Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cooking Thursday

Laura had some yummy caramel corn at Alaina's birthday party a few weeks ago.  It had M&M's in it, so you can change it up for the season, depending on the color of M&M's you choose. It was fun and delicious too!
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Super Caramel Popcorn

6 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups M&M's

Combine butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and salt in saucepan.  Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 5 minutes and remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla and baking soda.
Combine popcorn and M&M's in large roasting pan.  Pour sauce over top and toss to combine.
Place in 200 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Stir gently, then cook for another 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheets.

Wordless Wednesday

I had this up earlier and was told the picture wasn't showing.  Hope you can see it now!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Animal dress up

A friend sent me these pictures of animals in costumes.  Dogs seem to tolerate it quite well, cats always look mad!
Hope you get a laugh from them.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ottawa Station School

We were out for a drive on a country road, enjoying the last of the leaves when we came across this building.  Because we could see it had a historical sign on it we stopped to check it out.

 When we got to the sign, we found this was called Ottawa Station School.  It was built in 1867 and was used as a school, community center and a church.
It closed in 1958 and was kept up by a family.  It was donated to the Ottawa County historical society in 2010.
It's hard to tell on the picture above but there are 2 doors.  One was for the boys, the other for the girls.

 I love that the old bell is still up there!

What fun we had walking around and peeking in the windows!

 I like the old wooden shutters.

Peeking in, we could see the old piano and desks.  Do you see the rope hanging down in the front of the room by the teachers desk? It rings the bell!

Here's another view of the desks.  See the old hat and the feathers for writing on the desks?

The old pot-bellied stove is still in the corner!

We could see this old ledger on a table.

And here's what the school house looks like.  Isn't it charming?
I loved walking around and looking at it!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Sparkle Box (Giveaway)

Soon that season will be here again.  You know what I'm talking about.....Christmas!  It's such a wonderful Day, but the day itself too often is swallowed up in all the commercialism that surrounds it.
I recently was able to review a children's book that has an idea to combat some of that commercialism.
It's called The Sparkle Box.  It's the story of a boy named Sam and the excitement he has about Christmas.  One sparkly box set on the mantle has him really intrigued.  His parents say it needs to be filled first and then opened together.
The story shares the idea that Christmas isn't just about the gifts we receive, but is also a time for giving gifts to Jesus by doing things for others.  It's well written and presents this idea in an easily understood way.
The book itself is a beautiful, hard cover book with very well done illustrations.  It also comes with a Sparkle box that you can use in your own home.  I highly recommend it!
The publisher is allowing me to give one copy of the book away.  If this is something you would like for your children, grand children or anyone else, just leave a comment with a way to get in touch with you if you win.
I'll be posting the winner next Thursday evening.

For another chance to win stop over at Raise Them Up, where she is also hosting a giveaway!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Bars

It's the time of year for pumpkin!  I recently saw this recipe for pumpkin bars and tried them out.  They are yummy - especially with the cream cheese frosting!
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

4 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking power
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.  Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.  Add to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
Pour into greased and floured 12x18x2 pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk if needed

Beat together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar and stir in milk to reach desired consistency.  Spread over bars and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Alaina

One year ago our lives were changed when this sweet baby was born!
She has been such a blessing and a joy, and we can't imagine life without her.

Alaina Jo, you are precious and are so loved, not only by your earthly family, but also your heavenly Father!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights."
James 1:17

Monday, October 22, 2012

More fun at the Nursing Home

We have a lady at the nursing home who is in her 80's.  She's quite something, get's around pretty well with her walker and is alert but forgetful.  When at home, she was doing things like leaving pans on a lit burner and forgetting them.  She also isn't too aware of safety issues and trips over things at home so she's come to stay with us.  She doesn't think she should be there and it's a constant refrain with her, that she needs to get home.  The house is a pigsty because she's not cleaning it!
Another thing about her is that she's very conservative.  She doesn't believe that women should wear pants and tells us we shouldn't wear "overhauls".  She gets after the young aides for wearing dark nail polish or too much make-up, and if she hears about someone having a tattoo, she really has something to say.
She has a good sense of humor and a twinkle in her eye, in spite of her sharp comments.
A few weeks ago she went out for the day with her family.  When she came back around 5, I was still there and saw her come in.  She walked in pushing her walker, with what looked like a cigarette, hanging out of her mouth.  What a funny sight!
When she got closer, I saw it was a candy cigarette, something I didn't know was made anymore.
She and her sister had visited an old time candy store and came back with a bunch of boxes.  She took great joy in giving me one, and telling me to give one to our Dr.  She handed them out to some of the other nurses as well, with a big grin on her face.
The next morning, I was doing the am med pass and she threw another box at me, telling me to "have a smoke".  I took one and got a few looks from some of the other residents who aren't used to seeing the nurses walk around with a cigarette!
I've said it before, I'll say it again - life is never boring at the nursing home.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

God's Artistry

We've had such a beautiful Fall season here. The colors have been so pretty and the season seems to be lasting long than usual.
Heather and I went out for a drive late last week and I took a few pictures from around our house and that drive to share with you.

 The burning bush in our back yard is brilliant this year.

Our neighbors tree

Our Oak leaf hydrangea is multi-colored

Even the shrubs growing in the nursery near us are colorful

We came across this tractor just sitting in the trees

The country roads are the best for enjoying this season!

 Such a pretty drive

And back home again.  This is the view out our living window.  We love this tree in all seasons, but it's especially pretty in the Fall

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A little piece of history

A few weeks ago we came across this log cabin.

It's on the property of a church in a nearby town.  They have a historical center that displays the history of the area from the first immigrants in 1847.

We love the feel of stepping back in time when visiting this type of place!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cooking Thursday

The recipe I'm sharing with you today is from my daughter Laura.  She served it at Alaina's birthday party and everyone loved it, and wanted the recipe.
So here you go - a yummy pasta salad!
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Rotini Pasta Salad

12 ounces whole grain Rotini  Pasta
14.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
14.5 ounce can corn
12 ounces grape tomatoes
1 bunch green onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
8 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Cook pasta noodles to al dente.
Add black beans, corn, tomatoes and green onions to pasta and stir to combine.
Mix garlic, vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice.  Whisk or shake until emulsified.
Pour dressing over pasta mix and stir.
Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

The Grand River, Grand Rapids Michigan 

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Car!

We bought a new (to us) car last week!  This is quite a change for me, because for the last 14 years, I drove bigger vehicles.  We had a mini van and then got a Trail Blazer.  Now that it's usually just Bob and I in the car, we were ready to go back to a car, and are looking forward to using a little less gas.
This is a Dodge Avenger and it's a 2011. It drives very nicely, has a nice amount of leg room in the back and a good sized trunk.  Hopefully it will serve us well for quite a few years.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Party like you're one year old!

We had so much fun this weekend!  We got to go to Alaina's first birthday party.  Her birthday is actually Wednesday, but Laura and Aaron had her party on Saturday.  I've got lots of pictures to share.  :)

We got this cute invitation in the mail. 

Laura had the picnic building decorated so cute!

The food table said someone was turning one!

The swag hanging behind the tables had 12 pictures of Alaina - one of each month of her life.

Aaron drilled out all these little pumpkins and apples, so tea lights could be set in them.

A drink and snack station

 This is made of terra cotta pots and trays.  The little kiss acorns were adorable!

The books Laura has done of Alaina were fun to look at.

The napkins and silverware were decked out in the woodlands animal theme.

Laura made this cute cake. I love the little animals.

This note was set at each table setting.

We had a yummy meal together, then played Family Feud.  Our side didn't do too well at the game, but we had fun.

Alaina had fun riding around on her little giraffe.

She got to open some presents that included this toy and the fun frog hat!

We sung her happy birthday:
but she was more interested in the E on the cake

which she did get, and seemed to enjoy.
(Laura made her shirt too - it has the same little animals on it)

Then it was time to eat cake:
She started off by just rubbing it...

"Hmm, this is pretty good!"

And ended up looking like this!

We got to go home with a goody box.
We had a great time, celebrating her first year of life!