Relaxing in the Shade

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Ahhhhh… this was so relaxing.  I’m amazed how wonderful God’s creation is and how peaceful just being in your own backyard can be!  The only sound we heard this lazy afternoon was all the dozens of birds making their various calls in the trees.

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It’s a great feeling when all of your littles are relaxing at the same time.  It doesn’t happen for very long LOL… but it is nice when it does happen.

I made us all homemade blue coconut icies and it was the perfect drink for being out here!  This picnic blanket is super lightweight, water resistant, and I found it for only $10 at Wal-Mart.  It’s soft and beautifully patterned, too.  That along with our pillows and the icies – well, it doesn’t take much for us to feel like we’re living in luxury 😉

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Have a Happy Mother’s Day weekend readers!!!!  Enjoy it as much as you can!

Stephanie

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Feed The Birds – Kid Friendly Bird Feeders

This past week has been very interesting, with literally one strange catastrophe after another for our family.  But we’ve made it through (!!!!)… and have persevered to Easter weekend (somewhat) unscathed.  I’m so glad we’ll be able to celebrate Purim tonight and Easter.  I love Purim… and how wonderful is it that Queen Esther’s faithfulness in spite of her fear and intimidation will be celebrated the same weekend as the Hope of Easter!

Holy Holidays are so special to our family.  I wish you the best this weekend as well, whether you celebrate them or not.

 

If you’re looking for a fun and sweet project to do with your kids to celebrate Spring, making bird feeders is a fun option – and there are a variety of ways depending on what you have around your house to use or what you save.

We listened to this Mary Poppins song, and sang along with it, replayed it.  Corny, yes, but really touching at the same time.  Apparently this song was Walt Disney’s favorite song, he’d have the man who composed it, play it for him on Friday evenings when no one was there in the office.  The man kept playing it even after Disney passed away.

My older son LOVED it, and the baby liked it too 😉

 

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The were easy to place over thin branches or on the fence posts with a simple rubber band.  In hindsight, pinecones would have been perfect for this because you can easily tie a string around their stem or even the end part of their body, and hang them so that they dangle down!

But these worked just as well, and the birds were happy, so all was well!

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One of our beautiful resident doves.  My grandfather loves hearing doves whenever I go to see him and we take him outside.  His health and alzheimer’s is continuing to decline, but even on his “bad” days, taking him outside and letting him feel the warm from the sun and hear the birds cooing, changes his entire mood.

Birds and nature are just beautiful.

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So it took a day or so for our birds to find the feeders, but eventually, even our resident red bird couple found it together.  They are so sweet to watch, always with each other, wherever he is, she is not too far.  And the male sings so beautifully, you can actually sing back to them, and they just might answer you back!

We were ELATED to see them eating off of the feeders…

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Where she feeds him some of the birdseed.  Seriously… they are so romantic!

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And these pictures below were taken probably around 20-25 years ago, by my father… who also was a bird lover, and an amateur photographer 😉

I miss him taking pictures.  He was so good.

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Morning Adventures

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Yesterday morning, we went for a walk at one of our old haunts and favorite places.  It’s an outdoor mall in our city that I’ve been coming to for years.  The mall actually had it’s opening day on my birthday back in 2005, and has a rich history of our particular romance & love story.

It was a nice, cooler-than-it-looked day, and the beauty of the surroundings, especially in the late morning lighting, was just captivating to me.  You’d think after so many years, it would feel too familiar, but the familiarity seems to only endear me to it even more so.

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I think it’s good to get kids out to see the beauty of nature, whether it’s hiking, swimming in a lake or the ocean, walking on a trail or the beach, it’s just one of those things that replenishes my own joy and happiness… but seeing them enjoy it – seeing the baby captivated by the different sounds and sights of nature, is really incredible!

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The flowers everywhere still in bloom, the greenery, the vines cascading down from the roofs of the buildings… just a breathtaking place to be in the morning.  Definitely changes one’s attitude or mood if needed.

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I was talking to a sweet, older gentleman yesterday about how we’re having such a late fall here in Texas.  Everything still looks slightly like Summer, but we’re enjoying the cooler weather, me in particular, getting to wear sweaters and boots finally.

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I loved seeing this couch with the holiday pillows and wine glasses.  Reminds me of Christmas and cocktail parties that come in December.

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This red chair, along with the holiday pillow, makes it’s own statement.  So much style.

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And then we went to our favorite cooking store, when you open the doors, the intoxicating smell of delicious foods overwhelm you for a moment and leave your mouth watering.

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This woman was in the middle of cooking a delicious turkey meal, giving us some samples of Thanksgiving delights for a quick brunch.

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We have a special area my older son always loved to go see, it has clocks that tell the time of different places around the world.  We used to love going to the section and staring at the different times, and I’d explain to him what the people were probably doing in that part of the world – sleeping, eating dinner, or just waking up!  It was a romantic exercise 🙂

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I’m using my father’s camera now.  My mom thought it was a good idea to give it to me since he hasn’t (and probably won’t) be ever using it again. 😥  It took me a while before even wanting to take it out of the box. It’s a nice camera… but using it was an admission that there’s something really wrong with him, that he’s not the same as he used to be.

It does take better pictures than my old one, and maybe a part of him can be memorialized in the beauty it captures.  But it’s still a tragic change to me.

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Inspiration

IMG_8230I was looking through our pictures from last year to get a feel for how much has changed… my son’s grown so much!  The past almost 4 years of his life have gone by so fast!  These are some pictures of a hike we went on together last year.  Soooo hot, but fun!

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I can still carry him on my back – he’s still my little monkey.

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And these are some pics of last spring

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He’s so much more baby-ish looking in these pics… it goes by too fast!

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Here’s to many more days of Summer this year to explore, play, and have lots of fun!  Excited for Summer 2014!

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Rainy Days, Spring, & Blueberry Muffins!

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I’m so happy that Spring is here, more flowers, more color, more sun!  We’ve been enjoying the weather and a little gardening recently… along with playing in the rain.  I’m eating  delicious, warm, sweet & tart blueberry muffin right now as I write this… it makes me think of Spring.  Spring is here in Texas.

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Blueberry Muffins are ridiculously easy to make, however, this recipe was doubled so it made over 24 muffins – if you want less just halve it.  Also, if you’re using fresh berries, that’s fine, but if you’re using frozen, don’t de-thaw them before adding them in.  See?  Super ridiculously easy.

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Ingredients:  Set Oven to 350’F

  • 2 cups blueberries frozen or fresh
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar + 1 tsp for each muffin top
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 4 tsps. baking powder
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tsps. vanilla extract

Mix all dry ingredients together first.  Whisk eggs in a cup or bowl then pour into flour mixture along with the oil, vanilla extract, and milk.  Only mix enough so that it’s all incorporated!  If you over mix, the muffins will be hard and distasteful.  Once just blended, add the blueberries and gently fold in to the mixture.

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Use cupcake/muffin liners (paper is fine) and fill each cup 3/4 full.  Add about 1 tsp (or less) sugar to each top to create a wonderful first bite impression.

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Bake for 20 minutes or until a fork inserted comes out clean.  Recipe should make about 26 muffins.

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So Spring!  So delicious!

Lunch with Pelicans

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My son and I had lunch with these guys yesterday. After a few day of nearing freezing temperatures and gray skies, the sun finally broke through and gave us a beautiful day to spend outside.

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There’s something about being in the sun, in nature, maybe it’s being near water… it’s just so peaceful.

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Even this grackle got some lunch.

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He wasn’t letting go of that piece of bread….

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