Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Life Changing Magic: Well hello, little black dress!

In one of her Just Typikel blog posts, my friend Kelly recommended the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Condo.  I trust Kelly's opinion and her enthusiasm about the book was contagious, so I purchased a copy for myself.

It was worth every penny - and the space it takes up in our bookshelf!

sock drawer, tidy, organizning

The Japanese Art of Decluttering

The premise of the book is that once you employ the correct techniques to tidy your home, it will stay that way.  Marie Kondo promises that if you use her step-by-step “KonMari method” of decluttering by

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Perfect Match

Yesterday, on National Tell a Story Day, I wrote a sequel to a fiction story I published about a month ago. Part I of the story was created using a Words for Wednesday challenge, so I decided to use word prompts to create this part as well.  

The main character of my story is Mindy, a compulsive shopper and hoarder of cleaning products. You can read Part I, “Cleaning Products Don't Work Unless You Use Them” by clicking here.

When we left off, Mindy had given up trying to adhere to her self-imposed shopping restrictions regarding the purchase of cleaning items. She had even come up with a scheme to justify her actions. Today, we catch up with her five months after she had that epiphany.

“Do NOT put that there.” Mindy stopped the delivery man as he started to set down the box he had just carried in to her new office.  “How do you think I will be able to close the door?”

“But - where should I put it? There just doesn't seem anywhere else for it to go.”  The young man looked bewildered and a little stunned, as he looked around the room that was stacked from floor to

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday Spotlight #16: The Weekend

Saturday Spotlight logo
Today, my Saturday spotlight is shining on 
this weekend.

For the first time in over a year of writing this blog,
yesterday I experienced a bad bout of writer's block!

I spent a couple of hours trying to come up with a
decent idea for this post, and none seemed just right
for today. Lack of sleep and poor planning definitely played a role, so I decided to just provide you with some happy weekend wishes today.

A picture is worth a thousand words anyway, right?

I hope that your weekend is wonderful ...

... whether you are working or playing,

cat, computer

... participating or spectating.


... traveling or staying home, 

airlines, schedule change

... rain or shine!

rain, windshield

Whatever your plans, Happy Weekend!

Are you doing what you want to be doing this weekend?
If not, why not?

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

Friday, April 24, 2015

Arbor Day - the History, a Project and a Quiz.

Happy Arbor Day!

The Latin word for tree

Did you ever wonder how Arbor Day got it's name? It is simple, really - Arbor means tree in Latin, and Arbor Day is all about celebrating trees. 


History of Arbor Day

The first formal Arbor Day holiday was observed in 1872. The Nebraska State Board of

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I Always Wondered What I Would Do

The Genovese Syndrome - or "Bystander Effect." 

I vividly remember hearing a story told by my sociology professor in college about the assault of a young woman (Kitty Genovese). The event was witnessed by a large number of people in New York City, yet not one of them made a move to intervene or call the police.  I was appalled.

Secretly, though, I also worried. In a similar situation would I be like those people, or would I have the guts and morality to do what was right?''

cell phone, 911, reported an attack

Put to the test.

A few months ago, I was put to the test. My husband and I had flown many miles from home

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Nurturing Nature of Bloggers

Over 1000 bloggers and videographers come together on the 20th of every month to raise their voices for compassion. The #1000 Speak for Compassion topic this month is “Nurturing.” 

I don't usually publish on Monday, so my post is a day late. Other amazing essays on this topic can be read by searching the hashtag #1000Speak.

 The word nurture is defined by the Merriam Webster on-line dictionary as “the care and attention given to someone or something that is growing or developing; to help someone (or something) to grow, develop or succeed.”

Nurturing occurs between parents and children, caregivers and patients, humans and animals, young and old, friends, and co-workers. Nurturing can be a factor in nearly any relationship, and the examples I could have drawn from to write this article are endless. Instead, however, I would like to

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday Spotlight #15: Wise Words

I'd like to share one more picture taken during our drive home from Denver to Montana

This quote, inscribed on a granite panel of the Indian Memorial at the Battle of the Little Big Horn Monument, made a big impression on me.

Little Bit Horn, Indian Monument
Photo taken at the Indian Memorial, Battle of the Big Horn Monument
Easier said than done, but I hope that humanity will try.

Have a happy and peaceful weekend.

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

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Glimpse of the Empty Nest - Part Two

The transition from parenting to becoming empty nesters can be a little daunting. We recently experienced a “trial run.” To read “A Glimpse of the Empty Nest - Part One,” click here. Today I am publishing “Part Two” …

Stopping overnight in Sheridan, WY. on our way home from Denver to Montana had been an excellent idea. After the outstanding meal we enjoyed at Frackelton’s, we still weren’t very hungry the next morning, but wanted some good coffee. We found a fun little coffee shop on Main Street and lingered there a while, deciding there was still no real reason to rush home.

Custer's Last Stand

It was a beautiful day for a drive. We’ve driven by the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument any number of times without stopping, but this time decided it was a good day for us to be tourists. 

A week ago I asked if anyone could identify the location of these photos.

Remember the Travel Question I Asked Last Week?

I apologize, but today's post (My Glimpse at the Empty Nest, Part Two) will be published a little later than normal.

On April 10th, I posted a photo-collage and asked if anyone knew where the photos had been taken. Here's another look: 

Did you make a guess? 

The answer will be revealed in the post I publish later today!

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Reassuring Glimpse of the Empty Nest

It is amazing how much brighter my future seemed after enjoying a delicious meal in a fun restaurant!

Regular readers of this blog know that my husband, son, and I were in Colorado for spring break a few weeks ago. We spent four days looking at college campuses and sightseeing. On Thursday morning we dropped my son off at the Denver International Airport, so he could go visit his sister on her college campus in Washington.

Denver International Airport

The weather in Colorado had been warm and sunny all week, but winter conditions and snow returned that morning.

snow, spring storm

After saying goodbye to my son, my husband and I were suddenly “empty-nesters.” The rest of the weekend would provide a trial-run of how our lives will be in just a little over a year! As we began the twelve-hour drive home to Montana, the car felt empty with no one in the back seat. As miles ticked by, I think my husband and I both began to make a conscious effort to ensure that our weekend alone went well.  We were seeking the reassurance that we would be okay with this transition next year!

Sheridan, Wyoming was about the half-way point of our trip.  A good place to take a break and get some dinner.  We reasoned that we could stop for a few hours, and still easily be home before midnight.

My husband's watch battery had died, so before going to dinner we stopped in Riddle’s Jewelry store on Main Street to get it replaced.  While we waited, we admired their beautiful merchandise and asked for dinner recommendations. From the several restaurants that were suggested, the one that sounded really good to us was Frackelton’s Fine Food and Spirits. It was located right next door.

Frackelton's, Main street, Sheridan, WY

We settled in at a cosy table by the window, with a view of the quaint main street of Sheridan. Our friendly waitress practically bubbled with enthusiasm about the menu and the beverages, and gave us excellent suggestions for both.  The restaurant was fairly empty when it arrived, but it soon began to fill up.  

We had just placed our order for appetizers and salad, when I blurted out to my husband,

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Still Soccer Weather, But Now I'm Watching Track

A year ago, I wrote a post about spring soccer weather. In it, I provided a link to an article I wrote about things a spectator should take to a soccer game

Fifty-two weekends after publishing that post, I found myself at a track meet instead of on a soccer field. The sport was different, but the weather was much the same - variable with part of the day quite grey and wet.

track meet, weather, first track meet, High school track meets
The rain held off for most of the day of the track meet.
This is the first spring in many years that my son has not played soccer. He still loves the game, but decided to take a break to try some different things.  It is his first year as a member of the high school track team, and my first year as a high-school-track parent. 

I have no advice to give - just a lot to learn.

It's your turn: 
What information can you give a first-time high school track parent?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday Spotlight 14: An Aurora - and I Missed It!

Today my "Saturday Spotlight" is shining on a rare phenomenon that occurred this week in the night sky of Montana.

About 1:30 am on Friday, April 10th, photographer James Ridle captured an amazing photograph of a colorful aurora over the Sleeping Giant mountain north of Helena, Montana.

You can view the photo and read about the solar storm that caused this beautiful light by clicking here.

The very same "Sleeping Giant" mountain that is in Mr. Ridle's photo is visible from our living room window. Had I been awake, I would have seen this incredible light show in the night sky.
Mountain, Sleeping Giant, Helena,
A daytime view of the sleeping giant mountain from our house.
I wish so very much that I had seen and captured my own photograph of the aurora. There are many evenings when I am still up that late, writing. Unfortunately, however, Thursday evening was one night when I went to bed quite early.

Today I will be watching my son as he runs in a high school track meet. Later this evening, I will have an opportunity to take photos of him and a bunch of his friends before they set out for prom. While the results of a solar storm would be fun to see, these are the events I am truly grateful not to miss.

Whatever your weekend holds - I hope you don't miss out on a thing, and have the opportunity to make the most of all of it!

Just in case the aurora is visible again this weekend, I will be sleeping with my camera on my bedside table! If it happens again, I hope I wake up to see it! 

Have you ever seen an Aurora or the Northern Lights?

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

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Vacation Hold for Newspapers - and Social Media?

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed that I typically wait to write about my travels until after I am home. There are a few reasons for this.  
  • First, I don't blog and travel well. I am just too busy exploring, having fun, and socializing with travel companions to spend the quality time necessary to write a post.  
Paul McCartney, Concert, Missoula MT
Seeing Paul McCartney in concert in Missoula MT was fun for our whole family last year.
  • Secondly, and more importantly, I have a bit of Internet paranoia.  It just seems like an unnecessary risk to announce to the whole world that I am gone from home. Not that I don't trust my readers - but common sense tells me that I don't know for sure who all is able to see what I post - or how much they may know about me.  Why would I take the risk of telling a potential thief that my house is standing empty?
How about you? Do you announce your trip on Facebook? (Or on your blog or other social media?) Sometimes we are so excited by a trip we have planned, it is hard not to tell everyone we know about it.  Or, even if we don't spread the news before you go, there is a significant chance our children might post family plans on Facebook.  This information, however, may not always be the smartest thing to share.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My Computer Wouldn't Whine In the Apple Store!

Last week during Spring Break, my husband and son and I drove twelve hours from Montana to Colorado. The main purpose of our trip was to look at several colleges; my son is a high school junior and is possibly interested in attending a school there when he graduates. Another goal of mine was to find an Apple store to have my laptop serviced.

Spring break in Colorado, Welcome center, Fort Collins

The weather was absolutely gorgeous; sunny and warm enough for shorts and skirts! We had a lot of fun spending time together exploring the campuses and cities that we visited.

Denver Skyscrapers, evening view, Downtown Denver

My laptop had been making funny noises for a while before we left, but there is not an Apple store where I live in Montana. I decided to take advantage of being near the one in Boulder,

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Time to Play: “I Mustache You Some Questions”

A game of tag is being played by bloggers, and this is my day to play. Once tagged, the blogger is provided with a list of questions about themselves. 

I was tagged my my friend Lana, who writes the blog Two Teens and Their Mama.  She has been blogging for exactly a year. We discovered each other's blogs when both were in their infancy and have become good friends. Last summer I wrote a post about meeting each other in person.

The name of this game is "I Mustache You Some Questions."  Here goes - I will do my best to answer all the questions, and then I will tag four other bloggers!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Saturday Spotlight #13: A Miraculous Ability

Easter weekend seems a good time to remember that miracles do happen - every day. Especially when we make them happen - with determination, courage, effort, and stamina.  An example of this is the work of artist Paul Smith (1921-2007).

The intricacy and detail of Paul's work is mind-boggling. I was first introduced to Paul's art in a Facebook post, originally shared by The Idealist Revolution. The photo appeared to be of a black and white drawing of a lion and a cub. The Facebook caption read: 
“My jaw dropped to the floor when I realized what this image really was. Wow.”  
Not seeing anything out of the ordinary, curiosity go the best of me, and I clicked on it.

Here's the photo:

Friday, April 3, 2015

Recipe for Easy Mango-Peach Blackberry Pie

Last year I suggested making my Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie for Easter, and gave a tip for a pie crust short-cut. This year, I experimented with something different.

Earlier this week I mentioned impulsively buying a crate of mangos at Costco. When I got them home, I realized they were so ripe that it would be a challenge for us to eat them all before they spoiled. After using some of the mangos in smoothies and salads, I decided to make a pie with the rest.

pie recipe, mango, peach, blackberry

I think fruit pies are fun, because it is easy to come up with creative combinations of fruit to put in them.  I was a little uncertain as to what the texture and taste of just a mango pie would be like, so I decided to add

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Healthy Homemade Kale Chips

Happy (Healthy) April Fool's Day!

Today is April 1st.  The recipe I am publishing might be just the perfect way to “fool” someone into eating an extra serving of vegetables!  

I wrote yesterday about my escapades while making a green smoothie after purchasing a huge bag of kale. The same day I bought my fresh kale, I was also nearly tempted to buy a new snack: a big bag of dried kale chips.  I refrained, as I wasn't even sure my family would eat them, and it seemed like it would be easy to make my own. 

A little while ago I “pinned” a Kale Chips recipe from Angela Liddon's blog Oh She Glows on my “Cook!” Pinterest board.  With most of a huge bag of fresh kale still in my fridge, it was the perfect time to make some kale chips, and see if we even like them!

kale, recipe, snack, baking

Angela's recipe was easy to follow, and the kale chips turned out well following her advice.   I made two batches  - one just with salt, and the other using her spice recipe.  We liked