Friday, July 31, 2015

Week # 8: My List of Fabulous Finds

It is Friday, so that means I get to share with you some of my "Fabulous Finds" from the past week.

I really love writing this post, because it gives me an opportunity to read and think about all of these things again myself!

I don't have a link to share for this - but one of the more fabulous things I came across last week was at our local Saturday Farmer's market. We purchased some really beautiful golden beets and lovely eggplant. In an upcoming blog post, I will share my delicious recipe I used to cook these vegetables. Yum!

One of the really nice things about golden beets is that when you peel them they don't stain your hands the same way that red ones do!




Just a reminder of the reason for this series:
 There is a lot of really helpful, captivating, and entertaining information available on the Internet. It can take a lot of time however, to sift through and find the articles that interest you. 
If you read this blog, I suspect we have similar passions. If I find something to be fascinating or useful, I think you might as well.  
In this series, I share the links to some of the “fabulous finds" I have discovered on the Internet throughout the week. I hope you enjoy and benefit from these links!

Here are links to some of what I came across this week:

This Week's Fabulous Finds:


~ ~ Plastic roads!
This idea for using recycled plastics sounds pretty smart to me, and I love the conversation in the comments that this article has generated. All the pros and cons mentioned will need to be explored - my question would be what kind of traction will these roads offer in snow and ice?
~ ~ This sounds like an exam for a cook. Would you pass?
I am including this link for my own well-being as much as yours!  With it here, I will be able to find it right away whenever I am cooking any of these foods! 

Some of the techniques suggested here are new to me - and they sound like they could be just the trick to take these staple menu items from good to great!
~~*~~ 

~ ~ Do you know the difference?
I think I usually use these abbreviations correctly, but it was helpful to review this rule. This article explains this bit of tricky grammar perfectly!
~~*~~


~ ~ How to be prepared.
A few weeks ago I published a link to an article about the possibility of a large earthquake on the west coast of the United States. Rather than just share cause for alarm, today I'm providing a link to the information the CDC provides regarding earthquake preparedness. 
~ ~ It can wait
Have you heard of the #ItCanWait AT&T campaign? Their commercials warning of the danger of being distracted by an electronic device are a pretty powerful reminder that "it should wait."




~~*~~

Wishing you a safe and wonderful week. 


Do you cook much with eggplant or beets? 
What is your favorite way to prepare them?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Coffee Date and Cathedral Windows

This is Part 7 of my fiction story about Mindy, an adorable compulsive shopper and hoarder of cleaning products.

To catch up with the story so far:
Like the first six parts, I wrote this segment of Mindy's story using the word prompts from the Words for Wednesday challenge, being published by River this month on her blog, Drifting Through Life

When you are ready, here is Part 7 ...

~~*~~

A Coffee Date and Cathedral Windows

Cathedra, Santiago de Compostela, Windows

Mindy glanced at her watch, and realized that she and Ryan had been deep in conversation for almost two hours. She now understood that when she first met Ryan and he had appeared so surly

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's Never “Mostly Flat with a Bit of Downhill” in Montana!

"It should be mostly flat, with quite a bit of downhill." This is how my husband described a hike he wanted me to do with him. It may not have been intentional, but he lied.



There was a time when I was up for any hike my family wanted to do. But over time, my husband and kids have become more adventurous, and I have become more cautious! Recently, I've left the taller peaks to them.

My family, on our way up to the top of Casey Peak (elev. 8512'),  June 2013
Despite our late-morning start and the fact that it would be a ten-plus mile hike, it sounded doable. I agreed to go.  I should have known better though. Where in Montana can you go down - but not up?

We got to the trail head (25 minutes from our house) about 11 am, and parked the car. The beginning

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Diamonds AND a Girl's Best Friend

Saturday Spotlight Series #30
Today, the Saturday Spotlight Series is shining upon a website that has impressed me, and I think you might enjoy learning about.

When I was asked to write a sponsored post for Anjolee (an online jewelry store with an impressive collection of customizable wedding and anniversary rings, earrings, Diamond Bracelets, and necklaces) I nearly declined. After all, this is not really a fashion blog! 

After viewing their web page however, I decided knowing about Anjolee might actually be another way for some of my readers to make the most of their moments. Remembering the circumstances of how I got my engagement ring is what made me realize this ...

When I was about ten, I was pretty convinced I would never want a diamond. I thought they were boring because at that point I liked everything to be really colorful! I also thought the phrase "Diamonds are a girl's best friend" was silly - my dog was a better friend than any gem could ever be.


childhood pet, dog

Time went by. I grew up and sadly, my beloved dog died. I still didn't (and don't) subscribe to the philosophy that a woman needs a man who can give her diamonds. But as a teenager, I heard another

Friday, July 24, 2015

Week # 7: My List of Fabulous Finds

Now that my blog is well over a year old, I find it fun sometimes to look back at articles I published in the past. 


blog, one year old, blogiversary

When I looked at my post from 7/24/14, I realized that even though I didn't call it a "List of Fabulous Finds" post at the time, that is exactly what it was.  

Many of my current readers may not have seen that post from a year ago, or (like me!) you may have forgotten about it if you had.

The information I shared in that post from other websites was really helpful - and still pertinent.  So today, I'm reminding you of it all again - and providing
one additional “fabulous find” from this week.

(If you want to see the original post and photos, just click here: Five Tips on Blogging and Life - from Other Websites.)

Here are the links, with a few of my current thoughts for each:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Capturing Fruit Flies, & Wine Glasses for Two

This is Part 6 of my fiction story about Mindy, a compulsive shopper and hoarder of cleaning products.

To catch up with the story so far:
Like the first five parts, I wrote this segment of Mindy's story using the word prompts from the Words for Wednesday challenge, being published by River this month on her blog, Drifting Through Life.

When you are ready, here is Part 6 ...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Capturing Fruit Flies, and Wine Glasses for Two


Mindy had just finished applying the antiseptic to her still-healing thumb, when she heard the doorbell. Assuming it was being rung by the repairman she had called to fix her garbage disposal, her feelings were mixed. Although happy that he was on time because the disposal was already beginning to smell, she was reluctant to see him - especially if he was wearing that hideous tank top again.

Through the glass window insets of the front door, Mindy saw a man she did not recognize, leaning against the column on the front porch. She opened it and said, "May I help you?" 


window, door, stranger, fiction


Suddenly, she realized it was the repairman. But - what a transformation! 

Gone was the backwards ball cap, scruffy beard, pot belly, and ill-fitting clothes. On her porch stood an

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How to Pit and Freeze Cherries - a Picture Tutorial.

It is cherry season in Montana - and there is nothing quite like sweet, nearly just-picked Flathead cherries.  We purchased a big batch last week, and I froze quite a few of them. 


Cherries

Pitting cherries without a cherry pitter is messy, but not hard. It just takes a little practice to figure out and master the best technique.  

Years ago, while on vacation in Wisconsin with friends, our families went cherry picking. After the kids went to bed, the adults poured some wine and pitted our buckets of cherries. That evening, my friend taught us an easy secret to pitting cherries - use a straw! 


In case you might not have a knowledgeable friend with you the first time you find yourself

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday Spotlight: Adolescent Visitors

Today I am “shining my Saturday spotlight” on a particular type of guest: the adolescent visitor.

While driving up to our house yesterday, I noticed that we had a visitor. It appeared to be an adolescent male. He was lying in the shade of our home, and he seemed to have made himself very comfortable on our lawn.  


deer, teenage, adolescent, visitor

Visitors like this one come by quite frequently - alone, in pairs, or sometimes as a whole family unit. They sometimes eat things they shouldn't, but I rarely ask them to leave. I chatted from the car with this one for a while, and he seemed to be listening. Unfortunately, I doubt he understood the part about leaving the bushes and flowers alone.


Deer visitors can sometimes be a little pesky.  The human teenagers who visit us, however, have always been good guests. 


My husband and I have always wanted our kid's friends to feel welcome in our home. We enjoy their visits, as they usually chat with us a while. It is a nice way to get to know them all 

a little better.


Saturday Spotlight #28
If you want your teenager (or young adult) and his/her friends to spend their time together at your house, it needs to be a fun place for them to be. An area where they can watch movies, a ping pong table, and a basketball hoop are a few good perks. If kids are musical (like my son and many of his friends), having a piano and a place where they can play music together can been a good thing as well. 

Teenagers can empty a fridge and pantry just as quickly as a deer can strip the leaves off all the bushes around my house. While I do begrudge the deer my garden produce, my kids and their friends are welcome to “graze” as much as they want.  

If teenagers will be dropping in, be sure you have plenty of food on hand. Otherwise, they may not stay very long!

What are your ideas of how to make a home a fun (safe) place for teenagers?

In the spirit of full disclosure, this post contains an affiliate link. If you make a purchase after clicking on it, the price you pay will not be affected but I may receive some small compensation. All opinions expressed, however, are entirely honest and my own.

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Week # 6: My List of Fabulous Finds

Weather-wise in Montana, this has felt like sort of a topsy-turvy summer.  June is typically cool and rainy, but this year it was more like August; very hot and very dry.  Now it is July - but the past few days have felt more like June! People have been asking each other, "How 'Bout This Weather?" 

Yesterday, in the tradition of “Throw-Back-Thursday” I decided to post a link to the post I published on this blog exactly one year ago.  What was I talking about then? The weather, of course!



Despite the ups-and-downs of the weather, the summer is moving right along.  Already another week has gone by, and it is time again for my List of Fabulous Finds!


Just a reminder of the reason for this series:

There is a lot of really helpful, captivating, and entertaining information available on the Internet. It can take a lot of time however, to sift through and find the articles that interest you. In this series, I share the links to some of the “fabulous finds" I have discovered on the Internet throughout the week.

If you read this blog, I suspect we have similar passions. If I find something to be fascinating or useful,

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Banana Relapse Will Require a Repair

This is Part 5 of my fiction story about Mindy, a compulsive shopper and hoarder of cleaning products.

To catch up with the story so far:
Like the first four parts, I wrote this segment of Mindy's story using the words from the Words for Wednesday challenge, that are being published by River this month on her blog, Drifting Through Life.

When you are ready, here is Part 4 ...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



banana, recipe, fiction, jam


A Banana Relapse Will Require a Repair

Mindy groaned. “Why is it that everything about my life had to be so hard? How was I to know,” she

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Watermelon - Not Just for Spitting Contests Anymore!

While watermelon seed-spitting contests were fun as a child, I must admit I really love the small seedless watermelons that are available today.  They fit so much better in the fridge than the seeded variety, and are easy to cut up and use in lots of ways.


watermelon
Eating watermelon during a visit to my Grandparents farm always seemed fun!

A Variety of Watermelon Recipes


The only way I remember eating watermelon during my childhood was right off the rind or cut up and served in a traditional fruit salad.  Lately, however, it seems there are an

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Literate Spider and Generations of Bookworms

Saturday Spotlight Series #27
Many a child has become a “bookworm” due to the influence of a literate spider, a talking mouse, and a trumpeter swan named Louis. 

Heroes such as these have often sparked a lifelong love of books and reading. The power of children's literature should never be underestimated.

Today my “Saturday Spotlight” shines upon a well-known author, the importance of teaching a child to learn to love to read, and a book subscription company especially for little kids!


Happy Birthday, E.B. White


The well-known children's author E. B. White (1899 - 1985) was born 116 years ago today. His writing for adults is quite well known; he was an essayist for the New Yorker and revised The Elements of Style, by William S Strunk. He is perhaps most famous, however, for these three children's books:


E.B. White, Children's books, reading
(By the way, July 15th is “Prime Day” at Amazon.com, when lots of sales are offered. It might be a good time to sign up for Amazon Prime and order one of these classics. Just click on the title of the book you want, to see the current prices.)

The anniversary of White's birthday seems the perfect time to comment on the wonderful gift of children's literature he bestowed on all of us, the legacy he created with his writing, and the importance of encouraging kids to love to read.


Generations of enjoyment

Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little delighted me as a child. Many years later, reading these books to my own two children was a parental task I thoroughly enjoyed. The Trumpet of the Swan became a favorite of all three of ours as well! 

As an adult, I gained a whole new appreciation for these books as I relived the magic of the

Friday, July 10, 2015

Week # 5: My List of Fabulous Finds

It's hard to believe it's been 5 weeks since I started this series.    


It is already July 10th, and summer is sliding right on by! 


Widespread hot and dry weather conditions have led to earlier-than-normal forest fires and smoke-filled skies in many places, including Montana. 


It is worrisome to think how the summer will progress, unless an unusual amount of rain begins to fall. 


We all need to use extra caution with regards to wildfire prevention.


forest fire
This area in Montana had begun the slow process of recovering from a forest fire, when this photo was taken a decade ago.

Just a reminder of the reason for this series:

There is a LOT of really helpful, captivating, and entertaining information available on the Internet!  It can take a lot of time however, to sift through and find the articles that interest you. In this series, I share the links to some of the “fabulous finds" I have discovered on the Internet throughout the week. 

If you read this blog, I suspect we have similar passions. If I find something to be fascinating or useful, I think you might as well. I hope you enjoy and benefit from these links!

Here is some of what I came across this week:



This Week's Fabulous Finds:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Stitches and an Uncomfortable Surprise


The prompts for the Words for Wednesday writing challenge have long been provided by Delores at Under the Porch Light. She recently relinquished this task, however, and the words are being supplied this month by River at Drifting Through Life

This is Part 4 of my story about Mindy, a compulsive shopper and hoarder of cleaning products.

 Like the first three parts, I wrote this segment of Mindy's story using the words from the Words for Wednesday challenge that was published last week. Be sure to visit River's blog today, to see the new words she has posted there this week.


To catch up with the story so far:
When you are ready, here is Part 4 ...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Stitches and an Uncomfortable Surprise

Stitches, sutures, ER Visit, Accident

Mindy’s battered old car skidded to a halt in her driveway. She jumped out and rushed back into her house.  

Assessing her living room as objectively as she could, Mindy felt pleased. She decided that taking a carload of stuff to her office really had widened a clear path of carpet from the front door to the kitchen. Her office was so full now, however,  there would be no way it

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Quote Can Come in Handy

I was challenged by Leanne, the blogger at Cresting the Hill ~ of Midlife, to post three of my favorite quotes. 

The directions for this blogging challenge are as follows:


  • Post three of your favorite quotes (a different quote on three consecutive days or do it all in one post). The quote can be from your favorite book, author or your own. 
  • Nominate 3 bloggers to challenge them
  • Thank the blogger, who nominated you.

I was thinking that this would be a fun and fairly easy post to write, so I laughed a little when I came across this quote on goodreads.com, by A. A. Milne



quotes

Quoting the thoughts of someone else can be perhaps a little lazy, but sometimes there are just no better words to say. When an emotion is well-voiced; an action well-explained; or an event is well-described, the words become an experience to which we all can relate. 


Well-spoken words get passed from person-to-person between quotation marks; some quotes even have endured throughout long passages of time. A little research about the quotes I selected for this posts showed, quite to my surprise, that all three have been

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Saturday Spotlight: Last Minute Tips for a July 4th Meal

Saturday Spotlight #26

Have you planned to add any festive touches to your 4th of July meal today? 


It's not too late!

Are you planning to grill burgers, but would like to add a little bit of a festive touch to your meal? Do you wish the meal you are serving could have more of a 4th of July theme? 

It's still possible - and there's no need to spend a lot of time at the store or in the kitchen!


Go to the parade, take a hike, float on the river all day, or just spend time visiting with family! Then impress your family and friends with these easy tips for adding an American Independence Day theme to a quickly prepared meal!




July 4th, recipe


A hamburger and a salad might be enough to satisfy.

Perhaps nothing is more American than a burger right off the grill. 

Your menu could just include a burger and a salad, but if you want to add some other side dishes  here are some good options:

  • potato chips and dip
  • a pickle
  • baked beans, potato salad, and/or coleslaw 

Ending the meal with watermelon, ice cream, and/or brownies would make practically everyone happy! Of course, if you feel like making a dessert, my Hershey Chocolate Marshmallow Pie recipe is always gobbled up!


Here's my tips for making a salad and a burger with a 4th of July theme:

Friday, July 3, 2015

Week # 4: My List of Fabulous Finds

It's already time for another  “My List of Fabulous Finds” posts. Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like Friday came pretty quickly this week?


Just a reminder of the reason for this series:

There is a LOT of really helpful, captivating, and entertaining information available on the Internet!  It can take a lot of time however, to sift through and find the articles that interest you. In this series, I share the links to some of the “fabulous finds" I have discovered on the Internet throughout the week. 


If you read this blog, I suspect we have similar passions. If I find something to be fascinating or useful, I think you might as well. I hope you enjoy and benefit from these links!

Here is some of what I came across this week:




This Week's Fabulous Finds:


~ ~ Helpful information for bloggers about Understanding SEO 

It is important to most bloggers that people find and read their blogs. Search Engine Optimization is a crucial factor in how well viewed a post becomes - but many of us find it pretty confusing. This post by Kelly, which I found on the SITS Girls website, offers some really helpful information. I really hope I can start applying it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


~ ~ A Reminder to Be Kind

Life Vest Inside is a non-profit organization “geared towards spreading kindness, empowering people and building self worth." I signed up with them to be a "kindness ambassador" quite some time ago, and I enjoy seeing their inspiring Facebook posts and quotes in my feed.  Here is one I really like:


You never know what struggles someone may be facing- try to have a positive attitude towards all those you encounter.
Posted by Life Vest Inside on Friday, June 26, 2015



“Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.” (Plato)

I always try to think this way.  In fact, this quote seemed quite familiar. I was curious if this comment by Plato was what I was remembering from a book that I had read. When I checked, I realized these sentences of Plato's are not word-for-word, but very similar to the passage I was thinking of from The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, A Novel. (That paragraph is quoted in my blog post, The Complexity, Joy and Pain of Human Interaction. ) 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


~ ~ Tweeting on Twitter

It is no secret that I have found Twitter to be confusing. Despite myself, I somehow fortunately keep gaining followers, and I really need to figure out how be a better tweeter! That is why I was really excited to find this article. It provides a wealth of information  - useful not just for bloggers, but anyone with a Twitter account ... or anyone who has wanted one, but hasn't been able to figure it all out!

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~ ~ A Scientific Explanation of the Star of Bethlehem? 


Venus, Jupiter, Moon,
Two planets appear as one, just to the left and slightly below the moon in the sky.
On Tuesday, June 30th, I witnessed a notable event in the evening sky. In fact, I even took a

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Oh Canada! Snowshoes and the Canadian Flag


What a relief! 

According to this list, 10 decor items that say you're Canadian, my Canadian citizenship has been verified!! We don't quite have all 10 of these decor items (after all, my husband is 100 % American) but we do own quite a few! 

We are owners of the following items on the list: 


#2 (some rustic wooden furniture) and #10 (a balsam scented candle)



rustic, candles, rustic furniture


#3. Not one, but two sets of snowshoes in our guest room...