Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday Dinner

It's been a good weekend. My Mom came to visit on Friday for a few days. She lives about 7 hours from here so we don't get to see each other often. I think I managed to get home twice this year but both trips were short and filled with trying to fit everything in. This visit has been nice and easy. We took a quick road trip to Eugene on Saturday to visit my niece Faith for a bit. She works at Soup Nation and we had the best lunch there. Mom had the croissant with turkey and bacon and provolone and I had the Coconut, Ginger, Carrot soup. So good. Should have taken pictures but it was gone too fast!

Since Mom was here, we invited Ken's folks out for dinner. Sunday dinner used to be a big thing. Best family meal of the week. Seems like, with our fast food attitude, we've gotten away from it. Sunday dinner was more than just grabbing something to eat. It was coming together, having conversation in the kitchen as the food was prepared, setting the table with real table settings and then sitting together as a family to visit and enjoy a home cooked meal. Even the clean up after was a time of conversation and catching up.

I bought a great roaster this weekend and we filled it with a good roast, potatoes, onion and carrots and let it cook all day. A few sprigs of rosemary really made for an amazing smell...


When we did dinner at grandma's, someone was assigned to get the dishes out of the china cabinet and set the table. I loved being the one to do that job. Her china cabinet was something that you didn't really get into unless you were told to. It was filled with all kinds of treasures; salt and pepper shakes of all shapes and sizes, opium bottles dug out of the flower beds left from China town that used to be in that area, Cracker Jack prizes that we had gotten. We used that china quite often and I'm amazed at the number of pieces that still remain with a bunch of rowdy grandkids helping with the table. It made me feel good to get it out and use it and, as I set each place, my heart was filled with wonderful memories of dinners past.

 
 

It was a simple meal very reminiscent of what grandma used to serve. Fruit, green salad, roast with veggies, rolls, and a mouthwatering blackberry cobbler that Ken whipped up for dessert. So good. But simple didn't mean it wasn't special. Conversation was good and, like in my childhood, covered a wide range of topics.

Speaking of simple, my Mother-in-law taught us a new easy way to do corn. Leave it in the husk, pop it in the microwave for 5 minutes per ear. Pull it out, cut off the bottom and peel. The silks come right off and the corn is so good and sweet after steaming in its own juice. I'll never cook corn in boiling water again!

It's really been nice to have my Mom here. We have one more day before her and her little dog Miley have to head home. Today we'll do the beach. It will probably be next Spring before we get to see each other face to face again, so I want to get as much "Mom time" in as I can. I'll miss her and her little fluffy baby...


Wishing you a wonderful week,


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Stop and Smell the Ocean

I moved to this area over 11 years ago. I remember right before I left Central Oregon hearing people tell me how lucky I was that I would be living so close to the beach. And I felt that way too. I was sure that I would have my toes in the sand every day. And if not every day, at least a few times a week. But guess what? Real life set in after a while and before I knew it, weeks (even months) would go by and I wouldn't see the ocean at all. The sad part is that it's only about a 5 minute drive from town to be right there soaking up the beautiful view. And yet, Ken and I both convince ourselves that we just don't have time or there are too many things to be done around the house to make time for the beach.

This morning while we were having our morning coffee and my mind was swimming with all the things that needed to be done (don't forget to set the water...get that laundry in....you really need to clean out your closet....you could put a coat of paint on the stairs so it can dry while you mop the floors....), my husband looked at me with those beautiful eyes of his and said "I think we'll go to the beach today."  Before he could finish that sentence the dog and I were out sitting in the car waiting to GO!

It was a beautiful morning for a drive...


...and once we got there I remembered how much I love the smell of the ocean and walking through the surf. Just the motion of the waves is enough to wash away the worries and stresses of life and make you feel all is right with the world at that very moment.

  

Of course I don't think that I've ever been to the beach that there hasn't been a bit of a wind. I had forgotten to throw in a hat or a ponytail holder so beach hair was a problem...

 

But a little wild beach hair is nothing when you're side by side with the ones you love taking time out to just "Be". We don't do that enough. Every once in a while I have to remind myself that we need to stop rushing from place to place trying to earn a living, pay our bills and keep the house clean and just stop and smell the ocean. It has a way of resetting your soul a bit and shoring (pun totally intended) you up to face a new week. I'm glad we ditched all the "to-do's" of the day and ran away.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Double Birthday

When Ken and I married we brought 5 children into one family. I had married young so my kids were older. Ken waited to marry so his kids were only 5 and 9 when we got together. I'll never forget the first time we were introduced. I drove to meet them one weekend at Sahalie Falls, and as I pulled into the parking lot, there stood my handsome soon to be husband and two dark haired, brown eyed little kids.


They were so cute and full of energy. They spent the entire day telling me "deep dark secrets" that they thought I should know about their father if I was going to date him. According to Chelsea, he had Barbie sheets on his bed and slept with a Barbie night light. Chase whispered to me (with those big brown eyes full of mischief ) that under the hat his dad was wearing there wasn't any hair. I pretended to be totally shocked by the whole thing.

Chase and Chelsea were born on the same day 4 years apart. Over the years we've celebrated their birthdays together, but Chelsea has been in Japan for a few years now so this year we only had Chase out to the house.

It's hard to believe so much time has passed and that 5 year old is now 17. Chase just recently got his first job as a courtesy clerk at a local grocery store. The little kid that couldn't tie his shoes when I met him is now a tall strapping young man with big plans for his future. We're really proud of him. We invited Grandpa Chris and Grandma Mary out for a dinner of pulled pork, corn on the cob, coleslaw and potato salad.

 
 

 My husband has this tradition of wrapping his kids gifts on his own. This year he out did himself...


...layer upon layer of paper, tape, plastic bags. Just about the time Chase thought he was finally getting to the gift, there would be another layer. We all got a good laugh at that. Grandma Mary gave Chase one of her special handmade cards...


It was a great afternoon spent in celebration with family in honor of Chase's birthday.

Since Chelsea joined the Navy almost 3 years ago, birthdays have consisted of a card and a gift card of some sort. Since this was her 21st birthday we wanted to do something a little more. Problem is, since she's often on the ship and can't really haul a bunch of stuff around, gift giving can be a bit tricky. So, we decided to do a Birthday in a Box. We collected all kinds of things and wrapped and numbered them.


First was a birthday banner, next a tiara and some birthday glasses then some silly string and party favors. Package #8 held a microwavable cake, #9 a singing birthday candle and #10 was her actual gift...


...a beautiful sterling silver bracelet from Toby and Max . I love this line of jewelry and have a few pieces that really mean something to me. Ken poured over all the available quotes and settled on the one that he thought was perfect for our adventurous daughter. On the outside it reads "Go Confidently" and inside "in the direction of your dreams..." Chelsea has done just that. She went from living in a small town to an amazing adventure with the Navy. I love to see the pictures that she posts of all the places she is getting to see. She's always been a go getter...


 Every time I want to do something that's a little out of my comfort zone I think of Chelsea and her fearless attitude. Keeps me pushing my limits.

Happy Birthday Chase and Chelsea. Dad and I are proud of the young adults that you've grown into and look forward to seeing where your lives take you. We love you both very much.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Liebster for ME?!

Oh my gosh... What a way to start a morning!
Things have been so busy this week that I hadn't gotten a chance to sit down and check out my blog stats or comments. Finally settled down this morning with a nice cup of coffee to check things out and see what my friends in the blog world were up to and there it was....a nomination for the Liebster blog award! I feel like Sally Fields at the Oscars..." I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!" 


Debbi from Adored From Above nominated me and I'm so honored. Debbi has a wonderful blog that I stumbled upon one day when I was hanging out at several link parties (am I the only one that gets lost for hours on those things?). She has several great posts about homemade cleaning supplies and beauty products that fit right in with the "do more with less" attitude around here. Be sure and check her out!

Liebster means "Dearest" in German and it's an award for blogs with less than 200 followers. It's a wonderful way to offer an "Atta Girl!" and some often needed encouragement. Thank you again Debi. And did I mention that I'm THRILLED?!

Debbi tells me that you just have to follow 3 simple rules:
  • Link back to the one that gave you the award
  • Post your award on your blog
  • Pass the award on to 5 fellow bloggers with less than 200 followers ~and then of course comment on their blog and let them know you've nominated them!
So........drum roll please......these are my nominations:

1. Nicole @ Wonky Wonderful
2. Mikel  @ With Wild Abandon
3. Val     @ Home Made Modern
4. Tracy @ The Romantic Relic

I hope you'll take some time to check out their blogs. I love how diverse and creative these women are. Show them some encouragement and let them know Wren sent you!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Where There's Fire...

Ken and I celebrated our 10th anniversary the end of May. Ken's folks, Chris and Mary, gave us a beautiful card and a check so that we could go out to dinner and celebrate. Now I for one, like to go out to dinner. Love to have someone else cook and clean up. Ken on the other hand? Not so much. He's homebody and would rather have a home cooked meal (and with any luck his next wife will do that for him..lol). So we came up with a perfect solution. The check was for dinner out, so we decided to think outside the box and spend the money on something that would last us more than one dinner out and be a nice reminder of our 10th.

Ken went out early one Saturday  morning and started cutting blackberries, clearing an area and getting things level.


Then he started laying down the landscape stone and working on the layers. Where was I you ask? Well someone had to hang out the bedroom door and take pictures...


A good days work and we ended up with this cool fire pit that will be something we can enjoy for years to come. We still need to haul some gravel in and make some kind of cool benches to go around the pit for when we have company, but we love it.


This last weekend we finally got to break it in right and had 'date night'. Ken brought home hotdogs and buns and I got a bag of marshmallows. And my husband did a very romantic thing for me....


He whittled me my very own hotdog stick. My hero. It was such a great evening out by the fire. No cell phones, no computers or TV, just Ken and I sitting side by side eating hotdogs and just being happy. Looking forward to doing it again this weekend. Sometimes it's little things like a fire pit that can bring a couple closer together and rekindle that 'spark'. (I know, corny...)


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Washroom Blues

We had a minor disaster the other day. Our washer died. It had been limping along for a while now and was getting worse day by day, but a new washer just wasn't in the budget so we kept hoping we could make it work. The washer had other ideas. One day it just refused to drain. So frustrating. We live about 20 miles from the closest laundromat so not having a washer was going to be a HUGE annoyance. I joked to my friend Cindy Wobbe that I was going to be spending the weekend down at the river scrubbing clothes and beating my panties on a rock. It almost came to that.

But, we finally bit the bullet and went and got a washer. Another payment was not something either of us wanted, but hey, what are you going to do? We drove to Eugene and came home with a nice new white one. Funny how clean your clothes come when your washer really works. I almost laughed out loud when the guy behind the counter said "Isn't it amazing that washers never break down unless you've got a weeks worth of laundry to do?" Seriously? My washer could break down anytime and there would be a weeks worth of laundry waiting to be done. I don't think there is ever a time around here that there is not a good weeks worth of dirty laundry (not that I should have aired that...)

Our home is a 1928 farmhouse and it's almost like the washroom was an after thought. You actually have to go outside to get to it. Not ideal, but a couple of years ago Ken and I did a little facelift on it and it's not too bad a place to hang out. It was another of our "Make Do" projects and was all done with left overs.

One of the first things we did was pull the cupboard off the wall, take everything out and give the walls a good thick coat of my favorite Hydrangea Blue. And some nice white paint on the trim. The floor in the washroom was just a cement slab, so Ken took some travertine tile that the previous owner had left in the garage and glued it to the floor. The color was perfect and it scrubs up nice. Oh and it was free so that makes it even more awesome.


 We needed some sort of storage in there so we painted the cupboard we had taken off the wall with some rich black paint and put it back in....on the floor. Since it's only about 12" wide, it gives us the storage we need without taking up the room of a traditional base cabinet. A few more travertine tiles to make a nice top and all of the sudden we had a place I didn't mind doing laundry in.


I love a little humor here and there so I just had to have this decal. Makes me smile every time I see it....


I really like the simplicity of this room and the small amount of money it took to get a great look. About $10 for the decal. We had all the rest. The only thing that would make it even more perfect would be someone just waiting in there to do the laundry for me. Ahhh...in a perfect world.....


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Bit of an Obsession

Haven't blogged for a while. I would like to say it's because my social life has been such a whirlwind of activity that there just wasn't time, but......well....that would be a big fat lie.

Truth is, I've become obsessed with pinning ideas and crocheting clever little hats for my grandchildren. It all started with these cute pumpkin ones...



Then I found a skein of nice brown yarn and some ivory wool scraps that were just begging to be these...


...cutest Teddy Bear hats ever. My obsession is so bad that I've almost been late to work twice now (just one more row and I'll get dressed...) and stayed up WAY past my bedtime (just one more row hon and I'll come to bed with you....). Yep, it's bad. I just keep adding to my Pinterest board and trying to think of ways to convince my supervisor that it would be an AWESOME idea if she would allow me to crochet at my desk. Don't see it flying, but hey, you never know! My daughter-in-law sent me a text the other night saying that I'm too young to sit around and knit. She's right. So I guess I'll just sit here and crochet a few more hats till I'm elderly. Then I'll learn to knit....


Monday, July 2, 2012

Garden Party

Life has been so busy and full of changes over the last year that I feel like I haven't had a chance to really enjoy the seasons (Spring is my favorite and it's gone...) let alone our home. We have this great little porch and I had visions of sitting out there in the morning before work and drinking my coffee. Kind of hard to do when your table is covered in plastic, newspaper and rattle cans from the various home improvement projects we've been doing.

But all of that mess had to go away because I decided I would invite a friend over for Saturday Brunch. I've never had Charlotte out to Rosehaven and I wanted to make it special and memorable. It was close to the 4th of July so at first I thought I might go with that theme, but the pink roses and hydrangea were blooming in the garden and my pretty blue plates were calling me, so, a garden party theme it was. Of course my first stop for inspiration was Pinterest. Then off to The Graphics Fairy for some great clip art. I was so excited when I found the perfect print for my place cards. Not only did it have pink roses, but the blue was the same as my plates. A couple of old salt and pepper shakers, some lavender buds, wire, ribbon and a button and we had the perfect  "Wren like" addition to my table...


I dug though my old linens and lace and did a layered look on the table. The rule used to be that you never mixed white and ivory, but (being the rebel that I am) I mix them all the time. I love the richness of the two together. I used to hear that the white would make the ivory linen look dirty, but I don't find that at all.


I pulled out my grandma's silverware, did a little more digging in my stash and found a platter, plate and dish with just the perfect floral design to compliment my table...


Speaking of platters, with only Ken and I at home, mine don't get used much. In fact, the only time I pull one out is to serve the turkey if we have family over for Thanksgiving. But look at this use of one of my favorites...


It was just the right size to use as my tea tray. That little bit of yellow that you see peeking out is a metal utility cart that I use for everything. It's one of those great old vintage ones and the best part is that I got it at a tag sale a few years back for $1!

I served a simple menu of Sugared Bacon, Cinnamon French Toast Bake, fresh fruit and Brown Sugar Shortbread. A few cups of good coffee, a nice glass of pear cider and great conversation and laughter made for a wonderful morning. I like to think that Charlotte enjoyed herself. What do you think?

Charlotte, my Guest of Honor
(who, I might mention, threatened to sue me if I put her photo on the internet!)


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