Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Iowa State Fair!

We made our annual trip to the Iowa State Fair on Saturday.  Yes, the first Saturday of the fair.  I know, it is a crazy day to go, but it was the day the Iowa State Dance Marathon picked to go too, so there we were.  We got to hang out with our new family contact, Nathan.  We had Alexandra for two years in a row (loved her!) and got to know her really well.  Now, we have Nathan and we get to learn all about him.  This is the second time we've hung out and I have to say, we haven't had a bad family contact yet and I don't think we're going to start now. ;)
I did not see Hillary Clinton.  I did not see Donald Trump, although we did see his helicopter flying around the fairgrounds.  I did not see Rick Santorum.  I did get to hear (not see, it was too crowded) Bernie Sanders speak on the soapbox.  We happened to be walking by and since I had never heard anybody do the soapbox thing and had only seen it on the news, I insisted we stay.
One thing is for sure, it was quite a fired up crowd.  There were literally a thousand or more people surrounding Sanders.  I just thought to myself, this is why I love Iowa.  All these candidates coming to our fair, speaking, shaking hands, sweating their backsides off and eating food on a stick, it’s so unique and kind of awesome.
We never make it to everything we want to make it to in one day because of little legs.  The twins did the best they could, but according to my fitbit, I walked approximately 11,000 steps at the fair and that’s asking a lot for a pair of four year olds.  
We always love to see the butter cow, eat a corn dog, drink some lemonade, get our Hawkeye football poster, climb in and out all the John Deere equipment, go through the little hands on the farm exhibit, see the baby animals, ride Ye Olde Mill, cast our kernel and walk through all the animal barns.
Can I also just say that I had never gone to the State Fair until I was 24 years old and pregnant with Jenna.  Crazy, right?  You NW Iowans feel me on this I'll bet, when I say we always went to the Clay County Fair and NOT the Iowa State Fair.  It was closer and it was the Clay County Fair! Anyway, I'm so glad I went, because I look forward to it every summer. 
 One thing that was new this year?  The University of Iowa Organ Transplant Center was there.  That was pretty neat.  They recently just did their 5,000th organ transplant.  As we know, they do some amazing stuff down there.  We got to see one of our kidney doctors, Dr. Brophy.  He is the man who started the pediatric nephrology department at the University of Iowa.  I am so thankful for that guy!  Blake gave him a hug and I told him it was great to see him outside those hospital walls.
I always have the same feeling when I leave the fair.  Pride.  It always makes me so proud to be from the this great state.  The impact our farmers have on the world, the impact our voters have in the presidential race that all these candidates just flock here, the yummy and inventive food and so much more.  Iowa, I’d say you’re alright, but that’s just the way I see it. 
Ye Old Mill.  Burdorf kiddo FAVE.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Peanut Butter Bars

Do any of you Armstrong-Ringsted graduates remember the super yummy peanut bars they used to serve for lunch?  They were the BEST.  What was great, as a teacher's kid, was when they had some leftover and would stick them in the teacher's lounge and all of us teacher's kids would sneak some after school.  Good times. 
 I got a cookbook from my Grandma Beadle for a shower gift and a couple of years ago I tried out a recipe for Peanut Butter Bars and it took me back to my school days.  Aren't church cookbooks the best?  This is from the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Swea City.
 Since it was chilly and fall-like today, I made a batch of chili and these bars for supper. 
 They are so good, soft and this lover of all things peanut butter highly recommends them!
Peanut Butter Bars:
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup flour
1 cup quick oatmeal
1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 margarine, softened
1 tablespoon milk

Directions: Mix in order given.  Spread in a greased 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Do NOT overbake!
Frosting: Soften margarine; add powdered sugar and milk.  Mix well spread on cooled bars. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Way back in July we spent four days in Minnesota for a long weekend.  My dad had invited us up to Frontenac for a couple days before we headed to Mankato for McCoy's birthday party.  
 Frontenac is in the Red Wing/Rochester area and has a TON of Hunecke family history there.  I love it  It's filled with old houses and trees and Lake Pepin and childhood memories. 
 My dad had his boat up there, so we took it out one afternoon.  It was beautiful.  The bluffs up there 
are just picturesque.  
 The bad news is that there is too much yucky stuff in lake water for Blake to go in.  I'll be honest, that sucks and that's putting it mildly.  I love the lake.  It's one of my happy places.  When I got the news that Blake couldn't go in I was and continue to be devastated. :(  Just one of those things I guess
 We cruised around for awhile and then parked at a sandbar. 
 We'll figure this out.  Like maybe Blake will be the boat driver or something? ;)  I don't know, but hopefully as he gets older we'll be able to reason with him about why he can't go in the water.  Grandpa let everybody take their turn driving.  The kids thought that was great!
Saturday morning we headed to Mankato for Super McCoy's 2nd birthday party!
 Aunt Mandy, party planner extraordinaire, had a super hero theme and everything was so cute, as usual.
 The day was spent hanging out, catching up, playing in the sprinkler, on the swing set, making superhero capes, hanging around the campfire, listening to awesome old songs and more. 

 The kids in their capes and the photo bomb by Uncle Justin.
Suns out, guns out.
 A fun weekend!  Always love time with family and it makes me wish we all lived a little closer.
P.S.  I know I missed yesterday, but five out of the last six days isn't too shabby!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The way I see it...

**Note: This was a column I wrote for the paper a couple of weeks ago.  I actually had a few people contact me to tell me that it was just what they needed at the right time.  
I love when what I write resonates with somebody.  **
Choose Happy
Last Friday I came home from my morning workout and my hubby had the news on.  I watched as they talked about a movie theatre shooting.  And then it was something else sad and then another depressing thing.  It just shifted my mood into a bad place.

I decided last Friday that I was going to focus on the happy stuff.  I had a good workout and good conversation with friends.  When I was in the shower, I could hear all four of my kids singing a popular song over and over and over again and it put the biggest smile on my face.  The kids drew pictures for my grandma and grandpa in Minnesota who are making the big change from living on their own to assisted living.  We sent them a little package of photos and drawings.  I had also printed some photos from Easter of my Uncle Brad, who was so awesome with the twins and took them on countless tractor rides on the farm, so we sent him some happy mail too.  I hope they are both surprised when they get it!

I saw this quote yesterday that said, "You can't always choose the path you walk in life, but you can choose the manner in which you walk it."  That is something I strive for every day.  Some days I succeed and some days I don't.  Some days I have a positive attitude and some days I'm just a cranky mess.  I am a work in progress, but aren't we all?

A college student we have met through dance marathon sent me a message and said she appreciated how I always try to see joy in every situation.  I thought to myself, is that how she sees me?  Wow.  That made my day.

Sometimes I just remind myself I have been through too much crappy stuff to let the little stuff bother me.  Sometimes it does, no matter how hard I try, but perspective is a great thing.  Have a great week readers.  I hope it's a happy one, but that's just the way I see it.  

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hawk-Bur Games!

Back in July, our neighbor, Kim, asked if the kids would want to participate in an obstacle course to let the kids have fun.  She ended up calling it the Hawk-Bur games, our last names combined (Hawkins/Burdorf).  Kim was awesome and I wish I could take credit for any of the fun and laughter and giggles that took place in our neighborhood, but I can't.  It was all her.
 It was us vs. them.  The Hawkins vs. the Burdorfs.  Kim came up with an obstacle course that included a tarp with shaving cream, a tarp with paint and a tarp with cooked spaghetti noodles and vegetable oil.  The kids got to slide through it all!

 There was also string that the kids had to get underneath.  They had to carry an egg on the spoon and something else that I'm forgetting.
 It was funny because Brody, my laid-back kid, actually got a little competitive.  Him and Wade were pushing and shoving each other to get to the finish, but went back to laughing together as soon as they finished. :)

 The older kids were so excited for Whitney and Bowen they ran along side them the whole time.  It was cute that Bowen just kind of followed "Whit" around.  He may be smitten at only four years old.  Haha!

Kim put gummy bears in a whipped cream pie that the kiddos had to get out using just their mouth.  First one to get all ten out was the winner. 

 If you're wondering where Blake is, he was a party pooper who wasn't up for participating. :(  Bummer.
 When all was said and done, the kids were full of paint, shaving cream and whipped cream.  We got them naked in the backyard and hosed them down. 
We are so lucky to have neighbors that we get along with and I just love that our kids will have these memories forever!

Friday, August 14, 2015

IG Friday

Here's a little catch-up via my Instagram account, in no particular order whatsoever. 

My four on the 4th!  Bowen, always has to be a character. 
We've spent some of our summer at small town festivals because I have to take pictures for the paper.  Luckily, it's a family friendly event and we all can go and load up on candy.  Bowen loved the petting zoo!  He told me he wanted a goat, llama, calf and the list went on...

One day we were half out of our minds and decided that ALL SIX of us would go golfing.  I know, right?!  Totally crazy, but it actually went really well and was really busy, which worked to our advantage.  The kids got to hit, run to their ball, hit again...
We were lucky enough to spend a few days in Minnesota, both at Frontenac and in Mankato for McCoy's second birthday.  It is so peaceful in Frontenac.  Every morning before everybody got up I would make coffee and read outside.  My kind of happy.

 It was a superhero theme for the birthday party!  My siblings and their spouses.  More to come on our Minnesota trip!
National Ice Cream Day called for a pit stop on our way back from Minnesota for some ice cream.  I'm a firm believer that it's never a bad day when you have ice cream!

 So....this happened just eight miles from home when Aaron was taking Jenna and Brody to meet Frank and Linda in Fort Dodge.  Luckily, it was only like 95 degrees out and Aaron was able to get it changed.

Jenna and Brody spent six days in Sioux City, which meant quality time with the twins.  One night we spent on the campus at ISU shooting some promo footage for ISU dance marathon for their upcoming 4K for the Kids in September.  It was so fun!  The boys just kept, running, running and running some more. 
I get up "in the middle of the night," (that's Aaron's description, not mine) to workout.  I have a love/hate relationship with 4:30 a.m.  I hate getting out of bed.  I love having it over with.  I love seeing the sunrise!

Last weekend we had my cousin's wedding in Bancroft.  My sister-in-law offered her parent's house for us to stay at.  A farm?  With a pool?  And tons of tractors?  Yes please!  We had such a blast and are so grateful for the time spent with the Gundersons.  They are a good bunch we are lucky to call family!

We spent two times in the pool at Gundersons and I absolutely adore this picture Mandy captured of Jenna.

 On August 2nd we celebrated our 12 year wedding anniversary.  I won't post the collage I made since I already posted it on social media and Aaron was horrified.  Haha.  Here's a picture of us at the wedding.  This guy?  I like him a lot.  :)
TGIF friends!  Two days down and five more to go.  We're heading to the Iowa State Fair tomorrow, so this girl is super excited for that!