Tuesday, July 31, 2018

30 Days of Summer - Post #17 - Summer Poems

When I was young my mother would often read to me from my favorite set of books, The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls. She bought the set new shortly after I was born and many happy hours were spent there in childhood and beyond. In fact, I still enjoy visiting old friends that live within the pages of those books!

Photo Credit
I don't have the exact set of books now that my mother bought when I was a baby, but I do have an identical set. My cousin, who often shared the adventures found within the pages of those books with me, found an identical set of them at a yard sale many years ago and bought them for me. My children were raised on them and, now, the books are available to my grandchildren who also enjoy partaking of the adventures...Mother Goose, children's classics, things to make and do, historical figures, fairy tales, poetry, and more are there for the taking. 

One of my mother's favorite poets was Robert Louis Stephenson. She would often find his poems in the set of books and read them to me as a child. In thinking about summer, this one came to mind...

Robert Louis Stephenson
by Robert Louis Stephenson

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way, 
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play, 
To have to go to bed by day?

Now, while I do enjoy the works of Robert Louis Stephenson immensely, and other poets as well, I think I'd have to name Edgar Allen Poe as my personal favorite. In keeping with the summer theme, this poem comes to mind...

Edgar Allen Poe

   by Edgar Allen Poe

  ’Twas noontide of summer,
And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, thro’ the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,
’Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
Her beam on the waves.
I gazed awhile
On her cold smile;
Too cold--too cold for me--
There pass’d, as a shroud,
A fleecy cloud,
And I turned away to thee,
Proud Evening Star,
In thy glory afar,
And dearer thy beam shall be;
For joy to my heart
Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
And more I admire
Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light. 

Do you enjoy poetry? If so, who is your favorite poet? Do you have a favorite poem?

Until next time...

Recent and related posts that you might enjoy reading...

Happy Homemaker Monday - July 30, 2018

Monday, July 30, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday - July 30, 2018

Good morning, Dear Friends! HAPPY MONDAY! 💗

The past week has fairly flown by in a blur...as has the past month! Can you believe that this is the last Monday in July and that August is upon us already? 😲

The best part of last week was getting in a good visit with my long-time friend, Dorothy. We've been friends since we were 10 and have shared many adventures together along life's way...and the adventures continue!

Dorothy was supposed to come up for a visit the week of her birthday back in June (we live a couple of hours away from each other now), but, with her starting a new job, it didn't work out. So, since her birthday is in June and mine is in August, we decided to meet in the middle and celebrate both our birthdays in July. 

Dorothy and I at Bass Pro
Our birthday adventure started by meeting at Bass Pro in Springfield, touring it, eating lunch at Hemmingway's on the upper level, then going to Wonders of Wildlife and the National Aquarium, both of which adjoin Bass Pro and, let me tell you, it was wonderful! What an amazing place!

Big Horn Sheep @ Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield, MO
It took us about four hours to go through W.O.W. and the aquarium, and while we were there we got to pet the stingrays! Unfortunately, I don't have pictures. My Ipod battery died and Dorothy videoed the whole thing, but, for some reason, it didn't come out. You can hear us, but you can't see anything. So...no pictures of one of the most amazing experiences EVER! 😞 It was a LOT of fun though! 😄

Dorothy and I @ W.O.W. and the National Aquarium in Springfield, MO
In the evening, Dorothy and I finished up our birthday bash by attending the Peter Frampton concert at the Ozark Empire Fair. That was a lot of fun, too! I saw him the first time back in the day at Summer Jam '77 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City; Dorothy had never seen him at all. One thing's for sure...we've all gotten older, but Frampton is still a master on that guitar! Dorothy and I really enjoyed it!

Peter Frampton in Concert @ Springfield, Missouri - 7/26/18
Okay...so enough about last week! On to this week's post! Please join me in visiting Sandra and all the other lovely ladies for Happy Homemaker Monday over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

Today I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and
all of the wonderful ladies of 
Happy Homemaker Monday!
Right now I am...

...working on ten things at once...I have one load of clothes in the washer, another in the dryer, I just finished this morning's dishes, am answering email AND the phone, enjoying the cool and cloudy weather, listening to the crickets chirp outside my open window, watching the goldfinches pull seed from the purple coneflower heads, and am working on this post...basically all at the same time...and it's almost lunch time! 😲

Am thinking...

..about how wonderful it was to meet my friend, Jean (the same Jean that I'm hosting the 30 Days of Summer blog series with), for the first time in person this week! On Saturday she visited the park where I work, I gave her a tour, and we had a nice visit! It was a lot of fun! 😊

Jean and I @ Prairie State Park
On the breakfast plate...

This morning I had my usual...Trim Healthy Mama's Sweat Pant Oatmeal with Blueberries and Twining's Irish Breakfast Tea

The weather...

Cool and cloudy this morning. We finally got some much-needed rain yesterday. I don't know that it was enough to do any good really, but it was nice to see. We didn't have to water the garden yesterday or today, so that's a plus! 😊

At the moment it's 69 degrees (HEAVENLY!) and the high today is only supposed to be around 80. Tomorrow is supposed to be about the same as today, but, after that, temps start inching back up into the upper 80's and into the mid-90's by next week. 

On my reading pile...

In addition to daily scripture reading, I am reading Jesus - The Open Door by Kenneth E. Hagin and Discover Nature at Sundown by Elizabeth P. Lawlor. 

On the menu this week...

Am inundated with zucchini and peppers right now (I'm not complaining...am just stating a fact), so, once again, they will be the stars of the menu this week. 😊

Zucchini By The Wheelbarrow Full
Monday - banana peppers stuffed with Italian sausage (casserole), sauteed zucchini, and homemade sourdough bread
Tuesday - stuffed green peppers, sauteed zucchini, and corn-on-the-cob
Wednesday - chicken fajitas with green peppers and onions, and black beans
Thursday - zucchini lasagna and homemade sourdough bread
Friday - broiled salmon on a bed of sauteed zucchini and baked potatoes with cottage cheese and chives
Saturday - Homemade pizza (freezer)
Sunday - leftovers

On my 'to do' list...

- Monday - Plan the week ahead, do my weekly "home blessing", laundry, clean out the fridge, do a food inventory, put up garden produce
- Tuesday - Take a friend to pick up her new glasses, go to the store, wish granddaughter, Mercy, a happy 3rd birthday
- Wednesday - Figure August budget, work on projects around the house and, hopefully, cross a couple of items off of my Summer Bucket List
- Thursday - Work the Missouri State Park booth at the Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield
- Friday - Go to the bank, pay bills, work, wish our youngest son a happy birthday, and our oldest daughter and son-in-law a happy anniversary
- Saturday - Work, wish granddaughter, Ruth, a happy 3rd birthday
- Sunday - Church, attend local National Bible Bee "Proclaim Day" celebration

In the craft basket...

Nothing at the moment.

Looking forward to this week...

Any time that I can possibly carve out to work on things at home. There's so much that needs to be done and, at the moment, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I just need to take some time to pray over everything, regroup, organize my thoughts, and plan and all will be well. 😊

Something interesting I watched...

The bison came down to the building yesterday afternoon and put on quite a show for our visitors from Sri Lanka!

From the camera...

A Butterfly on One of My Sunflowers This Week
Scripture passage...

Well, Ladies, that's it for this week! I pray that each and every one of you have a blessed and beautiful week ahead! And I'll see you next week! 

Until Next Time...

Recent and related posts that you might enjoy reading...

30 Days of Summer - Post #16 - Sunflowers

Be sure to visit our 30 Days of Summer blog series. To find out more check out this post on Jean's site and this one on mine. Jean and I hope you'll join us in our summertime adventure! 🌞

Sunday, July 29, 2018

30 Days of Summer - Post #16 - Sunflowers

It doesn't matter to me if they're the native ones that grow out on the prairie...

Native Sunflowers Growing On The Tall-grass Prairie
...the wild ones that grow along the roadways...

Sunflowers Along A Gravel Road
...or the giant tame ones that grow in my own backyard...

Giant Sunflower Growing Outside Our Backdoor

I love sunflowers! 💗 🌻💗

My mother loved sunflowers, too. Her canisters featured sunflowers on them and, to this day, they stand sentinel overlooking the kitchen that was once hers and now is mine.

My Mother's Sunflower Canisters
My favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh. He, of course, is notorious for his paintings of sunflowers. This print hangs in my office (a.k.a "the Van Gogh room")...

Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh
Today marks the 128th anniversary of Vincent Van Gogh's death. This picture of his grave was taken back in 2015. 

July 29, 2015 - On the 125th anniversary of Vincent’s death, Willem van Gogh
and Machteld van Laer, descendants of Van Gogh’s brother, laid sunflowers
and yellow dahlias on the painter’s grave in Auvers-sur-Oise. 

Birds and insects love sunflowers, too, as do many other species of wildlife and, of course, they're grown commercially for birdseed and human consumption.

In preparing for an upcoming program on sunflowers at work I learned, yesterday, that there are 70 species of sunflowers and, all but three of them which grow in South America, are native to North America. 

To me, nothing says "summer" like a sunflower! Their bright, cheery petals painted yellow like the sun...their faces dark and brown...as if tanned by the same. 🌻

What kind of sunflowers grow where you live? And what is your favorite summer flower?

Until next time...

Recent and related posts that you might enjoy reading...

30 Days of Summer - Post # 15 - Fireflies

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

30 Days of Summer - Post # 15 - Fireflies

One of my favorite childhood memories is that of chasing fireflies on a warm summer evening and collecting them in a jar. I would take the jar to my room and fall asleep watching the tiny, flashing lights of my captive, bio-luminescent friends. In the morning I would release them back into the wild. To this day, fireflies are one of my favorite things about summer! 💗

Right now I am doing a study on fireflies. Did you know that there are about 2,000 species of fireflies in the world? Is that not amazing??? And they're found in almost every earthly habitat! The majority of fireflies live in the tropics, but 200 species live right here in North America. To me, that is incredible! 😲

Fireflies use their rhythmic flashes to signal each other...some for good 😍...some for not so good 😱. Some fireflies flash a green lamp 💚, while others flash yellow 💛. Some even flash orange 🔶! What color do the fireflies in your neighborhood flash?

To learn more about fireflies and how they use their signals enjoy this Deep Look video from PBS...

Also...I found this cool craft idea online and, in order to relive my own childhood days of summer, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to make one of these for the bedroom or, at least, for my office. Yep! I'm definitely going to have to do this! 😄

Until next time...

P.S. Forgot about this...and just for fun...

Recent and related posts that you might enjoy reading...

Happy Homemaking Monday - July 23, 2018

Monday, July 23, 2018

Happy Homemaking Monday - July 23, 2018

Good morning, Sweet Friends! 

How is everyone? I pray that last week was a good one and that your week ahead is off to a great start! HAPPY MONDAY! 😊

Last week here was busy, but productive. In addition to all the have-tos (daily schedule, work, etc.) I managed to get quite a bit of produce worked up and in the freezer and several little odd-and-end jobs that have needed doing done throughout the course of the week...which, in all honesty, doesn't happen often. It feels good to have some of those little things off my plate. 😊

I'm running a bit late today, so let's get right on into this week's post, shall we? Please join me in visiting Sandra and all the other lovely ladies for Happy Homemaker Monday over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

Today I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and
all of the wonderful ladies of 
Happy Homemaker Monday!
Right now I am...

Finishing up breakfast and enjoying my tea while working on this post. 

Am thinking...

About the terrible tragedy in Branson this week and the families involved. Nine people out of one family! That's hard to fathom!

But, you talk about a freak storm! The same storm that hit Branson hit here just a short time before and, let me tell you, it came out of no where and it hit with a vengeance! It was sunny and right at 100 degrees when we left here (we were heading out to the park to attend a farewell dinner for a friend who is leaving). Anyway...sunny and 100 degrees...and we live less than five miles from the park. As we entered the park the sun was still shining in front of us. I looked up in the rear-view mirror and there, behind me, was a WALL of dirt and debris! I shouted to my husband, "LOOK BEHIND US!" And, just as he turned to look, this wall of dirt hit my car and completely enveloped it! I had never seen anything like it! I came to a complete stop. I could see nothing but swirling dirt. I honestly thought that a tornado was upon us. My car was shaking like mad and we could see nothing. After the dust cleared a bit, I inched down the road and into the parking lot of the nature center where my husband and I sat out the storm. We didn't get any rain (maybe a few drops, but nothing to speak of), but, man! We got the wind! One of the neighboring farmers said he clocked that wind when it hit right at 68 miles per hour. It was incredible. And I know that's what it did on that water at Table Rock...came out of no where and hit with a vengeance. And, who would have thought it? I mean...here? You can always see a storm coming and there's generally plenty of time to take action. This thing was freakish! And it was wild! Again, have never in my life seen anything like it. Very, very scary! And my heart aches for all involved in that incident in Branson...the families involved, the emergency workers and clean-up crews, and, yes, even the owners of the Ride the Ducks company. That place has operated 40+ years without incident and now this. No one could have foreseen such a freakish storm. It's all just such a terrible, terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to all. 😢

On the breakfast plate...

Trim Healthy Mama's Sweat Pant Oatmeal with Blueberries and Twining's Irish Breakfast Tea

The weather...

Different. The really hot temperatures that have been with us for so long seem to have backed off a bit. Forecasted highs over the next 10-days promise to be in the lower-80's up to around 90. 

We are officially experiencing "moderate to severe" drought conditions though and need rain desperately. Crop and cattle farmers are really starting to feel the effects of it. According to the Joplin Globe, the second-coldest April on record, back-to-back with the hottest May on record, made the grasses in this part of the state not be able to grow right in first place, so, now, on top of poor initial growth, the extended drought conditions keep pasture grass from regenerating, decreasing the amount of available food for livestock. 

Please pray for rain in southwest Missouri and anywhere else that they are experiencing drought.

On my reading pile...

At the moment I am in-between school books (just finished one last night, did the review and took the test, but haven't even looked to see what's next yet, so haven't started a new one). However, in addition to daily scripture reading, I am still reading Discover Nature at Sundown by Elizabeth P. Lawlor and have started a notebook to house my experiments and observations in. 

On the menu this week...

Monday - turkey meatballs and sauce over sauteed zucchini with homemade sourdough bread
Tuesday - black bean and cheese tostadas with sauteed onion and green peppers
Wednesday - feta and spinach turkey burgers and baked potatoes with cottage cheese and chives
Thursday - out of town
Friday - broiled salmon, baked potatoes with cottage cheese and chives, brussel sprouts
Saturday - homemade pizza
Sunday - leftovers

On my 'to do' list...

- Monday - Plan the week ahead, do my weekly "home blessing", laundry
- Tuesday - Take a friend to doctor appointment, then shopping
- Wednesday - Make preparations to go out of town on Thursday
- Thursday - Out of town
- Friday - Out of town
- Saturday - Work
- Sunday - Church; work in the afternoon

In the craft basket...

Nothing at the moment.

Looking forward to this week...

Spending time with my friend, Dorothy.

Something interesting I watched...

Am enjoying "From Lark Rise to Candleford" on Amazon. It's all I've watched this week.

From the camera...

Just something random...a teapot that a friend in Texas sent me last year.

Scripture passage...

Well, Ladies, that's it for this week! I pray that each and every one of you have a blessed and beautiful week ahead! And I'll see you next week! 

Be sure to visit our 30 Days of Summer blog series. To find out more check out this post on Jean's site and this one on mine. Jean and I hope you'll join us in our summertime adventure! 🌞

Thursday, July 19, 2018

30 Days of Summer - Post #14 - A Lazy Day At Home

I really debated as to what to title this post...A Lazy Day At Home? One of The Hottest Days of the Year And Guess How I'm Spending It? Or More Than You Really Want To Know About How I Use Zucchini! But A Lazy Day At Home sounded better and, besides, it was shorter! 😆

Not that it's really been a lazy day, but I did sleep in later than usual this morning. That in itself made me feel lazy. 😴 Usually I'm up anywhere between 6:00 a.m. and 7:30; this morning, however, I didn't get up until almost 9:30, which is highly unusual! I usually run on between 4 to 5 hours sleep a night and can't seem to sleep in past 7:30 at the absolute latest anymore. Anyway, didn't get up until 9:30; didn't get showered and dressed until after noon! Again, highly unusual! 😳

For the first time in I don't know how long, I didn't have anything pressing to attend to today. I talked with my daughter and a friend on the phone, chatted with a couple of daughters-in-law online, piddled around the house, and tried to figure out how I was going to spend my day...when, suddenly, I remember the squash!!! 😲

Not only do we have an abundance of zucchini coming in from the garden, but a friend blessed us with a big box of yellow squash and a gorgeous watermelon last night. I gave away half the box of squash, but still needed to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of it. 

And...don't misunderstand...I am NOT complaining in the least! We are in summer squash heaven here and feeling blessed beyond measure! 😇 We love it and to me it's a challenge to figure out new ways to prepare it...which is what I've been working on all day.

For breakfast I sauteed two yellow squash in coconut oil (one for my husband and one for me) and served them with a little shredded cheddar and a fried egg on top. THAT is one of my favorite breakfasts and that is probably how I will use most of the yellow squash that is left. 

My dilemma, however, was, I had this one HUGE zucchini that had gotten away from us in the garden. I decided that my goal was to do something with it today and get it out of the way. 

Now, of course, I could have done something quite easy with it...like spiral-cut the whole thing up into zucchini noodles and pop them in the freezer...but I was feeling adventurous! I mean, seriously, I had the whole day (or what was left of it) ahead of me and at my disposal! I was ecstatic! 😄

After looking through my recipes, and several cookbooks, I started out by cutting the over-sized behemoth in half. I took out the seed cavity, cut it into manageable pieces, and started grating it. 

I made a double batch of my regular zucchini muffins and a batch of zucchini brownies and I had only used about half the shredded zucchini. So...back to the cookbooks I went! 

Zucchini Muffins

Zucchini Brownies

In my lovely, old Betty Crocker stand-by I found a recipe for Spicy Zucchini Cake. My dad used to love spice cake, so, I thought, "I'll make that up and see how it is!" And I did! And I STILL had shredded zucchini left! 😨 

After that, it was back to the cookbooks again and, eventually, the internet!

Spicy Zucchini Cake

Next, I found a recipe for Cheesy Baked Zucchini Bites, so I made those...and, yes, I STILL had zucchini left! 😱 (They are delicious, by the way!) 😊

Cheesy Zucchini Bites

And, I, finally, used up the last of the zucchini by making Chocolate Chip Zucchini Breakfast Cookies.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Breakfast Cookies

So...one super humongous zucchini made 24 zucchini muffins, a 13 x 9-inch pan of zucchini brownies, a 13 x 9-inch Spicy Zucchini Cake, 15 Cheesy Baked Zucchini Bites, and a dozen LARGE Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies! ONE ZUCCHINI!!! 😲

Some of what I made today will be shared with others and what's left will be packaged and put into the freezer for use in future...which my husband is absolutely thrilled about! 😉

But, yes, one of the hottest days of the year (98 degrees with a heat index of 106) and I spent my lazy day at home baking! What in the world??? 😳

Oh, well!

How'd you spend your day?

Until next time...

(P. S. - In the process of all this today I picked up three new zucchini recipes which I will be sharing in a (or several) future posts. 😉

Recent and related posts that you might enjoy reading...

30 Days of Summer - Post #13 - The Summer Bounty - Zucchini