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Showing posts from July, 2015

Mama Kat Thursday: The "I Am" Poem

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The Mama Kat prompt I'm doing today is called, "The I Am Poem."   It's based on this  template that has blanks with suggestions for you to fill in that's keyed on words like, "I hear" or "I feel" or "I dream" and so on.  It's a little like doing a serious mad-lib. I did a little fine tuning once I got my basic poem here. The template will NOT save your poem once you've clicked, "Create my poem," so copy and paste it some place. If you don't, you'll have to fill the form out all over again.  So, here's my "I Am" Poem:  I Am I am artistic and introverted. I sometimes wonder what heaven will be like. I hear the sound of solitude in my house. I see what I want to draw in my mind's eye. I want to make that idea a reality on my graphic program. I am artistic and introverted. I pretend I'm more interested in  idle conversations then I actually am. I feel like a boat bobbi

Garden Pic Wednesday: Peek-A-Boo!

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My friend, Jacqui, asked me how I manage caring for all my flower beds & garden.  There is always something that needs doing and,  in her case, she has a much larger yard with more extensive landscape she's trying to get established.  I replied, "I just focus on one project at a time." Especially in the summer Florida heat. I can't stay out all day like I could in the cool spring. I have to choose particular tasks on days I have allotted for working outside.  This past Monday, the single outdoor project of the day was hedging & shaping the large gardenia shrub out front. That took about 2 hours and I took a cool down break for 30 minutes somewhere in there. Today's single outdoor project was re-working a small section  of the back bed by thinning out the native day lilies from other locations and moving them to form a border there. I worked for about an hour, then went in for lunch. While I was inside, a summer thunderstorm suddenly popped up and

Good Eating Monday: Planning A Balanced Meal

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My Hubby used to eat lunch sometimes at the Bowling Alley on the Air Force base. He'd come home and tell me they were serving Salisbury  steak with mashed potatoes and corn. Well potatoes are a starchy vegetable and corn is a starchy vegetable: you never serve double starchy veggies and call it good! I'd say, "What! Doesn't their chef know their food group basics for balanced nutrition?" But large scale cafeteria operations frequently fall back on corn as their "veggie of choice" simply because it's cheaper then fresh broccoli and they can buy it in those giant, industrial sized cans. Not that there's anything wrong with corn. I love corn. It does have nutritional value. I'm just saying in the area of nutrition meal planning it's a rule of thumb to try and avoid having double starches in a single meal, when possible! Eating burgers and fries at the fast food is actually another example of a double-starch eating situation. Bre

Mama Kat Thursday: Camping At Great Dunes

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The prompt topic for today is," Describe a memorable camping trip!" Camping is what our family did when we traveled. It was our hotel. Back then State Parks were $15 a night and a KOA's, around $20.  For a family of 5 that was a great deal! We carried a huge canvas tent, air mattresses, sleeping bags, an awning to cover the picnic table, a camp stove and a "kitchen kit" which was a compact wooden cabinet my Dad built to hold everything we used for cooking & eating. It sat at the back of the station wagon, so all Mother had to do was drop the tailgate, open the door and we were in business. It was cool. One trip we camped at the most amazing place in Colorado: The Great Dunes National Park & Preserve! It's located southwest of Pueblo,  a mountain of sand stacked by the wind against the Sangre De Cristo Mountains! It's a wilderness preserve full of wildlife and I remember seeing Antelope for the first time. The campsite

Garden Pic Wednesday: Melon Patch!

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The sky to the north was rumbling and grumbling with a promise of a summer shower while I was outside mowing today, but wasn't overhead until I finished. Still hasn't rained, though the thundering stopped. Sometimes it rains in one spot, but not in another around here. Today's Garden Pic is my melon patch! These are the most prosperous melon vines I've ever had! There's a Canary melon called "Amy Melon" in the foreground and against the far back wall and watermelon is next to the left wall between them. All this from a total 6 seeds:  2 watermelon & 4 Amy melon. The block walls, which are new this year, are proving quite helpful for keeping the vines corralled! Otherwise they'd be all over the yard!  You can see the upside down plastic milk cartons that I use for watering & fertilizing. I've had a problem with pests getting to my young Amy melons, but I read in my garden book that setting baby melons on a low, upside  dow

Good Eating Monday: Table Setting Etiquette!

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Not so long ago I observed an Air Force kid helping set tables for a large group eating event and saw he didn't seem to know to place the fork on the left side. Instead, he group the fork, knife and spoon together on the right. I suppose, with families eating at home less, teaching the kids table good table setting etiquette is may sometimes be getting over-looked.  With that bring the case, I decided today's Good Eating post would be how to set a dinner table properly! Because a properly set table is the first step to enjoying a meal! Which table setting method you use depends on the occasion and what's being served, though I'll cover basic, semi-formal and formal American table settings. You might wonder how these table settings, particularly the formal ones, came to be? Well, they largely come from the days of multi-course meals that were served by butlers and servants, where utensils were arranged in order of use and could be removed easily as each course

Mama Kat Thursday: Clever Coffee Quotes!

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The Mama Kat topic for today is, "Write a post inspired by the word "Coffee." Since Coffee is the theme, let me share a few of my favorite coffee quotes! Some are from my Pinterest collection of "Good Quotes": Yup, that about sums it up. This one is one of my most recent pins. Totally LOL. Perfect! Put it right next to the Handicapped Parking slot. This one reminds me of my old job working at the flower shop.  There were no benefits---except all the coffee you could drink! I like this one because the line on it is from that Simon & Garfunkel song, "The Sounds of Silence."  I don't know if that's something everyone that pins this knows.  Classed as a "folk rock" song, it was on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965 and was still popular on the radio when I was in high school in the 1970's. I grew up hearing it all the time.  However, the first stanza seems appropriate t

Garden Pic Wednesday: Herb-of-Grace

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Or Common Rue. It's also called Garden Rue, German Rue or Countryman's-treacle. It's formal name is Ruta graveolens L. Common Rue This herb is my newest plant acquisition this year and it's quite striking looking with it's lacy leaves and blue-green color. It's classed as a medicinal herb, though I'm growing it strictly as an ornamental shrub in particular to attract Giant Swallowtails, because it's a menu item for their caterpillars.  In my climate, it will winter over as an pretty evergreen and should grow to around 24 inches tall & broad.  It's hasn't flowered yet, but I understand it does flower  small yellow blossoms that are reputed to be quite unpleasant smelling. The plant itself is also reputed to repel many insects. One thing to know about Rue is it should be handled with gloves and long sleeves when planting it.  The leaves have an oil in them that is irritating to the skin, like a very slight stinging or burning,

Good Eating Monday: Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs!

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Last Friday I wrote about how Cardinals have figured out how to get inside my squirrel-proof feeder cage that's designed for smaller birds. Last year one male Cardinal figured it out. This spring a female figured it and since then, they've been teaching all their youngsters how to get in and dine like kings, too. Here's a photo of a typical day at the feeder: two juvenile Cardinals sitting on the bottom of the feeder, hogging the feeding holes. (Being too big to sit on the perches!)  A Purple Finch is sitting on the hook above, waiting her turn.  A musing. Today's Good Eating Recipe is one I've got in the slow-cooker right now: Slow-Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs! It's a Pinterest recipe I'm trying out that someone pinned from SixSistersStuff.com.  Basically they're sweet n' sour meatballs and I love just about any recipe that will let me use frozen turkey meatballs! Plus my bell pepper plant presented me with a beautiful green pepper

Friday Finds: Birds of a Feather

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  Cardinals are apparently quite clever birds.  I have an Audubon Squirrel-Proof Feeder in the back yard that's designed for Finches, Chickadees, Wrens, Tufted Titmice and other Typical scene at the feeder: Cardinal & Purple Finch such small birds. It's not designed for Cardinals. Yet, I have a few Cardinals smart enough to have figured out how to slide through the bars and dine like kings!   Last year it was only one male Cardinal who knew the trick. This spring I observed a female inside the feeder cage. Since then the pair have raised a couple generations of off-spring and have taught them ALL   how to get inside the feeder. In fact, just this week I observed a male Cardinal teaching his two kids where the seed was by first giving them each a sample, then teaching them how to get inside the caged feeder to get it.  One day the kids were on the fence waiting for Dad to bring them seed from the feeder and, the next, they were taking turns being inside the f

Mama Kat Thursday: Virtual Vacation!

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The Mama Kat blog writing prompt today is: "Take us to a local spot in your city and show us what we're missing...you'll be saving us thousands of dollars now that we don't need to take the trip!" I live in the Niceville/Ft Walton Beach/Destin area here the  Florida Panhandle.  Despite the fact Destin & Sandestin are popular resort destinations, Niceville and Ft.Walton remain fairly small town.  The tea is sweet and life is slow. It's the sort of place where you'll see a fancy BMW driving down the road right next to a good 'ol boy beater truck with hunting rifles mounted in the back window and empty hunting dog boxes in the back. It's that kinda of place. A central feature of the area is Eglin Air Force Base--the largest land base in the Air Force. So large, in fact, that Hurlburt Air Force Base, on the other side of Ft. Walton, is actually on Eglin property.  But, unless you have an I.D. card or work there, you'll never see it.

Garden Pic Wednesday: Squash & Melon Leaf Idenification

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I planted my melon & squash seeds myself, so I know what's in my garden, but sometimes--especially if you're augmenting your garden soil from a mulch pile--you get surprise guests. This happened to a find a mine and though I can tell by the leaves & blossoms it's a vining type of squash, I'm eager to see exactly what it might be. Pumpkin? Butternut? Acorn? So today's Garden Pic's are pictures of various squash & melon leaves and blossoms, so you can tell what's what.  Squash: Whether a vine or a bush, winter or summer, squash generally have large, well defined leaves such as this. (This particular shot is a bush Zuchinni) Summer squash ripen quickly, winter takes longer. Pumpkin takes 100 days from sprout to fruit. Squash Blossoms: Are distinctively large and bright yellow-orange in color. They are male & female, with the male appearing first and the female later. Female blossoms have a fruit behind them. Melon:

Good Eating Monday: Quick Black Forest Cake

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Did you have a nice July 4th? Go see the public fireworks? We just had a quiet weekend at home. We don't go to the public fireworks---mostly because it's a mad-house. Parking is terrible. Mobs of people. And trying to leave is a lot like leaving a Disney World Park after the last fireworks show. Plus many people bring their personal fireworks with them to set off while they're waiting for the show--both legal & illegal types. So all that sort of thing is zinging off in front of you or over your head. Not so cool. Anyway today's Good Eating Recipe is Quick Black Forest Cake! Black Forest Cake is basically chocolate cake with cherries and whipped topping. This recipe is for a 9 x 13 pan and is good with or without whipped topping! But whipped topping looks pretty if you're taking it to a picnic or pot-luck! (Photo from Pinterest shows cake with whipped topping!) Quick Black Forest Cake Ingredients: 1 Box Chocolate or Devil's Food Cake Mix

Friday Finds: For Coffee Lovers!

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Today's Finds are from my Pinterest  Coffee Shoppe Board ! And here's a few Coffee things I love: Vintage Cafe Espresso Bistro Paris Canvas Print Created by Color Bakery of Vermont! Espresso Neon Phone Case Created by photographer-artist, Carrie's Camera ! Coffee Floating Colors Clock! For more visit Cricket Diane! Love Pugs? Then you'll love this "Got Coffee?" Pug Mug ! Created by Pug Minded Designs! Be sure to visit the artists links and see all their works!

Mama Kat Thursday: Baraboo

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Today's Mama Kat blog writing topic is:  "Share a memorable road trip." When I was growing up in the 60's and early 70's in Indiana, we took a family trip every year. That's what our Dad saved his precious vacation days for. The trip. Usually it was to Minnesota to visit the grandparents, but because we camped along the way, there was always an adventure to be had! The every state is full of fascinating State Parks and there are always local sights to see! Traveling to Minnesota from Indiana generally meant driving through Wisconsin and on one trip, we stopped at Baraboo, Wisconsin to visit the Circus World Museum! Baraboo Circus Museum Grounds  Back in the day, Baraboo was the winter quarters for the Ringling Brothers Circus during the late 19th & early 20th centuries, back in the glory days of the traveling circuses! There, the circus would repair & paint their wagons, care for their animals and prep for the next season.  The Circus

Garden Pic Wednesday: White Mums & Dusty Miller

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Today was mowing day. Also I had to pick up a bunch of clutter from a blustery thunderstorm a couple days ago. It kicked up a wind that pummeled the roof and sides of the house with green pine cones, like little missiles.  Bang. Bang. Thud. Plus threw a bunch of dead branches on the ground. Another thunderstorm will arrive in about an hour. It might undo my clean-up! Today's Garden Pic is one from early spring this year, back when the chrysanthemums I have planted along the front walk under the kitchen bay window were blooming. I have multiple colors, but the white mini-mums next to the Dusty Miller was especially eye-catching. The two together have almost a Christmasy look. Here in Florida, mums can bloom twice a year. I cut them back short after they start turning brown in the summer heat and they come back from the root, then bloom again late in the fall. I'm thinking it will take a good fertilizing in late fall and early spring to get the best out of them