Flying By…

Is it just me or did June fly by?!

Wasn’t Memorial Day just yesterday? And now we’re planning July 4th activities!

I can’t believe we’ve already celebrated Anna’s birthday with presents and family and cheesecake!

 “Cheesecake Gobble gobble Cheesecake, Gobble Gobble cheesecake. Cheesecake!”

And Father’s Day.

Which began with a boomerang on the roof, progressed to a kite in the farm pond and ended with bottle rockets and Roman candles.

I’ve spent hours digging out the garden and was surprised to see plants! Real vegetables growing despite the unconventional planting and absolute neglect!

It’s a miracle!

Nate’s band had their first big concert! They did a great job and drew a really nice crowd!

Look at him playing the electric guitar!

And just imagine the great story it will be if they ever get famous and can say their first big concert was on the stage behind Frosty Trete Ice Cream in Bedford, Iowa!

My parents came for the concert and stayed for a visit. We played games, went shopping and had a great auction adventure!

Two of my sisters came for a day! We filled it with talk and laughter and games and shopping.

And eating out. Of course.

I shivered in sweatshirts, sweated in tank tops and huddled in the basement waiting for the storm to pass.

I’ve hung loads of wet laundry in the sunshine and taken them in smelling of fresh air and blue sky.

And was awestruck by the site of billions of fireflies – like twinkle lights bedazzling the sky as far as the eye can see – shining so bright it was hard to see where the stars ended and the fireflies began.

I’ve heard the bobwhite quail, read books, and visited multiple greenhouses.

I’ve laughed at antics of adolescent chickens.

And repeatedly stepped over the baby kitties who have decided to live on the back step.

So much life was lived in the last month!

I guess that’s where June went – in big events, special moments, quiet joys, and the wonder that is found in every day life – if we look for it.

 

Improv Night and Birthday Oscars

My family got together last weekend for our yearly extended family camping trip.

One of our traditions is an Improv Night – when we entertain each other with skits we pull together at the last minute.

Each family brings an unmarked bag of 10 random items that we distribute one evening. Each family is then given about 15 minutes to pull together a skit using those items.

The results are hilarious!

This year – however – was different. But I didn’t learn that fact right away.

You see – my siblings used our annual Improv Night to surprise me for my 50th birthday. (I should have expected this – since I have a history of surprising my siblings on their 50th birthdays!)

I was very active in speech and drama in high school and have always been a bit disappointed that I was never given a lead role in any of the high school plays.

So this year – my family gave me the lead role in each of their skits.

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They just didn’t tell me.

After the kids and I did our skit – which was a true improv – using the special bag full of random geriatric items they gathered for us – I was called on to act in every other skit.

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Skits that were written in advance, with appropriate props and – not surprisingly – were full of family memories and embarrassing moments for yours truly.

There were certain “This is Your Life” kind of moments.

 

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And some wild “I can’t believe they are making me do this” kind of moments.

Each skit was different – I was handed a prop or a costume or both and given a few instructions.

16 06 18-M500- 32-6 (1)And I winged it.

Acting my heart out to tremendous applause and wild laughter!

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And when the final skit was over – they had me walk the red carpet and handed me a plastic imitation Oscar for my performances – before spraying me with silly string.

Because they love me.

I guess.

Hollywood here I come!

Or not.

After a career like mine, it might be time for retirement.

Hashtag Birthday

Birthday’s are made for surprises.

And Angel Girl is the hardest to surprise!

But this year – Pedro pulled it off!

#birthdaysurprise 

It was the Thursday night before her birthday – and she suspecting nothing.

Pedro gathered up four cousins and they drove the two hours to our house stuffed in Pedro’s car.

#roadtrip

They hid the car and planned the epic surprise.

Angel Girl got home from work, wondered why dad was grilling so many hamburgers, put down her water bottle in the kitchen, rounded the corner to the dining room and jumped out of her skin at the sight of Pedro and the cousins waiting for her!

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#nailedit

They had a hilarious supper, followed by crazy dance moves in the driveway and a wild adventure to the abandoned house and low water crossing.

Poison ivy, bug bites, photo shoots, and much laughter.

#perfect.

They spent the night eating popcorn and rice krispie bars while watching old VHS movies that were favorites years ago.

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And were up at first light to be on the road to make it back to the city to work.

A short night and a long drive.

But they had almost fourteen hours of jam-packed, fun-filled wonderfulness.

#worthit

Happy 18th birthday Angel Girl!

 

 

Fifteen

Turning fifteen on the fifteenth in 2015 calls for a special celebration.

How about a Golden Celebration that lasts all weekend!

A celebration that begins on Friday night with a surprise visit from his sister.

And continues on Saturday with his good friend spending the night.

After hiking, exploring and riding the minibike, they turned an old couch into a trebuchet and shot hedge balls into the cow pasture until dark.

12272995_929885637105160_569763478_nIt was a good day.

But the celebration wasn’t over.

Oh no – it was just beginning.

The next day he was surprised speechless by several cousins who drove down from the city to help him celebrate.

12243739_929885570438500_8757045_nAnd celebrate we did.

Laughter, cupcakes, and a full-size Chewbacca costume.

I kid you not.

It was an epic party.

And as I popped more popcorn and replenished the crescent rolls, Grandma did a quick headcount.

Would you believe he had exactly 15 guests on his 15th birthday on the 15th in 2015?!

BOOM! Nailed that one!

Happy birthday, Buddy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Birthday Pie

Option 2Somebody had a birthday last week!

Yep. I’m a whole year older – and I’m sure much wiser. Ha!

For years we’ve celebrated my birthday with a decadent chocolate cheese cake pie that I painstakingly copied from a Debbie Fields cooking show on PBS.

But this year it was time for a change. After all – at my age – it could be dangerous to get in a rut! 😉

So Dagmar and I started brainstorming. We started with an Oreo cookie crust and topped it with a super rich chocolate filling. Then in  a burst of genius, she covered the entire thing with a delicious peanut butter whipped cream. (And I do mean delicious! Trust me – that stuff is crazy good!)

<happy sigh>

It was delectable! Perfection on a plate.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

1-1/2 cups finely crushed Oreo cookies
3 Tablespoons melted butter
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tub whipped topping
1/2 cup peanut butter

In a mixing bowl, combine the Oreo cookie crumbs and the butter. Press into a 9 inch pie pan and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Place dark chocolate chips and half & half in a double broiler and melt. When melted and smooth, stir in the vanilla.

Carefully pour over the Oreo cookie crust and refrigerate until set.

Before serving, combine the peanut butter and softened whipped topping. Spread it over the cooled filling and top with shaved chocolate.

Hide any left-overs in the back of the refrigerator and just hope that you can get to them before your children!

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post with Tasty Tuesday on Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.