Thursday, May 31, 2012

Game Night Cake

First, thank you so much for your comments and messages about our big news from our last post!! We still can't believe it and are just beyond excited!!!


I've had several people ask about some of the other cakes I've made, so here is one of them! :) I really didn't have a lot of time to work on the cake so most of the details are NOT very detailed but it was still fun to do!

A few months ago we had a fun game night with a bunch of friends & our dining contribution was dessert. (You know we love us some cake! Hubby didn't used to be a big cake guy but after so many years, I turned him ;))


Details: The border around the bottom is little three kernel popcorns, I didn't have time to detail it anymore :) The potato chips are my favorite part; I rolled my fondant out really thin and laid them over some of my tools and let them dry. If you can see on of them I cut the end off of so it looks like someone took a bite out of it. ;) And the game board pieces around the cake aren't very detailed either but some fun games. And the other little candies on top are supposed to be little M&Ms. ;)

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I really didn't have much time to work on it so it really is not very detailed but it was still so much fun to make :)


Don't forget to enter the Shabby Apple Giveaway!!! It ends tonight!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ahhhhhh!!! We got.......

I can't believe we are posting this already! We were expecting a wait of at least another 1 1/2 months!!

We received our USCIS approval!!!!!!!!!

That means our family is now in the Referral Process!!!

We are so thankful!! All glory belongs to Him!

We are now in the process where our family and our little one will be matched! Per my last post, for Uganda, this could take 12 months, a little less, a little more, it is not set in stone.

All we do know, is that God is in complete control. And we are confident in Him and His perfect timing.

We pray *if it's in His will,* that it would happen sooner than later, for many reasons, but like we've said before, we know that God is holding us and our newest sweet little, in His hands, and we surrender to and trust His timing. And we can't wait to add her to our family!!


Can you believe we're one step closer to meeting our new sister??

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Hugs all around!!

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I can't wait to meet my sister!! 

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 Super cheese!

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We love you already!! We can't wait until you're here with us!!

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We could not believe it until we sent the letter to our agency rep. and got confirmation that it was it! :) 

Prayers for our fam, the remainder of the process to run so smoothly, and for the little that will join our family, are very... very welcome! :)

Romans 11:36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. !!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Process!

Before we began our journey, we had no idea what people were talking about with all of the different adoption terms... referral, dossier..., or the what their process looked like. :) So we wanted to give you an idea of the steps involved in the international adoption process for Uganda.*

Thank you so much for following along with us!

p.s. There is a reward at the end of the post (in the form of a pic ;-))!

1. Apply to an adoption agency
If your agency is out of your state, then apply to a home study agency as well who will complete your home study (and most likely post adoption items as well).

2. Complete paperwork
After approved by your agency(ies) complete initial packet of paperwork and forms to get started and get locked into your program.

3. Complete home study
This is usually 3-4 "visits" with your home study coordinator. We had an orientation (at our home study agency's office), 2 in-home visits, and then our home study review counted as our 4th. While completing your home study,  there are multiple education and other agency requirements to complete as well. We completed one 10 hour online course, one 9 hour online course, another 2.5 hours of online reading, and more.

4. USCIS Approval
After your home study has been approved by your home study agency, your adoption agency (if different) and you, your agency will send you many notorized copies of your home study. You will then send your home study and some other vital documents to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for approval. Timeline for this is 90 days. In that time, USCIS will send you a letter confirming they received your documents. Next they will send you a letter stating when your biometrics fingerprint appointment is. (You may have already gotten your ink fingerprints done for your state, this one is digital and for federal) Then you wait for approval.

5. Referral Process
After USCIS approval you enter into the Referral Process. This is when your family is matched with a little one. Current timeline for Uganda is about 12 months.

6. Dossier
A packet of vital records and documents that gets sent to Uganda/your country before you travel. Takes about one month to get together and send to Uganda to be filed in court for a court hearing. (Dossier cannot be completed until your are matched with a little one.)

7. Await court date
After you accept the referral, you wait for a court date in Uganda. Once the documents are filed in court, it takes about 2-4 months to receive a court date. 

8. Travel!
There is another 1-2 month wait on the United States' end to complete paperwork. It is about 4-5 months before you travel to Uganda, after accepting a referral. The in-country travel time for Uganda is 4-6 weeks.


The current timeline for Uganda adoptions is 24-30 months. This is one of the recent changes. God is in control, God is in control, God is IN control. :)

Right??? :) Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

We know that God is holding this entire process and our family, including our newest sweet little, in His hands!!! And we cannot wait to bring our newest little one home!! To meet her sweet 'n silly siblings!! :)

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LOVE!!

More party pics and so much more to post soon!

*This is the experience and timeline through our adoption agency.

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's Giveaway Time!! - A Shabby Apple Giveaway!

Hi fam and friends! I hope y'all are doing great!

Thanks to Shabby Apple, I have a fun opportunity for you!! Have you heard about Shabby Apple?? I know a lot of you have! They are a vintage inspired online clothing store. Click on over to Shabby Apple and take a look at their cute dresses, skirts, swimsuits, accessories, children's clothes, and so much more! They even have a maternity line, preggy mamas!

Aren't these so pretty and fun? Just a few pieces, that caught my eye right away. :)

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Here is the exciting part! You have the chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Shabby Apple!!!

Easy to enter!

1. Take a quick peak over at Shabby Apple and leave a comment saying which is your favorite dress or item.
2. "Like" Shabby Apple on Facebook and post, "Naturally Caffeinated Family or NCF blog sent me!" If you already "Like" Shabby Apple then let me know and just post, "Naturally Caffeinated Family or NCF blog sent me!" on their Facebook page!

Make sure you complete both items for a valid entry!

Contest ends on Thursday, May 31st at 11:59pm EST! Good luck!!!

*I did not receive anything for this post, I just wanted to give y'all a chance to win some cute clothes :) Thank you, Shabby Apple!
** Open to U.S. addresses only.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Just the beginning!!!

We are so excited to share Just the beginning!!! I have mentioned it a little bit before and we've really been wanting to share this big post but were a little nervous to because we were so early in the process and then I had taken a bit of a bloggy break, so now we finally get to properly post! We are beyond excited...

We are adopting!!!

We are so excited to share all of the details! I have shared on the ole blog a few times in the past several years that our hearts were hoping to one day add a little one into our family through adoption. Oh it just gives me chills of excitement just "talking" about it. :)

Hubby and I have talked about adoption since we were married (9 years ago this summer! and maybe even before, we can't remember now ;)). There are so many littles, who need a loving, secure family for life. A few years ago we started talking about it more and more as a near possibility. We prayed about it and waited for the time for our family. Very shortly after we got pregnant with our 3rd goofalicious little, we began our serious discussions of adding our 4th sweet little into our family through adoption.

The next part of the discussion was where. Domestic or international. It is a huge debate.

Here is what we believe... Any form of adoption is amazing, no matter where from. Ultimately, a little one needs a home, a loving family for a lifetime.

We researched, sought wisdom from friends who have adopted, and discussed all of the variables and facts of domestic and international adoption. I will be honest (as usual), we, Hubby especially, had concerns about international adoption because of the travel and mostly leaving our current littles while we have to travel. They're our people!

As we continued to pray and talk about adoption, other questions and concerns popped up. But, one by one, God gave us peace, working and speaking to us in His own ways, including through three of Hubby's business meetings within two weeks :), to diffuse each concern and make both of us still stronger in our decision. We also continued to strengthen one another through prayer and patient discussion--when one of us had a concern, the other was strong, felt peace in that area, and was able to help the other feel peace and comfort. God is awesome. He knows what's what.

We prayed, we talked, we happily and seriously discussed, we had a pull to Uganda for a long time, continued to discuss, continued to pray, and together we carefully considered and sought God. We discussed our thoughts, feelings, and facts on both domestic and international adoption. Every time we discussed it, we both felt led to Uganda. Every time.

For a while, as much as we have a heart for Uganda, we fought the tugs and looked for a potentially “easier” place to adopt from, in large part because of the travel and in-country time. But still, every time, we couldn't fight the facts we kept reading and hearing, and the Holy Spirit provided peace and nudged us towards Uganda.

Every time. Both of us.

We have been sponsoring two little ones in Uganda through Compassion for years, since BabyBoy was little, (one more recently) and will be sponsoring another soon. While it is a wonderful thing to help little ones from families in need, we also want to care for the orphan, the abandoned.

For now, one orphan, for life.

So we kept asking each other, day after day, “So, is it Uganda?” ;) And again, we both kept saying, “I think so!”

And then God started preparing our hearts and spirits even more for the journey ahead. He started working out details already, that only He could have worked out. And it has given both of us such peace with the concerns we had. And we know He will continue to do that, especially as the time will get closer to travel.

So, the answer is yes! We are adopting from Uganda!

We have done so much research about adoption from Uganda and many other areas as well. We have completed so much adoption education (SO much :) deets to come), which has been wonderful.

We are so... so excited!!! Our little ones are so excited about adding a sibling to our family! BabyBoy already refers to her by a name he thinks would be a good name for her ;) He has talked about singing songs for her when she comes to be home with us. Both boys are so excited about having another little sister! And Littlest is so excited about having a lil’ sis, she doesn’t even know it yet. ;-) 

Our little family is standing together, with all of our arms wide open, and our faith placed in God, His perfect timing, and His perfect plan through the whole process. We couldn’t be more excited about this journey that God has our family on and we cannot wait to see our whole lil’ family of 6 together in the end!!

We cannot tell you enough how much we appreciate your prayers for our family, the huge process ahead, and for the little one God will place in our family! We would be so honored and blessed to have you on this long and bumpy and amazing journey with us!

The latest! Our home study was completed and finalized last month and is off with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Imigration Services) for approval (which can take 90 days)!! Which is a huge step in the process! We just had our biometrics fingerprinting done on Friday (appointment made by USCIS!), which was a huge deal for us, another big step in the process!!**

More about the process and what all of it means, next! There have also been changes in the Uganda adoption process recently, which we will share as well! :-)

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James 1:27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans & widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. 

 Ephesians 1:5-6 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.

**Ok, story about our biometrics fingerprint appointment because Hubby keeps making fun of me (in a loving way of course). ;) Our appointment was for 8am for about an hour away, didn't know how bad traffic might be, and could not, be late! So we got up at 5, babies up at 5:45, and were on on our way just after 6am! We stopped for gas and a egg white, turkey sausage, and cheese bagel sandwich, and you know when feeding a baby food such as this, you have to tear it apart a little and it just gets a little messy. I told Hubby we can't just sanitize our hands, because if we have dried cheese on our fingers, it's going to mess up our fingerprints and then they'll either send us back for more or it'll show that we have some big terrible past, ha! So we got there at about 7:15, scoped the place out, then found a hotel across the street to wash our hands (I may have gone back in after Hubby took his turn, to wash mine again ;-)), and then went for our appointment. I may have been a little OCD about clean hands and fingers but at least we know that we won't have dried cheese prints for USCIS. hehe. ;)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Littlest's 1st Birthday Party: The Decorations

If you missed part one, click: Littlest's 1st Birthday Party: The Theme and The Cake! :)

Let's get right to the decorations! I mentioned in my last post that I made my own polka dot and striped digital papers so I could match all of the decorations and things. It was cr-azy. I had never done anything like this before, so while it was craaaa-zy ;), it was fun to play with. I used Microsoft Publisher to make everything.  For the candy labels, I printed out my digital paper, then cut out the little candies on my Silhouette. I used a utility knife to make a slit in my cut out candies and fed the white ribbon through for the labels or glued a candy stick for the cupcake toppers.

I always run out of time near the end and things get thrown places, or not set up the way I intended, or even finished, or I don't get the best pics, but it was a fun day with family and friends that we will always cherish!

We had several different "areas" for Littlest's partay. :)

Here is...

The Island - with Littlest's cake and monthly pictures :) I got some cheap cute wrapped candy ornaments from Target and Hubby spray painted them for a lil' decoration. I shredded some paper to go in each bucket.

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The Cold Drink Station: The little white basket had little juices for the littles, the drink dispenser had pink lemonade, and I just love the straws. :)

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The Hot Drink Station: ready for coffee, that I don't think we ever ended up making! ;)

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The Hors d'oeuvre Table: One of the cheese labels disappeared! ;) Apparently it didn't want to be recognized and eaten. ;-)

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The Family Room: for hangin' :)

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The Dining Room: Candy Bar and Food Table (before it was completely set up :))

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The Candy Bar: With the favor table. And I forgot to put out one of the favors! I wrapped bubbles in light pink and turquoise wrapping paper and tied each end with ribbon to look like a wrapped candy! I remembered before everybody left and was able to give some out. :)

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{not the best pic of the banner, but it was polka dot paper in the background}

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{I made the stickers in Publisher as well, printed them on sticker paper, and punched them out with a circle puncher}

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{I made extra wrapped candies out of fondant :)}

The Food Table: I got some big ornaments on super clearance from Hobby Lobby and spray painted them for decoration above and on the food table. We had three different types of sandwiches and cut some of them out as wrapped candies (I ordered cookie cutters online, I had contemplated making sugar cookies, but there was no time for that ;)) and others out as circles (like polka dots ;)). My mom worked so hard on the sandwiches and she made different types of pinwheels too! A friend came over and helped some that morning too. :) So sweet! Just a fun little detail. My friend Erin had the great idea to do sandwiches and it worked out so well, and we picked ones that went right along with the party colors. ;) We had cole slaw and potato salad in the white bowls, and chips in another. Hubby's mom brought the two pans of mac and cheese!

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{I cut strips of white cardstock, printed out my digital paper to cut out the candies on the Silhouette, and cut out little h's and 1's and glued those to the candies, glued the candies to the strips, wrapped them around and just put a little piece of tape to join it in the back}

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Next, Littlest and her wonderful guests!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Littlest's 1st Birthday Party: The Theme and The Cake

Oh Littlest!! She turned one on January 15 and her party was a couple weeks after and we just can't believe how quick time is flying.

She is such an amazing little girl. She is so full of smiles and laughs, makes her own little jokes, talks and communicates like crazy, has her fussy moments or days, has held on to her separation anxiety from Daddy and Mommy a little longer than her brothers, but when she gets warmed up, she loves to dole out fives and fist pumps or play ball and run back and forth saying, "rea-dy!".

The Theme: Wrapped Candy (you know the old timey wrapped little candies - we love our sweets and little sweet sweets ;-))

Colors: Turquoise with hints of yellow, light pink, and white.

The Invitation: I looked all over for one and couldn't find one that I loved, so I went out of my "zone" and made this one ;) I made my own polka dot and striped paper so all of the colors for the decorations would match too, and was able to get the candies in her partay colors as well for the invite and decorations. Don't laugh at how unprofessional it is, we'll just look back and remember the fun of it all!

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The Cake: Now y'all know that The Cake is a big deal in our house. It was one of my fondest memories from when I was little - my mom would make a special cake each year for our birthdays (and other occasions, but the birthday cakes were super special).

Neither my mom or I had ever made or worked with fondant, and always talked about wanting to try it, so when BabyBoy was two, I did it for the first time! And I've been making my own fondant and experimenting with new designs and techniques, since. :)

Here is Littlest's cake! Let me say that the top part is supposed to resemble a wrapped candy, though with the very limited amount of time I was left with to finish and adjust some things ;), I had to only use one wrapped end (that was too thick! ;)) coming out of the top. ;) But that was her smash cake! So after we sang happy birthday, I lifted it off and it went on a little plate for her.

At about 1am I realized that in my sketch I had these fun pretty fondant bows, but I had no idea how to make them! So I went on YouTube and watched a couple videos, and made my bows! ;) I shaped the candies out of fondant and rolled out some of my fondant and cut every single one of the over 100 with a little cutter. :)

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{a part of the back of the big candy got a little messed up but I didn't have time to fix it! ;)}

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Next up - decorations, food, and friends!

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