Thursday, February 28, 2019

Bluebirds of Happiness!

I've seen so many bluebirds on the Florida trails that I've named one of the hills, Bluebird of Happiness Hill! 

And I'm very happy to have my blog back for Thankful Thursday. But for some reason the post I did this morning is not showing up on the sidebar so I wanted to share this photo

AND ask you to please go to the post below to comment! 
(I closed the comments on this post to make it easier, I hope!)

Thank you!!!  Enjoy your day, Lavender Dreamer Diane

Old Clothes, Old Shoes, Old...

...well let's stop right there! I like what Carson said in Downton Abbey. He said, 'I'm young!' Then when Mrs. Hughes rolled her eyes at him, he said, 'Well, I'm not OLD!' (we've been watching Downton on DVD, can you tell?)

I'm happy and healthy and that goes a long way in making me feel young. And maybe that's the reason it's been hard for me to admit that I can't keep going hiking EVERY day! I want to. But I have to accept the fact that my body needs a rest some days. My youngest son told me that I could use those days to do some strength training. 

And my husband...what did he say?

Yes, I found my favorite old pair of hiking shoes 'under lock and key'! We even had to have a little talk. But it was good and very encouraging!

And then I talked with my second son (I have 4 sons and we all talk on the phone regularly). He said I should treat myself to some new hiking gear! 
Hubby took me shopping to a couple of nice sporting goods stores here and then I went on Amazon and found what I needed. A new day pack! I have to carry water and a few things when I hike so this is small but the perfect size. 

(it was compacted tightly into a small pouch but the wrinkles have already fallen out of it) 

And here's a peek into my Amazon package.

 So what about old clothes? I've been wearing a pair of capris and a blue top that I got at the thrift store. Now wearing loose clothing is good but not 4 sizes too big. lol So I bought a few things. When I wear them I'll have hubby takes pics. And I promise to retire my old clothes. I wonder if they are good enough to donate back to the thrift store! Hhhhhmmmmm!

 I'll keep the pink cap...OF COURSE! 

I'm thankful for good health, happiness, a sweet hubby, precious sons, good advice, Florida trails and new hiking stuff! Now where's the key to that lock!
What are you thankful for today?

(an OLD Lavender Dreams too banner)

I had this post written before my blog was removed. After a week of the stressful task of trying to get it back...I'm dragging it out of draft and publishing it on my OLD BLOG, lavenderdreamstoo!! How perfect is that! (and yes, I did go hiking some during the past week and I spent time at the Hospice House doing patient visits. I can't think of much else I accomplished though! lol) 

We'll keep the new blog, lavenderdreamsnew HERE to share our blog removal story and for any updates we get or helpful information we have to pass along. (comments are closed on that blog but you can email me with any questions)

I'm thankful for my OLD BLOG!!! 

And very thankful to have all of you visiting me here today!
Please keep visiting me right here on lavender dreams too!

I’m joining Thankful Thursdays.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The drama continues but we're STILL HERE!

My husband woke me up early to let me know we were still here! Lavender Dreams too is up and running! YAY! And I had lots of happy emails today too!

But of course nothing is ever easy! Now some of you are letting me know you get a message from Microsoft saying my blog might be unsafe. So I guess I have made it on 'a list'. 

It reads "We recommend that you do not continue to this website. It has been reported to Microsoft for containing threats to your computer that might reveal personal or financial information."

I assure you that I am NOT phishing....which is what I was accused of from the beginning. I am not trying to gather personal or financial information from any of you. I just want to have a happy blog and post pretty pictures. And I hope you'll continue to visit me. I appreciate each and every one of you. Enjoy your day!

Sweet hugs, Diane

Monday, February 25, 2019

We've Persevered!!!

Lavender Dreams too is alive and well tonight! I'm trying not to get too excited yet because last Monday night it came back for a few hours. Then when I got up on Tuesday morning it was gone again. So I need to wait a few days before I go crazy posting and celebrating!

We didn't receive any emails this time telling us it was restored either. So we have no idea who is responsible for it's return. But I'd like to give all of YOU credit for that! You really came to my aid in time of need! I'll always remember the sweet comments and emails you sent me. And cherish the friends that took the time to post on their own blogs about what happened to me. I appreciate the blog techs working for us and Kim at Exquisitely Unremarkable and Linda at Life and Linda. I don't want to try to mention everyone's name here because I know I would miss someone and I don't want to do that! Just know how grateful I am for your support and encouragement. 

It's been a stressful week for my husband and I both...stress that we don't need! Life gives us enough challenges as we all know.

I have to include one photo but I'll save the story 'behind' it for later! The stories of our lives! How we love to share them!

 I'll keep this short and sweet! And we'll meet back here in a couple of days. If I'm alive and kicking, I'll work on a post for Thankful Thursday. That would be perfect, don't you think?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Sharp-shinned Hawk

It's WHAT kind of hawk? 

Oh, that's a Sharp-shinned Hawk! 

Well of course we had NO IDEA what it was when we saw it. Since it was small, we wondered if it was a juvenile!

 We see lots of hawks here in Florida but this one was 'new to us'. We had to pull out the 'big guns'! 

The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley 
We have several Florida Identification books but we needed Sibley's!
We were on the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway in a nice open area.

I'm surprised I even noticed it on this bare tree!
And I was so glad hubby was along with his Nikon P900 with better zoom! 

And why is it called Sharp-shinned? 
The information I read said it had featherless legs! Who knew! 

Hubby comes in handy for using his cap to compare the size of HUGE stickery weeds too!

I sure wouldn't put my cute pink cap next to that weed, would you?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE
and I’d Rather B Birdin’.

Friday, February 15, 2019

"My Heart"

I didn't expect to write a post today and it will put some things 'out of order'. I have a scheduled post where I discuss my hiking clothes! 
But when something incredible happens, you have to share!
We hiked on Valentine's Day. Is that incredible? Well, it really was! But that's not what prompted this post.
When I sat down to work on my photos this morning I saw THIS!

My husband took a photo of me with one of my new hiking outfits.
It was a beautiful day here in Florida. Temps in the 70s with clouds in the sky but lots of sunshine too. We got back on the Florida Trails with some old old Live Oak Trees filtering the bright sun through their leaves.

And what did I see when I zoomed in to see what kind of goofy smile I had on my face?

A heart!  A sunny heart!

A heart right there on my shirt.

I didn't do anything to enhance it in this photo. This is just how it looks in the 'straight out of the camera' pic! The sunshine gave me a perfect heart!
(I added the text and heart under the text to match the one that nature gave me)


I hope your day is filled with happy surprises too! 💗

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you all have a day filled with 
  LOVE and Happiness!

I decorated just a little in my living room this year.

The lighting is not great to show this little table (filled with tea cups) behind my sofa so I made mosaics to share.

Wishing you much happiness today and every day! 💘

I’m joining Thankful Thursdays.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Wood Ducks and Yellow Jessamine

We saw so many contrasts on our hike at Blue Run Park in Dunnellon over the weekend.

The Wood Ducks are so colorful that they look artificial!

There are colored leaves from the Maple Trees and new growth in many trees too.

And then there were the vines of Yellow Jessamine blooming throughout.

It was a glorious day to be walking with the swamp on one side and the Rainbow River on the other!

And then to look out into the bare cypress branches and spot an Anhinga through the Spanish Moss,

was truly magical!

I know the weather is still cold in so much of our nation but were you able to get outside over the weekend to enjoy some of nature's splendor?

I’m joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE  and Cooking and Crafting with J&J HERE.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

A Romp of River Otters!

We've seen a few romps of River Otters at Blue Run Park in Dunnellon but I usually get so excited that I don't get good photos.

This time they 'posed' for pics!

Imagine our surprise to get THIS close to them!

And then for them to stop and play alongside the trail was fun for all!

Romp perfectly describes these playful critters!
I did a search for 'groups of animals' and found this neat chart on Pinterest.

So a group of otters is a romp.

A group of Sandhill Cranes is a 'herd' and young birds that have outgrown their parents hang out together in groups of 20, called a "bachelor flock." 

We have seen HUNDREDS of Sandhill Cranes migrating North this week. You can hear a funny 'honkedy honk'  as they fly over. The sound is almost like a donkey braying!

And now if you don't want to see a 'congregation'...

just fly away NOW!

Because a group of Alligators is called a congregation. 

And these are young Alligators, just hanging out, soaking up the sun! (these aren't the babies we are seeing at the small stream but a 'pile' of young ones near the river)

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE
and I’d Rather B Birdin’.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

My name is Lavender Dreamer and I'm a Hikeaholic

Do I want a 'cure'! OH NO! I LOVE hiking and my husband says I'm obsessed! It may be because in January I hiked 23 times! I don't measure distance but each hike is at least 1 hour and sometimes over 2 hours! I don't walk fast. I take my time. I stop and look around and take photos all along the way! 

I mean who can blame me? The weather here in Florida is fabulous in the winter months. It was in the 60s and 70s for most of my January hikes (and it's supposed to be 80 degrees here today).
My favorite trails are near my home. The closest is 3 miles away so that's the one I hike most often. I can park at the trail head and walk any of a number of trails so it's always different! 

When I searched 'hikeaholic' online I got this definition from the Urban Dictionary....
"A person who excessively enjoys to hike. You can often see them mooing at cows, trying to catch a glimpse of a mountain lion, or searching for Geo-caches.
That lady is such a hikeaholic. She's went hiking 5 times this week already, and plans to go today too."
I don't see any cows on the Florida trails but if you change 'mountain lion' to Bobcat, I think the definition hits the mark, don't you? See Bobcat post HERE!
I never expected to meet anyone on the Florida trails but now that I'm a 'regular', I've had a few people stop to talk to me. I see a lot more bicyclists than hikers and a man stopped to tell me that Sandra Friend and her husband John Keatley were coming up behind him on bikes! So I was privileged to meet them and talk a bit... AND thank them! They've written some wonderful hiking books, including my favorite, Gainesville & Ocala Your Guide to the Area's Most Beautiful Hikes. 
I even got to tell them my Bobcat story!

 So my advice to you is to find a hiking trail in your area! It's a lot of fun to research trails online! You might be surprised to find a trail near you. 
But I warn's addictive!
I’m joining Thankful Thursdays.

Monday, February 4, 2019

'Cracker Jacks' A Healthy Snack?

Well, it can be if we make it at home, without sugar!
As all of my regular readers know (since I have probably mentioned it about a gillion times!! lol) , I can’t eat sugar. I’m allergic to sugar. I don’t look at a piece of cake or a cookie…or even a muffin and wonder if I can cheat and have just one bite. I can’t. I will have an allergic reaction. You might at well dial 911! So I’m not tempted by sugary foods.
And since I avoid artificial sweeteners, I’m always looking for healthy snacks! I DO love to snack!

Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks and when I found these Beer Nuts, I couldn’t believe how much my popcorn snack tasted like Cracker Jacks when I added just 2 Tablespoons of them to the bowl. 

This isn’t ‘diet food’. This is a healthy snack! There’s a difference!

My hubby bought these Beer Nuts for me for my birthday and I knew I would be in BIG trouble if I ate right out of the ‘barrel’ of nuts!

So I put 2 Tablespoons into individual snack bags.
That really is perfect for adding to a big bowl of popcorn.
And that’s my favorite way to eat them. 

My hubby loves to do crazy things like this. One day when I looked in the pantry, they were under lock and key 
 with a sign that said Security Cameras in Use! haha!

 Any ‘sugar free’ snacks you enjoy? I’m always on the look out for something besides cheese sticks and cottage cheese!
So where's the photo of the big bowl of popcorn with beer nuts mixed in? 

I ATE IT! hahahaha

 I’m joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE 
and Cooking and Crafting with J&J HERE.