Thursday, December 17, 2009

A quick update

I keep hoping for things to slow down a bit. Life has been very busy lately for one reason or another. I had thought that once summer was over and we wound outside projects down to a minimum, everything would just move at a quieter pace. But, that hasn't been the case...yet. Yes, we did get our woodstove installed and we have been loving it. The timing couldn't have been better because for nearly two weeks we had beautiful, but cold, sunshine. We were blessed with no damages to pipes or hoses due to freezing temperatures, and the horses enjoyed the weather as much as we did. We found that by keeping our pellet stove going round the clock, and having a fire in the woodstove in the evenings, our little home kept us toasty and warm. I am so thankful for not having to use our furnace anymore.

We adopted a black lab puppy from the local shelter on December 4th. We've named her Nellie, and she's a joy (most of the time). Annie is still adjusting to not being the only housepet, and slowly she's warming towards the pup. My hope is that Nellie will help keep Annie young-at-heart, and that Annie will pass along her quiet demeanor and general good dog sense to Nellie. So far, so good. We are still looking at adopting a Golden Retriever from the rescue as well. After Christmas, we have a meeting to meet a dog named Jasper. He sounds amazing too. So, if all goes as planned, we will be back to having our standard of 3 dogs again. Are we crazy or what?

Last weekend was the annual Christmas cookie bake-off and exchange at my house. I had a total of 7 friends there baking and it was a lot of fun. Tiring for my back, but fun nonetheless. That evening I had severe back spasms and thought I was going to have to make a trip to the emergency room, but my hubby found some old vicadin tablets. I took one of those and a very warm bath and the spasms eased enough for me to get to sleep. I did go to the doctor the following day and got some muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory meds and more pain pills. I don't want to get caught when something like that happens with nothing to help. Now I just need to be careful for a while and let my back heal from whatever I've managed to do to it this time. Sheesh! It's always something.

We got our Christmas tree up and all decorated, and I've made an evergreen wreath for the front door. We've put a few decorations inside the house, but are keeping things very simple this year. We had planned on taking the train to Idaho to spend Christmas with our son Justiin and his wife Jenney and our grandkids. I definitely didn't want to drive there in winter conditions, but taking the train sounded so very romantic and part of the overall adventure! But the nearest train depot to the small town where they live is Spokane, and that would mean they would have to drive over 170 miles one way just to pick us up. We don't want them having to do that, so I guess we'll just stay home and have a very quiet Christmas, just my hubby and me. Maybe that's exactly what the doctor ordered. A peaceful and quiet day at home with the dogs. I might even stay in my pj's all day...doesn't that sound nice? I'll fix a nice dinner, play some Christmas music and have a fire going in the woodstove. Who knows? Maybe we can even squeeze in a Christmas day nap...that sounds heavenly!

I realize it's been about 3 weeks since I've posted anything here on my blog. Since Thanksgiving, we've had a couple of weeks of very cold (as low as 9 F), dry and sunshiney weather which I loved. But the last few days the temperatures are back up into the upper 40's and low 50's with rain. Tons of rain. The skies are grey and gloomy and everything's looking rather dismal again. Oh well, winter begins in just 4 more days so I guess we should expect this kind of weather. One good thing about the winter solstice is that's the shortest day of the year, and after that the days will begin slowly lengthening again. That's good. The seasons sure seem to come and go a lot quicker than they ever used to. A sure sign of aging, I guess.
I hope everybody is enjoying this Christmas season; spending time with friends and family and remembering just why we celebrate this time of year. Merry Christmas everyone!!

That's it for now from cingspots


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing for everyone a blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving holiday spent with family and friends. May there be good food aplenty and a host of reasons to give thanks to our Father in heaven for our bounty of blessings.

We are travelling to my sister's house for the holiday, just a short jaunt from home. My niece and I have agreed to be the main cooks for this year's feast. We are planning on having a turkey with all the trimmings, bunches of buttery mashed potatoes with gravy (yum), homemade dinner rolls with (of course) real butter...and pies...delectable, homemade, delicious, pies. *sigh* My sis always makes chocolate and pumpkin. My hubby is making an apple (our favorite), and I'll be making a banana cream. I'm getting full just thinking about all of it.

But, other than the food and the gathering of family and friends, Thanksgiving is above all others, my most favorite holiday. I love the fact that it's so non-commercialized, and that there's no hustle-bustle involved and the "to do" list is so very short. Cook, eat, socialize, and above all thankful. What could be better? I love it!! My hubby and I have a lot to be thankful for, and I feel so very blessed. It's a good life. The 4-day weekend doesn't hurt either. Oh yeah!!

One of the many blessings I'm giving thanks for this year is that all our animals are healthy and sound. Last year at this time I was worried about Ladde because he had a torn suspensory ligament...this year he's as good as new...not a smidge of lameness!!

So, remember...give thanks and be happy!!

"Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving"

Blessings, Cingspots

p.s. We got the woodstove in and it's awesome!! Another thing I'm thankful for. I took some pictures of it, but forgot my camera at home today...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Beautiful Hot August Day

So far this fall it's been quite mild and we've had plenty of rainfall. The colors have been beautiful, the horses are putting on their woolies and the mud is aplenty. I can hardly believe that we're almost 2/3 of the way through fall; it's almost Thanksgiving and winter is right around the corner. I guess I must be getting old because the time sure does fly anymore, and I fondly remember my mom telling me that "the older you get, the faster time flies". She really did know what she was talking about. Funny how that happens.

This past summer was such a whirlwind of activities that I hardly had time to post anything at all on my blog, and I really don't want to forget any of the wonderful memories that were created. One of the main reasons I started this blog was to keep a journal of our daily lives and have a source to look back through and remember.

This post is about one day in particular that I will remember with a special fondness, and I want to treasure it always and keep it fresh in my thoughts.

It was an exceptionally hot, sultry day on August 1, 2009 and the sunrise that morning was amazing...

The fields were ripe and dry from the heat we'd been experiencing over the last several weeks. Summer had arrived in all its' magical glory and I gave thanks for having risen in time to take in the magnificent sunrise that we'd been blessed with.

My best childhood friend's daughter was getting married today. Kelly and I had grown up together and were neighbors and were both instilled with the wondrous love of horses, and the tenacity to get what we wanted the most in life. We spent countless long, summer days riding our horses until darkness forced us back home. Wonderful, precious memories and to this day, a cherished friend.
Today was Brittney's wedding day.
How adorable are these little girls?
Anne and Kelly are sisters. They are both beautiful women and I love them dearly. Anne is on the left and my wonderful friend Kelly is on the right. It just seems like yesterday that we were all kids. *sigh*

The wedding was held in Dale and Kelly's yard. Kelly did all the flowers for the wedding and they were gorgeous. Kelly has been in the business of flowers for almost as long as I can remember. She does flowers for weddings all the time and works as a florist for Safeway.

Here's my handsome honey wishing I'd stop sticking the camera in his face... have I mentioned that it was excruciatingly hot and humid; and that we were all positively melting from the heat? No!? Well, it was and we were!!

And here's Brittney. She was the most breathtakingly beautiful bride that I've ever seen! She is a lovely girl, inside and out.

It was such a tranquil setting for the wedding. Kelly's dad, Lee built this pergola and it was the perfect touch with the flowers.

Father and daughter dancing...for some reason, seeing the daughters with their dads always makes me cry. Poor Dale looks like he was about to pass out from the heat! I did notice that the jacket he was wearing didn't last long.

I think evening weddings are so nice. It must be a trend, because all three of the weddings we attended this past summer were held in the evening.

My camera focused on the fir branches instead of the couple, but I kind of like the hazy effect it gave the picture.

This was the bar. Notice what it's made of? Kelly's husband, Dale is a logger and he fell the tree and cut the flat top and finished it himself. It was absolutely beautiful! What a great idea! After summer was over, he donated it to a local tavern as their outside bar. Very cool idea.

First kiss as husband and wife. I didn't do such a great job of including the groom - it looked better through the lens.

Husband and wife - Tony and Brittney. This was such a pretty cake, but you know what? It tasted even better!! :)

First dance...always a tender moment.

Ooh la la !!

Brittney has always loved kids. All the children spent a fair amount of time dancing with the beautiful bride - they loved it!

Grandpa Lee dancing with his youngest (to date) granddaughter. This is one of Anne's daughters.
Uh oh!! What's happening here? The bride and groom are gettin' a little crazy!! I guess it's a good thing that's a very sturdy bar.

Weddings truly are one of my most favorite things. Everybody's happy, full of hope and looking forward to a wonderful future. It's also a great excuse to kick up your heels and have a little fun!! Now that's something we all need to do every once in a while...keeps a body young!!
Cheers everybody!!
Love the ones you're with...Cingspots

Monday, November 16, 2009

More sunny Hawaii for a Monday

Firstly, I want to thank everyone who helped me in my decision-making process for the stone that will go under our new woodstove. I've made my decision and it's a finished piece now sitting in our kitchen nook. I will be posting some pictures probably sometime next week after the installation is done. I'm getting very excited at the prospect of having a source of wonderful wintertime heat, even if we have a power outage. Our pellet stove which sits in the living room does a great job of heating that room, but the rest of the house is uncomfortably cold and I'm tired of hanging blankets over doorways to try and keep out the cold air. And, the prospect of being able to heat or even cook simple meals on the woodstove is very exciting! I know, it doesn't take a whole lot to excite me these days. Blame it on living in the country, I guess.

We had a very productive weekend. Besides finishing the work on the stone and getting it inside the house, I went out for breakfast with my hubby, did some shopping at the local farmer's market, got a ton of stove pellets unloaded and stacked in the woodshed, and did some cleaning and reorganizing in our house. I even baked homemade bread rolls last night...yum!! It always feels good to accomplish tasks, even if it's just little things. Makes me feel productive and useful. The whole weekend wasn't just work though, I enjoyed sleeping in and some quality leisure time as well. Now, here we are back to another Monday and I'm simply not ready for the reality just yet, so...

what better than to post some more beautiful Hawaii pictures and dream a little dream...

Looking oceanward from the grounds of the hotel.

There was a great walking path that went from our hotel along the ocean down past all four of the lagoons and eventually ending at the Ko'Olina Marina where we later took a cruise and went snorkeling and swimming with dolphins. A nice man we met along the way offered to take our picture.

These lagoons were ideal for swimming and lounging on the various floating devices that were available because you didn't have to worry about being carried out to sea if you fell asleep. So nice...

I thought these little girls were adorable the way they all lined up to watch the pretty Hawaiian dancers that performed poolside. The dances and the music were just beautiful, and very soothing.

The dances are very relaxing to watch and the girls are so very graceful in their fluid movements.

These pictures are not in any particular order because for some reason blogger won't allow me to move my pictures around anymore. *sigh* Anyway, this is our very first glimpse of the island as the plane was banking just before landing. I thought it was a beautiful site.

Anna and one of her bridesmaids at the reception. They had exceptionally good food, delicious desserts and an open bar for the party. We all danced, ate and drank ourselves positively silly. I just love weddings because they're such a happy event and everybody has a blast. No worries about driving either, we just had to find our way to the room afterwards.

The beautifully scented Plumeria was everywhere.

I have no idea what this flower is, but I thought it was lovely.

My hubby snorkeling in the ocean.

More merry-making at the reception. Mmmm Mai Tai's are yummy!

Anna and the proud papa, Steve. This is my hubby's baby brother.

A beautiful location for a wedding overlooking the Pacific Ocean in all its' splendor.
Anna and John.

The wedding party. It was a very large group.

Sorry honey, I just can't resist...the first words out of my hubby's mouth when his brother told him about going to Hawaii for the wedding were: "I'm not wearing a Hawaiian shirt!!!". Too funny!! He just had to have one, and so here he is in all his glory...I think he looks very handsome too.Back to the real world...tomorrow my girl kitties are going to the vets to be spayed. After they've recovered, we'll move on to the boys. Here kitty, kitty, kitty...
:) It sure is a good thing that cats can't read!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Decisions, decisions - I need your help!!!!!!!

I don't think I'm very good at making decisions about the interior design of my home. As far as a "style" of could probably call it eclectic farmhouse, otherwise known as a medley of stuff I like and stuff that was already there when we moved in. Anyway, we're having a woodstove installed in our kitchen. I've picked out the location of the stove, and I've chosen the stove. Good start. Here begins my dilemma...we went to my hubby's shop and tried to pick out the rock for the mat/hearth, whatever you call it. The non-combustible material that goes underneath the stove. Waaaaay too many choices for my brain to pick just one.

Here's my vision so far... this is what I want, not necessarily what I have right now; so please, bear with me. :) The woodstove is black cast iron, floors hopefully someday will be medium-toned "oak" colored wood or laminate (Pergo). A fairly light, neutral wall coloring maybe in pale, buttery yellow, cabinets painted bright white with countertops of french-vanilla toned stone with brown/black flecks or warm browns. And, for the curtains we'll throw in something like red and white gingham check or old-fashioned off-white lace.

Our house is not fancy. At all. Quite the contrary; it's an oldish Cape Cod style built in the 50's that's been turned into a farmhouse out of necessity. It's cozy, it has lots of room for improvement, and it's our home. It's where we live, it is definitely not a showplace. But, I would like to make it look nicer if, and when we can afford to.

Below are the narrowed down choices that I came up with. The pictures aren't great, but they're what I have. I would like your opinions, your comments and your pinnache'. Hey, I figured what the worked for Pioneer Woman!! It's worth a shot.

Choice 1

Choice 2

Choice 3 (this one's sort of pebbley and textured making it less shiney)

Choice 4

Choice 5

Choice 6

These are all granite pieces and it's what we can use to save some money. My hubby will do the cutting and the edge detail enabling us to save about $500 or so by not having to buy a ready-made stove pad. I'm just afraid of it looking too fancy in our little house. That's definitely not the look I'm going for.
Thanks everybody!! I will greatly appreciate any assistance or opinions you're willing to share with me.
Humbly, Cingspots

Friday, November 6, 2009

Aloha sweet Hawaii

We're experiencing a change in our weather. Gone are the bright blue skies and glorious sunshine of the last several weeks. Today dawned very windy and rainy. As I've said before, when it's November in Oregon...all bets are off. Fall has arrived, and so we must adapt.


I say we go into denial and revisit some wonderful memories and lazy days of summer.
Shall we??

Here we are arriving at our hotel in Ko'Olina on the island of Oahu. My hubby's brother Steve and sis-in-law Chris on the left and bride-to-be (niece) Anna in the center. I'm the chubby one looking deliriously pleased with things and my hubby on the right.

The entire time we were there the weather was deliciously perfect. Hot, sunny days and warm, tropical nights. Who could ask for anything more? I was meant to live in a tropical environment...I thrive there. And besides; who doesn't look better in a tan?

Below is the view of the ocean from our room's lanai. I LOVED our room!!! I seriously could have lived there forever. The bathroom was bigger than my kitchen. Aaahh sweet memories.

The pool at the hotel and the cabana on the right. They served lunch-type food and appetizers along with just about any kind of drink you could desire. The ocean and beach can be seen in the background. There were 4 private lagoons at this hotel, each one rocked off from the ocean itself creating the perfect place for swimming. In the evenings poolside, there were dancers in beautiful Hawaiian costumes.

One of several water features on the hotel grounds. There were walking paths throughout the grounds with several pools featuring different kinds of tropical fish, sharks and eels. There were tables throughout where you could enjoy your morning coffee, a meal or just lounge and read.

At night these areas were lit with tiki torches creating a very romantic setting.

This picture doesn't really belong here. This is a very early morning shot from a completely different side of the island. Whoops!!

Okay, back on track...this is an evening picture taken from our lanai. We spent a lot of time enjoying the view from the lanai. Heavenly!

My hubby in his beach attire. These doors were so cool! When you opened them for more than a minute or two, the air conditioning automatically shut off; close the doors and the air came back on. I've never really enjoyed living in air conditioning before...but at night here, it was greatly appreciated. We snuggled each night under the down comforter and slept like the dead.
I would loved to have brought the bed home comfy and huge!!! No matter how hard I tried, it just wouldn't fit in my luggage. *sigh*

Such beauty, and so very romantic...

I am so ready to go back!!
I have a lot more pictures to share, so until next time...

moonlight over the Pacific

Blessings and Aloha from cingspots