Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Shilo and Blair wanted to wish you all a Spooktacular Halloween. Ladies, grab your broomsticks, lets fly....

Monday, October 29, 2007

Holiday Sister Swap & Halloween Corners of Our Home

My holiday swap sister, Catie ,
made me this great Halloween wreath. Take a close look at her Pumpkin People. Aren't they just adorable? I immediately hung it up on my enclosed front porch to great my Halloween goblins who are coming to visit in just two short nights. Catie also sent some really cute halloween socks that I am saving to wear on my last day of work ~ HALLOWEEN ~ and a bag of scrumptious licorice bites. MMM...thanks Catie!

This is the little bag that I made and sent to Catie An. It is made out of 100% wool felt, which seems to be my favorite thing to work with these days. I filled the bag with licorice and caramels with a bat shaped candy dish that was thrifted from a yard sale. Isn't Halloween fun?!

Our new front porch has really been fun to decorate this year. I even drug out some of the kids old construction paper bats and pumpkins from many many Halloween's past. What fun to have those old memories gracing our windows again...

"Punch It, BroomZelda"~ My sister, Susan, made this delightful witch for me several years ago. I can hardly wait for the first of October each year to drag her out of hiding.

5 little tea lights sit inside this haunted house, throwing flicering spooky images onto the wall while the Tales of Edgar Allen Poe wait quietly, daring some brave soul to open the pages...


Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Muddy Blues

Yesterday was the day for our annual trek to The Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island just outside of Portland. They have a corn maze in a different pattern each year, the most incredible caramel apples that you will ever sink your teeth into, a market that sells all kinds of fun farm produce as well as jams, jellie, syrups, you name it. After the market you can jump onto a hay trailer pulled by a John Deere and head out to the pumpkin patch to wander around and pick your own pumpkin. (I suggest you go a little earlier in the month. Most of the pumpkins still left in the fields now were rotten.) Always in the past, Dustin has been the first one in the car for days like this, jonesing to run through the maze and drag the biggest pumpkin that he could possibly carry back to the truck, so I was shocked and a bit sad when he informed me that he didn't want to go this year. He has been lifegaurding at our local pool and loves his job, so didn't want to ask for a day off, and anyway Mom, I want to go to a movie with my friends later. Well, I Never!! What happened to my little boy??! Shilo, on the other hand, shocked me by wanting to go. She has had better things to do for a couple of years now, but was very sad when she couldn't go with us. She is going to college, still working at the theatre and has picked up three shifts a week cooking at a local pizza joint. Silly girl. I keep telling her that life is to short to work two jobs when you don't have to.
Anyway, when we loaded up, only Riff, Brittany, Noah and I were in the truck but I had strick orders to bring pumpkins home for carving. Below are pictures of our day. You will soon see why I titled this post the Muddy Blues...

I kid you not, this is just one of the path's through this years corn maze. This is even a mild path, with some of the mud several inches thicker than this. Some paths were just soppy wet mud while others were less wet but very sticky. We had to be very careful to not stand still for any length of time or we would definately have lost our shoes. Next year I'm going to be wise enough to bring rubber boots. I did take a picture of three boys, probably about 10 years old, who came out of the maze covered in mud from head to toe. I just knew that they were running and sliding and having a good old time. I decided I better not post that picture as you can see their faces to well.

The blues comes into this story via the sky. Incredible beautiful blue skies with just a hint of a crisp fall breeze in the air made for a perfect day on Suavie Island.

Noah rode through the Corn Maze with Grandpa, all safe and sound in his snuggli. He really seemed to like looking around at all the cornstalks and just being outside. He smiled and told us little tiny baby stories all afternoon.

Noah's first hayride was a hit. It wasn't until we actually got out to the pumpkin fields that he decided to pitch a fit. Poor little guy was just so tired from all the fresh air and excitement that he fell asleep as soon as we hit the car and slept soundly until 2:30 in the morning.

What do you think, want to go for the Haunted Maze next year? At dark thirty, the ghosts and goblins come out...

Friday, October 26, 2007

From Hearts to Hands 2007

For the Second year, Lynne at I Was Knit Together In My Mothers Womb is collecting mittens to distribute to several different ministries in the State of New York, including a Children's Shelter. Lynne is asking that anyone who would like to join her either make or buy mittens and send them to her for distrubution. This is a wonderful project to keep little hands right here in our own country warm this winter. I made a few fleece mittens last year and plan on trying my hand at knitting a few this time. Pop over to Lynne's site and join this hand and heart warming mission.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Wide World Awaits...

Son #3, Kevin, graduated from the Western Culinary Institute in Portland this past weekend. I love this picture. You can just tell from the almost delirious grin on his face that this has been a hard and long road for him to hoe. There have been many times over the past year and a half that we were all sure that we would never see this day, but Kevin perservered and pushed through the hard times, which included moving to a big city where he did not know a single soul and, for the first time in his young life, really being on his own. He had roommate problems, vehicle problems, studying problems, Chef problems and partying problems to name just a few. The only part of his life that was never a problem was his job. Kevin started working at Jake's right off the bat and has really done well and moved right along in his chosen career. Now he must chose, and be choosen, for his externship before he can be called a full fledged Chef. What an exciting career and world he has in front of him in this day and age of food. Eating is no longer just something that we all need to do to survive, it has become a hobby and a passion for many of us. I can't remember the dollar amount that was quoted as the yearly amount that is spent in the US eating out, but believe me, it was staggering and mind boggling. Congrats Kevin ~ Kudo's to you...

I wanted to get a picture of all the graduates during the ceremony, but just couldn't seem to get the right angle for the shot I wanted. What a fun sea of Chef hats! Quite the sight.

Riff's parents were here from Wyoming for the weekend, not planned to coincide with the graduatuion ceremony, but it was wonderful that it happened to work out that way. It was really good to see them for their yearly visit to the coast. We also had Riff's ex-wife, Kathy and her husband, Dave, out from Maine for the graduation. I know that it may sound weird to many of you, but I really enjoy visiting with Kathy. Now that the kids are all grown, we only see them at the big moments in the kids lives. Kathy and I are both knitters and she has recently learned how to spin, so is going to be sending me a couple skeins of her own yarn. I can hardly wait. How fun!

The picture above is a couple of Christmas stockings that I have knit. The purple one has been felted and the green has yet to be. I thought it would be fun to show the difference in the sizes of the two. These were really fun projects, though the kids have informed me that if I make giant stockings than I have to FILL giant stockings. I didn't sign up for that part of it...

I have finished a few projects in the last couple of weeks and started a few more, so hopefully, blogger willing, I will post some pictures of my creations over the next week. Seems that it's been a really long time since I posted any crafty things. What a slug I've been! Actually, to make excuses for my sluggish self, it's been really busy around here with the new baby in the house and trying to get my little Puddle Ducks Day Care ready to go while still working full time. My inspection was today and my liscence is in place now. WA-HOO! Only one more week of work. I'm so excited. Now to line up some little tykes to come and play with me...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Community Blogger Award

I received my first Blogger award the other day from Mary at Mary's Writing Nook and am tickled to death. Thank you, Mary, this is so special. I am completely honored that you thought of me! This award was created by Sultana to honor those people who make the blogging community better. The one's who always stop by your site for a little visit and leave a comment. You know, the people that make you feel that someone is out there and that they are listening. I love this award. It's wonderful.
I am going to pass it on today to a couple of people who meet the criteria, though there are alot of you that stop by here all the time and you all deserve it. Thank you one and all for the friendships and spirit that you have brought to my little corner of the blogoshpere.
Terri from Home At Last Farm and I found each other in cyberspace a few months ago and I have really enjoyed getting to know her over the summer. We both were in the process of selling our homes and buying new ones so could really relate to each other. Thank you, Terri, for all of your visits!
My next awardee is Jodi at This Handmade Life. Jodi and her husband are raising their adorable little son, Isaac in the beautiful state of Maine. I have loved getting to know Jodi over the past several months. They've had a really rough fall, but she is still always out there and always cheerful.
Over at With A Grateful Heart, I have met and come to know Adrienne a little this past fall. Adrienne and her husband raised their family in the same town that I live in now. So we have swapped a few emails and photo's of sights around town. Her blog is always beautiful and inspiring.
Melissa at Learning 4 Him is someone I can always count on to be out there in my blogging world. It could have something to do with the fact that we were best friends since we were about 3 years old. Hey, Melissa, thanks for always being there.
Honorable mention goes to Monica, Jeni, Wende, Kathleen, Shelby, Stacey, Monique, Jenny, Britt-Arnhild, Cynthia, Jodi (aka Lucy). If I missed anyone, I am truly sorry. I greatly appreciate every last one of you. You have made this blogging craziness and complete joy.
Thank you all!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ghost Story ~ A Sequel ~

October's a time for haunted houses, ghosties, witches, goblins, werewolfs and things that go bump in the night. Some ghost stories just aren't that scary though, like the one that I told here and the same one that my sister Stacey told over here. Both of these stories are about Karen, the ghost of a little girl that was a common place sight in our house and on the acreage were we grew up. We lived, as both stories tell, outside of a remote farming community in the northeast mountains of Oregon were everyone knows everyone and there are many family connections. As we grew up, my siblings and I all moved away, as did our parents. Mom is gone now, but buried in the old cemetary, home again, next to Grandpa and Grandma. In the last few years, three of us have moved back to our home state, dragging our families with us. Dad has come back, too. My brother, Todd, has actually moved back to our hometown where our roots run deep. You may be asking what all this has to do with a ghost story, and I am here to tell you - NOTHING! I got just a little off track, but it's easy to do when you feel so strongly about home.
Okay, back to the ghost story, here we go now...
Like I said, this is a small community, and really in our county and the neighboring county, we all know each other and all seem to have some family connection somehow. (My husband teases us that our family tree has no branches, it just goes straight up. How Rude!!) Our old "homestead" is now owned by a man that my oldest sister graduated with. His little sister was a good friend of mine, and our families were friends. My aunt was at a family reunion picnic this past summer and ended up visiting with a woman who is somehow distantly related and turns out is dating Brian, the man who owns our old place. My aunt told her that her sister (my mom) and family used to own Brians place. The two hadn't been dating a real long time at this point and this gal told my aunt that she wasn't sure what to think of him. She thought there was a possiblity that he drank too much, because he insists that his place is HAUNTED by a little GIRL. "Oh my goodness," said my aunt in shock. "You need to talk to my neices!" Now, you know, we always knew that Karen was not a figment of our imaginations, that she was really there and that all of us couldn't be crazy, but what an affirmation this is. It gives me the goosebumps...Karen is real and she is still there, twenty-two years after I last stepped foot on our little farm.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Black Cats and Autumn Leaves

"AH-OOO went the wind and OUT went the lights and the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight..."
This picture reminded me of a Halloween song, but having a brain that is short circuiting today, I couldn't come up with the right one, so you instead get the only one that DID pop up. Oh, well.
I got this shot of our black cat, Boots, today as he was playing with his latest catch. I love how his big eyes shine over the top of the leaves. Now come on inside, lets have a piece of cake...

You should have smelled this cake baking this afternoon. The house smelled heavenly as the scent mingled with that of the Autumn chili that was simmering on the stove. This is an "Apple Bourbon Cake", the recipe coming from my friend Terri over at Home At Last Farm. Pop over, say hi to Terri and get this one for yourself. The only alteration I made to the recipe was using OREGON grown apples, as NEW YORK STATE apples are hard to come by around these parts. heeheehee.... Oh, and there was the part where I just sprinkled the walnuts across the top because I noticed them still sitting on the counter AFTER the cake was already in the oven. I tell you, I'm losing my mind...

Clap your hands together for my DH, please. He has just recieved a promotion at work. He has gone from a survey project manager to the head cheese, Survey Manager. This move to the Oregon has been wonderful for him career wise. In not quite three years he has gone from being what called a "Party Chief", out in the field behind the survey gun; to "Project Manager", in the office drafting out the actual jobs and making sure the field crews get it right; to "Survey Manager", head of the dept. He actually really misses being out in the field, but loves that he has learned and grown so much since he has been with this company. They have given him the tools to be able to do that, and he has taken those tools and run with them, applying all of his years of experience and knowledge. Kudos to you, Riff, I am so proud of you...

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Noah and I are enjoying a stormy Sunday morning here in front of the fireplace. This is the fireplace in Riff and I's bedroom. I absolutely love it. So warm and cozy. We've always said we wanted a fireplace in our bedroom someday and, by golly, that someday is here. How does the other half live, I ask you?!
The little rocking chair that Noah and I are sitting in is a birthday present to myself that we picked up in an awesome antique/quilting store in the little town of Toledo. The chair reminds me of my Great Grandma for some reason and we really needed one for just the reason that you are seeing in the picture, so we popped it into the back of the suburban and drug it home with us. We do have a tendancy to drag things home... I plan on re-upholstering it sometime, though it will be my first try at that task. Any pointers anybody has would be much appreciated.
My mom used to sell and paint a lot with Tri-Chem. Does anybody remember that? Did you ever do it yourself? Anyway, my new little rocking chair makes me think of a tri-chem picture that my mom did at one time. It had a lady rocking her baby and a saying that went something like this:
"Quiet down cobwebs,
Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby
and babies don't keep."
UPDATE: Mary from Mary's Writing Nook popped over and reminded me of the rest of the words to this little poem. After reading them, I can't believe I ever had forgotten. Here you are~
"Cleaning and Scrubbing can wait til tomorrow
for babies grow up we've learned to our sorrow;
So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep"
Ah, yes, that's it!
Goes the same for Grandbabies, you know. You can find me and Noah right here, rocking...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Specktacular Skies...

Incredible what a couple of days can do, isn't it? We have a storm brewing, so went from the early morning fog to these amazingly beautiful skies. I took these a few minutes ago and it's already gone. I feel a fire in the fireplace coming on this evening...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Early Morning Fog

Early morning fog cloaking Youngs River Valley in it's autumn magnificense.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

40 and Diamonds...

It has happened. That thing that most women dread. I turned 40 yesterday. It really wasn't so bad. I don't feel like my life is half over, only just begun. I'm 40 and I already have grandbabies times two. I'm finally kicking to the curb the eight to five job and striking off on another life path. Our children are growing up, the older ones starting families of their own. We just bought an incredible new house with a million dollar view. We still can't believe we live here sometimes. I sometimes have a feeling that someone's going to pop into our living room and say "Just kidding, back to your tiny little cottage you go." Anyway, lives very good. My 40's are going to be incredible.

Riff and I took a little journey down the coast to celebrate for a few days. We started out Sunday morning from Astoria in a light fall drizzle and ended our day in Newport in a full blown autumn storm. We checked into the Hallmark in Newport right on the beach and slept with our sliding door open so we could hear the pounding of the stormy surf on the beach. Monday morning we woke to the sun trying to peek her head out of the clouds and by the time we finished our breakfast of oysters and eggs, she was shining brightly. What a gorgeous day. Tuesday morning brought a light drizzle again with gray overcast skies. I have pictures here of only the rainy gray days for you. In true Murphy's law fashion, my camera worked just fine Sunday until evening when the batteries needed charging. I had remembered to bring my charger, so plugged them in and went to bed. For some reason, the charge did not take. I think it was the electrical socket. We stopped and bought another set of rechargables as I needed them anyway, popped them into the camera and...nothing. Of course, they weren't charged either. So believe me when I say that we missed some incredibly gorgeous pictures on Monday. Yaquina Bay Lighthouse was in splendid form as was the blue of the ocean. Ah well, such is life. Here is a quick peek at our rainy day travels:

My wonderful and charming husband gave me diamonds for this milestone birthday. What a great present and so unexpected. I love it. So beautiful. No only if I can keep my clumsy hands from breaking the chain...This is a terrible picture but turned out the best of them all. I was trying to take it in the mirror, so you certainly can understand my difficulty. LOL! Anyway, this necklace really is beautiful. Take my word for it ~

This is something that I've wanted to see since we moved here - The waves crashing up the craggy rocks at Depoe Bay onto Highway 101. This was just a small storm, but they did manage to spray up onto the sidewalk, so I just can't imagine the power and fierceness of a real winter storm. We plan on staying at the Inn at Arch Cape during a storm one of these winters real soon to "storm watch".

Cape Meares lighthouse. It was so stormy ~ windy and rainy ~ that we couldn't hear each other talk up in the top of the lighthouse. I loved it! I have made it my mission to climb to the top of every lighthouse that I can possibly find. I have a long way to go....

Ah, the marina. Beautiful.

My breakfast from The Coffee House in Newport down on the bay front. A caramel apple turnover with a butter rum latte, made with soy of course. Riff loves the fried oysters and eggs at this place. One of our very favorite Newport spots.

A Yarn For All Seasons in Newport. Riff indulged my need to stop at every yarn shop and quilt shop that I could possibly find. Not a groan or word of complaint was uttered from his lips, though at times you could almost hear his beer siren getting ready to wail.

A beautiful covered bridge outside of a tiny little place called Wren. Incredibly gorgeous farm and vineyard country. I was raised a farm girl. It's imprinted on my soul. I will always be a farm girl in my heart.

An adorable farm stand that I just had to stop at for a few pumpkins for my front porch.

This is the Grand Lodge in Forest Grove where we stopped for dinner on the way home. I dined on whiskey glazed salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and blackberry-peach crisp to wrap it all up. The skies opened up with a drenching fall rain while we were happily enjoying dinner. Riff jokingly made the comment that we would have to sit it out until the rain stopped. I guess we'll make it home sometime next July...