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Showing posts from July, 2014

Mama Kat Thursday: Lipstick Personality & Ugly Toes

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Today's Mama Kat prompt is "My Top Beauty Must Haves." When it comes to beauty products, I have two passions: pretty lips and pretty toes. My sister, Jane, knows about my "toe thing" and teases me about it. She even sent me a mini-manicure kit that's the size of a deodorant for Christmas one year that I still use. I live in Florida. Everyone wears sandals all the time. And I happen to be observant. I look down and observe the state of people toes. I have a pet-peeve list of things I don't like to see: * Un-clipped Claw Toes. Men or Women. * Spa Toes: that's toes that once clearly had a trip to the spa weeks ago, but now the polish is haphazardly wearing off and growing out. * French Manicured Toes: looks good on hands; not so much on toes. This polish style usually requires a little bit a length of the toes, which quickly lends itself to claw-toe. For me, when the sandals come out, the toe polish goes on! I don't leave the

Garden Pic Wednesday: More Yard Views

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I'm feeling better today. I ground a little fresh ginger into the coffee I'm drinking prior to brewing it, which gives me the benefit of the ginger without the peppery taste.  I can drink tea; I don't love it. Rather drink coffee. Today's Garden Pics of the Day are more views of my yard. First: A back yard view from left corner: It's high summer now, so not a lot is blooming. I was working in that corner back there this morning, pulling out spider plants (the house plant) because they tend to take over and moving around garlic chives to fill in blank spaces along the bed border. (They make a fair edging.) This corner is on my project list for figuring out what to plant in front of the Elephant Ears & Hydrangea back there under the trees, an area that gets strong morning sun, then heavy shade. Next: Same back yard, other corner: This is the "woodsy" side I want to add more daffodil bulbs tothis fall. The bed in the right corner i

Good Eating Monday: Allspice

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Greetings!  Today we went to the fitness center. I do Zumba. Hubby rides the exercise bike. Then, once home, I did a some mowing, mostly under the picnic table, since hubby was available to help me move it out of the way, then replace it. I refilled the hummingbird feeder with a commercial hummer food. They didn't seem to like my homemade--though I used the correct ratio of water to sugar.  I have a cage suet feeder Ii'v filled with short pieces of yarn for the birds to use for nesting. Most of it happens to be red yarn. Interestingly, we saw a female hummer helping herself to some of that red yard recently! Really, she's the first taker I've seen interested in it. Today's Good Eating topic is another spice: Allspice! Allspice is often confused with Cloves, but that's because it also has the same eugenol oil in it.  Allspice contains more then 2 dozen compounds with healing qualities. In it's natural form, raw Allspice is a pimento berry about th

Mama Kat Thursday: Taking A Chance

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The Mama Kat prompt topic for this week is:  "Talk about a time you took a chance. " I told hubby I was going to do this topic. He snorted and said, "You never take a chance." And, he's right--from a certain point of view--- if taking a chance only means risking your well-being. I would  never take a chance that might put me in harms way. However, "taking a chance" isn't limited to risking one's life or well-being, though it generally involves some kind of risk in order to gain something. But what's risked can be as small as time, or trust or matters of the heart; not just money or life.  So, from that point of view, a major time I took a chance is when I set up my first website to post some fan-fiction on that I'd been writing. You see, I don't take criticism well. I got a degree in Graphic Art only to figure out afterwards I wasn't equipped to be in the commercial art field because I lacked the necessary tolerance

Garden Pic Wednesday: Rain Lily & Garden Views

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Today's Garden Pics include a blooming day lily and several garden views around the yard: Below is a Rain Lily. It's something like a crocus in appearance. It's a bulb. I bought a mix of yellow, white and pink (this one is a white one with the tiniest hint of pink the camera can't see.)  What makes them "rain lilies" is they bloom after a rain and the ground is wet. Perfect for a rain garden. Next : a post-rain view of my main rain garden with a good view of the Chocolate Elephant Ears  both in the rain garden and in the back right corner of the photo. I love these Elephant Ears! I love the purple color! It really breaks up the heavy green of a Florida garden. They start green when little and turn dark as they mature. They are not a bulb, but have a root system like a day lily. Very easy to split and move. In fact, I split up the single clump I had this spring and moved them various places; apparently they loved it because they look be

Good Eating Monday: Cloves!

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The Underestimated Power of Cloves Chewing a whole clove is an old-fashioned cure for dental pain, like a toothache. The oil inside cloves is called eugenol and is a mild anesthetic. Clove oil also effective against gingivitis, periodontitis and stomatitis, which is a painful inflamation of the mucous lining of the mouth. Bet your dentist didn't tell you that! Before toothbrushes and Listerine, cloves were used to brush teeth and as breath mints. Clove oil also has healthful benefits as a bacteria & virus fighter. And as a mosquito repellent. (A common ingredient in some natural mosquito repellents you can buy nowadays.) We once tried a natural flea remedy high in eugenol that made the cat smell like cloves, but wasn't actually helpful for the fleas--and she hated it. Cats do not like smelling like a bakery, let me tell you.  Cloves didn't move from dental hygiene use to cooking use until the Middle Ages.  It's a key ingredient in Chinese 5 Spice , Ind

Mama Kat Thursday: Duped

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I didn't care for any of the Mama Kat official link-up topics this week, but I did use her prompt generator to come up with this topic:   " You got duped. What happened ?" Unfortunately, I'm a bit on the gullible side. Equally unfortuante, my hubby happens to be a leg-puller. Not in a mean way, but a jovial, spontaneous way. The last time he successfully pulled my leg was just this year, back in March while we were visiting home in Indiana. We needed to drive to Effingham, Illinois to pick up my Uncle at the train station, which is about an hour away from Terre Haute, where we were staying with my Mom. On the way, we passed a billboard advertising something about Effingham and I mused out loud, "That's an odd name. I wonder where it came from? No doubt the town was named after someone." My husband smoothly replied, "It was named after Bruce Effingham, the 1848 Gold Metal Olympic Shot Putter." This sounded so plausible, I bought it. So

Garden Pic Wednesday: Bumbles & Caterpillars

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It's raining out today. Yesterday, too. It's a reflection of that huge wave sweeping south that's giving our northern friends unseasonably cool weather!  Lucky you. It's still 90 here. But it is much needed rain. I love to see a bit of water standing in my rain garden! It's looks so pretty for a few hours! I planted a Cinnamon Fern root there, which is a large fern that likes that sort of place. The first tiny stem has recently popped-up, showing me, yes, it is indeed alive, putting to rest all my doubts.  I accidentally stepped on a snake this past week. He didn't expect me and I didn't see him and we totally startled each other. He was near the block wall surrounding the bed with the dill, a small harmless sort of snake that fled under an Azalea bush while I kept on my merry way.  (Keep in mind I grew up way out in the country where I was taught to recognize & respect all forms of critter life; not fear it. As should we all.) I have two fantasti

Good Eating Monday: Blueberry Muffin Cake

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Today's Good Eating recipe is one I tried this weekend: Blueberry Muffin Cake! I had some blueberries I'd collected from by bushes earlier that I wanted to use. Plus we were celebrating one of our Air Force guys who comes to our Bible study selection for promotion to E-5 and I wanted to have a special cake for him. This recipe makes a moist, lightly lemony blueberry bundt cake. I've included in italics changes I made to ingredients in the recipe, some of which are healthier options. I say, if you're going to eat cake anyway, why not make it as healthy as possible? Plus I've included a lemon glaze recipe, which I thought preferable to the original buttermilk glaze attached to the recipe (dairy would've meant having to refrigerate the cake!) The plain lemon glaze doesn't require refrigeration and enhances the cake flavor delightfully! The main trick to keep in mind with this cake is that you must let it cool off in the bundt pan COMPLETELY  before even tr

Friday Finds: Heroes For Higher!

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Today I want to spotlight a really cool organization called Heroes For Higher.  It's the result of one Fireman's vision to inspire children to be heroes in everyday life through appearances with a positive message by well-known costumed comic heroes, such as Batman, Captain America, Iron Man, Spider Man and so on. Though for legal reasons they use similar, but different names for their characters, such as "Gotham Knight, American Hero, Iron Hero and Webbed Wonder." The Batman costume he wears is an authentic "Dark Knight" film costume, such as Christian Bale wore in Batman Begins. Here's a brief excerpt from their website : "The numbers astound us! We have been in front of over 30,000 little heroes this first year. And the momentum continues to build as we move into the school systems throughout the Tri-State, as well as the Church sector. In the schools, we are teaching the children our BE THE HERO AGAINST DRUGS AND BULLYI

Mama Kat Thursday: A Sweaty Problem

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The Mama Kat prompt today is the word: "Glistening." Glistening immediately brings perspiration to mind: my hubby's perspiration in particular. Actually, he's NOT a sweaty guy, but he does have a sweaty problem: about a year ago his armpits developed an allergy to stick antiperspirant. He's been using Old Spice deodorant and, before that, Brut for decades with an occasional dose of Speed Stick.  (He's over 60.) But, sometimes, as we age, our bodies change, and a sudden onset of a sensitivity to something isn't uncommon. So we tried switching brands.  We bought some Arm & Hammer stick deodorant. His armpit didn't like that either. He tried my Secret, the one strong enough for a man, but made for a woman--and, nope. He reacted to it, too. So, he gave up deodorant altogether and just started using Gold Bond Powder spray instead.  At least it wasn't irritating. But Gold Bond has no deodorizing properties, a fact he recently aire

Garden Pic Wednesday: Garden Wildlife!

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I'm very excited! This is the time of year when my garden, particularly any parsley or dill, becomes a nursery for Black Swallowtails! I saw Mrs. Swallowtail leaving eggs just over a day ago. They were white dots the size of pinheads. Today, tiny caterpillars. Hopefully I'll get some good photos as they grow! They're quite pretty! And, if I pay very close attention, perhaps even newly hatched butterflies! Today's garden pics are a couple of fairly good bird shots and one amazing spider pic! I say "fairly good" shots of the birds, because I'm shooting through my sliding glass door at birds roughly 20 feet away. First up: a common Eastern Blue Jay enjoying a piece of popcorn. They like to take it up to the fence and peck the kennel out of it. Genders look identical. Next: Mrs. Cardinal She, too, is looking for popcorn. Among cardinals, males are red with a black mask and females are this muted fawn with touches of redish-orange, a gr

Good Eating Monday: Sage!

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Common Sage Today's Good Eating herb is Sage: There are 900 types of sage, but only a few are used for culinary purposes with the variety most familiar to American is "Common Sage." (pictured) Other varieties you can obtain include Pineapple Sage (which becomes a rather large shrub, but it's red flowers attract hummers), Clary Sage & Greek Sage. Common Sage is easy to grow and, with it's bee-attracting purple flowers, so makes an excellent bed or garden planting. It could be planted in a medium large pot on a patio as well.  It's perennial in mild climates. Health Attributes : Studies with supplements given to people demonstrated an ability to brighten mood, refresh concentration & sharpen memory. How to Dry Your Own Fresh Sage: Trim the leaves from the stem and lay them on a cutting board  near a sunny window, turning the leaves everyday until they're dry. This will take several days. Dried sage will retain flavor for up to a

Mama Kat Thursday: Best June Photos

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The Mama Kat prompt topic today is: "Share your top favorite photo you took in June. Give us the back story." I didn't expect it.  I'm always wondering around my garden, photographing flowers. I had my lens focused on a pink Zinnia. Then, just a split second before I clicked, something flew into the frame and landed on the flower. I couldn't really see it until I put the photos on my computer--then there it was. A little sweat bee posing for a pic! ******** He saw me and froze.  He was really enjoying himself, eating the dried out popcorn on the ground that I throw out for the birds. I saw him, grabbed my camera and stepped out the sliding glass door.  As soon as I did, he froze where he was, popcorn in his beak, keeping an eye on me until I went back in the house.  Then he finished his kernel and searched for another piece. Thanks for visiting!

Garden Pic Wednesday: Know Your Dragonflies

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Today, I've learned how to tell the difference between a male Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly and a male Blue Dasher Dragonfly! They look very, very similar---in fact, on-line photos of the two are often confused. Both have bodies the same baby blue color. The identifying distinction between the two is their face color as pictured below:   Pondhawk's have a green face;  Blue Dasher's have a white face.  The female Pondhawk is green & black, while the female Dasher is brown.  For photos, I prefer the blue males. Much more showy. I was lucky today that an adult male Blue Dasher decided to perch and stay perched on a wooden stake just outside my front door. He's been there a couple hours now, just sitting, munching on whatever flies close. Probably because it's shady--it's been sweltering outside this week. I kept snapping shots of him like he was a super model and he didn't even twitch. I could see his little head rotate watching me, though.