Do You Believe?

I believe. Do you?

Magic is everywhere. Sometimes it’s hidden behind the everyday pile of laundry, discovering that single sock missing it’s other half. But if you look hard enough and, believe with all your heart, you just might see that ordinary life is a beautiful fairytale – missing socks and all.

Cheers!

❤️

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Deer Sighting

I just saw a deer skimming along the sidewalk outside my window. My desk at home faces the window, giving me a view of the outside world while working from home. I just switched my office all up earlier this week, while the rain poured outside, to chase away the rainy blues. I love it. But I never expected to see a deer meandering along the sidewalk in the city, especially outside my front door! I tried to capture a picture from my iPhone but wasn’t quick enough (dang it!).

It reminds me of the moose and bear in Anchorage that would cross the street in front of cars or play across the street from my Government Hill home. But a deer? In Houston? It can only be due to the immense flooding surrounding the area pushing the creature towards dry ground. Lucky for us (and the deer), this neighborhood has been untouched by the flooding surrounding us.

Just one block over, in Barkers Branch, some homes have flooded.  The Addicks Reservoir has continued to push its way towards homes along it’s overflowing banks. The rain has stopped (a blessing) and the sun is peaking out. Its a beautiful morning and nothing like the last few days.

Friends, I have work to do, but before I close I want to share this just for fun…we can all use a little fun to start the day out, right!?!

The Deer Spirit Animal

When you have the deer as spirit animal, you are highly sensitive and have a strong intuition. By affinity with this animal, you have the power to deal with challenges with grace. You master the art of being both determined and gentle in your approach. The deer totem wisdom imparts those with a special connection with this animal with the ability to be vigilant, move quickly, and trust their instincts to get out the trickiest situations.

What’s your spirit animal?

Cheers!

 

Day 4: Rain Continues

The sound of rain sent me to sleep, woke me up multiple times through the night and continues to fall as I step out of the front door to check the street. No rising waters. The drains are working. I’m so lucky. Blessed really. I’ve lost count of all the reasons why this home purchase has been such a blessing. But God continues to take care of me and my little family, especially when I just took a leap of faith and bought the place. After all it was close to work and I didn’t really have to get on the interstate. It was a win – now in more ways than one. Power is on. We are dry. We have enough provisions to manage.

Thank you, Lord. And thank you all for the prayers.

 

Isolated rainfall totals from Harvey could be up to 50 inches by later this week. That’s not good. Yesterday checking the Harris Count Flood Warning site the two water sheds that sit on either side of me were already overflowing. This morning the rain sensor is storm damaged, according to the site, and unable to provide status. Let’s just hope that there is enough land between those overflowing channels and this neighborhood to absorb that water.

Pictures of massive flooding around the City of Houston are flying around the web. But people are coming out in droves to help those in need. Its a testament to the goodness in this world when you watch strangers helping strangers. Its an anxious time. Yet the city is coming together.

If you want to help:

Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

To make a financial donation to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts contact these charities:

Prayers to all impacted! Let’s hope this turns around soon.

 

Cheers!

New Kensington, PA

“As America celebrates Memorial Day, we pay tribute to those who have given their lives in our nation’s wars.” – John M. McHugh


Day One

New Kensington, a small American town nestled between other small towns, is a picture of quaint east coast charm. I love it! 

We began the day at a local family run dinner opened for breakfast and lunch. If you go, go early. The place is busy but worth the wait if your interested in starting the day out with comfort breakfast  food and piping hot coffee poured into thick, old fashioned coffee mugs. After a short wait we were seated at an old school Formica table and we ordered biscuits and gravy, home fries, pancakes, eggs and bacon to be shared around the table. 

Three Rivers Sightseeing-Pirate Adventure

Even though the day was a bit overcast and filled with sprinkles we headed to Pittsburgh to see the city on a river cruise. 


This is a great way to see the city and the beautiful cityscapes that surrounds the Three Rivers. Best of all the hour long cruise is narrated with history and humorous trivia. 


And since the kids were with us, we sailed in the afternoon so they got to interact with swashbuckling pirates in the featured Pirate Show! From balloon sword play, to treasure map hunts to finding hidden gold coins, the kids had a fabulous kid friendly time. The cruise was a hit for all ages! 


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It was a great way to experience the city there is something storybook-like about the city. Maybe it’s a combination of history and modernization or, more than likely, my over active imagination. But I love the rolling green hills with tall trees hiding tiny communities tucked here and there, playing peekaboo from the roadside. 

It was a good day! For a little trivia on the city of Pittsburgh follow the link… fascinating!

Day Two: Falling Water



The rain continued to fall intermittently, but living in Alaska for so long I never let the weather deter me from exploring. Plus we had already purchase tickets! 


Ignoring the bucket of green umbrellas for the arriving guests escaping the light sprinkles, we headed out to the manicured trail snaking its way down to an observation turnout. Miss R had wanted to go on a nature hike but the manicured trail didn’t measure up to this Alaskan kid’s idea of a trail. Go figure! No matter, we had fun exploring the lush surroundings and even splashed in some mud puddles. Before long, the sun poked her head out of the clouds chasing away the drizzle. 

I remembered bits and pieces about Frank Lloyd Wright from college but to see the grounds and the home he had designed was breathtaking. Well worth the trip!

Tip: there’s no photography in the house, and in my opinion, save the cost of a ticket to tour the house if you are with kids. It’s much too restrictive and expensive. Instead spend your time enjoying the trails and your money on a souvenir from the gift shop. Post cards work!





Back to Houston 

The trip quickly ended. With a hug and a kiss I said goodbye. 


Today is Memorial Day and a quiet day at the Pittsburgh airport. With a little time before departure I decided to have lunch at Vino Volo, a little wine bar with a scrumptious menu for hungry travelers. Check it out, if you are in the mood to discover new wines. They offer a variety of wine flights just in case.  As I sit here contemplating Memorial Day and all the fallen heroes I realize how blessed I am. 

Thank you to all who have served or are serving in our finest military. I am extremely grateful to all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country!  

Cheers!

❤️

May’s Travel Update: Pennsylvania 

Hello!

I’m not sure which camp you are in; the early birds or the last minute runners but I tend to lean towards the early birds side of things. And, so happy I did this morning! 


Even though I went to the extra effort to obtain TSA Pre-Check (you haven’t?!? If you travel go right this minute and start your application. I can wait…) this morning the lines at Security snaked around forever. To say it was as slow as molasses is an understatement. 

 Just so happened that they were running everyone through standard screening and on top of that two lanes were down due to maintenance. My heart went out to everyone, including the TSA employees and all of us excited travelers. 

*Happy TSA Highlight. 

Now I know TSA gets a bad rap. I’ve been on the receiving end of curt agents and extra screenings – all for my love of travel. But today I want to tell you about a positive occurrence I witnessed. The friendly gentleman checking boarding passes and identity took extra time and care to help a blind man and his companion through the masses of humanity, with warm patience. His kindness didn’t stop there. He greeted every person with a smile and a warm welcome. When it was my turn to stand in front of the wooden podium I was greeted just as warmly and I couldn’t help myself but I had to tell him how much I appreciated his friendliness and kindness. He gave me a big smile “April Love,”  he drawled, “have a good trip”.  

Now isn’t that a great way to start the Memorial weekend? 

I know you are wondering why in the world am I heading to Pennsylvania for the weekend… well, cuz that’s where Miss R and her mamma is. Plus, I’ve never explored PA and it’s time to check this State off my list of places to visit.  

Who here has an airport ritual? Or am I the only one that is a creature of habit and has a certain routine as I leave TSA?  For me I I grab a cup of coffee from Starbucks (stop hating), and then it’s a bottle of water at the nearest convenience shop, maybe a snack for the plane if I didn’t tuck something into my carry on and then I find my gate. Now if I have time I might go explore the airport. 

A few of my favorite  airports to shop in:

  1. Seattle
  2. Minneapolis 
  3. Paris 

Happy Travels!

Cheers!

❤️

Breakup Is Here and Its Beautiful!

“Flour and butter, cream and sugar, words and images — all the ingredients for a rich, tasty story.”
― Rona Simmons, The Quiet Room

Oh my goodness, I’ve been busy. The days are speeding by and I am getting less and less done. On the bright side its getting brighter and warmer and muddier out…Hello, Breakup! The very last one that I will experience. After 25 years I think I’m ready for a real spring.

But Sunday is for baking and I’m taking a few minutes to share pictures from my trip to Iowa (no time to bake this weekend). I just had to test out my son’s kitchen and what better way to do that than bake some cookies for the guys. After being pried out of Trader Joe’s (LOVE that store!) we made it back home, supplied for the next decade or more with pantry staples.

I baked. And fed the guys piping hot cookies straight out of the oven.

Cookies = Love

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Tip: Freeze extras! I made an extra batch to freeze. Wrap the cookies in freezer Ziploc baggies to pull out to enjoy later. Yum!

Cheers!