Tag Archives: Summer

Mandala Monday – August

The month of August sort of signals the end of summer, which can be a bit depressing to realize, but there are a lot of wonderful and beautiful things about the month of August…

For one, I love all of the gorgeous late summer flowers that are blooming everywhere – sunflowers, lilies, phlox (whose scent is completely intoxicating here at the moment, by the way), coneflowers, liatris, and black-eyed susan, just to name a few.  And it’s also when my vegetable garden starts kicking out lots of yummy things – for example, my zucchini (as you may have seen in my post the other day), and also beans, jalapeno peppers, and the first of my cucumbers are just about ready to pick.  August is a very rewarding time in the garden.  😊

For two – it’s my birthday month, and I tend to celebrate it all month long, which is always fun, and this year is no exception – I’ve already started before the calendar has even turned to August by going to see the butterfly exhibit at my local zoo and conservatory with my daughter and granddaughter last week.  And I also went to the salon this past weekend to get my hair color freshened up and to get a bit of pampering before my birthday.  My stylist, who is also a good friend of mine, gave me an early birthday present – a gorgeous book about lavender that had belonged to her late mother, such a beautiful and meaningful gift.  I browsed through it while my hair was processing and it was the perfect reading material to enhance my pampering session.  Ah lavender… 💜

For three – August is when the Minnesota Renaissance Festival starts and that is something I love going to each year.  I’m looking forward to going with my new bionic knees this year (even though they are still paining me a bit), hopefully I’ll have an easier time walking around and enjoying all of the festivities there.  I have a new project that I’m working on for my costume this year too – a staff/walking stick that I hope to embellish to make it look more magical.  Yeah, I know that’s totally nerdy, but I don’t care, I chose long ago to embrace my inner nerd.  🙃

Another fun thing that is happening this particular August is a solar eclipse, and I plan on going on a little road trip with a good friend of mine to see it.  We haven’t worked out all the details yet, but we are thinking of making a week of it.  She is bringing her camper, so we plan to camp somewhere that is nearby one of the areas of totality of the eclipse.  I haven’t been camping in ages, so I’m a little apprehensive about that part of it.  But as you all know – I LOVE being out in nature, so that will be the wonderful part of it.  Hopefully we have good weather and clear skies during the eclipse, so we can get the full effect and awe factor.  I love the sky and all things astronomical!  Speaking of astronomical events, August also is the time of the Perseid meteor shower, and who doesn’t love shooting stars?!  🌠

So even though August signals the end of summer and the weather sometimes gets too hot and humid, there are lots of things to look forward to and enjoy about August as well.  Plus, it does mean that fall is just around the corner, and fall is my favorite!  🍁🍂

But I’m rambling and this post is supposed to be about my mandalas haha!  So let me get to sharing a few of the ones I’ve painted recently…

 

This one was partly inspired by my trumpet vine that I have growing up the fence on my patio where I paint.  These colors speak August to me…

So warm and summery!  ☀️

And this one, although not inspired by my phlox, looks lovely pictured with them…

I painted this tile a bit differently.  I wanted the center design to stand out more prominently, but I also didn’t want to leave the corners plain, so rather than continue around the center design, I improvised and painted the corners separately instead.  It’s pretty, but I’m not sure how I feel about it – the corners look a little too separated from the center, what do you think?

 

This one also speaks August to me, although not necessarily for the same reasons as the first one, it reminds me of peridot, which is the birthstone for August…

It also reminds me a bit of clover leaves, so I took a picture of it amidst the clover leaves in my yard…

That’s a whole lot of green!  ☘  This one is a good example of why I don’t always want to continue around the center design, because it takes away from it.  I snapped a few pictures of the progress of this mandala that will show what I mean…

See what I mean?  The finished piece just looks a little too busy or something and the center design gets a bit lost.  That’s why I made the corners like I did on the one pictured with the phlox.  But like I said, I’m not sure how I feel about that either hah!

I guess it’s just a continual learning process, right?  As is all of life…  🙃

 

Happy Monday and happy August 1st tomorrow.  I wish you many blessings in the coming week and in month ahead…

 

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

 

 

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Saturday Morning Reflections: on Butterflies, Birthdays, Blooms & Babies

Warning:  Long post.  But it’s mostly pictures, so it shouldn’t take too much time to get through.  😉

It’s a wonderfully rainy morning here!  Well, I think it’s wonderful.  I’m sure for some people a rainy Saturday is a real bummer, but I’m finding it the perfect time to sit and reflect…

I celebrated my birthday recently and thought I would share a lot few of the photos I snapped of the 3-day event.  Hey, 3 days is keeping it at a minimum – there’s been times over the years when my family’s birthday celebrations last an entire week.

I started it off at our local zoo.  But not to see the animals (although I would have enjoyed that too), I went to check out their new butterfly exhibit, and it did not disappoint.  It was so wonderful to see all of the lovely varieties of butterflies and to walk amidst them whilst surrounded by beautiful flowers.  I snapped oodles of pictures of them with my phone.

Forgive me for sharing so many, but they’re all just so beautiful, even with my phone camera…

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A highlight for me was when this little beauty landed on my arm!

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Another highlight was watching my sweet little granddaughter enjoy herself, she really loved it there too, and got so excited by all the butterflies fluttering around.  She may only be 6 months old, but she is very aware of her surroundings.

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 I bring her outside to my garden every day when she’s home when weather permits and she loves plants, she’s completely mesmerized by them actually.  I see a future fellow nature lover in this precious little human.  ❤

And I greatly appreciate these humans for coming along too.  Although it was cloudy that day, it was very humid out and it got mighty hot inside that butterfly house, but they were such troopers.

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 Gosh, I love them, aren’t they adorable?  They’re my favorites!  ❤

~

The following day I went on a little road trip with my mom and a friend of mine for a picnic by some falls.  Our picnic was very nice, but the falls were a bit of a disappointment.  Plus, we had to hike a great distance to get to the falls, and for me with my arthritic knees, my friend with her broken ankle, and my nearly 80 year old mom who also has limited mobility, it proved to be quite a strain for all of us.  But with a name like “Hidden Falls” what else did we expect?  😉

The pathway to the falls was lovely even despite our pain…

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Mmm so green…

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I love trees…

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Oh, and we heard an owl along the way!

The falls themselves were mediocre, and with them being near a campground, they were completely overrun with people, so it wasn’t the peaceful experience I was hoping for.  But even so, being near water is always a win, and we did our best to enjoy ourselves despite all the people.

Here are a couple of shots I managed to capture without any people in them…

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My friend had less luck getting photos without any people in them… this weird lady totally got in the way of this shot.  😉

~

That evening that same friend and I went to a nearby State Park to attend a meteor shower party to watch the Perseids.  That also ended up being a bit of a disappointment.  The “party” only went until 10pm and it’s not even dark enough out yet at that time to see anything, the best time for viewing is well after midnight.

 They had a campfire and a story teller sharing some stories from Greek mythology about how the Perseids came into being.  I love that sort of thing and tried really hard to get into the spirit of it all, but unfortunately it was just really lame.  His gestures were so severely overly exaggerated, and they were never at the appropriate times during the story.  But I gotta give the guy credit for his effort.  They also had a student from the University of Minnesota who gave a talk about the real source of the Perseids, but he was so nervous that he couldn’t get his words out and barely made any sense, I felt sorry him.

However, one highlight was that I got an amazing up close look at my moon through a very powerful telescope they had there, and it was sooo beautiful!  I LOVE the moon!  ❤

Another “high”light was when my friend found a bag of weed in the parking lot…

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I’m sure whoever dropped it was pretty bummed out to have lost their little stash, but it’s not like we could have turned it in to the lost and found.  Don’t worry, we didn’t smoke it… who knows where it’s been?  😉

We stopped by my sister’s place on the way home with the intention of watching the meteor shower from her deck, but just as we got all set up, the clouds started rolling in.  I did manage to see one shooting star though, so it wasn’t a complete loss.   And besides… seeing only one makes it that much more special anyways.

~

The following day was my actual birthday, and I decided to spend part of it at a local rose garden like I have in the past.  It smelled absolutely amazing there!  It was another hot summer day though, so we were all melting, but once again everyone rallied so I could do something that I enjoy on my birthday.

Here are a few pictures I snapped of the roses while I was there…

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And it’s not only roses they have there.  They have little sections of plantings that are color themed.  This isn’t the greatest shot of it, but I loved this planting made up of all purples.  Purple is my favorite color…

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What I loved the most though, was having all my favorite people there with me.  I’m so truly grateful for my family and for good friends.  ❤

And my whole birthday was made all that much more special having this new little precious one in my life now…

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She is such a joy to me!

And a great help…. she also helped me pick out what to order at the restaurant that evening…

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Hmm… pasta or… pasta?  Definitely pasta!  🙂

And helped me blow out the candles on my cake…

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Yes… my cake does say “Happy Birthday Poop”

 

Well, I think I’ve probably taken up enough of your time, thank you for letting me share this with all of you.

 

Oh wait, one more thing… I also got these freaking awesome barefoot sandals as a birthday gift from my daughter…

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Pay no attention to the worn off nail polish on my toes – these feet have been mighty busy lately

 

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends.  Hope you have some time to put your feet up and reflect on all that is good and lovely in your world…

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

 

 

 

A Blissful Tryst

 

Come, my beautiful one

delicately explore every inch

as you speak to me in soft whispers without words

 

Hold me tightly, but tenderly

and let us sway together

in the warm summer breeze

 

You enjoying me

me enjoying you

in a blissful tryst


© Julie Rehnelt 2015

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~

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

To Be A Butterfly

 

How wonderful it must be to be a butterfly

floating gracefully on the soft, gentle breeze of a warm summer day

on beautiful, magnificent wings that are your own

Alighting on the colorful petals of hundreds of flowers in full bloom

and feasting on sweet, delicious nectar all day.

Ah yes, how wonderful it must be to be a butterfly…

 

© Julie Rehnelt 2015

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~

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

Summer Evening Nectar

I captured this lovely shot last evening while I was sitting out on the patio with my sister after a bike ride, and I really adore the way it turned out!  ♥

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This bumble was quite large, and right before I snapped that photo, it had just latched onto a grasshopper that was in its way and moved it around to the backside of the flower…

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It’s a one-legged grasshopper that I’ve been seeing hanging around the patio for the  past several days, and I just thought it was so amazing that the bee did that!

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While over on this other sunflower however, the big bumble wasn’t as pushy (probably because this particular sunflower is further developed and provided more feeding areas) and it was willing to share its summer evening meal of nectar with a honey bee…

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~

All sorts of different types of bees having been visiting my sunflowers (and I’ve really been enjoying watching them and trying to photograph them!)  Here is a shot I took a bit earlier in the day of an interesting looking bee with a green upper body and head…

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 How odd, I’ve never seen anything like it before!

~

I have several more pictures that turned out quite nicely too, but I’ll spare you from looking at them all.  After all… how many photos of bees on sunflowers photos does one need to see?  😉

Well maybe just one more…

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😀

I used my mom’s camera to take these shots as my sunflowers are like 10 feet tall and her camera has a better zoom than mine.  I’m really delighted by the way they all turned out, so I may need to see about using it more often, hopefully she won’t mind…

Fruit Pizza

I don’t post many recipes here, but this one is definitely worth sharing…

We had a BBQ yesterday for the 4th of July, and while talking to my sis about the dessert menu, she came up with the idea of making my fruit pizza.  It’s been quite a few years since I’ve made one, so when she mentioned it I thought “Oooh yeah, that sounds reeeally good!”

And good it was!  If you’ve never had fruit pizza before you’re seriously missing out on something yummy.  I’ve seen many variations out there for it, and I’m sure they’re all quite delicious, but this is a very old recipe that I got from a friend of mine a long time ago (before the internet came along filled with a plethora information on everything and anything), so I’m sure it’s better than all the rest.  😉

Here’s a photo of the one I made yesterday…

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Yeah, I know… the crust edges are smashed in a couple places (oops!) and that the design isn’t very imaginative, but it was still really tasty!

~

Here’s the recipe:

1 roll (16.5 oz) refrigerated sugar cookie dough

1 package (8 oz) soft-style cream cheese

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

For the fruit you can use whatever happens to tickle your fancy, but for this one I used:

1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced (it’s strawberry season here right now and I’m in heaven!)

1 kiwifruit, peeled, halved, and sliced

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh pineapple, sliced

The original recipe calls for 1 banana peeled and sliced, instead of the pineapple, but I was in the mood for pineapple so I substituted.  If you wish to add bananas, be sure to toss the banana slices in lemon juice to prevent browning. 

Directions:

1.  Press cookie dough evenly onto a lightly greased 12 inch pizza pan.  Prick with fork.  Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely.

2.  Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Spread mixture evenly over cooled crust.  Arrange fruit as desired over cream cheese.  Refrigerate at least one hour.  To serve, cut into wedges or squares.

The original recipe also calls for a 1/2 cup orange marmalade or peach preserves combined with 2 Tbsp of water to be drizzled or spooned over the top, but I forgot to get some at the store so ours was naked.  😀   It was still yummy, but topping it with the orange marmalade really adds to the flavor and gives it a delicious added touch.

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Sure, it’s overly sweet and packed with sugar, but it really is a light and refreshing dessert for the summer time.  Besides, I used organic fruit so that makes it healthier, right?!

😉