Friday, December 26, 2008

Road Trip - Part 1

Snow was falling on our magical Christmas morning in Astoria. This is Riff packing the suburban for our road trip to Wyoming. He is decked out in his winter gear, wearing his pi****, well, I won't tell you what we call this hat. It's quite impolite. Here we go, are you ready?

There was a liitle bit of debris in the road...Oregon Highway 26 between Seaside and Portland was absolutely gorgeous. A Winter Wonderland though the highway resembles a small one lane country road right now.

HUH?! Mighty big car it would take to park in the designated area behind this snowdrift. Tickled my funny bone.

A tree laying across a powerline on Highway 26. Lots of tree's down, but this is the only powerline we saw that was effected.

Riff and Blackie romping in the snow at a rest area in the Columbia River Gorge.

OOPS! Somebody in the ditch. Took us just one second to decide to stop and help. Kevin hopped out, hooked up the towrope and after several tries, and me yelling' "Stop! We're sliding in too!", Riff got the right angle and pulled him out, back onto I-84 in the Columbia River Gorge.

On we went, down the slick icy road with a stop at the worst Burger King ever in Pasco for a gourmet Christmas dinner, then on through the now thick, pea-soup fog to Ritzville, Washington were we decided that was enought of the fog and it was time to sleep.

This morning it's still foggy, but it is at least light outside. Part 2 coming up. Spokane, Washingto to Cody, Wyoming....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

When Christmas came, quite young trees were cut down, trees which often were not even as large or of the same age as this Fir-tree who could never rest but always wanted to be off. These young trees, and they were always the finest-looking, retained their branches; they were laid on carts, and the horses drew them out of the wood.
"Where are they going to?" asked the Fir. "They are not taller than I; there was one indeed that was considerably shorter- and why do they retain all their branches? Whither are they taken?"
"We know! We know!" chirped the Sparrows. "We have peeped in the windows in the town below! We know whither they are taken! The greatest splendor and the greatest magnificence one can imagine await them. We peeped through the windows and saw them planted in the middle of the warm room, and ornamented with the most splendid things- with gilded apples, with gingerbread, with toys, and many hundred lights!"
~Hans Christian Anderson
The Fir-Tree

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Pennie Pocket Christmas

I'm in love with this cheery red and green pennie pocket from my friend, Monica, and it's even better that my name is on it! The Happy Zombie had posted these on her blog awhile back and I was sure hoping one of those sweet pockets had my name on it. It came filled with candy canes and santa chocolates and I love it. Did I say I love it??
Have last minute gifts that still need making? Hop right over to Monica's site and grab her free pattern for these sweet Pennie Pockets, then join her flicr group to show off your handywork. Think Valentine's day, May Day, what-have-you these guys will be perfect!
A Happy Pennie Pocket Christmas to one and all...

Monday, December 22, 2008

The door is on the latch tonight,
The hearth-fire is aglow,
I seem to hear soft passing feet~
The Christchild in the snow.

My heart is open wide tonight
For stranger, kith or kin;
I would not bar a single door
Where love might enter in.

-Author Unknown

Happy, happy week of Christmas. I hope you're all bundled up and warm in these beautiful winter days.

(Update: There was no mail in our snow-covered mailbox today. I think the postman couldn't get his little jeep up our steep ice-covered hill.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Card Tree

I went out the other night in a winter windstorm to cut some bare brances for my Christmas-card-tree and was nearly blown down the hill, but it was worth it. I got the idea for this tree in the latest Sunset Magazine and really loved it. Just so happens that I had a clear glass vase and some vintage ornaments hanging around, all that I needed was the branches and, by golly, there was a few of those haning around in my backyard as well. I'm really tickled with the tree. It's really a fun decoration and simple as pie to put together.
If you look close you can see an incredibly cute homemade Christmas card on the tree from Ali at Willa's Way and also one from Mary at Mary's Writing Nook. I'm horrible and have yet to get out a single card this year. There's still time ~ it's not over 'til it's over...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snow Day

Snow doesn't fall on our little rain forest world very often so when it does it is certainly time for fun and games. I was doing some cheery Christmas baking this morning when I happened to glance out the window and saw Dustin and his friend Lydon in a snowball battle. Actually, what caught my attention first was the thunk! on the window as a renegade snowball missed it's intended mark. (Or was it such an accident? That window is awfully high. Now that I think about it....) The war raging outside was just to cute to miss, those big teenage boys giggling and racing around the snow covered yard just tickled my fancy. Cuter still was the teenage girls that were soon walking up and down the street, giggling and tossing snowballs lightly at each other.
May you all be blessed with a white Christmas...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there lived a mommy and her three little ones. The two sweet little girls were joyful and kind. They loved to sing and play, and they loved their tiny baby brother. That little brother was just a baby, but a very sick one indeed. He was a happy boy, laughing and cooing at his sisters even though he lived every day with high fevers and could only sleep sitting up in his infant seat or he would stop breathing altoghether. His mommy took him to the doctors office several times a week for more testing and to try to keep his temperature and his breathing under control and to try to find out why, at 6 months old, he still only weighed 9 pounds. She could no longer work because that sick little baby could not be left with a babysitter. Their was not a daddy in their lives anymore, so the mommy was the only support of this little family. One chilly November day, the mommy picked up the biggest sister from kindergarten and they went home from another long day of medical testing. Pulling into the driveway, the mommy turned off the car, the doors opened and the two giggling girls fell out, laughing at each other as they tumbled their way into the old trailer house. The mommy unbuckled the baby man and his infant seat, pulling it out of the backseat of the car and wearily trudging up the stairs to the front door, the diaper bag banging against her side as she walked. "Mommy, look! What's this box", greeted her from the two little girls as she approached the front door. Tears filled her eyes when she gazed upon the box of groceries that had been left on her doorstep from the local foodbank. What a relief to know that her children would go to bed with full tummies, at least for the next several nights. Someone, maybe at the doctors office or at the little girls school, had put this families name in to have some thanksgiving food delivered. In the box was also a gift certificate to the local grocery store for a turkey and all the trimmings. When times are so tough, their is no more beautiful a feeling than that box of groceries brought to that young mommy.

The young woman in this story was me, 16 years ago now. It put hope in my heart and fed my soul.

Last night was the annual Food Parade in my neighborhood. The food parade is an annual event here in Astoria. For three nights the fire department is out in different neighborhoods until they cover the entire town. The fire trucks are decorated with Christmas lights, Santa can be seen riding and waving from one truck, Christmas music and singing can be heard all over as they slowly make their way down the darkened streets. The volunteer firefighters and their families walk behind the trucks, collecting food for our local food bank from the people in the neighborhoods. It's something I look forward to every year, perusing the newspapers until I see the announcement, then making sure that I'm home and have a couple of bags full of groceries to add to the mix. The food banks, at least here in Oregon, have been dangerously low the past year and need our help to fill them so that less children go to bed hungry on Christmas Eve. As long as I have an extra can of anything in my cupboards, I will give to the food parade, or to any of the food collections that are around this time of year, giving back just a little bit of the blessing that was given to me and my family those many years ago.

Is there a charity or program that is near and dear to your heart this holiday season?

Christmas lights and cheerfulness fill our street. You can expect no less on "Pleasant Avenue"! Our house is the white one in the picture by itself and the other two are across the street from us.
May your streets be filled with Christmas cheer and your cupboards be full...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

December 1st to Christmas
Is the longest time
of year.
Seems like Old Santa
will never appear.
Untie one treat
every night
when the Sandman
casts his spell;
Christmas will be here
By the time you reach the bell.

This little poem was on a long felt advent calendar type thingy-ma-bobber that we had when I was a small child. It was a long red felt strip that ended in a bell; the poem was on the bell. There were 24 ties down the strip of felt that every year Mom would tie 4 lifesavers to each of the ties. (There were four of us kids at that time). Every night, starting December 1st, before bed we took turns reading the poem and untying the treat. I loved it when it was my turn ~ not only did I get to read the poem out loud, I also got to choose my lifesaver first. Butter rum was my favorite, with the green one's coming in a close 2nd. The wintergreen lifesavers were always fun, not that I liked the taste a whole lot, but when you put your head under the dark covers and crunched them, they would spark a little bit. We looked forward to this fun Christmas tradition every year. The grandbabies are just little guys this year, but I think I'll make duplicates of our bell for them all next year. Passing on our childhood traditions.

What Christmas memories do you have that you looked forward to every year?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Window Shopping in Astoria

Today's a good day to go window shopping in downtown Astoria, looking at all the fun Christmas displays. Want to come along? Put on your rain gear and boots. It's a perfect November day, rainy and foggy. Just right for splashing through some puddles on our way. Ready?

Giant snowflakes at Lunar Boy Gallery wish us a Merry Christmas season.

Northwest Gourmet Goodies. Mmmmmm....I'm smelling some hot chocolate.

OH, Ambiance! Let's go in...


Paramount Drug had the cutest display of chocolate colored penguins ~

The window at JCPenney's had me drooling over this gorgeous red wool coat ~ I could walk in a winter wonderland wearing that!

I hope you enjoyed your visit to downtown Astoria. Please come back soon ~

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I found the pattern for this monster hat here and just had to have it. This is my first one and is on it's way to our grandson, Ayden, in Germany for Christmas. It turned out fun, but I think I'll make the horns on the next one just a tad shorter. I bought the pattern for the little matching monster but didn't get him done, so Aydens monster will be an after-Christmas monster. I'm sure he won't mind getting a present a little bit later.
Natascha took Ayden sledding the other day. She said he is just like his daddy and LOVES the snow. Bet we have another up and coming snowboarder in the family!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Winter Wonderland

"Walking in a winter wonderland..." Well, alright, but rain sometimes glistens too!
Robin, in her bloggy travels, found the perfect girls day field trip at this great old church outside of Clatskanie, Oregon when she visited Karen's blog, so Monica picked me up and away we went to get Robin at the meeting spot in Clatskanie. Oh what fun. You should have seen all the Christmas and vintage goodies and the cardamom bread ~ to die for! Fabulous! I didn't do a good job with my camera but you can hop over, say hi to Karen and see pictures of what her and her daughter, Kristen had put together for this great winter sale. I came home with a loaf of bread and a blue stocking to go with my blue Christmas. I have a book fetish and she had hardback copies of both Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie. I don't know why I didn't buy them. I. WANT. THEM. I. NEED. THEM! WAH!!!
We had a great time meeting and visiting with both Karen and Kristin. Beautiful show ladies. I so enjoyed it!

We found this rusty ol' P sign just for me. P ~ Paula ~ Poop ~ Puddin' ~ Perfect!

Robin directed us through town as Monica drove, snapping pictures right and left. Every house was a photo opportunity ~ something we loved about each and every one of them. And everything was funny. Hysterical in fact. This little place is my absolute favorite. Love the craftsman farmhouse, love the little valley it sits in, love the country road going by, love the white fence and the antique wire gate.
Make sure you check out Monica's blog for other pictures of the day. You really don't want to miss the Recycling Wagon. Too Funny!!!

Deep in the woods (okay, barely out of town) we came upon these two rusty trucks. Tires screeched to a halt and doors could be heard slamming as we jumped out of Monica's rig to have an impromptu photo shoot. (The whole day was kinda impromptu. Perfect!) Don't you just love how the moss of the Oregon rain forest has claimed these trucks? Taken something so totally foreign to the natural environment and made them it's own. I love how the door on the blue truck is flung open, leaning against the tree. In my head I've nicknamed these two "Bonnie and Clyde". The doors flung open and the drivers has taken off on a crazy course through the woods. Probably a moonshiner running from the law. My how rumors get started! I feel a story coming on...

May you all be blessed with a winter wonderland, friends to hoot and holler with, and sights that spark your imagination...

Friday, November 21, 2008

'Life isn't about how to
survive the storm, but
how to dance in the rain'.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Bit of Blue

The paint color was picked, the trip to Lowe's completed, paint taken to the garage, paintbrushes holding their breath just waiting for that first dip into that luscious blue and then nothing. Never have I had painting to do where the full paint can sat around for so very long. That paint can has been sitting in the garage, mocking me, for a good month now. I woke up Sunday morning with the words "Today is the day" upon my lips. Riff and his buddies were out elk hunting and both of the kids had to work at some point during the day, so it was an exactly right day to spruce up our beige living room. When we bought the house last summer, the sellers had taken their realtor's advice and the entire house was done in shades of taupe. It looked nice, but we are not straight taupe people so we've been remedying that the last few months. We have a big picture window in the living room that looks out onto the bay and a big expanse of sky. I decided that I wanted to do a blue on a couple of accent walls to blend with our sky and water. I love it when a paint color turns out exactly like I've pictured in my head. Doesn't happen all that often, but this time it did. I painted our two window walls, leaving the others the taupe. It blends really nicely together and is a great match for our blue and chocolate brown striped curtains. We love it! (please ignore the dog blanket laying on the floor in that last picture!) We have an area rug picked out in a deep lush almost shag pile; it is chocolate brown with flecks of the ice blue. One of these days soon we're going to go get it. Next payday, me thinks!

May you be blessed with a project that turns out exactly right...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

November Skies

Air that I breathe smells of fall;
Birds in the air heed that call.
Crispness surrounds us
Driving them south,
Each Flock a large family
with one goal in mind.
Geese start to gather
with other birds
In lakes and on ponds,
Just gathering strength to carry on,
Knowing that the cold is coming soon,
they are Leaving their northern summer homes.
Moving in formation,
Noisily they fly
On and on across our blue skies.
Passing over wheat fields,
Quickly taking a break,
Returning to the air before it gets to late.
Southern air is warmer,
The winters nicer there.
Undulating geese are talking in the air.
Visions of fall
Wave before my eyes,
an eXplosion of color and sounds.
Yellow leaves are rustling in the wind;
Geese are Zipping through the air.


I wrote this poem as an exercise in a writing workbook. You had to start your story or poem with the word air, then the rest of the alphabet was scattered on the page, most of them at the beginning of a line, and you had to use them as you got to them. I like the poem, but think the pattern made it feel a bit stiff.

(I have recently found ANOTHER favorite blog ~ The Fraker Farm ~ You've got to go over there and read Farm Chick Paula's Accidental Shepherd story. She's telling it in parts and it is so darn sweet!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Blue Smoke

(originally uploaded here by Majeczka)

I have just finished reading Nora Roberts Blue Smoke and, while reading, marked a passage that really hit home for me right now so I wanted to share it with you. It's humorous and so very true about the challenge of raising kids. In this passage Reena has stopped by her big Italian families restaurant after a hard day on the job as an arson investigator. We join them as Reena asks her Mama a question that has been nagging her since her last case:

"Mama, have your children broken your heart?"
"Countless times. Here, have some mushrooms. What if he burns the dinner?" (Reena's new beau is cooking her dinner.)
"Just one. If we broke your heart, why did you have four of us?"
"Because your father wouldn't leave me alone and let me sleep."
He turned his head at that, chuckled. (Reena's Dad)
"I am serious. Every time I turn around, the man's hands get busy." Bianca tapped her spoon on the edge of the pot, set it down. "I had four because as often as you broke my heart, you filled it. You're the treasures of my life, and the biggest pains in my ass."

AMEN. Man, did this passage speak to me right now. Sometimes the question nags, if I had known how hard it would be, would I have done it? The answer is yes. A great big huge YES. Those darn kids, all six of them and now their babies are the treasures of our souls.

What are you reading right now? Share with me a passage that spoke directly to you...

And then, without delay, hop on over to Mary's Writing Nook and sign up for the Christmas book swap she's hosting. It's aways fun to get new reading material!

I've just started reading an old book, published in the 50's sometime I think ~ Little Britches, Father and I were Ranchers by Ralph Moody. It's a true story about Ralph's life as a young boy on a ranch outside of Denver. Written like a novel for young readers, it's very fun and good so far.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To The Brave

A huge Thank YOU to our two sons Sam and Ryan who are both serving in Iraq and our nephew, Nick who has just gotten back from Africa. We are so proud of you. And also to everyone who has or is serving this country. The land of the free, because of the brave!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Pillow For Noah

Noah is getting a new pillow and it's the cutest one ever. My friend Michele from Calico Daisy whipped up this SWEEEEET little personalized reindeer pillow for Noah. It's so cute! I can't wait to get it to him. Michele has got another pillow cover like this one in her etsy shop, or you can get the embroidered reindeer and name from her to put on your own project. Hurry before they're gone. These are to cute to last!

Michele's talented fingers also sent me these two Christmas crows. I've got so many idea's running around in my head for projects to make with them and need to settle on one (or two!) and get them done. I'll be sure and show you what I finally decide.
Michele has a million (well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration) embroidery patterns that you can choose from. She'll work you up these panels and you can add them to your special projects. I also have a market bag and a hand-towel that she monogrammed for me and love every single thing that comes from her. Check out her shop you won't be sorry! What better way to shop for Christmas than homemade?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Country Roads

Last Sunday the kids were both at work and I was in dire need of some fresh cranberries from the bogs on the peninsula before they were all gone, so Riff and I decided to take a drive. We have been saying forever that we were going to explore the roads across the river on the Washington side and this seemed like a good day to do just that. First things first, we grabbed some fish 'n chips in Ilwaco and two gallons of fresh cranberries in Chinook, then off to explore.
October is my favorite month of the year but there is just something about November that speaks to my soul as well. There is still some color to be seen yet those bare branches raising their arms to the pewter sky are an incredible sight to behold. The air is still crisp and full of the scent of autumn, not yet just tired, dreary and wet. The geese are calling to each other in a symphony of sound, the raindrops splattering softly on the windshield as we drive. You will see that I have a love for photographs of country roads. There is something enchanting and magical down all of these roads, I can feel it. Can you?

Beautiful fall colors surrounded us, drawing our attention and camera lens time after time.

I think these are more than just mushrooms. Pretty sure they are little elf houses, don't you think?

We spotted some very interesting old buildings. Have you ever seen an A-frame barn before? I have now!

Riff grew-up in Deep River, Connecticut so we've always wanted to explore the Deep River area of Southern Washington. It consists of a few country roads and a very Deep River ~ gorgeous!

This ship was hauling a load down the Columbia River at a mighty fast clip. We could hardly keep up on the tiny little dirt road beside the river.
The covered bridge is, according to the sign, the last covered bridge left in Washington state, so we had to drive across it, of course!

May you all be blessed with country roads taking you home...