Monday, July 31, 2017


I had a fun outing during my vacation week.  My sister Cheri and niece Halle had planned a day trip to Shipshewana, Indiana and when they found I had that day off, the invited me along.  Shipshewana is a town that is in the middle of an Amish community.  It is known for the huge flea market that occurs weekly.  We didn't go to the flea market, but visited many of the cute little shops in the area, and enjoyed the beauty of the area, along with seeing all the Amish things which we don't see in our area.

We saw many Amish homes with clothes hanging on the lines.

I love seeing all the buggy's on the road.

Another thing you see a lot of is bikes.  I'm sure the Amish people are healthier with all the fresh air, non-processed foods and exercise they get.

We stopped in a large grocery store.  It has all kinds of things in bulk.

It's interesting to see bikes, wagons and things like that sold along with groceries.

They even sell these old fashioned wash tubs.

Another place we stopped at sells lots of Amish made furniture, both for inside and outside the house.  Cheri and Halle said this glider bench was very comfortable.

Another thing we did was to take a carriage ride.

We had a 20 minute ride on this beautiful afternoon.

We went over this covered bridge which was built by an Amish man, constructed with no nails, just using mortise and tenon joints.

Here's the bridge from the side.  Such a pretty view!

Our last stop was the Das Dutchman Essenhaus Restaurant.  It is the largest restaurant in Indiana and seats 1100 people!  It's known for it home-style Amish food and homemade pies.
We had a wonderful supper and then headed home.
It was a fun way to spend a vacation day.  Thanks Cheri and Halle for letting me tag along!  :)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

I'm back...

I'm back from my little break.  I had a nice time away from work, had some fun and got some things done at home which is always a good thing.
I wanted to spend a little time with both my girls on one day.  Alaina came with us and we started out with lunch.

We went to Chipotle and enjoyed burrito bowls!

After lunch we went to a Trader Joe's which is about 45 minutes from our house.  It opened last year and neither Heather or I had been there.  We liked it - they had good prices on fresh fruits and veggies and some other things.  It's not a place I'll go to often because of the drive, but if I'm in the area I will stop again.

I also loved their fresh flower selection.  I got this cheery bouquet for $5.99!

After I brought Laura and Heather home, Alaina came with me for a little more shopping, and to surprise Grandpa when he came home from work.

When we go to Meijer, we always have to stop and ride on Sandy, the penny pony.  Alaina did enjoy this, but was concentrating on the ride too much to smile!

We tried out a new restaurant for supper.  We had some good burgers and fries before bringing Alaina back home.
Spending time with family is the best!

Sunday, July 23, 2017


I'm taking a little blog break.  I have a week off from work and am going to try to get a few things done and have some down time.  I'll be reading you blogs, but not commenting to cut down on computer time.  Have a good week, and I'll be back soon!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cooking Thursday

Today's recipe is one I've shared before, but it's one of my favorite summer lunches when fresh tomatoes are in season.  I made this the other day and thought I would share it again.  So here you go, something fresh and perfect for a light lunch.

Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes
Large tomatoes 
Minced garlic or garlic powder
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Oregano, thyme, basil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wrap a rimmed baking sheet with foil and line with parchment paper.
Cut tomatoes into 3/4 inch slices.  Remove seeds and juice. Poke holes in the bottoms of any end pieces.  Drain, cut side down on a paper towel or a few minutes.
Place tomato slices on prepared pan.  Sprinkle with garlic, then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar.
Place in oven for 20-25 minutes, until tomatoes are soft, dark and caramelized.
Sprinkle with herbs, allow to sit for a few minutes and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

I love Michigan!

If you could live anywhere, where would you be?
I would be right where I am, in West Michigan.  Recently Thrillist ranked all the states and I was happy to see Michigan listed as the best state to live in.  I'm sure that many of you in other states would disagree with this list, because we all usually love where we live.  That's a good thing because we can't all stay in the same place!
If you want to see where your state landed on the list, click here. (and don't be offended if they got your state wrong!)

Here's a few reasons why I love Michigan:
1. The Great Lakes!  We have 3,200 miles of lakeshore; more than any other state except Alaska.  Those lakes are freshwater, with no sharks!
2. Lighthouses!  I love lighthouses and we have lots of them; 115 in all which is more than any other state. (The lighthouse pictured above is in Ludington, which we visited on Memorial Day)
3. Seasons...  I love the changing seasons, each with it's own particular beauty, and while I freely admit that I'm not a fan of winter, it can be beautiful and it makes me appreciate warm weather even more.  :)
4.  Rural areas...  I like country living, farms, dirt roads, tractors, open fields and we have a lot of it.
5.  Cities...  I wouldn't want to live in one, but it's nice to be able to take a 20 minute drive and be in Grand Rapids - home of ArtPrize and the "medical mile" which is some of the highest rated healthcare in the United States.
6.  So much beauty!  We have beaches, inland lakes, waterfalls, national forests and sand dunes.
7. Family... most of our family is in this area.  Our son Andy is in Tennessee, but the rest of our family including our kids, siblings, nieces and nephews and parents are all here.  I think that's one of the best reasons to enjoy living here!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A special kid

This weekend we were invited to a special birthday party.  It was for Jonny, a little boy that goes to our church and whose Dad works with Bob.  Jonny is going to be turning 8, but not for another month.  The reason the party was held early is that Jonny has Aplastic Anemia and he will soon be having his third bone marrow transplant.  After it takes place, he will remain in the hospital for about a month in protective isolation.  His birthday will likely occur during this time.  His parents decided to have a big party early for him to enjoy.
Jonny is a pretty amazing kid.  He is rarely seen without a smile on his face.  He's had the two transplants which have failed and now spends nearly a day at the hospital each week having blood tests and frequent transfusions, he has to take meds including steroids and deals with the side effects of that but he doesn't let it get him down. He stays positive  and is just a joy to be around.

 Here he is at the party with his mom.

With a friend, opening cards and gifts.

This was one of his gifts - he loves super hero's!

We had a picnic supper, including this fun fruit salad.

 Blowing out his birthday candle.

This is another cute little guy from our church.  He was having fun watching all the other kids.

It was a full weekend for Jonny, because the party was Saturday evening, and he was baptized on Sunday morning.
I was so glad I could be there and witness this!

Please keep Jonny and his family in your prayers as they prepare for next month.  Also, if you are interested in being put on the bone marrow registry, here is the link.  It just may save someone's life.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cooking Thursday

Today's recipe is a good one for summer grilling!  I'm a fan of kabobs and the marinade on this one is very good.

Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cooking sherry
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
Veggies of your choice - I used 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, onion, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms
Cooked rice

Stir together the oil, soy sauce, sherry, honey, lemon juice, garlic powder, ginger, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
Place chicken in Ziploc bag.  Pour marinade over chicken, reserving about 1/3 cup.  Seal bag and place chicken in refrigerator for 4-6 hours.
About 30 minutes before serving, place chicken with marinade in fry pan and cook partially, about 5 minutes.  Then thread chicken and vegetables onto skewers (If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes before using).
Grill for about 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, basting occasionally with reserved marinade.
Serve over rice.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Operation Artic

Our church had Vacation Bible School a week ago.  The name of it was Operation Artic and the message was that God's word is our guidebook in life.  Our classrooms were turned into a snowy artic land, and I thought I would share some photos.  The kids loved it, the leaders did too and everyone was tired at the end of the week!

There were lots of trees throughout the building.

The main hall was transformed!

When they turned on the lights it looked even better.  Someone even built an igloo that the kids could crawl through.

 This was the nurses station.  Thankfully it only was used for little boo-boo's!

Some of the rooms were decorated in a log cabin theme.

 Some rooms had icebergs in them!

They put craft paper over this whole room to make it look like a log cabin.

This is the area where the bible stories were told and they led singing.

It was a huge job to get this all set up and to run the whole week, but everyone who took part in it said it was a wonderful week.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

What a storm!

We had a huge storm on Thursday night.  Bob and I woke up at 3am to pounding rain, thunder, lightning, terrible wind and no power.  Friday morning we woke to sunshine, a beautiful day, no power in most of West Michigan and lots of damage.

Here are a few pictures I took around the area, and a few that I got from friends and family.

In our yard, the damage was minimal, lots of leaves and branches on the ground.

 Streets were covered with debris.

Some streets were closed because power lines were down.

Some streets were closed because trees were down.

Our nephew's truck was buried under branches, but had only minimal damage.

 At our daughter Laura's house, this tree split nearly in half and fell through the fence.

Their neighbors are unable to use their back yard at the moment because it's filled with a tree.

 Some other friends were on vacation, and were camping.  I can't imagine what it was like to be in a camper on that night.  We're thankful for their safety!  When they came home, they found lots of big trees down in their yard.

Some other friends had this tree come down on their house.  They are ok, but have some work ahead of them, and some repair to be done!

We are told the winds reached 90 mph in our area, and 12 miles to the west it was recorded at 100 mph.  In that area a man died when a tree fell on his house as he slept.
Our power was restored late Friday morning, but many people still have no power.  Crews have come from as far away as Tennessee to help.
We lost our cable and internet also and that was not restored until late Saturday evening.  So, I've been unable to visit you, but will be trying to catch up.
We are thankful for safety during this storm, and at the end of it, we're thankful for things like running water and electricity!

"He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth-- the LORD God Almighty is his name."
Amos 4:13