Monday, April 30, 2012


This is John's friend.  I think if he could have convinced daddy, we would have brought this little guy home.  Daddy saved him from certain death - ok, not really - and for the next 48 hours (until he disappeared) John had to keep checking up on the "tee-tle." 

He was quite a cool little fella!  He is an Eastern Box Turtle so when he gets scared he literally boxes himself up.  He pulls all of his appendages in and then pulls his shell in on himself.  Quite a contraption and absolutely amazing how God works!


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Fun Shots!

I just enjoyed the background on these shots...and John was in an entertaining mood.  ;)


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Take the Last Train to Clarksville

Ok...we were heading the opposite direction of Clarksville, but we were on a train!  :)

We all thought John might REALLY enjoy a train ride because that is his favorite word right now.  Turns out...well, he did enjoy his ride on the choo choo train.  Every time he heard the whistle blow for a railroad crossing he would get super excited and call out, "Choo choo train!"  To be honest, at first we weren't sure if he even realized he was on a train, but when we went back through the pictures he got just as excited, so he knew!  The girls enjoyed the ride, too.  They went upstairs to enjoy their ride.  By the time all was said and done, the most prominent thing said was, "Too short!  Can we go again?"  Maybe next time we will go all the way to Clarksville...


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Friday, April 27, 2012

Ride 'Em Cowboy (or Girl)!

While we were in Tennessee the girls were blessed to have the chance to check out the neighbor's horses. 

Warming up to the horses.

One happy princess on her pony!

One nervous Nellie on a horse...more on that later.

One not-so-sure little boy on a horse.

As for Nervous Nellie...we had told her multiple (I do mean MULTIPLE) times to not stand behind the horses.  After I had taken some pictures, where do you think she wandered?  Behind this very pony.  Tom and I watched helplessly as the horse decided to something about this little thing BEHIND him.  My heart was in my throat as the horse started kicking.  Thankfully, God was watching out for this little sweetheart and the horse only caught her front leg.  There were some tears, some daddy lovings, and a small bruise in the shape of a C and that was all.  By the next hour she was ready to go back and see the horsies again.  THANK YOU, LORD!!!

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Fire! Fire!


Isn't he the most adorable little fireman you ever saw?
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tests make me a little nervous...

Evidently not Libby though! Yesterday she had her testing for end of the school year so the Iowa school system knows she really is learning something. I was SOOOO nervous and I was trying to help her NOT be nervous, yet know that she needed to do her best. Mind you, I had to leave her for FOUR hours!

When I came back to pick her up she hid from me because she wanted to go home with a friend (she forgot she was leaving with a girl friend, not mom). When she was reminded of her birthday party she came flying out of the corner all giggles. The test administrator said that she was "a riot". That made me a little nervous about the actual testing side of things.

As we were leaving the building I asked Libby how the test was and she shouts, "It was F-U-N! I got to do art! I didn't have to read!" Huh? I figured out that she meant that BETWEEN sections of the test she got to do art versus reading the book that she took with her. She overheard me talking to her friend's mom later about the fact that I was nervous that she might have rushed through the test to do art and she quickly corrected me. She told me she tried very hard on the test and that she thought she probably got "an 80 or a 90 or a 70 or a 100" on the test. I didn't tell her that was quite a wide range.

By the time we were going to bed she said that the day had been one of the best days of her life (she did have the birthday party afterward) and asked if we could take the test at least once a week, or maybe two times a week. Odd child!

That being said, we go back on Friday for two more hours and then wait the excruciating hours to know how she did.

Glad she had a blast with the could have been a different story.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

A Little Diddy

Here is a little diddy that Iowa Public Television did on the zip line adventure that Chris and I took yesterday. They did a great job putting it together!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Birthday Blast!

Chris has been looking for the perfect 10-year anniversary trip for us for quite some time now. He wanted it to be cost effective, unique and fun. That is a hard combination to come up with, but he finally found it last fall.

Our neighbor had clued him in to the fact that we used to have a cool "amusement" park right here in Dubuque. It shut down in 1934, but was really something else in its heyday! After reading a book our neighbor gave us Chris decided to have some "google" fun which caused him to come across Sky Tours at the park. This is a series of zip lines that the YMCA put in to take people over the ruins of the park and give them a bit of history with a bit of zip (pun intended). He knew he had found the perfect date..and best of both worlds, it would take care of my birthday this year too!

So, last night our dear friends, Katie and Braden, came over to watch our darlings and we took off for supper, a moonlight walk and a hotel with no kids. Yikes! What is that? This morning we went to a movie together and then out to lunch with a bit of Beecher's ice cream for dessert. After that, the excitement began! We headed over to the YMCA Union Camp and walked around the ruins of the park for about an hour before the tour started. Another couple joined us and we were off to zip through the friendly skies of Dubuque. It. was. AWESOME!!! After that was over we joined another set of friends for supper. In all, an AMAZING weekend!

If you live in Dubuque...CHECK THIS PLACE OUT!!! It is a treasure just waiting to be explored!!!

Easter Preview

Momma got ambitious this year and decided to make the girls' dresses for Easter!  Here is how they turned out.  Not too shabby for the first time around AND the girls both like them.  BONUS!!!  :D 

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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Toffee Dessert Cake

I love to bake! Unfortunately, you can tell by looking at my tummy. There are so many yummy concoctions out there to put together and taste, though. How can I resist?

Last weekend we had our dear friends, Katie and Braden, over and I had some buttermilk that needed to be used up so I went on the hunt for a good recipe that used buttermilk and had ingredients I had on hand. I hit the jackpot when I ran across Toffee Dessert Cake!

First I had to make the toffee. Easy to do.


1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips (add more if you like it with more chocolate)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line cookie sheet with foil. In sauce pan combine sugar and butter. Bring to boil and boil for 3 minutes. Immediately pour over foil and spread to cover. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let sit 3 to 5 minutes and spread chocolate over bottom layer.

*Note: You can also choose to line the pan with saltine crackers and follow this recipe, as well, for a dessert in and of itself. Yummy!

After the toffee was ready, I just needed to make the cake itself.


2 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
toffee (as much or little as you like)
whipped cream (opt.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, brown sugar and butter in bowl. Reserve 1 cup. Add rest of ingredients to bowl and stir together. Pour wet mixture in a greased 9x12 pan. Top with reserved mixture. Top with toffee. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.

Very yummy dessert! Our guests enjoyed it, and I even had enough buttermilk (and toffee) to make another cake for Chris to take to work yesterday. He said it was gone in less than 5 minutes. The best part? I got to bake and not pay the consequences personally! ;)