Catching Up In May

Hello, my lovely readers.  I’ve been around but just not posting.  Summer is around the bend and so is June!  The weather is finally beautiful here and we have been taken advantage of that.  I’ve been going fishing with my fiancee when I am up and able to do so.  I myself don’t care to fish but I have done so a few times when I am in the mood so I sit there and take pictures of when Chris catches a fish or just of the wildlife or plants or whatever I find that interests me.

The past two weekends we have had a yard sale.  Between Chris and I, we made about $140.  My sister and her boyfriend put in some stuff and so did her friend.  They didn’t fair too well.  Chris and I still have some stuff left we want to get rid of, so we are going to post them to the garage sale groups we are part of on FB.

Chris and I have set out wedding date for 15 August 2015.  We are trying to keep our budget under $1000 but not more than $2000 so we are going to be doing everything ourselves basically.  I have already ordered my veil but I need to get a floral crown to attach to it.  I have my dress picked out.  It is a pattern from Simplicity and my Mother and her best friend are going to make it for me.  I have my bridesmaids picked out but Chris still has to pick his groomsmen.  We also have our flowergirl and ring bearer, and photographer/videographer.  The big one is a pastor to preside over the ceremony.  We are not members of any Christian church nor do we go to a church.  We do not want a JP either.

My baby sister made her Confirmation today.  She has also started taking college courses and she is only a sophomore too!  I am so proud of her!

Grace, 'the most reverend' Richard J. Malone Bishop of Buffalo, NY Diocese, and my beautiful Mother.

Grace, ‘the most reverend’ Richard J. Malone Bishop of Buffalo, NY Diocese, and my beautiful Mother.

 

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I believe this is a Yellow Warbler. Their habitat is the riverside woodlands, wet thickets, brusy marsh edges, orchards, suburbs, parks. Where we were fishing, it was kinda wet and we were at the end of, I guess you would say, inlet ??? of the pond. This species has the largest breeding range of any warbler and is common not only in most of North American but as far south as Peru. The Yellow Warbler often nests in willows, alders, or other shrubs along the edge of a swamp or road; its neat cup of silvery plant fibers is usually built in a low fork. The male is a persistant singer with two basic songs: pip-pip-pip-sissewa-is sweet and wee-see-wee-see-wiss-wiss-u. This little bird darted back and forth and was very hard to photography. Plus I guess I don’t have a good enough shutter speed, aperture, and zoom ????

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Again, this isn’t a really great picture and neither is the last one of this bird, but I am thinking this is a White-breasted Nuthatch. If I am wrong, please correct me. The nuthatches are the only birds that habitually climb down tree trunks headfirst , gathering insects and insect eggs from crevices and under the bark. The name nuthatch derives from nut-hack, for the way the birds wedge nuts and other food into crevices and chop them into pieces. This bird and another bird of its same species was darting back and forth in the trees, which is another reason why I couldn’t get a better picture. The birds had a pretty blue color to them and were very chatty to each other.

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This is a Canada Goose. This hen let me get quite close to her and didn’t move nor start honking at me. I think it had something to do with the fact that her mate was far away from her patrolling the area in the water. The geese down in the area where we fish are the giant kind. At least 18lbs. Her nest was near the water’s edge. On the other pond across the road we fish on, there was another hen that had her nest on top of a beaver house. We had a week a week of rain between coming back two weeks later and these two geese had a few goslings trailing behind them. They were too far for me to get a good photo of them. Boy, you get within a mile of these guys and they start honking up a storm and they don’t stop! lol

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This was a small bass that Chris had caught in the inlet that I had found those birds.

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This is a little hill we have to climb to get to one of the ponds because it is man-made and was kinda dug out of the earth, like a crater had hit into the ground.

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The booty shot of the assumed White-breasted Nuthatch :p

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This is the pond at sunset. It came out so good.

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The other side of the same pond at sunset.

There is never anybody up there when Chris and I go.  These ponds are at the end of a dead-end road called Ubidam outside of Portville, NY.  Not that I want to give away a great fishing spot or anything.

This post was suppose to go up yesterday, but I really wanted to get it up today because Justin will be with us this weekend, so there goes the laptop for the weekend and I am trying to plan a road trip of sorts over to Bradford, PA either after Chris gets out of work at 4 this Saturday(that’s a tight squeeze) or Sunday.  We want to go over to the Zippo Museum, Crook’s Farm(they don’t know about this yet and this is provided that I can persuade them to go….), and this sportsman store.

I am sharing more pictures over on my photoblog, The Serene View, of the past month plus other pictures I myslfl have taken, so I invite you to please go and see them!  And if you haven’t already, please subscribe to stay updated on new posts.  And if you are a new reader here, please subscribe too.

I want to leave you with what I thought this interesting piece of trivia to mull over in your head.  What do you call a flock of hummingbirds?

hummingbirds

 

Turns out there are several accepted terms, all of them appropriately lyrical: A bouquet, a glittering, a hover, a shimmer, or a tune!

Weekend At Camp Timbercrest

Hello, my lovely readers!  Here we are, almost at the end of April, in the very cusp of Spring.  Old Man Winter has gone and has taken the snow away with him, praise the Lord, and lucky for me, my muse and inspiration and the darkness and the dreariness has been lifted from my head.  Yes, I still have my moments, especially when my back hurts, that I feel down, but not as much as it is in the winter.

 

And introducing, my baby!

Polaroid IS2132-16MP 21X Zoom

Polaroid IS2132-16MP 21X Zoom

 

This past weekend, my mother had me go along with her up to Camp Timbercrest in Randolph, NY, for a service weekend.  Camp Timbercrest is a camp for Girl Scouts of Western NY-Southern Tier located on 900 acres of wilderness in the foothills of the Allegheny forest. Both Girl Scouts and non-Girl Scouts as well are welcome to attend camp. Both week long and three day camp sessions are offered. Girls can enjoy hiking, swimming, boating, and horse back riding.  The camp houses campers in tents scattered throughout the hills, or in cabins or yurts. The entire facility is winterized and is available for year round camping.

Sign on Bellinger Lodge 25 April 2014

Sign on Bellinger Lodge 25 April 2014 Grace took this one.

 

This service weekend would run from Friday until Sunday at noon.  Adult troop leaders were expected to be there by 10am Friday morning and the Girl Scouts from their troops were to check in about 5:30.  The adult leaders would do the major cleaning that had to be done and just open up camp for the season and ‘air out’ the place and get it ready for the weekend.  The weekend was full of plans for arts and crafts, hiking, camp fires, cooking, badge work, etc.  My mother has a troop which my baby sister, Grace, is in, and my other sister, Amy, has a troop as well, so they were going too.

 

Graffetti on the benches at the tables in the mess hall in Bellinger Lodge 25 April 2014 Grace took this one.

Graffetti on the benches at the tables in the mess hall in Bellinger Lodge 25 April 2014 Grace took this one.

 

I myself didn’t really have any particular duties to do this past weekend.  It was more of a retreat, just to get out of the house.  I really didn’t want to go.  I was worried that my back would hurt me and that I wouldn’t be able to do anything, etc.  Friday afternoon my back did hurt me and I did have to take some pain medication and lay down so that killed the afternoon.  I did bring my camera and my tripod and was hoping to get some great shots.  My baby sister did take off with my camera whilst I was laying down and as I saw this morning whilst reviewing them on my laptop, took some amazing shots.  She has a great point of view and is always taking some stellar selfies on her mini ipad.

 

Grace & I.  Yes, it is quite blurry, but please bear in mind that we are in Mom's truck driving down the expressway.  This was on our way to Camp Timbercrest early Friday morning, 25 April 2014.

Grace & I. Yes, it is quite blurry, but please bear in mind that we are in Mom’s truck driving down the expressway. This was on our way to Camp Timbercrest early Friday morning, 25 April 2014.

 

My baby sister and I were assigned to the Director’s Cabin for the weekend, which only had electricity.  The yurts and the lodges had electricity and heating too.  The weather was deceiving.  The weather called for beautiful weather for the weekend.  I had packed summer clothes for the weekend.  I had brought only one heavy hoodie.  I had also only packed capri sweatpants.  What a big mistake.  That night, temperatures dropped to the low 30s and it was sooo fecking cold!  I was shivering, freezing cold.  I suggested to Grace, that maybe we should pull our cots together in the middle of the cabin and unzip our sleeping bags and share them.  She’s like, “like the Parent Trap?”  And I am like, yeah, it would be warmer.  So we did.  And we huddled together for warmth.  Now, Grace and I are 16 years apart, so I was only at home for maybe the first 3 or 4 years of her life, so this was like, a complete bonding experience for us.  I love my Gracie to death.  It was still a little cold, but we made it through.  I slept right through breakfast the next morning and Grace was kind enough to bring my medicine, a cup of coffee, and surprise me with pancakes.  I love pancakes!

 

I finally got up and my stiff body moving.  I was still cold to the bone and went up to the main lodge where the mess hall is, Bellinger Lodge, to take a shower.  Much to my disappointment(and a little anger) there wasn’t any hot water.  It was just lukewarm.  I was all ready to hop in and was shivering trying to get it to warm up and nothing.  So I had to put clothes on and decided I would try again in the evening.  I wasn’t very happy but I was determined to make it through the day anyway.  I was able to get out a little bit as tolerated and get some beautiful shots of Keyser Lake.

Keyser Lake Camp Timbercrest Randolph, NY 26 April 2014

Keyser Lake Camp Timbercrest Randolph, NY 26 April 2014

 

Before lunchtime, I got to talking to Helen, the lady who had volunteered to cook for the weekend.  I went to school with her daughter for 2 1/2 years and we got to talking and I started helping her prep for lunch.  She was making tacos and I offered to help her chop up lettuce and onions.  One of the troop leaders had her girls volunteer in the kitchen and they were really young girls.  They might have been as young as six or seven and I had two girls that I had to teach to chop onions.  Now Helen was unable to find any chef knives, big knives, in the kitchen.  She and several of the other ladies had looked all over the kitchen and had been unable to find them, so we were using steak knives to chop the vegetables.  It was not fun and it was quite awkward.  So I showed the two little girls the best I could how to chop the lettuce and onions.  Then I let them cut the onions, making very sure they did not cut their little finger tips, but they did not last long for that onion had a very might odor and their little eyes teared up and irritated and that was the end of that.  So I helped them wash up their eyes and sent them over to the other troop leader, Alex, a lovely young girl a few years younger than me, who was chopping up tomatoes, so she could show them.  They fared much better over there  :P

the kitchen in Bellinger Lodge 25 April 2014 Grace took this one.

the kitchen in Bellinger Lodge 25 April 2014 Grace took this one.

 

After a great lunch, I wandered aimlessly around the lodge, inside and out.  Then, I asked Grace where Mom was and she  informed me that she was out with the girls and that ‘bird man’ was here.  The ‘bird man’ is actually Mark Baker, a licensed Falconer & Rehabber.  He runs Eagle Dream Rehabilitation Center, Inc.  He has falcons, owls, and many other birds.  OWLS!!!!  Well, you probably guessed that I haven’t been able to move very quickly as of late, but you can bank on it that I made it out of the kitchen and into the mess hall and seated next to Mom in under five seconds flat, pain or no pain  :D

 

My Mom knows Mark personally and apparently he knows me as well and hasn’t seen me since I was a little girl.  I don’t remember him.  Mark had brought 4 owls, a falcon, a hawk, and this other little bird that is native to the western US.  He had a Great Horned Owl that has a badly damaged eye and neck, a cute but shy little Screech owl that prefers to stay in his tree trunk, a beautiful Snowy Owl, and a serene Barn Owl.  I loved all of them, but mostly the Barn Owl.  She and I made eye contact for almost two minutes.  It was like she was looking deeply into my soul.  It was very kool, but very creepy at the same time too.  Here are some pictures of his birds.

Barn Owl 26 April 2014

Barn Owl 26 April 2014

Great Horned Owl 26 April 2014

Great Horned Owl 26 April 2014

Me with the Snowy Owl 26 April 2014

Me with the Snowy Owl 26 April 2014

Screech Owl 26 April 2014

Screech Owl 26 April 2014

Snowy Owl and Barn Owl 26 April 2014

Snowy Owl and Barn Owl 26 April 2014

the Falcon 26 April 2014

the Falcon 26 April 2014

the Hawk 26 April 2014

the Hawk 26 April 2014

the little birdy

the bird that is native to the western US

 

I have so many, many more pictures to share but as this is my personal blog, I want to keep it that way and put my photos on my photography blog, The Serene View.

Saturday night we had spaghetti for dinner and then afterwards, they decided to have a campfire.  But it was too cold for me and I had had enough of the cold and got a quick, but finally warm shower and hopped into bed.  Another cold night passes.  .  There was leftover pancakes for breakfast, which was an awesome start to the day.  I was cold, chilled to the bone, and tired, almost ready to go home.

 

I snuck away after breakfast to go to almost the other side of the lake, tripod and camera in hand, to try to get some more pictures, and maybe to get that one awesome shot a photographer is always after.  I sat for hours, it seemed like, taking pictures, and also fiddling with my camera.  I was having issues with the shutter speed because it was too slow and my Mom wanted me to take a group photo of the girls before they left.  After sitting down at the lake, I think I finally got it right.  Though I cannot post the group photo of the Girl Scouts here, the photos came out great of them and I am very pleased and so is my mother.

 

I earned my Spring Camp badge for going this weekend!  25-27 April 2014

I earned my Spring Camp badge for going this weekend! 25-27 April 2014

 

Whilst I was sitting down at the lake, there were 3 or 4 birds flying around and while I was fiddling with the shutter speed, I was trying to capture them in flight.  And it was also hard too because the sun was shining on the screen of my camera and I was having a hard time seeing, but I think I got two awesome photos.  And you can see them HERE on The Serene View.  And I leave you with that.  :)

 

I hope you enjoyed reading about my weekend at Camp Timbercrest.  Camp Timbercrest is also available in the off-season for private rental as well as summer camp and you can learn more HERE.

 

To learn more about Mark Baker, Eagle Dream Rehabilitation and his rehabilitation program and other programs he offers, please visit his site HERE.

 

And don’t forget, to see more stellar photos of my weekend at Camp Timbercrest, don’t forget to visit The Serene View HERE to see more.

 

Stay tuned for more posts and please bear with me as I get back on the proverbial ‘blogging horse’.  And thanks for sticking with me even when I didn’t post.  It means so much to me and I appreciate it.  :)

InstaGC: Another Drop In the Amazon Bucket

So I just wanted to give a little shout out about this program I found.  I don’t, by general rule, like to do something like this because to me, it sounds really spammy to me, but I think it’s kinda kool.  But y’all know I love to shop on Amazon?  Well, I found this gift card program, called InstaGC, in which you do little tasks like complete your profile, like the on FB, follow them on Twitter, watch videos, do a few little surveys, etc. and for each task you complete, it’s one point, which equals a $1.  And you can cash out at any denomination, like $5, $10, $15, $20, etc.  And it’s not just for Amazon, it’s for other online stores, and for brick and mortar stores too.

So I had to create this little post here and throw in my referral code and get 5 points ($5) and those points rack up fast.  It’s just another drop in the bucket, is all.  So this is my referral link here if anyone is interested: http://www.instagc.com/amazon.com/littlevampgurl

I have actually been filling out surveys for various survey sites and have accumulated $60 worth of gift cards…yeah I have no life… :p

I apologize if this sounds kinda spammy.  I hope it doesn’t.  :(  Talk to y’all laterz  :)

A Melancholy Entrance To Spring

(if only it was that Spring-looking outside :)...)

(if only it was that Spring-looking outside :)…)

 

Hello, everybody.  I have been in a generally melancholy mood these past couple of months and not feeling up to par and have had nothing to really say nor write about.  The weather has really gotten me down too and that hasn’t helped things in the least.  Winter has just been too long.  Spring is here in a way too but it has been a muddy and dreary start to it.  But it looks like Tuesday it will be on the up and up and Winter and snow will finally have gone away for good.  It seems I have long forgotten what it looks like when the shine streams through the windows early in the morning and the birds are up at the crack of dawn(which I loathe and complain about at no end).  We need a few days of rain though to clear away all the salt on the roads and the ickiness of winter.  It seems a long time coming.

Some projects we have been working around the house to help pass the time is making a chalkboard/corkboard for our kitchen.  I had proposed to Chris(my fiancee) that it would be good to help plan my meals for the month as well as stating when what bills are due, and if we have any appoints.  Plus we hang those bills up on the corkboard.  The corkboard was cut from our old corkboard and we got a piece of chalkboard, and a few pieces of pine baseboard from Home Depot.  Minus the corkboard and the chalkboard paint(I put another coat on it), the project in total cost $39.00.  Now we are just mulling over how to hang it up on the wall.

As I mentioned above, I have taken to planning our meals for the month.  It has helped us stick to a better food budget so we can catch up on bills and order out less.  Though it has not allowed us any flexibility to go out and do stuff yet, we are working on that.  There has  been a shifting of management at Chris’s work, so he will be taking on a few more hours, which will help a lot.  As we have bought a car I mentioned in the last post, that has added on a few more expenses.  So far it is still running good.

I am still suffering from back pain, though I did get a week of no pain, which was awesome.  I was able to walk down to 7-Eleven with my sister and also to CVS, which is a bit further.  And I also have a tooth that needs extracted, but my dentist is telling me that they cannot do it until May because they are overbooked and I suffer greatly from pain from that.  My cheek swells up and the whole side of my left mouth swells up and the teeth on that side ache too.  But that is the only dentist in town that accepts my insurance.  So I wait, patiently.  I don’t know what pain in my life has been worse, the tooth ache, the back pain, or the ovarian pain.

I see, once again, I have to give my blog a makeover.  It is spring, anyways, so I should give it a touch of bright color and rebirth and a fresh look to it and such.  I have been wanting to buy my domain name, but just haven’t had the money to spare for it.   Maybe here shortly something will come up that I can.

I hope everyone will have a great weekend and is in Springtime now and all the snow has gone for them!  Will post again very soon!

 

As you can see, I cannot keep up with things.  I haven’t checked my blog since 28 January, so it’s been almost a month since I have been here and I see my blog has kinda ‘broken’.  Um, I am wondering where my header went ???? lolz

Yesterday, I turned 31.  Terrible!  I cannot believe it!  Where have the years gone?  I am certainly not at the point of my life where I have hoped to be.  Yesterday, my family and I went out to dinner to Sprague’s (pancake/dinner restaurant that makes their own maple syrup and raises their own animals…kinda a big thing around in western NY) for my Grandma’s birthday(she and I share the day, hence why my middle name is Joan…).  It was kinda an emotional day, with my Grandpa(her husband) being dead three years now and all and I was pretty emotionally and physically exhausted when we got home that I went right to bed at 8.  It doesn’t help the fact that I have not been sleeping very well nor getting up around 4:30AM….

Chris and I did end up setting a date.  My family prompting hard  being a big factor in it so they can plan their summer vacations next year.  I will formally announce it on here when we send out our ‘save the date’ cards in early summer of this year.  Speaking of which, he bought me a replacement ring.  The other one was just a temporary ring.

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I have began to tire of winter and I think no I know, that I have cabin fever.  I am sick of being cooped up in the house because I am afraid of going outside and slipping and falling or trying to save myself from slipping and screwing up my back even more.  I grow weary of the cold and the lack of sunlight.  Most of the plants I had bought last summer have died too.  I have managed to keep a few plants alive but they are just as desperate for warmer temperatures as I am.  I think spring is on the way for we had a very, very brief 15 minute thunderstorm Wednesday night and the snow is a melting a bit.  It’s not as cold outside as it has been.  I need to start walking and working out as tolerated to get back in shape and so I can look nice in a wedding gown.  I have a friend who already has a membership at the Y but just needs someone to work out with.  Because I have SSI, I qualify for a free membership.

We are finally able to purchase a car because of my fiancee’s tax refund.  It will come to about $3200 after everything is all said and done.  It will get us from point A to B.  It’s a 2001 Ford Focus.  It’s fully loaded.  Has a little rust above the rear wheel wells.  There will be a new muffler and battery put in before we get it.  There’s new tires on it.  The engine and the inside of the car is clean.  Chris is going to have it taken down to a garage to put it up on a rack to have the undercarriage looked at and the car inspected just to make sure.  We are hoping to have everything finalized so he can drive it by the end of the week.  I don’t have my license anymore because it is suspended and I still own $150 for a stupid ticket.  I don’t know if I could drive anymore because of the pain in my legs and back.

I don’t feel any older.  I don’t feel any wiser.  I think my bones and my body feel older though.  But I guess that comes with all my ailments and such.
But as winter winds down, I am hoping to be more out and about more. :)

I will leave you with this picture I shot last Wednesday morning, the morning of the storm, with my phone. They do say pink skies in the morning, sailors take warning….
image

So Many Things!

Hi everyone! I know I have been gone for a few weeks now and I have been kinda sick. I think I had a bug of some kind or something. But now I am back and just wanted to update my readers with a new venture that I am going to be doing here in the next coming months.

My Mother is a rep for doTerra essential oils. I am sure many of you basically know what essential oils are, but not really what they are used for and how to use them and blend them, etc.

ClaryCalm is a proprietary blend of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils that have been traditionally used to balance hormones and manage symptoms of PMS and the transitional phases of menopause. A topical blend of clary sage, lavender, bergamot, Roman chamomile, cedarwood, ylang ylang, geranium, fennel, carrot seed, palmarosa and vitex, ClaryCalm? provides temporary respite from cramps, nausea, hot flashes, and the emotional swings sometimes associated with regular hormone cycles in women.

ClaryCalm is a proprietary blend of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils that have been traditionally used to balance hormones and manage symptoms of PMS and the transitional phases of menopause. A topical blend of clary sage, lavender, bergamot, Roman chamomile, cedarwood, ylang ylang, geranium, fennel, carrot seed, palmarosa and vitex, ClaryCalm provides temporary respite from cramps, nausea, hot flashes, and the emotional swings sometimes associated with regular hormone cycles in women.

I really don’t either, but my Mother is going to teach me and I of course will be posting about what I have gleaned from her. I will be placing an order at the end of this month and I will start using them to help me with my various health issues and such. Last Friday, I went to an oils meeting with my Mother, my bff, and her mother. It was very informative and inspiring too at the same time.

I received the ClaryCalm for Christmas as a gift from Mom to help out with Menopause I am going through.

I know a few of my blogging friends have left me some comments that still need approval and some things done for them and I promise to get to them this weekend. Last weekend I would have made some posts but since I do all my internet on my fiancee’s son’s laptop and he was here last weekend and was using it, I didn’t get on it at all.

I have fallen in love with the timeless drama on Downton Abbey. It has consumed me. I am so far in the middle of season three. I love the pre1920s fashions, the high waisted gore skirts. I don’t care much for the flapper style fashions though.

downton abbey

My favorite character is Lady Mary Crawley.  Not only is she very beautiful but I find her quite favorable and kind hearted as well.  She has the best taste in fashion as well.  Here are my favorites of her wardrobe so far….and I would wear them too  :)

I love this gored/circle skirt!  I have been looking for a pattern for it.  It is very modest, and very feminine.  I like the fact that is is high-waisted as well.

I love this gored/circle skirt! I have been looking for a pattern for it. It is very modest, and very feminine. I like the fact that is is high-waisted as well.

If anyone knows me at all, you would know that I am (or was, an equestrian back in the day before my back injury).  I love this riding habit.  I have yet to ride sidesaddle, but I hope someday to do so.  And I love how this top hat has a veil too.

If anyone knows me at all, you would know that I am (or was, an equestrian back in the day before my back injury). I love this riding habit. I have yet to ride sidesaddle, but I hope someday to do so. And I love how this top hat has a veil too.

Here's a different view of Lady Mary and her habit.

Here’s a different view of Lady Mary and her habit.

Tonight we are having bbq pulled beef for dinner.  As we do not eat pork in our home, we do love anything bbq and pulled, so we either do beef or chicken.  I have a yummy recipe for bbq pulled meat that I simmer on low all day in our crock pot.  It is usually whatever meat we had on Sunday, whether it be a roaster chicken, chicken breast, or a beef roast.  It looks so delicious and tastes very good too.  I ought to share the recipe so you guys can try it too.  Sorry about the poor lighting- it really doesn’t do it justice!

Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Beef-Yum!  :D

Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Beef-Yum! :D

Ah, which reminds me, it needs a stir!  I think that’s all I needed to say in this post!  Btw, yes, I kinda flounced on the BlogHer challenge for this month.  So sorry about that, guys  :(

I will be back tomorrow with more.  Have a good rest of the day!