Monday, December 15, 2014

Are We Busy Yet?

Christmas cards are a joy to receive and a bit of a pain to get out. In this digital age, we now have several ways to get out a Christmas greeting, taking some of the pain out of the process. As much as I love my online social networks, I enjoy sending and receiving cards the old-fashioned way.

A few years back, I made my own cards and had so much fun doing it, until the stress of all the holiday busyness got to me. Something had to give, so I started using Costco to make up my photo cards, and cut my list down.

This year's card was extra easy because I had one picture with the whole, entire family thanks to my son Geoff's wedding this year. Usually I have to pull a picture of here and there to get everyone included on the card.

So there it is (see center above), and I'm in the middle of writing a note to go with the cards, addressing envelopes, etc. It's a fun thing to do while watching Christmas movies, like Die Hard. :D

Are you sending cards this year, or is this one of those years where you just can't get it done? I've been there too, my friend.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Plodding Along

Little by little I'm checking items off my Christmas to-do list. But it feels like very little, very late, and Christmas will be here before I'm ready. But after a week of gray skies, today is sunny and I'm feeling more energetic!

Decorating the upstairs tree is done, but the downstairs tree isn't finished yet. That job belongs to Kirsten.

My college boys are home and that makes me so very happy! I love having them around, and they can be quite helpful in getting some of those to-dos done.

I keep reminding myself that every year Christmas gets done and to not worry, getting a bit better as each year goes by. Just having all the family here together with good food is really what we love about Christmas - and watching the grandkids open their gifts!

So, as always, the chores and to-do items are calling my name. Better get back to it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Finally Happening

Finally. The Christmas tree and all the boxes of decorations have been hauled inside the house.

Larger blue LED lights are a new addition this year. I can't wait to see how they look with all the ornaments.

Better get back to work!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Nike Cross National 2014

Over the cross country careers of our youngest children, DH has built up quite a reputation as a sports photographer here in the Northwest, particularly cross country and track. This year asked Gary to photograph several events during the cross country season, which we were going to attend anyway. The last event of the season took place on Saturday, December 6, in Portland, Oregon - the Nike Cross National.

Finish line

Through a series of regional races, teams and individuals are qualified to run in the national race. Nike flies everyone in to Portland, supplies awesome new gear, brings in big-name pro runners for the kids to meet, and generally puts on a great show for everyone involved.

This year Nike changed the race location from Portland Meadows, a horse track, to Glendoveer Golf Course - a change I very much approve. It was a true cross country course and has the Portland, Oregon feel, complete with the scent of pine in the air, rain clouds in the sky, and mud.

Yes, it rained the two days before the race, saturating the ground, and creating mud bogs in some places.

Our team, Kamiakin, was up for an at-large place, but was not chosen to run at Nationals. Our nearby rival, North Central from Spokane won first place in the regional race in Boise, Idaho, so qualified for an automatic berth. Since Kamiakin didn't get the wild card, some of the guys came over to run in the citizens' race and got some experience on this course in hopes for better things next year!

Congrats go out to the winners! We're especially proud that the North Central boys placed 3rd as a team, and that their Tanner Anderson took 1st place overall, with a time of 15:11 for 5k. And I can't leave out Richland's Lindsey Bradley who placed 12th in the girls race at 17:44 for 5k.

The clean up station to wash the mud off

After the races, Gary had to get the photos downloaded to his computer. While that was happening, we started the drive home, stopping at Starbucks in Hood River, OR, for a coffee and an internet connection so he could get the pics sent to MileSplit. You can find his photos here.

It was bittersweet to say good-bye to this xc season - our last as parents. Will Gary continue to photograph xc events in the Northwest? I'm not sure. We'll see what the future holds.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

More Baking

My new Bosch mixer got a good workout today mixing up dough for 25 loaves of bread. Not all the loaves will go to the Confection Selection, however, as I had a couple batches flop on me. Most of the problem was mine I'm sure as I haven't used the mixer enough to become really familiar with it.

This new Bosch is a slightly different shape bowl so some of the signals I looked for in the old Bosch to indicate the gluten is close to being developed aren't quite the same. Also it's more powerful so I think I beat a couple of batches to death. One of those batches went into the garbage, the other I just baked as normal sandwich bread. While the loaves are ugly, my daughter says the bread tastes good, so they'll go into the freezer.

The rest of the loaves are all cinnamon swirl. The bottom of one loaf opened up as I was turning it out. The kids always love when that happens since that loaf can be eaten right away. Since there were no kids around today, I cut a slice of that one for myself - quality control, you know!

I hope all the loaves of cinnamon swirl bread taste as good!