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Preview: My Little Corner of the World

My Little Corner of the World

Updated: 2018-01-18T19:11:30.943-05:00


Cooking Thursday


The recipe I'm sharing today is one you have to try.  It involves cream cheese so you know it's good! I've been making it for years, and have been asked to pass on the recipe many times.  Hope you enjoy it too!Chocolate Streusel Bars1 3/4 cup flour1 1/2 cup powdered sugar1/2 cup cocoa1 cup cold butter1- 8 oz pkg cream cheese1 -14 oz can sweetened condensed milk1 egg2 teaspoons vanillaPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, sugar and cocoa. Cut in butter until crumbly (mixture will be very dry). Reserve 2 cups crumb mixture and press remainder on bottom of 9x13 pan. Bake 15 minutes. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth. Add egg and vanilla. Mix well. Pour over prepared crust. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over cheese mixture. Bake 25 minutes or until bubbly. Cool and chill. Cut into small squares and store in refrigerator.[...]

Wordless Wednesday


Tip for Tuesday


Do you ever think of using your dishwasher to wash things other than dishes?
As I was taking my dish scrubber out of it the other day, I thought I should share this.  Maybe everyone already knows this one, but it works so well for me, I'm letting you know!

I don't know what type of scrubby you use for dishes, but I like this type that usually comes in blue or green,  They can get pretty disgusting, so I tuck it into the dishwasher about twice a week and it comes out fresh and clean!  I don't use sponges, but I hear you can do the same with them.
Another thing I like to do is to collect all the globes from lighting fixtures and run a load of them.  They come out sparkling and I don't risk breaking them in the sink.
One other unusual thing I occasionally put in the dishwasher is combs.  They look brand new when they're done and it's so much easier than soaking and scrubbing them.
What about you?  Do you wash anything besides dishes in your dishwasher?

Treasure jar


After I showed the special jar that Laura did for us this Christmas, I got several e-mails asking about it, so I thought I would share a little more about it.This is the jar we got this year, filled with all kinds of papers to open.  In front of it is the first one we pulled out which is a photo of the girls.This is the one we got last year, with a photo and a drawing Alaina had done.  We got this for Christmas 2016, so the photos were from the year 2016 and it had drawings that Alaina had done when she was just turning 4.People asked about what all was on the papers, and how many she put in it.  I don't have an exact number but there had to have been at least 300 little squares, because we pulled things out of it all year, all the way to Christmas 2017.There were lots of photos of the girls, little drawings that Alaina did (and a couple from Ruby), verses that Laura wrote out, thank you's to us,  and memories that Laura had of growing up.We couldn't just throw them away, so I got a little scrapbook and put them in as the year passed.Here are a few sample pages of the book.I thought this little picture was so cute that I framed it.  Everything else is in the scrapbook.It's such a thoughtful, fun gift!   We enjoyed every piece of paper we pulled out and are looking forward to another year of these little treasures.[...]

Friday Funny


Batten down the hippos - winter is here!

Cooking Thursday


The recipe I'm sharing today is a little different for me.  It's a jello salad, which isn't something I make often.  However, I have 2 sister-in-laws that make this recipe quite often, and it's a nice one for any holiday, plus it's something kids really like, so I decided to make it for our Christmas Eve supper.
You can choose the color jello you want, depending on the occasion.  I was going to use red and green, but had the wrong size green, so I ended up using a blue too, but it still looked festive!

Holiday Jello Salad

4 - 3 ounce jello packages in colors of your choice
1 - 3 ounce lemon jello
boiling water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
8 ounces Cool Whip

Mix each of the first 4 jello with 1 cup boiling water and 1/2 cup cold water.
Place in pans and refrigerate overnight.
Mix the lemon jello with 1 cup boiling water.  Stir in the sugar and pineapple juice.  Add some ice cubes and stir occasionally until mixture thickens, then remove remaining ice.
Stir in Cool Whip.
Take the jello you made the day before and cut it into cubes.  Gently fold it into the jello/Cool Whip mixture.  Place in 9x13 pan, place in refrigerator and allow to set overnight.

Wordless Wednesday


Another special gift


I got another special gift for Christmas that I want to share with you.
Our daughter Heather has been making jewelry for some time, but she has just recently started stamping it.  I was thrilled to get a necklace from her.

 Here's the necklace which is pretty, just as it is.

But, when you lift the filigree part, it says "trust in the Lord".
It's a pretty necklace, but it's even more special with the saying, and because Heather made it!



This is a random type of post, just letting you know what's been happening here.This farm is just around the corner from my house.Our roadSnow!  We've had lots of it, along with bitter cold. I had a minus 9 degrees on my car temp one day last week on my way to work.  We got another 8 inches on Wednesday and were supposed to get hit again on the weekend, but it went south of us, and we just had a few flurries.Alaina and Ruby stayed overnight Friday night.  They were very happy with this new desk in their room.  They said they were at the doctor - Ruby is the doctor taking care of a baby, and Alaina said the desk was the check in area.  Love that imagination!Someone at work gave me a box of chocolate band-aids for Christmas.  The girls thought they were pretty fun, and tasty too.You may have seen this on FB, but it's too sweet not to share again.  Here's what I wrote there to go along with this photo.Alaina and Ruby are spending the night tonight. Ruby has been up to her usual shenanigans but seems to be tired and ready for bed. We tucked them into bed, first Ruby, then Alaina. As we walked back down the hall from the bedrooms, Ruby calls out: "Hey guys" (she always calls us that way)  :) I'm thinking this is one of her ploys to keep from going to bed. "What, Ruby?" "Thanks for taking care of us!" Our hearts melted and any shenanigans were quickly forgotten! (and she went right to sleep after that!)Sunday was a special day for our church.  Some of you that have been with me for a while know that we lost our church building when we left the denomination we were in.  Last year we were so happy to complete an office building with classrooms, but we have still been having our services at school.  We are now in the process of building a worship center which is supposed to be completed sometime this Spring.  In the meantime, we started to worship in our classroom space this Sunday.  We are broken up into smaller groups, with a screen in each room for us to listen to the message and for the music.  This first Sunday went quite well, and though we will be thrilled to be in the worship center when it's complete, this will work for a few months.We have a tech guru who goes to our church who does a lot of video work.  He took his drone out and recorded some of the process from above.It's exciting to see these walls going up!Here's a shot of the whole property.  You can see the roof of our existing office and classroom space, with the new area next to it.  God has been so good to us, seeing us through each step of this process.  We sang 'Great is thy Faithfulness' this morning, and it's so true.  He is faithful.[...]

A Day in my life


It's 2018!  It's hard to believe another year has gone by.  Here's how I spent the first day of 2018.This picture was taken before midnight, but I forgot to take one after midnight, so I thought I would show you our New Years Eve gathering.  We went to Bob's brother and sister-in-laws house for the evening, made supper there and had a nice time bringing in the new year with them.They live close to us, so we weren't out too late.  I was in bed shortly after 1.I slept in until almost 9 and then had a quiet start to the day. It's so nice to be able to have a quiet morning.  A friend gave me this Francine Rivers devotional for Christmas and I started it today.  I've always enjoyed her fiction and I can see that this is going to be good too. I used my new Instantpot to cook some eggs for the upcoming week.In the meantime, poor Bob was outside using a roof rake to clean the snow off our roof. After that it was time to snow blow the driveway again. I've been doing a lot of cleaning things out since putting the Christmas things away.  This is Alaina and Ruby's room, but it's been a catchall of all sorts of things during the Christmas season.  I sorted it all out and Bob brought up this old school desk that he had fixed up for our kids to use when they were young.  I think the girls will enjoy drawing and coloring on it. I cleaned this cabinet out too.And I worked on the closet in the room too.  I store all sorts of things in it.While I was cleaning things out, I had the washing machine going and got 2 loads done.I also cleaned out this cabinet in our family room downstairs.  I keep some paper products, cups, tablecloths... in these cupboards to use when we have groups over, and they had gotten quite jumbled. It feels so good to have them organized and I really enjoy doing it!While I was doing this, Bob was working on his latest carving.I had started some vegetable soup in the crockpot in the morning.  We had that with some cheese toast for supper.  We relaxed and watched a movie while we ate.We had a nice relaxing evening.  It was a very good day to start the year with![...]

Cooking Thursday


We usually have ham on Christmas. We had plenty left over this year, and even with everyone taking some home, I knew I had to find a way to use it.  I found this recipe at Taste of Home online and it was a tasty way to use up that ham!

Ham and Cheese Ziti

1 package (16 ounces) ziti
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups cubed fully cooked ham
12 ounces frozen green peas

Prepare ziti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in the cheeses, garlic powder and pepper; cook and stir until cheese is melted.
Drain ziti; add to sauce mixture. Stir in ham and peas. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6 servings. 

Winter is here!


Like many other areas in the country, we have been slammed by winter!  It was a very snowy Christmas Day, with bad roads and whiteout conditions.  By the end of the day, we had gotten 8 inches of snow.  The snow was accompanied by some very cold temps. The day after Christmas it was negative 9 at the Grand Rapids airport!  We are closer to the lake which keeps us a bit warmer, but my drive in to work in 2 degrees was still pretty chilly!The snow continued to fall until Saturday when the sun finally came out.  By that time, we had gotten 19.5 inches.  Bob was very thankful for the good snow blower we got last year!Here's a few pictures of what it looked like around here.This is the neighbors farm.  I took this the day after Christmas when I was coming home from work.This is our street on the same day. It's hard to see, but this is the side of our driveway.  That decorative ball is about 2 feet from the ground.  The snow is not that deep everywhere though - it's been piled up there from snow blowing the driveway. All my other Christmas decorations are down, but this wreath may have to wait a while!Our poor bird feeder wasn't able to take the weight of all the snow on it.Friday night Bob cleared the driveway, only to have another 7 inches fall by Saturday morning!On Saturday around noon the sun finally came out!  We've had a little more snow since then, but in much smaller amounts.  It's very pretty, but no fun to drive in and I'm not a fan of being cold.  :)I'm thankful God gives us different seasons and I know Spring will be coming![...]

Playing a little catch up!


Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a nice Christmas!  It's hard to believe we are already into another year. I had a nice break, had a good Christmas and enjoyed time with family.  Here's just a little recap of that time. (Sorry - lots of pictures!)Laura, Aaron and girls, and Heather and Andrew came over on Christmas Eve for our family Christmas.  We tried to Skype with Andy and Nikki, but had all kinds of technical issues and had to make do with talking on the phone.The girls are always happy to see Uncle Andrew and Aunt Heather.We always read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve.  This year I found a book that told the story in kid language.The girls both loved this car for their dolls.  The lights go on and it plays music when you hit the horn.  :)   Behind Alaina's head is one of my gifts - an Instantpot!  Do any of you have one? I'm looking forward to making some new things.Here's another sweet gift we got.  This cute container is full of photos, drawings and notes.  Laura did one of these last year for us, and we just took the last photo out, so we were thrilled to have a new supply.  Our kids are so good to us!For the past few years I've been making photo books for Laura and Aaron of each of their girl, using all the pictures I take of them during the year.  I enjoy doing it, and it's a nice way for them to remember some of the things we do together.On Christmas day, my whole family came over; 23 people in all.  It fills up the house! Here's most of the group, at tables lined up in our family room downstairs.After we ate some of the grandkids hung out in the living room for awhile.We playing some fun games using plastic cups.  There was some fun competition and lots of laughter!Here's another picture of most of the group.My Dad and stepmom opening one of their gifts.Alaina and Ruby opening one of their gifts from Great-grandpa and Great-grandma.In the meantime - this is what it was doing all day.  And it continued for most of the week.  I'll tell you more about that tomorrow.[...]

Cooking Tuesday!


I usually do my recipe posts on Thursday, but I plan to take a break after today, so I thought I would share one more recipe for the year.  After this, I'll be taking a break and will see you in the new year.
I wish you all a blessed Christmas and thank you for your friendship here!

If you're anything like me, you are quite busy this time of year.  On top of the shopping, wrapping, cooking and cleaning, you have parties to go to; and sometimes you need to bring goodies to share!  Well, I have the perfect recipe for you today.  This is a fudge recipe that is beyond easy, plus it looks very pretty and it tastes good!

Peppermint Fudge

3 cups chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
crushed candy canes

Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
Place chocolate chips and condensed milk in a bowl.  Microwave for 2 minutes.  Remove from microwave and stir, then add peppermint extract and stir.
Microwave for another 30 seconds, stir and pour into 8x8 pan.
Smooth out fudge and sprinkle crushed candy canes over top, then use back of spoon to press them slightly into fudge.
Refrigerate for several hours, then remove and cut into small squares.

Oh Christmas Tree...


Several years ago we got a new Christmas tree. Our old one was looking shabby, and I was ready for a smaller one.  We got a smaller one, but when we got it up, it looked so much smaller in the room than it looked in the store.  We used it for several years, but were always bothered by how small it seemed.  Last year we saw one on sale shortly before Christmas and thought it looked just right for us - 5 1/2 feet tall, but skinny, so it would fit into our living room better.This year it's up and I really like it. Not too big, not too small!Here it is, in the daylight with the lights off.And here it is, all lit up!I wanted it to have an old, natural feel, so it's decorated with white lights and lots of white ornaments.  Here's a few pictures showing what's on it. This is an ornament that I helped Bob's sister make when we were first dating.  It was a kit, and she was doing them for a sale. We both thought they were so ugly, and I really laughed when she gave me one for Christmas that year.  It's hung on the tree every year since then. This little angel is one I made for Sunday school teachers when my kids were young, and I made one for us too.This was made by one of my former residents.The same lady made this bell. She was very talented and I enjoy remembering her whenever I see these. I have several of these cute little birds scattered around the tree.I have a set of the vintage looking ornament.  They aren't very big and look so cute on the tree!These are more favorites - some of Bob's carved Santa's.I have floral picks tucked in all over the tree to fill in empty spots.  Some are the burlap curls and some are these mini pine cones.  I really like the natural look it gives.We have one more tree in our house. This one is in the family room downstairs.  It doesn't get decorated - it already has pine cones and berries, so it's very easy to set up!  Bobs old family nativity  set sits next to it.What about you? Do you have a real tree?  Is it a big one, or have your downsized too?[...]

Friday Funny


Cooking Thursday


Tis the season for making goodies that we don't make often!  I have a few of those to share in the next couple of weeks.  Todays recipe is a mix that makes a big batch, so it works to give away or to bring to parties. I brought it to Bob's family party last week and everyone liked it!
This can be made 2 ways - one is messy and chewy, the other is crispy.  I did mine the crispy way because I was taking it to share at a party, but I'm told the other version is quite addictive!

Christmas Crack

6 cups Corn Chex
6 cups Golden Grahams
2 cups pretzel sticks
2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup butter

In large bowl, stir together Corn Chex, Golden Grahams, pretzels and almonds.
In medium saucepan, stir together corn syrup and sugar, add butter and cook over medium heat. Bring to slow boil, stirring occasionally until mix reaches 234 degrees.
Pour mix over cereal mix in bowl and stir to cover cereal.
If you want the chewy version, pour it out onto wax paper and allow to cool, then break into pieces and store in airtight container.
If you want the less messy version, pour into a large pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Place in 250 degree oven, bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Then pour out onto wax paper and allow to cool.  Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Wordless Wednesday


Looks like Christmas!


My Christmas decorations are all up and I thought I would share what it looks like here.I hang a wreath on the gate to the side yard, but it's getting covered in snow!We also have two small trees with lights on them, on the front porch.This milk can has a new sign for the season.  It's in the garage by the back door.A cute sign in the back entry.This is the dining room.This kissing ball is hanging in the dining room.  It was a gift from one of my residents a few years ago and always makes me think of her.This is on our table. This little grouping is in our living room.  I made the tiny nativity set in MOPS a few years ago. Here's another nativity set in our living room.  This one sets on top of a cabinet where it stays safe.  Laura made it for me when she was 16.  It's got lots of pieces - even little chickens!Here's a closer view of the shepherds, sheep and a few cows.I've got some fun pillows out! Bob carved this cute Santa several years ago.  Doesn't he make you smile?We don't have a fireplace, so our stockings hang from a shelf.We have another nativity set in the family room downstairs.  This is an old one, it belonged to Bobs family when he was growing up. We inherited it when his mom and step-dad moved into an independent living facility a few years ago.One more room!  For the first time, I decorated the bathroom! I found this cute little tree at Michaels and thought it fit just right in that spot!This spot needed a sign and the Joy to the World sign was perfect.I'll share the tree another day.[...]

The Star


Every year around this time, Bob goes out shopping with Laura and Heather.  He takes them out for supper, and then they do some Christmas shopping.  I don't think they do much for themselves, they help Bob shop for me.  But it's really more about spending that time together!Aaron has been working long days lately and Laura wasn't sure he would be home on time to watch the girls so she could go along.  I had been thinking of taking them out to see a movie, so I decided this was a good time to do that, so Friday evening when Bob picked Laura up, I picked up Alaina and Ruby and we headed to the mall.First we had to get supper.Chicken fingers, fries and milk!Yum!Since we were right there, we had to ride the carousel!Then it was time for the movie.We saw The Star.  It was an animated movie about a stubborn little donkey from Nazereth who didn't like what he was doing, and kept trying to join the royal caravan to travel with the king.  He ended up traveling to Bethlehem, carrying Mary on his back and was able to see the new King, baby Jesus.Eating a little popcorn before the movie started.Alaina was enthralled by the movie - not a peep from her.Ruby was much more wiggly, and at one point in the very quiet theater, she told Alaina in a loud voice that she loved her.  That was very sweet, but I was glad the theater was filled with mostly kids and not adults!  She was also quite worried about the donkey and the other animals in the movie.They both had fun and enjoyed the movie.  I did too![...]

Friday Funny


Cooking Thursday


The recipe I'm sharing with you today isn't really a recipe, but a cute decorating idea for a fun Christmas food.  It's easy to make and kids love it!  Alaina and Ruby helped me decorate these and were pretty proud of the end project.

Rudolph Brownies

1 brownie mix for a 9x9 pan
pretzel twists
red M&M's
candy eyes
chocolate icing

Prepare brownie mix as directed and bake.  I made mine in a scone pan, but you could also use a pie plate and cut the brownies into 8 triangles.
Place small dots of icing at tip of brownies and place red M&M's into it.
Then place more dots of icing in the middle of the brownie and place candy eyes.
Break pretzel twists in half and poke into the top of the brownies.
Enjoy your reindeer!

Wordless Wednesday


I love seeing fountain grasses this time of year.  This was a large grouping of them near a business.  They were very fluffy and blowing in the wind!

A Day in my Life


It's December!  Here's how I spent the first day of the month.I started work at 7am. The hall where my office is, was still dark - no one there but me! I added the little joy sign to the cubby in the office, just a little Christmas decorating at work.It was a busy day, with 2 meetings thrown in.  I'm not a fan of meetings.  I know they are necessary, but too often there is time wasted that I could use for other things!Laura dropped Alaina and Ruby off at 3:30.  She and Aaron were going to his work party that night and the girls were spending the night with us. She left, I finished a few things and the girls and I went home at 4pm.We saw this cool old truck on the way home. The girls had fun playing with this musical dog I had bought for them. It played Jingle Bells and danced.  I must admit that we were happy to send it home with them, and had to apologize to Laura and Aaron for what they were going to have to listen to!We had a Christmas party that evening with my Dad's family. Excuse the blurry picture, I took it as we drove.  The sunset was pretty that night.My Dad comes from a family of 10, so there was a big group at the party! The girls had fun playing with some games after supper.Ruby thought it was great fun to play with the balls. They were excited to show their presents to Great-grandpa and great-grandma. On the way home, we admired the Christmas lights.After getting jammies on, we checked out Ruby's new game.After the game, they played with some photo-editing on Grandpa's I-pad and thought it was hilarious!  Then it was time for bed.Shortly after their bedtime, it was bedtime for us too.  It was another good day![...]

I'm back!


I had a nice break but have missed you all! I've seen most of your blogs, but wasn't commenting much in the interest of saving time. I thought I would share a little of what I was doing during this time.
I had a nice Thanksgiving.  I worked in the morning, then Bob and I went to my sister Cheri's house for dinner.  It was a small group as our kids were with their in-laws, one of her daughters had to work, my Dad was with my step-moms family and our sister Terri was with her hubby's family.  We usually have the whole group every other year and this was the off year.  We had a very nice time though, and yummy food!

The day after Thanksgiving was my birthday .  I had to go into work for the night shift, so I spent the morning sleeping, but then started working on putting up the tree and the decorations in the house.  Laura and the girls came over and brought me lunch, which was a nice surprise.  Bob and I went out for supper that night.

On Tuesday I had a full day.  I had my annual mammogram in the morning, and then drove to Holland, MI.(30 minutes from my home)  A friend of mine just moved there, so I went to see her new home.  We had lunch and did some shopping.

After we finished shopping, we drove to the beach on Lake Michigan, which is 5 minutes from her home.  It's always fun to see the lake and lighthouses!

I had some productive days off from work.  I finished my Christmas shopping and wrapped my gifts, got my cards addressed and ready to go out later this week, got all my Christmas decorating done and did some cleaning.  That feels good!

Thursday I was back at work, and life is quickly back to normal.  :)