Thursday, April 28, 2022

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Cooking Thursday

 Today's recipe is an easy dessert, using a brownie mix.  Brownies, a silky chocolate filling and Cool Whip - perfect!

French Silk Brownie Dessert

 box brownie mix

French Silk Layer
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup butter, cubed
8 ounces Cool Whip

8 ounces Cool Whip
chocolate shaving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9x13 pan.  Prepare brownies as directed on box, bake and cool.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and mix until combined.
In a small microwave safe bowl, heat the semi-sweet chocolate and unsalted butter in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring well between each cooking interval.
Add the melted chocolate and butter mixture to the cream cheese mixture and stir until well combined. Gently fold in the Cool Whip.
Spread the French silk layer over the cooled brownies, then spread on the remaining 8 ounce tub of Cool Whip.
If desired, sprinkle chocolate shavings over the French Silk Brownies. Slice and serve.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Monday, April 25, 2022

Grand Re-Opening

 Saturday Bob's store had a Grand  re-opening.    It's a True Value Hardware store, and they have been working on a big addition.

Here's the store.  The area to the left of the window is the original store.  The whole area with the windows and entry is new, so you can see that it was a significant addition.

I've seen the work in progress, but Saturday I stopped to see the completed new look.  Here's a little tour.

Here's Bob and a co-worker at the paint center.

This is a new addition - a little coffee shop with coffee, capucino, icee's and popcorn!

Another new addition is this appliance section.

Lots of lawn equipment!  In the winter, there will be lots of snowblowers.

This is a design area for hardscaping in yards, block for retaining walls, block and brick for outside fireplaces and patio stones.

Lots of tools, and of course, everything else that you find in a hardware store.

One other thing that you see all over the store are these mounted animals.

It's a very nice store, and if I do say so myself, they have very nice employees too!

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Art Show

 Last week we got to go to a very special art show.  It was put on by the Hudsonville School District.  There were pieces from kids in Kindergarten to 12 grade.  This includes several grade schools, a few middle schools and the high school.
Pieces were chosen to be displayed, and one of the artists was our Ruby!

The pieces were on display at the town hall, and each school had a certain night for their artists to be there and show their work.  Ruby was excited to show us her piece.

Each student that had a piece shown got a sticker with their name on.

Here is Ruby with her art teacher.

There was a lot of art to look at and it took some time to find Ruby's piece.  We knew the name was Primary Cow, so we had an idea of what to look for.  It was fun to look, as there were some very talented artists there.  It was interesting to see the work of kids in such an age range.

This rabbit sculpture by an 11th grader was so good!

This was done by someone in middle school.

These cute little birds were done by a kindergartner.

This one just amazed us!  A Senior drew this one.

Of course, our favorite artist was our own first grader, Ruby!  This is her primary cow - a cow done in primary colors.

What a fun night!  So enjoyable to see all the art, and so good for these kids to get praised for their work.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Cooking Thursday

 I wanted to make something special for Easter Breakfast, so had made cinnamon rolls.  Unfortunately, I did something wrong and they flopped.  Flat cinnamon rolls are not appealing!
So, Saturday evening, I looked for a recipe for something else, and found this coffee cake recipe.  It was quick to put together, and we enjoyed it on Easter morning!

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

1/2 cup butter
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cupsflour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

Cinnamon Swirl
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Streusel Topping
1 1/3 cups flour
1 cup + 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons white sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease and flour a 13x9 baking pan.
Cream together butter and cream cheese.
Beat in sugars until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Scrape down sides and bottom of mixing bowl with rubber spatula.
Stir in vanilla extract.
In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cornstarch and salt.
Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients, alternating with milk, until all of the flour mixture and milk have been combined.
Spread about half of the batter into prepared pan (batter will be thick).
Quickly whisk together sugar and cinnamon for cinnamon ripple layer in a small bowl and sprinkle it evenly over the batter.
Dollop remaining batter over the cinnamon sugar layer and use a knife to spread evenly over top.  It's OK if you end up disturbing the cinnamon sugar layer a bit, it will be a nice swirl when it bakes. Prepare the  streusel topping.

Melt butter in a medium-sized bowl.
Use a fork to whisk together your flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt.  Pour melted butter over mixture and use a fork to stir until combined (mixture should be crumbly).
Sprinkle streusel evenly over batter.
Bake on 350F for 40-50 minutes (check doneness with a toothpick inserted in center).
Allow to cool before cutting and serving.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Monday, April 18, 2022

Mission BBQ

 I'm sure you remember that we weren't able to celebrate my Dad's 91st birthday as he ended up in the hospital that day.
Since he is feeling so much better, we had a belated supper out, to celebrate on Saturday night.
My sister suggested a place in Grand Rapids called Mission BBQ.

Here's Mission BBQ, where "We do what we do for the love of our soldiers, firefighters, police officers, first responders—all our loved ones in service." 

If you are there at noon, they play the National Anthem, and everyone in the building stops what they are doing, and stand while it plays.

The decor is also patriotic.  These flags hang from the ceiling beams.

This wall is dedicated to 9/11.

The cups each have different quotes on them.

There were lots of different choices, but I had a pulled pork sandwich. It was very good, and those fries were wonderful.  Everyone at the table was talking about all the different sides and how good they were.

Here's our group - my Dad and stepmom, my 2 sisters and their husbands and my brother.

Dad and Ann enjoying their meal.  
It was a wonderful meal, and very good to get together as a family!

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Delivering Baskets

 Our Easter was low key this year.  We had extra things happening at church and decided not to do a big family dinner.  
I had gotten Easter bags together for our granddaughters, so Bob and I delivered them on Saturday.

We started with Cassie.

She was having fun with the card.

I think that's a smirk...

She enjoyed the bag and the fun things inside it.

Then we stopped at Alaina and Ruby's, who were helping Laura get some things made for dinner with Aaron's family tomorrow.

They liked their little lamb bags too.

And the goodies inside!
It was good to see them all.
I hope you all had a blessed Easter!

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Cooking Thursday

 I have a new recipe to share with you that my sister said I had to try.  She was right - it's so good!  Bob said even the leftovers were good!  So, if you are looking for something different to do with chicken, give this a try.  We had this with a salad and french bread, but it would be a good one to take to a potluck too.

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

21 oz condensed cream of chicken soup ( 2 x 10.5 oz cans)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tsp poppy seeds
2 cups crumbled Ritz crackers
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350F.
Dump the cream of chicken soup into a large mixing bowl.
Add the sour cream, salt and pepper to the bowl.
Stir well.
Add the shredded chicken to the bowl.
Stir until all of the chicken is coated in the soup mixture.
Add the shredded mozzarella, shredded parmesan and poppy seeds to the bowl.
Stir well again.
Dump the chicken mixture into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish and spread it out evenly.
Pour the crumbled Ritz crackers into a mixing bowl.
Add the melted butter and poppy seeds to the bowl.
Stir well with a fork.
Sprinkle the Ritz mixture on top of the chicken mixture in the baking dish.
Place the dish in the oven and bake until the casserole is bubbling and the crackers are starting to brown. 24-27 minutes.
Remove the casserole from the oven and leave it to sit for a few minutes before scooping and serving.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Monday, April 11, 2022

Is Spring coming?

 The other day while driving, I saw a country road I hadn't been on before, so I went to check it out.  It's something I love to do - driving on a dirt road that I haven't been on before.

The snow is gone, but it doesn't look or feel like Spring yet.
As I drove around the curve ahead, a fox ran across the road and dove into the ditch.  I wish I could have gotten a picture of it!

But look here!  A bit of green!

And a little further, I saw even more green.

And here, with no houses around, a few daffodils are getting ready to bloom.
I'm hoping that by next week, it's warming up and getting greener!

"For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land."
Song of Solomon 2:11-12


 I'm so frustrated and am hoping some of you have an idea for me.
I've been using Bloglovin' to follow blogs.  I have you all entered and it tells me when you have a new post up.  
Suddenly the site isn't working.  I've been able to find some of you and visit your blog because of comments you leave here.  However, not everyone is linked to their name in comments and it takes quite a bit of time.
I'm wondering if anyone else uses Bloglovin and if they are having problems too.
If not, what do you use to keep track of the blogs you follow?
I'll try to come and visit you.  Forgive me if it takes a while!

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Moving a barn

 Many of you know that I love barns.  I grew up on a farm and have fun memories of playing in the barn when I was a kid.  I remember climbing up in the loft and jumping in the hay, visiting the cows and braiding the cords that are used for hay bales.
When I drive, I always take note of barns and the condition they are in.  Many around here are not being kept up and it makes me sad to see these old beauties fall apart.
There is a barn I see on my drive to work.  I always thought it was kind of strange looking, as its roof nearly touched the ground.
The property was sold, and surprisingly, the barn was moved.  I am sure that was quite a process, being so large!  It didn't move too far though, just to a vacant field across the street.
However they changed things a bit, by building a new base, and putting the old barn on it.  It doesn't look strange anymore, as the base is in proportion to the roof now.

The original barn has the siding on, the new part hasn't been finished yet.  It looks like it's going to have nice big doors on the front, and lots of windows too.

Here it is from the other side.  I think it's going to be a beauty when it's done, and it has a long, useful life ahead!

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Cooking Thursday

 Today's recipe is one for the Instantpot.  I got this recipe from my sister and finally got around to making it last week.
It was really easy to do, and the meat was very moist and flavorful!

Spice Rub Pork Tenderloin

2 pound boneless pork loin
Spice rub
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup beef broth

Season the pork loin by rubbing the pork loin all over with the spice rub.
Set the instantpot to saute.  When it is hot, add the olive oil.
Brown the meat on each side for 2 minutes.
Stop the saute mode and add the beef broth.
Close lid and vent, set to manual for 25 minutes. Quick release the vent and allow to rest for 5 minutes inside the pot.
Open lid, remove meat from pot, check that internal temp is 145 degrees.  Let rest on cutting board for 3 minutes.
Using the cooking liquid, heat and thicken with corn starch or flour to make a sauce.
Slice pork thinly and drizzle sauce over top.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Monday, April 4, 2022

Saturday with the girlies

I have to share a few more pics of our time with the girls.
Bob had to work on Saturday, but Alaina often hears him get up and sits with him while he has breakfast.  This was a surprise I found on my camera when I went to download my pics.

An early morning selfie of the two of them!

After Ruby got up, they had breakfast and got dressed.  Then they were anxious to play on the Wii again.

They played a few games of bowling, and then we did some games from our Family Game Night set - Life and Clue.  I am sure they will be asking again the next time they come as they really had fun with it.

Then it was time for a craft.

I saw a cute idea on making bunnies with styrofoam balls and q-tips.

However - ours were not looking at all cute, and we decided to give up on them.  

They were good sports and laughed about it.  Hopefully the next craft works out better!

Then we loaded everything up and set out for Great Grandpa and Grandma's house.

We picked up McDonalds and they shared fries with Great Grandpa and Grandma.

My Dad is doing really well, and plans to go back to bowling on Tuesday.  Of course, he and Ann were happy to see the girls.

We made one more stop on the way home, to get flowers for their family.  I didn't mention it earlier, but Friday was a terribly sad day for them as they had to put their dog down.  Remie was 15 years old.  She was a rescue that Laura and Aaron got shortly after they were married.  The girls have never known life without her and they loved her dearly.  So this was very hard for the whole family.

Here's the pretty flowers we picked out.  The girl in the shop was very sweet and was talking to the girls the whole time.  She didn't know the reason for the flowers, but said, to wait a minute when we were done, and then came out with a rose for each of them.

They were happy to get their own flower!

And here it is, the end of the day, and looks what is happening!  More snow!  It's Spring Break week here, but the weather isn't sounding like it's going to be an outside week.  More snow is predicted...  but we do finally have some crocus blooming at our house, so there is the promise of Spring!