A Sad Day in Our Home…

This week we said goodbye to our dear precious cat.  Shredder was 21 years old and lived a long, happy and healthy life.  She was beautiful, smart, lovable and just plain cool.

We adopted her in 1991 when Amy was 9, Kevin was 7 and Terry was not a cat-lover.

For years Terry tried to convince us that he didn’t like cats, but in the last 8 years Shredder adopted him and he couldn’t help but fall in love with her too.

He made the ultimate sacrifice (as a non-cat-lover) when he drove over 8 hours from California to Arizona with Shredder in the cab of our moving truck.  She escaped from her carrier and was totally freaked out. The only way she would calm down was when he was petting and talking to her.  His voice was soothing. So that’s what he did for pretty much the whole time.  He talked to her about the towns they were driving through, the scenery and his favorite sports teams…and whatever came to mind for 8 HOURS!  Ever since then they’ve been great buddies.  They took naps together on Sunday afternoons…  Terry in the recliner and Shredder sneaking up on his lap.  She loved to “talk” and he’d have chats with her at various times when he didn’t think anyone was around.  In the winter Shredder would sleep right between the two of us or she’d lay right on the top of the blanket on Terry’s legs (which drove him nuts because he couldn’t move).

She had such a sweet disposition and a mind of her own, as most cats do.

Our daughter and son have lived away from home for several years, but now we truly have an empty nest. Our home and our family will not be the same without her.

Here are a few of my favorite posts about her.

20 Years Old!

Quail Babies in the House

The Cat is Alive and Well

Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado

 

Did you know that the tallest sand dunes in all of North America are in Colorado?  Seems odd, huh?  I would think it would either be along the coast somewhere or maybe in the Arizona deserts, but actually you’ll find them in southern Colorado.  As you may know, one of the items on my Bucket List is to visit every National Park in the U.S.  On Friday we visited Petrified Forest National Park in northeastern Arizona (more on that soon).  Yesterday we visited Great Sand Dunes National Park!

Here’s the view from the visitor center!  Isn’t it gorgeous.  When we were there a monsoon storm was coming in from the east so the dark clouds cast shadows on the mountains and the dunes creating an ever-changing canvas of colors.

Great Sand Dunes National Park Colorado

Summer’s not the best time to visit the park because the temperatures on the dunes can reach the mid-100’s (F).  We were smart enough to stay away from walking on the sand, but since we were in the area, it was still nice to get a preview of the place in case we want to come back and visit again sometime.  If you have a chance to visit the NPS website, you’ll see that there is really quite a bit to do around there besides just running around on the dunes.  Looks like there’s a seasonal river, lake, waterfall, wildlife, beautiful fall and spring color, camping, hiking, etc.  I definitely think it’s worth another trip.

You can explore any part of the 30 square mile dunefield you wish; there are no designated trails in the sand. And there’s even a sand dunes-accessible wheelchair available for free loan at the Visitor Center for those who aren’t quite as mobile.

Here are a few of the photos we took during our short visit.  We saw Pronghorn and Mule Deer as well as the expected chipmunks and squirrels.  Let me know if you’ve been there and what was the most fun for you during your visit.

 

Simple Summer Ideas – Eats, Drinks, Decor

Hey there friends,  I have been staring at the last post for much too long and I’m sure you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, so here’s a little sumthin’ for your summer inspiration.

I know, it’s way past time to bring out the summer decorations.  It will be Independence Day next week, after all!  Can I confess that I still have my Easter decorations on my branch in the living room?  Yowzah!  Hopefully, I can switch them out for summer decor this weekend.

Things have been quite buzy around here with a bunch of changes happening, as well as more on the horizon.  Sadly, my time to concentrate on the transitions are limiting my time to post.  No worries though, there will be more news and posting to come.

In the meantime, here are a few photos of my Summer Centerpiece.  I happen to use mine in the guest bath.  Yes, a centerpiece in the bathroom!  As you know I try to trick myself into believing that I live near the water, especially in these hot summer months when our temperatures are consistently in triple digits (this week it was up around 113 degrees F)!

I keep this simple centerpiece in the bathroom where I get ready every morning.  It fills my mind with memories of sandy beaches, coastal breezes and the sound of waves lapping on the shore.  Which reminds me…I may have a chance to visit my little hometown on Lake Erie in September and I can’t wait to walk on the beach and hear the sounds of the waves as I drift off to sleep!  I never realized what a blessing it was to live just steps from the shore until recently.

For this fun candle arrangement, just find a rustic container, fill it with sand, shells, a candle (or 3) and things that remind you of summer.  Try one yourself and post a link here so we can all see it?

More ideas for your summer inspiration:

Patriotic Slipcover Transformation

4th of July Beverage Ideas

4th of July – Summer Recipes

4th of July – Patriotic Decor

Let me know your plans for the summer and have an awesome holiday!

The Oink Cafe – Breakfast. Lunch. Bacon.

Hey friends,

I haven’t done a restaurant review in a while and I’m hesitant to do this one because The Oink Cafe is close to where we live and a review will just mean that more people will go there.  I’m kinda liking the place and not sure I want to share it with everyone in Phoenix.  But…I think you’ll like it and my mom taught me not to be selfish, so…here we go.

The Oink Cafe in PV

When driving down Cactus Road a few months ago, I noticed that one of the retail spaces near Paradise Valley Mall had a new sign outside.  This spot seems like a wonderful location, but has been somewhat of a revolving door in the past years, not retaining businesses for any length of time.  Hopefully, this will be the exception to that rule.

Anyway, you may remember that a few months ago I won a year’s supply of bacon so that treat has been forefront in my mind lately.  While driving by this new restaurant, the tag line made me do a double take. It reads “Breakfast. Lunch. Bacon.”   What!  A restaurant that features BACON!!! Wow! I’ve got to take my husband there!

This weekend we had the perfect opportunity to try it out.  We had family visiting from out-of-town and when we described it to them they were excited about the adventure.  So, our party of 5 headed there around 9:30 on a Saturday morning.  Phoenix restaurants can get pretty busy on weekends for breakfast, so we weren’t sure what we’d find.  We checked in at the hostess station, then moments later 2 more family members arrived, which increased our request to a party of 7.

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

Maple Bacon Donuts

While we were waiting we noticed all these amazing looking baked goods.  We didn’t get a chance to try any, but will definitely need to do that next time.  Take a look at all the bacon options.

The staff handled our larger party graciously.  And fortunately while it was already pretty busy, there were a few tables that cleared just minutes after we arrived and we were seated promptly.

We perused the menu and ordered a nice variety from our friendly food server.  Here are a few photos to enjoy.

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One item of note:  At the time of this writing, they have 5 different flavors of bacon (applewood smoked, honey cured, sugar cured, peppered, &  jalapeno).  I enjoyed the applewood smoked bacon with breakfast and someone else at the table got an order of the jalepeno and gave me a taste.  It was delicious, especially for those who like that extra little kick of heat in their meal.

We mentioned to the server that they should have a flight of bacon that people could order to try a piece of each different kind.  She said that they have it, but upon checking the menu we couldn’t find it.  Hopefully they’ll add it to the menu or maybe to the list of “specials” so folks can check out all the different flavors.  Plus even though their logo is a pig, maybe they should consider adding turkey bacon for those who want to try to be a tad bit healthier.

Overall, everything was very tasty!  From the time we ordered till the time we got our food was a bit long, but since we were busy visiting it wasn’t too bad.  We’ll chalk that up to being relatively new to the breakfast scene and hope the timing improves.  It’s definitely a place that we’ll visit again…maybe for lunch next time.

Hey maybe they should offer an ultimate BLT with all the flavors of bacon!  I’d order it.  How about you?

What do you think ?  Does it sound promising?  Do you think you’ll try “The Oink Cafe” if you have the chance?

The View from the Sofa

A few weeks ago I had surgery and I’ve been home recuperating since then.  On doctor’s orders I’ve done a lot of sitting around, so I thought I’d give you a peek into my view from the sofa.

Shredder

Shredder

Here’s my buddy, Shredder.  Our 21 year old cat.  She’s been hanging out on the sofa with me every day.  Here she is on her favorite blanket.

Basically she sleeps away the day in the middle of the sofa and I sit to her right (under that blue blanket when it’s chilly).

 

Sometimes when my lap is empty she climbs up and sleeps there too.  She stretches out with her head on my chest and tail down by my knees as I watch my favorite home improvement/decorating show on the TV.  I have to admit that I watched a lot of HGTV, especially the first few days when I was on pain killers and couldn’t focus enough to do much of anything else.

Below is the view to the right, into the kitchen.  Our island is filled with beautiful flowers and sweet cards from friends (and my hubby).  Have I mentioned that I LOVE FLOWERS of all kinds?  Looking at these just make me happy.  And many of our friends and family brought meals and sweet gifts while I was out of commission as well.  All of them were a constant reminder of what loving family and friends we have.

Flowers and Cards

Do you live in a loving community?  I hope so!  We were created to love and be loved and the freedom to express and receive love nourishes us to our very core.   I have felt so much love over the last few weeks and that’s not because I’m such a special person.  It’s because the community that I’m part of just gets it.  They know how to love well.  They understand how important it is to come alongside, affirm, encourage and support others and I am SO BLESSED to be part of this exceptional community.

And here’s my sweet husband serving me like he has been since my surgery.  He’s taken on all of my chores around the house, cooking, cleaning the catbox, laundry and all.  He even freshened up my flowers for me every few days.  What a keeper he is!

Terry serving

More flowers

And some more lovely flowers from some of my co-workers to the left of where I’m sitting.

And now a fun bonus!  When I was going stir crazy this week and feeling well enough to stand up and walk around a bit, I finally put up this calendar on the side of my refrigerator.  I kind of like it! (Be sure to click to enlarge the photo.)

It’s called a “Peel It – Design It” Birds in Flight calendar.  Each piece around the calendar is a decal that is position-able wherever you want to put it.  The monthly calendars are cardboard.  There were other decals that were orange and yellows that so far I’ve decided to leave out of the design but we’ll see if I add them later.  What do you think?

What do you do to support and encourage friends and family when they’re going through tough times?  Were you raised in a loving community?  Do you feel comfortable showing love to others?  What’s your favorite way to do that?

Blogs Worth A Writer’s Time

I am such a proud mom!  We recently learned that our daughter, Amy T. Schubert (don’t you just love that smile) and her blog “Lemon and Raspberry” was mentioned in this article below that showcases just 16 favorite blogs and websites that are worth a visit by writers.

The magazine that this came from is none other than “The Writer“, which is also celebrating 125 years of publishing – WOW!  It’s in their March 2012 issue and available at your favorite magazine stand or bookstore.  We picked ours up at Barnes and Noble.

The first image is page 1 of the article.  After you click on the image, you should be able to zoom in by clicking again if it’s not large enough to read yet.

The Writer mag article

The second image below (click to enlarge) is Page 2 of the article.  In the right column, contributing editor Stephanie Dickison mentions Lemon and Raspberry as one of her top 3 websites.  Awesome!  I love this, especially since her blog doesn’t really focus on writing, but many other facets of the creative process.  Way to go Teegan!  I just LOVE having creative kids.

Lemon & Raspberry article in The Writer

Happy Valentine’s Day Friends!

I hope you had an extra special day with the ones you love!  I hope you enjoy these photos of my Valentine Branch.  Don’t you just love this sweet little owl.  He was a gift from my friend, Sharon.  The branch hangs in my living room throughout the year, all decorated for each season.

I also wanted to post a quick note to apologize for being MIA for a while.  I didn’t realize how long it’s been.  There’s so much to report and there has been so little time to report it.

This past weekend we were in Puerto Penasco, Mexico.  It was the first time I’ve been there.  The Catfish Hunters did a concert on Saturday night and we had a great time!  Pictures to come soon.

More big news and probably a little bit of an excuse as to why I haven’t been on my blog too much.  I just received in the mail the book that I created through Blurb.com!  It was a (mostly) photo travel book about a trip that I was privileged to take to Israel and Jordan in October with a non-profit organization that I work with.   The book is 12″ x 12″ and 200 pages (yes, you read that right).  It turned out beautifully if I must say so myself!  I’ll have pictures of that and a link soon too!

I also had the privilege of planning a celebration for a dear friend of ours…of course there are photos of that on the way too!

See, I really do have a few good reasons for not being online.  Just sorry that it kept me away from all my friends here.  See you soon.  I promise.