Thursday, January 30, 2020

Friday Funny

Image may contain: drawing
"Well, that's redundant..."

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Cooking Thursday

This is a recipe I may have shared before, because I've been making it for many years.  These are yummy dessert bars, that are easy to make and everyone always likes them.

Chocolate Streusel Bars

1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup cold butter
1 - 8 ounce package cream cheese
1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, sugar and cocoa. Cut in butter until crumbly (mixture will be very dry). Reserve 2 cups crumb mixture and press remainder on bottom of 9x13 pan. Bake 15 minutes. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth. Add egg and vanilla. Mix well. Pour over prepared crust. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over cheese mixture. Bake 25 minutes or until bubbly. Cool and chill. Cut into small squares and store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Monday, January 27, 2020

Walter comes to work

We have a new little friend at my work.  Our Assistant Director of Nursing got a puppy and has been taking him to work with her.  He spends a lot of time in her office, but also goes around and visits the residents who just love him.  He gets lots of love and attention, and brings lots of joy! He's a golden retriever, so he won't stay this little for long!
Meet Walter!

Isn't he the cutest?

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Ice and flooding

We've had a real problem with high water in our area for the past year.  The great lakes are very high, which has caused a lot of beach erosion, and recently a cottage was washed into Lake Michigan because of it.  Closer to our house, the Grand River has also been high, and we get frequent flood advisories.  Last week we had a lot of snow and the river was higher, but it has now come down a little.
I went to the river the other day to check it out.

You can see how high the water is, with this tree surrounded by water. It sure looks cold!

 I thought some of these trees were so interesting.  You can see ice shelves around the trunks, from when the water was higher, and then it sticks.  It's pretty cool to see a bunch of trees together with these ice shelves on them.

A little more ice hanging on a tree.
I wish I could have gotten better pics, but couldn't get close enough to the trees that had lots of ice.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Cooking Thursday

Todays recipe is one of the soups I served to the Youth group when they came over this past weekend.  It's a hearty soup, modeled after something served at Olive Garden.  It makes a huge pot (9 quarts) so it's good for serving a group, but it also freezes well.  You could half the ingredients and still have enough for a family, but it freezes very well, so I always freeze half of it.

Pasta E Fagioli
3 teaspoons oil
2 lbs ground beef
14 ounces carrots, slivered
12 ounces onions, chopped
14 ounces celery, diced
48 ounces diced canned tomatoes
2 cups red kidney beans
2 cups white kidney beans
88 ounces beef stock
3 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 1/2 teaspoons pepper
5 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
48 ounces spaghetti sauce
8 ounces dry pasta shell macaroni, cooked as directed

Sauté beef in oil in large 10 quart pot until beef starts to brown.
Add onions, carrots, celery and tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Drain and rinse beans and add to pot. Also add beef stock, oregano, rosemary, garlic, pepper, Tabasco and spaghetti sauce.
Simmer until celery and carrots are tender, about 45 minutes.
Add pasta about 10 minutes before serving.
Grate fresh Romano or Parmesan cheese onto soup before serving.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Monday, January 20, 2020

Youth night

We had a fun night this past weekend.  Our church's post high group has started something recently where a couple or family from church agrees to host them for an evening.  They do this once a month and we were signed up for the January evening.
They plan different things for each month, and our night was to be a soup and salad night.   I made Cheesy potato soup, Pasta E Fagioli soup, salad, rolls and some bars.
There were 17 people there, including 2 youth leaders and Bob and I.  The group ranges in age from 18-25.

We set up tables downstairs because we can't fit that many people around our dining room table.

After we ate, we took the tables down and sat around the room.  We had some question and answer time, talking and lots of laughter.
I think everyone had fun, and we really enjoyed getting to know them all better.  We told them they could sign us up again!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Home projects

Bob had a week of vacation last week and he spent it working on some projects at home.
His first project was on our downstairs family room.  When we bought this house, the basement was unfinished.  Bob did a lot of work on it, adding a bedroom and finishing the family room.  He built in bookcases, and put in a corner desk with some cabinets that we used as our computer area.
That worked out great for many years, but now, our kids are grown, and we are using laptops.  We needed that space more for seating area when large groups came over. So, before Christmas, he took out the cabinets and desk and repainted the room.  We were thinking that it needed something to add a little interest, because it's such a long room, so this past week he put up shiplap in the seating area.  There are a few others things we plan to do, and things need to be hung up, but here's what it looks like so far.

I'm a lover of the farmhouse look, so I love the way this wall turned out!

After he finished that, he started on another project we've talked about.  This Fall, he put in a new entry door from the garage to the house.  He talked about putting up wainscoting in our little entry.

Here it is - new door, new trim around the door and the entry wall with wainscoting.  All that's left is a new paint job for the part that is now brown and hanging pictures.  The new paint color will be a medium gray.
He does great work!  I am blessed to have him.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Cooking Thursday

 Last week, I told you I made some yummy soup on New Years Day.  It's not the most healthy version of chicken noodle soup, but good for a special treat.  This recipe is one that a friend shared on Facebook, and I knew Bob would like it because...   bacon.  Enough said!  Except it was really good!

Crack Chicken Noodle Soup

3 cups cooked shredded or chopped chicken breast (You can also use rotisserie chicken) 
1 (10.5 oz.) can condensed chicken soup 
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock 
1 cup whole milk 
1/2 cup chopped celery 
2 medium carrots, sliced 
1 (1 oz.) packet Ranch dressing mix 
1 cup crumbled bacon 
1 1/2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese 
4 ounces cream cheese, softened 
8 oz. Thin Spaghetti or Angel Hair - uncooked, broken into thirds

Combine chicken, condensed soup, chicken stock, milk, cream cheese, carrots, celery, ranch dressing mix, and crumbled bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. 
Turn down heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes. 
Add noodles and cheese and simmer until noodles are fully cooked. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Monday, January 13, 2020

The ice storm of 2020

I don't know if this happens in your area, but our weather people seem to love to blow storms out of perspective.  This past weekend we were supposed to get hit with a huge ice storm - about 1 inch of ice, followed by snow.  We were supposed to get the first ice portion Sat and then a second layer of ice around 11pm, and then the snow.  We had to get all kinds of things in order at work, in case staff couldn't get in, or we had to run on generators...  Many activities in our area were cancelled on Sat, and everyone was stocking up on bread and milk, keeping extra water on hand...
I told you yesterday that I brought Ruby home early to avoid driving in the ice, and there was some ice building up when I got home.

 A little ice on the grass...

some ice on the bushes...

 Here you can see a little more on the flowers.

And this is from Sunday morning, a coating of ice on the branches.

However, that was the extent of it, no where near 1 inch of ice.  The roads had some slippery spots, but were mostly just wet.  This is why we don't always take these weather reports seriously. When they predict something awful, it doesn't come!  Better safe than sorry, I guess, and I'm glad the power stayed on and we could all make it to church on Sunday!

Here's what a lot of people have on their facebook following the big storm!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Alaina and Ruby spend the night

Alaina and Ruby came to spend the night Friday night.  Here's a few pictures of our time.

 Here they are with Bob, looking at some old photos of their mom when she was young.  They loved seeing them, and then had their usual snack of cheese and crackers.  It's funny how they like the same thing every time!

 Both girls love playing with this Newtons Cradle toy.  I've untangled those ball more often than you would imagine!

Ruby, all snuggled up watching a movie.

Saturday morning, Bob was planning to leave fairly early in the morning to meet Aaron and do some work at his sisters house.  He was quietly trying to get up and get out of the house, but Alaina woke up and was very set on going with him.  She knew her Dad was also going and she likes to see their dogs.  So Bob agreed to have her come along.  Ruby was ok with staying with me and we waved good bye to them.

Here's the cute message she left for me.  The little drawings on the bottom are donut holes.  :)

Ruby and I had breakfast and then she went to her room to get dressed.

 When I checked her, she was making her bed - not easy when it's the top bunk!

 Ruby and I had fun making some paper snowflakes.

The finished snowflakes.

Because we were having a winter storm and lots of ice was predicted, I took Ruby home earlier than usual.
We had a good drive home and I enjoyed talking to her by herself.  We saw a bunch of birds and she wondered if they were flying south. I told her they were birds that stayed here all winter.  She said God must give them extra feathers to stay warm in the cold!  We talked about how amazing God is that he made everything different and she said God really loves us, right?   She makes me smile.

It was good I brought her home when I did, because by the time I got back home our pathway gate was looking like this.

Bob came home mid-afternoon, I was happy to see him home safely, and we stayed in for the rest of the day.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Cooking Thursday

We had a big ham for our Christmas dinner.  Actually - I made 2 so we wouldn't run out.  Well - I had lots left over.  So, I froze some with the bone to make some pea soup later, but still had some left.  I looked up some ham recipes online and found this one.  If you ever have left over ham, here is a good way to use it!

Cheesy Ham Noodle Dinner

2 1/2 cups uncooked egg noodles
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cubed, fully cooked ham
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons mustard

Cook noodles according to package directions and drain. Meanwhile, in large skillet, saute celery and onion in oil until tender.
Combine soup, milk and mustard; pour over vegetables in pan. Stir in noodles, peas, ham and cheese.
Place in a greased 2 quart casserole. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Monday, January 6, 2020

A day in my life, January!

It's 2020!  I must admit that makes me feel old.  It seems not too long ago that it changed over to 2000.
I had a very nice New Years Day.  I had the day off and wasn't on call, we had no plans for the day, so I got a lot done.

My plan was to not set the alarm and sleep in.  However, I was woken by my phone beeping shortly before 8.  I was put on a group text by people at work, and they were all saying Happy New Year!  I got up to check it, and was glad that was all it was.  Usually when I get lots of messages, something is going on at work.

We had a lot of snow on New Years Eve, but New Years Day had no snow, and clear blue skies, although it was very cold.

Here's our back yard in the morning.  It's good to see the sun!

I had a nice, calm morning.  I got up, did some reading, checked the computer and had breakfast.

I did some work on the Bible Study I am participating in.

Then I spent some time on this book.  For the last few years, Laura has given us a jar filled with photos and pictures the girls have drawn the year before.  Every day we can take out a new picture.  I then put them into an album, and as you can see, I was a bit behind!  I got them sorted and into the book - now we are ready to start our new jar.

Bob was busy working on a little organizer that lets you tip out those fake fronts by your sink and store scrubbing tools there.  He got it all put together for me, then did some cleaning of his own, in his shop.

I did some cleaning, including cleaning the tub.

January always makes me want to sort and clean.  As I put the Christmas things away, it's a good time to clean things out and make room for any new items.
The room we have for the girls, tends to be a catch all, and it needed a good clean out.

I started with this closet.  It holds my wrapping paper, office supplies, decorating things, serving pieces and other kitchen things, and some toys.  It took some time, and it's still full, but at least it's organized.

Then I worked on the girls bookcase and toy storage.

Last, I cleaned out this armoire, which was quite a mess!

 I ended up with 2 bags of stuff to be donated.  Here's one bag, ready to go.
Bob came with me and we drove them to our local Love, in the name of Christ.  It's a place that takes and sells donations to help people when they are going through various problems.

The donation room is usually open all the time, but for some reason, when we arrived, everything was locked up.  So, I'll have to stop another time.

 When I got home, I got a pot of soup going.  It was really good, and I'll share the recipe with you later.

The evening was quiet and relaxing.  We watched a little tv and read.
It was a good start to the new year!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

A little Christmas

Hi to all of you! I know Christmas is long gone, but since I've been on break, I thought I would do one post sharing a little of my Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, we had Aaron, Laura and the girls, and Andrew and Heather over for supper.
We had a simple meal of sliders, salad, veggies and Christmas goodies.

After supper we face timed with Andy and Nikki in KY and watched them open some gifts, and they watched us do the same.

 Here they had a Santa app turned on, which Alaina and Ruby thought was fun.

Alaina and Ruby liked helping Uncle Andrew open a gift.

On Christmas Day, my whole family came over for the day.  Everyone but Laura and Aaron were here for dinner, they came in the afternoon.

Here we are, lined up and filling the room.  There were 18 for dinner.

We have a fun tradition were people who may have been "naughty" get a letter from Santa.
 Here's my niece Shaelyn with the shirt she got from Santa for being somewhat Grinchy during the Christmas season this year.

 Cheri and family got this book of pictures, because they all went away on a cruise, and didn't think of the family back home.  The book had pictures from the cruise but "Santa" had inserted different family members into the photos.

Even my Dad and Ann got something from Santa this year.  Here's my brother, reading the letter to them.  However, their letter congratulated them on being the best Grandpa and Grandma and being a great example to their family.

As usual, there was lots of talking and laughter.  We always have a good time together.