"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

Friday, April 29, 2011

Take Your Child To Work Day

(formerly known as Take Your Daughter To Work)

Yesterday was Take Your Child To Work Day, and for the first time Chris brought some of the kids to work with him.  Since it would be impossible to get any work done with all eight kids, he only brought two, Nina & Molly.

Here's what they took away from the day:
- The robots that go into the vault at the Federal Reserve are neat (and they have names)
- Dad has a really nice office
- Dad has a really nice whiteboard and dry erase markers
- Meetings are boring
- Dad walks a lot in the office (it's kind of a big place)
- Dad has great co-workers

Nina also learned that there is NO WAY she is ever going to work at the Federal Reserve (or pretty much any other office setting).  Actually we knew this already, but spending the day in the office convinced her of this.

They also learned a thing or two about our banking system and came home with some cool gifts.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Things That Made Me Smile

In addition to the thermometer showing 63 degrees , here are some things that made me smile today.

I got to use my new clothesline for the first time.

There are asparagus coming up in the garden.

Molly is testing out the new hammock in the tree fort.

Ah, I LOVE spring and summer!!  And I am going to completely ignore those little snowflakes in the forecast for Wednesday - lalalalalalalala.....

Recent Visitors

As often happens around holiday seasons, we had a few visitors recently.

Being that Easter was yesterday, we weren't surprised to have a visit from the Easter Bunny  I just had no idea that he was a Longhorns fan.

For some strange and bizarre reason the Grim Reaper also stopped by to play a flute/piano duet with Molly.  I had no idea he played the piano, either.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Evan's Poetry

I've been meaning to post some of Evan's poems out here for quite some time, but never got around to it....until now. Here's a new one he wrote just yesterday :-)  I hope you enjoy.

In the Valley of Death

 © 2011 Evan Johnson

As I wander, as I pray,
I’m still limping on my way.
But the timid light has shown,
I’m alone in fields of bones.

Bones around me, all are old,
Bones surround me, dark and cold.
Bones beneath me, break apart,
Break apart now like my heart.

Bones to blood, blood to skin,
How can we turn ‘round again?
Can these bones be raised to dance,
A dance of love and happiness?

We have fallen, we have lost,
Left our morals at first frost.
But as I turn and look around,
A holy voice now shakes the ground.

Bones beneath me, lie and wait,
Bones within me, resonate.
Bones begin to move and form;
Skies above begin to storm.

Bones to blood, blood to skin,
How can we come back again?
Will these bones arise and dance,
A dance of love and happiness?

Now the bones begin to sigh,
‘Neath a black and brooding sky.
Skeleton men snap and stand,
Above a dry and broken land.

Bones astound me, interweave,
Bones will form ye sons of Eve.
Bones with naught but more bones shod,
Cannot make the sons of God.

Bones to blood, blood to skin,
Who can turn us ‘round again?
Can these bones even still dance,
A dance of love and happiness?

Winds whip up and drive me down,
Besides these thousand bony crowns,
“See these bones?” The voice cries, “Yes,”
“I will clothe these bones with flesh.”

Bones are hidden, disappear,
Bones now hide in faces dear.
Bones still sing the song of death,
They still lack their Maker’s breath.

Bones to blood, blood to skin,
Are we coming back again?
Have these bones arose to dance,
A dance of love and happiness?

The voice cries a righteous doom,
“You are broken from your tombs!
“I have raised you from your graves,
“I have bought your soul to save!”

Bones filled up with breath of life,
Bones no more a cause of strife.
Bones to sing a song of praise,
Like a roaring fire’s blaze.

Bones to blood, blood to skin,
He has brought us back again.
Now these bones will live and dance,
Their dance of love and happiness.

 © 2011 Evan Johnson

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Evan's Graduation Party

I am officially inviting all of those who I know OR who know Evan to his graduation open house :-)  I don't want to leave anyone off the list, so here is an open invitation!

It is on June 11 from 2 to 6 pm.  Stop by for a few minutes or for hours, we'd love to see you and visit with you on what is guaranteed to be a glorious summer day in Minnesota.  Okay, I don't really have a guarantee on that, but I'm sure hoping that's the case :-)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Look What The Mailman Brought!!

Well, these just made my day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kansas City here we come!

The Search Is Over

Have you spent months, years, decades searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie?  If so, your search is over!  Nina made the most perfect cookie today.  Here's the proof...

Now surely you will agree that this is a very fine looking cookie!

Your search has en....err...um...well, actually I ate that cookie for dessert, so just disregard this whole post and keep on searching.  Best of luck to you :-)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Well, This Is Interesting (to me, at least)

I just discovered that the winner of the previously unannounced "Most Hits To My Blog" contest is.....my sister Kathy (and family). They come in at 671 hits! Way to go, Kathy.

Second place goes to my faithful blog reader in Bologna, Italy with 624 hits! Way to go, Faithful Reader (although I've noticed that you are not reading from Bologna recently, at least it's not showing up that way on my little map)

Third place goes to readers in Lakeville, MN (463 hits). I'm reasonably certain that there are several of you reading from there.

Honorable mention goes to readers from Minneapolis, MN (403 hits);St. Paul, MN (255 hits); and Gulf Shores, AL (230 hits - thanks Mom & Dad).

Thank you all for playing "who's reading my blog.". Until next time.

Dinner Was Great!

I haven't shared a recipe on the blog in a looooong time, but Chris made the most excellent soup tonight for dinner. I just have to share it with you all, particularly since it's going to be soup weather here in Minnesota all week.

Italian Sausage Soup with Tortellini

I got this recipe from allrecipes.com

1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 Cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 Cups beef broth
1/2 Cup water
1/2 Cup red wine
4 Large tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped
1 Cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 Tbsp packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 Can tomato sauce (8 ounce)
1 1/2 Cups sliced zucchini
12 oz fresh tortellini pasta (we used frozen tortellini)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a 5 quart Dutch oven, brown sausage. Remove sausage and drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of the drippings.
Saute onions and garlic in drippings. Stir in beef broth, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano, tomato sauce, and sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
Skim fat from the soup. Stir in zucchini and parsley. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add tortellini during the last 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top of each serving.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Here is a picture of my Hit Map.  Locales west of the Mississippi River seem to be underrepresented in blog visits.  Canada, Eastern Europe and Australia also need more Zoo readers!  But to all of you represented by the hearts - I love you!!  Thanks for visiting :-)