In the beginning, JD adamantly only wanted two children. I thought that four would be perfect. Once we caught God's vision of putting orphans into families, our plan was multiplied by God. We are currently blessed with 12 children; five biological, six adopted and one more waiting in Ethiopia. Our first adoption was from the U.S., the next three were from Liberia, West Africa, and our last two were from Ethiopia. We are supporting our 12th child in Ethiopia after her adoption could not pass court.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

CA Beach and VA Salsa


I knew I was going to be hitting the ground running once I got home from CA, because we must start school on Monday to be ready for CC starting the next Tuesday. In spite of working all summer, I am not quite ready for either.  
As if that isn't enough, the grass needed to be mowed, (which is all me this year since JD is building the garage), the back room of the basement finished clearing for karate, all four girls' hair needs to be done and a thousand smaller projects are staring at me. I continually have to remind myself of all we do get done, rather than the forever "needs to be done" list! 
I want to show a few pictures of the last day in San Diego, when we went to the beach. This is the military beach on Coronado, so nice and not crowded at all. The bonus was the helicopters patrolling overhead, which was additional excitement for Nathan.

Nathan and Alayna

"Go Daddy go"

It was my turn for the milk run to the Amish a few days after I got home. A friend went along to order a kitchen table. A nice thing about the Amish is that they let you hang out with their animals wherever we go. This little guy was staked by the furniture shop eating the edge of the corn field. He liked the kids and tried to follow when we left; he cried when he got to the end of his rope.

When we stopped at the Amish selling area in the library parking lot, I couldn't resist buying tomatoes to make a batch of hot salsa for JD. At this point, I had only made one round of mild. So in spite of not really having time, I bought 50 pounds of tomatoes.

Everyone "gets" to help - here was Elijah getting down the huge "salsa" pot we use. JD is the only onion and hot pepper chopper; it doesn't bother his eyes at all even when the rest of us flee the kitchen.

I got up at 6:30 a.m. to start the first batch. I finished the final canning at 8:30 p.m. My only break was a few hours in the afternoon that I took Bella to a birthday party and I left the salsa simmering.

50 pounds of tomatoes yielded 41 quarts of salsa. The total cost (not including jars) was right at $100 after buying the other ingredients. That comes out to about $2.50 for a quart. I believe that's a good deal, but it sure is so much better than store bought either way!

Back to my long list - Happy Saturday!                     Jenny

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Heading Home

I'm at the airport about to head home; I am going to miss San Diego and my favorite Grandson and his parents! We packed in a lot yesterday - the Safari park and the beach; pictures will follow. I'm proud of the kiddos at home, especially James and Tori who
successfully milked morning and evening without me! 

Here's a few random pictures to spice up an otherwise dull post. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Yesterday was Gabriel's reenlistment on the USS Midway. He reenlisted for another three years and at this point is waiting for orders to his next duty station. He has lost orders to WA state twice, so we will see where the next adventure is.

Alayna and Nathan were both given certificates for their contribution.

JD and I were given certificates also; since JD was the ceremony officiator also, he needed to present it to himself. Someone else stepped in at that point.

This is Nathan's friend, Gabriel, that he was so happy to see -

Gabriel with Gabriel and Nathan -

I like this candid shot in between pictures.

Here is the funniest thing to me about the event. The Midway is JD's first ship from way back and is now a museum, therefore there were several tourists from different countries that kept asking for pictures with the men in uniform. This particular guy shot several pictures of the ceremony with two different cameras and then when it was over, asked JD and Gabriel to pose for shots with him. I found it funny, but I guess it's quite common for the military.

Nathan has a Navy Dad, a Navy Grandad and a Navy Great-Grandpa.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Guess Where I Went Yesterday

I spent yesterday getting to the other side of the country to see these boys and my daughter in law -

Today I got to have lunch with this cutie -

Gabriel is re-enlisting on Friday for three more years; JD is also on the way right now for the ceremony. Praying for the kids at home and their caregivers!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Life Gets in the Way

My hectic life gets in the way of my blog! I am winding up the summer, as I leave on a trip tomorrow, and have less than a week until we start school once I return. I have accomplished a lot of cleaning and decluttering this summer, but there is always more waiting. We have to finish clearing the back room in the basement upon my return, because James and Elijah are going to have at home MMA lessons starting in September. I sold the large items, including the pool table, but there are still countless small items to be relocated to other places.

I have also done quite a bit of school prep, but I still see a few late nights before we can begin the new year. We had a Classical Conversation meeting a few nights ago here where we presented how we do CC at home, it made me want to change around the way I do a few subjects.

Socks, our CVS kitty, went to her new home yesterday; we are happy she has a family with kids for lots of attention.

I also did a pepper canning session on Saturday. These are banana peppers -

And even more jalapeno peppers -

It appears that we will have to buy a batch of tomatoes at the farmer's market if we decide to cram in a hot salsa batch before school, because the guineas aren't leaving me enough to use. (Pretty sure the white guinea flock is up for sale...) The grey flock is annoying in the barn but they don't get in the garden.

I will post from my vacation destination tomorrow -


Monday, August 8, 2016

The Beach and Finals

Our two day trip to the beach was very last minute and thrown together, but so worth it. When JD announced that he was going down for work, that meant one thing to me - hotel is already paid. We traveled down on Wednesday after swim practice and arrived about the time he got off work. That evening was cool, but it didn't keep the kids out of the waves. They played and then froze back to the hotel.

On Thursday JD worked, but my friend, Wendy, and her kids came down to play with us at the ocean front. My crew was there about 4.5 hours and not one child said they were ready to leave.

This was Selah and Bella's first beach trip. There will be no pictures of Selah, however, as the child has ZERO fear and spent her time getting out in the waves as far and fast as she was allowed. I could barely get her to break to eat.

In the middle of the day, I had to move the van, since the meters were limited to three hour parking. After trying three garages, I managed to park our bus  van in the Hyatt hotel lot crammed between two economy cars. When we left the beach, however, it seemed Hyatt owned a few blocks and there were several gargages and several entrances. Since Wendy saw my van on her way out, she guided me to it via phone. I may still be there looking had she not seen it. Here's the small area to get on the small elevator with 7 kids, 7 boogie boards, a large rolling wagon and cooler. Good memories!

The next day we headed to a base beach where we commonly saw dolphins  when we lived in VA Beach. The waves were so big that there were no dolphins or even boogie boards allowed, but the kids had a great time anyway and were worn out!

Leaving town we had a stop at Wendy's to pick up a goat.

See Flutter packed in with the boogie boards? She was such a good girl on the trip home and as I said on FB, a goat is a perfect souvenir from the beach!

We got home late Friday night and the small kids had to be up by 6 a.m. for swim finals. They are troopers and did great.

The kids all swam well and Tori was awesome to watch as usual. On her first relay, she was the last leg of the relay and started out about 10 feet behind one of the competing teams. JD and I were worrying that the gap was just to great to even give her a chance, but she swam past and won with a nice little margin.  On the second relay, the team was first the whole way.

I took this picture as they were posing for one of the other girl's moms; it's so loud and chaotic that I didn't want to ask them to pose again.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Still Doing Summer

We are in our final week of swim team, finals are this Saturday. It has been such a great first season swimming for my three youngest. We have friends on the swim team that are from the same orphanage in Liberia as my kiddos. They came home within a few weeks of each other in 2006 and 2007. It's nice to have some time with them. (Tori was still in CA for this picture).

It's kind of humorous how many pictures I take that are Elijah and several African female adoptees.
Other than swimming, I am desperately trying to organize different areas of the house. I feel like I'm always doing one zone, but four others wait. Since we have a fairly usable shoe room now, I banned shoes from the front porch. We've been lucky to not have a lawsuit the last eight years by a delivery person, since I order almost daily from Amazon and then they are forced to deliver the packages on the front porch amidst shoe mountains while dodging a yapping Pomeranian.

As I cleaned out different shoe areas, I found two baskets of last year's flip-flops stashed up on the top shelf in the laundry room. Alei has happy to see her African flip-flops but most of the rest went either in the garbage or the Goodwill bag.

I am still battling the guineas in the garden. They have learned to fly over the electric fence. It appears to only be the younger white flock. I ordered a powerful Super-Soaker to spray them, (from Amazon to be delivered to my now shoe-free front porch). If traumatizing them with a large water gun doesn't work, the white flock is getting sold to an Amish contact I already have!

Here are my small tomatoes I picked for my salad yesterday; the guineas only seem to bother eating the large ones. The small purple ones are so good; once again, I bought them because they were mis-marked at the greenhouse but this time it is a mistake I'm happy with.

It just wouldn't be a normal summer without at least one dumped kitten. This is dumped kitten #3 that Alei has brought home from CVS. This time, she didn't have to dig it out of the dumpster, she just had to drive to the store and then another hour to bring it to us late at night. I was getting in the shower when I heard my cell ring. I didn't answer it and I heard the home phone ring. After JD ignored it, his call rang. Those are the moments that I start to panic a bit because the first horror thought I always have involves my teen drivers. When JD answered and Alei said, "I really don't want to talk to you about this", there is generally a stray something involved. I have taught my kids well in this area, just as my mother taught me. This is a super sweet kitty; I named her Socks. We are not planning on keeping her, as it works well with JD as long as they get re-homed. Once we keep one, JD is going to be less accommodating to our fostering. (We do have about 5 cats that are named, etc, and we feed another 5 daily in the barn.)

Baby Socks
JD has traveled a lot this summer, so this week the kids and I are packing up and going with him for a few days; hard to resist when the hotel on the beach is paid for my the company. Later in the month, I am going to visit my favorite baby - I like to believe he has been waiting for his MiMi to go to the beach with him.