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Posts Tagged ‘nature photography’

Friday's Fresh Five! Oh, we’re going to a hukilau
A huki, huki, huki, huki, hukilau
Ev’rybody loves a hukilau
Where the laulau is the kau kau at the big luau

Oh, we’ll throw our nets out into the sea
And all the ama ama come a-swimming to me
Oh, we’re going to a hukilau
A huki, huki, huki, huki, hukilau

Words and music by Jack Owens

The Hukilau Song can be heard throughout my home, as my husband and I practice playing our new ukuleles together. It all started when my husband asked for a ukulele for Christmas, so that he could sing to our granddaughter. He began taking classes at a local music shop and started spending a lot of time searching for instructional videos on the internet. I felt left out, but being already overextended, I had no intention of learning how to play a new musical instrument. Seeing the joy it brought him, however, I itched to get my hands on a ukulele and try playing its happy music. A few weeks ago, he surprised me with an early Valentine’s Day gift – my very own ukulele. Our mastery of chords and strumming patterns is progressing well, but our singing definitely needs work. Besides learning a new skill together, filling our home with music, and having a ton of fun, we’ve also discovered that it is a great stress reliever. The moral of the story is: the couple that strums together, hums together!

#1 – The Nimble Brain
Ways to Exercise Your Brain Whether you are learning how to play a new musical instrument or learning a new language, your brain thanks you for keeping it nimble. Want to learn more ways to exercise your brain? From mental_floss comes this list of 11 Ingenious Ways to Exercise Your Brain When You’re Stuck Inside.

#2 – Love Is All Around
Hearts In Nature When looking for love, it’s a matter of perspective. See if you can find the hearts in the captivating Hearts In Nature photo series.

#3 – Repurposing Photos
30 Creative Ways to Repurpose Photos If you have boxes of photos taking up space in your home, you might want to repurpose them. I like to use them to make photo mosaics, but so many other clever ideas exist on the internet. To get started, check out Brit + Co’s 30 Creative Ways to Repurpose Photos.

#4 – Rules For Being
12 Rules for Being a Beautiful Human Being “This moment is a gift” is rule number 11 of the 12 Rules For Being a Beautiful Human. They are good reminders for all of us, as we journey through life.

#5 – Making Your Own Music
“Play with your heart, sing with your soul.”
Unknown

Now go and spread joy!

 

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Praying Mantis ImageOh! Hello, young praying mantis. Would you mind holding that pose while I run inside to get my camera and tripod? Minutes later, I came out to find my new garden friend still sitting there on a leaf by my front door. As my camera lens zoomed in on him, I saw one of his five eyeballs rotate towards me and I noticed the slight up and down bobbing of his curled tail. I’m still experimenting with the macro aspect of my new camera, but fortunately I’ve found a “willing” subject to pose for me!

#1 – Praying Mantis Trivia
Praying Mantis Image In case you’re like me and you think it’s always good to know a little something about everything, here’s some interesting information about these fascinating creatures from the site ThePrayingMantis.org:

A. The word “mantis” comes from the Greek word meaning prophet.

B. The earliest fossils of the praying mantis are from Oligocene, a geologic epoch dating around 23 to 34 million years ago.

C. The praying mantis has excellent eyesight and can see up to about 50 feet away.

D. The praying mantis is the only insect that can rotate its alien-like head almost completely around!

E. In most mantids there is one ear in a form of a small slit near the legs and has two eardrums and tuned to 25-60 kHz, which allows them to hear the ultrasonic sounds of bats as they near so they can dodge them quickly.

F. The praying mantis is actually more closely related to the cockroach than to grasshoppers!

G. A State Insect? Yes, it is true. The European Mantis (mantis religiosa), a native of Southern Europe became the official State Insect of Connecticut on October 1st, 1977!

#2 – A Happy Home
Entry way bench No matter where you live or what your state insect is, being happy in your home adds joy to life. The site Hooked on Houses posted this list of 10 Ways To Be Happy At Home:

1. Stop resenting what your house isn’t and start appreciating what it is. There is always something to be thankful for!

2. Respect it enough not to clutter it up with things you don’t really like or need.

3. Have a comfortable chair in a quiet corner where you can read and recharge.

4. Turn the TV off and your favorite music on.

5. Keep fresh flowers on your kitchen windowsill in glass jars or bud vases.

6. Try eating dinner by candlelight, with music, for no special reason. And use your best dishes.

7. Create character where there isn’t any – crown molding works wonders!

8. Surround yourself with your favorite “happy colors,” whether they’re trendy or not.

9. Display something from your childhood that you treasure.

10. Don’t try to replicate the look of a model home. Strive to create spaces that exude warmth, love, comfort, and peace.

The author then asked for readers’ input which led to an additional 20 More Ways To Be Happy At Home.

#3 – The Pixel Painter

Art by Hal Lasko

Art by Hal Lasko

97-year-old Hal Lasko is an incredible and inspirational man. He is now blind and deaf, but that doesn’t stop him from doing what what he loves to do – create art. An online article about Lasko says this: Using an outdated version of Microsoft Paint, Hal Lasko is able to create anything from pixelated nature-inspired sceneries, animal portraits or abstract pieces. Building works of art pixel by pixel is a time-consuming process, but 97-year-old Grandpa says he has learned to be patient and never rush the creative process.

Prints of Mr. Lasko’s art are for sale with 10% of the proceeds going to Veterans of Foreign War programs.

#4 – Mah Jong Addiction
Mah Jong After my husband helped my mom upgrade her computer software, she complained that she didn’t like the new computer Mah Jong game he installed. There was one specific version she liked for its layout. After some searching, he found a compatible version for her to try. She’s very happy with it, but the only problem now is . . . he and I can’t stop playing it. Rev up those brain cells and try playing this Mah Jong game, but tell yourself you’ll only play it once! Click here for a link to a video on how to play the game.

#5 – Life
“Don’t go through life; grow through life.”
Eric Butterworth

Have a great weekend!

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The Bee and the Blue Hydrangea Bees busily buzz from cluster to cluster of brilliant blue hydrangeas. How’s that for a bit of alliteration? I unexpectedly spent my morning chasing bees. My goal of taking photos of hydrangeas morphed into something else after I saw bees flying around the blossoms. “Wouldn’t it be great if I could capture an image of a bee?” I thought to myself. After a moment of wishing I’d read my camera manual, I took aim at the buzzing noise around me. About a half-hour of truly living in the moment and a hundred photos later, I accomplished my goal. But, wait! What about getting even closer . . .

#1 – Earth Album
Earth Album Get a closer look at the world by going to Earth Album. This site lets you explore the world without packing any bags or leaving home. All you have to do is click on a spot anywhere on the site’s world map and, thanks to Google and Flicker, photos of the area appear. Because the photos come from Flickr, the images will change from time to time – a great reason to revisit the site!

#2 – Eat Your Oatmeal
Steel Cut Oatmeal "Cupcakes" I received an email from a reader the other day, thanking me for sharing my story about having genetically high cholesterol. Six months ago she received a bad lab report. Her total cholesterol was 251 with her HDL at 70 and her LDL at 163. Remember LDL is the “lousy” one. She read my post My Most Requested Recipe and faithfully followed my steel cut oatmeal “cupcake” regime, exercised more frequently, and watched what she ate. It all paid off. Her most recent lab work reflected a 34 point drop in her overall cholesterol and a 29 point drop in her LDL. Her testimony confirms the role soluble fiber plays in the battle against high cholesterol. Eating soluble fiber and making other lifestyle changes can make a difference in your health. Another reader wrote to tell me a similar story after she advised her husband to follow my recipe and months later he “waved his lab report around like it was a medal!”

#3 – Removing Rust Stains
The first sign of lovely spring-like weather leads to one thing: it’s time to spruce up the yard. Last weekend after moving some large potted plants off my concrete patio, I noticed that the metal pots had left ugly rust stains on the pavement. After quickly researching ways to remove rust stains from concrete, I selected a method using natural ingredients that I already had at home. I squeezed some lemons and asked my husband to pour the juice over the spots. About 10 to 20 minutes later, he scrubbed the areas with a stiff brush, and then hosed them off. Most of the rust stains were gone, but a few stubborn areas remained. Since I had run out of lemons, I told my husband to try using distilled white vinegar. He repeated the process using vinegar and it worked like a charm. Two words of caution: Scrubbing can abrade and remove some of the concrete and be aware of the fact that acid can be detrimental to nearby vegetation, so be careful of any undiluted acid running into bedding or lawn areas.

#4 – Happiness Is . . .
What can one learn about himself while living isolated in Siberia for six months? French travel writer Sylvain Tesson lived as a hermit in a hut on the edge of a lake in Siberia for that amount of time. During that time he “discovered space, silence and solitude.” Watch “Happiness is . . . escaping to a cabin in Siberia” and listen to him describe how his life changed.

#5 – You Already Have It
“We all possess exactly what we need to be our greatest selves and it is (about) listening to our instincts.”
Usher

Enjoy your weekend!

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