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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Invite for our “Italian Night” Supper Club!

I was looking forward to our next Supper Club from the day after our first one ended!  We had such a good time!  Camden, our mommy-to-be, offered to host the second supper club because her first baby is due soon and she wanted to host before he was born (SO sweet of her by the way).  She picked an “italian style dinner party” as her theme.  Pasta and bread?  Sign me up!

The way we do our rotation, the month after you host, all you have to bring are beverages.  So I wasn’t in charge of any food this go around.  But boy can those other ladies cook!

Our wine collection for the dinner–notice the alcohol free Merlot in the middle for our mommy-to-be!! 🙂
And the running joke that we were going to steal Camden’s china because we all loved it so much.

Camden was so generous to offer to host before her baby was born.  I can’t imagine getting ready for a baby and throwing a dinner party at the same time but she did it like a pro!  One of the best parts of doing this in each other’s homes is seeing where we all live.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know these ladies so much but seeing them in their environment and their own home makes it really fun as well.  And let’s be honest, what Southern lady (and I mentioned in my first post that a lot of us are from the South) DOESN’T like an excuse to whip out all of her fancy china and serving pieces!?

Well Camden put us all to SHAME with her china.  We joked all night about how we were going to steal it.  I am fairly certain she still has all of her plates, but LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL THEY ARE!  As a side note, when I got married I swore that I wasn’t going to be the lady with all of the dishes.  I was going to be practical.  All I needed was one set.  HA! Hilarious!  I’m worse than any one I know.

FANTASTIC dinner!

For our dinner, Camden had pasta with two different kinds of sauce: a traditional Bolognese and a creamy gorgonzola.  To.  Die.  For.  She also had prosciutto wrapped asparagus.  Casey brought bruschetta–probably some of the best I’ve ever had! Shannon brought a wonderful salad with pears, nuts, and goat cheese.  Larissa made chicken marsala that was insanely good.  And Caitlin brought these chocolate cookies that for the life of me I cannot remember which cookbook she got them out of but they were incredible!

Beautiful ladies. Caitlin, myself, and Larissa.
More lovely ladies! Myself, Camden, and Casey.

Needless to say, at the end of the evening I was quite full.  I cannot remember if I had mentioned this before but we’re going to make a little cookbook of all of our recipes!  Not sure how long we’ll go before we put it together but I am hoping a good while!  More time with the girls and more recipes!  I am in charge of photos so the handy dandy tripod made the trip to the supper club as well.  I promise I DO leave home with out it–though you never know when you’ll need a tripod!

Our next supper club is our holiday party and is going to involve girls and dates/husbands!  REALLY excited about that one because we’ll get to meet everyone’s significant other!  The theme is “surf and turf”!  I can’t wait!  SO thankful for these ladies!

Group shot! Myself, Camden, Caitlin, Larissa, Casey and Shannon!
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Cannot. Wait.

Alright I left something off of my list from my post yesterday.  THE PORTLAND BAZAAR!  In it’s inaugural year, this project of Grace Bonney of Design Sponge is sure to be AMAZING.  Inspired by The Brooklyn Flea, Grace, Matt Pierce, and Greg Hennes, are pulling together 50+ local Portland artisans to showcase and sell their work at Sandbox Studio during the bazaar.  Among the mix are woodworkers, metal workers, designers, chefs, etc.  Read this description and tell me you aren’t DYING to go!

To kick off the very first Portland Bazaar, we’re holding a curated holiday fair on December 10th and 11th at Sandbox Studio in Portland, Oregon. Our goal is to celebrate the high-quality handmade work being produced in Portland’s incredible creative community. In addition to offering a curated selection of vendors in a wide range of categories — clothing, accessories, home goods, books (Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis will be at the Reading Frenzy booth to sign copies of Wildwood!), music, vintage wares, fine art, food and spirits — the Bazaar will also offer live music performances from local bands, unique demonstrations and classes, including whiskey & gin tastings and DIY workshops on how to make holiday wreaths from Portland flora taught by our own Amy Merrick (stay tuned for class times/signups)!

To complement the excitement happening inside the Bazaar, the street in front of Sandbox Studio will be closed to traffic and lined with some of Portland’s finest food trucks. We aim to provide each and every guest with not only great holiday gift options and DIY ideas but also tasty snacks and drinks.

–Copy from DesginSponge.com

What makes it even better is some of my favorite local shops are being represented!  OMFG Co., Adler & Co., Bridge & Burn, Pigeon Toe, and Reading Frenzy!

Oh my goodness gracious I just cannot wait!  And as a semi-related side note, Grace Bonney is my hero.  I would seriously LOVE to be her little minion.  Whatever she’d need me for, I’m there.  Would never happen, but a girl can dream right?!

I’m a list maker.  Tried and true…I love my lists.  On a whim, I posted at the beginning of October all of the fun “fall” activities that I wanted Mr. Fancy Pants and I to do (see that post here).  I’m actually patting myself on the back now because it helped me organize my thoughts.  Pen and paper list…virtual blog list.  Same difference to me.  I am proud of how many of my “to do’s” we actually accomplished!  Six out of eight ‘aint half bad my friends!

Since it worked so well the first time, AND since I am such a freak about Christmas time, I felt a list of all of the fun Christmasy things I want us to do would be appropriate.  I am so thankful that William has most of December off from school–nighttime classes would have really messed with my Christmas activity planning.

I have done a lot of research on the fun, local things to do here in the PacNW around the holidays. The weather alone makes it feel more like Christmas time up here so I am really looking forward to ALL of these things!  So, here goes.  Our calendar for December…booked.

  • Cut down our own Christmas tree for the first time!  There are places to do this everywhere up here!  Oregon is the nations largest producer of Christmas trees!  I’M IN HEAVEN!  There are 775 Christmas tree growers in Oregon alone, covering over 65,000 acres, and producing over 8 million Christmas trees PER YEAR!  Cannot.  Wait.  The question now is which one do we go to!?
  • Host the Tacky Texas Christmas Party!  We’ve thrown a Christmas party every year since we got married.  In honor of where we’re from, this year’s will be decked with tacky Christmas sweaters and anything resembling a cowboy hat, boots, belt, etc.  Got to nail down a date for this extravaganza!
The Nutcracker! A must see EVERY year for me at Christmas time.
  • Go see The Nutcracker performed by the Oregon Ballet Theatre.  We go every year.  No exceptions. December 19th.  Tickets are purchased and sitting right next to me.  AND the Oregon Symphony is playing live that night!  YES!
A Christmas Story at Gerding Theater
The Santaland Diaries at Gerding Theater
  • I’d also love to go see A Christmas Story at Gerding Theater.  The theater itself is in an old armory and we’ve been once before.  I have never seen A Christmas Story on stage before.  I think Mr. Fancy Pants would really like it!  I’d also love to see The Santaland Diaries there too. Both would be wonderful.
Storybrook Lane at Christmas. Sign me up!
  • Christmas at Storybrook Lane at Alpenrose Dairy will also be on our list. After a hiatus of six years, Storybook Lane at family-owned Alpenrose Dairy will be open again this holiday season. Storybook Lane is part of Dairyville, a replica of a Western frontier town situated on the Alpenrose property. You can stroll the lane and peek in the vintage shops decorated for the holidays while being serenaded by local choirs, watch classic holiday movies in the old Opera House, and have your picture taken with Santa.
  • Watch my top 20 list of all-time best Christmas movies.  I’ll do a separate post about that later.
  • Go see the lights on Peacock Lane (December 15-31st).  This is a tradition that has been going on since the 1920s on this street in Portland.  They even have a Christmas song that was written about them.  You can take a horse-drawn carriage ride down the street to look at the lights which I think would be a blast!  Probably going to sign up for that!
  • Winter Wonderland Lights at the Portland International Raceway–Dec. 5th.  The racetrack is turned into a drive through light show that is the largest west of the Mississippi River.  On Dec. 5th it is closed to cars and it’s reserved for bicycles only.  All of the money that they raise goes to the BTA!
Portland Christmas Ship Parade–above is a boat my friends!
  • Watch the Portland Christmas Ship Parade on Dec. 8th.  This year marks the 27th year of the parade.  Around 60 boats are decked out in lights and sail down the Willamette River!
Portland ZooLights
  • Last but not least, the Portland ZooLights is a stop on my list.  It’s exactly what it sounds like.  The zoo is transformed to a Christmas-light filled land of amazingness.  I’ve been wanting to go to the zoo because I hear it’s pretty amazing.  What better time to go!?

WHEW!  I’m excited/tired already!  I cannot believe the holidays are just around the corner.  They will be here and gone before we know it.  I have gotten a jump start on my shopping this year (thank goodness), but I still can’t believe how close it is.  Here’s to finding a happy balance of cozy nights by the fire with a Christmas movie and cramming activity I can into the month of December!  Wish us luck!

Oddly enough, one of the main things I wanted to make sure we had in a house when we moved here was a fireplace.  Not just any fireplace, a wood burning fireplace.  Well I got my wish and as it’s creeping into the winter months up here it’s, well, COLD.  Granted, the native Oregonians might disagree with me but to a Texas girl, it’s cold.  Three things I have learned since it turned colder:

  1. The wardrobe of a Texas female doesn’t translate to the necessary wardrobe of an Oregon female.  Not even close.
  2. My 4 sweaters that I owned prior to moving here might as well be sheer because they are NOT heavy enough.  And more importantly there aren’t enough of them.
  3. Never.  And I mean NEVER leave home without your raincoat/rainboots/umbrella.
BEHOLD! OUR FIRST FIRE!

A few weeks ago I called a chimney sweep to come out and clean our fireplace to make sure we were set and ready to go with our fires.  He arrived yesterday morning (GREAT guy…if you’re in Portland and need a chimney sweep, message me–I highly recommend him).  Around 2 p.m. yesterday afternoon, so did a forest.  Not really, but a woman should never be in charge of ordering firewood.

1/2 cord of firewood = enough for an army!
The monstrosity that took me 4 hours to stack.

I ordered our wood from City Light Firewood.  They’re a local company with good prices so I said what the hay!  I ordered a 1/2 cord and two bundles of kindling.  I figured, if it’s too much wood, we’ll just use it next year.  No big deal.  I even researched how much wood that was–reaffirming the fact that I have NO concept how big something is by a measurement.  I read (when stacked) that it would measure 4 ft long by 2 feet high by 2 feet wide.  LIES.  COMPLETE LIES.  I’ve never seen so much wood in one place.  AND they just dumped it in the driveway!  It took me almost 4 hours after work to stack it all by myself.  One thing is for certain, I am not built for manual labor.

Me with my fire!

So after all of the stacking was finished, I finally got to build my first fire.  Side note, we now have four, yes four, HUGE piles of wood.  I had a little trouble getting the wood to light because it was damp but it was nothing a little fire starter couldn’t fix!  I know it’s cheesy but I had to get a picture of me with my fire.  I was so excited!  I built it all by myself!

Loretta Cornbread

Turns out Miss Loretta likes the fire too!  She laid there all night long just purring away!  I had a Meg Ryan movie marathon.  Put my cell phone and iPad away.  You’ve Got Mail.  Check!  When Harry Met Sally. Check!  It was a great evening!  Looking forward to many more where that came from!

IMG_5494
Mr. and Mrs. Fancy Pants! And our sweet friend creepin’ in our photo at Lone Fir Cemetery.

I hope that everyone had a very happy Halloween.  We were pretty low key last night.  We did our costumin’ on Saturday night.  We did make one pretty great stop yesterday evening.  We met some awesome friends at Lone Fir Cemetery for The Tour of Untimely Departures.  Here was the description of the evening:

Meet some of Lone Fir’s “residents” at their graves and hear the unusual circumstances surrounding their untimely departures. Ghostly guides will also share some of the history on Lone Fir as they take you through the cemetery on a path lit with candles.

Not going to lie, it was really neat.  They had candles in brown bags, jack-o-lanterns, and torches all over the place which made it a little erie but mainly really beautiful.  I have driven by the cemetery several times but knew nothing about it.  Our friends told us about the event tonight and we thought it would be a fun thing to try out!  Lone Fir is Portland’s oldest cemetery, on the National Register of Historic Places, and home to over 25,000 burials.  Our guide also told us that the cemetery alone has over 100 species of trees and 100 species of birds living among its 30 acres.

They had actors dressed up like a lot of the “residents” who told the stories of their lives and how they died.  A lot of them were connected (father, daughter, cousin, etc.) which made for an interesting story as we wove through the cemetery.  It was really dark by the time we got started so the only light was from the candles and torches.  I probably would have been a little scared had there not been such a large crowd just on the other side of the fence waiting for their turn inside.  They didn’t allow any pictures so the one above is the only one I snapped.  I would have loved to take a few pictures of the “actors”.  They looked amazing.

For me it was the perfect blend of history and spooky.  Not jump out of your skin scary but still a little erie.  And I learned a lot which I always like!  I am very curious as to where the Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery got their information/research on the residents.  That I would like to know!  They knew so much about their lives and death.  It was really interesting.  AND at the very end, they had some volunteers from The Audubon Society of Portland there with two REAL OWLS!  I’ve never seen one that close before.  They were beautiful!  That’s what I love about this city.  You attend one amazing event and they’re pointing you towards the next!  My next stop: The Audubon!