Saturday, March 21, 2020

Hanging in there!

Hi friends!  Thought I would update you on life at our skilled care facility during these crazy times.
Thanks to those of you who have e-mailed to check on me, and thanks also to those who are praying for more nurses for us.
The good news is that we have an 11-7 and a 3-11 nurse who have started and are doing well.  We have a few others who are interested, but it's hard to hire right now as no one but staff is allowed in the building.
I've been working a lot!  Like 50-60 hours a week, but I have this weekend off and it's such a blessing.  My position is Unit manager/Infection Prevention Nurse so as you can imagine, the Covid 19 is adding a lot of work.  Thankfully I have an awesome administrator and DON who are doing so much of the needed work.

 Excuse the glare.  This is the sign on our front door at work.  The door is locked and no one can come in.  If family members want to bring something to their loved one, they have to leave it at the door and call, then someone goes out to get it and bring it in.
Anyone coming in has to enter in the back door.  We all have to check our temperature and do a little health assessment, sign in and then sign out.  We had to send someone to the hospital last week and even the ambulance had to enter in the back and be checked before continuing into the building.
All of our residents are supposed to stay in their rooms or be kept 6 feet apart at all times.  This is not easy when some have dementia.  It also makes passing meal trays and feeding much more difficult.  Usually we can have one person feeding 2-3 people and now it's 1:1, so all management now comes to help pass trays and feed, even on weekends.
The state has just changed a rule on that, because previously only licensed staff could feed, but now any employee is allowed, although of course anyone with swallowing difficulties is still fed by a CNA or nurse.
Another thing we have to do is take vitals on every resident and do a mini health assessment every day.
Something I've been doing a lot of is testing every employee on their handwashing technique and then going out on the floor to audit and make sure they are doing it.  It's one of the most important things we can all do to protect ourselves and others.
We are also trying to do different fun things every day to keep our residents happy.  They can't see their families and friends and any group activities or special events are out right now too.
Last week we had mismatched clothes day, root beer floats, donuts and hot chocolate with reading, wacky hair day...   They have been enjoying these things.

Here I am in my office - I'm no good at selfies, but I took this to send to my granddaughters to tell them Grandma had crazy hair day.  When you have short hair there isn't a lot you can do, but I put in two little ponytails!
The funny thing is when I left that day, I saw a wife and son of a resident in the parking lot.  They had come to wave through the window to him.  I was talking to them, and suddenly realized that I had those crazy pony tails in my hair.  I quickly explained that I wasn't trying out a new hairdo.  They thought it was quite funny.
Our facility is actually going to be on the local news on Sunday night when a family is coming to surprise their parents with a window visit, so I'm looking forward to seeing that.
For those of you that are praying, please pray for the health of the staff.  If people can't come to work we will be in trouble and we certainly don't want to pass this to our residents.

On another note, look at the beautiful sky I saw on my way in to work the other morning!
And that night I was reading in the Psalms and came upon these verses - such a comfort.

"But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me."
Psalm 3:3-5

Sunday, March 1, 2020

A weekend off!

As most of you know, I've been working a lot lately.  However, I have finally had a weekend off - almost.  I am ending up going in to work tonight, but it beats what my previous weekends have looked like.
On a good note - our first new nurse has made it through orientation and worked this weekend.  Everything seems to have gone well and we are so thankful for that.  Thanks to those of you who are praying for reliable nurses for us!  We have another interview tomorrow.
Since we haven't been able to have the girls over for a while, we had them Saturday afternoon and overnight.  They went to church with us today and we brought them home after lunch.  We had such a good time together.
Alaina told me - "I figured out why you are Grandpa and Grandma.  It's because you are grand and you are a Mom and Grandpa is grand and he is a Pa!"  Isn't that sweet?

Here's a few photos of the fan craft we did using socks.

 They each picked a short sock and put one cup of rice in it.

 Then we took small rubberbands and put one at the top, then one a third of the way down to make a head and a body and the one on the bottom to make a little tail.

 Then we cut off the top, and cut ear shapes.  We drew on eyes and a nose, then tied a ribbon around the neck.

 Here's Alaina's bunny.

And Ruby with her bunny!

 Next, they each picked a long sock and stuffed it with fiberfill stuffing.

 We tied the end with a rubberband, then put 4 more rubberbands to make 5 sections.
A pipecleaner was twisted around the first section and the ends curled to make antennae.  Eyes and a mouth were drawn on with a permanent marker.
We ended up with a spotted and a striped caterpillar!

 Ruby with her caterpiller.

And Alaina with hers!
We have such fun doing these activities.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Checking in

I'm just stopping in to touch base with all of you.  I've been keeping up with your blogs and wanted to give you an update.
Life is still very busy here.  We did hire a new nurse who will start orientation tomorrow.  She is just working part time, but every bit helps.  Thanks to each of you who e-mailed me or left messages of support.  Your prayers about this are very appreciated.

We've had a fairly calm winter here this year.  We've had much less snow than usual, as shown by only one snow day for the kids so far.  I for one, am not complaining about that!
Here's just a couple of photos of how things are looking.

This is the bayou on the Grand River, near to our home.  It's pretty frozen at the moment.

This is making the ice fishermen happy!

 The other morning, I was coming home from work after working the night shift.  It was a beautiful morning!

Here's the corner of our road on that same morning.  Seeing the sun just starting to rise on a frosty morning is a beautiful thing!

Thanks again for the prayer and concern.  Please continue to pray for more nurses and that any new hires work out.  I'll see you at your blogs!

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Taking a break

I'm going to take a little break.  Things have been very crazy at work, and have now gotten crazier.  We have been having a nursing shortage and now just lost another one, with no notice.  This means I am working the floor, on varying shifts and am trying to get my regular work done too.  I worked over 60 hours last week and it doesn't look like this week will be any different.  I can't keep up here, so I'm stepping away, hopefully for a short time.   This nursing shortage appears to be going on all over our area which makes it even harder to find good help.  Prayers for more help would be appreciated!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Friday Funny

Image may contain: drawing
"Well, that's redundant..."

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Cooking Thursday

This is a recipe I may have shared before, because I've been making it for many years.  These are yummy dessert bars, that are easy to make and everyone always likes them.

Chocolate Streusel Bars

1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup cold butter
1 - 8 ounce package cream cheese
1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, sugar and cocoa. Cut in butter until crumbly (mixture will be very dry). Reserve 2 cups crumb mixture and press remainder on bottom of 9x13 pan. Bake 15 minutes. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth. Add egg and vanilla. Mix well. Pour over prepared crust. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over cheese mixture. Bake 25 minutes or until bubbly. Cool and chill. Cut into small squares and store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Monday, January 27, 2020

Walter comes to work

We have a new little friend at my work.  Our Assistant Director of Nursing got a puppy and has been taking him to work with her.  He spends a lot of time in her office, but also goes around and visits the residents who just love him.  He gets lots of love and attention, and brings lots of joy! He's a golden retriever, so he won't stay this little for long!
Meet Walter!

Isn't he the cutest?

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Ice and flooding

We've had a real problem with high water in our area for the past year.  The great lakes are very high, which has caused a lot of beach erosion, and recently a cottage was washed into Lake Michigan because of it.  Closer to our house, the Grand River has also been high, and we get frequent flood advisories.  Last week we had a lot of snow and the river was higher, but it has now come down a little.
I went to the river the other day to check it out.

You can see how high the water is, with this tree surrounded by water. It sure looks cold!

 I thought some of these trees were so interesting.  You can see ice shelves around the trunks, from when the water was higher, and then it sticks.  It's pretty cool to see a bunch of trees together with these ice shelves on them.

A little more ice hanging on a tree.
I wish I could have gotten better pics, but couldn't get close enough to the trees that had lots of ice.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Cooking Thursday

Todays recipe is one of the soups I served to the Youth group when they came over this past weekend.  It's a hearty soup, modeled after something served at Olive Garden.  It makes a huge pot (9 quarts) so it's good for serving a group, but it also freezes well.  You could half the ingredients and still have enough for a family, but it freezes very well, so I always freeze half of it.

Pasta E Fagioli
3 teaspoons oil
2 lbs ground beef
14 ounces carrots, slivered
12 ounces onions, chopped
14 ounces celery, diced
48 ounces diced canned tomatoes
2 cups red kidney beans
2 cups white kidney beans
88 ounces beef stock
3 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 1/2 teaspoons pepper
5 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
48 ounces spaghetti sauce
8 ounces dry pasta shell macaroni, cooked as directed

Sauté beef in oil in large 10 quart pot until beef starts to brown.
Add onions, carrots, celery and tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Drain and rinse beans and add to pot. Also add beef stock, oregano, rosemary, garlic, pepper, Tabasco and spaghetti sauce.
Simmer until celery and carrots are tender, about 45 minutes.
Add pasta about 10 minutes before serving.
Grate fresh Romano or Parmesan cheese onto soup before serving.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Monday, January 20, 2020

Youth night

We had a fun night this past weekend.  Our church's post high group has started something recently where a couple or family from church agrees to host them for an evening.  They do this once a month and we were signed up for the January evening.
They plan different things for each month, and our night was to be a soup and salad night.   I made Cheesy potato soup, Pasta E Fagioli soup, salad, rolls and some bars.
There were 17 people there, including 2 youth leaders and Bob and I.  The group ranges in age from 18-25.

We set up tables downstairs because we can't fit that many people around our dining room table.

After we ate, we took the tables down and sat around the room.  We had some question and answer time, talking and lots of laughter.
I think everyone had fun, and we really enjoyed getting to know them all better.  We told them they could sign us up again!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Home projects

Bob had a week of vacation last week and he spent it working on some projects at home.
His first project was on our downstairs family room.  When we bought this house, the basement was unfinished.  Bob did a lot of work on it, adding a bedroom and finishing the family room.  He built in bookcases, and put in a corner desk with some cabinets that we used as our computer area.
That worked out great for many years, but now, our kids are grown, and we are using laptops.  We needed that space more for seating area when large groups came over. So, before Christmas, he took out the cabinets and desk and repainted the room.  We were thinking that it needed something to add a little interest, because it's such a long room, so this past week he put up shiplap in the seating area.  There are a few others things we plan to do, and things need to be hung up, but here's what it looks like so far.

I'm a lover of the farmhouse look, so I love the way this wall turned out!

After he finished that, he started on another project we've talked about.  This Fall, he put in a new entry door from the garage to the house.  He talked about putting up wainscoting in our little entry.

Here it is - new door, new trim around the door and the entry wall with wainscoting.  All that's left is a new paint job for the part that is now brown and hanging pictures.  The new paint color will be a medium gray.
He does great work!  I am blessed to have him.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Cooking Thursday

 Last week, I told you I made some yummy soup on New Years Day.  It's not the most healthy version of chicken noodle soup, but good for a special treat.  This recipe is one that a friend shared on Facebook, and I knew Bob would like it because...   bacon.  Enough said!  Except it was really good!

Crack Chicken Noodle Soup

3 cups cooked shredded or chopped chicken breast (You can also use rotisserie chicken) 
1 (10.5 oz.) can condensed chicken soup 
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock 
1 cup whole milk 
1/2 cup chopped celery 
2 medium carrots, sliced 
1 (1 oz.) packet Ranch dressing mix 
1 cup crumbled bacon 
1 1/2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese 
4 ounces cream cheese, softened 
8 oz. Thin Spaghetti or Angel Hair - uncooked, broken into thirds

Combine chicken, condensed soup, chicken stock, milk, cream cheese, carrots, celery, ranch dressing mix, and crumbled bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. 
Turn down heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes. 
Add noodles and cheese and simmer until noodles are fully cooked. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Monday, January 13, 2020

The ice storm of 2020

I don't know if this happens in your area, but our weather people seem to love to blow storms out of perspective.  This past weekend we were supposed to get hit with a huge ice storm - about 1 inch of ice, followed by snow.  We were supposed to get the first ice portion Sat and then a second layer of ice around 11pm, and then the snow.  We had to get all kinds of things in order at work, in case staff couldn't get in, or we had to run on generators...  Many activities in our area were cancelled on Sat, and everyone was stocking up on bread and milk, keeping extra water on hand...
I told you yesterday that I brought Ruby home early to avoid driving in the ice, and there was some ice building up when I got home.

 A little ice on the grass...

some ice on the bushes...

 Here you can see a little more on the flowers.

And this is from Sunday morning, a coating of ice on the branches.

However, that was the extent of it, no where near 1 inch of ice.  The roads had some slippery spots, but were mostly just wet.  This is why we don't always take these weather reports seriously. When they predict something awful, it doesn't come!  Better safe than sorry, I guess, and I'm glad the power stayed on and we could all make it to church on Sunday!

Here's what a lot of people have on their facebook following the big storm!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Alaina and Ruby spend the night

Alaina and Ruby came to spend the night Friday night.  Here's a few pictures of our time.

 Here they are with Bob, looking at some old photos of their mom when she was young.  They loved seeing them, and then had their usual snack of cheese and crackers.  It's funny how they like the same thing every time!

 Both girls love playing with this Newtons Cradle toy.  I've untangled those ball more often than you would imagine!

Ruby, all snuggled up watching a movie.

Saturday morning, Bob was planning to leave fairly early in the morning to meet Aaron and do some work at his sisters house.  He was quietly trying to get up and get out of the house, but Alaina woke up and was very set on going with him.  She knew her Dad was also going and she likes to see their dogs.  So Bob agreed to have her come along.  Ruby was ok with staying with me and we waved good bye to them.

Here's the cute message she left for me.  The little drawings on the bottom are donut holes.  :)

Ruby and I had breakfast and then she went to her room to get dressed.

 When I checked her, she was making her bed - not easy when it's the top bunk!

 Ruby and I had fun making some paper snowflakes.

The finished snowflakes.

Because we were having a winter storm and lots of ice was predicted, I took Ruby home earlier than usual.
We had a good drive home and I enjoyed talking to her by herself.  We saw a bunch of birds and she wondered if they were flying south. I told her they were birds that stayed here all winter.  She said God must give them extra feathers to stay warm in the cold!  We talked about how amazing God is that he made everything different and she said God really loves us, right?   She makes me smile.

It was good I brought her home when I did, because by the time I got back home our pathway gate was looking like this.

Bob came home mid-afternoon, I was happy to see him home safely, and we stayed in for the rest of the day.

Thursday, January 9, 2020