Thursday, October 25, 2012

What we've been up to...

I thought maybe I'd do a little post about 
what we've been up to lately!

Share some Instagram love with you all!

Do you follow me on Instagram?
My username is storehousecrafts if you want to!


So, I'm a regular at our local Goodwill...I've found some great deals!
This mod desk for $5 might be my best find yet though.
However, it is sitting in the garage waiting to be painted 
(story of my life!) HA! 
I'm thinking hot pink and keeping the leg tips gold and maybe
painting more gold tip on the legs...fun desk/sewing table!


The boys room is getting some work...this was after I 
painted their room. The navy wall is awaiting another coat.
See? I always have projects waiting...
They have since gotten new bedding too!
I'll have to do another post when it's all done!


I got some fun flea market time with a friend recently and 
scored this lovely little desk!
It's the perfect side table and stores books/mags/legos....ha!
It is turquoise although you can't tell from the picture.


I've had the honor of listening to my hubby preach twice 
in "big church" lately!
It's been the biggest joy to see him do something he's so
passionate about and great at! 
I'm one happy wifey!


Gavin took a little class field trip to the zoo!
I was a chaperone...I'm rarely able to help with things like this
since I have another little one who is a handful,
but this was a special day!!
They got a little pumpkin afterwards from the zoo pumpkin patch!


Midwest autumns are the best! 
This is outside my porch window....sigh...


I won this book in a giveaway! I'm a huge Christine Caine fan.
She is the founder of The A21 Campaign who fights
against human trafficking. 
I've been so excited to get it in the mail and it finally came!!
Can't wait to dig in!


Little Bear started speech and developmental therapy this past week...
he's doing really great.
And afterwards we get some time just the two of us before Gavin
gets out of kindergarten. It's so good!


This one gets special time while Sawyer naps in the afternoons!
Just the two of us and sometimes the Star Wars gang.
It's so sweet!


Well, hope you're having an amazing week!
We're bracing for a little cold front coming through tonight!
I'm wishing we had raked the leaves while it was warm...
oops!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

When they just need a little help


This is my youngest...



He is awesome!
Adventurous, feisty, funny, smart, and unbelievably cute! (I mean, seriously...look at that face!)

He's also been struggling.

We have three boys and each of our boys have been a little slower to talk. They have been very active physically and speech has just taken a bit to catch up. So, I thought that Sawyer was the same...just needed a little extra time.

But, when I noticed he wasn't catching up at two and a half...we decided that we should look into getting some help.

I've never had to ask for professional help concerning my kids before...this is new territory for me and I was surprised at how vulnerable it made ME feel! I feel a little helpless...like my child is struggling and there is nothing I can personally do to make it better.

I'm asking God, "What is it that makes my heart hurt in this process? Why do I feel this way?".

I immediately felt like the Lord said, "It's because you think you can meet all of Sawyer's needs."

Wow. Do I? Do I think that it's all on me to meet every need he has?

Yes. I think I feel like if I don't take care of every need he has myself...that it somehow means I'm not a good mom...that I'm not doing my "job" well.

I read Philippians 4:19 today.


"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus."


Paul didn't say that he would meet their needs...he declared that God would do it all! Paul had experienced so much and just a few verses earlier he talks about how he has known need and he has known plenty. That he has learned a secret to being content and that secret is that he can do all things through Christ's strength and that GOD WILL MEET HIS NEEDS.

Period.

I need new revelation of this today in my spirit with Sawyer.

New revelation that God alone is his "need meeter." That He alone can care for all his needs present and future. God alone is strong enough and rich enough to take it all on.

So, I'm trusting God today with my little one's needs. I'm trusting him with my child's struggle. I'm asking for help from God and from those around me who are equipped to help. I'm willing to partner with my child in his process and see him grow and thrive.

The Lord is going to do something mighty and I'm excited to see Him move!



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Adoption Tax Credit




Have you adopted in the past?
Are you in the process?
Are you thinking about adoption in the future?

Then, welcome to your new job as an advocate!! HA!

I first heard about the situation with the adoption tax credit by doing some digging online. We are hoping to start our adoption process in the near future and I was wanting to know more details about what the tax credit really looks like for a family like mine.

So, I'm by no means and expert, but after listening to a webinar online this week...

I'M FIRED UP!!

I was completely clueless about how the tax credit actually worked, but Save the Adoption Tax Credit is an amazing resource. They were the ones who put on a webinar where they explained the situation more clearly.

This history was so helpful and came from here.

History of the Adoption Tax Credit:


  • Since its introduction in 1997, the adoption tax credit has historically been a non-partisan issue widely supported by Congress, and available in some form every year.
  • The adoption tax credit is available for eligible families that adopt through foster care, intercountry adoption, and private domestic adoption.
  • Over time, the rules of the credit have changed. The requirements for determining families’ eligibility have changed, those adopting children with special needs became eligible to claim the credit without expenses, and the amount of the credit has increased. Before 2010, the credit could be carried forward over multiple years, and in 2010 and 2011 the credit was made refundable, allowing families to receive the full benefit during a single tax year regardless of taxes due that year.
  • Although many bills have been introduced to make the adoption tax credit permanent, they have never passed. Instead, it has always been extended or amended as a part of other pieces of legislation, including the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act in 2001, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act in 2010, and the Tax Relief Act at the end of 2010.
  • In 2012, the credit amount decreased to $12,650. It is no longer refundable, eliminating the availability of the credit to some lower- or moderate-income families without tax liability. The 2012 credit may be carried forward for five additional years, applying to each year’s liability until the full credit amount is used or time expires.
  • The current adoption tax credit will sunset December 31, 2012. If Congress does not take action, the credit will revert back to $6,000 and apply only to the limited number of special needs adoptions that have adoption expenses. No credit will remain for most adoptions.
So, basically on January 01, 2013 the existing tax credit will expire and there will no longer be a tax credit available for adopting families (unless you are adopting a special needs child from the U.S.). 

And honestly, the tax credit as it exists today is not very helpful for most families! As a non-refundable tax credit....a typical middle to lower income family who adopts will only receive about $6,000 of the available almost $13,000. 

This was the best example from the webinar.

Example:

A family has $5,000 in federal income taxes withheld from their paychecks during the year. When they do their taxes, the amount from the tax table shows their federal income tax is $1,000. Because they have no other taxes (like self-employment) or credits, they receive a refund of $4,000. If they adopted with expenses of $8,000, and the credit was not refundable, they would receive a maximum of $1,000 in adoption tax credit for the year (meaning that they have $5,000 instead of $4,000 refunded to them). Since the credit can be carried forward up to five more years, in the end they would get $6,000 over a six-year period.

If the credit was fully refundable, they would receive a refund of $12,000 in one year — their $4,000 regular refund plus the full $8,000 in their adoption expenses.


What can you do to help?

You can start calling, emailing, and writing to your state senators and representatives. There are two specific bills that we are asking them to sponsor and help pass. If these bills are passed...it will make the tax credit inclusive, permanent, refundable, and flat for special needs adoptions. 

We can totally do this!! Go here to learn how to be and advocate for the adoption tax credit.

I would highly recommend going here too for the webinar slides and recording. It was so helpful in putting into clear language the confusion of tax credit law for me!

So, go look up for state information and make a difference!!

Go be an advocate and change a families life forever!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Women can change the world

I remember hearing about this movement and book a while back,

PBS is now airing the documentary...and it's left me speechless.
I'm all at once desperately heartbroken while also so full of hope.

Things are changing.
Voices are being heard in the darkest of places.
And the Kingdom of Heaven will be found on Earth.
Daughters of the King....your time has come.


Monday, October 1, 2012

The World's Best Lasagna...seriously!

So, I have to make a confession...
Around the Otts' house lately, there have not been a lot of elaborate home cooked meals.
This is mostly due to a tight budget and crazy schedule...however, sometimes you just need to roll your sleeves up and do the right thing.

And that is make lasagna...
FROM SCRATCH.

Ya heard me. It's a tedious process, but man...it's so very worth it.

So, I'm going to share with you today the recipe for the "World's Best Lasagna."
I found this recipe on All Recipes. And it is literally called "World's Best Lasagna"...no joke.

And it really is.

Here's the link to the original recipe. HERE.

I wish I could go all PW on you with pictures for each step, but really the recipe is great and you can totally do this. Do not be intimidated.


There are a lot of ingredients...but they are all so necessary. And don't, I repeat don't leave out the sausage...I'm not kidding. The sausage is what makes it.


The awesome thing is that the recipe makes a ton of sauce and I never use it all in the actual lasagna, so the bonus is that you have amazing slow cooked sauce leftover! Freeze it or use it over ravioli for another dinner (like I did...I like carbs in case you didn't know!).


It's heavenly!! Fresh mozzarella people...not that pre-shredded part skim junk. The real deal.

So, there ya go.
You now have a recipe for dinner this week! Invite friends over and enjoy...

or...

make it for yourself and eat it for lunch every day following. Ahem. I mean, not that I did that or anything.



Happy Monday, ya'll!