"Anyone can have one kid. But going from one kid to two is like going from owning a dog to running a zoo." - P. J. O'Rourke

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's a Bagpiping Week

Hopefully this is not a taste of things to come, but in an eight-day period here Evan has six piping events!  Yikes!

If you haven't heard him pipe yet, here's your opportunity :)

On Thursday night he and the band will be performing at the Minneapolis Public Library for a Burn's Night Celebration on Friday evening he will be performing solos (his first solo) for the Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators (MACHE) conference at RiverCenter and on Saturday noon he and the band will be playing at the state capitol for Tartan Day (who even knew there was such a thing as Tartan Day?).  

My job - well, I need to wash and press his shirt between each of these performances (oh, and I guess I should wash his socks too), drive him to al these various locales and, of course, takes lots of pictures for the blog.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Making Butter

My dear sweet friend Tina wanted to know how to "make" butter. Here you go:

Buy some whipping cream. Chill it well. Get a canning jar. Put the cream in the jar with about six or so marbles. Put the lid on really tight and start shaking. Keep shaking. Shake it some more. When the marbles no longer move around in the jar,check it and see if the butter is there yet (there will be liquid(buttermilk) in there as well. We added a little salt to the cream as well, since I like salted butter.

There you have it. I think it counts as physical education as well as history :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Who Knew?

Evan is reading Upton Sinclair's The Jungle for history. While reading he stumbled across this interesting quote: ***Warning:I laughed so hard that I cried and split open my still healing lip while reading this.***

"I have hardly mentioned the positive economies of cooperation. Allowing five to a family, there are fifteen million families in this country; and at least ten million of these live separately, the domestic drudge being either the wife or a wage-slave. Now set aside the modern system of pneumatic house-cleaning, and the economies of cooperative cooking; and consider one single item, the washing of dishes. Surely it is moderate to say that the dish-washing for a family of five takes half an hour a day; with ten hours as a day's work, it takes, therefore, half a million able bodied persons-mostly women- to do the dish-washing of the country. And note that his is most filthy and deadening and brutalizing work; that it is a cause of anemia, nervousness, ugliness and ill-temper; of prostitution, suicide, and insanity; of drunken husbands and degenerate children- for all of which things the community has naturally to pay."
Well, if you were EVER looking for an excuse to get out of doing the dishes here are twelve good ones - you wouldn't want to be driven into prostitution or insanity now would you?


I help out with Marcus & Raelea's Sunday School class. Today we were talking about young Samuel whom God was calling while Samuel tried to sleep. Samuel thought it was Eli the priest calling, but each time he went to Eli, Eli told him he didn't call and to go back to sleep. After awhile Eli figured out that it was God calling Samuel and he told Samuel to say, "Speak, Lord, for your servant's listening, " next time he heard the voice calling his name.

Now I took a bit of time explaining the story to the kids and they would lay down their heads pretending to be Samuel and then they would pop their heads up when I called Samuel's name. The last time, I told them what Eli had told Samuel to say, so I thought I would see if they were listening :) When I called out "Samuel, Samuel," I asked, "And what do you think Samuel said?"

Marcus chimes in without missing a beat, "Hi God!"

Friday, March 27, 2009

History Class

Today in history class we made butter (we're studying colonial America at the moment). I thought you might like a little view of our school day. Trust me, it's not always so chaotic (well, sometimes it's not so chaotic)

And then the final results were...

Here You Go, Tina

Per Tina's request, here are two more recipes for you all to try.

Thai-Style Ground Beef
1 cup thinly sliced leek
1 tsp. bottled minced garlic (probably about 1 clove fresh)
1 pound ground beef
1 tsp. red curry paste
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. grated lime peel
1 1/2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
3 cups hot cooked rice
Chopped cilantro
Chopped green onions (optional)

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add leek;saute 5 minutes.  Add garlic, saute 1 minute.  Add beef, cook 7 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring to crumble.  Stir in curry past and tomato sauce, cook until half of the liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes).  Add milk and next four ingredients (through fish sauce); cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.  serve with the rice.  Garnish with cilantro and green onions, if desired.  yield: 4 servings

This next one I haven't actually made yet (probably tomorrow night), so I can't vouch for it's tastiness.  It is from Cooking Light though and they hardly ever have a bad recipe.

Indian Cashew Chicken
2/3 cup cashews, toasted
2/3 cup fat-free Greek-style yogurt (I plan on using regular plain yogurt)
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 1/4 Tbs. garam masala (you might have to get this at Byerly's or something.  our Cub doesn't carry it)
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 14 ounces)
2 (8 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
Cooking Spray
2 3/4 cups finely chopped onion (2 large)
2 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup tomato puree
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. half-and-half
Chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Combine first 9 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.  Combine nut mixture and chicken in a large bowl; cover and  refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

2. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium low heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add onion, cardamom and cinnamon sick to pan; cover and cook 10 minutes or until onion is golden, stirring often.

3. Add chicken mixture to pan; cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in broth, tomato puree, paprika, and salt, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Cook 1 hour or until thick.  Stir in half-and-half; cook 1 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.  Discard cinnamon stick.  Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.  Serve over rice or with naan flatbread.  Yield:6 servings.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Random Pictures

It was like David & Goliath in our backyard...with sticks...
except David had a helper step in...
Who needs toys when you have a box?

Feta Chicken

Tina requested a few recipes from this weeks menu. Today, I'll start with the Feta Chicken (since I can do that one by heart).

Feta Chicken
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg. of feta cheese, crumbled
lemon juice

Place chicken in a baking dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice (about 1 Tbs.). Salt & pepper chicken. top chicken breasts with feta crumbles and sprinkle again with lemon juice. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

There you have it. It doesn't get much easier than that. I serve it with couscous.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cold Sore Update

I know you are all sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to hear about how my cold sore is doing.  Well, I am now a firm believer in lysine (mass quantities) and hydrogen peroxide "baths" for cold sores.  I am on day 3 of this lovely sore and it is looking so much better I can hardly believe it.  It is still a little crusty, but the crusties are coming off and it looks completely healed underneath.  Three or four days is WAY better than the 10-14 days that they can last.

Thanks for all the advice folks.  You're great!

On My Way To Bed

Here is why I don't get to bed on time.

On my "way to bed" last night I thought I should check my e-mail while I brushed my teeth (why waste two whole minutes just doing one thing).  

When I checked my e-mail, I discovered a couple comments that needed to be posted on my blog.

When I got to my blog site, I thought of a good post and started to write it when my dear hubby got me back on track and told me to go to bed.

When I got in my bedroom, I remembered that I hadn't put a load of laundry in.  If I don't put a load in at night, I am just that much further behind tomorrow.

When I brought the laundry downstairs, I realized that there was a load in the dryer that needed to be folded.  After I folded that load and put the wet load from the washer into the dryer; I started a new load.

By this time, Evan was almost ready to climb into bed, so I waited for him so we could pray together.  

After praying with Evan, I noticed that the hamster didn't have much water and I would never sleep thinking about that poor hamster dehydrating downstairs, so I got him some water.

Finally, I crawled into bed, where I saw my new book sitting on the nightstand, so I had to start reading it...

So, with that, I am on my way to bed...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


So, my dear husband sent me a link to an article about how -

sorry, this blog post has been interupted by my husband who has just told me to "go to bed". -

now you may ever know what that link was about....

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cold Sores

I managed to make it through 43 years of life without ever getting a cold sore until now.  I've got this big old mammoth one on my lip, so does anyone know any great way to get it to go away quickly?  How about a way to make it less painful?  These babies HURT!

Sorry to complain, it's just that I'm in pain and it's Monday and it's raining out...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Flags Of Our Family

Today I bring to you most of the flags that represent our family heritage.

We do not know what Native American tribe Nina's ancestors belonged to so that is missing. In addition, our children of African American descent have no knowledge of their nation of origin.  What we know is represented here in flag form.  Evan tells me I need to put the country name above the flags, so I guess I will do that.  I do everything Evan tells me...




So, How Is It...

That Marcus LOVES chocolate milk when he doesn't like milk or chocolate?

Just wondering if any of you can figure that out for me.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Video of Evan

Okay, it's not all of Evan, but if you go to this link you can see a close up of Evan playing in the St. Paul parade.  It's near the beginning of the video (shortly after the close up of the pipe major's mouth(?)  ), so you don't have to watch the whole thing.  Happy viewing.

Big Hair

Here is the conversation I had with Marcus after dinner tonight.

Mom: (giving Marcus a back scratch) Hey look, no ringworm.
Marcus: I don't have any ringworm any more?
Mom: No, son, you are ringworm-free.
Marcus: Good, now I can grow my hair big!

Hmm.  Not too sure about that one.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

If You Give A Mom A Muffin

My friend Kim sent this to me and it made me smile, so I pass it on to you all.

If you give a mom a muffin,
She'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll pour herself some.
Her three-year-old will spill the coffee.
She'll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she'll find dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan for supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook ("101 Things To Do With a Pound of Hamburger").
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The check book is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two year old's diaper.
While she is changing the diaper, the phone will ring.
Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.
She'll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
And chances are...
If she has a cup of coffee,
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

by Kathy Fictorie

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Belated Happy St. Patrick's Day

I know this late, but I wanted to wait until I could get a picture of Evan into the post. After spending most of my life ignoring St. Patrick's Day, it has now taken on some significance in my life; it's the day Evan spends playing the bagpipes from 10:00 am until 7:00 pm (and that's after opting out of their last three gigs). Yes, St. Patty's Day is a big deal to bagpipe players and this was Evan's first as a band member. I don't have any pictures from his very first parade (St. Paul), but I did get this one from his second parade (Minneapolis)As I've been pondering this post, it has puzzled me as to why the Irish have a special day all to themselves, but other ethnicities don't get that privilege. Why can't we Poles celebrate Nicolaus Copernicus Day? Why, I say? It just doesn't seem fair...


Well, it should be quite obvious that those children are studying science! Kudos to my sister, Kathy, and my husband (although he cheated, sort of).

Specifically, they are acting out the discovery of Uranus by William & Caroline Herschel. If you don't know who they are, you should really go to the link. I didn't know who they were either, until last week when we got to Uranus (we're working our way through the solar system this year- amazing stuff!).

The first photo is of William and Caroline with their parents and the second is of William and Caroline exploring the night sky (of course they really used a telescope, but this was a low budget film).

Stay tuned, once the children finish editing the film it may show up here on my blog.

And as long as we're talking about Uranus, did you know that scientist thought (just a few years ago) that it might rain DIAMONDS on Uranus (and Neptune). How cool is that? Now it looks like it might only rain graphite. A boon for the pencil business if you ask me.

Don't you LOVE science??? What a great way to see God's amazing creativity!

Name That Subject

Here's a fun new game.  I'll show you a picture and you tell me what subject the children are studying in the photo.

Ready to play?
Okay, let the guessing begin....

I will post the answer later today or tomorrow with special acknowledgment for anyone who guesses correctly.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not Again

I've been waiting to post this announcement for a month or more because I wanted to be sure that it was really the truth.


Yippee! Hoot and holler! Clap your hands.

Okay, now that the party has died down, I will share with you why I decided to post this TODAY. Well, when Realea came home from speech class, I found the following note in her backpack

Your child may have been exposed to Ringworm

Pause for dramatic effect.

I'm taking a rather philosophical view on this. At least it didn't say lice. That would probably put me over the top (I'm perilously close already).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

You Never Know

Where new friends will come from. Yesterday, we were blessed to finally meet some friends of ours. Strange as it sounds, we (I) had "met" a wonderful woman on our adoption agency's internet forum about two years ago. They were in the process of adopting a sibling group while we were waiting for our referral for Marcus and Zoe. They traveled to Ethiopia and picked up their three kids, then we traveled to get Marcus & Zoe and then they traveled again to bring home another daughter...and so it goes.

During that time, we were blessed by being able to pray for each other and support each other on-line, through the ups and downs of the adoption process. Because they live no where near us, I never got to actually meet them until yesterday when they hosted us at their house in Wisconsin. What a blessing it was to finally see the children I prayed for and to see our children enjoying each other.

We didn't take a lot of pictures because we spent most of the time talking, but here are a couple of cute ones of Marcus & Zoe with their new friends.

Marcus & Titus

Zoe & Betty
Now, normally, I wouldn't advocate going out and meeting someone you've met on-line, but I figured a homeschooling mom of eight kids whose adopted from Ethiopia and loves the Lord was probably a safe bet.

Thanks, Randy & Lori for the very enjoyable time!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Well, Now I Know

It's room time here.  As I was just finishing up on the computer I heard Zoe calling me from her room.  That was strange since she is usually sleeping during room time.  I thought it wise to investigate (and tell her to lay down and go to sleep).  What should I discover when I opened her door?

Zoe, lying in her crib with her shirt off, her onesie off and her diaper most of the way off.  This is especially noteworthy since her pants were still on.  She somehow managed to unsnap her onesie and remove her diaper without removing her pants.  Now that's talent!

So, now I know that she is fully capable of undressing herself (at least when she is bored).


Marcus informed me at the breakfast table this morning that he thinks it was a deer he saw yesterday, not a giraffe.  Whew, that sounds a little more plausible.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How's His Vision?

Today, Marcus was sitting on the chair in the living room (not voluntarily :)  ) and looking out the window in the back.  After a while he says to me, "Mom, I see a horse in the woods."

Now since we don't usually have horses running around our park, I gave some sort of acknowledgement that I heard him, but I thought he was mistaken.  

He keeps staring out the back window.  After a while he says, "No, it's not a horse.  It's a baby giraffe."

Now this I had to see!  Alas, he kept trying to point the baby giraffe out to me, but I just couldn't seem to locate it.

I think I need to make an eye appointment for that boy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


So, why haven't I been posting as much this week?  In one word, laundry.  You know, when you're out of town for a week that stuff tends to pile up.  Instead of my normal four-days-a-week laundry routine, last week I only did it one day which translates to - mountains of laundry.  Well, I am happy to announce that today, for a brief moment, the dirty laundry basket was empty!  Hip-hip-hooray!  Now I just need something blog-worthy to happen...

Actually, there is one more reason why I haven't been blogging  - no time :)  I have decided that instead of blogging in the morning before the kids get up, I will use that time to pray (a MUCH better use of the free twenty minutes I usually have).  This leaves only room time and nighttime to blog.  Well, room time has been filled up with doctor's appointments the last few days and I need to fight Evan for computer time after 9:00.  Consequently, fewer blog posts this week :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Random Pictures

Because I left my heart (and Zoe's highchair and my car keys) back in Alabama, I'm going to post some random pictures from the last few days of our time there. I can't post pictures from the other days because they are still on Chris' laptop. Hmmm, I'll have to figure out how to get them to this computer...Anyway, here are some warm memories...

The Train Museum in Foley, Alabama - well worth the price of admission (FREE)

Marcus & Raelea frolicking in the surf
Zoe taking Dad on a walk
Pondering a jellyfish.  We spent a fair amount of time doing this, as there were a lot of jellyfish to ponder (and step on if you weren't looking where you were going).
Fighting a losing battle against the tide.
Marcus being buried in the sand for the first time in his life.

As we were pulling out of the driveway to come home, Marcus announced, "I wish I could stay here forever!"  Ah, don't we all, Marcus, don't we all.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Just So You Know

We're home.
We're safe.
We're tired.
We're cold.

We're so glad we got to go.  It was a great vacation.  Thanks, Mom & Dad for your hospitality.  Enjoy your peace and quiet now that we're gone :)

Good night.

Friday, March 6, 2009


To celebrate our last day here and to enjoy the beautiful weather, we decided to have a picnic on the beach.
When we were done eating, we decided to give the birds their share. It is a tradition to feed the birds on our last day here. We do it on the last day because they will now dive bomb anyone coming out of the house for a few days. Sorry, Mom & Dad :(

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

57 Degrees

Who says that 57 degrees is too cold to go swimming? Obviously not my children.
Well, maybe Raelea thinks it's too cold...


That's the number of states Marcus and Zoe have been to in the past 12 months! Hard to believe! Some of those states were only seen by car - as in driving through on our way to somewhere else. Nonetheless, I think it's pretty impressive!

Monday, March 2, 2009

We Made It

We made it! After a long, but not so grueling drive, we arrived in Gulf Shores at 6:00 AM. It was cool here - 30's when we got here, but by afternoon it was in the 50's. By mid-week, it should be shorts weather here. Until then, we'll enjoy the beach in long pants.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


This is fun! I'm posting in the car from Chris' iPod. We just had dinner in St. Louis with my sister Kathy & family. Now we're just cruising in the dark. Okay time to go. This little keypad is driving me crazy! Ta ta.