Monday, November 30, 2015

Handprint (or Footprint) Ornament Gift Idea

Last year at this time we had a little foster toddler with us.  It seems so long ago and just yesterday all at the same time.  I wanted him to give his mother a Christmas gift and so we made these ornaments. They turned out really sweet and she appreciated them very much.  In fact, she just messaged me the other day and asked for the recipe because she wants to make another set for this Christmas.

I thought you all might enjoy them, too.  They would make great gifts for grandparents (or parents, if you watch/babysit your grandchild) or to commemorate little hands and feet on your own tree- especially if this is baby's first Christmas.

The creases across the foot were my own fault.  There were little, hair-lined cracks in the foot so I filled them in with some Elmer's glue.  I just should have waited a bit longer before glittering the edges- some stuck to the creases.  Oh, well.  You can learn from my mistake.  Thankfully, they're cheap enough to make so if you do make a mistake, you can try again.  I used the recipe and instructions found here.

Thankfully, I made two hand prints and kept one for us.  I will always treasure it...and him...and his family.

Happy Giving, friends.
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Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving at Home

We were unable to travel this year because of Jamey's work schedule.  While we did miss seeing extended family, we had a wonderful time with friends and my cousin's family.

I *love* hosting big meals. Yes, it's a lot of work BUT if you let your guests pitch in and bring some of the food and if you don't set your house cleaning standards too high, it can be totally manageable and enjoyable.

Another thing that simplified things immensely this year is that we roasted our turkey the day before. My mother-in-law gave me excellent instructions and even lent me her oven roaster (which is now on my wish list).  We roasted the turkey on Wednesday afternoon and Jamey carved it Wednesday evening.  He commented on how well it went.  We realized it went well for a few reasons. One, we let it sit for over an hour so it wasn't so very hot to handle.  Two, it was less stressful because there weren't a zillion things going on in the kitchen at the same time.  And, three, the kids were already in bed and there were no conversations/visiting that he was missing out on while he was carving.

He placed the carved turkey pieces right in the insert of the roaster and we filled it halfway with the juices from the bird (reserving the rest for gravy).  We roasted a 20 pound turkey and all but a small bowl of it fit inside the 6 quart roaster (there were two layers).  Once the turkey had cooled, we placed it in the fridge.

The next day, I set the insert back in the roaster (with the lid on) two hours before we were planning to eat and set the temperature for 250 degrees.  Once I could tell it was heated through, I turned it back a bit.  The turkey was so nice and moist.  We are definitely going to do it this way again.  A big bonus is that it frees up oven space on the big day as well...and boy did we use it!  Here's what we had (please remember this wasn't all me)!

streuseled sweet potatoes (recipe to come)
baked corn
green bean casserole
mashed potatoes (made by my cousin's 12-year-old son- they were awesome!)
brie and cranberries with crackers
cranberry sauce/salad
chocolate swirl cheesecake
apple pie
chocolate pecan pie (recipe to come)
pumpkin pie
vanilla ice cream
sugared cranberries (recipe to come)

While the food was wonderful, it truly is the relationships and the air of thankfulness that really makes this holiday special.

To God be the glory, great things He has done. Pin It

Thursday, November 26, 2015

What Today Should Be About

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
    before the gods I sing your praise;

I bow down toward your holy temple

    and give thanks to your name 

for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;
    for you have exalted your name and your word
    above everything.
On the day I called, you answered me,
    you increased my strength of soul.
All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord,

    for they have heard the words of your mouth.

They shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for 

great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly;
    but the haughty he perceives from far away.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,

    you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;

you stretch out your hand,

    and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalm 138:1-8, NRSV
(italics mine)

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends.  
I give thanks for you.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Planning a Big Meal?

I shared this a few years ago but was reminded of it once again as I think about hosting Thanksgiving this Thursday.  Below you will find the words written by Mary Emma Showalter that can be found in the back of the Mennonite Community Cookbook (copyright 1950).

May you feel encouraged.  Unless it makes you feel more overwhelmed...oh, dear.  I hope I didn't make things worse.

"This bit of information was found in a quaint, old handwritten recipe book from my Great-grandmother's day. It is included here mainly for the purpose of giving us a peep into the past. As many of us know, a "barn raising" was quite an event during those early years. When a new barn was built, all the friends and neighbors came on the specified day to help put up the framework of the barn. This policy is still carried out in some communities where neighbors are neighborly. Homemakers of our day will no doubt be astounded at all the food consumed in one day. What is more difficult to believe is that it was all made in Great-grandmother's kitchen.

Here is the list I found:

115 lemon pies
500 fat cakes (doughnuts)
15 large cakes
3 gallons applesauce
3 gallons rice pudding
3 gallons cornstarch pudding
16 chickens
3 hams
50 pounds roast beef
300 light rolls
16 loaves of bread
Red beet pickle and pickled eggs
Cucumber pickle
6 pounds dried prunes, stewed
1 large crock stewed raisins
5 gallon stone jar white potatoes and the same amount sweet potatoes

Enough food for 175 men."

And in case this makes you feel a little underwhelmed with your responsibilities this week, you could make these little cuties.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

This Dog.

Can you guess his love language?

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Less Expensive Flooring Option

I think a little while back I told you that we were done with home improvement projects for awhile. That was funny.  I meant it at the time but...

You all know there's going to be a back-story here, right?  Am I ever able to just post something without one?  Well, in true back-story form, let me try to explain why I think I find it so important to provide back-stories.  When I had a job outside the home, I worked as a clinical social worker at at psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents.  One of my responsibilities was to write a comprehensive social history on each child on my caseload to present to the rest of the patient's treatment team.  It was the child's back-story.  It started with their mother's pregnancy, included early development, their health, school history, family history, history of abuse, behavioral problems, living situations, history of treatment, medications, etc.  All these pieces mattered in that they would help the psychiatrist, psychologist, nurses and behavioral staff better understand, relate to and treat the child.

While I'm not working there anymore, I find that this mentality of helping people understand through back-stories is how I communicate...and evidently how I write.  So, while some of you may roll your eyes and think, "Oh, Jane, just get to the point!" back-stories are my way of attempting to communicate to you lovelies in a more meaningful way. So now, back to the back-story.

When we bought our house, the play room (a room right off the mudroom) had just been re-carpeted. It was a nice, flecked berber and it served us well.  But over the last 10 years, it's gotten a lot of wear and absorbed a lot of dirt and grime.  Oh, and there was that one time that one of the kids pulled down the floor lamp and the halogen bulb shattered and melted into the carpet so that sections of the carpet were given a hair-cut of sorts to cut out the burnt spots. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

 See the clean spot where the love seat usually sits under the map?

When we moved the love seat to clean underneath, we were reminded of the beating the carpet was taking by the stark line showing both what the carpet looked like initially and how much grime it was hanging onto.  Several times, we rented a carpet shampooer.  While the water it sucked out looked like it was cleaning it well, it never made the difference we were hoping for.  And, with young children in and out of our home, I want to provide a clean floor for them to crawl around and play on.  But we made do and I vacuumed.  Like, all the time.

Then, we got a dog.

A dog who, ironically, wipes his feet in the grass after he pees, but does not wipe his feet when he comes into the house.  Instead, he comes bounding in, through the (now a) school room, tracking in dirt (especially on wet days).

We had often wondered if there was some hardwood flooring underneath that carpet.  Well.  A couple weeks ago, Jamey pulled up a corner and discovered that even if there is nice wood flooring underneath, it was covered by 3/4-inch sub floor nailed down with about 1,000 nails which would be a larger project than what we were looking for.

When we first moved in, we redid the floor in our laundry room with peel and stick tile-looking vinyl squares.  It has held up very nicely.  Well, they even make peel and stick wood-looking vinyl "boards".  There was a style on sale that we liked which had gotten very good reviews.  We decided to give it a try.

The carpet was torn out and the carpet tacking strips were pried up with some help from our girls. Because the sub floor was old, some of it came up with the strips, so Jamey had to use wood filler to patch around the edge of the room to make a flat, smooth surface.

What is a sub floor to children?  A giant canvas to draw on!  So while we awaited for our order to come in, the kids (and their friends) went to town.

Whoever plies up this flooring one day is in for a real treat.

A latex primer was applied to help the vinyl "boards" adhere better.  Once dry, it was a peel, stick, and roll process that came together in about six hours (not including adding quarter-round to the trim and painting it).

While at Lowe's we purchased the hanging floor model of a discontinued area rug which was on sale.  This would add a little warmth to the room and soft place to sit (or lay, if you're a Turkey).

While it's not real hardwood, we are pretty pleased with how it turned out.  The cost? $150 for the "wood" flooring (it would have been at least three times this amount for real wood and the labor would have been much more extensive) and $88 for the area rug.  Now we have a floor that will be easier to clean/maintain AND when large groups come to our house for meals, we can roll up the area rug, throw a table cloth on the school table and we'll have a second dining room.

NOW.  We're done.  Believe me? ;-) Pin It

Monday, November 16, 2015

Now's the Time! Amaryllis Blooms for Christmas

Last year, for the first time, I bought myself an amaryllis bulb in mid-November.  It came with a pot, soil and directions.  A little watering was all it needed and it bloomed just in time for Christmas and it was gorgeous.

After it finished blooming, I cut it back, set it on our hutch and kind of forgot about it- even forgetting to water it for long periods of time.  Just recently, I thought I should read-up on what I should do to force it to bloom again.  I was WAY too late to start this process.  So I decided I needed to start again and aim to follow the directions for after it I can use the bulb again.  I planted the old bulb outside for lack of knowing what else to do.  We'll see what happens.

The other day, Jamey was making a trip to Lowe's and I asked him if he wouldn't mind picking up another amaryllis bulb (we had gotten last year's bulb at Lowe's for around $9).  He came home with this:

A waxed amaryllis bulb ($12.99)!  I had never seen one like it.  The bulb requires no soil and no water- the wax seals in everything it needs to bloom.  And, according to the directions, it should bloom in time for Christmas again.

So, my friends, if you want to try for a blooming amaryllis this Christmas (with wax or with dirt), now is the time to go find one.  Or buy a few and give them as gifts.
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Friday, November 13, 2015

Cookbook Giveaway Winners & A Free Shipping Deal!

Thank you all so much for entering! I loved hearing what some of your favorite recipes are- and several comments prompted me to put a few on my menu for the next couple weeks because it's been awhile since I've made them (Curried-Chicken Potpie, Pumpkin Streusel Bread, and White Chili for starters).

Now, before I announce the winners I want to offer a little something to those of you who didn't win. If you order a cookbook this weekend (before midnight on Sunday, the 15th), I will reimburse you the cost of shipping, making shipping FREE!  So to be clear- you'll be charged the full amount initially but before I ship your order, I'll reimburse you $3.75 for the cost of shipping. If you order more than one, I'll reimburse all your shipping. I'm sorry but I cannot make this offer to those of you living outside the US.

If you can't purchase one this weekend but would like one, put it on your Christmas list! Your loved ones might be looking for ideas:-).

On to the winners!  If you see your name below, please send me an email ( with your mailing address and I'll get them right out to you.  Congratulations!!

Don't have your cookbook yet, but definitely would like to try the quiche! I also absolutely love making soups, chowders, etc this time of year, so that would be a whole section I would love to explore! :)
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  1. Forgot - name is Loretta!


Can I just say "all desserts" as my entry? LOL. If I have to choose one, it would be Shoofly Pie.
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Quick and Easy Homemade Pasta Skillet

This here is my busy-time-of-year-all-in-one-skillet-last-minute-little-prep-kid-pleaser-gift-to-you dinner.  I've been making it about once a week.  In fact, it's what I'm making tonight! I look ahead and decide which evening needs the quickest and easiest prep.  Often it's an evening Jamey works and I don't want to field all the dinner complaints by myself.  This meal elicits no complaints. It comes together fast and reminds me of a homemade, healthier version of hamburger helper (especially when you use your own tomato sauce, onion and local meats and cheeses).  Pair it with some green beans, peas, or green salad and some applesauce and you're all set to go.

Homemade Pasta Skillet
serves 6

1 pound ground beef, turkey, venison or sausage
1 large onion, chopped small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound (1 regular box) pasta (small shells or elbows), UNcooked
3 cups tomato sauce
2 1/2 cups water
2 tsp. salt
ground black pepper
2-3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

In a large (12-inch) skillet with lid, saute the ground meat and onions until the meat is just cooked through and the onions are tender.  Add garlic and saute another minute or two.  Add the uncooked pasta, tomato sauce, water, salt and pepper.  Stir everything together gently.  Cover tightly with the lid and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn down to medium-high heat to maintain a hard simmer.  Let cook, covered, for 15 minutes, occasionally shaking the pan a bit to mix the contents.  Test a piece of pasta for doneness, adding a little more time (and a little water if needed) if not al dente.  Once pasta is done, remove the skillet from the heat and add the mozzarella cheese.  Stir to combine and let the cheese melt. Place the whole skillet on the table and serve.

You're very welcome.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bees, Ducks and Chickens, Oh My! (The Reality of Having Animals)

I would like to begin this post by saying that being able to live in a place where we can raise and enjoy animals is such a gift.  They are fascinating (and entertaining), useful (think eggs and meat), beneficial (they eat bugs and turn soil), and are often just plain fun (think pretending they're babies).

my girls (younger) with their girls (also, younger)

But sometimes, they drive me bananas and all I want is to drive them to the other side of the county and drop them off.

There, I said it.

I take part of that back.  I really don't want to drive our bees anywhere.  Actually, right now the bees aren't causing any trouble.  We were very disappointed that after all our work with them last year, all five colonies died over the winter.  As much as I am in awe of bees (ask my kids' friends- if any of them ask a single question about bees, I launch into a 4-part lecture series on the topic), part of me wondered if we should give up.  But we didn't.  We ordered two more packages, watched them build up over the summer, left their honey alone, and we now have six colonies as we head into this winter. Jamey made moisture quilts to hopefully insulate them from condensation which can be fatal.  We'll say a little prayer, tuck them in and hope that we see at least a colony or two alive this spring.

The ducks.  We bought four Khaki Campbell running ducks from a farmer we know.  We wanted them for their eggs and expressed that we wanted hens. Well.  Either they weren't hens or they just didn't like us because we got one and only one egg (and it could've been a chicken egg- it was hard to tell) and that was it.

The very first night we had them, one of the four went missing.  We're thinking predator.  The other three fell into a cute routine of quacking around the chicken yard each day, splashing in their water and then hunkering down in the chicken tractor out in the yard.  They never followed the chickens into their coop as they need their own water source (so they can scoop-drink).

Well, after a few weeks of this pleasant (albeit non-laying) life, they discovered they could get out through the holes in the fence (they were small enough).  Over a few days, two walked their way out onto our road and got hit by cars.  Bless our dear neighbor who scraped them off with his shovel.

So there was one duck left.  Without his friends, he no longer stayed in our yard and instead wandered the neighborhood becoming a bit of a nuisance.  He's no longer with us (and that's all I'm going to say about that).  So the duck project was a fail.  I feel yucky about the whole thing but we couldn't spend hundreds and hundred of dollars installing new fencing and other attempts to solve the problem weren't working.  Frankly, non-laying ducks were just not worth it to us.

Moving on to my most recent nemeses: the chickens.  We haven't bought chicks the last couple years so our chicken population has slowly been aging and dying out.  We're down to around ten.  At one point, we had 40 (that included some meat birds we later butchered).  Of these ten, about 3-4 consistently get out of their yard and into our neighbors' yards.  Turkey has learned to ignore them, thank heavens, but they wander around, digging up everyone's flower beds and newly planted grass.

Here again, if we spent a lot of money, we could fix the fences (they've been patched COUNTLESS times).  We could buy a lot of organic, free range eggs with that money.  But we don't have the heart to get rid of the chickens.  So, for now, they're locked up in their coop.  It's not a terrible place to be. I'll be adding leaves and straw to give them something to scratch and maybe on really nice days we'll let them out for awhile to enjoy their yard.  You know, on good behavior.  In the meantime, I want to price out fencing and see if we can't re-fence part of the yard or make something work.

So, there.  I know this wasn't a very uplifting animal post but I just needed to say all this.  It's not all wine and roses.  Instead, it can be a lot of whine and thorn-ses.  Such is life- a life I still wouldn't trade with anyone (just look at that first picture in this post again). Pin It

Monday, November 9, 2015

Cookbook Giveaway!

This giveaway is closed. Thanks for entering!  

It's been a LONG time since I've given away one of my cookbooks.  What was I thinking waiting for so long?!

Anyway.  I'm ready to remedy this little blunder by offering up a free cookbook to TWO readers this week.  Just leave a comment below and tell me if you have a favorite recipe from my site.  If you own the cookbook already, let me know what you've tried and loved so I can enter you to win one for a friend.  If you haven't tried any of my recipes- not a problem.  Just click on the recipe tab at the top and let me know of a recipe you'd like to try.

Please one entry per household.  Remember to leave me your initials or first name to help identify you if you win.  I'll randomly draw two winners this Friday and announce the winners here later that day.  Consider them early Christmas presents:-). Happy entering!! Pin It

Monday, November 2, 2015

Organizing My Way Through the House

This fall, I generally have Wednesday afternoons free.  For me, "free" means time at home (with the kids) without any agenda- no school, no errands, and no ferrying kids to classes.  Since my nesting season has stretched beyond summer and into fall, I decided to assign myself one area each Wednesday afternoon to overhaul.  My goal is to PURGE- throw out, donate, consign, and then reorganize.  Our stuff was cluttering my conscience as well as our very few storage spaces.

At this point, my list looks like this:

ü laundry room
ü pantry
ü school room
ü dining room
ü living room
ü nursery
ü downstairs bathroom
    upstairs bathroom
ü mudroom

First off, below is our "school-shelf".  The upper shelves are kept organized because we use them all the time.  Each child has their school books on their shelf.  This keeps me sane and makes it easier to find what I need as I'm teaching.  The open cabinets left and lower are toddler/baby toys for little people who come to play.  Our kids mostly leave them alone so they stay pretty neat. But behind those closed doors, there was a MESS.

I should've taken a before picture but oh, well.  Now they're in order.  The top two shelves are Miriam's painting/playdoh/activity book shelves (she self-soothes with art).  She has easy access to these shelves.  I do not like having tons of "craft" stuff around.  It all ends up in the trash at some point anyway, so why bother (or so goes my theory)? Bottom left are reserve toddler toys and bottom right is MY shelf- school supplies I don't want messed with.  These two doors are lockable for when little people come to play.

My pantry holds all our canned goods but also light bulbs, batteries, some school supplies, appliances, canning equipment, etc. When it gets out of control, I have to climb over things to get to the back.  Oh, the simple joy of being able to walk all the way in.

Our under-the-TV-cabinet holds DVDs and games.  As kids grow so do their tastes in both of these areas.  It felt good to pull out and donate what they no longer watch/play so that other kids can enjoy them.

Below is the top of what we call our "half hutch".  The bottom of it is a cabinet that holds our paper recycling and a shelf of seeds, seed catalogs and gardening notebooks.  On top is where I store cookbooks and homestead-themed books.  Here again, it felt good to donate what we were done with so others could enjoy/benefit from the books.

I LOVE our shoe box.  Jamey built it for me several years back (he also built all the other furniture in this post except the last peice, handy guy that he is).  It's sturdy enough that you can sit on it to put your shoes on and it hides unused shoes (and more).  I found that making compartments (out of cardboard boxes or whatever) made it even better. The blue bucket is dog food (Turkey's bowls are just to the left of it).  There is a compartment for slippers and church shoes (so they don't get dirty from outside/play shoes) and one for work gloves and hats.  The larger area holds shoes that are relatively clean.  The messy ones still sit outside the shoe box lined up under the coat hooks.  I don't mind that they're out.  We're in and out so much it really doesn't make sense to have to put your shoes away-away every time.  The shoes don't always land in their designated spot but at least they have a designated spot, right?

I'm so thankful for our laundry room. It may not be pretty but it holds a washer, dryer and two freezers, AND functions as a catch-all storage area.  There's a lot in this room.  Getting it organized helped me take stock of what I have.  We could have built or had installed cabinets with doors to make it look neater but it would have costed a LOT more.  More flexible storage flexes with your needs (hence the word 'flexible'- I'm quite the word scholar you see).  The laundry room has a door so it can be closed off if it gets out of control.  It's certainly not magazine-worthy (and maybe not even blog-worthy) but it's a real family's real laundry room space.

Because we don't have a lot of storage in our old house, we use furniture.  This dry sink sits in our dining room and (now!) actually sports an empty spot.  I think I should challenge myself to keep it empty for an entire year.  Think I can do it?

Our storage spaces are still holding quite a bit.  But at least now I know that what they are holding we actually use/therefore should hold onto. Everything feels a little bit lighter and my nesting urge has been battened down a bit once again.

Except for where the closets are concerned....I might be back. Pin It

Thursday, October 29, 2015

I Didn't Know About Dogs: Part 3

You can read about how we became Turkey's new family in Part 1 and Part 2.

We've been dog owners for a total of two and a half months.  Turkey adjusted very well. We are so thankful for this because we've heard stories of dogs who had a very hard time being separated from their first owners.  Turkey spent his whole five and a half years with another family.  The fact that he's been able to so quickly build trust and form attachment to our family shows how much credit his first owners deserve.

I'm learning so much.

1) My mama instincts evidently transfer to dogs I really like.  I wasn't ready for this.  I almost feel like I'm fostering- trying to get to know the needs of my new dependent.  How are they sleeping?  Eating?  Is he acting differently today?  Is he adjusting well? Does he need more attention?  More exercise? What's the best food for him? Is he warm enough?

People. I'm scaring myself.  I am NOT a dog person.  I AM a Turkey-person now.  That is for sure. My best guess is that I may need another real foster placement SOON.

blending in

2) Our family hikes are even more fun than they used to be.  We love to hike and go for walks but we don't go nearly enough.  Having a dog gives us one more reason to get out there because he needs exercise, too.  The first time we took Turkey along, the girls (especially) could hardly stand it that we let him off leash.  But Jamey had learned on trail runs with him that he is an awesome dog to take in the woods.

 enjoying the outcropping and sunset at the top

Here's what happens.  He runs way ahead on the trail, occasionally venturing into the woods.  He's out of sight for a couple minutes and all of a sudden there is a streak of movement way on up ahead. He's racing back to touch base/check on us.  Then, he takes off down the trail again.  He checks in if the trail splits on the way out but remembers/smells the right trail on the way back.  He likely covers two to three times the miles we do on any given hike and never stays out of our sight for very long.

He generally likes his blanket by prefers lying on a person.

3) Vizslas are a curious breed.  They are incredibly affectionate.  They can become nervous when overstimulated or frightened and show it chattering their teeth or quivering.  They also chatter their teeth and quiver when they're cold (see below).  It's our understanding that Turkey's parents and he were bred as hunting dogs although Turkey wasn't trained as one.  Despite the lack of training, he points (nose pointing, left front leg raised and tail straight out while holding incredible still) when he discovers a hiding critter.  He will hold that position until we acknowledge that we see it.  If we tell him to "get it", he flushes it out and chases it but as of yet hasn't caught anything.  I think he very well could if he wanted to.

under the school table

4) I now buy toys and clothes for a dog.  Vizslas lose most of their heat from their chest/belly where they have the least hair.  They also lack an undercoat so they can easily get cold.  They have to be inside dogs because they can't handle the winter (or parts of fall and spring for that matter).  When Turkey is cold, he will chatter and shiver- a sign he needs help keeping warm- even inside.

Because he has such a large chest, it was tricky for me to find a coat that fit him and his wide chest well.  Duluth Trading Company makes one that fits well (shown above).

5) I am so thankful he's an adult dog.  In dog years, Turkey is about Jamey and my age.  He's graying around the face and likes to lay around come sun down.  From what I've read Vizsla puppies have an incredible amount of energy.  Videos (like this one) on youtube show how much energy these dogs have to exhaust.  Turkey's five and a half years are just about perfect for us- he enjoys his regular runs with Jamey but can also be content to have a lazy afternoon lying about the house. Thank goodness.

sacked out after a long run together

6) Dog adoption and foster care seem to be related.  Animals are part of God's amazing creation and are here for our enjoyment and awe just like the rest of His creation.  While I know that they experience a wide range of emotions and physical pain similar to people, these characteristics (to me) point to the fact that we share the same Creator, not that we are the same.  

Because of all the similarities, I can see why and how some people consider their pets as important (or more important) than the humans in their life.  I hate that some animals are mistreated and abandoned and I'm glad that there are rescue centers and the SPCA to match those unwanted to good homes.

But.  There are children in very similar situations that need homes, too.  Pets can be easier, I know. Part of me was relieved that adopting this dog would push off our next foster placement as we got used to him and him to us.  Taking on another placement is scary- I won't lie and say it isn't. But thankfully, it has made me realize that child foster care/adoption is even more important.  There is another child out there waiting for us.  I thought that Turkey might tempt me away from the hardness that foster care can be but instead he's reminded me how much love we're capable of and that the quality of our love can span birth children, adopted dog AND foster child.  Or so I think:-).

We await God's timing and in the meantime, I'm learning how much I didn't know about dogs.  It's a good thing I love to learn.
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