Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

I hope all of you had a nice day today. I had the day off, but Bob and Heather were working. My sister Cheri and I decided to stop at the cemetery where my Mom is buried.
It was a good day to pay our respects to her and to walk around and see the many headstones with flags for the veterans.

I took this in our local cemetery. You can see the flags scattered throughout it.

I don't know who this man was, but we stopped to look at his simple headstone, and the mark of his service to our country.
We had our daughter Laura, and her husband Aaron over for supper. After supper we took a walk outside to see the flowers that are blooming.

They had to check out this new bench Bob made, and tucked in the back of the yard.

Here they are performing some type of rain dance! Actually, this is a mosquito dance. There were so many mosquito's, we could hardly walk. I had to laugh at everyone walking around, shaking their arms, although I was doing the same thing!
As usual, we had lots of fun. There is no shortage of laughter when we are together!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

Here in the United States we are celebrating Memorial Day. This day was set aside in 1868 as a day to remember those who have died in our nations service.
As you enjoy your day today, take a moment to remember those who gave all for our freedom.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy Bloggoversary to me!

Today marks 3 years of blogging for me! I posted this picture because this area of our yard was the first picture I posted when I started my blog. The bushes have grown, and the lavender isn't doing too great this year, but I still like that corner. The same is true with the blog. Many things have changed in 3 years, but I'm still enjoying blogging.
I've learned a lot, met so many wonderful people and have even had a chance to meet some of you in real life. Thanks to all of you who stop by and read my rambling thoughts and even leave a comment! I really appreciate you!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cooking Thursday

Sandra from Diary of a SAHM is hosting Cooking Thursday again, so that means it's time for another recipe. Go visit her if you want to see more!
The recipe I have today is one you may already have. We have always liked these and they are quick and easy. Besides, you can't go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter!

No Bake Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix cocoa and sugar together. Stir in milk, and add butter. Heat in saucepan and bring to full boil. Add peanut butter and vanilla and stir in. Remove from heat, then add oatmeal.
Drop by tablespoon onto wax paper or cookie sheet. Let cool and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Works for me Wednesday

Have you all heard of Swagbucks? I'm probably a little late in coming to the party, but I'm just getting started with this, and thought there may be others who haven't tried it yet.
Swagbucks is an search engine, like Google, but when you use it you can earn swagbucks! When you earn a bunch of them, you can turn them in for prizes or gift certificates.
There are several ways to win the swagbucks - searches, polls, completing special offers and more.

Search & Win

So click above and check it out. You won't be disappointed, and I think you'll enjoy it!
For more tips, visit Kristen at We are THAT Family.

Monday, May 24, 2010

It really works!

This is the last post in my series of items that really do live up to what they say they do. I've enjoyed sharing some of my favorites with you.
The product for today is an oven liner. The one I have now is made by Betty Crocker, but I've used other brands in the past and they've worked just as well.

You just put the liner in the bottom of the oven, and it collects anything that drips down. You can take it out, wash it and put it back in. It saves a lot of oven cleaning!
Here are a couple of suggestions from readers last week:
Pat from Living on Grace says that her Mom used to keep her house smelling fresh by stashing fabric softener sheets around the house; in drawers, under cushion, in vases...
Rae from Weather Vane says that Oxyclean is her favorite stain remover. It even removed chili stains from white carpet!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Evicting Justin Case

Have you heard of Justin Case? He's been living in our basement, and I decided it was time for him to leave! You know all those things you keep "just in case"? I was cleaning things out and decided to have a garage sale. I haven't done one in years, but my sister Cheri and my daughter Laura said they had things they would add in and we decided to give it a try.
While I was getting things ready I read a magazine article that talked about excuses we make to avoid getting rid of things. They were pretty good, so I thought I would share them:
"But it's still perfectly good."
"I can't get rid of a collection."

"It was such a good deal."

"I might need it one day."

"I'll wear it when I lose weight."

"I'm going to get it fixed."

"It was a gift."

"It holds so many memories."

Lots of them are true for me, but you can only store so much!
So - we had a sale on Friday and Saturday.

However, we had a problem - rain! It rained much of the day Friday, finally slowing down in the evening.

This is what it looked like on Friday night.
Saturday was supposed to be better, but it still rained. It did improve though, and we did sell quite a bit, making it worth our time.
We had fun sitting together, talking and laughing. We met lots of nice people too (and a few strange ones!)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shake your tail Feather

I love Ray Charles, and it looks like this bird does too!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cooking Thursday

Sandra over at Diary of a SAHM is hosting Cooking Thursday again. Stop at her blog and check out the other recipes people are sharing.
I have a good cookie recipe for you. They look like Molasses cookies, but they are actually a crispy chocolate cookie. They have cinnamon in them, which is where the Mexican part of the name comes from. My family loves these!

Mexican Chocolate Crinkles

3/4 cup Crisco
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar (to roll cookies in)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream shortening, sugar and egg. Add syrup and melted chocolate. Add flour, soda, salt and cinnamon to make a stiff dough.
Shape dough into walnut size balls and roll in sugar. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Works for me Wednesday

I'm a big list maker. When I have things I need to get done, I make a list. It helps keep me focused, and I love to cross things off that I've accomplished. The latest list I've made is a Christmas list. Now - don't get upset that I'm mentioning it. Christmas is 218 days away and you know how time can fly!
My list helps me remember to keep my eyes open for gifts for specific people, helps me avoid the rush when December arrives and helps me get more for my money by getting things when they are on sale.
Starting my Christmas list early works for me! For other tips, visit Kristen at We are THAT Family.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It really works!

I'm back with another product I use regularly, that I think lives up to the commercials, instead of being all talk!

I like my house to smell good without being overpowering. I've tried quite a few different air fresheners through the years. Most of them tend to be really strong at first, and then fade away to nothing, long before they are done.
For several years now, I've used these "Wallflowers" by Bath and Body Works. The starter box comes with a plug in unit and one scent bottle. After you buy that, you can buy the refills, which have 2 in a box.
I have a few of these scattered around my house, and have not found them to be too strong, and they don't run out too quickly. There are lots of scents, some I love, others I'm not too fond of, but that's just a personal choice.
Bath and Body frequently has these on sale, so when I see the sale I stock up. During the sales, the starter set is $5-$6 and the refill boxes are the same.
Here's a tip from Rebeckah at Life with Kaishon. She says the best spot remover for carpet is a product called Folex Instant Spot remover. She tells me it even removed blood from her carpet (young boys with bloody noses!) and she said it also works as a stain remover for laundry. It's available at Home Depot and Walmart - and probably a few other places too. I'm going to be looking for it. Thanks Rebeckah!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dr Seuss comes to Town

Did you know there is a traveling Dr Seuss exhibit? Neither did I until it came to a town near us. There are several statues in this exhibit, along with drawings and information on Theodore Geissel who is the author of the Dr Seuss books.
I have always liked the Dr Seuss books, and wanted to see the statues. The day I went, it was raining, but had slowed to a drizzle when I arrived, so I was able to get out and take some pictures.

Here is the famous Cat in the Hat!

This is the only statue with color. The rest are bronze.
Do you like Green Eggs and Ham?

And of course, the exhibit had to include The Grinch!

This is The Lorax. I don't know if I ever read that book, but he's kind of cute!

And here you have Yertyl the Turtle!

Here is a close up of a few of the turtles in the statue above. I love the detail in this, and the expressions on the faces.
Hope you enjoyed this whimsical excursion!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hand Shadows

I'm sure you've all seen the shadows people make with their hands of different animals? Here is a video of some hand shadows that will amaze you! I was prepared for the same old thing, but this guy is really talented!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cooking Thursday

Are you ready for another recipe? I have one for you, and if you want more, you can stop over at Sandra's place.
It will soon be time for fresh fruit here, so I thought I would share a yummy dessert that would taste great with fresh fruit on top.

Angelic Fruit Dessert

1 Angel Food Cake, cut into cubes (large size or 2 loaf pans)
2 small vanilla instant pudding mixes
3 cups milk
8 ounce Cool Whip, thawed
Fresh Fruit - strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches to your taste

Place angel food cake cubes in 9 X 13 pan. Mix pudding with milk and fold in Cool Whip. Pour over cake cubes. Top with cut up fruit of your choice.

*I put mine in mini trifle bowls, but you can use any variety of dish to put it in.
*I use sugar free pudding and low fat Cool Whip which makes this pretty healthy, for a dessert!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Works for me Wednesday

Do you ever find yourself with a dishwasher that needs to be run, but it's not really full? I hate to waste that space!
When that happens to me, I have a few things I regularly run through the dishwasher.
One is the glass tray in the microwave. While it's being cleaned, I spray the interior of the microwave, for an easy clean up.
Also - did you know that the grates, from a gas stove can go through the dishwasher? They can get so messy, and this is an easy way to clean them up.
What about that glass that sits in your bathroom? It needs a regular run through the wash too.
I also have a vase with dry branches in my dining room. From time to time, I fill a dishwasher spot with it.
Making good use of my dishwasher space works for me. For more tips, visit Kristen at We are THAT Family.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Riverbank Run

Every May, Grand Rapids is host to the Riverbank Run. It's a well known race and runners come from all over the world to participate. It's called the Riverbank Run because for a part of the race, the runners are able to run next to the Grand River.
There are several races included in this. There is a 25K, 10K, 5K, wheelchair race and a 5K walk.
My daughter Laura has started running and this year she did the 10K. I had the day off, so I went to cheer her on and see her cross that finish line.

It wasn't a very nice day for the race. The temps were in the high 30's and it was raining and windy.
Here you see some of the runners coming down the street. They close a lot of streets to traffic, so it can be difficult to get to the downtown area, where the start and finish line is.

People line the route, cheering and clapping for the runners. Laura said it really made a difference to her, hearing the cheers as she ran past the bystanders.

I was standing here, near the finish line, trying to watch for Laura.

Here is the finish line, with different clocks going for the different races. You may notice there is no picture of Laura finishing the race. That's because I missed her! There were times that so many people were running in front of us, that we couldn't see all the runners. I was bummed to miss that photo op!

Here is Laura, being congratulated by her husband, Aaron. I think she did great! Her time was 59.53. The 10K had 3,623 finishers of which 2204 were women. Out of those women, Laura was #987.
She really enjoyed it, and I have a feeling there are more races in her future.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tulip Time

In May of every year, Holland Michigan holds a Tulip Time festival to honor it's Dutch heritage. People come from all over to enjoy the food, the parades, to see people in costumes and of course for the tulips that are all over town.
My sister Cheri, daughter Heather and I spent a little time there last week, taking in the beautiful sights!
There weren't as many tulips as usual because it got warm early this Spring, then we had a lot of rain and wind. However, the tulips we saw were beautiful!

One street we were on, not only had tulips planted in front of all the buildings, but also had a lot of window boxes filled with pansies. Aren't they cheery?

One of my favorite things is the authentic costumes.

The kids look adorable. There are lots of people taking pictures of their kids, in costume, sitting in front of or surrounded by tulips.

But - as you can see, any age looks good in a Dutch costume. These two were nice enough to pose for me. Do you see the wooden shoes? One of the highlights of the festival is the Dutch, or Klompen Dancing. High school kids don costumes, complete with wooden shoes and dance in them.
Hope you enjoyed this little trip to Holland, Michigan!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn't want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body..
I didn't know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond
between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cooking Thursday

Every Thursday Sandra at Diary of a SAHM hosts Cooking Thursday, where we are invited to share some of our favorite recipes. Stop over at her place to see what's cooking today!
I am sharing my BBQ beef recipe. I've been making this since I got married, which is almost 29 years. Whenever I make a roast, I get one that's extra big, so I have leftovers to use. This is always a hit at our house.

BBQ Beef
2 cups shredded, cooked beef

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup vinegar

4 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

4 teaspoons packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Heat all ingredients, except beef to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir roast into sauce and serve on buns.

National Day of Prayer

Did you know that Thursday is National Day of Prayer? It's a day set aside for those of us in the United States to pray for our country. In these times, prayer is so important, but it seems there are so many people trying to stop any connection between our nation and prayer. Here are a few facts to remind of us the connection that has been between our Faith and our Nation from the beginning.

As you walk up the steps to the building which houses the U.S. Supreme Court, you can see near the top of the building, a row of the world's law givers. Each one is facing the one in the middle, who is facing forward ... It is Moses and he is holding the Ten Commandments.

As you enter the Supreme Court courtroom, the two huge oak doors have the Ten Commandments engraved on each lower portion of each door.

As you sit inside the courtroom, you will see another display of the Ten commandments
on the wall, right above the area where the judges sit.

Did you know that there are Bible verses etched in stone all over the Federal buildings and
the monuments in Washington, DC?

James Madison, the fourth president, who was known as "The Father of Our Constitution" made the following statement:

"We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self=government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God".

Patrick Henry, the Patriot and a Founding Father of our Nation, said:

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Did you know that each session of Congress begins with a prayer be a paid preacher, whose salary has been paid by the taxpayers since 1777?

Did you know that 52 of the 55 founders of the Constitution were members of the established orthodox churches in the colonies?

Thomas Jefferson worried the Courts would overstep their authority and instead of interpreting the law, would begin making the law an oligarchy. (form of government in which power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society)

The very first Supreme Court Justice, John Jay said:
"Americans should select and prefer Christians as their rulers."

How have we gotten to the point where everything that we have done in the last 220 years is wrong and unconstitutional?
Our country needs prayer, now more than ever. On Thursday, please set aside some time to pray for our country and our leaders.