our thankful tree {USCIS appt. date}

Yesterday, I posted a little iphone pic of a new pillow. My friend gave it to me as a birthday gift…white, teal, red…so cute. Well, yesterday I got a surprise email from the local shop my friend purchased this pillow from and an email from the maker of the pillow. How fun are blogs? It blows my mind that I could post a little picture of a pillow and then get an email from the person that actually made it. So crazy! Anyway, I just thought I’d share…the pillow was purchased at The Art House in Tulsa, but for those of you out of town you can get one from the maker’s etsy shop, Marekalaine.

A few years ago we did a Thankful Tree in November. I didn’t get around to it last year, but made sure I was on top of it this year. I, obviously, was not the creator of this idea. I am sure you’ve seen them all over the place. Some families do them on chalkboards, some on walls, some on doors. There are so many options. I wanted mine to be a little less ‘loud’…there is enough color going on in this house as it is.

I used a glass container I already had on hand, sticks from the backyard, old coffee beans to hold the sticks, strips of scrap fabric and an old book cut to make leaves.

Her hair is nuts. She and I have different opinions on how it should be fixed. The Gussy headband is much cuter without the ponytail holder too!

I keep a bowl of leaves and fabric next to the “tree” on the kitchen table. The idea is to write things we are thankful for on the leaves and tie them to the branches. As Thanksgiving approaches, the branches will get fuller and fuller. Sometimes we sit down together and add leaves. Other times the kids just randomly go over and starting writing and tying. It is especially fun to watch the older boys help the little two.

Yeah, you read that right. We finally got our fingerprint appointment! Just because I am curious, for those of you that have done fingerprints for an I800-A, how long did it take to get your approval from USCIS after your fingerprint appointment? (for an international adoption you must have a biometrics clearance done before you be approved for an adoption. Getting fingerprints is part of this process)

Our Thankful Tree is beginning to blossom. I have a feeling I am going to have to add more branches before the month is over!

Here is one I found several months ago by Simply Vintagegirl...so classy looking.


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  • Debbie C - This is such a beautiful idea! I want to start having holiday traditions now that we have a little one…this may become one of them!

  • Amanda - Yay! so happy next steps are happening with your adoption. God is so good!!
    I love your take on the thankful tree. Definitely think this is a craft my boys could get into this year.

  • the inadvertent farmer - The older I get the more I see the things in my life to be thankful for. When I was younger I was always looking ahead, excited about things to come. Now I have the wisdom to enjoy and be thankful for ‘the now’. One of the things I’m thankful for is your blog…seriously it is as much of a morning routine for me as my big cup of tea, so thanks…Kim

  • Brandi - I love this. We’ll be making our own soon. I think the average wait is roughly 60 days. Ours was very close to that if I remember correctly. I didn’t understand it at first, but I found Rumor Queen to be an invaluable source of information. It’s also addictive. Here’s a link to the steps to TA (travel approval) chart. If you send them your information, you’ll watch as you climb up the ladder. It’s quite thrilling to watch after you have your LOA. My fingerprints were taken just before Christmas. We were matched March 1. You’re in our prayers.

  • Sarah - I am TOTALLY stealing this idea. i was just thinking last night that i wanted to do something like this to keep track of all the things our family is thankful for! perfect timing!!!

  • Megan - What a great tree. I have been thinking about doing this with my kids this year…your post is a great reminder for me to get on it. Also Hooray for fingerprints! Things are moving – all the while God is watching over the little one who he has picked out for your family!

  • Kezia - I love your tree…… maybe I’ll have to try making one.

  • Debra - such a beautiful thing! I am already brainstorming our own thankful tree! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  • lori lucas - Ha! Marek is my cousin and I thought that looked like her pillow! Small world indeed!!!! We also do a thankful tree each year. My five “children” are now 22-29 years old. I have saved our “thankful tags/leaves” each year. It is so fun to go back and look at what we have written each year. It shows what was going on in our lives, for sure. It is also great fun to watch how the children’s thoughts and handwriting improved! Such wonderful memories. Lori Lucas

  • cailan - Love this idea – hopefully I get to it this year!

  • Michelle - love your thankful tree. . . i made one this year too. fyi- google reader isn’t showing your post this morning-weird but i thought you would want to know ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kelley J - I’m so glad you posted this! I did this with my older daughters back in the early 90’s. I now have a bonus (surprise-15 years after my previous child!) daughter and I’ve forgotten about this tradition. We will have so much fun making a Thanksgiving tree this year! Here’s a tip: find a way to keep the leaves from year to year. I just stored ours in an envelope with the year on the front then put each year’s envelope in a photo storage box but I’m sure you are more creative than that! It will be fun to see years from now what each family member was thankful for.

  • D'On - I’ve pinned this to make, as well. I guess it’s time. We’re already four days in to November. It’s such a great idea.

  • Debbie in OK - I love this! Thank you for sharing. We’re going to go on a nature walk right now and collect some sticks to make it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Alisa - We do not celebrate thanks giving here in new zealand.. but what a wonderful idea.. I have been working on gratitude with my kiddos this year and I am thinking I might give this a try but give it a christmassy theme so I can leave it up til then ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks so much for yor wonderful blog

  • Kizzy - our wait from fingerprinting (back in February) to when we received our approval letter in the mail was about 10 days; however, I’ve heard some on our agency’s list serv say that it is taking longer these days. However, I think it may vary from state to state? Oklahoma actually seems to be faster? My sister’s wait was about 10 days too.

  • Amira - What a sweet , purposeful idea. Will be doing this one, for sure!

  • Christina - Our fingerprint appointment was Sept 15th of this year- we walked in to have them done a couple days early (which you can do if the time the assigned you was inconvenient) and we had approval September 22. So I think it was about 40 days from submission of the 1-800A form to approval for us. If you walk in early they don’t process you faster- it’s just nice to get it done. You can always go to the China Adopt talk forum- they have charts that show how long everybody is waiting on every step of the process. We were finally DTC (docs to China) last month- we’re just waiting on LID now!

  • marci - hello!
    i love this idea…think i am going to adopt it.:D
    i just wanted you to know that i love, love, love your blog
    and so i spotlighted it on my blog this week…
    you can check it out if you want to.;D

  • Natascha - Hey, some cakepops for your boys:


  • Amy - I am totally new to the blogging world. But my friend was raving about your blog. So I thought I would check it out. And I have to agree with my girl…Your stuff is amazing!! And I love the thankful tree idea. I have a 3 year old and maybe next year we will try this one! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Jen - Hi! Just found your blog last week. Lovely. I’ve been looking through all your DIY projects. How exciting to be adopting! My two boys are Ethiopian. Wishing you all the best on your adoption journey.

  • Maggie - SO glad I’ve found your blog. We’re total kindred spirits- right down to I decoupaged the same exact scrape book papers you used on the letter “o” for the cloest dividers on letters for a monogram on my daughters wall. My husband has left for coffee and come home to carpet missing of the stairs- ha ha. (and yes i’ve sat and just abour read your whole site!) So when I saw I-600A on that thankful leaf I about fell out of my chair. We’re about to finalize the adoption of our youngest next month. We submitted our I-600 & finger prints right after Christmas last year and got our approval about two weeks later. It was super quick for us- but like everything in adoption world, nothing makes a lot of since. Feel free to check out our time line on my blog.

  • Mary Craig - We had our fingerprints done in Charlotte on 10/25 and I’d say a week later we had our letter! MUCH faster than I thought it would be!

  • giozi - Ohh I didn’t see this post. I was some days off Facebook really off all.
    I got some branches. I have them because I want to do something, or wanted to do to my chubby birhtda’s but I didn’t do anything. I was looking for inspiration on Pinterest too. ๐Ÿ™‚
    This is a great idea.

  • Toni Smith - Soooo darling! Yours turned out even more darling than the inspiration photo!
    I love seeing your kids eager to share what they are thankful for – so sweet.

  • Rachel L - We got our approval 3 days after our fingerprinting appointment (appt was Oct 25, 2011 received approval in mail October 28, 2011) – not sure how it happened so fast, but it is possible and a huge answered prayer. I have heard others taking up to 11 weeks. We will be praying that yall’s happens quickly! Rachel http://www.equipoleos.com

  • Amy D - 28 days for us. YEA! you’re another step closer!!!

  • Cloud9 Design - Hey! We do this too! It is a beautiful family project and it always brings tears when we read them on Thanksgiving and remembering all of the wonderful ways the Lord has blessed us.

  • MayDae » Thanks tree:: Fashion, Design, Decor - […] that they have and also take the time to be thankful for them. ย I got the idea after reading this post, and we created our own using tree branches, mason jars, and paper in the shape of […]

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  • Giving Thanks | RE: Peanut - […] can be done any way you like (we found inspiration here). We found branches in our yard, plopped them in a vase, cut “leaves” with my paper […]

  • Lelani - This is a beautiful idea! I can’t wait to make a thankful tree with my children this autumn. Thank you for the inspiration! Your blog is heartwarming xx

  • Stacey - I love this idea! What an incredible way to remind us all to be thankful for the blessings God has showered our family with!!!

  • Thankful for the Creativity of Others (A Thanksgiving Activity for Kids) โ€” Proverbs For Life - […] today I have seen in a couple of different places.ย  The first place I saw it was on the blog Under the Sycamore last year.ย  I recently found it on the blog A Holy Experience as well.ย  It’s called a […]

  • Jeanene M. - What a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing…I wonder if I this would work year round as a “Gratitude tree” or if that would kinda dull the meaning of it? It’s such a creative way of drawing gratitude out of your family!