Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Calamondin Orange tree

I need to brag on this tree a little.....

I've had my Calamondin tree for at least 8 years now and it's so easy, pretty, and entertaining! I keep it outside in the spring/summer and inside in the fall/winter.

Easy:: It so hardy. It's taken a frost bite or 2, with no ill effects. It also went an entire summer outside without me watering it once. (for the record i just had the twins and i was busy!) And I'm pretty certain the boys pee in it. The thing just won't die.

Pretty:: I can't believe how this thing produces! It flowers 2 or 3 times each summer with pretty white flowers and just continues to give oranges. The oranges are comparable to the size of kumquats, but rounder. Look at this picture from 2009, christmas. (yes it's also our christmas tree) look at all those oranges! We didn't need ornaments that year.

This year's Christmas...

Entertaining:: These things are so sour, we make lemonade out of them. I've also made lemon squares with them, use in tea, or throw them in smoothies.

Sometimes we just eat them for the "fun" of it! It's almost painful. These are real reactions after biting into the deliciousness...

If you're looking for a low maintenance, decorative citrus tree to have around your house, a calamondin is the way to go!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Baby needs a haircut when.......

--Mommy can't read him a book without choking on the hair.....

--Strangers talk about "her" and "she", without hesitation, obviously very confident they know the gender....

--Mommy doesn't bother to correct them anymore....

--You're pretty sure great-grandma is losing sleep over this...

--and lastly, when he wakes up from a nap looking like this!! --

We only plan to have fun at Clay's expense a little while longer. Haircut the new year...probably :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

A beautiful mess...

The picture doesn't quite capture it, but i'm just glad they were playing outside!! this winter i want to encourage at least 2 hours of outdoor play each day, some in the morning and in the afternoon. i think it would do us all a lot of good, and my house won't get as trashed :)

of course that amount of time isn't hard when it's nice out, but in the winter unless there's snow on the ground, they don't want to go out much. i want them to learn that once you get bundled up and get out there, you get used to the cold and you can have just as much fun as when it's warm. Plus it really feels good once you come back in.

and if mommy pretends she likes to be outside in the winter, that might help too!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The good ole animals

My blog wouldn't be complete w/out an animal update...

For those of you who stated that my newborn baby bunnies were hideous, gross, ugly, and the like (you know who you are :) thought i need to post 4 week pictures instead of 1 day old pictures.
(a couple of these pictures are from Maredith)
All 8 survived and are doing great. Mamma did not survive however. The babies are old enough though and can live w/out mamma.
We found our first Guinea egg on Friday. You can see here a Guinea egg compared to a chicken egg. Look how big the guinea egg is! ! Just kidding, the Guinea egg is the small one., about 1/2 the size of a chicken egg.

Rod took time out of his Saturday to build the kitties a house. He's done this before and it's so neat. He actually seals the house to our door, Helping to make the house warmer inside. I think puffy is pleased. Good night!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Upon our arrival home into the Philadelphia airport last week, we immediately heard Christmas music! Yup, we went straight from relaxing Aruba to the busy Christmas season. School functions, a brunch, an evening tea, candy making day, family get togethers are all on December's calendar. Add to that the other traditions i hope to do with the boys, like making cookies, a trip to the food bank, and our Samaritans Purse donations. And Christmas shopping? Well that hasn't even taken place yet. But we're pacing ourselves :) I'm enjoying our advent series this year, one i hadn't heard of but a friend recommended it, called 'Truth in the Tinsel'. We are totally not doing an ornament each day, but reading and discussing the given text has been great. My prayer has been that the boys would learn something new and grow in their knowledge surrounding Jesus birth.

I put colored lights up this year and told the boys it's just for them, since noone from the road can see them! Last week the Freed's came here to live in our apartment for the month. They've gone to our church, but the past 4 years have been living in Guatemala serving the children down there. So good to be with them and hear more about what they are doing. I have to put leashes on the boys and tie them up so they stop going downstairs! They love them, especially the "tickle monster", Mr. Denny. Love what they are doing in Guat and excited for them as they switch missions and begin a new location of serving.

An added bonus of the weekend was Krista came to town and also stayed here! (We did the math, there were 6 boys and 6 girls in our house over that time!) Clay really warmed up to her this time. He used to pretend not to like her :) Oh how we missed this girl!
Today's advent focused on Mary and her encounter with Gabriel. I told the boys how surprised i was to find out i was having twins, i can't imagine how surprised Mary must have been when finding out she'll be having God's son!!! her response: "I am the Lord's servant." wow. I am challenged. (My response was: "This can't be! I already have another baby at home!") There is some growing to be had in that area :)

Speaking of twins, tomorrow i find out if Nadene is having 2 boys, or 2 girls, or 1 of each! So excited to share in this whole 'twin parenting thing' with her. These babies are blessed to have Bob and Nadene for parents.

Back to Christmas... I'm inspired to learn more, reflect more, and at the same time see it through my children's eyes. Adam's love language is gifts, so look out, he's wrapping gifts (junk around the house) for anyone and everyone. He just wants to give (and receive). It's an exciting time for him and i enjoy watching his enthusiam. This time of year is a good excuse for him to use his love language. And it's an open door for me to emphasize that all those years ago God gave us the greatest Gift!

Blessings this Christmas...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

back again

we are home!

we enjoyed a relaxing, good time together as a couple, but we were ready to come home again to our kids. i guess that's a good thing!

still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact we've been married 10 years. makes me feel a little old, but i just won't think about that. I am blessed to have this man as my husband.

aruba was how we left it 2 years ago. we love it there for many reasons. it's a small, friendly little island that is bursting with God's handiwork. i love animals and you don't get to see these every day in lancaster, pa....
An eel:we snorkled twice, ate great food, and tried doing a photo shoot in honor of our 10 year anniversary. rod was a good sport about doing this, i had this in mind weeks before we came. nothing fancy, just photos of us w/out kids hanging off us.
We spent a couple days walking and swimming to little tiny islands off the coast of our beach. It was fun and scary at the same time! The one island was over a 5 minute swim away and i just tried hard not to think about what was swimming underneath me!

The first island....this one we could walk to, shallow water.
The airport was right next to our beach. This about sums it up....The beach, rental car, and Rod's hat! A refreshing vacation, how thankful we are.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Just a few things before we leave for vacation!

I am not okay with this weather.. This getting dark early, chilly, long season of late fall/winter. I thought i'd come to terms with it this year, accepting the good that comes along with it. But no, not a fan of this season.

However, this does mean i have more time to cook. Soup is my favorite thing to cook, and i found another recipe last week that is soo good. Must try this if you're into the Ham and Bean thing.

Navy Bean soup:

Click HERE for the recipe...

Clay said his first 2-word combo Sunday morning in the bathtub. "More duck". Probably not your typical first 2-worded combo, but that would be Clay!
Adam is turning 6 soon! We'll be gone over his actual birthday, but Saturday he took a friend bowling, and Friday we also celebrate. And Grandma may have something up her sleeve while we are away :) This is also the first year he gets to share this day with school mates. We picked up a little trinket for him to hand to each of his classmates on his birthday. I had a very encouraging first Parent/teacher conference last Wed and was so relieved to hear he's interacting and enjoying Kindergarten. I suppose he's learning too :) I can't say enough about his teacher. She's not just a popular choice through kids eyes, but parents also see what a blessing she is. I appreciate her so much.
His cake choice for Friday's party. He kept changing his mind AGAIN this year, but Candy Cane it is. This will look nice with the camo paper products :/
I'm a little behind the times, but have started reading "The Power of a Praying Parent". It has been perfect for me, as I've lately just been seeking God on how i should pray for my kids. Knowing how much difference i can make in their life now and in the future by taking time in prayer. I was also encouraged to realize that the ideas she has, and areas she suggests praying for have already been on my heart and am already communicating with God about. The Spirit has been helping me and i didn't even know it.

Rod update: His lower back is coming along pretty good and also his neck (which started bothering him after his back). We're off to celebrate 10 years of marriage!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Happy moment of the day...Letting the boys 'help' rake leaves. There were leaves from 2 trees that needed done, and although it did not all get done, we had fun together and i'm happy about that.
Ben thought it was much too hot out today and decided to take his shirt off!
Will try to finish up tomorrow :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Baby bunnies

On Sunday we had a new batch of baby bunnies! i think there are 8 of them. These guys are spunky! nothing like newborn kittens. They flail all over the place, what a riot. Momma bunny seems to be doing a good job, unlike her first litter that she didn't take care of.

A baby bunny is called a kit...
They are born without fur, but start getting fur at about 3 days old. Their eyes will be closed for 10-12 days after they are born. Momma bunnies are only pregnant for a month and can have 7 litters per year.

The Momma makes a 'nest' for her babies, using her own fur. It's so soft and keeps them very warm..

The average size litter for bunnies is 6.The pink areas will have white fur. I'm assuming the gray will stay gray, and the black will stay black. These are New Zealand rabbits.

Maybe that's more info then anyone cares to know about bunnies, but there you go!

Friday, November 4, 2011

2 posts

This is a 2 post kind of night, Rod went to bed at 7:30 with a cold and back issues. Pray for him! When he gets back pain we always wonder.....he's already had 2 back surgeries. After his last surgery the doctor told him if he'd gain weight it might help him. Well, this man cannot gain weight. He eats a lot! (see my next post:) Hopefully his back will come around again soon, it usually does.

Yesterday I worked a lot outside. I took out my tomato plants. Ben and Brad decided to put the tomato cages to good use and pretend they were bears. It was so cute. They were in there for at least 1/2 hour.
Adam was thoughtful enough to feed the bear some corn. That was cute until Brad really started to eat it. This is a rarity. They both sat still at the same time long enough to read an entire book of 'touch and feel baby animals'. It was precious.

Recent cooking

Just a couple recipes. First one is my own concoction, a soup recipe. I could live on soup. The second one is my mom's pumpkin pie recipe. I've made several of these this fall, Rod loves them.

Broccoli Cheeseburger soup:
1 small onion, chopped

1/2 c. green pepper

1 c. celery chopped

3 T. butter

6 potatoes peeled and cubed

4 c. broccoli

3 medium carrots, grated

3 cups chicken broth

2 chicken or beef boullin cubes

1 garlic clove

1/8 tsp. pepper

2 lbs. ground meat (i used sausage)

5 cups milk, divided

6 T. flour

8-10 oz. velvetta cheese

3/4 c. sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 c. american cheese

5 strips cooked, crumbled bacon

1 tsp. basil

salt, to taste

Using a big pot, saute onion, celery, and green pepper in butter.

Add next ingredients, until the milk. Simmer till potatoes are tender.

Add 4 cups of milk, (mix flour with the last cup of milk and gradually stir into the soup), Cook till soup is thickened. Remove from heat and add cheeses, bacon, basil and salt.

This makes a lot, but probably won't freeze too well. Just make and eat it all week long :)

Pumpkin Pie (makes 2- 9" pies):

2 1/2 c. pumpkin

4 T flour

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. king syrup

2 c. milk

3 egg whites - mix and fold these in seperately

3 egg yolks

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Mix the above, (folding the whites in last). Bake 350 for 45-55 minutes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's on!

we've been counting down here at home, since 30 days out. Rod and i get to be together, lay on the beach, stare at flamingos, and eat! We are so looking forward to it. Celebrating 10 years of marriage, without the kids. they are excited to be with grandparents and cousins the whole time.
i'm going to miss clay!
the others? well........sure :)
Ben summed it up pretty good - "mom since we're always together i'm glad to get a break from you."
we are so grateful for this upcoming get-away. until then, lots to do!