Braids with yarn extensions

{Photo 1: What Adelia's hair used to look like, occasionally.}

{Photo 2: What Adelia's hair used to look like, regularly. And, oh... I'm going to miss those little poofy pigtails. Because somehow I think that now that we've started the braiding? There's no going back.}

{Photo 3: What Adelia's hair looks like now, with braids.}

The secret to Adelia's cute new braids is a skein of black yarn. I used black Lion Brand Homespun acrylic yarn, because it has a natural "kink" to the yarn, similar to her hair, but I'm sure you could use any acrylic yarn.

Basically you twist a couple of strands of yarn around the top of a section of hair, and braid it down so that the braid consists of two parts yarn and one part hair. Then you braid beyond the end of hair (with yarn only) and tie it off.

The beauty of braids (or so I'm told) is that they should last 4-6 weeks. If that's true, it is definitely worth the hours it took to get those braids IN, because that will save me all the time it takes me every day to do her hair.

I started on Thursday night, and washed and conditioned her hair. Then I sectioned it off (into four sections~ similar to Photo 1) and worked on one of the front sections. Adelia was strapped into her seat, we were having family movie night, and she had a lollipop. Now. The lollipop may not have been the best idea since a couple of times it got stuck in the yarn and that was trouble. But it worked as far as keeping her occupied and happy. [Total time for this first session: about 2 hours, what with the washing and parting and figuring it out for the first time.]

The following morning I approached her with a spray bottle, combs and strands of yarn, and began the other front section, and did a bit of that while she played on the floor next to the kids. [Total time: 20 minutes]

Then I finished that section and began on the back sections when she was strapped into her chair for breakfast. [Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes]

Later that evening I put on another video for her and worked on finishing the back sections [Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes]

I spent another 20-30 minutes the following day finishing the back section. And that was that.

I had a wonderfully accommodating subject (for a little girl who NEVER sits still). On two of those occasions I asked her if she wanted mama to work on her braids, and she was all excited and sat right down to do it! I was stunned, but am chalking it up to the fact that she felt like it was special time with me and she actually likes me playing with her hair (when it's not too tangly!)

A couple of other thoughts before you link away:

-I don't think I ever would have attempted this if Mark hadn't been home to help occupy the other kids while I was spending all this time braiding.

-I think the way you choose to end your braids depends largely on your daughter's hair. You'll likely have to experiment a bit. One of the links suggested I just "twist" the ends and then tie it off. Adelia's hair is too loose for that; her hair just untwisted and it wasn't secure. I had to braid to the end and then knot the yarn to tie it off securely.
Without further ado, here are the links to the tutorials I watched to learn how to do this:

Yarn Braid Tutorial Part II:
This was the first one I found. (Begin watching at :50). This was a great tutorial because the camera zooms in so that you can see what she's doing really well. The only thing I did differently is that I used two strands of yarn, as shown in the following tutorials:

How to do Yarn Extensions, Part 1 and
How to do Yarn Extensions, Part 2.
You're going to love those last two links because it's just this cute mom that has learned to do amazing things with her daughter's hair. In fact, I bookmarked her entire "set" of You Tube videos, and that link is here if you'd like to find out other ways to do your own daughter's hair. Trust me, you will be inspired!

I hope this helps!

Birthdays and braids

First of all, thank you~ all of you~ for your wonderful suggestions on my last post. Even though I didn't use all of your ideas, I now have all sorts of great ideas for future meals-for-many! Thank you.

This past week was kind of crazy. We had a stomach virus going around our house (even Mark was home sick, which is saying a LOT) and in the midst of that I wondered for about the zillionth time why I had decided to have all these people over for dinner. On Thursday I was out running errands and saw a cute mama with her two cute girls walking through the mall. One of her girls had her hair in braids. I asked her where she'd gotten that done- as I have wanted to have Adelia's hair braided at some point- and this mama told me she did it herself! So she gave me quick instructions, this perfectly cute stranger, and told me I could find tutorials online, too. So I left that little shopping trip with the notion in my head that I had to learn how to get Adelia's hair into braids... by her birthday. Because clearly I didn't have enough on my plate or anything. :)

[For those of you who don't know... this is sort of a major undertaking, involving HOURS of work]

But look:

I'm actually rather proud of myself for how they turned out for my first time trying this. I'll spare you all the details, but if anyone would like to know any more information about it, let me know and I'll do another post on it.

We had a great day celebrating our girl. :)

This is our tiny beauty just days after bringing her home:

As an adoptive mama, I am just so grateful that God chose Adelia for us and us for Adelia. It is a very humbling, very wondrous thing. [And- can I just say as a total tangent?- for anyone considering adoption who has wondered if you could possibly love an adopted child as much as you could love your biological child? Yes, yes, and a million times yes.] I am so full of joy that God saw fit to bring Adelia into our family. It is a remarkable privilege to be her mama. (And Isaias', too!)

Anyway-- we had our extended family and these dear friends over for dinner tonight~ to celebrate both Adelia's and Audra's birthdays (just two days apart, these two). After all was said and done, we were eight less than I had originally anticipated, so it wasn't *quite* as crazy.

We did a burrito/tostada bar- with Cutzi's homemade refried beans- (and, Cutzi, actually- your Pico de Gallo recipe, too. Which I don't think I got directly from you but got from the Hollisters years ago and make it frequently!) So- flour tortillas, tostadas, beans, taco meat, and shredded chicken, and all the fixins, but ESPECIALLY the guacamole, because that's my personal favorite. Our great friends brought an amazing fruit salad~ mangos and oranges and blueberries (in some yummy sauce, guys? Or was that just the flavor of all the fruit? Anyway- SO good.) And then we had cake for dessert. Our birthday standby: banana cake with cream cheese frosting. And my mom made a cutely-decorated chocolate cake, too~ because we needed (or I thought we needed) three 9x13's.

Anyway~ it was a great event but one I won't likely be doing again anytime soon because of the EXPENSE! (Sheesh! Clearly I didn't choose the most cost-effective meal.) But I'm glad we did it and I truly was pretty relaxed about it until about an hour before everyone arrived and the chicken wasn't shredding and Adelia opened the fridge and pulled over the bowl of Pico that began spilling and Audra just wanted to be held and was crying from the floor and I may or may not have done a little yelling at Adelia for the Pico incident, and then a little more yelling that came out like this: "MARK! (repeat 3x) I need you right now. NOW. I need you to take one of the girls right this very instant." (And he, being the wonderful man that he is, took BOTH girls.) Anyway- so I was a bit frazzled there at the end. And that was even WITH my mom there, helping me get all those final details done.

We are incredibly blessed to have so many people who love our girls and desire to be a part of their birthdays.

And Audra devoured every last bit of her first piece of cake.

What, pray tell me, was I thinking!?

Okay, friends: I need your help.

We're having a birthday party here this weekend for our little girls (Adelia, very soon to be 2, and Audra, very soon to be 1). ~sob~

Usually we have our families over to celebrate our kids' birthdays. We have big families, so we generally do dessert only. The thing is, for some crazy reason, right before I mailed out the invites I made a last-minute decision to just go ahead and invite everyone to come on over for dinner, too.

For 37 people.

I don't know if that seems like a lot of people to you, but it does to me. For those of you who have been to my house, you know why. I adore our home, but it's not really meant to entertain large quantities of people.

I want to do it, I do. I figured it's a good weekend because a)Mark has a four-day weekend so we can do this thing together and b)it's two parties in one so we should do it up big.

But now I have NO IDEA what to serve that many people.

Here's what I've come up with and then negated:

Soup seemed the easiest choice, but then: it's not practical since everyone will be eating it on their laps. Or standing. So... not soup.

Then I decided a Burrito Bar would be good. I could make up a big pot of homemade beans and shredded chicken or pork and have all sorts of toppings out and everyone could pile up. But then- that's a lot of prep-work with the chopping of all the different toppings and then you have a lot of standing around our small kitchen, loading up on toppings. So.. that's out.

Lasagna or Spaghetti? Too splattery, since, again: everyone is eating it on their laps.

Help me out, please? I'm banking on the fact that you will have some great suggestions for me! Feel free to give any tips whatsoever that might be handy for the flow of so many people in a small space, too.

You're the best!

Current read-alouds

What we're reading to the kids right now:

Thank you to Rebecca for the historical fiction series recommendation. We're enjoying this series so far. It's been great for the boys (Vikings!) and for Ella, too (one of the main characters is a girl).

Mark is still reading the Narnia series to us all in the evenings...

On that note: a few days ago I learned that my boys (4 and 6) both think that there's a certain picture frame at grandma's house that if they could just reach it and open it, will lead them into Narnia. They truly think this, and we are enjoying coming up with all sorts of scenarios with them about what adventures they might take if they truly make it. :)

On my bedside table: books!

Here's what I'm reading:

So that you don't get a kink in your neck:

Beth Moore's So Long, Insecurity

Just got it yesterday and I love it so far.

Francis Chan's Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

Also good. Almost done.

Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance

Recommended to me by some friends in small group. I haven't decided yet what I think. The writing is good.

Deborah Raney's Over the Waters
A novel about missionaries in Haiti. My mom read it and passed it on to me.

Ann Ruethiling and Patti Pitcher's Under the Chinaberry Tree
Recommended here, by dear Elise.

Richard Stearns' The Hole in Our Gospel
Still reading this one, that I started long ago. It's a hard one to read- in a challenging, what do I do with all of this? sort of way.

Mary Poplin's Finding Calcutta
Loving this so far. A Christmas gift from my parents.

Yep, all at the same time. It's how I do things. :)

And you? What are you reading?

Timberdoodle sale

For those of you who are interested, Timberdoodle is having their yearly damaged and closeout sale today.


I love to sew. I don't have a lot of time to do it, but I do try to catch snippets of time~ every couple of weeks or so, to get in a bit of sewing. It's good for that creative side of me that can so easily get buried.

Here is a quilt I finished in the fall:

and this is the one I'm working on right now for Audra:

Now if I could just find the perfect fabric for the back, I could finish it!