Saturday, August 28, 2010

Spring and Summer Flowers

"Earth laughs in flowers."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

What are your favorite things? Raindrops on roses? Whiskers on kittens?

Some of my favorite things are books, cool days, my children, chocolate chip cookies and ... flowers.

My all-time favorite season is spring because the earth wakes up from its dormant sleep, puts on a fresh coat of green and comes alive with splashes of color.

Here in Texas, the state plants millions of wildflower seeds along the highways that turn our roadsides into seas of blue, red and yellow in the spring.

Our most famous flower (above) is the state flower, the bluebonnet. In other parts of the country, they may just be called blue lupine, but here in Texas, they go by the common, folksy name of bluebonnets.

The bluebonnet is so popular in Texas that it graces license plates, postcards, T-shirts and trivets. Every spring, it is a Texas tradition to take family photos among the bluebonnets.

The top photo shows a gorgeous field of bluebonnets that we have right across the street in the park by our house. Every spring I have the kids pose for me as I take another picture in the modern Texas tradition. Every year, they look a little older!

These little white star flowers emerged this spring from tiny bulbs in my flowerbed. I love to walk outside when the weather warms in spring and find new and pleasant surprises every day!

These delicate yellow wildflowers bloom throughout fields in the spring. I think these were by my children's school.

This is a dandelion in my back yard. I used to pull dandelions, but now we have pet zebra finches, and they love to eat dandelion leaves. So we let the dandelions take over a patch in our back yard. And they put on pretty yellow flowers in the spring and intricate globes of white as they go to seed.

These wee blossoms grow in little patches in the park by our house. They look a little like teeny-tiny blue irises!

These lovely yellow irises are newcomers to my flowerbeds, transplanted from a friend's yard. Irises really are some of the easiest plants to transplant.

I love all types of flowers, both wild and cultivated. Their beauty always brightens my days.

I hope these photos have brightened yours!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Huge Snowstorm in Texas!

Last month we had an amazing weather event here in north Texas that's even rarer than a blue moon.

We had a huge snowstorm! Usually we get about an inch of snow once or twice a winter. This year, we got about a foot of snow at once! It snowed here for about 24 hours straight and set several new records in north Texas. It was the most snow on the ground at one time that most of us have ever seen around here. In fact, it was the most snow recorded in one 24-hour period in Dallas since the 1930s!

It first started snowing Thursday, Feb. 11. Then it snowed all night, and when we woke up Friday morning Feb. 12, it looked like a winter wonderland outside! With no wind, the snow fell silently all night and clung to every branch and twig. Our house looked like a picture postcard.

All the kids in the Metroplex got a snow day on Friday, and almost every kid in the neighborhood was out playing in the snow all day. Our kids all went to the little park near our house and made snowmen and snow angels, built snow forts, waged snowball fights and took turns sliding down the little hills on plastic saucers. I even got out our old cross-country skis from the garage, where they have sat unused to years, and we all skied around the neighborhood! It was the first time our kids had ever gotten up on skis.

After that snowstorm came the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. The kids were so entertained watching all the athletes skiing, sledding and snowboarding that now they want to move somewhere it snows every winter!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Valentine's Day Cookies

Did you have a nice Valentine's Day?

My daughter and I celebrated the holiday by making homemade sugar cookies using our best family recipe. Sugar cookies are fun to make because you can cut them out in almost any design. Cookie cutters are available these days to mark just about any occasion, and I admit I have dozens of cookie cutters stored by theme so I'm ready for just about anything!

Giving homemade cookies is a special, personal way to show you care about someone. They are much more thoughtful and tasty than storebought, and who doesn't like homemade cookies? And they're even better with frosting!

Why don't you try baking up a batch for those special people tonight?

Monday, January 11, 2010

A White Christmas

"In the meadow we can build a snowman, then pretend that he is Parson Brown."
-- Felix Bernard,
"Winter Wonderland," 1934

No, that's not Parson Brown above. He's actually not even snow. (He's plastic.) But he is surrounded by real snow. It snowed here Christmas Eve!

After all those years of yearning for a white Christmas, we finally got one here in north Texas. In fact, it was the first white Christmas here since 1926! We awoke Christmas morning to a beautiful white wonderland as pretty as a picture postcard.

The snow covered the flowerbeds like fluffy white down.

It even covered the rabbits on the front porch. They think you won't see them if they hold perfectly still.

After opening their presents Christmas morning, the boys had some wild fun throwing snowballs and sliding down our little hill.

But sooner or later, cold noses and frosty fingers mean it's time to come inside.

Would anyone like some hot chocolate?