Growing….T-shirts….and Pancakes

If you are our friend in real life, or virtual friends on Facebook, chances are high you have heard our news. If you don’t know the news…we are growing…AGAIN!

Dan and I began talking adoption this past Summer. FINALLY, God showed us the child He chose for us. Isn’t she beautiful? Her name is, “Cookie”. She lives in China (for now). She is 9 years old (guesstimated birth date is one month older than Mayah) and she has Down Syndrome.

cookie b

She is perfect.

We are working with Madison Adoption Associates and they are everything (and more) that their reviews say about them.

Practically Perfect in Every Way (Mary Poppins, anyone?)

We have a few fundraisers planned to begin shortly.
One is a t-shirt sale. As of today, our design is being worked on by BONFIRE FUNDS. PLEASE check them out. My high school friend, Ashley Froman told me about her brother in law’s new business venture to help people fundraise a while back. I knew one day we would get to work with Brian, and now is the time. They are effecient and a sheer pleasure to work with.

How will the shirt sales work?
We will have a fund set up online. We NEED to sell 50 t-shirts in 50 days to receive funds for Cookie’s adoption. We will receive $15 per shirt. We will get nothing if we do not reach 50. The shirts are not entirely adoption related so please consider buying one for yourself or someone you know!!
If I am understanding correctly, no one will be charged until our goal of 50 is reached. If you are local please consider getting the money directly to us and we will pay all at once. If you are not local, we will ship you your shirt when it arrives. No added shipping cost! (That’s our thank you!)

This fundraiser is still waiting for the recipient of our 10% donation.

What is that? Dan and I have agreed to donate at least 10% of our fundraising efforts to various causes, churches, missions, adoptions, etc. This one doesn’t have a pair yet. Taking suggestions.

And now…on to Pancakes!!
On New Year’s Day-we are hosting a Pancake brunch at our church Homer City United Methodist in Homer City, PA. From 10:00 am -12:00 PM January 1st, 2013. We will also have a bake sale table for an additional donation. If you would like to donate a baked good, please email me dziagwax6 at gmail dot com. We will have the brunch set up buffet style. We will have a flyer about adoption and our family for people to read. We will also be passing around an order form for interested people to place their orders for their awesome t-shirts! We plan to keep it simple with pancakes, sausage, syrup, OJ, water, and coffee….and possibly jelly bread/toast.
Individual cost: $5
Family (4 or more people): $20

Our beneficiaries for the Pancake brunch are:
Homer City United Methodist
and B. Spencer-she is the daughter of a friend of mine-she is raising money to go on her first international missions trip to Russia!

So far, that is all our news…for now! We will be posting a picture to the blog with the shirts and more information about the pancake brunch as we learn more.

Thanks for following us as we increase…AGAIN.


All of us are called


In one way or another-we are ALL called to care for the orphans and widows.  Heck, even if you’re not a Christian you have to admit-children were NOT created to live like this-to live 14 YEARS in an orphanage CRIB… A CRIB!

FAITH is 14 years old.


And my sweet friend, Adeye Salem and her family have graciously stepped up and said yes before God ever asked.  Their yes was a yes before they ever knew the question, before they ever knew the journey their family would go on. 

Please-please go to Adeye’s blog and check out the wonderful goodies people donated to help Faith come home.  They have a great drawing going on RIGHT NOW.  Trust me when I $1 is NOT too small of a donation.  Please sow some seed.  Big seed, small seed-ANY SEED!   It will grow.  God’s cool like that.  Afterall, He created Adam from dust and Eve from rib-multiplying finances to put the lonely into families is a specialty of His. 

I read about Shelley Bedford’s first time meeting Faith, you can do so here.   

Shelley said it best:

“Do you see what the world does to those I love? Do you see what happens to the weak and the vulnerable when My People turn their backs and divert their eyes and say ‘I wasn’t called to do that’ or ‘It isn’t my problem’ or ‘It isn’t my country’? Do you see what the sin of indifference does?”

Now please-I’m begging-please donate



This year,by  far, was our best Easter ever. 

Last year we  made the decision not  do “do”Easter  anymore.  Instead we arranged an egg hunt and   baked  cookies  to decorate   at the Ronald McDonald  House in Pittsburgh.

This year, we did the same thing. Only with more eggs and lots more cookies!!

Yesterday, we got the kids up at 5:30 to  get ready for the Sunrise  service on the hill at  church.





The service was awesome.  We are so glad we went!  After service, we all went back to the church and  had a delicious eggs and sausage breakfast.  Perfect.

With fully bellies, we headed to Pittsburgh to share Easter with  children and  their families that can’t be home. 

The Ronald McDonald House.


Over the weekend we stuffed 150 plastic eggs  to hide in the common room at RMH.  After the egg hunt, we head to the family dining area and decorate the cookies we baked the day before.






We got to meet an amazing family-exchanged information-and hope to stay in contact with them. 

We helped them find a fun activity to do yesterday and even showed some pics of  the fun we had at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh  as we went a few months ago.   We hope they had a great day there.

After the activities settled down and the children went back to their rooms, or on to visit siblings in the hospital, we headed out ourselves.

We went to Dan’s parents house and the kids had their own egg hunt when they arrived.





After the egg hunt we ate lunch and Nana made a sundae bar for dessert.  Delicious!!


My girl is getting the hang of this picture posing business


She is so beautiful.  She has blossomed so much since she came home in December 2010.  We still have so much learning to do ourselves to continue helping her-she’s as challenging as  she is pretty.

But more on that later.

We pray you all had a blessed Easter and remember to celebrate His resurrection  daily and not just one  day a year.


Spelling Bee and Stonehenge

The wonderful freedom we have in homeschooling is amazing.  We school year round in this house-July to June.  We take short days and even weeks off when we want.   In December we really slow the pace to concentrate on being together for the Christmas season-this week-we officially finished our bookwork on Wednesday.  We have a few hands on projects saved for Tonight and Monday/Tuesday.

Yesterday the boys and I build Stonehenge from play dough.  I pinned the play dough recipe on my Pinterest board-check it out.  I made play dough yesterday morning-3 batches of white and 1 green.  In Apologia we are studying astronomy for the year (which is AMAZING!) and Stonehenge was fun to study and theorize about.  Alexander’s own Stonehenge theory is God put Stonehenge in its place at Creation and people were to figure out how to use the stars/seasons together with the stones.  Not a bad theory completely thought up on his own for 6 years old.


Getting started


All Done!


Up  close.

We started out with looking at their Usborne World History  book-then moved on to a google image.  I was pretty impressed for a play dough sculpture!!

Yesterday at our home school co-op was the spelling bee!

Alexander had a written exam as well as oral.  It was very low-key and all the kids did so great.  I’m so proud of all of them.

Alexander won first place for first/second grade!!  He’s even the youngest first grader-so just showing up was an accomplishment-winning was icing on the cake.  I’m glad the  coordinator opened it up to 1st and 2nd graders.  I wanted him to participate for just the experience of the whole thing.  He did so well.  I was worried because practicing at home was painful. 

Way to go Alexander!!


written exam


Oral part

My phone died-so Dan has the pictures of him getting his certificate on his phone.  He’ll have to send them to me.

Science center Visit

This entire school year has been an experiment.  That’s the joy of home schooling, I suppose.  This week we  started (finally) started  BIBLIOPLAN and it’s  amazing!  Please click the button on the side of my  blog and  check it out for yourself.

We are LOVING Apologia’s Astronomy.  Last week we went to the Carnegie  Science  Center for a field  trip.  Thankfully, Mayah’s school let her  join us for  an educational field trip.  We had a wonderful time.  A  few weeks ago we bought a membership to the museum.  Best investment ever.  We got a membership for all  6 of us plus Dan’s mom.  She joined us an had an equally wonderful time.   Also, with the membership, we get free admission to over 300 other Science  Center’s around the country.   Hello Baltimore!!  Hello Virginia (that trip is booked!!) we are also planning regular returns to the  science center.   Definitely getting our money’s worth. 


David, Gage and I enjoyed some time at the planetarium


Mayah, Gage, Alexander and I did the hurricane tunnel.


I did some crazy unicycle thing…scary!


The kids and I were human yo-yo’s


Gage and David had fun at the Explorer Junior area waiting for their brother, sister, Dad and Nana to finish up at the tornado imax


Group Photo

Apparently that’s all the pics I took of that day.  I was busy doing “sciency things” I suppose.

The children have all requested a quick return to the science center.  We are going again shortly.

We also booked a trip to Virginia (thanks, Priceline!)   Our membership gets us into the Virginia Air and Space Museum free also.  We are taking advantage and grabbing a getaway this summer.  Since we school year round-a summer field trip fits into our schedule perfectly.

As a side note, I registered for my first 10k next month.   I’m so excited. 

Also, a reason to celebrate:  Dan experienced noticeable weight loss!!  I did a page comparing his first picture on March 26th and a picture I took last night and it’s so noticeable.  I’m so proud of him!  He’s doing the couch to 5k program as well as HERBALIFE.  It was encouraging for him to see the difference exercise and proper diet can do.  Go Dan!!

We got our HERBALIFE order in yesterday.  This time we added the supplements and the protein bars.  Chocolate and coconut bars, YUMMY!  I’m so happy to have a partner in running and Herbalife after a year of going solo. 


Our foster children were returned to their parents last week.   I can’t believe how  quiet it is around here with just four children.

And we love it.

We’re not sure if  we’re going to do that again, we’re taking a break for sure. 

We’ve made many changes around here, and our household is running  smoother every day.

I’m not sure how long I’ll blog-but I felt like it today-so we’ll go with it.

I’m starting to do meal planning and buy groceries accordingly.  What a time, money, and sanity saver!

Check out good  cheap eats!  I have been a  subscriber to the Life As Mom site for a while-only  recently did I feel the nudging to jump over to good cheap eats and see what I could learn there.   I’m glad I did.

I’ll be pinning what we’re eating on my Pinterest Board.

School is going ever so well.  The boys  are exceling and we love spending the  sweet time together. 

We’ve made great changes and tried quite a few many things this year and it’s been competely worth it.  We’ve found our niche…at least for now.   So we’ll go with it.

Once our books arrive, we are starting Biblioplan.   I’ve read the companion and the family guide they provide and I’m so excited at what we are going to cover while learning about God’s world.

Speaking of God’s world, we’ve also switched to Apologia Science.   Absolutely amazing!  And since my children are so young, we have the wonderful liberty of doing even less than the daily suggestions and working 5 days a week  instead of two.  Next school year (which starts Mid July for us!) we will be using Sonlight Language  Arts as well.  Though I’m planning on dipping into it in end April when our subscription for Time4Learning ends.   We will miss TIme4Learning-but it was because of what we used from T4L we were able to make concrete plans and move forward together.  If you are new to Homeschooling, I highly suggest checking out what Time4Learning has to offer.

My wonderful husband has also started running with me.   What a cherished time to spend together.  He’s also started Herbalife as well!!

**if you’re interested in losing weight PLEASE contact me, I’ll be so glad to help you get started on a great path to taking better care of yourself and looking great!!**


I started herbalife one year ago and I’m down  5 pant sizes.  Up until recently I worked out 6 days a week…time stressors have taken hold and I have to pull back a bit, I’m okay with that. 

Dan and I both drink 2 shakes every day and use the supplements as well as snacking on Herbalife’s protein bars.  There are such a variety of flavors to make, I’ve become quite a shake chef myself;)   With Dan starting to run and fully committing to Herbalife, I think the weight will start to fall of him.  Currently, I run 3 times a week (or more!) and cross train with P90X Abs and also I use the arm workout.  I have the entire P90x system but finding the time has proven a challenge and I love love LOVE to run, so I had to make a choice.  It’s a great program to cross train though. 

I hope to add pics of the kids If I blog over the next few days…or week(s).

A new Time4Learning Review

I’ve done a review before for  However this one is betterWinking smile

We returned to T4L a few weeks ago for Alexander and David.  In  an effort to minimize daily stressors with 7 children under 8.  Oh yes, I said 7 children under 8.  Currently our children are:  1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 6, 8.  We have a placement of 3 foster children.  That’s all I can say about them.  Laws won’t let us post any more info. 

First off, I have incorporated the wonderful spelling lists for 1st grade provided right from the parents section in t4l directly into  Each week I make a list of 10 words from the provided list from t4l (which I printed and put on my fridge for easy reference) and assign Alexander 10 activities to do with  daily. 

Second, t4l also provides a reading list to coincide with each chapter in their lessons.  I place a request with our local library from the provided t4l list and each week the children read the books during their quiet times and  Dan and I read a book before bed.  I love that T4L provides the lists making our days go very smoothly. 

This time around, I have printed the lesson planner and also posted on the fridge so I know how many of which subjects to give out daily.  It really only took a few minutes to print out and compute how many assignments per subject daily.

Have I mentioned yet how easy T4l is?

Alexander is retaining all of his daily assignments and we are able to discuss at the dinner table what he has learning throughout his lessons.  It takes him a few short hours to complete his work in the morning.

To simplify things even more; I’ve ordered both boys Barnes and Noble’s Nook  Color.  The Nook also has a “read to me” feature that we can get library books downloaded to and they can enjoy some school books that way as well.  With 7 young children-I work to give each child one on one attention and they are also learning to work independently.

I grab a Bible verse from Heart of Dakota’s lessons plans and Alexander does his handwriting that way-we also grab Bible lessons from HOD as well.  Time4Learning doesn’t give their 1st graders history/social studies assignments.  We are reading through HOD’s history books this year.   I’m excited to see how T4L does history.

Each  day I check Alexander’s work.  Anything that has  a score of 89% or less must be re-done.  I’m able to view his grades and see which assignment number I need to re-assign to him.  I did send an email to today asking a few questions.  I hope to update with their answers shortly.

#1 Time4Learning has a section where you can “assign” your students their work.  I know I have asked in the past about this feature-I believe it has something to do with another company.  I would LOVE to see T4L subscribers have access to this feature-it would be incredibly handy.  The second question was, there are some days that I simply don’t check his work-if I don’t check his work that day-I’m unable to make the reports section backdate.   Rendering me unable to have him review past work needing improvement.  I’m hoping I’m doing something wrong-I’ll be sure to update that response as well. 

I did this review on my own.  The first time I did a review (albeit a poor one) I was paid $25 from T4L.  This time, I wanted to give a more detailed review and express how simple it is even when you have a house full of young children.

We are paying $34.95 a month to have two children use  when you add up the curriculum you would purchase elsewhere, this is an economical way to go!  Not to mention, you do not need to have all of the money up front to get started.  I absolutely LOVE  My children (almost) never whine when it’s time to start school.  Alexander often does more than the required work daily and he and David enjoy playing on the ‘”playground” together when the other kids are napping.

Way to go!

Aging Out

I’m just posting a link directly to Adeye Salem’s blog.  She has a plea out for children aging out of the system in desperate desperate need of families. 

Please hop over and check them out.

Please share the link on your own blogs to get their faces out there.  More exposure gets the kids a better chance of having their forever families find them.

Even if you don’t adopt them-please please please pray over them!!

Prayer is God’s love language, it’s so powerful.

A Shoe Review

I haven’t blogged in a long time –and I start again with a shoe review?


First off, I was not paid for this review by any means, I just want to share great running shoes.

if you know me, then you know I’ve been training for a long time.  I’ve lost 40 pounds (almost) and dropped about 4 pants sizes and still going!!  I work out 6 days a week.  In December I did Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30 (AMAZING!!) and now I’m back to half marathon training.

Like many runners, I suffer from Plantar Fasciitis.  I ran an awesome 5k on December 3rd and haven’t run again until this past Monday.  I thought if I took the month off (and still trained) but took it easier on my heel it would improve.

That didn’t happen.

I read about a splint in Runner’s World that I may try in the next month or so.  I know it’s available at our local Gingerbread Running Store.

We had a foster girl with us over Christmas (sorry no pics allowed) and she wanted shoes.  So we bought her a pair of Nike’s.  Famous Footwear was having a BOGO half off sale so I got a new pair of running shoes (the soles were falling off my current pair, totally time for a new pair, but I did get them on EBAY for like $11 and I wore them for almost 2 years-not complaining!!)

Here are the shoes:


Mine are Gray and Lime green and I LOVE them!  I have to say, after logging a small 8 miles this week (I’m starting over in my half marathon training) it seems as though my heel pain is actually improving.  They are by far the best shoes I’ve ever worn to run.   They are really soft when my feet strike and I think my stride may actually be getting longer??  I’m not sure about that one, and I’ve noticed with different shoes my stride changes.

I will also say they ran small.  Mine are a size 8.  8!!!  I’ve never ever worn an 8.  I’m normally a 7 or 7.5 so be careful when you buy them. 

That’s all for now…I will be getting caught up over the next week or so (hopefully).  But if you’re interested in what we’ve been up to, head over to Pinterest and see my boards!!


I am copying this post DIRECTLY from Adeye Salem’s blog

December 14, 2011


A couple of mornings ago I woke up to an e-mail in my inbox.  "A boy needs help!" I read through the information and my heart broke.  Not really knowing what my role was at that point, I prayed and trusted the Lord that He would send the right family.
I prayed the entire day on Monday for him.  I checked in later that night to see if the many prayers being prayed on his behalf had been answered yet.
No, they hadn’t!
Tuesday morning came and all I could think about was this poor young man.  I started thinking about when I was a teenager, and what a blessed life I had–a warm bed, food in my tummy, the opportunity to go to school, and people who loved me.  I put myself in his position and I felt physically sick.
You see, life as this one young man knows it is about to change.  Drastically!
It was then that I knew that I knew that I needed to come to you, the amazing readers of my blog, with another rescue mission.  I realized that, knowing all I know about him, if I choose not to advocate for him, well, I may just regret it for the rest of my life.  I knew I had to try to help, and I also knew that you guys would be so faithful to rush in and help.
Friends, this time a young man, just fifteen years old, is literally on the brink of an absolute catastrophe!
This is Jonathan.  I don’t know anything of his history, only that he is an orphan in Eastern Europe.

VLUU L210  / Samsung L210

On December 31, 2011, Jonathan will turn sixteen.  A huge birthday for most teens.  But a dreaded day for this young man. Soon after the day of his sixteenth birthday Jonathan will be given the "gift" of his freedom.  Together with a small bag which contains all of his earthly possessions and about $30 in cash, he will be set free–no longer to be taken care of by a state orphanage.
Sadly, not!
Unfortunately, most of the children like Jonathan who "age out" of the system literally have nowhere to go.  They are left on the streets to fend for themselves. With nowhere to turn, and no one to turn to, many end up in the trafficking industry. The majority never make it past their teen years. It is the sobering reality of most orphans who are forced to leave the only place of safety they know.  The statistics are staggering.  It is one of the many reasons adoption advocates fight so very hard to get children out of orphanages before it is too late. They know.
Here’s the thing…
Jonathan has a matter of DAYS to find a family.  Mere DAYS!
In order for this boy to be rescued from a life that few of us can even begin to imagine, a family needs to step forward in the next few days and commit to him!  I’m told that as long as there is a commitment and the I600 visa is applied for, he will be kept where he is, and the adoption can be completed later.  That’s the good news.
Right now what is needed is a family who has adopted internationally before.  From the contact I have been given, "He needs a family that is married, can travel, and has a homestudy that can be used for immigration approval and is willing to apply for immigration in the next week.  If a family is ready to apply they will work directly with the facilitator who knows him."
One week!  A visa HAS to be applied for in the next week in order to save this boy!
Here’s a little we know about Jonathan:
"Jonathan is apparently a very, very good boy. He has a great sense of humor which has been confirmed by other kids in his class and two children who were recently adopted to U.S. He loves to work on a computer, takes part in virtually all theatrical performances organized at the orphanage, just a great actor, very calm when not on stage, never gets in trouble, loves sports and plays soccer, played basketball and trained in light athletics, studies at good level. Jonathan is respectful to adults and older children. He is obedient and always ready to help. NEEDS A FAMILY to file for immigration ASAP, can adopt later. BEGS translator when he visits if he has found his family yet, desperately wants to be adopted. Can be chatted to on Skype as well as email."
Oh, God in heaven, surely someone can go for this precious young man before it is too late?  Surely he can be rescued in time?  My heart cannot even bear the thought of what the alternative is.   
Many, many people have joined in to spread the search for Jonathan’s family as far and as wide as is possible.  Many are praying and interceding on his behalf.  Will you please join in?  Would you use your blogs and your social networks to share Jonathan’s desperate need for a family?  It is only going to take ONE family to rise up and say yes.  Just one. Surely between all of us we can help one boy to be united with his family…and spared the future he is rapidly heading toward?  I have to believe it.
I believe with all my heart that we serve a God who LOVES to show His miracle-working power through seemingly impossible situations.  He loves to show His power, His glory, and His faithfulness when all the odds are stacked up against us and things seem so dismal.  Of course He can do this! 
Thank you so much for joining us in the search for Jonathan’s family!  I appreciate it more than you will ever know. 
Please, I’m begging you to share his story wherever you possibly can!  It is the only way his family will find their son.
If anyone would like more information about adopting Jonathan, please contact Amy at