Friday, September 29, 2017

Rainy days, movies, flannel and lattes

Is it really Friday already? I'm joining the Friday Fave Five bunch, looking back over my week and counting some blessings.

1. My nephew Tommy is a teenager! Whoa, how did that happen so fast? We celebrated his birthday last night with pizza and cake.

2.  Earlier this week, I spent a rainy afternoon at a movie by myself.  I saw Home Again with Reese Witherspoon. Honestly? It was not one of her best movies and I'm glad I had a coupon so the ticket was free! It was silly and predictable, but the tub of popcorn and box of Milk Duds made it the perfect afternoon.

3. I'm having the best time using my senior discount at the local thrift store. (It's like Kohl's, where they consider you a senior at 55. But that's not really a senior citizen is it? So, it's like we get to ease into being a senior, right?).  Anyhoo, I've been visiting on senior day and buying books for my grandkids, building up a nice little library.

4. On a more serious note, Dan and I have been recording the Ken Burns series on the Vietnam War. We both enjoy history, and Burns is of course the master at telling it. The thing that has struck me the most is the still photos of civilian life at the time -- the school kids and the suburbs, which was my life. It is such a sharp contrast, this fairy tale life I had, and what these young American soldiers were going through. It makes me so ashamed. I guess it seems like an odd thing to list as a blessing for the week. But, I feel blessed that stories like these are told, and that -- please God -- we have the opportunity to learn from them.

5. Hot lattes and plaid flannel shirts. It's been the perfect week for these. I just love fall.

How was your week?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Painted Ladies

As leaves are changing into brilliant fall colors, our yard has been filled with another shade of orange the past few weeks. Hoards of painted lady butterflies are heading through our state on their migration to spend the winter in Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.  The species likes to move around a lot. They arrive in Colorado (which is one of the top five states for butterfly diversity -- who knew?) in the spring and head out in the late summer, in search of warmer climate.

They are often mistaken for monarch butterflies, but they are a bit smaller and have slightly different markings. Every day we find dozens of painted ladies feasting on our butterfly bush on the side of the house. They also like our yarrow, rosebushes and lavender.

We're happy to provide them with a some meals as they wander on their way!

If you live along the northern Colorado front range and are interested in learning more about the types of butterflies that live in that locale, here is a terrific website to check out:  Colorado Front Range Butterflies

Sunday, September 24, 2017

El Dorado County, California

It's hard to believe that, just a week ago, we were in sunny California. I thought I would share some more pictures from our trip.

We left on a Thursday to attend a birthday party for Dan's sister Carol.  Carol and her wife Sonia live about an hour and a half's drive east of Sacramento in El Dorado County.  The eastern part of the county was the site of the start of the California gold rush in the 1840s, and the western part extends into the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and beautiful Lake Tahoe. There's a lot to explore!

Carol and Sonia, and their friends Paul and Vicki, bought a vineyard a couple of years ago, so we were excited to visit and see it for the first time. While the acreage has been producing grapes for some time, there was lots to be done on the physical structures. They have added a barrel room, are in the process of constructing a tasting room, and they've cleaned up the property and grafted a large portion of the vines with different varietals. For pictures and more info on their progress, here's the website for Bom Vinho Vineyards.

Dan and I stayed at the Seven-Up Guest Ranch in Fair Play. It's a lovely, peaceful spot, off the main road. The only sounds we heard were song birds, a few wild turkeys, and the occasional mooing of a cow. The guest cabins are rustic, but very comfy with quilts on the beds and rocking chairs on the porches. We were served a yummy breakfast each morning in the main cabin.

On Friday, we had the day to ourselves to explore.  We visited a few wineries, of course!

We also drove to Placerville to do a bit of shopping and have lunch.  Then we headed back to Carol and Sonia's in time for the festivities on Friday night, which included a spaghetti dinner and a blue grass band.  That was just the beginning of the party. The real fun was on Saturday, when there were games galore, and a catered barbecue and DJ.

Not only do Carol and Sonia make wine, but they sing, too! and we were treated to some lovely harmonies sung by the two of them and their group -- the Post Minstrels.

The games were such a hoot. We played human foosball . . . (yes, that's a flamingo on my head. Did I mention the dress was Hawaiian garb and/or crazy hats?)

There was beer pong, on a larger scale, too . . .

Joe and Sam were there. We had such a good time with those two!

And a 'selfie scavenger hunt', where we were given 10 things to find on the grounds, and take a selfie  with a partner. Sam and I paired up and won a bottle of champagne:)

In between the fun and games, there was some fun work to do, in stomping grapes, pressing and stemming . . .

There was plenty of time for relaxing. Here we are with Dan's brother Mike, and wife Debbie. . .

. . . taking in the beautiful view.

We're looking forward to going back -- in 2019 if not before. That's when the first batch of Bom Vinho wine will be bottled. 


Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday's Fave Five

I'm grateful for the opportunity that Friday's Fave Five provides to slow down and look at some of the blessings in my week.

1. Our trip to California for my sister-in-law's birthday tops my list. I wrote about it in our last post, and still have some more pictures to share, which I hope to get to this weekend. We stayed at a lovely guest ranch and visited a few wineries, in addition to the birthday celebration.What made the weekend even more special was that Joe and Sam were there, too. It was great spending time with those two.

2. A bit more mundane, but a huge blessing for me, is my new vacuum cleaner! After conducting an informal survey among Facebook friends, the favorite handsdown is the Shark.  I bought the Navigator Liftaway, and I'm loving it! It's easy to use, the attachments are great, and it's perfect for our floors, which are primarily hardwood with a few area rugs.

3. Dan and I are doing some rearranging, and I now have my own office space. We've been sharing our office, and with two desks and Lilly's dog bed, it's been rather cozy. He moved his desk and files downstairs, so now I will have room for an easy chair and reading lamp. I have lots of cleaning and organizing to do!  I still share the space with Lilly, but us girls like to stick together;)

4. I picked a bunch more tomatoes from the garden. This weekend, I'm going to make some tomato basil soup (basil from the garden as well). I should have plenty of both to freeze, too.

5. As if on cue, our temperatures dropped today, the first day of Fall. The weekend is going to be much cooler. It's my favorite time of year. Bring on the pumpkins and the hot lattes!

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bom Vinho!

Just a quick update. I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, but things have been busy around here. Dan and I took a little trip last weekend to see his sister Carol and her wife, Sonia. We helped celebrate Carol's 60th birthday in a big way! and also got to see their vineyard.  

These two know how to throw a party! More details in a later post on that and the trip to El Dorado County in California.

In the meantime, I'll just share a few photos. In between visiting vineyards and attending the festivities, we all helped crush and press some grapes!

The crushing was fun, but those grapes are slippery!

Pressing out the yummy juice. . .

The vineyard has been producing for about 10 years.  Carol and Sonia have been owners for the past two. The first batch of wine produced under their label will be ready in 2019.

A glimpse of the barrel room. . . where all the good stuff is stored and working its magic:)

For Carol and Sonia's story, check out their website here.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday Favorites

As much as I don't like to wish the seasons and my life away, I am looking forward to the cooler temps of September. Here are a few favorites from the last week of August.

1. A night at the ballpark. Dan and I went to see the Rockies play the Detroit Tigers one evening this week. The weather was so perfect -- clear and a cool breeze. The park has been sold out almost all summer, but on this night it wasn't quite so crowded, so we walked around the concourse and watched the game from different areas, just to get some exercise.

2. Going to the library with Brooklynn. I'm trying to make it a weekly outing, taking Brooklynn to the children's library. Wow, it's so different from when my kids were little, with an entire play area of educational and interactive toys. It's been fun having her to myself;) and it gives her a chance to play with other kids, and without her 17-month-old little brother trying to get in the middle of what she's doing all the time.

3. Brunch with friends on Saturday. I met up with three of my besties from junior high/high school days. We get together about once a year or so, whenever Ann (the out-of-towner) is here. So many life changes through the years!

4. Watching Bentley eat ice cream.

5. Taking Lilly to the vet and having that chore behind me for another year! She is such a nervous Nellie. She hides behind me and won't let the vet look at her. He coaxes her with cookies, and she spits them out at him. Trying to get her weight is a challenge in itself because she dances all over the scale. He basically waves his stethoscope around her and tells me her heart and lungs are fine, and I assure him her teeth and eyes are fine, too. If it weren't for the fact that she needs shots and heart worm meds, I would be inclined to forget the whole affair, and I let them take her in the back room (for some reason, Lilly loves the vet tech, Morgan) to draw blood and give her the shots. We are in and out in 14 minutes. It's probably the fastest $254 dollars this vet has ever made.

How was your week? Happy September to all!

Linking up with Friday Fave Fives at Living to the the Story.