Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Escaping the Heat Wave

The Portland area reached 106 degrees yesterday and predictions are that we will see that temperature again today. To escape the heat I picked up mom yesterday morning and drove over to Lincoln City. Whew ... the high there was 76 degrees ... a perfect day at the beach.
We set up the sun shelter and enjoyed a "picnic" lunch while delighting in the view of the ocean. After a long walk on the beach we drove down to Mo's for lunch, browsed through the Christmas shop and the outlet mall before heading home to the extreme heat. What a great escape! Hope you are finding ways to stay cool!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Twenty Years Ago ...

I keep meaning to blog about this but somehow it keeps getting put on the "back burner" of my blog to-do list.
July 3rd marked the 20th anniversary of our move to Tualatin. We only moved 20 miles from Portland but it seemed more like 200 when you consider that I lived in the same 10-block radius for the first 36 years of my life.
When I first toured this home it was exactly what we were looking for. The neighborhood was a wonderful place to raise 3 boys ... great schools and parks nearby. We have great memories within these four walls.
Now that we are empty-nesters the house seems quite spacious for just the two of us. We still love our neighbors and the location so we have no desire to move. We have plenty of home improvement projects to keep us from getting bored. This house is still a good "fit" for us.
I am so thankful for the twenty years of memories we have shared as a family in this home.

Wallowa Photo Fun

As I'm going through our 500 Wallowa vacation pictures, I have been thinking of a few creative ideas of things to do with them.
Sharon had this idea for the canoe. She wanted a picture with an old-fashioned postcard look. I thought it would great converted to B&W but colorize the canoe. Of course, there's a story behind the canoe ...
Sunday afternoon Tim M. took Nancy and Chris out for a canoe ride on the lake. Nancy was hesitant but was overwhelmingly reassured that this canoe was designed in such a way that it would not tip over. Well, guess what ?!?!?! While watching them enjoy a leisurely paddle ride quite a way from shore, the canoe rolls over! I think Nancy was a bit shocked. She decided to swim/walk back to shore only to be discovered by a row of geese swimming rapidly toward her ... did they have dinner on their minds?!?!?! It did look kind of scary at the time ... you had to be there! This definitely will be a "legend" talked about around the campfire for generation to generation.

After packing up Saturday we decided to take photos of all the Third generation Wallowa campers in the Mooney's canoe. Yesterday while looking through an old photo album we found a picture of the Second Generation campers from 1988 in the Jackson's boat. I thought it would be fun to put the two together. I see a few family resemblances between the two photos. Such a nice reminder of the fun we've had through several generations. Next year is the 30th anniversary of our family's first camping trip to Wallowa Lake. So many good memories : )

The Wallowa Diaries

We are home safe and sound from Wallowa Lake, unpacked and easing back into reality. I thought I would share a few highlights from our trip ...
I typed this on our laptop during our return trip. Just needed to include photos when we got home ... we took 500 photos between our two cameras! Yikes!

Saturday –“We’re Off!”
We left Lewis and Clark State Park at 6:30am for the traditional start of our caravan to Wallowa Lake. We arrived at the registration booth at 2:30 and had our home-away-from-home campsite set up by early evening.
For several of us, we were setting up in new sites in the D Loop. We loved the layout of our new site, and with our group forming a circle we had a nice grassy area in the center for the kids to play in. I’m sure these will now be our favorite sites in Loop D.
Since we didn’t have much of an appetite after setting up, we had Mt. Huckleberry ice cream for dinner. What a great way to start our vacation! By the end of the week ... we really don't care if we have ice cream again for a LONG time!
We ended our evening with a great fireside conversation about our Adams High School years that Brian said resembled the movie, “Dazed and Confused.” Well, it was the late sixties - early seventies AND it was quite a unique school : ) It was nice to enjoy a good laugh and unwind from our travels.

Sunday –“Floatie Fun”
After a leisurely morning routine we spent most of the afternoon down at the Marina cruising the lake on our floaties. Our special treat was having Tim join us after dinner. He stayed until Thursday afternoon.

Monday – “Fun Galore at the Shore”
We spent the morning in town to pick up our rodeo tickets, shopped a few of the stores and enjoyed a special treat at Mad Mary’s Soda Shoppe. A new lake activity included the game – Ladderball. We had fun playing some very competitive rounds … guys against the girls. We enjoyed a very “gourmet” steak dinner with some tasty additions prepared by Tim. He has become quite the chef. Must be all those Food Network programs : ) Following dinner Brian and Tim joined us for a trip to Joseph for a visit to the Ember Brew House. We love the ambiance at night.

Tuesday – “iHike"
Our activity for the day included a quick day hike from the trailhead to the bridge on the Mt. Joseph trail. We had quite a large group for this very entry-level trail. After the first lookout we left in two separate groups. Several went left; the others went right. Those on the left were heading to Ice Lake (the wrong direction) We sent our Tim to jog back to find the group and we were now separated into three groups. In the meantime Calleigh fell asleep in my arms. We decided to have our Tim jog back to find the other group. He did not return but the “other” Tim finally found us and led us to the correct trail … but we still couldn’t find our Tim. I decided to sit with our little sleeping beauty at the intersection of the two trails and finally saw Tim running down the trail. How could such a simple hike turn into such a complicated event?!?!?!

We decided to reward our persistence with an ice cream cone from the Matterhorn. Nothing soothes away frustration like a waffle cone filled with Tillamook ice cream.
Another way to cool off was an afternoon down at the lake. … so cool and refreshing … and a little floatie time plus a few competitive card and board games. Many days during our week long stay we enjoyed the marina activities so much that we stayed until near dusk.

Wednesday –“Let’er Buck”
Our day included several rounds of “I’ve Got It,” and “Left, Right, Center” which were both new games to our full table of players. Several fit in a lake visit, some read, others napped while waiting for the evening event … the Chief Joseph Rodeo. This year we dressed in full cowboy regalia and the Mooneys were voted, “best dressed.”
As usual, we dined at the Ember’s Brew House before heading over to the Harley Tucker stadium for several hours of thrills and spills. The big let down was the elimination of Barrel Racing (my favorite) due to the slippery surface ... disappointing.

Thursday –“Surprise!”
What an awesome surprise party Michelle and Jenn put together for my birthday … a day early so that Tim could participate before heading back home. I was totally surprised! The girls planned an ice cream bar down at the day picnic area -- colorful custom-made garland hung from trees, there were goody bags for the children, and a special sundae dish for the “birthday girl.” With a July birthday it is usually hard to put together a surprise party – so many people on vacation or busy with summer activities. Michelle and Jenn are amazing party planners. If you ever need to add a creative touch to your next party, you need to talk to these gals! They are a great team.
Following our refreshing dessert we grabbed our floaties and headed out to the lake. Nothing compares to this relaxing activity … in fact, Calleigh fell asleep on my lap while the gentle waves rocked her to sleep as we floated near shore.

Friday –“Happy Birthday”
My celebration destination choice was a family lunch at Terminal Gravity Brewery in Enterprise. The Schleining family ate there last year and it was highly recommended. And they were right … we were not disappointed. I think it has the best food in the Wallowa area. I ordered the Aloha Chicken sandwich on homemade Ciabatta bread … delish! Next year we’ll go back for dinner since that is when they serve their wonderful pasta dishes. If you’re ever in this part of Oregon, plan to enjoy a meal here.
No Wallowa birthday would be complete without a little afternoon lake time. What a great cool down on an extremely hot day.
To round out our day’s activities we enjoyed the evening around the campfire with the girls … chatting, roasting marshmallows and baking potatoes over the fire …a great midnight snack before heading to bed. I can’t remember a better birthday celebration!

Saturday –“Pack It Up”
We woke up in the predawn hours to a busy campground – tents coming down, blaring rap music floating from a truck cab, several car alarms going off. Oh, yah … it’s rodeo weekend in Wallowa! This was the first year our pack up went smoothly and quickly.
We were able to take photos of each departing family. Keep watch for the official photoshopped edition … coming soon. Yes, I wore my official “going home” shirt. Explanation: After looking through years of Wallowa photos I noticed that I consistently wear this orange shirt in all of our group photos and is a must for heading home.

We enjoyed our last ice cream cone of the Wallowa year, headed down to the marina for a last hour of enjoying the lake, picking up last minute treats and souvenirs in Joseph and then hitting the road for a long 6.5 hour ride home.
The closer we approach home the more anxious I am for the feel of carpet between my toes, the fresh sheets on my comfortable bed and reaching in a refrigerator for food instead of picking up bobbing bottles in the cooler. As much as we love the Wallowas and the sadness we feel each year we leave the lake, we find ourselves thinking, “There’s no place like home.”
As we continue on I-84, we are already planning for next year … the 30th anniversary of our first family vacation to this beautiful part of NE Oregon. We have been reminiscing about all the great memories during those years … those who have been a part of our Wallowa history and the “legends” that are being passed down from one generation to another. No matter what other vacation destinations we have enjoyed … none compare to the beauty, friends and family, and the fun of Wallowa Lake.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another Wallowa Tradition...

Seems like I have dried bananas for Wallowa since the 80's so yesterday was the perfect day to reduce 15 bananas into a tasty treat in a ziploc bag. They are great for hikes and take the edge off the sweet tooth while also providing a healthy snack ... great for the grandkids. I am not a big banana fan ... it's a texture thing : ( so this is one way I can enjoy a banana.
I do have to share a great hint: I found a kitchen gadget down at the outlet mall that evenly slices a whole banana in a one-step process. I think it was on clearance for about $2. What a great time-saving tool. It now only takes seconds to peel, slice and fill the trays.
I love my food dehydrator and can't believe it still works nearly three decades later. What a great investment.

Wallowa Baking Day

I was asked to provide cookies for a memorial service at church this weekend so I thought it would be good to also bake for Wallowa. After going through my recipe cards -- old technology! -- I decided I would make a few of my favorites from the past.
Chocolate Crackles have always been my favorite. It is much like a powdered sugar brownie if under-baked a bit. Seems like I only bake them at Christmas now that we are empty-nesters. Rae is a big fan of these cookies so they made the top of my baking list.

Chocolate Crackles
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. salad oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (never have added this)
about 1/2 c. powdered sugar
Melt chocolate. Combine with sugar and oil. Add eggs one at a time; beat well. Add vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to chocolate mixture. Stir in nuts -if using them. Chill dough. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough in powdered sugar. Roll to coat. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake @ 350 degrees for 10 mins. Cool on rack. Makes 4 dozen

Every Tuesday -when the kids were little and I was a SAHM- was baking day on my weekly schedule. It was nice to have one day where the aroma of fresh baked cookies, muffins, cakes, cobblers, crisps, and an occasional pie filled the kitchen. I think when Costco came to town and we got so involved with sports, my Tuesday baking days became history : ( Also, trying to bake in an oven nearly as old as our firstborn can be challenging at times, too.
Ranger Cookies were one of my all-time favorite cookies back then. I copied the recipe from a Current cookbook ... remember Current, Inc.???? In fact, the recipe card is so worn, it's hard to see the ingredients/measurements. Well, okay ... my eyesight is not the same either : )

Ranger Cookies
1 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup coconut
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together margarine, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Blend until smooth. Fold in remaining ingredients. Roll into balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Flatten with tines of a fork. Bake 10 mins.

Another Wallowa favorite is marshmallow treats. I also make Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispies that are hard to resist. Seems like marshmallow treats taste dull after a few days so they need to be consumed at the beginning of our vacation. I know there will be "volunteers" to solve this dilemma.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispies
2 cusp chunky peanut butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 TBLS margarine or butter
1 tsp vanilla
5 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a 2-qt saucepan cook peanut butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and margarine over low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is smooth (5 to 6 minutes). Stir in vanilla. In large bowl add mixture to cereal; stir to coat. Spread into greased 13x9-inch baking pan. In 1-qt saucepan melt chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly until completely melted (4 to 5 mins). Spread over bars Cool completely. Cut into bars. Yield: 36 bars

Well, the kitchen is nearly back in order and time to take a break from the cookie sheets and oven. I am so thankful for AC on a day like today : )

Monday, July 13, 2009

Goal Reached!

I just sent down an order to the Costco Photo Lab for the last scrapbook pages of our 2006 Wallowa vacation.
NOW ... I can start packing and planning for Wallowa 2009 and leave with peace of mind that I am still less than 3 years behind : )
I spent most of the morning working on layouts, the afternoon going through my camping wardrobe, and then before and after dinner finishing the last few pages.
Tomorrow I will be working on meal planning and making a grocery and packing list. Life has been simplified with our website. A big help with organization in getting ready for our trip.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Pamper-ing" Day

Today was the day ... the second annual Wallowa girls Pedicure and Lunch event. We met at the salon at 10:00 and enjoyed a morning of bonding and beautifying before next week's vacation. It's always nice to start off those first few days with lovely nails before sitting around the dirty-dusty campsite.
This year the Mooney girls and Beth joined us. Savannah had the most pampering ... she looked like Dorothy of Oz being attended to before seeing the great and powerful Wizard. She had several nail technicians working on both her feet and hands. She did a fabulous job for a 5 year old.
Melissa and Calleigh joined us for lunch at Red Robin. A great time of fun and fellowship! Now on to making those lists, shopping and packing for Wallowa Lake where the camping experience all started back in 1980!
Paper:Lindsay Jane Designs -Just Pink 2 BG01
Template: Andrea Gold -502 Template Square
Element: KHM Cover Stories14-Freebie-pink-girl; 1 Girl Stuff -polish
Font: Problem Secretary, An Unfortunate Event, Cricket, ChromosomeLight, American Typewriter

Friday, July 10, 2009

While I'm At It ...

Here's a peek at the layouts I added to my album this week. I have several more pages to add before we leave next week for Wallowa. Just can't think of leaving -- knowing I'm more than three years behind again!!!
I wish I had more time to devote to this hobby... I love the creativity and recording our life events.

Craft Project

Oh, dear ... it has been a while since I last posted. I will try once again to "go back in time" in order to get caught up. Sorry to be such an inconsistent blogger!
I think I left off at Las Vegas ... we really did come home : ) Within a day or two of our return I had a sore throat followed by a mouth, throat, tongue and lips full of canker sores. A strep test turned out negative and the Urgent Care Dr. thought it was probably Lupus related. It certainly was miserable but as of today my mouth feels back to normal. I'm still avoiding salty things -- I don't want to push it : )
The other night Thrifty Decor Chick (one of my favorite blogs) posted about making pillows out of placemats. How clever! So while down at Costco I stopped at Pier 1 and found two clearance placemats and thought they would make a great outdoor pillow. This morning it only took minutes to sew and stuff it. It certainly perks up the recliner and fun to know it only required a little time and money to add a new touch to the deck.

I will return with more posts later ... Hope you are enjoying your summer.