Thursday, August 30, 2007

Designer Alley

How fun is this...a few weeks ago I went to a "cottage" sale with my sister and I adored these old clock faces I found. They were a DEAL at only a dollar each so I couldn't pass them up even though I was perplexed as what to do with them. I decided on creating a display on my mantel and ended up liking the way they look...THEN, just tonight I was looking through the recent Better Homes & Garden magazine and look what they had a full page post of...old clock faces!! Even though my design is slightly different it looks like it is right up the alley for new cottage designs :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Today Is A Day When I Love My Job...

Today, even with all its insanity, was a great reminder of why I love my job! Myself, a wonderful colleague, and an amazing student all hosted our 2nd Annual Family Day! Last year we created this event so our students who have children could bring the kiddos to campus to see where mom or dad is spending so much's a really fun day complete with crafts, science experiments, food, and piƱatas! So much fun!!!

One of the reasons why I love my job is because I get to work with some absolutely phenomenal students! Today could not have been a success without students stepping up and volunteering to help...they give so much of their time and for that I can never say enough thank you’s :) Because of their help, our new academic year is off to a great start and I'm totally jived for what is ahead!

MUCH Needed Day Of Rest

Working in education, this is a very very BUSY time of year! I love everything about this season of the academic year but Sunday, my only day with no work for a few weeks, could not have come any quicker!! I decided to spend my entire day at home and take Murphy's cue for catnaps...Isn't she a cute and cuddly kitty :)

I also found a new recipe that goes perfect for summer berries...enjoy!

Banana Waffles

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Mix together and make waffles as usual :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ending The Week On The White Salmon

I ended one of my busiest weeks of the year by taking some students white water rafting on the White Salmon River. This is my second year of taking this trip and as last year, the river did not disappoint us! This is by far some of the best white water rafting I have ever done and the river has one of the only class 5 waterfalls in the nation that outfitters can take people's pretty amazing!!
Ready or's waterfall time!!

"Riding The Bull"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Please Don't Tell Me Summer Is Over...

How can it be August 20th and be so wet and dreary? I feel like I should be inside cuddled up on the couch and drinking something warm.
But for a positive to this drearyness...I have my new white raincoat to brighten my day!
Some women have a problem with purses, I have a problem with coats. I love coats. I have black coats, blue coats, red coats, and many more coats. I'm not a fan of winter coats, I think from the fear of when I had to buy a 'proper' winter coat to keep me alive when I moved from sunny California to the frozen tundra of the Midwest...ick! Those kind of coats are a little too much for me. But for the classic raincoat, there couldn't be much better! Well, maybe except for scarves or red shoes...but those are posts for another day!

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Little Work And A Lot Of Play...

Today I had a work retreat at Edgefield, the flagship of the NW's beloved McMenamins! After the retreat I joined my mom and her friend who stopped by after hiking in the area for an afternoon of wine tasting, exploring the beautiful gardens, and dinner out on the patio. It was a perfect blend of work and play for one of the last Friday's of the summer :) Here are pictures of some simple things that help make Edgefield as beautiful as it is!Almost ready for vino harvest!!!
Recycle and Reuse, Garden Style!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Summer Reading

I just finished reading Forever Lily which is the story of an unexpected Mother's journey to adopting a daughter from China. I rarely buy books brand new (I usually have really good luck finding them at my favorite used book store in Salem) but when I picked up this book at Borders and read the caption I was hooked and knew I had to get it that very day..."When Beth travels to China to help her friend Alex adopt a baby girl from an orphanage, she thinks it will be an adventure, a chance to see the world. But her friend, who had prepared for the adoption for many months, panics soon after being presented with the frail baby, and the situation develops into one of the greatest challenges of Beth's life."

I have always felt connected to international adoptions and am drawn to stories such as this. The part of the book that got to my heart the most is when they went to visit the actual orphanage where Beth's daughter is from and the descriptions of all the babies being untouched and unloved in the metal cribs brought back many memories of the baby orphanage I spent time at in Romania. She describes how hard it is to walk away from them and how the world just doesn't make sense when you see children in this state and that is exactly how I remember feeling. How is the world a just world when things like this happen to the innocent. Makes no sense.

Another reason I enjoyed reading this book is because a good friend of mine (Hi Katie!) and her husband just recently adopted a daughter from China and I have really enjoyed reading their family's journey on their blog that dates back to when they started the adoption process a few years ago. The author of Forever Lily shares the day-to-day adoption experience in China and I was able to compare it to how Katie and her husband wrote about it on their blog. Get your China photo's ready Katie, when I come over in a few weeks I want to see them all :)

Here are the rest of the books on my summer reading shelf...are there any books that you've recently read that should be added to my pile??

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bounty from the balcony...

Here are some balcony goodies that were waiting for me when I got back from vacation. Sadly my cucumbers (my favorite veggie) dried up but luckily I was able to taste a couple of them before the trip and they were yummy! Can't wait for the last of my strawberries to ripen and for my pepper to turn the bright red color it should be!

And now for my basil...I'm thinking it will turn into this yummy pesto tomorrow night :)

Basic Pesto Recipe

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tbsp pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, finely minced

Place basil leaves in small batches in food processor (I use a small electric chopper) and blend until well chopped. Add garlic and blend again. Add pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Blend while slowly adding olive oil, stopping to scrape down side of the container. Process until it forms a thick paste and then enjoy!!

You can serve it fresh over pasta, chicken, what-not. I like to freeze pesto in an ice-cube tray, and once frozen slip all the pieces into a zip-lock bag to be used or shared whenever is convenient!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It could only happen to me...

I posted some pics from Palm Springs on my flickr page...take a look if you have time :)

THANK YOU to my Mom and Aunt Cathy for letting me join them for a few days on their annual Fun In The Sun trip to Palm Springs...It was another trip full of adventures and crazy memories made around the pool :) Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

And now to a funny story of my mom and I's adventure at Indian Canyon!

We decided to beat the heat and take a morning hike in the canyons to see all the beautiful Palm Trees. On our hike out of the first canyon we stopped to take some pictures on this cool rock slab that overhangs the stream. Pictures are taken but then somehow my sunglasses and a piece of my camera lens fall out of my hands and in slow motion make their way down the rock and into the water. I set my camera down but gravity takes a hold and I too go down the rock and into the water, all the non-too-graceful I might add! Well, my mom starts laughing and she then slips and slides down the rock too! At the edge of the rock she is holding on for dear life (while laughing of course!) and I am holding her from below but realize that there is no way she can get up the rock without first getting in the down she goes! We were laughing soooooo hard and luckily with getting just a little bit more wet I was able to grab my items out of the water. Here we are after the event, still laughing of course!
Seriously, it was a good thing nobody saw this event because if they had, I think they might have turned us in here...

What Are The Chances?

On Friday night we went and saw the pretty flamingos at a swanky resort in Palm Springs. They are fun to watch and when we got back to the hotel and started looking through my pictures I couldn't believe what I captured...a flamingo going to the bathroom! How crazy (and gross!) is that!

On my way home from 4 great days in Palm Springs!

Ready or not it's back to work tomorrow, I don't know how I will handle it after nearly two weeks of too much fun! Sigh...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Mom's Berry Dumplings

Here's a delicious recipe straight from childhood kitchen memories with my mom and sister...enjoy!

Berry Dumplings

4 Cups Berries
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
2 1/2 Tbs Cornstarch

1 1/2 Cup Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
3/4 Tsp Salt
3 Tbs Sugar
3 Tbs Shortening
3/4 Cup Milk

Mix 1st 4 ingredients in sauce pan and heat until mixture bubbles. In separate bowl, cut shortening into flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Stir in milk and drop mixture by tablespoon into bubbling berry mixture. Cover with lid and let simmer for 12-15 minutes. Serve with yummy vanilla icecream!

*you can use frozen berries and enjoy this dessert all year long!!

My Side Hurts...

I don't remember when I had a week filled with so much laughter! I feel so blessed that a good friend came out for a week of West Coast Adventure and I know that the laughter we shared and the memories we created will leave a lasting mark on my pathway of life.

Here are some quotes I found that capture a perfect ending to the week...I hope they bring reminders of shared smiles and laughter with those of importance in your life! Embrace all that comes your way!
"at the height of laughter the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities...jean houston"

"laughter is an instant vacation...milton berle"

"laughter gives us distance. it allows us to step back form an event, deal with it then move on...bob newhart"

"laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face...victor hugo"

"laughter is the shortest distance between two people...victor borge"

hurry back rodney! pumpkin season is right around the corner!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Multnomah Falls

About 30 miles outside of Oregon is the AMAZING Multnomah Falls! We drove up for the afternoon and really enjoyed taking the Historic Columbia River Hwy, following the beautiful tree-lined road to numerous waterfalls! It truly was a perfect afternoon in the Columbia George!

Multnomah Falls...isn't it beautiful!

We took the path up to the bridge and here is the view looking down...yes, I had a deathgrip on my camera as I leaned over for this picture :)

Flying High Over Saint Helens

Our original plan was to go to Victoria BC today but we switched it up and spent the day at Mount Saint Helens. Once Rodney saw the helicopter rides he was sold on going so there was no turning back :) I was a little skeptical as I had never been in a helicopter (and it seemed quite cloudy and windy...don't worry mom, my life insurance policy is up to date!) but it turned out awesome...I loved it! We were up on the mountain for about 30 minutes and it was pretty amazing to have a birds-eye view of the beautiful regrowth of nature but still see so much destruction that will forever leave it's lasting mark. Just like our lives, we should always be regrowing and making our life more beautiful despite the hardness that scars us and reshapes us. Enjoy the pictures...Ready or not, here we go!
Now here is a happy Rodney!
Flying towards the crater, the mounds you see here are clumps of the mountain from 27 years ago! Pretty amazing how nature is reclaiming her with new trees!
Getting closer...there are too many chemical deposits still in the ground for much to survive here.
The crater! We are looking into where the mountain blew. Too bad there were clouds covering the rim as this does not do justice to how big the crater is!
Flying down the mountain. This sediment goes on forever and is still 80-100 feet deep (if not more in some places) and will probably be here for many more lifetimes!

Seattle Fun

Rodney and I hit the road early for a great day in Seattle. We had an amazing time there with the first stop being Kerry Park for the breathtaking view of the city. Then it was down to Pikes Place Market where you won't believe what I was able to do...go behind the counter of the fish mongers and CATCH A FISH!!! I was sooooo nervous as there was a huge crowd of tourists and many many cameras facing me. But, with a little coaching I was able to catch the bad boy that was thrown my way! Thank God it was not a baby shark, I would have screamed if I saw that flying towards me! In all my years of visiting the market I had never seen them allow people to do this, totally one of my favorite Seattle memories ever! And the guys that work there are amazing! They all took time out of work to sign the book that Rodney bought and to talk to us and get some pics...pretty amazing!

After spending the afternoon downtown we joined the masses at Safeco Field for Game 1 of Seattle Mariners and the Red Sox! Safeco is such a fun ballpark and we had a great time even with our seats being 3rd row from the top! Mariners won so I allowed Rodney to cry in his beer for a few minutes :) Sorry buddy! But, Red Sox went on the win the rest of the weekend so I probably shouldn't tease him too much :)

Anyway, here are some pics for you to enjoy! And thanks to Joey for letting us crash at her place on a busy weekend for are such a great friend!!

View from Kerry Park
Pikes Place Market
I love all the flowers down at the market!
Fish Catching!!!
One of my all time favorite places to visit!!
Packed house at Safeco Field
Go Ichiro!!