Monday, January 15, 2018

Tip for Tuesday

Do you ever think of using your dishwasher to wash things other than dishes?
As I was taking my dish scrubber out of it the other day, I thought I should share this.  Maybe everyone already knows this one, but it works so well for me, I'm letting you know!

I don't know what type of scrubby you use for dishes, but I like this type that usually comes in blue or green,  They can get pretty disgusting, so I tuck it into the dishwasher about twice a week and it comes out fresh and clean!  I don't use sponges, but I hear you can do the same with them.
Another thing I like to do is to collect all the globes from lighting fixtures and run a load of them.  They come out sparkling and I don't risk breaking them in the sink.
One other unusual thing I occasionally put in the dishwasher is combs.  They look brand new when they're done and it's so much easier than soaking and scrubbing them.
What about you?  Do you wash anything besides dishes in your dishwasher?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Treasure jar

After I showed the special jar that Laura did for us this Christmas, I got several e-mails asking about it, so I thought I would share a little more about it.

This is the jar we got this year, filled with all kinds of papers to open.  In front of it is the first one we pulled out which is a photo of the girls.

This is the one we got last year, with a photo and a drawing Alaina had done.  We got this for Christmas 2016, so the photos were from the year 2016 and it had drawings that Alaina had done when she was just turning 4.
People asked about what all was on the papers, and how many she put in it.  I don't have an exact number but there had to have been at least 300 little squares, because we pulled things out of it all year, all the way to Christmas 2017.
There were lots of photos of the girls, little drawings that Alaina did (and a couple from Ruby), verses that Laura wrote out, thank you's to us,  and memories that Laura had of growing up.

We couldn't just throw them away, so I got a little scrapbook and put them in as the year passed.

Here are a few sample pages of the book.

I thought this little picture was so cute that I framed it.  Everything else is in the scrapbook.
It's such a thoughtful, fun gift!   We enjoyed every piece of paper we pulled out and are looking forward to another year of these little treasures.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Friday Funny

Batten down the hippos - winter is here!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cooking Thursday

The recipe I'm sharing today is a little different for me.  It's a jello salad, which isn't something I make often.  However, I have 2 sister-in-laws that make this recipe quite often, and it's a nice one for any holiday, plus it's something kids really like, so I decided to make it for our Christmas Eve supper.
You can choose the color jello you want, depending on the occasion.  I was going to use red and green, but had the wrong size green, so I ended up using a blue too, but it still looked festive!

Holiday Jello Salad

4 - 3 ounce jello packages in colors of your choice
1 - 3 ounce lemon jello
boiling water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
8 ounces Cool Whip

Mix each of the first 4 jello with 1 cup boiling water and 1/2 cup cold water.
Place in pans and refrigerate overnight.
Mix the lemon jello with 1 cup boiling water.  Stir in the sugar and pineapple juice.  Add some ice cubes and stir occasionally until mixture thickens, then remove remaining ice.
Stir in Cool Whip.
Take the jello you made the day before and cut it into cubes.  Gently fold it into the jello/Cool Whip mixture.  Place in 9x13 pan, place in refrigerator and allow to set overnight.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

Another special gift

I got another special gift for Christmas that I want to share with you.
Our daughter Heather has been making jewelry for some time, but she has just recently started stamping it.  I was thrilled to get a necklace from her.

 Here's the necklace which is pretty, just as it is.

But, when you lift the filigree part, it says "trust in the Lord".
It's a pretty necklace, but it's even more special with the saying, and because Heather made it!

Sunday, January 7, 2018


This is a random type of post, just letting you know what's been happening here.

This farm is just around the corner from my house.

Our road

Snow!  We've had lots of it, along with bitter cold. I had a minus 9 degrees on my car temp one day last week on my way to work.  We got another 8 inches on Wednesday and were supposed to get hit again on the weekend, but it went south of us, and we just had a few flurries.

Alaina and Ruby stayed overnight Friday night.  They were very happy with this new desk in their room.  They said they were at the doctor - Ruby is the doctor taking care of a baby, and Alaina said the desk was the check in area.  Love that imagination!

Someone at work gave me a box of chocolate band-aids for Christmas.  The girls thought they were pretty fun, and tasty too.

You may have seen this on FB, but it's too sweet not to share again.  Here's what I wrote there to go along with this photo.

Alaina and Ruby are spending the night tonight. Ruby has been up to her usual shenanigans but seems to be tired and ready for bed. We tucked them into bed, first Ruby, then Alaina. As we walked back down the hall from the bedrooms, Ruby calls out:
"Hey guys" (she always calls us that way)  :)
I'm thinking this is one of her ploys to keep from going to bed.
"What, Ruby?"
"Thanks for taking care of us!"

Our hearts melted and any shenanigans were quickly forgotten! (and she went right to sleep after that!)

Sunday was a special day for our church.  Some of you that have been with me for a while know that we lost our church building when we left the denomination we were in.  Last year we were so happy to complete an office building with classrooms, but we have still been having our services at school.  We are now in the process of building a worship center which is supposed to be completed sometime this Spring.  In the meantime, we started to worship in our classroom space this Sunday.  We are broken up into smaller groups, with a screen in each room for us to listen to the message and for the music.  This first Sunday went quite well, and though we will be thrilled to be in the worship center when it's complete, this will work for a few months.
We have a tech guru who goes to our church who does a lot of video work.  He took his drone out and recorded some of the process from above.

It's exciting to see these walls going up!

Here's a shot of the whole property.  You can see the roof of our existing office and classroom space, with the new area next to it.  God has been so good to us, seeing us through each step of this process.  We sang 'Great is thy Faithfulness' this morning, and it's so true.  He is faithful.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Day in my life

It's 2018!  It's hard to believe another year has gone by.  Here's how I spent the first day of 2018.

This picture was taken before midnight, but I forgot to take one after midnight, so I thought I would show you our New Years Eve gathering.  We went to Bob's brother and sister-in-laws house for the evening, made supper there and had a nice time bringing in the new year with them.

They live close to us, so we weren't out too late.  I was in bed shortly after 1.

I slept in until almost 9 and then had a quiet start to the day. It's so nice to be able to have a quiet morning.  A friend gave me this Francine Rivers devotional for Christmas and I started it today.  I've always enjoyed her fiction and I can see that this is going to be good too.

 I used my new Instantpot to cook some eggs for the upcoming week.

In the meantime, poor Bob was outside using a roof rake to clean the snow off our roof. After that it was time to snow blow the driveway again.

 I've been doing a lot of cleaning things out since putting the Christmas things away.  This is Alaina and Ruby's room, but it's been a catchall of all sorts of things during the Christmas season.  I sorted it all out and Bob brought up this old school desk that he had fixed up for our kids to use when they were young.  I think the girls will enjoy drawing and coloring on it.

 I cleaned this cabinet out too.

And I worked on the closet in the room too.  I store all sorts of things in it.

While I was cleaning things out, I had the washing machine going and got 2 loads done.

I also cleaned out this cabinet in our family room downstairs.  I keep some paper products, cups, tablecloths... in these cupboards to use when we have groups over, and they had gotten quite jumbled. It feels so good to have them organized and I really enjoy doing it!

While I was doing this, Bob was working on his latest carving.

I had started some vegetable soup in the crockpot in the morning.  We had that with some cheese toast for supper.  We relaxed and watched a movie while we ate.

We had a nice relaxing evening.  It was a very good day to start the year with!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Cooking Thursday

We usually have ham on Christmas. We had plenty left over this year, and even with everyone taking some home, I knew I had to find a way to use it.  I found this recipe at Taste of Home online and it was a tasty way to use up that ham!

Ham and Cheese Ziti

1 package (16 ounces) ziti
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups cubed fully cooked ham
12 ounces frozen green peas

Prepare ziti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in the cheeses, garlic powder and pepper; cook and stir until cheese is melted.
Drain ziti; add to sauce mixture. Stir in ham and peas. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6 servings. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Winter is here!

Like many other areas in the country, we have been slammed by winter!  It was a very snowy Christmas Day, with bad roads and whiteout conditions.  By the end of the day, we had gotten 8 inches of snow.  The snow was accompanied by some very cold temps. The day after Christmas it was negative 9 at the Grand Rapids airport!  We are closer to the lake which keeps us a bit warmer, but my drive in to work in 2 degrees was still pretty chilly!
The snow continued to fall until Saturday when the sun finally came out.  By that time, we had gotten 19.5 inches.  Bob was very thankful for the good snow blower we got last year!
Here's a few pictures of what it looked like around here.

This is the neighbors farm.  I took this the day after Christmas when I was coming home from work.

This is our street on the same day.

 It's hard to see, but this is the side of our driveway.  That decorative ball is about 2 feet from the ground.  The snow is not that deep everywhere though - it's been piled up there from snow blowing the driveway.

 All my other Christmas decorations are down, but this wreath may have to wait a while!

Our poor bird feeder wasn't able to take the weight of all the snow on it.

Friday night Bob cleared the driveway, only to have another 7 inches fall by Saturday morning!

On Saturday around noon the sun finally came out!  We've had a little more snow since then, but in much smaller amounts.  It's very pretty, but no fun to drive in and I'm not a fan of being cold.  :)
I'm thankful God gives us different seasons and I know Spring will be coming!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Playing a little catch up!

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a nice Christmas!  It's hard to believe we are already into another year. I had a nice break, had a good Christmas and enjoyed time with family.  Here's just a little recap of that time. (Sorry - lots of pictures!)

Laura, Aaron and girls, and Heather and Andrew came over on Christmas Eve for our family Christmas.  We tried to Skype with Andy and Nikki, but had all kinds of technical issues and had to make do with talking on the phone.

The girls are always happy to see Uncle Andrew and Aunt Heather.

We always read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve.  This year I found a book that told the story in kid language.

The girls both loved this car for their dolls.  The lights go on and it plays music when you hit the horn.  :)   Behind Alaina's head is one of my gifts - an Instantpot!  Do any of you have one? I'm looking forward to making some new things.

Here's another sweet gift we got.  This cute container is full of photos, drawings and notes.  Laura did one of these last year for us, and we just took the last photo out, so we were thrilled to have a new supply.  Our kids are so good to us!

For the past few years I've been making photo books for Laura and Aaron of each of their girl, using all the pictures I take of them during the year.  I enjoy doing it, and it's a nice way for them to remember some of the things we do together.

On Christmas day, my whole family came over; 23 people in all.  It fills up the house!

 Here's most of the group, at tables lined up in our family room downstairs.

After we ate some of the grandkids hung out in the living room for awhile.

We playing some fun games using plastic cups.  There was some fun competition and lots of laughter!

Here's another picture of most of the group.

My Dad and stepmom opening one of their gifts.

Alaina and Ruby opening one of their gifts from Great-grandpa and Great-grandma.

In the meantime - this is what it was doing all day.  And it continued for most of the week.  I'll tell you more about that tomorrow.