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Sunday, May 15, 2022

Tulip Time

We live about 20 minutes from Holland Michigan.  Every year, in May, Holland hosts a Tulip Time Festival and people come from all over our country, and some even come from other countries.  Tulip Time is a celebration of Dutch heritage and culture, and it's been held every year since 1929, except the last two years because of covid.  There are about 500,000 visitors, representing 40 countries.  One of the highlights of the week is the tulips - over 6 million bulbs are planted each year.  Another highlight is the Dutch Dancing, over 900 dancers in the traditional clothes worn in the late 1800's to early 1900's, including wooden shoes.
I usually try to visit Holland to see the tulips after the Festival is done, so I don't have to fight the crowds. This year my days off after the festival were looking busy, so my daughters Laura and Heather, and granddaughter Cassie braved the crowds and check things out last week.
It was a little cloudy the day we went but still very warm.


It's fun seeing people walking around in these Dutch costumes.



This is a covered carousel.




An old Dutch mailbox.




There are lots of things to buy in the shops, including so much delft!




Here's a view that includes the old windmill and the bridge over the canal.




The star of the show - acres of tulips!




Tulips of every variety...



and color!



The DeZaan Windmill - an authentic Dutch windmill that is 125 feet tall.  It was built in the Netherlands in 1761, and was moved to Holland, Michigan in 1964. It's the last windmill to leave the Netherlands. It is a working windmill.


Cassie riding on Mama's shoulders.



Cassie, Heather and Laura in front of the windmill.



It wasn't easy getting a picture of her, every time we set her down she got up and started investigating!



You could tour the windmill if you wanted to.




An authentic Dutch street organ.  We got to hear it play.




Another view of the canal...












It feels like you are actually in the Netherlands, with the old buildings and tulips.



I'm leaving you with my favorite tulips of the day:








If you're ever in Michigan in the beginning of May, stop in Holland and check out the tulips!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Cooking Thursday

 Here's a crockpot recipe we had recently.  It's kind of like lasagna in the crock pot!  It's got meat and sauce, a cream sauce, gooey cheese and pasta you don't have to cook ahead. It makes a lot and it is yummy!


Crockpot Million Dollar Pasta

2 lbs ground beef
1 (8 oz) block cream cheese softened
½ cup sour cream
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 (24 oz) jars spaghetti sauce divided use
1 (24 oz) jar water
1 (16 oz) box cavatappi or elbw pasta
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions:
Brown and crumble ground beef (season with salt and pepper.) Drain excess grease and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, sour cream, ricotta cheese, minced garlic and parsley.
In the bottom of a 6 quart (or larger) slow cooker, add half a jar of spaghetti sauce.
Evenly layer half the box of the pasta on top of sauce.
Pour remaining jar of spaghetti sauce over noodles.
Pour on half a jar of water.
Then layer half the cooked ground beef mixture over top.
Dollop the entire cream cheese mixture evenly as possible over the beef layer. Do not stir.
Evenly layer the rest of the pasta on top of the cream cheese layer.
Top with remaining jar spaghetti sauce
Pour another half jar of water on top of spaghetti sauce.
Finally, layer the rest of the cooked ground beef on top.
Cover and cook on low for about 3-4 hours.
Stir mixture, then layer with 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese.
Cover for an additional 15-20 minutes (until cheese is melted.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Monday, May 9, 2022

Spring!

 It's the most wonderful time of the year!  I know that song makes you think of Christmas, but I think Spring is the most wonderful time of the year.  Seeing the green pop out, blue skies, warm breezes, sunshine and flowers is just so wonderful and makes me happy.  (Not to mention, clear roads to drive on...)   :)  

Spring has been slow to arrive this year.  It's been unusually cold and rainy, but this coming week is supposed to be very nice and it's really looking like Spring here.

Here's some pics so you can see what it looks like in my little corner.


It's getting greener on my drive to work.  This is a field of onions.



The bunnies have been hopping all over outside our windows at work. 



In the front yard, the daffodils Bob planted last year have come up!




In the back yard, our flowering dogwood is full of blooms and the forsythia is such a pretty pop of yellow.



Our maple tree is the back yard will soon have leaves.  The little things hanging down are "helicopter" seed pods which will be floating all over the yard before too long.



I'm not sure what this is, but it's a bulb Bob planted quite a few years ago, and every year we get these dainty little flowers in the Spring.




These are Grecian wind flowers.  They are tiny little things that naturalize, and we get more every year.  The color is so brilliant!




Here's what they look like, on the edge of the yard.  When they are done blooming the whole plant just fades away.




Forsythia blooms



We have lots of shade in our yard, and hosta plants love shade, so there are lots of them around.  It's fun to see them pop up, almost looking like a tube, and then see the leaves open up.



One of my favorite things is seeing the trees around me get that tint of green, and within a week it seems all the leaves are open.  We're at that point now, and things will look very different in a week.




Here's some trees by our house.  Aren't those new leaves pretty?



Last is our weeping crab tree.  More pretty little flowers!


"For lo, the winter is past. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing of birds has come and the sound of the turtledove is heard in our land."
Song of Solomon 2: 12-12




Sunday, May 8, 2022

Mother's Day

 We had a wonderful Mother's Day here.  The sun was shining, the weather was warm and the flowers are blooming!

Our girls and their families came over Saturday evening to celebrate Mothers Day and we had such a nice time.
Aaron had smoked a pork roast and made pulled pork sandwiches which were so good!
The best part was seeing the grandkids interact.  Cassie is getting old enough that she likes playing with others and Alaina and Ruby have always loved doing things with her.


Cassie is still doing this funny smile when she sees that I am talking her picture.




She was eating supper here, but then starting fooling around with Alaina.




Showing us her nose.





And showing us Alaina's nose!



Alaina and Ruby made her a cape with some tissue paper and said she was Super Baby.  Ruby was reading her a book here.




Laura made this fabulous cake.




It's a Copycat recipe of Olive Gardens Black Tie Mousse Cake, and it was delicious!



Here's my attempts to get a pic of all three girls.  Cassie just wanted to go!





But I ended up with this one.  So sweet! 
It was a wonderful time together.  


Thursday, May 5, 2022

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Cooking Thursday

 I tried a new chicken recipe last week and it was very good!   It goes together quickly in a skillet, and the sauce is oh, so good!  You were supposed to have scallions for a garnish, but I had none in the house.  It would have added nice color, but it still tasted scrumptious!
I will definitely be making this again.



Asian Caramel Chicken

5 boneless chicken thighs.  (You can do them whole or cut into cubes)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
Cooked rice

In large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Season chicken with salt and cook until golden brown and cooked through.  Remove chicken to plate and set aside.
Return skillet to medium heat, add broth and scrape pan to get any browned bits into broth.  Stir in minced garlic and brown sugar.  Cook until mixture turns a deep amber, about 4 minutes.  Stir in vinegar and soy sauce.  
Bring to boil, whisking occasionally.  Allow to simmer, until mixture thickens.
Stir chicken back into glaze and heat through.
Serve over rice, garnish with scallions.


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Monday, May 2, 2022

A Day in my Life - May

 Happy May to all of you!

This month the first of the month fell on a Sunday, so my day is much different from my usual Day in my Life posts.  Here's how it went.


Bob and I usually go to church together on Sunday morning, but our Pastor was on vacation, and Bob had do a few things in the service, so he was out of the house early, to meet up with the man who was giving the message and make sure everything was set.

I left the house about 8:45.


We've been having so much rain lately, and it had really stormed on Saturday night, so it was a treat to see this beautiful day!  This is the view of our road, right when I pull out of the driveway.




Another view of that blue sky.




I got to church about 7 minutes before 9.  Sunday school starts at 9, so I headed right to my class.



Sunday School gets out around 10.  Here's the narthex with people talking and leaving their SS classes to get ready for the service.




Not too many people in the sanctuary yet, but by 10:15, when the service starts it's quite full.  We had a wonderful time of worship followed by a message on being made new in Christ.


We usually get out around 11:45.  Then we make our way out, do a little talking and make our way to our cars around 12:15.


Here's the view leaving the parking lot.  What happened to that beautiful blue sky?




Som dogwood trees I spotted on the way home.  We don't have much green yet, but these signs of Spring are very welcome!




We had an easy lunch - fajita quesidillas.  You use the same thing you do for fajitas, but put it between two flour tortillas and grill them.  So good!


It was a lazy afternoon.  I even took a nap, which is something I don't do often.  It felt great!


I started on next weeks Sunday school lesson.



By supper time, it was even darker.  The sun never came out - but it didn't rain either.  This is our back yard.




We had tuna melts for supper.





Then we watched Murder in Paradise, a British Detective Show, that I know some of you watch too.  It's a favorite over here.

It was a nice, relaxing day, and a good way to start the new month.