Friday, January 30, 2009

Award


I received this sweet Friends award from Renee of 2 Peas in a Pod. Thanks Renee!
Here's what this award is about:

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

Now I am supposed to pass this on to 8 more bloggers, but you know me! I can't pick out just 8, so I'm passing it to anyone who is a regular here! Thanks for being such great blogging friends!

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

What generation do you belong in?


This is a fun little blog quiz to do. I think it pegged me pretty well, even though I was actually born in 1960~

You Belong in the Silent Generation



You fit in best with people born between 1925 and 1942. You are a person of high values and character. Family, your country, loyalty, and hard work all important to you. You are willing to do what's right, even when it's difficult.


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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday


The recipe I am sharing with you today is one I just found on Debbi's blog - Then am I Strong. She said it was wonderful and it sounds so good, I thought I would share it. I'll be making this next week.

Emeril's Chicken Cacciatore
8 chicken thighs or breasts (2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 teaspoon Emeril's Original Essence (a mix of spices)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sliced onion
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1 bay leaf
28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed, with juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons basil
cooked pasta for serving
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, optional
Season chicken on both sides with 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and Essence. Dredge lightly in 1/4 cup flour.
Heat olive oil in large skillet and cook the chicken until golden on both sides, 8 - 10 minutes.
Transfer chicken to slow cooker. To the same skillet add the onions, mushrooms and red pepper flakes. Cook until softened about 4 to 6 minutes.
Add garlic, oregano, rosemary, bay leaf and remaining 2 tablespoons flour and cook, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes, wine, tomato paste, remaining salt and stir to combine. Transfer to slow cooker, cover and cook until chicken is fork tender, 4 to 4 1/2 hours on high.
Stir in basil and adjust seasoning if necessary. Let sit on warm for 10 minutes and serve over cooked pasta and garnished with parmesan cheese if desired.
Yield: 4-6 servings

For more slow cooking recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.


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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sunshine


I was driving to work early in the morning last week. It was still dark, very cold and the snow was blowing around. I thought it was a somewhat dreary scene. It occurred to me that if God had not given us a sun, this would be what our world would be like; dark and cold. I know that if we literally didn't have the sun we couldn't survive, but it was just one of those moments that reminded me of God's love for us. He could have created a world where it was always light, or always dark. It could have been a world that wasn't warmed by the sun and just remained a steady temperature. But He didn't do things that way! He gave us a sun, and then a moon. He gave us beautiful plants and animals. Then, only after all those things were in place, He made man. Too often, I take the world around me for granted. Thank you Lord, for this beautiful world you have blessed us with!


"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." Genesis 1:31


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Monday, January 26, 2009

Yuck!



It wasn't a very good day at the nursing home today. The flu (the vomiting kind) has struck there, with a vengeance!
We had a few people sick on Saturday, Sunday more residents got it and a few staff. Today it got worse. About 1/4 of the residents are sick, half of the aides that were supposed to work this morning called in and one of the afternoon nurses called in.
This means people are working extra and working very hard when they are there.
Today we tried to keep our residents in their rooms as much as possible to avoid passing of the bug. We are washing our hands even more than we usually do - and that's a lot! We also put a note on our front door, discouraging visitors. This protects both the residents and the visitors, but some people still want to come in. I'm praying that this won't be too much for some of our frail people. They don't tolerate sickness nearly as well as they did when they were younger.
If you have avoided the flu so far this year - be thankful!




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Sunday, January 25, 2009

January in West Michigan



We have been getting lots of snow and have had our share of cold weather here. So far this month, we have had 13 days in a row with recordable snow fall. We have had 95 inches of snow this season and the average for a whole year is 80. We also went through a week that was very cold, with low temps below 0 degrees and high temps not above 10.
These are pictures I've taken around our house and at work. You can see the bank on our driveway. Right now we have about 15 inches of snow in our yard, so we're having to throw the snow high, to get it off the driveway. The bottom right corner shows the parking lot at our grocery store. It is bordered by piles of snow and if we get much more, I don't know where they will put it! I added the picture of Andy's truck so he can see it covered in snow.
Although I've seen enough snow for a while, I must admit that it looks pretty!



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Friday, January 23, 2009

Awards

This award is the "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" award. It's for someone who has a great attitude or show gratitude. I love it. It came from Kim of Scattered Stones. Thanks
Kim! I have to pass this one on to Kris, whose blog is named...When life gives you lemons... You can see why she needs this one!


I got this award from Cindy of Monkey Boy Adventures. Thanks Cindy - I love your blog too!
It's so nice getting awards but I hate to pass them on, because there are so many good ones out there that I love. So, I'm passing these two on to anyone who reads my blog. You all are wonderful!


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Thursday, January 22, 2009

How's Andy doing?

I've gotten e-mails and comments from a few of you lately wondering how my son Andy is doing, so I thought it was time for an update.
For those of you who don't know him, Andy is our youngest and is in the army. He has been stationed in South Korea since last May. He has always loved planes and helicopters and is happy to be working on the Apache helicopter. I've added a few pictures so you can see what he's doing over there.
Here he is making snow angels on the flight line. Here is the result of he and his friends work! They have been waiting for some snow and when they finally got a little bit, they had to make use of it.

I thought I should include this picture, so you could see that there is some work going on, not just play!


He e-mailed us this picture, telling us that some friends talked him into getting a tattoo. He left out the fact that it was a fake tattoo!
So - you can see that he is having a good time with friends, is enjoying his work and still has his good sense of humor. He is good about updating
his blog, which I love! It's a good way to see what he is doing.
There are some changes coming up for him. He was initially sent to Korea with plans to stay for a year. Now the plan is that his entire group will be shipping out to Colorado, probably in March. They will be doing mountain training there, preparing to be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan next January. Of course, nothing is set in stone until the paperwork comes through.

Thanks to those of you that check in on him and ask about him. We appreciate it!



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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pulled Pork Tacos


Here's another slow cooker recipe for a different type of taco.

Pulled Pork Tacos
2 cups salsa plus more for serving
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 - 2 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
18 corn tortillas
sour cream
lime if desired

In 4 to 6 quart slow cooker, combine the salsa, chili powder, oregano, cocoa and salt. Add the pork and turn to coat.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, until meat is tender and pulls apart easily.
Twenty minutes before serving, heat oven to 350 degrees. Stack tortillas, wrap in foil and bake until warm - about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, using 2 forks, shred pork and stir into cooking liquid,
Serve with tortillas, sour cream, salsa and lime if desired.

For more slow cooker recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.



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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Picture Tag


I was tagged by Melinda from At Shores End, to do this picture tag. You have to go to wherever your pictures are, go to the 6th folder, then to the 6th picture and post it, and explain what it is. This is the entry to the Biltmore Home in Asheville, North Carolina. We visited it a few years ago when we were on our way to see Andy graduate from Basic Training in South Carolina. If you ever have the opportunity, you should stop here. The home and grounds are spectacular! We had a great time!
Thanks Melinda for the tag. I'm supposed to tag 6 more people, but I've seen several versions of this around lately. If you want to do this, consider yourself tagged!


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Monday, January 19, 2009

Tips on Tuesday


Last week Sandra had a post on how she plans her meals and does her shopping. She asked how we did things so I'm sharing today.
I've been doing menu plans for years but since I started working full time about 5 years ago it's even more important. I use the little purse calenders you can buy that hold one or two years of monthly calenders in them. I write what the meal will be in each square and I plan for 2 weeks at a time. Then, I use that menu to write out a grocery list and buy two weeks worth of groceries. I wish I could say I only shop every two weeks, but I do have to run to the store between those trips, to buy things like bread and milk and of course the things I've run out of or forgotten!
When I come home from the store, I brown and rinse any hamburg I will be using. I put it in the freezer in freezer bags in one or two pound increments, according to how it will be used. If I am going to need cubed chicken, I will cook and cube it also, then freeze it. This way the meals are quicker to make and all the mess is taken care of at once.
I also save several years of the little calenders. If I can't think of something to make, I'll look back to another year for ideas.
Knowing what meals I'll be making is so helpful. I don't have to come home from work and then think about what I will need to make something.
That's my meal planning tip. For more tips, stop over at Sandra's place.



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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thanks!


I had such fun reading the comments on my de-lurking post Friday. Thanks to every one of you who took the time to leave a note. I visited everyone that I could and found some new friends. I wish I could visit all of you, but some of you don't have blogs. (yet!) I appreciate you all!
Are you wondering why I have a picture of a dog posted? No, we didn't get a dog, although Heather keeps trying for one. It's just there to go along with a few quotes I wanted to share with you. When I read these, they made me smile and I realized there was a lot of truth to each of them!

"If at the end of the day you feel dog tired, maybe it's because you growled all day." Church sign in New Brunswick, Canada

"For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of potential happiness." Miriam Herwig



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Thursday, January 15, 2009

De-lurking week


Did you know this is de-lurking week? I found out when I was visiting Julieann, so I'm passing it on. All you have to do is go to my comments and let me know you've been here. A simple hi will do!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday


It's so cold here in Michigan! I think soups and stews are perfect for that kind of weather, so I'm sharing a stew recipe with you today.

Busy Day Beef Stew
1 boneless beef roast (1 -1 1/2 pounds)
1 envelope onion soup mix
2 teaspoons browning sauce, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 cups water
2 cups cubed peeled potatoes (1/2 " pieces)
6-8 medium carrots, cut into chunks
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
5 tablespoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons cold water

Place roast in slow cooker, sprinkle with soup mix, browning sauce, salt and pepper. Pour water over meat. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low.
Remove roast to cutting board; let stand for 5 minutes. Add vegetables to slow cooker. Cube beef and return to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours until vegetables are tender. Combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into stew. Cover and cook on high for 45 minutes or until thickened.
Yield: 8 - 10 servings

For more slow cooking recipes, stop over at Sandra's blog; Diary of a SAHM.



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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Emoticons


I love emoticons. However, I don't know any that can be done on the keyboard, other than the typical smile or frown... :) :(
I found an article that had a bunch listed and thought I would share it with you in case you like them too!

:P
sticking out tongue

:'-(
crying

:-O
surprised

0:-)
innocent

~:-(
mad

;0
winking

}:-]
evil grin

':-)
raised eyebrow

(:-D
talking

(:-{)
mustache

:-x
no comment

(*o*)
gawking

(=_=)
annoyed

(*_*)
starstruck

(~.~)
sleepy

Aren't they cute? Now, if I can just remember some of them!

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Tips on Tuesday


I found a website that I'm enjoying recently, thanks to Julieanne from My wife as a Wife and Mother. It's from The Scotts people and it is allows you to make a grocery list online and print it out. You may also save it and come back to it later. Things are listed under different categories and you may also add your own items. It makes a much neater list than the type I write out muself and I like the way everything is gathered into similar groups.
If you want to check it out for yourself, go here.
For more tips, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.


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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Who needs pockets?



My daughter Laura sent me this cute video and I wanted to share it with you. I guarantee you will laugh at this one!


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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Award


Thanks to Angie of "Tails" of Groomer Ang for passing this nice award on to me!
This award has a few rules that go with it.
First I have to list 5 addictions:

1. Chocolate - it is one of my favorite things.
2. Candles - I have candles burning frequently when I am home. I love the nice smells!
3. Survivor and Lost - They are my two favorite tv shows.
4. Nintendo DS - I love to play Sudoku , Brain age and a few other games on it. If I am sitting watching tv, you will also see me playing a game.
5. My computer - I spend a lot of time here and it really is addicting.

Now I am supposed to pass this on to 5 people, but I hate trying to choose 5, so I'm passing on to anyone who reads this.
Thanks again, Angie for giving this one to me.


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Thursday, January 8, 2009

What's cooking?

What does a messy kitchen:


plus a full stove equal?


Answer: A freezer full of meals!


I like to take a day and cook freezer meals occasionally. It's wonderful to be have meals ready to go when the day is busy and they are also handy to give to someone else. I had Wednesday off and spent the day in the kitchen. I made 1 Mexican Manicotti, 2 Crowd Pleaser casseroles, 2 Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti, 3 Pasta E Fagioli, 2 Cheesy Chicken soup and 3 Parsley Parmesan Chicken. That should last us awhile! Some of these are new and several I have made before. They are all things that freeze well. It's really worth a days work and the mess to have all these meals done!


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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday


Thursday is here again with another slow cooking recipe. The recipe I have today is one we had for supper on Wednesday night. We enjoyed it and I hope you do too.



Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 cups baby carrots
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
8 ounces snow peas, trimmed
16 ounces pineapple tidbits, drained with 2 tablespoons juice reserved
1 red or green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup roasted cashews
3 cups cooked brown rice
Stir together chicken, carrots, broth and 2 tablespoons soy sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook for 5-6 hours on low.
Stir in snow peas, pineapple and pepper and cook another hour.
Stir together remaining soy sauce, 2 tablespoons pineapple juice and corn starch. Remove excess liquid from slow cooker, bring to low boil on stove. Stir in soy sauce and pineapple juice mix. Stir until thickened. Then pour over mix in crock pot and stir.
Stir in cashews and serve over rice.
For more slow cooker recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.





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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What happened the year you were born?




In 1960 (the year you were born)



Dwight Eisenhower is president of the US



Sit-ins being after 4 black college students in North Carolina refuse to move from a deli counter when denied service



A U-2 reconnaissance plane belonging to the US is shot down in the Soviet Union



Hurricane "Donna" strikes the East Coast causing over 100 deaths in the US and the Antilles



John F. Kennedy defeats Vice President Richard Nixon in the presidential race



Cassius Clay (who later took the name Muhammad Ali) wins his first professional fight



Michael Stipe, Tony Robbins, Bono, John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Jeffrey Dahmer are born



Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series



Philadelphia Eagles win the NFL championship



Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup



Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is the top grossing film



To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is published



The Beatles make their debut in Hamburg, Germany



The Flintstones debut


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Monday, January 5, 2009

Tips on Tuesday


I think all of us who blog really appreciate the comments we receive. You may have an idea who leaves you the most comments, but if you want to know for sure, check out this site.
I found this over at
Mike's place and added it to my blog. It creates a widget that checks your last 500 comments and lists your top ten commenter's. It's really easy to do, it only takes you putting your blog name down and hitting a few buttons.
If you want to see what the list looks like, check out my side bar, under "Blogs I recommend". Hope you have fun with this!
If you want to see more tips, visit Sandra at
Diary of a SAHM.



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