Friday, August 30, 2013

Bob's Dad and Baby Claire

This week Bob's 91-year-old dad was taken to the hospital by ambulance.  He had fallen and was unable to get up by himself, was having trouble catching his breath and had a bout of intestinal troubles.  He ended up in intensive care for a couple of days with pneumonia from aspirating.  See, he can't swallow well.  The muscles that aid in swallowing have given up working after 91 years and the food sits in Grandpa's esophagus and, unfortunately, has ended up in his lungs.  There are a myriad of other things going on in his tired body that the doctors are investigating so he remains in the hospital. 

Here is a picture of Grandpa and The Husband at Grandpa's 91st birthday.  We would appreciate prayers for him in these days of struggles.


Also this week I had the privilege of staying with Favorite-Son-in-Law, Kidlet One and Grandbaby C in their Far-Away-City.  With great joy, I babysat C while her parents went to work.  Oh the giggles we shared!  Here is a video of C singing to her toys:

The mysteries of life were so evident to me this week:  the aging, tired, sick body of Grandpa and the vibrant, investigative life of Grandybaby C.  Such extremes between the two.  God's planning for our human bodies was done with such creativity and love.  We definitely aren't robots and there are unique changes that occur in our bodies. 
He amazes me over and over.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Husband's Outdoor Fashions

The Husband scrubbed the deck last weekend and has started applying some GUNK to it now.  I call it GUNK because it is thick and has to be rolled on.  He explains to me it is the consistency of peanut butter (can you picture it?) and will protect the deck for years. 

Well, those that have the honor of living near us have often commented on how fashionable The Husband is when he mows or does lawn work.  This weekend was no different as he wore this attire all weekend as he started The Deck Project...

 Can you hear the runway announcement...
The Husband looks snappy in his straw hat,
fashionably worn Life is Good tee shirt,
denim shorts and oh yes, let's not forget
The Boots.
Rubber Boots...your outdoor
work cannot be complete without
a pair of Rubber Boots. 
 As an added bonus, the denim shorts
are able to become paper towel dispensers
and plastic bag holders.
 The iPhone is quite safe on the
belt during The Deck project

It was too hot to be wearing jeans on the weekend.
Perhaps in a Fall Fashion Show, I can grab a picture
of The Husband's jeans-that-are-held-together
Seriously, The Husband has worked really hard
over this past weekend and has made great progress
in re-sealing the deck.  
Once all the peanut-butter-gunk is applied,
we can move the new patio furniture back
and perhaps even throw a party.
I think we should all wear rubber boots to the party.
Wouldn't that be amazing!!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Turkey In A Crock Pot

Isn't there a song that goes "Turkey in the straw...turkey in the straw...." 

I digress even at the start of today's post.

Today's topic is turkey in the crock pot.  Let me get back on track...

Recently I purchased a frozen turkey breast.  Usually I buy the whole bird but my mom made a turkey breast the last time we went to visit and it was so tasty.  And not so messy!  Last week I pulled the frozen mass from the freezer and placed it in a pan in the refrigerator.  It took a good four days to thaw in the fridge.  I decided to try cooking it in the crock pot, like my mom does. 

Brine the turkey.  Brining means to soak the meat in a water/sugar/salt/spice bath overnight, in the refrigerator.  You'll see in this picture I filled a stockpot about half full.  To the water I added fresh rosemary, about 3/4 cup salt and 3/4 cup brown sugar.  Stir that until everything is dissolved.  Then slide the turkey breast into the water, making sure it is under water.  (Yes, I agree, it looks gross)
 Make space in the refrigerator for this pan.
Aren't I daring to let you see into my fridge...
Cover the stockpot and let it set overnight.
 The next morning, I pulled out the crock pot and
added two washed carrots (I didn't even peel them),
two stalks of celery and about half an onion.
Pull the turkey breast out of the brine water
and rinse the meat off under running water.
 Stuff it into the crock pot.
This was a tight fit and I have a big crock pot!
I poured 2 cups of chicken broth over the meat.
Place the cover on and cook, on high, for
about 4 hours. 
 Clean up is important when touching chicken or turkey.
I used paper towels to wipe out the sink, the faucets
and the counters.  Then I pulled out the
disinfecting wipes to really clean up any residue.
 The delicious smells of cooking turkey started
about two hours into the cooking time.  Yum!
It is important to have a meat thermometer to test
for doneness.  I got interrupted in my day and
our turkey cooked for about 5 hours but it
didn't get dried out. 
I used two big spoons to pull the meat from the
crock pot and placed it on a cookie sheet
to rest about 15 minutes before starting to cut.
 The juices and veggies left in the bottom of the
crock pot look like a good soup!
I used a strainer to capture the good juices and
made gravy on the stove.
 We will be enjoying many meals from this
easy-to-make turkey breast. 
It was amazingly simple.
Give it a try!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

I'm Going Back to School

I am 54 years old (I know, I don't look it, ha! ha!).  I've worked in my current position for 29 years with an additional six years at the same company but in a different role.

Approximately six weeks ago, 11 of my colleagues and I were, on paper, set up to report to another department and a new manager.  Our work remains very much the same.  The new twist?  Our job descriptions were re-written to now state that the job requires a bachelor's degree and no longer do "years of service" allow you to perform the job.  See, I don't have a four-year degree as my employer has instructed employees to learn on the job and use the strengths/gifts they have.

Until now.

Since I am way to young to retire , I started looking into schools.  I really didn't feel there was another option.  It was a very overwhelming task for this Brain-That-Hasn't-Been-In-School-For-35-Years.

How am I going to do this?

I'm too old to be going back to school.

Oh, my this really happening to me?

Do I work all day and attend night classes?

Do I work all day and take online classes in the evening?

I finally decided to try online classes.  That just seems to fit with our lifestyle right now. 

There are so many programs available but I decided I needed to pursue something I was interested in and not just get a degree to get a degree.  I have spent HOURS and HOURS looking for schools and programs and usually walked away from the computer overwhelmed and in tears at the decisions that needed to be made.

And the expense...don't get me started!

In my searching, there was one school that I kept coming back too.  I made several phone calls to ask questions and everyone was extremely nice and not pushy with me at all.

So...drum roll please...last night I completed my request for admission at the University of Minnesota, Crookston to pursue a degree in Communications.

A sense of excitement and nervous anticipation has settled on me!  After clicking SEND, I ran to The Husband and told him I needed to go shopping for an outfit for the first day of school! 

If all goes well, my first classes will be queued up for me in the next few weeks.  Uff da!

Silly me, I did all of this application work at 10 pm last night.  When it was all sent off, I was too excited to sleep.  So I picked up my Joyce Meyer Starting Your Day Right devotional (I was ending my day right...) and read the day's devo.  God, again, came through with a message for me loud and clear.  Here it is for you to be amazed at!

I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord--but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders].  John 5:30

One of the reasons people don't get things done is that they mentally see their unfinished assignments as monstrous undertakings.  If they would just take care of those projects, they would find they aren't that big of a deal.

First Peter 1:13 says, "Brace up your minds; be sober (circumspect, morally alert); set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace (divine favor) that is coming to you when Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is revealed." Don't let your mind rule you.  When thoughts of inadequacy fill your head, stop and remember that God's grace is sufficient to meet all your needs.  Just do things one at a time, and keep your mind on God's ability, not your own.

Well, that devotional was just for me.  It is a huge undertaking this going back to school.  And being a wife, mother, Nana, working woman, etc etc.  But God's advice to do one homework assignment at a time and Get Er Done is good advice. 

Isn't His timing amazing!    I'd appreciate any prayers as I begin this adventure! 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Live Above the Circumstances

Seriously, this is such an amazing posting.  I wish I had written it as it conveys my heart's desire. 

Please click here to read on...

Thursday, August 8, 2013


  • The air is chilly this morning and I shivered under the covers before climbing out of bed.  How thankful I am for the different seasons we have in This Frozen Tundra.
  • My fulltime job is being shaken in every way possible.  Thankfully I still have a job.
  • In the realignment of my job, I have been told I need to complete my Bachelor's degree to qualify for the position I've been doing for 28 years.  Sigh.  I'm not sure this old brain has the energy, stamina and brain cells to remember how to study!  There are many school options that I'm investigating and I'm thankful for options.
  • With summer sports completed, we have empty evenings.  Recently I enjoyed supper/coffee/laughing with some really cool young women.  They energize me and I love hearing what God is doing in their lives.
  • It is eight months since my knee surgery.  I am really thankful I had the surgery as there is no arthritis pain in that knee.  It amazes me that a year ago I would walk to different buildings on my work campus and endure a throbbing, painful knee during meetings or when I went to teach.  Now, I walk that same path and there is no pain.  I do have tight ligaments and muscles that I continually need to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out otherwise my knee feels tight.  
  • My Kidlets are well and happy.  That warms a mother's heart and I'm so proud of them!
  • My folks continue to battle this cancer/chemo thing.  Dad is a true warrior in this battle to beat the disease while Mom is the encourager, worrier, nurse, and prayer soldier.
  • Some arthritis has crept into my hands so I've been told to not do any crocheting or "things that would aggravate your hands".  Good grief, pulling on pants aggravates my hands..what am I supposed to do about that?  Seriously, I have taken a step back from crafts although my fingers are itching at projects I want to start.  Soon I'll post the sewing project I've taken on.
  • Well, is this enough randomness for one post?  I have an amazing day ahead of me and I should get started in it.  May you have an amazing day, too!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Coolest Thing

All things are worth nothing compared with the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  Philippians 3:8

Want to know the coolest thing about Christ's coming?  Not that the One who hung the galaxies gave it up to hang doorjambs....  Not that he refused to defend himself when blamed for every sin of every slut and sailor since Adam....  Not even that after three days in a dark hole he stepped into the Easter sunrise with a smile....  That was cool, incredibly cool.

But...the coolest thing about the One who gave up the crown of heaven for a crown of thorns--he did  it for you.   Just for you.

He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado

The above was a part of my morning devotional.  Nothing can stand in my way today.  I feel so empowered knowing that if I were the only person on this earth, Jesus would've left His Heavenly Father's side to come to earth and pay the price of my sin.  Just for me.

You have to admit that is pretty amazing.  Better yet.  He did if for YOU.

Dear Reader, this is Truth.  No matter what you've done or not done in your life, there is nothing compared to the greatness and love in knowing Jesus Christ.  Just say it out loud...hey God, if you are real, help me understand this Jesus thing.  Wait for the answer.  I know it will be shown to you.  Because of His unending, overflowing, indescribable love.  

Amazing sweet the sound....Jesus!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Baby Yoga

Grandbaby C came for a much-enjoyed visit recently.  She is already four months old.  Those of you that are grandparents, you know what grandbabies do to a Nana's heart.  There aren't words to describe the love and emotions tied up with a grandchild.

Baby C and I spent some time on the floor talking and singing.  She does sing with her mom but she wasn't really in a singing mood with me.  Kidlet One sings Farmer in the Dell to her and when the pig snorts are made, Baby C giggles, giggles, giggles.  My pig snorts must not sound like her momma's as she didn't giggle for my singing!  However, as you watch the video below, don't you think she could lead a Baby Yoga session with all the bending and stretching she does!?!?!?

Here is an amazing baby...but then I don't think clearly when she is around!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Breakfast This Morning

I recently purchased a box of peaches (at least 50 peaches) and have frozen most of the luscious fruit but there were a few that I left out to bake with.  Several friends were planning to stop by on Sunday evening so I made up this recipe to test out on them:  Avons-end-of-summer-sunday-morning-peach-coffee-cake/detail.aspx     
This cake is delicious!  We enjoyed a slice last night just warm from the oven with a dollop of whipped cream.  This morning I've enjoyed another slice with a cup of hot coffee. 
You can get the details of the recipe on the link above, but this is a healthy cake (in my opinion).  The ingredients include:
maple syrup
peach yogurt but I used vanilla
steel cut oats
white and whole wheat flour
chopped pecans but I used walnuts
Anything with cinnamon is good!
Try this recipe for an amazing healthy coffee cake!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

There is Life after Baseball

Traveling baseball has been done for one week.  That means that every night last week I was home.  For the past two months we've been on the road to games or practices three nights a week with hockey practice the other two nights.
Being home after a day at work is kind of nice.
The Husband and I did go shopping one of the nights we had baseball freedom.  We actually were pretty dangerous as we bought a new patio set and umbrella.  It has been a couple of years since we sat on the deck with a table.  Kidlet Three had commented at some point this summer that it would've been nice to eat supper outside and we are now able to do just that.
For at least three hours on Saturday, The Husband and A-Great-Neighbor, put the chairs and table together.  Thankfully the weather was nice for these two BOYS to sit outside tackling a task they thought would take, maybe, an hour.
Kidlet Three was the first one outside to relax and enjoy the new chairs.
I decided a hobo packet of sliced potatoes, frozen corn from last year's freezing, onion and lots of butter should be on the menu for supper.  I also marinated chicken in Italian dressing and grilled that separately.
As I grilled, I set the table.  Doesn't this look peaceful and inviting!
Our supper was delicious.  There were no bugs outside.  It was a pleasant, relaxing meal. 
Kidlet Three decided Riley should eat his treat on one of the new chairs. 
The chairs 'rock' so Riley wasn't sure he really sure he liked them.
Baseball season is really fun.  It is also fun being done.  I hope you've had a chance to be outside enjoying the summer evenings.  Or maybe even your morning coffee on your deck. 

We are amazingly blessed to have this deck, new furniture and nice weather.  Thank you God!