Saturday, June 29, 2013

What's Cookin'

Mon~Taco salad, canned fruit
Tues~Spaghizza, salad
Wed~Chili (F), brown rice, cold veggies
Thurs~July 4-salad and deviled eggs
Fri~Dinner with friends
Sat~Grilled chicken with Olga bread and cucumber sauce, cold veggies
Sun~Pork and gravy (F), brown rice or egg noodles, green beans


Joel, after working in Grandpa's garden:  "My head is leaking.  Your head leaks when you sweat."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

We went to visit Aunt Marlene in Indiana while Chris attended a conference in KY.  

We stopped at the Fort Wayne's Children Zoo on our way.  Beautiful zoo!
It had a lot of different animals than our zoo in GR.

It was hot and humid.  Luke was not impressed.  I put him in the front carrier and he slept and sweated his way through the zoo.

We saw some cool animals.  The male lion was right by the window and seemed to be looking at us. 

The zoo has about 7 giraffes.  This one is a male and the tallest giraffe they have.  He put his huge head over the fence.  But don't stand too close, he swings his head when he's agitated.  No one was supposed to pet him.  The zookeeper coming on duty shooed everyone away.

Look at his long tongue!

Vultures.  They even look mean.

Joel finding some shade.

Aaron had  a great time.

Noah got a sliver aka blister, so he spent most of his time barefoot.

Banana trees growing in the greenhouse.

So cute!  A mama primate with her baby.

Sea lions (not the same as seals).  These were really neat.

Penguin feeding time.  The keepers made sure everyone got their fair share.

Our big splurge, the log ride.  Kids loved it.

Mommy and Noah's log.

Watching the sea lions train on our way out of the zoo.

Group pic!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Big Boy

Aaron was playing so well yesterday that I decided to skip his nap and just put him to bed early.  I couldn't find him around 5 and went and checked his bed.  Guess he needed a nap!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Some Boy Pics (and a few other snippets)

The boys went to a neighborhood Bible school this week and had a great time.  Their closing program was tonight and since they were all wearing clean clothing at the same time, I tried snap a few pics.

Attempting group pics.  This one could be worse.

I can just hear Aaron thinking, "This is so bowing (boring)."  That's his new favorite word.
Noah's thrilled to pieces.

Ok, are we done yet??

Andrew, 8 1/2 years old
He can be such a big helper!  Unless his nose is stuck in a book...

Noah, 6 years old
Growing up so fast, he has a sweet disposition that is starting to shine more and more.

Joel aka "Froggy," 4 1/2 years old
He loved going to Bible school this week.  Except he kept calling it science camp for some reason.

Aaron, a new 3 year old
He can be very sweet, and very exasperating!  He's very cuddly and loves to show affection

We had beautiful purple skies a couple of nights ago.

This is looking out the back of our house.  It was lightning too, but my camera didn't catch that.

Andrew's photo op of Luke aka "Big Blue Eyes."

Olga Bread

Ever been to Olga's Kitchen?  They make all their sandwiches with their special Olga bread.  My mom gave me the recipe awhile back and I made it for the first time yesterday.  The whole fam loved it and I used some of the leftover breads to make mini pizzas today.

Olga's Kitchen Bread Recipe
(with my mom's notes)

1 cup milk 
1/4 cup honey 
1/4 cup margarine 
1 teaspoon granulated sugar 
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
1 egg
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/4 cup warm water

I use my Kitchen Aid for this, but you could also use a bread machine.  Heat the milk and honey in the microwave, and then stir in the margarine until it's melted.  Add the sugar and 1 1/2 cups flour, mix until combined.  Add egg and yeast, mix to combine.  Add salt and remaining flour  and knead for several minutes.  I don't usually need to add any of the warm water, but if the dough is too dry, add up to 1/4 cup.

Place dough in a greased bowl, turn to oil top and cover.  Let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.   Punch down and cut into 16 pieces.  Roll each into a circle about 1/8 inch thick.  (You will want to roll out all the dough before you start cooking.)

Cook each piece in a large preheated skillet, approx 10 -15 seconds per side. You may need to spray it with Pam a couple of times.  I use a cast iron skillet.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What's Cookin'

Mon~Grilled pork chops, baked potato, asparagus, salad
Tues~Out with VanDen Toorn clan
Wed~Grilled chicken, Olga bread, fruit, salad
Thurs~Hamburger dinner at Walker URC to end the boys VBS week
Fri~I'm going to a girls' night, so I'll let the boys fend for themselves.  :-)
Sat~Oatmeal pancakes, sausage, fruit
Sun~Chili, brown rice, cold veggies

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Easiest way to shuck corn

If you never want to deal with the silk from cork husks again, watch Ken.  He's awesome.  In fact, he went viral on youtube with over 7 million views.  Bonus:  His tip actually works.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Freezer Meal: Mini Meatloaves

Before I left for Canada on Monday, I had to deal with 3 lbs of ground beef in my refrigerator. I already had some browned in the freezer so I decided to make some mini meatloaves. The following is my friend Jen's recipe with a couple changes that make it even easier.

Jen P's Mini Meatloaves (with a couple changes)
*1 egg
*3/4 c. milk
*1/2 c. quick oats and 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
or 1 package of Fresh Take Cheddar Jack and Bacon
*1/2 c. of chopped onion or a couple good shakes of minced onion (if you're in a hurry.  Or too lazy to chop an onion, like me. :-) )
*a dash of salt
*a few grinds of pepper

2/3 c. of ketchup
1/2 c. of brown sugar
1 t. of mustard
(I just use whatever barbecue sauce I have on hand.)

Mix everything together and shape into 8 loaves.

I used my handy mix n chop from Pampered Chef.

I stuck this triple batch into the freezer for a few hours and then just popped them into a gallon freezer bag so I can take out however many I want.

Thaw in the fridge, top with sauce or barbecue sauce and bake at 350 for about 45 min.

Sweet Andrew

Found this in my bag while I was packing for Canada:


It said, "We miss you.  Andrew"

Some June pics

The weather in Michigan has had its ups and downs the last few weeks, but we've managed to enjoy some outside days.

Aaron at the park.

Joel at the park.

Trying to get all 4 boys.  No easy task.

Roasting marshmallows with Caylee.  

Grandpa V, Uncle Bill, Uncle Chuck, and my dad hanging out at Aunt Laurie and Uncle Bill's.

Aunt Laurie, Mom, Jess and Luke, and Grandma V.

My cousin Jess with Luke.

Joel and Luke.  Everyone loves the little brother.