Thursday, July 30
For the past few days the weather has been somewhat cold and wet; so today when we finally had a warm summer day we decided it was time to head outdoors to enjoy some fresh air. Tim was prepared and lit a nice bonfire for all of us to crowd around as we sipped on wine and beer. Jake even decided to grill up our dinner outside so he could enjoy the weather, too! By the end of the evening we all had a great time simply chatting with friends and enjoying the summer day.
Above is a shot of the bonfire with everyone gathered around it; and below is a picture of Hubert and Charles enjoying their cold ones.
Tuesday, July 28
Our health should always be a main priority in our lives. Therefore on Tuesday, July 28th the first ever Dilworth Health and Wellness Fair was held during Dilworth’s Loco Daze Celebration. With over 30 health organizations participating, the event was quite a success.
Those who came had the opportunity to visit with multiple regional health organizations ranging from the Alzheimer’s Association to local dentists and chiropractors as well as numerous others! Participants received everything from free blood pressure screenings to healthy eating tips, useful exercise suggestions to personal assistance with medications.
The Health Fair began strong at 9:00am and traffic remained steady throughout the morning. And the live entertainment was great! Minnesotan author and phenomenal speaker Eric Bergeson entertained with songs and heartfelt stories about local culture. A free lunch followed with music by local entertainer Ron Evans.
The Dilworth Health and Wellness Fair was co-sponsored by the City of Dilworth and Serenity Assisted Living. The sponsors extend a special thanks to all the organizations that helped make this event a reality.
Pictured above is local author Eric Bergeson entertaining the crowd with one of his many songs. To the left is the crowd enjoying Bergeson's performance; and to the right is a picture of a few of the ladies from Serenity who took a short trip to the Health Fair on their scooters!(L-R: Roni Schoephoerster, Marilyn McMaster and Esther Hilger)
This afternoon Sandy decided that it was high time for all her new friends here at Serenity to learn how to play her favorite card game called Unlucky Seven. It was a great way to introduce our newest staff member, Tyler; and we all had a great time laughing and chatting about the warm weather.
If you would like to play Unlucky Seven it’s actually pretty easy! Here are a few of the rules of the game:
You can play with two or more players. If you would like to play with more than four, simply add another deck to the mix!
Take a deck and match the cards according to their suits. Once the cards are in four piles (one of each diamonds, spades, hearts and clubs) remove the kings, aces and sevens.
Each player then receives one suit and places the ten remaining cards face up in front of him or her.
Once it is decided who will roll first, two dice are rolled three times by each person. When the player rolls a number on the die, he or she flips the corresponding card with that number over to show the back of the card. The first person to flip all his or her cards wins!
But it’s not that simple. The unlucky seven part of this game comes when the player rolls a seven on the die. After rolling an unlucky seven the player must flip a card that has previously been flipped. This may sound confusing but it’s really not too difficult. For example, if a player rolled a six earlier in the game and flipped the six card to reveal the back and thereafter rolled a seven, the player must flip that card over again. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the card flipped directly before rolling a seven, however; you are allowed to choose which card you must play again!
Also, if you roll a number that you have already have flipped, you must skip your turn and if your neighbor doesn’t have that number flipped, he or she then takes that number and flips the corresponding card. For example, if a player rolls a six and flips that card and on her second try she rolls another six, she must look at the other players’ hands to see if any of her friends have a six. The one that does (in clockwise order) then flips his or her corresponding six card and starts playing from there. If no one else has a six she continues with her next roll.
It may sound a little difficult upon reading these directions, but it’s really simple once you try playing it! And we had a ton of fun this afternoon when we all sat down to play. Just take a look at our faces! Pictured above is our newest staff member, Tyler, who just won his first game. To the right is a group shot of everyone who played Unlucky Seven this afternoon (in clockwise order) Tyler, Florence, Henrietta, Sandy, Leona and Hubert.
Thursday, July 23
Those who visit Serenity know that John Grubb loves to golf; he just hasn’t had the chance to get to a course lately. Today we decided it was high time for John to get back to the game he loves so we drove to Fargo’s Thunder Road to practice putting on the Thunder Mountain Mini Golf Course. After the first hole I realized that John certainly hadn’t lost his touch over the last few years! He started by getting a birdie on a par three and slowly started working his magic on all the other holes. At first he contributed his skill to luck, but by the end of 18 holes I realized that John was truly talented. Though I thought I knew a thing or two about mini golf, John certainly made me look bad! He even got a hole-in-one after he figured out how the ball rolled on the fake grass! Needless to say, if you would like a challenge on the course you should invite John. He’ll certainly give you a run for your money!
Take a look at these pictures of John to see all the fun he had! To the left is John standing in front of the neat landscaping at Thunder Mountain, and to the right is a picture of John on the first hole!
Wednesday, July 22
Sometimes making desserts can be as much fun as eating them! Today Mary and Carol decided to have some fun making fruit and yogurt parfaits. And they were great!
If you’d like to make your own parfaits simply follow the directions below:
6 ounces vanilla yogurt
4-6 strawberries, sliced
¼ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup pecans, chopped
1. Layer 2 ounces of yogurt, 2-3 sliced strawberries, 1/8 cup blueberries and 1/8 cup pecans in a parfait glass.
2. Repeat this layering a second time. Top with remaining yogurt.
3. Garnish with a few chopped pecans and/or a strawberry if desired.
Take a look above at the picture of Carol and Mary working hard at making their fruit and yogurt parfaits!
(Recipe adapted from: http://www.recipezaar.com/Fruit-and-Yogurt-Parfait-115490)
Summer is the perfect season for fresh fruits and vegetables; and to celebrate the season today we held our Watermelon Party! At lunch today we walked into a decorated dining room complete with watermelon balloons and goofy summer sunglasses. We all took pictures with our silly glasses and then got to the serious business of eating lunch. We were served appetizers, dishes and dessert all made with watermelon. It was a lot of fun to see all the different types of food that can be made with watermelon as an ingredient; and it tasted great!
If you would like to try cooking with watermelon, here are a few of the recipes we tried today:
Watermelon Ice Drink
Yield: 2 tall glasses
2 ½ cups watermelon
½ cup crushed ice
1 rose geranium leaf (optional)
Seed and coarsely chop the watermelon in a bowl. Save all juices.
Drop watermelon and ice into a blender.
Blend until both ingredients are crushed together.
Garnish with rose geranium leaves if desired.
Grilled Watermelon Slices with Honey-Lime Sauce
Grilling watermelon imparts a slightly smoky flavor that contrasts surprisingly well with the melon's inherent sweetness. Though it's delicious grilled plain, it's irresistible when drizzled with this sugary, tangy honey-lime sauce
Yields a scant 1/2 cup (enough sauce for 1 small- to medium-sized watermelon, but make more or less depending on how much you need. Leftover sauce can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.)
1 small-medium sized watermelon (8-10 pounds)
Honey for brushing watermelon slices
Juice of 2 limes (about 4 tablespoons)
Zest of 1/2 lime (about 1/2 teaspoon)
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
To make the sauce, whisk all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Taste and adjust as necessary.
Prepare a hot grill.
Halve a watermelon, then quarter it and cut into 1-inch-thick slices. Brush both sides of each slice with a thin coat of honey and place on the hot grill. Grill until just browned, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
Place watermelon slices on a plate, and drizzle with the honey-lime sauce. Serve immediately.
Steak Tacos with Watermelon-Mango-Jicama Salsa
Yield: 4 servings
Rich, savory steak tacos are topped with a refreshingly light watermelon-mango-jicama salsa. The salsa provides just the right balance of sweetness, spiciness and sourness. It is also delicious on top of grilled chicken, white fish, shrimp or scallops.
4 (4-6 ounces) top sirloin steaks (1 to 1 1/2 inches thick)
Salt and pepper
8 white corn tortillas
1/2 cup cotija anejo cheese**
** Cotija anejo, a mild-flavored Mexican cheese with a crumbly texture, can be found in Mexican markets or in the refrigerator section of most major supermarkets. Queso fresco, another mild Mexican cheese, is a good substitute and also can be found in most major supermarkets.
2 cups diced watermelon
1 cup diced mango
3/4 cup diced cucumber, peeled and de-seeded
3/4 cup diced jicama, peeled
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 serrano chili, with half the seeds (or to taste)
1 small avocado, diced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons each finely chopped fresh mint and cilantro
Salt, to taste
Prepare a hot grill.
Season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper, and set aside at room temperature while making the salsa.
In a medium bowl, add all salsa ingredients, and gently stir until well combined.
Place steaks on the grill, close cover and cook until charred, about 5 minutes. (Closing the cover will help create a charred exterior and a softer, juicer interior.) Turn steaks over, lower the heat to medium-high, and cook another 3 to 4 minutes for a medium-rare steak or 5 to 6 minutes for a medium steak. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Heat tortillas on top rack of grill for about 1 minute per side, or until warmed through and slightly charred.
Divide the sliced steak among the 8 tortillas. Top each with a spoonful of salsa and a sprinkle of cheese. Serve immediately.
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon red food color
8 cups seedless watermelon chunks
(about a 6 pound watermelon)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
In a medium saucepan, bring the water, sugar, and honey to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Stir in the lemon juice and food color. Place half of the watermelon chunks and half of the cooled syrup in a blender jar and puree until smooth. Pour into a 9 x13-inch baking dish and repeat the process with the remaining watermelon and syrup, adding all the pureed mixture to the baking dish. Cover and freeze for 3 to 4 hours, or until frozen 1 inch around the edges.
Stir well to mix up the ice crystals. At this point, stir in the chocolate chips, if desired. Cover and freeze for 4 to 6 more hours, or until completely frozen.
Using an ice cream scoop, scrape the ice into mounds and serve.
Take a look above at Simone who is having a blast modeling her goofy sunglasses; and to the left is John who doesn’t quite seem to know how to wear such big glasses! To the right is a picture of Hubert who had a great time.
(Recipes adapted from: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92325350 and http://www.recipegoldmine.com/dessicegel/watermelon-ice.html)
Tuesday, July 21
Learning about new creatures is always fun; but it’s even better when you can see them for yourself. So when we decided to take a trip to the zoo today we knew it would be a blast! Henrietta, Bonnie and Sandy all climbed into the car this afternoon and whisked away to the Red River Zoo in Fargo. Once we arrived we were greeted by all sorts of fun animals just in the welcome building alone! We marveled at insects, lizards, toads, tarantulas, monkeys and so many more creatures we had never seen before. Henrietta was extremely impressed by the huge bright green snake she saw as she exclaimed, “Well, look at that!”
Once we finally headed into the zoo we noticed the energetic meerkats. Bonnie loved watching them play hide and seek with each other! We continued on and investigated everything from camels to wolves. Sandy really enjoyed the peacocks; and we were even visited by a little chick!
By the end of the afternoon we had learned everything we could about all the new animals we had visited. It was a great day to enjoy the beautiful weather and have an adventure!
Pictured above is one of the camels from the Red River Zoo!
Saturday, July 18
It’s always nice to get out and enjoy the warm days of summer. And to enjoy a gorgeous afternoon, today a few of us decided it would be fun to visit the Red River Valley Fair. Lois, Simone and Flo all climbed into the car today and headed over the river into Fargo where they visited a number of booths and had a blast simply being outdoors. One of the highlights of the day was when they visited the National Guard booth as they were greeted with a very warm welcome. Lois, Simone and Flo had fun talking with the booth representatives and were even given National Guard visors to keep the bright sun out of their eyes!
Pictured here is Flo, Simone and Lois at the National Guard booth at the Red River Valley Fair. That’s a huge truck!
Friday, July 17
Yah, Mon! We’re in Jamaica! This afternoon we got a taste of Jamaican culture with our Jamaican Passport Meal; but we’ve been getting ready for the festivities this whole week. On Monday we had a blast tie-dying t-shirts that we all wore for the first time today. These were all so colorful and it was fun to finally see how all of our shirts had turned out! And we even had more fun with Jamaican themed crafts yesterday when we made Jamaican Bracelets. Making these taught us that patience really is a virtue; but it was a ton of fun putting them together. Today was the perfect time to show off all our Jamaican creations, both the t-shirts and bracelets; and it was really exciting!
To begin the party this afternoon we all held silly props in front of our faces and took funny pictures. All of these photos of our funny faces are now taped on our doors so that all our visitors can see the fun we had. It was a blast to see how funny we all looked, and now we can remember it every time we go out our doors!
After our photo shoot we started eating our summer-themed Jamaican Passport Meal. We began with a traditional appetizer called Jamaican Shrimp and continued the meal with white rice cooked with coconut milk and Jamaican Red Stripe Chicken as the main course. For dessert we all tried Fried Ripe Plantains which were very interesting. By the time we were done eating we discovered that Jamaicans eat quite well!
Above is a picture of Genevieve Sunde and Mary Joan Grubb with their silly facial props. To the left is a photo of Henrietta Van Dyke modeling her Jamaican Bracelet and to the right is a picture of Alfred Baumgartner sporting his huge sunglasses!
Thursday, July 16
The summer is going by quite fast and soon Dilworth’s Loco Daze celebration will be taking place. While you are in town be sure to stop in and check out the Dilworth Health and Wellness Fair taking place at the Dilworth Community Center right here in town.
This event is new this year and will be taking place on Tuesday, July 28th from 9:00am to 1:30pm. The admission is free, and the first 250 people receive a free lunch! Currently there are about 30 organizations from all sorts of local health industries that will be participating in this event.
Come see live entertainment and a phenomenal speaker, get your blood pressure checked, ask a nurse any questions you may have, pick up a bunch of healthy cooking recipes and visit various health organizations ranging from the Alzheimer’s Association to local dentists, chiropractors and many more (we will be there, too!). This is a family friendly event and we would like to see your children there as well!
The Dilworth Health and Wellness Fair is co-sponsored by the City of Dilworth and Serenity Assisted Living.
Wednesday, July 15
Finding a few good friends, getting together and simply playing an exciting card game can be a lot of fun. And this is precisely what we did this morning! Hubert Asplin, Bonnie Bratholt, Leona Jereszek and Arlene Tangen all gathered around a card table at about 10:00am this morning to play a few games of Whist. Aside from the amusement of the game, it was also nice to get out, chat with old friends and make new ones. And they sure had a lot of fun!
If you’ve never played Whist and would like to learn, here are some of the basic rules:
First of all, Whist requires four players which then make two teams of pairs. The dealer deals a standard deck of 52 cards, starting with the player to the dealer’s immediate left. The last card dealt that belongs to the dealer is flipped over and displays the suit that is trumps for that round. This card remains face up until it is the dealer’s turn to play the first trick. Now the game begins! The player to the dealer’s immediate left starts the first trick and any card may be led. The other players then lay tricks in clockwise order. The cards played should be of the same suit and the highest trump wins the trick (with Aces being high). If a player doesn’t have any of the same suit, any card may be laid. Once all 13 cards of the suit have been laid, the team that won more tricks wins one point for every trick it won in excess of six; the winner of that round deals the following round. The partnership that reaches five points first wins the game. It’s that simple!
Take a peek above at the group shot of the whole gang; Arlene (dealer), Hubert, Bonnie and Leona (in clockwise order)!
Tuesday, July 14
“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.” This is a common quote we hear all the time, and today we decided that it would be fun to get made up! We invited a few representatives of the Mary Kay cosmetic company to come to Serenity to hold a make-up party. All the ladies from Serenity were really excited for the fun afternoon filled with prizes, games and make-up. And it was great to see everyone all dolled up!
Take a look at this picture of Anna who is looking great!
Monday, July 13
“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” All of us here at Serenity had a lot of fun making (and eating) our very own homemade ice cream today. After we were done eating lunch, some of us decided it was the perfect time to go outside and see what the weather was like. And we were followed by all the staff who had lots of fun activities for us!
We started the afternoon by making homemade ice cream. It was really fun! First we filled a one gallon Ziplock bag half full with ice cubes and added at least six tablespoons of rock salt. In another sandwich sized Ziplock bag we mixed ½ cup Half & Half, ¼ teaspoon vanilla and one tablespoon sugar. We then placed the smaller bag inside the larger one and shook the bag until our mixture became ice cream. It was a lot of fun and tasted great!
After we were done making ice cream we weren’t given much of a break before we began tie-dying t-shirts. We all began by drawing neat designs or writing our names on the shirts. Sometimes it took a while to think of the perfect designs to draw! Afterwards we twisted the shirts and tied rubber bands all over them so that once they were dyed there would be some really nifty designs left on them. Then we picked out our favorite colors that we wanted to use on our shirts and got to the messy part and started dying the shirts. It was fun to just look around at all the different colors our friends were using! We then let the dye sit for a few hours; and tomorrow we’ll get our freshly washed shirts back in time to wear them for our Jamaican night on Friday.
When we were finally finished with the exciting activities it was just nice to sit back and take it easy. After all, it’s summer!
To get a glimpse of all the fun we had take a look at the pictures from this afternoon! The top photo is a group shot of a few of the ladies who enjoyed making the homemade ice cream (from left to right: Muriel, Henrietta, Claryce, Cleo and Lois). To the left is Bonnie with her freshly tie-dyed shirt; and to the right is Abbie who is having a blast trying to find the perfect colors to dye her shirt.
Friday, July 10
Here at Serenity we’re all about making friends; so it seemed like a great idea to make the Amish Friendship Bread recipe that was brought to us by Maren. Friendship Bread is interesting because you must be given some batter as a starter kit before you can make it. Maren gave us a few starter kits and we worked at mixing and adding new ingredients for about ten days until we could finally bake our bread today. Claryce and Lois were the main helpers today; and they loved it! We mixed in all the final ingredients and couldn’t wait until it was done baking so we could try it.
If you would like to try this Amish Bread just let us know and we will provide the starter kit. Below is the recipe for the Friendship Amish Bread that we made here at Serenity!
First, you must obtain about 1 cup of fresh starter from a friend (thus the name Friendship Bread). If you have no success in finding some, you can make your own – you’ll just have to wait a whole lot longer (traditionally about 16 days) for the finished product! Within CCF’s website, you will find some recipes for this starter and other uses for it besides this bread.
The instructions that follow are for that 1 cup of starter that you have obtained from a friend.
Do not refrigerate the starter. This batch is the starter’s day one.
Day One – Do nothing.
Day Two – Mush bag two times during the day.
Day Three – Mush bag two times during the day.
Day Four – Mush bag two times during the day.
Day Five - Mush bag two times during the day.
Day Six – Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk. Seal bag, letting out as much air as possible. Mush thoroughly.
Day Seven - Mush bag two times during the day.
Day Eight - Mush bag two times during the day.
Day Nine - Mush bag two times during the day.
Day Ten – Squeeze the contents of the bag into a large bowl. Add to the bowl 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk. Stir and measure out 4 (1 cup) starters into Ziploc bags to give away, along with a copy of this recipe and instructions (the friendship part of this recipe). Don’t forget to keep one bag of starter for yourself.
To Bake: To the small amount left in the bowl, add 1 cup oil, ½ cup milk, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix well and set aside.
In another bowl mix together 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, ½ teaspoon baking powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 – 6 ounce box of instant vanilla pudding mix, 1 cup chopped nuts (optional). Add these ingredients to the first mixture and mix well.
Grease two 4 x 8 inch loaf bread pans. Sprinkle pans with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Tomorrow starts day one on your starter. Enjoy!
Children have the strange ability to dramatically brighten up our days; therefore, it’s always nice to get a visit from a child. Our staff member, Leonie, obviously knew this so she decided to bring her daughter, Annabelle in for a visit. Though she didn’t say much, Annabelle was just cute enough to bring a smile to just about all of our faces. Just take a look at this picture of Annabelle and a very happy Lois!
Sometimes we all have those moments when a sweet tooth just won’t leave us alone until it is satisfied. And to solve this problem we have added new candy bars to our Serenity Cart. Aside from the sweets, this cart is packed with everyday household goods such as juice, toilet paper, dog treats and greeting cards. It’s always nice to have the chance to buy some small personal items to keep everyone feeling comfortable and happy; and the grandkids love the candy when they visit! And to keep everyone happy Nathan has been keeping busy with the Serenity Cart. He tries to visit everyone living here about once a week and loves doing it!
Thursday, July 9
Almost all of our parents have told us at one point or another that gambling is just a waste of money. However, here at Serenity we decided that casinos are fine in moderation. So we decided that we would have a casino party right here at Serenity! The whole dining room was decorated like a fancy casino with playing cards on all the walls, festive decorations hanging from the ceiling, and helium balloons floating from our tables.
The fun began at lunchtime when we all ate like high rollers. The meal was great and served in casino style complete with cocktail shrimp as an appetizer and raspberry drizzle cake for dessert. After lunch the festivities began and we played some games. When we would win we were given poker chips that we would use in the final auction game. Bingo was the most popular game; but sometimes the caller just didn’t call the right numbers!
Once we had finished playing our games we took all the chips we had won and used them to win fun auction prizes. But this wasn’t as easy as it sounds! All the prizes were wrapped in gift bags so we couldn’t know what was in them. We simply felt the bags and bet on them just hoping that we would win something good. It was a lot of to see what everyone had won!
Pictured above is Cleo who is working hard to win a game of bingo! And take a look at this picture of Florence holding her chips. She used most of them to win gum and a few other things!
Wednesday, July 8
Tuesday, July 7
Monday, July 6
Sometimes it’s just fun to get out some bright colors and paint. Today we decided to paint fireworks because of the holiday season. The colors certainly made our days a little brighter and it was great to get a chance to express ourselves with art. Some of us made fireworks by blowing on wet paint through a straw; that was pretty neat! We all also painted festive fireworks with normal paintbrushes. Once our paintings were finally dry we hung them around the dining room. It was a blast!
Pictured here is Henrietta who is blowing paint into firework shapes.
Saturday, July 4
Birthdays are always a fun time to celebrate our lives and how far we’ve come. But they are especially enjoyable when they coincide with other holidays! On the Fourth of July Esther Olson celebrated her 90th birthday. The Independence Day girl celebrated the Fourth of July with us and later that day we all celebrated her birthday. She’s definitely a party girl! Happy birthday, Esther!
Pictured above is Esther with her delicious cake. It looks great!
Every year the citizens of this country celebrate the United States’ birthday on the Fourth of July. This year we celebrated our nation’s 233rd birthday by having our Independence Day meal and enjoying a wonderful afternoon of patriotic fun. Our cook, Jacob, even dressed up as Uncle Sam and rounded everyone up for the occasion. The meal was great and we even had patriotic cupcakes for dessert! But we had more fun afterwards. We all waved American flags and even dressed up with festive hats and necklaces. And all our patriotic crafts sure gave the dining room some spirit! When all was said and done, it was a perfect day to remember all of those people who have given so much to protect our freedoms and to show some of our patriotism!
Take a look at Marilyn who is dressed up for the occasion! Below is our cook, Jacob, who is dressed up like Uncle Sam. He helped with the patriotic spirit of the day!
Wednesday, July 1
We’re in very high spirits for the upcoming Fourth of July! Today our volunteer from CCRI, Carol Young, came to Serenity to help out with more patriotic crafts. She helped us put together some fun, festive hats that we will wear to celebrate our Independence Day. All of the crafts we have made so far will certainly make the holiday an entertaining celebration for all of us; we’re looking forward to it!
Take a look at this photo of Carol as she works hard to make the perfect patriotic hat!