Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Make your own Hummingbird feeder

We made a simple hummingbird feeder, 
using a plastic bottle, disposable food storage container and ribbon.
We used as much red as we could, hummingbirds LOVE red!

This is a well known kids craft. We thought we would give it a try.
We made a hole in the lid of the bottle, and another hole in the center of the lid of the container and four more holes in the corners of the lid.
Boil a simple syrup (2 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar), cool and place into the bottle.
(boiling the syrup, helps the sugar dissolve and makes helps ensure healthy water for the little bird)
Snap it all together.
Tie the string.

Do you see the hummingbird? 

He's beautiful! Black and shiny green, a Ruby- Throated Hummingbird.

Don't worry your eyes are ok.
He's been too fast to get a picture,
will keep trying.
He's been visiting once to twice a day.

That is if we can keep our scoundrel of a squirrel fiend friend from it.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Unusual front yards

Ever driven by someone's yard, and turned your head or slowed down to take another look.

Sometimes do you ever wonder... What were they thinking? Why?

The following pictures were sent by a friend who had the same question.

I think the answer is, to make us smile.

 So, thank you to all those with creativity and adding a moment to share in our days.

If anyone sees any other unusual front yards, send them along.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Children's Bible Reader Online and Saints Alive Games

Thought I would share a resource that is truly a gift.  
Many may know of it, but there may be a few out there that may not.
These two sites were created by the awesome folks over at GOARCH.ORG (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Department of Internet Ministries.)

They have bible stories and games for all age groups and can also be used to supplement church school lessons.  I'm not sure why, but the children never want me to read the story, but will sit enthralled if it is read through the online reader, as part of a lesson and before a craft.  Sometimes we also have races who can complete different tasks, like placing the plagues in order.  
Current time to beat is 38 seconds, made by a first grader.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Flat Squirrel

How hot does a squirrel have to feel to lie flat?

What is it thinking?
Ever wonder?

He/she looks pretty relaxed, probably the humidity.  
Was sleeping initially and then got tired of the paparazzi snapping pictures and got up slowly, then scampered off. We had a good laugh.

You think flat squirrels, travel like flat stantley does?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stenciling Curtains

I wanted some new curtains, something cheerful, a splash of color.  I searched everywhere, and finally found the inspiration here;

Alas, not in our budget, but I just could not get them out of mind.  You know when you see something and that's it. You could buy something else, but you will always compare it.

Well I then found new inspiration here;

and here;

So I started to plan my own stenciling project.
Here it is!

I started with plain curtains.  I thought about using canvas but found these for a super reasonable $14.99 /pair.   They had a nice bronze antique grommet and a sheen to them.

I ironed them.

I  had some old large boxes and found the right stencil and fabric paints at the craft store, of course, used my coupons.

I started with a sponge dabber. But ended returning to a stencil brush, you know the kind, sorry, didn't get a picture of it.  I think it used less paint, and I like it's handling better.
Sounds like I'm talking about a car, doesn't it.

I ended up needing 4 bottles for 4 panels.  
I mixed satin finish colors,  geranium and tiger lily for an accented effect.

Different people have talked about using the stencil glue, I didn't, just my true blue painters tape.
Make sure that it is flat, you can see a little bubble above, it was flat when painting.
I used another stencil in the same package to help measure.

Here is one all done! The first one took me forever...
Thankfully the remainder went faster.
I ironed them again to heat seal the paint, or you can tumble dry them.

Here the final product! 
I think they turned out pretty good.
Now just have to wait for some bamboo shades to go with them.
Or may be I should just paint my cheap vinyl shades with a faux bamboo look?

Would love to know what you think?

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Lemon tree update

Shhh! Don't tell the botanist at the nursery.  I did let one, ok, two buds, go to flower. The leaves filled in so nicely and is liking it's spot so well, and ...well they are so cute and smell like citrus. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Vegetable Garden

It is so exciting to have a garden again. In the past 4-5 years we have tried, hanging things upside down, failing miserably, our container veggies, did ok, but were unsatisfying to grow. We even rented space in a community garden.

That one was the hardest of all, it was 15 minutes from home, and you had to walk through a public park to the back. Our plot had not been tilled in years and my husband actually took to using the claw part of hammer to disengage the weeds.  It turned into a great lead for a sermon, in which he never lets me forget the fun of that time.  The garden was a struggle, but all the same we managed a great yield, which we shared with parishioners and the food pantry.

This year we have two southern exposed raised boxes, in the backyard! I planted seeds in March, it had been so warm.  Many of them took and now we are starting to harvest.  Lettuces, tomatoes (not from seed), baby bok choi, celery, zucchini , cucumbers and one lone eggplant.  The salad from your own garden seems sweeter and more tender and delicious.

Things have been a little busy, so I am trying to get out there for a few minutes each day to tend to the weeding.  Watering it in the evening, while things are quiet or not so quiet if the children are still out, brings a different kind of peace.  The warm breeze, the aroma of the grasses, dirt and especially the sound of the water spraying from the hose, take me back, remembering my sweet Dad as he watered his garden in years past. He's still watering it, its just a smaller one now.  These routine little things help feel like the distance is not so great.


Saturday, July 21, 2012


We went fishing with friends this weekend, so much fun!
I caught a bass, actually all the girls did!

Not a big fish, but not a small one, one fish, good fish.
Good to know that all the skills learned on Sega Bass Fishing actually DO transfer!
Thank you to our wonderful hosts for a great afternoon!

A walk in the woods

I got up early to go for a walk, and enjoy the peace of the morning. Sounds nice, right?

I walked into the wood on a dirt road.  Minutes later... I ran out of the wood, flailing my arms around my head to try to combat the flies. Aaaaah...so much for a peaceful, thoughtful walk. 

Umm, having a Doogie Howser moment, nothing profound coming. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Crochet Project

New Project, on the crochet needle, hook.
I've taught myself how to knit, now simple crochet and soon sewing.
Knitting, Crochet and Sewing, Oh My!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


We recently had these amazing popsicles while visiting with friends.
The popsicles went fast, the memories of that time for the kids and the grown-ups will last.

Popsicle-an original Haiku

So bright, cold and sweet 
Slowly melting down our hands
One is not enough

Did you know the popsicle was invented in 1905 by an 11 year old?

Monday, July 16, 2012


If the sun shines all the time, then everything in the field withers; therefore rain is needed. If it rains all the time, then everything rots, because wind is needed to aerate everything. And if there is insufficient wind, then a storm is needed to wash everything away. In a person, everything happens beneficially at its proper time because he is changeable.

St. Ambrose

Saturday, July 14, 2012

About the Birds

I find my new interest with these creatures to say the least, remarkable. I have always appreciated the beauty of flight, and who hasn't dreamed of being a bird as a child.  I loved birds then, playing with all the chicks at my grandparent's home, collecting eggs, etc. I loved in particular one sweet and very large rooster, given to me as a birthday present.  A story, we'll leave this for another time.

I don't remember when my fear of birds began, perhaps that iconic Hitchcock movie. He was brilliant! It wasn't the attack scenes that were the most horrifying to me, but the waiting, the birds sitting there, staring at you...it seemed...plotting.

I have a newfound respect for the variations of color,  the chirps, sounds, songs, their beauty and of course the lack of worry.  Birds don't worry, ever thought of this?  They go through their day, seeking food, water and company.  They fly in the sky, enjoy the breezes and the sun and finding their needs met for the day, rest and find shelter.  God provides.  So if the sweetest and one of the smallest of God's creatures knows this lesson so well, why do many struggle so much. Anxiety is prevalent throughout many societies, especially in this one.  Consider...

"Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?"  Matthew 6.26-27

Worrying cannot add life, but it sure can take away. It's summertime, the time when we are supposed to be more carefree, take life slower, stop and enjoy like the birds. But it is summertime and the food pantries are all struggling, budgets and funding are cut, donations are low. The birds can find things to eat, but the people?  God provides, He provided us to take care of each other.  Consider in the midst of enjoying the beauty of summer, the beauty of the birds and the sounds, stopping off and adding to the shelves of your local food pantry.  Let's help someone else feel the freedom like a bird, and be without worry.

Click here to find a foodbank near you, and find other ways to help.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Do you see what I see?

Sitting on the porch, enjoying the sweet warm breeze of summer, a quiet moment, to myself and my knitting. Did you know I knit?
I hear this pretty song and strain my eyes.
Do you see what I see?

You have to look hard.
Let me zoom in for you.

Yup, there he is!
Can you tell what he is?
Let me zoom some more.
How about now?

Let me zoom again.
Know what he is?
Nope? Neither do I.
Off to the books and links.

Here is my guess. A Purple Finch.
Pretty song. Take a listen.
Enjoy each day.

Stinky? Is that you?

Look who we saw on the window last night?


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Strawberry Cream Cheese Danish...mmm mmm good

I want to thank Matushka Anna for posting this,

and she found it here,


I ended up making three of them for coffee hour, using fresh strawberries in season.  They were a HUGE hit! I sprinkled granulated sugar over the top before baking, for a crystallized look.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A welcome surprise

We received these miniature roses in a pot as a sweet welcome gift recently.  These have never done very well for me, and after the initial flowers faded and fell, I was sure we were traveling down a well known path.  You must also know this path. I can't be alone.  It is one grocery store and greenhouse raised plants frequently must travel, in the real world.  I planted it next to the porch steps and hoped for the best. While watering the garden last night what should I find?  Look! The first rose on its own, so small and brilliantly red. It is sweet like the family that gifted it.


For one who has acquired the love and habit of examining his surroundings, life in nature is beneficial; it saves him from petty, one-sided thinking and imparts to him a broader vision, integrity, and depth.
St. Barsanuphius

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Yellow Bird, Yellow Bird, what are you?

So we have this pretty yellow bird that we see every so often.  I looked in my trusted National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. 2006 edition. Newly purchased.

Obviously it is a yellow bird with black markings on head and wings. Orange beak, wondering if this means it's the girl, like with cardinals. I search my book, thinking maybe it's an Oriole? or a Warbler? 
No, not these, but ...
 It is an American Goldfinch and it's the boy! 

Found a website to give more information if you're interested.

or to listen to his song, here's a link.

Intelligent Silence

Intelligent silence is the mother of prayer, freedom from bondage, custodian of zeal, a guard on our thoughts, a watch on our enemies, a prison of mourning, a friend of tears, a sure recollection of death, a painter of judgement, ...a companion of stillness, the opponent of dogmatism, a growth of knowledge, a hand to shape contemplation, hidden progress, the secret journey upward. 
St. John Climacus

Monday, July 9, 2012

Trials of a Lemon tree

I have a little lemon tree.  It is small and sweet and lives in a container.  It got very hot recently...lemon trees are supposed to be drought-resistant...it lost almost all it's leaves.

I went to the garden center, and asked to speak with someone who takes care of the plants and to purchase another one, for someone special.  This was what then transpired, man into overhead store speaker system, in a sarcastic tone, "hi is anyone available to come talk to this lady about the lemon trees, she's buying another one to see if she can take better care of it and she wants to save the one she has at home, that lost its leaves."

It actually at one point looked even more pitiful than this.

I looked at him as sweetly as I could, and just said, "thank you. "  The nice lady botanist came out, gave me some instructions.  I placed globe water spouts in the soil and took it out of the full sun "to baby it."  

Here we are one week later.  

Can you believe the sweet little thing is trying to bear fruit.  I had to pick it all off, to save it's energy, heartbreaking.

By the way, I had watered it during the drought, but maybe too much.  There is such a thing as too much love.

This is the new one,
look at all those pretty leaves and fruit,
on its new porch.

Anyone else had an experience like this recently?

Perseverance or "Epomoni"

The merciful Lord accomplishes and does everything through His will for our benefit, even though the means and results may seem to be in opposition to us. With the help of the most Merciful Lord God, we will be patient, and we will see... 
St. Leo

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tiger Mosquito?

I saw this guy on the window and was able to snap a picture.  I wasn't sure what it was, but maybe it is a tiger mosquito, whatever it was, it became spider food. Saw it again soon afterwards, in a spider web near the back porch.

Easy Bookmarks

At the end of year, I needed something small for thank you gifts and wanted it to be pretty for our own new summer reads. I looked at lots of sites for making your own bookmarks, but they all involved sewing of some type.

I am not strong at sewing, I can mend, I can place buttons, I have limits. 

So I thought why can't I just use glue?  I found this great fabric with multiple patterns at Big Lots for $3 already cut in 4x4 pieces.  I cut some cardstock paper into 2x4 pieces and sprayed adhesive glue and placed it on the fabric. Then did same for other side with a coordinating fabric. Cut them down the middle. 

Great gift idea, to go with a Bookstore gift card.

Ok, edges could be more even.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Backyard Friends

We have been having fun sitting at the kitchen window, and watching the wildlife of the backyard.  More tame than wild, but fun all the same.  We have several couples, now likely families, including the Cardinals, Mourning doves and two distinct robin couples vying for territory in the backyard. Meet some of our Backyard Friends.
Mr. Cardinal

Mrs. Cardinal

Vigilante Robin
Silly girl, almost laid her eggs right in the open.
Thankfully she found a much better spot, away from any possibility of a lawnmower.

Did I mention we also have bunnies!