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Showing posts from May, 2016

Friday Finds: Hontoon Island State Park, FL

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Today's featured "Find" is another unique Florida State Park: Hontoon Island S.P.   It's north of Orlando and West of Highway 17.  If you were driving to Disney World and were interested in stopping a couple nights to stay in a cabin, picnic or hike, it would make a pretty stop-over & admission is free! My purpose for these State Park features is to acquaint myself with my own state's many State Parks. I peruse the road atlas and randomly pick one out. Since so many people travel to Disney World, I thought I'd look at what's close to Orlando. So that's how Hontoon Island came to be chosen! Hontoon Island State Park as seen from the ferry dock: Hontoon Island State Park is a 1650 acre island on the St. Johns River.  In the 1500's, Spanish Conquistadors built a series of missions throughout Florida and one was reputed to have been on this island. The property was acquired by a soldier after the 2nd Seminole War, who homesteaded t

Mama Kat Thursday: Favorite TV Character

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The Mama Kat challenge today is to, "List 7 things I like/love about a TV character." The Mama Kat challenge this week is to, "write 7 things I like or love about a favorite TV character." So, what TV character to pick? I watch several shows regularly, but could only think of one with a character worth listing anything about and that's Jack Garrett from Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. First, what's this show about? It's a show about a team of FBI agents who specialize in solving crimes and rescuing Americans who find themselves in danger in other countries. Jack Garrett, played by Gary Sinise, leads the team. Gary Sinise is also a Producer on the show and he brings certain qualities to police show he produces that I like:  a sense of family fellow characters, a bit of faith and always a measure of compassion.  7 Things I Like About Jack Garrett: #1)  It's Gary Sinise playing the role. That alone is enough to make me watch, since I hold Mr. S

Garden Pic Wednesday: Trees & Birds

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Among the common trees of Florida is the Sweet Bay Magnolia. It's a cousin of the well-known Southern Magnolia, but has smaller leaves & smaller flowers. It's semi-evergreen, meaning it does lose many leaves in autumn, but not all it's leaves. It has smooth gray bark and gets to be about 35 feet tall. Besides size differences, Magnolia leaves have a red underside; Sweet Bay is silvery light green underneath. It's in bloom now and produces 2-inch red berry cluster that birds and other wild-life enjoy. I happen have one on the edge of my yard. We planted it there 25 years ago. It was a volunteer we found growing in my garden, so we moved it. It has some a low-hanging branch that's low enough for me to stand by it and get a shot of it's pretty white flower. They bloom at dusk, something I didn't realize till this year. And, like all the Magnolia family, they smell divine: a rich fragrance with a lemony touch. So today's first Garden Pic is my

Good Eating Monday: Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake

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Ever had Coca-Cola Cake? It is chocolate. Of course, I've seen it on the Cracker Barrel dessert menu, but have never tried it. Then I found a Pinterest pin for a Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake I saved to give a try. First a little cake history. The earliest published Coca-Cola Cake recipe was in Charlotte, South Carolina in 1952 as part of an "unusual recipes" contest. The recipe won 3rd place and was contributed by a lady from West Virginia. Then in 1997 Cracker Barrel, a Southern chain restaurant, came across the recipe, revved up the cocoa in it and reintroduced it as Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake! It's been on their menu ever since. You can also find the classic Coca-Cola Company recipe at their website, but I noticed their recipe was more complex and includes using marshmallows . This Pinterest recipe does NOT include being tortured with marshmallows. Really, I'd prefer not to use them. What the Coke does is it is you major liquid in the cak

Friday Finds: Get Free Stuff for Your Birthday!

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I don't know about you, but I love getting free Happy Birthday stuff in my email or in the mail from either restaurants and company's ! There's a few I already knew about like Panera Bread, who has a free birthday pastry for members, & Ruby Tuesday, who emails club members a coupon for a free birthday burger. Then I found  WHOLE lists of places to sign up with for Birthday Freebies! So, today's "Find" is Birthday Freebie lists you can sign-up for:   100 Birthday Freebies   59 Birthday Freebies There is an over-lap between the above lists on some of the offers, but also some differences, so both are worth looking over. A majority are restaurant food or desserts freebies for members. Some are just for kids. A few send actual products. Do keep in mind that signing-up in any company or restaurant membership generally entails agreeing to them remaining in contact  with you via emails.  (How else will your get your email coupon for your birthday free

Mama Kat Thursday: Casting Call

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The Mama Kat topic question today was, "If I were given a part in a television show I like to watch, which show would I pick?" I'd pick Scorpion. (Note the silhouette with the question mark in the photos represents me.) If you haven't heard or seen Scorpion, it's on CBS on Monday nights. The premise is a team of extreme geniuses who do jobs that only geniuses can figure out a solution to.  alter, the leader (guy in front with blue shirt) has an I.Q. of 197, higher then Einstein and h is team consists of a math wiz, a mechanical prodigy and a excessively brilliant  psychiatrist.  Paige & Son, Ralph The problem is, they are so genius they can't interact with average human beings very well, so to help them, they have Paige, who is normal, but who has a genius son, like them, that they're helping her relate to.  The team is overseen by their friend, Cabe, a Homeland Security agent. The role I'd want to be cast in, is NOT another ge

Garden Pic Wednesday: The Garden Visitor & Other Photos

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Last week for the Between The Lines series featuring women bloggers over 50! You can view the interviews with all of them & the linky list,  here . My favorite was Mama's Little Treasures , which belongs to Nina, who is part of a group publishing a quarterly online Christian magazine called "Ruby For Women." They take contributions, so it could be a writing opportunity. You can view their interests & submissions guide,  here . To read my Between the Lines guest post from last week about how I got into blogging, go here . **** Today's Garden Pics: The Garden Visitor: This most beautiful neighbor cat occasionally visit to enjoy sitting among the day lilies below my bird-feeder. She (or he) is all white except for touches of orange tabby on the face, legs and tails. And  blue eyes. First blue-eyed cat I've ever personally seen. Large, too. Maybe 14-16 pounds, sleek and healthy looking. She promptly leaves if I come outside and goes back over th

Good Eating Monday: Death by Chocolate Dump Cake!

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Last week I needed to come up with a quick dessert and I had a chocolate cake mix on hand, so to Pinterest I went and found this:   Death by Chocolate Dump Cake! It was pinned from a blog called, " Cooking Chicks. " It's a keeper! Super easy to make, moist & richly chocolate! It's really like an extra thick brownie. You can eat it with your fingers easily.  Photo from Cooking Chicks Just takes 4 ingredients, a 9 x 13 pan and chocolate chips to top it with. Comes out just like this picture! Death by Chocolate Dump Cake Ingredients: 1 box Chocolate Cake mix 1 small box of Instant Chocolate Pudding 1 Tablespoon Hershey's Cocoa  ( I used Special Dark ) 2 cups of milk  1 to 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips for topping Directions : Spray a 9 x 13 pan with oil spray & pre-heat oven to 350. In a medium bowl combine cake mix, instant chocolate pudding, cocoa powder, then add milk, stirring it in until just combined. Pour into gr

Friday Finds: Discovering Rainbow Springs State Park

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Last weekend, after driving to Palatka, Florida for a wedding and looking at the road map, I really noticed how many State Parks Florida has and I decided I would start feature about "Discovering the State Parks of Florida" for some of my Friday Finds! So, today I've looked up Rainbow Springs State Park , which is just east of Ocala, Florida, off state highway 41. All photos shown are from the Parks website Rainbow Springs State Park's main feature is it's beautiful natural spring for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking & tubing. You can also picnic and hike.  A great location for birding plus they offer Guided Butterfly Garden tours on some Saturdays seasonally for $2 a person. Rainbow Springs also welcomes weddings and they have a special deck over-looking a lovely spring-fed waterfall as a back-drop! (Visit the Park home page for more details on pricing & reservations.) Camping is located on the river about 1 1/2 miles downstream fro

Mama Kat Thursday: Remembering 7th Grade

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For me, 7th grade was 47 years ago. So, I had to dust off some really old memory files!  I started 7th grade in the fall of 1969. Vietnam was on-going, but it was apparently a forbidden topic at school. Talking about current events wasn't a thing we did back then. I was sewing my own clothes at the time, so I've included some period sewing patterns, so you can see what was trending in 1969-1970 fashion. Pants fashion was just beginning to transition from flared bell to being wide-legged from top to bottom. My school, which was public, didn't allow anyone to wear blue jeans and didn't let girls wear pants at all in 1969. I remember wearing skirts and jumpers with old-fashioned thigh-high nylons held up by girdle-garters. Not the most comfy thing in the world. Panty hose weren't in widespread use yet, though L'eggs had just been invented. I recall the school bus was still carrying all grades in one trip, stopping first at the Hall Grade School, the

Garden Pic Wednesday: The Unexpected

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Today's Garden project was doing clean-up in the back area under the maple tree, moving a couple Lantana's to sunnier locations & tying up various things that would otherwise be flopping over: trumpet lilies, dusty miller, hardy hibiscus, climbing roses, tomatoes & the butterfly bush. The trumpet lilies (Easter lilies) can sometimes be top heavy and those that want to lean too far out along the sidewalk need tying up to keep them out of the way. Trumpet lilies are very fragrant. The evening air was rich with their scent when we came home last night! There is always something unexpected to be found in a Garden! My Garden Pics for today include two recent surprises: The Red Rose that Bloomed Pink: This climbing rose is red. I' ve had it for 15 years. It has always bloomed red.   This year, it puts up one branch of light pink. Surprise. The Contrary Christmas Cactus: I have a Christmas Cactus in a container that I set outside in the shade once the

Between The Lines Choice Morsels: Blogging After 50

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I was recently invited to be a guest blogger for Katherine's Corner for her "Between the Lines" series featuring "Women Bloggers Over the Age of 50" and how they got involved in blogging. To share my story, I've created an interview: When did you start blogging? I've been writing online since 2001 when I started posting fan fiction I was writing to a website. I also started a free "online journal" via Bravenet, since that was what blogging was called at the time. Back then, blogging was more about personal expression and less about marketing, so I just blogged about whatever I felt like writing whenever I felt like writing it.  The companies providing new free "easy-to-build" websites, like Yahoo and Bravenet, also provided online social communities for their members, so it was much easier to connect with people with shared interests.  This was before social media really took off. Why did you start blogging? I've always

Good Eating Monday: Easy Crab Patties

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I went to the eye doctor today. I've been seeing him since 1986, when we moved here. He's just this year moved into semi-retirement, working only one day a week now on Mondays and luckily he's giving his long-time patients first preference for appointments. I doubt he taking new patients. I wouldn't know quite what to do with myself if I had to find a new eye doctor, so I was relieved to get an email inviting me to make an appointment! Today's Good Eating recipe is a Pinterest recipe for "Easy Crab Cakes," I tried out, because I had 2 cans of crab on the shelf! The base Commissary had a clearance on Bumble Bee Crab for like 50 cents a can or something really cheap like that and I decided to get a couple to make Crab patties with. Since I've never made Crab patties, I had to look through Pinterest for a easy recipe. I like eating seafood for lunch, when Hubby's not around. He thanked me tonight for sparing him the torture of having to eat Crab

Mama Kat Thursday: Officially A Grown Up

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The Mama Kat prompt I'm doing today answers the question, "When was the moment you realized you were grown-up?" It was 1975. Vietnam had only been over a couple years and anyone in the military was held in low-regard  in the public-eye. Even so, I joined the Air Force and left for boot camp in October of that year. My Dad drove me to the military enlistment center to Indianapolis on his way to work, hugged and kissed me good-bye outside and I went inside. After that I was on my own. I don't remember thinking about being grown-up at the time. I just remember feeling fairly nervous, but if I have to pick a defining moment for being grown-up, I would say being completely on my own at that point was it. After being sworn in, the recruiter herded myself & a couple other recruits to the airport for our flight to San Antonio, Texas. After that, there was no going back. I have fine and happy memories of Basic Training. We were still treated as "ladies&qu

Garden Pic Wednesday: Garden Views

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Welcome!  It's the 3rd week of "Between the Lines" featuring lady Bloggers age 50 or older sharing about how & why they got into blogging! Katherine has created special photo collages about each bloggers along with a short interview about each that you can read here. Plus here's 3 of the featured Blogger posts that I liked: Amy's Creative Pursuits Redo It Yourself Inspirations Back Porchervations Remember, it will be my turn on May 10th! **** Today I had breakfast at the new Panera Bread that's close to us now, then went over to a Nail Spa in the nearby plaza to get a Pedicure. I like to do that in spring at the start of sandal season, then do my own pedi's after that.  My flower beds are fairly exploding with spring bloom--especially since the orange native Day Lilies have started!  So today's Garden Pics are views from around the Garden: My Front Flower Bed I've done shots of pieces of it, but this is the whole t