Not Seven Swans A Swimming

Just two of them. Quickly sharing my favorite set of photos from last Wednesday. Ironically, not of the eagles or geese I went to view. Rather this lucky collection of two swans arriving for the water landing as my camera clicked.

Not Calling Birds

And closer to home, we’ve had this odd little visitor. At first, I thought my white-crowned sparrow returned to visit. However, upon closer inspection and a bit of Internet research, I’ve determined it’s something called a leucistic house sparrow. Basically, a not quite albino variation of my house sparrows. 

(note: these photos were through the back door as my current birds like to take off the minute I attempt to ease the door open). 

My guess is he’s related to my other sparrow who sports a white tail feather.  Still not a common site in our backyard and an interesting looking bird.

By the way, I looked up calling birds out of curiosity. Thought to be blackbirds or at another time mockingbirds. I could spend way too much time researching the song, so I’m stopping with that thought.

Other Birds Spotted In The Backyard This Week

Not spotted by me but my younger son could hardly wait to tell me of his backyard sighting on Thursday afternoon as I walked in from work. Not one but two hawks in the tree in the backyard!  Apparently, after “rescuing” the cat from the deck where she lounged, he did at least think of trying to take the photos. Unfortunately, my bad habit of forgetting to replace the SD card after uploading photos did me in on that one. So no pictures.

I do have a photo of one of my work Secret Santa gifts, not quite the same but I do love the coffee cup (and despite my husband’s objections, I do not believe there is such a thing as too many coffee cups!):

Back to information about the pair of hawks. After listening to the descriptions provided by my son and husband and pulling up birds in my bird books and on-line, we’ve decided most likely it was a pair of red shouldered hawks!

Birds viewed with my own eyeballs this week: cardinals, nuthatches, chickadees, tufted titmice, house finches, Carolina wrens, lots of sparrows including the one shown above, a blue jay, a few robins (on the way to work), a crow, and about 3 gulls flying overhead yesterday (on the way home from work).

What birds did you spot this week?

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Joining in with Bird Depot, hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather B Birdin’.

Just Checking In

Mostly just a quick post today. I go into work in just a bit and then, I’ll be working every day (minus the weekends, of course) until Christmas Eve. I was off the first three days of this week but can’t even tell you what I was doing, maybe Christmas shopping? A little. Cleaning? A very little bit. Cooking? I did make one batch of *okay* Christmas cookies. Picking up the camera? Not really. Shoulda/Woulda/Coulda kind of week I suppose. So no pictures for this post.

No snow for us either. Been a bit chilly but no ice/rain/snow or sleet. Just cloudy and blah though the sun is out today.

A Tiny Tip Since It’s Thursday

I’m the use the whole roll of tape almost just to wrap a gift type of person. So no surprise when I ran out of tape this week. If you need to buy scotch tape, don’t pick up the single roll by the wrapping paper (if say you’re in Walgreens because it’s the closest place to you and you’re in a hurry). Go back into the office supply section and get the 3 rolls packaged together, better price and not as crowded.

Other Random Stuff

Wrote a post over on Chit Chat With Jean. Plan to switch over there on Jan 1. It’s still a work in progress at this point. Looking for a good word press tutorial site if anyone has recommendations?

The cookies I made were mint surprise cookies. Started out thinking I’d use a recipe in an old Southern Living Christmas cook book but the recipe looked off to me. Ever heard of a cookie recipe that didn’t call for eggs or baking soda or baking powder? Wasn’t quite brave enough to try it so switched over and used this recipe  from Mr. Food instead.

Staying on the food theme, I also winged it with some homemade minestrone soup one night using this recipe as a guide. A surprising hit with my picky crew!

Better go get ready for work now. It’s candy cane/wear red & white day. No idea what to do with that one.

What’s been going on in your world this week?

Happy Homemaker Monday, 11 Days until Christmas

And 17 days until the New Year. All set? Not even close here. Well, maybe close but it doesn’t feel like it.

Think I definitely need a plan for this week. Joining in with Sandra at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom to plan my week with the Happy Homemaker Monday link up she hosts.

Lots to do today so straight to the categories.

The Weather

After some fabulous weather last week (mid 60’s on my birthday, a nice extra gift), back to winter temps for most of the week. However, most the snow went south so we never saw a flake fall in these parts. Currently 22 degrees and supposed to edge up to 37 today. Looks like we’re back in the 50’s by the weekend. No rain or snow in sight as of right now.

On The Breakfast Plate

The usual.

As I Look Outside My Window

Out the front windows, I saw serious frost on the car windows. Out the back door window, all my birds searching for seed. I read it online so it was supposed to be true. However, it turns out squirrels *do* like safflower seed after all. SIGH. Going to get them (birds or squirrels?) more seed is on the agenda today.

As I Look Around The House

Also on the agenda today, a major clean up and organize project.

What I’m Wearing Today

Probably going to change clothes before leaving the house. For now, I’m wearing a blue sweatshirt and olive green corduroy pants plus tennis shoes.

On My To Do List

Already mentioned the first two, here’s the rest of the list

  1. Go get bird seed (didn’t do it last week so now we’re out)
  2. Clean and organize house
  3. Pay bills
  4. Write out some Christmas cards
  5. Get stamps
  6. Figure out rest of the Christmas gifts
  7. Make a couple of appointments
  8. Camera practice (didn’t do good with this one last week either)
  9. Maybe I should say do all the things I didn’t do last week…

On My Reading Pile

Tis the season for murder? I’ve been reading lots of Lisa Gardner’s D.D. Warren books lately. Just finished one called The Neighbor.  Started with book 10 in the series so now I’m trying to catch up in order while waiting for my library turn with book 11.

Also, Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman showed up on my library turn. Took a minute to read that (nothing like a note of 10 people waiting to make you read a little more intently). While I love his writing and it’s an excellent novel, perhaps not the best to read during a down year. Hopeful and yet, I cried at the end.

On My TV

Been reading a lot (see above) so a bit behind in my Christmas movie countdown. We did watch Christmas Vacation as a family because J had never seen it. Not sure honestly that I’d ever seen the whole thing beginning to end. Also, I watched Krampus. Thought I’d be scared but I wasn’t at all. Perfect Christmas movie for those Scrooge moods. Loved it. Definitely a new one to watch each year for me.

Of course, we also watched the division champions (again!), Kansas City Chiefs yesterday. Sorry, Pittsburgh fans.

On The Menu This Week

Notice given yesterday it’s an eat out of the fridge/pantry/freezer week around here. All of below subject to change based on what I find today.

MONDAY: Salsa Verde Chicken and Yellow Rice (carry over) *J has a baritone lesson at 6:30*

TUESDAY: Lasagna (from freezer) and salad

WEDNESDAY: Something with flank steak and probably rice/potatoes depending

THURSDAY: Husband’s choice. *I work 1-6*

FRIDAY: Free for all. Leftovers of the leftovers? *I work until 4:30, need to confirm start time. Might be noon but might be earlier to help with Christmas party*

Something Fun To Share

The ad for these pens popped up on my Instagram account and for some reason, I find the video super relaxing.  Maybe you will also. Note you’ll have to scroll down a tiny bit. Here’s the link: snowflake marker drawing.  

Also, I’m not endorsing these/no idea if they work/not a sponsored thing/just like the video.

From The Camera

Took a birthday trip to Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge. Go back one post to see my geese and eagle photos (more bird photos coming Saturday) but the landscape was also gorgeous!

On My Prayer List

All those struggling right now, a family member who lost a parent last week, friends, family and strangers. My friend, Rachel over at Living Better One Day At Time for her and her family to have a speedy recovery from the virus. An end to this pandemic and a return to kindness and civility. A peaceful and happy holiday season for all of us. 

Quote For The Week

Discovered in my reading of the novel, Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman:

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. (Martin Luther)

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Are you counting down to anything this week? Christmas? The New Year? Something else? And are you ready for it?

Geese and Eagles

Hey! I have different birds to share this time.

Decided to treat myself on my birthday, Wednesday, by driving up to Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge. I’ve always wanted to go. It’s about a two hour trip from here. I had time and the weather was perfect so off I went. A really nice day if I leave out the traffic construction snarls part of the story.

Eagle days canceled last weekend because of Covid. However, you can still go and drive the route. Didn’t really expect to see many eagles but was pleasantly surprised. They seemed to be everywhere!

However, I can’t leave the snow geese out of this conversation.

So many snow geese!

And Eagles!

In the trees:

On the water:

And of course, in the air over the water:

Also, not just bald eagles. Golden eagles, too, I think.

Or maybe a juvenile bald eagle here?

Photos from a Lazy Birder

Meaning I don’t know the exact species here and I haven’t looked them up but thought I’d just share on here.

And one last look at the geese and eagles (look at the tree, upper right corner):

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Speaking of lazy, took all my photos on auto. The pros out there had the full tripod set ups going. More photos to share next time, saving my favorite set of photos for next Saturday really.

Geese and eagles stand out but I did spot other birds this week (probably shouldn’t include the one shown to me from the rude car on the highway, ha!): the usual around the backyard feeders so cardinals, chickadees, sparrows, tufted titmice, the nuthatches, red-bellied woodpecker and the downy woodpecker. Canada geese down the road and at the wildlife refuge, lots of hawks in trees on the way. Some starlings. Saw a few crows. And unbelievably, as I drove home, just past Saint Joseph (so still about an hour north of here), two bald eagles flew over the highway.

What birds did you see this week?

Linking up with the Bird Depot, hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather B Birdin’.

 

Blogmas: Decorating for a Quiet Christmas

I thought I’d just cover a few Blogmas posts all at once in my title. Covering days 5, 6, and 7 here (Decorating, Loud or Quiet, Real or Artificial Tree).

First up decorating.

Usually, I do it all the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Like many others, I wasn’t really feeling it this year. All I accomplished that day was to put up my seasonal shower curtain. And put out my new night light in the bathroom. 

During the course of the week, one day after work, I brought up the tree. We did a bit of our usual re-arranging to make it fit.

Real or Artificial Tree? 

And then, the poor tree sat unadorned and lonely until Sunday. (It’s a pre-lit artificial tree so no worrying about lights except when the pre-lit ones don’t light. Grumble.)

Sunday, I finally decided to do a bit more. During the Chiefs football game, I added those special ornaments for luck. Worked, I might add as they ended the game with a win. Not their best performance but a “w” is a “w”.  Turns out a little bit of decorating turns into a little more and this morning, I kept going.

 Loud Or Quiet

Since Christmas for us will likely be quiet, just a few additional family members perhaps not like the loud over the top family filled Christmases of my past, I’ll give you all the grand (small) house tour in photos below.

And since I like to at least attempt to keep it real, I’m throwing in some “background” shots to highlight the “fun” of making room for Christmas in a smaller space.

As I type this, my husband is “cheerfully” putting up greenery on the kitchen doorway.

Now, I’m going to pause writing this post to go snap some photos of our Christmas decorations so far to share with you all. Perhaps, if you aren’t yet in the mood to decorate, you’ll be a bit more inspired. If not, that’s okay as well. And if you’ve already decorated, I hope your enjoying your season!

Come On In!

G thinks our wreath is ugly. However, my late mother-in-law gave it to me. I’ve toyed with replacing it with a real wreath for the front door sometimes. I don’t disagree with G but then I love the ugly thing because of the memories it provides. 

We spread our stockings on the sofa because no fireplace except the Netflix one around here.

Candles in the windows!

And a bit of a mess in front of them still. Area is a work in progress. Where to put plants to make room for Christmas? Still pondering…and those poinsettias? Why did I order so many?

Nativity sets are all out.

My mom’s old one, now mine, goes by the front door. 

The Christmas Nativity Angel, a gift from my in-laws the year my mother-in-law passed away, she’d already purchased it before her death, goes on the area in front of the window, where I’m still trying to figure it all out.

Tiny Precious Moments one goes in front of TV (bought on our honeymoon at the Precious Moments chapel in Carthage, MO as we passed through).

And my Party Lite one from our early marriage years (and my favorite) sits on the bookcase with a ceramic Santa on a tractor (used to belong to my husband’s grandpa) in the background.

It sits a top a bookcase we moved from the living room into the corner of the kitchen to make room for the tree. This is my current solution so we don’t stare at the open back of a bookcase during dinner:

Have you decorated for Christmas yet? Buddy the Elf has his coffee & is ready to listen to how you feel about it this year.

 

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