Thursday, July 30, 2020

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Cooking Thursday

I tried a new recipe last week and it was so, so good!  It looked really pretty too.  This is one you need to try!  I made it in a cast iron skillet but you can use any oven proof pan.

Creamy Baked Pesto Chicken

2 tbsp Olive Oil
4 boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Flour
1 cup Milk
1/3 cup Basil Pesto
1/4 cup Cherry Tomatoes (Cut into half)
1/4 cup Yellow Bell Pepper (Cut into stripes)
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper (Cut into Stripes)
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese (Grated)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Heat oil in an oven safe pan. 
Once the oil is hot, add chicken in the pan and season with salt and pepper.
Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until chicken is nicely browned.
Remove the chicken from the pan on a plate.
Add butter in the same pan.
Add flour and cook until flour is slightly browned.
Now add milk and mix well to make a lump free sauce.
Cook until sauce thickens.
Add pesto in the sauce and mix well.
Place the chicken back into the pan.
Add cherry tomatoes and bell pepper in the pan. 
Bake the chicken for 20 minutes.
Take out the pan from the oven and sprinkle cheese on top.
Turn the oven temperature up to 450 degrees.
Bake chicken another 5-6 minutes until the cheese starts to brown.

Serve with pasta or veggies.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Monday, July 27, 2020

Covid and work update

I know you are all sick of Covid.  You're probably sick of hearing about it.  I am too!  But even though you're sick of of, I'm giving you an update of what things look like in my facility.
For those of you who don't know about my work; I am the unit manager/infection control nurse at a skilled nursing center.  We have 2 sections, one is long term care and the other is skilled nursing - this section is for people who need rehab after surgery or injury, IV antibiotics or something similar that means they can't go home yet.
Although things seem to be improving for the most part, I think things are getting harder for us.  The rules seem to change by the week, and sometimes by the day.
We now have one whole section of our rehab area sectioned off with plastic hanging over it.  The people in this section are new admissions and are on complete isolation for 2 weeks.  They have all had Covid tests and are negative before coming to us, but in case something pops up, the isolation has to happen.

Here it is...  not pretty is it?  There are 6 rooms behind the plastic,  3 are privates, 3 are semi-private.  When we go into here we put on a N95 mask and new gown, wash in and when we come back out.

However,  we just got new rules from the CDC and now have to wear a gown, mask and face shield whenever we are anywhere in the building but in an office, so we have one face shield to wear on the regular unit, and one to wear when we go into the isolation unit.

Here I am - this is my attire every time I step out of my office.  I'm lucky that I can take it off sometimes.  The poor nurses, aides and housekeepers on the floor have to wear it all day, and I can tell you that it's very hot and uncomfortable.  I had to work the floor last weekend and had an aide actually get sick because she was so hot.  Plus it's hard to hear when people have to talk through all that.
The other thing that's going on is testing...    Our state has now mandated testing.  It's done weekly for staff and residents.  This is hard on our residents with dementia.  They have already gone for 4 months without seeing their loved ones face to face, they have had no personal Dr visits, the beautician can't come in so the only hair cuts they've had are the ones that staff has attempted and we are not professionals by any means.  Some of them were already scared of the masks and now have to see us with face shields and gowns on.  They can't hear or understand us well and now we are putting things up their noses every week.
The tests are proving to be a problem.  I have heard they are not very accurate and after seeing what's happening to us, I believe it.  We've had people come up positive with absolutely no symptoms.   We are checking vitals every 4 hours around the clock, and doing a check for symptoms at that same time.  I know that people can get this with no symptoms, but everyone?  And how can they test negative one week, positive the next and then on the recheck the next day be negative again?   We haven't had a single person that tested positive once, get a positive result on the next test.
Once staff is positive, they need to be taken off the schedule, which makes total sense - but we are short staffed and they lose their pay.  And if we can't trust the tests - it's for no reason.
Also - once they test positive, it doesn't matter how many negatives they get - it's counted as a Covid case.
I have talked to people in a few other facilities who are dealing with the same thing.  I am thankful that no one in our facility has been sick, just a positive test result.
I know Covid is real, I know some people get very sick from it, and I know we need to be careful (especially with the population I work with), but I also think there are things going on that make no sense and honestly look very suspicious.  I will also say that the medical people I know who work at various hospitals are saying the same thing and none of them are seeing the numbers that keep being reported - which may be due to false positive tests.
The other thing that's happening is people are getting out of the medical field.  It isn't that the disease scares them - it's dealing with a whole lot of regulations which make a lot more work and further isolates patients and takes away from patient care - without seeing the benefits to all these new rules. The weekly testing and paperwork alone takes 3 days, and speaking for myself, I'm working late every day and feel like I can never get done what I should, much less spend time with our residents who need it now, more than ever.
When this all started I was worried about getting Covid.  Now I am expecting that one of my weekly tests will come back positive and I will be fine, but unable to work and added to the positive count.
That's it for my rant!  I know some of you will probably not agree with this and that's ok.  I'm just sharing what it looks like on the inside.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Birthday drive

My Dad turned 89 in March, my stepmom turned 91 in June.  With all the covid issues we couldn't do much to celebrate, so we waited and finally did something on Saturday.
We rented a van, and my brother, 2 sisters and myself drove with Dad and Ann to Traverse City.  It's about 2 1/2 hours north of us.  Dad has always loved to go for a drive, but his eyesight is getting worse so he only drives short distances in his little town.  We knew he would appreciate the drive and also having all his kids with him.  Ann has always enjoyed going up north so we knew she would like it too.

We left about 9:45 am; Terri and Cheri were in the back, Ann and I in the middle, Duane was driving and Dad was up front with him.

It was a sunny day and a pretty drive.  We got to the restaurant where we planned to eat at 12:30, and were told that the wait time was about 30 minutes.  Because of Covid, we had to wait outside.

 We had a pretty spot to sit and wait, looking over Lake Michigan.  Us "kids" sat at this table....

 Dad and Ann sat on the comfy chairs.

Here's our view while we waited!

We had a not nice surprise though...   because of Covid, they were not seating more than 5 at a table!
So, they gave us 2 tables kitty corner from each other, but we were bummed not to sit together.  But there was nothing we could do.

 So, Terri and Cheri sat at one table,

 Dad, Ann, Duane and I sat at another.

 Our view in the restaurant was also nice and the food was very good!

Here's me and my Dad.   He is the best and I sure do love him!   See that twinkle in his eye?  He's still full of mischief!

 Here's Dad and Ann after we ate.  She is a blessing to Dad and to us too.  We are thankful for all she has brought to our family and the joy she brought Dad after mom passed away.  But, although she smiles and laughs all the time - I can't get a good photo of her smiling!  She always scrunches up her face when the camera comes out.

It was 2:30 by the time we started back home.  Duane took back roads instead of highways, which was fun for both Dad and Ann as they remembered so many places.
We had a good time talking about memories of their youth, naughty things Dad did, memories of his parents....
We got home after 6, so it was a long day, but a very good day!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Cooking Thursday

Here's something I made recently for Sunday morning breakfast.  It's not good for a regular thing, but makes a nice occasional treat!  It's called Cinnabun cake after the Cinnabun cinnamon rolls.  The recipe says it's a Cinnamon Roll in a cake!  We thought it was very good!

Cinnabon Roll Cake

3 cups flour
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 T butter melted
2 sticks 1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 T cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer or stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Once that is combined, you slowly stir in 4 T melted butter. Pour the batter into a greased 9×13 inch pan.
In a medium sized bowl, mix the softened butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts if you are using them. Drop evenly over the cake better in your 9×13 inch pan. Use a knife to marble and swirl over the cake.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out nearly clean from center.

2 cups powdered sugar

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Monday, July 20, 2020

Six Little Stories

A little village had been suffering a drought. The villagers decided to gather for prayer.  On the day of the gathering, all the villagers came, but only one small boy brought his umbrella.
That is faith.

When you throw babies in the air, they laugh, knowing you will catch them.
That is trust.

Every night we go to bed with no assurance of waking the next day, but yet we set our alarms.
That is hope.

We plan for tomorrow, without knowledge of the future.
That is confidence.

We see the world suffering, but we marry and have children.
That is love.

An old man was wearing a shirt with this written on it - "I am not 80 years old, I'm sweet 16 with 64 years of experience!"
That is attitude.

Have a good day and always try to keep all six of these things in your life!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

July Flowers

Here's a little peek into our back yard and what's blooming right now.

 Spirea bush

 This is a surprise lily.  We ordered something called carpet lilies, that were supposed to be 6 inches tall.  Imagine our surprise when they turned out to be 2 feet, with huge flowers!  But we still like them!

 Oak Leaf Hydrangea

 This is a butterfly weed, with a bonus butterfly to show that they really do attract them!

 A peek at the backyard from Bob's shop.

 The coneflowers are just starting to bloom.

 Our climbing rose is full of blooms.

 The side yard

Coral Bells

Have I mentioned that I love summer and all the different flowers?

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Cooking Thursday

Here's a recipe for some bars that are perfect for when you need to feed quite a few people.  It makes a jelly roll pan, so you get a big bunch.  They are also very easy to do!  I used to make these a lot when my kids needed to bring goodies to school or church.  It's a recipe my mom got from my aunt when I was  in my teens, so it's an oldie - but a goodie!

Butterfinger bars

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup melted butter
4 cups oatmeal
6 ounces chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugars, butter and oatmeal together.  Press into a greased 10x15 pan.  Bake 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.
Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together.  Spread over bars.
Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Monday, July 13, 2020

Backyard visitors

We have a Maple tree in our backyard and right now the seeds are coming down like crazy.  It makes the yard look a bit messy, but we have some cute visitors that are really enjoying it.
These squirrels are out there almost every time I look.  They are so fun to watch,  Our tree has a type of bark that peels and we've seen them sitting on a piece, like a little ledge on the tree trunk.

Then I saw something smaller and there was a little chipmunk busy eating too.   Bob isn't always happy with the chipmunks because they dig tunnels under his flowers, but who can resist that little face?

Aren't they all cute?

Sunday, July 12, 2020


Friday night Alaina and Ruby spent the night with us.  When we got to their house to pick them up, we noticed something different.

 They had pink and blue in their hair!  They said a new troll movie came out and Laura helped them put pink and blue in their hair to be like the trolls.  Alaina's is already washing out, but they thought it was great fun!

 They love to play in the driveway, riding bikes and the scooter.  They thought it was great fun to pull Grandpa around in the wagon.

 Here they were inspecting a caterpillar.

The evening was full of fun and they fell asleep as soon as they got in bed!

 On Saturday morning, we tried out something I had seen online.  It showed how to make a bunny and a teddy bear from a washcloth with no sewing.  It involved rolling the washcloth, twisting it and folding it, then putting rubber bands on.  The bunny also had eyes, nose and tail hot glued on.  It wasn't as easy the sites promised, but we got them done and the girls were happy.

 Here's the bunny...

 and the teddy bear.

Around noon we headed to my Dad's house so I could do a pill set up.  The girls like this, and we often pick up McDonalds to eat there. 

Here's my Dad with Alaina.  He loves those girls!
While they were eating their lunch, Dad was sitting between the two of them.  Ruby looks up and him and asks "Grandpa, why do old people get wrinkles?"   He thought that was hilarious and I know he'll be sharing that with his friends.    :)

 And Ann loves them too.  She was walking around the yard with them, showing them her flowers.  She had just finished weeding when we got there.  She's 91 years old!

Dad and Ann have this swing on their porch and the girls think it's the best.  They love to sit out there with them.

After our visit there, it was time to bring them home.  We had picked up some flowers at a roadside stand for Ann and for their mom, so they were anxious to give them to her.
We always have fun, and are so blessed to have them close and be able to spend time with them!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Cooking Thursday

I have a yummy recipe for you today! We went to my sister Cheri's house for supper on the 4th and she asked me to bring a salad.  They were grilling burgers so I thought a potato salad would be good.  I found this recipe that's a little different from the normal potato salad.  It's another recipe that is really easy, and it was so good!

Red skin Potato Salad

2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, quartered
1 pound bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
3 large eggs, hard boiled and cooled, then chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoons mustard
6 green onions, finely chopped
1 small red onion, diced
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Boil potatoes until fork tender.  Drain and let cool for about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, green and red onions, sugar, salt and pepper.
Place the potatoes, eggs and bacon into a large bowl.
Stir mayo mix into potato mix and refrigerate.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Monday, July 6, 2020

Back Entry progress

You may remember earlier in the year that Bob was working on our back entry.  It's not a big spot, just a little section that leads from the garage into the kitchen, but it needed a little love.

The first thing he did was to replace the back door,  He also put up new trim to match what he's been doing in other areas of the house.

He then put up board and batten 3/4 of the way up one wall.
He's had this done for awhile and I was having a hard time decorating it.  I had found a cute little wreath I wanted to hang, but I was looking for a large sign of some type to hang above it.  Finding the right size was the first problem, but I also wanted one with a phrase that would be good to read as we left for the day.
Finally I found just the right one!  Bob was so good and got it hung right up and I love how it looks and what it says,

It's a print, mounted in an old window.  It says:

New Day
"This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or use it for good, but what I do today is important because
I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will
be gone forever, leaving in it's place something that I have traded for it.
I want it to be gain, and not loss; good, and not evil.  Success and not failure;
in order that I shall not regret the price I have paid for it."              Heartsill Wilson

Here's how it looks hanging up.  I love the new look!!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

A Day in my Life

July is here!  It's been an unusual year to say the least, but we're halfway through.
July 1 was a normal Wednesday at work for me.  Here's a few photos of my day.

7:10 - I'm on the way to work.  When it's nice out, I usually take the back roads in.  It's so much prettier!

The sun is up, it looks like it's going to be a beautiful day!

 I have a short drive in and arrive at 7:20.  Here's my desk, ready for the day.

I brought my refrigerator oatmeal with me for breakfast and ate it while I was doing my initial paperwork.  I have a few things I always do right away.  I check the pharmacy website where I get notifications on any medications that insurance is denying.  (This is quite frustrating and happens far too often.  And often they don't tell us what they will cover.  We need to order another med and then hope it's covered).   See that mask?  I have to wear one every time I step out of my office, but at least I can take it off when I'm in it.
Another thing I do is check skin assessments.  Every resident needs one done a week and is on a schedule.  I need to check all the ones that were done the day before to make sure there are no problems.
I then go to both units, check in with the nurses to see how everything is going and if there are any concerns.
On this day our PA was going to be doing a few admissions, so I got history's, labs, vitals, hospital records together and faxed them to him.  Because of Covid, they are still not allowed in the building, so all visits are done via Skype.  This means they can't look at the chart and it needs to be faxed.

At 9:30 we have a managers meeting which I won't bore you with because you've heard about it before.  It happens every day and takes about 45 minutes.  When that meeting is done, the director of nursing, the assistant director of nursing and myself stay and check scheduling and any nursing issues.

After this, I reviewed some things I need to order.  I'm in charge of making sure we have what we need for feeding tubes, catheters, tracheostomy supplies and other ostomy supplies.  I put in an order each week.

Shortly after 11 the PA called and said he was ready to see the admissions.

This is another result of Covid.  This is a section of our rehab wing.  The whole section is in isolation because any new admissions have to be in isolation for 2 weeks.  We don't accept anyone who has it, and they have to test negative before coming, but there is always a chance that they were exposed in the hospital and could still develop it.  So far - we have had no cases!

 Here's a close up of the sign.  PPE is Personal Protective Equipment.  Before we can enter this area we have to put on a N95 mask, goggles, gown, gloves.  It's very time consuming and the sad side effect is that the people who are in this section don't get staff dropping in to see them, like they do in the regular rooms.
So I got all my PPE on and went in, then called the PA and we saw a few people.  Then it all needs to come off and hands get washed coming out.
I made notes on the visit, put in new orders, updated families and scanned all the PA notes into the chart.

Here's what my desk looks like in the middle of the day - lots of papers and notebooks on it!!

 Here's something that was happening in the afternoon.  Our state is now making us test each resident and staff member weekly.  I'll tell you we aren't real happy about it.  We are already screening people every 4 hours, including staff and have had no covid.  If anyone had it or even had symptoms, it would make more sense.  This is not a fun test, and for people with dementia it's very scary.  They don't understand why someone is putting something up their nose, and they are already having so many changes because of this  - no visitors, supposed to stay 6 feet apart from everyone if they come out of their rooms, wear a mask if they come out...  and they just don't understand it.
Anyway - I had to have my test, and help with some others.  Each test had 3 sheets of paperwork that needed to be filled out.  Covid is making a lot more work in many ways...

After that, I worked on ordering labs.  I had to enter all the lab orders for the next month.
I then worked on some staff evaluations.

 This is our enclosed patio.  There are usually some people sitting out there, but it was very warm on this day, about 90 degrees in the afternoon, so we were keeping everyone in.

 At 5:15 my day was done.  I like to make sure my desk is cleaned off when I leave.  I don't want to come back to a mess the next day!

Here's my ride home - down that same back road I took in the morning.  Look at that sky!

I got home around 5:30.  We had leftovers for supper so that was easy!
Bob had a men's group at church so he left about 6:15.
I took a walk around the yard and checked out the flowers.

Our climbing roses are full of blooms.

I made lunches for the next day and then relaxed.  Bob made it home shortly after 8 and we went to bed around 10:30.
It was another good day!