Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Pioneer Country

Dan and I flew to Tulsa last weekend to spend a few days with our good friends, Pam and Jim. 

When Pam and Jim moved to Tulsa a year ago, we knew it would be just a matter of time before we'd head down to see them.  So, on Friday we hopped a plane and got there in time for supper.

On Saturday we took a drive to nearby Pawhuska, of Pioneer Woman fame.  We knew the Mercantile wouldn't be open yet, but thought we'd have a look around.

The doors were open and the place was bustling with workmen and a crew of people in Mercantile shirts, setting things up.

As we poked our heads inside for a peek, Jerry, the general contractor, met us at the door and gave us a warm greeting, inviting us to step inside! It was a bit surreal seeing the Mercantile in person, after watching its progress on Ree's show and on her blog.  If this blog were 'scratch and sniff', you could smell the rich aroma of all that natural wood.

We were free to look at the entire first floor -- Jerry was almost apologetic that we couldn't go upstairs to the bakery because the workers were still finishing up the stairway.

It was so exciting to see the original mural that was discovered under the plastering of the old building. The carved flowers in the wood below are just beautiful and will be the same pattern used on the stationery sold at the store.  It was all I could do not to start going through boxes to find some to buy;)

The kitchen. . .

 That wonderful ceiling tile that they worked so hard to restore just gleams.  So beautiful. . .

The cappacino machine!

Seeing the inside of the Merc was more than we'd hope for.  I can't wait to go back and visit when it's open!

Pawhuska is a sweet little town.  We had a fabulous lunch at The Prairie Dog. They have a hot dog bar that would rival any hot dog stand on the streets of New York City, as well as frozen yogurt and cupcakes that are to die for.

There was an art festival going on in town, and lots of little artists were hard at work drawing chalk sidewalk pictures.

We wandered through the shops and had a nice conversation with the friendly proprietor of Clifton's Osage Prairie Gifts.  

There was a chuck wagon dinner being served that evening.  Here's Jim, talking to the cook.

Lots of places to shop in this little town!

Being the groupies that we are, we stopped at the local grocery store that Ree frequents. . .

. . . and paid homage to her at the butter display;)

Before getting in the car to leave, we took a run walk up the steps of the old courthouse.

From the top, a view of the little town of Pawhuska.

Tomorrow, I'll post about another Pioneer Woman on the prairie of Oklahoma!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Quick update

I have a lot of catching up to do on this blog.  I still want to write about Sam's mom's visit.  And over the weekend, Dan and I went to see some very dear friends and had a wonderful weekend!  We arrived home late Sunday night, and on Monday morning I hit the floor running because I had Brooklynn and Bentley for the day.  Which was also Dan's birthday. And a Bronco game on TV that night, which I'm not a big football fan, but I sat through it and played with the grandbabies.

Here's a picture of Dan and Bentley doing 'So Big'.  Bentley caught on quickly and was soon raising his arms by himself.  

This morning I am plowing through the piles on my desk, doing laundry and getting organized, then going into work.  

Just wanted to stop in and do a quick update.

Happy Tuesday to all.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday, Monday

We are having the most beautiful Fall this year. I haven't blogged since last week, because I've been spending a lot of time enjoying the outdoors. Also, Sam's mom was in town, and we went on a marathon planning spree for the wedding.  We accomplished a lot! and I have more photos to share of her visit in another post.  

This photo was taken on Saturday, of Joe and Sam near Clear Creek in Golden.  

On Sunday, my family gathered to celebrate my brother's 60th birthday.  Brooklynn 'helped' Mark blow out the candles.  That's my dad looking on.

Today, I had Brooklynn and Bentley for the day.  We took a nice long stroll and ended up at the library.  Brooklynn is my little book lover and she was delighted with all the books! 

She eventually settled in at the puzzle table and played, while Bentley and I sat on the floor nearby.  I just love our children's library.  There's a wonderful play area and lots and lots of stuffed animals for kids to snuggle up with while reading books.

Before we left for home, my brother Matt came by with some coffee for each of us, and we sat at the pond near the library and talked for a while.

Such a beautiful day to be outside.  Here's a glimpse of our walk home.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The pumpkin patch

Earlier this week, I got a text from my favorite 12-year-old  asking, "Tante" (that's what he calls me), "Do you want to go to the pumpkin patch and the corn maze?"  I looked at my list of things to do for the day, wadded it up and replied, "Wow! Yes!"

I thought I was going to miss out on the pumpkin patch this year, so what a treat:)

We combed through acres of pumpkins and picked out a couple of good ones.

There were a lot to choose from and it was a gorgeous day.

Then we hit the corn maze.  It was my first time and according to my Fitbit we walked three miles.  And we never did get to the other side.

We ended up at a favorite coffee shop for hot chocolate and -- what else? -- a pumpkin latte.

What a perfect way to spend a fall day!

Friday, October 7, 2016

All Things Fall

When I think back on my favorites for this week, the common thread is Fall. I don't take Autumn for granted here in Colorado, where Summer will often pop back in and out, causing me to shed my favorite sweaters and vests, and then Winter gets kind of pushy, knocking leaves off of trees before the color is all gone.

Here are my favorites for the week.

1.  The final baseball game of the season.  Dan and I went to the Rockies' final game with our friends Rick and Pam. Fall baseball games are sort of a breath of -- cool -- fresh air, after a hot summer.  It's time to wrap it all up, and there's the sadness of another season gone, but the anticipation of the holidays and knowing Spring training is right around the corner!

 2.  Finishing up the backyard.  I can safely say that we are FINISHED with landscaping in the backyard.  We planted two trees last weekend, this redmond linden and a peach tree.  There is still a big project left, Dan is going to build a workshop (in the area behind where he's is standing) which will involve running electricity out there, so we'll get to bury some of the wires running over our yard.  But the building will be a labor of love for him. And he's a happy camper that I can piddle around the gardens on my own now that the heavy lifting and digging is done;)

 3.  Cleaning up the gardens. In addition to planting trees, we finished the Secret Garden fence by putting on the fence post caps, and I transplanted my herbs to a new raised bed area.

4.  In the kitchen.  Stuffed patty pan squash, chicken pot pie and a harvest stew were on the menu this week.  It's been nice changing things up in the kitchen.

 5. Coffee. I'm going to cram in a couple more favorites for #5.  A wonderful, long phone chat with Pamela! which involved brewing another pot of coffee to get through. And discovering a new favorite at Starbucks: Cinnamon Dolce Latte.

How was your week?  Link up here with Susanne and the Friday Fave Five crew, if you'd like to share.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Tiny houses

I've been hooked on another HGTV show of late and am recording all the episodes so I can watch them commercial free. There are two shows actually. One is called Tiny House, Big Living and the other is Tiny House Hunters.

I've always had a dual personality in that I love the idea of living simply without a lot of clutter. BUT, I also love, LOVE 'things'. Walking into Hobby Lobby at the start of a new season, seeing all of their cute little somethings, just makes my heart sing. I am the keeper of family heirlooms and I hold tight to anything that holds a memory. I collect books, dishes and have dozens of photo albums.

It's a curse, I tell you, having a foot in both worlds, with one eye on collecting and the other on constantly feeling the need to purge.

Watching the tiny house shows fills my heart with desire for what it would be like to live simply. But . . . while fascinating to watch, it isn't long before I'm poking holes in the idea.  And it's not just because I have a lot of stuff. If someone held  my feet to the fire, I could probably whittle down to the necessities.

The most obvious reason such a small abode would not work is that most tiny houses -- and their tiny kitchens -- just aren't built for someone who is 6'1" tall with a 6'5" husband. (Like I told Dan, the first requirement for a tiny house is a tiny wife!) There's no way Dan's size 14 shoes would fit into any of those cute little storage spaces that are tucked in here and there. We would definitely need a house with a loft to fit our king size mattress, which brings up another issue. Have you seen the ladders they make to crawl up to 'the bedroom?' At my age, I can't imagine scaling one of those things, and I would probably end up sleeping on the floor.

I'm suspicious of these shows.  I'm pretty sure that most of the residents of these minuscule dwellings must have a storage shed somewhere, to keep some necessities. I mean, where do they keep their gift wrap? And for those that have 'guest beds' do they require their guests to bring their own linens?  Where do they keep their roasting pans and muffin pans? And casserole dishes? I'm assuming they can't host Thanksgiving dinner, so wouldn't they feel obligated to bring a dish when they -- once again -- show up at their family's house for holiday dinners? Where do they store winter coats and boots, summer beach towels and bathing suits and flip flops, and where do they keep the vacuum cleaner and extra toilet paper?  And, most importantly, WHERE do they put the Christmas tree?

I've often wondered, would anyone who has spent a week in a camper trailer even consider buying one of those tiny houses? We've spent many vacations camping and loving it. And also loving coming home to our big house and getting far away from one another.

I'm reminded of the movie The Long, Long Trailer with Lucille Ball.  The chaos that ensues when she and Desi Arnez buy a travel trailer to live in while he is a traveling salesman, makes for a great comedy.

I admire those that can live in 400 square feet or less, especially if they share it with another human being or four-legged family members.  I love my husband -- and my dog.  But, Dan and I both agree that our 'downsize' to 1,800 square feet is small enough.


Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Favorites including a wedding!

It's hard to believe it's the last day of September. One of the reasons I love doing Friday Fave Five is that it helps me slow down and appreciate the good moments, big and small.

1.  Joe and Sam have set a date for their wedding -- January 7!  No, it doesn't give us a huge amount of time, but we've booked a venue, and now get to plan all the fun details.  Sam's mom is coming from out-of-town in a couple of weeks, and we'll whip out the rest of the plans then.  We love Sam! He's already been a part of our family for the past two years.  He and Joe are both busy students -- Sam goes to the Colorado School of Mines (Dan's alma mater), and Joe is at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

2.  I can't top #1, but another favorite this week was on Wednesday evening, after Dan and I had an appointment on the south side of town.  We decided to stop for a bite to eat, and we ended up at the restaurant where, 33 years ago, he asked me to marry him:)  It's a lot different now, but it sure brought back some wonderful memories.

3.  Movie night - Last night we watched a movie from Netflix, The Cider House Rules.  I remember seeing it when it first came out in 1999, but had forgotten most of the story.  The soundtrack is one of my favorites with beautiful music by Rachel Portman.  It's a thought-provoking story and very well done about a young orphan (Tobey Maguire) who is mentored by a physician (Michael Caine) and goes out into the world to find his way and come to his own conclusions about what he believes to be true in life.  

4.  I had lots of free time this week, which was really nice. I got a lot accomplished around the house.  There is still a pile of ironing that awaits me, but I'll have time to tackle that today and also organize my closet for fall.

5.  Favorite photo of the week:

Miranda sent me this in a text.  Sawyer is wearing one of Luke's outfits, the one he wore when we went to court for his final adoption hearing.  In a way, it seems like just yesterday.  Time goes so fast, which is why I love savoring the moments through Friday Fave Five.   If you would like to join in, here's the link at Susanne's place, Living to Tell the Story.