Thursday, May 29, 2014

Time to visit the Greenhouse

There is a huge greenhouse near us that attracts customers from all over the state. We had people stop at the nursing home once to ask directions to this greenhouse and they were from upper Michigan!
I made my stop there last week to get a few things.  I was smart to avoid being there on Saturday.  I heard traffic was backed up quite a distance, just waiting to get in.

This is a picture a friend posted on facebook showing the cars lined up to turn in.

Here's the front of the building. You can get more than plants here.  There's a chili dog and mexican food place set up near the entrance.


Once you make it through the entrance, you see this...

And then you see plants, lots of plants.  This is standing in the middle of the greenhouse, looking to one side.  This greenhouse sits on 107 acres, and the greenhouse itself is 250,000 square feet.  It really is hard to imagine without seeing it in person.

We did a lot of wandering around, and left with this cart full of pretty plants.  Now I just have to keep them alive!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cooking Thursday

The recipe I'm sharing today is for beef stew. Stew is something I make more often in the winter, but this is a nice meal and because it's made in the crock pot you won't heat up your house while cooking it. This has really good flavor, and the beef chunks are so tender, they fall apart.

Crockpot Beef Stew

2 pound beef roast
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon paprike
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
1 1/2 cup baby carrots
1 medium onion cut into chunks
6 ounce can tomato paste
1 cup water
4 cups beef broth
2 teaspoons Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce - optional

Cut roast into 1 inch cubes.  Combine flour and seasonings in plastic bag and shake well to combine.  Place several beef cubes in  bag and coat with seasoned flour, continuing until all of the beef is coated. Melt butter in pan on stove, and brown beef.
Place veggies in crockpot, place meat over veggies.
Stir flour into water in pan, until smooth.  Add broth, a little at a time, then stir in tomato paste.  Bring mix to boil and cook till thick.  Pour over meat and veggies in crockpot.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

We had such fun!

Something unusual happened last Friday. Bob and I both had the day off! On top of that, we were planning to have Alaina overnight that night. We decided that meant we needed to do something special, and decided on a trip to the zoo. The weather was perfect, sunny with a nice breeze. We picked Alaina up in the morning and headed for John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids.

This is a statue of John Ball, which is at the entrance to the zoo.  You can see by the worn spots on it, that many kids have crawled on him, and sat on his lap for a photo.  I remember sitting on his knee when I was young!  However, Alaina didn't want any part of it; she prefers to sit with Grandpa.

The flamingos were near the entrance. along with a lot of other water birds.

We saw warthogs, bears, wallaby's and lions.

We had fun watching the penguins swim by.

Alaina and Grandpa walked behind the waterfall.

Alaina loved watching all the different types of monkeys.

There are camels you can take a ride on.  I tried to talk Alaina into riding with Grandpa, but she didn't like that plan.  Better to just stand back and look at them!

Being held by Grandpa is the best way to see the animals.

She was pretty sure this was our cat Oliver.  She knocked on the window to wake him up, but he kept sleeping.  She told Heather she saw Oliver at the zoo, but he wouldn't wake up.

This is Nessie.  She lives in the pond at the entrance to the zoo.  She was an entry in Artprize a few years ago, and it's nice that she stayed in the city.

When we got home, Alaina had to hunt for Oliver.  She found him sleeping, so she brought him a stuffed animal to sleep with.   :)

To end our day, we went to the local ice cream place and got our first ice cream of the season.  You can imagine what a mess Alaina was after this outing!
The next morning, she got up and said "Grandma, we go to the zoo today maybe?"   I'm afraid we have to wait a little to go back, but we sure had fun!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day to my fellow Americans.
I'm thankful for the freedoms we enjoy and I honor those who are currently serving along with those who have served in our military.
In my family, that includes my son, my Dad, my father-in-law, and several uncles.
Thank you for your service.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Back yard work

Have you noticed that work on your house is never done? You finish one room and the next needs work. The same thing is true for landscaping. I'm lucky that Bob is not only good at it, but he enjoys working on our yard. Last week he spent a lot of time working on our back yard.  
The back of our yard was filled with trees which would have been fine, except a lot of them were scraggly or dying. He went through the area and cut down a lot of them.  The ones that are left are healthy.

He plans to get some nice pine or spruce tree and put them along the edge.  He also wants to put a little trail with shade loving flowers in the wooded spot.
I think it's going to look nice!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cooking Thursday

I tried out a new recipe that I found on Pinterest. It's a cake that's supposed to taste like a Cinnabon cinnamon roll. This cake has a heavier texture than regular cake which does make it taste more like a roll. Bob loved it and said this recipe was a keeper!

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 T butter, melted
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 T

Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Once combined well, slowly stir in 4 T melted butter. Pour batter into a greased 9×13″ baking pan.
In a large bowl, mix the 2 sticks of softened butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts until well combined. Drop evenly over cake batter by the tablespoon and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out nearly clean from center.

2 cups powdered sugar
5 T milk
1 tsp vanilla
Stir powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together and beat until smooth.  Drizzle over warm cake.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Checking on Great Grandpa

Last week my Dad had another procedure done on his heart. He had a defibrillator implanted last year to control an occasional irregular heart beat.  He had done well until a few months ago when he was shocked 3 times in one day.  The Doctor went in and removed the area that stimulates the heart beat, so it's now controlled by the pacemaker/defibrillator.  It was a long day at the hospital, but he was able to go home that night and is doing well.
He's on a lot of meds, so I go and set them up for him. It can be overwhelming when you take a lot, several times a day and this way he just has to open the pill box and take them.
I had Alaina with me, so she came along.  She said we have to "check on Grandpa".  Grandpa was very happy to see her and took her outside to pick some flowers to bring to her mom.

Aren't they cute together?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Holland Tulips

Holland, Michigan is about 20 miles from my house.  Holland was settled by people from the Netherlands and is named after it.  It's best know for it's annual Tulip Time Festival, which people come from all over to attend.  There are parades, dutch dancers, a carnival, special speakers (this year it was Bill Cosby), beautiful sights and lots of tulips! 

This is our Governor.  Almost every year the Governor comes and participates in the "scrubbing of the streets".  Check out the costume and shoes.
I've gone to see some of these events, but most years I go after it's done. I can enjoy the tulips and Holland without the crowds.  :)
This year the tulips were a little late, due to the long, cold winter. However, they were at peak late last week when Heather and I wandered around Holland and enjoyed them.  It was a cod day - 45 degrees, but we still enjoyed ourselves.

 You know you're in Holland when you see crazy statues holding tulips and wearing wooden shoes!

If the tulips aren't blooming, you'll see some metal ones scattered around.

This is the DeZwaan Windmill.  It is an actual working windmill that was moved here from the Netherlands in 1065 and reassembled by men who also came from the Netherlands and work on them there.  It's 125 feet tall.

The tulips!  There are fields of them and they are such a pretty sight!

This area was really pretty with rows of tulips on the hillside.

Each variety of tulip has it's own beauty.

These orange tulips were my favorite.

The whole city gets into planting tulips.  There are beds near every business and down each street.  This bed is at the Amtrack station.

Here's Heather with one last statue.  This is the attire the dutch people wore when the immigrated here.  I don't know how they put up with those wooden shoes!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My Mom

May 19 marks the 11th anniversary of my Mom's death. She was only 69 when she died unexpectedly of a heart attack. It's hard for me to believe she would have been 80 now. 
She was a great Mom and Grandma. She was always so proud of us kids. She loved to introduce us to her friends at church or her work. And - if she thought we were good, she thought her grand kids were even more remarkable! She just loved those kids. I hope her friends didn't get sick of seeing the pictures or hearing about them!
God blessed me with a Mom who was not only a mother, but she was my friend. She wasn't afraid of disciplining me, but we also had fun together. I remember many evenings, when I was a teenager that she and I were up late, just talking. She had a good sense of humor and was good natured about the teasing she endured from my Dad and us kids.
She had a lot of different roles, as I grew up. My Dad was a dairy farmer, and his crazy hours meant lots of juggling with meal times and preparing lunches to go out to the fields he was working in. She did a lot of work gardening, canning and freezing produce. When I was in Junior High she started working part time as a nurses aide in the local nursing home. She later worked full time as a secretary until she retired. I wish I had been able to have more time with her, and I wish she could see her grandkids and great grandkids now. She would still be so proud of all of them! I know she was a Christian so I'll see her again - in perfect health!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Friday Funnies

I recently saw some graphs and diagrams done by two Danish men, who work together under the name Wumo.  These diagrams are very funny, and are pretty true.  Here are several of them.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!