Thursday, June 30, 2022

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Cooking Thursday

 Here's a recipe that's new to me.  I like the combo of cinnamon and chocolate so I thought it would be good and it was!

Mexican Chocolate Loaf Cake

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Powdered sugar (for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray (or butter and flour) and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk until everything is combined. Set aside.
In a bowl of an electric mixer (or using a handheld mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the sour cream and mix thoroughly.
Add the eggs one by one, followed by the vanilla extract. 
Add one third of the flour mixture followed by one third of the chocolate. Repeat and beat until everything is combined. The batter will be very thick.
Bake for 60 – 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  (Be careful not to overbake.  This is a moist cake and I found that if the toothpick was completely clean, the cake was dry)
Cool on a baking rack.
Lightly dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Monday, June 27, 2022

Bob's latest art

 Most of you know Bob does a lot of woodworking and wood carving. He recently finished something that was a different type of woodwork.

He'd been thinking about all the things going on in the world that bother those of us who are Christians and also thinking of the hope we have!
So, he started working on a wooden sculpture to place at our church, to remind us of that hope.

Here it is. Most of his carvings have a lot of detail, but this one is intentionally left with minimal details, so anyone can picture themselves in it.

It's a mom and dad, with a little girl, a family - the unit God placed us all in.  They are looking to the eastern sky, anticipating Christs return because that's where their hope is.  The little girl however, is looking to her parents, because that's what kids do.  This reminds parents that their kids are watching them and they need to be teaching them the right things and telling them about the hope we have in Christ.

Here is a little place where there is some detail.  This is the little girls hair with a braid in the back.

This is the sign at the base.  It says:

Lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
Luke 21:28

Sunday, June 26, 2022

More weekend fun

 We had Alaina and Ruby overnight on Friday. Laura and Aaron dropped them off at my work, and we went and met Bob at Red Robin for supper. We took them there once before and they thought it was a fun place.

This was the cute picture Alaina drew on the back of the kids menu and left for the waiter.

It was a nice night and they had fun playing outside when we got home.  Even though these things are much too small for them, they have fun playing on them.

Did you ever see anyone ride a trike this way?  :)

The next morning they had fun with play-dough.

Then went back outside.

They have great imaginations.  They told me they were harvesting wheat here.

We made a craft:

First, we cut out a face.

Then a dress...

Then traced the dress onto a white cup and cut it out.
Next, take another cup and divide it into 3 sections, then color each section separately. 
Tape the head to the top of the cup, and put the colored cup inside.  Then when you spin it, it looks like a girl with a different dress on for each pattern.

Here's the girls with their paper girls.

The finished product!

After lunch we went to my Dads house.  Laura and Aaron met us there.

We walked out back, where they checked out this old shed, which is something my Dad let us use as a playhouse when we were young.  We used to spend hours out there!

Dad's roses were blooming.  This is one someone gave him when my mom passed away 19 years ago.

Dad was having a good day and was sitting out on the porch when we got there.   Andrew, Heather and Cassie had been there before we got there.

Here's Laura, Dad, Ann, Alaina and Ruby.  We had a nice visit and then the girls went home with their parents.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Cooking Thursday

Here's a crock pot recipe I made recently.  Mongolian Beef is something Bob likes to order, so I thought I would try it at home.  It turned out good!  However, I forgot to take a picture.  I'm sorry!

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef
1 1/2 pounds flank steak thinly sliced against the grain
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup green onions cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Cooked rice
Place the flank steak in a bowl with the cornstarch and toss to coat evenly.
Add the flank steak to the slow cooker.
Place the sesame oil, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar and water in the slow cooker. Stir to coat the meat in the sauce.
Cover and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW for 4-5 hours. 
Stir in the green onions, then serve over rice.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Monday, June 20, 2022

Fathers Day

 We had a nice Father's Day weekend.  I hope you all did too.
Our girls and their families came over Saturday evening for supper. We all had fun watching the kids play together. Cassie enjoys spending time with them, and Alaina and Ruby are so patient in entertaining her.

Cassie loved being pushed on this toy.

Alaina saw the camera come out and made a face.   :)

Cassie helped Grandpa open gifts.

A t-shirt Bob got from Heather and Andrew. You know he liked it!

The girls on the porch before they went home.

On Sunday, my sisters, brother and I went to my Dad's house after church. We each brought something along for lunch.

A few of the grandkids were there too.  Here's a bunch of the family sitting in the family room before lunch.

My Dad has always been a prankster, and shortly after Terri and Dave got married, we were together at an event where they were serving ham buns. Dad slipped a napkin into Dave's bun and has teased him about that numerous times.  This time, we put a napkin on Dad's bun as a payback.

He laughed so hard when he realized it!

We had a nice visit, lots of good memories and laughs.
He was tired when we left but it sure was a blessing to spend this time together.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

My Dad


Dad and Ann in January in one of their favorite places - the bowling alley!

My Dad has been in the hospital again with more health issues.  He's been feeling weaker and retaining fluid.  He was scheduled for a cardiac cath this past Tuesday, but he called me at work last Friday to say he was so weak he felt like he needed to go to the hospital.  My sister Cheri picked him up and took him to ER.  I met them there after work.  They got there about noon, and he wasn't admitted until 11pm.  What a long day!
He had lots of tests during his time there, including that cardiac cath that was already scheduled.  It showed that his heart is very weak, one of his valves is not closing properly and there is nothing that can be done to improve that.
He's been saying he is sick of going to doctors and doesn't want anything more done.  He's not depressed, but is realistic that at 91 his heart is worn out.  He told many people at the hospital that "it's all in the Lords hands, and when He is ready for me, I'm ready to go."  He has remained his sweet, fun self through all of this and we heard from both doctors and nurses how much they love him.  :)
So, he has signed on to hospice.  He came home Friday and at the moment is feeling pretty good other than the tiredness he's been dealing with.  We don't know how long we have, but are going to do our best to enjoy this time with him. 
Your prayers are appreciated as we go through this.  We've been anticipating it for some time, but it's still hard.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Cooking Thursday

Today's recipe is for cupcakes.  This is a recipe that was popular when I was a kid - lots of years ago.  I haven't made them for some time, but they are just as good as they used to be.  (Chocolate and cream cheese is always a winner - and you don't have to frost them!)
This recipe makes 36 cupcakes, but they freeze really well.

Topsy Turvy Cupcakes
Mix together:
2 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Beat, then stir in 12 ounces chocolate chips.  Set aside.

Stir together:
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
2/3 cup oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Beat until well mixed.  Fill cupcakes 1/2 of chocolate mix.  Top with one tablespoon of cream cheese mix.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Makes 36 cupcakes

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Monday, June 13, 2022

Sweet neighbor girls

 We have some sweet little neighbor girls.  They are 7 and 8.  I've shared things about them in the past.  They love to talk to us when we're outside, and they talk a lot!  They have chickens and show the little chicks to us.  They often ask me to take their pictures with the chickens.  :)
Lately, they've started leaving little gifts on the front porch for us. Often,we see them trying to sneak past the front window to leave things at the door.

On this day there were notes, candy, flowers and some stones they collected on a trip out west last year.

A few days later there were more notes and some $1 and $2 bills.  I snuck that money back to their parents.  :)

One day after school the door bell rang and the 7 year old said she painted us a picture at school.

and more notes!

Last Saturday Bob was transplanting some things and I was working inside, when I saw this scene in the back yard.

They even went and got some gardening gloves so they could help him.

And here they are helping replant.
They told him to just call them anytime he needed help.  :)
He said his ears were tired, but I know he enjoyed every moment!
And we love having these little sweeties next door!

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Schoolhouse tour

 I think old one room school houses are so charming and interesting.  When I see one, I often stop and take pictures.  So, I was excited when I saw that my county was having a tour of one room schoolhouses.  They would all be open, with the chance to wander around outside, but then to go inside and check them out.  This was set up by some historical societies and was even free, although they were collecting donations which would be applied to the upkeep and restoration of the buildings.  There were 6 school houses on the tour, and Bob and I went to all 6.  I have pictures of 5.  The one not pictured was built in 1956, about the time the others were closing and didn't even look like a school house.
I'll show you the other 5 though and will end with my favorite.

This is the South Evergreen School house which is not too far from my house. It was built in 1867, but was only purchased  as a historical landmark about 5 years ago.

They've done a good job at starting the restoration, and hope to get more authentic pieces to add.

They actually have the original outhouse out back!

This is the Pigeon Creek School house.  It was built in 1878.

This is another schoolhouse that is just beginning restoration, but they have the original wood stove.  The wood floors are also original.

This is the Ottawa Station Schoolhouse.  It was built in 1867.

This is the DeWitt School House, built in 1891.  This one had people in costume to add to the old feel.

The school teacher was waiting for us at the door.

This was a flag from the school, with only 46 stars.

Last, but not least is the New Groningen School House, built in 1891. It's the only one built of brick.  This brick was made in the area, so there are more houses and buildings with this look.

Another teacher waiting for us.

This is also the only school house with 2 rooms.  On the right was the primary learning room, on the left, a grammar room. (I don't know what they did in the grammer room.) The partition in the middle could be folded back to make one big room for programs.  The cord you see in the upper right of the photo is to the school bell.  It's still up there and still rings.

This school house is in Holland, MI, where most of the people were Dutch Immigrants, so there are wooden shoes.

I had Bob stand next to this desk so you could see how small it is.  There were desks for kids of all ages.

Here is a school photo from 1935.

We really enjoyed this tour.  Hope you liked this step back in time with me!