Friday, May 31, 2013

Congratulations, Gav! ♡

Thanks to proud Daddy Bri for sending this great photo!
That's Gavin's "old" friend, Caleb, standing next to him.
How fabulous, Gav! Keep up the amazing work.
We love you.

A Peek Into A Wild World

Have y'all seen this Yahoo link? Wow! Here's a little sampling of what a human-less camera can record for all to see.
WWF Photo via Yahoo

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Story's The Same One...

We're havin' a heat wave. Be it Baby Spots, a frog, a king or a hummingbird, critters great and small have returned to Stacey.
Can you stand it? The horses are history for this year... now it's hummingbirds and such... again! 
Within an hour of putting out three feeders, they appeared. Amazing.
"Did you ever read about a frog who dreamed of being a king
And then became one
Well, except for the names and a few other changes
If you talk about me, the story's the same one" 
Neil Diamond

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Campfire Cupcakes

These were outrageous - perhaps enhanced by campfire smoke? Everything else sure was infused (link) last Saturday,
e.g. clothing, hair, camera, etc. 
The recipe is from Betty Crocker's SUPER MOIST CAKE MIX MAGIC, a derivative of Piña Colada Cupcakes, found on Page 24.
Here's the original, my changes in parentheses:
1 box BC's SuperMoist yellow cake mix
1/3 cup veggie oil (I used coconut oil)
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons rum extract (I used 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
1 can/8 ox. crushed pineapple in juice
3 eggs

Heat oven to 375 degrees and use paper baking cups in muffin tin.
Beat mix oil, water, extract, pineapple with juice and eggs for a couple of minutes; divide into muffin cups.
Bake about 20 minutes and cool.

1 container (or more!) BC whipped vanilla frosting (I used Duncan Hines AND stirred into it a teaspoon of bottled lemon juice and a few drops of apricot brandy)
Shredded Coconut (I used Baker's and toasted it first)

Frost cupcakes lavishly, dip into coconut, pour a cuppa, find a campfire and enjoy!

The Voice - So, Why Did Judith Go Home?

Fans are upset with "The Voice" because Judith Hill was voted off, last night. In my opinion, she came to the show as the most talented and left as such. This was a problem. Already a pro in her own right, she was way, way out of everyone else's league. They needed development. She already had star power and was slated to appear with MJ on the "This Is It" tour, before tragedy struck.
 Singing with Michael Jackson. Wow! 

Adam nailed it when he commented that she's as good an entertainer as anyone on the panel of judges. She really didn't belong on an amateur show and I'm sure she's signing a record deal by this morning. It seems that America loves underdogs.

Judith may be gone from the show, but her star should shine brightly, as the show's winner gets an entry-level shot at success.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Voice

It has been incredible to watch Michelle Chamuel develop into the artist that she is, with the help of the fantabulous Usher. Though she had my vote from the beginning, I thought she was too "different" for America to allow her to stay. So glad to be dead wrong. 
We've grown as a nation. :-) Even if she doesn't win the season, she clearly won last night.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Brand New - Meet Baby Spots

During my customary "Good Night" to the Great Outdoors, I spotted a deer. It was beyond the stone wall and about a hundred feet from the house. No sooner did I comment to Joe when there it was... the tiniest fawn we've ever seen! Baby Spots is clearly a newborn.
 I grabbed NIK and swapped lenses. Incredibly, Lady Luck was on my side, 'cause shooting from behind the living room window yielded some pretty decent results. Maybe they'll give us the ultimate treat by visiting our front lawn. (Did I really say that?? Full grown, I'd be chasing Spots from my delectable plantings.)
Momma nuzzled her offspring, before lying down in the tall grass. Joe thinks they are bedded down for the night. 
There is some great info here.
Nature's Gifts.

5-Minute Oozy, Fruity Banana Muffins

Sure, we've talked "banana muffins" before, but this recipe is ridiculously basic, quick to whip up without a mixer and way-down-low in sugar. Add just about anything you find in your larder. Today, it was a splash of apricot liqueur, toasted, shredded coconut and chopped walnuts. After putting batter in pan, I topped with Polaner all-fruit strawberry jam and pressed it in a bit with tip of spoon. Baked at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes and they're ready to go.

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar - white, light brown or combined
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt


1 1/2 cups unbleached flour (try subbing some whole wheat flour, here)
...and whatever else you'd like, but jam or jelly is highly recommended!

Memorial Day

"Silver Linings Playbook"... Super Movie... Watch and Listen 'cause.................... It's "Always Alright"!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Quote Of The Day - Gav Scores Again

Kell and I were in the camper, yesterday, warming up and chatting away, when in walked Gavin...

"G'ma, I didn't give you a hug yet, today."

Be still, my .

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Honey! What A Fantastic Day!!

Bri 'n' Kell 'n' Aubs 'n' Gav invited us to the Rondout campgrounds, where they're spending the long weekend with good friends. 
Some awesome personalities warmed up the incredibly cold day with lots of fun stories, delicious laughter and scrumptious food. 
Joe's day is extra, extra special, this year, so it's fitting that he had a (link) double celebration.
I love you, Honey... everyone loves you... may we be blessed with many more birthday-candle encounters.
Thanks, kids of all ages, for help with those candles. What a fun day.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Anderson Cooper and Other Stuff

The new house rule disallows the viewing of TV till seven a.m., at the earliest. You see, I awaken very early, make my first cuppa and re-retire to the living room (with its blackened big-screen) to savor the brew and meditate the morning's first hour away. Sleep is such a waste of time. Joe occasionally joins me in this time slot, though he has become a late(r) sleeper since his heart attack. When he does arrive before the TV bewitching hour, though, he immediately starts with the freakin' clicker. With nary a word, I elaborately check my watch. He stops, but don't think for a minute that he's not watching that clock...

Who can take it, this steady unfolding of tragic news stories being blitzed at us with rapid-fire speed -- morning, noon and night?? One hour less in no way reduces my heartfelt empathy/sympathy for recent (Sandy Hook, Hurricane Sandy, Boston) or current (Oklahoma) victims. Please believe me. But the damned media is relentless in asking sufferers to provide deep, meaningful thoughts to sum-up brutal emotions. Anyone with a pea-sized brain somewhat comprehends how a shattered parent suffering unspeakable loss must feel. Or how thousands of homeless wonder, "What's next?" Or how first responders live with the anguish they've witnessed.

And then, there's the Arias case... a cold-blooded murderess who was granted a courtroom stage, on which to present her "This Is My Life" slide show and commentary, in pleading for her life. WTF? Who the hell granted permission for this travesty of justice??

Enter here, Anderson. Last night, he apologized for interrupting an interview to bring breaking footage, thus leading viewers to a newswoman seeking commentary from a juror in the case. It was disgusting to watch her follow this guy, repeatedly asking for a statement or a word; his repeated response was, "No comment." Then, it was back to Anderson, who wondered aloud "Why?" that clip was even shown, as aforementioned reporter was obviously "...harassing..." the juror. His word, harassing

The real kicker, though, was footage of the killer in London, wielding his blood-soaked machete. I've always avoided horror movies... 
the real thing has become worse. 

Okay, okay, maybe I sound grumpy. Thing is, lessons are learned each day, like it or not. So, when we had a major leak from yesterday's torrential rainstorm, I sloughed it off as though it was a faucet drip, saying to Joe,
"Who can complain, in light of those suffering such tragedy in Oklahoma?"

But is it wrong to wish myself back to Corolla (OBX), even though it's where I actually did witness a funnel cloud for the very first time? 
Ah, the beauty of dateless, timeless days, staring at the sea... and the horses... not to mention the contrast in THIS:


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Keepin' It Legal

Poor Charlie. He's our much appreciated, careful-with-our-purchases UPS guy who probably suffered from delivery withdrawal, while we were away. Thought to rectify the situation quickly with a little online retail therapy; a dozen Libbey shooter dessert glasses were quickly ordered. Thing is, Charlie was off for today's delivery. How do I know? Well, when the loud thud of a package landing on the portico reverberated throughout the house, I looked outside. The culprit? Charlie's nameless replacement. Great packaging by Amazon saved the day... and the glassware. After a quick washing, I filled a few of these puppies to the brim. How cute and legal ARE they??!! 
Need a bigger sweet-treat? Eat two. 

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pelican Tales to Quiet The Spirit

It is with permission that I share a friend's e-mail, quoted below. I just love this anecdote and its conclusion. Thanks, Tigger!
"A story...linked to some of your photos – the ones about pelicans to be precise.
A dear friend of mine was involved in organizing a Scout camp from which he gained the inspired idea to set up a charity offering holidays to families in poverty and children from deprived backgrounds. And so the Trust was born - and needed something that would represent and reflect the values as well as background of the Trust, while it also needed to be something which would over time hopefully become easily recognizable and identified with the organization.   

One of the symbols used in the emblem of the Trust became a pelican, because mother pelicans apparently pluck the feathers from their breast to help create a nest for their offspring. Thus the bird would reflect the organization's core value of caring for the young and vulnerable. The emblem now consists of, among other things, a background silhouette of the campsite which was the source of inspiration, superimposed on which is a pelican with some other symbols as well.

Isn’t it incredible how one thought leads to another and another and another and somehow seems to result in people having connections they never realized ?!?!?!?"

It's so true, Tig - clearly, one thought does lead to another... and another. Here, I'm reminded of a time when we first fell in love with pelicans. We were vacationing with the boys and Mom on a Gulf coast beach. Each late afternoon, pelicans would start fishing; you could mark the time of day by their appearance. We'd watch in fascination, as they caught their prey and swallowed in ginormous gulps. Towards the end of our stay, Christian asked permission to do a little solo souvenir shopping. He returned with a hilarious inflatable peli for Mom, his GrandLove; it was a gift she treasured with fond memories for many years. He gifted us the pictured cheerful bird. It still reigns as an Old Homestead mascot, bringing endless smiles. Thanks again, Honey!

Monday, May 20, 2013

How Aubs Made My Day ♡

How great to start a new week with an early morning iPhone message from Aubs, telling me she's wearing her OBX shirt to school and accompanied by a mirror image self-portrait. My thoughtful and clever GrandLove... 
Pure lovin' at its best. 

Books - GOLD by Chris Cleave

May seems to be my month for Cleave reads, as per last year's review of his (link) LITTLE BEE. This time 'round, it was GOLD, an often heart-wrenching story. In the author's ending notes, he expressed hope that his readers would find it a happy tale. Hmmm. Interesting. Let's just say that it took a long, long time to reach "happy". 

The lives of the five-character ensemble intertwined in an occasionally predictable way that kept this reader judging Mr. Cleave's perception of the true(?) meaning of "friendship", as Zoe and Kate competed in veladrome cycling. You'd think the biking scenes would have made my pulse pound, but rather it was the story of little Sophie. She was the binding Force and her story pointed, in my opinion, towards the true meaning of winning life's gold.

Time itself becomes personified, taking its rightful place as the sixth main player, not necessarily in numerical order. As our most precious commodity, it truly defines boundaries for making correct choices, hopefully made at the right times.

In comparing the two novels, I found BEE to be much more compelling... couldn't put it down. Clearly, though, what keeps me reading this author is his incredible ability to wordcraft. He has a unique style, a wonderful vocabulary, and a way of combining the two to read like poetry. Once again, my iBook note column is adorned with pinks and blues.

INCENDIARY, his first book that I somehow missed, is already queued up on my iPad.

A recommended read, after which you'll further understand...

"May the Force be with you." 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Home Is Where The GrandLoves Are ♡

Long, long trip home on Friday, with boatloads of traffic in New Jersey. Yikes, they drive like maniacs... leave a car length and two will squeeze in front of you. But we decided to come straight through. It worked out well for us, 'cause bright and early yesterday morning, the last of our winter projects was done in the house. The contractor was rarin' to go with 7:30 a.m. wake-up call. Yikes twice!
Vacation is over! Not complaining, though; real life has incredible rewards for which we are ever so grateful...
Today was to be a Minnewaska day, but misty mountains forced us indoors, at the good old Hurley Inn. There was no way the weather could put a damper on our get-together. OBX Wild Horse Fund shirts were well received, as we enjoyed a late birthday celebration for Chloe and an early one for G'pa Joe.
We certainly did miss ailing Baby Lyla and Momma Dawn, but it was clearly proven once again that home is where the heart is.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

OBX Photo Of The Day - Nursing Yearling

We did not see the season's first baby, but what a treat to witness this one-year-old, very busy nursing from Momma, today. 
Ah, up close and personal - nature at its finest.

Time To Take Flight

To reflect on the past two weeks is just absolutely heartwarming... we are so grateful. 
Now, it's time to head home.
Temps soared on sandy shores, earlier today. Man and beast headed to the waves, to cool ankles. 
Cohabiting with nature - does it get any better? Even porpoises and pelis got in on the act, swimming and soaring by to remind us that we must care for our environment. After all, we want our GrandLoves and their future families to be able to enjoy Mother Nature's miracles.
We say "Au revoir" to the OBX....
till we meet again...
hopefully soon.

Giving Thanks.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

OBX Photos Of The Day - The Lone Ranger

It was hot and steamy, today, and it seemed as though the breezy water's edge soothed the mustangs almost to the point of lethargy. 
But then, there was the spunky Lone Ranger...

We'd relocated from a quiet dune to a more populated equine pathway. Joe and Mambo quickly fell into their daily siesta, while I listened to Neil Diamond singing "Be". No beach vacation is complete without this particular spiritual component. I was in a deep reverie, inspired to offer special vibes of thanks towards the cresting waves, as Mr. D. hit the lyric, "While the one God will make for your day..." 
Imagine my surprise when this macho stallion was nearly upon me. I grabbed NIK in time for a shoot. After calmly passing me by, he suddenly broke into what seemed to be a gallop-with-purpose, towards a rather large band of horses.
Joe awakened to see this and we quickly packed up to follow the action, just in time to see the band's lead stallion, Gorgeous Boy, turn from his group to confront Ranger. After a few sniffs, the studly duo went at each other. 
Don't be fooled by Ranger's mighty kick. He was ultimately forced to retreat... well, for a while, that is.
In reality, Ranger worked his way back into the dunes and then came barreling across sand to hit on Gorgeous Boy again, in a strategic sneak attack... this to no avail. 
We continued to watch for quite some time. Boy was on constant lookout for further approaches. In the end, Ranger was still alone, but with no further scars added to previous war wounds.


Please Note: Names herein are fictitious. Photos, however, are authentic...
All content created by the author. :-) 

"What?!! You think my prices are too high??"

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

OBX Photo Of The Day - Peli Joins Us

Dune For A Day - Beach Savvy 101

G-d, what a gorgeous day. But it was chillier than North Carolina is used to, this time of year. From what we're told, though, it's still a heatwave, by comparison to the freezing temps, at home. Thing is, you have to understand the beach. 
We took our time wandering down Sand Way, stopping to enjoy three Palominos. I dubbed the beauty pictured above "Pal".  She was dragging her right, rear leg. It looked painful and was upsetting to see. I had reception on my cell, so I called in to the Corolla Wild Horse Fund number and spoke with a lovely lady. She told me that several people had already phoned in - I LOVE THAT CONCERN!!! - and a group member was his way to check Pal's condition. She further said that on occasion, a horse's knee will lock, remaining that way for a while but usually rectifying itself. We hoped this was the case, rather than a more serious scenario. One of her traveling companions found a solution to waiting patiently.
Joe picked a gorgeous, wide dune to park next to. He set our umbrella low to face sun and dune; it formed a wind shelter. Believe it or not, it was sixty degrees on the ocean side of our abode and hotter than blazes where we set our sand chairs. We shed layers for an SPF 30 afternoon. Crazy, right? And spectacular.
Tomorrow returns to hot 'n' steamy, but we're here to say that cooler, sunny days are fast becoming our favorites.

Giving further thanks for this glorious time spent together.