Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday

Today's recipe is really quick to throw together, tastes good and is healthy too!

Tex-Mex Chicken
2 cans (15 ounces) corn, drained
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jar (16 ounces) chunky salsa
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine corn, beans and 1/2 cup of the salsa in a 6 quart slow cooker.
Place chicken on top of mix. Pour remaining salsa over chicken.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes or until cheese melts.

For more slow cooking recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday

Today's tip is something I learned from my Mom a long time ago. When she was teaching me to bake, she told me that the tops to extract bottles, as in vanilla extract usually measured 1 teaspoon. So - when baking, if your recipe calls for a teaspoon (which is common with vanilla), you can just use the top!

I have done this for all my life, but when I was thinking about sharing this hint, I thought I should test it to see if it still held true. I used several different types of extracts. Both the tall and short bottles held true to what my Mom told me. They all were one teaspoon.
For more tips, visit Kristen at We are THAT Family.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kids cutting hair

A few weeks ago my friend Rebekah from Diagonally Parked in a Parallel Universe posted about her daughter Gracie giving herself and then her sister a haircut.
It made me think of the experiences I had with my kids cutting hair. Most kids cut their own hair. Not mine.
Maybe boys don't do this hair cutting thing as much, because Andy never tried it. Heather did. When she was about 4, I was watching a friends two boys. The oldest was Heathers age, the younger one was about a year. He was one of those kids with just a little bit of blond hair, including a little spike on the top of his head. You can imagine my horror when I found them all giggling and realized that Heather had cut that little spike off his head. Thankfully, my friend was very understanding and actually thought it was pretty funny.
Then there was Laura. She didn't cut her own hair either. She used to like to comb my hair. It was longer at the time, and she would put bows in it and play with it. One day she was "fixing" my hair when I heard the unmistakable sound of a scissors clipping the back of my hair. Yes - she cut a chunk right out of the back. I was able to fix it so it wasn't blatantly obvious, but if you looked you could see it.
Funny memories! Just wait till those two have kids that do those kinds of things. You can bet I'll remind them!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It is well

One of my favorite songs is 'It is Well'. It's a song that has such a great message, which is made even more meaningful when you know the story behind the song.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall in West Michigan

I thought today I would take you on a little tour of what Fall looks like in West Michigan. The colors vary a lot from one area to the next.

This tree lined road is about 15 minutes from our house. The trees were somewhat yellow, but nothing compared to this:

This was taken in a park about 10 minutes away, where almost all the trees were this brilliant gold.

Just a few minutes from my house, on the edge of a field is this pretty display of reds and oranges.

This is what my street is looking like!

In my back yard is this hardy geranium. I was surprised to see the colors of the leaves.

Even the decorative grasses in our yard are showing some color!

And when I take a walk, I'm enjoying all the colorful leaves crunching underfoot!
It's wonderful to see God's handiwork!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday

It's time for another slow cooking recipe. Today's recipe is macaroni and cheese, with a twist. Hope you like it too!

Chili Macaroni and Cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans
2 teaspoons chili powder
pinch of ground cumin
pinch of salt
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Coat 4 to 5 quart slow cooker with non stick spray. Place oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft. Add beef and brown. Transfer to cooker.
Stir in tomatoes, beans, chili powder, cumin and salt.
Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
Boil macaroni for 5 minutes or until just tender. Stir into other ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Stir in cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. Let stand for a few minutes and serve.

For more slow cooking recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Works for me Wednesday

Have you seen this new laundry detergent? It has detergent, fabric softener and anti-static all in one sheet, which is just a little larger and thicker than a fabric softener sheet. You throw the sheet in with the laundry when you start, and it has a strip on it with fabric softener for the dryer.
I bought this to use when we went on our trip to Colorado. I knew our cabin had a washer and dryer and I didn't want to lug a bunch of laundry stuff along with me. This was in a nice package that was easy to pack. It did a good job on our laundry and is so easy to use! It comes in three scents and is available in a refill pack. It was great while traveling but I've enjoyed using it at home too. However, because it's usually just Bob and my laundry, our loads aren't very big. It's kind of a waste on small loads, so I don't use it on a regular basis.
For more tips visit Kristen at We are THAT family.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm so blue...

Actually I'm not really blue, I've just been challenged to find some blue! Sandi, at Whistlestop Cafe challenged me to find 7 blue things in my life. So - here are 7 blue things, which I either love or are important in my life.

I love blue skies! Whatever the season, if the sun is shining and the sky is blue, it makes me happy!

Flowers! I love flowers and my favorites are blues and purples.

This is my chair and my blanket. I got this queen size, soft and fluffy blanket for Christmas a few years ago. I spend much of the winter snuggled up in it to stay warm!

I live near Lake Michigan and love it. It's a real blessing to have a big lake so near us. This picture was taken when we were on a tall ship, touring the lake.

I love Febreze! I am always lighting candles here because I like to have my house smelling good. The Febreze can be sprayed all over and everything then smells so fresh!

I love my pj's. So soft, warm and comfortable!

This is a picture we have hanging in our family room. Technically, only the frame is blue but I'm sharing it anyway! It's a pencil drawing of the Au sable lighthouse, but the reason I love it is that it was done from one of my photos, by one of my patients. The patient was a quadriplegic and he does his drawings by holding a pencil in his mouth and sketching. He always had such a good attitude in spite of the difficulties he had to deal with and I enjoy my memories of him when I look at it.
That's the end of my blue post. Feel free to join in if you want to~

Sunday, October 18, 2009

How to make exercise fun!

I think if this was close by, I would enjoy getting a little exercise on it!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


You may remember that back in June we got a new kitten. He's gotten big and we are still enjoying having him around, in spite of his naughty tendencies!

This picture was taken the first night we had him. We've noticed he still likes to crawl into things. I've got a few pictures to share showing you some of the places we find him.

If Bob leaves the door to his armoire open, we often find Oliver sitting inside.

Any boxes sitting around? Oliver will crawl in them!

Now that coat season is here, he has become fascinated with Heather's coat. She had it laying over the back of a chair and he dragged it down and crawled into the sleeve.

This is our half bath. We find Oliver sitting in this wastebasket regularly. When I took this picture, he was actually sitting here in the dark.
Funny cat! We do love him!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday

Who doesn't like stew when it starts getting cold out? Here is a good recipe you can throw in your crock pot and forget until it's time to eat!

Home Style Stew

2 16 ounce pkg frozen vegetables for stew
1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can tomato soup
1 envelope onion soup mix

Place vegetables in a 5 quart slow cooker. Brown beef on all sides and add to slow cooker.
Combine soups and soup mix. Pour over vegetables and meat.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until beef is tender.

For more slow cooking recipes visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Works for me Wednesday

My tip for today is something that many of you may already use, but for those that don't, I wanted to share. If you have several blogs you like to keep up on and you just check them from time to time to see if they have a new post, I have a way to make your life easier. It's called Google Reader.
This is a site that will allow you to keep track of the blogs you read. Whenever a blog has a new post, it will show up. You can set up different folders for different types of blogs. For example I have one for family, one for church friends, one for favorite blogs, one for crafts, recipes..., another for devotional blogs. When you want to check on your blogs, you go to the Google reader site and it will tell you how many new posts are up. Click on the highlighted blog and it will come up in the box. If you want to comment on it, you just click on the blog title and it will open in another window. It saves time in checking a blog to see if there is anything new on it and keeps track of all those blogs. It really does work for me!
For more tips, visit Kristen at We are THAT Family.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Benefit Concert

Tonight I attended one of the best high school choir concerts I've ever been to. Our local high school did a combined concert with the Gospel choir from a college in Grand Rapids. The proceeds went toward digging a well in Malawi, Africa. This is an area where the women have to walk between 4 and 15 miles one way just to get water for their families, and they sometimes walk this distance twice in a day. The kids wanted to work on a humanitarian project and chose this one. They have also been enjoying singing gospel music and thought this would be a good way to raise money.
They invited the gospel choir for Calvin College in Grand Rapids, to join them and had their director come and do some teaching on singing gospel music. You may have heard of Marvin Sapp, who is a well known gospel singer. He is from Grand Rapids and was taught by this director. One of the songs they sang tonight was written by Marvin Sapp and the director taped it to pass on to him. The kids were pretty impressed by this.
There were 3 choirs involved; the regular high school choir, the Chamber Choir from the school and the Gospel Choir. Each sang some songs alone, then ended as the picture above shows them, all together, singing the grand finale - "He never failed me yet".
It was a great end to the evening.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Everything you wanted to know about me and are sorry you asked

My friend Kat from Heart 2 Heart had this fun quiz on her blog and invited her readers to join in. If you want to do this on your blog, feel free to join us.

The phone rings. Who will it be?
If it's in the afternoon, and I've worked that day it is probably my sister Cheri. We touch base frequently. I don't get to talk to my sister Terri as often as I used to, because she is now working until later in the day.

When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart?
Yes - at least to the Cart Corral. I figure it's a good way to get in a few extra steps and it saves the workers from walking all over the parking lot.

In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener?
I'm more of a listener, especially if I don't know the people well.

Do you take compliments well?
No, I'm afraid not. I need to work on that instead of always feeling like I need to make an excuse.

Do you play Sudoku?
I love it. I have a Nintendo DS and often take the Sudoku game along to appointments. It's a good thing to do while waiting.

If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive?
No! I'd probably be one of the first ones gone.

Did you ever go to camp as a kid?
I went one year when I was in junior high, with a few friends. We had fun!

What was your favorite game as a kid?
I liked all those kid games - Simon says, Red Rover, Hide and seek, Ghost in the graveyard.

Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you?
No, my faith is such an important part of me, that it would never work to be with someone who didn't agree with that. I could be and am friends with people of other faiths, but that is completely different than being married to them.

Do you like to pursue or be pursued?
I'm old fashioned that way and would never do the pursuing. I hear things are different now though.

Use three words to describe yourself?
Christ follower, caring, pest (as in I like to tease people)

Do any songs make you cry?
Oh yes, sentimental songs get me and so do lots of worship songs.

Are you continuing your education?
I am required to get 25 hours of continuing education credits every 2 years to maintain my nursing license, but other than that, no.

Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth?
Yes - when I was a teenager.

How often do you read books?
Not as much as I used to because I'm always reading blogs. I read a book every week or two.

Do you think more about the past, present or future?
Probably the future, even if it's just the next day. I like to plan out my week, although it doesn't always work.

What is your favorite children’s book?
'Love you Forever', by Robert Munsch. I used to quote that verse to my kids when they were young.

What color are your eyes?

Where is your dream house located?
A log cabin, in the woods, in a quiet place.

If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed?
Pictures, scrapbooks.

When was the last time you were at Olive Garden?
Probably a few months ago. We need to go again!

Where was the furthest place you traveled today?
About 6 miles to go to work.

Do you like mustard?
No, I never use it if I have the choice.

Do you look like your mom or dad?
People say I look like my mom!

How long does it take you in the shower?
About 10 minutes.

Can you do the splits?
Are you kidding? I couldn't do that when I was a kid.

What movie do you want to see right now?
I'm not a big movie person. I wait for them to come out on DVD and even then can't remember which ones to see.

What did you do for New Year’s?
We usually get together with Bob's brother and wife. We used to have all the kids too, but last year they all left us.

Do you think The Grudge was scary?
I never heard of it.

Do you own a camera phone?
No, just the basics.

What’s the last letter of your middle name?
I don't have a middle name. My whole name is Maribeth.

How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
Usually about 6.

What do you buy at the movies?
Just the ticket to get in.

Do you know how to play poker?
I learned once, but I wouldn't remember.

Do you wear your seat belt?

How many meals do you eat a day?
I skip breakfast occasionally, but usually eat three.

Do you like funny or serious people better?
They each have good points, but I do like a good sense of humor.

Ever been to L.A.?
Never been to California.

Did you eat a cookie today?

Do you hate chocolate?
What? Who would answer yes to that?

Are you a gullible person?
Yes - I believe the best of people until I learn otherwise, which doesn't work with some.

Are you easy to get along with?
Most of the time, but I do have my cranky times!

That's it. Join in if you want.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Spare room clean up!

So - we have a spare room that I call my scrapbooking room, Bob calls it the office, but what it often is, is a mess! We have a computer and printer in it, along with 2 large tables to work on. Here's where the problem is. Those tables seem to ask for things to be put on them. If I have things I'm planning to send to Andy, I bring them in here. If I have something that needs to be returned to someone - this is where it goes. On top of that, if we are working on something, it is spread out here too, and soon it looks like a mess.

Monday, I was working, but Bob had the day off. Heather was home in the morning and the two of them did some cleaning. They sorted through the things on the tables and then Bob had a brainstorm.

This is the closet in the room. Bob decided to take this old dresser that was sitting in the basement doing nothing, and put it in the closet. It gives a place to put the scrapbooks on, but it also gives us drawers to store things. One drawer is for things waiting to be sent to Andy, one is for scrapbook pages being worked on. Another is for other projects in the works.
Good idea, don't you think?

Just to show you that Bob works in this room too, here are some of his carvings that he is in the process of painting. He's getting ready for a craft show at church.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday

Today I have a good chicken recipe for you. It's really easy to throw together and is yummy!

Soy and Garlic Chicken
6 chicken thighs or 4 chicken breasts, skin removed
1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Place chicken in 4 or 5 quart slow cooker. In small bowl, combine tomato sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic. Pour over chicken.
Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or until meat reaches 180 degrees.

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday

Today's Works for me Wednesday is a special edition on cleaning tips, so I have a tip for a cleaning solution. I was having a problem getting the mirror in our main bathroom clean. It was always smeared, even right after I cleaned it. I tried different types of cleaning solution and different things to wipe it with and still it was smeared.
My step-mom is one of those people who always has a clean house, and everything looks wonderful, so I asked her what she used. It turns out that she makes her own cleaning spray and she passed on the recipe.
This stuff is easy to make, does a great job and is economical! I use it on mirrors and countertops. I even spray it on my painted baseboards and all the dust wipes right off.

Cleaning Spray
2 ounces rubbing alcohol
2 ounces clear ammonia
12 ounces water
Pour each ingredient into a spray bottle and lightly shake to mix.

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

Monday, October 5, 2009

Does God Exist?

This video was e-mailed to me and I enjoyed it. When you watch it be sure to click off the advertisement if it pops up on the bottom, as there are subtitles and you won't be able to read them with the ad there.
Also - it attributes this to Albert Einstein. There is actually no proof that Einstein ever said this, but it's an interesting argument, regardless.
Hope you like it too!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It's Fall!

I love living in a place where the seasons change. Autumn is beautiful with the cooler temperatures and many colors. Although it's still mostly green around here, there are unmistakable signs of Fall in the air!

The zinnias are beautiful, but are not as perfect as they were through the summer.

The Autumn Joy Sedum, which was creamy colored all summer has been darkening to a burgandy color.

Our hydrangea tree is changing too. The blossoms are no longer bright white, but are becoming mauve and will continue to darken throughout the season.

The occasional leaf is beginning to change.

And soon, there will be color all over!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Marshmallow Test

I recently saw this cute video. After laughing at the kids in it, I thought about how similar we are when we are tempted by something. Often we see how close we can get to it, without actually crossing the line. See if you see yourself in this one!