A Little Hometown Celebration

Summer is in full swing here, though we have not had a lot of hot, sunny days.  Rain, rain, rain and more rain. All that moisture has made everything very green, which I love. We were also fortunate to have had a couple of days break from the rain with wonderfully warm weather this past weekend when we celebrated the 4th of July, Independence Day here in the U.S. It was perfect for the outdoor activities that we usually associate with the day.

Our 4th started off with the local parade. I’ve lived here for over 7 years and this is the first time I’ve been to the 4th of July parade; I’m not a big fan of getting up really early and heading curbside downtown to sit and wait for the parade to begin. This year, however, my daughter was marching with her dance team, so we all got up. It was fun to see her with her teammates having a great time.

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The parade also included old fire engines, complete with crank sirens,

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old cars,

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This young lady was really getting a workout!

My favorite entry in the parade, aside from our Lionettes of course, was from the local art school. They have classes for kids as well as doing birthday parties and such. I loved their most creative costumes! They really brought art alive.

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It wasn’t a really long parade and we were home by about noon. That meant we had a chance to rest for a bit before friends came over for a cookout. I am always grateful when my days include a bit of downtime. We are quite busy around here!

At dinner time, we grilled the traditional hot dogs and hamburgers and sat around on my deck enjoying the food – and all the wonderful salads and sides that my friends brought to the meal – and each other’s company.

No picnic around were would be complete without a game of cornhole. In case you don’t know what that is, it is a bean bag toss game that is very popular in the U.S. midwest, especially in Ohio.  The boards are set 15-20 feet apart and teams toss trying to land their bags either on the board or into the hole. It can get very competitive, depending on who is playing, but we had a couple of friendly games – the best kind!

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The dog wasn’t thrilled when people started shooting off fireworks. There is a small display that we can see from our deck every year, so we put her safe in the house and the rest of us watched them and the kids did their sparklers. This was their first year with sparklers, I guess I’ve been lax about that!

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All in all we had a great celebration.

Here’s hoping that you are enjoying your summer days, or winter days if you happen to be in the southern hemisphere. I hope to get another post in soon with some photos of the wildflowers that have appeared this year.

Until next time, be happy and live in joy!

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Liberating Art

Once again, the Liberate Your Art postcard swap has wrapped up.  I had a great time participating this year.  Even though I learned of where only one of my cards landed – all the way in Australia with Dani at Sand Has No Home. It’s exciting to see my art traveling so far!

I received wonderful artwork this time around, starting out with this beautiful painting from Jen Lashua Art.

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Next to arrive was a gorgeous photo of the Golden Gate Bridge from Cathy.

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The next piece of art to arrive was literally “The Bluebird of Happiness,” by Danie May

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All this art was arriving to me just as spring was starting to make a tentative attempt to show her face.  This next piece, a photo of spring blooms by Shirina, really gave me hope!

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My final postcard arrived from Catherine Brashear Photography. I loved this final stage of tulip arriving just as mine were starting to emerge.

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This year’s swap brought several extra swaps again.  This is one of the bonuses of the event – meeting new friends and exchanging art, catching up with friends from previous years and exchanging art.  I was happy to receive this macro flower from Deanie.

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From a new friend in Brittany, France, this lovely thatched roof.  You can find Louise’s blog here.

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Garden fairies arrived from Texas.

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Sheila sent another beautiful painting of flowers.

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Two bonus postcards arrived from Janice in California.

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Many, many thanks to Kat Sloma for organizing the swap and putting in the work it takes to bring it all together.  You can see more of the swap art at the blog hop I’ll leave you with the beautiful work that she shared with us all. Until next year!

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It’s Been A While

Summer and fall have come and gone.  Fall gave us some fun times in the leaves.

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She raked them up and then enjoyed the fun of the great big pile.

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We adopted an 8 year old dog – mountain cur/hound mix – and she has brought a lot of love into our lives.

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And just when the winter doldrums are about to set in, the pick me up comes in the form of another year’s Liberate Your Art postcard exchange.  I’m anxiously awaiting this year’s postcards to arrive from Moo.  If you have art that is itching to get out into the world, it’s not too late to join the swap!

It feels good to get the blog dusted off.  I hope to be able to share more in the days to come. Hope your 2015 is off to a great start!

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Happy Mother’s Day

We celebrated Mother’s Day with lots of good food. Adia’s Home Ec cooking assignment came at the best possible time. She planned and prepared the meals today.

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The preparations began last night. First up, cilantro lime marinade for the shrimp.

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And a colorful corn, bean and mango salsa.

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She also put together a breakfast casserole that went into the oven first thing this morning.

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It was delicious!

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Next up, she made a batch of Congo Squares for dessert.

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They looked and smelled so good – and they tasted even better!

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The final step was to prepare an avocado cream for the tacos.

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It didn’t take long for the smell of grilling shrimp to whip up our appetites.

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So very grateful to the Home Ec teacher. And so proud of my girl. She made four recipes from scratch, foods that we hadn’t tried before, and she ate and enjoyed them as much as I did. While the cooking was happening, little sister vacuumed the house for me. It was a wonderful way to spend Mother’s Day!

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Blooming

It’s still a bit inconsistent where the temperatures are concerned, but there are more and more signs of spring around here. We’ve had a few more visitors.

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Tulips are blooming.

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And the crab apple tree is starting to get some blossoms as well.

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The flowering trees were hit hard by the extended winter. The magnolia bush has almost no flowers. It doesn’t look like the weeping or the ornamental cherries will bloom this year, and my weeping red bud has about half the flowers it had last year. At least the red buds in the back look like they’ll flower soon. And there’s no arguing with a gorgeous blue sky on a sunny day.

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Art Liberated

Another great Liberate Your Art postcard swap has wrapped up. This was my third year participating. I love the energy and excitement of all the art traveling around the world. It is a great feeling to know that my artwork is out in the world making people smile.

I was all smiles when my postcard arrive each week. First from Shirina.

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Then from Kelly

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And from Suzanne

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From Audrey

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From Marjorie

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And from Kat, organizer extraordinaire

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The images I used on my postcards this year were

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Always fun is the extra swapping that happens after the official swap has ended.
From Janice

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From Sherry

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From Deanie

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And from Shelly

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It’s been a lot of fun. I look forward to this event every year. I love seeing all the art that comes my way and I also appreciate watching my own art grow and evolve. So grateful to Kat and all the other wonderful artists for sharing art and the encouraging community that comes with it.

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Spring Has Sprung

A few days of sunshine and warmth have an amazing effect. From the buds popping up everywhere, I think this is just the beginning.

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Soon there will be redbud blossoms – my very favorite!

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We have a new neighbor in our wildlife habitat. It was a good day for sunning on the porch.

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Of course they’re calling for snow on Tuesday. Seriously? At least it is not likely to stick around for long.

Hoping spring is taking a good hold in your part of the world.

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It Might Be Spring

It wasn’t warm. But the sun was shining. I couldn’t resist stepping out into the sunlight. When I saw these, I got really excited.

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This has to be spring, right? Crocuses! In fact, it was so nice out that the big girl decided to get on her bicycle for a little bit.

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Even the tulips are thinking about coming up. I just love the swirl of those leaves.

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Took some of my mobile shots while I was out. It was just too beautiful to resist.

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There may not be any blooms on the forsythia, but there was a cardinal.

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The temps may remain cold for the next day or two. And there may be rumors of snow. But I choose to remain firmly in the belief that spring is here and warmer, brighter days lie ahead.

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A little over a week ago, it was warming up and these cute little birds showed up.

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I started to get excited about the possibility of spring, finally. This past weekend, winter storm warning returned. They were calling for up to 10 inches (more) snow. Not sure the robins got the memo.

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Fortunately, our snow total was only about 2 inches. Most of it has melted in the sunshine the past few days. Tomorrow, it’s supposed to be actually warm. Maybe even 50 degrees. That sounds a whole lot like spring to me. Bring it on.

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Let the Sun Shine

Some much needed sunshine begged me to get outdoors. It was cold, cold, cold, so I wasn’t able to be out for long. The wind made the bridge of my nose ache. I was amazed at just how much snow there was out there. The piles in the grocery store parking lot towered over my little car.

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Nobody on the court today.

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Overlooking the snow covered creek bed. Care to take a seat?

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It certainly looked like a winter wonderland out there.

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And a little shadow play before heading home.

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So grateful for some time in the sun.

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