Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

*Thanks for all the prayers for my Dad.  The procedure went well.  It took 3 hours because they had to treat a few spots, but his heart now has a good rhythm and rate.  His kidney function is also improving.  It's been a good day.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The ER, CCU and more

This is a picture of my  Dad and step-mom at Christmas.  My Dad is 81 and has been in good health.  Last week he thought he had the flu, but went to the Dr on Wednesday because he was feeling worse.  They sent him to the hospital in an ambulance!
I got the call and my sister and I went to the ER.  We ended up having a very long night.  His pulse was irregular and very fast, about 180.  They tried several different things that they assured us would bring the rate down, but they had no effect.  When we arrived, Dad was his usual joking self, but as time went on we could see he was feeling worse, and soon wasn't responding well at all.
They ended up having to shock his heart to get it into normal rhythm.  That did work, but then his blood pressure started to drop.  He ended up in critical care.
By the next morning there was concern about his kidneys.  Having his BP low was affecting them and they weren't working well.  More meds were needed.  They were talking about doing a procedure to his heart on Friday, but it was cancelled at the last minute to allow the heart to recover for a few days.
He was moved to a regular floor on Saturday, although his heart rate and rhythm continued to be a problem at times.  On Sunday the heart rate was back up and the beat was irregular, meds didn't work.
Right now, they plan to do an ablation on Monday morning.  They will cauterize a spot on the heart that seems to be causing the rhythm problems.  They are also talking about putting in a pacemaker.
I'd appreciate your prayers for him.  Pray also for my stepmom as she has been at the hospital all day, every day with him and this is hard on her physically as well as emotionally.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas!

 We had another Christmas party this week.  This was a gathering of my family; my dad and stepmom, brother, 2 sisters and their families.  We ended up meeting on a weeknight as we had a terrible time coming up with a date that worked for all.

 To make things easy, we had pizza for supper. You can see that Alaina enjoyed it!

My brother, who doesn't get to see her to often was having fun playing with Alaina.  She wasn't too sure about him!

My Dad and stepmom, opening one of their gifts.

 We have a tradition called Santa letters.  Those who have been naughty during the year get a letter from Santa telling them that he's disappointed in them.  These are some of the recipients of the letters.  They were received by Heather, Nick, Chelsea, Terri, Aaron and Laura.  Aaron actually got one that told him what a good guy he was, which is why Laura is pulling that face in the picture.
As usual, we had a great time and lots of laughs.
I'm going to take a little break over Christmas.  Andy will be home late Sunday night and will be with us for a few days, so I want to be able to enjoy that time.
I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas.  Enjoy the time with family and friends, and don't forget whose birthday we are celebrating!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cooking Thursday

This time of year we have a lot of parties or gatherings where I'm supposed to bring some goodies to share.  I have a yummy fruit dip to share with you today, that's perfect for this sort of occasion. It's easy to make, tastes good and looks festive!
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Peppermint Crunch Fruit Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
13 ounces marshmallow cream
8 candy canes

Beat together cream cheese and marshmallow cream.
Crush candy canes into small pieces and stir it into cream cheese mix, reserving some of the larger pieces.
Sprinkle larger pieces on just before serving.
Serve with apples slices.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Naughty or Nice?

This is the door to the med room at the Nursing home where I work.  In an effort to decorate for Christmas, they had a door decorating contest.  This is the nurses contribution to the contest.

The sign on the door.

There is a tag for each of the nurses, which tells if they are naughty or nice.  This is my tag.  Yes - it says I've been naughty.  Since I made the tags, I thought I better just mark myself as naughty before I was told I had to.  :)

The lump of coal for the naughty ones.  It's made like Rice Krispy treats, but with black gel food coloring.

The door has gone through one tragedy and had to be put back together once. Here's hoping it stays put until Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Another family party

 Friday night we had our annual party with my Dads family.  My Dad is the fifth out of 10, so when we all gather, it's quite a crowd!  The whole family lives in the same area so there is usually a good turnout, but this year there were a few on a mission trip and several sick so the numbers were down.

 Here's some of the group sitting and talking after supper.

This is my Dad (on the left) with the brother who is just a little older than him.  We are so blessed to be part of this family!

We had such fun watching Alaina here.  She was fascinated by the balls, and spent a lot of time chasing after them.

It's a good thing the older kids were tolerant of the little ones that were wandering around the court.

 This little girl is one week younger than Alaina.  They didn't really play together, but seemed to have fun just walking around next to each other.

Happiness is getting a hold of the ball!

I found a few good looking guys there, but they wouldn't cooperate for the picture!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Politically Correct Christmas

(This is a poem that my niece Chelsea posted on her blog.  It's funny, but there's a lot of truth to it too.)  Hope you enjoy it.

Politically Correct Christmas Poem
'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck...
How to live in a world that's politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to "Elves",
"Vertically Challenged" they were calling themselves.
And labor conditions at the North Pole,
were alleged by the union, to stifle the soul.
Four reindeer had vanished without much propriety,
released to the wild, by the Humane Society.
And equal employment had made it quite clear,
that Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!
The runners had been removed from his beautiful sleigh,
because the ruts were deemed dangerous by the EPA,
And millions of people were calling the cops,
when they heard sled noises upon their roof tops.
Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened,
and his fur trimmed red suit was called "unenlightened".
To show you the strangeness of today's ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose.
He went to Geraldo, in front of the Nation,
demanding millions in over-due workers compensation.
So...half of the reindeer were gone, and his wife who suddenly said she'd had enough of this life,
joined a self-help group, packed and left in a whiz,
demanding from now on that her title was Ms.
And as for gifts...why, he'd never had the notion
that making a choice could cause such commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur...
Which meant nothing for him or nothing for her,
Nothing to aim, Nothing to shoot,
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls and nothing for just boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific,
Nothing that's warlike or non-pacifistic.
No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish upon the truth.
And fairytales...while not yet forbidden,
were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden,
for they raised the hackles of those psychological,
who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.
No baseball, no football...someone might get hurt,
besides - playing sports exposed kids to dirt.
Dolls were said to be sexist and should be passe,
and Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.
So Santa just stood there, disheveled and perplexed,
he just couldn't figure out what to do next?
He tried to be merry he tried to be gay,
but you have to be careful with that word today.
His sack was quite empty, it was flat on the ground,
nothing fully acceptable was anywhere to be found.
Something special was needed, a gift that he might,
give to us all, without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy - with no indecision,
each group of people in every religion.
Every race, every hue,
everyone, everywhere...even you!
So here is that gift, its price beyond worth...
"May you and your loved ones,
Enjoy peace on earth!"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cooking Thursday

I don't know about you but this time of year means extra baking at our house.  Today I'm sharing a few recipes for snacks that I recently tried.  They're both easy and good!
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Peppermint Crunch

5 cups Rice Chex cereal
10 ounces melting white chocolate OR vanilla flavored Almond Bark
1 cup crushed candy canes
1 cup powdered sugar 
Pour Chex Cereal into a large bowl.  Melt white chocolate/almond bark according to the package directions.  Pour melted chocolate over cereal, stirring and folding until the cereal is completely covered. Fold in the crushed candy canes
In a large zipped top bag or covered container, add the powdered sugar. Pour the chocolate covered cereal/candy canes into the large bag or container.  Seal the bag or container and shake until all the cereal is coated with the powdered mixture.
Discard excess powder and enjoy.
Store at room temperature up to 2 weeks, if it lasts that long!

Ranch Pretzels

2 bags of pretzels
1 packet of dry ranch dressing 
1 tsp garlic powder or salt
1 bottle of Orville Redebachers popcorn oil, butter flavor
1 huge ziploc bag
Put the pretzels in the large ziploc bag
Pour a little of the oil in the bag
Put dry ranch & garlic powder in oil bottle w/the rest of the oil.  Shake until combined.
Pour oil mixture into ziploc bag. 
Turn bag every 10 min or so until the oil is absorbed.
Put pretzels in a sealed container.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Engine House #5

Engine House #5 is a beautiful building in our town.
It's a Firehouse that was originally built in nearby Grand Rapids in 1880.  It had fallen into disrepair and was going to be demolished when a man from our town, whose business is in old fire equipment, bought it.  He took it apart brick by brick, and reassembled it here.

Here's an old picture of it in it's original spot.

And here's what it looks like now. It's used as a museum that houses old fire trucks and fire equipment.  It also has a section that serves as an arts and crafts store.

This year they lit it up for Christmas and I love passing it each morning on my way to work.

Doesn't that old fire truck look beautiful in the lit up doorway?

I thought you would enjoy a little Christmas joy from my town!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Family Christmas Party #1

We had our first family party on Saturday.  This one was with Bob's side and almost everyone was able to come.
Bob's sisters planned this and got a bunch of props for a photo booth, as you'll see in this post.

Laura and Heather

Bob's Mom and his step-dad, Rog.  Don't they look nice, both dressed in red and black?

Here's our turn in the photo booth.  Alaina was having fun!

Laura, Aaron and Alaina

  Aaron put on one of the prop hats and was goofing around with Alaina.

Bob's 2 sisters, Karla and Diane, also known as "the crazy ones".  :)

Alaina was fascinated by the lights for the photo booth.

We had a fun time - good food, laughs and conversation.  It's nice to have the family together as it gets harder as the family grows.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It works!

Have you been to a Pampered Chef party lately? I hadn't until recently. When we talked about what our favorite items from Pampered Chef were, quite a few people hadn't heard of this one.
I got it from Pampered Chef about a year ago, and I use it all the time.
It's called a Mix and Chop. It has beveled blades, that twist and chop with every use. The blades aren't sharp, but they help break the meat apart.
I use it on ground beef and turkey. I usually brown 3-4 pounds at a time. I put it in a large sauce pan on the stove , brown it, rinse it and then freeze it in 1 pound packages.
The Mix and Chop lets me cook up those larger quantities at one time and when it's done, it's nice and fine.
So - the next time you get invited to a Pampered Chef party, that's my recommendation on what to get!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cooking Thursday Apple Dip

I was having some friends over and looking for something new to make.  My sisters both told me about this wonderful dip.   It's easy and sooo yummy!  I served it and have already given the recipe out several times.
I guarantee that this will be a hit for you too!
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Toffee Apple Dip

 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  English toffee bits (10 ounces)

 In a bowl, beat cream cheese, sugars and vanilla. Fold in toffee bits.
Serve with apples. Refrigerate any leftovers. Yield: 2 cups.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Testing Pinterest

We have Christmas stockings for everyone in the family.  They hang on a shelf because we don't have a fireplace.  With the addition of Alaina to the family, there are now 7 stockings, which makes for a lot of stocking holders.
So, when I saw an idea on Pinterest, about hanging numerous stockings using only a few holders I was interested.  They said to place two stocking holders on the shelf or mantle, and then lay a small curtain rod into it.  You can then slide as many stockings as needed onto the rod.

Here's a close up of the rod setting in my stocking holder.

Another idea I pinned was to label the stockings by taking a wooden letter and painting it silver or gold, and tying it to the stocking.  I found letters at Hobby Lobby that were very reasonably priced, and I spray painted them silver.

Here's the finished product; 7 stockings hung and labeled with everyone's first initial.
I think these were both great Pinterest ideas!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

More Fun with Alaina

We're lucky that we get to have Alaina overnight frequently. She's showing so much fun personality lately. I had to share of few pictures I took of her this last time. 

Sitting with Grandpa, enjoying a little snack of cheese.

She's enjoying it, but Grandpa is just loving sitting with her!

Oliver doesn't enjoy these visits as much as we do, but he tolerates her pretty well.  He does know where he can go to get away though!


She discovered this little stool in our kitchen and loves to crawl onto it and use it like a desk.

Morning hair!

Peek-a-boo, Grandma!