Saturday, June 8, 2013

Enjoying the Garden Blooms

It’s been a whole month since my last post, but the fact is I’m quite busy. 

Summer is the busiest time for my family because of all the outdoor activities such as taking kids to the swimming pool, picnics, hiking and forest walks, going to the beach, as well as small travels to visit extended family... Oh, and I do a lot of crocheting too!

This year I’m not spending as much time gardening as I did in the previous years, but nonetheless my yard rewards me with some beautiful flowers to enjoy.

The best time to be in the garden is after the sunset as the air cools down and the life around is slowing down as well. I like just to sit on my patio for a short while and simply take pleasure in all things blooming in the yard.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Beautiful Hills in My Backyard

I often dream of living in the countryside. Open green spaces, endless fields, and wild flowers make up my image of content and peaceful life. Luckily, I live on the outskirts of the city (a big city with almost a million residents), and I can enjoy a bit of countryside almost in my backyard.

There are beautiful hills and a wonderful county park with infinite hike trails right next to my home.

These are the hill views from my backyard. Also the first photo is what I see from my dining room. I love that view in winter times when I have my cup of morning tea or coffee. And in spring and summer, I get up early to enjoy my coffee on the patio looking at those hills and trees. That’s the best way to start my day!

The hills are at their prime beauty in early spring. After the winter rains, they are so lusciously green. And it’s when the wild flowers bloom.  

Oh how delightful it is to walk paths such as this one!

The orange flowers are California poppies – the state flower of California.

Another delight that the hills offer is meeting wild animals – mule deer, wild turkeys, hares, and California quails. Once on a hike, my husband and I even saw a family of feral pigs – a mommy and three piglets, but they were far away off the trail and didn’t even notice us. Our hills are also the home to more dangerous residents – mountain lions and rattle snakes, so special precautions should always be taken when hiking.

As the summer arrives, and in California it arrives early, the hills change their appearance dramatically. Green color begins to disappear and yellow begins to dominate the scenery.  The wild flowers disappear, and the hills remind me of the African Savannah, which brings the danger of wild fires.

Right now the hills are in the transition from green to yellow. A few more weeks, and they will look almost lifeless. My family and I try to enjoy their beauty while it’s still here. We go up the hills to the county park a few times a week. Sometimes we have a picnic there; other times just take a short walk with the kids. Staying on the main ground of the park is safe; mountain lions don’t come there, but other harmless wild animals can be seen in the distance, which fascinates the children.

I especially like being there at and right after the sunset. At that time the place has such a tranquil and calming feeling.

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Roses are Blooming

Finally, my roses began to bloom.

The Cecile Brunner arch is the most beautiful spot in my yard at the moment. Those small but abundant blooms smell heavenly.

I love this red rose. It has very big and fragrant blooms. 

This rose is called Bewitched Hybrid Tea. I have it my front yard, so occasional pedestrians can enjoy it too.

This one also grows in the front yard. It's not very fragrant, but has a beautiful color.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Herbal Tea from the Garden

Occasionally, I treat myself to a cup of herbal tea from my own garden.

I pick a handful of raspberry and blackberry leaves, as well as some mint and lemon balm. Rinse them well and brew a pot of tea. I like adding a bit of honey from my dad’s apiary to my tea. I get an organic, delicious, and fragrant drink. I also find it very calming.

Take a look at my new teapot. I found it at TJ Maxx. I love the little birdie design. Also, it has a big opening, so I can fit my hand inside, which makes it quite easy to wash.

The tea cup was a tourist souvenir that I brought home from my visit to Copenhagen, Denmark a few years ago. I bought it for a dollar at a flea market there. I love that darling tea cup.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ten Thousand Steps a Day

I once heard or read somewhere that to stay fit, a person should make about ten thousand steps a day. I thought it makes sense since it seemed like awfully a lot to me. But I doubted that I was meeting that requirement myself.

About a year ago, I received a free pedometer from my husband’s company that has a special health incentive program, and since then I’ve been wearing it every day. What is more, now it is my daily goal to walk ten thousand steps. And surprisingly I meet this goal most of the days without any extra sweat!

Here is how I do it:

I get 5,000 to 7,000 steps just by doing daily activities and house chores such as:


doing laundry (I hang it on a cloth line to dry)

picking up misplaced items and toys around my home

gardening, swiping walks, and watering outdoor plants in summer (I water with a bucket, not a hose)

washing my car

grocery shopping

I get another 2,000 to 3,000 steps by playing with my children in the front/back yard or in our local park. 

I also made it a part of my daily routine to take a short evening walk (15-30 minutes), which provides me with additional 1,000 to 3,000 steps.

It is easier to walk 10,000 steps a day during spring and summer months as the days are longer and I spend more time outdoors.

To get a bit of extra exercise during the short and rainy winter days, I exercise on my indoor bike. For a bonus, I read while pedaling.

Do you have a pedometer and keep track of your steps? Do you think you make 10K steps a day? How do you do it?