Friday, August 31, 2007

Our shopping trip














Tonight Bob and I visited a local Nursery. This business is actually a large wholesale grower, but in the spring and fall they open their doors to the public for about a week. We usually try to go whenever they have the sale. It is a huge area covered with trees, bushes and perennial plants all for good prices. It's fun just to walk around and look at all the plants and trees. This year we were looking for a bush to replace one that suddenly died in our front landscaping, and we have been thinking of purchasing some blue spruce trees to put on the edge of our side yard. As you see in the picture above, we were successful. We found an arborvitae for the front and 3 nice blue spruce trees. They didn't seem so big on the cart, but when in was time to put them in the van, I thought we may have a problem! The arborvitae ended up in the middle of the van and the trees were crammed into the back. You can't tell on the picture but we had to tilt them just to get their tops to fit in the van. We had fun looking although bob thought I was a little "off" when I started taking pictures for the blog. He just shook his head. The trees and bush are all home now, they just have to be planted!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hydrangea Tree


Here is a picture of a hydrangea tree that we have in our backyard. (The area around it is dug up because Bob is getting it ready for more plantings.) Bob's sisters gave this to him several years ago and we have enjoyed it ever since. We have had problems getting other hydrangeas to bloom, but this one has bloomed every year. It begins blooming in July with lots of white blossoms. As summer comes to an end, the blossoms begin to turn pinker and they darken to an antique rose color. They often stay on the tree well into winter and are often hanging on with snow covering them. This tree reminds me of we as Christians are supposed to be. You see - this tree is really a bush that has been grafted onto a trunk. In Romans, Paul compares us to a wild branch that is grafted into a cultivated tree: " After all, you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree". Romans 11:24. We have been grafted into the family of God and are alive through Christ! Now our job is to "flower" or bear fruit. It is too easy to sit back and depend on others to do the work, tell the story, help those in need... I'm so often guilty of that and I need to be reminded of why I am here. I'm supposed to be "bearing fruit". "Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." Matthew 7:17-20.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Slow Cooking Thursday


The recipe I am posting today is so easy it can hardly be called a recipe! It's also low fat but don't tell your family - they'll never know! I have been making this for quite a few years and everyone in my family likes it. I like to serve it with green beans and sometimes some wild rice on the side.
Salsa Chicken
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar salsa (about 1 1/2 cups - any brand or type)
shredded cheddar cheese to taste
Place chicken in crock pot. Pour salsa over top. Bake on low for 6-7 hours. About 5 minutes before serving, sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the chicken and allow to melt.
If you want to see more slow cooker recipes visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

What color crayon are you?

My friend Megan over at Fried Okra had this little quiz on her blog the other day. I thought you would all have fun with it. Go here to try it out. Let me know what color you are and if what they say fits you!
You Are a Blue Crayon

Your world is colored in calm, understated, deep colors.You are a loyal person, and the truest friend anyone could hope to find.
On the inside, you tend to be emotional and even a bit moody. (I am an easy crier, but I don't think I am moody)
However, you know that people depend on you. So you put on a strong front. (I have been known to hide my feelings or "put on a strong front")
Your color wheel opposite is orange. Orange people may be opinionated, but you feel they lack the depth to truly understand what they're saying. (Do I know any orange people? If you are one, tell me and I will let you know if you have depth!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Works for me Wednesday

It's time for Works for me Wednesday again. My tip this week relates to a blog carnival I participate in weekly. Every Thursday, Sandra at Diary of a SAHM hosts a slow cooking recipe day. I enjoy using my slow cooker and was getting many great recipes to use. However, I was printing them off my computer and was accumulating a pile of recipes on my kitchen counter.
Here's what I did. I went out and bought a notebook. The one I bought happened to have an opening in the front where you could slip in a title page. This is not necessary, but a nice touch. I made a title on the computer, with a picture of a slow cooker and a title that says "Slow Cooking Recipes".



I also purchased page protectors and I slipped the printed recipes into them. I put dividers in so I could separate the types of recipes. Now it is easy to find the recipe I want and they are not cluttering up my kitchen counter!
This works for me. I may start another one for other recipes or things I find online. If you would like to see more tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Afternoon Walk

I had the day off Monday, and after getting some work done around the house, I went for a walk. It was a beautiful day. After all the rain last week, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, there was a beautiful breeze, the birds were singing and all was well with the world. I took my camera with me to show you some scenes from my street.
This is a large beech tree that is across the street from our house. It's branches cover such a large span and I think it is beautiful in every season.

This field has lots of little sunflowers growing along the edge.

I love old trees. Their bark shows such character. Things may really change in their surroundings and yet they stand firm.
About 1/2 mile down my street is a farm that boards horses. They are so elegant and graceful.
This open area is a deer trail into the woods. I have seen several of them running into it.

Some wild berries, growing along the road.


"The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; You created the world and all that is in it. " Psalm 89:11

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Prayer Walk


I had a busy weekend. It was my weekend to work, and things there were a little hectic. Sunday evening was really nice, though. For the past few years my church has had a prayer walk shortly before school starts for the year. We split into small groups and walk around different schools in our town. We pray at the Christian School, the elementary, junior high and high school. We also have a team go to the University and some people stay at church and pray for the home schooled. This is our first year of not having a child in school, so we just went where we were asked to go. Bob and I ended up praying at the High School with a friend who happens to be my prayer partner. We walked around the school, praying for different things as they were brought to our minds, including safety, peer pressure, teachers who are good role models, good decisions from the administration and school board... It was a beautiful evening and a blessing to walk and pray at the same time. We were reminded again that these kids are the future leaders and what better thing could we do for them but to pray!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Would you like a ride?




Last week we stopped at Bob's brothers house to see the car he has finished. This car is an Austin Healey which he built from a kit. Rog has been working on it for a while as time has permitted. He has 2 sons who have also lent a hand. They were quite young when he started so I'm sure their help was not always as beneficial as one would think, but they improved as they grew! I am amazed to see such a cute car come from what was just pieces to start with. As you see, Rog took Bob out for a ride. Bob said it was "a small car with a big engine - a good combination"! I don't care so much about that - I just think it's cute!
On a side note - do you see the resemblance between the 2 brothers? Just look at the back of their heads!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Slow Cooking Thursday

It's time for another slow cooking recipe. Today I am going to post a few that have been well liked in my house. I have seen a version of both of these in past Thursdays on Sandra's blog, but have been asked by friends to post them again. Hope you enjoy them too!

Chicken over Biscuits (version of recipe posted by
Betsy)
1 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
12 oz jar chicken gravy
1/3 cup water
2 celery stalks, chopped
Pillsbury frozen buttermilk biscuits (they come in a pkg of 12)
1 16 oz bag frozen mixed vegetables
Place chicken in crock pot. Sprinkle onion, pepper and bay leaf over. Pour gravy over top, then water. Put celery on top. Cook on low for 8-9 hours.
30 minutes before serving, remove bay leaf and stir in mixed vegetables. Break apart chicken tenders with a fork. Turn heat to high and cover. Cook amount of biscuits you want as directed on pkg.
Split biscuits and pour chicken mix over top.


French Dip Sandwiches (originally posted by
Mrs T)
1 3-lb beef chuck roast
2 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
3-4 whole peppercorns
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
slices of swiss or colby jack cheese
bakery style hot dog buns
Place roast in slow cooker. Stir together water, soy sauce and seasoning. Pour over roast. Cook on low for 10-12 hours till meat is very tender. Shred meat with 2 forks. Place on hot dog bun with a slice of cheese. Pour broth into individual small cups and serve with sandwich for dipping.
If you want more recipes visit Sandra at
Diary of a SAHM.

Would you like a towel?


This morning as I left for work it stated to rain. Within a few minutes it was coming down in buckets. (and that's not an exaggeration!) I had an awful time seeing to drive and water was flooding the sides of the road. It only takes me about 10 minutes to get to work and I was really glad to get there. However, after I parked I thought I better get my umbrella. Where was it? In the back of the van! At this point I decided to run for it. I wasn't parked far from the building, but when I got in I was soaked. I bore a striking resemblance to this dog, but not quite as hairy. My scrubs were soaked, and my hair was actually dripping. I wondered at that point why I had bothered to dry and curl my hair before coming in. I ended up toweling myself off, then blow drying my hair and blow drying my scrubs as well. I spent the day walking around with flat hair. It's supposed to rain again tomorrow. I think my umbrella will be up front with me!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Works for me Wednesday


It's time for Works for me Wednesday again. Several months ago I read this tip in the newspaper, but never tried it. This weekend I decided to test it and it really worked. This idea is for cleaning your floors. This works for vinyl or tile, but is not suggested for wood floors. Take boiling water, and pour just a small amount (1/4 cup or so) on area of floor to be cleaned. Let it set for about 30 seconds and wipe with a rag. I had a 2 cup measuring cup filled with the boiling water and just poured out a little at a time. I tried this on my bathroom floor, which tends to get a sticky residue from hairspray. It worked amazingly well, and doesn't take long even though you are cleaning a small section at a time because all you have to do is wipe it up. It also worked well on the baseboards where dust settles. This is cheap, non toxic and easy. It works for me! If you want to check out more tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

Monday, August 20, 2007

It's our anniversay!

Today (August 21) is our anniversary. We have been married 26 years. It doesn't seem like it has been that long, but these pictures tell a different story!
Bob no longer has a full head of hair, although his weight is about the same as it was the day we married. I, on the other hand have a few more gray hairs and quite a few more pounds!
We were 20 and 23 years old when we got married. We thought we were quite mature and had our lives all planned. Well - we found out that things don't always go the way you plan them and we matured a little along the way
One of the other things we have learned is that God does know what is in store for us and he sticks beside you through good and bad. He has taken care of us through job loss, lack of money and a few health issues with our kids. We can say we have truly been blessed. We have 3 great kids who are now grown and 1 is married. We both have jobs and are in good health. That is a lot to be thankful for!

I can also say I am thankful for the husband God gave me. He has been a loving, caring, funny Dad to our kids and husband to me. He is always there for me when I need him and has been my best friend for all these years. It has been a good 26 years!
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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Oh, the excitement!

Saturday I was on the computer, checking my favorite blogs. Imagine my surprise when I see my name and blog mentioned. Yes, you heard it right! Megan, at Fried Okra has given me the Rockin' Girl Blogger award. If you want to see the nice things she says, go here. (and I don't want to hear you choking or gagging after you read it. She is very generous!) I love this blogging thing because of people like Megan. I haven't known her long, and we have never met in person, but I have gotten to know a lot about her, by the things she writes and would love to spend time with her. Her blog is on my favorites list and I check to see what she has to say everyday. She is a talented writer, who will make you feel like you are there with her when she describes things. She frequently has me laughing out loud in front of my computer. For an example of that, go here or here. My regular readers know that I have mentioned her before and if you haven't yet, go check out her blog!
I now have the joy of giving this award to someone else. After thinking about who I should bestow this on, I am passing it on to Nancy, from
In my neck of the woods. Nancy is a nurse who works with me at a Long Term Care Facility. She is a fairly new blogger who often posts beautiful pictures of nature. These pictures may come from her yard or someplace that she has visited, but she has the ability to see more than just a beautiful photo. She always has something thought provoking or a scripture verse to put with it, that will bless you or make you think. Because I know her, I can tell you that she is just as wise and caring in person as she is on her blog. Go check out her blog - I guarantee that you will be blessed. Congratulations Nancy - you rock!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Authentic

Our church is starting a new ministry. The town I live in is home to a university and therefore we are blessed with many college age kids. We have some people in our church who were feeling called to do something to minister to these kids. After much prayer and planning, it was decided to start a Saturday evening worship service. We had a few trial runs last spring to determine what the kids were looking for and to see what interest there was for this. We were astounded! Our first session drew 30 kids. The next one had 60. I was amazed (and thrilled)to see that many kids coming voluntarily to church, on a Saturday night to worship. What did they want from us? They want the real deal. They want to hear the truth, not just "God loves you". They want to worship with praise music and hymns. They want to pray with and for each other. They don't want to "do church". They want to be the church. Because of this, the ministry is named "Authentic". The new school year is starting in a few weeks and the college kids are moving back in. Our first meeting is next week. Tonight we had a live recording of our Praise Team singing many different songs that will be put on a CD and given to kids at the college. It was a great night of worship, with people of all ages attending. One of the songs we sang tonight is the Chris Tomlin song - How great is our God. These lyrics really speak to me of the scope of the greatness of God!
Age to age he stands, and time is in his hands, beginning and the end, The God head three in one, Father, Spirit, Son, Lion and the Lamb,...Name above all names, you are worthy of all praise, my heart will sing, how great is our God!"
We have already seen God working as we have prepared for this. It will be interesting to see what happens next!
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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Trading Spaces?





Pictures above: top - Anne, removing light switch plates in bedroom. 2nd - Dad, working in living room. 3rd - Terri busy painting. Bottom - the finished paint job.


I love the television shows that show people redoing a room. This week my sister Terri and I got to do our own little makeover at my Dad's house. We have been bugging him to do a little painting at his house but until he got married last week, we didn't get anywhere. Now however, he has decided it is time for a change. Terri and I were invited to come and paint his bedroom. It was a pale green yellow color, and they wanted it painted light blue to go with a quilt that Anne's daughter made. We spent the day painting and although we are not quite Extreme Home Makeover, I think it looked pretty good when we finished. They have ordered new carpet and were also putting in a new light fixture.We had fun working together, even though we missed Cheri, who wasn't able to come. As we were finishing that room, we were told that he had purchased paint for the living room too, so I guess there is more painting in our future!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Slow Cooking Thursday


It's time for another recipe. I'm doing something different today and posting a dessert. Hope you like it!
Fruit Crisp
1 (20 oz) can pie filling (I've used cherry and blueberry)
1 package yellow cake mix
1 stick butter or margarine
1/2 cup chopped nuts - optional
Pour pie filling into slow cooker. Combine dry cake mix and butter. Sprinkle evenly over pie filling. If using nuts, sprinkle them over top. Cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Serve warm in bowls with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
For more slow cooking recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Works for me Wednesday

Today is Works for me Wednesday. My tip for the day is the way I keep the edges of my pie from getting too dark. When I was first married, I would take strips of foil and put them around the edge of the pie. It was hard to get them in place without messing up the pie edge and they would fall off when I tried to get the pie in the oven. One day I thought it would work better it the foil was in one piece. Here is what I did and have done ever since.


Use a square piece of foil, that is big enough to cover the whole pie. Fold in half, then in half again to form a smaller square.









Now - cut the corner out of the square, in the shape of a quarter circle.










Open the remaining piece of foil and place over the edges of the pie.







Remove foil for the last 15 minutes of baking time. Your pie will be browned, but not too dark!
That's my tip for the day. If you want to see more ideas, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Addictive games to play on the internet

I don't know about you, but I find I can easily spend too much time on the computer. However - there are some interesting sites on the internet and sometimes it's fun to check them out. I thought I would share a few with you in case you are ever bored and have extra time on your hands!




This is my favorite. It is a jigsaw puzzle that is new everyday. You can change the type of cut and number of pieces.








Were you a fan of the old Simon game? You can play it online.






How about Tantrix? Turn the tiles to make a shape of the right color.













Make your own painting at this site. The faster you move your mouse the smaller the paint lines will be. Every time you left click the color changes.



That's all. You can't stay on the computer all day! I found these on Amys's blog. If you want to see more, check out her blog at Experience Imagination.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Quiet Weekend


Most of you who read this know that I am a nurse, and as you all know - nurses have to work weekends. Because of this, I have worked every other weekend since I finished nursing school. There are benefits to this. It is nice to have a day of in the middle of the week. It's easier to make appointments and run errands on those days, than doing it all on Saturday or after getting out of work. Because I am often working, I really enjoy my weekends off. This weekend was a quiet weekend. My days weren't filled with things that had to be done and I had already cleaned the house. That meant I could do things at my leisure and enjoy myself. We went out with friends on Friday night and had a good meal with lots of laughs. Saturday I did some baking and even made Bob a fresh peach pie. I also was able to do some scrapbooking and reading. We had a surprise visit from Laura and Aaron in the evening. On Sunday I was able to go to church which is one thing I really miss when I'm not there. We also were happy to get another call from Andy who assures us he is doing well and is looking forward to starting week 4 today. All in all, it was very nice. I'm refreshed and ready to go back to work!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Just Married!

Who are the newlyweds? My Dad and a sweet lady named Anne. My Mom passed away a little over 4 years ago and Dad has been alone since then. Mom was only 69 when she died, and although her death was sudden, she hadn't been in very good health for a while. Dad was 72 at the time and has always been an active person who loved to be around people. He has been amazingly self sufficient, but we are very happy to see him so happy. They are a cute couple, walking around holding hands and teasing each other. They have been working on getting his house ready for her to live in and it looks like I will be doing some painting next week! In the meantime they will stay at her house although they are going away this weekend. I am happy he has someone to spend his time with and hopefully they will be able to do some traveling!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Slow Cooking Thursday

Today is Thursday and you know what that means! It's time for another crock pot recipe. I love my crock pot. As a matter of fact I have several crock pots in different sizes, for different recipes. Since I have found Sandra's blog I find I am using them even more. I have gotten some great recipes from the girls that post on her site. Here is my recipe for today.

Chicken Parmigiana
1 egg
1 cup dried bread crumbs
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar pizza sauce (10.5 oz.)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
6 slices mozzarella cheese
Beat egg in shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs in another bowl. Dip chicken into egg, then bread crumbs, coating meat with crumbs on all sides. Saute chicken in large non stick skillet. Arrange one layer on chicken in crock pot. Pour 1/2 of pizza sauce on top. Add second layer of chicken. Pour remaining sauce over top and cover. Cook on low for 6-7 hours until chicken is tender but not dry. Just before it is done, sprinkle parmesan cheese over each breast and top with a slice of mozzarella. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM for more great recipes!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Basic Training


On Thursday it will be three weeks since Andy left for Basic Training. It is one of those things that seems like it just happened and at the same time seems like he has been gone forever. We have had 2 phone calls since he left which have been quite frustrating. He is allowed 2 minutes to talk and both times the reception has been horrible. We have started getting letters from him, but he has very little time so they are short. He seems to be in good spirits from what I read in the letters. He throws in a few things that show his typical humor. We have started mailing letters now that we finally have an address and have been sending out something daily, so he always gets some mail. I know some family members have been mailing cards also and I am sure he appreciates it. He is now in week 3 which doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me. (Of course I can't see myself thinking any of it would even be okay, much less fun!) This week includes bayonet training and the gas chamber. The army web site that tells us what he is doing says "As week three begins, the recruits must rely on sheer determination to meet the mounting physical and mental challenges of the simulated combat scenarios. " For more information on week three go here. I have a website I go to that tells me what the weather in Columbia, South Carolina is like and it isn't a pretty picture for this week. The high temp for the next few days is 101 degrees with a heat index of 105. Now, this does not sound like a good time to be outside, much less doing exercise! So whats a Mom to do? Of course I tend to worry a little (or a lot!) However, I know that they take plenty of guys and put them through this and I'm sure they know what to watch for. I also know that Andy's heavenly Father is taking care of him, so that leaves me to just keep praying for his strength, safety and endurance.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Let it Rain!


It has been dry in Michigan. Our rainfall is considerably below the normal amount for this time of year. Lawns that haven't been sprinkled are brown and crackle when you step on them. Trees that are under stress are already changing colors. In the farm land around us, the corn is much shorter than it should be. On Sunday it rained. It was one of those nice gentle rains. No thunder, no lightning, just rain. Afterward there was that great smell in the air that is only there after a rain. I was at work Sunday morning and I stood in the entry of the Nursing Home and as I looked at the rain coming down on the parking lot, I was reminded of a song that we have sung occasionally at church. "Let it rain, open the flood gates of heaven and let it rain". I was reminded again of how God takes care of us. He gives us rain and waters the earth. He gives us spiritual rain and refreshes our souls. I also thought about how we often don't want rain. We pray for nice weather literally, and we also want our lives to be always sunny. But without the rain, we would be living in a desert. Thank you Lord for the rain.
The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 28:12

Sunday, August 5, 2007