Closing Out The Year

This has been a difficult holiday season with losing my Cinny.  I was still mourning my Holly. Yet I know that as long as I give my heart to boxers, that time will always be too short.  Boxers have a shorter life span than many other breeds; nine years is a good lifespan. But I would never ever give up the love that this breed so freely gives.  I will always be a boxer girl.  It has been tough on Bruno and I have been in touch with NW Boxer Rescue to find him a new companion and another sweet love for us.  I love this rescue group! I was sorely tempted when Kim let me know they had some puppies; after several days of waivering I knew that at this time I could not really meet a puppy’s needs.  So I am still waiting for the right fur baby for our home. I leave it in the hands of the rescue group to find the best fit for Bruno, Jimmy, and me.  

Before losing Cinny we kept busy preparing for Christmas. In November I took five days off work.  It was glorious!  I kept so busy and accomplished so much!   Jimmy had a few days off and we concentrated on finishing the last of our shopping. We did a part of our shopping at Portland’s Saturday Market. Every time we head into the city we try to find new places to explore.  It is such an amazing city. 

I also decorated the house, knitted, sewed, and played in the kitchen.

Infinity scarves are really fun, fast, and easy. I have made an additional two since these pictures were taken. With the hubs working swing shifts, my evenings consist of curling up with my sweet boxer babies, turning on my favorite Brit TV shows (a second watching of Foyles War is my current choice), and knitting away. I also pulled out one of those weaving contraptions I found this summer at yard sales. I was hooked, it is totally mindless yet turns out a great looking scarf.  All of these projects are from the bits and bobs of yarn I collected secondhand for pennies. 

You all know how much I love Pinterest. When I saw these chocolate spoons I just had to make some. I wanted a little flavor so used a chocolate orange and combined it with a Hershey bar. I found the spoons at Goodwill and Walmart. 

Got out for near daily walks. Always new places to explore at Minto-Brown Island.

One one of my last days off we headed to the beach. I am so grateful that we did.  Cinny was more active than usual as she ran and played. We never would have expected that within 72 hours a brain tumor would take her from us. Look at that happy face!

I received this in the mail from my sweet daughter after losing my Cinny.

How special is that!!  RIP my sweet Frassy and Munster. 

Here is another sweet gift I received in the mail. Every year for the past 7 or so, a dear friend Louella sends me a home made ornament. I treasure every one.  Louella also includes a goodie for the fur babies to. She has two handsome fur boy’s who like to be included in the giving. 

Aren’t those just too cute!! 

Inadvertently several years ago I started finding a focus word for each year. 2012 was balance as I learned to balance work/health/life. 2013 was adventure as I got married, left one job, moved states and started a new job. 2014 really did not have a word as it has been loss and imbalance again.  In perusing Pinterest I happened upon Susannah Conway and her wonderful workshops.  I immediately signed up for this one

There is a facebook page where participants can share ideas and work together.  I love it!  

Her next workshop is

I am considering this one as well.  I am pretty confident I have my word and will sharing it after the first of the year.  

Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful and blessed Christmas and New Year!




Going Home

The hubs and I recently made a trip to my home town. It had been a year since I had made it back. Which is really crazy since it is only 4 hours away. But it is a world away as I always step back into my childhood as I enter the community.  While the world changes I can always count on Condon remaining the same, it is a constant in an unpredictable world!  I like that!

While there we spent our time on the farm with 4 of my favorite sweet peas!  We got to enjoy Halloween with them.  I think they had some darn clever costumes!!

Paul Revere and Marie Antoinette. Love it!

The town was all decked in Halloween wear as well. The Main Street trick or treat event had a huge turn out.  Love how the community all comes together to sponsor this event for the kids.

My favorite store! It is worth making a trip to Condon just to visit this store!

The community has been restoring all the store fronts in a campaign to beautify and wow does it look beautiful!!  I am just delighted that my grandchildren have the opportunity to grow up on a farm in my little home town!

And look at this loot!  Toys, goodies, home made treats.  Made me remember the Halloweens of my childhood and pillowcases full of goodies. We always knew just what houses had the best treats and who made the best popcorn balls!  Small towns; truly the backbone of our country!


Also stopped in to see my momma.

My brother and his son came over from their home in a neighboring community how nice was that!

It was great catching up with everyone and spending time with Chrissy and Bill. Also got to see Doodle Bug and hear her latest adventures.  

Located on the high desert plateau, Condon affords magnificent views of 5 mountains.  For as long as I can remember there has been a place marker on the highway towards Portland that identifies these 5 mountains that are visible: Jefferson, Hood, St Helens, Adams, and Rainier.  

All to soon we were home again and back to the usual routine.  Which always includes a trip to the beach!

It was cold so we had the beach to ourselves and enjoyed a beautiful sunset. 

I have to admit I am a holiday junkie and am already listening to Christmas music. While everyone seems to grumble about decor in the stores I love seeing the bright displays.  I hate to shop but will spend hours just looking at holiday decor.  I can’t really choose a favorite holiday as I love Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, really just any excuse to decorate in a festive manner and celebrate!!  I think perhaps this love may have its origins in my Catholic upbringing.  Catholics celebrate a myriad of occasions and make the mundane sacred. I love that!!!  Also as a quilter, knitter, crafter I am always planning and creating for the next holiday months before it begins.  So yes I am that woman in aisle 27 in a hypnotic state with a smile on my face surrounded with holiday fare.  And yes my gifts are generally purchased and wrapped by December 1st. Although I do love a mad Last minute Christmas rush!  But I never do black Friday or shop on holidays.  Businesses should be shuttered up on holidays so families can be together!!  Well that’s my two cents anyway!!  

Next week I will share some of my holiday makings.

Until then Make Merry!





Rainy season has come to the valley.  I do love the rain.  Living in Walla Walla we never saw a great deal of rain and I have always enjoyed a raining day.  It was one of the reasons I had looked forward to living in the Willamette Valley again.  I love rainy, misty, drippy days!  I love the way the mist hangs over the valley, weaving and dancing up and down and in and out of the trees.  I love the sound of rain beating a pattern on the roof and windows, making me feel all safe and cozy tucked in my warm dry home.  And it makes me want to accomplish things and tackle projects.  Indoor projects of course.  But I don’t mind walking in the rain, bundled up tight, its quite invigorating.  Our latest adventure was in the rain as we headed to check out Pacific City.

It was cold, windy, and raining but so beautiful.  Had the best ever cup of Peppermint tea there and hubby had a Chai which was the best I had ever tasted!!

Wet but happy!!

We took a new route home which followed this beautiful creek.

And crossed numerous one lane bridges.  This was my favorite.  Check out the pumpkins on the end posts!

Back at work I was surprised and delighted to walk into my office and find this gorgeous bouquet!

 Happy Bosses Week!!  What loving and thoughtful staff!!  They are a blessing to me!  And also a fruit tray.  Don’t mind my messy office the past month has been a bit hectic at work!

Speaking of work, test results back and no H. Pylori.  My MD referred me out for a endoscopy, but in the interim I started reading everything I could and discovered the benefits of grapefruit juice for ulcers.  It is amazing, seriously!  I dropped all process foods and started drinking copious amounts of grapefruit juice and over night the pain nearly disappeared. Speaking with the gastrointestinal MD he stated that grapefruit juice will neutralize acid.  So for now I am doing that I will try dropping the omeprozole to one a day.  But not brave enough to do that yet.  Feels good to feel good again!!  We never really appreciate our health until we face health issues.  This was a nice wake up call to get my diet back on track with healthy foods and to work on stress reduction!  I will be experimenting with some of my favorite recipes and substituting whole wheat flour and alternative sweetners such as maple syrup.  Nothing artificial however. 

And now back to this:

What better to do on a rainy, drippy, cold afternoon!

Happy Fall,


Welcome Pumpkin Season

October has arrived, and with it my desire for pumpkin goodies.  I rarely bake anymore but just can’t resist pumpkin bread. I tried two recipes and while both are good they are distinctly different. The first is a traditional moist pumpkiny flavored bread.

 Yummy perfection.  When this was gone I happened upon a recipe that added dates and pecans.  It made a much darker bread with clovey flavor.  Next time I would cut back on the cloves, yet as it aged over a few days the clove mellowed out. This was by far my favorite!

Here is the recipe courtesy of my friend Joyce

3 cups sugar
3 1/2 flour
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 can pumpkin
1 cup oil
1 cup dates or raisins
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tsps. each: Nutmeg, cloves (ground), allspice, cinnamon

Mix all dry ingredients, mix all liquids. Stir together until smooth.

Grease and flour a bundt pan.  Bake for a good hour at 350 checking occasionally to see when done inside. 

In the kitchen I also made up some of the blackberry harvest into jam.  Blackberry jam is one of my favorites. I always use the recipe inside the MCP pectin box. 

So yummy spread on bagel and cream cheese!  

One big change for me has been going caffeine free.  A few months back my stomach began hurting and I could not figure out why. Tried clearing things out of my diet with no success. Doctor visit and seems I have an ulcer. Testing for H.Pylori and if not that will be scoping my stomach.  So I went cold turkey off caffeine. Amazingly no headaches. And I don’t miss it. I now drink herbal tea and my newest hot drink love is 100% Apple juice with a shot of caramel.  Yum!  Stomach still hurting but better and bearable with meds. But I want it cured not bearable!!!  Thankfully my new Doctor (yes I switched after the first just put me on meds with no follow up).  This one is a D.O.  I just have no luck with MDs and have not used one in years since discovering the care that a DO delivers!  And with this the hubs and I decided to start eating clean and eliminating all processed foods. Of course this was after the pumpkin bread.  I’ll have to find a way to make it with whole wheat flour without sacrificing the taste. 

In other news the hubs updated his bike. This one had everything he had been wishing for on it. 

Love this man!  

This crazy boy, who is sitting on his sister (he did not hurt her and I got him right down), left us some nice gifts on the carpet one day while we were working.  Ivory carpet at that!  On to Pinterest to find a solution (I just love Pinterest).  Found one and it was amazing. Even took out some spots that were in the carpet when we moved in! 

Here is the recipe:  Just mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a container and add a generous squirt of Dawn dishing washing liquid.  Saturate the spot and scrub thoroughly working the solution all the way into the pad.  Blot out all the liquid you can with dry towels, let dry, and vacuum.  Spot will be gone!  Amazing!

Crafting and knitting has rather taken a back seat as work has gone crazy and been putting in 10-12 hour days (may be the reason for an ulcer?!).  But I did take time to make another banner for work.

Candy corn!  Simple yet cute. Did not get a finished photo. Just love making these banners.  Again Pinterest is the inspiration!  

Happy Pumpkin Season!


Autumn: A Season For Renewal

Autumn is here!!!  My most favorite season of them all!  I love the brilliant autumn hues; russet reds, golden yellows, burnt oranges, and deep plums.  The crisp snap in the air is invigorating and the musty smell of burning leaves and logs is somehow comforting. Autumn always makes me want to cook up hearty stews, fruit crisps, and golden loaves of crusty breads.  The bounty of the garden harvest is in and it is a time for celebrations!  

I have always viewed September as the advent of the new year.  The idea of a new year beginning in the deep of winter is just without merit in my opinion.  But September, with back to school and crisp fresh days; yes that is where my new year begins!  

The last of the summer visitors have come and gone as children are now back in school and it is time for a thorough turning out of the house before holiday decorating begins in earnst!  A summer of yard sales has added exponentially to my already burgeoning boxes of decor!  

However before I get too carried away on the spleandors of Autumn here’s a look at the last lazy summer days.

Two little wood sprites came for a visit!  We had lots of fun exploring and of course they could not wait to hit the yard sales with their grandma!  And they found treasures, lots of treasures!

Always have to get in park play time too!  And a birthday celebration as a sweet wood sprite turned twelve!!!

So grown up and beautiful, my Milsie!!!

And of course a trip to the beach was included!

The waves were huge and cresting quite a distance from the seashore!  It was magnificently beautiful!!

The house is so quiet when the grands leave and it takes me a few days to readjust and resume my routine as I miss them dearly.  

The hubby has week days off still but I managed to sneak away one day for us to hit the beach and explore a few wooded paths.

Oh how they love to run and play on the beach!!  

While there we checked out a myriad of properties. We lucked into a great realtor. Mike took us to a dozen places and we have pretty much decided upon the area we want. Now just to find that perfect retirement cottage!!!  It is so fun to look and plan for that next step, the time when we both step away from work and turn our attention to play!!!  

And let’s not forget a few of my latest yard sale finds!

The sweetest carrying case for my iPad and a hand painted milk glass piece, plus a set of ikea dishes and silver!! 

And now off to mix up some delicious pumpkin bread!  Autumn is the perfect excuse to make yummy loaves of sweet breads!

Happy Autumn!



Family, Fun, and Movie Making

The past two weeks have been super busy. Lots of day trips, family coming to stay, and organizing and having a yard sale.  And also, sadly, my Doodle had to return home to prepare for back to school!  I sure miss the heck out of her!!!  House is way too quiet and poor ole Bruno is lost without her to curl up in bed with every morning. 

Since it was the last few weeks with Doodle we jam packed lots of fun in.  

We spent one day making a movie. I cannot believe her patience with this process.  We were 4 hours in the woods with thunder and lightening all around as she calmly took shot after shot to produce her newest stop motion.

It is amazing how stop motion movies are made. The time and patience that go into the making is amazing. Doodle is currently working on a series and has produced two episodes. You can watch them here

Of course we had several more trips to the beach.  Usually we never venture further south than Newport, but we wanted to see some new sights and check out Sea Lion Caves.  I had not been there since I was a child and Jimmy and Doodle had never been there.  It was more commercialized than I remember, of course, but very well done with lots to grab your interest and a killer gift shop!  

We discovered an amazing beach on the way home!

Bruno and Cinny just love the beach!  Cinny acts like a puppy once she hits that sand.  The sheer joy that they exhibit spills over onto all of us!!  

We stopped at the cutest little cafe for lunch. They had the most awesome Japanese tea pots all over.  But what made them so sweet was inside each one was a note. What fun to open the pot and discover this note:

I was blessed to be there with two people I love dearly!!  Since Doodle had an upcoming birthday we ordered her a large piece of chocolate cake.

Check out all those umbrellas hanging from the ceiling. The owner makes them. 

At work we had an event to celebrate the dog days of summer. Doodle dressed Bruno up in Harley wear and dressed to match him. She won third place ribbon, losing out to two pocket dogs dressed in dresses.  Bruno would not hold still for a photo. 

It was a great event with dog rescue groups, a local vet, our humane society, and some therapy dogs. The residents loved it and that is what mattered!

All too soon Erica, my sister Anna, my momma, niece, nephew, and grandson showed up to take Doodle home. But they were able to stay a few nights and we squeezed in shopping, yard sales, and a trip to the beach. My momma loves the ocean and was out in that water with her walker!

While Doodle was here at every yard sale she was looking for things for her sibs. She had nice gifts for all of them all wrapped and ready to give. I am so proud of how giving she is!  When her brother, my sweet Jayse, came down with Erica to pick her up she was so excited for him to open his gift.  Jayse loved the building set and his cousin and him got busy building. They were so creative!!!

 A great time was had by all!  We stayed up late, ate too much junk, and talked a storm. When time to head home the car was so loaded there was little room for passengers!  As when those we love leave, the house was too quiet and lonely.  But they will be back soon and next week Chrissy is arriving with more grands!  Cannot wait!!

Living the dream,






Still Coastin…

This couple just cannot seem to get enough of the ocean!  We set out this time to check out the Petrified Trees in the ocean at Neskowin.  However the tide was in and  after a brief stop we headed back down the beach stopping at numerous places along the way.  The weather was perfect with temps in the 60s!  Amazing for so late in the year.    

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On one of our previous trips my hubby had carved our names in the sand bank.


We were so suprised to find it still there!


I just don't think there is any place on earth as breathtaking and beautiful as the ocean!  

I needed this get away as my work has been pretty demanding of late as Bonaventure sold off numerous communities and Southern Hills was one of them.  It is all good as we are being managed by Prestige Senior Living as of December 1st.  Both are good companies and I will miss the Bonaventure family, but change happens and I have learned to go with the flow.  Getting everything prepared for a new ownership is a daunting task however!  I am familiar with Prestige as they started in Pendleton where I lived years ago, my grandmother stayed in one of their skilled nursing facilities, my daughter worked for them, and my girls attended a bible study at the owner's home.  Small world indeed.

Maybe what I love so much about the ocean is how closely it mirrors our lives.  The ebb and flow of my life has been a story of high and low tides (times).  But through it all there is a pattern, a consistency and continuity, when looked at as a whole.  The day to day stuff never seems to fit any pattern or consistency, but when reflected back upon and viewed as a whole, I see a pattern emerge.  I see that I have grown as I have learned to accept who I am which returns me to the child I was.  My inner compass never changed, I just had to learn to listen, accept, and follow my innate self; the self that God designed and determined before I was born.  When I fought the tide I found myself floundering and often felt I was drowning.  Now I know to breath deep, relax, and trust the tide to carry me in the direction that is my authentic path.  Not always easy, but I keep on trying.





For the Love of Lighthouses…

Jimmy and I both share a love for exploration and still are in awe of the fact that we are less than an hour from the beach.  On one of our last trips we discovered Yaquina Head lighthouse.  It was a cold day with fog rolling in and around adding to the feeling of being transported back to the time when these lighthouses played an essential role in the safety of sailors.  

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It is easy to see how treacherous the Oregon coastline is in many places.  The history of Yaquina Head is very fascinating!

"The tower is the tallest on the Oregon Coast – soaring 93 feet in the air.  This lighthouse is the only Oregon Lighthouse with a marble floor.  It stands 162 feet above sea level, and can be seen from ocean vessels as far away as 19 miles. 

There has been much talk in the past that this lighthouse was supposed to have originally been constructed on Otter Crest (ten miles north of Newport).  However, this rumor was found to be a misconception.  

Yaquina Head LighthouseDuring construction, two different boats met their doom on Yaquina Head's shores trying to deliver supplies.  After much labor, the lighthouse was lit on August 20, 1873.  There was a large dwelling built for the three keepers that manned this lighthouse station.  Because of this lighthouses proximity on the coast, there were a number of storms and high winds that caused surface damage to the tower and the keeper's dwellings.  Fences were built to ward off rocks and other debris from destroying the property.  However, this didn't stop the tower from being struck by lightning in October of 1920.  Luckily, through the years, the lightening and severe storms haven't really hurt this lighthouse.  In fact, to this very day the structure of the lighthouse is within one inch of being perfectly straight.

Yaquina Head LighthouseIf you would like a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding area, be prepared to walk circles up a number of lighthouse stairs!  Also, it is worth the time to talk with the volunteers at this lighthouse; they are all very nice and have a number of interesting stories and facts to offer.  At the top of this lighthouse you will get a good view of the lens that magnifies a blinking 1000 watt light bulb."

Unfortunately we did not get inside as it was between tours when we got there.  But we plan on returning so we can walk to the top and enjoy the view!  

Just another fun day trip as we explore and enjoy our new environs!!


Sea, Sky, Fields, and Fun…lots of Fun!!

Well February sure turned out to be a month of family time!  Lots and lots of trips to visit and lots of visitors here.  There was barely a moment to catch our breath!  But what fun and what memories!

Our first long week end was spent taking two precious grands up to Chrissy's farm for their first farm experience!  They had the greatest time!

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Being on a farm is pure heaven for children.  There was sliding down the hayloft, playing in the fort, horseback riding, four wheeling, hot tubbing, and lots of exploring. 

While there we also celebrated Elizabeth's birthday.  Isn't that cake just the cutest?Chrissy is so stinking talented!!

And we stopped by to see Erica's new house, which I totally fell in love with!  It is one of those houses that is filled with all sorts of nooks and crannies and stair cases and special places!

I love love love this office!  

The kids were so excited to show off their new rooms!  They each chose their own decor and were very proud of themselves!

On Valentine's Day, Becca, Matt, and the Sweetpeas arrived from Nevada.  I had missed them all so much.  Ems is just the darn happiest baby EVER!  

For Valentine's Day Jimmy brought home these:

Becca and I made these yummy cupcakes for the guys.

Really fun to make and so simple!

The Sweetpeas!  It makes my heart sigh at how much they all love Jimmy and he loves them!  

Right on the heels of Valentine's Day we were off to the Oregon coast to celebrate Ellie's 8th birthday.  The ocean is definitely one of my favorite places to be!  We stayed in a lovely rambling beach house with lots of room for everyone and the dogs besides.  

Ellie with some pretty big feet!

While we got in lots of beachtime the guys went out crabbing and provided us with a crab feast…yummy!!

Ellie is so funny and wanted Crispy Creme Donuts in place of a birthday cake. 

No trip to the beach is complete without a trip to Mo's for some clam chowder!  Ellie got free ice cream for her birthday too!!

All too soon it was time to come back home.  

As the month comes to a close, I have guests staying on.  Becca and the Sweetpeas will be here for another week or so.  No telling what trouble we may just get into!



A very happy couple!!