Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

God's amazing creation

"Under the microscope, I found the snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Each crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving a record behind."
Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

States with the worst winters

Winter is not my favorite time of year.  I don't like being cold, and I don't like driving on snowy, icy roads!  However, when you live in Michigan, it's something you need to deal with!  Living on the West coast of Michigan usually means a lot of lake effect snow, but this year has been quite mild, compared to other years, so I can't complain.
When I came across this list of states, rated by how miserable their winters were, I knew I needed to check it out.  In making the list, they factored in everything from weather patterns, average temperatures, and how effective and quickly their department of transportation clears highways, to interviews with locals and the historical success rates of their winter-season sports teams. This is one of those things where you probably actually want to finish last. 
Michigan was nowhere near last, it actually finished second - even worse than Alaska!
Here's a link to that list - check it out and see where your state finished!
States with the worst winters.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Cooking Thursday

My sister Cheri gave each of us the best granola I've ever had this year for Christmas.  She said her family likes it on ice cream or in yogurt.  I'm not much of an ice cream lover, but I did enjoy mine in yogurt.  Another way to use it for a quick lunch is to slice an apple, spread peanut butter on it and sprinkle granola over top.  It is so yummy! 
She shared the recipe with me and said I could share it with you too.  Enjoy!

Best Granola Ever

1 container old-fashioned oats (6 cups)
8 oz. Sliced almonds
2 c. dried cranberries
1 c. light-brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1½ stick unsalted butter
½ c. Honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients except butter and honey.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt unsalted butter. Stir in honey. Pour over oat mixture and toss to distribute. Spread granola onto a parchment lined baking pan* and bake, stirring occasionally, until oats are toasted and sugar begins to caramelize, 35 to 40 minutes.
Cool completely on pan. Transfer to an airtight container.
* Cheri said she found it works best to use a regular aluminum pan rather than a dark, non-stick pan as the granola may burn.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

Frosty Morn

Last Sunday when we left for Sunday School and church I was entranced by the beauty I saw as we drove.  It was clear, cold and sunny and very frosty.  I told Bob that if I had realized, I would have gone out for an early drive to take pictures.  However, at this point I just enjoyed what I was seeing on our short drive.
When we got to the school our church meets in, we went to our Sunday School class.  We soon found that the school had changed some locks and we were unable to get into the room.  The other rooms were occupied so there was no place to meet and our class was cancelled.  I told Bob that I was going to go for a short drive to take some photos and would be back for church.  
The frost melted quickly in the sun, but it was a beautiful short drive.
Here's a few photos from that morning.

"From the breath of God ice is made,
And the expanse of the waters is frozen."
Job 37:10

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Our new building!

It's finally done!  The addition at my work place is finished and will soon have people moving into it.  We had our big open house last week and it went very well.  People just loved it and said they wanted to move in themselves.  :)   I got to take groups on tours through it and was able to hear peoples reactions which was lots of fun. 
Prepare for lots of pictures today as I give you a virtual tour.  Sorry, but I'm excited and want to show it off!

 Here's what it looks like on the outside, with the front entrance on the right side of the photo.  The original building attaches near the entrance.

 We had balloons outside for the open house, but the wind was blowing them around.  You can see the original building here also.

The front entry

 Just inside the entry is this sitting area.  To the right is the administrative office, through the door ahead is an enclosed patio with a pergola and fountain, and to the left is a short hall that leads to the new rooms.

This is our admissions office, which just inside the entry.

 This is the hall from the entry, looking back at the seating area.

 This is one of the semi-private rooms.  There is a joint seating area, and a wall between the two sides giving  a lot of privacy. 

Here's another angle that shows how spacious the rooms are.

Here's a closer look at the room.  Each room has it's own heating/cooling system, a flat screen tv, a telephone, a recliner chair, amish made cabinetry and a sink.

This is from the other side of the room, so you can se the cabinets.

 The bathroom doors slide, which is so much easier to deal with when trying to get a walker or a wheelchair into the bathroom!

The bathrooms are just amazing!  The tile work is beautiful, there are rails on either side of the toilet that can be put up or down if people need them, there is a shower in each bathroom with a seat that can fold up when not in use.

This is a view down 2 halls.  Note the wide halls and the arches over the doors.

 There is a huge, open area in the center.  It has a few dining areas...

 Another dining area along with a small seating area.

A kitchenette (Food can be special ordered through the kitchen!)

The nurses station! I should have turned on the light here, but it is so much nicer than our old one!

 Here's some of the goodies that were served during the open house...

We even had a harpist playing!

There are a few separate areas when people can sit or entertain friends and family.

Here's another entertainment spot.  On the other side of that curtain is the existing building which will soon be renovated to match.  One wing will have beds for long term care residents, the other will house a new therapy gym, conference room, a doctors office and a chapel!

I can honestly say we have always taken good care of our residents, but now they get beautiful surroundings too!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I won!

Did any of you follow the story of Joey Feek?  Joey was a country singer, who sang on her own and also sang with her husband Rory.  Joey passed away last March after fighting cancer for some time.  Her husband Rory wrote a blog throughout this time that was not only a testimony to his love for her, but also a testimony to their faith and the knowledge that God was with them through this fight.
My friend Sara, from make music from your heart had a giveaway on her blog of the DVD that was made telling the story of Joey and Rory.  I had been following Rory's blog and was very touched by their story and testimony, and was so excited to hear that I won the DVD. 
Bob and I watched it last weekend and thought the movie was very good.  It showcased what was important to both Joey and Rory, which was faith and family.  If you watch it, be sure you have some tissues ready.
Thanks so much Sara for offering this on your blog!
If you live near me and want to borrow this, just let me know!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cooking Thursday

We had our small group from church over this past weekend.  I made lasagna for supper and used a recipe I've made a few times before.  This isn't hard to make, but does take some time, so it's not one I make when I'm in a hurry.  However - it is so good!  The name of it is 'The Worlds best Lasagna' and it really is the best I think!

Worlds Best Lasagna

1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 6.5-ounce cans tomato sauce
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 3 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, then layer 3 more noodles.  Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

What's happening here...

Last week I told you we were having crazy weather here - cold and snow for days, followed by warmer weather and rain, only to have it freeze and snow again!  This week, warm weather is predicted again.

It's making a mess of our yard - lots of little branches have come down and lay scattered on the snow that's left.

The fields are a mess!  The snow melted and then re-froze.  Lots of ice!

There are also some exciting things happening!
 You my remember that our church has been meeting in a school and we've been working on a new building.  This building houses our offices and classrooms.  It was recently finished, and approved for use.  Last week we moved in!  We will be building a worship center when we raise more money, and are so thankful for the way God has taken care of our congregation thus far!

And in more building news, this is the new addition at the nursing home I work at.  It's almost done.  We will be having a few open houses this week so the public can see it.  I can tell you it is beautiful, and will be a wonderful place for people when they need it.  This section is for skilled nursing; a place where people can come and rehabilitate, receiving therapy and nursing before going home.  The next step is a major re-do on the rest of the building, which will be for long term care.  We are very excited about all of it!
I'll show you pictures of this inside of this section next week, after the open houses are done.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

One more party!

On Friday I had one more Christmas party to go to.  It was my work party.  They've been having it in January, to avoid the busyness that happens in December.

We met at a local restaurant and had a very good supper.

 After supper we played some "minute to win it" games.  The goal of this one was to pick up as many candy canes as possible, using a candy cane in your mouth.  I was elected by my team to do this and didn't do very well!  I only got one candy cane!  The winner was the girl in the front of this photo.  She is an occupational therapist and she got 5 candy canes.

This was another game.  Each table had to see how tall they could get graham crackers stacked, using just the graham crackers and frosting.  This was our stack - after part of it fell down.  We came in second.  :)

Another thing we did was to have an ugly sweater contest.  These are the people who took part.  The winner was the lady with the green Rudolph sweater, who was also wearing ears on her head.

We had such a fun night!  It's truly a blessing to work with people who are also friends.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Cooking Thursday

The recipe I'm sharing today is one I saw several friends sharing on Facebook, and when I checked it, it had great reviews.  I was interested in it because it had smoked sausage in it, which is one of Bob's favorites.  It was extremely easy to throw together.  I'm glad I made it on a day that I wasn't gone all day though.  The recipe said to cook it on low for 6-8 hours, and when I came home after 4 hours it was close to done.  I ended up turning it off, and reheating it later.  However it was very tasty and Bob said I should make it again, I just won't cook it as long.

Slow Cooker Sausage and Potatoes
3 pounds red potatoes
2 pounds smoked sausage
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 can cream of celery soup
1 envelope ranch dressing mix

Spray Slow Cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
Stir cream cheese, cream of celery soup and ranch dressing together in a small bowl.
Cut potatoes into wedges (You don't have to peel them) and place in slow cooker.  Cut sausage into 1/2 inch slices and add to the potatoes. Pour soup and cream cheese mix over top and stir to combine.
Cook on low for 4-5 hours until potatoes are tender.
* several reviews said they added 1/2 cup chicken broth so the sauce wasn't quite as thick.  I will try that next time as the sauce was very tasty, but also quite thick.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017