"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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Foosball tournament.

One episode of The Waltons.

Mozzarella stick, pizza rolls, pop & cookies.

Board games.

Another episode of The Waltons.

Blog post.

Bubbly fruit juice.

Happy New years

Why No Posts?

Sorry, faithful blog readers, I haven't been posting much this week. you see, there has been a "perfect storm" of events here this week that have prevented much blogging.

1)Adorable bunnies to play with.
2) Hubby's off work this week.
3) We bought a foosball table.

So, as you can see, I'm all off kilter and neglecting my blogging duties.

I hope you are having a great last week of 2009. Have a very safe and happy New Year's Eve!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Shameless Plug

Because it's MY blog, I can shamelessly plug any organization I wish, whenever I wish. I love the power!!! Mwahahaha.

We spent the evening at Feed My Starving Children with my extended family, packing meals for starving children all over the world. For those of you in MN (or the Chicago area), I HIGHLY encourage you to volunteer a little time there. Trust me, it's a blast - very, very fun - and it is a wonderful organization. For those of you outside of MN, feel free to give $$. One meal for one child costs just 17 cents. As I was putting my spare change into a jar at the door of the place I thought about the movie Schindler's List. At the very end of the movie, when Schindler is in tears and he's is saying something along the lines of, "I could have done more. This ring would have saved __ lives..."

How much we have and how much that money could do to change the lives of people in need....

We spent about an hour packing meals (along with some other groups there. In that hour enough meals were packed to feed 38 children for a year. Amazing! How such a small thing on our part can reap such huge dividends.

In addition to helping the needy, volunteering at FMSC also allows you (and those you love) to see how lovely you look in a hair net. That in and of itself is worth a trip over there.


There isn’t much better in this life than finding a way to spend a few hours in conversation with people you respect and love. You have to carve this time out of your life because you aren’t really living without it. -Real Live Preacher, RealLivePreacher.com Weblog, August 27, 2003

We had the wonderful joy and privilege of spending a bunch of time this weekend with our friends, Isaac & Holly, and their two children. Isaac and Holly lived here in MN for many years before heading down to Georgia several years ago. I know Georgia is were they are supposed to be right now, but they are sorely missed here, by us and others that know them.

Isaac & Holly, we love you guys tons! Hopefully it won't be another two years before we can see you again!

"I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends." -Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Random Christmas Pictures

Christmas Eve Day started with one of Santa's elves playing flute music for us. Who knew that the elves love The Phantom of the Opera?Later in the day, we all went over to Mom & Dad's house for some family fun.
Cousin Rachel was a great angel in the Christmas program. All the angels were very hip.

After much food and entertainment it was time for stockings. As you can see, we can't fit all the stocking stuffers in the stockings, so each stocking is accompanied by a bag with more stuffers. Stockings are my kids favorite part of present opening (mine, too).Yes, all the dresses did get finished - and here is the proof. Don't they look lovely?
They all clean up pretty nicely. i must say though, that immediately after church the five older kids all immediately changed clothes:-(
Oh, and we mustn't forget the annual yule log marshmallow roasting - a strange yearly tradition we have...I have to say, the marshmallows don't get very brown though.
Christmas is a great time for teenage boys to spend time with their aunts! Here's Evan with Aunt Kathy and me with my nephew, Ian.

Then the present opening began...

After presents were done and more eating took place, we headed back home to repeat it all in the morning at our house...

Sometimes the waiting is REALLY boring!
The best part of Christmas morning was the Christmas hug.

I hope you had a wonderful and very happy Christmas!

I Misspoke

Apparently there are things I can get done even with the bunnies around...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Is Over

Wow, it goes by so fast :-( I hope you all had a wonderful, happy, relaxing Christmas with your loved ones. Amazingly, the snow storm cooperated completely with our Christmas travel plans. When we were on the road it wasn't snowing and when we were safe at home it really came down.

Chris has all of next week off work, so we are looking forward to a relaxing week of spending time together as a family without the stresses of preparing for the holidays.

Now, it's off to bed, as I have been up past midnight WAY too many times over the past few weeks!

Oh, btw, if you haven't received a Christmas card from us yet it's because we haven't SENT them yet. Don't worry, they're coming as soon as I get some more envelopes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Explain Please

I find it VERY strange that I get little messages that people are "Now Following Me" on Twitter when I haven't tweeted in many months. First off, who ARE these people? They are hardly ever people I know. Secondly, why would they want to follow someone who is never tweeting?

I just don't get it...

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm In Love

This is bad. I am totally in love.

Me with both of them :-)

Now how am I going to get anything done in the next few days??? To make it worse, their cage is in the laundry room. Do you know how many times a day I go in there? Do you know how much work there is to do in there? The ironing board is in there. The freezer is in there. The washer/dryer are in there. The elliptical machine is in there. And now, the bunnies are in there.

Let's see, should I fold laundry or hold a bunny? Hmm, I think I'll go with the bunny.

Should I get out food to thaw for dinner or should I pet the bunnies? Bunnies!

Exercise or Bunnies? Bunnies.

Iron or play with the bunnies? Bunnies win again!

You see the dilemma I'm going to have??

Gotta go check on the bun-buns!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Bunnies Are Coming

Tomorrow, yes, just 14 hours from now, our dear sweet bun-buns will be coming home. We are VERY excited and you can be sure to see lots of pictures of them here.

Btw, if you know anyone who would like an adorable basenji puppy (or eight of them) let me know. Some friends of ours were "surprised" with eight little puppies and would love to find them good homes. They really are very nice dogs and as a bonus - they don't/can't bark. How nice is that??

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Two Down, One To Go

Now I'm not in such a panic. I only have one dress to "help" with (supposedly, Nina is making it and I am only "supervising"), a Christmas letter to finish writing, a Christmas photo of the family to snap, baking to do for tomorrow's party, and, of course, shopping, shopping, shopping. Oh, and wrapping, wrapping, wrapping.

I am feeling MUCH more under control than yesterday :-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Caramel Apple Brunch Rolls

Someone asked me for this recipe (sorry, I don't remember who), so here it is...btw, this recipe is also courtesy of the Byerly's cookbook.

Caramel Apple Brunch Rolls

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 Tbs. light corn syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 (1-lb) loaf frozen sweet roll baking dough, thawed
2 Tbs. butter, melted
1 cup chopped, peeled apple
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. apple pie spice

In small saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup; cook and stir over low heat until blended. Pour evenly into 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle pecans evenly over caramel; set aside. On lightly floured pastry cloth (huh? what the heck is a pastry cloth - I just rolled it out on a surface sprayed with cooking spray - it worked fine!), roll dough into a 10x15 inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter. In small bowl, combine remaining ingredients; spread evenly over butter. Starting with 15 inch side, roll up tightly, pressing edge to seal. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces; place cut side down on caramel in pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and cloth towel. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size (45-60 minutes - I think their called brunch rolls and not breakfast rolls because breakfast would be over by the time these babies get done)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown (25-30 minutes). Cool in pan 5 minutes; invert onto serving platter or foil.

Here's Another One

I have found another recipe that you just MUST have. I haven't steered you wrong yet, have I? I made the BEST Wild Rice Soup tonight. Now, it's not that I wasn't happy with my old Wild Rice Soup recipe, I just thought I'd try a new one and I am so glad I did. The old recipe is getting the boot and this is going to become my staple recipe (courtesy of Byerly's Cookbook which if you don't already own it, you should!)

Wild Rice Soup
6 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. minced onion
1/2 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice
1/3 cup diced ham
1/2 cup finely shredded carrots
3 Tbs. chopped slivered almonds
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup half-and-half
2 Tbs. dry sherry

- snipped fresh parsley or chives (I didn't use these, but I'm sure they would have been nummy if I had)

Melt margarine in saucepan; saute onion until tender. Blend in flour;gradually stir in broth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil; boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in wild rice, ham, carrots, almonds, and salt; simmer about 5 minutes. Blend in half-and-half and sherry; heat to serving temperature. Garnish with parsley.

So, not only is it tasty, it's easy, too! Now, if you don't want to call it Wild Rice Soup you could call it Heart Attack in a Bowl. Apparently if you want to make it more "heart-healthy" you can substitute chicken for the ham, reduce chicken broth to 2 1/2 cups and substitute 1 (12-oz) can of evaporated skimmed milk for the half-and-half.

As a side-note, we have our own name for Wild Rice Soup in our house. We call it Slugs And Grubs. Appetizing, eh?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sisters Are Great

A few years ago we lamented the fact that Raelea didn't have any siblings close in age to her. With this most recent adoption we "fixed" that problem, but at first it didn't seem to really "fix" anything because Zoe & Raelea didn't really "do" anything together except push each other off of Mom's lap.

Well, the corner has been turned and now, daily, I get the pleasure of watching the two of them enjoy sisterhood.

Okay, I'm not sure about this last picture. They're either hugging or Raelea is trying to take down Zoe. Since Zoe is smiling, I will assume this is a hug.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy, Happy Birthday, Chris!

Happy 43rd birthday to my dear husband! You're the best and now I am only one year older than you (teehee). FinallyFinally, our birthday season has come to a close. It has been grueling, but fun as always!

Tradition, Tradition

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Is It Just Me?

So, we were having our family devotional time the other day and we were reading about Moses and the burning bush. Of course, I've heard the story many times, but sometimes you just take special notice of small things that mean a lot. Here's how it reads in my Bible:
Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord apeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, "I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned." (Exodus 3:1-3)

Now the story goes on, of course, but this is the part that caught my attention. Why? Well, I was thinking about old Moses, out tending his flock of sheep, going about his work for the day, no doubt, his mind a hundred different things. La-di-da-di-da - humming a little tune, maybe? When what catches his eye? A burning bush that didn't really burn up. Hmm, never seen that happen before. Now. Right now. Moses has a choice to make. He could give it a quick glance, chalk it up to some quirky thing and keep on going about his work. No doubt he had "better" things to do with his time than check out the bush! OR he could (and did) STOP, LOOK, INVESTIGATE. When he did that, what did he find, or shall I say whom did he find?

Now what this got me thinking about is how many times in my day I DON'T stop, look and listen to things (or people) that catch my eye or are all around me. How many times I am TOO BUSY to take the time to investigate something or someone. And it struck me, what, or more importantly whom, am I missing?

It is a busy, crazy season. I don't want it to be one where I lose sight of the One whom we celebrate. So, with that thought, here is the quote for the day (I'll include it in the post, since when I change it up above it will be gone, but here is will live on with this post).

"Sometimes it seems like God is difficult to find and impossibly far away. We get so caught up in our small daily duties and irritations that they become the only things that we can focus on. What we forget is that God's love and beauty are all around us, every day, if only we would take the time to look up and see them. "
- Matthias, Correction Weblog, 11-01-03

Sprouting Up All Over

Now that it is cold outside, we have trees sprouting up inside our house...
The first one is our mitten tree that appears every year about this time. It is a wonderful little sprout that grows in the foyer and the kids dry their mittens on it.

The second tree is making it's first appearance this year. It is a Jesse Tree which we are using as part of our Advent celebrations this year. It has been a wonderful way to keep all of us focused on Jesus during this chaotic season. Each evening, after dinner, we read a story from the Old Testament and talk about how that story points us to Jesus. After the discussion, we put a picture on the Jesse Tree that reminds of the story we read. If we didn't miss any nights (which isn't going to happen) there would be 24 little pictures on the "tree" on Christmas Eve.

I hope you all are enjoying your Advent season, as well :-)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Best Cookies - EVER

I made these cookies tonight and I just HAVE to share the recipe with you. They are our favorites. I personally like them with cherry kisses, but Chris prefers them with mint kisses and the kids like them best with caramel kisses. Just make them all!

Fudgy Bonbons

1 12 oz. pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
60 chocolate kisses (we like the cherry filled ones or the mint ones, or the caramel ones)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
2 oz white chocolate chips
1 tsp. shortening

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In medium, saucepan, combine chocolate chips and butter; cook and stir over very low heat until the chips are melted and smooth; add sweetened condensed milk; mix well.

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In medium bowl, combine flour, chocolate mixture and vanilla. Mix well. Shape 1 Tbsp. of dough around each candy kiss, covering completely. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 6-7 minutes. Cookies will be soft and appear shiny, but become firm as they cool. DO NOT OVER BAKE. Remove from sheets and let cool.

In small saucepan, combine white chips and shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Drizzle over cookies. Store in tightly covered container. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Happy Birthday, Marcus!

A day late, but still with a lot of love - Happy 6th Birthday, Marcus!
We love you a ton and are so proud of how much you've learned in the last 1 1/2 years. You bring so many smiles to our family and we can't imagine life without you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow

I'm eagerly awaiting the storm that THEY say is coming our way. I hope they're right!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

You've Waited Long Enough

I know you have been waiting for India pictures, but here's the deal- my dear hubby has 1)been suffering from jet-lag, 2) been suffering from serious intestinal illness, 3) been too busy to even show ME his pictures. So, now, despite the fact that I've only seen about 50 of the 800 pictures he took, I will share a couple with you.

Here's Chris at the Taj Mahal.
Chris with the doorman at the hotel. Gotta love that outfit.

Here we have Chris's brother, Darren, and his lovely bride, Monica, at their wedding ceremony.
Here we have Chris and a couple of the guys in their Indian outfits. Chris' is black with bling. I'm sure he'll try it on for you if you ask :-)
That's all for now. I'm tired and going to bed. Hopefully I will get to see all the pictures soon and I will share some noteworthy ones with you all.