Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labor Day Fun

We were off bright and early to Fremont this morning for the annual Kosakowski golf and BBQ Labor Day outing.  Many thanks to my Aunt MaryAnn for keeping the kiddos for the day so I could actually join the golfing festivities.  (No, I'm not a big  golfer, but it was so much fun to get to go along for the day. And I definitely didn't wow anyone, but I wasn't a complete embarrassment to my team.  Thank goodness for scrambles - and Sean!)  And thanks to my Mom for having everyone over after for the scrumptious BBQ.  Was glad to see some extended family and my siblings as well.  Sarah made the trip up from Cinci and not only did she spoil the kids rotten with some back to school clothes (and boots I may seriously never get off the Bean) but she snagged us a couple of Cinci treats for Ohio week!  All in all, it was one fabulous day!

One last day before school starts and the official start to Ohio week tomorrow!  Until then...

I scrambled with Mom, Sarah and the master golfer himself, Sean
One of the other scrambles teams (Dudley, Shell, Ali and Scott) - we had 5 teams total but my team teed off first and I didn't get pictures of the others

Sarah showing how to properly use a pitching wedge

Mikayla's new boots from Aunt Sarah

What happens when Grant golfs 18 holes with my Dad - rumor has it a case of beer was consumed by their team...  Seconds before I snapped this picture he had the sticker sheet over his head and was asleep

Grandma got a really cool styrofoam glider plane they got to play with

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hail to the Victors!

It's no secret that if you cut me my blood runs maize and blue.  (with a thick stripe of Tiger orange and a streak of Lions Hawaiian blue of course)  I have been counting down the days for weeks now to get us to this one - the season opener of my beloved Wolverines!  My boys didn't disappoint today (thank goodness as I was having flashbacks to seven years ago and what happened with Appalachian State) and gave me a touch of hope for the rest of the season.  So glad to see Farmington Hills native Devin Funchess go the distance with 3 TD's today!  And even though it didn't pan out, had to giggle as Navy gave Ohio State a serious run for their money until about the fourth quarter.

But there was more around here than football today (a Tigers doubleheader, duh!  Just kidding, more than that, too).  This morning Noah and I went off to do his back to school shopping.  The kid can NOT stop talking about how excited he is for school to start.  He keeps saying "I wish it were Tuesday."  God, if you're listening right now, can you make sure that he carries this same attitude for the next 12 years?  I'd be super appreciative!  He and I had a blast at Krispy Kreme for breakfast (his request) and then shopping for his clothes and supplies.  I had a bit of a "mom" moment as he was in the dressing room by himself thinking that it wasn't all that long ago that he needed me for every little thing and now he's picking out his own clothes.  Not going to get all sappy here, but *sigh*

We made it home just after kick off and while we watched I made these Berliner Kransers.  I was intrigued by a recipe for a cookie that started with hard boiled egg yolks and decided I had to try my hand at these.  I did make up the dough last night and stuck to the rolling out today.  If you've ever had those cookies they usually put out around Christmas in the blue tin, these are similar.  The crew LOVE them.  If you do want to try them, my only tip would be to let the dough sit out at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before you try to roll them into shape, though.  I found it really tough to work with at first (I actually made about half the cookies as just sticks as opposed to the loops) but easier as it warmed just a touch.

This afternoon we went to mass and now Grant took the kids to a special dinner out and a viewing of "How To Train Your Dragon II"  He said since I got to spoil them a bit yesterday it was his turn :-p  I'll be thankful for the few hours of quiet where I can get some things done because the next week is going to be CRAZY!  Probably no post tomorrow since we're heading to Fremont and won't be back 'til late, but check us out on Monday for our official kick-off to my second favorite state.  (Except for their sports teams.  No good sports teams came out of Ohio.  Ever.)  So until then...

North Dakota Fun Fact of the Day:  In 1982 Rutland went into the "Guinness Book of World Records" with the cooking and eating of the World's Largest Hamburger -- 3591 pounds.

He got one fresh out of the fryer

Taking it all in

A football donut in honor of the game

Had to show us the inside

Me and my favorite little boy EVER

Trying on his outfit for the first day

He got to try the claw game (and was devastated when he didn't win...)

Take note - on game day we even only use maize and blue plates and utensils

Berliner Kranser

Friday, August 29, 2014

One Last Hurrah

Earlier in the week I looked at my planner and my stomach fell to my toes when I realized this was the LAST week of summer vacation.  I know most parents are WAY past ready for the kiddos to go back (and don't get me wrong, I have my fair share of those moments!) but we have had such an awesome summer that I wasn't quite ready for it to end yet.  Having both members of my Dynamic Duo has kept me on my toes and all of us busy.  We've had a summer full of trips (Cinci, Michigan road trip and Georgia!) sports (Reds, Tigers, Mud Hens and even some Michigan soccer!), friends (park outings, play dates here, fun at the mall or the other cities, concerts, the zoo!) and of course, states! (I think North Carolina may be my favorite of the summer, though I was fond of all the fun stuff in Jersey, too!)

So I decided that today would be one last day of fun filled adventure for just the three of us.  I had been invited earlier in the week to join some friends at a place called Kids Just Gotta Play.  It's, in short, a play structure and related products showroom.  But they have a fun twist!  For a small fee, the kiddos can play on ALL the equipment ALL day.  So trampolines, slides, climbing walls, basketball hoops, swings - you name it, it was there.  Some of our friends joined us and the kids had an awesome morning bouncing, climbing, sliding and playing together.  I would definitely take them back (the play time is only during the week, though) and I would definitely recommend it to other families with active kiddos.

We had to get some more fun in, so on the way home we stopped and they got to pick whatever they wanted for lunch and then we came home for a picnic viewing of "Free Willy."  (Mikayla claims this is her new favorite movie and she wants a whale.  I told her maybe next summer)  I even sprang for dirt for dessert :)  It was fabulous.  So while I'm sad to wrap it up, I know we went out in epic style.

While the kids were absorbed in the movie I managed to get the North Dakota scrapbook page done and prep up tonight's dinner of Fleischkuechle (pronounced flesh-keek-luh).  Yes, another German dish from North Dakota, imagine that!  The dish rates a wikipedia article (with a North Dakota mention) but is basically a meat pie that is deep fried. A couple of reviews I read on the recipe from people in North Dakota specifically mentioned they were ONLY to be served with ketchup and pickles and to not even think about adding cheese.  Well OK, then!  (Also, like many of the reviews and based on the other research I did, I flattened mine, I didn't make them like the picture on the recipe)  Once I got them hang of putting them together they were a breeze.  A further word to the wise, if you don't get them sealed all the way make sure you poke a few holes in them right when they come out of the fryer to let any grease drain out before you eat them.  With it I got one more sunflower recipe in with Crunchy Sunflower Coleslaw. (Mostly for my Noah, who loves coleslaw!)  And if you need one more North Dakota recipe, I had planned on making this Piereth Pie but I knew we'd be hard pressed to eat the whole thing and decided to just skip it.  We still need to finish the chippers!

We spent the afternoon getting out all kinds of toys and just having fun.  The Bean was all into her nail sticker book and they were both having quite the engineering adventure with some big blocks.  Me - I was enjoying standing back and watching them work together.  Mostly - hehe

Tomorrow morning NJ and I are heading out for breakfast (he's requested Krispy Kreme, the kid is hooked) and then shopping for his supplies and first day of school outfit.  It's kind of a "Mom and Kid" tradition around here, and I'm looking forward to it.  That is, as long as we make it home by noon.  Because tomorrow is the official start of my FAVORITE time of the year - College Football season!  My Wolverines take on Appalachian State tomorrow in their season opener.  Can't wait!  Then we're hoping to make it to Mass and Grant is wanting to take the kids to see "How to Train Your Dragon II"  Bright and early Sunday morning we're off to the 'Mont for the annual golf tournament and BBQ which we've been excited about.  Then Monday is Labor Day and our official kick off of Ohio week and then Tuesday school starts.  Ah, crazy!  It'll be busy, so until then...

North Dakota Fun Fact of the Day:  Jamestown boasts the world’s largest buffalo at 26 feet tall and 36 feet long and weighs some sixty tons.   (Again, this is what I had to work with during North Dakota week...)

North Dakota wall!

Everybody bounce!

Can you spy a Bean?

Lunch time

Eating dirt

Complete with worms

Got the scrapbook page done

Kayla playing with her sticker book

Building time

Crunchy Sunflower Coleslaw

An shot of the inside - Grant probably best described it as eating a deep fried burger

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chippers Off the Old Block

Another full day at the Gatchel's, imagine that!  I don't have a lot to report as I spent the majority of my day at PTA stuff.  The kids and I hit the park with some of my lovely ladies from MOPS this morning (where I got some stellar insight from Missy about parenting in general - thank goodness for the awesome moms I have in my life!).  Then the Bean helped me make these awesome Widman's Chippers.  Widman's Candy Shop in Grand Forks, North Dakota is famous for these chocolate covered potato chips that were the perfect sweet treat for our dinner of Butterball Soup and Sunflower Corn Bread.  German Butterball Soup is a recipe that Russian German immigrants introduced to the Great Plains. The butterballs are made with stale bread and butter.  And of course, North Dakota is the first (or second depending on the year) leading producer of sunflowers which we've had plenty of around here this week!  Probably wouldn't run out and make the butterball soup again (just for the record) but when in North Dakota...  Grant took the kiddos to the bubble event at the mall today (and I hear ice cream) while I attended the pospsicle party for the new kindergarten students. (And got to meet Noah's new teacher!)  They did get their coloring pages done today and I'll give you one guess as to what they thought North Dakota was all about.

One last day of just the three of us tomorrow and am hoping to do something really fun with the kiddos!  So until then...

North Dakota Fun Fact of the Day:  The International Peace Garden straddles the international Boundary between North Dakota and the Canadian province of Manitoba. It honors the long friendship between the two nations.This 2,300-acre garden plants 100,000 flowers annually and features a Peace Chapel as well as an 18-foot floral clock.

Our bath bombs were ready!

They were excited

So of course we had to try them out

They didn't fizz quite as much as we'd hoped, but they were still fun

Making some chippers!


Working on their coloring pages

Sunflower Corn Bread (really wouldn't consider this a cornbread by any stretch of the imagination, but good anyway)

Noah's North Dakota - Mr. Bubble, Sacajawea on the right and then the blue is the alien sculpture he would make to add to the Enchanted Highway

Mikayla's North Dakota - Lewis and Clark on the right, then Mr. Bubble (the pink) and Sacajawea on the left

Butterball soup!