Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hail to the VICTORS!



University of Michigan Football.  


Even more perfect - a U of M win!  A HUGE win at that.  (OK, against Central Michigan, perhaps nothing to get overly worked up about.  But need I say scary things like Appalachian State???)  Hoke improves his home record to 15-0, Gardner looked good (gotta work on those interceptions though, Devin.  ND isn't going to let us get away with that) Gallon, Touissant, Delio - glad to see you again.  And our hometown Farmington pride, Funchess, mad props!  Green - welcome aboard, lovin' ya already!

OK, enough gushing from me.  Though I am SOOOOO glad my boys in maize and blue are back.  Fall Saturdays are the best.  *sigh* So content.

Before the big game, though, Noah and I were off today to do his school shopping.  We started with a yummy lunch at Panera (Can you believe I've gone all summer without having the Strawberry Chicken Poppyseed salad?  Could NOT let that happen and Noah was thrilled to get to go to lunch just the two of us)  We even dined al fresco as it is National Eat Outside Day.  We managed to get him his first day outfit, lunchbox and other supplies, so I guess he's ready :)  I even let him pick out a 'special lunch' box for Tuesday.  Ready or not, kindergarten, here comes Noah Gatchel!.

It's also National Trail Mix Day, so I made some yummy trail mix bars that we feasted on as a snack this morning and again during the game.  And of course, we had quite the feast during the game, complete with U of M jello jigglers.  Decked out in all of our gear you would have thought the University of Michigan exploded in my living room, lol.  Have I mentioned how excited I am that football season is back?

Right now we're getting things packed up to head out early tomorrow morning and watching the Tigers take on the Indians.  A Tigers win tonight will make this just about a perfect day I'm thinking.

I'm also posting pictures of my cherry popover muffins for tomorrow since I'm not sure I'll be posting tomorrow.  I will have my computer, but not exactly sure what the day will look like, so in case I don't say so tomorrow- Happy National Cherry Popover Day (on Sunday).  My popovers didn't pop as much as I wanted them to, but I suspect that has something to do with the fact that I had to use cherry pie filling as opposed to fresh cherries (again!) since I still couldn't find any fresh cherries.  Oh well, it's the intent, right.

Alright, things to do!  GO BLUE!

Happy National Trail Mix Day

 Ready for lunch

 Think I might need to print this one out :)

 Ham & Swiss on Rye!

 Block M jello - love it!

 Let's Go Blue!

 Tomorrow starts "National Waffle Week" and I decided to get a jump on the celebrating. Today during the game we had Pizza Waffles!  I used my homemade pizza dough in the waffle maker to make this tasty dinner

Cherry Popovers without much pop

Friday, August 30, 2013


We just got back from what will most likely be our final trip to the sprayground for the season.  It closes officially on Monday.  *Sigh*  Guess I should see this as yet another sign that a change is a comin'...

The kiddos and I decided to celebrate the last Friday of the summer in style today by doing one last Kid Kitchen complete with today's celebration food - toasted marshmallows!  And honestly, is there anything that says toasted marshmallows more than 'smores?  I know we already celebrated 'smores a couple of weeks ago, so we decided to make them with a bit of a twist.  Bring on our newest creation - Smoreo Brownies!

Graham Cracker Crust
Gooey brownie from scratch goodness
More gooey brownie
Toasty crunchy marshmallows


Not only did the kiddos and I have fun making these (Noah really like pressing down the graham cracker crust and since we used half and half oreos enjoyed making a pattern of white and black stripes with the oreos) but honestly, best brownie ever.

We're also working on getting everything in order with their school supplies so this afternoon Mikayla and I made the colored rice that she needs to take with her on Tuesday when she meets with Mrs. Porto.  I'll give you one guess as to what color Mikayla insisted the rice be.  Her Cinderella bookbag is all loaded up and ready for Tuesday.

Tomorrow Noah and I are going to do lunch and his school shopping and then it's back here for (dramatic pause) MICHIGAN FOOTBALL!!!!!  Oh my, I've only been waiting seven months to type that again :)  Fall Saturdays are my absolute favorite and I'm so looking forward to the game tomorrow.  Plus it usually means spending part of the day playing in my kitchen creating some fun fare, so it should be a great day.  I just finished making our block M jello jigglers and there's been a request for pizzas, so sounds like it'll be quite the party here!  Then Sunday we're headed off to the 'Mont for golf and a BBQ.  Planning on staying overnight in order to get to see Sarah for a little while (Aunt Sarah, if you're reading this I have specifically NOT touched Mikayla's bangs in anticipation of seeing you, lol) and then back here on Monday to regroup before our VERY BIG DAY on Tuesday.  Trail mix tomorrow, too.  So until then...

This makes me just smile

 Pressing down the graham crust

 Waiting for the butter to melt for the brownies

 Very careful

 Mixing up the brownie batter

 Noah's oreo pattern

 Ready for the oven and some toasting

 Yep, tasted as good as it looks!

 Mikayla making up her rice

Kudos to you if you guessed it'd be pink ;-)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chopped Lemons

We've met the teacher!  I guess it's really going to happen - Tuesday Noah is going to kindergarten.  Ready or not world, here he comes!!

Today was the big New Student Tour and Popsicle Party at Beechview.  Mrs. Burkmyre seems wonderful and ready to take on this year's kindergarten class come Tuesday.  Noah was thrilled to finally meet her and some of his other classmates.  The PTA (including yours truly) even hosted a popsicle party on the playground for the new students to get to know each other.  Not only did Noah get to meet some of his classmates but I got a chance to meet some new parents as well.  Is it possible that I'm just as nervous about that aspect of it as Noah is about his first day?  Changes are a 'comin, people!

I'm attempting to shake off a terrible migraine right now so going to keep this short.  Happy National Chop Suey Day and Happy National Lemon Juice Day.  (Seriously Mr. national food picker, can we come up with some better combinations?)  I had quite a good time making chop suey for the first time ever this evening and it was well received.  We also had a lemon pudding cake for dessert made with fresh squeezed lemon juice.  I made this last night, and for the first time ever used my new mixer to form 'stiff peaked egg whites.'  Oh my goodness, who know what a difference a stand mixer would make for this!

Alright, I'm off to make some lasagna roll-ups, get some work done and maybe put a little time in on the state project tonight.  Maybe.  Have a couple of school related things that need to be tackled and if we're heading to Fremont over the weekend have to figure out my food celebrations for the first few days of September.  Never a dull moment, I tell ya ;-)  We've decided to do one last Kid Kitchen of the summer tomorrow and take on some toasted marshmallows.  Should be fun :)  Until then...

Too cute for words

 Happy National Chop Suey Day

Lemon Pudding Cake (the top of this is fluffy, almost like a sponge cake and the bottom is more like a pudding consistency.  Really yummy)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Turnin' Over Some Cherries

Pretty uneventful day around here at the Gatchel's.  The kiddos and I ended up heading over to Catalpa Oak Park this morning to check it out.  It is the same place the marshmallow drop is held, but since then they've re-done the entire playground area.  Super nice!  Even better - there was NO ONE else there.  Noah and Kayla got to be King and Queen of the playground for a good 45 minutes before anyone else even showed up.

Happy National Cherry Turnover Day.  I have to say that I think I may have resorted to Plan about F to make today's cherry turnovers.  Three grocery stores turned up no fresh cherries this week, believe it or not.  I thought Michigan was supposed to be done of the largest cherry producing states in the nation, what gives?!?!  So my original plan to make some delicious turnovers with fresh cherries was a flop.  So was my desire to make fresh pastry crust, then.  It is ridiculously humid here today and I did not enjoy the thought of attempting to nicely roll out pastry dough to make turnovers without it sticking to everything in sight.


I cheated.

I used cherry pie filling.  And pre-made crescent rolls.  Total cheat, but cherry turnovers none the less.  Honestly, frustrated as I was about the problems I kept running into, it's a wonder I didn't just go out and buy a box of cherry pop-tarts and call it a day.  Regardless, everyone here loved them.  I wish I had gotten a picture of Mikayla post-cherry turnover...

The big Meet the Teacher and Popsicle Party is at school tomorrow for Noah, so we're all gearing up for that.  It's also my big first PTA event.  And we're going to be celebrating chop suey.  And lemon juice.  Odd, I know, but so what else is new around here ;-)  Until then...

The new playground area at Catalpa Oaks Park in Southfield

 Kinda love his picture :)

Not pretty, but cherry turnovers none the less (complete with a powdered sugar glaze)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


 I just returned from another one of those bittersweet 'mom-ventures'; school shopping with my Bean.  On Saturday we got the official word that Mikayla will be in Mrs. Porto's class (yay!!!!!!!!!!!) and with it came her school supply list.  She has to bring her supplies with her to her meeting next Tuesday, so off we went this evening.

When Noah started school Grant and I decided that we'd make school shopping a big deal.  It is a Mama and Kiddo solo outing where they get to go for a meal/treat, pick out a special outfit for the first day of school and get all the supplies on their list.  I loved both my trips with Noah as it was the perfect chance for me to spend some one on one time and let him know exactly how proud of him I am.  Going to school should be a big deal!  Something to celebrate.  Plus we discussed what going to school would be like, eased any fears and talked about the adventures he'd have.

So this evening Kayla and I headed out to do the same.  She told me she wanted a pink dress with butterflies for her first day outfit and because I'm super mom (hehe) we found it.  She's thrilled.  She also 'graduated' to getting her own personal hair brush and comb with a whole new box of hair supplies.  We also managed to check everything off her list and load up her book bag when we got home.  And because no celebration is complete without a treat, we stopped for slurpees on the way home :)

I discovered there is no fear in my baby girl about school she is just excited.  She already knows what is going on, when she needs to be there and exactly what she's going to learn.  I think she's ready!  I don't know if I'm ready, but she is.  And I'll get there, right?

In other news today, it is International Banana Lover's Day and National Pots de Creme Day.  I have had some bananas set aside for a few days to turn into my cake mix banana bread in muffin form.  (I had some cookies and cream cake mix that I'd be dying to use just for this purpose!)  I had just popped them in the oven yesterday afternoon when I got a post on facebook from my Mother In Law, Caren, with a picture of the most adorable monkey cupcakes.  Um, an actual banana lover in banana bread muffin/cupcake form - genius!  So I set aside a couple of muffins for breakfast, a few for Grant to share at work and turned three into some pretty darn cute cupcakes.  I had to improvise a bit supply wise, but I thought they came out pretty well.

I was also looking for an actual main dish to have for dinner tonight to celebrate the banana.  Ever heard of Chicken Maryland?  Yep, me neither until earlier this week.  So...

"Chicken a la Maryland is none other than famous fried chicken. This chicken Maryland recipe is a loosely adapted take on Escoffier's version in Ma Cuisine, in which he dredges the chicken in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs, and then fries it in butter. Escoffier's version, and countless others, include some form of banana garnish, because bananas were one of Baltimore's prime imports around the time this dish became popularized.  Trivia: Chicken a la Maryland, presumably prepared with a decidedly French twist, was offered on the very last menu of the doomed Titanic voyage in 1912"  (

And now you know :)  I couldn't pass up trying it out and believe it or not, everyone here really enjoyed it.  I had to encourage the kids to "be brave" upon first bite, but it ended up disappearing all around without a single arguement.  I love using popular foods around here in a whole new way.  This was super easy and I think it'll become part of my menu arsenal.

And we did pots de creme, too.  This very rich (as Noah kept saying) chocolate desserts also disappeared in the blink of an eye around here.  I'm not a huge chocolate fan, so it was way  too much for me.  Bring on something vanilla.  Or cinnamon.  Or more of those banana cookies and cream muffins, hehehe

Cherry Turnovers tomorrow.  Not sure what else is on the agenda, though.  It's raining pretty hard here right now, but if it lets up I'm hoping to spend a good chunk of the morning at a park, maybe having a picnic.  Guess we'll have to play it by ear.  But until then...

Banana Cookies N' Cream Muffins

 That is one "Banana Lover" cupcake!

 I think I'll call them "Hear No, See No, Speak No"

 We went to a concert in Northville this morning

 I think I appreciated this concert much more than the kiddos as it was a guy that did a lot of folk music.  My favorite was "The Unicorn Song" which turned into quite the conversation on the way home about why there are no unicorns.  Or monsters.

 Chicken Maryland

 Pots de Creme

View from above

Monday, August 26, 2013

Cherry Delight

Nothing beats a hot summer day more than a popsicle straight from the freezer.  So what a perfect day to celebrate National Cherry Popsicle Day!  As I mentioned yesterday, I came up with my own concoction (popsicle molds are AWESOME!) that was a mix of cherry jello, lime juice, cherry juice and maraschino cherries.  They were devoured on this steamy August evening.

Also, Mom, had to tell you that your tomatoes were awesome in the BLT Pasta salad we had for dinner.  Kayla kept saying "Grandma made these tomatoes, that makes them extra good"  Super easy to put together too - if you want the recipe to use up some of your plethora of tomatoes let me know ;-)

Typical Monday around here otherwise.  My funny of the day came with a conversation with Kayla discussing putting up the Christmas tree.  I told her I thought that perhaps it was a bit too early to do so, to which she told me "But Mom, the stores are selling Halloween stuff.  And Halloween is near Christmas, so we need to put up the tree."  Hmmm, hard to argue with that logic.  To that end, do these stores realize Halloween is still more than 2 months away?  I mean, seriously.  What happened to appreciating the moment?  Can we get through all the fun things in September and October FIRST?!?!?!  What's worse, is I know that come Tuesday (when we're officially past Labor Day) we'll be seeing tons of Christmas stuff and a countdown of shopping days, etc.  Kind of makes me want to scream.  (As I type this, anyone who followed my earlier blog will smile to note that I am specifically not calling out any stores in this rant.  No need to have any stores stalking my blog again, lol...)

We'll be loving bananas and celebrating some Pots de Creme tomorrow.  And Kayla and I are going on her school shopping spree tomorrow night, which should be an exciting adventure.  So until then..

Have I mentioned lately that I think the mailman is beginning to despise me?  This was all in my mailbox this afternoon....

 Saw this out grocery shopping this morning and couldn't resist.  LJ - aren't these awesome???

Happy National Cherry Popsicle Day

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Life's a Sour Beach

Well, we didn't end up at the Splash Park today.  Further review of the day and Grant and I discovered 1) it was to be really hot today 2) too hot to really make a whole day of being outside and 3) though the kiddos would get into the Splash Park for free with the tickets they won at the Marshmallow Drop, the cost for Grant and I to get in was WAAAAYYYY too much to only spend a couple of hours there.

Plan B.

Further investigation turned up the fact that there are a few other free splash pads like the one at Heritage Park in the 'area'  One was actually at the Lake St. Clair Metropark.  Sounded like it would be worth checking out.

Fabulous idea.

We never even made it to the splash pad as we ended up spending the whole time we were there at the Beach area.  The kiddos and Grant went 'swimming' in the lake and then we played in the sand and hung out on the beach.  There was also a pool with a huge water slide, lots of playgrounds, a mini golf course, and tons of open space.  How come we hadn't stumbled across this little gem before?  And Dad, I so thought of you;  ESPN2 was there filming the Bass Fishing Tournament that was going on!  We will definitely be heading back there again.

We got back here just in time for dinner and to celebration National Whiskey Sour Day.  While the kiddos abstained from the actual drink, I made a whiskey sour steak for dinner tonight, as well.  It got a 'meh' overall.  Mom, have to share that the hit of the meal was the yellow squash casserole I made with the squash you sent me home with the other day.  Ritz Crackers and Cheese apparently even make squash appealing around here ;-)  Wait 'til you see what I'm doing with your tomatoes tomorrow!

One more week of summer.  They're both chomping at the bit and would start tomorrow if I'd let them.  We're going to live up the last week in high style, though and enjoy every moment of being together.  Cherry popsicles (I came up with my very own version  - just put them in my freezer to set up about an hour ago, so excited!) tomorrow!  Until then...

The Bean ready for a swim

Nosey Josey, too!

 Heading down to the lake

 Filling buckets to take back to use for sand castle making

 My little architects creating

 Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour Steak