179/365 - Open Windows

After weeks and weeks of oppressive heat, we are enjoying temperatures cool enough to allow the windows to be open. Nice!

10.06.30 - Open Window Night

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For Today - The End of June

From The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY:
Outside my window….a perfect summer day – clear blue skies, low humidity, 80 degrees.
I am thinking…about my sisters visiting my parents in Plymouth this week. I wish I could be there, too.
I am thankful for…open windows and fresh air.
From the kitchen…Bon-Bon Chicken (shredded chicken with Chinese Peanut Sauce), rice, tofu.
I am wearing…tan shorts and a light green sweater.
I am creating … several “aged” photos using PSE.
I am going…to spend time with the cats this evening since we were out yesterday.
I am reading… “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, on my iPhone, using the Barnes and Noble e-Reader app.
I am hoping…the weather stays this nice through next week.
I am hearing…the soft sounds of the water flowing from the water garden outside.
Around the house…we’re keeping things neat as possible.
One of my favorite things…watching the kids get along and interact with the cats – so cute!
A few plans for the rest of the week…driving the kids around to their friends’ houses, to the pool, to the movies. At some point this weekend, Jill and I will go see “Eclipse”.

And here is a picture I am sharing today - some lilies from the water garden:
First Water Lilies

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The Front Porch

My neighbor's porch. They deck it out for each holiday, all year round, so it's not a surprise they have the flags out.

The Front Porch

Processed using PW's Soft and Faded action with a texture.

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178/365 - Friends

Summertime and the girls love hanging out with each other. It's been several weeks since this trio got together.

10.06.29 - Friends

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Purple Haze

I normally don't think much about hosta flower stalks - to me the main attraction are the leaves. But walking around the yard today, I loved the purple flowers just starting to bloom.

Purple Haze

With a texture:
Purple Bell

Sunlit

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177/365 - Train Crossing

Seen this morning, after I dropped off Erica at Jen's house. A fitting symbol of this country, as we get closer to Independence Day.

10.06.28 - Train Crossing

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176/365 - Snuggle On The Couch

Sammy loves to snuggle on the couch. Brian was the happy recipient of today's couch time.

10.06.27 - Snuggle On the Couch

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Mosaic Monday - Kitchen Duty

I broke out the Cuisinart food processor this afternoon for some heavy duty kitchen work. I only use it when I need to process large quantities of "stuff". Today's creations - hummus, baba ganoush and nutella. That Cuisinart motor was humming along, saving me a lot of manual work.

Mosaic Monday - Kitchen Duty

I'm linking to Mary at Little Red House and Mosaic Monday. You can check out all the creative mosaics there.

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175/365 - Fresh Fuzz

I picked up a quart of fuzzy peaches from the farmer's market this morning. I think these are the first of the season.

10.06.26 - A Little Fuzz

I also picked up corn, beans, zucchini and bread. I think with the warm weather, much of the produce is coming early this year. No complaints here, I just can't wait for the red peppers later on.

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SOOC Saturday - Waiting to be Picked

From the farmer's market this morning. My first visit this season. And it was broiling hot. And crowded. Next time, I need to go earlier in the day.

Waiting to Be Picked

Fortunately, the market takes up residence in the parking lot of a small Mall, and I was able to go in to cool off.

And look around this cool little store.

Cute journals that I have to resist. Because I have a "thing" for cute notebooks and I have at least a dozen empty ones at home, waiting to be written in.
Pretty Journals I Have to Resist

Colorful kitchen tools:
Colorful and Functional
Hmmm, my current colander is plastic with a broken handle. I continue to resist.

And the most beautiful paper lanterns:
Star of Persia

I managed to escape, only purchasing some DeCecco brand pasta. Next time, I just might buy a green colander, though.

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Cross Post - My First Blurb Book

Cross Posted from my other blog:

I finally started and completed my first Blurb Photo book. I signed up on Blurb several months ago after seeing some of their gorgeous books on the various blogs I peruse. I signed up and downloaded the software. And did nothing.

I think that was a month or two ago.

This past week, I received an email with a 15% discount code. I guess I'm a sucker for a sale, because I finally opened up the software and started creating a book featuring the pictures I took during last month's trip to London. I knew I had to act fast, because the discount code is only valid for a week.

Fortunately, the Blurb BookSmart software is really easy to use, with lots of useful layout templates. You can even modify the standard templates and save them as your own. I created a 40 page, 11"x13" book in about six hours. I uploaded it and ordered.

10.06.25 - Blurb Some Memories

This may be the solution to getting my daily pictures out of electronic format. I've lost my desire to scrapbook and don't want to get heavy into the Digital Scrapbooking thing (although this may be considered similar). I haven't printed out pictures since last August and well, I've taken several hundred (maybe even a thousand) since then. Blurb has an option to "slurp" my blog entries into a book, so I may check that out next.

This badge will preview the first 15 pages of the book. I'll report back once I receive it!


Oh, and for those who may be inclined to try Blurb out, the 15% Promo code is FIFTEENOFF, valid until June 30 at 11:59pm, Pacific Time.

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174/365 - Blurb Book

I finally started and completed my first Blurb Photo book. I signed up on Blurb several months ago after seeing some of their gorgeous books on the various blogs I peruse. I signed up and downloaded the software. And did nothing.

I think that was a month or two ago.

This past week, I received an email with a 15% discount code. I guess I'm a sucker for a sale, because I finally opened up the software and started creating a book featuring the pictures I took during last month's trip to London. I knew I had to act fast, because the discount code is only valid for a week.

Fortunately, the Blurb BookSmart software is really easy to use, with lots of useful layout templates. You can even modify the standard templates and save them as your own. I created a 40 page, 11"x13" book in about six hours. I uploaded it and ordered.

10.06.25 - Blurb Some Memories

This may be the solution to getting my daily pictures out of electronic format. I've lost my desire to scrapbook and don't want to get heavy into the Digital Scrapbooking thing (although this may be considered similar). I haven't printed out pictures since last August and well, I've taken several hundred (maybe even a thousand) since then. Blurb has an option to "slurp" my blog entries into a book, so I may check that out next.

This badge will preview the first 15 pages of the book. I'll report back once I receive it!


Oh, and for those who may be inclined to try Blurb out, the 15% Promo code is FIFTEENOFF, valid until June 30 at 11:59pm, Pacific Time.

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Big Blue Eyes

I don't believe I have posted any pictures of our newest family - Sammy the Siamese Cat. We adopted him from one of my daughter's friends. He's been with us for almost two weeks and we love his friendly disposition. I love his big blue eyes.

Big Blue Eyes

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Weekly Gratitude - Dishes [Routine]

Weekly Gratitude - Dishes to Clean

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173/365 - Fishing for Dinner

Scott took Brian fishing today, out at Kickapoo Park. It was a perfect summer day - not too warm with low humidity. And they brought home dinner!

Brian caught this crappy fish (pronounced "cr-ahhh-py")
What I Caught

The Catch

And we scaled it, gutted it and grilled it:
On the Grill

Delicious! We ate every bit of it and Brian wants more.

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Team Up Thursday - Shimmer

I think we both rocked this week's theme. Lee's beautiful shimmer on the lake and my morning shimmer of dew on the grass. The dichotomy of wide angle and close up. Color and monochromatic.

Team Up Thursday - Shimmer

I also enjoy viewing the diptychs in the Team Up Thursday flickr stream. So much inspiration to draw from.

Every Thursday I team up with my friend, Lee. One of us picks a theme and we create a diptych. We hope you enjoy your Thursday!

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Vintage

Too tired for words today. I hope you enjoy.

Huge Blooms

Raspberries Peeking Out

Processed with The Pioneer Woman's Actions for PSE, Soft and Faded.
Added a Viewfinder Texture, from ShadowHouse Creations.

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172/365 - Raspberry Time

At our last house*, I planted several raspberry bushes in the backyard. It was an easy thing to upkeep - the backyard was mostly wooded and I actually had time to tend to the plantings.

I had plans to plant some brambles here, too, along the western edge of the house, but just never got around to it.

But since my neighbors have planted their own raspberries and have offered up their fruit, I may get my raspberry fix without having to plant my own.

Or, I'll get inspired and finally plant my own.

Ripe and Ready

Or, maybe not.

* Our previous house in Indiana was sold again, this time to one of our previous co-workers and friends, Elissa and Tom. Elissa reported back to me that this year's raspberry crop is looking wonderful. And I remember being excited to pick a dozen or so berries the first year after I planted them. I'm just glad that the plants are still there, bearing fruit and enjoyment.

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For Today - Wednesday, June 23

I love the simplicity of this meme. If you want to participate, you can visit The Simple Woman's Daybook.

FOR TODAY:
Outside my window…sun and stifling heat and humidity.
I am thinking…about starting a Blurb Book.
I am thankful for…the great baseball season Brian’s team had, even though they lost their one and only game in the tournament final last night.
From the kitchen…we’ll eat leftovers tonight. With only two mouths at dinner tonight, nothing fancy is required.
I am wearing…khakis and a red polo shirt.
I am creating … a diptych for tomorrow’s Team Up Thursday blog post.
I am going…to spend time with the cats this evening since we were out yesterday.
I am reading… blogs, blogs and more blogs. I should be reading “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, as it is the book club selection for this month.
I am hoping…tomorrow morning won’t be as humid.
I am hearing…Beethoven’s Romance in F Major for Violin. I am re-learning this piece, 25 years after I first played it.
Around the house…the cats are sizing each other up as Sammy settles in. Sammy gets the basement, Hannah and Rascal reign the upper floors when we aren’t around to supervise.
One of my favorite things…nice cool drinks to offset the heat. I’ve been enjoying the mango iced tea I made this weekend.
A few plans for the rest of the week…Brian and Scott are planning to go fishing on Thursday at Kickapoo, then we’ll go see “Toy Story 3” in the evening. Erica arrives back from her 5 day mission trip late Friday night.

A picture to share - Lavender at the Door, taken during my trip to London in late May. I found so many interesting doorways and threshholds there. Very different from what you see here.
Lavendar By the Front Door

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Day 171 - Championship Game

After rain delays and wet fields, we finally arrived at the Farm League Championship game - our team vs the White Sox.

To add to the excitement, we played the "big field", a couple miles away from our normal field. That's because of the standing puddles of water in our normal field due to last night's torrential rains. Here, the backstop is further away from the batter's box, making the pitching / catching / stealing home dynamic very interesting.

A large crowd assembled to watch the game. By the end of the game, several neighbors and friends stopped by to watch.
Cheering On the Team

Our team started out ice cold, but hung within a couple of runs. Brian knew he had to score to keep things close:
Headed For Home Plate

Safe!
Slide and Safe

Down by two runs at the bottom of the last inning, it was deja-vu from our last game - two big hits and gusty base running by Gracin and Conner. Gracin managed to score, but then we were stymied.

And thus we were handed our only loss of the season. I could tell the team was a little disappointed, but the other team played a great game, and I think the pressure of going undefeated got to the kids.
A Little Disappointed

But, with some pizza, games and prizes, they finished off the evening with a team celebration.

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Weekly Gratitude - Catching Up

I've been behind creating my Weekly Gratitude posts. I hope to get caught up this weekend, and in the meantime, have two Gratitude pictures to share, using May's theme of "Body"

Weekly Gratitude - Eyes

Weekly Gratitude - Hands

I enjoyed digging these photos out, even though they were taken less than a month ago.

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170/365 - Nice and Orderly

One of the chores the kids endure - putting away the clean dishes out of the dishwasher. I often take care of the silverware, but today, Brian proved how organized he is.

10.06.21 - Nice and Orderly

Even I don't put the silverware away this neatly. I think he might be promoted in his duties.....

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Unexpected

I didn't expect to find a colorful scooter next to the kitchen garden. Sometimes the unexpected is just what you were meant to find.

Color in the Garden

I hope you find something beautiful and unexpected today.

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169/365 - Lazy Father's Day

There was a lot of lazing around today. The heat and humidity continue.

We've had Sammy for over a week now. The integration into our family continues to proceed fairly smoothly. Hannah and Sammy have been playing "tag" with each other. We think they'll up being buddies in the long run.

And why do they always seek out the sunny spot, even when it is 90 degF outside?
10.06.20 - Warm, Cozy Spot

In the evening, we found ourselves at the softball field, where a gorgeous sun was setting.
Sunset at The Softball Field

Hope you had a wonderful Father's Day!

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Mosaic Monday - Scenes From Allerton

A mosaic of a handful of the pictures I took at Allerton Park yesterday. For more information about the park, you can check out yesterday's SOOC post.

Scenes from Allerton Park

Mary from Little Red House hosts Mosaic Monday - you can check out the other beautiful mosaics there today and the rest of the week.

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Day 168 - Visit to Allerton Park

I finally had the opportunity to drive out to Allerton Park in Monticello this evening [to read the details about Allerton, please visit my SOOC Saturday Blog entry at shirleybehindthelens].

I enjoyed my evening there, even with the heat, humidity and mosquitoes.

10.06.19 - Allerton Gate

A couple more pictures from my visit:
Maze or Parterre

There was a wedding earlier in the day.
Wedding Remants in the Sunken Garden

Some flowers at sunset:
Wildflowers

I didn't have time to visit some of the parts of the park (like the sculpture at the far end of the park), so I'll have to go back. I'm thinking the fall.... then winter .... then spring again.

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SOOC Saturday - Visit to Allerton

I found myself in the most unusual situation this afternoon - no kids, no husband for the rest of the day and into the evening. So I made the most out of my temporary solitude by watching "The Top 100 One-Hit Wonders of the 80's" on VH-1.

Really, it was a step back in time to my high school and college years. So much fun.

But once the three hour show wrapped up (I bet you are curious what song took the #1 spot - I was, that's why I had to watch the entire show!), I drove out to Allerton Park in Monticello, IL.

Without going into too much detail, Allerton Park was once the private residence of Robert Allerton, now a part of the University of Illinois. The 1500 acre property includes extensive gardens, sculpture and art. I had hoped to visit the park "someday", and today was that day.

I'm sharing a couple of SOOC captures tonight - both from the peony garden (I'll have to go back next spring when they are in bloom):
Three Sisters

Sit Among the Grapes

I had a wonderful visit, and was glad to finally have the opportunity (and time) to experience the beautiful gardens.

Since it's SOOC Saturday, I'm linking to Melody at Slurping Life. There's still time today and tomorrow to share your SOOC captures there.

Edited to add:
The #1 One Hit Wonder of the 80s was..... "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners.
I know you know the lyrics -


Poor old Johnny Ray
Sounded sad upon the radio, he moved a million hearts in mono.
Our mothers cried and sang along and who'd blame them.
Now you're grown, so grown, now I must say more than ever.
Go Toora Loora Toora Loo-Rye-Aye
and we can sing just like our fathers.

Come on Eileen,
I swear (well he means) At this moment you mean everything,
With you in that dress my thoughts I confess verge on dirty
Ah come on Eileen.

These people round here wear beaten down eyes
Sunk in smoke dried faces they're so resigned to what their fate is,
But not us, no not us we are far too young and clever.
Remember Toora Loora Toora Loo-Rye-Aye
Eileen I'll hum this tune forever.

Come on Eileen, I swear, well he means
Ah come on let's take off everything,
That pretty red dress Eileen (Tell him yes)
Ah come on let's, ah come on Eileen, please.

#2 was "Take on Me" by Ah-Ha (a total 80s classic)
#3 was "Oh Mickey" by Toni Basil

So there you go! Have a great day!

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167/365 - Red, White and Blue

My friend, Jill, hosted book club tonight and she went with a patriotic theme of Red, White and Blue. With a blue chicken thrown in to coordinate with the cute chicken theme she has in her kitchen.

10.06.18 - Red White and Blue With a Chicken

Tonight's book club agenda - selecting the next six books for our group. Each member brings a book or two (or more) and we all vote. This allows for a diverse selection to pick from. The top six books are determined and we assign the reading schedule.

I brought two selections, The Happiness Project and Women, Food and God. These selections were a departure from my normal fiction suggestions, but I figured mixing things up never hurt anyone.

The group did choose The Happiness Project, which will be read in January. I think the timing is perfect. And when that time comes around, I'll report back what my group of friends thought about the book.

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Beads on Grass

Who knew simple blades of grass could be so elegant?

Delicate Trio

Rows of Beads

Found on my morning walk, just some prairie grass along the sidewalk. Amazing what you can find when you look.

Hope you have a wonderful Friday!

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