Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I hope you have a fun and spooky Halloween!
(Well, not too spooky.)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Aliens At The Temple

This is what happens when Bruce is left to his own devices and has to find his own Halloween costume for the Stratford Family Party:
 And don't you think the temple is the best place to have an alien photo shoot? I do.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Updated Halloween Porch

At Halloween time in years past, my porch has kind of been a mish-mash of lots of different semi-spooky decorations. Remember the eyeball tree? This year I decided to simplify things and maybe class up my porch a bit.

Oh, I had to have corn stalks- and these we actually grew ourselves!
You never know who you might find lurking behind the cornstalks.
I hollowed out some pumpkins that became planters for some yellow mums, and I found a great new sign at the local nursery's gift shop.
 Adding some Halloween pillows to the bench added a fun Halloween touch! These are just slipcovers, so you'll be seeing these pillows again- with different seasonal covers.
 Gus approves of the pillows.
 I don't think he's real fan of the pumpkins and gourds though, since he likes to chew on them.
 I like how this all came together!

On a side note, I gave these Halloween S'Mores kits to my kids and my VT ladies- I thought they were pretty cute.

Monday, October 28, 2013

And Off They Go...

Big and painful and good changes at our house last week. Brian was offered at job with Hewlett Packard in Roseville, California. Yeay! He will be in the Golbal Regulatory Compliance division...whatever that means. :) He starts today!

Last week they packed up all of their worldly possessions in the truck and trailer. Lindsey's parents filled the back of their truck too and all of us drove to Roseville. It's a 10 hour drive- we'll be making it often! Roseville is 2 hours from Lake Tahoe, 2 hours to San Fransico and even closer to the redwoods. (And 6 hours to Disneyland!)

To get there, we drove over the Sierra Nevadas, stopping to see the Donner Pass memorial.
Here's Brian and Lindsey's new apartment. It is literally across the fence from the HP complex. With a good pair of wire cutters, Brian could make a passage way to work through the fence!
 We unpacked and put together their new IKEA cough/bed. How convenient for parental visits! As you can see, Brian is in fine picture form- eyes averted, fake smile. That's my boy.
My house is soooo quiet now. Uncomfortably so. And Gus...well, he's not taking it very well at all. He left a dead mouse on the downstairs bed the other day.

Change is hard, even good change. I'm really proud of Brian and I know they will be fine, but they are just So. Far. Away.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Caramel-Apple Pudding Cake

Need an Autumn-type dessert to warm your family on a blustery day? You might want to try this pudding cake. It's full of apples and raisins and cinnamon and caramel- yum!
Caramel-Apple Pudding Cake-12 servings
2  medium tart cooking apples, such as Granny Smith or Jonathan, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (2 cups)
3  tablespoons  lemon juice
1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
1/8  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
1/4  cup  raisins
1  cup  all-purpose flour
3/4  cup  packed brown sugar
1  teaspoon  baking powder
1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
1/2  cup  milk
2  tablespoons  butter (no substitutes), melted
1  teaspoon  vanilla
1/2  cup  chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4  cup  caramel ice cream topping
1/2  cup  water
1  tablespoon  butter (no substitutes)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease a 2-quart square baking dish; arrange apple slices in bottom of dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Top evenly with raisins; set aside.
3. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add milk, the 2 tablespoons melted butter, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in nuts. Spread batter evenly over apple mixture.
4. Combine caramel topping, water, and the 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan; bring to boiling. Pour caramel mixture over the batter in the baking dish.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until set in center. Spoon warm individual servings into dessert dishes, inverting each portion. Spoon caramel-apple mixture from the pan over each portion. Makes 12 servings.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Garage or Party Room?

The garage is done.
The walls and concrete edges are painted. The floor is epoxied and sprinkled with paint chips. It looks a little blue in these pictures, but it's actually more gray.
Brian and Lindsey were the painters. They put a lot of effort into this job. I was the sprinkler. It took finesse and a certain technique, getting those sprinkles to look right. We waited a week to park inside, then we waited 3 more days. It all looked so fresh and nice. It seemed a shame to put cars in it.

The question is- now that it's all clean, fresh and beautiful, should this be our new party room?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Aspen Grove

At the cabin, the aspen trees were beautiful. We took a drive down the road and spotted a grove on the hillside that was looking glorious in the afternoon light.

I wanted to try a shot lying on my back, looking up into the trees:
 My sister thought I was probably nuts.
 But then both of my sisters decided to give it a try!
 Aspens are pretty close to being the perfect tree.
 Even when their leaves fall on the ground they look pretty.
 Ollie liked them too.
 Aspens in the fall- love them!

Friday, October 18, 2013


When we go to the cabin, we like to take our cameras and walk down to the river. Nature is good for the soul.
We usually start with a stroll south to a stream that branches off the bigger river.
 Ollie loves these walks. When he's outside, he always has a stick in his mouth.
 To the north, we found a swampy spot where some beaver had built a dam.
 There were lots of different plant details to see.
 Even creepy mushrooms!
 My mom took a break to scavenge some abandoned camping equipment:
 She's now the proud owner of a slightly used trident!
 We made it to the big river- it's actually the South Fork of the Boise River.
 Ollie jumped right in for a drink.
 My sister helped mom and her trident back across the log bridge.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Girl's Weekend!

 After making my through the cow herd, I drove into the mountains to the cabin.

The cabin belongs to this sister.
She always brings a selection of cards that we put together. As always, her cards are amazing!
When we get together we like to make crafts, eat good food, go for walks to the river, take pictures, watch movie and talk, talk talk. Here's my mom, working on decoupaged foam pumpkins.
 Here's my other sister. She brought pillows for us to make and stuff.
 So very cute!

And it wouldn't be the same if Ollie didn't come. He's a perfect dog. He's better than any dog I have ever known.
 All he wants is to please and to be loved. There was plenty of that!
Should we get bored, which we never did, we could have browsed back issues of Huntin' Fool, while taxidermy looked on.
Tomorrow, we'll venture outside!