Back To School

We may be wearing masks, standing six feet apart and washing hands every hour on the hour…or some of us may be greeting school friends and teachers via ZOOM. But let’s hear it for that back to school excitement. I love school! So many happy memories for me. To celebrate each year, I decorate with antique school memorabilia. Enjoy the whimsical memories of school days long ago.

So many marbles some teacher must have confiscated after recess.
Curious George counts on his abacus.
Oh the sound of a school bell…
Everything you would need in that one room schoolhouse.
The Princess said the old books are “fascinating”…I agree.

Inspire me eMonday. Tuesday at our house. Inspire me Tuesday . Metamorphosis. You’re the Star. Tuesday with a twist. Wonderful Wednesday. Keep in touch. Beautifully made. Party in your pjs. Wednesday blog hop. Your whim. Share your style. Home and garden. Waste not. Grandma’s House DIY. Vintage charm. Friday features. Friendship Friday. Funtastic Friday. Grace at Home. . Thursday favorites. BFF open house. Morning Cup Of Joe. Home matters. Sweet Inspiration. Best of the weekend. Create bake grow. . Fresh market. Faith and family. Snickerdoodle. Happiness is homemade. Silver pennies. Create with joy. Over the Moon Creatively crafty Senior salon. Turn about Tuesday Home style gathering celebrate your story Little cottage Saturday Sparks Farmhouse Friday All About Home Flaunt it Friday Pink Saturday encouraging hearts and home fresh farm Tuesday. Wednesday Centerpiece. Simple homestead

Friday Favorites # 544

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A Broken and Beautiful Smile

July is Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness Month...I only missed but a few weeks

Sometimes in the business of life, I forget about the marvelous adventure my family is taking, I find it comforting to take a chance to reflect on the amazing progress that has already been completed. But the adventure continues and it is beautiful but it is  also hard…no, it’s excruciatingly hard…to contemplate what will be happening in the future-but it’s part of the journey…hers and ours. We are grateful for that.

Sometime, in the early stages of our adoption journey, my husband and I had to make the difficult decision as to what special need child files we would be open to review. With the average wait of 6 years and climbing for  “healthy” girls from China, the special needs program offered a shorter wait and often included very minor or correctable needs.

After much prayer we listed the needs we felt we could manage and waited for God to put his plan into action. Flash forward about 6 months and we received that highly anticipated phone call and email file! As I gazed at that beautiful face I noticed her big brown eyes and smooth skin, her adorable ears and her gentle hands…I did not even notice her unrepaired unilateral complete cleft…it just did not matter, she was our baby.

Our Princess was 20 months old and living in the remote mountains of Northern China.

But what is a cleft palate/lip?  A cleft is a gap in the mouth that didn’t close during the early stages of pregnancy, and this kind of birth defect happens more often than you may realize. It is estimated that, worldwide, a child is born every 3 minutes with a cleft — about one in 500-750 births. Sometimes a cleft condition can be easy to see because it’s an opening in the lip. Sometimes it’s harder to tell if someone has a cleft because it’s an opening in the roof of their mouth (called the palate.)


There are many risk factors that can increase the likelihood of birth defects. While some causes are still unknown, genetics and family history, pre-existing medical conditions, poor nutrition and exposure to harmful environmental substances can affect the healthy development of a baby. As a result, these factors could also be the cause of a baby born with a cleft lip or cleft palate. We will never know why it happened, but we will never know where her outstanding fine motor skills and dimples came from either…and that’s OK.

Our Princess after we met her in China, already charming her Mama and Baba

Cleft lip and cleft palate can be repaired through a series of surgeries and orthondontics.  While it can be corrected, it really is not an “easy fix”…despite what you may see in Operation Smile advertising.   Our brave girl has had 3 major surgeries and some pretty extensive speech therapy with quite a few more surgeries in her future…continuing into her young adulthood.


Her first surgery at Johns Hopkins

She is a spunky bright little girl who charms everyone she meets. She is opinionated and sassy with a flair for the dramatic. Her empathy has no limits. She is our joy and we are humbled and honored that God has entrusted her into our care. It really is a miracle.

Our sweet is 7 already and very ready for school to start!

Inspire me Monday. Metamorphosis. You’re the Star. Tuesday with a twist. Wonderful Wednesday. Keep in touch. Beautifully made. Party in your pjs. Wednesday blog hop. Your whim. Share your style.Waste not. Grandma’s House DIY. Vintage charm. Friendship Friday. Funtastic Friday. Grace at Home. Thursday favorites. BFF open house. Morning Cup Of Joe. Home matters. . Create bake grow. Snickerdoodle. Happiness is homemade. Silver pennies. Create with joy. Over the Moon Creatively crafty Senior salon. Turn about Tuesday celebrate your story Little cottage Saturday Sparks Farmhouse Friday All About Home Flaunt it Friday Pink Saturday encouraging hearts and home fresh farm Tuesday. Simple homestead dare to share

Friday Favorites #543

Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:

Jerri at Simply Sweet HomeTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Lisa at Condo BluesTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Amy at A Day of Small ThingsPin

Penny at Penny’s PassionTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Jennifer at Busy Being JenniferTwitter | FB | Pin | Inst

If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!

<a href=”http://www.simplysweethome.com/category/friday%20favorites/&#8221; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”><img src=”http://www.simplysweethome.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Friday-Favorites-Button.jpg&#8221; border=”0″ /></a>You can show your love for this week’s favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!

And if you love all of this week’s favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week’s linky party! Continue reading

Lemon Love

There is something so summery about lemons. I love to surround myself with their wonderful scent, color and flavor. So I guess it is no surprise that my shower gel choice is Lemon Custard by Philosophy. I have stared at the bottle during each shower to read the luscious Lemon custard recipe printed on the bottle. This morning…the bottle was empty, summer is ending as well so it is not a terrible loss, but how could I not make the easy custard recipe. So I did. And it is as good as I imaged during a summer of showers.

The usual cast of Characters

1/2 cup white sugar.

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

2 egg yolks

3/4 cup water

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 tbsp of butter

The Steps To Glory

1. Over medium heat combine sugar, cornstarch and salt

2. Beat egg yolks and water and whisk into sugar mixture

3. Simmer until thick

4. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and butter

5. Spoon into tall glass and layer with fruit or fruit sauce. I used vanilla strawberry and chill for 2 hours before serving.

Enjoy on a hot summer afternoon…the Princess is reserving judgement.

Inspire me Monday. Metamorphosis. You’re the Star. Tuesday with a twist. Wonderful Wednesday. Keep in touch. Beautifully made. Party in your pjs. Wednesday blog hop. Your whim. Share your style. Waste not. Grandma’s House DIY. Vintage charm.Friendship Friday. Funtastic Friday. Grace at Home. Thursday favorites. BFF open house. Morning Cup Of Joe. Home matters. Create bake grow . Snickerdoodle. Happiness is homemade. Silver pennies. Create with joy. Over the Moon Creatively crafty Senior salon. Turn about Tuesday celebrate your story Little cottage Saturday Sparks Farmhouse Friday All About Home Flaunt it Friday Pink Saturday encouraging hearts and home fresh farm Tuesday. What’s for dinner?

Friday Favorites #542

<a href=”http://www.simplysweethome.com/category/friday%20favorites/&#8221; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”><img src=”http://www.simplysweethome.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Friday-Favorites-Button.jpg&#8221; border=”0″ /></a>You can show your love for this week’s favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!

And if you love all of this week’s favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week’s linky party! Continue reading

Summer is Still Summer

What a strange summer it has been, not a lot of things to pencil into my planner, but simple pleasures around the house are leaving me, mostly, content. I know the Princess has missed her camps and programs, but bike rides and walks around our lovely neighborhood have taken on more meaning. Our garden and porch flowers have been flourishing with daily care, without the interruption of vacations. Would I want to repeat this summer again in 2021…probably not, but my family has found joy in this season, and I definitely would like to experience that again no matter the circumstances.

Cheery summer fireplace.
Nesting has been our word this season.
Lots of time to watch the birds.
Simple pleasures
And lots of time to make homemade pasta…to eat with tomato sauce with tomatoes, garlic and herbs from our own garden.

Inspire me Monday. Inspire me Tuesday. Metamorphosis. You’re the Star. Tuesday with a twist. Wonderful Wednesday. Keep in touch. Beautifully made. Party in your pjs. Wednesday blog hop. Your whim. Share your style. Waste not. Grandma’s House DIY. Vintage charm. Friendship Friday. Funtastic Friday. Grace at Home. Thursday favorites. BFF open house. Morning Cup Of Joe. Home matters. Create bake grow. Snickerdoodle. Happiness is homemade. Silver pennies. Create with joy. Over the Moon Creatively crafty Senior salon. Turn about Tuesday celebrate your story Little cottage Farmhouse Friday All About Home Pink Saturday encouraging hearts and home . Wednesday Centerpiece. Simple homestead dare to share