Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Beauty, butterflies and the Baldknobbers! Where else but Branson!

A two week shut down from work can only mean one thing...

"Road trip"!

We were hoping for a vacation filled with nature's beauty, old fashioned layed back towns where life is unhurried, and entertainment leaves you clapping for more with standing ovation talent!  We indeed found it!
We left Monday the 24th at 5:30 a.m. and headed west on I-70.  We crossed the Mississippi River about 11:00 a.m. and stopped in historic St. Charles for lunch.
Dennis drove and drove and drove and...

Crossing the bridge over the mighty Mississippi River.
It was Monday and the town was closed.  It was an adorable town though.  We did find a cafe open and had a quick lunch and it was back on I-70 west toward Springfield, MO and south on State Route 65 to our destination,  Branson.   We took the pick up (with no air) because I wanted to bring back statuary for the garden.  So after calling ahead for a room at the Big Cedar Lodge, we arrived hot and tired.  
After a 12 hour drive in 87 degree weather, still smiling.

The view from our room was amazing!

As was our room!  I love lodge style building and decoration.  Big Cedar definitely had top notch decor and attention to detail was amazing.  Upon entering the resort, we drove over two waterfalls.  We showered and dressed and headed down to one of many restaurants on the property.  It was very relaxing looking out over the lake with live piano solo played for calm entertainment.

The Truman House.  Once an original residence to the property.

Beautiful colorful floral gardens everywhere!  Quite stunning!
We woke early and took a scenic train ride of the ozarks.

We spent our time taking in the historic town, browsed some shops, went to the Chinese Acrobats of Shanghai show.  It was fabulous.  Returned back to Big Cedar and checked into our one room cabin.

One great destination full of nature's beauty.  Lovely.  From then on our days were filled with exploring the area.  Taking a ride to see the surroundings.  Very beautiful in all directions.   I saw so many vibrant wild flowers along the roadside, I could have had a nice little book as remembrance and reference.  I didn't take photos because it was too dangerous with curving hilly roads.  We stopped in the Army Corps of Engineers building and read about the making of the dam,  the butterfly palace,  shows and other attractions such as The Acrobats of China, the Osmonds, the Moscow Circus hosted by Yakov Smirnoff.  He's a wonderful artist.  He made a mural and it was displayed at ground zero in New York city in honor of those who perished in disaster and their families.  This of course, caught my eye and his story in becoming an American citizen is inspiring and very interesting.  He's also a very personable approachable human being.  I watched on as he engaged in conversation with an enlisted female soldier and I was in awe being so close to that interaction. 
 God Bless our troops and the sacrifices they have made with their lives so that I am able to enjoy such a trip.
Branson is so respectful and mindful of our troops.  It was so moving to hear first hand their talented dedications in their honor.  It was even more moving to see all those that stood and were military veterans.
God Bless every one of them.

However you spend your Memorial Day weekend, also remember in appreciation and thankfulness our troops and fallen military.  Be safe.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Enjoying time with a little of this and a little of that.

Enjoying time off with a little of this and a little of that.

While browsing, I came across this neat piece of art of By The Bay Artist.
I love it and it expresses me completely today.  Another cool, gloomy, rainy, catnapish, make some cookies and coffee kind of day.  What kind of cookies?  Today, it would be snickerdoodles.  Pretty easy and usually you already have the ingredients without having to run out for something.

Snickerdoodle Cookies
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 c. sugar
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1 egg
1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
Cream together sugar, margarine, egg & vanilla.  Mix baking soda and cream of tartar into flour.  Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until blended.  Use rounded teaspoon fulls rolled in a ball and roll in cinnamon - sugar mixture.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 13-15 minutes in 350 degree oven.
Enjoying the quiet today and while on another cup of coffee, just reflecting on what a great week and weekend it's been.

Had a great and special ladies lunch last Tuesday.  We went to La Fiesta in town.  It was special because it was Rylan's birthday and he was entertained with birthday song from the waiters of the restaurant and got to wear the great sombrero and celebrate with a nice ice cream sundae!  Haven't seen Karen in a while and got filled in on some of her family news.  It's always good to catch up on family and how others are doing.
On Thursday it was another drizzly day.  Went to a mall with my sister, Jean.  She helped me pick out a man's handerkerchief used to make a ring bearer's pillow for a very good friend of Jamie whose daughter is getting married this October.  We hit Bath & Body Works and selected some hand soaps that we liked and after that sat down for a moment to decide how to spend the rest of the afternoon.  Shopping wasn't really inticing us to stay.  We came up with the idea of taking a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright house located about 20 miles from the mall we were at.  So it was fun to spontaneously head in that direction to take our chances on getting a tour of the home.  After arriving there 5 minutes before a tour would begin, we were glad to be so fortunate.  It was very interesting and informative.  We saw a video first of Mr. Wright's background and experience.  I very much enjoyed seeing this home, learning of the family history of it's first owners and appreciated the fact that it was taken on by a foundation who maticulously restored the sectioned off apartment home to it's original splendor at a price of 5.2 million dollars.  I believe the home originally cost $15,000.00 to build in 1908.  I definately want to go back again and take more photos on a sunny day.
Friday, we went to our daughter's and did a little project of bow making for the upcoming October wedding of a very good friend of her and her husband's.  Spent time with our grandchildren.  I always love that.  They change from visit to visit.  On the way home, stopped by a close town where Ryan's girlfriend Kaeli was riding her horse in competition.  She is a very nice girl whose company we enjoy and her family is equally nice.  They are very welcoming and inclusive.  They enjoy their family time together as well.
This weekend I also enjoyed being with my sister on Saturday and taking in a concert in which Rita Coolidge sang at a refurbished theatre.  She sang one song from a CD of hers that I really like called Walela which means hummingbird in Cherokee.  I believe the song was like our English version of Amazing Grace.  After the concert my sister, Jean thoughtfully bought ice cream sundaes to take back to my daughter's house for all to enjoy.  I love her for that.  It was fun to have her come back and stay the night.  Kind of like our own little slumber party.  :)  Life has a way of changing us.  We can part for a time in order to grow as individuals in God's life plan for us and we can always come together and pick up where we left off.  How fortunate I am to have a sister who can go with the flow without hendrance and only be glad for time spent together. 
After coming home from Jamie and Matt's we took in another Sunday afternoon watching Kaeli in competition with her gentle, mindful horse, "Rusty".
So in a word, "Enjoyment" thus far and looking forward to more to come.  I'm hoping you are enjoying your life in progress and reflection as well.
God bless as you go through your day to day activity with good choices.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Billy Vaughn - Melody Of Love

You may want to play this song as you read my little melody of love Mother's Day story.

Melody of Love

While pondering what I might want to extend as a Happy Mother's Day wish, I couldn't help but think of a pair of ceramic salt & pepper shakers with a little gold etching and purple violets. They are marked Japan on the bottom.  Sometimes you come across something that speaks to you,  something you keep because it reminds you of a pleasant memory, something you know you will never get rid of  "just because".
Once,  my husband, Dennis was doing some fix it work for an older widow woman that he knew from another nice couple.  I think he sided her garage and put her air conditioner in a few times, etc.  Her name was Helen and she was a very kind lady.  Dennis grew fond of her as did I when he brought me with him once to meet her.  She shared her quilts with me and some other crafts she was doing and the three of us chatted a little about area history, stories and such.  She was very pleasant company.  Well, she passed on and Dennis attended the family auction of her household goods.  He brought home a little cardboard lid with various salt & pepper shakers.  We both kind of liked the violet sets that were in the box.  At least better than the harvest gold owl pair, and the buck stove ones.  Time went on and one Sunday morning Dennis and I took a ride to Richmond, IN  to Webb's Antique Mall.  We were browsing the booths and he came to me bringing a couple of items that caught his eye that he thought would go with the salt & pepper shakers.  That has always stayed with me as a neat expression of Dennis' thought process and what catches his eye as well as what triggers his memory in fond remembrance of someone.  I just think it's a very dear story about him.  So, in honor of Mother's Day to all mothers beloved past, loved present and will come to love future, a little Mother's Day breakfast with Dennis' collected violet selections, a water glass that I gave to my mother and sister one year in the 70's (I was in 6th grade and one of my friends and I went to town and bought them because "they were crystal") and a song that my mother held very dear to her heart as her brother, Kenny, my uncle, played it on the organ for her.  She requested it whenever we came to visit.  I will always remember her beautiful smile when he played it.  What a melody of love.
God Bless as you begin your weekend and "A Very Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I've always loved rocks!

Do you like rocks?  I do.  What would we do without them in our landscape?  They add so much interest, texture and design.
This is a great ondulating wall used to enhance the entrance to this wonderful community nature preserve.
Sixty seven degrees today and a perfect day to take a walk in the nature that our surrounding community has to offer for all to enjoy.
As you begin the meandering fine gravel walking path you are instantly reminded of the scent you knew as a child when sweet clover grew in near by fields in abundance.  I remember so well exploring with neighborhood kids the fields close to our house. 
Even with one ear closed and feeling like swimmer's ear this morning, I can still make out the fabulous sounds of twitter's, chirps and far off whistles.  There's a red winged blackbird up in this tree.  This whole preserve seems to have all of God's birds here!  I just love them!
This is a nice morning walk with boggy wetlands and this aerated pond attracted a few mallard ducks.
There are metal sculptures from time to time since Hobart is  also a very well known school of welding here in town.
There are wonderful trees thriving that have been planted strategically for the naturalist.
I love this lime green.
There are fallen trees as well as large boulders for interest with wooden walkways as bridges crossing over lower lying areas with these in the distance and benches at points to rest and take in the views.
Lovely this morning.
A great place for a walk my first time to utilize it since it's been prepared as a nature area.
On the back side of this nature preserve is a neighborhood of older homes possibly from the 40's?  It may have been an area where some of the Hobart's lived.  This is a neat old pump house below a great old

The area is a naturally wooded area with mature trees and plants.  There is a children's daycare in the vicinity and they have a wonderful garden where they bring the children over to plant and tend. 

I love this little garden and I'm always looking for ideas and inspirations in creating one.

The children were away on a drink break with their instructors and assistants and I was able to snap a few shots of their garden for reference without disturbing them.  Two yellow finches came flying to a nearby tree. What a sweet setting this

A great little area with a little history of our community and a great interesting old area and place to take a walk.
What's in bloom this week:

Hosta and coral bells.
Poppy and lilac.
Pansies and a nice little tree that I purchased at the Springfield Extravaganza a couple of years ago.  It has a peeling bark for an interesting effect.
Enjoy your spring maybe with a walk or in the garden.  It's yours to choose!
Whatever you choose, let it be something unique, good and as lovely as this day.

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