A cup of water and a slice of blueberry bread. Super soft blueberry bread. And a big person fork.

11.14eating-0111.14eating-0211.14eating-0311.14eating-0511.14eating-06Two years ago she was a year and a half old and had just joined our family. She was still eating only out of a bottle, but we figured we’d introduce soft foods, then solids and she’d be enjoying Taco Tuesday with us pretty quickly. Eating issues are not always just a matter of a kid not wanting to eat something. For many kids, it goes much deeper. Not everyone gets that. Most don’t. I didn’t. Two years and lots of therapy later, she has yet to try something solid (as in requires chewing). We’ve read the books. Met with the experts. Tried what feels like a million things. And yet her steps forward come about once a year. And, that is totally fine. I remember a year ago telling myself, “she won’t be only eating soft foods when she’s 16.” It was like my self-pep talk on hard days of mashing anything and everything. A year later, I am still mashing things but no longer needing those self-pep talks because it really just doesn’t matter. Maybe next year she will be joining us for Taco Tuesday. Or maybe it will be 5 years from now. Or maybe she won’t – ever. Whatever happens, I’ve good with it as long as she is good with it. The girl has spunk, sass, and is healthy….you don’t need tacos for those things to happen.

We’ll keep trying. We’ll keep explaining to teachers why she won’t eat the graham cracker snack and we’ll continue packing food when we head out. It used to feel like a big deal, but now it just feels normal. In the meantime, we’ll keep laughing each time she bravely tries something new. There will be lots of high fives and celebrations.

And when we least expect it, she’ll keep surprising us. The bread may be soft and mashable, but that is a fork and a fork was scary last week.


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  • becky d. - Triumphs come in all shapes and sizes…this week a fork…next week, the world!

  • celine - PTL!! Thanks for sharing her progress. Been reading your blog for eon years. And following her story …. So happy for her and you! ;) xoxo

  • Kelleyn - Baby steps ! We have been there. but not because of a cleft palate but she just would not eat. A year of therapy and one day out of the blue everything just changed and she started eating food.

  • Jelena - I’d say as long as they eat healthy, it doesn’t matter in which form it enters their mouth. Congrats on the fork!

  • Erica Baker - Good Job Sweet Girl! I can imagine how this part of the journey could be frustrating at time for both of you, but you keeping fighting for her to heal completely. The Lord is on your side.

  • Kelley - Yay Little One!! Great job!! She looks so happy and excited!! I absolutely LOVE seeing updates in her story! She is a special girl with SO many people praying for her!!

  • Katherine - Way to go little one!! I’m smiling ear to ear reading this!

  • Nini~ - She is a lucky little girl.

  • Tanya - This post made me smile! Good for her! And you. Good job. :-)

  • Sarah - Thank you for sharing her triumphs so we can celebrate with her and you!

    And thank you for the reminder, that in the season each kid is in that this to shall pass and it’s not for forever and it doesn’t define them. I really needed that reminder this morning.

  • Kimberly Oyler - bread!! that’s so great little one!!

  • Alycia Quiltygirl - You have such a good attitude – and with a little smile like that – you are doing it all right ;-) Kudos!!

  • Michelle Hill - I’ve been a “side line cheerleader” for little one for as long as you have been so generously sharing her feeding journey with us. She has come so far already. And with the enthusiasm and encouragement and support of her family, the sky is the limit. You are right, as long as she is happy and healthy, does it really matter that she eats tacos, or a smoothie or oatmeal?
    she’s awesome!

  • Meliss - She’s come so far, so proud of her and you guys. She has her “own schedule” and look how great she is at holding that dainty tea cup!

  • Jennifer - I love this. Your perspective is so sweet, encouraging, and a gift from the Lord. I tell my real-life friends all the time, you and I will be best friends in heaven. :)

  • Angie - Way to go Little One! One fork at a time.. you’ll get there when YOU are ready! (kisses)

  • Jenni - So many life lessons in this post. About patience and hope. I’ll be thinking about this all day!

  • Seamingly Sarah - Your acceptance of this issue and your love for her is so beautiful and makes me happy as I think about the fear of dark, nose blowing, bed wetting issues we face. Every kid has their thing and to accept it as their parent, accept them and love them just as they are is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Christin - Thats awesome Little One! So Brave!

  • Julie - I love your thought process, so wise and open to being flexible to what God has in store for you all. What a darling girl. Thank you for letting us share in your family’s lives.

  • Laura J - Who knew a story about a fork could make me cry? You rock Little One! You have people that you don’t even know that love you and cheer you on just because your Mom writes awesome stories. Love is a crazy thing.

  • kris saia - you are a wonderful writer. That’s all there is to it.

  • Jenny - You are such a good Momma! :)

  • amber - She is precious. And I love her jacket. And, eating soft, tasty bread with a fork for every meal? Would not be overrated in my book:). Way to go Little One!

  • Jacque - Thank you for sharing her journey with us and letting us join in celebrating her triumphs! I would love to learn more about the hurdles she (and several of my friends’ adopted children) face with food – do you have any links or resources that would give a background understanding that you could share?

  • Angela - Yay for forks!

  • Amy L. - Her smile says it all. I LOVE THIS!!

  • Kristin - Huge life lessons here. I really can’t express how meaningful these posts are for me, even though the specifics don’t relate to my life in any way. But the overall lessons…yes! Thank you for sharing!

  • Melanie - No one can imagine what this little girl has gone through in her first year. So high five for her beeing so brave!

    Hugs from Germany,

  • Diana - Wow!! That’s so awesome!

  • Sophia - I love your comment that you no longer need to give yourself a pep talk about it. Change is hard, but it’s not hard forever, not necessarily because the task changes, but because your attitude about it changes. Burdens are most often lifted through our evolving perspectives. You’ve gotten used to accommodating her needs and because you don’t lament it, it’s not so hard. I have six children under age 8 and people often ask how I do it. Of course it’s hard to do what sometimes seems like everything for everyone, but because I’ve had difficult times I know that they always end and there are always more good times to be had, too.

  • Christina - Look at that beautiful girl. Good job Little One!

  • Kerry - She is precious – I just want to give her a big hug! Your kids need to come have a play date with my 5 : )

  • Clare - Oh well done little one!
    Your smiles are so extraordinary – they light up your whole face and are so contagious – and that is just through a photo. It’s such a blessing that you all found each other. xCx

  • christina larsen - This post makes me smile.

  • Kate S. - The third picture (on the left) immediately reminded me of a scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

    I was thinking, with that big cheesy grin, so excited to have her photo taken while eating something new, she’s going to think eating is always a cause for celebration. Maybe one day she’ll be sending you pictures like this lady in the movie:


  • may - This is so sweet and your girl is so lovely. Thank you for sharing.

  • Andrea - Our China doll just turned 3 and celebrated 1 year with our family!! She is learning to talk and next we tackle the potty training :) I agree with you that these milestones are so amazingly exciting yet need to be done in their own time. It is such a blessing to see what a difference a year and the love of a family makes. Great job Mom, she is lucky to have you!

  • Rikki - Bless your heart mama.

  • Lisa - Little One, you are SO BRAVE! And so is your mama. I am learning with my little guy too, celebrate the milestones, remind each other of his courage, look back at how far we’ve come. Thanks for the sweet reminder. She is such a treasure.

  • Katie - Bless you and your sweet family! I love that you always see the joy in everything:)

  • Sydney O. - Thank you for sharing your daughter’s journey! We are still in the pep talk phase. My daughter is 16months and still has an unrepaired cleft palate. She never learned how to suck or swallow, so we feed her through a g-tube. But SOMEDAY we won’t. SOMEDAY she’ll order her own food and enjoy eating it. SOMEDAY I won’t worry that I forgot to pack the tube supplies or a bottle of formula. Someday could be never, but that won’t stop me from letting her try anything at her own pace. :)

  • Audra - Yay!! Good for Little One! She has grown so much and she is obviously very much loved and cared for. She has an amazing family and I know she will grow to be a caring and loving adult. God has Blessed all of you. I pray He continues to Bless all of you.

  • Amber - Yea for you Littlest One! Go Girl!!!

  • Gazco Studio 3 - These moments unforgettable….

  • Kristin S - Rejoice!

    I thought of you guys often today. Dear friends brought their 2 year old daughter home from China. I was at the airport as she met her two older brothers. Oh, so many tears of joy!

    Would you pray for the Mullis family as they are now a family of five? Here’s their blog: http://mullisadventures.blogspot.com/

I put up new twinkle lights. They drew her in and she was captivated.

ISO 1600, 1/100, f/1.4, 50mm

That photo really has nothing to do with this post other than I like it and since I added the camera settings we can say it is a photo tip related post. And on the topic of photo tip related posts, I am pretty excited about next week. The most commonly asked questions I get are related to photography equipment. For the last couple of years I have been writing photo gear posts the week of Thanksgiving as I know so many are preparing for big sales next week. I’m working on three posts for next week and they all include some super exciting giveaways….giveaways that I handpicked, not companies that contacted me asking to be featured. I’ll have my thoughts on gear for new dslr owners, kids, phone photographers…at little bit of it all. So basically, I am window shopping this week and having a lot of fun in the process!

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  • Kelley - Thanks for always doing this! Your post a few years ago is exactly how I chose my dslr and lens. can you also include ideas about editing software for a beginner please?

  • Liz - I can’t wait to read your post! I am really wanting to buy a 50mm 1.4 lens, so I am hoping they have a sale on those!!!

  • Anja - Oh, is it this time of the year again? Time is running so fast! I love your equipment suggestions, although we don’t have big sales round here. Really, it always gets me started in christmas shopping :).
    I smiled about your camera-settings, becaus I always use similar ones around this time of year at my house and I’ve wondered for years how you could go with the low-ISO, quick shutter-settings you mainly post here and on snapshop.
    what a sweet shot!!

  • Tanya - Beautiful picture! Thanks for the settings. I took your course and always appreciate still being able to learn from you. I can’t wait for your recommendations next week.

  • Shanda - Great !! Just in time.

  • ranee - well doesn’t this sound exciting!?? :) And ps..that photo of your girl is just the best.

  • Jessie Dewey - Take me shopping with you.

  • Meg - I can’t wait. I bought the 50mm you recommended a couple years ago and LOVE it. I am looking to expand my lens collection (all 2 of them ;) ) and I look forward to any suggestions. Also a flash and or lens to help with indoor big family Christmas photos! That would be great too!

  • Jen W. - Lovely! What kind of twinkle lights do you use?

  • Jenn - exciting times
    cant wait to see what you picked

  • Chistin - Exciting!!! Can’t wait!

  • Cassie - I can’t wait! I got my first DSLR camera a couple weeks ago so I’m ready to get stocked with things to help my photography skills grow!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I can’t wait!!!

  • Kath - Oh my goodness – she is looking more like you as the days go by!

  • Debbie C - That is one of my favorite pictures of Firecracker. Gorgeous! Thanks for the info on the settings. :)

  • jenwoos - Ohhh… I bet they are going to be amazing!

  • Gazco Studio 2 - I am very exciting to se this…..

We are a part of a homeschool community that hosts periodic Market Days for the students. The students take time to create various products to sell to anyone that attends the market. The goal is for the kid to do the majority, if not all, of the work themselves. Today is Market Day, which means my 4 school-aged kids started working on their goods yesterday (despite my encouragement for them to start several weeks ago!). I will give my oldest credit, he did begin making PVC bow & arrow sets last week. The other three spent a good portion of yesterday making their products.

My oldest daughter wanted to make ruffled crepe paper streamers.

My 8 year old son decided to make pom pom garlands because “moms will buy them and moms have more money than kids.” He is a bit of genius. He also convinced his younger brother to help him because they are “so easy and fun to make.” Genius.

It made me pretty happy to watch them all working so hard all day creating things to sell and deciding their price points.

We made pom pom garlands at Craft Weekend. Previously I owned the pom pom makers on the right (below) and was frustrated with them. I’ve also tried the fork and and finger ways of making pom poms. Meg had the pom pom makers on the left and they worked so much better than mine. I used a 50% off coupon at Micheals and got some of my own for a couple of dollars. Totally worth it and the kids can make them on their own too.11.14market-0511.14market-0611.14market-0811.14market-09

Here is the garland I made at Craft Weekend. I’m going to buy one from the boys that is more colorful!11.14market-1011.14market-11

It is kind of awesome to be at a stage of life where my kids can make stuff on their own and learn little lessons about running their own business. We don’t have enough neighbors for a lemonade stand, so Market Days it is for now. I’ll be honest in the days leading up to market I don’t have the best attitude about getting everything together, but then I watch my kids work hard and create. It is totally worth it. I’ll read this post in the spring to remind myself before the next Market Day!

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  • Jen L. - In middle and high school Montessori programs (which there aren’t that many of in the US, sadly), they all include “micro economies” so kids/teens learn about making, selling, marketing, budgeting, etc. Good life skills to have. Micro economies can be just about anything – keeping bees & selling honey, raising fish & selling to local restaurants, gardening & canning, soap/candle making. The only “must” is that kids/teens have a booming voice in the decision and of course, led the way with the actual making/selling/etc. It looks like your kids and the other homeschoolers have a micro economy, too. Too fun!

  • Helen - Love your son’s reasoning! [I’ve been making pom-poms with my 4 year old daughter this last week: garlands, pom-pom dogs, pom-pom snowmen – you name it, we’ve made it! Hoping their Market Day goes wonderfully (what a Fabulous Idea!)

  • Suzanne - 2 things….as a seamstress, I so love and appreciate your older daughter’s posture. Keep it up and it will save her back for years to come. And, where in the world does she put the foot pedal for the machine when she sits on the stool? It might be right under her right foot and I just did not see it. Love these ideas and hope your market day was successful.

  • Aja - What a cool idea! I love seeing your daughter sew. My daughter is almost 4 and I can’t wait to really teach her how to sew. I remember so clearly sewing with my mom as a little girl. Your space is so creatively inspiring and I think it’s awesome that you let your little ones have that freedom to make whatever they want! Good luck to all at Market Day! Can the public come shop, or is it just for the other families?

  • La Lola - I love all the things they made,You can hardly tell is a kid craft. Would it be to much to ask What yarn did you use for the pompoms I love the colors.

  • Michelle Hill - I would totally buy both!! they are so cute and now I need to make some of my own :)

  • Kerry - Your posts make my day!

  • Christin - What a great idea! You’ve got a born leader on your hands with your middle son :)…and a house full of entrepreneurs!

  • Jenn - I love this idea! What a great learning experience all around!

  • Sally - Those ruffles are like eye-candy! Your sweet girl chose beautiful colors! I’ll bet people will snap those up — especially those moms w/ all the $$$$. =)

  • Haley - What a fun idea! I bet you guys have the cutest booth.

  • Emily - These are so fun!!!

  • tessa - your house always looks so cozy. I want to curl up on that bed with all the pillows and hide from my messy house. This is so fun!:)

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Ok, that is adorable. And they are right – this mom would have totally bought them!

  • AshleyAnn - Tessa – I want to curl up on that bed of pillows and hide from my messy house too!

  • Courtney - My four year old little miss was so inspired by your fire cracker making these ruffled streamers that she asks almost daily to make them. It has been so fun for her and for me to watch. Curious what you have them wrapped around? It makes for such a beautiful display.

  • AshleyAnn - Courtney – I bought an old filing cabinet a few years ago and it was full of those heavy duty pocket folders. I am slowly finding uses for them!

  • Crystal - Oh my goodness! This is so inspiring! My kids always want to “have a sale” (yard sale, veggie stand, etc.) and this has me thinking of some possibilities. We are part of the same kind of homeschool group, and Market Days sound awesome, too. As always, I leave your blog inspired…and not just inspired for photography or crafts, it’s so much more than that…time with the children, empowering them, loving them, seeing their gifts, etc. It’s always so neat to see how God uses your hobbies for greater purposes. :)

  • Courtney - What a great idea! I wonder if I can get my hands on some… Thank you for your reply!

  • christina larsen - These are great ideas. Our market day is the first week in Dec. This is our first year to do this type of thing. I have been at a loss what we could create. I love your packaging. Where did you get the cardboard to wrap the creations around??? Thanks.

  • jenny - this is so adorable :) i love watching kids create. i completely understand the frustrations though. my four kids did a craft swap in the mail… kids from all over the US made things for each other and mailed it… very cool. it was exhausting for me though… because i had to keep all the chaos in order :) it was all worth it in the end though… and i WOULD do it again!

  • Jenn - how fun is all of this
    i love it. thanks for posting all the fun colorful things they made.

  • Cate O'Malley - Love the entrepreneurial spirit! My kids have several lemonade and home-baked goodie stands a year, and are always planning the next craft item they can make and sell. They work together, deciding on prices and design flyers, and even sometimes post their items on IG. Great lessons on business and finances. And I would totally buy the garland that Firecracker is making!

  • jami - uhhh. can i purchase from this magical market?

  • Debbie - Those ruffles! Swoon. I want to shop! Love the pom pom garland. Brilliant little budding entrepreneurs! Oh, and that table! Hope the sale was a smashing and rewarding success for all their hard work!

  • Gazco Studio 1 - These are great ideas.Thank you for sharing this…..

  • Christy - How did the kids do at the market? did they sell all of their goods!?!?!?