Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Edition #12 - "A"

I've seen several Thursday Thirteeners following an alphabet theme, so I thought that would be a fun challenge. Thirteen words for each letter of the alphabet that somehow pertain to me. Think I can do it? Well, we'll see... Today's post is brought to you by the letter...
  1. Accent. Mine is southern! A blend of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, apparently.
  2. Advisor. I work for Sonlight Curriculum as a homeschool advisor.
  3. Afghans. Cozy... and fun to knit or crochet.
  4. Allen. My brother. A great guy!
  5. Amazon. A favorite place to shop. I even have my own "store front" with many of my favorite products listed. Check it out!
  6. Ancestors. Tracing my genealogy is one of my hobbies.
  7. Andy Griffith. A favorite TV show.
  8. Anne of Green Gables. A favorite book
  9. Apple Pie. Click here for my favorite recipe.
  10. Arkansas. Where my parents live.
  11. Audio books. Popular at our house.
  12. August. When my sweetheart was born.
  13. Auto racing. My husband is a big fan!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Printable Postage

Have you discovered printable postage yet? It is the handiest thing to be able to weigh my packages, apply exactly the right amount of postage and then just drop them off at the post office without having to wait in line to have them weighed.

Between my publishing business, Paperback Swap, and SwapaDVD I usually mail a dozen or more packages a week. This has been so handy for me! Here are some tips I've discovered to make the process easier:
  • I usually print my postage from the PayPal site because it takes it right out of my PayPal account. There is no fee for printing the postage, and sometimes it actually comes out cheaper than it would be at the post office. (I think certain classes of mail offer a discount for printing postage online.)
  • Online postage automatically includes Delivery Comfirmation. I think it costs 18 cents extra, but then you get a tracking number so you can know when it is delivered. That has come in handy more than once!
  • If you mail things via Priority Mail you can order free boxes and/or envelopes from the post office website, and they'll be delivered right too you.
  • Speaking of Priority Mail, sometimes you can save money by using the Flat Rate Box or Envelope. The box costs $8.90 to mail and the envelope is $4.60. You have to use the box (or envelope) the post office provides, but as long as your item fits it doesn't matter how much it weighs... it still costs the same. Occasionally I have found that larger, bulky items that don't weigh much are actually cheaper using regular Priority Mail, but if your item weighs more than a couple of pounds, the flat rate is a good way to go.
  • I understand that the post office will also pick up your packages from your home if you use Priority Mail. I haven't scheduled pick-ups myself, but I may see about doing that soon.
  • With printable postage you can drop off packages in the "blue box" even if they are over 13 ounces. (Packages over 13 ounces with stamps have to be handed over the counter inside the postage office.)
Printable postage works for me!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pay It Forward Bloggy Giveaway

I found the Pay It Forward: Arts & Crafts Giveway at my friend Cynthia's blog, Life Is Good... and thought it sounded fun, so I'm playing along. And I decided the week of the Bloggy Giveway Carnival was the perfect time to do it!

It's pretty simple and easy to participate.The rules are:
  • Anyone with a blog can join.
  • The first three people to leave a comment on this post will receive a handmade gift from me.
  • Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you for your mailing address.
  • I will send your gift within 365 days.
  • In return, you have to pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.
If you want to play, just be one of the first 3 people to comment, and go post the challenge on your own blog. Then sometime this year, a fun, handmade gift from me will magically appear in your mailbox. (US addresses only, please.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Blue Skies

Can you stand one more post about the snow? We woke up to clearing skies this morning and the sun on the snow is so gorgeous that I just had to take some more pictures! (Click on the pictures to see them bigger and with truer color.)

The top picture is of our driveway with the mountain in the background. My husband and his brother worked for 5 hours yesterday getting the driveway cleared... and that's with a snow-plow on the front of my brother-in-laws pickup.

Below is what the pile of snow off the roof looks like this morning. I hope it doesn't take us until the 4th of July to dig out!

Hope you're having a sunshiney day!

Menu Plan Monday

The Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu from last week was okay. It tasted good, just wasn't very "pretty". We decided it would probably make a better oven-baked casserole than a Crock-pot meal. My daughter said she would like it better with rice than with the stuffing. I'll probably tweak it some more next time I make it.

For this week, my plan is:

Monday - Taco Rice, nachos
Tuesday - Baked Potato Soup, cornbread
Wednesday - sub sandwiches, fresh veggies
Thursday - sloppy joes, tater tots, coleslaw
Friday - pizza, salad

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weather Update

And the snow continues! This was the scene outside our house late in the afternoon. The piles against the building are from snow falling off the roof. The depth of snow on the top of the trailer shows how much had actually fallen since yesterday morning. And it hasn't stopped yet!

Too bad for my kids that we homeschool. The public schools get a snow day tomorrow. (Don't worry. They'll get plenty of chance to get out in that wet stuff!)

Are we havin' fun yet?

Winter Wonderland?

They say we are having the snowiest winter that this area has had in 10 years. We moved here 9 1/2 years ago, so we are "enjoying" the most snow we've seen in a very long time... ever, maybe. We got several inches a couple weeks ago, and then it turned cold... single digit cold... so, of course, the snow on the ground didn't go anywhere. Finally yesterday it "warmed up" enough to snow some more (low 30s). It started snowing about 24 hours ago and hasn't let up yet! We probably have a foot of fresh snow!

As if the snow wasn't excitement enough, this morning we woke up with no power. When my husband called in to the power company he got a recording that said they were aware of the outage, but didn't give any indication as to how long the power would be off. The kids lit the oil lamp, and were almost bouncing off the walls with the excitement of it all. Much to their dismay (and our relief) the lights (and heat!) came back on within a few minutes.

Earlier this week, when it was so cold, our furnace had quit working in the middle of the night... and we got up to a temperature of 54 degrees inside the house... and no water in the upstairs faucets. We were grateful that it was a quick fix for the furnace, and that no water pipes had burst. (Just one loose connection caused a leak that my husband was able to repair.)

Quite enough "excitement" for one week!

The picture above is of the woods behind our house this morning. The picture below shows the "mountain" of snow that has accumulated beside the house from the snow sliding off the roof! The kids think they could just take their sled up on the roof and... wheeee... down they'd come.

I love to watch the snow fall... and pile up... but when it stops, boy, is it going to be a humongous mess out there! I'm just not going to think about that right now.

Friday, January 25, 2008


I love cornbread! And I always want the corner piece with the crusty edges... so when I saw this cornbread skillet at Cabella's last fall I "hinted" to my husband that I would like it. Bless his heart, the man remembered, and got it for me for my birthday a couple of months ago.

I've been making cornbread at least once a week since. I always like having left-overs, too. Cold cornbread crumbled in a glass of milk makes a good breakfast! "Sweet milk" if you please. I don't mind buttermilk by itself, but I want "sweet milk" with my cornbread. (For those of you who aren't southern, "sweet milk" is really not sweetened. That's just what you call regular milk when you are talking about buttermilk! Or something. Yeah. Anyway.)

I don't want sugar in my cornbread either. Because if you put sugar in it, it tastes like cake, which is okay if you like it, I guess. But it doesn't taste like "proper" cornbread.

Apparently I inherited this taste preference.

The story goes that Granddaddy grew up with no-sugar-in-the-cornbread, so when they got married Grandmother learned to make cornbread that way. And so all 10 of their children grew up with no-sugar-in-the-cornbread. One of those children was my mother, so consequently I grew up with no-sugar-in-the-cornbread. And that's the way I like it.

Here's my recipe:

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup self-rising flour
2 eggs
4+ tablespoons bacon drippings*
1 1/4 cups milk

Turn on oven to 375 degrees. Grease cast iron skillet with bacon drippings. Put in oven to preheat. Melt 4 tablespoons bacon drippings in microwave. Mix all ingredients. Pour batter into hot skillet. Bake until golden brown.

* Yes, I save and use my bacon drippings. I'm a good southern Cook that way. However, you can substitute vegetable shortening or even oil for the bacon drippings if you prefer. The cornbread won't have quite as good a flavor, but if you're not used to cooking with bacon drippings you probably won't notice.

And that's my Show & Tell for this week... Click the button below to visit other "Show & Tellers".

Show and Tell

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The White Sisters

I've been having so much fun helping Rachel get her blog up and running the past few weeks. For those of you who missed it, she is my aunt... but she's only a few months older than I am... so we grew up "together". Yesterday when we were visiting on the phone we were laughing about some of the silly things we used to do as kids. Good memories! I was telling her that I had participated in NaNoWriMo in November, but instead of writing an actual novel I wrote my memoirs. No, I didn't make it to 50,000 words... but I did get to about 35,000 which I thought was pretty good for my first attempt at anything close to book length. I haven't done anything with it yet... not sure that ever will beyond sharing it with my kids, but I thought I'd share this one little snippet with my blog readers... This is especially for Rachel, Dori, and Naomi, and my parents. Enjoy!

One time, when I was about 7 or 8, Rachel and we girls played a funny game of Let’s Pretend. It wasn’t funny to us then… just fun! …but as I got older and remembered the incident I had to laugh.

We were The White Sisters! This was an actual trio of sisters (with beautiful voices and close harmony) who had made some records in the 1950s or maybe early 1960’s. There were 2 or 3 of their records at Grandmother’s house and we were fascinated to read on the record jacket that their names were Joyce and Fay and I don’t remember what the other sister’s name was. Janet, maybe. But two of them were twins and the other was their older sister, just like us! So we were pretending to be The White Sisters… but with Rachel, there were four of us, so we decided Rachel could be the mother and she could play the accordion for us.

Because, of course, you couldn’t have special music without an accordion!

We believed this to be so because our church worshiped in the local old-country-school-house-turned-community building. Granddaddy had started the church just a few years earlier and the congregation would not have their own building for another 10 or 12 years. The community building did not boast of a piano or organ, so our next oldest aunt--who was in high school at the time--played an accordion to accompany any singing, both congregational and special songs.

So. Rachel began to look around in the yard for something that could serve as her accordion in our debut as The White Sisters. Yes. The Jolly Rocker was the very thing! It was a teeter-totter made of metal tubes formed into a rocker shape with a plastic seat and a handle-bar at both ends. Rachel picked it up and held it against her chest, with the curved side of the rocker out and swayed back-and-forth with it as we sang.

I’m sure we made beautiful music.

P.S. Imagine my surprise to discover that The White Sisters are still around and they have their own website! You can even still buy their music! Also, my dad now pastors the church Granddaddy started all those years ago. The congregation has a beautiful building now. You can see a picture of it on my dad's blog.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

7 Random Facts Tag

I've been tagged again! This time by Hope from Second Time Around. I played this game back in September (click here to see my answers that time), but I decided that you can never really run out of random things to tell... so I've come up with 7 different things...

  1. I've been in 37 states, Canada, and Mexico, but I've never seen the Atlantic Ocean. Weird, huh?
  2. I can't sleep comfortably without my own feather pillow. I take it with me wherever I go.
  3. I have a scar on my chin that is a "souvenir" of a bicycle wreck I had a month before I got married. When I limped back home dripping blood my mother forbid me to get on a bicycle again before my wedding! I didn't.
  4. I have an uncle who is younger than my husband (by one month)!
  5. I love stories. Many times I'd rather listen to a story than music. And I would almost always rather read a book than watch TV. My husband recently installed XM radio in my car, and I have the old-time radio channel at the top of my Favorites list! Radio dramas were what came before television. Fun stuff!!
  6. I've been "computer literate" since 1982 when I took a class in computer programming in high school! I learned BASIC programming. Our school had a TRS-80 computer with a cassette-tape drive!! I learned to write programs that would solve algebra problems. Whoop-tee-doo. The next year our school got an Atari computer with a color monitor and sound! That year I wrote a program to play the first few bars of "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie, and display the words words in color as it played the notes. Fancy, huh? We were cutting edge, I tell ya!
  7. I've been online since 1997 and have had a personal website in some form or another since very early on. I started blogging in 2002.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bubblegum Afghan

This throw really doesn't have anything to do with bubblegum, except that's what the colors remind me of. My 15-year-old daughter picked out the colors and pattern, and helped me crochet it for her room. Her bottom bunk is a double bed that flips up into a couch... and her bedspread (shown) and curtains have some of these same colors. It is made of the cotton yarn that I am enjoying working with so much. I just finished it this weekend. I thought it turned out really cute!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - spaghetti, garlic bread, green beans
Tuesday - sausage stir fry, rice
Wednesday - Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu, green salad
Thursday - venison-and-veggie stew, cornbread
Friday - chicken strips, baked beans, cole slaw, finger jello

Spaghetti was on my menu plan for last week, but we didn't end up having it so I just carried it over to this week. I saw the cordon bleu recipe on someone else's menu plan last week and wanted to try it. I've linked the recipe. We'll see how it turns out for me.

Visit Organizing Junkie for more menu plans.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Denise!

Growing up in a parsonage we were naturally encouraged to support the foreign missionaries... and one way to show that support was to write letters. Now, I always enjoyed writing letters, so I was just thrilled when a new family with 4 little girls went to the mission field in Africa. The oldest daughter, Denise, was just my age, and I decided she would make a perfect missionary pen-pal for me. I had never met her, but that didn't matter. She was an MK (missionary kid) and I was a PK (preacher's kid). I was sure we would have a lot in common! My mother supplied the tissue-thin aerogram and I carefully wrote a letter in my neatest, smallest handwriting introducing myself. We were 10 or 12 years old, and that began a regular correspondence that lasted all through our teen years and into adulthood. It turned out that we did have a lot in common... and when their family came home on furlough we finally got to meet them. They were back in the States by the time I got married at age almost-20 and Denise was in my wedding. We continued to write back and forth occasionally for a few years after that... but gradually lost touch as we got busy with our husbands and young children.

Then... just this past fall, imagine my surprise to find a comment on my blog from my "long lost" pen pal! We have been able to keep in touch again on a regular basis through our blogs... and are catching up on all the years we were out-of-touch.

Today is Denise's birthday... (I remember because I'm just about 2 months older than she is!) I wanted to take a minute to celebrate old friends!

Not that we're getting old or anything like that!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Meet Sits!

I had been trying to think of what I could post about today... I like daily "memes" (blog themes) but hadn't run across one for Friday that seemed to be a good fit for things I like to post about... until today! When I ran across Show & Tell Friday I knew immediately what I could "show and tell" about! This is Sits! He's a funny looking little character, isn't he? But he's very precious to me.

The facts are these.

Once upon a time, when I was a new bride setting up my first home I came across this goofy little piece of porcelain among my husband's things.

"What's this?" I wondered.

"Oh. That's Sits," my husband told me matter-of-factly.


"His name is Sits because that's what he does!" as if that explained everything.

The story goes that when my husband was a little boy his family drove from California to Illinois to visit friends. While they were there the friends gave this figurine to the-little-boy-who-would-grow-up-to-be-my-husband. He told me he named it Sits (because that's what he does!) and laid on the floor of their van and talked to it all the way home. (This was obviously before there were seat-belt laws.)

I have very vivid memories of my childhood, but my husband does not. So each little tidbit he shares is like a precious jewel... and Sits ties in with that, so that's why I treasure such a quirky knick-knack. And that's my "show and tell" for this week!

Show and Tell

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Edition #11

Vintage Children's Series Books
Books I enjoyed reading as a child, and collect as an adult. Many of these were already "vintage" when I was reading them! How many do you remember? (Just for fun, click on the titles to be taken to fan websites for each series.)
  1. Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators
  2. Anne of Green Gables
  3. Beany Malone
  4. Betsy-Tacy
  5. Bobbsey Twins
  6. Cherry Ames
  7. Dana Girls
  8. Danny Orlis
  9. Happy Hollisters
  10. Hardy Boys
  11. Little House on the Prairie
  12. Nancy Drew
  13. Trixie Belden

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

It's cold here this week! As I write this (on Tuesday evening) it is 12 degrees. Brrrrr!!! Yes, we live way north--nearly to Canada--but being west of the Rockies it's actually rare for it to get this cold. Typical winters are in the mid-to-upper-30s in the daytime/20s at night. Not so bad. Since this is the first time it's gotten much below 20 all winter, I'm not going to complain. At least a lot of the snow we got last week melted before the temperature dropped. Not all of it, but a lot.

What does that have to do with Works-for-Me-Wednesday? Well, I wanted to share a simple "secret" I've discovered for a cozy bed. It's flannel sheets!! I know, that's kinda "Duh!" but I had never tried them before. I love crisp, finely-woven cotton sheets and piles of quilts personally, but my husband cannot stand to get into a cold bed. Finally, 2 or 3 years ago, we got an electric blanket. Ahhh... he loved that! But, for some reason, the blanket stopped working this winter. I just piled on more covers, but oh, he'd fuss when he had to get in between the cold sheets. I don't know if you've priced electric blankets lately, but they aren't cheap, and ours is new enough that I wasn't very motivated to go buy another one. Instead, we decided to give flannel sheets a try. I didn't think I would care for them much... I mean, fuzzy sheets? ..::wrinkling my nose::.. ...but I was willing to give it a try. We received a set for Christmas... (Thanks, Mother and Dad!) ...and they have worked out great! I can't say I love them... they are, after all, fuzzy sheets... but my husband no longer fusses about having to get into a cold bed, and, believe it or not, we ended up taking two blankets off the bed! They are that warm!

Tonight I'll probably end up putting one of the extra quilts back on... but for our normal winter temperatures, the sheets plus 2 quilts was enough. So... I'm getting used to them... and that works for me!

Visit Rocks in My Dryer for more Works-for-Me-Wednesday posts, or to add your own.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Time for Tea

Denise says that January is Hot Tea Month. Never heard of it before, but I'll take her word for it. She is celebrating each Tuesday with "Tuesday's Tea Time"... and I'm joining her for tea this week! (If memory serves--which it very well may not--I'm thinking her birthday is this week, too. It's been way too many years since we were little girl pen-pals!)

As my contribution to "Tuesday's Tea Time" I wanted to show you my very unique tea "set". You notice "set" is in quotes? That's because it's not truly a set... but I love it! My mother bought me the beautiful violet teapot when she visited England 12 years ago. Then 2 years ago for my birthday she surprised me the cup-and-saucer on the left. It looks like it matches the tea-pot, doesn't it? It's a different brand, though. Soon after that a dear friend gave me the cup-and-saucer on the right. And just this past summer Mother gave me the one in the middle "just because". Each one is white with violets, and edged in gold. They are so beautiful! And I love that each one is different. It will be interesting to see if I ever find (or receive) more.

(And, no, Rachel, the violets aren't begging to live at your house!)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Time to get back in the habit of planning supper ahead of time! So, for this week my plan is:

Monday - Rice Supreme, fruit salad
Tuesday - Taco Soup, cornbread
Wednesday - turkey sandwiches, fresh veggies
Thursday - ham, broccoli, baked potatoes
Friday - spaghetti, garlic bread, salad

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Party Line

How many of you remember "party line" telephones? I suppose it shows my age to say that I do. My parents lived out in the country in the Ozarks when I was in college (in the mid-1980s... so I'm not that old!), and it was the only kind of line they could get, even then. Surely they don't still have them anywhere, do they?

I found it greatly annoying to have the neighbors constantly picking up the phone when I was trying to talk to my husband-to-be who lived in the next state over. They just had no patience for "young love"! On the other hand there's the "benefit" of being able to "listen in" to see what is going on at the neighbor's. Not that you were supposed to do that. And not that I ever did. (At least, not much... and only by accident!)

I've mentioned my interest in vintage activities, and one activity I enjoy is listening to old time radio shows from the 1930s and '40s. My favorite is the Lum & Abner show about the two old hillbillies who have a general store in a small town in Arkansas. They have an old jangly telephone that rings often, and it's on a party line. Much of the humor of the storyline was drawn from the idea of eavesdropping on the neighbors.

That's kind of what blogging reminds me of... the old party line. Neighbors calling each other just to visit, and the lurkers are kinda like the eavesdroppers listening in. I learned a few days ago that it's officially "de-lurking" week, so if you fall in that category now's the time to speak up and introduce yourself! Blogging is so much fun! I've made new friends and connected with old friends, and I enjoy getting to know everyone better.

I'd like to invite everyone to join my "party line"... and to celebrate I am going to be hosting a bi-weekly giveaway. In the past, all you had to do to be entered in my giveaways was post a comment during a certain length of time. I'm going to change that up a bit. My giveaways will be open to my regular blog visitors... but I won't know who you are unless you post a comment. If you're not already listed on my side-bar and you'd like to be, just let me know. And I'd love it if you would return the favor. Every other Monday (starting January 21) I will choose a winner from among my friends. Usually the prize will be a book, but you never know... I might offer something I've knitted or crocheted, too. Won't that be fun?

Well... Thanks for listenin' in... Let's chat again soon!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I had cereal and fruit, and oh yeah, eggs! for breakfast this morning. I really did! Okay, so they were cookies. Aren't oats a cereal? And raisins are fruit! And I know the recipe called for 2 eggs! (We just won't mention all the sugar... or the white chocolate chips.) My daughter made Oatmeal Raisin Cookies for Bible study last night and, oh my, they are delicious! This recipe comes from our former associate pastor's wife, Mrs. Whetstone.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
2 cups flour
2 cups oats
raisins, chocolate chips, nuts, or whatever you like

Mix in usual way. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Romantic Porch

Please welcome my aunt* Rachel to the blogging world! I've been helping her get her blog set up for awhile... and now she's ready to make her debut... Visit A Romantic Porch and leave Rachel a comment. (She loves comments!) Be sure to tell her I sent you!

* Rachel is my mother's youngest sister. We are close to the same age.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Notes from Numbers

I mentioned in my New Year's post that I was taking up my Bible reading again in Leviticus where I got bogged down last year. I wanted to read the Bible straight through from Genesis to Revelation, but gave up and switched to the New Testament for several months. But for New Year's I decided to try again. We'll see how far I get this time... probably to Chronicles! LOL! My pastor told me it's "too hard" to read it all in a year if you try to read it in order. I think he's right. That's okay. I'll get through it when I get through it.

Anyway... I finally finished Leviticus with all the obscure Hebrew laws, and now I'm in Numbers. It is much more interesting since it is has more history mixed in with the law than Leviticus did. I have been praying that God would show me something fresh even in this "dry" portion of the Bible as I read each morning... and He has been faithful to do that! Just thought I'd share a few of the verses that have jumped out at me this time through...
At the command of the Lord they remained encamped, and at the command of the Lord they journeyed... --Numbers 9:23
Go or stay? It doesn't matter... as long as the Lord is in it.
Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all the men who were on the face of the earth. --Numbers 12:3
Can you imagine that? A leader like Moses... more humble than anyone else on earth? Wow!
But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. --Numbers 14:31
The people were afraid to enter the Promised Land because they were concerned about the safety of the women and children. They didn't trust the Lord to take care of them. So God told them, "Fine! You can wander around in the wilderness until you die... but those little kids you were worried about? I'm going to take care of them!" I liked the reminder that we, as parents, really have no control over what happens to our children, but we can trust God to take care of them!

So there ya have it... my little exhortation for the day...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Rose and Blue Throw

I finished this knitted throw a few weeks ago. It's made with cotton yarn and a free pattern from It was a super-easy garter-stitch pattern and great for taking along on trips to work on in the car because it didn't change colors often, so I didn't have to take all the colors along. It's bigger than most throws I make, but I like it because it's generous enough to cover my long legs and still be pulled up under my chin if I want. The cotton yarn is so soft, too!

As usual, I have 3 other ones going right now, just to keep it interesting! I'll post pictures as I finish them.

(I don't like the way my new blog template makes the picture off-color and sort of transparent. I'm not sure how to make it not be that way. But you can click on the picture to see it better.)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Helgeson Place Hotel

One of my favorite things about traveling is the serendipity of discovering unexpected "vintage" experiences along the way. Summer before last we traveled over a long "forgotten" segment of Route 66... and then last month we had the fun of "going by train". Our trip back in time this weekend features a stay at an old-timey downtown hotel in tiny Orofino, Idaho... the Helgeson Place Hotel. (Click through to their website to see what the hotel looks like from the outside.) I wasn't sure what to expect when we entered the lobby. My husband had already checked us in, so he led the way to the elevator. He swung the door open and reached in to push the gate aside. Yes, it was that old! And tiny. The four of us filled it up. We estimated that perhaps one more small person might fit if we all scrunched together a little more. It was also slow. But our room was on the third floor so we chose not to take the stairs. We had to remember to close the gate behind us as we stepped out of the elevator.

Imagine my surprise and delight to find out that our "room" was actually a 700-square-foot suite complete with a separate bedroom for the kids, a furnished kitchenette, comfortable living room furniture and a king-size bed for us. The very best part? It only cost $59 a night! The same room in Seattle would easily cost 3 times that much.

Our former pastor and his wife live here in Orofino now, so we will no doubt be down to visit them from time-to-time. We had thought we would bring our trailer down when the weather warms up, but with the price of fuel being what it is (and what it's likely to be in the summer), we may decide this is a better option.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2007 in Review

I was just looking back through my blog archives and found this quiz I did in 2004. I decided to update it for 2007. If you like to do this kind of thing, please consider yourself tagged!

Did you keep you New Years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
Not really any resolutions... but I do like to set fresh goals at New Year's. I started reading the Bible at the beginning again last New Year's, and kinda got bogged down in Leviticus... then I jumped to the New Testament and around after that... so I decided recently to pick up where I left off and see how long it takes me to make it straight through. (I've read the whole Bible before, just never in order.)

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not real close. A niece and two of my cousins had babies this year.

Did anyone close to you die?
My 91-year-old grandfather died in January.

What countries did you visit?
Canada. Other states in the US: Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Washington, Oregon, California, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri.

What was the best thing you bought?
Goodness, I dunno. Maybe the treadmill. I don't especially *enjoy* it, but I know it's good for me... and I get my walking done even when it's cold and icy out.

Compared to this time last year are you:
a. Happier or sadder? About the same, I guess.
b. thinner or heavier? Maybe a little heavier (which is why the treadmill is a good thing!).
c. richer or poorer? Just a little bit ahead! Yay!

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Homeschooling. Seems I never get as much done as I think I should.

How did you spend Christmas?
Quietly with my husband and children. We had a good Christmas, but I miss being with my extended family.

Did you fall in love in 2004?
All over again!

What was your favorite TV show?

What was the best book you read?
Always the Bible. Besides that I've had the privilege of reading dozens of Christian fiction (and a few non-fiction) books this year. It's really hard to choose a favorite. It depends on my mood.

What was your favorite film this year?
The Ultimate Gift

What did you do on your birthday? How old were you?
My husband took me out for supper. I am... let's just say "middle-aged"! (which does not seem possible)

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If my husband didn't have to work so much overtime.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Comfortable, classic. (as usual)

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"...All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me."