Thursday, March 29, 2012

Modern Art

I'm not usually a fan of modern art but I had to show you this piece of art I created online.
A friend posted this link on facebook and it's kind of fun to play around with.
If you want to try it out, go here:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cooking Thursday

Now that it's getting warmer out I don't make a lot of soup, but I wanted to share this classic chicken noodle soup with you before it's too warm!
I've been making it using a Rotisserie Chicken, which makes it quicker and adds such good flavor!

Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup

1 Rotisserie Chicken
32 ounces chicken broth
4 cups water
1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
1 1/2 cups egg noodles (I use wheat)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

The evening before you plan to serve this, place already cooked chicken into crockpot with about 1/2 cup water and cook on high for about 3 hours, or until meat is falling apart.
remove skin and bone, shredding chicken. Save the broth.
You can finish this at this point, and just refrigerate it until cooking it in the morning, or do the next steps the next day.
Place chicken and reserved broth into crock pot. Add chicken broth, water, onion, celery, carrots, basil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook on low for about 7-8 hours until vegetables are tender. Stir in noodles and cook for another hour.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

More Spring

We continue to have nice weather; not quite as warm as last week, but still above average. I read that our trees and plants are about 4 weeks ahead of average. Of course this brings some concerns for fruit farmers and they say the bugs and mosquitoes will soon be here too.
I am really enjoying the color and blooms I'm seeing around here.

The red twigged dogwood is coming to life!

The forsythia are blooming.

In my neighbors yard, I'm greeted by their beautiful redbud tree.

Down the street, the field of rye grass is bright green.

The little grape hyacinths are showing their cheerful faces.

The buds are starting to appear on the snow ball bush.

I love the delicate blooms on the dogwood tree,

Bob helped Heather build this little birdhouse when she was just a little girl. It's waiting for someone to move in!

And up front, our oak leaf hydrangea's leaves are just starting to unfurl.

"Flowers appear on the earth, the season of singing has come"
Song of Solomon 2:12

Sunday, March 25, 2012

America's Next Top Model

We had such nice weather last week, that we tried taking Alaina to the park to get some pictures of her.
There was a spot I wanted to use, that would show the stream in the background, but the sun wouldn't be shining on Alaina's face or at my camera. However, when we got there, we found that lots of people were taking advantage of the nice day and there were kids playing in the spot I wanted to use.

We tried this spot, but the sun was shining in her eyes.

We turned around so the camera was facing the sun, but then she didn't want to hold herself up.

Then she decided to chew on her arm...

And then, she just wouldn't keep her hand out of her mouth!
After all this she started to get fussy and sick of us repositioning her. I guess we'll have to wait on that modeling gig!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dance the Jive

A friend of mine posted this video clip on Facebook. It's so cute I had to share it!
It's only a few minutes and I promise it will put a smile on your face. Make sure you watch him take a bow at the end.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cooking Thursday

This is a recipe that's been around a while. It was really popular when I was in high school if that tells you anything! I haven't made them for awhile, because they aren't especially healthy. :)
However - I made them while Andy was home. When he tried them, his exact words were - "where have these been all my life?" Yes - they are really good!

Chocolate Caramel Squares

14 ounce package caramels
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 german chocolate cake mix
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup softened butter
6 ounces chocolate chips

Combine caramels and milk; microwave, stirring occasionally until melted and set aside.
Combine remaining ingredients except chocolate chips. Stir together until dough is crumbly, but holds together. Press half of dough into greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Spread melted caramel over all. Sprinkle reserved dough over all. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool completely and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Standing on the Word

Alaina got a new seat! Not only does it have things to play with, she can also jump in it.
She doesn't do that yet, but once she figures it out, she'll love it.
You may notice there is a book under her. She isn't tall enough for her feet to reach the floor without it.
I noticed that the book was Strong's Bible Concordance.
When I mentioned it to Laura, she said - "We're training her to stand on the word!"

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring in March?

We are having unseasonably warm weather here in West Michigan. I can't remember having this kind of weather in March. We have been setting records with the warm weather.

It was so nice this weekend, that when I got out of work, I went for a walk to enjoy it.

Here's a few berries that have hung on through the winter.

This is a dried flower still hanging from the hydrangea tree.

The tulips are growing!

And so are the windflowers.

These are wild pansies, growing in our woods.

Look at the trees budding!

The daffodils will be open very soon.

I love these cheery crocus.

I don't know how long this weather will last, but I'm enjoying it while it's here!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Andy's leave

Well, our time with Andy has come to an end. We so enjoyed having him around for these few weeks. He's on his way back to Kentucky now, where he will be based at Fort Campbell.
It's nice that he will be close enough to make the occasional trip home. It takes about 9 hours.
I thought I would share a few pictures of our time with him.

This is a typical Andy picture. He is always goofing off and teasing us. You see the expression on his face due to the fact that I am taking his picture...

When Andy is home, we have a lot of family gatherings. This is from a party celebrating my Dad's 81st birthday.

I have to throw in this cute picture of Alaina!

Bob's sisters were over to visit Andy, but had to have their picture taken with Alaina. This is his sister Diane.

And Alaina spent a lot of time here. She and Andy had a good time getting to know each other and I'm thinking that Andy will miss her most of all!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cooking Thursday

I've been cooking some yummy things while Andy is home. Not good for the diet, but since Andy's had no home cooking for a year, I figure the diet can restart next week!
I found the recipe for this cake on Feeding My Temple, and it turned out just as promised.
This cake is so easy to make and tastes like cinnamon rolls. It's nice and moist and stayed fresh for longer than I thought it would. Yummy!
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Cinnamon Roll Cake

3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted
Mix all ingredients except for butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter until well incorporated. Pour into greased 9x13 pan.

1 cup butter softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Mix all ingredients until well combined. Drop evenly over batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 28 to 32 minutes.

2 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix together and drizzle over cake while warm.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Word Verification

How do you feel about word verification? I have never liked it and these latest changes are driving me crazy! It was bad enough trying to type in letters when you could see them, but now it's so hard to even figure out what the letters are. Then, it's very frustrating when you type them in only to find out that you didn't get it right and you have to start over!
I've read posts from several bloggers who have quit commenting if a blog has word verification. I haven't reached that point, but I have tried to leave comments and been unable to, and I have skipped commenting when I don't have much time.
I know spam has been a problem for some of you, but blogger has new methods of stopping spammers. I frequently get spam comments, but they are always stopped and left in the spam folder.

If you have word verification and would like to turn it off, here are instructions. And if you do turn it off - Thanks!!!
1. Open Dashboard
2. Click on comments
Scroll down to:
"Show word verification for comments?"
Click on no
Scroll down to Save Settings

That's it - you've made all your commenters happy!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Grandpa's back!

My Dad was in Florida for about 3 weeks and wasn't home when Andy first got home.
When he got back took Andy out for lunch and a game of bowling. He and his wife Ann are avid bowlers and are pretty good, especially Ann.
We stopped at the bowling alley so he could see Alaina too.

He hadn't seen her in awhile and was surprised by how she had grown.

Ann had to say hi to her too.

Ann - Andy - Dad

They had fun bowling, and Ann beat them all.
I know Andy enjoyed spending time with them again!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Halle's snow people

I don't think I've ever known anyone who loves building snowmen as much as my niece Halle.
I went past their house the other day and couldn't help but smile when I saw this little group of snow people!

It was a warm day and they were already melting.

Cheri told me that Halle originally had some of them holding hands.

A little further down the road I saw another snowman.
I have to admit to not being a fan of winter, but I do like snowmen!
It's now warmed up and they are melted. This may be the end of this years snowmen.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cooking Thursday

I got the recipe I'm sharing today from my sister Cheri. It is soooo good and is healthy too! My family liked it and so did hers.

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

Lasagne Soup

2 tsp olive oil

9 oz ground turkey

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

1 – 32 oz chicken broth

1 – 15 oz tomato sauce

1 – 14.5 oz diced tomatoes

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp crushed red pepper

4 ounces noodles of any kind

½ tsp thyme

½ cup reduced fat mozzarella

Heat oil over medium heat. Add the turkey, onion, pepper and garlic. Cook until meat is browned. Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt and red pepper and thyme. Bring to boil. Reduce

Heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Add the noodles and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until noodles are tender- 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in mozzarella.

Makes 8 cups. Each serving is 1 cup and is 125 calories.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

(Andy sent the shirt for Alaina when she was born - now she is fitting into it and the saying is true!)

Monday, March 5, 2012

The gift...

Andy was pretty excited to come home and meet Alaina. When we were in Nashville, he found the perfect gift to bring home for her.
First, you have to know that for some reason, Laura and Andy have had this running joke about possums. When Laura was living at home, she had one run across the street in front of her and Andy has teased her about it since then.
So - when we were in a gift shop, and heard Andy and Heather laughing like crazy, we totally understood why upon seeing Andy holding a possum puppet.
The thing was as ugly as a real possum would be, but it was understood that Alaina needed it!

Here is Andy coming out with it.

And here's Laura snarling back.

But Alaina seems to like it!

The next day this picture showed up on Laura's facebook page. She had hung the possum above Alaina's crib.
No - she didn't leave it there. :)

And Andy and Alaina are still friends.