Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Not so wordless Wednesday

I came across this old schoolhouse that appears to be being worked on so someone can live there.  What a fun place to live!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Nut gatherer and a winner!

This is the state of our yard.  Not so good, right?
We have 6 oak trees in our front yard and with them comes acorns, lots of them!
A few years ago my friend Cheryl told me about something her husband used to gather nuts that worked really well.  However, Cheryl was living in Pennsylvania at the time and there were none in our area.
Late last Fall I found one in a nearby town and gave it to Bob for Christmas.
This weekend he got a chance to try it out.

Simply roll it over the lawn and the nuts or acorns go inside the wire basket.

Look at all these acorns after just a few swipes!
You know what's funny?  After looking for these for a few years, now that we have one - Bob tells me his store now has them in stock!
I'm told some people get them and use them in the house to pick up small toys like Legos.  :)


Last week I reviewed a book and got to choose one person who left a comment to get their own copy.
The winner of the Jonah book is comment #7 - Terri!
Congratulations Terri - you should receive your copy in the mail.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Drying out...

Things are improving here in West Michigan! It's still very wet, but the river is going down and is no longer above flood stage.  There are still people who can't get into their homes and some businesses are still closed, but the roads are open again.  We still have some extra people at our Nursing Home for a few weeks until the home that was evacuated is able to be renovated.  They've settled in well.
There were record flood levels all along the river from the East of Grand Rapids all the way to the lake.  Speaking of the lake, Lake Michigan is now 8 inches higher.  I think that's incredible, when you think of the size of that lake!
For those that asked - we had no flood damage.  Our house stayed dry and we're really thankful for that.  If you saw the picture that showed my car and the damage I caused when I backed into a tree :(  it's scheduled to be fixed on Wednesday.
I had to share these pictures with you.  They were taken by a satellite that passed over Michigan and they show the difference a few weeks of rain can make.

This one was taken the day before the rain started.  Notice the brownish color compared to the green below.

This one was taken this past Friday when the water had already started to go down.  You see how many more blue spots or lakes show up.  Also that squiggly line going through the middle is the Grand River.  You can see that it's much thicker than in the previous shot.
I think it's really neat to see how much change you can see from that far up!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A whale's Tale! (and a giveaway)

I was asked to do a review of a children's book recently, and although I don't usually do book reviews, the idea of this book intrigued me.
The name of this book is:
'Hey God, I've got some Guy named Jonah in my stomach and I think I'm going to throw up!'
As you may have figured out, it's the story of Jonah and the whale, but this time it's told from the whale's perspective.
God gave this whale a task and he ran (or swam) from it, just like Jonah ran from the task of going to Ninevah.  However, God still used the whale and in the end, both the whale and Jonah learn a lesson.
The book is cute and I think kids will enjoy it.  I really like something at the end of the book called the Parent Connection.  It gives ideas on activities you can do and things you can talk about to teach them even more.

The publishers have given me another copy of the book to give away.  If you would like this book for your kids or to give away, just leave a comment.  I'll be drawing a winner and will post it Monday night.

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, April 24, 2013

Cooking Thursday

I made these cookies last week and thought I should share the recipe.  It's an oldie, but a goodie!  My mom made these when I was a kid, so this recipe has been around a while.  She often made them with chocolate chips, but we love them with M&M's.  They're a tender, light cookie and are yummy!
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Angel Cookies

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup Crisco
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
16 ounces M&M's or chocolate chips

Cream shortening and sugars.  Add egg and vanilla, then blend in dry ingredients.
Stir in M&M's or chocolate chips.  Drop on ungreased cookie sheet. 
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Not so Wordless Wednesday

Alaina wasn't feeling good last weekend and this is how Laura found her; sleeping on top of their dog.  I snatched this off the video she took, so you'll have to excuse the picture quality.  So cute!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Flood of 2013

Yesterday I told you about the record flooding that's going on in my area. Here's a few pictures I took close to my house.   These pictures were taken Thursday through Saturday.  The river was supposed to crest in our area late on Monday so things got worse where most of these were taken.

This is a celery field I worked in when I was in high school.  Looks more like a lake now!

Do you see the ducks swimming in this yard?

This restaurant is seriously flooded.

When you can't get your car in the driveway, you use a boat!

Do you see a road here?

This is overlooking the Grand River.  The trees in the middle of it, are usually on the banks of it.

This is the little park on the Grand River that I showed you last week.  It's  a few miles from my house and is nearly covered in water here, on Saturday.  By Sunday, it was covered.

The entry to it is now closed off and you have to walk in.  All the water you see here is covering the drive and parking area.

There are hiking trails here, which the sign is directing us to.  The water is usually on the other side of the first set of bridge supports.

This is usually a grassy area with a walk leading to the covered picnic spot.

Usually you can walk on the other side of these trees and be next to the river.

Can you see the bridge in the center of the picture?  That's where the water is supposed to be!

There is a little house behind these trees,  The pink spot you see is the door.  The river is about half way to the roof.

I'm seeing lots of these signs.

Ditches have become streams

I don't think anyone will be going through here.

The rain quit on Friday - we got some snow on Friday and Saturday, and are praying for no rain for awhile, although it's predicted for Tuesday.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What a week! (warning - long post!)

This past week was a terrible week for many people. The tragic loss of life in Boston, another earthquake in China, in our area there was a missing 51 year old woman who was later found to have drowned. The news has been depressing to say the least and it reminds me that I can be thankful that this world is not my permanent home, and God is in control!
So here's whats happening in my little corner:
1) Thanks for the prayers for my Dad.  His surgery went well, but they found 4 more spots on his heart that needed to be ablazed.  The Dr feels that more are likely to come since these all showed up since January.  They are now planning to implant a defibrillator, possibly in about a month.  He's back home and doing well right now.
2) Every year our Nursing Home gets a week long visit from the state inspectors.  This past week, they showed up.  It's always a dreaded time for us.  We know it's something that needs to be done, but these inspectors are not known for being friendly and will give us a write up for the most picky sort of thing.  They ask lots of questions and watch what you do with a clipboard in hand.   But - we survived!  They are gone and we did well.
3)  Last week I told you about the rain we had and that more was predicted.  Well, it came.  The result is lots of flooding.  The Grand River is breaking all known records for flooding.  It's supposed to crest today (Sunday) in Grand Rapids, so we're hoping things will soon improve.  Further down the river where I live it's supposed to crest on Monday night. I know lots of people who've never had a problem with it, who now have water in their basement.  There are lots of roads closed along with plenty of businesses that have had to close either because they are flooded themselves or no one can get to them.  The big hotels in Grand Rapids were evacuated and another of the businesses that had to evacuate was a nursing home.  I got called in to work to help with 5 admissions that came in at 10 pm.  That's a tough day for those older folk!
Here are a few pictures of the Grand Rapids area to show you what it looks like.  I took some of these and others are from our local paper.

Don't drive into water!

The on ramp to the highway is impassable.

 This is from one of the local news stations.  The top picture is from December, the bottom one was taken on Friday.  Look at the height of the water by the blue bridge!

Downtown Grand Rapids.  Do you see the stairs going into the water?  There's usually a walkway that goes along the river that the stairs go to.  This was taken on Friday.  I saw pictures taken on Sunday that showed the water is now just below those hanging lights and covering the little patio area.  You can also see how high the water is on the bridge on the right.

 Another picture shared by the news.  Someone took this out of a office window, which is still holding the water out.  The building you see across the water is the Public Museum.

This is probably the office that picture was taken from.  Take note of the lights that aren't too far above the water.

So much water!

This train track is usually a long way above the water.

Looks like these trucks are ruined

Streets in a nearby town

It's going to be a little hard to get to the playset!

Last but not least - this is what happens when you go out to take pictures of flooding and back into a tree.  :(

I'll show you my pictures of our area tomorrow.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fun craft idea

This is a Borax crystal, made by one of the residents at my nursing home.  They did this as an activity shortly before St Patricks Day, but they are still hanging around.  They turned out so cute I wanted to share them, because it looks like something that would be fun to do with kids.  This was a shamrock, but you could do hearts, stars, circles...  whatever you like.

Borax Crystals
pipe cleaners
3 cups boiling water
1/2 cup Borax
large glass cups or canning jars
pencil or short rod of some type

Twist pipe cleaner into your desired shape.  The color of pipe cleaner will be the color that shows through the crystals when finished.
Tie a string around one end of the finished pipe cleaner shape and tie the other end to a pencil.
Stir borax into the boiling water until it's completely dissolved and the water is clear.
Pour borax mixture into cups, making sure the solution is deep enough to submerge the pipe cleaner shape in it.
Lower the pipe cleaner shape into the solution, being careful that it doesn't touch the side or bottom.  Lay the pencil across the top of the jar so the shape is suspended in the solution.
Set jar in a safe spot where it won't be disturbed and let it sit overnight.  The next morning you will find crystals coating the pipe cleaners!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cooking Thursday

I'm sharing a recipe I tried the for the first time last week.  It was really good and got rave reviews from Bob and Heather.  As a bonus - it's a crock pot recipe and is easy to throw together.
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Sweet Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken

1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 green peppers, sliced
2 pounds chicken tenders
corn starch and water for thickening
cooked rice

Mix together the juice, brown sugar and soy sauce in crock pot.  Add chicken tenders and stir to cover.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Remove juice from crockpot, and pour into saucepan.  Heat to a low boil, then stir in corn starch/water mix and heat till thickened.
Return to crockpot and stir together with chicken and green pepper.
Serve over rice.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

April showers, and more showers...

I'm happy to report the snow is gone, although it was snowing again on Saturday and Sunday.

Here's my poor car sitting in the parking lot on Sunday.

Aside from that snow, it's been raining, and raining some more!  Last week it rained every day and it's predicted every day this week as well, until Saturday.  The average rainfall for our area for the whole month of April is 3 1/4 inches.  We got 5 inches just last week and another 3 inches are predicted for this week!  So it's no surprise that the Grand River, which is about 2 miles from our house is flooding.  Here's a few pictures to show you what it looked like this weekend.

 The river is usually behind that row of trees which are now out in the water.

The whole area in front of that big tree just to the right of center is usually dry.  There is  a little path to the left of that tree where you can walk next to the water.

 Here you see the bridge and can see how far the water is overflowing it's banks.

It's hard to tell how high the water is here, but the river is muddier than usual and not nearly as calm.
We're hoping the weather predictions are wrong and the sun shines a little this week!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Happy Birthday Dad

It was my dad's birthday last month and we finally had his party this weekend.  He is 82 and we all think he's a pretty special guy!

This year we had Bob do one of his carvings for him.  When Bob does a carving, he gets a few pictures of the person and is told a few things about them.  He then decides what to put into it.  Of course, in this case he knew his subject very well!


Here's the carving.  The brass plaque you see is the title which says "Grandpa's Loving Arms".
This is what Bob said on his FB page when he shared pictures of this one:

 "Earlier this year I was asked by my wife's family to do a carving of my Father-in-Law for his upcoming birthday. Dad has been a farmer, a truck driver for the road commision, among other things, but coming up with an idea for the carving pose was easy, he loves his grandkids and his God. So in the carving he has just gotten up from reading the Bible in his chair and is reaching down to pick up a grandchild."

Yes - that describes Dad very well!


Here's a closeup of the chair with the Bible.

You may remember that Dad has had some heart problems lately.  He's been doing quite well in the last month, but still has some recurring issues so will be having another heart ablation on Wednesday.  We'd appreciate your prayers for him!