Heartwarming Update

I wanted to post this update to my previous post, Random Acts Of Kindness. I spoke to our daughter, Shantel, and she told me that she was in the laundry room at her apartment complex again yesterday finishing up her laundry, and a man came in and asked her if she had some clothes in a washer with tide pods in it and quarters in the slot yesterday..? Shantel said yes, and he said he was the person that removed her clothes, and used the washer with her tide pods and quarters. He didn’t say why he did that, but he did give her money back and said he was sorry.

I asked Shantel if she knew him and she said she didn’t, but that he told her he sees her in the laundry room a lot and he said he felt bad about what he did. I asked if she got his name, she said no, but he sounded like he was an older man, and that he seemed to really be sorry about what he did.

 

I believe in miracles, do you?

Merry Christmas!

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Random Acts Of Kindness

Our daughter, Shantel, had a mixed experience with kindness yesterday. Here is a little summary of how her day went:

After Shantel got home from work, she found out she needed to go to the Post Office to pick up a package. She didn’t have time to schedule a ride with Dial-a-Ride, so she had to call Uber. When she arrived at the Post Office, the Uber driver took her in, helped her get in the back of the line to wait her turn, then he returned to his car to wait for her to come out. I think it is important to note here that Shantel gets herself to work everyday, lives alone, and takes care of herself,  goes to her own doctor appointments, goes to get her own groceries (she goes to the Customer Service desk and asks for assistance to select her grocery items) etc. However, this Post Office did not have anyone that could assist a disabled person through the line…

Shantel said she was standing in line at the Post Office, with her long, white cane, with the red at the bottom, which is pretty much a universal sign that the person using the cane is blind or visually impaired. She said she waited, and waited, and never seemed to move up in line. At first, she said she thought it was just very busy, due to the Christmas mailing season.. But finally, a lady working behind the counter, noticed that Shantel couldn’t tell when the line was moving,  and that people behind Shantel in line were going around her, even stepping over her cane to get in front of her. So, that Post Office worker, went outside, and asked the Uber driver if he would come in and help Shantel keep her place in line, which he did…  I say, THANK-YOU to the Post Office worker for noticing, and helping Shantel, and THANK-YOU to that Uber driver for going above his job to help Shantel keep her place in line. And SHAME on all the people that felt the need to go around Shantel, instead of simply letting her know the line was moving forward…

Then, when Shantel finally got home, she got her laundry together and made her way to the laundry room at her apartment complex. She put her clothes in a washer, put her tide pods in, and put her quarters in the slot. Then she remembered she forgot something back at her apartment. She said she left the laundry room, and made her way back to her apartment, got the items she forgot, and when she came back, someone had removed her clothes, put their own clothes in and used her money, and tide pods, to do their own laundry. Again, to whoever did that, SHAME on YOU!!

I was so upset when I talked to Shantel and heard all of this. I told her I thought what happened was awful, and that I was sorry it happened. I asked her how she felt about it. Shantel said “mom, people do stuff like that all the time, I just had to learn to deal with it.” Well, as her mother, I can tell you, I will never accept that kind of bad behavior.

Shantel, Papa and I are so, so, proud of you and how you live your life. I wish life were a little easier for you, but you are, and always will be, our HERO! Never let the bad behavior of others dampen your kind heart, and beautiful spirit. Keep letting your special light shine brightly, and I hope you always keep practicing Random Acts of Kindness every chance you get! We love you Shantel.

Merry Christmas.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

Split Peas And Ham Soup

Yesterday was our weekly cleaning and laundry day for Bill and I. So it was a perfect day for me to make my split pea and ham soup in the slow-cooker. It’s fast and easy, and is the perfect meal to make when I still want something home-made, but I don’t really have the time to spend hours cooking… I just put on Christmas music and got busy…

I chop up a whole sweet onion, spray my slow-cooker with non-stick cooking spray, and put the onion in.

 

Then I pick through and rinse a bag of dried split peas

Trim the fat from a ham steak, and chop it into bite size pieces. Keep the bone as it goes in the soup as well.

Put the ham, the bone, and the split peas into the slow-cooker with the onion. Add three bay leaves, some granulated garlic, coarse black pepper, and salt (I used no-salt seasoning mix) into the slowcooker

Add about one and a half boxes of chicken stock, put the lid on and set the slow-cooker on high until the liquid begins to boil, then turn to low and let it simmer until you are ready to eat (about five to six hours).

I had mine with a salad. Bill had his with buttered saltine crackers. No matter how you serve it, it is delicious, and so much better than anything you will ever get out of a can. If you love split pea and ham soup like we do, this is the only way to go…

So enjoying this beautiful Christmas Season. Hope all of you are finding ways to enjoy whatever it is that makes you happy, and that you are also finding ways to express your love for one another… I show my love by cooking, and feeding my loved ones, which always makes Bill say he is such a lucky man…. I can’t help but think that he also must be thinking to himself “now if I could just get her interested in baking as well…” Ha!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

House Alarm Beef Stew

I guess I can call this stew that from now on..

Now is the time of year when most folks that love to bake, bake… I don’t, but I love to cook.. so I cook. And I am often asked to share my “recipe’s” with others, and I am happy to do so..

Today, I made a roasted vegetable beef stew.  I’ve made this dish many times over the years, including since we have been full-time RVing, in my slow-cooker without any problem.

But, today, I put the stew meat in my slow-cooker, with a packet of beef stew mix, two cups of good red wine and one cup of water, some corse black pepper, some dehydrated onion, some dried thyme, dried oregano, and some granulated garlic. Turned it on low and left it to do its thing while Bill and I attended 8:00 a.m. Mass, went to Walmart to pick up my prescriptions, then to Costco…

However, today, just as Bill and I were leaving the parking lot of Costco, I got a call from the Administrative Assistant at the Visitor Center at McDowell Mountain Park, letting me know that the neighbor next to us reported an alarm was sounding in our rig, and had been going off all morning…

Well, you gotta know,  Bill and I made a beeline back to our home to see what was going on. I was praying all the way that nothing was wrong with our home, and asking the Lord to please keep our home safe, and not let it blow up or anything…

Long story short… we arrived home, Bill entered our rig and checked everything, and sure enough the propane alarm was sounding loudly, but nothing was on. No heater, no stove valves, nothing but the slow-cooker on low simmering our stew meat for dinner…

So, with the all clear within our home, I proceeded to roast in our outside oven (omg they smell wonderful roasting), the purple potatoes, carrots, and onions, that I chopped and seasoned with garlic, black pepper, and olive oil, then I added them to the beef stew meat.

I usually add fresh beets to the roasted vegetable mix, but I couldn’t find any that were worth the price, so I bought two cans of canned beets and added them to the stew.

I served this with warm, buttered, beer bread that I made from scratch… and winner, winner, a delicious “house alarm beef stew” dinner was served.

I hope all of my readers are enjoying this beautiful Christmas Season. I hope you bake, if you love to bake, cook, if you love to cook.. But most of all that you spend time  to reflect on what is important to you, and spend time with the people that you love, and that love you. And, if you get the chance, from the words in the song of Dolly Parton “I hope you dance”.

Merry Christmas!

Stay Tuned.

Christmas 2017

We are all fixed up and ready to celebrate this wonderful season with little touches of Christmas throughout our tiny home. We have a tiny Christmas tree that looks so pretty lit up at night. And Bill loves the little Santa bucket filled with Christmas chocolates. 🙂

Our tiny Santa’s hang above the dashboard between our Santa hats and they keep a close eye on who is naughty or nice… I love the center piece on the dashboard. I put tiny light in it that are battery operated and I can set them to stay on or blink. So pretty at night.

Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas for us without the Virgin Mary sitting on the sofa shelf along with another metal Christmas tree that has tiny ornaments on it, and beside that, is our Poinsettia Centerpiece.

Even my favorite wine, Butter, is decked out with a Christmas scarf and hat…

 

Can’t forget the bathroom with the marching soldiers soap and snowflake kleenex box…

 

And the Santa rug in front of the shower will make sure we all have a goodnight!

 

Bill and I will keep Christ in our Christmas because we know Jesus is the reason for the season. We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas season from our home to yours.

Stay Tuned!

Shantel’s First Thanksgiving

Well, actually, it was not her “first” Thanksgiving, but it was the first Thanksgiving she hosted in her home. And Bill and I were the lucky guests of honor.

Shantel lives alone, in a small, one bedroom apartment. Being blind, she doesn’t want a lot of “stuff” to have to get around, and she likes to keep things simple… She has a sofa and coffee table in her living room area that she purchased when she moved into her apartment.

And she just bought a small table for her dining room area special for hosting her first Thanksgiving. She said she bought the cloth tablecloth and place settings to make her table look “festive” for us… We thought it looked beautiful!

As soon as we arrived, Shantel got to work washing the turkey and getting it ready to go into the oven.

When the turkey was in the oven, she sat down at the table and entertained her Papa and I by telling us all about some of the crazy phone calls she monitors and scores on her job…

When it was time, she asked her Papa to peel the potatoes and pass then over to her to cut up to make the mashed potatoes.

Shantel has excellent knife skills, and had five pounds of potatoes cut up in no time at all. My, my, that girl loves mashed potatoes…

She delegated the making of the green bean casserole to me.

When the potatoes were cooked, she went to work mashing them with her hand mixer.

She asked her Papa to help make the gravy to ensure there were no lumps…

Then she pulled the perfectly cooked turkey from the oven, YUM!

And just like that… winner, winner, her turkey dinner was served…

After dinner, she served up some of her homemade apple pie she made the night before including making her own pie crust…

Everything was DELICIOUS, and we are so very proud, and thankful, to have been the guests of honor in Shantel’s home for the hosting of her very first Thanksgiving dinner.

Great Job Shantel. Thank you for everything. Keep shining your light brightly. We love you and are looking forward to Christmas Eve dinner with you too…

*Note to readers: I haven’t posted any blogs for the past few months because we hit the floor running when we arrived back here at McDowell Mountain Park. Then, shortly after we arrived, I had to have some surgery on my right eye to have a growth removed. I’m still recovering, but doing well, but it has been difficult for me to focus to take pictures, and to work on the computer for any length of time to write the blog posts. That, and the fact that I need to stay out of direct sunlight, and wind, for the next month or so, means we haven’t been doing very many hikes, and the hikes we do take are short and not anything I haven’t shown before on my blogs… I’m sure I will find lots of things to write about over the holidays…so

Stay Tuned!

A New Friend!

Bill and I have met so many wonderful people since we have been here at McDowell Mountain Regional Park. All of the staff, and hosts, are so welcoming and friendly. But I want to dedicate this post to my new “huggie” girlfriend, Bonnie.

Bonnie, and her husband, Craig, have been hosts here for about 10 years. They are both very friendly and willing to help in any way they can. Craig always stops by the visitor center when Bill and I are working and asks if we need anything, and always tells us to call him if/when we do need anything. He is really a great guy and we appreciate all he does.

Bonnie is one of those people you meet, and immediately feel a connection, and just know it won’t be long before you become friends. Bonnie is beautiful inside and out, and she has a personality that just lights up any room she enters.

Bonnie trained me to make camping reservations and/or changes to reservations for our guests that visit our park. She has the patience of a saint and never seemed to mind the endless questions I had while I was being trained.

Bill and I were scheduled to work Christmas Eve. We didn’t mind because we are one of the new host couples here and we know we all need to “pay our dues” and take our turn working holiday’s… However, Bonnie knew Bill and I were going to spend Christmas Eve at our daughter, Shantel’s home, in Phoenix, and a big storm, with heavy rain, was predicted to arrive in our area within a few hours of the time we would finish our shift at 4:00. The problem with big storms with heavy rain in this area is that we have three washes to go through to get out of the park and make our way to the highway to get to Phoenix.

Bonnie and her husband were not planning to leave the park on Christmas Eve, they were going to have a little after hours gathering at the visitor center with some of the other park hosts. Bonnie had already worked her scheduled hours for the week. But, Bonnie knew Bill and I were a bit worried about getting out of the park before the heavy rains came that could flood the washes we needed to cross. So, Bonnie, being Bonnie, sent me a text around 11:30 yesterday morning letting me know that she was going to come in around 3:15 and take over so Bill and I could leave and get to Shantel’s home to start our Christmas celebration!

Both Bill and I were very happy to be getting off a little early. Now, imagine our surprise when Bonnie walks in at about 2:00 and said she had finished up the things she wanted to get done and decided she would just come on in and let us go even earlier!! OMG, both Bill and I were so surprised, happy, and very appreciative. We both hugged Bonnie, and told her how much we appreciate her, and wanted her to know what a great person we think she is. I mean how many folks do you know that would give up their Christmas Eve afternoon off to go and let people they just recently met get off early…? I’m sure there are a few folks out there like Bonnie that would do that, but let me just say, Bill and I have found that those kind of people are few, and sometimes hard to find… And when we meet people like Bonnie and become friends, we never for one minute that that friendship for granted!

So, a BIG shout out to my new girlfriend, Bonnie. THANK-YOU for being the beautiful, fun-loving, kind-hearted person you are. We were blessed the day we met you, and we look forward to many years of friendship.

Merry Christmas!

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