Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No question about it...

...he's been working too hard again!
 I walked in the back of the print shop yesterday evening to discover Lyle resting his back on a pallet of paper, while his press was running! Taking a nap, he called it.

 Don't worry. He only stayed there long enough for me to run get my phone and snap a couple of pictures.
"You know you're going to end up on my blog, don't you?" I asked him.
"So everyone can see how lazy I am, huh?"

Um. Yeah. I don't think lazy men work 60-80 hours per week.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I love unintentional malapropisms. They make me smile.

My youngest daughter, who has auditory processing delays, uses them quite frequently... but she gets a little frustrated when we ask her to repeat what she said because we aren't sure we heard it right. That clues her in that she used the wrong word, so she'll usually just "Hmph! Never mind!"

Her latest one that I especially enjoyed was when she told me Sunday that she has two "Timothy sets" that we can get out and display at Christmas time. I was a little puzzled until she explained further that a Timothy set has a Baby Jesus... and Mary... and Joseph. (Though there's a problem with Joseph's staff. It won't stay in his hand.) Nativity set! Of course. Yes, that does sound a little bit like Timothy!

Yesterday at co-op I was helping in a class where the teacher was demonstrating some optical illusions. The little girls in the class were very impressed. "It's an optical delusion!" exclaimed one.

Don'tcha love it?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Fragments

I've been threatening to do it for awhile... and as it turns out, this week has been so fragmented that it seems like a good time to join in Friday Fragments along with my blogging buddy Keetha @ The Eclectic Company. The idea is to post little fragments from your week that don't warrant a whole blog post just by themselves.
Speaking of blog posts: I subscribe to a social media tip email thingy... where I get tips on making the most of social media. Some of the tips are helpful, some don't apply, some I already know about... but I found the latest one down-right insulting-- "You should only blog if you have something important to tell the rest of the world." Really?? I wish someone had told me that 10 years ago. All this time I've apparently been committing a faux pas by blogging about unimportant things right along. But you know what? The "rest of the world" is not obligated to read my unimportant posts, now are they? Therefore, I shall continue to blissfully blog about whatever comes to mind, regardless of it's importance. Thank you for understanding.

We got home from vacation on Sunday evening. We left the coast on Saturday morning, and had planned to visit Mt. St. Helen's on the way home. However, she wasn't receiving visitors that day. It was snowing heavily when we got to the visitor's center and the mountain was fogged in. I don't think that was very nice of her, do you? After we drove all that way to see her. Guess there's a reason most people don't go on vacation during the off-season.
I did thoroughly enjoy the fall colors as we drove through the mountains, though. Here in the Northwest our forests stay mostly green year 'round (being evergreens, you know), so the trees that do change colors really "pop" against the dark green.

I've spent several hours this week working on my last homeschool co-op class for the fall trimester. Our co-op has three 8-week trimesters per year. The fall trimester is September and October. Then we take a break until after the holidays. I've taught a class on Eastern Hemisphere Cultures this trimester. It's gone by fast. My last class will be on Russia. I'm always amazed at how much I learn when I teach! I've had fun putting together a Power Point presentation each week, and I especially appreciate the cute educational clip-art from Phillip Martin.

Another "catch-up" project this week was getting some new items listed on my Etsy shop, including mug cozies, Regency-style reticules, and flower clip bookmarks. Everything I currently have listed is my own design, so if you're looking for a unique gift, check it out!  I am happy to accept custom orders as well.

One more thing on my to-do list for this week was to dig out my old menu plan files and try to come up with a current plan we can stick to. I did a search online for a menu plan template and found the coolest meal-planning spreadsheet for Excel (or whatever spreadsheet program you use). And it's free! It was easy to figure out and customize with the tried-and-true stand-by dishes that my family usually eats. No fancy new recipes with obscure ingredients or anything like that (though you could certainly add them if you like). Looks like they have quite a few practical spreadsheets. So far I've only play with the meal-planning one. I guess I could start doing Menu Plan Monday posts again, couldn't I?

On the writing front, NaNoWriMo is coming up. I've committed to going to the kick-off party in my area tomorrow... and I hope to make it to a few of the write-ins. I am not committing to writing 50,000 words in November, but I am anxious to see what I can get done.

The weather has finally turned chilly. And my mums are blooming their little hearts out! I planted them in the fall of 2010, so this is my third year to enjoy them. Last year the yellow ones bloomed first and were nearly done before the orange ones bloomed. This year they got their act together! I love how they just bushed out, too. It will be fun to see how many years they come back.

Mommy's Idea
Thus concludes my first Friday Fragments post. 
Thank you for making me feel important by reading my blog.
Visit Mrs. 4444 @ Half-Past Kissin' Time if you want to read more frags.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sea, Sand, and Sky

We stayed at Turtle Rock RV Park.
We practically had the beach to ourselves.
Becky turning cartwheels on the soft sand.
"Log Henge" constructed by our kids.
Rainbow -- Monday morning.
Sunset -- Tuesday evening.
Sunset -- Wednesday evening.
Sunset -- Thursday evening.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wiener Roast on the Beach

 Something we've always wanted to do is build a campfire on the beach. The weather was really nice in the middle of the week, so I suggested we take an armful of firewood down to the beach one evening to have a wiener roast and watch the sunset.

The wind was pretty brisk, so the kids dug a hole in a somewhat sheltered spot for the fire. In spite of that, we had a time getting it to stay lit long enough to catch the wood on fire. After about a half hour of trying, we finally did get it going.

The wind kept the flames snapping merrily, so we didn't exactly have a nice bed of coals for roasting our hot dogs. We just stuck them down in the flames, and that did the job. However, the wind that kept the fire crackling also gradually eroded the walls of our fire pit... and blew the sand right onto our sizzling hot dogs... which made them more "crunchy" than we would have liked.

We agreed that while our beach fire was not an "epic failure," it fell more in the category of a one-time "adventure" rather than something we wanted to do again.

After all, what is a vacation without a few adventures?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Let's Go Fly a Kite

The weather has cleared off here on the coast. We are privileged to enjoy clear blue skies and sunshine yesterday and today... and for the rest of our time here, if the weather predictions are accurate.
Yesterday we bought a kite to take to the beach. The wind was perfect. No trees around to get tangled in. As long as the string doesn't break, we're in good shape.
We let out the string and the kite went higher and higher... It almost reached the sun. That would have required 93 million miles of string, of course. Too bad the kite only came with 300 feet.
Oh, well. It took long enough to reel that much back in. I don't know why he wasn't satisfied with just flying it right above his head like this. It was windy enough that he didn't even have to do anything but stand there and hold on.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Redwood Forests

 It's rainy and damp today here on the coast. It's supposed to clear off tomorrow, I think. Rather than spending the day cooped up in the trailer, we decided to drive south about 50 miles to see the redwoods of northern California. As always, the trees are majestic and beautiful. I loved driving through the misty forests in the off-season. The crowds are gone, and the visitors' center is closed, but the trees were glad to see us!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Multnomah Falls

 In the summer when we came to Oregon we weren't able to stop at Multnomah Falls because the parking lot was full. That was disappointing, but probably just as well, because no doubt the observation deck and trail was as crowded as the parking lot.

Yesterday when we stopped we practically had the whole place to ourselves. It was a damp, overcast day, but the autumn foliage is beautiful. I thought I would just snap a few pictures of the falls and then we would be on our way. But no....

"Since you're in shape from walking, you can hike up to the bridge with us, can't you?" Lyle wanted to know.

Last time we stopped there, I waited at the bottom while he and the kids went on up to the bridge. It still looked like quite a climb to me, but I agreed to try it.

I'm glad I did. The trail is beautiful.
The view from the bridge is really neat, too. 
You can see how few people were there.
And then we headed on down the road.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fall Vacation

We had several business trips back in the spring, and quite a few day trips and weekend get-aways in the last couple of months. It seems like we've been on the go a lot, but we haven't had a real vacation. Today we're headed to the Oregon coast for a week. This time we're taking the trailer, the kids, and the dog! Should be a fun adventure. I'll try to blog along the way.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Walking Pays Off

 It is approximately two miles from our house to the print shop where my husband works. One afternoon about 3 weeks ago, I decided to walk to the shop for exercise, and then ride home with Lyle. For someone as out-of-shape as I am, two miles is a "fur piece"... but I made it.

The next day I decided to try it again. It was more fun to have a destination in mind... especially with that handsome-man-of-mine waiting at the end... than just aimlessly walking around the neighborhood. And the second day was easier than the first day.

So I've been walking the two miles every weekday since. I have to admit it's not the most scenic route in our area, but there are interesting things to see along the way. The gorgeous Indian Summer weather we've been having has made it great.

And... I've discovered that it's actually a paying proposition! Yes, it is! Did you know that people leave money laying around on the sidewalks just for the taking? They do! Actual cash money!

I've garnered a grand total of 3 cents so far! I'm gonna keep watching, too, because my Daddy always told me if I picked up enough pennies I would eventually be a millionaire! (Just let me know if you need a loan, Dad.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Harvest Time

For our second day-trip of the week, on Saturday we headed to the Green Bluff area to pick apples and enjoy other harvest-y type activities. It was a gorgeous day... which made it nice to be out-and-about...

....but then everybody else and his Uncle Joe thought so, too. All the farms were pretty crowded.

We visited several farms in a row. It was interesting to see how each one was different.

At the first farm we bought Kettle Corn to munch on throughout the day. That stuff is addicting!

Some of our group rode the little shuttle wagon out to the orchards just for fun, though we didn't actually pick apples there.

Those of us who didn't go to the orchard had fun snapping pictures with the silly photo props.

Another farm had farm animals to pet... and a little pioneer cabin and teepee to go in. We shuddered thinking of spending the winter in such a structure.

Then we stopped at the orchard where we like to pick apples. They have a nice variety of fruit... and a fun letter-boxing type game for the kids to find all the boxes as they go through the orchard. A nice surprise this year was that apples were only 25 cents a pound! The prices we had seen so far had been $1.00 or more, even for U-Pick so we wondered what the catch was. The lady explained that they had missed a spraying this year, and many of the apples were wormy. We were able to be selective as we picked, and there were still a good many that weren't wormy, so it turned out to be a good bargain for us!

Moving on, we bought Honey Crisp apples at another farm (a variety that the U-Pick farm didn't have)... and the girls went out to the pumpkin field to pick pumpkins. They told me they wanted big ones. "Okay, but not too big," I agreed.

The pumpkins they came back with were bigger than I had in mind, but I have to admit, they do look very nice in the front flowerbed... and the little neighbor boy was very impressed! I guess that's the whole idea of pumpkins in your yard... to impress the neighbors?

We had lunch and bought fresh apple cider at yet another farm. At that point, we decided we all had what we had come for, so we decided to call it a day.

We've been enjoying fresh apples all week... and Laura has been busy making and canning apple butter and applesauce.

Friday, October 5, 2012

American Tapestries - review

 Today I get to participate in the blog tour for the first two books in the new American Tapestries series from Summerside: Queen of the Waves and Where the Trail Ends. The time periods of both novels intrigued me, so I was happy for the opportunity to read them. Thank you to Litfuse Group for providing me with review copies in exchange for my honest reviews.

Queen of the Waves, by Janice Thompson, is a Titanic story. Even though I'm intrigued by the tragic story of the Titanic, I thought this might be just another re-telling of a society debutante experiencing the great ship. Instead, the main character was actually of the working class, but got to travel on the Titanic in First Class, as she is standing in for the high society lady I expected. That gave an interesting twist to the story. It was well-written and not too melodramatic or sappy.

Here's the publisher's synopsis:
When pampered Jacqueline Abington secretly elopes with the family gardener, she asks another woman to take her place on the much anticipated maiden voyage of the Titanic. Tessa Bowen hails from a poor corner of London but has been granted the opportunity of a lifetime—a ticket to sail to America aboard a famed vessel. But there’s a catch: she must assume Jacqueline’s identity. For the first time in her life, Tessa stays in luxurious quarters, dresses in elegant gowns, and dines with prestigious people. Then a wealthy American man takes an interest in her, and Tessa struggles to keep up the ruse as she begins falling for him. When tragedy strikes, the game is up, and two women’s lives are forever changed.

Where the Trail Ends, by Melanie Dobson, is an Oregon Trail story. The novel starts towards the end of the overland journey, just as the wagon train is preparing to cross the Blue Mountains. This was particularly interesting to me, as I've seen that part of the Oregon Trail and have been over the Blues several times. This story was set in the 1840s, in the very early days of westward expansion. The wagon train in the story was one of the first ones to make the trip, so there were fur-trappers and Indians at the end of the trail to greet them rather than other pioneers. That was an interesting perspective that I hadn't read about before. I liked the main character, and found the story believable and well-researched.

Here's the publisher's synopsis:
For two thousand miles along the trail to Oregon Country, Samantha Waldron and her family must overcome tremendous challenges to reach the Willamette Valley before winter. Together they weather autumn storms, hunger and thirst, and the dangers of a wild and unfamiliar country. But when their canoe capsizes on the Columbia River, they must rely on handsome British exporter Alexander Clarke to rescue them from the icy water. Alex escorts Samantha and her young brother, Micah, to Fort Vancouver. There Samantha is overwhelmed with men vying for her affections, but the only one who intrigues her-Alex-is the one she cannot have. When his betrothed arrives unexpectedly from England to escort him home, Samantha becomes determined to create a home for herself and Micah in the fertile valley far away from the fort. But how will an unmarried woman support herself and her brother in the wilderness alone? Then Micah disappears into the wilderness one rainy night, and Samantha must rely on the man she loves-the man she’s trying desperately to forget-to rescue her brother before it’s too late.
One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Where the Trail Ends by Melanie Dobson
  • Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 17th. Winner will be announced at the American Tapestries Author Chat Facebook Party on 10/18. Connect with authors Janice Thompson and Melanie Dobson for an evening of book chat, trivia and fun! There will also be gift certificates, books, and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Queen of the Waves and Where the Trail Ends and join Janice Thompson and Melanie Dobson on the evening of the October 18th for a chance to connect with the authors and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the books – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Buffalo Round-up Day Trip

 On Tuesday the weather was perfect for a day trip. We had made plans to drive over to the National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge to see the annual buffalo round-up. It is always the first Monday and Tuesday of October. Our homeschool co-op meets on Mondays, so Tuesday was our only option. Now that we have an 8-passenger SUV, we were able to invite some friends to go along.
Our rig is affectionately known as "Duh Bible-Study Fwuck" so dubbed by the passenger in the middle. Our friends come to our Bible Study on Wednesday nights, and so the Little Guy has decided that our name must be Bible-Study, since whenever they say they are going to Bible Study they end up at our house! He's all into "fwucks" and "fwains" so he recognizes our Excursion. He definitely added extra-fun moments to our day. It's been awhile since we've had a 2-year-old around.
The Clark Fork River was particularly beautiful reflecting the bright sunshine and blue sky. It was a gorgeous drive.
We saw several antelope on a hillside in the Bison Range before we got to where they were rounding up the buffalo. They are hard to see in the picture, since they blend in with the grass... and I don't have much of a zoom lens on my camera.
The buffalo round-up itself was not quite as dramatic as it has been in years past, since they've started using Jeeps instead of horses to drive the bison in. It was still fun to watch.
There were a few horses around, though. We saw two or three riders, but they weren't out in the range with the wildlife. Just riding around the barn and parking area. I'm not sure why. For crowd control? Atmosphere? Whatever.
On our way home we saw a herd of Bighorn Sheep. They appear to be fenced in, but I don't think they are really. I think they've just come down off the mountain. But I could be wrong. I don't really know.

Other wildlife we saw (but didn't photograph) included a mule deer, a golden eagle, a bald eagle, and a wild turkey. No bears or moose. Too bad.
We came home through the mountains over Thompson Pass. It had been a fun day.

I think our next adventure will be an apple-picking expedition. Stay tuned.