Friday, July 31, 2009

Who is on the duck? Re-cycle and re-use.........

Large plush toys....what becomes of them.....when your kids get to old to play with them? Or when your teen-age daughter is no longer dating the guy that gave her an entire plush zoo!

My 3 boys love Mr. Duck who they took home from a visit with my grand children. I put Mr. Duck in the washer & dryer when he gets magic he comes out like brand new. It's just to bad it's not that easy to pop Niko, Andy and Charlie in the washer & dryer when they get dirty! If you have some large plush just sitting around your home taking up space, why not think about who you know with pets who might enjoy them or research local rescue groups or shelters who are always looking for donations of blankets & pillows for their rescues.

Niko, Andy and Charlie.......we do not just lay around all the time.

Good Night!!!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Donkey Ears, new resident on the funny farm.....Look what's happening in my garden, July 2009.

Donkey Ears (Giant Kalanchoe Gastonis Bonnieri) A really different looking plant was a recent find out in Mount Dora, Florida. Note the babies grow on the tips of the leaves. This plant was a perfect addition to my collection of "funny looking " plants....or out of the ordinary. When I researched this plant after I brought it home, I learned how interesting it really is. It forms a spike out of the center for the flower which is a beautiful-large bunch of bell-like flowers that attract Hummingbirds. I am looking forward to see this plant flower.

Who would have known this past weekend when I found this little wrought iron "thing" at a garage sale, for 50 cents, that it would become home for 4
of my Bromeliads.

Bromeliad Flower

Desert Rose, (Adenium Obesum) after the harsh Florida winter frost, I thought for sure this plant was gone. I just cut it back and here are the results.

I never remember the name of this spectacular plant. These are the pups from my plants at my first Florida home that I have moved with me. I most definitely baby these plants and have several in the front and rear landscape of my home.

Starburst or Shooting Star (Clerodendrum)

This plant was about 15 foot high with 6" leaves or longer-top deep green and bottom dark purple. A beautiful plant in itself.....but the flower is a spectacular starburst of white and rose color. Much of this plant was lost this past winter, however after I cut it back it did eventually come also started to send up an outburst of suckers and shoots, some as far as 15 foot away. I have learned that this is typical for this plant following a severe pruning.

Mother of Thousands ( Kalanchoe daigremontiana)

This plant derives its name from the tiny plantlets all along each leaf. These tiny plantlets give the plant a unique look; as they mature, they fall off and start new plants automatically. It is a succulent so it doesn't need a lot of water.

Pencil Plant (Euphorbia fiherenensis)

The tips of this odd shaped and looking plant turn orange & pink in full sun.

Pineapple plant (Ananas Comosus)
If you happen to have a pineapple on hand to eat take a few minutes and grow your own plant from the discarded top. Although the pineapple plant is a Bromeliad, it is not an air plant and does require a soil bed.

Angel's Trumpet (Datura Metel)

Giant blooms and jazzy seed pods with the look and scent to the tropics. Even the stems are purple. Marvelously fragrant and exotic in both color and size, this flower looks like something from a hot-house instead of an easy-to-grow, sun loving tropical you can start from seed, which is what I did! This summer blooming show off is a scene stealer.

Red Bird (Cacto Cardenal)

This plant has a bamboo type stem that when in the sun fills up with showy variegated leaves. Just a little different looking.

Staghorn Fern
The fronds of this unusual looking plant resemble an antler. the amazing thing about these ferns is that they feed on their own composted frond material.

When I was attending my Master Gardener classes, it was stated several times that if we learned the "scientific" name for even a single plant that we would really impress others. Although I took the time to look up the scientific names, I doubt if I will remember any of them, let alone pronounce & spell them. I just like growing my plants and watching them thrive. Nature is a wonder!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Potluck-What Can I Bring????

Invited to a potluck? It is always an issue deciding what to bring. How many times have you arrived placing your "beautiful" dish on the table only to discover this potluck turned out to be a "potato salad cook-off"?

I have prepared "Bean There, Yum That Salad", from the Hungry Girl newsletter for my last potluck. It was simple to prepare, very colorful as you can see in the photo and also very yummy.

Where it called for a can of red kidney beans and a can of garbanzo beans, (chickpeas) I used dried beans soaking them overnight....very easy & really economical! Beans are a serious power-food. They are packed with protein, fiber and other nutrients. They also taste FANTASTIC......Eat your beans, people!

It’s a healthier form of a three bean salad because it uses less oil in the dressing and a few less beans. The best thing about the dressing is that it is made mostly from fresh squeezed orange juice! When you dig into this salad, you’ll absolutely love the citrus flavor on your beans and veggies.

Ingredients for salad:
1 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch segments
2 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
1 red or yellow pepper, sliced into 1 inch segments
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp chopped parsley (or basil works well)
Ingredients for dressing:
2 oranges
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. While you wait for that water to boil, fill a large bowl with cold water and ice, then set aside.

Step 2: Add green beans and broccoli to the boiling water, and cook for 5 minutes until tender. Drain water from the pot and then transfer the vegetables to the ice water quickly!

Step 3: To make the dressing, squeeze the juice from the oranges into a medium bowl. Remove any seeds. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

Step 4: Drain ice and water from the large bowl. Add kidney beans, garbanzo beans, bell pepper, onion, and parsley (or basil) to the veggies. Coat with the dressing and coat well.

You should let the bean salad marinate in the fridge for at least an hour before you eat it. It’s so much tastier and crisper when it’s cold.
Good news—the recipe makes 10 servings with each one having only 125 calories each!

Enjoy this great summer salad!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Is it acceptable to go Topless to the park?

Is a topless park similar to a topless beach? Did my headline get your attention?

Is it acceptable to go topless to the park when you are 5 years old?

I have often remembered having to wear my older brothers swim suit and also seeing several photos of myself in this hand-me down bathing suit. I remember my Mom saying it was no big deal, there was nothing wrong with it. I am not so sure that I agree!

Now I have no problem whatsoever with sharing clothing, or hand me-down clothing. In today's current economy it is something that more of us should in fact consider. However.....there is a fine line here, I was a little girl with no say in this. The decision was made for me.

Strange thing to ponder, but I wonder had I been the oldest child, would my Mom put my hand-me down girls bathing suit on my brother? And how would he feel about that situation?

In looking at this photo, what I had no recollection of is the shoes....they are pretty horrible also. I bet I know where they came from! They are not exactly "Mary Janes" now are they? I never thought about the shoes before, but perhaps they are the reason why when it comes to shoes today........I can never have enough?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Life is a journey......

And the events of the last few days proves that none of us know how many tomorrows we have.
Michael Jackson.......1958-2009
Ed Sullivan greets The Jackson 5 during their guest appearance on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' on Dec. 14, 1969.

There isn't much that hasn't been written or said about Michael Jackson in the last few days. It certainly was not my intent to add to this flood of discussion. But as I was driving home this evening and listening to the radio and his music, I couldn't help but think about him and the first time I saw him and the Jackson 5 during their guest appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, on the RCA Victor TV in my home. This is the way I will remember Michael Jackson.

I listened to part of the Memorial Service this afternoon and thought about the fact that Life is a story and none of us know how many chapters our story will be. I realized how important it is to embrace those we love every single opportunity we have.....and let them know we love them and how much they mean to us.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Chocolate + banana = AWESOME

Go Bananas!

I cannot take credit for this Chocolate-Banana Smoothie.It comes straight from the pages of the New York Times Best Seller Hungry Girl 200 Under 200. It is very YUMMY, Enjoy!

To me, it tasted similiar to a Wendy's Frosty, was satisfying, delicious and filling at only 164 calories. I eliminated the no-calorie sweetener packet, and found it to be sweet and tasty as it was. Be aware that the hot cocoa mix does contain an artificial sweetener that many of us choose not to use.

1 packet Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets diet hot cocoa mix1 small ripe banana, sliced and frozen
2 tsp. fat-free non-dairy powdered creamer (like Coffee-mate Fat Free Original)
1 tsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 no-calorie sweetener packet (like Splenda or Truvia)
1 cup crushed ice or 5 to 8 ice cubes

In a tall glass, combine cocoa mix, powdered creamer, chocolate chips, and sweetener. Add 1/4 cup very hot water and stir until ingredients have dissolved. Add 1/2 cup cold water and stir.Transfer contents of the glass to a blender. Add frozen banana slices and ice. Blend at medium speed until completely mixed. Pour into your glass and enjoy!

Serving Size: entire smoothie -Calories: 164 Fat: 1.5g Sodium: 160mg Carbs: 35.5g Fiber: 3.75g Sugars: 18g Protein: 3g POINTS® value 3*

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Good Parenting.....

The momma bird is sitting on her nest protecting her babies from the possible rain storm coming. The poppa bird is usually close by sitting up on the nearby fence watching and usually singing. My little visiting family have gotten so used to me peeking into the nest and taking photos.......they probably expect me to be there to record when the babies take their first flight.

I still have not figured out the type of bird this is but I am working on it. I have taken a book out of the library on birds of Florida.

If you missed my last post when I discovered my surprise back yard guests, you can visit them here.

Why blog?

Who finds a friend finds a treasure!
(Irish Proverb)Some of my friends and acquaintances ask me why I Blog. They have gone as far as telling me I have too much time on my hands and should "get a life", and perhaps they are correct! For those people I write this post.

I am the creator of my blog! I consider my blog an online forum in which I can express my thoughts and feelings on any number of topics, and update it as often as I like. Some Bloggers focus on a single subject — such as news, politics, sports, food, gardening, or travel — I choose to have mine serve as my online diary, detailing the day-to-day events and thoughts of my life. But unlike a diary, my blog can be read by anyone. Others can then link to my blog and comment on what I have written.

Bloggers come from all walks of life. People around the globe, of all ages, backgrounds, incomes, education levels, languages, expertise, and experiences, blog. In fact, one thing that makes blogging so interesting is that there is no "typical" blogger. By definition, blogs allow anyone and everyone to have a voice. As diverse as they are, however, all Bloggers have one thing in common — a desire to share their stories.

People blog for a variety of reasons. Some want a place where they can document their life experiences. Others use a blog to keep friends and relatives up to date on their lives. Still others blog as a way to share information on topics they feel passionate about with people who share their interests. Others want to contribute their opinions rather than just read the opinions of others.

My blog provides me with an online space that's mine alone. I make entries often or only occasionally. I choose what to include, what to say, what's important to me. My blog is a way to capture what is significant in my world, and what I think and feel about it.

I can write about anything in my blog. Anything that's relevant and meaningful to me is fair game. When it comes to writing a blog, there are no real rules. I am not a professional writer, nor do I have to have certain credentials or education. I can write my posts about anything that interests me or is on my mind. My blog aims to capture what it is I want to say to myself, to my family and friends, to others interested in the same subjects, or even to the world.

I write my Blog posts on the things that I am passionate about: Real Estate, Gardening, Family, Friends, Cooking, Recipes, Pet Rescue and the Bichon Frise.