Sunday, December 31, 2006

Christmas Gifts...

"The best gifts are not the ones you can see or touch, but those that you can feel with the heart..."

In the insanity of our bathroom remodel and trying to buy a new house and sell an old one, Christmas crept up on us this year for a surprise attack. Mind you, Riff and I had not been walking around all green and grinchy, we were just in our own little world and almost oblivious to the holiday cheer being spread around. Actually, I had been sewing alot and our out of town boxes for the most part, got out on time. It was the kids who live at our very own house whom we had neglected to invision gift under the tree for. Dustin actually said to us, "Where do you have the presents hid? Shilo and I have looked all over the house and we haven't found ANYTHING?" (the little snoops!) In a moment of clarity, we realized that we only had a couple of shopping days left, so off to the stores we ran the Friday before Christmas. Oh the madness, oh the hoardes of PEOPLE! We actually had pretty good luck, gathered up our loot and went home. We dashed to the bedroom, arms full of wrapping paper, tags and scissors. "Where's the tape?" "I dunno. Didn't you buy any?" "No!" "Hmm, here's some packing tape. It'll have to work." Well, the little buggers had presents under the tree and we once again pulled it off.

Christmas would not feel like Christmas without family. We were blessed this year (our "gift of the heart") by the presence of Sam and Jessica. Sam just returned from Iraq, is on a 30 day leave, so they drove up from Fort Hood, Texas. We had not seen our oldest son for almost 2 years. It was wonderful to have them home and to get to know Jes a little bit better. She is a very sweet and nice young lady. So glad to have her as part of this crazy family. It was very hard to watch them go the morning that they left. A pull on the heartstrings for sure.

Ryan and Natascha celebrated Christmas in Germany, but we did get to vistit with them. Brittany and her boyfriend, Chris, are still in Wyoming, but we did talk to them on the phone also. Merry Merry Christmas! We missed you guys...

Below are pictures of the madness of 7 people opening gifts in one small living room. What fun we had!

Here we have Sam and Jess on the beach. Chilly and cold, but it's still the beach!

The kids really enjoyed the hot tub. Probably the most used item at our house this past week.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Aprons...

Here they are ~ some of the 9 aprons that I made for Christmas gifts. I tucked some blank recipe cards into each pocket. They were alot of fun, and now, since I'm done with the gifts, I'm going to make myself one or two...

I also made 11 of these "beanies" for all of our skiing, snowboarding family members, and for some who don't partake in winter sports, but do live in snowy wintery areas of the country.

Hope you all had a wonderful, homemade Christmas...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Homemade Goodness...

Don't you just love homemade goodies? This bundle of wonderfulness came in the mail the other day from my sister, Gidge. She crocheted the adorable tree potholder, made the bag that holds her own homemade pinecone potpourri, whipped up the very cute basket liner, pockets and all, and filled the Christmas tin with homemade cookies and rice crispy treats. I love it all! Thanks Gidge. You're the best...
We also received a box full of delicious homemade cookies and quick bread from my stepmom, Sharon. Sharon, they were wonderful and have long since been gobbled...
May you all be blessed with homemade goodness...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

For Sale By Owner...

For Sale By Owner:
1918 charming Craftsman Cottage in the coveted Peter Pan
neighborhood. Three bedroom and one newly remodeled
bathroom. This delightful home has all the craftsman charm
from an era gone past.
~Vintage-style kitchen
~Original Hardwood floors
~Bonus room in basement
~Dining Room
~Covered Deck with new hot tub
~Fenced back yard
~Paved off-street parking
Don't wait ~ This charmer won't last!
Wahoo! She finally replied and our offer was accepted. We are very excited though the hard work has just begun. Our bathroom remodel isn't quite complete, but we must now find a buyer fast. We have yet to put our sign in the yard as we are trying to get closer on the bathroom project. Can't wait any longer now, so the sign goes up tomorrow. Yikes! Wish us luck ~ If any of you Astorians roaming around out there happen to know someone that's looking, please, send them my way.
I'll try to post some picture of the new house soon.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

On a Stormy Night...

We survived last Thursday's incredible storm. It was another Pacific Northwest winter storm that would have been classified as a hurricane elsewhere. Winds were clocked hitting our coast at well over 100 mph., leaving havoc in their wake. Five people lost their lives to this little storm. Three in Washington and two right in Seaside. Please say a prayer for their families. Trees and power lines are still down all over. Many people are still without power as I write this.
The power for us went out about 2pm Thursday afternoon. After doing two escrow signings by candlelight (very accomadating, dont'cha think??), I came home to elk steak on the grill and mashed potatoes made on the coleman stove. Lights out for us turned into a rouzing game of Yahtzee played by the hiss and spit of a coleman lantern. The dice were not good to me, but Shilo and Riff both walked away with Yahtzees in their pockets. Dustin and I did not fare as well, but we were good losers. It was a fun night for us as we were one of the lucky ones whose power (and heat!) were restored about 4 am. My boss, Mary, lives right behind me and still does not have power.
May you all be blessed with electricity and heat...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Chaos...

"The stockings were hung
by the chimney with care
in hopes that Saint Nicholas
soon would be there..."

At the Niziolek household chaos reigns as usual. We are in the midst of trying to re-model our old icky bathroom, get our Christmas packages sent out around the world, and, (we must be crazy!), we have put an offer on a house this week. We are waiting for the seller to accept or counter. If she accepts then the chaos increases ten-fold. Yep, I've just decided, we are crazy!! If you see me walking down the street, babbling to myself, pay no attention. It's just my poor little mind that has gone out for a time. Hopefully it will be back soon...

May you all be blessed with a calm Christmas season...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Daily Gifts...

(This is our little fake fiber optic tree. The real one isn't up yet. I'm running behind, as usual...)

This little blurb is from one of my many Christmas books. I thought it worth sharing to help us remember that every day is Christmas...

It's not too early to give some things away this Christmas. Not just on Christmas Day, but during all the days leading up to December 25th. We could call these daily gifts our "Christmas projects". Maybe one per day from now 'til then. Here are a few suggestions.

Mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Dismiss suspicion.
Write a long overdue love note.
Hug someone tightly and whisper, "I love you so."
Forgive an enemy.
Be gentle and patient with an angry person.
Express appreciation.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Find the time to keep a promise.
Make or bake something for someone else~anonymously.
Release a grudge.
Speak kindly to a stranger.
Enter into another's sorrow.
Smile. Laugh a little. Laugh a little more.
Take a walk with a friend.
Kneel down and pat a dog.
Read a poem or two to your mate or friend.
Lessen your demands on others.
Play some beautiful music during the evening meal.
Apologize if you were wrong.
Turn off the tv and talk.
Treat someone to an ice-cream cone.
Do the dishes for the family. (wait, I think I do this every day!)
Pray for someone who helped you when you hurt.
Fix breakfast on Saturday morning.
Give a soft answer even though you feel strongly.
Encourage an older person.
Point out one thing you appreciate most about someone you work with or live near.
Offer to babysit for a weary mother.
Give your teacher a break; be especially cooperative.

Let's make Christmas one long, extended gift of ourselves to others. Unselfishly. Without announcement. Or obligation. Or reservation. Or hypocrisy.

This is the spirit of Christmas, isn't it?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Rabbit Proof Fence Scarf...

(I just realized what a terrible, dark picture this is. If you double click on the image, you'll be able to see the scarf a whole lot better...)
I have finished 5 projects in the last few days. I'm so excited to have some of them done! I cannot show most of them yet as they are Christmas presents and my nosy sisters will peek if I post them here. This scarf is for Riff's Grandma Mary and I think it is safe to post. I'm fairly certain that Grandma doesn't read this little blog. If you're peeking Grandma, I'm sorry that this won't be much of a surprise! Grandma Mary belongs to the Red Hat Society and loves to dress up, so I thought this purple angora yarn would be a good color for her. The pattern is from Morehouse Farms and is called Rabbit Proof Fence. It is an easy pattern in which you drop a stitch here and there (counting carefully, of course, to know where you are at) to create the "holes in the fence". I really am happy with the way that this turned out and may make myself one in black sometime.

Someone, who lives in my house, sometime today, messed with my camera and erased every picture that was on it. I'm a little red in the face about it (okay, alot red in the face!) and will find out which one of you darlin's put your grubby pea-pickin' hands on my Canon. From here on out I better not catch it in anybodys hands but my own without written permission from the powers that be. (That would be me, and only ME!) Fess up you scoundrals or you will find coal in your stocking ~ "He knows when you've been naughty or nice"~ Do you remember those lyrics? Take them to heart, you cowards...

May you all be blessed with finished projects AND pictures that remain firmly in place on your camera....

Monday, December 04, 2006

So Many Birthdays...So Much Good News...

We have an incredible amount of birthdays to celebrate within a week. Natascha kicked it off with her birthday last Friday, November 30th. Ryan and Natascha called from Germany before we even had a chance to call and wish her a happy day. They were terribly excited and couldn't wait to tell us the news....A baby is on the way! They found out on Friday ~ what a wonderful birthday gift. We are so happy for you guys and excited for our very first grandbaby. On the other hand, OH MY GOSH!! We are going to be grandparents! I keep telling Riff that he is definately old now, but I'll be a Grandma before I'm 40. My goodness.... Congratulations you guys. I better get sewing...

Sam was next in line, turning 25 on Saturday, December 2nd. Riff and I talked in the morning about missing being able to wish Sam a happy birthday, since he is still in Iraq. About 1 pm the phone rings. It's Sam calling from his home base in Fort Hood, Texas. Again, OH MY GOSH!! What a wonderful birthday present. A year of hell in the desert and home on your birthday. He actually had a lay over in Bangor, Maine, so Kathy, the boys mom, who lives in Maine, got to hug her baby boy on his 25th birthday. We are so glad he is home. I think maybe Riff will sleep better now with both the boys out of there.

Shilo turned 17 today, December 4th. My poor little girl had a very rough 17th birthday. We all have to have our hearts broken sometime in our lives, but why did it have to happen on her 17th birthday. My heart is crying for her today...
Her she is putting on a brave face and modeling her new hat and mittens. She requested sloppy joes and curly fries for her birthday dinner, so Riff slaved over a hot stove and popped them out for us. She also requested carrot cake (that she was to full to eat!) then Shilo and I went to a movie together. We saw "Stranger Than Fiction" which was a bit strange but really pretty good. Happy, Happy Birthday MILO ~ I'm so sorry that I can no longer fix all of your owies...

Sam's wife, our Jess, is the last birthday in this week long progression. Jess celebrates her day this coming Saturday, December 9th. Jess is very excited to have her husband back home in Texas with her. They will actually be able to celebrate their first Christmas together and be sharing it with us, as they plan on coming home "to Dad's house" for Christmas. We are so excited to see them and to get to know Jess a little bit more. Happy day, honey, we'll give you a call....

Friday, December 01, 2006

Christmas Meme...

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Neither. Anything with even a hint of dairy in it hates me, so I'll stick with my tea. Celestial Seasonings puts out some great Christmas flavors this time of year. Gingerbread Spice, Sugar Plum Fairy, Candy Cane,....

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa has always delivered just one gift to each sparkly eyed person at our house. He doesn't wrap his gifts, just sits them nicely under the tree. He does such a good job picking out gifts for us all that there has never been any confusion as to which gift belongs to which "kid".

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
I have always used colored on the tree, but someday I'm going to do an all white and gold tree. White lights will adorn the outside of our house this year. I've informed Riff that he will be putting them up soon!!

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
I have once or twice, but not as a tradition every year. Too much smooching going on for me!

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Shilo's birthday is December 4th, so I always try to wait until after her birthday. Seems that a few decorations always sneak their way in beforehand anyway...

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? many to choose from. I guess it would be Riff's crab stuffed mushrooms. Yummy!

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
When I was small and growing up in Elgin, we would go into town to Grandma and Grandpa Simmons house every Christmas Eve. Santa came around on the fire truck and, with a mighty HO-HO-HO, flung the door open of every house that had their porch light on. He would give all of us kids brown paper bags (lunch bag sized) filled with nuts, hard ripple candy, chocolate drops, and an orange. Oh what fun that was!
I can still taste that wonderful candy. We would always share our nuts with Grandpa especially, as he loved nuts so much. He always had a bowl sitting on the table with a nutcracker at hand.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
What truth about Santa? What in the heck are you all talking about?? I would be careful, he knows if you've been good or bad...

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Yes, we started doing that at my parents house when my kids were just little beans. We would go over and open the "Grandma Gifts". After we moved away from them, I still let them pick just one gift on Christmas Eve to open.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
My tree is very "kiddy" still. We still decorate with all the ornaments that the kids have made over the years. I keep thinking that someday my tree is going to "grow up". Maybe next year...

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
I grew up in snow country. You didn't see the actual ground most years from November to April or so. Snow is beautiful for a short time. I can do without it for the most part. My darling husband LOVES the snow. I have told him that we can move back to snow country on the condition that we have a nice cozy house with a fireplace that I can curl up in front of, knitting needles in hand, and not have to leave until the snow melts.

12. Can you ice skate?
Yes, we grew up with several ponds on our property that froze over in the winter. I am not at all a graceful ice skater or even a good one, but I can get around.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
The gift I always remember was a special little doll. I don't remember her name, but she had blonde hair, a pretty pink silk nightgown and she kneeled to pray with her hands folded in front of her and her eyes closed. She had a little tiny pink record in her back that played the prayer "I pray the Lord my soul to keep" prayer. I was 8, I think, that year. I had snuck downstairs EARLY EARLY in the morning, (it was mostly likely still night!) and saw her sitting under the lights of the tree. She was so beautiful that I stayed there for hours it seemed, just wanting to hold her...

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Family, friends, and giving to others. I always try to participate in some kind of charity work for the needy. This year it was the Hearts to Hands mitten program, helping to keep some little hands warm.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Gingerbread with homemade whipped cream.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Driving around looking at Christmas lights with the Christmas music blaring. We usually do this the weekend before Christmas.

17. What tops your tree?
A porcelain angel.

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving?
Giving! Totally! I wish I could be Oprah Claus!!! ( I have to agree with Monica here!)

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Love them all! I start listing to Christmas music very early in the season much to the annoyance of my dear spouse. My favorite CD's right now are my Alan Jackson Christmas Cd and our Lynyrd Skynryd CD. I know kind of a strange mix, but hey...

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
Yum! And I've always liked to decorate with them also. When the kids were little I always hung the mini candy canes on the tree. By Christmas the bottom half of the tree was always "candy cane bare". You could always tell how high the little rats could reach!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Shilo's Snowman...

Shilo, her boyfriend David, and their friend Carlos built this gigantic snowman in the old cemetary today. Isn't he cute?! Shilo took these pictures with her cell phone. They turned out pretty darn good, I thought...

May you be blessed with happy snowmen...


This is my neighbors pretty little house. I love the Christmas tree shining through the window.
We have a skiff of is canceled! How crazy is that, I ask you?! Yes, it's Astoria, yes, we have some dangerous hills (okay alot of dangerous hills!). To someone who grew up and lived in snow country for alot of years, it just seems insane to close the schools for the amount of snow that is covering our ground. Very funny, very silly and the kids are tickled to death. No snow days for me. Its off to work I go.
May you all be blessed with a freedom-giving snow day....

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Over the River and Through the Woods...

Over the river and through the woods
To Grandmothers house we go.
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through the white and blowing snow...OH!

It wasn't to Grandmothers house that we went, but to my sister, Susans. We all gathered for a Thanksgiving feast; cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, grandmas, grandpas, cats, dogs, chickens, ducks.... We got a bit carried away with the baking this year, as always. I do believe that there was at least one pie for each person in attendance and about a dozen dinner rolls apiece. We had a wonderful time visiting and laughing. Just exactly what thanksgiving is all about.
I can't take being with my sisters and brothers very often. I come away sleep deprived and with a belly ache from laughing so much. My brother, Todd, always tries to keep us up to the wee hours. Usually I resist, but this time he won so sleep did not come for Susan, Todd and I until about 3:30 AM. How any body else in the house slept with us up cackling like a bunch of chickens, I don't know. The roosters crowed mighty early the next morning. I decided if I was awake than Todd was going to be too. I pounced on him using the old tickling tactic, but the only response was a one-eyed "stop it" in a fairly whiney voice. His little 2 1/2 year old daughter, Shelby, thought that jumping on Daddy looked like great fun, but, alas, little Shelby received poor results also.

My sisters Susan, Gidge, (the crazy one with the closed eyes is ME!), and Stacey. We can't forget Roxy the dog. At least she had her eyes open!

My neice, Dawn, turned 12 today. We celebrated her birthday on Thursday, since we were all together. Happy Happy Birthday, Dawn! It was so good to see you!

I'm home now and getting ready for some much deserved sleep...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Wonderful Smells...

Happy weekend before Thanksgiving! Wonderful smells are starting to come out of my kitchen in preparation for the Thanksgiving feast. I'm sure your kitchens are smelling just as divine. I thought I would share with you one of my favorite treats this time of year ~ Cranberry Chutney ~

Cranberry Chutney
1 cup Water
1 cup Sugar
12 oz. fresh or frozen Cranberries
1/2 cup Vinegar
1/2 cup Raisins
1/2 cup peeled, diced Apples
1/4 tsp. each Allspice, Ginger, Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Cloves

Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add remaining ingrediants; return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until apples are tender. Pour into a medium glass mixing bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on sauce. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend. Best if served at room temperature. Makes 2 1/2 cups.


Raggedy Ann and Andy Pop-up Book

It Came! It came! Take a look at some of the pop-ups in this book. I think little Shelby is going to love it. I might need one for myself...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Crafting Day...

Yesterday I gave my family advance notice that I would be in my craft room all day today and any interuptions would not be tolerated! LOL! It was a good try but doesn't work very well in our tiny little 1918 uninsulated cottage. Boy is this a noisy house! I added to the noise by putting my Lynryd Skynrd Christmas CD in and playing it as loud as I could stand it. I love Christmas music so it is a must when I'm working on gifts. These very simple easy mittens about kicked my butt this morning. I have crocheted mittens before, but never sewn any and MAN I just couldn't seem to wrap my pea brain around the thumb gussett. I sewed, ripped out, ranted, raved, took a pudding break, then sewed again before figuring out that I had done it right the first time. GRRR! Anyway, I think they turned out cute after all. These two pairs will be winging their way to Lynne for her From Hearts To Hands program. If you haven't checked it out, run on over there. It is a really great program she has put together.

You may remember my little Raggedy Ann from an earlier post. She is a Christmas gift for my adorable 2 1/2 year old neice, Shelby. I thought that Raggedy Ann needed a bag to ride around in, so here it is. I have a book on the way from Barnes and Nobles to go inside the bag. It is a pop-up book called "Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy and the Camel With the Wrinkled Knees", or something along that line.

Here is Ann poking her little head out of her pocket. I'm really pleased with the way this one turned out. I'm especially pleased that I ended up having a really productive day. I'm off to work on another one of those silly head hugger hats now. No time for idle hands...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Just Another Day In Paradise...

Phil Vassar played at the Liberty Theatre here in Astoria last night. What an awesome concert! Phil is known as "The Piano Man of Country Music" and has by all rights earned that title. He, along with one lone band member, Jeff Smith on the guitar, played an acoustical concert with Phil on the piano all night. Now and then he did a stint on the harmonica. Wonderful stuff I tell ya! He has written most, if not all, of his own songs and has written alot of hits for other artists as well. Four of us girls from work received free tickets from two of the real estate agents we work with who were big sponsers of the show. What fun we had. We started with wine at the office, headed over to the Schooner for appetizers and another glass of wine before standing in line in the rain waiting for our seats. Of course we didn't stay in our seats long! To much dancing and jiving to be done. Darcy wrangled around and ended up with a VIP pass to the after show party, the little shit. We had better get some good details Monday morning I tell ya!

I have been meaning to post this picture of Shilo's first vehicle. She is so proud of herself! She bought this 1991 Ford Ranger for only $800! She spotted it one evening on her way home from work, made Riff leave his football game in progress to go check it out in the dark. It belonged to a retired couple here in town that just didn't have any use for it any longer. It's very clean and really in good shape. Books for almost $2000.00. She really did well for herself. She wanted a little truck so is most tickled...

May you be blessed with good music and fine friends...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mittens and Books...

I was zooming around in bloggityville with my mouse last night, clicking here and clicking there when I happened to click upon Lynne . What a fun site she has. She is putting together a program called "From Heart to Hands" to collect mittens for children in a terrible and scary neighborhood in New York. Run over to Lynne's site and check it out. You don't necessarily have to make the mittens to send her, you can buy some if you are short on time or talent. What a good thing this is. It would be great to do something locally like this also. I would have added her wonderful button, but alas, my skills that direction are very limited. I will figure out that button grabbing technique some day, I swear!
The next click of my mouse sent me to Overdue Books, where a reading challenge is taking place. You are not to BUY anymore books, but read 5 from your "already have" stash between Novemeber 1st and January 30th. I'm participating and I'm going to seriously try to NOT let myself down! So here goes with my list:
1. Dance of the Gods- by Nora Roberts (this one is already in progress, so thought I would add 6 to my list)
2. Anne's House of Dreams - by L.M. Montgomery - Book #5 in the Anne of Green Gables Series
3. Dark the Night, Wild the Sea - by Robert McAfee Brown
4. The Time Traveler's Wife - by Audrey Niffenegger
5. The Christmas Blessing - by Donna VanLiere (always need a Christmas story this time of year)
6. Homestead-A Memoir - by Jane Kirkpatrick

Come on, join in! It'll be fun...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


It's been a little stormy here in the Pacific North-WET for several days now. We have been experiencing above average rainfall with over 4 inches falling from our sky's in the last 24 hours. This is the view yesterday morning from my office window. The Necanicum River is a tidal river, but nevertheless, this is still just a bit high. Here in Astoria we are safe and sound in our little blue cottage on the hill...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Happy Birthday, Knuckelhead...

Knuckelhead Kevin turned 20 on Friday the 3rd of November. He came over on Saturday and had asked for elk steak and carrot cake for his birthday dinner. Not to difficult to handle. I did a terrible picture taking job with his dinner and gifts, so this dark one is all we get.
Hard to believe that all of our snot-nosed kids are growing up so fast. At this time next year he should be Chef Kevin as he will be done with his Culinary schooling. Seems like just yesterday that he was getting his braces on and talking about his first car. Now he talks about his first professional sautee' pan and set of knives. How times change and so quickly!
Happy birthday, Knuckelhead...

Rainy Days

"Hanging around,
Nothing to do but frown,
Rainy Days and Mondaays always get me down..."
-The Carpenters

I love this song but it is so not true. I really like rainy days, gives me an excuse to get in the kitchen and cook something yummy, curl up in my favorite chair with a good book and a cup of tea, and then, when I'm feeling ambitious, to move on to my latest crafting project. I'm a very good Pacific Northwester, I love these days.

Riff and I went downtown this morning to check out the newest coffee shop. We saw that it was full so, without alot of hesitation, headed over to the Columia Cafe' for a delightful breakfast prepared by Chef Uriah. MMMM....Go there! Buy a jar of his garlic jelly. I'm hooked on the stuff!

After breakfast, we took a drive around a couple of neighborhoods looking at for sale signs. We are trying to decide if we want to sell our tiny cozy cottage for something bigger of if we want to hang onto it for a couple more years. We found a few homes of interest, so called an agent when we got home who agreed to show us two that are empty and didn't need scheduled appointments. The first one was incredible! I could definately see us living there, unfortunately our bank accounts CANNOT see us living there. (sad face). The second one was one that we had looked at on the internet, the pictures looked great so we were really excited to see the inside. (sad face again) I was very disappointed in the condition of the house. It needed alot of work, which we are not opposed to doing, but not for that price. You pay that much money for a house, you should be able to bring your furniture through the door and sit down for a nap - NOT strip and sand floors, remodel bathrooms, etc.... Oh well, we'll keep looking.

I asked Dustin if he wanted to help me make cookies today. He really likes to cook but at 14 thinks that he has nothing left to learn so I just stood back, supervising, and let him go after it. Good thing I was paying attention, as he stated "Wow, thats alot of vanilla!" He thought it said 1 cup instead of 1 teaspoon. Crazy kid.

Cutting out the cookies
The final product

May you all be blessed with a rainy day now and again...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Head Hugger Hat Craziness...

A few weeks ago, I took a class to learn to knit hats. This was my first "real" knitting project and it turned out to be very simple. I have since gone a little crazy, put all other projects aside, and have just started on my 4th head hugger hat. This is one that I finished last night for Dustin. Love the color! He should stand out on the slopes this year with that on his head.
My next project is a scarf pattern called "Rabbit Proof Fence". It is a very pretty scarf made from alpaca yarn. You drop a stitch here and there (following the pattern, of course), which gives it a really pretty lacey affect. I'll post a picture of it when I'm done.
I informed my boss today that this working thing is really interfering with my knitting time. She hooted and hollered over that all day.
It's rainy and stormy, just how we like it here in the Pacific Northwest. I'm off to sit outside in the hot tub now. Wish you all could join me...

Friday, November 03, 2006

If You're Going Through Hell...

"If you're going through hell
Keep on going
Don't slow down
If you're scared, don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there..."
-Rodney Atkins

Ryan called last night. He is out of Iraq and back in Germany!! Yeah! He had just gotten in a few hours before he called. He's tired and extremely glad to be back. His troop has "debriefing" today and then back to business as usual. I know Ryan and Natascha are ecstatic to be back together after this very long year.
What a relief for all of us to have one of them out of there. Sam should be leaving in a month's time and headed back to Texas.
Keep those prayers coming to get all of our troops home safely....

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Our Not-So-Much Masterpieces...

The beginning...