Thursday, February 25, 2010

What is Sully, Iowa Like?

Here are a few photos and links to help answer questions about what Sully is like and where it is located. We've had good questions about how big it is, what it is like, how far we will have to drive to find a Target, how far it is from parents, and other good questions. Because we've not lived there, it is hard to know, but the photos help picture the community a little bit. And, at the end, there is an enticing reason to come visit!

Sully Christian Reformed Church (

View Map of Iowa in a larger map

Here is a picture of the moving company we will be using in a few weeks...

Just Kidding. It is actually a float entry from last summer's 4th of July parade in Sully, which looks like a lot of fun. Photos from

The Coffee Cup Cafe, located on the square, is listed on USA Today's Top 10 Picks for Pie, along with Grand Traverse, MI's Grand Traverse Pie Co. (my favorite)! They are described,
The cream pies are ethereal, virtually floating on their tawny crust; the fruit double-crust pies are dusted with sugar crystals and are the sort that you simply don’t find outside the pie-happy state of Iowa.
Now, THAT is a good reason to come visit.
Pie from Coffee Cup Cafe

Winter Ride and a Popcorn Cake

Winter seems to be holding on, leaving fresh layers of snow each morning. We are being as creative as possible these days to stay sane until it warms up. Below is a video of a winter ride in the neighborhood and a recipe for a very good snack - gooey popcorn cake (a nice mix of salty and sweet). I used to get this in my college care package. It is soooo yummy.

Popcorn Cake

In large pot, heat to rolling ball:
1 cup white syrup
1 cup sugar

Melt in and stir:
10.5 ounces little marshmallows
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla

On a large sheet (13 x 17) spread out:
1 cup popcorn popped (3 microwave bags)
1 - 2 cups peanuts, cashews & m&m's

Pour gooey peanut butter mixture on top and fold together. May want to spray your hands with Pam spray and use hands (it will be hot). Spray Bundt pan and lightly press into pan. For good snacks to take to go, shape into balls and put in plastic bags.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hockey, Rock Band, and a Baptism

We have just a handful of weekends left in Grand Rapids. Here are a few photos from our past weekend.

Elders vs. Deacons - Brian playing at a Calvin Seminary Alumni Hockey Game

Elliot being big - looking out the kitchen window on Saturday morning. A Rock Band Night with Small Group
I took some pictures at church this morning for our scrapbook, so that Ezra and Elliot can see/remember our first church as a family.

A Baptism, Brian's last at BrooksideEzra in Little Lambs Elliot in the nursery

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Olympic Rings Fruit Pizza

We have been enjoying watching the winter olympics in the evenings after meetings or the kids are in bed. My favorite sport to watch is men's snowboarding, and Brian's is probably men's hockey. Our kids aren't old enough to enjoy learning about the different countries represented yet, but a lot of our friends' kiddos get out their globes and figure out where the countries are.

I came across this recipee for Olympic Rings Fruit Pizza that I thought someone else might enjoy making with their family. This would be a fun family tradition to start!

One family tradition that I heard this past week is to have a family meal for the opening ceremonies that is full of food of the country that is hosting the olympics. So this year, the family made Poutine: a dish of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. I've never heard of it, but Canadians know what it is. I'm already thinking ahead of what we might make for the summer games in London (2012) - Fish and Chips? Or the next winter games in Sochi, Russia (2014) - Shchi (cabbage soup)?

I think we'll add this to our list of ways to help remind our kids (and ourselves) that the world God made is a whole lot bigger than ourselves. (Two-year olds need reminding almost every day :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

16 Weeks and A Move Ahead

We've had a busy few months as a family - First, finding out that we are expecting, and secondly, discerning a call to a new congregation.

We are excited to be expecting again, and know that three under three is going to be an adventure! We will have our hands full, but love the blessings of being parents. We are planning on finding out if we are having a girl or a boy at our ultrasound (we were surprised with the first two). The plan is to have the ultrasound technician write it on a piece of paper, put it in an envelope, and open it afterwards on a lunch date together in down town Grand Rapids. Our friends did this and we think it is a great idea.

Secondly, we've accepted the call to a congregation in Sully CRC in Sully, IA. The process has been both affirming and difficult. Difficult because we love the church family and Brookside, have learned so much, and have made life-long friends. At the same time, God has blessed us with a lot of open doors to accept the call to a new church family. Brian's letter to Brookside, read this morning, says it best:

February 14, 2010

Family of God at Brookside CRC,

Following the past weeks of prayer and scripture I have experienced your generous outpouring of love and care through cards, emails and conversations; for this I am deeply thankful.

But as these weeks have progressed I have found a good deal of peace and have accepted the call of Sully CRC. As I write these words there is a mixture of emotion; I am grateful for your years of encouragement and deeply saddened as this chapter of life now comes to a close, yet excited as I see God working through me and my family to serve Sully CRC.

Words cannot describe my appreciation for all you have done for me and my family, and I trust as we accept this call that our friendship will remain and God will be glorified.

With joy and sadness,
Pastor Brian Ochsner

We have a wonderful peace about our decision, and have had amazing support from both congregations. Thank you for all of the prayers from family and friends!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bow and Arrow Practice

Brian and Ezra getting in some time outdoors. Ezra's job is to help get the arrows and hand them to Brian when he's ready.