Sunday, March 31, 2013

Smart Cars!

The cost of gas has car manufacturers working on smaller models that are much more gas efficient.

This is the smart car, something that is already available to buy.
However, more choices are in the works and some of them are pretty cute!
Here are some preliminary smart car versions of some popular cars:


Audi 4WD







Just kidding!  April Fools!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning...  How many of you do it?  I remember my Mom taking part in this old tradition.  The cabinets were all emptied and cleaned inside and out, along with the articles in them.  Walls were washed and so were windows.  The stove, refrigerator and freezer were cleaned out, and it continued through the house.  What a lot of work!  But such a good feeling when it was done.  
I must admit that I don't clean like that, and I don't think there are many that do.  I do work on some of it though.  This past week I cleaned out quite a few of my kitchen cabinets and next week I plan to work on the refrigerator and freezer.  And when it gets a little nicer, it's so nice to open clean windows and let some fresh air in!
I don't like using regular towels when I do my cleaning, because of the lint they so often leave behind.  I have some flour sack towels that clean well without leaving the lint.  They also wash up nicely.  I have a few that I keep separate for drying glasses and another that I use to cover bread dough when it's rising.  They are very handy to have around!
If you have some cleaning to do and are interested in these towels, I got them from the online ACS store.  They have lots of other great products too.  Friends of mine own this store and I can assure you that not only will you enjoy their products - they'll give you good service too!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cooking Thursday

The other day I wanted to make potatoes for supper, but didn't want to do them the same old way.  I had seen this recipe and decided to try it.  They were quick to get into the oven and we all liked them.
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Parmesan Baked Potatoes

6 small potatoes, cut in half lengthwise (I used bigger potatoes and cut them  into 4 slices)
1/4 cup better
grated Parmesan cheese
garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter and pour into a 9x13 inch pan and spread evenly across the bottom. Generously sprinkle Parmesan cheese and lightly sprinkle other seasonings all over the butter. Place potato halves face down on the butter and seasonings. Place in preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes, then flip potatoes and bake for another 20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Walgreens had this little photo booth set up and I just happened to have my camera. 
She loved the balloon!

Monday, March 25, 2013

One day at the Nursing Home

Funny things happen almost daily at the Nursing Home and a frequent refrain heard around there is "We need to write a book"!   This past week was no exception and I thought I should share a few things that occurred in just one day.

The day begins with a morning med pass.  When I brought one of the ladies pills in to her, she said "How do you like my hair?" It was still quite dark, so I turned on the light and saw that this lady had cut her bangs!  She said when she was home the day before her hair was bothering her, so she decided to cut it herself.  She said the scissors was dull and she ended up cutting them all off.  She asked if she could cut my hair and said she would do it for free.  :)

Shortly after breakfast I heard something down the hall.  When I listened, it was a few people yelling "Help".  They sounded frantic and a few of us ran to the room, expecting that someone had fallen.  When we got in the room, we find two ladies sitting in their wheelchairs laughing like crazy.  Why were they yelling?  They said they didn't want to lean forward to use the call bell and they wondered what would happen if they yelled.

The visitors are also a part of our day.  We get to know the family members very well and while many are wonderful, some are quite interesting.  One of the ladies has a son that fits in that category.  Shortly after she arrived we had to ask him to quit laying on the floor in the tv area as someone could run into him with their wheelchair.  Anyway, on this day he arrived wearing pants that were slit open in the back.  It was obvious that this slit had been there for awhile as it was all frayed.  He has a habit of pulling his pants up and when he did that, the slit revealed more that we needed to see!

We have one resident who has Downs Syndrome.  I love to goof around with her and she likes to tease me in return.  Whenever the aides walk her past the nurses station, she makes faces at me and expects me to come after her. Then her usual custom is to give me a kiss on the cheek.  On this day she leaned toward me as usual - then licked my cheek!

It's never boring!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

More Alaina...

We had Alaina overnight again this weekend and I have to share a few pictures of our fun together...

This was actually taken last weekend, and it's nothing to do with Alaina, but it's funny so I'm sharing.  Both Heather and I had a nasty cold and Bob was trying to prove a point about the germs in the house.  He brought in the respirator he wears when applying finish in his woodshop and teased us that he was safe from any bugs.
Guess who got a cold tonight?  You're right - it's Bob!

Now for the Alaina pictures:

She has discovered the piano and loves to make "music".  Bob was assisting her here.

I love seeing these two playing together.

She still loves to see Oliver and he still tolerates her...

Having fun crawling on Aunt Heather.

Looking down the steps to see if Oliver is hiding down there.

I had to check on some of my Dad's medications so I took Alaina with me.  My Dad and Ann were excited to see Alaina with me.  Dad was trying to bribe her with some smarties to get her to sit by him.  She's still not real fond of men.

And this is the look you get when you comb one of the pigtail holders out of your hair!
 Fun times!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Where did that saying come from?

I got an e-mail that told the history of some common sayings and thought they were pretty interesting, so I'm sharing.

 They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot, then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery.......if you had to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor".

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy a pot......they "didn't have a pot to piss in", and were the lowest of the low.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!" 

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof... Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme:
Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

And that's the truth....Now, whoever said History was boring?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cooking Thursday

Wednesday was the first day of Spring - and this is what it looked like here!  This is the highway going through Grand Rapids, about 20 minutes from my house.  I was at work, watching the snow blowing outside and I was thinking I needed to change my supper plans and make something to warm us up!
I decided to make an old favorite.  It's something that can be thrown together quickly after work, or prepared early and put in the crockpot.  I've shared this recipe before, but it's been a long time and it's worth sharing again.
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

 White Chicken Chili

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1 (48 oz) jar Great Northern Beans
8 oz shredded Monterrey jack or Cheddar cheese
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 (16 oz) jar salsa
3 c chicken broth

Melt butter in skillet and saute celery, onion and green pepper until translucent. In crock pot, combine broth, cumin, salsa, white beans, chicken and cheese. Stir together and add celery mixture. Cook on low 4-6 hours. Serve with tortilla chips and additional shredded cheese.

*I use canned broth and frozen, cubed chicken to throw this together in a hurry.
**This can also be made quickly without a crockpot. Follow same directions, but add 1 extra cup of broth or water and simmer on low for 45 min, instead of cooking in crockpot.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Woe is me...

We've had quite a winter this year.  January wasn't too bad, but February made up for it.  It's been a season of school cancellations, and lots of evening events like the Bible study I go to on Tuesday night.  I think we cancelled 3 times in 5 weeks!
Winter has never been my favorite, but I take solace in its beauty, and the fact that it makes Spring all the better.  :)   I've been seeing posts from people who are talking about their Spring bulbs coming up, but our yard is still covered in snow.  Spring arrives this week, but in West Michigan the prediction is below average temperatures and above average precipitation - AKA more snow!  As a matter of fact, there's a snow storm going on right now.
However, as Eeyore said - we don't have earthquakes (or hurricanes) here.  And - Spring is on the way! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The end of Google Reader

I heard some news last week that had me pretty upset. Google Reader is shutting down as of July 1. My initial response was "Aaagh!  That's the end of the blogs I follow".  However, I did settle down and soon heard about a few options out there.  Some people say they just put the blogs they read on their sidebar and check them out that way.  That wouldn't work for me because, first - I read too many and second - I like being notified when they are updated.  I then heard about a few different sites, narrowed it down to 2 that would import right from my Google Reader and decided to check them out.

The first is bloglovin'.  I really like the look of this one, however it's had trouble with the influx of people from Google Reader and has been hard to get into.  It puts your blog list into alphabetical order, but I kind of like the groupings I can use with Google Reader.  

The other is Feedly.  It imports your feed and keeps your blogs in the same groups they were part of in Google Reader.  It has a few other things you can do - like change your background color, style of layout, type of organization.  You have to use Firefox for this one which is a problem if you use more than your own computer.  I'm leaning in this direction right now, but am trying both out for a bit to see which stands the test of time.

My friend Sandra, at Diary of a SAHM did a more in depth post with information on several sites.  You may want to check it out if you are still deciding what to do.

Do you use Google Reader, and if so - have you found a replacement yet?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What to wear?

I know a lot of you have to make the decision of what to wear to work everyday.  One of the blessings of my job is that I wear scrubs to work.  There's not much of a decision to be made - we wear khaki scrub  pants and a scrub top which means no planning is necessary.
However, it can be kind of boring...
So, when the Uniformed Scrubs Company offered me the chance to review nurse scrubs, I said yes!
They sent me a scrub top from their Dickies Scrub Top selection.  I have to admit that I wasn't really excited about it being a Dickies brand, because I remember my Dad wearing Dickies brand work pants and they seemed pretty old fashioned.
Well - I have to tell you that things have changed!  I absolutely love the top I was sent.  It's not just a run of the mill scrub top - it has some style to it.  It has a nice cut, decorative elements and roomy pockets for all the things I carry at work - pen, marker, chapstick, keys for the med cart, med room... You get the idea!
Not only is it stylish, but it's made of some pretty great fabric.  It's made of something called tensel which is very soft and silky.  It inhibits the growth of bacteria and wicks moisture away from the skin.  It's very comfortable.
On top of letting me try one of these tops, they're also offering a coupon code for my readers.
If you want to check out their uniforms go here.  Then when you check out, enter this coupon code:   15pbrm, which will give you 15% off any purchase!  I know I plan to order some more and I'm sure you will enjoy their scrubs too.

*I received a scrub top in exchange for doing this review, however the opinions shared are my own!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cooking Thursday

I came across this recipe for the best brownies ever and I disregarded the title, because although I've had some good brownies, none have really lived up to that name.  I must confess to often using boxed mixes which are good for a quick fix, but certainly aren't the best.
However I decided to try these and I have to say - they beat any recipe I'm made before!  They are rich and chewy and also so easy to throw together.  I've made them with the toffee bits and loved those little bits of goodness in them. The original recipe called for frosting the brownies but I think they are rich enough on their own. Try them - you'll like them!
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Best Ever Brownies

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cups cocoa
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounce bag Heath  milk chocolate toffee bits - optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
Melt butter, then stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla.
Beat in cocoa, flour, salt and baking powder.
Stir in toffee bits and pour into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Do not overbake.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

(Waiting for Spring)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Foggy Drive

We still have quite a bit of snow on the ground, but the temperatures have been warmer this week.  That combination means foggy days!  When I left work Sunday afternoon, it was getting quite foggy and I had to take a few pictures on the way home.  I love the mysterious look of a foggy day.

This picture was taken when I got home.  It's the beech tree across the road from our house.  I noticed a few leaves still hanging on.

 "We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!" 
1 Corinthians 13:12 - The Message

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Happy Birthday Mom!

Last week we celebrated Bob's moms 82nd birthday.  This year hasn't been easy on her.  She had a stroke and had to come to the nursing home for a few weeks for rehabilitation.  She maintained a good attitude though, and worked hard with therapy.  She has some difficulty with the use of one hand, but she doesn't complain and does amazingly well.
We all went out for supper to celebrate.  It was a surprise to her - she thought just a few of her kids were coming.  It's hard to get the whole group together with everyone's different schedules so this was really nice.

Here's the whole family; the 4 brothers and a few wives in the back, and the 2 sisters and me in the front.
The birthday girl is front and center.  You would never know she is 82 - she looks great!

Today is my Dad's birthday and he is 82 as well.  We have to plan a celebration for him yet and I'll share it with you when we have it.

God blessed both Bob and I with wonderful parents and we are so thankful to still have his Mom and my Dad in our lives.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I used the Random Number Generator to draw a winner for the VeggieTales DVD.  The winner is Betsy of My Five Men!  Betsy - I think your boys will enjoy it!  Please e-mail me your address and it will be sent to your house.  Thanks to the all of you who entered.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cooking Thursday

I love making soup in the winter.  It's usually a pretty healthy meal, helps warm me up and we love having the leftovers.  The recipe I'm sharing is one I had as a kid.  My aunt made it for our family once and it became an instant favorite.  Both of my sisters still make this one and all of our families enjoy it.
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Vegetable Meatball Soup

8 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Accent
1 pound ground beef in 1 inch balls
1 1/4 cup diced celery
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup uncooked rice
2 small potatoes, diced
1 can chopped tomato
10 ounces frozen mixed vegetables for soup
2 envelopes Lipton Beefy Onion soup

Bring water to boil.  Add salt, accent and meat balls.  Bring back to a rapid boil and skim off meat sediment.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 2 hours.

*I often prepare this in the evening and instead of simmering it for 2 hours, I put it in my crockpot and refrigerate it overnight.  Then when I go to work in the morning, I turn the crockpot on low and come home to a wonderful pot of soup!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

It's time for VeggieTales... And a giveaway!

Have you ever seen the VeggieTales videos?  They've been around for awhile, because my kids watched them when they were younger.  They were always a family favorite - made more so because the main characters were Bob the tomato and Larry the cucumber, and my husband and his brother are also Bob and Larry.  The kids always thought that was funny.  The kids in our church always enjoyed them too.  When I played piano for the Wednesday night group Connie's grandson always asked to sing one of the VeggieTales songs.
Anyway - the videos are always cute and they always leave the kids with a good Biblical lesson.  They may be for kids, but Bob and I like to watch them too.
There is a new VeggieTales video being released on March 5.  It's called VeggieTales: The Little House that Stood.
Here's a little preview:

About The Little House That Stood
When the Three Little Pigs roll into Cabbageville looking to build some new houses, they meet one builder with a plan and two without a clue! Larry builds with hay, Mr. Lunt with bricks, but only Bob builds his houses on a firm foundation - following the wise plans from the Master Builder's Handbook! Will the Little Piggies make the right choices when it comes to building their houses - and their lives - on solid ground? Find out in this parable that shows kids when they follow God's blueprints, they can stand strong when the storms come! 

As I said above, we are long time VeggieTales fans. We didn't think this one was quite as good as some of the older ones.  It has the usual story with a moral, silly songs and funny jokes.  We just didn't think the story was as easy to follow or the humor quite as good.  However - I'm sure you (or your kids or grandkids) would still enjoy it!
You can order it online here, or find it at your local Christian book store.
You could also win it!  The makers of this video have offered one DVD to be given to one of my readers.  To enter, just leave a comment letting me know if you've ever seen VeggieTales before.  I'll draw a winner on Thursday night.

For another chance to win , stop over at Raise Them Up where she is also doing  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."

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Beautiful hands

Last week I was asked to take some pictures of one of our residents, along with her daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter.  While we were focusing on the 4 of them, the baby grabbed her great grandma's hand and I snapped this picture.
I think both hands are so beautiful!  One is smooth and unblemished.  There is such potential in that little hand.  Where will God lead this little girl in her life, and in what ways will she use her hands?
The other belongs to a lady that is near the end of her life.  Her hands were very creative.  I was given a few things she made in her younger days. She did beadwork and was accomplished on the sewing machine.  She raised 5 children, made many meals, did lots of laundry and cleaning and kept those hands very busy.  The results of the work she did may be faded, but the love she showed to her family by what she did remains.
It makes me think about the way I use my hands and reminds me that much of what I use my hands for isn't long lasting, but the reasons and the attitude I show while doing those things is what lasts.