Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to APRIL!!!! Spring is AWESOME. Enjoy some beautiful TULIPS from Biltmore!!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I'm a Coupon Queen

I have a good friend, Susan, who lives near Atlanta. She has been 'couponing' for many years. She tried and tried to get me involved--but I just didn't have time. WELL---once I retired and had more time in my life (HA HA), I started talking to Susan about what to do and what not to do. She was a great teacher. She even bought me my first coupon organizer. (I now have TWO--both quite full!!)

Couponing is NOT for everyone --but someone with my Type A personality and my love for lists and details, would enjoy it!!!! AND--if you have time (it does take time every week), then it may be for you. SO--for the past couple of years, I can call myself a Coupon Queen... WELL--I might just be a Princess, since I don't go into as many details as some people do with coupons. BUT--I have saved us quite a bit of money the past couple of years.

Here's a few pointers:
-Look for store specials; If you have coupons for those items, you'll double your pleasure.
-Look for the store's policies about coupons and savings (my Kroger's offers double coupons up to 50 cents; my Kroger's also takes expired coupons--which really helps; AND my Kroger's offers a 5% discount to Senior Citizens every Wed.--on top of our coupons.)
-Compare the store's own brands with the name brands; Sometimes the store brands are cheaper, and just as good, than a name brand WITH a coupon.

I could go on and on and on, but I know how much I hate reading LONG blogs. So I won't go into more details about how I save money using coupons. BUT--anyone who is interested is welcome to email me (betsyadams@mac.com) and I'll give you lots of pointers. It's really alot of fun--if you enjoy this type of thing.

Comparing what we spent in the year 2007 to the year 2008 in our grocery budget, we saved almost $500. And you know how much the price of groceries have gone up in 2008, don't you?? SO-- saving $500 on top of that is SUPER, don't you think??? Therefore, when I can save a bunch of money by using coupons, it is worth all of the effort I put into it!!!! That gives us more money to travel and see waterfalls!!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Love-Hate Relationship

"Well, Hello there, Beautiful!!!" OH--ya gotta love these gorgeous creatures!!! After all, didn't you see "Bambi"???? How special they are!!!! I've blogged about them many times before--and truly do love them!! BUT............?????
BUT--- they aren't so darn cute when they come into our yard and eat our flowers and shrubs. GRRRRR!!!! Why can't they enjoy dinner in someone else's yard??? Why OURS? I guess it's because ours has so many entrees for them to enjoy!
George and I could go into business telling others in the same situation (who live in the woods) what works and what doesn't work. We've tried it all--and although I'm not getting paid for this free advertisement, the best thing we've found is a spray called LIQUID FENCE!!!! The spray is costly (but worth it) and it does STINK--when you spray it. However, the smell goes away quickly. And--this spray doesn't hurt them, or any critter. They just don't like it---so they stay away, thank goodness!
We have used Liquid Fence for almost two years now---and we have had NO more deer in our yard eating our shrubs and flowers, like we had before we found the Liquid Fence. SO---right now, this love-hate relationship is only a LOVE relationship. It's hard to live in the woods and also have beautiful flowers.. Right now, the Liquid Fence allows us to have our flowers --and also enjoy seeing the deer--from a distance!!!
Ya Gotta Love 'Em.... AND---Ya Gotta Hate 'Em! ALL I know is that we've spent a small fortune trying to 'control' 'em! Oh Well--Tis life in the mountains! Here are some deer pictures we took on 1/26/09. George took the pictures from inside our home--facing the golf course fairway behind our home.

"Hey Barney, Come on down here."

"But Daddy, I'm thirsty.. Wonder if I can get some water out of this ice?"

"Oh Mable, that feels goooooood! Scratch a little to the left please."

"Barney, there's an ole woman standing there looking at us. Besides, we can't go in THAT yard. Let's GO."

"Aw Shucks, Daddy. I just wanna go and visit that pretty yard. My dinner is in there. Pretty Please, Daddy."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blonde Jokes

Thanks for my Cousin Carol for sending these to me... My hair is a light mousy reddish brown (with added gray for maturity--ha) --but my hubby calls me a blonde. Wonder why that is???? Helllllllllooooooo!
Two blondes living in Oklahoma were sitting on a bench talking, and one blonde says to the other, 'Which do you think is farther away... Florida or the moon?' The other blonde turns and says 'Helloooooooooo, can you see Florida ?????'
A blonde pushes her BMW into a gas station. She tells the mechanic it died. After he works on it for a few minutes, it is idling smoothly. She says, 'What's the story?' He replies, 'Just crap in the carburetor' She asks, 'How often do I have to do that?'
A police officer stops a blonde for speeding and asks her very nicely if he could see her license. She replied in a huff, 'I wish you guys would get your act together. Just yesterday you take away my license and then today you expect me to show it to you!'
There's this blonde out for a walk. She comes to a river and sees another blonde on the opposite bank 'Yoo-hoo!' she shouts, 'How can I get to the other side?' The second blonde looks up the river then down the river and shouts back,
'You ARE on the other side.'
A gorgeous young redhead goes into the doctor's office and said that her body hurt wherever she touched it. 'Impossible!' says the doctor. 'Show me.' The redhead took her finger, pushed on her left shoulder and screamed, then she pushed her elbow and screamed even more.
She pushed her knee and screamed; likewise she pushed her ankle and screamed. Everywhere she touched made her scream. The doctor said, 'You're not really a redhead, are you? 'Well, no' she said, 'I'm actually a blonde.' 'I thought so,' the doctor said, 'Your finger is broken.'
A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the blonde behind the wheel was knitting!
Realizing that she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the trooper cranked down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled, 'PULL OVER!' 'NO!' the blonde yelled back, 'IT'S A SCARF!'
A Russian, an American, and a Blonde were talking one day. The Russian said, 'We were the first in space!' The American said, 'We were the first on the moon!' The Blonde said, 'So what? We're going to be the first on the sun!' The Russian and the American looked at each other and shook their heads.'You can't land on the sun, you idiot! You'll burn up!' said the Russian. To which the Blonde replied, 'We're not stupid, you know. We're going at night!'
A blonde was playing Trivial Pursuit one night.. It was her turn. She rolled the dice and she landed on Science & Nature. Her question was, 'If you are in a vacuum and someone calls your name, can you hear it?' She thought for a time and then asked, 'Is it on or off?'
A girl was visiting her blonde friend, who had acquired two new dogs, and asked her what their names were. The blonde responded by saying that one was named Rolex and one was named Timex. Her friend said, 'Whoever heard of someone naming dogs like that?' 'HELLLOOOOOOO......,' answered the blonde. 'They're watchdogs!!! (Tee Hee Hee)

George and I are headed to Hendersonville today to check on Mom and Dad. SO--we won't be here to respond to your blogs or answer your comments. BUT--we'll be home sometime tonight!!! Have a wonderful day!!!! Hugs to all!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Left Brain-Right Brain

Where does creativity come from? How can one person be so creative and another person appear to be uncreative? The source of creativity really stems back to the brain. The brain is divided into two major parts or hemispheres, the right brain and the left brain. The right brain is visual and processes information in an intuitive and simultaneous way, looking first at the whole picture then the details. The other (the left brain) is verbal and processes information in an analytical and sequential way.
Check out this GIRL. Which way does she move to you???? Clockwise or Counter-clockwise???? OR BOTH ways???? If you see her moving clockwise, chances are you are using the right side of your brain. If you see her moving counter-clockwise, you are using the left side of your brain. I can get her to move both ways fairly easily. Interesting huh????
GRAMMY talked about this in her blog yesterday. Both George and I took her test, and both of us came out LEFT brained, which I could have guessed. Some words to describe a left brained person could be intellect, rational, analytic, logical, abstract, reasoning, mathematical, and accurate. Words to describe a right brained person are: intuitive, subjective, whimsical, free, imaginative, mystical, impulsive, touchy-feely and visual.
Well, obviously we ALL have some characteristics from both hemispheres. The key for all of us is to learn to use the whole brain.. Those of us who aren't as creative need to develop our creative side. And those of us who are very impulsive and whimsical---well, we need to develop our organized side!!!! The ultimate goal for all of us is to approach our life and our work using a "whole" brain approach. We can't make the mistake of thinking that the left and right brains are two totally separate entities within our bodies. They are connected and do have areas of overlap. An integrated "whole" brain approach begins to maximize the untapped potential of the human brain. Interesting possibilities, aren't there??? I posted my quiz results on the sidebar (near the top on the right). Click HERE to take the quiz!!!! What do you think????? How did you do??? I love talking about this kind of 'stuff'--since we are all different, and there are no right or wrong answers!!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sea to Mountains

When George and I go on our annual North and South Carolina beach trips in May each year, we always break the trip by stopping at various places (usually new waterfalls) along the way both going and coming. When searching for pictures this week, I saw some pictures from our 2004 spring trip that I thought I would show you. The title (Sea to Mountains) is exactly where we went. We stopped at Mount Mitchell on our way home from a glorious week enjoying the ocean and beach. It was truly a "Sea to Mountains" trip.
After leaving the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean, we headed toward the highest mountain peak east of the Mississippi River. This area is along the Blue Ridge Parkway east of Asheville, NC. There are a few places in the world which still stand apart from the ordinary. Rising more than a mile high at 6684 feet, surrounded by the gentle mist of low-hanging clouds, Mount Mitchell State Park is one of these extraordinary places.
In the crest of the timeworn Black Mountains lies the summit of Mount Mitchell. For those like us who ascended this mighty peak, looming in the horizon were breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, rolling ridges and fertile valleys. The 1,946 acres of forested Mount Mitchell State Park provided us with some of the most tranquil moments we've ever experienced. Above is a glorious picture we took atop Mount Mitchell!! Below are more pictures of our "Sea to Mountains" experience.

We drove up as far as possible and parked in the parking lot (note picture above). We then hiked the remainder of the way UP that beautiful mountain. Glorious , isn't it???

This picture above shows Mount Mitchell ---with clouds and fog all around. I love this picture, don't you???? This was quite a change from our days at the beach!!!!

Before we left the 'sea'---this was one of the sunsets we enjoyed while walking along the beach at North Myrtle Beach --looking back toward the west. Wouldn't you enjoy a trip from "Sea to Mountains"????? WOW!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Brown Thrasher in our Yard

In late August of 2008, I saw my first Brown Thrasher. I was amazed at his LONG beak and his long tail... We took his picture (above) and I immediately started searching to find out which bird he was. Since he is so different-looking, it didn't take me long to find out that he was a Brown Thrasher.
I learned that Brown Thrashers are the state bird in Georgia! They are brown or reddish-brown, with a white breast and throat streaked with brown, and two white bars on each wing. He has a long tail, and his beak is relatively large and somewhat curved. Adults average about 11.5 inches in length. He's definitely a bigger bird than many in our yard!
This bird prefers thickets and heavy brush, often searching for food in dry leaves on the ground. In fact, he is more likely to be heard than seen, not only because of the rattling of leaves, but also because of his call, a sharp lip-smacking type sound. The Brown Thrasher eats insects, berries, nuts and seeds--as well as earthworms, snails and sometimes lizards.
The female lays 3 to 5 eggs in a twiggy nest lined with grass. The nest is built in a dense shrub or low in a tree. Both parents incubate and feed the young. These birds raise two or three broods in a year. They are able to call in up to 3000 distinct songs The male sings a series of short repeated melodious phrases from an open perch to defend his territory and is also very aggressive in defending the nest.
Although this bird is widespread and still common, it has declined in numbers in some areas due to a loss of suitable habitat. I feel privileged to have seen this gorgeous bird ---and to even get his picture!!!!
After realizing what he was, I saw many Thrashers in our yard the next few weeks. Even a juvenile Brown Thrasher (below) came on our deck once --searching for food that had dropped from the feeders. I took the young Thrasher's picture on Sept. 6--and by Sept. 15th, the Brown Thrashers were all gone. I assume they went back to Georgia (or farther south) for the winter. I do hope they come back to visit us this coming summer!! They are beautiful birds.

Isn't this little guy precious??? Look at that long beak! I'm sure his Mama was telling him that he's not supposed to be 'this' close to our house!!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Tag: Book that I'm Reading

George and I are hoping to be like his mother and father. Dad and Mom Adams are age 96 and 88 respectively --and neither have ever taken any prescription drugs. They have been such an inspiration to us --and have helped us find alternative ways to stay healthy. Of course, eating healthy and exercising is the major key. BUT--we also take many vitamins, minerals and supplements (that's another blog).

I know there may be a time when one of us 'has' to take a prescription drug (won't ever say we won't) ---but right now, we will do whatever it takes to stay off of them. I see my sweet brother (who is 86 and living in a skilled nursing retirement facility in FL) taking TONS and TONS of prescription drugs.. Because of this, he has no quality of life much these days. I think that, once you take one, you have to take another to counteract the side-effects of the one--and then it just grows from there.
SO---since I am always looking for ways to do some of the necessary things --like lowering our cholesterol or our blood pressure, I read anything and everything I can that may help. I am always looking for doctors who are into Holistic Health approaches --and there aren't many of them, at least in our area!!!!
I got tagged recently by CICERO --asking me to talk about a book that I am reading now. SO--as you can imagine, my book is a health book. I received this book from friend Susan. This book is entitled "YOU-The Owner's Manual" It is written by Dr. Michael F. Roizen and Dr. Mehmet C. Oz. Dr. Roizen is the cofounder of RealAge, which George and I both read and participate in online. And many of you may know Dr. Oz --since he appears on the Oprah Winfrey Show. This book challenges our preconceived notions about how the human body works and ages, and then it takes us on a tour through the entire inside of our bodies. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in better health (which should be ALL of us).
I won't tag specific people this time, but will ask you this question, "What good book are you reading right now--or just finished reading?" I encourage you to either comment about it ---or better still, blog about it!!!! Thanks---and happy reading.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Orton Plantation and Gardens-Part II

I hope you saw yesterday's blog telling about Orton Plantation and Gardens. Today, I'm giving you six more pictures taken on that vacation to the Wilmington, NC area in May of 2007. Above is a photo that many of my blogger friends (the ones who love butterflies) will LOVE. Below are six more. Hope you enjoy our tour of Orton Plantation and Gardens.

When we were there, it was cloudy and drizzly. BUT--I still think you can get an idea as to how beautiful these gardens were.

This picture above is for Barb (Bird Girl). She visited Orton --and wanted to see a picture of the chapel on the grounds. This precious little chapel is where they have weddings almost every weekend. SO pretty!!

Take note (above) of the beautiful fountain and little statue in the middle.. Look carefully at the statue before going to the photo below.

Okay---don't laugh!!! Don't you think she makes a good statue???? Tee Hee!!!

Aren't the Azaleas gorgeous???

As a good southern girl would say, "Y'all come back now!"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Orton Plantation and Gardens-Part I

Every May, George and I take our beach vacation to Ocean Isle, NC (north of Myrtle Beach). In 2007 while in North Carolina, we drove north to the Wilmington area to visit the Orton Plantation and Gardens. This historic landscape was designed around the 1735 mansion and colonial rice fields overlooking the Cape Fear River. There are walking trails all around the plantation. Since George and I love beautiful flowers, we were excited to see the gardens. I chose 13 pictures to share--and will divide them into two posts. We think that you will find Orton Plantation Gardens a wonderful place to visit if you are ever in that area. In order to find out more about Orton, click HERE. The picture above is the gorgeous mansion. Below are five more pictures.

Above, the beautiful road to the mansion

Yipes---Who is our first visitor while driving toward the mansion?? Think he's a friendly one??????

Above, you can see our first glimpse of the gorgeous gardens!

Oh how I love Impatiens!!!

This last picture above shows more of the beautiful, well-maintained gardens and the walking trails!!! (More to come tomorrow!)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oh Dear, Deer!

Yesterday the sun came out in the Glade and melted alot of our snow in areas where that gorgeous sun hit!!! There's still quite a bit of snow left in the shady areas. Our temperatures are still below freezing and have been for over three days. BUT--the forecasters say the weather will get warmer beginning tomorrow!!!! It was a nice snow and I loved it. BUT--now I'm ready for some sunshine and warmer temperatures, at least for a few days.

Late in the afternoon, I glanced out back toward the golf course. There they were----seven beautiful deer on the fairway, enjoying some fresh grass on some of the areas where the snow had melted. We live in a protected area --so all wildlife can live here safely, except for all of the construction and clearing of the woods. Here are some pictures of the deer enjoying the day yesterday beginning above with all seven of them!!!! Note the left-over snow! (More pictures are below!)

In the picture above, I could hear them talking to each other. The one on the left said, "Oh My, don't you love this sunshine?" The one on the right said, "Yeah--I do, but I like eating this grass even more. I was hungry."

It wouldn't be a group of deer pictures without the BUTT shot!!!!! ha ha

"Okay, Mama, I'm coming. Just wait a minute so I can take one more bite."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another Random Things Meme

37 Random Things About Me (because JAYNE did it!)

1. Do you like blue cheese? Love it!!
2. Have you ever smoked? Never--except when friend Reida and I 'tried' it on her back porch when we were kids!!!
3. Do you own a gun? No
4. What flavor Kool Aid is your favorite? I don't drink Kool Aid.
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Yes--because I have to get on the scales!
6. What do you think of hot dogs? I can take them on occasion--with chili, cheese, slaw and whatever else I can find to put on them!!! ha
7. Favorite Christmas movie? It's a Wonderful Life
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? French Vanilla Coffee
9. Can you do push-ups? Are you kidding???? I can "push" a fork to my mouth. Does that count?
10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? My heart necklace my hubby gave me
11. Favorite hobby? That is hard. I have several (blogging, hiking/waterfalling, family history, birding, etc.etc.etc.etc.)
12. Do you have A.D.D? NO---I can be quite obsessive/compulsive at times though. Ask George!!!! ha ha (I'm definitely Type A)
13. Do you wear glasses/contacts? Drugstore pairs (all over the house) for reading only
14. Middle name? Bruce (family name)
15. Name thoughts at this moment? Thinking about our country and its future--which is scary!
16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? coffee, hot tea, crystal light lemon/orange
17. Current worry? How to help our inlaws from long distance (they live alone in a city--and all of us kids are not very close; AND--they are both blind.)
18. Current hate right now? I hate that I had to take all of my posts about my grandchildren OFF of my blog site (request to keep them safe and anonymous); It made me cry since blogging is so important to me--and taking them off makes me feel as if I've lost something.
19. Favorite place to be? Another hard one; How about our Mt. Nebo cabin in Arkansas? OR--how about hiking to find a new waterfall? OR--how about sitting on my throne with a big fire in the fireplace watching my birds????
20. How did you bring in the New Year? Stayed home and watched the festivities on TV (best way to do it in my opinion)
21. Where would you like to go? Alaska, Grand Canyon, Hawaii, another cruise
22. Name three people who will complete this? I have no idea... Maybe someone who enjoys 'memeing'!!!
23. Do you own slippers? Oh Yes--several pairs; snuggly ones in winter and others in summer---all from Walmart I'm sure!!! ha
24 What color shirt are you wearing? Green sweatshirt and gray sweatpants--and of course my slippers
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Not at all; I don't like flannel sheets either. Just give me the regular kind!!!! We do have an electric blanket which we LOVE.
26. Can you whistle? A little
27. Favorite Color? Yellow in Summer, Blue, Purple
28. What songs do you sing in the shower? Never have sung in the shower I don't think--although I've done my share of singing all of my life
29. Would you be a pirate? NO WAY
30. Favorite Girl's Name? If I'd had one...Laura Elizabeth (We had that name picked out --but we had three boys. Didn't want a boy named Laura!!! ha
31. Favorite boy's name? George Emery
32. What's in your pocket right now? Right now, no pocket; If I had a pocket, I'd be carrying chapstick in winter.
33. Last thing that made you laugh? Somebody's blog (cannot remember who) telling a Jay Leno story about a funny date where the woman got her butt frozen to the car fender..You'll have to read that story to believe it!! ha
34. What vehicle do you drive? Toyota Prius ---there's no other kind is there? Note picture above!
35. Worst injury you've ever had? Luckily, nothing serious EVER
36. Do you love where you live? Absolutely
37. How many TVs do you have in your house? three, a bigscreen and two others

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow in the Glade---Finally!!

Guess what???? We finally got a little snow on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee.. I've been waiting (not very patiently) for some snow since November!!! It blew around in the air a couple of times the past month or so--but yesterday was our first 1-2 inch snow. I know---I know--that's that still not MUCH. But hey, I cannot say any longer that we didn't have snow this winter. Ha Ha... My hubby said: "Okay, we had snow. Now is it time for spring?"

Like we always do, we took some pictures to share. Above it a picture looking out from our deck toward the back yard (and golf course fairway). See any golfers???? HA... More pictures of our yard and of our birds are below.

Above is the snow on one of our Holly bushes and one of our solar lamps.. I don't think it was very bright last night, ya think???? ha

The above picture is looking toward the front yard from the garage. Can you see my bench??? You are invited to come and sit with me (I'll even provide some sweeeeeeeet tea) in the spring when the roses are blooming. It's a neat place to sit and smell the roses!!!!

Wanna come for a picnic??? I'll open the umbrella!!!! Note also our big Rhododendron on the right side of the picture. It looks alot better than it did all shriveled up the other night when the temperature was ZERO. (The temperature got all of the way up to 26 degrees yesterday!)

"Hey Lady---what is that white stuff coming out of the sky? I'm gonna stay here at this feeder all day and feed a 'few' of my buddies below."

Oh the Pine Siskins!!! They ate all day long!!!! Some stay at the hanging feeders--and they drop plenty of seed for all of the masses BELOW on the deck to enjoy. I don't know how many birds we had today but I do know that there were NINE varieties and all in all, there were LOTS and LOTS of hungry birds. (No more Starlings, thank goodness!)