Photo of the Week! on the Homestead: Ferns and Our Flowerbed

Good day y’all! This week on our “homestead.”

Garage-Flowerbed-Ferns

This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago when we had a nice mix of spring weather. “I need to get out there and dig up some of the daylilies and transplant them. There are hostas that grow there in the summer, and the daylilies prevent them from growing well,” is what I said in my last blog post about this flower bed. I have since discovered that the daylilies are not the problem, it’s the ferns. We’re going to have rain for the next couple of days, so I plan on getting out there with the scissors to cut out all the ferns on Friday. What do you do to keep the ferns from growing without damaging the other plants? I do know that I actively need to pursue fern and daylily removal in the fall. Here is the link to the 1st post. I’m sharing the link to the 2nd post here.  This photo was taken with my Samsung Galaxy J3 Luna Pro phone.

Have a great week, y’all! And take some awesome photos while on the homestead!

Photo of the Week! on the Homestead: Our Magnificent Chokecherries

This week on our “homestead.”

Chokecherries are what I’m focusing on this week! These chokecherry plants originally came from Wyoming, basically as small sticks with leaves. I brought them to Iowa expecting them to only grow about 10 feet tall. Well! I was sure surprised when they’ve grown over 20 feet tall and have many runners going everywhere in our yard. They grow like weeds. We had to cut down the ones in our front yard, because they would get so heavy with berries and lay down in the driveway. They still grow in the front yard, but I cut them down every fall. I need somewhere for the driveway snow to go in the winter. These two photos came from one of them in the backyard. I wanted to show them to you, because of all the blossoms. I’m not sure if we’ll have that many berries, but it will certainly be a lot if they do grow. We don’t make syrup or jelly with them. We save them for the robins to eat when they come in August and for us to just eat. The robins love them and even come back in the spring looking for extra berries.

Chokecherry-tree-blossoms

Chokecherry-Blossoms

These photos were taken with my Samsung Galaxy J3 Luna Pro smartphone.

Have a great week, y’all! And take some awesome photos while on the homestead!

Heroes Next Door-Hornet 24 (Book Review)

(received in exchange for an honest review)

Heroes-Next-Door-Hornet-24

As an adult do you know much about the Vietnam War? Do you know any middle school or young adult readers who are interested in the war or who need to learn a more personal perspective for school?

Matt and Ellie, homeschooled brother and sister, are excited when their neighbor, Mr. Ed, brings home an Army Loach (type of helicopter). Over the course of nearly two years Matt and Ellie help restore the helicopter and learn about Mr. Ed’s experiences in Basic Training and his time serving in Vietnam. Mr. Ed focuses on the the parts of the helicopter and how it was flown, life and the manuvers that happened at Cu Chi, and what it was like when he returned home.  Matt, Ellie, and you will learn about patriotism, respect, history, sacrifice, and more from Mr. Ed.

About the Author-

Mr. Chris Peluso is a retired paramedic and firefighter who holds a Master of Education degree. He is a father to four children who are homeschooled. He is a Sunday-school teacher and Living History Interpreter.

My thoughts-

-I’ve gone to talks given by Vietnam Veterans and learned a lot. This book by Mr. Chris Peluso has given me a view point from a helicopter pilot that is geared towards all ages and doesn’t focus on the negativity of the war here in the States or on the field.

-I liked how Mr. Peluso took his experience of talking with his own neighbor, ‘Mr. Ed,’ and turned it into a story for all to learn and enjoy. For those parents who are wonding if this book has been written to a child’s sensitivity, yes! The forward will help you feel secure in that knowledge. If you still have questions about if it is or not, feel free to read the book and learn a lot about being a helicopter operator in Vietnam.

-There was so much great description of the helicopters and Vietnam that I could close my eyes and imagine being there. The one thing I would have really appreciated was a diagram of the cockpit of the different helicopters. Mr. Ed went into great detail describing the cockpits of the Loach and Huey, and I would have liked knowing what and where in the helicopter he was discussing.

-There are two places in this book that really made me pause and think. The first one was on page 44 and was given to Mr. Ed, before he went to Vietnam on his tour, by his dad. His dad wanted him to make sure that he didn’t worry about what he couldn’t control. He needed to accept it and carry on. The second one was when Matt was trying to show Ellie how to plant her garden on page 188. Mr. Ed caught Matt not being a good teacher and leader. Teachers don’t yell when people get things wrong, and leaders need to always lead by example. They need to make sure they are doing what they are asking others to do.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to learn more about the Vietnam War.

Genre- Juvenile Fiction / Historical / Military & Wars
Published by- Elm Hill
Copyrighted- 2018
Number of pages- 238
Age Group- Middle School and Young Adult
Description of book- Paperback, listed price- $13.99, ISBN 978-1-5955-4845-0

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received a FREE copy of this product from Dawn Peluso in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Easy Recipe: Chocolate Peppermint Cookies Created by Christie (C)

Christie (C) has been experimenting with cookies. Here’s her latest sweet treat for y’all to try.

Chocolate-Peppermint-Cookies

Prep. Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10-12 minutes baking

Makes 16

7 tablespoon softened butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 1/4 cups flour

4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate (chopped into small pieces)

1. Heat oven to 350°

2. Cream the butter and sugar together.

3. Mix in the egg and peppermint extract.

4. Stir the flour in well, then add the baking chocolate.

5. Roll the dough into 16 balls, place them on the baking sheets, and gently flatten.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, cool, and enjoy!

P.S. Did you see the chocolate heart in the photo?


Thursday Thoughts: It’s Time to Declutter Purses and Wallets

Personally, I don’t like carrying a purse. In the winter, I use my jacket to carry my phone, money, and license. As the weather becomes warmer, I wear a jacket or sweatshirt with pockets for as long as possible.  In the summer I use a purse that is small enough to carry my phone, money, license, and nothing else. I don’t like having that type of clutter around me. Do you carry something that collects a lot of clutter like pens, business cards, and receipts?

Declutter-Purse-Wallet

Here are my thoughts and tips on how to have a tidy wallet or purse.

1. You can organize all of your receipts once or twice a week. You can shred or throw away receipts from places you’ve eaten at or where you can’t return the item. You can save the rest of the reciepts in an envelope or a fun location. I have an old canning jar that I slide mine into. I go through them once a month and shred or throw them away.

2. You can take out any business cards that aren’t useful to you anymore and throw them away.

Most of the following tips will apply to a lady’s purse or purhaps a briefcase. Your first step will be to empty the purse or briefcase onto the counter or table.

3. Please throw away all expired makeup.

4. Please recycle all excess paper.

5. Please make sure that your checkbook has plenty of checks and there is room in the register.

6. Please give all the extra toys back to your children.

7. Please throw out all the trash (gum wrappers, etc).

8. Please keep only a minimum amount of pens. Only a couple of pens are usually necessary.

How do you keep the amount of items you carry to a minimum. Do you like to carry a large purse, or are you a minimalist like I am? Please leave a comment. I would enjoy learning about what works best for you.


Photo of the Week! on the Homestead: Our Not-so-common Dandelions

This week on the “homestead.” Here are our not-so-common dandelions! They don’t grow strong and tall. They’re strong and short! When the dandelions are ready to seed they grow tall with perfect heads. That’s what I’m showing in the second photo. I think they stay short for such a long time, so they don’t get mown. I say, “Good for them.” I like see bright spots of yellow in our yard. They’re also good for the pollinators.

Yellow-Common-Dandelion

Dandelion-Seed-Head

This photo was taken with my Samsung Galaxy J3 Luna Pro smartphone.

Have a great week, y’all! And take some awesome photos while on the homestead!

Easy Recipe: Walnut Cinnamon Cookies Created by C

Are you looking for a sweet treat this weekend? Why not enjoy these cookies which were developed by my daughter.

Walnut-Cinnamon-Cookies

Prep. Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10-12 minutes baking

Makes 16

7 tablespoon softened butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons handcrushed walnuts 

1. Heat oven to 350°

2. Cream the butter and sugar together.

3. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract.

4. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, and walnuts.

5. Roll the dough into 16 balls, place them on the baking sheets, and gently flatten.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, cool, and enjoy!


Photo of the Week! on the Homestead- Sick Purple African Violet

I decided a couple of weeks ago that the majority of my Photos of the Week!  will be focused on the “homestead.” I’ll be sharing photos of our flowers, yard, and the small garden I plan on putting in as soon as it won’t freeze. Today I’m bringing you a problem.

Our African Violet isn’t well. Some of the leaves are dead or really dying, and other leaves are turning a splotchy brown. It has been in the same location for years and has never had a problem. There are no insects on it. The soil was damp, but we’re giving it a chance to dry out. The pot is able to hold water at the bottom, so the violet can get the water when it needs to. Do you have any ideas about what could be wrong? Please leave a comment. I’m interested in learning more.

Purple-African-Violet

This photo was taken with my Samsung Galaxy J3 Luna Pro smartphone.

Have a great week, y’all! And take some awesome photos!

7 Fun Facts About: Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. The day for this year, 2020, is May 10th (always the second Sunday in May). Are you able to be with your mother this year? Do you have anything to send to her? If you do, you need to send it to her ASAP. If you don’t, it won’t arrive in time. Here are some facts that you can share with her on Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother's Day!

1. In 16th century England, “Mothering Sunday” was when children, mainly daughters, who were in domestic service, were given the day off to go see their mother. When they did, they would bring a “mothering cake” for all to eat.

2. Most Mother’s Days around the world are held in May.

3. Mother’s Day in Thailand is held on Queen Sirikit’s birthday, August 12th.

4. In 1968 Coretta Scott King hosted a March to support underprivileged women and children

5. Mother’s Day is observed annually by over 40 countries around the world.

6. In 1914 presidential proclamation, President Woodrow Wilson spelled the day, Mother’s Day as did Anna Jarvis (daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis), so we celebrate our own mothers and not all of those around the world.

7. While Mother’s Day isn’t a federal or public holiday in the United States, but it’s a national one.

Easy Recipe: Mexican Tater Tot Casserole (Vegetarian)

Are you spending a lot of time at home right now? Or do you need a quick and easy main dish recipe. Look no further than this quick and tasty Mexican Tater Tot Casserole (Vegetarian)!!

Mexican-Tater-Tot-Casserole-Vegetarian

Prep. Time: 15 minutes (if everything is cooked)

Cook Time: 30-45 minutes (done when tater tots are golden brown)

Serves 4-6 (depends on sizes of appetites)

2 1/2 cups cooked rice

1/2  medium onion

1 green pepper

1 cup corn

1 1/2 cups black or red beans

1 cup cheese

taco seasoning or cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper to taste

1. Heat oven to 350°

2. Mix together all the ingredients except for the cheese and tater tots. Heat on the stove until warm in a 10 inch round cast iron pan. (If you don’t have cast iron, any oven safe pan (minimum 1 1/2 quarts) will work. Baking times may differ.)

3. Spread the cup of cheese on top of the mixture and place the tater tots on top.

4. Bake for 30-45 minutes take out when the tater tots are golden brown.

5. Have sour cream or hot sauce on the table for those who desire it.