Tuesday, November 24, 2015


We're having Thanksgiving dinner with Chris's family this year.  I think the whole family is going to be there.  Not sure on the exact number of people coming, but its a lot!  I'm helping Chris's mom brine the turkey with Alton's recipe and my sis-in-law is brining AND smoking another turkey.  I'm also making cauliflower gratin and pecan cake.  My family is coming here for a nice dinner of pork roast on Friday.  I am more and more thankful each year for the family that we have and enjoy.

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:19b-20

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What's Cookin'

Mon we had crockpot marinara sauce.  Was able to freeze 2 quart bags.
Tues~Chicken soup using up leftovers, bread, applesauce
Wed~Barbecue Chicken quesadillas, cold veggies, salad
Thurs~Crockpot Chicken and stuffing, green beans
Fri~Engelsma potluck-Probably going to bring loaded mashed potatoes and either chocolate cake or veggie pizza
Sat~Pizza, cold veg
Sun~Pork roast, mashed potatoes, corn, carrots
Mon~Taco soup, cornbread
Tues~Meatloaf, baked potatoes, green beans
Wed~Leftovers/scrambled eggs
Fri~Lasagna, garlic bread, cauliflower, carrots
Sat~Leftovers or frozen pizza

Monday, November 09, 2015

What's Coookin'

Mon~Italian Chicken, brown rice, parmesan bread, carrots
Tues~Beef roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn
Wed~Sicilian Chicken soup, bread
Thurs~Out-using a gc from my folks while they bbsit
Fri~Bbcue Chicken, baked potatoes, cold veggies
Sat~Pizza if our friends can't come, hotdogs/brats, salad, and chips if they can come
Sun~Dutch soup, bread

Monday, November 02, 2015

What's Cookin'

Mon~Cowboy casserole, carrots
Wed~Chicken tortellini casserole, green beans
Thurs~Crockpot ranch chicken, salad
Fri~ Tacos, salad, chips n salsa
Sat~Pizza, cold veg
Sun~Spaghetti, garlic bread, broccoli

Monday, October 26, 2015

What's Cookin'

Mon~ Barbecue Chicken on buns, roasted yellow potatoes, veggies and dip.  This barbecue chicken is one of my favorite meals.  I like to eat the leftovers on a quesadilla or pizza.  It also freezes really well.
Tues~Turkey Rice soup, bread
Wed~Spaghetti, broc, garlic bread
Thurs~Mexican chicken with black beans, crockpot brown rice, corn
Fri~Leftovers, scrambled eggs
Sun~Crockpot Ranch chicken with potatoes and carrots

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fall Orchard Trip

The best Michigan field trip is hands down a fall trip to an apple orchard.  We went to Sietsma Orchard this morning with some homeschool friends.  I took all 6 kids and it actually went pretty well!  Good thing it was only an hour tour that included donuts.  :-)

Here's the whole crew:

After a hay ride through the orchard and a short tour of their apple storage and cider making, we all had delicious, fresh donuts and cider.

Aaron and Luke were pretty happy about this part of the field trip.

After cider and donuts, we went back into the orchard and each of the kids got to pick an apple.  Luke was able to eat about half of his, seeds and all!

It was a beautiful fall day!

J liked the donuts, apples, and seeing his friends!

Ok, let's watch Mabel closely in this picture and the next two.  This one turned out pretty well, all heads are turned toward the camera.

Mabel hears a clucking sound behind her and turns to see what it is...

a dreaded chicken!  Shrieks of terror ensued.  Another animal that Mabel does not like.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sweetie pie


Chris had the two littles last night while I took the 4 oldest to soccer pics and practices.  Isn't she the cutest little girl??  :-)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My girl is 11 months old!

 Mabel Anne is 11 months old!  She started crawling at about 10 months and now she is all over the place and pulling herself up on everything.
Still pictures are almost impossible.  Especially when mommy is holding something that she wants to play with!  Notice the hair?  Very reminiscent of Joel.

Selfie with mom!

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Last of this summer's sweet corn

 Enjoy the last of Grandpa's sweet corn!

 All Joel had was corn and milk for dinner.

Even Aaron had two cobs for dinner.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Psalter 150

From Psalm 55

O God, give Thou ear to my plea,
And hide not Thyself from my cry;
O hearken and answer Thou me, 
As restless and weary I sigh.

O that I had wings like a dove,
For then I would fly far away
And seek for the rest that I love,
Where trouble no more could dismay.

Nay, soul, call on God all the day;
The Lord for Thy help will appear;
At eve, morn, and noon humbly pray,
And He thy petition will hear.

Thy burden now cast on the Lord, 
And He shall thy weakness sustain;
The righteous who trust in His word
Unmoved shall forever remain.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Lord, I'm longing for Your ways

I've had a rough couple of days.  Our neighbor had a serious accident on Friday right in her yard and it has affected me profoundly.  I'm trying to understand why and I think it's because she is the first person in my life that I see almost daily who is facing death square in the face.  I've had grandparents, relatives, fellow church members pass away, but no one who I've had regular contact with.  It's really made me examine my spiritual and personal life and see where I'm lacking.  I just heard this song and the lyrics really spoke to my heart:
"Lord, restore the joy I had
I have wandered, bring me back
In this darkness, lead me through
Until all I see is You."
Third Day

All I want to see is You.  I have failed in so many ways, but I know this: God loves His wandering sheep and welcomes them back with open arms.  It's not too late now to seek forgiveness.  I pray that God uses this tragedy to help me to love others more and to seek closeness with Him.

"Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to You."
Psalm 51:11-13

Monday, August 17, 2015

Family Camp 2015

The kids were singing a psalter to us.  J's up there in the camoflauge.   Click on the picture to enlarge

We headed to our church's family camp this year after missing last year to go to Ludington instead.  We love Ludington too, but at church camp, we don't have to worry about meals and we stay in a cabin instead of tents.  This is the 8th year that our church has done family camp and our kids look forward to it all year long.  They have grown up with it and it's a great time for the kids and adults to fellowship together over an extended time.
Our topics came from the Israelite's exodus from Egypt.  Pastor Martin's speech title was "Everyone is a Slave" and the question he ended with was, "Who's slave are you?"  While he was speaking, the idea of being a slave for Christ reminded me of the HC where it says, "That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ."
I am not my own, 1
but belong with body and soul,
both in life and in death, 2
to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.
- See more at: http://www.heidelberg-catechism.com/en/lords-days/1.html#sthash.hQ88ljbF.dpuf
I am not my own, 1
but belong with body and soul,
both in life and in death, 2
to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.
- See more at: http://www.heidelberg-catechism.com/en/lords-days/1.html#sthash.hQ88ljbF.dpuf
I am not my own, 1
but belong with body and soul,
both in life and in death, 2
to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.
- See more at: http://www.heidelberg-catechism.com/en/lords-days/1.html#sthash.hQ88ljbF.dpuf
I am not my own, 1
but belong with body and soul,
both in life and in death, 2
to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.
- See more at: http://www.heidelberg-catechism.com/en/lords-days/1.html#sthash.hQ88ljbF.dpuf
I am not my own, 1
but belong with body and soul,
both in life and in death, 2
to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.
- See more at: http://www.heidelberg-catechism.com/en/lords-days/1.html#sthash.hQ88ljbF.dpuf

Mabel at breakfast.  She was a pretty happy camper!

She had many doting admirers!  These girls took turns feeding her a jar of baby food.

The boys loved playing mini golf.  I have no pictures of Noah and Joel because we hardly saw them, they were with their friends the whole time.

Andrew tried rock climbing for the first time.  They also offer archery, skeet shooting, zip line, and a high ropes course.  One year they had a giant slip and slide.

 He made it to the top!

Someone REALLY likes ice cream!  She put her tongue way out every time the cone came near her mouth.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Zesty Italian Chicken

I have finally made a meal besides pizza that my whole family inhaled!  Aaron even ate it! 

Zesty Italian Chicken (adapted from Life Should Cost Less)
I have made the recipe from the link as is before and it is very tasty.  My version was born out of desperation because it was going on 2:00 before I got the crockpot going and I knew frozen chicken breast would not be done by the time dinner needed to be served, so here's what I did:

2 C Chicken Broth (or 16 oz water & 2 tsp Chicken Base)
¼ C Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup of Italian dressing
1/2 teaspoon of 5 pepper spice mix from Sam's Club
A few grinds of black pepper
3 cups of cubed cooked chicken

I mixed this all up and put it on high for about 2 1/2 hours.  Then I added about 3/4 cup of sour cream and mixed it in and let it heat up for a half hour.  I served it over brown rice, but Chris thinks noodles would be better.  There wasn't a speck of leftovers left!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Target diaper deal

Target.com is running a diaper deal right now that makes size 4 diapers about 14 cents each.  Buy 2 big boxes of diapers, get a $25 gift card.  My total was about $80 for almost 400 diapers and the diapers are shipped free.
Go here for details.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Side by side: Do they look alike?

Joel, 11 months

Mabel, 8 months

Quick weekend trip

We went to visit my Aunt Ev in Ontario this past weekend.  It was a bit of a long trip because our van has no air conditioning, but at least there was no wait at the border.

Mabel enjoying a french fry at Burger King on the way there.  Luke played with a straw wrapper the whole time and then ate his lunch in the van.

Enjoying Aunt Ev's pool and the beautiful weather.  The boys loved having a pool right outside the back door to jump into.  The boys ate most of their meals outside.  I'm looking forward to that at our own house when our deck goes up soon!

On the way home, we stopped at the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing.  We were able to get into the zoo free with our JBZ membership.  We ended up renting a stroller for Luke and Mabel.

Mabel loved her ride!  Notice her white pants.  This is the first and last time I will buy her white pants.  She promptly filled her diaper which overflowed onto her pants right after this pic.  Changing a baby's diaper gets more looks than the rhinos.

Noah was thrilled to go to the zoo!  He really did enjoy it.

It was a really pretty little zoo.  We didn't stay more than an hour or so because we wanted to get home and it started thundering (we made it to the car just as the clouds opened), but we really enjoyed the zoo.  They had quite a variety of animals, including a few that our zoo doesn't have, like the rhinos (a black and white rhino) and a red panda (that doesn't look anything like you'd expect a panda to look like).  What I liked better about this zoo is all the information they have posted outside the exhibits.  JBZ's info is a lot of environmentalism and multiculturalism while the PPZ had a lot of good information about the animals.  Andrew even learned some new words like the word 'prehensile.'

There were multiple peacocks wandering around the zoo. That was another great things about the zoo, you could get pretty close to most of the animals. We even had good views of the lions and tiger.  I would definitely visit this zoo again.  It looks like they are slowly redoing the exhibits.  A new moose exhibit is opening next summer and a new home for the red panda is being built right now.

What's Cookin'

Tues~Mini meatloaves, potatoes, corn
Wed~NBS kick off
Thurs~Tacos, fruit
Fri~Grilled chicken, olga bread, salad/cold veggies
Sat~Pizza, cold veggies
Sun~Sloppy joes, chips, cold veggies

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Saying Goodbye

One of the most interesting and special parts of Chris's job at the seminary is meeting all the different students and their families.  The Udes are from Nigeria.  Rev. Ude graduated in May and he and his family are leaving next week, first to visit their family in the Netherlands and then home to Nigeria.  We will miss their cheerful faces at church and around the seminary, but I am sure they are excited and eager to continue their work in Nigeria.

Luke took a liking to Rev. Ude and would've gone home with him.

Chris and the boys with Rev. and Mrs. Ude and two of their children, Rineke and Nick. Rineke is Mabel's special friend. :-)

We pray that God's guiding hand will be with them and that He will bless their labors in Nigeria.

What's Cookin'

Mon~Chicken and gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, carrots
Tues~Hamburgers, roasted potatoes, salad
Wed~Late afternoon snack and a graduation open house
Thurs~Sheet pan fajitas, rice, salad
Fri~Chicken gyros with Olga bread, cold veggies
Sat~VT reunion
Sun~Sloppy joes, chips, cold veggies

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Kid snippets

Aaron comes upstairs this morning and says to me, "Hey, girl.  What's up?"

After getting Luke dressed, he looks at himself and says, "Pretty!"
Also heard Luke say one of his first sentences this morning.  After emptying his sippy cup, he says to me in his best tyrannical 2 year old voice, "I need more!"

After asking Joel to dry some dishes:  "Drying dishes is women's work!"  So maybe no more Beverly Hillbillies for him.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Summer Reading for Kids (mostly boys!)

Anyone else have trouble finding decent books for their kids to read?  Our boys, especially Andrew, read a lot and there aren't too many books at the local library that I want them reading.  Today I looked up the Sonlight reading lists and reserved some books at the library for the boys to read and I thought I would share some of the books that our boys enjoy.

Image result for book list

*The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew (The original versions, not the newer paper backs.)
*Tom Swift (These are science fiction stories that Andrew loves.  Now they are readily available on the kindle, but I remember my dad and mom snatching these up at flea markets and antique stores for my brother to read.)
*Tom Corbett series (Again, we bought these on the kindle and Andrew loved them.)
*The Chronicles of Narnia (Andrew has read these books numerous times.)
*The Boxcar Children
*Flat Stanley (short chapter book)
*Books by Piet Prins, especially the Scout series
*The Bark of the Bog Owl (a trilogy)
*Faith and Freedom trilogy by Douglas Bond (and his other books, but Andrew's only read this series)
*The Hobbit (but not the Lord of the Rings trilogy yet)
*Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (I just read about a family that wouldn't let their kids read these books because the disobedient children in these books aren't handled in a Biblical manner, but I tend to think that the behavior of these kids is so outlandish that my kids aren't going to be tempted to follow it and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's solutions are quite humorous.  I loved reading these books as a girl.)
*The Littles (These books were both Andrew and Noah's first chapter books that they really liked.)
*Childhood of Famous Americans such as Helen Keller, Daniel Boone, Amelia Earhart, etc.  (I was surprised, but Noah really likes these books.)
*Books by Lois Walfrid Johnson
*Step-up Biographies such as Meet Benjamin Franklin 
(These books are old. I found a couple at Goodwill and liked them so much that I bought a set on     ebay.  They have pictures, large print, and short chapters to introduce younger children to non-fiction reading.  My kids have really enjoyed them.)
*Some of the Treasury of Illustrated Classics (These books are easily picked up at Goodwill or garage sales.)
-Swiss Family Robinson
-White Fang (We're on the 2nd copy of this one!)
-The Call of the Wild
-The Prince and the Pauper 
*My Side of the Mountain and its sequel
*Books by Clyde Robert Bulla

We own a lot of these books because I've picked them up at Goodwill/garage sales or given them to the boys as gifts, but we also utilize the hold system at the library and since we just bought a kindle for the boys to use, we can also check out ebooks for their kindle and not have to worry about returning the book.  Also, some of the older books, like Tom Swift and Tom Corbett are very cheap to buy on the kindle.

These are the only ones I can think of right one.  Let me know if you have any suggestions.  We are always looking for good reading material! 

Dapper dudes

I forgot how much I paid for this, but I found this suit at Goodwill when Andrew was little.  It hasn't gotten a ton of use, but each of the boys has worn it a few times.  Luke's turn now!  He was pretty impressed with his tie.

What a couple of fellas!

My baby girl

 Now that she is 7 months old and much happier, she smiles all the time!

 Even when her brothers put their hats on her head!

 I don't think a John Deere hat's ever looked better on anyone!

We love her!

Aaron is 5!

Aaron turned 5 today!  Hard to believe that its been 5 years since I had this little boy.

He started opening this present and says, "It's a box!"

Turned out it was 4 of his absolute favorite cars, "Herbies."  He also got a new comforter for his bed and a Thomas swim suit (Goodwill specials).

Grandma Roffel's chocolate cake for dessert.  He requested pizza for dinner.  He ate 3 pieces!

Another present:  "I LOVE bubble baths!"

And a present to share with his brothers, squirt guns!

We love you so much, Aaron!  As Daddy prayed at dinner, we pray that not only will you have a first birth, but a new birth in Christ.