Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Soul-Filled Day

We are very fortunate in our city to have bountiful activities and attractions to take advantage of. Take a look at Chattanooga Fun and you’ll see for yourself. If you’ve never visited Chattanooga before, I highly recommend it!

This past Monday I took advantage of one such activity, the Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center. There are two parts to this awesome property. One is the boardwalk, which winds its way through a seasonal wetland along Lookout Creek. Part of this area includes a wildlife refuge with enclosures housing native wildlife such at the federally endangered Red Wolf, red-tailed hawks, a bobcat, bald eagle, etc. The other part to the CNC is the Reflection Riding Driving Loop. According to their website, the three-mile driving loop provides a tour of the main park from the comfort of ones own car and meanders pleasantly through pastoral settings, woodland gardens, wildflower meadows, reflection ponds and beside the banks of Lookout Creek.

After turning off Highway 41, the winding road traveling to the CNC was lined with azaleas, white and pink dogwoods and fresh sweet green leaves on budding trees. And this was just the road leading to the Nature Center!


I was the only car on the loop for the entire hour and a half. I stopped in the middle of the road to listen, observe and breathe in the sweet aroma of fresh cut grass and blooming plants. Golly, it was beautiful! The wildflowers were carpeting the ground with flaming yellows and a dusting here and there of baby pinks and shades of violets. Some of the dogwood blooms were as big as the palm of my hand. And the birds? They sounded like a chorus of angels!

I probably hadn’t traveled a few hundred yards when I noticed a fluttering in the wildflowers on the side of the road. This is what I found.


So I paused for a few minutes and watched. This little guy was gleaning some sweet nectar!


Every turn, every bend fed my eyes and soul to the brim.



The light was captivating as it danced through the new growth on the tree branches.




Because I just don’t have the proper words to describe my soul-filled day, I will borrow some beautiful quotes from a naturalist, an English novelist and an American poet/author.

Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm. ~ John Muir

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~ John Muir

Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. ~ John Muir

To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.  ~ Jane Austen

And perhaps my favorite summation . . .

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. ~ e.e. cummings


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring and Easter Preparations

For reasons unbeknownst to me, Spring has been a bit more meaningful this year. I have taken more photos, bought more springy crafts and have been aware of lights, colors, sounds and smells more than ever. Even the our dogwood tree in the front yard has bigger and certainly more beautiful blooms this year. It must been feeling it too!


Over the past few months I’ve been actively pinning lots of ideas onto my Easter Board on Pinterest (I love Pinterest – thank you oldest daughter for introducing me). This has been a great idea board for me and I do believe others have agreed. I truly wanted to complete several things, but reality set in and well, you know the rest. BUT, I do have to say I have completed a couple of the ideas as well as some of my own ideas.

Up first is this cute Fabric Easter Basket courtesy of Moda Bake Shop with V and Co providing the tutorial. I purchased my Moda Clementine Honey Bun from eBay and started the process. The one alteration from the tutorial I did was to hot glue the basket coils together instead of sew them. The glue does show a bit and I might would attempt to sew it next time. I am so happy with the results! I think my little Cupcake Girl likes it too!


As you see above, there are some unique eggs gathered in the basket. These eggs were from a tutorial for a Yarn Egg Wreath. I discovered that wrapping plastic eggs is not as easy as it looks! Currently I have only yellow (they look white in the picture) and multi-colored ones. I still need to a few other colors and I don’t know that I will get an actual wreath made, but again, I love how the eggs turned out (so far). I’m going to give the egg-wrapping a little more thought and see if I can make it a little easier.

Cupcake Girl decorated some foam eggs for me and I love how they bring beautiful color to my kitchen window sill, especially the face on one of the eggs. The bunnies in the background were inspired from the Pieces of Me blog. Cupcake and I made a bunny banner for her house and there were some left over, so they now grace my window. After we made the banner, we decorated a wall in our house to see how they looked. Love them!


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I still want to make a few more things and I’ve got the supplies to make them. Here they are along with their links:

I Can Teach My Child – Fabric Collage Easter Basket

Easter Egg Candle Holder from The CSI Project

Fabric Carrots (I’ve got great fabric for these) from Clare’s Craft Room

And finally a parting shot. After all, what’s Spring without bubbles…..and someone to share them with!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages…..

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® proudly presents Barnum Bash. It’s the hippest circus spectacular that The Greatest Show On Earth® has ever produced!

Key the smoke.


Key the music! Key the Ringlettes!

Bring up the lights and let the show begin!


Introducing Brett and Cathy Carden and their Exotic Animals (except the dogs aren’t really exotic, just really cute).






WAIT! That’s not an exotic animal in that yellow hat! Or is it?

And now back to our program. It’s time to shift things into high gear with the Havana Troupe. Watch as they perform exciting feats of acrobatics that consist of Olympic-caliber flips and twists. Following this troupe is Francleib Rodrigues, who walks upside-down, high above the arena floor without a safety net or harness. Using only loops to support his feet as he suspends inverted above the audience, Francleib frolics, spins and skips from one end of the truss to the other. Ending this round will be the dynamic hand-balancing, husband-and-wife team of Duo Fusion who combines Latin heritage with strength, agility and balance (they were awesome).




See Nunu? I can balance a feather on my foot. I can to be an acrobat too!

And now Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of all ages, The Flying Cruzados will amaze you as they perform unfathomable stunts that defy the forces of gravity and propel them forward and backward on the double wheel of steel. (click on the video for a small short stop-action slideshow)

The Flying Cruzados

Oops, a little intermission happiness!

And introducing the renowned Urias Family, the First Family of the Motorcycle Globe. Watch as they revved customized 125 cc motorcycles at speeds up to 60 mph in a steel globe that is only 16 feet in diameter. The gripping, high-speed act led by Erwin and Melvin Urias was created by their great-grandfather, Joaquin, who first invented the globe in 1912. The steel orb has been in their family for more than 80 years.


And finally, hailing from Moscow, Russia, Dmytrio Khaladzhy is a self-taught strongman who realized his gift at the age of seven. When restless, instead of playing, he went around looking for things to lift. At age 10, he learned he could bend a metal fire poker, and then at age 13, while working at a brick factory he found he could crush bricks. By age 14, Dmytrio was able to hammer nails into wood boards – with his bare hands! We watched him drive a nail with his bear heads, bend a rod of steel, perform pinky-curls with massive weights and witnessed a jeep drive over him. (Okay, some of this was a little cheesy and I didn’t take pictures of all of his acts, but I give the man credit)


NOTE: A great deal of the above “act descriptions” was taken from the Meet the Stars section.

I’m 49 years old and have never been to the circus. I did know before hand that it would not be a 3-ring circus and certainly not like the circus of old. I was disappointed at not seeing the tightrope walker, trapeze act and the awesome lion/tiger acts, but all in all, my first experience was pretty awesome.

Before the circus we were able to go down on the floor and see a few of the performers and peek backstage (didn’t see the elephants back there though). Cupcake’s greatest feat was going through the limbo line ALL BY HERSELF! At first she didn’t want to go but changed her mind and boy, did her little face light up afterwards. This was one proud Nunu! Click on the pictures below to see the pre-circus festivities.