Archive | February, 2010

1 Bin + 1 Orphanage + 1 Heart = Crazy Love

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1 Bin + 1 Orphanage + 1 Heart = Crazy Love

Posted on 26 February 2010 by Kari Gibson

God dropped a new project right in my lap.  1 Bin (Rubbermaid) + 1 Orphanage (Haiti Home) + 1 Heart (you) = 1 life saved (orphans) My friend, Steve Ijames (photo) just returned from Haiti and asked me to help bring powdered formula to Pignon Haiti.  This is a mountainous village located about 35 miles from Cap Haitian and 100 miles from Port Au Prince, but the drive takes a crazy 3 1/2 hours.  The orphanage is called Haiti Home of Hope and Bill and Jennifer Campbell currently have 48 children (but every day more come)  What I love about this project, I am working out the details to travel with the small team and hand deliver the bins filled with formula directly to the orphanage- Baby Food Hand Out. (Pray!)  If you would like to donate and help me fill rubbermaid bins (as many as we can stuff!) with powdered formula, please know that the items will be hand delivered in a few weeks to Haiti.

If you want to peek at the orphanage on Google Earth Picture- here you go: Click the link below to see where Haiti Home of Hope is located.


Photographer, Don Fuhr traveled with the team last week and was able to capture photos of the orphans and their tragedies from the earthquake- physically and emotionally.  Here is his personal testimony from his time in Pignon.

Our trip in a nutshell:

“From Port Au Prince it is about 57 miles to Pignon ”as the crow flies”, but we actually flew into Cap Haitien, which is much closer to Pignon, at about 23 miles as the crow flies and travelled to Pignon from there.  I’m not sure how many actual road miles it is, but Steve is right, it was the worst road I have ever travelled to actually get someplace.  We commented on how much fun (and quicker) it would be on our motorcycles, but sitting in the bed of the truck it was a bit rough.  It was raining when we left Cap Haitien and Steve and I had brought rain ponchos so we volunteered to sit in the bed as there were six of us including Bill, who was driving, and the cab would only hold four.  The trip took us about 2 hours and 45 minutes.  It is a pretty typical mountain road in that it is very curvy, but is also washed out in a number of places and rocky, pot-holed and extremely rough everywhere else.  I would estimate our average speed at around 10 MPH – often much slower.  Jeep clubs would love it!

There are two river crossings (no bridge) not too far out of Pignon.  When you cross those you know you are getting close (about 20 minutes away).  During the trip we had to alternate between sitting and standing while holding onto the roll bar so we didn’t get pitched out of the truck.  It was too painful to sit for long because of the extremely rough conditions and no padding other than what God saw fit to equip us with.  I realized that in spite of what people have told me, I didn’t have near enough padding!  So, we’d stand until our arms were tired of holding on, then sit until our posteriors were tired of the pounding, then stand, then sit…  I tried to take a photo while we were moving – once.  I abandoned that idea pretty quickly and waited until we had stopped before taking any more.  In one of the photos on the DVD you will see a couple of buses on a dirt road with people all around them.  They are stopped behind a third bus that was broken down.  We were able to go around it by driving up an embankment using 4-wheel drive.  We learned the next day that the bus was still there and had blocked a number of less capable vehicles from proceeding any further.  News in that region travels by cell phone and personal contact.  There is no “Traffic Update” on your local radio station to warn you of such problems, so Bill spent several minutes on the phone calling some local friends to warn them about the road block.

This is Peterson.  He is 10 (they think).  He and his younger brother were the only two earthquake survivors among his family and they wandered the streets for a number of days before they were taken in by a Canadian medical relief team.  At some point, Peterson and his brother became separated in a crowd on the street and the whereabouts of Peterson’s brother is still unknown.  When the Canadian medical team had to leave, they could not find any place in Port au Prince to take him and could not bear leaving Peterson to wander the streets again.  They finally made contact with the Haiti Home of Hope orphanage who took him in. One of our goals when we return is to find his brother for him. This photo and two others I took at the same time are the only two in which he is not smiling. The others shots are of him with the other kids. In spite of the tragedy he endured and survived, he is able to find reasons to smile at the orphanage.  When he slowed down and stood still for this photo, some of what he had endured seemed to come through in his eyes.

This is Mika (Mee-ka).  Age unknown, but probably early teens.  She and her mother, Daline, are the only survivors among her family. Her father and all siblings (number unknown) were all killed in the quake.  Mika’s feet were pinned in rubble for over 8 hours before she could be freed. It was several days before she could get medical attention and her feet were so badly injured, the doctors told her mother that they would have to amputate both feet.  The life of any Haitian is hard, let alone after having both feet amputated, so her mother, Daline, told the doctors to let Mika die rather than suffer the hardships she would have to endure in a life in Haiti with no feet. Fortunately, the doctors in Port au Prince could not do the surgery there and Mika was airlifted to the hospital in Pignon where a group of U.S. doctors were conducting an annual mission trip.  Several orthopedic specialists were among the group and after several surgeries, they were able to save most of Mika’s feet.  The Campbells are providing food and shelter until Mika is well enough to travel back to Port au Prince. The photo shows Mika helping to change the dressings on her feet, which has to be done daily.

There are so many stories that I did not get the chance to learn in my less than two days there.  My goal when I return is to document and photograph more of them and those of the people that are touched by the Campbell family that run the Haiti Home of Hope orphanage.  Their ministry goes far beyond the orphans and extends well into the surrounding community, feeding starving babies and helping families through other of life’s tragedies that seem to be everywhere in Haiti.”

Thank you Don for sharing your gift of photography and allowing us to wrap our hearts around each precious face.  We can all make a difference.

I will purchase formula starting next week.  Thank you bloggy friends!

SNEEK PEEK NEW VIDEO- post it on your blogs today!  This song was written & performed by my friend Jennafer White (sooo proud of you!)

Believe from Harmony of Hearts

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Posted on 25 February 2010 by Kari Gibson

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Crazy Fundraising Ideas

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Crazy Fundraising Ideas

Posted on 25 February 2010 by Kari Gibson

Fundraising Ideas to Love on Orphans:

You need to raise $3,400 for our Visiting Orphans mission trip.  Is this holding you up from joining our crazy team?  If it is, we want to share some fundraising ideas that really work!  If you have the heart to join us, raising funds will be the easy part!  Take a peek at my past 3 posts on our Uganda/Ethiopia Mission trip for more information.  Sign up today- only 2 spots left.  We need some more men, hubbys & dads to MAN UP… come protect & love the fatherless.  Please pass on info to someone you think should be a part of my crazy mission trip!!

My co-leader Ashlie suggests:

1. Donation Letters- Make it personal!!!! Put your heart into it. Stay in touch with people, talk about the trip whenever you can.

Blog Design 2. Start a Blog- Just do it!!!!  My crazy blog sister, Nikki Cochrane will design your new blog header (the top design art) and column sides and help you get your blog going.  She has hundreds of kits available for you to customize your new blog or give it a face lift.  SPECIAL OFFER: if you contact her and tell her My Crazy Adoption sent you, she will give you a $5 discount ($25 to customize your blog) EMAIL NIKKI – Blogs For A Cause.  Just tell her My Crazy Adoption sent you.

  • Blogs For A Cause: is the perfect way to get a great looking blog, as well as supporting charities around the world! Designs are $30; $25 of which goes to supporting my humanitarian work, and $5 goes to a Charity of the Month. Send me an email and we will get started; discussing photos for the header, text for the header, and the digital scrapbook kit I will use for your blog (see Go Shopping to the right). I will come up with a design and put it on a Test Blog. You can look it over, and get one set of changes for free.
  • Paypal has a very simple “donate here” button that can be added. If you compile all of your friends/family email addresses you can “email blast” everyone to let them know when you have a new post. This is a great way to make people a part of your journey.

1. Applebees- Dining to Donate 10% of sales for 5 hours!!!! All it took was a phone call to the store Manager and I had 3 different dates! Applebees even provides the flyer. All we have to do is print it and pass it out. We are going to stand at the back of the church and personally hand the flyer to each and everyone of our church members. In addition, you can stand outside of Applebees and ask the customers coming in the door to give a flyer to their waiter. We are hoping to raise $1,000 each night. (Warning= no take-outs and customers have to give their flyer to the waiter)

2. Kohls- A-Team Volunteers- All you need to do is request 5 or more volunteers from Kohls for a 2 hour event, such as an Easter Festival, Parents Night Out, Church Landscaping, etc. The volunetters will come and work AND you will get $500.00 for your organzation!!!!! Check out

3. African Mission Spaghetti Dinner- We are pre-selling $10.00 tickets for a Spaghetti Dinner at our church. Dinner includes Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Salad, and Dessert. We are also going to have a silent auction. We are designing themed baskets, such as Family Game Night, Day of Beauty, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dinner and Dancing, etc. We are hoping to get most of the items donated.

4. Parents Night Out- We are offering babysitting on a Saturday Night, from 6-10 at our church. We are request donations from parents. This is simple and requires no upfront cost, just marketing.

Here are more ideas from bloggy friend, Big Nanny who just went on a 14 day mission trip with Visiting Orphans.  Here’s what she had to say about fundraising for missions:

Yes, we did lots of fundraising for our trip. We were in a unique position because 3 of us were on staff at our church so we had lots of contacts and were able to do some special fundraisers. Here is what we did & the results:

  • We sent out letters. The 3 of us who are on staff sent out a joint letter to all of our contacts explaining when, where, why, etc. The letter was eye catching & not your typical boring m. trip letter:) I can send you a copy if you want.
  • We had a t-shirt designed with Africa & had them printed. This wasn’t a huge money maker because we sell a lot of t-shirts at our church for various events. We also put them on FB on & blogs. We probably made about $200 profit. We had our t-shirts made for less than $5 bucks and sold them for $10. We had a t-shirt connection in our church & they gave us a good deal.
  • Our church has a fall festival on Halloween each year. They let us do concessions and we made over $1000.
  • We had a paypal button on our blogs and we made a few hundred dollars.
  • We work in preschool ministry & our wing of the church does not have a coke machine so we started selling Cokes out of the fridge for $1.
  • Yard Sale-we had a yard sale on a cold November day and made over $1500. We had some people in our church donate items to us for the sale.

We go to a very missions supportive church so they let us do a lot of things that most churches do not. And because we are on staff, we got to do a few things that most people wouldn’t have the opportunity to do.
Other people that we know have done some of these:

  • Pancake breakfast at Applebees. Our local one supplies the pancakes, sausage, and drink. You sell the tickets for $5 and make all the profit.
  • Sell items around your house on Craigslist. Some of the high ticket items that were donated to our yard sale (a Barbie jeep, john deere kid jeep, furniture, etc) I posted them on Craigslist the week of the sale and had them sold before Saturday.

Again, the 3 of us fundraised as a team from the beginning and had almost $12,000 to raise if you include our vaccinations. We raised all of it. The only money that we spent was our VO $200 application fees. It was truly a God thing. We even had an extra $1000 to give away when we got there. We were called to this trip and it was all God putting everything together to make it happen.

If you have any other questions for Angela/Big Nanny. You can email her at
I’m glad to know that I’m not the only crazy one:)

My Crazy Idea:

Mr. IPod Touch Ozark Adventure was my big crazy Haiti mission trip fundraiser.  If you’re new here, and want to see the two weeks of craziness, check this out- My Mission Trip Fundraiser!!

Here’s how to Copy Cat my IPod Fundraiser:

  • Buy or get an IPod donated. (talk to local business or friends that can help)
  • Create a “Donate” button on Paypal.
  • Don’t use the words- raffle or tickets (PP will tag you as a gambler:)  You can say- donate to enter a Giveaway.  Set donation amounts per entries they earn. Explain this on your blog, but do not put any “gambler words” on paypal button set up.
  • Create a Mr. IPod or Miss Lulu IPod.  The crazier, the more fun you will have with your readers.
  • Make sure you let blog readers know 100% of proceeds goes directly to mission trip or orphans.

Britt Nicole JUST returned from a Visiting Orphans mission trip- 14 days to Uganda & Ethiopia.  Take a peek at her blog and photos and testimony.  Click here- Britt Nicole Music blog


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Wednesday WOW recipe + Pot Pie

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Wednesday WOW recipe + Pot Pie

Posted on 24 February 2010 by Kari Gibson

I love pot pies!  It’s the comfort food I crave the most on a cold day.  What is your comfort food?

Comfort Ingredients:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

How to make your Pot Pie:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  3. In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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Target Baby

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Target Baby

Posted on 23 February 2010 by Kari Gibson

When we first brought Zoie home from Ethiopia, we headed to Target to buy diapers and new jammies for her.  Our 6 month old only weighed 7 pounds and needed newborn sizes quick!  We live in a small town and Target is our new bright beaming light beckoning us through their doors.  It’s located at the center hub between all our local schools.   Zoie’s first Target run, the staff surrounded us with congrats and love.  In fact, every time we visit the store, we feel welcomed home.  They have a mini Starbucks inside, so we love to meet Gramma in the mornings after dropping Hannah off at school.  I realized the other day, that Target and the amazing staff have become our good friends.  This winter has been so cold, that instead of heading to the frozen park, we play at Target.  Zoie was officially crowned Target Baby, so just for fun here’s our daily trek.  It goes something like this:

8:00 am- Target doors open.

8:01 am- mommy runs heads to the Starbucks to order coffee.

8:04 am- Caleb, the best Target barista, makes my caramel macchiato foam peak 4 inches tall.

8:10 am- Zoie greets the incoming customers with “na na” (knuckles)

8:15 am- we start off speed walking our first lap by the $1 racks.

8:17 am- I spot my Sexy Hair spray on sale and make the dive.

8:20 am- we greet the morning staff busy restocking laundry detergent.

8: 25 am- we dart behind aisle #34 and cart 2 gallons of whole milk.

8:26 am- I drop my coffee and spray extra foam on my UGG. (darn!)

8:28 am- we swoop to the right and head to the toys.

8: 31 am- Zoie screams “cook” and heads to bake me a cake.

8:45 am- I give Zoie the 5 minuet warning that we’re going home.

8:50 am- Zoie’s still feeling zippy.

8:53 am- I tempt Zoie with a quick peek at the candy racks.

8:55am- we say good-bye to all our Target friends.

8:58 am- dash to the car and start our crazy day.

Do you have a Target baby or do you hang out somewhere else?  I want to hear.

Target Friends- Steiger girls & Zoie playing in Baby aisle. (thx Lenka)

My Crazy List (a few things I think are just great)

  • Little Monster Clothing Link- Abbie Kelly, owner.  “I am blessed to be a part of a very large and loving family (there’s 15 of blank_polaroidus, 9 adopted- some of my siblings are on the website:). Our father had a routine of creating endearing names for each of us when we started to develop our own little personalities. Little Monsters Gear was created as a direct result of these loving little terms of his affection. Our Little Monsters try to capture the love that our father felt for each of his children and then we use these unique traits in each of our designs. My hope is that through our monsters you are able to see glimpses of the little monsters in your life.”
  • My girls screaming at each other!

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Simply Love Africa – My 2nd Adoption T Blitz!

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Simply Love Africa – My 2nd Adoption T Blitz!

Posted on 21 February 2010 by Kari Gibson

Do you feel like you’re going a little crazy coming to my blog and seeing T shirts again?  I never wanted to delve into the apparel business, but I have to tell you… I’m crazy about adoption T shirts!  I have officially completed HopeChest Project and now ready to offer you MY Simply Love Africa T shirts that support our 2nd adoption.  We are adopting an older girl from Ethiopia and can’t wait to bring her home.  100% of proceeds from our T shirts go directly into our adoption account.  Thank you for wrapping your heart & supporting my next crazy adoption.  Love will always find a way!

T SHIRT BLITZ ENDS APRIL 4th!!  You should receive your T shirts 7-10 days after your order.  My Mens T shirt shipment arrives on Thursday (2-25) thanks for waiting for Man Up!!

What’s New:

  1. I have inventory of Simply Love shirts for Men & Women… a brand new batch ready to go.  You can purchase my Simply Love Africa T shirts with Paypal button or send me a check- email me.  My T shirts Blitz ends April 4th… to save every penny, I will continue to order in bulk batches of 25.

Simply Love Store-

Simply Love Africa is our fundraiser for our 2nd adoption to Ethiopia. Every T shirt helps us bring our new daughter home. 100% of proceeds goes directly into our adoption account. We ask that when you wear our T’s that you pray for our family throughout the adoption process this year. Thank you for your support, prayers, and cheers!


The Women’s T shirts are UNISEX extra soft and they will fit like a unisex/men cut- loose & roomy like your hubbys T.  (ladies… this is NOT A SLIM SHIRT!!!)   The black T has Tiffany blue swirls and the saying on the back- Love Will Always Find A Way.  The verse Phillipians 4:6-7 surround Africa.  (special note- all Canada & International- email me for additional shipping costs)


The Men’s T shirts are extra soft and fit normal.  The army green T has black, red colors- and the saying on the back “Man Up. Protect and Love the Fatherless.  The verse Philippians 4:6-7 surrounds Africa.  (special note: for Canada & International -additional shipping costs necessary- email me.)

YOUTH T’S- I need to have pre-order of 25 youth T’s before I can sell.  Email me.

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Adoption 101: Welcome Home to Crazy!

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Adoption 101: Welcome Home to Crazy!

Posted on 20 February 2010 by Kari Gibson

Coming home with a new adopted child is challenging, joyful, scary as heck, exhausting and miraculous all wrapped up in love.  You want to be prepared and realistic about feelings that might come out of the craziness and turn life upside down for a period of time.  I’m so excited to have my first guest blogger, Kari Potthoff share some great adoption tips to help soothe the homecoming jitters.  She shares honestly and with a big dose of reality with helpful advice to support adoption homecomings…

Welcome Home Adoption:
There are nine families on their way home this weekend from Kenya with their beautiful new children from Rwanda. It has been interesting watching their travels as they had a rather different experience then us. Something I have been meaning to blog about is the often not discussed issue of homecoming. Regardless of how easy or difficult a family’s time in country obtaining their child is they will experience bumps when they get home. Yes, it is easier for some then others depending on so many factors; the age of the child, the number of children adopted, gender, health, personality, prior quality of care, the children already home and the family’s level of preparation prior to travel. There is something called post-adoption depression and I think it is more common then adoptive parents (mainly mothers because they usually are the primary caretakers upon arrival home), want to admit. But the reality is that after 12 months of completing paperwork and background checks and saving and fundraising that homecoming is often not the wonderful, peaceful experience that one might have hoped it to be. A good social worker will educate adoptive parents about this but often no matter how prepared they are it is still dang hard.

At minimum after arriving home the family will be exhausted and jet lagged. Often the adopted kidos may sleep unusually well and not show any problematic behaviors for the first few weeks. But after they recover their energy and get settled the most challenging period of adjustment begins. Again this varies greatly, some families may not have any issues. For sure though if they have welcomed a child over the age of 2 years into their home they are going to have to work through some behaviors and difficult adjustment at times. There are also specific medical issues that need to be dealt with when a child is adopted from Africa such as parasites, GI issues, and malnutrition. If a child has lived in a orphanage for a extended time (more then 6 months) then they probably are going to have developmental delays as well.

So basically what I am saying is that the first few months home are a critical period for the new family and they will need the support and understanding of their family, friends, coworkers and community. At this same time parents will need time to focus on what is called “attachment parenting”. If extended family and friends do not understand what that means their can be tension during visits and the relationship between the adoptive family and child can be compromised. Here are some basic recommendations that I am providing to family, friends, coworkers, church members, neighbors, anyone who wants to help a family who has just arrived home with a internationally adopted child (I think it is a bit different for domestic or foster/adopt but you may be able to relate). Some of these we have received and others I wish we would have. I will say though, that it was interesting to me the differences in how people responded to the birth of our son, versus the adoption of our daughter, and then the adoption of our second son. I will let you decide what I might mean by that.

  • First and foremost treat everything about the adoption as you would have if the family had given birth. Hold a baby shower, make welcome signs, send them balloons (avoid latex as they are serious choking hazards) or flowers. If you send a gift, wrap it in baby paper or appropriate paper for a older child. This is a time to celebrate the same that you would if the child was a newborn birth child. This may vary by age of the adopted child, but I think that ALL children deserve to be celebrated and I know that the parents would really appreciate the thought. It is a once in a lifetime experience.
  • Also really important is to ask them what they need help with, you might be surprised.
  • Offer to drop off or pick them up at the airport (airport parking is very expensive)
  • Stock their fridge and cupboards just before they get home, you have no idea how good a diet coke (no diet pop their) and fresh vegetables (can’t eat fresh vegetables) taste after being in Africa.
  • Bring them a hot meal the first night home, even better deliver a hot meal every night for the first week home.
  • Clean their house for them or hire someone to do it just before they come home, have it done again a few weeks later (when things really start to get tough).
  • Offer to babysit any other children in the home so that they can get some much needed attention and parents can have some one on one with the new one/s.
  • Offer to give rides to older children who may need to get to activities.
  • If it is winter go shovel their driveway and sidewalks.
  • Offer to run errands for the family or to go to the store (Having to take my screaming toddler to the store, and having everyone stare at me has been one of my worst post adoption experiences)
  • Simply lend a open ear, encourage the new mom to be open and honest about her feelings and needs. Take her out for a break, a cup of coffee or a nice lunch.
  • This one is REALLY important so I am leaving it for last: During any visits that happen in the first few months be respectful of the adoptive parents wishes regarding feeding, holding, and comforting the child. A child who has lived in a orphanage has passed through the hands of MANY caregivers and it is crucial that they learn to go to their new parents as the sole primary caregivers in the beginning. It would not have been normal for our oldest son to jump on the lap of a complete stranger at the age of 2 years and as hard as it is to understand you are a stranger to this child. So just ask the parents what the “rules” are. It may vary by household and how involved you are with the family. My personal preference for this issue is fairly conservative, I did not want anyone else holding, comforting or feeding my adopted kids for the first two months home. Especially for my son since we went through a period of him rejecting having a mommy. For a toddler in particular, if the parent has taken something away from the kido and they start screaming it would not be o.k. for a different person to then confuse the child by comforting him or her. You see what I mean, this can be complicated so if you are not sure just ask.

That certainly is not a extensive list of how to help but I think this got long enough. Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to answer.

Kari Neubauer Potthoff, PhD
Licensed School Psychologist
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

MY CRAZY TALK: Please share your crazy homecoming stories.  Did you feel support or lost when you came home?  What is one helpful thing your family or friends did to make your adoption homecoming special or feel supported?  If you have not had your homecoming yet, share with us what you think you might need from your community of adoption cheerleaders.

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Wednesday WOW Recipe + Crazy Tacos

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Wednesday WOW Recipe + Crazy Tacos

Posted on 17 February 2010 by Kari Gibson

I’m making tacos tonight- my MIL’s famous tacos.  They are not on the low fat healthy side, but not too crazy.  She taught me how to fry the corn tortillas, it’s really the only way to go.  If you want to save a fat gram or two, just use the pre-made shells, but I promise you’ll be missing out. Meat Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • Bag of corn tortillas

Crazy Easy Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet until shimmering. Add onion; saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, oregano and cumin; saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beef or turkey and cook, stirring often, until it loses its raw color. Stir in tomatoes; simmer to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in cornmeal; cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens, almost instantly. Cool and refrigerate (or serve warm for dinner as tacos or taco salad).

Fry up those taco shells- here’s how:

Heat up oil in a pan until it pops and sizzles.  Take one shell at a time and fry that little guy.  I use tongs and flip each side when it’s crunchy like I want.  Be careful not to burn!  Thanks Nanny for sharing your recipe with me- I blame you when I gain 10 pounds visiting you in AZ… the home of the BEST tacos!!

What’s your favorite killer taco?

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Mommy DIY – The No-Naggy List

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Mommy DIY – The No-Naggy List

Posted on 16 February 2010 by Kari Gibson

Lately, I’ve noticed I’ve become a crazy naggy mom with Hannah picking up her teen clutter.  I feel like the clutter police.  Anyone else feel like this?  I keep finding earrings, hair accessories, socks, books, left over food, magazines scattered all over the house.  I don’t like nagging and needed a solution fast.  Typically, I pick it up during the day and leave it on the stairs heading straight up her room, but it usually goes unnoticed.  My 13 year old is very responsible… nearly perfect in every way, but struggles to pick up the little stuff.  Well, I found the best article in my Family Fun Magazine and it really has helped.

In my words- I have a mini grease board now hanging on the fridge and I write items down during the day that she leaves out.  It’s a clutter alert.  When she comes home from school and eats her snack… she takes a peek at the board and knows she has to pick up the clutter before she can move on and do her fun activities.  It has transformed our home from cluttered to calm.  It’s a work in progress, but I can really see the difference.  As soon as she picks up the clutter, she erases the slate clean.  The best part, I don’t have to nag about crazy clutter!  I love easy tools that help teach my kids personal responsibility.

I’d love to hear your creative ideas to help de-clutter.  What works for you?

My Crazy List (A few things I think are just great!)

Image of Floral Print Raincoat1. Adorable children’s raincoats- Pluie Pluie

2. My friend, Becky Burk has “Around the World in 80 Days” Adopt Africa magnets available on her blog.  I want one for my car, too!

3. Africa Foundation’s Hippo Water Rollers program.  I pray every woman in Africa can own a Hippo!!  Take a peek-

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Crazy February Adoption Family – The Joners

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Crazy February Adoption Family – The Joners

Posted on 14 February 2010 by Kari Gibson

Have you ever met someone and you knew instantly it was God ordained.  This is one of the most painful stories I hold in my heart from our time in Ethiopia, but with the blessing of the Joner Family, we want to share their adoption story and celebrate God’s precious love.   It’s a story of pain and joy and miracles.  When we traveled to Ethiopia, we met a beautiful baby girl named Alem that was wrapped up in a blanket cuddled next to Zoie at the Transitional Home.  She and Zoie both had pneumonia and had been in the hospital together.  I was called “Spy Girl” in my adoption circle, so to live up to my name, I took a million photos of all the children waiting for their families at home.  I took so many photos of Alem.  She grabbed my heart… soft black curls, tiny fingers and an angelic face.  Little did I know, her name would be Julia.  I was so excited to show her off to her new parents – photos are priceless treasures.  I’m so honored to introduce you to, Jessica Joner, one of the most remarkable adoptive moms I’ve ever met…. here is her story.

Jessica’s Story:

Even before we were married, we both know that we wanted to adopt some day.  After having our two wonderful boys,  we felt that we were ready to start praying about adopting.  As we prayed about it, we really felt God specifically leading us to adopt from Ethiopia.  Our desire started out as a desire to have another child in our family, and now going through the process, our eyes and hearts have been moved in a big way as we see the desperate need to care for these orphans.

In July, we received our adoption referral for our first daughter, Julia Alem, a beautiful two month-old baby girl who was found abandoned when she was just a few days old.  Our hearts instantly bonded with Julia as we had been praying for over a year for this tiny baby that God had placed in our hearts.  Unfortunately, a few weeks after we received our referral, Julia became very sick with pneumonia and passed away when she was just three months old.

We were overwhelmed with the grief and sadness of losing Julia because our love and bond for her was so great.  Thankfully,  we also felt so much deep joy and peace knowing that we knew exactly where she was, perfect and complete in the arms of Jesus.  We were so blessed to meet Kari who was able to meet Julia and held her in Ethiopia.  She had so many beautiful pictures to share with us.  God, in is His great mercy, blessed us with the referral of our daughter, Jalene.  Amazingly, she shares the exact same birthday as Julia.  Our hearts were instantly in love with our daughter, Jalene.  We brought her home from Ethiopia on Valentine’s day last year.  Jalene is so full of joy and had blessed our family in an incredible way.  Our journey of adoption was not easy, but it was worth every moment in the end.  We feel so blessed to have the privilege of loving two beautiful girls.

Joner Family Adoption “Gotcha Day” Video-

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Late Wednesday WOW Recipe + Red Velvet Cake + Pics

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Late Wednesday WOW Recipe + Red Velvet Cake + Pics

Posted on 12 February 2010 by Kari Gibson

We made a red velvet cake on Monday… Hannah was home for a snowy day off.  She pretty much tackled the entire cake by herself and it was incredible!  The best part was the pics of the girls with red stained lips and teeth!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Red Velvet Ingredients:

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix

  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ounce red food coloring
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Mix it Together with Love Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9 x 13 inch pan.
  2. Mix together cake mix, 1 box pudding mix, eggs, oil, food coloring, water, vinegar, and cocoa. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool.
  4. Beat together milk and cream cheese. Mix in 1 box pudding mix. Fold in whipped topping. Spread on cooled cake. Refrigerate.

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What’s in My Heart Valentine {Giveaway} WINNER!

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What’s in My Heart Valentine {Giveaway} WINNER!

Posted on 12 February 2010 by Kari Gibson

I read every one of your comments!!  Every entry you earned was counted.  I randomly selected 1 crazy lucky winner out of the candy bowl!!  CONGRATS … Amber Booy!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are the winner of the Valentine Heart necklace.  Email me!!

Also, the very last comment left tonight was HEIDI- closest to 100!!!  Heidi, you were the 63rd comment on My Crazy Adoption.  You have won a HopeChest Africa & Heart T shirt for Valentine’s Day!!  Congrats!!  Here was your entry-  email me!

Heidi says: February 14, 2010 at 8:01 PM


This is my biggest giveaway yet on My Crazy Adoption!  On Valentine’s Day, I’m giving away 1 stunning “What’s in My Heart” necklace and 2 charms. (I know… I’m sooo excited too!) This is a value of $150 and includes the heart pendant, chain and 2 charms.  These beautiful pendants allow you to insert a variety of charms to make a fully customized necklace.

The necklace and heart are both made of genuine Sterling Silver and the heart is approximately 1″ by 1″ and has a clear backing.  Charms vary in size but are generally around 1/4″ (approx. 6-8 charms will fit in the heart).  Hearts and chains are finished with rhodium to prevent tarnishing.  It was even featured in People Magazine.

For goodness sakes, how do I win this crazy necklace?

You have a few ways to earn entries….

  • 1 entry- add my crazy button on your blog.  If it’s already there- you still get 1 freebie entry.
  • 1 entry- share my craziness on FB or Twitter.
  • 1 entry- click & vote for me on top mommy blog button.
  • 1 entry- share with me “what’s in your heart?” You can be mushy, gushy or silly. (I can’t wait to read these!)  If you are too shy to share- then I want to know what your favorite candy is to eat on Valentine’s Day.

OK- all I need you to do is leave the number of entries you earn in 1 comment. (not one at a time, but all in 1 comment)  You can earn up to 4 entries for this giveaway.  Please don’t forget to add your first name and email.  1 winner will be randomly selected after my Valentine’s Day date with hubby.  Winner will be announced at 8:00 PM right here at this post.

Again, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for making “Shirts For Shoes” so crazy for over 800 orphans in Ethiopia!  My crazy readers, you are in my heart… you really are!

A little sneek peek of my niece, Annie who is waiting in China for her new parents.  “Annie, you are in my heart… Aunti Kiki can’t wait to meet you!”

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Crazy Mission Trip Update – Uganda & Ethiopia in July!

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Crazy Mission Trip Update – Uganda & Ethiopia in July!

Posted on 11 February 2010 by Kari Gibson

Our July mission trip to Uganda & Ethiopia with Visiting Orphans is filling up fast!!  Thank you for your amazing emails & prayers as we are building a team of 25 crazy, passionate, loving, inspiring, adventurous bloggy friends (men & women) to join us – July 19th through August 1st on a trip of a lifetime.  Many of your hearts are stirring and praying about joining us and I want to encourage you to move forward in faith and do something radical.

I can’t wait to meet Katie Davis and all her girls- you don’t want to miss this adventure to Uganda!  We will have the opportunity to feed over 1000 orphans that Katie has loved and cared for.

You do NOT need to pay the entire amount up front, but just reserve your spot for $200.  You will be responsible for FUNraising and building your support team throughout the next months before the trip.

Things to do:

1. Fill out the Application to reserve your spot:  VISITING ORPHANS WEBSITE.
2. Get a Passport (Check your expiration date please!!)
3. Make an appointment at your Health Department for immunizations. Yellow Fever is the only shot that is mandatory, although I went ahead and got all the recommended shots, including Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, and Typhoid

Fundraising Efforts:

1. Please send out donation request letters ASAP. Make them personal and include a self addressed return envelope!

If you want to read my post introducing the July Mission Trip- CLICK HERE.

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The Best Night Of My Life!

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The Best Night Of My Life!

Posted on 08 February 2010 by Kari Gibson

I got to hear my 13 year old daughter say those words last night.  After a very long day of rolling, addressing, stuffing a grand total of 825 T shirts on Saturday, Hannah and I took off for a special night just for girls.  Alyson Stoner and friends presented a “girls party” I Pour Life- an event that celebrates purity and respect.  We parked our car downtown and stood out in the freezing cold for 25 minuets before heading inside the theater.  There were hundreds of excited moms & daughters packed from top to bottom anticipating the night to start.  I had no idea what to expect, but there was a buzz inside of screaming, cheering, chanting teens!

We had the fun privilege of hearing Johnny Diaz sing and several wonderful speakers all geared to encourage young girls to love and respect themselves.  The biggest surge of energy happened when Alyson Stoner stepped out on the stage.  She is 16 years old and spoke passionately from the heart about her love for Jesus and inspiring girls to respect and love themselves just the way God made them!  She talked for an hour and I think she did an amazing job, but the proof was my daughter who sat on the edge of her seat and gobbled up everything Alyson said earnestly!   She kept her camera on and caught her favorite things on her cell.  They even treated us with chocolate covered strawberries.  Oh, what a party!

After the conference, they announced that Alyson Stoner was going to take pics & autographs up in the balcony.  I turned to tell Hannah that it was time to go, when I saw the look in her eyes.  I quickly explained how tired I was from T shirt craziness, but she pleaded to stay.  I pleaded my case that I had an hour drive home and it was 10:30PM.  Hannah gave me the look again.  “Pleeeaaseee mom, I’m dying to meet her!”  I told her we would try.  We shot out to the lobby and scaled the stairs with hundreds of crazy teens.  I was caught up in the swarm and ended up on the balcony with one ecstatic group of girls.  I asked Hannah one more time if she was sure she wanted to wait in this insanely long line.  She did.  I made a decision right then and there that if my girl wanted a pic & autograph that badly, I would wait with her.  She chatted and shared and anxiously waited for the line to move.  One hour later, we made it to the front.  She was giddy and nervous to meet the adorable Disney star posing for pic after pic.

Our turn finally came and Hannah stepped forward.  Alyson stopped and starred at my daughter.  Hannah didn’t move, but wondered if there was a problem.  Finally, Alyson smiled a huge grin and said, “Oh my, we totally look alike!  We have the same hair and eyes!  Just look at us… we could be sisters!”  She chatted warmly with my star struck girl.  Hannah was speechless and just smiled up at her brand new hero.  They took a photo together and Alyson signed her T shirt.  It was my turn, and I asked her the question Hannah forgot to ask (this was all planned waiting in line) “What is your favorite verse?”  Alyson didn’t miss a beat.  She shared that she had many favorite verses, but right now she was meditating on Matthew 6:25… she quoted the verse perfectly.  I was soooo impressed!

We took all our treasures and headed out to the parking lot.  Hannah turned and smiled so hard I thought it would break in the frigid cold…. “Mom, this was the best night of my life!”  I told her it was my best night too just being with her.  She thanked me and told me she was so happy we came together.  I melted.  It’s wonderful and challenging having a teenager, but the combo is priceless.  I told Hannah on the drive home, that I was so thankful she insisted we stayed or we would have missed out on the sweetest blessing from the Lord.  He planned that all out for Hannah and I almost missed it because I was so tired.  I had the energy of 10 moms on the drive home.

Special note just for moms:  One of the coolest things Alyson shared was her Mirror of Respect.  She covers her mirror with little notes, Bible verses, funny anecdotes and favorite quotes to remind her everyday that she is beautiful and worthy of respect.  Hannah and I both agreed that she needed to start her own Mirror of Respect at home.  We are going to put her special photo, autograph and Alyson’s favorite verse up on her mirror right away.  Your teenage girl can text or email Alyson Stoner and ask her any question.

More Beautiful You- Johnny Diaz

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