Spring is popping out all around us!

It is April 10th and Spring is finally upon us! The leaves are that stunning lime green color that just pops against the bright blue sky.

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Each day a new flower emerges in my flowerbeds and it is like a reunion of old friends. I just love the perennials that add so much color and texture to my yard.

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A Hidden Gem

Today I want to share with you a special little “Hidden Gem” tucked away right under our noses. It is a beautiful country road directly behind one of Stonebridge Ranch’s gated neighborhoods…Stonebridge Estates. Traveling down Ridge Rd, you enter on the right between Virginia and Hwy 380.

This serene country road is one of my favorites to take a short cut through when I need to get a "country fix".

This serene country road is one of my favorites to take a short cut through when I need to get a “country fix”.

 Along the way, you will see some pretty country homes…some behind fancy iron gates like this one.

The entrance to one of the gorgeous properties on Gray Branch Rd.

The entrance to one of the gorgeous properties on Gray Branch Rd.

This one always makes me want to stop and take a picture.

Pure Texas!

Pure Texas!

There are several homes with horses and even one property that has a few Longhorn cattle.

They always come right up to the fence to say hello.

They always come right up to the fence to say hello.

This little Palamino was so cute and just the sweetest thing.

This little Palamino was so cute and just the sweetest thing.

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Look at the size of those horns!!

It is a short little jaunt down Gray Branch Rd to Hwy 380. But along the way, you can get lost in your thoughts and have a relaxing drive before you merge out into the traffic. Some of my favorite scenes to see in Texas is an open pasture with the rolled hay bales speckled here and there. This is getting to be a scarce find as more and more houses fill in the empty acres of land.

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So…if you are ever in the mood to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city (without leaving the city) head on over to Gray Branch Rd. But don’t tell too many people…let’s keep it our little secret!

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I’d Rather Be Thrifting!!

I woke up this morning and was in the mood to go out and visit some of my favorite Thrift Stores. Here in McKinney, we have three thrift stores. Plaza Thrift, Goodwill and The Inn Style Thrift Store (better known as the purple building).

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Located on Graves across from Sam’s Club.

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Located in the Shopping Center on the South East corner of Virginia and Central Expressway.

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Located on University (Hwy 380) at Tennessee St.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoy shopping at thrift stores because you just never know what treasure you are going to come across.

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Cute sign (marked down several times)

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Pretty jewelry…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love going through the clothes racks and finding these great name brands for such bargain prices.

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Rows and rows of clothing .

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Popular name brands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some people do not enjoy shopping at thrift stores . Me, on the other hand, LOVE shopping at our local thrift stores. I feel it’s a way for community donations to be recycled back into the community. I have a good friend that buys all her grandchildren’s clothes at one of the well known thrift stores in town. Infant and small children’s clothing hardly has any wear and some have never been worn at all!!

I enjoy going into my favorite thrift store and heading to all the different sections of the store to check out the new arrivals. I usually head to the women’s clothing first.

After I have gone through all the racks in that section, I then go straight back to the shoes!

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All colors and styles!

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Designer brands…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From there, I like to see what fun things they have placed on the shelves in the Housewares section. They have some nice home décor items and some just downright FUN items too.

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Pretty little casserole dish.

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What a great birthday gift !

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Cute décor for a child’s bedroom.

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What a unique item! Pancakes anyone???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I go to the check out counter, I always stop to browse through the purses. Look at this cute little basket purse for Summer!

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Brand new purse with the tag still attached!

The favorite part of my visit to the Thrift Store is always checking out at the cash register. It always amazes me how much you can get for such a small amount of money. I always go home excited to put my treasures away in their proper place. And there they will live happily…until the time that I, myself, get ready to donate them! ha ha ha

 

Sometimes you just want to take the Back Roads…

One of my favorite things to do is get in the car and explore! And my favorite place to explore are the Back Roads!

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You just never know what you are going to come upon when you a traveling the quiet, shaded back roads. Hidden in the country away from the traffic, you can take your time and just take it all in.

My husband and I often go out exploring on the many back roads in our area. Yesterday, we set off for another adventure not knowing what special sights we would come across. As we traveled along the bumpy road we came across a property that had these fellas out in the pasture. As soon as we stopped to take a look, they were headed our way. They came right over to the fence to say hello.

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Going down the road a little bit further, we came across these chickens out in the yard scratching and searching for some yummy bug to eat.

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We even came across this property that had a nice rock display out in front of their house. I sure wish I could have taken it home with me. It did get some landscaping ideas flowing though. loved that “M”!!

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I would like to encourage you all…next time you are out and about on the busy streets and you see one of these hidden gems…make that turn and  TAKE A BACK ROAD!!!

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Precious Prints in Clay

Today I made a visit to Jamie LeVine at her McKinney home based business Prints in Clay. Prints in Clay is a family run local business created and built with lots of love and hard work.

The Beautiful Jamie LeVine standing in front of her main display wall. She  has a huge heart to match her amazing talent.

The Beautiful Jamie LeVine standing in front of her main display wall. She has a huge heart to match her amazing talent.

Jamie had scheduled an appointment during the time we planned to spend together so I would have the opportunity to take some photos of the process of creating a “Print in Clay”. Her adorable 11 month old client…and her Mommy, were both excited to get started.

 

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Isn’t she just a doll?

The LeVine’s have created such a charming business space in their home that rivals any storefront business in town. The pale green walls display the many design samples that are available.  There are hand prints and foot prints of all sizes and colors configured in a variety of themes. As I looked around the room, I was oohing and aweing at every turn.

 

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This is one of my favorites!

 

Customers can choose from sports themes, color schemes, family prints and just about any design you can imagine that will fit into the kiln.

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Once the customer chooses the design they want, the colors that will be used to fill in the print  and their favorite font, it is then time to get the prints pressed into the clay.

Jamie is a real pro when it comes to managing the many infants and children that enter through her door each day. She and the parent work together to help the child feel at ease while she takes the child’s hand (or foot) and presses it into the cold, sticky clay to obtain the best impression possible. It isn’t always easy to get a small child to cooperate but she sure made it look effortless.

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Mommy helps out in the process of creating the print.

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Such a sweet keepsake to keep forever.

After finishing up the prints, she will transform the gray cold clay into a lasting treasure. She will carefully paint it and fire it in her kiln. She finishes it up with a colorful ribbon. These incredibly cute “Prints in Clay” make such special gifts for any occasion. Her pricing is very reasonable for a such a priceless keepsake.

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Prints in Clay is a thriving small business that is one of a kind in our area. She transforms handprints into turkeys, pumpkins and even cute little Santas! Other design options that Jamie offers are thumbprint necklaces, Christmas ornaments, jewelry trays and many more unique, creative products.

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If you would like to learn more about Prints in Clay, I encourage you to visit the website where you can view her many, many design options. http://www.printsinclay.com

 

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Jamie LeVine, thanks again for allowing me to share a glimpse of your amazing business on my Blog. It was such a pleasure to see all your unique designs in person. What a great service you provide for parents of small children. These precious Prints in Clay are a real treasure!

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Jaime’s smile shows the LOVE that she has to share with all her clients.

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Jaime gently presses a tiny hand into the clay to make a lasting memory.

 

 

Erwin Park: Where Cyclists and Nature Come Together!

This morning I went out with my husband to take some photos at Erwin Park. Erwin Park is an open space multi-acre park at the North end of McKinney on FM 1461 (or Lake Forest Drive to most of us). There are winding curves  that make for lots of fun and challenge while you are navigating your bike on the road.

Erwin Park is a beautiful place to spend the day.

The winding road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the more daring bicyclist, there are dirt trails with a variety of difficulty that are sure to keep even the experienced rider on their toes.

Trail markers are all along the trail to help you navigate.

Some of the trails are quite hilly and challenging.

As we rode around in our Jeep, we noticed many people out getting ready to go out on the trails. It appeared that many of them come here every weekend to get in a good ride as well as socialize with the other cyclists.

This rider is making sure his tires are all pumped up.

Many riders were stretching out and checking their bikes out making sure they were in tip top condition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This group of riders looked as if they had just come off the trails and were enjoying themselves under the big shade trees that are lining the road.

This group of riders looked as if they had just come off the trails and were enjoying themselves under the big shade trees that are lining the road.

My husband and I drove down the road a little further and came across this campground. We decided to get out of the Jeep and explore a little. We walked over to the trails that were kind of hidden behind the trees and hoped that a rider might come by.

One of the many campground areas in Erwin Park.

 

It was to our delight that soon after getting settled at the side of the trail (in a safe spot), two riders came by on their bikes. It was a hilly area of the trail and they were both struggling and getting a VERY GOOD WORKOUT!!

 

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Cyclist riding down one of the trails.

Peddling up the hill appeared to be much harder.

Peddling up the hill appeared to be much harder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we continued down the road we saw some people that had set up a camp area and were having a great time! This is one of the few places in McKinney that families are able to set up a tent and camp with their families overnight.

This sure looks like fun!!

 

Exploring Erwin Park turned out to be a real learning experience and lots of fun!! The park has play equipment for the kids and nice restroom facilities as well as several gazebo areas that would be the perfect place for a Family Reunion or a Birthday Party.I would encourage anyone who loves to explore to come out to Erwin Park… spend a day with friends or family and get back to nature!

Website for directions and information on Erwin Park:

http://www.dorba.org/trail.php?t=10

 

It is a beautiful place to ride your bike, hike nature trails, have a campfire and roast some marshmallows or just go for a nice drive through the park and enjoy being out in the quiet country atmosphere. You won’t be sorry. You might even meet some new friends like we did!

You can come and enjoy the park all day long.

 

 

This group of guys were kind enough to pose for a pic for my story.

This bridge was a nice cool place to take a break on a hot day like today.

 

A Visit with a Special Lady…and her feathered “Girls”.

This morning I had the opportunity to visit with Karen Klassen and the subjects of her new passion.

Karen is not only a savvy business woman who owns her own very successful business on the Square in Downtown McKinney, she organizes and sponsors the Annual McKinney Alzheimer’s Walk, she lovingly cares for her parents and now…she is RAISING CHICKENS!!! 🙂

 

Karen just loves her sweet little "girls".

Karen just loves her sweet little “girls”.

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She has them eating out of her hands.

Karen has really set up a special Chicken Coop for her chickens. They have a wonderful antique mirrored door so they can check themselves out and see if their feathers are all in place.

Mirrors are an important accessory in every "girls" life.

Mirrors are an important accessory in every “girls” life.

She has also included special items that are very meaningful to her. I’m sure each time she looks at this sign it stirs memories that are very dear to her. This was the original sign from her Mother’s Antique Store. (circa 1980) A perfect decorative item for this luxury Coop.

A special addition to Karen's Chicken Coop.

A special addition to Karen’s Chicken Coop.

Other fun accessories include stained glass windows, a fabulous Perfume sign and cute little details that have been added with much thought and lots of love.

A "girl" has got to smell good!

A “girl” has got to smell good!

Karen has named each one of her chicken cute, unique names such as Dolly, Izzy, Frizzle, and Wynonna. She brought the “girls” home when they were one day old and has totally nurtured them each day since. She calls them when it is time to eat and they come running. She shared each of their unique personalities with me and talked just like a doting Mom. ( I guess they could call her their “Mother Hen”! he he) There is no doubt, Karen has found a new passion and I love that her Dad shares in his daughter’s vision. I shot this photo when they weren’t looking and it is one of my favorites!

Karen and her Dad checking out the chicks in the new chicken run.

Karen and her Dad checking out the chicks in the new chicken run.

I knew when I was invited over to see Karen’s house to see her Chicken Coop that it was not going to be just any ordinary Coop. What I found when I got there was an extravagant little chicken village. These are some very happy little chicks for sure. I look forward to visiting again when they start laying those eggs!!!

What a special place to live.

What a special place to live.

Thank you Karen for a wonderful morning and especially for sharing your new passion. This next photo just says it all.

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