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Bring On The Baby Birds!

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It's that amazing time of year when the nests on the property are filled with baby birds. Our favorite, by far, is the nest a mama wren built on top of our driveway security light. She comes back every year and has babies there twice.

We saw the eggs on Wednesday night, and by Thursday morning there was one sweet baby in there.

On Friday morning two more had made an appearance. At this point, it's hard to tell where one begins and another ends.

And this morning Baby #4 made its appearance. Now there is an adorable pile of fluff in the nest, just waiting for Mama to come back and love on them. I can't wait to see them grow up and fly on their own. But one step at a time!

Need A Cell Phone Stand In A Hurry? Try This.

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While we were at the IFDA convention last week, in a seminar about a completely different topic, I learned this amazing trick. Very few of us carry a tripod around to hold our phones steady while we take pictures ... right? Grab a plastic cup, and you're good to go!

Turn the cup upside down to start with. Using a pair of scissors, cut two triangle-shaped notches about a third of the way down on either side of the cup. Then connect the two by cutting out the strip of plastic across the bottom. This gives you a trough through the cup to put your phone in. It also leaves the buttons free to use and lets you see exactly what you're documenting.

Love this! The possibilities are endless when you're by yourself and need an extra set of hands to take pictures or video.

A Graduation Gift Explosion Box

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One of my favorite people is having her graduation party this weekend, and I have a very special gift to give her. This explosion box is filled with pictures from her graduation ceremony and the people she loves. I can't wait to give it to her!

 Explosion boxes are scrapbooks in a box. The lid keeps the 12 pages in place, along with a fun surprise in the middle - this time a fluffy bow in her high school colors. For my directions on how to make an explosion box, click here.

I arranged the photos in Pages and sized them 1/4 inch smaller than the pages they were made for. So for example, the pictures for the 3-inch square pages are sized to 2 3/4 inches square. Then I printed them on white card stock and cut them out, attaching them with double-stick tape.

Now she will have 12 photos in her explosion box, and the backs of the eight inner pages are blank so she can add more. 
What fun ways and occasions can you picture for an explosion box of your own?

Words For Wednesday

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Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Pie

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Nothing celebrates warm, sunny days like the combination of fruit and cheesecake. At least in my world nothing does. And I like it in my world, filled with fruit and cheesecake.

With just five ingredients - two of which are remade for you - and about 20 minutes, you can slip a beautiful pie into the refrigerator. The red and white just screams summer, doesn't it?

Ingredients:
1 premade, frozen pie crust
1 8 oz block cream cheese, softened
1 8 oz container Cool Whip, thawed
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 21 oz can strawberry rhubarb pie filling
1 can whipped topping for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, or as instructed on the package.

2. While the oven is preheating, whip the cream cheese with a stand mixer until smooth. Add Cool Whip and combine completely. Pour in sugar and mix until sugar has dissolved and the mixture is creamy. Set aside until pie crust is done.

3. Bake pie crust according to package directions. Allow to cool completely.

4. When crust is cool, pour in cheesecake bat…

The Library Book Sale And The 6 I'm Going To Start With

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This was the weekend I’d been looking forward to since last May. Every year our public library asks for donations of books, puzzles, games and music to hold a fundraising sale. Last year they raised thousands of dollars thanks to the generosity of the community - and everyone who bought those thousands of books.

Yes … that means me. Several times over.
At noon on Friday they open the doors, and everyone follows the hand-drawn maps to their favorite genres. Nothing is priced more than $2, and the smart shoppers bring their own bags and boxes. I filled three bags on the first day and another bag on the second. I call Saturday “Regret Day” or “the day I go back and get the books I regret not getting on the first day.” Catchy title, huh? Sunday is 1/2-price day, which is always a winner in my book.
So this is the investment to my library from this year’s sale. I’m thrilled with all the amazing books I found, though I did have to finish a book I was already reading so I wouldn’t feel guilty a…

Iron Sharpens Iron

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Watching Danny work in his shop is one of the most fascinating things ever. He has the tools he needs, he knows how to use them and the finished product is always a work of art. And sometimes I even get to help — handing, holding and running for things as necessary. I'm a great assistant, if I do say so myself.
One of my favorite tools is the sharpener. (It may have a more technical name, but please forgive me for not knowing it.) The sparks fly and the loud noise lets Danny know that the blade he is working with is losing that dull edge. Soon it will cut like a knife through butter, and he will be able to cut more effectively.
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17
We’re always telling the teens in our youth group that you will become the people you hang around with, for better or worse. They (and we) have to be so careful about the friends and acquaintances we spend time with because they will and do eventually rub off on us. 
In the …