changing table, cute pillows, coffee sleeves, and most recently, adorable burp cloths.  Yes, Polly is cool.  She's also inspiring.  After reading Polly's blog this week, I decided to start a sweet project of my own.  Nothing big but big for me.  I also made a step-by-step tutorial just in case anyone else happens to have this exact issue (which you probably won't).  So here it is:  the case of the see-through cupboard.

We moved into our house this summer.  Being youg, first-time homeowners we sacrificed on some things to get a price we liked.  One of those things is a pantry.  We have ample cabinet space but we had no where to keep our food.  Insert cool mom here.  My parents live in a small town and they can often find great deals on furniture and home decor.  My mom found me a pretty great cupboard for $60 bucks.  Seriously.  Problem solved!  Well, sort of.  Here is what our pantry has looked like for the past three months: (warning: all photos are from my phone so you get what you get)

Aside from the fact that the paint is chipping (which I have not yet fixed), this option is really only OK if you have the time and drive to keep your cabinets perfect all the time, since everyone can see into them.  Me?  Well, everyone could see what a slob I was all the time.  Solution:  purchase fabric and put it in the glass to keep everyone from being annoyed by my messy accumulation of pasta sauce and garbanzo beans.  I found some fabric that matched my lime green kitchen.

First, the paint was all over the windows so I had to get some paint remover stuff and a box cutter and pull it off the windows.  This took WAY longer than any other portion of this task.  I hope, for your sake, if you do this project, you are not saddled with removing paint from glass.  God help you if you do.

Next, I measured the windows and cut portions out of the fabric that were just a little bigger than the window.  I did this for two reasons: 1)I didn't want the pressure of having to match it up exactly and 2) I'm just not that particular so I actually didn't cut the fabric exactly straight and no one noticed b/c of the extra fabric!

I purchased some spray adhesive.  Spray adhesive, you say?  Yes, I didn't know it existed either.  But it does.  And it looks like this.

Then, I sprayed the spray adhesive directly onto the inside piece of glass.  I doused the cabinet.  Seriously.  I was a little afraid at first it might cause the glass to be opaque but turns out, it dries clear.  When I had a nice coat, I started at the top and laid the fabric in.  The best way I can describe it is to use the same sort of technique as you would to put a window cling on your car.  You start at the top and slowly move down, pressing the air out as you go.  I have noticed the air bubbles have continued to pop up, so I am continuing to press them out.  I am hoping this stops soon.

Three more times and, voila!  A cabinet I can make a mess of without our dinner friends judging me.  I'm pretty pleased.  In fact, it may encourage me to do more projects.  We have a dresser we are hoping to spruce up for the little one:).  We'll see.

 Just so you can see it, here's what the fabric looks like from the inside.  I plan to use my box cutter to trim out the excess once its had a few days to settle.

 And look how happy we are now that no one can see our spaghetti!  Or maybe we are just always this happy.

Here's to creativity!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ethiopian Culture Lesson #1: Ethiopian Cuisine

Living in a small town, we don't get the opportunity for cultural enrichment in ways that some folks from the big city do.  So, when we visited our friends in Chicago, they decided it was the perfect time to enrich our Ethiopian experience by introducing us to Ethiopian food.  Chicago is known for their rich dining options and we were excited to take advantage of this opportunity.  We would never have this sort of option at home.

So, our last night in Chicago, we headed to Demera, a delicious Ethiopian restaurant.  A block from the door, we could already smell the rich flavors.  I will be honest and say I didn't know much about Ethiopian food, but hubs and I are both pretty adventurous when it comes to food so we decided to jump in head first and try a little of everything.

Some things to know about Ethiopian food.  First, there are no utensils.  I am a big fan of this approach.  Diners use their hands and tear off small pieces of pancake-like bread (called inerja) and then use the bread to pick up little dollops of food.  It can get a little messy but mostly it's a lot of fun, a whole lot of delicious, and much easier than learning another set of utensils (chopsticks: you and I are friends but we started as frenemies).

Five of us went on this journey together.  Since the menu was extensive and we wanted to try a little of everything, we took the advice of the manager and had a chef's sampling of dishes, family style.  I can say emphatically there wasn't anything on the plate I didn't enjoy.  I do not remember exactly everything but foods included were: lamb, beef, yellow peas, red lentils, and fish.  When they brought out the plate, it was so beautiful I almost didn't want to eat it.  So glad I did, though, because it was all tasty.  Each preparation has its own name.  The main one we enjoyed was tibs, a meat preparation that's sauteed and mixed with veggies and delicious spices.  If you're wondering what the flavors are like, I would say they are similar to Indian, with curry hints.  In general, though, Ethiopian is really just its own, yummy fare.

 Here is my attempt at a picture tutorial.  First, grab a piece of the inerja.  It's rolled like a rolly pancake or crepe, so just tear off a piece.

Next, scoop your desired dollop of food into your inerja pocket.  Below, I am scooping my fave, one of the two beef dishes.

Once it's scooped, it kind of looks like a squishy nacho.  Below, my delicious bite.

As you can tell, I am satisfied.  It really is so very tasty.

 Below, please enjoy the before, with the beautiful platter, and after: the empty platter.

We finished with some ice cream with coconut, raspberry, and some other flavors.  We left ridiculously full.

We are by no means Ethiopian cuisine experts, but we hope to know a whole lot more about culture in general by the time we head there.  If this first taste of culture was any indication, it's going to be a great experience.

Here's to delicious, Ethiopian food!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Break for Grown-Ups

Hubs and I just returned from our "Spring Break" trip to Chicago.  We have also been calling it "the babymoon" even though it could be two years or so before we have a little person here.  This was a completely selfish trip with no reason except to see friends and spoil ourselves.  We know those times are quickly coming to an end, as we begin to save save save for our little person.  Spring break was delightful. We spent much of our time just enjoying the company of our friends and doing a lot of relaxing.  We also managed to squeeze in some sightseeing.  Here, in photos, is what we did for 5 days.

We walked past Wrigley Field.  Kyle (one of our local friends) clued us into the gates on the backside where you can see the field.  It was a very fun view that I didn't get a picture of.

Our friends Melissa and Stewart took us to cocktails on the 96th floor of the Hancock Building.  I am now convinced there isn't a more beautiful way to enjoy the city.

Here we are in the Hancock, snuggly.

One of the 20 pictures I took of the gorgeous view of Chicago.  I'll spare you the other 19 photos of the exact same thing.  Weird fact:  the best view (and photo-taking spot) is the bathroom!

We did ride the el a few times.  Here, Melissa shows us how to hang on like a true Chicagoan.  Meanwhile, I am sitting on the bench taking pictures like a true tourist.

A lucky part of vacationing with a local: getting to know delightful spots you'd never find as a tourist.  Case in point: The Southport Grocer.  Not only did they have the best cupcakes ever (and a great lunch menu) but they also are pretty much the cutest cafe.

The ladies went salsa dancing at Nacional 26.  I learned how to use my new iphone photo app.

I'll close with this beaut.  He's all mine ladies!

We couldn't be happier to be home, but our 5 days in Chicago were exactly the refresher we needed before heading home to a productive week.

Here's to Spring Break in Chicago!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Break!

I am officially on what could very well be the last spring break of my life!  I am enjoying free time and conversations with friends.  I will update soon but til then...

Here's to Spring Break!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Weekend Recap

  We got to spend the weekend with my mom for her 53rd birthday and did a little dreaming of what it will be like for her to be a grandma.  I got her a bag of M&Ms, along with this card:

Funny Birthday Ecard: Being your least disappointing child feels like present enough.

I found the humor in it, even if no one else did.  Just kidding.  They did.  Mom and I got in our first ever mother/daughter run and had a lovely time!  We left their small town in time to get to church at our place on Sunday.

Church has been so relevant and timely lately as we go through the book of Genesis.  Two weeks ago we discussed putting more trust in God's plans than our own.  This week was no exception, as Shay shared lessons from Jacob wrestling with God.  I find myself drifting into how each sermon affects our adoption and I don't think this is an accident.

We also got to serve in the children's ministry, as we do every Sunday.  For an hour and a half, we share our lives with 15-25 adorable one year olds.  They crack me up, they exhaust me, and they make me excited for a time when I go home with my own little person.  This week we had 20 kids, 4 helpers, and no criers!  It was amazing!

We closed with small group and while this might be the most boring blog post of my life, it wasn't a boring weekend!  We also turned in our first round of paperwork to America World this weekend.  More on that soon. In all, it was a delightfully busy time with family and church family.

Here's to busy weekends!

Friday, March 18, 2011

And it begins...

  Well, it's been over 24 hours and the shock has worn off (a little) and we are now on to the paperwork...

If you've ever wondered what the first step is after being accepted to an adoption agency, the answer is paperwork!  Lots and lots of paperwork--to read, to sign, and to go over as a couple, diligently ensuring understanding of each intricate detail.  Or maybe the wife goes over it and the hubs just signs in faith:).

Here's our new favorite thing:  the file folder of paperwork

I want to thank everyone for the initial outpouring of support, celebration, and prayer.  We feel so blessed to have so many friends and family members who love us enough to make this a reality.

On a special side note, we are at my parents house this weekend enjoying my mom's birthday.  Happy Birthday to my great Momma!  Thanks for teaching me about shoes, cooking, and the Lord.  You rock!

Here's to my Mom!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Baby Steps and Baby Feet

When I was six, playing with my dolls, I envisioned being a mom.  I knew I would really look forward to that day.  I found out a little later (we'll say middle school) it took about nine months to become a mom.  Then, I found out that timeframe isn't always right.  Some babies take a little longer.

At twelve, I remember for the first time telling someone that when I grew up, I was going to adopt a baby.  I am pretty sure Mrs. Driskill and Mrs. Fickie thought I was a really crazy twelve year old.  That dream I dreamt when I was twelve never went away.  In fact, it grew stronger.  After I met the hubs, we continued to talk about starting our family this way.  A year ago, we officially started praying about this plan and it became Plan A.  We prayed for right timing, for vision, for finances, and for His hand to be on everything.

Today is a day I am pretty sure Hubs and I will always remember.  On Thursday, March 17, 2011 we were told by a dear woman that we were officially accepted by the adoption agency of our choice.  If you've read any other posts, you might know, I am a crier.  So I cried.  And thanked God.  And then called Hubs.  This is the first, very tiny, little baby step on the way to our baby.

So this blog is about to get a little more active as we begin the process of raising support (both in prayer and in finance) for this long journey.

If you are like me, you might have a few questions about this process.  So here are the answers I have right now.  I will also be clear that we don't know all the answers at this point and are looking forward to God guiding us through the next steps of this process.  But here are the questions I do know answers to:

Q:  Where are you adopting?
A:  We prayerfully put in our application for Ethiopia.  We think this is the place that meets our needs and also has kids that need us.

Q:  What agency are you using?
A:  America World.  You can read more about the agency at  We have friends who have been working through them and have been encouraged by their journey.

Q: How long will this take?
A:  We aren't exactly sure but probably some where between one year and two years.

Q: How are you paying for this?
A: Well, adoption is an expensive process.  We have some money saved.  We will continue to save.  But we will also be raising support through several projects.   Do not fret, friends.  They will be posted on the blog.  We are prayerful that God will provide.

Welp, that's all I know for now.  Thanks for starting this journey with us.

Here's to baby steps!