What we found while removing weeds from our Bamboo Garden

Happy Easter everyone!   While I wasn’t really thinking of writing a post today, I thought I should because something happened yesterday that was very timely with Easter.  Of course to me, Easter means the resurrection of Christ, but to kids (and many adults), Easter means something different.

Yesterday, after a fun day trip to Buda, Texas which ended with a really good meal at a local place called Chavelo’s Mexican Restaurant, when we were at home, my husband decided to take on a project of taking out the weeds that have been growing in our bamboo beds.  With Spring in Texas coming in earlier than most everyone in the colder states, the weeds have really taken on the bed and they are thick, thorny and hard to pull out.  To pull a whole weed plant out requires a hoe.  So while he was hitting the ground with a hoe, he heard some screeching noise. He was so surprised when some baby bunnies came out of the hole.  Worried that he accidentally hurt the bunnies, we looked in the nest to check for some signs.  Thankfully, the bunnies seem fine.  After looking around we found the bunnies that escaped. My husband was very careful when he picked up the bunnies, inspected them and put them back in the nest.  Then he covered the nest with grass.  I was able to take a few shots of one bunny before it was put back in its nest.

Baby Bunny
Finding baby bunnies in our bamboo garden.

Continue reading “What we found while removing weeds from our Bamboo Garden”

Take Your Vitamin N

Take your Vitamin N

 

Don’t be surprised if your children’s pediatrician hands you a prescription that looks like this:

Rx For Outdoor Activity
Rx For Outdoor Activity

 

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) provides the above prescription pads to pediatric health practitioners to encourage children to actively participate in nature activities.   As human beings, our deep affiliation to nature is in our biology.  However natural it is, our connection to nature grows and deepens ONLY by nurturing it.  It’s encouraging to know that some pediatricians are actually prescribing nature play to their patients.  This infographic and many other downloadable resources can be found from NEEF’s website.

NEEF-CNI-Infographic

Continue reading “Take Your Vitamin N”

Photo Project Theme Week 31 – Everyday Ordinary

It’s been awhile since I have posted in my personal photo project (3P52) so I thought I’d do one this time.  For this week’s inspiration, I thought about photographing things that most of us come in contact with  – inanimate things that we touch once or even more every single day.  These are things we leave our fingerprints and our scent on.

All the shots today were taken from my Nikon D7000 camera using 18-105mm lens and Nikon SB900 flash. No special setup done as far as background or lighting except for using my flash. Images were processed in Adobe Lightroom and MacPhun software.  One of the main reasons I did this shoot today is to play with the different MacPhun applications.  I used the MacPhun Intensify Pro, MacPhun Focus 2 Pro, MacPhun Tonality Pro.   I got these for Christmas as a present from my husband and so far I’m having a lot of fun with them.  I love the software but beware of their customer service.  Their customer service is close to none.*

But anyway, for this week’s theme I’d start with a doorknob or a door handle.  Everyone goes in and out of doors every day, whether it be the door in your house or a car, there’s a knob or handle that we touch to open and/or close it.  For this shot, you might notice that there’s some sort of texture on the handle itself, and that is because there is.  I added a paper texture and brushed it on the handle to make it look interesting.  I also put some “phun” into it by adding a little bit of motion using the application.

Everyday Ordinary - Door handle
Everyday Ordinary – Door Handle

 

Next is toothbrush.  Everyone brushes their teeth (I hope) at least once a day. Even young children can hold their own toothbrush and brush their teeth. I wanted to focus the arched design on the surface as I thought this was the most interesting part of this toothbrush.  I took this shot from my bathroom sink.

Everyday Ordinary - toothbrush
Everyday Ordinary – Toothbrush

Continue reading “Photo Project Theme Week 31 – Everyday Ordinary”

Start your year Right – Connect With Nature

Happy New Year everyone!  Most of us think of ways on how we can make our new year better than last year.  We all at some point in time have come up with new year’s resolutions.  But how serious are we really about fulfilling them?

Focusing on key areas of our lives – mental, physical, social, and spiritual health will help us reach our optimum well being. As you know, as a Landscape and Nature photographer, I try to share the benefits that nature offers us because I love nature and I’m passionate about it.

So here are some things we can do to reap the benefits of nature and help us move forward to a great fresh start.

Meditative Hiking / Reflection / Commune / Practice Mindfulness

One of the things I love about nature is its potential for peace and quiet.  I say “potential” because I see some people especially from younger generation who go out and hike or walk in the park but have earphones plugged into their ears so they can be listening to something else.  For me, that just totally defeats the purpose of being out there in the first place.  It’s difficult to find a truly peaceful place these days especially if you live in a busy city or suburb.  A lot of times you have to go far away and deep into the woods to enjoy the quiet.  This can be a challenge to some as they have no means to go far and away.

Hiking

In the quiet of nature, try to just keep your mind still and forget about your worries and cares.  Try to just think of the present moment and commune with nature. Meditate and reflect. You can do this as you walk or sit in a place surrounded by the beauty of nature.  This gives a very calming effect in your being.  And as you do this, be mindful of what surrounds you, the details of the trees, the leaves, the paths you cross, the rocks, even the occasional wildlife you encounter along your walk. Be one with nature.

 Bamboo

Continue reading “Start your year Right – Connect With Nature”

How To Have a Stress-Free Non-Commercialized Christmas Celebration

Peace Ornament
Did you know that Christmas is one of the most commercialized holidays?  It’s sad but true. Nowadays as early as September, some stores have already started displaying Christmas related merchandise right next to Halloween.  Growing up in the Philippines, I could understand that. Because there were no Halloween nor Thanksgiving holidays there,  as soon as September rolls, stores start to put up Christmas displays and play Christmas music.   But here in the United States, it seems like Christmas comes earlier every year.  Stores are competing for business and want to get ahead of their sales that holidays have become just ways to lure people to spend unnecessarily and not really give thought to the true meaning of the holidays they’re celebrating.

If you want to experience a stress-free non-commercialized Christmas celebration, read on.   Here are six ways that could help you have a more relaxed Christmas holiday.

1.  KEEP IT SIMPLE

Plan on keeping your celebration a simple one.  Christmas is not about lavish parties or extravagant presents.  The true meaning of Christmas is honoring and remembering that God sent His one and only Son our Savior Jesus Christ.  When Jesus was born, He didn’t even have an elaborate entry into this world.  He was born in a manger where only Joseph, Mary and the barn animals were present.  It was a great example of true humility from which we could learn from. Be with family and friends who are dear to you and give thanks to God for His gift to us.

2.  GO ON A MEDIA DIET

Marketers are very good at getting the attention of consumers.  This is why every year, millions of unwanted and unneeded items are purchased as gifts to self or to others. To avoid getting into this trap, it’s best to avoid TV ads or mail.

Once you get your mail, sort through them and recycle the junk mail right away including the store ads because as soon as you leave them out in the open, and you start reading these ads, you know what’s going to happen next.   If you are not aware that a certain store is having a Big Sale, chances are you really don’t have a need for the items that they are selling.  The only reason you think you need to buy something is because a certain store has a coupon or a big discount.  Advertisers are really good at capturing your attention and luring you to purchase.  As Steve Jobs quoted  “A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

3.  MAKE IT ABOUT OTHERS AND NOT ABOUT YOU

Christmas is not a reason to shop for new things for yourself.  A great way to share your love this season is to volunteer at local food pantries or rescue groups and help out when you can.   If you can’t volunteer, you can just send them some goodies to help the less fortunate.  For sure they will have a wonderful Christmas and you will feel good about it too.

4.  MAKE YOUR OWN GIFTS

Who has time to make their own gifts these days?  Not many.  That’s why handmade gifts are valuable.  It means that you took time out of your schedule to put some thought to your giving.  Handmade gifts are one of a kind and also usually more economical.  For some people making stuff could also be therapeutic.

5.  START EARLY

Starting early also means saving up incrementally during the entire year.  You know you’re going to spend more during Christmas time so don’t stress about it in December.  Set aside some spending money throughout the year.

Usually what stresses people out during Christmas season is the last-minute shopping.  Last-minute shoppers don’t get the best deals.  If you are able, don’t wait until the last minute.  Throughout the year, you will find items that are on-sale that you could give to your family or friends as  Christmas presents.  If you plan it right, by the time Christmas comes you are already done shopping and you probably got the best deals too.   Also, if you start early you will most likely have time to make your own gifts for your family and friends.

6.  TAKE TIME TO RECONNECT WITH NATURE

One of the best free antidote to a stress-free Christmas holiday is the time you spend outside in a relaxing quiet of nature.  Nature benefits us in so many ways.  It has the ability to melt down our stress and worries when we truly connect with it.  As Dr. Les Higgins  said in his book Claim your Wildness: And Let Nature Nurture Your Health and Well-being, “the mix of solitude and beauty sets the scene perfectly for contemplation, reverie and reflection.”  Even 10 to 15 minute walks will help refresh your mind and spirit.  If you are not able to go out in nature, go to a quiet room and listen to some soothing sounds or look at some landscape and nature photos.  These also have some benefits to the way your mind works and help reduce stress.

I hope that you found these tips helpful and that you will have a great Christmas celebration with your loved ones away from the commercialism Christmas season has become.