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Thursday, June 30, 2016

July Instagram Challenge

Well, here it is  . . . The end of another month.  The summer is passing so quickly, but this year, the swiftness of the day's does not bother me so much because retirement means an "eternal summer" of sorts.   The month of June has been a scorcher here, so I can only imagine what July has to offer.  Let's think cool and have a little fun with these Instagram prompts.  Just like previous months, take a photo each day, interpreting the prompt however you'd like.  If you get behind or need to skip a few days, it's no big deal.  Just jump back in whenever you can.  Be sure to label your photos with the hashtag listed below.

For more information about what I do with my Instagram photos and "photo-a-day" photos once I've posted them, check out this blog post from last year.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Wedding Work

For the last couple of years, I occasionally help my friend Vickie in her florist business, Young Blooms.  She is a small business that operates out of her own home, and she hires friends to help out from time to time.  Her latest project was the wedding of one of our mutual friends' daughter's wedding.  The family has been a family friend of my family for many years and I have watched Alissa grown up from infancy.  About a week ago, I met with Vickie to make last-minute plans and to look for a few floral accessories that she needed.  Allisa and her fiance' had chosen navy, gray and pink for the wedding and they both love roses and peonies (who doesn't, right??).  Then, this week, I spent all day Thursday helping her (and a friend, Megan) prepare anything that could be done in advance.

I was on "bow duty", so as Vickie and Megan completed the boutonnieres, I added ribbon.
and made pew bows.
We also created all of the arrangements for the reception tables before heading down to the chapel to begin work on the requested arch.
The construction of the arch was tricky, but by the end of the day, the chapel was looking like this:
Because the wedding was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, we needed to have as much as possible in place by Friday night, so we returned that afternoon to place all except the most delicate flowers.  There was quite a bit of engineering involved in counter-balancing the weight of the flower blocks that would be used in the center of the arch, and we were all completely exhausted by the time we left, but everything was beginning to look so pretty!
Saturday morning, I was scheduled to meet Vickie at the chapel at 7 a.m. to put on the finishing touches before heading to reception venue to set up things.  Unfortunately, I set my alarm for the wrong time and just happened to awake at 6:45, jump out of bed and into the shower.  Ron was completely stunned by how fast I got ready---and I was so relieved that the chapel was only a 5 minute drive from my house!!  I made it there before Vickie arrived and was able to place the outdoor plants (beautiful white hydrangeas) before she got there.  
Her husband and I climbed the ladders and wired the centerpiece in place.  Vickie really outdid herself--the chapel looked beautiful!  
We drove back to their house, loaded up both of our vehicles with the sweetest smelling cargo you can imagine!   Vickie joked that it reminded her of the lines in "Steel Magnolias"  when Shelby corrects her mother about the colors of her wedding:
M'Lynn:  "Her colors are pink and pink."
Shelby:  "My colors are blush and bashful, Mother."
Poor Vickie woke up ill Saturday morning, so I was so glad she had planned for me to help out on Saturday--it took a little bit of the load off of her.  I was able to take some photos for her portfolio, which was fun.  Here are few of my favorites.
I love working with Vickie and am beginning to learn some basics about floral arrangement.  One of my favorite elements that Alissa and Kellan included was using their bicycles in the reception decorations.  Vickie designed flowers to go on them while I hand-lettered a sign for the back
and added some wording to the tiny cans that she'd painted.  
The wedding so perfectly reflected the couple.  Their personalities were evident in every aspect of the celebration and I couldn't be happier for them and their families.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer Food

Those of you that know me even a little bit, know that I do NOT consider myself a cook at all.  I like to eat, but cooking has never been my favorite thing.  My domestic talents seem to lie with sewing rather than creating interesting meals, so recipes need to be easy, and not involve a bunch of unusual ingredients.  I tend to eat the same things over and over, particularly for breakfast and lunch.  I also know myself well enough to know that if I don't have my meals planned out a little bit, I am NOT going to take the time to prepare something that is healthy, but will instead turn to filling myself up on unhealthy snacks from the pantry.

So, here it is summer (a somewhat eternal summer for me, now) and I'm home a good part of many days.  I've been trying to have healthy foods available in my fridge (fruit and such), and have planned several dinners to cook each week so that I won't be eating out as much or snacking.  This morning, I realized that I had a grilled chicken breast in my refrigerator that needed to be used right away, so I invited Callie over for lunch and whipped up my favorite chicken salad.

For those of you that find yourself struggling with difficult recipes and not enough time, this recipe is super simple and quick to mix up.
1.  Using my mini food processor, I finely chopped the chicken.  
2.  One chicken breast was more than the two of us could eat at one meal, so I bagged up half of it and popped it into the freezer for another day.
3.  Since my chopper was out, I also chopped up a handful of pecans and added them to the bowl of chicken.
4.  I like grapes in my chicken salad, but only had 3 grapes in the refrigerator??  What's with that??  Well the grandkids did just leave a few days ago.
5.  No one in my family likes mayonnaise, including me, so I use it VERY sparingly--just enough to make things stick together.
6.  That's it!  Stir it up and spread it on a sandwich round.

After sharing that with Callie, she shared a simple recipe with me---Zucchini Frittata.  Using this recipe as inspiration, I adapted it to fit what was in my refrigerator this evening.  I used eggs, 2% milk, 3 slices of cooked bacon, sliced yellow squash and fresh cherry tomatoes from my garden.   The recipe works best using a cast iron skillet (which I don't have), so I used a stoneware quiche pan instead.  It was super simple to make and looked really nice when I took it out of the oven.    
The best part, though, was how tasty it was!!  Yum!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sunflowers + Some Freebies

Last weekend was the annual Sunflower Festival in nearby Gilliam, LA.  I have been able to go visit the sunflower fields each year for the past 7 or 8 years, but have never been in town on the day of the festival itself, so I was looking forward to it.  With temperatures soaring and a heat advisory in effect, we picked up Callie and the boys in the morning hoping to avoid the worst of it.  After parking, I suggested going ahead and taking a few photos while the boys were both fairly content.
Baby D LOVED running up and down the rows of sunflowers.

He was distracted by a few interesting rocks,
and airplanes overhead,
but otherwise he beamed as he made his way back and forth.

Baby D2 slept through most of the adventure.
After a few photos, we walked over to the festival.  There was coloring for the kids (and a nice big fan behind that booth, so we didn't mind waiting).
We were all so hot that we didn't take time to look around much, but there were craft booths and a few food booths, as well.  There was even a booth manned by local firefighters, which made for a happy toddler!
Our visit to the festival itself was fairly brief---I've heard the saying that "even my eyelids were sweating", but this was the first time I'd ever actually experienced it!  We stopped (with the car A/C running) along the Sunflower Trail for me to cut some to bring home with us and to take a few photos.
Here are some of my favorites from the morning.
But, my favorite photo is one I snapped with my iPhone of this sweet little sunflower!
I added some favorite quotes of mine to some of my photos.  If you would like to download them, simply click on the photo and save it to your own computer.  Enjoy!

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