Friday, September 28, 2012

Flower Garden at Baltimore Convention Center

Happy floral Friday everyone! Today I had the fantastic experience of attending the Zumba Instructor training program at the AAAI/ISMAA Conference at the Baltimore Convention Center. Whenever I am at the Baltimore Convention Center I like to visit their third floor patio garden and I hope you'll enjoy these photos.
Here you can see some autumn sedum in the forefront and Baltimore office buildings in the background.
 Here's an overview of the Baltimore Convention Center's patio garden.

 I think these little flowers are on an abelia bush.

Here's a purple coneflower (echinacea). It's nice to see a big, fresh echinacea bloom. Most of ours are raggedly looking and it's about time to let them set seed for the birds.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend. May God bless you!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cute Yard Bunny Photos for Wild Wednesday

When I walked by this cute bunny, instead of hopping away, it just hung out in my Maryland yard and watched me for a while. So I went back in the house and got my camera out, not really expecting the rabbit to still be there, but hoping it would be. To my surprise it was still there. It chewed on some grass and watched me for a while.

 Then the bunny grabbed a violet leaf and made a couple of hops to the left.

 Still within about 10 feet of me it decided to hang out for a while again.

I enjoyed watching it stretch its neck for tasty leaves and then munch on them. Then my neighbor's dog barked and the rabbit hopped away. I felt blessed to have been able to get so close to the cute wild creature and watch it for as long as I did.

Hope you enjoyed this week's Wild Wednesday animal photos!

May God bless you!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Flowers, Bees, Butterflies and Birds

Happy floral Friday everyone! Today's photos were taken at the U.S. National Arboretum by my husband and I (first two by me, second two by Ben). I hope you enjoy them and I'd love to hear from you. I finally figured out how to adjust the settings so anyone can comment so hopefully it will be easier to comment now.

The bird in the photo above was just looking around but I love how it looks like she's staring right into the camera. We were walking through a meadow and she was perched on these dried flowers.

This bee was hanging out on some sedum flowers.

Ben took this fantastic photo of two yellow butterflies enjoying yellow flowers (one was still on a flower and one was flying towards another flower). I thought his was the best photo of the day.

Ben also took this lovely flower photo in the National Herb Garden section of the U.S. National Arboretum.

Hope you have a wonderful Friday and weekend! May God bless you!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Oryx and Gazelle Photos for Wild Wednesday

This oryx appears to be sleeping in his habitat at the National Zoo but his ears are still actively flapping.

If you compare this picture with the first you can see that his ear moved (and I zoomed out with the camera).

Ben, my wonderful husband, donated these two gazelle photos for our Wild Wednesday post. In the photo above the gazelle is caught in the middle of chewing some foliage.

And this gazelle is looking for a tasty treat in its National Zoo habitat.

Hope you enjoyed seeing a couple of God's beautiful creatures! May He bless you today and always!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Red Jacket Raspberry Apple Juice Product Review

I was sitting at my computer wishing I had one of these Red Jacket Raspberry Apple Juices and I thought it might be a good time to write the review. I probably wouldn't have bought one on my own but my husband bought one at Whole Foods last week and offered me a sip and I loved it (and ended up drinking more than a few sips). It had a nice raspberry-apple flavor and managed to pack in 3 grams of fiber per serving (there are 1.5 servings in the 12 oz. bottle).

In addition to the great taste, I liked that it was a cold pressed juice and not from concentrate. For those who want some numbers, my Red Jacket Raspberry Apple Juice bottle's label indicates that it has 120 calories, zero fat, 8 mg sodium, 135 mg potassium, 30 grams of total carbohydrates/sugars, 3 grams of dietary fiber (2.5 grams of which are soluble fiber), zero protein, 47% of the "daily value" of Vitamin C and 2% of the "daily value" of iron.

Do you ever crave juice? What is your favorite? I'd love to hear about it!

Hope to see you back again tomorrow for Wild Wednesday (animal photos)! May God bless you!

Note: This review is my opinion only and I wasn't paid for or asked to write it. I have no material connection with Red Jacket or Whole Foods.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fair Flower Photos for Floral Friday

Earlier this week I posted about my county fair frenzy so I thought for floral Friday I'd show you some of the flowers I entered in the fair. These aren't the actual blooms entered but are flowers from the same plants (thought you'd appreciate the prettier ones still on the plants).

I think our yellow knockout rose earned a blue (1st place) ribbon. I love this rose because it smells slightly lemony and the blooms fade to white so it's like you get two kinds of roses on one plant.

I think our white hybrid tea rose also earned a county fair ribbon.

I'm not actually sure what type of rose this is but I guessed it was a floribunda and I think it earned a blue ribbon.

Last year our orange zinnia earned a first place (blue) ribbon but this year I think it earned third place (white). Even though I grew this plant from seeds I gathered from last year's blue ribbon winner, the rabbits kept eating the seedlings down to the ground and this plant is a good two feet shorter than it's parent was. The birds, butterflies and bees still love it though.

I think our red and pink zinnias that I started from seed after our front yard was excavated this spring earned white and red ribbons. You might wonder why I keep writing "I think."  Well, I entered over 30 flowers and floral arrangements and I didn't write down my results so while I'm pretty sure I remember correctly, I'm not 100% sure. On Monday I'll pick up my vases and ribbons and then I can give a true count. I wish I'd taken pictures of the fresh floral arrangements before submitting them, especially because they were my first floral arrangements ever entered in any kind of contest. However, they are already suffering from the heat and humidity and don't look so hot now. Also, as a separate note to remember for next year, I'll have to find out if it's permissible to add a flower preservative to the water (I assumed it wasn't but it can't hurt to ask) because that would help them all to last longer.

So, those are 5 of the 30+ flower entries I clipped from our Maryland garden and entered in our county fair this year. It was a lot of work to make sure all the flowers and vases met the requirements and fill out the paperwork and tags. I'm not sure I'll ever enter so many again but it was certainly fun to do once.

Which flower did you like best? Have you ever entered anything in a county or state fair? I'd love to hear about it!

May God bless you, dear reader!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sea Lion Feeding Photos: Wild Wednesday

The Smithsonian National Zoo's American Trail opened over Labor Day weekend and now visitors can enjoy seeing their sea lion feedings. I recently did just that and I hope you enjoy my photos.

There are two pelicans in the sea lion exhibit. The first time I saw them they were on the rocks and stayed so still I thought they were statues.

 Sea lion keeper/trainer does a tail check on her sea lion.

Sea lion keeper/trainer feeding a seal lion.

Here's the sign at the top of the new American Trail at the National Zoo (by the elephants). I think there's a sign at the bottom entrance too (near the lemurs and turtle waterfall; the zoo is located on a giant hill so I tend to reference locations based on the hill).

If you enjoyed these photos you'll love my baby cheetah and other zoo photo blog posts too. You can check them out here.

May God bless you, dear reader!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fair Frenzy, New Bible Study and Prayer Request

I love county fairs. It's fun to see the work of local artists and gardeners and meet new friends. Last year, for the very first time in my life, I entered some of my flowers, herbs, handicrafts and photos and, to my shock and delight, 15 ribbons (including all 1st to 3rd place).

This year, I entered even more items and expanded into the needlecraft category too. You can see one of my needle craft entries here and the photo of my cat (above) was used in one of my handicraft entries. I have no idea whether I'll earn any ribbons this year but I had a great time choosing flowers from our garden and making crafts. The idea is that you can enter any crafts made since the last county fair but I tend to go into a fair frenzy in the weeks before the fair and probably make 75% of my fair entries in the last few weeks before the fair. Yes, it's crazy, but it's also fun.

However, I have been thinking about how much more worthwhile it would be if I put that kind of effort into God's work. Just as I was feeling the need to do more for the Lord, a local ministry needed a volunteer for something God has equipped me to do (even though I haven't actually done it before I've done similar things).

So, I'm stepping out on faith and am going to be leading a newly added ladies Bible study with PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) on Fort Meade. It's Max Lucado's Outlive Your Life and it starts this Wednesday. If you're already familiar with PWOC you can just show up on Wednesday and I'll be thrilled to have you in my class. If you're local and want more information please email me at and I'll be glad to tell you more. If you are a person of faith I'd truly appreciate your prayer support in this endeavor, both for me to be a loving and affective teacher and for my students to grow in their walk with the Lord.

May God bless you, dear reader!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fishing Cat Kitten Photos

Entering our world on May 18, 2012 these are the first fishing cat kittens born at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. I was treated to a rare up close viewing of these precious baby fishing cats when they were stalking fish in the little pond at the front of their habitat.

I had to take the photos through the thick, cloudy glass but I think you can still get a picture of how fun the fishing cat kittens were to watch. In the above photo one of the kittens stalks a fish in the shallow end of the pond. You can see that it's right in the water and not bothered by it at all.

Here the braver kitten attempts to walk on a log that extends over the pond (with a great view of the fish).

 Fishing cat head and shoulders close up photo.

Baby fishing cat watching delicious fish.

That concludes today's Wild Wednesday photo shoot. I hope you enjoyed this mini photo tour of the fishing cat kittens at the National Zoo. Come back next week for more wild photos (and remember that we have flower photos on Fridays too). May God bless you!