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Posts Tagged ‘Family’


I'm thankful we could all spend a few days together last week. Meg, Jim, and Drew came down the day after Thanksgiving and spent the following week with us. Those of us who live in the area had to start back to work but tried to arrange our schedules to spend as much time as possible with them while they were here. It almost seemed like Christmas vacation to me because we had big family dinners and played games in the evening.

We also spent a lot of time playing with Drew. Here are a few pictures showing some of our activities:

Drew loves this library book about Thomas the train.

picture of Drew Reading Thomas

Rob loved reading to Drew.

picture of Drew and Poppy Reading

Megan and Jim love reading too.

picture of Megan Reading

picture of Jim Reading

Drew hasn't quite gotten the concept of aunts and uncles yet. He calls Katie Uncle Katie. Here she is reading to him and Mark.

picture of Drew, Katie, and Mark

Nora is a nanny and she brought Samuel over one morning to play with Drew and the trains.

picture of Nora, Samuel, and Drew

Since we had a houseful of people here for meals I was able to pull out some recipes that I rarely make for just the two of us. I made this Cornbread Casserole one evening and several family members asked for the recipe so I thought I'd post it here for them. I originally got this recipe from a radio program on WMUU (a local Christian radio station) many years ago. Barbara R. was the hostess of the program and Willie T., one of the announcers who pastors a local church gave the recipe. He said that a lady from his church would always bring it to church dinners and there was never any left. We ate it up before I could take a picture.

Cornbread Casserole
1 batch cornbread (recipe follows)
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. oil or butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 egg
a pinch of sage or poultry seasoning
2 cups of chicken broth
1-2 cups of chopped cooked chicken or turkey

Saute the onion and celery in the oil or melted butter until the vegetables are tender. Crumble cornbread. Combine with other ingredients in a greased crockpot. Cook on high for 2 hours or low for about 4 hours. (You could also bake this in the oven at 350 degrees for about an hour.)
Makes 5-6 servings, depending on appetites.

Basic Cornbread
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsps. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup cornmeal
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil

Stir together dry ingredients. Mix together milk, eggs, and oil and then stir into the dry ingredients just until they are moistened. Pour into a greased and floured 9" cake pan and bake at 425 degrees for about 20 mins or until cornbread tests done.



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St. Louis

After we left Michigan we headed west to St. Louis. Drew was a good little traveler, although Megan did work hard to keep him entertained.

picture of low visibility

We started our trip in the pouring rain, but eventually the weather cleared and we had a pleasant drive. We arrived at supper time and went to Rob's Aunt Janet's house where she had prepared a very nice supper for us. We visited for awhile and then headed to our hotel for the evening. We were very thankful that Drew fell asleep without too much difficulty considering we were all sharing a room.

The next morning (Sunday) we picked up Aunt Janet and headed to Godfrey, Illinois, just across the river to Faith Baptist Church, pastored by Tom Olney. The people there gave us a warm welcome and we enjoyed a very good sermon on the importance of words in our lives. After the service there was a dinner on the grounds and we were invited! We enjoyed a delicious meal and met a number of people from the church, including the mother of a guy we went to college with.

After lunch we headed back to Aunt Janet's to change clothes and then drove out to her son, Jeff's house. When we last saw Jeff he was a young teenager. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting Jeff's lovely wife, Donna and their two children, Joe and Danielle. Janet's daughter, Jody, and her husband, Karl, and their two children Makenzie and Connor also came and we really enjoyed seeing Jody again and meeting Karl and the children. The children kept Drew entertained and the adults were able to visit.

picture of Jody Jan Jeff

picture of Liebmans

picture of Schmitzes

Jeff grilled some meats and the ladies prepared some side dishes to make up a delicious supper for us. Donna prepared what we learned is a St. Louis favorite: Gooey Butter Cake. Here is her recipe:

Gooey Butter Cake
1 box Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix
1 egg
1 stick margarine, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 lb. powdered sugar (remove 1/4 cup and set aside)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix the dry cake mix, the egg, and the melted margarine and press into the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan.
With a fork prick a line about 1/2" in from the sides of the pan to make a border and then prick the crust all over inside the line. (This enables the crust to puff up around the edges.) Set the crust aside.
Use the mixer to combine the cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Pour this over the crust and then place strips of foil over the edges of the pan to prevent the edges of the dessert from getting too brown. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 mins. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Sprinkle the reserved powdered sugar over the top. (I used a small sieve.)

picture of Gooey Butter Cake

This is a very rich dessert, so cut into small pieces. I made it last week for a ladies fellowship at church and added some blueberries to the filling. It would probably also be good with fresh berries served on top. The filling is sort of custardy after baking. I found some information about the origin of this cake on Wikipedia and I also found some variations on a Paula Deen website. Have any of you ever heard of this cake?

It was kind of a cool, rainy afternoon, so we stayed indoors until after supper when the weather cleared.
After we ate Jeff and the kids all went in the pool. Danielle, very graciously, took Drew in with her and he had a wonderful time playing in the water.

picture of Drew kicking in the pool

We had such a nice visit that we hated to say goodbye, but Drew was getting pretty tired. When we went back to the hotel he was thoroughly worn out and asked to go to bed!

The next morning on our way out of St. Louis we went by the Arch so Megan and Drew could see it.

picture of Gateway Arch

We didn't have time this trip to go inside, but we did stroll through the park and take some pictures of the Arch itself.

picture of Close up of Arch

picture of Meg Drew Rob at Arch

Then we got in the car again and headed for our next destination: Kentucky


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I'll interrupt the travelogue to tell you that Megan and Drew joined us on our trek through the Midwest and then came home with us! We were delighted at this turn of events. They stayed with us until Tuesday (yesterday) when they flew home.

I made pancakes Saturday morning for our breakfast since I know this is something Drew really enjoys. It also gave me a chance to try out the griddle on my new stove. It worked like a charm. Drew had plain pancakes, but the rest of us ate pancakes containing blueberries from the garden. Here are some pancakes on the griddle:

picture of Pancakes

Here's the recipe for the pancakes. It's a really good recipe from an old Farm Journal cookbook.

Favorite Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsps. sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
2 Tbsps. melted butter or oil

Stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl.

In another bowl combine the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter or oil.

Combine the two mixtures by stirring just enough to moisten the flour. Do not over mix.

The batter may still be a bit lumpy. This is a thick batter. If you prefer a thinner batter you can add a bit more buttermilk, but in my humble opinion it makes perfect pancakes!

Bake on a lightly greased griddle (I grease it by holding a partially unwrapped stick of butter or margarine and running it over the hot griddle.) Dip batter by 1/4 cup measure. Turn when the bubbles on the top of the pancakes start to break and the top loses some of its shine. This amount will make enough for about four people with average appetites.

For the blueberry variation just drop a few berries on the pancakes while you are cooking the first side. You can also add chopped banana, nuts, well drained cherries, chocolate chips, etc.

Here's a picture of our little pancake eater:

picture of Drew eating pancakes

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Next stop, Fostoria

After leaving my aunts and cousin in Findlay, Ohio, Rob and I headed to the home of his sister, Deb, and brother-in-law, Dan. We spent a couple of days there, including July 3rd, which is Rob's mother's birthday.

picture of Deb and Dan

We always have fun with Deb and Dan and this trip was no exception. One evening we drove out to a couple of the local reservoirs which have hiking trails around them and strolled around the res being careful to avoid the geese which were protecting their goslings.

We also got to go next door and meet one of my faithful blog readers, Virginia.

picture of Virginia

Virginia is a delightful lady and we enjoyed a tour of her home and visiting with her. After she moved in her condo she had a woman paint a number of murals in various places which are really lovely.

Another evening we drove up to Sylvania, Ohio to visit Rob's nephew Jason and his wife Stacy and their three children Bella, Amelia, and Alec. Stacy prepared us a delicious dinner and we had a great time talking with them and playing with the children, who were very entertaining.

picture of Jason, Stacy, and Alec

picture of Bella and Amelia

Rob's mom lives in a nursing home in Bowling Green, Ohio. Here's a picture of her, Rob, and Deb.

picture of Rob, Mom, Deb

She spent the day of her birthday in Fostoria where Deb and Dan prepared her a special birthday dinner of Fish Cakes (similar to Salmon Patties) and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. They have a boat up on Lake Erie that they use for fishing. They are quite good at catching the fish and thus have an ample supply of Walleye and Perch in their freezer. Here's the recipe for the Fish Cakes:

Fish Cakes
1/2 lb. white fish, cooked
1 cup cooked wild rice
3 eggs
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup shredded white cheese, such as Monterrey Jack or parmesan
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 sleeve of saltine crackers

Cook the fish in a small amount of water about 5 minutes or until it flakes easily. (Deb added a bit of creole seasoning to the water when she cooked hers). Cool. In a large bowl combine the fish, mayonnaise, rice, onion, garlic, and cheese. Add eggs and mix with a fork. Add seasonings and crushed saltines. Form into cakes and fry in a small amount of oil in a skillet for 2-3 mins. per side. (I have found that it helps to form the mixture into a ball shape and place on waxed paper for about 30 mins. then place the ball into the hot oil in the skillet and flatten it with your spatula. This helps the pattie stick together.)

These were very tasty and I hope to try them sometime with Tilapia since neither Rob nor I are fishermen.

Stay tuned until next time when we continue our adventure of eating our way across the Midwest!

Next destination: Warren, MI

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Road Trip

We have been on a road trip for a couple weeks visiting family and friends. I decided I needed to take a few posts to tell about our travels. We left home and headed up Interstate 77 to visit my sister and brother-in-law and their son, Zack, in Ohio. Here's a picture of Zack and his girlfriend, Abi.

picture of Zack and Abi

We normally travel up I-75 on the other side of the state. We found I-77 to be much less heavily traveled and we had a very enjoyable drive up. We were entertained in the car by listening to a mystery on CD's from the library.

We arrived at the Campbell home in time for supper and spent an enjoyable evening and early morning the next day with them before they had to leave for work and we headed out on the next leg of our journey.

We drove across Ohio on route 30, which also was not at all congested. We headed to Findlay, Ohio to visit my Aunt Nana and Aunt Rose, who are my dad's sisters.

picture of Nana and Rose

We were very happy that my cousin, Diane, who lives and works in Brazil, was also there visiting. Aunt Nana provided a delicious lunch for us, and we had a pleasant time conversing and learning more about Diane's life and work in South America, where she has lived for over thirty years. Here is a picture of Diane and me.

picture of Diane Bechtel

In my next post I'll tell about our next destination. Stay tuned.


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