Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Works for me Wednesday

A few weeks ago we had a fun "girlfriends night" at our church. We shared a few things that you can make and give as gifts.

The first one is a coffee mix. One batch fills the larger jar on the left. I'm not a coffee lover and even I really like this!

Cafe Vienna Mix

1/2 cup instant coffee
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup non-dairy creamer
3/4 cup nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons cocoa

Mix together, then use food processor or blender to smooth.
Use two teaspoons per 1 cup boiling water.

This is the project I shared. It's great for elbows and feet!

Brown Sugar Scrub

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup sunflower oil (use sunflower oil because it doesn't have the strong scent of other oils)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Mix together the 2 sugars, then stir in the oil and extract. Mix together well and scoop into sealable glass container.
You can get these containers at Hobby Lobby - they are frequently half price and mine only cost $1.50. I tied a cute ribbon around the top and put a rub on decal on the front.

Cute gifts for a great price!
For more hints, visit We are THAT Family.

Monday, November 29, 2010

50's not so bad!

Wednesday was my 50th birthday and I have to share my celebrations! Prepare for lots of pictures.
It started early with some loving gifts from friends...

things like prune juice, diapers, cold packs and more!

I had to work that day and was serenaded by the residents and given many birthday greetings.

My sister Cheri brought in a pretty bouquet of flowers.

Later that afternoon some flowers were delivered from Andy.

Our church was doing a supper that night for about 160 people. Bob and I were planning to help at it, or so I thought. He told me to be ready when he got home so we could head out as soon as he got ready.
We left, but then drove right past our church. at that point, Bob told me he wanted to surprise me and take me out for supper. He just let me go along thinking we were working, and he was successful in pulling one over on me!
We had a nice supper, and when we were done, he gave me this:

Aren't they beautiful?

Several of our friends had surprise 50th parties and I told my family "no surprise parties for me!"
Instead, they planned out a really nice family day on Saturday.

The first surprise happened on Thursday when Andy came home. It was so nice to have the whole family together for the day.

We started the day on Saturday when Laura picked Heather and I up in the morning. We then went and had a manicure. After that we did some shopping in the cute shops in Holland and had lunch.
Here are Heather and Laura at the restaurant.

We then went back to Laura and Aaron's house, where Aaron, Bob and Andy were waiting. None of them would tell me what else they had planned, so each stop was a surprise.

Our next stop was the Grand Rapids Public Museum. I hadn't been there for several years and it was fun to go through all the exhibits.

Laura and Aaron tried out this little car.

The museum looked beautiful with all the Christmas decorations up. Throughout the different exhibits there were Santa's in different costumes. Bob thought he saw a problem with Santa's list.

One of our favorite exhibits is called Gaslight Village. It's set up like an old town, lit at night. Whenever I go into it, I feel like I'm stepping back in time.

Andy looks like a natural on this bike!

Here is a view on the third floor. There is a clock from a clock tower that used to be in Grand Rapids. There is also a plane hanging behind it that is the only one left of it's kind. It's pretty to look down on the main hall, and see the exhibits and the lights.

The museum has an old carousel that they have restored and have in good working condition.
We had a great time riding it!


Aaron and Heather

Andy and me.

The museum has a special exhibit going on called bodies revealed. It was the last thing we looked at and no pictures were allowed. It's been making it's way around the country and will be here until Spring. Seeing the intricate way our bodies are formed and work, again reminded me of how amazing our Creator is!

When we left the museum, we went for supper to a place Laura and Aaron like. It's called Monelli's and if you live in the area you really have to go. (It's near the new Metro health hospital) It's an Italian restaurant, but they do serve some American foods too. It's a beautiful place and the food was fantastic! if we hadn't had enough to eat, we went to Laura and Aaron's for dessert.
Laura made me a fabulous birthday cake!

Here is the Triple layer torte she made. Even though I was full from supper, I fit some in. It tasted even better than it looked!
As you can see, I was spoiled on my birthday. The best way to celebrate is by spending it with those you love, and I was blessed by doing just that!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I hope you all had an enjoyable Thanksgiving Day. We had a fun day here. My side of the family came over for dinner. We had the whole group here, except my niece Katelyn, who is in India doing a Social work internship. (She had a good day too - she visited the Taj Mahal!)
I can't fit that many people into my dining area, so we set up tables in our family room downstairs, and it works quite well.

Here is the whole group, busy talking and eating!

It seems the meal is too quickly done, and the clean-up begins. Here is my daughter, Laura washing dishes while my sister, Cheri dries and my sister Terri talks! My stepmom was stacking dishes in the corner.
I had this picture on Facebook and poor Terri got a lot of harassment for holding down the counter, so I should just say that she was actually putting things away.

The guys are cheering on the Lions, who lost again!

Bob and Laura were standing talking at the end of the day, and I thought they looked so nice together and snapped their picture.

Now - for the best part of the day!
Andy told us he would be having Thanksgiving dinner with a friend, and we were glad he wouldn't have to eat army food for the day. However...

Our doorbell rang at 10 that morning, and surprise! There was Andy on the doorstep. He had driven up to spend the weekend and only told his sisters. He came to celebrate the holiday and to help celebrate my birthday, which I'll tell you more about tomorrow.
He was also able to surprise the rest of my family. Once we all sat down to eat, he came down the stairs and asked if there was enough for one more. Everyone was shocked, and thrilled to see him. So, we had lots to be thankful for, on Thanksgiving day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Birthday?

Guess what's happening on Wednesday? I am turning 50!
I really can't believe it - where did all those years go?
I was actually born on Thanksgiving Day, and I can say that 50 years later, I have so much to be thankful for. God has blessed me in many ways and I look forward to what the future holds.
We have no big plans for Wednesday. I'll be working and at night our church is serving Thanksgiving supper to about 160 people and Bob and I will be helping with that.
My family has something planned for Saturday and I'm looking forward to spending time together then!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gift from Argentina!

Look at the nice package I got in the mail! The contents came all the way from Argentina!
This came from Kim of Just a Southern Girl. Kim and her husband are missionaries in Argentina, but they are currently in the U.S. for their daughters wedding.
Kim is originally from Michigan so she knows I'll be using those gloves. They are hand knit by women in Bolivia, are very comfy and are warm. (Plus, they match my coat).
She also sent some chocolate to share with Bob and a cute little journal book.
Thanks Kim! It was great to find something so nice in the mailbox, instead of the usual bills and junk mail. It's been such a joy getting to know you!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I've got a story to tell you that will probably give you a laugh.
Last Thursday night, my sister Cheri called me around 9 at night and asked if she could run over with her son, Nick, so I could look at his arm. It seems he fell at work and as the night went on, the wrist area was swelling.
When I looked at it, it was swollen and painful enough that I thought he needed x-rays.
I offered to go to the ER with her, so Mark could stay home with the younger girls. Of course, this was not a quick visit. He did have a small bone fractured in his wrist and had to have a splint applied. We got home around 1 am. I can't just jump in bed, and didn't have to go to work the next morning, so I read a while and went to bed at 2am.
So - that's the background for the next day. I slept late, getting up around 9:30. Then, instead of hopping in the shower and getting ready, I started checking e-mails and blogs. Of course, as I was sitting there in my pj's, with my hair sticking up in the air (not a pretty sight); a car pulls in the driveway. In a panicked state, I went to the corner of the living room to see if this was someone I knew. As soon as I saw a girl get out of the car, I knew this was a bad idea. I didn't know her - she was probably trying to sell something. There was no way I was going to open the door looking like I did, but I couldn't run and hide because of the big picture window. So - I sat on the floor, next to the couch.
The doorbell rang. Then it rang again. At this point, I had a terrible thought. "What if she could see my feet or legs, and thought someone was hurt?" The thought of them calling 911 and having to explain the whole situation was not good!
Thank goodness, she left at this point. I peeked out the window, praying the car would leave, and it did!
I then made a beeline for the shower. Of course - no one else came to the door.
Moral of the story - if you don't get ready right away in the morning, don't open the blinds!
PS - Nick is doing fine!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Grandma's Hands

Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands.

When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. "Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking," she said in a clear voice strong.

"I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK," I explained to her.

"Have you ever looked at your hands," she asked.. "I mean really looked at your hands?"

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

Grandma smiled and related this story:

"Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

"They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor.

They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child, my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.

"They have been dirty, scraped and raw , swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special.

They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse.

"They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.

They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

"These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life.

But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ."

I will never look at my hands the same again.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cooking Thursday

It's time for Cooking Thursday. For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM. The recipe I'm sharing today is for a different way of preparing Pork Chops.
We liked them, hope you do too!

Oven Fried Pork Chops

4 pork chops, trimmed
1 medium egg
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of ground ginger
1 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a jelly roll pan.
Beat egg, soy sauce, water, garlic and ginger together in a large bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a separate large bowl.
Dip the chops into the egg mix, then into the breadcrumbs, coating evenly on each side.
Arrange in single layer on prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Turn and bake for another 20 minutes, until the chops are tender and no longer pink.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Laura!

It's our oldest daughter's birthday on Wednesday. That little baby with red hair that wanted to stick straight up is now a beautiful, thoughtful young woman and we are so proud of her!
Happy Birthday Laura!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Missing Cat

This is an e-mail I got and it made me laugh so hard, I had to share it. Keep in mind - it's just a joke. I like cats - I have one myself!

Why never to ask favors from designers

Story goes:

Shannon (the secretary) has lost her cat and has asked David (the graphic designer) to help with a lost poster. This is their e-mail correspondence....

From: Shannon Walkley
Monday 21 June 2010 9.15 am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Poster

I opened my screen door yesterday and my cat got out and has been missing since then so I was wondering if you are not too busy you could make a poster for me. It has to be A4 and I will photocopy it and put it around my suburb this afternoon.
This is the only photo of her I have. She answers to the name Missy and is black and white and about 8 months old, missing on Harper Street and my phone number.
Thanks Shan.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 9.26 am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Poster

Dear Shannon,
That is shocking news.
Although I have two clients expecting completed work this afternoon, I will, of course drop everything and do whatever it takes to facilitate the speedy return of Missy.
Regards, David

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 9.37 am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Poster

yeah ok thanks. I know you don't like cats but I am really worried about mine. I have to leave at 1pm today.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.17 am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Poster

Dear Shannon,
I never said I don't like cats. Attached poster as requested.
Regards, David

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.24am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

yeah thats not what I was looking for at all. it looks like a movie and how come the photo of Missy is so small?

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.28am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

Dear Shannon,
It's a design thing. The cat is lost in the negative space.
Regards, David

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.33am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

Thats just stupid. Can you do it properly please? I am extremely emotional over this and was up all night in tears. you seem to think it is funny. Can you make the photo bigger please and fix the text and do it in colour please. Thanks.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.46am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

Dear Shannon,
Having worked with designers for a few years now, I wo
uld have assumed you understood, despite our vague suggestions otherwise, we do not welcome constructive criticism. I don't come downstairs and tell you how to send text messages, log on to Facebook and look out of the window. I have amended and attached the poster as per your instructions.
Regards, David
From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.59am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

This is worse than the other one. can you make it so it shows the whole photo of Missy and delete the stupid text that says missing missy off it? I just want it to say Lost.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.14am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.21am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

yeah can you do the poster or not? I just want a photo and the word lost and the telephone number and when and where she was lost and her name. Not like a movie poster or anything stupid. I have to leave early today. If it was your cat I would help you. Thanks.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.32am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Awww

Dear Shannon,
I don't have a cat. I once agreed to look after a friends cat for a week but after he dropped it off at my apartment and explained the concept of kitty litter. I have attached the amended version of your poster as per your detailed instructions.
Regards, David

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.47am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Awww

Thats not my cat. where did you get that picture from? I gave you a photo of my cat.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.58am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Awww

I know, but that one is cute. As Missy has quite possibly met any one of several violent ends, it is possible you might get a better cat out of this. If anybody calls and says, "I haven't seen your orange cat but I did find a black and white one with its hind legs run over by a car, do you want it?" you can politely decline and save yourself the veterinarian bill.
Regards, David

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.07pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Awww

Please just use the photo I gave you.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.22pm
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.34pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

I didn't say there was a reward. I don't have $2000 dollars. What did you even put that there for? Apart from that it is perfect. Can you please remove the reward bit. Thanks, Shan.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.42pm
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.51pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

Can you please just take the reward bit off altogether? I have to leave in 10 minutes and I still have to make photocopies of it.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.56pm
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 1.03pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

Fine. That will have to do.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Carving Contest

Some time ago, Bob entered one of his caricature carvings into a contest done by Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine. A few months ago he got an email that said he was a finalist in the contest, and the winners would announced in the November magazine.
The magazine arrived Saturday...

...with the announcement of the contest on the front page.

And after paging through the magazine - there was his carving; 'Self Made Man', which is a carving of a man carving himself out of a block of wood. It got an honorable mention, which is quite an honor, from among all the entries!
Of course - I think he's a winner all the time!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Friday Funny

I thought you would all enjoy a laugh today. Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cooking Thursday

The lovely Sandra of Diary of a SAHM is again hosting Cooking Thursday. Stop over at her place to check out the other recipes.
The recipe I'm sharing today is one of those quick, easy recipes that's good for a busy day. It tastes good too!

Ham and Cheese Sandwich Roll

1 can refrigerated pizza crust
6 ounces thinly sliced ham
6 slices swiss or cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons honey mustard or flavored mayonnaise
1 beaten egg
1 teaspoon sesame seeds optional

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease cookie sheet.
Unroll pizza crust onto cookie sheet. Press it into a 14 x 8 inch rectangle.
Spread honey mustard or mayo thinly over dough, to within 1 inch of edge.
Layer ham and cheese of your choice over top.
Fold long sides of dough to middle and pinch edges to seal. Pinch short sides to seal and tuck under.
Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
Bake for 16-18 minutes until browned. Slice and serve.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Works for me Wednesday

It's time for Works for me Wednesday. To see what other people are sharing, visit We are THAT family.

Search & Win

I've posted before about Swagbucks, but if you haven't heard of it, it's a website where you do searches (like Google), but along with the information you get, you may win Swagbucks. When you collect enough Swagbucks, you may trade them in for prizes or gift certificates. I started using Swagbucks in May and have collected $135 of Amazon gift certificates since then. You can get most anything from Amazon and I've used mine for some Christmas gifts.
Today I want to tell you what I do to get the Swagbucks.

1) Install the Swagbuck toolbar on your computer. You get information from it, and a buck a day just for using it.
2) Here is what I do every morning to get 4 easy bucks.
a) minimize your current window and open another one. This gets you 1 for the toolbar.
b) on the left side of the Swagbucks home page is a list of quick links. One is for a poll. Answer the daily question and you get another buck.
c) The same list of links has one called NOSO. Click on it, then go through it clicking "skip" until another buck shows up.
d) Again, look at the list of links. Click on Trusted surveys and gather another buck.
That is 4 easy bucks every day. In a month you can get 120 just by doing these things!
3) Do searches! I do a search every morning, again in the afternoon when I get home from work and another one later in the evening. You can search for anything - you never know what might win. Just a warning - if you oversearch you will receive the rules page and can't search for anywhere from 2-24 hours. I've never had that happen to me yet, but once I win I stop for awhile. When searching, if what you put in doesn't get you anything, click on images. I often get bucks that way.
4) On the home page midway down is a yellow banner. It has different offers on it. I check it every few days, because sometimes it has videos that take only a few minutes to watch that will pay swagbucks. The banner and another link on the right side of the home page, called special offers has other ways to get swag bucks. Many of them aren't worth the hassle, but sometimes there are some easy ones that pay well.
5) The swagbuck people give out codes that give you bucks; usually between 4 and 12. These codes are given out usually daily on the weekdays and they may do one on the weekend. You can find out about these codes by installing a widget on your blog, following the Swagbucks blog or watching your swagbucks toolbar. The other thing you can do (which is my main way to find them) is to go to Facebook, and like the swagcodez page. They will then send out a message to your Facebook page when there is a code.
6) On that link list on the home page is one called trusted surveys. If you qualify for a survey you can get quite a few bucks. They have also recently added a link called Swagbucks TV. If you click on it you will find all kinds of videos to watch. They are all short and you never know when you might get some bucks for watching. I find it's usually about every 3 videos that you win 5 bucks.
These are my main ways of gathering swagbucks. It really doesn't take too much time and it's worth it! If you haven't tried it, click on the banner above to sign up!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shopping and Sisters!

Every year my sisters and I go Christmas shopping together. We leave early on Friday morning, shop all day and then stay in a hotel that night. We always get a lot done and have a lot of fun doing it!

Here are our purchases of the day. We've noticed that as our kids have gotten older, our packages are getting smaller, which is a good thing!
We had something neat happen on this trip. Our family exchanges family names. Cheri had Terri and Dave's family. They wanted a special thing that's offered by the theater in the mall. You buy a special popcorn bucket for $30 and it gets you 4 tickets to a movie, along with free popcorn for a year.
We got back to the hotel, and couldn't find the bucket. Cheri called the mall, but no one had turned it in. We remembered having it while waiting at the entrance to a store, so we decided to make a trip back to the mall to see if it was sitting under a chair.
On the way, we prayed that God would let us find that bucket.
When we got there, the bucket wasn't under the chairs. Cheri then remembered having it in one of the stores, and decided to check it.
There was the popcorn bucket! It was a good reminder that God cares about the little things like a popcorn bucket, as well as the bigger things!
It's great to get most of the shopping done, but what we really enjoy is spending time together. We have always gotten along well, and there's always a lot of laughter on this trip!

I don't even remember what started this, but the two of them started laughing about something and couldn't stop.

Here's Terri, mid laughing spell! When we get into these laughing fits, our kids call it "cackling"!
I'm blessed to have 2 sisters, and that we all get along and enjoy spending time together!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Our son-in-law, Aaron is a mechanic. He was at work Thursday morning, when there was an accident in his shop.
One of the other guys heard tires squealing, went to the door to look and was nearly struck by a delivery truck that came through the door. Another guy yelled which alerted Aaron to move, as the truck barreled through their shop and out through a wall!
The truck stopped outside at a fence, but the tires were still spinning. The man driving was having a seizure, which they later found was caused by low blood sugar.
He had a broken rib, but was otherwise uninjured.
No one in the shop was hurt, which was astounding, considering that 5 vehicles were hit, one was nearly knocked off a hoist, big tool boxes were thrown around and parts were knocked off the wall and tossed about.
We are so thankful for God's protection over all of them!
Here's a few pictures to show you the damage.

Here is the truck, after going in one door, through the building and out through a wall.

Here you can see the hole the truck made as it went through the wall. Aaron was standing at the edge of that hole, talking on the phone to a customer. The call was disconnected and the customer called to see if everything was ok, after hearing lots of crashing and people saying to "call 911."

This Honda was shoved under the other car which was on the hoist.

Here is another shot of that car. It also shows some of the stuff on the floor. The wall the truck went through is where there where bins of parts, so you can imagine the mess when they all came down.

Here's one of the tool boxes that was knocked down.

This is sad. There was six cars damaged (including one in the parking lot)and one of them was this 1955 Ford Fairlane. It had been completely restored and was just about back together. Of course the people in the shop are more important, but it's not something that is easily replaced.
This is a reminder of how quickly things can happen, and how we need to thank God every day for the ways we are protected that we may not even know about.