Sunday, May 28, 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cooking Thursday

I made this pretty dessert this weekend.  It's quick and easy to put together, looks impressive and is yummy.  What more could you want?


Cherry White Chocolate Triffle

2 cans fruit pie filling; cherry, strawberry, blueberry... your choice
20 -25 sugar cookies, broken
1 batch white chocolate mousse (below)

White chocolate mouse:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons sugar
8 ounces cream cheese - softened
6 ounces white chocolate, melted

To make mousse:
Beat cream n bowl until it thickens, add sugar, beat until stiff peaks form.
In another bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add in the white chocolate and beat until smooth.  Stir in the whipped cream mixture.
To assemble the trifle;
Place one can of pie filling in the bottom of a trifle bowl.  Sprinkle half of cookies over top,  then half of cream cheese mix.  Repeat layers.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's time to buy the flowers!

Every year around this time, I make a visit to a local greenhouse to buy some flowers.  Actually, Bob and I visit it quite often just to wander the aisles and look at perennials, but the first visit of the year is to buy hanging baskets and a pot of flowers for the front porch.
The name of the place is Countryside Greenhouse, and it is huge!  There is 8 acres of shopping area there, so you have a good chance of finding what you are looking for.  They have flats of flowers, hanging baskets, perennials, shrubs, trees, decorative items, tools, fertilizer...  It's fun to just look around.


 Whenever I go in, I'm always struck by how huge it is.  Racks of flowers for as far as you can see!



The hanging baskets are on a track that moves so the light doesn't always hit them in the same spot.



 There are 6 cats that live there, so you never know where you might see one.  I saw this one hiding under the rows of flowers.



The checkout area is shaded by all the Boston ferns hanging overhead.



Here's my finds; a fuschia, a mixed basket and a pot of various plants that is now on my porch.
I'll be back for more!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Petting Zoo!

The girls spent the night with us Friday night.  Our township library was having a petting zoo on Saturday, so we went and checked out the animals.

We started by petting this huge rabbit.


He was very patient and just laid there while all the kids were touching him.


Then we got to hold the baby bunnies.  They were a little squirmy, but Alaina just loved them.  We went back several times to hold different bunnies.


 Ruby preferred to pet the bunny that Alaina was holding.



There were little goats too.  They were awfully cute!






 Ruby liked holding the little chicks.



 Alaina loved them too.



There was even a duck!


In the middle of holding animals, this little boy started crying.  Ruby immediately knelt down and started patting his head and cheeks.  I think she likes babies more than animals!



 There was even a little calf and a baby horse.  They stayed in their cage, but the kids had fun petting them through the rails.



We ended our time by sitting on the statue in front of the library.  What a fun morning!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cooking Thursday

When bananas start to get brown around here, I throw them in the freezer.  When I get a few, I usually make banana bread, but sometimes I make these wonderful banana bars.  They have cream cheese frosting and you can't go wrong with that!

Frosted Banana Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
3-4 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Add salt, baking soda and flour to creamed mixture, then stir in bananas.
Spread into greased 15 x 10 x 1 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool.

For frosting - in large bowl beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually beat in enough powdered sugar to reach the right consistency and frost cooled bars.
Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Alaina and Ruby's new room

Laura and Aaron had been working to finish a room in the basement for Alaina and Ruby.  It's all done and I thought it was so cute, that I should share it with you.  This room had been your standard basement storage room.  They put in an egress window and dry-walled it, then did some cute things to decorate it.

Here's a view from the door.  They are sharing a bed, which doesn't always go so well.  Ruby tends to be a bed hog, and she likes to stay awake and pester Alaina.  I think it's getting better though!


Here you can see the egress window.  Laura made the curtains, and painted all the dots on them.  They found the cute dresser on Craigslist and repainted it.



Laura also made the sign to hang over the dresser.  I love that verse, and I also pray that for both girls.


We always say that Laura and Aaron are Craigslist Guru's.  They find the best things, and get great deals.  They found these display cabinets and made them into a cute closet.


Laura found a computer program that let her personalize figures and print them out.  One says Alaina and the other is Ruby.


Laura had been looking all over to find a cute pink rug to put under the bed.  She couldn't find one so she made one!   She made ruffles out of soft material, and sewed each one onto a tablecloth.  It turned out so cute! 

The girls are pretty happy with their new room.  I think it turned out very nice!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mothers Day Weekend

It was a busy weekend for us.  It was my weekend to work, and we had things going on every night.  Here's a brief recap.

Tom, Mom, Bob

 On Friday night, Bob and I along with his brother Tom and wife Bonnie, took his Mom and step-dad out for supper and went back to their home for awhile to celebrate Mothers day.  As always, we had a nice time together.



On Saturday evening, my side of the family gathered to celebrate my niece Arianna's graduation from high school.  The whole family was able to be there, except of course Andy in Kentucky.  As you can see, everyone is having a good time - good food and lots of laughs!


Here's my step-mom Ann with a flower arrangement we had for her for Mothers Day.


Sunday evening, Heather and Andrew, and Laura and Aaron and girls came over.  Here are the girls having fun sitting with Grandpa.


Aaron had smoked some pork for pulled pork sandwiches, and it was delicious!

 Heather made these little pies.  They were caramel apple, and so cute!



 Speaking of cute - here is Ruby enjoying her pie.



 After supper, we wandered around outside for a while.  Who needs a merry-go-round, when you have an Uncle Andrew?



Here's the pretty gift I got from my kids.  The top of it, on the left was decorated by Alaina, the bottom by Ruby!


And inside was a DNA kit!  I had given Bob one for Christmas, and it's very interesting to see the results.  It takes a while to get back, but I'll let you know what I find out with my results.

What a nice weekend!  Hope you enjoyed yours too.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Cooking Thursday

Todays recipe is for a salad that has an unusual ingredient - cornbread!  I got this recipe from a friend who took it to a work potluck quite a few years ago.  I make it regularly.  It looks pretty and tastes good.  You can't ask for more!


Chili Corn Bread Salad

1 pkg (8.5 oz) corn bread/muffin mix
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground oregano
Mix all of above and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool.

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 envelope ranch salad dressing
Mix to make dressing.

1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) corn, drained
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a 9x13 glass pan or a large glass bowl, crumble half of the corn bread. Spread half of the dressing over bread. Layer with half the beans, corn, tomatoes, pepper, onion, cilantro and cheese. Repeat layer. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Monday, May 8, 2017

It's Tulip TIme!

I live near Holland Michigan, a city that was founded by immigrants of the Netherlands.  Every year they celebrate their Dutch heritage with Tulip Time, a festival that has been called the best small town festival in the United States.  It's an 8 day festival which has parades, art fairs, a carnival, fireworks, concerts, Klompen (wooden shoe) dancing and of course - tulips, lots and lots of tulips!  There are about 5 1/2 million bulbs planted every year!  There are parks filled with tulips, the streets are lined, and you can find fields full of color.  It is truly beautiful!
Heather and I usually try to visit Holland around Tulip Time, but not the actual week as tourists come from all over the world to take part in it and we try to avoid the crowds! The Festival is going on right now, but we went and walked around the city on Friday.





Here's one of those fields full of tulips.






I enjoy the statues set up around town.  This whimsical piece has wooden shoes!







Here's a statue depicting the original settlers of the city.















Those beautiful tulips are everywhere!





We checked out a lot of little shops too, and I had to share this cute sign I saw in one of them.



More fun art!


The beautiful shops on main street, with tulips blooming everywhere!




Here's one more thing we checked out.  This is the DeZwaan Windmill.  It was erected in the Netherlands in 1761.  It came to the US in 1964, the last windmill to leave the Netherlands and approval was only granted because it was in such bad condition.   It was rebuilt and repaired and now stands on Windmill Island - a 36 acre piece of land that feels like you've stepped back in time, to an older era in the Netherlands.
If you are ever in Michigan in May, be sure you stop in Holland!