Thursday, May 31, 2018

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Cooking Thursday

Here's one of our favorite slow cooker recipes; another one that is quite quick to throw together and it has wonderful flavor! (And I think it's pretty too!)

 Slow Cooked Pepper Steak

1 1/2 -2 lbs round steak
1/4 tsp pepper
2 T. oil
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 c. soy sauce
16 oz. diced tomatoes
1 T. minced onions
2 lg green peppers (cut into strips)
1 clove garlic
1/2 c. cold water
1 tsp sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt

Cut beef into 3 x 1 inch strips. Brown in oil in skillet. Transfer to slow cooker. Combine soy sauce, onion, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and ginger. Pour over beef. Cover and cook on low for 5 - 6 hours, until meat is tender. Add tomatoes and green pepper. Cook another hour on low. Mix water and corn starch. Remove liquid from crock pot and thicken on stove with water/cornstarch mix. Pour thickened sauce back over meat and vegetables. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Monday, May 28, 2018

Annual Greenhouse visit

A sure sign that Spring is here to stay is my visit to a local greenhouse.  You may remember me writing about it before, but this is no ordinary greenhouse.  People come from all over the state to shop here.

Here's what the entry looks like, but it's deceiving, because this place is huge!

Here's what it looks like from above - 21 acres of Greenhouse! There is also a playground for the kids on one side of the entry and also a pizza place if you want something to eat while you are there.

 So many choices, so many colors!

 It's amazing to stand inside and look from side to side, with flowers as far as you can see.

 The hanging baskets are all watered automatically and are on a track so they are moved and get sunlight from different angles.

I enjoyed wandering around and picked up two hanging baskets and a potted plant for the front porch.

We'll be back later to peruse the perineal section for Bob's gardens.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial Day

Monday is Memorial Day in the United States.  It's the unofficial start to Summer; many people open their cottages and camp for the first time of the year, lots of yard work is done and the BBQ's are fired up.  However, the real reason for Memorial Day is to stop and remember, and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defending our country and others.  So, while you are enjoying the day, be sure you take time to remember!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Cooking Thursday

Today I'm sharing one of our favorite summer desserts.  It's a winner in so many ways!  It's got ice cream, chocolate and oreo's in it, it can be made ahead of time, it's so easy, it's so good, and it has stood the test of time!   I remember my mom making this when I was still in school, and that's been a lot of years.  You can choose the ice cream flavor you like.  I usually use Mackinaw Island Fudge, but I've also used cookies and cream, coffee, mint...  Try it out - I am sure you will like it.

Oreo and Ice Cream Dessert

24 oreo cookies
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 gallon softened ice cream, flavor is up to you
Topping: 6 squares semi sweet chocolate
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 and 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
Crush oreo cookies with filling. Mix with melted butter. Press into 9x13 pan and freeze. Spread softened ice cream on top of crust. Freeze until hard. Meanwhile, combine ingredients for topping and cook until thick. Let cool completely. Spread on top of ice cream and freeze.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Monday, May 21, 2018

A special weekend

I know I've shared with you before about how special I think my family is.  I was blessed with a loving Dad and Mom, and siblings who have remained close through the years.  My mom passed away 15 years ago, and my Dad remarried almost 11 years ago.  We all love Ann and are happy to have her in our lives.
This past weekend, my Dad invited the whole family to Frankenmuth Michigan. It's about 2 1/2 hours from our home.  The whole family was able to go, except for our son Andy who lives in KY, and our niece Arianna, who was had final classes to attend.  There were 21 of us in all.
Frankenmuth is a beautiful city with a Bavarian history.  Many of the buildings have an old time Bavarian look, there is also a covered bridge and it's just a great place to visit.  We stayed in a hotel with an indoor water park, so there was plenty to do.

Warning - lots of photos!

 Entering Frankenmuth

 This was taken from our deck.  The tubes are one of the water park rides.  Several of my family did this one. Climb 5 flights and ride a raft down the tubes!  I just took pictures.  :)

 Alaina and Ruby arrive and greet Great Grandpa.

 Our hotel was next to Bronners, which is a well known store in Frankenmuth that sells Christmas things all year long.

Our room was a loft room, with room for 8 people.  The girls loved looking over the edge and running up and down the stairs.

Here are a few photos from Frankenmuth.  Such a pretty city!  The middle photo is a bell tower.  The bells played music and the deck had automated figurines that came out different doors to tell the story of the Pied Piper.

We took a ride on the Bavarian Belle which is a real riverboat.  It was a one hour ride and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Here's some nieces and a nephew, Laura, Aaron and family, Ruby with Ann, and Heather and Andrew.

We saw turtles and baby ducks!

Beautiful scenery.

Ruby and Alaina think they are steering the boat.

 Dad and Ann

Our little captains after the ride.

 Dad took us to Zenders for supper. They are famous for their chicken dinners and we agreed!

Ruby was enjoying the soup!

 Ruby and Grandpa were having fun looking at pictures together before bed.

The next morning, Alaina was up as usual, but Ruby had a hard time getting up.

We had a room where we had the most wonderful buffet breakfast!  We all agreed it was probably the best breakfast buffet we ever had.

After breakfast we had a church service before we left for home.  It was a wonderful weekend!

The whole bunch of us!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Ruby and Grandma's day out!

Last Fall I took Alaina out for a day of fun together.  Ruby was very sad that she didn't get to go, and I told her I would take her out sometime too.  Well, months have gone by, and I thought I better do it soon, before Alaina was out of school.
Last week we had our day of fun.

When we got in the car she told me she was going to miss her mom, "cause I love her 100-500-20 much"!  But she didn't want to go back home.   I asked her where she wanted to go for a fun day and she informed me that "the only places I really love to go are Playworld and Old McDonalds".  Well, Playworld wasn't on my list for the day, and it was too early for lunch, so we made our first stop at the dollar store.

Shopping is so fun!  It was hard to choose, but she found a Barbie doll to take home for Alaina, and a tea set for herself.   Then, at the checkout lane there were some light up bracelets that we had to take too.  Such deals!

Then we looked for a place to get lunch.  She was still set on McDonalds.  I told her there were none right near us, and she said "how about Mickey D's?"  Funny kid!  Of course, we went to McDonalds.
We picked up lunch and went to Aunt Heathers house to eat with her.

 Going to Aunt Heathers has the bonus of getting to see Oliver!

Then it was lunch time.  When I asked what she wanted she told me she was allergic to chicken, but then said she wanted chicken nuggets.  When I asked about her "allergy" she said it got stuck in her teeth.  :)
She enjoyed the lunch and visit, and then we headed to the mall.

 The mall is so fun!  You can ride the escalator...

and you have to ride the elevator!  This one is extra fun because it's glass and you can see through it while you ride.

We did a little shopping and found a cute short set for her and one for Alaina too.  At the check out she informed the saleslady that she had a dog that died, and asked the lady "What do you think our dogs name was?"  She then informed her "it was Sophie and we weally miss her!"  (Sophie has been gone for about 6 months now)  The saleslady told her she had a dog too.  Ruby thought we should go to her house and see it, and told me we could just follow her home.  :)

After shopping it was time to head to the fun area!

She had great fun riding this helicopter ride.

and of course, we had to ride the Carousel!  She didn't want to ride a horse, she chose a pig.  And because it was going fast, and also going up and down she said it was flying!  So Jenny, you know your famous saying - "When pigs fly?"  I think it happened!

I took a pic of the two of us in the mirror of the carousel.

 Then it was time for one more treat.  I got her a little bowl of ice cream.  She chose cherry because it was pink, but then wasn't to sure about the cherries in it!

A happy ice cream face.

When we got to the parking lot, she spotted a dead worm in a puddle next to our car.  She wanted to pick it up, but I told her she should just look at it.  She didn't think she could see it very well, so I told her to kneel next to it to see it. She wondered what it was doing, maybe finding something to eat, or getting a drink or trying to go somewhere.  It didn't phase her one bit that it wasn't moving.
When I put her in her car seat she said "thank you Grandma for letting me see the worm".

It was time to go home.  My ears were tired, but my heart was full!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Cooking Thursday

I like redskin potatoes.  Usually I just boil or roast them, but sometimes when I want something that looks a little more special, I make these redskin mashed potatoes. They don't need gravy - they are perfect all by themselves!

Redskin Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds small redskin potatoes
4 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter
seasoned salt and pepper to taste

Wash and half the potatoes, boil until tender.  Drain and place back into pan on stove.  Turn stove on to low heat to steam off any remaining water, and add cream cheese and butter.  Turn heat off, and mash by hand with a potato masher, leaving skin on potatoes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Monday, May 14, 2018

A walk in the park

Yesterday, Bob and I went to a nearby park to have a picnic lunch and a little hike after church.  We love this park and try to go walking there several times when the weather is nice.  Yesterday was the first trip for this season.  It was very cool and windy when we started, but soon the sun came out and the afternoon was nice.  It was wonderful to see the leaves opening, and green popping up all over!

Popping open!

 The woods look so pretty with the light green leaves opening.

 There were little pops of moss all over.

 Tall pine trees!

This huge beech tree is one of our favorite spots.  You can't see the size of it in a picture, but it is truly majestic!

It overlooks a deep ravine with a creek running through it.

 More moss - on a fallen tree this time.

 This was once a huge tree.  We've stopped by it for years, when it was still standing.  I have a picture of Bob standing inside it from several years ago.  It must have fallen sometime this winter.

This pretty little stream meanders all through the park.

 The wild trillium were blooming!

 Another tree falling down.  Aren't the roots cool?

 Another favorite - the ferns are starting to open!

These are tiny little pinecones!

Isn't God's creation beautiful?