Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm outta here!

It's been quite a week. You may remember this post I wrote about a month ago about having the state inspectors come to the nursing facility I work at. Well - this week we had another inspection. This time it was the Federal Inspectors. I have worked at this facility for 18 years and only remember them coming one other time. Apparently a certain percentage of facilities are chosen randomly and are inspected, following the state survey. They are checking to see if the state survey and their survey are in agreement.
I must say that these inspectors were much more human than the ones we had from the state. They were not as intrusive or as demeaning so that was a nice change. They were very particular, but I think that goes with the territory. They left Thursday evening. Now we wait for the official results to be mailed to us and then we begin a plan of correction.
So - it's been a busy, stress filled week, but now I'm off. I have next week off and I'm going camping with my crazy sisters, Terri and Cheri. Our husbands are coming for the weekend and then leaving us to fend for ourselves. I won't have a computer so I'll be suffering from blogging withdrawal. I'll catch up with you all in a week!

post signature

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Slow Cooking Thursday

Can you believe it's Thursday again? The weeks go by so fast!
Here's a good family friendly supper for you.
Chili Mac
1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
2 cans (15 ounces) hot chili beans, undrained
2 large green peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 envelope chili seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
salt and pepper to taste

Combine first 8 ingredients in slow cooker and mix well. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until heated through. Stir in macaroni and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
Yield: 12 servings
*The recipe says this can be made into a soup by adding a large can of beef broth. I've never done it, but it sounds good.
Slow Cooking Thursday is hosted by the lovely Sandra at Diary of a SAHM. Go visit her for more recipes.

post signature

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Neighborhood wildlife

Several of our neighbors have cats that like to visit us. They seem to like to sit near the front steps and taunt our cat with the knowledge that they are free to run outside and all she can do is watch them out the front door. About 3 weeks ago, I came home from work on a day that Bob and Heather both had off. They said the cat from across the street had been sitting on our porch and - "you won't believe what they did to their cat". They informed me the cat had a new look. It got a lion haircut. Did they take a picture for me? No. So I had to wait. Now usually this cat is around a lot, but Heather thought she was ashamed of her new look and didn't want to come out. Well, finally she has come back to visit.
Keep in mind that her hair has grown quite a bit since the initial cut. It was shaved quite close on her body, except the mane around her head. She usually has quite long hair all over. So what do you think? Some people must like this. If you cut your cat's hair this way, I hope you aren't offended but it looks silly to me!

post signature

Monday, July 28, 2008

Brain Age

Perri, from My Life in Bits and Pieces had something fun on her blog, so I thought I would share it.
It's a test you can take to see how old your brain is - is it as old as your body, or maybe younger?
The first time I took it I was 32. I did it twice more and have gotten down to 26. I'm feeling pretty good about that since I'm actually 47.

Here are the instructions:

Read this carefully because the instructions on the site are in Japanese;

1. Click 'start'

2. Wait for the countdown to finish, i.e.: 3, 2, 1.

3. Memorize the number's position on the screen and their numerical order, then click the circle from the smallest number to the biggest number. This sequence will repeat ~ 10 times until the game ends.

4. At the end of game, the computer will tell you how old your brain is in Years.

Have fun, and let me know how old you are!

post signature

Sunday, July 27, 2008

High Drama!

We had a great service Sunday. Our church is having an event called "Prayer Wave" this week and it was started on Sunday morning by having the Drama Ministries Ensemble from Northwestern college here. They are a group of students who go all over the country, acting out scenes from the Bible but we were also told there would be a special emphasis on prayer. I was looking forward to this, but was blessed beyond what I had anticipated.
The students started with 4 little plays, taken directly from the Bible - the King James version, no less! One of them was the story of Goliath, which was fun to see. The others were lesser known stories from the Old Testament.
Following this, they did enacted prayer. This is something I've never seen done or heard of, but it was very moving. There were lots of teary eyes and sniffing noses during this section. They take a prayer request from the audience and act out what has been happening and what is being asked. These prayers can be requests, praise or thanks and we had some of each. The thing that really moved me was the fact that they have about three people on stage who are portraying God at work in these requests. Too often I tend to put God in a box and think of Him listening to our prayers and answering them, but this portrayed Him right there with the people and actively working in the answering of the prayer. Of course - that is what He does and I needed that reminder.
If you ever hear that this drama team is in your area, I would strongly recommend seeing them. You will be blessed.

post signature

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What would yours say?

I've saw this on Justabeachkat's blog recently and knew I had to share it. If you take a few minutes to watch it, I promise you won't be sorry.

post signature

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Slow Cooking Thursday

Thursday's the day for another Slow Cooking Recipe. If you like Mexican food, you'll enjoy this one!

Slow Cooker Enchiladas
1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
6 flour tortillas (6-7 inches)
Brown beef, onion and green pepper until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain. Add the next 8 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Combine cheeses. In 5 quart slow cooker, layer about 3/4 cup beef mixture, 1 tortilla and about 1/3 cup cheese. Repeat layers until ingredients are used. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or until heated through.
Yield - 4 servings

For more Slow Cooking Recipes visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

post signature

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Progress report

I'm happy to report that some big progress has been made on the kitchen! Here's a few of the little and big things that are done.
Bob took down the ugly light that hung in the kitchen and put in recessed lighting. Not only do the lights look much better, they also give better light.

We are putting new doorknobs on the pantry, back closet and half bath which is next to the kitchen. The old knobs were brass, fluted style and looked very dated. I love these ones!

This new light hangs over the kitchen sink.

Last but certainly not least are the cabinets. They look like they are brand new, with several coats of paint and new hardware. Bob had the day off Saturday and I was working. Imagine my happiness when I came home and found doors on the cabinets!
He has since put up the cement board on the back splash, preparing for tile. Next comes the countertop, sink and faucet. I'm thrilled with each step that is done!

post signature

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dog Days!

We're in the middle of it, people! Yes - it's the Dog Days of Summer! I don't know about where you live, but it's been hot here in Michigan! (I'm really not complaining much - I do remember the winter we had!) Here are a few dog day facts for you:
  • There are 40 dog days each summer
  • the Dog Days run from July 3 to August 11
  • They are named after Sirius, the Dog Star which shines most brightly during this period
  • The ancient Romans and Greeks believed the star was responsible for the heat
  • The dog Days are often responsible for bad hair days!
Of course, we all know that the Dog Days used to be much more difficult to tolerate and still are in many areas of the world. I must say that I am quite thankful for Willis Haviland Carrier, who in 1906 received a patent for his Apparatus for Treating Air, a.k.a. the first air conditioner!

post signature

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Smile awhile!

This week (July 20-26) is National Make Someone Smile Week. I think we probably all miss lots of opportunities to do something nice for others because we are not paying attention. Often it may not be a big deal to you, but may mean a lot to another person. Here are a few ideas I found to make people smile:
  • drop a few coins in an area where kids will find them. Do you remember how excited you were when you were a child and you found some coins?
  • compliment people who have done a good job or been helpful to you
  • send a card or letter to someone you don't see often
  • when your child talks to you, give them your full attention
  • help someone who looks like they need it - getting something from a high shelf, needing directions, needs help carrying something...
  • say thank you when you check out
  • hold the door for someone
  • tell someone how much you appreciate them
You get the idea! See what you can do this week to spread a smile!
"Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up." Proverbs 12:25

post signature

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Guess who's coming to visit?

The Nursing Home I work at has a large Dining room, that has 5 sets of sliding glass doors. These doors look out onto a patio. Every morning there are quite a few residents that are up early and take advantage of the continental breakfast served there. Many of them like to sit and look out at the patio and watch the birds. They often build nests in the pergola that is over part of the patio.

Here is one of the little birds sitting on the pergola.
This year there have been a lot of rabbits in our yard. Many of our residents really enjoy watching them hop around. The other day one of the ladies called me to see 2 baby bunnies close to the window. This is one of them. He didn't seem to be too scared of me, he let me get quite close to take this picture.

This is one of our more unusual visitors. This tree frog was probably only about 1/2 inch long and was sitting by our back door. He's pretty cute for a frog!
That's about all the wildlife we have near us. We used to have deer that came near us in the back, but a development going in that area has stopped the deer. We'll have to be content with birds and bunnies!

post signature

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slow Cooking Thursday

Thursday's here again and with it another slow cooker recipe. When it's hot out I don't like a large meal. This sandwich makes a nice light supper, that's substantial enough for Bob to call it supper but it's a not a big meal.

Teriyaki Sandwiches
2 pounds boneless chuck steak
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
8 french rolls, split
1/4 cup butter, melted
pineapple rings
chopped green onions
Cut steak into thin slices. In Slow Cooker, combine soy sauce, sugar, ginger and garlic. Add steak. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours or until meat in tender. Remove meat with slotted spoon and set aside.
Carefully pour liquid into 2 cup measuring cup and skim fat. Add water to liquid to make 1 1/2 cups. Pour into large saucepan. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth and add to pan. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly; about 2 minutes. Add meat and heat through. Brush rolls with butter; broil 4-5 inches from heat until lightly browned. Fill with meat, add pineapple slices and top with green onions.
Yield: 8 servings
For more slow cooker recipes stop over at Sandra's blog.

post signature

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Things to be Happy about

The daughter of one of my residents brought this book in and said she thought we would enjoy looking at it. It's written by a women who started writing down things that made her happy when she was in sixth grade. The book is a list of 14,000 things that make her happy. She said she loved to look at that list when she was feeling down. What a great idea! We so often miss the small things that make us smile in life. I thought I would share some of the things that make me happy.
  • a gentle rainfall
  • the smell of fresh cut grass
  • hearing from my son
  • the vase of sunflowers on my table
  • the smell of fresh cut grass
  • seeing an elderly couple holding hands
  • Dove dark chocolate
  • hearing a baby laugh
  • seeing a fresh coating of white on everything after it snows
  • blooming flowers
  • coming home to a clean house
  • knowing God is in control
  • finishing some of the tasks I have been procrastinating on
  • spending time with my family
  • feeling like I did something that made a difference in someones life
  • scrapbooking
  • finishing a good book
  • Lavender Chamomile scent oil from Bath and Body works
  • opening the windows in the spring and airing out the house
  • goofing around with my hubby
  • good music
  • making progress in the kitchen
  • comments from my blogging friends!
  • finding something I need on sale
  • kittens and puppies
  • seeing my kids happy
  • working with people I like
  • sunset over the lake
That's just a few of my happy things. What makes you happy?
PS - For a post that will make you smile, check out this funny post my hubby put up today.

post signature

Monday, July 14, 2008

A simple way to help!

There is a young family in our town who have had a lot of problems thrown their way recently. Here is a little bit of their story:
Hello, My name is Kendrah DeYoung and thank-you for landing on our family blog:
I'm a 30 year old mother of 5 amazing children. My husband Brian and I have been married for nearly 10 years. We met shortly after he returned home from the Marine Corp - where he suffered a broken hip, pelvis, and multiple stress fractures to his feet.
Today, our children are Kennedy 9, Dawson 7, Cole 6, Aleigha 3, and Blake 2. Their energy keeps us on our toes. In Feb of 2007, I began working at Spectrum Health. Life was hectic, but fun.
God's plan for us changed on December 8, 2007. After punching into work, I went to sit in the break room and began reviewing medical charts. I remember starting to feel very tired, and can recall nothing again until December 20. After spending several days in the Intensive Care Unit, I was moved to a step-down unit. It was than that my friends and family began telling me what was happening. I was having over 50 unexplained seizures a day. They were initially treating me like a stroke patient. In ICU my initial prognosis was bad, I could not even share a nurse. I had a nurse with me for constant care/monitoring. While my husband was juggling 5 kids, his job, our bills - he was trying to stay with me as much as possible. I was than transferred to St. Mary's Hospital, because they have an entire floor dedicated to seizure patients. Several more tests, several additional hospital stays and we were told that I had a small tumor on the pituitary gland. Treatment started with Radiation, during that time my tumor unfortunately grew :(
My first day of radiation was late February. The same day, I tore my ACL in my knee. Requiring extensive knee reconstructive surgery. The surgery was performed in April.
There have been times, MANY times in fact..when I thought that going through all this crap wasn't worth it. I know how that sounds. But it is true. What has gotten us through this has been the support of family, friends, neighbors, church and COMPLETE strangers offering to help.
June 26, in a freak boating accident my husband injured his finger so bad that he had to have a 2.5 hour surgery to fix it. Even upon meeting with the surgeon recently he was told that amputating this finger (left ring) still may be in our near future. Since this injury, well actually since my diagnosis, my husband has battled his work for respect, time-off and to maintain his employment. If you are looking for something specifically to pray for, in addition to our full recovery, please pray at this time that Spartan Stores will find compassion and appreciation for an employee who has been there for 14 years.
We realize that life is full of challenges and ours are just beginning. We have learned to hug the ones we love a little longer and try to focus on the big picture. One big happy family! Our faith has been tried and tested but ultimately we realize that things are out of our control and we need to trust in our Lord. Please continue to visit and we welcome you to our little World.

I have been reading Kendrah's blog for a while but felt I should do more. Now there is an easy way to help them out. A Tastefully Simple consultant has offered to do an online sale with the profits going to the DeYoung family to go toward their medical bills. If you've never tried Tastefully Simple products, now is your chance. It's good - and simple! The products will be shipped to your home and they have a satisfaction guarantee! I recommend the beer bread. (and I don't even like beer) It goes together easily; only needs a can of beer ot soda and can be used as a dipping bread, toasted or as is - which is how we usually eat it. There are lots of other good things too. To check out the products or to place an order go here. Thanks for your help.

post signature

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I never promised you a rose garden - but I've got others!

There are more flowers blooming all the time! Before I show them to you I have to clarify something. I have received nice comments on "my" flowers and I have to remind you that they are more Bob's flower than mine. He is the gardener in the family. Sometimes I help pick them out and I may make a suggestion here and there, but he is the planner, the planter and the weeder! I am mainly the admirer and photographer! With that said - here are this weeks best blooms:
Remember the Gaillardia from a month ago? It's still blooming.

This is called Veronica or Speedwell. It isn't a big plant but looks pretty growing in little clumps. It looks really nice in front of our yellow Stella D'oro lilies.

This is a cherry yarrow. The leaves are feathery and this particular type has bright pinkish red flowers.

We don't know the name of this flower. We got it from Karla and Diane a few years ago and have enjoyed those bright, cheerful flowers ever since.

These lilies are growing out by Bob's workshop.

This is called Dragon's Blood Sedum. It is a ground cover that is covered with these bright red flowers in the middle of summer.
I hope you aren't sick of looking at these. I love to admire them, as soon there will be snow where the flowers are now!

post signature

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Guest Blogger

Hello. My name is Cleo and I am the owner of Mari and her family. I am making a brief stop here to let you all know of the torment that I am being subjected to in this household. As you can see in the picture below, I am really quite beautiful and as the head of this household I deserve to be treated with respect.
Here I am in one of my favorite places. I really need a lot of rest and prefer to be left alone unless I ask for attention.
This is Mari's daughter Heather. Don't let that innocent looking smile fool you. She is really quite bossy with me. She doesn't let me get away with much. I should confess that I do have a small psychological problem. I am somewhat of a nervous cat and I tend to lick my belly. I have licked it enough that sometimes, there isn't much hair on it. They made me go to the vet and get checked and I really didn't appreciate that. I stopped for a while after that, because I didn't want to go back. However, lately things are kind of messed up around here. Mari has Bob working on that kitchen and things are being moved around. They even moved my food bowl! Well, I have to calm myself in some way, so I must admit that I've taken up that nasty licking habit again. This has Heather all upset with me. You wouldn't believe what she is doing to me.

Yes - she is making me wear a dress. You can't see it very well here, but it covers my belly and now I can't lick it. I tell you - it is completely humiliating! When she puts it on me, I try to hide and I hate to even move in it. If my cat friends from next door would see me I would just die of embarrassment. I'll let you in on a secret though - I have discovered how to get out of it. If no one is looking I can do it quite quickly.
Now you know what life is like for me here. Don't you agree that this is a terrible indignity for a cat of my high status?

post signature

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Slow Cooking Thursday

The Farmers Market near us is selling fresh red potatoes which my family has always liked. I found this new recipe for them, and it's simple and delicious.
Lemon Red Potatoes
1 1/2 pounds medium red potatoes
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon chives
salt and pepper to taste
Cut a strip of peel from around the middle of each potato. Place potatoes and water in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until tender (do not overcook); drain. Combine butter, lemon juice, parsley and chives; mix well. Pour over the potatoes and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Yield: 6 servings.
For more slow cooking recipes, visit Sandra at
Diary of a SAHM.

post signature

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

This year seems to be a banner year for mosquitoes in our area. My tip today is a new way to avoid them. I got this one from my friend Nancy. She had heard about this through an e-mail and tested it. Her yard is quite wooded and she told me to try it, as it worked for her. Since we have a lot of trees around us and have been getting eaten alive by the mosquitoes, I thought it was worth a try. I'm not going to say I've been completely bite free, but it really helps! And what do you think this new mosquito repellent is?

Mouthwash! It doesn't have to be the expensive type either. I went to the dollar store and bought a small spray bottle and a bottle of mouth wash. When you go outside, spray it in the area you are going to be in - not on yourself. If you are out for awhile, you may need to spray again, but it really made a difference for me. It's cheap and it's not a harsh chemical. That works for me!
For more tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

post signature

Monday, July 7, 2008

Photo Meme

Jennifer from Zanankali's adventures had this on her blog and invited us to try it. It's a fun thing to do - try it out yourself!

The rules:
  • type your answers to each of the questions below into Flickr Search
  • using only the first page, pick an image
  • copy and paste the URL's for the images into fd's Mosaic Maker

The Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What High school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you
12. Your flickr name

Have fun with this!

*** - So, I'm being asked what my answers were - here you go:
1) Mari
2) Fettuccine Alfredo
3) Unity
4) green
5) I don't really have a celebrity crush, but I always thought George Clooney was cute. The first picture that popped up was the dog, so I used it!
6) Diet Coke
7) Italy
8) cheesecake
9) Nurse
10) my family
11) caring
12) not telling because it gives away too much of my name.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Guess what day it is?

Did you know that July 7 is National Chocolate Day? Chocolate is a favorite for many people. It's used in so many things, it deserves it's own day. So - in honor of the day, make sure you eat some chocolate today!

post signature