Sunday, July 8, 2018

I can't even . . . .

As I was walking up to our parish hall last Sunday morning, our church secretary Jeanne stopped me at the sidewalk and warned me that the hall had a strange smell. They were airing it out, but they weren't sure what it was. I continued into the hall and kitchen and smelled it, too. It smelled like a dead mouse, but I did a quick look around and didn't see anything.

(You already know this isn't going to end well. . . .)

At the end of mass this morning, Father announced the KC Pancake Breakfast following mass to raise money for a defibrillator. He commented that we would then be ready for a heart attack, and ended with the best place to die would probably be church if it's your time to go. We all laughed.

(Can you guess where this is going? No you can't.)

I had forgotten all about the smell, and didn't notice anything this morning. We all enjoyed our pancake breakfast and I started helping the guys wipe down tables afterward. (They were all doing so well with their hands in dishwater, I didn't want to disturb them!) As the people dispersed and I wiped down my last table,  I remembered that I had wanted to check on some books in the center classroom for the upcoming school year. Just as I got close to the room, my boys and their friend Jude rushed out of the room to tell me they had found a dead . . . SNAKE in the classroom! At first I thought they were joking, and when they assured me they weren't, I didn't outwardly scream, but I sure did inwardly! 

My eyes must have shown my panic, as Landen calmly and quietly followed up with, "Mom, don't make a scene." OK, so it's sad that my 14 year old had to calm his mother down, but if you know me, and he certainly does, you know I am TERRIFIED of garter snakes--alive OR dead.

Landen shared my relief that they were the first ones in the room. He told me, "I told Jude that if you would have seen it first, we would have needed that defibrillator!" 

Yes, yes, very probably true.

While I stayed a safe distance away, from the dead snake that wasn't going anywhere since it, too, obviously thought church was a great place to die, the boys informed their dads who promptly disposed of the intruder. From the cloud of Glade sprayed in the room and the boys' comments, it was obvious that it was smelling pretty bad by this morning. 

After the excitement had passed, Landen returned to my side. "You know," he said, "the funny thing about you is I could have told you we found a dead body and you would have just said, 'OK, I'll call someone and they will take care of it.' We tell you we found a dead snake and you freak out." 

Ah . . . he knows his mother so well.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Microwave Caramel Corn

Happy Belated 4th of July and all of that fun stuff!

We split our holiday into two celebrations--Faulkton's Wild West Days the weekend before and Eureka on the 4th. It had been several years since we had been in Eureka for the 4th of July. Even though we played at Grandpa and Grandma's, some went golfing and some went swimming, the fireworks were what everyone was waiting for all day. Eureka's show never disappoints!

As we have been traveling through our summer, it has brought opportunities to make treats to share. Instead of trying new things, I have found myself making more oldie-but-goodie recipes. Teresa and I made up a couple of batches of this yummy caramel corn this morning to share with the construction crew on the roof. It is so simple and the result is delicious, not-too-sticky caramel corn.

Microwave Caramel Corn

First, pop 14-16 cups of popcorn. For our air popper, that is one batch. Pour the popped popcorn in a brown paper grocery bag.

For the caramel, you will need--1 stick of butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup corn syrup, and 1/2 tsp salt. Melt all of these together in a saucepan (stirring constantly) and bring to a boil. Stir constantly and boil for 2 minutes.
Add 1/4 tsp baking soda to the caramel.

Pour this over the popcorn.

Roll up the top of the bag to close it and shake it a little. Microwave the bag for 90 seconds on high; take it out and shake it well. Microwave for 1 more minute. Shake again. 

Then pour onto cookie sheets to cool. 


Friday, June 22, 2018

This week--quickly

This summer vacation, although pretty great so far, has definitely not been conducive to writing.
And so, I will provide a brief summary of what I have done this past week--

1. Attempted to fix a water heater and watched husband do the same. Unsuccessful.
2. Flooded the utility room.
3. Traded the water heater for a new one on my second trip to Aberdeen in a day.
4. Fell on my butt stepping off the back of the tailgate in the Menards parking lot. (Forgot I had short legs for a brief second.) Was helped up by a nice young man. Quickly drove away.
5. Enjoyed a nice warm shower after my husband installed the new water heater.
6. Watched Nathan hit his first out-of-the-park home run--and also 4 other teammates' homeruns in a row. Wildcats won 11-1.
7. Hauled water to the sprayer in the field. Actually hooked it up correctly!
8. Realized that the pump was out of gas and filled the tank without anything disastrous happening, i.e., starting my arms on fire.
9. Went to the second week of our women's study group at church, which is already a blessing for all of us.
10. Sent my boys off to Eureka for a looong weekend. Tag, you're it, Grandpa and Grandma!
11. Pre-ordered the NEW GARTH BROOKS ALBUM! It was just like college, only now two new songs magically appeared on my phone, so I didn't have to go to Musicland to reserve it and and then pick it up. (What's Musicland, you ask? Ask your mom.)
12. Listened to the new Garth Brooks songs--love, love, love them!!!
13. Listened to Teresa strum a guitar. She asked me if she was better than Garth Brooks. I told her no.
14. Hauled more water out to the field. Forgot to let the pickup cool down and killed the engine. Hero husband to the rescue.
15. Went to the Faulkton Pool for the first time this summer on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
16. Watched the progress on our house/garage project and picked out a little tile, too.
17. Did the boys' chicken chores and successfully avoided the rooster.
18. Heard "Mom!!!!" a zillion times.

In all of this, and the little moments I haven't mentioned, I know one thing for sure.
Life is so very good.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Dust Storm

On June 1, we experienced something we had only heard about from our grandparents--a dust storm.

I had been outside and saw a front approaching. As it got closer, it became "as black as night," (as they say, because it's true!) I rushed the kids down to the basement and looked at the weather app on my phone. There weren't any weather warnings for us--just strong winds and dust. So, we came back upstairs and watched the dirt blow and blow!

Conditions had improved a bit by this time.

This storm brought no rain to speak of, but did damage soybean fields, which has led to many farmers replanting them. Some ditches are covered in blown corn stalks and dirt. 

Thankfully we were blessed with over an inch of rain this past weekend to give our fields a little relief from the hot days.

The dust storm reminded me of a powerful book I read a few years back about the 1930's. It is amazing what our ancestors faced and what they survived. . . .

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A Little Baseball

If you know me, you know I love some summer baseball! 
Just Nathan is playing this summer and we are already three weeks into the Northern Prairie Little League schedule. So far their Midget team has won 15-10 (Warner--this photo), 18-1 (Ipswich) and 9-7 (Miller). They are off to a good start, despite having only nine players on their team. They recruited a few Pee Wees to help them out last night and the littlest guy had one of the best hits and the best catch of the game, too! 
Nathan is still looking for his first out-of-the-park homerun. A deep hit to left field didn't quite make it last night, but it did get him a few bases! He loves to steal bases, too.

After this first game in Warner, we were able to take a quick trip to Minneapolis to watch the Twins.

It WAS a beautiful day for baseball!

*Laura's Twins Travel Tip--Get your tickets the day of the game on StubHub. It won't be sold out and you will probably get some pretty sweet seats for not a lot of money. This strategy has worked for our family twice now! We even briefly made it on the big screen, but no Kiss Cam for David and me this time. :)

Rachel's goal for the entire day was to get some of that cotton candy she remembered from 2 years ago. After we found that, THEN she could have fun.

Part way through the game, a nice man caught a ball that was tossed in the stands and his gave it to Teresa. She was pretty excited to have a real ball that had been pitched in an MLB game!

Despite Teresa putting on her rally hat, and one heck of a rally from the Twins, they came up just a bit short against Cleveland and lost by 1.

We still had a beautiful night of baseball!

It was a quick trip, but it's always such a blessing when we can fit one of these games into our summer.