Friday, December 14, 2012

The search for the not so perfect Christmas Tree!

Each Christmas Season Glenn and I look forward to heading up in the mountains to get our Christmas Tree. For the past few years we have taken Lucy, our oldest grand daughter with us. Lucy has been given the privilege; to pick out and bring home her families tree also.  It's fun to watch her walk through the snow (if there is any) or up the hill trying to find just the right tree. This year she was smart and brought her own tape measure so she was sure to get a 6 - 7 foot tree.

Is this tree the right height Grandma?

We feel very fortunate to live in a area where the mountains are almost in our backyard. Throughout the year this area is our main source of "fun".  Not only do we get our Christmas Tree from the mountains we also enjoy camping, hiking and snow shoeing along with other fun activities :)...

Grandpa wait for me!
If you were to look at our tree, you might smile and think well there is a not so perfect tree, but to us it is exactly what we were looking for. I hope we will be able to keep doing this well into the future with the rest of our grand kids, but I am not so sure all the kids parents will want that oh so, "not so perfect Christmas Tree" for their homes. That's ok we did raise our kids to be "self-thinkers" (that is a whole other post),  so be it, Lol. 

Make sure and tie them on good, we don't want to have one fall off

Our Perfect Not So Perfect Christmas Tree.
No matter what kind of tree you choose for your home, I am sure it's is as beautiful as our Christmas Tree we brought home from the mountains..Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Halloween was in the house!


Enjoy taking a look at my Halloween Villa's, I have received from my loving husband over the years.

- Zelda's Wax Museum-

-Village Witch Way Flight School-

-Halloween Hay Ride-

-Black Cat Dinner-

Costumes for sale!

-Trick or Treaters Bobbing for Apples-

-Mickey Mouse's Haunted Mansion-
All of these fun villa's are the creative work of Department 56, the detail is just fascinating to me.  I toy with mentioning to my husband that Department 56 also creates fun Christmas Villa's, but having just the Halloween ones makes them even more special to me. Hope you have enjoyed the photos as much as I like having them set out each Halloween!

Thanks for stopping by my blog, Betty

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Homemade Kahlua

In September I started the process of making my own Kahlua and yesterday November 7th I was finished. After a few taste tests I can assure you it's "some pretty good stuff". I followed the recipe, link below, with a few of my own adjustments added. I used Stoleys Vanilla Vodka and Starbucks french roast coffee beans.

Can't you just smell the coffee boiling in the picture on the right.  Coffee aroma filled the house for the next few days.

As you can see from the photo below, I used a fruit canning strainer because that is what I had on hand. I think for next year I will invest in a beverage strainer, since I had to strain this liquid 4 times before all the coffee debris was gone.  I guess you could use instant coffee, if you didn't want to go through the bother of straining. We are not instant coffee drinkers so that would not work for us. If you are asking yourself how would you know? I would always be saying to myself "I should of used coffee beans instead":).

Kahlua 2012
I reused some maple syrup glass jars I have been saving so some time . 
 Talking to my friend Lisa last night she told me how she likes her Kahlua served. Pour a shot or two of Kahlua over ice into a glass then slowly pour the same amount of 1/2 & 1/2 milk into the same glass then top with a drop or two of some more Kahlua. Yum Yum! I have to say.  

If you would like to have your fridge filled with enough Kahlua to last the winter & to give as gifts for the holidays follow this recipe from Ski Bum Kitchen. 

Happy Wintertime!  Betty

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Found the perfect home for Bamboo!

I have this garden box in the back yard on the east side of our house that has been driving me crazy since the  day we moved into our home. I think whomever built the box there was going to use it as a rose box. Roses are not my thing. A couple of years ago I asked Glenn and Andrew to take out the 2 rose bushes that were getting out of control from the box. Since the roses have been gone, I have played around with what likes to grow in a spot that only gets morning sun and is in a hot spot due to the the house, all with no success.
A group of one gallon Fargesia nitida seedlings

F. nitida in a landscape

pastel blue new culms on F. murielae

Last night Glenn help me come up with a great idea. I have always wanted bamboo in my yard like my son has in the Portland area.  Well guess what there is a bamboo nursery that grows cold climate bamboo and it's right here in Oregon. PERFECT!  I have explored their website,, and come spring this is what I will be planting in that problem area of mine.  Bamboo doesn't like afternoon sun, YES, Bamboo takes a lot of water if it's real hot, PERFECT (doesn't get real hot in Central Oregon for to many days in a row), cold climate Bamboo likes cooler night when protected, CHECK!

I am so excited about this and now I have to wait until spring, dang! Check out this book I also ordered today from the above website, who knows maybe I am on to something here in Central Oregon only time will tell. OMG, I hope the deer dislike the taste of bamboo plants:)...two words "Deer Fence"!

Happy Fall,

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall Pear & Apple Sauce

It's that time of the year when a good friend brings you pears and apples from her parents orchard in Hood River, Oregon. Thank you!

Here is my super easy recipe:
10 pears
10 apples
1/2 cup organic apple juice no sugar added
Peel, slice up pears and apples add with juice into crockpot. Cook for 6-7 hours on low. Cool down and in small batches blend in blender till smooth. Fill clean, freezer friendly canning jars, fill 1/4" from the top, put canning lids on and place in freezer.

WaaaaLaaaaa Pear/ Apple Sauce!

Note: should be used within 12 months

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

5 Ingredient Brownie Mix off Pinterest

Pinterest is my best friend, practically every night before bed I cruise through Pinterest to see what's new and what I like. So with that said;

 I don't know if it's my age or the weight I have gained (which really doesn't  have anything to do with this) or I just want to be more healthy. We live in a world that over processes food, I have been very self conscious about looking to see how many ingredients are in processed food or mixes. I try and I mean TRY to find foods with 5 ingredients or less. Do you have any idea how hard that is.

So one night I see a brownie mix you can make and yes it has 5 ingredients, now that is just the mix then when you are ready to make it you can the eggs and stuff, but that is OK. Today I was at the store and I picked up a brownie mix to count the ingredients I stopped at 12 and move on down the isle with a smile:)..

Now the brownie's aren't good for the weight gain but I tackle my issues one at a time or this lady will diffidently go crazy, Lol....

Brownie's with Halloween Sprinkles

Never buying a box again. Brownie Mix $0.30 /mix. 1 Cup Sugar, 1/2 Cup Flour, 1/3 Cup Cocoa, 1/4 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp Baking Powder. Add: 2 Eggs, 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil, 1 teaspoon Vanilla. Bake @ 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes., Check out this pin and like it or repin if you want to but by all means try it. As you can see by the photo the Brownies look nice and rich and good tasting also.

Thank you to the person who pinned this in the first place,  Betty

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lavandula aka Lavender


Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Mill.) in the mint family (Lamiaceae) is an aromatic evergreen subshrub native to the Mediterranean region.1 The plant grows to three feet, and has green to grayish-green foliage and small blue or purple flowers. The essential oil is obtained from the flowering tops.
Lavender in garden 2012

History and Traditional Use

Lavandula angustifolia (syn. L. vera) has been used to prevent intestinal gas, to increase urine secretion, to prevent and relieve spasm, and as a general tonic.1  In Spain, lavender is used as an antidiabetic agent. The flowers are simmered and the steam inhaled as a cold remedy; a tea has been used to induce or increase menstrual flow; and extracts have been used to treat acne and migraines. The fresh flowers and leaves have been used to treat headache and rheumatic pain. Lavender has a multitude of uses in aromatherapy.

Modern Medicinal Use

Lavender flower is approved for internal use by the German Commission E for mood disturbances such as restlessness or insomnia, certain functional abdominal complaints such as gaseous distension of the stomach, Roehmheld's syndrome, and nervous intestinal discomfort; it has been approved in bath therapy for the treatment of functional circulatory disorders.2 In Germany the tea is used additionally for lack of appetite.3 In Europe, lavender is commonly used to prevent spasms of smooth muscle (such as in the stomach), to prevent gas formation in the stomach, and as a mild tranquilizer.4

Modern Consumer Use

Lavender is used as a fragrance component in pharmaceutical products such as antiseptic ointments, creams, lotions, and jellies.4  Cosmetic products such as soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes also commonly contain lavender as a fragrance component (especially the oil), and the oil is frequently found in insect repellents. In commercial food preparation, the flowers and more commonly the oil are used as a flavoring in beverages (both alcoholic and nonalcoholic), vinegars, baked goods, candy, gelatins, puddings, and frozen dairy desserts. 

Picked lavender ready to dry.

1 DerMarderosian A, Beutler JA. The Review of Natural Products: The Most Complete Source of Natural Product Information. 3rd ed. St Louis (MO): Facts and Comparisons; 2002.

2 Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, Gruenwald J, Hall T, Riggins CW, Rister RS, editors. Klein S, Rister RS, translators. The Complete German Commission E Monographs&emdash;Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin (TX): American Botanical Council; Boston: Integrative Medicine Communication; 1998.

3 Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, editors. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Austin (TX): American Botanical Council; Newton (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.

4 Leung AY., Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. 2nd ed. New York: Wiley-Interscience; 1996. 

drying for 1 week

Hope you learned a little bit more about Lavender and it's uses , I know I have. Here is something I am going to try;
 Lavender Sugar. using the blender, for every cup of sugar, use two tablespoons of dried lavender buds. Blend them together until the sugar has a purple tint and there are no signs of buds. You can keep this sugar on hand to add to lemonade, tea or baking sweets.

Please if you have any idea's or "what works well for you" let me know, when it comes to growing lavender.  I would love any feedback I can get, since lavender grows so well in the rough climate of Central Oregon I would like to expand my plants next year. I really liked the fact that everyday after about 10am the bushes where swarming with at least 6 bee's. I just know they were doing their thing in making everything else grow around my yard and the neighbors yard too. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Deer love our yard until they trip the DEER SPRINKLER!

For years I have been trying to co-exist with the deer and my yard. My Husband Glenn needs a round of applause,  for my birthday last year he got me (hav-a-hart) deer sprinklers. As you can see by the photo I took this afternoon they work! To the left of this photo is 3 garden boxes the middle box filled with beans, deer love beans. This is about as close as they can get to them, if they adventure any closer to the boxes the sprinkler goes on and startles them away.

I decided to leave the front brun at the edge of our yard alone so they can enjoy what is growing wild under those trees. As you might say I can "have-a-hart" when I want too:). If you are interested in these sprinklers which I highly recommend I have provided two links he got me one of each. One takes a 9volt battery and the other AA's, aside from that they both work the same.

I was asked last weekend what I wanted for my birthday the year and I said 2 more deer sprinklers of course:). Well and a rain barrel (which if you think about it we live in the high desert and it hardly rains) but I still want one:). Oh yes and a word of advice, invest in batteries at Costco it will save you in the long run. I am on my 4th set this summer season, just saying.

It's nice to know I can go to the lake and not worry that all my hard work will be eaten up in 15 minutes! or

Happy Gardening, Betty

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hiking into camp!

Labor Day weekend we decided to hike into one of our favorite lakes. Back packs filled with our camping stuff we set off for our short journey to our camp site.

I guess you might say we became a little soft over the years, as we followed the trail through the woods, crossed over fallen logs our breathing became pretty darn loud not to mention a little sweat was shed.

The next morning we woke up a little sore after our two trips into camp. So we decided after dinner three nights a week we would put our packs on (they are always packed and ready to go) and walk down to the new high school and back.

Tonight we did what we talked about, it could of been really easy to just say "oh let's go another night" but we didn't. We probably look like two homeless people with our dog trying to find a place to slept for the night. But it sure will be nice to get our breathing under control with a little exercise !

Happy Hiking, Betty

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Vintage Work Horse Harnesses and Collars - Idea?

Driving through Eastern Oregon approx. 5 years ago we came upon a barn sale, that is where is all started. We had just began our 10 day vacation and probably 80 miles from home if that. We came upon a barn sale so being who we are we just had to stop. At the same time my husband Glenn and I both saw a pile and I mean "A PILE" of leather, chains and metal. Our first observation told us, this mess of a pile was weather beaten and neglected due to non usage for what it was intended for and just keep walking. As we took a closer look we both began to see what the pile was, now that we are both caught up in the moment we hear "it's forty dollars for all of it".

Glenn looked at me and I said "Load er Up"! In our possession we had seven very used and abused work horse collars, two sets of harnesses and one blind, (you know the 2 leather pieces that keeps the horse looking forward only and not to the side). Now remember this stuff was somewhat nasty, straw stuffing coming out of the collars, mold on the leather, chains rusted yes I said chains. The chains are attached to the leather piece that goes under the horse and these chains are full size as chains go and heavy. Let's not forget all the bird poop laden on the leather and mice droppings.  So we are off to start our vacation covering about 900 miles, by the way remember I said we were maybe 80 miles into our trip:). The back of our Jeep was filled with what I would referred to the rest of the trip as a pile of  "what the hell we going to do with it stuff", which had spent it's years working hard upon a horse doing anything and everything that needed to be pulled or dragged. OMG!!!

Current day, "Glenn will you get out all that leather stuff from the back room in the garage, so I can figure out what I want to do with it"? Six years later here sits on my back patio a pile of "what the hell am I going to do with this stuff"! The pile has gotten smaller over the years we have used three collars for various things, but everything else still remains. You might be asking yourself why I am posting about this, well it's unusual to say the least and I need help with my creative side. For some reason I don't want to sell "the pile", I just want to do something with it. So if you took the time to read this post first of all; thank you, and now can you give me any ideas?  I could sure use your help to get your creative juices flowing here are a few photos I took yesterday after I started going through "the pile".

So there you have it, my first blog in almost a year. Thanks for visiting, Betty Jo