Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Visitor

I'll be home for Christmas, you can count on me. Please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree....

Some of you may remember that last year, right about this time, we came very close to losing our daughter, Shilo.   After she healed up, she decided it was time to make a change in her life, so she packed her bags and moved to Texas.  She choose Texas because our oldest son, Sam, is stationed down there so she would not be completely on her own.  Her plans were to try and become a flight attendant.  Not long after she got to Texas, she was diagnosed with Lupus, so the flight attendant goals have had to be set aside.  Shilo is still in Texas, has a wonderful new boyfriend (at least that's what she tells us.  We haven't met him yet, but his Mom is really nice!), is working at a restaraunt and finally facing her illness instead of having it on ignore.  She does get very homesick from time to time, so decided to make a trip home for her birthday, which was at the beginning of December.  She's really not going to be home for Christmas, which the song lyrics suggest. 
It was really fun to have her home for a few days.  We went to the beach, she frolicked with Gus, visited family and friends and had a small birthday party at home. 

Happy Birthday to you!

We miss her and worry about her not taking care of herself like she needs to, but I finally had to tell her Daddy to stop reminding her that she can move home.  Yes, she knows that daddy, but she's a big girl now. 

"You all can go to hell - I'm going to Texas." 
~ Daniel Boone 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Old-fashioned Christmas

Mr. Fezziwig's Ball
Originally uploaded by jholbo
Last night I was watching A Christmas Carol and the scene came on where Mr. Fezziwig was having a Christmas party and dance for his employee's. It reminded me of a certain Christmas party from when I was a girl.

My dad belonged to a Muzzleloaders Club for a time. The Shoot's were held every so often and it was so much fun to go. Many of the men and women would be dressed in mountain men and period attire, tents and teepees set-up amid lots of laughter and gunsmoke. It was always an exciting day.

One year, an old-fashioned Christmas party and dance were held. Generally we just went to the shoots in our normal clothes, but for this dance, Mom made us what I thought of as our "Laura Ingalls dresses", complete with old-fashioned aprons. I don't remember a lot about the actual party, just a misty image of boots stomping, skirts swirling amid much talk and laughter. A very fun childhood memory to have.

I wish you all on old-fashioned, country Christmas.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Frosty the Snowman

...was a jolly, happy soul with a corncob pipe and a button nose and two eyes made out of coal.

Still needing a cute holiday gift for a friend or two?  Or maybe a little something to decorate your entryway table?   This sweet snowman light is fast and easy to make and you even get to enjoy a Starbucks bottled Frappacinno before hand!  My friend Alli from Chicken Scratch Creations showed me how to make these little guys.  Pop over to her blog here for a quick tutorial.  (Hey, and don't forget to let her know that you stopped by.  She'll be happy to see you!)

I also painted up a couple of plain small pickle jars that are super cute with a tea-light or a votive candle dropped in.  These would make fun little hostess gifts and would be easy to do with your little one's as well.

Happy painting!

Frosty the Snowman was a fairy tale they say.  He was made of snow but the children know how he came to life that day...

Monday, December 06, 2010

Turn the Page...Tuesday

'On the morning my husband left me, hours before I knew he would, I looked at the bruised March sky and recognized tornado green.'

When Cami Anderson was eight, a tornado touched down on her families farm.  Cami knew by the wind and the sky that something was about to happen and she did not want to miss it.  Ignoring the calls from her mom, she ran outside and tried to touch that tornado.  The rush she felt was what compelled her to do all the reckless things she could find from there on out, trying to recreate that feeling.  That is until she met her future husband, Bobby, who was a reckless tornado himself. 
For the next 18 years, Cami hangs onto that tornado, loving Bobby and forgiving all his volatile moods until the day he tells her he just doesn't want to be married anymore.  Bobby walks out the door, leaving Cami devestated and with the very hard task of explaining this all to their heartbroken 17 year old daughter.  Cami's world seems to be falling apart, while all around her, her family and closest friends are dealing with milestones in their own relationships.
Cami is a veterinarian who participates on animal rescue missions.  Some of those animals have found a full-time home with Cami and still others have come for a short stay as shelter animals.    Always loving her furry companions, Cami  finds the most comfort and understanding when she's in the barn spending time with the angry shelter horse who has come to stay.  Together, the two create a special bond and once again learn to trust. 

A friend gave me this book and I enjoyed it completely, finding it hard to put down.  I will certainly look for more of Katrina Kittle's works. 

Cherry Ames - Senior Nurse by Helen Wells

Last month, I told you about some wonderful books that I recieved from a neighbor as she was moving - The Dana Girl Mysteries by Carolyn Keene.  This same delightful neighbor also gave me the first six books in the Cherry Ames Nurse series.  The first one was published in 1943 and about one a year after that.  I think there is close to twenty books in this series.  This month I read the second one in the series, Senior Nurse.

This book opens with Cherry's first day of her senior year as a nursing student in a teaching hospital.  Her first assignment for the year is on the Children's Ward where she meets a maid who has smuggled a rabbit into the ward to help put a smile on the young patients faces.  The rabbit gets away, dashing around the ward, but with the help of Cherry and a handsome young doctor, catastophe is avoided, but something special has possibly started to brew between Cherry and the young intern.  We follow Cherry through the different wards of her senior year until the most difficult - the Surgery Ward.  Will Cherry make it through this final task and earn her graduate's cap?  During this hard time of war, so many nurses were needed both on the home front and the war front.  Where will Cherry decide is the best place for her?

These books, written in the 1940's are so full of fun and innocence.  So refreshing - I need to carry on and finish the six that I have.

I love old books and the classics and have quite a few on my shelves that I have yet to read, so I've decided that for the coming year I'm going to try to read one a month, at least.  I will also try to tell you all about it.  On my nightstand right now, for December, is Charles Dickens Christmas Stories - A Christmas Carol, The Cricket on the Hearth, and The Chimes.  What is on your nightstand?

Pop over to Adrienne's blog, Some of a Kind, for more Turn the Page Tuesday reads. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Blue Christmas

When those blue snowflakes
start fallin'
That's when those blue memories
start callin'

You'll be doin' all right
with your Christmas of white
But I'll have a blue
blue blue blue

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Whooo Are You??

From my craft room today,  I kept hearing some tiny little "whoo whoo whoo" 's.  Several times, I peeked my head in to check, but could't seem to see anything that could possibly be causing that noise.  Finally, as I sat patiently waiting for the little "whoo" to come again, from out behind a small silver tree popped a little guy with great big eyes.  He looked directly at me and said, "Tell me who are you?"  I had the same question for him and his brother who peeked out as well.  Turns out, the two of them are little Christmas Owls who were perched inside those silver tree's when they were brought inside.  They are darn cute, wouldn't you say?

I've wanted to try my hand at needle-felting for awhile, so when I saw these sweet little guys in a needle-felting kit in an etsy shop called fancytiger, I swooped them right up.  It's amazing that loose roving can be rolled into a ball an pricked with a big pin for a few minutes to turn out some darling little owls, (or whatever you want to turn out).  The needle didn't have the same effect on my fingers.  Turns out fingers don't felt...

Whoo-whoo are you??

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

To Infinity...And Beyond!

Standing in line at the post office yesterday, I was feeling proud that my first Christmas box was complete.  Stuffed with toys, candy and all kinds of Christmas delights, this first box of the season was getting ready to start it's long oversea's journey to Germany. 

The last couple of days have been very chilly, especially for us coastal inhabitants who are used to a mild 40 degree winter.  With a tiny skiff of snow on the ground and ice-covered roads, I was feeling a bit of a nip in the air.  While waiting my turn in line, I shuffled around and stamped my feet to keep them warm.  The activity proved a bit much for the toy inside the box, which I had not been able to turn off before packing.  From the depths of Christmas wrapping and peppermint candies, a not-so-small voice was heard to say, "To infinity....and BEYOND!" 

Oh, Buzz.  Quiet down.  You have a long way to go and I so hope that the people in customs have a sense of humour.  No, that noise is not a bomb.  It is only a small toy who thinks that he is a space ranger.  He's not.  Just a toy.

Please Mr. Postman, send him on to the small boy who is waiting for his Christmas package from his Grandma and Grandpa.
Thank you.

(Pop over to Mary's Writing Nook for a Christmas book swap.  Sign up's are until November 29th and you don't have to have a blog to join. Come on.  It's a fun little swap!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Movie Night

In the up-coming hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it's important to take some time for yourself.  To unwind, laugh and relax.  One fun way to do that is to plan a movie night with family and friends.    Make some fun different popcorn seasonings to sprinkle on plain popcorn and maybe a special popcorn snack. 

For our movie night, we had seasonings of such fun flavors:  BBQ, Chili, Vanilla Spice and Chocolate.  Also offered was Chewy Graham Popcorn. (the recipe is below)

Pick a fun, light-hearted movie; something that you don't have to pay 100% attention to in order to get the gist of the film.  We watched "The Proposal" with Sandra Bullock.  A laugh-out-loud fun movie. 

How do you like to relax with your top people during the busy holiday times?  Any traditional get-togethers that you do every year?

Chewy Graham Popcorn
10 cups popped popcorn
1-1/2 cups raisins
2-1/2 cups graham cracker cereal
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup chopped dried dates
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Toss together first 5 ingrediants, reserving 1 cup of the mini marshmallows.  In a small bowl, combine remaining ingrediants; stir into popcorn mixture - toss well.  Pour into a large baking dish or pan.  Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of mini-marshmallows over top.  Bake at 250 degrees for 20 minutes. 
Serve and enjoy! 

There will probably be plenty left to send everyone home with a bag of their own!

Happy Movie watching!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Keepin' It Cozy

November is the time to start cozying up by a warm crackling fire with a nice hot cup of coffee or tea and a good book.  The weather outside is beginning to be frightful and these coffee cozy's are so delightful. 

 They are super easy to make and really quick.  You can find them in the latest edition of Quilts & More magazine, or just eyeball them and whip them up yourself.  The idea's for the applique's on the front are endless.   I made up a handful of them yesterday and will be including them in Christmas packages when they go out. 

~Hope you all are finding a bit of time for some Christmas crafting~

While you're out and about in blogland today, stop by Stacey's Treasures to say Hi and for a chance to win some beautiful Dream Catcher Earrings.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What a Sweet Puppy

A new puppy has come to live and chew-up things at our house.  His name is Gustav, which is a very dignified name for a puppy, so for now, we will call him Gus.  Here he is pictured with his brother, Ranger.  Gus is the guy in the back.

Gus was born, in early September, to a nice little family who lives on a farm.  His mama, Amanda, has had a rough life but has overcome her many obstacles.  Abandoned by her last family, Amanda lay beside the country road where she was left for several days.  She had given up hope and had just decided to stay put in-case her people changed their mind.  My nephew drove by what he thought was a dead dog on his way to work for the better part of a week, until one morning, he saw her move.  Stopping his truck, KP soon decided that the sweet Amanda was alive, though maybe not for long.  He loaded her up and took her to his own mama, my sister Susan.  Under Susan's gentle hands, Amanda soon started eating and enjoying her world once again. 
Amanda, according to the vet, has Border Collie and Carter roots.  Not sure what Carter is and can't seem to find anything when I've googled the breed.  Supposedly a cattle dog. 

Enter Chuck Norris onto the scene, (known simply as Chuck to his family and friends).  Chuck is a Great Pyrennees and the gaurdian of my younger nephew, Jordan's flock of sheep.  He's a very big boy and loves everyone, including the sweet Amanda.  It was love at first sight for Chuck when he first layed eyes on the beautiful red-haired young lady.  Amanda, who had some issue's with trust, wasn't quite so sure, but it didn't take her long to return the loving looks that Chuck was sending her way.  Well, as you know, one thing can lead to another and before long, Amanda and Chuck were the proud parents of five bouncing baby boys.  Yes, you heard my right.  Five BOYS!  All boys.  Good golly, Miss Molly! 

Pictures were posted to Facebook and the family album quickly filled up with the latest new arrivals.  How could a girl resist?  So, with much gnashing of teeth, I made the decision, with Riff saying, "Get one if you want", to bring a new puppy into our world.  Gus is, at 9 weeks old, 22 pounds and already my protector and friend. 

What a sweet, sweet boy!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Poinsetta Paul

Poinsetta Paul
Originally uploaded by paulaniz67
Poinsetta Paul was a quiet man
who, once a year,
came to town.

He had a rakish grin
that made the ladies
hearts spin -
and a devilish look in his eye.

(Fabric by Monica Solorio-Snow)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Fabulous Fall Foods Friday - Winner!

Fabulous Fall Foods Friday was so much fun!  We had a total of 34 recipe's submitted all the way from the first submission of Stacey's Zucchini Cookies to the last submission of Sammie's White Chicken Chili.  I want to thank each one of you for playing along.  You all posted some yummy fall recipe's! 

I used to pick our winners by listing out your names, in the order the recipe's came in, for each time you posted.  A now, drum roll please!, our winner of the Gooseberry Cookbook, Homemade Harvest, is Stacey!  Stacey, your new cookbook will by flying to North Dakota very soon, with a couple of other little tuck-in's to keep it company.

I decided that since you all participated so much, that a second winner was in order, so told me that  Carol would like a couple of handmade potholders, fall-themed of course, to come her way.  Yeah!  

Thanks for playing along, all.  Happy Cooking! 

Monday, November 01, 2010

Turn the Page...Tuesday

It's once again time for Turn the Page...Tuesday hosted by the fabulous Adrienne at Some of a Kind
October was a really busy month for me at work, so I needed my books to be easy reads but mysterious, in honor of the seaon.  My first choice was "Here on Earth" by Alice Hoffman, the author of "Practical Magic".  
Chapter 1 begins:

Tonight, the hay in the fields is already brittle with frost, especially to the west of Fox Hill, where the pastures shine like stars.  In October, darkness begins to settle by four-thirty and although the leaves have turned scarlet and gold, in the dark everything is a shadow of itself, gray with a purple edge.  At this time of year, these woods are best avoided, or so the local boys say.  Even the bravest among them wouldn't dare stray from the High Road after soccer practice at Firemen's Field, and those who are old enough to stand beside the murky waters of Olive Tree Lake and pry kisses from their girlfriends still walk home quickly.  If the truth be told, some of them run.  A person could get lost up here.  After enough wrong turns he might find himself in the Marshes, and once he was there, a man could wander forever among the minnows and the reeds, his soul struggling to find it's way long after his bones had been discovered and buried on the crest of the hill, where wild blueberries grow.

In Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman weaves a dark tale of the loss of innocence and love and of the absolute control one person can hold over another.  It is a story that deals with the hardness of abusive relationships and the ties that bind the abused to the abuser.  It was a good story, written beautifully, almost poetically, but fairly heavy and dark. 

From the back cover:
After nineteen years in California, March Murray returns to the small Massachussetts town where she grew up.  For all this time, March has been avoiding her own troubled history, but when she encounters Hollis--the boy she loved so desperately, the man who has never forgotten her--the past collides with the present as their reckless love is reignited.  This dark romantic tale asks whether it is possible to survive a love that consumes you.  The answers that March Murray discovers are both heartbreaking and wise, as complex as they are devastating--for in heaven and in our dreams, love is simple and glorious.  But it is something altogether different here on earth...

My second choice this month was a Dana Girls Mystery.  A couple of years ago, ours neighbors were moving to the city to be closer to their kids and grandkids.  Riff and I helped them get their yardsale all set up and ready to go.  Once they were ready for business, Sharon told me to pick anything I wanted from their treasures.  She had two sets of books out that she had marked for a really cheap price.  I LOVE old books; the smell, the feel, everything.  One set was the first 9 Dana Girl Mysteries from Carolyn Keene, the author of the Nancy Drew series.  I had not heard of the Dana Girls, but loved the look of the books so snatched them up.  Right next to them was a set of the first 7 of the Cherry Ames, Nurse books.  They are just as wonderful and Sharon piled them into my arms as well.  Bless her hide, from one book lover to another.

October seemed the perfect month to break out one of the Dana Girl Mystery's, so I choose Book 8; "The Clue in the Cobweb".  What a fun series.  Takes me right back to being 12 and reading all these fun mysteries that I could get my hands on. 

The beginning:
"Jean, you've been playing with that old machine for over an hour.  When are you going to study?  Time's almost up."
The Dana sisters, Louise and Jean, were alone in their rooms at the Starhurst School for Girls.  During the entire study period, Jean, the younger, fair-haired one, had been absorbed in a queer-looking contraption she was trying to build.

The girls go to boarding school and their aunt and uncle are their guardians.  Captain Dana, the uncle, is captain of an ocean liner.  The girls recieve a call from Aunt Harriet;  Captain Dana is in town and wants to take them for dinner.  At dinner, he mentions trouble on the boat.  It seems that a passenger, Miss Katherine Blore, started the voyage but didn't make it to the other shore.  Did she fall overboard?  Or is something more sinister going on?  The girls take all the clue's and start a journey to find the answers.  A journey that will take them out west before bringing them right back home to solve the mystery, in the cobwebs of course.
Such fun books.  If you are a lover of the old classics, try a Dana Girls Mystery, if you can find one.  They aren't easy to come by.  I just got lucky!
Maybe next time I'll take you on a Cherry Ames adventure. Should be fun!

Hey! Stop over at Adrienne's to see what others are reading, and join in.  Really, it won't hurt and we'd love to see what you've been reading.


The Brave Little Lion

Once upon a time, there was a brave little lion who wanted to go trick-or-treating.  His Bana made him a little costume and bag for his goodies and they ventured out to get some treats without any tricks.  At first, the little lion wasn't so brave.  He needed someone to hold his hand and he couldn't get the words "Trick or Treat" out of his little mouth.  He was brave enough to whisper a little "Thank you" to the treat givers.  As time went on, the little lion got braver and braver until finally he looked at his people and said, "I go by myself".  As the elders watched, the brave little lion walked right up to the next treat giver, said a quiet "Trick or Treat" and a "Thank you", then came bouncing back, yelling, "I DID IT!!!   I said Trick or Treat!" 
What a Brave Little Lion.  We knew you could do it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fabulous Fall Foods - Last Week!!

I can hardly believe that October is coming to a close and this is the last week of Fabulous Fall Foods.  Time is just ticking away!

Again, you will have until Wednesday to post your recipe, (anyone can join in).  Post your recipe to your blog, then come back here and leave me a comment that it is up.  I will check it out and put a link on this post to your site.  Then, on Thursday of the coming week, I will draw a name from the magic pot.  The lucky winner will take home the Gooseberry Patch cookbook, Homemade Harvest with maybe a surprise tuck-in or two.  So come on, whip up some fun fall food. That kind of mail is always super fun to get!

Here in our neck of the woods, there are a few cranberry bogs.  This time of year you can drive up to the Longbeach Peninsula and find stands set up along side the road with cranberries for sale.  I always try to get up there and grab a bag or two.  Cranberries are one of my favorite fall time and holiday time flavors.  Delishious!

Fruity Cranberry Chutney

2-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1-1/2 cups cranberry juice
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
24 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
2 medium oranges,  peeled and sectioned
1 medium tart apple, peeled and coarsly chopped
1/2 cup dried currants or golden raisins
1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsly chopped
2 tablespoons finely grated orange peel

In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cranberry juice, vinegar, ginger and allspice.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat;  simmer, uncovered for 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.

Stir in the cranberries, oranges, apple, currants, apricots and orange peel.  Return to a boil.  Reduce heat;  simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.  (This is my favorite part.  I love to hear the cranberries popping!)  Cool to room temperature.  Transfer to a serving dish;  cover and refrigerate until chilled.  
Makes about 5 cups.

Now, traditionally you think of cranberry sauce or chutney being served with turkey, right?  Try it on some grilled halibut.  To.Die.For.!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lost in the Maze

Enter at your own risk

Ah!  That was easy this year.  All who entered with us exited as well.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It was a Dark and Stormy Night....

Not really, but Halloween week is upon us and work has had me bogged down for so long that I haven't had a chance to tell you all about our trip to the pumpkin patch and corn maze this year, so I think I will try and post a picture or three each day this week from our day on Sauvie Island.  Sound like fun?  Okay, come on.  Let's head out...
Brittany and Chris were the perfect pumpkins.  That third hole was reserved for Noah's little face but he said, "No Bana.  I don't want to."  So only his Mommy and Daddy did.  Not even bribes worked.  Maybe next year.

Noah convinced Papa and his Mommy to join him on the cow ride.  He's just a tad of a bossy cow himself and choose where everyone was to sit.  It was a super fun ride with lots of giggling going on.

When little men and their momma's and grandpa's are enjoying a cow ride, it's the perfect opportunity for their daddy and uncle to grab a snack.  The Pumpkin Patch has some yummy food stands.  Chris and Dustin had barely gotten out of the truck before they had hot dogs in hand and here, a mere 15 minutes later, they were scarfing down pulled pork sammies.  Mmmmm....
Tomorrow we'll move on to the corn maze.  Hope you had a good time so far.  Thanks for joining us!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fabulous Fall Food Friday - Week 5

Pumpkin- Apple Butter

2 cans pumpkin (15 oz. each)
2 cups applesauce
2/3 cups brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1-1/2 Tblsp. fresh ginger, peeled and grated

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together all ingrediants until blended.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring often for 30 minutes, or until mixture is very thick.  Cool;  spoon into airtight containers.  Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, but don't do it.  Share with friends instead!


This Pumpkin-Apple Butter is so super easy to make and really delicious.  Incredible on warm homemade biscuits!  

Week 5 of Fabulous Fall Foods Friday is upon us already which means this fall is going fast!  I hate that part but I'm loving all the wonderful recipe's everyone is posting!  
Thanks so much, all, for joining in.  One more week to go, then someone wins the drawing for the Gooseberry Patch cookbook, Harvest Home!  (and maybe another tuck-in or two added in...)  If you haven't yet joined in, there is still time to get your name in the drawing.  All you have to do is post a fall recipe on your blog, then leave me a comment that you have done so.  I'll post a link below to your recipe and you are entered.  Easy as...well...pumpkin pie!  So come on, tie on an apron and get cooking!  You have until Wednesday to post for this week and then we are on to the final week of Fabulous Fall Foods.  Each week that you participate gets you another entry into the magic cooking pot. 
Follow the links below for this weeks recipes!

                 A day at the pumpkin patch isn't complete without a yummy bag of kettle korn!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Piles of Pumpkins

Pumpkins are the essence of fall.  They hold magic and possiblities in their orange roundness.  When my friend, Alli, suggested getting together and making these super easy, super cute fabric pumpkins, I jumped in with both feet. 
These are a few of the pumpkins that I put together. A couple of mine were made completely of wool felt, the stem and leaves as well, but I see that neither of them made it into the picture. 
Three of us got together with our pumpkin making supplies and had a spookily good time making pumpkins.
They are really easy and quick.  You can find all the instructions over at Alli's blog, Chicken Scratch Creations. 
Happy Pumpkin Making!