Fall Bucket List

Hello, fall! We’ve officially been in the season for a few weeks, but it’s only just now starting to feel like fall.

This will be my 8th year living in Ohio, and Im just now starting to get used to the seasons. When I first moved to Ohio from Africa, I hated winter and absolutely dreaded it. The only season I really loved was summer. So to me fall was the end of “my season” and the beginning of the long road to winter and I didn’t enjoy it much.

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Spending the Night in Jail: Jailhouse Suites


Have you ever spent the night in jail?

I can officially say that I have! Although…this jail was nothing like the real jails out there. This historic building was build in 1978, and was the Yellow Springs Jailhouse until 1929. Since then, it has been converted into the most adorable bed and breakfast!

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#Write31Days: Day 31: Shop Feature

Happy Monday and it’s the last day of my #Write31Days series!!!


Have you enjoyed it?

I should be back in November with my regular content, and of course lots of updates about Kiah and how our family is adjusting!

Today’s shop feature is a local teen who is making an incredible difference in the community.

I can’t find many links or resources to her project, but I have been blown away by the grace and maturity that she has shown throughout this whole project!

Sidney Deep started a small organization called The Love Project after some family friends fostered several babies with heroin addictions.

You guys. Dayton and the Miami Valley have a heroin epidemic going on right now.

A study compiled by the CDC earlier this year declared Dayton, Ohio the No. 1 city in the nation for heroin overdoses.

People come from all over Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky just to get the dirt-cheap drug. Many will take it back to their hometowns and resell it, but many will shoot themselves up with it as soon as they can get their hands on it. Theo responds to at least one overdose a shift, two or three over the course of his day is not surprising (and he is only 1 of 7 medics who are responding). Not only is heroin an epidemic, but it is now being laced with even stronger narcotics for a higher impact. The amount of narcan needed to bring some of the overdoses back is 5 or 6 times the recommended dose. Yes, my source is quite reputable, considering that he is the one actually giving the Narcan and watching a lifeless man who overdosed come back to life.

Obviously, this hits close to home, as Theo and I held and helped a heroin addicted baby just a year ago. The ramifications of heroin on a newborn are insane and I will never forget struggling to help Little Miss through her withdrawals.

I’m not here to point fingers and say how horrible drug addicts are. I hope I have never give off that impression. But the cycle of drug addiction is real and it’s heartbreaking. And it’s hurting so many people.

Because of the heroin epidemic in the Miami Valley, there are more children who are born addicted to heroin. These children are often abandoned/left at the hospital (in the NICU) until Children’s Services can find a home for them. Even then, they are often left alone in the hospital to scream and cry through their withdrawals until they are able to go to a foster home.

Enter The Love Project. Sidney knew that she didn’t need to be a foster parent to make a difference, so she started this project, which provides hand-stamped blankets to the children in the NICU who are going through heroin withdrawal. We may not be able to hold every child while they scream 24/7, but as each child is wrapped in a blanket, they are not only being “hugged”, but also prayed over.

Isn’t that so beautiful?

Sidney has a gofundme page to raise money to buy these blankets for the babies in our local hospitals who are born addicted to heroin. She is a little over halfway to her goal!

You can also find her project on Facebook



If you have any questions at all about foster care or adoption from foster care as I go through this series, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can leave a comment or send an email. At the end of the series, I will have a Q&A day and will be answering any questions I receive throughout the month.

Previous posts:

Day 1: Introduction

Day 2: Meet the Hines

Day 3: Shop Feature: Karla Storey

Day 4: Why We Chose to Foster

Day 5: The Process

Day 6: The Cast of Characters

Day 7: The Paperwork

Day 8: The Goal is Reunification

Day 9: Reflections

Day 10: Shop Feature: Ransomed Cuffs

Day 11: The Placement

Day 12: The Daily Life

Day 13: The Extra’s

Day 14: Bonding

Day 15: The Goodbye

Day 16: Reflection

Day 17: Shop Feature: Together we Rise

Day 18: Finances

Day 19: Rules

Day 20: Foster or Foster to Adopt

Day 21: Public Agency or Private Agency

Day 22: Books/Resources/Blogs

Day 23: Reflections

Day 24: Shop Feature: The Archibald Project

Day 25: How You Can Be Supportive

Day 26: How You Can Be Involved

Day 27: Myths on Why You Can’t Do It

Day 28: Frequently Asked Questions/Q&A

Day 29: ((That’s Today!)): Conclusion

Day 30: Reflection

Please share and interact!

As a blogger, it means SO much to me if you like, comment and share on these posts! You can share the whole series or just a particular blog post, but your support in that way means the world to me!


You can find the official #Write31Days and all the other bloggers who are linking up by clicking here.



The Sunflower Fields

Last week, we took a spontaneous trip to the sunflower fields!

These sunflower fields are about 25 minutes from our house and bloom for about two weeks each year. It’s always tricky knowing when they are in bloom and then quickly adding a trip to the sunflower fields into our schedule!

We tried to go in 2012, and the sunflower field looked like this:

Oops. Missed the window on that one.

We went in 2013, and it was gorgeous. And I was thin and gorgeous and in the best shape of my life, since we had just run a full 26.2 mile marathon the weekend before

In 2014, I dragged my mother in law, Theo and 5 week old Tera to the sunflower fields to have a family photo shoot. Too bad Tera was having NONE OF IT.

Can I also point out that I was 5 weeks post-partum and looked fabulous? Unfortunately, I never lost any more weight after the initial month! Haha!

The year of 2015 seems to have been a sunflower field flop, too…I don’t think we made it!

And that leads us to 2016, and an abundance of sunflower field pictures! Enjoy!



The sunflowers are really tall this year! I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to get any good pictures with them, until we went around to the side of the field where they are growing a bit lower to the ground.


We found a little one right at Tera’s height!


I just love how sunflowers turn their heads toward the sun. There is so much spiritual significance there. It’s breathtaking to see an entire field of thousands of plants turning in one direction as one.


We found a sunflower on the ground and asked Tera to hold it. She’s usually really good at following two-step directions, but she could not comprehend what we were asking her to do when we said “turn it around”.




We went within the first few days of bloom, so there were some flowers that hadn’t budded yet or were in various states of bud. Again…so many life lessons.


I loved this one, especially.


My two favorite people in the world!


This field is HUGE!


Tera thought this was hysterical:


I just love, love, love everything about this!




The sunflowers were planted years ago by the farm that is right next to them. They don’t charge anything for people to come and trample around in their sunflower fields. Every year, they just let the sunflowers die and fall to the ground, and then the next year they all just grow back. They ask that people only look and don’t pick, and recently they started asking that no one use the sunflowers for profit (A photographer can take pictures, but not charge, a painter can paint a painting but not charge for it, etc). A few people in the community seem to have bad attitudes about it, and I have seen several photographers publish photos on their websites of a photo sesh at the field, which is a total bummer. I think that something so beautiful and so community-oriented should be respected.


We told Tera to hide, but she was a little bit scared! This was her “hiding face”.



Theo got a few pictures of me, too. I guess this will count as my maternity pictures for this pregnancy!


33 weeks. We actually weren’t even planning on stopping by, hence the lack of makeup and athletic shorts. But, hey…when you have a photo opp like this, you don’t say no!


Me and my two kiddos. We couldn’t help but miss Little Miss. I’m sure she would have had that entire sunflower field plowed down in 10 minutes. She was a bit of a tornado!


Did I mention that I LOVE SUNFLOWERS?




And…jumping pictures! Just because!


Tera is not too good at jumping…yet. But she is getting there!


And that was our trip to the sunflower field! Until next year, beautiful sunflowers!

Yes, I am aware that if you are reading this post through your email or on your phone, some of the pictures are sideways. No, I did not take these pictures on my phone. Yes, I have tried to fix the problem and the issue is that I need to have a blog site that is mobile friendly…and I’m just not there yet. So please be patient with me while I fix the problem. If you read the blog post on a laptop, all the pictures will be upright.

Local friends: Here is the information on the sunflower fields!

Shop Feature: Sweet Tooth Designs

Happy Monday!!!

I’ve been learning so much through this little shop feature series! I’ve learned about the creative process, what it takes to run an Etsy shop (from an outsiders perspective!), some of the ups and downs of being a creative, and of course, I’ve learned more about the hearts behind handmade. Let’s just say I’m even more in love with shopping small, shopping local and supporting handmade! I cannot encourage you enough to do the same!

Another thing that I’ve learned about is the deadlines that most creatives face. For example, the Christmas deadline has come and gone, and most of the craft fairs are winding down. HOWEVER, that does not mean that you should not still be ordering from handmade makers! Many of the creators I know are working on listing their items in their Etsy shops or on their websites, and many are excited to make new goals for the New Year. Let’s support handmade in 2016!

With that rant over, I have a special, local (to the Ohio area) creator to feature today! Meet Kristi of Sweettooth Studio!



Hi! My name is Kristi McCandless, maker and owner of Sweettooth Studio. I was born and raised in Butler, Pennsylvania and now live in Columbus with my husband, 2 kids, and our pet rabbit. I pretty much love doing anything artistic and have for as long as I can remember – all the way back to the days of sitting in my grandparents’ attic pretending I was Bob Ross and painting “happy little trees”!  In addition to creating for my business, I enjoy using my talents to bless others. I have lead crafts for VBS at my church over the last several years (my favorite role is working with the 4th and 5th graders doing more involved projects.) I also have a lot of fun planning events for the women’s ministry, such as our annual spring tea, which I’ll begin working on as soon as I get through my current whirlwind of shows and Christmas. My daughter is also very artistic and we like to spend our free time doing art workshops and creating together.

For the most part, the work I sell is my jewelry made with sterling silver, Swarovski crystals, hand dyed silk ribbons, and lampwork beads curated from talented bead artists around the world. I started out just making a few pieces for myself back in 2003, with no experience or classes. Friends kept encouraging me to sell my work, but I didn’t seriously consider it until strangers inquired about the jewelry I was wearing. In 2004 I went into business, but didn’t truly put myself out there until a few years ago. I now have work at Pure Roots in Westerville, Glass Axis in Franklinton, and participate in several shows a year around central Ohio and back home in PA. Suzanne and I crossed paths at one of those Ohio shows – the Yellow Springs Street Fair!

I would say that my creative style preference leans toward colorful and whimsical.  In my quest for more of each, I’ve recently added some fun upcycled light bulb ornaments to my line up and am having a blast working on them.

My biggest sellers right now are the ribbon wraps, with lampwork and sterling beads on knotted silk ribbons, that can be worn wrapped and tied as a bracelet/anklet or tied on as a necklace. The lariat ribbon necklaces, with the beads at the ends of the ribbons are also very popular.


I do have an Etsy shop, but the listings are pretty sparse because it’s so time consuming to create listings for one of a kind items – I’d much rather spend more time creating actual things! If you see something you like among those few listings, please use the code GLORIOUS2015 to save 15%. https://www.etsy.com/shop/sweettoothstudio?ref=hdr_shop_menu

A better selection can be found on my facebook page. I try to make sure I post pictures of everything and keep the sold and available albums updated, but with the holiday season busyness I can’t guarantee that it is still available. If you are interested in anything pictured there, just message me and I’ll let you know if it’s still available or if I can make something similar for you.  Mention that you heard about me here and I’ll give you the same 15% discount I’m offering for Etsy!

You can also follow me on Instagram by clicking this link: https://www.instagram.com/sweettoothstudio/ or by searching for @sweettoothstudio

You can also email me at [email protected].  If you are in the Columbus area and want a chance to earn free jewelry or host a fundraiser for a school group or ministry, I will do private shows. There is no presentation, since I don’t like being a pushy salesperson. I simply set up and what guests see, they get. No orders to place – they can take their purchases home with them.  You can read more about the details here. https://www.facebook.com/notes/sweettoothstudio/sweettoothstudio-trunk-show-hosting-plan/10152961756344041

Thank you so much for sharing, Kristi! I had such a hard time picking pieces to feature because they are all so beautiful and unique! Don’t forgot to take advantage of those 15% off discounts!!!!


If you are interested in having your shop featured on my blog, please email me at [email protected] I’d love to feature your shop!!

To see other shop features and take advantage of their incredible creativity and discount codes click here.

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