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Sunday, October 23, 2011

“Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant”

These are the words that Ron’s dad, Lester, was greeted with on September 12, 2011.  What wonderful words those were!  We know he looked forward to hearing those precious words his entire life.  

I was blessed to have this second father in my life for 22 years.  He gladly welcomed me into the family and made me feel a part of it right away.  He was always willing to help, whether it meant letting Ronnie and I live with them for a while, moving us to Dallas, hauling all of our worldly possessions to Virginia Beach, household repairs, projects with the kids or just coming to visit us wherever we lived. 

Lester and Mary traveled to each and every grandchild’s baptism and confirmation and graduation (up until this last year, when he just wasn’t strong enough to make Cameron’s graduation).  He built changing tables, toy boxes and book shelves for our kids. When I look around our house, I see his touch everywhere.  He ripped up the carpet on our basement stairs and replaced it with hard flooring and slip strips.  He replaced the old linoleum floor in my kitchen with laminate wood flooring.  floor005He helped re-side our house.  He spent 6 weeks here helping to build our daycare.  He helped rake our leaves, clean our garage, and clean up after chopped down trees.  He helped Cameron build a rocket launcher for a school project. 

making launcher3

He traveled to Iowa for several Christmas and Easter celebrations.

Grandpa and Grandma look in their basket

We spent many happy summer vacations in Canada.  Grandpa was always easily spotted in his Orange Tide cap, and he was always more than happy to give the kids a boat ride!



He was always up for a game of cards or Dominoes.  Many, many hours were spent around a table with a deck or two of cards, or tiles for dominoes.


Lester enjoyed travelling and he was an active member of his church.  He had a strong, solid, unshakable faith, that was easily evident in all he said and did.  He was an encourager and supporter of his children (and their spouses), and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.   Even though we are all spread out, Lester and Mary managed to attend various activities and events of all of the grandchildren.    He loved his family and was very proud of all of us.  He didn’t hesitate to let us know that we’d done a good job, and I know that all of my kids heard some form of the words “Good job…that was nice…I’m proud of you!” from him. 




Grandkids…although there are a couple of changes from this 2009 picture.


The family…again…with a few changes.

My kids have been SO blessed with a rich heritage of faith and family that they received from their grandfathers.  They were both solid, sure and steady men who were secure in their salvation, and took great pride in their families.  My prayer is that my own children will carry on, and continue to build on that foundation that their grandpas started, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds it all together.

Lester will be remembered for so many things…his work ethic, his story telling, his jokes and sense of humor, his steady influence, his solid faith in Christ and his love for his church and his family.  His passing has left a hole in our hearts, but we are praising God for the gift of faith that Lester was given at his baptism when his parents brought him to the font as an infant.  (Lester was one of those rare folks in our world who was baptized, confirmed, married and buried at the same little white country church).   Because of that faith, we are secure in the knowledge that there is a glorious reunion awaiting us all in heaven…that day that WE all look forward to…when it is OUR turn to hear those words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Friday, July 29, 2011

(As Good as) Chipotle Rice Bowl

It was what was for supper tonight.  And it was SOOOO yummy.  It (sadly) disappeared without me taking a picture, though. 

OK, now that I have it all written out, it LOOKS like a complicated meal, but really…it isn’t!  It took me less than an hour to get it all together, (and much of that hour was letting the steak marinade!)

The first step is deciding whether you want a chicken bowl or a beef bowl.  We had steak tonight, and wow…it was REALLY great.  I’ll give instructions for both.


  • juice of a lime (or about 2 T. of bottled lime juice)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (I prefer olive)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2-3/4 t. cumin
  • 1 chopped/minced jalapeno (we use seeds and all…if you don’t want it at all spicy, remove the seeds and ribs)
  • 1/4 c or so of chopped cilantro

Combine marinade ingredients and pour/rub over thawed steaks.  Let them sit for an hour or so.  Then grill til desired doneness.  Cut into fajita slices or bite sized chunks.  (I used sirloin steaks…grilled til just a little pink in the middle.)  That steak was AWESOME!


Rub some thawed chicken breasts with taco seasoning OR chicken fajita seasoning, OR a mixture (to taste…start with a t. each of cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic salt, oregano).  Grill til done.  Chunk into bite sized pieces.


Drain a can or two of black beans.  Add in 1/4-1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable broth.  For each can of beans, add 1/2 to 1 t. each of cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper.  Heat through.


Open a can or bag of corn and heat it up.


  • 2 T. olive oil or butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (not instant) rice
  • 2 cups liquid (water, chicken broth, vegetable broth)
  • 1-2 T. lime juice (more or less, depending on how “limey” you want it
  • 1/4-1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Heat the oil (butter) in saucepan.  Add garlic and rice and saute for 2-3 minutes (don’t let the garlic burn)  Add liquid and lime juice.  Cover and cook, following directions for the rice (usually around 20 minutes).  When it’s done, (taste for lime flavor…if you want more, add a bit more lime juice), add chopped cilantro and stir to combine.

PIONEER WOMAN’S PICO DE GALLO (click link for step by step photos!)

  • 5 whole Plum (roma) Tomatoes
  • 1/2 whole Large (or 1 Small) Onion
  • 3 whole Jalapeno Peppers
  • Cilantro
  • Lime Juice
  • Salt To Taste
Pico de Gallo:
Chop jalapenos, tomatoes and onions into a very small dice. (Leave seeds in your jalapenos for a hotter pico). Adjust amount of jalapenos to your preferred temperature. Next, chop up a nice-sized bunch of cilantro. Just remove and discard the long leafless stems before chopping. No need to remove the leaves from the stems completely. Place all of these ingredients together in a bowl and give it a good stir.

Squeeze the juice of half of one lime into the bowl. Add salt to taste and stir again.

OK…then you just put it all together!

Add rice to a plate or bowl.  Top with steak or chicken, and add a spoonful or two of black beans, a spoonful or 2 of corn, a spoonful or two of Pico…or salsa.  Add some cheese and sour cream if you’d like. 

Some in our family prefer to eat this in a tortilla, others just eat it with a spoon or fork.  YUM!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Yogurt and Cream Fruit Sauce

Do you know The Pioneer Woman?  If not, you should really sit down and take a few minutes (or rather…a few hours!) and browse through her blog and get to know her.  She has an easy to understand photography section on her  site, and I love to read her stories of ranching life, but far and away my favorite section of her site is The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  Many of her recipes have become family favorites at OUR house.  Her cinnamon rolls are out of this world, and Marlboro Man’s Favorite Sandwich is AMAZING, and her Pico de Gallo and Guacamole recipes are staples around here in the summer.  Holiday Bacon Appetizers?  YUM!  And OOOH…the Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies…out of this WORLD! 

But here is the one we are enjoying tonight…over fresh blueberries, strawberries and peaches…You really MUST try this very soon!  It really couldn’t be easier!

Yogurt Cream and Berries (From Pioneer Woman Cooks)

  • 1 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 c. plain yogurt
  • 1/2-3/4 c. brown sugar (I usually go with the 3/4 cup)

Whisk together the cream and yogurt til smooth.  Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly all over the top.  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.  The brown sugar dissolves a bit, and…I’ll admit…it looks a little…weird… 

Put your fruit in a bowl (we love it with strawberries, blueberries, peaches, grapes, raspberries…)  Spoon the sauce over the top and enjoy.  (You can whisk or stir the brown sugar into the cream sauce so it doesn’t look so weird, but I never do…)

Rachel was eating some tonight, and said “Mom!  This is even better than ICE CREAM!”

If you want this recipe in PW’s own words (and WITH pictures, go HERE


Tuesday, July 12, 2011


We got Ron a fishing license for Father’s Day.  We spent the afternoon (on Father’s Day…yeah…I’m a little behind in my posting once again),  fishing in a little spill off area of the Wapsipinicon River about a half an hour or so from home. 

It was hot.  We were expecting to catch some little bullheads.  Which we did.  But not before Ethan pulled in a 17-18 inch northern pike!  As he was reeling it in, he said “Well!  THAT’S not a little fish!


He was getting ready to try to touch it, to take it off the hook, when Ron said “Be careful!  It has teeth!”  That was the end of him trying to touch it!


LOVE the dimples on that kid!  (Well…love the KID, too!)


It was a beautiful spot for fishing!



Kind of woody and weedy so things got tangled quite often.  But it was still a good day of fishing!


This might be my favorite picture of the day Smile


Although I kind of like this one, too Smile


We did catch a few bullhead.  Ethan thinks that, with their whiskers, they look like little Frenchmen! 




What an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Columbus Zoo

Ethan and I had the chance to spend a day at the Columbus Zoo while we were in Ohio.  Ron’s dad was in the hospital, so we were all spending lots of time there.  One day, while Ron spent the day there, Ethan and I went to the zoo.  It was a beautiful day for the zoo.  We saw lots of animals!


SMART polar bear was cooling off in the water.  It was HOT there that day! 


Ethan enjoyed the bears!


And a BEAUTIFUL, regal looking eagle!


LOVED this sleepy tiger!  It was hot, so most of the animals were resting in the coolest spot they could find.



Pink flamingos are my FAVORITE!



Sea Horses are COOL!


We could have spent HOURS in the aquarium!




In this bird house, we could buy a little cup of nectar and walk in.  Ethan had this bird on his shoulder within 10 seconds of walking in the door!

Ethan and the birds

It was a great day to spend together with my youngest son!  We just had FUN being together and seeing cool things!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Family Gatherings

Graduations are a good time for family to get together and visit.  We recently traveled to Ohio for nephew Nathan’s graduation.  The weather was beautiful and the family was mostly all gathered together.  The food was good and the visiting was even better!


Nathan with Grandma and Grandpa Koch


Ethan and Sarah play Corn Hole


Gene and Krista play Hillbilly Golf



          Danny plays Hillbilly Golf                                                    Ronnie plays Hillbilly Golf



And Sarah plays, too…LOOK at that FORM!                Avery just hung out and played it cool.


He even hung out with me for a while!

IMG_2429 Fuse

Jessica, Curtis and Avery


Martha, me, Krista and Val


Ronnie, Gene, Martha, Danny



Martha and Sarah


Gene and Krista


and family



Avery and his grandpa!


Danny and Val


Me, Ethan and Ronnie


and finally…Me and Ronnie.

Thanks, Martha, for hosting the whole crew for a few days!  We enjoyed the day greatly!