Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wallace Falls State Park

After church this afternoon, we headed out of town on Hwy 2 on our way to Lake Serene to do a little hiking. It's been overcast and raining all day, but Nathan loves the rain. :) It's starting to be that time of year again...drizzly and cold. It just makes the hot chocolate and hot apple cider so much more enjoyable! Anyway, I got sick on the way home from lunch - I think it was usual car sickness, but I wasn't feeling well for about 30 minutes or so. We got dressed, threw our gear in our backpacks, loaded Bex, and headed out the door anyway. We never made it to Lake Serene; we saw a waterfall from Hwy 2 and eventually saw a sign that read "Wallace Falls State Park." Assuming that must be the same falls, we drove on over and headed out to see the waterfalls. It was absolutely gorgeous. We had a nice hike of 5.5 miles, with it following the river all the way and passing by the falls three separate time. It got tougher as we neared Upper Falls, but we kept on. Overall, a lovely trail. We're going back soon to take the camera. We were out of film and didn't want to take a chance of ruining it in the rain. It wound up being pretty close to us, and only about a 30-minute drive; a return is imminent. Cold and soaked to the bone (I know nobody is feeling sorry for us at this point), we stopped at a cute little bakery and had a wonderful hot dinner of an "open sandwich"- a big piece of homemade bread slathered with creamy mashed potatoes, pulled pork, and topped brown gravy. It was scrumptious!

Bexar is now a sweet-smelling clean Boof and my muscles are telling me it's time for the hot tub!

Have a great week! TTFN

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Lowe's Extravaganza

We just about bought out the store today! We've had a cold, rainy, and overcast Saturday, so we thought we'd go shopping to beat the blues. LOL Okay, you know that's not true of us, but we had a list going of things we needed at Lowe's and had a coupon that was expiring soon, so we thought this would be a good day to go. We spent hours in Lowes and just about bought out the store. True to every shopping adventure, we got more than we went in for, but that's the usual for a hardware store shop. Things on our list that we got included a flag pole, generator, fireplace set, and wheelbarrow. Things that we talked ourselves into needing included tulips and other bulbs (mine), chiminea (we both loved it and concluded we will get lots of use out of it with the colder weather setting in), bird feeders & bird food (I had been wanting these for a while and added them to the basket while he was getting his wheelbarrow), two 4x4 posts (forgot to include on the list but intended to get them to make a new address sign for out by the road), copper post topper with battery- & solar-powered light (so you can see the new sign), copper post cover (matches the topper but for the side post), and a metal ash bucket. It may not sound like a lot, but trust was. We had fun shopping and Nathan is having fun assembling the chiminea and organizing his wood shed. Now I'm off to stamp....or scrapbook...or something crafty! TTFN

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New colors

Ugh! I thought I liked this until I logged back on today and saw it. Yuck. I must change it! The golden color is just too much for my eyes.

There...the orange is much better. And isn't Bex cute?! It's actually a picture from last year, but it's one of my favorites!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What's in McDonald's McNugget?

You really need to read this! It's crazy. It made my stomach turn this morning. I'm seriously considering not ever eating fast food again...yet one more chalk mark toward my organic eating!! It wouldn't surprise me if all of the chemicals that we're eating cause so many diseases...cancer for one. Just my two cents.

EDIT: Just remember, he is a lawyer and his job is to mislead people. I don't know how accurate his "facts" are.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Happy Autumn!

My favorite time of the year is here...the temperature is dropping, leaves are beginning to change colors and fall, pumpkins are appearing in stores, apple cider is brewing on the stove, and (sniff) mmm, I love that smell of firewood burning. Yep, it's officially Autumn. Maybe it's because I loved going back to school, playing volleyball, seeing friends, getting back into a routine, or it was birthday time, but this has always been my favorite time of year. :)

We had our first fire in our firewood stove a couple of nights ago. We turned off all of the lights, and laid beside the fire, cuddle with Bexar, listening to Nora Jones. Yes, you can be jealous. ;-)

Happy Autumn! (There's sure to be more pics as the season matures.)

Baby girl stuff

Some friends of ours are having a baby girl and I made this cute dragonfly card to go with their gift. Although they're old, I still love my bugs! The card has got glitter all over it and the onesie is popped up. If you click on the picture below, you can see a bigger and better picture of it. I also used my new clear swirly Target stamps, which I LOVE!! I have to admit that I had too much fun looking through all of the baby cute! Aren't those little socks just too adorable?! They match the packets of onesies and blankies. :)


There are so many things that I love about Bexar and this is one of them...we call it "T-Bex." I don't remember how the name developed, but he is too cute! He usually does the T-Bex either in his sleep or if you start rubbing his tummy. :) Here, he was sacked out; he didn't even stir with the beeps of the camera!

Friday, September 21, 2007


I can't believe that it's already Friday. This week has just flown by. I've mostly been working on getting my virtual assistance business going and getting some work far, nothing. :( Oh well, I will keep trying.

I've been going crazy since the Biggest Loser came back on, seeing as how I have no way to watch it. The 2-minute summary clips provided on the website just aren't enough for me! A super big hug to my friend Codie, who's been taping it for me and sending me the tapes. Now Nathan has to figure out how to hook the DVD/VCR up to the computer (if it can even be done)! Or, I will have to find an alternate place to view it.

I'm off to finally unpack our winter clothes. It's been dipping into the 50s at nights, which gets pretty chilly. It seems to be extra fun to slide into the hot tub with the cooler temps.

(I hope Mindy doesn't mind, but I've copied her "Recent Reads" as a list on the side bar. I thought it was a great way to keep up with the books that I've read. I've also added "Movie Reviews" to the side bar with my recommendations. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Weekend Catch-Up - Annette Lake Hike

On Saturday, we went hiking with the Mars Hill outdoor group to Annette Lake. It was fun to meet other people with similar interests. The lake was beautifully clear and it was a gorgeous day. Bexar was on edge the whole time because he wanted to be in front. He's used to being "second in command" behind Nathan, so when he was "second to last in command" he didn't like that much. He was constantly trying to run around Nathan instead of being content where he was, which understandably frustrated and annoyed Nathan to no end. I believe this affected his level of enjoyment for this particular hike. I enjoyed the hike and talking to others, particularly Tom who was following up in the rear behind me (to make sure no stragglers like me were left behind). This was a difficult hike for me because of my lack of physical shape. It was a total of 7.5 miles with an elevation change of 1700 feet. The rest of the group was in better shape than me so it felt to me like I was going extremely fast. Nathan told me on the way home that they weren't really going all that fast. On the way there, I really didn't get to enjoy the hike because I was just focusing on breathing! I got my camera out at the lake, where we stopped to eat some lunch, and then had it out the whole way back. I finally just decided I would stop and take pictures when I wanted them, without worrying how far behind I got. Annette Lake was beautiful, but I don't think we'll do this hike again. Let's face it...there are hundreds of other hikes that we haven't done, which means more mountains/creeks/rivers/waterfalls/views that we haven't seen! And we're looking forward to exploring them.

On a side note, it was wonderful to come home to the hot tub and soak my sore feet and legs. :) Its newness still hasn't worn off and we're still enjoying it just about every night, especially since it's getting down in the lower 50s at nights now.

(I'll post pictures after I get them developed.)

Friday, September 14, 2007

An early morning card

Granted, it's not that early, but I realized that my sweet mother-in-law's birthday is the 16th. I wanted something simple, so I tried out my new clear stamps that I got at Target. They were only $2 for 2 stamps and I couldn't resist this flower trio. I cut the flowers out several times, so there are actually several dimensions tot hese. A couple of the middle sections are popped up. Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Scrapping Tahoe

I finally got to scrapbooking recently. These are from our Lake Tahoe trip from February 2005. I can't believe it has taken me this long to scrapbook, but I have lots more pictures older than that waiting to get on paper. I still need one more page, but I'm waiting to get a picture enlarged at day soon. It took me forever to come up with some of these layouts...there are just too many options. Plus, I haven't scrapbooked in a very long time. I had fun doing it, and now need to make some cards!


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Do you still remember?

Do you still remember 9/11/01? I bet our troops and their families do. I bet all of those that lost loved ones to the terrorist attacks do. I bet all of our police, fire departments, and paramedics do. I bet the airlines do. Do you remember not only the destruction of the twin towers but the overwhelming patriotism that engulfed the entire country? Where is that patriotism today? Why do we so quickly forget or become complacent or even grumble? I am sad today. Sad for this country. Sad for those that don't remember.

Thank you to all of those that do remember. Thank you to our armed forces that are stationed all over the world, fighting for our country. Thank you to their families for the sacrifices they too are enduring on behalf of us at home. May we always remember...and pray.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Productive Weekend

Along with the dead tree removals, Nathan cut the grass on Saturday while I cleaned out the car. On Sunday, we went to a different church in North Seattle and then drove down to Fry's. When we finally got home at about 2:30 or so, we emptied the hot tub, cleaned it, and refilled it. Nathan fixed his computer (his power source went out) while I cleaned out the flower beds. He also figured out how to download taped video from the camera to the comp. He's so smart! We finished off our night with our new movie "Open Range." It felt so good to get some stuff done around here!

Allow me to brag on my hubby...This week his company is hosting some employees from their new parent company. Hubby is sitting in on the conference for 3 days, and is actually presenting a small component of his boss's presentation. I'm excited for him and this opportunity he has to shine. I sent him off to work, all spiffed out this morning. He's so handsome! (The lighting is terrible, as it's in full sun, but he's still handsome to me!)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

My manly man

Doesn't he look manly? Here's my manly man, my lumberjack...
Hubby had fun in the woods today cutting down a couple of dead trees. We love our new "park & forest" and are looking forward to cleaning it up. And now for the tree...the dead one in the middle. It was huge and I think I actually squealed a little when it came crashing down. LOL

Fun in the kitchen

As you may have noticed, I've been having some fun in the kitchen lately. These last two weeks, I've been trying some things that I wouldn't normally try. Our newest yummy that we tried last night was:
Strawberry-Tarragon Salad with Aged Balsamic Vinegar
(from Food to Live By by Myra Goodman (The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook)

2 pints small ripe strawberries, rinsed and hulled
1/4 c good-quality balsamic vinegar*
2 T aged balsamic vinegar (optional), preferably at least 6 years old
3/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 t Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt
4 oz (5 to 6 c) mixed baby greens, carefully rinsed and dried, if needed
1/2 c fresh whole tarragon leaves
1/4 c toasted pecans (To toast, simply warm in skillet over medium heat until warm, lightly colored, and fragrant, about 5-10 min.) - I think toasting really adds to the taste.
1/2 c (2 oz) crumbled blue cheese

1. Prepare flavored vinegar by mashing three strawberries against the side of a small bowl with a fork. Add the 1/4 c of good-quality balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Let the vinegar stand at room temp to absorb strawberry flavor for 1 - 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile, cut the remaining strawberries in half lengthwise so they are bite size (or quarter if larger). If using aged balsamic vinegar, place the cut berries in a small, shallow bowl, add the aged vinegar, and stir to coat. Let the berries marinate at room temp for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. If not using aged balsamic vinegar, no need to marinate the berries.
3. Strain the strawberry-flavored vinegar through a sieve, pressing down on the berries to extract all of the liquid from the fruit. Discard the solids. Place the flavored vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, mustard, and salt in a glass jar and seal the lid tightly. Shake the jar vigorously to combine. (I put everything in my food processor and mixed it. It worked perfectly.)
4. Just before serving, place the mixed greens and tarragon in a large bowl and toss. Add 3 T of the vinaigrette. Toss to lightly coat the leaves. (I plated the salads before drizzling it over individual plates.) Leftover vinegar can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.
5. Divide greens evenly among salad plates, arrange strawberries on top, and sprinkle with pecans and blue cheese.

*She says authentic balsamic vinegar comes from Emilia-Romagna in Italy and is aged in wooden barrels, so the older it becomes, the more smooth and syrupy, and the better and pricier it is. The highest quality ones will list only grape must, which is unfermented juice from wine grapes, in the ingredient list. (Note: I used plain old, cheap balsamic vinegar and it was great.)

This may sound a little difficult, but it's actually quite easy and quick. The dressing was very easy and came out very tasty! We had friends over and I served this with Portuguese soup, and a main course of pecan-crusted salmon and blue cheese mashed potatoes. No recipe for the taters...just threw in some blue cheese crumbles, about 2 T butter, a sprinkle of garlic salt, and a little milk. Then, topped with real bacon bits, made fresh that night. Yummmo. Ma would be proud of me for just throwing stuff together without a recipe! :)


Friday, September 7, 2007

My giraffe necklace...well, at least it reminds me of one!

This morning I went up to the studio to get the kids' stuff done and there was all my beading stuff still sitting out from when BA was here. I had some unfinished items, SOOOOO, I finished one of them up. I thought I had bought crimp bead covers, but they were something completely different, so I'll have to get some gold ones on to cover up the crimp beads, but other than that, this project is done! I love the colors of to just find something to wear it with!

Back to School

Our niece and nephew started back to school this week, and I wanted to get them a little something. With the move and visitors, I just haven't had time to get anything together, but this is a little something I'm dropping in the mail to them today. The apple bookmarks still need their magnets and the beaded names are for their backpacks and/or coat zippers. I found the cute bark pencils at the market in downtown Seattle. So cute! I hope they have a wonderful school year. I can't wait to get pictures of them on their first day of school!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Something different

I was in the mood to try something different today. I think I like this elegant look, although elegant is the last word that anybody would use to describe me! Oh well...I can dream. I must admit that the country bumpkin in me will never go away.

I'm having a rough start this morning. There are so many things I need to get done today, but I'm not feeling well. My glands are sore, my head is thumping, and I'm tired (though I slept for about 10 hours last night)! Maybe if I run my errand to Costco and get out in the beautiful sunshine, I'll feel better.

I started some Portuguese soup last night and I've got it cooking again today. It's so yummy. It was a little overcast yesterday and I was a little chilly, so I thought it would be perfect for dinner, only I got home too late from the grocery store to actually have it, so we scrounged. This recipe is from my MIL, who is a gourmet chef...too big of shoes for me to fill! Thankfully, I have an understanding husband. Anyway, she always served this soup at the restaurant and it's delicious. It's got Elgin garlic sausage, cabbage, ketchup, white vinegar, diced potatoes, kidney beans, onion, garlic, and olive oil. It's also very easy, which I love. I had to settle for Portuguese sausage since we don't have Elgin sausage up here, but I think it goes well, since it's Portuguese! Hubby loves it so much, he had a bowl for breakfast! I neglected to tell him that I was waiting to finish it today. Oh well, he finished the bowl. Here's a picture to entice you. (Sourdough goes great with it!)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Back to Reality

Back to life...BA left yesterday afternoon and I vegged the rest of the day. For some reason, I was wiped out! We had a great time together and I hated to see her go, but we both must go back to real life. I've got quite a bit of cleaning to do and about 5 boxes to unpack in the garage, so I've got to get to it. Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A fun Labor Day

Labor Day was packed full of fun. We slept in and took our time getting out the door. Once we got dressed and got our backpacks ready, we headed off to the Olympics. We thought it would be fun for Beth Ann to ride the ferry while she was here, so we took the Kingston ferry to Edmonds for a hike in the Olympics. It turned out that it was Nathan's and Bexar's first times to ride the ferry also, so that was fun. :) By the time we got over there, it was lunch time so we found a diner and grabbed some burgers to go. We had originally planned to go on the Tubal Cain hike that would have taken us through an old mining town (now remnants) and by some WW II airplane wreckage, but the forest service road was narrow and littered with potholes, so we stopped just 3 miles short of the trailhead and opted for the Upper Dungeness trail. We had no idea what to expect, but it turned out to be the perfect hike for us. :) We hiked 7 miles through old growth and along a clear, rushing river and wound up at a shelter in a wildflower meadow. The hike was very easy and it was nice to be back in the woods again. The only "wildlife" we saw while on the trail was a chipmunk and field mouse but we were also intrigued by the number of different and brightly-colored fungi. We had a great time and even scouted out some nice camping spots. :) We finished up the day with some crappy crepes, some yummy clam chowder, and a long ride home. The hot tub felt great after that long hike on our sore legs. Although it wasn't tough, BA and I were both a little sore just from being on them for so long, but it was well worth it and a lovely day.

I hope yours was wonderful, too!

Monday, September 3, 2007


Imagine our surprise to wake-up to peacocks running back and forth on the roof this morning. We wouldn't have even known they were there if BA hadn't seen them. There were actually 3 but I couldn't get pictures of them all.

Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Relaxing Sunday

We had a relaxing day of church, chicken tarragon croissant sandwiches, jewelry making, new home area exploration, and yummy Indian food!

I've had the turquoise beads since our Colorado visit in April and finally got the nerve to try something with them tonight. I think the necklace turned out cute. BA and I also made lanyards for her to wear at TCB. She's thinking of making them and selling them. I think I may have her hooked on a new hobby...we'll see after she completes the project! :)


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Hog Wild

Beth Ann and I had a lot of fun down at the market and walking all over downtown. Our feet are a little sore from walking so much. We had a nice lunch of fish n' chips and then walked the pier to Pike Place, where we saw the fish being tossed about. We also made our way over to the original Starbucks & the new "industrial" library. They still had the decorated pigs scattered about the city, so we got a few pics of those.

BA in front of the Sound; "Green eggs & ham" pig; and "Disco" pig

"Picture Me Perfect" Pig; Don't remember this name but funny; Pirate Pig

Beth Ann is coming!!

Today is the long-awaited Saturday when BA arrives. I can't wait. I need to leave soon, but just wanted to apologize for the lack of inside house pics. I took a few but it was dark and they didn't come out too well. I'll try to take some in the next few days when the sun is out. For now, here's something to drool new washing machine. :)

Last night, N and I went on a date night. We tried a new restaurant called "Cosi" which is basically Italian fast-food. It was actually pretty good. I had a chicken bake (chicken with lots of cheese) and a tasty salad. In fact, it was just like the Greek salad I made earlier this week. :) Apparently they're known for their flatbread, and it was pretty good. All in all, not GREAT or FANTASTIC but I would stop in again. The service was great; I think they were really bored, as there were few people there. :)

The movie we saw was "Becoming Jane." It's about the life of Jane Austen and I had wanted to see it since it came out. Finally, after we had watched everything else, N gave in the chick flick. LOL It was a great movie, except the ending was sad. But I guess in life, things don't always have a happy ending. I can't speak for N, but I enjoyed it.

TTFN - Off to pick-up BA and head downtown.