"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

Monday, March 31, 2014

We Were Running a Little Low

We've only had two pets around here since December, having lost two that month. I think our all time high with regards to number of pets was six - two dogs, two bunnies, and two hamsters.  That's excepting the time when we had fish...there were a lot of those...but they died off quite quickly!

Two pets seems like hardly any!

Well, yesterday we decided to remedy that sad situation by adding two more members to our family.

Emily, at long last, was able to get her much-longed-for guinea pig.  After throwing out many names, such as Papua New and Gluten, she settled on Lila.  Lila is an adorable little piggy who makes all those cute little guinea pig noises! 

Marcus, after a seemingly interminable wait, finally got a replacement hamster for the one that passed away in December. His cute little friend is named Midnight. 
The rodent population is definitely on the rise at our house!

Molly is waiting (not so patiently) for when we will say "yes" to a husky, and Nina is holding out hope for a kitty.  Not seeing either of those things in the near future, but you never know....

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Caramel Corn Recipe

A request has been made for my caramel corn recipe, so here it is!

Caramel Corn
14 cups popped popcorn
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. soda

Place popcorn in 9 x 13 pan. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for 4 to 5 minutes, being careful not to burn it..  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and soda. (this is my favorite part because of the little chemical reaction thing that goes on.  You'll just have to make it to witness it for yourself!) Pour caramel mixture over the popcorn and stir.  Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Take out of pan immediately and allow to cool.

There you have it.  It's really, really tasty.  Trust me!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


In the last post I mentioned that we were collecting sap from our maple trees.  Well, that proved quite successful last week, and we ended up with many gallons of sap by Saturday.  Since we had no more room ANYWHERE to store all that sap, we decided to boil it down into syrup.  Little did we know how LOOOOOONG that would take!  Because of our inexperience, we didn't start the process until the afternoon, and Chris was still manning the sap boiling late into the night.
When it was all said and done, we didn't have a lot to show for it, but what we did have was very, very tasty!! 
Looking forward to the weather warming up again, so we can do it all over again!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Something New

We get a little bored around here this time of year, so this year we are trying something new...
We have a couple large maple trees in the yard, and after talking to a friend at church on Sunday, we decided to tap our trees and make maple syrup!

So far, so good. The sap seems to be flowing, and we have over a gallon of it collected after just one day.  Not sure how much syrup we'll get when it's all said and done, but it's a fun, new experience!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

That Question

I went to Sam's Club this morning with my three little ones. Since I usually have an abundance of babysitters at home, I don't frequently go out with all three little ones anymore.  As I was leaving the store, the woman checking our receipt asked THAT question.  One of those questions, that adoptive families get ALL the time, but I haven't heard in awhile...."So, you're babysitting today?"

After a brief pause where I had to process what she just said, I responded with a smile, "No, they're mine," and left.  Of course, on the walk to the car and the ride home I had to field questions like, "Why did she ask that?" and "Is she racist?" from my kids.

Now, there are a couple ways to spin her question:
  1. Adoption isn't on her radar when she sees a white mom with black kids.
  2. The kids look too close in age to all be siblings.
  3.  I look too old to have kids that young.
Well, no matter which option you choose, it's not very pleasant.

There was a time, when my older five were little (5,3,2,newborn, newborn) that I considered having "Yes! They're all mine!" tattooed on my forehead, to cut down on the awkward questions and even more awkward staring.  I haven't thought about it in many years though...I'd like to think it's because people have stopped staring, but maybe I've just become oblivious to the gawking.

Oh, and there was that time on our way to Alabama last year when a gentleman asked if we were taking the children from the local Baptist Children's Home on an outing.... (*this is where I mentally  slap myself on the forehead and suppress a scream*)

Anyway, most of the time, I think graciously about people asking these awkward question, but I thought I'd put this out here as a public service announcement....when you see a family where the kids don't look like the parent, please let adoption at least wander through your thoughts.  Or, when you see a mom (or dad) with a boatload of little kids, instead of asking if they do daycare, offer to help them in some way...or just smile....

Carry on....

Sunday, March 16, 2014

To Blog or Not To Blog

That is indeed the question of the week!  It's been almost a whole week since I posted :( mostly because I'm not sure that there is anything blog-worthy going on.

Possible blog topics:
The weather - it's improving, but a far cry from summer still!
School - there's a limit to the number of dissecting posts you want to read, I'm sure
Post vacation blues - lots of that going on, but that would just be a depressing post
Family issues - too much drama (mine), aka, no one wants to hear me whine!
Nina & Molly's Spring Break - except I'm banned from sharing anything about them
Emily's second trip to Alabama - She'd have to write that since I'm not there with her :(
Adoption issues - Surely my readers tire of those posts
Kitchen Remodel - not much has happened since I removed the wallpaper :(

Hmmm, I'm open to ideas.  What shall I post about???

Monday, March 10, 2014

Some Things Never Change

A long, long time ago three young kids were brought to the photo studio to have their portrait taken.  The photographer wanted to make an adjustment to her camera while the children waited....and waited...and waited.  Apparently the adjustment required the photographer to snap a picture...and this is what she captured (without looking)...
As it turns out, most of the pictures taken that day did not turn out too well, but that one, well, that one was a keeper!  Because it so accurately captured the personality of each of the children, the photo has been on display in their home for all these years, and will remain so for years to come!

As it turns out, the same children (now grown or almost grown) can still pull off their childhood look quite well...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mardi Gras & More

Sorry, virtual vacationers, we've been too busy to blog.  Just know that we are having a wonderful time down here despite the weather being somewhat cooler than we'd like.

Yesterday was, of course, Mardi Gras, and we celebrated it by going to the Gulf Shores parade and then going to a nature center at a nearby park.  Of course we had King's Cake with dinner as well.

There were lots of floats

Even Jesus got into the act, tossing out moon cakes

 There were plenty of beads!!

Sorting through the loot at the end of the parade is always fun!

Just a "few" of the beads we collected
We made some new friends at the nature center

Today we went mini-golfing and then did some antiquing and shopping in Foley.

 Sad to say, we only have two days left. 

Monday, March 3, 2014


We've been coming down here to Gulf Shores/Orange Beach for many, many years.  As you might expect we have developed a few tradition, one of them is going to the "Shark Store." The actual name of the store is Souvenir City, but the kids have always called it the shark store because of the large shark you must walk through to get into the store. It has a rather eclectic collection of cheap souvenirs and nice clothing and shoes. 

I pretty much go catatonic as soon as I step foot into the Shark Store, overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of it and the thought of children wandering aimlessly for the better part of an hour trying to choose a toy which will, no doubt, break within an hour of getting home.

Today, when we took our little excursion to the Shark Store, I decided to entertain myself by finding some of the more "interesting" items for sale there,  Here is a sampling...

Just what everyone wants on their shelf at home - a dead shark in a jar!

Why just pick up shells on the beach (which are in abundance, btw) when you can spend money and buy them at the Shark Store.

Voodoo dolls renamed Good Spirit Dolls, that sounds like a good idea, right?

Nothing says, "I love you," like a furry cat head on a ring!

No home is complete without a coconut head on their shelf.

Just look at all the fun you can have with a severed alligator head!

 Ummm, not even sure what to say about these guys.  Not sure why the one is sitting on the other's head either.

Aww, look!  Kissing seahorses!

You can even pretend like you're  a totem pole.

There's simply no end to what you can make with a bunch of shells.

And, in case you forgot your swimsuit at home, you can buy a top right here.

Well, there's one tradition I'm glad we've gotten out of the way!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Day 1

Hello, vicarious vacationers!

We made it safely down to Alabama yesterday, despite a snow storm in Iowa.  We were greeted by beautiful sunshine and pleasant weather.  Today, brought more of the same - lots of sunshine and temperatures warm enough to warrant the entire day being spent on the beach!

When we're not on the beach, we spend most of our time here.

 Sibling bonding time

Leaping off the cliffs of insanity

Emily and her pet jellyfish

We were going to bring Mr. Sea Star home with us until we discovered he was still alive.  We returned him to his natural habitat.