Tuesday, January 31, 2017

LINK PARTY Tuesdays with a Twist #198

Our News This Week...  This was probably the most low key weekend we've had in quite some time.  I got lots of cleaning done along with a few crafts.  'Can't wait to show you!  ;-)




While Winter is not my favorite season, it is fun to photograph tracks in the snow!  ;-)  'Always makes me smile to be in or near a National Park  ;-)


If you have (or need) inspiration for Valentine's Day, please visit the Valentine Link Party I am co-hosting!  It will continue until February 13 with features announced on Valentine's Day!


I've also begun co-hosting a party that lasts all month called You're the Star!  I hope you can join that one, too!  It just began yesterday.


And now for today's party!




Each co-host will be sharing her own picks for Features. This gives everyone a better chance of being chosen.  Be sure to check all of our blogs!

Choosing features never gets easier!  There are so many impressive bloggers visiting each week and they post about all kinds of interesting topics.  I love this Vintage Crate Turned Rolling Ottoman



  From Debra Peace Home!

     If you have been featured we'd love for you to grab a button.


We all love comments!  Please hop around and show some love!

The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Friday at 11:59pm.  Feel free to stop back any time and "like" your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 

All family friendly links are welcome.
Share older posts as well as new ones.
No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own*

By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features.

Let's party!

;-)  -Marci





Monday, January 30, 2017

You're the Star Blog Hop {February}

This is my first time co-hosting!  Pretty exciting, huh?  Features are posted each Monday and the blog hop lasts all month long.  You are welcome to link as many family friendly posts as you like throughout the month even blog hops, link parties and giveaways!
_________________________________________________________________________

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg


WELCOME to GARDEN feature week of the You're the STAR blog hop!

BOGO 50% patio accessories & outdoor lighting. Valid 1/29-2/4

Meet your GARDEN week Hosts 


by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarGarden_zpsmtrqgy7g.jpg

This week is GARDEN feature week

Swing by the GARDEN Hosts blogs:

Angie @ God's Growing Garden
Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

This is a month long Linky party featuring YOU!

There will be 4 different features each week and 4 different feature categories.  Just to be clear - this is NOT a themed party - you may link up ANY family-friendly blog posts any day of each month. 

The "theme" occurs in our weekly features:

WEEK#1 GARDEN - gardening, homesteading, recycling, outdoor activities &/or preserving (this can include any type of green living,  repurposed ideas, outdoor concerns, posts relating to farm animals etc all while remaining family friendly)


by Angie Ouellette-Tower for godsgrowinggarden.com photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg


(All features were chosen from the January 2016 "You're the Star" blog hop)


Visit To An Organic Vegetable Garden by Comfort Spring
large planting area


8 Wild Herbs I foraged for Last Year by Feathers in the Woods
Foraging for wild herbs


 How To Ensure A Healthy Flock by One Grace Filled Life
 


Decorative Garden Art - Using a Vase & a Globe by Eclectic Red Barn
Eclectic Red Barn: Decorative Garden Art

If you've been featured then please grab a STAR button below:

You're a STAR

*******************************************************

We are in need of more Cohosts (click HERE to view a list of our current hosts/cohosts).

If you are interested in joining us as a Cohost then please click HERE & fill out the form.

*******************************************************

All Hosts/CoHosts will post this blog hop on every Monday of each week.
Please link up your family friendly blog posts below!
It wouldn't be a linky party with YOU!

(IMPORTANT NOTE: by linking up you understand that you might be featured next month and if so, we will use some of your photos from your post - rest assured - we will always link back to your lovely blog.  We might also share your fantastic posts on social media.  Also, you may link up as many family-friendly posts as you like & YES - other blog hops &/or giveaways are welcome {giveaways and blog hops will NOT be featured though}  Thank You & ENJOY! )
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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Garden Guest: House Finches

The north side of our front yard is a certified  National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat.  Really!  We have a certificate!  You can do the same by providing food, water, cover and places for wildlife to raise their young.  It is so much fun to see all of the critters that stop by for a visit.  I have a series of posts to show you our Garden Guests.


If you would like to see more posts like this one, please hop over to my Garden Page.



Most of these photos are of House Finches, but a Goldfinch is trying to sneak into this shot.  Do you see the yellow in the bottom right?  It's hard for me to tell which type finch is on the top back side of the feeder.




The male House Finches have red markings,




while the females are less flashy.




These pictures were taken on a very cold day with just a bit of snow on the ground.




Aren't they pretty?



What's happening in your back yard?

;-)  -Marci

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Fitness after 50. Week 7. Meal Plan AND a Giveaway.

This is my new series about fitness.  I am certainly no expert.  Posts will be about what's working for me.  There will definitely be running plans, flexibility, and basic weight lifting.  You can also expect nutrition ideas, recipes, and, well, probably lots maybe a little bit of whining.  ;-)

I hope I have the courage to tell you about the failures.

  If you'd like to read the premise for all of this, take a look at these previous posts.


Week 7.  Meal Prep

 I want to talk about cooking dinner most days.  Don't get me wrong.  We like going to restaurants, but consider that to be once a week treats for the weekend, not a daily habit.  Sometimes you'll see us drive thru a burger joint, but only in a pinch.

Handsome Husband and I share kitchen duty.  Sometimes he cooks, sometimes I cook.   Other times we cook together.  There's something very sexy about cooking together.  I love being in the kitchen with him working side by side, occasionally brushing against him.  He's such an attractive man.  Oh, wait.  Where was I?  Food.  Right.


(Any photos of him generate beard care questions.  He shops HERE)

You might remember I've had two surgeries this past year.  When I was in physical therapy, I would be completely sapped of strength afterward.  I got to come home to a lovely plate ready to eat.  He's a really good guy!  ;-)



About a year ago, though, we were in a strange rut, tired of all our favorite recipes.  Neither of us wanted to cook or go grocery shopping, and both of us were being pretty dang grouchy about it.  Local restaurants were seeing us more and more.  One of my co-workers had tried Blue Apron, and had some free meals to give away, so we gave that a shot and liked it!

Here's what happens.  You go on their site and choose your menu preferences.  Then they overnight a box that's sort of like a cooler with all the ingredients you need along with detailed recipes.  If you need one carrot, you get one carrot.  If only one egg is needed, only one egg is sent.  Sometimes we receive ingredients we've never even heard of before which is pretty cool.  It's always fun to try something new!  Over time, you "earn" free meals to share with friends.  Our favorite neighbors like Hello Fresh, very similar to Blue Apron, and we swapped free meals.  We enjoy Hello Fresh now, too!  When the meal kits first began, we requested weekly deliveries until we started missing our longtime family favorites.  These days, we alternate weeks.  One week we get a delivery which reduces shopping time by quite a bit.  That's nice.  The next week, we go to the grocery store and pick up items for our standbys.  Any leftovers land in our lunch boxes.  We are definitely back in the habit of cooking most evenings.

I said all THAT to say THIS.

While eating out can be fun (and you don't have to clean up afterward, which is great) nutritionally, it can be quite the land mine.  It's important that we plan and cook our own meals, knowing the ingredients and controlling the amount of salt, sugar, fats and portion size that lands on our plate.  We do not eliminate any food groups, as boredom can be a big problem around here.  Not everything we cook is super low calorie either.

No matter how much we exercise, we have to eat well to maintain a healthy weight range.

Giveaway

If you live in the United States and would like to try the delivery boxes, I have a few free meals I can give away.  Just message me below that you're interested.  I'll need your name and email address so please send that to me at

Stone (dot) Cottage (dot) Adv (at) cox (dot) net

If you're not in the US, or just don't like the idea of groceries being delivered, here are some

Target's Printable Grocery Coupons



What do you like to cook?  How do you plan your meals and get the shopping done?

;-)  -Marci

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ten Steps to Hosting a Stress Free Baby Shower

Baby showers are so much fun, but hosting one can feel a little daunting!  While they can be a lot of work, it is so worth the happiness of getting everyone together and celebrating the pending arrival of a darling new addition!  


We recently hosted a shower in our home and had such a great time.  This gorgeous Mommy-to-be has been our neighbor since was three!  She doesn't remember not having us in her life.  The very second they told us of the amazing little miracle on the way, I offered to host her shower.


(Handsome Husband uses beard products from THIS PLACE)

Here are my thoughts on how to plan a stress free party!

1.  Ask Guest of Honor for any preferences, dislikes or restrictions and choose date

2. Discuss Baby Registry with Mommy-to-Be to have an understanding of what she likes

3.  Choose theme or color scheme

4.  Request invitation list to get a feel for the numbers

5.  Consider location and where to photograph guests

6.  Plan menu and create list for food as well as needed table ware

7.  Choose decor, considering time needed for crafting ;-) and create list

8.  Prepare and send invitations via electronics, snail mail or both

9.  Cook or order menu

10.  Final Set Up





Please come back for more baby shower posts.  I'm writing tutorials for the the centerpieces and garland I made, along with editing photos of the food and drink tables!  Whew!  I can hardly wait to show you!

What's your favorite thing about baby showers?  How do you like to plan them?

;-)  -Marci

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Link Party Feature

Exciting news!  My post about this lovely 
hosted by Urban Naturale!

What an honor! 

;-)  -Marci

Tuesdays with a Twist #197

Our News This Week...  Brace yourself for posts about the baby shower!  The sweet little Mommy-to-Be did a great job with her  Baby Registry and is pretty well set for that darling little boy to arrive!  I've been editing photos like crazy and am almost ready to start posting about all the projects.




While Winter is not my favorite season, it is fun to photograph tracks in the snow!  ;-)  'Always makes me smile to be in or near a National Park  ;-)


If you have (or need) inspiration for Valentine's Day, please visit the Valentine Link Party I am co-hosting!  It will continue until February 13 with features announced on Valentine's Day!


And now for today's party!




Each co-host will be sharing her own picks for Features. This gives everyone a better chance of being chosen.  Be sure to check all of our blogs!

Choosing features never gets easier!  There are so many impressive bloggers visiting each week and they post about all kinds of interesting topics.  I love this Diva Envelope Clutch

Diva Envelope Clutch Pattern and Tutorial by eSheep Designs ~ Threading My Way

from Pam at Threading My Way!  It's been a while since I did any sewing.  I need to get back in the rhythm!  ;-)


     If you have been featured we'd love for you to grab a button.


We all love comments!  Please hop around and show some love!

The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Friday at 11:59pm.  Feel free to stop back any time and "like" your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 

All family friendly links are welcome. 
Share older posts as well as new ones. 
No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own* 

By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features.

Let's party!

;-)  -Marci





Saturday, January 21, 2017

Link Party Feature!

Exciting news!  My Garden Guest post of a 



is being featured today at 

snickerdoodle-create-bake-make-party-graphic-november-2016


'Sending a big  

Thank You 

to all the hostesses!

;-)  -Marci

Fitness after 50. Week 6. Walking Strategy

So...  this is my new series about fitness.  I am certainly no expert.  Posts will be about what's working for me.  There will definitely be running plans, flexibility, and basic weight lifting.  You can also expect nutrition ideas, recipes, and, well, probably lots maybe a little bit of whining.  ;-)

I hope I have the courage to tell you about the failures.

  If you'd like to read the premise for all of this, take a look at these previous posts.


You won't believe this.  In the first two weeks of my weight loss challenge, I've lost 4.5 pounds!!  Woo Hoo!  What a wonderful surprise.  This week I have a success story AND a fail.  First the good news!

Walking.

It's super basic, but it's working for me.  

Now let me preface this by saying we purchased our home many years ago.  Our neighbors know us and we feel very safe here in Small Town, Arkansas.  It's almost Mayberry.  ;-)  There is one loop in our neighborhood that's only 7/10 of a mile which takes me just under 15 minutes to walk when I am healthy.  That one is my favorite.  Even before I was released from therapy, I enjoyed strolling this route slowly just to move for a bit, and keep myself acclimated to whatever the weather might be doing.

Then I was released from physical therapy.

Thankfully our neighborhood is a series of squares or circles and, since I like to run, I know the mileage for just about all the streets.  ;-)  It is one mile from our home to the post office.  We have three parks that are each half a mile from our home.  Two of them have walking tracks.




Photo Source

Being outside is medicine for me.

So here's where I began and how I added distance.  There is no push for speed as my hip tires quickly.

Week 1

Walk 7/10 mile loop on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Weeks 2 and 3

Walk 7/10 mile loop + 3/10 mile square on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Week 4 to Present

Walk 7/10 mile loop + 3/10 mile square + 1 mile circle on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

or

Walk 1/2 mile to park + 8/10 mile park loop + 1/2 mile back home on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

or

Walk 1 mile to the Post Office and back on Monday, Wednesday and Friday


(Sorry!  I don't know the photo source on this one.  'Saved it from Facebook ages ago.)

I plan to stay at the 2 mile distance until I can begin running again.  These short walks keep me acclimated to the cold January days so bouncing back to running should feel pretty easy.

You get the idea, right?  Pick a route.  Walk it for a week or two then add a little more.

Now for the fail.

The baby shower we hosted Saturday was so much fun, but between getting everything ready, and greeting guests, and taking photos, and loading cars, and cleaning the kitchen, I was on my feet

All.  Day.  Long.

Since I didn't want to be grumpy while folks were here, I took some over-the-counter pain meds and never realized just how tired I had become.

Sunday, my injured hip was very sore.  I parked myself on the sofa and crocheted.  Nothing else.  Monday, it was still painful, so no walking.  Tuesday, it was feeling better and Wednesday I was fine.  Sadly, I still have to be very cautious with the amount of activity on any given day.  No more OTC pain meds on busy days.



I hope all is well with you!  What is walking like in your neighborhood?

;-)  -Marci

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book Review: Hollow City

The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children

PHOTO SOURCE

by Ransom Riggs

A partial synopsis from Good Reads:  This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world.

My Thoughts:  It's hard to talk about the second book in a series without blowing a plot line in the first one!  ;-)    Our hero, Jacob, has learned a lot, as have all the children.  When they find themselves in a pickle, they manage in quite surprising and innovative ways.  Oh, and the ending!  I did not see that coming!  This one held me spellbound as much as the first one did

AND NOW

 the third one is on my night stand.  What will happen next?  These books have been such a lovely venture away from what I usually choose!

What have you been reading?


;-)  -Marci

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Link Party Feature

Exciting news!  My post 



is being featured at 



What an honor!

;-)  -Marci

Tuesdays with a Twist #196

Our News This Week...  We hosted a baby shower on Saturday and had such a great time!  The sweet little Mommy-to-Be has been in our lives since she was three and will always hold a very special place in our hearts!  Brace yourself for lots of posts about it!  She did a great job with her  Baby Registry and is pretty well set for that darling little boy to arrive!




We were driving near the Illinois River when my husband noticed a large nest and stopped the car.  Of course I grabbed the camera!  ;-)  While snapping shots of the nest, the thistles caught my attention.  'Always makes me smile to be in or near a National Park  ;-)



If you have (or need) inspiration for Valentine's Day, please visit the Valentine Link Party I am co-hosting!


And now for today's party!




Each co-host will be sharing her own picks for Features. This gives everyone a better chance of being chosen.  Be sure to check all of our blogs!

Choosing features never gets easier!  There are so many impressive bloggers visiting each week and they post about all kinds of interesting topics.  I love this post about having friends over for A Winter's Tea!



What a beautiful table from Thelma's Days!


     If you have been featured we'd love for you to grab a button.


We all love comments!  Please hop around and show some love!

The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Friday at 11:59pm.  Feel free to stop back any time and "like" your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 

All family friendly links are welcome.  Share older posts as well as new ones.  No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own*  By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features.  Let's party!

;-)  -Marci