Saturday, October 31, 2009

Annual Pumpkin Carving Party!

Every year, the day before Halloween, we throw a pumpkin carving party with my boys, friends and family.  We have fun getting our hands all gooey with pumpkin guts, then carve our favorite faces or characters into the pumpkins.  We bob for apples afterwards and have a really great time laughing at how silly it looks.  This is the one thing I look forward to at Halloween.  I could go without trick-or-treating and dressing up, but pumpkin carving and apple bobbing?  No way!

I think the pictures prove we had a blast!  I'm going to another party tonight with my boys.  I'll have two pirates, two vampires and a cowboy on my hands!  Should be fun!  I hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!

'Candy Corn' Cuphea

It wouldn't be Halloween without Candy Corn, so my plant of the day is of course the 'Candy Corn' Cuphea.  The plant gets its name from the flowers which emerge in late summer to early fall, and are orange at the bottom and fade into yellow at the top.  This sub-shrub reaches 3-4 ft, and is a perennial in Houston.  The Sulpher and Swallowtail butterflies are attracted to the flowers, and the hummingbirds flock to it!  Plant this Cuphea in light shade to full sun where it has well drained soil.  I just love this plant for it's fall colors and its stability in the landscape!  A wonderful plant of the day to add on Halloween!

This plant made my day!  How 'bout yours?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

94) Scatter Bluebonnet Seeds at the Farm. (check!)

Today, I crossed off #94 on my 101 in 1001 list of things to do.  I have been wanting to scatter Bluebonnet seeds along the lane that leads to our property for awhile now.  I remember when I was my kids age, Grandma and I would walk down the road and I would pick flowers or smell the buttercups and honeysuckle.  Our neighbor mowed the flowers too early one Spring, and that was the end of the Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes she had growing along the lane.  I've wanted to replace them, but I have always missed my sowing date by the time I think about it.

Earlier this month, Dad and I went to Wildseed Farms in Fredricksburg, TX and bought 1lb of Bluebonnet seeds along with 1/4 lb of wildflower seed mix.  I wanted the wildflowers planted because Dad has a honey bee company coming this Spring to put some hives on our property.  The bees need something to eat, so I scattered all their favorites. (okay, I confess:  I planted the favorites of the butterflies and hummingbirds too.)

The wildflower seeds were spread on the backside of our property and along the fence of the vegetable patch my Dad and I have.  My Dad made my life much easier by tilling the ground for me (I think he felt sorry for me raking the ground by hand.)  My littlest son, Westin, helped scatter the seeds too (I think he ate a few while I wasn't looking!)

After I spread the wildflower mix, Dad tilled two small areas by our entrance gate for a small patch of Bluebonnets.  I planted those and then moved down the lane to spread the rest of the seeds.  We didn't want to till the lane since we aren't the only ones who use it.  So, I used a rake to rough up the ground and spread a 1/2 lb of seeds in a sunny spot along the lane.  I'm hoping they make it since the ground there is kind of hard.  I kept about an 1/8 of a lb in case they don't come up.  We shall see in a few weeks!

I had such a good day!  I crossed off a "to-do" on my big list, and had a great day with family.  I can't wait 'til Spring when everything is in bloom!

Oh, I almost forgot!

Dad fixed the Jeep my grandfather made from an old refrigerator.  I know it may look a little beat up, but Dad is going to have it repainted soon.  This Jeep was made by my grandfather for my Dad and Aunt Linda to drive around.  This was WAY before the kid vehicles you see now.  The Jeep made it through my cousins and my brother and I.  My other kids have gotten to drive it, but then it sat for a few years.  Dad got it going again so Westin could have his turn wrecking the poor thing (like it doesn't have enough scratches and dings already!)  He's a little to young yet to drive it on his own, so I gave him some help.

I think he was  a little scared of it at first since it does have a real motor in it and is kind of loud.  Once we started going though, he was all smiles!  I can't wait to see what he crashes into first.  My whole family all remember the first thing they crashed into.  I think I hit the tree in the front yard more than once.  I have so many good childhood memories on this Jeep.  I'm glad my kids get to experience it too.

That's my day, folks!  It was a good one!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Making of a Scarecrow

If I would have known I was going to make a blog about this kid project, I would have taken photos of all the steps for a better visual aide.  The rain has kept me inside today, and the scarecrow is the only photo I have from over the weekend (besides my new niece who already has her own blog posting.)  So, you get my recipe for how to make a scarecrow with one picture of the final project.

1 pumpkin for the head (we bought this one at Wal-Mart)
1 old mop head
1 cowboy hat from your son
1 shirt borrowed from your husband
1 pair of jeans from your brother
1 old pair of boots from your step-dad
1 pair of gardening gloves found in the garage
String/ Twine for a belt
1 newspaper
10-15 plastic grocery bags
4 rubber bands

How to:
  1. Crumple the newspaper up, one page at a time, and place 4-5 pages into a plastic bag.  
  2. Repeat this process til you have your pant legs and shirt stuffed.
  3. Put a rubber band on the ends of the pant legs and shirt sleeves to hold paper in. 
  4. Fill gardening gloves with one piece of crumpled newspaper and place inside rubber band on shirt sleeves.
  5. Sit the filled pants up in a chair and stuff legs into boots
  6. Place stuffed shirt onto pants and tucks shirt tails into the waist of the pants.
  7. Send twine/ string through belt loops to make a belt.
  8. Fluff the body and fill any empty spaces with more newspaper in bags.
  9. Place head on the body.  (We attached the head to a wooden stake with a screw.  We then slid this down the scarecrow's back like a spine.)
  10. Place mop head on top of pumpkin for hair.
  11. Top it all off with a cowboy hat!

The sky is the limit on decoration!  Hay would make a great addition to the sleeves and pockets, but we didn't have any.  The boys had fun crumpling up the newspaper, and helping with the rest of the project.  Other than the pumpkin for the head, which was $6.99, there was no money spent in the making of this scarecrow.  We just went through the house and gathered everybody's things!  I think he turned out cute!

Our scarecrow is ready to great everyone at our annual pumpkin carving and apple bobbing party this Friday!    I can't wait to see what everyone carves on their pumpkins!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Welcome to the World, Faith Michelle!

My niece made her arrival on October 22 at 11:47 PM, weighing 6 lbs 6.4 oz.  She was 18 in long with dark hair. After a rough pregnancy for her mom, I am very relieved to say both mommy and baby are doing well.

I am so excited to have a niece!  Not having a daughter of my own, I'm thrilled to spoil a girl.  The best part is I get to send her home to my brother after I'm done!  Ahh, the joys in life!

So, welcome to the world, Faith Michelle!  You are a sweetheart, a joy, and you have already filled the hearts of many with a love they've never known.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

'Belinda's Dream' Rose

Roses in Houston can be very challenging.  Our humidity makes Blackspot, Anthracnose, Powdery Mildew, and Black Sooty Mold an almost guarantee.  These things usually send people running away from Roses in their landscape.  I can't blame them.  Constantly having to battle bugs and diseases with chemicals is not a way of having fun in the garden.  That said, there are ways of enjoying Roses in Houston without all the fuss.

Texas A&M has done extensive studies of rose varieties to find the best roses that need minimal care.  The winners of the trials have won the title of Earth-Kind and are now sold at local retail nurseries.  The title of Earth-Kind does not come easily.  The test roses go through years of state wide trials before they are crowned with the title of Earth-Kind.  Only the best roses make the cut.  The roses on the list have proven themselves with outstanding landscape performance.  The roses are not immune to pest problems but they rarely require the use of chemical pesticides to control them.  This is great news to those of us who have fought many battles with roses in the past.  Chances are if you have given up on roses, an Earth-Kind rose will redeem your fears and doubts against them.  More information and a full list of Earth-Kind roses can be found on the Earth-Kind website.

I have many favorites on the list, but my favorite today is 'Belinda's Dream.'  I fell in love with this rose my first year in college when a friend of mine gave me one.  The pink rose is composed of hundreds of petals, making it a very full rose.  The scent is to die for sweet and heavenly, making this rose very desirable.  'Belinda's Dream' is a shrub rose reaching 4-5 ft tall and wide, prefers full sun in a well drained spot.  This shrub will thrive in your garden with minimal care.  Give her a try, she'll be kind to you!

This plant made my day!  How 'bout yours?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Passion Flower

This is one of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen.  Passion Flower is so intriguing, that one can't help but be drawn to it and marvel at God's beauty.  Passion Flower gets it's name from an old story passed down from missionaries in South America who used the flower to tell the story of Christ's crucifixion. Each part of the flower and vine symbolize the passion of Christ's death, and thus the flower earned its name, 'Passion Flower.'  There are many variations to this story, and I researched as many as I could to get the best of all of them.  Some went into greater detail, but I chose the easiest to understand.  If you Google Christ's Passion Flower Story, you can see all the variations that have been passed along.  I find them all interesting.

The flower parts symbolize:
  • The spiraled tendrils on the vine- the lash of Christ's scourging
  • The 10 petals - The ten apostles (minus Judas and Peter)
  • The 72 radial filaments - the Crown of Thorns
  • The top 3 stigma - the 3 Nails
  • The lower 5 anthers - the 5 wounds
  • The leaves (some species) - the head of the Centurion's Spear
  • The red stains (some species) - Christ's Blood Drops
  • The Round Fruit - The World Christ came to save
Great story, huh?!  I can just see missionaries using this flower as a visual aid to spread the love of Christ for us.
    In the garden, this vine is a winner in so many aspects.  The vine grows best in full sun on a trellis or arbor for support.  The vine will reach 15-20 ft in one growing season, and will freeze back in the winter if the Gulf Fritillary caterpillars haven't eaten it all by then.  I get calls and questions everyday from gardeners who are frazzled over caterpillars eating their Passion Flower vines.  I say let the butterfly caterpillars eat it to the ground, and trust me, they will eat it to the ground!  At least then there isn't a mess to clean up after the vine freezes in the winter.  There simply won't be a vine since the caterpillars have had their fill.  The vine will return from its roots in the Spring, and all will be well again.

    Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar

    There are hundreds of species of Passion Flower.  The flowers range in many colors and sizes, but all have an amazing beauty that is unlike any other flower I've ever seen.  Passion flower truly is a beautiful flower with a beautiful story!  And so I have another plant of the day, which has made many days a joy in my garden.

    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Purple Angel Trumpet

    This is by far one of my favorite plants!  Purple Angel Trumpet is in the Datura family of Trumpets, which means its flowers are upright, and the plant stays short and bushy.  The Brugmansia Trumpets get much taller and their flowers hang down.  None the less, their common names are both Angel Trumpets.  This purple Angel Trumpet is a 4-5 ft tall bush that likes to be in full sun.  The plant will freeze back every winter after the first freeze, but will come back from the main stalks or roots in Spring.  This plant also comes in yellow and red, but neither of those are as showy as the purple variety.

    The stalks and the outside coloring of the flower are eggplant purple.  The flower itself is double petaled and is lavender to white on the inside edges.  The flowers will open up in the morning and are usually spent by the evening.  After the flower fades away, you are then rewarded with very interesting seed pods that are about the size of a golf ball.  These neat pods are covered in raised purple spots that are as much of a show stopper as their flower was.

    Purple Angel Trumpet is easily propagated by seed.  Simply allow the seed pods to dry on the plant and split open on their own.  Once the pods have split, you can remove them from the plant and save them in a dry spot until spring.  Simply place them in some soil and water them.  Most, if not all, should come up for you.

    A word of caution:  ALL parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested.  In fact this plant is illegal to grow in Florida because police officials were having problems with teens eating the flowers to hallucinate.  Most ended up in the ER with bad stomach aches from poisoning. I recommend watching small children around this plant since the flowers and seed pods are very interesting.  I've never heard of dogs chewing on this, but a gardener might be careful to not plant it in a backyard if your dog is a habitual chewer.

    If you want a conversation piece, Purple Angel Trumpet is the perfect plant.  Beautiful flowers, interesting seed pods, and beautiful stem color.  It's all the way around a gorgeous plant.

    This plant made my day!  How 'bout yours?

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers

    I've had several questions about container gardening this week, so I thought it might be a good blog topic.  Container gardening can be very fun and rewarding if done right.  The most common question I get asked is, "What plants go together?"  To answer this, I say a pot needs a "Thriller, Filler, and Spiller" to fill out nicely.  I usually get a few laughs or puzzled looks, but I promise this is a recipe for success with containers!


    A thriller is usually a taller plant that is the focal point of the pot.  They are the boldest and most exciting part of the group.  Interesting flowers and/or colorful foliage are a couple of things to look for in a thriller.  It is essentially the backbone of the pot, so pick something that has strong visual impact.  The thriller should go in the center of the pot when viewed from all angles, or in the back of the pot when viewed in a corner.  I pick my thriller first, and then co-ordinate my filler and spiller around it.  A few examples for container thrillers are:

    For smaller pots:
    • Rudbeckia
    • Amazon Neon Duo Dianthus
    • Coleus (until frost)
    • Cat Whiskers
    • Foxtail Fern
    For Larger pots:
    • Purple Fountain grass
    • Aspidistra
    • Cannas
    • Giant Katie Ruellia
    • Variegated Ginger
    (Of course these are only a few examples, and many more can be found at local nurseries.)


    Fillers are used for volume to fill out the container.  They should have complimentary flowers to your thriller.  You can even experiment with contrasting color foliage from your thriller.  Texture of foliage even comes into play with fillers.  A spiky leaf thriller goes nicely with a rounded leaf filler and vice versa.  Either way, this should fill out the pot and not grow taller than your thriller. Don't be afraid to use annuals for your fillers since the blooms sometimes last longer than some perennials, giving the container a bigger visual impact.  This selection should be planted around your thriller so it will fill up the base of the pot.  Some good examples are:
    • Lantana
    • Begonias
    • Petunias
    • Dianthus
    • Ornamental Cabbage or Kale
    • Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender'
    • Dusty Miller
    • Cupheas
    • 'Diamond Frost' Euphorbia

    Spillers are the anchor to your pot.  They spill over the pot giving the container a look of life and abundance.  The main point of the spiller is to soften the edges of the pot as it spills over the edge and trails the ground.  Again, a spiller should compliment the thriller and filler in color, but can contrast with foliage textures as well.  These should be planted on the edge of the pot to allow them to spill over.  Some good spillers are:
    • Sweet Potato Vine
    • Creeping Jenny
    • Chenille Plant
    • Nasturtiums
    • Alternanthera
    • Lysimachia
    • Pink Buttons
    • Australian Violet
    I've given you many examples of each component to a great container garden, but I should also stress that the placement of the pot matters on which plants can go together.  Sun requirements and water requirements need to all match for each plant.  If they don't match, you'll have a lopsided pot when one plant thrives and another dies.  I also want to mention soil as well.  I use a mix of potting soil and rose soil in my containers. The potting soil is light and airy which is needed in pots since the roots are in a confined space and need aeration.  I like rose soil for its composition, and I use it in my flower beds as well.  I combine the two together with a few handfuls of MicroLife fertilizer before I plant my plants.  If the drainage hole at the bottom of your pot is large, a rock can be placed over it to prevent soil from running out of the bottom and provide drainage for water.  Drainage is essential to successful container gardening.  Standing water in saucers is a sure fire way to get root rot and other water born fungal diseases.  The roots need aeration to thrive and be healthy.  Using this soil and drainage technique will give you success!

    With the Thriller, Filler and Spiller method, you'll be a container gardening pro in no time!  Have fun pairing things up with one another.  If you find something doesn't work in one pot, put it in another.  Play around with color combinations, foliage, and textures.  Don't let flowers stop you either:  Herbs make great container plants and even have thrillers, fillers, and spillers that make great combinations together.  The sky is the limit!

    Good Luck and Happy Planting!

    'Lion's Ear' Leonotis

    This perennial is a late summer/ early fall bloomer.  It can reach 4-5 ft tall and is mostly evergreen here in Houston.  If we reach really cold temperatures, it may freeze back to the ground and return in the Spring.  I just love the flowers on this plant.  The orange petals stand out in the landscape when most other summer bloomers are fading out.  They are shaped like a lion's ear and attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.  The foliage has an interesting scent that I can only describe as citrus-like: very sweet and fresh.  Lion's Ear takes full sun and is drought tolerant which is a very good thing in Houston.  If you don't have room for this one in your landscape, I've heard of it doing well in a pot.  I just love this plant:  cute name, beautiful flower, and is a winner in our heat!  You can't go wrong with this one!

    This plant made my day! How 'bout yours?

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    Confederate Rose

    The Confederate Rose is one of the South's heirloom plants.  It is a timeless plant that blooms late Summer and into Fall.  The blooms are its most noteworthy characteristic as they change color over a three day period.  The 6-8 inch blossoms open up white or pale pink, and gradually get darker pink then finally red before closing up.  This is a site to see with the three colors simultaneously on one tree as different blooms open up daily!

    The Confederate Rose is not a rose, but is actually in the Hibiscus family.  The nature of this family means it is sensitive to freezing, but thrives very well in Houston and will grow 10-12 ft in one season.  Older plants have been known to withstand the freezing temps here and can reach 18-24 ft tall.  I have seen a Confederate Rose of this size in a front yard that was just spectacular in bloom.  If freezing temps affect the outside canopy of the tree, simply cut the dead branches off at the end of winter, and the plant will regrow from that point in the Spring.

    Many gardeners have considered this a "pass-a-long" plant.  A small cutting off a stem can be placed in soil or water and rooted very easily to make a nice gift for someone.  I find great joy in giving a plant I grew from seed or cutting to someone.  This is one of the easiest plants to try this with.

    Confederate rose is drought tolerant, easily maintained, and blooms at a time of year when most other woody ornamentals are through with their floral show.  With qualities like this, how could you not want one in your landscape?

    This plant made my day!  How 'bout yours?

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    Ornamental Cabbage

    I've been extremenly busy the past couple of weeks and have been slacking on my Plant of the Day entries.  The rain has also hindered me from taking pictures.  So, today, you get two Plant of the Days!  I figure the Butterfly Vine earlier was really Saturday's plant of the day.  Today's is Ornamental Cabbage!  These ornamental leafy vegetables make great Fall and Winter color.  As the weather gets cooler, their colors of pink, red, white, and purple get brighter.  These colorful beauties look great mixed in with Pansies, Snapdragons, or Dianthus.  They also make a great border along a bedline since they stay low until the weather starts warming up again.  At the end of Winter, they will send up a flower shoot.  This usually isn't desirable in a flower bed, and most gardeners pull them up about that time to replant their Spring annuals.  Also, Ornamental Cabbage is a great alternative to flowers if you don't like dead heading!

    This plant made my day!  How 'bout yours?

    Butterfly Vine

    Butterfly Vine has been on my list of favorites for years now.  I first found it at Moody Gardens in Galveston, TX, where they have it growing in their displays beds.  The flowers are a bright yellow that stand out from across the landscape.  These are very nice, but to me the real show stopper is the seed pods this plant produces.

    This picture comes from a new plant that I purchased at the Bluebonnet House in Chappel Hill, TX.  These chartruese green pods are just fantastic as they produce papery wings shaped like a butterfly.  Clusters of these can be seen on plants in the Summer and Fall.  This vine can reach 10-12 feet in a growing season.  In mild winters, this vine is evergreen, but in harsher weather, the plant will freeze back and return from the roots in Spring.  A true Spring to frost bloomer, this plant it a sight to see in any landscape.  I just love this plant for its unique characteristics!

    This plant made my day!  How 'bout yours?

    72) Go to 2 Festivals or Fairs - (1/2) check!

    On Saturday, my Mom, Aunt Marcy, Karrie, Christian, Kurtis, Westin and I all went to the Scarecrow Festival in Chappel Hill, TX.  This is more of a craft show than a festival, but I look forward to it every year.  The festival is held in the streets of Chappel Hill, which is a small country town between Hempstead, TX and Brenham, TX.  In the Spring, the festival is called the Bluebonnet Festival where many people make the trip out to take pictures in the bluebonnets along 290.  On Saturday, the weather was perfect for fall - cool and misty.  We walked through the booths looking at all the arts and crafts people were selling.  I got a few good ideas of things I want to make. (I know, like I need more craft ideas!)  Mom and Karrie bought a few things for my neice who is arriving in November.  We enjoyed some kettle corn that sent wonderful smells through the air.  As we were about to leave, I saw a lady carrying a few plants in a bag.  I recognized one as a Butterfly Vine.  I've wanted this plant for years and have not been able to locate it.  I was very excited to hear that she picked it up at the Bluebonnet House there.  I walked down to the shop and found my plant.  Of course this made my day!  I will post pictures on my Plant of the Day post following this one.  As we left, I took some pictures with the boys with some scarecrows.  When we left, we went into Brenham and ate lunch.  After that, we left the country, and came home from our fun/exhausting day. 

    Friday, October 2, 2009

    The Little Things In Life

    Today was an awesome day.  I felt like I woke up and God said, "Enjoy the beauty in today."  This morning was a crisp Fall morning with cool air and a slight breeze.  The sky was a beautiful blue with a few clouds scattered here and there.  All the plants outside were a beautiful green you only see after a nice rain.  The birds were singing songs, and the lizards were their typical busy bodies eating bugs.  This was a perfect fall morning.  I went in to work and opened all the windows in my office, and turned on the radio to listen to a country station.  This was a day that if I didn't work outside, I probably would have called in sick just to be outside.  Yes, it was just that gorgeous! 

    My morning flew by with ease.  After a slow, hot summer of few landscape installs, I was very happy to finally hear a "Yes" from one of my clients.  After lunch, I managed to catch a few butterflies with my camera that were soaking up the sun.  I must say, this made my day.  I photographed four different butterflies that I have never caught before.  Did I mention that this made my day?  This made my day!  I was a very giddy and hyper girl after this.  The day goes on though.  Shortly after that, I get another phone call from a second client with another "Yes" to their install.  Could the day get any better?!  Oh, yes!

    I had emailed mom early in the morning telling her we should plant some fall color this evening.  The weather was just too nice to not be outside.  She came by after she got off work and we picked out some plants for her yard.  I wrapped up my day at Buds, went and picked up the boys, then headed to Moms to do some digging.  The afternoon was still just as nice as the morning.  Clouds had rolled in covering the sky, but Fall was still in the air.  I got all of the flats planted just as the sun was setting.  I felt like it was the icing to the cake on my awesome day! 

    I went and met Erik for dinner, then came home to start posting my photos of the butterflies.  I shortly realized that I couldn't just post the photos without a further explanation of how enjoyable the rest of my day was.
    So, after that long intro to the photos, here they are!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did and do.

    This is the first butterfly I caught today.  This is a male Tawney Emporer.  The dorsal side of him is an orangy brown color.  I know he's not very showy, but I didn't have this in my collection.

    This is an Orange Sulpher butterfly.  He was very hard to catch!  He had very fast fluttering wings and was very camera shy.  I was determined to catch him though because of the orange coloring I kept seeing as he flew threw the air.  The picture below kind of shows a touch of the orange.  That was the most he would let me get, so I left him alone after I got a decent shot of him. 

    This is a female Spicebush Swallowtail.  She has beautiful coloring on both sides of her.  She was very photogenic, and posed quite nicely!  I have several Swallowtail photos, but I didn't have this one!

    This is a Gulf Fritillary - A very common butterfly in Houston, and I have many photos of them.  This one just happened to land right in front of me as I was patiently waiting for this guy to return...

    I saved the best for last!  This butterfly made my day!  This is the Buckeye butterfly, or a common name is the Peacock Butterfly.  This guy was very fast and very camera shy.  I just happened to be walking by the Lantana display and saw him just before he flittered off.  I followed him around the nursery as he went from flower to flower.  I lost him a few times and thats how I managed to capture the other butterflies above.  Determined to get my picture, I went and patiently waited by the Lantana again.  Sure enough, he showed back up and posed for me.  Isn't he just gorgeous?!

    Thank you, God, for this day - I've needed one just like it for awhile now.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Currently In October

    Current Book(s): I am currently reading the fourth book of the House of Night series, Untamed.  After I finish the fifth book, I will move on to something not vampire related.  I'm about sci-fied out.  I need a good romance or mystery that doesn't involve vampires and werewolves.  Not that there's anything wrong with those, but I've read close to 30 books in a row that were all Sci-fi.  It's time to come back to reality!

    Current Playlist: I am still in the middle of Laurell K Hamilton's, A Kiss of Shadow's, on audio book.  Great story so far!  I wish I had more time to listen to it.

    Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Drinking Coke for breakfast.  I've been trying really hard to cross that off my 101 in 1001 list.  I just need my morning pick-up!

    Current Color:  I have two.  Aqua has been in my wardrobe lately, and this Pumpkin color reminds me of Fall's arrival.

    Current Drink: This one hasn't changed since last month: Sweet Tea!  It's so refreshing when it's hot outside.
    Current Food: Mom made an awesome Chicken Basil Pesto Pasta last night that was to die for good!
    Current Favorite Show: I'm enjoying Dancing with the Stars!  

    Current Wishlist: I want to go Fall clothes shopping, and I'd like to buy a new laptop since mine fried.  (The laptop is a definite wish!)
    Current Needs: I need some new work shoes.  
    Current Triumphs: Erik started a new job today!  It may not be a forever thing, but it's better than nothing at all.  And, trust me,  this is as much my triumph as his!
    Current Bane(s) of my Existence: This hasn't changed since last month either:  The suburban's fuel pump is going out.  I'm never really sure if it's going to start when I leave for work in the morning.

    Current Celebrity Crush: Chelsie Hightower on Dancing With the Stars.  I love the way she dances!

    Current Indulgence:  Hmmm???  A daily dose of chocolate.
    Current #1 Blessing: Erik starting a new job!  Can you tell I'm excited about that?
    Current Slang or Saying: I picked up, "Do huh?" from my brother (well, I guess a few people around me have picked it up too, but I think he started it.)  "Do huh?" fits in when somebody says something that you don't understand, or maybe even after hearing something shocking.  It seems to have replaced "What?" in my vocab when I am around my friends and family.
    Current Outfit: My green North Face fleece jacket since the weather is cooling down.  I'd be very happy if I could find this exact jacket in lavender.   

    Current Excitement: Erik starting a new job.  Yes, I just mentioned it a third time!
    Current Mood: Chipper!
    Current Link:   Warning: This website can get addicting quickly.  Answer questions correctly to donate grains of rice through the World Food Program.  It's a good time killer!  I have a goal to reach 480,000 grains for my 101 in 1001 goals.  (That's enough to feed 25 people!)

    Happy October!
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