Tuesday, September 29, 2009

RIP Bageera

We lost a dear friend today. Fifteen years ago we decided we wanted a kitten. We went to the Humane Society and spent several hours handling and playing with all the kittens. Bageera, as we later named her, caught our eye. She had been found at a rest a stop on the highway along with her litter mates and brought to the shelter. She was so relaxed and would let you hold her in any position. Honestly, I had never seen a more relaxed cat or a more friendly one. She was special. She quickly became known for her ravenous appetite. She was like a dog. When I went grocery shopping I had to immediately put the groceries away or she would rummage through all the groceries bags and little cat teeth holes would be in all the food packages. We would wake up in the middle of the night to her banging on the cupboard doors where her cat food was kept. She loved her food.
Bageera lived with us for 8 wonderful years. But due to Craig's allergies becoming increasingly worse we made the difficult decision for her to go live at my parents house. We missed Bageera but still got to see her often. She was still "our" cat. For the last 7 years of her life she has lived with Gram and Pa-Pa and they gave her a wonderful life there. I am very grateful to them for that. Her kidneys had been failing for the last few years and today she was having major seizures. The vet said we could send her to the emergency hospital in Kalamazoo and put her on some extensive medical treatments but we felt it was time to say goodbye. Dad buried her in a beautiful garden. We'll miss you..........

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mommy loves us

I think we've died and gone to heaven. Look what Mom brought home from the grocery store for us! A ham bone!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Daddy sawed it in half and Seadra and I each got a piece. I don't know why Mom was feeling so generous. We only get a treat like this about twice a year.
Oh Yea!! It doesn't get any better than this.
Mom, put that camera away and don't even think about taking away my ham bone.
This is the life!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cooking for the birds

For some time now I've been wanting to make my own suet cakes for the birds. I've been reading up on the internet on how to do it. Most sights suggest you get beef fat from around the kidney from your butcher. Then there's the process of boiling down the fat and some say to do this outside because the smell is not pleasant. From there you add your other ingredients.
Well, I got my new "Birds and Blooms" magazine in the mail last week and there were several recipes for making your own suet that sounded so much easier than what I was reading on the internet. Yesterday I made my first batch. It couldn't have been any easier.....
Melt together:
2 cups Lard
1 cup peanut Butter
Then stir in:
2 cups Corn Meal
(note: make sure you use Lard which is animal fat and not shortening which is vegetable)
You can add anything you want such as seeds, raisins, oatmeal, etc. I just used crunchy peanut butter to give it some chunks. You can use anything to pour the mixture in. I used muffin tins and some shallow dishes.
Place the pans in the freezer and when completely frozen the suet will pop out easily.
I cut the suet into squares about the same size as my suet cages. Make sure you store the suet in the freezer. At room temperature the consistency is not much thicker than peanut butter. It's also best to use this suet in cold weather so it doesn't become too soft outside.

I'm anxious for my birds to test my suet. I'm waiting for them to finish up what's already in the feeders before I surprise them with their new suet treat.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New sport for Jordan

We are experiencing something new this year with Jordan... "Cross Country".
Jordan is not a long distance runner so she really went out on a limb deciding to run cross. Her motivation was to do a sport to help her stay in shape for track season. But it has turned into so much more than that for her. She never is at the top of her pack but each week she improves and sets goals for herself.
One day last week she had a particular bad day at practice and came home in tears. Coach mentioned a time that she should shoot for that was longer than the other girls were encouraged to shoot for. Jordan took this as Coach not having faith in her ability or confidence in her. Going into todays meet Jordan's best time was 29 minutes 55 seconds. Coach had told Jordan that he hoped Jordan's best time would be 28 minutes 30 seconds before the season was over.
.....well, Jordan passed the finish line at 28 minutes 3 seconds today!!!! Jordan was in tears when I approached her at the finish line. I asked her what was wrong not realizing they were tears of joy. She said "Mom, I ran really good". I grabbed her and gave her a hug and then I cried myself. It's times like these that make being a parent the BEST thing in the world!
Here's Coach congratulating Jordan and telling her how proud he is of her.... But he's not as proud as I am!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Jeep is DONE

It was a 6 month long project but it is finally done! Craig personally gave the Jeep a complete overhaul. New motor, new exterior (paint job), new interior, new wheels and tires.
We've been taking advantage of this wonderful weather the last few weeks and driving it every chance we get. Craig and I love to take the Jeep out on roads we've never been before. We just get in and drive and drive until we finally come out somewhere that we recognize.
Craig's very proud of his Jeep.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Congratulations HIEV

Congratulations to Jordan and to the "Hartford Indian Emerald Vanguard" on their first place award at the Rockford Invitational yesterday afternoon. They placed first out of 8 bands!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I was the recipient of a random act of kindness from a stranger yesterday. I wanted to share it with you. It was a small thing but had a big impact on me. I was at work and it was lunch time. I was in the hospital cafeteria in line at the cash register getting ready to pay for my lunch. Just as I was handing my debit card to the cashier to pay for my salad a stranger walks up to the cashier and hands the cashier a $5 bill as he says... "I'm buying her lunch today". This man, I'm guessing he was in his 50's, was a total stranger to me. And I have to admit... my first reaction was what kind of a sleazy weirdo was he, was he trying to hit on me or something? People just don't do that type of thing for no reason. No sooner had that thought entered my mind he says to me "Return the favor to someone else someday" and then he disappeared. I barely got the chance to utter Thank You. The cashier must have sensed my apprehension as he proceeded to tell me not to worry because he was harmless and often does that. WOW!

I couldn't get the smile off my face all the way back to my department. I didn't need that man to buy my lunch. Just the fact that there are people in this world who are willing to do such a thing made me smile. I bet he has no idea that I am still thinking about that small gesture he made yesterday or that I am blogging about it today.

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile..... Mother Teresa

Thursday, September 17, 2009

An afternoon walk

I was anticipating getting off work a little early this afternoon so when I left this morning I grabbed my camera and an old pair of shoes and threw them into the car. I finished work around 2:00 and then headed over to Sarett Nature Center. I walked around the marsh trails for about an hour and a half. I need to do that more often. Enjoy the pictorial from my walk.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Camouflaged Cat

I call this my bird garden. It's a little area on the edge of the back yard tucked under some trees. I don't have much planted in there except hostas but my birds love it. It's protected under the trees so they feel safe. I have several feeders and bird baths in there. I often sit in the back yard facing this little bird sanctuary with my binoculars and camera. Lately when I'm filling my feeders and cleaning around them I've noticed a lot of bird feathers on the ground like something has been attacking my precious birds. Today I even saw dismembered bird parts. And for the last several weeks I've seen a cat dart away when I walk towards that area. This does not make me happy!
Today I was sitting out in the yard enjoying the scenery when I saw a cat fly up out of nowhere and grab a bird right in front of my eyes! A short time later I walked over to the area and look what I spotted. This darn cat has his own camouflaged hideaway. I bet he spends all day there! And I bet he's a happy fat cat because of my bird garden!

Very soon this cat will be finding a new home.

America's Best Idea

There's a new documentary coming out on PBS starting Sept 27th for 6 nights. I am excited about it! Craig and I went to a preview showing in Kalamazoo Monday night and we listened to a park ranger from Sleeping Bear Dunes talk. I've always been fascinated by the National Parks and have dreamed of visiting them for a long time. We hope to head out west next summer to visit some. Anyway... this 12 hour documentary shows the beauty, history and so much more of the parks. Did you know there are 58 national parks in the US totaling more than 84 million acres? You can click here for the website and more info about the film. I encourage you to tune in. I know I will.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fall is on the way.....

I went to Jo-Anne's today and bought my yearly scarecrow and crow. Aren't they cute? They are really cheaply made but at $6 a piece I just throw them away at the end of the season.
Why do I love this time of year?

Cooler temperatures with lots of sunshine, warm during the day, cool at night, low humidity.... all the windows are open!

I bought my first pack of caramel apples today and already I've eaten 2 of them!

Football games and marching band competitions. Go "Hartford Indian Emerald Vanguard"

Big pots of soup, chili and goulash.

Sweatshirts and blue jeans.

Changing colors and falling leaves.

Rides in the Jeep with the top off.

Soon my pine siskins, juncos, redpolls, and other winter birds will be back.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What I'm willing to spend money on....

People who know me know that I am very frugal. I love shopping at thrift stores, grocery shopping at Save-a-lot or Aldi's, and going to flea markets and yard sales. It's almost like a game to me to see what kind of bargains or deals that I can find. But there are a few exceptions:

My Mac laptop! One of the doctors that I work for is a huge fan of Mac's and finally convinced me to try a Mac when I was in the market for a new computer. Mac has totally transformed me! I no longer want to throw my computer at the wall out of frustration. It is so easy to use and never gives me a bit of trouble. I will never buy another PC again.
There's a story behind my Maui Jim sunglasses. For years Craig and the kids have had expensive Oakley sunglasses. I always thought it was such a waste of money to spend that kind of money on a pair of sunglasses. Every year I would go and buy myself a cheap $10 pair but I never really liked any of them. They never fit right and always hurt my head but I still refused to purchase an expensive pair. One day Craig and I were in the mall and he walked me over to the Sunglass Hut store and had me try on a several pair of sunglasses. Before I knew it I had walked away with a $200 pair of sunglasses! The guilt I felt driving home knowing I had just spent that kind of money on a pair of sunglasses was overwhelming. But let me tell you, the guilt didn't last long and I now cannot live without my Maui Jim sunglasses!
You knew my birds had to belong to this list. I have tried every kind of cheap bird feeder on the market and I finally have realized it does not pay to buy a cheap feeder. I am a huge fan of Stokes bird feeders! They are sturdy and hold up in all kinds of weather. I have Stokes tube feeders, hoppers, platform feeders... they are awesome. Check them out the next time you are in the store (I find mine at Tractor Supply Company) they also have a website.
I still find myself occasionally buying another kind of laundry soap when I see something else on sale but I always go back to Tide. Nothing compares.
And here is my one beauty indulgence. If I could only have one beauty product this is the one I couldn't do without. I don't know how many different types of facial moisturizer I tried before a friend told me about Olay daily regenerating serum. It's the first thing I reach for out of the shower each morning. It's expensive at nearly $20 an ounce but it lasts a long time and is so worth it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bird Banding

Jordan and I went to the Kalamazoo Nature Center today. We walked around a bit and came upon a group of people catching birds in nets and then banding them and letting them go. We watched them band a downy woodpecker and a red eyed vireo. They had about 6 little cloth bags with birds squirming around inside them. Oh how I wanted to look in all those bags and see every one of those birds up close.
They let Jordan release the vireo. It was pretty neat and I was really envious watching them. As we were walking away Jordan said "Mom, you need a job like that."