July 17, 2014


I am not a big bird fan (ask my mother...) and while I do love the sound of birds in the morning, I didn't want to deal with the mess of cleaning up seeds on our porch from a conventional feeder.

Earlier in the Spring, I noticed that hummingbird feeders seemed to be in all of the garden shops around the area. Enter my perfect no-seed solution to bird watching: I bought a hummingbird feeder. 

The Sailor promptly installed it for me and I planted some red flowers nearby to attract the birds. 

So far though... nothing. Not a single hummingbird. A few weeks ago I saw one out at our garden, so I know they're around here, but they don't seem to want to frequent my porch. 

I'm a total hummingbird novice... but I did buy hummingbird food and I did plant red flowers. I'm thinking the air conditioning units that are so close to the porch might be scaring them off. 

Any other bird people out there... what other tips can you offer to attract hummingbirds?

July 14, 2014

The Literary Library Baby Shower

Summer definitely seems to be both wedding and baby season. I'm not sure if it's the heat (and thus less layers of clothing, revealing bumps...) but I've certainly noticed more pregnant ladies out and about in town.

A few weeks ago, I shared with you my Skype non-shower baby shower. This week, I'd like to tell you about the Book Shower my local friends threw me here: B is for Books, Babies and Brenda! 

The hostess knew I didn't want a traditional shower with goofy games, although we made an exception for the 'game' part and actually watched the US play Portugal in the World Cup during the shower. How non-traditional is that?! Sadly, none of us managed to get a photo of the TV in the background as proof! 

The invitation asked everyone to bring a book, and specified that thrifted ones were absolutely fine. In fact, several thrifted books were used to create super fun vintage-like bunting, and many of the thrifted books were classics that are difficult to find these days. 

In keeping with the theme, the food spread matched the books.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit inspired veggie crudites, complete with hummus on bottom of the 'planters'. 

The somewhat infamous Orange Marmalade Poppyseed cake even made an appearance. This has been my no-fail cake for years now and I agreed to make it for my own party. (I'm hoping to finally share the recipe with you if I can get permission from the magazine publisher!

And Blueberries for Sal gave way to a delightful blueberry drink concoction! (I'm super excited about this book. I loved Make Way for the Ducklings as a child and I never knew that the author, Robert McCloskey, wrote this one too!) 

Of course books were also involved... 

I loved the library as a child (and I still do!) but there are a number of these books I'd never heard of or read, so I'm excited that the Peanut already has quite a stash of reading material for the years to come! 

I don't remember ever reading The Sailor Dog -- a Little Golden Book about a dog named Scuppers who wants to sail on the sea. 

But as soon as I got home that evening, I read this one aloud to the Peanut before bedtime. And as silly as I felt reading a book to my belly, I'm pretty sure this might become one of my favorite books to read to the Peanut, especially when the Sailor is away to sea. 

I'm super thankful for friends far away for the Skype Shower, and the local ladies who know me well enough to host a Book Shower for Baby. 

(And an extra special thank you to my friend and the evening's hostess, Tianna, for making the latter happen! She and I shared creative spaces together while working onboard a hospital ship many moons ago... and it's super fun to live in the same city as her now. Most of these photos were taken by her.)

July 10, 2014

Watermelon Summer

The Sailor arrived home a little earlier than expected this week. I'm certainly not complaining, but my already sporadic schedule was thrown off slightly by a happy homecoming! I know I promised a post here on my recent Library Baby Shower and I promise it's coming soon.

In the meantime, since I didn't have time to make a milk tart for the Sailor, I bought a watermelon. (I actually think I still have some milk tart in the freezer from the last time I made it, in any case.) The watermelon caught my eye, because let's face it, my belly is about the same size at the moment, and probably weighs the same! 

Besides, nothing spells summer like a good dose of watermelon, and bare feet -- even if I can't actually see mine at the moment.

July 7, 2014

Newborn and Mama Vertebrae

What's nicer than a little cardigan (that actually fits in with the current state of my belly...) to ward off the chill?

A wee matching one for a newborn. 

 Cuteness overload.

My local yarn store just had their big annual sale... resistance proved futile. I managed to only buy a few skeins of yarn -- one of them being a German sock yarn for this little newborn vertebrae. The newborn pattern is free, although the baby version is not. I'm thinking that I will need to invest in the baby version though... this thing was so fast to make and I'm sure the Peanut will outgrow it about the same time he or she finds these baby jeans too tight. 

(Yarn: Regia Angora Merino / 50 grams / roughly 200 meters and I had plenty leftover.) 

My cardigan is the Mama Vertebrae pattern found here. I mentioned that I was making it here way back in March, but never showed you the final project. While summer is in full throttle at the moment and I have no use for a cardigan at the moment, I know I will wear this all the time as soon as chillier weather rolls in. And let's be honest here.... I want to make one in my size in the same luxurious angora merino blend as the Peanut's! 

July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth & Fireworks!

My city missed the memo that today is the Fourth of July and instead planned their fireworks for last night... along with a free concert at the park.

When we first moved here last year, the fireworks got rained out, and the Sailor and I spent the Fourth of July watching old movies, while I crocheted this red rug for the bathroom. This year, I had full intentions of going to the concert with a group of friends, but sleep called my name louder than the firecrackers. 

I was in bed by 9 pm.

Over the years, I've missed out on a lot of Fourth of July celebrations since I spent so many summers overseas.

One year, I found myself in Budapest, Hungary during their own national holiday. Budapest is a combination of two former cities, Buda and Pest, on either side of the Danube River. I had planned to meet some new friends across the city to view the fireworks, but I found myself stuck in Buda, since the bridges were closed due to the fireworks display. 

I climbed up the hill and headed back to my hostel, somewhat dejected. I had looked forward to simply experiencing a little bit of Hungarian nightlife with the locals and now I was stuck on this side of the river. Instead, I steeled myself for a night in with a 25 cent cup of a coffee from the vending machine, hoping that I might catch a glimpse of the display out my window.

One of the hostel receptionists saw me and asked if I wanted to go up onto the roof to view the fireworks. (We could climb onto the roof...?)

Sure enough, a group of us clamored up the access ladder to the flat roof of the five-story building with no railings, where we had one of the best views of the fireworks that night. 

I have since forgotten the name of that hostel and the names of the people on that rooftop. But I'll never forget that night, or the view. It reminded me a little bit of being a kid again.. of the anticipation of nightfall and the excitement of simply holding onto sparklers. 

I wondered last night if there was perhaps a Hungarian or two in town who would be missing their own fireworks display in August. Hopefully they made it to the park last night to at least see ours. 

Happy Fourth of July! Be safe... and invite someone out to see your town's fireworks with you this year. (Unless of course, they'd rather be asleep before dark.