Merry Christmas!

The holidays are here! My single mother live has gotten really busy.
I even forgot about this blog. Not good, not good!

So if I don't post anything from now to the end of Christmas, 
I want to wish you a merry, merry, Christmas!

This is my son's school band performing for the Christmas concert. 
He is somewhere in there playing the saxophone. 
I'm very proud of my musician!


First Time It Gets White

Yesterday people at the grocery store looked panicked. 
Then I heard the store intercom say, 
"Don't forget that today it will snow, make sure you get your milk if you don't 
want to go out to shovel tomorrow."  
I panicked too! 

I started keep an eye on the weather.
When I heard of all the snow they were predicting, I made plans to sleep in on Sunday morning. 

 But I forgot about the people that clean the roads when we get snow. 
Just like an annoying alarm clock they woke me up!

Oh yea, lets not complain, it's sunny! Awww!  But It's pretty after all! 

The birch tree at the back of my apartment looks so pretty with snow stuck in it's bark!

And in the afternoon I bundled up and went out there to take some pictures, I will share them later.
This is one of the many pictures I took. 

Wouldn't it be nice if these gas meters froze, so we get a break on our gas bill?

UPDATE: (After reading the wise comments)
Oops! Yes, if the meters freeze, I would  not be happy at all.  
I should be careful what I wish for! Thanks for the comments!



Ding Dong!

Finally the time has come that I can scream sing Christmas songs without people looking at me weird! 
I get funny looks when I blast this type of music in July :)

... Sing we now of Christmas, 
Noel sing we here,
(Noel sing we here)
Sing our grateful praises,
To the babe so dear...

When screaming you lungs singing to Jesus you don't have to worry about having a great voice, He loves to hear you not regardless of  how you sound.


At the Other Side of the Fence

"The grass is always greener on the other side." 

This time we can't deny it, the grass really does look greener on the other side! Even this horse had to stick out his head to the other side of the fence to get a tasty bite. 

The kids and I had fun petting and feeding the horses at The Platte River State Park. 


Linking to Friday's Fences


We finally found a place to "walk Oreo"!

 I know there are to many places in Omaha to do that, no need for a special place. 
But "walking Oreo" is the excuse we use to go out there, us 3 as a family, and have fun. 
We have many ways to have fun as family, but walking in the woods is one of our favorites. 

Back in Virginia we went to a place called Sandy Bottom Nature Park, it's very close to our house. 
Here we've tried some places in the city, but they didn't do the trick. 
So we have to drive 30 minutes away to The Platte River State Park so we can "walk Oreo."  

This time, the end of November, it was 40 degrees in Omaha. We were having a heat wave! 
We had to take Oreo out! 

We were trying to get to the Platte River and to the train tracks, but ended up at this waterfall. 
For once I was happy to be lost in Nebraska. 
I keep getting lost here, one more thing I will remember about this place

We have had great memories at this park, I should use the waterfall  picture for the blog header.



It was the Tree Lighting at The Shadow Lake Town Center.
 We got about three jackets on us and went out there into the cold, it was about 31 degrees!! 

 There was not just the Tree Lighting event, The Peppermint Elves were performing too. 

The freezing temperatures were perfect for hot chocolate. The only place to get hot chocolate at that mall is at Chocolaterie Stam, so there we walked. Of course there was a long line!
But we didn't mind, because it was warm inside. Kids even started to play cards.
Then the chocolate was ready, just in time to go catch the parade!

It was so crowded and we didn't get to see much, but my kids are older so no crying kids for me.
Then we manage to get all the way to the front!

 Here is LaVista South Titan Marching Band.

This is it! Fireworks and sparkly hats made it clear that Christmas was here. 

They counted down from 10 to 0 and lights went on! So pretty!

This guy is too serious, I will not take the chance to cross the line and see what's in those present boxes.

Santa was there too. All of these kids below were waiting to have their picture taken with him. 

I had to take this picture with the flag, reminds me of the ones that won't be able to spend time with their love ones this Christmas, because of their duty to the country. I hope they get lots of cookies in the mail!


Decorating the Temporary Place

T for Temporary

I know I won't be in this apartment for more than a year and that it is useless to decorate it
and even money wasting.
All of that is true, but I can't just be here sitting around,
waiting for the time that I can pack my trinkets and head to back Virginia. 
So I  have adopted this new idea of using this opportunity to create beautiful spaces. 

If I was to buy a new house and decorate it.  I would go out there and buy all the things
I need to do the job. I would pick what I wanted, because it would be sort of a  "need"
to go shopping and find things to fit good at my new home.

I'm not in a new house and I'm fully aware that I will only be here for a couple of  months.
And as much as I would like to go out there and spend the money that I don't have I will not do it.
I will work with what I have and I'll get stuff from yard sales and thrift stores.

So far I've been having fun with this idea.
And I'm very happy with what I have been able to come up with.
I never thought I was ever going to find something to match with the bed cover and shams that a friend gave me. I thing they go together perfectly!

Linking to ABC Wenesday


S for Seeds

It's getting very cold here in Omaha! Almost all of the trees have lost their leaves and the view is usually gray or brown. 
Just today I went to the store and people were already talking about slippery roads.

This is my second year in this city, so I knew this was coming. 
And in anticipation of it I have been keeping my creative mode wide open. 
So yesterday I went across the street from my apartment to take pictures of what's left from the asters, coreopsis, cone-flowers and other plants that the city planted on a corner of a parking-lot.

In this same place I took some very colorful pictures some weeks ago when the monarch 
butterflies passed through this area on their way to Mexico. 
You can check it out those colorful pictures here
Reminder to myself: Yes Leticia, there is beauty in the brown and gray winter.
With this post I will link with ABC Wednesday


"The flower that blooms in adversity..."

This image looks kind of boring, and meaning less. 
But I had to take it! It's actually inspirational. 

I was taking pictures of the Autumn. All I had in mind was brown frost bitten flowers
 and dried sticks. But here it was this little sunflower bright yellow! 
As if on a mission to keep the field colorful. 
Doing it's best to stay up despite cold morning frost, and midday scorching sun 

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” 
Walt Disney Company, Mulan 

Today's theme for #capturingblessing is quote. This is what I came up with.


Gingerbread House Recipe

I hope the Thanksgiving Turkey doesn't get mad at me! 
But my Zumba instructor pointed out that this year the Christmas season  is going to be shorter 
than the previous years. Thanksgiving is at the very end of November. 
She even made us do Zumba with a Christmas song!

At first I was resisting it, because I didn't want to lose the Thanksgiving spirit. 
But now that I think about it, Christmas always sneaks in and out of me pretty much every year 
and the next time I take another glance at the calender  it's already Valentines Day! 

I'll just go with what the  Zumba lady said and I will start thinking Christmas thoughts now.

Some years ago the kids and I made a Gingerbread House. But by the time we got all the ingredients
and got going with the process, it was already December 25th!
Then the painstaking Gingerbread house was pushed somewhere in the back 
because it was time to celebrate New Years and Valentines!

I want to make a Gingerbread House again this year.
 And I will not wait the the last minute this time, I will start getting ready now.

I will be using this recipe here. It also comes in  PDF version
This is the same recipe we used last time, I hope we get to enjoy the making of it this time.  
Last time was a little challenging, since it was our first time constructing a Gingerbread House and had no idea if all the hard work was going to end up well.


Introducing my Cacti

Cacti are some of  the plants that I will be adventuring into now that I live in an apartment. 
These spiky little plants are so cute! If they were candy, I would've eaten them long ago!

This one above is one of  my favorites, it's only about 5" high. 
It's like having a souvenir of the tall ones in Mexico. 
I will call it Little Senor Nopal. Back home in Mexico cacti are called
 nopales and are edible. Who can forget those tacos de nopales!

 And here are all of them that I got. I'm a little late posting about them. 
(We single moms tend to get soo busy sometimes!)
 But I got them back in September. 

 One more picture of  Little Senor Nopal. 
I was worried that something was wrong with it because of the white stains.
 But it's been a couple of months now and Little Senor Nopal is still up and going!


Street View

Today's theme for #capturingblessing is Street View. 
I went to find my picture for this challenge when the sun was almost gone.

Love how I captured the water tower besides the sun in this picture!
This is how most of the town looks like. There are cornfields right beside the neighborhoods. 

It  reminds me of my little town back at Mexico. 
When I visited Nebraska for the very first time I was surprised. 
For some reason I thought it was a Mexico thing only. (smile) 

The picture above it's going west down the hill. 

Then I turned around  to go back home.
I had to wait for the traffic before I was able to make a U turn. 
So by the time I was back on top of the hill, going east, the pictures I took were less sunlit. 
And this time I got the moon in it! 



Today I did something I always wanted to do, I pasted words into one of my pictures.  
It took me a long time since I never really put the effort into it,
and this is what I came up with.

The lyrics for Taps. I did this for the #capturingblessing  picture challenge I'm doing on Instagram. 
Today's theme was lyrics, and since today is Veteran's Day I thought it would fit in nicely. 

I showed my picture to a young lady, she said "Nice poem!". 
I gave her a little lecture about Taps. 
Bonus for me!! Feeling Great! 

But don't ask me how my kitchen looks like. 
Since it took me almost the whole day to get it done. 

I got this done with this site.



 Found this picture from last week. 
It was one of those days when it gets warm and humid.  
A green house type of weather. Then out of the nowhere it would start to rain. 
I thought it was cool, I had to call the kids to our balcony. 
  And had to take the picture too ! This is looking south.

Minutes later we had double rainbow on the north side. 

The picture didn't come up as good as I wish it had. Those rainbows were beautiful! 


Begonia Rescue & Beginning on houseplants

I miss my garden! 
I like getting my hands in the dirt, planting seeds,caring for baby plants, and watching them grow. 
And most of all, I love the beautiful flowers they give me!

I never really was interested in house plants, only outdoor plants.
I get a little to lazy to water them more than I should an outdoor plant. 

 But now that I live in a apartment, I want to bring some color and plant excitement to it.
So I went ahead and started buying houseplants.  
I got succulents and cacti plants. I read they are very easy to take care of, 
and don't need to be watered often.

One day when I was shopping for pots. I saw other plants, plants that have color in their leaves! 
So I ended up buying some of those too. 

One of them was this begonia. 
Lowe's had it at the clearance section, along with others that were more dead than alive. 
Even though it was full of withered leaves, I still thought that  it looked pretty! So I bought it.

 And when I got home I placed it a container of water and let it sit there for a long time. 
Then I got rid of all the withered leaves and this is what I ended up with. 

I think this begonia will bounce back, and new leaves will grow.
I can't wait to see those red and green leaves contrasting with the snow view at my window sill!


One of my Favs

This is what I came up with on Day 2 for the picture challenge I'm doing with the Instagram ladies.

The theme was Grateful. 
I like to read the Bible, it helps me get a good sense of perspective and gives me hope. 

And do I need hope! Things are not always sweet lollipops. 
So I hold on tight to scriptures like the one above. 

I'm not  here in this world like a ship without ruder in the middle of the ocean. 
No, God has great plans for me. 
And He has mapped the course of them in my life. 
I already have seen it too many times  in my short life. 

And for that I'm grateful!

4 Legged Pencil Sharpener

I caught  Oreo red pawed, chewing a pencil. 
"Ugh!   That dog!
 And  look at all that mess! Now I have to vacuum again!"

This is the way I react most of the time, except that time.  

That time I took a picture of that little chewing machine. 
Some how I knew it was going to make me laugh later on. 

She is like "I couldn't find the sharpener, so I had to improvise!" 


Autumn From my Window

We moved  from Virginia to Nebraska at the beginning of the school year of 2012.

I was planning to permanently move here. But it was very hard on me, when I realized how much I liked Virginia, and had to force myself to like Nebraska. 

And then the weather didn't help at all! The days started to get cold and shorter,  the snow came and things turned gloomy for me. I don't know how I made it! 
It was one of the longest winters I remember. 
(Can't forget the winter I went to Navy boot camp at Great Lakes, Illinois either!)

 But before I knew it was May! 
Kids finished the school year and we visited Virginia.  Awww, It was so good!
The warm, the ocean, the mountains, Sweet Frog yogurt, my church, my garden...
 It was like paradise for me. 

We have made the decision that Nebraska is not for us. 
But kids wanted to do one more year of school in Nebraska.   

So we came back to the Midwest, again. Ay ay ay, it's soo hard! I miss my garden, the ocean,
my house and some special people from Virginia, so much!

The only good thing about this time, is that now I know what's coming. 
I know that this place will get gray, cold and full of snow.  
There will be days that the sun will come out for some hours or not at all. 

So I have switched to some type of denial, if you wan to call it that way.
I can't let the gloomy weather get me this time! 

I want to, and will try to make the best of it this time. 
I don't want to look back and remember this as a terrible time.
As I do, when I think of  the winter of 2012.  
I will adjust my doomed attitude and find the beautiful things 
God has placed right in front of  my nose!

 And just in time (God at work). I found these people on Instagram that share  pictures
of the blessings they encounter every day.
And I have joined them. I think it will help me to keep going and to appreciate the things/blessings
around me at this time of my life.  

Today's theme is autumn. I'm sharing a picture of my windows view.
I enjoy the autumn view of a birch tree's leaves changing color.

What a colorful blessing, so worthy to be captured!

I think it's so pretty, that I will also use this picture for my blog header.


Soft Fur for Good Mornings

This is my cat, his name is Cutie. 
Every morning when each of my family members wakes up he comes up to greet us. 
It's the sweetest thing! 
Except that some mornings I'm running late on my chores and I get mad a him for mewing at me. 
Then he and my kids give me the "I can't believe" face. 

I still think he is a blessing for our family! 
When I get to interact with him, I take him in the couch with a blanket or a jacket, as I did this morning. 
And he starts purring. Some times he gets very loud, as if I will pay him for it! 

He is also very playful, the part that I like most about Cutie.
 But I got to watch out for those little sharp claws! 

 I'm joining  Instagram hashtag #campturingblessing


Praying Mantis in a Fall Oufit

There was a praying mantis in the bushes by the entrance of my apartment! I get excited when I'm able to see this type of bugs right here, it's like being in my garden back in Virginia! 

I like praying mantises, because they are one of gardener's best friends.
Why? Because they eat the bugs that make our beautiful plants look all bitten and ugly. 

When I'm in my garden and see  praying mantis, ladybugs, spiders or frogs, I got super happy. 
One, because they will eat the bugs that I don't want in my garden. 
Two, it means that my garden is growing in a healthy ecosystem.
 That things are happening as close as possible in a organic manner, instead of putting a bunch of insecticides and killing good and bad insects. That's not good! 
Plus, those chemicals smell terrible!

If you follow me in Instragram you have probably seen a picture of a mantis I posted some
 weeks ago. Well, I'm not sure if this is the same one. 
But I think it is, since it was in the same bushes. Right by the entrance of my apartment.

Except that this time it got a very clever camouflage outfit, a fall outfit. 
It blends in really good with those brown and green bushes as the background.

I'm even considering using some of these pictures to play I Spy.

Do you like to play I Spy? 
Yes? Good! 

I spy a mantis!


Monarch Butterflies

Me being a gardener, I had to develop some type of friendship with insects. 
I like to take care of plants for their beautiful flowers. And at the plants is where a lot of insects live. 
Even wasps! There is no way I will leave my garden just because 
Mr. Wasp decides to make his home at one of my plants! 
And no, I never got stung by a wasp... yet

But this post is not about those types of insects, This post is about the beautiful Monarch butterfly. 
Monarch butterflies are insects, but not just any ordinary insects. 
First of all,  Monarch butterflies are the only insects that migrate. 
These beautiful and delicate butterflies fly 3000 miles south for migration. 
If they were born on the west side of the Rocky Mountains, they go to California.  
If they are born in the East side of the Rocky mountains. they go to Mexico.

Pretty cool, right? And it gets even better. 
Monarch Butterflies go through 4 life stages, and 4 generations.  
I know it sounds confusing, so let me explain:


1.- Egg  2.-Caterpillar 3.-Cocoon 4.-Butterfly

After spending the winter in the warm at California or Mexico. 
They return to the north around February and March.
 Then on March and April they lay eggs on a milkweed plant. 
Monarchs depend on  this plant. Their larvae eats Milkweed almost exclusively!


First generation butterflies eggs are hatched, they become baby caterpillars
 and do nothing but eat, and eat! 
Then they'll find a place to hang on to, and become a chrysalis or as I like to call it, a cocoon. 
10 days later, after going trough the process called metamorphosis, butterflies emerge. 
They only live for 2-6 weeks and then they die, after laying eggs for the second generation.

Second generation butterflies are born some time in May or June. 
This generation will do the same as the first generation and will die after laying eggs for the third generation.

Third generation butterflies are born sometime on July or August. 
They will become beautiful butterflies, lay eggs, and die.

Third generation butterflies are born sometime on July or August. 
They will become beautiful butterflies, lay eggs, and die.

And then finally comes the part that fascinates me the most about these amazing insects!

Fourth generation butterflies are born some time on September and October. 
But this generation will not die 2-6 weeks after its born! This generations lives 6-8 months. 
And the reason why the live that long is because they have to migrate back to Mexico or California.  
Then they will fly back in the exact same route their ancestors took! Who told them that? 
Also Sometimes, they travel  back to the very same tree that their ancestors 
came from in February and March!  

These pictures were taken at a parking lot across my apartment complex. 
A couple of weeks ago, there were butterflies all over Omaha!

One more thing, Monarchs that return from Mexico don't stop at the Immigration Office, because they were born in the US and that makes them, US citizens!

I have other posts if you like to see more of my pictures on butterflies
  here is a Mariposa, here are some pictures of interacial relationships on butterflies,
 here is the black-swallowtail butterfly and my first post on butterflies, zebra-swallowtail butterfly.

Also, I found a lots of info about this beauties here. check them out!
They have some really cool videos of about these butterflies!