Dear Boys,

Several years ago, we tried signing up for the Adopt-a-Student program at our church.

It’s a good thing the student with whom we were placed had family here in town, because I’m not sure we had Harry to dinner even once.

I know Beth and Will had been born.  I think Lee was a baby.  Dad was getting his Ph.D.  I was homeschooling the older children, operating in somewhat of a fog during those days.  It’s a miracle y’all are remotely educated and alive and well today.  And I’m thankful Harry is still our friend even though we didn’t adopt him well.

I’m not sure what made us think we should ask for another student a couple years after that.

Actually, I think I do know.

John, you had come to us in a whirl of giggles and fun.  New babies are a delight.  I must admit, though, that you upped the productivity level in our home each day.

For Valentine’s Day when you were just a few months old, Dad gave me the gift of a mother’s helper for a few days.  And, yes, at that time in life this was a very wonderful and romantic gift!  Her name was Katie Kirkpatrick, affectionately known at “Tatie Patrick” to the young members of our family.

After getting to know Katie, we knew we wanted to “adopt” her when the program was offered again that fall.

She brought with her a couple years later a younger sister, Kristy.

John, Nathan (another adoptee), Dad, Beth, Kristy, Lee Mom, Will, Katie, Sarah (also an adoptee) at Kristy's wedding

John, Nathan (another adoptee), Dad, Beth, Kristy, Lee Mom, Will, Katie, Sarah (also an adoptee) at Kristy’s wedding

There have been so many wonderful students over the years.  We really do love them like part of the family.

Nerf guns out the upstairs windows with the guys, jumping on the trampoline with an All-American gymnast, laughing over funny stories around the table, the best babysitters in the world.

Then as y’all grew older, the dynamics changed a bit.

Focused basketball games after Sunday lunch.  Baseball in the front yard.  Discussions about life, faith, and the unfairness of the proposed soda tax.  Pleas to take a job in Auburn instead of moving away.  Advice on how to start a business called Mat’s Hats for the Pale Male.

So many wonderful times.

One of the favorite food memories is homemade donuts.

Katie and Kristy came on a few Saturday mornings, armed with a Fry Daddy and the necessary ingredients.

It was an instant favorite.

Here is how you make them:



You’ll need a tube of canned biscuits.  Or two or three or four if you’re having a donut party.

DSC_0115You can cut them into fourths for the short-cut donut hole.

DSC_0119You can find a tiny biscuit cutter for proper donut holes that are actually circular.

DSC_0117Katie and Kristy always had those little cups that come with cough syrup or Pepto Bismol, but we didn’t have any.  I tried the container for a tea light candle, removing the candle and washing well with warm, soapy water.

DSC_0127It worked okay, but the metal is somewhat flimsy and not good for long-term use.

DSC_0132You can also just poke a hole in the dough with your finger and work it into a circle.

DSC_0135Once you’ve shaped the dough like you want it,

DSC_0153you’ll be ready to put the doughnuts into the Fry Daddy.

Kristy gave us hers when she graduated and moved away.

I know.  Very sweet gift.

If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can put some oil in a skillet and cook them that way, as well.  As a matter of fact, a young friend told me recently they make them like that when they go camping.

DSC_0148These are the two utensils you will need.  The slotted spoon is for retrieving the donuts from the fryer so that extra grease can drip.  The tongs are for fishing the donuts out of the sugar.  More on that in a minute.

DSC_0155When they are brown on one side, use the slotted spoon to flip them.

DSC_0156When they are brown on both sides, you’ll remove them from the oil and

DSC_0158drop them into a container with powdered sugar.

The Kirkpatricks used a brown paper bag, and I think that worked better than this ice cream bucket.  We were out of them and improvised with this.  The sugar seems to stick to the plastic some, but it was okay.

DSC_0166Use the tongs to remove them from the sugar.  If you use the same utensil for both things, you’ll end up with lots of sugar in your oil.

DSC_0174The steps are the same for donut holes.

DSC_0169These are best served immediately with good friends.

Love you,

















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