Update on Growing Things

Plum trees

The protecting leaves have now been removed after the winter, and now our sweet little plum trees are ready to bud!

We’ve also been planning our garden and hoping to start some seeds indoors soon.

Our residents will enjoy watching them grow and eating the produce!

There’s New Life! Let’s Watch!

Are you getting a bit tired of hearing about social distancing, economic recession, closed up businesses, lock-downs, travel bans, and quarantine? It can all be discouraging and depressing.

It’s time to think about something else, right?

How about thinking about spring?

Little signs of life can be seen all around. Pretty soon, we’ll be seeing green grass and budding trees…Won’t that be great?

Tomorrow afternoon, we’re going out for a little walk (6 feet apart, of course!) The fresh air and change of scenery will be good.

The residents choosing to take part will have the chance to see how things look after a long winter. They’ll be able to take a peek at our little plum trees which are now visible (since most of the snow is gone).

We’ll let you take a look, too! Each week, we try to post pictures here of the new life that’s budding around us here at St. Anne’s.

Hopefully, you’ll enjoy watching the progress as much as we do!

Pictured here are our plum trees and strawberry plants. They look pretty dormant now, surrounded by last year’s leaves, but it will be fun to see how that changes in the coming weeks!

Watch with us!

plum trees
plum trees

strawberry plants
strawberry plants

Coping with Social Distancing Measures & Cabin Fever

Residents at homes for the elderly like St. Anne’s are experiencing stress and difficulties involved in striving to stop the spread of COVID-19 more than you may realize!

With all outings cancelled (save those for essential medical procedures), group activities limited to less than ten people, and other drastic measures in place, things are not so easy right now for residents or staff.

You are probably facing hardships of your own, and may be sick of your “four walls.”

Here, we’ll share some of what we and our residents have been doing to help cope. Perhaps, you’ll find something here that you’d like to try yourself. Hopefully, this list (not meant to be exhaustive) is helpful to you.

  • Playing charades
  • Bingo (in two separate rooms to keep number of persons at 10 or less)
  • Music/Sing-along (Now that we don’t have visitors in our chapel, we’ve used the space multiple times for hymn-singing.  We’ve also been able to continue our weekly sing-along in the activity room.)
  • Live-streaming daily Mass from St. Michael’s Church
  • Praying the Our Father daily at lunchtime over the PA for protection and the end of this pandemic
  • Going for a walk
  • Posting encouraging scripture quotes around the building
  • Announcing a ‘Joke of the Day’ over the paging system

We miss you and pray for a quick end to the present crisis! 

Thanking our Staff

At this time of year (January or February), St. Anne’s has the tradition of recognizing and thanking our staff for their service to our residents with an appreciation dinner.  Those celebrating milestone years/anniversaries of employment with us are especially recognized.  

This year, we’d like to thank the following for their years of service:

  • Jeff (Maintenance) – 45 years
  • Mary (2nd Floor) – 15 years
  • Chuck (Bookkeeping) & Sr. Christina – 10 years
  • Lori (PM Aide) & Zachary (Nights) – 5 years

On another note, St. Anne’s is looking to hire an individual to serve as an evening cook.  This is a part-time position.  If you (or someone you know) are interested, please visit www.stannesguesthome.org/employment to apply.


Caramel Pull-Aparts…French Toast Bake…Mini Pizzas, Oh My!

A month or two ago, we received a call from Northlands Rescue Mission, asking if we could use some bagels.

Sr. Rebecca, our administrator, took the call and agreed that we could take some. There had been a mistake; to make a long story short, they had ended up with 160 cases of bagels which they had not ordered. (Please realize that each case contained 72 restaurant-quality bagels).

Since that fateful day, St. Anne’s staff have made multiple trips there to help alleviate the “bagel burden” at the Mission. Sr. Elaine has served as coordinator for the “St. Anne’s Bagel Distribution Center,” doing a good job at marketing and disposing of many of somewhat versatile wheat products. (Too bad she doesn’t have the same track record for selling our neat St. Anne’s Discount Cards.)

We have even gone so far as to put up signs advertising “FREE BAGELS – ASK AT THE FRONT DESK.”

Countless trips back over to the convent garage, where these bountiful boxes of bagels were stored, were made.

Along with giving these out to visitors and apartment residents, we’ve also found a few creative, and tasty, ways of using them in our Basic Care unit as well.

For our New Years Eve Party, Activities staff made delicious bagel pizzas, which were a big hit with our residents (so much so that dietary staff made them for lunch today when pizza was on the menu).

Sr. Christina has made French toast bake a couple of times, even serving it to our residents for snacks once. (They didn’t mind it a bit, always appreciative of freshly baked treats). She also made caramel pull-aparts. (Both of these recipes use five bagels cut/torn into small pieces.)

Now, with the warm weather promised over the weekend, we will need to find a more stable environment with temperatures maintained well below freezing.

(Don’t tell anyone, but a certain individual here has also been feeding the rabbits with them. Those of us who do gardening in the spring are not thrilled with the idea.)

The 20-20-20 Rule


The end of the year and holiday season can be a strenuous for many of us.  Between getting finances in order, Christmas gifts, and record-keeping related to such things, we tend to give our eyes a real work out at this time of year, especially.

Looking back and forth between the computer screen and a stack of papers can definitely take its toll on your eyes, can’t it?

Feeling increased eye fatigue, in the midst of such process, led this post’s writer, recently, to do a bit of research into how to avoid eye strain and fatigue.

The most helpful advice came from staff at North Dakota Vision Services, who suggested the “20-20-20 Rule.”

Let’s elaborate: For every 20 minutes spent working on the computer, stop and spend 20 seconds staring at something 20 feet away.

This simple, easy to remember strategy can really save on your eyes!  

When you think about it, 20 seconds is not a long time to interrupt your work.  In the long run, it is well worth it.  It can even lead to longer endurance at a task.  You might even use that 20 seconds to simultaneously re-collect your thoughts or even say a little prayer.

Another trick that was pointed out is somehow propping one’s paperwork up to an even height with the screen, either using a paper stand or a clip attached to the computer monitor.  For those of us whose eyes do not focus quickly, this can be especially helpful to avoid losing one’s place.

An article from Mayo Clinic on eyestrain offers some other helpful tips.

Whatever steps you find most helpful, your eyes will thank you for taking simple precautions to protect them!


Twelve Days of Christmas

Re-posted from 2016 Scoop

12daysDon’t forget—Christmas isn’t over yet!  In fact, we’re still within ‘the twelve days.’

During the 271 years between 1558 and 1829, Catholics were not allowed to practice their religion in England, so someone wrote a song with double meanings.  It was meant to teach catechism but is still sung as an English Christmas carol.

What follows are the meanings:

My True Love = Jesus Christ, because Christ, who loves us in spite of our faults, was born Christmas Day.

The Partridge = Jesus, because the partridge would give his life to protect his nest.

Two Turtle Doves = Old & New Testaments

Three French Hens = faith, hope and charity

Four Calling Birds = 4 Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

Five Golden Rings  = 5 books of the Old Testament describing sin and the love of God sending us the Savior

Six Geese a-laying = 6 days of creation

Seven Swans a-swimming = gifts of the Holy Spirit

Eight Maids a-milking = the Beatitudes

Nine Ladies Dancing = 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit

Ten Lords a-leaping = the 10 Commandments

Eleven Pipers Piping = stand for the 11 faithful apostles

Twelve Drummers Drumming = the 12 points of belief in the Apostles Creed.

(from Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals by Ann Ball)

~Article by Betty Canavan

News from St. Anne’s

We have a couple of announcements to share with you at this busy time of year.  

St. Anne’s is celebrating 75 years of care for the elderly and disabled in eastern North Dakota this year!  As we mark this milestone, we invite you to join us for our 2nd annual Christmas Pageant.
We will be offering two showings: Monday, December 16 at 2 p.m. ~ and ~ 7 p.m.
You are welcome to join us for coffee and Christmas cookies afterward.

Also, you might be interested in our new discount cards!  They’re only $15.
What if you could get great deals and discounts every day of the coming year?
Actually, you can!! We’re selling discount cards, so you can get discounts at 15 local establishments all year round!
(a perfect idea for a Christmas stocking stuffer) Order yours today!
‘St. Anne’s Discount Cards’ will feature:

  • Arby’s
  • North End Dairy Queen
  • Mamma Maria’s
  • Office Depot
  • Ruffing It
  • Dogmahal
  • Texas Roadhouse
  • Tim Shea’s Nursery
  • Dakota Dry Cleaners
  • Sonic Drive in
  • Burger Time
  • Taco John’s
  • Popolino’s Pizza
  • Thirty-One Products – Miranda
  • For Heaven’s Cakes

Order yours today!


Popcorn Stringing

Sunday afternoon, we invited residents to gather for popcorn stringing.  With the help of a couple of volunteers and eleven residents, we now have a table full of popcorn ready to decorate a Christmas tree at St. Anne’s.  While working, we got to enjoy Christmas music as one of our residents had a CD player and Christy Lane Christmas CD.  This added a nice touch to the fun afternoon.  Everyone seemed to have a great time.  Some had never strung popcorn before.

The Christmas tree was a German tradition which became popular in our country in the 1800s.  It was common to put fruit on the trees in Germany.  In America, cranberries were in season in November, just on time to be put on Christmas trees in December.  In the early days, people even dyed their popcorn to make it into a colorful garland on their trees.

In simpler times with less money available, popcorn was an affordable way of helping make Christmastime more festive.

Not only was popcorn inexpensive and available, it also had cultural roots in the Americas: Aztecs would use it for decoration and ornamenting of dancing apparel for festivities.

In modern times, there have even been records marked regarding strings of popcorn.  In 2014, there was a string 1,049 feet and ten inches long made in the United Kingdom with help from over 350 people.

One tip we should have known ahead of time (before we did this project) is that it is easier to string day-old popcorn as it is less apt to break.

In case you’d like to try a fun, inexpensive addition to your Christmas tree this year, let’s describe how we did it:

Cut pieces of sewing thread into 3-foot long strings.  Knot each one at an end.  You’ll need one string for each participant.  Thread the needle on the other end and set to work.


  • Be careful to avoid the hull/kernel area as it is hard. Hold onto the end of your thread when putting the needle through so the thread does not come off the needle.
  • You don’t need to double the thread; this does not work too well. One suggestion is even to use dental floss instead of thread.


World Diabetes Day – November 14

Here at St. Anne’s, diabetes is something we are frequently addressing; it comes up in our care conferences and other discussions because a good number of our residents have to deal with this ailment every single day.

Although you probably have some familiarity with this condition, we’ll share some interesting facts about diabetes that you may not have known:

An instance of diabetes was first recorded in Egyptian writings around 1500 BC.

Diabetes comes from a Greek word meaning “flowing through” (referring to increased urination).  This term may have first been used around 100 AD.

Today in our country, over 30 million people are afflicted with the disease; a quarter of them are not even aware that they have it.  In recent years, with increasing rates of obesity, the number of people with this condition has increased greatly.  Unfortunately, people of various minority ethnicities are at higher risk of developing type II diabetes.  People who are older, who have a family history, who smoke, and who are overweight are also more likely to be diagnosed. About 7% of pregnancies are plagued with gestational diabetes.  Diabetes costs over $300 billion a year.

Having diabetes makes a person’s likelihood of acquiring heart disease or having a stroke double.  It is also leading cause of kidney disease, limb amputation, and blindness in adults.

The word ‘insulin’ comes from the Latin insula (island) since the Islets of Langerhans (in the pancreas) secrete it.