Sunday, May 24, 2015

Life in the city

Last year we barely lived through the constant front road construction, with the alley also ripped up and new water lines with sewer put in the yard. 
It was 6 months of constant noise! Thank goodness one of those months we could be up north!

The construction changed the front of the house entirely. The city moved everything in their right of way closer to the house, and widened the street. The few feet where we once sat on a step for over 37 years; (waiting for school buses and DAC vans for our group home clients) is now forever gone. With the new city sidewalk closer to the front of the house, there was no longer any room for our step.

So we paid a cement company to place a sloping cement pad in the smaller space, to elongate our wheel chair accessibility.

We also had to cut down our huge Catalpa tree. The roots were compromised after the city cut through them on two sides. We did learn that the tree only had about 10-15 years left to live. They live 70 years. It was the biggest Catalpa tree we had ever seen. The neighbors hated the "mess" the tree made seasonally, but we miss it already.

 The birds moved from nesting in the Catalpa to a "stunted" Arborvitae a few feet away. It is only about 20' tall. It was a bad choice for them, the cement workers hit the shrub hard and the nests (Grackle and Robin) fell out.

One of the people who grew up here, now on the other side of 35 yrs old, decided to live nearer to nature "up north". But you'd think she'd realize that South Haven is "south" not north. And its closer to Mpls than where we live. We are still further north than she is, even in the city.

Isaiah took the pictures of the nests and the eggs for his Biology. Lysa who hopes to be an Ornithologist had a lot of interest in seeing all of this up close.

 A little Grackle still in the egg. It was just pecking its way out prior to falling.

 An unopened egg.

 He wasn't sure which egg went where, so he just staged them. :o)

We think the bigger nest was the Robin.

In a post I wrote a while back Isaiah took a long distance photo of a Robin nest on the neighbor's roof. It looked like a great spot until the rains poured hard and the Robins shouted their warnings in desperation. We hope the babies were able to fly soon after they fell to the ground.
A few days later I saw a Passenger Pigeon walk along that roof and check the Robin nest. I was shocked to read that they do eat bird babies!
I had put these pavers in over 25 years ago for our Molly's wheel chair. Tom was always going to "fix" them. They held up well all those years but were awful to shovel snow off of! The cement pad will be nice for shoveling!

Friday Family dinner. Dan cooked the main dish! Eggs with mushrooms, bacon, sausage and cheese baked in muffin cups! Delicious! I made a flourless chocolate cake, organic green beans alfredo and fresh farm beef Liver for the kids since they eat more than Dan is used to cooking! :o) (they eat more than Dan!)
I don't know why they look so serious  here! We were having a lot of fun!

After dinner Isaiah and Kitty like to do the dishes. The rest of us sat in the living room and looked through our many many photo books of baby pictures. Baby pictures of all of the children from 1976 to now. Grace took home all of her baby pictures and any other pictures she wanted. Our living room shelves now only hold photos from Faith (born 2001) to Mercy who joined us last in 2013. That is 10 of the children filling up lots of photo books until we went electronic in 2011. Samson keeps his photos in his room.

We ran out of room for storing so many photo books. So we tossed the photos from 1976 to 2000. I'm just not a photo person. I don't have photos from my childhood either, neither does Tom. I had thought that the children's birthmoms would want photos, but they don't speak to us. They do not want contact with us. Several children we adopted have no interest in being a part of our family any longer. They have re-joined their real families (their words not ours) and even changing back their surnames. Their birth parents never wanted to meet us. Although we don't understand, there are no hard feelings from us, we wish them all well. 
We thank God for Him allowing us the gift of time that we had with them. Because we are all His children, shared with our earthly parents only for a season.  

I have been downsizing quite a bit around here. I think my poor SIL Dan is tired of all of my things moving over to his house! LOL!! Sorry Dan! I LOVE you dearly for accepting me- warts and all! 

It's good to do these things while I have the energy and help!   

Monday, May 18, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

This and that

Isaiah and I took out 2 old smallish home school book shelves and replaced them with these stackable cubes.
We love them! We are downsizing now that only 4 students using curriculum. (In Samson, Noah & Mosie's room we purchased a new book shelf for the hands on teaching tools that they use.)
Above are the upper cubes. The top bunk (left) is Isaiah's, the bottom bunk (left) is Jacob's.

 This is the bottom half of the cubes. All of the boys hang their jammies and sleep sacks to the right here too.

 Kitty wanted to show how tall the cubes were! The ceiling is about 9' high. I bought some pretty shabby chic hooks to put next to the cubes for Isaiah's jackets. 
Beautiful Miss Kitty will be 12 soon. Her smile lights up the room. She always has a silly joke to share. Her favorite Science experiments are edible! She reads a lot about the lives of missionaries.

Everyday with Faith is fun, joyful and exciting! Faith does everything with great JOY! She never has a dull day! Her JOY is contagious! Except maybe when I'm napping! LOL! She loves to read. She loves to read history about young women. She loves to run and jump and leap. If it involves action- it involves Faith!

 Isaiah catching the moon over the neighbors house. Not as pretty as the moon shots from the north woods. But beautiful in its own way. Isaiah is reading everything in our Encyclopedia set (we have the last printed set by Brittanica) about the Armed Forces. The other day he saw a mom driving a van with a bumper sticker that said "Air force Mom". He wants to join the Air Force so he's planning ahead! ;o) 

Lysa wanted a photo taken of her new dress.
Soon to be 13, she's such a precious young lady. We are very blessed! Lysa is very artistic, always working on her art. Unless she's doing her Science experiments! 

 Isaiah catching more moon shots.

 And then a bunny runs through the yard!

Isaiah tired from taking pictures set the camera up for Lysa to take a selfie! How can I tell? That's Isaiah's big foot in the right bottom corner! LOL!!

We've been so busy moving up north this month. It has been incredibly time consuming. It will be so nice when we are done!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Getting ready for "Uffda Ranch"

We are getting ready for our vacation time at "Uffda Ranch". 
Tom has always called our 19.25 acres- The Ranch. (because he mows about 3 acres with a regular lawn mower! And he mows it beautifully!)  
I called it Camp Uffda because we have removed many buildings there, (house garage, sheds, chicken coop, pig pen, horse stanchion) and dug up lots of garbage.  There were huge piles of appliances with auto parts littered everywhere. Even the shell of a car! The kids and I also picked up so much trash that I (with my 1/4 Norwegian/Finnish heritage) declared "Uffda!" I called it Camp Uffda. (But that is how you get land for very little money!)
My dad said it should be called "Break your back work Ranch"!
Tom and I compromised and it's Uffda Ranch now.

This spring we had 2 options. Get the builders to put in electric, flooring, water etc now. Meaning we couldn't go up until the builders finished. Or buy something livable for the kids, MA and SP. And wait to build.

After a month of online searching I found our new camper! 
And it really is a blessing from God! The price was fantastic and it's exactly what we needed! MA, Tom and I went to look at 5 trailers last month. We also saw one more that had come in new and not yet on the internet. This trailer as seen on the internet was not our first choice. And it was the last we looked at. But once we walked in! We knew it was what we needed!

The walk thru was yesterday. Isaiah took the photos. His artistic interpretation! LOL!  
I had to stay home with MA, she has a bad cold.  

 The main selling point is the back bedroom. It sleeps 7 on the sides and back and has even more floor space for all of the boys camping beds! It is a huge trailer room! The bunks are in "sliders". One on each side of the room!

 At the end of the room this little table that sleeps one person. This is not the dinette that is in the kitchen- this is a 2nd table!!

 The bathroom opens up into the kitchen/living room. So that I can easily get MA and SP out! The last 2 trailers we owned had narrow hallways that led in and out of the bathroom. There is an outside shower too! And a big grill attaches outside.
This will be great for bathing too!

We tend to have to replace our trailers in 10-12 years because of humidity, below zero freezing, they don't last long in wet lands!

 Our new kitchen dinette. We store kid clothes under these seats! and under the Queen size bed. Four can sleep on the dinette and the couch!
 The couch next to the dinette. These are in the 3rd "slider" There are 3 slides. Our last trailer had 1 slide!

 The sink faces the TV???!! My last sink faced the window which was smaller than this nice big one! Not sure I like this facing the TV. But believe me- sinks are low priority when looking for sleeping room for 15! LOL!

 This is the TV the sink faces. The couch is to the left of the sink. I do wish we had 2 doors for fire exits. We only have the door to the right of the TV. 
This is Isaiah's favorite part! The TV, the radio and the command center! LOL! He spent a lot of time telling me where the manuals were and what the command center can do! The AC and heat are top notch! We'll need that! Uffda Ranch is a lot hotter than the lake. No cool lake breezes. But the wet lands at night cool things off.

Behind that electronics wall is the queen bed that sleeps 2 and a few cupboards. the side table on the left opens to the storage below! So you don't have to go outside to get something! (diapers)

This is the back side. He did not get the front side! 
Then he ran off to take pictures of a pheasant hanging on the wall, the waiting area, an old car, mini trailer collectables, a sale RV for $59,999.99!!!! Silly boy!

This is a picture of the sliders closing in on the back bedroom. 
Now I would have highlighted this trailer completely differently! LOL!! But Isaiah did a fantastic job considering I could not be there!
We'll have our old trailer 5th wheel at Uffda Ranch too.  

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Angels are rejoicing! Three more baptized!

 First these are our paleo brownies. We do "cheat" and put Redi-whip on top :o)
We eat a Primal/Paleo diet. We eat as much organic as we can afford. We avoid processed foods. The little boys and Mercy don't care for these, the little boys don't care for dessert. Mercy prefers super sweet things, but then she'll scream for more and refuse to eat her food! It's almost an addiction. She's happier without. Samson loves these!

Isaiah wanted everyone to see the beautiful baker we use. It is handmade British pottery. We only have one piece and we love it!

Now the exciting wonderful news!!! 
A few days before Easter, Isaiah~ Kitty~ and Lysa were baptized! They are new Sisters and Brother in Christ! 

That is not Lysa in the middle but Faith! She couldn't resist a photo op!! Faith has been baptized almost 2 years now. After these three were baptized Faith looked at me and said "I can't help but have a little tear in my eye." It was so sweet. She told them she was proud of them.

These are Lysa's Tinkerbelle jammies! LOL!! Isaiah is in his jammies too. They took these early before church! Once in a while they like a jammie day.

                                  Beautiful Lysa almost 13
To see their faces as they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! It is what we live for as parents. The JOY~ the LOVE of the Lord~ giving Him your life~ following Him! And they wanted to show their bibles here because they LOVE His Word!

 Precious Kitty, (almost 12) who wants to be a missionary. We started donating to "The Voice of the Martyrs" in her honor. 

Isaiah our future Air Force man! (11 yrs old) All of his little book marks sticking out of his bible, marking his favorite verses! He was going to wear his new top hat but he forgot! LOL!

Bless his heart, he took all of these pictures for me! Even the ones of him! He wants us to do a family "timed" photo. He thinks he can get us all to hold still for 15 seconds with the camera counting down!! LOL!

These 4 make our days. 
The little boys LOVE them, Samson LOVES them, Mercy LOVES them, SP & MA LOVE them! Tom and I don't know what we'd do without them! 

I know that God has special plans for their faith. And we can't wait to see how he uses it!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Recipes for Lisa!!

*chicken breasts marinated in tamari and garlic oil, wrapped in bacon and a slice of Swiss cheese on top.

over night place chicken breasts in about 3/4 cup Tamari sauce (no msg or wheat in Tamari) and 1/8 cup garlic flavored olive oil. 
I did 8 breasts.
When ready put breasts in a baking pan (like a rectangle cake pan) 
Roll 2 slices raw bacon around each chicken breast. 
Pour some of marinade in pan. Not too much or it will be watery. Cover pan with foil. 
I bake 1 to 1 1/2 hour at 375. 
Making sure centers aren't pink. 
Remove foil, 
place 1 slice swiss cheese on each.

*Almond flour garlic biscuits

2 1/2 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 Tablespoon butter melted
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream or full fat coconut milk
2 large eggs room temperature
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar

heat oven to 350
I use a nonstick pan
Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and whisk
Then whisk wet ingredients in a small bowl
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just moist
Heap tablespoons of batter onto pan.
Make them the size you like 
Bake about 15 mn or till nice and brown, bigger would take longer

*Scotch eggs made by Grace
She takes 6 hardboiled eggs peeled and wraps them in a nice layer of sausage. 
Place them in a 9 x9 pan, 
bake till sausage is completely cooked, turning once
set oven to 350 
(not sure how long! :o)

*whipped carrots with bacon bits
cook 2 lbs or more (we feed a lot of kids!) carrots in chicken or beef broth in crockpot till soft
Once carrots are soft I stick blend them in the crockpot till mashed
add 1 stick butter
1/2 pint cream
2 cups crispy cooked bacon crushed 

*Paleo brownies
(I'll try to get Isaiah to take a picture)
1 3/4 cup finely ground walnuts (I buy from nuts dot com)
3/4 cup cocoa (I use triple cocoa from King Arthur dot com)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
whisk well in medium bowl

whisk 2 room temperature eggs in small bowl,
whisk 1 cup canned coconut full fat milk from can into eggs
(I buy Thai full fat canned coconut milk from am*a*zon on subscribe and save)
optional honey or maple syrup 1/2 cup
(I add 1/8 cup maple syrup) whisk into wet ingredients
2 tsp vanilla whisk in
1/3 cup gently melted coconut oil whisk in

Pour wet into dry ingredients whisking in till mixed

Butter a 8 X 8 pan

Bake 350 degrees 30- 40 mn. My toaster oven takes only 30-35 mn

Cool before cutting
We put redi-whip on ours!

Let me know how you like these!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dressing up for Family Friday Dinner

 Isaiah in his new suit! His old suit was way too small! He picked this one out himself! :o)
I thought it was a little too much black. But I guess I'm not the one wearing it! LOL!!
Don't mind his need for a hair cut! 

Beautiful Miss Kitty! Hard to believe it snowed this week! Last Friday was quite warm!

 Totally typical Faith! Always looking over her glasses at us! LOL!! Faith said "I am not taking my (Steve Irwin) shorts off! LOL!! She wears the same 2 outfits over and over! As they are washed. OY!! Teenagers!
Our friend Linda bought her this shirt. She loves it. It looks Croco Hunter like to her!

 Miss Lysa dressed for dinner!

 Faith laughing at us. Very funny Faith!!

This was cool! This roof shot was taken through a screen door, over 100' away from the neighbors house, with a zoom lens by Isaiah!! It is a Robin birds nest. Usually they nest in the worst places and cats get them. This spot looks perfect for many years to come!

Our last Friday dinner was~ 
chicken breasts marinated in tamari and garlic oil, wrapped in bacon and a slice of Swiss cheese on top.
Almond flour garlic biscuits, 
Scotch eggs made by Grace
Paleo brownies,
and whipped carrots with bacon bits

I have no idea what to make for this Friday! Eeek!
Grace is bringing broccoli.