Monday, June 30, 2008

Busy day!

Bob and I both had the day off because he had to go in for his first colonoscopy. It wasn't how he would choose to spend a morning, but as we were told, the prep is worse than the test. It went well, everything looked good and he doesn't have to have another one for 10 years!
We were back home by noon, so we thought we better do some more painting.

Here are the dining room windows, taped and opened up; all ready to have primer put on.
We got primer put on all the cabinets and wood trim and were even able to get the windows and trim completely painted. The cabinets need to be painted yet, but at least the primer is on. Painting windows and trim is a tedious job and I'm glad to have that part done!

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

More flowers

This time of year it seems like something new is blooming every week. Here's some of the newest blooms in our gardens.
This is an Oak Leaf Hydrangea. The flower heads aren't as ball shaped as regular hydrangea's and they flower for quite a while. This bush looks nice even in the winter, because the woody part of it has a nice shape. The branches and stems are very twisted, so are interesting to look at.
The climbing roses on the arbor are starting to open up. We wish they would fill in more, but it's a start!
Here's a closeup of those roses. Aren't they pretty?

These are Stella D'oro day lilies. They flower for quite a while, and make this a cheery place to sit!

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Friday, June 27, 2008

They're gone!

I though I better update you on my last post. We survived, we are done, hooray!
The inspectors are gone and it is a huge relief. I think this was probably the worst inspection I can remember, mainly because one of the team members was completely unreasonable and very demeaning. I think they give these people classes in intimidation and she was very good at it.
We ended up doing very well and they did tell our administrator that there is a unique feel to our place because of the interaction between residents and staff. Of course - none of that is in the report and it wasn't mentioned to us, except by our administrator. Our crazy citation for this year was that all of our call bells cords are not uniform in length! We better get right on that, don't you think?
The sad thing about this is that not only does it disrupt our residents lives for a week, it sometimes drives people away from the nursing home field. We actually had a Dr quit a few years ago because he said he didn't need to deal with this. My good friend Nancy wrote this post today about how she feels following this inspection.
This is not the end, I'm sorry to say. They will be back in about 2 months to make sure we took care of the things they cited us on. In the meantime, we should be able to go back to enjoying our job!

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

What a week!

Oh yes - it's that time again. The dreaded inspectors are back at the Long Term Care facility I work at. This happens yearly and it is never fun. They come and they stay for a week, watching our every move, following us with their clipboards and writing things down.
Now, I do realize that these inspections are needed. There are some bad facilities out there and it's important that all facilities be checked out and that we all have standards to maintain. That being said, I think all places should be held to the same standard. Did you know that each state has different rules? What's even more amazing to me is that my state has more rules to be met on the west side of the state than the east! Assisted living places don't even have to have these types of inspections.
I also think it would be nice if these inspectors would answer questions and maybe give suggestions on what they would do with some of our difficult patients instead of just saying we should handle things differently. For example, when a person falls we have to fill out all sorts of forms and reports. We are supposed to come up with a way to stop this without using any type of restraint or medication to sedate them. With most people we are successful, but some of our Alzheimer's patients just don't understand and will continue to try to get up and walk although they are physically unable to. We may then be cited by the state for neglect or not having a safe facility.
We are told every year when the inspectors leave that they are impressed with our care of our residents, they can tell we have a caring staff and they like the interaction we have with the residents. They are also always happy with the way our residents skin looks. We don't have bedsores, because we take care to keep them clean and turned to prevent this. However, although they can tell we take care of our residents, they will never leave without finding some things to give us citations on. A few years ago we got a citation on not having a policy on keeping our fly swatter clean! (and that's the truth) Of course, if you looked at our survey it wouldn't say that - it would be under the housekeeping and cleanliness report. The problem is that when the general public looks at these reports, nothing is specified so it really is hard to tell which nursing homes are not as good as another.
Oh well, as I said before, this is a necessary thing. We'll get through it, as we do every year. They will probably leave on Friday and then we can start the process of responding to their survey and writing up a plan of correction for anything they cite us on.
If you want to read another opinion on state inspections, visit my friend Nancy.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Slow Coking Thursday

I love summer for many reasons and one of them is fresh fruits and vegetables. They taste so much better, fresh from the garden or farmers market! The recipe for today is one that uses some of those fresh tomatoes. Our family really likes salsa, but I'm afraid it's usually the boughten type. My sister Cheri makes some really good salsa and cans it, but I don't usually have the time for that. I found this recipe last year and we really liked it. It's easy and very tasty!
Slow Cooked Salsa
10 plum tomatoes, cored
2 garlic gloves
1 small onion, cut into wedges
2 jalapeƱo peppers
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cut a small slit in two tomatoes; insert a garlic clove into each slit. Place tomatoes and onion in slow cooker. Cut stem of jalapeƱos; remove seeds if milder salsa is wanted. Add to other ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until vegetables are softened (some may brown); cool. In blender or food processor, combine tomato mixture, cilantro and salt; cover and process until smooth. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: about 2 cups.
Stop over at Diary of a SAHM for more slow cooking recipes.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

It's time for Works for me Wednesday. Since we've been doing a little painting at our house, I thought I would share a painting tip with you. Often when I am painting, I have to paint more than one coat of paint and I have to stop to let the first coat dry, or I get interrupted and can't finish. I hate to clean everything out, just to come back and start over. Here's what I do:

I put both my roller and brush in a plastic bag. I wrap the end of the bag tightly and I usually put a rubber band around it so no air can get into it. When it's time to start again, I take the bag off and I'm ready to go. This has saved me quite a bit of time, and also money because I don't have to throw those disposable rollers away as often.
For more tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

How's that kitchen coming?

It's time for another update on the kitchen. It seems it is taking forever! I told Bob we need to take a few days of vacation just to work on this, but he can't do that with such short notice. We do keep making progress though, just a little at a time.
We painted the Dining room area last week and we are happy with how it looks. I intentionally didn't show you the color - you'll have to wait for that!
The cabinet area is looking like more of a mess. Bob took all the doors and drawer fronts off, so he could clean and sand them to get ready for painting. Now I'll have to put up with open cabinets until we get everything painted. Soon I'll have to empty them out, so I guess right now I'm happy to have them available!
Here is Bob, out in his shop, cleaning and sanding the doors. He did get that all done, so we are ready for priming and painting. After that comes, the painting of the kitchen area, followed by the counter top and flooring. I'll update again when I have more to show.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Happy Feet!

I had such a treat on Friday. Last fall our wonderful Director of Nursing gave each of the nurses a gift certificate to go and have a pedicure. She didn't have a real reason for this, but she said she wanted to tell us she appreciates us and she wanted us to relax and enjoy ourselves. We are very lucky to work for someone who consistently tells us how much she appreciates us.
My friend
Nancy and I wanted to go together and it has taken us this long to get a day that we were both off and they had an opening. We were greeted here at the front desk and offered a drink, then taken through a quiet, candle lit hallway.

We were taken to a nice quiet, private room where we put our feet in a bubbling foot bath. The chairs reclined and were also massage chairs, so while our feet were soaking, we were getting a back massage. This room was dimly lit, it had candles burning and a little water fountain was bubbling nearby.
After allowing us to soak for awhile, two girls came in and began to fix up our dry and callused feet. We had astringents and exfoliants applied, then our feet and legs were massaged with some wonderful smelling lotions. We had been talking but at that point we just relaxed and I think we could have almost fallen asleep!

This picture isn't great because it was dark, but here is Nancy, relaxing and having her feet massaged.
This is Dana, working on my feet. She was very sweet and told us this is all she does. She has been doing pedicures for 13 years and she was very good at it.
We both ended up picking the same nail color and liked it as well on our toes as we did on the color chip.
Look at those happy feet! They are polished, buffed, smoothed and relaxed! We were there for almost 2 hours being pampered and we enjoyed every minute. What a nice treat. Thank you Pat, for such a generous gift. I think we're ready to work again!

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

What hapened to all those seeds?

Do you remember this post from a few weeks ago, where I showed you all the maple tree seeds that had come down in our yard? Here's what's happening to them now!

Bob is bemoaning the fact that all over the yard, in every flower bed we have, many little maple trees are coming up! It's time to take a little time and pull them. (At least they come out easily)

The seeds have also brought a new visitor to our yard. This little black squirrel has become a regular. He runs up under the tree, picks up one of the seeds, munches it and moves to the next one. When I am home I see him several times a day. At least we know his tummy is full!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Slow cooking Thursday and more!

I'm combining two things today. Sandra who hosts Slow Cooking Thursday has been gone a month and I've missed her posts and the Thursday recipes. But - she's back!
Megan is also hosting her "10 Best Recipes" again this week. Her theme this week is Summer Fruit Recipes. So this week I'm combining the two and giving you a few recipes that meet both requirements. Hope you enjoy them.
Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
6 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup white grape juice
2 cups halved fresh strawberries
Place Rhubarb in 3 to 4 quart slow cooker.. Combine sugar and ginger; sprinkle over rhubarb. Add cinnamon stick and grape juice. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until rhubarb is tender. Stir in strawberries; cook 1 hour longer. Discard cinnamon stick. Serve over cubed pound cake, cubed angel food cake or vanilla ice cream.

Black and Blue Cobbler
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 beaten eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries (may use all blueberries if blackberries are unavailable)
3/4 cup water
In bowl, combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Combine eggs, milk and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Spread batter evenly onto bottom of 5 quart slow cooker. In sauce pan, combine berries, water, and remaining sugar; bring to boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour over batter.
Cover and cook on high for 2 to 2 1/2 or until a toothpick inserted into the batter comes out clean. Turn off cooker. Uncover and let stand for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired. Serves 6.
For more Slowcooking recipes visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM. For more Summer fruit recipes visit Megan at Fried Okra.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

I've been married almost 27 years and in all that time I haven't found a really good way to store my spices. Until now! I don't like the clutter of having them out on my counter in a spice rack, I also don't like them all on a shelf. I've been keeping them in a tupperware container that I can pull out, but it sometimes takes a while to find the right one that way. Heather found this spice stack in a magazine and said it looked like what I needed. I ordered it and she was right!

It holds 27 full of 54 half size bottles. You don't half to pull it off the shelf to get your spice bottle out, you just slide out the shelve and tilt down. The spice names are right in front of you.

Here is one of the shelves pulled out so you can see what it looks like open. This comes from Taste of Home magazine on line shopping. Go here if you want to check it out for yourself. It really does work for me. For more tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

evil eye baby

If you need a laugh today, you have to take a minute to watch this video. This baby is funny!

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wii would like to play

On Fathers Day we had my Dad and Ann and also Laura and Aaron for dinner. After dinner when Dad and Ann left we celebrated Bob's birthday and Fathers Day by giving him a Wii. He's never been into video games, but I kept hearing that everyone likes this one as it is different than normal video games. We all had fun trying it out and did more than our fair share of laughing as we watched each other bowl, golf, box and play tennis.

Here is Bob playing baseball.

Laura is bowling.

Heather was doing some training on baseball.

Aaron was playing tennis.
It looks like the game is a hit! Now we'll have to see what else is out there. If you have a Wii, what is your favorite game?

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Rain, rain, go away!

It's been quite a week here in West Michigan. We have had lots of rain along with some pretty serious storms. 4 people were killed in our county last weekend, due to trees coming down and roads washing out in the rain. We had a couple of clear days during the week, but now its raining again! They have now closed a major highway north of us due to flooding and washouts. Of course, we aren't the only ones dealing with bad weather and compared to some people , our area isn't doing too badly.
Here's a few pictures of our front yard being rained on.
At least it's not snow!

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Flowers everywhere!

I love this time of year. There are new things blooming all the time. I thought I would show you a few of the flowers that are blooming in our back yard right now.
This is a flowering shrub, called Wine and Roses Weigela. You can see it's full size in the picture on the bottom of this post.
This is called a Gaillardia or blanket flower. It's a perennial that flowers for most of the summer.

These Siberian Iris are almost done blooming for the year. We have groupings of them in a few different spots and always enjoy them.

Here are a few peonies. This white one shows up nicely in our shady flower bed.

And - isn't this bright pink one pretty?

Here's one corner of the back yard. You can see the Iris, Weigela and white peony here. It's so peaceful to look out the window and see the flowers blooming.
"The earth laughs in flowers"
Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you want to see more flowers and gardens, stop over at The Preachers Wife. She is having a garden tour today.

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