"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, December 31, 2013

Wedding Bells

As you probably know, this adorable couple will be tying the knot in just 11 short days!  Hard to believe that I will have a married child!  Yikes!

This impending, glorious event has made me quite reflective lately.  My mind frequently wanders back 20 years to when Evan was just an itty, bitty baby (okay, not so itty, bitty as he came out at 9 1/2 pounds).  I keep having weird flashbacks of events from his childhood.  They seem like only yesterday.

Then, I start pondering the 10 years that Chris and I taught the pre-marriage class at our church.  So many couples went through that class, and our heart was to help each of them get started on the right foot as they began life together.  How much more so is our desire for Evan & Erin to do the same! How different it is when it's your own son and not a stranger that you are giving advice to.

Frequently, in the past couple months, my mind has wandered ahead to when my other children will be excitedly planning for their own weddings.  As I ponder who their significant others might be, I pray.  I pray really hard for that person to be the spouse that my child needs. Since my kids were little, I would pray periodically for their future spouses, but now I pray much more frequently and with much more urgency, as I see how quickly time goes by.

Truthfully, all this reflection has caused me to feel anxious at times - not a feeling I enjoy in the least!  But even this anxiety pushes me back into the arms of God as I remember his omnipotence in my life and in the lives of my children.

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."   - Isaiah 41:10

Year In Review

Life As We Know It
(A totally random selection of photos from this past year)












Monday, December 30, 2013

I Warned You

I warned you in my last post that I might subject you to more music today....and so I will!  This song has been stuck in my head all day, so now I will proceed to get it stuck in your head as well!

You're welcome!


Hey, guess what?  I'm going to write a post about music!  Big surprise, I know!

Actually, I am not going to "force" you to listen to any of my favorite music today.  (well, maybe later, but not right now)

I've been thinking lately, that for someone who obsesses as much about music as I do, I don't really listen to it all that often.  Seriously!  Many days (most?) I don't listen to music at all.  I play music (on my dulcimer or French horn) almost daily, but just listening to it....it just doesn't happen as much as you'd think. How can that be?

I've determined that it comes down to one thing.  When I listen to music it is an all-consuming activity.  It is not something to have going on in the background and, heaven forbid, it's certainly not something to hold a conversation over.  When I listen, I want to really connect with the lyrics, the voice or the drum line (yes, I'm a drum fanatic, too).  It's not just an aural experience for me, I want to "feel" the music.

Living in a house with nine people means there is precious little uninterrupted time in my day, thus precious little music-listening time. 

There you have it.  A music post with no music in it.

Cranberry-Orange Scones

My friend, Sara, requested this recipe, so I thought I would share it with you all as well.  It comes from the Best of Byerly's cookbook.

Cranberry and Orange Scones
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. butter
1/3 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped (I sometimes omit these)
1 egg, slightly beaten
- milk
1 egg white, slightly beaten
2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. grated orange peel

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt.  With pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in dried cranberries.  Combine egg with enough milk to measure 2/3 cup; stir into flour mixture with fork just until mixture holds together.  Gently form into a ball with fingers; turn onto lightly floured surface.  Knead gently 10 to 12 strokes.  With floured rolling pin, lightly roll dough on floured surface to 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut into triangular pieces. Arrange scones on an ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Brush with egg white.  Combine 2 Tbs. sugar and orange peel; sprinkle over tops of scones.  Bake until lightly browned (8 to 10 minutes)

***I usually grate some orange peel into the dough with the milk/egg mixture to increase the orange flavor.  I also double the orange/sugar mixture to sprinkle over the top....just because I like it better that way. 

These can be served with Mock Devonshire Cream, if desired.  You can find that recipe here.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Any Guesses?


has been sitting on my countertop for the past five days.  In three more days it will be ready.

Any guesses on what it is??

Thursday, December 26, 2013

This Happened!

Wow, it's December 26 and I've only done nine blog posts this month!  Sorry about that, folks.  Truthfully, I've been in a bit of a funk lately. 

There's been a lot going on around out house this month, as you might guess - two birthdays, candy making, cookie baking, random sleepover parties, Christmas celebrations, etc. - but apparently, I couldn't find time (or energy) to blog about most of it.  I will try to do better next month!

For now, here is a summary of the month of December in picture form...

Candy making happened

Christmas with Chris' family happened

Chris' birthday happened (as much as he would like to pretend that he is not a year older)

Cookie baking/spa night with my high school small group happened

Then Christmas happened, but I'll give that it's own post!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Heavy Heart

Many of you prayed for Molly's bunny last month when he was sick.  I reported on his apparent recovery right around Thanksgiving, but it appears that he was only given a reprieve from his illness, as he is once again very, very ill.  It is almost certain that he will not make it this time.

So, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we also prepare to grieve the death of little Starburst.  Strangely, this sad event makes me all the more thankful for Christmas, as it is a reminder that Jesus birth was the beginning of God's ransoming of his children.  Jesus came so that they can spend eternity in heaven where there is no death and no grief. No more tears and sadness!  Oh, how I long for that time!

Pain in this life always makes me long all the more for the next.

Please pray for Molly.  It is a sad day for her and our family.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tis The Season

Christmas time can be so hectic, what with Christmas parties, present buying, present wrapping and various other family engagements, it's hard to keep on top of everything.  I tend to make lists when I have a lot to get done.  This helps me to remember all the things I need to do, as well as giving me that sense of satisfaction when I cross things off my list.

This year, I've decided to make my list more life-friendly, as in, what happens in real like.

Here we go...

Barb's To Do List
  1. Get a cup of coffee
  2. Check email
  3. Write a blog post
  4. Make a To Do List
  5. Help random children with random school problems
  6. Break up an argument between two or more children
  7. Get a refill on that coffee
  8. Let the dog out
  9. Make a shopping list for Friday night's cookie baking party
  10. Make a grocery list for Saturday's Holiday Open House
  11. Let the dog back in
  12. Start a load of laundry
  13. Eat some chocolate
  14. Do school
  15. Help another child with a random math problem
  16. Explain to said child that getting angry over not understanding a math problem is NOT productive
  17. Go to Sam's Club
  18. Stop at Starbuck's
  19. Put groceries away
  20. Make cookie dough
  21. Go to Aldi
  22. Go to Costco
  23. Get mail
  24. Read all the Christmas cards in the mail
  25. Change party menu because I forgot to buys something/couldn't find something at all of the above stores
  26. Try clear off the piles of mail on the kitchen counter
  27. Have some bunny therapy
  28. Make another cup of cofffee
  29. Check Facebook
  30. Check Twitter
  31. Check email again
  32. Text hubby and tell him how stressed I am
  33. Do a Suduko
  34. Eat some more chocolate
  35. Give up writing a To Do list and go back to reading Facebook
There!  I feel so much better already, knowing that I will certainly be able to check at least half of these items off by the end of the day!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Goodbye Birthday Season

Birthday Season 2013 has officially come to an end.  While part of me is sad to see it go, the other part of me is happy to now focus on Christmas.

Closing out our birthday season is Chris, with his birthday on December 15.  Although this post is a day late, it is not because we don't love Chris, it is quite simply because we had no time to celebrate yesterday (the disadvantage of having a December birthday).

All this to say, happy belated birthday to my MUCH younger husband, but not as young as you were a few days ago!

I love you, Chris, and wouldn't want to spend my life with anyone else!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Part 2


Nothing says Merry Christmas like a musk ox
Sleepy kids in jammies are a standard Christmas sight around here.

 Why decorate the tree when you can decorate Marcus?

Mandatory, children standing together at Grandma's house picture


I told you it was mandatory.

Let's face it, Raelea was a hipster before there were even hipsters.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Part 1


What?  Doesn't your husband walk around with a weird cotton headdress on?

Too much cuteness in one picture...and some random girl in the background.


Wearing that bow with style, Raelea!

In case you're wondering, my weirdness is genetic, and here's the picture to prove it.


When we still coordinated our clothes for the family picture, and had a dog that would sit still for more than 10 seconds.

Some things never change!

O, Christmas Tree

This happened on Sunday....

And then this happened....

Breaking with tradition only slightly, we cut down the tree on Marcus' birthday, per his request.  Up to this year, we usually cut it down on Chris' birthday because that's what he did when he was growing up.

Now, I don't know about your tree, but our tree is, shall we say, eclectic. I'm not into the perfectly coordinated, all-the-same-color-ornaments sort of tree.  NO!  I'm into the each-ornament-has-a-story sort of tree, and so that is what we have.  Here are a couple of the unique things we have hanging from our tree.

No tree is complete without an orange dinosaur.

Or a beaded scorpion, for that matter.

Nothing says "I love mom" like a lizard on an ornament.

 Getting in touch with our farming roots...oh wait...I don't know why this red tractor is on there.  Actually, that's not true, either.  We went to some farm-type place in Missouri with my sister Kathy, and we bought it there to remember the trip. (I told you there was a story behind each one!)

Certainly Texas should be on every tree!  Snickers thought this was a lovely leather chew toy one Christmas.

Ocean-going freighters fit right in on our tree.

And, well, the US Supreme Court also deserves a spot on our tree!

Decorating the tree becomes a walk down memory lane over here :-)

What sort of strange things do you have on YOUR tree?