Thursday, April 28, 2011

And the rains came down...

We've had lots of rain lately, so much so that we've set a record for the second wettest April in recorded history.
Here's a few pictures of what it looks like around here.

This isn't a pond - just someones front yard.

It seems there is water near the edge of most every road.

The ditches are filled with water.

And the fields look like small lakes.

This bridge is normally just decorative, with an occasional trickle running below it.
There are a lot of flood warnings around, but compared to what some other areas of the country have been dealing with, this is pretty minimal.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cooking Thursday

The recipe I'm sharing today is one I don't make often, as it's used as a sauce for ham. My mom got this from her sister when I was young and it was always part of our holiday dinners.
It still is - we had it with our ham on Easter.
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM

Raisin Amber Sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water

Mix these ingredients and bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Then add:
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup raisins

Cook slowly, stirring constantly until thickened.
Serve over ham.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

May I help you?

A few months ago I told you about one of my residents at the nursing home, here. She is the one who thinks my name is Coco and she sits at the nurses desk with me.
She is still as cute as ever and I have another story to share with you.
She still sits near us because she is always trying to get up and she can't walk by herself. When I leave the nurses station I've been asking her if she will watch the desk for me. The other day there wasn't much activity around the desk when I asked her to watch things. When I came back and asked how she was, she said "Well, no one has come for help today". She was taking her duties seriously that day!
She likes one of the male aides that works in the evening, and she tells quite a story about how she found him in a dumpster when he was just a baby, and she knew she had to take care of him. She repeats this story and is quite earnest when telling it.
Is it any wonder I love her?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Plow Days

One of my co-workers invited me to something he was helping with this past Saturday. It was called Plow Days and I guess it's done every Spring. There is a group of people who have teams of horses, and every Spring they gather and demonstrate the art of plowing fields the old fashioned way.
The public is invited to this, there are ponies available for kids to ride and they have a food booth to raise funds for 4H kids.

It was fun to watch these teams of horses working.

It takes a long time to do a whole field this way, one small lane at a time.

This man had to walk behind his plow - no seat on this one.

It was a reminder of how much work it used to be to get a field ready for planting.
Of course, those of you in Amish country still see this work going on!

This horse looks pretty classy for a hard days work, don't you think?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Peep, Peep, Peep

Do you like Peeps? This time of the year, they seem to be everywhere!
Peeps were first made in 1953, and it took 27 hours to finish the first one which was made by hand.
Now the Peeps factory in Bethlehem, PA, makes more than 4.2 million chicks a day.
Here's how:

The marshmallow mix sits in a heated pot, waiting to go to the press.

Freshly pressed Peeps wait for their sugar coating.

Yellow dye is sprayed onto the sugar that will soon coat the Peeps.

The Peeps continue down the line after receiving their new sugar coat.

The Peeps have their eyes imprinted.

Peeps that aren't perfect are taken off the line.

The Peeps are packaged and get ready to be shipped to stores.

So, do you eat Peeps? I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of them, but I know lots of people love them!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cooking Thursday

Today's recipe is from the Pioneer Woman. If you know anything about her, you know that if you use one of her recipes, it's almost guaranteed to be good! I made this last week, and we really liked it. It also freezes well. I make a double batch and freeze one.
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
1 can 15 ounces tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper
8 ounces egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup (or less to taste) sliced green onions
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add tomato sauce, salt and black pepper to ground beef. Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.
Cook egg noodles until el dente. Drain and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of black pepper. Add to cooked noodles and stir, then stir in green onions.
To assemble, place half of noodles in a baking dish. Top with half of meat mix, then sprinkle on
half of the grated cheese. Repeat layers.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until cheese is melted.
This freezes well. If freezing, thaw, then bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

(Yes - I was wordless when I saw my backyard covered in white on Monday!)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Old barns...

I have kind of a fascination with barns.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I grew up on a farm, and have good memories of playing in the hayloft, and going out to see my Dad when he was working out there.
Maybe it's the architecture so many of them have.
Maybe it's the history they hold!
I think it's all of the above. I love to drive down country roads and take pictures of the barns I find.

Here is one I showed you recently. It's in great condition and has a fresh coat of paint.

And here are a few others:

These ones are showing their years. They all have some wear and tear, some more than others. The paint is worn, some boards are loose. Some are falling down.
However, I like them best! They have character, that is sometimes covered up in the freshly painted barns.
It makes me think about the older people I take care of. I love their character. I think their wrinkles and gray hair are beautiful. They have history too!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Update on Andy

Most of you know my son Andy is in the army, currently deployed to Afghanistan. Some of you have asked how he is doing, so I thought I would give you a view of our communication with him.
He works a lot! He's on duty for at least 12 hours a day, with only occasional days off. Between that and the problem of the time difference, it's not easy to talk to him. We can't call him and it costs him a lot to call us, so we depend on Skype.
Skype is wonderful, if you have good internet. Unfortunately, Andy's is really bad, so we usually don't use the video feature, and sometimes we just have to do the online chat instead of talking.
However - it's so nice to occasionally see his face, and hear his voice. And we know how blessed we are compared to parents in the past, who just had to wait for the occasional letter!

Here's a screen shot I took last week, when we were actually using the video.

Andy can't tell us anything that is happening over there, or take any pictures of his base. He did send this shot of the mountains outside his base.
Thanks for your continued prayers for him!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Look what I got in the mail last week! It's the latest CD from Rebecca St. James.
I won it from Kim at Raise Them Up.
I've really been enjoying it. It disappeared from my car for a few days because Heather likes it too. :)
If you want to hear what her music sounds like, go here and check it out for yourself!
Thanks Kim!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cooking Thursday

Today's recipe is another one that I remember my Mom making before I was married, so it's been around awhile! It's super easy, makes a big pan and is always liked!
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Butterfinger Bars

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup melted butter
4 cups oatmeal

6 ounces chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir sugars, melted butter and oatmeal together and press into greased 10"x15" pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.
Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together and spread on baked bars.
Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Best ad ever!

My friend Karin at Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow posted this on her blog. It's an ad, but I think it may be the coolest ad I ever saw. Check it out and see what you think.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's finally here!

What a difference a week makes. Last Sunday we had crazy weather; it was windy, cold and stormy.

This is the yard after one of the storms came through. This was the first hail storm of the day, another came through that night.

However - as the week went by, the weather got better!

And on Friday, I saw leaves appearing on the tree in the back yard!

And when I went to the front yard, the crocus were up.

By Saturday, the crocus were soaking up the sun, and on Sunday we hit 84 degrees!
This week we are supposed to be in the 50's and 60's - still sounds good. :)
Hooray for Spring, sunshine and flowers!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

No housework?

Did any of you know there was a no housework day? Neither did I!
I think it needs a little publicity.
However, there is some bad news. Did you see the date? It was Thursday. As usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short! Hopefully next year we'll find out in time to take advantage of it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cooking Thursday

Have you seen the new product put out by Kraft - Philadelphia Cooking Cream? There have been some great coupons and sales on it, so I thought I would try it out.
There are 4 different types to choose from. I got the Italian Cheese and Herb, and then tried out this recipe from their website. It was quick and easy. I thought it was a little dry and could have used another container of the cooking cream, but it had good flavor.
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Creamy Bacon Fettuccine

6 slices of bacon, sliced into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tub Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Cream
1/2 cup milk
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 pound cooked fettuccine

Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet, leaving about 2 tablespoons of drippings in skillet. Drain on paper towel.
Stir onions into dripping. Cook for 3 minutes until tender crisp.
Add cooking cream, milk and peas. Stir together and cook for 3 minutes.
Stir in fettuccine and bacon. Stir to coat.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Works for me Wednesday

Do you order things online? I don't do it often, but sometimes you get the best deals online. I've found that a lot of the time you can get an even better deal by using a coupon code. You can find them for free shipping or a percentage off of your purchase.
I recently ordered some scent refills from Bath and Body Works. I had gotten an e-mail that they were on sale online for 50% off. When I went to order them, I googled coupon codes for Bath and Body Works and found this site, which had a code for 20% off your entire order. So - I had the initial 50% off, then got another 20% off. It was a great deal. Try it yourself!
For more tips, visit Kristen at We are THAT Family.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Big Announcement!

I'm soooo excited!
We got the best news this weekend, and you can probably guess what it is from the picture.
We are going to be grand parents! Our daughter Laura and her husband Aaron are expecting a baby in October. Somehow they kept it a secret for 12 weeks!
They were able to hear the heartbeat on Friday.
They spent the weekend letting family and friends know the news and gave me the okay to share it now.
It's probably good that I didn't know earlier, because I would have had a hard time keeping it in!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ottawa County Poor Farm

Isn't this a beautiful barn? It's been around for quite a while, but has been kept up well.
It has an unusual history. This farm began operating in 1866 as the County Poor Farm. There used to be a huge house next to it where people lived, and they were able to work on the farm. As time passed, the people who lived here changed; they were no longer poor and indigent, but more often were mentally challenged in some way. It was used in this way for many years.
I remember coming here when I was in 6th grade. (Which would have been 1970) We came with a group from church to do a Christmas party. I remember being scared and intimidated by these people who acted differently that I was used to.
Things have really changed in the mental health field and more people are living home or in group homes. As a result this place has not been used for several years. The house had fallen into disrepair and was taken down. In 2008, the whole area had fallen into some disrepair. It was decided to turn this 228 acres of land into a county park. It took 2 years to renovate the buildings and clear and renovate the land. In 2010 the park was dedicated.
There are hiking and equestrian trails. There are picnic tables set up for eating. There are plans in the future to use the barn for educational things, and there is also river access that they plan to make available.
I think it's a great way to allow lots of people to enjoy that property.