Thursday, December 31, 2009


by Robin

It's time to tie up a couple of lose strings. Jack has been very busy with end of the month reports while I've been busy the past 3 wks with therapy, singing & Christmas parties. My house kinda fell out of order and projects were laid aside. My garden....... oh..... my pitiful garden. Weeds, bugs & drought.

I've decided to cut my losses for the Fall gardening and work on bringing in manure/fertilizers for prepping the garden for a great spring crop. It will be time to plant in January. My goal is to get my tiller back in operating order (or just rent a smaller one).

Meanwhile, I picked all the remaining leeks & bunching onions from my small garden against the house. They were not growing well there, so it was time to pick that & move on. Even with being small, I'll still make good use of them. I had some Spanish yellow onions there as well and they were picked a few months ago.


The center parts of Garden #2 is growing but I will till the outer parts and add more manure to get it ready for bell peppers or whatever. (Oak leaves are falling) Garden #3 sat empy all fall. It's in a sad state at the moment.


I'm not sure what I'm doing with the main garden except trying to fight red mites again on the cherry tomatoes. My romas didn't make it. Neither did most of the lettuce & herbs I planted from seed. I'll still cover with a tarp when the freezes come, but only so I can have my cherry tomato & hot pepper plants survive.

I have some bonus cilantro. I replanted a mango tree with a bigger pot & fresh soil and must have thrown seeds without remembering it. That will be nice. Plus, I do remember throwing some Joseph's Coat seeds out there for color in the pot.

Jack was offshore fishing today while I continued to heal (otherwise I'd been out there with him). I spent a little time refreshing my faded concrete turtle.


This is just the base undercoat. You'll see it recreated over the next couple weeks as I add detail.

Happy New Year's to all my friends & family!

I AM......

.... a Wood Stork


I'm in Florida year-round. I stand close to 3 feet tall. I like to eat fish. My head looks prehistoric, but I am not.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009



Answer revealed tomorrow....

Saturday, December 26, 2009


by Robin

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Day here at our house. Jack was on-call for work Christmas Eve, which turned into all day AT WORK. So, I kept busy with cooking and doing more grocery shopping.

Here, I made my infamous Garlic-Lime-Sweet Chili's Chicken. (lime zest on top too)


Very Christmasy looking. First you spatchcock the bird, laying it flat. Then stuff under the skin all the juices & tidbits. Then pour the remainder over the bird. Cook a good hour and then some.

Forget potpourri or scented candles. Make one of these. Your house will smell much better.


Then, we ate early to get down to church for warm-ups, sound checks and sing two services. The boys absolutely loved having lit candles to themselves in the back row of church and Mama was in the front, unable to supervise them. (Who's great idea was that? LOL)

Most everybody went to bed fairly early, as it seemed like a long day.

Christmas morning came at 7am for us. The boys were happy & thankful. We sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, which warmed my heart. They opened gifts. We talked about all the great traveling we did this year.

I really don't like to post up for the world what my kids get, but I did want to make note that I was surprised at how a simple pre-paid cell phone became a rite of passage for Simon Peter. It was the next level to independance and manhood. For him, it will probably be a very memorable Christmas.


I'd also like to add that I wasn't really happy with the lack of toys stocked on the store shelves. Both boys had favorite choices that were either non-existant locally, or back-ordered for months on the internet. Things for sale that caught my eyes in a flyer, which was off the shelf in 24 hrs. One toy store was closed down sometime during the year. Very strange year for me - shopping-wise. I'm sure it was all affected by the economy.

We had the big breakfast mid-morning, so lunch/dinner came about 2:30 for us.

5 lbs of steamed Snow Crab legs and a pound of shrimp (Scampi style).
Plus, one massive hashbrown casserole. I forget to put out any veggies, but nobody complained.


We watched our Night of the Museum 2 movie and had a "silent" night. This morning, Jack back at work for the day and the kids and I headed to the beach. See Robin's Reports for those pictures.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to my blogging family & friends.

Christ humbly came as a baby in a manger for all of humanity, bearing a gift of salvation by grace through faith. Believe upon Him and He shall save you.

To those friends with loved ones serving abroad or who have passed, my heart goes out to you. The silence of someone's absence at Christmas can seem so overwhelming. However, keep strong & keep the faith. You are loved & prayed for.

God bless,
Our Family to Yours!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


by Robin

...... is awarded to me. I should have posted these pictures up 2.5 weeks ago when Team Thunderbricks was awarded the Championship/ Director's Choice award at their last competition.

Let me brag just a moment.......... when they come into competitions, they're celebrities of the Lego world. Folks from last year recognize them. They take turns being the Lego Brick in costume and get photographed. They are ambassadors of gracious professionalism and good conduct for mentoring young Lego kids.

Folks new from this year, see them as organized, cool, collected James Bonds of Legoland. In their minds, if they could, they'd order their sodas shaken, not stirred. Then, they would spray them on the competition as they walked away with all the trophies in the Victory Circle. Yet, they don't. They're very humble. Thankful. Sometimes shocked at their own greatness.


As a Mom, I find them brilliant. They make geek look fashionable. They make intelligence look stylish. I wish I had the clear vision they have when I was their age. They thrive on missions. They stay cool under a stop watch. They have great chemistry and brotherhood. They have high tweenager energy channeled in the right direction by a great husband/wife coaching team. Bless them for having the patience to sit through jokes, physical rough-housing, and hormones; yet, instill knowledge and FLL values upon young men.

Our team also took first in Research, Teamwork, Technical and Robot Performance (that's a clean sweep for those who understand the scoring). Their top performance score was a 300 out of 400.


However, they're only allowed 2 trophies per competition, so they were able to take home the Championship one and the Research one. (I'm missing a team member below, so I had an honorable fill-in.)


The trophies were made out of Lego kits, glued onto a wooden base with a placard attached.

Congratulations guys!! You're going onto Regional at the end of January.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas funny

by A FLY on a wall at our house

We were listening to Christmas carols on the radio while eating dinner Sunday night. Stevie Nicks was singing "Silent Night". This is awful....... and mean........ but it had me in hysterics. She sounded like a goat.

Before I knew it, we were making goat & lamb noises through dinner. I swore I heard sheep through the beautiful Christmas hymn. LOL

Anyhow, I may never hear that song the same way again.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


by Robin

These are to die for....

Paula Deen... my hips hate you.

Men have fought wars over heavenly treats like these.


You HAVE to make these.


I'll be taking these to every party I'm invited to for the next decade.


They will be the hit of every party.


Children will love me and call me blessed.


Women will hate me or want to be me.


Men will beg me to marry them... (ok not.. LOL)


Women will cry mercy for these every PMS cycle

Photobucket Here's how you make them. It is so easy (until you get to the messy chocolate part)

With the leftover warm chocolate, I drizzled it over Chinese noodles (or pretzels) for that sweet/salty combo.


These are Candy Cane cookies. Very easy. Ranger cookie dough (Better Homes & Garden cookbook) but with 1/2 vanilla - 1/2 peppermint extract, rolled in balls, baked 8 min. Sprinkle with confectionary sugar & crushed candy canes on top.

All your friends will have fresh breath at the party. Serve promptly to friends with halitosis.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


by Robin

This year, I set the record straight that I would not be getting on the roof. No way. No how. I've done this two years in a row and did not feel I had the strength nor agility to do it this year.

I spent a short visit in the hospital in November for my back pain and am currently in physical therapy for this month for my reoccuring bursitis/rotator cuff issues. I have no idea how I did this originally, but it flares up ever few years because of the 1001 things I do every day.

So, with that said, the boys agreed to help me string lights at a low level. Jack was so surprised when he got in from work. (And maybe a tad happy that he didn't have to deal with tangled lights.)

(Forgive the "Ford Tough" t-shirt. We're really Chevy people. LOL)

I hope to post up some pictures from our Lego League wins this past weekend. I have good news to announce.

Friday, December 18, 2009


by Robin

Last Thursday, I found myself with a free day. You know, one of those calm days before the storm hits. Days of being out of the house. Days of being obligated to bring food somewhere. Days of being on your feet for hours.

So, we called it a "Snow" Day with homeschooling and baked cookies & treats. I needed a day to bond with the boys as a Mom and not as a teacher. They were so sweet to carry all the heavy groceries for me. We got sacks of flour & sugar. Enough butter to grease a pig. Food coloring, mint chips, mini-chips, nuts,.... you get the picture.


Here is my handsome hand model again. He love to roll out dough. Maybe it is the engineer in him.

They both helped with the decorating. "Andrew" was put on task of helping me with other cookies in the beginning.

Not the sharpest photo, but you can get an idea of the creations they made.

Here was Andrew's first batch. Green-colored ranger cookies w/ mint chocolate chips in them. We liked that so much, we made a red batch as well.

To save on time, I did not post up our delicious peanut butter fudge, granola-fruit bars nor the thumb print cookies.

I still have some leftover ingredients so we'll probably have another baking-fest this weekend.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


by Robin

The afternoon of the FL/AL championship game, we took some time to put up the tree.
I really enjoy a festive house.




I couldn't show you the rest of the house since it had boxes & clothes everywhere. It was so tough to finish tasks because "Simon Peter" had extra practices for his Lego League and I had extra rehearsals for the Christmas musical.

(Stay tuned....)

Thursday, December 3, 2009


by Robin

We had an early ortho appt this morning. Simon Peter is still in transition with teeth and every 6 mo he goes in to see if we're ready or not for braces. Anyhow, I absolutely love this place. Not only does it feel like I've gone back to Key West for an hour, but the staff smiles. Everything is digital!

Simon Peter walks in to "sign in" but there is no paper & pen. He puts his index finger on a finger pad, a laser scans it and his face pops up on the computer screen. I tell ya, he's a regular James Bond in this office. ;o)

Then, he gets x-rayed quickly. No complaints. In and out in SECONDS! On to the examination room. He settles into the chair and she clicks a few buttons on a computer screen and his x-ray is ALREADY THERE!! No developing or films or nothing!

A quick exam, diagnosis that he's still not ready, he pulls Simon Peter's loose tooth and we're out of there. See ya in 6 months. And like clockwork, an email will come to me to set up an appointment. I'll set that up by phone. Then, I'll get another email to remind me & click to confirm his appointment. WOW, WOW, WOW.....

If only the rest of the healthcare world could model themselves after Dr. Barlow's office. Think of all the money & time they are saving without the paperwork trail left behind. It is one of the, if not THE, most efficient offices I've ever been in.

I am really going to enjoy having them as our orthodontist provider for both boys over a few years.

Do you think Congress would set a few of those healthcare dollars aside for modernizing the medical world? Since "red tape" and fraud seem to be so burdensome in Medicare & Medicaid, why don't they go "state of the art"? Let the computers track the patients & monitor the abuse! (just a thought anyhow)

Monday, November 30, 2009


by Robin

Sunday night, we were driving home and Andrew says to me, "Mom, I still remember the day I was in your tomb. I opened my eyes up for a minute and saw pink. I kicked you a couple times. That's all I remember."

Honestly, I wasn't sure where to begin so I said what every parent says at these times. "Really? Wow!" And that was good enough for him.

I let the entire tomb/womb thing go. He'll get that eventually. I didn't want to spoil the moment of the message.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


by Robin


It really was a lovely & restful holiday other than having two kids down with colds. I did enjoy the extra time to hang around the house & declutter. Of course, my office/school room was the only room not to get purged and it is the room I desperately needed it in. Oh well.....

Gee, I'm getting rather slack on holiday pictures this year. I think it has to do with bad batteries in the good camera. I ordered a new set which should be here any day now. (

I can't ever explain what "moves" me to photograph sometimes. It either has to be humorous, beautiful, artsy or delicious. For me, these asparagus fell under artsy & delicious.


My entire Thanksgiving meal could have been this entire pan of asparagus and I would have been happy. They were more than delicious. Pencil-thin, drizzled w/ EVOO, salt & pepper. Left to sweat overnight. Pan-"fried" with some Smart Balance. Half a lemon's worth of juice at the very end. Melt in your mouth & drool over your keyboard GOODNESS.


This one, is much harder to explain. Things were still coming off the stove. I had a good representation of every color on the table eventually. But for me, I rather liked these earthy colors at the moment of the pre-dinner rush. Those sweet potatoes were also delicious. Jack made lemon-pepper chicken because Turkey & Ham aren't on the menu here for various reasons. I looked for individual Cornish Game hens but couldn't find any the night before T-day. My bad. For me, my eye still goes to the little praying boy & girl who are giving thanks for their meal. Sometimes I want to leave these out all year long. They give me the warm & fuzzy feelings of what the holidays are about. I should always approach the table with a thankful heart and remember those who aren't so fortunate to have such bounty.

I didn't get a single picture of us humans or the full spread of food. We stayed in our pjs, so nobody wanted their pictures taken. Captain was the only one to let me photograph him in his full splendor of a full-belly and deep in sleep during the Deal or No-Deal marathon.

Simon Peter wanted to weigh himself before and after eating to see if he gained weight. He tried to challenge us, but I said, "No thanks sweetie. That's not my idea of fun, but you go ahead if you want to." Kids are so funny.

Well, back to the grind tomorrow.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

You Wouldn't Cry

At 5 am, a friend of mine went to be with the LORD. I was searching for some music this morning to give me comfort. I'm sad yet I'm also happy for Fredericka. She spent at least 3 yrs, bound by a stroke that took her memory, her voice, her mobility, her independance in every way. I'm not sure she recognized me when we visited but she enjoyed music. She lived in a hospital bed for THREE YEARS! Before that, she lived in a wheelchair for years, as diabetes has taken both her legs. She'd show up to church each week, dressed beautifully. She always sat in the front. Always had a smile. I would always seek her out for a kiss and hug.

I picked out this video because the title caught my eye, but the story stole my heart. It is a story of a death of a newborn. I never suffered a miscarriage or loss of a child, but it still was worth every minute of my time to watch the testimony and hence, the birth of Mandisa's new song, "You Wouldn't Cry." It is written from the perspective of your loved one in heaven.

Entire story at length (32 min) - song starts at 29 min.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


by Robin

I want to wish each and every one of you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday together with your families.

I am so very thankful for so many things. Maybe too many to list........ but let me try a few anyhow.

I'm so thankful God sought me.
I'm so thankful that He continued seeking me & my stubborn heart.
I'm so thankful for that moment of repentance, on the bed, and my life changed FOREVER.
I'm so thankful for that special man He brought into my life who also sought me, married me and wouldn't give up on me.
I'm so thankful for patience & compassion God gave me so that I didn't give up on him either.
I'm so thankful for the bundles of testosterone joy that now stand practically shoulder to shoulder with me each day.
I'm so thankful to be a homeschool mom, inspite of its challenges.
I'm so thankful that God gave me a new heart to be a homemaker (that was a miracle!).
I'm so thankful for this wonderful home we have, reliable transportation, private backyard, great neighbors and a big boat so we can fish as a family hobby.
I'm so thankful for the many people God has brought into my life to help shape me, mentor me and love on me.
I'm so thankful for my parents still being alive and that we have a wonderful relationship.
I'm so thankful for my sisters & their families. I love a big, close family.
I'm so thankful for the money that bought this holiday meal and how Jack had to work so hard to get it.
I'm so thankful for his job and the miracle of surviving numerous lay-offs and furloughs this year.
I'm so thankful for the convenience of running at 4pm into a busy grocery store and getting all our holiday meal food in less than an hour.
I'm so thankful for my life and how blessed I am. For giving me a voice that moves people close to God, not running for the door. For each Scripture that spoke something new to me each day. For good pastors who preached like their life depended on people's souls needing Jesus.
I'm so thankful for a risen Savior, who didn't have to die for my sins, yet He loved me enough to do it anyhow.

God bless and Much love!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

LEGO LEAGUE - Tourney #1

by Robin

Our Thunderbricks are back at it again. Another season of competitions.

I couldn't be more proud of our guys & their coaches.

They did extremely well with dominating the performance runs...

..... which landed them a 1st place trophy for Robot Performance.

They also qualified for the Regional/District competition. And then, they displayed high marks in achievements in all areas and they embodied what FIRST Lego League stands for, so they were awarded the Champion's Award.


Again, I'm so proud of them. While they weren't awarded for their community research, I do believe at some point, it will be recognized & rewarded. They will most likely be recognized by our local newspaper, so I will link to that when it happens. I won't spoil the surprise yet.

If you ever have a chance to be part of a FIRST Lego League team or competition, do so. The kids are bright, polite and gracious. They do stress teamwork, good sportsmanship and striving to be the best you can be in your life, community and world.

FYI - a got a note today saying that Florida was picked in a lottery to be one of the states that can compete at the World Festival. I think that is probably the goal of our guys to compete at the World level. Oh my......... I hope it is in the US.

Friday, November 20, 2009


by Robin

This video is a month old already, but I forgot to share it w/ you all. You should hear how Simon Peter flies on this song now.

Untitled from Robins Reports on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What is it about cold weather....

...that makes us so sleepy?? (Ignore all the shorts & short sleeves. It's below 70 deg.)


Mystery of History (Thank you Auntie Renee!)


Civics - The Constitution is so exciting.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mama to 5 boys

by Robin

While there are many distinguishing differences in my babies, I will have to admit that they all require me to give them equal love time & attention. I really can appreciate you moms that have large families.

(Tiki is giving me the tongue)

It has been very difficult to blend Troy into our family, especially during the time of my painful back experience. He's different. He has to learn to trust us and to communicate. Right now, Troy is still silent. He's confused as to why so many people are paying attention to him. That makes him nervous - sort of. And yet, it is what he craves. He wants to be part of a family.


But, it really helps to have good days like this to allow for the bonding to occur. There are lots of wrestling moments.


Keep away game. (Tiki is behind Troy, but you can only see his feet.)

Chase. (It does my heart good to see him run after seeing his knee give him grief.)

I'm so thankful for lots of love in my life. I'm thankful for this beautiful Friday.