Friday, May 29, 2009

Look Mommy!

"Mommy, look at my yummy breakfast!"

"Now if I just had 3 hands I'd be good!"


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bunny Burner Breakfast

So let's just clear the air right now. I'm not talking about burning bunnies. Let me repeat - no bunnies were harmed in the making of this breakfast!

Bunny burner breakfasts are a tradition in our family. My Dad's family made these breakfasts and now our family does. It's a breakfast that you make outside on a tin can. It consists of bacon, an egg, and bread. Oh yeah, and smoke. And burned bits of who knows what. And more smoke. And maybe a little dirt. And then more smoke.

So for Memorial Day, we had a send-off party for my parents (who will be leaving for Alaska for 3 months in just a few days) and we made bunny burners.

Step #1
Preparing the tin cans. Sorry, no pictures! You need large cans that already have the top off the can (that open part now becomes the bottom of the can.) Then you cut an opening on the side at the bottom for the fire. You also cut small air holes around the top of the side of the can.

Put a corn cob (minus the corn on it) or two under the can. Then dip another cob in some kerosene. Or gasoline. Not quite sure which was used. Light the fire very carefully with a match. Making sure to keep away when you throw the match in the can. (I believe we all have all our arm hair and eyebrows still, but there were a few close calls on Monday!)

Step #3
Add bacon. 2 or three pieces.

Step #4
Check fire. Add more cobs if needed.

Step #5
Move bacon around with a fork. Or a poker. Or a stick.

Step #6
Check fire again. Add more cobs if needed.

Step #7
If your bacon is done, use it to form a ring in which to crack an egg.

Step #8
Check fire again. By now the fire is probably out, in spite of your best efforts. First you have to determine if your fire is getting too much or not enough breeze. Then you move the can around accordingly. Then you need to add yet another cob that you dipped in kerosene. And then you get to light the fire again.

Step #9
Carefully flip the egg and bacon over. Take extra care to keep it on the tin can so that it doesn't fall on the ground.

Step #10
Line up who will be using the can next. I am always bummed that Kent likes to make these, because I would gladly make enough for my whole family. The fun is in the making of the breakfast. Well. I guess it's in the eating too!

Step #11
When the egg is cooked through, you will need to have 2 pieces of bread. One goes on the bottom of the egg and bacon, and the other on the top. When the bottom piece is toasted, flip the sandwich and toast the other side.

Enjoy all the greasy, outdoorsy goodness of your bacon and egg sandwich made outside. On a tin can. (You'll see that I was halfway done eating before I remembered to take a picture!)

We also had a campfire on Monday. (Is it still called a campfire if you're not camping?) It was a good way to be together as a family before my parents leave for Alaska. We had a great time, but I was definitely ready to go home and take a shower to wash all the smokey smell out of my hair.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Congrats Grad!

On May 17th, my niece, Taylor, graduated from high school. (You may recall that I recently blogged about her graduation party here.)

Taylor graduated with 32 other seniors from Iowa Mennonite School. Yes, that's right for everyone reading this who is not from around here - 32 other people! My graduating class was 44 people. Kent's was at least 500, right Kent? As I sat there on the bleachers listening to the speakers during Baccalaureate and Commencement, I thought a lot about the community that I live in. And the fact that I was able to live in a small-town, sheltered community during my formative years. I won't get into that now, but despite the fact that yes, it is sheltered, and no, I didn't have as many opportunities at my high school, I am still so thankful and blessed to have grown up here.

Anyway, back to Taylor's graduation. As we were urged to do during the Baccalareate message, Taylor, we are so proud of you! You have a bright future ahead and we look forward to seeing where you go and what you do.

In my mom's blog posting about Taylor graduating (go here to read it), she reminded us that Taylor walked across the very same stage to get her diploma that both her parents, at least 2 of her grandparents (Beth, did Chuck & Lorena go to IMS?) and 7 of her aunts and uncles walked across to get their own diplomas. A lot of things may have changed through the years, but the school, the stage, and the ceremony are still the same.

As Taylor was walking across the stage, I tried my best to get Jesse to yell out "Go Bubble!" But he wouldn't...yes, when I actually wanted him to be loud he wouldn't! (Jesse calls Taylor "Bubble" because she taught him to say the word and because she is usually chewing gum so he asks her to blow a bubble for him.)

So congrats, Taylor! When should I plan my road trip to Harrisonburg next year?


Cherry Deliciousness

We spent the morning of this fine holiday with the family and our bunny burner breakfasts. I'll leave the explanation of the breakfast to Theresa. I opted to bring a family favorite, cherry coffee cake. I've had several requests for the recipe and I'm glad to share it but I've got to give my good friend, Staci Yoder, all the credit for introducing it to us. In fact, I think my family wants to spend the weekend at her house just for this!

1 c butter or margarine
1 3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
3 c flour
4 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 cans cherry pie filling

1/2 c butter
1 t - 1 T milk
2 c powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well. Add vanilla, baking powder and flour. Spread 2/3 of batter (or enough to cover) in a greased 10x15 pan. Pour pie filling over mixture. Drop remaining dough over filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 min or until clean on a toothpick. Frost while warm.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Labels Labels Everywhere

I think I've mentioned it before but I've become a labeler. My goal is to make it so easy that everyone will know where everything goes - not just me. We've been thinking about selling our house and so I'm trying to get everything in order and be prepared for the challenges of spur of the moment showings. So, thanks to two of my sisters, we were able to accomplish a lot this and now I think we're almost ready for a listing, if it comes to that. I've posted a few photos of our newly labeled household for inspiration.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Party on!

Last Friday I had the honor of helping my niece, Taylor, with her graduation party. My sister Beth had to teach school until 2:30 in the afternoon, and the party was that evening, so my other sister Kristen and I rallied at Taylor's house to help get things ready for the party.

Plan A was to use a tent in the backyard. People were supposed to walk to the tent via their side yard. Which meant that no one needed to go into the house except to use the restroom. So we planned for that. The tent was up, all the flower beds in the front and back were weeded and mulched. The pool was cleaned and ready for floating candles. We were set.

Then Friday came along.

And it rained. And poured. And was really, really windy. Se we had to change our plans.

Plan B was to still use the tent in the backyard. But to have people walk through the house to get to the tent.

But it still rained. And misted. And sprinkled. The grass under the tent was OK. It was just that to get to the tent, people would have to walk through muddy, spongy grass. And then they would have to walk back through the mud to leave. It just wouldn't work.

So on to plan C.

Plan C was our final, last-ditch effort. Keep in mind that it was now 1:30 or 2:00, and guests would be arriving by 7. The house was clean, but not ready at all to host a few hundred people. In short order, Kristen, Taylor and I had relieved the house of all vestiges of Christmas. We also figured out where everyone would be situated (Beth and Rod welcoming people on the porch and Taylor and her pictures in the living room.) Then we found out the tent guys could come back and put up a tent on the driveway to basically extend the garage. Thank goodness we knew someone who had large panels of fabric to hang in the garage to hide everything (like shelves, a grill, ladders, was there even a lawnmower back there?) And thank goodness that either 1) Beth and Rod always have a clean garage or 2) they had previously cleaned it out just in case.

And before long, we had many hands to help set everything up, finish getting things cleaned up, and in general, just getting ready for the party.

We set up the food and drinks in the kitchen for people to get while on their way to the garage and tent.

And before we knew it, it was time to get ready for the party. The house was transformed.

We were ready for the party to start!

There were 3 different kinds of pie and ice cream. The pie that is closest in the picture below is black raspberry. That was definitely a favorite. The problem we encountered with serving it was that it wasn't set up. So as soon as I put it on the plate it would just puddle everywhere. So even though it didn't look very nice, I was told that it still tasted wonderful!

After guests left, Taylor opened her presents. Times have changed because when I graduated people gave actual presents. Now the vast majority is a card with money. It was still fun to see the goodies that Taylor got!

Below she is opening the present from my family - a purse I made for her. The surprise was that I gave it to her a month or two ago and she didn't realize that I took it back and wrapped it up.

One of the sweetest presents was from her former babysitter. Her babysitter and her daughter made Taylor a denim comforter and they gave her the cup that Taylor used every day when she was at their house. Like, it's the actual cup with Taylor's name on it! It was such a sweet gift - and Taylor was thrilled with it.

So maybe the graduation party didn't go quite as expected. But it turned out really nice in spite of the poor weather. And we had so much fun getting ready for it and helping at the actual party. And I think Taylor had a blast too!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Look Mommy!

Look Mommy - I have a pockek (that's Jesse-speak for pocket.)

Oh wait, I have 2 pockek's!

(Yes, one "pockek' is just his hand in his pants!)

Can you tell how proud he is that he figured this out all by himself?!?

Note to self: As much as I love our bright and sunny living room, I've got to remember to take pictures facing away from the windows! I do remember thinking that when I took these pictures but I was afraid if I tried to move Jesse, he would forget about his pockets and move on to the next thing and I wouldn't get a picture.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What we have been up to.

Well, a lot of time has been spent outside lately.

We've taken many wagon rides to and from the garden. Which is coming along quite nicely, I think! This row of lettuce and spinach has at least doubled in size from when I took the picture.
Last year was the first year that I was in charge of the garden instead of my mom. And I learned a lot. This year I'm doing better at knowing what to plant, what is a plant and what is a weed, and knowing that it's sooo much easier to keep weeds at bay if you just deal with them when they are tiny.

Meredith found baby kittens in the garden shed and had a day or two to play with them...before the mother cat moved them to a safer place. Meredith has been searching and searching for them at my parents house, but to no avail.

She was so thrilled with the 6 baby kittens (can you tell from the picture??) They were old enough that their eyes were open and she could hold them, but they were young enough to not yet be scared of humans.

More to come on what we've been up to...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Yes, I'm still here.

Well, it's been awhile, right?!? We are still computer-less, and since my parents came home from Sweden, we are no longer able to borrow (mooch) a computer from them. So I apologize for not blogging for FOREVER! We hope to get our computer back tonight. Or maybe tomorrow. Or at least this week sometime!

Until then, I'm stuck with only an iPod to connect me with the Internet at least when I'm home. (I check my email at work, but can't exactly take time to blog.)

And my fingers just aren't very fast when I type on the "keyboard" on the iPod!

So, short story long, I am still here, but am just biding my time until we get our computer back.

(Have I blogged before about my total love-HATE relationship with computers?)

Friday, May 1, 2009

from the sickie...

I've been sick since last Friday. And apart from this past year, I don't usually get sick. And when I do, it's just a day or two until I'm back on top of things.

But not this time. I have been sick since last Friday, and I just keep thinking that I have to get better soon.

I hadn't gone to the doctor because it takes 35-40 minutes to get to the doctor's office, and I would still have to take Jesse. In short, it's just a hassle to go. Especially if it's just for me (and not for my kids) and if all they will tell me is that I have a virus and I just need to take it easy and drink lots of fluids. I mean really, why do I need to go to all the trouble just to hear that?

Well, as it turns out, there is a reason that you go to the doctor!

So I have strep throat. And sinus infection.

Oh yeah, and my 2 main support systems (Kent and my parents) are both gone now.

Lest you think this is all just a sob story about poor me, I am well aware that it could be much worse, and that even though I'm sick and solely resposible for 2 young kids, there are many things to be happy about.

Like the fact that neither Meredith nor Jesse have shown signs of strep. Yet. The doctor looked at Jesse's throat, and it looked perfectly normal. But now I know to keep on the lookout and we'll be at the doctor as soon as I see anything.

Also, thank goodness that it's just strep and sinus infection. Both of which can be cleared up relatively easy with medication.

And I can't wait until the day when I can swallow without's been awhile since that has happened!

And Kent will becoming home on Sunday. Yippee!

And my parents are not yet on their 3 month vacation, so they will be home from Sweden on Tuesday. (If you want to see what they are up to, go to their blog.) Yippee!

And finally, one of the best things is that now I know why I have been so tired and feeling so crummy. (Had Kent been home, I think I would have gone to bed at 7 every night.)

If I didn't know better, I would have thought that I was pregnant.


(Let's just squash that rumor before it even gets started...)

And now I have license to sit on the couch and watch tv all weekend long. Right?!?