Eating Out

bonfireWe ate out last night.

I mean really out.

Like – outside out.

Like – out in the pasture out.

Yes, I know it’s January.  Yes, I live in Iowa.

But it was a balmy 60 degrees yesterday and the kids had spent all afternoon cleaning out some fence lines. When Jan came home they hauled the wood and started a fire – a big fire.

Since they were already out there – and they already had a fire – we decided to pack up some  hot dogs and make it an adventure!

So – by the light of an almost full moon – we pulled up some stumps, roasted our hotdogs and made a memory.

After eating way more s’mores than we should have, the kids packed things up and went home.

But Jan and I sat on our stumps holding hands while we watched the fire turn to embers.

It was so peaceful sitting there in the light of the flames,  talking and listening to the coyotes howl – a real “country-style” date.

It was one of those sweet moments that can’t be planned, they must just be enjoyed!

Home School Hot Dog Roast

We spent a very cold evening last night at our annual home school hot dog roast.

There’s nothing quite as tasty as a charred hot dog with a cold inside eaten on a ketchup drenched bun while sitting on a lawn chair balancing a plate of goodies on your knees.

There’s smoke in my eyes, ketchup dribbled down my shirt, and chips drowned in my baked beans.

I love it!

Maybe the food doesn’t meet gourmet standards, but the atmosphere rivals the finest dining establishments!

The kids are laughing and playing while the adults are enjoying the warmth of the fire, catching up on life.

There’s something about watching a bonfire on a crisp night that is relaxing and brings perspective. Your entire world is reduced to the glow of the fire and those people immediately around you.

You snuggle down in the warmth of your coat and hold hands with your honey while watching the embers and flying sparks against the pitch black night sky.

Yep…I love a campfire!

Hot Dog Roast on a Budget

Hot dog roasts are a way of life here on the farm. We’ve found that they’re an easy and cheap way to have some great family fun.

My husband picked up the rim of a semi truck tire to use as a fire ring. Then he saved the grate from our old gas grill before we trashed it. It fits perfectly on the top of the fire ring to cook a large amount of hot dogs fast. Or we use the motley assortment of roasting sticks that we’ve picked up at auctions and garage sales over the years.

We found an old metal table at a garage sale that works perfectly by the fire to hold the food and have a variety of lawn chairs to spread around.

When there’s a large crowd, like our home school group, we put boards on cement blocks to make benches around the fire.

It’s a great and very portable system. We can load it up and head out to the ponds, using the back of  the pick-up as a serving table (a true tailgate party!) Or we can set it up closer to the house, depending on the needs of the group.

I watch the sales and pick up the hot dogs, marshmallows, graham crackers, ketchup, baked beans, chocolate bars, etc.. when they’re on sale. I just pop them in the freezer or the pantry and we’re ready at a moment’s notice to be hospitable and host a hot dog roast!

Hello Summer Hot Dog Roast

roasting marshmallow on camp fireHello summer!

After the spring we’ve had here in the Midwest, I think all of us are ready to leave it behind and begin a new season.

We celebrated the official start of summer tonight with a hot dog roast. We had planned to go out to the ponds, but the weather looked a little uncertain, and the ticks are awful, so we stayed close to the house instead.

We sat and enjoyed nicely charred hot dogs, lukewarm baked beans and carrot sticks while swatting gnats and flies all the while getting smoke in our eyes and grass in our lemonade.  Don’t you just love a hot dog roast!?

Actually, I do! There’s something about the informality around the campfire that relaxes everybody. The kids got to telling stories and joking around. Everybody ate more than they should have, and it was fun. We made a memory tonight.

The kids are sitting outside now, joking around and watching the storms move in across the rural skies. It’s an amazing sight.

I guess I’m a pretty contented country gal tonight…smoke-filled hair, a belly full of s’mores, fun family time and a glimpse of the awesome power of God. I’d call that a good evening!