Meeting of the Clan

It was a “meeting of the clan” this weekend for my husband’s family. We met up with his siblings and their families at his parents house for a weekend of  fun and sweet fellowship.

cousinsAll the cousins were there – except for my Matt – which made for 7 teenage boys, 4 almost teenage boys and 2 pint-sized fellas who ate like teenage boys!  You should have seen the food they inhaled!

And we can’t forget the 6 girl cousins (including my three special nieces with the extra chromosome!) While definitely outnumbered – they added a much needed feminine touch!

It rained all weekend which ruined many of our outside plans and left us with 2 soggy tents and a basement full of boys that smelled strongly of locker room. But that didn’t stop us!

Family Fun Run

The rain slowed down enough on Saturday morning to hold our first ever Shervheim Family 5K and Fun Run.

It was wet – but boy did we make some memories! Especially when some of the 5K runners got lost on the course. Thankfully they were found before they made it to the next town.  They got a bit of teasing all week-end and Poppa and Nana awarded them all ribbons for running the half marathon!

rock climbing

Then – to get them good and tired – Poppa and Nana took the whole crew to do some indoor rock climbing. Since I tend to hyperventilate when I see my kids strapped on ropes and hanging on the sides of really high walls while holding on to little plastic supports – I volunteered to stay home with my three special nieces who needed a bath and some Aunt Melinda cuddles.

So while my husband calmly watched our babies hang in mid-air, I got to bubble 3 girls and play hair dresser. Well – actually – the girls did the hair styling and I was the “stylee”. When they were finally done,  my hair was teased out to almost horizontal with two “clicks clicks” (barrettes) in odd angles and at least one comb stuck somewhere in the back. Oh it was fun!

fish pond

Poppa and Nana had a fish pond for the littles, letting them take turns fishing for gifts.  The teens were on the other side of the curtain hooking their gifts to the poles and sometimes adding a special surprise – like a stuffed skunk or a smelly shoe!

We had a birthday party for sweet Annie-kins, a Mancala tournament (I actually made it through two rounds – but lost to Buddy in the quarter finals), lots of carpet ball, swimming and a real old-fashioned slide show!

The kids even got in one game of Ultimate Frisbee in the rain. (And to answer the question as to when kids are old enough to know not to put wet clothes in their duffle bags – it would be sometime older then ours!)

But the best part of the weekend – and of any weekend when we get together – is the time spent just hanging out.

cousins

Just being together. Laughing. Talking. Wrestling. Burping loudly. (Well – all right – not all of us did the wrestling and the burping!)

But we all enjoyed the weekend!

Sweet times.

It’s “Pi” Day

Happy National “Pi” day everyone!Pies

It’s March 14 – the third month and the fourteenth day – otherwise written as 3.14. Get it?

Remember the pi you used in math years ago? It’s that funny symbol that made all your answers end with decimal points. That pi stands for 3.14.

And since today’s date is 3.14 – today is “pi” day!

Does this make any sense at all?

It doesn’t matter – because as soon as I heard the word “pi” I didn’t think about mathematical symbols.

Nope. My mind immediately went to those yummy round shaped desserts with a crust and delectable fillings.

So Buddy and I went to work this afternoon and created not one – but 2 pies to celebrate!

You might be thinking that’s a mighty thin reason to make a pie.

Yep. I agree. Just as thin as the crust of that chocolate pie! But it’s enough for me!

I think you should find something to celebrate in every day!

That’s why we have shamrock shakes on St. Patrick’s Day.

Cherry pie on Washington’s birthday.

Snow cake to celebrate the first snow of winter.

And egg nest cookies on the day we spot the first robin of spring.

Life is a blessing – find something to celebrate today!

Fresh Salsa Memories

SalsaMy family has it’s share of traditions – some crazy, some fun, and some tasty.

Fresh salsa is one of our most addicting tasty ones.

Every year we gather at my parent’s house Labor Day weekend for an early Christmas.

And since my folks, sisters and I all have gardens, every year we bring whatever happens  to be producing at that time.

Tomatoes and peppers dominate.

So the fresh salsa tradition began. Every morning as the breakfast dishes are cleared, someone starts chopping for that day’s batch.

The recipe is simple – chopped tomatoes, chopped green peppers, chopped onions, chopped garlic. A little vinegar, or lime juice or lemon juice, some cilantro, salt and pepper and you’re done.

The proportions depend on the chef and the produce available. Once the ingredients are mixed, we all grab a chip and sample. A little more cilantro. Too many peppers, add a few more tomatoes.  Maybe a touch more salt.  Several samples later – we declare it perfect!

This tradition – however –  is not without it’s controversies.

Personally – I don’t need any extra sugar in my diet or my salsa- but my sister Sandy does. Whenever I made the salsa – she would always try to slip some sugar in it when I wasn’t looking.  I finally decided that if having sugar in her salsa was that important – she could make it the way she wanted.

She’s been doing a lot chopping ever since! 😉

Then, we discovered this trip that there were <gasp> certain members in the family who didn’t care for the taste of cilantro in their salsa.

I know it’s shocking – but true.

So Sandy made two bowls – one with for those of us with refined and discerning taste buds who appreciate the robust and wonderful taste of cilantro and one for the poor souls who don’t understand what they are  missing.

But the most shocking controversy is that of the missing salsa. One morning a few years back, we had made our daily bowl of salsa, Sandy had slipped her extra sugar in, and we left it on the counter while we “aunts” all headed out to the thrift store with Nana.

When we returned the bowl was empty, save for a stray onion bit floating in a little juice in the bottom!

Horrors! Our daily bowl of salsa was gone! All of  our efforts – the chopping, mixing and tasting were for naught.

The “aunts” were not happy.

All fingers pointed to little Lydia, my three-year-old niece who was sitting at the counter on her daddy’s lap with an empty bowl of salsa in front of them.

Lydia ate that entire large bowl of salsa? How could she – she’s only three years old?!

She had to have had help. There was someone sitting in that room with a bad case of salsa breath and a guilty conscience.

We all have our suspicions on who her accomplice was – but the culprit was never punished for his crime.

While we continue to wait for a full confession – we have learned to never leave our salsa unattended. 🙂

Fresh salsa is just one of those traditions that we take seriously. Very seriously. 😉

White Elephant Bingo

Can I share just one more tradition from our Remix celebration? (Boy can we cram a lot of them in one short weekend!)

We had a hoot playing White Elephant Bingo!

Bingo Fun

The rules are simple.

Everybody brings a wrapped white elephant gift. One person is the designated “caller” – everyone else can play with as many Bingo cards as they wish.

Whenever you get a Bingo – you choose a gift from the vast assortment on the table – or you can take a gift from someone else. Then that person needs to pick another one from the table – or take one from someone else which means that person now needs to pick another one from the table or from someone else which means… well… you get the picture!

Presents

It gets pretty wild toward the end as multiple people are getting Bingos at once! We play until someone gets a black-out. Then we take turns opening our “gifts”.

It’s interesting that when you don’t know what’s inside a present – you pick according to the wrapping.

For awhile a nicely wrapped gift with a toy chicken on top was a hot commodity.  Lovey (age 5) was thrilled when she ended up with it – at least until she opened it. The tire gauge and fancy bath soaps just didn’t thrill her!

PosterPedro was pretty excited about his gift – a poster showing airline barf bags from around the world.  Yes – I’m serious – barf bags.  No – it is NOT going in his room.

It was amazing how often the perfect gift went to the perfect person. My musical niece got a set of old Broadway Songs on cassette. (I hope she knows what a cassette player is!) 🙂

Remember Butter Buns? She got a vintage movie camera – one that actually uses film. I bet she already has it taken apart or has figured out to use it!

Then there’s my nephew TJ. This guy really needs a wife.

gifts

I’m sure the romantic super-sized heart candle and the Joe Cool sunglasses will help immensely – don’t you think?!

Buddy was very excited when he ended up with the pirate gift bag – and was even more happy to find it full of Burger King and McDonald’s Happy Meal toys.

Some gifts just keep on giving.

Poor Jan got a brand new how-to golf video (circa 1987) that we had brought the year before!

GiftsIt’s amazing the fun you can have with a garage sale Bingo game and everybody’s junk!

But then in my crazy family – it doesn’t take much to make memory!

So How Do We Iron Chef – 2011

What a week-end!

We gathered at my parents with all my siblings, their spouses and children for our traditional spring gathering that  we’ve dubbed The Remix.

Part of the crazy fun included our annual Iron Chef Competition! This year’s secret ingredient was a Mix. We could bring anything made from a mix – or a mix of things (ie: Chex Mix or Trail Mix.)

I did not have an entry this year – I just didn’t have time.  (But it’s okay – that date day with my husband was worth it!)

The  kids did though – Angel Girl made a yummy brownie -filled cookie that we found at The Picky Palate that used a brownie mix. Buddy made our favorite Hot Chocolate Cookies using hot chocolate mix and Dagmar made a new -absolutely wonderful – diet busting treat – Caramel Chex Mix. (Yes – I will share the recipe!)

Pedro went a little outside the box and put together a mix of music on his Itouch as “food for the soul”!

He wasn’t the only one that thought outside the box!

Some of my nieces and nephews blew me away with their entries!

There was the winner in the Best Represents the Family category – Sweet Prairie Memories.

Jelllo

This delightful jello concoction (jello is a mix!) recreated out of candy many of the things that the grand-kids love about Papa and Nana’s house.

You can see candy grandkids inter-tubing down the river, Nana playing bear in the trees, the prairie playhouse and Papa Jim on the lawn mower pulling wagons full of grand kids.

Then there was Butter Bun’s entry. (You may remember Butter Buns as my very creative 7 year old niece.) This time she “mixed” food with technology and made the amazing “cake froster”.

Frosting

The mustard bottle in the middle holds frosting. You can then rotate it around the cake and squirt as much or as little frosting as you desire on your piece. 🙂

Watch for in a stores everywhere!

The grand prize in the Best Use of the Secret Ingredient Category went to my nieces Lexie and Molly for the triple layer cake and pie concoction.

Minecraft cakeThink “Turducken” meets the pastry world. Each layer is a pie baked with a cake surrounding it.

I’m serious people.  Each layer has a pie baked right inside a cake.

There were three layers.

With frosting.

And a mural on the outside in frosting complete with green creepers and a pink pig made out of caramels.

That thing was huge! They had to custom design a carrying case for it out of springform pans, a mixing bowl and duct tape just to get it there!

Talk about creativity!

Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t have time to make an entry – I’m not sure I can compete on this level! 🙂

Those nieces and nephews of mine have just raised the bar for future Iron Chef Competitions.