Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Color Run


Have you heard? The Color Run is coming to Charlotte. I signed up for the 5km run in November and it sounds like

1) a ton of training
2) a riot of colors
3) a lot of FUN!!

It's like India's Holi-Festival-of-colors-turned-fund-raiser.

What it is is a run/jog/walk that you sign up for. You can sign up as an individual, or a team of at least 4. My friends and I formed a team, and our team name - Your face, our Rear. :p

You start the race, wearing a completely white outfit. As you run the race, the volunteers, sponsors and event staff members on the sidelines will be color bombing the participants. In the first km, you'll be bombed with yellow, the 2km blue, 3km green, 4km PINK, and in the last kilometer is the "Color Extravaganza"! I'm glad they have the color Pink so late in the run. It'll be a good motivator for me and my girlfriends to get there! And thereafter, finishing the last km will be easier.

Who am I kidding, I better get my butt off the couch and start training!

The Color Run is not limited to Charlotte, NC. It's all over the US and if you haven't heard of it, check out their website, and sign up now before they're sold out!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Birding: The Chronicles of the 3 Orphaned Starlings


This is Starling 1 & 2 on Day 20, before they took off. :(

The story thus far.

J and I found the our little starlings just one week old. Barenaked as newborns can be. We took them in, lovingly cared for them, hand fed them till they became strong, with their feathers all grown out.

Every day while I was at work, J would take them outside to work on strengthening their wings. Very soon, they started to flap their wings frequently. We kept them outdoors during the day, so they could be exposed to sunlight and the sounds of their surroundings.

I came home from work on Day 18. J placed the biggest and strongest starling on a post. He clapped his hands twice, opened his palms and the bird flew to him. My jaw dropped. What has he been teaching them while I was away??? I picked up the second biggest, it perched on my arm, flapped its way to my shoulder and sat there for a bit. I almost shed tears of joy. However, I also knew that our days with these babies is coming to an end. We didn't name them after all. Aside from Little Runt, they were all called "Chickies" collectively.

Keeping them in the house has been a challenge because they keep flying out of their box. We keep the box in the bathroom when the lizards are out of their tanks. If we have our air on, they sleep in the towel-lined box next to a small space heater to keep them warm.

Day 19 - In the evening, we took the chickies outside to work on their flying. They pecked around at bugs they found, and the bigger two were testing their flight a lot more. We were worried about Little Runt who seemed more eager to stay in his box. I set out a shallow dish of water. Starling 1 & 2 took a drink for the first time! Starling 2 even took a bird bath and splashed around in the water! When the day was done, we had quite a difficult time trying to get them back into their box.

Day 20 - I took them outside again yesterday morning. Once Starling 1 got used to the surroundings, he took off, flew onto a branch in a tree. I followed him with my eyes until i could see him no longer and whispered a heart broken goodbye.

Starling 2 hopped behind the bushes, and refused to come out, so i turned my focus on Little Runt. I tried to coax Little Runt to fly, but he seemed content hopping around on the ground. I read somewhere that fledglings need a day or two on the ground before they start to fly. So I went inside the house.

When I came back outside, I could not find Starling 2. I figured he took off just like his bigger brother. Feeling very sad, i called out to Little Runt to feed him. I found him on the ground so I picked him up and was getting ready to feed him. Now I keep their food in a glass bowl and whenever I feed them, I clink the bowl a little with my chopsticks. I think they got used to the sound, because when I clinked my bowl this time, Starling 2 flew out of nowhere and landed on my bowl! I was so surprised, but fed him anyway. After 2 mouthfuls, he flew away. Little Runt took off behind those bushes as well.

At this point, I simply gave up. I stopped chasing after them. I don't think I am meant to keep them anymore. It is time to say good bye and set them free. They will have to learn fast in order to survive, but I believe they're smart little birds. I came outside several more times during the day and caught a few glimpses of the chickies each time. I convinced myself they were doing great, and so this chapter has come to an end.

Such a strange way to experience motherhood. Now I am feeling the empty nest syndrome.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Favorite Things: Wild Berries Cobbler


Now that it is summer, blackberries are growing in abundance in the wild! J and I took a stroll to the nearby park one day and decided to pick them to whip up a quick and easy blackberry cobbler for dessert! Only we forgot about those thorny bushes. Don't be too eager to jump in and start picking like we did! I got caught amongst those thorns and J had to untangle a very scratched-up me.


Pick ones that look the darkest and plumpest!

We picked 4 cups of berries (yes, we brought a measuring cup just for that purpose!) and here is how to make your own fuss free cobbler for the weekend!



You need:

4 cups blackberries
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar (or more to taste)
6 tablespoons of melted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pre-heat oven to 375 deg F. Lightly grease an 8 inch baking dish, then place blackberries in dish. Sprinkle lemon juice over berries.

In a mixing bowl, add egg, flour and sugar and stir until it is the consistency of coarse meal.

Sprinkle mixture over berries, and then drizzle butter over the top.

Then it is ready for the oven! Bake in oven at 375 deg F for about 35 minutes, or until the topping is lightly browned and bubbly. Let it stand for 10 minutes.

Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream!

Recipe from here


It was perfect because the tartness of the berries balanced well with the sweet cobbler topping. It would have been divine if we had vanilla ice cream to accompany this dessert!

And I didn't have to work too hard for this one, well, except for the picking.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

To my dearest friend...

To my dearest friend, Deaf Knee, it was but two years ago when you were my maid-of-honour. I wish i could be there on your big day today, but i can only send my love and best wishes from 10000 miles away.
Thank you for being a wonderful friend for the last twenty something years, through TSD, the squashed fairies and MustardSeed and magic8ball!!!! I love you so much!!!!!

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Cordeiro!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Favorite things : Tomato and Mozzarella


I'm not one to cook, so I don't have very many awesome recipes. But there are several simple things in life you don't have to be a chef to prepare.

Slice a big juicy tomato

Cut up some mozarrella cheese

Add salt (and pepper) to taste

Garnish with fresh basil leaves (from the garden, preferably!)


P.S. I got a feature post on Jess' blog Avant-Garde Living

Go check it out!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Birding: Our Pride and Joy


So, a week after taking these birds in, they're still alive and well! They've grown out most of their feathers now, but they have very fine, cute tufts of feathers sticking out the sides of their heads which make them look so adorable. If you look at the picture here you will see how they have grown!

But my, are they LOUD. With each day, their chirps grow stronger and shriller. Every feeding, as I pop my head over their box, they start chirruping in anticipation of food.

I read on some website that starling babies need food that's high in protein and fat, and they recommend cat / dog dry food. So I have been feeding them cat food, pre-soaked in water to soften, and then mashed into pulp. Then I use a pair of chopsticks to feed the mashed up cat food down their throats. In the beginning, I was so afraid they wouldn't be able to swallow their food. Even though i mashed the food up into really soft pulp, they would reach with their necks stretched out, beaks wide open so i could shove food down their throats. It was a little worrying to feed them like this, and it's a miracle they haven't choked, but I guess that's just how little birdies eat!

Over the week, we have gotten to know each birdie a little better. There is a pecking order (pun not intended) even amongst these three. There are two bigger birds who grew faster and stronger. Then there's our little baby, we call it 'Little Runt'. The two bigger birds bully Little Runt during feeding times. They step on her to make sure she doesn't stretch upwards to compete for food. But Little Runt is content to let them trample all over her! J and I make sure she gets enough to eat though.

We have since moved them to a bigger box, but they continue to grow bigger every day. I'm glad we are able to care for them. I don't know what we are going to do, but we'll take things one step at a time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Weight watching and Calorie counting!


So, the J-man decided to get in shape before his Philippines trip in July. He is on a boys only vacation with his buddies he had met in Shanghai. And he's going to be gone THREE WEEKS. Yucks.


My friend S at work introduced me to this website My Fitness Pal. It's a free site, anyone can join, so I thought I'd join in the fun. I've never really paid any attention to the food I eat. I'm not picky. I grew up eating whatever that was served to me at the dinner table. My mother was strict that way, we were not allowed to pick and choose favorite foods. And so I stayed that way. Of course I do have foods that I dislike more than others, but when I'm hungry, food is food is food.

What I meant to say is that we have started to really started to watch what we eat, so J can get in shape before his beach vacay. Although I don't think I am at the point that I need to start losing weight, I think it is pretty interesting to pay attention to calories and carbs and see how that'll work out for us!

On this site, you decide on your goal : to lose weight, to maintain etc. You punch in your height and weight and they calculate how many calories, carbs, proteins and fats you are allowed to consume in a day. Then you keep an online journal of your meals everyday, as well as a record of the exercises you do. A very simple process that takes less that 5 minutes, and at the end of each log, it estimates what you'll weigh at the end of 5 weeks if you eat according to that day's consumption.

I like it because after I punch in the numbers, I can decide at the end of the day if I have any leftover calories to consume a chocolate bar or drink a soda. That's my "treat" for eating well during the day! And sometimes it's alarming to find out how many carbs / calories are in certain foods. For example, I drink a cup of Dunkin' Donuts K-Cup coffee at work everyday. That's at 10 calories. Pretty low right? But the crunch comes when i add 3 tablespoons of liquid creamer, then BOOM i add 10 times the calories to this drink!

I mean, it makes sense, I just wasn't THAT aware all this time.

So, I guess this is a good exercise for me personally. I encourage everyone to be more aware of your food consumption too! Eat well!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

News from the garden: Our garden spilleth over

Did somebody say spill?

I meant surprise, tangle and overtake!


Hmm... When did they grow so big?
By the way, I was in the picture just for perspective.


So this is the "sandbox" that J and his friends built. He filled it with mulch and dirt and planted around 19 squash plants. We have the regular yellow squash, zucchini and scalloped squash. They're all starting to bear fruit! Yummy!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Birding: Surrogate Mothering for 3 baby Starlings

We always knew that we had a starling's nest in our roof, where the vent is. Last evening we heard the distressed chirping of a bird. After further investigation, we found a baby starling on the ground, right below it's nest! It had fallen out and was chirping for it's mama's attention.

So we looked up at the nest, and seen another baby dangerously close to the edge. It was chirping and sticking its head out so far we were afraid it was going to suffer the same fate as the first. True enough, in a few minutes, I saw the little thing fall out. I wasn't quick enough to catch it!


As we were about to leave for a friend's dinner party, the nest was too high for us to replace them, so we hurriedly filled a box with some earth and laid the two babies in it and kept it in the house. When we returned, it was quite dark. We were afraid to find a third on the ground. But we did.

We didn't know how long the nest had been abandoned. I haven't seen Mama the whole day today. Usually, when we are gardening outside, we would catch glimpses of the mother flying in and out of her nest, presumably bringing food to her babies. And why would the starlings try to leave their nest one after another?? I think it's safe to say that something has happened to the mother and these poor little babies have been abandoned.

We knew they needed some food, but probably something with protein in it. So we had to make do with some almond nuts we had at home. And since they were only babies, I had to chew them up, and feed them regurgitated nuts. Once they were nicely settled, I had to call someone.

It was a Sunday night, nobody was going to assist me, I knew.

So I left messages with the Raptor Center, and googled a little more about caring for young starlings.

I found some pictures which helped me guesstimate that the babies were about a week old. And then I read some more, and realised that i should not have fed them until we have contacted a wildlife rehabilitator. Well, too late now. But the birds seemed to gobble everything up and were fine with the nuts.


I changed their bedding and lined the box with fresh towels instead, to keep them warm throughout the night. This morning I checked on them. They were still breathing and each of them did a little Number Two, so I took that as a sign that they're doing well! I'm going to work now, J will have to watch the birds while I call the Raptor center again at lunch. Hopefully I get some help and answers.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Found: A Nautical Affair


Now that it's summer, I'm longing to hit the lake!

And I actually sat down and created a mood board for it too! Phew! It was time consuming but super fun! Here are my picks from my favorite sites!

nautical affair

:: Swimsuit :: Bib necklace :: Heels :: Maxi Dress :: Tote Bag :: Ring:: 

I love stripes, the color palette red, white and blue. So one weekend I whipped these up!

Here and here

Have a wonderful week ahead! There's time yet, to plan for a nautical weekend!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Found: Crates and Barrels

Ever since my weekend on the Chadbourne Farm, I've been dreaming of redecorating our house, or just adding special touches to the home.

Here are some nifty ideas refashioned from crates and barrels. So neat!

I'd love a beautiful organic bucket like this!

Crates on wheels!

Half a barrel makes a whole side table!

Be creative with your spaces

Vintage barrel repurpose

This one is my favorite. Repurposed from pallets into wall shelving units. How creative!!

Have an inspiring home decor week ahead!

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