Thursday, July 20, 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cooking Thursday

Today's recipe is one I've shared before, but it's one of my favorite summer lunches when fresh tomatoes are in season.  I made this the other day and thought I would share it again.  So here you go, something fresh and perfect for a light lunch.

Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes
Large tomatoes 
Minced garlic or garlic powder
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Oregano, thyme, basil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wrap a rimmed baking sheet with foil and line with parchment paper.
Cut tomatoes into 3/4 inch slices.  Remove seeds and juice. Poke holes in the bottoms of any end pieces.  Drain, cut side down on a paper towel or a few minutes.
Place tomato slices on prepared pan.  Sprinkle with garlic, then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar.
Place in oven for 20-25 minutes, until tomatoes are soft, dark and caramelized.
Sprinkle with herbs, allow to sit for a few minutes and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

I love Michigan!

If you could live anywhere, where would you be?
I would be right where I am, in West Michigan.  Recently Thrillist ranked all the states and I was happy to see Michigan listed as the best state to live in.  I'm sure that many of you in other states would disagree with this list, because we all usually love where we live.  That's a good thing because we can't all stay in the same place!
If you want to see where your state landed on the list, click here. (and don't be offended if they got your state wrong!)

Here's a few reasons why I love Michigan:
1. The Great Lakes!  We have 3,200 miles of lakeshore; more than any other state except Alaska.  Those lakes are freshwater, with no sharks!
2. Lighthouses!  I love lighthouses and we have lots of them; 115 in all which is more than any other state. (The lighthouse pictured above is in Ludington, which we visited on Memorial Day)
3. Seasons...  I love the changing seasons, each with it's own particular beauty, and while I freely admit that I'm not a fan of winter, it can be beautiful and it makes me appreciate warm weather even more.  :)
4.  Rural areas...  I like country living, farms, dirt roads, tractors, open fields and we have a lot of it.
5.  Cities...  I wouldn't want to live in one, but it's nice to be able to take a 20 minute drive and be in Grand Rapids - home of ArtPrize and the "medical mile" which is some of the highest rated healthcare in the United States.
6.  So much beauty!  We have beaches, inland lakes, waterfalls, national forests and sand dunes.
7. Family... most of our family is in this area.  Our son Andy is in Tennessee, but the rest of our family including our kids, siblings, nieces and nephews and parents are all here.  I think that's one of the best reasons to enjoy living here!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A special kid

This weekend we were invited to a special birthday party.  It was for Jonny, a little boy that goes to our church and whose Dad works with Bob.  Jonny is going to be turning 8, but not for another month.  The reason the party was held early is that Jonny has Aplastic Anemia and he will soon be having his third bone marrow transplant.  After it takes place, he will remain in the hospital for about a month in protective isolation.  His birthday will likely occur during this time.  His parents decided to have a big party early for him to enjoy.
Jonny is a pretty amazing kid.  He is rarely seen without a smile on his face.  He's had the two transplants which have failed and now spends nearly a day at the hospital each week having blood tests and frequent transfusions, he has to take meds including steroids and deals with the side effects of that but he doesn't let it get him down. He stays positive  and is just a joy to be around.

 Here he is at the party with his mom.

With a friend, opening cards and gifts.

This was one of his gifts - he loves super hero's!

We had a picnic supper, including this fun fruit salad.

 Blowing out his birthday candle.

This is another cute little guy from our church.  He was having fun watching all the other kids.

It was a full weekend for Jonny, because the party was Saturday evening, and he was baptized on Sunday morning.
I was so glad I could be there and witness this!

Please keep Jonny and his family in your prayers as they prepare for next month.  Also, if you are interested in being put on the bone marrow registry, here is the link.  It just may save someone's life.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cooking Thursday

Today's recipe is a good one for summer grilling!  I'm a fan of kabobs and the marinade on this one is very good.

Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cooking sherry
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
Veggies of your choice - I used 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, onion, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms
Cooked rice

Stir together the oil, soy sauce, sherry, honey, lemon juice, garlic powder, ginger, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
Place chicken in Ziploc bag.  Pour marinade over chicken, reserving about 1/3 cup.  Seal bag and place chicken in refrigerator for 4-6 hours.
About 30 minutes before serving, place chicken with marinade in fry pan and cook partially, about 5 minutes.  Then thread chicken and vegetables onto skewers (If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes before using).
Grill for about 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, basting occasionally with reserved marinade.
Serve over rice.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Operation Artic

Our church had Vacation Bible School a week ago.  The name of it was Operation Artic and the message was that God's word is our guidebook in life.  Our classrooms were turned into a snowy artic land, and I thought I would share some photos.  The kids loved it, the leaders did too and everyone was tired at the end of the week!

There were lots of trees throughout the building.

The main hall was transformed!

When they turned on the lights it looked even better.  Someone even built an igloo that the kids could crawl through.

 This was the nurses station.  Thankfully it only was used for little boo-boo's!

Some of the rooms were decorated in a log cabin theme.

 Some rooms had icebergs in them!

They put craft paper over this whole room to make it look like a log cabin.

This is the area where the bible stories were told and they led singing.

It was a huge job to get this all set up and to run the whole week, but everyone who took part in it said it was a wonderful week.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

What a storm!

We had a huge storm on Thursday night.  Bob and I woke up at 3am to pounding rain, thunder, lightning, terrible wind and no power.  Friday morning we woke to sunshine, a beautiful day, no power in most of West Michigan and lots of damage.

Here are a few pictures I took around the area, and a few that I got from friends and family.

In our yard, the damage was minimal, lots of leaves and branches on the ground.

 Streets were covered with debris.

Some streets were closed because power lines were down.

Some streets were closed because trees were down.

Our nephew's truck was buried under branches, but had only minimal damage.

 At our daughter Laura's house, this tree split nearly in half and fell through the fence.

Their neighbors are unable to use their back yard at the moment because it's filled with a tree.

 Some other friends were on vacation, and were camping.  I can't imagine what it was like to be in a camper on that night.  We're thankful for their safety!  When they came home, they found lots of big trees down in their yard.

Some other friends had this tree come down on their house.  They are ok, but have some work ahead of them, and some repair to be done!

We are told the winds reached 90 mph in our area, and 12 miles to the west it was recorded at 100 mph.  In that area a man died when a tree fell on his house as he slept.
Our power was restored late Friday morning, but many people still have no power.  Crews have come from as far away as Tennessee to help.
We lost our cable and internet also and that was not restored until late Saturday evening.  So, I've been unable to visit you, but will be trying to catch up.
We are thankful for safety during this storm, and at the end of it, we're thankful for things like running water and electricity!

"He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth-- the LORD God Almighty is his name."
Amos 4:13

Thursday, July 6, 2017


This is a little late, but I wanted to share some pictures from our July Fourth gathering.
We had a quiet day.  I got a few things done around the house and Bob worked on the bathroom.  Laura and Aaron and the girls came over for supper, Heather and Andrew came just as we were finishing because she had to work until 6.

Bob grilled hamburgers and hotdogs.

 Ruby thought the flag napkins were pretty cool!

 We bought something at Michaels that the girls loved. It was a bottle that you could pressurize and then fill water balloons with.  It was a hot day and they had a blast with them.

Aaron got a little wet in this water balloon fight.

 But he got Alaina back!

Ruby had fun just trying to squeeze and pop the balloons.

 We also had a bubble gun and she loved chasing the bubbles.

The neighbors started doing some fireworks, which didn't scare her, but she thought they were pretty loud.

We ended our night with just a few in the driveway.  It was a relaxing day and
evening, and we enjoyed spending time together.
I was bad and didn't get pictures of Heather and Andrew! 
I'll have to get them next time.  :)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Cooking Thursday

One thing I like about summer is all the fresh fruit that is available.  I made a fruit salad for our Fourth of July supper using a new recipe.  It was very colorful and pretty, and the dressing made a very refreshing salad.

Tropical Fruit Salad

1 pineapple, cut into bite size chunks
5 kiwis, sliced
2 cups strawberries, quartered
1 1/2 cup blueberries
2 bananas, sliced

1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
Stir lemon and lime juice together, then whisk in honey.  Stir in ginger and poppy seeds.
Set aside or place in refrigerator if serving later.
Shortly before serving, prepare fruit and place in large bowl.  Pour dressing over top, toss to coat and serve.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

July 4

Happy 4th to my friends in the USA!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Day in my Life - July!

It's July!  Why does summertime buzz by so quickly?
I always share how I spent the first day of each month, but first I need to explain the strange look on my blog.  My blog design was done using photobucket and apparently they have a new fee system in place that would require a yearly payment for this type of thing.  On Friday, there were notices all over my blog - you may have seen them.  It made it hard to even read it!  Since I don't want to start paying all the time, I took the offending pieces off and am working to get the rest fixed but it takes a little time - and that's why it looks funny!  Hopefully it'll be  fixed soon.  :)

Now, on to my day.
This was my weekend off, and Alaina and Ruby were here and had spent the night Friday night.
Bob had to work Saturday, and he had barely left, around 7am, when Ruby came and crawled into bed with me.  She snuggled for a little bit, then whispered"
"Gwamma, where is Gwampa?"
"He's at work"
"But I want him"
"I know, but he had to go to work"
"But, I really, really want him"
"I'm sorry Ruby"
"But I'll give you my bunny!"
Wow - she gives that bunny to no one! After that sad little talk, we got up and had breakfast, Alaina was awake too, and Ruby got over the fact that Grandpa wasn't here.

 8am: Sleepy girls watching Doc McStuffins after breakfast.

8:30am:  Then it was time to get ready, starting with brushing the teeth.  (The bathroom is still under construction!)

 9am: Then Ruby helped me make brownies, and some sandwich spread.

And Alaina made a fort in the living rom using the couch cushions.

10am: I had found a cute craft idea, so we worked on that next.

Here is the finished product - 2 fishes each!

11am: Then we went for a walk down our road, and found lots of fun things.

 We found this cow in a neighbors side yard and had to say hi.

We saw some pretty flowers along the way.

We saw a dragonfly on a flower.

And finally, we got to the horse farm.  Alaina said this was way too far to walk and she was "sooo tired!"

On the way home, we saw this tree, that their mom had carved her initials into, along with her friend Jessica, many years ago!  It's on the property where Jessica used to live; Alaina and Ruby thought it was pretty neat!

12pm: When we got back home, we got in the car and went to McDonalds for lunch.  That's always a hit!

12:45: Then we stopped at Grandpa's work and saw him.  He was just as happy to see them, as they were to see him!

We stopped at the grocery store on the way home, where Alaina tried to talk me into getting all kinds of things, because she said her Papa would like it.  :)

 1:30pm: It was so nice out, so we spent some time playing before I took them home.

 They had fun on their bikes!  Then it was time to go home.

3pm:  We made it to their house, and they were both totally out!

They quickly woke up though and were happy to see their Papa.

3:30pm:  I stopped at Hobby Lobby for a few things before I went home.

4:15:  I'm home and I worked on getting a little patriotic theme to my decorating since the 4th is coming right up!  I also did some cleaning and picking up

5:45pm:  Bob came home, and we had Some frozen pizza for dinner.  While we ate, we watched a movie on Netflix - Pete's Dragon, and we enjoyed it.

We had a nice quiet, relaxing evening!  Hope you all had a good start to your month!