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Questival

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Questival

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Questival

Maraschino Cherry Recipe

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Can You Can It?

Maraschino Cherries
Yield: 10 Pints

3 cups Pure Black Cherry Juice (I used Lakewood PURE organic Black Cherry Juice)
2 cups water
2 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup lemon juice
3 TBS homemade Vanilla Extract
10 1/2 Cups Heirloom Lambert Cherries freshly picked and pitted

Put the Black Cherry juice, water, and sugar in a 4qt or larger sauce pan, boil the mixture while stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Once the mixture boils turn off the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and add the cherries. Mix gently so that all the cherries are covered. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes until the cherries are saturated.

Hot pack the cherries into sterilized canning jars making sure to have enough of the liquid to cover the cherries. Process in a hot water bath for 8 minutes for pints or 11 minutes for quarts.
Allow the cherries to cool and settle for 24 hours.

New Year!

New Year’s Eve.

How do you celebrate? Do you party like a rock star? Stay home and snuggle in to watch the ball drop? Stay home and sleep while the world celebrates?

I don’t really believe in New Year’s Resolutions per se. Well not the kind like I am going to lose 423 pounds this year. Or I am going to eat cabbage every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No not those kind. I still like to set goals for myself. Things like I am going to take better care of me this year. Or I am going to try harder to be more patient with my kids. Things like that, to me, are not so much resolutions as self-care.

In evaluating how I can better take care of me I am trying to eliminate things that drain my energy. No I am not voting any of my children off our family island – although one in particular really really drains my energy! I don’t want to be a slave to doing something that I don’t love. Unfortunately, the first thing that came to mind was blogging. Gosh, it’s kind of weird to say that. I never thought I would feel like it was a chore – I have always really loved writing and blogging was my outlet. I have been blogging now for four years. I started over here at Bringing Home Kobe in 2007 to chronicle our adoption journey. I totally thought I was ahead of the game and was the only person on the planet who would think to blog about their adoption. The 457 million (give or take) other adoption blogs I used to read daily prove, I was not and am not ahead of any game. When it was time to bring Kobe home  we suddenly, one week later, found ourselves parents to not just Kobe but two other kids. The two other kids were our niece and nephew and they were in foster care with us. We had failed several times at trying to gain custody of our nephew pretty much from his birth so we were cautious and rightfully so. I blogged privately for several months. My close friends knew about the two other additions to our family but the general blog reading public did not know. Then finally, I opened up my private blog and eventually moved over here to word press and home of Our Fab Five. Some of the random blog reading public was confused. I had many questions and confusion about our sudden family growth. It was kind of funny actually.

Not too long ago someone said to me that ‘they’ sometimes laugh at us and how we adopted three kids at once. I know my response was uncensored because I feel like I have to laugh at myself sometimes. But it kind of hurts because I wonder if we are those people who have no idea what we are doing as parents, that people just kind of point and laugh at the weird circus family. I feel like we live a one ring tiny isolated circus. There is no beating around the bush two of our kids have major needs. Major Major Major needs. Would I do it again with these two -abso-freakin’-lutely- I love my kids. Would I do it again knowing what I know now? No. It is not ok to me that a mother (and father) can give birth to child after child and then neglect them. Hurt them. Abuse them. Emotionally abandon them. It is not ok to me. There is nothing that lights a fire in me more than watching a person do this over and over and over. I am left, we are left – to pick up the broken pieces and mend them together again. Some things cannot be fixed. Nobody can fix the way a brain is hardwired from so much neglect and abandonment at birth. It is not ok to enable another to hurt children over and over and over. It is not ok! These are human lives at stake.

By nature I am an honest person, to a fault. I don’t really hide things or beat around the bush. It’s just not me. Love it or hate it, take me or leave me. Something I have learned through this journey, especially the part with blogging and being open to criticism, is not to judge others. Nobody knows the pain we endure behind closed doors. Everyone has an opinion. We have lost some of our greatest friends because of this strange parenting journey we are on. But we have also been encouraged by our true friends. The ones who stick by us and give us a pat on the back when things are going well and who will cheer us on when things are not going so well. Having true friends who will stick with you through thick and thin is really the greatest thing of all.

So for this New Year I want to be a more loving and giving person. To judge others less. To take care of myself more. To be patient and kind when I would rather be snappy and rude. I want to focus on my relationships with my kids and husband. I want to make sure I nurture my kids while they are little. I want to use my precious me time for things I love.

Maybe I will miss blogging so much I will come back. Maybe I will keep this blog or maybe I will start a new one. It could be public or private or non-existent. I have no idea.  I will leave you with this sweet little quote from my all time favorite poet and poem.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.”

Robert FrostThe Road Not Taken

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I have always considered myself creative.

I have never considered myself crafty.

Tonight I consider myself both. I am so pleased with how my Homemade Vanilla Extract came out. I will post a teaser picture now and give you the tell all tomorrow!!

One of the best books I have read in a long time!

In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi KingdomIn the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom by Qanta A. Ahmed

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I guess you either love this book or hate it. I loved it. It was one of the best books I have read in a while. I love all the detail and I didn’t feel like it dragged on and on about the same thing. I was fascinated with every single part of the culture in Saudi Arabia. I loved reading about all of her adventures with the Saudi people. I would highly recommend this book.

View all my reviews

Making Bouncy Balls

One weekend when Nate was gone hunting the kids and I made bouncy balls. It was a simple project I found on Pinterest. The recipe is here.

The project went very smooth because I had it all set up and organized before the kids were allowed to enter the kitchen!

They rolled and squished and smothered their little globs of yuck unti they started to stick together and become a ball.

Finally, they were done and could play with their new bouncy balls!