Birdies, End of Summer, and Migration

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humming bird

Years ago when we were house hunting, during our first visit/walk through our home  we were all captivated by the little humming bird that was feeding outside of the window. I think that was my first in person encounter with an “in living color” humming bird. Since then we look forward to seeing the tiny little birds return each spring to our blooming flowers and feeder.

In recent weeks, I’ve noticed our humming bird showing up daily, and some days more than once. Per my research, I learned that before their migration they need to eat a lot of insects and nectar to fatten up. Unfortunately for us, as summer comes to an end soon our humming bird sightings will cease.

Until next spring when our humming bird returns I’ll just stop by Lake Saracen and watch the American White Pelicans. We’re a stop over on their migration trail. They’re absolutely awesome to watch as they swim around and fish. Generally they show up around December, but this year they’re early. I hope that doesn’t mean we’re going to have an early winter, or a harsh one.

I don’t consider my self a bird watcher, more like Janie in ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God.‘ Teacake would ask “Janie, whatcha doing?” She’d respond, “Watching God.”

I love watching God’s creativity and artwork… birds, flowers, and the way things in nature happen over and over again. I’m always in awe.

H is for Humming Bird – A to Z Challenge

An Attitude of Gratitude

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This summer I started the Blogging A-Z Challenge. Instead of trying to blog every day to get through the alphabet, my plans were to take my time, adding other post in as I go. If it takes the rest of the year, I’m cool with that. This project was supposed to help me get through the burnout I was experiencing and reignite that blogging fire. It was working at first… then I got stuck at ‘G.’

I couldn’t think of one ‘G’ thing to write about, go figure. Yesterday, I tweeted a cry for help. No sooner than it posted, an idea came to mind… Gratitude!

5 Simple Things I’m Grateful For

We know everyone is grateful for family, health, jobs… but I want to share a few simple things. Yesterday in a brief Twittersation with @AdenaJ  I realized, it’s the little things that make a real difference.

1. A sense of humor: Laughter is the best medicine! So often we’re running around taking care of things that we not only don’t smile, but we miss out on things that are truly funny. There are actually Health Benefits of Laughter   including lowering blood pressure! Vine, Instagram, and YouTube are excellent sources of funny videos to tickle your fancy. One of my recent favorite personalities that keep me in stitches is Mighty Duck. The pranks on his mother are the absolute funniest!

2. Good Food: A few years ago, I started cooking new things to get out of the rut that was getting deeper, and deeper when it came to my cooking experience. I renewed my love for cooking, and learned I REALLY love good food. I get excited then I start planning a meal, or menu. I’ve also been known to dance when eating, or tasting something truly delicious.

3. Love of Reading: As as child I watched my mom read baskets, and paper bags filled with books. It wasn’t long before I wanted to read like that as well. My favorites are still children’s books… old and new. Books from my childhood like ‘Why Mosquitoes Buzz In People’s Ears,‘ ‘The Five Chinese Brothers,’ and ‘Cat In The Hat,’ are still very dear to me. I loved sharing my love of reading with my children. Now that they are older, I’m enjoying sharing those stories and more, with my Sugababies.

4. Creativity:   Both of my grandmother’s were creative women. They cooked, canned, and gardened, along with  crochet and sewed. Every time I use those skills I am reminded of them both.

5. Blogging: Tuesday was the sixth anniversary of my blog. What started as a means to chronicle the decade of my 40’s, blossomed into so much more. It’s given me a voice, and afforded experiences I never would have had other wise. I actually love writing, and that love was fueled by my love of reading.

I could go on with my list, but the further I go  the more not-so-simple it will become. I encourage you to think about the ‘Simple’ things you are grateful for.

G is for Gratitude: A to Z Challenge

5 Things I’m Looking Forward To

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pumpkin painting 2

I’ve fallen into a rut, and I’m trying my best to get out.

Boredom has struck in the kitchen and have started making the same dishes over and over. My blog has grown stale, and I’m posting every now and then. With all the NOTHING going on with me, I feel like I have nothing to write about. Exercise… well let’s just say I don’t know when the last time I saw the inside of the gym, and I’ve walked less than 10 times this year.

I’m starting to feel like I’m just going through the motions day in, and day out. Then I get up and do it all over again. In an effort to spark the creative juices, and revive that adventurous person that lives inside, I started thinking about thinks I’m looking forward to this fall. I surprised myself!

5 Things I’m Looking Forward To This Fall

1. Just as I started sewing again this summer, my sewing machine that’s just a few years younger than I am, gave out on me. Currently, I looking and researching sewing machines and plan to make a decision and purchase this month. In the meantime I’ve pinned all sorts of things to sew to my Sew & So board. Friday night was a great night to sew a project.

2. Thursday night TV – Starting September 25, Thursday nights will be all about Shonda Rhimes it begins with the new seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, followed by Scandal then her new show How To Get Away With Murder. I never got into Grey’s Anatomy, and figure I’d be too lost to jump in now, but I’ve been a Gladiator since day one! From now on, what ever she’s producing/creating… I’m watching. Dinner will be done early, everything on my ‘todo’ list will be checked off, and there will be no football in my house that night!

2. Last year’s Halloween Fun With The Sugababies was the best! Of course we have to do it all over again! We painted pumpkins, made the best caramel popcorn trail mix, ate hot dongs… pretty much a whole day of fun and food. This year we’re going to a pumpkin patch, and when we get home we’re carving and painting pumpkins. It will be my grandson’s first pumpkin and I’m super excited!

3. A very first birthday. Thanksgiving Day is my grandson’s first birthday. Of course we’ve been thinking about theme ideas and everything first birthday related. This morning I saw that one of my daughter’s friends made her daughter’s birthday cake. It was amazing, and very special. I am NOT a cake decorator by any means, but I started thinking how cool would it be for me to make his first birthday cake. Of course I’d have to practice a couple of times. If my practicing doesn’t work out, I know how to order a cake!

4. A few years ago, I started Project What’s For Dinner, where a couple times a week I made something new and my family rated me on it. I found some really great recipes and dishes my family loves. The thing is, now I’m cooking them all the time. It’s now time for ‘Project What’s For Dinner Again.’ Since the first go around, two of my children have moved out and started their own lives, and another is away at college. The additional challenge is to cook less, a lot less.

5. Next year Mr. Husband and I will be married 25 years. Yes, I know I barely look 25 myself, but it’s true. We’ve discussed taking another trip out of the country, and is an excellent idea.  Although our anniversary is actually next summer, I’m looking forward to planning all the details this fall. I even have a few tricks up my sleeve for pre-anniversary gifts.

This post took me a few hours to complete, but I completed it. I’m not totally rejuvenated, but this is a step in the right direction. It did spark a few more ideas. Do you have periods where you just don’t know what to blog about, or burnout?


Honey Dew, Watermelon & Leather

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This summer has zoomed by! It’s been  more laid back than previous summers, and I’m totally cool with that. Actually, I’ve had the opportunity to keep the Sugababies more often while their parents are working, and that has given me GREAT pleasure. I’ve also had the opportunity to sew, which has been amazing.

Mr. Husband thinks my sewing is a passing phase. What he doesn’t understand is that I have various interest that changes from time to time, and with Pinterest I can pin a lot of cool things and come back to it when time allows.

The Sugababies love that I know how to “make” things. Nadia says, “Nunnie, you’e a good maker.” That warms my heart. I thought the same of my grandmother who is responsible for sparking the creative bug in me. In fact it is her sewing machine I use, and her crochet needles.

Making fruit leather

The kids love fruit roll ups, and of course I found several recipes for fruit leather on Pinterest. Not wanting to throw away half of a mushy honeydew melon, I attempted to make honeydew/strawberry fruit leather. I’m NOT a honeydew fan at all, but combined with strawberries that puree was delicious!

It as a slooooow process. Cooking, or pretty much drying actually takes hours, and the pan must be turned every hour.  The morning I decided to make the fruit leather, I had to teach an Oral Communication class for a couple of hours. I left my daughter in charge with specific times to turn the pan. She held up her end of the bargain perfectly.

Later in the evening (hours later), as I was growing a little anxious  and was ready for this to be done and over. I made an executive chef decision and turned up the heat in the oven. That was a big no-no. Within a few minutes my fruit leather was burned. It was crunchy and nasty! The best place for it was the trash. All that watching and turning was for nothing.

Last week, I tried  it again with watermelon. This time it was a success, it came out perfect! My daughters and sugababies were the taste testers. It was two thumbs up, and two thumbs down on the watermelon. The real judge is the zip-lock bag with the remaining roll ups still on the counter.

Maybe watermelon is not the right fruit to try making fruit leather. Next time… just strawberries.

I was going to tell you about my adventures in sewing, but this post is starting to run a little long. Instead I’m going to give you links to several fruit leather recipes I pinned.

If you try making them please tweet me, or come back and comment letting me know what fruit you used, and how it turned out.

SondiBruner’s recipe

Baked by Rachel

Just Taste

Camping In The Backyard

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camp out

For a long time I’ve wanted to go camping with my family. But no one was having it. I even considered camping with someone else’s family… Then changed my mind.

Last week I came across a tweet about the Great American Backyard Campout June 28, and knew this was the perfect opportunity to share that adventure with my family. Still, I have no takers. You see, we live near a wooded area, and a bayou. Snakes, turtles and other creepy crawlies things are likely visitors. Mosquitoes can also be a big problem, along with Ricky and Rachel Raccoon, who dine from our trashcan nightly.

About a week ago, my middle daughter had a great idea to campout in the den with the Sugababies. The weekend of the Great American Backyard Campout would be the perfect time. Mr. Husband/Big Daddy already has everything to make a tent.

We’re going to roast hot dogs, make smores, and catch a few lighting bugs outside, then finish off the camping experience inside in the tent. I am really excited and looking forward to it all. It may not be the camp out I was expecting, but any adventure with my family is well worth it.

Does your family camp?



Happy Father’s Day

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Happy Father’s Day to all dads. I plan to spend Father’s Day with the first man I ever loved,  my true love, the love I made, and my brand new love… My dad, husband, son, and grandson.

The following video is a tribute to all great dads. Enjoy YOUR day.

Braided Headbands

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The kids in our local 4-H will participate in ‘Make-It-Monday’ workshops during the month of June. Of course I thought it was a cool idea and excuse to craft, as well as great blog content. headband

With three teenage daughters hair accessories are a must. I found this awesome headband project on Pinterest via Make it & Love  Not only is it a neat headband, it re-purposes old t-shirts that would most likely be trashed, or given away. My girls have loads of old t-shirts with great colors from years of playing sports. This project can easily yield a couple of dozen headbands.

I will share our finished headband(s) on Instagram @latonyarich. If you join in today’s Make-It-Monday please share your results and mention me on Instagram or Twitter.