Thursday, February 16, 2012


It's that time of year break out the heavy equipment. I like to call them "power tools," but Mr. Baruch's reminded me that they don't require electricity, licenses, or permits to operate, so they don't qualify. Bummer.

Our yarn supplier (Brown Sheep Co.) has a new bulky version in their line of wool that I use for most of our felted items and some of our scarves. It is squooshy and lofty and marvelous. They come in hanks, though, so they have to be wound before using. More about that in a minute.

Ever used a swift? And a ball winder? This is fun stuff, folks! As long as you don't break your nose opening the swift or get your hair tangled in anything spinning, it's loads of fun! 

Testing it out. Miss is checking to make sure it's fastened tightly enough to the table.

When you have a hank of yarn, it needs to be wound into a ball or skein in order to be used. You can try to knit or crochet with it otherwise ('cause some people are stubborn like that and have to learn the hard way) but you will end up with a mess. I'm stubborn, too, so I know.

Your hank's ends ( apologies to anyone named Hank) will be tied around the rest of the yarn in two places. Find 'em, untie 'em, and carefully tuck one of them into the rest of the yarn. The other end is what you start winding.

If you have a ball winder, thread that end of the yarn through the guide and tuck it into the slit in the top of the winder. Ready?

Zoooom! We are all enchanted by the sprinting carousel. It's magical, really.

Everyone wants in on the action. And no one's hair got caught in the swift this time - though Little Miss is currently just short enough to walk underneath it, so next time we'll have to be extra careful to keep her out of the spin zone.

Done! Pretty, hmm? Now you can slide this stack of winded loveliness right off of there, and knit from either the exposed end on the outside, or from the end that you originally started winding with, which is now tucked inside the middle of your skein - this gives you a perfect little center-pull skein. Whichever you prefer. I usually use the exposed end, because when you pull from the middle you end up with a hollow shell that needs to be re-wound anyway to avoid tangles.

This new bulky yarn will be used for felted mittens and...and...matching hats. Finally, hats made to match our felted mittens. So if you want hats to match these... 
 ...or these...
 ...or these...
...we can do that. :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

in business

button hairband and stretchy knit hat by Baruch's Lullaby

Some businesses are strictly business. Others are more of a hobby...others are mostly ministry. Some are a blend of various passions and pursuits beyond the bottom line. For our family, Baruch's Lullaby has been a source of extra giving to causes we care about and also a way to knock out extra principal on our mortgage like nobody's business.

At least, until we went crazy.

Crazy love, you know.

Besem Natural Scents: 3-pack pillar combo natural palm/beeswax candles 

Crazy about two kids who need a home and a family...and we want to be that for them. Home. Family.

Besem Natural Scents: big bar of cinnamon spice cold process soap
So the mortgage has been put aside (well, we still make payments, you know, just not the extra!) and the giving is still there, but everything is focused on these two kids, bringing them home, paying the ransom for them. We've cut out Chinese food date nights and learned how to make sushi at home (fun! and not nearly what you think it costs!). I haven't cut my hair in over a year (and it was over a year before that, too) because I just can't bring myself to spend the money on a haircut that I may or may not I've lived with a continuous up-do, with hair almost constantly up in a clip and my feathers sticking out every which way. I'm used to it, and I guess my friends and family are, too. :) We splurge on coffee every once in a while...maybe every couple of months. But mostly, we make our coffee at home.

Good Neighbor's Candle Co.: 3-wick soy candle in bowl, your choice of color and fragrance
I want to be very honest and careful here...but we need to recognize that these are not big sacrifices. We have so much. A ridiculous amount of "much" that most people - 80% of people across the globe today - could never even dream of. We have so much food that it gets left on plates to be scraped into the garbage, or forgotten in the back of the produce drawer in the bottom of the fridge until it's only good for the compost pile. So having sushi date-nights at home and fasting from haircuts is really, really minor in the great scheme of things. It's really...sorry to say it, but...not even what you could label as crazy. :) Just small steps that help us put that little (or "much") extra aside to pay for a plane ticket, or apostille, or the ridiculous amount of postage that we've gone through in sending paperwork all over the country.

Good Neighbors Candle Co.: french vanilla soy candle
Anyway. I came here not to get on a soapbox (though I do like it up there!), but to tell you that some other businesses have partnered with us to bring our kids home. Want to meet them?

Besem Natural Scents: big bar of lavender harvest, handmade cold process soap
Besem Natural Scents is a fellow adoptive family, and they make wonderful candles and soaps - I've used their natural shampoo bar (on my loooong hair!) for the last two years, and love it. Buy anything from their shop and enter the code "Shannon adoption" in the notes to seller, and they will donate 25% of the purchase to our adoption.

Good Neighbors Candle Co.: 6 oz. soy candle in tin with hemp wick, Irish moss
Good Neighbors Candle has sponsored a couple of our auctions, and one of their candles caused a serious bidding war. But you don't have to fight over them now! Buy anything from their shop and they will donate 20% of the purchase to our adoption with the code "baruchslullaby" in the notes to seller.

MYSAVIOR Photography: ballerina greeting card featuring the artwork of Arona Designs

MYSAVIOR Photography and Arona Designs have teamed up to create this card, and the profits of every sale of it are donated to our adoption. I just love those gals...thanks, Sue and Lizzi!

Baruch's Lullaby: thumbless knit baby mitts, size preemie to 6 months

And then there's this goofy little place called Baruch's might have heard of them? They're a little nuts, but they've got cute kids and some new products - you really should go check them out! 100% of profits (minus tithe, of course) goes toward bringing home those kids. So send your friends. Send your neighbors. Ask us for extra business cards to hand out and we'll send you a bushel full...and you'll send us over the Eastern Europe. ♥

Baruch's Lullaby: stretchy knit neckwarmers/earwarmers

Thursday, February 9, 2012

February: adoption update

We received our verbal referral (that means B*g has approved our dossier) on 1/24, and we are still waiting for our written referral, which should be here any day now. With the written referral should come travel datesand with travel dates come about $6,700 in expenses all due at the same about a month. 

The $6,700 breaks down like this:

$2000-4000 = Airfare, depending on what the rates are when we need to buy the tickets
$2412 = in-country expenses (food/lodging for 2 weeks)
$1311 = B**garia program fees 
= $5723 - 7723 total

When we get back, there will be a little more paperwork (what else? Ha!) and we'll wait for our court dates, which will happen while we are here at home. Our attorney in Bg goes to court for us, where the adoption will be finalized (!) and Andrey and Reagan will be officially, legally, and permanently our son and daughter. Forever. 

We go back to bring them home 3-5 months after our first trip. We get their Visas there, and they are US citizens upon entering the United States. When the plane touches down, they are Americans. :)

*breathe* Air in, air out. Phew.

The remaining costs break down like this:

$1312 = last payment to Lifeline Children's Services
$808 = Visas for two children (!)
$5600 (more or less) = airfare for second trip (Two 2-way tickets + two ONE-WAY tickets for kids!!!) 
$1406 = in-country expenses (food/lodging for 6-7 days)
$1311 = last payment for B**garia program fees
= $10,437 total 

After they are home, we have four follow-up visits with a social worker over the next two years in order to file the required post-placement reports. The fees for this are relatively small (mere chump change after everything else!), approx. $500.

Thanks so much for praying and loving us through this process. We are on the downhill slope from here on out!

Monday, February 6, 2012

translation, please

Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the point in communicating with a toddler where every conversation sounds like a game show:


"You what?"

"Arewanasinchintoooo!" She nods vehemently.

"You want something? You want a...what?!"

"Arewanasinchintooooooooo!" Begins jumping up and down.

"You want a chicken? A spinach? An inchworm?" It doesn't matter how ridiculous the guesses are, you just keep throwing them out there because her volume is increasing and suddenly three other family members are chiming in like a bad 80's episode of Family Feud.

"She's saying she wants dessert!" "She wants us to get a pony!" "No, she wants to watch a movie! She said she wants to watch Nemo!"

All the while the toddler is yelling, "No!" and looking more and more insulted - at least until Nemo is mentioned, and then she stops briefly to consider that option...but, no, no, it's definitely "Arewanasinchintooooooooo!"

I give up and resort to the best interpreter I have: our seven year old daughter. Her sister, her roommate, her best friend, and the one who has shown a gifting for the interpretation of tongues more than once before. If this doesn't work, we might have to plug in Nemo.

Sister arrives. We ask Miss to repeat her request, and she compliantly announces "Arewanasinchintooooooooo! Arewanasinchintooooooooo!" clear as anything.

Sister looks at me calmly. "She wants a sandwich," and walks away.

Miss lights up, nodding the affirmative, and we have a winner. "Yeah! Yeah!  Arewanasinchintooooooooo!"

Of course. I knew that.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

headband giveaway

Oh, baby. 

Total cuteness.

I just love this girl.

She melts me.

And did you notice she's wearing a cute headband, too? We are giving it away!! 
(Adorable toddler not included, sorry)

The headband fits toddlers (duh, you can see that, right?) AND kids, AND adults. Great for all the females in your family, or any friends who have birthdays coming up, or...or...Valentine's Day, too. 
It's super easy to enter!

Just go to our facebook page and tag yourself in one of the photos in this album. That's all.
For additional entries, you can share the contest with your friends on facebook - just leave me a comment on one of the photos so I know you did it and can keep track of your entries.
Winner will be chosen at random this Saturday.

Thank you for spreading the word about us as we work to bring home two more brown-eyed beauties! Bless you!