Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Year's Eve Tradition

I guess you could say I have a split personality, lol!

{ Hot Pockets }

It seems ever since I can remember, since the kids were in elementary school, we've adopted a few traditions for New Year's Eve one of which is our homemade hot pockets. It starts with a package of frozen Rhodes rolls (dough). After they have thawed, they get a little dusting of flour, mixed with a little love.

Then rolled out out with some TLC....

We make our favorite fixings to put on top, and every year we seem to come up with new ways to fold them up. Brush them with either butter or olive oil and bake at about 400 for 7-10 minutes or until a nice golden brown. My favorite....is the dessert one. I dice up granny smith apples into small pieces, and in a cup layer butter, apple pieces, cinnamon and sugar and microwave for about a minute. After it has cooled, I dress it the same way and fold it up. Brush lightly with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and bake the same as the rest. Our homemade hot pockets are always a big hit when they have friends over. 

I think this year I may try a veggie one, and a chicken pot pie hot pocket sounds pretty good too.

This is another tradition we've been doing since the kids were young, something my husband stumbled across one year. It's called Los Anos Viejos, or The Old years. This is a South American tradition about bringing the old year to a proper ending to be ready for the new. The dolls can be 3-4 feet tall and represent the old year, some even wearing an article of their clothing. We just make our dolls out of paper, any paper, and write the things from the year that we want to say good riddance to....and then we burn them on the grill. And then at the stroke of midnight, we wake up any neighbor who might have gone to bed early with the beating of our pots and pans with wooden spoons while sipping Champagne and sparkling grape juice.

So many fun memories!!

What about you, what fun family traditions do you have when it comes to New Year's Eve?

Wishing you all a safe and fun night,
see you next year...

Love, Kim

linking with Texture Tuesday

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Christmas time in the city . . .

Remember that time machine from a couple of weeks ago, well...
the great thing about a time machine is that there is no jet lag, and no expense.
One of my favorite festivals on Galveston Island is their "Dickens on the Strand,"
where when you walk through the white gates you are immediately transported back
to a 19th-century Victorian London.

And just maybe, you might hear the song "Silver Bells". . .
But mostly because that's the song this week for song-ography. (Cue the music)

City sidewalks busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style

In the air there's a feeling of Christmas

Children laughing

People passing

Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you'll hear...

Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city

Ring a ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas day.

String of street lights
Even stop lights, blink a bright red a green
(or maybe a 10 foot tall Christmas tree lady)

As the shoppers rush home with their treasures

. . . or watch the costume contest.

This was our third "Dickens" and by far the coldest. In Texas you just never know what it will be like this time of year. This year unlike years past, in shorts and a t-shirt, I couldn't bundle up enough and wished I had had ear muffs. I had to wear my hubby's barn jacket as I don't even have a winter coat anymore...normally there is no great need, but this year I could use one.

Unfortunately only three days later I came down very sick, and after a week was on the verge of pneumonia.
So, I'm on my second round of antibiotics, and finally after nearly 13 days I'm coming out on the other side.
Our tree only got put up a day a half ago, and I went shopping for the first time yesterday! Eeeek!
But, it's all good, or I keep telling myself that, lol!
Today, we are going to "deck" the tree, bake some cookies, and play some games.
It's a quiet Christmas just the four of us.

Wishing you a very joyful, merry and bright, Christmas!

Love, Kim

Oh Yes, P.S. - I have a little "jingle" over at Focusing on Life today for you...follow me there, {here}.
AND, if you would like to join me on my Facebook page you can "like it" here.  :) 

Sharing with Song-ography, Texture Tuesday, Sweet Shot Tuesday

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I stepped through a time machine . . .

. . . and found Queen Victoria and her royal entourage!
(And P.S. I will be back with more)

You can find me today musing over at Focusing on Life on our monthly theme of joy.
Hope to see you there.

Love, Kim

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Being open . . .

"It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view."
- George Eliot, Middlemarch


This is our prompt for Photo Art Friday, any form of the word open. And to be honest, I thought of a lot of ways I could interpret the prompt this month.

I thought of things that could be open like doors, windows, or gates. I thought about how rooms open up to other rooms, open outdoor spaces like a patio, or even a wide open space like the beach. I entertained the idea of something that was cracked open, or left wide open . . . even something that might be a real eye-opener.

But there were so many choices that I couldn't decide, so I just started going through some old folders keeping my eyes open to new ideas. 

And this is what I found. This photo of three separate roses all in different stages of "open," that I had taken last April. And there it was sitting on my hard drive, unedited, waiting. I suppose something else had caught my eye and I never looked back.

So this is my interpretation of being open. Open to life, opportunities and most importantly to being open minded. Because really, open means not closed. It means being accessible and relatively free of obstruction.

And you know, isn't the act of having an open mind what keeps our work fresh? Isn't that what gives us new eyes every time we explore with our camera? 

So why would we be any different with people, with each other. We pick up books and going on only a small paragraph on what the book is about we read them anyway. Sometimes it's even necessary to read between the lines, what's not written, to fully understand the story. And it isn't until we reach the end of the book that we make the conclusion of whether or not we liked it or if it even resonated. And whether we liked the book or not is really beside the point isn't it. Because I believe we are better off, always, for having read the book, for stretching our mind.

Many, many times I have run into a brick wall a closed mind. I have a feeling you probably have too and it's not a fun place to be. But whether or not the story is liked, yours, mine or theirs, isn't nearly as important as the message we all get when we retain an open mind.

That message simply says, I see you.
Love, Kim

sharing with Little Things Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Photo Art Friday
                   Friday Finds, Friday Photo Journal

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Photo-heart Connection, November

{KK happy heart}

I have approached this month's photo-heart connection a little differently
and decided to put my thoughts into a poem.  

 Dragonfly Tears

I am part of an intricate
tapestry of life
and if only you would look
you would see it written on my wings

I am not like another
we are each made to be unique
but you can find beauty in the mystery
you need only listen closely for my sound

I soar above
a connection between earth and water
until all movement ceases
when tangled in your many strings

I am here
why can't you see me
I too was made in the face of our creator
and now the time has come; I'm leaving the battleground
©Kim Stevens

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving . . . I'm hoping that today I can start my
Christmas decorating . . . all those boxes of decorations are screaming  calling  my name. They have been sitting there since before Thanksgiving. 

Love, Kim

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wishing you . . .

"Thanksgiving day comes, by statute, once a year; 
to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow."

- Edward Sandford Martin

Wishing you, from my family to yours, a very wonderful Thanksgiving day,
and gratitude that grows beyond one meal. I will be taking the rest of the week off
to enjoy my family and will see you next week. Enjoy my friends!

But, before we part....remember my foggy morning last week?
I'm sharing a short but important lesson I learned when the fog spoke to me.
Join me over at Focusing on life today to hear what it said...click here.

Love, Kim

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Five feet from my front door . . .

. . . there is a magical place.
It may not be a national treasure, but it's my treasure none the less.
 And I am so grateful for it.

"Nature is man's teacher. She unfolds her treasures
to his search, unseals his eye, illumes his mind,
and purifies his heart; an influence breathes from
all the sights and sounds of her existence."
- Alfred Billings Street

Sometimes it's hard to get anything done . . . because of the five feet out my front door.
When it comes to critters I seem to have an eagle eye, and you know when I was younger, I could
see caterpillars crawling across the road . . . while I was driving. Yep, that was hazardous. 

We did some tidying of the garden about a week ago and then a few days later I went out to tidy up
all the mess on the sidewalk. But, the only thing I ended up accomplishing was with my camera. This little guy
hopped across my path and started it all. Believe it or not this toad is only about an inch. Do you have any idea how hard it is to pose a toad in a small puddle and ask it not to move? And he was already feeling so defeated by our photo session that I decided I would keep to myself the fact that his nose looked like that of a cat.

I have had lots of spider webs lately too, or more like spider condos, one built on top of another and another. This web was only about 3 inches wide and the spider couldn't have been more than 1/4". Yep, I had to get within an inch of my life to get this. Did I mention it was a little windy...whew!

Oh, and these jumping spiders . . . are just the most curious spiders ever, seriously. When ever I'm outside
sitting on the front porch there they are, they just show up and always end up checking out my books, my coffee, AND, they seem to love my camera! This one, was no exception. It was so hard to get this because he/she/it kept getting closer and closer and would raise up it's front legs like they do before they jump and I would have to back off. But, at one point it was just a little quicker than I was. Yep, through my lens I watched it jump out of my frame and towards me. They usually just end up on my lens, but I couldn't find this one. He either missed entirely or ended up in my hair? All I know is that they have the cutest eyes with so much personality. You can beg to differ, that's okay I still like you! ;)

It was a total critter smorgasbord. I found this little green tree frog just chillin' between two stacked pots. I think he was enjoying the 90 % humidity that day, me not so much!

This is the ever elusive Tersa Sphinx Moth that comes out at dusk. You know, when there just isn't any viable light to take a photo. I had to bump my ISO into oblivion just to get this one. I'm still waiting on those three pupa to make an appearance into the world.
UPDATE: Right before I went upstairs to post this, I checked on those pupa like I do everyday, AND
guess what? One pupa is empty. I found it hanging on the stripped milkweed plant in the Monarch enclosure!! Whoo Hoo

And, I'm still seeing butterflies in the garden. Thank goodness for purple lantana as it has a very long growing season here. This is a Gulf Fritilary and a little hard to capture as they are always flittering. Have had some Long Tailed Skippers too but they have been hard to get as well. Still seeing a few Monarchs, and have one more chrysalis. I'm hoping it will hold out until my in-laws get here this weekend so that they can watch it emerge. Two more (the last ones) from that batch I found in my back yard are now j-hanging.

Hope you all have a great weekend. I will be getting ready for my in-laws who will be joining us for Thanksgiving. In fact this will be the first time any family has joined us at our home for turkey day. I don't dare go anywhere with my camera in the next two days, too much to do, so little time.

Until next time...
Love, Kim

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I found a place . . .

. . . where Autumn finally fell,

and, I picked it up.

"The human soul is slow to discover the real excellence of things given to us by a bountiful
Creator, and not until the shadows of death begin to gather around the object that we love, 
do we see its worth and beauty. Autumn is the dim shadow that clusters about the sweet,
precious things that God has created in the realm of nature. While it robs them of life, it tears
away the veil and reveals the golden gem of beauty and sweetness. Beauty lurks in all dim old
aisles of nature, and we discover it at at last." - Northern Advocate

{KK 411}

 For the second day in a row it was really foggy.
And for the second day in a row I went out with my camera.
Because it was so foggy I couldn't see very far at all,
which made me look at what was right in front me.
And what I found was a place where Autumn finally fell...
a blazing trail of crimson red, giving back remnants from the summer sun,
carried on the wings of the wind.

Grateful that fall has finally graced the gulf coast, even if it's a whisper!

Yes, I have more to share...no I just didn't get them finished before this morning, and I'll be heading out with my boy for what I'm hoping will be close to the last of his infusions. We will both be getting a dose of grateful...such a hard place to be for a mom and a 16 year old boy...but it is a place where you will find a multitude of blessings when you keep your eyes open. Sometimes, we just have to remember to look a little harder, and take a little extra time, to dig down deep, to find the good in the places that are the most difficult.

Because I think gratitude is much more than finding good when we aren't in the midst of a storm. It's the recognition that there are even good things among bad happenings.

With much gratitude and love, 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gratitude . . .

"To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude
means to take nothing for granted,
but to always seek out and value
the kind that will stand behind the action.
Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course.
Everything originates in a will for the good,
which is directed at you.
Train yourself never to put off
the word or action for the expression of gratitude."

- Albert Schweitzer

Today, I'm in a debt of gratitude that my daughter had someone who could drive her to the ER yesterday. And for the kind man (nurse/doctor) that held her hand when I couldn't, as getting an IV is one of her worst nightmares. As a parent, one of my worst nightmares is not being able to be there when my kids need me. This is definitely one of those times when letting go is so very difficult. She is fine, needed some fluids as she was dehydrated and we're going to just chalk up the whole thing to sometimes weird things just happen.

On a sad note, this morning when I came upstairs to the computer I wasn't greeted with the normal chirps and tweets from my lovebird . . . she passed in the night . . . and it's awfully quiet up here.

Today is my posting day over at my collaborative blog Focusing on Life. Our monthly focus is on gratitude and I have a challenge for you with a twist. I would love for you to join us over there by clicking here.

And before we part, I just want to say that I treasure each one of you. I'm grateful for the crossing of our paths, even if it's only briefly. I treasure the friendships I have made through this community and for your continual support and your kind words. 

I wish you all a beautiful day . . . 

With gratitude,

Sunday, November 10, 2013

It takes all kinds of kinds . . .

Today my husband and I went to Galveston . . . to the Greek Festival held at a Greek Orthodox Church.

And I'm not really sure what came over me either. Maybe it's because I've been sick all week, or I'm having another typhoon menopausal episode, but none the less I broke into tears when I watched a young boy join an older man dancing a traditional Greek dance. I suppose part of it could be that after doing some research on my ancestors I feel such a pull to want to know more about the customs and traditions of my own heritage.

This month I've been sharing through Facebook, my 30 days of gratitude, and today it had everything to do with this festival. Today, day 9 went like this  . . .  "Not just today, but everyday really, I'm thankful to live in a country that holds the kind of diversity in people and cultures and customs carried from generation to generation. I think it's one of the single most unique things about this country. Going way back in our family's history and immigration makes me so much more aware of this . . . different is good and should be celebrated!"

It was simply refreshing to see people celebrating their uniqueness in our society, and inviting the community to be part of it. Because it's this, the all kinds of kinds, that makes this world we live in a more interesting place to be.

We were meant to be different. All kinds of kinds different since the beginning of time.

"Now some point a finger and let ignorance linger
If they'd look in the mirror they'd find.
That ever since the beginning to keep the world spinning
It takes all kinds of kinds." - Lyrics from Miranda Lambert's song - All kinds of kinds

Finally sharing in the fun for Song-ography!

Love, Kim

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Photo-heart connection, October

(KK day)

My connection this month is so much more than a connection of the heart kind to the photo itself
and rather to an experience. This male Black Swallowtail debuted last week. Yes this has happened before,
but . . . this was different.

In fact it was nothing short of miraculous. You see, it was a chrysalis that looked much like this one
only it was on the frame of the butterfly enclosure and it had pupated there. . . 5. . . months ago!

And have I mentioned that the typical time frame for a swallowtail to emerge after pupation is more
like 2 weeks.

And honestly I think the only reason I noticed it was because I had put the Tersa Sphinx Moth caterpillars in the tent on a stalk of Pentas I cut from the plant, because they were eating faster than I could pick the leaves.

I had to wait a bit before releasing him outside as it was raining cats and dogs and after being asleep for 5 months I sure wanted to give him as much of a fighting chance as possible. It was last Thursday . . . and as soon as the monsoon rains stopped the skies parted and the sun came out. Heading out for a football game and knowing that we wouldn't be back until dark, I took him outside where he could rest until he was ready to take flight.

And much to my surprise, again, there he still was . . . completely covered in beautiful, sparkly, dew drops.
Right where I had left him. After a little photo shoot, he let me pick him up and I took him to a sunny spot on the trailing purple lantana to sun and dry himself. It wasn't long before he flew off.

Can you imagine if I had given up hope that he would ever emerge and removed it from the enclosure?

Yep, these photos, this happening, just remind me to not give up hope during those times when hope feels
lost. Not the hopeful "wishing" kind of hope, but the confident expectation . . . the trusting God for
the results kind of hope.  

Because hope is still moving forward even when you feel weary and uncertain and gives life to things that
are so questionable, an outline of sorts to things we cannot see . . . 

. . . and waiting for them with patience.

Love, Kim

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Photo Art Friday . . . Embrace

"Our task, must be to free ourselves . . . 
by widening our circle of compassion to embrace
all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty."
-Albert Einstein 

Bonnie gave us the word embrace as our challenge this month and oh the many
ways I could interpret this word . . . but I limited it to two photos.

When I hear the word embrace, my first thought . . . is life.
Wrapping your arms around it, taking it all in with your eyes, your whole being.

Life happens everyday all around us. This we know, yet we still miss so much of it.
And the older I get, well,  the more I want to know,
the more I want to see . . .  the more I want to find.

I want to notice everything . . . and embrace it all!

That's why I love my camera. Not just because it helps me to "see", 
but because it allows me to record these embraced moments.

One of my Queen butterflies embracing its new life.

This next photo I chose is one from a recent varsity football game. Before every game our players make
their way to the end of the field and they all take a knee and bow their heads. No matter how many times
I photograph a scene like this I'm drawn to it over and over again. This never gets old.

He was the last one to get up . . . he was completely embracing the moment.
And, so was I.

Take a moment to embrace all the other art work hung in Bonnie's art gallery here.

Embrace your day,
Love, Kim

Join me -----> here for my Friday Random Five

"If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" . . .

. . . he's going to ask you for a glass of milk.

And well, if you take a girl to the sunrise,
she's probably going to want to spend some time at the beach.

We couldn't have ordered a more beautiful sunrise . . .

 But, while this was happening . . .

So was this . . . right behind and to the side of us!

It started to gradually creep around this way.

And then the wind picked up, all the while the sun is still putting on a show.

We quickly made our way up the stairs, I took one shot, and put my camera inside my shirt.
The sand was blowing everywhere, I even had it in my ears!

Yep, it was time for plan "B".

So if you take a girl to the sunrise, and she can't spend time on the beach,
she would love for you to take her to breakfast to ride out the storm . . . even though the storm won. 

1. My daughter had to contact a specialist for a paper she has to write . . . she called me!
Yes, she interviewed me on how to raise Monarchs, I felt important!

2. A lot of rain this week, it's cramping my photo taking. And while I have been known to go out with
my umbrella and my camera, the umbrella would not have helped in the sideways rain this week.

3.. I started a Facebook page last week - Clear Springs Chargers Football by Kim - for all the photos I take
at the football games, both my son's and the varsity. They just sit on my hard drive anyway, why not liberate and share them. Of course there are only two games left, and my son's game is looking really sketchy with
100% chance of rain and thunderstorms for today.

4. If our game does get cancelled, there will be some disappointed kids, because I will have to do some
tricks since I did not buy any treats! Please don't egg my house....

5. If you buy a new hard drive for your computer (much like if you give a mouse a cookie) because it sounds like it going to blow up or take off , your 10 year old printer will then decide it no longer wants to play nice. It now prints blue as pink . . . it's not pretty . . . Houston we have a problem! 

6. Well, I was already to publish this post this morning when I had to come back and add one more thing.
Ever have one of those Ah Ha moments that turned into a Carrie Underwood, "Oh No What Have You Done" moments. And I don't mean the drinking too much and getting married kind, but the realization
at midnight that you left the enclosure that you put the 4 1/2 inch Tersa Sphinx moth caterpillar in, open. Yep, I have a huge caterpillar roaming my house looking for leaf litter to pupate in...and although he may find
some dust bunnies, he is not going to find leaf litter or a pile of dirt to bury himself in. I was on my hands and knees until well after 1 am this morning looking for it with a flashlight trying to channel my inner caterpillar. Dang, I'm so sorry buddy!
*UPDATE: You'll never guess who I found crawling on my kitchen floor this morning,
heading towards the back door! My heart is happy, and I'm sure he is too!

Anyone have printer suggestions, reasonably priced is key here, that they really like?

* I also took the plunge and started a Facebook page for Picking Poppies which you can find here:
https://facebook.com/pickingpoppies, I would love to see you there!

Have a great weekend, and try to stay dry!
Love, Kim
My Photo Art Friday post is ----> here

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The trail opened back up . . .

"The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail.
Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for."
- Louis L'Amour

Just follow the light, to the beginning of the trail.

The early bird fisherman catches the fish, and a beautiful sunrise at the same time.

The beginning of the trail, where your husband energizes for the day's trailblazing.

It's been some time since I've been on this trail....construction...(they say it was flood control)...
I've missed the the light here.

And these trees . . . they remind me how small I am.

I found this ONE dragonfly, where I usually see dozens and dozens. The construction consisted of tearing down very old mature trees, marsh, bushes, homes for wildlife, the very spot the dragonflies would pose for me . . . they destroyed hundreds upon hundreds of feet of pines, oaks, the home of the King Fisher's, the place I usually could find fall color. They did this in the name of money for some rich dude who needed fill dirt, and they sucked the fun right out of my trail. I cried all the way back to my car.

Order up . . . bird + bokeh = lots of happy! 

This was still here. Do you remember the red iron bridge. . . they moved it over 100 feet but . . .  the bird feeder, AND my swing are missing!

But then, sigh, I found this on the other side of that wooden foot bridge. More beautiful light and bokeh.
The small bokeh in this image is original, and then I took a photo of more (just) bokeh and
added it on top the the flowers for more dreaminess.

And now for some random . . . 

1. This morning I made my coffee with our Keurig coffee maker . . . that was free.
My daughters friend won it at graduation and didn't want it and just gave it to her.
Well, she is not a coffee drinker and although you can make hot chocolate with it too, she decided
it wasn't something she wanted to take with her to college.

2. But . . . I made coffee in the Keurig with the adaptor that allows you to use your own coffee.
I did the math. . . An average 10 cup Keurig pack for about $12 costs 1.20 per cup.
My coffee, freshly ground as I need it, is $9.99/lb. and I can get about 37 cups of coffee in the one pound.
That makes the Keurig coffee cups 4.5 times more expensive.
And then for more fun I figured out that my coffee, drinking on average 2 cups per day would last me
3.7 times longer, costs me only $3.78/week vs $16.80/week. That means I could go to Starbuck's and order 2 specialty coffee's and still have money left over.

3. Remember the Tersa Sphinx caterpillars from last week, both of those big ones have made a little magic and pupated! Now we wait.

I put some soil in the bottom of the container with some leaf litter and shredded paper towels
and they made these cute little nests, for a lack of a better word.

This one I was able to lift with out disturbing it too much. As the time gets closer
(takes about 2-3 weeks) I will remove the paper towels and most of the dirt and put a stick
inside so that they have something to dry their wings on.

4. Today, I'm going to take the plunge and order all my supplies . . . for making wearable art jewelry using my photos. And then . . . get really busy sawing, cutting, hammering, riveting . . . yep it's gonna sound like
Santa's workshop around here.

5. I went to sleep last night and when I woke up it was morning! Well, what I mean is,
that I didn't wake up in between and slept all the way through. THAT doesn't happen very often, and I seriously can't remember the last time. I feel like a new person! 

TGIF a day early my friends, have a stellar weekend!
Love, Kim

linking with Little Things Thursday, Random Five, Friday Finds, Friday Photo Journal

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...