Broccoli Grape Salad

Broccoli Grape Salad

4 cups of raw broccoli florets
2 cups of red, seedless grapes
1 small onion chopped, optional
1/2 cup of fresh sliced celery
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 tbsp. white vinegar
2 tsp of sugar
3 bacon strips cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup salted sunflower seeds

In a bowl combine the broccoli, grapes, celery, and onions. In another bowl mix the mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar. Pour over the broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with bacon and sunflower seeds and stir to mix those in. Refrigerate so the dressing has time to chill, about 2 hours. Serves 6.

If you need more, just double the recipe for your family or gathering. This salad has been one that a lot of people love. It is refreshing and very tasty!! Some like to use cauliflower rather than the broccoli or you can use half broccoli and half cauliflower, whatever you prefer! Enjoy!!

Receiving a Death Sentence…What to do?

I have been absent from my posting again on my blog and my apologies to those who follow me.

This past month I have made a number of trips to Sioux Falls, SD and other doctor appointments with my Dad. We learned back in 2012 at Christmas time that he had cancer of the lung and since that time he has been receiving radiation treatments off and on. His appointment in April showed after his last radiation treatment that it appeared that they got the spots they were concerned about. When we returned this month they found 2 new spots. His oncologist at the VA hospital called and told me that they are not going to be able to do more radiation because it will cause more problems with his breathing. They will not give him chemotherapy because his family doctor kept telling us it was his heart and when he kept getting worse and weaker, we fired that doctor! I decided that we needed a second opinion from his VA doctor in Sioux City, Iowa and he did multiple tests and found the tumors on his lungs. We were then referred to his oncologist in Sioux Falls VA system and I learned this past week that after he had a PET scan that they do not feel they can offer any further help to him and he gives him 4 to 8 months to live.

My father has been depressed since learning this and I can completely understand why, but I do not believe we should stop looking for ways to fight this disease. I have taken it upon myself to do research online for alternative ways to fight cancer. My father lives on a fixed income and so we are looking for inexpensive ways to fight this. I read a book I downloaded about natural cures for cancer patients. This book had a recipe for sodium bicarbonate and maple syrup – you mix the correct amounts of each and bring them to a boil and let them boil for 5 minutes. Take it off the stove and allow it to cool. Then you take 2 tablespoons a day for a number of days and then stop it for a week or so and start on it again. So we have started that and he has 7 days left on that mix and he will then take a break and start in on it again. Since I am unsure if this will completely do the trick, I read on. One thing I learned is that sugar feeds cancer and so he is trying to stay away from “sweets.”

Another thing I learned is that you have to bring the patient’s immune system up because typically cancer begins when your immune system is poor, so he is going to start taking vitamins that we often do not get from our foods anymore because much of our foods are processed or genetically modified or have pesticides or excessive amounts of harmful sugars so that they will last longer on the shelves of our grocery stores or cupboards. I also know that a lot of our diets make our bodies more acidic and God meant our bodies to be more alkaline and so this requires getting ones pH level up to the 7 or 8 and one can do that by purchasing pH paper and checking it against their color chart to see what level you are at. Bringing your alkaline level up requires eating more foods that are good for you.

I also found a product that oxygenates the cells in your body and I learned that by getting oxygen to the cancer cells that it will kill them. I am doing a little more research on that product and trying to make sure we are not giving him something that may cause him more health issues. This product comes in drops that you place in juice or water and drink it each day and others who have had cancer have found it has sent them into remission. This is similar to hydrogen peroxide for human consumption, but this product produces far better results for cancer. I have another 160 pages to read of alternative methods to fight cancer. There is no guarantee that this will send the cancer packing, but I believe we need to do whatever we can to find other alternatives since his doctor has now washed his hands of this disease and also by doing this it helps get his mind off of the disease and hopefully will give him longer to live and better quality of life.

We also believe in God and know that He cares about our health and well-being, so we are daily lifting him in prayer and asking God to intervene as well. God may decide that He needs him home sooner than we would like, but we feel that we must fight this disease in anyway we can and we will fight until we cannot any longer.

We learned earlier this year that my Dad’s brother is fighting pancreatic cancer now and so they both call each other and try to encourage the other. My uncle Paul is a few years younger than my father and lives in Missouri. They are both praying for each other as well and have been in touch with each other more than ever. I am glad they visit often, as it helps them both.

What would you do if given a death sentence with your doctor throwing the towel in?

Iowa Great Lakes – N.W. Iowa’s Resort

I have great memories of visits to our Iowa Great Lakes area as a kid and as an adult. There are many things to do while there and this small town comes alive in the spring and summer months. I thought I would share about this area, as on the 4th of July they have a spectacular fireworks display and if you can catch it from a boat on the water that is an even more fulfilling experience!

Okoboji is a city in Dickinson County in Northwest Iowa and in 2010 their population was 807. It is located along the eastern shore of West Okoboji Lake. Pikes Point State Park is located within the city limits. It is a major tourism area for the whole family to find something to enjoy while vacationing here or visiting. Surrounding cities are Milford, Arnolds Park, Lake Park, and Spirit Lake, Iowa. Driving from Milford to Spirit Lake or Milford to Lake Park gives you the feeling that you have never left the city limits, as there are quaint shops and business all along the way to Spirit Lake and Lake Park.

I recall spending some summers in this location enjoying their amusement park, small though it be, there is something there for everyone. Arnolds Park Amusement Park is home of “The Legend” – the 13th oldest wooden roller coaster ride in America that is still in operation. They celebrated their 80th anniversary in 2007. They have many rides to choose from, miniature golf, Go-Kart racing, and so much more to enjoy within the Parks walls. If you are not into amusement parks there is entertainment most evenings on the weekends in the way of various bands and music artists, there is “The Queen II” a steamer boat that was commissioned and built in 1986 after “The Queen I was retired finally in 1973 after 89 years of service. This new steamer was designated as the “Flagship of the Iowa Navy.” You can take a ride on this steamer boat around West Okoboji Lake and learn all about the history of the area while you enjoy an hour long trip. There is summer theater productions, camping areas and bike/walking trails throughout the area, fishing, boating, miniature golf/golf, art centers to visit, activities during the summer where you can learn a new art, and so much more! There are a variety of places you can stay to roughing it or renting something much more luxurious. There is shopping and places you can get souvenirs to take home from your trip. You can rent boats and water sport equipment to enjoy the water. There is something for everyone at the Iowa Great Lakes! Here is a link to the Arnolds Park Amusement and other things available to do at the Iowa Great Lakes:
http://http://www.arnoldspark.com/explore/queen.php

Okoboji refers to several lakes and then the town that is named after it in the Iowa Great Lakes region. There is also an East Okoboji Lake that people boat and fish on and Spirit Lake, Iowa is located along the north tip of the East Okoboji lake. Spirit Lake also has a large lake called Spirit Lake and on the northern side of this lake there is a road that runs east and west. Cross to the north side of the road and you are in Jackson County, Minnesota and cross back south on that roads center line and you are back in Dickinson County, Iowa. Good place to throw your line in for fishing I have heard.
Spirit Lake and Okoboji became notable after the Spirit Lake Massacre of 1857 when a renegade band of the Sioux tribe attacked the frontier settlements, in part for food, as they were starving due to a severe winter with heavy snows. It was the last Native American attack against settlers in Iowa. Here is a link to learn more about the area:
http://http://www.iagreatlakes.org/

When I was in my late 20’s I was involved with a singles group up near the Lakes area and one 4th of July we rented a pontoon boat and took it out and boated for a few hours before the fireworks display. We had so much fun and from the water the fireworks display was very beautiful! There are various places to rent boats and other water craft and if you are interested in learning how to scuba dive – they have a place on the waterfront where you can do that as well. All these small towns come alive in the summer months and their population rises considerably, but there is so many places to visit there and things to do, that you do not note that it seems overcrowded, unless you are ever there in the winter when things are quiet!

In the winter months they hold their Okoboji University Winter Games and so if you love winter sport and activities outside this is something you might want to make a trip to this area! The name Okoboji University is fictitious, it was created back in the early 1970’s but three brothers (The Three Sons) who printed t-shirts with that name and a school crest and it started the joke and craze for this fictitious school, but they do good and hold many fundraisers throughout the year for charities, bike rides, a marathon, and their winter Olympics. Even a local radio station KUOO is in on the joke and they call themselves the campus radio station. They offer all kinds of fun activities including: Broomball, Flag Football, Softball, Bag Tournament, Chili Cook Off, Chocolate Classic, Ice Hockey, Snowmobile Fun & Radar Runs, Polar Plunge, Fireworks, and Burning of the Greens. For more information on their winter activities and schedule – check out this website: http://http://www.uofowintergames.com/

In early August each year they hold the Okoboji Lakes Bible and Missionary Conference or Browns Conference. This is a great event to check out. They have various speakers, musicians, and performers this year from August 2 through August 10, 2014 this year. It came into existence for the soul purpose of glorifying God and developing within individuals a growing love for God and others. There are missionaries who come and share about what they have been doing in the areas of the world that they serve, some are from Iowa. It is a beautiful opportunity to fellowship with others of like mind and a place that will help you to grow and aid you as you head back to where you live and serve in your own communities. There is wonderful entertainment and lots of opportunities to grow spiritually. I have been there a couple of times and always leave inspired, empowered, and stronger in my faith. There is something for the whole family to enjoy at this conference. Truly a blessing you will receive while attending this 9 day conference! To check out more about this conference, please check out this link for their schedule of events and a history of how it got started back in the 1930’s.
http://http://okobojiconference.org/

Wishing you all a Happy and Safe 4th of July – may God watch over and protect you as you enjoy this day celebrating our independence and may you know how blessed you are to live in America!

Quick and Easy Chicken Rice Casserole

1 1/4 c. white rice
3 cans cream of chicken soup
¼ cup melted butter
1 packet of onion soup mix
Salt and Pepper
Chicken pieces (I like thighs and legs)

Combine rice, soup, onion and pimiento in 13″x9″ casserole. Brush chicken with melted butter and place chicken pieces over rice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Uncover, stir rice to prevent drying and bake 15 more minutes. Sprinkle with paprika. Serves 8. Can be stored in refrigerator in advance.

I love this recipe!

Fully Alive – Ken Davis Comedian

I watched a video this evening by Ken Davis called Fully Alive. I found it to be very inspiring and encouraging with much good humor throughout.

Do you ever feel like your life is in a rut or you are going through the motions, but you are living in a silent hopelessness or despair and you have lost your Joy? Do you feel that somewhere along the way you have lost your fire and passion that once lived in your soul? Then it is time to rekindle that flame!

Ken shared some very powerful stories about his life from the point of resignation to living life vibrantly. He uses humor to share about his adventures in life, about eternal joy, spiritual renewal and perfect health. He shares about not wanting to live his life any other way except “fully alive” now that he has turned 65 years old.

If you choose to view this one, I do not think you will be disappointed.

Fully Alive by Ken Davis

Watermelon Days and RAGBRAI – Iowa happenings

Watermelon Days happens in the small town of Quimby, Iowa located about 8 miles from Cherokee, Iowa in Cherokee County. It took place this past weekend and it happens every year the last Friday and Saturday of the month of June. The typically quiet main street comes alive on those two evenings with carnival rides, bingo table, cake walk, city wide garage sales (some years), the fire station serves a meal one evening of grilled burgers and the fixings and my brother-in-law usually works the grill. There are concession stands and the area churches have held meals in the small community center building on main street. There have been quilt shows, car shows, craft shows, a dance held in the street, a kiddie parade, they hold raffles for some really nice things and also hold drawings for merchandise they have picked out and purchased for those two nights, a golf tournament at the fairly new golf course, and new this year was the “Watermelon Crawl 5k run/walk. The biggest attraction is the over 3,000 lbs of watermelon that is served on the second night of the event where they bring in a large Hy-Vee grocery semi-truck loaded with cooled watermelon that gets cut up by a number of guys who hand out pieces to the crowd. People will bring plates, forks, and salt shakers to enjoy a juicy slice of this favorite summer fruit! This year they had their 70th year and were selling T-shirts to celebrate. Here are two links to learn a little more about this little town in N.W. Iowa and information on the T-shirts being sold.
http://http://www.cherokeecountyiowa.com/Towns/Quimby.htm

http://https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quimby-125/169902846416385

Also soon around the corner is RAGBRAI – an annual bike ride across the state of Iowa that happens the middle of July every year and this year it is July 20 – 26th, 2014. Typically in the past they have dipped their front tires in the Missouri River and dipped their back tires in the Mississippi River at the end of the ride, but I am not sure that is possible this year from where it is starting in Rock Valley, Iowa up in the upper N.W. corner of the state, as the Missouri River is a few miles west from there. Rock Valley has had some major flooding this year and residents in Emmetsburg, Iowa were volunteering to come and help them get cleaned up before this event takes place this year.

Cherokee has been a host town many times in the past – we did it 2 years ago and our town grows substantially in population during that overnight stay. Each town they go through there are host families who will open their homes for a cool place to shower up and rest before their next day trek or some like to rough it and sleep in tents and shower where they can – it is all up to the riders and those who follow along in vehicles.

Many people think Iowa is flat, but those who have come from all over the world to bike here find out that Iowa is anything but flat. We have a lot of rolling hills and some are quite a challenge on a bike. There are areas where we have flat land, but I would say there are more hills than flat areas. When you volunteer to help out at these over night stops you meet a lot of people from all walks of life and many of them are grateful for the hospitality and welcome they receive from these towns and cities across our state. Each town has entertainment for everyone, food stands, product stands where they can get things to help them with their week long bike ride, and many just want a clean towel or rag to wipe the sweat from their face and neck and a cold drink of water.

For those who seek a good workout biking hills and valleys this is the event for you! Many people say they love the scenery in Iowa and many come back year after year to bike across this Midwest state. Happy pedaling RAGBRAI riders!

Here is a link to the main page for RAGBRAI so you can read for yourself if you are interested.

http://http://ragbrai.com/

http://http://bestwesterniowa.com/ragbrai-2014

Weather in the Midwest…

We are so water logged here in the Midwest! We got more rain this weekend and a number of showers today. I was coming home from a town about 20 miles from my home and it was questionable if I was going to make it to town – there was quite a lot of lightening and one bolt struck a few feet in front of my car and also one time behind my car on the highway I was traveling on. It was basically on all sides of the vehicle. Some were a distance from me and others were too close for comfort. Needless to say, I prayed all the way to town and thankfully God got me there safely.

Early this spring our river had sandbars showing to the point where people could drive a vehicle out onto them and fish from them. With all the rain we have been getting, our flooding here in town has gone down, but the river is running high just slightly inside of its banks (Little Sioux River). If we get many more days of showers like this it will be back out of its banks. Places in Minnesota are having a tough time with flooding and northeast Nebraska suffered another tornado this morning in Pierce county, a few miles from where the last few have hit. Many of our gravel roads have been washed away and the county has been working overtime repairing them. A few smaller bridges have been washed out and are being repaired as well. Many of us are praying God sends some rain to California and other states in dire need of rain. If only one could ship some where it is needed!

The mosquitos are bad this year and not much on the market for bug repellant works. I did create my own a couple of years ago (Bug-Off Cologne) and it works pretty good, but I need to apply it often, especially on a hot day. I have been using that a lot this year with mowing, gardening, and tending to other outdoor chores. I have sold a few at my sister’s store this summer – some people have come back for more so it must be working for them as well.

We are in for some cooler days for the next week and many of us are looking forward to that, but another round of storms comes in tomorrow and then the weekend there is another round of showers from Friday evening through Sunday morning. They are reporting that in the last 2 months we have had well over our usual rainfall for this time of the year and that is obvious as you drive around the area.

They are repaving the main highway a mile from us to town – Hwy 59 and so they have a portion of that road blocked off as they get part of it completed. Then another contractor is working on another road just a mile from Hwy 59 where there was a bridge that needed to be replaced, so one cannot get into town from that direction, and then there is another main highway (Hwy 3) that comes into the other end of our town that is closed off and being repaved, so when the river was over its banks at crest we had no way to get into town from where we live without having to drive many miles out of the way to get there. Once they have the bridge on the road that is a mile from Hwy 59 fixed, then the last 4 miles of the road work will be completed on Hwy 59 in September. It has been a challenge this year between the weather and road work getting around to where you need to go. Certainly has made life interesting and not dull! :)