11 December 2014

Saturday By the Sea

Hello visitors!
I am totally into the Advent season now! Having finished my second reading of the New Testament for this year, I am currently reading through a list of Messianic Prophecies (prophecies in the Old Testament which foretell of the birth, life and death of Jesus).
As far as decorating for this wonderful season, I have been doing that in my usual leisurely manner--not all at once but little bits each day or so. Now if we could only have some pretty white snow instead of the BIG windstorm that is forecast.

But before I move on to Advent and Christmas...
As part of our Thanksgiving week celebrations,
we spent some time by the sea with our youngest granddaughter who,
not surprisingly, shares her grandma's love of the coast.
At first, it was really cold and windy (the above photo reminded me of a bad hair day (AKA our hairdo after a day at the beach), but then things got much better and we really enjoyed our time checking out Siletz Bay and the Pacific Ocean. There were lots of other people enjoying the area too, but we managed to snag the very last spot in the popular parking area. Yea!
We saw kayakers, fishermen, beachcombers and more...always fun to watch.
Of course, we also saw the usual residents...
small birds,

bigger birds
and the resident harbor seals which can always be seen on Salishan Spit
(located south of where we were)

The waves were glorious--
I LOVE high waves as much as I love low tides!
 It was a wonderful way to spend the last day before Advent!

Finally, fellow Oregonians and history lovers--
did you know there's a shipwreck located in this very same bay?
Yep. And being one who loves historical mysteries (and knows some others do too),
I've included a few links to some information on this mystery.

(scan down to the very short article on the Schooner shipwreck)
(another short article)
(an awesome, not too long, but more in depth article about the shipwreck there)

Maybe someday, if we're very, very lucky it will reappear! I know if it does, I'll be there.

Advent Blessings,

Photos: Siletz Bay, Oregon

08 December 2014

Of Thanksgiving Turkey + Other Fowl

Thanksgiving Week
saw us in the Coast Range
admiring some newly fallen snow!
And it found us in one of our many Pacific NW National Wildlife Refuges
loving the dramatic morning light
(MUCH more dramatic in person)! 
It also saw us on the beach
(no surprise, I know. LOL)
enjoying a walk along the bay, watching the big waves and taking in the city's Christmas decorations!
But, on Thanksgiving Day it saw us here--
at my Chef's son home
devouring and thoroughly LOVING the meal he prepared for us!
On the menu was:
a truly DELICIOUS apple juice brined, herb infused roast turkey with gravy,
mashed potatoes
 (a FABULOUS combination of sweet potatoes and russet potatoes plus garlic and other ingredients),
totally YUMMY kale with bacon, hazelnuts and more
(I am NOT ashamed to say I have a new love in my life now---kale!)
last but not least,
cranberry chutney SO GOOD I could eat it at least once a week
(needless to say I am stocking up on fresh cranberries while they're still available)!
Everything was great and we enjoyed each other's company,
learning about Netflix (something we had never seen)
getting some quick cooking lessons
Sadly the lighting was dim and
 I didn't have my camera settings correct so pix are few,
but I had to include this refrigerator decoration in this post.
 I thought it (and the ones for fowl, pork and more) quite fitting...
Now about those other birds...
On the weekend, I got the brilliant idea to take the Small One to a NWR
and I knew just the one I wanted her to see--Baskett Slough near the town of Dallas, Oregon.
I love this one because you can hike
(although that is limited to the butte during the winter season to protect the visiting waterfowl)
 and drive through the refuge using your vehicle as a blind...
We were blessed to see a heron, duck, geese, hawks and more!
We also walked part way up the butte but didn't make it to where the deer usually are.
If you ever go to a NWR make sure you bring binoculars, a good camera with a zoom lens and SNACKS (for you, not the wildlife).
At home our remodeling project is getting closer to being done
My hubby has just about finished painting and he's installed the new ceiling light and mini blinds.
Next to go:
the finishing touches to the ceiling then the laminate flooring and closet doors!
That means it's almost time to get a futon:)
Advent Blessings,
Oregon Central Coast Range
Baskett Slough NWR
Lincoln City area
and elsewhere!

26 November 2014

Of Remodeling, Creatures Great + Small, the Garden + Gratitude

As in my last post,
this one is also being written to the sounds and sights
of cooking shows so you all know what that means. LOL
My wonderful Chef son texted me his Thanksgiving menu earlier this week...
just reading it had my mouth watering! I cook fairly simple meals at home now,
because that is what Farmer Boy prefers,
 but I confess to having a never-ending love for gourmet and international foods.
(In fact, I could go for some good tempura or yummy nikujaga right now.)
DS's menu sounds like something you'd find in an upscale restaurant --
"herb infused",
"pate au choux"...
I will share photos and the full menu in an upcoming post
(that is if I don't devour all the food before I get some photos. Ha ha!)
By the way, speaking of Thanksgiving--
do you know I have something in common with a certain Flying Nun?
Tis' true--
But will get to that in another post.
Remodeling update: 
there's new sheetrock above our heads and on all the walls in the bedroom now
(except for the closet, that is, where we kept the old drywall).
My new "best" friend and tool!
Do you know why I LOVE him so much?
Hint: he helps me bear burdens I can't bear on my own!
I named him after our youngest son who has done his own share of remodeling
and would love to be here to help us if he could.
So -- do you know what 'burdens' this 'friend' helps me bear and why I love him so much?
Drywall installed (I have a whole new appreciation for screws).
Next step: taping.
You can't really see it,
and I didn't want to bore you with a lot of remodeling pictures,
but sheetrock panels are not the same thickness everywhere.
The tape is applied over the 'valley' and where two panels come together. 
It has a self adhesive backing.
BTW, did you know you can't keep rolls of fiberglass mesh drywall joint tape forever?
I do now. Fortunately we had some that was ok and we had bought more recently.
Are you seeing spots?
Yep, and it's a good thing--a very good thing!
You see, all those lovely screws and taped areas have to be covered with lovely 'mud'
(AKA joint compound).
The trick to using this stuff, per Farmer Boy, is using multiple thin layers to
 blend the sheetrock panels together. All this is necessary before you begin the texturing process.
If you want to learn more about the process,
 there's some good DIY websites out there which will explain it a lot BETTER than I!
And now to some prettier stuff...
(although I was thinking, after all these years of looking at studs,
 that the new sheetrock is BEAUTIFUL).
A through the window shot...
one day the birds were most entertaining!
I can hardly wait to visit a NWR and see some BIG birds.

Lots of kiwi still.
Hopefully my hubby will keep giving it away.

Ah! Those beautiful ever changing autumn leaves...
A little something (or should I say a little someone) special we saw while driving in the hills.

Somehow even the ordinary looks pretty special with a few raindrops on it.

Parrot's feather and floating leaves.

Water lily leaves and a resident bug:)
So last time we 'talked',
I was thinking of blessings and how this world would be SO much better if everyone would live daily being a blessing to each other.
This week, I've been thinking of gratitude and thankfulness...
lately I've been grateful for the little things of life ---
heat, indoor plumbing, a walk in the garden and the wonder of nature!
Sometimes, when times are hard and the news is depressing,
it's good to "Count Your Blessings" as the old hymn says.
I know I have a lot to be thankful for
(some of which are pictured above).
In closing, a few lovely gratitude quotes for you...
Thankfulness is the tune of angels.
(Edmund Spenser, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert,
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 290.)
A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.
(Cicero, Oratio Pro Cnæo Plancio, XXXIII)
Thanks are justly due for things got without purchase.
(Ovid, Amorum (16 BC), 1, 10, 43)
And the WORD for Wednesday
(since it's after midnight now)...
Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness,
and for His wonderful works to the children of men.
Psalm 107:31 KJV
Blessings, Aimee
"Count Your Blessings"
Awesome lyrics!
Gratitude quotes can be found here:
(please refer to this site for terms of use, etc.) 
Nikujaga: a Japanese meat and potato stew that I am crazy about.
I've only had it once, at a restaurant, but keep telling myself I have to make it---
or talk my oldest son into doing so:)
And now, time for a snack...

14 November 2014

Of Flowers, Kiwi, Aspen + Other Stuff

Let me start off by saying I am watching a cooking show right now,
so expect typos, bad grammar and a REALLY random post:)

How is everyone? Are you enjoying winter in autumn weather like we are? Oh yes, we've been having our share of windy, very sunny days and now a "delightful" wintry mix. LOL.
Speaking of windy, dry, cold (low 40s) and sunny days, I finally had the chance to conduct the laundry experiment I've been wanting to do for a long time---and I was shocked with the results!
The experiment was to see if laundry (in this case towels and some clothes) would dry
--at all--
at such a low temp.
Unfortunately I was really late in getting them outside and so they were only out there a few hours,
but they were definitely a bit drier--
some more then others.
Next time I'll get an earlier start.
(BTW, I finished drying them on a rack over one of the heat registers.
I felt a bit like a pioneer except for the whole central heat, automatic wash machine thing)
Inside we (meaning Farmer Boy) have been hard at work --
and we (meaning both of us) now have sheetrock in our not-used-for-5-years bedroom!
I can almost see the finished project now:
 a big walk-in storage/utility room (easy oh beating heart of mine) and a bedroom or craft room or man cave or ??? 
Of course I am totally in denial that it is going to take the months Farmer Boy is talking about:)
While the man has been very hard at work, I have been doing far, far less--but the kitchen organization is almost done and -- for the first time in months -- our dining room table is decorated and empty of all the miscellaneous stuff that had taken up residence there in the last months.
I kind of like seeing the wood tabletop so maybe I'll work harder to keep it cleared off this time
 Miss Pilgrim (well, Pilgrim descendant) blew it today. My best friend mentioned Michael's and the next thing I knew I was out the door. Of course, surrounded by aisles of Christmas ribbon, winter cookie cutters and more, I soon had a few items in my cart including a great book for Small One. Bad, bad me...I am telling myself it's OK since three of those items are for Thanksgiving.
Have I said we're having dinner at our son's (a Chef) that day?
I am SO excited to see what he'll be making:)
And now some photos from the past three (has it really been so long?) weeks...

From the vine to a ...
This box will be stored in our RV during the winter.
Last year we had a full box and they kept beautifully for about 4-5 months in there 
(we keep the RV at about 39-40 degrees to avoid frozen pipes).
When we wanted some to eat, we would bring out a few to ripen.
Our second camellia sasanqua has totally come back from its near demise
and is filled with pretty pink flowers (as is the other camellia)!
When I was planning our garden years ago,
I tried very hard to have something in bloom each season,
because on those gray days there's nothing like pink flowers to put a smile on your face:)
Also abundant are the mushrooms--
they seem to be taking over our woodland or at least one part of it.
Look at what I found?
Yep! That's right.
Beautiful quaking aspen in WESTERN Oregon.
I am so proud of myself...

The Internet can be very handy at times when you are desperately
in need of an aspen sighting in autumn.
(I'll admit they are less golden then their east of the Cascades counterparts,
but they are aspen,  and autumn isn't autumn without seeing one of my favorite trees!).
Last but not least, I met two "angels" in the past three weeks.
Not REAL angels of course...
though I believe in them,
but two ladies who truly blessed me when I needed a bit of a blessing.
And I was thinking...
wouldn't this world be a better place if everyone lived each day being a blessing to others?
Until next time.

21 October 2014

Of Birthdays + Beaches

As always I stressed out the night before,
 trying to pick out the very best beach for her birthday celebration.
The timing of the high and low tides weren't what I had hoped for;
the expected arrival of the next storm system made outside adventures a bit iffy too...
I shouldn't have bothered with all that planning--
this girl knew EXACTLY where she wanted to go
 and her choice, though unexpected,
was perfect and a MUCH better one than I would have chosen.
And the other worries?
Totally a waste of time too.
You see--
God answers the prayers of little girls
(and their stressed out Grandma's).
A few drops of light rain at first, then a few drops towards the end,
with a whole LOT of dry
and even some sun in between!
And the timing of the tides?
Well it did mean we had to wade through the creek
 to get to the main part of the beach...
but that just made the trip all the more memorable.
Down by THE rock,
 waves were a bit wild and beautiful as they crashed against the island and then flowed around it!
(The waves and different currents around the rock and up the creek fascinate me)
The birthday girl.
At times, blowing sand created some very neat effects on the northern section of the beach.
It did sting the bare legs a bit though. Ouch!
Perhaps it's time to put away summer's cropped pants?

The smaller castle 'cousin' of one built further up the beach by Small One and her Papa
(the huge one I didn't take a photo of--sigh).
I called this one a hobbit castle.
Love all the windows...
hobbits need to be able to watch for those wild incoming waves too.
No whole sand dollars here but all beaches have 'treasure' if one is willing to look.
A very adorable toddler we saw found a 'palm tree' and was happily carrying it up the beach:)
One of the many gulls who were visiting the beach on this autumn day. 
Poor hubby; poor quilt...
good thing both washed up well:)
At times the clouds parted and the sun lit up the waves. Pretty!
 Looking southwards towards the headland and 'the rock'.
A whole different perspective from this direction.
A great walk--a great day!
Is it possible to have a bad day when you're surrounded by such beauty?
Nope, not for us it isn't.
Happy Birthday (not so) Small One!
Love you always:)
Neskowin Beach, Tillamook County, Oregon

10 October 2014

Liebster Award Winners

Hi! I'm back. It's almost 0230 even though this will post later today. Hubby is was up and feeding his cold (poor hubby) so I am going to follow up immediately with the Liebster Award winners (also in alphabetical order). BTW Liebster means beloved or dear and you are all beloved people with lovely blogs! One last note (sort of)--if you have already been blessed with the Liebster Award and don't want to duplicate it, feel free to consider yourselves awarded with the One Lovely Blog Award (from two posts ago). Remember to right click on the award and copy it to your computer so you can save it forever or as long as you'd like. For those who are Liebster winners, your award can be found on the post prior to this one. Follow the same instructions to save the award to your computer. BTW, the One Lovely Blog Award is in a JPEG format and the Liebster Award is in a PNG format--both are OK to upload to blogger should you choose to.

Another drum roll please for the Liebster Award winners...

1. Becky of http://grandmabeckyl.blogspot.com/
(PNW blogger. A lover of tulips, family and her country. Check out her beautiful tulip photos from a Willamette Valley farm).

2. Noelle of http://liveanddreamalittledream.blogspot.com/
(PNW blogger. A lover of books, islands, dogs and pizza. Noelle's recent post includes one of my favorite prayers and was a great reflection for this evening.)

3. Gracie of http://grayseasailor-onesaylorslog.blogspot.com/
(PNW blogger. A lover of crafts, traveling and beautiful Mt. Hood. Check out her blog for pics of her recent trip back east--including an Amish community, Maine and Prince Edward Island in Canada)

4.  Terri of http://southwest-arkie.blogspot.com/
(Blogging from the southern USA. A lover of genealogy, cute little McSqeezy critters and horses. Check out her blog for lovely photos of the South and more)

5. Jackie of http://homesteadwannabes.blogspot.com/
(PNW blogger. A lover of homeschooling, field trips to fascinating places and Celtic culture and recipes. Check out her recent blog post about a Celtic Festival. By the way she makes haggis--isn't that amazing?)

6. Sallie of http://travelingrainvilles.typepad.com/traveling_home/
(PNW and Florida blogger. A lover of adventures in places near and far, wildlife and history, Check out her summer travels in Alaska).

Again, this award isn't meant to add to your stress. All participation is completely voluntary and the award is still yours! However, if you do want to take part, here are some questions for you to answer on your blogs. The only other 'rule' would be to nominate other bloggers for the award and then give them some questions of your own to answer. I was very flexible in following the rules...

11 Questions to Answer
(Don't feel you have to answer all of these if you're busy or make up your own if you'd rather. It's about getting to know you better)

1. What got you interested in blogging?

2. Are you a beach, mountain or desert person?

3. Have you ever visited another country?

4. What was your favorite subject in school?

5. What was your least favorite subject in school?

6. What three books have meant a lot to you?

7. If you could live anywhere in the world what place would you choose?

8. What are three of your favorite movies?

9. If you could have three wishes granted to you, what would you wish for?

10. If you could be any age again, what age would you like to be?

11. If you could have lunch with anyone in history who would you choose?

Congratulations to all the winners. Hopefully, hopefully I didn't forget anyone. If I did and you are a regular visitor I am SO sorry! It is late here and I had some blog difficulties this morning. Blessings to you all and enjoy your awards! You truly are all lovely, beloved people!


PS: You can find the One Lovely Blog Award post here and the Liebster Award with the One Lovely Blog Award recipients here.

One last photo for the morning...

SO MUCH better in person.
Lovely fog in the mountains.
I MISSED you this  sumer--
so happy to see you again:)
And now it's time for lullaby land.
Night (or day) everyone!

The Liebster Award (and First Awards)

Not too long ago, Miss Bethany blessed my blogging world with a nomination for
 the wonderful Liebster Award! I would now like to take some time and
thank her for this very unexpected blessing :)
By the way, if you don't know Miss Bethany of Liberty or Death AND you love history, photos of God's creation, chess and reflections of faith you should visit her blog soon.
Isn't it fun finding new blogs and meeting other bloggers? 

THANK YOU, thank you Miss Bethany for this awesome award,
your sweet comments, your strong faith and your support!

And now, Miss Bethany has asked me to answer the following questions. I will do my best. Hopefully I won't put you into a Aimee trivia overload:)

1. If you could have an expenses-paid vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
A) Well first of all we'll have to pretend I don't have a fear of flying. LOL. I would choose three places. First I'd love to see Norway which has captivated me ever since I was in junior high (today's middle school). And then, since I am already in Europe, and since this is an all expenses paid vacation, I would have to visit ancestral locations in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. Finally, as long as I am already in Europe, the Holy Land seems SO very close and I would dearly love seeing where the Patriarchs, Moses, King David, Jesus and the Disciples walked---and see the differences from when my great grandfather was there and today.

2. What would you like to accomplish by the end of 2014?
A) Physically: get in better shape--yikes that's less than 3 months away! Mentally: watch less TV and read more. Spiritually: have a deeper, more trusting walk with God. Actually I have been working on most of these since I first started writing this post awhile ago:)

3. If you had a million dollars, how would you use it?
A) Move further out in the country, build a small log cabin with a covered porch, help family and give more to my favorite Christian charity.

4. What are your favorite foods?
A) So many to love--I am glad you made that plural 'foods'! I will try to limit myself to three--Japanese, Mexican and Scandinavian food. Of course, I have a very soft spot in my heart and my taste buds for Italian and Irish food too:)

5. What are your favorite quotes and Bible verses?
A) The Bible verses are easy! Many years ago I believe God gave me Psalm 121 and I have always loved that chapter! Periodically it seems a verse or two will be laid on my heart when I--or a friend--needs it. Quotes I will have to think about. I heard one recently that I really liked though. It went something like this "Don't impress; inspire" (OK that's not an exact quote and I can't find an original source either but I really like it!)

6. What is the best advice on life you can give in up to 3 sentences?
A)  Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul and strength. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Life is a priceless gift and should never be taken for granted.

7. If you could live in any time period, which would you choose?
A) This one is easy--pioneer days:)

8. What is your dream car and your dream home?
A) I really don't feel the need for a dream car. I already have a dependable one with A/C that's paid off (yea). However, perhaps a horse drawn wagon or that Fjord horse I've been dreaming about would be nice. My dream home would be made of logs with some Nordic details and a woodstove. I wouldn't want it to be very big (more cleaning to do), but one with a loft would be great--then I could pretend to be Heidi instead of Aimee:) Oh and it has to be on a mountainside.

9. What languages can you speak?
A) English and a bit of Spanish (with a horrible accent). I also know some words/sentences in various other languages including Hawaiian and French. Recently I tried to teach my granddaughter a phrase I thought she'd like; perhaps you'll like it too --"J'adore la glace au chocolat".  Actually I prefer a nice lemon sorbet or smoothie:)

10. Do you have a current occupation; if not, what would your dream job be?
A) Homemaker---which is my dream job. Previously I worked in the medical field and also in education (but I am not a teacher, doctor or nurse).

11. What cause(s) are you most opinionated about?
A) Need to think about this one. I have VERY strong opinions on a lot of things and can be quite passionate about the way I feel. Sometimes too much so...

12. Is there any quality you think the Lord is growing in you right now (e.g., patience, love, trust)?
A) Several---trust and love. I can, at times, be quite stubborn and strong willed so it is good that He has never given up on me:)

And now to find some wonderful blogs to bestow the Liebster and the One Lovely Award on. Thinking (yep I found my 'cap')
And while I am thinking here are a couple more photos of our beach adventures.
LOVED these birds!
Should have cropped this a bit differently,
but since it's almost 0150 I choose to be imperfect:)
I also made these a little smaller but you can click on them to see a larger version.
This trip we actually saw a lot of the 'trails' the sand dollars
make as they move themselves along the sand. They really are quite interesting little creatures!
 OK, here are my choices for the One Lovely Blog award. This was REALLY, really, really hard
 because I LOVE all the blogs I visit on a regular basis and I think they are all LOVELY, but I tried not to duplicate awards and some of you had already received the Liebster award from what I could tell.
Drum roll please...
One Lovely Blog Award Winners--in alphabetical order
(BTW, you'll find your award here on my last post.
  Right click on the award and save it (JPEG format) to your computer--
that way it will be yours forever)
1.  Bethany of http://todaylibertyordeath.blogspot.com/
(Blogs from the Midwest. A lover of history, country, flowers and birds--
 check out her most recent post, including a reflection,
"The Feathered Invasion of Waterloo")
2.  Betsy of http://betsy-thesimplelifeofaqueen.blogspot.com/
 (PNW blogger. Betsy is a lover of family, crafts and the beach. Check out her amazing crafts--
loved her recently finished baby socks and photo of her adorable granddaughter).
3.  Deya of http://thepsalmistandhergarden.blogspot.com/
 (Texas blogger. Deya is a lover of worship and a very talented artist.
 Check out her reflections--the latest one being about trust.)
(PNW blogger. Linda is a lover of hiking, shooting beautiful alpine flowers
and a wonderful owner to Bear. Check out her most recent posts of her trip
 in the Cascades and central Oregon)
5.  Lorrie of http://fabricpaperthread.blogspot.com/
 (Canadian blogger. Lorrie is a lover of sailing, gardens and crafts. Check out her latest post which is about decorating and some lovely summer/autumn flowers)
(Canadian blogger. Very inspiring blog about one special dog and
 his family and friends--including kitties! Check out his blog to learn more about this
 amazing dog and his equally amazing owners)

 7. Teresa of http://teresakasner.blogspot.com/
 (PNW blogger. Teresa is a lover of crafts, history and sailing.
 Check out her blog for some lovely moon and Gorge pictures).
 Now it's your turn.
 In my research I've seen various rules about the number of blogs you should nominate (5-15). Some mention a limit on followers (200 or less); some don't?? And I even saw one that had a rule I'd never seen before, so I am thinking there might be a bit of flexibility in the rules. Since I know you're all busy bloggers (along with having busy daily lives) I am going to make my rules for this very easy.
Here they are:
 1. List 7 things we don't know about you on your blog
(optional but I do love learning about my fellow bloggers).
  2. Choose some other bloggers to gift the One Lovely Award to. You decide how many
 (again, optional).
 3. Know that I value you and your very lovely blogs!
(LOL -- required!) 
 Remember NOT to stress out about this as participation is totally voluntary and
 the award is yours whether or not you choose to participate. I will try to get around to your blogs and let you know about the award you've won, but I am having one of the
 most challenging weeks I've ever had.
PS: BTW if you've already received the One Lovely Blog award but haven't received the Liebster award, go ahead and consider yourselves awarded that one instead. The rules for the Liebster award will be on my next post.
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