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  • Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
  • My Home, My Garden.

    Gorgeous Northern Flicker

    March
    20
    2008

    northern flicker large tree climber' class=
    I can’t even tell you how exciting it is to see a Flicker on my tree.

    SO. Exciting.

    A Week In Photos

    March
    19
    2008

    It’s been a couple of months since I carried my camera around with any kind of passion to take a photograph. Winter had me tightly in its grips – until last week. I wore open toed shoes to church (my piggies are aubergine, go figure!). I cleared away the dead and dried out iris from last fall to reveal tulips and new iris making their way up out of the earth. I felt excited again! So much so that I even took the cover off the grill and fired it up, we had grilled chicken for dinner that night.

    Aaah spring is coming.

    My camera is at the ready once again, I removed the screen from the front window yesterday for clear photos once I saw the “official” confirmation of Spring in my front yard:

    red breasted american robin spring bird' class=
    I’ve seen them around, yes, but I needed to see him in my front yard. He needed to be right there.

    More random and springy snaps in between dog naps below!


    red bellied woodpecker' class=
    Our resident red bellied woodpecker has begun making regular appearances
    on the suet block out back,
    chiapoo puppy with toys' class=
    While Copper collected all of his toys,
    and one of my furry flip flops,
    in and around his cozy little shoebox.

    bathroom makeover' class=
    I’m debating what to do with my bathroom, tile, paint, wallpaper?
    We’re still piecing it together…

    chiapoo puppy napping' class=
    While Copper takes a nap.

    old home rooftop palmer college' class=
    I admired the architecture of the buildings around Palmer College
    on the way home last weekend,

    st patricks day quaker parrot' class=
    Quintin joined in the St. Patrick’s Day festivities,
    donning a clover scrunchie,

    chickeymonkey piano recital
    And our sweet little Chickeymonkey
    smiled adorably at her piano recital…

    chiapoo puppy napping' class=
    While Copper took a nap.

    red bellied woodpecker' class=
    The red bellied woodpecker made yet another loud entrance
    (you can’t miss ’em when you hear ’em)…

    sewer toilet drain' class=
    And we figured out how to fix this mess and reinstall the toilet,

    chiapoo puppy napping' class=
    While Copper took a nap.

    As you can see, Copper sleeps through most everything, and I have entirely too much stuff to do. Any suggestions on the bathroom remodel are MORE than welcome. My dear sweet hubby can tell you how many times I’ve changed my mind about what to do, since I’ve lost count. I was going to install ceramic tile last weekend until the floor decided to be WAY too unlevel (we live on a slab) to even out without a professional and a load of concrete – and I ended up at Lowe’s 5 minutes before closing time for peel & stick flooring.

    I cannot tell you how I yearn for a custom built home. Maybe next year, eh?

    Or the year after that… or the year after that…

    Nummy Breakfast

    March
    12
    2008

    eggbeaters pictsweet steamer veggies cheese breakfast healthy food

    I made this yesterday morning and it’s good enough to have again today, and share, too. Here are the ingredients:

    3/4 c. Eggbeaters
    1 bag Pictsweet Deluxe Steamer Veggies – Spring vegetables with asparagus
    1 lg. pinch reduced fat mexican blend shredded cheese

    Directions:

    Start the veggies steaming in the microwave for 5 minutes. When about 2 minutes remain, spray a non-stick pan with (olive oil) cooking spray and start scrambling 3/4 c. eggbeaters. Once the veggies are ready, cut a tiny hole in the bag and drain the juices. When it’s drained, open up the bag and dump it into the eggbeaters, finish cooking it together. When it’s just about finished, add a pinch of shredded cheese and mix it up.

    I’m all about an easy & fast breakfast.

    Here’s the nutrition info:

    Calories: 290
    Fat: 5g
    Carbs: 23.5g
    Protein: 25g

    Seriously – it couldn’t be better, ore more filling! I also had a half turkey sandwich with grapes for lunch, and 8 oz. of chicken breast with about 2 cups of broccoli and broccoflower for dinner – and dropped 1.10 lbs. just yesterday. I even splurged with a bit of fat free blue bunny frozen yogurt, too. I’m being much more strict again – this winter has been horrible on my hips. It’s time to put down the brownies and turn off the oven! (At least for today. And maybe tomorrow, too – but I make no promises once the PMS monster hits.)

    Beauty on the Mississippi

    February
    16
    2008

    This morning, I remembered my camera. I’m so glad I did! Usually, when I pick up Catybug from the Church monthly lock-in across the river, I gasp in awe while I watch eagles soar in front of my car to perch in trees along River Drive. I know that the shots I get from inside a moving vehicle aren’t the greatest, but these are moments I really want to capture anyway.

    eagle on the Mississippi river' title=
    They’re hard to miss, really. Big dark spots scattered throughout the trees lining the river. Some huddled together, some in flight looking over the ice for breakfast. All of them look perfectly at home and very healthy, a sign that their winter here has been good to them.

    pair of eagles sitting on ice Mississippi  river' title=
    The river was calm this morning, their reflections mirrored on the water were picturesque. Preening seemed to be the task for many of the eagles I saw this morning, they must have already eaten and took to the ice and trees to lounge and relax.

    eagle on ice mirror reflection' class=
    It seems to be only during the winter, and only when I’m driving alongside the Mississippi on River Drive that I really love living here. These birds always take my breath away, and I envy those homeowners who live along the river. I would never grow tired of seeing an eagle perched in a tree in my front yard, or of watching them soar low over the river hunting for food.

    I would also, probably, never get anything else done.

    Flowers in the Middle of Winter

    January
    20
    2008

    yellow Asiatic lilies lily bouquet

    There’s nothing better than blooming flowers in the middle of January. I am so grateful for the people in my life who make sure that my winters are saturated with the colors and smells of summer! I received two bouquets of gorgeous flowers for my birthday that have opened up and done really well (considering they’re cut) and also, I’ve been waiting since just before Christmas for this gigantic Amaryllis to bloom that Lisa sent (and I promised pics once they opened!) – they’re SO big and full and just beautiful.

    amaryllis

    I had a dream just last night – in it, a hummingbird came right up to my face and snuggled my cheek. pffft. That’s how much I miss warm weather! Even Chickeymonkey told me about a dream she had the other night, my office was filled with pink, white and purple roses and tulips. There were “flowers EVERYwhere!” she said. I LOVE HER. Aaah. It’s just a few months away, right? All the bulbs I planted last fall combined with everything I planted the year before, the hummingbirds and I will be loving our daily breaks in the backyard!

    Enjoy!!

    The Christmas Rush

    December
    22
    2007

    You’d think that with all the running around and the recent worries and stresses in my life would help keep those Christmas Cookies from hanging on to my hips? Absolutely not. Lard is lard, I suppose. Listed in the sweetest of recipe ingredients or on my rear, it seems to have it’s ultimate destination ingrained in the tiniest of lardlike molecules. :grumbles:

    I have my post-holiday work cut out for me then, as I have just 21 days after Christmas (that’s 21 birthday gift shopping days to you, friends) to get back with “the program”, which is basically reaquainting myself with those single serving meals and packing away my cookie sheets for next year. My goal is to hit my comfortable weight by my birthday, smack in the middle of January. Wish me luck. And quit sending me Harry & David!

    Today, I make my annual dough ornaments. I gave the recipe a couple of years ago but here it is again, for those of you who are :cough: bored today and want something creative and fun to do!

    DOUGH ORNAMENTS
    2 cups flour
    1 cup salt
    1 cup water

    Knead, add more flour to make it really doughy if needed, sprinkle water to make it more pliable as needed. Roll on very lightly floured surface, cut shapes using regular cookie cutters of your choice, bake at 250 for 2 hours.

    Handy & Creative Tips:
    – Roll them out on the backside of a non-stick cookie sheet so they don’t need to be transferred to the sheet.
    – Fill in any cracks with water, smooth with your finger.
    – Use a straw to punch out holes for ribbon before you bake them.
    – Once completely cooled, paint them using metallic craft paint, or use a shimmery iridescent glaze over a solid color.
    – Glue foil to the back to reflect the lights on the tree
    – Use glitter sparingly to make them shiny
    – String with ribbon and hang them on the tree!

    Other things I have to share today before I forget:

    • This plugin. This plugin is called the “One Click Plugin Updater”. Once installed and activated, and provided you’re using the most recent version of WordPress – all you need to do is visit your plugins page every now and again and scroll to see which plugins need to be updated, click to “update automatically” and that’s IT. How much easier could it get? There are a few plugins, unfortunately, that aren’t loaded into the plugins directory in such a way that they update automatically. Those need to be updated manually (and you’ll know, because the “update automatically” prompt will not go away). Other than those – it is a sweet little plugin and it will make your blogging life just a little bit easier!
    • I am still decorating my tree here on my blog. Just a couple of ornaments left! Eek!
    • Christmas cards have been sent. Do let me know if you get yours by Christmas – so I know how much earlier I need to get my butt in gear next year! If I don’t know you well, just keep hanging around and I’ll nudge you next year for your address.
    • Mom is home from the hospital! She is happy to be home. She’s still having some blips but I’m told that it’s a side-effect from her meds, so once she is off of them she should be back to her snarky old self – only able to breathe and not have any more chest pain. Yay!
    • Catybug (my little stage queen) was asked to do a reading at Church this Sunday. I found her the most beautiful (and stylish) dress and she is so excited – she gets to read the whole story of Jesus’ birth. My favorite Christmas carol, O Holy Night, will be played on piano while she tells the story. I cannot wait, it is going to be so beautiful! Send kleenex. Love, A Proud Momma.
    • I got a new phone! Whoot! I know. I’m retarded to be excited about a phone. But wait! Let me explain! I’ve had a prepaid Verizon phone for years, just before Mark left for Iraq. While mom was in the hospital though, I blew through well over a month’s worth of a regular plan fee. THAT is retarded. When I found out that “In” minutes are free, and that most of the people I talk to are on Verizon, then I just outright had a “duh” moment. I signed up for a plan online, got a free phone, free activation and now I’m blowing cash to be all cool with my ringtones. Yes, I downloaded O Holy Night! :PHere are my first four downloads:
      – 1234 (TV Version)
      – O Holy Night (Martina McBride)
      – My Stupid Mouth (John Mayer)
      – How Great is our God (Chris Tomlin) – they have this titled wrong, took me forever to find it!

      My only change would be John Mayer’s song – the lyrics that play when the phone rings should be “My stupid mouth, got me in trouble- I said too much again…”, but what plays is “I’m never speakin up again, it only hurts me”, and my choice would be WAY funnier for a ring tone.

    There’s my random blabbering for the day, I do hope you enjoy it – now I must go make some orny-mants before Christmas has passed and/or I don’t know what day it is. (I thought yesterday was Thursday. All day. And I missed a family gathering. Love, Retarded Girl.)

    I hope your Christmas preparations are going well?


    Get in the Christmas Spirit!
    Now Playing : Oh Holy Night

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    Nog’alicious Cookies

    December
    16
    2007

    This is the fourth year these cookies have been requested at my house. This year I’ve made a few little tweaks to the recipe. If you’re looking for a really easy and REALLY tasty Christmas Cookie that will quickly become a family favorite, these are it! Even one of my very good friends – who doesn’t like egg nog – loves these cookies.

    egg nog eggnog Christmas cookie cookies recipe

    **Modifications made in 2007 – see previous years for original recipe**

    1 c. butter softened to room temp.
    1 c. sugar
    1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1 c. **Southern Comfort Vanilla Spice** Egg Nog
    1 tsp. baking soda
    3-3/4 c. flour

    Beat butter & sugar until it’s creamy.
    Add spices, Eggnog & baking soda to butter & sugar, blend well.
    Add flour 2 cups at a time, mix (with mixer) until combined.
    Spoon onto nonstick cookie sheet, dip a cup in sugar (holiday colored sugar, sugar/cinnamon, sugar/nutmeg, your call), smoosh the dough a little – don’t flatten them.

    Bake at 375 for right around 11 minutes, when you can see the bottom edges are just gold and the tops are still creamy off-white. Do not overbake. Let cool on the cookie sheet, transfer to an airtight container to keep them soft.

    (Previously posted December 14, 2004 and November 15, 2005 and December 6, 2006.)

    When I’m Not Working,

    December
    6
    2007

    425brr.jpg
    When I’m not working, I’m freezing, people. Holy cannoli, it was NINE lastnight. Nine. Nine degrees. Ugh. That is just stupid cold. Really. How do I manage to forget every year that this part of the country really stinks and WHY haven’t I moved to a warmer climate yet?!

    I am the type that, once frozen, does not thaw until Spring. My nose is cold. My fingers are numb from the second knuckle up. My eyes are dry and my toes are shivering. The only thing I want to do in the winter is curl up under my blankie and/or bake. Yes, bake. Brownies, cookies, cakes, whatever – just keep the dang oven on and don’t turn it off ’til March. Oh and this is SO not good for my *cough* girlish figure! Not good at all. Dang Betty Crocker and her Super Deluxe Moist Turtle Fudge Brownie goodness. I will smack her if I ever meet her.

    * * * * *
    I do have a question for you today, if you’ve made it this far (thank you, the check is in the mail.) – My mom is undergoing Open Heart Surgery next week. (I capitalize because that is a surgery that demands some respect, IMHO.) Now she truly needs this surgery and it will greatly improve her health, so I am relieved that it’s proceeding, finally.

    I would really like for you to share with me a story or tidbit about you or someone you know who has undergone Open Heart and tell me how they are doing now. Truly, I ask because my feeling is that medical technology is such that there is less to fear now than ever before – my concerns are with recovery and the mental processing of having the surgery. So please share your experience, and also – if you could keep my mom in your prayers I would be most grateful.

    Stay Warm!!

    Get in the Christmas Spirit!
    Now Playing : Frosty the Snowman

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    Coming Back Around

    November
    25
    2007

    Because sometimes, I can’t help but be inspired by others who have been inspired by me.

    That just tickles me… pink.

    (and I’m absolutely grateful for the integrity of the designers who sought my permission to use my photo. Thank you so much, 24/7.)

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