Slow Pace of Autumn

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Hard to believe that autumn is officially here today. It’s the time of year to slow down and really take in the beauty of the season. Before long, Mother Nature will repaint her canvas from beautiful greens to stunning hues of yellow, red, orange and brown. Gentle breezes begin to roll in and rustle the fallen leaves bringing much needed cooler temps.

We bid farewell to summer as we watch the days become shorter and nights become longer. We get our warm comfy sweaters out, light a few candles and settle in for the season. It’s a time to rest, reflect and finish what’s needed.

Although here in the South we don’t really see a change in this breathtaking season, I bring warmth into our home by decorating for fall. Being an avid baker the sweet scents of pumpkin, apple and cinnamon fill our home making it even more cozy. How do you spend your autumn months?

Wishing you a peaceful autumn season filled with joy, love and good health!

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Thoughtful Thursday Anna Ruby Falls, Georgia

Anna Ruby Falls photo by Maria Vidaurre

There’s something to be said about slowing down and spending time in nature. This past fall I was fortunate to take a hiking trip to northern Georgia with my husband. One of our visits was to Anna Ruby Falls which is in Unicoi State Park, located just outside of Helen, Georgia. It was a stunning drive to the falls as we drove on the windy road through the forest with accents of mother nature’s foliage of yellow, orange and red leaves glistening in the sunlight.

The hike to the falls is about a half mile on a paved path. Officially it’s .4 of a mile, but my Garmin and phone tracker showed it was a bit more. Nevertheless, it was a majestic hike the entire way as the path followed the creek and you were serenaded by the flowing waters. The path was a little steep but there were plenty of benches along the way to rest if needed.

James H. “Captain” Nichols was a Civil War Colonel who retired and moved to Nacoochee Valley in 1870. Even though he had been promoted to Colonel he was reverently referred to as “Captain.” While out horseback riding one day, Nichols discovered the falls and named them after his daughter, Anna Ruby.

The falls are made up of Curtis and York Creeks that run down the steep slopes of Tray Mountain in 2 falls. In the photo above Curtis Creek Falls is shown on the left and drops 153 feet and York Creek Falls is shown on the right and drops 50 feet. These 2 falls combine to create Smith Creek which is what you see when walking on the path.

I hope you enjoyed this little travel tidbit. Anna Ruby Falls was a beautiful place to visit and I hope you’ll be able to visit it too!

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“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu

All photos were taken by Maria Vidaurre

Thoughtful Thursday Happy Thanksgiving

Photo by Sasha Prasastika on Pexels.com

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again. The weather has gotten a little cooler, thank goodness and the leaves are changing. But this is a time of warm gatherings and welcoming family and friends into our homes with lots of love. It’s a time to reflect back on the year and give thanks for all that we have.

More importantly it’s a time for you. This is the time to slow down and take in the beauty around you. Catch your breath and nestle in for the winter with warm soups and hot cocoa. Take time for yourself this season to recharge your energy. Find happiness in the simple, small everyday moments. Allow your soul to linger in the joy and peace of the season.

I want to extend a sincere heartfelt “Thank You” to all of you for your love and support. It’s greatly appreciated!

Wishing you a Very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

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“As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~John F Kennedy

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Thoughtful Thursday – Spaghetti Squash

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

With autumn here, squash and pumpkins are in season! Spaghetti squash is one of my favorites this time of year. It’s a round/oval shaped yellow squash that can be light in color or a little more orange. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals and is low in calories. It’s also a good source of Vitamin C, maganese and Vitamin B6.

1 Cup Cooked Spaghetti Squash contains about:

  • Calories: 42
  • Carbs: 10 grams
  • Fiber: 2.2 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0.5 grams
  • Vitamin C: 9% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Manganese: 8% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 8% of the RDI
  • Pantothenic acid: 6% of the RDI
  • Niacin: 6% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI

Instead of eating traditional spaghetti that’s loaded with carbs and can be fattening, try making some spaghetti squash. It’s fairly easy to make and quite delicious. Although I must warn you, that cutting the spaghetti squash can be a little hard so be careful and use a sharp knife.

Recipe:

  • Cut the ends off the spaghetti squash and cut in half lengthwise.
  • Remove the seeds with a spoon.
  • Fill a shallow pan with about 1/4″ inch of water.
  • Place the spaghetti squash in the water, cut side down.
  • Bake in oven at 400 ̊F for 45 minutes or until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork. 
  • Once it’s cool enough to handle, gently scrape the inside flesh with a fork lengthwise to separate the spaghetti like strands but be careful not to break the outer shell.
  • Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, if desired and serve with marinara sauce.

You can serve spaghetti squash in a variety of ways by adding different veggies, navy beans, chick peas or anything else that you like to eat. There are plenty of recipes online to get you started. So why not try something new and healthy too! You may be pleasantly surprised.

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“Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.” ~Buddha

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Thoughtful Thursday Halloween Decor

I wanted to share with you some fun Halloween decorations that you can easily make. I love vintage images and had purchased these at a show I was at, but you can find tons online. Please read the instructions first before beginning so you have an idea of what you will be doing. The supply list is at the bottom of this post.

Instructions

  1. Decide how you want to hang your plaques. Based on the type of plaque you have you may want to attach a picture hook to the back or you can drill 2 small holes in the top corners and sand them if needed.
  2. Apply a good coat of gesso to each plaque, front and back.
  3. Find images online and print them on cardstock. Cut them out and set aside.
  4. Paint each plaque in a coordinating color. Let dry overnight. Sand edges for a worn look and wipe off dust.
  5. Steps 6, 7 and 8 are the instructions for hanging with wire. If you used a picture hook in the back of your plaque, skip steps 6, 7 and 8. Another alternative to the wire is to use a piece of fabric or yarn which you would also skip these 3 next steps.
  6. Cut 11 inches of the jewelry wire. From the back of the plaque, put one end through the hole, coming out of the front of the plaque and coil the end with the pliers to knot it.
  7. Slightly off center at the top of the wire, wrap the wire around a pencil, 3 times and slide the pencil out.
  8. Feed the other end of the wire through the second hole from the back of the plaque, coming out in the front. Cut off any excess wire and coil the end as in step 6.
  9. Glue your images on to the plaque with Aleene’s Tacky Glue.
  10. Add a piece of torn autumn fabric to the top of the wire and that’s it!

Supplies:

  • 3 Vintage Halloween Images
  • 3 Wood Plaques fitting your images
  • Gesso
  • Acrylic Paint: Black, Orange, Red or any of your choice
  • Black Copper Jewelry Wire
  • Drill for hanging
  • Picture hanging hook/bracket (optional)
  • Needle nose jewelry pliers
  • Harvest Fabric scraps
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

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Color Lovers Challenge Week 2

As you may know I joined Jodi Ohl’s Color Lovers Challenge. It runs 30 days so I’m posting several days at a time. If you missed my earlier creations, I’ll have links at the bottom of this post. These are my latest creations:

Day 6 – Soft & Cuddly

I can’t think of anything softer and more cuddly than Winnie the Pooh. I made this little Winnie painting a while ago and had it set aside so I thought this was perfect for the Day 6 prompt, Soft & Cuddly. I added a Winnie the Pooh quote “Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.”

Day 7 – Favorite Color Palette

I love happy colors so my favorite palette is pink, blue and yellow. I painted very loose flowers with leaves and added a quote by Abraham Lincoln “We can complain because roses bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

Day 8 – Warm

For warm I came up with a palette of yellow, orange, red, purple and pink. I applied a coat of gesso to the pages and after it dried I painted them with acrylic paints. I added the quote “Love warms the heart.”

Day 9 – Autumn

I love the colors of Autumn leaves so I did a loose watercolor painting of leaves with lots of glitter. Got a little carried away with the glitter. I added the quote “Autumn paints in colors that Summer has never seen.”

In case you missed my previous pages, just click the links: Day 1 and Days 2 thru 5.

I hope you enjoyed my ColorLoversChallenge entries. Have a lovely weekend!

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Thoughtful Thursday – The Magic of Autumn

Photo taken by Maria Vidaurre

Summer is officially coming to an end on September 22nd as we welcome the Autumn Equinox. Here in South Florida, we don’t really experience a change in scenery. The weather cools a bit but there is no major change in season visually.

This was a photo I had taken while hiking 10 miles on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia with my husband. The air was cool and crisp on the morning we embarked on our hike and the scent of wet leaves permeated the air. Mother nature had graciously painted a stunning canvas of yellow, red, orange and brown for us to enjoy. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking on the trail.

It was a magical hike where I found myself again and remembered what I was made of. There were parts of the trail where I had to dig deep to find courage and endurance to push on. One section had a small brook covered with leaves which were very slippery. Even though I was super careful, I ended up taking a fall but luckily it was nothing major and just ended up with a bruised knee.

The most treacherous part of the trail was a section that was covered with large boulders from an avalanche that wobbled and moved as we crossed them. This part slowed us down considerably and the sun was setting soon.

To say the least, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of getting stuck on the mountain, at night, out in the cold. I much preferred my warm bed that was calling my name back at the lodge. So with all the grit and determination I could muster, I forged on to reach the end of our hike.

As the sun started to set in the horizon, the temperature began to drop pretty fast and darkness was setting in. Just when I thought we wouldn’t make, we came to the end of the trail. I was so happy and soooo relieved. We did it 😅

Looking back on our hike I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride. It was quite the adventure and I loved every minute I spent with my husband. Time on the trail renewed my energy and sense of wonder. It was a great recharge for my mind, body and soul.

We’re going on another hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail this fall but it will be at a different section of the trail and a shorter hike. Really looking forward to seeing all the beautiful colors again!

What do you like most about autumn?

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“Notice how autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.” ~Freidrich Nietzsche

Photos taken by Maria Vidaurre