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summer days

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Summertime calls for treats like Buttercrunch doughnuts and trips to the beach.

It also calls for me to forget the things I should be doing…

unintentional time outs.

I should be blogging more, writing more, submitting queries and illustrations, editing photos, working on my publication calendar and of course doing the weekly chores.

But, lately… I have come to realize that this is the only summer I get when my daughter is 6.

This is the only chance I have to fill her head up with happy childhood memories….classic simmer memories..

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So, forgive me please for my absence.

 

I’m working on putting a happy person into the world for the future.

Today is the day to drop the devices and live.

 

summer week one '14

Every year I attempt to document Summer here, a few years ago it was a daily post, and last Summer it was a round up with an epic fail in between. This year, I am hoping to do a weekly summer activity post,  depending on how much I want to stare at a computer screen.

Sometimes I do. Between Pinterest and browsing all the books at the library, I can be quite content for an hour.

Then the sun comes up and it’s time to start the day.

It’s summer.

I’m exhausted by the end of the day… but- it’s kind of that” happy theme park exhausted”, because this year I decided to make summer different. I want my kid to have happy summer memories, not memories of mommy working behind the computer all day, not mommy texting or checking email on the phone.

So, I leave my computer and phone alone majority of the day. Except for photos, of course…

Gotta have those.

So far: summer in photos:

IMG_1527THE LAST DAY. (Until Fall, at least….)

_DSC1331Homemade mango Ice cream with strawberry chunks…

 

_DSC1324a nature walk with the dogs… and the dogs got tired.

_DSC1321A little trip to the water park… and some tasty little snacks (that I only allow myself to eat in the summer)

IMG_1616A lunch out for sushi…

IMG_1606and some Thai food, too.

IMG_7100A fishing tournament, and a new friend to hunt crabs with…

IMG_7102blessed with fabulous weather and scenery, and a rockin’ cooler for a prize for winning the tournament division:

IMG_7106IMG_7073Trips to candy stores …

IMG_7080and tasting some pretty weird things… (they were only $1, and more minty than dilly)

IMG_7108Surprising Dad with a few Father’s Day gifts

IMG_1437Outings on the boat…

IMG_7145Kisses from Cockatoos

IMG_7133coloring pages at the library…

IMG_7127and Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas….

This has been Summer.

So far. :)

 

 

 

summer ideas 2014

I have officially re-named my “summer bucket list” . Because , let’s face it: bucket lists are things you want to do before you die, and there is just too much pressure in that.

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As summer approaches in the next few days, with the official start being the actual last day of school, I compiled a list of things to do and look forward too…. many are food related,  and most are just about making memories.This year, my daughter is old enough to hold attention for longer than 7 minutes, so I am incorporating a few geography and history lessons, (to be honest- I’m actually trying to remember all the stuff I leaned in grade school so I don’t feel like a total idiot next school year when she comes home telling me things I should know)

First of all the things we do every summer:

She sleeps in = I get to drink my coffee hot, have devotional time and work on writing projects

We have breakfast together= I’m usually hungry once she’s up

Pool trips and beach trips = I need to lose my goth-like paleness

Backyard camping =  I need to use the camp gear yearly, otherwise my husband will toss it because “it’s never used”

Freeze Yogurt and call Popsicles breakfast

Make crafts= otherwise the craft stash will be trash

Walk the fat dog = he’s a Boston Terrier that is starting to resemble an Orca

Go fishing= need to stock the freezer for emergency sushi cravings (we both love sushi)

Plant our yearly sunflower garden

Water balloon and squirt bottle fights = we don’t have a pool, so this is the low budget way to keep cool

scavenger hunts = AKA help me clean out the garage

picnics= can’t stay inside all day, can we?

fire and police station visits= love on the people that protect, serve and save

treasure hunts= as in our dog dug a big hole in the backyard, I may as well hid something cool in it

tie dye day= recycling the shirts that have spaghetti-O stains

pedal boat rides= gotta squeeze in a mommy workout

pier trip= because that’s just fun

bike rides= AKA mommy workout

finger painting= probably I’ll  have some more stained shirts to tie dye after this

pottery= I love pottery… never to early to start her, right?

 

Now:

The “new” stuff I may or may not accomplish…

Theme days:

Be a reporter and make a “newspaper”

Homemade beauty salon at home (I love having a girl)

A day spent making an assortment of homemade cards to keep on hand all year

Christmas craft day= you can never start too early

Pioneer Day= learn about Florida Pioneers, and visit some local landmarks

Australia Day = (hopefully that will end with dinner at Outback)

Butterfly Day= learn about butterflies and plant a  butterfly garden

Art Day= visit the museum and come home to paint our own gallery

China Day= because we LOVE  Kai Lan

I’m going to attempt to hold her attention long enough to read outloud  get through a chapter book together… (that hasn’t happened yet.) My mom used to read Lois Lenski books to me when I was growing up, she used to give special voices to all the characters. She was really good at it; now I realize it’s because she was a PROFESSIONAL ACTRESS….(she “retired”  when she had kids)  they way she read made the characters seem  real.  I’m hoping I can channel a bit of that talent this year….

Of course there are free/cheap movies to see, free bowling, mini golf, playgrounds and other public adventures for summer- but,  unfortunately a lot of those places get bombarded with a stampede of summer camp kids and we usually end up annoyed and trampled after visiting those venues. That’s why I make these lists. It’s kind of a necessity, and a guide when it’s so hot that my brain won’t work- it’s nice to have a list to go down for the dreaded ” Mommy, I’m booooooorrrrrreeeeeed!”

Now: the mommy (aka food) portion of the list:

rock candy= maybe I can make this a science lesson?

solar cooking= may come in handy if there is a hurricane and the power is out a month

homemade cheese= because I love cheese

sea food themed day= sushi, and salt water taffy

homemade cones for ice cream = it’s summer, afterall

Key lime pie= since I have a tree…

BBQ/Picnic food day= mmm, deviled eggs, potato salad, baked beans, ribs, cole slaw, and cookie cake

 

Now: I most likely won’t get a 5th of this done (remember the epic fail last year?) But, it’s nice to have some go-to ideas when it’s Africa hot outside and the thought of planning something is exhausting. :) Happy Summertime, folks!!!

 

 

 

 

 

morbid tidiness and other annoyances

First off, I’m not sure if I spelled annoyances and tidiness right, and apparently I did because spell -check didn’t alert me.

Cool. I can go on without having to edit my title. Why does spell -check allow misspellings in titles? Maybe it’s just here. I don’t know.

I have  a head cold today, which for most people would spell disaster. But, we’re supposed to give thanks in all circumstances, so I am giving thanks that I have an excuse to be lazy and catch up on all of my summer magazine reading. Yes, summer. I am behind.. and it was borderline recycle bin for those guys, until this lovely cold came along.

I still have to get the chores done, though.

You know...chores: the lunches made, dinner figured out (thank goodness for crock pots) and the dog puke wiped up. That’s why “they” invented cold medicine, you know. Some man created it so that his wife can still get all of her noble goodness in before collapsing on the couch with a pile of magazines and a box of tissues. BUT: there is a reason cold medicines don’t last 24 hours. Because the wife of the cold medicine inventor spoke some sense into her man.

So: with my cold medicine waiting my chores of the day are: laundry, dishes (from breakfast) dog puke clean up, parrot poop clean up, a quick run to the market for : tissues, tomatoes, parrot food, and maybe some basil if the bunch in my fridge has gone bad. After that, I will probably have a whole 10 minutes on the couch with my magazines before I have to partake in the dismissal process.

Hmmmm…. maybe I will take some more cold medicine before bed so that I can stay up and read my magazines.

Clearly, I need to fit in time to be lazy on occasion.

Maybe right now is lazy and I don’t even know it?

Nah.

I can’t relax when there is stuff to do. I can’t leave the house when it’s a mess, either.. (In case I get killed when I’m gone.) I don’t want anyone to come home to a mess. Yep. I’m morbidly tidy sometimes.

Morbidly tidy.

I only clean in case I die. Hmmm. Not sure what to think of myself right now. Good thing is, I don’t have to. other people think plenty. Have at it. Good thing is, I don’t care. One of the great things about getting older is that you stop worrying about what others will think, because you realize it really holds no bearing on your life.  Insert a happy face.

Remember 6th grade? The “ohmygosh-what-is-everyone-going-to-do/say/think-when-they-see/hear/_______”  They should really have classes in school that teach kids how to cope with society the core concept with be “kids can be mean, people can be mean, don’t be mean.” of course, the text book will have a lot more ground to cover on that subject. It will cover just about any scenario you can think of and how to cope with it… think Leviticus.  Except I would probably omit an eye for an eye part. And the sacrificing. But, hey maybe just think of other ( less bloody) sacrifices. Like sacrificing your  dessert or something.

I think what we as a society forgot is that sacrifice is a good thing.

Giving up in order to make a situation good, or at least better.

In today’s world we always look at sacrifice as a defeat. It’s simply not. I sacrifice my magazine reading and lazy time to make a nice home & meals  for my family. I sacrifice taking up a selfish hobby in order that I may do something with  my loved ones.  I don’t go to a gym, because I don’t like to be away from my family. At what point did society declare that you need a break from your own family? ( I’m talking your immediate family-: in laws do not apply)  If that’s what we are teaching our children by ” taking breaks” from family… it’s no wonder they are growing up with no deep rooted love for home life. You might as well marry someone you’re not that fond of, if that’s the case.

It’s not just personal and home life that requires sacrifice. It’s everywhere. sacrifice the fact you got cut off in traffic, allow others to live. Sacrifice your spot in line at the grocery store for the little old lady buying 22 cans of cat food in the 10 items or less line.

Sacrifice the parking spot up front and purposely take one in the back.

A little exercise is good for you. Even if you do go to the gym/run/work out.

Sacrifice a few moments to say a kind word, or two.

Sacrifice  your opinions if they are negative, in the same token.

I’m not saying I am perfect and always park in the back, and never get annoyed at the people in the express lane. It’s a daily task I have to work at. Sacrifice is never easy. But, if you make a habit of sacrifice, it becomes easier. Never easy, just sometimes easier. There is a point when it is a joy to sacrifice.

Sometimes it’s instant. The old lady is grateful and you realize you were the highlight of her day.

Sometimes, it takes time….

So: my challenge to you: sacrifice something for someone this week, and then: tell me about it. You can do it here of on my Facebook page. Weather it’s something as small as giving a bigger tip at the coffee shop… or as large as giving up your Saturday to volunteer… no sacrifice goes unnoticed. And each one of us is significant in the big picture of humanity.

 

 

 

favorite things-July

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Summer is coming to a close… and our bucket list is nearly complete. Change is in the air, and the scent of new pencils and crayons will soon replace the aroma of coconut scented sunblock and fresh watermelon slices.

Soon the shelves will be lined with large bags of Halloween candy and rows of bright costumes, beckoning for little children to try on. And, I will get back into my Fall studies, complete with my own new supplies and my favorite pens.  Until then, I have the recent photos from July and the peak of Summertime bliss. Enjoy, folks!

 

2013-07-17 20.43.50There was pizza, ( and lots of it) at Boardwalk Pizza

untitled (43 of 51)There were moments of catching some rays…

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…and lots of parrot hugs

2013-07-16 16.15.16We did some fishing with these little guys… I couldn’t help but release several of them …

2013-07-17 08.57.38I ate a giant cinnamon bun. And life was good…

2013-07-17 08.57.28And, we found the “unofficial” best slice of Key Lime Pie in the Keys.

2013-07-17 13.56.52I almost got a great photo of dolphins…

2013-07-17 09.22.19And found a bird that was in need of a dryer.

2013-07-16 16.16.57And, I got to see my kid catch herself a snapper. *(we let him go, too)

I hope each and everyone is having a blessed end of summer… I personally am looking forward to the pumpkins and apples being in season….mmmmm!

summer bucket list epic fail

You know my big summer bucket list? You know, the one I made that had all the fun adventures me n my kid wanted to do? Well, my planning just ran into a few epic fails. Okay, maybe epic is a strong word, but hey, it got your attention, right?

Recent epic fails on the #summerbucketlist

Event #12:

This past school year, my daughter had a school trip to Ci Ci’s pizza, and wanted me to go there with her. (I think I had gone to one 20 years ago…) Since the price was right, we went. So did four bus loads of sweaty summer camp kids. We walked in to a small room packed with assorted kids in color coordinated shirts, smelling like oregano and a mixture of sweaty socks and cheese. Ewww.

Amazingly, there was one empty table.

So… we sat down and attempted to get our share of the kill  pizza.

What is it about kids without supervision and unlimited pizza that turns them into raging hyenas?  My daughter and I felt like little vultures, watching as crowds of kids piled 5, 6, 7 EIGHT slices on their plates. We watched, waited, and hoped that a camp counselor would approach one of them to remind them that it’s a BUFFET, and you can GO BACK for more.

Instead, we watched as each kid took away half a pizza each until the only pie left was a spinach and artichoke.

That’s when my inner mama bear came out.

I went up to the most managerial looking employee and stated me concern for the lack of proper food for my young. But, I was nice and they brought out a special pizza for us to chose from before the hyenas. ( My germaphobic self is cheering at this point)

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So, we ate our pizza and made it though the pack to even score second plates.

So, why is this event falling into epic fail status? Because, when we left so did the camps. So, mental note to myself: DON”T GO WHEN THEY FIRST OPEN.

More epic fails:

By the time my daughter wakes up and has breakfast, half the morning has gone by and it’s too Africa hot to do anything but swim or stay inside. All those outdoor plans on the list? Untouched.

By the time we get out of the house to go to a destination it’s either: lunch time or naptime. She’s perfectly content everyday to play at home with her toys and play with her bird, draw and swim at the neighbors pool.I offer movies, the zoo, the museum… you name it. Then she tells me she doesn’t like the crowds. My kid inherited my husbands dislike of crowds. Great. Back to the bucketlist.

So… now it’s “uncrowded event” planning, like visiting off season touristy spots, pet shops, nature centers, and flea markets. We also managed to make cookies and bring it to a fire station, which was a feat because each time we went there they were out on a call… it got to the point that my husband suggested we call 911 and say we had a fire so that we could deliver the cookies.

2013-07-09 13.38.00We didn’t end up calling…we finally found them at the station during a break and they gave us a personal tour. It was awesome…( I got to see the kitchen) And they were having massive steaks for supper later that night.

There was even a female firefighter on duty, so guess what my daughter wants to be now? Just like her.

That’s my girl :)

 

outings...

One of my favorite things to do is to go visit “touristy” places where I live.  It never fails to ignite my love for my native state, and it inspires me to get back to my roots and family heritage. One Summer day recently, my daughter and I decided to go visit The Girls Market and Bakery in Delray beach. Sometimes, the pictures speak far more than the written word… and too many times I’ve seen beautiful pictures obscured by poorly worded captions… so, today’s post will be of little words, but lots of visuals.

 

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and… that is life.

the worst parts of life

I think the worst part of life is death. It’s inevitable, and eventually you’ll have to lose something or someone you love. But, what makes it even worse it that it can happen at any moment.

Death visited our house for a second time this summer.

My new beloved baby parrot… the one I was so excited to hand feed, to watch grow up, and to hear it talk… is now another graveside in our yard.

I won’t go into the horrific details, and I’m still not 100% how it happened, except that one of the dogs is the killer, and it’s cage mustn’t have been secured properly…. but we came home to carnage on Sunday and my heart broke.

I know that there are other parrots out there, and I’m so thankful that it wasn’t a human life lost….and, once again I’m hugging everyone just a little bit tighter. If this keeps happening, I’m going to end up morphing into a boa constrictor.

“Oh no, the goldfish died. Watch out, mom’s going to be giving us the death hugs”

RIP, my little Brobee

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expanding the family

If you follow my instagram and page feeds; you’ll know that two new baby birds made their way into our home over the week. One is an Indian Ringneck and the other is a little baby Budgie. Now, I have to say; I was never a “fan” of the bin of birds that you see at pet shops, (they are Budgies- although sometimes they are refereed to as parakeets). I wasn’t a big fan until I learned how intelligent and remarkable these little birds they are. Apparently, they can speak just as well, if not better than most large parrots. Crazy, huh? I have a feeling one day I’m going to be an activist to bring awareness to the intellect of cheap pets like hamsters and parakeets. ;)

24 hours after I showed my hubby the video, he surprised me and my daughter  by  asking how much they were, (which is usually a good sign) then he asked where we could buy one.  Of course, they have them everywhere …. but, I’m a little “high maintenance” when it comes to pet birds. I’m not a fan flighty nervous birds in cages. I like the hand fed babies that want to be a part of the family.

For the record, it’s very hard to find hand fed $10 common birds.

But, Miami has everything.

ROAD TRIP!!!! (Actually, it was an hour drive)

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Well, sort of an hour drive. My iPhone’s directions were very inaccurate and they led us to a less than savory part of Miami.

Whoops.

When we finally found our “bird dealer” he was in a parking lot of a CVS. (The whole time, we are thinking we’re going to some guys house) but, there he was in the parking lot,  his car’s  hatch opened to plastic and cardboard containers of assorted baby birds. (I guess he thought I may be a baby bird addict and want more than one?) The first thing I looked at was their crops, which is a sac on their chest, to see if they had been eating. Fortunately, every bird he had was in excellent health. Full crops, alert and lively. My husband was asking me why I was looking at the birds we weren’t there to get, but I was making sure they were all being cared for, not just the species we were there to buy. Apparently, the “bird dealer” was a good bird daddy, and everyone seemed in excellent health. So, our journey was worth the destination.

2013-06-22 13.23.59And, we found “Paulie”, our newest baby. I’m hand-feeding him (along with Brobee) for the next few weeks… which is basically mixing up a sweet smelling formula and feeding the birds by using a hollow plastic syringe.

now Brobee’s story:

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One Thursday morning, my daughter and I decided to take an adventure to Brenda’s Birds, a large bird aviary that’s located in the middle of a quaint historic neighborhood. With it’s white painted fences and whimsical signs, it felt a little bit like I entered Key West.

2013-06-24 12.48.12There are birds everywhere, most of them were rescued or surrendered. It’s kind of like a “bird pound”, but without any euthanasia.

2013-06-24 12.49.17They had a massive cage with rescued Macaws, and this guy here was just happy as could be on his swing.

So, I had been researching my bird species, I have always wanted a cockatoo, or an African but, my husband gets a little intimidated by beaks. (We’re working on that ;) ) So we had it narrowed down to an Eclectus or an Indian Ringneck.  The one with the smallest beak won. (The ringneck)

Meet Brobee:( Named after the green Yo Gabba Gabba character)

2013-06-21 06.43.33Brobee is a baby Indian Ringneck parrot and when he grows up he’ll look like this:

 

Indian ring-necked parakeet

 

For now, though he’s just a baby and needs his “bottle”

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Aside from our new parrot nursery, we haven’t done too much. But that’s okay, because we’ve done plenty.  I think I’m a little crazy. Here I was thrilled that there was all this “free time” in the summer, so I go and find new things to consume it… but, it’s totally worth it.

I  also see how God turned something that was sad into something so wonderful. You see, the day I got Brobee was the same day that my husband’s ex wife delivered her second child. I knew that the situation of her having a second child was going to ignite my depression in me; perhaps some jealousy, maybe resentment. You see, she wasn’t there in the beginning  for the first child, and I stepped up to fill in the gap.(She’s a wonderful mother now, by the way) I would simply love to have another child, but it’s just not in the cards. Although I am thrilled at her new baby and resurrected life she has made for herself, I knew the fact of her having another child would illuminate the emptiness I sometimes feel over the situation. If I can’t have another baby to love and care for, a parrot is the next best thing in my book. (Especially with their life span) God knew that, and led me to our new babies.

I still would like another baby, but I also am quite content with the life and animals we have. My husband and I both have a deep compassion for our ever growing menagire and couldn’t imagine life with out animals in it.

Sometimes, situations make you aware of who you are, where you’ve been and where you want to be. My bird dying, and being blessed with new life to nurture has given me a greater understanding of the uncomfortable changes that happen in life, and it’s strengthened my faith in knowing that He never forsakes us.

There is always a rainbow after the rain. You just have to step out and look for it.

as summer goes on

Despite the somber occasion that began this week, we are moving ahead in our summertime existence. We had a wonderful weekend prior to Monday, and we are all anticipating the addition of a new family member later this summer or fall. No, not a baby (never say never) at least not a baby human… but another baby parrot. I’m sure there’s an egg out there somewhere with our name on it.

Some visual highlights from last week, there was some treasure hunting- we scored some “new” ponies that all have their hair! Her current pony supply was handed down from big sis, who had given them all Mohawks when her biological mother decided she wanted a Mohawk. It’s nice to have a collection that’s not as mutilated, lol.

I scored myself some new heels for church. ‘Cause I’m short and I can’t see if someone taller than 5′ stands in front of me. Oh yes, and a bamboo steamer… I’ve been wanting one of those for years, nice to find one for under $3. We laid everything out to snap a pic, then the ponies and shoes got doused with Lysol and the steamer was washed, (although it appeared brand new)

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I made some tasty vittles recently:

To celebrate Father’s Day, my husband surprised me on Saturday by saving up his lawn mowing money (true story) and taking us all out to eat. He even surprised me with a fruity flowery drink that my daughter insisted on photographing.

2013-06-15 19.34.58Cheers to that. (I’m pretty sure that the grandpa in the background wanted a sip)

2013-06-15 12.30.50The neighborhood kids had a lemonade stand, and the little girl was in love with the spout. She press it, then say “Ticky?” (aka sticky in toddler talk) And, the lemonade was soooo good, I gotta get the “secret” recipe. ;)

2013-06-14 12.10.01We had a picnic at the pool, and ate the best c antelope ever. I’m pretty sure it was grown by angels.

2013-06-16 15.06.01And, finally on Fathers Day we went to the beach after church. My stepdaughter had been with her grandmother out of town for the past week, awaiting the birth of her biological mothers second child. So, that’s why it’s been just the three of us. In case you were wondering, someone always seems to be looking for what’s missing, you know. ;)

For instance; what’s missing in the picture above?

An umbrella. NEVER go to the beach in 94 heat without one. (The red thing is a chair)

Friendly service announcement from yours truly.

Today we’re (hopefully) going on a bike adventure, although my daughter just informed me that we need to go look at baby birds. hmmmm.