"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, January 31, 2013

The Cost

Chris & I are getting away this weekend for some much needed couple-time.  I can't tell you the last time we spent more than a few hours away from the kids.  We're not doing anything fancy, just going to the cabin for some peace and quiet, and no running water.  Kind of like camping, except with a bed to sleep in...and electricity...and wifi.  Okay, it's not too much like camping at all.  The price is right - free.

Just because there is no monetary expense for this little time away, there is a cost.  The cost we are paying is challenging behavior from our child that still doesn't trust us yet.  The cost I pay for getting a weekend away with my hubby is temper tantrums over math problems, temper tantrums over dishes, temper tantrums over just about anything.  I'd rather pay $1000 than have to deal with this (just being honest here), but $1000 isn't going to fix the problem.  Patience, time, love, reassurance - those will help to stem the tide of the emotional meltdowns, and those are costly things that money can't buy.

It will all be worth it, I just look forward to getting through this next day and a half!

A New Game

Raelea: "Mom, I've invented a new game!"

Mom: "Really?!"

Raelea: "Yes!  It's called science teacher, so can I borrow your science worksheets?"

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hey, Mom, You're a Wasp

If you do a Google search of images for "mammoth wasp" my mom shows up on the first page!  She's the one that doesn't look like a wasp about eight rows down!

Am I The Only One

I know all about movie trailers, in that I've seen hundreds of them at my children's requests.  The trailers come out a year or so before the film ever hits the screen, and the anticipation mounts to a feverish level by the release date.  I like movie trailers.

Today, I got a notification about a trailer for a band's new album.  I guess I didn't realize that trailers were now made for albums.  I'm cool with that, especially for bands I really like (Dawes, in this case).  It was fun to hear some previews of the songs that will be on the album.

The ones that really puzzle me are the trailers for BOOKS.  Videos getting you excited about the release dates of books just strike me as, well, odd.  Does anyone else find this weird, or is it just me?

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Love Mondays!

Well, I'd love Mondays if they all were like this one!

Started the day with a homemade Egg McMuffin.  Did a little school.  Went to see Les Miserables (for the third time) with three awesome ladies and a baby (her second time).  Listened to Mumford & Sons on the way home.  Worked out.

Now I'm blogging and then it's some tilapia for dinner!

All Mondays should start this way, imo!

And now, a blurry picture of the crew...oh, we brought Hugh with us too...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Need Something For Breakfast?

Have I got a recipe for you!  These are positively yummy!

Spinach Cheese Squares
12 eggs
2-10 oz. pkgs. frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
2 pounds small curd cottage cheese
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 pound Colby cheese, grated (can use cheddar if you prefer)
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup instant chopped onion
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt (Lawry's)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Optional: ham or bacon crumbles

Grease 9x13 glass pan.  Beat eggs.  Add spinach (squeezed well), cottage cheese, and melted butter.  Add Colby cheese, flour, onion, salt, and bacon or ham.  Pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.   Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until golden brown.  Cut into serving pieces.
Serves 12

There you have it!  Enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2013

A New Toy


I got a new toy!  It has a camera.  It has FaceTime.  It talks to me!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Just One More

I know I'm probably boring some of you to tears while I'm on this literary bent, but I need to post just this one last quote from the Chesterton book I'm reading.  It is a follow-up to the quote in the last Chesterton post about coming out of your cave walking on your hands.  Here we go...

If a man saw the world upside down, with all the trees and towers hanging head downwards as in a pool, one effect would be to emphasize the idea of dependence. There is a Latin and literal connection; for the very word dependence only means hanging. It would make vivid the Scriptural text which says that God has hung the world upon nothing. If Saint Francis had seen, in one of his strange dreams, the town of Assisi upside down, it need not have differed in a single detail from itself except in being entirely the other way round. But the point is this: that whereas to the normal eye the large masonry of its walls or the massive foundations of its watchtowers and its high citadel would make it seem safer and more permanent, the moment it was turned over the very same weight would make it seem more helpless and more in peril. It is but a symbol; but it happens to fit the psychological fact. Saint Francis might love his little town as much as before, or more than before; but the nature of the love would be altered even in being increased. He might see and love every tile on the steep roofs or every bird on the battlements; but he would see them all in a new and divine light of eternal danger and dependence. Instead of being merely proud of his strong city because it could not be moved, he would be thankful to God Almighty that it had not been dropped; he would be thankful to God for not dropping the whole cosmos like a vast crystal to be shattered into falling stars.

Or another way to say it...

"So come out of your cave walking on your hands
And see the world hanging upside down
You can understand dependence
When you know the maker's land" - The Cave, Mumford & Sons

Lots of love to go around, folks!
I love Chesterton.  I love Mumford & Sons.  And now I love St. Francis.  Because they all make me love God so much more. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Good Stuff

Feeling literary again tonight!  Must be the cold weather, or something, bringing out the intellectual in me.  Tonight I began delving into G.K. Chesterton's St. Francis of Assisi, primarily to look for this quote -

The man who went into the cave was not the man who came out again; in that sense he was almost as different as if he were dead, as if he were a ghost or a blessed spirit.  And the effects of this on his attitude towards the actual world were really as extravagant as any parallel can make them.  He looked at the world as differently from other men as if he had come out of that dark hole walking on his hands.

Some of you know WHY I was looking for that quote, for the rest of you, well, I'll just leave you wondering, as that is not the point of this post.

The point is, I then began reading the essay from the beginning and quickly became enthralled by things like this -

 The first fact to realize about St. Francis is involved in the first fact with which his story starts; that when he said from the first that he was a Troubadour, and said later that he was a Troubadour of a newer and nobler romance, he was not using a mere metaphor, but understood himself much better than the scholars understand him.  He was, to the last agonies of asceticism, a Troubadour.  He was a Lover.  He was a lover of God and he was really and truly a lover of men; possibly a much rarer mystical vocation.

But as St. Francis did not love humanity but men, so he did not love Christianity but Christ.

Wow!  I love that!  LOVE IT!  A bit later it goes on -

to this great mystic his religion was not a thing like a theory but a thing like a love-affair. 

Oh, how I want that to be what my religion is!!!!!

Now, I must keep reading.  According to my Kindle I am only 8% through this, and I'm already riveted.

Monday, January 21, 2013

It's Been Awhile

I used to make bread every week, but I fell out of that habit a few years ago.  The kids have been begging for some homemade cinnamon bread lately.  That, and the fact that it is subzero outside and we are having soup for dinner, all convinced me to make some bread - two whole wheat loaves and two cinnamon swirl loaves.

The plain bread will go with the soup, but the cinnamon bread is best gobbled up fresh and warm out of the oven, slathered with butter, honey, or peanut butter.  I'll let you know next time I'm going to make it, and you can all come over and have a slice!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Some Light Reading

Deviating from my preferred reading tonight, I have chosen to read a little Plato, specifically The Republic.   Years ago, Chris found a list on-line of 100 Great Books that everyone should read.  Sad to say, I had never read most of them.  Slowly, I have been working my way through the list, but I usually give most of my attention to the fictional works on the list.

I just found the list again today, and that has spurred me on to try reading a bit of Plato.  I am finding it quite thought provoking...go figure!  Considering the public inauguration tomorrow, I will share a few of Plato's thoughts on government with you all.

Yes, my friend, I said; and there lies the point.  You must contrive for your future rulers another and a better life than that of a ruler, and then you may have a well-ordered State; for only in the State which offers this, will they rule who are truly rich, not in silver and gold but in virtue and wisdom, which are the true blessings of life.  Whereas if they go to the administration of public affairs, poor and hungering after their own private advantage, thinking that hence they are to snatch the chief good, order there can never be; for they will be fighting about office, and the civil and domestic broils which thus arise will be the ruin of the rulers themselves and of the whole State.

Now there's something to think about tomorrow as we watch the inauguration.

*** There is also a list of 1000 Good Books that are well worth reading****

It Could Be Worse

Feeling a little cold around here today, so I thought I'd compare temperatures from where my readers hail from and here.  Let 's see...

St. Paul, MN (close enough to me)  4° F (-15° C for my worldwide readers)
Lethbridge, Canada 9°F (-12° C)
Nashville, TN 52° F (11° C)
Monmouth, UK 32° F (0° C)
Palo Alto, CA 52° F (11° C)
Islamabad, Pakistan 46° F (7° C)
Dubai, UAE 66°F (18° C)

Okay, maybe it can't be worse!  Apparently all my readers today live in warmer places.    Hmm, let me search the list.  Surely SOMEONE is colder than I am....

Hmm, not Norrk√∂ping, Sweden....not  Dollard-des-ormeaux, Canada...

Apparently it couldn't be worse!  Even Crystal in Alaska is warmer than we are today.  I'm going to go crawl in a hole now.....

Friday, January 18, 2013

Through The Years

I'm feeling a little nostalgic tonight.  Let's take a little walk down memory lane, shall we?












2010 (with a few extras)



More Realism

I'm pro-adoption.  You may have figured that out already, but I just thought I should put that out there.  That said, I am NOT about leading people to believe that adopting is a bowl of cherries with all the pits removed.  It's not...at least not in this house.

This post is primarily for those who are considering adoption.  Today, I am all about giving those thinking about adopting a dose of reality.  Not to discourage, but to inform.  You do nobody a service by adopting with your eyes shut tight.

Here's what "dealing with adoption" looked like in our house this morning.  Some of the children were eating breakfast when Zoe began to talk about Ethiopia, specifically what her mom & dad looked like.  She was 18 months when we got her, she has no real recollection of her Ethiopian parents, but we can speculate.  She was thoroughly enjoying this conversation.

Two chairs down sat Marcus, initially participating in the conversation, and then suddenly very quiet.  Even in the midst of getting breakfast on the table, I could see the brain ticking in his little head and the sadness starting to creep across his face.  I asked a few questions; he gave a few answers.  I gave him a big hug, and we went on with breakfast.

Fast forward an hour to school time, it quickly became apparent that the musings in his mind from the morning were still there, and he was ready to hate on the world.  Even simple tasks like checking his addition problems were overwhelming to him, resulting in emotional and angry breakdowns.  My efforts to teach him his writing lesson resulted in yelling and throwing of books (by him, not me).  Even I could see that this wasn't about school, and it wasn't about math or writing.  This was about grief and loss and unresolved anger and hurt...that happened to take the form of a really rough morning at school.

The reality of an adoptive parent's life is that they need to know this type of thing may be coming, and they need to realistically ask themselves are they ready to deal with it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It Needs To Be Said

As I sit here kilt shopping and being entertained by my friend Linda's reviews of Les Miserables reviews (yes, she's reviewing reviews), I am eating raw cookie dough, left over for me by dear sweet Emily.

I am feeling the urge to inform you all that I have been eating cookie dough for about 45 years.  Usually in large quantities.  Every time with unpasteurized eggs (sometimes store bought, sometimes from a friend's farm).  For the past 17 years, I have been allowing my children to eat cookie dough (and cake batter and raw egg noodles).  Usually in large quantities.

Not once, as in never, have any of us EVER come down with any form of food poisoning.  I just thought you should know that!  Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


10:30 at our house finds Nina trying to teach Molly, apparently unsuccessfully, to eat ramen noodles with chopsticks.


I loathe ironing!  Sometimes you just need to blog about things you hate.  This is one of those posts.  Since I hate ironing, I rarely buy things that NEED ironing.  I love winter because all my winter clothes are either jeans or knit thus, no ironing needed.  (No, I am not one of THOSE people who feel the need to iron jeans.)

My husband, on the other hand, has taken to wearing dress shirts to work.  He used to wear jeans and t-shirts to work, but now that he's "management" he feels the need to look the part.  Tonight, ironing had become unavoidable.  He barely had any shirts left to wear, and I couldn't bribe my children to iron.  They must have inherited my iron-hating gene.

In order to amuse myself, I thought I would time myself to see just how long it takes me to iron a men's long-sleeve dress shirt.


You're NOT going to believe what I just discovered!  Extreme Ironing!

Extreme Ironing (also called EI) is an extreme sport and a performance art in which people take an ironing board to a remote location and iron items of clothing. According to the official website, extreme ironing is "the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt."

This is hysterical!!  People rock climb or parachute or things like that with an ironing board and iron!  I can barely type I'm laughing so hard.....

Yes, you can even participate in extreme ironing underwater.  I guess you wouldn't have to use the steam setting on your iron...and you might not want to plug it in either...just a thought!  Maybe next time I go the Boundary Waters I'll paddle and pack in an ironing board and iron!  I could iron the Duluth packs or something.

Well, I was going to tell you that it only takes me 2 minutes to iron that shirt, but that's pretty boring now that I know that people are putting their lives in danger for the art...errrr....sport or ironing.

Now that I know that it is an extreme sport, I think ironing is MUCH more appealing to me.  Ironing in my basement is no longer going to cut it.   I'm going to have to start thinking of fun place to DO my ironing....stay tuned....

Monday, January 14, 2013

A New Adventure

So...I'm thinking of starting a vlog.  You know a blog with a v instead of a b, as in a video blog.

I've been thinking about it for a long time, but I'm a little scared.  It's one thing to hide behind my computer and type to the world (okay, maybe not the world), but to get in front of a camera and show my face....yikes!

I was talking to a writer friend, Michelle, on Sunday, and she encouraged me that I really could vlog.

(Okay, the first time I typed vlog my computer wanted to change it to blog.  The second time I typed it, it wanted to change it to clog.  This is kind of a fun rhyming game I'm having with my computer!)

Back to vlogging...I was thinking of doing a "Cooking With Kids" vlog.  Not as in having kids help you cook, but as in what does cooking look like in the life of a real family with real kids who have real needs (usually right when your trying to cook a meal).  How on earth do you get a healthy, tasty meal on the table every night in the midst of doing life.  I'm thinking it will be a comedy.

I'm sorry, but all those cooking shows out there are great and all, but who has a perfectly stocked, clean, quiet kitchen to cook in each day?  Let's get real folks, we're not cooking in a studio.

Anyway, I'm still thinking about it.  If you think I'm a complete lunatic, please tell me so.  I'd hate to make a fool out of myself...actually, truth be told, I don't really care if I make a fool out of myself!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What's Your Name?

I read a CNN article this afternoon about what names are popular right now.  No big surprise that Barbara doesn't make the top 10, or even top100 these days!  That's not what caught my eye, though.  I read this quote, and it got me thinking...

Giving a child a name is perhaps the most personal decision a mother and father ever make. It is an act of absolute freedom. The government can't tell you what to name your child, your employers or extended family can't force your hand -- coming up with a name is a parent's first and biggest choice.

It struck me for one simple reason, we did not name several of our kids.  Their names were chosen by their birth families, their families asked us to keep the names, and we did.  It was a gift granted to them that we have never regretted giving.


It's been awhile since I've put on my dissatisfied customer hat, but I have to pull it out of storage for this one!

Here's he deal -

We bought a Groupon deal for a furnace inspection and maintenance from Uptown Heating.  We weren't having any issues with our furnace, but we had never had it serviced and thought it might be a good idea.  The technician arrived on time and started the inspection (which I could not stick around and watch since I have other responsibilities).

It wasn't long before he sought me out and told me that we had a cracked heat exchanger, we needed a new furnace, and he could not restart our furnace because it could be leaking CO2 into our house.  He offered to call someone to have them come out and talk to me about buying a new furnace.  I politely declined his offer and told him I would find someone myself.  He promptly left - without maintenancing anything, I might add.  I turned the furnace back on (it was 10 degrees out).

He was a very nice young man, and I chatted with him as he walked to the door.  Now, what I didn't tell the man was that we have had two different people look at our furnace in the past four months (not service it, but look at it to decide if it was sufficient to heat our addition), and neither of them expressed any concerns over our furnace.  Chris wanted to talk to the people at Uptown Heating when he got home, to find out why nothing was written up to explain what was found.  When he called the company, the women he spoke to said, "Our technician told me that your wife kicked him out when she found out you needed a new furnace."

Well, then!  When Chris told me that I was livid!  I really don't appreciate being slandered and lied about...just a little quirk that I have!  Anyway, after I calmed down, I decided to give Janelle at Uptown  Heating a call because I thought she should know that her fellow employee is a boldface liar.  Janelle didn't answer the phone, so I left a VERY sweet little message with my name and phone number requesting a call back (I'm not being sarcastic here either, it was a very pleasant message).  Never heard back from her.  No big surprise there.  We also have not received the written statement from them of the "problems" that they "found."

The plot thickens...

We decided we better get our furnace checked out by someone we know we can trust, just in case the furnace really was unsafe.  We called the HVAC contractor who did our addition work and had him come over and check the furnace.  Guess what...it's fine!

So, the long and short of it is, buyer beware, and stay away from Groupon deals for Uptown Heating!

Btw, I'm more miffed about him lying about me than lying about my furnace!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Just Stop Moving!

I've been at this parenting thing for awhile now, but I still learn a thing or two almost every day.  It helps that each of my kids is so unique and different from the rest.  Just when I figure out how to deal with one child, the next one comes along and requires a complete reboot and turn-around on my part.

Anyways...I'm currently teaching Zoe to read.  This has been a very satisfying experience with some of my kids and a VERY exasperating experience with others.  Zoe's about middle-of-the-road.  She's a smart little cookie, but she has a VERY hard time sitting still.  As in, she moves almost constantly.

After each word, she flips over (we do our reading lessons on my bed because my bedroom has a door...that can be shut...and locked, if necessary, to keep out all the other little bodies that want my attention during reading lesson).  Anyway, she flips over after EVERY word.  Kind of hard for her to comprehend a sentence when she reads (flip) one (flip) word (flip) and (flip) then (flip) flips (flip) over (flip).

Now some of you might be thinking, "Why don't you just have her sit up and do her reading?"  Good idea!  Tried it.  Then she wasn't flipping over, she was twisting and turning - different movement, equally disruptive.

A couple weeks ago, I decided to try something.  When we started reading lesson, I just gently placed my hand on her back.  Lo and behold, she laid still and did her whole lesson.  NO, I was not holding her down! Tempting, but I wasn't!   I just had my hand resting upon her back.  Seriously, just the touch of my hand caused her to lay still.

I was intrigued.  Maybe it was just a fluke on that day, so I tried it every day since, and every day it works.  I've tried it when she is squirming on the couch when I'm reading to her.  I set my hand on her leg and BAM, she stops squirming.

Now, maybe you all have known this for years, and I'm late in coming to this realization (if so, thanks for sharing your knowledge with me!), but if not and you have a squirmy child; give it a try!

I don't know why it works, but for Zoe it does.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I ♥ Royal Mail

Royal Mail always brings me special surprises and wonderful things from across the pond!  Today's special deliver was from my dear Mumford Sister, Ruth.  Tasty treats from the UK!

Thanks, Ruth!  All in the name of business!

More Good Food

I'm kind of having fun alternating recipes for really nummy food with pictures of dissected cow hearts!  This is such an eclectic blog...to match my slightly strange and eclectic mind.

Anyway, I made the following recipe for the first time this week, and it was delicious, so I though I would share it with you.


1 pound frozen ground chicken Italian-style, thawed *
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 (1.6 ounce) package Alfredo sauce mix (I just used a jar of pre-made Alfredo sauce)
1 (30 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce, divided
2 sheets fresh egg pasta for lasagna or 1 (13 ounce) package frozen lasagna sheets, thawed (I actually used manicotti noodles, but I think using the pasta sheets and rolling them up would work better)
1/4 pound thinly sliced proscuitto (I omitted...because I didn't have any)
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

In large skillet, brown ground chicken, onion, and garlic in olive oil.  Stir in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, parsley and nutmeg.  Prepare Alfredo sauce according to package directions.  Stir 1/3 cup sauce into chicken mixture; reserve remainder.  Spread half of spaghetti sauce in bottom of 9x13-inch baking pan.  Cut pasta sheets in half lengthwise.  Divide each half into thirds (or in half if thawed sheets are used), forming 12 squares.  Cut 1 slice prosciutto to fit width of 1 pasta square.  Top with 2 rounded tablespoons chicken mixture.  Roll pasta into tube; arrange, seam side down, in sauce.  Repeat with remaining squares.  Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over pasta.  Drizzle top with reserved Alfredo sauce.  (Refrigerate, covered if you are not baking it immediately)

Heat oven to 400 deg. Bake, covered, 15 minutes. Remove cover; continue baking until bubbly (15 to 25 minutes longer) Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese.  Let stand covered, 10 minutes before serving

*You can substitute the following for 1 pound Italian-style ground chicken - 1 pound ground chicken (I used turkey), combined with 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper, 1 tsp. fennel seed, and 1 tsp. paprika

All Before Lunch

Time to prep for co-op tomorrow!  

Presenting...my cow heart.  Let's call her Bessie, shall we?

After identifying Bessie's various openings, it was time to  make some preliminary incisions.  Each class tomorrow is only 45 minutes long which does not leave us a lot of time for dissecting, so I thought I would start a little of it today.  (Mostly because I couldn't wait to get my hands on, and in, this little specimen.  Notice the gleeful smile on my face!)

My children's reactions were varied.  Molly fled the room and refused to take any pictures for me.  Aidan took the pictures and wanted to see it but not touch it (those are my hands holding Bessie).

Emily, well....Emily was disgusted by the whole thing!

Can't wait for science tomorrow!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Something Good To Eat

My dear friend Erica has been waiting for this recipe a long time.  (Sorry, Erica)

Curried Beef Short Ribs 
2 tsp. canola oil
2 pounds beef short ribs, trimmed (I sometimes use round steak)
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/3 sup minced shallots
3 Tbs. minced garlic
3 Tbs. minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup water
2 Tsp. red curry paste
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. fish sauce
1 tsp. grated lime rind
1 Tbs. lime juice

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Sprinkle ribs with 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper.  Add half of ribs to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned.  Place ribs in an electric slow cooker.  Repeat procedure with remaining ribs.

2. Add shallots, garlic, and ginger to pan; saute 2 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 cup water and curry paste; cook 1 minute.  Stir in coconut milk, sugar, and fish sauce.  Add coconut milk mixture to cooker.  Cover and cook on low 6 hours.

3. Remove ribs from cooker; keep warm.  Strain fat off the top.  Stir in remaining 3/4 tsp. salt, remaining 1/8 tsp. pepper, rind and juice.  Shred rib meat with 2 forks; discard bones. Serve over rice.

Really tasty!  Enjoy!

Here We Go Again


You Learn Something New Every Day


Adenoids Are A Lot Like Lizard Tails

So many title options for this post!

Adenoids, indeed, are a lot like lizard tails, in that they can grow back once they are removed!  Who knew?  Apparently our ENT doctor knew, but who in the general population knew this?!

So, those of you that have known our family for a long time know that Aidan had many, many ear issues when he was young.  After two rounds of tubes and having his tonsils and adenoids removed, we went through an extended period of very few issues.  That extended period is apparently over, and he is back to having continuous fluid in his ears (not infected, just fluid build-up).  This has resulted in difficulties in hearing.

Anyway, back to the ENT we went today.  After a thorough exam and hearing check, the doc (whom we really like) declared that Aidan's adenoids had regrown and were, in his words, HUGE.

So soon, Aidan will be having another surgery to remove the resurrected adenoids, and probably have tubes reinserted in his ears.  He's not very happy about this prospect, not because of the surgery, but because he will need to wear ear protection when swimming.  When he was three he didn't really care about having to wear ear plugs and head band; ten years later it's a completely different story!

So now, you, like me, have learned something new today!

You're welcome!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

What Do I Want?

I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions.  I don't make them because I'd be lucky to remember in a week what that resolution was.  If I see something I need to change in my life, I'd prefer to work on it immediately, not wait until January 1 to begin...that's just me.

January does, however, make me think about what I want for the coming year, from the trivial (to see Mumford & Sons is concert again) to the serious (to be a better, more patient mommy).  All that aside, my overarching desire for the coming year (and all the years to come) is summed up in this song...

In my very imperfect and floundering way, this is what I want my whole life to be about!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Long Overdue

I've been meaning to write this post for about a month but haven't gotten around to it....until now.

This is a public service announcement.  You all need to go shop at Aldi!  Really, you do!

Here's the deal.  I have been told by friends for quite some time that I could save a ton of money if I would shop at Aldi, but the two times I had been in the store in the past left me unimpressed.  (not counting the many times I shopped there in Scotland)

My menu is varied and sometimes diverse, and I just didn't think that Aldi could meet my shopping needs.  But then, my dear friend Tami, aka the Recipe Goddess, started shopping there!  I figured if the Recipe Goddess could get what she needed at Aldi, then I probably could, too.  Especially when she told me they carried such things as goat cheese, Brie, etc.

In addition to the endorsement from Tami, my weekly grocery bill was hovering in the upper $200's and would top $300 many weeks!  Yikes!  Granted, I'm feeding ten people, three meals a day, but even still, this just seemed like an extraordinary amount of money!  Especially since I don't really do a lot of prepackaged foods or other "convenience" items.  We do eat a lot of fruit though, which is expensive.

Well, it only took one serious visit to Aldi to realize I could save a LOT of money shopping there!  Like nearly $100 a week.

Still not convinced?  Here's my menu for dinners this week:
Chicken Picatta
Korean Beef Skewers
Shrimp Scampi
Pork Chops
Rigatoni with Sausage, Artichokes & Asparagus

I just went shopping and spent $125.07 at Aldi.  There were a few things that they didn't have at Aldi: Manicotti noodles, rice sticks, Tide laundry detergent (I won't buy anything else), artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes.  I picked up these items and a few more things at Cub which cost me another $70.80.  That brings my grocery bill for the week to $195.15! Now that may sound like a lot to those of you not feeding so many people for so many meals, but for us it's a mighty nice bill.

Yes, it is an extra stop, since I had to go to Cub as well, but I will make an extra stop to save $100.  A couple more thoughts for you.  Aldi ketchup tastes just like Heinz (we're ketchup snobs over here), their knock-off Triscuits and Wheat Thins taste enough like the real thing to substitute, their pineapples are SUPER cheap (at least at our Aldi).  Actually ALL of their fruit and vegetables are really cheap.

I'll stop now.

But you really should go to Aldi!


Well, I knew it would happen soon.  I went out to the blog and noticed that I had 99,999 page views, so I put a little plug out on Facebook to give someone the opportunity to be the 100,000th visitor.

Within seconds, Brita won that spot in history.  Btw, this is not the first time Brita and family have won bragging rights for such a feat.  I believe many years ago, they won a whole bunch of Adventure in Odyssey CDs for being the something-th visitor to Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs.

As a side note, my Five Year Blog-o-versary was just two days ago!  Hard to believe I've been out here for five years.  2012 was a banner year in my little blogosphere.  I posted more posts last year than every before (418 - the first year was a close second with 417).  My daily hit count rose from an average of about 30 to an average of near 100 during the course of the year, as well.  In addition, this year has brought me regular readers from the Palestinian Territory, the Netherlands, London, Croatia and Jamaica. (welcome to the blog, folks!)

Strangely, the post with the most hits is my birthday post from this past year with 437 page views!?  That's just plain weird if you ask me!  Surely I've had more interesting posts than wishing happy birthday to myself!  Maybe not!

Aside from google searches for some variation of barb, chris and zoo, the most common google search that ends up at my blog remains "dots candy."

Once again, congratulations, Brita, and thank you to all my faithful (and not-so-faithful) readers.  You make this blogging thing fun!  Love you all!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Apparently, just sitting at the kitchen island and reading isn't enough for Molly.  One must have a cup of tea and a candle to properly appreciate the reading experience.

I love that girl!

Swimming Home

I guess Chris should have wore his swim trunks to work today!

Water Main Break Floods Hennepin Ave., Forces Many Closures « CBS Minnesota

Not sure how he got away from the Fed, as the news just said that is where the water is the deepest.  Perhaps he will be working from home tomorrow....

Bad Dog!

Stepped into the laundry room this afternoon to discover that a certain dog...

did this....

Used bunny bedding, all over the floor = unhappy mom.

Mumford, consider this your wall of shame!  And what's the deal with eating disgusting bunny bedding anyway?!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Out With The Old

We celebrated New Year's Eve here in traditional fashion: hors d'oeuvres, games, movies and fun!  The three older kids weren't home, so we added three other kids to join in our little party.

They started off with a rousing game of Uno while the appetizers were baking.

The littles didn't get to stay up until midnight, but they drank their sparkling juice early, complete with a toast.

And since their older siblings had friends sleeping over, Marcus, Raelea and Zoe decided to have a "sleep-over" in the girls' room.

We killed an hour or so playing Hedbanz which, despite the silly head bands you have to wear, is a really fun game.

Apparently all of the holiday festivities have taken their toll on Aidan (and Mumford), as this is where I found him this evening.

What To Write

I'm having writer's block.  The first blog post of a new year is always daunting.  I feel like it should be something monumental and significant to start off a whole new year of blogging.  Hmm, the only two topics that come to mind are adoption and music - and the fact that this is the year I will get over 100,000 page views.

Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be lesson planning right now.  Gotta go!  Maybe I will be inspired as I figure out what to teach in January!

Welcome, 2013!

We survived the end of the Mayan calendar and falling off a fiscal cliff (although I guess we haven't hit the ground yet on that one), and now it's time to move on to 2013.

May the coming year bring you many occasions to celebrate life and love, lots of family and fun, music and merriment!

Happy New Years to all!