photo p1_zpsc8a7232f.png  photo j2_zpsc3f43514.png  photo p2_zpse73671a0.png  photo j2_zpsc3f43514.png  photo p3_zps456abd62.png  photo j2_zpsc3f43514.png  photo p5_zps95486d0f.png  photo j2_zpsc3f43514.png  photo p4_zps481d5f13.png

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

A wedding, a flock of cowbirds, and a good book.

Here's what we've been up to lately...

Two weekends ago, Dan and I along with my mom and my brother attended my cousin's son's wedding. (I guess that makes him my second cousin? Or does that make him my first cousin once removed? I'm not good with all the technical names for family relationships.) 

It was such a beautiful wedding! It was held at Adaumont Farm in Trinity, NC.  What a lovely venue for a wedding!

Here's a quick picture I took as we headed to our seats:

I failed to take any pictures during the reception but the indoor space was gorgeous and the food was absolutely delicious.  The bride and groom were so sweet and I just know they are going to have a wonderful life together!

Last week was Peter's spring break.  He and some friends spent 5 nights at Tybee Island, GA.  It was pretty chilly but it sounds like they had a good time anyway.

He sent me a couple of beach shots.  

One afternoon there was a St. Patrick's Day parade on Tybee and the boys enjoyed that.  They also spent one day  in Savannah. They decided to spend the last night in Hilton Head, SC with some other friends who were there for spring break.  Then he came home and spent the weekend with us!

It was so nice having him home for a couple of days.  I'm always happier when my babies are home. :)

Speaking of my babies.... BIRD babies... Even though it's been very cold here, I put out my hummingbird feeders.  I want to be ready when the scouts get here so they make sure to tell the rest of their friends that the crazy bird lady has her feeders out again this year.  I also got some new feeders.  They are much more sturdy and nicer quality than my previous hummingbird feeders.  My brother and Dan think they look old-fashioned and a little granny like.  Maybe they're right, but I think they're pretty though.



I'm interested to see if the hummingbirds and the other birds get along or if having all of their feeders close together will cause problems.  One day last week, about 10 fairly good sized birds landed on my platform feeder and cause quite a scene.  They were extremely hateful and chased other birds away.  I finally had to go outside and chase them away! A quick google search revealed that they were brown-headed cowbirds.  I only saw a couple more the next day so I'm hoping they stay away. Apparently they like to destroy eggs of smaller songbirds.


And in non-bird related news, I've been trying to read more. I recently read Verity by Colleen Hoover and while I enjoyed the thriller aspect of the book, I did NOT enjoy the romantic aspect of it.  There were too many well-described "love" scenes if you get my drift which felt like I was reading pornography. 

Thrillers and murder mysteries are my favorite book genre at the moment.  It's also my favorite tv show genre as well.  I love First 48, Forensic Files, Dateline, and any good crime documentary. I've spent way too much time lately on the Alex Murdaugh trial but was glad he was found guilty.  Now I'm interested to see if Buster had anything to do with Stephen Smith's death....

I just finished  The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I thoroughly enjoyed it and finished it in 2 1/2 days.  There were twists and turns and I was never really sure "who did it" until the very end.  And bonus - no gratuitous sex scenes! Probably a lot of you have read it as it's been out for a while and it was made into a movie.  But if you like a good suspenseful story and haven't read it, I definitely recommend it!

I went back to the library this morning and picked up a couple more books.  I'll let you know what I think of those when I'm done.  

Have you read any good books lately?  What's your favorite genre?

Friday, March 3, 2023

Car issues, spring break, and of course, birds.

Last week was full of car issues but on Friday (the 24th) I still managed to drive down to Charlotte to pick Sarah up, drive her back home for a doctor's appointment and then drive her back to Charlotte. (My brother drove with us and we walked around campus with him.  He went there too and was shocked at all the changes to the campus in the last 35 years.) Her spring break started last Friday and some of her friends were coming to Charlotte for a concert and spent the weekend with Sarah and Gabi.  

Gabi drove Sarah home on Sunday evening and then on Monday we went BACK to Charlotte to pick up Sarah's car.  (Hoping and praying we don't have any other issues with it but I think we got a lemon so I'm just waiting for the next issue to appear.)

Sarah has spent the week relaxing but we did manage a Target run, a Starbucks run, and after four stores found the lotion she has been searching for. (EOS Body Lotion in Vanilla Cashmere scent).  She and I checked four stores together but she estimates that she checked 15 stores in Charlotte and they were always out.  It smells really good and I guess some influencers were talking about it online which was making it hard to find.  

She and Cheyanne spent some time in downtown Winston taking pictures and  this one is my favorite:

She is now in Raleigh hanging out with Joe and I think she is planning to see Peter too while she's there.  Then she'll head back to Charlotte on Sunday evening and her spring break will be over.  Just a couple of months and her freshman year will be over.  I can't believe how fast it's all going.  

She's having a really great school year. She's made a lot of new friends, she's extremely involved in the Emerging Leaders program, her grades are wonderful and she's definitely excited about her major.   I'm so proud of her!

Peter's spring break will be the week after next. He will be spending a chunk of it at Tybee Island with friends and will be spending some time here at home.  I'm excited to see him.

Before I end this post, I have to mention my birds!  Now that the weather is warming up, we are seeing lots of new species at the feeders.  We now have dark-faced junkos and wrens and sparrows!  I also spent some time this week trying to figure out if what I had been calling chickadees were in fact nuthatches but alas, they were chickadees.  At least now I know for sure. :)  

This morning  I noticed a mourning dove in the yard and this afternoon one flew up to the window, landed on the sill, and stared at me.  It startled me because doves are pretty big.  I also witnessed a very aggressive titmouse scaring away a timid chickadee this morning.  The titmouse did not want to share the feeder.  I think I need to have a talk with him.  There's plenty of food to go around.

And Dan wonders why the house is always dirty....

Monday, February 13, 2023

The cutest little gold hoop earrings and a list of other jewelry that if I want I will have to get for myself.

Let's talk earrings for a minute, shall we? I just got the daintiest pair of  gold hoop earrings  and I wanted to share them with y'all.

gold hoop earring

Aren't they just the cutest? I shared the image of the model wearing them so you could see the scale. (Please note, I tried to take an attractive selfie of my ear but realized there aren't enough filters on the internet to fix my wrinkles, jowls, and overall awkwardness, so a stock photo of a beautiful model wearing the earrings it is!)

Once I settle on earrings that I like, I leave them in 24/7/365. I'm lazy that way. Because these are gold vermeil they won't turn so I don't ever need to take them out.  They are also so dainty and light that they don't bother my stretched-out piercing holes.  Sadly, the heavy over-sized hoops I wore in the eighties really did a number on my ear lobes.

I bought these for myself because they are pretty, practical, and priced-right. I also bought them for myself because Dan and I never exchange gifts.  We made that agreement years ago and it works great for us. (No stress, no pressure during the holiday season!)  But Valentine's Day is tomorrow so I thought I would share some other earrings I would not be mad about receiving from Dan if he decided to break our rule and give me something. :)

Look at these gorgeous gold hoops with diamonds.  So pretty! I'm sure they would be too heavy for me to wear all day, every day, but they would be perfect for a special occasion or even a date night.

gold hoop diamond earrings
These look like fun.  But am I too old for something that dangles like this? Since I wear glasses I tend to stay away from a larger  earring because a large earring paired with glasses seems like there's too much going on around my face.

gold hoop earring
Speaking of oversized hoops from the eighties that did a number on my piercings...

gold hoop earring with pearls

I'm definitely too old for something like this but aren't they pretty? Earrings like this make me miss my youth. I would have definitely rocked these back in college with my giant permed hair! Oh, those were the days!

These delicate pearl hoop earrings might be better for my current age and stage. They are a little more refined and would look great with any outfit.

small gold hoop earring pearl

Look at these stunning 3 carat diamond solitaire earrings? Large diamonds are definitely the way to my heart.  You know what they say about diamonds..."they never go out of style".  Or is it "the bigger, the better"?  Maybe it's both!

diamond solitare earring

And last but not least,  these little beauties:

These are fun and actually kind of cute! I love that I could wear the helmet in my first piercings and then the little footballs in the second piercings.  If I had season tickets to the Patriots (and lived in Massachusetts), these would be in my jewelry box!

That's going to wrap up my little list of earrings I would love to receive. I hope everyone has a great Valentine's Day! Would you wear any of these hoop earrings? Do you  exchange Valentine's Day gifts with your significant other?  If so, what are you hoping for? 


This blog post was created in collaboration with Responsival.



Monday, February 6, 2023

Quick weekend recap....

Dan made it home on time on Thursday evening and one of the first things he said was, "What's going on here?" when he glanced at my new bird feeder and bird bath.  Sorry, dear.  I'm a crazy bird lady now.


The next morning, he said, "I see we've regressed in regards to the throw pillow situation."

And to this I could only laugh out loud.  Like any woman, I love a bunch of throw pillows on the bed. Like any man, Dan doesn't appreciate their beauty and thinks the only purpose they serve is to make it hard to get into the bed at night and make it hard to make up the bed in the morning.  Since he is the one who typically makes up the bed in the morning, I removed all the throw pillows to make him happy.  I did keep two pillows with shams on them so that at least the bed looked "finished".

Well, while he was in Ireland, I cleaned out the linen closet and found a throw pillow that I had forgotten about and placed it lovingly on our bed.   Dan, who doesn't typically notice things around the house, noticed it immediately.  But it's just one little old pillow so I'm hoping it doesn't cause him too much stress when he's making up the bed. :)

Peter came home for the weekend!  Apparently a lot of his friends were going home as well so he decided it was the perfect time for a visit since there wouldn't be anything going on.  We had a lovely time.

Friday night was very cold but he wanted a fire in the fire pit so we obliged.  On Saturday he and Dan and my brother ran some errands and got lunch together and then we went to Mass Saturday night. After Mass we tried a new burger joint in Winston, Heff's Burger Club. While it was good, it still doesn't beat our favorite, Nick's

On Sunday, we had lunch at mom's and my uncle was able to join us! We haven't seen him since before Christmas.  He was sick right after Christmas, and then my mom got sick, and next thing you know - it's February. It was good to see him and since Peter was home, the table felt full for a change! 

I made a delicious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting from scratch using the recipe on the back of the Hershey Cocoa box.  It was so good! 

It was easy to make and just as the  name suggests, it was perfectly chocolate!

That's it for now.  Check back later this week for more bird pictures... 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Bird feeders, Invisalign, Trader Joe's!

Just checking in from this dreary February 1st.  We've had a lot of rain lately but I'm just glad we haven't had any snow!

Dan's been in Ireland for the last two weeks and will be home tomorrow night! 

I know you've all been sitting on pins and needles wanting a bird update so here ya go...

I got another bird feeder in the hopes of enticing more cardinals.  I did a little research (aka Google search) and determined that cardinals need either a platform feeder, a hopper feeder, or a suet feeder. I immediately headed to Walmart and got them a platform feeder - which is basically a larger open dish. 

Here is a photo to illustrate:

 And it came with a "bird bath" which is essentially a less attractive bowl:

While I have yet to see any cardinals eating from it, the other birds are really enjoying the platform feeder.  Most mornings I will find the tufted titmouses (tufted titmice?) eating from the platform feeder and then heading to the original feeder up against the window.  I have even occasionally seen a couple of birds drinking from the bird bath.

So, it is officially official - your girl is a crazy bird lady.  I am contemplating getting one of these for the spring when my hummingbirds return:

Just kidding!  Although.......

In other news, I just started week 10 of wearing Invisalign. Which means I am 1/4 of the way done!  My teeth are definitely moving so that's promising.  I am supposed to keep them in between 20-22 hours per day.  I think I am averaging 21. I was hoping to be at 22 on a regular basis but since you can't have them in your mouth when drinking coffee that's not going to happen.  

The kids are doing well. Sarah was accepted into the Emerging Leaders Program at school.  Last semester she applied and interviewed and was accepted.  They had several mixers where they got to meet the other students in the program.  And this semester they are meeting once a week.  She will be listening to speakers, participating in workshops, learning about leadership opportunities on campus, and participating in community service and social events. Last weekend there was an overnight retreat off campus and she got to really get to know some of the other members, did team building activities and learned about different leadership styles.  

After the retreat, she booked it home and spent Saturday night here.  I like to think that she came home to see me but I know she really just came home to see Joe who happened to be home to see NC State play Wake Forest in Winston-Salem.  But I don't care why she came home, I just glad she did!

Here is a picture of Sarah and Joe. Aren't they the cutest???


Peter and his fraternity spent the weekend in Pigeon Forge.  They had a blast and among other things got to ride on the Smokey Mountain Alpine Coaster which is the longest one in the US!  

I got to go to lunch with Mom and Jennifer on Saturday afternoon.  It was a nice treat and I loved spending time with both of them.  We meant to get the waiter to take our picture but we forgot. :(

I had my yearly mammogram yesterday and as a treat to myself, I went to Trader Joe's afterwards.  I got some lovely tulips:

My main reason for going was to grab some Green Goddess seasoning.  I love that stuff!  While I was there I also picked up their Salmon Rub and used it last night.  I was not a fan.  I didn't think it had any flavor.  Either that or I didn't use enough but I wasn't impressed.

I also grabbed some Chile Spiced Pineapple Rings.  They were very chewy and very spicy.  A nice little treat but I think I would have preferred plain dried pineapple to the Chile spiced variety.  

I got some Brazil nuts as well.  I have heard that two Brazil nuts a day are good antioxidants and have a host of health benefits.  I'll be sure to let you know how healthy I am in a few weeks! :)

I also picked up some chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzel bites, vegetable fried rice, and Kung Pao Chicken.  I haven't tried those yet, but I am hoping they are good.

Do you guys shop at Trader Joe's?  What are your favorite items?

Friday, January 13, 2023

Tumblers and Birds

I ended my last post with a picture of Peter and my mom before he left to go back to Raleigh, so I thought I would start this post with a picture of Sarah and my mom before she left to go back to Charlotte.

Both kids started back to class on Monday and they seem to be settling in well.  I am praying they both have a great semester!

I have set a few goals for myself this year and one of them is to drink at least 90 ounces of water a day.  "They" say that in order to lose weight you need to be drinking a ton of water - roughly half your body weight in ounces.

I have a Built tumbler (that I believe is technically Sarah's but she's not here and I am so, I've been using it.)  

This cup is under $13 at Walmart and keeps ice frozen overnight and the water is nice and cold!   BUT - it doesn't have a handle and there isn't a straw so you actually have to take sips.  On a good day, I've been managing to drink about 45 ounces of water.  (I prefer coffee and Diet Dr. Pepper thank you very much.)

All during the Christmas season, I saw moms and teen-aged daughters going crazy for a Stanley tumbler.  This thing was selling out online and while it's pretty, I just didn't get the hype.

These things are $40 and were flying off the shelves.  I am not about to spend $40 on a tumbler when I have a daughter who has a collection of water bottles, tumblers, cups with straws, etc. all sitting in a closet here because she only has room for one water bottle at school. But when I was in Marshall's yesterday I saw this:

It has a handle and a straw and is very similar to the Stanley but was only $16.99, so I grabbed it on a whim.  It felt like an impulse purchase and a bad one at that because I have a perfectly good water tumbler at home. 

But y'all, just after owning this thing for 24 hours, I cannot sing it's praises enough!  I came home, washed it, filled it up and in less than 2 hours, I had consumed 40 ounces of water.  FORTY!!! With the Built cup, it would take me ALL AFTERNOON to drink a mere 30 ounces.  

It isn't even noon on day two of owning this thing and I am almost done with my second 40 ounces of the day!  That's 80 ounces BEFORE LUNCH!

What kind of magic is this?  I honestly think it's the straw.  The straw and the handle.  The straw makes drinking it so much easier than sipping from the opening in the lid.  And the handle makes toting it around from room to room so much easier.  It was definitely worth $16.99 and now that I am a water drinking fool, I expect the weight to slide off effortlessly!  insert laughing face emoji here

I don't think the ice lasts as long in this cup as it did in the Built tumbler but I'm drinking the water so fast that I don't think it's an issue. 

So, moral of the story:  if you are having trouble getting in your water for the day, use a straw!  

In other news, the cardinals have finally figured out how to use the bird feeder.  Several months ago, we had a male and female cardinal show up to the bird feeder.  They both just sat there looking at it and looking around.  Neither one of them seemed to figure out that they needed to perch on the edge and eat out of it.  They looked so forlorn and were looking around as if to say, "We heard there's free food here but WHERE IS IT????" 

Occasionally the female would come and sit underneath it and look around looking for the food but she could never figure out what to do.  It was so pathetic.  What was probably even more pathetic is that I was trying to tell her what to do from behind the kitchen sink.  "Hop up on the ledge.  Turn around and hop up on the ledge.  Watch the chickadee.  Do what she's doing!" Not only could she not hear me because I was inside and she was outside, she couldn't understand me because she's a bird and doesn't speak English. But when you are a crazy bird lady, none of this matters.

On Wednesday, I looked up and there was a male cardinal eating from the bird feeder.  I was elated!


After watching him eat for a few minutes, I determined that the feeder might be a little small for him and it's probably hard for him and his big self to eat easily from this particular feeder.  So now I am considering getting another larger feeder.  What is wrong with me?  

In other bird related news,  I started following the Audubon Society on Instagram. (It come up under Suggest For You. I guess even Instagram knows my love of birds.) They announced yesterday that the Audubon Photography Awards were officially open for entries so I was thinking about submitting the above photo.   Just kidding!

But seriously, though, if you like birds, you should give them a follow.  The images are spectacular and there are so many beautiful birds that I never knew existed.  

Since it's Friday, I'll leave you with this funny meme:

Why do I feel attacked?  :)



Thursday, January 5, 2023

What's been happening around here: December 26th until the present.

On the morning after Christmas, we were sitting around the breakfast table with Cathy and Eric trying to plan our day.  We thought that a trip to the Biltmore House would be a nice way to spend the day but due to my lack of poor planning, they were already sold out for tickets through the rest of the week.  It was a bummer because the Biltmore House is especially beautiful during Christmas but I wasn't too bummed because basic tickets at Christmas are $124 PER PERSON.  YIKES!

So we decided to head to Greensboro to tour  The International Civil Rights Museum. Our tour guide was excellent (and extremely passionate about civil rights) and it was so neat to see the actual lunch counter in it's spot where the sit-in took place in 1960 in the actual Woolworth's store.  They did not allow pictures inside the exhibits but here's a few I pulled online.

After the tour, we went to lunch at Mac's Speedshop and then we went to LeBauer Park where they had an outdoor skating rink set up. The rink was pretty tiny and it was packed.  I opted to watch since I really don't need any broken extremities and Peter (who like me, doesn't really care for ice skating) took a drive through Greensboro while the other's "skated". And I use that term loosely since it seemed for the most part, they were just trying not to fall!  But Cathy and Eric were good sports about it and I *think* they enjoyed themselves.

Later that night, we all settled around the television and watched Shutter Island.  We all really enjoyed it.

The next morning, Sarah had a dentist appointment. When she got back from that we headed to The Porch for a late lunch and then we went bowling.  It's been a while since I bowled and even though I was horrible at it, it was still a lot of fun.

On our way home, we swung by the Shell Service Station.  There were 8 of these built in the Winston-Salem, NC area in 1930 and this is the only one surviving.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.  It is considered "novel architecture" and was built when the new owner of the local Shell distributor decided he needed to bring brand awareness to the area. It actually used to be a working service station. It's so cute!


After dinner we watched Point Break.  Everyone really enjoyed it (it was such a blast from the past). Even Peter enjoyed it.  He said it started off slow but then picked up and was very enjoyable.

On Wednesday morning, Eric and Cathy headed back to Washington and we attempted to get things in order.  I was behind on laundry, there were lots of gifts that needed to be put in their proper place, the floors needed to be swept, we needed some groceries, the whole nine yards. Later that night we had a fire in the fire pit and then watched Knives Out.  It was an excellent movie!On the night of the 23rd, we watched Snatch which was also enjoyable.  


I'm so out of the loop but apparently there's an app called Letterboxd, It's a social app where you can record all the movies you've seen and share your opinion on them.  Peter uses it and came up with these movies because they were recommended by his friends.  (With the exception of Point Break.  Eric had read that it was about to leave Netflix so we wanted to see it before it was too late.)

Peter had plans on New Year's Eve, so he headed back to Raleigh and we enjoyed our traditional New Year's Eve meal with Jennifer and her family at Tokyo Japanese Steak House. 

Our dinner reservation was at 8:15.  We were home by 9:45 and I was in bed by 11:00.  I know some will think that's lame but I'm an old lady who needs her sleep.  

Peter came home the next day and we watched the Panthers blow their last chance to make it to the playoffs. On Monday, we took down all the Christmas decorations and ran some errands and not much else.  Then on Tuesday, Dan was back to work and Sarah spent the day with Joe and Peter hung out here around the house.  Then yesterday, he headed back to school but I snapped this cute picture of him with mom right before he left:

And Sarah headed to Oak Ridge to hang out with the Basement and she's currently still there which is affording me time to catch up on blogging, paying bills, laundry, etc. 

And that my friends is what we've been up to since Christmas day! Happy New Year!


Christmas 2022

Merry Christmas!   We had a wonderful holiday season around here and I hope you all did as well.

Dan made it home from his trip to Ireland late on December 22nd.  And then he and Sarah were up early to drop her car off at the dealership for some diagnostics to determine the cause of a problem she is having.  (This situation is still not resolved and will be an entirely too-long and probably too-boring post at some point in the future so stay tuned for that.) 

They spent the morning shopping for my stockingitems (because everyone knows that the oldest daughter in the family is responsible for Mom's happiness on Christmas morning.)  But to be fair, at least Dan knows he has a better chance of getting items that will make me happy if Sarah helps him out. Later that afternoon they made cookies as is their tradition:

Then before we knew it Christmas Eve had arrived!  We went to the Christmas Eve Candlelight and Lovefeast Service at the Moravian Church I grew up attending with my mom and brother and Jennifer's family and then came back to our house for snacks.  I made a delicious mixed drink and it was a hit!

 And sadly, this is the only photo I got but we had a great time!

On Sunday morning, Dan and I got up around 8:00 and put all the presents out and then had to force the kids out of bed to unwrap gifts.  If we weren't trying to make the 11:00 Christmas Mass, they probably would have slept until Noon!

Every year, I choose a wrapping paper for Peter and a different one for Sarah. Since their school colors are Christmas appropriate I opted for that this year.  Sarah's pile was UNCC green and white and gold and Peter's pile was NC State red, white and black.

Family selfie in our Christmas PJs!


After the gift unwrapping, we got dressed and headed to Mass. When we got back from Mass, Cathy and Eric had arrived from D.C. and we all headed next door to eat lunch with mom and Brad. After a delicious lunch of steak and twice baked potatoes and salad and chocolate cake, we unwrapped more gifts and took our annual family photo.

And then Peter played guitar and sang for us.  He's been adding more songs to his repertoire and in my opinion is sounding better and better! And then we went back to our house and exchanged a few more presents.

 And just like that - Christmas day was over!