Wednesday, April 25, 2012

come on baby, light my fire …

everybody loves a bonfire, right?  what’s not to love?  the circle formed around the fire conjures up a sense of community and fellowship, which our human need for is too often underestimated.  they are warm, comfortable, and oh so mesmerizing.  I don’t know of anyone who can help but stare into the flames as they flicker shades of orange, red, & pink, with occasional bursts of blues and greens. 

now, I know that with a fire, comes smoke.  and smoke is no fun for the ol’ eye balls.  but sometimes, on nights of near perfection, the air rests still, providing the smoke with a completely vertical channel of escape.  and on those nights, bonfires are that much more inspiring. 

they nearly always seem to generate rich conversation from the bodies huddled around it’s warmth, with spurts of laughter sprinkled amidst the flames.  there is something so beautiful … romantic, even … about the peaceful nature that surrounds the experience created around the fire pit.  stories are shared, retold, and written.  the memories made are based on the entire sensory experience … the sounds of the flickering fire & the voices surrounding it, the warmth of it’s flames, the smells of it’s progress, the sight of the glittering embers and the golden glow reflecting off loved one’s faces. 

to me, bonfires are extraordinary.  any opportunity we can, we light up that fire.  even if it’s just the two of us.  I call those sweet opportunities, our fire-pit-date-nights.  they are the night when we make our entire dinner {dessert included} over the fire.  and on those nights, the same extraordinary experiences that happen when with dear friends, happens between the two of us.  they are beautiful additions to our relationship and marriage … and we will continue these warm traditions for the rest of our lives …

now, to explain the fantastic nature of our fire-pit dinner … well, they are awesome.  you just have to like veggies and bacon.  I’m sure you can go without one or the other, but who would want to do that? {notice my lack of vegetarianism.  sorry.}

we took a couple of long, extendable marshmallow skewers … the kind with two prongs.  erik separated the prongs where they were welded together, in order to give us more room for our brightly colored feasts.  the only prep for these dates is the chopping of the veggies {we use vibrant colored bell peppers and red onions} and a glass of wine. 

to assemble our masterpieces, we just alternate the veggies on the skewer with the bacon.  the strips of bacon are gently wrapped around the vegetable of choice, and then poked with the skewer.  {I realize that was not a very good description … sorry about that}.  the end result looks something like a ribbon candy on a long skewer, but only this time, the candy is bacon.  winner in my book.

see:

fire date

sprinkle with some seasonings {garlic salt, steak seasoning, etc}

THEN, you cook it.  over the fire.  {talk about no dishes to clean} you have to talk while you cook it.  while else would you be sitting around a fire pit if not to engage with your fellow food-cooker-slash-fire-enjoyer.

all that’s left is the buns {sourdough, hot dog, whichever you prefer – we butter ours first}!  and slide the juicy delight into the bun when cooked to your liking.  top with a condiment of choice {erik: mustard; julie: ranch} if desired and enjoy.

fire date 2

dinner is always finished off with the makings of some s’mores {those ingredients are permanent fixtures in our pantry}. 

see, our fire-pit-dinner-dates are nights of near perfection. 

try it sometime.  I dare you. you memory bank and your belly will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

we showered the bride!

last month, amidst the chaos, I was blessed with the opportunity to shower my dear friend, Becky, with a party to celebrate her upcoming nuptials.  given the lack of rain this winter produced, I was so na├»ve as to think that I could plan an outdoor affair in march.  you’d think after my wet-wedding day in the 3rd month, I would have learned to not attempt such plans. 

I had hoped to enjoy an afternoon luncheon on the patio - a la … my mom’s house.  what can I say, it’s the best place to hold such an event.  but of course, regardless of the fact that the week prior to the shower, the weather yielded 70 degree plus weather, the day of the event proved to be too cold for an out of doors event.

good thing my momma has a nice house too … with windows large enough to allude the presence of nature ... sans wind. 

overall, the shower for over 60 people was a success.  it was very large {yes, I said 60} and surprisingly not too crowded.  we made it work, with a salad bar to care for the gluten-intolerant and fruity treats for the sweet-inclined.  Had I not been so busy hosting the large affair, I would have taken some more fun pictures to show-off the few areas in which I indulged the creative side of my brain … but alas, I was just unable to do so.  Thankfully, a friend and fellow bridesmaid snapped these little details.B1

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I must give credit the my sweet momma who ran her little you-know-what around in circles preparing for the herd I invited into her house.  She was so sweet to accept my request and proved her fabulous hosting skills to be even more extraordinary than I already knew them to be! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

March: The Month from Nowhere Good

It’s been a while, I know.  And watch out.  I have a long list of excuses.  And they are good ones … I promise.

And since I don’t really have time right now to compile a bunch of cleverly strung words into an even somewhat interesting {or intelligible} post, I’m simply going to give you my list of excuses.  Consider them a mere description of the chaos that has been the month of march.  Although most of the month has made us crazy, confused, or cry, some of it has been good.  Oh, but just some: {I’m not whining, I promise.  Nor am I looking for pity.  I’m just documenting life as it comes, so please, laugh with us as we embark on the journey that is “march mayhem.”}

  • major work fundraiser {makes life too busy}
  • hosted bridal shower for best friend {fun}
  • car breaks down … the reliable one {bummer}
  • husband takes day off work to save money and fix reliable, yet broken vehicle {love him}
  • grandma {my sweet Omie} goes to hospital {multiple times}
  • while visiting Omie at the hospital during one of her many stays, receive phone call from husband saying his truck was side swiped … no injuries, just scraped the passenger side up {seriously?}
  • while on the way home from hospital, the day the hubs’ truck was hit, the reliable and fixed car over-heats, leaving me on the side of the road {just. my. luck.}
  • $1000 later, reliable car is now reliable {better be}
  • the truck that we just bought a new tire for, has another flat tire {beyond easy repair}
  • the work truck (yes we have 3 vehicles) that was substituting as the reliable vehicle for the month started making a very loud noise {of course it would}
  • the car that cost a lot to become reliable again needs new brakes {enter handy, yet busy, husband}
  • 3rd anniversary celebration {seriously the best day of the year … more on that day of spoiling later}
  • immediately thereafter, much need trip to South Dakota {fantastic}
  • missed flight to South Dakota due to new rules {not so fantastic}
  • upon return home, laptop stolen {the “this-is-not-your-month” streak is really just beginning}
  • only laptop that wasn’t backed up through the office backer-upper system: the stolen one {oh, there’s more}
  • realization that husband’s computer was not left at friend’s cabin as was originally thought, and that it was in fact STOLEN too {we are on a role}
  • oh, ya, and the kicker above all kickers: my dear sweet Omie was called to be with Jesus.  while I know it was time and she is no longer suffering, {she is now in His perfect presence} her passing has made my emotions even more volatile than the chaos described above, could ever do

needless to say, it’s been a hard month.  it’s april now, and to be honest, it hasn’t started out that great.  through the mess, we’ve really maintained a pretty optimistic attitude, which is good.  but now I’m tired and I want a break where only happiness is allowed.

I’ll come back to write about the good things in life later.  when I find the energy.