August’s Cheep Trills

Chirped by Tina and Cass

Unexpected Treasures

Sometimes Nature just plops a drop of sunshine in your path to brighten your day. I photographed a variety of perfect little mushrooms while hiking with my sister a couple of weeks ago. And I’ve never seen a feather like this – I’m guessing it’s from one of those purplish finches that love to nest behind our shutters. Since it was unaccompanied by ants, gore, or signs of struggle, I choose to think of it as a little present left on my doorstep. The cobweb was wafting in the breeze one dewy morning as my son left for his summer job. I like to take a moment (and a picture!) to appreciate these little gifts when they make a surprise appearance during the course of my day. (-:

Bowl-o-PeachesPeaches Galore

The peach trees have really been popping this summer with lots of juicy fruit.  Both our friends’ peach trees, one in Sedona and one in Perkasie, have had an overabundance of fruit that they have been sharing with neighbors and friends.  Who can resist this yummy peach goodness of August?!  Anyone have any great peach recipes to share?

Fly-CatcherFly Catcher

 Here’s a little life hack favorite for getting rid of those pesky fruit flies that just might be attracted to your peaches! My sister told me about this one years ago, but when I shared it with some guests this past weekend, they’d never heard of it, so I guess it’s still worth sharing. Take a small glass or cup and put a little cider vinegar in the bottom. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the top and secure with a rubber band around the rim. With a pointy pencil, poke 4 or 5 holes in the wrap. Nestle the cup into your buggy fruit bowl overnight, and you’ll be amazed at how many fruit flies are lured in by the smell of the cider and are too dumb to find their way out. It’s an all natural bug catcher!

AJ-FikryFavorite book of the month 

Our favorite read from this month’s book club selections was The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin. It’s a clever tale of a bookstore owner in a small island community who sees his life playing out like the chapters and literary devices of the many books he has read and shared over his lifetime. It’s also got lots of great references to other books you might want to consider reading, if you haven’t already!

Road Tripping

This summer was my first road trip adventure from Pennsylvania to Arizona, taking three days to drive a boy back to school. We saw some amazing sights (cows and skies), had a few twist and turns (passing a truck fire and experiencing a screw in one of our tires), and were reminded to have a little faith along the way.  The journey was definitely calling to me to come through again – with more time and more stops.


I know I’ve said it before, but I just love it when I find a new use for something that would otherwise be discarded. The Yarn Bloom continues to keep on giving! After washing and drying all the flowers and crocheted creatures my sister made for the Bloom, we’re in the process of attaching them to burlap backers to create wall hangings: one a flowery collage and the other a frolicking bears scene for our cousin’s new baby girl’s room.

Banana-BreadRecipe Trill

Banana Bread Goodness! This is my mom’s recipe. Not sure where it originally came from, but it’s delicious and a great use for those overripe bananas you were about to throw away! Another upcycling project! (-;


Mom’s Blender Banana Bread

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Ingredients: 2 1/2 c. flour (sifted), 3 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 c. chopped walnuts (optional), 1 c. sugar, 1/3 c. softened butter (not melted), 1 egg, 3 small ripe bananas cut into chunks, 1/2 c. milk.

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and nuts together in a bowl. In a blender, add the sugar, butter, egg, bananas, and milk and blend for about 6-15 seconds.  Pour this mixture into the dry mixture and stir together (not too much). Pour into a bread pan.  Bake about 50 minutes and test the center with a toothpick to make sure it is cooked on the inside.  If toothpick comes out gooey, add about 10 minutes. I have some mini loaf pans that only take about 35 to 40 minutes to bake if you divide the batter up between the four pans. They make great gifts!

Burn-the-ListProcrastinator’s Reward

I’ve been trying to follow my own advice (see “Five Little Pecks to Prod a Procrastinator”) and break up my gazillion to-do’s into manageable-sized lists. It is pretty satisfying to set fire to one when you’ve crossed everything off!

Dogs Days of Summer

This August has been brutally hot (when it wasn’t raining for days on end), and our pooches have been missing their longer walks and playing ball in the yard. We’re all looking forward to the cooler days of fall.

Quito-CathedralLeisure Time

Hot days make for lazy nights – a great time to pull up a chair, enjoy a beverage, and chat over a puzzle. While vacationing with family, the puzzle table was busy non-stop. This one that my sister found in a thrift store was of the Gold Church in Quito, Ecuador. Coincidentally, we had just visited this cathedral on our trip to the Galapagos in June.



That’s a wrap for August! Seriously, we’d love to hear about your favorite peach recipes in the comments… we’re drowning here! Links appreciated, too, Lol…

July’s Cheep Trills

Chirped by Tina and Cass

As you’ve probably noticed, we like to end each month by highlighting ten great things that we enjoyed over the course of the last 30 days or so. Whether it was a fun event we participated in, something we read for book club, a new recipe we tried, a craft that we loved, or an awesome life hack we discovered, taking the time to make our list helps us appreciate the good stuff and stay positive even through difficult or trying times.

Favorite Books for the Month

Ok, full disclosure, Cass and I didn’t actually finish/read July’s book club selections, but you’ll be happy to know that if our clubs didn’t think a book was really great, or we didn’t actually read it ourselves, we’re certainly not going to list it as a favorite! So we’ve gone back into our pre-blog archives to pull out two favorites from last year.

IMG_6166At the Edge of the Orchard, by Tracy Chevalier. Set in the mid 1800s, this novel introduces you to James and Sadie Goodenough, who headed West with some cuttings from the family orchards to stake their own claim… on the edge of a swamp in Ohio where their wagon got stuck. I loved being immersed in the brutal realities of frontier life, and was fascinated by the descriptions of cultivating and trying to maintain an apple orchard. When their youngest son escapes the crazily dysfunctional family to head to California, we learn all about the giant redwood Continue reading

April, May & June’s Cheep Trills

Chirped by Cass (and Tina)

This month’s favorites are a compilation from April, May and June since “life” got away from us and we are behind on posting our monthly highlights.  So let’s begin.

Favorite Books of the Months

June-booksThe Dry by Jan Harper is a compelling murder mystery set in a fictional, drought-plagued, small Australian town that I read in a day and kept Tina busy on the flights to and from the Galapagos.  She finished it just in time for the “you may now unbuckle your seat belts” ding, and had the flight attendant grilling her about who dunnit?!

Painted Hands by Jennifer Zobair describes the friendship of some young Muslim American career women and all the different ways that cultural traditions, stereotypes, political climate and well-meaning aunties shape their decisions and Continue reading