a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Thursday, February 4, 2016

forgive me

I couldn't resist, we got some snow Sunday night into Monday morning.  It actually started out with rain and thunder and lightening Sunday night; that was weird. Then moved to snow sometime in the middle of the night, so everything was icy the next morning and snow day for the kids.

But I couldn't resist.  Quail in snow........

Last time we spoke, I mentioned we put an offer on a house. We actually got what we wanted (minus the fridge, but the realtor says always to ask for the fridge, so we did) and then we turned down the deal.   Mainly because the house didn't have a carport or a garage. They had converted the garage into a family room; a nice one, but there was no covering for cars and with the extreme heat in Phoenix, plus the hailstorms they get, we feel a carport or garage is necessary and would want to add at a minimum a carpot and when we added up costs, we decided to pass on it.

Then we found the perfect house late last week.  Great location, price, etc. Went to the open house on Saturday morning, us and half of Phoenix I think (I exaggerate just a little, but believe you me, there was a lot of activity at that house). Bottom line, we made a really good offer, more than the asking price, etc. There were multiple offers on the house. We didn't get it. It went to someone who offered cash and a short closing time. The seller was an elderly man who wanted to move closer to his children. Closing would be in a week instead of the 4 weeks we would need to fund a loan.

House hunting again this weekend. 

Signed up for A/Z this year. Due to a wonderful case of insomnia, I found myself awake at 4 a.m. the morning of signups.  When I finally realized sleep was not going to come that night, I got up and went on the computer. Saw the signups so I signed up; #41 on the list; my best starting number so far. If interested, sign up here.

We are on baby watch.  Due date is 02/16; our daughter in law just turned 38 weeks yesterday.  Could come at any time! Anything after 37 weeks is considered full time, so when God is ready, so is my daughter in law! 

And finally, remember that Sesame Street game when they would have 3 items that belonged together and 1 that didn't and the kids would have to guess what didn't belong there? There was even a cute song that went along with it.

Well, definitely one of these things certainly doesn't belong in the picture below.  But they all get along fine (the quail scatter the small birds and doves away, but leave the bunny perfectly alone).

Until next time :)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A tale of quail (and a block)

This is another quail story.....I see you rolling your eyes......I see you thinking "oh please, hurry up and buy that house in Phoenix so we can move on from quail and maybe you'll write about the corgi you are going to get, corgis definitely are cuter than quail", (believe you me, we are working hard to find that house in Phoenix, made an offer on one this weekend, but I don't think they'll take it....we shall see).

This may be a story of quail but you will notice no quail pictures featured here.

Its more of a story of a quail block....

Let me begin by saying that the quail have come to depend on having food scattered on our patio.  They come by at least once daily, sometimes twice, rarely thrice, to partake of the food there.  

I realized with our moving down to Phoenix whenever we do, we potentially are taking away a food source they are used to.  So we thought about getting a quail block, which we did purchase, and put it on a silver pan on our back patio.

Looks innocent enough, doesn't it? Non threatening? Apparently for the quail it was very threatening.  The first time they saw it on the patio, they didn't even go onto the patio, they quickly scattered. The next day they came back and at least got onto the patio to eat the seed scattered there.  But one quail made the  mistake of getting too close and they all scattered so terribly fast. 

They did come back and again ate except one pushed another quail so very close to the block that scared the other quail and they all took off. I must say the sudden leaving of 12 quail flying away fluttering their wings is quite a loud sound, even on the other side of a window.

However the cat seems to not feel threatened by it and even enjoyed a tasty treat. (The cat belongs to the people across the ravine from us; it is a very good hunter.....)

So did a bunny (not the best of pictures but it was getting dark).

Imagine my surprise when I opened up the drapes this morning and saw the pan at one place, the block a few feet away. That block is heavy.  It wasn't the cat or bunny that had moved it, but what???? 

We finally decided the quail block on the patio was not a success so we moved it by a bush. And lo and behold.....finally a quail got close enough to eat from it. Just one, but one is enough for now......

and who disrupted the pan and quail block? We discovered the culprit. Short time ago hubby heard some sounds outside. Turned on the light, flashed the flashlight and saw two javelina (wild pigs) out there by the quail block. It was dark, we tried to get a picture but it didn't turn out.

We had been told there were javelina here, but hadn't seen any yet.  Tonight we definitely saw them eating from the quail block and moving it around. 

Mystery solved.

And I'm glad the quail also might continue eating from it too.

Time will tell......

(and this might be the last quail story before we move......but you never just know.......)

Friday, January 8, 2016

a book review or two

I am delighted to review two books from fellow bloggers on my blog today.  There are so many wonderful writers out there who have published books.  I follow a few of them; I think I should make a resolution to read at least one book they have written in this new year.  We'll see.

I read both of these books over the Christmas break.  

The first one, 30 Seconds, was written by Chrys Fey.  

This had an interesting plot.  Dr. Dani Hart is unfortunately at the wrong place at the wrong time.  She is mistaken by the mob by a police man who infiltrated the mob trying to solve a crime.  His name with the mob was like hers and the mob was out looking to do away with the person by her name.  The policeman, Blake Herro, is determined to keep her safe at all costs.  At first she is reluctant to be under his watch and doesn't realize the danger she is in, but through a series of events comes to understand that indeed she is at risk and she needs to trust Blake.  As he is protecting her, they do manage to have feelings for each other and fall in love.  In the end, it all works out that the mob has been taken care of and Dani and Blake get together and stay together with a cute little twist at the end of the book.

I liked the book.  Chrys has a great blog where at times she will feature how to write about a season or an event, etc.  She is very descriptive in her writing of the book, as she is on her blog and I imagined myself right there with Dani and Blake and the trouble they were in.  It was a believable plot and an easy read to get into the book and wanting to read more of it.  Definitely worth checking out.  Also check out Chrys' blog; always fascinating with what she writes and she also puts out a free monthly newsletter.

The second book I read was called Captives by Megan Whitson Lee.

This was a very sad book but it dealt with a very real problem that is still rampant across not just country but the world involving sex trafficking.  Right at the beginning of the book you know that a victim of it, Amy, is found dead, having disappeared a few years back from a roadside stop her parents had stopped at on a long drive.  The book doesn't focus on too much events of what actually happened to Amy, but focuses on the impact her disappearance has on her sister, Blaise, and also the effects of pornography on a young man who later on we find out he is related to someone who had something to do with the demise of Amy.  Also featured in the story line was a young woman, Asha, who had escaped sex trafficking and was now helping others and making people aware of the problem.  She still carries the scars though of her times in captivity.  A lot of healing takes place in the three main characters over the course of the book mainly through their increasing or coming to faith in God.  It is ultimately a story of redemption for the three and has a very nice pleasant ending, though there is always the sadness of families destroyed because of the terrible effects of pornography and being torn apart by being a captive in sex trafficking.  

Megan, who also has a blog and is a high school English teacher, has a heart for those affective by sex trafficking as well as to educate others about it.  You could see that compassion and passion she has for it in the words written.  I felt I knew the characters really well and could see the struggles they were dealing with and how hard it was too to change thoughts and behaviors.  It was a sad book but a relevant topic.  I really wanted to have gotten to know Amy and to see how she ended up where she ended up and would have wanted to see how to have helped her not get there.  It was a well written book.  Definitely would recommend it too.

(Have a good weekend; its cold here; we got some snow, still snowing off and on and more expected over the next few days; and its COLD; bring on Phoenix!!!)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

a word and an update

I sure hope everyone had wonderful holidays. They are behind us now and we start taking them down (provided one put up decorations in the first place) and we start moving on to the new year.  We make resolutions or goals or just think about the past year and see how we can improve on it in the new year.  I know its the same amount of minutes and hours and days in a year than it was when I was younger, but they sure seem to go faster these days as I get a bit older.  Just have two short years in my 5th decade of life before I journey on to the 6th (God willing).

So many come up with a word for the year that may define them and their year.  I've have some in years past, wasn't sure if I would have one this year but a few weeks back reading something in the Bible drew my attention to a word and then it seemed just right to try to make it my word for 2016.

The word "SATISFIED".  I read in the Bible when Jesus fed on two different occasions a big group of people (one time 5000 people, one time 4000 people; the Bible lists them as men, so more than likely there were also women and children there that might have made more than 5000 or 4000 people that were fed).  The Bible said after they were fed they were satisfied.  It mentioned it after both stories.

Satisfied.  Made me think.  Am I satisfied in God? In who he is, more importantly in that other than what he provides and does for me.  So I'm going to be focusing on that. Satisfied in God, his greatness, might, power, and so much more over anything else going on in my life.  Like the pastor said at church this morning, God was still on the throne in 2015, like previous years, like future years, and he still does know best.  So satisfied is my word; we will see how the year plays out.

Later this week I'm going to be doing 2 book reviews of books I read over the Christmas break from fellow bloggers.  They were both enjoyable reads.

Sign ups for A/Z Challenge begin January 25th.  I have my theme and most of the letters already lined up already.  Should be a fun challenge.

And finally I'm going to give you a bit of an update of what we've been working on for the past few months. It isn't all together yet, but one portion did finish up and we are diligently working on the next part.

We are moving.......

Yet once again........

As soon as we find a house we like.......



I know so many of you are saying "do you know how hot it is in Phoenix?" And yes I do know how hot it is in Phoenix in fact I visited there several times in their hot times.  But if I had to choose between hot and cold, I'm going with hot all the time and remember I lived in Montana for 8 years when I was cold from October to June (I kid you not) so warm for 3-4 months in Phoenix is a piece of cake :)

Obviously we are moving to be closer to a certain grandchild due in about 6 weeks but also to get to a bigger city. 

Now just got to find that right house. Its a blooming housing market for the price range we are looking at and the features we want. We can only get down there on the weekends to look at houses. So many sell within hours of them being listed.  So its just a matter of being at the right place at the right time. 

That hasn't happened yet but we'll wait for God's timing. In the meantime, I've seen so many houses I get confused and as I'm looking at some on line I'm thinking "that is a cute house" only to realize I've actually been in that house looking at it at one point or another before.  Its been an interesting adventure and I really think there could be a realty TV show out there with realtors showing houses. Love our realtor and we have had so much fun her and me coming up with stories about why the house is on sale, the people who live there, etc. I got to say though a picture does tell a thousand words. I've come to learn that a house can look so much better in pictures than in actuality.  

So 2016; bring it on! I think I'm ready for what you have in store because I know who already knows what is in store and He's never let me down; never has, never will.  

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My gift to you........

.........if you like rum cake.......

This is the MOST delicious rum cake I have ever tasted (okay, it could possibly be the only rum cake I ever tasted). It is moist, almost melts in your mouth, and SUPER easy to make.

I wrote about this rum cake before on blogs in the past.  I was first introduced to it when we lived in Montana.  A friend from church made these as gifts to special friends.  To get on their list of who they made the cakes for was a privilege and once on the list, you pretty much stayed on the list.  The list was short and not a lot of names were added to it yearly.

We found ourselves on the list one year.  I'm not sure how we ended up on it, perhaps it was because of the work hubby did with the worship band there and also how he mentored extensively the hubby of the baker of the cakes.  When he walked in with the cake that first year we got it, it was like "YES" we made the list.

The wife never shared the recipe, though it was asked for repeatedly and often by those that received the cake.  She even made a rum cake for son's birthday one year, not even close to the holidays.  So we considered ourselves pretty darn special to get this extra attention and an extra cake.

When we moved from Montana nine years ago, in their going away card, she tucked the recipe for the rum cake in it.  Written across it was "Top Secret." 

Obviously she didn't want it shared with anyone.

And so we didn't.  We made it a few times over the years.  A Christmas here, a Christmas there.

Two made this Christmas. One for hubby's work party and one to take with us to celebrate Christmas with son and his family.

I got to thinking.  Its been nine years since we moved.  We haven't really kept up with them and their friendship.  I have no idea if she is even making rum cakes any more.  I'm sure she wanted the recipe to be kept top secret for the people in Montana.  No one from my time in Montana reads this blog.  So I got to thinking perhaps I would share the recipe with you all........

And so, my Christmas gift to you:

Rum Cake Recipe:

1 yellow cake mix
1 vanilla or lemon instant pudding mix (small size) (we use lemon)
4  eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup rum

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup rum

Combine cake ingredients for 5 minutes on medium speed.  Grease and flour a bundt pan.  Bake 35-50 minutes at 350 degrees (it takes about 35 minutes in our oven).

Boil sauce 3 minutes; it will be clear with a golden color when done.

While cake is in pan, pour sauce over it to soak into cake (pour sauce slowly as soon as cake is out of the oven).

Remove from pain in 30 minutes; sprinkle with powered sugar.

Trust me, it is absolutely delicious and I'm not much of a cake eater.  

This will be my last blog post of 2015.  Its been a good year, filled with so many wonderful blessings from God; a marriage, a daughter in law, a grandson on the way, a new state, a new job for hubby; so much more.  I'm thankful.  Only silver lining is a certain corgi is not here to co-sign my blog post of wishes for the most merriest of Christmases, it was "our" tradition always to sign off with that we loved and appreciated all of you that came to read the scribbles I wrote.

So I'll sign off the same, singly this year.  Love you all and thank you for reading these scribbles I write.  You are all the best.

Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you.  

Luke 2:11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

(and indeed He is)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Prescottonian Christmas

I'm participating in Liz's Christmas Joy Blog Hop today

Since Prescott has the reputation of Arizona's Christmas City, I thought I would share some of the events of the season here.  We didn't participate in a lot of stuff, but did do a few things.

The decorated courthouse by day; at night the trees all around it are decorated with lights as illustrated on my blog header picture.

This is actually in Prescott Valley that connects with Prescott.  It was a light display through a one mile road at a local park.  You stayed in your car driving through the display.  There were a total of 58 lighted displays, some even animated.  I just included a few of the many pictures taken that night.

This is actually not listed on the program of the Valley of Lights, it is right outside the start of it; but I thought it was very pretty.

This candy cane display had were 30 inches tall.

This light display was over in Prescott Valley in front of their city buildings.

Another lighted event, this time held indoors at the shopping mall.  You walked through it.  They had converted the Old Barnes and Noble store building into individual displays of lights, featuring snowmen, penguins, Santa, etc. Each room was playing an appropriate Christmas song that corresponded to the theme of the room.

No Christmas is complete unless it includes a lighted cactus.

Lots of nuts needed for these nutcrackers.

Need to remember why we celebrate Christmas :)

At the Prescott Resort Center they had a display of the world's largest gingerbread village.  It is neat, they had whoever wanted to enter the contest make a gingerbread house.  They judged them and displayed them into a village, donations of which would go to a local organization that helped people.

These were made from honest to goodness food; gum drops, pretzels, gingerbread, etc. Very cute display.

There was also the lighted parade downtown the Saturday after Thanksgiving where each entry had lights on it.  It was a bit cold so we didn't go to that one.

And also a week later the Christmas parade during the day and then the annual Christmas tree lighting at night.  It was a busy weekend so we didn't make it to that one.

And the zoo here has a display of lights in it that people can walk through and see.  We are planning to do that this next weekend so that's why no pictures of that.

Last Friday night was what they call Acker Night. It showcases musical talent by having different groups performing either in front of local businesses on the courthouse square or inside the stores themselves.  People just walk around listening to the music, shopping, etc.  It was fun.  A lot of the entertainment was inside the stores since a snowstorm was forecasted, but the snow held until later in the evening.

So all in all, I do think Prescott can qualify for the distinction of Arizona's Christmas City.  I'm sure there were lots of events that went on that I wasn't even aware of too.

And to end the festive holiday season, on New Year's Eve at the stroke of midnight to welcome in the new year, there is a boot drop downtown on the courthouse square followed by fireworks.  Last year we didn't go because it was our first day in Prescott, we had driven all night, and it was COLD; (close to 10 degrees cold) so we opted out. Might go this year, we'll see.

What favorite activity does your city do that you like to participate in at Christmastime?

To check out more entries click here 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

and just when you thought were done seeing quail pictures

Remember in the summer all my pictures of the quail? Remember how much I like quail? 

I hadn't seen them around a lot this fall but I knew they had come around (they kick up the rocks by the bird feeders and actually really do leave a mess, but they are fun to watch).  I just couldn't catch when they were showing up.

This past Thursday and Friday, I happened to be, by the grace of God, in the kitchen area when I spotted their activity.  I think these pictures are from a family of originally 16 babies that I had seen first in July.  I had also been tracking a family that had 2 babies and another that had 4 babies.  

Why I think these could be from the family of 16 siblings, even though there were only eight I saw now, and I'm thinking two were parents in the group is because of the albino quail here (not sure what else to call it) who I also captured in picture earlier when it was an adolescent and it was with its 15 siblings at that point in time.  I'm hoping the rest of the siblings left the nest and did not meet some other demise.  

Here it is as an adolescent with its "litter" mates which at the time totaled 16  (hard to keep them all counted). 

And nowadays with one of its siblings.

 And with a few more siblings.  They all grouped together under two of the bushes here; six quail under one, two under another.  Stayed there for a bit so obviously watching out for something (raptor I'm sure).

My all time favorite picture of all of the ones I have taken of them this year (and believe you me, I've taken hundreds). Yes, that is a quail on the bird feeder (remember the doves from before?) The day before this one had landed on the feeder, I saw a quail starting to fly up towards the feeder but it either hesitated or something else scared it and it didn't land on the feeder, actually bumped into the window; I worried about its safety, but it was fine.  The next day when they were here, right before they left one did manage to make it on the feeder and stay there for a bit eating some of the seed.

And the next two are for Jack and Sherry.  A roadrunner just passing by.

I've enjoyed this year of bird watching out my window.  Its been fun watching the activity of the feeders.  I'm pretty sure (99.9%) the area we are looking to buy at won't have quail coming by.  So I'm thankful for each visit I got to see of them and the time they spent here enjoying our seed.