About a month ago I was contacted about writing a sponsored post for Wendy’s® & the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA). I typically don’t do sponsored posts, they just aren’t my thing.  This time was different.  I accepted – because it is a very natural fit for me. So thank you Wendy’s for asking and sponsoring this post.

A little while back I mentioned Chris took a new position with a non-profit that is focused on finding children in the local foster care system a loving, safe home. Foster care. Adoption. Reunification. These are all common, if not daily, topics in our home. Chris often says his goal is to work himself out of a job. If the local shelters are empty, there are an abundance of safe, loving foster homes and a strong support network built for foster families – he’ll be out of a job. He is working hard to be out of a job.

Dave Thomas was adopted as a child and founded Wendy’s. He was a strong advocate for finding children permanent, loving homes and he dedicated much of his life to this cause. Dave set up his foundation with one goal – helping children in foster care find adoptive families. He is a hero in my book.

Around this time each year Wendy’s produces ‘Frosty Coupon Books’. The books are a $1.00 each and include 5 coupons for a free Junior Frosty. $.90 of every $1.00 spent on the coupon book goes directly to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The coupon books are available until October 31st. As a family, we purchase these every year. I’ve put them in goody bags for the kids to give friends. We’ve dropped them off in the mailboxes of friends. We’ve surprised distant friends with them in the mail. I thought today I would share 5 ways you can gift the coupons to others…ways a little cuter and more fun than just handing someone a coupon!

See they don’t even look like coupons!

10.14davethomasfoundation-01In a bag: I slipped a single coupon in a small kraft bag, punched a hole, added some ribbon.10.14davethomasfoundation-02Dressed up: I wrapped a booklet in a paper doily, fall colored fabric and a ribbon. These would be fun to give other families.10.14davethomasfoundation-04Rolled up: Super simple…I rolled up one coupon, wrapped a bit of fabric around it and tied it with two ribbons. These would look cute with a whole bunch in a big bowl to take to a party.10.14davethomasfoundation-06As a flag: A friend gifted me this cute succulent in a tea cup. I’m not giving my tea cup away, but if I were…I could fold up a coupon, tape it to a toothpick and add some ribbon for a surprise flag. If you use washi tape it won’t tear the coupon.10.14davethomasfoundation-08Mini Paper Airplanes: My boys didn’t like all the ribbon and floral fabrics. They thought mini paper airplanes were a much better idea. I think these would be fun for a party too. If you pass out candy on Halloween, this would be a cost-effective and easy option instead of candy. A big bowl of these would be a fun just about anywhere! And if you wanted, you could just throw it through the Wendy’s drive-thru when you order. Probably not, but now I am tempted.10.14davethomasfoundation-1010.14davethomasfoundation-12

As much as I enjoy giving these each year, I relish even more the opportunity to get my kids involved and talking about foster care. They get excited about the coupon books – not because of the Frosty treat, but because they see a bigger picture. It is a beautiful thing.

As we fold airplanes and wrap coupons in fabric, we are talking about Dave’s legacy and the values he held dear. We are discovering what one man did with the voice he was given.

These are the three core values of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption:

  • Every child deserves to live in a safe, loving and permanent family
  • No child should linger in foster care or leave the system at age 18 without a permanent family of his or her own
  • Every child is adoptable

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption believes it has an urgent responsibility to be the voice of foster care adoption, so that every child has a chance to find a family.  It exists to raise awareness about the issue and to develop and promote results-driven programs to find homes for children who are waiting to be adopted from foster care in North America.  In the process, the DTFA works to properly inform adults who may have misperceptions about foster care adoption that keep them from getting involved.  Through the money it raises, the DTFA provides free educational resources, promotes awareness initiatives, awards innovative grants, assists policymakers and employers, and supports adoption professionals and agencies throughout the United States and Canada in an effort to find every child a forever home. 

Adoption and foster care are so tightly woven into the fabric of my family. Right now we are not foster parents, we are using our time and voices in others ways for children in foster care. My kids are excited about the day we become a foster family. I’m excited about that day. For now, I will do what I can.

For you being involved may mean taking that brave step to become a foster parent. It may be becoming respite care for a foster family. It may mean providing a meal for a foster family or a gift basket for a case worker. It may be becoming a Court Appointed Social Advocate (CASA). It may be buying coupons and folding them like mini airplanes. Use what you have. Do what you can. Support and encourage others to do the same.

Though this is technically a sponsored post by Wendy’s and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, I hope you can hear my heart and my voice. I hope you consider being involved in foster care, however that may look for you. A collective voice raised for children is a mighty powerful thing.

 

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  • Stephanie Wiater - Beautifully written. I have tears streaming down my face. While we are not in a position to foster, we will be purchasing some of those coupon books. God bless you for sharing your heart!

  • Dana - These coupons would also be great to hand out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween night!

  • Angela - I was not aware Wendy’s did this, but will definitely be purchasing some of those books this year. I am continually touched to read how willing you are to go where the Lord leads and do as the Lord instructs. I have read through your adoption story and the stories of Little One’s medical procedures, and love knowing that she feels the love of God because of you and your family in her life. I am inspired that you feel compelled to someday extend your family to hurting kids in your community. God looks good on you, Ashley Ann.

  • Amy - What a beautiful post. You write so well about things you are passionate about. Our family also purchases many of these books and give them out coupon by coupon or book by book. Thank you for the great gift ideas.

  • Crystal - This is great! I was just wondering what fun little gift or surprise I could include in my monthly Samaritan’s healthcare share envelope! (where we send our monthly payments to actual people, not the company) Also, I think the idea to even include anything was probably sparked by you, as I’ve read your blog over time and been encouraged by how meaningful little gifts can be. :) Thanks for being a great example.

  • Michelle Hill - The Campbell Family are my heroes.

    I heard you loud and clear and I am excited to give back to this foundation. I couldn’t agree more with the key values you brought up and I would be lying if I said I didn’t just consider becoming involved in some way with foster care.

    thank you for sharing this post. It was beautiful.

  • Erica Baker - I love the Dave Thomas Foundation! I had no idea about the “Frosty Coupons”. Thanks for sharing!

  • Margaret - Everything about this is beautiful! I love how you included ideas for everyone to be involved–from ‘big’ ways to ‘small’ ways. Such great encouragement!

  • Sherry - I have purchased the coupon books in the past and really thought nothing of it. Thank you for bringing to light the wondramous benefits of the coupons — the little and the big. We will be purchasing more this year and spreading the love.

  • Katie B - Yay for adoption advocacy and Wendy’s! (and the Campbell family!! ;) )We have bought the coupon books for years to include in our trick or treat offerings. I never thought to do more than toss them in the bowl, so I am thrilled to see your “gift-wrapping” ideas. The neighborhood boys will LOVE the planes!

  • Chrissy - As a foster mom, it warms my heart to no end to see you show such love and passion towards these precious children. Thank you for this post!

  • Jen Winsbro - I had no idea Wendy’s did this! Thank you for spreading the word. I love your idea of dressing them up!

  • the inadvertent farmer - Yeah for CASA! We cannot become foster parents (yet) but being a CASA has been such a personal journey of growth, heartache, and triumph. You cannot sit with a foster child who’s parents don’t show for visits with your heart aching for him. You cannot go to an adoption ceremony without feeling triumphant that a little one has found a forever home! You are proud for bio-parents that get their act together and are reunited with their children. Then you see the never ending stack of new cases and try not to get discouraged. Being a CASA is not easy but it is a way to help those that have no one to stand up for them…I encourage any of Ashley’s readers to consider the few hours a week it takes to make a difference in a child’s life! Here is the the national site, it can help you find training in your area.
    http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5301295/k.BE9A/Home.htm

  • Amy D - Hey Ashley, thanks so much for sharing this and for your voice for foster care and adoption! I was gonna mention to you, because of your heart for this… Did you hear that the amazing talented people that produced the ReMoved short film (that you shared earlier this year about a girl in foster care from her point of view) are nearing the end of a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to produce a ReMoved, Part 2 (a longer one)? They had such a huge response from the first one, including from foster alums and agencies, that they want to dive deeper into the story and share the dynamics between the child, the birth and foster families, the social worker, etc, to raise awareness and compassion. They have about 7 days left in the Kickstarter campaign with just under $30K to raise (they’ve raise $92K in about 3 weeks, goal is $120K… almost there!). If they can’t meet their goal in Thursday, Oct 16, then no second film will be produced. Would you consider checking it out, and possibly even highlighting it on your blog? https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/heschle/removed-part-two Thanks for your consideration!

  • Elizabeth Highsmith - As a CASA and a believer I’m in love!!!! I can’t wait to go buy coupons and dress them up and pass them out! Can you share the name of the organization Chris works for? Hugs and high fives!

  • elizabeth H - Ashley, I had no idea that Wendy’s did this!!
    Our family will definitely be involved in this worthwhile fund!
    thanks ever so much for sharing!

  • kimberly oyler - this is the most natural sponsored post i’ve ever read. i’m gonna go get some coupon books for my nanny kids! thanks ashley!

  • Juice - As a former foster respite care provider and soon to be foster/adopt parent, this post brought tears to my eyes.

  • Sarah - I love Chris’s attitude to work himself out of a job. That is what I learned while taking ministry classes in college and it’s great to hear that other people have that mentality too. And thanks for sharing about a great opportunity to support foster children! I agree with Dana – a great Halloween idea!

  • Kaitlyn - Awesome idea to give out the coupons for halloween! Frosty’s are WAY better than candy! This post really struck me, looking up how I have help local foster care homes in our area!

  • Noelle - I really love your heart for kids. I wonder if you would ever write a post on how you balance raising your kids’ awareness of adoption/foster issues with making sure your youngest daughter doesn’t feel like a “project.” My daughter was adopted, and we did it because we believe adoption is important, but sometimes I’m afraid that when I talk about our reasons for adopting with others, it makes her sound like we “rescued” her or like she is an issue, not our beloved daughter. I’d love to hear your thoughts sometime.

  • Angie - Ashley, I know you are super busy and you get dozens of comments on your blog every single day but I would love to speak with you more about what Chris is doing now. I work for an Independent Christian based home for children from abandoned, abused, and neglected kids. We are trying to help children before they are placed in the foster care system and are forced to endure failed placement after failed placement. We strive to give children long term placement in a safe, Christian home with a mother and father who can provide stability, safety and love. Some of our home parents have been with us for up to 30 years. I would love to speak with Chris about our homes being an option for some of the kids he works with. Please email me and we can talk more about it. Thank you for all you are doing to help with kids in need. God bless you and your family!

  • Trish - Not only do I love that you guys do this, I adore that you [partially] quoted one of my favorite things Arthur Ashe ever said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

  • SophieBugsMom (Sarah) - Ashley & Chris… I would love to talk to you about this non-profit that Chris has a position with. This is exactly the type of work I would love to do in my state (KY) and wonder if there is a possibility here.

    I love DTF… and will definitely be supporting the cause by buying the frosty coupons!! So glad you decided to do this post!

  • Nora - My husband I were just sworn in as CASAs last night. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Heidi Jo the Artist - Wonderful post! You are an amazing person, Ashley Ann. :)

  • Robin C. - Eeek!! I never knew this about Dave Thomas. We eat at Wendy’s ALL the time so this blog reader will definitely be purchasing a TON of these coupons. The holidays are approaching and it will be so EASY to give these away – for such a worthy cause! Thanks for posting.

  • susie - wow- what a great deal!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Did you know I worked at Wendy’s from age 16 to age 22? They helped put me through college. Thank you so much for sharing their mission!

  • Sherry - I missed the post on Chris’ new job! But my word, I am so ridiculously excited about it. Foster care is obviously close to my heart, but Wendy’s frosties…really close to that:). I want to hear more about his position!

10.14spraypaint-0110.14spraypaint-0210.14spraypaint-03As I watched my girls color, it reminded me of me and my sister. I talk about Lesley every now and then here. I make the kind of jokes big sisters like to make, but the truth is I am crazy proud of her. She is a phenomenal graphic artist. I’ve had the honor of watching from the sidelines as her business (Recipe for Crazy on etsy) has boomed over the last couple of years. She has a line at our local West Elm. Yes, you read that right. WEST ELM SELLS MY SISTER’S PRODUCTS! I’m trying to figure out a time to visit the store with her so I can make loud obnoxious comments…and take lots of pictures posing by her products. I’ll be sure everyone in the store knows I’m with her and that they should buy all her stuff.  She’s love it, I’m sure.

She recently released her 2015 calendar and I’m kind of giddy about it. Naturally, I had to brag on her here. All of her designs are hand-drawn, they are not fonts. She’s good. Real good.10.14spraypaint-04While I was snapping pictures of the girls and then her calendar, I just kept shooting…10.14spraypaint-06I’ve been on a spray paint kick lately. If it doesn’t move, it gets painted. This basket was just a silver metal $.50 one from a thrift shop, so much cuter yellow.10.14spraypaint-08The pink tray was formerly green with orange chickens…hello pale pink.10.14spraypaint-10Not all my spray painting has been successful. I thought I’d go for a two tone pink on an old red tool cabinet. I’m not crazy about the darker pink, so it will be changed soon. The joy of paint – it isn’t permanent!10.14spraypaint-12Lesley will be the graphic designer and chef in the family. I’ll be the spray painter. And the re-spray painter…I’m pretty good at that job.

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  • preveena - I love how your older daughter dresses. She is almost like my daughter in many ways. God bless you and your family!

  • Lynnie B - Ummmm HELLO!!! You left out your stellar photography skills!!!! I completely adore you and your sister!! She can grow a mean garden also. Her Instagram feed was fun to watch this summer. I am thankful or the inspiration I get from the both of you!

  • Amanda - That Lesley is pretty amazing!!! And that end table, do not re-paint it. It’s so cute!!!

  • kaitlyn - two very successful and inspirational sisters! I can’t wait to meet your sister in Nebraska, wish you could have made it! Darn!

  • Amy Espinosa @the little farm diary - You gals are BOTH crazy talented! I’ve got one of your sister’s prints on my mantle right now and I can’t bear to take it down, so I just threw up some pumpkins and leaves around it and called it my FALL mantle! Congratulations to her and that crazy West Elm conquer!!!

  • Michelle Hill - My goodness she is crazy talented!! I guess talent genes run in the family, hey?!
    Looks like I know where I will be shopping for xmas this year!!

  • Sharla Stockwell - I agree – that end table is cute as is! You will get used to it :)

  • Carrie Rowe - That is so exciting!

  • Andrea - Hi Ashley! Is there a way i could order a calendar (or 2)?? I love it and would love to purchase some!! You and your sister are both so talented and so fun to follow!

  • AshleyAnn - Andrea – she sells them in her etsy shop, the link is above in the post (click on the name of her shop!)

  • kimberly oyler - i bought a can of gold spray paint for a specific project a few weeks ago and now i can’t stop spray painting everything.

  • Sara - Do you know where you got the sheets that have the black plus signs on them?

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - So crazy about West Elm. it’s like we know a famous person. And you’re related to her! High five.

  • Betty - Please share where I can find a crazy cute thank you note w chickens too!

  • elizabeth H - LOVE your sister’s work + your spray painting, crafty self!!
    Ya’ll make a great team!

  • Rahel - Hey Ashley! Looks so beautiful – like everything including the sweet girls :D Quick question, for the pink tray, how do you spray a project like that? Just the pink paint and done or do you use primer and top coat too? Curious :) Thanks!! xoxo, Rahel

  • Evie - Ah excellent! I bought some of your sisters products at West Elm the other day! I didn’t know it was hers, but knew it was local. Cool!

  • Kerry - Just found your site – love! And now I know who your sister is – double love!!
    You made my day :)

It has taken 10 days for Poppy (the cat) to get close to Arley (the dog).

Arley wants so badly to play…Poppy, not so much. My kids are dreaming of a ‘Milo and Otis’ friendship between Poppy and Arley. Time will tell, but it isn’t looking so good right now. Granted, it has only been 10 days.
10.14muffin-01As I miss summer, I’m looking for the good parts of dropping temperatures. The best part of cooler days is eating all our meals outside. It means less sweeping for me, so that makes it the best.10.14muffin-0210.14muffin-0310.14muffin-0410.14muffin-0510.14muffin-06In between bites, she dances. I’ve tried telling her to stay off the table, but it is her favorite stage. I figure her feet can’t be as dirty as all the random critters and birds that I find on it. Tablecloths for the win. Or not, because that would be more laundry…defeating the purpose of eating outside to reduce household chores in the first place.10.14muffin-07These shots were taken yesterday. Sometimes I focus on the hard parts of homeschooling. When my kids were in ‘regular’ school, there were times I focused on the hard parts of that too. The reality is – everything has hard and beautiful parts. The hard makes the beautiful more lovely. Whether my kids were in public school, private school or homeschool – there are big challenges and great rewards with each. It just depends on where I set my eyes. So yesterday, we ate breakfast slow and outside. She danced. The boys played four square. And then we started school. We are in a season where our days can move very, very slowly. We aren’t rushing or cramming or trying to fit it all in. I need to focus more on the beauty of that each day because I know like every season, this too shall pass. One day kids won’t be dancing on the tables and eating muffins with me in the morning. Hopefully, that day is really far off.

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  • Sarah Pratt - I think that is my biggest fear-is cramming it all in and not focusing on the important things in life. It’s so hard in a fast-paced world, to slow down and enjoy the little things. That’s one of the main reasons I read your blog everyday, usually in the morning before the kiddos get up. Thank you for your constant reminders to cherish the little things in life-especially with our kids. Because you’re right, one day, it will be gone. I only hope, as any mother does, that its a lot further down the road!

  • Liane - Arley is just the cutest. We have a five month old puppy, a border collie, and she is adorable and fantastic but at the moment seems to be going through something similar to the terrible two’s! I spend my days chasing her around to stop her chewing the house up!

  • Amy Espinosa @the little farm diary - Ashley, it does go by REALLY fast- thanks for the reminder this morning!

  • Kaitlyn - Oh my goodness, the cute. I don’t think my pup was ever that small! I would like to encourage you that it’s taken just under a year for my cat to 100% accept my dog and trust her not to be a danger to him. They’ve gotten along well since the beginning, but he’s just now returning to old behaviors I recognize as his. They don’t cuddle, but the cat chases the dog instead of the other way around and they love wrestling. There’s been a little bit of grooming back and forth as well. It’s an ongoing process!

  • Jenny L. - I love the way you always try to find the positive in life and don’t whine constantly about how hard being a mother is. I read so many other blogs and articles written in that manner. Thank you for being a positive role model for other young parents. I think you and Chris are amazing.

  • Brigett - I was so very excited to see that you all have welcomed a beagle into the family, I have had many beagles since I was a child and they are the ABSOLUTE best! A word of hope…we have a Beagle (Ellie) and brought home a kitten(Oreo) this summer. Ellie wanted everything to do with Oreo ..but all Oreo did was hiss at Ellie. After a few months they are the bestest of friends!! I am certain Poppy will warm up to Arley…I think the friendliness of Beagles is a little too overwhelming for cats a t first ;)

  • D'On - This makes me want a more slow paced life. We live in the city. Things are open 24/7. Busy streets. Busy life. I feel like we have too much going on in our lives that we are missing out on our kids and family time. I’ve been wanting a change and it’s time to make one. Thank you for this post. :)

  • danielle - We had a rough day yesterday but today was better. We always have rough days after vacation. Again with the puppy. That dog is so cute!

  • Jennifer - So needed this reminder. I feel like I’m stuck in the rut of the hard, and missing the beautiful. Glad for the encouragement to slow down and savor.

  • Kristin S - I kinda love the leaves on the ground summoning the beginning of Fall.

  • angie lockhart - pet dynamics are the best! Our cat did not favor our puppy dog at first! The puppy frequently got nose swipes. But as she aged and calmed they began to get along. Eventually, the would sleep back to back in front of the woodstove. Our second dog/cat combo never warmed to each other. Keep your fingers crossed! They just may be best friends yet!

  • Denise L. - Good instincts, my dear!

  • maverickmom4 - I love slowing down. I think it’s crucial to our well being. Even being a stay at home mom can be overwhelming sometimes. Thank you for reminding me to appreciate the times of “dancing”.

  • elizabeth H - such a beautiful, beautiful reminder that our days w/ our children,
    the moments we share w/ our spouse ~ are the BEST way to start the day!
    so many things compete for our attentions ~ especially the pressure
    as a home school family to “start the day” {scholastically}
    I often forget that LIFE & having my children’s Heart are my main priority.