Friday, October 31, 2014

FALL crafting gone wild!

What in the world got into me this week!?!?!?

There has been glitter and glue guns involved?!?!?!

There has been field trips and messes in the kitchen!

I decided that this would be our “fun” fall week.

And fun we did have!

We started off the week by going to a local orchard and getting FRESH apples and yummy apple cider.

Which we then made into Apple Cider pancakes!


Now, these were fun to make since we had the fresh apple cider….but they weren’t as good as "the best pancakes e.v.e.r."

But if you want to try them here is the recipe....…I did make them GF so maybe they would be better made with regular flour.

Then it was onto the crafts!!

It was a BEAUTIFUL fall day out on Tuesday….like almost 80 degrees!  So we went for a walk around our property and gathered all kinds of pretty leaves for our next couple of projects.


I was shocked that these projects turned out looking like the pintrest pictures that someone posted on FB!

(As you know I don’t “do” pintrest….I just pretend to do pintrest.  Remember last years attempt at a Christmas card picture!?!?! lol)

But they really looked like a hedgehog and a fox!


And I have the burn marks on my fingers from the hot glue gun to prove that I actually did these crafts!


Then I decided that we would just paint our pumpkins this year. Carving pumpkins is just a pain and I end up doing all of it anyways!


Lena looked at me with a huge smile on her face and said, “God’s fall is so pretty, not spooky.”

They were understanding what I was trying to get across to them this week….that fall is beautiful and there are so many fun things to do that aren’t spooky or scary.

The girls had a BLAST with the glitter glue and stickers.  I also found these awesome paint brush pens that already are filled with paint!!!!  AMAZING what the craft aisle at AC Moore has!  I should visit it more often! Winking smile



Now of course the week wouldn’t be complete with a total FAIL!! lol

We tried making our own, made from scratch, caramel apples……

We boiled the sugar mixture down.


And then I stood at the stove for 20 minutes stirring and stirring and stirring.

And then my candy thermometer broke.

So I had to totally guess on the temperature and when I went to pour the caramel out it turned ROCK hard on the apples.


We would have totally busted our teeth if we would have eaten these apples!! Sad smile

So it was back to the drawing board.

And our closest grocery store didn’t have just those easy-peasy sheets of caramel that you wrapped around the apple.

So I went through the aisles trying to find something that would work and was GF!!!

(Cuz if I’m going to all this trouble I’m going to be eating a caramel apple too!!)

So I found: Rolos, health bar bits, caramel sauce in jars, caramel dipping stuff and melted it all down and then dipped the remaining apples in this concoction.


And wouldn’t you know….it WORKED and these were the most AMAZING caramel apples E.V.E.R.!!!


You should have heard the teenagers fussing though.

These (supposedly) were their very FIRST caramel apples.

(I know….they are sheltered! But I honestly think I made these when they were young….but I don’t remember!)

Travis wanted to know why he had to wait 18 long years to have such a treat!!!?!?


You can donate here to help cover his therapy costs. Winking smile

(Just kidding!)


Unfortunately Josie came home from school sick on Thursday.  Seizure, diarrhea and vomiting. Lovely.

So she went to bed early and didn’t get to eat her special apple yet. 

But amazingly she was feeling “GREAT” this morning and couldn’t wait to go to school.

(They are doing lots of “fun” things today so I think she was pretty motivated to feel better.)

I made her wheelchair look like a fire truck for fun today. Smile


And this year I decided that the girls could go trick or treating.

I know.  You can gasp.  You can unfriend me…..that is ok.

We haven’t fallen into satan worship! lol

I just decided that this year instead of saying “NO” to trick or treating like we have in the past….we should evaluate the “why” we have always said no.

I don’t like what Halloween has become. And so we have just stayed away from doing it.  The boys didn’t really ask and it just is easy to “ignore” it out here in the country.

But growing up we would go to my grandparents house and dig through my Grandma’s dress up box.  It was FUN!!! It was not weird, spooky or demonic. It wasn’t “slutty!!”

It was just plain fun to dress up in hand me down costumes and go around to our relatives and get candy.

(Since we lived way our in the country we had to drive around…no neighborhood to walk around.)

So this year Travis wanted/asked to take his sisters “trick or treating.”

I had just read this article that someone posted on FB and decided that yes, with some good conversation and some “boundaries” this could be a fun memory for the girls.

The “rules”/goals for this week have been:

1. To honor God in all we do and to give the glory to the One who made the beautiful fall colors!!

2. To not watch anything “halloweenish” on TV.  Which has been hard as that is ALL that is on….thankfully we have DVR!

3. To not go to any “spooky” houses.  People are just weird nowadays and go out of their way to purposely scare the kids. That isn’t what we are ok with. We only went to houses we knew.  AND I asked permission from our friends and family to make sure they were ok with the girls coming. To honor their beliefs and thoughts on the whole “trick or treat” ordeal. And if they weren’t comfortable with us coming then that is A-ok!!!

Will we do it again next year?? I don’t know.

But for this year it was fun and the girls just loved dressing up and getting candy!!! Smile

Princess Leia


The Firefighter




(Jared and Logan decided at the last minute to tag along and so they came up with their costumes on the fly)

The Golfer



(A friend found this costume at a thrift store and thought of him. And it fits!!!)


And don’t forget Spiderman….with her adorbs sidekick!


The girls had a blast with their big brothers. <3


I thought we came up with some pretty fun and “free” costumes!!! (aka, stuff we already had!)

(Well….other than Little Dog’s costume that I got online for $7.00 bucks!  I didn’t realize it was coming directly from China when I ordered it from Amazon WEEKS ago.  It said it wouldn’t be here until Nov. 5th.  THANK GOODNESS it came today in the mail….Ava was sooo happy!)


And just so Boomer wouldn’t feel left out, Ava put on her Superman cape for him to wear.


So whatever you did tonight I hope you had fun!  If it was staying in and watching a movie, or dressing up with friends and getting some candy, or having a harvest party. 

Whatever we do…. may we do it all for the glory of God.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What if?

What if 5 years ago we wouldn’t have said yes to Shuang Shuang’s referral?

Where would this little one be?

Dang Shuang Shuang 10-27-09

Five years ago today our lives changed forever.

It was a rough start……


But after an hour (or so) of full blown thrashing around and screaming BOO (which equals NO in Chinese) this sad and angry little girl transformed into a totally different little girl.


But even though Shuang Shuang was smiling and bellying laughing now….she still needed to control the show.  Her whole life, as she knew it, was turned upside down on that “gotcha” moment.  She now was stuck with a red headed Mama with blue eyes and so she still needed to be in control of some thing's in her life, you could see it in her attitude even if we couldn’t understand what she was saying!

You could just tell there was an underlying distrust there.

But as she started to let her guard down she began to trust us.  Step by step. Moment by moment.


Being the little sister the boys all wanted she was totally totally doted on and loved.

(I can’t get over how young the boys look!)


Upon receiving her family on October 26th, 2009 she not only received a Mama and Baba, who were instantly in love with her, but she also got 3 big brothers who thought she was the cutest thing e.v.e.r.


She liked the play phone right away and she still grabs her Daddy’s phone every night when he gets home and messes around on it. She is my “electronics” girl.



We had a special time this afternoon looking through our pictures from our trip and reminiscing.  It is so hard to believe it has been 5 years since Lena became a part of our family.

In a lot of ways it seems like just yesterday.  But then some days it feels like she has always been a part of us.


It has been a joy to watch her grow and gain confidence from having a family who loves her.

She now has peace.  And security. 

Something all children should be able to have.

Everyone tells you that Chinese kids love congee.  It is a watery rice dish.  So I got Lena that the first time we went out as I thought she would  eat it up.



Just give me noodles mom!!!!!


And not much has changed from 2009.  She LOVES her noodles. 

So we had them for supper tonight and just felt so blessed that we have been called to parent this precious young lady.


Lena changed me.

She made me a better Mom.

She taught me be more compassionate and slow down and enjoy the little things of life.

She taught me that real love isn’t just a blood relation but something that is born in your heart.

She taught me that kids are resilient and that there are a lot more kids in need of forever families.

She tuaght me that even if a relationship gets off to a rocky start it can turn into something beautiful.


It is a joy and honor to have her call me Mom.


As she went to bed tonight she gave me a huge hug and told me, “Today was so special.”


Just like you sweetheart.  Just like you.