Preparing for Ecuador Part 3: Sponsored Child Gifts

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing a series of posts as I gear up to return to Ecuador in April. This is the third in that series.

One of the things I always wonder, and end up Googling, is what other Sponsors take to their sponsored children when they meet. So, I thought it might be fun to share a general overview of what I’m taking to Emily, Josué, and Valeria in less than 3 weeks. Fair warning, I’m probably taking too much – and this is totally the reason my bags are busting at the seams and bordering on being overweight. But hey, that’s to be expected, right?

What I’m taking to Emily (age 10):

EmilyGifts2015Highlights include: lots of clothes (several complete outfits, swimsuit, swim shorts, terrycloth coverup, socks, and underwear), hair bows/ties/bands, school supplies (backpack, colored pencils, markers, highlighters, crayons, sketchpad, binder, ruler, & pencil sharpener), “Guess How Much I Love You” in Spanish, flip flops, doll, filtered water bottle, Bible, duffel bag, washcloths, shower gel, shampoo, loofa, digital camera, makeup/pencil bags for mom & sisters, and quilt.

What I’m taking to Josué (age 16): 


Highlights: clothes (red hoodie, swim shorts, tank-tops, t-shirts, light-sweaters, and gym shorts), batting gloves, school supplies (backpack, pencils, colored pencils, highlighters, markers, crayons, sketch pad, notebook, baseball themed ribbon and fabric, toothbrushes, filtered water bottle, Bible, baseball post-it notes, portable baseball bases, flip flops, quilt (unfinished), duffel bag (not pictured), “Guess How Much I Love You” in Spanish, washcloths, duct tape, makeup/pencil bags for mom & sister, and engraved baseball & bat (better photo below).

What I’m taking to Valeria (age 10): ValeriaGifts2015

Hightlights include: clothing(coat, sweatshirts, sweatpants, track suit, bathing suit, swim shorts, terrycloth coverup, tshirts, socks, and underwear), school supplies (pencils, crayons, colored pencils, binder, ruler, pencil sharpener, backpack, and water colors), toothbrushes, shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, flip flops, digital camera, hair bows/ties/bands, duffel bag, quilt, doll, filtered water bottle, “Guess How Much I Love You” in Spanish, washcloths, and Bible.

Of course once I took these photos I found a few items that I’d inadvertently left out including the small birds my Mom cross-stitched for each of the girls, the necklaces we got for the girls, and the hand-trainers I got for Josué. My mom also cross stitched a tea towel for Valeria’s family (all not pictured).

And I think that’s everything – I’m taking several gallon-bags of gifts from other sponsors, and a few things for the child development centers. But, most of my room goes to the gifts I’m taking to my kids – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How about you, what did you take or would you take to your sponsored kid(s)?



Valeria’s Swoon Quilt

I am so happy to be able to share the first completed sewing project for my upcoming trip to Ecuador. I made this quilt for Valeria, my mother’s sponsored child who I first met in 2013. For the pattern, I altered the swoon quilt pattern by Thimble Blossoms (which I have been swooning over for years).
ValeriaSwoon_1I used the fabric line April Showers by Bonnie & Camille. I only had a jelly roll and partial charm pack of the fabric, so I adjusted the pattern sizes to fit what was in my stash. For anyone else wanting to do this, the HST squares measured 2.5″ the solid squares ended up being 2″ and the rectangles ended up being 2″ x 3.5″. It took 1 jellyroll of printed fabric, ! charm square of printed fabric, and 1 jellyroll plus 4 strips of background fabric. I used 1 jellyroll strip and 1 charm square of 2 different prints and 1.25 strips of background fabric for each block.


For the Center Focus Block, I switched the colored center square for background fabric and then embroidered Valeria’s name with a crown. I quilted along the sashing and around each of the swoon stars. I also double-batted this quilt, since Valeria lives in the highlands of Ecuador where it can get quite chilly at night. I love this fabric, but I was concerned that the quilt would be too Christmas-y – but, when it was finished I was pleasantly surprised. The blues and yellows really balance out all the reds a greens. (But seriously, if you’re looking for a cute Christmas quilt, you should try a swoon with just the reds, grays, and greens from this line).ValeriaSwoon_2

For the back of the quilt I used a vintage sheet from my fabric stash that brought out the yellows in the fabrics. I love using sheets as backings – mainly because it’s so much easier than piecing a back.

But, wouldn’t you know it, I did have to piece the corner on this one since I cut the sheet a tad bit short. Nothing a scrap piece and label can’t fix. I bound the quilt using a wide red bias tape. ValeriaSwoon_6I cannot wait to give this to Valeria! I’ll be sharing more about the other quilts I’m sewing for this trip and the duffel bag that I’m creating to match this beautiful quilt in the next couple of weeks. My plan is to sew one quilt and one duffel bag per sponsored child I’m visiting.

Do you have any completed projects that you’re excited about?


Ecuador: After the First Home Visit

Today, I’m continuing my series of posts relating to my recent trip to Ecuador. For previous posts, click here.


After we left Paul’s house, we returned to the Child Development Center (EC469) to observe a typical class and have some fun with all the children. This is the first time that we really got to play and interact with the children in a large recess-like setting. As soon as we got back to the Child Development Center, we were escorted into one of the after school classes to observe a typical lesson, and, depending on time, help with a corresponding craft. My small group observed an older class of 10-12 year-olds studying Jonah and the Whale. The best part? As soon as I was back on the campus, Valeria sought me out and was once again glued to my side. If you look closely, you can see the two of us in the very back-right of the photo below (in the classroom learning about Jonah).

EC469Afternoon01After the lesson it was time for recess, and we brought out all of the fun stuff: stickers, jump rope, pipe cleaners, nail polish (big hit), and bubbles (which quickly caused a stampede. IF you go on a Compassion trip, and you take bubbles, I suggest you take one large container of mix and lots of wands. I took tons of individual bottles – around 100 – and was overwhelmed with the demand.)

EC469Afternoon02There were huge lines for everything we brought – from pipe cleaner bracelets to stickers to nail polish, the kids loved everything. Seriously, stickers and pipe cleaners were like gold.

EC469Afternoon03And Valeria, she won my heart that afternoon. She was shy, by fiercely loyal; making sure I was in eye sight the entire time. I’m am so glad I get to continue to play a small part in her life.

EC469Afternoon04There were three of us that took nail polish for the girls, and we had a variety of colors; even glitter; which was a big hit.  You didn’t have to tell the girls to be careful either, they knew exactly what to do to dry the polish and keep it all pretty.

EC469Afternoon05After the recess, everyone was ushered back into the main building for a special performance from the children.

EC469Afternoon06There was singing, dancing, more singing and then we were pulled onto the floor to dance with the kids…. which was fun, but exhausting, especially when battling altitude sickness.

EC469Afternoon07It was clear that the kids had rehearsed faithfully in anticipation of our visit and their presentation was awesome!

EC469Afternoon08And of course, they were adorable! This little girl was precious with her plate of food; and did you notice, the little boy below has a real, roasted guinea pig strapped to his back?

EC469Afternoon09After all the dancing, singing, and overall fun, it was time to say goodbye, reluctantly we took a group photo, said our goodbyes, and boarded the bus back to the hotel.

EC469Afternoon10Back at the hotel, we had a few minutes to decompress before meeting as a group for supper. The hotel was lovely, more like a compound resort than a hotel, with several smaller outcroppings of rooms rather than a single all encompassing building. My room was nice, but a bit odd (more on that later); and the restaurant was delicious! In fact, every bit of the food was wonderful – and I’m a picky eater.

EC469Afternoon11I was truly surprised at how much I enjoyed eating on this trip – I mean, I even packed single servings of peanut butter and pretzels because I didn’t think I’d be able to eat much of the local fare. And you know what, I ended up donating most of the peanut butter at the end of the trip.

EC469Afternoon12From roasted corn kernels (which tasted like a great popcorn), to potato soup, to chicken any way you’d want it, the food was amazing. And the drinks – to die for. Seriously, Ecuador has the best fruit juice. It’s completely pure, not watered down, no substitutes, just true awesomeness: especially the guanabana mixed with blackberry juice. I still crave that stuff – and can not find it here.

EC469Afternoon13We were also treated to some great entertainment for supper, including this fantastic pan flute player who specialized in the theme from Titanic – not even joking.

It was a great ending to the first full day in Ecuador.