Monday, January 31, 2011

This Old House


I was out driving around the back roads here, taking pictures, when I came across this old, abandoned house. I noticed there were still curtains in the upstairs window.
It made me sad to see the house falling down, when I thought of the people that had called this home. How many kids ran around that yard? What about the woman who had cleaned that house and spent time in the kitchen making meals? Who built this house with dreams for the future?
Then I thought about my own house and all the time I invest in it. How often do I think about things I would like to do to it?
Someday my house and the things in it will be gone or falling down too. None of those things will have any meaning to me. It's a good lesson on priorities. While it's important to take good care of the things God has given me, it can't take top priority. I need to keep God in His place and do what He asks, including maintaining the relationships He has blessed me with!

"But do not store up for yourself treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal. Instead store up your treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Stockpiling

A little while ago, I posted here about a blog I was following that was helping me save money on my groceries and also build a stockpile of great deals.
I've been doing great!

This is the bookcase I used to store my stuff in. As you can see, I still have some there, but I needed more space, so Bob fixed up a spot for me.
Our laundry area is in our basement. He finished off the room by putting up a wall, hanging drywall and painting. It makes it so much nicer to use, and with the shelves it's much easier to find things.
Here is the finished project:


He put up these shelves on one wall.


Against the other wall are the washer, dryer and freezer.
Didn't he do a great job?


Here's the stockpile. All of this was bought for a great price. For example, all of the cereal cost between 50 cents and one dollar a box.
Using the stockpile has really reduced our grocery bill, plus it's handy to have available.
These bargains also make it easier to give to your local food pantry or others who are need some help.
If you live in West Michigan and want some direction on doing this, visit Saving Addiction.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Little Singer

Take a few minutes to watch this clip. The little boy on it was 2 years old when this was taped. I'm amazed by how well he can sing this song, and I love his enthusiasm!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cooking Thursday


This time of year, soup is on the menu a lot. It's so good, when it's cold and snowy. This one is full of flavor! I know you will like it.
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.




Bean Soup with Ham

1/2 cup dry black beans
1/2 cup dry great Northern beans
1/2 cup dry red kidney beans
1/2 cup dry pinto beans
1/2 cup dry split green peas
1 ham bone or ham hocks with meat attached
1 small onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
6 cups ham broth (I made mine using ham soup base)
16 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 hours before serving, rinse beans with cold running water. Remove stones or shriveled beans. In a dutch oven or stock pot, mix beans and 9 cups water. Bring to boil and allow to boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans. Place beans, broth, onion, celery, ham bone and spices into pot. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove ham bone and add tomatoes to soup. Heat to boiling, reduce to low and simmer for 15 more minutes. While this is simmering, remove any ham from bone and add to soup. Discard bay leaf and serve.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter Drive

We've been getting lots of snow lately. On Saturday, we got 9 inches! Sunday morning when I went to work it was 17 below 0. The only saving grace to this weather is how pretty everything looks.
I took a drive around our block and took some pictures out the window, to show you what it looks like here in West Michigan.


I love seeing the branches all covered in white.


This gravel road is really pretty, but not real nice to drive on!



Do you see the leaves on this tree still hanging on, even in the snow?


I think each tree has it's own special beauty in each season. I love the snow on the pine trees, but I also love the delicate lacy look of the snow on the branches of the other trees.



And we've made it back home. My driveway is just beyond the pine tree on the left. Hope you enjoyed the drive!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Productive Day!

My sister Cheri, and I have been wanting to get together and make some freezer meals for a while, but we haven't been able to come up with a day that worked for both of us.
Last week, we finally did it!



Here's my freezer when the day was done. This picture doesn't show it well, but we both ended up with 13 meals in the freezer! This included several chicken dishes, meatloaf, BBQ Pork, Italian Roast beef, crockpot lasagne and Beef Rigatoni.
We are excited to try some of these out, and it'll be so nice to have these available for busy days!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Friday Funny



Potatoes

Once there was a girl potato and a boy potato that had eyes for each other.

After some time, they were married and they had a little sweet potato they named Yam.

Of course, they wanted the best for Yam.

When it was time, they told her about the facts of life.

They warned her about going out and getting half baked, so she wouldn't get accidentally mashed or get a bad name for herself like 'Hot Potato', or end up with a bunch of Tator Tots.

Yam said not to worry. No spud would make a rotten tator out of her!

But, on the other hand, she wasn't going to stay home and be a couch potato either.

She wanted to get exercise and stay healthy so she didn't look like her shoestring cousins.

So, she started to travel.

When she went to Europe, her parents told her to watch out for the hard boiled guys from Ireland.
And, the greasy guys from France, called the French Fries.
When she went out west they told her to watch out for Indians, so she wouldn't get scalloped.

Yam promised to stay on the straight and narrow. She said she wouldn't associate with those high class 'Yukon Golds' or the ones from the other side of the tracks, who advertise their wares on the sides of trucks that say 'Frito Lay'.

Mr and Mrs Potato sent Yam to Idaho PU (that's Potato University), so that when she graduated, she would be in the chips.

In spite of all they did for her, one day Yam came home and announced she was going to marry Tom Brokaw.

Tom Brokaw!

Mr and Mrs Potato were very upset.

They told Yam she couldn't possible marry Tom Brokaw because he's just...


(are you ready for this?)


(are you sure?)


*


*


*



A Common Tator!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cooking Thursday


It's time for another recipe!. We often have some sort of sandwich or bun on Sunday night, and this is one of our favorites. Andy always requests it when he comes home.
One thing I like about it is that you can prepare this a day ahead, then when you need it you can microwave it enough to be slightly warm and spreadable. It makes it a quick one to get on the table.
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.



Cheeseburger Buns

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 teaspoons minced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons mustard
8 ounces shredded, cheddar cheese
8 hamburger buns, halved

Stir together the ground beef, soup, onion, salt, mustard and cheese.
Spread onto bun half's.
Broil until lightly browned.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Works for me Wednesday

It's Wednesday, and that means Kristen will have lots of great ideas listed at her blog. Check them out at We are THAT Family.



Do you ever make cooked pudding? It tastes so much better than the instant kind. However, we aren't fans of the skin that forms on the top as it cools. If you put Plastic wrap over the top, and then press it right onto the top of the pudding, no skin will form!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Who's the funny guy?


Someone has a warped sense of humor. This came in the mail today. The envelope said I was given a year subscription to this magazine. Hmmm - I think those days are done!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Are you listening, God?


A few weeks ago when I was at work, one of the nurses aides told me one of our residents wanted to see me. I went to her room and found her crying. When I asked what was wrong, she said she was upset because she wanted to go home. She said "I just want to go to my own home and no one will let me! I've asked everyone and I'm still here. I've cried out to the Lord and asked Him to let me go home and I'm still here. Why won't He answer me?"
My response to her was that He knows best and although this wasn't what she would like there is a reason for it.
In actuality, she won't be able to go home. She has dementia and is unable to live on her own. When she was in her home, she was leaving pans on the stove, with the burner on. She fell several times and isn't able to make proper decisions for herself.
To her, it feels like God doesn't care and isn't listening. In looking at the bigger picture, I can see that going home wouldn't be the right thing for her.
This made me think - how often do I pray for things, wondering why God doesn't appear to be answering? It's a good reminder that God knows all and when He doesn't answer the way we want, we have to remember that His way really is what is best for us.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I won!

My friend Joanna from The Fifty Factor had a great giveaway recently. Imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail from her on Christmas night, telling me I was the winner of an $80 gift certificate to CSN stores!
CSN stores has about anything you might want, so I had to think about what to use this on. In the end, I decided to put it towards a food processor. I've always wished I had one and I decided this was the time.
Once I ordered it, it arrived in no time.

Isn't it beautiful? It slices and chops in no time. I know it'll get lots of use in my kitchen.
Thanks Joanna!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cooking Thursday


It's Cooking Thursday, hosted by Sandra at Diary of a SAHM. Be sure to stop over at her place to see what other recipes people are sharing.

I am sharing a recipe that is probably the easiest one I've ever posted. Not only is it easy - it's yummy and it's a relatively low cal chocolate fix.
Don't be afraid of the pumpkin - you don't even taste it; just fudgy chocolate!


Weight Watchers Chocolate Muffins

1 box Devils Food cake mix
1 can (15 ounce) solid pack pumpkin

Mix together. Do not add any other ingredients. The mixture will be very thick and you will be tempted to add something to thin it, but don't!
Place in muffin tins, sprayed with non-stick spray or with liners.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
This makes 12 muffins
Each muffin is 180 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 37 carbs, 2.5 grams fiber, 2.5 grams protein.

*I made this into 18 muffins instead. They were still good sized and cut the calorie count.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Works for me Wednesday


I shared this last year, but I've enjoyed using it so much, and it's the beginning of a new year so I'm sharing again!
I have a notebook that helps me keep my house clean. I first heard of it when Lyn at Rohal Call started blogging about how helpful it was to her.
I work full time, and hate to spend my day off cleaning the house. Motivated Moms has put together a printable chore list, that breaks down household chores into small tasks which you do every day.
I like having a few things to do and then check off, every day. If I am going to be especially busy or gone, I can work ahead. When I have a day off, I only have a few things to get done. It reminds me to do things I wouldn't do regularly too - like cleaning switchplates and cleaning out my car.
These planners are available in different sizes and styles; you purchase the one you like, download and print it. If you want to see what they look like check them out, here (click on samples at the bottom of the page).
For more tips, visit Kristen at We are THAT Family.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snowy Day

We had several snowy days here last week, followed by some cold and sunny days on the weekend. Saturday morning it was just beautiful, but I was working, which really impedes any photography! I took a few pictures out of the windows of the nursing home to try to give an idea of what it looked like.

I love the early morning in the winter. Everything takes on a blue tint, and if we're lucky, we get this pink as the sun comes up.



These grassy weeds are on the edge of the lawn in the back, and they looked so pretty covered in snow. Do you see the rabbit tracks?




The pink changing to gold as the sun comes up.



Look at that sun shine! The snow on the trees didn't last long once the sun game out, but it was still cold. Sunday morning when I went in to work the thermometer read 0 degrees. Hopefully it won't stay this cold for long!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Year in Review

I'm a little late, with this but I still wanted to do a review of last year.
I'm posting one of my favorite pictures from each month, along with some things that happened in that month.

January

Nothing exciting happening in January. It was just winter in Michigan!

February

The Olympics happened last February. Oliver enjoyed watching them with the rest of us. Not much going on in our lives.

March
We could have handled a little boredom in March. Heather was in the hospital for a few days. They never did find our what caused her problem, but she's been fine since!
This picture was taken as we were about to leave.

April
April means Spring is here, something I'm always ready for! My girls and I took a little trip and did some shopping at IKEA! I also got to meet Kayren of Everything's Coming up Daisies while we were there!

May
I had a garage sale with my sisters and cleaned out a few things. We went to the Tulip Time Festival in Holland. My daughter Laura completed her first 10K!


June
My sister Cheri and I went on a road trip! We went to Pennsylvania and met Cheryl of Cherdecor and her husband Alan. We enjoyed Amish country and the beauty of Pennsylvania.


July
My sister Terri was camping at Lake Michigan. Heather and I spent a day with them.


August
This picture was taken at Meijer gardens during the Chihuly exhibition. We also had other fun summer events - the country fair, a chicken BBQ. I also had an episode of cellulitis requiring me to keep my foot up for a few days. Both of my daughters had Lasix surgery and now have better than 20/20 vision!

September
This picture was taken when we had extremely high winds, causing waves of 15 feet on Lake Michigan. Bob also finished a dresser for me, completing a bedroom suite. We had an antique car show at the Nursing Home and we went to Artprize in Grand Rapids.


October
We had one of the best weather seasons in recent history this Fall. The colors were wonderful, with warm temps and sunshine to enjoy them. Andy came home for 1 1/2 weeks. We took time off from work and spent time together.


November
November was a fun month! Bob got an honorable mention for his carvings from Wood Carving Magazine. I turned 50 and Andy made a surprise trip home for my birthday and Thanksgiving.

December
This picture was taken of the first snowfall of the season. Bob also took part in a craft sale and sold lots of carvings. We had a wonderful Christmas and were blessed to have Andy come home for the third month in a row!

That ends 2010. I'm reminded again of how God was with us, through the good times and the hard times. I'm also reminded that although most of my time seems to be spent working and keeping the house in order, the times most treasured are times spent with family.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Charles Schultz Philosphy

The Charlie Schulz Philosophy




The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip.


You don't have to actually answer the questions.
Just ponder on them.


1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.


2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.


3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.


4 Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.


5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress!


6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.



How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.


These are no second-rate achievers.


They are the best in their fields.


But the applause dies..


Awards tarnish..


Achievements are forgotten.


Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.


Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:


1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.


2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.


3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.


4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special
.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.



Easier?


The lesson:


The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the

most credentials, the most money...or the most awards.

They simply are the ones who care the most





''Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!"



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cooking Thursday


It's time to share another recipe! This one is a favorite in our family. My aunt made a big batch for us when my Mom passed away, and we've all been making it since then.
It can be made quite quickly and is really good. I've made it several times for people who are recuperating from an illness or surgery and often am asked for the recipe.
I've also thrown it in the crockpot and taken it to work for potlucks.
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.


Wild Rice Chicken Soup

6 1/4 c. liquid (I use broth and enough water to get 6 1/4 cups)
1 (6 oz) box Uncle Ben's Original Recipe long grain and wild rice mix
1 envelope Lipton chicken noodle soup mix
1 celery rib, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1-2 cups cubed cooked chicken

In large saucepan, combine liquid, rice with contents of seasoning packet and Lipton soup mix. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in celery, carrot and onion. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in cream of chicken soup and chicken. Cook about 8 minutes longer and or until rice and vegetables are tender.