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Hummingbirds

August 14th, 2021 Comments off

I am positively obsessed with the hummingbirds that have decided to visit our patio this year.

Hummingbird

Once our zinnias bloomed they started appearing occasionally. Then yesterday we had multiple visits. At that point I decided it was imperative we get out the old feeder.

But first we needed an ant moat. Amazon had one for $7 but then I thought to check Menards and they only wanted $2.50 so we picked one up this morning. The last time we had the feeder out it was positively covered with ants, inside and out, and I was so grossed out. Hopefully the moat will prevent that from happening. I only put a small amount of food (1/4 cup sugar & 1 cup water) in the feeder since it’s supposed to be changed every other day to prevent mold.

Hummingbird Feeder

It wasn’t even a half hour after I put the feeder out that a bird came to check it out. I was sitting at the patio table eating pancakes when I caught its shadow on the ground. Confused at first, I finally realized it was coming from the feeder. After that a bird was coming by every ten minutes or so. Interestingly enough, none came by when Joe was outside, but appeared almost immediately once he went inside. His chair is closer to the feeder, though, so it might not be personal. Later on I was dead-heading some flowers when one came by even though I was pretty close to the feeder. A couple of times the bird came closer toward me like it was checking me out.

I mistakenly thought we only had a single bird visiting until two came by together!

So of course I had to tell my friend!

Hummingbird Convo

So far I think we’re only getting female visitors, or possibly juveniles, since they are lacking the tell-tale red throat indicative of a male ruby throated hummingbird, the most common species of hummingbird in Illinois.

Categories: Animals, Photos Tags:

Chicago Botanic Garden

August 7th, 2021 Comments off

On Wednesday (8/4/21) we went to the Chicago Botanic Garden where the most beautiful sunflowers greeted us outside the entrance.

Sunflower

Apparently it’s been 6 years since we lasted visited. Color me surprised – I could have sworn we visited at least once since then, but based on my blog and Flickr photos I guess that’s not the case. And that explains why there was a whole new section there that we didn’t remember – the Plant Science Center which has an outdoor roof garden.

Inside the Plant Science Center

We snagged a pass from the library so we’d get in for half price, which would be $12.50, but the woman at the gate said it was going to be $10, but had a hard time getting her computer to access the right screen and ended up letting us in for free. Joe joked it was because he’s so cute.

We arrived not too long after they opened at 8 am so the weather was very pleasant and it wasn’t at crowded at all. The same can’t be said for when we left at 10:30 am – it was very hot and crowded.

As always, the hummingbirds were hanging out in the purple flowers near the entrance, but I couldn’t get a photo quickly enough, not just because they never stay in the same spot for more than a few seconds, but also because I opted not to bring a camera and only had my phone with me. It takes pretty decent photos but doesn’t handle mixed lighting well.

 Japanese Gardens

It was really nice walking around all the gardens and stopping to pick up Thai food on the way home.

Categories: Excursions, Photos Tags:

May Wrap-Up

May 31st, 2021 Comments off

Happy Memorial Day? I dunno, does that sound weird considering what it represents?

Abandoned Golf Course

In any case, we started our day with a bike ride at an abandoned golf course and I once again was reminded that I’m not in that great of shape even though I walk on my treadmill multiple times a week (more days than not lately). I always think biking is going to be fun until I hit that first incline and then I’m guessing whose bright idea that was. Needless to say, we made it around one lap (approximately 15 minutes) and came back home. Definitely need to stick to flatter terrain like the park we sometimes take Wookie to for walks.

Memorial Day Lunch

I wish it was just a little warmer out today. It’s overcast (but not rainy) and in the 60’s which would be fine if we had some sunshine. But it wasn’t meant to be. We made some hot dogs for lunch and watched Sofi Tukker on their last scheduled live DJ set. They won’t be able to commit to a schedule now that they’re vaccinated and doing shows in real life. I’m sad that I won’t be able to count on seeing them weekly, or in person since they play either clubs (too loud indoors for my ears) or festivals (very expensive and unappealing). Oh well. I am looking forward to their new album which I suspect is being released very soon. Plus I’ve discovered a lot of other DJs on Twitch to listen to, some of which seem to have similar tastes to SF.

Oh, speaking of DJs, Moby did a live set right after Sofi Tukker the other night and I was so excited, but then let down. It was rather boring. Plus I’ve read some not so nice things about Moby so while I like some of his music he isn’t as appealing as he used to be.

In other music news, I don’t think I wrote about the Cure t-shirt I bought (online) back in March!

New Cure T-Shirt

A fan made it to commemorate the weekly Cure watch parties we’ve gathered to watch on Twitch. It’s my official 2020 concert t-shirt and not only is the design awesome (anything Wish-inspired always is), but it’s very soft and fits nicely, unlike pretty much all of my Cure shirts. Most of them were made with thick stiff cotton shirts that do not fit well (either too small or too large). I’m wearing the shirt today, in fact, since the colors seem fitting. I painted my nails red, white, blue (with a glitter overlay) too. I’m so fashionable!

Excursions & Food Stuff

Earlier this month we went to Lilacia Park in Lombard to check out the lilacs and tulips. I’m not going to bother posting any photos from that little trip because we missed peak bloom thanks to the rainy weather the week before so nothing was looking it’s best. It was nice walking around outside, however. Plus afterwards we stopped at the new The Original Rainbow Cone location for a treat.

Rainbow Cone

(This is what was left of my cone by the time I realized I should get a picture)

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about five flavors (orange sherbet, pistachio, palmer house, strawberry, and chocolate) of ice cream in one cone but I was pleasantly surprised – it was delicious! One thing I would change, though, is the size of the cone I got. I tried the baby one but for just $1.12 more you get a lot more ice cream in the small size. I’d definitely skip the baby size and go straight to the small. Or even better, I’d be tempted to buy a quart (currently priced at $12.49) and get some cones from the grocery store.

After earning TWO free drink coupons from Dunkin, I decided to try their new peach lemonade refresher yesterday and I won’t be getting that again.

DD Peach Lemonade

It smelled weird, like a tomato plant. I later realized that was the green tea which I forgot was in it. I’m bummed; I wanted to find a more affordable replacement for Starbucks’ shaken tea lemonade but unfortunately that was not it. So far other than the regular iced coffee, I do not like Dunkin’s drinks. Probably for the best since there is 320 calories in the large lemonade (32 oz). Interestingly enough, Starbuck’s trenta (large) is only 170 calories. I might have to treat myself to one at least once this summer. I have yet to try the peach.

Since Culver’s was across the street from Dunkin I snagged an order of their pretzel bites (a now permanent addition to their menu) and then we headed to the food truck near Walmart to snag a couple of corn dogs. We brought everything home and ate out on the patio. Those pretzel bites are sooo good! I’m glad they are $4.19 because otherwise I’d be ordering them far more often than I should.

I’m back up to 138 lbs btw. Shocking with all the eating I’ve been doing, right? I think I tend to top off at 140 lbs, or at least I hope so! I’ve actually been cutting back a bit. For instance, after all that food at lunch I had a very light dinner several hours later.

Retail Therapy & Shopping

We recently went to At Home to look for new folding patio chairs but didn’t have any luck. We also stopped at Bath & Body Works since I have a $5 gift card to spend but I didn’t see anything I wanted. Then a few days ago we went to Target for a few groceries and I had zero desire to even look at their Bullseye Playground section. I think this pandemic has soured me on shopping for the fun of it. It’s completely lost it’s appeal. I’ve moved into get what you need and get out territory.

That being said, we did go to Savers last Monday so I could look for a plain black t-shirt. I didn’t find one, but I did find two tank tops that cost under $4 total. Luckily they fit perfectly since the dressing rooms are still closed and they don’t offer refunds, only exchanges. The next day at Walmart I found a pair of capri leggings that would go perfectly with a grey tank top I had gotten at Savers a year or two ago. I love when that happens! I also snagged a vibrant pair of bike shorts that will be perfect for when I walk on the treadmill.

New Clothes

As I was photographing my new finds I realized the bike shorts have a pocket in them that is actually large enough for my iPhone. Not that I need it, but I’m sure it would come in handy for a lot of people. Oh, and when I was trying on my Savers tank tops at home Joe pointed out the black one still had the original Old Navy tag on it. Sweet! I got a brand new tank for $2.25.

So I guess you could say while I’m not about shopping much, I am not going to pass up getting a few new clothing pieces occasionally.

Misc Stuff

The other day my computer started installing updates and then stopped because I had ran out of space. You see, my computer has a solid state drive with a small capacity (250 GB). I have all my actual files on a regular hard drive, but unfortunately Apple is a bitch about installing iTunes anywhere but the main drive. While the actual MP3s are on that secondary drive, when iTunes backs up my phone it puts the backup on the main drive. My phone has a 256 GB capacity, and while it’s not full, it’s just a little under half full. You see where this is going, right? If I could just easily direct the backup elsewhere I would be ok, but it doesn’t seem to be that easy. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it requires messing with settings I’m not comfortable with. Plus these days my brain just doesn’t seem to be at the level it was pre-2019 sickness. Seriously, I have trouble with words sometimes and in general I feel like my processor is slow. Oh well. So Joe installed a new SSD today with twice the amount of space. All is right again with the world.

Home Improvement Shopping Adventures

July 14th, 2020 Comments off

Saturday 06/27 we did a little shopping out in Geneva. Our first stop was At Home to look for patio furniture. We arrived as soon as they opened and while they didn’t have anything we liked, all was not lost – we found a shower curtain, rings, and placemats.

At Home Purchases

Unfortunately the white shower curtain makes the master bathroom tub look dirty (because it’s off-white), so we ended up getting a grey/cream striped shower curtain from Target instead, and moved the white one to the guest bathroom.

Target Shower Curtain

Tuesday 06/30 we made a quick run out to the Walmart in Elk Grove Village to buy this awesome patio rug that I saw online only to learn their website lies and there were none left in stock.

Walmart Patio Rug

I could order it from Amazon if I was willing to pay $62, but I’m just not. I wish you could order it from Walmart to be shipped but it’s not an option. I keep looking elsewhere for rugs but am not having any luck. Maybe I’ll get lucky and it will drop in price on Amazon. Or we’ll find something even better. I feel like (most) things happen for a reason.

We did come across this adorable welcome mat while at Walmart.

Welcome Mat

I’ve been keeping my eye out for a hefty welcome mat for years and this one is not going to be blowing away, I will tell you that! Only $12.

Friday 07/03 we decided to visit IKEA. Since they didn’t open until 10 am, we stopped at Dollar Tree first. The one we visited (in Villa Park) is the biggest DT we’ve ever been to which make social distancing easy. They were listed as having an expanded craft section but it didn’t really feel that much larger than the DT’s near the house. I did appreciate the wider/shorter aisles to avoid other people, though.

IKEA ended up being a bust. There was a line around the corner from the entrance and they were just letting everyone in at once (unlike Trader Joe’s when we visited – they would stagger people entering the store). We left without even going inside. Our fault for not realizing that just like Joe, many people were off work for the 4th of July holiday. Couple that with their late opening (10 am) and it’s not too surprising how busy they were.

Thursday 07/09 we went to Goodwill to look for a mantel clock and a container to keep the dishwand in by the sink. Struck out on those things, but found this beautiful white vase for $3.

White Vase from Goodwill

We also went to Dollar Tree and I got this woof sign that I used command picture-hanging strips to put above the wall decals that were already there.

Woof Sign

We ended up going back yesterday (07/14) and it was much less crowded. Ironically enough, we didn’t get the main item we were there to get because it was out of stock (despite saying otherwise on the website). I did get this cute planter for my succulent, though, so all was not lost.

In addition, we got a new light for the dining room.

IKEA Light

We have been wanting to replace our foyer light since we moved in (16 years ago) but have put it off because it requires obtaining scaffolding to reach the ridiculously high ceilings. We decided we’re going to do it very soon, however. The problem is we haven’t been able to find a light we liked. The other night it occurred to me that we could find an inexpensive light for the dining room and move the light that’s there now to the foyer.

Current dining room light (to be replaced by the IKEA light discussed above)

Dining Room Chandelier

We just need to buy a longer chain. We rarely use the dining room light anyway because we dislike over-head lighting. Not only does making the switch make sense, it saved us money. We’re also planning on replacing the ceiling fan in the living room so we bought a new one from Lowes yesterday for $95 (they sent me a $5 off coupon).

Hunter Fan (Lowes)

I’ll include photos of the entire before and after once the work is complete.

Recent Purchases (aka TikTok Made Me Do It)

June 15th, 2020 Comments off

TikTok is a bad/good influence; I’m learning about all kinds of great products. I’m also spending money, so there’s that. I’ve justified it because I was too sick to do any gift buying/receiving for Christmas or my birthday, but at some point I’ll probably need to slow down. Until then, though, I’m going to post about the neat things I’ve been purchasing.

Car hooks are such a genius idea. I originally purchased this set:

Car Hooks 01

While they fit both cars fine, I was a bit annoyed that the metal was already rusting. Plus, they just didn’t look all that nice. So I ordered these instead, and returned the other ones.

Car Hooks 02

Only $6 for four, so we keep two in each car. We no longer have groceries rolling around the seats.

I love my Simple Modern water bottles. I’ve been using a 22 oz purple bottle since August 2017 and a 10 oz black one since March 2018 and haven’t felt the need to purchase any other bottles since. When I learned that you can buy a boot that fits both sizes perfectly, I was intrigued. It comes in all sorts of colors but I chose black so it would match both bottles I have, and even Joe’s blue one.

Water Bottle Boot

Since the bottles are metal, one risks scratching any surface you put them on, not to mention the noise they make when you set them down on a hard surface. The boot solves both those issues. It’s like having a drink coaster everywhere you go. I no longer have to worry about ruining my wood nightstand or have trouble locating the coaster in the dark when I get a drink of water in the middle of the night.

For years I’ve been using shelf liner to separate our pots and pans. It definitely helps keep the bottoms from scratching, but does nothing to protect the sides. This set of 9 protectors solved that issue.

Pot Protectors

Pot Protectors In Action

I love them, and while they’re not cheaper than Dollar Tree, they’re made of a sturdier material and are more aesthetically pleasing.

Speaking of DT, here’s a recent haul from them at the end of May.

Dollar Tree Haul

I also got this cute pinwheel, although it’s already tearing because, well, it was $1.

Pinwheel

It was the first time we shopped at Dollar Tree in months. I really missed it, but unless you get there when it first opens, it’s just too anxiety-inducing with their narrow aisles, which is why we’ve yet to shop at Aldi.

It’s helpful having a shower head with an attached hose when trying to give the dog a bath, or just cleaning the tub and shower. Our current hose was a bit on the short side, however, so I ordered this one from Amazon and love it.

Shower Head

Not only is it longer which makes cleaning much easier, but the hose is very lightweight and doesn’t twist up like the old one. It also doesn’t build up with water and make freaky sounding noises. At $20 it’s a steal; we ordered a second one for the guest shower.

Noticed a chip in our heavy glass measuring cup recently, so we chucked it in the recycle bin and I ordered a set of three plastic measuring cups from Oxo. Only $17 at Amazon.

Measuring Cup Set

I love how you can see the measurements from above. I just need to break myself of the habit of using them to mix up sauces and marinades, because the plastic does scratch fairly easily, even when using the silicone whisk I recently got from Dollar Tree. I have plenty of other bowls so I need to stop being lazy so my measuring cups will look nice for a long time.

Edited 06/17 to add these items we recently got (not influenced by TikTok):

We’ve been letting Wookie upstairs lately, and she’s even been sleeping in our bed (thanks, people who feel the need to set off fireworks a month leading up to 4th of July), so I decided to get a small garbage can with a lid for the master bedroom. This plastic one was only $15 on Amazon and it’s quieter than the stainless steel one in our guest bathroom downstairs (it clangs and bothers my broken right ear).

Simple Human Garbage Can

Wookie never messes with garbage but you can’t be too cautious when it comes to a dog. I was putting the old one up on the counter just to be safe, so now I don’t need to do that. I really want to buy a larger version of this for the kitchen but they start at $50 so I need to think it over.

We just received and installed this awesome under the cabinet jar opener ($13 on Amazon).

Jar Opener

No more struggling to open jars. Plus you can’t even see it’s there unless you know to look.

Categories: Photos, Shopping Tags: