Thursday, February 27, 2014

This week it's mostly about the kids

This is the last week of the random act of kindness challenge. I've really enjoyed looking for ways to spread a little cheer. To see what others did this week, visit Betsy at My Five Men.
Here's what I did this week.

(totes of cars, plastic animals and stuffed animals with dollars hidden in them)
I went to the dollar store and tucked some dollar bills in the toy bins, hoping that some kids would enjoy buying something with the dollars when they found them.
 

The Meijer stores in my area are known for their penny horse rides.  Sandy the horse has been around since my kids were little and it's one area that inflation hasn't hit.  The cost is still one cent!  I took a handful of pennys and put them where the money goes in.  It's such a small thing, but I bet it made a few kids smile.
 

I drove through a local restaurant that has such good food and paid for the car behind me.  What fun to think about what they thought when they got to the window! I told the girl that I paid, to tell them to have a happy day in spite of the never ending winter we are having.
 
This has been a fun thing to take part in.  It has reminded me that you don't have to do anything big to spread a little sunshine.  Thanks Betsy for hosting!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cooking Thursday

I love my slow cooker and I use it often. I found this recipe for beef stroganoff for the slow cooker and knew it was one to try.  The beef gets nice and tender and the sauce was tasty!

 
Crockpot Beef Stroganoff
 
2 pounds cubed stew meat
2 cans Condensed Golden Mushroom Soup
1 largish onion diced
2-3 tablespoons  of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup water
8 oz of cream cheese
 
In crockpot, stir together the soup, onion, Worcestershire sauce and water.
Add meat and stir.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Cut up the cream cheese into cubes just before serving and turn crockpot on high. Stir the cream cheese in until all combined. You might have to put the lid back on and leave for 10 minutes.
Serve over hot noodles.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Not quite Wordless Wednesday

 
This is to show you how much snow we have.  The bottom rail of the split rail fence is covered and the chair is soon to disappear!

Monday, February 24, 2014

More winter...

I hope you aren't too sick of me talking about winter.  Since I blog about my life, and it seems that my life is far too much about winter this year - you all get to hear it too!
The amount of snow we've gotten is breaking records.  Our little town is currently #3 on the list of top amounts of snowfall in all of West Michigan.  This past Monday we had another bad storm and got 9 more inches of snow.  Thursday we had a day that started with snow, changed to sleet, had rain with thunder by noon and temps in the 40's, then back to freezing rain and snow but some high winds mixed in this time.

This is the view out of our front window on Friday.  Ice was coating everything including the window.
A few miles from our house there was a 15 car crash, due to icy roads and poor visibility.

 

Here's what it looked like in front of our house.  You can also see how high the banks are getting on all the roads.  It can be really hard to pull out because you can't see over the banks to see what's coming.
I heard today that the long range forecast predicts more of the same until the middle of March.  (Sigh...)  It will make Spring all the sweeter, right?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Crash!

Last week I received one of those calls no one likes, from Heather:
"Mom, I was in an accident".
Yikes!  Thankfully she wasn't hurt at all.  The car doesn't look too good though.
She was driving behind a bigger vehicle like a Suburban.  It suddenly swerved into the other lane, with no braking or turn signals.  In front of it, a car had stopped and Heather hit the car.  Thankfully, she wasn't ticketed.  Now the insurance company is deciding whether the car is totaled.  We would be surprised if it wasn't.


 
Here's her poor little Cavalier, waiting to hear the verdict.  If they total it, the next question is how much they'll give her for it.  Looks like we may be car shopping soon.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

More randomness!

It's another episode of random acts of kindness month!  To see what others have been doing, stop over and visit Betsy at My Five Men.

 
 
 
I have a good friend who has been having some medical problems and has been pretty much cooped up in her house for the last 6 weeks. She has limited foods she can eat and doesn't need much in the way of help.  I thought some cheer was needed and who doesn't like flowers?  So, I sent this bouquet her way and I'm sure it brought a smile.
I wish there was more I could do more for her, but sending some cheer is enough for today!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cooking Thursday

Bob had a potluck at work last week for someone's last day.   He wanted me to make some sort of goodie to share.  I made these bars that are always a hit and he came home with an empty platter.

 
 
Crescent Bars
2 cans crescent rolls (I use the recipe variation, without the perforations)
2 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate chips

Spread a pkg of crescent rolls in 9x13 pan, and press into corners.
Mix cream cheese and sugar; spread over crescents in pan.
Sprinkle chocolate chips over cream cheese.
Place remaining crescents between 2 sheets of wax paper and roll to fit pan. Place over chocolate chips.
Sprinkle sugar over top for a nice finish.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Frozen!

Last week Heather and I both had the same day off and were running errands together.  We'd seen pictures from people who'd been to the Lighthouse at Grand Haven, so we decided to check it out since we were nearby. 
It was 10 degrees that day, and the wind was strong.  Since we weren't planning on this, we weren't dressed for the cold.  We froze out there, but were glad we went.
Lake Michigan is currently 90% frozen.  This is incredible!  They say we'll have a cooler summer than usual because the lake will take so long to thaw, and the temperatures will drop coming over the lake.  I've never seen ice like this in Grand Haven.

This picture was taken this weekend by Corey Bailey of Grand Haven.  It gives a better idea of the amount of ice than my pictures do.



Here you see people walking out to the lighthouse.  Where I was standing to take the picture is just a little way offshore.
 
 
Frozen waves along the side of the pier.
 
 
 
Standing on the pier, looking toward the lighthouse.
 
 

Heather, standing on the frozen lake.
 

 
This dog was sitting nicely in front of the lighthouse while his owner took pictures.
 


This is past the lighthouse; there is ice for as far as you can see.  You can see a person standing out there.
 


I've never seen this view of the lighthouse before.  I'm usually standing at the end of that point looking over open water!
 
After taking this picture, we crawled up that ice and walked next to the lighthouse.  It was so slippery with snow over the ice.  I'm sure it was quite a sight.  Thankfully there weren't many people out there to see me - plus they were in the same situation.  :)
 
 
 
Heather was freezing here, but she let me take her picture!
 
 
 
Ice built up on the lighthouse.
 


Ice on the pier.
 
We were in a hurry at this point, walking as quickly as we could to get back to the car and some heat!
It took a while to warm up.   :)

 





Sunday, February 16, 2014

A few more winter pics

We had a better week here as far as weather goes; some snow but not huge amounts. It's stayed really cold though so our snow isn't going away. Here's a few pictures I took in the area.

This was taken in a friends back yard.  The picnic table looks like modern art, but check out the pool next to it.  It was nearly empty but is now nearly filled with snow.
 
 

This was taken out of our side door at work.  The snow on the ground is getting higher, and there is more hanging off the roof all the time.  Maybe they'll meet in the middle!
 
 

Here's a closer shot of the snow hanging off the roof.  I like the shapes and lines in it.
 
 

This is Lakeshore Drive in Holland.  It runs next to Lake Michigan for quite a distance.  It was a pretty drive, although is was a bit slippery.
 
 

Can you see the road in this picture?  It looked so pretty, but there's quite a bit of snow on it and I thought I'd be safer staying on a main road.
 
Tomorrow I'll show you pictures I took of the Frozen Grand Haven Lighthouse.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Spreading Sunshine! (and a Happy Birthday!)

It's time for another random act of kindness post. I'm linking up with Betsy at My Five Men for this. Betsy and her visitors had a little discussion on this subject this week, after a few people thought that she (and the rest of us who link up) were doing this for praise or attention.  As Betsy said, the things we are doing are not big enough for praise.  They're meant to spread sunshine and encourage others to do the same thing.  I'd love to hear what you think on this subject.
That being said - here's what I did this week:

Some of you may have read about Colin on facebook.  Colin is a boy who lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Colin has Asperger’s syndrome and struggles with relationships with other kids.  He's going to turn 11 in March and his Mom asked him about a birthday party.  He replied that he had no friends to come to a party.  His Mom decided to set up a facebook page where people could send birthday greetings to him.  The page has taken off and people started asking about where they could send cards so a PO box was started.

I joined the site on facebook and sent out this card to Colin.  If you want to join in, look for 'Happy Birthday Colin' on facebook.  You can send birthday greetings there and you can also look on the site for an address to send a card.
 
I was also thinking how difficult it has to be to deliver mail in this weather.

 
This is what most of the mailboxes look like in West Michigan.  It has to be hard to get close and put the mail in, and I bet their days are longer than usual.
 
 

 
I found this card that said "better times are coming" which I thought fit my purpose.  I threw in a Gift certificate and wrote a note that said thanks, and have lunch on us.
 
I think I'm having more fun doing this that the recipients are in getting these things!
 
 
And one more thing...
 
Happy Birthday to the best valentine gift I ever received - our daughter Heather.  She's a blessing to all of us.
Happy Valentines Day to each of you!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cooking Thursday

I tried out a new recipe last week that I'm sharing with you today.  It's a version of Chicken Spaghetti, which I've made before, but I really like this recipe for it.  Hope you do too!

 
 
Crockpot Chicken and Spaghetti
 
3 lb. chicken pieces - boneless, skinless
1 (2/3 oz.) pkg. Italian salad dressing mix
4 tbsp. melted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 (10 1/2 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 lb. of spaghetti

Place chicken pieces in crock pot and sprinkle Italian seasoning over chicken. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. melted butter. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Use to forks to break up chicken
Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a saucepan and sauté onion and garlic. Add Cream of Chicken Soup, cream cheese, and chicken broth. Stir until smooth. Add this mixture to crockpot and cook on low for an additional hour.
Prepare spaghetti according to package directions and stir into mixture in crockpot. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ouch!

Last week when I came home from my freezer meal workshop, I had a heavy cooler full of meals.  Bob had been at a meeting at church and I was glad to see his vehicle in the garage when I got there.  I told him I was happy to see him so he could help me    :)   and he said he wasn't too sure about helping.  He then showed me this:

 
How did this happen?  After he helped me get the cooler in and the meals put away, he told me he was driving home, reached for his garage door opener and jammed his finger.  He said it hurt a little, but he was surprised to see his finger with this crazy angle when he took his gloves off.
It was a little swollen and a little sore, but not terrible.  However, he couldn't straighten out that finger.  After it didn't improve, he was off to the Dr. where he got an immediate diagnosis:
 Avulsion Fracture of the Distal Phalynx
 
Doesn't that sound impressive?  Apparently it's a common sports injury, but not a common driving injury!  What happened is the tendon that runs along the top of the finger tore off.  the one that runs along the bottom of the finger then pulls the fingertip down.
He now has a finger splint to wear for the next 6 weeks.  He can have it off for 30 minutes a day to shower.  Hopefully the tendon will reattach and all will be well.  If not, he may be stuck with a bent finger.  The splint is kind of annoying, but it could certainly be worse!


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Freezer meal workshop...

Last week my sister Terri invited me to go with her to a freezer meal workshop. I'm a huge fan of freezer meals and always try to have some in my freezer so this sounded good to me.
This was put on by a friend of hers who is a Tastefully Simple consultant.  The recipes used some of their products (which are always wonderful), so we could purchase those there,  the other ingredients we brought along.
I was busy the day before browning ground beef, cooking and shredding chicken, cutting up veggies and rounding up the other things I needed.

 
There were 7 of us there, and we all gathered around this big table ready to put some dinners together.   There was lots of talking and laughing going on, along with the work!  There was one big mess also, when someone spilled a whole bag of soup over the table and floor.  (I was thankful it wasn't me!)

 
Our hostess provided some yummy snacks, along with a sample of one of the meals we were making; a Taco bake. 
 


 
 
We were there for about 2 1/2 hours.  I left with a cooler filled with 14 meals of a nice variety.  Taco Bake, Vegetable soup, Chicken and rice, White chicken chili, Herbed Pork Tenderloin,  Rustic Pork chops...   It was a good way to spend an evening and I know I'll be happy to have those meals in the freezer!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Random Act of Kindness Adventure!

Betsy, at My Five Men, is doing something fun this month and she invited us to join her.  She thought that February would be a great month to do some random acts of kindness.  She's going to be posting and having a link up every Friday.  I've decided to join in and I've had fun thinking about what to do.  Here's what I came up with for this week.

 
I was thinking about who I could do something for and it struck me that when we do something like this, it's usually for people we don't know.  That's fine, but I thought it would be fun to do something nice for my hubby who is so good to me!
He loves baked goods, so I made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies and brought a batch to his work.  The cookies all disappeared before he came home.  He said they all liked them.

I packaged up another batch of cookies for some people who have been working long hours and are often not shown much appreciation - the road commission guys.  With the winter we've had they've been working a lot of double shifts and weekends, but I still seem to hear a lot of complaints about mailboxes that are knocked over and plows throwing snow into peoples driveways.
I don't even know where the base is for our local guys, but I know someone whose husband does this.  I brought this batch to her workplace and told her to have her husband take them to work, with thanks for clearing our roads.
It was fun doing this and I'm looking forward to next week!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Cooking Thursday

Bob and I usually go out for supper on Friday night, but with the crazy weather we've been having we decided to stay home. I was looking for something different, that would be easy to eat while watching a movie. I came across these sliders that had great comments, so I thought I'd try them.
I've made ham and cheese buns before, but these blew anything I'd made before out of the water. They were delicious and Bob loved them too.  The left overs heated up nicely in the microwave.
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

 
Ham and Cheese Sliders
 
Sandwiches:
12 mini Hawaiian rolls
12 slices honey ham
12 small slices swiss cheese
mayonnaise
 
Sauce:
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoon mustard
2 teaspoons dried, minced onion
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
poppy seeds to sprinkle on top
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Split rolls and spread lightly with mayonnaise.  Fold a slice of ham to fit roll and top with swiss cheese.  Cover and place into 9x13 pan.
 
Combine sauce ingredients and whisk to mix well.  Drizzle sauce over sandwiches in pan.  Sprinkle with poppy seeds.  Cover with foil and bake 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Remove foil and bake 2 minutes longer.  Serve warm.
 
*Warning - not only are these yummy, they're also a little messy because of the butter mix that gets poured over them.  Be sure you have a napkin with you!
 


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014

Bob can build it!

Many of you have seen the carvings my hubby does.  He's got a real talent at doing caricature carvings, but he started out with bigger things and recently completed a bedroom suite for us.
I've shared some of the pieces before, because it's taken a while to get the whole thing done.  I'm going to start where he started and share each piece with you.

It started with this mirror.  When we got married, (32 years ago) we had a waterbed with a big headboard.  This mirror was in it and he wanted to save it when the bed died.  He ended up making this frame for the mirror.
 

Next was a headboard.  He wanted to match the curve in the frame, and you will see this curve in the other pieces.  This headboard and several other pieces were made with oak that came from trees on my uncles property.  It was land Bob used to hunt on which has now been sold, and this adds sentimental value to the wood.
 
 

My nightstand.  I told him I didn't want mine to be open, because I have lots of "stuff" to put away!
 
 

His nightstand.  Unlike me, he only needed one drawer for his stuff.   :)
 
 
Bob's Armoire.
 
 

He put this row of little drawers to keep the little things that usually end up on top of a dresser.
 
 
My dresser.  He finished the dresser last year, but the final piece was the mirror which was completed last week.  This dresser has a row of smaller drawers, which are very handy.   One drawer is really special though...
 
 
He made it a jewelry drawer.  There are partitions of different sizes, and the top piece which slides back and forth.  I love the special touches he added.
 
This suite is beautiful and so well made, but what makes it so special is the person who made it and the love that went into it!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Meanwhile in Michigan...

It's still snowing! We got 2 feet of snow last weekend, from Saturday to Monday. Here's a few more statistics:
Since December 1 we've gotten 80.3 inches. 
The average for that time? 48.8 inches
Days in January without snow?  4
State with the most snow cover as of January 27?  Michigan!  We even beat Alaska...

The extended weather predictions say to expect the same for the next 2 weeks at least...    That being said, here's what it looks like around here.


Satellite image of Michigan on January 27.  I live on the west side of the state, near the lake, where you can see a nice amount of snow covering the ground.  :)
 
.
Pity the poor people who have to clear snow off cars in car lots!
 
 
Road being cleared in Grand Haven, Michigan last Tuesday.  The drifts have gotten so big, they had to close the road and use a front end loader to take the snow out of there.
 

Our maintenance guy at work trying to open up our emergency exit paths.  He's 6'6" and look how high the snow is on him!
 
 

This was taken from a window at work.  The drifts are starting to get higher than the window ledges.
 
 

Bob's having a hard time keeping the path clear to his workshop.
 
 

The banks on the driveway are getting pretty high.
 
 

The darker area in the front isn't a shadow.  It's where the snow is cut off by the plow.  That's the height of the snow in our yard.
 
 

I took this one in our town.  It's getting harder to keep those sidewalks open.
 
I'm thankful for a warm house, a job to pay the heating bills and a car that has gotten me safely to work and back - and of course, a God who has provided all those things!