Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

Ice storm

Last week while I was taking a break here, we had a major ice storm. It was on Sunday morning and almost everything was closed. I had to work and I really think the roads were about the worst I've driven on. When I got to work, I hardly dared to pick up my feet as I walked in because the parking lot was like a skating rink. Here's a few pictures to show what it looked like.


Some of the ornamental grasses in front of the nursing home give you an idea of the coating of ice on everything.

 

A car in the parking lot has an extra coating.

 

This leaf is encased in ice.


Mid morning, it started to snow...

Those same ornamental grasses now are covered with white.

 

My street, when I returned home.

 


 


It truly did look like a winter wonderland!

 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas 2013

I hope you all had a nice Christmas. I enjoyed my little blogging break and Christmas too. Here's a few pictures of our Christmas celebrations.

Laura, Aaron and Alaina came over on Christmas Eve for our family gathering.

Alaina sat with Bob while he read the Christmas story from Luke.

Andy wasn't able to get home this year, but we spent some time on Skype with him.  After that we opened our gifts to each other.

Alaina has opening gifts figured out, but she also found that they work quite well as a seat and a desk.

 

She loves the Bubble Guppies show, and was happy with a big, stuffed Mr Grouper.

 

Andy sent this beautiful plaque for Bob and I.  We hung it in the kitchen where we can enjoy it all the time!


My whole family came on Christmas Day.  This included Bob, Laura, Aaron, Alaina, Heather, my Dad, stepmom, brother, 2 sisters and  brother-in-laws, 5 nieces and 1 nephew!

Here's the whole clan, ready to eat a yummy ham dinner.

 

My nephew Nick, Heather, Alaina and niece Katelyn.

 

My Dad and step-mom had fun letting Alaina "help" with their gifts.

 


Time spent with those we love is the best part of the Christmas celebrations.
 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Christmas Scale

This is a short video that tells of the best news, shared in a simple scale.  Enjoy!



I'm taking the next week off from blogging.  If I have time I'll stop at your blogs, but in the meantime I want to wish all of you a blessed Christmas, remembering the reason we celebrate!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cooking Thursday

I've posted this recipe before, but it's been a few years. It's a favorite at Christmas so I thought I would share it again, so my newer readers would see it. This is the best caramel corn ever! It's so easy to make, and I love it because there are no hard kernels or hulls in it. Try it yourself - I know you'll agree!



Best Ever Caramel Corn

2 bags Jays Corn Puffs
2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Pour bags of corn puffs into a turkey roaster pan.
In a deep sauce pan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla.
Bring mix to boil over medium heat. Once it begins boiling, boil for 2 minutes. (Don't over boil)
Remove from heat and stir in baking soda; the mix will become foamy.
Slowly pour half the mix over the corn puffs and stir gently. Then pour remaining mix over corn puffs and stir to coat fully.
Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Dump entire contents onto wax paper to cool completely. Break apart and store in airtight container.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

Let it snow...



This is an aerial view of Michigan taken last week.  It shows what we deal with so often throughout the winter - Lake Effect Snow.   I live quite close to Lake Michigan so we see a lot of it.  This past week, we had lots of snow come down, which made for difficulty driving and lots of accidents.  Our little town was said to have gotten the most snow in our county.  I also heard that last year we only had a few inches of snow at this time, this year we have over 21 inches.
All this snow is coming at a bad time for me.  It's made it difficult to get out and get that last minute shopping done.  I'm hoping we're about done with it, but it doesn't sound like it!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Family Christmas Party

We had Bob's family party on Saturday.Most of the family was able to be there and a good time was had by everyone there!


There was plenty of food.  We had pizza, and everyone brought goodies. Laura brought this beautiful Pumpkin Toffee Cake.  No one left hungry!

 

Here's the whole group eating.  Bob has 2 sisters and 3 brothers, so it's a pretty big group.

 

This cutie is the newest member of the family.  Olivia is 9 months old.

 

Alaina opening her present.

 

Bob's mom opening a gift.

 

Alaina had such fun playing with Bob's nephews son.  They seem to have unending energy.  :)

 

Having fun coloring with Aunt Diane.

 

Bob's Mom and step-dad.
They had a very busy week, as they downsized and moved to an independent living community.    It's not easy to make that decision or to decide what you want to keep and what to get rid of.  They enjoyed this time with family and I hope they get to have peace and quiet in the upcoming week.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

West Jet Christmas Miracle

West Jet, a Canadian Airline turn wishes into reality in this short clip.  I bet this was such a fun thing to be involved in!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cooking Thursday

I went to a Christmas party last week where we all brought desserts to share. I had to get the recipe of the one I tasted, because it was so good! It also looked so festive, perfect for a Christmas gathering.
When I asked for the recipe, the person who brought it said she got it from tv.  It was originally from Sandra Lee.  The recipe says they are bars, but I think anything with 4 packages of cream cheese, counts as dessert!


Cream Cheese and Cranberry Bars

21⁄2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 packages (8 ounces each) Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 package (12-ounce) white chocolate chips
11/2 cups dried cranberries (Craisins)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In a medium bowl combine crushed graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes.
Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. In a very large bowl combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy using an electric mixer on medium. Beat in eggs, one at a time, just until blended. Pour half of the white chocolate chips and half of the dried cranberries into batter. Combine. Pour over prepared crust. Sprinkle remaining white chocolate chips and remaining dried cranberries over batter. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until edges are set but center still jiggles slightly. Cool completely in pan on cooling rack, about 1 hour.

Drizzle
4 ounces PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons milk

For cheesecake icing, beat cream cheese until creamy. Beat in powdered sugar. Stir in vanilla. Add 3 tablespoons milk and stir to thoroughly combine. Add milk as needed to get desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled bars. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.


 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday


April 18, 2011
 

May 6, 2013
 

December 9, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

Random Act of Kindness

I was working this weekend when a young man and his mother came into the nursing home. They were carrying a few things and she explained that it was his 13th birthday and he wanted to celebrate by doing some random acts of kindness. 


The first thing was to bring a cup of Starbucks coffee to a nurse that was working on the weekend.  I was the lucky recipient.  It was peppermint mocha - so good!
 

The second thing was a poinsettia plant for whatever resident we thought could use the cheering up most.  We  brought it to a lady who had a rough night and was pretty down.  The smile on her face when she heard who the plant came from was priceless.
This act of kindness spread cheer to everyone who heard about it.  The residents family was so touched, as were the staff.
Not many boys of 13 would think to do something like this. I think it's quite inspiring and I'm going to find a way to pass it on.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Busy weekend

We had a busy weekend with 2 Christmas parties.  The first was my Dad's family party.  He comes from a large family of 10 kids.  All but one are living, and they all live quite close to each other, so it's a big group when they get together with kids, grandkids and great-grandkids!



Here's a partial shot of the group.

 

Some of my immediate family.

 

The little kids get presents.  Here's Alaina sitting with my step mom, checking out her gift.

 

Having fun playing with my nieces.



The packaging is always fun!



Saturday night we had Bob's work party. After a good supper, we had a program by an illusionist named Tom Coverly.  He began by saying everything we saw would be an illusion, not magic.  He did some amazing things, but I was most struck by his story.  He grew up in a tough family, was a gang member by his teens and was getting into lots of trouble. Then he went to church for the first time in his life.  He went to meet a girl, and instead he ended up meeting Jesus.  It was an amazing testimony.
I think it was the best work party we've ever been to!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Band of brothers

It seems that every time I watch the news, there's nothing good to be heard.  However - this is a good news story - about some young kids rallying around a younger boy who was being bullied.  Take 2 minutes to watch this.  I know you'll enjoy it!




Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cooking Thursday

It's a busy time of year, lots of places to go, things to do and not much time for cooking or baking on top of what you already need to do. Usually I post a recipe on Thursday, but todays is more of a product review.



Best Brownies

1 box Ghirardelli brownie mix
oil, water, eggs as instructed on package

Prepare brownies as instructed on package.  Enjoy the absolutely yummy brownies you made in a short time!

*These are my favorite boxed brownies.  Yes, they cost more than Betty Crocker, but they are so much better!  Buy them when they're on sale and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

Same spot, different date

When I'm doing my medication pass in the morning, I often take note of what it looks like outside through a door at the end of the hall.  When I think it's looking pretty, I stop and take a picture.  I noticed I had a few pictures of the same scene over the last few months.  It struck me that God changes the scene in different seasons, but it's still pretty!



September

 

October

 

November

 

December


It's the same with people.  There's a different beauty to be seen in all the different seasons of life.
 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Oh, Christmas Tree...

Our Christmas tree is up!  We have lots of ornaments that we put on because they're pretty, but there are also plenty that have lots of sentimental value.  I thought I would share a few with you.



Here's the finished product!



These bells have been hanging on every tree we've had since we've been married.  They were on our wedding cake 32 years ago.  I read a tip from someone back then, who said to save your cake bells (most every wedding cake back then had them) and hang them on your tree. I thought it was a good way to use them and here they still are!



My Mom had this ornament made for us in 1996.  She passed away in 2003, and it's always nice to see this and remember her.

 

This ornament always makes us laugh.  The first time I met Bob's mom and sisters, they were working on ornaments for a charity sale.  These were from a kit and we laughed as we made them, because  we thought they were so ugly.  Of course, his sister bought one and gave it to me for Christmas that year.  It's always hung with a smile - on the back of the tree!



Andy made this little pasta angel when he was about 6.  It's another one that makes us smile!

 

Bob's sister-in-law made cross stitched ornaments for all the kids in 1989.  The other side of this holds a photo.  She passed away in 2008 after fighting cancer and this one also brings back good memories of her.

 

This one was given to me by the daughter of one of my residents who has since passed away.  She had severe Alzheimer's, but when she was younger she made lots of these bells.  I'm honored to have one and to think of her when I see it.



These are some of Bob's carved Santa's.   I love the individuality of each one, and seeing the evidence of the talent God has given him.

 

Laura made this in Sunday School when she was 6.  It makes me smile, and is a great reminder of the real reason we celebrate!