Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday

I made something new last week that was really good, so I'm sharing it with you today. Hope you like it as much as my family did!

Beef Stroganoff
2 - 3 pounds roast beef
pepper to taste
scant 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
8 ounces sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons beef bouillon
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
16 ounces sour cream
1 package egg noodles

Put roast into 5 quart Slow Cooker.
Heat oil in medium sauce pan; add onion and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic powder, bouillon and flour, stirring out any lumps. Cook for about 1 minute, then add milk and Worcestershire sauce. Continue to cook, stirring constantly until thickened.
Pour over roast. Cook on low for at least 10 hours until meat is falling apart, then shred beef with fork.
30 minutes before serving, stir sour cream into beef mix.
Serve over hot cooked noodles.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Works for me Wednesday

Today's tip is for any of you who wear scrubs for your work. There are many people beside nurses who wear them. In our nursing home, the housekeeping staff, dietary aides and laundry staff all wear scrubs.
I love wearing scrubs. I remember having to wear a white uniform every day and scrubs are much more comfortable and easy to keep clean.
I recently ordered a set of scrubs from Blue Sky Scrubs. I ordered them on a Thursday afternoon, shortly before 5, and by 5:45 had confirmation that the order was ready for shipping. It was delivered to our house on Tuesday.
Instead of coming in a plastic bag, like other scrubs I've ordered, it came in this nice box, with an thank you card on top.

The company also included a complimentary scrub hat, which was nice, but I don't need to wear it in my position. However, if you work in OR, you would probably love it!
The scrubs are really comfortable and wash really nicely. They come our of the dryer looking like they have been freshly ironed!
The only change I would like to see is more pockets. I like to carry things with me and could use another pocket.
Other than that, they are wonderful and if you use scrubs, I would recommend that you check them out. Blue Sky Scrubs work for me!

For more tips, visit Kristen at We are THAT Family.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Blustery Day!

In the words of Pooh, today has been a "blustery day" here in West Michigan. It was really windy all day, so a friend and I decided to drive to Grand Haven and see what Lake Michigan looked like in the wind.
Lots of other people had the same idea, so the road was busy. It was also filled with sand, which was all blowing up from the beach.

We were parked and looking at the waves, when I saw something coming in on the water. Do you see that dark spot on the bottom right hand corner of the picture? We were surprised when we realized it was a person.

Here's a close-up of the surfer, coming up on the beach.

He must not have been too tired, because he joined his friend and went out again. Take note of the sand blowing in the foreground!

We decided to brave it and try to get closer to the water to get a few pictures. I can honestly say I've never been out in anything like this. The wind was gusting up to 58 mph, it was raining and we were being blasted by the sand. It was hard to stand, much less walk! I know this is nothing compared to what some of you have gone through who live in the hurricane belt, but I felt like I was in a small hurricane!
When we got back in the car, my jacket was soaked, my shirt was wet, my jeans were soaked to the knees and coated with sand. We were laughing though, and were really glad we took the time to see this.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Art Prize

I live on the outskirts of Grand Rapids, Michigan where there is a fun international art competition going on. There are 1,262 artists from 15 countries competing for $449,000, in 159 areas around the city. The winners are going to be decided by the public who can vote thumbs up or down for the different art work.
A friend and I spent the day, Friday walking around the city and checking out many of different art works.
There were pieces that were serious, whimsical things, odd things and a few that made no sense (at least to us), but we had fun although our legs were tired by the end of the day!
I'm sharing a few pictures so you can get an idea of what it was like.

This was where we started our day. I took this picture from the parking ramp so you could see this tall piece. The artist who made this one is living on top of it. He arrived on September 23 and will stay up there until October 6, when he will be jumping from it. Yes - I thought this one was a little odd!

Grand Rapids is known as the Furniture City because of all the furniture it made in the 1900's. This table and chair is titled "The Furniture City sets the Table for the World of Art". It's hard to see the size of it on this picture, but it is set on top of a bridge and is 28 by 30 feet. It's even painted underneath because you can see that part when you walk under it on the bridge.

This is the same table and chairs, seen at night. Everything is lit at night for a whole new look. I got this photo from my friend Kim, at Scattered Stones who enjoyed an evening look at the art. Thanks Kim!

This is a close up of a bench, that is made of many different types of wood and was really beautiful.

This piece is called "Wind Dancer" and moves freely with any little breeze.

I don't know the name of this one, but it's about 12 feet tall and was very intricately carved.

This picture doesn't do this one justice. This large mural was made up of numerous small pictures. There was a little girl you could find in several places in the mural.

Another neat sculpture.

This one is made of lots of different things. Recycling at it's best! There are ski's, headlights, tail lights and several other things in it.

This tribute to 9/11 was painted on the hood of a truck.

This is "The Grand Dancers". It is in the middle of the Grand River and it moves and spins in the wind.

This one is called "Stomp". It's about 16 feet tall.

Look at this giant bench! My friend Lori looks like a kid sitting on it!

Another unique one. This is the Beerhorst Family Wonder Wagon. It looks like an old gypsy wagon. It was covered with different things on the outside and had paintings inside.

The kids were enjoying this one. Vincent VanRat is the title of this one - and he is working on a masterpiece! After we were there, they let kids paint him, so by evening he was multi-colored.

This is "Car Chase". It's an old Hudsen, being chased by some flying white things! There was crumbled asphalt around it to make it look like it crashed into the parking lot.

I though this was pretty cute. It's called "Let Treedom Ring". Each tree in this ring, had arms and was wearing a hat or doing something. The center one is spinning a hula hoop!

This moose was amazing. He is made of nails!

Here is a favorite. This is "Nessie", Grand Rapids own Loch Ness Monster.

This one was getting a lot of attention too. This isn't a statue - it's a man pretending to be a statue. He scared several people while we were there. He would stand completely still and then wink or suddenly move which was pretty surprising to people!

This is the first year this was done, but it's gotten such a good response that they say it will be back. We certainly had fun!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The latest in jewelry!

Some of you may remember earlier this summer when I did this post about the beaded necklaces a few of the residents at our nursing home were making.
You'll have to excuse the picture, but I was laughing when my friend Nancy took it. This is their latest offering in jewelry - pierced earrings! There have been several staff members walking around at our nursing home wearing long beaded earrings.
No, they aren't very practical, and most of us can't wear them for long because the we are allergic to the wires, but they do make a couple of guys happy when they see people wearing them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday

I've got a recipe that's perfect for this time of year. Pork Chops and apples anyone?

Slow Cooker Apple and Bacon Pork Chops

6 pork chops/loin slices
1/2 C chicken broth
1 T maple syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 apples
8 slices of bacon, cooked crispy and broken into pieces
1 cup croutons
1/2 c unsweetened apple sauce
Hot, cooked rice

Brown pork chops on stove top until nicely browned and place them into a 5 quart Slow Cooker. Without cleaning the frying pan, add the broth to the pan. Bring broth to a boil and add in cinnamon and maple syrup.
Stir while cooking over high heat to remove all the leftover pork-chop pieces from the bottom of the pan to deglaze it.
Pour the sauce over the top of the pork chops in the slow cooker.
Peel, cut and layer the apples over the top of the pork chops.
Cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours, or until pork chops reach 170 degrees.
Layer the applesauce, bacon and croutons over the pork chops.
Turn the Slow Cooker up to high, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Serve warm over rice.

For more Slow Cooker recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

*Recipe adapted from Finding Joy in my kitchen

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday

This may be a tip that many of you already use, but it works so well that I'm sharing it for anyone who hasn't tried it.
When making cookies, use a small melon scooper to scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet. The one I use is from Pampered Chef, but they are all about the same size. It makes it easy to scoop the dough and the cookies turn out nicely shaped and uniformly sized.
For cupcakes or muffins, a large melon scooper is just the right size to fill the muffin tin. It's easier and doesn't drip like other spoons do.
For more tips, visit Kristen at We are THAT Family.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I get by with a little help from my friends

one, two, three... lift!

Isn't this the cutest picture? I just wanted to share a smile with you today!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Baby Update

You may remember the post I did in the beginning of August about the Social Worker at our Nursing Home. In it I told you about Lauren and the triplets she was expecting. She had to go on bed rest at that time. She was 23 weeks along and the Dr's wanted her to make it to 30 weeks.
I'm happy to report that she made it! The babies were born last Monday at 30 weeks.
Austin was 3# 1oz
Brookelyn was 2# 15oz
Blake was 2# 6#
They are doing quite well. Austin remains on a ventilator and has had a couple of tiny brain bleeds, but over all the Drs are happy with their progress.
Any prayers for them would be appreciated.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Award Time

I've been blessed with a few awards and am overdue in acknowledging them.

I got this True Heart Award from Elsie from My Yarn Tales.
Those who receive this award are of the sweetest nature.
They are kind, friendly, funny, loving, eager to share their love for Jesus with others,
and brave in their efforts to reflect Him to this darkened world.
They are the kind of folks you're blessed to know,
even if it's only in the bloggy-sphere.

The next 2 awards were passed on to me by Kat of Heart 2 Heart.

This award celebrates the friendships we bloggers form.

This award is for those who pray for the daily needs and last minute requests of other bloggers.

Thanks to both Elsie and Kat for sharing these awards with me. Now I want to share them with you! If you are reading this, feel free to grab these for yourself!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday

It's been awhile since I've posted a Slow Cooker recipe, but it's time!
Here's a twist on regular burritos. I think you'll enjoy these.

Steak Burritos
2 flank steaks (about 1 pound each)
2 envelopes taco seasoning
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1 tablespoon vinegar
10 flour tortillas (7 inches)
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped, seeded plum tomatoes
3/4 cup sour cream

Cut steaks in half; rub with taco seasoning. Place in 4 quart slow cooker which has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Top with onions, chilies and vinegar. Cover and cook for 9 hours on low, until meat is tender. Remove steaks and cool slightly; shred meat with 2 forks.
Return to slow cooker; heat through. Spoon about 1/2 cup of meat mixture down center of each tortilla. Top with cheese, tomato and sour cream. Fold ends and sides over filling.
Yield: 10 servings

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Works for me Wednesday

I know vacation season is done, for the most part. However, I wanted to share something I do when we go away.
I use a spiral notebook like this, the kind with paper and dividers with pockets inside. I print off all of my reservations, hotel information, directions or anything else like that and place it in one of the pockets. Often if you go online, you can also find coupons for money off admission to different attractions, so I also print off those kinds of things and put them in another pocket along with attraction fliers or things that may have been mailed to me.
When we go on our trip, I keep a running tally of the cost of things. I find it helps to keep the vacation budget in line and it's nice to know how much you spent on gas or food when the trip is done.
I also put receipts from hotels in it, just in case I need that information later
I like to scrapbook these trips, so if I see something I want to remember for that, I write it down in the book.
A vacation notebook works for me! For more ideas, visit Kristen at We are THAT family.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Embrace Life

Bob and I both like dark chocolate. We really enjoy the Dove dark chocolate bites, although we don't have them much. I bought a bag of them to take along when we went to Colorado. Each one has a little message inside on the wrapper. One of the first ones we opened, had this message on it - "Embrace Life.
As we talked about it, we decided that this was something we should really work on. How often do we just go from day to day, just doing our normal routines and not really thinking about it? We decided we need to make more of an effort to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Some of these things can be so simple - enjoy the nice days, spend time with family, do things that make you laugh...
We frequently reminded each other of this throughout our trip. Bob told me that walking across the Royal Gorge Bridge was a good way to embrace life, to which I replied that I was merely trying to stay alive at that point!
This made me think of a song from a few years ago. It was done by both the Newsboys and Big Tent Revival. The name of it was "Choose Life". The lyrics were taken from Deuteronomy 30:19. Here is one verse of the song:
A choice is set before you now
Living or dying, blessing or cursing
And now the time has come around
To turn from your fighting and rest in His mercy

Choose life, that you may live
The life that He gives, he gives you forever
Choose life, the way that is true
From the one who chose you,
Your Father in Heaven
Choose life

My thought is that before we can embrace life, we need to choose it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Give me Five!

Last week I received 5 words from Kayren, at Everything's Coming Up Daisies. It's all part of a meme, that you can do too, if you want to.
Here's how it works. Kayren got 5 words from another blogger and she did a post about the words she was given. She then offered to give 5 words to someone else. I thought it would be fun, so now I'm going to post on the five words she gave me. If you want to join in, tell me in the comments and I'll send you your own five words!

1. Blogging
I've been blogging for a little over 2 years now. I started because my sisters both had a blog and they were bugging me to start. I kept saying I didn't have enough to say, but I guess I was wrong. I've met so many wonderful people, from all over the world through this. I'm so glad I started!

2. Sisters
What can I say about them? I have 2 sisters, Terri and Cheri. I am the oldest, then there is a brother, then Terri, last is Cheri. (No, our names aren't meant to rhyme. I am actually Maribeth and Cheri is actually Cheryl) Anyway, my sisters are crazy. We have the best time when we are together. Our family gatherings are filled with fun and laughter. Under the laughter though is the love we have for each other. We are there for each other during good times and bad and I know I can always call on them. They are my best friends.

3. Ikea
Kayren just threw this one in to tease me! We both live in Michigan, but she lives near the Ikea store. She frequently posts about these great deals she finds there, and I just have to drool over it. One of these days, I'm going to make the drive there and meet her at the store!

4. Michigan
The only state I've ever lived in is Michigan and I can't imagine living anywhere else. Although I hate driving in the snow, and will frequently complain about the cold, I really like the change of seasons. Michigan is truly a beautiful state with so much to see. And of course, there is the fact that both my family and Bob's live here, and we would have a hard time leaving any of them.

5. Contrary
Perhaps Kayren was feeling a little contrary when she picked out this word! :) What can I say about it? Here is how the dictionary defines it: "Given to recalcitrant behavior; willful or perverse". I have known a few contrary people in my life and it isn't a trait that I admire. Isn't it better to try and see the positive in people and not be looking for things to argue about? One of my goals in life is to treat people well, add some joy to their day and be positive, because people are observing how Christians act. There are times when we can't agree with others, if what they are saying goes against God's will, but we can still speak to them in a loving way.

That's all I have to say today! If you want five words picked out just for you, let me know!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Going Home!

Vacation time has come to an end. It's been wonderful, but it's always good to go home!
Here are Bob and Andy, sitting and talking on the last morning. Those last days are always hard, because you know the good bye is coming. I always end up crying, and then feel bad for doing that to Andy.
Anyway, we said our good byes and got on the road. We had decided to take a different way home, going through Kansas and Missouri, so we could stop at St Louis and see the Arch.
Kansas was a long and flat state to drive through and we ended up getting a hotel in Kansas City that night.
The next day we made it to St Louis and saw the Arch.

These pictures don't do it justice. The size is amazing. We didn't go up in it, because we had a long way to drive yet and were happy to just see it.

On one side of the arch is the Mississippi River. We had to go and touch it!
On the edge of the river is this statue of Lewis and Clark, returning from their expedition.

I love the architecture of this old bridge.

Here is a larger view of that old bridge, with a newer one behind it.
Then it was back on the road! We made it home about 10:30 on Sunday night.

A few statistics:
It took 19 hours to get there, 21 hours to get home.
We drove over 3,000 miles.
The most expensive gas was in Nebraska at $2.90
The least expensive gas was in St Louis at $2.36
We drove through Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri.
We saw so many beautiful things and really enjoyed our time together!

I want to share a verse from the prayer trail at the cabin, that sums up our time. Being in the mountains really makes a person feel small and insignificant. It reinforces awe, that we have a God who created all this and still cares about little us!
"When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you have ordained. What is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you visit him?"
Psalm 8:3-4