Sunday, January 31, 2021

I really miss that

Here are a few little stories that remind me not to wish my life away.  It's easy sometimes to wish we had what someone else has, but we never know the whole story and there is always something to be thankful for!

A tired, new mother wears her baby through the aisles of Target, hair in a messy bun and eyes burning from sleep deprivation. She pauses briefly to pull a stylish dress from a discount rack, wondering if the flowy ruffles would conceal her post-partum pudge. “$25 is a lot of money,” she ponders aloud, placing the frock back with a frown. Then, she hears the giggles of two women. She watches as they mindlessly shop the same section with fresh makeup and smiles. Their carts are loaded up as they turn to the dressing room, hot lattes in hand. A pang of envy sneaks into her gut.
“I really miss that,” she whispers, pushing her cart toward the diaper aisle, kissing the hair of her snoozing infant.
The woman found herself walking through the sale racks, grabbing items and tossing them into the shopping cart. As grateful as she was that her best friend flew in from out of state, all she really wanted was to be home beneath the covers. This was supposed to be an outing to “get her mind off the pain”. But everywhere she looked, there were mamas with babies or growing bellies. She took a sip of her chesnut latte and threw a beige leather purse in her cart, pushing back tears. Her hand wandered down to the place a baby once grew. Oh, how she longed for a kick in her belly, or any proof of the growing life that once existed inside. Her eyes wandered toward a tired new mama, kissing her baby’s head and strolling toward the diaper aisle.
“I really miss that,” she thinks, heading to the dressing room with her friend.
A teenager rolls her eyes and huffs loudly. “Mom, they wouldn’t sell it in the JUNIORS section if it was inappropriate for my age. I don’t know why you are so ridiculous about this. I can’t wear anything that’s cool!” Her mother hesitantly eyes the floral halter top, inspecting it’s spaghetti straps and short-length waist. “Honey, if it was just a little bit longer…” her voice trails off as her daughter storms away. She pushes the cart after her, throwing the flowery halter into the basket. As she makes her way after the angry teen, she hears a toddler squeal with delight. She smiles and watches as the toddler’s mother lifts him out of the shopping cart and nuzzles him close for a hug.
“I really miss that,” she thinks to herself.
Toddler mama nuzzles her little man with a hug. After months of teething and sleep-deprivation, she was beginning to feel defeated. But last night Little Man slept 7 hours. Seven. Whole. Hours. She felt somewhat human after a ginormous coffee and a frantic, 2-minute shower. One good day almost wiped out the memory of 100 bad ones. Maybe, just maybe, they were turning a corner. She placed her son back in the cart with a kiss, and headed toward check-out.
“Thank God for one. good. day.” she thinks with a smile.
The little old lady with powder-gray hair fumbles for the Target dog sticker when she sees a young mom approaching. 60 years of hard work, and Miss Betsy still couldn’t find it in her heart to retire. Her joints ache from standing and scanning, but she still finds joy in the interactions she would otherwise not receive in her quiet, dusky apartment.
She offers a receipt and a sticker to the mom with a toddler. She blows kisses to the bouncy boy. He giggles in return.
She smiles at the woman with a full cart at checkout. “What a lovely purse you found! It will work with every season!”
She gives a knowing wink to the mother with a teenager, whose daughter has her arms crossed with a pout. (Mom decided against the floral halter, after all). The sweet old lady hands the receipt to mom, then addresses her daughter.
“Thank God for every day you have your mother. I lost mine twenty years ago, and not a day goes by that I don't miss the chance to argue with her.”
And as the teenager rolls her eyes and mumbles “yes ma’am”, Miss Betsy closes her checkout lane and clocks out for break. With tears gathering in her eyes, and memories flooding her mind, she quietly whispers:
“I really miss that.”

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Cooking Thursday

 Todays recipe is one for your crock pot.  This one is so easy  - just throw everything in the crock pot and turn it on!  It's very flavorful, be sure you put some of the sauce over it when you serve it.

Rustic Ranch Chicken and Potatoes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 medium potatoes, not peeled, cut into chunks
12 ounces frozen sliced carrots
1 large (23 oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (1 oz.) packet dry ranch dressing mix
½ cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
fresh thyme, for garnish

Spray a 6-7 quart crock pot/slow cooker with non-stick spray OR use a plastic liner.
Place cut potatoes and carrots in the bottom of crockpot. Layer chicken breasts on top of the vegetables.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cream of chicken soup, dry ranch dressing mix and milk. Pour this mixture evenly over the chicken. Place butter on top.
Cover crock pot and cook on low heat for about 9 hours or until chicken is cooked through.
You can shred the chicken into smaller pieces if you wish.
Top with some fresh thyme (optional).

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Monday, January 25, 2021

Work update


Some of you have asked me how things are going at work, so I thought I would do a little update.
I'm happy to tell you that we have still had no cases of covid in our building!  We've had some staff who have had it, but no residents and that is something we are very thankful for.
The staff still have to be tested twice a week, and we also have to be screened - which includes a temp check and a questionnaire when we come, when we leave and every 4 hours between that. 
We have to wear a K95 mask everywhere in the building, goggles when we are anywhere near the residents and full personal protective gear whenever we are in isolation rooms.  All of our new residents have to be in isolation for 2 weeks after admitting, and other residents are in isolation for 2 weeks if they have to go out for any reason.
The sad thing is that we are still not allowed to have any visitors.  So our people can still not see their families.  People come for window visits, but it sure is not the same, especially when it's so cold outside.
We have a couple who have been with us for several years.  The husbands health has really declined and because of that their 2 sons were allowed to come in for a visit. The husband didn't really realize what was going on, but the wife was just overwhelmed, crying and so happy to see her boys.  There were tears shed by staff as well and it just reminded us again of how much has been taken from these people.
In other news, our director of nursing is having a knee replacement on February 1.  That means the other unit manager and myself will have to take turns being on call, every other week.  Right now I only have to do it every 3 weeks and it's always a long week.  Plus, we are going to have to split up her work.  I'm thinking February may be a long month for us!

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Long overdue porch report!

 I think I mentioned in passing this summer that we were having  a porch built onto our house.  It's something we've always wanted, and something we've been trying to do for the past two years.
However, contractors are in huge demand in this area.  There is so much building going on, that finding someone to do a smaller job seems about impossible

Early this summer, Bob talked to the builder who built his brothers house last year, and he agreed to the job.  Still - it's been a long process.  Between waiting for him, and then all the other people we needed (cement laying, roofers, window replacement...)  we reached December with most of it done, but still not complete.

Here's some pictures of different stages to show you what's been happening.

Here's our house last summer before anything happened.

Bob tore out all the landscaping and the old front steps.

In late August, the cement guys showed up.

One day they did the porch.

About a week later they came back and did the walk.

The finished cement work.
Then we waited some more.

In October the framers showed up and started framing in the new porch.

Progress being made!
After this roofers came and re-roofed the whole house.  We had a new front window installed and a new door put in.  Someone else came and redid the gutter system.  
Then the builder came back and put up new siding on the front, put cedar roofing on the porch and wrapped the beams with cedar.

This is what it's looking like now.  Its not done, but the rest has to wait until Spring.  The rest of the house will be painted to match the new siding on the front.  The pillars on the porch will have stonework applied on the bottom and the rest of the wood has to be finished.  The landscaping has to be redone and the yard is a mess with lots of ruts from big trucks running over it! The doors have to be painted. Last but not least - we need some rocking chairs on that porch!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Cooking Thursday

 Today I have 2 recipes for you.  One is for a roast I kept seeing and finally made when my sister told me I had to try it.  The second is for sliders using the left over roast.  This roast is so good - it falls apart and has great flavor.  And then the sliders - absolutely yummy!  So buy a good sized roast and plan for leftovers!

I didn't take pics of the roast, but here's one of the sliders.

Mississippi Pot Roast

1 (3-4 pounds) chuck roast
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 packet au jus gravy mix
1/4 cup butter
4-5 pepperoncini peppers (You can buy these in a jar. I've skipped them too and the outcome is still good)

Place roast in the slow cooker and sprinkle the top with the ranch dressing mix and the au jus mix. Place peppers on top of the mixes, and add the butter.
Cook over low heat for at least 10 hours. Serve with noodles, rice or mashed potatoes. Enjoy!
(Do not add any water or broth to this! It will make enough liquid as it cooks.)

Here's the bonus recipe I use for the leftovers. These are the best sliders ever!

Roast Beef Sliders

Left over beef and broth
one package small slider buns
swiss cheese, sliced
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard

Shred the leftover beef. Strain any broth that is left and heat on stovetop. Thicken with cornstarch flurry and stir back into shredded beef. Warm beef and broth.
Mix mayonnaise and mustard together.
Slice buns and spread mayo/mustard mix on top half.
Put beef on bottom half of bun, top with swiss cheese and put top half of bun on.
Place in pan and cover with foil.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Monday, January 18, 2021

Making Whirlygigs

 Last weekend when the girls came over we made whirlygigs.  They are decorated cardboard circles that you put cord through and make spin.  
I found the instructions on making them here.  This site also has a place where you can enter your e-mail and they will send you patterns you can print and use.  I did that and got some fun ones.

I printed off some of the patterns and cut out cardboard circles.  Here's Alaina gluing the pattern to the cardboard.

Then you use a kitchen skewer to poke 2 holes through it all.  I let Alaina do her own, but didn't think it was a good idea for Ruby, so I did hers.  :)

You then put some cord through and tie it. 

Here's Ruby making hers spin.

Alaina really got hers going too!

After we did one, I gave them paper to make their own designs for another one.

They had such fun figuring out patterns to draw.

and they both worked hard at getting it just how they wanted.

Here they are with their finished whirlygigs!
They had such fun doing this, and it was an easy and very inexpensive project!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Newborn photos!

 Yes, I have to share more photos of Cassie!  I'll try to slow down after this...  :)

I went over to Heather and Andrews last week to try and take some newborn photos of Cassie.  The plan was to come at a time when she was sleeping so we could position her how we wanted and get the pictures.  Well, that didn't work!  And every other time I've been there, she sleeps through everything. 
However, we still got some cute ones! Here's a few of my favorites.

This is a onesie they got before she was born.  And many of you know how long we prayed for a baby for them, so we had to get a pic of it.

"I'm a result of quarantine"     :)

We tried to get a few pictures of her swaddled up, but this was the only one we ended up with, because she kicks and pushes her arms out.  She's not a fan of swaddling!

Heather holding those cute little feet.

And Andrew holding her head.

A fun family shot.

She has the funniest expressions!

I don't think she appreciated me at this point either!  But she didn't cry...

And finally, at the very end, she fell asleep!   Modeling is hard work.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Friday Funny

Bob found this one and thought I would enjoy it.  Thankfully, they don't make us stick with the 6 feet distance when giving shots! 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Cooking Thursday

Here's a recipe I made on New Years Eve. We didn't do anything this year, but sat home and watched a movie, so I thought I would make something fun for us. This was easy to put together - I had actually done that the evening before knowing I was working a long day on Thursday. We both thought it was really good and the leftovers heated well in the microwave and still tasted good!

(not my pic - it was on the original site)

Hot Taco Dip
1 pound ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup water
16 ounce can refried beans
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced jalapenos
1 cup black olive slices
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack cheese
black olives, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add ground beef and cook until browned; drain. Add taco seasoning and water and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Spread refried beans into bottom of a round or rectangle baking dish.
Spread the taco meat over the layer of refried beans.
Sprinkle on diced tomatoes, diced jalapenos, and chopped olives.
Top with shredded cheeses.
Sprinkle black olives over top if desired.
Bake for 25 minutes or until heated through.
Serve with Frito's scoops and enjoy!
  1. Serve hot.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Monday, January 11, 2021

A girlie weekend!

 We had Alaina and Ruby over this weekend.  We hadn't been able to do that for about a month, so we were looking forward to seeing them again.

When we got to their house, we saw their art work hanging on the refrigerator.  The one on the left is Ruby's.  That's a picture of Aaron (who has a green truck) hauling home a Christmas tree.  The other two are done by Alaina.  They draw better at 6 and 9, than I ever did, or do now at 60!

When we got to our house, we started a project.  I saw something about making ice balls, using balloons.  You put food coloring in a balloon, then fill it with water and set it outside.  When it's frozen, you peel the balloon off.

Here they are helping carry out our water balloons.

We put them in the snow in the front yard. 

It got down to 16 degrees during the night and the girls couldn't wait to check them in the morning. We looked at them, but left them alone while we did some other things and checked them again in the early afternoon when I was taking them home.

When we checked them, we were surprised that they weren't totally frozen.  A couple of the balloons broke so we drained them and left them in our yard.  We loaded the others in a tub in the trunk of the car, hoping they didn't break on the way home!

We stopped to see Grandpa at work.  He had been telling them about the paint machine, and how they had 12 colors and with them, they could make any paint color.  They thought the machine was pretty cool!

We stopped to see Great Grandpa and Grandma and were sad that they weren't there, and then we went back to their house.
They have been working on a snow fort, so we thought our ice balls would be a perfect decoration for it. Thankfully none broke on the way there, so we peeled off the balloons and carefully put the ice balls on the fort.  They were careful to arrange the colors the way they wanted them.

They look pretty with the sun shining on them.

We'll see how long they last, but this was a fun and easy project and the girls loved the finished product!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Great Grandpa and Grandma meet Cassie

 Last week I took my Dad and step mom to meet Cassie.  I know I've told you before, but I have the best Dad and he just loves his family.  His grandkids and now his great-grandkids are such a joy to him and he couldn't wait to meet the 3rd great granddaughter.  My stepmom is also so sweet and loves those kids.  She was excited for this too.
It was extra special after having him go through having covid last month.  He's 89 and has had heart issues, so seeing him doing well and holding her was a joy!

Proud Grandpa!

He's still got the touch!

Great Grandma was happy to have a turn too.

A 4 generation picture!  (excuse my hair - no one told me it was sticking up!)  Andrew said this almost counts as a 5 generation picture, because my Dad is sitting in the rocking chair I was in last week, the one that was his Dad's, so we remembered him as we took the photo.

"Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children."
Proverbs 17:6