Birthday weekend

We celebrated our younger daughter’s birthday a couple of weekends ago. Her sister came from Illinois for the weekend and we all had a wonderful time together.firepit

On Friday night we had a fire in our fire pit in the backyard and roasted marshmallows. So much fun. Our clothes smelled smoky when we came in and it just seemed so much like Autumn–even though it was warm (in the 60’s at 9 p.m.).

We went to a local winery Saturday afternoon and shared a bottle of wine as well as a cheese and cracker plate. We sat outside and watched as an outdoor wedding was set up outside. The wedding party salmon-vegetableslooked happy!

For her birthday dinner we had Salmon with Maple, Mustard and Dill, roasted birthday-cakevegetables (new potatoes and tiny peppers) and a Flourless Chocolate Birthday Cake with just a few candles!

My older daughter did most of the cooking and it all was wonderful!

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Share Your World — 2016 Week 42

I’m participating in Cee’s Share Your World this week. She posts questions each Monday and invites people to answer the questions and then leave a link on her blog.

If you wanted to de-clutter where you live, what room / space would you start with?  (And why, if you’re feel like admitting to it.)

We recently (early summer!) moved here and we had wonderful friends and relatives help us unload and unpack. That truly was wonderful, but I have many rooms still to de-clutter and organize.

The one room I really need to work on is my kitchen. It’s smaller than the kitchen in my old house so I need to de-clutter and organize. I have lots of gadgets I need to take a look at and decide if I really plan to use them.

If you want to remember something important, how do you do it (sticky note on the fridge, string around your finger, etc.), and does it work?

I have a calendar on my refrigerator and a to-do list on my computer which I regularly update. Sometimes I use my cell phone, too.

If you could create a one room retreat just for yourself, what would be the dsc_0009most important sense to emphasize:  sight (bright natural light, dim light, etc.), hearing (silence, music, fountain, etc.), smell (candles, incense, etc), touch (wood, stone, soft fabrics, etc.), or taste (herbal tea, fresh fruit, etc.)?

I love sunshine and windows so sight is the most important sense for me.

I’ve started to create a retreat for myself–adsc_0013 reading room. That’s one room I’ve pretty much finished organizing. (However, I don’t know about the de-clutter part!) I love the room because of the window–a large arched window looking out the front of our house. We’ve put a bird feeder out in front so I can watch the birds while I read. And my cats love the cat tower, sunshine and the birds!

If you could interview one of your great-great-great grandparents, who would it be (if you know their name) and what would you ask?

I don’t know much about my great-great-great grandparents, but I do know a little about one set of the great-great grandparents. He was Silas McCullough and was in the War of 1812 along Lake Erie. His wife was Hester Pickering and she was a Quaker before she married him. I love their names!

They lived in Ohio. I wish I had a photo of them, but don’t think there is one in the family. Hester was disowned by the Quakers when she married Silas. I would ask her why she married Silas and how hard was it for her to leave her family and the rest of the Quakers. And did she ever regret her decision.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Our oldest daughter drove from Illinois for a long weekend visit. So wonderful to see her. She came to help celebrate our younger daughter’s birthday. So I’m grateful they’re good friends and for the wonderful weekend we had with both of them. Lots of laughs, great food and good times.

What about you? What are you grateful for from last week? Check out the Share Your World post this week at Cee’s Photography blog.

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Share Your World: 2016 Week 41

I’m participating in Cee’s Share Your World this week. She posts questions each Monday and invites people to answer the questions and then leave a link on her blog.

I recently started this blog and have wanted to find some blog activities to participate in. I am especially happy to find Cee’s blog (Cee’s Photography) because of all the photography information. I’m hoping to participate in some of the photography challenges as well as reading her photography tips and lessons.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Not in love at first sight, but I do believe in infatuation at first sight and in liking at first sight. When I first met my future husband I was a new lieutenant on an Air Force base which had very few other women (except a few wives). The first week I was there lots of young, single guys came into my office and when one invited me to the officers’ club after work I accepted.

When I showed up at the club I was the only woman in the room and soon surrounded by men. (I think the only credential I needed was that I was a single woman!) Anyway, the fellow who invited me went down in my estimation when he told me his favorite activity was bowling. However, another guy–who was tall, dark and handsome(!)–said he liked to go to Kansas City (the nearest city to the base) on weekends and go to a good restaurant, see a play, go to the art museum or zoo. I was immediately captivated. Over the next few months we saw each other around and finally had a date. Two years later we got married.

Your first car?

My first car was one I bought from my parents for $1,000. An orange 1970 or so Datsun–which I drove for about 10 years after they gave it to me in the mid seventies.

Who taught you to ride a bike? How did it go?

I learned from my best friends who were sisters. They had a little bike they had learned on and let try it out. I don’t remember if it had training wheels, but I do remember I didn’t understand the concept of brakes and I ran into a telephone pole!

Ugly and rich or beautiful and poor?

I don’t think I will choose either! I don’t want to be either rich or poor as far money goes. And I don’t want to be really ugly or really beautiful as far as external looks go. I would choose the middle road–happy with who I am!

What was the first dish you could cook?

My mom gave me a Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys and Girls. The first thing I remember cooking was Butterscotch Brownies. Those were one of my signature dishes from then on!

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

My husband and I got home from a road trip to Washington and Oregon last week. We had to cut the trip short because we hit a deer with our car, but I am so grateful that neither of us were injured and that so many wonderful people stopped to offer help.

I’m looking forward to more fall weather with leaves changing color. I love cool, crisp mornings, bright blue skies and colored leaves.

Home again

It’s so nice to be back home again. I loved the places we visited, but I began to long for a chance to sit with my cats and gaze into my backyard. (At the moment I have two cats on my lap as well as my laptop computer–it’s a bit of a tight squeeze!)

Early mornings are my favorite time of day–especially if I’m up before my husband! I like to sit with a cup of coffee, read a little, perhaps write a blog post, perhaps read other bloggers’ posts, watch the birds outside and just enjoy the quiet.

I was also ready to come back home because Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the cooler weather, the changing leaf colors, getting ready for new beginnings. Autumn always feels like the time to start new things. I think it’s because school starts then and I was always excited for my own classes to start when I was a child and young adult and for my kids to start their classes. I love the planning for classes, buying new supplies and clothes, starting new classes, meeting teachers.crabapples

So far our trees aren’t changing color very much though our two crabapple trees in the backyard are full of little crabapples. So many trees were changing color during our trip I thought the trees in our yard would show crabapple-closeup~more color by now, but during our road trip we were further north and often at higher elevations. Since we moved here only a few months ago I don’t know the rhythm of our yard yet. That’s always something I enjoy finding out about in a new home!

What about you? Do you look forward to coming home as much as you looked forward to your trip? Do you love Autumn–or not? Is it a time for new beginnings for you? And have your trees started changing color yet?

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A deer strike

We’re cutting our road trip short. We’d planned to be on the road for another 10 days or so.20160919_104029

About five miles from the Canada-United States border we hit a deer with our car. Luckily we weren’t hurt, but the car and deer weren’t so lucky. Wonderful people stopped and helped us including a conservation officer who took care of the deer. We crossed the border into the U.S. in a tow truck. The driver towed us 120 miles to the nearest town with a collision repair shop and a rental car facility.

oceanWe’re in Oregon now at the Oregon coast which is one of my favorite parts of Oregon. Having beautiful weather here and visiting with my brother and sister-in-law. It’s great to unwind a little.

We don’t have a date for the car repair (except the latter part of October) so we decided it was better to fly home and return when the repair is complete since car rental and all the other expenses add up!

After I get home and rest up I’ll post more photos of my trip.

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Glacier National Park, Montana

My husband and I have been on a road trip for about 10 days now. We’ve had many adventures and seen beautiful places. I posted photos and some commentary last week (Mammoths and Black Hills) from our first major stop.

Our second major stop we visited Glacier National Park in northern Montana and had a beautiful day to see the mountains, rivers, lakes, valleys, waterfalls ….

We decided to travel on the Going to the Sun Road which I’d heard about through the years, but I figured it had gotten wider and easier to drive on as the years went by. Maybe it has, but it’s still a narrow, twisty road that’s kind of scary some of the time as well as a road that shows beautiful scenery.

Next time maybe we would let someone else do the driving since we saw cool, red buses on the road. When they stopped people were able to poke their heads through the roof and take photos!

We reached the top of mountain pass and found a bit of roadside snow from earlier in the week. There’s a visitor’s center and lots of trails to walk further into the mountains. A little earlier in the day there were mountain goats visible, but they had gone around to the other side of the mountain. Oh, well, I’ve seen mountain goats before!

Then we started down the mountain.

And down the mountain we went! This side was shorter which we were glad of. But the views were no less spectacular. Near the bottom was a beautiful lake and then we were outside the park.

Mammoths and Black Hills

We visited The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Mammoth bones were found here over thirty years ago. Paleontologists work to uncover the bones of dozens of Columbian Mammoths and Wooly Mammoths as well as other animals who died here. The site is the largest in the United States that shows the bones in the location they were found.

The site appears to have been a sink hole fed by warm springs. Vegetation would have grown on the side of the sink hole and mammoths and other animals sometimes fell in. Once they fell in they couldn’t climb out the steep, slippery sides and they died of starvation.

One of the best places we’ve stopped on our trip!

After we left The Mammoth Site we drove through the Black Hills. We stopped for lunch in Hill City. Such a cute town. I especially liked the two sculptures they had in front of a shop–a horse and a mule (or a donkey).

We ate at the Alpine Inn. They had German food and I had spaetzle which I love. And a Fat Tire beer from New Belgium Beer!

And then we drove out of South Dakota into Wyoming and finally to Montana for the night.