Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Seasons change

Image via

Tomorrow is the first day of September and it hit me, that summer, with all its delicious fruit, greenness, flowers, and sun-soaked days, is almost over (in 23 days). With every sunset the change grows closer.

But, the change also brings a feeling of newness. A new season to embrace. A new sense of purpose. A (re)newed feeling of thankfulness.

There are more summer things I wished I blogged about, but it's almost too late now. I'm looking forward to autumn, with her sun dappled days and the falling of leaves and chilly autumn nights.

Summer is closing soon and there is not a single thing I can do about it, except enjoy the change.

What is your favorite part about the change of seasons?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Walking to School

Image taken from this site

School started three weeks ago here in my town. Before it started I was in the store one day and could sense the excitement in the air as I saw parents and children rushing around to pick up last minute items needed for the big day.

Today I see school buses on the street as I leave for work in the morning.

Several weeks ago I heard about the Walking School Bus (even though they have apparently been around for a while...since 2005? Who knew!). Have you heard of them? I think it's a great idea. Groups of children (and parents) get exercise and meet new people while they walk to school together. They are not only saving the environment, but improving their lives through exercise.

During the time I was in elementary school my family only had one car and we lived about a mile and a half (one way) from school. So in the mornings my mother and younger sister and I would all get ready and then walk to school, they would drop me off and then walk back home. In the afternoon, my mother and sister would be there to pick me up and we would walk home together.

My sister (with her doll, Lizzie) during one of our school walks (photo taken from my mom's blog) .

The walks continued throughout my elementary school education, though when I was in 4th and 5th grade I would sometimes walk home with friends. During the fall, we would stop and collect leaves; during winter we would make tracks in the snow with our boots; and during spring we would listen to the sounds of the chirping birds as they flew about collecting building supplies for their nests. As we walked we had a chance to talk- my mom would ask about my day, what homework I had, or what we were having for dinner.

When I was in middle school, I took the bus to and from school most of the time. I still had to walk home from the bus stop and usually my mom would meet me there for us to walk together. We would sometimes stop at a corner store for a .25 cent Little Debbie snack. These walks are ones that I will cherish forever.

Did you walk to school or did you take the bus? Any fun experiences walking to school?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Visit...part 2

La Vie En Rose

I had only been to the Arboretum once before but never all the way through it.

On Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, my sister and I went together and walked the paths.

As we were walking, we came upon this beautiful rose garden.

There were roses of all varieties, colors, and sizes. Some more fragrant than others, but all beautiful! I never realized how many types of roses there are in the world.

They say a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I don't believe it.

The roses smelled absolutely heavenly.

Oranges 'N' Lemons. This rose smelled very true to its name...

Aren't they beautiful?!
I love the way the middle of this rose is still tightly closed but the outer petals are wide open.

Insects doing their job...

Beautiful arbors...imagine these filled with roses!

I love this red color.

A very true part of roses.

Beautiful purple roses.

Lilac colored rose.

We loved this great stone fence.

We found Nessie! Here is her head...

and here's the rest of her body...she was very friendly, although a little sleepy.

As we were walking along, we decided to venture off the path onto a little wooden trail. As I took my first step onto the wood path, I noticed this little brown thing on the ground. I was so close that I almost stepped on it, but then I backed up a step and noticed it was a little animal. At first we thought he was dead because he wasn't moving.

But, upon closer inspection (and after we wondered out loud whether he was dead or not) he moved onto the pathway and then plopped down into the high grass! I don't think he could see us very well which is why he hadn't moved before. Thankfully I didn't step on him. He was so cute!
We thought at first that he was a mole, but after turning to Google, we found out he was actually a vole.

We had a great two days at the Arboretum!

Copyright © 2010 by Natasha M.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Annoying pet peeves

I've been busy with other things (visiting with my sister and my dad's surgery) this week which is why I haven't written much. But I'm sure I wasn't missed too badly. :)

I'll get to blogging about part 2 of fun things I did with my sister hopefully tomorrow, but tonight a list for you of my current pet peeves:

1. People who don't use their turn signals while driving. They are installed in cars for a reason. Attention, people- use your turn signal, please! It's just about a quarter of an inch to move your arm, not that hard.

2. Mosquitoes. The darn creatures. I've gotten more bites this summer than I care to count. I guess I wouldn't mind so much if they sucked fat instead of blood...at least then they would be useful.

3. Being stuck in traffic.

4. Humidity and what it does to my hair. Frizz-a-rama.

5. Junk mail.

6. Having to go to the bathroom.

7. Facebook. It's not even fun anymore cause of all the changes they've made recently.

8. Car trouble.

9. The twitching in my left eye. Boy, howdy annoying.

10. Clothes shopping. No fun at all.

11. Talking to customer service people half-way across the globe, who I can't even understand. I spent 1 hour of my life, which I can never get back, mind you, talking to somebody about trying to get a password set up for a co-worker.

12. People who don't wash their hands after using the bathroom. And then they touch everything on the way out of the bathroom...Gross.

13. Poor animals stuck in shelters.

14. So many cart corrals in store parking lots which limit parking spaces. Are they really all needed?

15. People who don't clean up after themselves in the kitchen.

16. The pain in my neck and near my shoulder blade after I sleep wrong.

17. Finding out I have no milk after I've already poured my bowl of cereal.

Does this count as annoying?

I think that's all for now.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The visit... part 1

My sister came to visit me this week.

We had lots of fun together and it was so great having her here.

(This is part one in a two part series about some of the fun things we did).

The week included:

2 visits to the arboretum

1 visit to the public library
1 movie watched in the theater
1 mole seen at the arboretum (pictures and a story in part 2)
Hundreds of beautiful roses seen in the rose garden at the arboretum (more on this coming in the next post...)

A "fuzzy pum" seen
Twenty toes painted
Black Eyed Susans (seen at the arboretum)
Two meals eaten at Wendy's
One lichen covered bench
Two dream cones at Chick-fil-A
One Institute class
Sunning at the apartment swimming pool
Several trips to Walmart
A visit to an International supermarket
A wonderful week of visiting with my sister

Copyright © 2010 by Natasha M.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Question of the Day

I haven't posted a question for a while and this is something I've wondered about.

If corn oil comes from corn, olive oil comes from olives, and peanut oil comes from peanuts...

Where does baby oil come from?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Today One Year Ago...

The bane of my existence disappeared from my life (hopefully) forever.

I discovered this song:

And re-discovered this catchy song:

One year later and I'm still blogging and learning.

Summer is in its winding down stages....any plans for the last few weeks?

Thursday Blog Hops

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Three Happenings, a Thought, and a Question

I had another post planned, but these things are more pressing so it will have to wait.

1. I came home from work today to find this:

My door had been painted red! I like it, especially since red is my favorite color.

2. This bookcase was carried up three flights of stairs to my apartment, taken out of the box, directions read, and assembled....all by me. I think it turned out well, though I was afraid it would tip over the first night it was up. Thankfully it's still standing....

And it wouldn't be complete without this deliciousness!

3. I saw Bump-its on clearance when I was in the store the other day. I was going to buy them for my sister for Christmas. I wonder if she would wear them...

4. What is the difference between transparent tape and invisible tape?

5. I like graham crackers with chocolate frosting.

Any questions?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


It started out innocently enough.

I was on my lunch break at work and decided to catch up on some of "my blogs."

I first read this post, which is a thank you letter to a former teacher. The post in and of itself isn't sad but, as I was reading, the memories came flooding back of new school years, past teachers and their influence, and learning. The next thing I know I found myself with tears rolling down my cheeks for the memories of years gone by.

I finished that post and scrolled down to this post which is a beautiful memory of a father's "ugly sweater" and the joy of dancing. My own father is having surgery in a week and a half and though I know everything will be fine, there is still that "what if?" in the back of my mind. I also found out yesterday that the father of a girl in Relief Society (I'm the RSP) died this past week. The girl is just 18, yet she is so strong.

The tears continued for fathers and memories and loved ones.

The above post led me to this post, by the same author. The post is a Father's Day tribute to her dad, the owner of the "ugly sweater".

The tears increased.

At this point, I was very glad my co-workers were at lunch so nobody could see me. I hate crying in front of other people- my nose gets runny and my eyes get all red and puffy and it's not pretty. I kept telling myself that I needed to "pull it together!"

So, I dried my tears and went back to Google Reader where I found this post. I should have known from the title: "Sad" that it would indeed, be sad, but no, I went ahead and read it anyway. Might as well get all my tears out at once. It tells about a family whose little pet rabbit died today.

Even more tears as I empathized with losing a pet.

I know emotions are good, but not at lunch time...

Copyright © 2010 by Natasha M.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake and Other Matters

I'm 28 years old. I pay my bills. I'm an adult. Why is it that every time my sister and I come home we bake and bake and bake? And I have the weight gain to prove it. I need help.

Anyway...If somebody were to sniff me out, I am almost positive I would smell like these two recipes I am about to post.

Chocolate. Cheesecake. Butter. You can't go wrong.

But your diet can. It goes right out the window. You don't need it anyway. You look great!

This was my before dinner snack. And my after dinner snack. Welcome to my world.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake


1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate sandwich cookies- about 15 (graham crackers work too)

2 tblsp butter or margarine, melted

2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided


2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 tblsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 tblsp flour

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine cookie crumbs with butter in medium bowl until moistened; press onto bottom of un-greased 9-inch spring-form pan. Sprinkle with 1 cup chocolate chips.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs and flour. Gradually beat in evaporated milk and sour cream. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.

Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Bake for an additional 30-40 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly. Place in refrigerator immediately; refrigerate for 2 hours (if you can wait that long) or until firm. Remove out of spring-form pan.

(To give you an estimate ours ended up baking for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, but your oven might vary).


Ok, this next recipe will win you instant friends. I promise.

If it doesn't, well, you can come back and complain to me. I can take it.

Hot Fudge Sauce

Melt in saucepan over medium heat:

1/2 cup butter

4 - 1 oz. squares of unsweetened chocolate

Stir in:

3 cups sugar

1 - 12 oz. can of evaporated milk

dash of salt

Cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Let cool slightly. Pour into blender and blend for 5 minutes.

Pour over ice cream or brownies or cheesecake. Or heck, just grab a spoon and eat it out of the jar. You only live once!

This keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

See what I mean? I need help.

Copyright © 2010 by Natasha M.


How often have you passed up the opportunity to be kind to others because you were too focused on your own thoughts or were in a rush to get somewhere quickly?

When opportunities for kindness present themselves it is all too easy to pass them by saying "someone else will help."

When we pass them by we deprive ourselves of the chance not only to help others, but to improve our own lives as well.

A little kindness could make all the difference in someone's life.

Beauty from Kevin T. Willson on Vimeo.

"Kindness gives birth to kindness." Sophocles.

Copyright © 2010 by Natasha M.

Friday, August 13, 2010

This is for you...

Yes, if you are reading this, it's for you.

These past few days have been stressful and I needed some comic relief. In light of the situation, my sister and I decided to watch this movie and I wanted, well, I just wanted to tell you how great you are...

Thanks for reading my blog!

Copyright © 2010 by Natasha M.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Jules Verne would be proud

Imagine for a moment that it's morning and as you're lying in bed you leisurely stretch and open your eyes. You look all around you...

What do you see? A giant shark staring you in the face?

Such might be the case at the Poseidon Undersea Resort in Fiji. The resort includes six restaurants, seven bars, a library, fitness center, conference room/wedding chapel/theater, and spa. And of course, the ocean!

An elevator carries guests 40 feet under the sea to their rooms where they can enjoy an ocean view.

For $15,000 per person per week it must be nice in a rich man's world. I better start saving now!

Copyright © 2010 by Natasha M.
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