Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Bird in the Hand

Did you know that I love my front porch?

I have painted there in the shade.

I've sat on a comfy Martha Stewart wicker chair and read books and sipped lemonade on a hot afternoon.

I've watched lightning shows.

I've even people watched.

But most of all, I have been thankful for such a beautiful spot to sit and relax.

I'm also trying to grow some hanging plants this Summer.  This time it's Boston Ferns.  I'm not quite the green thumb I may seem to be in some of my fantastic yard pics.  Most all of those perennials were planted before we moved here, I just minimally maintain them.  Trying to keep a potted plant in the surviving mode, is something I haven't quite mastered.

This year instead of hanging Fuscias or a basket hanging off the railing, we decided on some beautiful Boston Ferns.  Our front faces the south, but with the overhang, it gets partial sun and not really direct sun.  They look so southern sweet on my porch.  I love them.  Then the other day I discovered this.... in one of the plants when I was watering.....
I thought I heard some activity the other day.  Each time I'd go past the plant a bird would fly out.... scaring the crap out of me.  At first I thought it was a robin, but now I think it's a house finch.  Then the other day I went to water the plant and I discovered this....

Eight speckled eggs!! 
She's been busy!!
I haven't looked inside the plant for a few days.  We had a rather crazy rain storm the other day and I put the plants on the ground to be watered.  Yikes, the wind blew them over and one of the eggs had fallen out.... at that time we counted 9. 
It's just a beautiful and intricate little nest.  I'm not sure I want 7 or 8 little chirping birdies and a big ole protective momma bird dive bombing me if I get too close.
Stay tuned to see that our nest isn't so empty at the moment!!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cache-ing on the Prairie

I am so happy to post about SPRING!

No more lamenting about our long, and cold, and snowy Illinois winter.

Spring is here and the last few days have been gorgeous!!!!

So, before the bugs come and eat us alive, we got to do some geocaching.

If you are new to my blog, welcome (where have you been?)!!!!  And if you are a friend, you have often read about our adventures in geocaching.

A few years ago, before we became empty nesters .... we (my husband Jeff and I) knew that we wanted to find some more things we could do together.  We both like to walk and enjoy the outdoors and we both like a little adventure.  Shortly after our proclamation, we read an article about geocaching and decided we could combine the two activities and there was a name for it!
Geocaching: is an outdoor recreational activity, in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world.
It was a perfect weekend to go for a walk or two.  And we discovered that our very own city is celebrating 100 years.  And with that celebration, a special geocache series was set up around historical sites in our town.  Twelve caches were hidden with a series of clues.  This weekend we discovered 10 of them.  If you find all twelve and submit the answers to the clues and are one of the first 250 participants, you receive a special coin commemorating the anniversary.
The coin is not really our goal.... it's the hunt of the find and the 'fun' we have doing this activity together.

Can you find the 'cache' in the above tree????  This park is less than 2 miles from our home.  I do have to give Illinois credit.... despite the high taxes (and other issues) they do have some very beautiful and well maintained parks.

Here is a closer view. 
The very clever person who put this cache and clues together did a great job of camouflage. 
From a distance you would have thought that it was part of the tree trunk.  Upon closer inspection you might have thought it was a wasp nest or something similar.  And then when you get even closer, you really see the art of glued pine cones and bark around a tube that is holding a container with SWAG in it and a log book.  We were about the 80th person to sign this particular log book.
And then, we moved on to the next set of coordinates and another puzzle to figure out.
All in all on Sunday, we found 10 caches around our city.  All were as clever or more than the previous.  It got us out of the house.  We enjoyed some beautiful weather and we had to work as a team figuring out which way was north!!!! 
Kudos to our city, turning 100 ... and having some awesome people out there somewhere.... who like to set up some pretty great puzzles!!!!

What did you do over the weekend??

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.

Jeff and I took a picnic lunch and we went for a treasure hunt on a beautiful and gorgeous sunny day.  Our geocache took us to the Union Cemetery here in Crystal Lake. We've been to this local cemetery a few times looking for *'cache'.  Each time I come here I just seem to take it all in and calm my soul for a bit.  There is so much history in our own back yard.  (I mean the town we live in.) 

This cemetery is even more special on a sunny day when the entrance drive is lined with American flags.

Thanks to all the men and women who serve(d) in our armed forces. 
They truly make this the land of the free and the home of the brave.
*geocaching:  is an outdoor recreational activity, in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lazy Day or Just LIFE?

I give myself permission to have a lazy day!

Do you ever do that?  Or is LIFE too busy to take a wellness check day?

I am ever so lucky and fortunate.  I am truly blessed, and I know it! 

But I think there is much for me to do.  The POSSIBILITIES are endless.  I can't accomplish it ALL in just one day.  However, I can find more opportunities and not worry so much ... I am doing enough!

It's so exciting just to have sunSHINE and warmer temperatures. 
Today on my day off .... I think I'm going to do some more practicing.  Practice working in my new little garden and weed, practice cleaning out a closet and purging things I no longer use, practice doodling to make some more unique creative greetings. 
Do you think I was just made this way?  It takes a lot of practice to be me!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

I Still Do

.... After 24 years I still do take Jeff to be my husband.  It's not that I didn't believe we'd make it 24 years of marriage, I just never thought on day one, what year 24 and a day would mean.  But here we are .... 2 kids and 3 dogs and 4 moves to 3 different states later....

Happy Anniversary Honey!!!

And, I still do make greeting cards ... if you were wondering!!  Were you???

Business is slow. 
I still like creating and playing with paper and ink and punches and doodles ... but ... I'm not getting any repeat business.  Some day.... maybe... it's possible... that I will actually work in a creative field and find people locally who are like minded in the arts.
Meanwhile ...
I still do make cards with Cooper the wonder dog doodles!!!!  Although Cooper  is going to be 9 this year, he can still go on a lot of adventures ... on paper!

And, I still do copy cat some of my doodles ... or I should say the ideas and then of course add my own whimsical twist to them! 
It's quite 'possible' that my faux business will pick up.  2014 is my year of Possibilities. I'm still on the search for that right niche!
By the way ... if you follow along on my blog ... on my last post (just scroll down if you didn't happen to see it)  I showed you some pictures from the window to my world.... my backyard!!! 
I posed a question.... did you think the picture outside was from a day that it was 88 degrees out and the air conditioning was on, or was it 48 degrees and the heat was on?????  
Wait for it..... The pictures were taken Thursday last week when it was 48 degrees out.  However, earlier in the week ... on Monday, it was actually 88 degrees and then....

Friday, May 16, 2014 it was snowing!!!!  In the same week we had a high of 88 degrees with humidity and then we had huge snow flurries and high of 32 degrees.  All I can say is wtf? 
I guess anything is, actually 'possible'!!!!!
How are you going to SHINE this week?
I plan to Brighten Someone's Day .... could it be yours?????

Friday, May 16, 2014

I Miss my Mouse

I miss one of my most favorite spots!

What do you think? 
My window to the world!

This is one of my piles.  I have at least 5 different journals going on at once.  Here in this pile next to my laptop ... are my cheaters, an inspirational quotes (notes) journal, one of the books for the study material for my online class, my every day SHINE journal and my whole hearted journal.  Plus there are scattered notes and ideas in-between the notebooks.
I can't help myself. 
I love to learn.
I'm a visual learner.
There are so many beautiful words out there.  There are so many fun doodles to doodle.  There are so many new things to look up on the Internet.  There are interesting things to take pictures of.  And there are so many things to see out in my back yard.
I laugh every time I read it on Pinterest.  If only someone would pay me to do 'this', I'm so good at it!
I'm just so very grateful, after a six and a half hour shift standing on my feet and pounding the pavement at Goodwill... I can come home to this and pick up where I left off!

It's very interesting, this window to my world. 
Just from this picture can you tell?  Is it 88 degrees out and the air conditioning is running.  Or is it 48 degrees out and the furnace is on!!! The difference in temperature was less than 24 hours.  That's the kind of week we have living here in the Midwest .... the week of May 11.
Hello Mouse, what kind of things can we create today????

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Just Tuck

I need to go for the 'cute' factor today. 
This job of mine is getting in the way of my creativity!!
Our little buddy hasn't been feeling quite himself lately. 
He has allergies. 
I know!  Who would have thought a cute little doggie like him would have allergies.  But he does.  He's been miserable.  Yes he has a cute sneeze, but when he does.... it starts from the tip of his nose and shakes all the way to the end of his fluffy tail.  Something is annoying his back leg, and then his nose and his little paw paw can barely reach to scratch it.  He goes around in circles trying to catch the itch and he even cries out in frustration.
We've taken him to the vet and he's gotten an allergy shot and some tablets.  It seems like clockwork now.... every September and early May ... something in our air causes our tiny fuzz ball to be not quite himself.

So, have you seen Boo?  He's a famous Pomeranian.  His face is plastered all over calendars and notebook covers.   He's even done commercials.  Click here for the link of the 'worlds cutest dog'. Whenever new people see our little Tuck they think he looks like that teddy bear dog in the commercials!!

I was at Michael's a few weeks ago and saw an entire end cap of 'stuffed' Boos.  Cute doggies never go out of style.  There is another Pom named Jiff who has been making the YouTube circuit.  He is a trained Pomeranian who does amazing balence tricks! Check out this article about Boo vs. Jiff here.

Then there is our Tucker!
This dog is so adorable!!
Maybe we need to shorten his name and just call him Tuck.  Look at that smile on his face and that weird way he sits!  Our little Pomeranian is the ORIGINAL cutest dog in blog land!
Go team Tucker!!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Big Deal!! I'm a Mom!

I didn't know that being a mom was such a big deal (well, it is an amazing thing to be)... I guess I mean to be a big holiday.  I can't even count on my fingers ... (because it was way over 10) the number of times someone wished me to have a Happy Mother's Day!!

Honestly, I'll admit it's kinda nice to be recognized ... but other than my own Mother.... I guess I didn't wish anyone else a 'happy mother's day'.... is that rude of me???

I do whole heartedly admit that I had a beautiful weekend! 

Our first in a very, very, VERY long time.  I mean we had sunshine and warm temperatures on Saturday (and mostly on Sunday, in between the hail pellets) ... it felt wonderful!!!!

I could be sad that I didn't go visit my mom or mother-in-law, (but just so you know... I did visit both in the past two weeks.... to Wisconsin and Indiana)  and I'm a little sentimental that neither of my children came home to be with me (Iowa and Missouri)... but that's all okay.  I don't need one day to celebrate 'me' or the mom's in my life ... I think it's important to do that any day.... and every day.

How wonderful it was to have a great weekend to do things I love with the man I love! 

And, technology is great.... everyone got a phone call or was 'seen in person' on Skype .... how blessed we all are!

This is what the back of my car looked like on Saturday. 
Full of blooming flowers and lush green plants.  It was so nice to finally get my finger nails dirty and add some color to our yard.  I hope that my thumb will turn a bit green.  I'm learning to be a 'gardener'.
You might not understand this in your neck of the woods.... but here in the Midwest.... we've had a really long, cold and ugly winter and spring.  It took until May 10th for our yard to be 'happy' to be alive!!!!

My backyard did not look this green a mere two weeks ago.  
However, I'm loving ♥ it now!!! 
I always love my window to the world (that's what I call my big kitchen windows out to our backyard), but I feel more complete when I can actually be outside in all it's glory!!

I am enjoying things that bring meaning to my life. 
I'm finding where my strengths are. 
I'm taking an online course with Brene Brown and have been practicing and practicing.  I'm trying to live a whole hearted LIFE.  It's not complicated to explain, but it's not the right time to do it here on my blog.  Because I am still a work in progress.
I am finding that every day in a way is 'me' day.... sometimes it's a mother's day, or a birth -day, or a Satur - day... and it's most important for 'me' to find...
new ways to .... 
Brighten Someone's Day!!!
Here's to more days along side of Mother's Day, that SHINE!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

It Strikes a Chord

I like how my first picture has the word 'adventure' in it!!

I do love an adventure!
Sometimes I am a bit afraid of them.

Instead of explaining it out to my then young children, I told them we weren't always sure where we were going, but it certainly was going to be an adventure!

An adventure is an exciting or unusual experience. 
True to my nature ... although most of the time I am calm and collected .... I really like to have unusual experiences!!!
One of my goals a few years ago was to take up piano again.  I played as a young child from about  8 years to 12 years old.  I can read notes.  I can site read.  I understand melodies and I could carry a tune ... but I never could quite put that all together and play a beautiful piece of music.  And I'm perfectly fine with that.
I have moved my piano with me.... 4 times. 
I like how it looks in ALL of my houses.  And throughout the 38 years since I took piano lessons, I have been stuck playing the music I left off with.
But!!!!! But today I ran my errands and decided I want a little more out of the ivory that has been sitting so quiet in my dinning room!!!
I was inspired again when I met up with a piano teacher at an event in February.  We got talking and she suggested that as an 'adult' player, I wouldn't really need to take lessons because I have the basics, but what I needed to do was discard my 40 year old piano books and get something new! 
So, today as I dropped our well weathered American Flag at our local city flag store, I decided to go into the 'Players Bench'  (cute name for a music store) next door and find some new music!!!
I've taken the plunge and have gone on an adventure!!
I'm already on page 27 ( it started out with page 3, so I'm not that far along)..... but I've already had an aha moment!  Or maybe my memory has come back to me.  I finally get what the letters above the staff mean for the CHORD accompaniment.  You can see what I'm talking about in the following picture, it is the arrows in red!

And just so you know too.... I just figured out how to add the red arrows on Photo Shop!!!!
But going back to the chords .... In all of my previous beginning children's piano books, as far as I can tell.... I've had the left hand notes, or the chords.... ALWAYS written out with the actual notes.  I recall on my cello music and my choral music seeing the C, F & G7 on the top of the staff.... but NEVER knew what they meant.  I wondered how guitarist knew what to play!!! It's the chord accompaniment!!!
This adventure back into basic music has certainly brightened my day!  Finally, spring is here almost at 66 degrees.... and yet the sun is NOT SHINING.... but I will find the music somewhere to.... Annie, the Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.... so instead for today .... I will make beautiful music that will SHINE!!!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Choose to SHINE

Who can turn a nothing day,
and suddenly make it seem worthwhile...

As our winter here in the Midwest seemed to drag on for months and months ... almost 6 months to be exact!!!!  I really learned to embrace phrases like ...
Wherever you go, no matter the weather, always bring your own sunSHINE.
It's true!
Some days you just have to create your own sunSHINE.
Then you really have to ....
Do more of what makes you happy
.... and finally
Be so happy that when others look at you, they become happy too!
It really is easy to spread SHINE!!
I love the theme song to the old Mary Tyler Moore show ... we all have the choice to take a nothing day.... bring our own SHINE to it ... and make it worthwhile!


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