Sunday, June 28, 2009


Well, our internet provider has been having major problems and we have been without internet for several days. It has been quite eye opening to me how much I have come to rely on it for so many things! In some ways it is good to have to take a forced 'fast' so to speak from it all! But I do hope they get us up and running this week!!!

This past weekend has been Sturgis Falls days... our towns yearly celebration. It's one of my favorite events of the year. I love going downtown, listening to music, seeing friends and eating all kinds of yummy junk food!! The last few years we have also been taking the llamas and walking in the parade.

K wasn't able to come home for it, but her llama, Sebastian, was along and was the lead llama! The girl next door had done an incredible job getting all the llamas groomed and ready for the big day! A lot of work!!

The theme of the celebration was 'Dancing in the Streets', so we had the llamas doing the 'Llama Llimbo' during the parade!! Played limbo music and would have the llamas duck and walk under a pole. It was very cute. The crowd always LOVES the llamas!!!

The hardest part of the day is always the waiting as you have to get there early to get lined up etc.. This shot cracked me up of the Baridons as it looked as though they were waiting to catch a bus. Good luck getting a bus driver to let you take those llamas on the bus with you!!

Shortly after getting home from the parade, CB arrived home from her second week of counseling at our church camp. She brought along 4 students from Bethany Bible College in New Brunswick who had been at camp with her as counselors and needed a place to stay for the night before they headed to Michigan. What a neat group of kids! Loved having them. I just LOVE a house full of kids and the noise and laughter that it fills the home with!!

Well, lastly a bit of knitting news!! I have joined Sheri's Girasole KAL (Knit A Long) and am well into chart D. For those not familiar with knitting or this pattern, the Girasole is a round afghan with a beautiful lace pattern. I keep telling Steve that if I succeed in knitting this successfully, I will feel like a 'real' knitter!! So far, so good. I do think I am going to learn how to put in a life line, however, just to be on the safe side.

Well, the next post will be written by K on her recent trip to Amman. Stay tuned!!

Until Next Time...

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm Still Here....

So, I realize that it has been over a week since my last post and there are a myriad of reasons for it!! First off being the total crash of my desktop computer. Fortunately, the hard drive is still in tact, so no information was lost. It did, however, leave me computer-less for almost a week! We finally made the trip to the Apple Store in Des Moines and picked up my new toy. It's pretty sweet!

We have also been in the middle of the comings and goings of our kids! K and SC returned from Amman Jordan last week and had an incredible time. When the dust settles, they promise to do a guest post or two and share with all of you about their trip! R & M have left for their 2 month mission trip to Uganda. I'm so jealous of all of these incredible trips that our kids have been taking, but excited that they have these opportunities!!

M's parents came to town to pick the kids up and take them home for a few days before they flew off on their adventure. It is always wonderful to see them! I am so incredibly thankful for the families that our children have and will be marrying into. They are all wonderful!!!

This past week Steve had several days off which we spent enjoying the kids, but also cleaning out rooms; closets; the barn etc... It feels good, but is not overly exciting!! We did get some games of ladder golf in, which is fun!

Sophie LOVES LOVES LOVES having all of the kids around! (I'm not so sure that they are always as crazy about her....) She is growing up some and mellowing out, but she is still very much a puppy!! Hard to believe she will be a year old soon!

Sumo is still hanging on. He is content to hang inside most days. He is always up for a short walk down the road, but can't make it too far. He's happiest when Sophie is not bugging him, which she seems to be doing less and less. I think if he could talk, he would say life is good!

And Sophie really does adore him. She just shows it in weird ways sometimes!

Well, I am hoping that I am going to be able to cast on my Girasole today. That is the plan. We'll see how it goes.

Until Next Time....

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Yes, today is World Wide Knit In Public Day!!! So, how many of you were out there knitting in public? I went downtown for a bit and knit in front of the Crazy Girl Yarn Shop with Leslie, the owner. It was a little chilly, actually, hence the lap blanket and felted hat on Leslie!! It also happened to be sidewalk sale day in town, so there were lots of people walking by making comments about the 'crazy knitters'! Success!!

Made another quick trip to MPLS this past week for another graduation open house. This time R & M came with and were actually put to work slicing the buns for the yummy sandwiches.

Enjoyed beautiful weather sitting out by my friends pool. The time went far too quickly and we had to pack it up and head back home. I am thankful though that it is a doable day trip. For years we lived so far away that it would have been impossible to have made it to events like these.

The cake balls that we made for this open house (A and I dipped over 350 cake balls the day before we left!!) were a big hit. We brought a few home, but they are already history. I thought I would share the recipe here, even though you can google cake balls and find the recipe right on line.

Cake Balls

1 cake mix
½ - 1 can prepared frosting
Melting chocolate*

1. Prepare cake mix according to directions in a 9 X 13 pan. Let cool.
2. Crumble cake into a large bowl. Add ½ to 1 can of prepared frosting.
(The more frosting you add, the creamier the texture; if you add less, the
cakier the texture)

3. Refrigerate mixture for 2-3 hours.
4. Using a small cookie scoop, form balls with the mixture and place on
wax paper on a cookie sheet. I like to firmly pack the mixture into the
scoop with my hand.
5. Place in freezer for several hours or overnight. (Or until needed)
6. Melt chocolate. Take out 15-20 cake balls at a time (The colder the cake ball the better!) and dip each ball in the chocolate and let drain and place on wax paper. (I use two forks to lift ball out of chocolate and let drain)
7. Drizzle with opposite type chocolate if desired
8. Trim excess chocolate around base and place in mini paper cupcake holder.

Examples of combinations you could try:

White cake mix and mint chocolate chip icing - Dipped in chocolate confectioners coating.• French vanilla cake with white chocolate almond icing. – Dipped in chocolate confectioners coating.• Red velvet with cream cheese icing and vanilla confectioners coating. • Red velvet with cream cheese icing dipped into milk chocolate coating.• Chocolate cake, milk chocolate icing, dipped into chocolate bark. • Lemon cake with lemon frosting and dip them in whit chocolate. • Lemon cake mixed in white chocolate chips and lemon frosting, dipped in white chocolate. • Spice cake with cream cheese frosting and coated them with white chocolate coating. • Cherry chip cake mix and cream cheese frosting dipped in white chocolate.• Fudge cake, mixed in peppermint chips and fudge frosting. Dip in dark chocolate. • Chocolate fudge cake mix and coconut pecan frosting dipped into chocolate.• Chocolate cake, butter cream icing, and dark chocolate coating.• Chocolate cake/chocolate icing and dipped into raspberry/chocolate chips are melted with a bit of oil.• German chocolate cake mix with coconut pecan frosting & dipped in melted semi sweet chocolate chips. • Strawberry with vanilla frosting, dipped in chocolate. • Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

*I like Ghiradelli’s dipping and candy making chocolate, but it is seasonal. Wiltons makes a good dipping chocolate – which can be found in cake decorating aisles at Walmart; Michaels etc… (With the Wiltons I mix the light and dark chocolate wafers 50/50 when melting)

Nothing says I love you more than a nice big tray of cake balls. Well, that may be exaggerating, but I guarantee you will be popular if you show up some place with a tray of these!!

Until Next Time....

Monday, June 08, 2009

Here Llama Llama.....

I was in the middle of making cookies this morning when I got the phone call..... It was my neighbor calling to let me know that a gate had accidentally been left open and all of the llamas were out and heading Northeast. I threw on my boots and called A who jumped on the 4-wheeler and we were off.

The biggest problem was with all of the rain lately, the fields were very muddy and we were not able to drive even the 4-wheeler into them. So everything had to be done on foot. After well over an hour, several llamas had been caught and haltered and the parade back home had begun. (Usually if you can halter 3-4 of the 'key' llamas, the rest will follow)

It was quite the adventure and just about all the llamas behaved and followed the herd back to the pasture. All but K's llama Sebastian. He decided to hang back and enjoy his freedom a while longer. But in the end we prevailed, and all of the llamas were tucked safely back into their pasture with all of the gates checked and rechecked to make sure they were latched.

Here is my friend and neighbor Marilyn who joined in the pursuit of the llamas. (Her children own several of the llamas that we were chasing!) At one point she had to choose between loosing her shoes in the mud or letting go of the llama she was holding. She chose the llama and walked the rest of the way barefoot and carrying her now mud-encased shoes. Yuck!

A group shot of the llama rescuers seemed in order. K's llama, Sebastian, is the llama on the left next to A. He's promised to be a good llama from now on.

I got home to a slip saying that our mailman had tried to deliver a registered package, so I hopped in the car and headed to the post office to see what it could be. I was thinking it might be the final installment of the Wollmeise Sock club and it was!! I think these are my favorite colors yet!! And the sock pattern was written by my new friend Maria who I met at the Spring Fling. Of course there is always a small package of gummy bears that I always rip open and eat right away. I love them!! I am excited to go to Germany in 2010 to visit Claudia, Andreas, Dani and Maria (Steve has said we could! Sheri, you and Paul are coming too, right?)

I also got a fun package of yarn from The Loopy Ewe this week. Sheri has started a KAL (Knit-A-Long) making the Girasole shawl/blanket pattern. I ordered the amazingly soft Eco-Alpaca to make the blanket out of. I am way excited (and nervous) to start it. It will be a real stretch for my knitting ability, I think.

Have been enjoying a few quick trips here and there in the past few weeks. A couple of my dear friends have sons graduating from high school this year, so we are making quick dashes up to Minneapolis to attend their open houses. A and CB joined us last weekend and R and M will be coming with us this Thursday. These are the last to graduate from the Triple R gang (three families and all of our last names begin with R, so we have called ourselves the "Triple R Gang"). Hmmm, that makes us all empty nesters now and I see some fun traveling in the upcoming years, right guys?

Sophie and Sumo continue to hold down the fort at home. Sumo is aging rapidly and no longer goes with us on our field walks. He still gets along quite well as long as Sophie isn't pestering him! Sophie tries to be respectful and even waits her turn to drink from our fancy water bucket. Sigh. She is still getting over not being able to help 'herd' the llamas this morning! Boy, now that would have been an adventure!!!! Maybe next time.....

Until Next Time...

Thursday, June 04, 2009

His Story/Her Story

Hello to all of my mom's blog readers! It is time for another guest post from A, and this time, I'll be joined by CB as well! This post is on the recent trip I made to Spain to visit CB during her last week studying in Spain. It all started during a conversation I was having with CB on Skype in February. I had been playing with the idea of visiting her, and I finally decided to do it. So, I bought the tickets for my trip to Spain. Then, as we continued to talk, CB suggested we go to Paris since I had taken 4 years of French in high school. I had always wanted to go to Paris, so of course, I agreed, and we had tickets for Paris soon after.

My first flight took off at 1:25 pm on May 17th, and then, after stops in Boston and Madrid, I finally made it to CB in Oviedo at 9:50am (which, to me, felt more like 2:50 due to the time difference, but it was enough to make me very tired). So, after grabbing a bite to eat with CB, I went to the host family of her friend, T, who allowed me to stay with him. I immediately collapsed, and slept for 5 hours. I woke up for a few hours before going right back to bed.

The next day, CB took me on a tour of the city, and we spent quite a bit of time in a park, where there were several peacocks, ducks, turtles, and other birds that were all very pretty. CB had a final that she had to take, so we went to her campus, where she finished her schoolwork fo the semester. The rest of the day was spent in the apartment that CB stayed at during her stay in Spain. Her host mom made Spanish tortillas for dinner, which were very delicious.

Then, on Wednesday, we got up early and went to the bus station, where we caught a bus to the airport. This was the part of trip that I had been waiting for: Paris! We had a bit of a layover in Barcelona, but we arrived in Paris at about 5pm, which gave us plenty of time to find the hostel where we stayed for the two nights that we were there. It was a nice little hostel, and we got into a 4-person room. The first night, we had a roommate from Brazil stay with us and we got to talk to her.

After dropping our stuff off at the hostel, we went to the Arc de Triomphe. It was quite a sight, right in the center of a turn-about with 12 road branching out from it. We went over and saw all the cool carvings on the Arc, as well as the tomb of the Unknown Soldier which is right under it. Then we climbed up the stairs to the top of the Arc, where we had a lovely view of the Eiffel Tower, as well as the rest of the city. We were up at the top when the sun went down, and then, at 10pm, the Eiffel Tower had a light show! It was beautiful. It lasted 5 minutes, after which, we decided to call it a day and headed back to the hostel.

The next morning, we headed out to the first of our two major stops for the day, and that was the Notre Dame Cathedral. We waited in line for quite a while, but the wait was made fun by a man who wore a mask and scared passers-by. Very entertaining. When we got to the top, we got to see the bell made famous by The Hunchback of Notre Dame. So, of course, I felt the need to make an appropriate pose.

The next stop is the ever-famous Eiffel Tower! No trip to Paris is complete without going to see this awesome monument. We bought our tickets and walked up several flights of stairs to the second level of the tower before catching a lift up to the very top. The view was absolutely stunning! And now is when the story gets really exciting. Because it is here that I brought about the workings of my evil scheme: to propose in Paris! Yes, that's right, I had bought the ring in April and had devised a scheme to propose on top of the Eiffel Tower during our trip to Paris! Things didn't go exactly as planned, but when the moment of truth came, I was down on one knee, and said those four little words, "Will you marry me?" After receiving an excited "Yes!", I was back on my feet with a grin on my face, and I was officially engaged!

For those of you who are curious as to why things didn't go exactly as planned, here's the scoop. When I was in Argentina, I had bought CB a necklace that came in a little penguin that was just like a ring box, so I had planned on using that when I proposed, but it was unfortunately broken during CB's stay in Spain and fell apart in my pocket. I had also planned on having someone taking our picture while I proposed, but we couldn't find any native English speakers to take our picture, and the guy we did give our camera to didn't know how to work a camera very well, so that was out. But in the end, she still said "Yes", so all's well that ends well.

And if that wasn't a big enough of a surprise for her, I had my parents waiting for us at the airport in Chicago, which she wasn't expecting (she had thought that I was going to drive her to her parent's place), and then, when we stopped for dinner on the way home, her family was waiting for her there! It was a wonderful way to finish off the trip. Here is a picture of us all at the restaurant celebrating our engagement. And now, to tell you her version of the story, is CB.

Here is one of my first pictures with the soon to be infamous Eiffel Tower. At this point I was just so happy to be in Paris with A. This was actually my second visit to Paris while I was in Europe, and I didn't get to go on top of the Arc de Triomphe my first time so I was doubly excited! Little did I know...

Ah yes on top of Notre Dame. In just a few short minutes I would hear the story of a girl we met at Notre Dame about her engagement and how she still had no idea what was happening. I thought come on he was down on one knee! How could you not figure out he was proposing? Of course I wasn't even thinking that A would be proposing to me at our very next stop.

This is one of my favorite pictures because this was taken before we even got in line to climb the Eiffel Tower. I just laugh now because at the very top A would get down on one knee and say the four words I'd been praying that he would say to me one day, "Will you marry me?" God is good.

A thought this would be a great picture to have. The significance behind this photo is that A and I had agreed that we would wait to say, "I love you," until we were engaged.

Here I am as we're leaving the hostel showing off my engagement ring! Quick rewind: So we get to the top and are going around taking in the view. Normally A likes to take his time, so I thought since we were taking a while, A must be taking in the view and really soaking it up. I briefly turned away from him to catch another glimpse at the Arc de Triomphe and by the time I turned around he was down on one knee asking me to marry him. Going back to that other girl, so very clear, but what is my first response, "What?!?...YES!" Now there wasn't much pause in between those two, but I still had to pinch myself to check if I was really awake.

And that's our story, and we're sticking to it.