The Robbins' Roost

A nesting place for the Robbins' family updates


What is that you ask?  Well, it is a children’s museum in Columbia, SC.  We have been trying to do some exploring to find new and fun things to do around us.  Columbia is only about 45 minutes away and they have so many things to do.  This children’s museum looked really cool from the outside the one time we drove by.  Then luck for us, a “Groupon” came through with a year membership for 1/2 price.  As long as we visit the museum at least twice, the membership will pay for itself.  I figured it would be a good excuse to have to go visit Columbia once in awhile.  (It is where my nearest Target store is located!)

About 2 weeks ago, we headed over to Edventure and spent a couple hours checking out the museum.  Palmer had a great time.  There is a full size fire truck, a VW bug, a supermarket, a butterfly garden, a fun room with instruments, a tv studio and Eddie, the 40 foot tall kid.  We will definitely be back.  Apparently they do a “winter wonderland” where they make snow during the winter.  It will be worth seeing how they do that.  Here are some pictures of our day at Edventure.

Palmer “changing” a tire.

Working in the construction zone!

In the butterfly garden

A lizard friend in the butterfly garden

This is Eddie

A good perspective with Palmer

The inside of Eddie’s face

Eddie from the 2nd floor

Can’t you ride a camel about anywhere?

Until our next adventure …










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Good Friends!

We are definitely missing some of our good friends and neighbors from Iowa.  Yes, we are making new friends here in South Carolina, but there is just nothing like those good friends that knew so much about you already.  We were fortunate that one of our old neighbors came through South Carolina on their way home from a wedding in North Carolina last weekend.  The Driscoll family was expecting a second baby and she was about a month away from arriving when we moved.  We, of course, have seen pictures of her, but there is nothing like being able to snuggle with a baby.

We met the Driscoll’s in Florence, SC, so they wouldn’t have to get off the main roads toward going home.  We had a great lunch at this wonderful pizza place called Mellow Mushroom.  (It’s a pizza chain only in the south and it’s fabulous!)  We spent almost 2 hours visiting, catching up and being able to snuggle baby Madelyn!  We also had fun playing with their older daughter Neala.

Here is Miss Madelyn – 2 months old!

Palmer giving Madelyn some love

Thank-you again to the Driscoll family for taking time out of their long drive to stop and visit for a couple hours!



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It’s Been a Long Time!

I feel so bad because I haven’t updated this blog in such a long time.  There have been so many things going on that I should have been blogging all along, but I’m also using that excuse as to why I haven’t been updating this blog.  I finally decided that it is time to get back at this blog.  Instead of trying to figure out where to go back to, I decided to just start with the most recent and then I can work backward.

Today a friend’s blog had a list of random thoughts, so I am stealing her idea and using it in my blog today too!  Thanks Traci!  So here are some of my random thoughts and then I will keep updating and working my way back …

** Making new friends – I was worried about Palmer starting a new school when we moved and making new friends.  He has adjusted fine and has made new friends without any problems.  In fact I have caught a couple little girls kind of giving him that “dreamy” look.  I think Paul and I might be in a bit of trouble!  I, on the other hand, seem to be having a little bit of a harder time making new friends.  This town might have a lot of military people who move quite a bit, but it is a “small town”.  Most of the people I meet have either lived here all their lives, or lived here, and have moved back so their friend base is here.  I am just trying to find my way and I know the friendships will come, but I am missing my good friends back in Iowa.

** Repairmen – Having bought a 30+ year old home, we knew we would have things we would need to do to update the home.  We also were lucky and the former owners provided a home warranty with the house.  That warranty has come in handy the 3 times the upstairs A/C has stopped working.  Now the garage door opener on my side of the garage has stopped working.  I called home warranty, who usually provides us with the name of the company they are sending out to do the work.  When I called today about the garage door opener, they told me we were on our own and could use whomever we wanted to get it fixed.  (There are stipulations of course!)  Excuse me, we just moved in July, how are we to know who to call.  So I called Sears, being that the opener is a Craftsman.  Sears was able to help and they are sending someone out next Tues, 6 days from now, between 8a and 5p.  Gee, could you narrow that time down a bit?  When I asked if I could get a closer time frame, Sears said I could call on Tues morning around 7:30a and they could “possibly” give me a closer time.  Glad our garage door is lightweight, so I can continue to use it manually.

** Jeopardy – Since moving to South Carolina, we are getting used to our favorite television shows being on East Coast time.  They are on an hour later than we were used to watching.  So, we have come to rely on our DVR so we don’t have to stay up so late each night, but we have also come to watching some other shows that we didn’t usually watch.  One of these shows is Jeopardy.  Palmer has come to love this game show.  In fact he even persuaded me to buy the app for our ipad.  It is so funny to listen to him play and try to come up with some of the answers.  Between the 3 of us, we usually get about 1/3 of the answers on any given night.  We feel pretty good about that!

** Fall Temperatures – Paul and I have come to laugh a few times at the local weather people around here.  One night we were watching the news and the weatherman said that “fall-like temperatures were coming”.  Paul and I perked up to see what the temps were going to be.  I think he and I both had the same thoughts, finally we can turn off the air conditioning.  Well the “fall-like” temps they were talking about were the upper 70’s to low 80’s.  They did say some of the humidity would be residing.  Well for the month of September and so far in October we have had the air off for a total of 3 days/4 nights.  We will be curious to see what the weather people call “winter”!

That is all for today!  I will make a promise that I will get this blog updated and try to do it at least every other day until I am somewhat “caught up”.  Thanks for forgiving me!


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Niabi Zoo

On Tuesday this last week, Palmer and I went over to Moline, IL and visited the Niabi Zoo one last time.   Our friends and neighbors from across the street went with us.  It was fun to introduce them to the Niabi Zoo because they had never been.  It was a beautiful day for the zoo and the kids had a great time.  It had been about 3 years since the last time Palmer and I had gone to the zoo and they had added a few new things.  The parking lot is paved now, they have a great new entrance area and you can pay to feed the giraffes.  I think I could have stood watching everyone feed the giraffes for hours.  It was soooooo cool being nose to nose with a giraffe.  They are such amazing and beautiful animals.  If any of my friends out there live close enough to visit the Niabi Zoo, I recommend it.  I also recommend paying the money and feeding the giraffes!

Palmer and Aidan “riding” the elephant!

One of the wonderful elephants

Palmer and Aidan being themselves – I mean acting like monkeys.

Palmer chose to ride the Eagle on the carousel.

I need to look back and see where Palmer’s arms reached to when we were there 3 years ago.

Having a break and riding the train!

Aidan and Palmer pretending they were in “jail”.

Palmer had fun feeding the giraffes.

So cool being this close to a giraffe!

The boys were checking out the giraffe one last time.

I am looking forward to finding more little gems like the Niabi Zoo when we move.


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3rd Grade is Over

Why is it so hard to say “good-bye”?  That is what we had to do on the last day of 3rd grade.  With our move happening at the end of June, when the last day of school came around it was harder than most.  We made sure to say good-bye to each of Palmer’s former teachers along with many others in the school.  As we were standing in the hall saying our good-bye’s, so many parents, staff and teachers came by to get their “final” hugs from Palmer.  As we got ready to leave the school for the “last” time, Palmer turned and stood in the door of his classroom and just started crying.  It totally broke my heart because I know the feeling and unfortunately it doesn’t get any easier.  We have been so fortunate to go to Coralville Central and enjoy 4 years there with that family.  We are going to greatly miss everyone!!!

Palmer’s 1st day of 3rd grade.

Palmer’s last day of 3rd grade

This was Palmer’s kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Baumgarth. She will always have a super special place in our heart!

Palmer’s 3rd Grade class

Palmer and Ms. Williams, his 3rd grade teacher

Palmer and Mr. Figg, the teaching assistant in his classroom

We are officially saying our final good-bye’s to Coralville Central … we hold lots and lots of memories in pictures, in our minds and especially in our hearts!!!


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The things kids say …

Palmer always says things that aren’t pronounced correctly.  I usually correct him and we go on.  It is all part of the learning process and even as adults we sometimes say things that aren’t pronounced correctly.  However, the other day Palmer was reading a book about planes and helicopters.  He was talking to his grandpa on the phone and telling him about a certain helicopter.  He said to grandpa, “Hey grandpa, there is the really cool helicopter call a Chin Hook.”  Both my dad on the phone and me in the background were trying  our hardest not to laugh out loud.  Palmer said the name of the helicopter just like it looks, so we couldn’t knock him for the way he said it.  Grandpa explained how to say it and Palmer just laughed at the way he said it.  He did tell grandpa that it looked like “Chin Hook” in the book he was looking at.

I just love when kids use their phonetic skills to pronounce words.  Sometimes it works out great and other times … well you just have to smile.


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Since we are moving and heading out of the Midwest, I have been trying to do some things with Palmer as our “last” times we might do them for quite some time.  Last Friday Palmer had the day off school, so he and I headed over to spend the weekend in Chicago.  We stayed in Schaumburg and my parents came up and joined us.

We arrived Friday morning around 11, and my parents arrived about 1/2 hour later.  We spent the rest of the afternoon eating and shopping.  We had Maggiano’s for lunch, which is super yummy Italian.  We shopped at our favorite stores – IKEA, Container Store, HomeGoods, Lego Store, Marbles Store, Nordstrom’s (just the shoe department), Disney Store.  We finished the day with dinner at P.F. Chang’s.  The lettuce wraps were wonderful!

Saturday we got up and headed to the nearest train station.  We headed into downtown Chicago on the Metra.  It was wonderful just riding the train and not having to worry about traffic and parking.  Our train station put us 1 1/2 blocks from the Willis Tower (used to be Sear’s Tower).  We decided that the clouds were up high enough that we could still see great views from the top.  Up to the top we went.  The views were great and Palmer loved being up there!  He was amazed at how far you could see.  Our favorite part was the new “ledges” that they built on the west side of the building.  These are all glass boxes that hang out the side of the building.  You can see all the way to the street from up on the 103rd floor.  Some people would be a little freaked out by this, but Palmer and I could have spent hours out there looking at everything.  Here is the proof that we were really there!

As you can see from the pictures Palmer and I were sitting on the “ledge” and then laying on the “ledge”.  If you look really close, you can see the ground under us.  The last picture I took while standing in one “ledge” and Palmer was standing in the “ledge” across from me.  You can even see grandma in the background making bunny ears!

From the Willis Tower, we decided we needed lunch at Giordano’s Pizza, and yes we had Chicago Style Pizza.  After lunch we headed to the subway and went north to shop on Michigan Avenue.  We hit Water Tower Place – the American Girl Store and Lego Store.  That was where Palmer spent some of his saved money on some new Lego sets.  Then to the shops at 900 Michigan Avenue.  What a great place to shop with more wonderful stores, including a fabulous William Sonoma shop.  Finally back to to the subway, then to the train station and back to Schaumburg.  We decided on The Weber Grill for dinner.  What a great way to end the day!

Sunday brought some swimming before it was time to get in the car and head home!  Palmer and I made one more stop at Whole Foods to buy some good snacks and then we got on the road.  It was a great “last” trip to Chicago.  I know we will visit Chicago again one day, but until then, we enjoyed our weekend!


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So Many Things Going On …

Okay, maybe that is just an excuse as to why I haven’t been on this blog for over a month.  It really is true.  Since I last wrote about our new adventure we have had so much going on.  First, the house is on the market and we have had a number of open houses.  At the open houses, we have had about 15 groups of people coming through.  Unfortunately, no one has made an offer yet.  We have also had 6 private showings of the house, but again, no one has made us an offer.

Palmer and I took a trip to visit Paul and look at houses in Sumter, SC.  Palmer had a 4 day weekend from school, so away we flew to South Carolina.  It was a quick 4 days, but we did a lot.  On that Saturday we looked at 11 houses in about 3 1/2 hours.  Some of them were easy to say we didn’t want them.  We narrowed the 11 houses down to 6, then those 6 down to 3.  Then we spent the rest of the time checking out all kinds of things in the area.

Then we took our spring break trip to Florida.  Paul was able to join us and drove down from South Carolina.  We spent 10 days with my parents.  We had a great time and spent much time on the beach and at the pool.  Palmer even got to go on a Segway tour with my dad.  They saw some places in Ft. Myers and Ft. Myers Beach and spent about 3 hours riding around on the Segways.  He loved every minute of the tour.  It was a great trip and fun time.  When we got back to Iowa we arrived to 70 and 80 degree weather.  Not a bad way to get back from Florida.

Since we got back to Iowa, and Paul back to South Carolina, things have gotten back to “normal”.  We put an offer on a house in South Carolina and the sellers accepted our offer.  Now, we just need to get the house in Iowa sold.  I am hoping that will happen very soon.  The weather has been great for Iowa and we have been spending as much time outside as we can.

So, our life goes on, the house sits for sale, our family is living in 2 states and we are learning a new “normal”.  I can’t wait until we can be together again as one family.  Send good thoughts our way along with buyers!!


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South Carolina

Wow, it has been almost a month since I have written anything on this little blog.  There has been a lot happening in our lives since that last post and all that is happening has kept me from having the time to sit down and write.  Now, I think things are finally slowing just enough I can write a little bit about what has been happening.

Right after I posted that last time in January, Paul, Palmer and I took a trip to Sumter, South Carolina.  We went for a business meeting Paul had for work.  Really it was a final interview for a promotion.  A few days after returning from Sumter, Paul found out he was offered the job.  Basically that is when all craziness broke loose in this household and it didn’t feel like there were enough hours in a day.

Right after we found out about Paul’s new job, which meant the whole family would be moving to South Carolina, we started working on getting the house ready to be put on the market.  Painters came in and refreshed the whole main floor with new paint.  Yes, it is basic tan that goes with anything.  They painted in 1 1/2 days what it would have taken me 2 weeks to get done.  It was so worth the money we paid and my sanity to have someone else do the painting.  Next came the new carpet in the living room.  It is carpet that has needed to be replaced over the last couple years, but we just didn’t take the time to get it done.  Now it looks wonderful and we will enjoy it for the short time we are still here.

After all the painting and carpet being laid, then came the deep cleaning.  I spent an entire weekend just cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning.  My nails didn’t look very pretty when it was all over, but the house was clean.  After the cleaning, the realtor came and took pictures of all the rooms.  Then the 2nd floor carpets were cleaned so when people start looking at the house it will be beautiful.  Then the realtor’s sign went up in the yard and the reality set in that this is really happening.

There was still more organizing or closets, a deep cleaning of the basement, and cleaning out the fridge.  I have made 6 trips to Goodwill in a week.  We also have a consignment store called “Stuff” that I have been to and dropped of stuff about 5 different times.  The car just about automatically goes to Stuff and then Goodwill without me even having to steer it.  So now the house is officially on the market, an open house has been scheduled, Paul starts his new job in a week and Palmer and I will be here trying to sell the house!

We are still trying to live a “normal” life while all of this is happening.  Sometimes it feels like nothing is going on, but other times I start to feel a bit overwhelmed.  I’ve started my list of people/places/things to contact when we know the house is sold.  Next will be getting estimates on the cost of movers to move our things.  So much to do and so many things to think about.

Please understand if this little blog doesn’t get updated as much as I would like.  I will try to keep things updated so all of you will know what is happening.  So, until next time…


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Another New Recipe

A few days ago I put a new recipe we tried in this little blog of mine and promised I would put another one a few days later.  Well, those days have come and gone and it is time for another new recipe.  Hope you enjoy!

Mac n Cheese Soup


1 ½ cups dry elbow macaroni

½ cup minced onion

¼ cup minced celery

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup all purpose flour

½ cup dry white wine

2 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups whole milk

4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Salt to taste

¼ cup crumbled blue cheese

2 Tablespoons minced fresh chives



Cook macaroni in a pot of salted water according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Sweat onion and celery in butter in a large saucepan over meium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in flour to coat and cook 1 minute.  Deglaze with wine and simmer until nearly evaporated.  Stir in stock, mustard, nutmeg, and cayenne.  Simmer until slightly thickened, 5 minutes, then whish in milk and warm through.  DO NOT let boil or base may become grainy.

Add Cheddar, 1 cup at a time, allowing it to melt completely before adding the next cup.  Stir in macaroni, lemon juice, and salt; remove from heat.

Combine blue cheese and chives in a small bowl.  Garnish each serving with blue cheese mixture.

Makes about 7 cups.

**I used mild cheddar because I was afraid it would be too strong for my 9-year old.  It turned out great.  I don’t like blue cheese, so I did not put any into my soup, but my husband loves blue cheese and said it was great in the soup.

This was a different soup from most, but it was really good.  It is definitely not a low-fat dish, so will be one we only make once in a great while, but will enjoy when we make it.



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