One Year

One year ago today, I received a message from a friend, asking me to prayerfully consider whether Brian and I would be interested in adopting a brother and sister from Bulgaria.

Happy birthday!

I was, admittedly, hestitant.  It was a tough time for us, financially.  And although adoption had always been part of our family plan, the timing couldn’t be further from right in our minds.  But we promised to pray and discern what God wanted us to do.  I asked my friend to have all of the information she could get forwarded to me.

Two weeks.  That’s how long I gave us to discern.

I can tell you that it took about two seconds for my heart to swell at the sight of the photos.  Precious, precious children.  I opened and read the information about their history.  I took in the knowledge that they were in about the best place they could be as far as institutions go.  And then I shared it all with Brian.

We prayed and talked.  So much to consider – home study, paperwork, fees.

Two weeks.

Over that two weeks, emails and messages flew back and forth.  What would we need done?  How soon would they need this paper or that document?  How long would our home study take?

It became obvious that we were slowly being led to a YES.

There have been lots of obstacles along the way – as is true for just about any adoption process.  Seemingly impossible deadlines, frustrating delays.  But the one thing we worried little about was funding.  Every time we needed to make a leap of faith in the process, the funding appeared.  Every. Time.  Any time we gave to another family in process, it came back to us tenfold.  There have been many, many people along the way – most of them unknown to us – who have given of their treasure to help two children halfway around the word to come home to their American family.

It is all a testimony to God’s grace.  Please believe me when I tell you that miracles exist.  Miracles of all sizes.  Family-sized miracles.

If all goes well, these two precious children will be celebrating their birthdays in our back yard this summer.

So if you are one of the people who responded to God’s grace with a YES and have helped us in any way – with your prayers, shares, or donations, thank you!  And we ask God to bless you with all good things.

We are still raising funds for N & N’s adoption.  We need a little over $2500 more for placement fees.  And our two trips will cost about $4000-$5000 each.  If you are moved to help financially, please donate through Reeces Rainbow, or make a monetary gift directly to our PayPal account {nissa_@_gadboisfamily_._com}.  We are still collecting auction items – especially new and gently used books, and handmade items.  And we are working on organizing a couple of dinners or breakfasts to raise our travel funds.  And if you need anything on Amazon, please consider clicking through our link here on the blog before you shop.  All of our commissions go directly to our adoption bank account.

Old Fashioned Girl

More from sessions this week.  These are of Joséphine.  It really struck me how quickly she’s growing.  Not a baby anymore.

© Nissa Gadbois Photograhy | Old Fashioned Girl

© Nissa Gadbois Photograhy | Old Fashioned Girl

© Nissa Gadbois Photograhy | Old Fashioned Girl

© Nissa Gadbois Photograhy | Old Fashioned Girl

Magical

I’m experimenting with my photography while snow continues to accumulate outside our door.  The light has actually been exquisite – all soft and glow-y.

Fairy  Dust

Fairy Tale

Snow Fairy

Sophie is very pleased with how her portraits turned out.  And Joséphine has requested her own fairy portraits.  There is more snow due on Thursday, and again over the weekend, so we should be blessed with some more of the same pretty light.  I can’t wait!

If you’d like fairy portraits of your little girl(s), you can check out my photography website for information on sessions and collections, and then book a session (your place or mine) through this page.  I am really excited about offering all day group mini sessions at your church or club.  It’s a wonderful way to try me out and get a beautiful portrait.  PLUS, all fees currently go toward our adoption grant fund on Reece’s Rainbow to bring our son and daughter home.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Lately I’ve noticed several homeschool moms sharing this amazing new thing – planning lessons using notebooks rather than charts or computer programs.  I seriously didn’t know you all didn’t know about this.  Way back when I was in school, my mom did the same thing.  She got me steno pads to keep my assignments in.  My Assignment Books.  I guess I figured everyone’s mom did this.

Each day, I was to write down in the assignment book what I was given for homework and projects.  Make a list.  Tick it off as I finished.  So simple that it’s genius!  The idea for homeschoolers is that mom writes in the book what she wants each child to accomplish for the day.  The child can check off or line through what he or she has completed as they finish each task.

Writing plans out by hand for several children can give you a hand cramp.  BUT, if you’re assigning so much that your hand is cramping, you’re either expecting too much, or you have a really large family and need to enlist Papa to help write up the lists. :)  I feel like teenagers should be collaborating on their assignments and helping to fill in their own books, but that’s my style.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

A plain old notebook may revolutionize your homeschool.  It’s simple, it’s elegant.  OK.  It’s not elegant.  Those notebooks are UGLY.  And if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I adore Pretty.  So I thought I would show all of the new Assignment Book enthusiasts how to make pretty ones.  It’s really easy.  The first one might take you 10 or 15 minutes, but after that, you’ll get them done in under five minutes. You remember how fast you could cover a book with a shopping bag, right?  Like that.

Here’s what you need:

  • Spiral bound notebooks (I like the steno pads for their size, columns, and for nostalgia. You use whatever you like)
  • Decorative cardstock (or recycle cereal or cracker boxes)
  • Scissors or Xacto knife (cutting mat for the latter)
  • Needle-nose pliers (jewelry ones are ideal, but regular ones will do)
  • Binder clips and trombone paper clips
  • Micro-punch or awl

And here’s how you do it:  (It seriously took me longer to type it out than it will take you to make a pile of them).

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Place two binder clips on either edge of your notebook.  This holds all of the papers in place and keeps the holes aligned.  You don’t need to bind the top cover in with the inner sheets.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Next, using your pliers, carefully unhook each end of the coil and straighten the right-hand hook out so that it will slide through the holes without catching.  Then simply unscrew the wire.  The first turn will be a little tricky as you will need to keep the other ‘hook’ free of the book.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Now, using the original cover as a template, cut out a piece of cardstock.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Paper clip your original and new covers together so they don’t slip. Transfer marking for the holes from the original cover onto the cardstock, using a soft pencil.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Carefully punch holes through the card stock.  I couldn’t find my micropunch.  It must still be packed away.  So I used my bookbinding awl.  It worked a treat.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Place the new cover on the stack of papers and back cover.  Use binder clips to hold everything in place.  adjust everything so the the holes line up nicely.  You may want to use your awl to neaten up or enlarge the holes now.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Screw the wire back in.  Watch the way the wire wants to go.  Most of mine needed to start in the back at the far right of the book.  One or two needed to either start in the front, or begin on the left-hand side.  Be careful to gently guide the leading end into each hole.  It should go fairly quickly and easily.

Be sure to bend a new ‘hook’ in the leading edge and to hook each end of the wire around the adjacent loop.  This prevents snagging.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

If you’re feeling particularly fancy, you can hand-letter little name tags to glue on each child’s Assignment Book.  Carrie was happy to get some more calligraphy practice.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Her tags made the books so special.

Now, if you want to make your own notebooks from scratch (because you’re a compulsive crafty mama like me), I’ve got this pretty template for you.  Here’s what to do:

  1. Print 20 copies on nice paper (per Assignment Book)
  2. Cut them in half
  3. Make a front and back cover.  The back one can be made from a piece of bristol board or the back of a used drawing pad (save those!).
  4. Mark the holes (about 1/4″ from the top edge, evenly spaced), do the cover first and then use that as the template for the rest of the pages.
  5. Punch holes using a micro punch or awl.  You can probably punch four pages at a time without too much trouble.  But hold them securely with clips so they don’t slide around.
  6. Stack your covers and pages together with the holes lined up neatly.  Secure with binder clips.
  7. Wrap a piece of 20 gauge wire (or 18 or 16) around a fat magic marker or size 15 knitting needle the same number of times as holes you have, plus one
  8. Screw the wire into the holes.
  9. Bend the wire ends in or make a hook to catch the next loop in.

Voila!  Totally custom Assignment Books.

BONUS: now you have a compact, easy to access basis for transcripts.  And you didn’t have to use a fussy chart (unless you like fussy charts, which I sometimes do).

If you found this tutorial helpful, or interesting, or even amusing, please consider contributing to our adoption fund at Reece’s Rainbow.  And we sure would be tickled if you shared this Tutorial with your friends through social media.  Please feel free to pin away! And if you need to purchase supplies, you can do so right through our Amazon affiliate link.  Those commissions go toward our adoption, too!

{GIVEAWAY} | Samsung Chromebook, Sweetheart!

Brian and I need to raise quite a bit for our adoption grant fund.  And we need to do it quickly because our dossier is on the way to Bulgaria very shortly.

OUR GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!  THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO PRAYED FOR US, SHARED THIS FUNDRAISER, OR BOUGHT A VALENTINE FOR N&N!

We thought that it would be lots of fun to try an envelope fundraiser – or in our case, a Valentine Fundraiser – and to offer a chance at a really neat prize: a brand new Samsung Chromebook.

Here’s how it works:

  • Choose one of the little cherub valentines (comment below to let us know which one you’ve chosen)
  • Donate the amount that corresponds to the number on your valentine directly to Reeces Rainbow through PayPal
  • Email us your confirmation (nissa_@_gadboisfamily_._com) from Reece’s Rainbow, along with your home address.
  • The graphic will be updated to show which numbers have been claimed.
  • On St. Valentine’s Day (my fave fun holiday), we will draw one person at random to receive a brand new Samsung Chromebook laptop computer!

Claim as many valentines as you would like, each entry increases your chances of winning.

At Home With the Gadbois Family |Samsung Chromebook Giveaway

UPDATE:  Valentines 1-37, 40, 50, 70, 93, and 100 are claimed!

And when all of the Valentine’s are spoken for, our Reece’s Rainbow FSP will be almost $17000!  Please share our giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, email, and whatever other social media that I am blissfully unaware of.  Feel free to pin our graphic above (and re-pin as it updates).  Claim as many valentines as you wish.  Each one counts as an entry, so the more you claim, the better your chances of receiving the prize! And every donation through Reece’s Rainbow is tax deductible.

At Home With the Gadbois Family |{GIVEAWAY} Samsung Chromebook

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