Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Shopping With a Purpose

I talked about Advent Conspiracy in my previous post HERE. And how Americans spend $450 BILLION dollars on Christmas every year. If you feel the need to buy a Christmas gift for someone, why don't you shop with a purpose and buy a gift that will also help others? I've made it easy and all categorized for you! If you are an adoptive family and are selling something, please feel free to comment with info and a link (so, readers, be sure to read the comments, too!).


By purchasing these shirt, 100% of the net profits will go to the Lifesong Guatemala/Village of Hope, who are helping serve orphans in Guatemala. Purchase HERE.


A family through our agency is #3 on the waitlist for a referral and are selling these shirts (among a few others to help raise funds for their adoption. They are $20 and you can order them HERE .


This sweet couple is adopting both domestically and internationally (Ethiopia)! Help them raise their funds needed for these adoptions by ordering one of these great shirts on THEIR BLOG.


Buy one of these cool tshirts from ONELESS MINISTRIESBy purchasing merchandise from One Less Ministries, you are helping to make ONE less orphan, ONE less victim of human trafficking, ONE less victim of sexual exploitation, and ONE less victim of poverty.


Mudlove is a bracelet company (who we used) who has a huge variety of bracelets with words on them. They give money to help an African have clean drinking water, and for every $5 spent, an African can have CLEAN drinking water for a year, which is so very vital in African countries that have lots of parasite and disease filled water!

Buy one or several of these BEAUTIFUL necklaces for a special woman in your life from AMAZIMA MINISTRIES. These necklaces are handmade out of recycled paper. When you buy this necklace, you help employ over 30 Ugandan women who once relied on prostitution and alcohol brewing as their only means of survival. Each woman in Amazima's vocational program also receives spiritual discipleship and financial counseling to help teach stewardship. In addition, all profits from Amazima's jewelry sales support the feeding of over 1200 children Monday through Friday, year-round in the same community where the women live.  Your beautiful new piece of jewelry is employing women, feeding the hungry and changing lives!


Shop for these super cute African fabric and burlap bags made in Tanzania HERE! Proceeds benefit The Rafiki Training Villages perform two main functions. First, they provide living, medical, and educational facilities for orphans and vulnerable children in ten of Africa’s most impoverished nations. Second, they train African churches and governments to care for and educate their orphans and support their widows. The Rafiki Training Villages are operated by Rafiki Overseas Staff who are long term missionaries. They are assisted by national workers and short term missionaries. Together this team accomplishes the dual purpose of the Rafiki Training Villages—to help orphans and widows and train others to do the same. This is achieved through the Foundation’s four programs: Childcare, Education, Training, and Widows.  They also sell lots of other products varying from for the home, jewelry, apparel and more! 


Buy one of these cool bracelets or necklaces from ONELESS MINISTRIESBy purchasing merchandise from One Less Ministries, you are helping to make ONE less orphan, ONE less victim of human trafficking, ONE less victim of sexual exploitation, and ONE less victim of poverty.


Shop at Rahab's Rope to stop human trafficking. Rahab's Rope exists to give hope and opportunity to women and girls that are at risk or have been forced into the commercial sex trade of India. By creating a safe and loving environment, they enable the women and girls to grow and develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. Their work provides basic education and vocational training for each girl and woman who come through their centers; ultimately, allowing them to integrate into their communities in a positive and constructive manner. They are a faith based non-profit organization that desires to follow Jesus' teaching and direction on every step of the journey. Their vision is to see lives transformed by God's love in action.


Shop Junk Posse. I love this company! They are who made my Africa necklace that I won in a drawing a year ago. Love, love, love the necklace, and love, love, love that they support so many amazing organizations and adoptions!


Another adoptive friend's work of art! They adopted from Ethiopia and are in the process again. They are selling these amazing signs that read "Our Family" in the Ethiopian language Amharic. Each sign measures approximately 14" in length and 4.5" tall.  The metal signs are precision cut from aluminum, which will maintain its  silver patina; meaning that it won't rust over time or the from changes in various climates.  Each wood base has been hand-milled out of local natural oak.  You can choose oak or black. Go HERE to order one!


Watercolors! Help raise funds for another Ethiopian adoption by ordering a watercolor painting! Go HERE for more info!


Sheets! I have a sweet friend who is adopting a precious 6 year old little girl from Ethiopia and are trying to raise the funds quickly so they can bring her home ASAP. It's one thing for a baby to wait, as they don't understand, but for a 6 year old, the wait can be absolutely horrible. She needs to come home to her family NOW! Will you help by ordering a sheet set or two? These are GREAT sheets and are ONLY $35. For ANY size! You can't beat that price and everyone needs sheets! So now you can order sheets AND help bring a sweet girl to an awesome family!! Just email them at to order!  (if you're local - to us - Amy can ship us the sheet orders for free if there are at least 11 set orders locally. Let me know if you order a set!)


If you still need Christmas cards, go HERE to order some printable photo cards! Proceeds benefit an Ethiopian adoption


Buy this vinyl decal HERE for just $10 to support a family who is adopting their second daughter from Ethiopia! It can go on your car, on your wall, mirror, window or just about anywhere!


Support another Ethiopian adoption by going HERE to order some Christmas music downloads!


Buy one of our family cookbooks! This is a sturdy, professionally printed cookbook with over 150 pages and comes with a plastic cookbook stand. We originally sold them as a fundraiser for our adoption but still have about 100 left. Proceeds from these cookbooks are going toward our sweet 6 year old's goal of buying a goat and two chickens through World Vision for an impoverished family. These are now reduced to just $10 each (with free shipping, and if you buy more than 1, you save!)

Cookbook Amount


Buy coffee from Three Avacados! They say: "Three Avocados is more than a great cause, we're great coffee. Our coffee beans are 100% Arabica and come from Mt. Elgon in Uganda. Uganda is bordered to the north by Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, and by Kenya to the east, also known for amazing coffee. In fact, Mt. Elgon borders Kenya and Uganda, and much of the highly praised Kenyan coffee is grown on the same mountain. East Africa has long been known as the source of some of the best coffee beans in the world, and Uganda is no exception. Our beans are hand picked when the coffee cherry is at it's peak of ripeness. After drying in the sun, the beans are wet processed, to ensure the highest quality coffee possible.
Our coffee has been praised for it's smooth, bold taste, with hints of dark chocolate. And when you realize your coffee is also helping provide clean water in Uganda, you'll enjoy each sip that much more."


If you donate $20 HERE , you will receive a $50 coupon. You can redeem this at multiple restaurants and the card never expires. Or you can give it to a friend. It's so easy to use! Just visit, find your favorite restaurant out of the choices, print the coupon and give it to your waiter. This is a sweet family who is on their SECOND adoption from Ethiopia and third adoption overall, as they adopted two little boys boys from Russia several years ago! Adoption is ingrained in their hearts, so if you are wanting to give someone a gift certificate for a restaurant, this is the best way to go! To read more about their story, visit their blog HERE


Usborne Books. To help another family that is with the agency we used with their adoption, visit their blog HERE to order a new book for your child!


By purchasing these shirt, 100% of the net profits will go to the Lifesong Guatemala/Village of Hope, who are helping serve orphans in Guatemala. Purchase HERE.


You can shop from a variety of items at THIS STORE, where up to 50% of the proceeds are going toward this family's adoption of their 4th son from Russia!



The 147 Million Orphans Foundation was created to impact the lives of children through the provision of food, water, and medicine. We invest directly in projects that help provide these basic needs to those who desperately need it, and most of our projects occur in Haiti, Honduras, and Uganda.
As with any good FOUNDATION you must lay one brick at a time. The 147 Million Orphans Foundation was created to LOVE+ 1 and we are doing that by helping others to create a strong foundation. Whether that is a medical clinic in Haiti, homes in Honduras, Water Wells in Ethiopia, or a store house full of food for Uganda, we want to show the love of Christ. The rebuilding of the wall in Nehemiah was accomplished by people just doing their part and helping others to do theirs. The LOVE+ 1 PROJECTS are steps in rebuilding, and we would love for you to be a part of the REBUILDING!


Shop from SHOW HOPE . Show Hope is an amazing organization who helped us fund our adoption by offering a grant to our family. Without their generosity, it would not have made our adoption as easy. They help lots of families and do tremendous orphan care worldwide. Support them by shopping online HERE.


Shop from PROJECT HOPEFUL. We owe a lot of thanks to Project Hopeful. Because of them, we found our sweet precious Mikiyas! Because of them, we changed our hearts and minds to adopt HIV+. Because of them our family has changed for the better, forever!! Support them as they strive to educate and advocate for those like Mikiyas. Support them as they strive to spread TRUTH about HIV to the world!


Here are some organizations where you can shop in honor of a loved one! If you have someone on your list where you just don't know what to get them or who already has everything, buy them something from one of these organizations in honor of them! A chicken, a goat, mosquito nets, etc. There are lots of options! We love to let our kids pick out gifts from these catalogs every year!

Compassion International 
World Vision
Samaritan's Purse

Christmas - A Bit Different...

We're one week into the Christmas season in our house and I felt convicted to share our Christmas traditions, meaning and reasoning, along with some other info! This is a LOOONG post!

First of all, we've never done much in regards to Christmas. Present/Gift-wise at least. But over the past couple of years we began to change things even more. Our Christmas does not look like the standard American Christmas. And it changed completely because of conviction from God, some books we had read, and something called Advent Conspiracy. Please watch:

$450 BILLION dollars. Spent on Christmas. That's even with the downfall in economy. Are we the only ones who think that's just outright ridiculous? So we changed things up even more... We don't do a lot for gifts. We don't spend a lot of money. We don't put our focus on things that don't matter. We don't do Santa.  That's not to say that those who do things differently are wrong. We have lots of friends and family that do things differently and that is OK! God is not going to convict every family to be the same, do the same, act the same. Every family will feel convicted to do things differently and that's totally fine. This is what WE do.

We do three gifts for each child. A Gold Gift (something they really want). A Frankincense Gift (something spiritual). A Myrrh Gift (something they need). Yep, that's it! The kids love it and their main focus stays on Jesus and not all about the gifts. In fact, this year when asking Ilana what she wanted, she said said "A chapter book. But really, I'll be happy with whatever you give me. Besides, it's Jesus' birthday, not mine." Not saying EVERY child will react that way, but that's partly just who she is, despite her youthful age of SIX. She just knows that it's not all about her and that's what we want to instill in ALL our kids.

We do a family gift. A gift that the kids open together that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Usually a couple movies or some board games.

We do stockings. But they're not your "traditional" stockings filled with little toys and goodies... They're filled with practical items. Yep! We buy them new undies, socks, toothbrushes, tooth paste, body wash, hair accessories, and such for Christmas! And you know what? Our kids LOVE it! We do include a hotwheel for the boys or a small gift for Ilana and maybe some candy but that's it. I love that our kids get so overjoyed about something as simple as a toothbrush! (again, this is just what WE do!)

We do new PJ's given on Christmas Eve.

Instead of a ton of gifts, we do a lot of family time and we do traditions. Lots of them.

- Breakfast Casserole on Christmas morning. I have had that since I was little on Christmas mornings. I made it on Michael and I's first Christmas together and Michael demanded it be a continued tradition. Recipe requested! Here it is:

                                8 slices bread, cubed into 1 in. pieces     1/2 T dry mustard
                                2 c. shredded cheddar                           2 c milk     
                               1 lb. cooked ground sausage                  1 can cream of mushroom soup
                               4 eggs

Grease 9x13 glass dish and layer the bread cubes, then sausage, then cheese. Beat together eggs, dry mustard and milk. Pour over top of cheese. Top with cream of mushroom soup and refrigerate overnight. Bake in morning at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. 

- We do a Jesse Tree (a new tradition this year) AND a Christmas tree (which we always get a REAL tree)

- We do 25 wrapped Christmas books. Each day the kids take turns picking a book to unwrap before bed and we read it. They are not new and are books that we have already.

- We do Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK) throughout the season (more on that later)

- We make a birthday cake for Jesus

- We buy gifts through Compassion International, World Vision, or Samaritan's Purse.

- We always put quarters in the Salvation Army buckets wherever we go.

- We hang 25 envelopes on the wall as our December Calendar with a paper inside each one that tells what special thing we get to do that day (we do it in the evenings during the week because Michael likes to be involved with it, too).

Here is our month of December:

1. Get a REAL Christmas Tree!
2. Have a Christmas tree decorating pizza party (with Christmas tree shaped pizza!)
3. Craft Day! Make a gift for grandparents!
4. Make and play with snow play dough (recipe found HERE. Just add silver glitter)
5. RAOK - Go to Chick-fil-A and pay for someone else's meal
6. Make paper snowflakes and decorate bedrooms with them
7. Christmas Parade and Tree-lighting in our local downtown
8. Christmas goody making day for Mommy at Grandma's while the kids have a fun Daddy/kid day
9. Cookie decorating day at Grandma's for everyone!
10. Craft Day! Make a gift for cousins (we are doing a cousin gift exchange where the limit is $5 and they have to really think about making/getting something meaningful and also pray for that specifically for that cousin throughout the month).
11. RAOK's - take Christmas goodies to someone special, to our car mechanic, and to Daddy's work!
12. Family game night with prizes!
13. Shop for an ornament and possible RAOK
14. Christmas movie and candy cane shaped pizza party sleepover with cousins!
15. Aydan's birthday! His choice for the whole day and another Christmas parade
16. Aydan's birthday party and a lighted boat parade by the Harbor
17. RAOK - make a meal for a fire station close to us
18. Make lots of salt dough ornaments
19. Live nativity
20. RAOK - In honor of Grandpa Larry (my dad) who died one year ago today, visit an Alzheimer's wing in a nursing home and deliver our handmade ornaments
21. Christmas movie and a star shaped pizza!
22. Minivan Express - Details HERE. We've done something similar to what is found here, but without the tickets and such. This is a great idea and a new tradition we're starting this year!
23. Watch The Nativity Story as a family
24 - Make Jesus' birthday cake as a family and go to Christmas in the Park (every year, our church has an evening service in the park with a live band, short sermon/story, and such. It attracts thousands of people! It's great! Afterward, the kids open their new jammies that are packed in the van, put them on and we drive home and look at lights and then we come home and read the last book from the wrapped books that is the true Christmas story.)
25. Family Jesus Party! (we wake up and read the Christmas story from the Bible, open stockings, eat breakfast casserole, then open gifts.)

What are YOU doing for Christmas? Will you be able to shop and spend less and love and give more? My next post will be about shopping with a purpose!