Monday, February 28, 2022

A furry visitor

 The office that I work in has 2 full walls of windows.  Outside those windows are a lot of trees and bushes, and on the other side of those trees is a golf course.  That means no big buildings or houses to look at, and it also means that it's a place the wildlife likes.

We have bird feeders outside the windows and get so many birds!  Lately, it's been lots of cardinals.  One day we counted 10 male cardinals out there at one time.  We also get blue jays, hawks, sparrows and woodpeckers.  They are fun to watch.
We also get some bigger animals.  Last week we saw several deer, and there is always evidence of them in their tracks in the snow.  We see rabbits and have even seen fox.

Here's a little visitor that was hanging around last week.  He wanted the birdseed, but never was able to get it.  However, one of the nurses took pity on him and threw some out on the snow.

"Are you looking at me?"

He even came to the back door and hung out on the door handle for a while.  We thought he was a cute interruption to our work!

Sunday, February 27, 2022

A cold trip to the beach

 I live in Allendale, Michigan.  It's not a big town, but it's a great location.  We are 20 minutes one way from Grand Rapids and 20 minutes the other way from the lakeshore - of Lake Michigan.
I was in Grand Haven last week and decided to drive over to the lighthouse.  We love it in the summer, but it's pretty in the winter too.

It's been very cold and we had another snowstorm last week.  However, this week it's supposed to warm up, maybe even making it to 45 degrees next Saturday.  So, I think that the ice I saw will soon be a thing of the past. I'm so ready for warmer weather!

Here's how the Grand Haven Lighthouse looked last week.  

It was very cold out there so I didn't stay long!

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Cooking Thursday

 You guys - I made such a yummy supper!  You've probably heard of sheet pan dinners.  I've heard of them but never tried them. Then I found this recipe.  Bob loves sausage so I knew I had to try it.  It's so easy and it had wonderful flavor.  I'll be looking for more sheet pan recipes.

Italian Sausage Dinner

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
6 carrots
6 new potatoes
1/2 to 3/4 pound Italian sausage links, raw

Add first 5 ingredients to a large ziploc bag.
Cut carrots into bite size pieces and microwave on high for 4 minutes
Cut potatoes into bite size pieces. 
Cut sausage links into 3 inch pieces and add to ziploc bag with potatoes and carrots.  Shake to mix well.
Spray sheet pan with non-stick spray.  Pour all ingredients out of bag onto sheet pan and spread out.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45-55 minutes until vegetables and tender and sausage is cooked.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Monday, February 21, 2022

Cassie comes over!

We had a little visitor this weekend.  Cassie came on Saturday morning and stayed until Sunday afternoon while Heather and Andrew took a little trip to Frankemuth.
Cassie's been here before, and the last time was less than a month ago, however this time she was teething and really wanted Dad and Mom, and Grandpa and Grandma weren't a good substitute.
Shortly after she got here on Saturday, we went to my Dad's so I could check on him and set up his meds.  My sister Cheri came along because he had some paperwork he wanted us both to look at.
Cassie usually likes Dad and my stepmom Ann, but she was pretty anti-social on this visit.

She did like sitting in Great Grandpa's chair though!

She wouldn't sit by him but she did let him talk to her!

When we got home, she did a little investigating.

And took a nap, snuggled with Grandma, which Grandma didn't mind a bit!

Grandpa came home from work, and they played a bit.  However, things got worse at that point.  She was tired and was looking for Dad and Mom.  She would walk to the back door and then start crying.  It took a bit to get her to sleep, but by 9 she was sleeping, and she slept until 8 on Sunday morning.

We were going to bring her to the nursery, but in her state, we thought it would be better for her and the nursery workers if I stayed home with her.  Here she is trying to crawl over a riding toy she tipped over.  :)

Our church live streams the service, so I was able to watch it while she took a short nap.

She decided that she had to keep me in view at all times.  Every time I walked out of the room, she followed.

This poor child was set down by her Grandma, and then Grandma walked into the kitchen.  Isn't that the saddest face?

Eating lunch.  She loves strawberries!

She was really concentrating on those strawberries!  Look at those lashes!  She didn't get those from me...

Grandpa came home from church and she enjoyed getting bits of our lunch too.  She played and little and then settled down in Grandma's lap for a nice nap.
While she was sleeping, Heather and Andrew came to get her.  The look on her face when she opened her eyes and saw Heather was so sweet!  And then a minute later, when she saw her Dad, there were more smiles.

Papa is here and all is well with her world.

It was a hard weekend, but fun too.  Hopefully the next time she comes, the teeth are through, and she is feeling better!
PS - She loves to pick things up and put them into things.  My computer mouse is missing and even after putting all the toys away, we haven't found it! 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Mystery Reader

 Last week I got to be a Mystery Reader for Ruby's class.  It's something they do every Friday at the end of the day.  The teacher asks for volunteers at the beginning of the year and it fills up fast.  When I signed up, it was already up to February!  So, when I got my new job, I asked right away if I'd be able to have that Friday off and they said it wouldn't be a problem.
The mystery reader is a parent or grandparent.  None of the kids know who it is until they come, and each child is thrilled when they find it is their person!
Ruby had asked me a few months ago if I could come and be a mystery reader and I had to give her a non-definitive answer, knowing my time was coming.
The week before, Bob got his schedule and surprise!  He had Friday off.  He never has Friday off, but this meant he got to go along and I knew Ruby would be even more excited.

This is the book I took along to read.  Ruby loves bunnies, so I knew she would enjoy it.  It's about a little stuffed bunny with a smudge on it, so she sits in a barrel in the store and isn't chosen.  Until this little girl comes along and chooses her, gives her a name and loves her.  It's a cute book with a good message!

I also found these cute bunny pens to give each of the kids.

The kids were at an assembly when we arrived, so we waited in the room.

Here are the kids coming in.  Ruby is just coming in the door, and when she realized it was us, she had the biggest smile on her face.

The kids had lots of questions and seemed to enjoy the book. When we were done, Ruby got to leave with us.  We waited a bit for Alaina so we could take her too.
We stopped at a bakery to get a treat before going home.

They each chose these cute puppy cookies. 
What a fun afternoon!

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Cooking Thursday

 I don't remember where I got today's recipe.  It's one that I've had saved to try for a while, and I finally got around to it.
This is a very rich bar, so a small piece will be sufficient.  It's not one I'll make very often because it's so rich, but it's a yummy, gooey bar that's a wonderful treat!

Flourless Marshmallow Crunch Brownies
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1 bag mini marshmallows (10.5 oz. or 5.5 cups)
2 cups chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)
1 1/4 cups peanut butter
5 tablespoons butter
3 cups Rice Krispies

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. 
Combine the sugars and oil and beat until well combined. Add in the eggs and vanilla and whisk together. Beat for about two minutes. 
Add the cocoa powder and salt to the batter and blend until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan. 
Bake the brownies for about 17 minutes and then top with the marshmallows. Continue baking 8 more minutes. Allow to cool while you prepare the topping.
For the topping, combine the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a microwave safe dish. Microwave thirty seconds at a time, stirring at each interval, until smooth and melted. Fold in the Rice Krispies. 
Lay dollops of the topping evenly across the top of the cooled brownies and then spread to cover the entire top. Wait until completely cooled to cut. You can keep these in the fridge for a chewier crispier brownie or on the counter for a gooier brownie. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Monday, February 14, 2022

Owl Cupcakes

 Last weekend when the girlies were over, we made cupcakes.  I had seen a cute way to make owl cupcakes and I knew they would enjoy making them.

I made the cupcakes ahead of time and had picked up a container of frosting at the store to make it easy.

Here's Alaina frosting her cupcakes.  

When we had them frosted, we opened oreo's and used them for the eyes.  We found it wasn't easy to get them open and keep the frosting neat.  You use one side with the frosting on and put two on each cupcake.

The directions said to use brown M&M's for the eyes, and use colored ones for the nose.  However, I couldn't find regular M&M's, even in the little bags at the checkout.  So, I bought peanut ones, but we found they didn't work for eyes.  So here you see Ruby using a little of the chocolate frosting for the center of the eyes.

Here they are, each holding one of their cupcakes.

Here's one of the finished cupcakes. If we had regular M&M's, the nose would be one put in sideways, which makes it look more like an owl.

Here's a pan of them, ready to bring home.  You can see that they didn't decorate them all the same, they just had fun doing what they wanted!

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Happy Valentine's Day!

 We celebrated Valentine's Day a little early.  Our church has had a Valentine's supper for the last few years and every year more people come.  This year there were 130 people who came.  They served two suppers on Friday night; one at 5:30 and the second at 6:45.
We went to the second supper, as we both were working that day.

We had to reserve our spots in advance, and they assigned us to tables.  Some tables had 2 couples, others had 3.  This isn't only for couples, some of the widows in our church came together because they wanted to take part in it too.

They had everything decorated very nicely.

We had ordered what we wanted ahead of time.  They had prime rib or chicken, beans or corn, mashed potatoes or rice pilaf, soup or salad.  They have prime rib every year and it's restaurant quality. There was even a selection of deserts to choose from at the end. The whole meal was excellent, and they provided carry out boxes for the leftovers.

We were at a table with 2 other couples.  This is our friend P.J., and that's not a bow tie, he was goofing around with his napkin.

This is my friend Mara who was also at our table.  We all said the fun at the table was as good as the food!

The youth from our church do all the serving.  They are always a little nervous, but end up having a good time.  Here's a few of them relaxing when things were winding up.

It was a fun night; we thought even better than going out to some fancy restaurant!

One more thing...    Happy Birthday to my best Valentine's gift!  Our daughter Heather was born on Valentine's Day.  Heather; we hope you have a wonderful day!

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Cooking Thursday

 This is a Freezer meal recipe I made last week.  It's a baked spaghetti, that I think is much better than plain spaghetti.  Plus, it's so easy to double and put some in the freezer! 
Each batch of this makes a 9x13 pan.  I double it and put it into 4 8x8 pans; we eat one and the other 3 go into the freezer for later.

Baked Spaghetti
1 16 oz package spaghetti
1 26 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
5 tbsp butter, softened
2 cups ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, whisk the eggs, Parmesan cheese, salt and butter.
Add spaghetti noodles to egg mixture and mix well.
Place half of the spaghetti mixture in a large, greased baking dish.
Top with a very thin layer of ricotta cheese, sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Repeat layers.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 15-20 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
To freeze, wrap tightly with foil.  Let thaw before baking and follow regular baking instructions.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Monday, February 7, 2022

A Day in my Life - February

As usual, I'm sharing the first day of the month with you.  I'm glad to see February arrive; Spring is closer and the days are getting longer!

Tuesday's are my day off so here's how I spent a day without going to work.
I slept in until 8am (So wonderful!)
I got up and got ready and did a little pick up/clean up around the house.

and started the laundry.

I washed a few dishes and ran the dishwasher.

Then I left the house to run some errands.

I stopped at the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions and some valentines.

I had my nails done - the hardest part is choosing a color!

I filled up my tank and was irritated because the day before when I drove past, it was $3.10 a gallon - and on the day it had risen to #3.38!

I picked up groceries.

I drove home and admired the winter beauty.

I put away the groceries and finished the laundry, also ate some lunch and then was back on the road, heading to church for a 1:00 meeting.

I like the way the snow layers in ditches in the winter - and the water keeps running in them.

I spent about an hour at church.  We are planning a home-making workshop.  Myself and one other lady are teaching meal planning, freezer meals and money saving tips.  They are also having classes on men's haircuts, beginning knitting and crocheting, bread making.  It will be a fun Saturday!

This was my view on the way home.  We had freezing rain and then lots of snow predicted.  It did get pretty nasty that night and the next day.

When I got home, I made some freezer meals.  I made a baked Spaghetti recipe - 3 went into the freezer and one was for our supper. (I'll share the recipe later this week!)

When that was done, I spent some time working on my Sunday School study.  This is a very interesting book on the Old Testament feasts. and how they apply to us today.  

We had some baked spaghetti for supper - it was good!

I was just getting ready to settle down for the night, when I got a call from my sister, asking if I could run over to her house to look at some wallpaper she got.  She's redoing a room to make it a guest room.  I told her she was lucky I loved her because I wasn't feeling like going back out in the cold!  And it helps that she lives just around the corner from me!

Here's the paper - going up on just one accent wall.  It looked really good.

Then I came home and got on my pj's.  :)

I watched this show 'The Established Home'.  It's a show on the Magnolia Network.  This lady is a designer and I like seeing what she does, but the best part is that she is based in Grand Rapids and it's so fun to see areas I know pop up on the tv.

And soon it was time to go to bed.  I knew I needed to get up early to drive in through another snow storm in the morning!