What’s Up? Renovations have begun upstairs at St. Anne’s!

P9220005.JPGWhat’s that fork lift doing outside the St. Anne’s third floor windows?  There are plenty of stairways, after all.

Recently, at St. Anne’s, we’ve also noticed some unusual noises as well as a bit of dust making their way down as far as the first floor level.

That’s because renovations have started up on the third floor.  Workers began the process of removing walls between three sets of existing rooms to create double sized rooms. Our maintenance staff are also assisting in the process.

The work began this past Monday, and we’re looking forward to its completion in the coming weeks.

Donations are helping support this project of creating these more spacious living quarters for residents.  When the work is finished, we will have three more double-sized rooms available for our residents to enjoy.

If you come by to visit at St. Anne’s, please bear with a little extra commotion; it will be well worth it in the end!

A growing congregation for our chapel (of pumpkins, that is)

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve received a number of pumpkin donations from a few different sources.  One of them had been sitting with our scarecrow, Henry, in the front entrance.  Another was carved as a jack-o-lantern for enjoyment at Halloween time.

pumpkinsWe also received many small pumpkins, which the school children at St. Michael’s and a couple other local catholic schools had decorated.  They were really cute setting in our activity room during our Halloween party and in the days that followed.

This past Monday, we cut, baked, peeled, mashed, and strained a few of these, freezing eleven quarts for future use in baking.  The rest of the full-sized pumpkins were spared (temporarily, at least) for decorating our chapel around Thanksgiving.

In order to keep them from rotting, we have been keeping the pumpkins cool.  For a little while, some sat outside, near the building in back.  They have gradually all been making their way to the garage to avoid freezing.

pumpkinsThis growing congregation of pumpkins has diverse demographics; it includes three white pumpkins and a square one, along with the more customary orange variety.  They will indeed enhance our chapel decor on Thanksgiving Day, although they look a bit odd congregated in their present location.

If only we could get our congregations at Mass, Protestant Services, and resident activities to grow as quickly!

Want to wear a “St. Anne’s” jacket or sweatshirt? Order yours today!

P1010003PLEASE NOTE: Orders have been placed and this is no longer available.

Fall is definitely here, and the days are getting colder. You can make the best of it, nonetheless.

St. Anne’s is offering staff the chance to buy a sweatshirt or fall jacket with our logo and “St. Anne’s Guest Home” embroidered on it.  They are black.

We’d like to offer you the opportunity as well.

We have a few options:

  • Jacket without hood – $45.00
  • Hooded Sweatshirt – $36.50
  • Sweatshirt without hood – $39.00

Sizes are Extra Small to 5X.  If you’d like your name printed on it, the cost is an additional $6.

The jackets will last longer because of the material, however they do not have a hood.

We will be placing the order on November 6, 2015.

Click here to order now!

Once you’ve received confirmation of your order, you can send payment to:

St. Anne’s Guest Home
524 N. 17th St.
Grand Forks, ND 58203

003We would need to receive your payment before we put the order in.You will be informed when your order is ready to be picked up here.

Stay warm, and have a good week!

Just a spoonful of sugar…making the humdrum enjoyable


By Sr. Christina M. Neumann

Last week,  I made a couple of rhubarb coffee cakes for people to enjoy after Sunday Mass.  I’ve also made a couple of batches of rhubarb sauce recently for our residents to enjoy.  One thing I’ve learned about rhubarb is that it needs sugar.  In fact, I wished I had pre-soaked the rhubarb in sugar before I made the cakes last Monday morning at 2 a.m. (I was working the night shift.)  This lesson about a little sugar making the whole batch better is a good analogy for life as well.

Yesterday, we were cutting up yet another batch of donated rhubarb (two big bags this time).  Doing this isn’t the most exciting activity.  However, during our “rhubarb parties” at St. Anne’s, we’ve learned to “sugar-coat” what could otherwise be a little bit of a sour job; we end up joking and even sometimes singing while we work.  Yesterday, we sang “I’ve been working on the rhubarb All the live-long day.”

Another way that humor (unintentionally) helped “the medicine go down” yesterday came about when one of our ladies kept trying to throw her pieces of rhubarb into the bowl.  It was kind of far away, and she didn’t make it into her target.  I kept telling her to stop throwing it, and that I would take the pieces for her.  However, she would not stop throwing them.  In frustrated fun, I took a big piece of rhubarb (resembling a plank or a bat) and swung it a little, telling her to knock it off or face the consequences (jokingly, of course).

If we didn’t have a little humor in life, things would certainly be boring.  Our slogan, “It’s great to be alive at St. Anne’s” is true, in part, because of the fact that we are not afraid to incorporate humor into the humdrum things of life.  Just as “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” (or the rhubarb taste better), so a little bit of good-natured humor and positive attitude sweetens all of life for us.

Today, let’s give thanks for the gift of humor and use it wisely!

How much do you know about pretzels?

pretzelsThis article was originally published on March 3rd on my blog for our Religious Community, “Our Franciscan Fiat.”

Did you know that pretzels are a Lenten food?  Their shape is meant to resemble arms crossed in prayer or penance.  Catholicculture.org has some interesting information about them.  They may be made using the simple ingredients of flour, yeast, water, and salt, not requiring eggs, milk or butter (which in times past had been forbidden during Lent).

This past week, along our St. Anne’s Activity Director, Shelly, I made soft pretzels for our residents’ afternoon snack after bingo.  Before this, our residents’ favorite pastime, Shelly read to them about the spiritual history of these “little arms” (Latin: bracellae)  We had fun throughout the games, joking about pretzels.  I especially enjoyed picking on (in fun) one of our ladies who could live on pretzels.  We even went so far as to have them call out “pretzel” instead of bingo.

In all seriousness, the sight of a pretzel can serve as a reminder to me and you of the call to prayer and penance, especially during Lent.

Sr. Christina M. Neumann, OSF

PS: I usually wear that goofy hat when I call bingo, but that’s a whole other story!

Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe

1 and 1/2 cups warm water
1 packet active instant yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
4 cups flour
coarse sea salt for sprinkling


Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Mix all ingredients except coarse salt.  Knead dough well.  Let rest and raise for ½ hour.  Make long ropes and shape like pretzels.
Preheat oven to 375.  Boil for 30 seconds or more in a bath of baking soda and water(about ½ c. soda to 8 c. water).  Sprinkle with coarse salt.  Bake on cookie sheets at 375 for 25 min. or until nicely golden. ​  You can serve them warm, and even add cinnamon and sugar.

Gotta love peanut butter – Gracie does!

Did you know that peanut butter’s good for more than PB&J sandwiches? Growing up, we used to hide pills in peanut butter to get my dog to swallow them; my parents heard this trick somewhere. Since then, we’ve discovered that it works well for the St. Anne’s yellow lab, Gracie, as well. In fact, yesterday, I was using peanut butter to clean a stubborn spot of the table, and Gracie followed her nose.

Gracie likes peanut butter
I don’t normally advocate dogs being up on furnature, but I’ve got to admit this was funny! (I did coax her on for the sake of a photo opp.)

You see, peanut butter is a great multipurpose cleaner (see below)

Sometimes you’re all out of a common product, but peanut butter will do the trick.  Also, it’s a more affordable alternative to some products. Here’s a list of handy uses for George Washington Carver’s masterpiece.  Peanut butter may be used as:

  • Shaving cream
  • Leather cleaner
  • Mouse trap bait
  • Ant bait (2 t. peanut butter, 1/2 t. baking soda, and 1 t. of borax)
  • Odor eliminator [(e.g., fish) Put a tablespoon of smooth peanut butter in the frying pan (once your dinner has been taken out!) and fry it for a minute or two.]
  • Squeak eliminator (instead of WD-40 on squeaky hinges or drawers)
  • Lubricant (e.g.,on lawn mower blades, saws, etc.)
  • Gum remover
  • Glue remover
  • Price sticker removal
  • Windshield cleaner (bug spot remover)
  • Wood scratch repair (on wooden furniture, doorjambs, bannisters, etc.). Put peanut butter on the scratch and let it soak in for 30-60 min. Rub it away with a cloth and the scratch will be almost impossible to see!
  • CD/DVD scratch repair (for a CD or DVD that keeps skipping, or won’t play, rub a little smooth peanut butter onto the scratch and wipe it away with a soft, dry cloth.
  • Bird feeder (Cover pinecones with peanut butter, roll them in birdseed, and hang them up in your yard. Watch the birds come stock up on food this winter!)
  • Butter substitute (in cooking)
  • Moisturize your hair (Follow it up with shampoo, and be amazed at how shiny your hair can be.)

(These suggestions were taken from: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/21-surprising-uses-for-peanut-butter.html)

Coming up….National Chili Day (February 26)

By Sister Christina Neumann

A visitor to our Home recently commented to our residents about having to “put up with institutional” cooking, but I really don’t think that applies at St. Anne’s.  Among other things, we have some of the best chili around.  As we approach “National Chili Day,” I thought I’d give a little information about this delicious meal and share a recipe.

P1010003People have been enjoying chili for a long time; The first recorded recipe for chili con carne was in 1519 (nationalchiliday.com quoted Wikipedia for this info.).  Did you know that “a green chili pod has as much vitamin C as six oranges?”   And, what is there, better than chili, for opening up plugged sinuses?

According to an article on the health benefits of chili, “the main component in chillies is a chemical called Capsaicin, which…lowers blood sugar levels, improves heart health, boosts circulation and protects against strokes…”  Chilies also  “can help burn fat.”  Chili powder itself has some interesting health benefits listed here. It a good source of vitamin A and C as well as some important minerals, according to livestrong.com.

I’ve been enjoying chili for years.  We used to make it back home.  The recipe used here at St. Anne’s would probably make you a much bigger batch than you’d care for (we serve a lot of people), so I’m sharing with you the “Neumann Chili Recipe.”  I had to contact my mom for details, since I remember just throwing it together without any real recipe.

Hamburger Chili
2  pounds hamburger
1  large diced onion
1  tablespoon salt (or to taste)
3  Tablespoons chili powder
1  can tomato sauce or soup
2  14 oz. diced tomatoes (canned)*
3  15 oz. cans kidney** beans drained
Brown hamburger with onion.  Add spices and the rest of ingredients.  Let cook for at least half an hour. (Simmering on low for a while longer enhances the flavor.)
Great served with grated cheddar, onions, sour cream, and corn chips.
*Instead of the tomato soup and diced tomatoes, I remember using frozen, home-grown tomatoes.  It is fun to pull bags of tomatoes out of the freezer (that you froze the last Fall) to use in this delicious chili.
**We actually used a few different kinds of beans, which enhanced the recipe.
I have found that adding cumin and garlic powder really adds nice flavor as well.

All in All…

By: Kathy Lieberg, Volunteer & Franciscan Associate

St. Anne Statue (2)

When I go to St. Anne’s and enter the door
I know that my time there will not be a bore.

The residents will greet me with a smile
so I take off my coat and stay for awhile.

There’s Brian, who always offers a hug
then, there’s Sr. Christina – as cute as a bug.

I walk to the Chapel and get ready for Mass
then, on Tuesdays, at 10 there’s Bible study class.

Some days I hang out with the card playing bunch
then join the sisters for a tasty lunch.

All in all, I have to say
going to St. Anne’s makes my day!