Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Made at home!

Being a family of 8 is great, but it is also really expensive!

In our medium sized crew, we have at least three different skin types and four different hair types. That is a lot of "types" to buy for when we go to the store. I'm trying to make some products at home and begin to switch our family to more natural things all at the same time.

I plan to continue to post on this blog that started out just being about our adoption of two sweet Ugandan boys. Now the topics will include our adoption, transracial adoption, homeschooling, our backyard "farm",  the products we make at home and their recipes, and the craziness of life as we live it!

Some of you are still using our link to buy things from Amazon. Thank you! That money goes directly into our adoption account that is paying the almost $20,000 loan for our adoption. I have also set up an store as a place for you to easily find the products we use to make our homemade soaps, lotions, sunscreen, and more!!

Goat milk soap. Lotion bar. Sunscreen. Hair oil.

Check it out!! OUR STORE ... I think it has everything we used except our raw goat milk :)

We made the sunscreen today and I didn't take any pictures of the process. I will next time! I really needed to find something that didn't make me cringe every time I put it on my children. I found something, but I couldn't buy it and put food on the table. Seriously. Have you seen the price on the "safe" stuff??? Craziness.

Here is what we did instead after looking at more recipes for sunscreen than I would like to admit.

Disclaimer: I'm not a professional. This is what I made. I'll update you on whether this works!

Olive oil                           1 cup
Coconut oil                      3/4 cup
Vitamin E oil                   1 tablespoon
Shea butter                       1/4 cup (or a smidge more!)
Non-nano Zinc Oxide      4 tablespoons

1. Placed a stainless steal bowl on top of a pan of water. Turned heat to medium-high.


1. Place a jar in a pan of water. Turn heat to medium-high.

2. Put olive oil, coconut oil, and Vitamin E oil together in jar/bowl.

3. As it warmed, mixed well occasionally.

4. After 4-5 minutes, added shea butter and mixed vigorously until it was incorporated. I have a stick blender that I use for soaps and lotions only. If you don't, you should :) or you can make it in the jar and just put the top on and shake it. Take the top off when not shaking.

5. Put on a "mask." You don't want to breathe in the zinc oxide. I don't know why. All the other people say to do this. I pulled my shirt up over my nose and mouth and hoped for the best.

6. Measured out the zinc oxide and mixed it into the oils.

7. Poured it in to desired container.

8. Patted myself on the back. "You just saved a ton of money AND made a safe 25ish SPF sunscreen for your family!"

My mix is thin. I'm hoping once it cools to be able to put it in a quality spray bottle. Not sure that will work. It may clog. If you want it to be more of a cream, add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup beeswax to the beginning mix. I had it on hand, but chose not to go for a thicker sunscreen.

Let me know if you make it and how it works for you!

Remember, this is just something I threw together based on the basics of other recipes and the oils that work well with our skin at our house.

Have a blessed week!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

What's it mean??

"What's it mean?" is a question I get to hear from James. He
was formally Isaac, but he wanted his daddy's name... everyone together now... AWE!

What's it mean "hop" ?
What's it mean "silverware"  ?
What's it mean "thunder" ?

If you have heard my boy speak, you know his accent makes this even cuter than reading it in a blog post. The boys have been home for three months and we got our first hug six months ago. It seems like so much longer that I've known them, but like I was in Uganda yesterday. I say all this because on their three month anniversary home I got a "What's it mean?" question that I wasn't ready for...

What's it mean "I love you" ?

I immediately looked up and then butchered his language saying ng'kwaagala nyo. I love you a lot. He laughed at my attempt to speak Luganda. This exchange did not answer his question. He knew the translation, but he didn't understand "love." James told me how he didn't hear it used growing up. We must seem crazy then. I tell my kids I love them hundreds of times a day... and I sign it to them when they glance over at me or bike past the window. My kids all reply and smile and James knows it is good, but what is it. Love.

As a mom, my heart was broken and determined at the same time. My boy. My son. He can't explain love. This is my opportunity. I try to show love. I say love. I act love when I don't feel love. Now, I can put a definition to love. The pressure to explain it well was on me. I said something along the lines of...

Love is when the other person means so much to you that you don't matter anymore. If a car was about to hit you, I would rush to get you to safety even if it meant that I would be hurt. If we didn't have enough food, I wouldn't eat so that you could. If you needed clothes and I need clothes, I would buy yours first. You being safe and happy and healthy and cared for is what makes me happy. The best example of love though is Jesus. He gave His life for us because He knew that we would make lots of bad choices because we are sinners. He gave His life so we could be with Him forever.

... I don't know if that was the right answer or a good answer or the answer he needed. I don't know if he gets it. It really doesn't matter if he completely understands right now, because this momma is going to show him over and over and over and over again for as long as the Lord allows it.

Happy Mother's Day!!

I am so very thankful for my mom. I am so very thankful for my mother-in-law.

I am also very thankful that they understand that my brain is working differently this year on Mother's Day.

Tomorrow, I will be celebrating my mom along with Matt's mom and my children will be celebrating me, but I will have someone else on my mind too.

I have a photo of her. Her beautiful brown skin. Her amazing smile. Full of life. She gave life to NINE children before her time on earth was through. Eight boys and one girl. Her willingness to allow her body to bring forth so many little lives is the only reason that I now can mother James and John. Our sons. Her sons and now mine.

Tomorrow, I celebrate her. I am so very thankful for her.

Tonight, I will pray and thank my Heavenly Father for blessing me four times with opportunity to carry children naturally in my womb. It was one of my favorite times in my life :) Trinity, Emma, Azriel, and Titus are the natural fruit of our marriage. What a blessing each one is to me!!!  I will also thank Him for asking Matt and I to go and love James and John. Two boys who had to lose their mom, be given to us by their biological father, and move to the other side of the world to make me a mom of six. I cannot imagine my life without them. They bring me such joy! 

I love being a momma to each one of my children!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I didn't even ask...

I have followed the stories of a friend of mine for a long time now as she chronicles celebrating kindness. In fact, her blog's title is Celebrate Kindness... and that is exactly what I am doing today.

Over the past 31 years of my life, I have been the recipient of innumerable Random Acts of Kindness. Today, we received TWO from complete strangers and I didn't even leave my yard.

It's Saturday. Time to keep the school books in the cubbies and get outside to weed the garden, love on our animals, and clean up the yard. Matt started on the yard last night and the lawn mower was making an awful sound. One of the three blades was broken. Nice. This is just how are week has gone.

I was told I still can't lift over 10 pounds for two more weeks. The car broke down and may need a new engine. Health insurance issues... still. 5 of us are sick. Keys are lost. Kids arguing. And on and on.

Thankfully, Matt was able to get to the hardware store before they closed so he could change out the blade this morning, finish our yard, and get my parents yard done. We finished all our normal morning chores and breakfast before getting to work. I was in the back with kids and Matt was up front with the mower. Random Act of Kindness One came walking into our backyard. My kids let her in. We live our lives with an open door policy and encourage our kids to be hospitable. Our back neighbor, whom we have never met in the 4.5 years we've lived here, came bearing a gift of banana pudding with vanilla wafers and whip cream. One. of. my. favorites. Y'all (that's it... I've officially lost my yankee card) what you don't know is if she hadn't brought this I would have had no afternoon snack for my kids. I haven't been to the store because of the colds and the not lifting thing. I swear I feed my kids :)

I didn't know how difficult the rest of the day was going to be. It's 4 o'clock and Matt still doesn't have the lawnmower done. He's been to the store twice to get some new tools to get the lawnmower running right. I'm so proud of him. He has kept pushing through with a great attitude. We had everything we needed, but it still couldn't get one of the bolts to budge. Then drives up Random Act of Kindness Two. He rolls down his window to ask if this is where the yard sale was today. Nope. Not us. I figured he'd back out and head on his way. But then. "Can I help?" You have got to be kidding me. Not only did this guy offer to use his impact wrench to take off the broken blade and bolt, he helped load up the deck and gave us a tip on where to get some of the stuff we need for much cheaper.

I didn't even ask for God to send someone with snack because I didn't know I wouldn't have a chance to go to the store today. I didn't even ask God to send someone who had the right tools to fix the lawnmower because I thought we had what we needed. He just led these people to do these RAKs for us because as my Heavenly Father he cares for me. I'm in awe. I'm so thankful.


Emma turned TEN a few weeks ago!

She has her daddy's eyes and her Father's eyes... and his heart and His heart... 
His compassion and His love for all people. 

We joke that she sometimes goes to "space camp" in her head, but I think she is daydreaming about her amazing plans in the future.

She is loving, kind, a gentle leader, and a softy.

She isn't one to rush and is always willing to stop and smell the flowers.

Her name is short for Emmanuel meaning "With us is God!"

We love you, Emma!! You bring so much joy to our lives by just being you!
Happy birthday!