Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spring Bucket List OKC Style

In honor of Spring, it is finally time to get out of the house and do things in the community!

I always love when Susannah over at Simple Moments Stick posts her seasonal bucket lists.  Hers are usually much more extensive than this, but considering we're already one month into Spring and our schedules really only allows us to do fun things on the weekends, a list of five is probably the only attainable goal.  

1.  Visit the OSU-OKC Farmer's Market.

Since we've lived in OKC, I still have not been to the Farmer's Market.  I've always heard good things, and I wouldn't mind getting my hands on some fresh eggs.  Plus it just sounds fun!

2.  Dig for rose rocks near Lake Thunderbird.

We've hunted rose rocks before, but the location we chose last time just had small ones that were not developed well.  I'd like to try another area where the larger rocks form.

3.  Feed the turtles at Martin Park.

I always enjoy Martin Park, a wildlife refuge tucked away in north OKC.  It is especially fun in the Spring and Summer because you can take your shoes off and walk through the rocky stream.  In the warmer months are also when all the turtles are out, and if you bring cat or dog food you can feed them.

4.  Visit H&8th (stands for Hudson & 8th street) and get food from food trucks.

This one is just a Spring/Summer thing to do.  Once a month they block off the roads near Hudson and 8th Street and open it up for pedestrians, a band, and all the city's food trucks.  The local shops in that area stay open late, and you can walk around with a beer and try all kinds of interesting truck cuisine.  You're pretty much a hermit if you live around here and don't go at least once.

5.  Play mini-golf with friends.

We've been meaning to play mini-golf with my old roomie and her hubby, and we really need to make it happen soon!  Plus, mini-golf is just fun!

What's on your Spring bucket list?

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Simplistic Spring Wreath

It is finally Spring, after all that snow the US had this winter!  Finally. 

I've already had to keep the weather on all evening due to severe weather, had tornado sirens go off in my area, video crazy hail and wind, worn shorts and flip flops, and do some deep spring cleaning in our apartment.

Earlier this year I was inspired by a simple wreath I saw on Pinterest.  I don't make it to the craft store often, but had some extra time this weekend while the husband was on a camping trip and took some time to get the supplies.  What I loved about this wreath idea was that it was mostly fresh looking greenery and wasn't focused on colors or being completely full and covering the whole grapevine.  

Two bushes of greenery (varying textures)
Single stem of light colored flower
Grapevine wreath

Wire Cutter
Floral Wire (or other small wire)

I really envisioned the focal point of this wreath being in the lower left part of the wreath.  I took the longer stem of greenery, snipped the stem about halfway, and then stuck it into the wreath.

Then I cut off a small section of the boxwood and sat it aside.  I snipped half of the long stem off and also stuck it in the wreath, angled just above the dangling greenery.

Then I took the small piece I sat aside and angled it coming out the opposite direction as the larger boxwood.

Next, I took the rose and experimented with how it looked best.  I determined that I would need to curve the stem close to the flower and then stick it directly through the wreath so that it would sit the way I wanted it to.

Once the stem was through the back, I wrapped it under one of the main stems holding the wreath together.

I kept wrapping until the stem was fully hidden behind the wreath.

The stem was curving out past the front of the wreath in one place where it was curving, and since it is more red than the other branches it was noticeable.  I took some floral wire to tack it down in the back.

 I just wrapped the wire around the stem and some branches in the back to help pull it out of sight.

Next, I needed to tack down the small branch of boxwood because it didn't have a stem long enough to ensure that it would stay put.

My camera battery died, so I didn't take pictures, but I also just made a loop of wire in the back to hang it to the door knocker on our front door.

My favorite part about this wreath is how simple and fresh it looks, and really adds some life to our otherwise drab door!


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Friday, April 3, 2015

Birthday Party Extravoganza

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably already seen some of our pictures from New Orleans last weekend.  Keep your eye out for posts on our trip there soon.

While Tyler and I have wanted to visit NOLA together for a while, the drive is really just too far to take for just a couple days of vacation and then to come back.  But we also had another reason for making a trip to Louisiana, and when we found out about it we knew we could turn two trips into one.

For years, various parties have been hosted for various reasons in Shreveport (where my Uncle Bob and Aunt Chris are from).  A couple years ago we just went down for my Uncle Bob's 80th birthday, and this year it was Aunt Chris' 80th, my grandma's 70th, and various other birthdays in the family that were celebrated at one event.

My grandma with a picture of my mom and dad.

Aunt Chris on her 80th

My cousin made all 5 cakes for each birthday!  She's pretty talented, and all the cakes were really unique.

My grandma's cake.

Aunt Chris' cake.

 This side of my family is really big, so Tyler always gets to meet someone new to talk to.  This time he talked to some of my cousins that he hasn't met yet, and revisited with some other family.

My parents at the party.  The party was held in the conference room of a casino/hotel in Bossier City, and lunch was catered in the conference room across the hall.  

Anyone notice how similar my dad's and Tyler's shirts are?  We thought it was funny that they were unintentionally twinkies.

 Aunt Chris' "80" balloons, and Grandma's bouquet of flowers for the table.  Each birthday person got their own set of flowers to take home that were unique from the other bouquets.

This is my Uncle Bob, Aunt Chris' husband and my grandpa's uncle by blood and brother by adoption.  Since my grandpa was adopted by his grandparents, it sometimes makes family relations confusing.  That and, there's just so many of us that we'd probably get confused anyway.

My dad with my little cousin.  Many years ago at Christmas, he gave her the nickname "Evelyn."  She was pretty young, and it hurt her feelings a little bit because Evelyn was not her name.  To make up for it, her mom told her to start calling my dad "George."  About seven years later, the Evelyn/George feud still lives on.

This shindig began about 1:00 in the afternoon, and ended at 7:00.  Since Shreveport is sort of the mini-vegas of the south, all the adults went and wandered all three floors of the casino that is connected to the hotel.  Tyler and I don't really enjoy gambling, because it is a gamble, but I put in $2 to one game so that I could get a free cocktail from the waitress and ended up with $24 back from the same game, so that was the extent of our gambling experience.

After everybody left, we stood out front to take some pictures by the grand fountain in the front of the casino.

While I was changing my camera settings, a guy started talking to Tyler and told him that he lost $1,000 that night gambling....which is why we don't really gamble much.  My personal belief is that if you are going to gamble, you should count the amount you decide to spend as "fun" money.  If you make more, good for you, but if you lose what you had then you stop there and you had your fun for the night.  I'm just glad my "fun" money was only like $5 and not more.

Tyler and I in front of the fountain.  

Birthday parties in our family feel more like family reunions, it is always fun to see family again.  One of my aunts commented on how it is sad that some of us who just live 2-3 hours away have to drive 6 hours every couple years to spend time together.  I guess busy schedules just get in the way too often.

What are birthday parties and reunions like in your family?

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Regional Dilemma

The Oklahoma flag.

I was born, and have lived pretty much my entire life in Oklahoma.  

Sure, I've 'stayed' in other places, but I have never been somewhere without the knowledge that as soon as that period of time was over that I'd be once again home in Oklahoma.

With that being said, it is interesting to me that I've lived in this state for 25 years, but have difficulty determining in which region my home state lies.

The Oklahoma State Capitol.

Some say Midwestern.  Others say Southern.  Some even say Southwestern, which seems to me to be the furthest fetched story of all.

I never really put it together how much of a controversy this topic was until I started trying to describe my state here on this blog over the past couple years, and I could never figure out if my state was technically "southern" or "midwestern."  I don't identify myself at all as "southwestern" so the thought never went through my mind.

With all these U.S. regional maps found on a quick google search, one might easily see why we 'Okies' might be confused.  

Why are there so many differing maps?!  And who's great idea was it to list Oklahoma and Arkansas as part of the "Gulf Coast?"  Do we look like coastal states to you?!?  Um, even our lakes had to be manmade.

So, am I a southern girl?  Or am I a Midwestern girl?  I'm certainly not a Southwestern girl, although it certainly seems a variety of maps seem to think I am.

Everyone appears to have their own opinion about this, and not many people can really agree.  Other southerners are very against the idea that Oklahoma could be considered "southern."  We don't host the capital of country and bluegrass music, we were one of the later states to join the United States, and we just aren't Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, or Louisiana.  In some ways, the easiest conclusion is to say that we're a Midwestern state since we host so much farmland, however, few of us could truly identity  ourselves as a "midwesterner."  If I had to guess for how most people in this state identify themselves, I would say we identify most southerners.

Oklahoma's state rock, the Barite Rose Rock

It is almost as if we are in a crossroads, though.  Perhaps those in the North-Eastern part of the state identify more as midwesterners, and those in the West as southwesterners.  My family is mostly from the Southeast, and I feel we identify as southerners.  

In some of my research, I found THIS ARTICLE one day that really explains well how I feel, plus someone else's personal study about our regional crossroads.  It is an interesting read if you have the time!

Do you strongly identify with a particular region where you're from?

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P.S.  Many of my personal photos posted in this blog post are photos I took for the Oklahoma Women Blogger's March instagram scavenger hunt!  Search the hashtag #okwbscavengergram to see more fun pictures from Oklahoma!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Industrial Lighting on Hometalk

Recently, I joined a site called Hometalk, at the recommendation of one of my lovely commenters.  

At first, I didn't really get on, but lately have rekindled an interest in the site.  The best way I can describe it is a Pinterest that is mainly for home and diy projects, and instead of only one image with a short description, you can look at a mini-blog post with an overview of the project.
It is helpful to viewers since we all know how annoying it is to click on a pin and once you get to the site, the creator of the post actually mislead you to think the post was about something else.  This way, you can know more about the project before ever clicking the poster's link.

It is also helpful for bloggers, since we can share more of the specifics of our projects, and to a more specific set of readers.  The Hometalk community feels significantly smaller than Pinterest, which allows you to actually interact more with other users.  Unlike Pinterest, clicking a clip takes you back to the original post, so you can always connect with the writer of the content.  Just like you can comment on a blog post, it is typical in the Hometalk culture to comment on others' projects.
I've posted some of my DIY projects first posted here at Let's Drink Coffee, Darling and was contacted by one of the community managers to curate a board within the same genre as my DIY Industrial Cage Lamps.  There were so many great DIY projects for industrial lighting on Hometalk, so I'd encourage you to head over and check out the board!   And if you're also a DIY blogger, it may be worthwhile for you to consider posting some of your projects as well!
Check out some of the features from my Industrial Lighting clipboard!

Maybe I'll see you there, don't forget to connect with me on Hometalk if you have an account!
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Saturday, February 28, 2015

American Kestrel Catches Sparrow

We've had several snow storms coming through our region in recent days, and so many of us have enjoyed watching all the little birds - sparrows, cardinals, blue jays - out in the snow.  Some neighbors keep bird seed feeders outside their apartments, others of us just throw out the occasional bread crumbs. 
This particular day I was taking some pictures of the birds outside and suddenly I saw this colorful bird I'd never seen before hopping around on top of the shrub. 
Come to find out this is an American Kestrel, a type of small falcon.  He had been hunting the smaller birds feeding on the ground, and I captured his catch.
Needless to say, some of the photos below may be a bit graphic as it involves the dying sparrow that the Kestrel caught.

At first, I did not realize that the Kestrel was hunting the other birds since he disappeared into the shrub, but I realized when he came out he was carrying one of the small sparrows. 

The sparrow was still alive, but regardless of whether I tried to shoo the falcon off save the little guy, he was already injured enough that he wasn't going to make it.  I figured the Kestrel needs to eat too, but I did feel a little guilty for throwing crumbs out and that the sparrows had their guard down while they ate.

It was such a neat opportunity to see nature happen at my doorstep.  It is such a beautiful bird, and I'll like him so long as he doesn't stay here and hunt all the little birds that always eat here.
He obviously saw me taking pictures of him, since he looked directly at me several times before he flew to a nearby tree with his dinner.
While the birds look beautiful in the snow, I'm hoping winter and all these snow storms will die off during March. 
How is winter looking where you live?
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Copyright 2012-2014 Saxon Smith (Let's Drink Coffee, Darling). All rights reserved.
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