Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Make Your Own Hummingbird Nectar!

In March our family moved from Massachusetts to Western New York for my husband's career. My dad was really sad to see us go, even though we are only 6 hours away, he was certainly melancholy about it. The day we actually moved he gave me the MOST beautiful hummingbird feeder I have ever seen. It is actual red glass. It's got a hummingbird etched on it and it just brightens up the yard.

When I got it to my new home unscathed, I realized it had no fluid or food to put into it. I couldn't find any at the store. I asked my dad about it and he said you can make your own. Off to trusty Google, to search for a solution I went. Turns out it is REALLY easy to make.

It is simply 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. So for every 4 cups of water, I added 1 cup of white granulated sugar. I heat it on the stove top, stirring occasionally, so that it is completely dissolved, allow it to cool, and then fill your clean bird feeder. It takes 2 batches to fill the feeder, however you should really throughly clean these things each week to ensure that the birds do not get sick, as yeast and bacteria grow really quickly, especially in the heat of Summer. Because of this I will only half fill it from now on. On a side note, Artificial dyes, honey and sugar other than white table sugar should not be used in nectar feeders.

We have seen a hummingbird on 2 occasions so far, which to me is really impressive since we just put it out a few months ago.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rental Headaches

Well, we have been having some landlord issues. We are renting a beautiful home in WNY, on of three Queen Anne's in a row, right across the road from Lake Erie, and while I NEVER thought I would live in such a house, it's been a headache in the last couple of months. Apparently, the owner's realtor was in a hurry to get a commission and did not carry out their wishes properly, and they did not have proper communication with their own realtor.

Unfortunately, said realtor did us just as much of a disservice as he did his own client. We are dealing with the ramifications of the landlord not wanting to provide what the lease states such as snow removal, water, and trash fees. We had a budget in mind while selecting houses, and these items being included was a major rental point, and had they not been included, this location would have been taken off of our potential rental list.

Also, the landlord hates cats and after we had lived here 3 months brought the issue up of my two cats, and it's been brought up since. We wrote down on our rental application that we had two cats and a little dog. I feel unwelcome here with all manner of issues being brought up such as the cats. They are part of our family and I am not abandoning them for a 2 year lease. Not. Happening.

There are many more issues like her antiques being stored in the house, wanting to come in more than I think necessary, etc,... I am just used to paying my rent and minding my business and that is the end of it. I am not accustomed to having to deal with so many issues, nor do I think I should have to because we are paying GOOD money to live here.

Since she wants to break our lease by refusing to pay for the snow removal (and it is a super long driveway, nothing we could possibly shovel ourselves) I am believing that will free us from the lease as well. She is so nervous about my cats, perhaps she would not argue the case should we decide to move.

This all really is too bad because it's a dream house, and we just moved almost 5 months ago!! The company provided professional movers which we will not have again, so we would be completely on our own as usual. I never dreamed something like this would happen. Not only that, but my kids are all set for school, and one son already started school and I can't move him, what a disruption!!! This is a school he REALLY needs to be in, I can only hope that continuity of schooling would not be an issue if we move out of district. He has an out of district placement, which the current district is paying for. Mike is trying to find out about that today so we know what we are dealing with.

Hubby just got approved for a mortgage today, which I totally did not think would happen for quite some time. What a surprise. The approval, and *supposed* interest rate sound way too good to be true. Are they really that desperate to get people to stop moving out of the area and move in instead? I don't know what to believe. It would certainly be nice to have our OWN house, and one that cuts our rent in HALF at that, as the calculators online are claiming. I guess we shall see where this all takes us, for now I am having a hard time believing what I am hearing. :P


The way I see it, we either have a binding lease or we do not.

If we do, then the landlord is breaking it by refusing to honor the provisions as laid out in the lease we signed. We need to have a free atty consult to be sure on NY state law, but I am thinking this *should* free us from any obligation.?

If we do not, because of the landlord not signing it (as she recently conveniently mentioned, which we had not even noticed) then we also do not have a lease.

I mean it can't be both ways right? We can't be obligated yet the landlord not be obligated on their end right?? hmmmmmm......I'll keep ya posted.

Also, we saw a pretty little house in a very CUTE neighborhood yesterday and it was love at first sight! I want it soooo sooo bad!! Not a bad price at all, and there should be plenty of kids on that street for my boys to make friends with, unlike here. Oh please please, I want it sooo bad!

The very pretty home? We are buying it! The only downside is that it has no garage to get us thru these Brutal Buffalo winters, but we LOVE it. It's very charming and in a cute neighborhood.

Also after a late night phone call with the landlord (she lives in AZ), all is settled and we are free to move without legal hassle. In the meantime we are open to their realtor, possible showings, plumbers and electricians at a moment's notice. God is good! Now once we move, we can stay put for a good while. =)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Our Summer Thus far and the Fourth Of July!

At the end of June my daughter, Autumn came up to visit with her boyfriend and my mother. It was a GREAT week, just like old times and it was sad to say goodbye. In a few short weeks she and her boyfriend will be parting as well to go to colleges in a state apart from each other. While they were here we played in Lake Erie, and checked out Niagara Falls, attended my youngest daughter, Felicia's moving up ceremony which was a graduation from middle school, and had many a cookout.

Around the end of that week, my dad came up and stayed until July 10th I believe. He had a good time looking at the architecture in Buffalo and bought a wide angle lens as well as a telephoto lens for his camera which he had fun playing with.

Mike's brother and nephew came up for a few days during this time. Justin's long time 29 year old girlfriend, and mom of our 7 year old nephew, died suddenly and unexpectedly during an illness. From what I've been told, she had a flu-like illness and choked/aspirated on her vomit and never came conscious again. She was in ICU with a cooling blanket trying to minimize damage, to no avail....ended up with a major heart attack. Mike had gone down for the service, and Justin and Tyler came back home with him. We sent them home on a train on the 3rd, since they had plans for the fourth they did not want to miss. They had a good time and that made me glad. We hadn't seen them for 6 months. We went to a few Lake beaches, explored the cool rocks and shells, and went back to Niagara Falls so they could experience that, made S'mores, and rocked the grill for some more cookouts!

On the fourth, we went to our FIRST Fourth of July parade ever in Lancaster, NY with my dad!!! It was fun, and I had a feeling of nostalgia with the whole thing. We had a cookout at home, played outdoor checkers on a cool mat checkerboard, and later attended fireworks in Orchard Park. It was nowhere NEAR as crazy as fireworks back home in MA. Yes, it was crowded but it was much easier to get in and out so we were very very happy with the whole experience.

Here are some pictures from our day:

The band of the high school Felicia is to start in September

Some other pictures from our time with family:

~My girls, before Felicia's moving up ceremony, June 23rd 2010

shucking corn for a cookout!
First time at Niagara falls, American side:

Second time to Niagara Falls, S'mores and other random fun:

The American Flag:

You’re the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
~George M. Cohan