Saturday, December 20, 2014

Blog Girls Celebrate Christmas

Last year I started a tradition by inviting my 3 blog friends here for a holiday luncheon.  We had it at Taci's home this year.  She was preparing a pork roast so I tried something new, roasted potatoes.  I cut Yukon Gold potatoes into 8ths, tossed them in olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and 2 crushed and minced fresh garlic cloves - roasted them for 45-1 hr on 425 deg F.  I didn't stir them or anything and they came out perfect! (This is the serving pan, I roasted them on a large jelly roll/cookie sheet, non-stick.)

Taci's tree was beautiful!

The girls putting the finishing touches on lunch.

Our hostess had the table set beautifully.

I must say.. I forgot to take a photo of my plate all filled up.. :-)  Betsy brought some wonderful fresh baked rolls that she got at a local bakery, Gracie brought a veggie salad, our "new girl" was Becky L. and she brought some peppermint Oreos for dessert.  From left - Betsy, Becky, me, Taci and Gracie.  I have to tell you our photo session was hilarious and like watching a 3 Stooges movie!  Our photographer had to use 4 cell phones and 2 cameras and after checking mine, in each of the 3 photos someone had their eyes closed or were blurred moving their head, so I had to beseech the photog to try again.. and finally we got a good one!  LOL!

After lunch we retired to the living area where we exchanged small gifts and chatted away... and we worked on our crochet and knit projects.  Taci showed Becky how to do Continental style knitting.. I hope she keeps trying as it's so much easier to carry your yarn over your left hand like crocheting.  Which style do you use?  English where you "throw" your yarn with the right hand or Continental where you carry your yarn on the left hand.  Too soon it was time for us to head home. Betsy showed us her favorite knitted scarf/shawl.  Betsy flew to Portland from her home in Spokane, WA, rented a car to join us, then had to fly back that same evening.  Talk about dedication!

I thought I'd share our little gifts with you.. from left is a sparkly beaded star from Gracie from GraySeaSailor blog that she made.  The next is a FUN SURPRISE - a hand-sewn heart ornament sent from Helen at Moonstruck Creations - all the way from England!  Isn't that sweet of her?  In the back, middle is a creative calendar made by Becky at GrandmaBeckyL blog.  Front and center is Taci at TaciStudio blog who crocheted a wash cloth and made us a cute magnet.  On the far right is Betsy from The Simple Life of a Queen who brought us a shell necklace from her recent trip to Maui, a skein of cotton yarn and an adorable seagull figurine.  Treasures!

Some close ups.. Gracie's handiwork.

Helen's hand-sewn treasure that smells of lavender and a sweet card!

Betsy's cute figurine, yarn and shell necklace.

Becky's calendar - I recognized the photo she used right away - it's the colorful metal chairs at Rasmussen Farms - which she decorated with stickers!  :-)

Taci's magnet and wonderful cotton washcloth.

And here is a funny story for you.  I was inspired by some really neat crochet granny ornament ball covers that I'd seen on other blogs and on pinterest.  SO.. I got 8 pretty red plastic balls and set out to make these for my family and friends.  I got one done.  I thought it looked fairly hideous.  The worst part is the SEAM.. argh!  SO.. I hung this one on my tree and did 2 crocheted netting over 2 balls for friend Shirley and Roberta.. and then gave my friends my crocheted Scandinavian hearts.  I am sure all you crafty people will relate to this fiasco... do you have a similar story to share?

It was time for new shoes... the dog chewed the pull strap on the last pair I got right when I brought them home.. and after wearing them that way for two years or more.. and then I can blame Gracie and her daughter as they were telling me about their new shoes.. and of course I can blame Lucy at Attic24 blog for showing us HER red shoes.. so after swimming on Friday I headed to Shoe Mill near the pool and tried on the kind Gracie got.. but they didn't have RED ONES... I tried on many pairs and was getting ready to give up and then I spied these KEEN shoes, tried them on and they fit wonderfully and bingo, they came home with me.  :-)  What do you think?

Kristi had me open my Christmas present as they will be gone for 4 days over Christmas with her family... isn't it cute?

We're having a mellow day here.. the kids are going to have an early Christmas with her family tomorrow and will be gone (they didn't want to haul all their gifts to the beach for their 4 days there).  So, it will be quiet tomorrow so I might convince Dayle we need to go out to a nice restaurant.  I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.  Next week is a big one.. are you ready for it?  I just have a few more gifts to wrap and then we need to do the shopping for our Christmas dinner with our middle son and his family.  All is well!  ((hugs)), Teresa :-) 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Red Hibiscus Love

My dear readers, I just had to share with you my Hibiscus blooms.  What a joy it is to see them smiling at me each time I walk into the kitchen or by the dining room.  After watching this plant struggling along but still producing one of THESE blooms periodically, I bought a bigger pot and new soil and repotted it.  And wow.. what a transformation!  Lots of green new big leaves and a steady stream of new buds and blooms.  Happy happy, joy joy!

There are 3 blooms open when I took this.. they only last one day, can you believe that?  One glorious day.  There are many more buds forming.

I love how the light from outside illuminates the veins in the petals.

If you like plants, I highly recommend getting one of these.  My blog friend Robin from My Nest of Yarn and Buttons blog has a red hibiscus in bloom at her house too!

I'm off to swim with Gracie after the pool was closed for a week for maintenance.  New water!  Tomorrow I'm joining 4 local-ish bloggers for a holiday lunch get-together.  Betsy is flying in from Spokane to join us for the afternoon!  Now that's dedication!  I will take photos, but you knew that, didn't you?  ((hugs)), Teresa :-) 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday Luncheon with the Girls

Yesterday we hosted my sisters and my friend Shirley for our annual holiday luncheon here at the farm.  I tidied and tweeked and dusted and arranged things.  I prepared a salmon fillet for Dayle to put on our smoker grill.  I decided to try a new potato recipe... we put on Christmas music on our iPhone on the Bose.. we lit scented candles and Dayle laid and lit the fire.. would you like to join us?  Come on in!

After a bit of chatting in the living room, the salmon and potatoes were deemed done and we placed our luncheon on the table and were seated for the feast.  Shirley (my best friend from 7th grade) brought broccoli salad, younger sister Denise brought a chocolate pie (using our mom's pudding recipe) and older sister Roberta brought deviled eggs and a lime jello salad with pears.

What a feast!

Wait, stop, I need a photo before we dine.. hey HONEY?  Can you snap a photo for me?  Or 3.  Now sis needs him to take a photo on her phone.. hurry before things get cold!  LOL!  From left, Denise, Shirley, me and Roberta.

To have a moist salmon, I place the filet on foil on a cookie sheet, sprinkle it with a bit of salt and pepper, spread a layer of sour cream on top and bake until done.  I had seen these interesting potatoes called "Hasselback" potatoes and started researching them online.  Each recipe was different, so I gleaned something from each of them and made them how I wanted.  I used Russet baking potatoes, I peeled the top and left some peel on the bottom to hold them together, put two rubber spatulas handles (or wooden spoons or chopsticks) on either side and cut them in slices - you want the bottom not to be cut through.  I spread butter and fresh rosemary sprigs on top and put in the oven to bake at 425 deg. for an hour.  I then melted butter with minced garlic and brushed them with that every so often.  It was fun to do something different, but next time I will just make baked potatoes.. similar result, way less prep time.  :-)

We feasted to our heart's content.. chatted.. laughed.. and then retired to the drawing room in front of the fire.  I took this shot from the front door entry to get a bigger view of the room.

I got a new piece for my village - a "bucket brigade" with volunteer firefighters.  I put them in front of the pond.. maybe the bonfire got out of control?  I got the new piece at our DAR meeting at a sale of member's things.

We opened our little gifts from each other.. that is always so much fun!  I'll show you later what they were.. and visited and laughed some more.

Denise made a chocolate pie using our mother's recipe.  She used the same recipe for all her famous cream pies, chocolate, banana cream and coconut cream.  It was delish!!  She served it with squirty cream!

I just went into the kitchen and looked through my old wooden recipe file box and found the recipe to share with you.  One part of the recipe was on the back, so I used PhotoShop to add the last line at the bottom.  The "cocoa" in this recipe is Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder.

Our son arrived home and joined the party, the boys got home from school and joined us too, along with Kristi.  We had such a good time visiting and catching up with each other.  Shirley and both of my sisters brought something for the boys.. sweet.  

The boys and grandpa started a game of marbles, he was teaching them how to shoot them.. cute.

We got this tree before Christmas last year from Costco.  It's kind of amazing as each light can be clear or colored and it also can flash back and forth.  The boys like them colored (I like them white).  We take turns.  :-)

The sweet gifts we exchange.. not super expensive, some home made.. just fun things.  Shirley put an air plant in a glass ball with glass pebbles in the bottom and a few tiny xmas decorations.  Denise brought fingerless mitts for each of us along with a "Corndle", a corn shaped candle.  Roberta brought large hole beads for us and a leather cord for us to make our own necklaces.  Fun things! 

My cute little air plant!  I made Denise a turquoise pendant to match some earrings she's been wearing a lot.  I made Shirley and Roberta a crochet net covered red ornament - reminiscent of a Japanese fishing glass float.  :-)  I also gave each of them a bottle of Avon Skin-So-Soft shower gel.  My mom was known for giving Avon for presents, so it was kind of fun to remember those times.  Plus, it smells like mom, she used it all the time.

Today I have some silverware to hand wash and a lot of packages to wrap!  And a few more gifts to procure.  But all in all, this season is just what I'd hoped for.  Calm, pretty decorations around the house, holiday gatherings and a cozy old farmhouse filled with love.  I hope you are having a wonderful holiday time.  
((hugs)), Teresa :-) 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Making Memories and Holiday Falls

Hello my friends, thanks for popping in for a visit!  My dear husband decided that we should make Christmas cookies and let the boys decorate them.  So, we went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and found some bottled frosting, cookie cutters and sprinkles.  Dayle did the baking part and I was the decorating chairman.  Sharing duties is a good thing.  Below is one of my cookies.  :-)

But I digress.. let's start at the beginning, shall we? :-)  Grandpa is a brave soul, he lets the boys "help".  

Grandpa asked for my supervision a few times.. beat til fluffy.. is this fluffy enough?  No.. beat it more.  Is this dough ok?  No.. did you follow the recipe?  OH.. gee.. instead of a cup of flour, I was using the 1/2 measuring cup.. oh my.. but eventually they got to the rolling out and cutting part.  

Then grandpa pulled the cookie sheet out and.. oh dear.. he put them too close together on the pan and they spread and it was one huge pan of connected cookies.  The bakers.

I set up the decorating area - I got an old tablecloth and put it OVER the Christmas cloth, got all the icings, sprinkles and plates ready.  And then we began.

Both boys really enjoyed themselves and did a wonderful job of decorating.  This is Caleb.

Hayden with one of his masterpieces!

I couldn't figure out what this shape was, so I made a spiral design.

Hard at work being creative.

Smile for grandma.. awww.. 

Grandma.. here's my last one.. 

I wanted to share a few things from my volunteer afternoon at Multnomah Falls.  First off there were salmon spawning in Multnomah creek.. they were big, at least 3 feet long.  This year was a huge year for salmon returning to spawn in the Columbia River and it's tributaries, a record breaking run.  :-)

My sister Denise got a camera like mine and took it out to get some shots, she showed me one like this when she came back in, so I grabbed my Lumix and went out and got the same shot.. the bluffs in Washington across the river were illuminated in the late evening sun.

Hmm.. what if I moved closer to the lamp and snap some clouds with it?

LOTS of water coming over with all the rain we've been getting.

When we locked up the visitors center and headed to our cars.. I admired the lodge all lit up for the holidays.

I snapped this from my car as I was heading away.. I was hoping to capture the falls and the lodge in one shot.. with the lights.. love it.

Dayle and our son Travis strung up some lights on our porch for me.. sweet guys... our cozy little farmhouse.

I am heading out soon to visit Gracie at her home.  I'm taking my calligraphy supplies and we will do some lettering together.  This should be fun!  What are you doing for fun this weekend?  ((hugs)), Teresa :-)