Monday, February 28, 2011

Family updates

You may remember almost a month when I told you here that Heather had been in an accident and probably totaled her car?
Yes, her car was totaled and those of you that have been through this know that it takes a while before everything is taken care of.
We have State Farm insurance and we were really happy with how they handled it. We felt they gave a fair settlement for her car. However - once you get the check, it still takes a while to find a good used car.
After looking around for a few weeks we had success! Here is her new (to her) car:



It's a Chevy Cavalier. We're hoping it runs as well as her Saturn did!

I have an update on Andy too. He left last Sunday and is now at his base in Afghanistan. We were able to talk to him Sunday afternoon. At this point he doesn't have internet yet and because of the long hours and expense of calling we won't hear much. Once his internet is set up, we will be able to use Skype to keep in contact. He's working nights right now - big hours and not much in the way of days off. That's not all bad though. Time goes quick that way and there really isn't much to do there. He says it's pretty cold as they are in the mountains, but not quite as bad as Michigan!
Thanks for your continued prayers for him!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Another Alias


About a year ago I posted here about the many names I answer to.
Many of my names come from the residents at work. They are all "normal" names - some I am called are Betty, Penny and Marilyn. However, I've recently acquired a new name from one of our little ladies, that is a little more unusual.
She has no sit in her and is a fall risk, so she spends a lot of time sitting at the nurses station next to me. She sometimes gets frustrated with me because she wants me to go with her (never to any one place), and I'm always telling her I need to finish my work before we can leave.
Last week she said "That's enough! They either need to get some help for you or we are just going to get out of here!"
Anyway, for some reason, she thinks my name is Coco. :) (I know you are laughing now!)
I don't know about you , but when I think of a person named Coco, I think of someone dancing on table tops and that certainly isn't me!
However, when I look the name up, I find it means chocolate bean. Maybe that's why she gave me the name - she knows I like chocolate!
Regardless of what she calls me, she is a cutie and I love having conversations with her. The other day she told me "You have a hot boyfriend." How many 90 year olds do you know that have that kind of conversation? When I passed that bit on to Bob he replied "I guess she's met me!"
It's a fun benefit to my job. I get to meet lots of people, every day is different and I never know what I am going to hear - or be called!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Is your cat trying to kill you?

Those of you who have cats know what funny things your cat does some times. Here's a fun quiz to see if they have evil intentions!
According to my score, I better be careful!

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cooking Thursday


I've got a yummy recipe for you today! I made these last week for the Open house we had for Andy. They're called bars, but I would say it's more like a dessert. This is a recipe from Paula Deen so you know it's good!
For more recipes, visit Sandra at a Diary of a SAHM.



Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
(Paula Deen)

2 cups flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup softened butter
2 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, cut and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Streusel topping - recipe follows
1/2 cup caramel topping

Streusel topping
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup butter, softened
In small bowl combine all ingredients


Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mix is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan lined with heavy duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Stir until smooth and pour over warm crust.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mix.
Sprinkle evenly with streusel topping. Bake for 30 minutes or until filling is set.
Drizzle with caramel topping.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Works for me Wednesday



My tip for today is about something we all have to do whether we like to or not - pay bills.
When I pay bills that are regular monthly bills, like electric, gas and phone, I round up the amount I pay. So, if the bill was $67.35, I would probably round it to $70. The extra goes to my next bill and it makes it easier to keep track of the amount left in the checking account.
On things like car payments or house payment, I always try to add extra so it's paid off quicker, even if it's only $20. It makes a difference in the long run!
For more tips, visit Kristen at We are THAT Family.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Having your cake and eating it too

This weekend we got to go to a birthday party. It was Bob's great nephews first birthday.
He enjoyed the presents, especially the paper and the boxes.
Eating the cake though - that was fun!

He got his own little cake to eat. His Mom was smart and took his shirt off!

"Hmmm - this tastes pretty good."


"I'm really getting into this piece of cake!"


"Yum!"

When was the last time you enjoyed eating something this much?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The return of winter

I make no secret of the fact that I am not a huge fan of winter. As a matter of fact, if it wasn't so pretty I would say it was pretty much worthless.
So, I'm always counting down the days to Spring. That being said, I was thrilled last week when this happened:

We had a thaw! The temperature reached 50, the icicles melted and so did much of the snow!
Spring was on the way. :)
I knew that it wouldn't last though. It's still February and this is Michigan.
However, that doesn't mean I'm happy about what is happening now.


When I left for work this morning there was no snow on the roads, and very little anywhere else. It started snowing around one this afternoon. When I came home at 3:30 this is what our road looked like:

It was a slippery ride home!



Here's the view from our living room.



The trees in the side yard are getting loaded down with snow.
Tonight the snow is supposed to change over to freezing rain. It could be a nasty ride in to work tomorrow!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

God's cake

Sometimes we wonder
"What did I do to deserve this?" or "why is God letting this happen to me?"
This is one of the best explanations I've seen.

A daughter is telling her Mom how everything is going wrong. She's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
Meanwhile, her Mom is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack. The daughter replies "yes, I love your cake".
"Here, have some cooking oil", her Mom offers.
"Yuck", says the daughter.
"How about a few raw eggs?"
"Gross, Mom!"
"Would you like some flour then? Or maybe some baking soda?"
"Mom! Those things are all disgusting!"
The Mother replies; "Yes, they all seem bad by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a delicious cake!"



God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and know that He is able to make them into something wonderful.



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cooking Thursday


This soup is one of my family's favorites. It's perfect for cold winter evenings and although it's a little warmer here today, the cold will be back next week. :(
Make sure you stop over at Sandra's blog for more good stuff!


Cheesy Potato Soup

2 chicken bouillon soup
2 cups boiling water
4 cups peeled, cubed potatoes
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 quart milk
1/2 pound Velveeta, cubed
bacon bits or ham - optional

Dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water in large saucepan. Add potatoes along with other vegetables. Bring to boiling, simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a 4 quart dutch oven over low heat. Blend in flour, stirring mix until smooth. Add 1 cup milk, then stir in remaining 3 cups milk. Stir constantly until slightly thickened.
When vegetables are cooked and tender, puree and stir into hot milk.
Heat to boiling. Stir in cheese.
Season with salt and pepper. Add bacon or ham if desired.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Works for me Wednesday


When I make a roast for dinner, I always try to make one that's big enough that I will have left over meat to use. I have a couple things that I regularly use it for.

The first is Roast Beef Shepherds Pie. For this I shred the leftover meat and put it in the bottom of a 7x11 pan. I pour a little of the left over gravy over that and then whatever vegetable we had - usually corn or beans. I then seal it tightly with aluminum foil and freeze it.
When I'm ready to use it, I put it in the frig the day before to defrost. I usually buy a prepared container of mashed potatoes (Found in the refrigerator section of the store). Put the mashed potatoes over the thawed meat and veggies and place in a 350 degree oven. Bake for about 45 minutes and you will have a dinner that doesn't taste like leftovers.

The other thing I do is BBQ Beef sandwiches. I shred the leftover roast and freeze it. When you are ready to use it, thaw it and add some BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays).
This makes a very quick and tasty supper!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hello, Goodbye...

We were thrilled to have Andy come home this past weekend. He came home to bring a lot of his things here, because he is scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan in a short time. Instead of storing everything in Kentucky, he wanted to leave it here. We always love having him come home, and since he won't be back for awhile we saw lots of family this weekend as well.


Here's my sister Terri giving Andy a hug - he appears to be enjoying it, don't you think?
~~~

We had an Open House so family could visit with him. Here's some of the goodies we ate!
~~~

Our family room was filled!

Laura is thrilled to see my camera out again. :)
~~~

Andy has a great sense of humor and when he is home we never know what he might be up to.
So - when he came in the house with this giant icicle we knew he was up to no good!



Yes - he is attacking poor Heather!
~~~

Sunday we were blessed during the church service when Andy, and Bob and I went up front and people came and prayed for him and us.
Having people pray for you like this is really emotional, and I tend to be a crier anyway, so this really did me in. It was hard, but such a blessing to have so many people who care and are praying.
~~~

Sunday night we had Laura and Aaron come for supper and a birthday party.


Oliver enjoyed the tissue paper from the gifts.
~~~

We packed lots of fun into those few days.
Monday afternoon Andy headed back to Kentucky, leaving a few tearful people here. He'll be going to Afghanistan soon, but we can't share the date.
Those good byes are always hard on all of us, but we know we can trust God to take care of him, whether he is here, in Kentucky, or in Afghanistan.
Thanks for your prayers!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Happy Valentines Day!


It's Heathers birthday today!
She's the best Valentine Bob and I ever got.
Heather - we are so blessed to have such a wonderful daughter. We are thankful for the gift that you are and are praying for all the best God has for you in the next year.

~~~~~~~

It's also Valentines Day
Someone sent me this e-mail that talks about the best valentine ever sent.
Hope you enjoy it like I did.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Science Experiment done big!

Someone sent me this clip in an e-mail. It's about mixing corn starch and water. It's something I did with my kids for a science experiment from school, but never on this level!



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cooking Thursday


How do you feel about cheesecake? What a crazy question, right? I love cheesecake, but don't make it too often because, beside the fact that it's not very good for you, it also can be kind of time consuming to make.
I have a recipe today that I got from my sister Terri. It's really quick and easy and is yummy too!
For more recipes, stop over at Sandra's place.




Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

1 graham cracker pie shell
3 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cream cheese until smooth, then add condensed milk. Add egg and stir in vanilla.
Stir together 1/2 cup of chocolate chips with the 1 teaspoon flour.
Stir into cream cheese mix and pour into pie shell.
Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top.
Bake for 45 minutes or until filling is set.
Refrigerate and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The winner is...

Tonight was the night to pick a winner for the $70 gift card to CSN.
There were 83 entries and the winner is...



Pat, from Living on Grace!
Congratulations Pat - enjoy picking something out. :)
Thanks to all of you for entering and to CSN for offering to do this.

Sticky Post

Go here to sign up for the $70 gift certificate from CSN stores!
Giveaway ends on 2/9/11

Monday, February 7, 2011

One of those weeks!


Did you ever have one of those weeks? We had one last week.
  • It started on Tuesday when Heather was in an accident, and her car was totaled. We are still waiting to hear what the Insurance company is paying out on it. In the meantime, we are shuffling cars to get us all where we need to be!
  • Tuesday night the blizzard struck, making for a harrowing drive to work on Wednesday.
  • On Thursday I noticed a funny smell when I did the wash. Bob thought a belt went bad, but when he tried to replace it, it turned out to be worse than that. Our washer was toast! We can't complain. We had it for 20 years without a single problem.
We went out Friday night and bought a new one. It's installed and working well.
  • Then - we had to have a wheel bearing replaced on our Blazer to the cost of $200. It would have cost more, but we have a wonderful son-in-law who is a mechanic. :)
  • Sunday as I was driving to work, thinking how nice it was not to be hearing the strange noise I had been hearing from the wheel, something turned on in the dash board. It was a yellow light that said "service Engine soon"! Aaaggh! I'm hoping it's just a sensor or something, because the money tree is nearly empty.

However - for everything that happened, there is a positive:
  • Heather wasn't hurt in the accident
  • We made it to work safely
  • I got a new washing machine
  • Our Blazer was fixed with free labor from our Son-in-law
  • The engine light is still on and I plan to have it checked on Tuesday, but it's running fine.
So - when I look at those things, I have to thank God for the way He blesses us, even in the middle of trouble!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Blizzard!

I know many of you also experienced the Blizzard that hit us last week. It was one widespread storm!
On Wednesday we had 18 new inches of snow and everything was closed. There were 1154 closings on our local station.
One place that never closes was the Nursing Home where I work. I knew I would need to get to work. Heather works as a cook there, so she needed to get in as well. My Blazer is a 4 wheel drive, so we figured we could do it.
We bundled up, taking extra clothes along since we didn't know how long we would have to stay and took off...
and got stuck in the driveway!
On top of the 18 inches, was the wind which had created huge drifts and one was at the end of the driveway. Bob had to do some snow blowing and we left again.
We had to drive for several miles following 2 tracks, before we got to a road where a plow truck had done a little plowing. When we got to the road the Nursing home is on, we were in trouble again. It was filled with snow. I didn't dare to go too slow or I would have gotten stuck again.
Finally I made it - a little late, but there!
We were a little short staffed, but not bad. One of our aides had taken in a big 4 wheel drive truck and had been out picking people up. Several people had gotten stuck at the end of the road the Nursing home is on and she rescued them too.

This is the walk to the front door. It doesn't show it well, but we were walking through knee high snow to get in.


This shows how high the drifts got.



Another drift outside a side door.


Snow piling up on the roof...



and everywhere else!



The birds braved the cold and wind to get a meal.


By the afternoon, the sun was out. The afternoon staff was able to get in and I got to go home on time!
Here's Bob clearing a path to his workshop. The snow is almost as tall as his snow blower!


This shows you how deep the snow is.



This is our back yard, covered in snow!
That's enough for awhile, I'm ready for Spring!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Crash!

I was at work on Tuesday, when I got one of those calls you hate to get. It was Heather.
"Mom, I was in an accident. I'm ok, but my car is in bad shape."
She was on her way to a Dr appt, and as she approached a green light, she realized that a van was going to go right through the red light. She tried to stop, but it was to late and she hit him.
There happened to be a police officer at a store on the corner who saw it and was able to be a witness that she wasn't at fault, so that was a real blessing. Of course, the biggest blessing was that she wasn't injured other than some bumps and bruises!
After work, we went to the body shop to look at her poor little car.



It took a pretty good hit and has lots of damage.


As you can see, both air bags went off. We are waiting to hear from the insurance company, but are thinking it will be totaled. It's been a really good car and is paid for, so we're sorry to see it go, if that's what happens. But, as our daughter Laura said - "we can replace a car, but I don't think we can find another Heather!"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cooking Thursday


The recipe I'm sharing today is one I tried for the first time yesterday. It's another one that goes together quickly, but is very tasty! For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.




Easy Italian Crescent Squares

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons minced onion
1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
1 pkg crescent rolls

Press 1/2 pkg (4 rolls) crescent rolls into 9x9 pan. Place in 350 degree oven and bake for 8 minutes.
While this is baking, stir together beef, salt, garlic powder, oregano, minced onion and sauce.
After 8 minutes take pan out of oven. Sprinkle 6 ounces cheese over crescents, then meat mix, then remaining cheese.
Roll out the other 4 crescents to fit pan and place over cheese.
Bake for another 15-18 minutes, until top crust is golden brown.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Giveaway!


The good people at CSN stores are offering a giveaway to my readers! I don't know if you have ever shopped with them, but I have. I've made 2 purchases through them recently and have been really pleased with the selection, the ease of ordering, the quick delivery and the wonderful products!
They have such a huge selection of goods! If there is something you are looking for, you will most likely find it there. Do you need a swing set? They have it! A shed or a generator? You can find that too! They have cookware, towels, furniture and even those swingsets!
The giveaway is for a $70 gift certificate to get whatever you want from them. So, leave a comment with your name, making sure there is a way for me to get in touch with you if you should win.
This giveaway will also be on my photo blog, so if you want an extra entry, stop over there and enter! (There is a link on the menu bar at the top of my blog)
I'll be drawing a winner and posting it here in one week.
*CSN limits this to people in the United States and Canada.