Thursday, June 22, 2017

Dogs and their people

Here's some fun pictures for you.  An artist took pictures of dog owners and their dogs, then photoshopped them to show them to dressed like their owners. I think you'll enjoy the results!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cooking Thursday

There seem to be a lot of chicken and rice recipes.  I like this one because it is made in the crock pot, and it has wild rice in it.  I usually make it with chicken breasts; this time I cut the breast into cubes so it would cook quicker.  It's quick to throw together and very tasty!

Herbed Chicken and Wild Rice
1 pkg (6 oz) long grain and wild rice mix
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup water
3 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon

Place rice in 5 quart slow cooker; set aside seasoning packet.  In large skillet, brown chicken in oil and butter. Add to slow cooker.
In small bowl, combine the soup, water, bacon, spices and the contents of the seasoning packet. Pour over top of chicken and rice.
Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or until chicken juices run clear.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Birds and Blooms

You may remember that last year Bob was working on a landscaping project on the side of our garage.  He had built a garden gate, put in a walk and was planting flowers.  Here's what it looks like, one year later.

 All of the new plants are growing well.

Here it is from the other side.

At the end of the walkway is a knockout rose.  We've heard good things about this variety, but have never had one.

It's beautiful and has had lots of blooms.  Each flower starts as a dark yellow, but then gets lighter as it opens, ending up this creamy color.  We think we may need to plant more of this rose.

The little birdhouse at the end of the walk was meant to be decorative, but this little wren liked it and has taken it over.

She flies out and scolds us each time we walk down the path, and we have now seen a few little ones poke their heads out of the opening.  We're hoping to see more of them!

And speaking of baby birds, we have some in our back yard too.

This robins nest is sitting on top of a trellis that is against Bob's barn.  There are 3 baby robins in it, that have just hatched in the last 2 days.  We're looking forward to seeing more of them too.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Weekend review

Hope you all had a nice weekend!

It's been very dry here,  every storm predicted seems to disappear over Lake Michigan or go to the north of us, so we were very happy to have rain Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night.

Friday evening Bob and I went out for supper, then stopped at his Mom and step-dad's to bring a Fathers Day gift over.  After that we went to Laura and Aaron's and picked up the girls.
When we got home, we spent a little time in the yard.  The sun was getting a little low in the sky which provides such a pretty soft light.

 The roses on our arbor are just loaded with flowers.

Here's that pretty light I was talking about!

We picked up some poppy plants at a roadside stand.  They weren't open so we had no idea what color we were getting.  However, they were only 50 cents a pot, so we picked some up.  So far we have this orange, a red, some yellow and some creamy white.  All very pretty!

 While I was admiring flowers, the girls were playing on the swing.

 And Ruby was climbing into the play fort.

These are lilies that Bob ordered from a catalog several years ago.  They were supposed to be carpet lilies - lots of blooms, 8 inches tall.  They are very pretty and do have lots of blooms.  However:

You can see they are much taller than 8 inches!

 After we went inside, Ruby snuggled with her bunny...

Then both girls snuggled with Grandpa!

Hope you all had a nice Father's Day.  We had celebrated with our kids last Sunday, We saw Bob's stepdad on Friday evening, and we had my Dad over for Sunday dinner.  I'm blessed by each of these Dads in my life!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cooking Thursday

When we had our lunch at the park on Sunday, Laura brought something along for dessert that she knew Bob would like.  It's a really old recipe.  When I was in 9th grade, I worked for my science teacher in the summer.  He was starting a Strawberry Farm, and I helped plant and weed the fields.  His wife was very good to us - there were 6 kids working for him.  She made a snack and drink for us every day.  This recipe is one that she made and shared with me way back then.  The name of it is Thank You Squares, named for the Thank You Cherry Pie filling it uses, but Laura's friends started calling them Friendship squares because she made it for their group of friends frequently.  Regardless of the name - they are good!  They are pretty too, so are nice to give away.

Thank You Squares

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon almond flavoring
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 can cherry pie filling (may use another flavor)

Cream together butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy.  Stir in almond flavoring, flour and baking powder until well mixed.
Pour into greased 15x10 pan. Cut into 24 squares before baking. Drop 1 tablespoon cherry pie filling in the center of each square. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  When cool, dust with powdered sugar and store in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Monday, June 12, 2017

The most important things in life

What is the most important thing in your life?  I think 99% of people would not say it's any thing, but would be much more likely to say God and family.
The same is true for me.  God has first place in my life, followed by my husband and family.  That means it's important to me that I show and share God with those people that God has blessed me with.  Our kids are now grown, but right now we have the privilege of spending lots of time with Alaina and Ruby.   Aaron and Laura are wonderful parents and work hard to teach the girls and share God with them, but we want to do the same when they are with us.  Here are some of the ways we do that.

We pray!  We pray for them, we pray with them.  It's wonderful to tuck them in at night and pray individually with each one.

We play!  It wouldn't be any fun for kids to just be preached to all the time.  God designed us to feel joy, and we love to see them laugh and have fun.  In those times we talk too, and you never know what is going to come out of their mouths.  Last week Alaina told me "Did you know that God is bigger than the whole universe?  That is really huge!"  It was a good time to talk about how God is in bigger than all of us, but He loves to hear from us and takes care of us.

We love music! We usually listen to Christian music, and the girls, especially Alaina, knows a lot of the songs when she hears them in the car.  We also listen to music at home on our Echo Dot, and Alaina will often ask it to play her a song - usually it's "Alexa, will you play God's not dead?"  (We're getting a little sick of that song)  :)

We read!  Both girls love to read and even if we haven't read earlier in the day, we always read a few stories before bed.  We have a lot of books, quite a few have a Christian theme. This is the latest book I got.  It's The Rhyme Bible Storybook, by LJ Sattgast.  It's all Bible stories in a rhyme form, which makes it fun to read and listen to also, plus the pictures are great, and the girls really like it.

Here's one that's hard.  We watch tv...  or in Alaina's words - "let's watch a show!"  She is now 5 and loves to watch tv. We monitor what shows we let her see, but even the little kids programs can have things that we don't want to expose her too, and it's hard to find shows with any Christian content.

This is something I've been thinking of trying.  It's Pure Flix, a Christian movie resource, that costs $10.99 a month or $99 for a year.  You can try it free for one month - just cancel at 30 days if you don't like it. It's like Netflix, or Hulu but with faith and family content.  Have any of you tried it?  I'm thinking it would be a good thing not only for my girlies, but for Bob and I as well.

These are some of the things we do.  I'd welcome any ideas you might have!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A little celebration!

We had a fun day on Sunday.  Laura and Aaron invited us, along with Andrew and Heather to their church.  They were having a special speaker.  He was a man who was born in Beirut, Lebanon and he spent his youth as part of the Muslim Brotherhood.  He was in the United States when he was in a car accident and ended up spending time with a Christian family when he rehabbed.  Through this he became a Christian, and now speaks about the difference between the God of Islam and our God.  The media likes to tell us they are the same, but that's not true, and it was interesting to hear from someone who really lived it.
After church we picked up KFC, and met at a local park for lunch and to celebrate Bob, because it was his birthday on Friday, and we also celebrated Father's Day early.

It was a very hot day, and we were happy to have a Pavilion to enjoy the shade!

Alaina and Ruby enjoyed their chicken, but were much more excited to get done and play.

A slide is fun, even in a dress!

They love these tire swings.

Have you heard of cottonwood trees?  This time of year they are releasing all this fuzzy stuff - it really does look like cotton!  While we were eating we kept having to brush it away, and when we took a walk, we saw it scattered all over the lawn. In some spots there were big bunches of it clumped together.

We walked to a stream at the park, and Alaina was enthralled by these bright blue dragon flies.

 Alaina took off her shoes and waded in the stream.  She would have played more if she was in a swim suit.

Here's Bob and his little girls.  What a nice afternoon!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Cooking Thursday; cheating version!

So it's Thursday, but I don't have a recipe for you today...  This one you just have to buy and bake!

We usually have pizza on Saturday night.  Often it's just a frozen pizza and our go to brand is DiGiornio.  When I was shopping last week, I saw they had a new variety - a deep dish type.  I bought the 3 meat variety.  I am not a fan of pepperoni, so I pulled it off one edge and added it to the other side for Bob,
You can see the finished product, which was very good.  Bob likes his pizza to be more done than what the directions call for, and I think next time I'll not bake it for quite as long, as I think it made the crust a little dry.  However, it was good, only took about 30 minutes to bake and only cost $6.99!
If you see them at your store, you should try it.
Next week, I'll be back with a real recipe!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Monday, June 5, 2017

May/June Yard

I absolutely love this time of year. It seems every time we go out something new is blooming. Here's what's been happening in our yard in the last few weeks.

This was about a week ago, in the front yard.  The phlox and the dwarf lilac were blooming.  They are both done now.

The dwarf lilac is just a miniature version of the big lilac, but it smells just as good.

Things are starting up in the back yard too.

One of our favorites is the Vibernum bush.  We have a few of them in our yard.

We love the way the flowers grow along the top of each branch.  This one bloomed through last week but now is about done.

 We also have some lily of the valley blooming.  It smells so good!

 This is an allium.  Isn't it cute?

This bush is a wine and roses weigela.  The flowers start quite white, and get more pink as they get older.

 Here's another part of the back yard, behind the Vibernum bush.

We have a few iris blooming.  They were gifts from a late neighbor, and I think of her each year when they bloom.

This is one of our favorite spots right now!

The clematis are such a pure white.  This is only their second year and we love seeing all the booms.

 These are Siberian Iris and we have them in several places in the yard.  Some are nearly done, but those in shadier spots are looking beautiful!

The nice thing is that as some flowers finish, there are more just starting to bloom.  Bob's always got more ideas for his flower gardens, and I sure enjoy seeing them bloom!