Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Wordless Wednesday

 (A beautiful morning drive to work)

Monday, January 30, 2023

Some Good News

Have you seen any of the Good News posts you can find on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube?  They were started because people were sick of watching the news and hearing so much sad or bad news.  So a few people started publishing feel good stories.  The one that I started watching was John Krasinski from the show The Office.  He started during the shutdown during Covid to give people something positive to see.  It's nice to see happy or heartwarming things!

My post doesn't measure up to most of those, but it warmed my heart!

Most of you know my Dad is on hospice.  He's been pretty stable, but because of his failing vision, he can't drive anymore.  He also tires very easily so he doesn't get out a lot.
My sister Cheri works in an eye doctors office and she had a patient who turned out to be the son of an army buddy of my Dad.  He is also home bound, and they decided we had to get Dad over to his house to see him.
So, on Saturday, she and I picked up Dad.  Ann came too and we drove to Harley's house. His 3 sons were also planning to be there.

Here's Dad and Harley.  They hadn't seen each other in about a year and they were so happy to talk and catch up.
As I said earlier, they were in the army together and spent time in Germany in the 50's.  They've kept up with each other all these years, and I remember visiting with the family when I was a kid.
They have lots of stories to tell, both of them are full of mischief and fun and it was good to see them together again!

In other news, I had a good mail day!
It seems that usually our mail is bills and junk, but this day was different.
I got such a nice package in the mail from Carrie of Northwoods Scrapbook.

She sent this cute journal, a hand made card and gift tag and a gift card for Starbucks.  So sweet!  And such a nice thing to find in my mail box.  
Thanks Carrie!

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Another party

 Can you believe, we just had our last Christmas party? Bob's workplace always has their party in January to avoid all the busyness that happens in December.

Here's a picture I took last summer of the store he works at; the True Value in our town.  As you can see, it's a pretty big store.  They have hardware, tools, paint, a large rental area, lawn and garden, appliances and even a sign and printing shop.

The party was in a banquet room of a nearby restaurant.  Here's part of the group before things started.

This is Ross, one of the owners. He had just come from work, so was still in his work clothes.   He was supposed to be giving opening remarks for the party.  Apparently some of the guys had been teasing him that he should do a rap to start things off.  Well - he did!  He wrote this little rap and although people told him not to quit his day job, I thought I would share it with you, because I thought it was pretty cute! 

"Yo, Hardware is in our blood, it's what we do.
So I wrote a corny rap that tells about all of you.
We are all so gifted, in so many ways,
and for the way He made us, we give our Creator praise.

Some of us like to tinker, and some like to fix,
while others of us are just trying to avoid conflicts.
We've got staff in the office and cashiers by the doors,
We have boots in the yards and friendly faces on the sales floor.

We have the team doing service and repairing what's broken,
we have the lady's doing signage who are all soft spoken.
We have a team for receiving and for stocking the shelves,
all of this we do for those who like to "do it yourself"!

Thanks for coming to this party, you know what it's going to be,
We're going to be giving praise for living in the land that is free.
We are so very grateful for each person on the staff,
and I know what you are thinking - then pay me time and a half!"

We had a yummy meal!

After the meal they went over some statistics telling how the year went, they recognized staff for how many years they had worked, they honored a former employee who just passed away and thanked the staff members.  They also thanked God for the way He has guided them.  I appreciate the way they show their faith to the community and to the staff.  They start each meeting with prayer and take time to pray for each other, which is not common now.

After that there were some crazy games.  In this one, they had to put a tongue depressor between their teeth, and then stack dice on the end of it.  Whoever had the most at 30 seconds won.  In this round, Bob was the winner with 5 dice stacked up.
It was a fun night and nice to catch up with people there!

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Cooking Thursday

 My sister Cheri recently sent me this recipe, with the message "You have to try this!" My usual chili recipe is from my friend Jenny the Pirate and can be found here.  It's so easy and is always good. 
I made this new recipe on the weekend and it was yummy!  I knew Bob would like it, because bacon....    It also has maple syrup in it, just a touch, but it adds a unique flavor twist.  We really liked it and it will be added to my chili recipe roster along with Jenny's recipe!

Smoky Bacon Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground Italian Sausage
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces tomato paste
8 ounces tomato sauce
3 - 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
3- 15 ounce cans light or dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
8 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
Optional toppings; sour cream, cheese, green onions

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add beef and sausage and cook until browned, stirring frequently.  Remove meat from pan, drain and set aside.
Add the onion, red pepper and garlic to pan, cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans and bacon. Stir until combined and then stir in cooked sausage and beef.
Season with chili powder, cumin, paprika, maple syrup, salt and pepper.  Stir and let chili simmer on low for 30 minutes or until thickened.
Serve hot with desired toppings.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Monday, January 23, 2023

Tip for Tuesday

I always brown several pounds (4 or 5) of ground beef at a time, and then freeze it in 1 pound amounts.  It is one of my favorite time saving tips.  Once the meat is browned, it's so easy to throw a meal together and doing it in larger amounts means you only get the mess once.

I recently saw something about cooking ground beef in a crockpot and decided to try it,

Put 4-6 pounds ground beef in a crockpot.  Add 1 1/2 -2 cups water and stir.
Put crockpot on low and cook 4-5 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

Here's my ground beef, nearly done.

When beef is thoroughly cooked, drain off the water and grease and rinse it.

Then pack the beef into freezer bags.  2 cups equals about 1 pound.
This worked very well and I'll be using this method again.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Overnight visit, games, notes and plastic cups...

 We had Alaina and Ruby overnight this past weekend.  Because of Christmas parties, blizzards and sickness, it's been awhile, so we were happy to have them again.

We went to Chik-fil-A for supper which they enjoyed.  (We liked it too.)  :)

When we got home the girls changed into the PJ's and Alaina had to model her new ones.

She's proud of these because they came with a matching bag.  After I took this picture, she wrapped up in a blanket so her legs didn't freeze!

We played the game of Life on the Wii and then watched Happy Feet before they went to bed.

The next morning, they worked on Lego's while I did a little cooking and got laundry going. 

Bob had to work on Saturday, but he had left a little message on out dry erase frame to tell them he loved them.
Ruby worked hard on a picture to leave for him.  She says it includes some of his favorite things - a tree, paint can (He mixes lots of paint at work), a plant, a saw cutting wood and a dog.  He loved it!

Then we started on our craft for the day.

It involved plastic cups and permanent markers.  You color the cup, put it in the oven and it's supposed to melt into a flat disk that you can use as an ornament or a sun catcher. Here's our cups ready to go into the oven.

Here's the girls watching them melt in the oven. 

However, they didn't melt flat as promised, but turned into mini bowls.  Ruby's response?  "Grandma. you can't believe everything you read on the internet!"  This is true...

Oh well -  they had fun anyway!

They also decided that stacking cups was just as fun!

We made a trip to Great Grandpa's house and then went home.  It was a fun time!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Cooking Thursday

 I have 2 recipes to share with today.  These are both appetizers that I made for our New Year's Eve gathering.  

The first one is originally a Pioneer Woman recipe.  It seems like a crazy combination, but these are so good!  You can make them ahead of time and then heat them for just a bit in the microwave.

Bacon Cracker Appetizers

1 package Club crackers
1 pound thin sliced bacon, cut in half
Brown sugar

Lay crackers face up on a baking sheet with a cooking rack on it.
Top each cracker with a teaspoon of brown sugar.
Carefully wrap the half slice of bacon around each cracker, making sure the topping doesn't fall off.  The bacon should completely cover the cracker.
Place the bacon wrapped crackers back on the cooking rack.
Place in a 250 degree oven for 2 hours, until the bacon is crispy.
Serve hot or at room temperature.

The next one is Bruschetta and is a combo of a few different recipes I've used.  You can make the different parts ahead of time, and then just have to assemble it.  These are full of flavor and are very good.


1 loaf of French Bread
Olive oil
Cut French bread into thin slices; 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Brush with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees until very lightly toasted.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
Beat cream cheese and then mix in the Italian seasoning, dried garlic and basil.

1 pound sweet cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon dried garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
Balsamic glaze.
Combine tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil in small baking dish.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until tomatoes have slightly burst. 
Drain excess fluid off tomatoes, then stir in the balsamic vinaigrette.

To assemble, spread about 1 tablespoon cream cheese mix onto cooled French bread slices and top with about 4 tomatoes.  Drizzle balsamic glaze over all and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Monday, January 16, 2023

WInter beauty

It's been a dreary few weeks here in Michigan.  Lots of clouds, some rain and a little snow, but very little sunshine.
The snow has melted, leaving things looking brown.  I took a little walk in the yard to see what was happening out there.  
Here's some winter beauty I found in what at first appears to be a drab, brown landscape.

Sunday, January 15, 2023


 This weekend we finally had our Christmas celebration with Aaron, Laura and the girls.  You may remember it got pushed back because of the blizzard we had, followed by Covid in their house. The girls never got it, but it took a bit for Laura and Aaron to be feeling better.
The girls were of course, excited about opening some presents.

We started with some stockings (except they were in bags)  :)
They were excited about every little thing in it.

Both Ruby and Alaina love to draw.  I got them sketch pads with their own artwork on the cover.

Laura and Aaron

Alaina and Ruby love Lego's and were excited to get these.

This is one of the things Laura and Aaron gave me.  It's fingerless gloves that can plug into your laptop and keep your hands warm.
I am always complaining about being cold, so I know I'll be using this.

It was so good to be together again!  We had a fun night, lots of laughs and some catching up too.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Friday Funny

Pants suffering from iron deficiency.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Cooking Thursday

 Here's a crockpot pasta I made recently that lets you put it together without boiling the pasta first.  I was skeptical, but it turned out good!  The pasta was perfect, not soggy or chewy.  We both thought it had great flavor, and the leftovers heated well too.
I made only half of this, which was good for just the two of us, and still gave us leftovers.

Crockpot Baked Ziti

2-24 ounce jars of pasta sauce
1 jar water (see below)
15 oz container of ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella
16 oz box of ziti

Mix the pasta sauce and water together.  
In a separate bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese and egg. 
Pour 1/3 of sauce into crockpot, then sprinkle 1/2 of ziti noodles over top.
Dot 1/2 of ricotta cheese mix over noodles, then sprinkle with 1/2 of parmesan cheese.
Pour another 1/3 of sauce, followed by the rest of the ziti, the rest of the ricotta mix and the parmesan.
Pour the rest of the sauce over all.
Cook on high for 3.5 hours or low for 6 hours.
About 10 minutes before serving, spread mozzarella cheese over top and allow to melt.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Monday, January 9, 2023


One thing I often do after Christmas is to clean out cupboards and cabinets.  It's something I really enjoy and it seems a good time to do it when you are changing things out after Christmas.  This year I've decided to really try to downsize while doing that cleaning, so as I've cleaned things out, I've gathered things to be donated to the local charity store. It can be hard to get rid of things, because "maybe I'll need them later!"  But this time, I'm being firm with myself and if I haven't used it in the last year, it's going out the door. 
I've brought several boxes away already and it feels good!

Here's my clean pantry

a clean junk drawer, 

and a clean towel and hot pad drawer.

I've actually got the whole kitchen, pantry, refrigerator and freezer done, and those clean cabinets make me happy when I open them.

Something I like to use are these clear bins.  I get them from a local store, but they are also available through Amazon.  Here's some to check out if you are interested.  They work well in the frig for things like butter, cream cheese, yogurt...   I have some in the pantry to hold things like seasoning packets, chocolate chips, soup mixes...  They come in a wide variety of sizes and I use smaller ones in the bathroom to hold things like band-aids, toothbrushes for the granddaughters, lotions.  It helps keep things a little neater.

Another tip I read about and have done, is to keep a box in the spare room.  Then, whenever you come across something you haven't been using, you put it in the box and when the box is full, you bring it to a donation site.

A friend gave me this tip.  Make up a sheet listing things you use often and have in multiples, then cross them off as you use them.  I did this for my pantry for things like cream soups, tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans...  It helps me not to buy things that I already have in the pantry.  I did a similar list for our freezer.  We purchase a quarter of a cow last Fall, and now I can keep track of what we have in there.

So, I have the kitchen done.  Next I'll be working on the bathroom, and plan to make my way through the house.  

What about you?  Is this something you like to do?  Or are you organized all the time and don't need to do this?

Sunday, January 8, 2023

A Day in my Life; January 2023

 It's 2023!  Here's how my first day of the month, and first day of the year went.

It was a Sunday and was a quiet day for us, which was so nice - but doesn't give me lots to share.  :)

Because it was a holiday, we didn't have Sunday School, so we had a quieter morning than most Sunday mornings.

You may remember we had a blizzard over Christmas and got 2 feet of snow.  A few days later we had temps in the 40's and 50's and that snow melted fast.  This is our front yard on New Year's Day; not too much snow left.

It was a foggy morning, this was our view as we drove to church.

We got to church about 9:50.  No one was sitting down yet.  The Christmas decorations were still up.  Church had been cancelled on Christmas day because of the blizzard so we were all happy to see each other again!
We left around noon and headed back home.

Lunch was ready in the crock pot.  I tried a new recipe for crock pot Ziti, and it was good, so I'll share that with you later.

As I said, it was a quiet day.  I spent a little time in the afternoon working on my Sunday School lesson for next week.

I also did a little reading.  A friend from work had passed this book on to me.
I even took a short nap!

We had tuna melts for supper and then watched an episode from the new season of The Chosen.  

Then it was a quiet evening of blogging, checking up on all of you and playing a few computer games. I headed to bed around 11.  It was a very nice start to the year.