Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

I got excited about this challenge because I take a lot of photos with the sun as a feature…. Between the leaves of trees or buildings, through the petals of a flower, through cracked windows in abandoned buildings – there are many ways I’ve tried to capture the sun or sun rays in shots.  The problem with this challenge is that I waited until today to post it and today I’ve had horrible nerve pain all day long.  I didn’t get a chance to sort through some of my older shots (which contained better examples) and restricted my choices to about the last 5-6 months.  Even though I didn’t get a chance to pull out a couple of shots that I thought would be nice interpretations of this challenge, I did find some other captures.  Actually, I found quite a few.  So with no further rambling – here they are!  🙂


Roosevelt's four freedoms, 4 freedoms, freedom from fear, freedom of speech, east tennessee veterans memorial, world's fair park, knoxville tennessee, granite pillar memorial park, Franklin D. Roosevelt's freedoms
A side view of the granite pillar showing two of Roosevelt's four freedoms at the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial.



sunset over the river, norris dam state park, sunset over the mist on the water
Sunset and the evening mist over the river~



sunflare, sunflare across abandoned building, abandoned building, sunset over tin roof of abandoned building
Sun flare across the tin roof of an abandoned building...



golden sunset, orange and peach sunset, sun setting over the hills and river, sun setting over the river
Golden glow of sunset~



sunshine reflected in sunglasses, sun reflected in sunglasses, reflections in sunglasses
I've always called this one "I See the Light"... haha!



sun setting over the hills, sunset over the meadow, golden sun over the hills
Sun setting on a day in a country meadow...


I promise I’m almost finished!  🙂


sunshine over the river, sun reflected in water, sunshine reflected in river, sun shining over the lake
Blue skies & sunshine!


And finally – the only picture that I actually took this week.  Hubby wasn’t crazy about it, but for some reason I loved it.  It was such an eerie, strange sky – the photo has only been slightly sharpened and cropped.  It may look like it’s a b&w photo but it’s not!  That’s just how different the sky and lighting were at that time of day at that spot.


God's rays, God rays, sun shining through the gray clouds, sunshine and clouds, rays of sun shining through the clouds, monochrome sunset, faux monochrome sunset, black and white, b&w looking photo
Sun & clouds~



I hope you’ve enjoyed & thanks for stopping by!


As always, please remember that these images are my private property and not for public use or copying.  Thanks!  🙂


Try it Out Tuesday: Kale Chips!

For several weeks I’ve been thinking about starting a weekly feature called ‘Try it Out Tuesday’.  After becoming *slightly* addicted to Pinterest, I wanted to find a way to hold myself accountable for actually trying some of the wonderful recipes and crafts I was ‘pinning’.  The accountability measurement, I decided, could also help me become more regular with my blogging – hence, the idea for ‘try it’ Tuesday was born!

Even though the idea came to me weeks ago, I’ve been forced to hold off on getting started.  At the beginning of the month I got pretty sick and it seemed that would never pass… Hubby went through the loss of two family members within weeks of each other, so that was the focus in our household at the time… And then it was a matter of actually waiting for the next Tuesday to get here.  lol!  I actually started to post this at the end of last week regardless of the which day of the week it was.  There wasn’t enough time to finish getting the pictures ready so I waited.  In the meantime I tried out two other recipes/crafts I found on Pinterest to use for future posts.  Yay !!!

cobalt blue colander filled with a bunch of kale, kale bunch, kale leaves

So what is the inaugural post about?  Kale!  It was actually my wariness and sense of trepidation that made me choose kale for my first subject.  It’s a vegetable I’ve seen (and passed by) in the grocery store for many years and a vegetable I’ve recently learned is a powerhouse on many ‘superfood’ lists.  Here’s a bit of kale background info from WebMD.com (click to visit the website for the complete article):

One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Sounds pretty healthy, huh?  Still not convinced?  Have you ever heard of the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI)?  Well, you’re not alone.  I had no idea what it was, but as I began reading up on the benefits of kale I came across a reference to it and thought I’d check it out.  The ANDI scoring system ranks food according to the amount of nutrients they have per calorie.  The foods with the most nutrients per calorie are given the highest scores.  Familiar with NuVal scoring?  It’s a similar system that also takes into account the amount of fats (trans and saturated), sodium, sugar and cholesterol.  Whole Foods uses the ANDI scoring system to rate foods and many chain supermarkets use the NuVal system.  I’d be happy to give you more information about each, but since I’m not an expert I don’t want to mislead anyone.  If you’d like more information, please visit sites here and here to read more!  🙂  All of that background was so that I could share one thing.  (sorry!)  On each of these lists, kale receives top honors – a perfect score of 1000 on the ANDI list and a 99 out of 100 on the NuVal list.  Pretty great, huh?

I wanted to find a way to add kale to my diet but was hesitant simply because I knew the flavor might be an acquired taste…  After seeing many references to ‘kale chips’ and pinning a link to a recipe on Pinterest, I decided that would be as good a place as any to jump in and test it as a healthy snack option.  Here’s the pin that links to the kale recipe I used (at foodcamerablog.blogspot.com), and if you’d like to follow my boards on Pinterest you can click here.


washed kale, washing kale, kale bunch
First you should wash the kale...


The first step is to wash the kale and pat the leaves dry removing as much moisture as possible.  Less moisture = better chips.  After washing and drying, pull or cut the leaves away from the thick stems.  (I tore the leaves into two to three-inch sections.)


kale stems, removing kale leaves from the stems
Pull or cut the leaves off the kale stems and add the leaves to a bowl.


After adding the leaves to a bowl you’re ready to add the flavoring and/or spices of your choice.  I wanted two different options to try, so I sectioned the kale into two piles and used the Pinterest recipe for the first pile.  One of the bloggers I follow – Jessie Kaufman at ‘Living Mostly Meatless’ – had several recipe options on a recent post and I decided to try one of her combinations for the second batch.  (She also has a review of ‘Bok Choy Chips’ that I’m interested in trying out.  Check out her blog – it’s great!)


whole grain mustard, jar of mustard, jar of whole grain mustard, open jar of mustard
My first batch included whole grain mustard, olive oil and garlic powder.


The recipe called for spicy mustard, but I didn’t have any on hand and decided to use whole ground mustard instead.


seasoned kale, blue bowl of kale, bowl of kale, bowl of seasoned kale, kale leaves for kale chips
Mix the ingredients together with the kale leaves.


Now you’re ready to put the kale on a baking sheet and get it in the oven!


baking sheet of kale, kale on baking sheet, seasoned kale, making kale chips, baking kale leaves
Spread the kale in a single layer on a baking sheet (I also used parchment paper since I was making two batches).


Different recipes call for different temperatures and baking times.  I think there’s a fine balance in the amount of oil, baking temperature and timing.  The first batch seemed great when I checked it, but looked like it needed another couple of minutes since some of it was still slightly moist.  Unfortunately, I misjudged the timing and about half of the kale was a little burnt.  😦  Taking that into consideration I adjusted the time for the second batch (parmesan and garlic) and they turned out great!


baked kale, kale chips, kale with parmesan and garlic, kale, healthy snacks, healthy snack options
Baked kale chips!

I have to admit I wasn’t an instant fan.  lol!  As soon as it came out of the oven I had to try a piece and it wasn’t what I expected.  The flavor is a little bitter and kind of strong, and although the leaves are quite hardy when fresh, pulling out the moisture leaves them thin and light.  Hubby enjoyed the mustard/garlic combo, but I found the parmesan more to my liking.  (I should probably confess, however, that it might have been simply because there weren’t burnt pieces in that batch.)  After trying a handful or two I decided to let them sit overnight and try it again the next day.  When I had some with lunch the next day I found them more enjoyable.  I think it’s just because I knew what to expect.

In all honesty, the first batch wasn’t finished.  The second was gone within two days.  🙂  After getting accustomed to the flavor I ate them by the handful.  They may not be for everyone, and I can’t claim them as one of my favorite foods, but I’m excited by the many seasoning possibilities and will be making them again!



Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects

Friday is when the new photo challenge posts so this is technically late since it is last week’s challenge.  I let too many things distract me and didn’t get it posted in time, but I already had some pictures picked out so I thought I’d go ahead and post them.  The topic for this challenge was ‘two subjects’.  There are many ways to interpret this so I chose several different shots.  Hope you enjoy!  🙂

bumblebees on purple coneflowers
'Bumblebee Cafeteria'


no parking at barn, Massey Ferguson tractor, small town life
Apparently they didn't read the sign before parking their tractor here...



cherub fountain, Seacrest Beach Florida
The yellow hibiscus flowers blooming around this cherub statue (or was it a fountain?) were so beautiful~


broken recliner in a weed-choked vacant lot
Have a seat!


I’ve only been to Chicago once, but it was a fantastic trip and for some reason I always liked the next photo a lot…  🙂


reflection of Trump Towers in Chicago Illinois
I always refer to this one as 'Reflections of Trump Towers'...


Northern Mockingbird on rooftop
Can't really call this a bird on a hot tin roof, just a Northern Mockingbird on my roof! lol


And finally – the photo that is currently my profile picture for my Etsy shop!  🙂


greek goddess sculpted concrete planter
"Face Plant"

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you enjoyed…  🙂


My 50th Post… Or, How I Spent a Lunch Hour With Joan Osborne

50 posts!  Wow… I can’t believe I’ve been able to write this many posts and still have people stop by and read them!  🙂

on the air radio sign

At the beginning of the past week I realized this would be a milestone post, so I tried to come up with something interesting to write about.  It didn’t take long for me to realize there weren’t any good ideas in my brain.  So I did the only thing that makes sense when faced with a challenge – I procrastinated!  For days.  That doesn’t usually accomplish anything but wasted time, but luck was with me this week.  I received a phone call from my sister one afternoon that changed any plans I might have thought I had for post number fifty.  One of our local radio stations – WDVX – has a program they call the ‘Blue Plate Special’ which airs live Monday through Saturday at noon.  Various musical acts perform in front of a live studio audience and my sister wanted to let me know that Joan Osborne was the guest Thursday.  !!!!  Ms. Osborne is a singer-songwriter that is, perhaps, best known for the song “One of Us” from her 1995 album Relish.   In my opinion, ‘One of Us’ was one of the weaker songs on the album while most of the others showcased more of a rich, edgy sound that the single lacked.  It was certainly more of a radio-friendly song, but many of the other tracks far outshine it.

We’re not here, however, to discuss Joan Osborne as I remember her from the 90’s… we’re here to discuss Joan Osborne from a couple of days ago when I was lucky enough to join a room full of people gathered to hear her sing a short set for WDVX.

joan osborne at radio performance WDVX

Joan and her band were actually the second part of the show – the first performace was from the group HuDost.  I don’t know much about them, but they had a very unique and creative sound that everyone seemed to enjoy.  If you’re interested in eclectic world music you should definitely check them out!

moksha sommer hudost blue plate special performance
Moksha Sommer of the group HuDost~

After HuDost finished their performance Joan and her band came out and took the stage.  Their set was not a long one – 30 to 40 minutes – but it was so much fun.  Her voice is still as gorgeous as ever and I was thrilled to finally be able to see her live!  Performing songs from her new CD Bring It On Home – she captivated the crowd filling every corner of the small room with the selection of vintage blues and soul songs.  Bring It On Home rocks with songs from R&B greats like Ray Charles, Al Green, and Otis Redding, and Joan was in her element singing them.

Joan Osborne and band performing at WDVX

Joan Osborne singing

If you haven’t heard her new CD and enjoy that type of music you should look it up and at least listen to a couple of songs.  I doubt you’ll be disappointed.  🙂   Everyone in our small group had a great time and agreed that having a ‘Blue Plate Special’ with Joan Osborne was a great way to spend a lunch hour!

Joan Osborne singing Shake Your Hips
Singing "Shake Your Hips"!
Joan Osborne interview
Answering some questions about her new CD - "Bring It On Home".

If you told me Monday that I’d have such an experience to write about by Friday, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.  It was a great week to have a milestone blog post and I’m so glad my sister heard about the opportunity and invited me along!

Joan Osborne performing
Such a fantastic voice!

Joan Osborne and her band Blue Plate Special performance WDVX

Joan Osborne
The lovely Ms. Osborne...

A huge THANK YOU to Joan for a wonderful show!!  Thanks to my sister for bringing some ‘glad you’re feeling a little better’ cheer to the week and thanks to hubby for making sure I was able to get out of the house to enjoy it!  lol!

And as always – thanks to you for stopping by and visiting me here…  Hope it’s a great weekend!

~heather  🙂

Fatigue on Easter Eve

I’ve tried to stop by and post several times this week, but it’s been such a difficult week.  Again.  Yuck…  Since that was the case, I kept putting off writing anything because I didn’t want to whine and complain.  However, part of being transparent and open is sharing the good AND the bad.  So here I am.  🙂

This won’t be a long post – I really need to get to bed and at least try to get some sleep – but I wanted to stop by and chat about why this week was less than stellar in the hopes that it might help someone else… Even though I have went to the doctor yesterday I don’t have a definite diagnosis, but I have a pretty good idea of what’s going on.  Brief history – a couple (two? three?) of weeks ago I had to go to the doctor and he diagnosed me with walking pneumonia.  He put me on two full rounds of antibiotics, which I finished last week, that seemed to clear things up okay… I still have slight chest discomfort and an occasional cough, but it’s a real improvement from weeks ago.  The problem is that the antibiotics seem to have completely wiped out all of the good bacteria in my body.  The result of which has been an extremely sick week in a different sense.  (*sigh*)  Now I’ve had to have samples sent to the lab and blood tests run… Speaking of which – has anyone else with CFS/FMS noticed an increased irritation to medical tape since their diagnosis?  I can’t remember it ever being an issue, but in the last year or so any time I have blood drawn and they tape cotton my arm I’ve ended up with raw, irritated skin even if the tape is only there for 30 minutes or so.  ?  It’s really strange!

Okay.  That was a slight detour from my original thought process!  🙂  My point was to stop by and say – if you already have issues with your immune system and get put on lots of antibiotics, make sure you add probiotics to your diet to replace the good bacteria that is getting wiped out!  I know everything is going to be okay, but at one point during the week I wasn’t confident I was going to stay hydrated enough and had a real fear that a hospital visit was lurking in my future.  I’ve been dehydrated and hospitalized for it before, so trust me when I say that it’s one of the least fun experiences I can remember going through!  I’m so glad it appears that this isn’t a scenario that will be repeated any time soon…  🙂

Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow or Monday with an upbeat post when I’m not so worn out.  It’s sad to think that I’m so fatigued from a week of doing absolutely nothing, but at least my body has been able to use the rest to begin to mend.  Maybe things will just continue to improve and next week will just get better and better!  A good week?  A healthy week??  Yep – I think I could really enjoy that…   🙂

dark purple iris with raindrops photograph
Beautiful irises are blooming here... hope you find something of beauty around you today!

Happy Easter!  (and Happy Passover to all of my Jewish friends & family, as well…)  🙂

Thanks for reading~

Weekly Photo Challenge: Arranged



The topic for this week’s challenge is ‘arranged’.  This is how it’s described on The Daily Post page:

Arranged.  Sometimes you chance across things which were arranged on purpose, or on a whim – find something in your environment which was arranged by a human hand for others to enjoy!

 Share a picture that means ARRANGED to you.

Seems easy enough… but I ended up with way too many photos to choose from!  I narrowed the list, although it wasn’t by much, and came up with the following shots for this topic.

row of bottles colored wrappers bottle display
I liked the variety of colored wraps on this display of fruit juice bottles.
row of standing yellow barrels
Row of yellow barrels comprising a 'fence' of sorts at a local little league ball field.
colorful beach umbrellas white sand blue water
Pretty arrangement of beach chairs and umbrellas...
bicycles for rent row of bikes at Rosemary Beach
I've always called this shot "Handle It"! 🙂
hay bales in the field bales of hay
Arrangement of hay bales stretching back into the field.
oranges in blue colander kitchen photography
I like the pop of orange against the deep blue in this kitchen counter arrangement...

Almost finished – I promise!  lol!  🙂

red stirrers red stirring straws photo
Stir things up!

And finally —

stack of pans commercial kitchen silver baking pan stack photo
I love the lines and stacks of equipment in a professional kitchen. Last time I was in one this stack of pans just caught my eye... 🙂

I know that was a bunch of photos!  Thanks for sticking it out and making it to the end.  🙂  Let me know what you think… and as always – thanks for stopping by!

Also – make sure and check out what some of the other bloggers are posting for this challenge!  🙂