Archive - 2012

Pie stand turned kitchen helper
Moving right along
5 months home
Ni Hao, Y’all
Weeks of Waiting
Home Forever: 4 Months
Pinterest Fail
How in the World are we going to afford this?
The $27 dresser

Pie stand turned kitchen helper

I recently threw a wedding shower for my friends Daniel and Sarah. The theme was picnics and pies and it was incredibly cute. I had lots of amazing pie making, decorating friends who helped make the evening a success. My favorite part of the decor was the pie table.

For the table decor we used a linen tablecloth over a regular old church table and placed an old barn door on top. A burlap runner completed the look beautifully. We utilized upside down wooden boxes and pie stands to display the gorgeous pies. We created the pie stands using old Goodwill plates and candlestick holders. SO EASY. SO CHEAP. You must do this. Why? Because after the shower is over you can use the pie stand in your home for many many purposes!

For example, the checkered pie plate is now my kitchen helper next to the stove. It is currently housing my cooking staples. Sea Salt, Sriracha, Local Honey and Olive Oil.

I think the pie stands could also be super cute in a bathroom holding cosmetics or hair supplies. The possibilities are many, the materials are few. To make this pie stand you need four things: old plate, candlestick holder, sandpaper and glue gun. If you felt like spending a few more minutes on this you could paint the candlestick a cool color as well.

-Wash plate and holder. Let it dry completely.

 -Using sandpaper, rough up a small patch on the underside of the plate. Also sand the top of the holder lightly. This creates an ideal surface for the glue to adhere.

-Put a nice even circle of glue on underside of plate. Immediately stick the holder in the center of the plate in the center of the glue. Leave this upside down while it adheres and dries completely.

That’s it! You’re done! No more work to do and you have something totally cute to try out in different areas of your home. Let me know if you make one, and where and how you plan to use it!

Moving right along

We are moving in every sense of the word. Moving to a new house, moving to a new school zone and moving along with our second adoption. All of our documents are turned in as of Monday, which is crazy to think we pushed though it so quickly. Now we are getting our finances in order, because once documents are in we can accept a referral and money will be due pretty quickly. We are getting ready to launch our t-shirt fundraiser (they are fun shirts!) and we have a massive yard sale scheduled for September 8th. We are praying that between these two endeavors we will have at least a good portion of the funds required to accept a referral. Will you pray with us?

5 months home

5 months home with Mr. Liam Alula.

I always wondered how this would all feel once we were truly in the swing of it, once Liam was home forever. And honestly, it’s a little different than I had imagined. I had no idea that I would forget where Liam came from. That probably sounds odd. But falling in love with Liam, Liam becoming my son… all of that led to feeling like he physically came from me. Yes, I know he didn’t. God grafted together a beautiful story of two countries, one little boy and one family… but nonetheless I still have to remind myself that Liam has an amazing story sometimes.

I think we were most excited about Liam’s Ethiopian heritage during the Olympics. I’m pretty sure I rooted harder for them than the US. There is just something contagious about the African Spirit. Something our Liam Alula DEFINITELY has. What joy this little boy has! And some serious determination as well.

It’s just been so good. Thank you God for shaping our family in this way, we are thankful and excited for the years to come as we watch your plan unfold.

Ni Hao, Y’all

We are in full gear adoption mode. And today of all days the reality of everything has settled on me. We are plugging along with our paperwork and today we had to do blood work. Again. Paperwork gets so repetitious and boring at times and I forget about who we are doing this for. During lunch I browsed a few China adoption blogs and within moments it was all I could do to keep my eyes dry.

Sifting through all the special needs we are considering gets really overwhelming and scary at times. But focusing on the child who will emerge above all those labels and scary words brings me out out of my confused stupor. It’s not about dealing with the most manageable need we can come up with, it’s about responding in faith to the child God has called us to. That’s my prayer this week. That He will speak SO clearly, that no matter what we are facing we will know He is with us.


Weeks of Waiting

The house sale and search has been quite dramatic. Our home sold in under 3 weeks and we were left scrambling to find the right new home for our family. In addition, the day after the offer on our house was made I headed off to Haiti. Leaving Calvin to deal with the whole offer, counter offer madness WHILE caring for 3 kids 4 and under. Also… he had to find us a new house. He did an amazing job and balanced everything well. He even secured us a new home, a great fixer upper. Just like we wanted.

Then we had the inspection.

We were planning on putting A LOT of work into the new home. But a few issues such as water intrusion and mold helped us make the decision to walk away from the house. We now had only a few days to find a house and secure a contract. The very next day I noticed a new house had appeared in the MLS listings. The pictures and price were super appealing to me so I called my friend and realtor to book a showing that same day.

I loved the house from the curb, but when I walked in I saw this:

BRICK FLOORS! I have always always dreamed of having brick floors. In fact, I was planning to install them in the new house. It was a sign. I held my breath hoping the rest of the house would pan out.

Well, It did. We quickly put in an offer and began the stomach churning wait to see if we would get the house. I hate wanting anything, especially wanting something this badly. But alas, I had already envisioned my children in this home. I was gone. The wait was worsened by the knowledge that another offer had been submitted from another potential buyer as well. Blech. During all this waiting I realized that the pre-k program our kids are scheduled to attend was quite a distance from the new house. I looked into nearby programs knowing fully that they would not have openings… school starts Monday. But I called any way. I inquired about 3 spots, 3 different ages. The director, was quiet for a moment. Then she said “you aren’t going to believe this but I only have 3 spots open and they are in your requested ages, someone dropped out of the program yesterday.” What!!  At this point we didn’t know if the house would be ours but I took this as a strong sign and registered all 3 in the very last-minute spots. Six minutes later we got a call. The house was ours!

That wasn’t luck friends. I believe that, for some reason, we are going to be right where God wants us. So we are on the alert, ready to respond to whatever task we may have in this new area, this new house.

And it’s pretty exciting.

Home Forever: 4 Months

I cannot believe Liam has only been home for 4 months! How is that possible, it seems so much longer? Either way, the past four months have been so good. Liam still doesn’t sleep well but all other areas, attachment, eating, development have been coming along perfectly. We just love our little man so much. To celebrate 4 months here is a little photo journey.

A precious picture sent by another family who traveled before us. We were still waiting for travel at this point.

Our “meetcha” day. We had to leave him a few days later. Not a good thing. ):

Picture from another family, we were waiting for our final trip to bring Liam home at this point.

Our “Gotcha” moment. Can’t even explain the joy and relief in this moment.

Homecoming at the Airport! March 24th, 2012.

Happy and Home for 4 months!

Pinterest Fail

I am a pinterest addict.

It’s true. I fantasize about waking up at 5am, brewing some coffee and pinning home decor and projects until my kids awake. When that kind of morning transpires I’m a pretty happy momma. However, I’m starting to think pinterest should have some kind of warning like “Your projects will never be as stunning or functionally useful as the blogger portrays them.” With that bit of reality I think pinterest would be a happy place for all. So today, I’m going to share my worst pinterest fail to date. I’m still really mad about it.

So here is the story. I found this fun little mirror project on one of my morning pinterest explorations. Perfect, I’ve been dying to do something with the plain builder grade mirror in the downstairs bathroom. The materials were under $20 so this also fit the budget. (this was pre-China adoption, the budget no longer allows for projects that cost money!) I ran to Home Depot for the supplies and picked a paint sample for the project. Who else loves the $3 little paint sample jars?? They are an amazing way to buy a small amount of good quality paint for projects like this. Paint and Primer in one!

Materials were gathered and I went home to complete my project. I painted my pieces and followed the directions exactly.


20120724-132752.jpgThe result was SOOO cute! I skipped away from the guest bathroom pleased as punch.

20120724-132815.jpgUntil that evening when the entire thing fell down. I re-read the directions. I used all the right materials and used painters tape to hold everything in place! I tried, and failed miserably, to salvage the cute little mirror frame but nothing worked. I grew more and more frustrated until I literally ripped the entire thing off the wall and threw it into the garage. My sweet patient husband just smiled and provided moral support. I’m quite thankful for not being judged in that moment of pinterest fail.

I don’t even have pictures of how ugly the mirror was post-fail. It was horrid. I had to scrape liquid nails and hot glue off with a razor blade and it took forever. This may have been a good lesson about appreciating a good mirror when you have one. The naked builder-grade mirror suddenly seems quite wonderful after the whole framing charade.

All this to say… use pinterest with caution and low expectations or you too may find yourself ripping things off the wall and throwing them.


Our days have been spent keeping the house clean, playing outside and working on documents for our China home study. I don’t have a whole lot to report on anything right now, so here are a few pictures from this week that make me so very happy. I’m planning to post some new projects and recipes this week so check back if you desire!

How in the World are we going to afford this?

As most of you know, we literally JUST completed Liam’s adoption. Therefore, it was a little daunting to hop into the process again. As we weighed the pros and cons of starting again, the only thing on our “cons” list was money. Stinks. Stupid money. Stupid expensive adoptions.

Adoption is expensive. But going through the process highlighted many reasons why adoption is SOOO expensive. For one, there are many people and agencies involved in bringing a child into a family. Every agency and every person has a job that they must be paid for. Additionally, there is travel, accommodations, many sets of fingerprints and so on. Seriously, every step costs money. And it adds up. This time we are looking at about $30,000.

It’s a lot of money.

But my daughter is waiting somewhere. She is worth every penny I have to fund-raise and dig out of our shallow bank account.

A child waits. And we are her family.

So this begins another season of selling things from our home, holding garage sales and wracking our brains for worthwhile fundraiser ideas. If you have any great ideas please let me know! I have a few brewing, but a fresh prospective is always welcome.

I am also pretty excited that our new agency allows friends and family to donate directly to the agency on our behalf. That was not the case with our previous agency. It makes it much easier (and tax-deductible) on those who feel led to be a part of this through giving.

So yeah. It’s a lot of money. But God provided before and He will again. After all, He sets the lonely in families.

The $27 dresser

Now that we are in family building mode again our budget is also in family building mode. This means we don’t spend money.

However, we really needed a dresser. I began a search at the mile-long garage sale near our home in Hendersonville TN. I found this beauty for $7. Don’t mind the missing hardware, I just forgot to take the before picture until I had already removed them!

After getting the piece home I began to dream up what my little dresser could become. I definitely wanted green and I assumed I would just grab some rust-oleum and go to work. However, the deep grooves on the drawers needed a change. Enter Elmer’s Wood filler. I wanted to put fabric or paper on the front of the drawers, so I needed a smooth surface.

Elmer’s Wood filler is super easy to use. I chose a shade that matched the dresser and filled in all the grooves until they were more than full. Meaning it was not level, there was excess that needed to be sanded down. I let the filler dry for two hours and then sanded the surface of the drawers until they were smooth.

I then used 2 1/2 cans of Rust-oleum to put two coats on the dresser. Why Rust-oleum? It’s durable, will bond to anything, and can even be used on outdoor furniture. I have kids. I need durable.

After giving the dresser several hours to dry thoroughly I began to cut the paper for the front of the dresser. This is easy but tedious. I measured the drawers and cut the paper accordingly using an exacto knife. I hate scissors. I cannot cut a straight line.

Then I applied Mod Podge to the surface of the drawer, liberally, you don’t have to be exact, it dries clear. And placed the paper on the drawer. I marked the borders with a pencil beforehand so that I wouldn’t put the paper in the wrong place. There is no room for “eye-balling” it when you are doing a piece like this.

When you use Mod Podge the paper has a tendency to pucker up a bit. Don’t freak out. It smooths out as it dries. Then I employed my daughter to “paint” the Mod Podge on top of the paper. I’m a huge advocate for toddlers that want to help. Time spent together is always time well spent. (note the puckering here, it went away as you will see in the final pic)

After applying two coats of Mod Podge we let the drawers dry in the super hot weather. This sped everything up and we were able to put the hardware back on about 30 minutes later. We also lined the drawers with matching paper while everything was drying. And yes, my 4 year old is using a power tool. Isn’t he cute though??

And the dresser is now complete! Happy day.

Dresser: $7

Materials: $20 (Home Depot)

(the yellow mark on the top is a sun reflection btw)

All Content © Erica Ho, Goodbye Normal