Monday, May 17, 2010

Lapghan #8

Lapghan #8 is finished as well. It's made of Red Heart yarn in the colors of red and gray. It's edged in gray instead of the red because I had more of the gray yarn left than I did of the red. I had this one with me when I was waiting for the kids to get out of school today, and I got several comments on the colors. The photo doesn't do it justice. I may have to make a few of these for this coming Fall during baseball season when it's so chilly. They are perfect for our school colors of red and white with the colors of black and gray mixed in.

Lapghan #7

Lapghan #7 is finished. It's made out of Red Heart yarn in the colors of royal blue and light blue.

And even more flooding photos

The first photo shows area that is normally farmland. The second photo is of the bridge over the Grand River. The third photo shows a billboard outside of town that is now barely above the water level. The fourth photo shows the boat dock, which is submerged in water, and the depth measurement for times of flooding. When I took this was at 26 ft. and the normal flood stage is around 19 feet.

More flooding photos

The first photo shows the bathrooms at the boat dock. They are normally surrounded by grass. The second photo shows a building at the corner of Hwy. 24 and Hwy. 11. There are normally two access roads to this building (they are under water) and the buildind is normally surrounded by grass. The third photo shows a local road that has water running over it. The fourth photo is a home beside the road in photo number 3.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Flood Waters

My husband and I went out of town this afternoon to do a big amount of grocery shopping and when we turned onto the highway just outside of our town to head north, we couldn't believe our eyes. We've got flood water everywhere. Don't get me wrong. We're used to having it. But we didn't expect to see this as we've not been hearing any flood warnings on the radio. Here's a glimpse of what we saw. The orange wrapped pallets contain bags of sand. We saw evidence of sandbagging along one section of road. The first photo is of the railroad bridge across the river. It usually has at least 10 feet of clearance above the water.

Lapghan #6

Lapghan #6 is finished. I used purple and white Red Heart yarn. 2 skeins of each color.

I had planned to take these up to the nursing home for donation, but one of our church members asked me tonight if I would donate them to the church to be auctioned off this coming weekend at the fundraiser. I said "no problem". I can always make more. In fact, I'm working on lapghan #7 right now. It's royal blue and light blue.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Book Nook - 5/13/10

I started reading the series "Percy Jackson & The Olympians" again. I have to admit though, that I only got through book one the first time. Since it's been awhile, I figured I had better read it again before going on to book two. Anyway, here's my review.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan - This series is in the young adult section in the book store. I have to admit that I enjoy reading books out of this area. I buy them for me, but my kids can read them too. But back to the book, I think it's unique to have the books based on the Olympic gods and their kids. The book has plenty of action and it keeps your attention throughout. Out of a possible 10, I give this book an 8. By the way, these books are aimed at both boys and girls even though the main character is a boy.

Lapghan #5

Lapghan #5 is finished. I'm not thrilled with the colors, but then again, I'm trying to use up my yarn stash to make these. This one turned out better than #4, which I seriously don't care for, but I was told that it's a matter of taste and someone will surely like the color combo. You never know.
Since I haven't posted it in awhile, here's the free pattern that I use to make these.

Student Council Banquet

Tuesday night was the Student Council Banquet at school. Both of my younger kids are student council members. And they BOTH received service awards. Chance had the most service hours for junior high and it's for school wide service hours. Tianna received the student council junior high service award. We are proud of them both. Even though they won't stand still for one second while I try to snap their photos. Notice my son's black socks with his white tennis shoes? I tried to get him to change his socks, but he wouldn't do it. I guess he's trying to start a new fashion craze around here.

Another Recipe - Orange Beef Teriyaki

I tried another new recipe last night and the family loved it! It scored a 5 out of 5. I'm on a roll! LOL A couple of us weren't thrilled with the mandarin oranges when they were warm, but otherwise it was great.

Orange Beef Teriyaki

1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 lbs. beef top sirloin steak, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 c. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 garlic clove, minced

*serve with hot cooked rice

1. Drain oranges, reserving juice; set oranges aside. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and 2 Tbsp. of the reserved juice until smooth; set aside.

2. In a large skillet or wok, stir fry beef in oil. Add the soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic and remaining juice. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until the meat is tender.

3. Stir cornstarch mixture; stir into the beef mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or unitl thickened. Stir in the oranges. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Signs of life in my yard...

I found this egg on the sidewalk alongside my house. I think it's a robins' egg but I'm not sure. There are no cracks or anything in the egg. It must have fell out of the nest and rolled down the hill to my sidewalk. Looks like there will be one less bird in my yard this year. It makes me sad.
I was looking in my backyard at my fruit trees because I was wondering if I would have any cherries this year. It looks like I will if we don't have another frost. There aren't as many little fruits as last year on this tree, but there are still quite a few.

This is a photo of the bushes alongside the front of my house, just under the porch. They are beautiful. I don't know what type of bush they are, but I was told that they have been here a long time. They never bloomed for the previous owner, but when we bought the property, I trimmed the bushes up and they have bloomed all three spring/summer seasons that we have lived here.

Last Year's Unfinished Project Is...

The big raised flower bed that I wanted to plant my garden in this spring. **SIGH** The body of it is done but it doesn't have anything inside. I need...some rock...some sand...and a lot of dirt.

The Book Nook - post two

I forgot to add a few books to my list in the previous post. Imagine that! I should have added the following:

"Hunted" and "Tempted" by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast - These are books 5 and 6 in the House of Night series. So I wouldn't miss anything, I re-read books 1 - 4 before starting these. The series is about high school for vampires. I love it, love it, love it! So does my daughter. On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate this entire series as a 9. I would give it a 10 but I'm saving that for a very special book. I just haven't found it yet.

The Book Nook

Ok....I haven't given any updates lately on what I've been reading. So I will try to catch everyone up with one post. Hopefully. I dearly love to read so the list could get quite lengthy. I won't be posting the correct order in which I read them as I don't remember it. LOL are my latest reading adventures.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr - This is the first book in a series. I've got three of the books so far but have only read this one. It was pretty good. It's about fairies, people who can see fairies, etc.. The story line is a bit "strange" but overall, still worth the read. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give it a 7.

Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner - I ordered this book for my daughter through Scholastic (at school). Honestly, this book was pretty good. It's about magic, in general. Not as in casting spells, etc., but as in having magical talents such as shape shifting, calling plants, etc.. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give this an 8.

Fablehaven "Secrets of the Drangon Sanctuary" by Brandon Mull - This is the fourth book in the Fablehaven series. I have to admit that I'm biased as I LOVE these books. They are about magical preserves in the human world where all types of creatures (out of the childhood fables) exist. There are lots of twists and turns to the story line and I find myself throughly engrossed when reading these books. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate this book at a 9. These books are found in the older children's section or young adult section in the bookstores.

Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz - This is the first book in the series. I have three of the books. My daughter is reading the series as well right now, so I'm waiting to read book 2. These books are about vampires but with a thoroughly different take on the whole idea. These are geared towards teen readers. I enjoyed the book and I would give it an 8 out of 10.

Sweep by Cate Tiernan - This book is actually three books in one. This is out of a series of 14 or 15 books. I love these books! I was throughly engrossed and can't wait to read some more of the stories in the series. I will have to add them to my shopping list for my next trip to the book store. This book includes the stories "Book of Shadows", "The Coven", and "Blood Witch". Obviously, it's about witches. I give this book a score of 8 out of 10.

The Vampire's Assistant and other tales from the Cirque de Freak by Darren Shan - This is a collection of three books in one. The books are "A Living Nightmare", "The Vampire's Assistant", and "Tunnels of Blood". I enjoyed these books and I couldn't wait to read it after seeing the movie "The Vampire's Assistant". I enjoyed the movie, so I figured I would probably love the books. I do. However, the book is vastly different than the movie. So...anyone (kids/teens) that are reading this book for AR at school, be advised that you will not pass the test if you didn't actually read the book. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this book an 8.

Recipe - Cheesy Tuna Mac

Last night's "new" recipe was for Cheesy Tuna Mac. Everyone liked it so I scored another hit this week with new recipes.

Cheesy Tuna Mac

1 pkg. (7 1/2 oz.) macaroni and cheese mix
1/2 c. milk
1 Tbsp. butter
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of broccoli soup, undiluted
1 can (6 oz.) tuna, drained and flaked
3/4 c. frozen peas
2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp. process cheese sauce (I didn't use this)

1. Cook the macaroni according to package directions; drain. Stir in the milk, butter and contents of cheese packet. Add the soup, tuna, peas, onion and cheese sauce.

2. Spoon into a greased 1 1/2 qt. baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until heated through.


This dish wasn't as cheesy tasting as I thought it would be. Instead the flavor came from the cream of broccoli soup. In my opinion, this was a tasty version of the classic tuna casserole.

Crochet Lapghans

Here are the last two lapghans that I have crocheted for donation to the local nursing home. I prefer the orange, brown and beige one myself. I am still using the free pattern listed in earlier posts under the headings "Ugly Duckling Blanket". In my opinion, the striped blankets take much longer to make and I prefer to make them "solid". By solid, I mean that I hold two different colors of yarn together for the entire project instead of switching color combinations for different stripes. I think my next project will be another one of these blankets but I'm going to make up a magic yarn ball of the different yarns I'll be using so I won't have to keep tying on yarn. Then I will using one other color held with it throughout the project. That will give a different effect than solid or striped.

Recipe - Tater Topped Casserole

I'm trying out "new to us" recipes this week that use most of the things I have on hand here at home and only require that I buy one or two items to make it. Some of my family members are picky eaters, but this recipe got a score of 5 out of 5.

Tater Topped Casserole

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/3 c. sliced celery (I didn't use this)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted (I used cream of mushroom)
1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen Tater Tots
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and celery until the meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender; drain. Stir in the salt and pepper.

2. Spoon mixture into a greased 3 qt. baking dish. Spread with soup. Top with frozen tater tots. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Recipe - Chuckwagon BBQ Rice Round-Up

I tried a new recipe for dinner last night. Three of my five family members liked it. I guess that's not bad. I doubled the recipe as I thought it would be a big hit. I had about 2/3 of it for leftovers today but they are going fast. It was easy to make and only required the one skillet. That's a plus in my book! The recipe below is the regular recipe...not doubled.

Chuckwagon BBQ Rice Round-Up

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 (6.8 oz.) pkg. beef Rice-a-Roni type mix
2 Tbsp. margarine or butter
2 c. frozen corn
1/2 c. BBQ sauce
1/2 cup or 2 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a large skiller over medium-high heat, brown ground beef until well cooked. Remove from skillet; drain. Set aside.

2. In same skillet, over medium heat, saute rice-vermicelli mix with margarine until vermicelli is golden brown.

3. Slowly stir in 2 1/2 cups water, corn, and special seasonings packet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.

4. Stir in BBQ sauce and ground beef. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover; let stand 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

It's been a long day...


It's not uncommon for my daughter to bring out her lovey blanket for a bit of quiet time on the couch after a long hard day at school. My dogs LOVE her blanket. They think of it as their own. Especially Pepper. He's the one on the floor on top of the blanket. He usually prefers to crawl underneath it though. The other dog, Cocoa, decided to take a rest beside her on the couch instead of getting underneath the blanket. In the end, the dogs ended up overtaking 80% of the blanket and she had very little of it left to snuggle with. She left them the blanket and went to her room to talk on her phone. She voiced her displeasure with the whole situation on the way there. I said, "why didn't you take the blanket from them?" and she said "it wouldn't be fair." LOL She enjoys spoiling them as long as they let her enjoy things too.

Sports Banquet & Awards

I'm a proud parent again! My youngest son (khaki pants, blue polo) received a letter in Track and in Baseball this year. That's great! And he's a freshman. He plays 1st base in Baseball on the JV team. All freshman play JV. He does the discus and shot put in Track. Now we have to purchase a letter jacket. We weren't prepared to do so this early in his high school sports career. So it was a surprise to us all.

FFA Banquet & Awards

I'm a proud parent! My youngest son received a proficiency award and the greenhand award during the FFA Banquet this year. Now if I can only teach him how to keep his shirt tail tucked in his pants, things will be good. LOL

Fishing in the rain...

While we were camping in the rain, we decided to go ahead and fish in the rain after going to all that trouble to haul the boat to the campground as well as the camper. Guess what? We didn't catch anything. Didn't get any bites either. But we still had fun! See my son in my daughter's pink raincoat? He has a blue one but didn't feel like wearing it. He's a real comic! I have even better photos of him but he won't let me post them on here. LOL He doesn't want any of his friends to see him! Imagine that! The "guys" have had the boat out several times already this year but this is the first time that the "girls" went with them. So it deserved a spot on my blog.

1st camping trip of the year

Here we are at our first camping trip of the year. We took our new camper. It was the maiden voyage of it you could say. As you can see by my husband's photo, it did nothing but rain for three days. Seriously. We were not able to build a campfire one time. That killed all of the cooking. A real bummer. I had planned on making S'Mores.
The kids were smart enough to bring things to do with them. Like texting their friends on their cell phones to say what a lousy time they were having, or playing their DS.
We did learn a few things though while we were there. First...all three popouts leak. Second...the heater only heats the bathroom. And third...the hot water heater developed a hole sometime during the winter so we had no water in the camper. As I type, I can say that the camper is back at the dealership getting things fixed on it. However, they just can't understand why the popouts leaked. I told him to put a water hose on it for three days and then they will see it. The popouts leaked rain water like a waterfall. Even the kitchen cabinets were covered in it. Hopefully they can get this fixed and fixed correctly as this very camper is going to be pulled behind the truck on our trip to Washington D.C. this summer.

1st Fishing Trip of the Year - Together

Here we are....our 1st fishing trip of the year taken as a couple (minus all the kids). We tried out a new place we found. It was the Sterling Price Community Lake. It's a really nice area but my only photo of it doesn't do it justice.
You'll notice that my husband is the one catching the fish! I didn't catch anything and only got one bite the whole time. I did see a snake in the water though. So I spent my time enjoying being outside and taking the occasional photo. I also made use of my MP3 player when I felt myself getting bored.

Spring Concert

We've been very busy lately with evening events at school. One of those things was the Spring Concert. Here is the High School Band. My daughter plays the flute and is in the front row, right in front of the instructor on the left. She's the blond in the gray pants.
I also took a photo of me and my sister, sitting in the bleachers, in between performances. I thought it would be a good photo, but look at her! All in all, it was a very good evening with great music.