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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

They Always Come Back

February 20, 2007

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Neither were the lemon bars I whipped up while I listened and Mr. Sundberg split and stacked wood and the kids made a perfect circle of snow angels around the house. 27 in all. Rather impressive. The kids had Friday and Monday off from school and they voted unanimously to spend the weekend at home, and spend it they did.

It used to be a real challenge to find enough to keep the kids interested when they had a stretch of time. I remember playdates with other moms down at the park. While the kids played in the sandbox and on the swings and ran screaming after each other across the ball field, we'd sit at the picnic table and eat chips and talk about our summer vacation plans and what clever things our kids said lately. Now and then someone brought a bottle of wine and BOOM everything was kicked up a notch. Our dream vacations, what we hope our kids will be one day, how we'd remodel our houses if money weren't an issue. Back at home, I'd give the kids wooden spoons and empty steel bowls and let them bang away. They loved to sit by the fire and read books, and thank the Lord for the Teletubbies. I recall a particularly frustrating rainy day when I covered the basement floor with newsprint and stripped the kids down to their skivvies and gave them each a rather large bottle of finger-paint (washable) and let them have at it. What resulted was a combination wrestling match/art exhibit.

Now the kids come up with their own ideas and make their own plans and things work pretty well. I'll take them places and pick them up, and give them some cash here and there if it's legit, like meeting friends at the café for cheese curds or going to a movie with the youth group. They've recently taken to spending time in their rooms with the door shut, listening to music and doing Lord-knows-what. Which is fine by me. They seem happy, and though there's a sense of loss here, there's some gain, too. They go away, but they always come back.

I think the highlight of the weekend was our President's Day Feast, which was the kids' idea. They thought we should have a cake shaped like Abraham Lincoln, so we went for it. A chocolate cake carved out to resemble the man's face, with chocolate and vanilla frosting and a chocolate chip for the mole on his cheek. Of course, when I got out the dough for the homemade pizza, they looked at each other and at me and said, "What about George Washington?" And when we pulled the pizza out of the oven, George Washington it was, if you were to tilt your head and squint a bit. Mr. Sundberg got home in time for dinner, just as we were singing "Hail to the Chief." Though none of us knows the words so it was a lot of humming. Mr. Sundberg thought we were singing for him, and we let him think it. I set the pizza down on the table. "A map of Wisconsin!" he said, "Now that's clever." And the kids giggled and rolled their eyes and asked who was the worst president and who was the best and by the time we got up to clear the table, the sun had set and the kids were yawning and I was thinking how quickly those four days just flew on by.

Good recipe to have on hand as Lent rolls around, and a rather welcome
alternative to pie after a big ol' ham dinner.

Lemon Bars

1 lemon pudding cake mix
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
Combine above three items and mix.
Set aside one cup of mixture. Press remainder into a lightly greased 9 x 13 cake pan and bake 12 minutes at 350.

8 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar

Add 1 T lemon juice and 1 egg. Mix until smooth.
Spread over baked layer. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top.
Bake 15 minutes at 350.

Drizzle powdered sugar frosting over and cool.
Store in refrigerator.


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