Monthly Archives: August 2007

Labor Day Weekend

The highlight of our past week was a great day at Millenium Park.  I have no idea why we have only gone twice this summer; it is the perfect kid beach.  It is shallow, warm, and has a sprinkler park right behind it.  Admission is free after Labor Day; so if there is a warm enough day, try and get out there!

We also froze 48 ears of corn. That seems like a lot. It IS a lot – of shucking. Fortunately my kids are pretty enthusiastic shuckers but by the time the corn was blanched and the kernels off the cob, our huge pile of corn was reduced to a small bowl of kernels. I know in Febrary when I have a bag of frozen Michigan sweet corn I will be happy I took the time though.

I will be back on Monday with a Menu Plan.  Have a great weekend! 

3 Monday

10AM Labor Day Parade.  This is the MAC DADDY of parades.  It starts at Mt Vernon and Fulton and proceeds west down Fulton to John Ball Park. There will be a picnic in the park after the parade; and lots of “Solidarity Forever” singalongs. Take an extra vessel for the candy; you will get tons.

6 Thursday

10AM Grand Rapids Natural Parenting meeting – topic is ‘The Vaccine Debate’.  Hope Reformed Church; corner of Kalamazoo and Burton. Children are welcome.

Through Saturday; Celebration on the Grand

8 Saturday

9:00AM-4:00PM Garfield Park Neighborhoods Association Arts & Crafts Fair.  Free admission.

Through Sunday – 10AM 46th Annual Grand Valley American Indian Lodge Pow Wow, Riverside Park. Public welcome; Native American Dancing, Crafts and Food. Grand Entries for dancing are 1:00PM and 7:00PM Saturday and 12:00 noon Sunday. For more information call  (616) 364-4697 or email

1:00PM Mud Lake Farm tour

12:00 Priority Health Grand Cycling Classic bike race.  There is a free ‘kids race’ for kids 9 and under (two age groups).



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Win Dr. Grinns Tickets

Win 4 tickets to see Mike Dambra at Dr. Grinns from GR Now for Thursday or Friday. Enter here.

 Good luck!

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You Did What In The Palace?

I was first introduced to the Wei Wei Palace by my father, who said he had read that it was the best Dim Sum restaurant in West Michigan. However, we weren’t sure of the pronunciation, and called it the “Wee Wee Palace” until we stood corrected (and just a smidge embarassed). 

Right now, you might be saying, “my kids won’t eat that kind of food.” Or, you may be saying, “Woman? What on earth are you talking about?”

OK let me start with a brief introduction to Dim Sum.  It is a ‘light meal’.  More like an appetizer or snack than an actual meal. It is Chinese, and the food usually comes in little metal or bamboo steamer baskets.  Some of it is fried or boiled, and comes on a plate.  If you have been to San Chez, you kind of get the idea. If it is busy, they will bring a cart around and you choose what you want, but if it is slow you place your order with a waiter and they bring it from the kitchen.

You order several different things and share rather than an ‘entree’. The first time we went with Grandpa Binder, several months ago, we didn’t know this.  We ordered so much food our table was overflowing, and we kept asking for the cart to come back by. We were truly tourists in our own town, but not the good way. We were just being American pigs. Oh well, we left a good tip (or my Dad did, anyway).

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Wordless Wednesday


“Ultimate Tree House”

Meijer Gardens

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Credit: Ann Teliczan

Michigan Sweet Spot


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Get The Lead Out, Part Two

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the “Get The Lead Out” program in Grand Rapids. A link to that post is here.

While there is a lot in the media about lead paint in toys, it is important to keep these two facts in mind: 

Of the hundreds of children in Kent County who were treated for lead poisoning last year, 90% of these children had their primary exposure to the lead from their housing conditions. 

None of the primary exposure was through toys.

If you are concerned about the level of lead in your home, now would be a good time to initiate the evaluation process.  In cooperation with Calvin College, the Healthy Homes Coalition is offering lead screening for your homes.

A student from Calvin will come to your home, bring lead dust collection kits, and coach you through the collection process. 

This is not a formal assessment; but it is a very good first step to see if you need to take futher steps to make your home lead safe.  The cost is usually $75 for this service, but Calvin is paying for 35 homes to be screened.

If you are interested, please contact Paul Haan with the following information:

  • Your name

  • Your address

  • Your phone number

  • Your email address

  • Ages of kids in home and if you are pregnant

Paul’s contact info is here:

phone: (616) 734-9443

fax: (616) 451-0615


Preventing Childhood Lead Poisoning Through Partnership

2006 Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Award winner



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Daddy’s Out Of Town

Mr. Binder is gone for a few days this week, so we will be having very ‘kid friendly’ and easy meals to make. Steps kids can help with are in red.


This one is for you, Mom To Two Boys

Ham_with_Salad_SandwichHam Salad Sandwiches

  • 2 lbs boneless ham, diced 

  • 2 cups mayonaise

  • 1 cup sweet pickle relish

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 onion, diced

Place diced ham in blender or food processor.  Chop until desired consistency (‘spreadable’).  Mix with remaining ingredients in a bowl. Spread on bread for sandwiches.

This recipe is roughly from one in Allrecipes.

Serve on fresh bread from breadmaker with cucumber slices and baby carrots with Ranch dressing to dip.


Chicken NuggetsCrunchy Homemade Chicken Nuggets

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels

  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

  • 3 cups crushed corn flakes

  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 white pepper

  • vegetable or olive oil (for pan)

  • plastic or paper bag

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.  Slice chicken breasts into 2 inch strips.  Marinate chicken pieces in yogurt for 1 hour or up to 24 hours, refrigerated.

Prepare crust by combining corn flakes, parsley, salt, and pepper into a bowl.  Place corn flake mixture in bag.  Drop chicken into the bag and shake thoroughly to coat.  Remove chicken pieces from bag, shaking excess mixture from each piece.  Place coated chicken pieces on a sheet pan lightly sprayed with oil.

Bake about 25 minutes or until crunch on the outside and cooked through.  Serve with dipping sauces.

This recipe is from the Whole Foods website.

Serve with tater tots and a tossed salad.  I like Earthbound Organic Mâche blend mixed with with chopped hard boiled eggs, shredded cheese and ‘routans’ (A.P.’s word for croutons).


Hash Brown Quiche Hash Brown Quiche

  • 3 Cups Frozen, Shredded Potatoes, Thawed

  • 1/4 Cup Melted Butter

  • 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Tomatoes

  • 4 Eggs

  • 1/2 Cup Milk

  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt

  • 1 10 oz package sausage, browned and sliced into small pieces (I like Al Fresco Chicken Sausage)

Preheat oven to 425. Line the bottom and sides of an un-greased pie plate or quiche baking dish with potatoes. Drizzle melted butter over the potatoes. Bake crust for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Turn oven down to 350. Layer shredded cheese on top of baked crust. Top with tomatoes and sausage. In mixing bowl, beat together eggs, milk, and salt. Pour egg mixture evenly over cheese, tomatoes and meat. Bake for 30 minutes.

I got this recipe here.

Serve with mixed fruit. I will be using Dole Tropical Mixed fruit, because that is what is on my shelf.


Creamy Beef StroganoffBeef Stroganoff

  • 1 1 lb. top round steak, 1 inch thick

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

  • 3/4 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 tsp dried dill

  • 1/2 tsp pepper

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour

  • 1 cup beef broth

  • 1 – 8 oz container sour cream

  • 2 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles (about 4 oz. uncooked)

Trim fat from steak; cut diagonally across grain into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place sliced steak and next 7 ingredients in crock pot; stir well. 

Place flour in a small bowl; gradually add broth, stirring with a whisk until blended.  Add broth mixture to crock pot; stir well.  Cover with lid; cook on high heat setting 1 hour.  Reduce to low heat, cook 7 to 8 hours until steak is tender.  Turn crock pot off, remove lid.  Let stroganoff stand 10 minutes.  Stir in sour cream.  Serve stroganoff over noodles.

This recipe is from Southern Living’s Slow Cooker Cookbook.

Serve with steamed fresh green beans.


mpj040648200001.jpgPizza – takeout.  Daddy is home and Mommy is tired 🙂

For more Menu Plan Monday click here.


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Be A Joiner

mpj041180900001.jpgThis is supposed to be Sanctuary Sunday – a suggestion for  something you can do without your kids, right? So what am I doing, talking about joining parenting groups? Aren’t those for kids? (I can hear everyone in a parent’s group laughing right now).

Yes, that’s what I thought too.  I joined to get into a playgroup, so my kid could make friends.  What ended up happening? Our calendar filled up with activities. My kids made friends. And, so did I!

Most parents groups have a “Night Out” about once a month.  This is where you ditch your kids and spouse (don’t worry; they get to hog you all to themselves on date night) to hang out with a bunch of other people you see all the time…sans  offspring. It’s blissful.

There are a ton in this area, so this is not a complete list but here are some good starting points:

MOM’s Club of Grand Rapids/North

MOM’s Club of Grand Rapids/South

Mom’s Club of Zeeland/Hudsonville

Mothers & More Grand Rapids Chapter

Grand Rapids Dads

MOPS – Several locations in Grand Rapids:

Is your group missing? Let me know! Leave a comment below, or send an email to Big Binder Blog at gmail dot com.


Filed under Sanctuary Sunday