Friday, January 28, 2011

Homemade Toothpaste

A friend back in CO got me thinking about the use of fluoride in our water as well as toothpaste.  She was using tooth soap so I researched it and took the plunge!  David did not like the soapy taste and I honestly wasn't a big fan of the taste either but I bought it, so I used it.  Then, I started hearing more bad things about fluride, so I bought me some fluoride free toothpaste.  I ran out recently and decided to take the plunge and make my own!  It was even easier to make than the deodorant.

A few other fluoride facts...
*Countries that ban the use of fluoride in water: Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Sweden and Switzerland.
*Fluoride can be a benefit for tooth decay (for topical use) but if ingested there are much worse side effects; such as: brain damage, thyroid functionality and can diminish bone strength and risk of bone cancer.
*A Weston Price Foundation article said: "Fluoride is any combination of elements containing the fluoride ion. In its elemental form, fluorine is a pale yellow, highly toxic and corrosive gas. In nature, fluorine is found combined with minerals as fluorides. It is the most chemically active nonmetallic element of all the elements and also has the most reactive electro-negative ion. Because of this extreme reactivity, fluorine is never found in nature as an uncombined element."
More facts and FAQ on fluoride found here.

On to the homemade toothpaste...
What you'll need:
A thoroughly washed soap dispenser or old toothpaste tube
1 Tablespoon of castile liquid soap (I used Dr. Bronner's Peppermint)
5 Tablespoons of coconut oil
1 Tablespoon of olive oil or water
A dash of Stevia (I used Truvia since we had it)
Essential oil if you are not using a flavored castile soap 
I found my recipe here!
 Mash and mix the ingredients until you have the consistency you like. If you want the paste more runny, add water or olive oil.
Add the toothpaste to your container!  Easy peasy right?  If you use an old toothpaste container just cut the end off and pour the toothpaste in and tape the end (I was scared it would leak).  Also remember that you do not use a lot, only a small amount of the paste goes a long way.

Again, David isn't a big fan of this and I'm still getting used to it.  It definitely makes my teeth feel clean! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Do you know any Koreans?  If not, here are some celebrities who have Korean blood.  Sometimes we feel like we know them right?

Known for her role in Grey's Anatomy

Known for his mad football skills for the Steelers and is an advocate for the acceptance of biracial youth in S. Korea

Known for their role on Lost
*They are not married to each other*

Known for her role in Glee

Known her fashion design and modeling skills

Monday, January 24, 2011

Peak Performance - Nepal

Check this video out! For those that don't know, Kelly and I met in Nepal on a summer-long mission trip (Kelly had been the year before, too). We also went back to Nepal for a month after we were married. Our fearless leader from our trip, Scott Brown, founded 212 Degrees. He takes college students to Nepal, Haiti, and Turkey. This video shows what a trip looks like---it also brings back memories of the many places we visited back in 2001!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Why international adoption?

People have asked, why are you adopting when you can have your own kids?  And, why adoption at all?  And, how did you decide to adopt internationally - specifically S.Korea?

When I am interested in a particular family's journey or just want to know them better I ask a lot of questions!  I love questions.  So, we're answering your questions, even if you haven't asked!

Ever since we both had the desire to adopt, over 10 years ago, we assumed it would be international.  Since our adoption desire was planted and grew deeper while we were over seas seeing orphans in need, we felt led towards international adoption!  As we broadened our understanding of the need to place orphans in homes, whether that be in the U.S. or abroad, we were open to the idea of either international or domestic adoption.

We prayed about our decision and ultimately felt led to adopt from Asia.  Since we have such a strong love for Asia and that part of the world and the wonderful culture and beautiful people and have visited multiple times we finally decided we would adopt from Asia.  As we researched, we became overwhelmed at how and where do we start this process?  Through the research of where to start the process we were also researching different country guidelines for international adoption.

It basically came down to the fact that we only qualified to adopt through South Korea!  It was like God was pointing at the S.Korea program and saying, that's where your baby is :)  For example, to adopt from China both people adopting have to be 30 years old in order to start an application (besides the fact that the wait for a healthy child is 5+ years now!), Thailand the couple must be infertile (with medical documentation to prove it).  Even S.Korea has some tough regulations (adoptive parents weight restrictions, years married, income requirements). While there were a few other countries in the mix but their adoption programs were somewhat unstable or had very long processes.  Most of the restrictions are put there to protect the children but it's also hard not to wonder if the country is seeing this process as more of a business than a way to help kids find a home and family to love them instead of an institution to house them.

S.Korea has an awesome program and we are honored to adopting from there.  Some of the benefits for a child that ends up in the system in S.Korea: the birth mother can come to the organization we are working with in S.Korea and have food, a place to stay and medical care for up to one year, the child will be only in one foster home the entire time they wait to be placed with a family, only one child is placed in each foster home, the child will be in the system for at least 5 months in order to allow for domestic adoption (giving the child the opportunity to be raised by a Korean in his/her birth place) and finally the timing and course of the S.Korean adoption system is fairly predictable (which mostly just gives us comfort).

We found this adoption state government site very helpful while researching.

Find other FAQ's here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

our Cuddle Bug

I think you know we love our "Baby Girl" but... we just can't help but share some of the reasons why!

1. She's very good at communicating with sign language and has recently added inflections or words to her signs (maybe the beginning of actually talking?) Here she is signing "water" and "more"!
2. Even though she's started to test us every few minutes, to see if the rules have changed, she's still cute. Well, most of the time. Here she is whining to either be picked up or I took something she wasn't supposed to have.
3. She's HAPPY! Almost all the time she's smiling and laughing, dancing and kissing. She likes to play very independently. Every few minutes of play she'll come over and lean her head in for a kiss (see the below video for an example). We love her affection! What a blessing!
4. She's playful. It goes along with being happy but she's hard to describe, she's more like an experience :) Norah is so great that words don't do justice, kinda like when we saw Mt. Everest! Honestly, she's better (not bias or anything am I?!)!
5. She already wants to be like Mommy! It's a little scary but oh so fun to have a little lady in the house wanting my necklaces and asking for me to put blush on her (not with words but sign language). I'm totally looking forward to where our relationship takes us as mother and daughter. I pray God blesses us richly with deep conversations and memories of laughter... I know, I'm getting ahead myself here since there will be days of discipline and frustration and maybe a little worry first!
6. She ADORES her Dada. When I say "Daddy's home" Norah and Wrigley both get out of control happy! Norah says something like "Dada" and gets a little giddy, stands at the gate where he comes in and squeals with delight when she sees him! They have a special bond and we can sense the love she has for David and the security he brings for her.
7. She's sensitive. Sometimes, when naps don't go as planned and other kids steal her toys she cries. It's kinda cute.
8. She mimics us! She pretends to talk on the phone a lot... sometimes she actually uses a phone to pretend but sometimes it's her hand, sometimes it's a remote control or the iPod - so creative already!
9. She's honestly really funny and she knows it! She loves being chased by Wrigley or us. She run away and looks back making sure you're chasing her, sometimes this results in her running into a wall. Here she is wearing my scarf and asking for me to chase her while we were at the mall!
10. She feeds herself. She's not the most coordinated yet but she's willing to try in order to get some food! We try to have her feed herself most of the time so she can learn that coordination and independence. It's fun to watch her figure it out.

Here's a really awesome video of Norah with her Grandma - again, so happy, so affectionate and so great at mimicking!

Friday, January 14, 2011

the great 28.

Yesterday was a GREAT day!  I turned 28 and I'm proud of it :)  My day was close to perfect and I just thought I would share.  The greatness started the night before when I arrived home from a Norwex party to find a post-it from the hubs.  It said something like this...

Happy Birthday Kel
reason #23 [there ended up being 28!]
I love your laugh and smile. I love it when you are happy and talk a lot [really!?].  I love it when you find me funny even when I'm not.

Throughout my day yesterday I found post-it notes alllll over the house telling me why my husband loves me and is thankful for me!  I mean c'mon, is there a better gift than encouragement?  I love being encouraged and David gets that I need that.

Besides all the love on the notes, I spent my day playing with Norah, sewing, reading and just loving life and being grateful for where I'm at in it.  Last night we had home group and David snuck a cake in there and I felt celebrated and encouraged again!

God is good all the time but it's days like yesterday where I recognize more easily His overflowing goodness in the everyday things.  I hope today is a day like that for you!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


As we wait for our littlest to come home we are learning about his birthplace!  As we learn, we'll share with you some interesting facts.

The South Korean flag is known as Taigeukgi.  Some of the meanings behind the crisp and clean S.Korean flag...
The background of the flag is white in order to symbolize the cleanliness of the people.  The "yin and yang" or Taegeuk represents the origin of all things - like all positive (red) and negative (blue) and the balance of the good and bad.  The four trigrams each represent (from the top left going clock-wise) heaven, water, earth and fire.  Heaven and earth are across from each other and water and fire across from each other again, causing balance.
Image used from here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

They get it!

Remember this post?  Well, before I even wrote that my sister-in-law and mom both had already gotten Norah two asian dolls!  I love that they get it and know that we desire diversity in our home.  I want to get Norah more dolls of color but I don't want to spoil her (or do I?)!  Oh yeah, I also saw an African American doll at Gymboree of all places!  I was happy to see that they are catching on too.  Here's some pictures of my cutie enjoying her new friends Gia & 아기 which is pronounced "ah-gee" - the Korean word for baby!

*Please note how my adorable daughter crosses her ankles regularly on her own!*
 Gia & "ah-gee"

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The end

We had a wonderful end to 2010 with a visit from Grandma and Grandpa Blomgren!  They came to explore Spokane and hang out with us for a week.  We did so many fun things both with them and also left them a few times with Norah!  The night they arrived David and I planned a festive meal using our nice dishes... I even made pie!  It was so fun to have guests to serve and to do Christmas at our place.  We/Norah opened many wonderful gifts including a fun kitchen to cook at!  

While they were here we also did the Spokane city drive (a fun loop around the whole town), went out to breakfast at one of our favorite local places, showed them around the base as well as David's office, did a little post Christmas shopping, David and I went skiing and on a date, we also were able to celebrate New Year's eve with our dear friends from home group!  Mostly it was just wonderful having them in our home and watching them chase Norah around the house, she loved it.
And... a new year's eve celebration...
 Kelly, Kathleen, Amy, Sarai & Mel (we were missing Kari, Amy & Tara!)

Jonathan, David, Dan, Jeff, Derek, Jason, Sam & Aaron (missing Joel & Travis!)

Monday, January 3, 2011

I am missing hanging Norah's diapers outside instead of inside on the rack...  I am missing the summer heat and using the deck for meal time but...
We are so blessed by this glorious view during the winter months!  God knows we need change sometimes and has blessed us with the different seasons.  

 What's your view where you're at?  I'd love to get a sneak peak :)


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