Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Hectic Week...

It's felt like a very hectic week. Don't know why, nothing out of the ordinary going on. Work like normal, soccer game one night, soccer practice and homework every night, dinner, clean up, laundry, etc... It's nine o'clock every night before we can even think about sitting down to relax. You know the story. Well, the other afternoon, Riff calls me at work. "It's so nice", says he "that we shouldn't waste it. Do you want to go to the beach and walk the dogs after work?" "Yeah, great idea!", I answer. "Call the kids and see if they want to go. I'll meet you at home."

At home the normal chaos reigns. Dustin has decided that the beach isn't as exciting now at the ripe old age of 14 as it was when he was 13, so would like to just stay home, please, but what's for dinner? "If you're hungry now, make a sandwich. Dinner will be later, we don't want to waste the sun." Shilo is late getting home from soccer practice. She doesn't want to go to the beach, but has the truck that we want to take to put the dogs in the back of. We call her cell phone - no answer. She's probably driving home and doesn't answer her phone while she's driving. Good girl! Well, okay, lets just load up in the suburban instead. We throw all the needed equipment in- shoes, camera, book, lawn chairs, water for the dogs, beer... We're ready to go. Oh, here is Shilo pulling into the driveway. She is late because she was talking to the coach about her pulled quad muscles. They are trying to decide if she should play in tommorrows game, or rest her legs this week in order to be healed and ready to go for next week. We finally get through discussing this in the driveway. I ask Riff, "Do you want to switch over to the truck now?" "No, we're already loaded. Lets go before we miss the sun altogther."

We drive out to Sunset Beach where we could park right on the beach. Riff's sprained ankle still isn't up to walking through the dunes and the really soft sand. We find the perfect spot and park. It's not until that very moment that we realize that we forgot one of the main reason's for this trip tonight. The dogs, Blackie and Hannah, are still at home in the back yard, right where we left them...
It was a beautiful night. I'm sure they would have enjoyed a romp on the beach. We're very sorry, doggies! We'll try to remember you next time...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Comfy Guestroom...

I've been working on our guest room, trying to make it comfy and cozy for those overnight guests who tend to visit us this time of year. I've wanted to make it feel relaxing and inviting, someplace that you want to come back to. I started with a fresh coat of paint on the walls and brightened up the trim all the way around. I sanded the old wood floors, primered them and put on a coat of floor paint called "Moss Mist". It is so light that there is just a hint of mossy green in it. Riff and I picked out a carpet that covers nearly the entire floor, but leaves a peek of the painted floor around the edges of the room.

Nearly everything in this room we have acquired at yard sales. The bedframe itself we purchased last fall from our next door neighbors. It had been in their family for years. We snapped it up for $20, Riff stripped and re-finished it, and, WA-LAH- it looks great again. The white decorative pillow in the middle is a this weekend yard sale find - $2.00. The blue pillow with the flowers painted on them is one of my creations from several years ago. We found the nightstand this weekend at a sale - $3.00. The lamp came from a sale at a bed and breakfast here in town last summer - $5.00 for two of them. The other sits on my sunporch. The oil painting on the wall (yes, we have re-hung it! LOL!), we found this weekend also. $5.00 and it is an original painting. I don't know who the artist is, but does that matter?! It goes perfectly in the room.

The curtains were .50 cents last summer at a tag sale. I have shown you all my desk in a previous post. It came originally from my Mother-In-Law, who, you guessed it, picked it up at a yard sale. I bought the chair at a yard sale when we were still in Wyoming to paint this cute bird's nest on - $3.00. It has been so fun to furnish and decorate this room almost completely with thrifted items. (Hmm, could be a challenge in the making.) I'm not quite done, still need to add a few extra touches. The room still needs a mirror. (I had an old thrifted mirrow with a plaster frame that I had re-painted. Broke the dang thing when I was moving it into the room. I plea-bargained my 7 years of bad luck as time already served!) I'm also still on the search for some cool hooks for hanging robes, towels and such. Something funky and beachy.
Now, as a disclaimer for all of you darn FATHER-IN-LAWS who are reading this (yes, John, I mean YOU!), I have hidden various articles under the mattress. I believe there may be a few pea's in there somewhere and I will not be held responsible for all of the loud noises, flickering lights and obnoxious smells that may possibly make your stay not quite so pleasant. Please don't look in the closet or you might find that dead salmon that I threw in there, and I don't possibly know why the light swith to this room is in the hallway instead of in the room. Please do not look for the taperecorder with the ghostly sounds, If you are in any way uncomfortable in my delightful guest room, I am truly sorry, but I do hear that at MOTEL 6 they keep the light on for you...
(psst-I can't make him feel TO comfortable - he'll never leave!)

Remember those pumpkin cranberry scones from my last post? You can order your own right here...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Taste of Fall...

Anything pumpkin is fall to me. These pumpkin cranberry scones were melt-in-your-mouth good. I found this cute little bagged mix at the cranberry farm that we visited a few weeks ago and couldn't resist. The packaging was so cute and, after all, they were pumpkin! I had some left-over homemade whipped cream tonight that I didn't want to waste. It was the perfect compliment to the scones. You should have smelled them cooking. High Tea, anyone?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Autumn Angel

My sister made me this Autumn Angel for my birthday several years ago. I adore her. She holds a place of prominence on my sunporch this time of year, but I must admit that she never gets put away. The rest of the year she hangs in my craft/guest room. Isn't she the cutest thing?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

SImple Things...

Its the simple things about fall that I love the most. The crisp autumn air seems to have a tingle of magic in it. I have always said that my fascination and love of this time of year is because I was a fall baby. These mum's are a fall must have for my autumn-time deck.

Another of my love's is painting on terra cotta pots. This is one of the many that I have done, and also one of my favorite. I really like how the falling leaves turned out. You cannot have too many colorful falling leaves this time of year.

I have also made so many decorative pillows in the last several years that my house is starting to overflow with them. I just can't seem to help myself, they are so fun and easy to make. This cute pumpkin head is a block that I just finished for another pillow. I am working on one more, so will show a completed picture soon. I love how this one is reminiscent of the vintage Halloween cards.

And last, but definately not least, on todays list of fall loves, is my Mom's Fresh Apple Cake. Mom would make this for us every fall. It is a very simple, easy recipe but never tasted as good as it did from my Mom's oven. I think it was the love that she baked in.

1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh apples, cut into bite-size pieces
1 egg
1 cup sifted flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. soda

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 inch square pan.

Mix sugar and apples until sugar dissolves. Beat egg and add to bowl. Add dry ingrediants. Bake 40 minutes.

See, I told you it was simple. You need to serve with homemade whipped cream for the perfect snack. This cake comes out with a crunch crust, but is very soft and moist inside. You may not think it is done at first, but let it sit for 15 minutes and you will fall in love. If you have a large family, the recipe can be doubled, but does not bake up as well. Enjoy!

Happy Fall, Ya'all!!

Monday, September 18, 2006

A Tale of Two Brothers

Two grown brothers emerge into a quiet meadow from the dark, dense forest just as the morning is beginning to come alive with the first pink rays of day. They are dressed in camo's, bows in hand, listening for that spine tingling bugle call from the nearby bull elk. They watch and wait, silently communicating as only brothers who have hunted together for many years can do...

Riff's brother, Ron, graced us with his presence this past week. He is an avid hunter and spends every September traipsing through the woods, his arrows slung on his back and binoculars at the ready. Riff has been very excited for his visit. The day that Ron was driving out here from Wyoming, Riff kept calling him - "Where ya at, Buddy? Where ya at??" Then he'd turn to me and give me a running commentary on his brothers progress. They have missed their outdoor adventures together since we moved out here, so really look forward to their time together. The second morning of hunting smiled upon them. They hiked back out to the truck for their meat packs, went back in and packed out a very large elk to fill our freezer for the winter.

Somewhere in that last 20 feet before the truck, Riff stepped on a log. The log rolled, and he sprained his ankle pretty darn good. I'm sure there were a few choice words flying around in the air that day. I do know that he was one unhappy, mad at himself hunter when he got home. I harrassed him into going to the Doctor and getting it checked out, just in case it was broken. It's not, but he will still be working in the office for several weeks instead of out with the field crew. Just where his boss likes him anyway!

The two brothers spent several evenings with the cribbage board. Riff loves to play cribbage, so very happy when someone is around to play with him. He has tried to teach me, but I have proven to be a slow learner when it comes to that game. I do have to say, though, I did "skunk" him ONE time. He'll never be able to forget that one!

There is nothing like ending a long day of hunting, cribbage and sprained ankles with a fresh, homemade peach pie. The pie was cooling on the counter when they came home from hunting. I had pork roast and potatoes in the oven and summer squash cooking on the stove. The house smelled heavenly. The two "boys" wanted to know if they could have pie first. I do have to feel sorry for their poor mother...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Back from Vacation

Well, we have been back from vacation for several days now, so I believe that it is time to share some pictures with you. We had a great time and would love to go to Vancouver again someday. It was absolutely beautiful while we were there. I took to warm of clothes, thinking that it was going to be a little chilly. Not at all the case. 70 to 80 degree's all 3 days.

This is one shot of the Vancouver skyline. We were on an island looking back across the bay. This island is a big park called Stanley Park. Their is a seawall walk that runs the entire circumference of the island used for walking, bicycling and rollerblading. I don't know how long it is, but would guess close to 10 miles or so. The Vancouver aquarium is also on this island. My favorite exhibit was the Beluga Whales. What beautiful creatures. I did think they were larger than they are. We watched the "Beluga Show". Very interesting how the trainers communitcate with these great creatures by handsignals and whistles. Very Cool!

We took the "Skytrain" that first night around the perimeter of the city to see the lights. You get on the train underground, like a subway, then it shoots up out of the ground and circles around the city. It is part of the public transportation system, so was only $2.25 to ride. The loop took about an hour and was a wonderful way to see the city. I didn't take any pictures from it. It goes much to fast for the speed of my tiny camera.
The next day we got up and took the "Seabus", another part of the public transportation system, across the bay to North Vancouver. We went to the Capliano Suspension Bridges. This is a bridge that is suspended by cables 250 feet above the canyon floor. It sways as you walk across and makes you feel like you've had a bit to much to drink. We watched many people turn around when they started across, because it is a bit scary. Anyone afraid of heights could not do it.
When you get across the big bridge, you have a whole other world waiting for you. They have built smaller suspension bridges up in the old growth trees. Cedar, Douglas Fir and Sitka Spruce. You walk on these bridges, way up in the trees, from one tree to another. It is really incredible. The first brige was built in the 1930's, made of rope and hemp. I don't think I would have walked on those earlier versions!

We did and say so much in our short time there that I've tried to pick some of the highlights to share with you. This last picture is of twighlight descending on the city. Such a pretty place it is. So much to see and do. We definately acted like tourists, the camera in my hand at all times.

May you all be blessed with some time away...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Hot Chocolate and a Book...

A wonderful sight greeted me as I came through the door of my sunporch this evening. There, propped nicely up on my bamboo settee, was the much anticipated Hot Chocolate and a Book swap package. My package came from Erin at Bookish Knitster. Included was the book "The Dogs of Babel" by Carolyn Parkhurst, (which I have not read yet!), a great cream and blue mug, and three packages of hot chocolate mix. Supreme chocolate, hazelnut and mint. I close my eyes and imagine a dark, rainy evening. I'm in my flannel jammies, curled up in my recliner with my blanket, book and mug of hot chocolate. My lamp is glowing overhead, the house is clean, the phone is not ringing and my family is tucked away safely in our little blue cottage. Thank you Erin, for giving me a smile today.

May you all be blessed with rainy nights, a good book and a mug of hot chocolate...

You too can visit Erin here

Take this job and shove it...

I don't really mean that. I actually like my job for the most part, and, I think, I'm good at it. My problem is much bigger than that. It has really been weighing on me heavily lately to be home for my kids. Or at least alot more flexible than I am. I was a single mom for 10 LONG YEARS- working two, yes count them, TWO full time jobs to try and make ends meet. In retrospect, it was the wrong thing to do. I thought I was giving my kids a better life because they would at least have enough to eat and a decent place to live. Don't get me wrong, we were still pretty poor, financially speaking. What really happened is that they grew up without me. At least through their younger years. I have been down to one job since Riff and I have been married (4 years), but Brittany is 19 and gone already. Shilo is 16 and Dustin 14. They are growing up right before my eyes. Stop the madness!!

My job has almost no flexibility. I am here most afternoons by myself, so can't leave the office unattended. This means that Riff has to take the kids to any dentist, doctor, whatever appointments. Shilo has a soccer game this afternoon at 4, so, of course, I'll be late. Riff took her for her drivers test yesterday, not me. Dustin is a "school slacker" and needs to have his after-school time and homework time monitered. I can't do that either. He will start wrestling in a few months, and yep, you got it, I will be behind this desk. (Yes, I'm blogging at work. For shame!!)

I have been, for several years, kicking around a business idea in my head. Actually, alot of it is on paper now. I have to be able to bring home a certain amount of money at the end of every month which, honestly, isn't that much. I need to pretty much match what I am making now and that really shouldn't be that hard to do. I am in the research phase right now. I'm trying to find out how to start my business with very little capital. I need to know where to go for small business loans and grants. I know they are out there if you just know the right place to look. If any of you out there in bloggerland have any good tips for me, I would really appreciate you sharing them, or helping to steer me in the right direction.

Sorry for the whining and crying here. Sometimes it just has to come out...

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Shilo Christine got her license today. You can hear her singing "Freedom" as she drives away. She drove herself to soccer practice, then as soon as I got home from work, she wanted to know if she could drive to her friend David's house. He lives about 4 blocks down the road. Pretty silly, I told her. She didn't care.

Ah, to be 16 again...

The name of this store sums it all up-

Saturday, September 09, 2006

My Desk...

I painted this desk about a year ago now. It has been in Dustin's room buried in junk until I pulled it out to put in our freshly painted guest room. My mother-in-law gave me this desk and it was painted a bright yellow at the time. I used it for several years as my sewing table, but decided last year that it needed a new look. It turned out quite fun, if I do say so myself.

I made this pincushion/button jar a couple of years ago. I absolutely love it. Tnink I'll make a few more.

We are going to Vancouver, British Columbia for a few days. Can hardly stand myself, I'm so excited. Just like a little kid!! Will post when we get back. Hopefully will have some great picture to share. Have a great week!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

It's Soccer Time...

Yes, I'm a soccer mom. Both of my girls started playing on a competitive league when they were 8 or 9. They absolutely love the game. I knew nothing about it, but have sure learned alot in the last 10 years. When Riff and I met, we just added more soccer to our lives, as he coached the team that Kevin had been playing on for alot of years. Riff's brother Ron was on the soccer board at that time and Ron and Carols son, Nick, also played. Riff played in college for a year until he blew his knee up at the ripe old age of 19. Living in Wyoming, where towns are few and FAR between, we traveled hours each weekend to watch our kids play. For certain months of the year, especially when we had three kids playing, we ate and breathed soccer. Sometimes, they would all be in different towns scattered widely across the state. I was SO glad when they were done with the competitive leagues and could play on the high school teams. I know this is sick to admit, but I actually miss it sometimes.
The comradarie of the other parents, laughing, cheering and groaning together. The sunburns, the windburns, the snow blindness, sometimes received all in one game! The days of freezing under blankets on the sidelines as our kids ran around in shorts and jerseys. The subway sandwiches consumed on the sidelines, the gallons and gallons of gatoraide it takes to sustain the teams. (Why did I never buy stock in Gatoraide?)

Brittany and Kevin are both 19 now, out of school and no longer playing soccer. Shilo has missed the last two years. Last year she had a terrible case of Mono in August and wasn't released to due anything physical until mid-October. The year before, we moved here to Oregon in March where soccer is a fall sport. In Wyoming it is on the spring line-up, so she missed it in both places that year. Poor girl, she was devastated about it.

For not being able to play for two years, I think she has done really well this year. She was going to physical therapy this summer for some scoliosis and was also diagnosed with asthma this summer. She is done with the therapy for now and jumped into soccer practice with gusto. She is a junior this year, so of course wanted to make varsity. She didn't, but did make Captain of the JV team and has already been told that she will get some varsity playing time. I think that is great for everything that she has overcome this year. It's amazing that she is out there at all. She is giving it her all, which most people in her place would not even try to do.

Shilo's first soccer game of the year was today. They got whooped 7-0. She came home with a bloody lip after tripping over someone else's foot. She was going for a goal and fell over one of the other teams defense. She said it was one of those falls that happen in slow motion- first the knees hit the ground, then the stomach and suddenly you have planted your face right in the dirt, which kicked her legs back up in the air. Pretty comical, actually, since she's not hurt. They played several hours away from home, so we were not able to go this time. Work just gets in the way of the things I want and need to do! I am very excited for their first home game next friday. Sounds like they need to get their heads in it a little better for next week. They can do it...

Go Astoria Fisherman...(Or is it Fisherwomen??)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Soakin' up the Good Times...

This is Dustin, chillin' in the hot tub-

A friend of mine came over after work today to have a soak in the new hot tub. We had a bottle of Willamette Valley Orange Blossom Wine, some shrimp, grapes and triscuits. We drank, giggled, nibbled and down right indulged ourselves. What a wonderful way to unwind after a long day of title and escrow work. I am already in my jammies and it is only 7:20. I don't even feel guilty. (Well, maybe just a little bit!) I'm thinking that maybe this should become a ritual. Wednesdays actually sound good - smack dab in the middle of the week for a little self-preservation. Why should we wait for the weekend when we work so hard all week?
Nothing clears the workday cobwebs like a little R&R with friends. My only wish is that my sisters could join me now and then. I don't think I ever laugh as hard and long as I do when I am in the company of my three sisters. Girls, bring your suits and jump on in!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Backdoor friends...

I vaguely remember a saying about backdoor friends being the best kind of friends. I can't remember exactly how it went but thought it was appropriate for today's post.

Here it is - the door that everyone has heard about. There was an ugly interior door hanging here that I just couldn't wait to get rid of. Riff and I came across this vintage french style door at a store in Portland called Rejuvenation. They deal in salvaged items and also have an extensive line of reproductions. We had to go back for the actual hardware, unaware when we purchased the door that you can not buy hardware for these old doors at your local builders supply store. They just don't make them anymore. The last picture is of my new backdoor key. Can you believe it's a skeleton key?? I couldn't wait to get that thing on my keychain. It's the small things that tickle me the most.

You all are welcome to be my backdoor friends. The tea kettle is on....

Monday, September 04, 2006

Tea Towels...

I was so tickled to find these vintage Raggedy Ann patterns at Vickie's Pattern Bee shop. Raggedy Ann was my very favorite doll. I received my Raggedy Ann as a present on my very first Christmas. She had a music box in her back that I wound up time and time again and I kept her on my pillow right next to my ear to lull me to sleep. I still have my precious doll. She has lived up to her name and is very raggedy now. We had a little cream and brown colored dog named Brandy who chewed apart one of Raggedy Ann's feet. She lost an arm as my sister, Stacey, and I were playing tug-o-war with her. Another leg was lost when I was holding Ann by the remaining foot and spinning around so that she was flying through the air. She is now also missing a eye and her wonderful music box. She is tucked away in my keepsake box, but will always be with me. I love you, Raggedy Ann!

Sundays in Astoria

What a nice lazy weekend we are experiencing. Yesterday Riff cooked a delicious breakfast before we wandered down to the Sunday Market for our weeks produce.
This is a view from up on the hill right above the market. It is so fun to top that hill and look down on all the tents and activity. You can not even see the food court from here, so there is actually more tents around the corner.

We walked through the market and down to the pier where the Pilot boat is moored. We actually have this shot done in a painting by a local artist that I bought Riff for fathers day this year. He really enjoyes watching the pilot boats help navigate the big ships through the river. It is fun to seem them speed out there, latch on to those giant ships and guide them through the dangerous parts.

After the market, we went to a barbeque at Riff's bosses house, then for a walk on the beach.

May you all be blessed with a labor-free labor day...