Create your day

A Cottonwood Canyon Thanksgiving

A post I wrote for the ever awesome Park Ranger Dave. Thanks for making our experience at cottonwood memorable.

Cottonwood Canyon State Park

So the last time around I roped a host into writing a blog post. I figured this was such great idea I would continue to pass off my work to others. We had our first Thanksgiving feast out here at Cottonwood with many friends and family. Below is a report of some good friends experience. I have taken for granted the limited email, no TV and limited cell coverage out here. I forgot what a change it can make in an experience. So come on out, unplug and enjoy! For more on a little digital detox this is a great article I read recently.

A Cottonwood Canyon Thanksgiving

Kristi, Ben and family

This year, our little family decided to try something different. We received an offer from our friends to celebrate Thanksgiving out at Cottonwood Canyon State Park so we packed up the car Wednesday and headed out.

From the…

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Life is changing…fast

Time is flying by and my little boy will be three on Wednesday!  My little girl is turning one next month and I am going back to school in June.  Yes, that’s right.  I got accepted to nursing school.  It is an accelerated program so it’s only 15 months, but I suspect that it is going to be a very busy and tough year and three months.  Needless to say, not only has this blog sort of taken a back burner already, but it will become even more so.

While I still have some time I have been teaching my boy (and my daughter who is constantly with me too) about gardening, plant growth and reproduction.  He has taken to it and has become very skilled at weeding and finding worms.  It is really great to see how much he loves the earth.  This year we made a trip to the nursery to buy plants for a planter.  His favorite color is yellow, so naturally he wanted only yellow plants.  I had to help him round out his color palate a bit, but it was a really great bonding moment.  I also found some time, especially with the amazing weather we’ve been having, to take some more pictures.

Enjoy, and I will write when I get a free moment

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Our first child who loves us more in the spring and summer when we are outdoors

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Our first apple blossoms!

Holiday decorating

Last weekend we went looking for our Christmas tree. One of Oregon’s largest industries is Christmas trees, and we all bundled up to cut ours down from a farm. It’s quite the experience and there is nothing like having a fresh fir-tree in your house to bring out the holiday spirit. Right now, however, the tree is still undecorated. Our dining table, however, is decked out. I was inspired by the Michael’s ad this year to make my own candle centerpieces. I took mason jars, tied a ribbon around the top, placed a vanilla candle in the bottom and crushed some cinnamon sticks to sprinkle around the bottom to tie it all together. Then, I took some of the tree trimmings and artfully placed them down the middle and around the jars. I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.

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With the lights out and the candles lit
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Let it snow!

Before we moved to the big city, we used to get snow every year. I love snow. It just isn’t winter without it and I always get so excited when it does snow. I love watching it quietly fall, especially with a mug of hot cocoa. This year, we in the big city, actually got snow! It was freezing, but I still bundled up my son and we ventured out for a little bit. He didn’t last long, but it was worth it.

Here are some pictures that I managed to snap before my camera battery died and my fingers froze.

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pre-dawn magic

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DYI Advent Calendar

Growing up we had an advent calendar every year. You know the one where there are little doors with chocolate hidden behind them. Even though it was really simple, my sister and I always enjoyed the thrill of counting down the days until Christmas in this way. I was at the craft store before Thanksgiving and there were advent calendars. Not the cheap ones that we used to have as a kid, but the decorate yourself kind with little drawers. I was drawn to this advent calendar like moth to a flame and suddenly my children needed to have a really cool advent calendar. I looked at the price and said “you have to be kidding me?!” They wanted $22 for some cardboard that you then need to spend probably about the same amount if you want to properly decorate the thing. So, I came home minus an advent calendar but the beginning of an awesome idea for an advent calendar.

Here is my brainchild:

I made 25 origami boxes of increasing size. Then my husband found some scrap wood in our garage and we glued them onto it. I wrote the numbers above the boxes and loaded them up with increasing awesomeness. Right now it is making a very charming center piece on our dining room table, but eventually I will have my husband attach picture wire and we’ll hang it. Probably not this year though.

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When the leaves start falling

I start knitting!

It has been tricky trying to find time to knit since it is rare that both kids are asleep at the same time.  So I have been staying up late to get some much-needed knit time in.  Fortunately my 6 month old (yes,  she is already that old) is sleeping through the night.

So what have I been knitting you ask? After finishing a hat for my little girl I realized it was entirely too big because I had used the wrong pattern for the yarn I was using.  It was such a rookie mistake that I am blaming it on baby brain. So I took the entire hat apart and reworked.  Fortunately it was very quick to work up.  Here is the finished piece. (Aviatrix baby hat)


I also knit a pair of leg warmers for the little one.  These took me awhile because I was trying to add elastic thread to the back of the top cuff.  I found it to be very tricky, annoying,  and not worth the effort.  One side (the first side I did) ended up being too tight so the top cuff is now the bottom cuff.  Yay for reversible garments!


My current in progress project is a scarf for myself.  I am knitting the Apis dorsata pattern that was published in kitty fall 2005. Here’s my progress so far.

All of these projects I am using my stash. Finally.

Autumn sights

I love all four seasons, but autumn is one of my favorites (see Pumpkin Patch Part I for more details). This year we sold my grandparent’s orchard, which makes me incredibly sad. I have so many fond memories and it is a place that to me was always akin to ‘home’. It is a place that instantly relaxed me and made me feel free from the stresses of every day. I know that if I were to buy the orchard and run it I would not only be going against my grandparent’s wishes, but it would probably change my perception of the place. That being said, I really wish my children could experience the land the same way I did as a kid. This year was our last year of picking the apples from the 80+-year-old apple trees. It was as difficult as it was enjoyable and I will never, ever, forget it.

Aside from the orchard, I have been enjoying taking photos of the season. The beautiful weather we’ve been having has really accentuated the season’s colors and I have been loving every minute of it!

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Pumpkin Patch Part II

On our outing to the pumpkin patch I took so many photos that I couldn’t possibly fit it all into one blog post! This one is dedicated to the flower portion of the pumpkin patch. This particular patch, located on Sauvie Island in Portland, Oregon, is not only a pumpkin patch, but a vegetable and cut flower farm as well. They had some amazing dahlias, zinnias and marigolds that I couldn’t stop taking pictures.

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Pumpkin Patch Part I

We have been having the most fantastic weather which was well deserved and long overdue after such a blustery September. I have been super busy in the garden pruning, weeding, and moving plants around including a very large azalea and hydrangea. As time often does these days, it got away from me and I realized that it was almost Halloween and we still did not have any pumpkins! So today we went on an outing to pick pumpkins and enjoy this glorious fall weather. I love autumn! I love the all the colors, the crisp air, hot cider, hot chocolate, caramel apples, apple pies, pears, soups, scarfs and the anticipation of the upcoming holidays that autumn brings.

What do you love about autumn?

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Camera play

Having two incredibly photogenic and entertaining kids mean that I am taking a lot of pictures. A month ago we travelled down to California and I ended up having a conversation with my husband’s uncle who is interested in photography. He was helping me to understand some of the functions on our camera that I hadn’t taken the time to play with. Since then I have been playing with aperture settings and focal length. Last night we had a potluck (delicious!) and two of our friends brought us some gorgeous bouquets. I love taking picture of flowers and today decided to practice with various settings using the flowers as my subjects.

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I liked this photo without editing =)

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