05 December 2014

a very foodie giveaway

I am so excited to join forces with a fantastic group of women who love to write, love food, and love to bless! This week we are hosting a giveaway for all the foodies. (and by calling myself a foodie, I actually mean "eatie". like, I don't really discriminate. just feed me.)

Meet the ladies:
Cara Meredith is a writer, speaker and musician from the greater San Francisco bay area.  She is passionate about theology and books, her family, meals around the table, and finding Beauty in the most unlikely of places. A seven on the Enneagram, she also can’t help but try to laugh and smile at the ordinary everyday. 
You can connect with her on her blogFacebook, and Twitter

Christie Purifoy earned a PhD in English literature at the University of Chicago before trading the classroom for an old farmhouse and a garden in southeastern Pennsylvania. Her first book is forthcoming from Revell.
You can connect with her on her blogFacebook, and Twitter

Erin S. Lane is author of Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe (forthcoming, February 2015) and co-editor of Talking Taboo, an anthology of writing by young Christian women on the intersection of faith and gender. Confirmed Catholic, raised Charismatic, and married to a Methodist, she blogs about faith, feminism, and, yes, cupcakes on her blog, Holy Hellions. You can also connect with her on Twitter

Rachel Marie Stone is a writer living near Philadelphia. In the past eight years, she has lived in four countries and two states, and will gladly tell you about the various kinds of pizza she ate (or didn't eat) in each place. Her book, Eat With Joy, won the Christianity Today Book Award for Christian Living. You can connect with her further on her blogTwitter, and Facebook

Carina (that's me!) is an etsy shop owner, writes when she can, works with Noonday to advocate for women around the world, and loves food. Preparing it, consuming it, sitting together around a table filled with friends and family enjoying it. She lives in Seattle, WA with her five lively children and one awesome husband, and drinks way too much coffee. You can connect with her on her blogetsy shop, and Instagram.

Cara Strickland is a writer, editor, and food critic in Spokane, Washington. She writes about singleness, food, feminism, and the way faith intersects life (among other things) on her blog Little Did She Know. Come say hi to her on Twitter or Facebook. She likes making new friends. 

And now what you've all been waiting for - the giveaway!

Lots of lovely prizes up for grabs - one lucky winner will snag over $200 worth of fun!
Good luck and happy weekend!

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30 November 2014

'tis the season: snacks and shows

I don't know about you, but one of my favorite things about this season is homemade chex mix. Obviously I can make it any time of year, but I can only justify it between Thanksgiving and Christmas because of the fluffy factor. I am slightly particular about what goes into my mix (pretzels? nie.) and I have passed my addiction onto my kids. It's the perfect fall snack, in our opinions.

And let's be honest, my kids could snack every waking hour of every single day. I have started making them a second lunch after school in hopes that the constant snack requests will cease. So far it's not really working. And despite all their snacking, they are all skinny minis, which is rude.

Sometimes I am a really awesome parent, and I distract them with shows. It's the only way a girl can make dinner around here (and thus continue the incessant feedings). That is where my laptop and my Netflix subscription come in super handy. About a month ago, the Netflix Stream Team asked me if I wanted to share my faves with you all once a month, and it seemed like a natural match since I may have been one of the reasons "binge watching" is now a part of the urban dictionary. Doesn't our new vocabulary make you proud, America?

Netflix does have some awesome shows going on right now, especially for the Thanksgiving/Christmas season. My boys think Free Birds is hilarious, we can't get enough of Mickey Mouse (even the little ladies) , and I love that they now have an exclusive Veggie Tales series. I especially love that Netflix asks who is watching - kids or adults - and then gives us infinite possibilities for kids of every age. Honestly, I do limit my kids screen time, but we're all about the balance in this house. 

So, now the most important question: what do you put in your chex mix?

* this post is NOT sponsored by chex cereal, I am just obsessed. carry on.

24 November 2014

the way God is writing this story

I am in awe. I have said that over and over, and will probably continue to say it to infinity. The night we found out that we could be bringing another baby home, Nick and I went to the little chapel in our church to pray together, to sit in silence, to ask for wisdom and direction. I felt like God was nudging me, "Carina, this is my glory story."
The decision to say yes wasn't easy, but it was filled with an overwhelming peace. I had a sense that if this was His will, He would make it happen. He would move the mountains that had to be moved to get us there.

Last week we had our first fundraiser. An auction on instagram that I had hoped would bring in $3,000. Half of our first goal. But the donations for the auction flooded my inbox. I couldn't keep up. And half wasn't what God had in mind. 

The total we need to send up front is $6,300.
The auction made $6,271.

Not only that, generous friends made cash donations to help us out and we are currently at $10,286. I can't even. If we didn't believe God was writing this story before, looking at that total at the end of the auction blew us away. The detail, the specifics. 
He is there, He is all over this. 

We are almost half way to our final total! I seriously can't believe it. In less than two weeks! And a very gracious, wonderful friend of ours has started organizing a local fundraiser for us, and people continue to ask how they can help.

Thank you. For standing with us, for believing for our family, for praying. Keep praying for us. For the birthmother, who is in a hard spot, who has our hearts, who we love dearly. Adoption is a hard road, and we continue to trust that His will will be done!

Now to Him who is able to do immeasureably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. - Ephesians 3:20

14 November 2014

an unexpected gift

Something crazy happened this week. 
On Tuesday morning, I got a voicemail from the adoption agency we went through with both of our kids. My morning was strangely quiet because Nick had taken the day off and spent the morning at the park with the boys. The girls were sleeping, the house was silent, and I could call them back with no worries of interruption. Thinking through why they could've called, I thought maybe some of our friends had used us as a reference, or maybe they wanted to remind me that it was almost time to send an update on Frances.

And then the caseworker told me that one of our birthmothers was pregnant again, and hoping to place her baby with us early next year. I nearly fell to the floor when I heard her. My palms got sweaty, my heart raced, my mind filled with questions. I am positive I sounded like a rambling fool as I tried to process with her on the phone, promising to talk it over with Nick later that day.

We didn't have adoption on our radar. At all. We don't have a home study ready, and after having a few unexpected home repairs come this fall, we don't have much in the bank. After we got the phone call, it didn't make any sense to say yes - the mountain seemed way too big to climb. But we talked and prayed and cried and reflected, and felt like that shouldn't be what stopped us. We follow a God who can move mountains, and here was our opportunity to witness it first hand.

So, we called the agency and said we want to move forward.
We were completely honest: this is not something we have planned for. While our hearts are in it 100%, our bank account is not. The cost to adopt in this scenario is $25,000. We want to have the faith and the courage to believe that God will make this happen if it's His will, but we absolutely cannot do it alone.

Will you stand with us? With our birthmother?
Asking for help is always hard, but this is going to take a miracle and we need people to be a part of that. 

First, and always, PRAYER. Please pray for us, for the caseworkers, and for the birthmom.

SPREAD THE WORD. The more people that know our story, the greater the community we have to rally around us to make this miracle happen.

The first fundraiser is an instagram auction this Tuesday, November 18th at 10am PST, on my shop account (@lovelylittleshop). If you have anything you'd like to donate, please email me at lovelylittlewhimsy@gmail.com. Consider doing some of your Christmas shopping that day! We already have some pretty amazing donations rolling in from some of our favorite shops. 

You can shop through my Noonday page and my etsy shop as well - every dollar will go right toward making this happen.

And if you can, donate by sending directly through PayPal to carinalee78@gmail.com
We have to dream big, pray big, and hope big. Every penny makes a difference.

Thank you so much for being a part of our story!

10 November 2014

toasted coconut raspberry smoothie

Did you know it's Smoothie Week?
I love smoothies! They're such an easy way to get in a good portion of produce and a quick energy boost. Today I tried a little experiment because I am currently obsessed with toasted coconut. Not sure how that would work out in my blender, but it ended up being even better than expected.

Try this out for a little afternoon pick me up or as a way to jump start your day!

The trick to the perfect smoothie, in my opinion, is frozen fruit. I cut up a bunch of bananas, divvy them into snack bags and throw them in the freezer so they're ready to go. Frozen bananas completely eliminate the need for ice, so you end up with a creamy, milkshake like smoothie, which is perfect when you need a sweet treat!

What you'll need:
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 frozen banana
1 tablespoon almond butter
2 tablespoons toasted coconut, plus a little extra for garnish
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
2/3 cup coconut milk

Throw all of your ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth, usually about 90 seconds. Pour into your favorite glass, top with a little extra toasted coconut, and enjoy!

I was given a Ninja for Christmas last year and it's awesome, and I am especially loving the little individual blender that came with it. I am also loving (and swooning over and dreaming of) this little Vitamix. And let's not even talk about how cute this one would look in my kitchen. I die.

What's your favorite blend, your secret smoothie ingredient, your go to to get you going? 
I love new recipes!