Friday, August 31, 2012

{frugal} friday

fundraise, fundraise, fundraise. if you're my friend in real life or on facebook, you're starting to see it.

because adoption is so expensive, we're continuing to find ways to raise money. i contacted a very gracious woman who offered to donate 25% of all scentsy sales to our adoption fund-- amazing blessing! it's a way for friends to help us and get something wonderful in return. i got a scentsy as a wedding gift, and i can't wait to get another one for our living room. as soon as you turn it on, it makes your home smell amazing. it's neat, though, because i haven't had one scent be overpowering, too flowery, or sugary-sweet.

so, think about going to this site and purchasing something (the top will say "Slay Adoption Fundraiser"). even if you normally have a scentsy rep, consider buying something from this generous gal, just this once. you're helping a great cause! it's a way you can help me from across the US and Canada. oh, and in purchasing from her, you're also helping her fund HER second adoption! she just finished adopting a 3 year old from uganda and hopes to bring home a 5 year old soon.

the link will be active (and purchases can be made) through august 29, 2012.

thank you again for all your help! and as always, the donate button on the right side is available if you'd like to make a cash donation to our adoption.

you can find more of this series here:
part 1: one-car family
part 2: brown bag lunches 

Monday, August 27, 2012

{little} letters

dear brother,
i think you're a great person. keep on being a good brother, son, and husband.

dear husband,
thanks for doing a load of laundry this weekend while i read a magazine. you make me happy to be your wife.

dear sabbath,
thanks for existing. i needed you this weekend.

dear jr vassar,
thanks for leaving your family and church to come speak at our leadership weekend. it was a true blessing to hear your words.

dear manhattan,
i'd love to have a date with you sometime soon. unfortunately, i'm busy saving for a baby. can you bring your northeastern yankee qualities to the metroplex?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

original food update

... or, why we went vegan / no sugar / no bread and never looked back.

i haven't updated this blog about our little original foods journey because, well, i've been busy trying to raise money to adopt a baby. sorry. but i figured since our 44-day journey is "over", it was time to tell you about it.

1st of all, we love this so much-- we're not as hungry as we were before. B, we eat amazingly delicious food. third, we discovered we have a mild gluten intolerance (gasp!).

how we feel:
great. end of story. pretty much. one of the biggest things we notice is that we don't get very hungry. well, i say WE and i mean I. because husband still gets hungry sometimes (he'll be the first to tell you that)-- but overall, we eat what our body needs and have learned a lot about using food for fuel instead of to fulfill a want or because of a certain emotion. it is so awesome what happens when you do that.

what we eat:
you can see my board here for the things we eat. i've made almost everything on it by now, and we have had VERY few failures. here's some of our favorites:
sweet potato curry
various lettuce wraps
soups and chilis
roasted veggies
roasted cauliflower (so amazing, it gets listed separate from regular veggies)
stuffed bell peppers
snacks-- nuts, fruit, nuts, fruit, nuts, fruit.
salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette
and we also eat out. with our new voluntary limitations, we do not have meat, bread, or any animal product. we stay away from sugar as much as possible, but are very aware that there may be some sugar in many restaurant sauces. and you know what? we eat it anyway. because one thing we won't do is become legalistic about it. so we often eat out at asian or indian restaurants, but one of our new favorites is the veggie plate at a local ethiopian hole-in-the-wall joint. ah-mazing.

why we don't eat bread:
besides the fact that there's usually sugar in bread, there's not really much benefit to eating it. if it's not doing our bodies any good, we don't eat it. now, a new reason we don't eat bread? we've discovered a slight gluten intolerance for me, and a (not so) slight gluten intolerance for husband. makes sense, after all. look how good we felt after losing all of those foods! part of it has to be because of the bread. woah. i'm not going to go into why we determined we have a bit of a gluten intolerance. you can google that yourself. i suggest you not, though.

so, what now?
nothing new. the only thing that changed is that we had bread once (NOT happening again), and we'll occasionally add responsibly-caught fish in our diet. rarely. like, twice a month. maybe. because many times, "responsibly-caught" translates directly to "expensive". oh, and husband is eating eggs. we made these hard boiled BAKED eggs and he raved about them. it's an easy way for him to get more protein in... and before you ask, yes, the eggs come from responsible sources as well. call us hippies, it's okay. it's important to me that the animals we DO eat be treated well. and since we eat them so infrequently, we can afford to do so.

a beautiful side effect of this new diet is our weight loss. people have really started commenting on it for both of us-- i'm down 20 pounds and husband is down 25 pounds. we both feel better, feel like we look better, and couldn't be happier. this is for sure a new way of life for us!

Monday, August 20, 2012

book page wreath

i found this great tutorial for how to make a wreath from a book. i won't reinvent the wheel, so you can go here to see it. it's a great step-by-step, with video even!

now, all my fellow bibliophiles out there, don't worry. i used a free trashy novel that i got from the fair last year. it was so bad, they had to hand it out for free. and i didn't need to get past the cover to know just how bad it was.

the only thing i did differently, which made it so much easier, is that i made my paper curls, then stapled the end together. so i got a lot of little paper curls ready and then hot glued them to the wreath. this made it much easier to get it all together, because the cones and squiggles were already prepped. also, compared to things like this book page dahlia, mine is much more haphazard. i was not nearly as concerned about getting the points in the right spot, or about having every book page processed in the same manner. actually, i think next time i do it, i won't do any cones, i'll just do the squiggly-folded pages. it was easy, and gives it a much rounder look.


after looking at my photo, i see that i need to fill in some texture on the left side. but i'm still pretty darn happy with how it turned out, and i can fill it in later. oh, and you notice the few pages that are a different color? it's important to make sure you have enough pages in the book you're using. i didn't, so i had to fill in with a different book. but the good news is you can't tell so much about the color difference in person as you can in the photo.

i hope you like it! i know my best friend did, since it was a gift for her-- now it's time to make my own! after all, i've got all the supplies since i bought an extra styrofoam wreath when i made this one.

Friday, August 17, 2012

{frugal} friday

how to afford an adoption, part 2

source, and no, mine aren't usually so cute.

something that is very easy for husband and i to do to save money is to bring our lunches to work. this works great for us for two reasons:

1) buying lunch is expensive, and
2) we have strict dietary requirements.

let's do the math. say you want to be healthy, so you go to subway every day. you get either a $5 foot-long, or one of those $5 meals with a 6-inch. either way, you're spending at least $5 a day (that doesn't even begin to count coffee at starbucks, or the afternoon snack you just HAVE to buy). if you, like most people, work a five-day week, you're spending $25 a week on lunches alone. bump that up a (conservative) $5-10 to cover some coffees on certain days and a snack a week, you're spending upwards of $35, easily. but wait! that's just one person! we're a couple, so we'd be spending $70 a week, which is at least $280 a month. wow!

now, the lunches that we typically pack:
1 cup quinoa (about $0.30)
1 cup black beans with onion, zucchini, and peppers (about $0.70)
an orange ($0.80)
and the snacks:
1/4 cup of roasted almonds (0.50)
oatmeal ($0.34)
banana ($0.27)
larabar for husband ($0.80- sam's club)
apple ($0.40)

doing the math for that, for the two of us, it costs about $37.10 a week, which is $148.40 a month.

that's a savings of $131.60 every month, just for lunches. for us, that money goes into saving for our adoption, but you could use it to save for a down payment on a house, or to pay cash for that dream vacation you've been wanting to take!

you can find more of this series here:
part 1: one-car family

Thursday, August 2, 2012

thankful thursday

345. redeeming sundays
346. no flies!
347. puppy kisses
348. clean bed linens
349. healthy friends
350. running into friends on a saturday morning
351. spending the morning at the thrift store
352. flaked sea salt with lavender
353. extra income for baby
354. visiting friends for game night
355. budget overhaul
356. fish
357. delicious home cooked meals
358. naps
359. the london olympics!
360. friends who enjoy GIVING pedicures
361. tv-free nights
362. learning new skills
363. impressing my MIL
364. handmade christmas gifts in july

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

fun fact: my love for tea started in undergrad, and was sparked by my friend hannah.
if you were wondering.