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Showing posts from October, 2013

Mama Kat Thursday: The Case of the Invisible Boy

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        Prompt topic today is: "a spooky story someone once told you."      I don't know whether my grade school chums were just imaginative or I just gullible, but whatever the case, they pulled off the best, most believable scare story I ever heard.      It was around 1965 when I was either in 2nd or 3rd grade and it was during recess.   In those days the whole elementary school emptied out at recess time and we were allowed to roam freely over it's football field size acreage.  I guess we could roam inside freely, too, since that's where the bathrooms were.     On this particular day, four of us had gone back inside the quiet school: me, Merry Jo, Robin and Diane. I'm pretty sure it was Robin's idea. She was the ring-leader in the affair.      Our elementary school was comprised of two parts: a two story brick building built around 1910 and a modern single story wing. The antique building housed 3 school rooms upstairs and, downstairs, the ca

Wednesday Garden Pic: Winter Garden

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We belong to a YMCA that's located up in the plaza, about 2 miles away from where we live. There future has been up in the air for over a year now--particularly since they had to close the pool area. Truthfully, the whole Emerald Coast YMCA, which consists of about 5 Y's spread throughout the community, has been operating in the red. They are terrible at managing their money over all. This Y branch near us has not, to date, even paid it's debt for all the remodeling done initially to open it 7 years ago. Today I got the news that it's officially closing on Dec 15. This means my husband and I need to find a new fitness location we can both go to that is also nearby . So, I did a little on-line research for local fitness centers and, guess what, there is a Snap Fitness center about another mile down the road from where the Y is that would cost us  less to belong to monthly then the monthly fee were presently paying for our decrepit & failing YMCA! That Snap pla

Good Eating Monday: Dump Apple Crisp

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Greetings! Final week in October!  How many trick or treaters come to your door? Generally I get 1 to 7, max. Most people who currently own houses on my street don't have children anymore, though a couple of the rental houses have young families---so who knows?     Today's Good Eating recipe is one from Pinterest for a "Dump Apple Cake," which is really a "Dump Apple Crisp" that I tried last night. The ingredients are just sliced apples, topped with a yellow cake mix and drizzled with 1 stick of melted butter. Missing from the recipe, however, any specific pan size or how many apples to slice and seasoning. It's was a "wing it" recipe on some blog. But apples in pies or crisps are tastier with a bit of lemon juice and cinnamon.   So here's the modified recipe for this Dump Apple Crisp I adjusted for a 10 x 13 pan:   Ingredients: 10 -12 sliced apples-- enough to fill pan with about a 2 inch or more   layer of appl

Friday Finds: Cute Pinterest Moments

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  Today's finds are some great moments between fans and their movie heroes or villains as the case may be:     On set, Tom Hiddleston  always stayed in character when young fans visited and let his young costumed heroes "defeat Loki." So sweet it makes your teeth hurt.       Next, Robert Downey, Jr. so holding an excited young fan, who's saying, "Mom! I'm with Iron Man!"  Then in the next picture, gives him a kiss, saying, "Thank you." It a good thing Robert in reality is better with people then Tony Stark.     Then we have newest Spiderman enjoying a little down time with a young costumed fan:     Finally, a comic con picture from last year of a little boy who found hero help: A pparently he'd lost his Dad in the crowd and was freaked out until he saw his trusted heroes: Flash and Wonder Woman, who he was able to call upon for help. Clearly more then just a costume; it's a responsibility.  

Mama Kat Thursday: Halloween Memories

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  The Mama Kat prompt topic for today is: "What was your favorite candy? Share what Halloween was like for you as a child."  I've mentioned before I grew up in rural Indiana. Not a farm, mind you. Heavy forest. I can't even see my old house for the trees on the Google satellite map, they're so thick. We lived along a state road with a speed limit of 55. The land around us was hilly and rolling with homes scattered rather far apart and there were no side walks.  We did Jack O' Lanterns every year, but they weren't visible from the road. Only the rare parent who happened to drive their kids up our driveway to knock on our door saw them and that was rare. That's how trick or treating was done in our neck of the woods: hop in the car and drive to various neighbors. Mostly everyone just trick or treated at peoples houses they knew. This was the late 60's and early 70's and there wasn't any agreed upon signal, like a lit porch

Garden Pic Wednesday: The Retaining Wall Project

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With night-time temps are headed for the mid to upper 40's, that's might signal to bring the houseplants in! So that's what I was doing today as well as moving another layer and a half of blocks to the project area. I actually did two rows yesterday.  (18 blocks per layer.) So today's Garden pics are of our retaining wall project: The pallet of red castle wall blocks in our driveway: (The flowers in the background, zinnias and vincas, are looking nice!) Next photo is the project area: The house next door is was built on higher ground because there is a septic tank system under it, but a city sewer line was installed before the completion of the house, so they hooked up to that instead. That was like 30 odd years ago. This area in the photo used to have a decorative retaining wall of landscape timber that we put in, which you can still see remnants of, but termites have nibbled it away over the past 24 years. The side walk to our front door runs past t

Good Eating Monday: Slow-Cooker Chocolate Cake!

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Greetings! Nearly the end of October now--weather is cooling down. 46 at night on Wednesday this week is expected, which is fairly seasonal for  north Florida. Today I've been working hard on my Zazzle stuff--expanding designs to many phone styles and adding seasonal Christmas items. Also Lowe's delivered a pallet of landscaping blocks--the kind that stack into a wall. "Before pictures" of that project will be Wednesday's garden pic this week! Today I have an interesting dessert recipe: chocolate cake in a slow-cooker! I found this recipe on Pinterest, tried it and found it made a delicious cake! And it's easy. Just mix and let cook. I only found it hard determining when it was fully done, but I think you just have to trust the directions, since the top is moist from the steaminess of being inside a slow-cooker. It doesn't burn or dry out to cook it a bit longer if you're not sure and using a toothpick to test the middle might be a worth tryin

Mama Kat Thursday: The Day the House Shook

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The Mama Kat prompt for today is: "Something that scared you when you were young." I remember it was the year "we thought the furnace was blowing up." "The furnace wasn't even on," our Mother later observed. "What made you think that?" Kid logic. That old dragon of a furnace we had was oil-fueled and without any experience to understand the sudden rattling of every dish in the house, it was the only conclusion our imaginations could conceive. So we ran out of the house and stood in the yard panting, staring at the house like it was going to bite us. (Bear in mind as I tell this that we lived way, way out in heavily-wooded rural Indiana.) But Mother was right. The furnace wasn't on as the weather was pleasant enough for shirt-sleeves. I thought it was summer, but records indicate it might have been early September and if so, it was a weekend, since we weren't in school.  Mother wasn't home. I think she may have gone

Garden Pic Wednesday: Flower Bed Pumpkin

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And how do you decorate for Halloween? For me, this is it. An electric pumpkin in the front flower bed to greet kids hoping for a sweet treat! This is my new one. It's plastic---unlike my previous pumpkin I'd had for years and years that was comprised of like a hard styrofoam  that was too old to take being dropped on the garage floor when I was re-organizing this past spring! Oopsie!  Garden Pic of the Day: I also got 2 awesome gorgeous photos of a Monarch Butterfly with wings fully open over the past 2 days. It's tricky photographing butterflies. You have to stealthily trail around after them, then stand very, very still with camera on them, patiently waiting for just the right second.  The Monarch likes to sip with it's wings closed for the most part, but this one was fanning it's wings open every so often, but only for a split-second! Believe me, I got a lot of photos of the back edge of his wings already closed again in my effort to click that

Mama Kat Thursday: Pumpkin Patch Jack O'Lanterns

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The Mama Kat pro mpt topic for today is:  "A Pumpkin Patch Post!" I'm always taking pictures of stuff with visions of doing something creative with them. A couple years ago, we were in Indiana visiting family and we had a chance to go to a local Apple Festival at a apple farm with my sister's family.  Of course, the orchard was open for picking-your-own-apples and ,for a fee, you could hike the orchard, picking your own choice of 20 lbs worth of fat apples, then buy fried biscuits and apple butter to snack on from the snack shack. Being a farm, they sold more then apples. You could buy farm-made apple cider or winter squashes, like butternut or acorn, or pretty Indian corn and gourds to decorate with or pumpkins--lots and lots of pumpkins were spread everywhere you looked on the grass! The picture below is one of my original pictures of that vast array of pumpkins: Then, using the magic of my computer graphics program, this is what I did with that

Garden Pic Wednesday: Shady Rain Garden

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Today I'm going to give you a tour of my new "Shade Rain Garden!" This garden is on the north side, near my back patio. Eastern sun hits the area in the mornings,then it falls into heavy shade from the house until mid-afternoon when western sun rays hit it's outer edge, while the back portion remains shaded. The landscape Ivy and Hosta's at the back of this photo love it! Rain water tends to pool in this location, particularly when it rains several days in a row. I've created a color code of circles to identify things in the photo: Yellow Circles: Tiny baby Rubeckia (black-eye susans) I recently  planted that I raised from seed on the sunnier outer edge. Orange Circles : Native orange daylilies, also on sun-side edge. Blue Circle: Hydrangea: which is thriving in this location. Dark Pink Circle : A regular Fern. Bought it at Walmart. It wasn't happy in it's previous location & is better now. Green Circle: Upright Asparagus Fe

Good Eating Monday: Slow-Cooker Apple Pie

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Welcome to the first full week of October!  Here in Florida it will be dipping down to a nippy 55 tonight, but only tonight. Normal fall temps are upper 70's by day and lower 60's by night. Getting down to those last couple mows for the year. We're doing a fun thing this weekend! We'll be going to the annual Pier Park Pirate Festival at Panama City Beach, which is about 50 minutes east of where we live. It's every Columbus Day and we happened upon it by accident last year, but I wanted to go on-purpose this year!  We'll be donning our pirate garb and joining the fun this Saturday! I've decided to try making desserts in my slow-cooker. Sundays is my "experiment with dessert day" so you may see quite a few slow-cooker desserts here! Today's Good Eating Recipe is one I tried yesterday: "Slow-Cooker Apple Pie" It's apple season, so what could be better? Walmart had a 5lb of McIntosh apples on special, too! (Good cooking app

Mama Kat Thursday: Fall Chili Recipe

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That's the Mama Kat prompt for today, "Share A Fall Recipe." And I have the perfect one for October! Orange & Black Chili (With Sweet Potatoes & Black Beans!) I found and tried this recipe last Oct and since then have made it my annual Halloween tradition--since it is black and orange! It was originally meatless, but I find "meatless" doesn't stick to the ribs very well, so my version includes ground meat. Ingredients: 1 Tbsp  + 2 tsp olive oil 1 lb ground meat of your favorite type 1 med-large sweet potato peeled & cut up. (Don't make pieces too small since it becomes so soft during cooking.) 1 large onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 Tbsp chili powder 4 tsp cumin 1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper or red pepper (or mince a small fresh jalapeno) 1/4 tsp salt 2 1/2 cups water 2 15oz cans black beans drained & rinsed 1 14oz can diced tomatoes 4 tsp lime juice 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Garden PIc Wednesday: Giant Swallowtail

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Welcome back! I have a great Picture of the Day for you/?! Every seen a Giant Swallowtail? I got this shot of one a few days ago: A Giant Swallowtail is one huge butterfly. Typically 4 to 6 inches in size with this unusual bright yellow spot pattern. The lower wings have the little "tails" on them that give this these butterflies their name. Also two little orange dot markings that seem common on many Swallowtails. I'm always interested in finding out what different butterflies eat to see if it's something I can add to my garden, since I do want a butterfly-friendly garden. Butterfly caterpillars are fairly gourmet and many only eat specific things, like Monarchs only eat Milkweed. Now the Giant Swallowtail dines on citrus leaves and several other trees, but I have no room for trees. I did find, however, they and also Black Swallowtails enjoy an herb shrub called "Rue." That I could do and I have the perfect location, though I won